Olivarez v. Sandiganbayan, 248 SCRA 700 (1995)
On October 6, 1992, Mayor Olivarez approved Parañaque Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 744 but refused to issue Mayor’s permit to Baclaran Credit Cooperative, Inc. (BCCI), prompting the latter, through its board member Roger de Leon to charge herein petitioner Parañaque Mayor Dr. Pablo R. Olivarez with Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
On November 27, 1992, petitioner, through a letter to Atty. Dilag (BCCI’s counsel) claimed that the non-implementation of Res. 744 was due to BCCI's failure to apply for appropriate permit and license to operate and that the follow up letters were sent not to the concerned office. In his Reply Affidavit dated April 1, 1993, complainant BCCI claimed to have exerted all possible efforts to secure the necessary permit but petitioner simply refused to issue the same unless it gives money to petitioner.
On Nov. 23, 1992, Olivarez signed Executive Order granting a group of Baclaran-based organizations/associations of vendors the holding of "Christmas Agro-Industrial Fair sa Baclaran"allowing the same to use certain portions of the National and Local Government Roads/Streets in Baclaran.
On April 20, 1994, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was granted on May 15, 1994. Consequently, the case was remanded to the Office of the Ombudsman for another reinvestigation.
On September 23, 1994, SPO III Roger Berbano, Sr. recommended the withdrawal of the Information on the ground that no probable cause exists to indict the petitioner for the charge. The reinvestigation was reassigned to SPO III Angel C. Mayoralgo who on November 3, 1994 recommended the same.
On December 9, 1994, DSP Ferrer reversed the recommendation citing Olivarez’ manifest impartiality. The reversal was concurred (in) by SP Desierto and approved by Ombudsman Vasquez, who on December 27, 1994, directed the prosecution to proceed under the existing information.
On January 16, 1995, petitioner filed a Motion to Strike Out and/or Review Result of Reinvestigation which was denied by the Samdiganbayan, hence, this petition.
Whether the petitioner disregarded the right to the Equal Protection of BCCI?
Yes. Petitioner failed to show, in apparent disregard of BCCI’s right to equal protection, that BCCI and the unidentified Baclaran-based vendors’ associations were not similarly situated as to give at least a semblance of legality to the apparent haste with which said executive order was issued and warrant the denial of BCCI’s request for permit and license to operate.
It would seem that if there was any interest served by such executive order, it was that of herein petitioner.
As the mayor of the municipality, the officials referred to were definitely under his authority and he was not without recourse to take appropriate action on the letter-application of BCCI although the same was not strictly in accordance with normal procedure. There was nothing to prevent him from referring said letter-application to the licensing department, but which paradoxically he refused to do.
Petitioner, as a municipal mayor, is expressly authorized and has the power to issue permits and licenses for the holding of activities for any charitable or welfare purpose, pursuant to the Local Government Code of. Hence, he cannot really feign total lack of authority to act on the letter-application of BCCI.