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TOPIC: QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS; ADMINISTRATIVE DUE PROCESS

REFERENCE:
VAR-ORIENT SHIPPING CO., INC. and COMNINOS BROS. vs. TOMAS D.
ACHACOSO, in his capacity as Administrator of Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA), EDGAR T. BUNYOG, VEDASTO NAVARRO, EUGENIO
CAPALAD, RAUL T IS, ANTONIO TANIOAN, CELESTINO CASON, DANILO MANELA
& ROBERTO GENESIS
G.R. No. 81805 May 31, 1988
FACTS:
The petitioners filed a complaint with the Workers' Assistance and Adjudication Office,
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) against the private respondents
Edgar T. Bunyog, Vedasto Navarro, Eugenio Capalad, Raul Tumasis, Antonio Tanioan,
Celestino Cason, Danilo Manela and Roberto Genesis, crew members of the MPV "Silver
Reefer," for having allegedly violated their Contracts of Employment with the petitioners
which supposedly resulted in damages arising from the interdiction of the vessel by the
International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) at Kiel Canal, Germany, in March 1986.
After joinder of the issues, the case was heard on March 4, 1987 where the parties agreed
to submit their respective position papers and thereafter the case would be submitted for
decision. Only the private respondents submitted a position paper.
On the basis of the pleadings and memoranda (Annexes A, B, Code. D, E & F) the public
respondent rendered a decision.
A copy of the decision was sent by registered mail and delivered by the postman to the
petitioners' counsel, then Attorney Francisco B. Figura, at his address on the 4th Floor,
TRC Building, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila, through the receptionist,
Marlyn Aquino, on the groundfloor of said building on September 21, 1987. According to
Attorney Figura, he did not receive the envelope containing the decision (p. 66, Rollo).
Petitioners allegedly learned about the decision only when the writ of execution was
served on them on November 20,1987 by NLRC Deputy Sheriff Rene Masilungan and
Attorney Wilfredo Ong. On November 23,1987, petitioners, through new counsel, Atty.
Quentin Aseron, Jr., filed an 'urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution' on the ground that
the decision had not been received by the petitioners, hence, it was not yet final and
executory.
ISSUE/S:
1. Whether or not petitioner was denied due process of law because the respondent
Administrator resolved the case without any formal hearing?
RULING: Petition denied.
Equally unmeritorious is the petitioners ‘allegation that they were denied due process
because the decision was rendered without a formal hearing. The essence of due process
is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an
opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action
or ruling complained of.
The fact is that at the hearing of the case it was agreed by the parties that they would file
their respective memoranda and thereafter consider the case submitted for decision. This
procedure is authorized by law to expedite the settlement of labor disputes.
The Administrator did not abuse his discretion in ordering the petitioners to pay
respondent Edgar Bunyog's salaries for the unserved portion of his contract plus
attorney's fees, in view of the Administrator's finding that Bunyog did not sign the letter of
the other defendants to ITF, hence, 'he is deemed not to have committed any offense or
act to warrant his dismissal."
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is denied for lack of merit. The temporary
restraining order which We issued is hereby set aside.
TOPIC: QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS
REFERENCE:
JOSE R. BAUTISTA, SEVERINO GABUYO and NORTH EASTERN COLLEGE, INC.,
petitioners vs. HON. SECRETARY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, Department of
Labor and Employment, Manila, HON. REGIONAL DIRECTOR, Regional Office No. 2,
Department of Labor and Employment, Tuguegarao, Cagayan, DAVID R. MEDINA, in his
capacity as Deputy Provincial Sheriff of Isabela, RODEO BAUTISTA, DOMINGO
CABAUATAN, LINO MALENAB, HERNANDO NATIVIDAD and ALFREDO JIMENEZ
G.R. No. 81374 April 30, 1991
FACTS:
This dispute arose on December 15, 1984, when the herein private respondents filed a
complaint against Northeastern College, Inc., where they were employed as janitors, and
Jose R. Bautista and Severino Gabuyo as its President and Cashier, respectively. The
charge was violation of Articles 113 and 116 of the Labor Code prohibiting unauthorized
deduction from the wages of workers.
After investigation, Assistant Regional Director Pedro P. Pelaez of Regional Office No. 2,
Ministry of Labor and Employment, found the deductions to be illegal. Nevertheless, he
disallowed reimbursement of the amounts deducted, holding that the same were used to
pay legitimate obligations of the private respondents to the school canteen and Director
Villano. The case was dismissed in an Order dated January 14, 1985.
In a letter dated January 25, 1985, the private respondents appealed this order to the
Ministry of Labor and Employment and claimed that they had already settled their
personal obligations with their supposed creditors. They also questioned the disallowance
of their claimed reimbursements despite the finding that the deductions made were illegal.
In an Order dated January 6, 1986, Deputy Minister Vicente Leogardo, Jr. affirmed the
illegality of the deductions and, accordingly, directed the petitioners to reimburse the
private respondents the amounts deducted from their salaries.
On September 30, 1987, Regional Office No. 2 issued a Writ of Execution addressed to
respondent Deputy Provincial Sheriff David R. Medina directing him to secure from the
petitioners the full reimbursement of the illegal deductions, the amount of which was to
be ascertained from petitioner Gabuyo.
However, the writ was returned unsatisfied for the reason that neither the private
respondents nor the petitioners could determine the exact amount to be paid.
On December 7, 1987, an Alias Writ of Execution was issued, this time fixing the amounts
to be paid each of the private respondents.
ISSUE/S:
1. Whether or not the he was denied due process.
RULING:
The record shows that the private respondents gave a copy of their complaint to the
petitioners, serving this at the office of Jose R. Bautista, where it was received by Roger
Bautista, Executive Assistant to the President. Such service was valid and binding, having
been made on a person in charge of the office.
Section 4, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court which is suppletory to the rules of the NLRC,
provides as follows:
Section 4. Personal Service. — Service of the papers may be made by delivering
personally a copy to the party or his attorney, or by leaving it in his office with his
clerk or with a person having charge thereof. If no person is found in his office, or
his office is not known, then by leaving the copy, between the hours of eight in the
morning and six in the evening, at the party's or attorney's residence, if known,
with a person of sufficient discretion to receive the same. (Italics supplied)
Under the foregoing rule, service of papers should be delivered personally to the party or
attorney or by leaving it at his office with his clerk or with a person having charge thereof.
The Court notes that the only reaction of the petitioners to these processes was an
indifferent silence. Given the opportunity to object, they forfeited it with their implied
acquiescence to the orders they are now assailing. Surely, they cannot now complain
they were denied due process, when they were actually given the opportunity to be heard,
which is all due process requires.
Moreover, it is not true that they were denied this opportunity in the investigation
conducted by the Regional Office No. 2 on December 19, 1984. Severino Gabuyo was
interviewed then and even explained the records of the company and the reason for the
protested deductions.
TOPIC: QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS
REFERENCE:
VICTORIAS MILLING CO., INC. vs. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT FOR
LEGAL AFFAIRS and PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY
G.R. No. 73705 August 27, 1987
FACTS:
n April 28, 1981, the Iloilo Port Manager of respondent Philippine Ports Authority (PPA
for short) wrote petitioner Victorias Milling Co., requiring it to have its tugboats and barges
undergo harbor formalities and pay entrance/clearance fees as well as berthing fees
effective May 1, 1981. PPA, likewise, requiring petitioner to secure a permit for cargo
handling operations at its Da-an Banua wharf and remit 10% of its gross income for said
operations as the government's share.
To these demands, petitioner sent two (2) letters, both dated June 2, 1981, wherein it
maintained that it is exempt from paying PPA any fee or charge because: (1) the wharf
and an its facilities were built and installed in its land; (2) repair and maintenance thereof
were and solely paid by it; (3) even the dredging and maintenance of the Malijao River
Channel from Guimaras Strait up to said private wharf are being done by petitioner's
equipment and personnel; and (4) at no time has the government ever spent a single
centavo for such activities. Petitioner further added that the wharf was being used mainly
to handle sugar purchased from district planters pursuant to existing milling agreements.
In reply, on November 3, 1981, PPA Iloilo sent petitioner a memorandum of PPA's
Executive Officer, Maximo Dumlao, which justified the PPA's demands. Further request
for reconsideration was denied on January 14, 1982.
On March 29, 1982, petitioner served notice to PPA that it is appealing the case to the
Court of Tax Appeals; and accordingly, on March 31, 1982, petitioner filed a Petition for
Review with the said Court, entitled "Victorias Milling Co., Inc. v. Philippine Ports
Authority," and docketed therein as CTA Case No. 3466.
On January 10, 1984, the Court of Tax Appeals dismissed petitioner's action on the
ground that it has no jurisdiction. It recommended that the appeal be addressed to the
Office of the President.
On January 23, 1984, petitioner filed a Petition for Review with this Court, docketed as
G.R. No. 66381, but the same was denied in a Resolution dated February 29, 1984.
On April 2, 1984, petitioner filed an appeal with the Office of the President, but in a
Decision dated July 27, 1984 (Record, p. 22), the same was denied on the sole ground
that it was filed beyond the reglementary period. A motion for Reconsideration was filed,
but in an Order dated December 16, 1985, the same was denied (ibid., pp. 3-21): Hence,
the instant petition.
The Second Division of this Court, in a Resolution dated June 2, 1986, resolved to require
the respondents to comment (ibid., p. 45); and in compliance therewith, the Solicitor
General filed his Comment on June 4, 1986 (Ibid., pp. 50-59).
In a Resolution of July 2, 1986, petitioner was required to file a reply (Ibid., p. 61) but
before receipt of said resolution, the latter filed a motion on July 1, 1986 praying that it be
granted leave to file a reply to respondents' Comment, and an extension of time up to
June 30, 1986 within which to file the same.
ISSUE/S:
1. Whether the 30 day period for appeal under Section 331 of the A.O. No13-77 was tolled
by the pendency of the petitions first filed with the CTA and with the SC.
RULING: The petition is devoid of merit.
VMC claims that in filing first with the CTA then the SC the petitions for appeal of the PPA
decision, it did so in good faith. It contends that when RA No. 1125 (creating the Court of
Tax Appeals) was passed in 1955, PPA was not yet in existence. The CTA had exclusive
appellate jurisdiction over appeals from decisions of the Commissioner of Customs
regarding, among others, customs duties, fees and other money charges imposed by the
Bureau under the Tariff and Customs Code.
PD 505 (creating the PPA) and 857 (revising its charter, merely transferring to the PPA
the powers of the Bureau of Customs to impose and collect customs duties, fees and
other money charges concerning the use of ports and facilities thereat) does not contain
any provision regarding appeals of its decisions.
These contentions are untenable for while it is true that neither Presidential Decree No.
505 nor Presidential Decree No. 857 provides for the remedy of appeal to the Office of
the President, nevertheless, Presidential Decree No. 857 empowers the PPA to
promulgate such rules as would aid it in accomplishing its purpose. Section 6 of the said
Decree provides —
Sec. 6. Corporate Powers and Duties —
a. The corporate duties of the Authority shall be:
xxx xxx xxx
(III) To prescribe rules and regulations, procedures, and guidelines
governing the establishment, construction, maintenance, and operation of
all other ports, including private ports in the country.
TOPIC: PRIMARY JURISDICTION
REFERENCE:
SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (SMART) and PILIPINO TELEPHONE
CORPORATION (PILTEL) vs. NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
(NTC)
G.R. No. 151908 August 12, 2003
FACTS:
The Memorandum Circular provided that it shall take effect 15 days after its publication
in a newspaper of general circulation and three certified true copies thereof furnished the
UP Law Center. It was published in the newspaper, The Philippine Star, on June 22,
2000.2 Meanwhile, the provisions of the Memorandum Circular pertaining to the sale and
use of prepaid cards and the unit of billing for cellular mobile telephone service took effect
90 days from the effectivity of the Memorandum Circular.
On August 30, 2000, the NTC issued a Memorandum to all cellular mobile telephone
service (CMTS) operators which contained measures to minimize if not totally eliminate
the incidence of stealing of cellular phone units. The Memorandum directed CMTS
operators to:
a. strictly comply with Section B(1) of MC 13-6-2000 requiring the presentation and
verification of the identity and addresses of prepaid SIM card customers;
b. require all your respective prepaid SIM cards dealers to comply with Section
B(1) of MC 13-6-2000;
c. deny acceptance to your respective networks prepaid and/or postpaid
customers using stolen cellphone units or cellphone units registered to somebody
other than the applicant when properly informed of all information relative to the
stolen cellphone units;
d. share all necessary information of stolen cellphone units to all other CMTS
operators in order to prevent the use of stolen cellphone units; and
e. require all your existing prepaid SIM card customers to register and present valid
identification cards.
This was followed by another Memorandum dated October 6, 2000 addressed to all public
telecommunications entities, which reads:
This is to remind you that the validity of all prepaid cards sold on 07 October 2000
and beyond shall be valid for at least two (2) years from date of first use pursuant
to MC 13-6-2000.
In addition, all CMTS operators are reminded that all SIM packs used by
subscribers of prepaid cards sold on 07 October 2000 and beyond shall be valid
for at least two (2) years from date of first use. Also, the billing unit shall be on a
six (6) seconds pulse effective 07 October 2000.
For strict compliance.
On October 20, 2000, petitioners Isla Communications Co., Inc. and Pilipino Telephone
Corporation filed against the National Telecommunications Commission, Commissioner
Joseph A. Santiago, Deputy Commissioner Aurelio M. Umali and Deputy Commissioner
Nestor C. Dacanay, an action for declaration of nullity of NTC Memorandum Circular No.
13-6-2000 (the Billing Circular) and the NTC Memorandum dated October 6, 2000, with
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order.
The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-00-42221 at the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 77.
Petitioners Islacom and Piltel alleged, inter alia, that the NTC has no jurisdiction to
regulate the sale of consumer goods such as the prepaid call cards since such jurisdiction
belongs to the Department of Trade and Industry under the Consumer Act of the
Philippines; that the Billing Circular is oppressive, confiscatory and violative of the
constitutional prohibition against deprivation of property without due process of law; that
the Circular will result in the impairment of the viability of the prepaid cellular service by
unduly prolonging the validity and expiration of the prepaid SIM and call cards; and that
the requirements of identification of prepaid card buyers and call balance announcement
are unreasonable. Hence, they prayed that the Billing Circular be declared null and void
ab initio.
Soon thereafter, petitioners Globe Telecom, Inc and Smart Communications, Inc. filed a
joint Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit Complaint-in-Intervention.
ISSUE/S:
1. Whether or not Respondent court erred in holding respondents failed to exhaust
administrative remedy.
2. Whether or not NTC has Jurisdiction over the case.
3. Whether or not the Billing Circular issued by NTC is unconstitutional.
RULING:
FIRST ISSSUE:
Administrative agencies possess quasi-legislative or rule-making powers and quasi-
judicial or administrative adjudicatory powers. Quasi-legislative or rule-making power is
the power to make rules and regulations which results in delegated legislation that is
within the confines of the granting statute and the doctrine of non-delegability and
separability of powers.
The rules and regulations should be within the scope of the statutory authority granted by
the legislature to the administrative agency. It is required that the regulation be germane
to the objects and purposes of the law, and be not in contradiction to, but in conformity
with, the standards prescribed by law.17 They must conform to and be consistent with
the provisions of the enabling statute in order for such rule or regulation to be valid. The
administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial power when it performs in a judicial
manner an act which is essentially of an executive or administrative nature, where the
power to act in such manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for the performance
of the executive or administrative duty entrusted to it.
In questioning the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by an
administrative agency, a party need not exhaust administrative remedies before going to
court. This principle applies only where the act of the administrative agency concerned
was performed pursuant to its quasi-judicial function, and not when the assailed act
pertained to its rule-making or quasi-legislative power.
Even assuming that the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies apply in this
case, the records reveal that petitioners sufficiently complied with this requirement.
Petitioners were able to register their protests to the proposed billing guidelines. They
submitted their respective position papers setting forth their objections and submitting
proposed schemes for the billing circular. After the same was issued, petitioners wrote
successive letters dated July 3, 2000 and July 5, 2000, asking for the suspension and
reconsideration of the so-called Billing Circular. This was taken by petitioners as a clear
denial of the requests contained in their previous letters, thus prompting them to seek
judicial relief.
SECOND ISSUE:
In like manner, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies only where the administrative
agency exercises its quasi-judicial or adjudicatory function. The objective of the doctrine
of primary jurisdiction is to guide a court in determining whether it should refrain from
exercising its jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some
question or some aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court.
However, where what is assailed is the validity or constitutionality of a rule or regulation
issued by the administrative agency in the performance of its quasi-legislative function,
the regular courts have jurisdiction to pass upon the same. The determination of whether
a specific rule or set of rules issued by an administrative agency contravenes the law or
the constitution is within the jurisdiction of the regular courts.
THIRD ISSUE:
In the case at bar, the issuance by the NTC of Memorandum Circular No. 13-6-2000 and
its Memorandum dated October 6, 2000 was pursuant to its quasi-legislative or rule-
making power. As such, petitioners were justified in invoking the judicial power of the
Regional Trial Court to assail the constitutionality and validity of the said issuances.
Hence, the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. The Court
of Appeals erred in setting aside the orders of the trial court and in dismissing the case.
TOPIC: PRIMARY JURISDICTION
REFERENCE:
INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES, INC. vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
MARINDUQUE MINING & INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, THE HON. GERONIMO
VELASCO in his capacity as Minister of Energy and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK
G.R. No. 88550 April 18, 1990
FACTS:
Petitioner Industrial Enterprises Inc. (IEI) was granted a coal operating contract by the
Government through the Bureau of Energy Development (BED) for the exploration of two
coal blocks in Eastern Samar. Subsequently, IEI also applied with the then Ministry of
Energy for another coal operating contract for the exploration of three additional coal
blocks which, together with the original two blocks, comprised the so-called "Giporlos
Area."
IEI was later on advised that in line with the objective of rationalizing the country's over-
all coal supply-demand balance . . . the logical coal operator in the area should be the
Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation (MMIC), which was already developing the
coal deposit in another area (Bagacay Area) and that the Bagacay and Giporlos Areas
should be awarded to MMIC (Rollo, p. 37). Thus, IEI and MMIC executed a Memorandum
of Agreement whereby IEI assigned and transferred to MMIC all its rights and interests in
the two coal blocks which are the subject of IEI's coal operating contract.
Subsequently, however, IEI filed an action for rescission of the Memorandum of
Agreement with damages against MMIC and the then Minister of Energy Geronimo
Velasco before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 150, 2 alleging that MMIC took
possession of the subject coal blocks even before the Memorandum of Agreement was
finalized and approved by the BED; that MMIC discontinued work thereon; that MMIC
failed to apply for a coal operating contract for the adjacent coal blocks; and that MMIC
failed and refused to pay the reimbursements agreed upon and to assume IEI's loan
obligation as provided in the Memorandum of Agreement (Rollo, p. 38). IEI also prayed
that the Energy Minister be ordered to approve the return of the coal operating contract
from MMIC to petitioner, with a written confirmation that said contract is valid and
effective, and, in due course, to convert said contract from an exploration agreement to a
development/production or exploitation contract in IEI's favor.
Respondent, Philippine National Bank (PNB), was later impleaded as co-defendant in an
Amended Complaint when the latter with the Development Bank of the Philippines
effected extra-judicial foreclosures on certain mortgages, particularly the Mortgage Trust
Agreement, dated 13 July 1981, constituted in its favor by MMIC after the latter defaulted
in its obligation totalling around P22 million as of 15 July 1984. The Court of Appeals
eventually dismissed the case against the PNB (Resolution, 21 September 1989).
Strangely enough, Mr. Jesus S. Cabarrus is the President of both IEI and MMIC.
ISSUE/S:
1. Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction?
RULING: NO.
While the action filed by IEI sought the rescission of what appears to be an ordinary civil
contract cognizable by a civil court, the fact is that the Memorandum of Agreement sought
to be rescinded is derived from a coal-operating contract and is inextricably tied up with
the right to develop coal-bearing lands and the determination of whether or not the
reversion of the coal operating contract over the subject coal blocks to IEI would be in line
with the integrated national program for coal-development and with the objective of
rationalizing the country's over-all coal-supply-demand balance, IEI's cause of action was
not merely the rescission of a contract but the reversion or return to it of the operation of
the coal blocks. Thus it was that in its Decision ordering the rescission of the Agreement,
the Trial Court, inter alia, declared the continued efficacy of the coal-operating contract in
IEI's favor and directed the BED to give due course to IEI's application for three (3) IEI
more coal blocks. These are matters properly falling within the domain of the BED.
In recent years, it has been the jurisprudential trend to apply the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction in many cases involving matters that demand the special competence of
administrative agencies. It may occur that the Court has jurisdiction to take cognizance
of a particular case, which means that the matter involved is also judicial in character.
However, if the case is such that its determination requires the expertise, specialized skills
and knowledge of the proper administrative bodies because technical matters or intricate
questions of facts are involved, then relief must first be obtained in an administrative
proceeding before a remedy will be supplied by the courts even though the matter is within
the proper jurisdiction of a court. This is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. It applies
"where a claim is originally cognizable in the courts, and comes into play whenever
enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory
scheme, have been placed within the special competence of an administrative body, in
such case the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the
administrative body for its view"
Clearly, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction finds application in this case since the question
of what coal areas should be exploited and developed and which entity should be granted
coal operating contracts over said areas involves a technical determination by the BED
as the administrative agency in possession of the specialized expertise to act on the
matter. The Trial Court does not have the competence to decide matters concerning
activities relative to the exploration, exploitation, development and extraction of mineral
resources like coal. These issues preclude an initial judicial determination. It behooves
the courts to stand aside even when apparently they have statutory power to proceed in
recognition of the primary jurisdiction of an administrative agency.