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2006 Political Law Case Digests

CONST ITUTIONAL LAW

PLAIN V IEW DOCTRINE

UNILAB, INC. v s. ERNESTO ISIP and/or SHALIMAR PHILIPPINES


G.R. No. 1 63858. June 28, 2005

Facts: UNILAB hired a priv ate investigator to inv estigate a place purported to be manufacturing fake
UNILAB products, especially Revicon multivitamins. The agent took some photographs where the

clandestine manufacturing operation was taking place. UNILAB then sought the help of the NBI, which
thereafter filed an application for the issuance of search warrant in the RTC of Manila. After finding

probable cause, the court issued a search warrant directing the police to seize ―fi nished or unfinished

products of UNILAB, particularly REV ICON multiv itamins.‖ No fake Rev icon was however found;
instead, sealed boxes where seized, which, when opened contained 60 ml bottles of Disudrin and 200mg

tablets of Inoflox, both were brands used by UNILAB. NBI pray ed that some of the sized items be turned
ov er to the custody of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) for ex amination. The court granted the

motion. The respondents then filed a motion to quash the search warrant or to suppress evidence, alleging

that the seized items are considered to be fruit of a poisonous tree, and therefore inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding, which the petitioners opposed alleging that the boxes of Disudrin and Inoflox

were seized under the plain v iew doctrine. The court, however, granted the motion of the respondents.

Issue: Whether or not the seizure of the sealed boxes which, when opened, contained Disudrin sy rup and

Inoflox, were valid under the plain v iew doctrine.

Held: It is true that things not described in the warrant may be seized under the plain v iew doctrine.
Howev er, seized things not described in the warrant cannot be presumed as plain v iew. The State must

adduce ev idence to prove that the elements for the doctrine to apply are present, namely: (a) the

ex ecuting law enforcement officer has a prior justification for an initial intrusion or otherwise properly in
a position from which he can v iew a particular order; (b) the officer must discover incriminating evidence

inadv ertently; and (c) it must be immediately apparent to the police that the items they observe may be
ev idence of a crime, contraband, or otherwise subject to seizure

It was thus incumbent on the NBI and the petitioner to prove that the items were seized on plain v iew. It
is not enough that the sealed boxes were in the plain v iew of the NBI agents. Howev er, the NBI failed to

present any of officers who were present when the warrant was enforced to prove that the the sealed boxes
was discovered inadvertently, and that such boxes and their contents were incriminating and immediately

apparent. It must be stressed that only the enforcing officers had personal knowledge whether the sealed
box es and their contents thereof were incriminating and that they were immediately apparent. There is

ev en no showing that the NBI agents knew the contents of the sealed boxes before they were opened. In

sum then, the petitioner and the NBI failed to prov e that the plain v iew doctrine applies to the seized
items.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

PEOPLE‘S JOURNAL et. al. v s. FRANCIS THOENEN


G.R. No. 1 43372 December 1 3, 2005

Facts: On 30 September 1 990, a news item appeared in the People‘s Journal claiming that a certain

Francis Thoenen, a Swiss national who allegedly shoots wayward neighbors‘ pets that he finds in his

domain. It also claimed that BF Homes residents, in a letter through lawyer Atty. Efren Angara, requested
for the deportation of Thoenen to prevent the recurrence of such incident in the future. Thoenen claimed

that the article destroyed the respect and admiration he enjoyed in the community. He is seeking for
damages.

The petitioners admitted publication of the news item, ostensibly out of a ―social and moral duty to inform

the public on matters of general interest, promote the public good and protect the moral public (sic) of the
people,‖ and that the story was published in good faith and without malice.

Issue: Whether or not the news report fall under privileged communication and therefore protected by the

constitutional provision on freedom of speech.

Held: The right of free speech is not absolute. Libel is not protected speech. In the instant case, even if we

assume that the letter written by Atty. Angara is priv ileged communication, it lost its character when the
matter was published in the newspaper and circulated among the general population, especially since the

indiv idual alleged to be defamed is neither a public official nor a public figure.

Moreover, the news item contained falsehoods on two levels. First, the BF Homes residents did not ask for
the deportation of Thoenen, more so because the letter of the Atty. Anagara was a mere request for
v erification of Thoenen‘s status as a foreign resident. The article is also untrue because the ev ents she

reported never happened. Worse, the main source of information, Atty. Efren Angara, apparently either
does not ex ist, or is not a lawy er.

There is no constitutional value in false statements of fact. Neither the intentional lie nor the careless
error materially advances society‘s interest in ‗uninhibited, robust, and wide-open‘ debate. Calculated

falsehood falls into that class of utterances which ―are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are

of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is c learly
outweighed by the social interest in order and morality… The knowingly false statement and the false

statement made with reckless disregard of the truth, do not enjoy constitutional protection‖

CUSTOMS SEARCH

TOMAS SALV ADOR v s. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. No. 1 467 06. July 1 5, 2005

Facts: On June 3, 1 994, a Special Mission Group from the PAF Special Operations Squadron conducted

routine surveillance operations at the Manila Domestic Airport to check on reports of alleged drug
trafficking and smuggling being facilitated by certain PAL personnel. They were ordered to keep close

watch on the second airplane, an Airbus 300 parked inside the Domestic Airport terminal. At around
1 1 :30 that same evening, three (3) persons had boarded the Airbus 300. The team did not move, but

continued its surveillance. At 1 2:15 a.m. the team leader reported that the three (3) persons who earlier

boarded the Airbus 300 had disembarked with their abdominal areas bulging and then boarded an
airplane tow truck with its lights off. At the Lima Gate of the Domestic Airport, the team blocked and

stopped the tow truck. The team leader identified himself and asked the four (4) persons on board to
alight, and approached Aurelio Mandin whose uniform was partly open, showing a g irdle. Then, a package

wrapped in brown packaging tape fell. Suspecting that the package contained smuggled items, the leader

y elled to his teammates, ―Positive!‖ Thereupon, the rest of the team surrounded petitioner and his two co -
accused who surrendered without a fight. The team searched their bodies and found that the three were

wearing girdles beneath their uniforms, all containing packets wrapped in packaging tape. Mandin y ielded
fiv e (5) packets, while petitioner and Santos had four (4) each. The team confiscated the packets and

brought all the accused to the PAFSECOM Office.

Issue: Whether or not the seized items are admissible in ev idence.


Held: Our jurisprudence provides for privileged areas where searches and seizures may lawfully be
effected sans a search warrant. These recognized exceptions include: (1 ) search of moving v ehicles; (2)

search in plain v iew; (3) customs searches; (4) waiv er or consented searches; (5) stop -and-frisk situations;
and (6) search incidental to a lawful arrest.

Here, it should be noted that during the incident in question, the special mission of the PAF operatives

was to conduct a surveillance operation to v erify reports of drug trafficking and smuggling by certain PAL
personnel in the v icinity of the airport. In other wo rds, the search made by the PAF team on petitioner

and his co-accused was in the nature of a customs search. As such, the team properly effected the search
and seizure without a search warrant since it ex ercised police authority under the customs law. Law

enforcers who are tasked to effect the enforcement of the customs and tariff laws are authorized to search

and seize, without a search warrant, any article, cargo or other movable property when there is reasonable
cause to suspect that the said items have been introduced into the Philippines in v iolation of the tariff and

customs law. They may likewise conduct a warrantless search of any vehicle or person suspected of
holding or conveying the said articles, as in the case at bar.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA, v s. HON. MONINA A. ZENAROSA


G.R. No. 1 2947 2. April 1 2, 2005

Facts: On July 2, 1 996 the accused were arrested fro possession and transport of marijuana leaves (in
bricks). They were charged with the v iolation of the Dangerous Drugs A ct of 1 972, with the information

containing the fact that they were in possession of and were transporting, selling or offering to sell 42.410
grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops. The accused was then arraigned, pleaded guilty and convicted.

Subsequently they applied for probation. Thereafter the prosecutor‘s office filed two motions to admit

amended information (claiming that the marijuana recovered was 42.410 kilos, not grams) and to set
aside the arraignment of the accused; the accused then moved to q uash the motion raising the

constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

Issue: Whether or not double jeopardy attaches.

Held: To inv oke the defense of double jeopardy, the following requisites must be present: (1 ) a v alid
complaint or information; (2) the court has jurisdiction to try the case; (3) the accused has pleaded to the

charge; and (4) he has been convicted or acquitted or the case against him dismissed or otherwise
terminated without his express consent.

An information is v alid as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense and the acts
or omissions constitutive thereof. In other words, if the offense is stated in such a way that a person of

ordinary intelligence may immediately know what is meant, and the court c an decide the matter

according to law, the inevitable conclusion is that the information is v alid. The inescapable conclusion,
then, is that the first information is v alid inasmuch as it sufficiently alleges the manner by which the crime

was committed. V erily the purpose of the law, that is, to apprise the accused of the nature of the charge
against them, is reasonably complied with.

Moreover, an administrative order of the Supreme Court designated Regional Trial Courts to ex clusively

try and decide cases o f … v iolation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1 97 2, as amended, regardless of the
quantity of the drugs involved. (PP. v s. V elasco)

Therefore, the requisites of double jeopardy being present, the defense attaches.

EMINENT DOMAIN

REPUBLIC, as represented by the NIA vs. CA and FRANCISCO DIAZ

G.R. No. 1 47 245. March 31, 2005

Facts: Manuel Diaz owned approximately 172 hectares of property devoted to the planting of palay. The

property was located in La Fuente, Sta. Rosa, Nuev a Ecija, and allegedly yielded betw een 132 to 200
cav ans of palay per hectare every year. After Manuel Diaz‘s death, his son, Franciso Diaz, was appointed

administrator of the property.


In 1 97 2, the National Irrigation Administration bulldozed ten (10) hectares of the Property to build two

irrigation canals. Although the canals when finished occupied only a portion of the 1 0 hectares, the entire

area became prone to flooding two months out of ev ery year because of the side -burrow method NIA used
in the construction of the canals. NIA completed the canals without instituting expropriation proceedings

or indemnify ing the property‘s owners. Respondent then sought compensation from NIA for the land
affected by the canals, as well as for losses due to unrealized profits. In 1 980, NIA belatedly off ered to buy

the portions of the Property occupied by the canals pursuant to NIA‘s expansion program. The 1 980 deeds

of sale were nev er implemented. Respondent did not receive any consideration pursuant to these deeds.
On 20 August 1 993, respondent, as administrator of the Property, filed an action for damages and just
compensation against NIA. NIA countered that respondent‘s right to bring the action had prescribed in

accordance with RA 3601, as amended by PD 552. NIA also argued that respondent‘s failure t o pursue the
implementation of the 1 980 deeds of sale amounted to laches.

Issue: Whether or not prescription or laches bars the respondent‘s right to just compensation.

Held: The principle of laches finds no application in the present case. There is noth ing inequitable in
giv ing due course to respondent‘s claim for compensation. Both equity and the law direct that a property

owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use.


Eminent domain is the inherent power of a sov ereign state to ap propriate private property to particular

uses to promote public welfare. No one questions NIA‘s authority to ex ercise the delegated power of

eminent domain. However, the power of eminent domain is not limitless. NIA cannot ex ercise the power
with wanton disregard for property rights. One basic limitation on the State‘s power of eminent domain is

the constitutional directive that, ―private property shall not be taken for public use without just
compensation.‖

The thirteen-year interval between the execution of the 1 980 deeds of sale and the 1 993 filing of the

complaint does not bar the claim for compensation. This Court reiterated the long -standing rule ―that
where priv ate property is taken by the Gov ernment for public use without first acquiring title theret o

either through ex propriation or negotiated sale, the owner‘s action to recover the land or the value thereof
does not prescribe.‖

BAIL
JUDGE NAPOLEON INOTURAN, v s. JUDGE MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR

A.M. No. MTJ-01 -1 362. May 6, 2005

Facts: Mario Balucero was charged before the RTC of Makati Branch 1 33, the presiding judge of which is

Napoleon Inoturan, with the v iolation of BP 22. Balucero, however, failed to appear during arraignment
despite notice. Inoturan then issued a bench warrant against him. Balucero was subsequently arrested in

Bacolod City , but was released upon posting of a property bail before the MCTC of Pulupundan, Negros
Occidental, which order was signed by Judge Manuel Limsiaco, Jr. The arraignment of Balucero was

subsequently set, but he failed to appear notwithstanding his receipt of notices. Inoturan then ordered

that the property bond be cancelled and forfeited. He then ordered Ignacio Denila, the Clerk of Court of
the MCTC to forward the property bond. Unable to comply with Inoturan‘s orde r, Denila was cited in
contempt and was detained. Denila was ordered released by Limisiaco. Upon investigation, the Office of

Court Administrator found that Judge Limsiaco ordered the release of the some other accused although
they did not post bail. Limsiaco was administratively charged for gross ignorance of the law and

negligence in the performance of his duties.

Issue: What are the requisites before an order for release can be giv en in cases of bail?

Held: Bail is the security giv en for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a

bondsman, conditioned upon his appearance before any court as required under the conditions herein
after specified. It is thus clear that without bail, an accused under detention cannot be released. As found

by the inv estigating Judges, accused Balucero did not post bail but still respondent Judge Limsiaco

ordered his release.


A person applying for bail should be in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of liberty. Indeed, bail

is unav ailing with respect to an accused who has not v oluntarily surrendered or has y et to be placed in
legal custody. In this case, Limsiaco issued the Order for the release of accused Balucero on November 21,

1 996 or fifteen (1 5) day s before December 6, 1 996, the day he w as actually arrested.

Moreover, Limsiaco acted without authority in approving Balucero‘s alleged application for bail. Section
1 7 , Rule 1 14 of the Rev ised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that ―if the accused is arrested in a

prov ince, city of municipality, other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed with any Regional
Trial Court of said place, or if no judge thereof is av ailable, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal

trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge therein.‖ Here, respondent should not have approved

Balucero‘s application for bail. It is only one of the 1 4 Branches of the RTC in Bacolod City which has the
authority to act thereon.

POLICE POWER

LUCENA GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, INC., petitioner, vs. JAC LINER, INC., respon dent.
G.R. No. 1 48339. February 23, 2005

Facts: The City of Lucena enacted an ordinance which provides, inter alia, that: all buses, mini -buses and

out-of-town passenger jeepneys shall be prohibited from entering the city and are hereby directed to

proceed to the common terminal, for picking-up and/or dropping of their passengers; and (b) all
temporary terminals in the City of Lucena are hereby declared inoperable starting from the effectivity of
this ordinance. It also provides that all jeepneys, mini-buses, and buses shall use the grand central

terminal of the city . JAC Liner, Inc. assailed the city ordinance as unconstitutional on the ground that,
inter alia, the same constituted an inv alid exercise of police power, an undue taking of priv ate property,

and a v iolation of the constitutional prohibition against monopolies.

Issue: Whether or not the ordinance satisfies the requisite of v alid exercise of police power, i.e. lawful

subject and lawful means.

Held: The local government may be considered as hav ing properly exercised its police power only if the
following requisites are met: (1 ) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a

particular class, require the interference of the State, and (2) the means employed are reasonably

necessary for the attainment of the object sought to be accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon
indiv iduals. Otherwise stated, there must be a concurrence of a lawful subject and lawful method

The questioned ordinances having been enacted with the obje ctive of relieving traffic congestion in the
City of Lucena, they involve public interest warranting the interference of the State. The first requisite for

the proper exercise of police power is thus present. This leav es for determination the issue of whet her the

means employed by the Lucena Sangguniang Panlungsod to attain its professed objective were reasonably
necessary and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. The ordinances assailed herein are characterized

by ov erbreadth. They go beyond what is reasonably necessary to solve the traffic problem. Additionally,
since the compulsory use of the terminal operated by petitioner would subject the users thereof to fees,

rentals and charges, such measure is unduly oppressive, as correctly found by the appellate court. What

should hav e been done was to determine exactly where the problem lies and then to stop it right there.
The true role of Constitutional Law is to effect an equilibrium between authority and liberty so that rights

are ex ercised within the framework of the law and the laws are enacted with due deference to rights. It is
its reasonableness, not its effectiveness, which bears upon its constitutionality. If the constitutionality of a

law were measured by its effectiveness, then even ty rannical laws may be justified whenever they happen

to be effectiv e.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

COMMISSION OF SIMPLE NEGLIGENCE, V IOLATION OF REV ENUE REGULATION NO. 4 -93


BUREAU OF INTERNAL REV ENUE, et al v s. LILIA B. ORGANO

G.R. No. 1 4995, February 26, 2004

Facts: Respondent Lilia B. Organo is a rev enue collection officer of the BIR, Rev enue Region 7 , Quezon

City . On May 1 3, 1 997 , then BIR Commissioner Liwayway V insons -Chato filed with the BIR a formal

administrative charge against petitioner for grave misconduct and disho nesty.
Respondent filed a v erified answer, in which she admitted that she had no specific authority allowing her

to receive withholding tax returns and check payments. She alleged in her counter-affidavit that her duties
as collection officer consisted merely of collecting delinquent accounts and performing other tasks that

her supervisor would assign to her from time to time; and that her acceptance of the withholding tax

returns and check pay ments for transmittal to BIR-authorized banks was a mere assistance extended to
tax payers, without any consideration.

The administrative case against respondent was transferred to the Office of Ombudsman, which adopted
the ―proceedings, evidence/exhibits presented at the administrative proceedings before the BIR.‖ In d ue

course, it rendered its decision finding respondent guilty of grave misconduct.

Issue: Whether or not respondent is liable for grave misconduct.

Held: The Court held that by accommodating and accepting withholding tax returns and checks payments

respondent disregarded as established BIR rule. Rev enue Regulation No. 4 -93 requires payments through

the banks precisely to avoid, whenever possible, BIR employee‘s direct receipt of tax payments. Yet,
respondent was not deterred from making accommodations tha t circumvented this provision.

To compound matters, her acts were essential ingredients paving the way for the commission of fraud
against, and consequent damage to, the government. Her claimed ignorance thereof cannot erase her

liability . Obv iously, she disregarded the established practice and rules. In the face of her silence, the fact

that the checks ended up in an unauthorized BIR account eloquently speaks, at the v ery least, of her gross
negligence in taking care of collections that should not hav e pas sed through her hands in the first place.

Because of her complicity in the transgression of the cited BIR regulation as well as her gross negligence,
respondent is administratively liable for simple misconduct and is suspended for six months.

POWER OF COA
RODOLFO S. DE JESUS, ET AL. v s. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

G.R. No. 1 49154, June 10, 2003

Facts: The Board of Directors (BOD) of the Catbalogan Water District granted to themselves RATA, rice
allowance, productivity incentive, anniversary, and y ear -end bonus and cash gifts, as authorized by

Resolution No. 313 of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). The COA disallowed and ordered

the refund of these allowances as they are not allowed by P.D. No. 1 98, the Provincial Water Utilities Act
of 1 97 3.

Issue: Whether COA is v ested with authority to disallow release of allowance not authorized by law even if

authorized by the LWUA.

Held: Art. IX, Sec. 2 D of the Constitution mandates the COA to audit all the gov ernment agencies,

including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) with original charters. The COA is
v ested with authority to disallow illegal or irregular disbursements of government funds. A Water District

is a GOCC with a special charter since it is created pursuant to special law, PD 1 98. The COA can disallow

allowances not authorized by law, even if authorized by the LWUA.


Considering that the disallowed allowances were received in good faith, without knowledge that payment

had no legal basis, the allowances need not to be refunded.

QUASI-LEGISLATIV E & QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS; RULE ON EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIV E

REMEDIES; DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION;WHEN APPLICABLE

SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. ET AL. V . NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

(NTC)

G.R. 1 51 908, August 1 2, 2003

Facts: The NTC issued Billing Circular 1 3 -6-2000 which promulgated rules and regulations on the billing
of telecommunications services. Petitioners filed with the RTC a petition to declare the circular as

unconstitutional. A motion to dismiss was filed by the NTC on the ground of petitioner‘s to ex haust

administrative remedies. The RTC denied the motion to dismiss but on certiorari, the CA reversed RTC.
Held: 1 . Administrative bodies had (a) quasi-legislative or rule-making powers and (b) 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. To be v alid, such rules and regulations
must conform to, and be consistent with, the provisions of enabling statute.

Quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power is the power to hear and determine questions of fact

to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law
itself in enforcing and administering the same law. In carrying out their quasi -judicial functions, the

administrative officers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the ex istence of facts, hold
hearings, weigh ev idence, and draw conclusions from them for their official action and ex ercise of

discretion in a judicial.

2. The determination of whether a specific rule or set of rules issued by an admini strative body
contravenes the law or the constitution is within the judicial power as defined by the Constitution which is

― the duty of the Courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there haw been a grav e abuse of discretion

amounting to lack or ex cess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the

Gov ernment.‖ The NTC circular was issued pursuant to its quasi-legislative or rule-making power. Hence,
the action must be filed directly with the regular courts without requiring exhaustion of administrative

remedies.
3. Where the act of administrative agency was performed pursuant to its quasi -judicial function,

ex haustion of administrative remedy is required, before going to court.

4. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies only where the administrative agency exercises its quasi -
judicial or adjudicatory function. Thus, in cases inv olving specialized disputes, the same must be referred

to an administrative agency of special competence pursuant to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. This
doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies where the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a

regulatory scheme, has 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
v iew.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 67 7 0 ( THE OMBUDSMAN ACT OF 1 998) PENALTIES WHICH ARE FINAL AND

UNAPPEALABLE;
RENATO HERRERA v . ELMER BOHOL

G.R. No. 1 55320. February 5,2004

Facts: Renato F. Herrera, former Director III at DAR Central Office, approved the request for shift of item
number of Plaridel Elmer J. Bohol, a Senior Agrarian Reform officer at th e BARIE. The shift or item

number from 577-1 of Fund 1 08 to 562-3 of Fund 1 01 resulted to Bohol ontaining his salary under Fund

1 01 . When Bohol was informed that he could not draw his salary under such item anymore because his
item was recalled and was giv en to another person, he charged Herrera before the Office of the

Ombudsman, with Grav e Misconduct and/or Inefficiency and Incompetence. The Ombudsman found
Renato Herrera guilty of simple misconduct and was suspended for one month without pay. Such decision

was contested by Herrera and he ev en appealed to the CA on the ground that he did not fail to take

measures to correct respondent‘s recall; but, such petition was just denied by the CA.A petition for review
was raised to the SC stressing that one month suspension, as stated in the Ombudsman Act of 1 998, is

appealable considering that it is not among those enumerated as final and unappealable.

Issue: Whether or not the provision in R.A. No. 67 70, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1 998,

prov iding suspension of not more than one month‘s salary is final and unappealable.

Held: Sec. 27 of RA No. 67 7 0 states that: ―any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public
censure, reprimand, suspension of not more than one month‘s salary shall be final and unappealable…‖

Salary suspension is an effect of work suspension following the ―no work, no pay‖ principle. It will be the

employee concerned who will be suspended and such suspension without pay,being final, and
unappealable, is clearly expressed the law. RA No. 67 70, therefore, is a legal and clear basis of deny ing the

petitioner‘s appeal.

COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY ;HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR A SUPERIOR OFFICER SHALL NOT BE

CIV ILLY LIABLE FOR THE WRONGFUL ACTS.OMISSION OF DUTY , NEGLIGENCE FOR
MISFEASA NCE OF HIS SUBORDINATE.UNLESS HE HAS ACTUALLY AUTHORIZE BY WRITTEN

ORDER OF THE SPECIFIC ACT OR MISCONDUCT COMPLAINED OF

ALBERTO V . REY ES, ET AL. v . RURAL BANK OF SAN MIGUEL (BULACAN), INC.ET. AL,.

G.R. No. 1 54499, February 27 , 2004


Facts: In a letter dated May 19,1999, addressed to then BSP Gov ernor Singson, RBSMI charge the

petitioner with v iolation of RA No. 67 13 ( code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employ ees). The Monetary Board (MB) of the BSP created an Ad Hoc Committee t o investigate the

matter.
The ensuing inv estigation disclosed that sometime in September 1 996, RBSMI, which had a history of

major v iolations/exceptions dating back to 1 995, underwent periodic examination by the BSP. The

ex amination team headed by Principio noted serious 20 ex ceptions/violations and deficiencies of RBSMI.
Through Resolution No. 96, the MB required RBSMI to submit within 1 5 days a written explanation with

respect to the findings of the ex aminer. It also directed the Department of Rural Banks DRB), to v erify ,
monitor and report to the Deputy Governor, Supervision and Ex amination Sector (SES) on the findings

noted, until the same shall hav e been corrected.

Meanwhile on June 1 3,1997, the MB approved Resolution No. 7 24 ordering RBSMI to correct t he major
ex ceptions noted within 30 days from receipt of the adv ice, and to remit to the BSP the amount of

P2,538,483.00 as fines and penalties for incurring deficiencies in reserves against deposit liabilities.
More than a y ear after, however, the RBSMI asked for a reconsideration of MB Resolution No. 7 24 insofar

as the imposition of fine amounting to P P2,538,483.00.On January 21, 1 999, the MB adopted Resolution

No. 7 1 , authorizing the conditional reversal of six ty of the dispute on the findings on reserv e deficiency.
Subsequently, on April 7 , 1 999, the MB approv ed the interim reversal of the entire amount of the penalty

―pending the outcome of the study on the legal and factual basis for the imposition of the penalty.‖
The abov e incidents, particularly the alleged ―brokering‖ by Reyes and the petitioners‘ ―unsupported‖

recommendation to impose a penalty of P2,538,483.00 for legal reserve deficiency, prompted the

respondent to file the letter-complaint charging the petitioners with ―unprofessionalism.‖


In the Decision if March 1 4,2003, this Court found Deputy Governor Reyes and Director Domo -ong liable

for v iolation of the ―standards of professionalism‖ prescribed by RA 67 13in that they used the distressed
financial condition of respondent RBSMI as the subje ct of a case study in one of the BSP seminars and did

the ―brokering‖ of the sale of RBSMI. The Court modified the decision of the CA by reducing the penalty

imposed from the a fine equiv alent to six months‘salary to a fine of 2 months salary for Reyes and one
month salary for Domo -ong.

The court exonerated petitioner Proncipio of the Administrative charges. The exoneration is subject to
RBSMI‘s Motion for Partial Reconsideration.

Issue: Whether or not the Superior officer shall not be civilly liable for t he wrongful acts, omissions of
duty , negligence or misfeasance of his subordinate officer.
Held: The immunity of public officers from liability for nonfeasance, negligence or omissions of duty of
their official subordinate and even for the latter‘s misfea sance or positive wrong rests, according to

MECHEM, ―upon obv ious considerations of public policy, the necessities of the public service and the
perplexities and embarrassments of a contrary doctrine.‖ These official subordinates are themselves

public officers though of an inferior grade, and therefore directly liable in the cases in which any public

officer is liable, for their own misdeeds or defaults.


Under the Admin Code of 1 987 , which provides that head of a department or a superior officer shall not

be civ illy liable for the wrongful acts, omissions of duty, negligence, misfeasance of his subordinates,
unless he has actually authorized by written order the specific act or misconduct complained of.

ELECTION LAW

RONALD ALLAN POE a.k.a. FERNANDO POE, JR. V S. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROY O


P.E.T. CASE No. 002. March 29, 2005

Facts: In the 2004 election, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) was proclaimed the duly elected President of
the Philippines. The second-placer in the elections, Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ), filed a n election protest

before the Electoral Tribunal. When the Protestant died in the course of his medical treatment, his widow,
Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe a.k.a. Susan Roces filed a motion to intervene as a substitute for deceased

protestant FPJ. She claims that there is an urgent need for her to continue and substitute for her late

husband to ascertain the true and genuine will of the electorate in the interest of the Filipino people. The
Protestee, GMA asserts that the widow of a deceased candidate is not the p roper party to replace the

deceased protestant since a public office is personal and not a property that passes on to the heirs.
Protestee also contends that under the Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, only the registered

candidates who obtained the 2nd and 3rd highest v otes for the presidency may contest the election of the

president.

Issue: May the widow substitute/intervene for the protestant who died during the pendency of the latter‘s
protest case?

Held: Only the registered candidate for President or for V ice-President of the Philippines who received the
second or third highest number of v otes may contest the election of the President or the V ice -President, as
the case may be, by filing a v erified petition with the Clerk of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal within

thirty (30) days after the proclamation of the winner.


An election protest is not purely personal and ex clusive to the protestant or to the protestee, hence,

substitution and intervention is allowed but only by a real party in i nterest. Note that Mrs. FPJ herself
denies any claim to the office of President but rather stresses that it is with the ―paramount public

interest‖ in mind that she desires ―to pursue the process‖ commenced by her late husband. However,

nobility of intention is not the point of reference in determining whether a person may intervene in an
election protest. In such intervention, the interest which allows a person to intervene in a suit must be in

the matter of litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or
lose by the effect of the judgment. In this protest, Mrs. FPJ will not immediately and directly benefit from

the outcome should it be determined that the declared president did not truly get the highest number of

v otes.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL. V S. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS, COMELEC CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN ABALOS, SR., ET AL.

G.R. No. 1 59139. January 13, 2004

Facts: On June 7 , 1 995, Congress passed R.A. 8046 (An act authorizing the COMELEC to conduct a

nationwide demonstration of a computerized election system and pilot -test it in the March 1 996 elections
in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and for other purposes). On December 22,

1 997 , Congress enacted R.A. 8436 (An act authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system

in the May 1 1 , 1 998 national or local elections and in subsequent national and local electoral exercises,
prov iding funds therefore and for other purposes).

On October 29, 2002, COMELEC adopted its Resolution 02-0170 a modernization program for the 2004
elections. It resolved to conduct biddings for the three phases of its Automated Election Sy stem: namely,

Phase I-V oter Registration and V alidation Sy stem; Phase II-Automated Counting and Canv assing Sy stem;

and Phase III-Electronic Transmissions.


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued EO No. 1 7 2, which allocated the sum of P 2.5 billion to fund the

AES for May 1 0, 2004 elections. She authorized the release of an additional P 500 million, upon th e
request of COMELEC.

The COMELEC issued an ―Inv itation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid‖. There are 57 bidders who

participated therein. The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) found MPC and the Total Information
Management Corporation (TIMC) eligible. Both were referred to Technical Working Group (TWG) and
the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Howev er, the DOST said in its Report on the Ev aluation of Technical Proposals on Phase II that both MPC
and TIMC had obtained a number of failed marks in technical evaluation. Notwithstanding these failures,

the COMELEC en banc issued Resolution No. 607 4, awarding the project to MPC.
Wherefore, petitioners Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines wrote a letter to the

COMELEC chairman Benjamin A balos, Sr. They protested the award of the contract to respondent MPC.

Howev er in a letter-reply, the COMELEC rejected the protest.

Issue: Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in awarding the contract to
MPC in v iolation of law and in disregard of its own bidding rules and procedure.

Held: The Court has ex plained that COMELEC flagrantly v iolated the public policy on public biddings (1 )
by allowing MPC/MPEI to participate in the bidding ev en though it was not qualified to do so; a nd (2) by

ev entually awarding the contract to MPC/MPEI. It is clear that the Commission further desecrated the
law on public bidding by permitting the winning bidder to alter the subject of the contract, in effect

allowing a substantive amendment without p ublic bidding.

SPECIAL ELECTION

ARTURO TOLENTINO AND ARTURO MOJICA V S. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENATOR RALPH

RECTO AND SENATOR GREGORIO HONASAN

G.R. No. 1 48334. January 21, 2004

Facts: Following the appointment of Senator Teofisto Guingona as V ice-President of the Philippines, the
Senate on February 8, 2001 passed Resolution No. 84, calling on COMELEC to fill the v acancy through a

special election to be held simultaneously with the regular elections on May 1 4, 2001. Twelve senators,

with 6-y ear term each, were due to be elected in that election. The resolution further provides that the
―Senatorial candidate garnering the 1 3th highest number of v otes shall serve only for the unexpired term

of former Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr. which ends on June 30, 2004.
On June 5, 2001 , after canvassing the election results, the COMELEC proclaimed 1 3 candidates as the

elected Senators, with the first 1 2 Senators to serve the unexpired term of 6 y ears and the 1 3th Senator to

serv e the full term of 3 y ears of Senator Te ofisto Guingona, Jr. Gregorio Honasan ranked 1 3th.
Petitioners Arturo Tolentino and Arturo Mojica, as v oters and taxpayers, filed the instant petition for
prohibition, praying for the nullification of Resolution No. 01 -005.

Issue: Whether or not the Special Election held on May 1 4, 2001 should be nullified: (1 ) for failure to giv e

notice by the body empowered to and (2) for not following the procedure of filling up the v acancy
pursuant to R.A. 6645.

Held: (1 ) Where the law does not fix the time and place for holding a special election but empowers some
authority to fix the time and place after the happening of a condition precedent, the statutory provision on

the giv ing of notice is considered mandatory, and failure to do so will render the election a null ity .
The test in determining the v alidity of a special election in relation to the failure to give notice of the

special election is whether want of notice has resulted in misleading a sufficient number of v oters as

would change the result of special election. If the lack of official notice misled a substantial number of
v oters who wrongly believed that there was no special election to fill v acancy, a choice by small percentage

of v oters would be v oid.


(2) There is no basis in the petitioners‘ claim that th e manner by which the COMELEC conducted the

special Senatorial election on May 1 4, 2001 is a nullity because the COMELEC failed to document

separately the candidates and to canvass separately the votes cast for the special election. No such
requirement exists in our election laws. What is mandatory under Section 2 of R.A. 6645 is that the

COMELEC ―fix the date of election,‖ if necessary, and state among others, the office/s to be v oted for.
Significantly , the method adopted by the COMELEC in conducting the special election on May 1 4, 2001

merely implemented the procedure specified by the Senate in Resolution No. 84. Initially, the original

draft of said resolution as introduced by Senator Francisco Tatad made no mention of the manner by
which the seat v acated by former Senator Guingona would be filled. However, upon the suggestion of

Senator Raul Roco, the Senate agreed to amend the resolution by providing as it now appears, that ―the
senatorial cabdidate garnering the 1 3th highest number of v otes shall serve only for the unexpired term of

former Senator Teofisto Giongona, Jr.‖

ADMINISTRATIV E POWERS OF COMELEC

BAY TAN ET AL. V S. COMELEC

GR No. 1 53945. February 4, 2003


Facts: Rey nato Bay tan registered as a v oter in two precincts and the COMELEC En Banc affir med the

recommendation of its Law Department to file information of double registration in v iolation of the
Election Code. Bay tan filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari on the grounds, among

others, that there was no probable cause and that election cases must first be heard and decided by a
Div ision before the COMELEC En Banc can assume jurisdiction.

Held: 1 . It is well- settled that the finding of probable cause in the prosecution of election offenses rests in
the sound discretion of the COMELEC. Generally , the Court will not interfere with such finding of the

COMELEC, absent a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion. This principle emanates from the
ex clusive power of the COMELEC to conduct preliminary investigation of all election inv estigation of all

election offenses and to prosecute the same.

2. Under Sec. 2, Art. IX-C of the Constitution, the COMELEC ex ercises both administrative and quasi -
judicial powers. The administrative powers are found in Sec 2. (1 ), (3) to (9) of Art IX-C. The Constitution

does not provide on whether these administrative powers shall be ex ercised by the COMELEC en banc or
in div ision. The COMELEC en banc therefore can act on administrative matters, and this had been the

practice under the 1 973 and 1 987 Constitutions. The prosecution by the COMELEC of v iolations of

election laws is an administrative power.


3. The ex ercise by the COMELEC of its quasi-judicial powers is subject to Sec.3, Art.IX-C which ex pressly

requires that all election cases, including pre -proclamation controversies, shall be decided by the
COMELEC in div ision, and the motion for reconsideration shall be decided by the COMELEC en banc.

IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY

BAROT V S. COMELEC ET AL.


GR No. 1 491 47. June 1 8, 2003

Facts: In the May 1 4, 2001 elections Barot was proclaimed the 1 0th winning candidate for councilor of
Tanjay City , Negros Oriental. On May 29, 2001 the Chairman of the Board of Canv assers sent a

Memorandum to the COMELEC requesting for authority to correct the Certificate of Canv ass and to
proclaim Tabaloc, instead of Barot, as the 1 0th winning candidate for Councilor, by errors committed by

the Board of Canv assers. The COMELEC considered the Memorandum as a petition, and after notice and

hearing, granted the request. Tabaloc was proclaimed the 1 0th winning Councilor. Barot filed with the
Supreme Court a petition for and prohibition.
Held: 1 . Rule 27 , Sec.5, par (b) of the COMELEC Rules provides that a petition for correction must be filed
not later than fiv e (5) day s following the date of proclamation, impleading the candidates who may be

adv ersely affected thereby. Rule 1 , Sec.4 of the COMELEC Rules also provides that ―in the interest of
justice and in the order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending before the Commission, these

rules or any option thereof may be suspended by the Commission.‖ The filing of the petition beyond the 5 -

day period was upheld in the interest of justice, it hav ing been clearly shown that it was Tabaloc and not
Barot who was the 1 0th winning candidate for councilor.

2. The COMELEC had the authority to consider the Memorandum of the Chairman of the Board of
Canv assers, after notice and hearing, may even motu propio correct errors committed by in the tabulation

of the v otes.

PRE-PROCLA MATION CONTROV ERSY

NAV ARRO V S. COMELEC

GR No. 1 507 99. February 3, 2003

Facts: Petitioner was a candidate for May or in the May 1 4, 2001 elections and during the canvassing, he

petitioned the Board of Canv assers (BOC) to ex clude the election returns contai ned in nine (9) ballot
box es on the ground that said boxes were not secured by the required ―3 padlocks.‖ The BOC denied the

petition and petitioner appealed to the COMELEC. The COMELEC en banc denied the appeal and ordered
the BOC to proceed with the canvassing and proclaim the winning local candidates. Petitioner lost in the

election.

Held: 1 . Lack of the required number of padlocks on the ballot boxes is not a proper issue in a pre -

proclamation controversy. The issues that may be raised in a pre -proclamation controversy are
enumerated in Sec 243 of the Omnibus Election Code, to wit:

a. Illegal composition or proceeding of the board of canvassers;

b. The canv assed election returns are incomplete, contain material defects, and appear to be
tampered with or falsified, or contain discrepancies in the same returns or in other authentic copies
thereof as mentioned in Sections 233, 234, 235, and 236 of this Code;

c. The election returns were prepared under duress, threats, coercion, or intimidation, or they are
obv iously manufactured or not authentic; and

d. When substitute or fraudulent returns in controverted polling places were canvassed, the results of
which materially affected the standing of the aggrieved candidate or candidates.

This enumeration is ex clusive.

2. A pre-proclamation controversy is limited to an ex amination of the election returns on their face and
the COMELEC as a general rule need not go beyond the face of the returns and investigate the alleged

election irregularities. In the case of Baterina, et al. v . COMELEC, 205 SCRA 1 , the following facts were
shown: (a) failure to close the entries with the signatures of the election inspectors; (b) lack of inner and

outer seals; (c) canvassing by the Board of copies not intended for it; (d) lack of ti me and date receipt by

the Board of the election returns; (e) lack of signatures of petitioners‘ watchers; and (f) lack of authority of
the person receiving the election returns. It was held that while said facts may, indeed, inv olve violation of

the rules gov erning the preparation and delivery of election returns for canvassing, they do not necessarily
affect the authenticity and genuineness of the subject election returns as to warrant their ex clusion from

the canv assing. Above facts are clearly defects in form insufficient to support a conclusion that the

election returns were tampered with or spurious.


3. The COMELEC en banc v alidly ordered the proclamation of the winning candidate even during the

pendency of the appeal to the COMELEC from the BOC‘s denial of the petition for exclusion of the
questioned election returns. RA 7 166, Sec 20 (I) provides as follows:

(i) The BOC shall not proclaim any candidate as winner unless authorized by the Commission after the

latter has ruled on the objection brought to it on appeal by the losing party. Any proclamation in v iolation
hereof shall be v oid ab initio, unless the contested returns will not adv ersely affect the results of the

election.
Above-quoted provision applies only where the objection deals with a pre -proclamation controversy.

IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY

COMELEC V S. TAGLE, ET AL.


GR No.s 1 48948 & 1 48951, February 17, 2003

Facts: In connection with the May 1 1, 1998 elections, candidate for May or Florentino A. Bautista filed a
complaint against May or Federico Poblete et al. for v ote –buying in v iolation of Sec 261 (a) and (b) of the
Omnibus Election Code. The Information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 7 034 -99 of the RTC of Imus,

Cav ite. Subsequently, a complaint for vote -selling in v iolation of Sec 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code
was filed with the Prosecutor‘s Office as witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7 034 -99 and the Provincial

Prosecutor in Imus, Cav ite filed separate Informations for v ote-selling against said witnesses. On appeal,
the COMELEC en banc declared that the witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7 034-99 were exempt from

criminal prosecution pursuant to 4th paragraph of Sec 28, RA No. 6646, otherwise known as ―The

Electoral Reforms Law of 1 987 ‖ which grants immunity from criminal prosecutio n to persons who
v oluntarily giv e information and willingly testify against those liable for v ote-buying or v ote-selling. The

Law Department of the COMELEC mov ed to dismiss the Informations against the said witnesses but the
RTC in Imus, Cav ite denied the motion to dismiss.

Held: 1 . One of the effectiv e way s of preventing the commission of v ote-buying and of prosecuting those

committing it is the grant of immunity from criminal liability in fav or of the party whose v ote was bought.
Sec 28 of RA No. 6646 c oncludes with the following paragraph:

The giv er, offeror, the promissory as well as the solicitor, acceptor, recipient and conspirator referred to in

paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 261 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 shall be liable as principals: Provided,
that any person, otherwise guilty under said paragraphs who v oluntarily gives information and willingly

testifies on any v iolation thereof in any official inv estigation or proceeding shall be ex empt from
prosecution and punishment for the offenses with re ference to which his information and testimony were

giv en: Provided, further, that nothing herein shall exempt such person from criminal prosecution for

perjury or false testimony.


2. To av oid possible fabrication of ev idence against the v ote -buyers, especially by the latter‘s opponents,

Congress saw it fit to warn ―v ote-sellers‖ who denounce the vote-buying that they could be liable for
perjury or false testimony should they not tell the truth.

3. The prosecution witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7 034 -99 are exempt from criminal prosecution for

v ote-selling by virtue of the proviso in the last paragraph of Section 28, RA 6646. At the time when the
complaint for v ote-selling was filed with the office of the Prov incial Prosecutor, the respondents had

already executed sworn statements attesting to the corrupt practice of v ote -buying. It cannot then be
denied that they had already voluntarily giv en information in the v ote-buying case. In fact, they willingly

testified in Crim. Case No. 7 034-99.

4. The COMELEC has the ex clusive power to conduct preliminary inv estigation of all election offenses
punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the same. The Chief State Prosecutor, all Provincial
and City Prosecutors, or their respective assistants are, however, giv en continuing authority, as deputies

of the COMELEC to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses and to
prosecute the same. This authority may be revoked or withdrawn by the COMELEC any time whenever, in

its judgment, such revocation or withdrawal is necessary to protect the integrity of the COMELEC and to
promote the common good, or when it believes that the successful prosecution of the case can be done by

the COMELEC. When the COMELEC nullified the resolution of the Provi ncial Prosecutor, it in effect

withdrew the deputation granted by the COMELEC.

PREMATURE CAMPAIGNING

PANGKAT LAGUNA V S. COMELEC ET AL.

G.R. No. 1 4807 5. February 4, 2002

Facts: On January 30, 2001 then V ice Gov ernor Teresita Lazaro succeeded to the offic e of the Gov ernor of
Laguna when then Gov . Jose Lina was appointed Secretary of the DILG. Upon assumption of office as

Gov ernor, Lazaro publicly declared her ―intention to run for Gov ernor‖ in the coming May 2001 elections.

Subsequently, she ordered the purchase of trophies, basketballs, volleyballs, chessboard sets, t -shirts,
medals and pins, and other sports materials worth P4.5 millions. Gov. Lazaro bidded 7 9 public works

projects on March 28, 2001. Pangkat Laguna, a registered political party, filed a p etition for
disqualification of Gov . Lazaro for premature campaigning.

Held: 1 . The act of Gov . Lazaro in ―ordering the purchase of v arious items and the consequent distribution
thereof of Laguna, in line with the local government unit‘s sports and educat ion program‖ is not election

campaigning or partisan political activity contemplated and ex plicitly prescribed under the pertinent
prov isions of Sec 80 of the Omnibus Election Code.

2. Ev idence is wanting to sufficiently establish the allegation that publi c funds were released, disbursed,

or ex pended during the 45-day prohibitive period provided under the law and implementing rules. Absent
such clear and convincing proof, the factual findings of the COMELEC cannot be disturbed considering

that the COMELEC is the constitutional body tasked to decide, except those involving the right to v ote, all
questions affecting elections.

PUBLIC CORPORAT ION / PUBLIC OFFICERS


LOCAL GOV ERNMENTS; SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN; MAJORITY OF ALL THE MEMBERS

REQUIRED TO CONSTITUTE QUORUM

MANUEL ZAMORA V S. GOV . JOSE CABALLERO, ET AL.


G.R. No. 1 47767 . January 14, 2002

Facts: Manuel Zamora, a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela V alley, filed before the
RTC a petition to inv alidate all acts executed and resolutions is sued by the Sanggunian during its sessions

held on February 8 and 26, 2001 for lack of quorum. Said sessions noted the resignation letter of Board
Member Sotto, declared the entire province under a state of calamity and approved the Governor to enter

into the contract with the Allado Company. Zamora, the petitioner, argued that the Sanggunian, during its

February 26 session, conducted official business without a quorum since only 7 out of the 1 4 members
were present. He further questioned the February 8 ses sion‘s v alidity arguing that only 7 members were

present and the failure to provide written notice to all members at least 24 hours before the holding of the
special session. Respondents argued that Board Member Sotto was in the United States during such

sessions and that the actual number of Board Members in the country was only 1 3 which, they claimed,

should be the basis for the determination of a quorum. Such petition raised by Zamora was dismissed by
the RTC but rev ersed and granted by the Supreme Court.

Issues: 1 ) Whether or not Section 53 (a) of the LGC prov ides and specifies applicable rule regarding the

determination of a quorum.

2) Whether or not Sanggunian Members who are abroad should not be included in the counting of the

entire Sangguniang body.

3) Whether or not the approved decisions during the sessions, alleged to be without quorum, is deemed to

be v alid.

Held: Section 53 (a) of the LGC states that : ―A majority of all members of the Sanggunian who hav e been
elected and qualified shall co nstitute a quorum to transact official business.‖ Quorum is defined as the

―number of members of a body which, when legally assembled, will enable the body to transact its proper

business or that number which makes a lawful body and gives it power to pass upon a law or ordinance or
do any v alid act.‖ When required to constitute a quorum, ―majority‖ means the number greater than half
or more than half of the total.

As further stated, it requires the majority of ALL members of the Sanggunian. Quorum should, t hus, be
based on the total number of members regardless of whether or not a member is said to be abroad.

Therefore, in cases where decisions have been made during sessions deemed to have not met the required
quorum, such sessions and decisions shall be considered v oid.

LOCAL GOV ERNMENT; 3-TERM LIMIT

RAY MUNDO ADORMEO V S. COMELEC, ET AL.


G.R. No. 1 47 927. February 4, 2002

Facts: Respondent Talaga was elected May or of Lucena City in 1 992, re -elected in 1 995, but lost to
Tagarao in 1 998 elections. Tagarao was recalled and in the May 1 2, 2000 recall elections, Talaga won and

serv ed the unexpired term of Tagarao until June 30, 2001. Talaga was candidate for May or in the May 1 4,
2001 elections, and a petition for cancellation of his certificate of candidacy was filed on the ground that

he has serv ed as May or for three consecutive terms.

Issue: Whether or not Talaga has serv ed as May or of Lucena City for three consecutive terms.

Held: The term limit for elective local officials must be taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as

the right to serv e in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an indiv idual has

serv ed three consecutive terms in an elective local office. He must also hav e been elected to the same
position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply.

In the case at bar, Talaga did not serv e for 3 consecutive terms. For nearly 2 y ears, he was a priv ate
citizen. The continuity of his may orship was disrupted by his defeat in the 1 998 elections.

―If one is elected representative to serve the unexpired term of another, that unexpired term, no matter

how short, will be considered one term for the purpose of computing the number of successive terms
allowed‖—this comment of Constitutional Commissioner Fr. Be rnas applies only to members of the House

of Representatives. Unlike government officials, there is no recall election for members of Congress.

PUBLIC OFFICERS; ANTI-GRAFT

MAY OR ALV IN GARCIA V S. HON. PRIMO. MIRA, ET AL.


G.R. No. 1 48944. February 5, 2003

Facts: City May or Garcia was charged by Ombudsman Special Prosecution Officer Jesus Rodrigo Tagaan

for v iolation of the Anti-Graft Law as a result of his hav ing entered into a contract with F.E. Zuellig for the
supply of asphalt batching plant for three years. The joint affidav its of State Auditors Cabreros and

Quejada alleged that petitioner entered into the contract without available funds appropriated to cover the

ex penditure in v iolation of Sections 85 and 86 of P.D. 1 445 or the State Audit Code of the Phil.; that
petitioner exceeded the authority granted him by the Sangguniang Panlungsod; and that the contract is

manifestly disadvantageous to the City . Note however that thereafter, Special Prosecution Officer Tagaan
resigned from his office and his name was withdrawn as complainant in the case. Instead of filing a

counter-affidavit, Garcia filed with the Supreme Court a petition to prohibit the Ombudsman from

conducting the preliminary investigation on the ground that there is no sufficient complaint.

Issue: Whether or not the complaint/affidavits filed against Garcia is sufficient in form or manner.

Held: For purposes of initiating a preliminary investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman, a

complaint in any form or manner is sufficient. The Cons titution states that the Ombudsman and his
Deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner

against public officials or employees of the government. In Almonte vs. V asquez, 244 SCRA 286, we held
that ev en unv erified and anonymous letters may suffice to start an inv estigation. The Office of the

Ombudsman is different from the other investigatory and prosecutory agencies of the gov ernment

because those subject to its jurisdiction are public officials who, thr ough official pressure and influence,
can quash, delay, or dismiss investigations against them. The joint affidav its of State Auditors Cabreros

and Quejada contain allegations specific enough for petitioner to prepare his ev idence and counter -
arguments.

The fact that Special Prosecution Officer Tagaan already resigned from his office and that his name was

withdrawn as complainant in the case is of no consequence. First, Tagaan‘s report and affidav it still form
part of the records of the case. He can still b e called by subpoena, if necessary. Second, Tagaan was only a

nominal party whose duty as special prosecutor was to inv estigate the commission of crimes and file the
corresponding complaint whenever warranted. Since the illegal acts committed are public offenses, the

real complainant is the State, which is represented by the remaining complainants.

PUBLIC OFFICERS; APPOINTMENT; CONFIRMATION BY COA


ATTY . ELPIDIO SORIANO III V S. REUBEN LISTA, ET AL.
G.R. No. 1 53881. March 24, 2003

Facts: Eight officers of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were promoted by the President to V ice Admiral,

Rear Admiral, Commodore, Nav al Captain, and they assumed office without confirmation by the

Commission on Appointments (COA). Petitioner, as a tax payer, filed a petition with the Supreme Court
questioning the constitutionality of their assumption of office, which requires confirmation of the COA.

Held: Petitioner has no locus standi. A party bringing a suit challenging the constitutionality of an act or

statute must show not o nly that the law or act is inv alid, but also that he has sustained, or is in immediate

or imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement and not merely that he
suffers thereby in some indefinite way. The instant petition ca nnot even be classified as a tax payer‘s suit

because petitioner has no interest as such and this case does not involve the exercise by Congress of its
tax ing power.

Pursuant to Ex ecutive Order of President Ramos, the PCG was transferred from the Department of

National Defense to the Office of the President, and later to the Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC).