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NHMFC v ABAYARI DEL CASTILLO, J.

: In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation assails the August 20, 2 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 82637, which dismissed its petition for certiorari from the October 14, 3 4 5 2003 and December 15, 2003 Orders issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 138. The said Orders, in turn, respectively granted the issuance of a writ of execution and denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in Civil Case No. 99-1209 a case for mandamus. The antecedents follow. Petitioner, the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), is a government-owned and controlled corporation created under the authority of Presidential Decree No. 1267 for the primary purpose of developing and providing a secondary market for home 6 7 mortgages granted by public and/or private home-financing institutions. In its employ were respondents, mostly rank-and-file 8 employees, who all profess as having been hired after June 30, 1989. On July 1, 1989, Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as The Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, was enacted and was subsequently approved on August 21, 1989. Section 12 thereof directed that all allowances namely representation and transportation allowance, clothing and laundry allowance, subsistence allowance, hazard pay and other allowances as may be determined by the budget department enjoyed by covered employees should be deemed included in the standardized salary rates prescribed therein, and that the other additional compensation being received by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates should continue to be authorized. To implement the law, the Department of Budget and Management 9 10 (DBM) issued Corporate Compensation Circular No. 10. Section 5.5 thereof excluded certain allowances and benefits from integration into the standardized basic salary but continued their grant to those who were incumbents as of June 30, 1989 and who were actually receiving the benefits as of said date. These are the allowances involved in this case. Respondents filed a petition for mandamus with the RTC of Makati City, Branch 138 to compel petitioner to pay them meal, rice, medical, dental, optical and childrens allowances, as well as longevity pay, which allegedly were already being enjoyed by other NHMFC employees as early as July 1, 1989. In its April 27, 2001 Decision, the trial court ruled favorably and ordered petitioner to pay 12 respondents the allowances prayed for, retroactive to the respective dates of appointment. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the petitioners and respondent is ordered to pay petitioners their meal allowance, rice allowance, medical allowance, longevity pay and childrens allowance retroactive to the dates of their respective appointments up to the present or for the time that they were employed by the respondent. SO ORDERED.
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In arriving at the conclusion that respondents were entitled to the prayed-for benefits, the trial court explained, thus, The use of the word "only" before the words July 1, 1989 in section 12 of Republic Act No. 6758 appears to be the source of the dispute. Section 12 is clear that other additional compensation being received by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 that are not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall continue to be authorized. The law is prospective in effect and it does not say that such additional compensation shall not continue to be authorized for employees appointed after June 30, 1989. The use of the word "only" before the words "as of July 1, 1989" qualifies the additional compensation which can be continued. The foregoing applies to all employees whether permanent or casual. DBM Circular No. 10, the Implementing Rules and Regulations particularly section 5.5 thereofuse the word "only" for incumbents as of June 30, 1989 and by implication the same shall not apply to employees appointed after June 30, 1989. This is in effect another qualification limiting the grant of benefits to those who are incumbents as of June 30, 1989, a condition not imposed by Section 12 of 14 Republic Act No. 6758 for which reason it has to be strike (sic) down. Petitioner timely filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. In its November 21, 2001 Decision, the appellate court affirmed the trial 16 17 18 courts ruling. No appeal was taken from the decision and upon its finality, respondents moved for execution. However, the motion for execution was withdrawn when on May 12, 2002, petitioner and respondents executed a Compromise Agreement in which petitioner bound itself to comply with the decision rendered in the case, except that the payment of the allowances adjudicated in favor of respondents would be made in four installments instead. It was, likewise stipulated therein that the parties waive all claims against each other. The trial court did not take any positive action on the compromise except to note the same since the 19 parties did not intend to novate the April 27, 2001 Decision. On that basis, petitioner had started paying respondents the arrears in benefits.
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Conflict arose when the DBM sent a letter dated July 15, 2003 to NHMFC President Angelico Salud disallowing the payment of certain allowances, including those awarded by the trial court to respondents. A reading of the letter reveals that the disallowance was made in accordance with the 2002 NHMFC Corporate Operating Budget previously issued by the DBM. To abide by the DBMs directive, petitioner then issued a memorandum stating that effective August 2003, the grant of benefits to its 21 covered employees, including those awarded to respondents, would be curtailed pursuant to the DBM letter. This eventuality 22 compelled respondents to file for the second time a motion for a writ of execution of the trial courts April 27, 2001 decision. In its October 14, 2003 Order, the trial court found merit in respondents motion; hence, it directed the execution of the judgment. 24 25 Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. On February 16, 2004, the trial court issued a Writ of Execution/Garnishment with a directive to the sheriff to tender to respondents the amount of their collective claim equivalent to P4,806,530.00 to be satisfied out 26 of petitioners goods and chattels and if the same be not sufficient, out of its existing real property. Respondents then sought the 27 garnishment of its funds under the custody of the Land Bank of the Philippines. Bent on preventing execution, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 82637. In it, petitioner ascribed grave abuse of discretion to the trial court in ordering the execution of the judgment. It pointed out that the trial court disregarded the fact that the DBMs issuance amounted to a supervening event, or an occurrence that changed the situation of the parties that would make the continued payment of allowances to respondents impossible and illegal, and disregarded the DBMs 29 exclusive authority to allow or disallow the payment of the benefits in question. It likewise faulted the trial court in ordering the garnishment of its funds despite the settled rule that government funds may not be garnished in the absence of an appropriation made 30 by law. 1avvphi1 The Court of Appeals, however, found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court; hence, in its August 20, 2004 Decision, 31 it dismissed the petition for lack of merit. In its present recourse, petitioner, on the one hand, insists that it is difficult not to consider the issuance of the DBM in this case as a supervening event that would make the execution of the trial courts decision inequitable and/or impossible, since the determination of entitlement to benefits and allowances among government employees is within the agencys exclusive authority. It argues that, hence, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals were in error to order the execution of the decision as the same totally disregards the rule 32 that issuances of administrative agencies are valid and enforceable. Again, it asserts that the garnishment of its funds was not in 33 order as there was no existing appropriation therefor. Respondents, on the other hand, argue in the main that inasmuch as the core issue of whether they were entitled to the schedule of benefits under Section 12 of R.A. No. 6758 had already been settled by both the trial court in Civil Case No. 99-1209 and the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 66303, the DBM letter should not be allowed to interfere with the decision and render the same ineffective. Since the said decision had already attained finality, they posit that execution appeared to be the only just and equitable measure under 34 the premises and that garnishment lies against petitioners funds inasmuch as it has a personality separate and distinct from the 35 government. There is partial merit in the petition. To begin with, a writ of mandamus is a command issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or sovereign, directed to an inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or person, requiring the performance of a particular 36 duty therein specified, which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed, or from operation of law. It is 37 employed to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty which, as opposed to a discretionary one, is that which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without 38 regard to or the exercise of his or its own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. A favorable judgment rendered in a special civil action for mandamus is in the nature of a special judgment. As such, it requires the performance of any other act than the payment of money or the sale or delivery of real or personal property the execution of which is 39 governed by Section 11, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which states: SECTION 11. Execution of Special Judgment.When the judgment requires the performance of any act other than those mentioned in the two preceding sections, a certified copy of the judgment shall be attached to the writ of execution and shall be served by the officer upon the party against whom the same is rendered, or upon any other person required thereby, or by law, to obey the same, and such party or person may be punished for contempt if he disobeys such judgment. While the April 17, 2001 Decision of the trial court ordered petitioner to pay the benefits claimed by respondents, it by no means ordered the payment of a specific sum of money and instead merely directed petitioner to extend to respondents the benefits under R.A. No. 6758 and its implementing rules. Being a special judgment, the decision may not be executed in the same way as a judgment for money handed down in an ordinary civil case governed by Section 9, Rule 39 of the Rules Court which sanctions garnishment of debts and credits to satisfy a monetary award. Garnishment is proper only when the judgment to be enforced is one for payment of a 40 sum of money. It cannot be employed to implement a special judgment such as that rendered in a special civil action for mandamus.
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On this score, not only did the trial court exceed the scope of its judgment when it awarded the benefits claimed by respondents. It also committed a blatant error when it issued the February 16, 2004 Order directing the garnishment of petitioners funds with the Land Bank of the Philippines equivalent to P4,806,530.00, even though the said amount was not specified in the decision it sought to implement. Be that as it may, assuming for the sake of argument that execution by garnishment could proceed in this case against the funds of petitioner, it must bear stress that the latter is a government-owned or controlled corporation with a charter of its own. Its juridical 41 personality is separate and distinct from the government and it can sue and be sued in its name. As such, while indeed it cannot evade the effects of the execution of an adverse judgment and may not ordinarily place its funds beyond an order of garnishment 42 issued in ordinary cases, it is imperative in order for execution to ensue that a claim for the payment of the judgment award be first 43 filed with the Commission on Audit (COA). Under Commonwealth Act No. 327, as amended by P.D. No. 1445, the COA, as one of the three independent constitutional commissions, is specifically vested with the power, authority and duty to examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property owned or held in trust by the government, or any of its 46 subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations. To ensure the effective discharge of its functions, it is vested with ample powers, subject to constitutional limitations, to define the scope of its audit and examination and establish the techniques and methods required therefor, to promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures 47 48 or uses of government funds and properties. Section 1, Rule II of the COA Rules of Procedure materially provides: Section 1. General Jurisdiction.The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority and duty to examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government owned and controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis: (a) constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under the Constitution; (b) autonomous state colleges and universities; (c) other government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; and (d) such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity directly or indirectly, from or through the government, which are required by law or the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity. However, where the internal control system of the audited agencies is inadequate, the Commission may adopt such measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as are necessary or appropriate to correct the deficiencies. It shall keep the general accounts of the Government, and for such period as may be provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto. xxxx Specifically, such jurisdiction shall extend over but not limited to the following: x x x Money claims due from or owing to any government 49 agency x x x. Clearly, the matter of allowing or disallowing a money claim against petitioner is within the primary power of the COA to decide. This no 50 doubt includes money claims arising from the implementation of R.A. No. 6758. Respondents claim against petitioner, although it has already been validated by the trial courts final decision, likewise belongs to that class of claims; hence, it must first be filed with the COA before execution could proceed. And from the decision therein, the aggrieved party is afforded a remedy by elevating the matter to 51 this Court via a petition for certiorari in accordance with Section 1 Rule XI, of the COA Rules of Procedure. It states: Section 1. Petition for Certiorari. - Any decision, order or resolution of the Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty (30) days from receipt of a copy thereof in the manner provided by law, the Rules of Court and these Rules. When the decision, order or resolution adversely affects the interest of any government agency, the appeal may be taken by the proper head of the agency.1avvphi1 At this juncture, it is unmistakable that the recourse of respondents in CA-G.R. SP No. 82637 as well as in the petition before us is at best premature. Thus, the Court cannot possibly rule on the merits of the petition lest we would only be preempting the action of the COA on the matter. Suffice it to say that the propriety or regularity of respondents claim under the judgment of the trial court may properly be addressed by the COA in an appropriate action. And even if we endeavor to take great lengths in deciding the merits of the case and determine the propriety of the DBMs issuance, its sufficiency to prevent the execution of the final judgment rendered in this case, and the entitlement or non-entitlement of each one of the respondents to the benefits under R.A. No. 6758, the same would nevertheless be a futile exercise. This, because after having pored over the records of the case, we found nothing sufficient to support respondents uniform claim that they were incumbents as of July 1, 1989 the date provided in Section 12 of R.A. 6758 except perhaps their bare contention that they were all hired after June 30, 1989. With this disquisition, we find no compelling reason to unnecessarily lengthen the discussion by undeservingly proceeding further with the other issues propounded by the parties.
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WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED IN PART. The Writ of Execution dated February 16, 2004 issued in Civil Case No. 99-1209 is hereby SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 138 is DIRECTED to issue a writ of execution in accordance with this Decision and execute the judgment pursuant to Section 11, Rule 39, of the Rules of Court.

ANG TIBAY v CIR

LAUREL, J.: The Solicitor-General in behalf of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the above-entitled case has filed a motion for reconsideration and moves that, for the reasons stated in his motion, we reconsider the following legal conclusions of the majority opinion of this Court: 1. Que un contrato de trabajo, asi individual como colectivo, sin termino fijo de duracion o que no sea para una determinada, termina o bien por voluntad de cualquiera de las partes o cada vez que ilega el plazo fijado para el pago de los salarios segun costumbre en la localidad o cunado se termine la obra; 2. Que los obreros de una empresa fabril, que han celebrado contrato, ya individual ya colectivamente, con ell, sin tiempo fijo, y que se han visto obligados a cesar en sus tarbajos por haberse declarando paro forzoso en la fabrica en la cual tarbajan, dejan de ser empleados u obreros de la misma; 3. Que un patrono o sociedad que ha celebrado un contrato colectivo de trabajo con sus osbreros sin tiempo fijo de duracion y sin ser para una obra determiminada y que se niega a readmitir a dichos obreros que cesaron como consecuencia de un paro forzoso, no es culpable de practica injusta in incurre en la sancion penal del articulo 5 de la Ley No. 213 del Commonwealth, aunque su negativa a readmitir se deba a que dichos obreros pertenecen a un determinado organismo obrero, puesto que tales ya han dejado deser empleados suyos por terminacion del contrato en virtud del paro. The respondent National Labor Union, Inc., on the other hand, prays for the vacation of the judgement rendered by the majority of this Court and the remanding of the case to the Court of Industrial Relations for a new trial, and avers: 1. That Toribio Teodoro's claim that on September 26, 1938, there was shortage of leather soles in ANG TIBAY making it necessary for him to temporarily lay off the members of the National Labor Union Inc., is entirely false and unsupported by the records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather. 2. That the supposed lack of leather materials claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme to systematically prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the Philippine Army. 3. That Toribio Teodoro's letter to the Philippine Army dated September 29, 1938, (re supposed delay of leather soles from the States) was but a scheme to systematically prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the Philippine Army. 4. That the National Worker's Brotherhood of ANG TIBAY is a company or employer union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal. (281 U.S., 548, petitioner's printed memorandum, p. 25.) 5. That in the exercise by the laborers of their rights to collective bargaining, majority rule and elective representation are highly essential and indispensable. (Sections 2 and 5, Commonwealth Act No. 213.) 6. That the century provisions of the Civil Code which had been (the) principal source of dissensions and continuous civil war in Spain cannot and should not be made applicable in interpreting and applying the salutary provisions of a modern labor legislation of American origin where the industrial peace has always been the rule. 7. That the employer Toribio Teodoro was guilty of unfair labor practice for discriminating against the National Labor Union, Inc., and unjustly favoring the National Workers' Brotherhood. 8. That the exhibits hereto attached are so inaccessible to the respondents that even with the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations. 9. That the attached documents and exhibits are of such far-reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the judgment rendered herein. The petitioner, Ang Tibay, has filed an opposition both to the motion for reconsideration of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc.

In view of the conclusion reached by us and to be herein after stead with reference to the motion for a new trial of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc., we are of the opinion that it is not necessary to pass upon the motion for reconsideration of the SolicitorGeneral. We shall proceed to dispose of the motion for new trial of the respondent labor union. Before doing this, however, we deem it necessary, in the interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, in interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, to make several observations regarding the nature of the powers of the Court of Industrial Relations and emphasize certain guiding principles which should be observed in the trial of cases brought before it. We have re-examined the entire record of the proceedings had before the Court of Industrial Relations in this case, and we have found no substantial evidence that the exclusion of the 89 laborers here was due to their union affiliation or activity. The whole transcript taken contains what transpired during the hearing and is more of a record of contradictory and conflicting statements of opposing counsel, with sporadic conclusion drawn to suit their own views. It is evident that these statements and expressions of views of counsel have no evidentiary value. The Court of Industrial Relations is a special court whose functions are specifically stated in the law of its creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103). It is more an administrative than a part of the integrated judicial system of the nation. It is not intended to be a mere receptive organ of the Government. Unlike a court of justice which is essentially passive, acting only when its jurisdiction is invoked and deciding only cases that are presented to it by the parties litigant, the function of the Court of Industrial Relations, as will appear from perusal of its organic law, is more active, affirmative and dynamic. It not only exercises judicial or quasi-judicial functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions are far more comprehensive and expensive. It has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to consider, investigate, decide, and settle any question, matter controversy or dispute arising between, and/or affecting employers and employees or laborers, and regulate the relations between them, subject to, and in accordance with, the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 103 (section 1). It shall take cognizance or purposes of prevention, arbitration, decision and settlement, of any industrial or agricultural dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout, arising from differences as regards wages, shares or compensation, hours of labor or conditions of tenancy or employment, between landlords and tenants or farm-laborers, provided that the number of employees, laborers or tenants of farm-laborers involved exceeds thirty, and such industrial or agricultural dispute is submitted to the Court by the Secretary of Labor or by any or both of the parties to the controversy and certified by the Secretary of labor as existing and proper to be by the Secretary of Labor as existing and proper to be dealth with by the Court for the sake of public interest. (Section 4, ibid.) It shall, before hearing the dispute and in the course of such hearing, endeavor to reconcile the parties and induce them to settle the dispute by amicable agreement. (Paragraph 2, section 4, ibid.) When directed by the President of the Philippines, it shall investigate and study all industries established in a designated locality, with a view to determinating the necessity and fairness of fixing and adopting for such industry or locality a minimum wage or share of laborers or tenants, or a maximum "canon" or rental to be paid by the "inquilinos" or tenants or less to landowners. (Section 5, ibid.) In fine, it may appeal to voluntary arbitration in the settlement of industrial disputes; may employ mediation or conciliation for that purpose, or recur to the more effective system of official investigation and compulsory arbitration in order to determine specific controversies between labor and capital industry and in agriculture. There is in reality here a mingling of executive and judicial functions, which is a departure from the rigid doctrine of the separation of governmental powers. In the case of Goseco vs. Court of Industrial Relations et al., G.R. No. 46673, promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to joint out that the Court of Industrial Relations et al., G. R. No. 46673, promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to point out that the Court of Industrial Relations is not narrowly constrained by technical rules of procedure, and the Act requires it to "act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and equitable." (Section 20, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) It shall not be restricted to the specific relief claimed or demands made by the parties to the industrial or agricultural dispute, but may include in the award, order or decision any matter or determination which may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute or of preventing further industrial or agricultural disputes. (section 13, ibid.) And in the light of this legislative policy, appeals to this Court have been especially regulated by the rules recently promulgated by the rules recently promulgated by this Court to carry into the effect the avowed legislative purpose. The fact, however, that the Court of Industrial Relations may be said to be free from the rigidity of certain procedural requirements does not mean that it can, in justifiable cases before it, entirely ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials and investigations of an administrative character. There are primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this character: (1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In the language of Chief Hughes, in Morgan v. U.S., 304 U.S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999, 82 Law. ed. 1129, "the liberty and property of the citizen shall be protected by the rudimentary requirements of fair play. (2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented. (Chief Justice Hughes in Morgan v. U.S. 298 U.S. 468, 56 S. Ct. 906, 80 law. ed. 1288.) In the language of this court inEdwards vs. McCoy, 22 Phil., 598, "the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty on the part of the board to consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the person or persons to whom the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without notice or consideration."

(3) "While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to support it is a nullity, a place when directly attached." (Edwards vs. McCoy, supra.) This principle emanates from the more fundamental is contrary to the vesting of unlimited power anywhere. Law is both a grant and a limitation upon power. (4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of Manila vs. Agustin, G.R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O. G. 1335), but the evidence must be "substantial." (Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Co. v. national labor Relations Board, 301 U.S. 142, 147, 57 S. Ct. 648, 650, 81 Law. ed. 965.) It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind accept as adequate to support a conclusion." (Appalachian Electric Power v. National Labor Relations Board, 4 Cir., 93 F. 2d 985, 989; National Labor Relations Board v. Thompson Products, 6 Cir., 97 F. 2d 13, 15; Ballston-Stillwater Knitting Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 2 Cir., 98 F. 2d 758, 760.) . . . The statute provides that "the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling.' The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent inn judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. (Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baird, 194 U.S. 25, 44, 24 S. Ct. 563, 568, 48 Law. ed. 860; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Louisville and Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 93 33 S. Ct. 185, 187, 57 Law. ed. 431; United States v. Abilene and Southern Ry. Co. S. Ct. 220, 225, 74 Law. ed. 624.) But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. (Consolidated Edison Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 59 S. Ct. 206, 83 Law. ed. No. 4, Adv. Op., p. 131.)" (5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. (Interstate Commence Commission vs. L. & N. R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185, 57 Law. ed. 431.) Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to the parties, can the latter be protected in their right to know and meet the case against them. It should not, however, detract from their duty actively to see that the law is enforced, and for that purpose, to use the authorized legal methods of securing evidence and informing itself of facts material and relevant to the controversy. Boards of inquiry may be appointed for the purpose of investigating and determining the facts in any given case, but their report and decision are only advisory. (Section 9, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) The Court of Industrial Relations may refer any industrial or agricultural dispute or any matter under its consideration or advisement to a local board of inquiry, a provincial fiscal. a justice of the peace or any public official in any part of the Philippines for investigation, report and recommendation, and may delegate to such board or public official such powers and functions as the said Court of Industrial Relations may deem necessary, but such delegation shall not affect the exercise of the Court itself of any of its powers. (Section 10, ibid.) (6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. It may be that the volume of work is such that it is literally Relations personally to decide all controversies coming before them. In the United States the difficulty is solved with the enactment of statutory authority authorizing examiners or other subordinates to render final decision, with the right to appeal to board or commission, but in our case there is no such statutory authority. (7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for the decision rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority conferred upon it. In the right of the foregoing fundamental principles, it is sufficient to observe here that, except as to the alleged agreement between the Ang Tibay and the National Worker's Brotherhood (appendix A), the record is barren and does not satisfy the thirst for a factual basis upon which to predicate, in a national way, a conclusion of law. This result, however, does not now preclude the concession of a new trial prayed for the by respondent National Labor Union, Inc., it is alleged that "the supposed lack of material claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme adopted to systematically discharged all the members of the National Labor Union Inc., from work" and this avernment is desired to be proved by the petitioner with the "records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather"; that "the National Workers Brotherhood Union of Ang Tibay is a company or employer union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal." Petitioner further alleges under oath that the exhibits attached to the petition to prove his substantial avernments" are so inaccessible to the respondents that even within the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations", and that the documents attached to the petition "are of such far reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the judgment rendered herein." We have considered the reply of Ang Tibay and its arguments against the petition. By and large, after considerable discussions, we have come to the conclusion that the interest of justice would be better served if the movant is given opportunity to present at the hearing the documents referred to in his motion and such other evidence as may be relevant to the main issue involved. The legislation which created the Court of Industrial Relations and under which it acts is new. The failure to grasp the fundamental issue involved is not entirely attributable to the parties adversely affected by the result. Accordingly, the motion for a new trial should be and the same is hereby granted, and the entire record

of this case shall be remanded to the Court of Industrial Relations, with instruction that it reopen the case, receive all such evidence as may be relevant and otherwise proceed in accordance with the requirements set forth hereinabove. So ordered.

PANGANIBAN, J.: Due process of law requires notice and hearing. Hearing, on the other hand, presupposes a competent and impartial tribunal. The right to be heard and, ultimately, the right to due process of law lose meaning in the absence of an independent, competent and impartial tribunal. Statement of the Case This principium is explained by this Court as it resolves this petition for review on certiorari assailing the May 21, 1993 Decision of the 2 3 Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.. SP No. 29107 which affirmed the trial court's decision, as follows: WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED and the appeal is DISMISSED. The Hon. Armand Fabella is hereby ORDERED substituted as respondent-appellant in place of former Secretary Isidro Cario and henceforth this fact should be reflected in the title of this case. SO ORDERED.
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The Antecedent Facts The facts, as found by Respondent Court, are as follows: On September 17, 1990, then DECS Secretary Cario issued a return-to-work order to all public school teachers who had participated in walk-outs and strikes on various dates during the period September 26, 1990 to October 18, 1990. The mass action had been staged to demand payment of 13th month differentials, clothing allowances and passage of a debt-cap bill in Congress, among other things. On October 18, 1990, Secretary Cario filed administrative cases against herein petitioner-appellees, who are teachers of the Mandaluyong High School. The charge sheets required petitioner-appellees to explain in writing why they should not be punished for having taken part in the mass action in violation of civil service laws and regulations, to wit: 1. grave misconduct; 2. gross neglect of duty; 3. gross violation of Civil Service Law and rules on reasonable office regulations; 4. refusal to perform official duty; 5. conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. 6. absence without leave (AWOL) At the same time, Secretary Cario ordered petitioner-appellee to be placed under preventive suspension. The charges were subsequently amended by John Doe (not his real name)on November 7, 1990 to include the specific dates when petitioner-appellees allegedly took part in the strike. Administrative hearings started on December 20, 1990. Petitioner-appellees' counsel objected to the procedure adopted by the committee and demanded that he be furnished a copy of the guidelines adopted by the committee for the investigation and imposition of penalties. As he received no response from the committee, counsel walked out. Later, however, counsel, was able to obtain a copy of the guidelines. On April 10, 1991, the teachers filed a an injunctive suit (Civil Case No. 60675) with the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, charging the committee appointed by Secretary Cario with fraud and deceit and praying that it be stopped from further investigating them and from rendering any decision in the administrative case. However, the trial court denied them a restraining order. They then amended their complaint and made it one for certiorari and mandamus. They alleged that the investigating committee was acting with grave abuse of discretion because its guidelines for investigation place the burden of proof on them by requiring them to prove their innocence instead of requiring Secretary Cario and his staff to adduce evidence to prove the charges against the teachers.

On May 30, 1991, petitioner-appellee Adriano S. Valencia of the Ramon Magsaysay High School filed a motion to intervene, alleging that he was in the same situation as petitioners since he had likewise been charged and preventively suspended by respondentappellant Cario for the same grounds as the other petitioner-appellees and made to shoulder the burden of proving his innocence under the committee's guidelines. The trial court granted his motion on June 3, 1991 and allowed him to intervene. On June 11, 1991, the Solicitor General answered the petitioner for certiorari and mandamus in behalf of respondent DECS Secretary. In the main he contended that, in accordance with the doctrine of primary resort, the trial court should not interfere in the administrative proceedings. The Solicitor General also asked the trial court to reconsider its order of June 3, 1991, allowing petitioner-appellee Adriano S. Valencia to intervene in the case. Meanwhile, the DECS investigating committee rendered a decision on August 6, 1991, finding the petitioner-appellees guilty, as charged and ordering their immediate dismissal. On August 15, 1991, the trial court dismissed the petition for certiorari and mandamus for lack of merit. Petitioner-appellees moved for a reconsideration, but their motion was denied on September 11, 1991. The teachers then filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court which, on February 18, 1992, issued a resolution en banc declaring void the trial court's order of dismissal and reinstating petitioner-appellees' action, even as it ordered the latter's reinstatement pending decision of their case. Accordingly, on March 25, 1992, the trial court set the case for hearing. June 8, 1992, it issued a pre-trial order which reads: As prayed for by Solicitor Bernard Hernandez, let this case be set for pre-trial conference on June 17, 1992 at 1:30 p.m., so as to expedite the proceedings hereof. In which case, DECS Secretary Isidro Cario, as the principal respondent, is hereby ordered to PERSONALLY APPEAR before this Court on said date and time, with a warning that should he fail to show up on said date, the Court will declare him as IN DEFAULT. Stated otherwise, for the said Pre-Trial Conference, the Court will not recognize any representative of his. By agreement of the parties, the trial conference was reset on June 26, 1992. However, Secretary Cario failed to appear in court on the date set. It was explained that he had to attend a conference in Maragondon, Cavite. Instead, he was represented by Atty. Reno Capinpin, while the other respondents were represented by Atty. Jocelyn Pili. But the court just the same declared them as in default. The Solicitor General moved for a reconsideration, reiterating that Cario could not personally come on June 26, 1992 because of prior commitment in Cavite. It was pointed out that Cario was represented by Atty. Reno Capinpin, while the other respondents were represented by Atty. Jocelyn Pili, both of the DECS-NCR and that both had special powers of attorney. But the Solicitor General's motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court. In its order of July 15, 1992, the court stated: The "Motion For Reconsideration" dated July 3, 1992 filed by the respondents thru counsel, is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. It appears too obvious that respondents simply did not want to comply with the lawful orders of the Court. The respondents having lost their standing in Court, the "Manifestation and Motion," dated July 3, 1992 filed by the Office of the Solicitor General is hereby DENIED due course. SO ORDERED. On July 3, 1992, the Solicitor General informed the trial court that Cario had ceased to be DECS Secretary and asked for his substitution. But the court failed to act on his motion. The hearing of the case was thereafter conducted ex parte with only the teachers allowed to present their evidence. On August 10, 1992, the trial court rendered a decision, in which it stated: The Court is in full accord with petitioners' contention that Rep. Act No. 4670 otherwise known as the "Magna Carta for Public School Teachers" is the primary law that governs the conduct of investigation in administrative cases filed against public school teachers, with Pres. Decree No. 807 as its supplemental law. Respondents erred in believing and contending that Rep. Act No. 4670 has already been superseded by the applicable provisions of Pres. Decree No. 807 and Exec. Order No. 292. Under the Rules of Statutory Construction, a special law, Rep. Act. No. 4670 in the case at bar, is not regarded as having been replaced by a general law, Pres. Decree No. 807, unless the intent to repeal or alter the same is manifest. A perusal of Pres. Decree No. 807 reveals no such intention exists, hence, Rep. Act No. 4670 stands. In the event that there is conflict between a special and a general law, the former shall prevail since it evidences the legislator's intent more clearly than that of the general statute and must be taken as an exception to the General Act. The provision of Rep. Act No. 4670 therefore prevails over Pres. Decree No. 807 in the composition and selection of the members of the investigating committee. Consequently, the committee tasked to investigate the charges filed against petitioners was illegally

constituted, their composition and appointment being violative of Sec. 9 of Rep. Act No. 4670 hence all acts done by said body possess no legal color whatsoever. Anent petitioners' claim that their dismissal was effected without any formal investigation, the Court, after consideration of the circumstances surrounding the case, finds such claim meritorious. Although it cannot be gain said that respondents have a cause of action against the petitioner, the same is not sufficient reason to detract from the necessity of basic fair play. The manner of dismissal of the teachers is tainted with illegality. It is a dismissal without due process. While there was a semblance of investigation conducted by the respondents their intention to dismiss petitioners was already manifest when it adopted a procedure provided for by law, by shifting the burden of proof to the petitioners, knowing fully well that the teachers would boycott the proceedings thereby giving them cause to render judgment ex-parte. The DISMISSAL therefore of the teachers is not justified, it being arbitrary and violative of the teacher's right to due process. Due process must be observed in dismissing the teachers because it affects not only their position but also their means of livelihood. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby GRANTED and all the questioned orders/decisions of the respondents are hereby declared NULL and VOID and are hereby SET ASIDE. The reinstatement of the petitioners to their former positions without loss of seniority and promotional rights is hereby ORDERED. The payment, if any, of all the petitioners' back salaries, allowances, bonuses, and other benefits and emoluments which may have accrued to them during the entire period of their preventive suspension and/or dismissal from the service is hereby likewise ORDERED. SO ORDERED.
5

From this adverse decision of the trial court; former DECS Secretary Isidro Cario filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals raising the following grounds: I. The trial court seriously erred in declaring appellants as in default. II. The trial court seriously erred in not ordering the proper substitution of parties. III. The trial court seriously erred in holding that R.A. No. 4670, otherwise known as "Magna Carta for Public School Teachers", should govern the conduct of the investigation conducted. IV. The trial court seriously erred in ruling that the dismissal of the teachers are without due process.
6

As mentioned earlier, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC decision, holding in the main that private respondents were denied due process in the administrative proceedings instituted against them. Hence, this petition for review. The Issues Before us, petitioners raise the following issues: I Whether or not Respondent Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in holding in effect that private respondents were denied due process of law. II Whether or not Respondent Court of Appeals seriously erred and committed grave abuse of discretion in applying strictly the provision of R.A. No. 4670 in the composition of the investigating committee. III Whether or not Respondent Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the appeal and in affirming the trial 8 court's decision. These issues, all closely related, boil down to a single question: whether private respondents were denied due process of law. The Court's Ruling
7

The petition is bereft of merit. We agree with the Court of Appeals that private respondents were denied due process of law. Denial of Due Process At the outset, we must stress that we are tasked only to determine whether or not due process of law was observed in the administrative proceedings against herein private respondents. We note the Solicitor General's extensive disquisition that government 9 10 employees do not have the right to strike. On this point, the Court, in the case of Bangalisan vs. Court of Appeals, has recently pronounced, through Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado: It is the settled rule in this jurisdiction that employees in the public service may not engage in strikes. W hile the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize, they are prohibited from staging strikes, demonstrations mass leaves, walkouts and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public services. The right of government employees to organize is limited only to the formation of unions or associations, without including the right to strike. More recently, in Jacinto vs. Court of Appeals, to mass protest:
11

the Court explained the schoolteachers' right to peaceful assembly vis-a-vis their right

Moreover, the petitioners here, except Merlinda Jacinto, were not penalized for the exercise of their right to assemble peacefully and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Rather, the Civil Service Commission found them guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for having absented themselves without proper authority, from their schools during regular school days, in order to participate in the mass protest, their absence ineluctably resulting in the non-holding of classes and in the deprivation of students of education, for which they were responsible. Had petitioners availed themselves of their free time recess, after classes, weekends or holidays to dramatize their grievances and to dialogue with the proper authorities within the bounds of law, no one not the DECS, the CSC or even this Court could have held them liable for the valid exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. As it was, the temporary stoppage of classes resulting from their activity necessarily disrupted public services, the very evil sought to be forestalled by the prohibition against strikes by government workers. Their act by its nature was enjoined by the Civil Service 12 law, rules and regulations, for which they must, therefore, be made answerable. In the present case, however, the issue is not whether the private respondents engaged in any prohibited activity which may warrant the imposition of disciplinary sanctions against them as a result of administrative proceedings. As already observed, the resolution of this case revolves around the question of due process of law, not on the right of government workers to strike. The issue is not whether private respondents may be punished for engaging in a prohibited action but whether, in the course of the investigation of the alleged proscribed activity, their right to due process has been violated. In short, before they can be investigated and meted out any penalty, due process must first be observed. In administrative proceedings, due process has been recognized to include the following: (1) the right to actual or constructive notice of the institution of proceedings which may affect a respondent's legal rights; (2) a real opportunity to be heard personally or with the assistance of counsel, to present witnesses and evidence in one's favor, and to defend one's rights; (3) a tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and so constituted as to afford a person charged administratively a reasonable guarantee of honesty as well as impartiality; and (4) a finding by said tribunal which is supported by substantial evidence submitted for consideration during the hearing 13 or contained in the records or made known to the parties affected. The legislature enacted a special law, RA 4670 known as the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, which specifically covers administrative proceedings involving public schoolteachers. Section 9 of said law expressly provides that the committee to hear public schoolteachers' administrative cases should be composed of the school superintendent of the division as chairman, a representative of the local or any existing provincial or national teachers' organization and a supervisor of the division. The pertinent provisions of RA 4670 read: Sec. 8. Safeguards in Disciplinary Procedure. Every teacher shall enjoy equitable safeguards at each stage of any disciplinary procedure and shall have: a: the right to be informed, in writing, of the charges; b. the right to full access to the evidence in the case; c. the right to defend himself and to be defended by a representative of his choice and/or by his organization, adequate time being given to the teacher for the preparation of his defense; and d. the right to appeal to clearly designated authorities. No publicity shall be given to any disciplinary action being taken against a teacher during the pendency of his case.

Sec. 9. Administrative Charges. Administrative charges against teacher shall be heard initially by a committee composed of the corresponding School Superintendent of the Division or a duly authorized representative who would at least have the rank of a division supervisor, where the teacher belongs, as chairman, a representative of the local or, in its absence, any existing provincial or national teacher's organization and a supervisor of the Division, the last two to be designated by the Director of Public Schools. The committee shall submit its findings, and recommendations to the Director of Public Schools within thirty days from the termination of the hearings: Provided, however, That where the school superintended is the complainant or an interested party, all the members of the committee shall be appointed by the Secretary of Education. The foregoing provisions implement the Declaration of Policy of the statute; that is, to promote the "terms of employment and career prospects" of schoolteachers. In the present case, the various committees formed by DECS to hear the administrative charges against private respondents did not include "a representative of the local or, in its absence, any existing provincial or national teacher's organization" as required by Section 9 of RA 4670. Accordingly, these committees were deemed to have no competent jurisdiction. Thus, all proceedings undertaken by them were necessarily void. They could not provide any basis for the suspension or dismissal of private respondents. The inclusion of a representative of a teachers' organization in these committees was indispensable to ensure an impartial tribunal. It was this requirement that would have given substance and meaning to the right to be heard. Indeed, in any proceeding, the essence of procedural due 14 process is embodied in the basic requirement of notice and a real opportunity to be heard. Petitioners argue that the DECS complied with Section 9 of RA 4670, because "all the teachers who were members of the various committees are members of either the Quezon City Secondary Teachers Federation or the Quezon City Elementary Teachers 15 Federation" and are deemed to be the representatives of a teachers' organization as required by Section 9 of RA 4670. We disagree. Mere membership of said teachers in their respective teachers' organizations does not ipso factomake them authorized representatives of such organizations as contemplated by Section 9 of RA 4670. Under this section, the teachers' organization possesses the right to indicate its choice of representative to be included by the DECS in the investigating committee. Such right to designate cannot be usurped by the secretary of education or the director of public schools or their underlings. In the instant case, there is no dispute that none of the teachers appointed by the DECS as members of its investigating committee was ever designated or authorized by a teachers' organization as its representative in said committee. Contrary to petitioners' asseverations, RA 4670 is applicable to this case. It has not been expressly repealed by the general law PD 807, which was enacted later, nor has it been shown to be inconsistent with the latter. It is a fundamental rule of statutory construction that "repeals by implication are not favor. An implied repeal will not be allowed unless it is convincingly and unambiguously demonstrated that the two laws are so clearly repugnant and patently inconsistent that they cannot co-exist. This is based on the rationale that the will of the legislature cannot be overturned by the judicial function of construction and interpretation. Courts cannot take the place of Congress in repealing statutes. Their function is to try to harmonize, as much as possible, seeming conflicts in the 17 laws and resolve doubts in favor of their validity and co-existence." Thus, a subsequent general law does not repeal a prior special law, "unless the intent to repeal or alter is manifest, although the terms of the general law are broad enough to include the cases 18 embraced in the special law." The aforementioned Section 9 of RA 4670, therefore, reflects the legislative intent to impose a standard and a separate set of procedural requirements in connection with administrative proceedings involving public schoolteachers. Clearly, private respondents' right to due process of law requires compliance with these requirements laid down by RA 4670. Verba legis non est recedendum. Hence, Respondent Court of Appeals, through Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza who is now a member of this Court, perceptively and correctly stated: Respondent-appellants argue that the Magna Carta has been superseded by the Civil Service Decree (P.D. No. 807) and that pursuant to the latter law the head of a department, like the DECS secretary, or a regional director, like the respondent-appellant John Doe (not his real name), can file administrative charges against a subordinate, investigate him and take disciplinary action against him if warranted by his findings. Respondent-appellants cite in support of their argument the following provisions of the Civil Service Decree (P.D. No. 807). Sec. 37. Disciplinary Jurisdiction. xxx xxx xxx b) The heads of departments, agencies and instrumentalities. . . shall have jurisdiction to investigate and decide matters involving disciplinary action against officers and employees under their jurisdiction. . . . Sec. 38. Procedure in Administrative Cases Against Non-Presidential Appointees.
16

a) Administrative Proceedings may be commenced against a subordinate officer or the employee by the head of department or officer of equivalent rank, or head of local government, or chiefs of agencies, or regional directors, or upon sworn, written complaint of any other persons. There is really no repugnance between the Civil Service Decree and the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers. Although the Civil Service Decree gives the head of department or the regional director jurisdiction to investigate and decide disciplinary matters, the fact is that such power is exercised through committees. In cases involving public school teachers, the Magna Carta provides that the committee be constituted as follows: Sec. 9. Administrative Charges. Administrative charges against a teacher shall be heard initially by a committee composed of the corresponding School Superintendent of the Division or a duly authorized representative who would at least have the rank of a division supervisor, where the teacher belongs, as chairman, a representative of the local or, in its absence, any existing provincial or national teacher's organization and a supervisor of the Division, the last two to be designated by the Director of Public Schools. The committee shall submit its findings, and recommendations to the Director of Public Schools within thirty days from the termination of the hearings: Provided, however,that where the school superintendent is the complainant or an interested party, all the members of the committee shall be appointed by the Secretary of Education. Indeed, in the case at bar, neither the DECS [s]ecretary nor the DECS-NCR regional director personally conducted the investigation but entrusted it to a committee composed of a division supervisor, secondly and elementary school teachers, and consultants. But there was no representative of a teachers organization. This is a serious flaw in the composition of the committee because the provision for the representation of a teachers organization is intended by law for the protection of the rights of teachers facing administrative charges. There is thus nothing in the Magna Carta that is in any way inconsistent with the Civil Service Decree insofar as procedures for investigation is concerned. To the contrary, the Civil Service Decree, [S]ec. 38(b) affirms the Magna Carta by providing that the respondent in an administrative case may ask for a "formal investigation," which was what the teachers did in this case by questioning the absence of a representative of a teachers organization in the investigating committee. The administrative committee considered the teachers to have waived their right to a hearing after the latter's counsel walked out of the preliminary hearing. The committee should not have made such a ruling because the walk out was staged in protest against the procedures of the committee and its refusal to give the teachers' counsel a copy of the guidelines. The committee concluded its investigation and ordered the dismissal of the teachers without giving the teachers the right to full access of the evidence against them and the opportunity to defend themselves. Its predisposition to find petitioner-appellees guilty of the charges was in fact noted by the Supreme Court when in its resolution in G.R. No. 101943 (Rosario Septimo v. Judge Martin Villarama, Jr.) it stated: The facts and issues in this case are similar to the facts and issues in Hon. Isidro Cario, et al. v. Hon. Carlos C. Ofilada, et al. G.R. No. 100206, August 22, 1961. As in the Cario v. Ofilada case, the officials of the Department of Culture and Education are predisposed to summarily hold the petitioners guilty of the charges against them. In fact, in this case Secretary Cario, without awaiting formal administrative procedures and on the basis of reports and "implied admissions" found the petitioners guilty as charged and dismissed them from the service in 19 separate decisions dated May 16, 1997 and August 6, 1991. The teachers went to court. The Court dismissed the case. Furthermore, this Court sees no valid reason to disregard the factual findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals. It is not our function "to assess and evaluate all over again the evidence, testimonial and documentary, adduced by the parties particularly where, 20 such as here, the findings of both the trial court and the appellate court coincide." It is as clear as day to us that the Court of Appeals committed to reversible error in affirming the trial court's decision setting aside the questioned orders of petitioners; and ordering the unqualified reinstatement of private respondents and the payment of them of salaries, allowances, bonuses and other benefits 21 that accrued to their benefit during the entire duration of their suspension or dismissal. Because the administrative proceedings involved in this case are void, no delinquency or misconduct may be imputed to private respondents. Moreover, the suspension or 22 dismissal meted on them is baseless. Private respondents should, as a consequence, be reinstated and awarded all monetary 23 benefits that may have accrued to them during the period of their unjustified suspension or dismissal. This Court will never countenance a denial of the fundamental right to due process, which is a cornerstone of our legal system. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED for its utter failure to show any reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals. The assailed Decision is thus AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: For allegedly granting improvidently a petition for Habeas Corpus in Special Proceeding No. 10931 entitled In the Matter of the [2] Petition for Habeas Corpus of Ma Jing, respondent was charged in a verified complaint with Violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Grave Misconduct, Gross Ignorance of the Law, Gross Incompetence, Gross Inefficiency and Knowingly Rendering An Unjust Judgment relative to the above-mentioned case. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) referred the verified complaint to respondent judge for his comment thereon within ten (10) days from notice. On July 30, 1999, respondent judge filed his comment [4] against him for utter lack of merit.
[3] [1]

denying the charges against him and prayed for the dismissal of the case

The case was subsequently referred to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation. In an evaluation report dated [5] September 21, 1999, the OCA recommended the dismissal of the administrative complaint against respondent judge for being sub judice, pointing out that the issues therein are the same as those pending resolution by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 53425 entitled Rufus B. Rodriguez v. Hon. Rodolfo R. Bonifacio, et al. The Court of Appeals subsequently promulgated a Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 53425 dated May 4, 2000 setting aside for lack of legal basis the assailed Order of respondent Judge dated June 24, 1999 which found herein complainant guilty of indirect contempt. In the meantime, in a Resolution dated November 24, 1999, the Court resolved to: 1.] docket the case as a regular administrative proceeding; and 2.] refer the case to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales for investigation, report and recommendation within ninety (90) days from notice. In compliance with the foregoing directive, Justice Morales submitted a Report summarizing the factual antecedents of the case thus: On May 7, 1999 at about 11 p.m., the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) conducted simultaneous raids at the Royal Flame Club, Space World and Narcissus Club which are all located in Ermita, Manila as a result of which 20 female Chinese nationals were caught in the act of entertaining customers and guests. No Alien Employment Permits or Alien Employment Registration Certificates having been presented by these nationals, they were turned over to the BI for custody and verification of their alien status. They were thereupon confined at the BI Detention Center at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro Manila on May 8, 1999. On May 17, 1999, Chinese National Ma Jing, one of the 20 apprehended Chinese, filed a petition for habeas corpus at the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) which was raffled to Branch 151 thereof. The caption of the petition did not name any respondent but it alleged as follows: xxx xxx xxx
[7] [6]

2. On or about 07 May 1999 at about 10:00 oclock in the evening, petitioner, a temporary visitor in the Philippines from the Peoples Republic of China, was taken from a nightclub (Royal Flame) in Metro Manila by individuals who represented themselves as Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) and/or Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and since then confined, restrained and deprived her of her liberty and [is] now confined at the BID Detention Center, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro Manila. 3. In spite of the fact that petitioner has been confined from then on, to date, no formal complaint or accusation for any specific offenses has been filed against her nor any judicial writ or order for her commitment has at any time been issued so far. 4. According to reliable information, the petitioner is now being unlawfully detained and deprived of her liberty by the Warden and/or Chief of the BID Detention Center, at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Tagig, Metro Manila at the behest of the Chief of a special operation unit of the NBI combined with BID and DOLE agents and whose office is at NBI, NBI Bldg., Taft Ave., Manila. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) Acting Presiding Judge Rodolfo Bonifacio of Branch 151 of the Pasig RTC issued a writ. On May 21, 1999, Atty. Rommel J. de Leon, Technical Assistant, Commissioners Office, BI, submitted a RETURN OF THE WRIT alleging, inter alia: xxx 4. xxx xxx

That an investigation was conducted by Special Prosecutor Ramoncito L. Tolentino by (sic) the Bureau of Immigration;

5. That during the said investigation the subject foreign nationals including the petitioner failed to produce any travel documents while the National Bureau of Investigation showed their Affidavit of Arrest, pictures taken at Royal Flame Club and other evidences in support of their claim, copy of said Affidavit of Arrest and pictures are attached hereto as Annexes B and C respectively; 6. That on May 13, 1999, Special Prosecutor Ramon L. Tolentino issued a Charge Sheet charging said alien for violation of Section 37 (a) [7] of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, a copy of the charge sheet is attached hereto as Annex D; 7. That during the hearing at the Bureau of Immigration on May 20, 1999, the Counsel for petitioner and a certain Willy Ang manifested that the petitioner together with her companion are going to submit [an] application for Voluntary Deportation; 8. That based on the foregoing premises it is crystal clear that the petitioner is lawfully detained by the Bureau of Immigration; and

9. That moreso (sic), if ever the petitioner would submit an application for Voluntary Deportation as manifested by his Counsel Atty. San Pedro and their representative Mr. Willy Ang this petition would already be moot and academic. After conducting a hearing on the petition for habeas corpus, Judge Bonifacio, by Order of May 27, 1999, held: xxx xxx xxx

Upon due inquiry, the Court finds that the petitioner is not really an undocumented alien as she has a valid PROC passport No. 1437777 and Visa No. 1201 issued by the Philippine Embassy on March 18, 1999. Her stay in the Philippines has been duly extended up to June 30, 1999 under O.R. No. M 7922945. The Charge Sheet, however, remains as a mere accusation, i.e. that petitioner is a mere suspect, working as a Guest Relation Officer at the Royal Flame Club without securing the necessary working permit/visa from the Bureau of Immigration. She was not notified though of the charges against her nor was she afforded due process. No commitment order was issued by the Commissioner of Immigration or any competent authority to justify her continued detention. xxx xxx xxx

In Dramayo, the Supreme Court has ruled categorically that accusation is not synonymous with guilt. The strongest suspicion must not be permitted to sway judgment (People vs. Austria, 195 SCRA 700). The illegal arrest of petitioner without warrant of arrest or seizure on 07 May 1999 and arbitrary detention, to date, is not remedied by the supposed filing in a Charge Sheet dated 13 May 1999 but assumably filed only on 14 May 1999. Petitioner had been detained without any valid charge from 07 May 1999 to 14 May 1999. The filing of the Charge Sheet did not (sic) the illegal detention of the petitioner. xxx Accordingly the said Order of May 27, 1999 disposed: IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the Court finds no cogent reason to hold petitioner under continued detention so that Ma Jings immediate release is hereby ordered, unless otherwise held on a different case and/or valid judicial process. The following day, May 28, 1999 respondent Bureau of Immigration by counsel Atty. Rommel J. de Leon, Technical Assistant, Commissioners Office filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the May 27, 1999 [Order]. On May 31, 1999, Ma Jing not having been released from detention, filed a Motion to Declare Parties Guilty of Contempt naming BI Commissioner Rufus B. Rodriguez, Atty. de Leon, BI Detention Center Warden Enrico R. Paner and BI employees Mar Novales and Richie Galvadores as contemnors. By Order of June 15, 1999, Judge Bonifacio denied the BIs Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of May 27, 1999 and directed BI Commissioner Rodriguez and his co-respondents in the Motion to hold them in contempt of court for failure to obey the Order of May 27, 1999. In the same Order of June 15, 1999, Judge Bonifacio ordered Commissioner Rodriguez and co-respondents to immediately release Ma Jing in accordance with his May 27, 1999 Order. Also on June 15, 1999, the BI issued a summary deportation order to Ma Jing who refused to receive it. The following day or on June 16, 1999, the BI filed at Branch 151 of the RTC Pasig a Notice of Appeal (to the Court of Appeals) of the May 27, 1999 Order and the June 15, 1999 Order. On June 18, 1999, Commissioner Rodriguez and his co-respondents, in compliance with the show cause order, filed an Explanation dated June 17, 1999 stating, inter alia, that they were never ordered in the May 17, 1999 Order to release Ma Jing; that except for Commissioner Rodriguez, the other respondents had no authority to release Ma Jing from the Detention Center; that the contempt proceedings in the case at bar was not initiated by the Court motu propio, hence, the indirect contempt should be commenced by a verified petition and not by merely filing a Motion as was done in the instant case, following Sec. 4 of Rule 71 of the 1997 Rules of Civil

Procedure which they therein quoted; and that the Motion for Reconsideration of the May 17, 1999 Order stayed the execution thereof as did the Notice of Appeal (filed on June 17, 1999) of the same order. In the meantime, the other Chinese nationals petitions for voluntary deportation were, by separate orders, granted by the BI. By June 24, 1999, Judge Bonifacio found Commissioner Rodriguez and co-respondents guilty of indirect contempt and ordered their arrest and detention at the Pasig City jail until they have complied with the Order dated May 27, 1999 in the light of the following disquisition: xxx proceedings in habeas corpus are separate and distinct from any deportation proceedings taking place at the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. They (habeas corpus proceedings) rarely, if ever, touch the merits of the deportation case and require no pronouncement with respect thereto. In its May 27, 1999 Order, this Court ordered the immediate release of petitioner Ma Jing, principally upon the following reasons: (i) the petitioner was unlawfully arrested without any warrant of arrest and, thereafter, arbitrarily detained, in disregard of her rights, even as an alien, to due process of law; and (ii) a warrant of arrest issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, to be valid, must be for the sole purpose of executing a final order of deportation. xxx xxx xxx

1. It is not correct to say that the May 27, 1999 Order should not be obeyed because it did not specifically direct Hon. Rufus D (sic) Rodriguez, P/Supt. Angelito O. Tan, Mar Navales and Richie Galvadores as the persons who should obey the said Order. The Writ of Habeas Corpus dated May 17, 1999 as directed, among others, to The Chief of the Special Operation UnitNBI and/or the Warden or Chief of the BID Detention Center, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro, Manila. As such, all the respondents fall under the classification BID Agents and are thus included in the persons to whom the writ of habeas corpus is directed. xxx xxx xxx

2. Neither is the Court impressed with the argument that P/Supt. Angelito O. Tan, Atty. Rommel J. de Leon, Enrico R. Paner, Mar Navales and Richie Galvadores do not have the authority to release the petitioner from the BID Detention Center, such authority pertaining only to the Commissioner, BID. The authority for the release of petitioner Ma Jing is precisely the May 27, 1999 Order of this Court which directs her immediate release. There can be no doubt on the jurisdiction of this Court on habeas corpus cases, as the case at bar, and the validity of its lawful orders issued pursuant to the exercise of such jurisdiction. It is significant that Hon. Rufus Rodriguez has not disauthorized or revoked or in any way disowned the refusal of his subordinates to obey the subject court order, as he would certainly have done if his authority had been improperly invoked. xxx xxx xxx

3. Neither is this Court persuaded by the argument that the May 27, 1999 Order was not yet executory because BIDs Motion for Reconsideration stayed its execution. By its very nature, habeas corpus proceedings are always characterized by promptness or speed. It is always timely to recall this categorical affirmation in the ponencia of Justice Malcolm in the landmark case of Villavicencio v. Lukban, supra: The writ of habeas corpus was devised as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. Therefore, only an injunction from a Higher Court could restrain enforceability of the May 27, 1999 Order which, by its unmistakable language, directed the immediate release of petitioner Ma Jing. 4. There is also a puerile claim that the contempt proceeding was improper because it was commenced by mere motion and not by a verified petition. The Revised Rules of Court (should be 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) cannot be any clearer. The appropriate section is quite explicit.: After a charge in writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt (b) Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order or judgment of a court

It is very clear that, as to form, the only requirement is that the charge be in writing. x x x xxx xxx xxx

5. On the claim that the Notice of Appeal filed by BID on June 17 stayed execution of the May 27, 1999 Order, suffice it to say that, as already discussed above, being a writ of liberty, habeas corpus proceedings are always characterized by promptness or speed. Therefore, the May 27, 1999 Order of release was inherently immediately executory, and only an injunction from a Higher Court could restrain its immediate enforceability. 6. Finally, the respondents submit the argument that it is no longer legally possible for the BID to order the release of the petitioner because of the issuance of a Summary Deportation Order against her. The first time the respondents first disobeyed the May 27, 1999 Order was on May 28, 1999. There was no deportation order yet at that time. The Court cannot accede to the proposition that the subsequent issuance of the deportation order should have the effect of erasing or pardoning the contempt already committed by the respondents as early as May 28, 1999. Moreover, the release of petitioner Ma Jing is not really a primordial consideration insofar as the pending incident is concerned. The ultimate purpose of this inquiry is to determine whether the respondents are guilty of indirect contempt, i.e., disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, or judgment of a court. The Court finds that such disobedience has been indubitably established by the various Sheriffs Reports extant in the records of this case, and that the reasons advanced by the respondents in their Explanation dated June 17, 1999 are not the real reasons which impelled said disobedience, as the same conclusively stems from the perception of the Hon. Rufus Rodriguez and his subalterns that the Court has no authority to order the release of petitioner Ma Jing. Even assuming that the respondents were of the opinion that the subject Order was grossly erroneous, they could have availed of the remedy of certiorari immediately after its promulgation. But they, certainly, cannot adamantly and belligerently defy the Order of the Courts simply because they have a contrary opinion. Confronted with the mandatory directive of May 27, 1999 to release petitioner Ma Jing, the obstinate refusal of the respondents to obey the same constitutes indirect contempt. (Underscoring supplied). On June 25, 1999, a Friday, at about 2 oclock in the afternoon, Commissioner Rodriguez, et al. were, pursuant to the June 24, 1999 Order, arrested by the NBI whose Director was specifically ordered by Judge Bonifacio to serve the warrant. Commissioner Rodriguez et al. lost no time in filing at the Court of Appeals on June 25, 1999 an Urgent Petition for Certiorari against Judge Bonifacio, docketed as CA-G.R. No. 53425, followed by an Amended Petition, assailing the Judges Order of June 24, 1999. By Order of June 25, 1999, the Court of Appeals issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction commanding the immediate release of Commissioner Rodriguez et al. after posting a bond and directing Judge Bonifacio to file his comment on the petition. At 10:00 p.m. of June 25, 1999, Commissioner Rodriguez, et al. were released after posting a bond. On the basis of the foregoing facts, the Investigating Justice recommends respondent judge be fined Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos for gross ignorance of the law and warned that a repetition or the commission of a similar infraction will be dealt with more severely, reasoning thus: Under Rule 71 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, contempt proceedings may be commenced as follows: SEC. 4. How proceedings commenced. - Proceedings for indirect contempt may be initiated motu proprio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. In all other cases, charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of the documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal action pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege that fact but said petition shall be docketed, heard and decided separately, unless the court in its discretion orders the consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing and decision. The petition for habeas corpus alleged that Ma Jing was [a]ccording to reliable information being unlawfully deprived of her liberty by the Warden and/or Chief of the BID Detention Center at the behest of the Chief of a special operations unit of the NBI combined with BID and DLE agents whose office is at NBI. It did not name herein complainant as respondent. Neither did the May 27, 1999 Order direct herein complainant to release Ma Jing. It was when Ma Jing filed on May 31, 1999 a Motion to Cite in Contempt that herein complainants name was for the first time drawn in the case.

Under the circumstances, compliance with the second mode of initiating a petition for contempt under Sec. 4 of Rule 71 of the 1997 Code of Civil Procedure, - filing a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for initiating pleadings for civil action in the court concerned was in order. It is in this light that the undersigned investigator finds that respondent ERRED in giving due course to the mere motion to cite in contempt and finding herein complainant guilty thereof by Order of June 24, 1999, especially given the fact that in the Explanation Answer to the show cause Order of respondent herein, complainant et al. quoted Sec. 4 of Rule 71 and alleged that as [t]he contempt proceedings w[ere] not initiated by the Court motu proprio, the indirect contempt should be commenced by a verified petition and not by mere filing [of a] motion as was done in the instant case. xxx xxx xxx

For administrative liability to attach for errors of judgment, the error must be gross, patent or deliberate (Re: Judge Silverio S. Tayao, A.M. No. 93-8-1204, 229 SCRA 723 [1994]. For administrative liability to attach for gross ignorance of the law and/or knowingly rendering an unjust order or judgment, it must be established that the order or judgment is not only erroneous but [that] he was actuated by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred, revenge, corrupt purpose or some other like motive (Guerrero v. Villamor, A.M. No. RTJ-90-617, 296 SCRA 88 [1998]). For a judge may not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous order or decision he renders (Rodrigo v. Quijano, 79 10 [1997]) [sic] otherwise it would render judicial office untenable for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible (vide Lopez v. Corpus, 78 SCRA 374 [1997] (sic); Pilipinas Bank v. Tirona-Liwag, 190 SCRA 834 [1994]). The undersigned finds that respondents error in giving due course to the Motion to Declare Parties Guilty of Contempt was patent, given that circumstances mentioned above. Respondents invoking of Sec. 3 of the same Rule 71 (of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, not revised Rules of Court as he stated) which to him clearly shows that the only requirement is that the charge be in writing, citing Tomas C. Aguador v. Malcolm S. Enerio, et al., G.R. No. L-20383, January 30, 1971, betrays his ignorance that this Aguador case was decided in 1971, long before Sec. 4, Rule 71, which is a new provision, was incorporated in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. And, as from the following portion of respondents Order of June 24, 1999, to wit: Incidentally, the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation is not a sovereign entity where the commissioner reigns supreme. It is a mere Bureau and a becoming modesty of inferior offices demands a conscious realization of the position that they occupy in the interrelation and operation of the huge governmental bureaucracy. Most decidedly, this Court does not believe that the Honorable Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation however exalted he may personally feel his position to be is beyond the processes of Courts of the land. it is gathered that he was actuated by anger or hatred in so acting on the motion for contempt, administrative liability attaches for his gross ignorance of the law. As for the rest of the assailed Orders bases of the other charges at bar, complainants charge that they violate the law and the jurisprudence he cited not being indubitable in the light of respondents own citations of the law and jurisprudence, the undersigned does not find respondent to have acted arrantly. The issue thus becomes judicial in character and would not warrant faulting him administratively (Godinez v. Alano, 303 SCRA 259 [1999]). The Court agrees with the investigating Justice that respondent judge should indeed be sanctioned, but finds the recommended penalty not commensurate to the gravity of respondents malfeasance for the following reasons: First, the degree of restraint respondent should have observed in the exercise of his contempt powers leaves much to be desired, given the prevailing facts of this case much more so, considering that the same bears with it the taint of personal hostility and passion against the party to whom it is directed. Time and again magistrates have been reminded that the salutary rule is that the power to punish for contempt must be exercised in the preservative not vindictive principle, and on the [9] corrective not retaliatory idea of punishment. The courts and other tribunals vested with the power of contempt must exercise the power for contempt for purposes that are impersonal, because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges as persons but [10] for the functions that they exercise. Besides the basic equipment of possessing the requisite learning in the law, a magistrate must exhibit that hallmark judicial [11] [12] temperament of utmost sobriety and self-restraint which are indispensable qualities of every judge. A judge anywhere should be the last person to be perceived as a petty tyrant holding imperious sway over his domain. Such an image is, however, evoked by the actuations of respondent judge in this case. It has time and again been stressed that the role of a judge in relation to those who appear before his court must be one of [13] temperance, patience and courtesy. A judge who is commanded at all times to be mindful of his high calling and his mission as a
[8]

dispassionate and impartial arbiter of justice is expected to be a cerebral man who deliberately holds in check the tug and pull of [15] purely personal preferences which he shares with his fellow mortals. Judges have been admonished to observe judicial decorum which requires that a magistrate must at all times be temperate in his [16] [17] [18] language refraining from inflammatory or excessive rhetoric or from resorting to the language of vilification. In this regard, Rule 3.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that Rule 3.04. A judge should be patient, attentive and courteous to all lawyers, especially the inexperienced, to litigants, witnesses, and others appearing before the court. A judge should avoid unconsciously falling into the attitude of mind that the litigants are made for the courts instead of the courts for the litigants. Respondent judge needs to be reminded that government service is people-oriented. Patience is an essential part of dispensing [20] justice and courtesy is a mark of culture and good breeding. Belligerent behavior has no place in government service where [21] personnel are enjoined to act with self-restraint and civility at all times even when confronted with rudeness and insolence. Second, it is imperative that judges be conversant with basic legal principles. The Code of Judicial Conduct, in fact, enjoins [22] judges to be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence. Respondent judge owes it to the public and to the legal [23] profession to know the law he is supposed to apply in a given controversy. Indeed A judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules; it is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles and aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines. He should strive for excellence exceeded only [24] by his passion for truth, to the end that he be the personification of justice and the Rule of Law. In this case, respondent judge displayed a deplorable deficiency in his grasp of the basic principles governing contempt. As defined, indirect contempt is one committed out of or not in the presence of the court that tends to belittle, degrade, obstruct or [25] embarrass the court and justice. On the other hand, direct contempt consists of or is characterized by misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the proceedings before the same within the meaning of Section 1, Rule 71 of the [26] Rules of Civil Procedure. There is no question that disobedience or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment or command of a court or injunction [27] granted by a court or judge constitutes indirect contempt. Section 4, Rule 71 of the Rules, provides for two (2) modes of commencing proceedings for indirect contempt, to wit: 1.] It may be initiated motu proprio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. 2.] In all other cases, charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. (all initiatory pleadings should be accompanied with a certificate of non-forum shopping, Sec. 5 [28] Rule 7). As can be gleaned from the records of the case, the contempt proceedings commenced by Ma Jing was made through a motion and not a verified petition as required by the above-cited Section. Respondent Judge relied on Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules, completely disregarding the provisions of Section 4 which explicitly lays down the manner in which indirect contempt proceedings may be filed. Contempt of court has been distinctly described as an offense against the State and not against the judge personally. To reiterate, a judge must always remember that the power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for purposes that are not [29] personal, because that power is intended as a safeguard, not for judges as persons, but for the functions they exercise. Viewed vis--vis the foregoing circumscription of a courts power to punish for contempt, it bears stressing that the court must [30] exercise the power of contempt judiciously and sparingly with utmost self-restraint with the end in view of utilizing the same for [31] correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, not for retaliation or vindication. In this case, respondent judge failed to observe the procedure expressly spelled out in Section 4, Rule 71 of the Rules. As stated earlier, a judge is called upon to exhibit more than a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules; it is [32] imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles. Canon 4 of the Canon of Judicial Ethics requires that a judge should be studious of the principles of law and Canon 18 mandates that he should administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the [33] system of the law itself, remembering that he is not a depositary of arbitrary power, but a judge under the sanction of law. Observance of the law which he is bound to know and sworn to uphold is required of every judge. When the law is sufficiently [35] [36] basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; anything less than that would be constitutive of gross ignorance of the law. In [37] short, when the law is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. Third, assuming ex gratia argumenti that there was indeed a valid contempt charge filed against herein complainant, the validity of [38] the charge will not extricate respondent judge from his predicament. The records disclose that the Return of the Writ stated that a [39] Charge Sheet was filed on May 13, 1999 against Ma Jing for violation of Section 37 [a] (7) of the Philippine Immigration Act of [40] 1940. Despite this, respondent judge issued an Order dated May 27, 1999 directing Ma Jings immediate release. It was grievous error for respondent judge, in the face of these factual circumstances disclosed by the records, to give due course to the petition
[34] [19]

[14]

for habeas corpus despite the pendency of a deportation case against Ma Jing. Where the BID had not yet completed its hearing and investigation proceedings with respect to an alien and there is no showing that it is unduly delaying its decision, habeas [41] corpus proceedings are premature and should be dismissed. Along the same vein, when an alien is detained by the BID pursuant to [42] an order of deportation, as in this case where a Summary Deportation Order had already been issued by the BID, Courts of First Instance, now Regional Trial Courts, have no power to release the said alien on bail even inhabeas corpus proceedings, because there [43] is no law authorizing it. It, furthermore, must be pointed out that on May 28, 1999, complainant-respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the [45] said order but respondent judge denied the same in an Order dated June 15, 1999, and required complainant and his corespondents to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt. On the same date, a Summary Deportation Order was issued in the BID Case against Ma Jing. The filing of the motion for reconsideration effectively tolled the period within which to appeal respondent judges decision dated May 27, 1999. It was not a pro forma motion, as respondent judge himself did not say so in the June 15, 1999 order denying the motion. The two-day period to appeal provided in Section 39, B.P. Blg. 129 certainly did not proscribe the filing of the motion for reconsideration of the judgment in the habeas corpuscase. The motion for reconsideration was filed on May 28, [46] 1999, a day after the decision dated May 27, 1999 was received by complainant. The Notice of Appeal, on the other hand was filed on June 17, 1999. Complainant and co-respondents received the order dated June 15, 1999 of respondent judge on June 16, 1999. Since under Section 15, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the prisoner shall be released if the officer or person detaining him does not desire to appeal, complainant did not commit indirect contempt because of the timely filing of the motion for reconsideration and later the notice of appeal. Be that as it may, there was a valid judicial process justifying Ma Jings detention even before respondent judge rendered his decision as shown by the Return of the Writ which averred, among others, that a Charge Sheet was filed against Ma Jing. Even granting that the arrest of Ma Jing was initially illegal, the filing of the Charge Sheet cured whatever incipient infirmity there was in her [47] arrest. Respondent judge therefore had no authority to release the party who was thus committed. Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides: SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that the person to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge; or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. Once a person detained is duly charged in court, he may no longer question his detention through a petition for issuance of a writ [48] of habeas corpus. His remedy would be to quash the information and/or the warrant of arrest duly issued. The writ of habeas [49] corpus should not be allowed after the party sought to be released had been charged before any court. The term court includes [50] quasi-judicial bodies like the Deportation Board of the Bureau of Immigration. It is significant to note vis--vis the foregoing disquisitions that in it Decision dated May 4, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 53425, the Court of Appeals faulted respondent judge with grave abuse of discretion and gross ignorance of the law in issuing the June 24, 1999 Order on similar grounds. In castigating respondent judge, the appellate court minced no words: When the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic and elemental a rule, a law or a principle in the discharge of his duties, a judge is either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and title he holds or is too vicious that the oversight or omission was [52] deliberately done in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority xxx Thus, when the law transgressed is elementary the failure [53] to know to observe it, constitute gross ignorance of the law. To be able to render substantial justice and to maintain public confidence in the legal system, judges are expected to keep abreast of all laws and prevailing jurisprudence, consistent with the standard that [54] magistrates must be the embodiments of competence, integrity and independence. Lastly, it appears from the record that respondent judges malfeasance is not merely confined to the abuse of his judicial prerogatives and ignorance of basic legal precepts but also to the predilection of making false representations to suit his ends. Nowhere is this propensity more evident in this case than in the attendant circumstances upon which he based the Order dated [55] June 28, 1999 denying the complainants Notice of Appeal. A circumspect scrutiny of the said order reveals in its first paragraph that it refers to respondents Notice of Appeal dated June 16, 1999 to which petitioner filed a Comment/Opposition to Notice of Appeal on [56] [57] June 29, 1999. A careful examination of the Comment/Opposition itself discloses that the pleading was filed on June 29, 1999. No satisfactory explanation has been given for this judicial aberration. Needless to state, the allusion contained in an order to a pleading filed after its issuance can lead to no other conclusion than that the said order was antedated and, thus, falsified in the absence of any explanation to shed light on the discrepancy. The foregoing act not only seriously undermines and adversely reflects on the honesty and integrity of respondent judge as an officer of the court; it also betrays a character flaw which speaks ill of his person. Suffice it to state in this regard that [M]aking false representations is a vice which no judge should imbibe. As the judge is the visible representation of the law, and more importantly [58] justice, he must therefore, be the first to abide by the law and weave an example for the others to follow. A verification with the OCA discloses that aside from the instant complaint, respondent judge has other pending administrative complaints filed against him for the same or similar offenses. In A.M. No. RTJ-99-845, respondent judge stands charged with Serious Misconduct Re: JDRC Case No. 2913, while in A.M. No. RTJ-00-972 he stands indicted for Gross Ignorance of the Law, Bias, Abuse of Authority and Malicious Intent to Hinder and Frustrate the Administration of Justice by Interfering with Orders and Processes of a Coequal Court. Needless to state, these circumstances only further erode the peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary for it is the
[51] [44]

duty of all members of the bench to avoid any impression of impropriety to protect the image and integrity of the judiciary which in [59] recent times has been the object of criticism and controversy. Taking into account the prevailing circumstances of this case, the Court believes that in lieu of the fine recommended by the investigating Justice, a three (3) month suspension without pay would be a more appropriate penalty. WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Rodolfo R. Bonifacio is SUSPENDED from the service for three (3) months, without pay, effective upon his receipt of this Resolution, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED.

POLLUTION ADJUDICATION BOARD, petitioner vs. COURT OF APPEALS and SOLAR TEXTILE FINISHING CORPORATION, respondents. Oscar A. Pascua and Charemon Clio L. Borre for petitioner. Leonardo A. Aurelio for respondent Solar Textile Finishing Corp.

RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:p Petitioner Pollution Adjudication Board ("Board") asks us to review the Decision and Resolution promulgated on 7 February 1990 and 10 May 1990, respectively, by the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G R. No. SP 18821 entitled "Solar Textile Finishing Corporation v. Pollution Adjudication Board." In that Decision and Resolution, the Court of Appeals reversed an order of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 77, in Civil Case No. Q-89-2287 dismissing private respondent Solar Textile Finishing Corporation's ("Solar") petition for certiorari and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. On 22 September 1988, petitioner Board issued an ex parte Order directing Solar immediately to cease and desist from utilizing its wastewater pollution source installations which were discharging untreated wastewater directly into a canal leading to the adjacent Tullahan-Tinejeros River. The Order signed by Hon. Fulgencio Factoran, Jr., as Board Chairman, reads in full as follows: Respondent, Solar Textile Finishing Corporation with plant and place of business at 999 General Pascual Avenue, Malabon, Metro Manila is involved in bleaching, rinsing and dyeing textiles with wastewater of about 30 gpm. being directly discharged untreated into the sewer. Based on findings in the Inspections conducted on 05 November 1986 and 15 November 1986, the volume of untreated wastewater discharged in the final out fall outside of the plant's compound was even greater. The result of inspection conducted on 06 September 1988 showed that respondent's Wastewater Treatment Plant was noted unoperational and the combined wastewater generated from its operation was about 30 gallons per minute and 80% of the wastewater was being directly discharged into a drainage canal leading to the Tullahan-Tinejeros River by means of a by-pass and the remaining 20% was channelled into the plant's existing Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP). Result of the analyses of the sample taken from the by-pass showed that the wastewater is highly pollutive in terms of Color units, BOD and Suspended Solids, among others. These acts of respondent in spite of directives to comply with the requirements are clearly in violation of Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 984 and Section 103 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations and the 1982 Effluent Regulations. WHEREFORE, pursuant to Section 7 of P.D. 984 and Section 38 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations, respondent is hereby ordered to cease and desist from utilizing its wastewater pollution source installation and discharging its untreated wastewater directly into the canal leading to the Tullahan-Tinejeros River effective immediately upon receipt hereof and until such time when it has fully complied with all the requirements and until further orders from this Board. SO ORDERED.
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We note that the above Order was based on findings of several inspections of Solar's plant: a. inspections conducted on 5 November 1986 and 12 November 1986 by the National Pollution Control Commission 2 ("NPCC"), the predecessor of the Board ; and b. the inspection conducted on 6 September 1988 by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ("DENR"). The findings of these two (2) inspections were that Solar's wastewater treatment plant was non-operational and that its plant generated about 30 gallons per minute of wastewater, 80% of which was being directly discharged into a drainage canal leading to the TullahanTinejeros River. The remaining 20% of the wastewater was being channeled through Solar's non-operational wastewater treatment plant. Chemical analysis of samples of Solar's effluents showed the presence of pollutants on a level in excess of what was permissible under P.D. No. 984 and its Implementing Regulations. A copy of the above Order was received by Solar on 26 September 1988. A Writ of Execution issued by the Board was received by Solar on 31 March 1989. Meantime, Solar filed a motion for reconsideration/appeal with prayer for stay of execution of the Order dated 22 September 1988. Acting on this motion, the Board issued an Order dated 24 April 1989 allowing Solar to operate temporarily, to enable the Board to conduct another inspection and evaluation of Solar's wastewater treatment facilities. In the same Order, the Board directed the Regional Executive Director of the DENR/ NCR to conduct the inspection and evaluation within thirty (30) days. On 21 April 1989, however, Solar went to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 77, on petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction against the Board, the petition being docketed as Civil Case No. Q-89-2287. On 21 July 1989, the Regional Trial Court dismissed Solar's petition upon two (2) grounds, i.e., that appeal and not certiorari from the questioned Order of the Board as well as the Writ of Execution was the proper remedy, and that the Board's subsequent Order allowing Solar to operate temporarily had rendered Solar's petition moot and academic. Dissatisfied, Solar went on appeal to the Court of Appeals which, in the Decision here assailed, reversed the Order of dismissal of the trial court and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings. In addition, the Court of Appeals declared the Writ of Execution null and void. At the same time, the Court of Appeals said in the dispositive portion of its Decision that: . . .. Still and all, this decision is without prejudice to whatever action the appellee [Board] may take relative to the 3 projected 'inspection and evaluation' of appellant's [Solar's] water treatment facilities. The Court of Appeals, in so ruling, held that certiorari was a proper remedy since the Orders of petitioner Board may result in great and irreparable injury to Solar; and that while the case might be moot and academic, "larger issues" demanded that the question of due process be settled. Petitioner Board moved for reconsideration, without success. The Board is now before us on a Petition for Review basically arguing that: 1. its ex parte Order dated 22 September 1988 and the Writ of Execution were issued in accordance with law and were not violative of the requirements of due process; and 2. the ex parte Order and the Writ of Execution are not the proper subjects of a petition for certiorari. The only issue before us at this time is whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court on the ground that Solar had been denied due process by the Board. Petitioner Board claims that under P.D. No. 984, Section 7(a), it has legal authority to issue ex parte orders to suspend the operations of an establishment when there is prima facie evidence that such establishment is discharging effluents or wastewater, the pollution level of which exceeds the maximum permissible standards set by the NPCC (now, the Board). Petitioner Board contends that the reports before it concerning the effluent discharges of Solar into the Tullahan-Tinejeros River provided prima facie evidence of violation by Solar of Section 5 of the 1982 Effluent Code. Solar, on the other hand, contends that under the Board's own rules and regulations, an ex parte order may issue only if the effluents discharged pose an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal and plant life." In the instant case, according to Solar, the inspection reports before the Board made no finding that Solar's wastewater discharged posed such a threat. The Court is not persuaded by Solar's contention. Section 7(a) of P.D. No. 984 authorized petitioner Board to issue ex parte cease and desist orders under the following circumstances:

P.D. 984, Section 7, paragraph (a), provides: (a) Public Hearing. . . . Provided, That whenever the Commission finds prima facie evidence that the discharged sewage or wastes are of immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life, or exceeds the allowable standards set by the Commission, the Commissioner may issue an ex-parte order directing the discontinuance of the same or the temporary suspension or cessation of operation of the establishment or person generating such sewage or wastes without the necessity of a prior public hearing. The said ex-parte order shall be immediately executory and shall remain in force until said establishment or person prevents or abates the said pollution within the allowable standards or modified or nullified by a competent court. (Emphasis supplied) We note that under the above-quoted portion of Section 7(a) of P.D. No. 984, an ex parte cease and desist order may be issued by the Board (a) whenever the wastes discharged by an establishment pose an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life," or (b) whenever such discharges or wastes exceed "the allowable standards set by the [NPCC]." On the one hand, it is not essential that the Board prove that an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life" exists before an ex parte cease and desist order may be issued. It is enough if the Board finds that the wastes discharged do exceed "the allowable standards set by the [NPCC]." In respect of discharges of wastes as to which allowable standards have been set by the Commission, the Board may issue an ex parte cease and desist order when there is prima facieevidence of an establishment exceeding such allowable standards. Where, however, the effluents or discharges have not yet been the subject matter of allowable standards set by the Commission, then the Board may act on anex parte basis when it finds at least prima facie proof that the wastewater or material involved presents an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare or to animal or plant life." Since the applicable standards set by the Commission existing at any given time may well not cover every possible or imaginable kind of effluent or waste discharge, the general standard of an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal and plant life" remains necessary. Upon the other hand, the Court must assume that the extant allowable standards have been set by the Commission or Board precisely in order to avoid or neutralize an "immediate threat to life, public health, safety or welfare, or to animal or plant life.'' Section 5 of the Effluent Regulations of 1982 sets out the maximum permissible levels of physical and chemical substances which effluents from domestic wastewater treatment plants and industrial plants" must not exceed "when discharged into bodies of water classified as Class A, B, C, D, SB and SC in accordance with the 1978 NPCC Rules and Regulations." The waters of Tullahan5 Tinejeros River are classified as inland waters Class D under Section 68 of the 1978 NPCC Rules and Regulations which in part provides that: Sec. 68. Water Usage and Classification. The quality of Philippine waters shall be maintained in a safe and satisfactory condition according to their best usages. For this purpose, all water shall be classified according to the following beneficial usages: (a) Fresh Surface Water Classification Best usage xxx xxx xxx Class D For agriculture, irrigation, livestock watering and industrial cooling and processing. xxx xxx xxx (Emphases supplied) The reports on the inspections carried on Solar's wastewater treatment facilities on 5 and 12 November 1986 and 6 September 1988 set forth the following Identical finding: a. For legal action in [view of] implementing rules and regulations of P.D. No. 984 and Section 5 of the Effluent 6 Regulations of 1982. Placing the maximum allowable standards set in Section 5 of the Effluent Regulations of 1982 alongside the findings of the November 1986 and September 1988 inspection reports, we get the following results:
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"Inland November September Waters 1986 1988 9 (Class C & D 7 Report 8 Report Station 1 Station 1 a) Color in 100 a) Color units 250 125 platinum (Apparent cobalt Color) b) pH 6-8.5 b) pH 9.3 8.7 c) Tempera- 40 c) Temperature ture in C (C) d) Phenols in 0.1 d) Phenols in mg./1. mg.1 e) Suspended 75 e) Suspended 340 80 solids in solids in mg./1. mg./1. f) BOD in 80 f) BOD (5-day) 1,100 152 mg./1. mg./1 g) oil/Grease 10 g) Oil/Grease h) Detergents 5 h) Detergents 2.93 in mg./1/" mg./1. MBAS i) Dissolved 0 oxygen, mg./1. j) Settleable 0.4 1.5 Matter, mg./1. k) Total Dis 800 610 solved Solids mg./1. l) Total Solids 1,400 690 mg./1. m) Turbidity NTU / ppm, SiO 70
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The November 1986 inspections report concluded that: Records of the Commission show that the plant under its previous owner, Fine Touch Finishing Corporation, was issued a Notice of Violation on 20 December 1985 directing same to cease and desist from conducting dyeing operation until such time the waste treatment plant is already completed and operational. The new owner Solar Textile Corporation informed the Commission of the plant acquisition thru its letter dated March 1986 (sic). The new owner was summoned to a hearing held on 13 October 1986 based on the adverse findings during the inspection/water sampling test conducted on 08 August 1986. As per instruction of the Legal Division a reinspection/sampling text should be conducted first before an appropriate legal action is instituted; hence, this inspection. Based on the above findings, it is clear that the new owner continuously violates the directive of the Commission by undertaking dyeing operation without completing first and operating its existing WTP. The analysis of results on water samples taken showed that the untreated wastewater from the firm pollutes our water resources. In this connection, it 10 is recommended that appropriate legal action be instituted immediately against the firm. . . . The September 1988 inspection report's conclusions were: 1. The plant was undertaking dyeing, bleaching and rinsing operations during the inspection. The combined wastewater generated from the said operations was estimated at about 30 gallons per minute. About 80% of the wastewater was traced directly discharged into a drainage canal leading to the Tullahan-Tinejeros river by means of a bypass. The remaining 20% was channeled into the plant's existing wastewater treatment plant (WTP). 2. The WTP was noted not yet fully operational- some accessories were not yet installed. Only the sump pit and the holding/collecting tank are functional but appeared seldom used. The wastewater mentioned channeled was noted held indefinitely into the collection tank for primary treatment. There was no effluent discharge [from such collection tank]. 3. A sample from the bypass wastewater was collected for laboratory analyses. Result of the analyses show that the bypass wastewater is polluted in terms of color units, BOD and suspended solids, among others. (Please see 11 attached laboratory resul .) From the foregoing reports, it is clear to this Court that there was at least prima facie evidence before the Board that the effluents emanating from Solar's plant exceeded the maximum allowable levels of physical and chemical substances set by the NPCC and that accordingly there was adequate basis supporting the ex parte cease and desist order issued by the Board. It is also well to note that the previous owner of the plant facility Fine Touch Finishing Corporation had been issued a Notice of Violation on 20 December 1985 directing it to cease and refrain from carrying out dyeing operations until the water treatment plant was completed and operational. Solar, the new owner, informed the NPCC of the acquisition of the plant on March 1986. Solar was summoned by the NPCC to a hearing on 13 October 1986 based on the results of the sampling test conducted by the NPCC on 8 August 1986. Petitioner Board refrained from issuing an ex parte cease and desist order until after the November 1986 and September 1988 re-inspections were conducted and the violation of applicable standards was confirmed. In other words, petitioner Board appears to have been remarkably forbearing in its efforts to enforce the applicable standards vis-a-vis Solar. Solar, on the other hand, seemed very casual about its continued discharge of untreated, pollutive effluents into the Tullahan- Tinerejos River, presumably loath to spend the money necessary to put its Wastewater Treatment Plant ("WTP") in an operating condition. In this connection, we note that in Technology Developers, Inc. v. Court of appeals, et al., the Court very recently upheld the summary closure ordered by the Acting Mayor of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, of a pollution-causing establishment, after finding that the records showed that: 1. No mayor's permit had been secured. While it is true that the matter of determining whether there is a pollution of the environment that requires control if not prohibition of the operation of a business is essentially addressed to the then National Pollution Control Commission of the Ministry of Human Settlements, now the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, it must be recognized that the mayor of a town has as much responsibility to protect its inhabitants from pollution, and by virtue of his police power, he may deny the application for a permit to operate a business or otherwise close the same unless appropriate measures are taken to control and/or avoid injury to the health of the residents of the community from the emission in the operation of the business. 2. The Acting Mayor, in a letter of February l6, 1989, called the attention of petitioner to the pollution emitted by the fumes of its plant whose offensive odor "not only pollute the air in the locality but also affect the health of the residents in the area," so that petitioner was ordered to stop its operation until further orders and it was required to bring the following: xxx xxx xxx
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(3) Region III-Department of Environment and Natural Resources Anti-Pollution permit. (Annex A-2, petition) 3. This action of the Acting Mayor was in response to the complaint of the residents of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, directed to the Provincial Governor through channels (Annex A-B, petition).. . . 4. The closure order of the Acting Mayor was issued only after an investigation was made by Marivic Guina who in her report of December 8, 1988 observed that the fumes emitted by the plant of petitioner goes directly to the surrounding houses and that no proper air pollution device has been installed. (Annex A-9, petition) xxx xxx xxx 6. While petitioner was able to present a temporary permit to operate by the then National Pollution Control Commission on December 15,1987, the permit was good only up to May 25,1988 (Annex A-12, petition). Petitioner had not exerted any effort to extend or validate its permit much less to install any device to control the pollution and prevent any hazard to the health of the residents of the community." In the instant case, the ex parte cease and desist Order was issued not by a local government official but by the Pollution Adjudication Board, the very agency of the Government charged with the task of determining whether the effluents of a particular industrial establishment comply with or violate applicable anti-pollution statutory and regulatory provisions. Ex parte cease and desist orders are permitted by law and regulations in situations like that here presented precisely because stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including multiple and sequential appeals such as those which Solar has taken, which of course may take several years. The relevant pollution control statute and implementing regulations were enacted and promulgated in the exercise of that pervasive, sovereign power to protect the safety, health, and general welfare and comfort of the public, as well as the protection of plant and animal life, commonly designated as the police power. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests like those here involved, through the exercise of police power. The Board's ex parte Order and Writ of Execution would, of course, have compelled Solar temporarily to stop its plant operations, a state of affairs Solar could in any case have avoided by simply absorbing the bother and burden of putting its WTP on an operational basis. Industrial establishments are not constitutionally entitled to reduce their capitals costs and operating expenses and to increase their profits by imposing upon the public threats and risks to its safety, health, general welfare and comfort, by disregarding the requirements of anti- pollution statutes and their implementing regulations. It should perhaps be made clear the Court is not here saying that the correctness of the ex parte Order and Writ of Execution may not be contested by Solar in a hearing before the Board itself. Where the establishment affected by an ex parte cease and desist order contests the correctness of the prima facie findings of the Board, the Board must hold a public hearing where such establishment would have an opportunity to controvert the basis of such ex parte order. That such an opportunity is subsequently available is really all that is required by the due process clause of the Constitution in situations like that we have here. The Board's decision rendered after the public hearing may then be tested judicially by an appeal to the Court of Appeals in accordance with Section 7(c) of P.D. No. 984 and Section 42 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations. A subsequent public hearing is precisely what Solar should have sought instead of going to court to seek nullification of the Board's Order and Writ of Execution and instead of appealing to the Court of Appeals. It will be recalled the at the Board in fact gave Solar authority temporarily to continue operations until still another inspection of its wastewater treatment facilities and then another analysis of effluent samples could be taken and evaluated. Solar claims finally that the petition for certiorari was the proper remedy as the questioned Order and Writ of Execution issued by the Board were patent nullities. Since we have concluded that the Order and Writ of Execution were entirely within the lawful authority of petitioner Board, the trial court did not err when it dismissed Solar's petition for certiorari. It follows that the proper remedy was an appeal from the trial court to the Court of Appeals, as Solar did in fact appeal. ACCORDINGLY, the Petition for Review is given DUE COURSE and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 7 February 1990 and its Resolution dated 10 May 1990 in A.C.-G.R. No. SP 18821 are hereby SET ASIDE. The Order of petitioner Board dated 22 September 1988 and the Writ of Execution, as well as the decision of the trial court dated 21 July 1989, are hereby REINSTATED, without prejudice to the right of Solar to contest the correctness of the basis of the Board's Order and Writ of Execution at a public hearing before the Board.