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G.R. No. 199082 July 23, 2013 JOSE MIGUEL T. ARROYO vs.

DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE

NATURE:
These are separate motions for reconsideration filed by movants Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in G.R. No. 199118 and
Jose Miguel T. Arroyo in G.R. No. 199082 praying that the Court take a second look at our September 18, 2012
Decision3 dismissing their petitions and supplemental petitions against respondents Commission on Elections
(Comelec), the Department of Justice (DOJ), Senator Aquilino M. Pimentel III (Senator Pimentel), Joint DOJ-
Comelec Preliminary Investigation Committee (Joint Committee) and DOJ-Comelec Fact-Finding Team (Fact-
Finding Team), et al.

FACTS:
On August 15, 2011, the Comelec and the DOJ issued a Joint Order creating and constituting a Joint Committee
and Fact-Finding Team on the 2004 and 2007 National Elections electoral fraud and manipulation cases
In its Initial Report of the Fact-Finding Team concluded that manipulation of the results in the May 14, 2007
senatorial elections in the provinces of North and South Cotabato, and Maguindanao was indeed perpetrated. It
recommended that Petitioner Benjamin S. Abalos, GMA, and Mike Arroyo be subjected to preliminary investigation
for electoral sabotage and manipulating the election results.
Thereafter, petitioners filed before the Court separate Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction assailing the creation of the
Joint Panel.
On September 18, 2012, the Court rendered the assailed Decision. It ruled that:
1. Fact- Finding Team’s Initial Report dated October 20, 2011, are declared VALID. However, the Rules of Procedure
on the Conduct of Preliminary Investigation on the Alleged Election Fraud in the 2004 and 2007 National Elections is
declared INEFFECTIVE for lack of publication.
2. The Joint Panel and the proceedings having been conducted in accordance with Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure and Rule 34 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, the conduct of the preliminary investigation is hereby
declared VALID.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the creation of the Joint Panel undermines the decisional independence of the Comelec.
2. Whether or not the DOJ should conduct preliminary investigation only when deputized by the Comelec but not
exercise concurrent jurisdiction

HELD:
1. The grant of concurrent jurisdiction, the Comelec and the DOJ nevertheless included a provision in the assailed Joint
Order whereby the resolutions of the Joint Committee finding probable cause for election offenses shall still be
approved by the Comelec in accordance with the Comelec Rules of Procedure.45 With more reason, therefore, that
we the the court cannot consider the creation of the Joint Committee as an abdication of the Comelec’s
independence enshrined in the 1987 Constitution

2. The creation of a Joint Committee is not repugnant to the concept of "concurrent jurisdiction" authorized by the
amendatory law The doctrine of concurrent jurisdiction means equal jurisdiction to deal with the same subject
matter. Contrary to the contention of the petitioners, there is no prohibition on simultaneous exercise of power
between two coordinate bodies. What is prohibited is the situation where one files a complaint against a respondent
initially with one office (such as the Comelec) for preliminary investigation which was immediately acted upon by
said office and the re-filing of substantially the same complaint with another office (such as the DOJ). The
subsequent assumption of jurisdiction by the second office over the cases filed will not be allowed. Indeed, it is a
settled rule that the body or agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the
exclusion of the others.

FALLO: petition is denied


SPS. ANTONIO FORTUNA AND ERLINDA FORTUNA,Petitioners, v.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,Respondents. G.R. No.
173423, March 05, 2014

FACTS: In December 1994, spouses Fortuna filed an application for registration of a parcel of land located in San
Fernando, La Union. They claimed that the land was originally owned by Pastora Vendiola, upon whose death was
succeeded by her heirs who later on sold the subject land to Sps. Fortuna in 1984. Sps. Fortuna claimed that they,
through themselves and their predecessors -in-interest, have beenin quiet, peaceful, adverse and uninterrupted
possession of Lot No. 4457 for more than 50 years, and submitted as evidence the lots survey plan, technical
description, and certificate of assessment. Republic of the Philippines opposed the application. The trial court granted
the application for registration. The Republic appealed to the CA arguing that there is no official proclamation from the
government that the land has been classified as alienable and disposable agricultural land. The CA reversed the RTC
decision for failure to comply with the length of possession that the law requires.

ISSUE : Whether or not the Sps. Fortuna has complied with the requisites for acquisition of title to alienable lands of
public domain.

HELD :No. CA decision affirmed

Civil Law: There must be a positive act from the government reclassifying the lot as alienable and disposable agricultural
land of the public domain

Jurisprudence has required that an applicant for registration of title acquired through a public land grant must present
incontrovertible evidence that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable by establishing the existence
of a positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action;
investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute.

Petitioners rely on the notation in the survey plan stating the land is alienable and disposable. They likewise argue that
the neither certification from the DENR that there is, per record, neither any public land application filed nor title
previously issued for the subject parcel. However, neither of these documents is evidence is a positive act from the
government reclassifying the lot as alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain.
Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Sitio Masigasig, Inc. v. Military Shrine Services -Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Department of
National Defense, G. R. No.187587, June 5, 2013
THE FACTS
The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows:
On 12 July 1957, by virtue of Proclamation No. 423, President Carlos P. Garcia reserved parcels of land in the Municipalities of Pasig,
Taguig, Parañaque, Province of Rizal and Pasay City for a military reservation. The military reservation, then known as Fort William
McKinley, was later on renamed Fort Andres Bonifacio (Fort Bonifacio).
On 28 May 1967, President Ferdinand E. Marcos (President Marcos) issued Proclamation No. 208, amending Proclamation No. 423,
which excluded a certain area of Fort Bonifacio and reserved it for a national shrine. The excluded area is now known as Libingan ng
mga Bayani, which is under the administration of herein respondent Military Shrine Services – Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
(MSS-PVAO).
Again, on 7 January 1986, President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 2476, further amending Proclamation No. 423, which excluded
barangaysLower Bicutan, Upper Bicutan and Signal Village from the operation of Proclamation No. 423 and declared it open for
disposition under the provisions of Republic Act Nos. (R.A.) 274 and 730.
At the bottom of Proclamation No. 2476, President Marcos made a handwritten addendum, which reads:
"P.S. – This includes Western Bicutan
(SGD.) Ferdinand E. Marcos"2
The crux of the controversy started when Proclamation No. 2476 was published in the Official Gazette 3 on 3 February 1986, without
the above-quoted addendum.
Years later, on 16 October 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino (President Aquino) issued Proclamation No. 172 which substantially
reiterated Proclamation No. 2476, as published, but this time excluded Lots 1 and 2 of Western Bicutan from the operation of
Proclamation No. 423 and declared the said lots open for disposition under the provisions of R.A. 274 and 730.
Memorandum Order No. 119, implementing Proclamation No. 172, was issued on the same day.
Through the years, informal settlers increased and occupied some areas of Fort Bonifacio including portions of the Libingan ng mga
Bayani. Thus, Brigadier General Fredelito Bautista issued General Order No. 1323 creating Task Force Bantay (TFB), primarily to
prevent further unauthorized occupation and to cause the demolition of illegal structures at Fort Bonifacio.
On 27 August 1999, members of petitioner Nagkakaisang Maralita ng Sitio Masigasig, Inc. (NMSMI) filed a Petition with the
Commission on Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP), where it was docketed as COSLAP Case No. 99-434. The Petition prayed
for the following: (1) the reclassification of the areas they occupied, covering Lot 3 of SWO-13-000-298 of Western Bicutan, from
public land to alienable and disposable land pursuant to Proclamation No. 2476; (2) the subdivision of the subject lot by the Director
of Lands; and (3) the Land Management Bureau’s facilitation of the distribution and sale of the subject lot to its bona fide occupants.4
On 1 September 2000, petitioner Western Bicutan Lot Owners Association, Inc. (WBLOAI) filed a Petition-in-Intervention
substantially praying for the same reliefs as those prayed for by NMSMI with regard to the area the former then occupied covering Lot
7 of SWO-00-001302 in Western Bicutan.5
Thus, on 1 September 2006, COSLAP issued a Resolution6 granting the Petition and declaring the portions of land in question
alienable and disposable, with Associate Commissioner Lina Aguilar-General dissenting.7
The COSLAP ruled that the handwritten addendum of President Marcos was an integral part of Proclamation No. 2476, and was
therefore, controlling. The intention of the President could not be defeated by the negligence or inadvertence of others. Further,
considering that Proclamation
No. 2476 was done while the former President was exercising legislative powers, it could not be amended, repealed or superseded, by
a mere executive enactment. Thus, Proclamation No. 172 could not have superseded much less displaced Proclamation No. 2476, as
the latter was issued on October 16, 1987 when President Aquino’s legislative power had ceased.
In her Dissenting Opinion, Associate Commissioner Lina AguilarGeneral stressed that pursuant to Article 2 of the Civil Code,
publication is indispensable in every case. Likewise, she held that when the provision of the law is clear and unambiguous so that
there is no occasion for the court to look into legislative intent, the law must be taken as it is, devoid of judicial addition or
subtraction.8 Finally, she maintained that the Commission had no authority to supply the addendum originally omitted in the published
version of Proclamation No. 2476, as to do so would be tantamount to encroaching on the field of the legislature.
Herein respondent MSS-PVAO filed a Motion for Reconsideration,9 which was denied by the COSLAP in a Resolution dated 24
January 2007.10
MSS-PVAO filed a Petition with the Court of Appeals seeking to reverse the COSLAP Resolutions dated 1 September 2006 and 24
January 2007.
Thus, on 29 April 2009, the then Court of Appeals First Division rendered the assailed Decision granting MSS-PVAO’s Petition, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated September 1, 2006 and
January 24, 2007 issued by the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems in COSLAP Case No. 99-434 are hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof, the petitions of respondents in COSLAP Case No. 99-434 are DISMISSED, for lack of
merit, as discussed herein. Further, pending urgent motions filed by respondents are likewise
DENIED. SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis in the original)
Both NMSMI12 and WBLOAI13 appealed the said Decision by filing their respective Petitions for Review with this Court under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court.
THE ISSUES
Petitioner NMSMI raises the following issues:
I
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT PROCLAMATION
NO. 2476 DID NOT INCLUDE ANY PORTION OF WESTERN BICUTAN AS THE HANDWRITTEN NOTATION BY
PRESIDENT MARCOS ON THE SAID PROCLAMATION WAS NOT PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE.
II
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT PROCLAMATION
NO. 172 LIKEWISE EXCLUDED THE PORTION OF LAND OCCUPIED BY MEMBER OF HEREIN PETITIONER.
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT THE HON. COSLAP
HAS BROAD POWERS TO RECOMMEND TO THE PRESIDENT >INNOVATIVE MEASURES TO RESOLVE
EXPEDITIOUSLY VARIOUS LAND CASES.14
On the other hand, petitioner WBLOAI raises this sole issue:
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SUBJECT PROPERTY
WAS NOT DECLARED ALIENABLE AND DISPOSABLE BY VIRTUE OF PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 BECAUSE THE
HANDWRITTEN ADDENDUM OF PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS INCLUDING WESTERN BICUTAN IN
PROCLAMATION NO. 2476 WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PUBLICATION. 15
Both Petitions boil down to the principal issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the subject lots were not alienable
and disposable by virtue of Proclamation No. 2476 on the ground that the handwritten addendum of President Marcos was not
included in the publication of the said law.
THE COURT’S RULING
We deny the Petitions for lack of merit.
Considering that petitioners were occupying Lots 3 and 7 of Western Bicutan (subject lots), their claims were anchored on the
handwritten addendum of President Marcos to Proclamation No. 2476. They allege that the former President intended to include all
Western Bicutan in the reclassification of portions of Fort Bonifacio as disposable public land when he made a notation just below the
printed version of Proclamation No. 2476.
However, it is undisputed that the handwritten addendum was not included when Proclamation No. 2476 was published in the Official
Gazette.
The resolution of whether the subject lots were declared as reclassified and disposable lies in the determination of whether the
handwritten addendum of President Marcos has the force and effect of law. In relation thereto, Article 2 of the Civil Code expressly
provides:
ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication.
Under the above provision, the requirement of publication is indispensable to give effect to the law, unless the law itself has otherwise
provided. The phrase "unless otherwise provided" refers to a different effectivity date other than after fifteen days following the
completion of the law’s publication in the Official Gazette, but does not imply that the requirement of publication may be dispensed
with. The issue of the requirement of publication was already settled in the landmark case Tañada v. Hon. Tuvera,16 in which we had
the occasion to rule thus:
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be
shortened or extended. An example, as pointed out by the present Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in the original decision, is
the Civil Code which did not become effective after fifteen days from its publication in the Official Gazette but "one year after such
publication." The general rule did not apply because it was "otherwise provided."
It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed with altogether. The reason is that such omission
would offend due process insofar as it would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern it. Surely, if the
legislature could validly provide that a law shall become effective immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of
publication (or after an unreasonably short period after publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be prejudiced
as a result; and they would be so not because of a failure to comply with it but simply because they did not know of its existence.
Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a law on
prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons they may affect before they can begin to operate.
xxxx
The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly speaking all laws relate to the people
in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual,
like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the
public although it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public interest which
any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a
law without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the
legislature. To be valid, the law must invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one individual,
or some of the people only, and not to the public as a whole.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their
effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers
whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules
and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
xxxx
Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies to only a portion of the national territory and
directly affects only the inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even, say, those naming a
public place after a favored individual or exempting him from certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the
Monetary Board must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details" of the Central Bank Act which
that body is supposed to enforce.
xxxx
We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the
laws. As correctly pointed out by the petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its
whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot
satisfy the publication requirement.1âwphi1 This is not even substantial compliance. This was the manner, incidentally, in which the
General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably of general applicability and interest, was "published" by the
Marcos administration. The evident purpose was to withhold rather than disclose information on this vital law.
xxxx
Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with their dark, deep secrets.
Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a
valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that
cannot feint, parry or cut unless the naked blade is drawn. (Emphases supplied)
Applying the foregoing ruling to the instant case, this Court cannot rely on a handwritten note that was not part of Proclamation No.
2476 as published. Without publication, the note never had any legal force and effect.
Furthermore, under Section 24, Chapter 6, Book I of the Administrative Code, "the publication of any law, resolution or other official
documents in the Official Gazette shall be prima facie evidence of its authority." Thus, whether or not President Marcos intended to
include Western Bicutan is not only irrelevant but speculative. Simply put, the courts may not speculate as to the probable intent of the
legislature apart from the words appearing in the law. 17 This Court cannot rule that a word appears in the law when, evidently, there is
none. In Pagpalain Haulers, Inc. v. Hon. Trajano, 18 we ruled that "under Article 8 of the Civil Code, 'judicial decisions applying or
interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.' This does not mean, however, that
courts can create law. The courts exist for interpreting the law, not for enacting it. To allow otherwise would be violative of the
principle of separation of powers, inasmuch as the sole function of our courts is to apply or interpret the laws, particularly where gaps
or lacunae exist or where ambiguities becloud issues, but it will not arrogate unto itself the task of legislating." The remedy sought in
these Petitions is not judicial interpretation, but another legislation that would amend the law ‘to include petitioners' lots in the
reclassification.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petitions are hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 97925 dated 29 April 2009 is AFFIRMED in toto. Accordingly, this Court's status quo order
dated 17 June 2009 is hereby LIFTED. Likewise, all pending motions to cite respondent in contempt is DENIED, having been
rendered moot. No costs.
Manila Public School Teachers' Association v. Garcia, G.R. No. 192708,
October 2, 2017
FACTS
On 14 November 1936, a goven1ment service insurance system was created by virtue of Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 186 in order
to promote the efficiency and welfare of the employees of the government of the Philippines. On 31 May 1977, then President Marcos
approved Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1146 amending, expanding, increasing, and integrating the social security and insurance
benefits of government employees and facilitating the payment thereof under C.A. No. 186. More than 20 years later, P.D. 1146 was
amended, and Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8291, or the "The GSIS Act of 1997," took effect.
Under this Act, the employee-member and the employer-agency are required by law to pay monthly contributions to the system.5 The
share of the employer ("GS," or government share) is sourced from the national budget, while that of the employee ("PS," or personal
share) is automatically deducted by the former from the employee's salary.6 The employer is mandated to remit the GS and PS
directly to the GSIS within the first 10 days of the calendar month following the month to which the contributions apply.7
One of the changes made in R.A. 8291 was the increase in the employer's contribution from 9.5% to 12%.8 However, there was no
concomitant increase in the budget appropriation.9 As a result, DepEd was unable to pay GSIS the equivalent of the 2.5% increase in
the employer's share.10
Based on the figures provided in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)11 executed by DBM, DepEd and GSIS on 11 September
2012, DepEd incurred premium deficiencies totalling ₱6,923,369,633.15 from 1 July 1997 to 31 December 2010 pertaining to the
GS.12 GSIS alleges that for the same period, DepEd personnel incurred premium deficiencies totalling ₱4,511,907,486.98 pertaining
to the PS.13
In the meantime, GSIS issued the assailed Resolutions, to wit:
1. Resolution No. 23814
- In 2002, the GSIS Board introduced CLIP, by which the arrears incurred by members from their overdue loans are deducted from
the proceeds of their new loan or retirement benefits. CLIP also involves the collective suspension of the loan privileges of the
member when a loan account is in default, except when its proceeds are used to pay for the arrearages.
2. Resolution No. 9015
- In 2003, the GSIS Board adopted the PBP whereby for the purpose of computing GSIS benefits, the creditable service of a member
is determined by the corresponding monthly premium contributions that were timely and correctly remitted or paid to GSIS.
Petitioners claim that the policy shifted the basis for the claims and benefits of GSIS members from the actual length of service to the
creditable years of service.16 Section 10 of R.A. 8291, which provided for the computation of service, states:
SECTION 10. Computation of Service. -
(a) The computation of service for the purpose of determining the amount of benefits payable under this Act shall be
from the date of original appointment/election, including periods of service at different times under one or more
employers, those performed overseas under the authority of the Republic of the Philippines, and those that may be
prescribed by the GSIS in coordination with the Civil Service Commission.
(b) All service credited for retirement, resignation or separation for which corresponding benefits have been
awarded under this Act or other laws shall be excluded in the computation of service in case of reinstatement in the
service of an employer and subsequent retirement or separation which is compensable under this Act.
For the purpose of this section the term service shall include full time service with compensation: Provided, That part time and other
services with compensation may be included under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the GSIS.
It must be noted that neither DepEd nor GSIS denies that there is a problem with the reconciliation of their records, such that the GSIS
database might reflect nonpayment of the PS despite its automatic deduction from the employee's salary and its remittance by DepEd.
As for the GS, it is also possible that the database might reflect nonpayment despite remittance. In fact, GSIS itself admitted that "it is
public knowledge that previous problems in the Information Technology infrastructure of GSIS have severely affected the efficient
servicing of members['] claims."17 Further, instead of denying that its nonposting may result in the nonpayment of benefits, GSIS
merely offered an excuse:
x x x. The GSI S has around 1,500,000 member-employees. Continuous efforts to make its records accurate are being earnestly taken.
The GSIS does not claim perfection and one hundred percent fool-proof precision in its database recording. When millions of entries
are involved, a few mistakes due to human error cannot be avoided. What the GSIS assures this Honorable Court is that errors brought
to its attention and shown to be existing are promptly rectified. Where benefits are concerned. expeditious corrections of records and
payments am done.18
3. Resolution No. 17919 - In 2007, the GSIS Board approved the APL, which is "a feature of a GSIS life insurance policy that keeps
the policy in force in case of nonpayment of premiums by taking out a loan amount against the unrestricted portion of the policy's
accumulated cash value (CV) or the termination value (TV)"20 until the total APL and policy loan balances exceed the CV of the Life
Endowment Policy or the TV of the Enhanced Life Policy. A 6% interest per annum compounded monthly is imposed on the APL,
which is independent of the 2% interest per month compounded annually charged to the agency for delayed remittances.21
These Resolutions were not published in a newspaper of general circulation and were enforced before they were even filed with the
Office of the National Administrative Register.22
Petitioners seek to nullify the resolutions for being "intrinsically unconstitutional, illegal, unjust, oppressive, arbitrary, confiscatory,
immoral, ultra vires, and unconscionable."23 They make the following factual allegations to demonstrate how the policies were
applied:
1. CLIP - Petitioners Eva Feria, Elcira Ponferrada, and Natividad Talastas obtained policy and/or emergency loans, which they have
fully paid for. The loan repayments have been automatically deducted from their salaries as certified by DepEd. Despite full payment,
their vouchers indicate underpayment of the loans.24
2. PBP - Petitioner Melchor Cayabyab is also a public school teacher.25 As of 11 June 2008, his Premium and Loan Accounts
Balances Index showed that he had the following arrearages:
PS ₱ 44,206.73
GS ₱ 61,327.67
EC ₱ 3,411.70
TOTAL ₱108,946.10
On the other hand, DepEd certified that the monthly contributions for the GS, PS and EC had been deducted from Cayabyab’s, salary
from January 2001 to July 2006.26
Because of the PBP, Cayabyab's creditable service was reduced as follows:
Total Length of Service 7.72678 years
Less: Equivalent Years of Service yet to 4.15462 years
be reconciled with Agency and
Member's Records
Provisional/Tentative Creditable Years 3.57216 years
of Service with Retirement Premium
Payments
3. APL - As of 6 June 2005, before the APL was approved, the cash surrender value of petitioner Talastas' policy amounted to
₱51,252.53. In 2008, she inquired about the cash surrender value of her policy and was apprised by GSIS that her policy had resulted
in zero proceeds because of the following deductions:27
Cash Value as of ₱51,252.53
6/6/2005
Less: Underpayments
Personal Share ₱9,045.48
Interests ₱l1,737.88
Government Share ₱9,710.35
Interests ₱20,758.82
Policy Loan ₱0.00
Interests on Policy Loan ₱0.00
Net Proceeds ₱0.00
Another case in point is petitioner Ponferrada, whose Life Insurance Claim Voucher showed that the premium in arrears was deducted
from the face value of her policy despite DepEd's certification that she had paid the monthly contributions, including the GS and the
EC, from January 2000 to December 2006.28
On 7 July 2008, respondent Garcia, who was then the president of GSIS, wrote a letter29 to DepEd alleging that the agency's unpaid
premiums, as of 30 June 2008, had reached ₱21.3 billion, to wit:
Unpaid premiums (GS) ₱4,451,361,535.55
Unpaid premium (PS) ₱2,946,674,455.57
Interest ₱l3.926.610.685.47
Total Premium arrearages of DepEd ₱21,324,646,676.59
In its reply letter dated 15 July 2008,30 DepEd asked the GSIS to break down the ₱21.3 billion lump sum by naming each and every
one of the employees who supposedly had unpaid premiums and thereafter providing the Service Records indicating the months or
years in which the PS or the GS of these employees were not paid. DepEd also suggested that the official receipts issued to it by GSIS
be reconciled with the latter's records.31
Petitioners claim that while DepEd was still discussing its alleged arrearages with GSIS, the latter converted the entire
₱21,324,646,676.59 into personal loans of the teachers through the APL, earning interest at 6% per annum compounded monthly,
while also effectively reducing the teachers' creditable years of service through the PBP.32
In response to the alleged "chronic" non-remittance of premium contributions resulting in premium deficiencies based on the GSIS
records of creditable service, the DBM, DepEd, and the GSIS executed a MOA on 11 September 2012.33 The following terms and
conditions were agreed upon:
1. The DBM will settle the government share in the premium arrearages of DepEd from 1 July 1997 to 31 December 2010 in the
amount of ₱6,923,369,633.l 5, half of which shall be advanced upon submission by the GSIS of a billing statement, list of employees
covered, and request letter;
2. The GSIS will condone, in its entirety, the interests due on the aforesaid premium deficiencies amounting to 14,041,029,495.73; and
3. Upon release of the advance payment, the GSIS will lift the suspension of loan privileges and other benefits applicable to the
covered DepEd personnel and make the proportionate adjustment in their records of creditable service.
On 31 May 2013, respondents informed the Court of the developments in the reconciliation of membership records of DepEd
personnel, the execution of the MOA, and the national appropriation for the settlement of DepEd's GSIS premium arrearages.
Petitioners asserted that regardless of the execution of the MOA, the Resolutions must still be nullified, because "most of the
initiatives described in the GSIS Manifestation appeared to be merely operational x x x which do not amend, modify, or reverse any of
the GSIS policies, and which are thus still in place."34 Moreover, the MOA refers only to the DepEd, one of the many agency-
employers in the government, without "similar reported endeavours to address the internal arrangements between the GSIS and the
rest of the agency-employers in the Government."35
In a Resolution dated 17 June 2015,36 the Court required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. All memoranda were
received by 9 October 2015.
OUR RULING
The policies are invalid due to lack of publication.
As early as 1986, the Court in Tanada v. Tuvera37already laid down a definitive interpretation of Article 238 of the Civil Code:
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their
effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers
whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules
and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid
delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and
not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative
superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.39
After Tanada, the Administrative Code of 198740 was enacted, with Section 3(1) of Chapter 2, Book VII, specifically providing that:
Filing. (1) Every agency shall file with the University of the Philippines Law Center three (3) certified copies of every rule adopted by
it. Rules in force on the date of effectivity of this Code which are not filed within three (3) months from the date shall not thereafter be
the basis of any sanction against any party or persons.
In Republic v. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., 41this Court held that the requirements of publication and filing must be strictly
complied with, as these were designed to safeguard against abuses on the part of lawmakers and to guarantee the constitutional right to
due process and to information on matters of public concern. Even in cases where the parties participated in the public consultation
and submitted their respective comments, strict compliance with the requirement of publication cannot be dispensed with.42
While GSIS filed copies of the subject resolutions with the Office of the National Administrative Register (ONAR), it only did so after
the claims of the retirees and beneficiaries had already been lodged.43 The resolutions were not published in either the Official
Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation in the country.
GSIS maintains that the publication of the resolutions was unnecessary, because the policies were "just a mere reiteration of the
timehonored principles of insurance law."44 According to GSIS, the PBP is actually contained in R.A. 8291, which allegedly
contemplates the actual payment of premiums.45 It alludes to the records of the Senate, which was supposedly clearly in support of its
position that the payment of premium contributions is a precondition for the availment of benefits from the system.46 The cited
excerpt reads:
Senator Romulo: As I understand it, Mr. President, after they have served in their respective offices for three years, or after they have
paid their contributions within a period of three years, they are entitled to the benefits under this proposed measure.
Senator Enrile: Yes, Mr. President, with certain limitations. My understanding is that there must be at least three years of service,
which means three years of contributions to the system.47
Regarding the APL Policy and CLIP, respondent GSIS made a general statement that those are "part and parcel of the business of
insurance."48
The GSIS admits that the Certificate of Membership49 contains the following provision:
4.3. Creditable services
For purposes of determining his length of service, all services with compensation rendered by the members from the date of his
original employment whether full-time or part-time shall be credited.
However, the agency downplays its own words by adding that the certificate "does not discount Section 5 and 6 of R.A. 8291 which
emphasize the need for the correct and prompt payment and remittance of the premium contributions.''50
A reading of the resolutions convinces us that these cannot be viewed simply as a construction of R.A. 8291, as they, in fact,
substantially increase the burden of GSIS members. It must now be proven that the PS or GS for the PBP and the APL, and loan
amortization payments for CLIP, have been remitted by DepEd and posted by GSIS.
GSIS cannot deny that it has made posting a prerequisite for the crediting of the period of service and loan repayments.51 Specifically,
the PBP guidelines provide:52
POLICIES:
xxxx
4. For services in government where the corresponding premium contributions were not paid, or if the amounts remitted or paid were
less than what should be paid, such services can only be recognized as creditable services if the following conditions are observed:
Competent proof that the member actually rendered those services and received fixed basic compensation.
Actual payment or remittance of the unpaid premium balances, including the interest imposed above for their delayed payment, both
for government and/or personal share.
PROCEDURAL GUIDELINE:
xxxx
6. The Record of Creditable Services shall be the member's record of services in government where the corresponding premium
contributions, including interest, if any, have been duly paid or remitted to GSIS.
xxxx
9. The RCS shall be the basis for computing the GSIS benefits due the member x x x
In case of error in the Record of Creditable Service, GSIS says that the following documents are acceptable to correct the
discrepancy:53
Conflict Documentary Proof
Statement of Account/Remittance List and
Monthly premium payments or Salary
Official Receipt
Statement of Account/Remittance List and
Years of Service
Official Receipt/Monthly Premiums Posted
GSIS does not consider the certifications issued by DepEd as substantial proof of payment, as these were "clearly self-serving."54
In its Comment, the GSIS admits that employees are "momentarily made to pay for the unremitted and/or unpasted government share
in the premium obligation."55 The agency views this occurrence acceptable and even boasts that because of the APL, the unpaid
period is still credited to employees. Note, however, that under the APL, any unpaid or unpasted government share is considered a
loan by the employee, and interests thereon will be charged to both the government and the employee.
According to the Court in Veterans Federation of the Philippines v. Reyes, 56 interpretative regulations that do not add anything to the
law or affect substantial rights of any person do not entail publication. This is because "they give no real consequence more than what
the law itself has already prescribed."57 However, "when xxx an administrative rule goes beyond merely providing for the means that
can facilitate or render least cumbersome the implementation of the law but substantially adds to or increases the burden of those
governed, it behooves the agency to accord at least to those directly affected a chance to be heard, and thereafter to be duly informed,
before that new issuance is given the force and effect of law."58
In this case, the resolutions additionally obligate member-employees to ensure that their employer-agency includes the GS in the
budget, deducts the PS, as well as loan amortizations, and timely remits them; and that the GSIS receives, processes, and posts the
payments. These processes are beyond the control of the employees; yet they are being made to bear the consequences of any misstep
or delay by either their agency or GSIS. As aptly observed by the CA, "the fault lies with how the deficiencies in payment by the
DepEd, real or imagined, are attributed to the employees-members."59
The Court has invalidated administrative issuances as a consequence of their non-publication. In De Jesus v. COA, 60 this Court
declared DBM Corporate Compensation Circular No. 10 ineffective. It may be recalled that in implementing Section 12 of R.A.
6758,61 the DBM ordered the discontinuance of all allowances and fringe benefits granted on top of the basic salary beginning 1
November 1989. The circular was not published. This Court pointed out that since it was more than a mere interpretative or internal
regulation, the circular should have been published to be effective and enforceable:
x x x And why not, when it tends to deprive government workers of their allowances and additional compensation sorely needed to
keep body and soul together.1âwphi1 At the very least, before the said circular under attack may be permitted to substantially reduce
their income, the government officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the publication of subject circular
in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines - to the end that they be given amplest opportunity to
voice out whatever opposition they may have, and to ventilate their stance on the matter. This approach is more in keeping with
democratic precepts and rudiments of fairness and transparency.
Similarly in the present case, the resolutions effectively diminish, and in some instances, even absolutely deprive retirees of their
retirement benefits - albeit "momentarily," as GSIS claims - when these were meant as their reward for giving the best years of their
lives in the service of their country. In GSIS v. Montesclaros, 62 this Court expounded on the nature of retirement benefits as property
interest in this wise:
Under Section 5 of PD 1146, it is mandatory for the government employee to pay monthly contributions. PD 1146 mandates the
government to include in its annual appropriation the necessary amounts for its share of the contributions. It is compulsory on the
government employer to take off and withhold from the employees' monthly salaries their contributions and to remit the same to
GSJS. The government employer must also remit its corresponding share to GSIS. Considering the mandatory salary deductions from
the government employee, the government pensions do not constitute mere gratuity but form part of compensation.
In a pension plan where employee participation is mandatory, the prevailing view is that employees have contractual or vested rights
in the pension where the pension is part of the terms of employment. The reason for providing retirement benefits is to compensate
service to the government. Retirement benefits to government employees are part of emolument to encourage and retain qualified
employees in the government service. Retirement benefits to government employees reward them for giving the best years of their
lives in the service of their country.
Thus, where the employee retires and meets the eligibility requirements, he acquires a vested right to benefits that is protected by the
due process clause. Retirees enjoy a protected property interest whenever they acquire a right to immediate payment under pre-
existing law. Thus, a pensioner acquires a vested right to benefits that have become due as provided under the terms of the public
employees' pension statute. No law can deprive such person of his pension rights without due process of law, that is, without notice
and opportunity to be heard. (Citations omitted, emphasis supplied)
If presidential decrees that name a public place after a favored individual or exempt that individual from certain prohibitions or
requirements must be published,63 how much more these resolutions that involve vested property rights of public officers?
Aside from seeking the nullification of the Resolutions, petitioners are also praying that this Court order respondent GSIS to 1) restore
the creditable service of all GSIS members (not just teachers), reckoned simply from the date of their respective original appointments
or elections; 2) compute and grant the creditable service, benefits, and claims of GSIS members based on their periods of service and
regardless of any deficiency in the GS; 3) account the automatic deduction of the PS from their salaries as conclusive compliance with
their obligation of premium share payments, and thus entitle them to their full benefits and claims, regardless of the remittance thereof
by the agency-employer to the GSIS; and 4) accept as proof of employee premium share payment and loan repayment the pay slips of
the employees and/or remittance lists or certifications from the agency-employer, or other proof of payment as may be provided by the
employee and/or the agency; and to update the employee's service records using these documents. Petitioners are also asking us to
order the refund to GSIS members of those amounts that were deducted from their claims and benefits arising from the
implementation of the PBP, APL, and CLIP, with interest at the legal rate of 12% per annum from the time of withholding of each of
those amounts.
Much as we commiserate with the plight of petitioners, this Court is not in a position to intrude into the operational processes of
respondents, which are under the control of the executive department. We are constrained to refrain from intruding upon purely
executive and administrative matters, which are properly within the purview of other branches of government.
Petitioners themselves accurately trace the root of this controversy to "the internal logistical and administrative problems of the GSIS
and the [DepEd], specifically, in their remittance, reconciliation, posting, and budgetary processes for premium payments, which are
wreaking havoc upon the GSIS members."64 On the other hand, respondents claim that they are in the process of updating and
reconciling their records. It bears emphasis that this Court is one of law and, as such, tasked with resolving legal controversies.
The prayer to order the department to procure the appropriation in the national budget of the amounts needed to keep the employer's
premium share contributions current must be denied on the ground of mootness. Petitioners do not dispute that DepEd executed a
MOA with the DBM on 11 September 2012 for the settlement of premium deficiencies pertaining to the government share from 1 July
1997 to 31 December 2010.
On a last note, we forward the concerns of petitioners to Congress, which holds the power of the purse, for its consideration to fund
the payment of premium deficiencies pertaining to the PS for the same period, July 1997 to 31 December 2010. We refer to those
amounts that had been deducted from the salaries of the employees, but remain unremitted by their respective agencies.
We likewise forward a copy of this Decision to the Ombudsman for consideration to file the appropriate cases against the officials and
persons responsible for the non-remittance or delayed remittance of premiums and loan repayment.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. GSIS Resolutions Nos. 238, 90, and 179, which respectively embody the
Claims and Loans Interdependency Policy, Premium-Based Policy, and Automatic Policy Loan and Policy Lapse, are declared
INVALID and OF NO FORCE AND EFFECT.
Let a copy of this Decision be forwarded to the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Department of Budget and Management
for their consideration on the matter of funding the payment of the portion pertaining to the personal share of the employees. A copy
should likewise be furnished the Office of the Ombudsman for its consideration on the matter of filing the appropriate cases against
the officials and persons responsible for the non-remittance or delayed remittance of premiums and loan repayment.