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6 SUPLICO vs.

NEDA o Because of transcendental importance, including the issue of the President’[s use
G.R. NO. 178830 | July 14, 2008 | Reyes | Judicial Notice of power to borrow, to enter into foreign loan agreements, the SC should take
cognizance of the case despite its apparent mootness.
SUMMARY: This case is about the ZTE NBN deal. The OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion that  The OSG filed respondents’ reply:
the DOTC has informed it through an Indorsement of the PH gov’s decision not to continue with o They reiterated that for a court to exercise its power of adjudication, there must be
the ZTE NBN Deal. The petitioners filed their Reply and Opposition that the Indorsement is not an actual case or controversy, one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an
enough without the Notes of the Meeting Between PGMA and Chinese President Hu Jintao and assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution; the case must
that the Indorsement is self-serving without the Notes of the Meeting. More so, petitioners deny not be moot or academic or based on extra-legal or other similar considerations
that the case is moot despite the foregoing. not cognizable by a court of justice.
o There is no perfected contract in this case that would prejudice the government or
The SC granted the OSG’s motion and stated that the case is moot. One of the bases of the SC public interest.
is judicial notice. In this case, the SC stated that contrary to petitioners’ contentions that the  The NBN project as an executive agreement, it remained in the
declarations made by executive branch officials are self-serving, hence, inadmissible, the SC has negotiation stage.
no alternative but to take judicial notice of this official act of the President of the Philippines. [See  The conditions precedent for the agreement to become
highlighted] effective have not yet been complied with.
o They oppose petitioners’ claim of the right to information, which they contend is
DOCTRINE: • Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides: SECTION 1. Judicial not an absolute right.
Notice, when mandatory. A court shall take judicial notice, without introduction of evidence, of the  They contend that matters raised concern executive policy, a political
existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols question which the judicial branch of government would generally
of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, hesitate to pass upon.
the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive  The OSG filed a Supplemental Manifestation and Motion.
and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the o Appended to it is the Highlights from the Notes of Meeting between PGMA and
geographical divisions. Chinese President Hu Jintao, held in Xi Jiao Guesthouse, Shanghai, China.
 In the meeting, the PH government conveyed its decision not to continue
 The OSG filed a Manifestation and Motion averring that the DOTC has informed it through with the ZTE NBN project due to constraints.
an Indorsement of the PH government’s decision not to continue with the ZTE NBN Project.  The Notes also contained President Hu Jintao’s expression of
o The OSG further avers that as such, there is no more justiciable controversy for understanding.
the SC to solve. Hence, the petitions must be dismissed.
 ROLEX SUPLICO filed his Reply and Opposition. He argued that:
o Aside from the fact that the Notes of the Meeting Between PGMA and Chinese ISSUE #1: WON there is no justiciable controversy in the case and thus, must be dismissed
President Hu Jintao were not attached on the OSG’s Manifestation and Motion – YES
thus depriving petitioners of the opportunity to comment thereon. A mere verbally
requested 1st Indorsement is not sufficient basis to conclude that the ZTE NBN  FIRSTLY, the SC notes the triple petitions to be for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,
deal has been permanently scrapped. with application for the issuance of a TRO and / or WPI.
o The 1st Indorsement is glaringly self-serving especially without the Notes of the  The SC issued a TRO enjoining the parties from pursuing, entering into indebtedness,
Meeting Between PGMA and Chinese President Hu Jintao to support its disbursing funds, and implementing the ZTE NBN Broadband Deal.
allegations or other proof of the supposed decision to cancel the ZTE NBN deal.  Petitioners in GR 178830 and 179613 prayed that they be furnished with certified true copies
Public respondents can certainly do better than that. of the contract or agreement covering the ZTE NBN deal.
o Assuming arguendo that some aspects of the present Petition have been rendered o It appears that during one of the Senate hearings, copies of the supply contract
moot (which is vehemently denied), the SC, consistent with jurisprudence, may still were readily made available to petitioners.
take cognizance thereof.  Evidently, the said prayer has been complied with and is, thus, mooted.
 SUPLICO cited Gonzales vs. Chavez, Rufino vs. Endriga, and Alunan  When PGMA informed Chinese President Hu Jintao that the PH government had
III vs. Mirasol that despite their mootness, the SC still took cognizance decided not to continue with the ZTE NBN deal, there is no doubt that all the other
of the cases and ruled on the merits due to the SC’s symbolic function principal prayers in the 3 petitions had also become moot.
of educating the bench and the bar by formulating guiding and controlling  Contrary to petitioners’ contentions that the declarations made by executive branch
principles, precepts, doctrines, and rules. officials are self-serving, hence, inadmissible, the SC has no alternative but to take
 AMSTERDAM HOLDINGS (AHI) and NATHANIEL SAUZ also filed their comment: judicial notice of this official act of the President of the Philippines.
o The PGMA administration has never been known for candor. It doe not keep its  Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides:
word. It says one thing but does another. o SECTION 1. Judicial Notice, when mandatory. A court shall take judicial notice,
o Thus, the petitioners cannot feel even a bit reassured that the government will not without introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states,
resurrect the ZTE NBN deal. their political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality, the law of
 This is especially since what was attached was a mere 1-page written nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political
communication by DOTC to the OSG, saying that the deal is off due to constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative,
several reasons and constraints. executive and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the
measure of time, and the geographical divisions.
 In David vs. PGMA, the SC took judicial notice of the announcement of PGMA banning all CONCLUSION
rallies and cancelling all permits for public assemblies following Presidential Proclamation
No. 1017 and General Order No. 5  The SC is therefore constrained to dismiss the petitions and deny them due course because
 In Estrada vs. Desierto, the SC resorted to judicial notice as well. of mootness and because their resolution requires reception of evidence which cannot be
 Moreover, under Section 2, paragraph (m) of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court: done in an original petition brought before the SC.
o The official duty of the executive officials of informing the SC of the government’s
decision not to continue with the ZTE-NBN Project is also presumed to have been MOTION GRANTED.
regularly performed, absent proof to the contrary.
o Other than petitioner AHI’s unsavory insinuation in its comment, the SC finds no
factual or legal basis to disregard this disputable presumption in the present
instance.
 “Kapag wala nang buhay na kaso, wala nang dahilan para magdesisyon ang Husgado.”
 In Republic Telecommunications Holdings, Inc. vs. Santiago, one of the parties withdrew
from the negotiating table. Its withdrawal had thwarted the execution and enforcement of the
contracts.
o Thus, the resolution of whether the implementation of said agreements should be
enjoined became no longer necessary.

 SECONDLY, even assuming that the SC will brush aside mootness and disregard the
foregoing considerations, the SC cannot completely rule on the merits because the resolution
of the 3 petitions involves settling factual issues which definitely requires reception of
evidence.
o There is not an iota of doubt that this may not be done by the SC in the first instance
because the SC is not a trier of facts.
 “Ang pagpapasiya sa tatlong petisyon ay nangangailangan ng paglilitis na hindi gawain ng
Hukumang ito.”
 Respondent ZTE correctly pointed out that since SUPLICO filed his petition directly with the
SC, without prior factual findings made by any lower court, a determination of facts is needed.
o ZTE enumerated some of the factual issues.
o Definitely, some very specific reliefs prayed for in both GR 178830 and 179613
require prior determination of facts before pertinent legal issues could be resolved
and specific reliefs granted.
 The petitioners seek to annul and set aside the award of the ZTE NBN deal and compel
public respondents to comply with law regarding procurement of government ICT contracts
and public bidding.
o It is simply impossible for the SC to annul and set aside the award of the ZTE NBN
deal without any evidence to support a prior factual finding pointing to any violation
of law that could lead to such annulment order.
o The SC is not the proper venue for this factual matter to be threshed out.

 THIRDLY, SUPLICO prayed that the SC order public respondents to comply with pertinent
provisions of law regarding procurement of government ICT contracts and public bidding.
o It would be too presumptuous on the part of the SC to summarily compel them
without any factual basis or prior determination of very particular violations
committed by executive officials.
o For the SC to do so would amount to a breach of the norms of comity among co-
equal branches of government.
o A perceived error cannot be corrected by committing another error.
 “Magiging kapangahasan sa Hukumang ito na pilitin ang mga pinipetisyon na tumalima sa
batas sa pangongontrata ng pamahalaan kung wala pang pagtitiyak o angkop na ebidensiya
ng nagawang paglabag dito.”

 The Senate investigation in aid of legislation cannot be the basis of the SC’s decision which
requires a judicial finding of facts.
 J. Carpio takes the view that the ZTE NBN deal should be declared null and void.