Montemayor vs. Bundalian
G.R. No. 149335
Edillio C. Montemayor assails the Decision of the Office of the President which ordered his dismissal as Regional Director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for unexplained wealth, as a result of an investigation conducted by the Philippine Commission against Graft and Corruption (PCAGC) which arrived at the conclusion that the real property he had acquired in California, U.S. was unlawfully acquired for it was manifestly out of proportion to his salary. His dismissal originated from the unverified complaint of the private respondent, Luis Bundalian addressed to the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California, U.S.A which were later on indorsed to the PCAGC for investigation. Montemayor, represented by counsel, submitted his counter-affidavit before the PCAGC alleging that the real owner of the subject property was his sister-in-law Estela Fajardo. He likewise pointed out that the charge against him was the subject of similar cases filed before the Ombudsman which was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. The PCAGC conducted its own investigation of the complaint. While petitioner participated in the proceedings and submitted various pleadings and documents through his counsel, private respondent-complainant could not be located as his Philippine address could not be ascertained. After the investigation, the PCAGC, in its Report to the Office of the President, concluded that as petitioner’s acquisition of the subject property was manifestly out of proportion to his salary, it has been unlawfully acquired. Thus, it recommended petitioner’s dismissal from service.
Whether or not he was denied due process in the investigation before the PCAGC.
No, the essence of due process in administrative proceedings is the opportunity to explain one’s side or seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. As long as the parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered, the demands of due process are sufficiently met. In the case at bar, the petitioner cannot argue that he was deprived of due process just because he failed to confront and cross-examine the complainant, the PCAGC exerted efforts to notify the complainant of the proceedings but his Philippine residence could not be located. The petitioner’s active participation in every step of the investigation effectively removed any badge of procedural deficiency, if there was any, and satisfied the due process requirement. He cannot now be allowed to challenge the procedure adopted by the PCAGC in the investigation.
Evangelista vs. Jarencio
G.R. No L-29274
Pursuant to his special powers and duties under Section 64 of the Revised Administrative Code, the President of the Philippines created the Presidential Agency on Reforms and Government Operations (PARGO) under Executive Order No. 4 of January 7, 1966. For a realistic performance of these functions, the President vested in the Agency all the powers of an investigating committee under Sections 71 and 580 of the Revised Administrative Code, including the power to summon witnesses by subpoena or subpoena duces tecum, administer oaths, take testimony or evidence relevant to the investigation.
Petitioner Quirico Evangelista, as Undersecretary of the Agency, issued to respondent Fernando Manalastas, then Acting City Public Service Officer of Manila, a subpoena ad testificandum commanding him "to be and appear as witness at the Office of the PRESIDENTIAL AGENCY ON REFORMS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS then and there to declare and testify in a certain investigation pending therein. Instead of obeying the subpoena, respondent Fernando Manalastas filed on June 25, 1968 with the Court of First Instance of Manila an Amended Petition for prohibition, certiorari and/or injunction with preliminary injunction and/or restraining order docketed as Civil Case No. 73305 and assailed its legality.
Whether the Agency, acting thru its officials, enjoys the authority to issue subpoenas in its conduct of fact-finding investigations.
It has been essayed that the life blood of the administrative process is the flow of fact, the gathering, the organization and the analysis of evidence. Investigations are useful for all administrative functions, not only for rulemaking, adjudication, and licensing, but also for prosecuting, for supervising and directing, for determining general policy, for recommending, legislation, and for purposes no more specific than illuminating obscure areas to find out what if anything should be done. An administrative agency may be authorized to make investigations, not only in proceedings of a legislative or judicial nature, but also in proceedings whose sole purpose is to obtain information upon which future action of a legislative or judicial nature may be taken and may require the attendance of witnesses in proceedings of a purely investigatory nature. It may conduct general inquiries into evils calling for correction, and to report findings to appropriate bodies and make recommendations for actions. We recognize that in the case before us, petitioner Agency draws its subpoena power from Executive Order No. 4, para. 5 which, in an effectuating mood, empowered it to "summon witness, administer oaths, and take testimony relevant to the investigation" with the authority "to require the production of documents under a subpoena duces tecum or otherwise, subject in all respects to the same restrictions and qualifications as apply in judicial proceedings of a similar character.".
Administrative agencies may enforce subpoenas issued in the course of investigations, whether or not adjudication is involved, and whether or not probable cause is shown and even before the issuance of a complaint. It is not necessary, as in the case of a warrant, that a specific charge or complaint of violation of law be pending or that the order be made pursuant to one. It is enough that the investigation be for a lawfully authorized purpose. The purpose of the subpoena is to discover evidence, not to prove a pending charge, but upon which to make one if the discovered evidence so justifies. There is no doubt that the fact-finding investigations being conducted by the Agency upon sworn statements implicating certain public officials of the City Government of Manila in anomalous transactions fall within the Agency's sphere of authority and that the information sought to be elicited from respondent Fernando Manalastas, of which he is claimed to be in possession, is reasonably relevant to the investigations.
Carino vs. Commission of Human Rights
G.R. No. 96681
Some 800 public school teachers, among them members of MPSTA and ACT undertook "mass concerted actions" after the protest rally without disrupting classes as a last call for the government to negotiate the granting of demands had elicited no response from the Secretary of Education. The "mass actions" consisted in staying away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in peaceable assembly. Secretary of Education issued a return to work in 24 hours or face dismissal and a memorandum directing the DECS officials and to initiate dismissal proceedings against those who did not comply. After failure to heed the order, the CHR complainant (private respondents) were administratively charged and preventively suspended for 90 days. After failure to heed the order, the CHR complainant (private respondents) were administratively charged and preventively suspended for 90 days. The private respondents moved "for suspension of the administrative proceedings pending resolution by the Supreme Court of their application for issuance of an injunctive writ/temporary restraining order. The motion was denied. The respondent staged a walkout. The case was eventually decided ordering the dismissal of Esber and suspension of others. The petition for certiorari in RTC was dismissed. Petition for Certiorari to the Supreme Court was also denied. Respondent complainant filed a complaint on the Commission of Human Rights alleging they were denied due process and dismissed without due notice. The CHR issued an order to Cariño to appear and enlighten the Commission so that they can be accordingly guided in its investigation and resolution of the matter. Sec. Cariño filed a petition to Supreme Court for certiorari and prohibition whether the CHR has the jurisdiction to try and decide on the issue regarding denial of due process and whether or not grievances justify their mass action or strike.
Whether or not the CHR has jurisdiction or adjudicatory powers over, or the power to try and decide, hear or determine, certain specific types of cases, like alleged human rights violations involving civil or political rights.
The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claims of human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of the controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as such, the faculty of receiving evidence must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively. The Constitution clearly grants the CHR the power to investigate all forms of human rights violations. But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear or determine causes) as courts of justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate. ‘Investigate’ means to examine, explore, inquire, or delve or probe into, research on, study. The purpose of investigation is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy. Hence, the CHR, merely having the power to ‘investigate’ cannot and should not “try and resolve the merits” (adjudicate) the matters involved in the Striking Teachers case as it has announced it has means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings against the teachers, their human rights has been transgressed. These matters are within the original jurisdiction of the Secretary of Education, being in the scope of the disciplinary powers granted to him by the Civil Service Law.
Department of Health vs. Philip Morris Philippines
G.R. No. 202943
Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI), by virtue of Article 116 of RA 7394 applied for a sales promotion permit through BFAD (now, FDA) for its Gear Up Promo. When more than fifteen (15) days elapsed without the BFAD formally acting upon the application, PMPMI inquired about its status. PMPMI was only verbally informed of the existence of a Memorandum issued by DOH prohibiting tobacco companies from conducting any tobacco promotional activities in the country. PMPMI filed another application for a sales promotional permit, this time for its Golden Stick Promo, which the BFAD refused; pursuant to a directive of the BFAD Director that all permit applications for promotional activities of tobacco companies will no longer be accepted.
PMPMI filed an administrative appeal before the DOH Secretary, assailing the BFAD’s denial of its Gear Up Promo and Golden Stick Promo applications. PMPMI maintained that under RA 9211, promotion is not prohibited but merely restricted, and that while there are specific provisions therein totally banning tobacco advertising and sponsorships, no similar provision could be found banning promotion. It also insisted that the denial of its promotional permit applications was tantamount to a violation of its right to due process as well as their right to property. DOH ruled that the intent and purpose of RA 9211 was to completely ban tobacco advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships, as promotion is inherent in both advertising and sponsorship. Aggrieved, PMPMI elevated the matter to the CA.
CA granted the petition and nullified the decision of the DOH. It ruled that the DOH is bereft of any authority to enforce the provisions of RA 9211 in view of the creation of the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco (IAC-Tobacco) under Section 29 of the said law, which shall have the “exclusive power and function to administer and implement the provisions of [RA 9211] x x x”. Thus, the CA ruled that the DOH wrongfully arrogated unto itself the authority given to the IAC-Tobacco to administer and implement the provisions of RA 9211, which includes regulation of tobacco promotions.
Whether or not DOH has the authority to rule on the case.
The Court finds that RA 9211 impliedly repealed the relevant provisions of RA 7394 with respect to the authority of the DOH to regulate tobacco sales promotion. The Court notes that both laws separately treat “promotion” as one of the activities related to tobacco: RA 7394 defines “sales promotion” under Article 4 , while RA 9211 speaks of “promotion” or “tobacco promotion” under Section 4 (l). The Court has judiciously scrutinized the above definitions and finds that there is no substantial difference between the activities that would fall under the purview of “sales promotion” in RA 7394, as well as those under “promotion” in RA 9211, as would warrant a delineation in the authority to regulate its conduct. In fact, the techniques, activities, and methods mentioned in the definition of “sales promotion” can be subsumed under the more comprehensive and broad scope of “promotion.” The Court agrees with the CA, that it is the IAC-Tobacco and not the DOH which has the primary jurisdiction to regulate sales promotion activities. As such, the DOH’s ruling, including its construction of RA 9211 (i.e., that it completely banned tobacco advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships, as promotion is inherent in both advertising and sponsorship), are declared null and void, which, as a necessary consequence, precludes the Court from further delving on the same. As it stands, the present applications filed by PMPMI are thus remanded to the IAC-Tobacco for its appropriate action.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. HON. MAXIMO A. MACEREN
G.R. No. L-32166 October 18, 1977
This is a case involving the validity of a 1967 regulation, penalizing electro fishing in fresh water fisheries, promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) and the Commissioner of Fisheries under the old Fisheries Law and the law creating the Fisheries Commission (FC). On March 7, 1969 Jose Buenaventura, Godofredo Reyes, Benjamin Reyes, Nazario Aquino and Carlito del Rosario were charged by a Constabulary investigator in the municipal court of Sta. Cruz, Laguna with having violated Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84-1 when the five accused, in the morning of March 1, 1969, resorted to electro fishing in the waters of Barrio San Pablo Norte, Sta. Cruz using electric current, which destroy any aquatic animals within its cuffed reach, to the detriment and prejudice of the populace" (Criminal Case No. 5429).
Upon motion of the accused, the municipal court quashed the complaint. The prosecution appealed. The Court of First Instance of Laguna affirmed the order of dismissal (Civil Case No. SC-36). Hence this appeal.
Whether or not the 1967 regulation, penalizing electro fishing in fresh water fisheries, promulgated by the Secretary of ANR and the Commissioner of Fisheries is valid.
No. The court held that the Secretary of ANR and the Commissioner of Fisheries exceeded their authority in issuing Fisheries Administrative Orders Nos. 94 and 84-1since the law does not clearly prohibit electro fishing. Section 11 of the Fisheries Law prohibits "the use of any obnoxious or poisonous substance" in fishing. Section 76 of the same law punishes any person who uses an obnoxious or poisonous substance in fishing with a fine of not more than five hundred pesos nor more than five thousand, and by imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than five years. Hence, the administrative agencies are powerless to penalize it because of the lack of any legal basis. Had the law making body intended to punish electro fishing, a penal provision to that effect could have been easily embodied in the old Fisheries Law. Administrative regulations adopted under legislative authority by a particular department must be in harmony with the provisions of the law, and should be for the sole purpose of carrying into effect its general provisions. By such regulations, the law itself cannot be extended to amend or expand the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute.
Jaworski vs. PAGCOR
G.R. No. 144463
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), respondent, is a government owned and controlled corporation existing under Presidential Decree 1869 that gives authority to establish and operate clubs and casinos, for amusement, recreation, including sports, gaming pools, and other forms of amusement and recreation including games of chance. Its board of directors approved an instrument denominated as “Grant of Authority and Agreement for the Operation of Sports Betting and Internet Gaming”, which granted Sports and Games and Entertainment Corporation (SAGE) the authority to operate and maintain Sports Betting station in PGCOR’s casino locations, and Internet Gaming facilities to service local and international bettors, provided that to the satisfaction of PAGCOR, appropriate safeguards and procedures are established to ensure the integrity and fairness of the games. Jaworski, petitioner, a member of the senate and chairman of the Senate COmmittee on Games, Amusement and Sports, files this case seeking the nullity of the grant of authority given by PAGCOR to SAGE.
Petitioners contention: 1) PAGCOR is not authorized under its legislative franchise to operate gambling on the internet for the simple reason that the said decree could not have possibly contemplated internet gambling since at the time of the enactment, the internet was not yet inexistent and gambling activities. a) That the internet necessarily transcends the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, and to operate such activity contravenes the limitation in PAGCOR’s franchise under Sec 14, PD. no. 1869. 2) Internet gambling services does not fall under any of the categories of the authorized gambling activities enumerated under Sec 10 of PD no 1869 and that internet gambling does not fall within the commonly accepted definition of gambling casinos, clubs, or other recreation or amusement places as these terms refer to a physical structure in real space where people intend to bet or gamble go and play games of chance authorized by law.
Whether or not PAGCOR has the right to vest another entity (SAGE), with the authority to operate internet gambling.
The court held that PAGCOR has acted beyond the limits of its authority when it passed on or shared its franchise to SAGE.
While PAGCOR is allowed under its charter to enter into operator's and/or management contracts, it is not allowed under the same charter to relinquish or share its franchise, much less grant a veritable franchise to another entity such as SAGE. PAGCOR cannot delegate its power in view of the legal principle of delegata potestas delegare non potest, in as much as there is nothing in the charter to show that it has been expressly authorized to do so. Hence, in this case, SAGE has to obtain a separate legislative franchise and not "ride on" PAGCOR's franchise if it were to legally operate on-line Internet gambling. The grant of franchise is a special privilege that constitutes a right and a duty to be performed by the grantee. The grantee must not perform its activities arbitrarily and whimsically but must abide by the limits set by its franchise and strictly adhere to its terms and conditions. Given that PAGCOR has no authority to grant such authority, it has exercised beyond the limits provided by the legislature.
EASTERN SHIPPING LINES VS POEA
G.R. No. 76633 166 SCRA 533 October 18, 1988
The petitioner challenge the decision of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration POEA on the principal ground that the POEA had no jurisdiction over the case of Vitaliano Saco as he was not an overseas worker. Vitaliano Saco was Chief Officer of the M/V Eastern Polaris when he was killed in an accident in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 1985. His widow sued for damages under Executive Order No. 797 and Memorandum Circular No. 2 of the POEA. The petitioner, as owner of the vessel, argued that the complaint was cognizable not by the POEA but by the Social Security System and should have been filed against the State Insurance Fund. The POEA nevertheless assumed jurisdiction and after considering the position papers of the parties ruled in favor of the complainant. The petitioner argues that the deceased employee should be likened to the employees of the Philippine Air Lines who, although working abroad in its international flights, are not considered overseas workers. Moreover, the petitioner questions the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 2 itself as violative of the principle of non-delegation of legislative power. It contends that no authority had been given the POEA to promulgate the said regulation; and even with such authorization, the regulation represents an exercise of legislative discretion which, under the principle, is not subject to delegation.
Whether or not Memorandum Circular No. 2 has violated the principle of non-delegation of legislative power.
No. There was no principles violated. The authority to issue the said regulation is clearly provided in Section 4(a) of Executive Order No. 797. … “The governing Board of the Administration (POEA), as hereunder provided shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the adjudicatory functions of the Administration (POEA).” It is true that legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. The ascertainment of the latter subject is a prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative cannot be abdicated or surrendered by the legislature to the delegate. The reasons given above for the delegation of legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called the “power of subordinate legislation.” With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in a statute by “filling in’ the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the new Labor Code.
These regulations have the force and effect of law.
Tabalarin vs Gutierrez
G.R. No. 78164
The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine for the school year 1987- 1988. However, the petitioners either did not take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education, one of the public respondents, and administered by the private respondent, the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM).
On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. The petitioners sought to enjoin the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and from requiring the taking and passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility for admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April 1987 and in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20 April 1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously scheduled. Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for certiorari with this Court to set aside the Order of the respondent judge denying the petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.
Whether NMAT requirement for admission to medical colleges contravenes the Constitutional guarantee for the accessibility of education to all, and whether such regulation is invalid and/or unconstitutional.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946, known as the "Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic objectives in the following manner: Section 1. Objectives. — This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the standardization and regulation of medical education (b) the examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate steps to make quality education “accessible to all who might for any number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather merely to make such education accessible to all who qualify under “fair, reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements.” The regulation of the practice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the public. The power to regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine. Legislation and administrative regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized as valid exercises of governmental powers. Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical educational requirements for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order of the respondent trial court denying the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.
Kilusang Mayo Uno vs. Garcia
G.R. No. 115381
DOTC Sec. Oscar Orbos issued Memo Circular to LTFRB Chair Remedios Fernando to allow provincial bus to change passenger rates w/in a fare range of 15% above or below the LTFRB official rate for a 1yr. period. This is in line with the liberalization of regulation in the transport sector which the government intends to implement and to make progress towards greater reliance on free market forces. Fernando respectfully called attention of DOTC Sec. that the Public Service Act requires publication and notice to concerned parties and public hearing. In Dec. 1990, Provincial Bus Operators Assoc. of the Phils. (PBOAP) filed an application for across the board fare rate increase, which was granted by LTFRB. In 1992, then DOTC Sec. Garcia issued a memo to LTFRB suggesting a swift action on adoption of procedures to implement the Department Order & to lay down deregulation policies. Pursuant to LTFRB Guideline, PBOAP, w/o benefit of public hearing announced a 20% fare rate increase. Petitioner Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) opposed the move and filed a petition before LTFRB w/c was denied. Hence the instant petition for certiorari w/ urgent prayer for a TRO, w/c was readily granted by the Supreme Court.
Whether the authority granted by LTFB to provincial buses to set a fare range above existing authorized fare range is unconstitutional and invalid.
The grant of power by LTFRB of its delegated authority is unconstitutional. The doctrine of Potestas delegate non delegari (what has been delegated cannot be delegated) is applicable because a delegated power constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate thru instrumentality of his own judgment. To delegate this power is a negation of the duty in violation of the trust reposed in the delegate mandated to discharge such duty. Also, to give provincial buses the power to charge their fare rates will result to a chaotic state of affairs ad this would leave the riding public at the mercy of transport operators who can increase their rates arbitrarily whenever it pleases or when they deem it necessary.
Osmena vs Orbos
G.R. No. 99886
On October 10,1984, President Ferdinand Marcos issued P.D. 1956 creating a Special Account in the General Fund, designated as the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF). The OPSF was designed to reimburse oil companies for cost increases in crude oil and imported petroleum products resulting from exchange rate adjustments and from increases in the world market prices of crude oil. Subsequently, the OPSF was reclassified into a "trust liability account," in virtue of E.O 1024,7 and ordered released from the National Treasury to the Ministry of Energy. The same Executive Order also authorized the investment of the fund in government securities, with the earnings from such placements accruing to the fund. President Corazon C. Aquino, amended P.D. 1956. She promulgated Executive Order No. 137 on February 27, 1987, expanding the grounds for reimbursement to oil companies for possible cost under recovery incurred as a result of the reduction of domestic prices of petroleum products, the amount of the under recovery being left for determination by the Ministry of Finance. The petition avers that the creation of the trust fund violates § 29(3), Article VI of the Constitution. The petitioner argues that "the monies collected pursuant to ** P.D. 1956, as amended, must be treated as a 'SPECIAL FUND,' not as a 'trust account' or a 'trust fund,' and that "if a special tax is collected for a specific purpose, the revenue generated therefrom shall be treated as a special fund' to be used only for the purpose indicated, and not channeled to another government objective." Petitioner further points out that since "a 'special fund' consists of monies, collected through the taxing power of a State, such amounts belong to the State, although the use thereof is limited to the special purpose/objective for which it was created." He also contends that the "delegation of legislative authority" to the ERB violates § 28 (2), Article VI of the Constitution and, inasmuch as the delegation relates to the exercise of the power of taxation, "the limits, limitations and restrictions must be quantitative, that is, the law must not only specify how to tax, who (shall) be taxed (and) what the tax is for, but also impose a specific limit on how much to tax."
(1) Whether or not the PD 1956 partakes the nature of the taxation power of the State.
(2) Whether or not there is an invalid delegation of legislative power under PD 1956, hence, unconstitutional.
(1) No. while the funds collected may be referred to as taxes, they are exacted in the exercise of the police power of the State. Moreover, that the OPSF is a special fund is plain from the special treatment given it by E.O. 137. It is segregated from the general fund; and while it is placed in what the law refers to as a "trust liability account," the fund nonetheless remains subject to the scrutiny and review of the COA. The Court is satisfied that these measures comply with the constitutional description of a "special fund." Indeed, the practice is not without precedent.
(2) No. For a valid delegation of power, it is essential that the law delegating the power must be (1) complete in itself, that is it must set forth the policy to be executed by the delegate and (2) it must fix a standard—limits of which are sufficiently determinate or determinable—to which the delegate must conform. The proper exercise of the delegated power may be tested with ease. It seems obvious that what the law intended was to permit the additional imposts for as long as there exists a need to protect the general public and the petroleum industry from the adverse consequences of pump rate fluctuations. "Where the standards set up for the guidance of an administrative officer and the action taken are in fact recorded in the orders of such officer, so that Congress, the courts and the public are assured that the orders in the judgment of such officer conform to the legislative standard, there is no failure in the performance of the legislative functions." This Court thus finds no serious impediment to sustaining the validity of the legislation; the express purpose for which the imposts are permitted and the general objectives and purposes of the fund are readily discernible, and they constitute a sufficient standard upon which the delegation of power may be justified.
Maritime Manning Agencies, Inc v. POEA
G.R. No. 114714
The Governing Board of the POEA enacted Governing Resolution No. 01 s. 1994 fixing for the rates of workmen’s compensation of Filipino seamen working in ocean-going vessels. Consequently, Memorandum Circular No. 05 was issued on 19 January 19942 by POEA Administrator adjusting the rates of compensation and other benefits of Filipino seafarers. Petitioners assailed both issuances on the following grounds:
1. The POEA does not have the power and authority to fix and promulgate rates affecting death and workmen's compensation of Filipino seamen working in ocean-going vessels; only Congress can.
2. Even granting that the POEA has that power, it, nevertheless, violated the standards for its exercise.
3. The resolution and the memorandum circular are unconstitutional because they violate the equal protection and non-impairment of obligation of contracts clauses of the Constitution.
4. The resolution and the memorandum circular are not, valid acts of the Governing Board because the private sector representative mandated by law has not been appointed by the President since the creation of the POEA.
Public respondents contend that the petition is without merit and should de dismissed because (a) the issuance of the challenged resolution and memorandum circular was a valid exercise of the POEA's rule-making authority or power of subordinate legislation.
Does the POEA have the power to fix and promulgate rates of Filipino seamen.
The authority to issue the said regulation is clearly provided in Section 4(a) of Executive Order No. 797: “The governing Board of the Administration (POEA), as hereunder provided, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the adjudicatory functions of the Administration (POEA).” It is true that legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. But due to increasing complexity of the task of government and the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention, delegation of legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in a statute by "filling in" the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. Memorandum Circular No. 2 is one such administrative regulation.
The power of the POEA is not unlimited as there is a sufficient standard guiding the delegate in the exercise of the said authority, that standard is discoverable in the executive order itself which is "fair and equitable employment practices”. The challenged resolution and memorandum circular, which merely further amended the previous Memorandum Circular No. 02, strictly conform to the sufficient and valid standard of "fair and equitable employment practices" prescribed in E.O. No. 797 can no longer be disputed.
Republic vs. Drugmakers Laboratories
G.R. No. 190837
The FDA was created pursuant to RA 3720, otherwise known as the “Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act” primarily in order to establish safety or efficacy standards and quality measure of foods, drugs and devices and cosmetics products. On March 15, 1989, the Department of Health, thru then Secretary Alfredo RA Bengzon issued AO 67 s. 1989, entitled Revised Rules and Regulations on Registration of Pharmaceutical products. Among others, it required drug manufacturers to register certain drug and medicine products with FDA before they may release the same to the market for sale. In this relation, a satisfactory bioavailability/bioequivalence (BA/BE) test is needed for a manufacturer to secure a CPR for these products. However, the implementation of the BA/BE testing requirement was put on hold because there was no local facility capable of conducting the same. The issuance of circulars no. 1 s. of 1997 resumed the FDA’s implementation of the BA/BE testing requirement with the establishment of BA/BE testing facilities in the country. Thereafter, the FDA issued circular no. 8 s. of 1997 which provided additional implementation details concerning the BA/BE testing requirement on drug products.
Whether or not the circular issued by FDA are valid.
Yes. Administrative agencies may exercise quasi-legislative or rule-making power only if there exist a law which delegates these powers to them. Accordingly, the rules so promulgated must be within the confines of the granting statutes and must not involve discretion as to what the law shall be, but merely the authority to fix the details in the execution or enforcement of the policy set out in the law itself, so as to conform with the doctrine of separation of powers and as an adjunct, the doctrine of non-delegability of legislative powers. An administrative regulation may be classified as a legislative rule, an interpretative rule or a contingent rule. Legislative rules are in the nature of subordinate legislation a d designed to implement a primary legislation by providing the details thereof. They usually implement existing law, imposing general, extra-statutory obligations pursuant to authority properly delegated by the congress may effect a change in existing law or policy which affect individual rights and obligations. Meanwhile, interpretative rules are intended to interpret, clarify or explain existing statutory regulations under which the administrative body operates. Their purpose or objective is merely to construe the statue being administered and purport to do no more than interpret the statute. Simply, they try to say what the statute means and refer to no single person or party in particular but concern all those belonging to the same class which may be covered by the said rules. Finally, contingent rules are those issued by an administrative authority based on the existence of certain facts or things upon which the enforcement of the law depends.
In general, an administrative regulation needs to comply with the requirements laid down by EO 292 s. of 1988 otherwise known as the administrative code of 1987 on prior notice, hearing and publication in order to be valid and binding except when the same is merely an interpretative rule. This is because when an administrative rule is merely intepretative in nature its applicability needs nothing further than its bare issuance, for it gives no real consequence more than what the law itself has already prescribed. When, on the other hand, the administrative rule goes beyond merely providing for the means that can facilitate or render least cumbersome the implementation of the law but substantially increases the burden of those governed, it behooves the agency to accord at least to those directly affected a chance to be heard, and thereafter to be duly informed before that new issuance is given the force and effect of law. A careful scrutiny of the foregoing issuances would reveal that A0 67 is actually the rule that originally introduced the BA/BE testing requirement as a component of applications for the issuance of CPR covering certain pharmaceutical products as such, it is considered an administrative regulation – a legislative rule to be exact – issued by the Secretary of Health in consonance with the express authority granted to him by RA 3720 to implement the statutory mandate that all drugs and devices should first be registered with the FDA prior to their manufacture and sale. Considering that neither party contested the validity of its issuance, the court deems that AO 67 complied with the requirements of prior hearing, notice and publication pursuant to the presumption of regularity accorded to the govt in the exercise of its official duties. On the other hand, circulars no. 1 and 8 s. of 1997 cannot be considered as administrative regulations because they do not: a.) implement a primary legislation by providing the details thereof; b.) Interpret, clarify or explain existing statutory regulation under which FDA operates and/or; c.) Ascertain the existence of certain facts or things upon which the enforcement of RA 3720 depends. In fact, the only purpose of these is for FDA to administer and supervise the implementation of the provisions of AO 67 s. of 1989 including those covering the BA/BE testing requirement consistent with and pursuant to RA 3720. Therefore, the FDA has sufficient authority to issue the said circulars and since they would not affect the substantive rights of the parties that they seek to govern – as they are not, strictly speaking, administrative regulations in the first place – no prior hearing, consultation and publication are needed for their validity.
Holy Spirit Homeowners Association vs. Defensor
G.R. No. 163980
The instant petition for prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, seeks to prevent respondents from enforcing the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9207, otherwise known as the "National Government Center (NGC) Housing and Land Utilization Act of 2003." Petitioner Holy Spirit Homeowners Association, Inc. (Association) is a homeowners association from the West Side of the NGC. Named respondents are the ex-officio members of the National Government Center Administration Committee (Committee). At the filing of the instant petition, the Committee was composed of Secretary Michael Defensor, Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Atty. Edgardo Pamintuan, General Manager of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Mr. Percival Chavez, Chairman of the Presidential Commission for Urban Poor (PCUP), Mayor Feliciano Belmonte of Quezon City, Secretary Elisea Gozun of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Secretary Florante Soriquez of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law R.A. No. 9207.
In accordance with Section 5 of R.A. No. 9207, the Committee formulated the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9207 on June 29, 2004. Petitioners subsequently filed the instant petition questioning its validity. The OSG claims that the instant petition for prohibition is an improper remedy because the writ of prohibition does not lie against the exercise of a quasi-legislative function. Since in issuing the questioned IRR of R.A. No. 9207, the Committee was not exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial function, which is the scope of a petition for prohibition under Section 2, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the instant prohibition should be dismissed outright, the OSG contends. For their part, respondent Mayor of Quezon City and respondent NHA contend that petitioners violated the doctrine of hierarchy of courts in filing the instant petition with this Court and not with the Court of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction over a petition for prohibition.
Whether or not a petition for prohibition is not the proper remedy to assail an IRR issued in the exercise of a quasi-legislative function.
Yes. The court ruled that a petition for prohibition is also not the proper remedy to assail an IRR issued in the exercise of a quasi-legislative function. Prohibition is an extraordinary writ directed against any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person, whether exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions, ordering said entity or person to desist from further proceedings when said proceedings are without or in excess of said entity’s or person’s jurisdiction, or are accompanied with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Prohibition lies against judicial or ministerial functions, but not against legislative or quasi-legislative functions. Generally, the purpose of a writ of prohibition is to keep a lower court within the limits of its jurisdiction in order to maintain the administration of justice in orderly channels. Prohibition is the proper remedy to afford relief against usurpation of jurisdiction or power by an inferior court, or when, in the exercise of jurisdiction in handling matters clearly within its cognizance the inferior court transgresses the bounds prescribed to it by the law, or where there is no adequate remedy available in the ordinary course of law by which such relief can be obtained. Where the principal relief sought is to invalidate an IRR, petitioners’ remedy is an ordinary action for its nullification, an action which properly falls under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court.
In any case, petitioners’ allegation that "respondents are performing or threatening to perform functions without or in excess of their jurisdiction" may appropriately be enjoined by the trial court through a writ of injunction or a temporary restraining order. Administrative agencies possess quasi-legislative or rulemaking powers and quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory powers. Quasi-legislative or rule-making power is the power to make rules and regulations which results in delegated legislation that is within the confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegability and separability of powers. In questioning the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by an administrative agency, a party need not exhaust administrative remedies before going to court. This principle, however, applies only where the act of the administrative agency concerned was performed pursuant to its quasi-judicial function, and not when the assailed act pertained to its rule-making or quasi-legislative power. The assailed IRR was issued pursuant to the quasi legislative power of the Committee expressly authorized by R.A. No. 9207. The petition rests mainly on the theory that the assailed IRR issued by the Committee is invalid on the ground that it is not germane to the object and purpose of the statute it seeks to implement. Where what is assailed is the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by the administrative agency in the performance of its quasi-legislative function, the regular courts have jurisdiction to pass upon the same.
Globe Wireless vs. Public Service Commission
G.R No. L-27520
A message was addressed to Maria Diaz in Spain which was filed by private respondent, Antonio Arnaiz with Bureau of Telecommunication in Dumaguete city and was transmitted to Bureau of Telecommunications Manila. It was forwarded to the petitioner, Globe Wireless and transmitted it to Empresa Nacional de Telecommunicaciones in Madrid. The latter, however, mislaid said message, resulting in its non-delivery to the addressee. After knowing the fact, Arnaiz filed a complaint relating to the incident with Public Service Commission. After hearings, PSC issued an order finding petitioner "responsible for the inadequate and unsatisfactory service complained of, in violation of the Public Service Act" and ordering it "to pay a fine of P200.00. Through a certiorari, Globe Wireless questioned/challenged the jurisdiction of PSC or the Public Service Commission under Section 21 of the Commonwealth Act 146, which is to discipline and impose a fine over the petitioner.
If PSC has jurisdiction over the matter, the imposition of find and to discipline the petitioner.
Under Section 5 of the Commonwealth Act 146 states that, “The Public Service Commission is hereby given jurisdiction over the grantee only with respect to the rates which the grantee may charge the public subject to international commitments made or adhered to by the Republic of the Philippines.” Under Section 21 of C.A. No. 146, as amended, the Commission was empowered to impose an administrative fine in cases of violation of or failure by a Public service to comply with the terms and conditions of any certificate or any orders, decisions or regulations of the Commission. petitioner operated under a legislative franchise, so there were no terms nor conditions of any certificate issued by the Commission to violate. Neither was there any order, decision or regulation from the Commission applicable to petitioner that the latter had allegedly violated, disobeyed, defied or disregarded. The jurisdiction and powers of administrative agencies are limited to those expressly granted or necessarily implied from those granted in the legislation creating such body; and any order without or beyond such jurisdiction is void and ineffective
Masangcay vs. COMELEC
G..R No. L-13827
On October 24, 1957, Benjamin Masangacay—then provincial treasurer of Aklan designated to take charge of the receipt and custody of the official ballots, election forms and supplies, as well as of their distribution, among the different municipalities of the province—with several others, was charged before the COMELE with contempt for having opened three boxes containing official and sample ballots for the municipalities of the province of Aklan, in violation of the instructions of said Commission embodied in its resolution promulgated on September 2, 1957, and its unnumbered resolution dated March 5,1957, inasmuch as he opened said boxes not in the presence of the division superintendent of schools of Aklan, the province auditor, and the authorizeD representatives of the Nacionalista Party, the Liberal Party and the Citizens’ Party, as required, which are punishable under Sec. 5 of the Revised Election Code and Rule 64 of the Rules of Court. Masangcay brought the present petition for review raising as main issue the constitutionality of Sec. 5 of the Revised Election Code which grants the COMELEC as well as its members the power to punish acts of contempt against said body under the same procedure and with the same penalties provided for in Rule 64 of the Rules of Court in that the portion of said section which grants the Commission and members the power to punish for contempt is unconstitutional for it infringes the principle underlying the separation of powers that exists among the three departments of our constitutional form of government.
Whether or not COMELEC may punish Masangcay for contempt.
No. COMELEC lacks power to impose the disciplinary penalty meted out to petitioner in the decision subject of review. When the Commission exercises a ministerial function it cannot exercise the power to punish for contempt because such power is inherently judicial in nature. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts; its existence is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings, and to the enforcement of judgments, orders and mandates of courts, and, consequently, in the administration of justice. Under the law and the constitution, the COMELEC has not only the duty to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of the elections. But also the power to try, hear and decide any controversy that may be submitted to it in connection with the elections. The Commission, although it cannot be classified as a court of justice within the meaning of the Constitution for it is merely an administrative body, may however exercise quasi-judicial functions insofar as controversies that by express provision of law come under its jurisdiction.
Buenaseda vs Flavier
G.R No. 106719
This is a petition seeking to nullify the Order of the Ombudsman directing the preventive suspension of petitioners. The questioned order was issued in connection with the administrative complaint filed with the Ombudsman by the private respondents (NCMH Nurses Association) against the petitioners (Dra. Brigida Buenaseda et. al.) for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. On September 22, 1992, the Supreme Court required the respondent (Secretary Juan Flavier of DOH) to maintain in the meantime, the status quo order. The Solicitor General, in his comment, stated that (a) “The authority of the Ombudsman is only to recommend suspension and he has no direct power to suspend;” and (b) “Assuming the Ombudsman has the power to directly suspend a government official or employee, there are conditions required by law for the exercise of such powers; and said conditions have not been met in the instant case”. In upholding the power of the Ombudsman to preventively suspend petitioners, respondents invoke Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, which provides:
Sec. 24. Preventive Suspension. — The Ombudsman or his Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charge would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him. The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is terminated by the Office of Ombudsman but not more than six months, without pay, except when the delay in the disposition of the case by the Office of the Ombudsman is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided. Respondents argue that the power of preventive suspension given the Ombudsman under Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770 was contemplated by Section 13 (8) of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the Ombudsman shall exercise such other power or perform such functions or duties as may be provided by law."
Whether the Ombudsman has the power to suspend government officials and employees working in offices other than the Office of the Ombudsman, pending the investigation of the administrative complaints filed against said officials and employees.
Yes. When the constitution vested on the Ombudsman the power "to recommend the suspension" of a public official or employees (Sec. 13 ), it referred to "suspension," as a punitive measure. All the words associated with the word "suspension" in said provision referred to penalties in administrative cases, e.g. removal, demotion, fine, censure. Under the rule of Noscitor a sociis, the word "suspension" should be given the same sense as the other words with which it is associated. Where a particular word is equally susceptible of various meanings, its correct construction may be made specific by considering the company of terms in which it is found or with which it is associated. Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, which grants the Ombudsman the power to preventively suspend public officials and employees facing administrative charges before him, is a procedural, not a penal statute. The preventive suspension is imposed after compliance with the requisites therein set forth, as an aid in the investigation of the administrative charges.
G.R. No. 114683 January 18, 2000
JESUS C. OCAMPO
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
This petition for certiorari seeks to nullify the Resolutions of the Ombudsman which dismissed petitioner from the service, with forfeiture of benefits and special perpetual disqualification to hold office in the government or any government-owned or controlled corporation, and which denied the motion for reconsideration thereof, respectively.
Petitioner is the Training Coordinator of NIACONSULT, INC., a subsidiary of the National Irrigation Administration.
On March 21, 1988, K.N. Paudel of the Agricultural Development Bank of Nepal (ADBN) Mote a letter to NIACONSULT requesting a training proposal on small-scale community irrigation development.
On November 17, 1988, petitioner as the training coordinator of the NIACONSULT, sent a letter-proposal requested by ABDN. Another letter was sent by petitioner confirming the availability of NIACONSULT to conduct the training program and formally requesting advance payment of thirty (30%) percent of the training fees in the amount of US $9,600.00 or P204,960.00.
NIACONSULT conducted the training program for six Nepalese Junior Engineers. ADBN, thru its representative, paid to the petitioner the agreed training fee in two installments of P61,488.00 and P143, 472.00.
NIACONSULT, through its president, Wilfredo S. Tiongco, wrote a letter to petitioner demanding the turn-over of the total training fee paid by ADBN which petitioner personally received. Despite receipt of the letter, petitioner failed to remit the said amount prompting NIACONSULT through its president, Maximino Eclipse, to file an administrative case before respondent OMBUDSMAN for serious misconduct and/or fraud or willful breach of trust.
A year later, respondent OMBUDSMAN issued another order giving petitioner another chance to file his counter-affidavit and controverting evidence. Again, petitioner failed.
Thereafter, respondent OMBUDSMAN issued the assailed Resolution, the decretal portion of which reads:
Withal, for such dishonesty, untrustworthiness, and conduct prejudicial to the service as established by overwhelming evidences, it is respectfully recommended that respondent Jesus C. Ocampo be discharged from the service, with forfeiture of benefits and special perpetual disqualification to hold office in the government or any government-owned or controlled corporation; without prejudice to any civil action NIACONSULT, Inc., may institute to recover the amount so retained by the respondent.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration and to re-open the case claiming that he was denied due process in that the administrative case was resolved on the basis of the complainant's evidences, without affording him the opportunity to file a counter-affidavit and to present his evidence. Petitioner likewise contends that he was not given access to the records of the subject transaction vital to his defense and in the preparation of his counter-affidavit despite his verbal requests to the graft investigator.
The respondent OMBUDSMAN denied the motion petitioner motion.
Aggrieved, petitioner filed the instant petition basically reiterating his arguments in his motion for reconsideration.
Whether or not petitioner was denied the opportunity to be heard.
Petitioner has been amply accorded the opportunity to be heard. He was required to answer the complaint against him. In fact, petitioner was given considerable length of time to submit his counter-affidavit. The dismissal of the criminal case will not foreclose administrative action filed against petitioner or give him a clean bill of health in all respects. The Regional Trial Court, in dismissing the criminal complaint, was simply saying that the prosecution was unable to prove the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable doubt, a condition sine qua non for conviction. The lack or absence of proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean an absence of any evidence whatsoever for there is another class of evidence which, though insufficient to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt, is adequate in civil cases; this is preponderance of evidence.
PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE
G.R. No. 112024, January 28, 1999
Petitioner, Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom), a commercial banking corporation duly organized under Philippine laws, filed its quarterly income tax returns for the first and second quarters of 1985, reported profits, and paid the total income tax of P5,016,954.00. The taxes due were settled by applying PBCom’s tax credit memos and accordingly, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Tax Debit Memo Nos. 0746-85 and 0747-85 for P3,401,701.00 and P1,615,253.00, respectively. Subsequently, however, PBCom suffered losses so that when it filed its Annual Income Tax Returns for the year-ended December 31, 1986, the petitioner likewise reported a net loss of P14,129,602.00, and thus declared no tax payable for the year. But during these two years, PBCom earned rental income from leased properties. The lessees withheld and remitted to the BIR withholding creditable taxes of P282,795.50 in 1985 and P234,077.69 in 1986.
On August 7, 1987, petitioner requested the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, among others, for a tax credit of P5,016,954.00 representing the overpayment of taxes in the first and second quarters of 1985. Thereafter, on July 25, 1988, petitioner filed a claim for refund of creditable taxes withheld by their lessees from property rentals in 1985 for P282,795.50 and in 1986 for P234,077.69. On May 20, 1993, the CTA rendered a decision which, as stated on the outset, denied the request of petitioner for a tax refund or credit in the sum amount of P5,299,749.95, on the ground that it was filed beyond the two-year reglementary period provided for by law. The petitioner’s claim for refund in 1986 amounting to P234,077.69 was likewise denied on the assumption.
However, on September 22, 1993, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the CTA’s resolution dated July 20, 1993. Hence this petition.
Whether the Circular issued by the BIR which is Inconsistent or Contrary to the Statutes can be enforced.
No. When the Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued RMC, changing the prescriptive period of two years to ten years on claims of excess quarterly income tax payments, such circular created a clear inconsistency with the provision of Sec. 230 of 1977 NIRC.
In so doing, the BIR did not simply interpret the law; rather it legislated guidelines contrary to the statute passed by Congress. It bears repeating that Revenue memorandum-circulars are considered administrative rulings (in the sense of more specific and less general interpretations of tax laws) which are issued from time to time by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. It is widely accepted that the interpretation placed upon a statute by the executive officers, whose duty is to enforce it, is entitled to great respect by the courts. Nevertheless, such interpretation is not conclusive and will be ignored if judicially found to be erroneous.
Thus, courts will not countenance administrative issuances that override, instead of remaining consistent and in harmony with the law they seek to apply and implement.
ENCINAS, Petitioner vs AGUSTIN
G.R. NO. 187317: April 11, 2013
Respondents were then both holding positions as Fire Officer I in Nueva Ecija. They claim that on 11 March 2000, at around 9:00 p.m., petitioner who was then Provincial Fire Marshall of Nueva Ecija informed them that unless they gave him five thousand pesos (P5,000), they would be relieved from their station at Cabanatuan City and transferred to far-flung areas. Respondent Alfredo P. Agustin (Agustin) would supposedly be transferred to the Cuyapo Fire Station (Cuyapo), and respondent Joel S. Caubang (Caubang) to Talugtug Fire Station (Talugtug). Fearing the reassignment, they decided to pay petitioner. On 15 March 2000, in the house of a certain "Myrna," respondents came up short and managed to give only two thousand pesos (P2,000), prompting petitioner to direct them to come up with the balance within a week. When they failed to deliver the balance, petitioner issued instructions effectively reassigning respondents Agustin and Caubang to Cuyapo and Talugtug, respectively.
As a result, the respondents decided to file a complaint for illegal transfer before the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and at the same time filed another complaint before the Civil Service Commission Regional Office (CSCRO) in Pampanga and the Civil Service Commission in Cabanatuan. The petitioner Encinas was the Provincial Fire Marshall of Nueva Ecija. He was charged administratively with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in violation of the Administrative Code of 1987. He was dismissed from the service.
Based on the filed complaints, the petitioner alleges that the respondents are guilty of forum shopping by filing the two identical complaints. The petitioner claims that the charges of dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to public interest that were filed before the Civil Service Commission and the BFP are in violation of the rules against forum shopping.
The petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari under rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Civil Service Commission to dismiss the petitioner from the service.
Whether or not substantial evidence does not exist to hold petitioner administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
No. The CA was correct in ruling that there was substantial evidence to hold petitioner administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
On the substantive issue, petitioner claims that the findings are based on a misapprehension of facts.
The Court did not agree. Petitioner administratively liable for his act of demanding P5,000 from respondents in exchange for their non-reassignment.
Respondents, through their testimonies, were able to establish that petitioner told them that unless they paid him P5,000, they would be re-assigned to far-flung areas. The consistency of their testimonies was further bolstered by the fact that they had been cross-examined by petitioner's counsel. Petitioner was unable to rebut their claims other than by mere denials. Even the admission of Supt. Tutaan that he gave the instructions to reassign respondents cannot disprove the latter's claims. As regards the testimonies of the witnesses of petitioner, we hold that even these testimonies are irrelevant in disproving the alleged extortion he committed, as these were mainly related to respondents supposed illegal activities, which are not the issue in this case.
Even assuming that an Affidavit of Desistance was indeed executed by respondents, petitioner is still not exonerated from liability. The subsequent reconciliation of the parties to an administrative proceeding does not strip the court of its jurisdiction to hear the administrative case until its resolution. Atonement, in administrative cases, merely obliterates the personal injury of the parties and does not extend to erase the offense that may have been committed against the public service. The subsequent desistance by respondents does not free petitioner from liability, as the purpose of an administrative proceeding is to protect the public service based on the time-honored principle that a public office is a public trust. A complaint for malfeasance or misfeasance against a public servant of whatever rank cannot be withdrawn at any time for whatever reason by a complainant, as a withdrawal would be "anathema to the preservation of the faith and confidence of the citizenry in their government, its agencies and instrumentalities." Administrative proceedings "should not be made to depend on the whims and caprices of complainants who are, in a real sense, only witnesses therein."
In view of the foregoing, we rule that petitioner's act of demanding money from respondents in exchange for their non-reassignment constitutes grave misconduct. We have defined grave misconduct as follows:
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer; and the misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, such as willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be established by substantial evidence. (Emphasis supplied)
Considering that petitioner was found guilty of two (2) offenses, then the penalty of dismissal from the service-the penalty corresponding to the most serious offense-was properly imposed.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
G.R. No. 194368 April 2, 2013
The present administrative case, filed against Desk Officer/ Supervisor SJO2 Almojuela, sprang from the escape of a detention prisoner in the Makati City Jail. A BJMP Investigation Report conducted on the incident concluded that SJO2 Almojuela and the rest of the jail officers on third shift custodial duty all colluded to facilitate Lao’s getaway. SJO2 Almojuela and JO1 Loyola moved for the reconsideration of Director Walit’s decision, which the latter denied for lack of merit in a Joint Resolution dated June 21, 2006. In Administrative Case No. 04-11, CESO IV Director Arturo Walit, the BJMP hearing officer, rendered his decision dated December 13, 2005, finding SJO2 Almojuela guilty of Grave Misconduct and were meted the penalty of dismissal from the service. SJO2 Almojuela then appealed his conviction before the Civil Service Commission (CSC), which affirmed Director Walit’s decision in its Resolution No. 080701. The CSC subsequently denied SJO2 Almojuela’s motion for reconsideration. SJO2 Almojuela’s next recourse was a petition for review before the Court of Appeals. The appellate court partially granted SJO2 Almojuela’s motion for reconsideration, and lowered his liability from grave to simple misconduct. CSC appealed to the SC the decision of the CA. Hence this case.
Whether or not SJO2 Almojuela had been deprived of due process when he was not allowed to present his evidence and witnesses during the BJMP investigation.
No. SJO2 Almojuela was afforded due process in the BJMP investigations. The SC support the CA’s conclusion that SJO2 Almojuela was accorded the right to due process during the BJMP investigation. The essence of due process in administrative proceedings (such as the BJMP investigation) is simply the opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Where a party has been given the opportunity to appeal or seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of, defects in procedural due process may be cured. In SJO2 Almojuela’s case, he was informed of the charges against him, and was given the opportunity to refute them in the counter-affidavit and motion for reconsideration he filed before the BJMP hearing officer, in the appeal and motion for reconsideration he filed before the CSC, in his petition for review on certiorari, in his memorandum on appeal, and, finally, in the motion for reconsideration he filed before the CA.
In particular, SJO2 Almojuela admitted in his comment that he narrated in his counter affidavit the circumstances that, to his knowledge, transpired immediately before Lao’s breakout. The Motion for Reconsideration to the CA’s original decision contained the additional piece of evidence that SJO2 Almojuela claimed would have exculpated him from liability: Captain Fermin Enriquez’s testimony during his cross-examination in Criminal Case No. 3320236, filed against SJO2 Almojuela for conniving with or consenting to evasion under Article 223 of the Revised Penal Code. This piece of evidence was reiterated in the comment SJO2 Almojuela filed before this Court. Notably, SJO2 Almojuela repeatedly mentioned ‘other witnesses and other documentary exhibits’ that he would have presented to absolve him from liability,68 but the only piece of evidence he submitted in his Motion for Reconsideration and Comment was Captain Enriquez’s testimony. These circumstances sufficiently convince us that SJO2 Almojuela had been given ample opportunity to present his side, and whatever defects might have intervened during the BJMP investigation have been cured by his subsequent filing of pleadings before the CSC, the CA, and before SC.
WHEREFORE, all premises considered, we hereby GRANT the petition. The amended decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Arlie Almojuela is found guilty of gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty and is hereby DISMISSED from the service.
Cabal vs Kapunan
G.R. No. L-19052, 29 December 1962
Col. Jose C. Maristela of the Philippine Army filed with the Secretary of National Defense a letter-complaint charging petitioner Manuel Cabal, then Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with graft, corrupt practices, unexplained wealth, conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman dictatorial tendencies, giving false statements of his assets and liabilities in 1958 and other equally reprehensible acts. The President of the Philippines on September 6, 1961, created a committee of 5 members to investigate the charged unexplained wealth contained in the said letter complaint. The Committee ordered Cabal to take the witness stand in the administrative proceeding and be sworn to as witness for Col. Maristela. Cabal objected the said order of the Committee and invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination. The Committee insisted that Cabal take the witness stand and be sworn to, subject to his right to refuse to answer such questions as may be incriminatory. Cabal respectfully refused to be sworn to as a witness to take the witness stand.
The Committee then referred the matter to the Fiscal of Manila, for such action as he may deem proper. The City Fiscal filed with the CFI a charge for failure and refusal to obey the order of the Committee to take the witness stand, be sworn and testify as witness in said investigation, in utter disregard of the lawful authority of the Committee and thereby obstructing and degrading the proceedings before said body. The said charge was assigned to the sala of respondent Judge Kapunan.
Petitioner filed a motion to quash and said motion was denied.
Whether or not the Committee's ordering petitioner to take the witness stand violates his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
It should be noted that, although said Committee was created to investigate the administrative charge of unexplained wealth, there seems to be no question that Col. Maristela does not seek the removal of petitioner herein as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As a matter of fact he no longer holds such office. It seems, likewise conceded that the purpose of the charge against petitioner is to apply the provisions of Republic Act No. 1379 or the Anti-Graft Law, which authorizes the forfeiture to the State of property of a public officer or employee which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property. Such for forfeiture has been held, however, to partake of the nature of a penalty. As a consequence, proceedings for forfeiture of proper are deemed criminal or penal, and, hence, the exemption of defendants in criminal case from the obligation to be witnesses against themselves are applicable thereto.
The Court said that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. This prohibition against compelling a person to take the stand as a witness against himself applies to criminal, quasi-criminal, and penal proceedings, including a proceeding civil in form for forfeiture of property by reason of the commission of an offense, but not a proceeding in which the penalty recoverable is civil or remedial in nature.
The privilege of a witness not to incriminate himself is not infringed by merely asking the witness a question which he refuses to answer. The privilege is simply an option of refusal, and not a prohibition of inquiry. A question is not improper merely because the answer may tend to incriminate but, where a witness exercises his constitutional right not to answer, a question by counsel as to whether the reason for refusing to answer is because the answer may tend to incriminate the witness is improper.
Nacion v. Commission on Audit
G.R. No. 204757 March 17, 2015
On June 27, 2011, a formal charge against petitioner Atty. Janet D. Nacion who was holding the position of Director IV of COA, National Government Sector, was issued by COA Chairperson Ma. Gracia M. Pulido-Tan for acts found to be committed when Nacion was assigned to the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) from October 2001 to September 2003. COA’s investigation of its personnel assigned to MWSS was prompted by a letter from then MWSS Administrator who complained of unrecorded checks and irregularly issued disbursement vouchers that were traced to refer to bonuses and other benefits of the COA MWSS personnel. The allegations against Nacion include receiving benefits/bonuses from MWSS in the total amount of ₱73,542.00 from 1999-2003; availing of the MWSS Housing Project; and availing of the Multi-Purpose Loan Program.
In her Affidavit/Answer to Formal Charge, petitioner Nacion admitted that she availed of the MWSS Housing Project and the Multi-Purpose Loan Program upon an honest belief that she was not prohibited from doing so. However, she denied having received bonuses and benefits from MWSS and argued that the MWSS claims control index and journal vouchers upon which the charge was based were not conclusive proof of her receipt of the benefits, absent payrolls showing her signature. Nevertheless, as a sign of good faith, Nacion offered to restitute the full amount of ₱73,542.00 to save government time and expenses in hearing the case and give up her right over the MWSS lot.
On June 14, 2012, the COA found Nacion guilty of grave misconduct and violation of reasonable rules and regulations, specifically Section 18 of R.A. No. 6758 or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 which prohibits COA personnel from receiving salaries, honoraria, bonuses, allowances or other emoluments from any government entity, local government unit, government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions, except those compensation paid directly by the COA out of its appropriations and contributions. Nacion was ordered to refund the amount of ₱73,542.00 and return the lot which she acquired under the MWSS housing program, in addition to one-year suspension without pay.
Nacion moved to reconsider, but it was denied by the COA. Hence, this petition.
Nacion invokes due process as she argues that the records during her tenure with the MWSS should not have been included by the audit team in its investigations, as no office order covering it was issued by the COA Chairman. She also alleged that the documentary evidence considered by the Fraud Audit and Investigation Office (FAIO) did not constitute substantial evidence to prove the commission of the offenses with which she was charged.
Whether or not there was violation of administrative due process committed by the COA.
No, the Supreme Court finds no violation of Nacion’s right to due process.
In administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is the opportunity to explain one’s side or seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of, and to submit any evidence he may have in support of his defense. The demands of due process are sufficiently met when the parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered.
Contrary to Nacion’s claim that the FAIO acted beyond its jurisdiction and deprived her of the right to due process, the Supreme Court ruled that a separate office order was not necessary for the audit team’s investigation of Nacion’s case since prior to the issuance of the formal charge, the investigations conducted by the team were merely fact-finding. The crucial point was the COA’s observance of the demands of due process prior to its finding or decision that Nacion was administratively liable. It was Nacion who, despite the chance, did not request for such formal investigation, a circumstance which the COA considered as mitigating. In any case, she was still accorded before the COA a reasonable opportunity to present her defenses through her answer to the formal charge and eventually, motion for reconsideration of the COA’s decision.
As to evidence, in administrative cases, the quantum of evidence that is necessary to declare a person administratively liable is mere substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. It is settled that the factual findings of administrative bodies are controlling when supported by such substantial evidence. In this case, three separate acts were found to have been committed by Nacion, all sufficient to support the COA’s finding of grave misconduct and violation of reasonable office rules and regulations. Nacion’s receipt of the prohibited benefits and allowances were duly proved by documentary evidence; Nacion’s availment of the housing and car programs was also undisputed as she already admitted it in her Answer.
Arroyo vs Rosal Homeworkers Association
G.R. No. 175155, 22 October 2012
Petitioners Jasmin Alipato, Primitivo Belandres, Nestor Leduna, Anita de los Reyes, and Gina Caballero were among the actual occupants of the subject land. They occupied the land by mere tolerance long before the said land was acquired by PCIB in 1989. To evade eviction and in order to avail of the benefits of acquiring land under the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), the said occupants formally organized themselves into an association, the Rosal Homeowners Association, Incorporated (RHAI), a non-stock, non-profit organization.
With the aid and representation of the Bacolod Housing Authority, RHAI was able to obtain a loan from the NHMFC and acquired the subject land from PCIB. As a consequence, the Registry of Deeds issued a Transfer Certificate of Title covering the 19,897sq.m. land, in the name of RHAI. By virtue of the land acquisition by RHAI, all the occupants of the land became automatic members of RHAI.
To fully avail of the benefits of the CMP, the NHMFC required the RHAI members to sign the Lease Purchase Agreement (LPA) and to maintain their membership in good standing in accordance with the provisions of the By-Laws of RHAI. Petitioners, however, refused to sign the LPA as a precondition under the CMP. They likewise failed to attend the regular meetings and pay their membership dues as required by the RHAI By-Laws. As a result, RHAI through its BOD, approved a resolution to enforce the eviction of petitioners and recover possession of the portions of land which they were occupying. Pursuant to the said resolution, RHAI, through written letters of demand, called for petitioners to vacate the premises and deliver possession thereof to RHAI. Petitioners, however, ignored the demand. This prompted RHAI to file an action for recovery of possession of the subject property. Both the RTC and CA ruled in favor of RHAI. Hence, this instant petition of the petitioners insisting that they cannot be ejected from the property since they are the actual occupants thereof even before the landowner acquired the same. They also averred that they were denied due process when they were expelled from RHAI without notice.
Whether or not petitioners were denied due process.
No. The record shows that petitioners were accorded a fair trial in the RTC. In fact, they were properly represented by a counsel who was able to confront and cross-examine the witnesses presented by RHAI. They had ample opportunity to substantiate their claim that they were not expelled as members and to present witnesses. Unfortunately, petitioners did not present their own evidence to bolster their defense. Thus, they cannot feign denial of due process where they had been afforded the opportunity to present their side. Petitioners, having chosen not to avail of the opportunity to present evidence to rebut the charges against them, cannot complain about the denial of due process. As long as the parties are given the opportunity to be heard before judgment is rendered, the demands of due process are sufficiently met. What is offensive to due process is the denial of this opportunity to be heard.
Gannapao v CSC G.R. No. 180141 May 31, 2011
United Workers Transport Corp. (UWTC) started operating MMTCs buses. At the same time, the petitioner was allegedly employed by Atty. Gironella, the general manager appointed by the BOD of UWTC, as his personal bodyguard. Respondents further alleged that upon orders of Atty. Gironella, the buses regularly driven by them, were confiscated by a group led by petitioner. Armed with deadly weapons, the petitioner and his group intimidated and harassed respondents. Barien, et al. thus prayed for the preventive suspension of petitioner, the confiscation of his firearm and his termination.
The complaint passed an investigation with The Inspector General, Internal Affairs Office (TIG-IAO) of the PNP. In his answer, petitioner denied the allegations of the complaint and averred that it was his twin brother, Reynaldo Gannapao, who worked as messenger at UWTC.
Subsequently, a NAPOLCOM Memorandum was issued, and a summary hearing on the complaint was conducted. Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint, where the same was denied. PNP Chief Sarmiento rendered his Decision finding petitioner guilty as charged and suspending him for three months from the police service without pay. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied, thus, he elevated the case to the NAPOLCOM National Appellate Board. His appeal, however, was dismissed.
Aggrieved, the petitioner brought his case to the DILG but his appeal was denied. Petitioner then appealed to the CSC, it was dismissed but the penalty of suspension was increased to dismissal from service. Petitioner filed with the CA a Petition for Review but it was later on denied because petitioner cannot claim denial of due process since he was given ample opportunity to present his side. CA denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.
1. Whether or not petitioner was denied due process.
2. Whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the CSC decision modifying the penalty of petitioner from three months suspension to dismissal from the service.
1. No.. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process.
Petitioner had ample opportunity to present his side during the hearing and he was even advised by the hearing officer that he may file a supplemental answer or a counter affidavit until February 17, 1997 or he may adopt his answer filed with the TIG-IAO. Instead, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, reiterating the ground of res judicata, based on his own assertion that the case against him had already been heard, tried and finally terminated. Petitioner, however, did not present proof of such dismissal. Indeed, he could not have presented such proof because, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, the undated memorandum of Atty. Casugbo, the hearing official who conducted the preliminary inquiry/pre-charge investigation, was merely recommendatory. Atty. Casugbo’s report and recommendation was not approved by the PNP Director General, the disciplinary authority to whom such report of investigation is submitted, pursuant to Section (D) 4.01 of Memorandum Circular No. 96-010. Consequently, when the Office of the Legal Service of the PNP found the complaint to be a proper subject of a summary hearing, and a further investigation was conducted pursuant to the rules, the recommendation to dismiss was deemed not adopted or carried out. Having been given a reasonable opportunity to answer the complaint against him, petitioner cannot now claim that he was deprived of due process.
Petitioner’s assertion that the complainants/witnesses against him have not been cross-examined by him, is likewise bereft of merit. While the right to cross-examine is a vital element of procedural due process, the right does not necessarily require an actual cross examination but merely an opportunity to exercise this right if desired by the party entitled to it. In this case, while Memorandum Circular No. 96-010 provides that the sworn statements of witnesses shall take the place of oral testimony but shall be subject to cross-examination, petitioner missed this opportunity precisely because he did not appear at the deadline for the filing of his supplemental answer or counter-affidavit, and accordingly the hearing officer considered the case submitted for decision. And even with the grant of his subsequent motion to be furnished with a copy of complaint and its annexes, he still failed to file a supplemental answer or counter-affidavit and instead filed a motion to dismiss reiterating the previous recommendation for dismissal made by Atty. Casugbo. Moreover, after the PNP Director General rendered his decision, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied. He was also able to appeal from the decision of the PNP Director General to the DILG Secretary, and eventually to the CSC. We have held that the fact that a party filed motions for reconsideration and appeals with the tribunals below, in which she presented her arguments and through which she could have proffered her evidence, if any, negates her claim that she was denied opportunity to be heard.
2. No. As to the second issue, The Court held that the CA did not err in affirming the CSC ruling which modified the penalty imposed by the PNP Director General as affirmed by the DILG Secretary, from three months suspension to dismissal.
As a rule, administrative agencies’ factual findings that are affirmed by the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and not reviewable by this Court, except only for very compelling reasons. Where the findings of the administrative body are amply supported by substantial evidence, such findings are accorded not only respect but also finality, and are binding on this Court. It is not for the reviewing court to weigh the conflicting evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses, or otherwise substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of evidence. We find no cogent reason to deviate from the general rule in this case.
DISPOSITION: WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The Decision dated April 27, 2007 and Resolution dated October 10, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 70605 are hereby AFFIRMED.
Vivo v. PAGCOR
G.R. No. 187854
12 November 2013
Petitioner was employed by PAGCOR as its Managing Head of its Gaming Department. On February 21, 2002, he received a letter from Teresita S. Ela, the Senior Managing Head of PAGCORs Human Resources Department, advising that he was being administratively charged with gross misconduct, rumor-mongering, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the company, and loss of trust and confidence; that he should submit a written explanation of the charges; and that he was at the same time being placed under preventive suspension.
On March 14, 2002, the petitioner received the summons for him to attend an administrative inquiry, instructing him to appear before PAGCORs Corporate Investigation Unit (CIU) on March 15, 2002. At the petitioner's request, however, the inquiry was conducted at his residence on said date.
He was also furnished the memorandum of charges that recited the accusations against him and indicated the acts and omissions constituting his alleged offenses. However, when his counsel requested to furnish copies of the statements, PAGCOR rejected the request on the ground that he had already been afforded the sufficient opportunity to confront, hear, and answer the charges against him during the administrative inquiry.
The Adjudication Committee summoned the petitioner to appear before it on May 8, 2002, to address questions regarding his case. His counsel moved for the rescheduling of the meeting because he would not be available on said date, but the Adjudication Committee denied the request upon the reason that the presence of counsel was not necessary in the proceedings.
The petitioner received the letter dated May 15, 2002, from Ela informing him of the resolution of the PAGCOR Board of Directors in its May 14, 2002, meeting to the effect that he was being dismissed from the service.
After the petitioner's motion for reconsideration vis-vis the resolution of the PAGCOR Board of Directors dismissing him from the service was denied, he appealed his dismissal to the CSC. CSC found that the petitioner was denied due process. PAGCOR elevated the case to the CA where it reversed and set aside CSCs decision.
Whether or not the petitioner was denied due process.
No. CA Decision affirmed.
The essence of due process is to be heard, and as applied to administrative proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not strictly applied.
The petitioner actively participated in the entire course of the investigation and hearings conducted by PAGCOR. He received the letter from Ela apprising him of his being administratively charged for several offenses and directing him to submit an explanation in writing. He was later properly summoned to appear before the CIU, which conducted its proceedings in his own residence upon his request. During the administrative inquiry, the CIU served him a copy of the memorandum of charges, which detailed the accusations against him and specified the acts and omissions constituting his alleged offenses. He was also given the opportunity to appear before the Adjudication Committee to answer clarificatory questions. Lastly, he was informed through a memorandum of the decision of the Board of Directors dismissing him from the service.
As regards the supposed denial of the petitioners right to counsel, it is underscored that PAGCOR denied his request to re-schedule the conference before the Adjudication Committee because his counsel would not be available on the day fixed for that purpose. In an administrative proceeding like that conducted against the petitioner, a respondent has the option of engaging the services of counsel. As such, the right to counsel is not imperative because administrative investigations are themselves inquiries conducted only to determine whether there are facts that merit disciplinary measures against erring public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government service.
In administrative proceedings, such as in the case at bar, procedural due process simply means the opportunity to explain one’s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. "To be heard" does not mean only verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.