Anda di halaman 1dari 35

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2

BANCO ESPANOL vs PALANCA 37 Phil 921 Judicial Due Process Requisites Engracio Palanca was indebted to El Banco and he had his parcel of land as security to his debt. His debt amounted to P218,294.10. His property is worth 75k more than what he owe. Due to the failure of Engracio to make his payments, El Banco executed an instrument to mortgage Engracios property. Engracio however left for China and he never returned til he died. Since Engracio is a non resident El Banco has to notify Engracio about their intent to sue him by means of publication using a newspaper. The lower court further orderdd the clerk of court to furnish Engracio a copy and that itd be sent to Amoy, China. The court eventually granted El Banco petition to execute Engracios property. 7 years thereafter, Vicente surfaced on behalf of Engracio as his administrator to petition for the annulment of the ruling. Vicente averred that there had been no due process as Engracio never received the summons. ISSUE: Whether or not due process was not observed. HELD: The SC ruled against Palanca. The SC ruled that the requisites for judicial due process had been met. The requisites are; There must be an impartial court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and decide the matter before it. Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property subject of the proceedings. The defendant must be given the opportunity to be heard. Judgment must be rendered only after lawful hearing. IMELDA MARCOS vs SANDIGANBAYAN October 6, 1998 Facts: 1. On June 8, 1984, IMELDA MARCOS and JOSE DANS, as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA) entered into a Lease Contract with the Philippine General Hospital Foundation (PGHFI) involving an LRTA property in Pasay City for P102,760.00 per month for 25 years; 2. On June 27,1984, the PGHFI subleased the said property for P734,000.00 per month to the Transnational Construction Corporation represented by one Ignacio Jumenez; 3. After petitioners husband was deposed as President of the Philippines, she and Dans were charged of alleged violation of Section 3 [g] of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan; 4. After trial , the First Division of the Sandiganbayan failed to comply with the legal requirement that all the 3 justices must be unanimous in its Decision because Justice Garchitorena and Justice Jose Balajadia voted for the conviction of both accused while Justice Narciso Atienza voted to acquit them; 5. Thereafter, Justice Garchitorena as Presiding Justice issued Administrative Order No. 288-93 constituting a Special Division of five and designating Justices Augusto Amores and Cipriano del Rosario; 6. On September 21, 1993, Justice Amores wrote Justice Garchitorena that he be given 15 days his Manifestation. On the same date, however, Justice Garchitorena dissolved the division of 5 allegedly because he and Justice Balajadia had agreed to the opinion of Justice del Rosario; 7. On September 24, 1993, a Decision was rendered convicting the petitioner and Dans of violation of Sec. 3 [g] of RA 3019; 8. On June 29, 1998, the Third Division of the Supreme Court by a vote of 3-2 affirmed the conviction of the petitioner but acquitted DANS; 9. Petitioner then filed a Motion for Reconsideration and at the same time prayed that her Motion be heard by the Supreme Court en banc claiming that her right to due process of law, both substantive and procedural, was violated: a. as a result of the fact that she was convicted as a result of the alleged disparity of the rentals agreed upon with PGHFI and the subsequent sublease contract between PGHFI and Transnational Construction Corporation; and b. the First Division convicted her after Justice Garchitorena dissolved the Special Division of 5 after a lunch in a Quezon City restaurant where they

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


agreed to convict her in one case and acquit her in her other cases. The said meeting was attended by another justice who is not a member of the First Division or the Special Division in violation of the Rules of the Sandiganbayan which requires that sessions of the court shall be done only in its principal office in Manila and that only justices belonging to the division should join the deliberations. Held: The petitioner is hereby acquitted. 1. The great disparity between the rental price of the lease agreement signed by the petitioner (P102,760.00 per month) and the sub-lease rental (P734,000.00 per month) does not necessarily render the monthly rate of P102,760.00 manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government in the absence of any evidence using rentals of adjacent properties showing that the rentals in the property subject of the lease agreement is indeed very low. NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER WAS PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION REGARDING THE RENTAL RATE OF ADJACENT PROPERTIES.. As such, the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the petitioner reasonable doubt. 2. The court notes likewise the bias and prejudice of Presiding Justice Garchitorena against the petitioner as shown by his leading, misleading and baseless hypothetical questions of said justice to RAMON F. CUERVO, witness for the petitioner. Said justice asked 179 questions to the witness as against the prosecutor who cross-examined the witness which was 73. Said number of questions could no longer be described as clarificatory questions. Another ground therefore for the acquittal of the petitioner is that she was denied IMPARTIAL TRIAL before the Sandiganbayan. This is one reason why the case could no longer be remanded to the Sandiganbayan especially so that the other Sandiganbayan Justices in the Special Division of 5 have retired. There is therefore no compelling reason why the case should still be remanded to the lower court when all the evidence are already with the Supreme Court. (NOTE: The vote was 9-5 for Acquittal. CJ Narvasa, Justices Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, and Panganiban voted for conviction while Justice Vitug was the only Justice who voted for the return of the case to the Sandiganbayan to allow the corrections of the perceived irregularities in the proceedings below.) DELGADO vs CA November 10, 1986 Due Process Delgado together with 3 others were charged for estafa causing the frustration of one medical student. Delgado was assisted by one Atty. Yco. The said lawyer has filed for multiple postponement of trial and one time he failed to appear in court by reason of him being allegedly sick. No medical certificate was furnished. The court was not impressed with such actuation and had considered the same as Delgados waiver of her right to trial. The lower court convicted her and the others. She appealed before the CA and the CA sustained the lower courts rule. Delgado later found out that Yco is not a member of the IBP. ISSUE: Whether or not due process was observed. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Delgado. An accused person is entitled to be represented by a member of the bar in a criminal case filed against her before the Regional Trial Court. Unless she is represented by a lawyer, there is great danger that any defense presented in her behalf will be inadequate considering the legal perquisites and skills needed in the court proceedings. This would certainly be a denial of due process. CONSULTA vs PEOPLE February 12, 2009 Due Process Consulta is charged for stealing a gold necklace worth 3.5k owned by a certain Silvestre. He was convicted by the lower court. Consulta raised before the CA the issue that he was not properly arraigned and that he was represented by a non lawyer. ISSUE: Whether or not Consulta was denied of due process. HELD: The SC ruled that Consultas claim of being misrepresented cannot be given due course. He was assisted by two lawyers during the proceeding. In the earlier part, he was assisted by one Atty. Jocelyn Reyes who seemed not to be a lawyer. Granting that she indeed is not a lawyer, her withdrawal from the case in the earlier part of the case has cured the defect as he was subsequently assisted by a lawyer coming from the PAO.

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


PEOPLE vs OPIDA June 13, 1986 [The SupremeCourt held that the right of the accused to due processof law and impartial trial were violated when it was the judge who conducted the cross-examination of theaccused and his witness instead of the Prosecutor coupled with his sarcastic and insulting remarks andended with the question, Do you want me to dictatethe decision now? The judge likewise required theaccused to remove his shirt and described for therecord all the tattoos found on his body. Clearly, the judge had allied himself with the prosecution] PEOPLE vs MORTERA GR No. 188104 April 23, 2010 FACTS: This is an appeal from the January 23, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court in criminal case which found accused Benancio Mortera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the killing of one Robelyn Rojas. Prosecution witness Ramil Gregorio testified that one afternoon, he together with other men were drinking tuba. They have just started drinking when Benancio Mortera, Jr. arrived. He wanted to hit Alberto Rojas with a Nescafe glass. Alberto Rojas ran away. Mortera said, "Sayang." He listened while the group of Ramil Gregorio were singing accompanied by a guitar. Jomer Diaz, brother-in-law of Alberto Diaz, arrived. Mortera said, "Here comes another Rojas." Gregorio and his companions told Jomer Diaz to run away. Mortera hurled a stone at Diaz but the latter was not hit. Mortera left but he said that he will return. After a few minutes, Mortera came back. When Jomer Diaz ran, Robelyn Rojas, brother of Alberto Rojas went to Jomer. Mortera met Robelyn at a distance of about seven meters from the place where the group were drinking. Mortera and Robelyn discussed with each other and later shook hands. Robelyn turned his face and Mortera suddenly stabbed Robelyn Rojas at the back. After stabbing Robelyn, Mortera ran away. Robelyn Rojas tried to chase Mortera but he was not able to catch up but he fell down mortally wounded. He was brought to the hospital by his brother but he was pronounced DOA at the hospital. Jovel Veales who was drinking together with Ramil Gregorio and others, corroborated Ramil Gregorio's testimony. Although the accused pleaded not guilty when arraigned, during the trial, he admitted having stabbed the victim whom he referred to as Tonying, but claimed self-defense. By his account he passed by a corner and saw a group of people drinking. They were Ramil Gregorio, Jonel Veales and Tonying. Upon seeing him, Tonying ran away and called his brother, Alberto Rojas. When the accused was about to reach the main road, Alberto Rojas, Tonying and a certain "Duk" (brother-in-law of Tonying) accosted him and asked him for liquor money. When he refused, the three men got angry. After telling them that he had to go, Tonying hit him with a spray gun (for painting), causing him to fall down. While he was in a supine position, Tonying attempted to hit him again. It was at that point that he was able to get hold of his knife and thrust it forward and hit someone. He did not know who got stabbed. He then immediately fled. On January 23, 2007, the RTC rendered judgment finding the accused guilty of murder. In rejecting the claim of self-defense, the trial court stated that it was not worthy of belief as it was belied by the credible testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The accused appealed to the CA raising the issues of denial of due process of law and his right to an impartial trial. He claimed that the trial court judge, Judge Jesus Carbon, was hostile towards him and prejudged his guilt as could be inferred from his "prosecutor-like" conduct. The accused likewise reiterated his claim of self-defense. In its decision, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC with modification as to the civil liabilities. The CA ruled that the trial judge did not transgress the standard of "cold neutrality" required of a magistrate and added that the questions he propounded were "substantially clarificatory." Still not satisfied, the accused now comes before the SC. ISSUE: WON the accused were denied of his right to have an impartial trial. HELD: As correctly pointed out by the CA, although the trial judge might have made improper remarks and comments, it did not amount to a denial of his right to due process or his right to an impartial trial. Upon perusal of the transcript as a whole, it cannot be said that the remarks were reflective of his partiality. Not only did the accused mislead the court by initially invoking a negative defense only to claim otherwise during trial, he was also not candid to his own lawyer, who was kept in the dark as to his intended defense. The invocation of Opida did not persuade the SC. In Opida, SC did not fail to notice the "malicious," "sadistic" and "adversarial" manner of

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


questioning by the trial judge of the accused therein, including their defense witness. In Opida, the accused never admitted the commission of the crime, and so the burden of proof remained with the prosecution. Therefore, SC affirmed the ruling of the lower courts. G.R. No. 190171 March 14, 2011 should they fail to do so after the finality of this Sentence, a warrant for their arrest will be issued, and they will not be released unless they comply with the order of this Court. Let a copy of this Order be furnished the Secretary of Justice for appropriate action. IT IS SO ORDERED.2 The Facts Previously pending before Judge Blancaflor was Criminal Case No. 22240 for arson (arson case), entitled People of the Philippines v. Teksan Ami, in which Tulali was the trial prosecutor. During the pendency of the case, Tulali was implicated in a controversy involving an alleged bribery initiated by Randy Awayan (Awayan), the driver assigned to Judge Blancaflor under the payroll of the Office of the Governor of Palawan, and one Ernesto Fernandez (Fernandez), to assure the acquittal of the accused, Rolly Ami (Ami), and the dismissal of the arson case. On June 29, 2009, a day before the scheduled promulgation of the decision in the arson case, Tulali filed an Ex-Parte Manifestation withdrawing his appearance in the said case to prevent any suspicion of misdemeanor and collusion. He attached to the said manifestation a copy of the administrative complaint against Awayan filed (but eventually withdrawn) by his superior, Rodriguez, before the Office of the Governor of Palawan. On June 30, 2009, Judge Blancaflor rendered his decision acquitting Ami of the crime of arson. Purportedly on the basis of the administrative complaint filed against Awayan and Rodriguez, Judge Blancaflor summoned several witnesses including Tulali and heard their testimonies. On July 30, 2009, he issued an order summoning Rodriguez to appear before him for the purpose of holding an inquiry on matters pertaining to his possible involvement in Tulalis filing of the ex-parte manifestation and the administrative complaint against Awayan, among others. On August 7, 2009, Rodriguez filed his Motion for Clarification as to the purpose of Judge Blancaflors continued inquiries considering that the decision in the arson case had already been promulgated.

ALEN ROSS RODRIGUEZ and REGIDOR TULALI, Petitioners, vs. The Hon. BIENVENIDO BLANCAFLOR, in his capacity as the Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Branch 52, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. DECISION MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court filed by Alen Ross Rodriguez (Rodriguez), the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan; and Regidor Tulali (Tulali), Prosecutor I of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan, seeking to annul and set aside the October 13, 2009 Decision1 of respondent Judge Bienvenido Blancaflor (Judge Blancaflor), Acting Presiding Judge of Branch 52, Regional Trial Court, Palawan (RTC). The petition likewise seeks to prohibit Judge Blancaflor from implementing the said decision. In his October 13, 2009 Decision, Judge Blancaflor found petitioners Rodriguez and Tulali guilty of direct contempt and ordered them to issue a public apology to the court. In the same decision, Judge Blancaflor suspended them indefinitely from the practice of law. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding respondents PROVINCIAL PROSECUTORS OF PALAWAN ALEN ROSS B. RODRIGUEZ and PROSECUTOR REGIDOR TULALI as both guilty of direct contempt and for violation of their oath of office as member of the bar and as officer of the Court, and hereby sentence them to suffer the penalty of INDEFINITE SUSPENSION from practice of law and for each to pay a fine of P100,000.00. Respondents are further directed to issue a public apology to the Court for the above grave offenses and

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


In an order dated August 13, 2009, Judge Blancaflor informed the petitioners that he was proceeding against them for direct contempt and violation of their oath of office on the basis of Tulalis Ex-Parte Manifestation. As earlier recited, after the submission of petitioners respective position papers, Judge Blancaflor issued the assailed October 13, 2009 Decision finding petitioners guilty of direct contempt. The penalty of indefinite suspension from the practice of law and a fine of P100,000.00 each were imposed upon them. The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision but it was denied in the assailed November 6, 2009 Order.3 Hence, the petitioners interpose the present special civil action before this Court anchored on the following GROUNDS (A) RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND ORDER CONSIDERING THAT PETITIONERS WERE DENIED THEIR RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS. (B) RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND ORDER CONSIDERING THAT HE GROSSLY VIOLATED THE RULES ON CONTEMPT. (C) SINCE THE ASSAILED DECISION AND ORDER ARE VOID, A WRIT OF PROHIBITION MUST BE ISSUED AGAINST RESPONDENT.4 Petitioners argue that the contempt proceedings are null and void for contravening their rights to due process of law. They claim that they were denied their rights to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them, to confront the witnesses and present their own evidence. According to petitioners, Judge Blancaflors disregard of due process constituted grave abuse of discretion which was further aggravated by the unlawful manner of simultaneously conducting suspension and contempt proceedings against them. Petitioners further argue that the penalty imposed upon them in the "direct contempt" proceeding is clearly oppressive and without basis. In its Manifestation in Lieu of Comment,5 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) stated that Judge Blancaflor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding petitioners guilty of direct contempt as the judgment was not based on law and evidence. The petition is impressed with merit. The power to punish a person in contempt of court is inherent in all courts to preserve order in judicial proceedings and to uphold the orderly administration of justice. However, judges are enjoined to exercise the power judiciously and sparingly, with utmost restraint, and with the end in view of utilizing the same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, and not for retaliation or vindictiveness. It bears stressing that the power to declare a person in contempt of court must be exercised on the preservative, not the vindictive principle; and on the corrective, not the retaliatory, idea of punishment.6 Such power, being drastic and extraordinary in its nature, should not be resorted to unless necessary in the interest of justice.7 In this case, the Court cannot sustain Judge Blancaflors order penalizing petitioners for direct contempt on the basis of Tulalis Ex-Parte Manifestation. Direct contempt is any misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward the court, offensive personalities toward others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so.8 Based on the foregoing definition, the act of Tulali in filing the Ex-Parte Manifestation cannot be construed as contumacious within the purview of direct contempt. It must be recalled that the subject manifestation bore Tulalis voluntary withdrawal from the arson case to dispel any suspicion of collusion between him and the accused. Its filing on the day before the promulgation of the decision in

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


the pending criminal case, did not in any way disrupt the proceedings before the court. Accordingly, he should not be held accountable for his act which was done in good faith and without malice. Neither should Rodriguez be liable for direct contempt as he had no knowledge of, or participation in, the preparation and filing of the subject manifestation. It was signed and filed by Tulali alone in his capacity as the trial prosecutor in the arson case. The attached complaint against Awayan was filed with the Office of the Palawan Governor, and not with the RTC. Apparently, Judge Blancaflors conclusion, that the subject manifestation containing derogatory matters was purposely filed to discredit the administration of justice in court, is unfounded and without basis. There being no factual or legal basis for the charge of direct contempt, it is clear that Judge Blancaflor gravely abused his discretion in finding petitioners guilty as charged. Such grave abuse of authority is likewise manifested from the penalty imposed on the petitioners. Under Section 1, Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court, direct contempt before the RTC or a court of equivalent or higher rank is punishable by a fine not exceeding P2,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or both. The penalty of indefinite suspension from the practice of law and to pay a fine of P100,000.00 each with the additional order to issue a public apology to the Court under pain of arrest, is evidently unreasonable, excessive and outside the bounds of the law. Petitioners also fault Judge Blancaflor for nonobservance of due process in conducting the contempt proceedings. It must be emphasized that direct contempt is adjudged and punished summarily pursuant to Section 1, Rule 71 of the Rules. Hence, hearings and opportunity to confront witnesses are absolutely unnecessary. In the same vein, the petitioners alleged "vilification campaign" against Judge Blancaflor cannot be regarded as direct contempt. At most, it may constitute indirect contempt, as correctly concluded by the OSG. For indirect contempt citation to prosper, however, the requirements under Sections 3 and 4, Rule 71 of the Rules must be satisfied, to wit: Sec. 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. After a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt: xxx (d) any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice; x x x. Sec. 4. How proceedings commenced. Proceedings for indirect contempt may be initiated motu proprio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. In all other cases, charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal action pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege that fact but said petition shall be docketed, heard and decided separately, unless the court in its discretion orders the consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing and decision. In the present case, Judge Blancaflor failed to observe the elementary procedure which requires written charge and due hearing. There was no order issued to petitioners. Neither was there any written or formal charge filed against them. In fact, Rodriguez only learned of the contempt proceedings upon his receipt of the July 30, 2009 Order, requiring him to appear before the Court in order to clarify certain matters contained in the said order. Tulali, on the other hand, only learned of the proceedings when he was ordered to submit his compliance to explain how he came in possession of the administrative complaint against Awayan. The fact that petitioners were afforded the opportunity to file their appropriate pleadings is not sufficient as the proceedings ex-parte to hear the witnesses testimonies had already been completed.

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


In the course of his investigation, Judge Blancaflor showed that he no longer had the cold impartiality expected of a magistrate. He had clearly prejudged petitioners as manifested in the questions propounded in his July 30, 2009 Order, as follows: a. Your [petitioner Rodriguezs] participation, if any, in the filing of the ex-parte manifestation by Prosecutor Tulali together with the attachment of your letter to Gov. Joel T. Reyes dated May 8, 2009 filed on June 29, 2009 with the Clerk of Court, Branch 52, Regional Trial Court, Palawan; b. Whether or not the letter was received and read by Gov. Joel T. Reyes, if you know, and if so what was the official action thereon; c. Before Randy Awayan was terminated on June 30, 2009 was he allowed to answer the charges against him, i.e., calling him bag man and facilitator and Ernesto Fernandez, calling him "extortionist." Aside from the allegations of Salam Ami, any other evidentiary basis for your conclusion that Ernesto Fernandez was an extortionist and that Awayan was a bag man and facilitator; What was your role in obtaining the release of accused Rolly Ami from the City Jail without permission from the Court on June 29, 2009 at 2:00 0clock in the afternoon and having been interviewed in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (c/o Prosecutor Tulali) and how long was Rolly Ami interviewed? d. Rolly Ami is publicly known as illiterate (cannot read or write) but he was made to sign affidavits in the absence of his lawyer on June 29, 2009 at 2:00 oclock in the afternoon, why? e. Rolly Ami was fetched upon his release by SPO4 Efren Guinto, a close associate of yours, and directly went to the Palawan Pawnshop to pawn expensive jewelry (watch and ring), why? What is your participation in the media coverage Re: VILIFICATION CAMPAIGN of the Judge of Branch 52 RTC-Palawan from July 1 to 10, 2009. Do you recognize that as a member of the Bar and as an officer of the Court, pursuant to the rules of judicial ethics and your oath of office as a lawyer, your loyalty and fidelity is primarily to the Court? Do you still recognize this duty and obligation?9 Indeed, Judge Blancaflor failed to conform to the standard of honesty and impartiality required of judges as mandated under Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. As a public servant, a judge should perform his duties in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and the light that God has given him. A judge should never allow himself to be moved by pride, prejudice, passion, or pettiness in the performance of his duties. He should always bear in mind that the power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for purposes that are impersonal, because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges as persons but for the functions that they exercise.10 Contempt and suspension proceedings are supposed to be separate and distinct. They have different objects and purposes for which different procedures have been established. Judge Blancaflor should have conducted separate proceedings. As held in the case of People v. Godoy,11 thus: A contempt proceeding for misbehavior in court is designed to vindicate the authority of the court; on the other hand, the object of a disciplinary proceeding is to deal with the fitness of the court's officer to continue in that office, to preserve and protect the court and the public from the official ministrations of persons unfit or unworthy to hold such office. The principal purpose of the exercise of the power to cite for contempt is to safeguard the functions of the court and should thus be used sparingly on a preservative and not, on the vindictive principle. The principal purpose of the exercise of disciplinary authority by the Supreme Court is to assure respect for orders of such court by attorneys who, as much as judges, are responsible for the orderly administration of justice. x x x. It has likewise been the rule that a notice to a lawyer to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt cannot be considered as a notice to show cause why he should not be suspended from the practice of law, considering that they have distinct objects and for each of them a different procedure is established. Contempt of court is governed by the procedures laid down under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, whereas disciplinary actions in the practice of law are governed by file 138 and 139 thereof. Thus, it was grossly improper for Judge Blancaflor to consider his July 30, 2009 Order on the contempt charge as the notice required in the disciplinary

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


proceedings suspending petitioners from the practice of law.1avvphi1 Granting that the simultaneous conduct of contempt and suspension proceedings is permitted, the suspension of petitioners must still fail. This Court is not unmindful of a judges power to suspend an attorney from practice for just cause pursuant to Section 28, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Judge Blancaflor, however, must be reminded that the requirements of due process must be complied with, as mandated under Section 30, Rule 138 of the same Rules which specifically provides, viz: Sec. 30. Attorney to be heard before removal or suspension. No attorney shall be removed or suspended from the practice of his profession, until he has had full opportunity upon reasonable notice to answer the charges against him, to produce witnesses in his own behalf, and to be heard by himself or counsel. But if upon reasonable notice he fails to appear and answer the accusation, the court may proceed to determine the matter ex parte. Indeed, a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct showing any fault or deficiency in his moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor. His guilt, however, cannot be presumed. It must indicate the dubious character of the acts done, as well as the motivation thereof. Furthermore, a disbarred lawyer must have been given full opportunity upon reasonable notice to answer the charges against him, produce witnesses in his own behalf, and to be heard by himself and counsel.12 In the case at bench, there was no prior and separate notice issued to petitioners setting forth the facts constituting the misconduct and requiring them, within a specified period from receipt thereof, to show cause why they should not be suspended from the practice of their profession. Neither were they given full opportunity to defend themselves, to produce evidence on their behalf and to be heard by themselves and counsel. Undoubtedly, the suspension proceedings against petitioners are null and void, having violated their right to due process. Likewise, Judge Blancaflors suspension order is also void as the basis for suspension is not one of the causes that will warrant disciplinary action. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules enumerates the grounds for disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar from his office as attorney, to wit: (1) deceit, (2) malpractice, (3) gross misconduct in office, (4) grossly immoral conduct, (5) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, (6) violation of the lawyer's oath, (7) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, and for (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority to do so. Judge Blancaflor failed to show that the suspension was for any of the foregoing grounds. In fine, having established that Judge Blancaflor committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, petitioners are entitled to the remedy of prohibition under Section 2, Rule 71 of the Rules on Contempt which provides: SEC. 2. Remedy therefrom. - The person adjudged in direct contempt by any court may not appeal therefrom, but may avail himself of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition. The execution of the judgment shall be suspended pending resolution of such petition, provided such person files a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him. Accordingly, an order of direct contempt is not immediately executory or enforceable. The contemnor must be afforded a reasonable remedy to extricate or purge himself of the contempt. Where the person adjudged in direct contempt by any court avails of the remedy of certiorari or prohibition, the execution of the judgment shall be suspended pending resolution of such petition provided the contemnor files a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him.13 WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The October 13, 2009 Decision and November 6, 2009 Order are hereby annulled and set aside. Judge Bienvenido Blancaflor is hereby permanently enjoined from implementing the said decision and order. This injunctive order is immediately executory. SO ORDERED. JOSE T. TUBOLA, JR., PETITIONER, VS. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENTS. DECISION

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


CARPIO MORALES, J.: Jose Tubola, Jr. (petitioner) appeals the December 7, 2000 Decision[1] and June 10, 2002 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 12015 which found him guilty of Malversation of Public Funds penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows: That within the period from June 25, 1982 up to November 8, 1982, and for sometime prior thereto, in Iloilo City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused who was a duly appointed cashier/collecting officer of the National Irrigation System, Iloilo City and as such was an accountable public officer for public funds that were in his official custody by reason of his official position, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with grave abuse of confidence misappropriate and convert to his own personal use and benefit the amount of NINE THREE THOUSAND FIFTY ONE PESOS AND EIGHTY- EIGHT CENTAVOS P93,051.88 to the damage and prejudice of the government. CONTRARY TO LAW.[2] underscoring supplied) (emphasis and collections less total remittances amounted to P93,051.88 as of November 8, 1982.[7] Still by Gotera's account, the audit team found in petitioner's drawer "vales/chits" or promissory notes or receivables signed by NIA employees involving the total amount of P79,044.51.[8] Petitioner, who claimed that he was assigned as cashier since 1978 and was also in charge of payment of salaries of more than 2,000 field employees in the NIA Jalaur Project, declared that his task of keeping the collected irrigation fees was temporarily assigned to Editha Valeria (Valeria) upon instruction of his superior, Regional Director Manuel Hicao,[9] for he (petitioner) was also handling the payroll of around 2,000 employees. Petitioner further declared that no accounting of the collected fees was undertaken since he trusted Valeria, who directly remitted them to the bank, after he signed the statement of collection without reading the contents thereof. [10] Petitioner presented "vales" and "chits" involving the total amount of P115,661.66 representing loans extended by Valeria to certain NIA employees and even COA auditors.[11] And he identified "chits" and "vales" dated 1975 to 1981 inclusive representing loans extended prior to the audit period.[12] By Decision of December 7, 2000,[13] the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner as charged, disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, the guilt of the accused, JOSE TUBOLA, JR., having been proven beyond reasonable doubt, the Court hereby CONVICTS him of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. Appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, without any aggravating circumstance to offset the same, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of TEN (10) years and ONE (1) day of Prision Mayor as Minimum, to SEVENTEEN (17) years, FOUR (4) months of Reclusion Temporal as Maximum, and the accessory penalties provided for by law. He is likewise ordered to indemnify the Republic of the Philippines the amount of Ninety Three Thousand Fifty One Pesos and Eighty Eight Centavos (P93,051.88); to pay a fine in the same amount, which is the amount of money malversed

Petitioner was the cashier of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-Aganan, Sta. Barbara River Irrigation System in Iloilo City. On November 8, 1982, Commission on Audit (COA) State Auditing Examiners Yvonne Gotera (Gotera) and Theresita Cajita (Cajita) conducted an audit examination of petitioner's account which indicated a shortage of P93,051.88.[3] Gotera and Cajita thus sent a letter of demand dated November 23, 1982 to petitioner directing him to account for the shortage.[4] Petitioner refused to receive the letter, however, hence, Gotera and Cajita sent it by registered mail.[5] Petitioner was thereupon charged of committing malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan to which he pleaded "not guilty."[6] By the account of Gotera, the lone witness for the prosecution, petitioner had an account balance of P30,162.46 prior to June 25, 1982; that from June 25 to November 8, 1982, the date petitioner's account was audited, his cash collections totaled P347,995.64; that his remittances from June 25 to November 8, 1982 totaled P285,105.41; and that the total

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


and the costs of suit, and finally to suffer perpetual disqualification to hold public office. SO ORDERED.[14] (Capitalization, italics and emphasis in the original) His motion for reconsideration having been denied,[15] petitioner lodged the present appeal, imputing error on the Sandiganbayan for I . . . CONCLUD[ING] THAT [HE] FAILED TO REBUT THE PRESUMPTION UNDER ARTICLE 217 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE . . . II . . . CONCLUDING THAT [HE] HAS COMMITTED INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE IN DELEGATING THE CUSTODY OF THE ACCOUNT TO [AN]OTHER PERSON. III . . . RENDERING JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT IT HAS BEEN CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT [HE] IS NOT AN ACTUAL AND POTENTIAL WRONGDOER. IV . . . VIOLAT[ING] [HIS] BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN IT ACTIVELY TOOK PART IN THE QUESTIONING OF THE ACCUSED WHEN HE WAS PRESENTED AS A WITNESS.[16] To petitioner, the evidence adduced at the trial had overcome the legal presumption that he put the missing funds to his personal use. There is, he argues, "incontrovertible fact that [he] ha[d] not received any single centavo in the form of irrigation fees" since the collections were actually received by Valeria.[17] According to petitioner, he being the superior of Valeria, he had to rely on her honesty and competence in the performance of her duties. He cites Arias v. Sandiganbayan,[18] which ruled that a head of office is not required to examine every single detail of any transaction from its inception until it is finally approved, to deem it no longer necessary for him to examine all the details each time a remittance of the fees was made. Petitioner even posits that the Sandiganbayan was unsure whether he was guilty of malversation intentionally or through negligence. In fine, petitioner insists that as the primary task of collecting the irrigation fees was the responsibility of Valeria, he cannot be faulted for negligence.[19] Further, petitioner posits that he was neither an actual or potential wrongdoer and, absent criminal intent, he should not be convicted with the full harshness of the law.[20] Finally, petitioner points out that his right to due process was violated, the Justices of the Sandiganbayan having actively participated in the criminal proceedings by "tak[ing] into their own hands in proving the case against [him]."[21] The People, through the Special Prosecutor, draws attention to the failure of petitioner to present Valeria to shed light on her actual duties, or to at least present a certification from then Regional Director Manuel Hicao, who allegedly ordered Valeria to take over from petitioner the duty of collecting irrigation fees. To the People, petitioner's self-serving testimony failed to controvert the legal presumption of misappropriation.[22] The People goes on to contend that petitioner may still be convicted of malversation by negligence even if the Information alleged the commission of intentional malversation since the "dolo or culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony."[23] Respecting the supposed violation of petitioner's right to due process in light of the alleged "active" participation of the Sandiganbayan Justices in questioning him during the hearing of the case, the People underscores that it is the duty of a trial judge to examine a witness "to secure a full and clear understanding of the facts or to test to his satisfaction the credibility of the witness..."[24] Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property. Presumption of malversation. - Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take

10

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer: 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved in the misappropriation or malversation does not exceed two hundred pesos. 2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the amount involved is more than two hundred pesos but does not exceed six thousand pesos. 3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period, if the amount involved is more than six thousand pesos but is less than twelve thousand pesos. 4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled. The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public fund or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal uses. (italics in the original, emphasis and underscoring supplied) The elements of malversation of public funds are thus: 1. that the offender is a public officer; 2. that he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; 3. that those funds or property were public funds or property for which he was accountable; and 4. that he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take them.[25] All the above-mentioned elements are here present. Petitioner was a public officer[26] ? he occupied the position of cashier at the NIA. By reason of his position, he was tasked to regularly handle irrigation fees, which are indubitably public funds pertaining to the NIA, and to remit them to the depositary bank. As established by the prosecution, petitioner was the one who remitted irrigation fees collected from June 25, 1982 to October 31, 1983[27] inclusive, so that even if the Court were to credit petitioner's allegation that Valeria had actually taken over his function of collecting the irrigation fees, the collections were still, in fact by his admission, turned over to him. Q: How about the money after this payment for irrigation fees are entered in the Collection Book for which Ms. Edita Valeria is the one in charge, who keeps the money being paid for irrigation fees? A: She is the one holding the money turned over to her by the farmers who paid their irrigation fees, sir. I am just reporting in my office every 7th, 15th. PJ GARCHITORENA Confine your answer to the question. Who keeps the irrigation fees being collected? A: Edita Valeria, your Honor. PJ GARCHITORENA Q: Is that part of her functions? WITNESS A: No, your Honor. Q: Whose function is it to keep the irrigation fees? A: My function, your Honor. x x x x. Q: After Edita Valeria receives the money representing the irrigation fees of farmers, does she turn over the collections to you? A: Yes, sir.[28] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) In fact, petitioner's admission that his signature was required before remitting the irrigation fees to the depositary bank reinforces the fact that he had complete control and custody thereof. WITNESS A:

11

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Everytime she reported to me, she just fold [sic] the page of the collection book and he [sic] tells [sic] me, this is okay and you can just sign this statement of collection. PJ GARCHITORENA Q: So you are being made to sign a statement of collection without looking at the supporting documents to validate the correctness of the figures nor even to determine whether the figures there and the ones remitted to the Philippine National Bank? A: Yes, your Honor. I just asked her, "Is this accounting okay?" and she said "Yes".[29] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) As to the element of misappropriation, indeed petitioner failed to rebut the legal presumption that he had misappropriated the fees to his personal use, his disclaimer being self-serving. Why, indeed, Valeria, whom petitioner had pointed to as having full responsibility for the collections, including their deposit to the bank, covered by the audit period, was never presented to corroborate his claim dents his defense as does his failure to present the Regional Director or a certification from him for the same purpose. As for petitioner's explanation that the unaccounted fees were extended as loans to employees as evidenced by "vales" and "chits" found in his drawer which involved a total of P79,044.51, it fails. If this claim were true, petitioner could have at least promptly collected them, and/or offered the testimonies of the employees-obligors to prove good faith on his part. As for the "vales" and "chits" that he offered in evidence, as the same were admittedly incurred before the period of audit, they are immaterial, as correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan: PROS GALINDEZ Q: Mr. Witness, since these chits and vales were incurred before the period [covered by the ] audit, you could not have possibly used the money collected by you in your capacity as Cashier for the period from June 25, 1982 to November 8, 1982. A: Yes, sir. I have told you before that Mrs. Valeria is the one handling my collections. I am just concentrating on my disbursements. I have two disbursement books and my collection book is handled by Mrs. Valeria including the payments and ... x x x x. Q: So that these chits and vales which were merely listed by the Auditing Examiners as they were found inside your safe are irrelevant to the accusation? WITNESS A: Where can Mrs. Valeria get the cash to extend vales, sir? Because my collection book is balance as found by the examiners. So, she herself extended vales from her collections. Q: Mr. Witness, we are speaking about the chits and vales which you extended. PJ GARCHITORENA It is clear that the accused is being charged for shortage covered by the period June 25, 1982 to November 8, 1982 and that Exhibit "1" series refers to accounts prior to that period of audit so that you have a point. You have covered that point already. PROS GALINDEZ Q: This inventory of cash and cash items which is from 1975 to 1981, did you attempt to collect this from the payees? A: No, sir.[30] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) Petitioner's assertion, vis--vis his citation of the ruling in Arias, that he was the superior of Valeria was later belied by him: Q: But she [referring to Valeria] is under your direct supervision? A: Under the Chief of Office, the Irrigation Superintendent.[31] Aside then from the lack of a superior-subordinate relationship with Valeria, the circumstances obtaining in Arias and the present case are entirely different. Arias involved the culpability of a final approving authority on the basis of criminal conspiracy, whereas the present case involves petitioner's culpability on the basis of his being the accountable public officer. On petitioner's assertion that the Sandiganbayan erred in concluding that he committed malversation through inexcusable negligence when the Information alleges intentional malversation, it does not impress.

12

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


To be sure, the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner for intentional malversation on the basis of his failure to refute the presumption that he converted the money to his personal use. Petitioner misreads the assailed Decision since the discussion about his culpability for malversation through inexcusable negligence was merely academic in light of the postulation that a subordinate (Valeria) was at fault.[32] Nonetheless, in Cabello v. Sandiganbayan,[33] the Court ratiocinated that: On the other hand, petitioner contends that the bulk of said amount represented "vales" he granted to the postal employees and the minor portion consisted of unremitted, unreimbursed or uncollected amounts. His very own explanation, therefore, shows that the embezzlement, as claimed by the prosecution, or the expenditures, as posited by him, were not only unauthorized but intentionally and voluntarily made. Under no stretch of legal hermeneutics can it be contended that these funds were lost through abandonment or negligence without petitioner's knowledge as to put the loss within a merely culpable category. From the contention of either party, the misappropriation was intentional and not through negligence. Besides, even on the putative assumption that the evidence against petitioner yielded a case of malversation by negligence but the information was for intentional malversation, under the circumstances of this case his conviction under the first mode of misappropriation would still be in order. Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence. The dolo or the culpa present in the offense is only a modality in the perpetration of the felony. Even if the mode charged differs from the mode proved, the same offense of malversation is involved and conviction thereof is proper. A possible exception would be when the mode of commission alleged in the particulars of the indictment is so far removed from the ultimate categorization of the crime that it may be said due process was denied by deluding the accused into an erroneous comprehension of the charge against him. That no such prejudice was occasioned on petitioner nor was he beleaguered in his defense is apparent from the records of this case.[34] (italics in the original, emphasis and underscoring supplied) Finally, petitioner's claim of violation of his right to due process vis--vis the Sandiganbayan Justices' active "participation" during the trial fails too. For he has not specified any instance of supposed bias of the Justices, or cited what questions adversely affected him. The record does not reflect any question or objection raised by petitioner's counsel during the trial to the Justices' questions or the tenor or manner they were propounded. Nor does the record reflect any move to inhibit the Justices if petitioner perceived that they were biased against him. That a magistrate may propound clarificatory questions to secure a full and clear understanding of the facts in the case is not proscribed.[35] WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The December 7, 2000 Decision and June 10, 2002 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 12015 are AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. JOSE R. CATACUTAN, PETITIONER, VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT. DECISION DEL CASTILLO, J.: It is well within the Court's discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it judiciously believes irrelevant and impertinent to the proceeding on hand. Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner Jose R. Catacutan seeking to set aside and reverse the Decision[1] dated December 7, 2006 of the Sandiganbayan which affirmed the Decision[2] dated July 25, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 30, Surigao City convicting him of the crime of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Factual Antecedents The antecedent facts are clear and undisputed. Private complainant Georgito Posesano was an Instructor II with Salary Grade 13 while private complainant Magdalena Divinagracia was an Education Program Specialist II with Salary Grade 16, both at the Surigao del Norte School of Arts and Trades (SNSAT).[3]

13

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


On June 2, 1997, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Caraga Administrative Region, appointed and promoted private complainants as Vocational Instruction Supervisor III with Salary Grade 18 at SNSAT.[4] These promotional appointments were duly approved and attested as permanent by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on June 3, 1997.[5] Being then the Officer-In-Charge of SNSAT, the approved appointments were formally transmitted to the petitioner on June 6, 1997,[6] copy furnished the concerned appointees. Despite receipt of the appointment letter, the private complainants were not able to assume their new position since petitioner made known that he strongly opposed their appointments and that he would not implement them despite written orders from CHED[7] and the CSC, Caraga Regional Office.[8] Thus, on August 2, 1997, private complainants lodged a formal complaint against petitioner for grave abuse of authority and disrespect of lawful orders before the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao.[9] In an Information dated February 27, 1998, petitioner was charged before the RTC of Surigao City with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 as amended, committed in the following manner, to wit: That in June 1997 or sometime thereafter, in Surigao City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN, OIC Principal of Surigao del Norte School of Arts and Trades (SNSAT), Surigao City, with salary grade below 27, while in the performance of his official duties, thus committing the act in relation to his office, willfully, feloniously and unlawfully did then and there, with grave abuse of authority and evident bad faith, refuse to implement the promotion/appointments of Georgito Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as Vocational Supervisors III notwithstanding the issuance of the valid appointments by the appointing authority and despite the directive of the Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education and the Civil Service Commission in the region, thereby causing undue injury to complainants who were supposed to receive a higher compensation for their promotion, as well as [to] the school and the students who were deprived of the better services which could have been rendered by Georgito Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as Vocational Instruction Supervisors [III]. CONTRARY TO LAW.[10] During arraignment on September petitioner pleaded "not guilty." 22, 1998,

For his defense, petitioner admitted that he did not implement the promotional appointments of the private complainants because of some procedural lapses or infirmities attending the preparation of the appointment papers. According to him, the appointment papers were prepared by SNSAT Administrative Officer, Crispin Noguera, using blank forms bearing the letterhead of SNSAT and not of the CHED Regional Office who made the appointments. He also averred that the appointment papers cited the entire plantilla[11] (1996 Plantilla-OSEC-DECSBVOCIS3-19, Pages 1-16) instead of only the particular page on which the vacant item occurs. He likewise claimed that he received only the duplicate copies of the appointments contrary to the usual procedure where the original appointment papers and other supporting documents are returned to his office. Finally, he asserted that the transmittal letter from the CHED did not specify the date of effectivity of the appointments. These alleged infirmities, he contended, were formally brought to the attention of the CHED Regional Director on June 20, 1997[12] who, however, informed him that the subject appointments were regular and valid and directed him to implement the same. Still not satisfied, petitioner sought the intercession of CHED Chairman Angel C. Alcala in the settlement of this administrative problem[13] but the latter did not respond. Petitioner alleged that his refusal to implement the appointments of the private complainants was not motivated by bad faith but he just wanted to protect the interest of the government by following strict compliance in the preparation of appointment papers. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On July 25, 2005, the RTC rendered its Decision[14] holding that the act of the petitioner in defying the orders of the CHED and the CSC to implement the subject promotional appointments despite the rejection of his opposition, demonstrates his palpable and patent fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. The trial court ruled that petitioner's refusal to implement the appointments of the private complainants had caused undue injury to them. Thus, it held petitioner guilty of the crime charged and accordingly sentenced him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) month and perpetual disqualification from public office.

14

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


The RTC disposed of the case as follows: WHEREFORE, finding the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN guilty beyond reasonable doubt [of] VIOLATION OF SECTION 3(e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, this Court hereby imposes upon him the penalty of imprisonment [of] SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH and PERPETUAL DISQUALIFICATION FROM PUBLIC OFFICE, and to pay the costs. The aforementioned accused is hereby ordered to pay private complainants Georgito Posesano and Magdalena Divinagracia the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) each, for moral damages. SO ORDERED.[15] Petitioner moved for reconsideration[16] but it was denied in an Order[17] dated October 13, 2005. Ruling of the Sandiganbayan On appeal, petitioner's conviction was affirmed in toto by the Sandiganbayan.[18] The appellate court ruled that the Decision of the trial court, being supported by evidence and firmly anchored in law and jurisprudence, is correct. It held that petitioner failed to show that the trial court committed any reversible error in judgment. Hence, this petition. In the Court's Resolution[19] dated February 26, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) was required to file its Comment. The OSG filed its Comment[20] on June 5, 2007 while the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed the Comment[21] for respondent People of the Philippines on February 22, 2008. Issue The sole issue for consideration in this present petition is: Whether the [petitioner's] constitutional right[s] to due process x x x and x x x equal protection of [the] law x x x were violated x x x [when he was denied] the opportunity to present [in] evidence [the Court of Appeals'] Decision dated April 18, 2001 x x x in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 entitled "Jose R. Catacutan, There is also no denial of due process when the trial court did not allow petitioner to introduce as evidence the CA Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795. It is well within the court's discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it judiciously believes irrelevant and impertinent to the proceeding on hand. This is specially true when the evidence sought to be presented in a criminal proceeding as in this case, concerns an administrative matter. As the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked: petitioner, versus Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao, et al., respondents."[22] Invoking the constitutional provision on due process,[23] petitioner argues that the Decision rendered by the trial court is flawed and is grossly violative of his right to be heard and to present evidence. He contends that he was not able to controvert the findings of the trial court since he was not able to present the Court of Appeals' (CA's) Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 which denied the administrative case filed against him and declared that his intention in refusing to implement the promotions of the private complainants falls short of malice or wrongful intent. Our Ruling The petition lacks of merit. Petitioner was not deprived of his right to due process. "Due process simply demands an opportunity to be heard."[24] "Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy."[25] "Where an opportunity to be heard either through oral arguments or through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process."[26] Guided by these established jurisprudential pronouncements, petitioner can hardly claim denial of his fundamental right to due process. Records show that petitioner was able to confront and crossexamine the witnesses against him, argue his case vigorously, and explain the merits of his defense. To reiterate, as long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he cannot be said to have been denied due process of law for the opportunity to be heard is the better accepted norm of procedural due process.

15

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


The RTC committed no error in judgment when it did not allow the Accused-appellant to present the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 (Jose R. Catacutan vs. Office of the Ombudsman). The findings in administrative cases are not binding upon the court trying a criminal case, even if the criminal proceedings are based on the same facts and incidents which gave rise to the administrative matter. The dismissal of a criminal case does not foreclose administrative action or necessarily gives the accused a clean bill of health in all respects. In the same way, the dismissal of an administrative case does not operate to terminate a criminal proceeding with the same subject matter. x x x[27] This action undertaken by the trial court and sustained by the appellate court was not without legal precedent. In Paredes v. Court of Appeals,[28] this Court ruled: It is indeed a fundamental principle of administrative law that administrative cases are independent from criminal actions for the same act or omission. Thus, an absolution from a criminal charge is not a bar to an administrative prosecution, or vice versa. One thing is administrative liability; quite another thing is the criminal liability for the same act. xxxx Thus, considering the difference in the quantum of evidence, as well as the procedure followed and the sanctions imposed in criminal and administrative proceedings, the findings and conclusions in one should not necessarily be binding on the other. Notably, the evidence presented in the administrative case may not necessarily be the same evidence to be presented in the criminal cases. x x x In Nicolas reiterated: v. Sandiganbayan,[29] the Court or incompetent evidence, or testimony of an incompetent witness. It is not an error to refuse evidence which although admissible for certain purposes, is not admissible for the purpose which counsel states as the ground for offering it."[30] At any rate, even assuming that the trial court erroneously rejected the introduction as evidence of the CA Decision, petitioner is not left without legal recourse. Petitioner could have availed of the remedy provided in Section 40, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which provides: Section 40. Tender of excluded evidence. - If documents or things offered in evidence are excluded by the court, the offeror may have the same attached to or made part of the record. If the evidence excluded is oral, the offeror may state for the record the name and other personal circumstances of the witness and the substance of the proposed testimony. As observed by the appellate court, if the petitioner is keen on having the RTC admit the CA's Decision for whatever it may be worth, he could have included the same in his offer of exhibits. If an exhibit sought to be presented in evidence is rejected, the party producing it should ask the court's permission to have the exhibit attached to the record. As things stand, the CA Decision does not form part of the records of the case, thus it has no probative weight. Any evidence that a party desires to submit for the consideration of the court must be formally offered by him otherwise it is excluded and rejected and cannot even be taken cognizance of on appeal. The rules of procedure and jurisprudence do not sanction the grant of evidentiary value to evidence which was not formally offered. Section 3(e) of RA 3019, as amended, provides: Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful. xxxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad

This Court is not unmindful of its rulings that the dismissal of an administrative case does not bar the filing of a criminal prosecution for the same or similar acts subject of the administrative complaint and that the disposition in one case does not inevitably govern the resolution of the other case/s and vice versa. x x x On the basis of the afore-mentioned precedents, the Court has no option but to declare that the courts below correctly disallowed the introduction in evidence of the CA Decision. "Due process of law is not denied by the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial,

16

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. Under said provision of law, three essential elements must thus be satisfied, viz: The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence; and His action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.[31] All the above enumerated elements of the offense charged have been successfully proven by the prosecution. First, petitioner could not have committed the acts imputed against him during the time material to this case were it not for his being a public officer, that is, as the Officer-In-Charge (Principal) of SNSAT. As such public officer, he exercised official duties and functions, which include the exercise of administrative supervision over the school such as taking charge of personnel management and finances, as well as implementing instruction as far as appointment of teachers.[32] Second, petitioner acted with evident bad faith in refusing to implement the appointments of private complainants. As the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked: The records clearly indicate that the refusal of Catacutan to implement the subject promotion was no longer anchored on any law or civil service rule as early [as] the July 14, 1997 letter of the CHED Regional Director addressing the four issues raised by the Accused-appellant in the latter's protest letter. x x x In light of the undisputed evidence presented to the trial court that Catacutan's reason for not implementing the appointments was a personal dislike or ill feelings towards Posesano, this Court believes that Catacutan's refusal was impelled by an ill motive or dishonest purpose characteristic of bad faith. x x x xxxx In the August 1, 1997 [m]emorandum issued by the CHED Regional Director, Catacutan was once again directed, in strong words, to cease and desist from further questioning what has been lawfully acted upon by competent authorities. Catacutan deliberately ignored the memorandum and even challenged the private complainants to file a case against him. Such arrogance is indicative of the bad faith of the accused-appellant. Yet again, the [CSC] Regional Director wrote the Accused-appellant on September 5, 1997, clarifying with finality the validity of the appointment. Still, Accused-appellant failed to implement the subject promotions. This stubborn refusal to implement the clear and repeated directive of competent authorities established the evident bad faith of Catacutan and belies any of his claims to the contrary.[33] While petitioner may have laudable objectives in refusing the implementation of private complainants' valid appointments, the Court fails to see how he can still claim good faith when no less than the higher authorities have already sustained the validity of the subject appointments and have ordered him to proceed with the implementation. "It is well to remember that good intentions do not win cases, evidence does."[34] Third, undue injury to the private complainants was duly proven to the point of moral certainty. Here, the private complainants suffered undue injury when they were not able to assume their official duties as Vocational Supervisors III despite the issuance of their valid appointments. As borne out by the records, they were able to assume their new positions only on November 19, 1997. So in the interregnum from June to November 1997, private complainants failed to enjoy the benefits of an increased salary corresponding to their newly appointed positions. Likewise established is that as a result of petitioner's unjustified and inordinate refusal to implement their valid appointments notwithstanding clear and mandatory directives from his superiors, the private complainants suffered mental anguish, sleepless nights, serious anxiety warranting the award of moral damages under Article 2217 of the New Civil Code. At this point, the Court just needs to stress that the foregoing are factual matters that were threshed out and decided upon by the trial court which were subsequently affirmed by the Sandiganbayan. Where the factual findings of both the trial court and the appellate court coincide, the same are binding on this

17

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Court. In any event, apart from these factual findings of the lower courts, this Court in its own assessment and review of the records considers the findings in order. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Sandiganbayan promulgated on December 7, 2006 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. TAN vs TAN GR No. 167139 The Case This is a petition for review[1] of (i) the 17 May 2004 Resolution[2] amending the 30 March 2004 Decision[3] and (ii) the 15 February 2005 Resolution[4] of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 107, in Civil Case No. Q-01-45743. In its 30 March 2004 Decision, the trial court declared the marriage between petitioner Susie Chan-Tan and respondent Jesse Tan void under Article 36 of the Family Code. Incorporated as part of the decision was the 31 July 2003 Partial Judgment[5] approving the Compromise Agreement[6] of the parties. In its 17 May 2004 Resolution, the trial court granted to respondent custody of the children, ordered petitioner to turn over to respondent documents and titles in the latters name, and allowed respondent to stay in the family dwelling. In its 15 February 2005 Resolution, the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration of the 28 December 2004 Resolution[7] denying petitioners motion to dismiss and motion for reconsideration of the 12 October 2004 Resolution,[8] which in turn denied for late filing petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the 17 May 2004 resolution. The Facts Petitioner and respondent were married in June of 1989 at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.[9] They were blessed with two sons: Justin, who was born in Canada in 1990 and Russel, who was born in the Philippines in 1993.[10] In 2001, twelve years into the marriage, petitioner filed a case for the annulment of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. The parties submitted to the court a compromise agreement, which we quote in full: 1. The herein parties mutually agreed that the two (2) lots located at Corinthian Hills, Quezon City and more particularly described in the Contract to Sell, marked in open court as Exhibits H to H-3 shall be considered as part of the presumptive legitimes of their two (2) minor children namely, Justin Tan born on October 12, 1990 and Russel Tan born on November 28, 1993. Copies of the Contract to Sell are hereto attached as Annexes A and B and made integral parts hereof. 2. Susie Tan hereby voluntarily agrees to exclusively shoulder and pay out of her own funds/assets whatever is the remaining balance or unpaid amounts on said lots mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof directly with Megaworld Properties, Inc., until the whole purchase or contract amounts are fully paid. Susie Tan is hereby authorized and empowered to directly negotiate, transact, pay and deal with the seller/developer Megaworld Properties, Inc., in connection with the Contract to Sell marked as Annexes A and B hereof. The property covered by CCT No. 3754 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City and located at Unit O, Richmore Town Homes 12-B Mariposa St., Quezon City shall be placed in co-ownership under the name of Susie Tan (1/3), Justin Tan (1/3) and Russel Tan (1/3) to the exclusion of Jesse Tan. The property covered by TCT No. 48137 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City and located at View Master Town Homes, 1387 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City shall be exclusively owned by Jesse Tan to the exclusion of Susie Tan. The undivided interest in the Condominium Unit in Cityland Shaw. Jesse Tan shall exclusively own blvd. to the exclusion of Susie Tan. The shares of stocks, bank accounts and other properties presently under the respective names of Jesse Tan and Susie Tan shall be exclusively owned by the spouse whose name appears as the registered/account owner or holder in the corporate records/stock transfer books, passbooks and/or the one in possession thereof, including the dividends/fruits thereof, to the exclusion of the other spouse. Otherwise stated, all shares, bank accounts and properties registered and under the name and/or in the possession of Jesse Tan shall be exclusively owned by him only and all shares, accounts and properties registered and/or in the possession and under the name of Susie Tan shall be exclusively owned by her only. However, as to the family corporations of Susie Tan, Jesse Tan shall execute any and all documents

18

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


transferring the shares of stocks registered in his name in favor of Susie Tan, or Justin Tan/Russel Tan. A copy of the list of the corporation owned by the family of Susie Tan is hereto attached as Annex C and made an integral part hereof. The parties shall voluntarily and without need of demand turn over to the other spouse any and all original documents, papers, titles, contracts registered in the name of the other spouse that are in their respective possessions and/or safekeeping. 3. Thereafter and upon approval of this Compromise Agreement by the Honorable Court, the existing property regime of the spouses shall be dissolved and shall now be governed by Complete Separation of Property. Parties expressly represent that there are no known creditors that will be prejudiced by the present compromise agreement. The parties shall have joint custody of their minor children. However, the two (2) minor children shall stay with their mother, Susie Tan at 12-B Mariposa St., Quezon City. The husband, Jesse Tan, shall have the right to bring out the two (2) children every Sunday of each month from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The minor children shall be returned to 12-B Mariposa Street, Quezon City on or before 9:00 PM of every Sunday of each month. The husband shall also have the right to pick up the two (2) minor children in school/or in the house every Thursday of each month. The husband shall ensure that the children be home by 8:00 PM of said Thursdays. During the summer vacation/semestral break or Christmas vacation of the children, the parties shall discuss the proper arrangement to be made regarding the stay of the children with Jesse Tan. Neither party shall put any obstacle in the way of the maintenance of the love and affection between the children and the other party, or in the way of a reasonable and proper companionship between them, either by influencing the children against the other, or otherwise; nor shall they do anything to estrange any of them from the other. The parties agreed to observe civility, courteousness and politeness in dealing with each other and shall not insult, malign or commit discourteous acts against each other and shall endeavor to cause their other relatives to act similarly. 4. Likewise, the husband shall have the right to bring out and see the children on the following additional dates, provided that the same will not impede or disrupt their academic schedule in Xavier School, the dates are as follows: a. Birthday of Jesse Tan b. Birthday of Grandfather and Grandmother, first cousins and uncles and aunties c. Father's Day d. Death Anniversaries of immediate members of the family of Jesse Tan e. During the Christmas seasons/vacation the herein parties will agree on such dates as when the children can stay with their father. Provided that if the children stay with their father on Christmas Day from December 24th to December 25th until 1:00 PM the children will stay with their mother on December 31 until January 1, 1:00 PM, or vice versa. The husband shall always be notified of all school activities of the children and shall see to it that he will exert his best effort to attend the same. 5. During the birthdays of the two (2) minor children, the parties shall as far as practicable have one celebration. Provided that if the same is not possible, the Husband (Jesse Tan) shall have the right to see and bring out the children for at least four (4) hours during the day or the day immediately following/or after the birthday, if said visit or birthday coincides with the school day. 6. The existing Educational Plans of the two children shall be used and utilized for their High School and College education, in the event that the Educational Plans are insufficient to cover their tuition, the Husband shall shoulder the tuition and other miscellaneous fees, costs of books and educational materials, uniform, school bags, shoes and similar expenses like summer workshops which are taken in Xavier School, which will be paid directly by Jesse Tan to the children's school when the same fall due. Jesse Tan, if necessary, shall pay tutorial expenses, directly to the tutor concerned. The husband further undertake to pay P10,000.00/monthly support pendente lite to be deposited in the ATM Account of SUSIE CHAN with account no. 3-189-53867-8 Boni Serrano Branch effective on the 15th of each month. In addition Jesse Tan undertakes to give directly to his two (2) sons every Sunday, the amount needed and necessary for the purpose of the daily meals of the two (2) children in school. 7. This Compromise Agreement is not against the law, customs, public policy, public order and good morals. Parties hereby voluntarily agree and bind themselves to execute and sign any and all documents to give effect to this Compromise Agreement.[11] On 31 July 2003, the trial court issued a partial judgment[12] approving the compromise agreement.

19

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


On 30 March 2004, the trial court rendered a decision declaring the marriage void under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of mutual psychological incapacity of the parties. The trial court incorporated in its decision the compromise agreement of the parties on the issues of support, custody, visitation of the children, and property relations. Meanwhile, petitioner cancelled the offer to purchase the Corinthian Hills Subdivision Lot No. 12, Block 2. She authorized Megaworld Corp. to allocate the amount of P11,992,968.32 so far paid on the said lot in the following manner: (a) P3,656,250.04 shall be transferred to fully pay the other lot in Corinthian Hills on Lot 11, Block 2; (b) P7,783,297.56 shall be transferred to fully pay the contract price in Unit 9H of the 8 Wack Wack Road Condominium project; and (c) P533,420.72 shall be forfeited in favor of Megaworld Corp. to cover the marketing and administrative costs of Corinthian Hills Subdivision Lot 12, Block 2.[13] Petitioner authorized Megaworld Corp. to offer Lot 12, Block 2 of Corinthian Hills to other interested buyers. It also appears from the records that petitioner left the country bringing the children with her. Respondent filed an omnibus motion seeking in the main custody of the children. The evidence presented by respondent established that petitioner brought the children out of the country without his knowledge and without prior authority of the trial court; petitioner failed to pay the P8,000,000 remaining balance for the Megaworld property which, if forfeited would prejudice the interest of the children; and petitioner failed to turn over to respondent documents and titles in the latters name. Thus, the trial court, in its 17 May 2004 resolution, awarded to respondent custody of the children, ordered petitioner to turn over to respondent documents and titles in the latters name, and allowed respondent to stay in the family dwelling in Mariposa, Quezon City. Petitioner filed on 28 June 2004 a motion for reconsideration[14] alleging denial of due process on account of accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. She alleged she was not able to present evidence because of the negligence of her counsel and her own fear for her life and the future of the children. She claimed she was forced to leave the country, together with her children, due to the alleged beating she received from respondent and the pernicious effects of the latters supposed gambling and womanizing ways. She prayed for an increase in respondents monthly support obligation in the amount of P150,000. Unconvinced, the trial court, in its 12 October 2004 Resolution,[15] denied petitioners motion for reconsideration, which was filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period. It also declared petitioner in contempt of court for non-compliance with the partial judgment and the 17 May 2004 resolution. The trial court also denied petitioners prayer for increase in monthly support. The trial court reasoned that since petitioner took it upon herself to enroll the children in another school without respondents knowledge, she should therefore defray the resulting increase in their expenses. On 4 November 2004, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss[16] and a motion for reconsideration[17] of the 12 October 2004 Resolution. She claimed she was no longer interested in the suit. Petitioner stated that the circumstances in her life had led her to the conclusion that withdrawing the petition was for the best interest of the children. She prayed that an order be issued vacating all prior orders and leaving the parties at the status quo ante the filing of the suit. In its 28 December 2004 Resolution,[18] the trial court denied both the motion to dismiss and the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner. It held that the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution had become final and executory upon the lapse of the 15-day reglementary period without any timely appeal having been filed by either party. Undeterred, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the 28 December 2004 resolution, which the trial court denied in its 15 February 2005 resolution.[19] The trial court then issued a Certificate of Finality[20] of the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution. The Trial Courts Rulings The 30 March 2004 Decision[21] declared the marriage between the parties void under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of mutual psychological incapacity. It incorporated the 31 July

20

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


2003 Partial Judgment[22] approving the Compromise Agreement[23] between the parties. The 17 May 2004 Resolution[24] amended the earlier partial judgment in granting to respondent custody of the children, ordering petitioner to turn over to respondent documents and titles in the latters name, and allowing respondent to stay in the family dwelling in Mariposa, Quezon City. The 15 February 2005 Resolution[25] denied petitioners motion for reconsideration of the 28 December 2004 Resolution[26] denying petitioners motion to dismiss and motion for reconsideration of the 12 October 2004 Resolution,[27] which in turn denied for late filing petitioners motion for reconsideration of the 17 May 2004 resolution. The Issue Petitioner raises the question of whether the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution of the trial court have attained finality despite the alleged denial of due process. The Courts Ruling The petition has no merit. Petitioner contends she was denied due process when her counsel failed to file pleadings and appear at the hearings for respondents omnibus motion to amend the partial judgment as regards the custody of the children and the properties in her possession. Petitioner claims the trial court issued the 17 May 2004 resolution relying solely on the testimony of respondent. Petitioner further claims the trial court erred in applying to her motion to dismiss Section 7 of the Rule on the Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. Petitioner argues that if indeed the provision is applicable, the same is unconstitutional for setting an obstacle to the preservation of the family. Respondent maintains that the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution of the trial court are now final and executory and could no longer be reviewed, modified, or vacated. Respondent alleges petitioner is making a mockery of our justice system in disregarding our lawful processes. Respondent stresses neither petitioner nor her counsel appeared in court at the hearings on respondent's omnibus motion or on petitioners motion to dismiss. The issue raised in this petition has been settled in the case of Tuason v. Court of Appeals.[28] In Tuason, private respondent therein filed a petition for the annulment of her marriage on the ground of her husbands psychological incapacity. There, the trial court rendered judgment declaring the nullity of the marriage and awarding custody of the children to private respondent therein. No timely appeal was taken from the trial courts judgment. We held that the decision annulling the marriage had already become final and executory when the husband failed to appeal during the reglementary period. The husband claimed that the decision of the trial court was null and void for violation of his right to due process. He argued he was denied due process when, after failing to appear on two scheduled hearings, the trial court deemed him to have waived his right to present evidence and rendered judgment based solely on the evidence presented by private respondent. We upheld the judgment of nullity of the marriage even if it was based solely on evidence presented by therein private respondent. We also ruled in Tuason that notice sent to the counsel of record is binding upon the client and the neglect or failure of the counsel to inform the client of an adverse judgment resulting in the loss of the latters right to appeal is not a ground for setting aside a judgment valid and regular on its face.[29] In the present case, the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution of the trial court had become final and executory upon the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal.[30] Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the 17 May 2004 resolution, which the trial court received on 28 June 2004, was clearly filed out of time. Applying the doctrine laid down in Tuason, the alleged negligence of counsel resulting in petitioners loss of the right to appeal is not a ground for vacating the trial courts judgments. Further, petitioner cannot claim that she was denied due process. While she may have lost her right to present evidence due to the supposed negligence of her counsel, she cannot say she was denied her day in court. Records show petitioner, through counsel, actively participated in the proceedings below, filing motion after motion. Contrary to petitioners allegation of negligence of her counsel, we have reason to believe the negligence in pursuing the case was on petitioners end, as may be gleaned from her counsels manifestation dated 3 May 2004:

21

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Undersigned Counsel, who appeared for petitioner, in the nullity proceedings, respectfully informs the Honorable Court that she has not heard from petitioner since Holy Week. Attempts to call petitioner have failed. Undersigned counsel regrets therefore that she is unable to respond in an intelligent manner to the Motion (Omnibus Motion) filed by respondent.[31] Clearly, despite her counsels efforts to reach her, petitioner showed utter disinterest in the hearings on respondents omnibus motion seeking, among others, custody of the children. The trial judge was left with no other recourse but to proceed with the hearings and rule on the motion based on the evidence presented by respondent. Petitioner cannot now come to this Court crying denial of due process. As for the applicability to petitioners motion to dismiss of Section 7 of the Rule on the Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, petitioner is correct. Section 7 of the Rule on the Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages provides: SEC. 7. Motion to dismiss. No motion to dismiss the petition shall be allowed except on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or over the parties; provided, however, that any other ground that might warrant a dismissal of the case may be raised as an affirmative defense in an answer. (Emphasis supplied) The clear intent of the provision is to allow the respondent to ventilate all possible defenses in an answer, instead of a mere motion to dismiss, so that judgment may be made on the merits. In construing a statute, the purpose or object of the law is an important factor to be considered.[32] Further, the letter of the law admits of no other interpretation but that the provision applies only to a respondent, not a petitioner. Only a respondent in a petition for the declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage or the annulment of voidable marriage files an answer where any ground that may warrant a dismissal may be raised as an affirmative defense pursuant to the provision. The only logical conclusion is that Section 7 of the Rule does not apply to a motion to dismiss filed by the party who initiated the petition for the declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage or the annulment of voidable marriage. Since petitioner is not the respondent in the petition for the annulment of the marriage, Section 7 of the Rule does not apply to the motion to dismiss filed by her. Section 7 of the Rule not being applicable, petitioners claim that it is unconstitutional for allegedly setting an obstacle to the preservation of the family is without basis. Section 1 of the Rule states that the Rules of Court applies suppletorily to a petition for the declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage or the annulment of voidable marriage. In this connection, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court allows dismissal of the action upon notice or upon motion of the plaintiff, to wit: Section 1. Dismissal upon notice by plaintiff. A complaint may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service of the answer or of a motion for summary judgment. Upon such notice being filed, the court shall issue an order confirming the dismissal. x x x Section 2. Dismissal upon motion of plaintiff. Except as provided in the preceding section, a complaint shall not be dismissed at the plaintiffs instance save upon approval of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. x x x (Emphasis supplied) However, when petitioner filed the motion to dismiss on 4 November 2004, the 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution of the trial court had long become final and executory upon the lapse of the 15-day reglementary period without any timely appeal having been filed by either party. The 30 March 2004 decision and the 17 May 2004 resolution may no longer be disturbed on account of the belated motion to dismiss filed by petitioner. The trial court was correct in denying petitioners motion to dismiss. Nothing is more settled in law than that when a judgment becomes final and executory, it becomes immutable and unalterable. The same may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law.[33] The reason is grounded on the fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice that, at the risk of occasional error, the judgments or orders of courts must be final at some definite date fixed by law. Once a judgment has become final and executory, the issues there should be laid to rest.[34]

22

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review. We AFFIRM the (i) 17 May 2004 Resolution amending the 30 March 2004 Decision and (ii) the 15 February 2005 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 107, in Civil Case No. Q-01-45743. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. NORYN S. TAN, Petitioner, vs. JUDGE MARIA CLARITA CASUGA-TABIN, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 4, Baguio City, Respondent. RESOLUTION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Noryn S. Tan (complainant) filed a Complaint dated April 2, 2007 against Judge Maria Clarita CasugaTabin (respondent) of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Baguio City for denial of due process relative to Criminal Case No. 118628. Complainant avers: On November 9, 2006, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Quezon City Police District (QCPD) served her a warrant of arrest dated October 13, 2006, issued by the MTCC Baguio City, Branch 4, presided by respondent, relative to Criminal Case No. 118628 for alleged violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. It was only then that she learned for the first time that a criminal case was filed against her before the court. She was detained at the Quezon City Hall Complex Police Office and had to post bail of P1,000.00 before the Office of the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City for her temporary release. Upon verification, she learned that respondent issued on August 8, 2006 an Order directing her to appear before the court on October 10, 2006 for arraignment. It was sent by mail to PNP Quezon City for service to her. However, she did not receive any copy of the Order and up to the present has not seen the same; hence, she was not able to attend her arraignment. She also found out that there was no proof of service of the Order or any notice to her of the arraignment. This notwithstanding, respondent issued a warrant for her arrest. Complainant alleges that she was deeply aggrieved and embarrassed by the issuance of the warrant for her arrest despite the fact that she was never notified of her arraignment. Complainant prayed that the appropriate investigation be conducted as to the undue issuance of a warrant for her arrest.1 In her Comment2 dated July 5, 2007, respondent answered: She issued the warrant of arrest because when the case was called for appearance, the complainant, as accused therein, failed to appear. Prior to the issuance of the warrant of arrest, her staff sent by registered mail the court's Order dated August 8, 2006 addressed to complainant "through the Chief of Police, PNP, 1104, Quezon City" directing complainant to appear on October 10, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. for the arraignment and preliminary conference in Criminal Case No. 118628, as proven by Registry Receipt No. 0310. It is true that the return on the court's Order dated August 8, 2006 had not yet been made by the QC Police on or before October 10, 2006. Nonetheless, she issued the warrant of arrest in good faith and upon the following grounds: (a) under Sec. 3 of Rule 1313 of the Rules of Court, the court was entitled to presume that on October 10, 2006, after the lapse of a little over two months, official duty had been regularly performed and a letter duly directed and mailed had been received in the regular course of mail; and (b) Sec. 12 of the 1983 Rule on Summary Procedure in Special Cases provides that bail may be required where the accused does not reside in the place where the violation of the law or ordinance was committed. The warrant of arrest she issued was meant to implement this provision, which was not repealed by the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, since complainant is a resident of Quezon City and not of Baguio City. If her interpretation was erroneous, she (respondent) believes that an administrative sanction for such error would be harsh and unsympathetic. She has nothing personal against complainant and did not want to embarrass or humiliate her. She issued the warrant in the honest belief that her act was in compliance with the rules. She prays that the case against her be dismissed and that a ruling on the interpretation of Secs. 10 & 12, of the 1983 Rule on Summary Procedure in Special Cases, in relation to Sec. 16 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure be made for the guidance of the bench and bar.4 The OCA, in its agenda report dated September 28, 2007, recommended that the case be dismissed for lack of merit. It held: Prior to the filing of the information, a preliminary investigation was conducted by the provincial prosecutor resulting in the Resolution dated July 11, 2006 recommending the filing of the case; it was incredulous for complainant to claim that she came to learn for the first time of the filing of the criminal case when the warrant of

23

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


arrest was served on her; furthermore, there was already a complete service of notice as contemplated in Sec. 10, Rule 135 of the Rules of Court; hence the requirement of notice was fully satisfied by the service of the Order dated August 8, 2006 and the completion of the service thereof.6 Adopting the recommendation of the OCA, the Court on November 12, 2007 issued a Resolution dismissing the case for lack of merit.7 Complainant filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated January 8, 2008 alleging: The issue in this case was not whether complainant was aware of the criminal complaint against her, but whether the issuance of a warrant of arrest against her despite the absence of notice should be administratively dealt with; complainant was never notified of the arraignment; thus, she was not able to attend the same; respondent admitted in her Comment that no return had yet been made on or before October 10, 2006, the date respondent ordered the warrant to be issued; her explanation of good faith was therefore unjustifiable; neither could respondent invoke the presumption of regularity of performance of official duty, since the complainant did not actually receive any notice; respondent in an Order dated March 14, 2007 admitted that since she did not usually wear eyeglasses during hearings, she thought that the acknowledgment receipt at the back of the Order referred to the copy sent to complainant; later scrutiny, however, showed that it pertained to the one sent to the prosecutor's office; Section 10, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court did not apply to the instant case; the Order was addressed and sent to PNP Quezon City; assuming that the Order was properly served on the PNP, it was not equivalent to a service on complainant; there was no actual delivery of the Order to the complainant; hence, there was no personal service; neither was it served by ordinary mail or by registered mail; thus, the rule on completeness of service had not been satisfied; complainant was not aware of and therefore did not attend the preliminary investigation of her case; no proof can be shown that she was ever notified of the said preliminary investigation, much less of the filing of the same.8 In a Resolution dated April 16, 2008, the Court required respondent to Comment on complainant's Motion for Reconsideration.9 Complainant filed a Comment stating: Complainant's motion did not raise any new issue or ground that would merit the reconsideration of the Court's November 12, 2007 Resolution; complainant failed to rebut the presumption that she was notified of the scheduled arraignment; what complainant propounded was a mere self-serving denial that she never received the subpoena intended for her; there was no explanation why she would be able to receive a warrant of arrest; which was coursed in the same manner as the subpoena, in a little less than a month, but allegedly to receive the subpoena in almost two months; if complainant's assertion was to be believed, the effect would be to paralyze the operation of courts in the provinces that had to inevitably rely on the police resources of Metro Manila; arraignments could not proceed and trials could not go on; it was reasonable to follow as a rule that once a pleading or any other official document was received in the ordinary course of sending them, it must be presumed that others of the same nature were also delivered to the named addressees; to believe otherwise would be to delay justice for those residing outside Metro Manila.10 The Court finds the Motion for Reconsideration to be impressed with merit. Whenever a criminal case falls under the Summary Procedure, the general rule is that the court shall not order the arrest of the accused, unless the accused fails to appear whenever required.11 This is clearly provided in Section 16 of the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure which states: Sec. 16. Arrest of accused. - The court shall not order the arrest of the accused except for failure to appear whenever required. Release of the person arrested shall either be in bail or on recognizance by a responsible citizen acceptable to the court. (Emphasis supplied) In this case, respondent claims that the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of complainant was justified, since complainant failed to appear during the arraignment in spite of an order requiring her to do so. Respondent admits, however, that a copy of the Order dated August 8, 2006, was sent to complainant "through the Chief of Police, PNP, 1104, Quezon City." While it is true that the Rules of Court provides for presumptions, one of which is that official duty has been regularly performed, such presumption should not be the sole basis of a magistrate in concluding that a person called to court has failed to appear as required, which in turn justifies the issuance of a warrant for her arrest, when such notice was not

24

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


actually addressed to her residence but to the police in her city. So basic and fundamental is a person's right to liberty that it should not be taken lightly or brushed aside with the presumption that the police through which the notice had been sent, actually served the same on complainant whose address was not even specified. Respondent further admitted in her Comment dated July 5, 2007 that when she proceeded with the arraignment on October 10, 2006 as scheduled, no return had yet been made by the Quezon City Police.12 Nevertheless, she issued the warrant of arrest, arguing that she did so on the presumption that regular duty had been performed, and that the Order had been received in the regular course of mail; and since Sec. 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure provides that bail may be required where the accused does not reside in the place where the violation of the law or ordinance was committed, the warrant of arrest she issued was justified since complainant is a resident of Quezon City and not of Baguio City. The Court disagrees. Sections 10 and 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure in Special Cases (As Amended) state: Sec. 10. Duty of the Court. - On the basis of the complaint of information and the affidavits accompanying the same, the court shall make a preliminary determination whether to dismiss the case outright for being patently without basis or merit, or to require further proceedings to be taken. In the latter case, the court may set the case for immediate arraignment of an accused under custody, and if he pleads guilty, may render judgment forthwith. If he pleads not guilty, and in all other cases, the court shall issue an order, accompanied by copies of all the affidavits submitted by the complainant, directing the defendant(s) to appear and submit his counter-affidavit and those of his witnesses at a specified date not later than ten (10) days from receipt thereof. Failure on the part of the defendant to appear whenever required, shall cause the issuance of a warrant for his arrest if the court shall find that a probable cause exists after an examination in writing and under oath or affirmation of the complainant and his witnesses. (Emphasis supplied) xxxx Sec. 12. Bail not required; Exception. --- No bail shall be required except when a warrant of arrest is issued in accordance with Section 10 hereon or where the accused (a) is a recidivist; (b) is fugitive from justice; (c) is charged with physical injuries; (d) does not reside in the place where the violation of the law or ordinance was committed, or (e) has no known residence. Section 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure was not reproduced in the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, while Section 10 was revised and portions thereof reproduced in Sections 1213 and 16 of the 1991 Rules on Summary Procedure. Granting, arguendo, that Sections 10 and 12 of the 1983 Rules on Summary Procedure in Special Cases were not repealed by the 1991 Revised Rules, still it does not justify the warrant of arrest issued in this case. Section 12 talks of instances when bails are required, one of which is when the accused does not reside in the place where the violation of the law or ordinance was committed. It does not state, however, that a warrant of arrest shall immediately issue even without actual notice to the accused. Respondent's interpretation ascribes to the rules those which were not expressly stated therein and unduly expands their meaning. The Court also notes that in an Order dated March 14, 2007, a copy of which was attached by complainant to her Motion for Reconsideration, respondent admitted that: As a point of clarification, during the hearing on October 10, 2006, when the case was called and the accused failed to appear, the Court verified from the staff if the Accused was notified to which said staff answered in the affirmative, showing to the Court a copy of the Order dated August 8, 2006, setting this case for Appearance of the Accused on October 10, 2006. At the back of the Order was an attached Acknowledgment Receipt. A quick glance of the said receipt, and without eyeglasses of the Presiding Judge, as she does not usually wear one during Court sessions, made this Court believed that indeed, that was the Acknowledgment Receipt proving that the Accused was served with a copy of the said Order. The attention of the Court was called upon receipt of the Accused's Motion for Clarification and a closer look on the Acknowledgment Receipt shows that the same was for the City Prosecutor's Office. x x x14 (Emphasis supplied)

25

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


From this, it can be inferred that respondent issued the warrant of arrest on the mistaken belief that complainant was actually notified of the arraignment. A closer scrutiny of the records however showed that the Acknowledgment Receipt pertained to the copy of the City Prosecutor's Office and not that of complainant's. Whatever the real reasons behind respondent's issuance of complainant's warrant of arrest -whether from the mistaken belief that complainant was actually notified, or the presumption that the police had served a copy of the order on complainant or that the rules allow immediate issuance of warrants of arrests whenever the accused does not reside in the locality where the crime was committed -- the fact is, respondent failed to uphold the rules, for which she should be held administratively liable. The Court has held that a judge commits grave abuse of authority when she hastily issues a warrant of arrest against the accused in violation of the summary procedure rule that the accused should first be notified of the charges against him and given the opportunity to file his counter-affidavits and countervailing evidence.15 While judges may not always be subjected to disciplinary action for every erroneous order or decision they render, that relative immunity is not a license to be negligent, abusive and arbitrary in their prerogatives. If judges wantonly misuse the powers vested in them by law, there will not only be confusion in the administration of justice but also oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process.16 While there appears to be no malicious intent on the part of respondent, such lack of intent, however, cannot completely free her from liability.17 When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to her office to know and simply apply it.18 Considering that this is respondent's first administrative infraction in her more than 8 years of service in the judiciary,19 which serves to mitigate her liability, the Court holds the imposition of a fine in the amount of P10,000.00 to be proper in this case.20 WHEREFORE, Judge Maria Clarita Casuga-Tabin, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 4, Baguio City is hereby found guilty of abuse of authority for which she is fined in the sum of P10,000.00. SO ORDERED. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE v. LANTION [322 SCRA 160 (2000)] Nature: Petition for review of a decision of the Manila RTC Facts: On June 18, 1999 the Department of Justice received from the Department of Foreign Affairs a request for the extradition of private respondent Mark Jimenez to the U.S. The Grand Jury Indictment, the warrant for his arrest, and other supporting documents for said extradition were attached along with the request. Charges include: 1. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the US 2. Attempt to evade or defeat tax 3. Fraud by wire, radio, or television 4. False statement or entries 5. Election contribution in name of another The Department of Justice (DOJ), through a designated panel proceeded with the technical evaluation and assessment of the extradition treaty which they found having matters needed to be addressed. Respondent, then requested for copies of all the documents included in the extradition request and for him to be given ample time to assess it. The Secretary of Justice denied request on the ff. grounds: 1. He found it premature to secure him copies prior to the completion of the evaluation. At that point in time, the DOJ is in the process of evaluating whether the procedures and requirements under the relevant law (PD 1069Philippine Extradition Law) and treaty (RP-US Extradition Treaty) have been complied with by the Requesting Government. Evaluation by the DOJ of the documents is not a preliminary investigation like in criminal cases making the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the accused in criminal prosecution inapplicable. 2. The U.S. requested for the prevention of unauthorized disclosure of the information in the documents. 3. Finally, country is bound to Vienna convention on law of treaties such that every treaty in force is binding upon the parties. The respondent filed for petition of mandamus, certiorari, and prohibition. The RTC of NCR ruled in favor of the respondent. Secretary of Justice was made to issue a copy of the requested papers, as well as conducting further proceedings. Issues:

26

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


1. WON private is respondent entitled to the two basic due process rights of notice and hearing Yes. 2(a) of PD 1086 defines extradition as the removal of an accused from the Philippines with the object of placing him at the disposal of foreign authorities to enable the requesting state or government to hold him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him in connection with any criminal investigation directed against him or the execution of a penalty imposed on him under the penal or criminal law of the requesting state or government. Although the inquisitorial power exercised by the DOJ as an administrative agency due to the failure of the DFA to comply lacks any judicial discretion, it primarily sets the wheels for the extradition process which may ultimately result in the deprivation of the liberty of the prospective extradite. This deprivation can be effected at two stages: The provisional arrest of the prospective extradite pending the submission of the request & the temporary arrest of the prospective extradite during the pendency of the extradition petition in court. Clearly, theres an impending threat to a prospective extraditees liberty as early as during the evaluation stage. Because of such consequences, the evaluation process is akin to an administrative agency conducting an investigative proceeding, the consequences of which are essentially criminal since such technical assessment sets off or commences the procedure for & ultimately the deprivation of liberty of a prospective extradite. In essence, therefore, the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. There are certain constitutional rights that are ordinarily available only in criminal prosecution. But the Court has ruled in other cases that where the investigation of an administrative proceeding may result in forfeiture of life, liberty, or property, the administrative proceedings are deemed criminal or penal, & such forfeiture partakes the nature of a penalty. In the case at bar, similar to a preliminary investigation, the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings which may result in the filing of an information against the respondent, can possibly lead to his arrest, & to the deprivation of his liberty. Thus, the extraditee must be accorded due process rights of notice & hearing according to A3 14(1) & (2), as well as A3 7the right of the people to information on matters of public concern & the corollary right to access to official records & documents The court held that the evaluation process partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation, having consequences which will result in deprivation of liberty of the prospective extradite. A favorable action in an extradition request exposes a person to eventual extradition to a foreign country, thus exhibiting the penal aspect of the process. The evaluation process itself is like a preliminary investigation since both procedures may have the same result the arrest and imprisonment of the respondent. The basic rights of notice & hearing are applicable in criminal, civil & administrative proceedings. Nonobservance of these rights will invalidate the proceedings. Individuals are entitled to be notified of any pending case affecting their interests, & upon notice, may claim the right to appear therein & present their side. Rights to notice and hearing: Dispensable in 3 cases: a. When there is an urgent need for immediate action (preventive suspension in administrative charges, padlocking filthy restaurants, cancellation of passport). b. Where there is tentativeness of administrative action, & the respondent isnt prevented from enjoying the right to notice & hearing at a later time (summary distraint & levy of the property of a delinquent taxpayer, replacement of an appointee) c. Twin rights have been offered, but the right to exercise them had not been claimed. 2. WON this entitlement constitutes a breach of the legal commitments and obligation of the Philippine Government under the RP-US Treaty? No. The U.S. and the Philippines share mutual concern about the suppression and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions. Both states accord common due process protection to their respective citizens. The administrative investigation doesnt fall under the three exceptions to the due process of notice and hearing in the Sec. 3 Rules 112 of the Rules of Court. 3. WON theres any conflict between private respondents basic due process rights & provisions of RP-US Extradition treaty No. Doctrine of incorporation under international law, as applied in most countries, decrees that rules of international law are given equal standing with, but are not superior to national legislative acts. Treaty can repeal statute and statute can repeal treaty. No conflict. Veil of secrecy is lifted during trial. Request should impose veil at any stage. Judgment: Petition dismissed for lack of merit.

27

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Kapunan, separate concurring opinion: While the evaluation process conducted by the DOJ is not exactly a preliminary investigation of criminal cases, it is akin to a preliminary investigation because it involves the basic constitutional rights of the person sought to be extradited. A person ordered extradited is arrested, forcibly taken from his house, separated from his family and delivered to a foreign state. His rights of abode, to privacy, liberty and pursuit of happiness are taken away from hima fate as harsh and cruel as a conviction of a criminal offense. For this reason, he is entitled to have access to the evidence against him and the right to controvert them. Puno, dissenting: Case at bar does not involve guilt or innocence of an accused but the interpretation of an extradition treaty where at stake is our governments international obligation to surrender to a foreign state a citizen of its own so he can be tried for an alleged offense committed within that jurisdiction. Panganiban, dissenting: Instant petition refers only to the evaluation stage. DBP vs CA January 29, 1999 Due Process Opportunity to be Heard In 1968 and 1969, Continental Cement Corp. entered into a loan contract with DBP. In 1979, CCC entered into a MOA with DBP restructuring its loans. In November 1985, DBP filed for a foreclosure against the assets of CCC. In December 1985, CCC petitioned before RTC Bulacan to enjoin DBP and the Sheriff of Bulacan from foreclosing its assets and praying further that its loan terms with DBP be restructured and that the interest rate terms in the promissory note be declared null and void. A TRO was issued in favor of CCC. In December 1986, PP 502 was issued transferring nonperforming assets of the govt to Asset Privatization Trust. One of those transferred was CCCs account. DBP filed a petition to dismiss the pending case as it CCC could no longer deal with DBP but rather with APT. The trial court denied the petition and has instead allowed APT to join the proceeding pursuant to PP 502 as amended. To determine CCCs indebtedness to DBP/APT, the RTC designated JC Laya (former BSP Gov and DepEd Sec) as chair of a fact finding commission. He was given 60 days to come up with a report and he was given a lot of extensions thereafter. After several months, he was able to come up with the report. The parties then filed their reactions to the report and during the trial they were given a chance to cross examine each others witnesses. After cross examination, they were ordered to submit their position papers as to their calculation of the amount of indebtedness. CCCs computation is at P43.6M, the Commissioners computation is at P61.6M while DBP/APTs calculation is at P2.6B. In June 1992, 3 of CCCs witnesses were scheduled to be cross examined by APTs counsel as DBPs counsel had already done so. APTs counsel was not able to do so raising the issue that he just took over the case and needs time to prepare. The cross examination was reset to August 24-26, 1992 but counsel for APT failed to appear due to Dengue. The other counsel, Jaime Cruz, for DBP was likewise absent; hes also a witness. On Aug 25th, the RTC ordered that due to the foregoing the case is deemed submitted for decision. APT filed for a motion for reconsideration. It was denied and the RTC ruled that the indebtedness to be paid by CCC is the calculation came up with by the Commissioner. APT appealed before the CA averring that it was denied due process when it was not allowed to cross examine the witnesses of CCC nor was it allowed to present further witnesses. CCC averred that by the failure of APTs counsel to appear APT has waived such right. The CA sustained the RTCs decision. ISSUE: Whether or not APT was denied of due process. HELD: The SC sustained the CAs ruling. Long ingrained in jurisprudence is the principle that there can be no denial of due process where a party had the opportunity to participate in the proceedings but did not do so. The withdrawal of APTs previous counsel in the thick of the proceedings would be a reasonable ground to seek postponement of the hearing. However, such reason necessitates a duty, nay an obligation, on the part of the new counsel to prepare himself for the next scheduled hearing. The excuse that it was due to the former counsels failure to turn over the records of the case to APT, shows the negligence of the new counsel to actively recover the records of the case. Mere demands are not sufficient. Counsel should have taken adequate steps to fully protect the interest of his client, rather than pass the blame on the previous counsel. The due process requirement is satisfied where the parties are given the opportunity to submit position papers, as in this case. Both parties, CCC and DBP/APT, were given opportunity to submit their

28

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


respective position papers after the Commissioner rendered his report. Contained in their position papers were their respective comments and objections to the said report. Furthermore, the parties were also given the chance to cross-examine the Commissioner and his representative. They were likewise granted opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the other party, however, like in APTs case, they were deemed to have waived their right, as previously discussed. The essence of due process is that a party be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to support any evidence he may have in support of his defense. What the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard, hence, a party cannot feign denial of due process when he had been afforded the opportunity to present his side. MATUGUINA VS CA 263 SCRA 490 Due Process Not Being Party to a Case In 1973, license was issued to Milagros Matuguina to operate logging businesses under her group Matuguina Logging Enterprises. MIWPI was established in 1974 with 7 stockholders. Milagros Matuguina became the majority stockholder later on. Milagros later petitioned to have MLE be transferred to MIWPI. Pending approval of MLEs petition, Davao Enterprises Corporation filed a complaint against MLE before the District Forester (Davao) alleging that MLE has encroached upon the area allotted for DAVENCORs timber concession. The Investigating Committee found MLE guilty as charged and had recommended the Director to declare that MLE has done so. MLE appealed the case to the Ministry of Natural Resources. During pendency, Milagrosa withdrew her shares from MIWPI. Later, MNR Minister Ernesto Maceda found MLE guilty as charged. Pursuant to the finding, DAVENCOR and Philip Co requested Maceda to order MLE and/or MIWPI to comply with the ruling to pay the value in pesos of 2352.04 m3 worth of timbers. The Minister then issued a writ of execution against MIWPI. MIWPI filed a petition for prohibition before the Davao RTC. The RTC ruled in favor of MIWPI and has ordered to enjoin the Minister from pursuing the execution of the writ. DAVENCOR appealed and the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. MIWPI averred that it is not a party to the original case (as it was MLE that was sued a separate entity). That the issuance of the order of execution by the Minister has been made not only without or in excess of his authority but that the same was issued patently without any factual or legal basis, hence, a gross violation of MIWPIs constitutional rights under the due process clause. ISSUE: Whether or not MIWPIs right to due process has been violated. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of MIWPI. Generally accepted is the principle that no man shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger, and strangers to a case not bound by judgment rendered by the court. In the same manner an execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in court. There is no basis for the issuance of the Order of Execution against the MIWPI. The same was issued without giving MIWPI an opportunity to defend itself and oppose the request of DAVENCOR for the issuance of a writ of execution against it. In fact, it does not appear that MIWPI was at all furnished with a copy of DAVENCORs letter requesting for the Execution of the Ministers decision against it. MIWPI was suddenly made liable upon the order of execution by the respondent Secretarys expedient conclusions that MLE and MIWPI are one and the same, apparently on the basis merely of DAVENCORs letter requesting for the Order, and without hearing or impleading MIWPI. Until the issuance of the Order of execution, MIWPI was not included or mentioned in the proceedings as having any participation in the encroachment in DAVENCORs timber concession. This action of the Minister disregards the most basic tenets of due process and elementary fairness. The liberal atmosphere which pervades the procedure in administrative proceedings does not empower the presiding officer to make conclusions of fact before hearing all the parties concerned. (1996 Oct 24) PEOPLE VS CA 262 SCRA 452

JAVIER VS. COMELEC G.R. No.L- 68379-812, September 22, 1986 FACTS: 1. The petitioner Evelio Javier and the private respondent Arturo Pacificador were candidates in Antique for the Batasang Pambansa election in May 1984;

29

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


2. Alleging serious anomalies in the conduct of the elections and the canvass of the election returns, Javier went to the COMELEC to prevent the impending proclamation of his rival; 3. On May 18, 1984, the Second Division of the COMELEC directed the provincial board of canvassers to proceed with the canvass but to suspend the proclamation of the winning candidate until further orders; 4. On June 7, 1984, the same Second Division ordered the board to immediately convene and to proclaim the winner without prejudice to the outcome of the petition filed by Javier with the COMELEC; 5. On certiorari with the S.C. the proclamation made by the Board of Canvasser was set aside as premature, having been made before the lapse of the 5 day period of appeal, which the petitioner seasonably made; 6. On July 23, 1984 the Second Division itself proclaimed Pacificador the elected assemblyman of Antique. ISSUE: Was the Second Division of the COMELEC, authorized to promulgate its decision of July 23, 1984 proclaiming Pacificador the winner in the election ? APPLICABLE CONSITUTION: PROVISIONS OF THE Petitioner: The proclamation made by the Second Division is invalid because all contests involving members of the Batasang Pambansa come under the jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections en banc. Respondents: Only contests need to be heard and decided en banc, all other cases can be in fact, should be filed with and decided only by any of the three divisions. There is a difference between contests and cases and also a difference between pre-proclamation controversies and election protests. The preproclamation controversy between the petitioner and the private respondent was not yet a contest at the time and therefore could be validly heard by a mere division of the Commission on elections, consonant with Sec. 3. The issue at that stage was still administrative and could be resolved by a division. HELD: a. The S.C. decided to resolve the case even if the Batasang Pambansa had already been abolished by the Aquino government, and even if Javier had already died in the meantime. This was because of its desire for this case to serve as a guidance for the future. Thus it said: The Supreme Court is not only the highest arbiter of legal questions but also the conscience of the government. The citizen comes to us in quest of law but we must also give him justice. The two are not always the same. There are times when we cannot grant the latter because the issue has been settled and decision is no longer possible according to law. But there are also times when although the dispute has disappeared, as in this case, it nevertheless cries out to be resolved. Justice demands that we act, then, not only for the vindication of the outraged right, though gone, but also for the guidance of and as a restraint upon the future. b. The S.C. held on the main issue that in making the COMELEC the sole judge of all contests involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the Batasang Pambansa and elective provincial and city officials, the Constitution intended to give it full authority to hear and decide these cases from beginning to end and on all matter related thereto, including those arising before the proclamation of the winners.

The applicable provisions of the 1973 Constitution are Art. XII-C, secs. 2 and 3, which provide: Section 2. Be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of all members of the Batasang Pambansa and elective provincial and city officials. Section 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in three divisions. All election casesa may be heard and decided by divisions except contests involving members of the Batasang Pambansa, which shall be heard and decided en banc. Unless otherwise provided by law, all election cases shall be decided within ninety days from the date of their submission for decision. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:

30

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


The decision rendered by the Second Division alone was therefore set aside as violative of the Constitution. The case should have been decided en banc. c. Pre-proclamation controversies became known and designated as such only because of Sec. 175 of the 1978 Election Code. The 1973 Constitution could not have therefore been intended to have divided contests between pre and post proclamation when that Constitution was written in 1973. d. The word contests should not be given a restrictive meaning; on the contrary, it should receive the widest possible scope conformably to the rule that the words used in the Constitution should be interpreted liberally. As employed in the 1973 Constitution, the term should be understood as referring to any matter involving the title or claim of title to an elective office, made before or after the proclamation of the winner, whether or not the contestant is claiming the office in dispute. e. There was also a denial of due process. One of the members of the Second Division, Commissioner Jose Opinion was a law partner of Pacificador. He denied the motion to disqualify him from hearing the case. The Court has repeatedly and consistently demanded the cold neutrality of an impartial judge as the indispensable imperative of due process. To bolster that requirement we have held that the judge must not only be impartial but must also appear to be impartial as an added assurance to the parties that his decision will be just. FELICIANO concurring: and MELENCIO-HERRERA, P141k thus leaving about P250k as a balance. She filed a petition for collection of sum of money before the Rizal RTC and the case was given to J Sarmiento. On 27 Mar 79, Azul received the copy of the complaint. On 10 Apr 79, Azul filed a motion for a 15 day extension to file for responsive pleading. Azul was unaware that J Sarmiento retired and was temporarily substituted by J Aover who granted the extension but only for 5 days starting the next day. But Azul only received the notice granting such on the 23rd of the same month way passed the 5 day period. On the 17th of April, Tecson already filed a motion to dismiss averring that Azuls 5 day extension has already lapsed. On the 18th of the same month, J Castro, the permanent judge to replace J Sarmiento took office and he ordered Azul to be in default due to the lapse of the 5 day extension. J Castro proceeded with the reception of evidence the next day and of course without Azuls evidence as he was still unaware of him being in default. On April 27th, J Castro ruled in favor Tecson. On May 2nd Azul, unaware that J Castro already decided the case appealed to remove his default status. On May 7th Azul received the decision rendered by the court on Apr 27th (but on record the date of receipt was May 5th). Azul filed a motion for new trial on June 6th. The lower court denied the same on the 20th of the same month. On Aug 1st, Azul filed a notice of appeal it was denied on the 3rd but was reconsidered on the 7th hence Azul filed his record on appeal on the 21st and J Castro approved it on the 27th but surprisingly upon motion of Tecson on the 30th, J Castro set aside its earlier decisaion on the 27th. Finally, J Castro denied the appeal on the 7th of September. ISSUE: Whether or not Azul has been denied due process. HELD: The SC agreed with the Azul that he was denied due process. The constitutional provision on due process commands all who wield public authority, but most peremptorily courts of justice, to strictly maintain standards of fundamental fairness and to insure that procedural safeguards essential to a fair trial are observed at all stages of a proceeding. It may be argued that when the Azuls counsel asked for a fifteen (15) day extension from April 11, 1979 to file his answer, it was imprudent and neglectful for him to assume that said first extension would be granted. However, the records show that Atty. Camaya personally went to the session hall of the court with his motion for postponement only to be informed that J Sarmiento had just retired but that his motion would be considered submitted for resolution. Since the sala was vacant and pairing

All election contests involving members of the Batasang Pambansa must be decided by the Commission on Elections en banc under Secs. 2 and 3 of Art. XII-C of the 1973 Constitution. These sections do not distinguish between preproclamation and post-proclamation contests nor between cases and contests. AZUL VS CASTRO 133 SCRA 271 Due Process Impartial and Competent Court Azul owns and operates a construction shop. To finance it he entered a loan agreement with Tecson in the amount of P391k. Tecson was only able to collect

31

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


judges in Quezon City are literally swamped with their own heavy loads of cases, counsel may be excused for assuming that, at the very least, he had the requested fifteen (15) days to file his responsive pleading. It is likewise inexplicable why J Aover, who had not permanently taken over the sala vacated by the retired judge, should suddenly rule that only a five-day extension would be allowed. And to compound the Azuls problems, the order was sent by mail and received only twelve (12) days later or after the five-day period. Before the much publicized Project Mercury of the Bureau of Posts, a court should have known that court orders requiring acts to be done in a matter of days should not be sent by mail. Meanwhile, the petitioner was declared in default. The motion to declare defendant in default is dated April 17, 1979. No copy was furnished the petitioner. It was acted upon on April 18, 1979, the very first day in office of J Castro in Quezon City. PADERANGA VS AZURA 136 SCRA 266 Due Process Hostility Between the Judge and the Parties Inhibition Paderanga was the mayor of Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. He petitioned that J Azura inhibits himself from deciding on pending cases brought before him on the grounds that they have lost confidence in him, that he entertained tax suits against the city and had issued TROs on the sales of properties when it is clearly provided for by law (Sec 74 PD 464) that the remedy to stop auction is to pay tax, that J Azura is bias, oppressive and is abusive in his power. ISSUE: Whether or not J Azura should inhibit himself from the trial. HELD: The SC ruled that Azura must. As decided in the Pimentel Case (21 SCRA 160), All the foregoing notwithstanding, this should be a good occasion as any to draw attention of all judges to appropriate guidelines in a situation where their capacity to try and decide fairly and judiciously comes to the fore by way of challenge from any one of the parties. A judge may not be legally prohibited from sitting in a litigation But when suggestion is made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of one party or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of circumstances reasonably capable of inciting such a state of mind, he should conduct a careful selfexamination. He should exercise his discretion in a way that the peoples faith in the courts of justice is not impaired. . . The reminder is also apropos that next in importance to the duty of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge . . . DAVID VS AQUILLIZAN 94 SCRA 707 Hearing David has a large parcel of land in Polomolok, Cotabato. He let Felomeno Jugar and Ricardo Jugar tend and caretake separate portions of his land in 1971. The land is estimated to be yielding 60-70 cavans of corn cobs an dthe share agreed upon is 5050. In 1973, David withdrew the land from the brothers and has not allowed them to go back there. The brothers prayed for reinstatement but David refused to do so. David denied that the borthers were his tenants. He said that Ricardo was his tractor driver before but he resigned to take care of his dad and to work for DOLE. Fewlomeno on the other hand surrendered the portion of the land he was tending to continue his faith healing. J Aquilizan handled the case filed by the brothers against David and after three months he rendered a decision in favor of the brothers without any hearing. David averred he was denied due process. J Aquilizan admitted that there was indeed no hearing conducted but he said the decision has already become final and executory as the period for appeal has already lapsed. ISSUE: Whether or not David is entitled to an appeal. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of David. A decision rendered without a hearing is null and void and may be attacked directly or collaterally. The decision is null and void for want of due process. And it has been held that a final and executory judgment may be set aside with a view to the renewal of the litigation when the judgment is void for lack of due process of law. In legal contemplation, it is as if no judgment has been rendered at all. L0RENZANA VS CAYETANO 78 SCRA 485 Due Process Hearing Lorenzana was renting a parcel of land from the Manila Railroad Company (later from the Bureau of Lands). She later purchased the land (San Lazaro

32

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Estate). She had the property be rented to tenants occupying stalls. Due to nonpayment of rents, she filed 12 ejectment cases against her tenant. On the other hand, Cayetano was an occupant of a parcel of land adjacent to that of Lorenzanas land. Cayetano was renting the same from the Bureau of Lands. The lower court granted Lorenzanas ejectment cases. Lorenzana then secured a writ of execution to forcibly eject her tenants but she included to eject Cayetanos property. Cayetano was not a party to the ejectment cases so she prayed for the lower court that her property be not touched. The lower court denied Cayetanos petition. The CA, upon appeal, favored Cayetano. Lorenzana averred that Cayetano is now a party to the ejectment cases as she already brought herself to the Courts jurisdiction by virtue of her appeal. ISSUE: Whether or not Cayetanos right to due process has been violated. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Cayetano and has affirmed the CA. It must be noted that respondent was not a party to any of the 12 ejectment cases wherein the writs of demolition had been issued; she did not make her appearance in and during the pendency of these ejectment cases. Cayetano only went to court to protect her property from demolition after the judgment in the ejectment cases had become final and executory. Hence, with respect to the judgment in said ejectment cases, Cayetano remains a third person to such judgment, which does not bind her; nor can its writ of execution be informed against her since she was not afforded her day in court in said ejectment cases. Gozon. It held that the disqualification of a judge to review his own decision or ruling (Sec. 1, Rule 137, Rules of Court) does not apply to administrative bodies; that there is no provision in the Mining Law, disqualifying the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources from deciding an appeal from a case which he had decided as Director of Mines; that delicadeza is not a ground for disqualification; that the ZCM did not seasonably seek to disqualify Gozon from deciding their appeal, and that there was no evidence that Gozon acted arbitrarily and with bias, prejudice, animosity or hostility to ZCM. ZCM appealed the case to the CA. The CA reversed Gozons finding and declared that ZCM had the rights earlier attributed to Martinez et al by Gozon. Martinez et al appealed averring that the factual basis found by Gozon as Director of Mines be given due weight. The CA reconsidered after realizing that Gozon cannot affirm his own decision and the CA remanded the case to the Minister of Natural Resources. Now both parties appealed urging their own contentions; ZCM wants the CAs earlier decision to be reaffirmed while Martinez et al demanded that Gozons finding be reinstated. The CA denied both petition. ISSUE: Whether or not Gozon can validly affirm his earlier decision w/o disturbing due process. HELD: The SC annulled the decision of Gozon calling it as a mockery of justice. Gozon had acted with grave abuse of discretion. In order that the review of the decision of a subordinate officer might not turn out to be a farce, the reviewing officer must perforce be other than the officer whose decision is under review; otherwise, there could be no different view or there would be no real review of the case. The decision of the reviewing officer would be a biased view; inevitably, it would be the same view since being human, he would not admit that he was mistaken in his first view of the case. The SC affirmed the 2nd decision of the CA. ANZALDO VS CLAVE 119 SCRA 353 Due Process Administrative Due Process Dr Anzaldo, 55, had been working in the National Institute of Science and Technology for 28 years. She was holding the position Scientist Research Associate IV when she was appointed as Science Research Supervisor II. Her appointment was approved by the CSC in 1978. The position was previously held by Dr Kintanar who recommended

ZAMBALES CHROMITE MINING VS CA 94 SCRA 261 Administrative Due Process ZCM filed an administrative case before the Director of Mines Gozon to have them be declared the rightful and prior locators and possessors of 69 mining claims in Sta. Cruz, Zambales. They are asserting their claim against the group of Martinez and Pabiloa. Gozon decided in favor of Martinez et al. ZCM appealed the case before the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. During pendency, Gozon was assigned as the Sec of Agri. And Natural Resources. He did not inhibit himself from deciding on the appeal but he instead affirmed his earlier decision when he was still the director of mines. ZCM then appealed before the CFI of Zambales. The CFI affirmed the decision of

33

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


Dr Venzon to his position. Dr Venzon contested the position. Dr Afable, the one who appointed Anzaldo, averred that Anzaldos appointment was approved by the NIST evaluation Committee which gave 88 points to Anzalado and 66 points to Venzon. The issue was elevated to the Office of the president by Venzon. Clave was then the Presidential Executive Assistant. Pursuant to PD 807 or the Civil Service Decree, Clave referred the issue to the CSC. Clave was also holding the chairmanship of the CSC. Clave issued Res 1178 appointing Venzon to the contested position. After the denial of her motion for the reconsideration of that resolution, or on January 5, 1980, Anzaldo appealed to the Office of the President of the Philippines. Since Clave was holding the office of PEA he just affirmed his decision as the CSC chairman. ISSUE: Whether or not there is due process in the case at bar. HELD: The SC ruled in favor of Anzaldo. When PEA Clave said in his decision that he was inclined to concur in the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission, what he meant was that he was concurring with Chairman Claves recommendation: he was concurring with himself. It is evident that Anzaldo was denied due process of law when Presidential Executive Assistant Clave concurred with the recommendation of (himself) Chairman Clave of the Civil Service Commission. Due process of law means fundamental fairness. It is not fair to Anzaldo that PEA Clave should decide whether his own recommendation as Chairman of the CSC, as to who between Anzaldo and Venzon should be appointed Science Research Supervisor II, should be adopted by the President of the Philippines. SINGSON VS NLRC 273 SCRA 258 Due Process Dismissal of Employees Singson was an employee of PAL. On 7 Jun 1991, a Japanese national alleged that Singson extorted money from her ($200.00) by accusing her of having excess baggage; and that to settle the issue she needs to pay said amount to him. Singson was later investigated and the investigating committee found him guilty. PAL then dismissed Singson from employment. Singson then filed a case before NLRC against PAL for illegal dismissal, attys fees and damages. Labor Arbiter Raul Aquino ruled in favor of Singson as he found PALs side insufficient to dismiss Singson. PAL appealed to the NLRC. The 2nd Division, composed of Calaycay, Rayala former Arbiter Raul Aquino, of the NLRC took cognizance of the case. NLRC reversed the decision of Aquino. Singson moved for reconsideration which was denied by NLRC, this time only Calaycay & Rayala voted. ISSUE: Whether or not Singson was denied of due process. HELD: The SC ruled that Singson was denied due process. The SC held that Singson was denied due process when Aquino participated, as presiding commissioner of the 2nd Division of the NLRC, in reviewing PALs appeal. He was reviewing his own decision as a former labor arbiter. Under Rule VII, Section 2 (b) of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, each Division shall consist of one member from the public sector who shall act as the Presiding Commissioner and one member each from the workers and employers sectors, respectively. The composition of the Division guarantees equal representation and impartiality among its members. Thus, litigants are entitled to a review of three (3) commissioners who are impartial right from the start of the process of review. Commissioner Aquino can hardly be considered impartial since he was the arbiter who decided the case under review. He should have inhibited himself from any participation in this case. The infirmity of the resolution was not cured by the fact that the motion for reconsideration of Singson was denied by two commissioners and without the participation of Aquino. The right of petitioner to an impartial review of his appeal starts from the time he filed his appeal. He is not only entitled to an impartial tribunal in the resolution of his motion for reconsideration. Moreover, his right is to an impartial review of three commissioners. The denial of Singsons right to an impartial review of his appeal is not an innocuous error. It negated his right to due process. MAYOR ALONTE VS JUDGE SAVELLANO 287 SCRA 245 Due Process in Criminal Proceedings Waiver of Right to Due Process Alonte was accused of raping JuvieLyn Punongbayan with accomplice Buenaventura Concepcion. It was alleged that Concepcion befriended Juvie and had later lured her into Alonetes house who was then the mayor of Bian, Laguna. The case was brought before RTC Bian. The counsel and the prosecutor later moved for a change of venue due to alleged intimidation. While the change of venue was

34

DUE PROCESS (CASES) Consti2


pending, Juvie executed an affidavit of desistance. The prosecutor continued on with the case and the change of venue was done notwithstanding opposition from Alonte. The case was raffled to the Manila RTC under J Savellano. Savellano later found probable cause and had ordered the arrest of Alonte and Concepcion. Thereafter, the prosecution presented Juvie and had attested the voluntariness of her desistance the same being due to media pressure and that they would rather establish new life elsewhere. Case was then submitted for decision and Savellano sentenced both accused to reclusion perpetua. Savellano commented that Alonte waived his right to due process when he did not cross examine Juvie when clarificatory questions were raised about the details of the rape and on the voluntariness of her desistance. ISSUE: Whether or not Alonte has been denied criminal due process. HELD: The SC ruled that Savellano should inhibit himself from further deciding on the case due to animosity between him and the parties. There is no showing that Alonte waived his right. The standard of waiver requires that it not only must be voluntary, but must be knowing, intelligent, and done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences. Mere silence of the holder of the right should not be so construed as a waiver of right, and the courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver. Savellano has not shown impartiality by repeatedly not acting on numerous petitions filed by Alonte. The case is remanded to the lower court for retrial and the decision earlier promulgated is nullified.

35