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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2

CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC. vs. ENRICO PALOMAR, in his capacity as THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, G.R. No. L-19650, September 29, 1966 CASTRO, J., En Banc Construction, verily, is the art or process of discovering and expounding the meaning and intention of the authors of the law with respect to its application to a given case, where that intention is rendered doubtful, amongst others, by reason of the fact that the given case is not explicitly provided for in the law (Black, Interpretation of Laws, p. 1). FACTS: In 1960, Caltex (Philippines) conceived a promotional scheme to drum up patronage for its oil products i.e. "Caltex Hooded Pump Contest." It calls for participants therein to estimate the actual number of liters a hooded gas pump at each Caltex station will dispense during a specified period. Participation is to be open indiscriminately to all "motor vehicle owners and/or licensed drivers". No fee or consideration is required to be paid, no purchase of Caltex products required to be made. Foreseeing the extensive use of the mails for the said contest, Caltex made a letter to the postal authorities to justify its position that the contest does not violate the anti-lottery provisions of the Postal Law. Unimpressed, the then Acting Postmaster General, Enrico Palomar, opined that the scheme falls within the purview of the provisions of The Postal Law i.e. Chapter 52 of the Revised Administrative Code, sections 1954(a), 1982 and 1983, which prohibits the non-mailable matter of any information regarding "any lottery, gift enterprise, or scheme for the distribution of money, or of any real or personal property by lot, chance, or drawing of any kind". Caltex thereupon invoked judicial intervention by filing a petition for declaratory relief against the Postmaster General, praying that judgment be rendered declaring its Caltex Hooded Pump Contest not to be violative of the Postal Law, and ordering respondent to allow petitioner the use of the mails to bring the contest to the attention of the public. The trial court ruled that the contest does not violate the Postal Code and that the Postmaster General has no right to bar the public distribution of the contest rules by the mails. The Postmaster General appealed to the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether or not the scheme proposed by Caltex is within the coverage of the prohibitive provisions of the Postal Law inescapably requires an inquiry into the intended meaning of the words used therein? HELD: No. "Caltex Hooded Pump Contest" proposed by Caltex is not a lottery that may be administratively and adversely dealt with under the Postal Law. The term in question is used in association with the word "lottery". "Lottery" extends to all schemes for the distribution of prizes by chance, such as policy playing, gift exhibitions, prize concerts, raffles at fairs, etc., and various forms of gambling. The three essential elements of a lottery are: First, consideration; second, prize; and third, chance (El Debate", Inc. vs. Topacio). In the present case, the elements of prize and chance are too obvious in the disputed Caltexs scheme. However, with regards to the third element i.e. consideration, SC found nowhere in the said rules of any requirement that any fee be paid, any merchandise be bought, any service be rendered, or any value whatsoever be given for the privilege to participate. The scheme does not only appear to be, but actually is, a gratuitous distribution of property by chance. Like a lottery, a gift enterprise comes also within the prohibitive statutes only if it exhibits the tripartite elements of prize, chance and consideration. The apparent conflict of opinions is explained by the fact that the specific statutory provisions relied upon are not identical, the terms "lottery" and "gift enterprise" are used interchangeably; every case must be resolved upon the particular phraseology of the applicable statutory provision. With the meaning of lottery settled, and consonant to the well-known principle of legal hermeneutics noscitur a sociis it is only logical that the term under a construction should be accorded no other meaning than that which is consistent with the nature of the word associated therewith. Hence, if lottery is prohibited only if it involves a consideration, so also must the term "gift enterprise" be so construed. Significantly, there is not in the law the slightest indicium of any intent to eliminate that element of consideration from the "gift enterprise" therein included. Gratuitous distribution of property by lot or chance does not constitute "lottery", if it is not resorted to as a device to evade the law and no consideration is derived, directly or indirectly, from the party receiving the chance, gambling spirit not being cultivated or stimulated thereby. Under the prohibitive provisions of the Postal Law, gift enterprises and similar

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

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schemes therein contemplated are condemnable only if, like lotteries, they involve the element of consideration. ALFREDO L. AZARCON, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and JOSE C. BATAUSA, respondents. G.R. No. 116033 February 26, 1997 PANGANIBAN, J., Third Division Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible or absurd or would lead to an injustice (Ramirez vs. Court of Appeals, 248 SCRA 590, 596, September 28, 1995). Facts: Petitioner Alfredo Azarcon owned and operated an earth-moving business, hauling dirt and ore. His services were contracted by PICOP. Occasionally, he engaged the services of sub-contractors like Jaime Ancla whose trucks were left at the formers premises. On May 25, 1983, a Warrant of Distraint of Personal Property was issued by BIR commanding one of its Regional Directors to distraint the goods, chattels or effects and other personal property of Jaime Ancla, a sub-contractor of accused Azarcon and a delinquent taxpayer. A Warrant of Garnishment was issued to and subsequently signed by accused Azarcon ordering him to transfer, surrender, transmit and/or remit to BIR the property in his possession owned by Ancla. Azarcon then volunteered himself to act as custodian of the truck owned by Ancla. After some time, Azarcon wrote a letter to the Reg. Dir of BIR stating that while he had made representations to retain possession of the property of Ancla, he thereby relinquishes whatever responsibility he had over the said property since Ancla surreptitiously withdrew his equipment from him. In his reply, the BIR Reg. Dir. said that Azarcons failure to comply with the provisions of the warrant did not relieve him from his responsibility. Along with his co-accused, Azarcon was charged before the Sandiganbayan with the crime of malversation of public funds or property. On March 8, 1994, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Decision sentencing the accused to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from 10 yrs and 1 day of prision mayor in its maximum period to 17 yrs, 4 mos and 1 day of reclusion temporal. Petitioner filed a motion for new trial which was subsequently denied by Sandiganbayan. Hence, this petition. Issue: (1) Whether the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the controversy. (2) Whether petitioner can be considered a public officer by reason of his being designated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as a depositary of distrained property. Held: No. SC finds Petitioner Alfredo Azarcon and his co-accused Jaime Ancla to be both private individuals erroneously charged before and convicted by Respondent Sandiganbayan which had no jurisdiction over them. Rationale: (1) It is hornbook doctrine that in order "(to) ascertain whether a court has jurisdiction or not, the provisions of the law should be inquired into." Furthermore, "the jurisdiction of the court must appear clearly from the statute law or it will not be held to exist. It cannot be presumed or implied." And for this purpose in criminal cases, "the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law at the time of commencement of the action." Section 4 of PD 1606 provides for the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It was specified therein that the only instances when the Sandiganbayan will have jurisdiction over a private individual is when the complaint charges the private individual either as a coprincipal, accomplice or accessory of a public officer or employee who has been charged with a crime within its jurisdiction. However, the Information does no charge petitioner Azarcon of becoming a co-principal, accomplice or accessory to a public officer committing an offense under the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction. Thus, unless the petitioner be proven a public officer, Sandiganbayan will have no jurisdiction over the crime charged. Art. 203 of the RPC determines who public officers are. Granting that the petitioner, in signing the receipt for the truck constructively distrained by the BIR, commenced to take part in an activity constituting public functions, he obviously may not be deemed authorized by popular election. Neither was he appointed by direct provision of law nor by competent authority. While BIR had authority to require Azarcon

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2


to sign a receipt for the distrained truck, the National Internal Revenue Code did not grant it power to appoint Azarcon a public officer. The BIRs power authorizing a private individual to act as a depositary cannot be stretched to include the power to appoint him as a public officer. Thus, Azarcon is not a public officer. (2) Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible or absurd or would lead to an injustice." This is particularly observed in the interpretation of penal statutes which "must be construed with such strictness as to carefully safeguard the rights of the defendant . . . ." Article 222 of the RPC apply to private individuals who, in any capacity whatever, have charge of any insular, provincial or municipal funds, revenues, or property and to any administrator or depository of funds or property attached, seized or deposited by public authority, even if such property belongs to a private individual. The language of the foregoing provision is clear. A private individual who has in his charge any of the public funds or property enumerated therein and commits any of the acts defined in any of the provisions of Chapter Four, Title Seven of the RPC, should likewise be penalized with the same penalty meted to erring public officers. Nowhere in this provision is it expressed or implied that a private individual falling under said Article 222 is to be deemed a public officer. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA, BRANCH XIII, HON. JESUS P. MORFE, PRESIDING JUDGE, AND PRES. ROXAS RURAL BANK INC., respondents. G.R. No. L-30381 August 30, 1988 FERNAN, C.J., Third Division A "real party in interest" has been defined as the party who would be benefitted or injured by the judgment of the suit or the party entitled to avail of the suit. Indeed, if the bank were not a real party in interest, the legislature would not have provided for its joining as a party in the escheat proceedings. The phrase "or actions" in this section is very significant. It manifests awareness on the part of the legislators that a single action to cover all banks wherever located in the Philippines would not be legally feasible. ESCHEAT - is a proceeding whereby the real and personal property of a deceased person in the Philippines, become the property of the state upon his death, without leaving any will or legal heirs. FACTS: In January 1968, pursuant to Section 2 of Act No. 3936 (Unclaimed Balance Law), some 31 banks forwarded to the Treasurer of the Philippines all deposits and credits held by them in favor, or in the names of such depositors or creditors known to be dead, or who have not been heard from, or who have not made further deposits or withdrawals during the preceding ten years or more. Respondent Bank, has only two (2) names appeared: Jesus Ydirin with a balance of P126.54 and Leonora Trumpeta with a deposit of P62.91. Thereafter, or on July 25, 1968, the Republic of the Philippines instituted before the CFI of Manila a complaint for escheat against the aforesaid 31 banks, including herein private respondent. Likewise named defendants therein were the individual depositors and/or creditors. Summonses were accordingly issued to defendant banks and the creditors/depositors requiring them to file severally their answers to the complaint within 60 days after the first publication of the summons with notice that should they fail to file their answers, plaintiff would take judgment against them by default. Private respondent Bank filed before the CFI a motion to dismiss the complaint as against it on the ground of improper venue. Opposed by the petitioner, the motion to dismiss was granted in the first assailed Order. Its motion for reconsideration of said dismissal order having been denied in the second assailed order, petitioner interposed the instant appeal on pure questions of law. ISSUES: (1) Whether or not Pres. Roxas Rural Bank is a real party in interest in the escheat proceedings (2) Whether or not venue of action has been properly laid in the City of Manila, since all defendant banks, wherever they may be found, could be included in one single action (3) Whether or not Section 2(b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court on venue, likewise, governs escheat proceedings. HELD:

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2


1. A "real party in interest" has been defined as the party who would be benefitted or injured by the judgment of the suit or the party entitled to avail of the suit. There can be no doubt that private respondent bank falls under this definition for the escheat of the dormant deposits in favor of the government would necessarily deprive said bank of the use of such deposits. It is in this sense that it stands to be "injured by the judgment of the suit;" and it is for this reason that Section 3 of Act No. 3936 specifically provides that the bank shall be joined as a party in the action for escheat. Indeed, if the bank were not a real party in interest, the legislature would not have provided for its joining as a party in the escheat proceedings. CESARIO URSUA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. G.R. No. 112170 April 10, 1996 BELLOSILLO, J., First Division Time and again we have decreed that statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. FACTS: Petitioner Cesario Ursua was a CENRO assigned in Kidapawan, Cotabato, being investigated by the Ombudsman on a complaint for bribery, dishonesty, abuse of authority and illegal cutting of mahogany trees and hauling of illegally-cut logs in the area. To have a copy of the complaints against him, he was asked by his counsel, Atty. Francis Palmones, to take his letterrequest to the Office of the Ombudsman in the absence of his law firm's messenger, Oscar Perez. Before proceeding, he talked to Perez who advised him not to worry as he could just sign his (Perez) name if ever he would be required to acknowledge receipt of the complaint. When petitioner arrived at the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao City he was instructed by the security officer to register in the visitors' logbook. Instead of writing down his name petitioner wrote the name "Oscar Perez" after which he was told to proceed to the Administrative Division for the copy of the complaint he needed. He handed the letter of Atty. Palmones to the Chief of the Administrative Division, Ms. Loida Kahulugan, who then gave him a copy of the complaint, receipt of which he acknowledged by writing the name "Oscar Perez." Before petitioner could leave the premises he was greeted by an acquaintance, Josefa Amparo, who also worked in the same office. They conversed for a while then he left. When Loida learned that the person who introduced himself as "Oscar Perez" was actually petitioner Cesario Ursua, a customer of Josefa Amparo in her gasoline station, Loida reported the matter to the Deputy Ombudsman who recommended that petitioner be accordingly charged. The trial court found him guilty of violating Sec. 1 of C.A. No. 142 as amended by R.A. No. 6085. He was sentenced to suffer a prison term of one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccionalminimum as minimum, to four (4) years of prision correccional medium as maximum, with all the accessory penalties provided for by law, and to

2. The first sentence of Section 3 of Act No. 3936 directs the Attorney General, now Solicitor General, to commence an action or actions in the name of the People of the Philippines in the Court of First Instance of the province where the bank is located. The phrase "or actions" in this section is very significant. It manifests awareness on the part of the legislators that a single action to cover all banks wherever located in the Philippines would not be legally feasible in view of the venue prescribed for such action under the same section, i.e., the province where the bank is located. Thus, the addition of the last sentence, which the lower court had correctly interpreted to mean "that for escheat of unclaimed bank balances all banks located in one and the same province where the Court of First Instance concerned is located may be made parties defendant "in one action" was clearly intended to save on litigation and publication expenses, but certainly not as authority for the lumping together of all banks wherever found in the Philippines in one single escheat proceedings. 3. Anent the third issue raised, suffice it to say that Section 2(b) of Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court cannot govern escheat proceedings principally because said section refers to personal actions. Escheat proceedings are actions in rem which must be brought in the province or city where the rem in this case the dormant deposits, is located.

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2


pay a fine of P4,000.00 plus costs. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed just the same the conviction of petitioner but nevertheless modified the penalty by imposing an indeterminate term of one (1) year as minimum to three (3) years as maximum and a fine of P5,000.00. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner Cesario Ursua violated Sec. 1 of C.A. No. 142 as amended by R.A. No. 6085, and is guilty of using an alias? HELD: No. While the act of petitioner may be covered by other provisions of law, such does not constitute an offense within the concept of C.A. No. 142 as amended under which he is prosecuted. Rationale: Time and again we have decreed that statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. Thus in construing a statute the reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. The court may consider the spirit and reason of the statute, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the lawmakers. An alias is a name or names used by a person or intended to be used by him publicly and habitually usually in business transactions in addition to his real name by which he is registered at birth or baptized the first time or substitute name authorized by a competent authority. A man's name is simply the sound or sounds by which he is commonly designated by his fellows and by which they distinguish him but sometimes a man is known by several different names and these are known as aliases. Hence, the use of a fictitious name or a different name belonging to another person in a single instance without any sign or indication that the user intends to be known by this name in addition to his real name from that day forth does not fall within the prohibition contained in C.A. No. 142 as amended. While the act of petitioner may be covered by other provisions of law, such does not constitute an offense within the concept of C.A. No. 142 as amended under which he is prosecuted. The confusion and fraud in business transactions which the anti-alias law and its related statutes seek to prevent are not present here as the circumstances are peculiar and distinct from those contemplated by the legislature in enacting C.A. No. 142 as amended. Moreover, as C.A. No. 142 is a penal statute, it should be construed strictly against the State and in favor of the accused. The reason for this principle is the tenderness of the law for the rights of individuals and the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would be safe, and the discretion of the court limited. Indeed, our mind cannot rest easy on the proposition that petitioner should be convicted on a law that does not clearly penalize the act done by him. PEDRO SANTOS TO, petitioner, vs. HON. ERNANI CRUZ-PAO, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch XVIII, and JUAN Y. OCAMPO, respondents. G.R. No. L-55130 January 17, 1983 DE CASTRO, J., Second Division If only for the above observation as to how the law should be applied in order that its objective could be realized and achieved, We cannot but find respondent judge's reasons for his denial of the petition for probation insufficient to justify a deviation from a policy of liberality with which the law should be applied. FACTS: Petitioner was convicted by respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Quezon City Branch) of the crime of estafa for having issued a bouncing check for P5,000.00, and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from seven years and eight months of prision mayor as minimum, to nine years and four months of prision mayor, as maximum. He appealed to the Court of Appeals which reduced the penalty to one year and one day of prision correccional as minimum, to one year and eight months as maximum. Upon the Court of Appeals' decision becoming final, petitioner not having appealed therefrom, he filed a petition for probation with respondent judge, who, despite the favorable recommendation of the Probation Office, denied the petition on July 24, 1980, on the following grounds: (a) to grant probation to petitioner will depreciate the seriousness of the offense committed, and (b) petitioner is not a penitent offender. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is entitled to probation?

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

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HELD: Yes. SC finds no sufficient justification for respondent judge's holding petitioner to be a nonpenitent offender. The liberality with which the Probation Law should be applied in favor of the applicant for its benefits affords the better means of achieving the purpose of the law (Balleta Jr. vs. Hon. Leviste). Rationale: Under Section 9, P.D. 968 (Probation Law), petitioner may not be disqualified from being entitled to the benefits of probation based from a reading of the law in its entirety, with liberality rather than undue strictness. In expressly enumerating offenders not qualified to enjoy the benefits of probation, the clear intent is to allow said benefits to those not included in the enumeration. The respondent judges reasons of denying petitioners probation - i.e. (1) petitioner will depreciate the seriousness of the offense committed, and (b) petitioner is not a penitent offender are all erroneous. First, for purpose of probation, what the law gives more importance to is the offender, not the crime. The inquiry is more on whether probation will help the offender along the lines for which the probation system has been established, such as giving the first-time offender a second chance to maintain his place in society through a process of reformation. Respondent judge would thus be writing into the law a new ground for disqualifying a first-offender from the benefits of probation. Second, the appeals made by the petitioner do not make him a non-penitent offender. If petitioner appealed the decision of the respondent judge to the Court of Appeals, he cannot be blamed for insisting on his version by which he could hope either to be acquitted or at least given a lighter penalty that would entitle him to the benefits of probation. The recourse he took has, indeed, proved to be well worth the effort. His penalty was reduced on appeal which placed him within the benign purpose of the Probation Law. ERNESTO M. DE GUZMAN, petitioner, vs. HON. ABELARDO SUBIDO, as Civil Service Commissioner, HON. NORBERTO AMORANTO, as Mayor of Quezon City, ET AL., respondents G.R. No. L-31683 January 31, 1983 GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: The phrase criminal record governing qualifications for appointment could not have been intended by the Legislature to automatically cover every violation of a municipal or city ordinance carrying a sanction of a nominal fine to enforce it. FACTS: Petitioner Ernesto M. de Guzman was appointed patrolman in the Quezon City Police Department by Mayor Norberto S. Amoranto on August 16, 1965. He was a civil service eligible having taken and passed the civil service patrolman's examination given on November 24, 1962. He had also passed the usual character investigation conducted before appointment. As a newly appointed patrolman, the petitioner went through and successfully completed the police training course. On March 21, 1966, the petitioner's appointment was forwarded to the Commissioner of Civil Service. On August 18, 1966, or a year after the appointment and with no action on the appointment papers being taken by the respondent commissioner, the respondents city treasurer and city auditor stopped the payment of the petitioner's salaries. On May 12, 1967, the respondent commissioner returned the Petitioner's appointment papers, without action thereon, to the respondent mayor on the ground that Mr. de Guzman was disqualified for appointment under Republic Act No. 4864, the Police Act of 1966, Section 9 (5) because of the presence of criminal record culled from his information sheet, where the petitioner Yes for Jaywalking-paid fine P5.50; Municipal O.d. (Mla.) Sect. 1187 (cochero) paid fine of P5.00. The petitioner filed for certiorari and mandamus with preliminary injunction at the CFI but he was denied because according to the court, the requirement of no criminal record means without any criminal record and makes no distinction whether an act violates a state law or only a municipal or city ordinance. ISSUE: Whether or not violations and/or convictions of municipal ordinances, one, for 'Jaywalking' and the other, Manila Municipal Ordinance No. 1187, prohibiting the cochero from 'occupying any part of the vehicle except the seat reserved for him', constitute 'CRIMINAL RECORD' to disqualify the petitioner under the Police Act of 1966 (Rep. Act No. 4864) from appointment to the Quezon City Police Force? HELD: No. Respondent Subido (Civil Service Commission Commissioner) should have gone deeper

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

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into the nature of the petitioner's acts instead of taking every "Yes" answer in Question 15 of the information sheet as an automatic disqualification. The requirements for applicants to a policemans position may be quite stringent but the basic policy of attracting the best qualified is not served by automatically excluding any person who in an absent minded mood or while hurrying to an urgent appointment may unwittingly have crossed a street or stepped down from the curb in violation of a jaywalking ordinance. The same thing is true of a person who may have worked his way through college as a cochero and, who, pitying his horse struggling up an incline or a bridge, leaves his seat to stand aft and forward to balance the calesa load or who, alone on his way home, sits in the seat intended for passengers only to be fined for violating an obscure municipal ordinance. The phrase criminal record governing qualifications for appointment could not have been intended by the Legislature to automatically cover every violation of a municipal or city ordinance carrying a sanction of a nominal fine to enforce it. A violation of a municipal ordinance to qualify as a crime must involve at least a certain degree of evil doing, immoral conduct, corruption, malice, or want of principles reasonably related to the requirements of the pubic office. Under Rule VI of the Civil Service Rules and Regulations, the respondent commissioner had 180 days from receipt of the appointment papers to act on them. Inaction means the appointment is approved as properly made. The papers were returned more than a year by the commissioner after he received them. The appointment, not having any defect of record except the matter in issue in this case, must be deemed complete and properly made after the 180 days period. The termination of the petitioner's services was, therefore, an illegal and invalid removal. The petitioner should be reinstated, assuming he meets the physical and other requirements of the Integrated National Police under the new legislation and procedures governing police forces. In addition to being paid any salaries for services actually rendered but not paid, the petitioner, following the formula in cases of illegal dismissals is entitled to five years backpay (Cristobal v. Melchor, 78 SCRA 175,187). BRUNO O. APARRI, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and LAND AUTHORITY, the latter in substitution for REMEDIOS O. FORTICH, as Chairman, ANGELINO M. BANZON, RAFAEL B. HILAO, VALERIANO PLANTILLA and SEVERO YAP, as members of the Board of Directors of the defunct National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA), respondents. G.R. No. L-30057 January 31, 1984 MAKASIAR, J.: Second Division It is necessary in each case to interpret the word "term" with the purview of statutes so as to effectuate the statutory scheme pertaining to the office under examination. FACTS: On January 15, 1960, members of the Board of Directors of the defunct National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) approved Resolution No. 13, appointing petitioner Mr. Bruno 0. Aparri, as General Manager. On March 15, 1962, the same Board of Directors approved Resolution No. 24, resolving and fixing the term of office of the incumbent General Manager up to the close of office hours on March 31, 1962. Petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with preliminary injunction with the then Court of First Instance of Manila on March 29, 1962. The petition prayed to annul the resolution of the NARRA Board dated March 15, 1962, to command the Board to allow petitioner to continue in office as General Manager until he vacates said office in accordance with law and to sentence the private respondents jointly and severally to pay the petitioner actual damages in the sum of P95,000.00, plus costs. On August 8, 1963, when the case was still pending decision in the lower court, R.A. 3844 (Agricultural Land Reform Code), took effect. The said law abolished the NARRA and transferred its functions and powers to the Land Authority. The then CFI of Manila rendered judgment, finding the case as moot and academic and dismissed the said case. On appeal to the then Court of Appeals, the appellate tribunal affirmed the decision of the lower court. The motion for reconsideration by petitioner in the then Court of Appeals was denied on January 10, 1969. On January 20, 1969, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the then Court of Appeals dated September 24, 1968. The same was initially denied for lack of merit in a resolution dated

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2


January 27, 1969; but on motion for reconsideration filed on February 11, 1969, the petition was given due course. ISSUE: Whether or not Board Resolution No. 24 (series of 1962) was a removal or dismissal of petitioner without cause. HELD: Removal entails the ouster of an incumbent before the expiration of his term. The petitioner in this case was not removed before the expiration of his term. Rather, his right to hold the office ceased by the expiration on March 31, 1962 of his term to hold such office. A public office is the right, authority, and duty created and conferred by law, by which for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power. By "appointment" is meant the act of designation by the executive officer, board or body, to whom that power has been delegated, of the individual who is to exercise the functions of a given office. When the power of appointment is absolute, and the appointee has been determined upon, no further consent or approval is necessary, and the formal evidence of the appointment, the commission, may issue at once. Where, however, the assent or confirmation of some other officer or body is required, the Commission can issue or the appointment is complete only when such assent or condition is obtained. Thus, the petitioner was appointed as general manager pursuant to Resolution No. 13, which is still incomplete because of the lack of approval of the President of the Philippines to such appointment. Such appointment was made complete only upon approval of Resolution No. 24, wherein President submitted to the Board his "desire" to fix the term of office of the petitioner up to the close of office hours on March 31, 1962. The word "term" in a legal sense means a fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an officer may hold an office. Upon the expiration of the officer's term, unless he is authorized by law to hold over, his rights, duties and authority as a pubic officer must ipso facto cease. In the law on Public Officers, the most natural and frequent method by which a public officer ceases to be such is by the expiration of the term for which he was elected or appointed. It is necessary in each case to interpret the word "term" with the purview of statutes so as to effectuate the statutory scheme pertaining to the office under examination. In the case at bar, the term of office is not fixed by law. The power to fix the term is vested in the Board of Directors subject to the recommendation of the Office of Economic Coordination and the approval of the President of the Philippines. Resolution No. 24 speaks of no removal but an expiration of the term of office of the petitioner. The statute is undeniably clear. It is the rule in statutory construction that if the words and phrase of a statute are not obscure or ambiguous, its meaning and the intention of the legislature must be determined from the language employed, and, where there is no ambiguity in the words, there is no room for construction (Black on Interpretation of Laws, Sec. 51). LORENZO M. TAADA and DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL, petitioners, vs. MARIANO JESUS CUENCO, FRANCISCO A. DELGADO, ALFREDO CRUZ, CATALINA CAYETANO, MANUEL SERAPIO, PLACIDO REYES, and FERNANDO HIPOLITO in his capacity as cashier and disbursing officer,respondents G.R. No. L-10520 February 28, 1957 CONCEPCION, J., En Banc

What has been said above, relative to the conditions antecedent to, and concomitant with, the adoption of section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution, reveals clearly that its framers intended to prevent the majority party from controlling the Electoral Tribunals, and that the structure thereof is founded upon the equilibrium between the majority and the minority parties therein, with the Justices of the Supreme Court, who are members of said Tribunals, holding the resulting balance of power. The procedure prescribed in said provision for the selection of members of the Electoral Tribunals is vital to the role they are called upon to play. it constitutes the essence of said Tribunals. Hence, compliance with said procedure is mandatory, and acts performed in violation thereof are null and void. In view of the foregoing, we hold that the Senate may not elect, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, those Senators who have not been nominated by the political parties specified in the Constitution; that the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate may nominate not more than three (3) members thereof to said Electoral Tribunal; that the party having

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)

STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, CHAPTER 2


the second largest number of votes in the Senate has the exclusive right to nominate the other three (3) Senators who shall sit as members in the Electoral Tribunal; that neither these three (3) Senators, nor any of them, may be nominated by a person or party other than the one having the second largest number of votes in the Senate or its representative therein; that the Committee on Rules for the Senate has no standing to validly make such nomination and that the nomination of Senators Cuenco and Delgado by Senator Primicias, and the election of said respondents by the Senate, as members of said Tribunal, are null and void ab initio.

Case Digest by F.M. Orpilla, Jr. SBC1D (2012)