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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.