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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.