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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

DIGESTS
Prefatory Note: These digests all have Justice V. V. Mendoza as their ponente.
FUNDAMENTAL POWERS OF THE STATE Expropriation

Republic of the Philippines v. Salem Investment Corporation G.R. No. 108824 September 14, 1994 FACTS: A law was passed authorizing the expropriation of a parcel of land. Before expropriation proceedings commenced, the original owner sold the land to buyer – partial payment was made. Note that at this point, expropriation proceeding had not yet begun. Buyer filed for specific performance to compel original owner to transfer title. While the specific performance case was pending, the government instituted expropriation proceedings pursuant to the aforementioned law. Buyer filed a motion for intervention alleging that the property had been sold to him and that he had already filed a case for specific performance. ISSUE: Whether just compensation should be paid to buyer or original owner. HELD: Just compensation should be paid to the buyer. Determination of this issue hinges on whether the original owner had already been divested of title and therefore without authority to dispose of the land when it entered into a contract with buyer. The SC held that since just compensation has not yet been paid, title remained with original owner, vesting him with power to exercise acts of ownership. Hence, original owner validly transferred title to buyer which makes the buyer the rightful recipient of just compensation. Macawiwili Gold Mining and Dev. Co., et al v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 115104 October 12, 1998 FACTS: The Supreme Court recognized the possessory right of Macawiwili and Omico over mining claims in Benguet as against Philex Mining Corp. On the surface of these mining claims, Philex owned improvements consisting of roads, facilities, and bunkhouses that were used by Philex in its other mining claims. Philex sought to expropriate the surface of the area where these improvements were located pursuant to Section 59 of PD 463. HELD: The land cannot be expropriated. Expropriation demands that the land be private land. When the Supreme Court awarded the possessory rights over the land to Macawiwili and Omico, it stripped the land of its private character and gave it its public character – to be utilized for mining operations. Property already devoted to public use may be expropriated only if done directly by the national legislature or under a specific grant of authority to the delegate. The authority granted by PD 463 is merely general and will not suffice. Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 132767 January 18, 2000 FACTS: The Department of Agrarian Reform expropriated four parcels of land owned by petitioner. Petitioner argues that DAR adjudicators have no jurisdiction to determine just compensation for the taking of lands under the CARP because such jurisdiction is vested in the RTC. HELD: As an administrative agency, the DAR has primary jurisdiction to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid for lands taken under the CARP in administrative proceedings. However, such determination is subject to challenge in the courts in judicial proceedings. There is thus no conflict between the jurisdiction of the DAR and that of the RTCs. Manila v. Serrano G.R. No. 142304. June 20, 2001 FACTS: After filing a complaint for expropriation and making a deposit, the City of Manila obtained an order from the RTC directing the issuance of a writ of possession over the Serrano’s property in its favor.

Upon a motion by the Serranos, the CA issued an injunction enjoining the City of Manila from proceeding with expropriation proceedings because there was no showing that the City of Manila attempted the other modes of acquisition as required in §§9-10 of R.A. No. 7279. ISSUE: Whether the CA was correct in enjoining expropriation proceedings because of the lack of showing of conformity with the law regarding other modes of acquisition. HELD: No. Once a proper complaint for expropriation is filed and a sufficient deposit is made, the issuance of the writ of possession becomes ministerial. Whether the City of Manila has complied with the requirement of other modes of acquisition requires the presentation of evidence – something that is done in the expropriation proceedings. Expropriation proceedings consist of two stages: first, condemnation of the property after it is determined that its acquisition will be for a public purpose or public use and, second, the determination of just compensation to be paid for the taking of private property which is made by the court with the assistance of not more than three commissioners. Eslaban v. Vda. de Onorio. G.R. No. 146062. June 28, 2001. FACTS: Vda. de Onorio is the owner of a lot upon which an irrigation canal was constructed by the government. Despite demands, she was not paid just compensation. ISSUE: Whether Vda. de Onorio is entitled to just compensation. HELD: Yes. The defense of the government is that since the land was acquired by free patent, there is an encumbrance upon it to give way to any canals. However, this provision of the Land Registration Act applies only where the certificate of title does not state that the boundaries of the canal have been pre-determined. In this case, the land was registered before the determination of the canal’s boundaries – there should have been expropriation proceedings and payment of just compensation.
BILL OF RIGHTS Due Process Administrative Due Process

Edgar M. Go, INP v. National Police Commission G.R. No. 107845 April 18, 1997 FACTS: Petitioner was dismissed from the Olongapo Police Department for alleged involvement in gambling activities. He now claims that he was denied due process because no copy of the complaint had been served on him, and he was not able to attend the hearing because he had not been previously notified. HELD: Petitioner was denied due process. It is mandatory that charges be specified in writing and that the affidavits in support thereof be attached to the complaint because these are the only ways by which evidence against the respondent can be brought to his knowledge. In this case, there was no formal complaint filed against petitioner. The Board merely relied on reports based on investigations conducted by the team that raided petitioner’s residence to support the dismissal. These reports did not appear in the records of the case which was tantamount to a violation of the requirements of administrative due process.
Warrantless Arrest

People v. Narciso Nazareno, et al. G.R. No. 103964 August 1, 1996 FACTS: Nazareno and Regala were convicted of murder. Accused-appellants claim that their warrantless arrests were illegal and justifies the nullification of the proceedings of the trial court. HELD: Accused-appellants waived the right to object to the irregularity of their arrest when they pleaded not guilty and participated in the trial. Any defect in their arrest must be deemed cured when they voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. If objections based on this ground are waived, the illegality of the arrest will not render the subsequent proceedings void

and deprive the State of its right to convict the guilty when all the facts on record point to the culpability of accused.
Custodial Investigation

People v. Reynaldo Evangelista G.R. Nos. 84332-33 May 8, 1996 FACTS: The accused confessed to the crime of murder to a policeman while the two were eating in a store. He now claims that the confession was inadmissible, because he was not warned of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel. HELD: The Miranda rights are applicable only when the suspect has been taken into custody or has otherwise been deprived of his freedom in a substantial way. In this case, the accused was not in custody when he confessed. Therefore, the right is not applicable.
Freedom Of Expression Libel

Vasquez v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 118971 September 15, 1999 FACTS: In an interview published in a newspaper, Vasquez denounced the barangay chairman for alleged landgrabbing. The barangay chairman filed a complaint against Vasquez for libel. HELD: Even if a defamatory statement is false, no liability can attach if it relates to official conduct, unless the public official concerned proves that the statement was made with actual malice. A rule placing on the accused the burden of showing the truth or allegations of official misconduct and good motives would infringe on freedom of expression.
Speech and the Electoral Process

Emilio M.R. Osmeña, et al v. COMELEC G.R. No. 132231 March 31, 1998 FACTS: Petitioners, both candidates for public office, request for a re-examination of the validity of sec 11(b) of the Electoral Reform Law of 1987 which prohibits mass media from selling or giving print space and air time for campaign or other political purposes, except to the COMELEC. HELD: The law is valid. There is no total ad ban nor a restriction on the content of the speech, but merely a regulation of the period and place for campaigning. The exercise of the regulatory power of the state is justified by the valid governmental objective of promoting equality of opportunity in the use of mass media for political advertising. Any restriction on speech is only incidental, and it is no more than is necessary to achieve this purpose. It is reasonable because it applies only to the election period and because the COMELEC is mandated to procure print space and air time for the purposes of the candidates.

Telecom and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines v. COMELEC G.R. No. 132922 April 21, 1998 FACTS: Petitioners Telecom and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines and GMA 7 question the validity of Section 92 of the Omnibus Election Code which requires that television and radio time be given free of charge to the COMELEC. HELD: The law is valid. The airwaves are given by the Government as a franchise. A franchise is a privilege that is subject to amendment by Congress when the common good so requires. There is no violation of the equal protection of the laws even if the Court decided in Phil. Press Institute v. COMELEC that the use of the print media by the COMELEC should be compensated. There are substantial distinctions between print and broadcast media that justify the difference in treatment. SWS v. COMELEC G.R. No. 147571. May 5, 2001

FACTS: The COMELEC issued a regulation enjoining the publication of election surveys 15/7 days before national/local elections. Social Weather Station and the publisher of the Manila Standard challenge the regulation as violative of the freedom of expression. ISSUE: Whether the COMELEC can enjoin the publication of election survey results. HELD: No. The regulation is a prior restraint on speech, which has a heavy presumption against its validity. The SC also applied the following rules: government regulation is justified (1) if it is within the constitutional power of the Government; (2) if it furthers an important or substantial government interest; (3) if the government interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and (4) if the incidental restriction on the freedom of expression is no greater than essential to the furtherance of the interest. The regulation fails rule #1 since there is a causal connection between expression and the asserted government interest. It also fails rule #2 since it could have been more narrowly drawn; prohibited speech such as erroneous, libelous or misleading surveys could have been punished instead of suppressing all surveys.

Right To Travel

Imelda Marcos v. Sandiganbayan. G.R. No. L-115132-34. August 9, 1995. FACTS: After her conviction in the Sandiganbayan and while her motion for reconsideration was pending, Imelda Marcos’s filed various motions for leave to travel abroad for medical diagnosis and treatment; letters from various physicians supported her request. On its own instance, the Sandiganbayan sought the opinion of independent doctors and decided that it was not absolutely necessary that Marcos seek medical treatment abroad. HELD: Marcos did not have an absolute right to leave the country and the burden was on her to prove that because of danger to health if not to her life there was necessity to seek medical treatment in foreign countries. Whether the accused should be permitted to leave the jurisdiction for humanitarian reasons is a matter of the court's sound discretion. The active intervention of respondent Presiding Justice in the trial of the case, by consulting with independent doctors, was justified by the fact that the subject with which the court was dealing was a highly technical one and he wanted to clarify for himself a number of medical questions. The proper method of determination of necessity of travel is by forming a joint panel composed of representatives from both the defendant and the prosecution whereby the consensus reached by them will be the guide of the court.
CITIZENSHIP

Mercado v. Manzano G.R. No. 135036 May 26, 1999 FACTS: An opponent and a voter sought Edu Manzano’s disqualification as candidate for vice mayor on the ground that he was a dual citizen. HELD: It is dual allegiance, not dual citizenship that is a ground for disqualification from running for public office. For candidates with dual citizenship, it is enough if, upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy, they elect Philippine citizenship to terminate their status as dual citizens.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT Non-Observance of Internal Rules

Joker P. Arroyo, et al v. Jose De Venecia, et al G.R. No. 127255 June 20, 1998 FACTS: The Majority Leader of the House moved for the approval of a conference committee report. The Chair asked if there was any objection to the motion. Rep. Joker Arroyo asked, “What is that, Mr. Speaker?” The Chair declared the report approved without paying attention to Arroyo. Petitioners claim that Arroyo’s question was a privileged question or a point of order which under the rules of the house has precedence over other matters. HELD: Arroyo’s question was neither a privileged question nor a point of order. A privileged question is one affecting the duties, conduct, rights, privileges, dignity, integrity or reputation of 4

the House or its members. A point of order is used to require the House or any of its members to observe its own rules. In this case, there was no violation of rules because it is an established practice in the approval of a conference committee report for the Chair simply to ask if there are objections to the motion for approval of the report. The law cannot be invalidated simply because of an alleged non-observance of internal rules of the House.
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT Legal Standing

Kilosbayan v. Morato G.R. No. 118910 July 17, 1995 FACTS: In Kilosbayan v. Guingona the Court invalidated the Contract of Lease between the PCSO and the PGMC on the ground that it had been made in violation of the charter of the PCSO. As a result, the parties entered into a new Equipment Lease Agreement (ELA). Petitioners again sought to declare the ELA invalid. HELD: Petitioners have neither standing to bring this suit nor substantial interest to make them real parties in interest within the meaning of Rule 3 §2 of the Rules of Court. Justice Mendoza ratiocinated that issues arising from the Declaration of Principles are NOT constitutional issues enough for purposes of standing since they were merely guidelines for congressional action, guidelines which, until given flesh by legislation, were not sources of constitutional rights. Declaration of Principles does not offer basis for affirmative relief nor for striking down official actions unless it speaks of a right conferred. To establish standing, the parties must be able to show that they are in immediate danger of sustaining direct injury – in this case, no such potential injury is shown. The previous case cannot be considered stare decisis because it was a departure form the settled rule on standing.
Delay in Prosecution of Cases/Administrative Sanctions

Balayo v. Buban Jr. A.M. No. RTJ-99-1477 September 9, 1999 FACTS: Balayo filed a complaint against Judge Buban for taking almost three years to decide his case. He also charged Judge Buban with falsification of public documents, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and gross ignorance of the law in rendering the decision. HELD: For his failure to render the decision within the reglementary period, Judge Buban should be fined P5,000. However, the criminal and administrative charges against him should be dismissed for being premature, since an appeal of the questioned decision is still pending before the Court of Appeals. Resort to judicial remedies, as well as entry of judgment in the corresponding action or proceeding is a prerequisite for the taking of administrative, civil, or criminal actions against the judges concerned.
Appellate Jusrisdiction Of The SC May Not Be Increased Without Its Consent

First Lepanto v. CA G.R. No. 110571. October 7, 1994 FACTS: Article 82 or the 1987 Omnibus Investments Code provided for direct appeals to the Supreme Court from decisions and final orders of the BOI – this was done without the concurrence of the Supreme Court. HELD: Since Article 82 increased the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court without its advice and concurrence, such article never became effective and the original appellate body, the Court of Appeals, retain its jurisdiction.
CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS Commission on Audit

Franco v. Commission on Audit G.R. No. 128001 September 22, 1999

FACTS: The Director of the PDDCP asked for authority from the Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM) to grant incentive awards to its employees. The DBM did not act on the request. Thus, the Commission on Audit disallowed the disbursement for want of authority from the DBM. HELD: There is no question that prior authority from the DBM is needed for the use of savings for the payment of incentive awards. However, in this case, the COA should not have disallowed the disbursement while the request for such authority was still pending with the DBM.
Civil Service Commission

Umoso v. CSC. G.R. No. 110276. July 29, 1994 FACTS: Umoso was appointed as Supervising Civil Engineer by the Secretary of Public Works and Highways. Caronan filed a protest and the complaints committee recommended that he be appointed instead, with Umoso filling his vacated position. The Secretary lent his approval. Umoso filed a petition claiming that he is the “next-in-rank,” that his appointment was endorsed, and the recommendation was approved by the Regional Director. ISSUE: Whether the Secretary could appoint Caronan despite Umoso’s status as next in line and the approval of his appointment by the Regional Director. HELD: Yes. It has been declared time and again that even if petitioner occupies a "next-in-rank" position, that fact alone does not impose on the appointing authority the duty to appoint petitioner. Also, appointing power is vested in the Department Secretary, and such power, however, may be delegated to the Regional Director subject, however, to the approval, revision, modification and reversal of the Department Secretary. Lazo v. Civil Service Commission. G.R. No. 108824. September 14, 1994 FACTS: The CSC, acting on a tip, checked its records and verified the eligibility exam scores of Lazo. The rechecking disclosed that petitioner’s actual score was well below the minimum requirement. It issued a resolution revoking his eligibility for being null and void. Lazo now questions the revocation for being without due process. ISSUE: Whether the CSC can revoke eligibility for being null and void, without notice and hearing. HELD: In this case, yes. This case is an exception to the general rule requiring notice and hearing because all it required was the reevaluation of documents. No evidentiary hearing was required. The CSC’s power to issue a certificate of eligibility carries with it the power to revoke a certificate for being null and void. Cuevas v. Bacal G.R. No. 139382. December 6, 2000 FACTS: Ramos appointed Bacal, a civil servant with the rank of CESO III, to the post of Chief Public Attorney, Public Attorney’s Office, a post which requires the rank of CESO I – her appointment was later confirmed. Estrada later appointed Demaisip to the same office and appointed Bacal to the post of Regional Director, Public Attorney’s Office, a post which requires the rank of CESO III. Bacal filed a petition for quo warranto questioning her replacement – the Court of Appeals held that Bacal was lawfully entitled to the position in dispute. ISSUE: Whether the transfer of an appointment of a civil servant to a position for which he or she is not qualified can be considered permanent. HELD: No, it is settled that a permanent appointment can be issued only to a person who meets

all the requirements for the position to which he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility prescribed. Bacal’s appointment to an office requiring a higher rank can be considered only to be in acting capacity and not permanent. Hence, Demaisip’s appointment is valid. Ontiveros v. CA G.R. No. 145401. May 7, 2001 FACTS: During the subsistence of the Provisional Constitution, Ontiveros was dismissed from the civil service for inefficiency, incompetence, and unauthorized absences. His appeal with the CSC was denied; the ruling stating that jurisdiction over the appeal was vested in the Review Committee created under EO17. ISSUE: Whether the CSC had jurisdiction over the appeal from the dismissal. HELD: No. The Provisional Constitution provided for the summary nature of dismissal required by post-revolutionary government reorganization. EO17 was promulgated to limit the broad authority given to administrative agencies pursuant to the Provisional Constitution. Because of the prevailing circumstances, ordinary Civil Service rules and procedures were inapplicable.
Preventive Suspension Not a Penalty

Alonzo v. Capulong. G.R. No. 110590. May 10, 1995. FACTS: Fajardo was preventively suspended from her post at the Pag-ibig Fund Foundation. The decision for her preventive suspension was based on a recommendation by Pag-ibig’s legal department, which found a prima facie case after investigating the circumstances surrounding a letter sent to the CEO of Pag-ibig by a contractor complaining of improper conduct on Fajardo’s part. Fajardo claims she was deprived of due process for being suspended on the basis of an unverified letter and not being allowed to give her side. HELD: It is now settled that the preventive suspension of a civil service employee or officer can be ordered even without a hearing because such suspension is not a penalty but only a preliminary step in an administrative investigation. The purpose is to prevent the accused from using his position or office to influence prospective witnesses or tamper with the records which may be vital in the prosecution of the case against him.
PCGG

Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan G.R. No. 115906. September 29, 1994. FACTS: The PCGG, acting upon an order of the President, through the Minister of Justice, conducted an inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation to determine whether to proceed with an unexplained wealth case against a former mayor. The Sandiganbayan, acting on a motion by the respondents, dismissed the case because there was no allegation that the unexplained wealth was accumulated by reason of a close association with Marcos or his cronies. ISSUE: Whether the power of the PCGG to conduct investigations is limited only to cases where the ill-gotten wealth was obtained by Marcos or through association with him or his relatives. HELD: No. The law is clear (Executive Order No. 1 dated February 28, 1986). The PCGG is charged with the task of assisting the President in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth accumulated: (1) by or in connection with Marcos and (2) any other cases of graft and corruption as the president may assign to it.
NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY Timber License Agreements

C&M Timber Corp. v. Angel C. Alcala et. al G.R. No. 111088 June 13, 1997 FACTS: TLA No. 106 was issued to petitioner C&M in 1972. In 1983, TLA No. 106 was cancelled because of a presidential directive imposing a log ban. In 1984, TLA 360 covering the same area was issued to FLDC. In 1986, TLA No. 360 was cancelled because of violation by

FLDC of its terms. Upon learning of this cancellation, Petitioner sought the revalidation of TLA No. 106. Secretary Factoran Jr. ruled that TLA No. 106 was of no force and effect. HELD: There is no merit in petitioner’s contention that the cancellation of the TLA impaired contractual obligations. A TLA is a mere privilege granted by the State and does not vest in the grantee a permanent or irrevocable right to the concession area. TLAs are not contracts and may therefore be amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief Executive when national interests so require.
EDUCATION Academic freedom of “institutions of higher learning”

UP Board of Regents v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 134625 August 31, 1999 FACTS: After conducting several investigations, the UP Board of Regents found that private respondent had committed plagiarism in her dissertation. The Board withdrew her doctroral degree. Private respondent filed a petition for mandamus to compel UP to restore her degree. HELD: The writ of mandamus is not available to restrain UP from the exercise of its academic freedom. Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was obtained through fraud, a university has the right to revoke or withdraw the honor or distinction it has thus conferred. Private respondent was not denied due process because she was given notice and the chance to be heard in the investigations conducted by the Board.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
REMOVAL OF LICENSE REQUIREMENT

Assn. of Phil. Coconut Desiccators v. Phil. Coconut Authority G.R. No. 110526 February 10, 1998 FACTS: The Phil. Coconut Authority (PCA) issued a resolution in which it declared that it would no longer require those wishing to engage in coconut processing to apply for a license or permit. Pursuant to the resolution, the PCA would be limited to monitoring the volumes of production and quality standards of the processors. HELD: The resolution is null and void. It is an abdication of the power granted by the Revised Coconut Code to the PCA to formulate and adopt a general program of development for the coconut industry in a regulatory context. Any change in policy must be made by the legislative department of the government. The regulatory system has been set up by law, and it is beyond the power of an administrative agency to dismantle it.
FIXING OF FEES / SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION

Phil. Interisland Shipping Assn. of the Phil et al v. Court of Appeals G.R. Nos. 100481, 103716-17 & 107720 January 22, 1997 FACTS: Pres. Marcos issued EO 1088, increasing the rates of pilotage fees fixed by the Phil. Ports Authority (PPA). The PPA refused to enforce the EO and fixed lower pilotage fees. The PPA later issued an Order allowing the contracting parties to agree upon their rates. Petitioners contend that EO 1088 was merely an administrative issuance, which could be superseded by an order of the PPA. They argue that to consider EO1088 a statute would deprive the PPA of its power under its charter to fix pilotage rates. HELD: The orders issued by the PPA were in the nature of subordinate legislation, and as such, these could only be amended or revised by law. Although the power to fix rates for pilotage had been delegated to the PPA, it became necessary to rationalize the rates fixed by it through the imposition of uniform rates. That is what the President did in promulgating EO 1088. As the President could delegate the rate making power to the PPA, so could he exercise it in specific instances without thereby withdrawing the power vested by the charter of the PPA.
SUFFICIENT STANDARD TEST

Chiongbian v. Orbos.

G.R. No. 96754. June 22, 1995. FACTS: Petitioners challenged the power of the President to merge, by administrative determination, the remaining regions after the establishment of the Autonomous Region. The power, which was granted by law, is challenged as being a derogation of legislative power and for not having a sufficient standard. ISSUE: Whether the provision granting the President the power to merge regions, by administrative determination, is valid. HELD: Yes. Congress did not grant the President power to merge or reorganize for political representation or territorial subdivision, but only for purposes of administration, which has been traditionally within the scope of the executive department. There is also a sufficient standard imposed by Congress for the exercise of the power: “to promote simplicity, economy and efficiency in the government to enable it to pursue programs consistent with national goals for accelerated social and economic development and to improve the service in the transaction of the public business.”
ABOLISHMENT OF ORGANIZATION

Isabelo Crisostomo v. CA, et al G.R. No. 106296 July 5, 1996 FACTS: Petitioner was appointed President of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC). Several administrative and criminal complaints were filed against him, and he was preventively suspended. Pending resolution of the cases, Pres. Marcos issued PD 1341 converting the PCC into a Polytechnic University. When all of the charges were dismissed, Petitioner sought reinstatement and payment of his salaries and benefits during the period of suspension. HELD: It is incorrect to say that Petitioner cannot be reinstated because the PCC had been abolished by PD1341. PD1341 did not abolish the PCC because this intent was not explicitly stated. When the purpose of the law is to abolish an organization and to replace it with another one, the lawmaking authority must explicitly say so. However, Petitioner cannot be reinstated because PD 1437 fixes the term of office of presidents of state universities and colleges at six years, renewable for another six years, and authorizes the President of the Philippines to terminate the terms of incumbents who were not reappointed. Petitioner is entitled only to payment of his salaries during the period of suspension.
EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

Dy v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 121587 March 9, 1999 FACTS: The DENR seized and forfeited two vehicles and pieces of illegally cut lumber. Two months after the forfeiture, petitioner filed a suit for replevin in the RTC. The RTC issued the writ. HELD: The replevin suit was premature. Before a party may be allowed to seek the intervention of the court, he must first exhaust available administrative remedies. In this case, the forfeited trucks and lumber were under the custody of the DENR, and all actions seeking to recover possession should first be directed to that agency.

WEIGHT OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS

Misamis Oriental Association of Coco Traders, Inc. v. BIR G.R. No. 108524. November 10, 1994 FACTS: Prior to the interpretative rule of VAT Ruling 190-90, copra was classified under the National Internal Revenue Code as an agricultural food product and, therefore, exempt from VAT at all stages of production or distribution. However, the said ruling expressly declared copra to be an agricultural non-food product which is exempt from VAT only if the primary producer makes the sale. ISSUE: Whether the reclassification of copra is valid. HELD: Yes. As the government agency charged with the enforcement of the law, the opinion of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in the absence of any showing that it is plainly wrong, is

entitled to great weight. Also, contrary to the petitioners’ claim, unlike legislative rules, there is no need for notice and hearing as regards interpretative rules.
PREMATURITY OF INJUNCTION ORDERS

Republic of the Philippines v. CA and EMRO G.R. No. 128010. February 28, 2000 FACTS: ERMO obtained a 25-year lease from the government (DENR), the contract stipulating that the property shall not be sub-leased. Upon receipt of a report that EMRO had leased a portion of the property to a third party, the DENR in a resolution recommended inquiry into the matter – notice of such resolution given to EMRO. EMRO applied for and obtained a petition for declaratory relief, injunction, and damages. ISSUE: Whether the court was correct in granting EMRO’s petition. HELD: No. There can be no injunction as there is no threat to EMRO’s rights. What appears to be a petition for declaratory relief is actually one for– prohibition, seeking to prevent cancellation of the agreement. However, as such, the petition is premature. There had not even been an investigation – only a recommendation for one to be conducted. Jurisdictional issue: The State also raised the issue that the court issued the injunction/prohibition in violation of the law that no court shall issue an injunction against administrative acts or controversies which involve facts or exercise of discretion in technical cases – this was not discussed by the SC for being not ripe for determination, it being decided that the injunction was premature.

ELECTION LAW
POWER OF COMELEC TO PROSECUTE ELECTION OFFENSES

COMELEC v. Lorenzo R. Silva, et al G.R. No 129417 February 10, 1998 FACTS: The COMELEC charged private respondents with election offenses. Respondents filed a joint “Omnibus Motion for Examination of Evidence to Determine the Existence of Probable Cause; Suspension of Issuance of Warrant of Arrest; and Dismissal of the Cases.” The State Prosecutor who had been designated by the COMELEC to prosecute the cases filed a comment joining in the private respondents’ request. The Trial Court dismissed the cases. The COMELEC appealed to the Court of Appeals but was denied on the ground that the Private Prosecutor had earlier taken a contrary stand against the COMELEC. HELD: The authority to decide whether or not to appeal the dismissal belongs to the COMELEC. The Constitution empowers the COMELEC to prosecute election offenses and to conduct preliminary investigations in these cases in order to help the Judge determine probable cause and to file an information in court. This power is exclusive with COMELEC. Having merely been deputized by the COMELEC, the State Prosecutor acted beyond his power when he left the determination of probable cause to the courts and agreed to the dismissal of the cases.
REQUIREMENT OF DUE PROCESS

Angelia v. COMELEC G.R. No. 135468. May 31, 2000 FACTS: Tan received four votes less than Angelia, denying him a slot in the Sangguniang Bayan. He filed a petition to annul the proclamation of Angelia, attaching a copy of the election returns showing a miscount. The COMELEC annulled the proclamation of Angelia and, based on a verification of the results, proclaimed Tan. Angelia now questions the actions of the COMELEC for being done without notice and hearing. ISSUE: Whether the COMELEC’s annulment of the proclamation and the subsequent proclamation of another candidate violated due process. HELD: Yes. The COMELEC rules of procedure dictate that the proper procedure was to reconvene and, after notice and hearing to the parties, to effect the necessary corrections on the certificate of canvass and proclaim the winning candidate or candidates on the basis thereof.

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NECESSITY OF MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Aquiles U. Reyes v. RTC of Oriental Mindoro G.R. No. 108886 May 5, 1995 FACTS: The RTC annulled Petitioner’s proclamation as councilor. Petitioner appealed to the COMELEC. The COMELEC's First Division dismissed the appeal on the ground that he had failed to pay the appeal fee within the prescribed period. Petitioner went to the Supreme Court on certiorari. HELD: Only decisions of the COMELEC en banc may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. A basic condition for this action is that the petitioner must first file a motion for reconsideration. Petitioner’s failure to do so is fatal to this action. On the merits, the COMELEC correctly ruled that the appeal fee must be paid within the period to perfect the appeal.
JURISDICTION OF HRET

Perez v. COMELEC G.R. No. 133944 October 28, 1999 FACTS: Petitioner filed in the COMELEC a petition for the disqualification of private respondent as a candidate for the House of Representatives on the ground that he had not been a resident of the district for at least one year immediately before the day of the elections. The COMELEC dismissed the petition. Private respondent was subsequently elected, proclaimed, and sworn in office. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the COMELEC decision, which was denied. HELD: The COMELEC has no more jurisdiction over the case since private respondent had already been proclaimed. It is the HRET that has exclusive original jurisdiction over the petition for the declaration of private respondent’s ineligibility. On the merits, the fact that a person was previously registered as a voter in one district is not proof that he is not domiciled in another district.
JURISDICTION OVER SK ELECTIONS

Rafael M. Alunan III, et al v. Robert Mirasol, et al G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 FACTS: The COMELEC issued a resolution providing guidelines for the holding of the SK elections. The SK guidelines placed the elections under the direct control and supervision of the DILG. The DILG Secretary issued a resolution exempting the City of Manila from holding the SK, in accordance with the Local Government Code, which provides that where Kabataang Barangay elections were previously held, these would take the place of the first SK elections. Private respondents argue that the DILG Secretary had no power to amend the resolutions of the COMELEC, which call for the conduct of the SK elections. HELD: The SK elections are under the direct supervision of the DILG and not of the COMELEC. This does not contravene the constitutional provision that the COMELEC shall have the power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. The authority of the DILG secretary to supervise the conduct of SK elections includes the authority to determine which barangay would not be included in the 1992 elections. In doing this, the DILG Secretary acts merely as the agent of the legislative department. There was no undue delegation of legislative power but only of the discretion as to the execution of a law.
SUPPLETORY EFFECT OF RULES OF COURT ON ELECTION CASES

Nestor C. Lim v. COMELEC et al G.R. No. 129040 November 17, 1997 FACTS: A losing candidate filed an election protest against petitioner. Petitioner filed a counterprotest. The trial court held that the counterprotest was filed out of time. Petitioner argues that the Rules of Court, rather than those of the COMELEC, govern the periods for pleading in election contests cognizable by the Regional Trial Courts. HELD: The COMELEC has the power to prescribe the procedure for election contests filed in the RTCs and MTCs. The timeliness of petitioner's protest must therefore be determined in 11

accordance with the rules of the COMELEC. The provisions of the Rules of Court are suppletory to the provisions of the Election Law. Hence a motion for extension of time to file answer to the election protest should be filed before the expiration of the five-day reglementary period to answer, otherwise a general denial shall be deemed to have been entered against the protestee.
PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSIES / ELECTION PROTESTS

Nicolas Castromayor v. Commission on Elections et al G.R. No. 120428 November 23, 1995 FACTS: Petitioner was proclaimed the eighth member of the Sangguniang Bayan. The following day, the chair of the Municipal Board of Canvassers discovered that the candidate in ninth place actually had more votes than petitioner. The MBC Chair asked the COMELEC for permission to reconvene to correct the error. The COMELEC issued a resolution directing the MBC to reconvene to annul the proclamation of petitioner and to proclaim the other candidate. Petitioner complains that the COMELEC en banc issued the resolution in question without notice and hearing, solely on the basis of a letter of the MBC. HELD: What the COMELEC contemplated was not the outright nullification of petitioner’s proclamation but a hearing before the MBC after which the proclamation of petitioner may be set aside, if proper. These proceedings before the MBC should be summary and may be appealed to the COMELEC en banc. There is no need to file an election protest because where a proclamation is null and void, the proclaimed candidate's assumption of office cannot deprive the COMELEC of the power to annul the proclamation. Cipriano B. Peñaflorida et al v. COMELEC et al G.R. No. 122013 March 26, 1997 FACTS: Petitioners were candidates for mayor and vice mayor in the May 1995 elections. They sought a nullification of the canvass on the ground that the board of canvassers had been illegally constituted and the canvass irregularly conducted. The Board of Canvassers did not act on the petition, so the petitioners appealed with the COMELEC. A month later, the case was declared terminated in an Omnibus Resolution of the COMELEC in view of the beginning of the term of office of elective officials the next day. Petitioners claim that the COMELEC abused its discretion when it deliberately sat on the petition to render it moot and academic. HELD: The COMELEC issued the resolution not to render moot and academic pending preproclamation contests but to prevent many offices from having no incumbents at the beginning of the term of office. Petitioners have not shown that the COMELEC deliberately sat on their protest. If the COMELEC had in fact done so, petitioners should have filed for mandamus to compel it to resolve the case on time. At any rate, they can file an election protest and prove their claim in the appropriate forum. Jose C. Ramirez v. COMELEC, et al G.R. No. 122013, March 26, 1997 FACTS: Petitioner was proclaimed winner in the 1995 election for vice mayor by the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC). Private respondent filed in the COMELEC a petition for the correction of manifest errors in the addition of his votes in the Statement of Votes. The COMELEC en banc issued 2 resolutions directing the MBC to reconvene and recompute the votes in the Statement of Votes. Petitioner contends that (1) the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction because it resolved the case without it first having been acted upon by one of its divisions, and (2) the MBC had already made a correction of the manifest errors in the Statement of Votes in its certification, and it was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC to order a re-computation of votes. HELD: (1) The Rules of the COMELEC expressly provides that pre-proclamation controversies involving manifest errors in the tabulation or tallying of the results may be filed directly with the COMELEC. (2) Corrections should be made either by inserting the corrections in the Statement of Votes prepared and submitted by the MBC or by preparing an entirely new Statement of Votes. Moreover, these corrections should be based on the election returns, not on the Certificates of Votes. In this case, what the COMELEC should have ordered the MBC to do was not merely to recompute the number of votes for the parties, but to revise the Statement of Votes using the election returns for this purpose.

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Amer Balindong v. COMELEC, et al G.R. No. 124041 August 9, 1996 FACTS: Petitioner, losing candidate for mayor, filed in the COMELEC a Petition to Suspend and/or Annul Proclamation of the winning candidate on the ground that one polling place had been transferred without prior notice and hearing, resulting in the failure of 63 voters to cast there votes. Petitioner also prayed for a technical examination of the signatures and thumbmarks in the list of voters and voters’ affidavits from that precinct. HELD: The mere fact that the transfer of polling place was not made in accordance with the law does not warrant a declaration of failure of election and the annulment of the proclamation of the winning candidate, unless the number of uncast votes will affect the result of the election. In this case, since the 63 votes uncast will not materially affect the result of the election, there should be no declaration of failure of election. A technical examination in a pre-proclamation controversy is allowed only if it is manifestly obvious that the election returns are manufactured, and not when, as in this case, there is no obvious badge of fraud. Petitioner's remedy is to raise his issues in an election protest before the RTC. Dagloc v. COMELEC G.R. No. 138969 December 17, 1999 FACTS: Private respondent filed a PETITION TO DECLARE A FAILURE OF ELECTION AND/OR ANNUL THE ELECTION RESULTS. Several weeks later, private respondent also filed an election protest. Petitioner sought the dismissal of the election protest on the ground that it was filed more than 10 days from the date of proclamation. HELD: The election protest was filed out of time. The Election Code provides that the filing of a pre-proclamation controversy suspends the running of the reglementary period for filing an election protest. However, the earlier petition to declare a failure of election filed by private respondent was not in the nature of a pre-proclamation controversy. Therefore, it did not suspend the running of the period for filing the election protest.
DISQUALIFICATION OF WINNING CANDIDATE

Renato U. Reyes v. Commission on Elections, et al G.R. No. 120905 March 7, 1996 FACTS: Petitioner Reyes obtained the most number of votes but was disqualified as candidate for mayor. The second placer claims that he should be proclaimed winner. HELD: The candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes may not be proclaimed winner in case the winning candidate is disqualified.
SPURIOUS BALLOTS

Benjamin R. Erni v. Commission on Elections, et al G.R. No. 116246 April 27, 1995 FACTS: After conducting an investigation in connection with an election protest, The First Division of the COMELEC invalidated several votes in favor of petitioner and nullified his proclamation. Petitioner claims that there should have been a technical examination of the ballots and that he was denied due process when he was not allowed to participate in the investigation to verify the signatures of the personnel who conducted the examination of ballots. HELD: The Commission itself can make the determination of whether the ballots are spurious without the need of calling handwriting experts. Petitioner was not denied due process when he was not allowed to participate in the investigation of signatures of the personnel who examined the ballots. This was not part of the decision-making process in which Petitioner was entitled to participate but an internal procedure designed to ascertain the integrity of persons under the supervision and control of the COMELEC.
DEFECTS IN ELECTION RETURN

Patoray v. COMELEC. G.R. No. 120823. October 24, 1995. FACTS: There were discrepancies between the “taras” and the written figures in Election Return “A.” Election Return “B,” on the other hand, was incomplete in the sense that it lacked 13

data as to provincial and congressional candidates. The COMELEC ordered the exclusion of both Election Returns A and B. ISSUE: Whether the COMELEC was correct in ordering the exclusion of the two election returns. HELD: A was properly excluded, B was not. However, pursuant to the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, the COMELEC should have used the Certificate of Votes for Election Return A or ordered a recount of the ballots in order to avoid disenfranchisement of the voters. As to Election Return B, the exclusion was erroneous because the defect was material. The Omnibus Election Code provides that in case of material defects, the board of election inspectors should complete the necessary data in the election returns.
PERIOD TO FORM RECALL ASSEMBLY

Claudio v. COMELEC G.R. No. 140560. May 4, 2000 FACTS: Within the one-year period after Pasay City Mayor Claudio assumed office, several barangay chairs convened a Preparatory Recall Assembly and discussed the possibility of filing a petition for recall against him. One day after the one-year period of his assumption to office elapsed, the petition was filed. Claudio questions the validity of the petition alleging that the PRA convened prior to the expiration of the one-year statutory prohibition. Claudio alleges that there is a prohibition that no recall shall be conducted within one year from a regular/local election where local election includes the entire election period. ISSUE: Whether the one-year post-assumption prohibition includes the convening of the PRA, and whether the term of the one-year pre-election prohibition includes the entire election period. HELD: No to both. As long as the election is held outside the one-year period, the preliminary proceedings to initiate a recall can be held even before the end of the first year in office of a local official. The law is unambiguous in providing that no recall shall take place within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. Had Congress intended this limitation to refer to the campaign period, which period is defined in the Omnibus Election Code, it could have expressly said so.

TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES DURING ELECTION PERIOD

Regalado v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 115962. February 15, 2000 FACTS: Regalado was appointed as OIC-Mayor, since the incumbent mayor decided to run in the upcoming elections where Regalado’s brother was also a candidate. Four days after Regalado’s brother won, and still within the election period, Regalado, the OIC-Mayor, effected the transfer of a certain Barba from her post as a permanent Nursing Attendant in the office of the mayor to a very remote barangay, without COMELEC clearance. ISSUE: Whether OIC-Mayor Regalado’s act of transferring Barba was legal. HELD: No. Under the Omnibus Election Code, it is a prohibited act for any public official to transfer any officer or civil service employee within the election period except upon prior approval of the COMELEC.

PUBLIC OFFICERS
VALIDITY OF DECISION

Virginia Manalo v. Luisito Reyes et al G.R. No. 117618 March 29, 1996 FACTS: The Sanggunian Panlalawigan found the Mayor guilty of the charges in an administrative complaint. This was embodied in a “decision” signed by only one member.

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Subsequently, the Sanggunian acquitted the Mayor in a Decision signed by all members who voted. Petitioner contends that the Sanggunian had no power to render another decision since the first decision was already final and executory. HELD: The first decision was not a decision because it did not contain the signatures of the members who voted. In order to render a valid decision in administrative cases involving elective local officials, the decision of the Sanggunian must be in writing stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the reasons for such decision. It was the second decision, which was signed by all of the members, that was properly a decision. Tan v. Office of the Ombudsman, et al G.R. No. 114895 September 10, 1998 FACTS: Petitioner Annie Tan tried to register her truck with the LTO. Prior to this, a certain Angel Tan requested the OIC of the LTO branch to defer the registration of the truck because it was mortgaged by Annie Tan to him. The OIC advised Annie Tan to settle her accounts with Angel Tan before registering the vehicle. Annie Tan filed a complaint against the OIC for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for unduly delaying the registration of the vehicle. HELD: The OIC did not violate the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. He acted properly in advising Annie Tan to settle the matter with Angel Tan first. If he had allowed the registration of the vehicle, he would have instead caused undue injury to Angel Tan or given material advantage to Annie Tan since the petitioner was apparently orchestrating a scheme to defraud her creditor.
THREE-TERM LIMIT

Borja Jr. v. COMELEC, et al G.R. No. 133495 September 3, 1998 FACTS: During Capco’s term as vice-mayor, he became mayor by operation of law upon the death of the incumbent mayor. He was later elected mayor for two consecutive terms. He ran for re-election for the third time. Petitioner sought Capco’s disqualification on the ground that he had already served for three consecutive terms. HELD: The three-term limit on local elective officials applies only to those terms of office to which one may have been elected. It does not apply to those terms that are served by automatic succession. Hence, Capco can run for re-elections for the third time.
APPOINTMENT IN CASE OF VACANCY

Rodolfo Fariñas et al v. Angelo M. Barba, et al G.R. No. 116763 April 19, 1996 FACTS: A member of the Sangguniang Bayan resigned. To fill the vacancy, the Mayor recommended to the Governor the appointment of Palafox. The Sangguniang Bayan made the same recommendation addressed to the mayor. On the other hand, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan recommended Nacino to the Governor. The Governor appointed Nacino. On the same day, the Mayor appointed Palafox. The Governor and Nacino filed a petition for quo warranto against Palafox. HELD: In case the permanent vacancy is caused by a member of the Sangguniang Bayan who does not belong to any political party, the governor shall, upon recommendation of the Sangguniang Bayan, appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy. The recommendation by the Sangguniang Bayan is a condition sine qua non for the validity of the appointment. In this case, neither of the two nominations complied with these requirements. The petition for quo warranto should thus be dismissed.

PUBLIC CORPORATIONS
FORMATION OF MUNICIPALITIES

Municipality of Jimenez v. Hon. Vicente T. Baz Jr., et al G.R. No. 105746 December 2, 1995

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FACTS: The Municipality of Sinacaban was created by EO 258 of President Quirino. Sinacaban laid claim to certain barangays, based on the technical description of its territory in EO 258. The Municipality of Jimenez asserted jurisdiction over these areas based on a Resolution of the Provincial Board, fixing the common boundary of the municipalities. The Trial Court ordered the conduct of a relocation survey. Jimenez questions (1) whether Sinacaban, having been created by an EO, has legal personality; and (2) whether it is the boundary provided for in EO 258 or that adopted by the Provincial Board that should govern. HELD: (1) Sinacaban had at least de facto legal personality because its legal existence had been recognized and acquiesced publicly and officially. With the effectivity of the Local Government Code, it acquired de jure personality because the LGC provides that municipal districts organized pursuant to presidential issuances or EOs at the time of the effectivity of the LGC shall be considered as regular municipalities. There is no need to conform with the plebiscite requirement in the creation of new municipalities since Sinacaban was created before the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution. (2) The technical description containing the metes and bounds of the territory of a municipality is controlling. Thus, the RTC correctly ordered a relocation survey as the means of determining the boundaries of the municipality.
HEARINGS, PUBLICATION, POSTING OF ORDINANCES

Figuerres v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 119172 March 25, 1999 FACTS: The City of Mandaluyong promulgated several ordinances revising the schedule of fair market values of real property in the city and the assessment levels applicable thereto. Petitioner questions the validity of the ordinances on the ground that they were allegedly adopted without public hearing and prior publication or posting. HELD: Public hearings are required before the enactment of an ordinance imposing real property taxes. Likewise, the publication or posting of such ordinance and of the proposed schedule of fair market values of real property is required. However, petitioner has not presented evidence to show non-compliance with these requirements and has therefore failed to rebut the presumption of validity in favor of the ordinances.
CREATION OF OTHER BARANGAY POSITIONS

Cesar G. Viola v. Rafael Alunan III, et al G.R. No. 115844 August 15, 1997 FACTS: Petitioner challenges the validity of Art. III, §§1-2 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Guidelines for the General Elections of the Liga ng mga Barangay Officers, which provides for the election of first, second and third vice presidents and for auditors for the National Liga ng mga Barangay and its chapters. Petitioner argues that these positions are in excess of those provided in the Local Government Code. HELD: The rules are valid. The Local Government Code authorizes the board of directors to "create such other positions as it may deem necessary for the management of the chapter.” This is a valid delegation of power by Congress with a fairly intelligible standard.

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