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G.R. No.

196231 January 28, 2014


EMILIO A. GONZALES III, Petitioner,
vs.
OFFICE OF !E "RESI#EN OF !E "!ILI""INES, ACING !RO$G! AN#
RE"RESENE# %& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& "A)$IO N. OC!OA, JR., SENIOR
#E"$& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& JOSE AMOR M. AMORAN#O, OFFICER*IN*
C!ARGE * OFFICE OF !E #E"$& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS,
A&. RONAL#O A. GERON, #IR. RO+ENA $RINGAN*SANC!EZ, AN# A&.
CARLIO #. CAA&ONG, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
G.R. No. 196232
+EN#ELL %ARRERAS*S$LI Petitioner,
vs.
A&. "A)$IO N. OC!OA, JR., IN !IS CA" A CI& AS E'EC$I(E SECREAR&,
OFFICE OF !E "RESI#EN, A&. #ENNIS F. ORIZ, A&. CARLO #. S$LA& AN#
A&. FROILAN #. MONAL%AN, JR., IN !EIR CA"ACIIES AS C!AIRMAN AN#
MEM%ERS OF OFFICE OF MALACANANG LEGAL AFFAIRS, Respondents.
Republic of the Philippines
S$"REME CO$R
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 196231 January 28, 2014
EMILIO A. GONZALES III, Petitioner,
vs.
OFFICE OF !E "RESI#EN OF !E "!ILI""INES, ACING !RO$G! AN#
RE"RESENE# %& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& "A)$IO N. OC!OA, JR., SENIOR
#E"$& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& JOSE AMOR M. AMORAN#O, OFFICER*IN*
C!ARGE * OFFICE OF !E #E"$& E'EC$I(E SECREAR& FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS,
A&. RONAL#O A. GERON, #IR. RO+ENA $RINGAN*SANC!EZ, AN# A&.
CARLIO #. CAA&ONG, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
G.R. No. 196232
+EN#ELL %ARRERAS*S$LI Petitioner,
vs.
A&. "A)$IO N. OC!OA, JR., IN !IS CA" A CI& AS E'EC$I(E SECREAR&,
OFFICE OF !E "RESI#EN, A&. #ENNIS F. ORIZ, A&. CARLO #. S$LA& AN#
A&. FROILAN #. MONAL%AN, JR., IN !EIR CA"ACIIES AS C!AIRMAN AN#
MEM%ERS OF OFFICE OF MALACANANG LEGAL AFFAIRS, Respondents.
D E C ! " N
%RION, J.:
#e resolve the "ffice of the President$s %"P $s& 'otion for reconsideration of our !epte'ber (, )*+)
Decision+ ,hich ruled on the petitions filed b- Deput- "'buds'an E'ilio .on/ales and !pecial
Prosecutor #endell Barreras-!ulit. 0heir petitions challen1ed the constitutionalit- of !ection 2%)& of
Republic Act %RA& No. 344*.)
n the challen1ed Decision, the Court upheld the constitutionalit- of !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344* and
ruled that the President has disciplinar- 5urisdiction over a Deput- "'buds'an and a !pecial
Prosecutor. 0he Court, ho,ever, reversed the "P rulin1 that6 %i& found .on/ales 1uilt- of .ross
Ne1lect of Dut- and .rave Misconduct constitutin1 betra-al of public trust7 and %ii& i'posed on hi'
the penalt- of dis'issal.
!ulit, ,ho had not then been dis'issed and ,ho si'pl- sou1ht to restrain the disciplinar- proceedin1s
a1ainst her, solel- 8uestioned the 5urisdiction of the "P to sub5ect her to disciplinar- proceedin1s. 0he
Court affir'ed the continuation of the proceedin1s a1ainst her after upholdin1 the constitutionalit- of
!ection 2%)& of RA No. 344*.
0he fallo of our assailed Decision reads6
#9ERE:"RE, in ..R. No. +;3)<+, the decision of the "ffice of the President in "P Case No. + "-=-
(3* is RE>ER!ED and !E0 A!DE. Petitioner E'ilio A. .on/ales is ordered REN!0A0ED ,ith
pa-'ent of bac?,a1es correspondin1 to the period of suspension effective i''ediatel-, even as the
"ffice of the "'buds'an is directed to proceed ,ith the investi1ation in connection ,ith the above
case a1ainst petitioner. n ..R. No. +;3)<), #e A::RM the continuation of "P-DC Case No. ll-B-
**< a1ainst !pecial Prosecutor #endell Barreras-!ulit for alle1ed acts and o'issions tanta'ount to
culpable violation of the Constitution and a betra-al of public trust, in accordance ,ith !ection 2%)& of
the "'buds'an Act of +;2;.<
n vie, of the Court@s rulin1, the "P filed the present 'otion for reconsideration throu1h the "ffice of
the !olicitor .eneral %"!.&.
#e briefl- narrate the facts that preceded the filin1 of the petitions and the present 'otion for
reconsideration.
. AN0ECEDEN0!
A. .on/ales@ petition %..R. No. +;3)<+&
a. Factual antecedents
"n Ma- )3, )**2, Christian Aala, filed separate char1es ,ith the Philippine National
Police nternal Affairs !ervice %PNP-A!& and ,ith the Manila Cit- Prosecutor@s "ffice
a1ainst Manila Police District !enior nspector Rolando Mendo/a and four others
%Mendo/a, et al.& for robber-, 1rave threat, robber- extortion and ph-sical in5ur-.(
"n Ma- );, )**2, Police !enior !uperintendent Att-. Clarence .uinto filed an
ad'inistrative char1e for 1rave 'isconduct ,ith the National Police Co''ission
%NAP"BC"M& PNP-NCRP" a1ainst Mendo/a, et al. based on the sa'e alle1ations 'ade
b- Aala, before the PNP-A!.C
"n =ul- ), )**2, .on/ales, Deput- "'buds'an for Militar- and "ther Ba, Enforce'ent
"fficers %M"BE"&, directed the NAP"BC"M to turn over the records of Mendo/a@s case
to his office. 0he "ffice of the Re1ional Director of the NAP"BC"M dul- co'plied on
=ul- )(, )**2.3 Mendo/a, et al. filed their position papers ,ith .on/ales, in co'pliance
,ith his "rder.4
Pendin1 .on/ales@ action on Mendo/a, et al.@s case %on Au1ust )3, )**2&, the "ffice of the
Cit- Prosecutor of Manila Cit- dis'issed Aala,@s co'plaint a1ainst Mendo/a, et al. for his
failure to substantiate his alle1ations.2 !i'ilarl-, on "ctober +4, )**2, the PNP-A!
reco''ended the dis'issal ,ithout pre5udice of the ad'inistrative case a1ainst Mendo/a,
et al. for Aala,@s failure to prosecute.;
"n :ebruar- +3, )**;, after preparin1 a draft decision on Mendo/a, et al.@s case, .on/ales
for,arded the entire records to the "ffice of then "'buds'an Merceditas .utierre/ for her
revie,.+* n his draft decision, .on/ales found Mendo/a, et al. 1uilt- of 1rave 'isconduct
and i'posed on the' the penalt- of dis'issal fro' the service.++
Mendo/a, et al. received a cop- of the "'buds'an@s decision that approved .on/ales@
reco''endation on "ctober <*, )**;. Mendo/a, et al. filed a 'otion for reconsideration+)
on Nove'ber C, )**;, follo,ed b- a !upple'ent to the Motion for Reconsideration.+<
"n Dece'ber +*, )**;, the M"BE"-Records !ection for,arded Mendo/a, et al.@s case
records to the Cri'inal nvesti1ation, Prosecution and Ad'inistrative Bureau-M"BE". "n
Dece'ber +(, )**;, the case ,as assi1ned to .raft nvesti1ation and Prosecution "fficer
%.P"& Dennis .arcia for revie, and reco''endation.+(
.P" .arcia released a draft order+C to his i''ediate superior, Director Eulo1io !.
Cecilio, for appropriate action on April C, )*+*. Dir. Cecilio si1ned and for,arded the draft
order to .on/ales@ office on April )4, )*+*. .on/ales revie,ed the draft and endorsed the
order, to1ether ,ith the case records, on Ma- 3, )*+* for the final approval b- the
"'buds'an.+3
"n Au1ust )<, )*+*, pendin1 final action b- the "'buds'an on Mendo/a, et al.@s case,
Mendo/a hi5ac?ed a tourist bus and held the )+ forei1n tourists and the four :ilipino tour
assistants on board as hosta1es. #hile the 1overn'ent exerted earnest atte'pts to
peacefull- resolve the hosta1e-ta?in1, it ended tra1icall-, resultin1 in the deaths of
Mendo/a and several others on board the hi5ac?ed bus.
n the after'ath, President Beni1no C. A8uino directed the Depart'ent of =ustice and
the Depart'ent of nterior and Bocal .overn'ent to conduct a 5oint thorou1h investi1ation
of the incident. 0he t,o depart'ents issued =oint Depart'ent "rder No. *+-)*+*, creatin1
an ncident nvesti1ation and Revie, Co''ittee %RC&.
n its !epte'ber +3, )*+* :irst Report, the RC found the "'buds'an and .on/ales
accountable for their D1ross ne1li1ence and 1rave 'isconduct in handlin1 the case a1ainst
Mendo/a.D+4 0he RC stated that the "'buds'an and .on/ales@ failure to pro'ptl-
resolve Mendo/a@s 'otion for reconsideration, D,ithout 5ustification and despite repeated
pleasD xxx Dprecipitated the desperate resort to hosta1e-ta?in1.D+2 0he RC reco''ended
the referral of its findin1s to the "P for further deter'ination of possible ad'inistrative
offenses and for the initiation of the proper ad'inistrative proceedin1s.+;
Accordin1l-, on "ctober +C, )*+*, .on/ales ,as for'all- char1ed before the "P for .ross
Ne1lect of Dut- andEor nefficienc- in the Perfor'ance of "fficial Dut- and for
Misconduct in "ffice.)*
b. The OP ruling
"n March <+, )*++, the "P found .on/ales 1uilt- as char1ed and dis'issed hi' fro' the
service.)+ Accordin1 to the "P, Dthe inordinate and un5ustified dela- in the resolution of
FMendo/a@sG Motion for Reconsideration FHthat spanned for nine %;& lon1 'onths@G xxx
a'ounted to 1ross ne1lect of dut-D and Dconstituted a fla1rant disre1ard of the "ffice of the
"'buds'an@s o,n Rules of Procedure.D))
c. 0he Petition
.on/ales posited in his petition that the "P has no ad'inistrative disciplinar- 5urisdiction
over a Deput- "'buds'an. Inder !ection )+ of RA No. 344*, it is the "'buds'an ,ho
exercises ad'inistrative disciplinar- 5urisdiction over the Deput- "'buds'an.
"n the 'erits, .on/ales ar1ued that his office received the draft order fro' .P" .arcia
on April )4, )*+*. "n Ma- 3, )*+*, he co'pleted his revie, of the draft, approved it, and
trans'itted it to the "ffice of the "'buds'an for final approval. !ince the draft order on
Mendo/a@s 'otion for reconsideration had to under1o different levels of preparation,
revie, and approval, the period it too? to resolve the 'otion could not be un5ustified, since
he hi'self acted on the draft order onl- ,ithin nine %;& calendars da-s fro' his receipt of
the order.)<
B. !ulit@s petition %..R. No. +;3)<)&
n April )**C, the "ffice of the "'buds'an char1ed Ma5or .eneral Carlos :. .arcia and
several others, before the !andi1anba-an, ,ith plunder and 'one- launderin1. "n Ma- 4,
)**4, .arcia filed an Ir1ent Petition for Bail ,hich the prosecution opposed. 0he
!andi1anba-an denied .arcia$s ur1ent petition for bail on =anuar- 4, )*+*, in vie, of the
stren1th of the prosecution@s evidence a1ainst .arcia.
"n :ebruar- )C, )*+*, the "ffice of the "'buds'an, throu1h !ulit and her prosecutorial
staff, entered into a plea bar1ainin1 a1ree'ent %A1ree'ent& ,ith .arcia.)( .arcia thereb-
a1reed to6 %i& ,ithdra, his plea of not 1uilt- to the char1e of plunder and enter a plea of
1uilt- to the lesser offense of indirect briber-7 and %ii& ,ithdra, his plea of not 1uilt- to the
char1e of 'one- launderin1 and enter a 1uilt- plea to the lesser offense of facilitatin1
'one- launderin1. n exchan1e, he ,ould conve- to the 1overn'ent his o,nership, ri1hts
and other interests over the real and personal properties enu'erated in the A1ree'ent and
the ban? deposits alle1ed in the infor'ation.)C
0he !andi1anba-an approved the A1ree'ent on Ma- (, )*+*)3 based on the parties@
sub'itted =oint Motion for Approval.)4
0he apparent one-sidedness of the A1ree'ent dre, public outra1e and pro'pted the
Co''ittee on =ustice of the 9ouse of Representatives to conduct an investi1ation. After
public hearin1s, the Co''ittee found that !ulit, her deputies and assistants co''itted
culpable violations of the Constitution and betra-al of public trust J 1rounds for re'oval
under !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344*.)2 0he Co''ittee reco''ended to the President the
dis'issal fro' the service of !ulit and the filin1 of appropriate char1es a1ainst her deputies
and assistants before the appropriate 1overn'ent office.
Accordin1l-, the "P initiated an ad'inistrative disciplinar- proceedin1 a1ainst !ulit.); "n
March )(, )*++, !ulit filed her #ritten Explanation, 8uestionin1 the "P@s 5urisdiction.<*
0he 8uestion of 5urisdiction not,ithstandin1, the "P set the case for preli'inar-
investi1ation on April +C, )*++, pro'ptin1 !ulit to see? relief fro' this Court.
. C"IR0@! RIBN.
"n 'otion for reconsideration and further reflection, the Court votes to 1rant .on/ales@
petition and to declare !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344* unconstitutional ,ith respect to the
"ffice of the "'buds'an. %As the full explanation of the Court@s vote describes belo,, this
conclusion does not appl- to !ulit as the 1rant of independence is solel- ,ith respect to the
"ffice of the "'buds'an ,hich does not include the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor
under the Constitution. 0he prevailin1 rulin1 on this latter point is e'bodied in the
Concurrin1 and Dissentin1 "pinion of =. Marvic Mario >ictor Beonen&.
A. Preli'inar- considerations6
a. Absence of 'otion for reconsideration on the part of the petitioners
At the outset, the Court notes that .on/ales and !ulit did not file a 'otion for
reconsideration of the Court@s !epte'ber (, )*+) Decision7 onl- the "P, throu1h the "!.,
'oved for the reconsideration of our rulin1 reinstatin1 .on/ales.
0his o'ission, ho,ever, poses no obstacle for the Court@s revie, of its rulin1 on the ,hole
case since a serious constitutional 8uestion has been raised and is one of the underl-in1
bases for the validit- or invalidit- of the presidential action. f the President does not have
an- constitutional authorit- to discipline a Deput- "'buds'an andEor a !pecial Prosecutor
in the first place, then an- rulin1 on the le1al correctness of the "P@s decision on the 'erits
,ill be an e'pt- one.
n other ,ords, since the validit- of the "P@s decision on the 'erits of the dis'issal is
inextricabl- anchored on the final and correct rulin1 on the constitutional issue, the ,hole
case J includin1 the constitutional issue J re'ains alive for the Court@s consideration on
'otion for reconsideration.
b. 0he 5usticiabilit- of the constitutional
issue raised in the petitions
#e clarif-, too, that the issue of ,hether a Deput- "'buds'an 'a- be sub5ected to the
ad'inistrative disciplinar- 5urisdiction of the President %concurrentl- ,ith that of the
"'buds'an& is a 5usticiable J not a political J 8uestion. A 5usticiable 8uestion is one ,hich
is inherentl- susceptible of bein1 decided on 1rounds reco1ni/ed b- la,,<+ as ,here the
court finds that there are constitutionall--i'posed li'its on the exercise of the po,ers
conferred on a political branch of the 1overn'ent.<)
n resolvin1 the petitions, ,e do not in8uire into the ,isdo' of the Con1ress@ choice to
1rant concurrent disciplinar- authorit- to the President. "ur in8uir- is li'ited to ,hether
such statutor- 1rant violates the Constitution, particularl- ,hether !ection 2%)& of RA No.
344* violates the core constitutional principle of the independence of the "ffice of the
"'buds'an as expressed in !ection C, Art. K of the Constitution.
0o be sure, neither the Executive nor the Be1islative can create the po,er that !ection 2%)&
of RA No. 344* 1rants ,here the Constitution confers none. #hen exercised authorit- is
dra,n fro' a vacuu', 'ore so ,hen the authorit- runs counter to a core constitutional
principle and constitutional intents, the Court is dut--bound to intervene under the po,ers
and duties 1ranted and i'posed on it b- Article > of the Constitution.
B. 0he Deput- "'buds'an6 Constitutional ssue
a. 0he Philippine "'buds'an
Prior to the +;4< Constitution, past presidents established several "'buds'an-li?e
a1encies to serve as the people$s 'ediu' for airin1 1rievances and for direct redress a1ainst
abuses and 'isconduct in the 1overn'ent. Ilti'atel-, ho,ever, these a1encies failed to
full- reali/e their ob5ective for lac? of the political independence necessar- for the effective
perfor'ance of their function as 1overn'ent critic.<<
t ,as under the +;4< Constitution that the "ffice of the "'buds'an beca'e a
constitutionall--'andated office to 1ive it political independence and ade8uate po,ers to
enforce its 'andate. Pursuant to the +;4< Constitution, President :erdinand Marcos
enacted Presidential Decree %PD& No. +(24, as a'ended b- PD No. +3*4 and PD No. +3<*,
creatin1 the "ffice of the "'buds'an to be ?no,n as 0anodba-an. t ,as tas?ed
principall- to investi1ate, on co'plaint or 'otu proprio, an- ad'inistrative act of an-
ad'inistrative a1enc-, includin1 an- 1overn'ent-o,ned or controlled corporation. #hen
the "ffice of the 0anodba-an ,as reor1ani/ed in +;4;, the po,ers previousl- vested in the
!pecial Prosecutor ,ere transferred to the 0anodba-an hi'self. 9e ,as 1iven the exclusive
authorit- to conduct preli'inar- investi1ation of all cases co1ni/able b- the
!andi1anba-an, file the correspondin1 infor'ation, and control the prosecution of these
cases.<(
#ith the advent of the +;24 Constitution, a ne, "ffice of the "'buds'an ,as created b-
constitutional fiat. Inli?e in the +;4< Constitution, its independence ,as expressl- and
constitutionall- 1uaranteed. ts ob5ectives are to enforce the state polic- in !ection )4,
Article <C and the standard of accountabilit- in public service under !ection +, Article K
of the +;24 Constitution. 0hese provisions read6
!ection )4. 0he !tate shall 'aintain honest- and inte1rit- in the public service and ta?e
positive and effective 'easures a1ainst 1raft and corruption.
!ection +. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and e'plo-ees 'ust, at all ti'es,
be accountable to the people, serve the' ,ith ut'ost responsibilit-, inte1rit-, lo-alt-, and
efficienc-7 act ,ith patriotis' and 5ustice, and lead 'odest lives.
Inder !ection +), Article K of the +;24 Constitution, the "ffice of the "'buds'an is
envisioned to be the Dprotector of the peopleD a1ainst the inept, abusive, and corrupt in the
.overn'ent, to function essentiall- as a co'plaints and action bureau.<3 0his
constitutional vision of a Philippine "'buds'an practicall- intends to 'a?e the
"'buds'an an authorit- to directl- chec? and 1uard a1ainst the ills, abuses and excesses
of the bureaucrac-. Pursuant to !ection +<%2&, Article K of the +;24 Constitution, Con1ress
enacted RA No. 344* to enable it to further reali/e the vision of the Constitution. !ection
)+ of RA No. 344* provides6
!ection )+. "fficial !ub5ect to Disciplinar- Authorit-7 Exceptions. L 0he "ffice of the
"'buds'an shall have disciplinar- authorit- over all elective and appointive officials of
the .overn'ent and its subdivisions, instru'entalities and a1encies, includin1 Me'bers of
the Cabinet, local 1overn'ent, 1overn'ent-o,ned or controlled corporations and their
subsidiaries, except over officials ,ho 'a- be re'oved onl- b- i'peach'ent or over
Me'bers of Con1ress, and the =udiciar-. Fe'phasis ours, italics suppliedG
As the "'buds'an is expected to be an Dactivist ,atch'an,D<4 the Court has upheld its
actions, althou1h not s8uarel- fallin1 under the broad po,ers 1ranted it b- the Constitution
and b- RA No. 344*, if these actions are reasonabl- in line ,ith its official function and
consistent ,ith the la, and the Constitution.<2
0he "'buds'an@s broad investi1ative and disciplinar- po,ers include all acts of
'alfeasance, 'isfeasance, and nonfeasance of all public officials, includin1 Me'bers of
the Cabinet and ?e- Executive officers, durin1 their tenure. 0o support these broad po,ers,
the Constitution sa, it fit to insulate the "ffice of the "'buds'an fro' the pressures and
influence of officialdo' and partisan politics and fro' fear of external reprisal b- 'a?in1 it
an DindependentD office. !ection C,
Article K of the Constitution expressed this intent, as follo,s6
!ection C. 0here is hereb- created the independent "ffice of the "'buds'an, co'posed of
the "'buds'an to be ?no,n as 0anodba-an, one overall Deput- and at least one Deput-
each for Bu/on, >isa-as, and Mindanao. A separate Deput- for the 'ilitar- establish'ent
'a- li?e,ise be appointed. Fe'phasis oursG
.iven the scope of its disciplinar- authorit-, the "ffice of the "'buds'an is a ver-
po,erful 1overn'ent constitutional a1enc- that is considered Da notch above other
1rievance-handlin1 investi1ative bodies.D<; t has po,ers, both constitutional and statutor-,
that are co''ensurate ,ith its dauntin1 tas? of enforcin1 accountabilit- of public
officers.(*
b. DndependenceD of constitutional bodies vis-a-vis the "'buds'an@s independence
Inder the Constitution, several constitutional bodies have been expressl- labeled as
Dindependent.D(+ 0he extent of the independence en5o-ed b- these constitutional bodies
ho,ever varies and is to be interpreted ,ith t,o si1nificant considerations in 'ind6 first,
the functions perfor'ed or the po,ers involved in a 1iven case7 and second, consistenc- of
an- allo,able interference to these po,ers and functions, ,ith the principle of chec?s and
balances.
Notabl-, the independence en5o-ed b- the "ffice of the "'buds'an and b- the
Constitutional Co''issions shares certain characteristics J the- do not o,e their existence
to an- act of Con1ress, but are created b- the Constitution itself7 additionall-, the- all en5o-
fiscal autono'-. n 1eneral ter's, the fra'ers of the Constitution intended that these
DindependentD bodies be insulated fro' political pressure to the extent that the absence of
DindependenceD ,ould result in the i'pair'ent of their core functions.
n Ben1/on v. Drilon,() involvin1 the fiscal autono'- of the =udiciar-, ,e ruled a1ainst
the interference that the President 'a- brin1 and 'aintained that the independence and the
flexibilit- of the =udiciar-, the Constitutional Co''issions and the "ffice of the
"'buds'an are crucial to our le1al s-ste'.
0he =udiciar-, the Constitutional Co''issions, and the "'buds'an 'ust have the
independence and flexibilit- needed in the dischar1e of their constitutional duties. 0he
i'position of restrictions and constraints on the 'anner the independent constitutional
offices allocate and utili/e the funds appropriated for their operations is anathe'a to fiscal
autono'- and violative not onl- the express 'andate of the Constitution but especiall- as
re1ards the !upre'e Court, of the independence and separation of po,ers upon ,hich the
entire fabric of our constitutional s-ste' is based.
0he constitutional deliberations explain the Constitutional Co''issions@ need for
independence. n the deliberations of the +;4< Constitution, the dele1ates a'ended the
+;<C Constitution b- providin1 for a constitutionall--created Civil !ervice Co''ission,
instead of one created b- la,, on the pre'ise that the effectivit- of this bod- is dependent
on its freedo' fro' the tentacles of politics.(< n a si'ilar 'anner, the deliberations of the
+;24 Constitution on the Co''ission on Audit hi1hli1hted the develop'ents in the past
Constitutions 1eared to,ards insulatin1 the Co''ission on Audit fro' political
pressure.((
Notabl-, the Constitution also created an DindependentD Co''ission on 9u'an Ri1hts,
althou1h it en5o-s a lesser de1ree of independence since it is not 1ranted fiscal autono'- in
the 'anner fiscal autono'- is 1ranted to the constitutional co''issions. 0he lac? of fiscal
autono'- not,ithstandin1, the fra'ers of the +;24 Constitution clearl- expressed their
desire to ?eep the Co''ission independent fro' the executive branch and other political
leaders6
MR. M"N!"D. #e see the 'erits of the ar1u'ents of Co''issioner Rodri1o. f ,e
explain to hi' our concept, he can advise us on ho, to reconcile his position ,ith ours.
0he position of the co''ittee is that ,e need a bod- that ,ould be able to ,or? and
cooperate ,ith the executive because the Co''issioner is ri1ht. Man- of the services
needed b- this co''ission ,ould need not onl- the cooperation of the executive branch of
the 1overn'ent but also of the 5udicial branch of 1overn'ent. 0his is 1oin1 to be a
per'anent constitutional co''ission over ti'e. #e also ,ant a co''ission to function
even under the ,orst circu'stance ,hen the executive 'a- not be ver- cooperative.
9o,ever, the 8uestion in our 'ind is6 Can it still function durin1 that ti'eM 9ence, ,e are
,illin1 to accept su11estions fro' Co''issioner Rodri1o on ho, to reconcile this. #e
reali/e the need for coordination and cooperation. #e also ,ould li?e to build in so'e
safe1uards that it ,ill not be rendered useless b- an uncooperative executive.
x x x x
MR. .ARCA. xxx >er- often, ,hen international co''issions or or1ani/ations on hu'an
ri1hts 1o to a countr-, the 'ost credible or1ani/ations are independent hu'an ri1hts bodies.
>er- often these are private or1ani/ations, 'an- of ,hich are prosecuted, such as those ,e
find in 'an- countries in Batin A'erica. n fact, ,hat ,e are proposin1 is an independent
bod- on hu'an ri1hts, ,hich ,ould provide 1overn'ents ,ith credibilit- precisel- because
it is independent of the present ad'inistration. #hatever it sa-s on the hu'an ri1hts
situation ,ill be credible because it is not sub5ect to pressure or control fro' the present
political leadership.
!econdl-, ,e all ?no, ho, political fortunes co'e and 1o. 0hose ,ho are in po,er
-esterda- are in opposition toda- and those ,ho are in po,er toda- 'a- be in the
opposition to'orro,. 0herefore, if ,e have a Co''ission on 9u'an Ri1hts that ,ould
investi1ate and 'a?e sure that the ri1hts of each one is protected, then ,e shall have a bod-
that could stand up to an- po,er, to defend the ri1hts of individuals a1ainst arrest, unfair
trial, and so on.(C
0hese deliberative considerations abundantl- sho, that the independent constitutional
co''issions have been consistentl- intended b- the fra'ers to be independent fro'
executive control or supervision or an- for' of political influence. At least insofar as these
bodies are concerned, 5urisprudence is not scarce on ho, the DindependenceD 1ranted to
these bodies prevents presidential interference.
n Brillantes, =r. v. Norac,(3 ,e e'phasi/ed that the Constitutional Co''issions, ,hich
have been characteri/ed under the Constitution as Dindependent,D are not under the control
of the President, even if the- dischar1e functions that are executive in nature. 0he Court
declared as unconstitutional the President@s act of te'poraril- appointin1 the respondent in
that case as Actin1 Chair'an of the Co'elec Dho,ever ,ell-'eanin1D(4 it 'i1ht have
been.
n Bautista v. !enator !alon1a,(2 the Court cate1oricall- stated that the tenure of the
co''issioners of the independent Co''ission on 9u'an Ri1hts could not be placed
under the discretionar- po,er of the President6
ndeed, the Court finds it extre'el- difficult to conceptuali/e ho, an office conceived and
created b- the Constitution to be independent J as the Co''ission on 9u'an Ri1hts J and
vested ,ith the delicate and vital functions of investi1atin1 violations of hu'an ri1hts,
pinpointin1 responsibilit- and reco''endin1 sanctions as ,ell as re'edial 'easures
therefor, can trul- function ,ith independence and effectiveness, ,hen the tenure in office
of its Chair'an and Me'bers is 'ade dependent on the pleasure of the President.
Executive "rder No. +3<-A, bein1 antithetical to the constitutional 'andate of
independence for the Co''ission on 9u'an Ri1hts has to be declared unconstitutional.
A1ain, in Att-. Macalintal v. Co'elec,(; the Court considered even the 'ere revie, of the
rules of the Co''ission on Elections b- Con1ress a Dtra'plin1D of the constitutional
'andate of independence of this bod-. "bviousl-, the 'ere revie, of rules places
considerabl- less pressure on a constitutional bod- than the Executive@s po,er to discipline
and re'ove ?e- officials of the "ffice of the "'buds'an, -et the Court struc? do,n the
la, as unconstitutional.
0he ?ind of independence en5o-ed b- the "ffice of the "'buds'an certainl- cannot be
inferior J but is si'ilar in de1ree and ?ind J to the independence si'ilarl- 1uaranteed b-
the Constitution to the Constitutional Co''issions since all these offices fill the political
interstices of a republican de'ocrac- that are crucial to its existence and proper
functionin1.C*
c. Section 8(2) of RA No. 6!
"esting disci#linar$ authorit$
in the President o"er the
%e#ut$ O&buds&an "iolates
the inde#endence of the Office
of the O&buds&an and is thus
unconstitutional
"ur discussions, particularl- the Court@s expressed caution a1ainst presidential interference
,ith the constitutional co''issions, on one hand, and those expressed b- the fra'ers of
the +;24 Constitution, on the other, in protectin1 the independence of the Constitutional
Co''issions, spea? for the'selves as over,hel'in1 reasons to invalidate !ection 2%)& of
RA No. 344* for violatin1 the independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an.
n 'ore concrete ter's, ,e rule that sub5ectin1 the Deput- "'buds'an to discipline and
re'oval b- the President, ,hose o,n alter e1os and officials in the Executive Depart'ent
are sub5ect to the "'buds'an@s disciplinar- authorit-, cannot but seriousl- place at ris? the
independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an itself. 0he "ffice of the "'buds'an, b-
express constitutional 'andate, includes its ?e- officials, all of the' tas?ed to support the
"'buds'an in carr-in1 out her 'andate. Infortunatel-, intrusion upon the
constitutionall--1ranted independence is ,hat !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344* exactl- did. B-
so doin1, the la, directl- collided not onl- ,ith the independence that the Constitution
1uarantees to the "ffice of the "'buds'an, but inevitabl- ,ith the principle of chec?s and
balances that the creation of an "'buds'an office see?s to revitali/e.
#hat is true for the "'buds'an 'ust be e8uall- and necessaril- true for her Deputies ,ho
act as a1ents of the "'buds'an in the perfor'ance of their duties. 0he "'buds'an can
hardl- be expected to place her co'plete trust in her subordinate officials ,ho are not as
independent as she is, if onl- because the- are sub5ect to pressures and controls external to
her "ffice. 0his need for co'plete trust is true in an ideal settin1 and truer still in a -oun1
de'ocrac- li?e the Philippines ,here 1raft and corruption is still a 'a5or proble' for the
1overn'ent. :or these reasons, !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344* %providin1 that the President
'a- re'ove a Deput- "'buds'an& should be declared void.
0he deliberations of the Constitutional Co''ission on the independence of the
"'buds'an full- support this position. Co''issioner :loren/ Re1alado of the
Constitutional Co''ission expressed his apprehension that an- for' of presidential
control over the "ffice of the "'buds'an ,ould di'inish its independence.C+ 0he
follo,in1 exchan1es bet,een Co''issioners Blas "ple and Christian Monsod further
reveal the constitutional intent to ?eep the "ffice of the "'buds'an independent fro' the
President6
MR. "PBE. xxx
Ma- direct a 8uestion to the Co''itteeM xxx F#Gill the Co''ittee consider later an
a'end'ent xxx, b- ,a- of desi1natin1 the office of the "'buds'an as a constitutional
ar' for 1ood 1overn'ent, efficienc- of the public service and the inte1rit- of the President
of the Philippines, instead of creatin1 another a1enc- in a ?ind of ad'inistrative li'bo
,hich ,ould be accountable to no one on the pretext that it is a constitutional bod-M
MR. M"N!"D. 0he Co''ittee discussed that durin1 our co''ittee deliberations and
,hen ,e prepared the report, it ,as the opinion of the Co''ittee L and believe it still is
L that it 'a- not contribute to the effectiveness of this office of the "'buds'an precisel-
because 'an- of the culprits in inefficienc-, in5ustice and i'propriet- are in the executive
depart'ent. 0herefore, as ,e sa, the ,ron1 i'ple'entation of the 0anodba-an ,hich ,as
under the tre'endous influence of the President, it ,as an ineffectual bod- and ,as
reduced to the function of a special fiscal. 0he ,hole purpose of our proposal is precisel- to
separate those functions and to produce a vehicle that ,ill 1ive true 'eanin1 to the concept
of "'buds'an. 0herefore, ,e re1ret that ,e cannot accept the proposition.C)
0he state'ents 'ade b- Co''issioner Monsod e'phasi/ed a ver- lo1ical principle6 the
Executive po,er to re'ove and discipline ?e- officials of the "ffice of the "'buds'an, or
to exercise an- po,er over the', ,ould result in an absurd situation ,herein the "ffice of
the "'buds'an is 1iven the dut- to ad5udicate on the inte1rit- and co'petence of the ver-
persons ,ho can re'ove or suspend its 'e'bers. E8uall- relevant is the i'pression that
,ould be 1iven to the public if the rule ,ere other,ise. A co'plainant ,ith a 1rievance
a1ainst a hi1h-ran?in1 official of the Executive, ,ho appears to en5o- the President@s favor,
,ould be discoura1ed fro' approachin1 the "'buds'an ,ith his co'plaint7 the
co'plainant@s i'pression %even if 'isplaced&, that the "'buds'an ,ould be susceptible to
political pressure, cannot be avoided. 0o be sure, such an i'pression ,ould erode the
constitutional intent of creatin1 an "ffice of the "'buds'an as cha'pion of the people
a1ainst corruption and bureaucrac-.
d. The &utual'#rotection argu&ent for
crafting Section 8(2)of RA No. 6!
n craftin1 !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344*, Con1ress apparentl- addressed the concern that a
lac? of an external chec? a1ainst the Deput- "'buds'an ,ould result in 'utual protection
bet,een the "'buds'an and her Deputies.
#hile the precedin1 discussion alread- suffices to address this concern, it should be added
that this concern stands on sha?- 1rounds since it i1nores the existin1 chec?s and balances
alread- in place. "n the one hand, the "'buds'an@s Deputies cannot protect the
"'buds'an because she is sub5ect to the i'peach'ent po,er of Con1ress. "n the other
hand, the "'buds'an@s atte'pt to cover up the 'isdeeds of her Deputies can be
8uestioned before the Court on appeal or certiorari. 0he sa'e atte'pt can li?e,ise sub5ect
her to i'peach'ent.
0he 5udicial recourse available is onl- consistent ,ith the nature of the !upre'e Court as a
non-political independent bod- 'andated b- the Constitution to settle 5udicial and 8uasi-
5udicial disputes, ,hose 5ud1es and e'plo-ees are not sub5ect to the disciplinar- authorit-
of the "'buds'an and ,hose neutralit- ,ould be less 8uestionable. 0he Me'bers of the
Court the'selves 'a- be sub5ected to the i'peach'ent po,er of Con1ress.
n these li1hts, the appeal, if an-, of the 'utual protection ar1u'ent beco'es distinctl-
i'plausible. At the sa'e ti'e, the Court re'ains consistent ,ith its established rulin1s -
that the independence 1ranted to the Constitutional Co''issions bars an- undue
interference fro' either the Executive or Con1ress J and is in full accord ,ith
constitutional intent.
e. (ongress) #o*er deter&ines the
&anner and causes for the re&o"al
of non'i&#eachable officers is not a
carte blanch authorit$
Inder !ection ), Article K of the +;24 Constitution,C< Con1ress is e'po,ered to
deter'ine the 'odes of re'oval fro' office of all public officers and e'plo-ees except the
President, the >ice-President, the Me'bers of the !upre'e Court, the Me'bers of the
Constitutional Co''issions, and the "'buds'an, ,ho are all i'peachable officials.
0he intent of the fra'ers of the Constitution in providin1 that DFaGll other public officers
and e'plo-ees 'a- be re'oved fro' office as provided b- la,, but not b- i'peach'entD
in the second sentence of !ection ), Article K is to prevent Con1ress fro' extendin1 the
'ore strin1ent rule of Dre'oval onl- b- i'peach'entD to favored public officers.C(
Inderstandabl- so, i'peach'ent is the 'ost difficult and cu'berso'e 'ode of re'ovin1 a
public officer fro' office. t is, b- its nature, a sui 1eneris politico-le1al processCC that
si1nals the need for a 5udicious and careful handlin1 as sho,n b- the process re8uired to
initiate the proceedin17C3 the one--ear li'itation or bar for its initiation7C4 the li'ited
1rounds for i'peach'ent7C2 the defined instru'entalit- 1iven the po,er to tr-
i'peach'ent cases7C; and the nu'ber of votes re8uired for a findin1 of 1uilt.3* All these
ar1ue a1ainst the extension of this re'oval 'echanis' be-ond those 'entioned in the
Constitution.
"n the practical side, our nation has ,itnessed the co'plications and proble's an
i'peach'ent proceedin1 entails, thus 5ustif-in1 its li'ited application onl- to the officials
occup-in1 the hi1hest echelons of responsibilit- in our 1overn'ent. 0o na'e a fe,, so'e
of the ne1ative practical effects of i'peach'ent are6 it stalls le1islative ,or?7 it is an
expensive process in ter's of the cost of prosecution alone7 and, 'ore i'portantl-, it is
inherentl- divisive of the nation.3+ 0hus, in a cost-benefit anal-sis of adoptin1
i'peach'ent as a 'echanis', li'itin1 Con1ress@ po,er to other,ise le1islate on the
'atter is far 'ore advanta1eous to the countr-.
t is in these li1hts that the second sentence in !ection ), Article K of the +;24 Constitution
should be read. Contrar- to the i'plied vie, of the 'inorit-, in no ,a- can this provision
be re1arded as blan?et authorit- for Con1ress to provide for an- 1round of re'oval it
dee's fit. #hile the 'anner and cause of re'oval are left to con1ressional deter'ination,
this 'ust still be consistent ,ith constitutional 1uarantees and principles, na'el-6 the ri1ht
to procedural and substantive due process7 the constitutional 1uarantee of securit- of
tenure7 the principle of separation of po,ers7 and the principle of chec?s and balances.3)
n short, the authorit- 1ranted b- the Constitution to Con1ress to provide for the 'anner
and cause of re'oval of all other public officers and e'plo-ees does not 'ean that
Con1ress can i1nore the basic principles and precepts established b- the Constitution.
n the sa'e 'anner, the con1ressional deter'ination of the identit- of the disciplinar-
authorit- is not a blan?et authorit- for Con1ress to repose it on ,ho'soever Con1ress
chooses ,ithout runnin1 afoul of the independence en5o-ed b- the "ffice of the
"'buds'an and ,ithout disruptin1 the delicate chec? and balance 'echanis' under the
Constitution. Properl- vie,ed fro' this perspective, the core constitutional principle of
independence is observed and an- possible absurdit- resultin1 fro' a contrar-
interpretation is avoided. n other ,ords, ,hile the Constitution itself vested Con1ress ,ith
the po,er to deter'ine the 'anner and cause of re'oval of all non-i'peachable officials,
this po,er 'ust be interpreted consistent ,ith the core constitutional principle of
independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an. "ur observation in Macalintal v.
Co'elec3< is apt6
0he a'bit of le1islative po,er under Article > of the Constitution is circu'scribed b-
other constitutional provisions. "ne such provision is !ection + of Article K-A of the +;24
Constitution ordainin1 that constitutional co''issions such as the C"MEBEC shall be
Dindependent.D
#hile one 'a- ar1ue that the 1rounds for i'peach'ent under !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344*
is intended as a 'easure of protection for the Deput- "'buds'an and !pecial Prosecutor J
since these 1rounds are not intended to cover all ?inds of official ,ron1doin1 and plain
errors of 5ud1'ent - this ar1u'ent seriousl- overloo?s the erosion of the independence of
the "ffice of the "'buds'an that it creates. 0he 'ere fact that a statutoril--created s,ord
of Da'ocles han1s over the Deput- "'buds'an@s head, b- itself, opens up all the channels
for external pressures and influence of officialdo' and partisan politics. 0he fear of
external reprisal fro' the ver- office he is to chec? for excesses and abuses defeats the ver-
purpose of 1rantin1 independence to the "ffice of the "'buds'an.
0hat a 5udicial re'ed- is available %to set aside dis'issals that do not confor' to the hi1h
standard re8uired in deter'inin1 ,hether a Deput- "'buds'an co''itted an i'peachable
offense& and that the President@s po,er of re'oval is li'ited to specified 1rounds are
dis'all- inade8uate ,hen balanced ,ith the constitutional principle of independence. 0he
'ere filin1 of an ad'inistrative case a1ainst the Deput- "'buds'an and the !pecial
Prosecutor before the "P can alread- result in their suspension and can interrupt the
perfor'ance of their functions, in violation of !ection +), Article K of the Constitution.
#ith onl- one ter' allo,ed under !ection ++, a Deput- "'buds'an or !pecial Prosecutor,
if re'ovable b- the President, can be reduced to the ver- sa'e ineffective "ffice of the
"'buds'an that the fra'ers had foreseen and carefull- tried to avoid b- 'a?in1 these
offices independent constitutional bodies.
At an- rate, even assu'in1 that the "P has disciplinar- authorit- over the Deput-
"'buds'an, its decision findin1 .on/ales 1uilt- of .ross Ne1lect of Dut- and .rave
Misconduct constitutin1 betra-al of public trust is patentl- erroneous. 0he "P@s decision
perfectl- illustrates ,h- the re8uire'ent of i'peach'ent-1rounds in !ection 2%)& of RA
No. 344* cannot be considered, even at a 'ini'u', a 'easure of protection of the
independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an.
C. 0he Deput- "'buds'an6 0he Dis'issal ssue
a. The Office of the President)s
finding of gross negligence
has no legal and factual leg to
stand on
0he "P@s decision found .on/ales 1uilt- of .ross Ne1lect of Dut- and of .rave
Misconduct. 0he assailed Decision of the "P reads6
Ipon consideration of the :irst Report, the evidence and alle1ations of respondent Deput-
"'buds'an hi'self, and other docu'entar- evidence 1athered, this "ffice finds that the
inordinate and un5ustified dela- in the resolution of Captain Mendo/a@s Motion for
Reconsideration ti'el- filed on C Nove'ber )**; xxx a'ounted to 1ross ne1lect of dut-
andEor inefficienc- in the perfor'ance of official dut-.3(
b. No gross neglect of dut$ or inefficienc$
Bet us a1ain briefl- recall the facts.
+. Nove'ber C, )**; - Mendo/a filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision of the
"'buds'an,3C ,hich ,as follo,ed b- a !upple'ent to the Motion for Reconsideration733
). Dece'ber +(, )**;34 - .P" .arcia, ,ho ,as assi1ned to revie, these 'otions and
'a?e his reco''endation for the appropriate action, received the records of the case7
<. April C, )*+* J .P" .arcia released a draft order to be revie,ed b- his i''ediate
superior, Dir. Cecilio732
(. April )4, )*+* J Dir. Cecilio si1ned and for,arded to .on/ales this draft order73;
C. Ma- 3, )*+* %or nine da-s after the records ,ere for,arded to .on/ales& J .on/ales
endorsed the draft order for the final approval of the "'buds'an.4*
Clearl-, ,hen Mendo/a hi5ac?ed the tourist bus on Au1ust )<, )*+*, the records of the case
,ere alread- pendin1 before "'buds'an .utierre/.
.ross ne1li1ence refers to ne1li1ence characteri/ed b- the ,ant of even the sli1htest care,
actin1 or o'ittin1 to act in a situation ,here there is a dut- to act, not inadvertentl- but
,illfull- and intentionall-, ,ith a conscious indifference to conse8uences insofar as other
persons 'a- be affected. n the case of public officials, there is 1ross ne1li1ence ,hen a
breach of dut- is fla1rant and palpable.4+
.on/ales cannot be 1uilt- of 1ross ne1lect of dut- andEor inefficienc- since he acted on the
case for,arded to hi' ,ithin nine da-s. n findin1 .on/ales 1uilt-, the "P4) relied on
!ection 2, Rule of Ad'inistrative "rder No. 4 %or the Rules of Procedure of the "ffice
of the "'buds'an, series of +;;*, as a'ended& in rulin1 that .on/ales should have acted
on Mendo/a@s Motion for Reconsideration ,ithin five da-s6
!ection 2. Motion for reconsideration or reinvesti1ation6 .rounds J #henever allo,able, a
'otion for reconsideration or reinvesti1ation 'a- onl- be entertained if filed ,ithin ten
%+*& da-s fro' receipt of the decision or order b- the part- on the basis of an- of the
follo,in1 1rounds6
a& Ne, evidence had been discovered ,hich 'ateriall- affects the order, directive or
decision7
b& .rave errors of facts or la,s or serious irre1ularities have been co''itted pre5udicial to
the interest of the 'ovant.
"nl- one 'otion for reconsideration or reinvesti1ation shall be allo,ed, and the 9earin1
"fficer shall resolve the sa'e ,ithin five %C& da-s fro' the date of sub'ission for
resolution. Fe'phasis and underscore oursG
Even if ,e consider this provision to be 'andator-, the period it re8uires cannot appl- to
.on/ales since he is a Deput- "'buds'an ,hose obli1ation is to revie, the case7 he is not
si'pl- a 9earin1 "fficer tas?ed ,ith the initial resolution of the 'otion. n !ection 3 of
Ad'inistrative "rder No. 4 on the resolution of the case and sub'ission of the proposed
decision, the period for resolvin1 the case does not cover the period ,ithin ,hich it should
be revie,ed6
!ection 3. Rendition of decision. J Not later than thirt- %<*& da-s after the case is declared
sub'itted for resolution, the 9earin1 "fficer shall sub'it a proposed decision containin1
his findin1s and reco''endation for the approval of the "'buds'an. !aid proposed
decision shall be revie,ed b- the Directors, Assistant "'buds'en and Deput-
"'buds'en concerned. #ith respect to lo, ran?in1 public officials, the Deput-
"'buds'an concerned shall be the approvin1 authorit-. Ipon approval, copies thereof
shall be served upon the parties and the head of the office or a1enc- of ,hich the
respondent is an official or e'plo-ee for his infor'ation and co'pliance ,ith the
appropriate directive contained therein. Fitalics and e'phases suppliedG
0hus, the "P@s rulin1 that .on/ales had been 1rossl- ne1li1ent for ta?in1 nine da-s, instead
of five da-s, to revie, a case ,as totall- baseless.
c. No actionable failure to su#er"ise subordinates
0he "P@s clai's that .on/ales could have supervised his subordinates to pro'ptl- act on
Mendo/a@s 'otion and apprised the 0anodba-an of the ur1enc- of resolvin1 the sa'e are
si'ilarl- 1roundless.
0he "ffice of the "'buds'an is not a corner office in our bureaucrac-. t handles
nu'erous cases that involve the potential loss of e'plo-'ent of 'an- other public
e'plo-ees. #e cannot conclusivel- state, as the "P appears to su11est, that Mendo/a@s
case should have been prioriti/ed over other si'ilar cases.
0he Court has alread- ta?en 5udicial notice of the stead- strea' of cases reachin1 the
"ffice of the "'buds'an.4< 0his consideration certainl- 'ilitates a1ainst the "!.@s
observation that there ,as Da 1rossl- inordinate and inexcusable dela-D4( on the part of
.on/ales.
E8uall- i'portant, the constitutional 1uarantee of Dspeed- disposition of casesD before,
a'on1 others, 8uasi-5udicial bodies,4C li?e the "ffice of the "'buds'an, is itself a relative
concept.43 0hus, the dela-, if an-, 'ust be 'easured in this ob5ective constitutional sense.
Infortunatel-, because of the ver- statutor- 1rounds relied upon b- the "P in dis'issin1
.on/ales, the political and, perhaps, DpracticalD considerations 1ot the better of ,hat is
le1al and constitutional.
0he facts do not sho, that .on/ales@ subordinates had in an- ,a- been 1rossl- ne1li1ent in
their ,or?. #hile .P" .arcia revie,ed the case and drafted the order for 'ore than three
'onths, it is note,orth- that he had not drafted the initial decision and, therefore, had to
revie, the case for the first ti'e.44 Even the "'buds'an herself could not be faulted for
actin1 on a case ,ithin four 'onths, 1iven the a'ount of cases that her office handles.
0he point is that these are not inordinatel- lon1 periods for the ,or? involved6 exa'ination
of the records, research on the pertinent la,s and 5urisprudence, and exercise of le1al
5ud1'ent and discretion. f this Court rules that these periods per se constitute 1ross ne1lect
of dut-, the "'buds'an@s constitutional 'andate to prosecute all the errin1 officials of this
countr- ,ould be sub5ected to an unreasonable and over,hel'in1 constraint. !i'ilarl-, if
the Court rules that these periods per se constitute 1ross ne1lect of dut-, then ,e 'ust be
prepared to reconcile this ,ith the established concept of the ri1ht of speed- disposition of
cases J so'ethin1 the Court 'a- be hard put to 5ustif-.
d. No undue interest
0he "P also found .on/ales 1uilt- of sho,in1 undue interest in Mendo/a@s case b- havin1
the case endorsed to the "ffice of the "'buds'an and b- resolvin1 it a1ainst Mendo/a on
the basis of the unverified co'plaint-affidavit of the alle1ed victi', Aala,.
0he fact that .on/ales had Mendo/a@s case endorsed to his office lies ,ithin his 'andate,
even if it ,ere based 'erel- on the re8uest of the alle1ed victi'@s father. 0he Constitution
e'po,ers the "'buds'an and her Deputies to act pro'ptl- on co'plaints filed in an-
for' or 'anner a1ainst an- public official or e'plo-ee of the 1overn'ent.42 0his
provision is echoed b- !ection +< of RA No. 344*,4; and b- !ection <, Rule of
Ad'inistrative "rder No. 4, series of +;;*, as a'ended.2*
Moreover, .on/ales and his subordinates did not resolve the co'plaint onl- on the basis of
the unverified affidavit of Aala,. Based on the prosecution officer@s reco''endations, the
findin1 of 1uilt on the part of Mendo/a, et al. ,as based on their ad'issions as ,ell.
Mendo/a, et al. ad'itted that the- had arrested Aala, based on t,o traffic violations and
allo,ed hi' to sta- the ,hole ni1ht until the follo,in1 'ornin1 in the police precinct. 0he
next 'ornin1, Aala, ,as allo,ed to leave the precinct despite his failure to sho, a valid
license and based 'erel- on his pro'ise to return ,ith the proper docu'ents.2+ 0hese
ad'issions led .on/ales and his staff to conclude that Mendo/a, et al. irre1ularl- acted in
apprehendin1 Aala,, since the proper procedure for the apprehension of traffic violators
,ould be to 1ive the' a tic?et and to file a case, ,hen appropriate.2)
Bastl-, ,e cannot deduce undue interest si'pl- because .on/ales@ decision differs fro' the
decision of the PNP-A! %,hich dis'issed the co'plaint a1ainst Mendo/a&. 0o be sure, ,e
cannot tie the hands of an- 5udicial or 8uasi-5udicial bod- b- rulin1 that it should al,a-s
concur ,ith the decisions of other 5udicial or 8uasi-5udicial bodies ,hich 'a- have also
ta?en co1ni/ance of the case. 0o do so in the case of a Deput- "'buds'an ,ould be
repu1nant to the independence that our Constitution has specificall- 1ranted to this office
and ,ould nullif- the ver- purpose for ,hich it ,as created.
e. Penalt$ of dis&issal totall$
inco&&ensurate *ith established facts
.iven the lac? of factual basis for the char1es a1ainst .on/ales, the penalt- of re'oval
i'posed b- the "P necessaril- suffers 1rave infir'it-. Basic strictures of fair pla- dictate
that ,e can onl- be held liable for our o,n 'isdeeds7 ,e can be 'ade to account onl- for
lapses in our responsibilities. t is notable that of all the officers, it ,as .on/ales ,ho too?
the least ti'e L nine da-s L follo,ed b- Cecilio, ,ho too? )+ da-s7 .arcia L the ,riter
of the draft L too? less than four 'onths, and the "'buds'an, less than four 'onths until
the ?idnappin1 incident rendered Mendo/a@s 'otion 'oot.
n these li1hts, the decision of the "P is clearl- and patentl- ,ron1. 0his conclusion,
ho,ever, does not preclude the "'buds'an fro' loo?in1 into an- other possible
ad'inistrative liabilit- of .on/ales under existin1 Civil !ervice la,s, rules and re1ulations.
D. 0he !pecial Prosecutor6 0he Constitutional ssue
0he +;24 Constitution created a ne,, independent "ffice of the "'buds'an. 0he existin1
0anodba-an at the ti'e2< beca'e the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor under the +;24
Constitution. #hile the co'position of the independent "ffice of the "'buds'an under
the +;24 Constitution does not textuall- include the !pecial Prosecutor, the ,ei1ht of the
fore1oin1 discussions on the unconstitutionalit- of !ection 2%)& of RA No. 344* should
e8uall- appl- to the
!pecial Prosecutor on the basis of the le1islative histor- of the "ffice of the "'buds'an as
expounded in 5urisprudence.
Inder the +;4< Constitution,2( the le1islature ,as 'andated to create the "ffice of the
"'buds'an, ?no,n as the 0anodba-an, ,ith investi1ative and prosecutorial po,ers.
Accordin1l-, on =une ++, +;42, President :erdinand Marcos enacted PD No. +(24.2C
Inder PD No. +(23,23 ho,ever, the DChief !pecial ProsecutorD %C!P& ,as 1iven the
Dexclusive authorit-D to conduct preli'inar- investi1ation and to prosecute cases that are
,ithin the 5urisdiction of the !andi1anba-an.24 PD No. +(23 expressl- 1ave the !ecretar-
of =ustice the po,er of control and supervision over the !pecial Prosecutor.22 Consistent
,ith this 1rant of po,er, the la, also authori/ed the !ecretar- of =ustice to appoint or detail
to the "ffice of the C!P Dan- officer or e'plo-ee of Depart'ent of =ustice or an- Bureau
or "ffice under the executive supervision thereofD to assist the "ffice of the C!P.
n Dece'ber +;42, PD No. +3*42; practicall- 1ave bac? to the 0anodba-an the po,ers
ta?en a,a- fro' it b- the "ffice of the C!P. 0he la, Dcreated in the "ffice of the
0anodba-an an "ffice of the Chief !pecial ProsecutorD under the 0anodba-an@s control, ;*
,ith the exclusive authorit- to conduct preli'inar- investi1ation and prosecute all cases
co1ni/able b- the !andi1anba-an. Inli?e the earlier decree, the la, also e'po,ered the
0anodba-an to appoint !pecial nvesti1ators and subordinate personnel andEor to detail to
the "ffice of the C!P an- public officer or e'plo-ees ,ho Dshall be under the supervision
and control of the Chief !pecial Prosecutor.D;+ n +;4;, PD No. +3<* further a'ended the
earlier decrees b- transferrin1 the po,ers previousl- vested in the !pecial Prosecutor
directl- to the 0anodba-an hi'self.;)
0his ,as the state of the la, at the ti'e the +;24 Constitution ,as ratified. Inder the +;24
Constitution, an Dindependent "ffice of the "'buds'anD is created.;< 0he existin1
0anodba-an is 'ade the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor, D,ho shall continue to function
and exercise its po,ers as no,;( or hereafter 'a- be provided b- la,.D;C
"ther than the "'buds'an@s Deputies, the "'buds'an shall appoint all other officials and
e'plo-ees of the "ffice of the "'buds'an.;3 !ection +<%2&, Article K of the +;24
Constitution provides that the "'buds'an 'a- exercise Dsuch other po,ers or perfor'
such functions or duties as 'a- be provided b- la,.D Pursuant to this constitutional
co''and, Con1ress enacted RA No. 344* to provide for the functional and structural
or1ani/ation of the "ffice of the "'buds'an and the extent of its disciplinar- authorit-.
n ter's of co'position, !ection < of RA No. 344* defines the co'position of the "ffice of
the "'buds'an, includin1 in this "ffice not onl- the offices of the several Deput-
"'buds'en but the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor as ,ell. n ter's of appoint'ent, the
la, 1ave the President the authorit- to appoint the "'buds'an, his Deputies and the
!pecial Prosecutor, fro' a list of no'inees prepared b- the =udicial and Bar Council. n
case of vacanc- in these positions, the la, re8uires that the vacanc- be filled ,ithin three
%<& 'onths fro' occurrence.;4
0he la, also i'poses on the !pecial Prosecutor the sa'e 8ualifications it i'poses on the
"'buds'an hi'selfEherself and hisEher deputies.;2 0heir ter's of office,;; prohibitions
and 8ualifications,+** ran? and salar- are li?e,ise the sa'e.+*+ 0he re8uire'ent on
disclosure+*) is i'posed on the "'buds'an, the Deputies and the !pecial Prosecutor as
,ell. n case of vacanc- in the "ffice of the "'buds'an, the "verall Deput- cannot
assu'e the role of Actin1 "'buds'an7 the President 'a- desi1nate an- of the Deputies or
the !pecial Prosecutor as Actin1 "'buds'an.+*< 0he po,er of the "'buds'an and his or
her deputies to re8uire other 1overn'ent a1encies to render assistance to the "ffice of the
"'buds'an is li?e,ise en5o-ed b- the !pecial Prosecutor.+*(
.iven this le1islative histor-, the present overall le1al structure of the "ffice of the
"'buds'an, both under the +;24 Constitution and RA No. 344*, 'ilitates a1ainst an
interpretation that ,ould insulate the Deput- "'buds'an fro' the disciplinar- authorit-
of the "P and -et expose the !pecial Prosecutor to the sa'e ills that a 1rant of
independence to the "ffice of the "'buds'an ,as desi1ned for.
Con1ress reco1ni/ed the i'portance of the !pecial Prosecutor as a necessar- ad5unct of the
"'buds'an, aside fro' his or her deputies, b- 'a?in1 the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor
an or1anic co'ponent of the "ffice of the "'buds'an and b- 1rantin1 the "'buds'an
control and supervision over that office.+*C 0his po,er of control and supervision includes
vestin1 the "ffice of the "'buds'an ,ith the po,er to assi1n duties to the !pecial
Prosecutor as heEshe 'a- dee' fit.+,*#hi+ 0hus, b- constitutional desi1n, the !pecial
Prosecutor is b- no 'eans an ordinar- subordinate but one ,ho effectivel- and directl- aids
the "'buds'an in the exercise of hisEher duties, ,hich include investi1ation and
prosecution of officials in the Executive Depart'ent.
Inder !ection ++%(& of RA No. 344*, the !pecial Prosecutor handles the prosecution of
cri'inal cases ,ithin the 5urisdiction of the !andi1anba-an and this prosecutorial authorit-
includes hi1h-ran?in1 executive officials. :or e'phasis, sub5ectin1 the !pecial Prosecutor
to disciplinar- and re'oval po,ers of the President, ,hose o,n alter e1os and officials in
the Executive Depart'ent are sub5ect to the prosecutorial authorit- of the !pecial
Prosecutor, ,ould seriousl- place the independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an itself
at ris?.
0hus, even if the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor is not expressl- 'ade part of the
co'position of the "ffice of the "'buds'an, the role it perfor's as an or1anic co'ponent
of that "ffice 'ilitates a1ainst a differential treat'ent bet,een the "'buds'an@s Deputies,
on one hand, and the !pecial Prosecutor hi'self, on the other. #hat is true for the
"'buds'an 'ust be e8uall- true, not onl- for her Deputies but, also for other lesser
officials of that "ffice ,ho act directl- as a1ents of the "'buds'an herself in the
perfor'ance of her duties.
n Acop v. "ffice of the "'buds'an,+*3 the Court ,as confronted ,ith an ar1u'ent that,
at botto', the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor is not a subordinate a1enc- of the "ffice of
the "'buds'an and is, in fact, separate and distinct fro' the latter. n debun?in1 that
ar1u'ent, the Court said6
:irstl-, the petitioners 'isconstrue Co''issioner Ro'ulo$s state'ent as authorit- to
advocate that the intent of the fra'ers of the +;24 Constitution ,as to place the "ffice of
the !pecial Prosecutor under the "ffice of the President. Kxx
n the second place, !ection 4 of Article K expressl- provides that the then existin1
0anodba-an, to be henceforth ?no,n as the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor, Dshall
continue to function and exercise its po,ers as no, or hereafter 'a- be provided b- la,,
except those conferred on the "ffice of the "'buds'an created under this Constitution.D
0he underscored phrase evidentl- refers to the 0anodba-an$s po,ers under P.D. No. +3<*
or subse8uent a'endator- le1islation. t follo,s then that Con1ress 'a- re'ove an- of the
0anodba-an$sE!pecial Prosecutor$s po,ers under P.D. N*. +3<* or 1rant it other po,ers,
except those po,ers conferred b- the Constitution on the "ffice of the "'buds'an.
Pursuin1 the present line of reasonin1, ,hen one considers that b- express 'andate of
para1raph 2, !ection +<, Article K of the Constitution, the "'buds'an 'a- Dexercise
such other po,ers or perfor' functions or duties as 'a- be provided b- la,,D it is
indubitable then that Con1ress has the po,er to place the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor
under the "ffice of the "'buds'an.+*4
0hus, under the present Constitution, there is ever- reason to treat the !pecial Prosecutor to
be at par ,ith the "'buds'an$s deputies, at least insofar as an extraneous disciplinar-
authorit- is concerned, and 'ust also en5o- the sa'e 1rant of independence under the
Constitution.
. !IMMARN ": >"0N.
n the votin1 held on =anuar- )2, )*+(, b- a vote of 2-4,+*2 the Court resolved to reverse its !epte'ber
(, )*+) Decision insofar as petitioner .on/ales is concerned %..R. No. +;3)<+&. #e declared !ection
2%)& of RA No. 344* unconstitutional b- 1rantin1 disciplinar- 5urisdiction to the President over a
Deput- "'buds'an, in violation of the independence of the "ffice of the "'buds'an.
9o,ever, b- another vote of 2-4,+*; the Court resolved to 'aintain the validit- of !ection 2%)& of RA
No. 344* insofar as !ulit is concerned. 0he Court did not consider the "ffice of the !pecial Prosecutor
to be constitutionall- ,ithin the "ffice of the "'buds'an and is, hence, not entitled to the
independence the latter en5o-s under the Constitution.
#9ERE:"RE, pre'ises considered, the Court resolves to declare !ection 2%)&
INC"N!00I0"NAB. 0his rulin1 renders an- further rulin1 on the dis'issal of Deput-
"'buds'an E'ilio .on/ales unnecessar-, but is ,ithout pre5udice to the po,er of the "'buds'an
to conduct an ad'inistrative investi1ation, if ,arranted, into the possible ad'inistrative liabilit- of
Deput- "'buds'an E'ilio .on/ales under pertinent Civil !ervice la,s, rules and re1ulations.
!" "RDERED.