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Chapter 3 ESG — Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa

labas ka puwede ka ng hindi pumasok, okey yan nasaloob ka


G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995 umalis ka doon.
CHUCHI — Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong kalimutan na hindi
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
ka makakapasok kung hindi ako. Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey
vs.
lang sa akin, dahil tapos ka na.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.
CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.
ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa
KAPUNAN, J.: no, nilapastangan mo ako.
CHUCHI — Paano kita nilapastanganan?
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City alleging that the private 'yo. Lumabas ka na. Magsumbong ka.3
respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's office,
allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the
mood" and in a manner offensive to petitioner's dignity and said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private
personality," contrary to morals, good customs and public policy."1 respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An Act to
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of prohibit and penalize wire tapping and other related violations of
the event and sought moral damages, attorney's fees and other private communication, and other purposes." An information charging
expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition to petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted
costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's herewith:
discretion. The transcript on which the civil case was based was culled
from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner.2 The INFORMATION
transcript reads as follows:
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) — Good Afternoon M'am. of Violation of Republic Act No. 4200, committed as follows:
Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) — Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo,
nakalimot ka na kung paano ka napunta rito, porke member ka
That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in Pasay City
na, magsumbong ka kung ano ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.
Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty ako noon.
ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)
CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong binalikan, honorable court, the above-named accused, Socorro D. Ramirez
sabing ganoon — not being authorized by Ester S. Garcia to record the latter's
ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag conversation with said accused, did then and there willfully,
explain ka, kasi hanggang 10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi ka na unlawfully and feloniously, with the use of a tape recorder
pumasok. Ngayon ako ang babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States, secretly record the said conversation and thereafter communicate
nag-aaply ka sa review mo, kung kakailanganin ang certification in writing the contents of the said recording to other person.
mo, kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa akin makakahingi.
CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue Contrary to law.
ko up to 10:00 p.m.
ESG — Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka pumasok Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988.
dito sa hotel. Magsumbong ka sa Union kung gusto mo.
Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka nakapasok dito "Do you think
that on your own makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash
Panunumbyoyan na kita (Sinusumbatan na kita). the Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute
CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko. an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an order May 3,
ESG — Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng mga no 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with
(sic) ko. petitioner that 1) the facts charged do not constitute an offense under
ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel, R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation punished by R.A. 4200 refers to a
kung on your own merit alam ko naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" the taping of a communication by a person other than a participant to
mo. Marami ang nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka papasa. the communication.4
CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng exam noon.
ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for
CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo
Review on Certiorari with this Court, which forthwith referred the case
ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako.
to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division) of June
CHUCHI — Eh, di sana —
19, 1989.
ESG — Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka kasi wala kang
utak. Akala mo ba makukuha ka dito kung hindi ako.
CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako. On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its
ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka assailed Decision declaring the trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null
kung paano ka puma-rito. "Putang-ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamag- and void, and holding that:
anak ng nanay at tatay mo ang mga magulang ko.
[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense punishable Senator Tañada: That qualified only "overhear".
under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In thus quashing the information
based on the ground that the facts alleged do not constitute an Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recorded, the
offense, the respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion element of secrecy would not appear to be material. Now,
correctible by certiorari.5 suppose, Your Honor, the recording is not made by all the parties
but by some parties and involved not criminal cases that would be
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for mentioned under section 3 but would cover, for example civil
Reconsideration which respondent Court of Appeals denied in its cases or special proceedings whereby a recording is made not
Resolution6 dated June 19, 1990. Hence, the instant petition. necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by some in an effort to
show the intent of the parties because the actuation of the parties
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue"7 that the prior, simultaneous even subsequent to the contract or the act
applicable provision of Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping may be indicative of their intention. Suppose there is such a
of a private conversation by one of the parties to the conversation. She recording, would you say, Your Honor, that the intention is to
contends that the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping cover it within the purview of this bill or outside?
of a private conversation by a party other than those involved in the
communication.8 In relation to this, petitioner avers that the substance Senator Tañada: That is covered by the purview of this bill, Your
or content of the conversation must be alleged in the Information, Honor.
otherwise the facts charged would not constitute a violation of R.A.
4200.9 Finally, petitioner agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping of a Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in the
"private communication," not a "private conversation" and that prosecution of offense but as evidence to be used in Civil Cases or
consequently, her act of secretly taping her conversation with private special proceedings?
respondent was not illegal under the said act. 10
Senator Tañada: That is right. This is a complete ban on tape
We disagree. recorded conversations taken without the authorization of all the
parties.
First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a
statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Honor?
law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would
be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either
Senator Tañada: I believe it is reasonable because it is not
impossible 11 or absurb or would lead to an injustice. 12
sporting to record the observation of one without his knowing it
and then using it against him. It is not fair, it is not sportsmanlike.
Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire If the purpose; Your honor, is to record the intention of the
Tapping and Other Related Violations of Private Communication and parties. I believe that all the parties should know that the
Other Purposes," provides: observations are being recorded.

Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being authorized Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of recorders.
by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word,
to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or
Senator Tañada: Well no. For example, I was to say that in
arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such
meetings of the board of directors where a tape recording is
communication or spoken word by using a device commonly
taken, there is no objection to this if all the parties know. It is but
known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-
fair that the people whose remarks and observations are being
talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.
made should know that the observations are being recorded.

The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for


Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand.
any person, not authorized by all the parties to any private
communication to secretly record such communication by means of a
tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party Senator Tañada: That is why when we take statements of persons,
sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other than or we say: "Please be informed that whatever you say here may be
different from those involved in the private communication. The used against you." That is fairness and that is what we demand.
statute's intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such Now, in spite of that warning, he makes damaging statements
recording is underscored by the use of the qualifier "any". against his own interest, well, he cannot complain any more. But
Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, if you are going to take a recording of the observations and
"even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private remarks of a person without him knowing that it is being taped or
conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will) recorded, without him knowing that what is being recorded may
qualify as a violator" 13 under this provision of R.A. 4200. be used against him, I think it is unfair.

A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the xxx xxx xxx
respondent court's conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our
lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape (Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964)
recording of private conversations or communications taken either by
the parties themselves or by third persons. Thus: Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that under
Section 1 of the bill as now worded, if a party secretly records a
xxx xxx xxx
public speech, he would be penalized under Section 1? Because recognized the nature of conversations between individuals and
the speech is public, but the recording is done secretly. the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his
intellect. They must have known that part of the pleasures and
Senator Tañada: Well, that particular aspect is not contemplated satisfactions of life are to be found in the unaudited, and free
by the bill. It is the communication between one person and exchange of communication between individuals — free from
another person — not between a speaker and a public. every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever means.17

xxx xxx xxx In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with
the issue of telephone wiretapping, we held that the use of a
telephone extension for the purpose of overhearing a private
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964)
conversation without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because a
telephone extension devise was neither among those "device(s) or
xxx xxx xxx arrangement(s)" enumerated therein, 19 following the principle that
"penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the
The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together accused."20 The instant case turns on a different note, because the
with the above-quoted deliberations from the Congressional Record, applicable facts and circumstances pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200
therefore plainly supports the view held by the respondent court that suffer from no ambiguity, and the statute itself explicitly mentions the
the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private unauthorized "recording" of private communications with the use of
communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not tape-recorders as among the acts punishable.
distinguish.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is clear
Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of and unambiguous and leaves us with no discretion, the instant petition
the statute. The substance of the same need not be specifically alleged is hereby DENIED. The decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. Costs
in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of against petitioner.
secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications
by means of the devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that SO ORDERED.
an individual made a secret recording of a private communication by
means of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under
Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his
COMMENT before the respondent court: "Nowhere (in the said law) is
it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of
the conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should
be professed." 14

Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private


communication" in Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include "private
conversations" narrows the ordinary meaning of the word
"communication" to a point of absurdity. The word communicate
comes from the latin word communicare, meaning "to share or to
impart." In its ordinary signification, communication connotes the act
of sharing or imparting signification, communication connotes the act
of sharing or imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process
by which meanings or thoughts are shared between individuals
through a common system of symbols (as language signs or
gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or
non-verbal, written or expressive communications of "meanings or
thoughts" which are likely to include the emotionally-charged
exchange, on February 22, 1988, between petitioner and private
respondent, in the privacy of the latter's office. Any doubts about the
legislative body's meaning of the phrase "private communication" are,
furthermore, put to rest by the fact that the terms "conversation" and
"communication" were interchangeably used by Senator Tañada in his
Explanatory Note to the bill quoted below:

It has been said that innocent people have nothing to fear from
their conversations being overheard. But this statement ignores
the usual nature of conversations as well the undeniable fact that
most, if not all, civilized people have some aspects of their lives
they do not wish to expose. Free conversationsare often
characterized by exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable falsehoods,
and the expression of anti-social desires of views not intended to
be taken seriously. The right to the privacy of communication,
among others, has expressly been assured by our Constitution.
Needless to state here, the framers of our Constitution must have
Chapter 3 In her February 18, 2013 Memorandum,6 Atty. Candelaria
recommended that Justice Salazar-Fernando’s services as MTC Judge
be credited as judicial service that can be added to her present
A.M. No. 13-02-07-SC longevity pay. Atty. Candelaria, however, recommended the denial of
Justice Salazar-Fernando’srequest that her services at the COMELEC be
Re: Request of Court of Appeals Justice Remedios A. Salazar- also credited for her present longevity pay. Nonetheless, she
Fernando that Her Services as MTC Judge and as COMELEC recommended that Justice Salazar-Fernando’s services in the COMELEC
Commissioner be considered as Part of Her Judicial Service and be included in the computation of her longevity pay upon retirement
Included in the computation/adjustment of Her longevity pay "as in the case of Justice Pardo."

RESOLUTION B. Letter-Request of Justice Gacutan


BRION, J.:
Prefatory Statement
In her letter7 dated September 11, 2012, Justice Gacutan requested
that: (a) her services as Commissioner IV of the National Labor
The Consolidated Cases Relations Commission (NLRC) , from March 3, 1998 to November5,
and the Affected Parties 2009, be credited as judicial service for purposes of retirement; (b) she
be given a longevity pay equivalent to 10% of her basic salary; and (c)
For the Court’s consideration are the following: (1) letter-request an adjustment of her salary, allowances and benefits be made from the
dated August 22, 2012, of Court of Appeals ( CA) Associate Justice time she assumed as CA Justice on November 6, 2009. In the Court’s
Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando;1 (2) letter-request dated September 11, Resolution8 of November 13, 2012, we required the Fiscal
2012, of CA Associate Justice Angelita A. Gacutan;2 and (3) motion for Management and Budget Office (FMBO ) to comment onJustice
reconsideration3 dated November 7, 2012, of CA Associate Justice Gacutan’s letter. In her Comment of January 4, 2013, Atty. Corazon G.
Vicente S.E. Veloso.4 Ferrer-Flores, Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief of Office of the FMBO,
recommended that: (1) Justice Gacutan’s request for the crediting of
The petitioners are all Justices of the Court of Appeals. Justices Veloso her services as Commissioner IV of the NLRC as judicial service be
and Fernando claim longevity pay for services rendered within and granted, but only for purposes of her retirement benefits, to take
outside the Judiciary as part of their compensation package . Justice effect on her compulsory retirement on December 3, 2013;and (2)
Gacutan, who has recently retired, claims deficiency payment of her Justice Gacutan’s request that her salary and allowances be adjusted
longevity pay for the services she had rendered before she joined the retroactive from her assumption of office in the CA on November 6,
Judiciary, as well as a re-computation of her retirement pay to include 2009, be denied.9
the claimed longevity pay.
C. Motion for Reconsideration of Justice Veloso
Interest in the outcome of these consolidated cases goes beyond that
of the petitioners; some incumbent justices and judges, before joining In his November 7, 2012 motion for reconsideration,10 Justice Veloso
the Judiciary, also served in the Executive Department and would like assailed the Court’s October 23, 2012 Resolution11 that denied his
to see these previous services credited in the computation of their request for the crediting of his services as NLRC Commissioner as
longevity pay. Others who had also previously served with the judicial service for purposes of adjusting his salary and benefits,
Executive Department currently enjoy longevity pay credit for their specifically his longevity pay.
executive service; they would like to see their mistakenly granted
longevity pay credits maintained. Justice Veloso claimed that Republic Act No. (RA) 9347 which amended
Article 216 of the Labor Code should be applied retroactively since it is
Thus, the Court’s decision on these consolidated cases, whether to find a curative statute. He maintained under this view that he already had
for or against the petitioners, will likewise affect the interests of other the rank of a CA Justice as NLRC Commissioner before he was
judges and justices in similar circumstance, including several members appointed to the appellate court on February 4, 2004.
of this honorable court participating in these matters.
We referred Justice Veloso’s motion for reconsideration to the FMBO
Antecedents for report and recommendation in our Resolution of November 27,
2012.12
A. Letter-Request of Justice Salazar-Fernando
In her Report and Recommendation dated February 15, 2013,13 Atty.
In her letter dated August 22, 2012,5 Justice Salazar-Fernando Ferrer-Flores recommended that Justice Veloso’s motion for
requested that her services as Judge of the Municipal Trial Court ( reconsideration be denied since the points he raised were a rehash of
MTC) of Sta. Rita, Pampanga, from February 15, 1983 to July 31, 1987, his arguments in his July 30, 2012 letter-request.14
and as Commissioner of the Commission on Elections ( COMELEC ),
from February 14, 1992 to February 14, 1998, be considered as part of Our Rulings
her judicial services "as in the case of Hon. Bernar do P. Pardo, Retired
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court." Accordingly, Justice Salazar- I. Letter of Justice Salazar-Fernando in A.M. No. 13-02-07-SC
Fernando requested that her longevity pay be adjusted "from the
current 10% to 20% of [her] basic salary effective May 25, 1999."
a. Services as MTC Judge

We referred this letter-request to Atty. Eden T. Candelaria, Chief of the


Office of Administrative Services ( OAS ), for study and
recommendation.
We grant the request of Justice Salazar-Fernando to credit as judicial This provision was an amendment to Section 3 of BP 129 which, as
service her previous services as MTC Judge of Sta. Rita, Pampanga, as originally worded, referred only to the organization of the CA, the
judicial service in the computation of her longevity pay. appointment process of its justices, and the means by which seniority
of rank is determined among the CA justices. Executive Order No. 33
Section 42 of Batas Pambansa Bilang ( B.P. Blg.) 129 provides: added this phrase, and hence Section 3 now reads as:

Section 42. Longevity pay. – A monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% Sec. 3. Organization. There is hereby created a Court of Appeals which
of the monthly basic pay shall be paid to the Justices and Judges of the shall consist of a Presiding Justice and fifty Associate Justices who shall
courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and be appointed by the President of the Philippines. The Presiding Justice
meritorious service rendered in the judiciary; Provided, That in no case shall be so designated in hi s appointment, and the Associate Justice
shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective
longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the Justice or Judge next in appointments, or when the appointments of two or more of them shall
rank. [Italics supplied; emphasis and underscoring ours] bear the same date, according to the order in which their
appointments were issued by the President. Any member w ho is
reappointed to the Court after rendering in any other position in the
We find it undisputed that Justice Salazar-Fernando served as MTC
government shall retain the precedence to which he was entitled
Judge from February 15, 1983 to July 31, 1987. This service constitutes
under his original appointment, and his service in the Court shall, for all
continuous, efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the Judiciary
intents and purposes, be considered as continuous and uninterrupted.
and, hence, should be included in the computation of her longevity
pay.
Thus, had the Court given a more literal interpretation of the phrase
added by EO No. 33,then it would have interpreted its application to
b. Service as COMELEC Commissioner
refer to an incumbent CA justice only. The phrase, after all, had been
added to Section 3 of BP 129, which referred to the organization of the
We deny, however, the inclusion of Justice Salazar-Fernando’s request CA. Following this interpretation, Justice Pardo’s service in the
to credit her services as COMELEC Commissioner, from February 14, COMELEC would not have been appreciated in determining his
1992 to February 14, 1998, as judicial service for longevity pay longevity pay, as he was reappointed not to the CA, but to the
purposes. Supreme Court.

The only service recognized for purposes of longevity pay under Instead, the Court, taking a more liberal approach, interpreted the
Section 42 of B.P. Blg. 129 is service in the Judiciary, not service in any phrase "the Court" to mean the entire judiciary. It noted that the
other branch of government. The CO MELEC is an agency independent additional phrase in Section 3 used the generic word "Court" instead of
of the Judiciary; hence, service in this agency cannot be considered as Court of Appeals, and that to apply the stricter application of
service rendered in the Judiciary. interpreting "Court" to mean "Court of Appeals" would "lead to
absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of
We find Justice Salazar-Fernando’s invocation of the case of Justice the lawmakers."
Pardo, to support her claim to longevity pay, misplaced.
Thus, following this more liberal approach, Justice Pardo’s one-time
b.1. Our Pardo Ruling service outside of the judiciary was considered part of his service in the
judiciary for purposes of determining hi s longevity pay. The same may
In In Re: Request of Justice Bernardo P. Pardo for Adjustment of His be applied, for instance, to a trial court judge who rendered service
Longevity Pay,15 we held that the inclusion of Justice Pardo’s service in outside the judiciary and then returned to being a member of the
the COMELEC in the computation of his longevity pay upon his bench.
retirement was predicated on the factual circumstances peculiar to
him: he was an incumbent CA Justice when he was appointed Thus, the Court’s ruling in In Re: Justice Pardo is authority for
COMELEC Chairman, and was appointed to the Supreme Court after his expanding EO No. 33’s amendment to Section 3 of BP 129 to all
service with the COMELEC, without any interruption in his service . members of the judiciary.

The Court ― based on its reading of Section 3 of B.P. Blg. 12916 ― did b.2. The liberal Pardo ruling cannot and should not be extended to
not consider his intervening service in the COMELEC, an office outside allow members of the judiciary to leave and return more than once,
the Judiciary, as a disruption of his service in the Judiciary. without interrupting the continuity of their service.

Notably, the Court in In Re: Justice Pardo liberally interpreted the The next question to be asked, then, refers to the frequency by which
phrase "the Court" in Section 3 of BP 129 to mean the entire judiciary, members of the judiciary may be able to serve in other branches of
not just the Court of Appeals. The provision reads: government without breaking their ‘continuo us and uninterrupted’
service. Did the ruling in Justice Pardo’s case allow members of the
Any member who is reappointed to the Court after rendering service in judiciary to leave for other branches of government numerous times,
any other position in the government shall retain precedence to which and still maintain continuous and uninterrupted service in the
he was entitled under his original appointment, and his service in the judiciary? The answer to this question is a resounding no.
Court shall, for all intents and purposes , be considered as continuous
and uninterrupted. (emphases supplied) A critical aspect of Justice Pardo’s case was the absence of any gap in
his service from the time he was appointed as Caloocan City Judge in
1974, until he retired as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in
2002. He occupied the positions of District Judge, Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch 34, Caloocan City, from May 3, 1974 to amount to judicial legislation that furthers the interests within our
January 17, 1983; Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 43, Manila, from ranks.
January 18, 1983 to March 29, 1993; Associate Justice of the CA, from
March 30, 1993 to February 16, To recapitulate, Section 3 applies to any judge or justice, who left the
judiciary, served in a single non-judicial governmental post, and
1995; Chairman, COMELEC, from February 17, 1995 to October 6, returned to the judiciary. This was what happened in the case of
1998; and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, from October 7, Justice Pardo, when after a long and continuous service in the
1998 to February 10, 2002. judiciary, he left to serve in the COMELEC and from there was
subsequently appointed to the Supreme Court.
In these lights, Justice Pardo’s case has nothing to offer by way of
jurisprudential precedent in terms of determining whether Section 3 of b.3. Justice Fernando is not entitled to her request even under the
BP 129 allows judges and justices to leave the judiciary several times liberal Pardo ruling.
without breaking their continuous service. There was no occasion to
rule on this issue, as Justice Pardo left the judiciary only once, to serve Justice Salazar-Fernando effectively asks us in her present case to give
in the COMELEC. her the benefit of our Pardo ruling although the attendant facts of her
case differ from those of Justice Pardo’s and do not approximate the
Proceeding from this conclusion, the next level of inquiry leads us to factual situation that Section 3 requires.
examine whether Section 3 of BP 129 allows multiple breaks in judicial
office and considers these breaks as part of a continuous and In the first place, her record shows that her services in between her
uninterrupted judicial service. judicial services were not continuous and uninterrupted.

The amendment to Section 3, as worded and interpreted in In Re: We find that after Justice Salazar-Fernando’s stint as MTC Judge in July
Justice Pardo , refers to the reappointment of a member of the 1987, she was named Chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising
judiciary after serving in another branch of government. The judge and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) where she served from August 1987 to
shall retain the precedence to which he was entitled under his original February 13, 1992. During this period, she concurrently held
appointment, and his judicial service shall be considered directorship posts at the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and at the
uninterrupted. Office of Transport Cooperatives (OTC). In the later part of 1991,Justice
Salazar-Fernando held the position of Officer-in-Charge/Assistant
This service outside the judiciary, however, should only occur once, as Secretary of the Land Transportation Office.
in Justice Pardo’s case. Section 3 refers to an original appointment ,
which is the first appointment by which a lawyer becomes a member It was only after Justice Salazar-Fernando’s stints at the LTFRB, LRTA,
of the judiciary. As he progresses in the judiciary ― whether by staying and OTC all non-judicial offices that she was appointed as
in his original post or by being appointed in other posts ― he acquires Commissioner of the COMELEC on February 14, 1992, and served in
seniority, which is especially applicable in determining his retirement this capacity until February 15, 1998. Three (3) days later, or on
and longevity pay. Once he leaves the judiciary, however, his original February 18, 1998, she started to serve as a consultant in the
appointment is cut off; hence, Section 3 can only refer to the judge’s COMELEC until October 6, 1998.
return to the judiciary as a "reappointment." He needs to get re-
appointed back to the judiciary, as he is no longer part of it.
Parenthetically, her service as consultant is not a "position in
government" that should be considered a part of her government
Section 3 works to bridge the gap between the time the judge left his service as she did not occupy any specific position in government.
original appointment and his reappointment to the judiciary, provided Moreover, it was only five (5) months after her COMELEC consultancy,
the gap in service was rendered in another branch of government. or on March 25, 1999, that Justice Salazar-Fernando was appointed as
Once reappointed to the judiciary, however, he can no longer avail of Associate Justice of the CA. Thus, significant gaps in her judicial service
Section 3, as Section 3 speaks of an original appointment. A second intervened so that her situation did not comply with the requirement
reappointment, after another service in a different government in Section 3 that only a single non-judicial position should intervene in
agency, would be succeeding the first reappointment, and not the her judicial service record.
original appointment. Section 3 operates to bridge an original
appointment with a reappointment, and not to connect a
Reduced to the bare essentials, the issue for us is whether we should
reappointment with a second appointment. Had the latter
apply with liberality a ruling that had already been very liberally
interpretation been the intent behind the law, then it should and
interpreted by this Court, under facts that do not entitle Justice
would have made this situation clearer.
Fernando to recognition of continuous service under the requirements
of Section 3.
Further, the application of Section 3 appears to be limited to service in
a single position in government outside of the judiciary. Section 3
Our brief and direct answer is that we cannot and must not allow the
speaks of "any other position in the government," and thus uses a
crediting of Justice Salazar Fernando’ s COMELEC service for longevity
singular noun. After this single service, the judge or justice invoking the
pay purposes. Acceding to her request will constitute an outright
application of Section 3 must have returned to the judiciary in order
judicial legislation that the Court cannot undertake under the
for his service to be deemed uninterrupted.
Constitution. As earlier noted, Justice Salazar-Fernando’s de tails do
not at all approximate the factual circumstances Section 3 of BP 129
Additionally, it must not be lost on us that we have already given that speaks of, nor the factual situation in In Re: Justice Pardo.
Section 3 a liberal interpretation in In Re: Justice Pardo. To top this
exercise of liberality with another liberal interpretation of the same
provision, when the law is clear regarding its application, would
If we had been liberal in the past and this liberal ruling is now cited, we Considering the express wordings of RA 910, which include service "in
should, at the very least, not go beyond the facts under which our past all other branches of the Government" as creditable service in the
liberality had been extended. If we further read liberally a Court ruling computation of the retirement benefits of a justice or judge, Justice
that only came to being because of past liberality, we stand to hear a Gacutan’s service as NL RC Commissioner should be credited as part of
re-echo of the charge that this Court selectively applies its liberality in her government service for retirement purposes under RA 910, as
favor of its own . (In fact, a favorable ruling in these consolidated cases amended.
may already raise eyebrows and questions as the Court will be ruling
on matters that will directly affect some of its participating Members .) III. Motion for Reconsideration of Justice Veloso in A.M. No. 12-8-07-
CA
To sum up, Justice Salazar-Fernando’s services as COMELEC
Commissioner cannot be included in the computation of her longevity a. Background.
pay, now or upon her retirement .
The chairman and members of the NLRC were entitled to receive an
II. Letter-Request of Justice Gacutan in A.M. No. 12-9-5-SC annual salary at least equivalent to the allowances and benefits of the
Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the CA, respectively, prior to
a. Longevity Pay for Services as NLRC Commissioner the amendment of Article 216 of the Labor Code by RA 9347 .

We deny Justice Gacutan’s request that her past services in the NLRC Under RA 9347 (which took effect on August 26, 2006),17 NLRC
be recognized for purposes of her longevity pay. She served as a commissioners were given the equivalent rank of a CA Justice. The
Commissioner IV of the NLRC from March 3, 1998 to November 5, Labor Code, as now amended by Section 4 of RA 9347, reads:
2009, or for a period of eleven years and eight months.
Article 216. Salaries, Benefits and Emoluments. The Chairman and
Section 42 of B.P. Blg. 129 is clear and explicit: a judge or justice should members of the Commission shall have the same rank , receive an
have rendered five years of continuous, efficient and meritorious annual salary equivalent to, and be entitled to the same allowances,
service in the Judiciary in order to qualify for a monthly longevity pay retirement and benefits as those of the Presiding and Associate
equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay. Justices of the Court of Appeals, respectively. [italics supplied,
emphasis ours]
We point out that the NLRC is an agency attached to the Department
of Labor and Employment – an adjunct of the Executive Department – In his present motion, Justice Veloso claims that RA 9347 should be
albeit for policy and program coordination only. Under the given a retroactive application. With the equivalent rank of a CA Justice
circumstances, Justice Gacutan’s past service as NLRC Commissioner from the time RA 9347 was amended, his service as NLRC
cannot be credited as judicial service for longevity pay purposes since Commissioner should be considered as judicial service for purposes of
she did not render such service while with the Judiciary. his longevity pay.

b. NLRC Services Considered in Retirement Pay b. Our ruling and the reasons therefore

Nonetheless, Justice Gacutan’s service as NLRC Commissioner is b.1. RA 9347 does not provide for retroactivity.
creditable as part of overall government service for retirement
purposes under RA 910, as amended. Section 1 of this law provides: We disagree with Justice Veloso’s position and thus deny his motion.

Section 1. When a Justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of First, nothing in the language of RA 9347 expressly indicates the
Appeals who has rendered at least twenty years' service either in the intention to give it retroactive effect. We emphasize that statutes, as a
judiciary or in any other branch of the Government, or in both, (a) rule, apply prospectively, unless the legislative intention to give them
retires for having attained the age of seventy y ears, or (b) resigns by retrospective effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from
reason of his incapacity to discharge the duties of his office, he shall the language used.18 In "case of doubt, the doubt must be resolved
receive during the residue of his natural life, in the manner hereinafter against the retroactive effect."19
provided, the salary which he was receiving at the time of his
retirement or resignation. And when a Justice of the Supreme Court or
Nor is retroactivity discernible, even by implication, from the
of the Court of Appeals has attained the age of fifty-seven years and
provisions of RA 9347. It is not implied from the law’s legislative intent,
has rendered at least twenty years' service in the Government, ten or
nor from the deliberations in Senate Bill No. 2035 (which became RA
more of which have been continuously rendered as such Justice or as
9347).20
judge of a court of record, he shall be likewise entitled to retire and
receive during the residue of his natural life, in the manner also
hereinafter prescribed, the salary which he was then receiving. It is a In Re: Request of Retired Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo T.
condition of the pension provided for herein that no retiring Justice Ponferrada for Automatic Adjustment of His Retirement Benefits to
during the time that he is receiving said pension shall appear as Include Special Allowance Under R.A. 9227,21 the Court refused to
counsel before any court in any civil case wherein the Government or extend the benefits provided by RA 9227 to official s of the Judiciary
any subdivision or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party, or in who retired prior to the passage of this law. RA 9227 granted a special
any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the Government is allowance to justices, judges, and all other positions in the Judiciary
accused of an offense committed in relation to his office, or collect any with the equivalent rank of justices of the CA or judges of the RTC.
fee for his appearance in any administrative proceedings to maintain Since the position of Deputy Court Administrator (DCA) carries the
an interest adverse to the Government, insular, provincial or same rank as an Associate Justice of the CA,22 retired DCA Ponferrada
municipal, or to any of its legally constituted officers.
asked for the inclusion of the RA 9227 special allowance in his part of his government service for retirement purposes under RA 910,
retirement pay. as in the case of Justice Gacutan .

The Court denied the request, noting that RA 9227 did not expressly IV. General Discussions
provide for retroactivity so that those who had retired at the time of its
enactment would be covered. Although the grant was extended to With each of the consolidated petitions directly ruled upon, the
retired SC and CA justices, this was justified under Section 3-A of RA following discussions are submitted to expound on the conclusions
910, as amended, which states: reached and to generally comment on the issues the Dissents raised.

SEC. 3-A. In case the salary of Justices of the Supreme Court or of the At the core of the issues raised is the question: should the past service
Court Appeals is increased or decreased, salary shall, for the purpose of incumbent justices and judges, rendered at the Executive
of this Act, be deemed to be the salary or the retirement pension Department, be recognized under Section 42 of BP 129 ( the longevity
which a Justice x x x who retired was receiving at the time of his pay provision ) on the ground that their previous executive positions
cessation in the office: Provided, That any benefits that have already now carry the rank, salary, and benefits of their counterparts in the
accrued prior to such increase or decrease shall not be affected Judiciary?
thereby.23 [underscore ours]
The law governing this issue is of course the longevity pay provision,
According to the Court, parity in rank and salary does not automatically heretofore quoted,26 whose salient points are summarized below:
mean parity in retirement benefits under Section 3-A of RA 910.
Notably, the automatic adjustment of retirement benefits was
1. The longevity pay is a monthly pay equivalent to 5% of
expressly extended by RA 910, as amended, but only to Justices of the
monthly basic pay;
SC and the CA, not to judicial officials with the equivalent rank.
Additionally, since he retired prior to the passage of RA 9227, DCA
Ponferrada could not even invoke the automatic adjustment of his 2. Recipients are the Justices and Judges of courts;
retirement pay under Section 3-A of RA No. 910, as amended, to
support his request.24 3. For each five years of continuous, efficient and meritorious
service;
In the same way, RA 9347 was en acted into law only on July 27, 2006.
Justice Veloso had, by then (on February 4, 2004) left his post as NLRC 4. The service is to be rendered in the Judiciary;
Commissioner to assume the position of Associate Justice of the Court
of Appeals. In the absence of any clear intent to give RA 9347 any 5. In no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge,
retroactive effect, Justice Veloso cannot validly claim that he held the after his longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the
rank of a CA justice during his stint as NLRC Commissioner from 1989 Justice or Judge next in rank.
to 2004.

What would otherwise be a simple stand-alone provision is


b.2. RA 9347 is not a curative statute. complicated by subsequent laws that grant the same ranks, salaries
and benefits.
"A curative statute is enacted to cure defects in a prior law or to
validate legal proceedings, instruments or acts of public authorities[,] - "as those of" their counterpart judge or justice (for the
which would otherwise be void for want of conformity with certain National Prosecution Service), or
existing legal requirements."25Simply put, curative laws are enacted to
validate acts done that otherwise would be invalid under existing laws.
- "as those of the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of
the Court of Appeals (for the National Labor Relations
RA 9347 is not a curative statute since it was not intended to supply Commission), and
deficiencies, abridge superfluities in existing laws, or curb evils; the
insertion of the word "rank" in Article 216 was merely to emphasize
the increase in salaries and benefits of the NLRC Commissioners and - the [ "rank, prerogatives, salaries, allowances, benefits and
labor arbiters. privileges"] as their counterpart Justice or Judge (for the
Office of the Solicitor General).
b.3. Grant of Equivalent Rank is not Service in the Judiciary
These new levels of rank and salary are essentially what the present
petitioners and the incumbent justices and judges cite as basis for the
At any rate, even if we recognize retroactivity as requested, the grant or increase of their longevity pay.
conferment of the rank of a CA Justice to Justice Veloso during his
tenure as NLRC Commissioner would not entitle him to longevity pay.
Another complicating factor involves the past rulings of this Court
where past executive service had been recognized, not only for
Section 42 of B.P. Blg. 129 is clear: a judge or justice shall be paid a retirement pay purposes, but for longevity pay purposes upon
monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay for retirement. Interestingly, no in-depth look appears to have been made
each five years of continuous, efficient, and meritorious service in these past rulings, although their results cannot be in doubt ― the
rendered in the Judiciary. Service in the NLRC, even with the rank of a Court recognized past executive services for longevity pay purposes.
CA Justice, is not service with the Judiciary for purposes of longevity
pay. Justice Veloso’s service in the NLRC, however, m ay be credited as
Interestingly, the Dissents, led by Justice De Castro, take a multi- This title alone already suggests that its provisions specifically relate to
pronged critique of the ponencia generally chastising it for being overly members of the judiciary, unless an express contrary intent is made by
strict in its reading of Section 42. the legislature. No such exception clause is evident under the terms of
BP 129 or in any of the other related laws (specifically, in R. A. 9347,
Among others, she posits that the ponencia disregards long established 9417, and 10071) discussed in this ponencia .
rulings of the Court on longevity pay without a clear finding of the legal
error made, and disregards as well the liberal interpretation the Court As discussed more extensively below, these other general laws do not
has applied in these rulings; that the ponencia disregards too the specifically mention at all the longevity provision under BP 129, a
intent of the relevant laws (referring to the subsequent laws that specific grant made only to the judges and justices in the Judiciary.
grants ranks, salaries and benefits similar to those of their
counterparts in the Judiciary), the legal presumption of legislative Section 42 of this law has heretofore been quoted, but for convenience
awareness, and consideration of prior laws and jurisprudence in is again quoted below –
enacting a statute; and claims that the contemporaneous construction
given by the Department of Justice and other Executive branch
Section 42. Longevity pay . – A monthly longevity pay equivalent to 5%
officers, which disc loses a similar treatment of the longevity pay
of the monthly basic pay shall be paid to the Justices and Judges of the
provision of Section 42, de serves the court’s respect. Last but not the
courts herein created for each five years of continuous, efficient, and
least, Justice De Castro analyzes Section 42 and concludes that
meritorious service rendered in the judiciary ; Provided , That in no
longevity pay is not a mere benefit but is a component of the salary
case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, after this
that should not be withheld from executive officers with the same
longevity pay is added, exceed the salary of the Justice or Judge next in
rank, salary and benefits as their counterparts in the Judiciary.
rank. [italics supplied; emphasis and underscore ours ]

For his part, Justice Velasco essentially joins the Dissent of Justice De
As written, the language and terms of this provision are very clear and
Castro and questions the ponencia’s proposal to "freeze" the longevity
unequivocal: longevity pay is granted to a judge or justice (and to none
pay grants for justices and judges who have been credited with their
other) who has rendered five years of continuous, efficient and
past service in the Executive Department. He posits too that "what
meritorious service in the Judiciary. The granted monthly longevity pay
matters is their receiving, for purposes of computing longevity pay, the
is equivalent to 5% of the monthly basic pay.
salary of a Justice of the CA at the time they served as NLRC
Commissioners." If this is the case, Justice Veloso claims they should be
credited with their service with the NLRC for purposes of their The plain reading of Section 42 shows that longevity pay is not
longevity pay. available even to a judicial officer who is not a judge or justice. It is
likewise not available, for greater reason, to an officer in the Executive
simply because he or she is not serving as a judge or justice. It cannot
Faced with these complications and dissents, the Court should not
also be available t o a judge or justice for past services he or she did
forget that our duty, first and foremost, is to correctly interpret the law
not render within the Judiciary as services rendered outside the
as written, not to stick to our past rulings at all costs nor to consider
Judiciary for purposes of longevity pay is not contemplated by law.
our personal interests. In doing this, we must also be reminded that at
the center of the dispute is Section 42 of BP 129 – the provision on
longevity pay that we must consider with a fresh eye. Significantly, the Court has had occasion to speak about the purpose of
longevity pay. In In Re: Request of Justice Bernardo P. Pardo for
Adjustment of His Longevity Pay,28 the Court categorically declared
The consolidated cases, too, do not embody claims by executive
that the purpose of the law in granting longevity pay to judges and
officers against their own Department for the enforcement of what the
justices is to recompense them for each five y ears of continuous,
law involving their Department provides. These cases involve claims by
efficient, and meritorious service rendered in the Judiciary; it is the
CA justices – members of the Judiciary – who look up to laws involving
long service in the Judiciary - from the lowest to the highest court of
the Executive Department to secure, maintain or increase the longevity
the land – and not in any other branch of government, that is
pay that provides benefit for judges and justices. Our primary focus,
rewarded,29
however, must be the interpretation of our own law ― BP 129 and its
Section 42.
In the case of the judge or justice now asking for the tacking of his/her
past executive service, the reason for the denial is simple and needs no
A. Statutory Construction & Interpretation Perspectives
intricate or complicated exercise in interpretation: these past services
were undertaken outside the Judiciary and are not the services the law
a. First rule of statutory construction: the plain meaning rule. contemplates. The tacking, to put it bluntly, violates the clear purpose
and wording of Section 42 of BP 129.
The primary rule in addressing any problem relating to the
understanding or interpretation of a law (in this case, the provision To look at Section 42 from another perspective, if indeed (as some
granting longevity pay) is to examine the law itself to see what it would argue) the intent is to grant executive officers longevity pay
plainly says. This is the plain meaning rule of statutory construction.27 pursuant to their respective grants of benefits similar to that provided
under Section 42 of BP 129, this presumed grant should be understood
The first aspect that offers itself in the examination of the law is its to be limited to the executive officer’s continued, efficient and
title, which gives us a direct indicator of the exact subject matter of the meritorious service in the Executive Department, to be given while the
law. In the present cases, the law under which the disputed longevity executive officer is still with that department.
provision can be found is B.P. Blg. 129, An Act Reorganizing the
Judiciary, Appropriating Funds Therefore and For Other Purposes When the public officer with equivalent rank, salary and benefits
(simplified as BP 129 or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980). transfers to the Judiciary , the longevity pay to which he may have
been entitled under the law applicable to his previous Executive
Department position, and which he may have been receiving because because the terms of the law are clear and do not at all leave room for
of his continued service in that department, will simply have to be discretion.
disregarded and discontinued.
In terms of the longevity pay’s purpose, liberality has no place where
At the point of transfer, Section 42 of BP 129 will now apply and service is not to the Judiciary, as the element of loyalty – the virtue
operate, and will require five (5) years of continued and efficient that longevity pay rewards – is not at all present.
service in the Judiciary before it can start to be earned. This application
may sound hard and illiberal, but this is the logical consequence of the We cannot overemphasize too that the policy of liberal construction
combined effect of the Judiciary’s BP 129 longevity provision and the cannot and should not be to the point of engaging in judicial legislation
laws granting parity to benefits applicable to the Judiciary. – an act that the Constitution absolutely forbids this Court to do. We
may not, in the guise of interpretation, enlarge the scope of a statute
To reiterate for emphasis, for a transferring public official, now a new or include, under its terms, situations that were not provided nor
justice or judge, to be entitled to longevity pay under the terms of intended by the lawmakers. We cannot rewrite the law to conform to
Section 42, he must first render continued, efficient and meritorious what we think should be the law.
service in the Judiciary for at least five years; his prior continued
service in his previous department will not and should not be counted. In the present case, where the law is clear, we should likewise be clear
and decisive in its application lest we be accused of favoritism or
b. The general laws that the Dissents cite cannot prevail over a accommodating former colleagues, or indirectly, ourselves, who will all
specific law. inevitably retire from our judicial posts.

General laws (such as Republic Act Nos. [RA] 9347, 9417, and 10071) d. Administrative construction is merely advisory and is not binding
that generally grant the same ranks, salaries and benefits to public upon the courts.
officers in the Executive Department as those of their specified
counterparts in the Judiciary, cannot prevail over a special law such as We take exception to the Dissent’s invocation of the doctrine of
BP 129 that specifically grants longevity pay solely to justices and contemporaneous construction to support its expansive reading of RA
judges who have rendered five (5) years of continuous, efficient, and 9347 in relation with Section 42 of BP 129.
meritorious service rendered in the Judiciary.
The Dissent conveniently fails to mention that contemporaneous
A basic principle of statutory construction is that a special law prevails constructions of administrative or executive agencies are merely at
over a general law.30 A later enactment like RA 9347 and RA 10071 best advisory and not binding on the courts, for by the Constitution
cannot override BP 129 because the latter, as a special law, must and the law, the courts are given the task of finally determining what
prevail regardless of the dates of the enactment of these other laws.31 the law means.33

As we held in Hon. Bagatsing v. Judge Ramirez,32 a general provision We do so under our authority to state what the law is34 and deference
must give way to a particular provision. As a special provision on the to an agency’s statutory interpretation should be withheld whenever it
grant of longevity pay, Section 42 of BP 129 governs and is controlling; conflicts with the language of the statute, as in the present case.
to hold otherwise, as the dissent suggests, is to violate its clear
mandate.
In Peralta v. Civil Service Commission,35 the Court had occasion to state
and held:
Following the rule on general and special laws, the general laws
granting the same salaries and benefits cannot apply to the longevity
Administrative construction, if we may repeat, is not necessarily
pay provision that, by its specific and express terms, is solely for the
binding upon the courts. Action of an administrative agency may be
benefit of judges and justices who have shown loyal service to the
disturbed or set aside by the judicial department if there is an error of
Judiciary; it is not for those who have been granted similar ranks,
law, or abuse of power or lack of jurisdiction or grave abuse of
salaries and benefits as those of their counterpart judges and justices.
discretion clearly conflicting with either the letter or the spirit of a
That they cannot be beneficiaries of longevity pay is clinched by its
legislative enactment.
purpose – the reward is intended for those with loyal service to the
Judiciary.
Thus, while the Executive possesses discretion in the implementation
of laws, we should not forget the reason for the Judiciary’s existence.
c. Is there room for liberality in reading and interpreting Section 42?
We are the interpreters of the law and the Constitution, not the
Executive, and when a legal error exists, we must step in and
As a general rule and contrary to the Dissent’s view, no room or intervene, however long and hard the Executive’s previous
occasion exists for any liberal construction or interpretation; only the implementation of the law had been.
application of the letter of the law is required by basic statutory
construction principles.
e. The question of Judicial Legislation

We should not forget that liberality is not a magic wand that can ward
Judicial legislation, in simplest terms, happens when the Court adds to
off the clear terms and import of express legal provisions; it has a place
what the law provides and does so in the guise of interpretation, as the
only when, between two positions that the law can both
present dissents now want to do by seeking to tack and to credit, for
accommodate, the Court chooses the more expansive or more
longevity pay purposes, the past services that justices and judges
generous option. It has no place where no choice is available at all
rendered in the Executive Department.
In fact, in their discussions, the Dissents take the view that the be determined from the language employed, and where there is no
ponencia has engaged in judicial legislation because it restricts the ambiguity in the words, there is no room for construction."37
concept of salary merely to the "basic pay."
B. The Grant of Rank, Benefits and their Implications
This Resolution does, in fact, reflect the views imputed to it and it has
not been shy or hesitant from the very start in taking this position. But a. Judicial Rank and Executive Rank.
rather than being narrow and illiberal in doing this, we believe that our
position hews to the letter of the law so that our stance cannot be the
The grant of a "rank" equivalent to (or even "the same as" ) "those of
basis for the charge of judicial legislation.
the" grantee’s counterpart judge or justice is a matter that has not
been the subject of extensive jurisprudential c overage. Hence, the
Judicial legislation in fact transpires when the Court reads into the law subject of this Resolution proceeds on a path that so far remains
an interpretation that the four corners of that law cannot b ear. This untrodden. The novelty of the issue posed need not deter us as the
expansive interpretation – i.e., that the term "salary" under Section 42 matters before us call for resolution and should be written about if
includes longevity pay so that equivalency of "salary" translates to the only to serve as guides for the future.
mandatory recognition of longevity pay – is unfortunately what the
dissents espouse, driven perhaps by thoughts of what the law ought to
The Judiciary recognizes the ranks that the law accords to judges and
be.
justices. These judicial ranks wholly pertain to the Judiciary as an
independent, separate and co-equal branch of government. Under our
What "ought to be" as a matter of policy is not within the jurisdiction current constitutional set-up, no legislative or executive grant, fiat or
of this Court to decide upon. The Court eloquently spoke in Canet v. recognition of rank can make the grantee, who is not a judge or justice,
Mayor Decena about this judicial limit, albeit in the context of a judicial officer, without violating the constitutional principles of
discussing the maxim expression unius est exclusio alterius (literally, separation of powers and independence of the Judiciary.
what is expressed puts an end to what is implied). The Court said:36
As a consequence, the grant of rank at the same level as the grantees’
In other words, it is a basic precept of statutory construction that the counterpart judges or justices is not and cannot be a conferment of
express mention of one person, thing, act, or consequence excludes all "judicial rank" and does not thereby accord the grantees recognition as
others, as expressed in the oft-repeated maxim expressio unius est members of the Judiciary. For incumbent judges and justices who had
exlusio alterius. Elsewise stated, expressium facit cessare tacitum – previous government service outside the Judiciary , it follows that the
what is expressed puts an end to what is implied. The rule proceeds grant of rank to them under their old executive positions does not
from the premise that the legislative body would not have made render their service in these previous positions equivalent to and
specific enumerations in a statute, if it had the intention not to restrict creditable as judicial service, unless Congress by law says otherwise
its meaning and confine its terms to those expressly mentioned. and only for purposes of entitlement to salaries and benefits.

Even on the assumption that there is in fact a legislative gap caused by To be sure, Congress can create and recognize ranks outside of the
such an omission, neither could the Court presume otherwise and Judiciary that are equivalent to the ranks it has created for the
supply the details thereof, because a legislative lacuna cannot be filled Judiciary, but again, this recognition doe s not thereby create "judicial
by judicial fiat. Indeed, courts may not, in the guise of interpretation, ranks" outside of the Judiciary, nor constitute the grantees of these
enlarge the scope of a statute and include therein situations not ranks as judges and justices. Technically, what Congress creates or
provided nor intended by the lawmakers. An omission at the time of grants are executive ranks that are equivalent to judicial ranks.
the enactment, whether careless or calculated, cannot be judicially
supplied however after later wisdom may recommend the inclusion.
Notably, even for those within the Judiciary itself, the recognition of
Courts are not authorized to insert into the law what they think should
"judicial rank" in favor of those who are not justices or judges does not
be in it or to supply what they think the legislature would have
thereby make the grantee a justice or a judge who is entitled to this
supplied if its attention has been called to the omission.
formal title; the grantee may be entitled to the benefits of the rank but
he/she remains an administrative official in the Judiciary, separate and
Courts should not, by construction, revise even the most arbitrary and distinct from the justices and judges who directly exercise judicial
unfair action of the legislature, nor rewrite the law to conform with power, singly or collegially.
what they think should be the law. Nor may they interpret into the law
a requirement which the law does not prescribe. Where a statute
b. Commonalities and Divergence of Terms and Conditions of
contains no limitations in its operation or scope, courts should not
Government Service.
engraft any. And where a provision of law expressly limits its
application to certain transactions, it cannot be extended to other
transactions by interpretation. To do any of such things would be to do The principle of separation of powers between the Executive,
violence to the language of the law and to invade the legislative Legislative, and Judicial branches of government ordains that each of
sphere. [emphases ours] these three (3) great branches of government has exclusive cognizance
of, and is supreme in matters falling within its own constitutionally
allocated sphere.38
Applied to the present consolidated cases, we cannot go beyond the
terms of Section 42 by expanding its terms to what it does not include:
when the law speaks of service "in the Judiciary," it means what it says Each branch cannot invade the domain of the others.39 This principle
and cannot include service outside the Judiciary. To relate this to the presupposes mutual respect by and between the Executive, Legislative,
statutory construction rule discussed above give n the express and and Judicial departments and entitles them to be left alone to
clear terms of the law, the basic rule to apply is: "legislative intent is to discharge their assigned duties as they see fit.40
We generally draw attention to this constitutional principle to as a matter of law viewed from the prism of the legal measuring
emphasize that while all officials in the three branches of government standard ― the equal protection clause. Notably, the Judiciary and the
are government officials, vast differences may exist in the terms and Executive Department belong to different branches of government
conditions of their government service; these are ultimately traceable whose roles and functions in government differ as pointed out above.
to the separation of power principle. Thus, ground/s for distinctions may exist that render any seeming
unfairness not legally objectionable.
Government officials perform specifically assigned functions peculiar
to their respective departments and these functions justify their If the issue of unfairness will surface at all, this would transpire when
differing terms and conditions of government service. In the context of the terms of the longevity provision under BP 129 would be
the present consolidated cases, distinctions must necessarily exist disregarded, i.e., if longevity pay would be recognized in favor of the
between one who is appointed to the position of a judge or justice, NLRC, the prosecutors and the solicitors under the terms of their
(which position carries law-defined salaries, benefits, and conditions respective laws, when longevity pay – by the express terms fashioned
specific to judges and justices), and one who is appointed to an out by Congress – should be granted only to those who have served
executive position with the equivalent rank, salary or benefits of a continuous, efficient, and meritorious service in the judiciary.
justice or judge in the Judiciary.
Similarly unfair would be the tacking of previous services outside of the
The extent to which those with equivalent executive and judicial ranks Judiciary rendered by judges and justices, incumbent or retired, for
have commonalities or diverge in their salaries and benefits is a matter purposes of longevity pay under Section 42. Of course, the main issue
that the Constitution leaves, within limits, to the discretion of the in this situation would be legality, but this situation, to our mind, is one
Legislature as a matter of policy. What is important to recognize is the that is both illegal and unfair. Unfairness comes in because of the grant
legal reality that the divergence of salaries and benefits across of what is not legally due.
government, even among those with equivalent ranks, is not at all
unusual because these positions belong to different branches of D. The Salary and Longevity Pay
government and undertake functions peculiar to their departments.
a. The Applicable Law on Salary
A convenient example to cite is the allowance benefit that members of
the Office of the Solicitor General are given as peculiarly their own –
An examination of BP 129 shows that its Section 41 treats of "salaries"
honoraria and allowances from client departments, agencies and
of judges, while Section 42 provides for longevity pay.
instrumentalities.41Members of the Judiciary do not enjoy these same
benefits.
Under Section 41, the "salaries" or compensation (and allowances)
that judges shall receive shall be the amount that the President may
On the part of the Judiciary, the disputed longevity pay also serves as a
authorize following the guidelines set fort h in Letter of
good example. By its terms, longevity pay is peculiar to the Judiciary as
Implementation (LOI) No. 93, pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) No.
discussed above. Significantly, in all the cited laws that grant similarity
985, as amended by PD 1597.
of ranks, salaries, and benefits between executive officials and their
counterparts in the Judiciary, no mention at all is made of longevity
pay and its enjoyment outside the Judiciary. Longevity pay, of course, PD 985, as amended by PD 1597, implemented a position classification
is not unique as a feature of judicial life that is wholly the Judiciary’s and compensation standardization scheme (Scheme) :
own; there are other benefits that the Judiciary enjoys – by law, by rule
or by practice – that are not replicated in the executive agencies, in the (1) under which positions are classified by occupational
same manner that there are benefits in executive agencies that the groups, series and classes according to the similarities or
Judiciary does not share. differences in duties, responsibilities, and qualification
requirements; and
In this sense, it approximates the absurd to claim that the grant of the
"same" benefits to executive officials with the "same" rank should (2) by which the rates of pay for each of the positions and
encompass all the benefits that the comparator judge or justice enjoys. employee groups/classes are determined according to the
salary and wage schedules fixed by the Decree to be
b.1. The Question of Fairness. uniformly app lied to all belonging to a particular position.

A tempting question to raise when comparisons are made across Under Section 4 of PD 985, this position classification and
branches of government and when equivalency of salaries and benefits compensation standardization scheme shall apply to all positions in the
comes into focus, is the essential fairness, or lack of it, that results or national government, that under PD 1597’s amendment now includes
should result. the justices and judges in the Judiciary.

The Judiciary, for example, may raise the point – if we are the Section 11 of PD 985 provides for the "Salary Schedule " under the
comparators and all our benefits should be enjoyed by the Solicitors, is compensation system for positions pa id on annual or monthly basis.
there no resulting unfairness because no la w grants the Judiciary the The Schedule consists of twenty-eight grades with each grade having
same privilege of enjoying the benefits that the Office of the Solicitor eight prescribed steps. Each grade represents a level of work difficulty
General enjoys? and responsibility that distinguishes it from the other grades in the
Schedule. Each class of position in the Position Classification System is
assigned a "salary grade" and determines the position’s salary rate.42
To be sure, unfairness may factually result, but this is not a matter for
the Judiciary to examine in the absence of a case where this factual
issue is raised and is relevant. Nor is there any indefensible inequality
Under the Scheme, every covered position receives a "salary" or Note that the amount of longevity pay to which a recipient shall be
compensation corresponding to the position’s "salary grade" under the entitled is not a fixed amount, in contrast with the "salary" under
"Salary Schedule." Otherwise stated, all covered positions or Section 41; it is a percentage of the recipient’s monthly basic pay
employees belonging to a particular "salary grade," regardless of the which, at the least, is equivalent to 5%.
department, bureau, office, etc., to which they belong, shall receive
the same "salary rate," expressed as annual, in pesos, as fixed under Also, the payment of longevity pay is premised on a continued,
the "Salary Schedule" (subject to certain salary rate increments for efficient, and meritorious service: (1) in the Judiciary; and (2) of at least
each step within each salary grade). In short, a particular "salary grade" five years. Long and continued service in the Judiciary is the basis and
equates to a specific, fixed "salary rate." reason for the payment of longevity pay; it rewards the loyal and
efficient service of the recipient in the Judiciary.
Prior to its amendment by PD 1597, Section 4 of PD 985 exempted
from the position classification and compensation standardization From these perspectives, longevity pay is both a branch specific (i.e., to
scheme the following positions or group of government officials and the judges and justices of the Judiciary) and conditional (i.e., due only
employees: (1) elected officers and those whose compensation is fixed upon the fulfillment of certain conditions) grant. In negative terms, it is
by the Constitution; (2) heads of executive departments and officials of not an absolute grant that is easily transferrable to other departments
equivalent rank: (3) chiefs of diplomatic missions, ministers, and of government.
Foreign Service officers; (4) Justices and Judges of the Judicial
Department; (5) members of the armed forces; (6) heads and assistant
b.1. Salary and Longevity Pay compared.
heads of GOCCs, including the senior management and technical
positions; (7) heads of state universities and colleges; (8) positions in
the career executive service; and (9) provincial, city, municipal and In contrast with longevity pay, the "salary" under Section 41 entitles
other local government officials and employees. The salaries or the official or employee to its receipt from day one (or the first day of
compensation and allowances of these exempted positions are those the first month) of his service. Its basis or reason for payment is the
to be authorized by the President. actual performance of service or assigned duties, without regard to the
months or years the recipient has been rendering the service.
Pursuant to PD 985’s mandate, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos
issued Letter of Implementation (L OI 93) adopting an integrated Note, too, that the service contemplated under Section 42 for
compensation scheme for positions in the Judiciary. In almost the entitlement to longevity pay is service in the judiciary. This intent is
same fashion as PD 985, Para graph 3.0 of LOI 93 enumerated the clear not only from Section 42’s explicit use of the word "judiciary" to
various positions in the Judicial Component of the Judiciary, i.e., qualify "service," but also from the title of the statute to which this
Justices and Judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, specific provision belongs, i.e., "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of
Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, Court of Agrarian Relations, the 1980." In these lights, the "same salary" that Article 216 of the Labor
First and Second Level Courts, the Clerks of Court of the Supreme Court Code speaks of and to which the NLRC Commissioners shall be entitled,
and Court of Appeals, and the corresponding "salary rates" for each should be read and understood as the salary under Section 41 or the
position, expressed as annual, in pesos. "salary rate," as provided under the "Salary Schedule" that
corresponds to the "salary grade" of their counterpart justice or judge.
Other laws that grant other public officers in the executive department
With PD 1597’s amendment, those previously exempted positions, i.e.,
with the "same salary" as their counterpart justice or judge (i.e., RA
Justices and Judges of the Judicial Department, are now included in the
Nos. 9417 and 10071) should likewise be read and understood in this
coverage of Section 4 of PD 985. PD 985, as amended by PD 1597, now
way.
limits the exemptions to elected officers; to those whose
compensation is fixed by the Constitution; and to local government
officials and employees. b.2. Nature of Longevity Pay.

Note that Section 11 of PD 985, as amended by PD 1597, and even Based on these considerations, longevity pay should be treated as a
Paragraph 3.0 of LOI 93, provided for fixed "salary rates" for each benefit or an "add-on" and not a part, let alone an integral component
"salary grade" expressed as annual, in pesos. As matters now stand, of "salary," contrary to the Dissents’ position.
the "salary" or compensation that an employee or a position in the
government will receive is the prevailing "salary rate," fixed under the This consequence necessarily results as "salary" and longevity pay: (1)
"Salary Schedule," that corresponds to the employee or position’s are treated under different sections of BP 129; (2) have different bases
"salary grade." for determination or computation; and (3) have different reasons for
the payment or grant.
The "salary rate" as expressed in annual fixed rates, based on the
"salary grade" referred to under LOI 93 pursuant to PD 985, as In addition, Section 42 of BP 129 does not categorically state that the
amended by PD 1597 is the "salary" referred to in Section 41 of BP 129, monthly longevity pay shall form part of the "salary" or is an integral or
i.e., an amount or salary rate fixed as annual, in pesos, that is based on inseparable component of “salary.” Even the most liberal
the recipient’s salary grading. interpretation of Section 42 does not reveal any intention to treat
longevity pay in this manner ― as part, or as an integral component, of
b. Longevity Pay under Section 42. “salary.”

Section 42 of BP 129 provides for the payment and the manner of On the contrary, Section 42 makes it clear that the "salary," which the
computing longevity pay, i.e., to be paid monthly, based on the Dissents submit serve as basis of the "salary" of executive officers with
recipient’s monthly basic pay at the rate of 5% for each five years of the same rank of a justice or judge, is that referred to or contemplated
continuous, efficient and meritorious service rendered in the judiciary. in Section 41.
b.3. Section 42 Analyzed. Notably, Justice De Castro’s proposition that the term "salary"
constitutes the basic monthly salary plus the longevity pay when the
Note in this regard that the last clause of Section 42 which states that: Congress enacted RA Nos. 9417, 9347, and 10071 is not reflected in
"in no case shall the total salary of each Justice or Judge concerned, any of the congressional deliberations. What the deliberations clearly
after this longevity pay is added , exceed the salary of the Justice or reveal is simply the intention to increase the "salaries" of the covered
Judge next in rank." public officers in the Executive Department to the level of the
"salaries" received by or granted to their counterpart in the Judiciary.
The use of the term "total salary" under the first portion of Section
42’s last clause, presupposes an addition of components, and should This "salary" cannot but refer to the fixed sum that the system of
be understood to refer to the total compensation received . This "total "salary rate," "Salary Schedule," and "salary grade" speaks of. It cannot
salary" is the "salary" (or the salary rate fixed under the "Salary refer to the variable amount of "total salary" that the dissent refers to,
Schedule" as the recipient’s monthly compensation corresponding to as the basis or comparator cannot be a variable amount that reflects
his "salary grade") plus the "add-on" longevity pay (or that portion or the seniority that a judge or justice has attained after years in the
percentage of the "salary" as fixed under the Salary Schedule) service.
equivalent to at least 5% of the monthly salary.
Ironically, Justice De Castro’s cited case – Re Longevity pay of Justices
In formula form, this should read – of the Sandiganbayan, appearing at page 42 of this ponencia – best
illustrates how the "salary" and "total salary" concepts operate.
Section 41 Salary + Section 42 Longevity Pay = Total Salary
E. The complete parity that the dissent advocates is a policy matter
that Congress has not so far expressed.
Where:

The legislative history and record of the laws (that grant the same
Salary = monthly salary rate of position per the Salary Schedule
ranks, salaries, and benefits to officers in the Executive department
equivalent to their specified counterparts in the Judiciary) do not
Longevity Pay = monthly salary rate x 5%. support the Dissent’s view that these laws grant full parity in rank,
salaries, and benefits or equal treatment between the executive
That the word "total" was added to "salary" under the first portion of officers/grantees and the comparator judges and justices whose
Section 42’s last clause, in no way signifies that longevity pay is an longevity pay arises from BP 129.
integral part of the "salary" which a Justice or Judge will receive each
month by virtue of his position/rank/salary grade. In fact, the legislative history and record of these statutes positively
show that Congress has not yet gone as far as the Dissents would want
The word "total" was added simply to qualify "salary" (the recipient’s them to go―to recognize full parity that includes the grant of longevity
"salary" fixed under the "Salary Schedule") plus any longevity pay to pay under BP 129 to executive officers in the Executive Department.
which he may be entitled. This treatment, to be sure, does not make
the longevity pay a part of the "salary." As the discussions below will show, the Dissent, without delving deep
into legislative history and record of the statutes it cited as bases, took
In short, "total" simply modified "s alary," and in effect denotes that the easy route of resorting to hasty generalizations to support its
amount received or to be received as total compensation, and tenuous theory that these laws operate under the principle of " equal
distinguishes this resulting amount from the "salary" received each in qualifications and equal in rank, equal in salaries and benefits
month by virtue of the position/salary grade. received."

Note, too, the word "salary" under the last portion of Section 42’s last This interpretative route may be easy but is a very dangerous one in its
clause which is not qualified or modified by the word "total," in implications, as Congress has not in any way shown that it has
contrast with the "total salary" under the first portion. intended officers with the same rank and qualifications across
government to receive equal pay and equal benefits.
The last portion states: the salary of the Justice or Judge next in rank:
this "salary" of the Justice or Judge next in rank should not be For this kind of "equalization" to prevail, the government must be
exceeded by the "total salary" (or total compensation) of the recipient. ready to embark on a comparison, not only of rank and qualifications,
The "salary" under the last phrase, when read together with the "total but on the quantification of job content and valuation of jobs of equal
salary" under the first phrase, shows that "salary" is distinct, and to be value, involving similar or allied activities undertaken across
pa id separately from longevity pay, so that the latter cannot be an government.
integral part of "salary."
This is the requirement that the "equal pay for equal work" principle
To sum up, the "same salary" to be received by the public officials in established in jurisdictions with more advanced social legislation than
the Executive Department, with the same rank of justice or judge, is the Philippines.43 To be sure, this is a serious policy matter that, under
the "salary" of the justice or judge under Section 41. The "salary" the terms of the Constitution, is not for this Court but for Congress to
referred to in Section 41, in turn, and as explained above, is the "salary establish .
rate" fixed under the "Salary Schedule" corresponding to the position’s
"salary grade." To fully support these contentions, we embark on a brief look into the
laws that the Dissent itself cited.
a. RA 934744 affecting the NLRC. In the discussions and exchanges among the members of Congress –
among them, the explanatory note of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. in
RA 9347 lapsed into law on July 27, 2006. This law was passed to Senate Bill No. 120447 and the sponsorship speech of Senator Jinggoy
address the then urgent need to improve the administrative and Ejercito Estrada of Senate Bill No. 2035 (the senate bill that led to RA
operational efficiency of the National Labor Relations Commission 9347)48 – nowhere did they deal with the issue of longevity pay as a
(NLRC), particularly its rate of disposition of pending cases and the benefit that should be accorded to labor arbiters and commissioners of
reduction of its ballooning backlog of labor cases.45 In dealing with the NLRC.
these issues, Congress then focused on measures that would
encourage productivity and efficiency and boost the morale of NLRC In this light, we believe that to make the hasty generalization that the
officials. word benefit as enumerated in Article 216 of the Labor Code should
include longevity pay would run counter to the intention of the law.
The congressional measures Congress passed included the increase in Note that had it been the intent of Congress to give the labor arbiters
the number of commissioner-members of the NLRC, the creation of and commissioners of the NLRC all the benefits enjoyed by the
positions for commission attorneys who would assist the NLRC members of the Judiciary as provided in BP 129 and in other laws
commissioners in deciding the labor cases, and a provision for specifically applicable to members of the Judiciary, then it should not
retirement benefits to NLRC commissioners and labor arbiters have amended Article 216 of the Labor Code by including "retirement
equivalent to the retirement benefits of justices of the CA and judges benefits" in the enumeration. Congress should have left the provision
of the RTCs, respectively. as it is since it already provides for the general term benefit.

In appreciating RA 9347, note that as early as Presidential Decree No. Parenthetically, retirement pay is a specific form of allowance under
(PD) 442, the commissioners of the NLRC were already given the same the general term benefits. Congress had to include this item as an
salary and benefits as justices of the CA . As the old Article 216 of the express benefit precisely because the use of the general word benefit
Labor Code provided, before the amendment: in the old Article 216 of the Labor Code did not include all the benefits
then being enjoyed by judges and justices of the Judiciary.
Article 216. Salaries, benefits and other emoluments. The Chairman
and members of the Commission shall receive an annual salary at least In providing for retirement benefits, Congress significantly did not
equivalent to, and be entitled to the same allowances and benefits as simply state that the NLRC shall enjoy the terms and benefits of judges
those of the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of and justices under their retirement law, RA 910, where longevity pay is
Appeals, respectively. The Executive Labor Arbiters shall receive an a special and specific provision. Congress contented itself with the
annual salary at least equivalent to that of an Assistant Regional plain insertion of "retirement pay" and stopped there.
Director of the Department of Labor and Employment and shall be
entitled to the same allowances and benefits as that of a Regional Thus, as matters now stand, NLRC officials retire under the retirement
Director of said Department. The Labor Arbiters shall receive an annual law applicable to executive officials, with parity of the terms of this
salary at least equivalent to, and be entitled to the same allowances retirement law with those of their counterparts in the Judiciary.
and benefits as that of an Assistant Regional Director of the Retirement benefits specific to the Judiciary, however, were not and
Department of Labor and Employment. In no case, however, shall the should not be interpreted to be wholly included.
provision of this Article result in the diminution of existing salaries,
allowances and benefits of the aforementioned officials. (As amended b. RA 941749 affecting the OSG.
by Section 8, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)46
RA 9417 passed into law on March 30, 2007. As in the case of RA 9347,
This old provision did not include retirement benefits in its wording. this law was passed to address the plight of the members of the Office
Thus, as enumerated, entitlement to equivalence was limited to of the Solicitor General ( OSG ) by upgrading their salaries and benefits
salaries, allowances and benefits. To address the perceived legislative to improve their efficiency as the Republic’s counsel.
gap, the amendatory RA 9347 expressly included the word retirement
in the enumeration. This grant applied to both commissioners and
In the sponsorship speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile regarding
labor arbiters of the NLRC.
Senate Bill No. 2249, the predecessor Senate Bill of RA 9417, Senator
Enrile pointed out that the Senate’s Committee on Justice and Human
Aside from this observation, note too that the old Article 216 of the Rights, in crafting Senate Bill 2249, aimed to address the following
Labor Code did not give labor arbiters the salary, allowances and issues regarding the OSG:
benefits equivalent to those of the Regional Trial Court (RTC ) judges.
Apart from addressing the issue on retirement benefits, RA 9347 also
1. Increase the number of staff of the OSG and upgrade their
sought to deal with the then situation of labor arbiters in terms of their
positions;
salaries and emoluments.
2. Increase the existing 15 legal divisions of the OSG to 30;
3. Provide health care services, insurance coverage and
Thus, the congressional intent in RA 9347 was to deal with two gaps in scholarship and other benefits to all OSG employees subject
PD 442 with respect to the salaries, benefits, and emoluments of the to the availability of funds;
members of the NLRC. 4. Grant franking privileges to the OSG;
5. Establish a provident fund within the OSG; and
The first was the grant of salaries and benefits to labor arbiters 6. Grant retirement benefits to qualified employees.50
equivalent to those of RTC judges, and the second was the express
inclusion of the retirement benefits of the labor arbiters and NLRC As in the case of the NLRC, it must again be noted that this
commissioners at the levels equivalent to those of RTC judges and CA enumeration is specific with respect to the benefits granted to
justices, respectively. members of the OSG: it particularly referred to the benefits to be
granted. Although Section 3 of RA 941751 provides that the Solicitor the amendments of these legislative enactments that parity and equity
General shall have the same qualifications for appointment, rank, can both be achieved in government.
prerogatives, salaries, allowances, benefits and privileges as the
Presiding Justice of the CA (and an Assistant Solicitor General as that of On the other hand, a look at the structure of the laws affecting the
a CA Associate Justice), RA 9417 still allocated express provisions for Judiciary, the prosecutors, the OSG, and the NLRC shows that there
the other benefits to be enjoyed by the members of the OSG. These could be no equal treatment among them. Notably, under Section 16,
provisions are the following: par. 6 of RA 10071,59only the prosecutors would have an automatic
increase in salaries and benefits in case the salaries and benefits in the
Section 4- Compensation52 Judiciary increase. This provision, by itself, shows that Congress did not
Section 5- Benefits and Privileges53 intend full parity, because increases in the salaries and benefits of
Section 6- Seminar and Other Professional Fees54 prosecutors would not lead to an automatic increase in the salaries
Section 7- Transportation Benefits55 and benefits of members of the Judiciary.
Section 8- Other Benefits56
Section 10- Grant of Special Allowances57 Extending our judicial lens even further, the laws increasing the
salaries and benefits of executive officers in the OSG and the NLRC do
Had Congress really intended to grant the benefit of longevity pay to not also provide for an automatic increase should there be increases in
the members of the OSG, then it should have also included in the list of the salaries and benefits of the Judiciary; neither do these laws
benefits granted under RA 9417 a provision pertaining to longevity increase the salaries and benefits of the members of the Judiciary
pay. This provision is glaringly missing and thus cannot be included via should the salaries and benefits of these public officers increase.
this Court’s decision without running afoul of the rule that prohibits
judicial legislation. Nor can this Court recognize the past service Had Congress really intended full parity between the Judiciary and
rendered by a current judge or justice in the OSG for purposes of other public officers in the executive department, it would have
longevity pay. provided for reciprocity in the automatic increase of salaries, benefits
and allowances, and the upgrading of the grades or levels of the
A closer examination of this law shows that what Congress did was to emoluments of these public officers.
grant benefits that were applicable to the type of service that the OSG
provides. Instead, the laws, as currently worded, allow for a situation where an
increase in the salaries and benefits of prosecutors would not result in
For example, OSG lawyers are entitle d to honoraria and allowances the increase in the salaries of members of the Judiciary, the OSG and
from client departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the NLRC. Thus, instead of equalization, the prosecutors (who were merely
Government.58 granted a rank at par with their named counterparts in the Judiciary)
would be in a better position than the actual judges and justices
This benefit is only proper as the main function of the OSG is to act as themselves, in the absence of a similar provision of law giving the same
the counsel of the Government and its officers acting in their official benefits to justices and judges in the event additional emoluments
capacity. On the other hand, this benefit is not applicable to member s would be given to these prosecutors.
of the Judiciary as they do not act as advocates but rather as impartial
judges of the cases before them, for which they are not entitled to The inevitable conclusion from all these is that Congress, in increasing
honoraria and allowances on a per case basis. the salaries and benefits of these officers, merely used the salary levels
and benefits in the Judiciary as a yardstick to make their salaries and
Another indicator that should be considered from the congressional benefits comparable to fellow government employees engaged in the
handling of RA 9417 is that Congress did not intend to introduce a administration of justice.
strict one-to-one correspondence between the grant of the same
salaries and benefits to members of the executive department and of At the risk of endlessly belaboring a point, we cannot, without
the Judiciary. The congressional approach apparently was for laws engaging in the prohibited act of judicial legislation, construe that the
granting benefits to be of specific application that pertains to the Dissent’s cited laws fully intend and recognize full parity in rank,
different departments according to their personnel’s needs and salaries, benefits, and other emoluments among the public officers
activities. No equalization or standardization of benefits was ever mentioned.
intended on a generalized or across-the-board basis.
G. The Dissent’s cited cases of Santiago, Gancayco, Dela Fuente and
F. The structure of the laws providing for the salaries and benefits of Guevara-Salonga are not controlling in the present case, as they are a
members of the Judiciary, prosecutors, and public officers in the OSG strained and erroneous application of Section 42 of BP 129 that should
and the NLRC further negate the Dissent’s view that these laws be abandoned.
intended equal treatment among them.
The dissent’s invocation of the cases of Judge Santiago and Justices
We cannot also agree with the Dissent’s position that the laws Gancayco, Dela Fuente, and Guevara-Salonga cannot be applied to the
providing for the salaries and benefits of members of the Judiciary, the present case as they are erroneous applications of Section 42 of BP 129
prosecution service, the OSG solicitors , and the members of the NLRC in relation with RA 910 or the Judiciary’s retirement law.
aim to provide equality among these public officers in their salaries
and benefits. Nor can these cases be cited to support the position that these past
rulings already established that the past services in the Executive
In terms of salaries, their rationalization has been addressed through Department of incumbent and retired justices and judges, should be
Position Classification and Compensation System of the government given credit for purposes of longevity pa y under Section 42 of BP 129.
under PD 985, PD 1597 and LOI 93, heretofore discussed. It is through
a. The Guevarra-Salonga & Dela Fuente Cases b. The cited Sandiganbayan case.

The grants of longevity pay to Justice Guevara-Salonga and Justice Dela Re: Longevity Pay of the Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan
Fuente, in particular, were based on a misinterpretation and (Sandiganbayan case)61 is a very interesting case that Justice De Castro
misunderstanding of the Judiciary’s retirement law ― RA 910, read in uses as part of her argument on the liberal stance the Court has taken
relation to Section 42 of BP 129 ― and its interaction with RA 10071, on longevity pay.
which granted prosecutors the same rank and benefits (including
retirement benefits) of their counterparts in the Judiciary. Significantly, this case did not treat the longevity pay under Section 42
as an integral component of the salary of the recipient, to be given to
Although RA 910 recognized, for purposes of retirement pay, past and applied in equal degree and force, and under absolute
services in the Judiciary or in any other branch of the Government, the circumstances to public officials in the Executive Department granted
longevity pay provision under Section 42 of BP 129 recognizes only the "same salary" as their counterpart in the Judiciary.
services in the Judiciary in determining the longevity pay of 5% of the
basic salary (given for each five years of service) that is carried over The Sandiganbayan ruling, in fact, does not apply to the factual
into retirement from the service. situation of the present case; it solely involves Justices of the
Sandiganbayan ― members of the Judiciary. Note the following
In considering the longevity pay in the cases of Justices Guevarra- pronouncement in that case:
Salonga and Dela Fuente, the Court mistakenly recognized their
services as prosecutors to be services in the Judiciary, because RA x x x longevity pay once earned and enjoyed becomes a vested right
1007160 granted prosecutors the same rank and benefits (including and forms part of the salary of the recipient thereof which may not be
retirement benefits) as their counterparts in the Judiciary. reduced despite the subsequent appointment of a justice or judge next
higher in rank who is not entitled to longevity pay for being new and
The Court failed to fully appreciate that the longevity pay provision not having acquired any longevity in the government service.
under RA 910, in relation with Section 42 of BP 129, is unique to the Furthermore, diminution or decrease of the salary of an incumbent
Judiciary and can be enjoyed only for services actually rendered, and justice or judge is prohibited by Section 10 of Article X of the
by those who retired, in this branch of government. Thus, services at Constitution; hence, such recipient continue to earn and receive
the Department of Justice, i.e., outside of the Judiciary, should not addition l longevity pay as may be warranted by subsequent services in
have been recognized as additional judicial service for purposes of the judiciary, because the purpose of the Longevity Pay Law is to
longevity pay on retirement. reward justices and judges for their long and dedicated service as such.
The provision of the law that the total salary of each justice or judge
Notably, the Court did not comprehensively discuss in these cited concerned, after adding his longevity pay, should not exceed the salary
rulings the nature of service required for the longevity provision to plus longevity pay of the justice or judge next higher in rank, refers
apply, nor the purpose, reason and history of the longevity pay only to the initial implementation of the law and does not proscribe a
provision under BP 129, for the Dissents to conclude that the Court justice or judge who is already entitled to longevity pay, from
already treated the past service in the Executive Department to be continuing to earn and receive longevity pay for services rendered in
equivalent to service in the Judiciary. the judiciary subsequent to such implementation, by the mere
accident of a newcomer being appointed to the position next higher in
rank.
As we earlier discussed, under our system of Government, the
Judiciary is separate from, serves a purpose and functions, and has
powers, duties and prerogatives distinct from those of the Executive These pronouncements reveal the Court’s recognition of a situation
Department. Hence, the Court, in these Resolutions, could not have where a Justice or Judge who has rendered service in the Judiciary for
regarded service in the Executive as unqualifiedly equivalent to service a considerable length of time and who will receive a total
in the Judiciary. compensation that far exceeds the "salary" that a newly appointed
Justice or Judge, who has not rendered any prior service in the
Judiciary, will earn or receive based simply on his "salary grade." The
It should be considered, too, that an acceptance of past service in the
former, the "long-serving" Justice or Judge, will earn far more than the
Executive as service in the Judiciary may have no basis. The
latter, the "newly-serving" Justice or Judge, because of the "add-on"
qualification for the grant by the Judiciary should be its determination
longevity pay that he (the long-serving Justice or Judge) will receive for
that there had been continuous, efficient, and meritorious service. No
his continued long service in the Judiciary, aside from the "salary" to
such determination can be done by the Judiciary if it will simply
which the latter (the newly-serving Justice or Judge) shall only be
recognize longevity pay based solely on service in a position under the
entitled.
Executive Department with rank, salaries, and benefits equivalent to
specified positions in the Judiciary.
The Court realized this scenario as problematic and the obvious
inequity it may bring if it were to cons true strictly the words of Section
To reiterate, for clarity and emphasis, if the Judiciary would recognize
42. It is iniquitous for the "long-serving" Justice or Judge if the "add-
past service in the Executive simply because of the equivalency of rank,
on" pay (longevity pay) that he earned under the law for his long and
salaries and benefits, the situation would be legally problematic as it
dedicated service in the Judiciary would be reduced or eliminated
would have no way of knowing for itself if the grantee would qualify
altogether simply because of a new Justice or Judge w ho will not be
(based on efficient and meritorious service) since the past service
entitle d to any "add-on" pay for lack of the required long and
would be with the Executive, not with the Judiciary. Of course, for this
dedicated service in the Judiciary, and who will thus receive lesser total
Court to simply recognize that past executive service w ill be credited
compensation.
under Section 42 of BP 129 constitutes prohibited judicial legislation
for going beyond the requirement that service should be in the
Judiciary.
The Court met the case head on and declared that the limitation refers WHEREFORE, premises considered, we resolve to:
only to the "initial implementation of the law and does not proscribe a
justice or judge, who is already entitled to longevity pay, from (1) NOT the Memorandum dated February 18, 2013 of Atty.
continuing to earn and receive longevity pay for services rendered in Eden T. Candelaria and the Report and Recommendation
the judiciary subsequent to such implementation, by the mere dated February 15, 2013 of Atty. Corazon G. Ferrer-Flores;
accident of a newcomer being appointed to the position next higher in
rank." This case assumes importance in the present consolidated cases
(2) GRANT the request of Associate Justice Remedios A.
as it stresses the purpose of longevity pay as discussed and interpreted
Salazar-Fernando that her services as Judge of the Municipal
in these pronouncements: " to reward justices and judges for their long
Trial Court of Sta. Rita, Pampanga be included in the
and dedicated service as such, " i.e., as justices or judges.
computation of her longevity pay;

It highlights, too, that " salary" and the "longevity pay" are separate
(3) DENY the request of Associate Justice Remedios A.
components of a judge’s or justice’s total compensation , and that such
Salazar-Femando that her services as COMELEC
total compensation can be variable because seniority or years in the
Commissioner be included in the computation of her
service is a factor taken into account.
longevity pay;

Most importantly, this case is an example of the Court’s prompt


(4) DENY the request of Associate Justice Angelita Gacutan
decisive action to act with liberality when such action is called for.
that her services as NLRC Commissioner be included in the
computation. of her longevity pay from the time she started
c. Moving On her judicial service;

Construing Section 42 as we do in this Resolution does not and will not (5) DENY with finality the motion for reconsideration of
negate the applicable laws, contrary to Justice De Castro’s Dissent. Associate Justice Vicente S.E. Veloso for lack of merit; and
Rather, the interpretation that the term "salary" does not include
longevity pay will rectify the error that the Court’s past rulings have
(6) DIRECT the Clerk of this Court to proceed with the
created on this subject.
handling of granted longevity pay benefits under Section 42
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, pursuant to the guidelines and
To recapitulate, the Court’s prior rulings treated longevity pay as part declarations outlined in the Moving On portion of this
of the "salary" – a ruling that, as explained, runs counter to the express Resolution.
and implied intent of BP 129. They are erroneous because they
introduced and included in the definition and composition of "salary"
SO ORDERED.
under Section 41 an element that the law did not intend to include,
either expressly or impliedly.

Hence, the most compelling reason now exists to abandon the above-
cited cases: they were clear and grossly erroneous application of the
law. In jurisdictional terms, they involved an interpretation not within
the contemplation of words expressed by the statute; hence, they
were gravely abusive interpretation62 that did not and cannot confer
any vested right protected by the due process clause. The worst
approach the Court can take now is to compound the problem by
perpetuating our past mistakes and simply burying our heads in the
sand of past-established rulings.

The first decisive move for the Court is to declare, as it hereby


declares, the abandonment of our rulings on longevity pay in the cases
of Santiago, Gancayco, Dela Fuente, and Guevara-Salonga and to strike
them out of our ruling case law, without, however, withdrawing the
grants to those who have benefitted from the Court’s misplaced final
rulings.

Along these lines, the Court also hereby expressly declares that it does
not disavow the longevity pay previously granted to the retired justices
and judicial officials for services rendered outside the Judiciary. They
may continue enjoying their granted benefits as their withdrawal now
will be inequitable.

With the same objective, those still in the service who are now
enjoying past longevity pay grants due to past services outside the
Judiciary, shall likewise continue with the grants already made, but
their grants will have to be frozen at their current levels until their
services outside the Judiciary are compensated for by their present
and future judicial service.
Chapter 3 Petitioner was also ordered to pay private respondent moral damages
of P50,000.00. 3
G.R. No. 82511 March 3, 1992
On appeal, public respondent National Labor Relations, Commission in
GLOBE-MACKAY CABLE AND RADIO CORPORATION, petitioner, the questioned resolution dated December 29, 1987 affirmed the
vs. aforesaid decision with respect to the reinstatement of private
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and IMELDA respondent but limited the backwages to a period of two (2) years and
SALAZAR, respondents. deleted the award for moral damages. 4

Castillo, Laman, Tan & Pantaleon for petitioner. Hence, this petition assailing the Labor Tribunal for having committed
grave abuse of discretion in holding that the suspension and
subsequent dismissal of private respondent were illegal and in
Gerardo S. Alansalon for private respondent.
ordering her reinstatement with two (2) years' backwages.

ROMERO, J.:
On the matter of preventive suspension, we find for petitioner GMCR.

For private respondent Imelda L. Salazar, it would seem that her close
The inestigative findings of Mr. Maramara, which pointed to Delfin
association with Delfin Saldivar would mean the loss of her job. In May
Saldivar's acts in conflict with his position as technical operations
1982, private respondent was employed by Globe-Mackay Cable and
manager, necessitated immediate and decisive action on any
Radio Corporation (GMCR) as general systems analyst. Also employed
employee closely, associated with Saldivar. The suspension of Salazar
by petitioner as manager for technical operations' support was Delfin
was further impelled by th.e discovery of the missing Fedders
Saldivar with whom private respondent was allegedly very close.
airconditioning unit inside the apartment private respondent shared
with Saldivar. Under such circumstances, preventive suspension was
Sometime in 1984, petitioner GMCR, prompted by reports that the proper remedial recourse available to the company pending
company equipment and spare parts worth thousands of dollars under Salazar's investigation. By itself, preventive suspension does, not
the custody of Saldivar were missing, caused the investigation of the signify that the company has adjudged the employee guilty of the
latter's activities. The report dated September 25, 1984 prepared by charges she was asked to answer and explain. Such disciplinary
the company's internal auditor, Mr. Agustin Maramara, indicated that measure is resorted to for the protection of the company's property
Saldivar had entered into a partnership styled Concave Commercial pending investigation any alleged malfeasance or misfeasance
and Industrial Company with Richard A. Yambao, owner and manager committed by the employee.5
of Elecon Engineering Services (Elecon), a supplier of petitioner often
recommended by Saldivar. The report also disclosed that Saldivar had
Thus, it is not correct to conclude that petitioner GMCR had violated
taken petitioner's missing Fedders airconditioning unit for his own
Salazar's right to due process when she was promptly suspended. If at
personal use without authorization and also connived with Yambao to
all, the fault, lay with private respondent when she ignored petitioner's
defraud petitioner of its property. The airconditioner was recovered
memorandum of October 8, 1984 "giving her ample opportunity to
only after petitioner GMCR filed an action for replevin against
present (her) side to the Management." Instead, she went directly to
Saldivar.1
the Labor Department and filed her complaint for illegal suspension
without giving her employer a chance to evaluate her side of the
It likewise appeared in the course of Maramara's investigation that controversy.
Imelda Salazar violated company reglations by involving herself in
transactions conflicting with the company's interests. Evidence showed
But while we agree with the propriety of Salazar's preventive
that she signed as a witness to the articles of partnership between
suspension, we hold that her eventual separation from employment
Yambao and Saldivar. It also appeared that she had full knowledge of
was not for cause.
the loss and whereabouts of the Fedders airconditioner but failed to
inform her employer.
What is the remedy in law to rectify an unlawful dismissal so as to
"make whole" the victim who has not merely lost her job which, under
Consequently, in a letter dated October 8, 1984, petitioner company
settled Jurisprudence, is a property right of which a person is not to be
placed private respondent Salazar under preventive suspension for one
deprived without due process, but also the compensation that should
(1) month, effective October 9, 1984, thus giving her thirty (30) days
have accrued to her during the period when she was unemployed?
within which to, explain her side. But instead of submitting an
explanations three (3) days later or on October 12, 1984 private
respondent filed a complaint against petitioner for illegal suspension, Art. 279 of the Labor Code, as amended, provides:
which she subsequently amended to include illegal dismissal, vacation
and sick leave benefits, 13th month pay and damages, after petitioner Security of Tenure. — In cases of regular employment, the
notified her in writing that effective November 8, 1984, she was employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except
considered dismissed "in view of (her) inability to refute and disprove for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who
these findings. 2 is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement
without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full
After due hearing, the Labor Arbiter in a decision dated July 16, 1985, backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or
ordered petitioner company to reinstate private respondent to her their monetary equivalent computed from the time his
former or equivalent position and to pay her full backwages and other compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual
benefits she would have received were it not for the illegal dismissal. reinstatement. 6 (Emphasis supplied)
Corollary thereto are the following provisions of the Implementing It was then CONCOM Commissioner, now Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code: who substantially contributed to the present formulation of the
protection to labor provision and proposed that the same be
Sec. 2. Security of Tenure. — In cases of regular employments, the incorporated in the Article on Social Justice and not just in the Article
employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except on Declaration of Principles and State Policies "in the light of the
for a just cause as provided in the Labor Code or when authorized special importance that we are giving now to social justice and the
by existing laws. necessity of emphasizing the scope and role of social justice in national
development." 12
Sec. 3. Reinstatement. — An employee who is unjustly dismissed
from work shall by entitled to reinstatement without loss of If we have taken pains to delve into the background of the labor
seniority rights and to backwages."7 (Emphasis supplied) provisions in our Constitution and the Labor Code, it is but to stress
that the right of an employee not to be dismissed from his job except
for a just or authorized cause provided by law has assumed greater
Before proceeding any furthers, it needs must be recalled that the
importance under the 1987 Constitution with the singular prominence
present Constitution has gone further than the 1973 Charter in
labor enjoys under the article on Social Justice. And this transcendent
guaranteeing vital social and economic rights to marginalized groups of
policy has been translated into law in the Labor Code. Under its terms,
society, including labor. Given the pro-poor orientation of several
where a case of unlawful or unauthorized dismissal has been proved by
articulate Commissioners of the Constitutional Commission of 1986, it
the aggrieved employee, or on the other hand, the employer whose
was not surprising that a whole new Article emerged on Social Justice
duty it is to prove the lawfulness or justness of his act of dismissal has
and Human Rights designed, among other things, to "protect and
failed to do so, then the remedies provided in Article 279 should find,
enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social,
application. Consonant with this liberalized stance vis-a-vis labor, the
economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by
legislature even went further by enacting Republic Act No. 6715 which
equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common
took effect on March 2, 1989 that amended said Article to remove any
good." 8 Proof of the priority accorded to labor is that it leads the
possible ambiguity that jurisprudence may have generated which
other areas of concern in the Article on Social Justice, viz., Labor ranks
watered down the constitutional intent to grant to labor "full
ahead of such topics as Agrarian and Natural Resources Reform, Urban
protection." 13
Land Roform and Housing, Health, Women, Role and Rights of Poople's
Organizations and Human Rights.9
To go back to the instant case, there being no evidence to show an
authorized, much less a legal, cause for the dismissal of private
The opening paragraphs on Labor states
respondent, she had every right, not only to be entitled to
reinstatement, but ay well, to full backwages." 14
The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas,
organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and
The intendment of the law in prescribing the twin remedies of
equality of employment opportunities for all.
reinstatement and payment of backwages is, in the former, to restore
the dismissed employee to her status before she lost her job, for the
It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, dictionary meaning of the word "reinstate" is "to restore to a state,
collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted conditione positions etc. from which one had been removed"15 and in
activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. the latter, to give her back the income lost during the period of
They shall be entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of unemployment. Both remedies, looking to the past, would perforce
work, and a living wage. They shall also participate in policy and make her "whole."
decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits is
may be provided by law.10(Emphasis supplied)
Sadly, the avowed intent of the law has at times been thwarted when
reinstatement has not been forthcoming and the hapless dismissed
Compare this with the sole.provision on Labor in the 1973 Constitution employee finds himself on the outside looking in.
under the Article an Declaration of Principles and State Policies that
provides:
Over time, the following reasons have been advanced by the Court for
denying reinstatement under the facts of the case and the law
Sec. 9. The state shall afford protection to labor, promote full applicable thereto; that reinstatement can no longer be effected in
employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work view of the long passage of time (22 years of litigation) or because of
opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed, and regulate the the realities of the situation; 16 or that it would be "inimical to the
relations between workers and employers. The State shall ensure employer's interest; " 17 or that reinstatement may no longer be
the rights of workers to self-organization, collective baegaining, feasible; 18 or, that it will not serve the best interests of the parties
security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work. The involved; 19 or that the company would be prejudiced by the workers'
State may provide for compulsory arbitration. 11 continued employment; 20 or that it will not serve any prudent purpose
as when supervening facts have transpired which make execution on
To be sure, both Charters recognize "security of tenure" as one of the that score unjust or inequitable 21 or, to an increasing extent, due to
rights of labor which the State is mandated to protect. But there is no the resultant atmosphere of "antipathy and antagonism" or "strained
gainsaying the fact that the intent of the framers of the present relations" or "irretrievable estrangement" between the employer and
Constitution was to give primacy to the rights of labor and afford the the employee. 22
sector "full protection," at least greater protection than heretofore
accorded them, regardless of the geographical location of the workers In lieu of reinstatement, the Court has variously ordered the payment
and whether they are organized or not. of backwages and separation pay 23 or solely separation pay. 24
In the case at bar, the law is on the side of private respondent. In the GMCR), she was deemed to have placed. herself in an untenable
first place the wording of the Labor Code is clear and unambiguous: position as far as petitioner was concerned.
"An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to
reinstatement. . . . and to his full backwages. . . ." 25 Under the However, on close scrutiny, we agree with public respondent that such
principlesof statutory construction, if a statute is clears plain and free a circumstance did not create a conflict of interests situation. As a
from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied systems analyst, Salazar was very far removed from operations
without attempted interpretation. This plain-meaning rule or verba involving the procurement of supplies. Salazar's duties revolved
legis derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the around the development of systems and analysis of designs on a
index of intention) rests on the valid presumption that the words continuing basis. In other words, Salazar did not occupy a position of
employed by, the legislature in a statute correctly express its intent or trust relative to the approval and purchase of supplies and company
will and preclude the court from construing it differently. 26 The assets.
legislature is presumed to know the meaning of the words, to:have
used words advisedly, and to have expressed its intent by the use of
In the instant case, petitioner has predicated its dismissal of Salazar on
such words as are found in the statute.27 Verba legis non est
loss of confidence. As we have held countless times, while loss of
recedendum, or from the words of a statute there should be no
confidence or breach of trust is a valid ground for terminations it must
departure. Neither does the provision admit of any qualification. If in
rest an some basis which must be convincingly established. 35 An
the wisdom of the Court, there may be a ground or grounds for non-
employee who not be dismissed on mere presumptions and
application of the above-cited provision, this should be by way of
suppositions. Petitioner's allegation that since Salazar and Saldivar
exception, such as when the reinstatement may be inadmissible due to
lived together in the same apartment, it "presumed reasonably that
ensuing strained relations between the employer and the employee.
complainant's sympathy would be with Saldivar" and its averment that
Saldivar's investigation although unverified, was probably true, do not
In such cases, it should be proved that the employee concerned pass this Court's test. 36 While we should not condone the acts of
occupies a position where he enjoys the trust and confidence of his disloyalty of an employee, neither should we dismiss him on the basis
employer; and that it is likely that if reinstated, an atmosphere of of suspicion derived from speculative inferences.
antipathy and antagonism may be generated as to adversely affect the
efficiency and productivity of the employee concerned.
To rely on the Maramara report as a basis for Salazar's dismissal would
be most inequitous because the bulk of the findings centered
A few examples, will suffice to illustrate the Court's application of the principally oh her friend's alleged thievery and anomalous transactions
above principles: where the employee is a Vice-President for as technical operations' support manager. Said report merely
Marketing and as such, enjoys the full trust and confidence of top insinuated that in view of Salazar's special relationship with Saldivar,
management; 28 or is the Officer-In-Charge of the extension office of Salazar might have had direct knowledge of Saldivar's questionable
the bank where he works; 29 or is an organizer of a union who was in a activities. Direct evidence implicating private respondent is wanting
position to sabotage the union's efforts to organize the workers in from the records.
commercial and industrial establishments; 30 or is a warehouseman of
a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to facilitate and
It is also worth emphasizing that the Maramara report came out after
maximize voluntary gifts. by foreign individuals and organizations to
Saldivar had already resigned from GMCR on May 31, 1984. Since
the Philippines; 31 or is a manager of its Energy Equipment Sales. 32
Saldivar did not have the opportunity to refute management's findings,
the report remained obviously one-sided. Since the main evidence
Obviously, the principle of "strained relations" cannot be applied obtained by petitioner dealt principally on the alleged culpability of
indiscriminately. Otherwisey reinstatement can never be possible Saldivar, without his having had a chance to voice his side in view of his
simply because some hostility is invariably engendered between the prior resignation, stringent examination should have been carried out
parties as a result of litigation. That is human nature. 33 to ascertain whether or not there existed independent legal grounds to
hold Salatar answerable as well and, thereby, justify her dismissal.
Besides, no strained relations should arise from a valid and legal act of Finding none, from the records, we find her to have been unlawfully
asserting one's right; otherwise an employee who shall assert his right dismissed.
could be easily separated from the service, by merely paying his
separation pay on the pretext that his relationship with his employer WHEREFORE, the assailed resolution of public respondent National
had already become strained. 34 Labor Relations Commission dated December 29, 1987 is hereby
AFFIRMED. Petitioner GMCR is ordered to REINSTATE private
Here, it has not been proved that the position of private respondent as respondent Imelda Salazar and to pay her backwages equivalent to her
systems analyst is one that may be characterized as a position of trust salary for a period of two (2) years only.
and confidence such that if reinstated, it may well lead to strained
relations between employer and employee. Hence, this does not This decision is immediately executory.
constitute an exception to the general rule mandating reinstatement
for an employee who has been unlawfully dismissed.
SO ORDERED.

On the other hand, has she betrayed any confidence reposed in her by
engaging in transactions that may have created conflict of interest
situations? Petitioner GMCR points out that as a matter of company
policy, it prohibits its employees from involving themselves with any
company that has business dealings with GMCR. Consequently, when
private respondent Salazar signed as a witness to the partnership
papers of Concave (a supplier of Ultra which in turn is also a supplier of
Claimant/Appellant cannot be deemed such a victim since a
reading of the decision of his acquittal shows that his exculpation
Chapter 3 is not based on his innocence, but upon, in effect, a finding of
reasonable doubt.
G.R. No. 109445 November 7, 1994
Petitioner brought this petition for review on certiorari. Neither Rule
45 nor Rep. Act No. 7309, however, provides for review by certiorari of
FELICITO BASBACIO, petitioner,
the decisions of the Secretary of Justice. Nonetheless, in view of the
vs.
importance of the question tendered, the Court resolved to treat the
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FRANKLIN
petition as a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65.
DRILON in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, respondent.

Petitioner questions the basis of the respondent's ruling that to be able


Amparita S. Sta. Maria for petitioner.
to recover under sec. 3(a) of the law the claimant must on appeal be
found to be innocent of the crimes of which he was convicted in the
MENDOZA, J.: trial court. Through counsel he contends that the language of sec. 3(a)
is clear and does not call for interpretation. The "mere fact that the
This case presents for determination the scope of the State's liability claimant was imprisoned for a crime which he was subsequently
under Rep. Act No. 7309, which among other things provides acquitted of is already unjust in itself," he contends. To deny his claim
compensation for persons who are unjustly accused, convicted and because he was not declared innocent would be to say that his
imprisoned but on appeal are acquitted and ordered released. imprisonment for two years while his appeal was pending was justified.
Petitioner argues that there is only one requirement for conviction in
Petitioner Felicito Basbacio and his son-in-law, Wilfredo Balderrama, criminal cases and that is proof beyond reasonable doubt. If the
were convicted of frustrated murder and of two counts of frustrated prosecution fails to present such proof, the presumption that the
murder for the killing of Federico Boyon and the wounding of the accused is innocent stands and, therefore, there is no reason for
latter's wife Florida and his son Tirso, at Palo, Calanuga, Rapu-Rapu, requiring that he be declared innocent of the crime before he can
Albay, on the night of June 26, 1988. The motive for the killing was recover compensation for his imprisonment.
apparently a land dispute between the Boyons and petitioner.
Petitioner and his son-in-law were sentenced to imprisonment and Petitioner's contention has no merit. It would require that every time
ordered immediately detained after their bonds had been cancelled. an accused is acquitted on appeal he must be given compensation on
the theory that he was "unjustly convicted" by the trial court. Such a
Petitioner and his son-in-law appealed. Only petitioner's appeal reading of sec. 3(a) is contrary to petitioner's professed canon of
proceeded to judgment, however, as the appeal of the other accused construction that when the language of the statute is clear it should be
was dismissed for failure to file his brief. given its natural meaning. It leaves out of the provision in question the
qualifying word "unjustly" so that the provision would simply read:
"The following may file claims for compensation before the Board: (a)
On June 22, 1992 the Court of Appeals rendered a decision acquitting any person who was accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently
petitioner on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal."
conspiracy between him and his son-in-law. He had been pointed to by
a daughter of Federico Boyon as the companion of Balderrama when
the latter barged into their hut and without warning started shooting, But sec. 3(a) requires that the claimant be "unjustly accused, convicted
but the appellate court ruled that because petitioner did nothing more, [and] imprisoned." The fact that his conviction is reversed and the
petitioner's presence at the scene of the crime was insufficient to show accused is acquitted is not itself proof that the previous conviction was
conspiracy. "unjust." An accused may be acquitted for a number of reasons and his
conviction by the trial court may, for any of these reasons, be set aside.
For example, he may be acquitted not because he is innocent of the
Based on his acquittal, petitioner filed a claim under Rep. Act No. 7309, crime charged but because of reasonable doubt, in which case he may
sec. 3(a), which provides for the payment of compensation to "any be found civilly liable to the complainant, because while the evidence
person who was unjustly accused, convicted, imprisoned but against him does not satisfy the quantum of proof required for
subsequently released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal."1 The claim conviction, it may nonetheless be sufficient to sustain a civil action for
was filed with the Board of Claims of the Department of Justice, but damages.2 In one case the accused, an alien, was acquitted of statutory
the claim was denied on the ground that while petitioner's presence at rape with homicide because of doubt as to the ages of the offended
the scene of the killing was not sufficient to find him guilty beyond parties who consented to have sex with him. Nonetheless the accused
reasonable doubt, yet, considering that there was bad blood between was ordered to pay moral and exemplary damages and ordered
him and the deceased as a result of a land dispute and the fact that the deported.3 In such a case to pay the accused compensation for having
convicted murderer is his son-in-law, there was basis for finding that been "unjustly convicted" by the trial court would be utterly
he was "probably guilty." inconsistent with his liability to the complainant. Yet to follow
petitioner's theory such an accused would be entitled to compensation
On appeal, respondent Secretary of Justice affirmed the Board's ruling. under sec. 3(a).
Said the Secretary of Justice in his resolution dated March 11, 1993:
The truth is that the presumption of innocence has never been
It is believed therefore that the phrase "any person . . . unjustly intended as evidence of innocence of the accused but only to shift the
accused, convicted and imprisoned" in Section 3(a) of R.A. No. burden of proof that he is guilty to the prosecution. If "accusation is
7309 refers to an individual who was wrongly accused and not synonymous with guilt,"4so is the presumption of innocence not a
imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, thereby making him "a proof thereof. It is one thing to say that the accused is presumed to be
victim of unjust imprisonment." In the instant case, however, innocent in order to place on the prosecution the burden of proving
beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. It is quite another is probably guilty thereof." Hence, an accusation which is based on
thing to say that he is innocent and if he is convicted that he has been "probable guilt" is not an unjust accusation and a conviction based on
"unjustly convicted." As this Court held in a case: such degree of proof is not necessarily an unjust judgment but only an
erroneous one. The remedy for such error is appeal.
Though we are acquitting the appellant for the crime of rape with
homicide, we emphasize that we are not ruling that he is innocent In the case at bar there is absolutely no evidence to show that
or blameless. It is only the constitutional presumption of petitioner's conviction by the trial court was wrongful or that it was the
innocence and the failure of the prosecution to build an airtight product of malice or gross ignorance or gross negligence. To the
case for conviction which saved him, not that the facts of unlawful contrary, the court had reason to believe that petitioner and his co-
conduct do not exist.5 accused were in league, because petitioner is the father-in-law of
Wilfredo Balderrama and it was petitioner who bore the victim a
To say then that an accused has been "unjustly convicted" has to do grudge because of a land dispute. Not only that. Petitioner and his
with the manner of his conviction rather than with his innocence. An coaccused arrived together in the hut of the victims and forced their
accused may on appeal be acquitted because he did not commit the way into it.
crime, but that does
not necessarily mean that he is entitled to compensation for having The Court of Appeals ruled there was no conspiracy only because there
been the victim of an "unjust conviction." If his conviction was due to was no proof that he did or say anything on the occasion. Said the
an error in the appreciation of the evidence the conviction while appellate court.
erroneous is not unjust. That is why it is not, on the other hand, correct
to say as does respondent, that under the law liability for Both eyewitness testimonies fail to show the appellant Felicito
compensation depends entirely on the innocence of the accused. Basbacio to have committed any act at all. Both fail to show
Felicito Basbacio as having said anything at all. Both fail to show
The phrase "unjustly convicted" has the same meaning as "knowingly Felicito Basbacio as having committed anything in furtherance of
rendering an unjust judgment" in art. 204 of the Revised Penal Code. a conspiracy to commit the crimes charged against the
What this Court held in In re Rafael C. Climaco 6 applies: defendants. It seems to be a frail and flimsy basis on which to
conclude that conspiracy existed between actual killer Wilfredo
In order that a judge may be held liable for knowingly Balderrama and Felicito Basbacio to commit murder and two
rendering an unjust judgment, it must be shown beyond doubt frustrated murders on that night of June 26, 1988. It may be
that the judgment is unjust as it is contrary to law or is not asked: where was the coming together of the two defendants to
supported by the evidence, and the same was made with an agreement to commit the crimes of murder and frustrated
conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice . . . . murder on two counts? Where was Basbacio's contribution to the
commission of the said crimes? Basbacio was — as the record
shows — nothing but part of the dark shadows of that night. . . .
To hold a judge liable for the rendition of manifestly unjust
judgment by reason of inexcusable negligence or ignorance, it
must be shown, according to Groizard, that although he has acted One may take issue with this ruling because precisely conspiracy may
without malice, he failed to observe in the performance of his be shown by concert of action and other circumstances. Why was
duty, that diligence, prudence and care which the law is entitled petitioner with his son-in-law? Why did they apparently flee together?
to exact in the rendering of any public service. Negligence and And what about the fact that there was bad blood between petitioner
ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest injustice which and the victim Federico Boyon? These questions may no longer be
cannot be explained by a reasonable interpretation. Inexcusable passed upon in view of the acquittal of petitioner but they are relevant
mistake only exists in the legal concept when it implies a manifest in evaluating his claim that he had been unjustly accused, convicted
injustice, that is to say, such injustice which cannot be explained and imprisoned before he was released because of his acquittal on
by a reasonable interpretation, even though there is a appeal. We hold that in view of these circumstances respondent
misunderstanding or error of the law applied, yet in the contrary Secretary of Justice and the Board of Claims did not commit a grave
it results, logically and reasonably, and in a very clear and abuse of its discretion in disallowing petitioner's claim for
indisputable manner, in the notorious violation of the legal compensation under Rep. Act No. 7309.
precept.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
Indeed, sec. 3(a) does not refer solely to an unjust conviction as a
result of which the accused is unjustly imprisoned, but, in addition, to SO ORDERED.
an unjust accusation. The accused must have been "unjustly accused,
in consequence of which he is unjustly convicted and then imprisoned.
It is important to note this because if from its inception the
prosecution of the accused has been wrongful, his conviction by the
court is, in all probability, also wrongful. Conversely, if the prosecution
is not malicious any conviction even though based on less than the
required quantum of proof in criminal cases may be erroneous but not
necessarily unjust.

The reason is that under Rule 112, sec. 4, the question for the
prosecutor in filing a case in court is not whether the accused is guilty
beyond reasonable doubt but only whether "there is reasonable
ground to believe that a crime has been committed and the accused
Chapter 3 and/or accreditation and contracts of employment. The
bonds shall likewise guarantee compliance with the
G.R. No. 109835 November 22, 1993 provisions of the Code and its implementing rules and
regulations relating to recruitment and placement, the
JMM PROMOTIONS & MANAGEMENT, INC., petitioner, Rules of the Administration and relevant issuances of the
vs. Department and all liabilities which the Administration may
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ULPIANO L. impose. The surety bonds shall include the condition that
DE LOS SANTOS, respondent. the notice to the principal is notice to the surety and that
any judgment against the principal in connection with
Don P. Porciuncula for petitioner. matters falling under POEA's jurisdiction shall be binding
and conclusive on the surety. The surety bonds shall be co-
terminus with the validity period of license. (Emphasis
Eulogio Nones, Jr. for private respondent.
supplied)

CRUZ, J.:
In addition, the petitioner claims it has placed in escrow the
sum of P200,000 with the Philippine National Bank in
The sole issue submitted in this case is the validity of the order compliance with Section 17, Rule II, Book II of the same Rule,
of respondent National Labor Relations Commission dated "to primarily answer for valid and legal claims of recruited
October 30, 1992, dismissing the petitioner's appeal from a workers as a result of recruitment violations or money claims."
decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
on the ground of failure to post the required appeal bond.1
Required to comment, the Solicitor General sustains the appeal
bond requirement but suggest that the rules cited by the NLRC
The respondent cited the second paragraph of Article 223 of the are applicable only to decisions of the Labor Arbiters and not of
Labor Code as amended, providing that: the POEA. Appeals from decisions of the POEA, he says, are
governed by the following provisions of Rule V, Book VII of the
In the case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an POEA Rules:
appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the
posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable Sec. 5. Requisites for Perfection of Appeal. The appeal shall
bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in an be filed within the reglementary period as provided in
amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment Section 1 of this Rule; shall be under oath with proof of
appealed from. payment of the required appeal fee and the posting of a
cash or surety bond as provided in Section 6 of this Rule;
and Rule VI, Section 6 of the new Rules of Procedure of the shall be accompanied by a memorandum of appeal which
NLRC, as amended, reading as follows: shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in
support thereof; the relief prayed for; and a statement of
Sec. 6. Bond — In case the decision of a Labor Arbiter the date when the appellant received the appealed
involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer decision and/or award and proof of service on the other
shall be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety party of such appeal.
bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly
accredited by the Commission or the Supreme Court in an A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other
amount equivalent to the monetary award. requisites aforestated shall not stop the running of the
period for perfecting an appeal.
The petitioner contends that the NLRC committed grave abuse
of discretion in applying these rules to decisions rendered by Sec. 6. Bond. In case the decision of the Administration
the POEA. It insists that the appeal bond is not necessary in the involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer
case of licensed recruiters for overseas employment because shall be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety
they are already required under Section 4, Rule II, Book II of the bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly
POEA Rules not only to pay a license fee of P30,000 but also to accredited by the Commission in an amount equivalent to
post a cash bond of P100,000 and a surety bond of P50,000, the monetary award. (Emphasis supplied)
thus:
The question is, having posted the total bond of P150,000 and
Upon approval of the application, the applicant shall pay a placed in escrow the amount of P200,000 as required by the
license fee of P30,000. It shall also post a cash bond of POEA Rules, was the petitioner still required to post an appeal
P100,000 and surety bond of P50,000 from a bonding bond to perfect its appeal from a decision of the POEA to the
company acceptable to the Administration and duly NLRC?
accredited by the Insurance Commission. The bonds shall
answer for all valid and legal claims arising from violations It was.
of the conditions for the grant and use of the license,
The POEA Rules are clear. A reading thereof readily shows that has posted. The petitioner would in effect nullify Section 6 as a
in addition to the cash and surety bonds and the escrow money, superfluity but we do not see any such redundancy; on the
an appeal bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award contrary, we find that Section 6 complements Section 4 and
is required to perfect an appeal from a decision of the POEA. Section 17. The rule is that a construction that would render a
Obviously, the appeal bond is intended to further insure the provision inoperative should be avoided; instead, apparently
payment of the monetary award in favor of the employee if it is inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible
eventually affirmed on appeal to the NLRC. as parts of a coordinated and harmonious whole.

It is true that the cash and surety bonds and the money placed Accordingly, we hold that in addition to the monetary
in escrow are supposed to guarantee the payment of all valid obligations of the overseas recruiter prescribed in Section 4,
and legal claims against the employer, but these claims are not Rule II, Book II of the POEA Rules and the escrow agreement
limited to monetary awards to employees whose contracts of under Section 17 of the same Rule, it is necessary to post the
employment have been violated. The POEA can go against these appeal bond required under Section 6, Rule V, Book VII of the
bonds also for violations by the recruiter of the conditions of its POEA Rules, as a condition for perfecting an appeal from a
license, the provisions of the Labor Code and its implementing decision of the POEA.
rules, E.O. 247 (reorganizing POEA) and the POEA Rules, as well
as the settlement of other liabilities the recruiter may incur. Every intendment of the law must be interpreted in favor of the
working class, conformably to the mandate of the Constitution.
As for the escrow agreement, it was presumably intended to By sustaining rather than annulling the appeal bond as a further
provide for a standing fund, as it were, to be used only as a last protection to the claimant employee, this Court affirms once
resort and not to be reduced with the enforcement against it of again its commitment to the interest of labor.
every claim of recruited workers that may be adjudged against
the employer. This amount may not even be enough to cover WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED, with costs against the
such claims and, even if it could initially, may eventually be petitioner. It is so ordered.
exhausted after satisfying other subsequent claims.

As it happens, the decision sought to be appealed grants a


monetary award of about P170,000 to the dismissed employee,
the herein private respondent. The standby guarantees
required by the POEA Rules would be depleted if this award
were to be enforced not against the appeal bond but against
the bonds and the escrow money, making them inadequate for
the satisfaction of the other obligations the recruiter may incur.

Indeed, it is possible for the monetary award in favor of the


employee to exceed the amount of P350,000, which is the sum
of the bonds and escrow money required of the recruiter.

It is true that these standby guarantees are not imposed on


local employers, as the petitioner observes, but there is a
simple explanation for this distinction. Overseas recruiters are
subject to more stringent requirement because of the special
risks to which our workers abroad are subjected by their foreign
employers, against whom there is usually no direct or effective
recourse. The overseas recruiter is solidarily liable with a
foreign employer. The bonds and the escrow money are
intended to insure more care on the part of the local agent in its
choice of the foreign principal to whom our overseas workers
are to be sent.

It is a principle of legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a


statute (or a set of rules as in this case), care should be taken
that every part thereof be given effect, on the theory that it was
enacted as an integrated measure and not as a hodge-podge of
conflicting provisions. Ut res magis valeat quam pereat. 2 Under
the petitioner's interpretation, the appeal bond required by
Section 6 of the aforementioned POEA Rule should be
disregarded because of the earlier bonds and escrow money it
Chapter 3 branch other than the Regional Director and those specifically
enumerated. This is so since the term "Regional Director" and "higher"
G.R. No. 191894 July 15, 2015 are separated by the conjunction "and," which signifies that these two
positions are different, apart and distinct, words but are conjoined
together "relating one to the other" to give effect to the purpose of
DANILO A. DUNCANO, Petitioner,
the law. The fact that the position of Regional Director was specifically
vs.
mentioned without indication as to its salary grade signifies the
HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (2nd DIVISION), and HON. OFFICE OF THE
lawmakers’ intention that officials occupying such position, regardless
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, Respondents.
of salary grade, fall within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. This issue, it is claimed, was already resolved in Inding.
DECISION Finally, the OSP contended that the filing of the motion to dismiss is
premature considering that the Sandiganbayan has yet to acquire
PERALTA, J.: jurisdiction over the person of the accused.

This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Rules) Still not to be outdone, petitioner invoked the applicability of Cuyco v.
with prayer for issuance of preliminary injunction and/or temporary Sandiganbayan12 and Organo v. Sandiganbayan13 in his rejoinder.
restraining order seeks to reverse and set aside the August 18, 2009
Resolution1 and February 8, 2010 Order2 of respondent Sandiganbayan On August 18, 2009, the Sandiganbayan Second Division promulgated
Second Division in Criminal Case No. SB-09-CRM-0080, which denied its Resolution, disposing: WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the
petitioner's Motion to Dismiss on the ground of la9k of jurisdiction. Court hereby DENIES the instant Motion to Dismiss for being devoid of
merit. Let a Warrant of Arrest be therefore issued against the accused.
The facts are plain and undisputed.
SO ORDERED.14
Petitioner Danilo A. Duncano is, at the time material to the case, the
Regional Director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) with Salary The respondent court ruled that the position of Regional Director is
Grade 26 as classified under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6758.3 On March one of those exceptions where the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction
24, 2009,4 the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), Office of the even if such position is not Salary Grade 27. It was opined that Section
Ombudsman, filed a criminal case against him for violation of Section 4 (A) (1) of R.A No. 8249 unequivocally provides that respondent court
8, in relation to Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713,5 allegedly committed as has jurisdiction over officials of the executive branch of the
follows: government occupying the position of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Salary Grade 27 and higher, of R.A. No. 6758,
That on or about April 15, 2003, or sometime prior or subsequent including those officials who are expressly enumerated in
thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this subparagraphs (a) to (g). In support of the ruling, this Court’s
Honorable Court, accused DANILODUNCANO y ACIDO, a high ranking pronouncements in Indingand Binay v. Sandiganbayan15 were cited.
public officer, being the Regional Director of Revenue Region No. 7, of
the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Quezon City, and as such is under an Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was
obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of his denied;16 Hence, this petition.
assets, liabilities and net worth and financial and business interests, did
then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally fail to disclose in his
Instead of issuing a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary
Sworn Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for the
injunction, the Court required respondents to file a comment on the
year 2002, his financial and business interests/connection in Documail
petition without necessarily giving due course thereto.17 Upon
Provides Corporation and Don Plus Trading of which he and his family
compliance of the OSP, a Rejoinder (supposedly a Reply) was filed by
are the registered owners thereof, and the 1993 Nissan Patrol motor
petitioner.
vehicle registered in the name of his son VINCENT LOUIS P. DUNCANO
which are part of his assets, to the damage and prejudice of public
interest. At the heart of the controversy is the determination of whether,
according to P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 4 (A) (1) of R.A No.
8249, only Regional Directors with Salary Grade of 27 and higher, as
CONTRARY TO LAW.6
classified under R.A. No. 6758, fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan. Arguing that he is not included among the public
Prior to his arraignment, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss With officials specifically enumerated in Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g) of the law
Prayer to Defer the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest7before respondent and heavily relying as well on Cuyco, petitioner insists that respondent
Sandiganbayan Second Division. As the OSP alleged, he admitted that court lacks jurisdiction over him, who is merely a Regional Director
he is a Regional Director with Salary Grade 26. Citing Inding v. with Salary Grade 26. On the contrary, the OSP maintains that a
Sandiganbayan8 and Serana v. Sandiganbayan, et al.,9 he asserted that Regional Director, irrespective of salary grade, falls within the exclusive
under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606, as amended by Section 4 (A) original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. We find merit in the
(1) of R.A No. 8249,10 the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction to try and petition.
hear the case because he is an official of the executive branch
occupying the position of a Regional Director but with a compensation
The creation of the Sandiganbayan was mandated by Section 5, Article
that is classified as below Salary Grade 27.
XIII of the 1973 Constitution.18 By virtue of the powers vested in him by
the Constitution and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081, dated
In its Opposition,11 the OSP argued that a reading of Section 4 (A) (1) September 21, 1972, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued P.D.
(a) to (g) of the subject law would clearly show that the qualification as No. 1486.19 The decree was later amended by P.D. No. 1606,20Section
to Salary Grade 27 and higher applies only to officials of the executive 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,21 P.D. No. 1860,22 and P.D. No. 1861.23
With the advent of the 1987 Constitution, the special court was "(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade ‘27’
retained as provided for in Section 4, Article XI thereof.24 Aside from and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification
Executive Order Nos. 1425 and 14-a,26 and R.A. 7080,27 which expanded Act of 1989.
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 1606 was further
modified by R.A. No. 7975,28 R.A. No. 8249,29 and just this year, R.A. "B. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other
No. 10660.30 crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in
subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
For the purpose of this case, the relevant provision is Section 4 of R.A.
No. 8249, which states: SEC. 4. Section 4 of the same decree is hereby "C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with
further amended to read as follows: Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.

"SEC. 4. Jurisdiction.– The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive x x x"


original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
Based on the afore-quoted, those that fall within the original
"A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan are: (1) officials of the executive
as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and branch with Salary Grade 27 or higher, and (2) officials specifically
Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where enumerated in Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary
one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following grades.31 While the first part of Section 4 (A) covers only officials of the
positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or executive branch with Salary Grade 27 and higher, its second part
interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: specifically includes other executive officials whose positions may not
be of Salary Grade 27 and higher but who are by express provision of
"(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of law placed under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.32
regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade ‘27’ and
higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 That the phrase "otherwise classified as Grade ‘27’ and higher"
(Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: qualifies "regional director and higher" is apparent from the
Sponsorship Speech of Senator Raul S. Roco on Senate Bill Nos.
"(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the 1353and 844, which eventually became R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8249,
sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, respectively:
engineers, and other provincial department heads;
As proposed by the Committee, the Sandiganbayan shall exercise
"(b) City mayor, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang original jurisdiction over the cases assigned to it only in instances
panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the
department heads; positions of regional director and higher or are otherwise classified as
Grade 27 and higher by the Compensation and Position Classification
"(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of Act of 1989, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity at the
consul and higher; time of the commission of the offense. The jurisdiction, therefore,
refers to a certain grade upwards, which shall remain with the
Sandiganbayan.33 (Emphasis supplied)
"(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all
officers of higher rank;
To speed up trial in the Sandiganbayan, Republic Act No. 7975 was
enacted for that Court to concentrate on the "larger fish" and leave the
"(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the
"small fry" to the lower courts. This law became effective on May 6,
position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior
1995 and it provided a two-pronged solution to the clogging of the
superintendent or higher;
dockets of that court, to wit:

"(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and


It divested the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over public officials
officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and
whose salary grades were at Grade "26" or lower, devolving thereby
special prosecutor;
these cases to the lower courts, and retaining the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan only over public officials whose salary grades were at
"(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government- Grade "27" or higher and over other specific public officials holding
owned or controlled corporations, state universities or important positions in government regardless of salary grade; x x
educational institutions or foundations. x34 (Emphasis supplied)

"(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade The legislative intent is to allow the Sandiganbayan to devote its time
‘27’ and up under the Compensation and Position Classification and expertise to big-time cases involving the so-called "big fishes" in
Act of 1989; the government rather than those accused who are of limited means
who stand trial for "petty crimes," the so-called "small fry," which, in
"(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions turn, helps the court decongest its dockets.35
of the Constitution;
Yet, those that are classified as Salary Grade 26 and below may still fall
"(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commission, within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, provided that they hold
without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and the positions enumerated by the law.36 In this category, it is the
position held, not the salary grade, which determines the jurisdiction in suspending petitioner from office, entitling petitioner to the reliefs
of the Sandiganbayan.37 The specific inclusion constitutes an exception prayed for.45
to the general qualification relating to "officials of the executive branch
occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise In the same way, a certification issued by the OIC – Assistant Chief,
classified as Grade ‘27’ and higher, of the Compensation and Position Personnel Division of the BIR shows that, although petitioner is a
Classification Act of 1989."38 As ruled in Inding: Regional Director of the BIR, his position is classified as Director II with
Salary Grade 26.46
Following this disquisition, the paragraph of Section 4 which provides
that if the accused is occupying a position lower than SG 27, the proper There is no merit in the OSP’s allegation that the petition was
trial court has jurisdiction, can only be properly interpreted as applying prematurely filed on the ground that respondent court has not yet
to those cases where the principal accused is occupying a position acquired jurisdiction over the person of petitioner. Records disclose
lower than SG 27 and not among those specifically included in the that when a warrant of arrest was issued by respondent court,
enumeration in Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g). Stated otherwise, except for petitioner voluntarily surrendered and posted a cash bond on
those officials specifically included in Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g), September 17, 2009.Also, he was arraigned on April 14, 2010,prior to
regardless of their salary grades, over whom the Sandiganbayan has the filing of the petition on April 30, 2010.
jurisdiction, all other public officials below SG 27 shall be under the
jurisdiction of the proper trial courts "where none of the principal
WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the instant petition for
accused are occupying positions corresponding to SG 27 or higher." By
certiorari is GRANTED. The August 18, 2009 Resolution and February 8,
this construction, the entire Section 4 is given effect. The cardinal rule,
2010 Order of the Sandiganbayan Second Division, which denied
after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words, clauses
petitioner's Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, are
and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated
REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.
expressions, but the whole and every part of the statute must be
considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to
produce a harmonious whole. And courts should adopt a construction SO ORDERED.
that will give effect to every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis
valeat quam pereat or that construction is to be sought which gives
effect to the whole of the statute – its every word.39

Thus, to cite a few, We have held that a member of the Sangguniang


Panlungsod,40 a department manager of the Philippine Health
Insurance Corporation (Philhealth),41 a student regent of the University
of the Philippines,42 and a Head of the Legal Department and Chief of
the Documentation with corresponding ranks of Vice-Presidents and
Assistant Vice-President of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS)43 fall within the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

Petitioner is not an executive official with Salary Grade 27 or higher.


Neither does he hold any position particularly enumerated in Section 4
(A) (1) (a) to (g). As he correctly argues, his case is, in fact, on all fours
with Cuyco.1avvphi1Therein, the accused was the Regional Director of
the Land Transportation Office, Region IX, Zamboanga City, but at the
time of the commission of the crime in 1992, his position was classified
as Director II with Salary Grade 26.44It was opined: Petitioner contends
that at the time of the commission of the offense in 1992, he was
occupying the position of Director II, Salary Grade 26, hence,
jurisdiction over the cases falls with the Regional Trial Court.

We sustain petitioner's contention.

The Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over violations of Section 3(a)


and (e), Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, unless committed by
public officials and employees occupying positions of regional director
and higher with Salary Grade "27" or higher, under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758) in
relation to their office.

In ruling in favor of its jurisdiction, even though petitioner admittedly


occupied the position of Director II with Salary Grade "26" under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No.
6758), the Sandiganbayan incurred in serious error of jurisdiction, and
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction
Chapter 3 Authorizing Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes." At issue
EN BANC in this case is the proper interpretation of Sec. 3 thereof which
[G.R. No. 104712. May 6, 1992.] provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
MANUEL T. DE GUIA, in his capacity as Councilor of the Municipality of
Parañaque, Metro Manila, Petitioner, v. HON. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, Respondent. D E C I S I O N "SECTION 3. Election of Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,
BELLOSILLO, J.: Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang Bayan. — The elective
members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing the validity and and Sangguniang Bayan shall be elected as follows:chanrob1es virtual
the enforcement by respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) 1aw library
of its RESOLUTION NO. 2313, adopting rules and guidelines in the
apportionment, by district, of the number of elective members of the ‘(a) For provinces with two (2) or more legislative districts, the elective
members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan shall be elected by legislative
Sangguniang Panlalawigan in provinces with only one (1) legislative
districts . . .
district and the Sangguniang Bayan of municipalities in the Metro
Manila Area for the preparation of the Project of District ‘(b) For provinces with only one (1) legislative district, the Commission shall
Apportionment by the Provincial Election Supervisors and Election divide them into two (2) districts for purposes of electing the members of
Registrars (Annex "A", Petition), RESOLUTION NO. 2379, approving the the Sangguniang Panlalawigan . . .
Project of District Apportionment submitted pursuant to Resolution
No. 2313 (Annex "B", Petition), and RESOLUTION UND. 92-010 holding ‘(c) The number and election of elective members of the Sangguniang
that pars. (a), (b) and (c), and the first sentence of par. (d), all of Sec. 3, Panlungsod and Sangguniang Bayan in the Metro Manila Area, City of
R.A. 7166, apply to the May 11, 1992 elections (Annex "C", Petition). Cebu, City of Davao and any other city with two (2) or more legislative
districts shall continue to be governed by the provisions of Sections 2 and 3
Petitioner Manuel T. De Guia is an incumbent Member of the of Republic Act No. 6636 . . . Provided, further, That, the Commission shall
Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Parañaque, Metro Manila, divide each of the municipalities in Metro Manila Area into two (2) districts
having been elected in the January 1988 local elections. He prays, by barangay for purposes of representation in the Sangguniang Bayan . . .
more particularly, for reversal of the position of respondent insofar as and,
it affects the municipality of Parañaque and all the other municipalities
in the Metro Manila Area. He claims that the second proviso of par. (c), ‘(d) For purposes of the regular elections on May 11, 1992, elective
Sec. 3 of R.A. 7166, which requires the apportionment into district of members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang Bayan shall be
elected at large in accordance with existing laws. However, beginning with
said municipalities does not specify when the members of their
the regular elections in 1995, they shall be elected by district . . ."cralaw
Sangguniang Bayan will be elected by district. He would consequently
virtua1aw library
lean on par. (d) of Sec. 3, which immediately succeeds par. (c), to
support his view that the elected members of these municipalities
On November 20, 1991, respondent COMELEC, invoking authority of
mentioned in par. (c) should continue to be elected at large in the May
the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, R.A. 6636, R.A. 6646 and
11, 1992 elections.
R.A. 7166,3 issued Resolution No. 2313 and the subsequent resolutions
in question.
Paragraph (d) states that" [F]or purposes of the regular elections on
May 11, 1992, elective members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and
On February 20, 1992, in view of the perceived ambiguity in the
Sangguniang Bayan shall be elected at large in accordance with existing
meaning of par: (d), particularly in relation to par. (c), Sec. 3, R.A. 7166,
laws. However, beginning with the regular elections in 1995, they shall
petitioner filed with COMELEC a Motion for Clarification of its
be elected by district." Petitioner therefore insists that the elected
Resolution No. 2313 inquiring whether the members of the
members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Parañaque fall under this
Sangguniang Bayan of Parañaque and the other municipalities of
category so that they should continue to be elected at large until the
Metro Manila enumerated therein, which are all single-district
1995 regular elections.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary
municipalities, would be elected by district in the May 11, 1992 or in
the 1995 regular elections.cralawnad
Before addressing the crux of the controversy the Court observes that
petitioner does not allege that he is running for reelection, much less,
Meanwhile, on March 3, 1992, COMELEC issued Resolution No. 2379
that he is prejudiced by the election, by district, in Parañaque. As such,
approving the guidelines submitted by the Provincial Election
he does not appear to have a locus standi, a standing in law, a personal
Supervisors and Municipal Election Registrars concerned pursuant to
or substantial interest. 1 He does not also allege any legal right that
Resolution No. 2313, and stating therein its purpose in recommending
has been violated by Respondent. If for this alone, petitioner does not
to Congress the districting/apportionment of Sangguniang Panlungsod
appear to have any cause of action.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red
and Sangguniang Bayan seats. i.e., to reduce the number of candidates
to be voted for in the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections. In this
However, considering the importance of the issue involved, concerning
Project of Apportionment, Parañaque together with the other twelve
as it does the political exercise of qualified voters affected by the
(12) municipalities in the Metro Manila Area was divided into two (2)
apportionment, and petitioner alleging abuse of discretion and
districts with six (6) elective councilors for each district.chanrobles
violation of the Constitution by respondent, We resolve to brush aside
virtual lawlibrary
the question of procedural infirmity, even as We perceive the petition
to be one of declaratory relief. We so held similarly through Mr. Justice
On March 10, 1992, COMELEC resolved petitioner’s Motion for
Edgardo L. Paras in Osmeña v. Commission on Elections. 2
Clarification by interpreting Sec. 3, R.A. 7166, to mean that the election
of elective members of the Sangguniang Bayan, by district, of the
Now on the meat of the dispute.
thirteen (13) municipalities in the Metro Manila Area shall apply in the
May 11, 1992 elections (Resolution UND. 92-010, prom. March 10,
On November 18, 1991, Congress passed R.A. 7166, signed into law by
1992). Petitioner says that he received copy of Resolution UND 92-010
the President on November 26, 1991. It is "An Act Providing for
on March 13, 1992.
Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms,
On April 7, 1992, apparently not satisfied with this third Resolution of
COMELEC, petitioner filed the instant petition asserting that under par. (d), "WHEREAS, the Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act 7166, and
Sec. 3 of R.A. 7166 the elective members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod approved by the President of the Philippines on November 26, 1991,
and the Sangguniang Bayan, for purposes of the May 11, 1992 regular adopting among others, the recommendation of the Commission on
elections, shall be elected at large in accordance with existing laws. He Elections aforestated;
would include in this class of sanggunian members to be elected at large
those of the municipality of Parañaque. "WHEREAS, pursuant to, and in implementation of Republic Act 7166,
particularly Section 3 thereof, the Commission promulgated Resolution No.
Petitioner therefore imputes grave abuse of discretion to COMELEC in 2313, directing the Provincial Election Supervisors and Election Registrars
promulgating Resolution No. 2313, Resolution No. 2379 and Resolution concerned to submit, after consultation, public hearings, and consensus-
UND. 92-010 which clarifies, contrary to his view, that the district taking with the different sectors in the community, the Project of District
apportionment of the municipalities in the Metro Manila Area is applicable Apportionment of single legislative-district provinces and municipalities in
to the May 11, 1992 regular elections. the Metro Manila area;chanrobles virtualawlibrary
chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph
We have carefully examined pars. (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Sec. 3, R.A. 7166,
and its precursor bills on synchronized elections, Senate Bill No. 1861 and "WHEREAS, the established criteria/guidelines in the determination of the
House Bill No. 34811, and We realize the web of confusion generated by district apportionment are as follows: a. compactness, contiguity and
the seeming abstruseness in the language of the law. Some framers of the adjacentness of territory; b. apportionment shall be based on the 1990
law were even fazed at the empirical implications of some of its provisions, census of population; c. no municipality, in the case of provinces, and no
particularly Sec. 3 thereof, and they admitted in fact that said provisions barangay, in the case of cities and municipalities, shall be fragmented or
were susceptible of varied interpretations, as borne by the sponsorship and apportioned into different districts."
explanatory speeches now spread in the Journals of Congress. Hence, We
can understand why petitioner would interpret Sec. 3 as he would. But if This avowed policy of having sanggunian members elected by district is
we pursue his course, we may conclude in absurdity because then there also manifest from the four corners of Sec. 3 of R A. 7166. 8 Thus, a careful
would have been no reason for R.A. 7166 to single out the single-district analysis of the provisions of Sec. 3 shows that the purpose of
provinces referred to in par. (b), and the municipalities in the Metro Manila districting/apportionment of the sanggunian seats is to reduce the number
Area mentioned in the second proviso of par. (c), to be apportioned at of positions to be voted for in the May 11, 1992, synchronized elections
once into two (2) districts each if the members of their respective and ensure the efficiency of electoral process. Considering that the single-
sanggunian after all would still be elected at large as they were in the 1988 district provinces and the municipalities in the Metro Manila Area, which
elections. are all single-districts, and under pars. (b) and (c) have already been
apportioned into two (2) districts, they will henceforth be electing the
No law is ever enacted that is intended to be meaningless, much less members of their Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Sangguniang Bayan by
inutile. We must therefore, as far as we can, divine its meaning, its district in the coming May 11, 1992, elections, although under par (d), the
significance, its reason for being. As it has oft been held, the key to single-district cities and all the municipalities outside the Metro Manila
open the door to what the legislature intended which is vaguely Area which are all likewise single-districts, will have to continue electing at
expressed in the language of a statute is its purpose or the reason large the members of their Sangguniang Panlungsod and Sangguniang
which induced it to enact the statute. If the statute needs construction, Bayan as they have yet to be apportioned. But beginning the regular
elections of 1995, they will all have to be elected by district. By then,
as it does in the present case, the most dominant in that process is the
COMELEC would have had enough time to apportion the single-district
purpose of the act. 4 Statutes should be construed in the light of the
cities and the municipalities outside the Metro Manila Area.
object to be achieved and the evil or mischief to be suppressed, 5 and
they should be given such construction as will advance the object, As they now stand in relation to the districting/apportionment of local
suppress the mischief, and secure the benefits intended. 6 A government units for purposes of election under Sec. 3 of R.A. 7166, it is
construction should be rejected that gives to the language used in a clear that: (1) for provinces with two (2) or more legislative districts
statute a meaning that does not accomplish the purpose for which the contemplated in par. (a), they shall continue to be elected by district; (2)
statute was enacted, and that tends to defeat the ends which are for provinces with single legislative districts, as they have already been
sought to be attained by the enactment. 7 apportioned into two (2) districts each under par. (b), they shall henceforth
be elected likewise by district; (3) for cities with two (2) or more legislative
The reason for the Promulgation of R.A. 7166 is shown in the explanatory districts, e.g., the cities of Manila, Cebu and Davao, they shall also continue
note of Senate Bill No. 1861 which states in part: to be elected by district under the first part of par. (c); and, (4) for the
thirteen (13) municipalities in the Metro Manila Area, which have already
"This bill proposes to set the national and local elections for May 11, 1992, been apportioned into two (2) districts each under the second proviso of
and provide for the necessary implementing details. It also endorses par. (c), they shall likewise be elected by district in the regular elections of
reforms and measures to ensure the conduct of free, orderly, honest, May 11, 1992.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
peaceful and credible elections. Specifically, it seeks to: (1) Reduce the
number of positions to be voted for by providing therein that the members Then, that should leave us the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the single -
of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panlungsod and district cities and the Sangguniang Bayan of the municipalities outside
Sangguniang Bayan be elected not at large, but by district . . ."cralaw Metro Manila, which remain single-districts not having been ordered
virtua1aw library apportioned under Sec. 3 of R.A. 7166. They will have to continue to be
elected at large in the May 11, 1992, elections, although starting 1995 they
That respondent COMELEC is cognizant of this legislative intent of R.A. shall all be elected by district to affect the full implementation of the letter
7166 is reflected in the "WHEREAS" clauses constituting the preamble to and spirit of R.A. 7166. That is the true import of par. (d). Consequently, as
Resolution No. 2379. Thus — We view it, where he stands, petitioner must fall.

"WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections, in order to reduce the number of WHEREFORE, finding no abuse of discretion, much less grave, on the part
candidates to be voted for in the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections of respondent, and for lack of merit, the instant petition is DISMISSED. No
recommended, among others, to the Congress of the Philippines, the costs.
districting/apportionment of sangguniang panlungsod and sangguniang
bayan seats; SO ORDERED.
Chapter 3 attempted on November 17, 1983, to place the property in the
possession of the private respondent, the petitioners refused to vacate
G.R. No. 78687 January 31, 1989 and surrender the possession of the same and instead offered to
repurchase it under Section 119 of the Public Land Act. On August 15,
1984, another motion, this time for the issuance of an alias writ of
ELENA SALENILLAS AND BERNARDINO SALENILLAS, petitioners,
possession was filed by the private respondent with the trial court. The
vs.
petitioners, on August 31, 1984, opposed the private respondents'
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and HONORABLE RAYMUNDO
motion and instead made a formal offer to repurchase the property.
SEVA, JUDGE OF BRANCH 38 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
Notwithstanding the petitioners' opposition and formal offer, the trial
CAMARINES NORTE and WILLIAM GUERRA, respondents.
court judge on October 12, 1984 issued the alias writ of possession
prayed for the private respondent. The petitioners moved for a
Jose L. Lapak for petitioners. reconsideration of the order but their motion was denied.

Jose T. Atienza for private respondent. Undeterred by their initial setback, the petitioners elevated the case to
the respondent Court of Appeals by way of a petition
SARMIENTO, J.: for certiorari claiming that the respondent trial court judge acted with
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order dated October 12, 1984
This petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal and granting the writ of possession, and the order dated October 22, 1984,
setting aside of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 dismissing the denying their motion for reconsider consideration.
petition for certiorari against Judge Raymundo Seva of the Regional
Trial Court of Camarines Norte and the private respondent, William In a resolution dated January 23, 1985, the respondent appellate court
Guerra, involves a pure question of law i.e., the coverage and gave due course to the petition; required the parties to submit
application of Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, simultaneous memoranda in support to their respective positions; and
known otherwise as the Public Land Act. restrained the trial court and the private respondent from executing,
implementing or otherwise giving effect to the assailed writ of
The facts are undisputed. possession until further orders from the court. 3 However, in a decision
promulgated on September 17, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals
dismissed the case for lack of merit. According to the appellate court:
The property subject matter of the case was formerly covered by
Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248, issued by virtue of Free Patent
Application No. 192765, in favor of the spouses, Florencia H. de Enciso It must be noted that when the original owner,
and Miguel Enciso. The said original certificate of title was inscribed in Florencia H. Enciso whose title, OCT No. P-1248,
the Registration Book for the Province of Camarines Norte on was issued on August 9, 1961, executed a deed of
December 10, 1961. On February 28, 1970, the patentees, the Enciso absolute sale on February 28, 1970 of the property
spouses, by an Absolute Deed of Sale, sold the property in favor of the covered by said title to spouses Elena Salenillas and
petitioners, the spouses Elena Salenillas and Bernardino Salenillas for a Bernardino Salenillas, the five year period to
consideration of P900.00. Petitioner Elena Salenillas is a daughter of repurchase the property provided for in Section
the Encisos. As a result of the aforementioned sale, Transfer Certificate 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 as amended
of Title No. T-8104 of the Register of Deeds of Camarines Norte was could have already started. Prom this fact alone,
issued in the name of the Salenillas, cancelling Original Certificate of the petition should have been dismissed. However,
Title No. P-1248. On June 30, 1971, the petitioners mortgaged the granting that the transfer from parent to child for a
property now covered by T.C.T. No. T-8104 with the Rural Bank of nominal sum may not be the "conveyance"
Daet, Inc. The mortgage was subsequently released on November 22, contemplated by the law. We will rule on the issue
1973 after the petitioners paid the amount of P1,000.00. Later, or on raised by the petitioners. 4
December 4, 1975, the petitioners again mortgaged the property, this
time in favor of the Philippine National Bank Branch, Daet, Camarines xxx xxx xxx
Norte as security for a loan of P2,500.00.
Applying the case of Monge, et al. vs. Angeles, et al., 5 the appellate
For failure of the petitioners to pay their loan, extrajudicial foreclosure court went on to hold that the five-year period of the petitioners to
proceeding, pursuant to Act No. 3135, was instituted by the Philippine repurchase under Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already
National Bank against the mortgage and the property was sold at a prescribed. The point of reckoning, ruled the respondent court in
public auction held on February 27, 1981. The private respondent, consonance with Monge is from the date the petitioners mortgaged
William Guerra, emerged as the highest bidder in the said public the property on December 4, 1973. Thus, when the petitioners made
auction and as a result thereof a "Certificate of Sale" was issued to him their formal offer to repurchase on August 31, 1984, the period had
by the Ex Officio Provincial Sheriff of Camarines Norte. Ultimately, on clearly expired.
July 12, 1983, a "Sheriff's Final Deed" was executed in favor of the
private respondent. In an effort to still overturn the decision, the petitioners moved for
reconsideration. Their motion apparently went for naught because on
On August 17,1983, the Philippine National Bank filed with the May 7, 1987, the respondent appellate court resolved to deny the
Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte at Daet, a motion for a writ of same. Hence, this petition.
possession. The public respondent, Judge Raymundo Seva of the trial
court, acting on the motion, issued on September 22, 1983 an order Before us, the petitioners maintain that contrary to the rulings of the
for the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the private courts below, their right to repurchase within five years under Section
respondent. When the deputy sheriff of Camarines Norte however, 119 of the Public Land Act has not yet prescribed. To support their
contention, the petitioners cite the cases of Paras vs. Court of raised there was whether the five-year period provided for in Section
Appeals 6 and Manuel vs. Philippine National Bank, et al. 7 119 "should be counted from the date of the sale even if the same is
with an option to repurchase or from the date the ownership of the
On the other side, the private respondent, in support of the appellate land has become consolidated in favor of the purchaser because of the
court's decision, states that the sale of the contested property by the homesteader's failure to redeem it. 11 It is therefore understandable
patentees to the petitioners disqualified the latter from being legal why the Court ruled there as it did. A sale on pacto de
heirs vis-a-vis the said property. As such, they (the petitioners) no retro immediately vests title, ownership, and, generally possession
longer enjoy the right granted to heirs under the provisions of Section over the property on the vendee a retro, subject only to the right of
119 of the Public Land Act. 8 the vendor a retro to repurchase within the stipulated period. It is an
absolute sale with a resolutory condition.
In fine, what need be determined and resolved here are: whether or
not the petitioners have the right to repurchase the contested The cases 12 pointed to by the petitioner in support of their position,
property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act; and assuming the on the other hand, present facts that are quite identical to those in the
answer to the question is in the affirmative, whether or not their right case at bar. Both cases involved properties the titles over which were
to repurchase had already prescribed. obtained either through homestead or free patent. These properties
were mortgaged to a bank as collateral for loans, and, upon failure of
the owners to pay their indebtedness, the mortgages were foreclosed.
We rule for the petitioners. They are granted by the law the right to
In both instances, the Court ruled that the five-year period to.
repurchase their property and their right to do so subsists.
repurchase a homestead sold at public auction or foreclosure sale
under Act 3135 begins on the day after the expiration of the period of
Section 119 of the Public Land Act, as amended, provides in full: redemption when the deed of absolute sale is executed thereby
formally transferring the property to the purchaser, and not otherwise.
Sec. 119. Every conveyance of land acquired under Taking into account that the mortgage was foreclosed and the
the free patent or homestead provisions, when mortgaged property sold at a public auction to the private respondent
proper, shall be subject to repurchase by the on February 27, 1981, with the "Sheriff's Final Deed" issued on July 12,
applicant, his widow, or legal heirs within a period 1983, the two offers of the petitioners to repurchase the first on
of five years from the date of the conveyance. November 17, 1983, and the second, formally, on August 31, 1984
were both made within the prescribed five-year period.
From the foregoing legal provision, it is explicit that only three classes
of persons are bestowed the right to repurchase — the applicant- Now, as regards the redemption price, applying Sec. 30 of Rule 39 of
patentee, his widow, or other legal heirs. Consequently, the contention the Revised Rules of Court, the petitioners should reimburse the
of the private respondent sustained by the respondent appellate court private respondent the amount of the purchase price at the public
that the petitioners do not belong to any of those classes of auction plus interest at the rate of one per centum per month up to
repurchasers because they acquired the property not through November 17, 1983, together with the amounts of assessments and
inheritance but by sale, has no legal basis. The petitioners-spouses are taxes on the property that the private respondent might have paid
the daughter and son-in-law of the Encisos, patentees of the contested after purchase and interest on the last named amount at the same rate
property. At the very least, petitioner Elena Salenillas, being a child of as that on the purchase price. 13
the Encisos, is a "legal heir" of the latter. As such, and even on this
score alone, she may therefore validly repurchase. This must be so WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated September
because Section 119 of the Public Land Act, in speaking of "legal heirs," 17, 1986, and the Resolution dated May 7, 1987 of the Court of
makes no distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere Appeals, and the Orders dated September 22, 1983, October 12, 1984,
debemos. and October 22, 1984 of the Regional Trial Court of Daet, Camarines
Norte, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another one ENTERED
Moreover, to indorse the distinction made by the private respondent directing the private respondent to reconvey the subject property and
and the appellate court would be to contravene the very purpose of to execute the corresponding deed of reconveyance therefor in favor
Section 119 of the Public Land Act which is to give the homesteader or of the petitioners upon the return to him by the latter of the purchase
patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the land price and the amounts, if any, of assessments or taxes he paid plus
that the State had gratuitously given him as a reward for his labor in interest of one (1%) per centum per month on both amounts up to
clearing and cultivating it. 9 Considering that petitioner Salenillas is a November 17, 1983.
daughter of the spouses Florencia H. Enciso and Miguel Enciso, there is
no gainsaying that allowing her (Elena) and her husband to repurchase No costs.
the property would be more in keeping with the spirit of the law. We
have time and again said that between two statutory interpretations,
SO ORDERED.
that which better serves the purpose of the law should prevail.

Guided by the same purpose of the law, and proceeding to the other
issue here raised, we rule that the five-year period for the petitioners
to repurchase their property had not yet prescribed.

The case of Monge et al. vs. Angeles, et al., 10 cited as authority by the
respondent Court of Appeals is inapplicable to the present
controversy. The facts obtaining there are substantially different from
those in this case. In Monge the conveyance involved was a pacto de
retro sale and not a foreclosure sale. More importantly, the question
Chapter 3 Failure to submit the aforementioned counter-affidavits on the
date above specified shall be deemed a waiver of your right to
No. 96948 August 2, 1991 submit controverting evidence.

B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, ET AL petitioners, On the same date, the petitioners acknowledged receipt of a copy of
vs. the charge sheet, sworn statements of witnesses, and death and
GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, ET AL. respondents. medical certificates of victims of the rebellion.

CRUZ, J.: At the first scheduled hearing, the petitioners challenged the
proceedings on various grounds, prompting the PTI Panel to grant
them 10 days within which to file their objections in writing This was
These four cases have been consolidated because they involve
done through a Motion for Summary Dismissal dated February 21,
practically the same parties and related issues arising from the same
1990.
incident.

In a resolution dated February 27,1990, the PTI Panel denied the


The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 and the private
motion and gave the petitioners 5 days from notice to submit their
respondents in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454 are officers of the Armed
respective counter-affidavits and the affidavits of their witnesses.
Forces of the Philippines facing prosecution for their alleged
participation in the failed coup d' etat that took place on December 1
to 9, 1989. On March 7, 1990, the petitioners verbally moved for reconsideration
of the foregoing denial and the PTI Panel gave them 7 days within
which to reduce their motion to writing. This was done on March
The charges against them are violation of Articles of War (AW) 67
14,1990.
(Mutiny), AW 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman)
and AW 94 (Various Crimes) in relation to Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code (Murder). The petitioners now claim that there was no pre-trial investigation of
the charges as mandated by Article of War 71, which provides:
In G.R. No. 93177, which is a petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus, they are questioning the conduct of the Pre-Trial Art. 71. Charges Action upon. — Charges and specifications
Investigation PTI Panel constituted to investigate the charges against must be signed by a person subject to military law, and under
them and the creation of the General Court Martial GCM convened to the oath either that he has personal knowledge of, or has
try them. investigated, the matters set forth therein and that the same
are true in fact, to the best of his knowledge and belief.
In G.R. No. 96948, the petitioners, besides challenging the legality of
GCM No. 14, seek certiorari against its ruling denying them the right to No charge will be referred to a general court-martial for trial
peremptory challenge as granted by Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408. until after a thorough and impartial investigation thereof
shall have been made. This investigation will include inquiries
as to the truth of the matter set forth in said charges, form of
In G.R. No. 95020, the orders of the respondent judge of the Regional
charges, and what disposition of the case should be made in
Trial Court of Quezon City are assailed on certiorari on the ground that
the interest of justice and discipline. At such investigation full
he has no jurisdiction over GCM No. 14 and no authority either to set
opportunity shall be given to the accused to cross-examine
aside its ruling denying bail to the private respondents.
witnesses against him if they are available and to present
anything he may desire in his own behalf, either in defense or
In G.R. No. 97454, certiorari is also sought against the decision of the mitigation, and the investigating officer shall examine
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in a petition for habeas available witnesses requested by the accused. If the charges
corpus directing the release of the private respondents. Jurisdictional are forwarded after such investigation, they shall be
objections are likewise raised as in G.R. No. 95020. accompanied by a statement of the substance of the
testimony taken on both sides. (Emphasis supplied.)
I
They also allege that the initial hearing of the charges consisted merely
Before the charges were referred to GCM No. 14, a Pre-Trial of a roll call and that no prosecution witnesses were presented to
Investigation PTI Panel had been constituted pursuant to Office Order reaffirm their affidavits. while the motion for summary dismissal was
No. 16 dated January 14, 1990, to investigate the petitioners in G.R. denied, the motion for reconsideration remains unresolved to date and
Nos. 93177 and 96948. The PTI Panel issued a uniform subpoena dated they have not been able to submit their counter-affidavits.
January 30, 1990, individually addressed to the petitioners, to wit:
At the hearing of May 15, 1990, the petitioners in G.R. No. 96948
You are hereby directed to appear in person before the manifested that they were exercising their right to raise peremptory
undersigned Pre-Trial Investigating Officers on 12 Feb 90 9:00 challenges against the president and members of GCM No.14. They
a.m. at Kiangan Hall, Camp Crame Quezon City, then and there to invoked Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408 for this purpose. GCM No. 14
submit your counter-affidavit and the affidavits of your witnesses, ruled, however, that peremptory challenges had been discontinued
if any, in the pre-trial investigation of the charge/charges against under P.D. No. 39.
you for violence of AWs _______________. DO NOT SUBMIT A
MOTION TO DISMISS.
In G.R. No. 95020, Ltc Jacinto Ligot applied for bail on June 5, 1990, but
the application was denied by GCM No.14. He thereupon filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a petition their own failure to submit their counter-affidavits. They had been
for certiorari and mandamus with prayer for provisional liberty and a expressly warned In the subpoena sent them that "failure to submit
writ of preliminary injunction. After considering the petition and the the aforementioned counter-affidavits on the date above specified
answer thereto filed by the president and members of GCM No.14, shall be deemed a waiver of (their) right to submit controverting
Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion issued an order granting provisional evidence." They chose not to heed the warning. As their motions
liberty to Ligot. appeared to be dilatory, the PTI Panel was justified in referring the
charges to GCM No. 14 without waiting for the petitioners to submit
On July 28, 1990, Ligot filed an urgent omnibus motion to enforce the their defense.
order for his release and to declare in contempt the commanding
officer of the PC/INP Jail for disobey 'ng the said order. He later also Due process is satisfied as long as the party is accorded an opportunity
complained that Generals De Villa and Aguirre had refused to release to be heard.1âwphi1 If it is not availed of, it is deemed waived or
him "pending final resolution of the appeal to be taken" to this Court. forfeited without violation of the Bill of Rights.

After hearing, the trial court reiterated its order for the provisional There was in our view substantial compliance with Article of War 71 by
liberty of Ligot, as well as of intervenors Ltc Franklin Brawner, Lt/Col. the PTI Panel. Moreover, it is now settled that "even a failure to
Arsenio Tecson and Maj. Alfredo Oliveros, and later of additional conduct a pre-trial investigation does not deprive a general court-
intervenors Ltc Romelino Gojo and Capt. Manuel Ison. martial of jurisdiction." We so held in Arula v. Espino,1 thus:

On August 22, 1990, the trial court rendered judgment inter alia: xxx xxx xxx
But even a failure to conduct a pre-trial investigation does not
(a) Declaring, that Section 13, Article III of the Constitution deprive a general court-martial of jurisdiction.
granting the right to bail to all persons with the defined exception
is applicable and covers all military men facing court-martial The better accepted concept of pre-trial investigation is that it is
proceedings. Accordingly, the assailed orders of General Court- directory, not mandatory, and in no way affects the jurisdiction of
Martial No. 14 denying bail to petitioner and intervenors on the a court-martial. In Humphrey v. Smith, 336 U.S. 695, 93 L ed 986
mistaken assumption that bail does not apply to military men (1949), the Court said:
facing court-martial proceedings on the ground that there is no
precedent, are hereby set aside and declared null and void. We do not think that the pre-trial investigation procedure by
Respondent General Court-Martial No. 14 is hereby directed to Article 70 (The Philippine counter-part is article of war 71,
conduct proceedings on the applications of bail of the petitioner, Commonwealth Act 408) can properly be construed as an
intervenors and which may as well include other persons facing indispensable pre-requisite to the exercise of the Army General
charges before General Court-Martial No. 14. court martial jurisdiction.. The Article does serve important
functions in the administration of court-martial procedures and
Pending the proceedings on the applications for bail before does provide safeguards to an accused. Its language is clearly
General Court-Martial No. 14, this Court reiterates its orders of such that a defendant could object to trial in the absence of the
release on the provisional liberty of petitioner Jacinto Ligot as well required investigation. In that event the court-martial could
as intervenors Franklin Brawner and Arsenio Tecson. itself postpone trial pending the investigation. And the military
reviewing authorities could consider the same contention,
On February 18, 1991, the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 filed reversing a court- martial conviction where failure to comply
with this Court a petition for habeas corpuson the ground that they with Article 70 has substantially injured an accused. But we are
were being detained in Camp Crame without charges. The petition was not persuaded that Congress intended to make otherwise valid
referred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, where it was court-martial judgments wholly void because pre-trial
raffled to respondent Judge Antonio P. Solano. Finding after hearing investigations fall short of the standards prescribed by Article
that no formal charges had been filed against the petitioners after 70. That Congress has not required analogous pre-trial
more than a year after their arrest, the trial court ordered their procedure for Navy court-martial is an indication that the
release. investigatory plan was not intended to be exalted to the
jurisdictional level.
II
The Court has examined the records of this case and rules as follows. xxx xxx xxx
Shortly after enactment of Article 70 in 1920 the Judge
Advocate General of the Army did hold that where there had
It appears that the petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 were
been no pre-trial investigation, court-martial proceedings were
given several opportunities to present their side at the pre-trial
void ab initio. But this holding has been expressly repudiated in
investigation, first at the scheduled hearing of February 12, 1990, and
later holdings of the Judge Advocate General. This later
then again after the denial of their motion of February 21, 1990, when
interpretation has been that the pre-trial requirements of
they were given until March 7, 1990, to submit their counter-affidavits.
Article 70 are directory, not mandatory, and in no way effect
On that date, they filed instead a verbal motion for reconsideration
the jurisdiction of a court-martial. The War Department's
which they were again asked to submit in writing. This they did on
interpretation was pointedly called to the attention of Congress
March 13, 1990. The motion was in effect denied when the PTI Panel
in 1947 after which Congress amended Article 70 but left
resolved to recommend that the charges be referred to the General
unchanged the language here under consideration.
Court Martial for trial.
compensable pre-requisite to the exercise of Army general
court-martial jurisdiction
The said petitioners cannot now claim they have been denied due
process because the investigation was resolved against them owing to
A trial before a general court-martial convened without any been shown to be spurious. As observed by the Solicitor General, the
pretrial investigation under article of war 71 would of course be Summary Disposition Form showed that Gen. De Villa, as Chief of Staff,
altogether irregular but the court-martial might nevertheless have AFP, actually constituted GCM No. 14 and appointed its president and
jurisdiction. Significantly, this rule is similar to the one obtaining in members. It is significant that General De Villa has not disauthorized or
criminal procedure in the civil courts to the effect that absence of revoked or in any way disowned the said order, as he would certainly
preliminary investigation does not go into the jurisdiction of the have done if his authority had been improperly invoked. On the
court but merely to the regularity of the proceedings. contrary, as the principal respondent in G.R. No. 93177, he sustained
General Order No. M 6 in the Comment filed for him and the other
As to what law should govern the conduct of the preliminary respondents by the Solicitor General.
investigation, that issue was resolved more than two years ago
in Kapunan v. De Villa,2 where we declared: Coming now to the right to peremptory challenge, we note that this
was originally provided for under Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408
The Court finds that, contrary to the contention of petitioners, (Articles of War), as amended by Rep. Act No. 242, on June 12, 1948, to
there was substantial compliance with the requirements of law as wit:
provided in the Articles of War and P.D. No. 77, as amended by
P.D. No. 911. The amended charge sheets, charging petitioners Art. 18. Challenges. — Members of general or special courts-
and their co-respondents with mutiny and conduct unbecoming martial may be challenged by the accused or the trial judge
an officer, were signed by Maj. Antonio Ruiz, a person subject to advocate for cause stated to the court. The court shall determine
military law, after he had investigated the matter through an the relevancy and validity thereof, and shall not receive a
evaluation of the pertinent records, including the reports of challenge to more than one member at a time. Challenges by the
respondent AFP Board of Officers, and was convinced of the truth trial judge advocate shall ordinarily be presented and decided
of the testimonies on record. The charge sheets were sworn to by before those by the accused are offered. Each side shall be
Maj. Ruiz, the "accuser," in accordance with and in the manner entitled to the peremptory challenge, but the law member of the
provided under Art. 71 of the Articles of War. Considering that court shall not be challenged except for cause.
P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D. No. 911, is only of suppletory
application, the fact that the charge sheets were not certified in The history of peremptory challenge was traced in Martelino v.
the manner provided under said decrees, i.e., that the officer Alejandro,3 thus:
administering the oath has personally examined the affiant and
that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood
In the early formative years of the infant Philippine Army, after
its affidavit, does not invalidate said charge sheets. Thereafter, a
the passage in 1935 of Commonwealth Act No. 1 (otherwise
"pretrial investigation" was conducted by respondent Maj.
known as the National Defense Act), except for a handful of
Baldonado, wherein, pursuant to P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D.
Philippine Scout officers and graduates of the United States
No. 911, petitioners were subpoenaed and required to file their
military and naval academies who were on duty with the
counter-affidavit. However, instead of doing so, they filed an
Philippine Army, there was a complete dearth of officers learned
untitled pleading seeking the dismissal of the charges against
in military law, its aside from the fact that the officer corps of the
them. That petitioners were not able to confront the witnesses
developing army was numerically made equate for the demands
against them was their own doing, for they never even asked Maj.
of the strictly military aspects of the national defense program.
Baldonado to subpoena said witnesses so that they may be made
Because of these considerations it was then felt that peremptory
to answer clarificatory questions in accordance with P. D, No. 77,
challenges should not in the meanwhile be permitted and that
as amended by P.D. No. 911.
only challenges for cause, in any number, would be allowed. Thus
Article 18 of the Articles of War (Commonwealth Act No. 408), as
The petitioners also allege that GCM No. 14 has not been constitute in worded on September 14, 1938, the date of the approval of the
accordance with Article 8 of the Articles of War because General Order Act, made no mention or reference to any peremptory challenge
No. M-6, which supposedly convened the body, was not signed by Gen. by either the trial judge advocate of a court- martial or by the
Renato de Villa as Chief of Staff. accused. After December 17,1958, when the Manual for Courts-
Martial of the Philippine Army became effective, the Judge
Article of War No. 8 reads: Advocate General's Service of the Philippine Army conducted a
continuing and intensive program of training and education in
Art. 8. General Courts-Martial. — The President of the Philippines, military law, encompassing the length and breadth of the
the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Chief Philippines. This program was pursued until the outbreak of
of Constabulary and, when empowered by the President, the World War 11 in the Pacific on December 7, 1941. After the
commanding officer of a major command or task force, the formal surrender of Japan to the allies in 1945, the officer corps of
commanding officer of a division, the commanding officer of a the Armed Forces of the Philippines had expanded to a very large
military area, the superintendent of the Military Academy, the number, and a great many of the officers had been indoctrinated
commanding officer of a separate brigade or body of troops may in military law. It was in these environmental circumstances that
appoint general courts-martial; but when any such commander is Article of War 18 was amended on June 12,1948 to entitle "each
the accuser or the prosecutor of the person or persons to be side" to one peremptory challenge, with the sole proviso that "the
tried, the court shall be appointed by superior competent law member of court shall not be challenged except for cause.
authority. ...
On September 27,1972, President Marcos issued General Order No. 8,
While it is true that General Order No. M-6 was not signed by Gen. De empowering the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces to create military
Villa, there is no doubt that he authorized it because the order itself tribunals "to try and decide cases of military personnel and such other
said it was issued "By Command of General De Villa" and it has not cases as may be referred to them.
On November 7,1972, he promulgated P.D. No. 39 (Governing the regard to its own misgivings on their adverse effects. This is a problem
Creation, Composition, Jurisdiction, Procedure, and other matters only the political departments can resolve.
relevant to military Tribunals). This decree disallowed the peremptory
challenge, thus: The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454 question the propriety of
the petition for certiorari and mandamus and the petition for habeas
No peremptory challenge shall be allowed. Challenges for cause corpus filed by the private respondents with the Regional Trial Courts
may be entertained to insure impartiality and good faith. of Quezon City. It is argued that since the private respondents are
Challenges shall immediately be heard and determined by a officers of the Armed Forces accused of violations of the Articles of
majority of the members excluding the challenged member. A tie War, the respondent courts have no authority to order their release
vote does not disqualify the challenged member. A successfully and otherwise interfere with the court-martial proceedings.
challenged member shall be immediately replaced.
The petitioners further contend that under Sec. 9(3) of BP 1 29, the
On June 11, 1978, President Marcos promulgated P.D. No. 1498, or the Court of Appeals is vested with "exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all
National Security Code, which was a compilation and codification of final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders, or awards of Regional
decrees, general orders, LOI and policies intended "to meet the Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or
continuing threats to the existence, security and stability of the State." commissions." Rather irrelevantly, the petitioners also cite the case
The modified rule on challenges under P.D. No. 39 was embodied in of Yang v. Court of Appeals4 where this Court held that "appeals from
this decree. the Professional Regulation Commission are now exclusively cognizable
by the Court of Appeals.
On January 17,1981, President Marcos issued Proc. No. 2045
proclaiming the termination of the state of martial law throughout the It should be noted that the aforecited provision and the case cited
Philippines. The proclamation revoked General Order No. 8 and refer to ordinary appeals and not to the remedies employed by the
declared the dissolution of the military tribunals created pursuant accused officers before the respondent courts.
thereto upon final determination of the cases pending therein.
In Martelino, we observed as follows:
P.D. No. 39 was issued to implement General Order No. 8 and the
other general orders mentioned therein. With the termination of It is true that civil courts as a rule exercise no supervision or
martial law and the dissolution of the military tribunals created correcting power over the proceedings of courts-martial, and that
thereunder, the reason for the existence of P.D. No. 39 ceased mere errors in their proceedings are not open to consideration.
automatically. The single inquiry, the test, is jurisdiction. But it is equally true
that in the exercise of their undoubted discretion, courts-martial
It is a basic canon of statutory construction that when the reason of may commit such an abuse of discretion — what in the language
the law ceases, the law itself ceases. Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa of Rule 65 is referred to as "grave abuse of discretion" — as to
lex. This principle is also expressed in the maxim ratio legis est give rise to a defect in their jurisdiction. This is precisely the point
anima: the reason of law is its soul. at issue in this action suggested by its nature as one for certiorari
and prohibition ... .
Applying these rules, we hold that the withdrawal of the right to
peremptory challenge in L P.D. No. 39 became ineffective when the The Regional Trial Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of
apparatus of martial law was dismantled with the issuance of Appeals and the Supreme Court over petitions for certiorari,
Proclamation No. 2045, As a result, the old rule embodied in Article 18 prohibition or mandamus against inferior courts and other bodies and
of Com. Act No. 408 was automatically revived and now again allows on petitions for habeas corpusand quo warranto.5 In the absence of a
the right to peremptory challenge. law providing that the decisions, orders and ruling of a court-martial or
the Office of the Chief of Staff can be questioned only before the Court
We do not agree with the respondents in G.R. No. 96948 that the right of Appeals and the Supreme Court, we hold that the Regional Trial
to peremptory challenge remains withdrawn under P.D. No. 39. To Court can exercise similar jurisdiction.
repeat for emphasis, this decree was itself withdrawn when martial
law was lifted on January 17, 1981. Indeed, even if not so withdrawn, it We find that the right to bail invoked by the private respondents in
could still be considered no longer operative, having been cast out G.R. Nos. 95020 has traditionally not been recognized and is not
under the new dispensation as, in the words of the Freedom available in the military, as an exception to the general rule embodied
Constitution, one of the "iniquitous vestiges of the previous regime. in the Bill of Rights. This much was suggested in Arula, where we
observed that "the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the
The military tribunal was one of the most oppressive instruments of military where the right to bail does not exist.
martial law. It is curious that the present government should invoke
the rules of that discredited body to justify its action against the The justification for this exception was well explained by the Solicitor
accused officers. General as follows:

The Court realizes that the recognition of the right to peremptory The unique structure of the military should be enough reason to
challenge may be exploited by a respondent in a court-martial trial to exempt military men from the constitutional coverage on the
delay the proceedings and defer his deserved Punishment. It is hoped right to bail.
that the accused officers in the cases at bar will not be so motivated.
At any rate, the wisdom of Com. Act No. 408, in the light of present Aside from structural peculiarity, it is vital to note that mutinous
circumstances, is a matter addressed to the law-makers and not to this soldiers operate within the framework of democratic system, are
Court. The judiciary can only interpret and apply the laws without
allowed the fiduciary use of firearms by the government for the This Court as protector of the rights of the people, must stress the
discharge of their duties and responsibilities and are paid out of point that if the participation of petitioner in
revenues collected from the people. All other insurgent elements several coup attempts for which he is confined on orders of
carry out their activities outside of and against the existing Adjutant General Jorge Agcaoili cannot be established and no
political system. charges can be filed against him or the existence of a prima
facie case warranting trial before a military commission is
xxx xxx xxx wanting, it behooves respondent then Major General Rodolfo
Biazon (now General) to release petitioner. Respondents must
also be reminded that even if a military officer is arrested
National security considerations should also impress upon this
pursuant to Article 70 of then Articles of War, indefinite
Honorable Court that release on bail of respondents constitutes a
confinement is not sanctioned, as Article 71 thereof mandates
damaging precedent. Imagine a scenario of say 1,000 putschists
that immediate steps must be taken to try the person accused or
roaming the streets of the Metropolis on bail, or if the assailed
to dissmiss the charge and release him. Any officer who is
July 25,1990 Order were sustained, on "provisional" bail. The
responsible for unnecessary delay in investigating or carrying the
sheer number alone is already discomforting. But, the truly
case to a final conclusion may even be punished as a court martial
disquieting thought is that they could freely resume their heinous
may direct.6
activity which could very well result in the overthrow of duly
constituted authorities, including this Honorable Court, and
replace the same with a system consonant with their own concept It should be noted, finally, that after the decision was rendered by
of government and justice. Judge Solano on February 26, 1991, the government filed a notice of
appeal ad cautelam and a motion for reconsideration, the latter was
ultimately denied, after hearing, on March 4, 1991. The 48- hour
The argument that denial from the military of the right to bail would
period for appeal under Rule 41, Section 18, of the Rules of Court did
violate the equal protection clause is not acceptable. This guaranty
not run until after notice of such denial was received by the petitioners
requires equal treatment only of persons or things similarly situated
on March 12, 1991. Contrary to the private respondents' contention,
and does not apply where the subject of the treatment is substantially
therefore, the decision had not yet become final and executory when
different from others. The accused officers can complain if they are
the special civil action in G.R. No. 97454 was filed with this Court on
denied bail and other members of the military are not. But they cannot
March 12, 1991.
say they have been discriminated against because they are not allowed
the same right that is extended to civilians.
III
On the contention of the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 that
they had not been charged after more than one year from their arrest, Regarding the propriety of the petitions at bar, it is well to reiterate
our finding is that there was substantial compliance with the the following observations of the Court in Arula:
requirements of due process and the right to a speedy trial.
The referral of charges to a court-martial involves the exercise of
The petition for habeas corpus was directly filed with this Court on judgment and discretion (AW 71). A petition for certiorari, in
February 18, 1991, and was referred to the Regional Trial Court of order to prosper, must be based on jurisdictional grounds
Quezon City for raffle, hearing and decision. It was heard on February because, as long as the respondent acted with jurisdiction, any
26, 1991, by the respondent court, where the petitioners submitted error committed by him or it in the exercise thereof will amount
the charge memorandum and specifications against the private to nothing more than an error of judgment which may be
respondents dated January 30, 1991. On February 12, 1991, pursuant reviewed or corrected only by appeal. Even an abuse of discretion
to Office Order No. 31-91, the PTI panel was created and initial is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance of a writ
investigation was scheduled on March 12, 1991 at 2:00 p.m. On March of certiorari.
20, 1991, the private respondents received the copies of the charges,
charge sheets and specifications and were required to submit their As in that case, we find that the respondents in G.R. No. 93177 have
counter-affidavits on or before April 11, 1991. There was indeed a not acted with grave abuse of discretion or without or in excess of
delay of more than one year in the investigation and preparation of the jurisdiction to justify the intervention of the Court and the reversal of
charges against the private respondents. However, this was explained the acts complained of by the petitioners. Such action is indicated,
by the Solicitor General thus: however, in G.R. No. 96948, where we find that the right to
peremptory challenge should not have been denied, and in G.R. Nos.
... The AFP Special Investigating Committee was able to complete 95020 and 97454, where the private respondents should not have
it pre-charge investigation only after one (1) year because been ordered released.
hundreds of officers and thousands of enlisted men were involved
in the failed coup. All of them, as well as other witnesses, had to ACCORDINGLY, in G.R. No. 93177, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of
be interviewed or investigated, and these inevitably took months merit. In G.R. No. 96948, the petition is GRANTED, and the
to finish. The pre-charge investigation was rendered doubly respondents are DIRECTED to allow the petitioners to exercise the right
difficult by the fact that those involved were dispersed and of peremptory challenge under Article 18 of the Articles of War. In G.R.
scattered throughout the Philippines. In some cases, command Nos. 95020 and 97454, the petitions are also GRANTED, and the orders
units, such as the Scout Rangers, have already been disbanded. of the respondent courts for the release of the private respondents are
After the charges were completed, the same still had to pass hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.
review and approval by the AFP Chief of Staff.
SO ORDERED.
While accepting this explanation, the Court nevertheless must
reiterate the following admonition:
Chapter 3 xxx xxx xxx 2
Denying the plea for reconsideration, the Civil Service
G.R. No. 88979 February 7, 1992 Commission (CSC) emphasized:
xxx xxx xxx
LYDIA O. CHUA, petitioner, We regret to inform you that your request cannot be
vs. granted. The provision of Section 3.1 of Joint DBM-CSC
THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, THE NATIONAL IRRIGATION Circular Letter No. 89-1 does not only require an applicant
ADMINISTRATION and THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND to have two years of satisfactory service on the date of
MANAGEMENT, respondents. separation/retirement but further requires said applicant
to be on a casual, emergency, temporary or regular
PADILLA, J.: employment status as of December 2, 1988, the date of
enactment of R.A. 6683. The law does not contemplate
contractual employees in the coverage.
Pursuant to the policy of streamlining and trimming the
bureaucracy, Republic Act No. 6683 was approved on 2
December 1988 providing for benefits for early retirement and Inasmuch as your employment as of December 31, 1988,
voluntary separation from the government service as well as for the date of your separation from the service, is co-
involuntary separation due to reorganization. Deemed qualified terminous with the NIA project which is contractual in
to avail of its benefits are those enumerated in Sec. 2 of the Act, nature, this Commission shall sustain its original decision.
as follows:
xxx xxx xxx3
Sec. 2. Coverage. — This Act shall cover all appointive In view of such denial, petitioner is before this Court by way of
officials and employees of the National Government, a special civil action for certiorari, insisting that she is entitled to
including government-owned or controlled corporations the benefits granted under Republic Act No. 6683. Her
with original charters, as well as the personnel of all local arguments:
government units. The benefits authorized under this Act
shall apply to all regular, temporary, casual and emergency It is submitted that R.A. 6683, as well as Section 3.1 of the
employees, regardless of age, who have rendered at least a Joint DBM-CSC Circular Letter No. 89-1 requires an
total of two (2) consecutive years of government service as applicant to be on a casual, emergency, temporary or
of the date of separation. Uniformed personnel of the regular employment status. Likewise, the provisions of
Armed Forces of the Philippines including those of the PC- Section 23 (sic) of the Joint DBM-CSC Circular Letter No. 88-
INP are excluded from the coverage of this Act. 1, implementing guidelines of R.A. No. 6683, provides:

Petitioner Lydia Chua believing that she is qualified to avail of "2.3 Excluded from the benefits under R.A. No. 6683 are
the benefits of the program, filed an application on 30 January the following:
1989 with respondent National Irrigation Administration (NIA)
which, however, denied the same; instead, she was offered a) Experts and Consultants hired by agencies for a limited
separation benefits equivalent to one half (1/2) month basic period to perform specific activities or services with a
pay for every year of service commencing from 1980. A definite expected output: i.e. membership in Task Force,
recourse by petitioner to the Civil Service Commission yielded Part-Time, Consultant/Employees.
negative results. 1 Her letter for reconsideration dated 25 April
1989 pleaded thus: b) Uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines including those of the Philippine Constabulary
xxx xxx xxx and Integrated National Police (PC-INP).
With due respect, I think the interpretation of the
Honorable Commissioner of RA 6683 does not conform c) Appointive officials and employees who retire or elect
with the beneficent purpose of the law. The law merely to be separated from the service for optional retirement
requires that a government employee whether regular, with gratuity under R.A. No. 1616, 4968 or with pension
temporary, emergency, or casual, should have two under R.A. No. 186, as amended by R.A. No. 6680 or P.D.
consecutive years of government service in order to be No. 1146, an amended, or vice- versa.
entitled to its benefits. I more than meet the requirement.
Persons who are not entitled are consultants, experts and d) Officials and employees who retired voluntarily prior
contractual(s). As to the budget needed, the law provides to the enactment of this law and have received the
that the Department of Budget and Management will corresponding benefits of that retirement/separation.
shoulder a certain portion of the benefits to be allotted to
government corporations. Moreover, personnel of these e) Officials and employees with pending cases punishable
NIA special projects art entitled to the regular benefits, by mandatory separation from the service under existing
such (sic) leaves, compulsory retirement and the like. There civil service laws, rules and regulations; provided that if
is no reason why we should not be entitled to RA 6683.
such officials and employees apply in writing within the 5. The law applies only to employees of the national
prescriptive period for the availment of the benefits government, government-owned or controlled corporations
herein authorized, shall be allowed only if acquitted or with original charters and local government units.
cleared of all charges and their application accepted and
approved by the head of office concerned." Due to the impossibility of reconciling the conflicting
interpretations of the parties, the Court is called upon to define
Based on the above exclusions, herein petitioner does not the different classes of employees in the public sector (i.e.
belong to any one of them. Ms. Chua is a full time government civil servants).
employee of NIA entitled to all the regular benefits
provided for by the Civil Service Commission. She held a Who are regular employees? The Labor Code in Art. 280 (P.D.
permanent status as Personnel Assistant A, a position No. 492, as amended) deems an employment regular where the
which belongs to the Administrative Service. . . . If casuals employee has been engaged to perform activities which are
and emergency employees were given the benefit of R.A. usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of
6683 with more reason that this petitioner who was the employer. No equivalent definition can be found in P.D.No.
holding a permanent status as Personnel Assistant A and 807 (promulgated on 6 October 1975, which superseded the
has rendered almost 15 years of faithful, continuous Civil Service Act of 1965 — R.A. No. 2260) or in the
service in the government should be similarly rewarded by Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292
the beneficient (sic) purpose of the law. 4 promulgated on 25 July 1987). The Early Retirement Law itself
(Rep. Act No. 6683) merely includes such class of employees
The NIA and the Civil Service Commission reiterate in their (regular employees) in its coverage, unmindful that no such
comment petitioner's exclusion from the benefits of Republic specie is employed in the public sector.
Act No. 6683, because:
The appointment status of government employees in the career
1. Petitioner's employment is co-terminous with the project per service is classified as follows:
appointment papers kept by the Administrative Service in the
head office of NIA (the service record was issued by the 1. permanent — one issued to a person who has met the
Watershed Management and Erosion Control Project (WMECP), requirements of the position to which appointment is made, in
Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija). The project, funded by the World accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Act and the
Bank, was completed as of 31 December 1988, after which Rules and Standards promulgated in pursuance thereof; 7
petitioner's position became functus officio.
2. temporary — In the absence of appropriate eligibles and it
2. Petitioner is not a regular and career employee of NIA — her becomes necessary in the public interest to fill a vacancy, a
position is not included in its regular plantilla. She belongs to temporary appointment should be issued to a person who
the non-career service (Sec. 6, P.D. No. 807) which is inherently meets all the requirements for the position to which he is being
short-lived, temporary and transient; on the other hand, appointed except the appropriate civil service eligibility:
retirement presupposes employment for a long period. The Provided, That such temporary appointment shall not exceed
most that a non-career personnel can expect upon the twelve months, but the appointee may be replaced sooner if a
expiration of his employment is financial assistance. Petitioner qualified civil service eligible becomes available. 8
is not even qualified to retire under the GSIS law.
The Administrative Code of 1987 characterizes the Career
3. Assuming arguendo that petitioner's appointment is Service as:
permanent, security of tenure is available only for the term of
office (i.e., duration of project). (1) Open Career positions for appointment to which prior
qualification in an appropriate examination is required;
4. The objective of Republic Act No. 6683 is not really to grant (2) Closed Career positions which are scientific, or highly
separation or retirement benefits but reorganization 5to technical in nature; these include the faculty and academic
streamline government functions. The application of the law staff of state colleges and universities, and scientific and
must be made consistent with the purpose for which it was technical positions in scientific or research institutions
enacted. Thus, as the expressed purpose of the law is to which shall establish and maintain their own merit systems;
reorganize the government, it will not have any application to (3) Positions in the Career Executive Service; namely,
special projects such as the WMECP which exists only for a Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director,
short and definite period. This being the nature of special Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant
projects, there is no necessity for offering its personnel early Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other
retirement benefits just to induce voluntary separation as a officers of equivalent rank as may be identified by the
step to reorganization. In fact, there is even no need of Career Executive Service Board, all of whom are appointed
reorganizing the WMECP considering its short and limited life- by the President.
span. 6
(4) Career officers, other than those in the Career Executive was with the NIA-FES III; R & R Division, then on 1 January
Service, who are appointed by the President, such as the 1977 to 31 May 1980, she was with NIA — UPR IIS (Upper
Foreign Service Officers in the Department of Foreign Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems) DRD. On 1
Affairs; June 1980, she went to NIA — W.M.E.C.P. (Watershed
(5) Commission officers and enlisted men of the Armed Management & Erosion Control Project) retaining the
Forces which shall maintain a separate merit system; status of temporary employee. While with this project, her
(6) Personnel of government-owned or controlled designation was changed to personnel assistant on 5
corporations, whether performing governmental or November 1981; starting 9 July 1982, the status
proprietary functions, who do not fall under the non-career became permanent until the completion of the project on
service; and 31 December 1988. The appointment paper 12attached to
(7) Permanent laborers, whether skilled, semi-skilled, or the OSG's comment lists her status as co-terminus with the
unskilled. 9 Project.

The Non-Career Service, on the other hand, is characterized by: The employment status of personnel hired under foreign —
assisted projects is considered co-terminous, that is, they are
. . . (1) entrance on bases other than those of the usual considered employees for the duration of the project or until
tests of merit and fitness utilized for the career service; and the completion or cessation of said project (CSC Memorandum
(2) tenure which is limited to a period specified by law, or Circular No. 39, S. 1990, 27 June 1990).
which is coterminous with that of the appointing authority
or subject to his pleasure, or which is limited to the Republic Act No. 6683 seeks to cover and benefits regular,
duration of a particular project for which purpose temporary, casual and emergency employees who have
employment was made. rendered at least a total of two (2) consecutive years
government service.
Included in the non-career service are:
Resolution No. 87-104 of the CSC, 21 April 1987, provides:
1. elective officials and their personal or confidential staff;
2. secretaries and other officials of Cabinet rank who hold WHEREAS, pursuant to Executive Order No. 966 dated June
their positions at the pleasure of the President and their 22, 1984, the Civil Service Commission is charged with the
personal confidential staff(s); function of determining creditable services for retiring
3. Chairman and Members of Commissions and boards with officers and employees of the national government;
fixed terms of office and their personal or confidential staff;
4. contractual personnel or those whose employment in WHEREAS, Section 4 (b) of the same Executive Order No.
the government is in accordance with a special contract to 966 provides that all previous services by an
undertake a specific work or job requiring special or officer/employee pursuant to a duly approved
technical skills not available in the employing agency, to be appointment to a position in the Civil Service are
accomplished within a specific period, which in no case considered creditable services, while Section 6 (a) thereof
shall exceed one year and performs or accomplishes the states that services rendered on contractual,
specific work or job, under his own responsibility with a emergency or casual status are non-creditable services;
minimum of direction and supervision from the hiring
agency. WHEREAS, there is a need to clarify the aforesaid
5. emergency and seasonal personnel. 10 provisions inasmuch as some contractual, emergency or
casual employment are covered by contracts or
There is another type of non-career employee: appointments duly approved by the Commission.

Casual — where and when employment is not permanent NOW, therefore, the Commission resolved that services
but occasional, unpredictable, sporadic and brief in nature rendered on contractual, emergency or casual status,
(Caro v. Rilloroza, 102 Phil. 70; Manuel v. P.P. Gocheco irrespective of the mode or manner of payment therefor
Lumber Co., 96 Phil. 945) shall be considered as creditable for retirement purposes
subject to the following conditions: (emphasis provided)
Consider petitioner's record of service:
1. These services are supported by approved
Service with the government commenced on 2 December appointments, official records and/or other competent
1974 designated as a laborer holding emergency status evidence. Parties/agencies concerned shall submit the
with the NIA — Upper Pampanga River Project, R & R necessary proof of said services;
Division. 11 From 24 March 1975 to 31 August 1975, she 2. Said services are on full time basis and rendered prior
was a research aide with temporary status on the same to June 22, 1984, the effectivity date of Executive Order
project. On 1 September 1975 to 31 December 1976, she No. 966; and
3. The services for the three (3) years period prior to its meaning and confine its terms and benefits to those
retirement are continuous and fulfill the service expressly mentioned 14 or casus omissus pro omisso habendus
requirement for retirement. est — A person, object or thing omitted from an enumeration
must be held to have been omitted intentionally. 15 Yet
What substantial differences exist, if any, between casual, adherence to these legal maxims can result in incongruities and
emergency, seasonal, project, co-terminous or contractual in a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
personnel? All are tenurial employees with no fixed term, non-
career, and temporary. The 12 May 1989 CSC letter of The case of Fegurin, et al. v. NLRC, et al., 16 comes to mind
denial 13 characterized herein petitioner's employment as co- where, workers belonging to a work pool, hired and re-hired
terminous with the NIA project which in turn was contractual in continuously from one project to another were considered non-
nature. The OSG says petitioner's status is co-terminous with project-regular and permanent employees.
the Project. CSC Memorandum Circular No. 11, series of 1991 (5
April 1991) characterizes the status of a co-terminous Petitioner Lydia Chua was hired and re-hired in four (4)
employee — successive projects during a span of fifteen (15) years. Although
no proof of the existence of a work pool can be assumed, her
(3) Co-terminous status shall be issued to a person whose service record cannot be disregarded.
entrance in the service is characterized by confidentiality
by the appointing authority or that which is subject to his Art. III, Sec. 1 of the 1987 Constitution guarantees: "No person
pleasure or co-existent with his tenure. shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal
The foregoing status (co-terminous) may be further protection of the laws."
classified into the following:
. . . In Felwa vs. Salas, L-26511, Oct. 29, 1966, We ruled that
a) co-terminous with the project — When the the equal protection clause applies only to persons or
appointment is co-existent with the duration of a things identically situated and does not bar a reasonable
particular project for which purpose employment was classification of the subject of legislation, and a
made or subject to the availability of funds for the same; classification is reasonable where (1) it is based on
b) co-terminous with the appointing authority — when substantial distinctions which make real differences; (2)
appointment is co-existent with the tenure of the these are germane to the purpose of the law; (3) the
appointing authority. classification applies not only to present conditions but also
c) co-terminous with the incumbent — when to future conditions which are substantially identical to
appointment is co-existent with the appointee, in that those of the present; (4) the classification applies only to
after the resignation, separation or termination of the those who belong to the same class. 17
services of the incumbent the position shall be deemed
automatically abolished; and Applying the criteria set forth above, the Early Retirement Law
d) co-terminous with a specific period, e.g. "co-terminous would violate the equal protection clause were we to sustain
for a period of 3 years" — the appointment is for a respondents' submission that the benefits of said law are to be
specific period and upon expiration thereof, the position denied a class of government employees who are similarly
is deemed abolished. situated as those covered by said law. The maxim of Expressio
unius est exclusio alterius should not be the applicable maxim in
It is stressed, however, that in the last two classifications this case but the doctrine of necessary implication which holds
(c) and (d), what is termed co-terminous is the position, that:
and not the appointee-employee. Further, in (c) the
security of tenure of the appointee is guaranteed during his No statute can be enacted that can provide all the details
incumbency; in (d) the security of tenure is limited to a involved in its application. There is always an omission that
specific period. may not meet a particular situation. What is thought, at the
time of enactment, to be an all-embracing legislation may
A co-terminous employee is a non-career civil servant, be inadequate to provide for the unfolding events of the
like casual and emergency employees. We see no solid reason future. So-called gaps in the law develop as the law is
why the latter are extended benefits under the Early enforced. One of the rules of statutory construction used to
Retirement Law but the former are not. It will be noted that fill in the gap is the doctrine of necessary implication. The
Rep. Act No. 6683 expressly extends its benefits for early doctrine states that what is implied in a statute is as much
retirement to regular, temporary, a part thereof as that which is expressed. Every statute is
casual and emergency employees. But specifically excluded understood, by implication, to contain all such provisions as
from the benefits are uniformed personnel of the AFP including may be necessary to effectuate its object and purpose, or
those of the PC-INP. It can be argued that, expressio unius est to make effective rights, powers, privileges or jurisdiction
exclusio alterius. The legislature would not have made a specific which it grants, including all such collateral and subsidiary
enumeration in a statute had not the intention been to restrict consequences as may be fairly and logically inferred from
its terms. Ex necessitate legis. And every statutory grant of to the benefits of early retirement. How can the objective of the
power, right or privilege is deemed to include all incidental Early Retirement Law of trimming the bureaucracy be achieved
power, right or privilege. This is so because the greater by granting early retirement benefits to a group of employees
includes the lesser, expressed in the Maxim, in eo plus sit, (casual) without plantilla positions? There would, in such a case,
simper inest et minus. 18 be no abolition of permanent positions or streamlining of
functions; it would merely be a removal of excess personnel;
During the sponsorship speech of Congressman Dragon (re: but the positions remain, and future appointments can be
Early Retirement Law), in response to Congressman Dimaporo's made thereto.
interpellation on coverage of state university employees who
are extended appointments for one (1) year, renewable for two Co-terminous or project personnel, on the other hand, who
(2) or three (3) years, 19 he explained: have rendered years of continuous service should be included
in the coverage of the Early Retirement Law, as long as they file
This Bill covers only those who would like to go on early their application prior to the expiration of their term, and as
retirement and voluntary separation. It is irrespective of long as they comply with CSC regulations promulgated for such
the actual status or nature of the appointment one purpose. In this connection, Memorandum Circular No. 14,
received, but if he opts to retire under this, then he is Series of 1990 (5 March 1990) implementing Rep. Act No.
covered. 6850, 20 requires, as a condition to qualify for the grant of
eligibility, an aggregate or total of seven (7) years of
It will be noted that, presently Pending in Congress, is House Bill government service which need not be continuous, in the
No. 33399 (a proposal to extend the scope of the Early career or non-career service, whether appointive, elective,
Retirement Law). Its wording supports the submission that Rep. casual, emergency, seasonal, contractual or co-
Act No. 6683 indeed overlooked a qualified group of civil terminous including military and police service, as evaluated
servants. Sec. 3 of said House bill, on coverage of early and confirmed by the Civil Service Commission. 21 A similar
retirement, would provide: regulation should be promulgated for the inclusion in Rep. Act
No. 6683 of co-terminous personnel who survive the test of
time. This would be in keeping with the coverage of "all social
Sec. 3. Coverage. — It will cover all employees of the
legislations enacted to promote the physical and mental well-
national government, including government-owned or
being of public servants"22 After all, co-terminous personnel, are
controlled corporations, as well as the personnel of all local
also obligated to the government for GSIS contributions,
government units. The benefits authorized under this Act
medicare and income tax payments, with the general
shall apply to all regular, temporary,
disadvantage of transience.
casual, emergency and contractual employees, regardless
of age, who have rendered at least a total of two (2)
consecutive years government service as of the date of In fine, the Court believes, and so holds, that the denial by the
separation. The term "contractual employees" as used in respondents NIA and CSC of petitioner's application for early
this Act does not include experts and consultants hired by retirement benefits under Rep. Act No. 6683 is unreasonable,
agencies for a limited period to perform specific activities unjustified, and oppressive, as petitioner had filed an
or services with definite expected output. application for voluntary retirement within a reasonable period
and she is entitled to the benefits of said law. While the
application was filed after expiration of her term, we can give
Uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the
allowance for the fact that she originally filed the application on
Philippines, including those of the PC-INP are excluded
her own without the assistance of counsel. In the interest of
from the coverage of this Act. (emphasis supplied)
substantial justice, her application must be granted; after all she
served the government not only for two (2) years — the
The objective of the Early Retirement or Voluntary Separation
minimum requirement under the law but for almost fifteen (15)
Law is to trim the bureaucracy, hence, vacated positions are
years in four (4) successive governmental projects.
deemed abolished upon early/voluntary retirement of their
occupants. Will the inclusion of co-terminous personnel (like the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.
petitioner) defeat such objective? In their case, upon
termination of the project and separation of the project
personnel from the service, the term of employment is Let this case be remanded to the CSC-NIA for a favorable
considered expired, the officefunctus officio. Casual, temporary disposition of petitioner's application for early retirement
and contractual personnel serve for shorter periods, and yet, benefits under Rep. Act No. 6683, in accordance with the
they only have to establish two (2) years of continuous service pronouncements in this decision.
to qualify. This, incidentally, negates the OSG's argument that
co-terminous or project employment is inherently short-lived, SO ORDERED.
temporary and transient, whereas, retirement presupposes
employment for a long period. Here, violation of the equal
protection clause of the Constitution becomes glaring because
casuals are not even in the plantilla, and yet, they are entitled
Chapter 3 "of not less than one half of one percent but not more than two percent of
G.R. No. L-37251 August 31, 1981 the assessed value of real property".
CITY OF MANILA and CITY TREASURER, petitioners-appellants,
vs. Section 41 of the said Code reaffirms the one percent tax on real property
JUDGE AMADOR E. GOMEZ of the Court of First Instance of Manila and for the Special Education Fund in addition to the basic two percent realty
ESSO PHILIPPINES, INC., respondents-appellees. tax.

AQUINO, J.:
This case is about the legality of the additional one-half percent (½%) realty So, there is no question now that the additional one-half percent realty tax
tax imposed by the City of Manila. is valid under the Real Property Tax Code. What is in controversy is the
legality of the additional one-half percent realty tax for the two-year period
from the third quarter of 1972 up to the second quarter of 1974.
Section 64 of the Revised Charter of Manila, Republic Act No. 409, which
took effect on June 18, 1949, fixes the annual realty tax at one and one-half
percent (1-½ %). We hold that the doctrine of implications in statutory construction sustains the
City of Manila's contention that the additional one-half percent realty tax is
sanctioned by the provision in section 4 of the Special Education Fund Law that
On the other hand, section 4 of the Special Education Fund Law, Republic "the total real property tax shall not exceed a maximum of three per centum.
Act No. 5447, which took effect on January 1, 1969, imposed "an annual
additional tax of one per centum on the assessed value of real property in
The doctrine of implications means that "that which is plainly implied in the
addition to the real property tax regularly levied thereon under existing language of a statute is as much a part of it as that which is expressed" (In
laws" but "the total real property tax shall not exceed a maximum of re McCulloch Dick, 38 Phil. 41, 45, 90; 82 C.J.S. 632, 73 Am Jur 2nd 404).
three per centrum.
While the 1949 Revised Charter of Manila fixed the realty tax at one and a half
That maximum limit gave the municipal board of Manila the Idea of fixing percent, on the other hand, the 1968 Special Education Fund Law definitively
the realty tax at three percent. So, by means of Ordinance No. 7125, fixed three percent as the maximum real property tax of which one percent
approved by the city mayor on December 26, 1971 and effective beginning would accrue to the Special Education Fund.
the third quarter of 1972, the board imposed an additional one-half
percent realty tax. The ordinance reads: The obvious implication is that an additional one-half percent tax could be
imposed by municipal corporations. Inferentially, that law fixed at two
SECTION 1. An additional annual realty tax of one-half percent (1/2%), or in percent the realty tax that would accrue to a city or municipality.
short a total of three percent (3%) realty tax (1-½% pursuant to the Revised
Charter of Manila; 1% per Republic Act No. 5447; and ½% per this And the fact that the 1974 Real Property Tax Code specifically fixes the real
Ordinance) on the assessed value ... is hereby levied and imposed. property tax at two percent confirms the prior intention of the lawmaker to
impose two percent as the realty tax proper. That was also the avowed
Esso Philippines, Inc. paid under protest the sum of P16,092.69 as intention of the questioned ordinance.
additional one-half percent realty tax for the third quarter of 1972 on its
land and machineries located in Manila. In invalidating the ordinance, the trial court upheld the view of Esso Philippines,
Inc, that the Special Education Fund Law refers to a contingency where the
application of the additional one percent realty tax would have the effect of
On November 9, 1972, Esso filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance
raising the total realty tax to more than three percent and that it cannot be
of Manila for the recovery of the said amount. It contended that the construed as an authority to impose an additional realty tax beyond the one
additional one-half percent tax is void because it is not authorized by the percent fixed by the said law.
city charter nor by any law (Civil Case No. 88827).
At first glance, that appears to be a specious or reasonable contention. But the
After hearing, the trial court declared the tax ordinance void and ordered fact remains that the city charter fixed the realty tax at 1-½% and the later law,
the city treasurer of Manila to refund to Esso the said tax. The City of the Special Education Fund Law, provides for three percent as the maximum
Manila and its treasurer appealed to this Court under Republic Act No. realty tax of which one percent would be earmarked for the education fund.
5440 (which superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court).
The unavoidable inference is that the later law authorized the imposition of an
The only issue is the validity of the tax ordinance or the legality of the additional one-half percent realty tax since the contingency referred to by the
additional one-half percent realty tax. complaining taxpayer would not arise in the City of Manila.

The petitioners in their manifestation of March 17, 1981 averred that the It is true, as contended by the taxpayer, that the power of a municipal
said tax ordinance is still in force; that Ordinance No. 7566, which was corporation to levy a tax should be expressly granted and should not be merely
enacted on September 10, 1974, imposed a two percent tax on commercial inferred. But in this case, the power to impose a realty tax is not controverted.
real properties (like the real properties of Esso and that that two percent What is disputed is the amount thereof, whether one and one-half percent only
or two percent. (See sec. 2 of Rep. Act No. 2264.)
tax plus the one percent tax under the Special Education Fund Law gives a
total of three percent realty tax on commercial properties.
As repeatedly observed, section 4 of the Special Education Fund Law, as
confirmed by the Real Property Tax Code, in prescribing a total realty tax of
Esso Philippines, Inc., now Petrophil Corporation, in its manifestation of
three percent impliedly authorizes the augmentation by one-half percent of the
March 2, 1981, revealed that up to this time it has been paying the pre-existing one and one- half percent realty tax.
additional one-half percent tax and that from 1975 to 1980 it paid the total
sum of P4,206,240.71 as three percent tax on its real properties.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is reversed and set aside. The
complaint of Esso Philippines, Inc. for recovery of the realty tax paid under
In this connection, it is relevant to note that section 39(2) of the Real protest is dismissed. No costs.
Property Tax Code, Presidential Decree No. 464, which took effect on June
1, 1974, provides that a city council may, by ordinance, impose a realty tax
SO ORDERED.
Chapter 3 election or take part therein, except to vote, if entitled
thereto, or to preserve public peace, if he is a peace officer.
G.R. No. 14129 July 31, 1962
Defendant-appellee argues that a justice of the peace is not
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, comprehended among the officers enumerated in Section 54 of
vs. the Revised Election Code. He submits the aforecited section
GUILLERMO MANANTAN, defendant-appellee. was taken from Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code,
which provided the following:
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant.
Padilla Law Office for defendant-appellee. SEC. 449. Persons prohibited from influencing elections. —
No judge of the First Instance, justice of the peace, or
REGALA, J.: treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province and no officer
or employee of the Philippine Constabulary, or any Bureau
or employee of the classified civil service, shall aid any
This is an appeal of the Solicitor General from the order of the
candidate or exert influence in any manner in any election
Court of First Instance of Pangasinan dismissing the information
or take part therein otherwise than exercising the right to
against the defendant.
vote.
The records show that the statement of the case and the facts,
When, therefore, section 54 of the Revised Election Code
as recited in the brief of plaintiff-appellant, is complete and
omitted the words "justice of the peace," the omission revealed
accurate. The same is, consequently, here adopted, to wit:
the intention of the Legislature to exclude justices of the peace
from its operation.
In an information filed by the Provincial Fiscal of
Pangasinan in the Court of First Instance of that Province,
The above argument overlooks one fundamental fact. It is to be
defendant Guillermo Manantan was charged with a
noted that under Section 449 of the Revised Administrative
violation Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. A
Code, the word "judge" was modified or qualified by the phrase
preliminary investigation conducted by said court resulted
"of First instance", while under Section 54 of the Revised
in the finding a probable cause that the crime charged as
Election Code, no such modification exists. In other words,
committed by defendant. Thereafter, the trial started upon
justices of the peace were expressly included in Section 449 of
defendant's plea of not guilty, the defense moved to
the Revised Administrative Code because the kinds of judges
dismiss the information on the ground that as justice of the
therein were specified, i.e., judge of the First Instance and
peace the defendant is one of the officers enumerated in
justice of the peace. In Section 54, however, there was no
Section 54 of the Revised Election Code. The lower court
necessity therefore to include justices of the peace in the
denied the motion to dismiss holding that a justice of the
enumeration because the legislature had availed itself of the
peace is within the purview Section 54. A second motion
more generic and broader term, "judge." It was a term not
was filed by defense counsel who cited in support thereof
modified by any word or phrase and was intended to
the decision of the Court of Appeals in People vs.
comprehend all kinds of judges, like judges of the courts of First
Macaraeg, (CA-G.R. No. 15613-R, 54 Off. Gaz., pp. 1873-76)
Instance, Judges of the courts of Agrarian Relations, judges of
where it was held that a justice of the peace is excluded
the courts of Industrial Relations, and justices of the peace.
from the prohibition of Section 54 of the Revised Election
Code. Acting on this second motion to dismiss, the answer
of the prosecution, the reply of the defense, and the It is a well known fact that a justice of the peace is sometimes
opposition of the prosecution, the lower court dismissed addressed as "judge" in this jurisdiction. It is because a justice
the information against the accused upon the authority of of the peace is indeed a judge. A "judge" is a public officer, who,
the ruling in the case cited by the defense. by virtue of his office, is clothed with judicial authority (U.S. v.
Clark, 25 Fed. Cas. 441, 422). According to Bouvier Law
Dictionary, "a judge is a public officer lawfully appointed to
Both parties are submitting this case upon the determination of
decide litigated questions according to law. In its most
this single question of law: Is a justice the peace included in the
extensive sense the term includes all officers appointed to
prohibition of Section 54 of the Revised Election Code?
decide litigated questions while acting in that
capacity, including justices of the peace, and even jurors, it is
Section 54 of the said Code reads:
said, who are judges of facts."

No justice, judge, fiscal, treasurer, or assessor of any


A review of the history of the Revised Election Code will help to
province, no officer or employee of the Army, no member
justify and clarify the above conclusion.
of the national, provincial, city, municipal or rural police
force and no classified civil service officer or employee shall
The first election law in the Philippines was Act 1582 enacted by
aid any candidate, or exert any influence in any manner in a
the Philippine Commission in 1907, and which was later
amended by Act. Nos. 1669, 1709, 1726 and 1768. (Of these 4 SEC. 449. Persons prohibited from influencing elections. —
amendments, however, only Act No. 1709 has a relation to the No judge of the First Instance, justice of the peace, or
discussion of the instant case as shall be shown later.) Act No. treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province and no officer
1582, with its subsequent 4 amendments were later on or employee of the Philippine Constabulary or any Bureau
incorporated Chapter 18 of the Administrative Code. Under the or employee of the classified civil service, shall aid any
Philippine Legislature, several amendments were made through candidate or exert influence in any manner in any election
the passage of Acts Nos. 2310, 3336 and 3387. (Again, of these or take part therein otherwise than exercising the right to
last 3 amendments, only Act No. 3587 has pertinent to the case vote. (Emphasis supplied)
at bar as shall be seen later.) During the time of the
Commonwealth, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth After the Administrative Code, the next pertinent legislation
Act No. 23 and later on enacted Commonwealth Act No. 357, was Act No. 3387. This Act reads:
which was the law enforced until June 1947, when the Revised
Election Code was approved. Included as its basic provisions are SEC. 2636. Officers and employees meddling with the
the provisions of Commonwealth Acts Nos. 233, 357, 605, 666, election. — Any judge of the First Instance, justice of the
657. The present Code was further amended by Republic Acts peace, treasurer, fiscal or assessor of any province, any
Nos. 599, 867, 2242 and again, during the session of Congress in officer or employee of the Philippine Constabulary or of the
1960, amended by Rep. Acts Nos. 3036 and 3038. In the history police of any municipality, or any officer or employee of
of our election law, the following should be noted: any Bureau of the classified civil service, who aids any
candidate or violated in any manner the provisions of this
Under Act 1582, Section 29, it was provided: section or takes part in any election otherwise by exercising
the right to vote, shall be punished by a fine of not less
No public officer shall offer himself as a candidate for than P100.00 nor more than P2,000.00, or by
elections, nor shall he be eligible during the time that he imprisonment for not less than 2 months nor more than 2
holds said public office to election at any municipal, years, and in all cases by disqualification from public office
provincial or Assembly election, except for reelection to the and deprivation of the right of suffrage for a period of 5
position which he may be holding, and no judge of the First years. (Approved December 3, 1927.) (Emphasis supplied.)
Instance, justice of the peace, provincial fiscal, or officer or
employee of the Philippine Constabulary or of the Bureau Subsequently, however, Commonwealth Act No. 357 was
of Education shall aid any candidate or influence in any enacted on August 22, 1938. This law provided in Section 48:
manner or take part in any municipal, provincial, or
Assembly election under the penalty of being deprived of SEC. 48. Active Interventation of Public Officers and
his office and being disqualified to hold any public office Employees. — No justice, judge, fiscal, treasurer or assessor
whatsoever for a term of 5 year: Provide, however, That the of any province, no officer or employee of the Army, the
foregoing provisions shall not be construe to deprive any Constabulary of the national, provincial, municipal or rural
person otherwise qualified of the right to vote it any police, and no classified civil service officer or employee
election." (Enacted January 9, 1907; Took effect on January shall aid any candidate, nor exert influence in any manner
15, 1907.) in any election nor take part therein, except to vote, if
entitled thereto, or to preserve public peace, if he is a
Then, in Act 1709, Sec. 6, it was likewise provided: peace officer.

. . . No judge of the First Instance, Justice of the peace This last law was the legislation from which Section 54 of the
provincial fiscal or officer or employee of the Bureau of Revised Election Code was taken.
Constabulary or of the Bureau of Education shall aid any
candidate or influence in any manner to take part in any It will thus be observed from the foregoing narration of the
municipal provincial or Assembly election. Any person legislative development or history of Section 54 of the Revised
violating the provisions of this section shall be deprived of Election Code that the first omission of the word "justice of the
his office or employment and shall be disqualified to hold peace" was effected in Section 48 of Commonwealth Act No.
any public office or employment whatever for a term of 5 357 and not in the present code as averred by defendant-
years, Provided, however, that the foregoing provisions appellee. Note carefully, however, that in the two instances
shall not be construed to deprive any person otherwise when the words "justice of the peace" were omitted (in Com.
qualified of the right to vote at any election. (Enacted on Act No. 357 and Rep. Act No. 180), the word "judge" which
August 31, 1907; Took effect on September 15, 1907.) preceded in the enumeration did not carry the qualification "of
the First Instance." In other words, whenever the word "judge"
Again, when the existing election laws were incorporated in the was qualified by the phrase "of the First Instance", the words
Administrative Code on March 10, 1917, the provisions in "justice of the peace" would follow; however, if the law simply
question read: said "judge," the words "justice of the peace" were omitted.
The above-mentioned pattern of congressional phraseology application to statutes that should be strictly construed. It is
would seem to justify the conclusion that when the legislature pointed out that Section 54 must be strictly construed against
omitted the words "justice of the peace" in Rep. Act No. 180, it the government since proceedings under it are criminal in
did not intend to exempt the said officer from its operation. nature and the jurisprudence is settled that penal statutes
Rather, it had considered the said officer as already should be strictly interpreted against the state.
comprehended in the broader term "judge".
Amplifying on the above argument regarding strict
It is unfortunate and regrettable that the last World War had interpretation of penal statutes, defendant asserts that the
destroyed congressional records which might have offered spirit of fair play and due process demand such strict
some explanation of the discussion of Com. Act No. 357 which construction in order to give "fair warning of what the law
legislation, as indicated above, has eliminated for the first time intends to do, if a certain line is passed, in language that the
the words "justice of the peace." Having been completely common world will understand." (Justice Holmes, in McBoyle v.
destroyed, all efforts to seek deeper and additional U.S., 283 U.S. 25, L. Ed. 816).
clarifications from these records proved futile. Nevertheless,
the conclusions drawn from the historical background of Rep. The application of the rule of "casus omisus" does not proceed
Act No. 180 is sufficiently borne out by reason hid equity. from the mere fact that a case is criminal in nature, but rather
from a reasonable certainty that a particular person, object or
Defendant further argues that he cannot possibly be among the thing has been omitted from a legislative enumeration. In the
officers enumerated in Section 54 inasmuch as under that said present case, and for reasons already mentioned, there has
section, the word "judge" is modified or qualified by the phrase been no such omission. There has only been a substitution of
"of any province." The last mentioned phrase, defendant terms.
submits, cannot then refer to a justice of the peace since the
latter is not an officer of a province but of a municipality. The rule that penal statutes are given a strict construction is not
the only factor controlling the interpretation of such laws;
Defendant's argument in that respect is too strained. If it is true instead, the rule merely serves as an additional, single factor to
that the phrase "of any province" necessarily removes justices be considered as an aid in determining the meaning of penal
of the peace from the enumeration for the reason that they are laws. This has been recognized time and again by decisions of
municipal and not provincial officials, then the same thing may various courts. (3 Sutherland, Statutory Construction, p. 56.)
be said of the Justices of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Thus, cases will frequently be found enunciating the principle
Appeals. They are national officials. Yet, can there be any doubt that the intent of the legislature will govern (U.S. vs. Corbet,
that Justices of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeals 215 U.S. 233). It is to be noted that a strict construction should
are not included in the prohibition? The more sensible and not be permitted to defeat the policy and purposes of the
logical interpretation of the said phrase is that it qualifies statute (Ash Sheep Co. v. U.S., 252 U.S. 159). The court may
fiscals, treasurers and assessors who are generally known as consider the spirit and reason of a statute, as in this particular
provincial officers. instance, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity,
contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of
The rule of "casus omisus pro omisso habendus est" is likewise the law makers (Crawford, Interpretation of Laws, Sec. 78, p.
invoked by the defendant-appellee. Under the said rule, a 294). A Federal District court in the U.S. has well said:
person, object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be
held to have been omitted intentionally. If that rule is The strict construction of a criminal statute does not mean
applicable to the present, then indeed, justices of the peace such construction of it as to deprive it of the meaning
must be held to have been intentionally and deliberately intended. Penal statutes must be construed in the sense
exempted from the operation of Section 54 of the Revised which best harmonizes with their intent and purpose. (U.S.
Election Code. v. Betteridge 43 F. Supp. 53, 56, cited in 3 Sutherland
Statutory Construction 56.)
The rule has no applicability to the case at bar. The maxim
"casus omisus" can operate and apply only if and when the As well stated by the Supreme Court of the United States, the
omission has been clearly established. In the case under language of criminal statutes, frequently, has been narrowed
consideration, it has already been shown that the legislature did where the letter includes situations inconsistent with the
not exclude or omit justices of the peace from the enumeration legislative plan (U.S. v. Katz, 271 U.S. 354; See also Ernest
of officers precluded from engaging in partisan political Brunchen, Interpretation of the Written Law (1915) 25 Yale L.J.
activities. Rather, they were merely called by another term. In 129.)
the new law, or Section 54 of the Revised Election Code, justices
of the peace were just called "judges." Another reason in support of the conclusion reached herein is
the fact that the purpose of the statute is to enlarge the officers
In insisting on the application of the rule of "casus omisus" to within its purview. Justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of
this case, defendant-appellee cites authorities to the effect that Appeals, and various judges, such as the judges of the Court of
the said rule, being restrictive in nature, has more particular Industrial Relations, judges of the Court of Agrarian Relations,
etc., who were not included in the prohibition under the old The argument is unacceptable. To begin with, House Bill No.
statute, are now within its encompass. If such were the evident 2676 was a proposed amendment to Rep. Act No. 180 as a
purpose, can the legislature intend to eliminate the justice of whole and not merely to section 54 of said Rep. Act No. 180. In
the peace within its orbit? Certainly not. This point is fully other words, House Bill No. 2676 was a proposed re-
explained in the brief of the Solicitor General, to wit: codification of the existing election laws at the time that it was
filed. Besides, the proposed amendment, until it has become a
On the other hand, when the legislature eliminated the law, cannot be considered to contain or manifest any legislative
phrases "Judge of First Instance" and justice of the peace", intent. If the motives, opinions, and the reasons expressed by
found in Section 449 of the Revised Administrative Code, the individual members of the legislature even in debates,
and used "judge" in lieu thereof, the obvious intention was cannot be properly taken into consideration in ascertaining the
to include in the scope of the term not just one class of meaning of a statute (Crawford, Statutory Construction, Sec.
judges but all judges, whether of first Instance justices of 213, pp. 375-376), a fortiori what weight can We give to a mere
the peace or special courts, such as judges of the Court of draft of a bill.
Industrial Relations. . . . .
On law reason and public policy, defendant-appellee's
The weakest link in our judicial system is the justice of the contention that justices of the peace are not covered by the
peace court, and to so construe the law as to allow a judge injunction of Section 54 must be rejected. To accept it is to
thereof to engage in partisan political activities would render ineffective a policy so clearly and emphatically laid down
weaken rather than strengthen the judiciary. On the other by the legislature.
hand, there are cogent reasons found in the Revised
Election Code itself why justices of the peace should be Our law-making body has consistently prohibited justices of the
prohibited from electioneering. Along with Justices of the peace from participating in partisan politics. They were
appellate courts and judges of the Court of First Instance, prohibited under the old Election Law since 1907 (Act No. 1582
they are given authority and jurisdiction over certain and Act No. 1709). Likewise, they were so enjoined by the
election cases (See Secs. 103, 104, 117-123). Justices of the Revised Administrative Code. Another which expressed the
peace are authorized to hear and decided inclusion and prohibition to them was Act No. 3387, and later, Com. Act No.
exclusion cases, and if they are permitted to campaign for 357.
candidates for an elective office the impartiality of their
decisions in election cases would be open to serious doubt. Lastly, it is observed that both the Court of Appeals and the trial
We do not believe that the legislature had, in Section 54 of court applied the rule of "expressio unius, est exclusion
the Revised Election Code, intended to create such an alterius" in arriving at the conclusion that justices of the peace
unfortunate situation. (pp. 708, Appellant's Brief.) are not covered by Section 54. Said the Court of Appeals:
"Anyway, guided by the rule of exclusion, otherwise known
Another factor which fortifies the conclusion reached herein is as expressio unius est exclusion alterius, it would not be beyond
the fact that the administrative or executive department has reason to infer that there was an intention of omitting the term
regarded justices of the peace within the purview of Section 54 "justice of the peace from Section 54 of the Revised Election
of the Revised Election Code. Code. . . ."

In Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. v. The Executive Secretary, the The rule has no application. If the legislature had intended to
Secretary of Justice, etc. (G.R. No. L-12601), this Court did not exclude a justice of the peace from the purview of Section 54,
give due course to the petition for certiorari and prohibition neither the trial court nor the Court of Appeals has given the
with preliminary injunction against the respondents, for not reason for the exclusion. Indeed, there appears no reason for
setting aside, among others, Administrative Order No. 237, the alleged change. Hence, the rule of expressio unius est
dated March 31, 1957, of the President of the Philippines, exclusion alterius has been erroneously applied. (Appellant's
dismissing the petitioner as justice of the peace of Carmen, Brief, p. 6.)
Agusan. It is worthy of note that one of the causes of the
separation of the petitioner was the fact that he was found Where a statute appears on its face to limit the operation
guilty in engaging in electioneering, contrary to the provisions of its provisions to particular persons or things by
of the Election Code. enumerating them, but no reason exists why other persons
or things not so enumerated should not have been
Defendant-appellee calls the attention of this Court to House included, and manifest injustice will follow by not so
Bill No. 2676, which was filed on January 25, 1955. In that including them, the maxim expressio unius est exclusion
proposed legislation, under Section 56, justices of the peace are alterius, should not be invoked. (Blevins v. Mullally 135 p.
already expressly included among the officers enjoined from 307, 22 Cal. App. 519.) .
active political participation. The argument is that with the filing
of the said House Bill, Congress impliedly acknowledged that FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, the order of dismissal entered by
existing laws do not prohibit justices of the peace from partisan the trial court should be set aside and this case is remanded for
political activities. trial on the merits.
Chapter 3 On September 5, 1970, the lower court issued an order requiring the
parties the Register of Deeds of Rizal to produce in court on October
G.R. No. L-33140 October 23, 1978 16, 1970 OCT No. 735 and certain transfer certificates of title derived
from that first or basic title. Later, the court required the production in
court of the plan of the land covered by OCT No. 735 allegedly for the
J. M. TUASON & CO., INC., JOSE M. TUASON, NICASIO A. TUASON,
purpose of determining whether the lands claimed by the plaintiffs and
TERESA TUASON, CELSO S. TUASON and SEVERO A.
the intervenors are included therein.
TUASON, petitioners,
vs.
HON. HERMINIO C. MARIANO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First On February 11, 1971, the Tuason and J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. filed the
Instance of Rizal MANUELA AQUIAL, MARIA AQUIAL, Spouses JOSE instant civil actions of certiorari and prohibition praying, inter alia, that
M. CORDOVA and SATURNINA C. CORDOVA, respondents. the trial court be ordered to dismiss the complaint and enjoined from
Sison Law Office and Senensio O. Ortile for petitioners. proceeding in the said case. After the petitioners had filed the proper
Hill & Associates Law Office for respondents Aquials. bond, a writ of preliminary injunction was issued. Respondents Aquial
Antonio E. Pesigan for respondents Cordovas. and Cordova answered the petition. The parties, except the Aquials,
filed memoranda in lieu of oral argument.
AQUINO, J.:
The issue is whether OCT No. 735 and the titles derived therefrom can
be questioned at this late hour by respondents Aquial and Cordova.
This is another litigation regarding the validity of the much
The supposed irregularities in the land registration proceeding, which
controverted Original Certificate of Title No. 735 covering the Santa
led to the issuance of the decree upon which OCT. No. 735 was based,
Mesa and D Estates of the Tuason mayorazgo or Entail with areas of
are the same issues raised in Civil Cases Nos. 3621, 3622 and 3623 of
877 (879) and 1,625 hectares, respectively (Barrette vs. Tuason, 50
the lower court. The 1965 decision of Judge Eulogio Mencias in those
Phil. 888; Benin case, infra).
cases, in validating OCT No. 735, is annexed to the complaint of the
Aquials. It is cited by them to support their support their action and it
On October 1, 1965, Manuela Aquial and Maria Aquial filed a might have encouraged them to ventilate their action in court.
complaint in forma pauperis in the Court of First Instance of Rizal Pasig
Branch X, wherein they prayed that they be declared the owners of a
On appeal to this Court, that decision was reversed and the validity of
parcel of land located at Balara, Marikina, Rizal (now Quezon City) and
OCT No. 735 and the titles derived therefrom was once more upheld.
bounded on the north by Sapang Mapalad, on the south by the land of
(Benin vs. Tuason, L-26127, Alcantara vs. Tuason, L-26128 and Pili vs.
Eladio, Tiburcio on the east by Sapang Kolotkolotan, and on the west
Tuason, L-26129, all decided on June 28, 1974, 57 SCRA 531).
by Sapang Kuliat The land, which has an area of three hundred eighty-
three quiñones was allegedly acquired by their father by means of a
Spanish title issued to him on May 10, 1877 (Civil Case No. 8943). The ruling in the Benin, Alcantara and Pili cases was applied in Mara,
Inc. vs. Estrella, L-40511, July 25, 1975, 65 SCRA 471. That ruling is
simply a reiteration or confirmation of the holding in the following
They alleged that sometime in 1960, or after J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc.
cases directly or incidentally sustaining OCT No. 735: Bank of the P. I.
had illegally entered upon that land, they discovered that it had been
vs. Acuña, 59 Phil. 183; Tiburcio vs. PHHC, 106 Phil. 447; Galvez and
fraudulently or erroneously included in OCT No. 735 of the Registry of
Tiburcio vs. Tuason y de la Paz, 119 Phil. 612; Alcantara vs. Tuason, 92
Deeds of Rizal and that it was registered in the names of defendants
Phil. 796; Santiago vs. J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. 110 Phil. 16; J. M.
Mariano, Teresa, Juan, Demetrio and Augusta all surnamed Tuason
Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. Bolaños, 95 Phil. 106; J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs.
pursuant to a decree issued on July 6. 1914 in Case No. 7681 of the
Santiago, 99 Phil. 615; J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. De Guzman, 99 Phil.
Court of Land Registration.
281; J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. Aguirre, 117 Phil. 110; J. M. Tuason &
Co., Inc. vs. Macalindong, 116 Phil. 1227; J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs.
They further alleged that transfer certificates of title, derived from OCT Magdangal, 114 Phil. 42; Varsity Hills, Inc. vs. Navarro, L-30889,
No. 735, were issued to defendants J. M. Tuason & Co., Inc., University February 29, 1972, 43 SCRA 503, and People's Homesite and Housing
of the Philippines and National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority Corporation vs. Mencias, L-24114, August 16, 1967, 20 SCRA 1031.
(Nawasa) which leased a portion of its land to defendant Capitol Golf
Club.
Considering the governing principle of stare decisis et non quieta
movere (follow past precedents and do not disturb what has been
Plaintiffs Aquial prayed that OCT No. 735 and the titles derived settled) it becomes evident that respondents Aquial and Cordova
therefrom be declared void due to certain irregularities in the land cannot maintain their action in Civil Case No. 8943 without eroding the
registration proceeding. They asked for damages. long settled holding of the courts that OCT No. 735 is valid and no
longer open to attack.
Defendant J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. filed a motion to dismiss on the
grounds of lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, prescription, laches It is against public policy that matters already decided on the merits be
and prior judgment. The plaintiffs opposed that motion. The lower relitigated again and again, consuming the court's time and energies at
court denied it. The grounds of the motion to dismiss were pleaded as the expense of other litigants: Interest rei publicae ut finis sit litium."
affirmative defenses in the answer of defendants Tuason and J. M. (Varsity Hills, Inc. vs. Navarro, supra).
Tuason & Co., Inc. They insisted that a preliminary hearing be held on
those defenses.
Finding the petition for certiorari and prohibition to be meritorious,
the trial court is directed to dismiss Civil Case No. 8943 with prejudice
On January 25, 1967, the spouses Jose M. Cordova and Saturnina C. and without costs. No costs.
Cordova, who had bought eleven hectares of the disputed land from
the plaintiffs, were allowed to intervene in the case.
SO ORDERED.
Chapter 3 the process, he reverted to his status as a dual citizen and
remained as such at the time that he filed his Certificate of
G.R. No. 210164 August 18, 2015 Candidacy for the position of mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del
Norte in the 2010 elections. Under Section 40(d) of the Local
ROMMEL C. ARNADO, Petitioner, Government Code, those with dual citizenship are disqualified
vs. from running for any elective local position.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and FLORANTE
CAPITAN, Respondents, Considering that the Court had pinpointed the defect in
Amado's oath of renunciation, the simple act of taking the oath
CONCURRING OPINION anew would have been enough compliance with the
requirement of the law.
SERENO, CJ:
The Decision found that from the time Amado used his US
passport to travel in and out of the country up to the filing of
In Moy Ya Lim Yao v. Commissioner of Immigration, 1 we
his Certificate of Candidacy for the succeeding elections in
emphasized the variable nature of a person's citizenship, which
2013, there had been no change in his circumstances. 9 He still
cannot be determined with finality or become the basis of rules
had not made a sworn renunciation of his US citizenship. Thus,
that can be applied to any and all proceedings thereafter. We
the ruling in Maquiling still applies: that Arnado had dual
said:
citizenship when he filed for his candidacy on 1 October 2012.
Everytime the citizenship of a person is material or
It did not matter that Maquiling was promulgated months after
indispensable in a judicial or administrative case, whatever the
Arnado had filed for candidacy. Since he was not totally
corresponding court or administrative authority decides therein
unaware that the use of his US passport might have adverse
as to such citizenship is generally not considered as res
consequences on his candidacy for the 2013 elections, the
adjudicata, hence it has to be threshed out again and again as
Decision concludes that he should have been prudent enough
the occasion may demand. 2
to remedy whatever defect there might have been in his
citizenship.10
In election contests, this pronouncement gains significance, as
elective local officials are constitutionally allowed to run and
Even J. Brion concedes that Amado could have been more
serve for three consecutive terms. 3 While citizenship is a
circumspect in order to secure his qualification to run for public
continuing requirement that must be possessed not only at the
office. 11 However, it is insisted that the members of this Court
time of election or assumption of office, but also during the
should remove the present case from the shadow of Maquiling
entire tenure of the official,4 it is not a continuing
and arrive at its resolution based merely on the attendant
disqualification to run for and hold public office.5
factual and legal considerations specific to it.12
As such, each case involving the question of an elective official's
It cannot be denied that by virtue of its being a decision of the
citizenship must be treated anew in accordance with the
Court that joins the country's body of laws as jurisprudence,
surrounding relevant facts and applicable laws.
Maquiling serves as a "legal consideration" in the resolution of
the present case. Maquiling' s application cannot be helped,
In this regard, I agree with some of the statements of J Brion in
especially since the Decision therein hinged not only on
his Dissenting Opinion. Indeed, the Court's ruling in Maquiling v.
relevant laws, but largely on the facts then presented before
COMELEc6 went only so far as to determine whether Rommel
the Court. Thus, while the legal conclusion in Maquiling was not
C. Arnado (Amado) was qualified to run for public office in the
a final determination of Amado's citizenship - as it applied only
2010 elections. It did not operate as, nor was it intended to be,
for purposes of the 2010 elections - the facts on which its legal
a final determination of Amado's citizenship that would forever
conclusion was founded cannot be totally ignored.
derail his career as a public official.
A person's citizenship may be "threshed out again and
In Maquiling, we reiterated that natural-born citizens of the
again"13 in every proceeding as long as it becomes relevant and
Philippines who have lost their citizenship by reason of their necessary. Except for some clearly unmeritorious cases, it is
naturalization as citizens of a foreign country may qualify to run
always a good idea to decide on the merits, especially in
for public office upon taking the Oath of Allegiance 7 and
election controversies in which the law is sometimes placed at
making a sworn renunciation of their foreign
odds with the will of the people. At the same time, the Court
citizenship.8 Arnado subjected his citizenship to attack when he
puts a premium on economy, and where previous declarations
continued to use his United States (US) passport to travel in and
of one's citizenship become pertinent, those cases may be used
out of the country despite previously renouncing his US
as a take-off point if only to emphasize the differences and
citizenship. The Court ruled that his use of his US passport
similarities, as well as the measures that were taken in the
nullified the effect of his previous renunciation of US
interim.
citizenship. While he did not lose his Philippine citizenship in
One point of contention between the Decision and the show that he presented his U.S. passport on 24 November
Dissenting Opinion is the finding that Arnado used his US 2009, on 21 January 2010, and on 23 March 2010. These facts
passport for his travels in and out of the country on 12 January were never refuted by Arnado.
2010 and 23 March 2010.
Thus, the ruling of the COMELEC En Banc is based on a
One point of contention between the Decision and the misapprehension of the facts that the use of the U.S. passport
Dissenting Opinion is the finding that Arnado used his US was discontinued when Amado obtained his Philippine
passport for his travels in and out of the country on 12 January passport.14 (Emphases supplied)
2010 and 23 March 2010.
It is important to clarify that the certification from the Bureau
Maquiling indeed made a finding that Arnado used his US of Immigration indicated that Amado arrived in the country
passport for travel on those dates. In the Court Resolution using his US passport on 12 January 2010 and 23 March
dated 2 July 2013, we said: 2010.15 The Court gave full credence to the certification, not
only because it carried with it the presumption of regularity, but
Well-settled is the rule that findings of fact of administrative more important, Arnado never bothered to refute the contents
bodies will not be interfered with by the courts in the absence thereof.
of grave abuse of discretion on the part of said agencies, or
unless the aforementioned findings are not supported by On the basis of this finding, the Court rejected the claim that
substantial evidence.1âwphi1 They are accorded not only great Amado's use of his US passport several times were mere
respect but even finality, and are binding upon this Court, isolated acts that were done only because he was not yet issued
unless it is shown that the administrative body had arbitrarily his Philippine passport.16
disregarded or misapprehended evidence before it to such an
extent as to compel a contrary conclusion had such evidence To my mind, this is the turning point of Maquiling that
been properly appreciated. regrettably still applies in this case: that whatever professions
of faith and allegiance to the Republic that Amado claims when
Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that COMELEC First his citizenship is in question, the fact remains that during the
instances that he used his US passport despite having a
Division found that Arnado used his U.S. Passport at least six Philippine passport in his possession, those same professions
times after he renounced his American citizenship. This was became hollow. And, that up to the filing of Amado's Certificate
debunked by the COMELEC En Banc, which found that Arnado of Candidacy for the 2013 elections, he failed to remedy the
only used his U.S. passport four times, and which agreed with fatal blow that such repeated use of his US passport dealt on his
Amado's claim that he only used his U.S. passport on those electoral qualifications.
occasions because his Philippine passport was not yet issued.
The COMELEC En Banc argued that Amado was able to prove I therefore concur with the DISMISSAL of the PETITION.
that he used his Philippine passport for his travels on the
following dates: 12 January 2010, 31 January 2010, 31 March
2010, 16 April 2010, 20 May 2010, and 4 June 2010.

None of these dates coincide with the two other dates


indicated in the certification issued by the Bureau of
Immigration showing that on 21 January 2010 and on 23 March
2010, Arnado arrived in the Philippines using his U.S. Passport
No. 057782700 which also indicated therein that his nationality
is USA-American. Adding these two travel dates to the travel
record provided by the Bureau of Immigration showing that
Arnado also presented his U.S. passport four times (upon
departure on 14 April 2009, upon arrival on 25 June 2009, upon
departure on 29 July 2009 and upon arrival on 24 November
2009), these incidents sum up to six.

The COMELEC En Banc concluded that "the use of the US


passport was because to his knowledge, his Philippine passport
was not yet issued to him for his use." This conclusion,
however, is not supported by the facts. Arnado claims that his
Philippine passport was issued on 18 June 2009. The records
show that he continued to use his U.S. passport even after he
already received his Philippine passport. Arnado's travel records
Chapter 4 The Deputy Sheriff of this Court is ordered to immediately serve
the Temporary Protection Order (TPO) upon the respondent
G.R. No. 201043 June 16, 2014 personally and to seek and obtain the assistance of law
enforcement agents, if needed, for purposes of effecting the
smooth implementation of this order.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Armed Forces
of the Philippines Finance Center (AFPFC), Petitioner,
vs. In the meantime, let copy of this order and petition be served upon
DAISY R. YAHON, Respondent. the respondent for him to file an OPPOSITION within a period of
five (5) days from receipt hereof and let a Preliminary Conference
and hearing on the merits be set on October 17, 2006 at 2:00
DECISION
o’clock in the afternoon.
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
To insure that petitioner can receive a fair share of respondent’s
retirement and other benefits, the following agencies thru their
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 heads are directed to WITHHOLD any retirement, pension and
which seeks to nullify and set aside the Decision1 dated November other benefits of respondent, S/SGT. CHARLES A. YAHON, a
29, 2011 and Resolution2 dated March 9, 2012 of the Court of member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned at 4ID,
Appeals (CA) Mindanao Station in CA-G.R. SP No. 02953-MIN. The Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City until further orders
CA affirmed the orders and decision of the Regional Trial Court from the court:
(RTC) of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 22 granting temporary and
permanent protection orders, and denying the motion to lift the
1. Commanding General/Officer of the Finance Center of the
said temporary protection order (TPO).
Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
Quezon City;
Daisy R. Yahon (respondent) filed a petition for the issuance of 2. The Management of RSBS, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon
protection order under the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. City;
9262,3 otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and 3. The Regional Manager of PAG-IBIG, Mortola St., Cagayan de
Their Children Act of 2004," against her husband, S/Sgt. Charles A. Oro City.
Yahon (S/Sgt. Yahon), an enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army
who retired in January 2006. Respondent and S/Sgt. Yahon were
VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.
married on June 8, 2003. The couple did not have any child but
respondent has a daughter with her previous live-in partner.
IF THE RESPONDENT APPEARS WITHOUT COUNSEL ON THE DATE
OF THE PRELIMINARYCONFERENCE AND HEARING ON THE MERITS
On September 28, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO, as follows:
OF THE ISSUANCE OF A PERMANENT PROTECTION ORDER, THE
COURT SHALL NOT RESCHEDULE OR POSTPONE THE PRELIMINARY
Finding the herein petition for the Issuance of Protection Order to CONFERENCE AND HEARING BUT SHALL APPOINT A LAWYER FOR
be sufficient in form and substance and to prevent great and THE RESPONDENT AND IMMEDIATELY PROCEED WITH THE SAID
irreparable injury to the petitioner, a TEMPORARY PROTECTION HEARING.
ORDER is forthwith issued to respondent, S/SGT. CHARLES A.
YAHON directing him to do the following acts:
IF THE RESPONDENT FAILS TO APPEAR ON THE DATE OF THE
PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE AND HEARING ON THE MERITS
1. Respondent is enjoined from threatening to commit or DESPITE PROPER NOTICE, THE COURT SHALL ALLOW EX-PARTE
committing further acts of physical abuse and violence against PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE BY THE PETITIONER AND RENDER
the petitioner; JUDGMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE PLEADINGS AND EVIDENCE ON
2. To stay away at a distance of at least 500 meters from RECORD. NO DELEGATION OF THE RECEPTION OF EVIDENCE SHALL
petitioner, her residence or her place of work; BE ALLOWED.
3. To refrain from harassing, annoying, intimidating,
contacting or communicating with petitioner; 4. Respondent is
SO ORDERED.4 (Emphasis supplied.)
prohibited from using or possessing any firearm or deadly
weapon on occasions not related to his job;
5. To provide reasonable financial spousal support to the S/Sgt. Yahon, having been personally served with copy of the TPO,
petitioner. appeared during the scheduled pre-trial but informed the court
that he did not yet have a counsel and requested for time to hire
his own counsel. However, he did not hire a counsel nor file an
The Local Police Officers and the Barangay Officials through the
opposition or answer to the petition. Because of his failure to
Chairman in the area where the petitioner and respondent live at
appear in the subsequent hearings of the case, the RTC allowed the
Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental and Bobuntogan, Jasaan,
ex-parte presentation of evidence to determine the necessity of
Misamis Oriental are directed to respond to any request for
issuance of a Permanent Protection Order (PPO).
assistance from the petitioner for the implementation of this order.
They are also directed to accompany the petitioner to their
conjugal abode at Purok 2, Bobuntogan, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental Meanwhile, as prayed for by respondent who manifested that
to get her personal belongings in order to insure the safety of the S/Sgt. Yahon deliberately refused to give her spousal support as
petitioner. directed in the TPO (she claimed that she had no source of
livelihood since he had told her to resign from her job and Pursuant to the order of the court dated February 6, 2007,
concentrate on keeping their house), the RTC issued another order respondent, S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon is directed to give it to
directing S/Sgt. Yahon to give respondent spousal support in the petitioner 50% of whatever retirement benefits and other claims
amount of ₱4,000.00 per month and fifty percent (50%) of his that may be due or released to him from the government and the
retirement benefits which shall be automatically deducted and said share of petitioner shall be automatically deducted from
given directly to respondent.5 respondent’s benefits and claims and be given directly to the
petitioner, Daisy R. Yahon.
In her testimony, respondent also said that S/Sgt. Yahon never
complied with the TPO as he continued making threats and Let copy of this decision be sent to the Commanding
inflicting physical abuse on her person, and failed to give her General/Officer of Finance Center of the Armed Forces of the
spousal support as ordered by the court. Philippines, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City; the Management
of RSBS, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City and the Regional
On July 23, 2007, the RTC rendered its Decision,6 as follows: Manager of PAG-IBIG, Mortola St., Cagayan de Oro City for their
guidance and strict compliance.
After careful review and scrutiny of the evidence presented in this
case, this court finds that there is a need to permanently protect SO ORDERED.7 (Emphasis supplied.)
the applicant, Daisy R. Yahon from further acts of violence that
might be committed by respondent against her. Evidences showed Herein petitioner Armed Forces of the Philippines Finance Center
that respondent who was a member of the Armed Forces of the (AFPFC), assisted by the Office of the Judge Advocate General
Philippines assigned at the Headquarters 4ID Camp Evangelista, (OTJAG), AFP, filed before the RTC a Manifestation and Motion (To
Cagayan de Oro City had been repeatedly inflicting physical, verbal, Lift Temporary Protection Order Against the AFP)8 dated November
emotional and economic abuse and violence upon the petitioner. 10, 2008. Stating that it was making a limited and special
Respondent in several instances had slapped, mauled and punched appearance, petitioner manifested that on August 29, 2008, it
petitioner causing her physical harm. Exhibits G and D are medical furnished the AFP Pension and Gratuity Management Center
certificates showing physical injuries suffered by petitioner inflicted (PGMC) copy of the TPO for appropriate action. The PGMC, on
by the respondent at instances of their marital altercations. September 2, 2008, requested the Chief, AFPFC the temporary
Respondent at the height of his anger often poked a gun on withholding of the thirty-six (36) Months Lump Sum (MLS) due to
petitioner and threatened to massacre her and her child causing S/Sgt. Yahon. Thereafter, on October 29, 2008, PGMC forwarded a
them to flee for their lives and sought refuge from other people. letter to the Chief of Staff, AFP for the OTJAG for appropriate
He had demanded sex from petitioner at an unreasonable time action on the TPO, and requesting for legal opinion as to the
when she was sick and chilling and when refused poked a gun at propriety of releasing the 36 MLS of S/Sgt. Yahon. Petitioner
her. Several police blotters were offered as evidence by petitioner informed the RTC that S/Sgt. Yahon’s check representing his 36
documenting the incidents when she was subjected to MLS had been processed and is ready for payment by the AFPFC,
respondent’s ill temper and ill treatment. Verbally, petitioner was but to date said check has not been claimed by respondent.
not spared from respondent’s abuses by shouting at her that he
was wishing she would die and he would celebrate if it happens Petitioner further asserted that while it has initially discharged its
and by calling and sending her threatening text messages. These obligation under the TPO, the RTC had not acquired jurisdiction
incidents had caused petitioner great psychological trauma causing over the military institution due to lack of summons, and hence the
her [to] fear for her life and these forced her to seek refuge from AFPFC cannot be bound by the said court order. Additionally,
the court for protection. Economically, petitioner was also petitioner contended that the AFPFC is not a party-in-interest and
deprived by respondent of her spousal support despite order of the is a complete stranger to the proceedings before the RTC on the
court directing him to give a monthly support of Php4,000.00. In issuance of TPO/PPO. Not being impleaded in the case, petitioner
view of the foregoing, this court finds a need to protect the life of lamented that it was not afforded due process and it was thus
the petitioner not only physically but also emotionally and improper to issue execution against the AFPFC. Consequently,
psychologically. petitioner emphasized its position that the AFPFC cannot be
directed to comply with the TPO without violating its right to
Based on the evidence presented, both oral and documentary, and procedural due process.
there being no controverting evidence presented by respondent,
this Court finds that the applicant has established her case by In its Order9 dated December 17, 2008, the RTC denied the
preponderance of evidence. aforesaid motion for having been filed out of time. It noted that
the September 28, 2006 TPO and July 23, 2007 Decision granting
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered Permanent Protection Order (PPO) to respondent had long become
GRANTING the petition, thus, pursuant to Sec. 30 of A.M. No. 04- final and executory.
10-1-SC, let a PERMANENT PROTECTION ORDER be issued
immediately and respondent, S/Sgt. CHARLES A.YAHON is ordered Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was likewise denied under
to give to petitioner, DAISY R. YAHON the amount of FOUR the RTC’s Order10 dated March 6, 2009.
THOUSAND PESOS (Php4,000.00) per month by way of spousal
support.
On May 27, 2009, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before
the CA praying for the nullification of the aforesaid orders and
decision insofar as it directs the AFPFC to automatically deduct
from S/Sgt. Yahon’s retirement and pension benefits and directly (b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying,
give the same to respondent as spousal support, allegedly issued telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. petitioner, directly or indirectly;
Respondent filed her Comment with Prayer for Issuance of
Preliminary Injunction, manifesting that there is no information as (c) Removal and exclusion of the respondent from the
to whether S/Sgt. Yahon already received his retirement benefit residence of the petitioner, regardless of ownership of the
and that the latter has repeatedly violated the TPO, particularly on residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the
the provision of spousal support. petitioner, or permanently where no property rights are
violated, and if respondent must remove personal effects from
After due hearing, the CA‘s Twenty-Second Division issued a the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent
Resolution11 granting respondent’s application, viz: to accompany the respondent to the residence, remain there
until respondent has gathered his things and escort
Upon perusal of the respective pleadings filed by the parties, the respondent from the residence;
Court finds meritorious private respondent’s application for the
issuance of an injunctive relief. While the 36-month lump sum (d) Directing the respondent to stay away from petitioner and
retirement benefits of S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon has already been any designated family or household member at a distance
given to him, yet as admitted by petitioner itself, the monthly specified by the court, and to stay away from the residence,
pension after the mentioned retirement benefits has not yet been school, place of employment, or any specified place
released to him. It appears that the release of such pension could frequented by the petitioner and any designated family or
render ineffectual the eventual ruling of the Court in this Petition. household member;

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, let a WRIT OF PRELIMINARY (e) Directing lawful possession and use by petitioner of an
INJUNCTION issue enjoining the Armed Forces of the Philippines automobile and other essential personal effects, regardless of
Finance Center, its employees, agents, representatives, and any all ownership, and directing the appropriate law enforcement
persons acting on its behalf, from releasing the remaining pension officer to accompany the petitioner to the residence of the
that may be due to S/Sgt. Charles A. Yahon. parties to ensure that the petitioner is safely restored to the
possession of the automobile and other essential personal
SO ORDERED.12 effects, or to supervise the petitioner’s or respondent’s
removal of personal belongings;
By Decision dated November 29, 2011, the CA denied the petition
for certiorari and affirmed the assailed orders and decision of the (f) Granting a temporary or permanent custody of a
RTC. The CA likewise denied petitioner’s motion for child/children to the petitioner;
reconsideration.
(g) Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman
In this petition, the question of law presented is whether petitioner and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding
military institution may be ordered to automatically deduct a other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an
percentage from the retirement benefits of its enlisted personnel, appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the
and to give the same directly to the latter’s lawful wife as spousal respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent's
support in compliance with a protection order issued by the RTC employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to
pursuant to R.A. No. 9262. the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in
the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child
without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his
A protection order is an order issued by the court to prevent
employer liable for indirect contempt of court;
further acts of violence against women and their children, their
family or household members, and to grant other necessary relief.
Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further harm, (h) Prohibition of the respondent from any use or possession
minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the of any firearm or deadly weapon and order him to surrender
opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.13 The the same to the court for appropriate disposition by the court,
protection orders issued by the court may be a Temporary including revocation of license and disqualification to apply for
Protection Order (TPO) or a Permanent Protection Order (PPO), any license to use or possess a firearm. If the offender is a law
while a protection order that may be issued by the barangay shall enforcement agent, the court shall order the offender to
be known as a Barangay Protection Order (BPO).14 surrender his firearm and shall direct the appropriate
authority to investigate on the offender and take appropriate
action on matter;
Section 8 of R.A. No. 9262 enumerates the reliefs that may be
included in the TPO, PPO or BPO, to wit:
(i) Restitution for actual damages caused by the violence
inflicted, including, but not limited to, property damage,
(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit
medical expenses, child care expenses and loss of income;
or committing, personally or through another, any of the acts
mentioned in Section 5 of this Act;
(j) Directing the DSWD or any appropriate agency to provide judgments and court orders. Section 13 of Rule 39 enumerates
petitioner temporary shelter and other social services that the those properties which are exempt from execution:
petitioner may need; and
SEC. 13. Property exempt from execution.– Except as otherwise
(k) Provision of such other forms of relief as the court deems expressly provided by law, the following property, and no other,
necessary to protect and provide for the safety of the shall be exempt from execution:
petitioner and any designated family or household member,
provided petitioner and any designated family or household xxxx
member consents to such relief. (Emphasis supplied.)
(l) The right to receive legal support, or money or property
Petitioner argues that it cannot comply with the RTC’s directive for obtained as such support, or any pension or gratuity from the
the automatic deduction of 50% from S/Sgt. Yahon’s retirement Government;(Emphasis supplied.)
benefits and pension to be given directly to respondent, as it
contravenes an explicit mandate under the law governing the
It is basic in statutory construction that in case of irreconcilable
retirement and separation of military personnel.
conflict between two laws, the later enactment must prevail, being
the more recent expression of legislative will.17 Statutes must be so
The assailed provision is found in Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. construed and harmonized with other statutes as to form a
1638,15 which states: Section 31. The benefits authorized under this uniform system of jurisprudence.18 However, if several laws cannot
Decree, except as provided herein, shall not be subject to be harmonized, the earlier statute must yield to the later
attachment, garnishment, levy, execution or any tax whatsoever; enactment. The later law is the latest expression of the legislative
neither shall they be assigned, ceded, or conveyed to any third will.19
person: Provided, That if a retired or separated officer or enlisted
man who is entitled to any benefit under this Decree has unsettled
We hold that Section 8(g) of R.A. No. 9262, being a later
money and/or property accountabilities incurred while in the
enactment, should be construed as laying down an exception to
active service, not more than fifty per centum of the pension
the general rule above-stated that retirement benefits are exempt
gratuity or other payment due such officer or enlisted man or his
from execution. The law itself declares that the court shall order
survivors under this Decree may be withheld and be applied to
the withholding of a percentage of the income or salary of the
settle such accountabilities. (Emphasis supplied.)
respondent by the employer, which shall be automatically remitted
directly to the woman "[n]otwithstanding other laws to the
A similar provision is found in R.A. No. 8291, otherwise known as contrary."
the "Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997," which
reads:
Petitioner further contends that the directive under the TPO to
segregate a portion of S/Sgt. Yahon’s retirement benefits was
SEC. 39. Exemption from Tax, Legal Process and Lien -- x x x illegal because said moneys remain as public funds, citing the case
of Pacific Products v. Ong.20 In that case, this Court sustained the
xxxx CA when it held that the garnishment of the amount of ₱10,500
payable to BML Trading and Supply while it was still in the
The funds and/or the properties referred to herein as well as the possession of the Bureau of Telecommunications was illegal and
benefits, sums or monies corresponding to the benefits under this therefore, null and void. The CA therein relied on the previous
Act shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, execution, levy rulings in Director of Commerce and Industry v. Concepcion 21 and
or other processes issued by the courts, quasi-judicial agencies or Avendano v. Alikpala, et al.22 wherein this Court declared null and
administrative bodies including Commission on Audit (COA) void the garnishment of the salaries of government employees.
disallowances and from all financial obligations of the members,
including his pecuniary accountability arising from or caused or Citing the two aforementioned cases, we thus declared in Pacific
occasioned by his exercise or performance of his official functions Products:
or duties, or incurred relative to or in connection with his position
or work except when his monetary liability, contractual or A rule, which has never been seriously questioned, is that money in
otherwise, is in favor of the GSIS. the hands of public officers, although it may be due government
employees, is not liable to the creditors of these employees in the
In Sarmiento v. Intermediate Appellate Court,16 we held that a process of garnishment. One reason is, that the State, by virtue of
court order directing the Philippine National Bank to refrain from its sovereignty may not be sued in its own courts except by express
releasing to petitioner all his retirement benefits and to deliver authorization by the Legislature, and to subject its officers to
one-half of such monetary benefits to plaintiff as the latter’s garnishment would be to permit indirectly what is prohibited
conjugal share is illegal and improper, as it violates Section 26 of CA directly. Another reason is that moneys sought to be garnished, as
186 (old GSIS Law) which exempts retirement benefits from long as they remain in the hands of the disbursing officer of the
execution. Government, belong to the latter, although the defendant in
garnishment may be entitled to a specific portion thereof. And still
The foregoing exemptions have been incorporated in the 1997 another reason which covers both of the foregoing is that every
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which governs execution of consideration of public policy forbids it.23
We disagree. D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a
woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to
Section 8(g) of R.A. No. 9262 used the general term "employer," the following:
which includes in its coverage the military institution, S/Sgt.
Yahon’s employer. Where the law does not distinguish, courts 1. Withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim
should not distinguish. Thus, Section 8(g) applies to all employers, from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation,
whether private or government. business or activity, except in cases wherein the other
spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as
It bears stressing that Section 8(g) providing for spousal and child defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;
support, is a support enforcement legislation.1âwphi1 In the
United States, provisions of the Child Support Enforcement 2. Deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources
Act24 allow garnishment of certain federal funds where the and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal,
intended recipient has failed to satisfy a legal obligation of child community or property owned in common;
support. As these provisions were designed "to avoid sovereign
immunity problems" and provide that "moneys payable by the 3. Destroying household property;
Government to any individual are subject to child support
enforcement proceedings," the law is clearly intended to "create a
4. Controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely
limited waiver of sovereign immunity so that state courts could
controlling the conjugal money or properties.28
issue valid orders directed against Government agencies attaching
funds in their possession."25
The relief provided in Section 8(g) thus fulfills the objective of
restoring the dignity of women who are victims of domestic
This Court has already ruled that R.A. No. 9262 is constitutional and
violence and provide them continued protection against threats to
does not violate the equal protection clause. In Garcia v.
their personal safety and security.
Drilon26 the issue of constitutionality was raised by a husband after
the latter failed to obtain an injunction from the CA to enjoin the
implementation of a protection order issued against him by the "The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure
RTC. We ruled that R.A. No. 9262 rests on real substantial that the victim or offended party is afforded all the remedies
distinctions which justify the classification under the law: the necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This
unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk of violence; to
that women are more likely than men to be victims of violence; accord the victim and any designated family or household member
and the widespread bias and prejudice against women. safety in the family residence, and to prevent the perpetrator from
committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of
the victim. It also enables the court to award temporary custody of
We further held in Garcia that the classification is germane to the
minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent
purpose of the law, viz:
their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial
support."29
The distinction between men and women is germane to the
purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence committed
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision
against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy,
dated November 29, 2011 and Resolution dated March 9, 2012 of
as follows:
the Court of Appeals Mindanao Station in CA-G.R. SP No. 02953-
MIN are AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.– It is hereby declared that the State
values the dignity of women and children and guarantees full
No costs.
respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to
protect the family and its members particularly women and
children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and SO ORDERED.
security.

Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence
committed against women and children in keeping with the
fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the
provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and other
international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is
a party.27

Under R.A. No. 9262, the provision of spousal and child support
specifically address one form of violence committed against
women – economic abuse.
Chapter 4 administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to
pay an administrative fine ranging from One Thousand Pesos (
G.R. No. 115245 July 11, 1995 P1,000.00) to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), in the
discretion of the Commission.
JUANITO C. PILAR, petitioner,
vs. The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent. of such failure; otherwise, it shall be enforceable by a writ of
execution issued by the Commission against the properties of the
offender.
QUIASON, J.:

It shall be the duty of every city or municipal election registrar to


This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of
advise in writing, by personal delivery or registered mail, within
Court assailing the Resolution dated April 28, 1994 of the Commission
five (5) days from the date of election all candidates residing in his
on Elections (COMELEC) in UND No. 94-040.
jurisdiction to comply with their obligation to file their statements
of contributions and expenditures.
I
On March 22, 1992, petitioner Juanito C. Pilar filed his certificate of
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this
candidacy for the position of member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Section, the administrative fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos
of the Province of Isabela.
(P2,000.00) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00), in the
discretion of the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be
On March 25, 1992, petitioner withdrew his certificate of candidacy. subject to perpetual disqualification to hold public office
(Emphasis supplied).
In M.R. Nos. 93-2654 and 94-0065 dated November 3, 1993 and
February 13, 1994 respectively, the COMELEC imposed upon petitioner To implement the provisions of law relative to election contributions
the fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for failure to file his and expenditures, the COMELEC promulgated on January 13, 1992
statement of contributions and expenditures. Resolution No. 2348 (Re: Rules and Regulations Governing Electoral
Contributions and Expenditures in Connection with the National and
In M.R. No. 94-0594 dated February 24, 1994, the COMELEC denied the Local Elections on
motion for reconsideration of petitioner and deemed final M.R. Nos. May 11, 1992). The pertinent provisions of said Resolution are:
93-2654 and 94-0065 (Rollo, p. 14).
Sec. 13. Statement of contributions and expenditures: Reminders
Petitioner went to the COMELEC En Banc (UND No. 94-040), which to candidates to file statements. Within five (5) days from the day
denied the petition in a Resolution dated April 28, 1994 (Rollo, pp. 10- of the election, the Law Department of the Commission, the
13). regional election director of the National Capital Region, the
provincial election supervisors and the election registrars shall
Hence, this petition for certiorari. advise in writing by personal delivery or registered mail all
candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy with them to
comply with their obligation to file their statements of
We dismiss the petition. contributions and expenditures in connection with the elections.
Every election registrar shall also advise all candidates residing in
II his jurisdiction to comply with said obligation (Emphasis supplied).
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 entitled "An Act Providing for Synchronized
National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms, Authorizing Sec. 17. Effect of failure to file statement. (a) No person elected to
Appropriations Therefor, and for Other Purposes" provides as follows: any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he
has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein
Statement of Contributions and Expenditures: Effect of Failure to required.
File Statement. Every candidate and treasurer of the political
party shall, within thirty (30) days after the day of the election, file The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which
in duplicate with the offices of the Commission the full, true and nominated the winning candidates fails to file the statement
itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures in required within the period prescribed by law.
connection with the election.
(b) Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file
No person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties statements or reports in connection with the electoral
of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and contributions and expenditures as required herein shall constitute
expenditures herein required. an administrative offense for which the offenders shall be liable to
pay an administrative fine ranging from One Thousand Pesos
The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which (P1,000) to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000), in the discretion of
nominated the winning candidate fails to file the statement the Commission.
required herein within the period prescribed by this Act.
The fine shall be paid within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice
Except candidates for elective barangay office, failure to file the of such failure; otherwise, it shall be enforceable by a writ of
statements or reports in connection with electoral contributions execution issued by the Commission against the properties of the
and expenditures as required herein shall constitute an offender.
For the commission of a second or subsequent offense under this Such statutes are not peculiar to the Philippines. In "corrupt and illegal
section, the administrative fine shall be from Two Thousand Pesos practices acts" of several states in the United States, as well as in
(P2,000) to Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000), in the discretion of federal statutes, expenditures of candidates are regulated by requiring
the Commission. In addition, the offender shall be subject to the filing of statements of expenses and by limiting the amount of
perpetual disqualification to hold public office. money that may be spent by a candidate. Some statutes also regulate
the solicitation of campaign contributions (26 Am Jur 2d, Elections §
Petitioner argues that he cannot be held liable for failure to file a 287). These laws are designed to compel publicity with respect to
statement of contributions and expenditures because he was a "non- matters contained in the statements and to prevent, by such publicity,
candidate," having withdrawn his certificates of candidacy three days the improper use of moneys devoted by candidates to the furtherance
after its filing. Petitioner posits that "it is . . . clear from the law that of their ambitions (26 Am Jur 2d, Elections § 289). These statutes also
candidate must have entered the political contest, and should have enable voters to evaluate the influences exerted on behalf of
either won or lost" (Rollo, p. 39). candidates by the contributors, and to furnish evidence of corrupt
practices for annulment of elections (Sparkman v. Saylor [Court of
Appeals of Kentucky], 180 Ky. 263, 202 S.W. 649 [1918]).
Petitioner's argument is without merit.

State courts have also ruled that such provisions are mandatory as to
Section 14 of R.A. No. 7166 states that "every candidate" has the
the requirement of filing (State ex rel. Butchofsky v. Crawford [Court of
obligation to file his statement of contributions and expenditures.
Civil Appeals of Texas], 269 S.W. 2d 536 [1954]; Best v. Sidebottom,
270 Ky. 423,109 S.W. 2d 826 [1937]; Sparkman v. Saylor, supra.)
Well-recognized is the rule that where the law does not distinguish,
courts should not distinguish, Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere
It is not improbable that a candidate who withdrew his candidacy has
debemos (Philippine British Assurance Co. Inc. v. Intermediate
accepted contributions and incurred expenditures, even in the short
Appellate Court, 150 SCRA 520 [1987]; cf Olfato v. Commission on
span of his campaign. The evil sought to be prevented by the law is not
Elections, 103 SCRA 741 [1981]). No distinction is to be made in the
all too remote.
application of a law where none is indicated (Lo Cham v. Ocampo, 77
Phil. 636 [1946]).
It is notesworthy that Resolution No. 2348 even contemplates the
situation where a candidate may not have received any contribution or
In the case at bench, as the law makes no distinction or qualification as
made any expenditure. Such a candidate is not excused from filing a
to whether the candidate pursued his candidacy or withdrew the
statement, and is in fact required to file a statement to that effect.
same, the term "every candidate" must be deemed to refer not only to
Under Section 15 of Resolution No. 2348, it is provided that "[i]f a
a candidate who pursued his campaign, but also to one who withdrew
candidate or treasurer of the party has received no contribution, made
his candidacy.
no expenditure, or has no pending obligation, the statement shall
reflect such fact."
The COMELEC, the body tasked with the enforcement and
administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
Lastly, we note that under the fourth paragraph of Section 73 of the
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall (The Constitution
B.P. Blg. 881 or the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, it is
of the Republic of the Philippines, Art. IX(C), Sec. 2[1]), issued
provided that "[t]he filing or withdrawal of certificate of candidacy
Resolution No. 2348 in implementation or interpretation of the
shall not affect whatever civil, criminal or administrative liabilities
provisions of Republic Act No. 7166 on election contributions and
which a candidate may have incurred." Petitioner's withdrawal of his
expenditures. Section 13 of Resolution No. 2348 categorically refers to
candidacy did not extinguish his liability for the administrative fine.
"all candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy."

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.


Furthermore, Section 14 of the law uses the word "shall." As a general
rule, the use of the word "shall" in a statute implies that the statute is
mandatory, and imposes a duty which may be enforced , particularly if
public policy is in favor of this meaning or where public interest is
involved. We apply the general rule (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 757
[1988]; Diokno v. Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 91 Phil. 608
[1952]).

The state has an interest in seeing that the electoral process is clean,
and ultimately expressive of the true will of the electorate. One way of
attaining such objective is to pass legislation regulating contributions
and expenditures of candidates, and compelling the publication of the
same. Admittedly, contributions and expenditures are made for the
purpose of influencing the results of the elections (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec.
94; Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 1). Thus, laws and regulations prescribe
what contributions are prohibited (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 95, Resolution
No. 2348, Sec. 4), or unlawful (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 96), and what
expenditures are authorized (B.P. Blg. 881, Sec. 102; R.A. No. 7166,
Sec. 13; Resolution No. 2348, Sec. 7) or lawful (Resolution No. 2348,
Sec. 8).
Chapter 4 minimum, to 2 years and 4 months of prision correccional, as
maximum.1
G.R. No. 110898 February 20, 1996
On December 21, 1992, respondent Judge Antonio C.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Evangelista of the RTC set the case for repromulgation on
vs. January 4, 1993.
HON. JUDGE ANTONIO C. EVANGELISTA, as Presiding Judge of
Branch XXI, 10th Judicial Region, RTC of Misamis Oriental, On December 28, 1992, private respondent filed a petition for
Cagayan de Oro City, and GRILDO S. TUGONON, respondents. probation,2 alleging that (1) he possessed all the qualifications
and none of the disqualifications for probation under P.D. No.
DECISION 968, as amended; (2) the Court of Appeals has in fact reduced
the penalty imposed on him by the trial court; (3) in its
MENDOZA, J.: resolution, the Court of Appeals took no action on a petition for
probation which he had earlier filed with it so that the petition
could be filed with the trial court; (4) in the trial court's
Private respondent Grildo S. Tugonan was charged with
decision, two mitigating circumstances of incomplete self-
frustrated homicide in the Regional Trial Court of Misamis
defense and voluntarily surrender were appreciated in his
Oriental (Branch 21), the information against him alleging
favor; and (5) in Santos To v. Paño,3 the Supreme Court upheld
the right of the accused to probation notwithstanding the fact
That on or about the 26th day of May, 1988, at more
that he had appealed from his conviction by the trial court.
or less 9:00 o'clock in the evening at Barangay
Publican+.3, Municipality of Villanueva, Province of
On February 2, 1993, the RTC ordered private respondent to
Misamis Oriental, Republic of the Philippines and
report for interview to the Provincial Probation Officer. The
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
Provincial Probation Officer on the other hand was required to
above-named accused with intent to kill and with the
submit his report with recommendation to the court within 60
use of a knife, which he was then conveniently
days.4
provided of, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously assault, attack and stab Roque T. Bade
thereby inflicting upon him the following injuries, to On February 18, 1993, Chief Probation and Parole Officer Isias
wit: B. Valdehueza recommended denial of private respondent's
application for probation on the ground that by appealing the
sentence of the trial court, when he could have then applied for
Stab wound, right iliac area,
probation, private respondent waived the right to make his
0.5 cm. penetrating non
application. The Probation Officer thought the present case to
perforating lacerating posterior
be distinguishable from Santos To v. Paño in the sense that in
peritoneum, 0,5 cm.
this case the original sentence imposed on private respondent
by the trial court (1 year of imprisonment) was probationable
thus performing all the acts of execution which would
and there was no reason for private respondent not to have
produce the crime of Homicide as a consequence but
filed his application for probation then, whereas in Santos To
which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of
v. Paño the penalty only became probationable after it had
causes independent of the will of the accused, that is
been reduced as a result of the appeal.
by timely medical attendance which prevented his
death.
On April 16, 1993 Valdehueza reiterated5 his "respectful
recommendation that private respondent's application for
CONTRARY TO and in violation of Article 249 in relation
probation be denied and that a warrant of arrest be issued for
to Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code.
him to serve his sentence in jail."

After trial he was found guilty and sentenced to one year


The RTC set aside the Probation Officer's recommendation and
of prision correccional in its minimum period and ordered to
granted private respondent's application for probation in its
pay to the offended party P5,000.00 for medical expense, order of April 23, 1993,6 Hence this petition by the prosecution.
without subsidiary imprisonment, and the costs. The RTC
appreciated in his favor the privileged mitigating circumstances
The issue in this case is whether the RTC committed a grave
of incomplete self-defense and the mitigating circumstance of
abuse of its discretion by granting private respondent's
voluntary surrender.
application for probation despite the fact that he had appealed
from the judgment of his conviction of the trial court.
On appeal the Court of Appeals affirmed private respondent's
conviction but modified his sentence by imposing on him an
The Court holds that it did.
indeterminate penalty of 2 months of arresto mayor, as
Until its amendment by P.D. No. 1990 in 1986, it was possible (1 year of prision correccional in its minimum period) and the
under P.D. No. 986, otherwise known as the Probation Law, for modified sentence imposed by the Court of Appeals (2 months
the accused to take his chances on appeal by allowing of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 2 years and 4 months
probation to be granted even after an accused had appealed his of prision correccional, as maximum) are probationable. Thus
sentence and failed to obtain an acquittal, just so long as he had the fact that he appealed meant that private respondent was
not yet started to serve the sentence.7 Accordingly, in Santos taking his chances which the law precisely frowns upon. This is
To v. Paño, it was held that the fact that the accused had precisely the evil that the amendment in P.D. No. 1990 sought
appealed did not bar him from applying for probation especially to correct, since in the words of the preamble to the
because it was as a result of the appeal that his sentence was amendatory law, "probation was not intended as an escape
reduced and made the probationable limit. hatch and should not be used to obstruct and delay the
administration of justice, but should be availed of at the first
The law was, however, amended by P.D. No. 1990 which took opportunity by offenders who are willing to be reformed and
effect on January 15, 19868 precisely to put a stop to the rehabilitated."
practice of appealing from judgments of conviction even if the
sentence is probationable for the purpose of securing an The ruling of the RTC that "[h]aving not perfected an appeal
acquittal and applying for probation only if the accused fails in against the Court of Appeals decision, [private respondent] is,
his bid. Thus, as amended by P.D. No, 1990, §4 of the Probation therefore, not covered by [the amendment in] P.D. 1990" is an
Law now reads: obvious misreading of the law. The perfection of the appeal
referred in the law refers to the .appeal taken from a judgment
§4. Grant of Probation. Subject to the provisions of this of conviction by the trial court and not that of the appellate
Decree, the trial court may, after it shall have court, since under the law an application for probation is filed
convicted and sentenced a defendant, and upon with the trial court which can only grant the same "after it shall
application by said defendant within the period for have convicted and sentenced [the] defendant, and upon
perfecting an appeal, suspend the execution of the application by said defendant within the period for perfecting
sentence and place the defendant on probation for an appeal. "Accordingly, in Llamado v. Court of Appeals, 10 it was
such period and upon such terms and conditions as it held that the petitioner who had appealed his sentence could
may deem best; Provided, That no application for not subsequently apply for probation.
probation shall be entertained or granted if the
defendant has perfected the appeal from the judgment WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the order of April 23,
of conviction. 1993 of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental (Branch 21)
granting probation to private respondent Grildo S. Tugonon is
Probation may be granted whether the sentence SET ASIDE.
imposes a term of imprisonment or a fine only. An
application for probation shall be filed with the trial SO ORDERED.
court. The filing of the application shall be deemed a
waiver of the right to appeal.

An order granting or denying probation shall not be


appealable. (Emphasis added).

Since private respondent filed his application for probation on


December 28, 1992, after P.D. No. 1990 had taken effect, 9 it is
covered by the prohibition that "no application for probation
shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected
the appeal from the judgment of conviction" and that "the filing
of the application shall be deemed a waiver of the right to
appeal," Having appealed from the judgment of the trial court
and having applied for probation only after the Court of Appeals
had affirmed his conviction, private respondent was clearly
precluded from the benefits of probation.

Private respondent argues, however, that a distinction should


be drawn between meritorious appeals (like his appeal
notwithstanding the appellate court's affirmance of his
conviction) and unmeritorious appeals. But the law does not
make any distinction and so neither should the Court. In fact if
an appeal is truly meritorious the accused would be set free and
not only given probation. Private respondent's original sentence
Chapter 4 charged; and (b) That no offense was committed since the
check involved was payable in dollars, hence, the obligation
G.R. No. 87416 April 8, 1991 created is null and void pursuant to Republic Act No. 529
(An Act to Assure Uniform Value of Philippine Coin and
CECILIO S. DE VILLA, petitioner, Currency).
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE On July 19, 1988, respondent court issued its first
PHILIPPINES, HONORABLE JOB B. MADAYAG, and ROBERTO Z. questioned orders stating:
LORAYES, respondents.
Accused's motion to dismiss dated July 5,
San Jose Enriquez, Lacas Santos & Borje for petitioner. 1988, is denied for lack of merit.
Eduardo R. Robles for private respondent.
Under the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22),
PARAS, J.: foreign checks, provided they are either
drawn and issued in the Philippines though
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse and set payable outside thereof, or made payable and
aside the decision* of the Court of Appeals promulgated on dishonored in the Philippines though drawn
February 1, 1989 in CA-G.R. SP No. 16071 entitled "Cecilio S. de and issued outside thereof, are within the
Villa vs. Judge Job B. Madayag, etc. and Roberto Z. Lorayes," coverage of said law. The law likewise applied
dismissing the petition for certiorari filed therein. to checks drawn against current accounts in
foreign currency.
The factual backdrop of this case, as found by the Court of
Appeals, is as follows: Petitioner moved for reconsideration but his motion was
subsequently denied by respondent court in its order dated
On October 5, 1987, petitioner Cecilio S. de Villa was September 6, 1988, and which reads:
charged before the Regional Trial Court of the National
Capital Judicial Region (Makati, Branch 145) with violation Accused's motion for reconsideration, dated
of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, allegedly committed as August 9, 1988, which was opposed by the
follows: prosecution, is denied for lack of
merit.1âwphi1
That on or about the 3rd day of April 1987, in the
municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines The Bouncing Checks Law is applicable to
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, checks drawn against current accounts in
the above-named accused, did, then and there foreign currency (Proceedings of the Batasang
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make or draw Pambansa, February 7, 1979, p. 1376, cited in
and issue to ROBERTO Z. LORAYEZ, to apply on Makati RTC Judge (now Manila City Fiscal)
account or for value a Depositors Trust Company Jesus F. Guerrero's The Ramifications of the
Check No. 3371 antedated March 31, 1987, payable Law on Bouncing Checks, p. 5). (Rollo, Annex
to herein complainant in the total amount of U.S. "A", Decision, pp. 20-22).
$2,500.00 equivalent to P50,000.00, said accused
well knowing that at the time of issue he had no A petition for certiorari seeking to declare the nullity of the
sufficient funds in or credit with drawee bank for aforequoted orders dated July 19, 1988 and September 6,
payment of such check in full upon its presentment 1988 was filed by the petitioner in the Court of Appeals
which check when presented to the drawee bank wherein he contended:
within ninety (90) days from the date thereof was
subsequently dishonored for the reason (a) That since the questioned check was drawn against
"INSUFFICIENT FUNDS" and despite receipt of notice the dollar account of petitioner with a foreign bank,
of such dishonor said accused failed to pay said respondent court has no jurisdiction over the same or
ROBERTO Z. LORAYEZ the amount of P50,000.00 of with accounts outside the territorial jurisdiction of the
said check or to make arrangement for full payment Philippines and that Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 could
of the same within five (5) banking days after have not contemplated extending its coverage over
receiving said notice. dollar accounts;

After arraignment and after private respondent had (b) That assuming that the subject check was issued in
testified on direct examination, petitioner moved to connection with a private transaction between petitioner
dismiss the Information on the following grounds: (a) and private respondent, the payment could not be legally
Respondent court has no jurisdiction over the offense
paid in dollars as it would violate Republic Act No. 529; Sec. 10. Place of the commission of the offense. The
and complaint or information is sufficient if it can be
understood therefrom that the offense was committed
(c) That the obligation arising from the issuance of the or some of the essential ingredients thereof occured at
questioned check is null and void and is not enforceable some place within the jurisdiction of the court, unless the
with the Philippines either in a civil or criminal suit. Upon particular place wherein it was committed constitutes an
such premises, petitioner concludes that the dishonor of essential element of the offense or is necessary for
the questioned check cannot be said to have violated the identifying the offense charged.
provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22. (Rollo, Annex
"A", Decision, p. 22). Sec. 15. Place where action is to be instituted. (a) Subject
to existing laws, in all criminal prosecutions the action
On February 1, 1989, the Court of Appeals rendered a shall be instituted and tried in the court of the
decision, the decretal portion of which reads: municipality or territory where the offense was
committed or any of the essential ingredients thereof
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby dismissed. Costs took place.
against petitioner.
In the case of People vs. Hon. Manzanilla (156 SCRA 279
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, Annex "A", Decision, p. 5) [1987] cited in the case of Lim vs. Rodrigo, 167 SCRA 487
[1988]), the Supreme Court ruled "that jurisdiction or
venue is determined by the allegations in the information."
A motion for reconsideration of the said decision was filed
by the petitioner on February 7, 1989 (Rollo, Petition, p. 6)
but the same was denied by the Court of Appeals in its The information under consideration specifically alleged
resolution dated March 3, 1989 (Rollo, Annex "B", p. 26). that the offense was committed in Makati, Metro Manila
and therefore, the same is controlling and sufficient to vest
jurisdiction upon the Regional Trial Court of Makati. The
Hence, this petition.
Court acquires jurisdiction over the case and over the
person of the accused upon the filing of a complaint or
In its resolution dated November 13, 1989, the Second
information in court which initiates a criminal action
Division of this Court gave due course to the petition and
(Republic vs. Sunga, 162 SCRA 191 [1988]).
required the parties to submit simultaneously their
respective memoranda (Rollo, Resolution, p. 81).
Moreover, it has been held in the case of Que v. People of
the Philippines (154 SCRA 160 [1987] cited in the case of
The sole issue in this case is whether or not the Regional
People vs. Grospe, 157 SCRA 154 [1988]) that "the
Trial Court of Makati has jurisdiction over the case in
determinative factor (in determining venue) is the place of
question.
the issuance of the check."

The petition is without merit.


On the matter of venue for violation of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22, the Ministry of Justice, citing the case of People
Jurisdiction is the power with which courts are invested for vs. Yabut (76 SCRA 624 [1977], laid down the following
administering justice, that is, for hearing and deciding cases guidelines in Memorandum Circular No. 4 dated December
(Velunta vs. Philippine Constabulary, 157 SCRA 147 [1988]). 15, 1981, the pertinent portion of which reads:

Jurisdiction in general, is either over the nature of the (1) Venue of the offense lies at the place where the check
action, over the subject matter, over the person of the was executed and delivered; (2) the place where the
defendant, or over the issues framed in the pleadings check was written, signed or dated does not necessarily
(Balais vs. Balais, 159 SCRA 37 [1988]). fix the place where it was executed, as what is of decisive
importance is the delivery thereof which is the final act
Jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the essential to its consummation as an obligation; . . . (Res.
statute in force at the time of commencement of the action No. 377, s. 1980, Filtex Mfg. Corp. vs. Manuel Chua,
(De la Cruz vs. Moya, 160 SCRA 538 [1988]). October 28, 1980)." (See The Law on Bouncing Checks
Analyzed by Judge Jesus F. Guerrero, Philippine Law
The trial court's jurisdiction over the case, subject of this Gazette, Vol. 7. Nos. 11 & 12, October-December, 1983,
review, can not be questioned. p. 14).

Sections 10 and 15(a), Rule 110 of the Rules of Court It is undisputed that the check in question was
specifically provide that: executed and delivered by the petitioner to herein
private respondent at Makati, Metro Manila.
However, petitioner argues that the check in question MR. MENDOZA. The bill refers to any check, Mr. Speaker,
was drawn against the dollar account of petitioner and this check may be a check in whatever currency. This
with a foreign bank, and is therefore, not covered by would not even be limited to U.S. dollar checks. The check
the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22). may be in French francs or Japanese yen or
deutschunorhs. (sic.) If drawn, then this bill will apply.
But it will be noted that the law does not distinguish
the currency involved in the case. As the trial court MR TUPAY. So it include U.S. dollar checks.
correctly ruled in its order dated July 5, 1988:
MR. MENDOZA. Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Under the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22),
foreign checks, provided they are either xxx xxx xxx
drawn and issued in the Philippines though
payable outside thereof . . . are within the (p. 1376, Records of the Batasan, Volume III; Emphasis
coverage of said law. supplied).

It is a cardinal principle in statutory construction that PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of
where the law does not distinguish courts should not merit.
distinguish.1âwphi1 Parenthetically, the rule is that
where the law does not make any exception, courts
may not except something unless compelling reasons
exist to justify it (Phil. British Assurance Co., Inc. vs.
IAC, 150 SCRA 520 [1987]).

More importantly, it is well established that courts


may avail themselves of the actual proceedings of the
legislative body to assist in determining the
construction of a statute of doubtful meaning (Palanca
vs. City of Manila, 41 Phil. 125 [1920]). Thus, where
there is doubts as to what a provision of a statute
means, the meaning put to the provision during the
legislative deliberation or discussion on the bill may be
adopted (Arenas vs. City of San Carlos, 82 SCRA 318
[1978]).

The records of the Batasan, Vol. III, unmistakably show


that the intention of the lawmakers is to apply the law
to whatever currency may be the subject thereof. The
discussion on the floor of the then Batasang Pambansa
fully sustains this view, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

THE SPEAKER. The Gentleman from Basilan is recognized.

MR. TUPAY. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Speaker.

THE SPEAKER. The Gentleman may proceed.

MR. TUPAY. Mr. Speaker, it has been mentioned by one


of the Gentlemen who interpellated that any check may
be involved, like U.S. dollar checks, etc. We are talking
about checks in our country. There are U.S. dollar checks,
checks, in our currency, and many others.

THE SPEAKER. The Sponsor may answer that inquiry.


Chapter 4 SEC, 2. The tax collected under the preceding section on foreign exchange
used for the payment of the cost, transportation and/or other charges
incident to importation into the Philippines of rice, flour, canned milk,
G.R. No. L-14787 January 28, 1961 cattle and beef, canned fish, soya beans, butterfat, chocolate, malt syrup,
tapioca, stabilizer and flavors, vitamin concentrate, fertilizer, poultry feed;
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE PHILIPPINE, INC., petitioner, textbooks, reference books, and supplementary readers approved by the
vs. Board of Textbooks and/or established public or private educational
institutions; newsprint imported by or for publishers for use in the
HON. PEDRO M. GIMENEZ as Auditor General and ISMAEL MATHAY
publication of books, pamphlets, magazines and newspapers; book paper,
as AUDITOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF THE book cloth, chip board imported for the printing of supplementary readers
PHILIPPINES, respondents. (approved by the Board of Textbooks) to be supplied to the Government
under contracts perfected before the approval of this Act, the quantity
Ross, Selph and Carrascoso for petitioner. thereof to be certified by the Director of Printing; anesthetics, anti-biotics,
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. vitamins, hormones, x-ray films, laboratory reagents, biologicals, dental
supplies, and pharmaceutical drugs necessary for compounding
GUTIERREZ DAVID, J.:
medicines; medical and hospital supplies listed in the appendix to this Act,
in quantities to be certified by the Director of Hospitals as actually needed
by the hospitals applying therefor; drugs and medicines listed in the said
The petitioner Colgate-Palmolive Philippines, Inc. is a corporation duly appendix; and such other drugs and medicines as may be certified by the
organized and existing under Philippine laws engaged in the manufacture of Secretary of Health from time to time to promote and protect the health
toilet preparations and household remedies. On several occasions, it imported of the people of the Philippines shall be refunded to any importer making
from abroad various materials such as irish moss extract, sodium benzoate, application therefor, upon satisfactory proof of actual importation under
sodium saccharinate precipitated calcium carbonate and dicalcium phosphate, the rules and regulations to be promulgated pursuant to section seven
for use as stabilizers and flavoring of the dental cream it manufactures. For thereof." (Emphasis supplied.)
every importation made of these materials, the petitioner paid to the Central
Bank of the Philippines the 17% special excise tax on the foreign exchange used
for the payment of the cost, transportation and other charges incident thereto,
pursuant to Republic Act No. 601, as amended, commonly known as the
Exchange Tax Law.
The ruling of the Auditor General that the term "stabilizer and flavors"
as used in the law refers only to those materials actually used in the
preparation or manufacture of food and food products is based,
apparently, on the principle of statutory construction that "general
On March 14, 1956, the petitioner filed with the Central Bank three terms may be restricted by specific words, with the result that the
applications for refund of the 17% special excise tax it had paid in the general language will be limited by the specific language which
aggregate sum of P113,343.99. The claim for refund was based on indicates the statute's object and purpose." (Statutory Construction by
section 2 of Republic Act 601, which provides that "foreign exchange Crawford, 1940 ed. p. 324-325.) The rule, however, is, in our opinion,
used for the payment of the cost, transportation and/or other charges applicable only to cases where, except for one general term, all the
incident to the importation into the Philippines of . . . stabilizer and items in an enumeration belong to or fall under one specific class. In
flavors . . . shall be refunded to any importer making application the case at bar, it is true that the term "stabilizer and flavors" is
therefor, upon satisfactory proof of actual importation under the rules preceded by a number of articles that may be classified as food or food
and regulations to be promulgated pursuant to section seven thereof." products, but it is likewise true that the other items immediately
After the applications were processed by the officer-in-charge of the following it do not belong to the same classification. Thus "fertilizer"
Exchange Tax Administration of the Central Bank, that official advised, and "poultry feed" do not fall under the category of food or food
the petitioner that of the total sum of P113,343.99 claimed by it for products because they are used in the farming and poultry industries,
refund, the amount of P23,958.13 representing the 17% special excise respectively. "Vitamin concentrate" appears to be more of a medicine
tax on the foreign exchange used to import irish moss extract, sodium than food or food product, for, as matter of fact, vitamins are among
benzoate and precipitated calcium carbonate had been approved. The those enumerated in the list of medicines and drugs appearing in the
auditor of the Central Bank, however, refused to pass in audit its claims appendix to the law. It should also here be stated that "cattle", which
for refund even for the reduced amount fixed by the Officer-in-Charge is among those listed preceding the term in question, includes not only
of the Exchange Tax Administration, on the theory that toothpaste those intended for slaughter but also those for breeding purposes.
stabilizers and flavors are not exempt under section 2 of the Exchange Again, it is noteworthy that under, Republic Act No. 814 amending the
Tax Law. above-quoted section of Republic Act No. 601, "industrial starch",
which does not always refer to food for human consumption, was
Petitioner appealed to the Auditor General, but the latter or, December 4, 1958 added among the items grouped with "stabilizer and flavors". Thus, on
affirmed the ruling of the auditor of the Central Bank, maintaining that the term the basis of the grouping of the articles alone, it cannot validly be
"stabilizer and flavors" mentioned in section 2 of the Exchange Tax Law refers maintained that the term "stabilizer and flavors" as used in the above-
only to those used in the preparation or manufacture of food or food products. quoted provision of the Exchange Tax Law refers only to those used in
Not satisfied, the petitioner brought the case to this Court thru the present the manufacture of food and food products. This view is supported by
petition for review. the principle "Ubi lex non distinguish nec nos distinguire debemos", or
"where the law does not distinguish, neither do we distinguish". (Ligget
The decisive issue to be resolved is whether or not the foreign exchange used & Myers Tobacco Company vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 53 Off.
by petitioner for the importation of dental cream stabilizers and flavors is Gaz. No. 15, page 4831). Since the law does not distinguish between
exempt from the 17% special excise tax imposed by the Exchange Tax Law,
"stabilizer and flavors" used in the preparation of food and those used
(Republic Act No. 601) so as to entitle it to refund under section 2 thereof,
which reads as follows:
in the manufacture of toothpaste or dental cream, we are not
authorized to make any distinction and must construe the words in
their general sense. The rule of construction that general and
unlimited terms are restrained and limited by particular recitals when
used in connection with them, does not require the rejection of
general terms entirely. It is intended merely as an aid in ascertaining
the intention of the legislature and is to be taken in connection with
other rules of construction. (See Handbook of the Construction and
Interpretation of Laws by Black, p. 215.216, 2nd ed.)

Having arrived at the above conclusion, we deem it now idle to pass


upon the other questions raised by the parties.

WHEREFORE, the decision under review is reversed and the


respondents are hereby ordered to audit petitioners applications for
refund which were approved by the Officer-in-Charge of the Exchange
Tax Administration in the total amount of P23,958.13.
Chapter 4 respondent moved to dismiss the case on the following grounds: (1)
that the PCGG has no jurisdiction over his person; (2) that the action
[G.R. No. 89483. August 30, 1990.] against him under Rep. Act No. 1379 has already prescribed; (3) that
E.O. No. 14, insofar as it suspended the provisions of Rep. Act No. 1379
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES THRU: THE PRESIDENTIAL on prescription of actions, was inapplicable to his case; and (4) that
COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), AFP ANTI-GRAFT having retired from the AFP on May 9, 1984, he was now beyond the
BOARD, COL. ERNESTO A. PUNSALANG and PETER T. reach of Rep. Act No. 3019. The Board opposed the motion to dismiss.
TABANG, Petitioners, v. HON. EUTROPIO MIGRINO, as Presiding
Judge, Regional Trial Court, NCJR, Branch 151, Pasig, Metro Manila In a resolution dated February 8, 1989, the PCGG denied the motion to
and TROADIO TECSON, Respondents. dismiss for lack of merit. Private respondent moved for
reconsideration but this was denied by the PCGG in a resolution dated
The Solicitor General, for Petitioners. March 8, 1989. Private respondent was directed to submit his counter-
affidavit and other controverting evidence on March 20, 1989 at 2:00
Pacifico B. Advincula for Private Respondent. p.m.

DECISION On March 13, 1989, private respondent filed a petition for prohibition
CORTES, J.: with preliminary injunction with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig,
Metro Manila. The case was docketed as Case No. 57092 and raffled to
Branch 151, respondent judge’s court. Petitioner filed a motion to
This case puts in issue the authority of the Presidential Commission on dismiss and opposed the application for the issuance of a writ of
Good Government (PCGG), through the New Armed Forces of the preliminary injunction on the principal ground that the Regional Trial
Philippines Anti-Graft Board (hereinafter referred to as the "Board"), to Court had no jurisdiction over the Board, citing the case of PCGG v.
investigate and cause the prosecution of petitioner, a retired military Peña, G.R. No. 77663, April 12, 1988, 159 SCRA 556. Private
officer, for violation of Republic Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379. respondent opposed the motion to dismiss. Petitioner replied to the
opposition.
Assailed by the Republic in this petition for certiorari, prohibition
and/or mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary On June 23, 1989, respondent judge denied petitioner’s motion to
injunction and/or temporary restraining order are the orders of dismiss. On June 26, 1989, respondent judge granted the application
respondent judge in Civil Case No. 57092 Branch 151 of the Regional for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, enjoining
Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila: (1) dated June 23, 1989, denying petitioners from investigating or prosecuting private respondent under
petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss and Opposition, and (2) dated June 26, Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 upon the filing of a bond in the amount
1989, granting private respondent’s application for the issuance of a of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00).
writ of preliminary injunction. Thus, the petition seeks the annulment
of the two orders, the issuance of an injunction to enjoin respondent Hence, the instant petition.
judge from proceeding with Civil Case No. 57092 and, finally, the
dismissal of the case before the trial court. On August 29, 1989, the Court issued a restraining order enjoining
respondent judge from enforcing his orders dated June 23, 1989 and
The controversy traces its roots to the order of then PCGG Chairman June 26, 1989 and from proceeding with Civil Case No. 57092.
Jovito R. Salonga, dated May 13, 1986, which created the New Armed
Forces of the Philippines Anti-Graft Board. The Board was created to Private respondent filed his comment, to which petitioners filed a
"investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP reply. A rejoinder to the reply was filed by private Respondent. The
personnel, both retired and in active service." The order further stated Court gave due course to the petition and the parties filed their
that" [t]he Board shall be primarily charged with the task of memoranda. Thereafter, the case was deemed submitted.
investigating cases of alleged violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019, as amended) and shall make the The issues raised in the petition are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
necessary recommendations to appropriate government agencies and library
instrumentalities with respect to the action to be taken thereon based
on its findings."cralaw virtua1aw library I.

Acting on information received by the Board, which indicated the WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ABUSED HIS
acquisition of wealth beyond his lawful income, private respondent Lt. DISCRETION OR ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN
Col. Troadio Tecson (ret.) was required by the Board to submit his ASSUMING JURISDICTION OVER AND INTERFERING WITH THE ORDERS
explanation/comment together with his supporting evidence by AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD
October 31, 1987 [Annex "B", Petition]. Private respondent requested, GOVERNMENT.
and was granted, several postponements, but was unable to produce
his supporting evidence because they were allegedly in the custody of II.
his bookkeeper who had gone abroad.
WHETHER, OR NOT RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ABUSED HIS
Just the same, the Board proceeded with its investigation and DISCRETION OR ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN
submitted its resolution, dated June 30, 1988, recommending that ISSUING THE ASSAILED ORDER DATED JUNE 26, 1989 ENJOINING
private respondent be prosecuted and tried for violation of Rep. Act PETITIONERS FROM INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING PRIVATE
No. 3019, as amended, and Rep. Act No. 1379, as amended.chanrobles RESPONDENT FOR VIOLATION OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019, OTHERWISE
lawlibrary : rednad KNOWN AS ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT AND REPUBLIC
ACT NO. 1379, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS AN ACT FOR THE FORFEITURE
The case was set for preliminary investigation by the PCGG. Private OF UNLAWFULLY ACQUIRED PROPERTY [Rollo, p. 19].
Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, and close associates both here
As to the first issue, petitioner contends that following the ruling of the and abroad.
Court in PCGG v. Peña the Board, being a creation and/or extension of
the PCGG, is beyond the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. On the E.O. No. 2 freezes "all assets and properties in the Philippines in which
second issue, petitioner strongly argues that the private respondent’s former President Marcos and/or his wife, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez
case falls within the jurisdiction of the PCGG. Marcos, their close relatives, subordinates, business associates,
dummies, agents, or nominees have any interest or
The pivotal issue is the second one. On this point, private respondent’s participation."cralaw virtua1aw library
position is as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Applying the rule in statutory construction known as ejusdem generis,
1. . . . he is not one of the subordinates contemplated in Executive that is —
Orders 1 , 2 , 14 and 14-A as the alleged illegal acts being imputed to
him, that of alleged amassing wealth beyond his legal means while [W]here general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by
Finance Officer of the Philippine Constabulary, are acts of his own words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not
alone, not connected with his being a crony, business associate, etc. or to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying
subordinate as the petition does not allege so. Hence the PCGG has no only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically
jurisdiction to investigate him. mentioned [Smith, Bell & Co., Ltd. v. Register of Deeds of Davao, 96
Phil. 53, 58 (1954), citing Black on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd Ed.,
If indeed private respondent amassed wealth beyond his legal means, 203].
the procedure laid down by Rep. Act 1379 as already pointed out
before be applied. And since, he has been separated from the the term "subordinate" as used in E.O. Nos. 1 and 2 would refer to one
government more than four years ago, the action against him under who enjoys a close association or relation with former Pres. Marcos
Republic Act 1379 has already prescribed. and/or his wife, similar to the immediate family member, relative, and
close associate in E.O. No. 1 and the close relative, business associate,
2. . . . no action can be filed anymore against him now under Republic dummy, agent, or nominee in E.O. No. 2.
Act 1379 for recovery of unexplained wealth for the reason that he has
retired more than four years ago. Thus, as stated by the Court in Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co., Inc.
v. PCGG, G.R. No. 75885, May 27, 1987, 150 SCRA 181, 205-206.
3. . . . The order creating the AFP Anti-Graft Board (Annex "A", Petition)
is null and void. Nowhere in Executive Orders 1, 2, 14 and 14-A is there The situations envisaged and sought to be governed [by Proclamation
any authority given to the commission, its chairman and members, to No. 3 and E.O. Nos. 1, 2 and 14] are self-evident, these
create Boards or bodies to be invested with powers similar to the being:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
powers invested with the commission .. [Comment, pp. 6-7; Rollo, pp.
117-118]. 1) that" (i)ll gotten properties (were) amassed by the leaders and
supporters of the previous regime" ;
1. The most important question to be resolved in this case is whether
or not private respondent may be investigated and caused to be a) more particularly, that" (i)ll-gotten wealth (was) accumulated by
prosecuted by the Board, an agency of the PCGG, for violation of Rep. former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives,
Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379. According to petitioners, the PCGG has the subordinates, and close associates, . . . located in the Philippines or
power to investigate and cause the prosecution of private respondent abroad, xx (and) business enterprises and entities (came to be) owned
because he is a "subordinate" of former President Marcos. They cite or controlled by them, during . . . (the Marcos) administration, directly
the PCGG’s jurisdiction over — or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office
and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or
(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former relationship;"
President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives,
subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines b) otherwise stated, that "there are assets and properties pertaining to
or abroad, including the takeover or sequestration of all business former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and/or his wife Mrs. Imelda
enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his Romualdez Marcos, their close relatives, subordinates, business
administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue associates, dummies, agents or nominees which had been or were
advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority, acquired by them directly or indirectly, through or as a result of the
influence, connections or relationship. [E.O. No. 1, sec. 2.]. improper or illegal use of funds or properties owned by the
Government of the Philippines or any of its branches,
Undoubtedly, the alleged unlawful accumulation of wealth was done instrumentalities, enterprises, banks or financial institutions, or by
during the administration of Pres. Marcos. However, what has to be taking undue advantage of their office, authority, influence,
inquired into is whether or not private respondent acted as a connections or relationship, resulting in their unjust enrichment and
"subordinate" of Pres. Marcos within the contemplation of E.O. No. 1, causing grave damage and prejudice to the Filipino people and the
the law creating the PCGG, when he allegedly unlawfully acquired the Republic of the Philippines" ;
properties.
c) that "said assets and properties are in the form of bank accounts,
A close reading of E. O. No. 1 and related executive orders will readily deposits, trust accounts, shares of stocks, buildings, shopping centers,
show what is contemplated within the term "subordinate."cralaw condominiums, mansions, residences, estates, and other kinds of real
virtua1aw library and personal properties in the Philippines and in various countries of
the world;" and.
The Whereas Clauses of E. O. No. 1 express the urgent need to recover
the ill-gotten wealth amassed by former President Ferdinand E. 2) that certain "business enterprises and properties (were) taken over
by the government of the Marcos Administration or by entities or 3019, as amended by BP 195, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
persons close to former President Marcos." [Footnotes deleted]. Corrupt Practices Act and R.A. 1379, otherwise known as an Act for the
Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired Property." [Rollo, p. 46].
It does not suffice, as in this case, that the respondent is or was a
government official or employee during the administration of former Moreover, from the allegations of petitioner in its memorandum, it
Pres. Marcos. There must be a prima facie showing that the would appear that private respondent accumulated his wealth for his
respondent unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close own account. Petitioner quoted the letter of Ignacio Datahan, a retired
association or relation with former Pres. Marcos and/or his wife. This is PC sergeant, to General Fidel Ramos, the material portion of which
so because otherwise the respondent’s case will fall under existing reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
general laws and procedures on the matter. Rep. Act No. 3019, the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, penalizes the corrupt practices of . . . After an official in the military unit received an Allotment Advice
any public officer. Under Rep. Act No. 1379 (An Act Declaring Forfeited the same signed a cash advance voucher, let us say in the amount of
in Favor of the State Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully P5,000.00. Without much ado, outright, Col. Tecson paid the amount.
Acquired By Any Public Officer or Employee and Providing for the The official concerned was also made to sign the receipt portion on the
Procedure Therefor), whenever any public officer or employee has voucher the amount of which was left blank. Before the voucher is
acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is passed for routine processing by Mrs. Leonor Cagas, clerk of Col.
manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or Tecson and its facilitator, the maneuver began. The amount on the
employee and to his other lawful income and the income from face of the cash advance voucher is altered or superimposed. The
legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima original amount of P5,000.00 was now made say, P95,000.00. So it was
facie to have been unlawfully acquired [Sec. 2]. The Solicitor General actually the amount of P95,000.00 that appeared on the records. The
shall file the petition and prosecute the case in behalf of the Republic, difference of P90,000.00 went to the syndicate.
after preliminary investigation by the provincial or city prosecutor
[Ibid]. . . . Boy Tanyag, bookkeeper in Col. Tecson’s office took care of the
work.
Moreover, the record shows that private respondent was being
investigated for unlawfully acquired wealth under Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 . . . In the liquidation of the altered cash advance amount, names of
and 1379, and not under E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. persons found in the Metropolitan Manila Telephone Directory with
fictitious addresses appeared as recipients or payees. Leonor and Boy
Since private respondent was being investigated by the PCGG through got their shares on commission basis of the looted amount while the
the AFP Anti-Graft Board it would have been presumed that this was greater part went to Col. Tecson. [Rollo, pp. 184-185.].
under Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 in relation to E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14
and 14-A. But the record itself belies this presumption:chanrob1es Clearly, this alleged unlawful accumulation of wealth is not that
virtual 1aw library contemplated in E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.

(a) The letter of the chairman of the AFP Anti-Graft Board to private 2. It will not do to cite the order of the PCGG Chairman, dated May 13,
respondent, dated October 16, 1987, states: "This letter is in 1986, creating the Board and authorizing it to investigate the
connection with the alleged information received by the AFP Anti-Graft unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP personnel, both
Board indicating your acquisition of wealth beyond legal means of retired and in active service, to support the contention that PCGG has
income in violation of Rep. Act No. 3019 known as the Anti-Graft and jurisdiction over the case of private Respondent. The PCGG cannot do
Corrupt Practices Act." [Rollo, p. 39]. more than what it was empowered to do. Its powers are limited. Its
task is limited to the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses,
(b) The Resolution dated June 30, 1988 of the Board categorically their relatives and cronies. The PCGG cannot, through an order of its
states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library chairman, grant itself additional powers — powers not contemplated
in its enabling law.
I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
3. Petitioner assails the trial court’s cognizance of the petition filed by
This refers to the case against Col Troadio B. Tecson PC (Ret) for private Respondent. Particularly, petitioner argues that the trial court
alleged unexplained wealth pursuant to R.A. 3019, as amended, cannot acquire jurisdiction over the PCGG. This matter has already
otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and R.A. been settled in Peña, supra, where the Court ruled that those who
1379, as amended, otherwise known as the "Act for Forfeiture of wish to question or challenge the PCGG’s acts or orders must seek
Unlawfully Acquired Property." [Rollo, p. 43]. recourse in the Sandiganbayan, which is vested with exclusive and
original jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan’s decisions and final orders are
The resolution alleges that private respondent unlawfully accumulated in turn subject to review on certiorari exclusively by this Court. [Ibid, at
wealth by taking advantage of his office as Finance Officer of the pp. 564-565].
Philippine Constabulary. No attempt is made in the Board’s resolution
to link him or his accumulation of wealth to former Pres. Marcos The ruling in Peña was applied in PCGG v. Aquino, G.R. No. 77816, June
and/or his wife. 30, 1988, 163 SCRA 363, Soriano III v. Yuson, G.R. No. 74910 (and five
other cases), August 10, 1988, 164 SCRA 226 and Olaguer v. RTC, NCJR,
(c) The letter of the Board chairman to the chairman of the PCGG, Br. 48, G.R. No. 81385, February 21, 1989, 170 SCRA 478, among
dated July 28, 1988, is clear:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library others, to enjoin the regional trial courts from interfering with the
actions of the PCGG.
Respectfully transmitted herewith for the prosecution before the
Sandiganbayan is the case folder of COLONEL TROADIO TECSON (Ret) Respondent judge clearly acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction
who after preliminary investigation of the case by the Board, found a when he took cognizance of Civil Case No. 57092 and issued the writ of
prima facie evidence against subject officer for violating Section 8, R.A. preliminary injunction against the PCGG.
Thus, we hold that the appropriate prosecutory agencies, i.e., the city
4. Thus, we are confronted with a situation wherein the PCGG acted in or provincial prosecutor and the Solicitor General under sec. 2 of Rep.
excess of its jurisdiction and, hence, may be enjoined from doing so, Act No. 1379, may still investigate the case and file the petition for the
but the court that issued the injunction against the PCGG has not been forfeiture of unlawfully acquired wealth against private respondent,
vested by law with jurisdiction over it and, thus, the injunction issued now a private citizen. (On the other hand, as regards respondents for
was null and void. violations of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 who are still in the
government service, the agency granted the power to investigate and
The nullification of the assailed order of respondent judge issuing the prosecute them is the Office of the Ombudsman [Rep. Act No. 6770]).
writ of preliminary injunction is therefore in order. Likewise, Under Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended, and Batas Pambansa
respondent judge must be enjoined from proceeding with Civil Case Blg. 195 violations of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 shall be tried by
No. 57092. the Sandiganbayan.

But in view of the patent lack of authority of the PCGG to investigate 7. The Court hastens to add that this decision is without prejudice to
and cause the prosecution of private respondent for violation of Rep. the prosecution of private respondent under the pertinent provisions
Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379, the PCGG must also be enjoined from of the Revised Penal Code and other related penal laws.
proceeding with the case, without prejudice to any action that may be
taken by the proper prosecutory agency. The rule of law mandates that WHEREFORE, the order of respondent judge dated June 26, 1989 in
an agency of government be allowed to exercise only the powers Civil Case No. 57092 is NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Respondent judge is
granted it. ORDERED to dismiss Civil Case No. 57092. The temporary restraining
order issued by the Court on August 29, 1989 is MADE PERMANENT.
5. The pronouncements made above should not be taken to mean that The PCGG is ENJOINED from proceeding with the investigation and
the PCGG’s creation of the AFP Anti-Graft Board is a nullity and that prosecution of private respondent in I.S. No. 37, without prejudice to
the PCGG has no authority to investigate and cause the prosecution of his investigation and prosecution by the appropriate prosecutory
members and former members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines agency.
for violations of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379. The PCGG may
investigate and cause the prosecution of active and retired members SO ORDERED.
of the AFP for violations of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379 only in
relation to E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, i.e., insofar as they involve the
recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of former Pres. Marcos and his family
and "cronies." But the PCGG would not have jurisdiction over an
ordinary case falling under Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379, as in the
case at bar. E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A did not envision the PCGG as
the investigator and prosecutor of all unlawful accumulations of
wealth. The PCGG was created for a specific and limited purpose, as we
have explained earlier, and necessarily its powers must be construed
with this in mind.

6. n his pleadings, private respondent contends that he may no longer


be prosecuted because of prescription. He relies on section 2 of Rep.
Act No. 1379 which provides that" [t]he right to file such petition [for
forfeiture of unlawfully acquired wealth] shall prescribe within four
years from the date of resignation, dismissal or separation or
expiration of the term of the officer or employee concerned." He
retired on May 9, 1984, or more than six (6) years ago. However, it
must be pointed out that section 2 of Rep. Act No. 1379 should be
deemed amended or repealed by Article XI, section 15 of the 1987
Constitution which provides that" [t]he right of the State to recover
properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from
them or from their nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by
prescription, laches, or estoppel." Considering that sec. 2 of Rep. Act
No. 1379 was deemed amended or repealed before the prescriptive
period provided therein had lapsed insofar as private respondent is
concerned, we cannot say that he had already acquired a vested right
that may not be prejudiced by a subsequent enactment.

Moreover, to bar the Government from recovering ill-gotten wealth


would result in the validation or legitimization of the unlawful
acquisition, a consequence at variance with the clear intent of Rep. Act
No. 1379, which provides:chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

SEC. 11. Laws on prescription. — The laws concerning acquisitive


prescription and limitation of actions cannot be invoked by, nor shall
they benefit the respondent, in respect to any property unlawfully
acquired by him.
Chapter 4 cultivating has rendered a nuisance to and has
deprived the pasture applicant from the full use
G.R. No. L-47757-61 January 28, 1980 thereof for which the land applied for has been
intended, that is preventing applicant's cattle from
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ABUNDIO R. ELLO, As grazing the whole area, thereby causing damage and
4th Assistant of Provincial Bohol VICENTE DE LA SERNA. prejudice to the said applicant-possessor-occupant,
JR., as complainant all private prosecutor, petitioners, Atty. Vicente de la Serna, Jr. (sic)
vs.
HON. VICENTE B. ECHAVES, JR., as Judge of the Court of Five of the informations, wherein Ano Dacullo, Geronimo
First Instance of Bohol Branch II, ANO DACULLO, Oroyan, Mario Aparici, Ruperto Cajes and Modesto Suello
GERONIMO OROYAN, MARIO APARICI, RUPERTO CAJES were the accused, were raffled to Judge Vicente B.
and MODESTO S SUELLO, respondents. Echaves, Jr. of Branch II (Criminal Cases Nos. 1824, 1828,
1832, 1833 and 1839, respectively).
AQUINO, J.:p
Before the accused could be arraigned, Judge
The legal issue in this case is whether Presidential Decree Echaves motu proprio issued an omnibus order dated
No. 772, which penalizes squatting and similar acts, December 9, 1977 dismissing the five informations on the
applies to agricultural lands. The decree (which took grounds (1) that it was alleged that the accused entered
effect on August 20, 1975) provides: the land through "stealth and strategy", whereas under
the decree the entry should be effected "with the use of
SECTION 1. Any person who, with the use force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the
of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of absence or tolerance of the landowner", and (2) that
the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds under the rule of ejusdem generis the decree does not
in occupying or possessing the property of the latter apply to the cultivation of a grazing land.
against his will for residential, commercial or any
other purposes, shall be punished by an Because of that order, the fiscal amended the
imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or informations by using in lieu of "stealth and strategy" the
a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than expression "with threat, and taking advantage of the
five thousand pesos at the discretion of the court, absence of the ranchowner and/or tolerance of the said
with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. ranchowner". The fiscal asked that the dismissal order be
(2nd paragraph is omitted.) reconsidered and that the amended informations be
admitted.
The record shows that on October 25, 1977 Fiscal
Abundio R. Ello filed with the lower court separate The lower court denied the motion. It insisted that the
informations against sixteen persons charging them with phrase "and for other purposes" in the decree does not
squatting as penalized by Presidential Decree No. 772. include agricultural purposes because its preamble does
The information against Mario Aparici which is similar to not mention the Secretary of Agriculture and makes
the other fifteen informations, reads: reference to the affluent class.

That sometime in the year 1974 From the order of dismissal, the fiscal appealed to this
continuously up to the present at barangay Court under Republic Act No. 5440. The appeal is devoid
Magsaysay, municipality of Talibon, province of Bohol, of merit.
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with We hold that the lower court correctly ruled that the
stealth and strategy, enter into, occupy and cultivate decree does not apply to pasture lands because its
a portion of a grazing land physically occupied, preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting
possessed and claimed by Atty. Vicente de la Serna, in urban communities or more particularly to illegal
Jr. as successor to the pasture applicant Celestino de constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do
la Serna of Pasture Lease Application No. 8919, individuals. The squating complained of involves pasture
accused's entrance into the area has been and is still lands in rural areas.
against the win of the offended party; did then and
there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously squat and The preamble of the decree is quoted below:
cultivate a portion of the said grazing land; said
WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that despite the case of insolvency. (See People vs. Lapasaran 100 Phil.
issuance of Letter of Instruction No. 19 dated October 40.)
2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of National Defense,
Public Work. 9 and communications, Social Welfare The rule of ejusdem generis (of the same kind or species)
and the Director of Public Works, the PHHC General invoked by the trial court does not apply to this case.
Manager, the Presidential Assistant on Housing and Here, the intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is
Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and Municipal intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly
Mayors, and City and District Engineers, "to remove to illegal constructions. The rule of ejusdem generis is
an illegal constructions including buildings on and merely a tool of statutory construction which is resorted
along esteros and river banks, those along railroad to when the legislative intent is uncertain (Genato
tracks and those built without permits on public and Commercial Corp. vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 104 Phil.
private property." squatting is still a major problem 615,618; 28 C.J.S. 1049-50).
in urban communities all over the country;
WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal is
WHEREAS, many persons or entities found to have affirmed. No costs.
been unlawfully occupying public and private lands
belong to the affluent class; SO ORDERED.

WHEREAS, there is a need to further intensify the


government's drive against this illegal and nefarious
practice.

It should be stressed that Letter of Instruction No. 19


refers to illegal constructions on public and private
property. It is complemented by Letter of Instruction No.
19-A which provides for the relocation of squatters in the
interest of public health, safety and peace and order.

On the other hand, it should be noted that squatting on


public agricultural lands, like the grazing lands involved in
this case, is punished by Republic Act No. 947 which
makes it unlawful for any person, corporation or
association to forcibly enter or occupy public agricultural
lands. That law provides:

SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person


corporation or association to enter or occupy,
through force, intimidation, threat, strategy or
stealth, any public agriculture land including such
public lands as are granted to private individuals
under the provision of the Public Land Act or any
other laws providing for the of public agriculture lands
in the Philippines and are duly covered by the
corresponding applications for the notwithstanding
standing the fact that title thereto still remains in the
Government or for any person, natural or judicial to
investigate induce or force another to commit such
acts.

Violations of the law are punished by a fine of not


exceeding one thousand or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment in the
discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in
percent (1 %) rebate shall be used by the building/property owner-
Chapter 4 theater operator to modernize their theater facilities. (Emphases
supplied.)
G.R. No. 180235
In an Assessment Sheet7 dated August 6, 1998, prepared by Cebu City
ALTA VISTA GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, Petitioner, Assessor Sandra I. Po, petitioner was originally assessed deficiency
vs. business taxes, fees, and other charges for the year 1998, in the total
THE CITY OF CEBU, HON. MAYOR TOMAS R. OSMEÑA, in his capacity amount of P3,820,095.68, which included amusement tax on its golf
as Mayor of Cebu, and TERESITA C. CAMARILLO, in her capacity as the course amounting to P2,612,961.24 based on gross receipts of
City Treasurer, Respondents. P13,064,806.20.8

DECISION Through the succeeding years, respondent Cebu City repeatedly


attempted to collect from petitioner its deficiency business taxes, fees,
and charges for 1998, a substantial portion of which consisted of the
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
amusement tax on the golf course. Petitioner steadfastly refused to
pay the amusement tax arguing that the imposition of said tax by
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Section 42 of the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended, was
Resolution1 dated March 14, 2007 and the Order2 dated October 3, irregular, improper, and illegal. Petitioner reasoned that under the
2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Cebu City, Branch 9 in Civil Case Local Government Code, amusement tax can only be imposed on
No. CEB-31988, dismissing the Petition for Injunction, Prohibition, operators of theaters, cinemas, concert halls, or places where one
Mandamus, Declaration of Nullity of Closure Order, Declaration of seeks to entertain himself by seeing or viewing a show or performance.
Nullity of Assessment, and Declaration of Nullity of Section 42 of Cebu Petitioner further cited the ruling in Philippine Basketball Association
City Tax: Ordinance, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and (PBA) v. Court of Appeals9 that under Presidential Decree No. 231,
Writ of Preliminary Injunction3 filed by petitioner Alta Vista Golf and otherwise known as the Lo.cal Tax Code of 1973, the province could
Country Club against respondents City of Cebu (Cebu City), then Cebu only impose amusement tax on admission from the proprietors,
City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña (Osmeña), and then Cebu City Treasurer lessees, or operators of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls,
Teresita Camarillo (Camarillo). circuses, and other places of amusement, but not professional
basketball games. Professional basketball games did not fall under the
Petitioner is a non-stock and non-profit corporation operating a golf same category as theaters, cinematographs, concert halls, and circuses
course in Cebu City. as the latter basically belong to artistic forms of entertainment while
the former catered to sports and gaming.
On June 21, 1993, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cebu City enacted
City Tax: Ordinance No. LXIX, otherwise known as the "Revised Through a letter dated October 11, 2005, respondent Camarillo sought
Omnibus Tax: Ordinance of the City of Cebu" (Revised Omnibus Tax: to collect once more from petitioner deficiency business taxes, fees,
Ordinance). Section 42 of the said tax ordinance on amusement tax and charges for the year 1998, totaling P2,981,441.52, computed as
was amended by City Tax Ordinance Nos. LXXXII4 and LXXXIV5(which follows:
were enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cebu City on
December 2, 1996 and April 20, 1998, respectively6) to read as follows: (Emphasis supplied.)

Section 42. Rate of Tax. - There shall be paid to the Office of the City Petitioner, through counsel, wrote respondent Camarillo a
Treasurer by the proprietors, lessees or operators of theaters, cinemas, letter11 dated October 17, 2005 still disputing the amusement tax
concert halls, circuses and other similar places of entertainment, an assessment on its golf course for 1998 for being illegal. Petitioner, in a
amusement tax at the rate of thirty percent (30%), golf courses and subsequent letter dated November 30, 2005, proposed that:
polo grounds at the rate of twenty percent (20% ), of their gross
receipts on entrance, playing green, and/or admission fees; PROVIDED,
While the question of the legality of the amusement tax on golf
HOWEVER, That in case of movie premieres or gala shows for the
courses is still unresolved, may we propose that Alta Vista Golf and
benefit of a charitable institution/foundation or any government
Country Club settle first the other assessments contained in your
institution where higher admission fees are charged, the
Assessment Sheet issued on October 11, 2005.
aforementioned rate of thirty percent (30%) shall be levied against the
gross receipts based on the regular admission fees, subject to the
approval of the Sangguniang Panlungsod; PROVIDED FURTHER, That in At this early stage, we also request that pending resolution of the
case payment of the amusement tax is made promptly on or before legality of the amusement tax imposition on golf courses in [the
the date hereinbelow prescribed, a rebate of five percent (5%) on the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended], Alta Vista Golf and
aforementioned gross receipts shall be given to the proprietors, Country Club be issued the required Mayor's and/or Business Permit.12
lessees or operators of theaters; PROVIDED FURTHERMORE, that as an
incentive to theater operators who own the real property and/or Respondent Camarillo treated the letter dated October 17, 2005 of
building where the theater is located, an additional one percent (1 %) petitioner as a Protest of Assessment and rendered on December 5,
rebate shall be given to said operator/real property owner concerned 2005 her ruling denying said Protest on the following grounds: (a) a
for as long as their theater/movie houses are then (10) years old or more thorough and comprehensive reading of the PBA case would
older or the theater or movie house is located at the city's reveal that the Court actually ruled therein that PBA was liable to pay
redevelopment area bounded on the north by Gen. Maxilom Street up amusement tax, but to the national government, not the local
to the port area; on the south by V. Rama Avenue up to San Nicolas government; (b) section 42 of the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as
area; and on the west by B. Rodriguez St. and General Maxilom amended, enjoyed the presumption of constitutionality and petitioner
Avenue; PROVIDED FINALLY, that the proceeds of this additional one failed to avail itself of the remedy under Section 187 of the Local
Government Code to challenge the legality or validity of Section 42 of This CLOSURE ORDER precisely satisfies these legal precedents. Hence
the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended, by filing an appeal now, in view whereof, your business establishment is hereby declared
with the Secretary of Justice within 30 days from effectivity of said closed in direct contravention of the above-specified laws and city
ordinance; and ( c) the Office of the City Attorney issued a letter dated ordinances. Please cease and desist from further operating your
July 9, 2004 affirming respondent Camarillo's position that petitioner business immediately upon receipt of this order.
was liable to pay amusement tax on its golf course.13 Ultimately,
respondent Camarillo held: This closure order is without prejudice to the constitutional/statutory
right of the City to file criminal cases against corporate officers, who
WHEREFORE, upon consideration of the legal grounds as above- act for and its behalf, for violations of Section 114 of the REVISED CITY
mentioned, we reiterate our previous stand on the validity of the TAX ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CEBU and Section 516 of the LOCAL
ASSESSMENT SHEET pertaining to the Tax Deficiencies for CY 1998 and GOVERNMENT CODE, with penalties of imprisonment and/or fine.
this ruling serve as the FINAL DEMAND for immediate settlement and
payment of your amusement tax liabilities and/or delinquencies FOR STRICT AND IMMEDIATE COMPLIANCE.16
otherwise we will constrained (sic) the non-issuance of a Mayor's
Business Permit for nonpayment of the said deficiency on amusement
The foregoing developments prompted petitioner to file with the RTC
tax and/or other tax liabilities as well as to file the appropriate filing of
on January 13, 2006 a Petition for Injunction, Prohibition, Mandamus,
administrative and judicial remedies for the collection of the said tax
Declaration of Nullity of Closure Order, Declaration of Nullity of
liability and the letter treated as a Protest of Assessment that was duly
Assessment, and Declaration of Nullity of Section 42 of Cebu City Tax
submitted before this office is hereby DENIED.14
Ordinance, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of
Preliminary Injunction, against respondents, which was docketed as
Shortly after, on January 12, 2006, petitioner was served with a Closure Civil Case No. CEB-31988.17 Petitioner eventually filed an Amended
Order15 dated December 28, 2005 issued by respondent City Mayor Petition on January 19, 2006.18 Petitioner argued that the Closure
Osmeña. According to the Closure Order, petitioner committed blatant Order is unconstitutional as it had been summarily issued in violation
violations of the laws and Cebu City Ordinances, to wit: of its right to due process; a city mayor has no power under the Local
Government Code to deny the issuance of a business permit and order
1. Operating a business without a business permit for five (5) the closure of a business for nonpayment of taxes; Section 42 of the
years, from year 2001-2005, in relation to Chapters I and II and Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended, is null and void for
the penalty clauses under Sections 4, 6, 8, 66 (f) and 114 of the being ultra vires or beyond the taxing authority of respondent Cebu
City Tax Ordinance No. 69, otherwise known as the REVISED CITY City, and consequently, the assessment against petitioner for
TAX ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CEBU, as amended By C.O. 75; amusement tax for 1998 based on said Section 42 is illegal and
unconstitutional; and assuming arguendo that respondent Cebu City
2. Nonpayment of deficiency on Business Taxes and Fees has the power to impose amusement tax on petitioner, such tax for
amounting to Seventeen Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-Nine 1998 already prescribed and could no longer be enforced.
Pesos and Sixty-Four Centavos (Php17,499.64), as adjusted,
despite repeated demands in violation [of] Sections 4 and 8 of City Respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the grounds of (a) lack
Tax Ordinance No. 69, as amended; of jurisdiction of the RTC over the subject matter; (b) non-exhaustion
of administrative remedies; (c) noncompliance with Section 187 of the
3. Nonpayment of deficiency on Amusement Tax and the Local Government Code, which provides the procedure and
penalties relative therewith totaling Two Million Nine Hundred prescriptive periods for challenging the validity of a local tax ordinance;
Fifty-Three Thousand Five Hundred Eighty-Six Pesos and Eighty- (d) noncompliance with Section 252 of the Local Government Code and
Six Centavos (Php2,953,586.86) in violation of Sections 4 and 8 in Section 75 of Republic Act No. 3857, otherwise known as the Revised
relation to Section 42 of City Tax Ordinance No. 69, as amended, Charter of the City of Cebu, requiring payment under protest of the tax
business permit-violation of the Article 172, Revised Penal Code of assessed; and (e) failure to establish the authority of Ma. Theresa Ozoa
the Philippines. (Emphases supplied.) (Ozoa) to institute the case on behalf of petitioner.19

The Closure Order established respondent Mayor Osmeña's authority In its Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, petitioner countered that
for issuance of the same and contained the following directive: the RTC, a court of general jurisdiction, could take cognizance of its
Petition in Civil Case No. CEB-31988, which not only involved the issue
of legality or illegality of a tax ordinance, but also sought the
As the chief executive of the City, the Mayor has the power and duty
declaration of nullity of the Closure Order and the issuance of writs of
to: Enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the
injunction and prohibition. Petitioner likewise asserted that Section
city x x x and, in addition to the foregoing, shall x x x Issue such
195 of the Local Government Code on the protest of assessment does
executive orders for the faithful and appropriate enforcement and
not require payment under protest. Section 252 of the same Code
execution of laws and ordinances x x x.1âwphi1 These are undeniable
invoked by respondents applies only to real property taxes. In addition,
in the LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, Section 455, par. (2) and par.
petitioner maintained that its Petition in Civil Case No. CEB-31988
(2)(iii).
could not be barred by prescription. There is nothing in the Local
Government Code that could deprive the courts of the power to
Not only that, these powers can be exercised under the general determine the constitutionality or validity of a tax ordinance due to
welfare clause of the Code, particularly Section 16 thereof, where it is prescription. It is the constitutional duty of the courts to pass upon the
irrefutable that "every government unit shall exercise the powers validity of a tax ordinance and such duty cannot be limited or
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as restricted. Petitioner further contended that there is no need for
powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental of its efficient and exhaustion of administrative remedies given that the issues involved
effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion are purely legal; the notice of closure is patently illegal for having been
of the general welfare." issued without due process; and there is an urgent need for judicial
intervention. Lastly, petitioner pointed out that there were sufficient Since the parties agreed that the issues raised in Civil Case No. CEB-
allegations in the Petition that its filing was duly authorized by 31988 were all legal in nature, the RTC already considered the case
petitioner. At any rate, petitioner already attached to its Opposition its submitted for resolution after the parties filed their respective
Board Resolution No. 104 authorizing Ozoa to file a case to nullify the Memorandum.26
Closure Order. Thus, petitioner prayed for the denial of the Motion to
Dismiss.20 On March 14, 2007, the R TC issued a Resolution granting the Motion
to Dismiss of respondents. Quoting from Reyes and Hagonoy Market
Respondents, in their Rejoinder to Petitioner's Opposition to the Vendor Association v. Municipality of Hagonoy, Bulacan,27 the RTC
Motion to Dismiss,21 asserted that the Closure Order was just a sustained the position of respondents that Section 187 of the Local
necessary consequence of the nonpayment by petitioner of the Government Code is mandatory. Thus, the RTC adjudged:
amusement tax assessed against it. The Revised Omnibus Tax
Ordinance of respondent Cebu City directs that no permit shall be From the above cited cases, it can be gleaned that the period in the
issued to a business enterprise which made no proper payment of tax filing of the protests is important. In other words, it is the considered
and, correspondingly, no business enterprise may be allowed to opinion of this court [that] when a taxpayer questions the validity of a
operate or continue to operate without a business permit. The tax ordinance passed by a local government legislative body, a
fundamental issue in the case was still the nonpayment by petitioner different procedure directed in Section 187 is to be followed. The
of amusement tax. Respondents relied on Reyes v. Court of reason for this could be because the tax ordinance is clearly different
Appeals,22 in which the Court categorically ruled that the prescriptive from a law passed by Congress. The local government code has set
periods fixed in Section 187 of the Local Government Code are several limitations on the taxing power of the local government
mandatory and prerequisites before seeking redress from a competent legislative bodies including the issue of what should be taxed.
court. Section 42 of the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended,
was passed on April 20, 1998, so the institution by petitioner of Civil
In this case, since the Petitioner failed to comply with the procedure
Case No. CEB-31988 before the RTC on January 13, 2006 - without
outlined in Section 187 of the Local Government Code and the fact that
payment under protest of the assessed amusement tax and filing of an
this case was filed way beyond the period to file a case in court, then
appeal before the Secretary of Justice within 30 days from the
this court believes that the action must fail.
effectivity of the Ordinance - was long barred by prescription.

Because of the procedural infirmity in bringing about this case to the


After filing by the parties of their respective Memorandum, the RTC
court, then the substantial issue of the propriety of imposing
issued an Order23 dated March 16, 2006 denying the prayer of
amusement taxes on the green fees could no longer be determined.
petitioner for issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). The
RTC found that when the business permit of petitioner expired and it
was operating without a business permit, it ceased to have a legal right WHEREFORE, in view of the aforegoing, this case is hereby
to do business. The RTC affirmed respondent Mayor Osmeña's DISMISSED.28
authority to issue or grant business licenses and permits pursuant to
the police power inherent in his office; and such authority to issue or The RTC denied the Motion for Reconsideration of petitioner in an
grant business licenses and permits necessarily included the authority Order dated October 3, 2007.
to suspend or revoke or even refuse the issuance of the said business
licenses and permits in case of violation of the conditions for the Petitioner is presently before the Court on pure questions of law, viz.:
issuance of the same. The RTC went on to hold that:

I. WHETHER OR NOT THE POWER OF JUDICIAL REVIEW OVER THE


[Petitioner] was given opportunities to be heard when it filed a protest VALIDITY OF A LOCAL TAX ORDINANCE HAS BEEN RESTRICTED BY
[of] the assessment which was subsequently denied. To the mind of SECTION 187 OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE.
this court, this already constitutes the observance of due process and
that [petitioner] had already been given the opportunity to be heard.
Due process and opportunity to be heard does not necessarily mean II. WHETHER OR NOT THE CITY OF CEBU OR ANY LOCAL GOVERNMENT
winning the argument in one's favor but to be given the fair chance to CAN VALIDLY IMPOSE AMUSEMENT TAX TO THE ACT OF PLAYING
explain one's side or views with regards [to] the matter in issue, which GOLF.29
in this case is the legality of the tax assessment.
There is merit in the instant Petition.
It is therefore clear that when this case was filed, [petitioner] had no
more legal right in its favor for the courts to protect. It would have The RTC judgment on pure questions of law may be directly appealed
been a different story altogether had [petitioner] paid the tax to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari.
assessment for the green fees even under protest and despite
payment and [respondent] Mayor refused the issuance of the business Even before the RTC, the parties already acknowledged that the case
permit because all the requisites for the issuance of the said permit are between them involved only questions of law; hence, they no longer
all complied with.24 presented evidence and agreed to submit the case for resolution upon
submission of their respective memorandum.
On March 20, 2006, petitioner paid under protest to respondent Cebu
City, through respondent Camarillo, the assessed amusement tax, plus It is incontestable that petitioner may directly appeal to this Court
penalties, interest, and surcharges, in the total amount of from the judgment of the RTC on pure questions of law via its Petition
P2,750,249.17.25 for Review on Certiorari. Rule 41, Section 2(c) of the Rules of Court
provides that "[i]n all cases where only questions of law are raised or
involved, the appeal shall be to the Supreme Court by petition for
review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45." As the Court declared raise needed revenues to finance and support the myriad activities of
in Bonifacio v. Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 14930: local government units for the delivery of basic services essential to
the promotion of the general welfare and enhancement of peace,
The established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of progress, and prosperity of the people. Consequently, any delay in
courts, as a rule, requires that recourse must first be made to the implementing tax measures would be to the detriment of the public. It
lowerranked court exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher is for this reason that protests over tax ordinances are required to be
court. A regard for judicial hierarchy clearly indicates that petitions for done within certain time frames. In the instant case, it is our view that
the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level courts should be the failure of petitioners to appeal to the Secretary of Justice within 30
filed in the RTC and those against the latter should be filed in the Court days as required by Sec. 187 of R.A. 7160 is fatal to their
of Appeals. The rule is not iron-clad, however, as it admits of certain cause.32 (Citations omitted.)
exceptions.
The Court further affirmed in Hagonoy that:
Thus, a strict application of the rule is unnecessary when cases brought
before the appellate courts do not involve factual but purely legal At this point, it is apropos to state that the timeframe fixed by law for
questions. (Citations omitted.) parties to avail of their legal remedies before competent courts is not a
"mere technicality" that can be easily brushed aside. The periods
"A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the stated in Section 187 of the Local Government Code are
correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts; or mandatory. Ordinance No. 28 is a revenue measure adopted by the
when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value municipality of Hagonoy to fix and collect public market stall rentals.
of the evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being Being its lifeblood, collection of revenues by the government is of
admitted[;]" and it may be brought directly before this Court, the paramount importance. The funds for the operation of its agencies and
undisputed final arbiter of all questions of law.31 provision of basic services to its inhabitants are largely derived from its
revenues and collections. Thus, it is essential that the validity of
revenue measures is not left uncertain for a considerable length of
The present case is an exception to Section 187 of the Local
time. Hence, the law provided a time limit for an aggrieved party to
Government Code and the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
assail the legality of revenue measures and tax ordinances.33 (Citations
remedies.
omitted.)

Section 187 of the Local Government Code reads:


Nevertheless, in later cases, the Court recognized exceptional
circumstances that justify noncompliance by a taxpayer with Section
Sec. 187. Procedure ·for Approval and Effectivity of Tax Ordinances and 187 of the Local Government Code.
Revenue Measures; Mandatory Public Hearings. – The procedure for
approval of local tax ordinances and revenue measures shall be in
The Court ratiocinated in Ongsuco v. Malones,34 thus:
accordance with the provisions of this Code: Provided, That public
hearings shall be conducted for the purpose prior to the enactment
thereof: Provided, further, That any question on the constitutionality or It is true that the general rule is that before a party is allowed to seek
legality of tax ordinances or revenue measures may be raised on the intervention of the court, he or she should have availed himself or
appeal within thirty (30) days from the effectivity thereof to the herself of all the means of administrative processes afforded him or
Secretary of Justice who shall render a decision within sixty (60) days her. Hence, if resort to a remedy within the administrative machinery
from the date of receipt of the appeal: Provided, however, That such can still be made by giving the administrative officer concerned every
appeal shall not have the effect of suspending the effectivity of the opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his or her
ordinance and the accrual and payment of the tax, fee, or charge jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before the
levied therein: Provided, finally, That within thirty (30) days after court's judicial power can be sought. The premature invocation of the
receipt of the decision or the lapse of the sixty-day period without the intervention of the court is fatal to one's cause of action. The doctrine
Secretary of Justice acting upon the appeal, the aggrieved party may of exhaustion of administrative remedies is based on practical and
file appropriate proceedings with a court of competent jurisdiction. legal reasons. The availment of administrative remedy entails lesser
expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies.
Furthermore, the courts of justice, for reasons of comity and
Indeed, the Court established in Reyes that the aforequoted provision
convenience, will shy away from a dispute until the system of
is a significant procedural requisite and, therefore, mandatory:
administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to
give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct
Clearly, the law requires that the dissatisfied taxpayer who questions its error and dispose of the case. However, there are several
the validity or legality of a tax ordinance must file his appeal to the exceptions to this rule.
Secretary of Justice, within 30 days from effectivity thereof. In case the
Secretary decides the appeal, a period also of 30 days is allowed for an
The rule on the exhaustion of administrative remedies is intended to
aggrieved party to go to court. But if the Secretary does not act
preclude a court from arrogating unto itself the authority to resolve a
thereon, after the lapse of 60 days, a party could already proceed to
controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an
seek relief in court. These three separate periods are clearly given for
administrative body of special competence. Thus, a case where the
compliance as a prerequisite before seeking redress in a competent
issue raised is a purely legal question, well within the competence;
court. Such statutory periods are set to prevent delays as well as
and the jurisdiction of the court and not the administrative agency,
enhance the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial functions. For this
would clearly constitute an exception. Resolving questions of law,
reason the courts construe these provisions of statutes as mandatory.
which involve the interpretation and application of laws, constitutes
essentially an exercise of judicial power that is exclusively allocated
A municipal tax ordinance empowers a local government unit to
impose taxes. The power to tax is the most effective instrument to
to the Supreme Court and such lower courts the Legislature may places of amusement at a rate of not more than thirty percent (30%)
establish. of the gross receipts from admission fees.

In this case, the parties are not disputing any factual matter on which (b) In the case of theaters or cinemas, the tax shall first be
they still need to present evidence.The sole issue petitioners raised deducted and withheld by their proprietors, lessees, or operators
before the RTC in Civil Case No. 25843 was whether Municipal and paid to the provincial treasurer before the gross receipts are
Ordinance No. 98-01 was valid and enforceable despite the absence, divided between said proprietors, lessees, or operators and the
prior to its enactment, of a public hearing held in accordance with distributors of the cinematographic films.
Article 276 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local
Government Code. This is undoubtedly a pure question of law, within (c) The holding of operas, concerts, dramas, recitals, painting, and
the competence and jurisdiction of the RTC to resolve. art exhibitions, flower shows, musical programs, literary and
oratorical presentations, except pop, rock, or similar concerts
Paragraph 2(a) of Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution, expressly shall be exempt from the payment of the tax hereon imposed.
establishes the appellate jurisdiction of this Court, and impliedly
recognizes the original jurisdiction of lower courts over cases involving (d) The sangguniang panlalawigan may prescribe the time,
the constitutionality or validity of an ordinance: manner, terms and conditions for the payment of tax. In case of
fraud or failure to pay the tax, the sangguniang panlalawigan may
Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: impose such surcharges, interests and penalties as it may deem
appropriate.
xxxx
(e) The proceeds from the amusement tax shall be shared equally
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal by the province and "the municipality where such amusement
or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final places are located. (Emphasis supplied.)
judgments and orders of lower courts in:
"Amusement places," as defined in Section 13l(c) of the Local
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any Government Code, "include theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses
treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential and other places of amusement where one seeks admission to
decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation entertain oneself by seeing or viewing the show or performance."
is in question.
The pronouncements of the Court in Pelizloy Realty Corporation v. The
In J.M Tuason and Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, Ynot v. Intermediate Province of Benguet36 are of particular significance to this case. The
Appellate Court, and Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Santos, the Court, in Pelizloy Realty, declared null and void the second paragraph
Court has affirmed the jurisdiction of the RTC to resolve questions of of Article X, Section 59 of the Benguet Provincial Code, in so far as it
constitutionality and validity of laws (deemed to include local imposes amusement taxes on admission fees to resorts, swimming
ordinances) in the first instance, without deciding questions which pools, bath houses, hot springs, and tourist spots. Applying the
pertain to legislative policy. (Emphases supplied, citations omitted.) principle of ejusdem generis, as well as the ruling in the PBA case, the
Court expounded on the authority of local government units to impose
amusement tax under Section 140, in relation to Section 131(c), of the
In Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co., Inc. (CEPALCO) v. City of
Local Government Code, as follows:
Cagayan De Oro,35 the Court initially conceded that as in Reyes, the
failure of taxpayer CEPALCO to appeal to the Secretary of Justice within
the statutory period of 30 days from the effectivity of the ordinance Under the principle of ejusdem generis, "where a general word or
should have been fatal to its cause. However, the Court purposefully phrase follows an enumeration of particular and specific words of the
relaxed the application of the rules in view of the more substantive same class or where the latter follow the former, the general word or
matters. phrase is to be construed to include, or to be restricted to persons,
things or cases akin to, resembling, or of the same kind or class as
those specifically mentioned."
Similar to Ongsuco and CEPALCO, the case at bar constitutes an
exception to the general rule. Not only does the instant Petition raise
pure questions of law, but it also involves substantive matters The purpose and rationale of the principle was explained by the Court
imperative for the Court to resolve. in National Power Corporation v. Angas as follows:

Section 42 of the Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended, The purpose of the rule on ejusdem generis is to give effect to both the
imposing amusement tax on golf courses is null and void as it is particular and general words, by treating the particular words as
beyond the authority of respondent Cebu City to enact under the indicating the class and the general words as including all that is
Local Government Code. embraced in said class, although not specifically named by the
particular words. This is justified on the ground that if the lawmaking
body intended the general terms to be used in their unrestricted
The Local Government Code authorizes the imposition by local
sense, it would have not made an enumeration of particular subjects
government units of amusement tax under Section 140, which
but would have used only general terms. [2 Sutherland, Statutory
provides:
Construction, 3rd ed., pp. 395-400].

Sec. 140. Amusement Tax. - (a) The province may levy an amusement
In Philippine Basketball Association v. Court of Appeals, the Supreme
tax to be collected from the proprietors, lessees, or operators of
Court had an opportunity to interpret a starkly similar provision or the
theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, boxing stadia, and other
counterpart provision of Section 140 of the LGC in the Local Tax Code and which may properly be subject to amusement taxes. 37 (Emphases
then in effect. Petitioner Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) supplied, citations omitted.)
contended that it was subject to the imposition by LGUs of amusement
taxes (as opposed to amusement taxes imposed by the national In light of Pelizloy Realty, a golf course cannot be considered a place of
government). In support of its contentions, it cited Section 13 of amusement. As petitioner asserted, people do not enter a golf course
Presidential Decree No. 231, otherwise known as the Local Tax Code of to see or view a show or performance. Petitioner also, as proprietor or operator
1973, (which is analogous to Section 140 of the LGC) providing the of the golf course, does not actively display, stage, or present a show or
following: performance. People go to a golf course to engage themselves in a physical
sport activity, i.e., to play golf; the same reason why people go to a gym or
court to play badminton or tennis or to a shooting range for target practice, yet
Section 13. Amusement tax on admission. – The province shall impose a tax on
there is no showing herein that such gym, court, or shooting range is similarly
admission to be collected from the proprietors, lessees, or operators of
considered an amusement place subject to amusement tax. There is no basis for
theaters, cinematographs, concert halls, circuses and other places of
singling out golf courses for amusement tax purposes from other places where
amusement x x x.
people go to play sports. This is in contravention of one of the fundamental
principles of local taxation: that the "[t]axation shall be uniform in each local
Applying the principle of ejusdem generis, the Supreme Court rejected PBA's government unit."38 Uniformity of taxation, like the kindred concept of equal
assertions and rioted that: protection, requires that all subjects or objects of taxation, similarly situated,
are to be treated alike both in privileges and liabilities.39
[I]n determining the meaning of the phrase 'other places of amusement', one
must refer to the prior enumeration of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls Not lost on the Court is its declaration in Manila Electric Co. v. Province of
and circuses with artistic expression as their common characteristic. Laguna40 that under the 1987 Constitution, "where there is neither a grant nor a
Professional basketball games do not fall under the same category as theaters, prohibition by statute, the tax power [of local government units] must be
cinematographs, concert halls and circuses as the latter basically belong to deemed to exist although Congress may provide statutory limitations and
artistic forms of entertainment while the former caters to sports and gaming. guidelines." Section 186 of the Local Government Code also expressly grants
local government units the following residual power to tax:
However, even as the phrase 'other places of amusement' was already clarified
in Philippine Basketball Association, Section 140 of the LGC adds to the Sec. 186. Power to Levy Other Taxes; Fees, or Charges. – Local government units
enumeration of 'places of amusement' which may properly be subject to may exercise the power to levy taxes, fees, or charges on any base or subject
amusement tax. Section 140 specifically mentions 'boxing stadia' in addition to not otherwise specifically enumerated herein or taxed under the provisions of
"theaters, cinematographs, concert halls [and] circuses" which were already the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended, or other applicable
mentioned in PD No. 231. Also, 'artistic expression' as a characteristic does not laws: Provided, that the taxes, fees, or charges shall not be unjust, excessive,
pertain to 'boxing stadia'. oppressive, confiscatory or contrary to declared national policy: Provided,
further, That the ordinance levying such taxes, fees or charges shall not be
In the present case, the Court need not embark on a laborious effort at enacted without any prior public hearing conducted for the
statutory construction. Section 131 (c) of the LGC already provides a clear purpose.1awp++i1 (Emphasis supplied.)
definition of' amusement places':
Respondents, however, cannot claim that Section 42 of the Revised
xxxx Omnibus Tax Ordinance, as amended, imposing amusement tax on golf
courses, was enacted pursuant to the residual power to tax of
Indeed, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, and boxing stadia are bound
respondent Cebu City. A local government unit may exercise its
by a common typifying characteristic in that they are all venues primarily for residual power to tax when there is neither a grant nor a prohibition by
the staging of spectacles or the holding of public shows, exhibitions, statute; or when such taxes, fees, or charges are not otherwise
performances, and other events meant to be viewed by an audience. specifically enumerated in the Local Government Code, National
Accordingly, 'other places of amusement' must be interpreted in light of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, or other applicable laws. In the
typifying characteristic of being venues "where one seeks admission to present case, Section 140, in relation to Section 131 (c), of the Local
entertain oneself by seeing or viewing the show or performances" or being Government Code already explicitly and clearly cover amusement tax
venues primarily used to stage spectacles or hold public shows, exhibitions,
and respondent Cebu City must exercise its authority to impose
performances, and other events meant to be viewed by an audience.
amusement tax within the limitations and guidelines as set forth in said
statutory provisions.
As defined in The New Oxford American Dictionary, 'show' means "a spectacle
or display of something, typically an impressive one"; while 'performance'
means "an act of staging or presenting a play, a concert, or other form of WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court GRANTS the
entertainment." As such, the ordinary definitions of the words 'show' and instant Petition, and REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the Resolution dated
'performance' denote not only visual engagement (i.e., the seeing or viewing March 14, 2007 and the Order dated October 3, 2007 of the Regional
of things) but also active doing (e.g., displaying, staging or presenting) such Trial Court, Cebu City, Branch 9 in Civil Case No. CEB-31988. The
that actions are manifested to, and (correspondingly) perceived by an Court DECLARES NULL and VOID the following: (a) Section 42 of the
audience.
Revised Omnibus Tax Ordinance of the City of Cebu, as amended by
City Tax Ordinance Nos. LXXXII and LXXXIV, insofar as it imposes
Considering these, it is clear that resorts, swimming pools, bath houses, hot amusement tax of 20% on the gross receipts on entrance, playing
springs and tourist spots cannot be considered venues primarily "where one green, and/or admission fees of golf courses; (b) the tax assessment
seeks admission to entertain oneself by seeing or viewing the show or
against petitioner for amusement tax on its golf course for the year
performances". While it is true that they may be venues where people are
visually engaged, they are not primarily venues for their proprietors or 1998 in the amount of Pl,373,761.24, plus surcharges and interest
operators to actively display, stage or present shows and/or performances. pertaining to said amount, issued by the Office of the City Treasurer,
City of Cebu; and (c) the Closure Order dated December 28, 2005
Thus, resorts, swimming pools, bath houses, hot springs and tourist spots do
issued against Alta Vista Golf and Country Club by the Office of the
not belong to the same category or class as theaters, cinemas, concert halls, Mayor, City of Cebu. The Court also ORDERS the City of Cebu to refund
circuses, and boxing stadia. It follows that they cannot be considered as among to Alta Vista Golf and Country Club the amusement tax, penalties,
the 'other places of amusement' contemplated by Section 140 of the LGC surcharge, and interest paid under protest by the latter in the total
amount of P2, 750,249 .17 or to apply the same amount as tax credit
against existing or future tax liability of said Club.

SO ORDERED.
Chapter 4 municipalities of Banna and Dingras; on the West and Southwest, by
G.R. No. 169435 February 27, 2008 the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras.
MUNICIPALITY OF NUEVA ERA, ILOCOS NORTE, represented by its
Municipal Mayor, CAROLINE ARZADON-GARVIDSA
The Municipality of Marcos shall have its seat of government in the
VS. barrio of Biding.
MUNICIPALITY OF MARCOS, ILOCOS NORTE, represented by Based on the first paragraph of the said Section 1 of R.A. No. 3753, it is
its Municipal Mayor, SALVADOR PILLOS, and the HONORABLE COURT clear that Marcos shall be derived from the listed barangays of
OF APPEALS, Dingras, namely: Capariaan, Biding, Escoda, Culao, Alabaan, Ragas and
x--------------------------------------------------x Agunit. The Municipality of Nueva Era or any of its barangays was not
mentioned. Hence, if based only on said paragraph, it is clear that
DECISION Nueva Era may not be considered as a source of territory of Marcos.
REYES, R.T., J.: There is no issue insofar as the first paragraph is concerned which
named only Dingras as the mother municipality of Marcos. The
AS the law creating a municipality fixes its boundaries, settlement of
problem, however, lies in the description of Marcos boundaries as
boundary disputes between municipalities is facilitated by carrying into
stated in the second paragraph, particularly in the phrase: on the East,
effect the law that created them.
by the Ilocos Norte-Mt. Province boundary.
Any alteration of boundaries that is not in accordance with the law
It must be noted that the term Mt. Province stated in the above phrase
creating a municipality is not the carrying into effect of that law but its
refers to the present adjoining provinces of
amendment, which only the Congress can do.[1]
Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao, which were
then a single province.
For Our review on certiorari is the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) reversing to a certain extent that[3] of the Regional Trial Court
Mt. Province was divided into the four provinces of
(RTC), Branch 12, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, in a case that originated
Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao by virtue of
from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Ilocos Norte about the
R.A. No. 4695 which was enacted on June 18, 1966. On February 14,
boundary dispute between the Municipalities of Marcos and Nueva Era
1995, the provinceof Kalinga-Apayao, which comprises the sub-
in Ilocos Norte.
provinces of Kalinga and Apayao, was further converted into the
regular provinces of Kalinga and Apayao pursuant to R.A. No. 7878.
The CA declared that Marcos is entitled to have its eastern boundary
extended up to the boundary line between the province of Ilocos
The part of then Mt. Province which was at the east of Marcos is now
Norte and Kalinga-Apayao.[4] By this extension of Marcos eastern
the province of Apayao. Hence, the eastern boundary referred to by
boundary, the CA allocated to Marcos a portion of Nueva Eras
the second paragraph of Section 1 of R.A. No. 3753 is the
territory.
present Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary.
The Facts
On the basis of the said phrase, which described Marcos eastern
boundary, Marcos claimed that the middle portion of Nueva Era, which
The Municipality of Nueva Era was created from the settlements of
adjoins its eastern side, formed part of its territory. Its reasoning was
Bugayong, Cabittaoran, Garnaden, Padpadon, Padsan, Paorpatoc,
founded upon the fact that Nueva Era was between Marcos and the
Tibangran, and Uguis which were previously organized
Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary such that if Marcos was to be bounded
as rancherias, each of which was under the independent control of a
on the east by the Ilocos Norte-Apayao boundary, part of Nueva Era
chief. Governor General Francis Burton Harrison, acting on a resolution
would consequently be obtained by it.[6]
passed by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, united
these rancherias and created the township of Nueva Era by virtue of
Marcos did not claim any part of Nueva Era as its own territory until
Executive Order (E.O.) No. 66 [5] dated September 30, 1916.
after almost 30 years,[7] or only on March 8, 1993, when its
Sangguniang Bayan passed Resolution No. 93-015.[8] Said resolution
The Municipality of Marcos, on the other hand, was created on June
was entitled: Resolution Claiming an Area which is an Original Part of
22, 1963 pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3753 entitled An Act
Nueva Era, But Now Separated Due to the Creation of Marcos Town in
Creating the Municipality of Marcos in the Province of Ilocos
the Province of Ilocos Norte.
Norte. Section 1 of R.A. No. 3753 provides:
Marcos submitted its claim to the SP of Ilocos Norte for its
SECTION 1. The barrios of Capariaan, Biding, Escoda, Culao, Alabaan,
consideration and approval. The SP, on the other hand, required
Ragas and Agunit in the Municipality of Dingras, Province of Ilocos
Marcos to submit its position paper.[9]
Norte, are hereby separated from the said municipality and
constituted into a new and separate municipality to be known as
In its position paper, Marcos alleged that since its northeastern and
the Municipality of Marcos, with the following boundaries:
eastern boundaries under R.A. No. 3753 were the Burnay River and
the Ilocos Norte-Mountain Province boundary, respectively, its eastern
On the Northwest, by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down
boundary should not be limited to the former Dingras-Nueva Era
to the barrios Capariaan-Gabon boundary consisting of foot path and
boundary, which was coterminous and aligned with the eastern
feeder road; on the Northeast, by the Burnay River which is the
boundary of Dingras. According to Marcos, its eastern boundary should
common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan; on the East, by
extend further to the east or up to the Ilocos-Norte-
the Ilocos Norte-Mt. Province boundary; on the South, by the Padsan
Mt. Province boundary pursuant to the description of its eastern
River which is at the same time the boundary between the
boundary under R.A. No. 3753.[10]
In view of its claim over the middle portion of Nueva Era, Marcos Invariably, it is not the letter, but the spirit of the law and the intent of
posited that Nueva Era was cut into two parts. And since the law the legislature that is important. When the interpretation of the
required that the land area of a municipality must be compact and statute according to the exact and literal import of its words would
contiguous, Nueva Eras northern isolated portion could no longer be lead to absurdity, it should be construed according to the spirit and
considered as its territory but that of Marcos. Thus, Marcos claimed reason, disregarding if necessary the letters of the law. It is believed
that it was entitled not only to the middle portion[11] of Nueva Era but that congress did not intend to have this absurd situation to be created
also to Nueva Eras isolated northern portion. These areas claimed by when it created the Municipality of Marcos. This body, by the mandate
Marcos were within Barangay Sto. Nio, Nueva Era. given to it by the RA 7160 otherwise known Local Government Code,
so believes that respondent Nueva Era or any portion thereof has been
Nueva Era reacted to the claim of Marcos through its Resolution No. 1, excluded from the ambit of RA 3753. Under the principle of espressio
Series of 1993. It alleged that since time immemorial, its entire land (sic) unios (sic) est exclusio alterius, by expressly naming
area was an ancestral domain of the tinguians, an indigenous cultural the barangays that will comprise the town of Marcos, those not
community. It argued to the effect that since the land being claimed by mentioned are deemed excluded. In Republic Act 4354, where Section
Marcos must be protected for the tinguians, it must be preserved as 2 thereof enumerated the barrios comprising the City
part of Nueva Era.[12] of Davaoexcluding the petitioner Barrio Central as part of the said City,
the court held that there arose a prima facie conclusion that the said
According to Nueva Era, Marcos was created out of law abolished Barrio Central as part of Davao City.
the territory of Dingras only. And since R.A. No. 3753 specifically
mentioned seven (7) barrios of Dingras to become Marcos, the area Historically, the hinterlands of Nueva Era have been known to be the
which should comprise Marcos should not go beyond the territory of home of our brothers and sisters belonging to peculiar groups of non-
said barrios.[13] (C)hristian inhabitants with their own rich customs and traditions and
this body takes judicial notice that the inhabitants of Nueva Era have
From the time Marcos was created in 1963, its eastern boundary had proudly claimed to be a part of this rich culture. With this common
been considered to be aligned and coterminous with the eastern ancestral heritage which unfortunately is absent with Marcos, let it not
boundary of the adjacent municipality of Dingras. However, based on a be disturbed.[19] (Emphasis ours and citations omitted)
re-survey in 1992, supposedly done to conform to the second
paragraph of Section 1 of R.A. No. 3753, an area of 15,400 hectares of RTC Decision
Nueva Era was alleged to form part of Marcos.[14] This was the area
of Barangay Sto. Nio, Nueva Era that Marcos claimed in its position On appeal by Marcos, the RTC affirmed the decision of the SP in its
paper. decision[20] of March 19, 2001. The dispositive part of the RTC decision
reads:
On March 29, 2000, the SP of Ilocos Norte ruled in favor of Nueva
Era. The fallo of its decision[15] reads: WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The questioned
decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte is hereby
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Body has no alternative AFFIRMED.
but to dismiss, as it hereby DISMISSES said petition for lack of
merit. The disputed area consisting of 15,400 hectares, more or less, is No costs.
hereby declared as part and portion of the territorial jurisdiction of
respondent Nueva Era.[16] SO ORDERED.[21]

R.A. No. 3753 expressly named the barangays that would comprise The RTC reasoned out in this wise:
Marcos, but none of Nueva Eras barangays were mentioned. The SP
thus construed, applying the rule of expressio unius est exclusio The position of the Municipality of Marcos is that the provision of R.A.
alterius, that no part of Nueva Era was included by R.A. No. 3753 in 3753 as regards its boundary on the East which is the Ilocos Norte-
creating Marcos.[17] Mt. Province should prevail.

The SP ratiocinated that if Marcos was to be bounded by Mt. Province, On the other hand, the Municipality of Nueva Era posits the theory
it would encroach upon a portion, not only of Nueva Era but also of that only the barrios of the Municipality of Dingras as stated in R.A.
Abra. Thus: 3753 should be included in the territorial jurisdiction of
the Municipality of Marcos. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan agreed with
x x x Even granting, for the sake of argument, that the eastern the position of Nueva Era.
boundary of Marcos is indeed Mountain Province, Marcos will then be
claiming a portion of Abra because the province, specifically Barangay xxxx
Sto. Nio, Nueva Era, is actually bounded on the East by
the Province of Abra. Abra is situated between and separates the An examination of the Congressional Records during the deliberations
Provinces of Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province. of the R.A. 3753 (House Bill No. 3721) shows the Explanatory Note of
Congressman Simeon M. Valdez, 2nd District, Ilocos Norte, to wit:
This is precisely what this body would like to avoid. Statutes should be
construed in the light of the object to be achieved and the evil or EXPLANATORY NOTE
mischief to be suppressed, and they should be given such construction
as will advance the object, suppress the mischief and secure the This bill seeks to create in the Province of Ilocos Norte a new
benefits intended.[18] (Citations omitted) municipality to be known as the Municipality of Marcos, to be
comprised by the present barrios of Capariaan, Biding Escoda, Culao,
The SP further explained: Alabaan, Ragas and Agunit, all in the Municipality of Dingras of the
same province. The seat of government will be in the sitio of San In a Decision[27] dated June 6, 2005, the CA partly reversed
Magro in the present barrio of Ragas. the RTC decision with the following disposition:

xxxx

On the other hand, the Municipality of Dingras will not be adversely WHEREFORE, we partially GRANT the petition treated as one
affected too much because its finances will still be sound and stable. Its for certiorari. The Decisions of both the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
capacity to comply with its obligations, especially to its employees and and Regional Trial Court of Ilocos Norte are REVERSED and SET
personnel, will not be diminished nor its operations paralyzed. On the ASIDE insofar as they made the eastern boundary of the municipality
contrary, economic development in both the mother and the proposed of Marcos co-terminous with the eastern boundary of Dingras town,
municipalities will be accelerated. and another is rendered extending the said boundary of Marcos to the
boundary line between the province of Ilocos Norte and Kalinga-
In view of the foregoing, approval of this bill is earnestly requested. Apayao, but the same Decisions are AFFIRMED with respect to the
denial of the claim of Marcos to the detached northern portion
(Sgd.) SIMEON M. VALDEZ of barangay Sto. Nio which should, as it is hereby ordered to, remain
with the municipality of Nueva Era. No costs.
Congressman, 2nd District
SO ORDERED.[28]
Ilocos Norte[22]
In concluding that the eastern boundary of Marcos was the boundary
Parenthetically, the legislative intent was for the creation of line between Ilocos Norte and Kalinga-Apayao, the CA gave the
the Municipality of Marcos, Ilocos Norte from the barrios (barangays) following explanation:
of the Municipality of Dingras, Ilocos Norte only. Hence,
the Municipality of Marcos cannot add any area beyond the territorial Clearly then, both the SP and the RTC erred when they ruled that the
jurisdiction of the Municipality of Dingras, Ilocos Norte. This conclusion eastern boundary of Marcos is only coterminous with the eastern
might have been different only if the area being claimed by boundary of the adjacent municipality of Dingras and refused to
the Municipality of Marcos is within the territorial jurisdiction of extend it up to the boundary line between the provinces of Ilocos
the Municipality of Dingras and not the Municipality of Nueva Era. In Norte and Mountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao). R.A. No. 3753, the law
such case, the two conflicting provisions may be harmonized by creating Marcos, is very explicit and leaves no room for equivocation
including such area within the territorial jurisdiction of that the boundaries of Marcos town are:
the Municipality of Dingras as within the territorial jurisdiction of
the Municipality of Marcos.[23] (Emphasis ours) On the Northwest by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down
to the barrios Capariaan-Gabon boundary consisting of foot path and
CA Disposition feeder road; on the Northeast, by the Burnay River which is the
common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan; on the East, by
Still determined to have a more extensive eastern boundary, Marcos the Ilocos Norte-Mt. Province boundary; on the South by the Padsan
filed a petition for review[24] of the RTC decision before the CA. The River, which is at the same time the boundary between the
issues raised by Marcos before the CA were: municipalities of Banna and Dingras; on the West and Southwest by
the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras.
1. Whether or not the site of Hercules Minerals and Oil, Inc. which is
within a Government Forest Reservation in Barangay Sto. Nio, formerly To stop short at the eastern boundary of Dingras as the eastern
of Nueva Era, is a part of the newly created Municipality of Marcos, boundary also of Marcos and refusing to go farther to the boundary
Ilocos Norte. line between Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao) is
tantamount to amending the law which Congress alone can do. Both
2. Whether or not the portion of Barangay Sto. Nio on the East which the SP and RTC have no competence to undo a valid act of Congress.
is separated from Nueva Era as a result of the full implementation of
the boundaries of the new Municipality of Marcos belongs also to It is not correct to say that Congress did not intend to take away any
Marcos or to Nueva Era.[25] part of Nueva Era and merge it with Marcos for it is chargeable with
conclusive knowledge that when it provided that the eastern boundary
The twin issues involved two portions of Nueva Era, viz.: (1) middle of Marcos is the boundary line between Ilocos Norte and Mountain
portion, where Hercules Minerals and Oil, Inc. is located; and (2) Province, (by the time of both the SB and RTC Decision was already
northern portion of Nueva Era, which, according to Marcos, was Kalinga-Apayao), it would be cutting through a portion of Nueva Era. As
isolated from Nueva Era in view of the integration to Marcos of said the law is written so must it be applied. Dura lex sed lex![29]
middle portion.
The CA likewise held that the province Abra was not located between
Marcos prayed before the CA that the above two portions of Nueva Era Marcos and Kalinga-Apayao; and that Marcos would not encroach
be declared as part of its own territory. It alleged that it was entitled to upon a portion of Abra for it to be bounded by Kalinga-Apayao, to wit:
the middle portion of Nueva Era in view of the description of Marcos
eastern boundary under R.A. No. 3753. Marcos likewise contended Nueva Eras contention that to lay out the eastern jurisdiction of
that it was entitled to the northern portion of Nueva Era which was Marcos to the boundary line between Ilocos Norte
allegedly isolated from Nueva Era when Marcos was created. It posited and Mountain Province (Kalinga-Apayao) would mean annexing part of
that such isolation of territory was contrary to law because the law the municipality of Itnig, province of Abra to Marcos as Abra is
required that a municipality must have a compact and contiguous between Ilocos Norte and Mountain Province is geographically
territory.[26] erroneous. From Nueva Eras own map of Region 1, which also depicts
the locations of Kalinga-Apayao, Abra, Mountain Province, Benguet
and Nueva Vizcaya after the partition of the old Mountain Province
into the provinces of Kalinga-Apayao, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Ilocos Norte. Nonetheless, because of the transcendental legal and
Benguet, the province of Abra is situated far to the south of Kalinga jurisdictional issues involved, we solved our inceptive dilemma by
Apayao and is between the latter and the present Mountain Province, treating the petition at bar as a special civil action for certiorari.[32]
which is farther south of Abra. Abra is part of the eastern boundary of
Ilocos Sur while Kalinga-Apayao is the eastern boundary of Ilocos
Norte. Hence, in no way will the eastern boundary of
the municipality of Marcos encroach upon a portion of Abra.[30] Nueva Era was not pleased with the decision of the CA. Hence, this
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45.
However, Marcos claim over the alleged isolated northern portion of
Nueva Era was denied. The CA ruled: Issues

Going now to the other area involved, i.e., the portion of Sto. Nio that Nueva Era now raises the following issues:
is separated from its mother town Nueva Era and now lies east of the
municipalities of Solsona and Dingras and north of Marcos, it bears a) Whether or not, the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction on the Petition
stressing that it is not included within the area of Marcos as defined by for Review on Appeal, since Sec. 119 of the Local Government Code,
law. But since it is already detached from Sto. Nio, Marcos is which provides that An appeal to the Decision of the Sangguniang
laying claim to it to be integrated into its territory by the SP because it Panlalawigan is exclusively vested to the Regional Trial Court, without
is contiguous to a portion of said municipality. further Appeal to the Court of Appeals;

We hold that the SP has no jurisdiction or authority to act on the claim, b) Whether or not, the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion,
for it will necessarily substantially alter the north eastern and southern in treating the Petition for Review On Appeal, filed under Rule 45,
boundaries of Marcos from that defined by law and unduly enlarge its Revised Rules of Court, as a Petition for Certiorari, under Rule 65 of the
area. Only Congress can do that. True, the SP may substantially alter Revised Rules of Court;
the boundary of a barangay within its jurisdiction. But this means the
alteration of the boundary of a barangay in relation to c) Whether or not, the Court of Appeals erred in its appreciation of
another barangay within the same municipality for as long as that will facts, in declaring that MARCOS East is not coterminous with the
not result in any change in the boundary of that municipality. The area Eastern boundary of its mother town-Dingras. That it has no factual
in dispute therefore remains to be a part of Sto. Nio, a barangay of and legal basis to extend MARCOS territory beyond Brgys. Agunit
Nueva Era although separated by the newly created Marcos town (Ferdinand) and Culao (Elizabeth) of Marcos, and to go further East, by
pursuant to Section 7(c) of the 1991 Local Government Code which traversing and disintegrating Brgy. Sto. Nio, and drawing parallel lines
states: from Sto. Nio, there lies Abra, not Mt. Province or Kalinga-Apayao.[33]

SEC. 7. Creation and Conversion. As a general rule, the creation of a Basically, there are two (2) issues to resolve here: (1) whether or not
local government unit or its conversion from one level to another shall the mode of appeal adopted by Marcos in bringing the case to the CA
be based on verifiable indicators of viability and projected capacity to is proper; and (2) whether or not the eastern boundary of Marcos
provide services, to wit: extends over and covers a portion of Nueva Era.

xxxx Our Ruling

(c) Land Area. It must be contiguous, unless it comprises two or more Marcos correctly appealed the RTC judgment via petition for review
islands or is separated by a local government unit independent of the under Rule 42.
others; properly identified by metes and bounds with technical
Under Section 118(b) of the Local Government Code, (b)oundary
descriptions; and sufficient to provide for such basic services and
disputes involving two (2) or more municipalities within the same
facilities to meet the requirements of its populace. [31]
province shall be referred for settlement to the sangguniang
The CA also expressed the view that Marcos adopted the wrong mode panlalawigan concerned.The dispute shall be formally tried by the
of appeal in bringing the case to it. The case, according to the CA, was said sanggunian in case the disputing municipalities fail to effect an
appealable only to the RTC. Nonetheless, despite its pronouncement amicable settlement.[34]
that the case was dismissible, the CA took cognizance of the same by
The SP of Ilocos validly took cognizance of the dispute between the
treating it as one for certiorari, to wit:
parties. The appeal of the SP judgment to the RTC was likewise
A final word. At the outset, we agonized over the dilemma of choosing properly filed by Marcos before the RTC. The problem, however, lies in
between dismissing outright the petition at bar or entertaining it. This whether the RTC judgment may still be further appealed to the CA.
is for the simple reason that a petition for review is a mode of appeal
The CA pronounced that the RTC decision on the boundary dispute was
and is not appropriate as the Local Government Code provides for the
not appealable to it. It ruled that no further appeal of the RTC decision
remedy of appeal in boundary disputes only to the Regional Trial Court
may be made pursuant to Section 119 of the Local Government
but not any further appeal to this Court. Appeal is a purely statutory
Code[35] which provides:
right. It cannot be exercised unless it is expressly granted by law. This is
too basic to require the citation of supporting authority.
SECTION 119. Appeal. Within the time and manner prescribed by the
Rules of Court, any party may elevate the decision of
xxxx
the sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having
By the same token, since the Local Government Code does not jurisdiction over the area in dispute. The Regional Trial Court shall
explicitly grant the right of further appeal from decisions of the RTCs in decide the appeal within one (1) year from the filing thereof. Pending
boundary disputes between or among local government units, Marcos final resolution of the disputed area prior to the dispute shall be
town cannot exercise that right from the adverse decision of the RTC of maintained and continued for all legal purposes.
The CA concluded that since only the RTC was mentioned as appellate Nueva Era contends that the constitutional and statutory[43] plebiscite
court, the case may no longer be further appealed to it. The CA stated requirement for the creation of a local government unit is applicable to
that (a)ppeal is a purely statutory right. It cannot be exercised unless it this case. It posits that the claim of Marcos to its territory should be
is expressly granted by law. This is too basic to require the citation of denied due to lack of the required plebiscite.
supporting authority.[36]
We agree with Nueva Eras contention that Marcos claim over parts of
The CA, however, justified its taking cognizance of the case by its territory is not tenable. However, the reason is not the lack of the
declaring that: because of the transcendental legal and jurisdictional required plebiscite under the 1987 and 1973 constitutions and the
issues involved, we solved our inceptive dilemma by treating the Local Government Code of 1991 but other reasons as will be discussed
petition at bar as a special civil action for certiorari.[37] below.

The CA erred in declaring that only the RTC has appellate jurisdiction At the time Marcos was created, a plebiscite was not required by law
over the judgment of the SP. to create a local government unit. Hence, Marcos was validly created
without conducting a plebiscite. As a matter of fact, no plebiscite was
True, appeal is a purely statutory right and it cannot be exercised conducted in Dingras, where it was derived.
unless it is expressly granted by law. Nevertheless, the CA can pass
upon the petition for review precisely because the law allows it. Lex prospicit, non respicit. The law looks forward, not backward.[44] It is
the basic norm that provisions of the fundamental law should be given
Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of prospective application only, unless legislative intent for its retroactive
1980, as amended by R.A. No. 7902,[38] vests in the CA the appellate application is so provided.[45]
jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or
awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, In the comparable case of Ceniza v. Commission on
instrumentalities, boards or commissions, among others.[39] B.P. Blg. Elections[46] involving the City of Mandaue, the Court has this to say:
129 has been further supplemented by the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended, which provides for the remedy of appeal via Petitioners assail the charter of the City of Mandaue as
petition for review under Rule 42 to the CA in cases decided by unconstitutional for not having been ratified by the residents of the
the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. city in a plebiscite. This contention is untenable. The Constitutional
requirement that the creation, division, merger, abolition, or alteration
Thus, the CA need not treat the appeal via petition for review filed by of the boundary of a province, city, municipality, or barrio should be
Marcos as a petition for certiorari to be able to pass upon the subject to the approval by the majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite
same. B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, which is supplemented by Rule 42 of in the governmental unit or units affected is a new requirement that
the Rules of came into being only with the 1973 Constitution. It is prospective in
Civil Procedure, gives the CA the authority to entertain appeals of such character and therefore cannot affect the creation of the City
judgments and final orders rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its of Mandaue which came into existence on June 21, 1969.[47] (Citations
appellate jurisdiction. omitted and underlining supplied).

At the time of creation of Marcos, approval in a plebiscite of the Moreover, by deciding this case, We are not creating Marcos but
creation of a local government unit is not required. merely interpreting the law that created it. Its creation was already
a fait accompli. Therefore, there is no reason for Us to further require
Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides that: a plebiscite.

No province, city, municipality, or barangay may be created, divided, As pointed out by Justice Isagani Cruz, to wit:
merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, except in
accordance with the criteria established in the local government code Finally, it should be observed that the provisions of the Constitution
and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in should be given only a prospective application unless the contrary is
the political units directly affected.[40] clearly intended. Were the rule otherwise, rights already acquired or
vested might be unduly disturbed or withdrawn even in the absence of
The purpose of the above constitutional provision was acknowledged an unmistakable intention to place them within the scope of the
by the Court through Justice Reynato S. Puno in Miranda v. Constitution.[48]
Aguirre,[41] where it was held that:
No part of Nueva Eras territory was taken for the creation of Marcos
The 1987 Constitution, more than any of our previous Constitutions, under R.A. No. 3753.
gave more reality to the sovereignty of our people for it was borne out
of the people power in the 1986 EDSA revolution. Its Section 10, Article Only the barrios (now barangays) of Dingras from which Marcos
X addressed the undesirable practice in the past whereby local obtained its territory are named in R.A. No. 3753. To wit:
government units were created, abolished, merged or divided on the
basis of the vagaries of politics and not of the welfare of the SECTION 1. The barrios of Capariaan, Biding, Escoda, Culao, Alabaan,
people. Thus, the consent of the people of the local government unit Ragas and Agunit in the Municipality of Dingras, Province of Ilocos
directly affected was required to serve as a checking mechanism to any Norte, are hereby separated from the said municipality and
exercise of legislative power creating, dividing, abolishing, merging or constituted into a new and separate municipality to be known as
altering the boundaries of local government units. It is one instance the Municipality of Marcos, with the following boundaries:
where the people in their sovereign capacity decide on a matter that
affects them direct democracy of the people as opposed to democracy Since only the barangays of Dingras are enumerated as Marcos source
thru peoples representatives. This plebiscite requirement is also in of territory, Nueva Eras territory is, therefore, excluded.
accord with the philosophy of the Constitution granting more
autonomy to local government units.[42]
Under the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, the mention of descriptive only of the listed barangays of Dingras as a compact and
one thing implies the exclusion of another thing not mentioned. If a contiguous territory.
statute enumerates the things upon which it is to operate, everything
else must necessarily and by implication be excluded from its Considering that the description of the eastern boundary of Marcos
operation and effect.[49] This rule, as a guide to probable legislative under R.A. No. 3753 is ambiguous, the same must be interpreted in
intent, is based upon the rules of logic and natural workings of the light of the legislative intent.
human mind.[50]
The law must be given a reasonable interpretation, to preclude
Had the legislature intended other barangays from Nueva Era to absurdity in its application.[55] We thus uphold the legislative intent to
become part of Marcos, it could have easily done so by clear and create Marcos out of the territory of Dingras only.
concise language. Where the terms are expressly limited to certain
matters, it may not by interpretation or construction be extended to Courts must give effect to the general legislative intent that can be
other matters.[51] The rule proceeds from the premise that the discovered from or is unraveled by the four corners of the statute, and
legislature would not have made specified enumerations in a statute in order to discover said intent, the whole statute, and not only a
had the intention been not to restrict its meaning and to confine its particular provision thereof, should be considered.[56] Every section,
terms to those expressly mentioned.[52] provision or clause of the statute must be expounded by reference to
each other in order to arrive at the effect contemplated by the
Moreover, since the barangays of Nueva Era were not mentioned in legislature. The intention of the legislator must be ascertained from
the enumeration of barangays out of which the whole text of the law, and every part of the act is to be taken into
the territory of Marcos shall be set, their omission must be held to view.[57]
have been done intentionally. This conclusion finds support in the rule
of casus omissus pro omisso habendus est, which states that a person, It is axiomatic that laws should be given a reasonable interpretation,
object or thing omitted from an enumeration must be held to have not one which defeats the very purpose for which they were
been omitted intentionally.[53] passed. This Court has in many cases involving the construction of
statutes always cautioned against narrowly interpreting a statute as to
Furthermore, this conclusion on the intention of the legislature is defeat the purpose of the legislature and stressed that it is of the
bolstered by the explanatory note of the bill which paved the way for essence of judicial duty to construe statutes so as to avoid such a
the creation of Marcos. Said explanatory note mentioned only Dingras deplorable result (of injustice or absurdity) and that therefore a literal
as the mother municipality of Marcos. interpretation is to be rejected if it would be unjust or lead to absurd
results.[58]
Where there is ambiguity in a statute, as in this case, courts may resort
to the explanatory note to clarify the ambiguity and ascertain the Statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved
purpose and intent of the statute.[54] and the evils sought to be remedied. Thus, in construing a statute, the
reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should
Despite the omission of Nueva Era as a mother territory in the law be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. The
creating Marcos, the latter still contends that said law included Nueva court may consider the spirit and reason of the statute, where a literal
Era. It alleges that based on the description of its boundaries, a portion meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would
of Nueva Era is within its territory. defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers.[59]

The boundaries of Marcos under R.A. No. 3753 read: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals is partly REVERSED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court in
On the Northwest, by the barrios Biding-Rangay boundary going down Ilocos Norte is REINSTATED.
to the barrios Capariaan-Gabon boundary consisting of foot path and
feeder road; on the Northeast, by the Burnay River which is the SO ORDERED.
common boundary of barrios Agunit and Naglayaan; on the East, by
the Ilocos Norte-Mt. Province boundary; on the South, by the Padsan
River which is at the same time the boundary between the
municipalities of Banna and Dingras; on the West and Southwest, by
the boundary between the municipalities of Batac and Dingras.

Marcos contends that since it is bounded on the East, by


the Ilocos Norte-Mt. Province boundary, a portion of Nueva Era formed
part of its territory because, according to it, Nueva Era is between the
Marcos and IlocosNorte-Mt. Province boundary. Marcos posits that in
order for its eastern side to reach the Ilocos Norte-
Mt. Province boundary, it will necessarily traverse the middle portion
of Nueva Era.

Marcos further claims that it is entitled not only to the middle portion
of Nueva Era but also to its northern portion which, as a consequence,
was isolated from the major part of Nueva Era.

We cannot accept the contentions of Marcos.

Only Dingras is specifically named by law as source territory of


Marcos. Hence, the said description of boundaries of Marcos is
Chapter 4 Manifestation; Rollo, pp. 173-176), respectively, averring
developments that transpired after the filing of the petition and
G.R. No. 106719 September 21, 1993 stressing the urgency for the issuance of the writ of preliminary
injunction or temporary restraining order.
DRA. BRIGIDA S. BUENASEDA, Lt. Col. ISABELO BANEZ, JR.,
ENGR. CONRADO REY MATIAS, Ms. CORA S. SOLIS and Ms. On September 22, 1992, this Court ". . . Resolved to REQUIRE
ENYA N. LOPEZ, petitioners, the respondents to MAINTAIN in the meantime, the STATUS
vs. QUO pending filing of comments by said respondents on the
SECRETARY JUAN FLAVIER, Ombudsman CONRADO M. original supplemental manifestation" (Rollo, p. 177).
VASQUEZ, and NCMH NURSES ASSOCIATION, represented by
RAOULITO GAYUTIN, respondents. On September 29, 1992, petitioners filed a motion to direct
Renato J. Dilag and Benjamin C. Santos for petitioners. respondent Secretary of Health to comply with the Resolution
Danilo C. Cunanan for respondent Ombudsman. dated September 22, 1992 (Rollo, pp. 182-192, Annexes, pp.
Crispin T. Reyes and Florencio T. Domingo for private 192-203). In a Resolution dated October 1, 1992, this Court
respondent. required respondent Secretary of Health to comment on the
said motion.
QUIASON, J.:
On September 29, 1992, in a pleading entitled "Omnibus
This is a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus, with Submission," respondent NCMH Nurses Association submitted
Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Temporary Restraining its Comment to the Petition, Supplemental Petition and Urgent
Order, under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. Supplemental Manifestation. Included in said pleadings were
the motions to hold the lawyers of petitioners in contempt and
Principally, the petition seeks to nullify the Order of the to disbar them (Rollo, pp. 210-267). Attached to the "Omnibus
Ombudsman dated January 7, 1992, directing the preventive Submission" as annexes were the orders and pleadings filed in
suspension of petitioners, Administrative Case No. OBM-ADM-0-91-1051 against
Dr. Brigida S. Buenaseda, Chief of Hospital III; Isabelo C. Banez, petitioners (Rollo, pp. 268-480).
Jr., Administrative Officer III; Conrado Rey Matias, Technical
Assistant to the Chief of Hospital; Cora C. Solis, Accountant III; The Motion for Disbarment charges the lawyers of petitioners
and Enya N. Lopez, Supply Officer III, all of the National Center with:
for Mental Health. The petition also asks for an order directing (1) unlawfully advising or otherwise causing or inducing their
the Ombudsman to disqualify Director Raul Arnaw and clients — petitioners Buenaseda, et al., to openly defy, ignore,
Investigator Amy de Villa-Rosero, of the Office of the disregard, disobey or otherwise violate, maliciously evade their
Ombudsman, from participation in the preliminary investigation preventive suspension by Order of July 7, 1992 of the
of the charges against petitioner (Rollo, pp. 2-17; Annexes to Ombudsman . . ."; (2) "unlawfully interfering with and
Petition, Rollo, pp. 19-21). obstructing the implementation of the said order (Omnibus
Submission, pp. 50-52; Rollo, pp. 259-260); and (3) violation of
The questioned order was issued in connection with the the Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility and of
administrative complaint filed with the Ombudsman (OBM- unprofessional and unethical conduct "by foisting blatant lies,
ADM-0-91-0151) by the private respondents against the malicious falsehood and outrageous deception" and by
petitioners for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices committing subornation of perjury, falsification and fabrication
Act. in their pleadings (Omnibus Submission, pp. 52-54; Rollo, pp.
261-263).
According to the petition, the said order was issued upon the
recommendation of Director Raul Arnaw and Investigator Amy On November 11, 1992, petitioners filed a "Manifestation and
de Villa-Rosero, without affording petitioners the opportunity Supplement to 'Motion to Direct Respondent Secretary of
to controvert the charges filed against them. Petitioners had Health to Comply with 22 September 1992 Resolution'"
sought to disqualify Director Arnaw and Investigator Villa- (Manifestation attached to Rollo without pagination between
Rosero for manifest partiality and bias (Rollo, pp. 4-15). pp. 613 and 614 thereof).

On September 10, 1992, this Court required respondents' On November 13, 1992, the Solicitor General submitted its
Comment on the petition. Comment dated November 10, 1992, alleging that: (a) "despite
the issuance of the September 22, 1992 Resolution directing
On September 14 and September 22, 1992, petitioners filed a respondents to maintain the status quo, respondent Secretary
"Supplemental Petition (Rollo, pp. 124-130); Annexes to refuses to hold in abeyance the implementation of petitioners'
Supplemental Petition; Rollo pp. 140-163) and an "Urgent preventive suspension; (b) the clear intent and spirit of the
Supplemental Manifestation" (Rollo, Resolution dated September 22, 1992 is to hold in abeyance the
pp. 164-172; Annexes to Urgent Supplemental implementation of petitioners' preventive suspension,
the status quo obtaining the time of the filing of the instant
petition; (c) respondent Secretary's acts in refusing to hold in Sec. 24. Preventive Suspension. — The Ombudsman or his
abeyance implementation of petitioners' preventive suspension Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee
and in tolerating and approving the acts of Dr. Abueva, the OIC under his authority pending an investigation, if in his
appointed to replace petitioner Buenaseda, are in violation of judgment the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge
the Resolution dated September 22, 1992; and against such officer or employee involves dishonesty,
(d) therefore, respondent Secretary should be directed to oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the
comply with the Resolution dated September 22, 1992 performance of duty; (b) the charge would warrant
immediately, by restoring the status quo ante contemplated by removal from the service; or (c) the respondent's continued
the aforesaid resolution" (Comment attached to Rollowithout stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.
paginations between pp. 613-614 thereof).
The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is
In the Resolution dated November 25, 1992, this Court required terminated by the Office of Ombudsman but not more than
respondent Secretary to comply with the aforestated status six months, without pay, except when the delay in the
quo order, stating inter alia, that: disposition of the case by the Office of the Ombudsman is
due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent,
It appearing that the status quo ante litem motam, or the in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted
last peaceable uncontested status which preceded the in computing the period of suspension herein provided.
present controversy was the situation obtaining at the time
of the filing of the petition at bar on September 7, 1992 Respondents argue that the power of preventive suspension
wherein petitioners were then actually occupying their given the Ombudsman under Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770 was
respective positions, the Court hereby ORDERS that contemplated by Section 13 (8) of Article XI of the 1987
petitioners be allowed to perform the duties of their Constitution, which provides that the Ombudsman shall
respective positions and to receive such salaries and exercise such other power or perform such functions or duties
benefits as they may be lawfully entitled to, and that as may be provided by law."
respondents and/or any and all persons acting under their
authority desist and refrain from performing any act in On the other hand, the Solicitor General and the petitioners
violation of the aforementioned Resolution of September claim that under the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman can
22, 1992 until further orders from the Court (Attached only recommend to the heads of the departments and other
to Rollo after p. 615 thereof). agencies the preventive suspension of officials and employees
facing administrative investigation conducted by his office.
On December 9, 1992, the Solicitor General, commenting on Hence, he cannot order the preventive suspension himself.
the Petition, Supplemental Petition and Supplemental
Manifestation, stated that (a) "The authority of the They invoke Section 13(3) of the 1987 Constitution which
Ombudsman is only to recommend suspension and he has no provides that the Office of the Ombudsman shall have inter
direct power to suspend;" and (b) "Assuming the Ombudsman alia the power, function, and duty to:
has the power to directly suspend a government official or
employee, there are conditions required by law for the exercise Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action
of such powers; [and] said conditions have not been met in the against a public official or employee at fault, and
instant case" (Attached to Rollo without pagination). recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine,
censure or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.
In the pleading filed on January 25, 1993, petitioners adopted
the position of the Solicitor General that the Ombudsman can The Solicitor General argues that under said provision of the
only suspend government officials or employees connected Constitutions, the Ombudsman has three distinct powers,
with his office. Petitioners also refuted private respondents' namely: (1) direct the officer concerned to take appropriate
motion to disbar petitioners' counsel and to cite them for action against public officials or employees at fault; (2)
contempt (Attached to Rollo without pagination). recommend their removal, suspension, demotion fine, censure,
or prosecution; and (3) compel compliance with the
The crucial issue to resolve is whether the Ombudsman has the recommendation (Comment dated December 3, 1992, pp. 9-
power to suspend government officials and employees working 10).
in offices other than the Office of the Ombudsman, pending the
investigation of the administrative complaints filed against said The line of argument of the Solicitor General is a siren call that
officials and employees. can easily mislead, unless one bears in mind that what the
Ombudsman imposed on petitioners was not a punitive but
In upholding the power of the Ombudsman to preventively only a preventive suspension.
suspend petitioners, respondents (Urgent Motion to Lift Status
Quo, etc, dated January 11, 1993, pp. 10-11), invoke Section 24 When the constitution vested on the Ombudsman the power
of R.A. No. 6770, which provides: "to recommend the suspension" of a public official or
employees (Sec. 13 [3]), it referred to "suspension," as a of the purposes and objectives for which it was created (Cf.
punitive measure. All the words associated with the word Department of Public Utilities v. Arkansas Louisiana Gas. Co.,
"suspension" in said provision referred to penalties in 200 Ark. 983, 142 S.W. (2d) 213 [1940]; Wallace v. Feehan, 206
administrative cases, e.g. removal, demotion, fine, censure. Ind. 522, 190 N.E., 438 [1934]).
Under the rule of Noscitor a sociis, the word "suspension"
should be given the same sense as the other words with which In Nera v. Garcia, 106 Phil. 1031 [1960], this Court, holding that
it is associated. Where a particular word is equally susceptible a preventive suspension is not a penalty, said:
of various meanings, its correct construction may be made
specific by considering the company of terms in which it is Suspension is a preliminary step in an administrative
found or with which it is associated (Co Kim Chan v. Valdez Tan investigation. If after such investigation, the charges are
Keh, 75 Phil. 371 [1945]; Caltex (Phils.) Inc. v. Palomar, 18 SCRA established and the person investigated is found guilty of
247 [1966]). acts warranting his removal, then he is removed or
dismissed. This is the penalty.
Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, which grants the Ombudsman the
power to preventively suspend public officials and employees To support his theory that the Ombudsman can only
facing administrative charges before him, is a procedural, not a preventively suspend respondents in administrative cases who
penal statute. The preventive suspension is imposed after are employed in his office, the Solicitor General leans heavily on
compliance with the requisites therein set forth, as an aid in the the phrase "suspend any officer or employee under his
investigation of the administrative charges. authority" in Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770.

Under the Constitution, the Ombudsman is expressly The origin of the phrase can be traced to Section 694 of the
authorized to recommend to the appropriate official the Revised Administrative Code, which dealt with preventive
discipline or prosecution of erring public officials or employees. suspension and which authorized the chief of a bureau or office
In order to make an intelligent determination whether to to "suspend any subordinate or employee in his bureau or
recommend such actions, the Ombudsman has to conduct an under his authority pending an investigation . . . ."
investigation. In turn, in order for him to conduct such
investigation in an expeditious and efficient manner, he may
Section 34 of the Civil Service Act of 1959 (R.A. No. 2266), which
need to suspend the respondent.
superseded Section 694 of the Revised Administrative Code also
authorized the chief of a bureau or office to "suspend any
The need for the preventive suspension may arise from several subordinate officer or employees, in his bureau or under his
causes, among them, the danger of tampering or destruction of authority."
evidence in the possession of respondent; the intimidation of
witnesses, etc. The Ombudsman should be given the discretion
However, when the power to discipline government officials
to decide when the persons facing administrative charges
and employees was extended to the Civil Service Commission
should be preventively suspended.
by the Civil Service Law of 1975 (P.D. No. 805), concurrently
with the President, the Department Secretaries and the heads
Penal statutes are strictly construed while procedural statutes of bureaus and offices, the phrase "subordinate officer and
are liberally construed (Crawford, Statutory Construction, employee in his bureau" was deleted, appropriately leaving the
Interpretation of Laws, pp. 460-461; Lacson v. Romero, 92 Phil. phrase "under his authority." Therefore, Section 41 of said law
456 [1953]). The test in determining if a statute is penal is only mentions that the proper disciplining authority may
whether a penalty is imposed for the punishment of a wrong to preventively suspend "any subordinate officer or employee
the public or for the redress of an injury to an individual (59 under his authority pending an investigation . . ." (Sec. 41).
Corpuz Juris, Sec. 658; Crawford, Statutory Construction, pp.
496-497). A Code prescribing the procedure in criminal cases is
The Administrative Code of 1987 also empowered the proper
not a penal statute and is to be interpreted liberally (People v.
disciplining authority to "preventively suspend any subordinate
Adler, 140 N.Y. 331; 35 N.E. 644).
officer or employee under his authority pending an
investigation" (Sec. 51).
The purpose of R.A. No. 6770 is to give the Ombudsman such
powers as he may need to perform efficiently the task
The Ombudsman Law advisedly deleted the words
committed to him by the Constitution. Such being the case, said
"subordinate" and "in his bureau," leaving the phrase to read
statute, particularly its provisions dealing with procedure,
"suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending
should be given such interpretation that will effectuate the
an investigation . . . ." The conclusion that can be deduced from
purposes and objectives of the Constitution. Any interpretation
the deletion of the word "subordinate" before and the words
that will hamper the work of the Ombudsman should be
"in his bureau" after "officer or employee" is that the Congress
avoided.
intended to empower the Ombudsman to preventively suspend
all officials and employees under investigation by his office,
A statute granting powers to an agency created by the irrespective of whether they are employed "in his office" or in
Constitution should be liberally construed for the advancement
other offices of the government. The moment a criminal or pp. 288-289; Annex 4, Rollo,
administrative complaint is filed with the Ombudsman, the pp. 290-296); (b) private respondent had filed a reply to the
respondent therein is deemed to be "in his authority" and he answer of petitioners, specifying 23 cases of harassment by
can proceed to determine whether said respondent should be petitioners of the members of the private respondent (Annex 6,
placed under preventive suspension. Omnibus Submission, Rollo, pp. 309-333); and (c) a preliminary
conference wherein the complainant and the respondents in
In their petition, petitioners also claim that the Ombudsman the administrative case agreed to submit their list of witnesses
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of and documentary evidence.
jurisdiction when he issued the suspension order without
affording petitioners the opportunity to confront the charges Petitioners herein submitted on November 7, 1991 their list of
against them during the preliminary conference and even after exhibits (Annex 8 of Omnibus Submission, Rollo, pp. 336-337)
petitioners had asked for the disqualification of Director Arnaw while private respondents submitted their list of exhibits
and Atty. Villa-Rosero (Rollo, pp. 6-13). Joining petitioners, the (Annex 9 of Omnibus Submission, Rollo, pp. 338-348).
Solicitor General contends that assuming arguendo that the
Ombudsman has the power to preventively suspend erring Under these circumstances, it can not be said that Director Raul
public officials and employees who are working in other Arnaw and Investigator Amy de Villa-Rosero acted with
departments and offices, the questioned order remains null and manifest partiality and bias in recommending the suspension of
void for his failure to comply with the requisites in Section 24 of petitioners. Neither can it be said that the Ombudsman had
the Ombudsman Law (Comment dated December 3, 1992, pp. acted with grave abuse of discretion in acting favorably on their
11-19). recommendation.

Being a mere order for preventive suspension, the questioned The Motion for Contempt, which charges the lawyers of petitioners
order of the Ombudsman was validly issued even without a full- with unlawfully causing or otherwise inducing their clients to openly
blown hearing and the formal presentation of evidence by the defy and disobey the preventive suspension as ordered by the
parties. In Nera, supra, petitioner therein also claimed that the Ombudsman and the Secretary of Health can not prosper (Rollo, pp.
Secretary of Health could not preventively suspend him before 259-261). The Motion should be filed, as in fact such a motion was
filed, with the Ombudsman. At any rate, we find that the acts alleged
he could file his answer to the administrative complaint. The
to constitute indirect contempt were legitimate measures taken by
contention of petitioners herein can be dismissed perfunctorily said lawyers to question the validity and propriety of the preventive
by holding that the suspension meted out was merely suspension of their clients.
preventive and therefore, as held in Nera, there was "nothing
improper in suspending an officer pending his investigation and On the other hand, we take cognizance of the intemperate language
before tho charges against him are heard . . . (Nera v. used by counsel for private respondents hurled against petitioners and
Garcia., supra). their counsel (Consolidated: (1) Comment on Private Respondent"
"Urgent Motions, etc.;
There is no question that under Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, the (2) Adoption of OSG's Comment; and (3) Reply to Private Respondent's
Ombudsman cannot order the preventive suspension of a Comment and Supplemental Comment, pp. 4-5).
respondent unless the evidence of guilt is strong and (1) the
charts against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, A lawyer should not be carried away in espousing his client's cause.
The language of a lawyer, both oral or written, must be respectful and
oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance
restrained in keeping with the dignity of the legal profession and with
of duty; (2) the charge would warrant removal from the service;
his behavioral attitude toward his brethren in the profession (Lubiano
or (3) the respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice v. Gordolla, 115 SCRA 459 [1982]). The use of abusive language by
the case filed against him. counsel against the opposing counsel constitutes at the same time a
disrespect to the dignity of the court of justice. Besides, the use of
The same conditions for the exercise of the power to impassioned language in pleadings, more often than not, creates more
preventively suspend officials or employees under investigation heat than light.
were found in Section 34 of R.A. No. 2260.
The Motion for Disbarment (Rollo, p. 261) has no place in the instant
special civil action, which is confined to questions of jurisdiction or
The import of the Nera decision is that the disciplining authority
abuse of discretion for the purpose of relieving persons from the
is given the discretion to decide when the evidence of guilt is arbitrary acts of judges and quasi-judicial officers. There is a set of
strong. This fact is bolstered by Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, procedure for the discipline of members of the bar separate and apart
which expressly left such determination of guilt to the from the present special civil action.
"judgment" of the Ombudsman on the basis of the
administrative complaint. In the case at bench, the Ombudsman WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the Status quo ordered to
issued the order of preventive suspension only after: (a) be maintained in the Resolution dated September 22, 1992 is LIFTED
petitioners had filed their answer to the administrative and SET ASIDE.
complaint and the "Motion for the Preventive Suspension" of
petitioners, which incorporated the charges in the criminal SO ORDERED.
complaint against them (Annex 3, Omnibus Submission, Rollo,
Chapter 4 The Honorable Respondent Court of Appeals erred
in the decision of the Regional Trial Court
G.R. No. 79094 June 22, 1988 convicting the petitioner of the offense charged,
despite the cold fact that the basis of the
conviction was based solely on the stipulation of
MANOLO P. FULE, petitioner,
facts made during the pre-trial on August 8, 1985,
vs.
which was not signed by the petitioner, nor by his
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondent.
counsel.

Balagtas P. Ilagan for petitioner.


Finding the petition meritorious, we resolved to give due course.

The Solicitor General for respondent.


The 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, which became effective on
January 1, 1985, applicable to this case since the pre-trial was held on
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: August 8, 1985, provides:

This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the Decision of respondent SEC. 4. Pre-trial agreements must be signed. — No
Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial agreement or admission made or entered during
Court, Lucena City, Branch LIV, convicting petitioner (the accused- the pre-trial conference shall be used in evidence
appellant) of Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (The Bouncing against the accused unless reduced to writing and
Checks Law) on the basis of the Stipulation of Facts entered into signed by him and his counsel. (Rule 118)
between the prosecution and the defense during the pre-trial [Emphasis supplied]
conference in the Trial Court. The facts stipulated upon read:
By its very language, the Rule is mandatory. Under the rule of statutory
a) That this Court has jurisdiction over the person construction, negative words and phrases are to be regarded as
and subject matter of this case; mandatory while those in the affirmative are merely directory (McGee
vs. Republic, 94 Phil. 820 [1954]). The use of the term "shall" further
b) That the accused was an agent of the Towers emphasizes its mandatory character and means that it is imperative,
Assurance Corporation on or before January 21, operating to impose a duty which may be enforced (Bersabal vs.
1981; Salvador, No. L-35910, July 21, 1978, 84 SCRA 176). And more
importantly, penal statutes whether substantive and remedial or
c) That on January 21, 1981, the accused issued procedural are, by consecrated rule, to be strictly applied against the
and made out check No. 26741, dated January 24, government and liberally in favor of the accused (People vs. Terrado
1981 in the sum of P2,541.05; No. L-23625, November 25, 1983, 125 SCRA 648).

d) That the said check was drawn in favor of the The conclusion is inevitable, therefore, that the omission of the
complaining witness, Roy Nadera; signature of the accused and his counsel, as mandatorily required by
the Rules, renders the Stipulation of Facts inadmissible in evidence.
The fact that the lawyer of the accused, in his memorandum,
e) That the check was drawn in favor of the confirmed the Stipulation of Facts does not cure the defect because
complaining witness in remittance of collection; Rule 118 requires both the accused and his counsel to sign the
Stipulation of Facts. What the prosecution should have done, upon
f) That the said check was presented for payment discovering that the accused did not sign the Stipulation of Facts, as
on January 24, 1981 but the same was dishonored required by Rule 118, was to submit evidence to establish the
for the reason that the said checking account was elements of the crime, instead of relying solely on the supposed
already closed; admission of the accused in the Stipulation of Facts. Without said
evidence independent of the admission, the guilt of the accused
g) That the accused Manolo Fule has been properly cannot be deemed established beyond reasonable doubt.
Identified as the accused party in this case.
Consequently, under the circumstances obtaining in this case, the ends
At the hearing of August 23, 1985, only the prosecution presented its of justice require that evidence be presented to determine the
evidence consisting of Exhibits "A," "B" and "C." At the subsequent culpability of the accused. When a judgment has been entered by
hearing on September 17, 1985, petitioner-appellant waived the right consent of an attorney without special authority, it will sometimes be
to present evidence and, in lieu thereof, submitted a Memorandum set aside or reopened (Natividad vs. Natividad, 51 Phil. 613 [1928]).
confirming the Stipulation of Facts. The Trial Court convicted
petitioner-appellant. WHEREFORE, the judgment of respondent Appellate Court is
REVERSED and this case is hereby ordered RE-OPENED and REMANDED
On appeal, respondent Appellate Court upheld the Stipulation of Facts to the appropriate Branch of the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City,
and affirmed the judgment of conviction. 1 for further reception of evidence.

Hence, this recourse, with petitioner-appellant contending that: SO ORDERED.


Chapter 4 leave to file second motion for reconsideration which was likewise denied
by the respondent court on March 15, 1972. Hence this petition.
G.R. No. L-35910 July 21, 1978
The sole inquiry in the case at bar can be stated thus: Whether, in the light of
the provisions of the second paragraph of Section 45 of Republic Act No. 296, as
PURITA BERSABAL, petitioner, amended by R.A. No. 6031, the mere failure of an appellant to submit on nine
vs. the memorandum mentioned in the same paragraph would empower the Court
HONORABLE JUDGE SERAFIN SALVADOR, as Judge of the Court of First of First Instance to dismiss the appeal on the ground of failure to Prosecute; or,
Instance of Caloocan City, Branch XIV, TAN THAT and ONG PIN whether it is mandatory upon said Court to proceed to decide the appealed
TEE, respondents. case on the basis of the evidence and records transmitted to it, the failure of
the appellant to submit a memorandum on time notwithstanding.
MAKASIAR, J.:
The second paragraph of Section 45 of R.A. No. 296, otherwise known as the
Philippine Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended by R.A. No. 6031 provides, in part,
On March 23, 1972, petitioner Purita Bersabal seeks to annul the orders of
as follows:
respondent Judge of August 4, 1971, October 30, 1971 and March 15, 1972 and
to compel said respondent Judge to decide petitioner's perfected appeal on the
basis of the evidence and records of the case submitted by the City Court of Courts of First Instance shall decide such appealed cases on the basis of
Caloocan City plus the memorandum already submitted by the petitioner and the evidence and records transmitted from the city or municipal courts:
respondents. Provided, That the parties may submit memoranda and/or brief with oral
argument if so requested ... . (Emphasis supplied).
Since only questions of law were raised therein, the Court of Appeals, on
October 13, 1972, issued a resolution certifying said case to this Court pursuant The foregoing provision is clear and leaves no room for doubt. It cannot be
to Section 17, paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended. interpreted otherwise than that the submission of memoranda is optional on
the part of the parties. Being optional on the part of the parties, the latter may
so choose to waive submission of the memoranda. And as a logical concomitant
As found by the Court of Appeals, the facts of this case are as follows:
of the choice given to the Parties, the Court cannot dismiss the appeal of the
party waiving the submission of said memorandum the appellant so chooses
It appears that private respondents Tan That and Ong Pin Tee filed an not to submit the memorandum, the Court of First Instance is left with no
ejectment suit, docketed as Civil Case No. 6926 in the City Court of alternative but to decide the case on the basis of the evidence and records
Caloocan City, against the petitioner. A decision was rendered by said transmitted from the city or municipal courts. In other words, the Court is not
Court on November 25, 1970, which decision was appealed by the empowered by law to dismiss the appeal on the mere failure of an appellant to
petitioner to the respondent Court and docketed therein as Civil Case No. submit his memorandum, but rather it is the Court's mandatory duty to decide
C-2036. the case on the basis of the available evidence and records transmitted to it.

During the pendency of the appeal the respondent court issued on March As a general rule, the word "may" when used in a statute is permissive only and
23, 1971 an order which reads: operates to confer discretion; while the word "shall" is imperative, operating to
impose a duty which may be enforced (Dizon vs. Encarnacion, L-18615, Dec. 24,
Pursuant to the provisions of Rep. Act No. 6031, the Clerk of Court of 1963, 9 SCRA 714, 716-717). The implication is that the Court is left with no
Caloocan City, is hereby directed to transmit to this Court within fifteen choice but to decide the appealed case either on the basis of the evidence and
(15) days from receipt hereof the transcripts of stenographic notes records transmitted to it, or on the basis of the latter plus memoranda and/or
taken down during the hearing of this case before the City Court of brief with oral argument duly submitted and/or made on request.
Caloocan City, and likewise, counsels for both parties are given thirty
(30) days from receipt of this order within which to file their respective Moreover, memoranda, briefs and oral arguments are not essential
memoranda, and thereafter, this case shall be deemed submitted for requirements. They may be submitted and/or made only if so requested.
decision by this Court.
Finally, a contrary interpretation would be unjust and dangerous as it may
which order was apparently received by petitioner on April 17, 1971. defeat the litigant's right to appeal granted to him by law. In the case
of Republic vs. Rodriguez
The transcript of stenographic notes not having yet been forwarded to the (L-26056, May 29, 1969, 28 SCRA 378) this Court underscored "the need of
respondent court, petitioner filed on May 5, 1971 a 'MOTION EX-PARTE proceeding with caution so that a party may not be deprived of its right to
TO SUBMIT MEMORANDUM WITHIN 30 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF NOTICE appeal except for weighty reasons." Courts should heed the rule in Municipality
OF SUBMISSION OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF STENOGRAPHIC NOTES TAKEN of Tiwi, Albay vs. Cirujales
DURING THE HEARING OF THE CASE BEFORE THE CITY COURT OF (L-37520, Dec. 26, 1973, 54 SCRA 390, 395), thus:
CALOOCAN CITY' which was granted by respondent court on May 7, 1971.
However, before the petitioner could receive any such notice from the The appellate court's summary dismissal of the appeal even before receipt
respondent court, the respondent Judge issued an order on August 4, of the records of the appealed case as ordered by it in a prior mandamus
1971 which says: case must be set aside as having been issued precipitously and without an
opportunity to consider and appreciate unavoidable circumstances of
For failure of the defendant-appellant to prosecute her appeal the record not attributable to petitioners that caused the delay in the
same is hereby ordered DISMISSED with costs against her. elevation of the records of the case on appeal.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order on September In the instant case, no notice was received by petitioner about the submission
28, 1971, citing as a ground the granting of his ex-parte motion to submit of the transcript of the stenographic notes, so that his 30-day period to submit
memorandum within 30 days from notice of the submission of the his memorandum would commence to run. Only after the expiration of such
stenographic notes taken before the City Court. Private respondents filed period can the respondent Judge act on the case by deciding it on the merits,
their opposition to the motion on September 30,1971. In the meantime, not by dismissing the appeal of petitioner.
on October 20,1971, petitioner filed her memorandum dated October 18,
1971. On October 30, 1971 the respondent Court denied the motion for WHEREFORE, THE CHALLENGED ORDERS OF RESPONDENT JUDGE DATED
reconsideration. Then on January 25, 1972, petitioner filed a motion for AUGUST 4, 1971, OCTOBER 30, 1971 AND MARCH 15, 1971 ARE HEREBY SET
ASIDE AS NULL AND VOID AND THE RESPONDENT COURT IS HEREBY DIRECTED
TO DECIDE CIVIL CASE NO. C-2036 ON THE MERITS. NO COSTS.
Chapter 4
On March 17, 2003, respondents, along with Rustia, filed a Motion for Reconsideration.[6]
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN. VS. MERCEDITAS DE SAHAGUN,
On June 24, 2003, Ombudsman Marcelo issued an Order[7] partially granting the motion for
G.R. No. 167982 August 13, 2008
reconsideration. Respondents and Ferrer were found guilty of the lesser offense of simple
misconduct and suspended for six months without pay. Rustia's suspension was reduced to
DECISION three months.

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Dissatisfied, respondents filed a Petition for Review[8] with the CA assailing the Orders
dated March 10, 2003 and June 24, 2003 of the Ombudsman.
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court assailing the Decision[1] dated April 28, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in On April 28, 2005, the CA rendered a Decision[9] setting aside the Orders dated March 10,
2003 and June 24, 2003 of the Ombudsman. The CA held that respondents may no longer be
CA-G.R. SP No. 78008 which set aside the Orders dated March 10, 2003 and June
prosecuted since the complaint was filed more than seven years after the imputed acts were
24, 2003 of the petitioner Office of the Ombudsman in OMB-ADM-0-00-0721. committed which was beyond the one year period provided for by Section 20 (5) of Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 6770, otherwise known as The Ombudsman Act of 1989; and that the nature of
The material antecedents are as follows: the function of the Ombudsman was purely recommendatory and it did not have the power to
penalize erring government officials and employees. The CA relied on the following statement
On November 13, 1992, respondent Raidis J. Bassig, Chief of the Research and Publications made by the Court in Tapiador v. Office of the Ombudsman,[10]to wit:
Division of the Intramuros Administration, submitted a Memorandum to
then Intramuros Administrator Edda V. Henson (Henson) recommending that Brand Asia, Ltd. x x x Besides, assuming arguendo, that petitioner [Tapiador] was
be commissioned to produce a video documentary for a television program, as well implement
administratively liable, the Ombudsman has no authority to directly
a media plan and marketing support services for Intramuros.
dismiss the petitioner from the government service, more particularly
On November 17, 1992, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of from his position in the BID. Under Section 13, subparagraph 3, of Article
the Intramuros Administration, composed of respondent Merceditas de Sahagun, as XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman can only recommend the
Chairman, with respondent Manuela T. Waquiz and Dominador C. Ferrer, Jr. (Ferrer), as removal of the public official or employee found to be at fault, to the
members, submitted a recommendation to Henson for the approval of the award of said public official concerned.[11] (Emphasis supplied)
contract to Brand Asia, Ltd. On the same day, Henson approved the recommendation and
issued a Notice of Award to Brand Asia, Ltd. Hence, the present petition raising the following issues (1) whether Section 20 (5)
of R.A. No. 6770 prohibits administrative investigations in cases filed more than one
On November 23, 1992, a contract of service to produce a video documentary
on Intramuros for TV program airing was executed between Henson and Brand Asia, year after commission, and (2) whether the Ombudsman only has
Ltd. On December 1, 1992, a Notice to Proceed was issued to Brand Asia, Ltd. recommendatory, not punitive, powers against erring government officials and
employees.
On June 2, 1993, the BAC, with Augusto P. Rustia (Rustia) as additional member,
recommended to Henson the approval of the award of contract for print collaterals to Brand The Court rules in favor of the petitioner.
Asia, Ltd. On the same day, Henson approved the recommendation and issued a Notice of
Award/Notice to Proceed to Brand Asia, Ltd. The issues in the present case are settled by precedents.
On June 22, 1993, a contract of services to produce print collaterals was entered between
Henson and Brand Asia, Ltd. On the first issue, well-entrenched is the rule that administrative
offenses do not prescribe.[12] Administrative offenses by their very nature pertain to
On March 7, 1995, an anonymous complaint was filed with the Presidential Commission the character of public officers and employees. In disciplining public officers and
Against Graft and Corruption (PGAC) against Henson in relation to the contracts entered into employees, the object sought is not the punishment of the officer or employee but
with Brand Asia, Ltd. the improvement of the public service and the preservation of the publics faith and
On November 30, 1995, Henson was dismissed from the service by the Office of the President confidence in our government.[13]
upon recommendation of the PGAC which found that the contracts were entered into without
the required public bidding and in violation of Section 3 (a) and (e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
Respondents insist that Section 20 (5) of R.A. No. 6770, to wit:
3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On August 8, 1996, an anonymous complaint was filed with the Ombudsman against the BAC SEC. 20. Exceptions. The Office of the Ombudsman may not conduct
in relation to the latters participation in the contracts with Brand Asia, Ltd. for which Henson the necessary investigation of any administrative act or omission
was dismissed from service. complained of if it believes that:

On September 5, 2000, Fact-Finding Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) filed criminal and administrative xxx
charges against respondents, along with Ferrer and Rustia, for violation of Section 3 (a) and (c)
of R.A. No. 3019 in relation to Section 1 of Executive Order No. 302 and grave misconduct,
(5) The complaint was filed after one year from the occurrence of the
conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service and gross violation of Rules and
Regulations pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987, docketed as OMB-0-00-1411 and act or omission complained of. (Emphasis supplied)
OMB-ADM-0-00-0721, respectively.[2] OMB-0-00-1411 was dismissed on February 27, 2002 for
lack of probable cause.[3] proscribes the investigation of any administrative act or omission if the complaint
was filed after one year from the occurrence of the complained act or omission.
In his proposed Decision[4] dated June 19, 2002, Graft Investigation Officer
II Joselito P. Fangon recommended the dismissal of OMB-ADM-0-00-0721. In Melchor v. Gironella,[14] the Court held that the period stated
in Section 20(5) of R.A. No. 6770 does not refer to the prescription of the offense
However, then Ombudsman Simeon V. Marcelo disapproved the recommendation. In an but to the discretion given to the Ombudsman on whether it would investigate a
Order[5] dated March 10, 2003, he held that there was substantial evidence to hold respondents particular administrative offense. The use of the word may in the provision is
administratively liable since the contracts awarded to Brand Asia, Ltd. failed to go through the
construed as permissive and operating to confer discretion.[15] Where the words of
required procedure for public bidding under Executive Order No. 301 dated July 26,
1987. Respondents and Ferrer were found guilty of grave misconduct and dismissed from a statute are clear, plain and free from ambiguity, they must be given their literal
service. Rustia was found guilty of simple misconduct and suspended for six months without meaning and applied without attempted interpretation.[16]
pay.
In Filipino v. Macabuhay,[17] the Court interpreted Section 20 (5) of R.A. head of the office or agency concerned to implement the penalty imposed is
No. 6770 in this manner: likewise settled.

Petitioner argues that based on the abovementioned In Ledesma v. Court of Appeals,[22] the Court has ruled that the statement
provision [Section 20(5) of RA 6770)], respondent's complaint is in Tapiador that made reference to the power of the Ombudsman to impose an
barred by prescription considering that it was filed more than one administrative penalty was merely an obiter dictum and could not be cited as a
year after the alleged commission of the acts complained of. doctrinal declaration of this Court, thus:

Petitioner's argument is without merit. x x x [A] cursory reading of Tapiador reveals that the main point of
the case was the failure of the complainant therein to present
The use of the word "may" clearly shows that it is substantial evidence to prove the charges of the administrative
directory in nature and not mandatory as petitioner contends. When case. The statement that made reference to the power of the
used in a statute, it is permissive only and operates to confer Ombudsman is, at best, merely an obiter dictum and, as it is
discretion; while the word "shall" is imperative, operating to impose unsupported by sufficient explanation, is susceptible to varying
a duty which may be enforced. Applying Section 20(5), therefore, it interpretations, as what precisely is before us in this case. Hence, it
is discretionary upon the Ombudsman whether or not to conduct cannot be cited as a doctrinal declaration of this Court nor is it safe
an investigation on a complaint even if it was filed after one year from judicial examination.[23] (Emphasis supplied)
from the occurrence of the act or omission complained of. In fine,
the complaint is not barred by prescription.[18] (Emphasis supplied) In Estarija v. Ranada,[24] the Court reiterated its pronouncements in Ledesma and
categorically stated:
The declaration of the CA in its assailed decision that while as a general
rule the word may is directory, the negative phrase may not is mandatory in tenor; x x x [T]he Constitution does not restrict the powers of the Ombudsman
that a directory word, when qualified by the word not, becomes prohibitory and in Section 13, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, but allows the
therefore becomes mandatory in character, is not plausible. It is not supported by Legislature to enact a law that would spell out the powers of the
jurisprudence on statutory construction. Ombudsman. Through the enactment of Rep. Act No. 6770, specifically
Section 15, par. 3, the lawmakers gave the Ombudsman such powers
As the Court recently held in Office of the Ombudsman v. Court of to sanction erring officials and employees, except members of
Appeals,[19] Section 20 of R.A. No. 6770 has been clarified by Administrative Order Congress, and the Judiciary. To conclude, we hold that Sections 15, 21,
No. 17,[20] which amended Administrative Order No. 07, otherwise known as the 22 and 25 of Republic Act No. 6770 are constitutionally sound. The
Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman. Section 4, Rule III[21] of the powers of the Ombudsman are not merely recommendatory. His
amended Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman reads: office was given teeth to render this constitutional body not merely
functional but also effective. Thus, we hold that under Republic Act No.
Section 4. Evaluation. - Upon receipt of the complaint, 6770 and the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman has the
the same shall be evaluated to determine whether the same may constitutional power to directly remove from government service an
be: erring public official other than a member of Congress and the
a) dismissed outright for any grounds stated under Judiciary.[25] (Emphasis supplied)
Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6770, provided, however, that the
dismissal thereof is not mandatory and shall be discretionary on The power of the Ombudsman to directly impose administrative
the part of the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman sanctions has been repeatedly reiterated in the subsequent cases
concerned; of Barillo v. Gervasio,[26] Office of the Ombudsman v. Madriaga,[27] Office of the
b) treated as a grievance/request for assistance which Ombudsman v. Court of Appeals,[28] Balbastro v. Junio,[29] Commission on Audit,
may be referred to the Public Assistance Bureau, this Office, for Regional Office No. 13, Butuan City v. Hinampas,[30] Office of the Ombudsman v.
appropriate action under Section 2, Rule IV of this Rules; Santiago,[31] Office of the Ombudsman v. Lisondra,[32] and most recently in Deputy
c) referred to other disciplinary authorities under Ombudsman for the Visayas v. Abugan[33] and continues to be the controlling
paragraph 2, Section 23, R.A. 6770 for the taking of appropriate doctrine.
administrative proceedings;
In fine, it is already well-settled that the Ombudsman's power as regards the
d) referred to the appropriate office/agency or official for the administrative penalty to be imposed on an erring public officer or employee is not
conduct of further fact-finding investigation; or merely recommendatory. The Ombudsman has the power to directly impose the
penalty of removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution of a public
e) docketed as an administrative case for the purpose of officer or employee, other than a member of Congress and the Judiciary, found to
administrative adjudication by the Office of the be at fault, within the exercise of its administrative disciplinary authority as provided
Ombudsman. (Emphasis supplied) in the Constitution, R.A. No. 6770, as well as jurisprudence. This power gives the
said constitutional office teeth to render it not merely functional, but also
It is, therefore, discretionary upon the Ombudsman whether or not to effective.[34]
conduct an investigation of a complaint even if it was filed after one year from the
occurrence of the act or omission complained of. Thus, the CA committed a reversible error in holding that the case had already
prescribed and that the Ombudsman does not have the power to penalize erring
Thus, while the complaint herein was filed only on September 5, 2000, or more government officials and employees.
than seven years after the commission of the acts imputed against respondents in
November 1992 and June 1993, it was within the authority of the Ombudsmanto WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 28, 2005 of the
conduct the investigation of the subject complaint. Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 78008 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Order
dated June 24, 2003 of the Office of the Ombudsman is REINSTATED.
On the second issue, the authority of the Ombudsman to determine the
administrative liability of a public official or employee, and to direct and compel the SO ORDERED.
Chapter 4 In July, 1989, when Soliven inquired about the status of LGVHAI,
Atty. Joaquin A. Bautista, the head of the legal department of
G.R. No. 117188 August 7, 1997 the HIGC, informed him that LGVHAI had been automatically
dissolved for two reasons. First, it did not submit its by-laws
within the period required by the Corporation Code and,
LOYOLA GRAND VILLAS HOMEOWNERS (SOUTH)
second, there was non-user of corporate charter because HIGC
ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner,
had not received any report on the association's activities.
vs.
Apparently, this information resulted in the registration of the
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HOME INSURANCE AND GUARANTY
South Association with the HIGC on July 27, 1989 covering
CORPORATION, EMDEN ENCARNACION and HORATIO
Phases West I, East I and East II. It filed its by-laws on July 26,
AYCARDO, respondents.
1989.
ROMERO, J.:
These developments prompted the officers of the LGVHAI to
lodge a complaint with the HIGC. They questioned the
May the failure of a corporation to file its by-laws within one
revocation of LGVHAI's certificate of registration without due
month from the date of its incorporation, as mandated by
notice and hearing and concomitantly prayed for the
Section 46 of the Corporation Code, result in its automatic
cancellation of the certificates of registration of the North and
dissolution? South Associations by reason of the earlier issuance of a
certificate of registration in favor of LGVHAI.
This is the issue raised in this petition for review on certiorari of
the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of On January 26, 1993, after due notice and hearing, private
the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation (HIGC). This
respondents obtained a favorable ruling from HIGC Hearing
quasi-judicial body recognized Loyola Grand Villas Homeowners
Officer Danilo C. Javier who disposed of HIGC Case No. RRM-5-
Association (LGVHA) as the sole homeowners' association in
89 as follows:
Loyola Grand Villas, a duly registered subdivision in Quezon City
and Marikina City that was owned and developed by Solid
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered recognizing
Homes, Inc. It revoked the certificates of registration issued to
the Loyola Grand Villas Homeowners Association, Inc.,
Loyola Grand Villas homeowners (North) Association
under Certificate of Registration No. 04-197 as the duly
Incorporated (the North Association for brevity) and Loyola
registered and existing homeowners association for
Grand Villas Homeowners (South) Association Incorporated (the
Loyola Grand Villas homeowners, and declaring the
South Association).
Certificates of Registration of Loyola Grand Villas
Homeowners (North) Association, Inc. and Loyola
LGVHAI was organized on February 8, 1983 as the association of
Grand Villas Homeowners (South) Association, Inc. as
homeowners and residents of the Loyola Grand Villas. It was
hereby revoked or cancelled; that the receivership be
registered with the Home Financing Corporation, the terminated and the Receiver is hereby ordered to
predecessor of herein respondent HIGC, as the sole render an accounting and turn-over to Loyola Grand
homeowners' organization in the said subdivision under
Villas Homeowners Association, Inc., all assets and
Certificate of Registration No. 04-197. It was organized by the
records of the Association now under his custody and
developer of the subdivision and its first president was Victorio possession.
V. Soliven, himself the owner of the developer. For unknown
reasons, however, LGVHAI did not file its corporate by-laws.
The South Association appealed to the Appeals Board of the
HIGC. In its Resolution of September 8, 1993, the
Sometime in 1988, the officers of the LGVHAI tried to register Board 4 dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.
its by-laws. They failed to do so. 2 To the officers' consternation,
they discovered that there were two other organizations within
Rebuffed, the South Association in turn appealed to the Court
the subdivision — the North Association and the South
of Appeals, raising two issues. First, whether or not LGVHAI's
Association. According to private respondents, a non-resident
failure to file its by-laws within the period prescribed by Section
and Soliven himself, respectively headed these associations.
46 of the Corporation Code resulted in the automatic
They also discovered that these associations had five (5)
dissolution of LGVHAI. Second, whether or not two
registered homeowners each who were also the incorporators,
homeowners' associations may be authorized by the HIGC in
directors and officers thereof. None of the members of the
one "sprawling subdivision." However, in the Decision of August
LGVHAI was listed as member of the North Association while
23, 1994 being assailed here, the Court of Appeals affirmed the
three (3) members of LGVHAI were listed as members of the
Resolution of the HIGC Appeals Board.
South Association.3 The North Association was registered with
the HIGC on February 13, 1989 under Certificate of Registration
No. 04-1160 covering Phases West II, East III, West III and East In resolving the first issue, the Court of Appeals held that under
IV. It submitted its by-laws on December 20, 1988. the Corporation Code, a private corporation commences to
have corporate existence and juridical personality from the date
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues a
certificate of incorporation under its official seal. The associations should represent the entire community, village or
requirement for the filing of by-laws under Section 46 of the subdivision.
Corporation Code within one month from official notice of the
issuance of the certificate of incorporation presupposes that it Undaunted, the South Association filed the instant petition for
is already incorporated, although it may file its by-laws with its review on certiorari. It elevates as sole issue for resolution the
articles of incorporation. Elucidating on the effect of a delayed first issue it had raised before the Court of Appeals, i.e.,
filing of by-laws, the Court of Appeals said: whether or not the LGVHAI's failure to file its by-laws within the
period prescribed by Section 46 of the Corporation Code had
We also find nothing in the provisions cited by the the effect of automatically dissolving the said corporation.
petitioner, i.e., Section 46 and 22, Corporation Code, or in
any other provision of the Code and other laws which Petitioner contends that, since Section 46 uses the word "must"
provide or at least imply that failure to file the by-laws with respect to the filing of by-laws, noncompliance therewith
results in an automatic dissolution of the corporation. would result in "self-extinction" either due to non-occurrence
While Section 46, in prescribing that by-laws must be of a suspensive condition or the occurrence of a resolutory
adopted within the period prescribed therein, may be condition "under the hypothesis that (by) the issuance of the
interpreted as a mandatory provision, particularly because certificate of registration alone the corporate personality is
of the use of the word "must," its meaning cannot be deemed already formed." It asserts that the Corporation Code
stretched to support the argument that automatic provides for a "gradation of violations of requirements." Hence,
dissolution results from non-compliance. Section 22 mandates that the corporation must be formally
organized and should commence transaction within two years
We realize that Section 46 or other provisions of the from date of incorporation. Otherwise, the corporation would
Corporation Code are silent on the result of the failure to be deemed dissolved. On the other hand, if the corporation
adopt and file the by-laws within the required period. Thus, commences operations but becomes continuously inoperative
Section 46 and other related provisions of the Corporation for five years, then it may be suspended or its corporate
Code are to be construed with Section 6 (1) of P.D. 902-A. franchise revoked.
This section empowers the SEC to suspend or revoke
certificates of registration on the grounds listed therein. Petitioner concedes that Section 46 and the other provisions of
Among the grounds stated is the failure to file by-laws (see the Corporation Code do not provide for sanctions for non-filing
also II Campos: The Corporation Code, 1990 ed., pp. 124- of the by-laws. However, it insists that no sanction need be
125). Such suspension or revocation, the same section provided "because the mandatory nature of the provision is so
provides, should be made upon proper notice and hearing. clear that there can be no doubt about its being an essential
Although P.D. 902-A refers to the SEC, the same principles attribute of corporate birth." To petitioner, its submission is
and procedures apply to the public respondent HIGC as it buttressed by the facts that the period for compliance is
exercises its power to revoke or suspend the certificates of "spelled out distinctly;" that the certification of the SEC/HIGC
registration or homeowners association. (Section 2 [a], E.O. must show that the by-laws are not inconsistent with the Code,
535, series 1979, transferred the powers and authorities of and that a copy of the by-laws "has to be attached to the
the SEC over homeowners associations to the HIGC.) articles of incorporation." Moreover, no sanction is provided for
because "in the first place, no corporate identity has been
We also do not agree with the petitioner's interpretation completed." Petitioner asserts that "non-provision for remedy
that Section 46, Corporation Code prevails over Section 6, or sanction is itself the tacit proclamation that non-compliance
P.D. 902-A and that the latter is invalid because it is fatal and no corporate existence had yet evolved," and
contravenes the former. There is no basis for such therefore, there was "no need to proclaim its demise." 6 In a bid
interpretation considering that these two provisions are to convince the Court of its arguments, petitioner stresses that:
not inconsistent with each other. They are, in fact,
complementary to each other so that one cannot be . . . the word MUST is used in Sec. 46 in its universal literal
considered as invalidating the other. meaning and corollary human implication — its compulsion
is integrated in its very essence — MUST is always
The Court of Appeals added that, as there was no showing that enforceable by the inevitable consequence — that is, "OR
the registration of LGVHAI had been validly revoked, it ELSE". The use of the word MUST in Sec. 46 is no exception
continued to be the duly registered homeowners' association in — it means file the by-laws within one month after notice
the Loyola Grand Villas. More importantly, the South of issuance of certificate of registration OR ELSE. The OR
Association did not dispute the fact that LGVHAI had been ELSE, though not specified, is inextricably a part of MUST .
organized and that, thereafter, it transacted business within the Do this or if you do not you are "Kaput". The importance of
period prescribed by law. the by-laws to corporate existence compels such meaning
for as decreed the by-laws is "the government" of the
On the second issue, the Court of Appeals reiterated its corporation. Indeed, how can the corporation do any lawful
previous ruling 5 that the HIGC has the authority to order the act as such without by-laws. Surely, no law is indeed to
holding of a referendum to determine which of two contending create chaos. 7
Petitioner asserts that P.D. No. 902-A cannot exceed the scope members during office hours; and a copy thereof, shall be
and power of the Corporation Code which itself does not filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission which
provide sanctions for non-filing of by-laws. For the petitioner, it shall be attached to the original articles of incorporation.
is "not proper to assess the true meaning of Sec. 46 . . . on an
unauthorized provision on such matter contained in the said Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding
decree." paragraph, by-laws may be adopted and filed prior to
incorporation; in such case, such by-laws shall be approved
In their comment on the petition, private respondents counter and signed by all the incorporators and submitted to the
that the requirement of adoption of by-laws is not mandatory. Securities and Exchange Commission, together with the
They point to P.D. No. 902-A as having resolved the issue of articles of incorporation.
whether said requirement is mandatory or merely directory.
Citing Chung Ka Bio v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 8 private In all cases, by-laws shall be effective only upon the
respondents contend that Section 6(I) of that decree provides issuance by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a
that non-filing of by-laws is only a ground for suspension or certification that the by-laws are not inconsistent with this
revocation of the certificate of registration of corporations and, Code.
therefore, it may not result in automatic dissolution of the
corporation. Moreover, the adoption and filing of by-laws is a The Securities and Exchange Commission shall not accept
condition subsequent which does not affect the corporate for filing the by-laws or any amendment thereto of any
personality of a corporation like the LGVHAI. This is so because bank, banking institution, building and loan association,
Section 9 of the Corporation Code provides that the corporate trust company, insurance company, public utility,
existence and juridical personality of a corporation begins from educational institution or other special corporations
the date the SEC issues a certificate of incorporation under its governed by special laws, unless accompanied by a
official seal. Consequently, even if the by-laws have not yet certificate of the appropriate government agency to the
been filed, a corporation may be considered a de effect that such by-laws or amendments are in accordance
facto corporation. To emphasize the fact the LGVHAI was with law.
registered as the sole homeowners' association in the Loyola
Grand Villas, private respondents point out that membership in
As correctly postulated by the petitioner, interpretation of this
the LGVHAI was an "unconditional restriction in the deeds of
provision of law begins with the determination of the meaning
sale signed by lot buyers."
and import of the word "must" in this section Ordinarily, the
word "must" connotes an imperative act or operates to impose
In its reply to private respondents' comment on the petition, a duty which may be enforced. 9 It is synonymous with "ought"
petitioner reiterates its argument that the word " must" in which connotes compulsion or mandatoriness. 10 However, the
Section 46 of the Corporation Code is mandatory. It adds that, word "must" in a statute, like "shall," is not always imperative.
before the ruling in Chung Ka Bio v. Intermediate Appellate It may be consistent with an exercise of discretion. In this
Court could be applied to this case, this Court must first resolve jurisdiction, the tendency has been to interpret "shall" as the
the issue of whether or not the provisions of P.D. No. 902-A context or a reasonable construction of the statute in which it is
prescribing the rules and regulations to implement the used demands or requires. 11 This is equally true as regards the
Corporation Code can "rise above and change" the substantive word "must." Thus, if the languages of a statute considered as a
provisions of the Code. whole and with due regard to its nature and object reveals that
the legislature intended to use the words "shall" and "must" to
The pertinent provision of the Corporation Code that is the be directory, they should be given that meaning. 12
focal point of controversy in this case states:
In this respect, the following portions of the deliberations of the
Sec. 46. Adoption of by-laws. — Every corporation formed Batasang Pambansa No. 68 are illuminating:
under this Code, must within one (1) month after receipt of
official notice of the issuance of its certificate of MR. FUENTEBELLA. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
incorporation by the Securities and Exchange Commission,
adopt a code of by-laws for its government not inconsistent
On page 34, referring to the adoption of by-laws, are we
with this Code. For the adoption of by-laws by the
made to understand here, Mr. Speaker, that by-laws must
corporation, the affirmative vote of the stockholders
immediately be filed within one month after the issuance?
representing at least a majority of the outstanding capital
In other words, would this be mandatory or directory in
stock, or of at least a majority of the members, in the case
character?
of non-stock corporations, shall be necessary. The by-laws
shall be signed by the stockholders or members voting for
MR. MENDOZA. This is mandatory.
them and shall be kept in the principal office of the
corporation, subject to the stockholders or members voting
for them and shall be kept in the principal office of the
corporation, subject to inspection of the stockholders or
MR. FUENTEBELLA. It being mandatory, Mr. Speaker, what conferred upon it, certainly in all cases where the charter
would be the effect of the failure of the corporation to file sufficiently provides for the government of the body; and
these by-laws within one month? even where the governing statute in express terms confers
upon the corporation the power to adopt by-laws, the
MR. MENDOZA. There is a provision in the latter part of the failure to exercise the power will be ascribed to mere
Code which identifies and describes the consequences of nonaction which will not render void any acts of the
violations of any provision of this Code. One such corporation which would otherwise be valid. 16 (Emphasis
consequences is the dissolution of the corporation for its supplied.)
inability, or perhaps, incurring certain penalties.
As Fletcher aptly puts it:
MR. FUENTEBELLA. But it will not automatically amount to
a dissolution of the corporation by merely failing to file the It has been said that the by-laws of a corporation are the
by-laws within one month. Supposing the corporation was rule of its life, and that until by-laws have been adopted
late, say, five days, what would be the mandatory penalty? the corporation may not be able to act for the purposes of
its creation, and that the first and most important duty of
MR. MENDOZA. I do not think it will necessarily result in the members is to adopt them. This would seem to follow
the automatic or ipso facto dissolution of the corporation. as a matter of principle from the office and functions of by-
Perhaps, as in the case, as you suggested, in the case of El laws. Viewed in this light, the adoption of by-laws is a
Hogar Filipino where a quo warrantoaction is brought, one matter of practical, if not one of legal, necessity. Moreover,
takes into account the gravity of the violation committed. If the peculiar circumstances attending the formation of a
the by-laws were late — the filing of the by-laws were late corporation may impose the obligation to adopt certain by-
by, perhaps, a day or two, I would suppose that might be a laws, as in the case of a close corporation organized for
tolerable delay, but if they are delayed over a period of specific purposes. And the statute or general laws from
months — as is happening now — because of the absence which the corporation derives its corporate existence may
of a clear requirement that by-laws must be completed expressly require it to make and adopt by-laws and specify
within a specified period of time, the corporation must to some extent what they shall contain and the manner of
suffer certain consequences. 13 their adoption. The mere fact, however, of the existence of
power in the corporation to adopt by-laws does not
This exchange of views demonstrates clearly that automatic ordinarily and of necessity make the exercise of such power
corporate dissolution for failure to file the by-laws on time was essential to its corporate life, or to the validity of any of its
never the intention of the legislature. Moreover, even without acts. 17
resorting to the records of deliberations of the Batasang
Pambansa, the law itself provides the answer to the issue Although the Corporation Code requires the filing of by-laws, it
propounded by petitioner. does not expressly provide for the consequences of the non-
filing of the same within the period provided for in Section 46.
Taken as a whole and under the principle that the best However, such omission has been rectified by Presidential
interpreter of a statute is the statute itself (optima statuli Decree No. 902-A, the pertinent provisions on the jurisdiction of
interpretatix est ipsum statutum), 14 Section 46 aforequoted the SEC of which state:
reveals the legislative intent to attach a directory, and not
mandatory, meaning for the word "must" in the first sentence Sec. 6. In order to effectively exercise such jurisdiction, the
thereof. Note should be taken of the second paragraph of the Commission shall possess the following powers:
law which allows the filing of the by-laws even prior to
incorporation. This provision in the same section of the Code xxx xxx xxx
rules out mandatory compliance with the requirement of filing
the by-laws "within one (1) month after receipt of official notice (1) To suspend, or revoke, after proper notice and hearing,
of the issuance of its certificate of incorporation by the the franchise or certificate of registration of
Securities and Exchange Commission." It necessarily follows corporations, partnerships or associations, upon any of the
that failure to file the by-laws within that period does not imply grounds provided by law, including the following:
the "demise" of the corporation. By-laws may be necessary for
the "government" of the corporation but these are subordinate xxx xxx xxx
to the articles of incorporation as well as to the Corporation
Code and related statutes.15 There are in fact cases where by-
5. Failure to file by-laws within the required period;
laws are unnecessary to corporate existence or to the valid
exercise of corporate powers, thus:
xxx xxx xxx
In the exercise of the foregoing authority and jurisdiction of
In the absence of charter or statutory provisions to the
the Commission or by a Commissioner or by such other
contrary, by-laws are not necessary either to the existence
bodies, boards, committees and/or any officer as may be
of a corporation or to the valid exercise of the powers
created or designated by the Commission for the purpose. Section 19 of the Corporation Law, part of which is now
The decision, ruling or order of any such Commissioner, Section 22 of the Corporation Code, provided that the
bodies, boards, committees and/or officer may be appealed powers of the corporation would cease if it did not formally
to the Commission sitting en banc within thirty (30) days organize and commence the transaction of its business or
after receipt by the appellant of notice of such decision, the continuation of its works within two years from date of
ruling or order. The Commission shall promulgate rules of its incorporation. Section 20, which has been reproduced
procedures to govern the proceedings, hearings and appeals with some modifications in Section 46 of the Corporation
of cases falling with its jurisdiction. Code, expressly declared that "every corporation formed
under this Act, must within one month after the filing of
The aggrieved party may appeal the order, decision or ruling the articles of incorporation with the Securities and
of the Commission sitting en banc to the Supreme Court by Exchange Commission, adopt a code of by-laws." Whether
petition for review in accordance with the pertinent this provision should be given mandatory or only directory
provisions of the Rules of Court. effect remained a controversial question until it became
academic with the adoption of PD 902-A. Under this
Even under the foregoing express grant of power and authority, decree, it is now clear that the failure to file by-laws within
there can be no automatic corporate dissolutionsimply because the required period is only a ground for suspension or
the incorporators failed to abide by the required filing of by- revocation of the certificate of registration of corporations.
laws embodied in Section 46 of the Corporation Code. There is
no outright "demise" of corporate existence. Proper notice and Non-filing of the by-laws will not result in automatic
hearing are cardinal components of due process in any dissolution of the corporation. Under Section 6(I) of PD
democratic institution, agency or society. In other words, the 902-A, the SEC is empowered to "suspend or revoke, after
incorporators must be given the chance to explain their neglect proper notice and hearing, the franchise or certificate of
or omission and remedy the same. registration of a corporation" on the ground inter alia of
"failure to file by-laws within the required period." It is
That the failure to file by-laws is not provided for by the clear from this provision that there must first of all be a
Corporation Code but in another law is of no moment. P.D. No. hearing to determine the existence of the ground, and
902-A, which took effect immediately after its promulgation on secondly, assuming such finding, the penalty is not
March 11, 1976, is very much apposite to the Code. necessarily revocation but may be only suspension of the
Accordingly, the provisions abovequoted supply the law charter. In fact, under the rules and regulations of the SEC,
governing the situation in the case at bar, inasmuch as the failure to file the by-laws on time may be penalized merely
Corporation Code and P.D. No. 902-A are statutes in pari with the imposition of an administrative fine without
materia. Interpretare et concordare legibus est optimus affecting the corporate existence of the erring firm.
interpretandi. Every statute must be so construed and
harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of It should be stressed in this connection that substantial
jurisprudence. 18 compliance with conditions subsequent will suffice to perfect
corporate personality. Organization and commencement of
transaction of corporate business are but conditions subsequent
As the "rules and regulations or private laws enacted by the and not prerequisites for acquisition of corporate personality. The
corporation to regulate, govern and control its own actions, adoption and filing of by-laws is also a condition subsequent.
affairs and concerns and its stockholders or members and Under Section 19 of the Corporation Code, a Corporation
directors and officers with relation thereto and among commences its corporate existence and juridical personality and is
themselves in their relation to it," 19 by-laws are indispensable deemed incorporated from the date the Securities and Exchange
to corporations in this jurisdiction. These may not be essential Commission issues certificate of incorporation under its official
seal. This may be done even before the filing of the by-laws,
to corporate birth but certainly, these are required by law for
which under Section 46 of the Corporation Code, must be
an orderly governance and management of corporations.
adopted "within one month after receipt of official notice of the
Nonetheless, failure to file them within the period required by issuance of its certificate of incorporation." 21
law by no means tolls the automatic dissolution of a
corporation. That the corporation involved herein is under the supervision of the
HIGC does not alter the result of this case. The HIGC has taken over the
In this regard, private respondents are correct in relying on the specialized functions of the former Home Financing Corporation by
pronouncements of this Court in Chung Ka Bio v.Intermediate virtue of Executive Order No. 90 dated December 17, 1989. 22 With
Appellate Court, 20 as follows: respect to homeowners associations, the HIGC shall "exercise all the
powers, authorities and responsibilities that are vested on the
Securities and Exchange Commission . . . , the provision of Act 1459, as
. . . . Moreover, failure to file the by-laws does not amended by P.D. 902-A, to the contrary notwithstanding." 23
automatically operate to dissolve a corporation but is now
considered only a ground for such dissolution.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby
DENIED and the questioned Decision of the Court of Appeals
AFFIRMED. This Decision is immediately executory. Costs against
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
Chapter 4 equal number of termination report submitted to the Department
of Labor and Employment. However, the record shows that there
ROOS INDUSTRIAL CONSTRUCTION, G.R. No. 172409 is only one termination [report] submitted to DOLE pertaining to
INC. and OSCAR TOCMO, the last project assignment of complainant in Carmona, Cavite.
Petitioners, Present:
In the absence of said project employment contracts and the
- versus - corresponding Termination Report to DOLE at every project
termination, the inevitable conclusion is that the complainant was
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS a regular employee of the respondents.
COMMISSION and JOSE MARTILLOS,
x----------------------------------------------------------------------------x In the case of Maraguinot, Jr. v. NLRC, 284 SCRA 539, 556 [1998],
DECISION citing capital Industrial Construction Group v. NLRC, 221 SCRA 469,
TINGA, J.: 473-474 [1993], it was ruled therein that a project employee may
acquire the status of a regular employee when the following
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the 1997 concurs: (1) there is a continuous rehiring of project employees
Rules of Civil Procedure, petitioners Roos Industrial Construction, Inc. even after the cessation of a project; and (2) the tasks performed
and Oscar Tocmo assail the Court of Appeals[2] Decision dated 12 by the alleged project employee are vital, necessary and
January 2006 in C.A. G.R. SP No. 87572 and its Resolution[3] dated 10 indispensable to the usual business or trade of the employer. Both
April 2006 denying their Motion for Reconsideration.[4] factors are present in the instant case. Thus, even granting that
complainant was hired as a project employee, he eventually
The following are the antecedents. became a regular employee as there was a continuous rehiring of
this services.
On 9 April 2002, private respondent Jose Martillos (respondent) filed a xxx
complaint against petitioners for illegal dismissal and money claims such
as the payment of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement plus full In the instant case, apart from the fact that complainant was not
backwages, service incentive leave, 13th month pay, litigation expenses, made to sign any project employment contract x x x he was
underpayment of holiday pay and other equitable reliefs before the successively transferred from one project after another, and he
National Capital Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations was made to perform the same kind of work as driver.[8]
Commission (NLRC), docketed as NLRC NCR South Sector Case No. 30-
04-01856-02. The Labor Arbiter ordered petitioners to pay respondent the aggregate
sum of P224,647.17 representing backwages, separation pay, salary
Respondent alleged that he had been hired as a driver-mechanic differential, holiday pay, service incentive leave pay and 13th month
sometime in 1988 but was not made to sign any employment contract pay.[9]
by petitioners. As driver mechanic, respondent was assigned to work at
Carmona, Cavite and he worked daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Petitioners received a copy of the Labor Arbiters decision on 17
the rate of P200.00 a day. He was also required to work during legal December 2003. On 29 December 2003, the last day of the
holidays but was only paid an additional 30% holiday pay. He likewise reglementary period for perfecting an appeal, petitioners filed a
claimed that he had not been paid service incentive leave and Memorandum of Appeal[10]before the NLRC and paid the appeal fee.
13th month pay during the entire course of his employment. On 16 However, instead of posting the required cash or surety bond within the
March 2002, his employment was allegedly terminated without due reglementary period, petitioners filed a Motion for Extension of Time to
process.[5] Submit/Post Surety Bond.[11]Petitioners stated that they could not post
and submit the required surety bond as the signatories to the bond were
Petitioners denied respondents allegations. They contended that on leave during the holiday season, and made a commitment to post
respondent had been hired on several occasions as a project employee and submit the surety bond on or before 6 January 2004. The NLRC did
and that his employment was coterminous with the duration of the not act on the motion. Thereafter, on 6 January 2004, petitioners filed a
projects. They also maintained that respondent was fully aware of this surety bond equivalent to the award of the Labor Arbiter.[12]
arrangement. Considering that respondents employment had been In a Resolution[13] dated July 29, 2004, the Second Division of the NLRC
validly terminated after the completion of the projects, petitioners dismissed petitioners appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The NLRC stressed
concluded that he is not entitled to separation pay and other monetary that the bond is an indispensable requisite for the perfection of an
claims, even attorneys fees.[6] appeal by the employer and that the perfection of an appeal within the
reglementary period and in the manner prescribed by law is mandatory
The Labor Arbiter ruled that respondent had been illegally dismissed and jurisdictional. In addition, the NLRC restated that its Rules of
after finding that he had acquired the status of a regular employee as Procedure proscribes the filing of any motion for extension of the period
he was hired as a driver with little interruption from one project to within which to perfect an appeal. The NLRC summed up that
another, a task which is necessary to the usual trade of his considering that petitioners appeal had not been perfected, it had no
employer.[7] The Labor Arbiter pertinently stated as follows: jurisdiction to act on said appeal and the assailed decision, as a
consequence, has become final and executory.[14] The NLRC likewise
x x x If it were true that complainant was hired as project employee, denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration[15] for lack of merit in
then there should have been project employment contracts another Resolution.[16] On 11 November 2004, the NLRC issued an entry
specifying the project for which complainants services were hired, of judgment declaring its resolution final and executory as of 9 October
as well as the duration of the project as required in Art. 280 of the 2004. On respondents motion, the Labor Arbiter ordered that the writ
Labor Code. As there were four (4) projects where complainant was of execution be issued to enforce the award. On 26 January 2005, a writ
allegedly assigned, there should have been the equal number of of execution was issued.[17]
project employment contracts executed by the complainant.
Further, for every project termination, there should have been the
Petitioners elevated the dismissal of their appeal to the Court of Appeals upon the posting of a cash or surety bond. The word only makes it
by way of a special civil action of certiorari. They argued that the filing perfectly clear that the LAWMAKERS intended the posting of a cash
of the appeal bond evinced their willingness to comply and was in fact or surety bond by the employer to be
substantial compliance with the Rules. They likewise maintained that
the NLRC gravely abused its discretion in failing to consider the the exclusive means by which an employers appeal may be
meritorious grounds for their motion for extension of time to file the considered completed. The law however does not require its
appeal bond. Lastly, petitioners contended that the NLRC gravely erred outright payment, but only the posting of a bond to ensure that the
in issuing an entry of judgment as the assailed resolution is still open for award will be eventually paid should the appeal fail. What
review.[18] On 12 January 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the petitioners have to pay is a moderate and reasonable sum for the
challenged resolution of the NLRC. Hence, the instant petition. premium of such bond.[29]
Before this Court, petitioners reiterate their previous assertions. They
insist on the application of Star Angel Handicraft v. National Labor Moreover, no exceptional circumstances obtain in the case at bar which
Relations Commission, et al.[19] where it was held that a motion for would warrant a relaxation of the bond requirement as a condition for
reduction of bond may be filed in lieu of the bond during the period for perfecting the appeal. It is only in highly meritorious cases that this
appeal. They aver that Borja Estate v. Ballad,[20] which underscored the Court opts not to strictly apply the rules and thus prevent a grave
importance of the filing of a cash or surety bond in the perfection of injustice from being done[30] and this is not one of those cases.
appeals in labor cases, had not been promulgated yet in 2003 when they
filed their appeal. As such, the doctrine in Borja could not be given In addition, petitioners cannot take refuge behind the Courts ruling
retroactive effect for to do so would prejudice and impair petitioners in Star Angel. Pertinently, the Court stated in Computer Innovations
right to appeal. Moreover, they point out that judicial decisions have no Center v. National Labor Relations Commission:[31]
retroactive effect.[21]
The Court denies the petition. Moreover, the reference in Star Angel to the distinction between
the period to file the appeal and to perfect the appeal has been
The Court reiterates the settled rule that an appeal from the decision of pointedly made only once by this Court in Gensoli v. NLRC thus, it
the Labor Arbiter involving a monetary award is only deemed perfected has not acquired the sheen of venerability reserved for repeatedly-
upon the posting of a cash or surety bond within ten (10) days from such cited cases. The distinction, if any, is not particularly evident or
decision.[22] Article 223 of the Labor Code states: material in the Labor Code; hence, the reluctance of the Court to
adopt such doctrine. Moreover, the present provision in the NLRC
ART. 223. Appeal.Decisions, awards or orders of the Labor Arbiter Rules of Procedure, that the filing of a motion to reduce bond shall
are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any not stop the running of the period to perfect appeal flatly
or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such contradicts the notion expressed in Star Angel that there is a
decisions, awards, or orders. distinction between filing an appeal and perfecting an appeal.

In case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the Ultimately, the disposition of Star Angel was premised on the
employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or ruling that a motion for reduction of the appeal bond necessarily
surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly stays the period for perfecting the appeal, and that the employer
accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the cannot be expected to perfect the appeal by posting the proper
monetary award in the judgment appealed from. bond until such time the said motion for reduction is resolved. The
xxx unduly stretched-out distinction between the period to file an
Contrary to petitioners assertion, the appeal bond is not merely appeal and to perfect an appeal was not material to the resolution
procedural but jurisdictional. Without said bond, the NLRC does not of Star Angel, and thus could properly be considered as obiter
acquire jurisdiction over the appeal.[23] Indeed, non-compliance with dictum.[32]
such legal requirements is fatal and has the effect of rendering the
judgment final and executory.[24] It must be stressed that there is no Lastly, the Court does not agree that the Borja doctrine should only be
inherent right to an appeal in a labor case, as it arises solely from the applied prospectively. In the first place, Borja is not a ground-breaking
grant of statute.[25] precedent as it is a reiteration, emphatic though, of long standing
jurisprudence.[33] It is well to recall too our pronouncement in Senarillos
Evidently, the NLRC did not acquire jurisdiction over petitioners appeal v. Hermosisima, et al.[34] that the judicial interpretation of a statute
within the ten (10)-day reglementary period to perfect the appeal as the constitutes part of the law as of the date it was originally passed, since
appeal bond was filed eight (8) days after the last day thereof. Thus, the the Courts construction merely establishes the contemporaneous
Court cannot ascribe grave abuse of discretion to the NLRC or error to legislative intent that the interpreted law carried into effect. Such
the Court of Appeals in refusing to take cognizance of petitioners judicial doctrine does not amount to the passage of a new law but
belated appeal. consists merely of a construction or interpretation of a pre-existing one,
as is the situation in this case.[35]
While indeed the Court has relaxed the application of this requirement
in cases where the failure to comply with the requirement was justified At all events, the decision of the Labor Arbiter appears to be well-
or where there was substantial compliance with the rules, [26] the founded and petitioners ill-starred appeal untenable.
overpowering legislative intent of Article 223 remains to be for a strict
application of the appeal bond requirement as a requisite for the WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioners.
perfection of an appeal and as a burden imposed on the employer.[27] As
the Court held in the case of Borja Estate v. Ballad:[28] SO ORDERED.

The intention of the lawmakers to make the bond an indispensable


requisite for the perfection of an appeal by the employer is
underscored by the provision that an appeal may be perfected only
Chapter 4 the defendant. The lots were mortgaged to guarantee the
following promissory notes:
G.R. No. 98382 May 17, 1993
(1) a promissory note for Pl2,000.00, dated September 2, 1958,
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner, and payable within 69 days (date of maturity — Nov. l0, 1958);
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and EPIFANIO DE LA CRUZ, respondents. (2) a promissory note for P4,000.00, dated September 22, 1958,
Santiago, Jr., Vidad, Corpus & Associates for petitioner. and payable within 49 days (date of maturity — Nov. 10, 1958);
Pedro R. Lazo for spouses-intervenors.
Rosendo G. Tansinsin, Jr. for private respondent. (3) a promissory note for P4,000.00, dated June 30, 1.9581 and
payable within 120 days (date of maturity — Nov. 10, 1958) See
MELO, J.: also Annex C of the complaint itself).

The notices of sale under Section 3 of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act [1 This date of June 30, 1958 is disputed by the plaintiff who
No. 4118, on extra-judicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage are claims that the correct date is June 30, 1961, which is the date
required to be posted for not less than twenty days in at least three actually mentioned in the promissory note. It is however difficult
public places of the municipality or city where the property is situated, to believe the plaintiff's contention since if it were true and
and if such property is worth more than four hundred pesos, such correct, this would mean that nearly three (3) years elapsed
notices shall also be published once a week for at least three between the second and the third promissory note; that at the
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the time the third note was executed, the first two had not yet been
municipality or city. paid by the plaintiff despite the fact that the first two were
supposed to be payable within 69 and 49 days respectively. This
Respondent court, through Justice Filemon Mendoza with whom state of affairs would have necessitated the renewal of said two
Justices Campos, Jr. and Aldecoa, Jr. concurred, construed the promissory notes. No such renewal was proved, nor was the
publication of the notices on March 28, April 11 and l2, 1969 as a fatal renewal ever alleged. Finally, and this is very significant: the third
announcement and reversed the judgment appealed from by declaring mentioned promissory note states that the maturity date is Nov.
void, inter alia, the auction sale of the foreclosed pieces of realty, the 10, 1958. Now then, how could the loan have been contracted on
final deed of sale, and the consolidation of ownership (p. 27, Rollo). June 30, 1961? It will be observed that in the bank records, the
third mentioned promissory note was really executed on June 30,
1958 (See Exhs. 9 and 9-A). The Court is therefore inclined to
Hence, the petition at bar, premised on the following backdrop lifted
believe that the date "June 30, 1961" was a mere clerical
from the text of the challenged decision:
error and hat the true and correct date is June 1958. However,
even assuming that the true and correct date is June 30, 1961, the
The facts of the case as related by the trial court are, as follows: fact still remains that the first two promissory notes had been
guaranteed by the mortgage of the two lots, and therefore, it
This is a verified complaint brought by the plaintiff for the was legal and proper to foreclose on the lots for failure to pay said
reconveyance to him (and resultant damages) of two (2) two promissory notes.
parcels of land mortgaged by him to the defendant Philippine
National Bank (Manila), which the defendant allegedly On September 6, 1961, Atty. Ramon de los Reyes of the bank
unlawfully foreclosed. The defendant then consolidated (PNB) presented under Act No. 3135 a foreclosure petition of the
ownership unto itself, and subsequently sold the parcels to two mortgaged lots before the Sheriff's Office at Malolos,
third parties. The amended Answer of the defendant states Bulacan; accordingly, the two lots were sold or auctioned off on
on the other hand that the extrajudicial foreclosure, October 20, 1961 with the defendant PNB as the highest bidder
consolidation of ownership, and subsequent sale to the third for P28,908.46. On March 7, 1963, Sheriff Leopoldo Palad
parties were all valid, the bank therefore counterclaims for executed a Final Deed of Sale, in response to a letter-request by
damages and other equitable remedies. the Manager of the PNB (Malolos Branch). On January 15, 1963 a
Certificate of Sale in favor of the defendant was executed by
xxx xxx xxx Sheriff Palad. The final Deed of Sale was registered in the Bulacan
Registry of Property on March 19, 1963. Inasmuch as the plaintiff
From the evidence and exhibits presented by both parties, did not volunteer to buy back from the PNB the two lots, the PNB
the Court is of the opinion that the following facts have been sold on June 4, 1970 the same to spouses Conrado de Vera and
proved: Two lots, located at Bunlo, Bocaue, Bulacan (the first Marina de Vera in a "Deed of Conditional Sale". (Decision, pp.3-5;
covered by Torrens Certificate No. 16743 and possessed of Amended Record on Appeal, pp. 96-98).
an area of approximately 3,109 square meters: the second
covered by Torrens Certificate No. 5787, possessed of an After due consideration of the evidence, the CFI on January 22,
area of around 610 square meters, and upon which stood a 1978 rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
residential-commercial building were mortgaged to the
defendant Philippine National Bank. The lots were under the WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant complaint
common names of the plaintiff (Epifanio dela Cruz), his against the defendant Philippine National Bank is hereby
brother (Delfin) and his sister (Maria). The mortgage was ordered DISMISSED, with costs against the plaintiff. The
made possible because of the grant by the latter two to the Counterclaim against the plaintiff is likewise DISMISSED, for
former of a special power of attorney to mortgage the lots to the Court does not believe that the complaint had been
made in bad faith.
SO ORDERED. (Decision, p. B.; Amended Record on Appeal, p. IX.
100) THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE INSTANT
COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK WITH
Not satisfied with the judgment, plaintiff interposed the present COSTS AGAINST THE PLAINTIFF. (page 118, Amended Record on
appeal assigning as errors the following: Appeal)." (Brief for Plaintiff-Appellant, pp. 1-4) (pp. 17-21, Rollo)

I. With reference to the pertinent issue at hand, respondent court


THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING IN FOOTNOTE I OF ITS opined:
DECISION THAT IT IS THEREFORE INCLINED TO BELIEVE THAT THE
DATE "JUNE 30, 1962" WAS A MERE CLERICAL ERROR AND THAT The Notices of Sale of appellant's foreclosed properties were
THE TRUE AND CORRECT DATE IS JUNE 30, 1958. IT ALSO ERRED published on March 228, April 11 and April 12, 1969 issues of the
IN HOLDING IN THE SAME FOOTNOTE I THAT "HOWEVER, EVEN newspaper "Daily Record" (Amended Record on Appeal, p. 108).
ASSUMING THAT THE TRUE AND CORRECT DATE IS JUNE 30, 1961, The date March 28, 1969 falls on a Friday while the dates April 11
THE FACT STILL REMAINS THAT THE FIRST TWO PROMISSORY and 12, 1969 are on a Friday and Saturday, respectively. Section 3
NOTES HAD BEEN GUARANTEED BY THE MORTGAGE OF THE TWO of Act No. 3135 requires that the notice of auction sale shall be
LOTS, AND THEREFORE, IT WAS LEGAL AND PROPER TO "published once a week for at least three consecutive weeks".
FORECLOSE ON THE LOTS FOR FAILURE TO PAY SAID TWO Evidently, defendant-appellee bank failed to comly with this legal
PROMISSORY NOTES". (page 115, Amended Record on Appeal) requirement. The Supreme Court has held that:

II. The rule is that statutory provisions governing publication of


THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE PETITION notice of mortgage foreclosure sales must be strictly
FOR EXTRAJUDICIAL FORECLOSURE WAS PREMATURELY FILED complied with, and that even slight deviations therefrom will
AND IS A MERE SCRAP OF PAPER BECAUSE IT MERELY invalidate the notice and render the sale at least voidable
FORECLOSED THE ORIGINAL AND NOT THE AMENDED (Jalandoni vs. Ledesma, 64 Phil. l058. G.R. No. 42589, August
MORTGAGE. 1937 and October 29, 1937). Interpreting Sec. 457 of the
Code of Civil Procedure (reproduced in Sec. 18(c) of Rule 39,
III. Rules of Court and in Sec. 3 of Act No. 3135) in Campomanes
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT "IT IS CLEAR THAT vs. Bartolome and German & Co. (38 Phil. 808, G.R. No. 1309,
THE AUCTION SALE WAS NOT PREMATURE". (page 117, Amended October 18, 1918), this Court held that if a sheriff sells
Record on Appeal) without notice prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure
induced thereto by the judgment creditor, and the purchaser
IV. at the sale is the judgment creditor, the sale is absolutely
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT "SUFFICE IT TO void and no title passes. This is regarded as the settled
STATE THAT ACTUALLY THE POWER OF ATTORNEY GIVEN TO THE doctrine in this jurisdiction whatever the rule may be
PNB WAS EMBODIED IN THE REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE (EXB. 10) elsewhere (Boria vs. Addison, 14 Phil. 895, G.R. No. 18010,
WHICH WAS REGISTERED IN THE REGISTRY OF PROPERTY OF June 21, 1922).
BULACAN AND WAS ANNOTATED ON THE TWO TORRENS
CERTIFICATES INVOLVED" (page 118, Amended Record on
. . . It has been held that failure to advertise a mortgage
Appeal).
foreclosure sale in compliance with statutory requirements
constitutes a jurisdictional defect invalidating the sale and
V.
that a substantial error or omission in a notice of sale will
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT "THE NOTICES
render the notice insufticient and vitiate the sale (59 C.J.S.
REQUIRED UNDER SEC. 3 OF ACT NO. 3135 WERE ALL COMPLIED
1314). (Tambunting vs. Court of Appeals, L-48278, November
WITH" AND "THAT THE DAILY RECORD . . . IS A NEWSPAPER OF
8, 1988; 167 SCRA 16, 23-24).
GENERAL CIRCULATION (pages 117-118, Amended Record on
Appeal).
In view of the admission of defendant-appellee in its pleading
VI. showing that there was no compliance of the notice prescribed in
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THE CERTIFICATE Section 3 of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act 4118, with respect
OF SALE, FINAL DEED OF SALE AND AFFIDAVIT OF to the notice of sale of the foreclosed real properties in this case,
CONSOLIDATION, NULL AND VOID. we have no choice but to declare the auction sale as absolutely
void in view of the fact that the highest bidder and purchaser in
VII. said auction sale was defendant-appellee bank. Consequently, the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT ORDERING DEFENDANT TO Certificate of Sale, the Final Deed of Sale and Affidavit of
RECONVEY TO PLAINTIFF THE PARCELS OF LAND COVERED BY Consolidation are likewise of no legal efffect. (pp. 24-25, Rollo)
T.C.T. NOS. 40712 AND 40713 OF BULACAN (page 8, Amended
Record on Appeal) Before we focus our attention on the subject of whether or not there
was valid compliance in regard to the required publication, we shall
VIII. briefly discuss the other observations of respondent court vis-a-
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT ORDERING DEFENDANT TO vis herein private respondent's ascriptions raised with the appellate
PAY TO PLAINTIFF REASONABLE AMOUNTS OF MORAL AND court when his suit for reconveyance was dismissed by the court of
EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY'S FEES (page 8. Amended origin even as private respondent does not impugn the remarks of
Record on Appeal). respondent court along this line.
Although respondent court acknowledged that there was an ambiguity We are not convinced by petitioner's submissions because the
on the date of execution of the third promissory note (June 30, 1961) disquisition in support thereof rests on the erroneous impression that
and the date of maturity thereof (October 28, 1958), it was the day on which the first publication was made, or on March 28, 1969,
nonetheless established that the bank introduced sufficient proof to should be excluded pursuant to the third paragraph of Article 17 of the
show that the discrepancy was a mere clerical error pursuant to New Civil Code.
Section 7, Rule l30 of the Rules of Court. Anent the second disputation
aired by private respondent, the appellate court observed that It must be conceded that Article 17 is completely silent as to the
inasmuch as the original as well as the subsequent mortgage were definition of what is a "week". In Concepcion vs. Zandueta (36 O.G.
foreclosed only after private respondent's default, the procedure 3139 [1938]; Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, Second Ed., 1972, p.
pursued by herein petitioner in foreclosing the collaterals was thus 660), this term was interpreted to mean as a period of time consisting
appropriate albeit the petition therefor contained only a copy of the of seven consecutive days — a definition which dovetails with the
original mortgage. ruling in E.M. Derby and Co. vs. City of Modesto, et al. (38 Pac. Rep. 900
[1984]; 1 Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated, Twelfth Ed.,
It was only on the aspect of publication of the notices of sale under Act 1989, p. 88; 1 Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on th Civil
No. 3135, as amended, and attorney's fees where herein private Code, 1990, p. 46). Following the interpretation in Derby as to the
respondent scored points which eliminated in the reversal of the trial publication of an ordinance for "at least two weeks" in some
court's decision. Respondent court was of the impression that herein newspaper that:
petitioner failed to comply with the legal requirement and the sale
effected thereafter must be adjudged invalid following the ruling of . . . here there is no date or event suggesting the exclusion of
this Court in Tambunting vs. Court of Appeals (167 SCRA 16 [1988]); p. the first day's publication from the computation, and the
8, Decision, p. 24, Rollo). In view of petitioner's so-called indifference cases above cited take this case out of the rule stated in
to the rules set forth under Act No. 3135, as amended, respondent Section 12, Code Civ. Proc. which excludes the first day and
court expressly authorized private respondent to recover attorney's includes the last;
fees because he was compelled to incur expenses to protect his
interest.
the publication effected on April 11, 1969 cannot be construed as
sufficient advertisement for the second week because the period
Immediately upon the submission of a supplemental petition, the for the first week should be reckoned from March 28, 1969 until
spouses Conrado and Marina De Vera filed a petition in intervention April 3, 1969 while the second week should be counted from April
claiming that the two parcels of land involved herein were sold to 4, 1969 until April 10, 1969. It is clear that the announcement on
them on June 4, 1970 by petitioner for which transfer certificates of April 11, 1969 was both theoretically and physically accomplished
title were issued in their favor (p. 40, Rollo). On the other hand, private during the first day of the third week and cannot thus be equated
respondent pressed the idea that the alleged intervenors have no with compliance in law. Indeed, where the word is used simply as
more interest in the disputed lots in view of the sale effected by them a measure of duration of time and without reference to the
to Teresa Castillo, Aquilino and Antonio dela Cruz in 1990 (pp. 105- calendar, it means a period of seven consecutive days without
106, Rollo). regard to the day of the week on which it begins (1 Tolentino,
supra at p. 467 citing Derby).
On March 9, 1992, the Court resolved to give due course to the
petition and required the parties to submit their respective Certainly, it would have been absurd to exclude March 28, 1969 as
memoranda (p. 110, Rollo). reckoning point in line with the third paragraph of Article 13 of the
New Civil Code, for the purpose of counting the first week of
Now, in support of the theory on adherence to the conditions spelled publication as to the last day thereof fall on April 4, 1969 because this
in the preliminary portion of this discourse, the pronouncement of this will have the effect of extending the first week by another day. This
Court in Bonnevie vs. Court of Appeals (125 SCRA [1983]; p. 135, Rollo) incongruous repercussion could not have been the unwritten intention
is sought to be utilized to press the point that the notice need not be of the lawmakers when Act No. 3135 was enacted. Verily, inclusion of
published for three full weeks. According to petitioner, there is no the first day of publication is in keeping with the computation
breach of the proviso since after the first publication on March 28, in Bonnevie vs. Court of Appeals (125 SCRA 122 [1983]) where this
1969, the second notice was published on April 11, 1969 (the last day Court had occasion to pronounce, through Justice Guerrero, that the
of the second week), while the third publication on April 12, 1969 was publication of notice on June 30, July 7 and July 14, 1968 satisfied the
announced on the first day of the third week. Petitioner thus concludes publication requirement under Act No. 3135. Respondent court
that there was no violation from the mere happenstance that the third cannot, therefore, be faulted for holding that there was no compliance
publication was made only a day after the second publication since it is with the strict requirements of publication independently of the so-
enough that the second publication be made on any day within the called admission in judicio.
second week and the third publication, on any day within the third
week. Moreover, in its bid to rectify its admission in judicio, petitioner WHEREFORE, the petitions for certiorari and intervention are hereby
asseverates that said admission alluded to refers only to the dates of dismissed and the decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 17,
publications, not that there was non-compliance with the publication 1991 is hereby affirmed in toto.
requirement.
SO ORDERED.
Private respondent, on the other hand, views the legal question from a
different perspective. He believes that the period between each
publication must never be less than seven consecutive days (p. 4,
Memorandum; p. 124, Rollo).
Chapter 4 13. Romeo Sarona 2-26-83 Machine Operator
8-31-912
G.R. No. 109902 August 2, 1994
On 5 July 1990, petitioners filed separate complaints for unfair
ALU-TUCP, Representing Members: ALAN BARINQUE, with 13 labor practice, regularization and monetary benefits with the
others, namely: ENGR. ALAN G. BARINQUE, ENGR. DARRELL NLRC, Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch XII, Iligan City.
LEE ELTAGONDE, EDUARD H. FOOKSON, JR., ROMEO R.
SARONA, RUSSELL GACUS, JERRY BONTILAO, EUSEBIO MARIN, The complaints were consolidated and after hearing, the Labor
JR., LEONIDO ECHAVEZ, BONIFACIO MEJOS, EDGAR S. Arbiter in a Decision dated 7 June 1991, declared petitioners
BONTUYAN, JOSE G. GARGUENA, JR., OSIAS B. DANDASAN, "regular project employees who shall continue their
and GERRY I. FETALVERO, petitioners, employment as such for as long as such [project] activity exists,"
vs. but entitled to the salary of a regular employee pursuant to the
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and NATIONAL provisions in the collective bargaining agreement. It also
STEEL CORPORATION (NSC), respondents. ordered payment of salary differentials. 3

Leonard U. Sawal for petitioners. Both parties appealed to the NLRC from that decision.
Petitioners argued that they were regular, not project,
Saturnino Mejorada for private respondent. employees. Private respondent, on the other hand, claimed that
petitioners are project employees as they were employed to
FELICIANO, J.: undertake a specific project — NSC's Five Year Expansion
Program (FAYEP I & II).
In this Petition for Certiorari, petitioners assail the Resolution of
the National Labor Relations Commission ("NLRC") dated 8 The NLRC in its questioned resolutions modified the Labor
January 1993 which declared petitioners to be project Arbiter's decision. It affirmed the Labor Arbiter's holding that
employees of private respondent National Steel Corporation petitioners were project employees since they were hired to
("NSC"), and the NLRC's subsequent Resolution of 15 February perform work in a specific undertaking — the Five Years
1993, denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Expansion Program, the completion of which had been
determined at the time of their engagement and which
Petitioners plead that they had been employed by respondent operation was not directly related to the business of steel
NSC in connection with its Five Year Expansion Program (FAYEP manufacturing. The NLRC, however, set aside the award to
I & II) 1 for varying lengths of time when they were separated petitioners of the same benefits enjoyed by regular employees
from NSC's service: for lack of legal and factual basis.

Employee Date Nature of Separated Deliberating on the present Petition for Certiorari, the Court
considers that petitioners have failed to show any grave abuse
of discretion or any act without or in excess of jurisdiction on
Employed Employment
the part of the NLRC in rendering its questioned resolutions of 8
January 1993 and 15 February 1993.
1. Alan Barinque 5-14-82 Engineer 1 8-31-91
2. Jerry Bontilao 8-05-85 Engineer 2 6-30-92
The law on the matter is Article 280 of the Labor Code which
3. Edgar Bontuyan 11-03-82 Chairman to
reads in full:
present
4. Osias Dandasan 9-21-82 Utilityman 1991
5. Leonido Echavez 6-16-82 Eng. Assistant 6- Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment — The provisions
30-92 of the written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding
6. Darrell Eltagonde 5-20-85 Engineer 1 8-31- and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, and
91 employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
7. Gerry Fetalvero 4-08-85 Mat. Expediter employee has been engaged to perform activities which
regularized are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or
8. Eduard Fookson 9-20-84 Eng. Assistant 8- trade of the employer, except where the employment has
31-91 been fixed for a specific project or undertaking
9. Russell Gacus 1-30-85 Engineer 1 6-30-92 the completion or termination of which has been
10. Jose Garguena 3-02-81 Warehouseman to determined at the time of the engagement of the
present employee or where the work or services to be performed is
11. Eusebio Mejos 11-17-82 Survey Aide 8-31- seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration
91 of the season.
12. Bonifacio Mejos 11-17-82 Surv. Party Head
1992
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not to a particular job or undertaking that is within the regular or
covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any usual business of the employer company, but which is distinct
employee who has rendered at least one year service, and separate, and identifiable as such, from the other
whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be undertakings of the company. Such job or undertaking begins
considered a regular employee with respect to the activity and ends at determined or determinable times. The typical
in which he is employed and his employment shall continue example of this first type of project is a particular construction
while such actually exists. (Emphasis supplied) job or project of a construction company. A construction
company ordinarily carries out two or more discrete identifiable
Petitioners argue that they are "regular" employees of NSC construction projects: e.g., a twenty-five- storey hotel in
because: (i) their jobs are "necessary, desirable and work- Makati; a residential condominium building in Baguio City; and
related to private respondent's main business, steel-making"; a domestic air terminal in Iloilo City. Employees who are hired
and (ii) they have rendered service for six (6) or more years to for the carrying out of one of these separate projects, the scope
private respondent NSC. 4 and duration of which has been determined and made known
to the employees at the time of employment, are properly
The basic issue is thus whether or not petitioners are properly treated as "project employees," and their services may be
characterized as "project employees" rather than "regular lawfully terminated at completion of the project.
employees" of NSC. This issue relates, of course, to an
important consequence: the services of project employees are The term "project" could also refer to, secondly, a particular job
co-terminous with the project and may be terminated upon the or undertaking that is not within the regular business of the
end or completion of the project for which they were corporation. Such a job or undertaking must also be identifiably
hired. 5 Regular employees, in contract, are legally entitled to separate and distinct from the ordinary or regular business
remain in the service of their employer until that service is operations of the employer. The job or undertaking also begins
terminated by one or another of the recognized modes of and ends at determined or determinable times. The case at bar
termination of service under the Labor Code. 6 presents what appears to our mind as a typical example of this
kind of "project."
It is evidently important to become clear about the meaning
and scope of the term "project" in the present context. The NSC undertook the ambitious Five Year Expansion Program I
"project" for the carrying out of which "project employees" are and II with the ultimate end in view of expanding the volume
hired would ordinarily have some relationship to the usual and increasing the kinds of products that it may offer for sale to
business of the employer. Exceptionally, the "project" the public. The Five Year Expansion Program had a number of
undertaking might not have an ordinary or normal relationship component projects: e.g., (a) the setting up of a "Cold Rolling
to the usual business of the employer. In this latter case, the Mill Expansion Project"; (b) the establishment of a "Billet Steel-
determination of the scope and parameeters of the "project" Making Plant" (BSP); (c) the acquisition and installation of a
becomes fairly easy. It is unusual (but still conceivable) for a "Five Stand TDM"; and (d) the "Cold Mill Peripherals
company to undertake a project which has absolutely no Project." 8 Instead of contracting out to an outside or
relationship to the usual business of the company; thus, for independent contractor the tasks of constructing the buildings
instance, it would be an unusual steel-making company which with related civil and electrical works that would house the new
would undertake the breeding and production of fish or the machinery and equipment, the installation of the newly
cultivation of vegetables. From the viewpoint, however, of the acquired mill or plant machinery and equipment and
legal characterization problem here presented to the Court, the commissioning of such machinery and equipment, NSC
there should be no difficulty in designating the employees who opted to execute and carry out its Five Yeear Expansion Projects
are retained or hired for the purpose of undertaking fish culture "in house," as it were, by administration. The carrying out of the
or the production of vegetables as "project employees," as Five Year Expansion Program (or more precisely, each of its
distinguished from ordinary or "regular employees," so long as component projects) constitutes a distinct undertaking
the duration and scope of the project were determined or identifiable from the ordinary business and activity of NSC. Each
specified at the time of engagement of the "project component project, of course, begins and ends at specified
employees." 7 For, as is evident from the provisions of Article times, which had already been determined by the time
280 of the Labor Code, quoted earlier, the principal test for petitioners were engaged. We also note that NSC did the work
determining whether particular employees are properly here involved — the construction of buildings and civil and
characterized as "project employees" as distinguished from electrical works, installation of machinery and equipment and
"regular employees," is whether or not the "project employees" the commissioning of such machinery — only for itself. Private
were assigned to carry out a "specific project or undertaking," respondent NSC was not in the business of constructing
the duration (and scope) of which were specified at the time buildings and installing plant machinery for the general business
the employees were engaged for that project. community, i.e., for unrelated, third party, corporations. NSC
did not hold itself out to the public as a construction company
In the realm of business and industry, we note that "project" or as an engineering corporation.
could refer to one or the other of at least two (2)
distinguishable types of activities. Firstly, a project could refer
Which ever type of project employment is found in a particular Petitioners next claim that their service to NSC of more than six
case, a common basic requisite is that the designation of named (6) years should qualify them as regular employees. We believe
employees as "project employees" and their assignment to a this claim is without legal basis. The simple fact that the
specific project, are effected and implemented in good faith, employment of petitioners as project employees had gone
and not merely as a means of evading otherwise applicable beyond one (1) year, does not detract from, or legally dissolve,
requirements of labor laws. their status as project employees. 10 The second paragraph of
Article 280 of the Labor Code, quoted above, providing that an
Thus, the particular component projects embraced in the Five employee who has served for at least one (1) year, shall be
Year Expansion Program, to which petitioners were assigned, considered a regular employee, relates to casual employees,
were distinguishable from the regular or ordinary business of not to project employees.
NSC which, of course, is the production or making and
marketing of steel products. During the time petitioners In the case of Mercado, Sr. vs. National Labor Relations
rendered services to NSC, their work was limited to one or Commission, 11 this Court ruled that the proviso in the second
another of the specific component projects which made up the paragraph of Article 280 relates only to casual employees and is
FAYEP I and II. There is nothing in the record to show that not applicable to those who fall within the definition of said
petitioners were hired for, or in fact assigned to, other Article's first paragraph, i.e., project employees. The familiar
purposes, e.g., for operating or maintaining the old, or grammatical rule is that a proviso is to be construed with
previously installed and commissioned, steel-making machinery reference to the immediately preceding part of the provision to
and equipment, or for selling the finished steel products. which it is attached, and not to other sections thereof, unless
the clear legislative intent is to restrict or qualify not only the
We, therefore, agree with the basic finding of the NLRC (and the phrase immediately preceding the proviso but also earlier
Labor Arbiter) that the petitioners were indeed "project provisions of the statute or even the statute itself as a whole.
employees:" No such intent is observable in Article 280 of the Labor Code,
which has been quoted earlier.
It is well established by the facts and evidence on record
that herein 13 complainants were hired and engaged for ACCORDINGLY, in view of the foregoing, the Petition
specific activities or undertaking the period of which has for Certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
been determined at time of hiring or engagement. It is of Resolutions of the NLRC dated 8 January 1993 and 15 February
public knowledge and which this Commission can safely 1993 are hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.
take judicial notice that the expansion program (FAYEP) of
respondent NSC consist of various phases [of] project SO ORDERED.
components which are being executed or implemented
independently or simultaneously from each other . . .

In other words, the employment of each "project worker"


is dependent and co-terminous with the completion or
termination of the specific activity or undertaking [for
which] he was hired which has been pre-determined at the
time of engagement. Since, there is no showing that they
(13 complainants) were engaged to perform work-related
activities to the business of respondent which is steel-
making, there is no logical and legal sense of applying to
them the proviso under the second paragraph of Article
280 of the Labor Code, as amended.

xxx xxx xxx

The present case therefore strictly falls under the definition


of "project employees" on paragraph one of Article 280 of
the Labor Code, as amended. Moreover, it has been held
that the length of service of a project employee is not the
controlling test of employment tenure but whether or not
"the employment has been fixed for a specific project or
undertaking the completion or termination of which has
been determined at the time of the engagement of the
employee". (See Hilario Rada v. NLRC, G.R. No. 96078,
January 9, 1992; and Sandoval Shipping, Inc. v. NLRC, 136
SCRA 674 (1985). 9