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ANTONIO A. MECANO vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, G.R. No. 103982 December 11, 1992 Antonio A. Mecano, through a petition for certiorari, seeks to nullify the decision of the Commission on Audit (COA, for brevity) embodied in its 7th Indorsement, dated January 16, 1992, denying his claim for reimbursement under Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code (RAC), as amended, in the total amount of P40,831.00. Petitioner is a Director II of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). He was hospitalized for cholecystitis from March 26, 1990 to April 7, 1990, on account of which he incurred medical and hospitalization expenses, the total amount of which he is claiming from the COA. On May 11, 1990, in a memorandum to the NBI Director, Alfredo S. Lim (Director Lim, for brevity), he requested reimbursement for his expenses on the ground that he is entitled to the benefits under Section 699 1 of the RAC, the pertinent provisions of which read: Sec. 699. Allowances in case of injury, death, or sickness incurred in performance of duty. When a person in the service of the national government of a province, city, municipality or municipal district is so injured in the performance of duty as thereby to receive some actual physical hurt or wound, the proper Head of Department may direct that absence during any period of disability thereby occasioned shall be on full pay, though not more than six months, and in such case he may in his discretion also authorize the payment of the medical attendance, necessary transportation, subsistence and hospital fees of the injured person. Absence in the case contemplated shall be charged first against vacation leave, if any there be. xxx xxx xxx In case of sickness caused by or connected directly with the performance of some act in the line of duty, the Department head may in his discretion authorize the payment of the necessary hospital fees. Director Lim then forwarded petitioner's claim, in a 1st Indorsement dated June 22, 1990, to the Secretary of Justice, along with the comment, bearing the same date, of Gerarda Galang, Chief, LED of the NBI, "recommending favorable action thereof". Finding petitioner's illness to be service-connected, the Committee on Physical Examination of the Department of Justice favorably recommended the payment of petitioner's claim. However, then Undersecretary of Justice Silvestre H. Bello III, in a 4th Indorsement dated November 21, 1990, returned petitioner's claim to Director Lim, having considered the statements of the Chairman of the COA in its 5th Indorsement dated 19 September 1990, to the effect that the RAC being relied upon was repealed by the Administrative Code of 1987. Petitioner then re-submitted his claim to Director Lim, with a copy of Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 2 dated April 26, 1991 of then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon (Secretary Drilon, for brevity) stating that "the issuance of the Administrative Code did not operate to repeal or abregate in its entirety the Revised Administrative Code, including the particular Section 699 of the latter". On May 10, 1991, Director Lim, under a 5th Indorsement transmitted anew Mecano's claim to then Undersecretary Bello for favorable consideration. Under a 6th Indorsement, dated July 2, 1991, Secretary Drilon forwarded petitioner's claim to the COA Chairman, recommending payment of the same. COA Chairman Eufemio C. Domingo, in his 7th Indorsement of January 16, 1992, however, denied petitioner's claim on the ground that Section 699 of the RAC had been repealed by the Administrative Code of 1987, solely for the reason that the same section was not restated nor re-enacted in the Administrative Code of 1987. He commented, however, that the claim may be filed with the Employees' Compensation Commission, considering that the illness of Director Mecano occurred after the effectivity of the Administrative Code of 1987. Eventually, petitioner's claim was returned by Undersecretary of Justice Eduardo Montenegro to Director Lim under a 9th Indorsement dated February 7, 1992, with the advice that petitioner "elevate the matter to the Supreme Court if he so desires". On the sole issue of whether or not the Administrative Code of 1987 repealed or abrogated Section 699 of the RAC, this petition was brought for the consideration of this Court. Petitioner anchors his claim on Section 699 of the RAC, as amended, and on the aforementioned Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 of Secretary Drilon. He further maintains that in the event that a claim is filed with the Employees' Compensation Commission, as suggested by respondent, he would still not be barred from filing a claim under the subject section. Thus, the resolution of whether or not there was a repeal of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 would decide the fate of petitioner's claim for reimbursement.

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The COA, on the other hand, strongly maintains that the enactment of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Exec. Order No. 292) operated to revoke or supplant in its entirety the Revised Administrative Code of 1917. The COA claims that from the "whereas" clauses of the new Administrative Code, it can be gleaned that it was the intent of the legislature to repeal the old Code. Moreover, the COA questions the applicability of the aforesaid opinion of the Secretary of Justice in deciding the matter. Lastly, the COA contends that employment-related sickness, injury or death is adequately covered by the Employees' Compensation Program under P.D. 626, such that to allow simultaneous recovery of benefits under both laws on account of the same contingency would be unfair and unjust to the Government. The question of whether a particular law has been repealed or not by a subsequent law is a matter of legislative intent. The lawmakers may expressly repeal a law by incorporating therein a repealing provision which expressly and specifically cites the particular law or laws, and portions thereof, that are intended to be repealed. 3 A declaration in a statute, usually in its repealing clause, that a particular and specific law, identified by its number or title, is repealed is an express repeal; all others are implied repeals. 4 In the case of the two Administrative Codes in question, the ascertainment of whether or not it was the intent of the legislature to supplant the old Code with the new Code partly depends on the scrutiny of the repealing clause of the new Code. This provision is found in Section 27, Book VII (Final Provisions) of the Administrative Code of 1987 which reads: Sec. 27. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, or portions thereof, inconsistent with this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. The question that should be asked is: What is the nature of this repealing clause? It is certainly not an express repealing clause because it fails to identify or designate the act or acts that are intended to be repealed. 5 Rather, it is an example of a general repealing provision, as stated in Opinion No. 73, S. 1991. It is a clause which predicates the intended repeal under the condition that substantial conflict must be found in existing and prior acts. The failure to add a specific repealing clause indicates that the intent was not to repeal any existing law, unless an irreconcilable inconcistency and repugnancy exist in the terms of the new and old laws. 6 This latter situation falls under the category of an implied repeal. Repeal by implication proceeds on the premise that where a statute of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that intention must be given effect. 7 Hence, before there can be a repeal, there must be a clear showing on the part of the lawmaker that the intent in enacting the new law was to abrogate the old one. The intention to repeal must be clear and manifest; 8 otherwise, at least, as a general rule, the later act is to be construed as a continuation of, and not a substitute for, the first act and will continue so far as the two acts are the same from the time of the first enactment. 9 There are two categories of repeal by implication. The first is where provisions in the two acts on the same subject matter are in an irreconcilable conflict, the later act to the extent of the conflict constitutes an implied repeal of the earlier one. The second is if the later act covers the whole subject of the earlier one and is clearly intended as a substitute, it will operate to repeal the earlier law. 10 Implied repeal by irreconcilable inconsistency takes place when the two statutes cover the same subject matter; they are so clearly inconsistent and incompatible with each other that they cannot be reconciled or harmonized; and both cannot be given effect, that is, that one law cannot be enforced without nullifying the other. 11 Comparing the two Codes, it is apparent that the new Code does not cover nor attempt to cover the entire subject matter of the old Code. There are several matters treated in the old Code which are not found in the new Code, such as the provisions on notaries public, the leave law, the public bonding law, military reservations, claims for sickness benefits under Section 699, and still others. Moreover, the COA failed to demonstrate that the provisions of the two Codes on the matter of the subject claim are in an irreconcilable conflict. In fact, there can be no such conflict because the provision on sickness benefits of the nature being claimed by petitioner has not been restated in the Administrative Code of 1987. However, the COA would have Us consider that the fact that Section 699 was not restated in the Administrative Code of 1987 meant that the same section had been repealed. It further maintained that to allow the particular provisions not restated in the new Code to continue in force argues against the Code itself. The COA anchored this argument on the whereas clause of the 1987 Code, which states: WHEREAS, the effectiveness of the Government will be enhanced by a new Administrative Code which incorporate in a unified document the major structural, functional and procedural principles and rules of governance; and xxx xxx xxx

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It argues, in effect, that what is contemplated is only one Code the Administrative Code of 1987. This contention is untenable. The fact that a later enactment may relate to the same subject matter as that of an earlier statute is not of itself sufficient to cause an implied repeal of the prior act, since the new statute may merely be cumulative or a continuation of the old one. 12 What is necessary is a manifest indication of legislative purpose to repeal. 13 We come now to the second category of repeal the enactment of a statute revising or codifying the former laws on the whole subject matter. This is only possible if the revised statute or code was intended to cover the whole subject to be a complete and perfect system in itself. It is the rule that a subsequent statute is deemed to repeal a prior law if the former revises the whole subject matter of the former statute. 14 When both intent and scope clearly evidence the idea of a repeal, then all parts and provisions of the prior act that are omitted from the revised act are deemed repealed. 15 Furthermore, before there can be an implied repeal under this category, it must be the clear intent of the legislature that the later act be the substitute to the prior act. 16 According to Opinion No. 73, S. 1991 of the Secretary of Justice, what appears clear is the intent to cover only those aspects of government that pertain to administration, organization and procedure, understandably because of the many changes that transpired in the government structure since the enactment of the RAC decades of years ago. The COA challenges the weight that this opinion carries in the determination of this controversy inasmuch as the body which had been entrusted with the implementation of this particular provision has already rendered its decision. The COA relied on the rule in administrative law enunciated in the case of Sison vs.Pangramuyen 17 that in the absence of palpable error or grave abuse of discretion, the Court would be loathe to substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency entrusted with the enforcement and implementation of the law. This will not hold water. This principle is subject to limitations. Administrative decisions may be reviewed by the courts upon a showing that the decision is vitiated by fraud, imposition or mistake. 18 It has been held that Opinions of the Secretary and Undersecretary of Justice are material in the construction of statutes in pari materia. 19 Lastly, it is a well-settled rule of statutory construction that repeals of statutes by implication are not favored. 20The presumption is against inconsistency and repugnancy for the legislature is presumed to know the existing laws on the subject and not to have enacted inconsistent or conflicting statutes. 21 This Court, in a case, explains the principle in detail as follows: "Repeals by implication are not favored, and will not be decreed unless it is manifest that the legislature so intended. As laws are presumed to be passed with deliberation with full knowledge of all existing ones on the subject, it is but reasonable to conclude that in passing a statute it was not intended to interfere with or abrogate any former law relating to some matter, unless the repugnancy between the two is not only irreconcilable, but also clear and convincing, and flowing necessarily from the language used, unless the later act fully embraces the subject matter of the earlier, or unless the reason for the earlier act is beyond peradventure renewed. Hence, every effort must be used to make all acts stand and if, by any reasonable construction, they can be reconciled, the later act will not operate as a repeal of the earlier. 22 Regarding respondent's contention that recovery under this subject section shall bar the recovery of benefits under the Employees' Compensation Program, the same cannot be upheld. The second sentence of Article 173, Chapter II, Title II (dealing on Employees' Compensation and State Insurance Fund), Book IV of the Labor Code, as amended by P.D. 1921, expressly provides that "the payment of compensation under this Title shall not bar the recovery of benefits as provided for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code . . . whose benefits are administered by the system (meaning SSS or GSIS) or by other agencies of the government." WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to GRANT the petition; respondent is hereby ordered to give due course to petitioner's claim for benefits. No costs. PRIMITIVO LEVERIZA, FE LEVERIZA, PARUNGAO & ANTONIO C. VASCO vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, MOBIL OIL PHILIPPINES & CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, G.R. No. L-66614 January 25, 1988 This is a Petition for Review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court, Third Division * dated February 29, 1984 in AC-G.R. No. CV No. 61705 entitled Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc., plaintiff-appellee vs. Primitivo Leveriza Parungao, Antonio C. Vasco and Civil Aeronautics Administration, defendants-appellants; Primitive Leveriza, Fe Leveriza Parungao and Antonio C. Leveriza, cross-defendant, affirming in totothe decision of the trial court dated April 6, 1976. As found by the trial court and adopted by the Intermediate Appellate Court, the facts of this case are as follows: Around three contracts of lease resolve the basic issues in the instant case. These three contracts are as follows:

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First Contract. For purposes of easy reference and brevity, this contract shall be referred to hereinafter as Contract A. This is a "CONTRACT OF LEASE", executed between the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by Defendant CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, as lessor, and ROSARIO C. LEVERIZA, as lessee, on April 2, 1965, over a certain parcel of land at the MIA area, consisting of approximately 4,502 square meters, at a monthly rental of P450.20, for a period of 25 years, (Exhibit "A", Exhibit "I-Leverizas", Exhibit "I-CAA"). Second Contracts. For purposes of easy references and brevity, this contract shall be referred to hereinafter as Contract B. This is a "LEASE AGREEMENT", executed between ROSARIO C. LEVERIZA, as lessor, and Plaintiff MOBIL OIL PHILIPPINES, INC., as lessee on May 21, 1965, over 3,000 square meters of that SAME Parcel of land subject of Contract A above mentioned, at a monthly rental of P1,500.00, for a period of 25 years (Exhibit 'B', Exhibit 4-Leverizas' ). Third Contract. For purposes of easy reference and brevity, this contract shall be referred to hereinafter as Contract C. This is a "LEASE AGREEMENT", executed between Defendant CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, as lessor, and plaintiff MOBIL OIL PHILIPPINES, INC., as lessee, on June 1, 1968 over that SAME parcel of land (Lot A, on plan being a portion of Parcel, Psu 2031), containing an area of 3,000 square meters more or less, at a monthly rental of P.25 per square meter for the second 200 square meters, and P.20 per square meter for the rest, for a period of 29 (sic) years. (Exhibit "C"). There is no dispute among the parties that the subject matter of the three contracts of lease above mentioned, Contract A, Contract B, and Contract C, is the same parcel of land, with the noted difference that while in Contract A, the area leased is 4,502 square meters, in Contract B and Contract C, the area has been reduced to 3,000 square meters. To summarize: Contract A a lease contract of April 2, 1965 between the Republic of the Philippines, represented by Defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration and Rosario C. Leveriza over a parcel of land containing an area of 4,502 square meters, for 25 years. Contract B a lease contract (in effect a sublease) of May 21, 1965 between defendant Rosario C. Leveriza and plaintiff Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc. over the same parcel of land, but reduced to 3,000 square meters for 25 years; and Contract C a lease contract of June 1, 1968 between defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration and plaintiff Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc., over the same parcel of land, but reduced to 3,000 square meters, for 25 years. It is important to note, for a clear understanding of the issues involved, that it appears that defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration as LESSOR, leased the same parcel of land, for durations of time that overlapped to two lessees, to wit: (1) Defendant Rosario C. Leveriza, and that plaintiff Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc., as LESSEE, leased the same parcel of land from two lessors, to wit: (1) defendant Rosario C. Leveriza and (2) defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration, Inc., for durations of time that also overlapped. For purposes of brevity defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration shall be referred to hereinafter as defendant CAA. Rosario C. Leveriza, the lessee in Contract A and the lessor in Contract B, is now deceased. This is the reason why her successor-in-interest, her heirs, are sued, namely: Defendants Primitive Leveriza, her second husband, (now also deceased), Fe Leveriza Parungao, her daughter by her second husband, and Antonio C. Vasco, her son by her first husband. For purposes of brevity, these defendants shall be referred to hereinafter as Defendants Leveriza. Plaintiff Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc., shall be referred to hereinafter simply as the Plaintiff. (pp. 95-99, Record on Appeal). Plaintiff in this case seeks the rescission or cancellation of Contract A and Contract B on the ground that Contract A from which Contract B is derived and depends has already been cancelled by the defendant Civil Aeronautics Administration and maintains that Contract C with the defendant CAA is the only valid and subsisting contract insofar as the parcel of land, subject to the present litigation is concerned. On the other hand, defendants Leverizas' claim that Contract A which is their contract with CAA has never been legally cancelled and still valid and subsisting; that it is Contract C between plaintiff and defendant CAA which should be declared void.

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Defendant CAA asserts that Exhibit "A" is still valid and subsisting because its cancellation by Guillermo Jurado was ineffective and asks the court to annul Contract A because of the violation committed by defendant Leveriza in leasing the parcel of land to plaintiff by virtue of Contract B without the consent of defendant CAA. Defendant CAA further asserts that Contract C not having been approved by the Director of Public Works and Communications is not valid. ... xxx xxx xxx After trial, the lower court render judgment on April 6, 1976 the dispositive part of which reads: WHEREFORE, after having thus considered the evidence of all the parties, testimonial and documentary, and their memoranda and reply-memoranda, this Court hereby renders judgment: 1. Declaring Contract A as having been validly cancelled on June 28, 1966, and has therefore ceased to have any effect as of that date; 2. Declaring that Contract B has likewise ceased to have any effect as of June 28, 1966 because of the cancellation of Contract A; 3. Declaring that Contract C was validly entered into on June 1, 1968, and that it is still valid and subsisting; 4. Ordering defendant CAA to refund to defendants Leverizas the amount of P32,189.30 with 6% per annum until fully paid; 5. Ordering defendants Leverizas to refund to plaintiff the amount of P48,000.00 with 6% interest per annum until fully paid; 6. Dismissing defendants Leverizas' four counterclaims against plaintiff; 7. Dismissing defendants Leverizas' cross-claim against defendant CAA; 8. Dismissing defendant CAA's counterclaim against plaintiff; 9. Dismissing defendant CAA's counterclaim against defendant Leverizas. No pronouncements as to costs. On June 2, 1976, defendant Leveriza filed a motion for new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence, lack of jurisdiction of the court over the case and lack of evidentiary support of the decision which was denied in the order of November 12,1976 (Rollo, p. 17). On July 27, 1976, the CAA filed a Motion for Reconsideration, averring that because the lot lease was properly registered in the name of the Republic of the Philippines, it was only the President of the Philippines or an officer duly designated by him who could execute the lease contract pursuant to Sec. 567 of the Revised Administrative Code; that the Airport General Manager has no authority to cancel Contract A, the contract entered into between the CAA and Leveriza, and that Contract C between the CAA and Mobil was void for not having been approved by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Said motion was however denied on November 12, 1976 (Rollo, p. 18). On appeal, the Intermediate Appellate Court, being in full accord with the trial court, rendered a decision on February 29, 1984, the dispositive part of which reads: WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision of the lower court dated April 6, 1976, the same is hereby affirmed in toto. Hence, this petition. The petitioners raised the following assignment of errors:

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THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION (CAA) HAD THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO LEASE, EVEN WITHOUT APPROVAL OF THE THEN SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS, REAL PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. II THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION HAD STATUTORY AUTHORITY, WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE THEN SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS, TO CANCEL A LEASE CONTRACT OVER REAL PROPERTY OWNED BY THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, WHICH CONTRACT WAS APPROVED, AS REQUIRED BY LAW, BY THE SECRETARY. III THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE CONTRACT OF SUBLEASE (CONTRACT B) ENTERED INTO BETWEEN PETITIONERS' PREDECESSOR-IN-INTEREST AND RESPONDENT MOBIL OIL PHILIPPINES, INC. WAS WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION. The petition is devoid of merit. There is no dispute that Contract "A" at the time of its execution was a valid contract. The issue therefore is whether or not said contract is still subsisting after its cancellation by CAA on the ground of a sublease executed by petitioners with Mobil Oil Philippines without the consent of CAA and the execution of another contract of lease between CAA and Mobil Oil Philippines (Contract "C"). Petitioners contend that Contract "A" is still subsisting because Contract "B" is a valid sublease and does not constitute a ground for the cancellation of Contract "A", while Contract "C", a subsequent lease agreement between CAA and Mobil Oil Philippines is null and void, for lack of approval by the Department Secretary. Petitioners anchor their position on Sections 567 and 568 of the Revised Administrative Code which require among others, that subject contracts should be executed by the President of the Philippines or by an officer duly designated by him, unless authority to execute the same is by law vested in some other officer (Petition, Rollo, pp. 15-16). At the other extreme, respondent Mobil Oil Philippines asserts that Contract "A" was validly cancelled on June 28, 1966 and so was Contract "B" which was derived therefrom. Accordingly, it maintains that Contract "C" is the only valid contract insofar as the parcel of land in question is concerned and that approval of the Department Head is not necessary under Section 32 (par. 24) of the Republic Act 776 which expressly vested authority to enter into such contracts in the Administrator of CAA (Comment; Rollo, p. 83). On its part, respondent Civil Aeronautics Administration took the middle ground with its view that Contract "A" is still subsisting as its cancellation is ineffective without the approval of the Department Head but said contract is not enforceable because of petitioners' violation of its terms and conditions by entering into Contract "B" of sublease without the consent of CAA. The CAA further asserts that Contract "C" not having been approved by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is not valid (Rollo, p. 43). However, in its comment filed with the Supreme Court, the CAA made a complete turnabout adopting the interpretation and ruling made by the trial court which was affirmed by the Intermediate Appellate Court (Court of Appeals), that the CAA Administrator has the power to execute the deed or contract of lease involving real properties under its administration belonging to the Republic of the Philippines without the approval of the Department Head as clearly provided in Section 32, paragraph (24) of Republic Act 776. The issue narrows down to whether or not there is a valid ground for the cancellation of Contract "A." Contract "A" was entered into by CAA as the lessor and the Leverizas as the lessee specifically "for the purpose of operating and managing a gasoline station by the latter, to serve vehicles going in and out of the airport." As regards prior consent of the lessor to the transfer of rights to the leased premises, the provision of paragraph 7 of said Contract reads in full:

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7. The Party of the Second part may transfer her rights to the leased premises but in such eventuality, the consent of the Party of the First Part shall first be secured. In any event, such transfer of rights shall have to respect the terms and conditions of this agreement. Paragraph 8 provides the sanction for the violation of the above-mentioned terms and conditions of the contract. Said paragraph reads: 8. Failure on the part of the Party of the Second Part to comply with the terms and conditions herein agreed upon shall be sufficient for revocation of this contract by the Party of the First Part without need of judicial demand. It is not disputed that the Leverizas (lessees) entered into a contract of sublease (Contract "B") with Mobil Oil Philippines without the consent of CAA (lessor). The cancellation of the contract was made in a letter dated June 28, 1966 of Guillermo P. Jurado, Airport General Manager of CAA addressed to Rosario Leveriza, as follows: (Letterhead) June 28, 1966 Mrs. Rosario Leveriza Manila International Airport Madam: It has been found out by the undersigned that you have sublet the property of the CAA leased to you and by virtue of this, your lease contract is hereby cancelled because of the violation of the stipulations of the contract. I would like to inform you that even without having sublet the said property the said contract would have been cancelled as per attached communication. Very truly yours, For the Director: (Sgd.) Illegible (Typed) GUILLERMO P. JURADO Airport General Manager Respondent Leverizas and the CAA assailed the validity of such cancellation, claiming that the Airport General Manager had no legal authority to make the cancellation. They maintain that it is only the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, acting for the President, or by delegation of power, the Director of Civil Aeronautics Administration who could validly cancel the contract. They do admit, however, and it is evident from the records that the Airport General Manager signed "For the Director." Under the circumstances, there is no question that such act enjoys the presumption of regularity, not to mention the unassailable fact that such act was subsequently affirmed or ratified by the Director of the CAA himself (Record on Appeal, pp. 108-110). Petitioners argue that cancelling or setting aside a contract approved by the Secretary is, in effect, repealing an act of the Secretary which is beyond the authority of the Administrator. Such argument is untenable. The terms and conditions under which such revocation or cancellation may be made, have already been specifically provided for in Contract "A" which has already been approved by the Department Head, It is evident that in the implementation of aforesaid contract, the approval of said Department Head is no longer necessary if not redundant. It is further contended that even granting that such cancellation was effective, a subsequent billing by the Accounting Department of the CAA has in effect waived or nullified the rescission of Contract "A." It will be recalled that the questioned cancellation of Contract "A" was among others, mainly based on the violation of its terms and conditions, specifically, the sublease of the property by the lessee without the consent of the lessor.

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The billing of the petitioners by the Accounting Department of the CAA if indeed it transpired, after the cancellation of Contract "A" is obviously an error. However, this Court has already ruled that the mistakes of government personnel should not affect public interest. In San Mauricio Mining Company v. Ancheta (105 SCRA 391, 422), it has been held that as a matter of law rooted in the protection of public interest, and also as a general policy to protect the government and the people, errors of government personnel in the performance of their duties should never deprive the people of the right to rectify such error and recover what might be lost or be bartered away in any actuation, deal or transaction concerned. In the case at bar, the lower court in its decision which has been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, ordered the CAA to refund to the petitioners the amount of rentals which was not due from them with 6% interest per annum until fully paid. Petitioners further assail the interpretation of Contract "A", claiming that Contract "B" was a mere sublease to respondent Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc. and requires no prior consent of CAA to perfect the same. Citing Article 1650 of the Civil Code, they assert that the prohibition to sublease must be expressed and cannot be merely implied or inferred (Rollo, p. 151). As correctly found by the Court of Appeals, petitioners in asserting the non- necessity for a prior consent interprets the first sentence of paragraph 7 of Contract "A" to refer to an assignment of lease under Article 1649 of the Civil Code and not to a mere sublease. A careful scrutiny of said paragraph of Contract "A" clearly shows that it speaks of transfer of rights of Rosario Leveriza to the leased premises and not to assignment of the lease (Rollo, pp. 48-49). Petitioners likewise argued that it was contemplated by the parties to Contract "A" that Mobil Oil Philippines would be the owner of the gasoline station it would construct on the leased premises during the period of the lease, hence, it is understood that it must be given a right to use and occupy the lot in question in the form of a sub-lease (Rollo, p. 152). In Contract "A", it was categorically stated that it is the lessee (petitioner) who will manage and operate the gasoline station. The fact that Mobil Oil was mentioned in that contract was clearly not intended to give approval to a sublease between petitioners and said company but rather to insure that in the arrangements to be made between them, it must be understood that after the expiration of the lease contract, whatever improvements have been constructed in the leased premises shall be relinquished to CAA. Thus, this Court held that "the primary and elementary rule of construction of documents is that when the words or language thereof is clear and plain or readily understandable by any ordinary reader thereof, there is absolutely no room for interpretation or construction anymore." (San Mauricio Mining Company v. Ancheta, supra). Finally, petitioners contend that the administrator of CAA cannot execute without approval of the Department Secretary, a valid contract of lease over real property owned by the Republic of the Philippines, citing Sections 567 and 568 of the Revised Administrative Code, which provide as follows: SEC. 567. Authority of the President of the Philippines to execute contracts relative to real property. When the Republic of the Philippines is party to a deed conveying the title to real property or is party to any lease or other contract relating to real property belonging to said government, said deed or contract shall be executed on behalf of said government by the President of the Philippines or by an officer duly designated by him, unless authority to execute the same is by law expressly vested in some other officer. (Emphasis supplied) SEC. 568. Authority of national officials to make contract. Written contracts not within the purview of the preceding section shall, in the absence of special provision, be executed, with the approval of the proper Department Head, by the Chief of the Bureau or Office having control of the appropriation against which the contract would create a charge; or if there is no such chief, by the proper Department Head himself or the President of the Philippines as the case may require. On the other hand, respondent CAA avers that the CAA Administrator has the authority to lease real property belonging to the Republic of the Philippines under its administration even without the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, which authority is expressly vested in it by law, more particularly Section 32 (24) of Republic Act 776, which reads: Sec. 32. Powers and Duties of the Administrator. Subject to the general control and supervision of the Department Head, the Administrator shall have, among others, the following powers and duties: xxx xxx xxx (24) To administer, operate, manage, control, maintain and develop the Manila International Airport and all government aerodromes except those controlled or operated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines including such power and duties as: ... (b) to enter into, make and execute contracts of any kind with any person, firm, or public or private corporation or entity; (c) to acquire, hold, purchase, or lease any personal or real property; right of ways, and easements which may be proper or necessary: Provided, that no real property thus acquired

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and any other real property of the Civil Aeronautics Administration shall be sold without the approval of the President of the Philippines. ... There is no dispute that the Revised Administrative Code is a general law while Republic Act 776 is a special law nor in the fact that the real property subject of the lease in Contract "C" is real property belonging to the Republic of the Philippines. Under 567 of the Revised Administrative Code, such contract of lease must be executed: (1) by the President of the Philippines, or (2) by an officer duly designated by him or (3) by an officer expressly vested by law. It is readily apparent that in the case at bar, the Civil Aeronautics Administration has the authority to enter into Contracts of Lease for the government under the third category. Thus, as correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the Civil Aeronautics Administration has the power to execute the deed or contract involving leases of real properties belonging to the Republic of the Philippines, not because it is an entity duly designated by the President but because the said authority to execute the same is, by law expressly vested in it. Under the above-cited Section 32 (par. 24) of Republic Act 776, the Administrator (Director) of the Civil Aeronautics Administration by reason of its creation and existence, administers properties belonging to the Republic of the Philippines and it is on these properties that the Administrator must exercise his vast power and discharge his duty to enter into, make and execute contract of any kind with any person, firm, or public or private corporation or entity and to acquire, hold, purchase, or lease any personal or real property, right of ways and easements which may be proper or necessary. The exception, however, is the sale of properties acquired by CAA or any other real properties of the same which must have the approval of the President of the Philippines. The Court of appeals took cognizance of the striking absence of such proviso in the other transactions contemplated in paragraph (24) and is convinced as we are, that the Director of the Civil Aeronautics Administration does not need the prior approval of the President or the Secretary of Public Works and Communications in the execution of Contract "C." In this regard, this Court, ruled that another basic principle of statutory construction mandates that general legislation must give way to special legislation on the same subject, and generally be so interpreted as to embrace only cases in which the special provisions are not applicable (Sto. Domingo v. De los Angeles, 96 SCRA 139),. that specific statute prevails over a general statute (De Jesus v. People, 120 SCRA 760) and that where two statutes are of equal theoretical application to a particular case, the one designed therefor specially should prevail (Wil Wilhensen, Inc. v. Baluyot, 83 SCRA 38) WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto. LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK vs. ASSOCIATION OF LUZON DEVELOPMENT BANK EMPLOYEES and ATTY. ESTER S. GARCIA in her capacity as VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR, G.R. No. 120319 October 6, 1995 From a submission agreement of the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) and the Association of Luzon Development Bank Employees (ALDBE) arose an arbitration case to resolve the following issue: Whether or not the company has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision and the Memorandum of Agreement dated April 1994, on promotion. At a conference, the parties agreed on the submission of their respective Position Papers on December 1-15, 1994. Atty. Ester S. Garcia, in her capacity as Voluntary Arbitrator, received ALDBE's Position Paper on January 18, 1995. LDB, on the other hand, failed to submit its Position Paper despite a letter from the Voluntary Arbitrator reminding them to do so. As of May 23, 1995 no Position Paper had been filed by LDB. On May 24, 1995, without LDB's Position Paper, the Voluntary Arbitrator rendered a decision disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, finding is hereby made that the Bank has not adhered to the Collective Bargaining Agreement provision nor the Memorandum of Agreement on promotion. Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition seeking to set aside the decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator and to prohibit her from enforcing the same. In labor law context, arbitration is the reference of a labor dispute to an impartial third person for determination on the basis of evidence and arguments presented by such parties who have bound themselves to accept the decision of the arbitrator as final and binding. Arbitration may be classified, on the basis of the obligation on which it is based, as either compulsory or voluntary.

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Compulsory arbitration is a system whereby the parties to a dispute are compelled by the government to forego their right to strike and are compelled to accept the resolution of their dispute through arbitration by a third party. 1The essence of arbitration remains since a resolution of a dispute is arrived at by resort to a disinterested third party whose decision is final and binding on the parties, but in compulsory arbitration, such a third party is normally appointed by the government. Under voluntary arbitration, on the other hand, referral of a dispute by the parties is made, pursuant to a voluntary arbitration clause in their collective agreement, to an impartial third person for a final and binding resolution. 2Ideally, arbitration awards are supposed to be complied with by both parties without delay, such that once an award has been rendered by an arbitrator, nothing is left to be done by both parties but to comply with the same. After all, they are presumed to have freely chosen arbitration as the mode of settlement for that particular dispute. Pursuant thereto, they have chosen a mutually acceptable arbitrator who shall hear and decide their case. Above all, they have mutually agreed to de bound by said arbitrator's decision. In the Philippine context, the parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are required to include therein provisions for a machinery for the resolution of grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the CBA or company personnel policies. 3 For this purpose, parties to a CBA shall name and designate therein a voluntary arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, or include a procedure for their selection, preferably from those accredited by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). Article 261 of the Labor Code accordingly provides for exclusive original jurisdiction of such voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators over (1) the interpretation or implementation of the CBA and (2) the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies. Article 262 authorizes them, but only upon agreement of the parties, to exercise jurisdiction over other labor disputes. On the other hand, a labor arbiter under Article 217 of the Labor Code has jurisdiction over the following enumerated cases: . . . (a) Except as otherwise provided under this Code the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural: 1. Unfair labor practice cases; 2. Termination disputes; 3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; 4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; 5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; 6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims, arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement. xxx xxx xxx It will thus be noted that the jurisdiction conferred by law on a voluntary arbitrator or a panel of such arbitrators is quite limited compared to the original jurisdiction of the labor arbiter and the appellate jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for that matter. 4 The state of our present law relating to voluntary arbitration provides that "(t)he award or decision of the Voluntary Arbitrator . . . shall be final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the copy of the award or decision by the parties," 5 while the "(d)ecision, awards, or orders of the Labor Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders." 6 Hence, while there is an express mode of appeal from the decision of a labor arbiter, Republic Act No. 6715 is silent with respect to an appeal from the decision of a voluntary arbitrator. Yet, past practice shows that a decision or award of a voluntary arbitrator is, more often than not, elevated to the Supreme Court itself on a petition for certiorari, 7 in effect equating the voluntary arbitrator with the NLRC or the Court of Appeals. In the view of the Court, this is illogical and imposes an unnecessary burden upon it.

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In Volkschel Labor Union, et al. v. NLRC, et al., 8 on the settled premise that the judgments of courts and awards of quasijudicial agencies must become final at some definite time, this Court ruled that the awards of voluntary arbitrators determine the rights of parties; hence, their decisions have the same legal effect as judgments of a court. In Oceanic Bic Division (FFW), et al. v. Romero, et al., 9 this Court ruled that "a voluntary arbitrator by the nature of her functions acts in a quasi-judicial capacity." Under these rulings, it follows that the voluntary arbitrator, whether acting solely or in a panel, enjoys in law the status of a quasi-judicial agency but independent of, and apart from, the NLRC since his decisions are not appealable to the latter. 10 Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7902, provides that the Court of Appeals shall exercise: xxx xxx xxx (B) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. xxx xxx xxx Assuming arguendo that the voluntary arbitrator or the panel of voluntary arbitrators may not strictly be considered as a quasijudicial agency, board or commission, still both he and the panel are comprehended within the concept of a "quasi-judicial instrumentality." It may even be stated that it was to meet the very situation presented by the quasi-judicial functions of the voluntary arbitrators here, as well as the subsequent arbitrator/arbitral tribunal operating under the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission, 11 that the broader term "instrumentalities" was purposely included in the above-quoted provision. An "instrumentality" is anything used as a means or agency. 12 Thus, the terms governmental "agency" or "instrumentality" are synonymous in the sense that either of them is a means by which a government acts, or by which a certain government act or function is performed. 13 The word "instrumentality," with respect to a state, contemplates an authority to which the state delegates governmental power for the performance of a state function. 14 An individual person, like an administrator or executor, is a judicial instrumentality in the settling of an estate, 15 in the same manner that a sub-agent appointed by a bankruptcy court is an instrumentality of the court,16 and a trustee in bankruptcy of a defunct corporation is an instrumentality of the state. 17 The voluntary arbitrator no less performs a state function pursuant to a governmental power delegated to him under the provisions therefor in the Labor Code and he falls, therefore, within the contemplation of the term "instrumentality" in the aforequoted Sec. 9 of B.P. 129. The fact that his functions and powers are provided for in the Labor Code does not place him within the exceptions to said Sec. 9 since he is a quasi-judicial instrumentality as contemplated therein. It will be noted that, although the Employees Compensation Commission is also provided for in the Labor Code, Circular No. 1-91, which is the forerunner of the present Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, laid down the procedure for the appealability of its decisions to the Court of Appeals under the foregoing rationalization, and this was later adopted by Republic Act No. 7902 in amending Sec. 9 of B.P. 129. A fortiori, the decision or award of the voluntary arbitrator or panel of arbitrators should likewise be appealable to the Court of Appeals, in line with the procedure outlined in Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95, just like those of the quasi-judicial agencies, boards and commissions enumerated therein. This would be in furtherance of, and consistent with, the original purpose of Circular No. 1-91 to provide a uniform procedure for the appellate review of adjudications of all quasi-judicial entities 18 not expressly excepted from the coverage of Sec. 9 of B.P. 129 by either the Constitution or another statute. Nor will it run counter to the legislative intendment that decisions of the NLRC be reviewable directly by the Supreme Court since, precisely, the cases within the adjudicative competence of the voluntary arbitrator are excluded from the jurisdiction of the NLRC or the labor arbiter. In the same vein, it is worth mentioning that under Section 22 of Republic Act No. 876, also known as the Arbitration Law, arbitration is deemed a special proceeding of which the court specified in the contract or submission, or if none be specified, the Regional Trial Court for the province or city in which one of the parties resides or is doing business, or in which the arbitration is held, shall have jurisdiction. A party to the controversy may, at any time within one (1) month after an award is made, apply to the court having jurisdiction for an order confirming the award and the court must grant such order unless the award is vacated, modified or corrected. 19

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In effect, this equates the award or decision of the voluntary arbitrator with that of the regional trial court. Consequently, in a petition for certiorari from that award or decision, the Court of Appeals must be deemed to have concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court. As a matter of policy, this Court shall henceforth remand to the Court of Appeals petitions of this nature for proper disposition. ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to REFER this case to the Court of Appeals. IRON AND STEEL AUTHORITY vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MARIA CRISTINA FERTILIZER CORPORATION, G.R. No. 102976 October 25, 1995 Petitioner Iron and Steel Authority ("ISA") was created by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 272 dated 9 August 1973 in order, generally, to develop and promote the iron and steel industry in the Philippines. The objectives of the ISA are spelled out in the following terms: Sec. 2. Objectives The Authority shall have the following objectives: (a) to strengthen the iron and steel industry of the Philippines and to expand the domestic and export markets for the products of the industry; (b) to promote the consolidation, integration and rationalization of the industry in order to increase industry capability and viability to service the domestic market and to compete in international markets; (c) to rationalize the marketing and distribution of steel products in order to achieve a balance between demand and supply of iron and steel products for the country and to ensure that industry prices and profits are at levels that provide a fair balance between the interests of investors, consumers suppliers, and the public at large; (d) to promote full utilization of the existing capacity of the industry, to discourage investment in excess capacity, and in coordination, with appropriate government agencies to encourage capital investment in priority areas of the industry; (e) to assist the industry in securing adequate and low-cost supplies of raw materials and to reduce the excessive dependence of the country on imports of iron and steel. The list of powers and functions of the ISA included the following: Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. The authority shall have the following powers and functions: xxx xxx xxx (j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the attainment of the objectives of the Authority; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) P.D. No. 272 initially created petitioner ISA for a term of five (5) years counting from 9 August 1973. 1 When ISA's original term expired on 10 October 1978, its term was extended for another ten (10) years by Executive Order No. 555 dated 31 August 1979. The National Steel Corporation ("NSC") then a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Development Corporation which is itself an entity wholly owned by the National Government, embarked on an expansion program embracing, among other things, the construction of an integrated steel mill in Iligan City. The construction of such a steel mill was considered a priority and major industrial project of the Government. Pursuant to the expansion program of the NSC, Proclamation No. 2239 was issued by the President of the Philippines on 16 November 1982 withdrawing from sale or settlement a large tract of public land (totalling about 30.25 hectares in area) located in Iligan City, and reserving that land for the use and immediate occupancy of NSC.

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Since certain portions of the public land subject matter Proclamation No. 2239 were occupied by a non-operational chemical fertilizer plant and related facilities owned by private respondent Maria Cristina Fertilizer Corporation ("MCFC"), Letter of Instruction (LOI), No. 1277, also dated 16 November 1982, was issued directing the NSC to "negotiate with the owners of MCFC, for and on behalf of the Government, for the compensation of MCFC's present occupancy rights on the subject land." LOI No. 1277 also directed that should NSC and private respondent MCFC fail to reach an agreement within a period of sixty (60) days from the date of LOI No. 1277, petitioner ISA was to exercise its power of eminent domain under P.D. No. 272 and to initiate expropriation proceedings in respect of occupancy rights of private respondent MCFC relating to the subject public land as well as the plant itself and related facilities and to cede the same to the NSC. 2 Negotiations between NSC and private respondent MCFC did fail. Accordingly, on 18 August 1983, petitioner ISA commenced eminent domain proceedings against private respondent MCFC in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, of Iligan City, praying that it (ISA) be places in possession of the property involved upon depositing in court the amount of P1,760,789.69 representing ten percent (10%) of the declared market values of that property. The Philippine National Bank, as mortgagee of the plant facilities and improvements involved in the expropriation proceedings, was also impleaded as party-defendant. On 17 September 1983, a writ of possession was issued by the trial court in favor of ISA. ISA in turn placed NSC in possession and control of the land occupied by MCFC's fertilizer plant installation. The case proceeded to trial. While the trial was ongoing, however, the statutory existence of petitioner ISA expired on 11 August 1988. MCFC then filed a motion to dismiss, contending that no valid judgment could be rendered against ISA which had ceased to be a juridical person. Petitioner ISA filed its opposition to this motion. In an Order dated 9 November 1988, the trial court granted MCFC's motion to dismiss and did dismiss the case. The dismissal was anchored on the provision of the Rules of Court stating that "only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil case." 3 The trial court also referred to non-compliance by petitioner ISA with the requirements of Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. 4 Petitioner ISA moved for reconsideration of the trial court's Order, contending that despite the expiration of its term, its juridical existence continued until the winding up of its affairs could be completed. In the alternative, petitioner ISA urged that the Republic of the Philippines, being the real party-in-interest, should be allowed to be substituted for petitioner ISA. In this connection, ISA referred to a letter from the Office of the President dated 28 September 1988 which especially directed the Solicitor General to continue the expropriation case. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration, stating, among other things that: The property to be expropriated is not for public use or benefit [__] but for the use and benefit [__] of NSC, a government controlled private corporation engaged in private business and for profit, specially now that the government, according to newspaper reports, is offering for sale to the public its [shares of stock] in the National Steel Corporation in line with the pronounced policy of the present administration to disengage the government from its private business ventures. 5 (Brackets supplied) Petitioner went on appeal to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 8 October 1991, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of dismissal of the trial court. The Court of Appeals held that petitioner ISA, "a government regulatory agency exercising sovereign functions," did not have the same rights as an ordinary corporation and that the ISA, unlike corporations organized under the Corporation Code, was not entitled to a period for winding up its affairs after expiration of its legally mandated term, with the result that upon expiration of its term on 11 August 1987, ISA was "abolished and [had] no more legal authority to perform governmental functions." The Court of Appeals went on to say that the action for expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the proceedings, the ISA's exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become ineffective as a result of the delegate's dissolution, and could not be continued in the name of Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor General: It is our considered opinion that under the law, the complaint cannot prosper, and therefore, has to be dismissed without prejudice to the refiling of a new complaint for expropriation if the Congress sees it fit." (Emphases supplied) At the same time, however, the Court of Appeals held that it was premature for the trial court to have ruled that the expropriation suit was not for a public purpose, considering that the parties had not yet rested their respective cases. In this Petition for Review, the Solicitor General argues that since ISA initiated and prosecuted the action for expropriation in its capacity as agent of the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic, as principal of ISA, is entitled to be substituted and to be made a party-plaintiff after the agent ISA's term had expired.

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Private respondent MCFC, upon the other hand, argues that the failure of Congress to enact a law further extending the term of ISA after 11 August 1988 evinced a "clear legislative intent to terminate the juridical existence of ISA," and that the authorization issued by the Office of the President to the Solicitor General for continued prosecution of the expropriation suit could not prevail over such negative intent. It is also contended that the exercise of the eminent domain by ISA or the Republic is improper, since that power would be exercised "not on behalf of the National Government but for the benefit of NSC." The principal issue which we must address in this case is whether or not the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to be substituted for ISA in view of the expiration of ISA's term. As will be made clear below, this is really the only issue which we must resolve at this time. Rule 3, Section 1 of the Rules of Court specifies who may be parties to a civil action: Sec. 1. Who May Be Parties. Only natural or juridical persons or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. Under the above quoted provision, it will be seen that those who can be parties to a civil action may be broadly categorized into two (2) groups: (a) those who are recognized as persons under the law whether natural, i.e., biological persons, on the one hand, or juridical person such as corporations, on the other hand; and (b) entities authorized by law to institute actions. Examination of the statute which created petitioner ISA shows that ISA falls under category (b) above. P.D. No. 272, as already noted, contains express authorization to ISA to commence expropriation proceedings like those here involved: Sec. 4. Powers and Functions. The Authority shall have the following powers and functions: xxx xxx xxx (j) to initiate expropriation of land required for basic iron and steel facilities for subsequent resale and/or lease to the companies involved if it is shown that such use of the State's power is necessary to implement the construction of capacity which is needed for the attainment of the objectives of the Authority; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) It should also be noted that the enabling statute of ISA expressly authorized it to enter into certain kinds of contracts "for and in behalf of the Government" in the following terms: xxx xxx xxx (i) to negotiate, and when necessary, to enter into contracts for and in behalf of the government, for the bulk purchase of materials, supplies or services for any sectors in the industry, and to maintain inventories of such materials in order to insure a continuous and adequate supply thereof and thereby reduce operating costs of such sector; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) Clearly, ISA was vested with some of the powers or attributes normally associated with juridical personality. There is, however, no provision in P.D. No. 272 recognizing ISA as possessing general or comprehensive juridical personality separate and distinct from that of the Government. The ISA in fact appears to the Court to be a non-incorporated agency or instrumentality of the Republic of the Philippines, or more precisely of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. It is common knowledge that other agencies or instrumentalities of the Government of the Republic are cast in corporate form, that is to say, are incorporated agencies or instrumentalities, sometimes with and at other times without capital stock, and accordingly vested with a juridical personality distinct from the personality of the Republic. Among such incorporated agencies or instrumentalities

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are: National Power Corporation; 6 Philippine Ports Authority; 7 National Housing Authority; 8 Philippine National Oil Company; 9Philippine National Railways; 10 Public Estates Authority; 11 Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration, 12 and so forth. It is worth noting that the term "Authority" has been used to designate both incorporated and non-incorporated agencies or instrumentalities of the Government. We consider that the ISA is properly regarded as an agent or delegate of the Republic of the Philippines. The Republic itself is a body corporate and juridical person vested with the full panoply of powers and attributes which are compendiously described as "legal personality." The relevant definitions are found in the Administrative Code of 1987: Sec. 2. General Terms Defined. Unless the specific words of the text, or the context as a whole, or a particular statute, require a different meaning: (1) Government of the Republic of the Philippines refers to the corporate governmental entity through which the functions of government are exercised throughout the Philippines, including, save as the contrary appears from the context, the various arms through which political authority is made effective in the Philippines, whether pertaining to the autonomous regions, the provincial, city, municipal or barangay subdivisions or other forms of local government. xxx xxx xxx (4) Agency of the Government refers to any of the various units of the Government, including a department, bureau, office, instrumentality, or government-owned or controlled corporation, or a local government or a distinct unit therein. xxx xxx xxx (10) Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions and government-owned or controlled corporations. xxx xxx xxx (Emphases supplied) When the statutory term of a non-incorporated agency expires, the powers, duties and functions as well as the assets and liabilities of that agency revert back to, and are re-assumed by, the Republic of the Philippines, in the absence of special provisions of law specifying some other disposition thereof such as, e.g., devolution or transmission of such powers, duties, functions, etc. to some other identified successor agency or instrumentality of the Republic of the Philippines. When the expiring agency is an incorporated one, the consequences of such expiry must be looked for, in the first instance, in the charter of that agency and, by way of supplementation, in the provisions of the Corporation Code. Since, in the instant case, ISA is a nonincorporated agency or instrumentality of the Republic, its powers, duties, functions, assets and liabilities are properly regarded as folded back into the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and hence assumed once again by the Republic, no special statutory provision having been shown to have mandated succession thereto by some other entity or agency of the Republic. The procedural implications of the relationship between an agent or delegate of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic itself are, at least in part, spelled out in the Rules of Court. The general rule is, of course, that an action must be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party in interest. (Rule 3, Section 2) Petitioner ISA was, at the commencement of the expropriation proceedings, a real party in interest, having been explicitly authorized by its enabling statute to institute expropriation proceedings. The Rules of Court at the same time expressly recognize the role of representative parties: Sec. 3. Representative Parties. A trustee of an expressed trust, a guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party authorized by statute may sue or be sued without joining the party for whose benefit the action is presented or defended; but the court may, at any stage of the proceedings, order such beneficiary to be made a party. . . . . (Emphasis supplied) In the instant case, ISA instituted the expropriation proceedings in its capacity as an agent or delegate or representative of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to its authority under P.D. No. 272. The present expropriation suit was brought on behalf of and for the benefit of the Republic as the principal of ISA. Paragraph 7 of the complaint stated:

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7. The Government, thru the plaintiff ISA, urgently needs the subject parcels of land for the construction and installation of iron and steel manufacturing facilities that are indispensable to the integration of the iron and steel making industry which is vital to the promotion of public interest and welfare. (Emphasis supplied) The principal or the real party in interest is thus the Republic of the Philippines and not the National Steel Corporation, even though the latter may be an ultimate user of the properties involved should the condemnation suit be eventually successful. From the foregoing premises, it follows that the Republic of the Philippines is entitled to be substituted in the expropriation proceedings as party-plaintiff in lieu of ISA, the statutory term of ISA having expired. Put a little differently, the expiration of ISA's statutory term did not by itself require or justify the dismissal of the eminent domain proceedings. It is also relevant to note that the non-joinder of the Republic which occurred upon the expiration of ISA's statutory term, was not a ground for dismissal of such proceedings since a party may be dropped or added by order of the court, on motion of any party or on the court's own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. 13 In the instant case, the Republic has precisely moved to take over the proceedings as party-plaintiff. In E.B. Marcha Transport Company, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 14 the Court recognized that the Republic may initiate or participate in actions involving its agents. There the Republic of the Philippines was held to be a proper party to sue for recovery of possession of property although the "real" or registered owner of the property was the Philippine Ports Authority, a government agency vested with a separate juridical personality. The Court said: It can be said that in suing for the recovery of the rentals, the Republic of the Philippines acted as principal of the Philippine Ports Authority, directly exercising the commission it had earlier conferred on the latter as its agent. . . . 15 (Emphasis supplied) In E.B. Marcha, the Court also stressed that to require the Republic to commence all over again another proceeding, as the trial court and Court of Appeals had required, was to generate unwarranted delay and create needless repetition of proceedings: More importantly, as we see it, dismissing the complaint on the ground that the Republic of the Philippines is not the proper party would result in needless delay in the settlement of this matter and also in derogation of the policy against multiplicity of suits. Such a decision would require the Philippine Ports Authority to refile the very same complaint already proved by the Republic of the Philippines and bring back as it were to square one. 16(Emphasis supplied) As noted earlier, the Court of Appeals declined to permit the substitution of the Republic of the Philippines for the ISA upon the ground that the action for expropriation could not prosper because the basis for the proceedings, the ISA's exercise of its delegated authority to expropriate, had become legally ineffective by reason of the expiration of the statutory term of the agent or delegated i.e., ISA. Since, as we have held above, the powers and functions of ISA have reverted to the Republic of the Philippines upon the termination of the statutory term of ISA, the question should be addressed whether fresh legislative authority is necessary before the Republic of the Philippines may continue the expropriation proceedings initiated by its own delegate or agent. While the power of eminent domain is, in principle, vested primarily in the legislative department of the government, we believe and so hold that no new legislative act is necessary should the Republic decide, upon being substituted for ISA, in fact to continue to prosecute the expropriation proceedings. For the legislative authority, a long time ago, enacted a continuing or standing delegation of authority to the President of the Philippines to exercise, or cause the exercise of, the power of eminent domain on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The 1917 Revised Administrative Code, which was in effect at the time of the commencement of the present expropriation proceedings before the Iligan Regional Trial Court, provided that: Sec. 64. Particular powers and duties of the President of the Philippines. In addition to his general supervisory authority, the President of the Philippines shall have such other specific powers and duties as are expressly conferred or imposed on him by law, and also, in particular, the powers and duties set forth in this Chapter. Among such special powers and duties shall be: xxx xxx xxx

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(h) To determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the right of eminent domain in behalf of the Government of the Philippines; and to direct the Secretary of Justice, where such act is deemed advisable, to cause the condemnation proceedings to be begun in the court having proper jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied) The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 currently in force has substantially reproduced the foregoing provision in the following terms: Sec. 12. Power of eminent domain. The President shall determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the National Government, anddirect the Solicitor General, whenever he deems the action advisable, to institute expopriation proceedings in the proper court. (Emphasis supplied) In the present case, the President, exercising the power duly delegated under both the 1917 and 1987 Revised Administrative Codes in effect made a determination that it was necessary and advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the Government of the Republic and accordingly directed the Solicitor General to proceed with the suit. 17 It is argued by private respondent MCFC that, because Congress after becoming once more the depository of primary legislative power, had not enacted a statute extending the term of ISA, such non-enactment must be deemed a manifestation of a legislative design to discontinue or abort the present expropriation suit. We find this argument much too speculative; it rests too much upon simple silence on the part of Congress and casually disregards the existence of Section 12 of the 1987 Administrative Code already quoted above. Other contentions are made by private respondent MCFC, such as, that the constitutional requirement of "public use" or "public purpose" is not present in the instant case, and that the indispensable element of just compensation is also absent. We agree with the Court of Appeals in this connection that these contentions, which were adopted and set out by the Regional Trial Court in its order of dismissal, are premature and are appropriately addressed in the proceedings before the trial court. Those proceedings have yet to produce a decision on the merits, since trial was still on going at the time the Regional Trial Court precipitously dismissed the expropriation proceedings. Moreover, as a pragmatic matter, the Republic is, by such substitution as party-plaintiff, accorded an opportunity to determine whether or not, or to what extent, the proceedings should be continued in view of all the subsequent developments in the iron and steel sector of the country including, though not limited to, the partial privatization of the NSC. WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 8 October 1991 to the extent that it affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the expropriation proceedings, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the case is REMANDED to the court a quo which shall allow the substitution of the Republic of the Philippines for petitioner Iron and Steel Authority and for further proceedings consistent with this Decision. No pronouncement as to costs. IGNACIA BALICAS vs. FACT-FINDING & INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (FFIB), OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, G.R. No. 145972 March 23, 2004 This petition for review on certiorari assails the Court of Appeals decision1 dated August 25, 2000 and resolution2of November 13, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 56386, which affirmed the Ombudsmans decision3 dismissing petitioner from government service for gross neglect of duty in connection with the tragedy at the Cherry Hills Subdivision in Antipolo City on August 3, 1999. The antecedent facts as summarized in the Ombudsmans decision are as follows: Based on the evidence adduced by the complainant, the following is the chronological series of events which led to the development of the CHS (Cherry Hills Subdivision): August 28, 1990 Philjas Corporation, whose primary purposes, among others are: to own, develop, subdivide, market and provide low-cost housing for the poor, was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). February 19, 1991 then City Mayor Daniel S. Garcia, endorsed to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) the proposed CHS. Thereafter, or on 07 March 1991, based on the favorable recommendations of Mayor Garcia, respondent TAN, issued the Preliminary Approval and Locational Clearance (PALC) for the development of CHS.

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On July 5, 1991, then HLURB Commissioner respondent TUNGPALAN issued Development Permit No. 91-0216 for "land development only" for the entire land area of 12.1034 hectares covered by TCT No. 35083 (now TCT 208837) and with 1,003 saleable lots/units with project classification B.P. 220 Model A-Socialized Housing (p. 96, Records), with several conditions for its development. Three (3) days thereafter or on July 8, 1991, respondent JASARENO, allowed/granted the leveling/earth-moving operations of the development project of the area subject to certain conditions. On November 18, 1991, then HLURB Commissioner AMADO B. DELORIA issued Certificate of Registration No. 91-110576 in favor of CHS, with License to Sell No. 91-11-0592 for the 1,007 lots/units in the subdivision. Eventually, on December 10, 1991, respondent POLLISCO issued Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) No. IV-316 to Philjas to extract and remove 10,000 cu. meters of filling materials from the area where the CHS is located. Thereafter, or on January 12, 1994, Philjas applied for a Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) under P.D. 1899 with the Rizal Provincial Government to extract and remove 50,000 metric tons of filling materials per annum on CHS 2.8 hectares. Thus, on January 17, 1994, respondent MAGNO, informed ELIEZER I. RODRIGUEZ of Philjas that CHS is within the EIS System and as such must secure ECC from the DENR. Philjas was accordingly informed of the matter such that it applied for the issuance of ECC from the DENR-Region IV, on February 3, 1994. On March 12, 1994, an Inspection Report allegedly prepared by respondent BALICAS, attested by respondent RUTAQUIO and approved by respondent TOLENTINO re: field evaluation to the issuance of ECC, was submitted. Consequently, on April 28, 1994, upon recommendations of respondent TOLENTINO, Philjas application for ECC was approved by respondent PRINCIPE, then Regional Executive Director, DENR under ECC-137-R1-212-94. A Mining Field Report for SSMP dated May 10, 1994 was submitted pursuant to the inspection report prepared by respondents CAYETANO, FELICIANO, HILADO and BURGOS, based on their inspection conducted on April 25 to 29, 1994. The report recommended, among others, that the proposed extraction of materials would pose no adverse effect to the environment. Records further disclosed that on August 10, 1994, respondent BALICAS monitored the implementation of the CHS Project Development to check compliance with the terms and conditions in the ECC. Again, on August 23, 1995, she conducted another monitoring on the project for the same purpose. In both instances, she noted that the project was still in the construction stage hence, compliance with the stipulated conditions could not be fully assessed, and therefore, a follow-up monitoring is proper. It appeared from the records that this August 23, 1995 monitoring inspection was the last one conducted by the DENR. On September 24, 1994, GOV. CASIMIRO I. YNARES, JR., approved the SSMP applied for by Philjas under SSMP No. RZL-012, allowing Philjas to extract and remove 50,000 metric tons of filling materials from the area for a period of two (2) years from date of its issue until September 6, 1996.4 Immediately after the tragic incident on August 3, 1999, a fact-finding investigation was conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman through its Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB), which duly filed an administrative complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against several officials of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the local government of Antipolo. The charge against petitioner involved a supposed failure on her part to monitor and inspect the development of Cherry Hills Subdivision, which was assumed to be her duty as DENR senior environmental management specialist assigned in the province of Rizal. For her part, petitioner belied allegations that monitoring was not conducted, claiming that she monitored the development of Cherry Hills Subdivision as evidenced by three (3) monitoring reports dated March 12, 1994, August 10, 1994 and August 23, 1995. She averred that she also conducted subsequent compliance monitoring of the terms and conditions of Philjas Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) on May 19, 1997 and noted no violation thereon. She further claimed good faith and exercise of due diligence, insisting that the tragedy was a fortuitous event. She reasoned that the collapse did not occur in Cherry Hills, but in the adjacent mountain eastern side of the subdivision.

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On November 15, 1999, the Office of the Ombudsman rendered a decision imposing upon petitioner the supreme penalty of dismissal from office for gross neglect of duty finding: RESPONDENT BALICAS Records show that she monitored and inspected the CHS [Cherry Hills Subdivision] only thrice (3), to wit: 1. Inspection Report dated 12 March 1994 2. Monitoring Report dated 10 August 1994 3. Monitoring Report dated 23 August 1995 Verily, with this scant frequency, how can respondent Balicas sweepingly claim that there was no violation of ECC compliance and that she had done what is necessary in accordance with the regular performance of her duties. She herself recognized the fact that the "collapsed area is not the subdivision in question but the adjacent mountain eastern side of the CHS." It is incumbent upon her to establish the same in her monitoring and inspection reports and make objective recommendations re: its possible adverse effect to the environment and to the residents of the CHS and nearby areas. Her defense that the position of the CHS shows the impossibility of checking the would-be adverse effect clearly established her incompetence. No expert mind is needed to know that mountains cause landslide and erosion. Cherry Hills Subdivision is a living witness to this.5 Petitioner seasonably filed a petition for review of the Ombudsmans decision with the Court of Appeals. In its decision date d August 25, 2000, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit and affirmed the appealed decision. It found that the landslide was a preventable occurrence and that petitioner was guilty of gross negligence in failing to closely monitor P hiljas compliance with the conditions of the ECC given the known inherent instability of the ground where the subdivision was developed. The appellate court likewise denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in its resolution dated November 13, 2000. Petitioner now comes to this Court for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, of the appellate courts decision. She alleges that the Court of Appeals committed serious errors of law in affirming the Ombudsmans conclusi on that: 1 There was gross negligence on the part of petitioner Balicas in the performance of her official duties as Senior Environmental Management Specialist (SEMS) of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Province of Rizal, DENR Region IV; and the alleged gross neglect of duty of petitioner warranted the imposition of the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service. 2. The landslide which caused the death of several residents of the subdivision and the destruction of property is not a fortuitous event and therefore preventible.6 The main issues are whether or not the Court of Appeals committed serious errors of law in: (1) holding petitioner guilty of gross neglect of duty and (2) imposing upon her the extreme penalty of dismissal from office. In order to ascertain if there had been gross neglect of duty, we have to look at the lawfully prescribed duties of petitioner. Unfortunately, DENR regulations are silent on the specific duties of a senior environmental management specialist. Internal regulations merely speak of the functions of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) to which petitioner directly reports. Nonetheless, petitioner relies on a letter7 dated December 13, 1999 from the chief of personnel, DENR Region IV, which defines the duties of a senior environmental management specialist as follows: 1. Conducts investigation of pollution sources or complaints; 2. Review[s] plans and specifications of proposes (sic) or existing treatment plants and pollution abatement structures and devices to determine their efficiency and suitability for the kind of pollutants to be removed and to recommend issuance or denial of permits; 3. Conducts follow-up inspection of construction of pollution abatement/work and structures to oversee compliance with approved plans and specifications;

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4. Recommends remedial measures for the prevention, abatement and control of pollution; 5. Prepares technical reports on pollution investigation and related activities; and 6. Performs related work as assigned. It is readily apparent that no monitoring duty whatsoever is mentioned in the said letter. The PENRO, on the other hand, is mandated to: 1. conduct surveillance and inspection of pollution sources and control facilities and undertake/initiate measures relative to pollution-related complaints of the general public for appropriate referral to the regional office; 2. comment on the project description, determine if the project fall within the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System8 and submit the same to the regional office; and 3. implement programs and projects related to environmental management within the PENRO.9 In addition, the PENRO is likewise tasked to monitor the project proponents compliance with the conditions stipulated in the ECC, with support from the DENR regional office and the Environmental Management Bureau.10The primary purpose of compliance monitoring is to ensure the judicious implementation of sound and standard environmental quality during the development stage of a particular project. Specifically, it aims to: 1. monitor project compliance with the conditions set in the ECC; 2. monitor compliance with the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and applicable laws, rules and regulations; and 3. provide a basis for timely decision-making and effective planning and management of environmental measures through the monitoring of actual project impacts vis--vis predicted impacts in the EIS.11 Based on the foregoing, the monitoring duties of the PENRO mainly deal with broad environmental concerns, particularly pollution abatement. This general monitoring duty is applicable to all types of physical developments that may adversely impact on the environment, whether housing projects, industrial sites, recreational facilities, or scientific undertakings. However, a more specific monitoring duty is imposed on the HLURB as the sole regulatory body for housing and land development. It is mandated to encourage greater private sector participation in low-cost housing through (1) liberalization of development standards, (2) simplification of regulations and (3) decentralization of approvals for permits and licenses. 12 P.D. No. 158613 prescribes the following duties on the HLURB (then Ministry of Human Settlements) in connection with environmentally critical projects requiring an ECC: SECTION 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally Critical Areas and Projects. The President of the Philippines may, on his own initiative or upon recommendation of the National Environment Protection Council, by proclamation declare certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any such declared environmentally critical project or area without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the President or his duly authorized representative. For the proper management of said critical project or area, the President may by his proclamation reorganize such government offices, agencies, institutions, corporations or instrumentalities including the re-alignment of government personnel, and their specific functions and responsibilities. For the same purpose as above, the Ministry of Human Settlements [now HLURB] shall: (a) prepare the proper land or water use pattern for said critical project(s) or area(s); (b) establish ambient environmental quality standards; (c) develop a program of environmental enhancement or protective measures against calamitous factors such as earthquake, floods, water erosion and others ; and (d) perform such other functions as may be directed by the President from time to time. (Emphasis ours.) The legal duty to monitor housing projects, like the Cherry Hills Subdivision, against calamities such as landslides due to continuous rain, is clearly placed on the HLURB, not on the petitioner as PENRO senior environmental management specialist. In fact, the law imposes no clear and direct duty on petitioner to perform such narrowly defined monitoring function.

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In the related case of Principe v. Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau,14 this Court found Antonio Principe, regional executive director for DENR Region IV who approved Philjas application for ECC, not liable for gross neglect of duty. The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and thereby annulled the decision of the Ombudsman in OMB-ADM-09-661, dated December 1, 1999, dismissing Principe from the government service. We ordered his reinstatement with back pay and without loss of seniority.15 The rationale for our decision in Principe bears reiteration: the responsibility of monitoring housing and land development projects is not lodged with the DENR, but with the HLURB as the sole regulatory body for housing and land development. Thus, we must stress that we find no legal basis to hold petitioner, who is an officer of DENR, liable for gross neglect of the duty pertaining to another agency, the HLURB. It was grave error for the appellate court to sustain the Ombudsmans ruling that sh e should be dismissed from the service. The reinstatement of petitioner is clearly called for. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court of Appeals decision affirming the Ombudsmans dismissal of petitioner IGNACIA BALICAS from office is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and petitioners REINSTATEMENT to her position with back pay and without loss of seniority rights is hereby ordered. Malaga v. Penachos GR 86695 1992 MARIA ELENA MALAGA, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME B.E. CONSTRUCTION; JOSIELEEN NAJARRO, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME BEST BUILT CONSTRUCTION; JOSE N. OCCEA, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME THE FIRM OF JOSE N. OCCEA; AND THE ILOILO BUILDERS CORPORATION, PETITIONERS, VS. MANUEL R. PENACHOS, JR., ALFREDO MATANGGA, ENRICO TICAR AND TERESITA VILLANUEVA, IN THEIR RESPECTIVE CAPACITIES AS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PRE-QUALIFICATION BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE (PBAC) BENIGNO PANISTANTE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF ILOILO STATE COLLEGE OF FISHERIES, AS WELL AS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE PERSONAL CAPACITIES; AND HON. LODRIGIO L. LEBAQUIN, RESPONDENTS. This controversy involves the extent and applicability of P.D. 1818, which prohibits any court from issuing injunctions in cases involving infrastructure projects of the government. The facts are not disputed. The Iloilo State College of Fisheries (henceforth ISCOF) through its Pre-qualification, Bids and Awards Committee (henceforth PBAC) caused the publication in the November 25, 26, 28, 1988 issues of the Western Visayas Daily an Invitation to Bid for the construction of a Micro Laboratory Building at ISCOF. The notice announced that the last day for the submission of prequalification requirements (PRE C-1)* was December 2, 1988, and that the bids would be received and opened on December 12, 1988, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.[1] Petitioners Maria Elena Malaga and Josieleen Najarro, respectively doing business under the name of B.E. Construction and Best Built Construction, submitted their pre-qualification documents at two o'clock in the afternoon of December 2, 1988. Petitioner Jose Occea submitted his own PRE-C1 on December 5, 1988. All three of them were not allowed to participate in the bidding because their documents were considered late, having been submitted after the cut-off time of ten o'clock in the morning of December 2, 1988. On December 12, 1988, the petitioners filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo against the chairman and members of PBAC in their official and personal capacities. The plaintiffs claimed that although they had submitted their PRE-C1 on time, the PBAC refused without just cause to accept them. As a result, they were not included in the list of pre-qualified bidders, could not secure the needed plans and other documents, and were unable to participate in the scheduled bidding. In their prayer, they sought the resetting of the December 12, 1988 bidding and the acceptance of their PRE-C1 documents. They also asked that if the bidding had already been conducted, the defendants be directed not to award the project pending resolution of their complaint. On the same date, Judge Lodrigio L. Lebaquin issued a restraining order prohibiting PBAC from conducting the bidding and awarding the project.[2] On December 16, 1988, the defendants filed a motion to lift the restraining order on the ground that the court was prohibited from issuing restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and preliminary mandatory injunctions by P.D. 1818. The decree reads pertinently as follows: Section 1. No Court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary injunction, or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute, or controversy involving an infrastructure project, or amining, fishery, forest or other natural resource development project of the government, or any public utility operated by the government, including among others public utilities for the transport of the goods or commodities, stevedoring and arrastre contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity or government official from proceeding with, or continuing the execution or implementation of any such project, or the operation of such public utility, or pursuing any lawful activity necessary for such execution, implementation or operation.

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The movants also contended that the question of the propriety of a preliminary injunction had become moot and academic because the restraining order was received late, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of December 12, 1988, after the bidding had been conducted and closed at eleven thirty in the morning of that date. In their opposition to the motion, the plaintiffs argued against the applicability of P.D. 1818, pointing out that while ISCOF was a state college, it had its own charter and separate existence and was not part of the national government or of any local political subdivision. Even if P.D.1818 were applicable, the prohibition presumed a valid and legal government project, not one tainted with anomalies like the project at bar. They also cited Filipinas Marble Corp. vs. IAC,[3] where the Court allowed the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction despite a similar prohibition found in P.D. 385. The Court therein stated that: The government, however, is bound by basic principles of fairness and decency under the due process clause of the Bill of Rights. P.D. 385 was never meant to protect officials of government-lending institutions who take over the management of a borrower corporation, lead that corporation to bankruptcy through mismanagement or misappropriation of its funds, and who, after ruining it, use the mandatory provisions of the decree to avoid the consequences of their misdeeds (p. 188, underscoring supplied). On January 2, 1989, the trial court lifted the restraining order and denied the petition for preliminary injunction. It declared that the building sought to be constructed at the ISCOF was an infrastructure project of the government falling within the coverage of P.D. 1818. Even if it were not, the petition for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction would still fail because the sheriff's return showed that PBAC was served a copy of the restraining order after the bidding sought to be restrained had already been held. Furthermore, the members of the PBAC could not be restrained from awarding the project because the authority to do so was lodged in the President of the ISCOF, who was not a party to the case.[4] In the petition now before us, it is reiterated that P.D. 1818 does not cover the ISCOF because of its separate and distinct corporate personality. It is also stressed again that the prohibition under P.D. 1818 could not apply to the present controversy because the project was vitiated with irregularities, to wit: 1. The invitation to bid as published fixed the deadline of submission of pre-qualification document on December 2, 1988 without indicating any time, yet after 10:00 o'clock of the given date, the PBAC already refused to accept petitioners' documents. 2. The time and date of bidding was published as December 12, 1988 at 3:00 p.m. yet it was held at 10:00 o'clock in the morning. 3. Private respondents, for the purpose of inviting bidders to participate, issued a mimeographed "Invitation to Bid" form, which by law (P.D. 1594 and Implementing Rules, Exh. B-1) is to contain the particulars of the project subject of bidding for the purposes of (i) enabling bidders to make an intelligent and accurate bids; (ii) for PBAC to have a uniform basis for evaluating the bids; (iii) to prevent collusion between a bidder and the PBAC, by opening to all the particulars of a project. Additionally, the Invitation to Bid prepared by the respondents and the Itemized Bill of Quantities therein were left blank.[5] And although the project in question was a "Construction," the private respondents used an Invitation to Bid form for "Materials."[6] The petitioners also point out that the validity of the writ of preliminary injunction had not yet become moot and academic because even if the bids had been opened before the restraining order was issued, the project itself had not yet been awarded. The ISCOF president was not an indispensable party because the signing of the award was merely a ministerial function which he could perform only upon the recommendation of the Award Committee. At any rate, the complaint had already been duly amended to include him as a party defendant. In their Comment, the private respondents maintain that since the members of the board of trustees of the ISCOF are all government officials under Section 7 of P.D. 1523 and since the operations and maintenance of the ISCOF are provided for in the General Appropriations Law, it should be considered a government institution whose infrastructure project is covered by P.D. 1818. Regarding the schedule for pre-qualification, the private respondents insist that PBAC posted on the ISCOF bulletin board an announcement that the deadline for the submission of pre-qualification documents was at 10 o'clock of December 2, 1988, and the opening of bids would be held at 1 o'clock in the afternoon of December 12, 1988. As of ten o'clock in the morning of December 2, 1988, B.E. Construction and Best Built Construction had filed only their letters of intent. At two o'clock in the afternoon, B.E. and Best Built file through their common representative, Nenette Garuello, their pre-qualification documents which were admitted but stamped "submitted late." The petitioners were informed of their disqualification on the same date, and the disqualification became final on December 6, 1988. Having failed to take immediate action to compel PBAC to pre-qualify them despite their notice of disqualification, they cannot now come to this Court to question the bidding proper in which they had not participated. In the petitioners' Reply, they raise as an additional irregularity the violation of the rule that where the estimated project cost is from P1M to P5M, the issuance of plans, specifications and proposal book forms should be made thirty days before the date of bidding.[7] They point out that these forms were issued only on December 2, 1988, and not at the latest on November 12, 1988,

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the beginning of the 30-day period prior to the scheduled bidding. In their Rejoinder, the private respondents aver that the documents of B.E. and Best Built were received although filed late and were reviewed by the Award Committee, which discovered that the contractors had expired licenses. B.E.'s temporary certificate of Renewal of Contractor's License was valid only until September 30, 1988, while Best Built's license was valid only up to June 30, 1988. The Court has considered the arguments of the parties in light of their testimonial and documentary evidence and the applicable laws and jurisprudence. It finds for the petitioners. The 1987 Administrative Code defines a government instrumentality as follows: Instrumentality refers to any agency of the National Government, not integrated within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter. This term includes regulatory agencies, chartered institutions, and government-owned or controlled corporations. (Sec. 2 (5) Introductory Provisions). The same Code describes a chartered institution thus: Chartered institution - refers to any agency organized or operating under a special charter, and vested by law with functions relating to specific constitutional policies or objectives. This term includes the state universities and colleges, and the monetary authority of the state. (Sec. 2 (12) Introductory Provisions). It is clear from the above definitions that ISCOF is a chartered institution and is therefore covered by P.D. 1818. There are also indications in its charter that ISCOF is a government instrumentality. First, it was created in pursuance of the integrated fisheries development policy of the State, a priority program of the government to effect the socio-economic life of the nation. Second, the Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines shall also be the ex-officio Treasurer of the state college with its accounts and expenses to be audited by the Commission on Audit or its duly authorized representative. Third, heads of bureaus and offices of the National Government are authorized to loan or transfer to it, upon request of the president of the state college, such apparatus, equipment, or supplies and even the services of such employees as can be spared without serious detriment to public service. Lastly, an additional amount of P1.5M had been appropriated out of the funds of the National Treasury and it was also decreed in its charter that the funds and maintenance of the state college would henceforth be included in the General Appropriations Law.[8] Nevertheless, it does not automatically follow that ISCOF is covered by the prohibition in the said decree. In the case of Datiles and Co. vs. Sucaldito,[9] this Court interpreted a similar prohibition contained in P.D. 605, the law after which P.D. 1818 was patterned. It was there declared that the prohibition pertained to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders by courts against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. The Court observed that to allow the courts to judge these matters would disturb the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery. Justice Teodoro Padilla made it clear, however, that on issues definitely outside of this dimension and involving questions of law, courts could not be prevented by P.D. No. 605 from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts. We see no reason why the above ruling should not apply to P.D. 1818. There are at least two irregularities committed by PBAC that justified injunction of the bidding and the award of the project. First, PBAC set deadlines for the filing of the PRE-C1 and the opening of bids and then changed these deadlines without prior notice to prospective participants. Under the Rules Implementing P.D. 1594, prescribing policies and guidelines for government infrastructure contracts, PBAC shall provide prospective bidders with the Notice to Pre-qualification and other relevant information regarding the proposed work. Prospective contractors shall be required to file their ARC-Contractors Confidential Application for Registration & Classifications & the PRE-C2 Confidential Pre-qualification Statement for the Project (prior to the amendment of the rules, this was referred to as Pre-C1) not later than the deadline set in the published Invitation to Bid, after which date no PRE-C2 shall be submitted and received. Invitations to Bid shall be advertised for at least three times within a reasonable period but in no case less than two weeks in at least two newspapers of general circulations.[10] PBAC advertised the pre-qualification deadline as December 2, 1988, without stating the hour thereof, and announced that the opening of bids would be at 3 o'clock in the afternoon of December 12, 1988. This schedule was changed and a notice of such change was merely posted at the ISCOF bulletin board. The notice advanced the cut-off time for the submission of prequalification documents to 10 o'clock in the morning of December 2, 1988, and the opening of bids to 1 o'clock in the afternoon of December 12, 1988. The new schedule caused the pre-disqualification of the petitioners as recorded in the minutes of the PBAC meeting held on December 6, 1988. While it may be true that there were fourteen contractors who were pre-qualified despite the change in

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schedule, this fact did not cure the defect of the irregular notice. Notably, the petitioners were disqualified because they failed to meet the new deadline and not because of their expired licenses.** We have held that where the law requires a previous advertisement before government contracts can be awarded, noncompliance with the requirement will, as a general rule, render the same void and of no effect.[11] The fact that an invitation for bids has been communicated to a number of possible bidders is not necessarily sufficient to establish compliance with the requirements of the law if it is shown that other possible bidders have not been similarly notified.[12] Second, PBAC was required to issue to pre-qualified applicants the plans, specifications and proposal book forms for the project to be bid thirty days before the date of bidding if the estimated project cost was between P1M and P5M. PBAC has not denied that these forms were issued only on December 2, 1988, or only ten days before the bidding scheduled for December 12, 1988. At the very latest, PBAC should have issued them on November 12, 1988, or 30 days before the scheduled bidding. It is apparent that the present controversy did not arise from the discretionary acts of the administrative body nor does it involve merely technical matters. What is involved here is non-compliance with the procedural rules on bidding which required strict observance. The purpose of the rules implementing P.D. 1594 is to secure competitive bidding and to prevent favoritism, collusion and fraud in the award of these contracts to the detriment of the public. This purpose was defeated by the irregularities committed by PBAC. It has been held that the three principles in public bidding are the offer to the public, an opportunity for competition and a basis for exact comparison of bids. A regulation of the matter which excludes any of these factors destroys the distinctive character of the system and thwarts the purpose of its adoption.[13] In the case at bar, it was the lack of proper notice regarding the pre-qualification requirement and the bidding that caused the elimination of petitioners B.E. and Best Built. It was not because of their expired licenses, as private respondents now claim. Moreover, the plans and specifications which are the contractors' guide to an intelligent bid, were not issued on time, thus defeating the guaranty that contractors be placed on equal footing when they submit their bids. The purpose of competitive bidding is negated if some contractors are informed ahead of their rivals of the plans and specifications that are to be the subject of their bids. P.D. 1818 was not intended to shield from judicial scrutiny irregularites committed by administrative agencies such as the anomalies above described. Hence, the challenged restraining order was not improperly issued by the respondent judge and the writ of preliminary injunction should not have been denied. We note from Annex Q of the private respondent's memorandum, however, that the subject project has already been "100% completed as to the Engineering Standard." This fait accompli has made the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction moot and academic. We come now to the liabilities of the private respondents. It has been held in a long line of cases that a contract granted without the competitive bidding required by law is void, and the party to whom it is awarded cannot benefit from it.[14] It has not been shown that the irregularities committed by PBAC were induced by or participated in by any of the contractors. Hence, liability shall attach only to the private respondents for the prejudice sustained by the petitioners as a result of the anomalies described above. As there is no evidence of the actual loss suffered by the petitioners, compensatory damage may not be awarded to them. Moral damages do not appear to be due either. Even so, the Court cannot close its eyes to the evident bad faith that characterized the conduct of the private respondents, including the irregularities in the announcement of the bidding and their efforts to persuade the ISCOF president to award the project after two days from receipt of the restraining order and before they moved to lift such order. For such questionable acts, they are liable in nominal damages at least in accordance with Article 2221 of the Civil Code, which states: Art. 2221. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant may be vindicated or, recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him. These damages are to be assessed against the private respondents in the amount of P10,000.00 each, to be paid separately for each of petitioners B.E. Construction and Best Built Construction. The other petitioner, Occea Builders, is not entitled to relief because it admittedly submitted its pre-qualification documents on December 5, 1988, or three days after the deadline. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: a) upholding the restraining order dated December 12, 1988, as not covered by the prohibition in P.D. 1818; b) ordering the chairman and the members of the PBAC board of trustees, namely, Manuel R. Penachos, Jr., Alfredo Matangga, Enrico Ticar, and Teresita Villanueva, to each pay separately to petitioners Maria Elena Malaga and Josieleen Najarro nominal damages of P10,000.00 each; and c) removing the said chairman and members from the PBAC board of trustees, or whoever among them is still incumbent therein, for their malfeasance in office. Costs against PBAC. Let a copy of this decision be sent to the Office of the Ombudsman.

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ENGINEER CLARO J. PRECLARO vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 111091 August 21, 1995 On 14 June 1990, petitioner was charged before the Sandiganbayan with a violation of Sec. 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019 as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The information against him read as follows: That on or about June 8, 1990, or sometime prior thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being then the Project Manager/ Consultant of the Chemical Mineral Division, Industrial Technology Development Institute, Department of Science and Technology, a component of the Industrial Development Institute (ITDI for brevity) which is an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST for brevity), wherein the Jaime Sta. Maria Construction undertook the construction of the building in Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila, with a total cost of SEVENTEEN MILLION SIX HUNDRED NINETY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P17,695,000.00) jointly funded by the Philippine and Japanese Governments, and while the said construction has not yet been finally completed, accused either directly requested and/or demanded for himself or for another, the sum of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200,000.00), claimed as part of the expected profit of FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P460,000.00) in connection with the construction of that government building wherein the accused had to intervene under the law in his capacity as Project Manager/Consultant of said construction said offense having been committed in relation to the performance of his official duties. CONTRARY TO LAW. 1 On 20 July 1990, during arraignment, petitioner pleaded "not guilty" to the charges against him. On 30 June 1993, after trial on the merits, the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The dispositive portion reads as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Claro Preclaro y Jambalos GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the violation of Section 3, paragraph (b) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act, and he is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty ranging from SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH, as the minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY, as the maximum, perpetual disqualification from public office and to pay the costs of this action. SO ORDERED. 2 The antecedent facts are largely undisputed. On 1 October 1989, the Chemical Mineral Division of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), a component of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) employed Petitioner under a written contract of services as Project Manager to supervise the construction of the ITDI-CMD (JICA) Building at the DOST Compound in Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila. 3 The contract was to remain in effect from October 1, 1989 up to the end of the construction period unless sooner terminated. 4 Petitioner was to be paid a monthly salary drawn from counter-part funds duly financed by foreign-assisted projects and government funds duly released by the Department of Budget and Management. 5 In November 1989, to build the aforementioned CMD Structure, DOST contracted the services of the Jaime Sta. Maria Construction Company with Engr. Alexander Resoso, as the company's project engineer. 6 How petitioner committed a violation of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act is narrated in the Comment of the Solicitor General and amply supported by the records. The material portions are hereunder reproduced: xxx xxx xxx 3. In the month of May, 1990, Alexander Resoso, Project Engineer of the Sta. Maria Construction Company, was in the process of evaluating a Change Order for some electricals in the building construction when petitioner approached him at the project site (p. 11, 25, Ibid.). 4. Unexpectedly, petitioner made some overtures that expenses in the Change Order will be deductive (meaning, charged to the contractor by deducting from the contract price), instead of additive (meaning, charged to the owner). Petitioner intimated that he can forget about the deductive provided he gets P200,000.00, a chunk of the contractor's profit which he roughly estimated to be around P460,000.00 (pp. 12-13, 22, Ibid.).

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5. Having conveyed the proposal to Jaime Sta. Maria, Sr., the owner of Sta. Maria Construction Company, Resoso thereafter asked petitioner if he wanted a rendezvous for him to receive the money. Petitioner chose Wendy's Restaurant, corner E. Delos Santos Avenue and Camias Street, on June 6, 1990 at around 8:00 o'clock in the evening (p. 14, Ibid.). 6. However, Sta. Maria, Sr. asked for two (2) more days or until the 8th of June, perceiving financial constraints (Ibid.). 7. Petitioner relented, saying "O.K. lang with me because we are not in a hurry." (p. 15, Ibid.) Petitioner was thereafter asked to bring along the result of the punch list (meaning, the list of defective or correctible works to be done by the contractor) (p. 15, Ibid.; p. 10, TSN, 18 Oct. 1991). 8. On 7 June 1990, Sta. Maria, Sr. and Resoso proceeded to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to report the incident (p. 15, 35, Ibid.). 9. The NBI suggested an entrapment plan to which Sta. Maria, Sr. signified his conformity (p. 16, TSN, 12 Oct. 1990). Accordingly, Sta. Maria, Sr. was requested to produce the amount of P50,000.00 in P500.00 denomination to represent the grease money (p. 37, TSN, 6 Sept. 1990). 10. The next day, or on 8 June 1990, Resoso delivered the money to the NBI. Thereafter, the money was dusted with flourescent powder and placed inside an attache case (pp. 16-17, Ibid.). Resoso got the attache case and was instructed not to open it. Similarly, he was advised to proceed at the Wendy's Restaurant earlier than the designated time where a group of NBI men awaited him and his companion, Sta. Maria, Jr. (pp. 17-18, Ibid.). 11. Hence, from the NBI, Resoso passed by the Jade Valley Restaurant in Timog, Quezon City, to fetch Sta. Maria, Jr. (Ibid.). 12. At around 7:35 p.m., Resoso and Sta. Maria, Jr. arrived at the Wendy's Restaurant. They were led by the NBI men to a table previously reserved by them which was similarly adjacent to a table occupied by them (pp. 18-19, Ibid.). 13. Twenty minutes later, petitioner arrived. Supposedly, the following conversation took place, to wit: JUSTICE BALAJADIA: q. When Dave Preclaro arrived, what did he do? a. We asked him his order and we talked about the punch list. q. What was his comment about the punch list? a. He told us that it is harder to produce small items than big ones. q. How long did you converse with Engr. Claro Preclaro? a. I think thirty minutes or so. q. Was Preclaro alone when he came? a. Yes, Your Honor. xxx xxx xxx PROS. CAOILI: q. When you talk[ed] about his punch list, did you talk about anything else? a. Engineer Sta. Maria, Jr., they were conversing with Dave Preclaro and he told [him], "O, paano na."

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GENERAL PRINCIPLES JUSTICE ESCAREAL: q. Who said "Paano na?"

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a. Engineer Sta. Maria, [Jr.]. And then Preclaro told [him], "Paano, How will the money be arranged and can I bring it?" he said. And then Jimmy Sta. Maria, Jr. told him it was arranged on two bundles on two envelopes. And then Dave Preclaro told, "Puede" and he asked Jimmy Sta. Maria, Jr. if there is express teller and could he deposit during night time but Engineer Sta. Maria, Jr. told him, "I do not have any knowledge or I do not have any express teller you can deposit. I only know credit card." PROS. CAOILI: q. When Engr. Sta. Maria intervened and interviewed him that way, was there anything that happened? a. Jimmy Sta. Maria, Jr. handed two envelopes to Preclaro. q. Did Claro Preclaro receive these two envelopes from Engineer Sta. Maria? a. Yes, sir. (pp. 19-21, Ibid., See also pp. 13-14, TSN, 29 Oct. 1990.) 14. From the moment petitioner received the two envelopes with his right hand, thereafter placing them under his left armpit, he was accosted by the NBI men (p. 22, TSN, 12 Oct. 1990). 15. A camera flashed to record the event. Petitioner instinctively docked to avoid the taking of pictures. In such manner, the two envelopes fell (p. 23, Ibid.). 16. The NBI men directed petitioner to pick up the two envelopes. Petitioner refused. Hence, one of the NBI men picked up the envelopes and placed them inside a big brown envelope (p. 27, Ibid.) 17. Petitioner was thenceforth brought to the NBI for examination (p. 28; Ibid.). 18. At the NBI Forensic Chemistry Section, petitioner's right palmar hand was tested positive of flourescent powder. The same flourescent powder, however, cannot be detected in petitioner's T-shirt and pants (p. 5, TSN, 29 Oct. 1990).7 xxx xxx xxx Thus, as brought out at the outset, an information was filed against petitioner which, after due hearing, resulted in his conviction by the Sandiganbayan. Not satisfied with the decision, petitioner instituted the present petition for review, ascribing to the Sandiganbayan the following errors: 1. THE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE CASE, INSTEAD OF DISMISSING IT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION, THE [PETITIONER] NOT BEING A PUBLIC OFFICER; and 2. THE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT NOT ALL THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT AND/OR THAT THE GUILT OF THE [PETITIONER] HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. We find the petition unmeritorious. On the first issue, petitioner asserts that he is not a public officer as defined by Sec. 2(b) of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019 as amended), because he was neither elected nor appointed to a public office. Rather, petitioner maintains that he is merely a private individual hired by the ITDI on contractual basis for a particular project and for a specified period 8 as

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evidenced by the contract of services 9 he entered into with the ITDI. Petitioner, to further support his "theory," alleged that he was not issued any appointment paper separate from the abovementioned contract. He was not required to use the bundy clock to record his hours of work and neither did he take an oath of office. 10 We are not convinced by petitioner's arguments. Petitioner miscontrues the definition of "public officer" in R.A. No. 3019 which, according to Sec. 2(b) thereof "includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exemption service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government. . . ." The word "includes" used in defining a public officer in Sec. 2(b) indicates that the definition is not restrictive. The terms "classified, unclassified or exemption service" were the old categories of positions in the civil service which have been reclassified into Career Service and Non-Career Service 11 by PD 807 providing for the organization of the Civil Service Commission 12 and by the Administrative Code of 1987. 13 Non-career service in particular is characterized by (1) entrance on bases other than those of the usual test of merit and fitness utilized for the career service;and (2) tenure which is limited to a period specified by law, or which is coterminous with that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or which is limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment was made. The Non-Career Service shall include: (1) Elective officials and their personal or confidential staff; (2) Secretaries and other officials of Cabinet rank who hold their positions at the pleasure of the President and their personal or confidential staff(s); (3) Chairman and members of commissions and boards with fixed terms of office and their personal or confidential staff; (4) Contractual personnel or those whose employment in the government is in accordance with a special contract to undertake a specific work or job, requiring special or technical skills not available in the employing agency, to be accomplished within a specific period, which in no case shall exceed one year, and performs or accomplishes the specific work or job, under his own responsibility with a minimum of direction and supervision from the hiring agency; and (5) Emergency and seasonal personnel. (Emphasis ours.) 14 From the foregoing classification, it is quite evident that petitioner falls under the non-career service category (formerly termed the unclassified or exemption service) of the Civil Service and thus is a public officer as defined by Sec. 2(b) of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019). The fact that petitioner is not required to record his working hours by means of a bundy clock or did not take an oath of office became unessential considerations in view of the above-mentioned provision of law clearly including petitioner within the definition of a public officer. Similarly, petitioner's averment that he could not be prosecuted under the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act because his intervention "was not required by law but in the performance of a contract of services entered into by him as a private individual contractor," 15 is erroneous. As discussed above, petitioner falls within the definition of a public officer and as such, his duties delineated in Annex "B" of the contract of services 16 are subsumed under the phrase "wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law." 17 Petitioner's allegation, to borrow a cliche, is nothing but a mere splitting of hairs. Among petitioner's duties as project manager is to evaluate the contractor's accomplishment reports/billings 18hence, as correctly ruled by the Sandiganbayan he has the "privilege and authority to make a favorable recommendation and act favorably in behalf of the government," signing acceptance papers and approving deductives and additives are some examples. 19 All of the elements of Sec. 3(b) of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act are, therefore, present. Anent the second issue, we likewise find Petitioner's allegations completely bereft of merit.

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Petitioner insists that the prosecution has failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that the charges against him should be rejected for being improbable, unbelievable and contrary to human nature. We disagree. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean that which produces absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is required or "that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind." 20 We have extensively reviewed the records of this case and we find no reason to overturn the findings of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner enumerates the alleged improbabilities and inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. We shall examine the testimonies referred to with meticulousness. Petitioner asserts that it was improbable for him to have demanded P200,000.00 from Engr. Resoso, when he could have just talked directly to the contractor himself. It is quite irrelevant from whom petitioner demanded his percentage share of P200,000.00 whether from the contractor's project engineer, Engr. Alexander Resoso or directly from the contractor himself Engr. Jaime Sta. Maria Sr. That petitioner made such a demand is all that is required by Sec. 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019 and this element has been sufficiently established by the testimony of Engr. Resoso, thus: xxx xxx xxx Q You said when you were computing your Change Order Mr. Preclaro or Dave Preclaro whom you identified approached you, what did you talk about? A He mentioned to me that we are deductive in our Change Order three and four so after our conversation I told this conversation to my boss that we are deductible in the Change Order three and four and then my boss told me to ask why it is deductive. Q Did you ask the accused here, Dave Preclaro why it is considered deductive? A Yes, sir. Q What was his answer if any? A I asked him that my boss is asking me to ask you how come it became deductive when my computation is additive and he told me that I have done so much for your company already and then he picked up cement bag paper bag and computed our alleged profit amounting to One Hundred Sixty Thousand Pesos and then he told me that he used to use some percentage in projects maximum and minimum and in our case he would use a minimum percentage and multiply to 60 and . . . JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Q What is 460? A P460,000.00 and he said take of the butal and get two Hundred Thousand Pesos. JUSTICE BALAJADIA: What is the translation now? WITNESS: A And he said disregard the excess and I will just get the P200,000.00. (Emphasis ours.) PROS. CAOILI: Q What does he mean by that if you know? A I do not know sir.

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He just said, I will get the P200,000.00 and tell it to your boss. (Emphasis ours.) JUSTICE BALAJADIA: Q What is P200,000.00? A It is Two Hundred Thousand Pesos. PROS. CAOILI: Q What did you answer him when he told you that? A He told me to forget the deductive and electrical and after that I told my boss what he told me. Q Who is your boss? A Santa Maria Sr. Q What was the reaction of your boss when you relayed the message to Mr. Preclaro? A The next day he told me to ask Dave where and when to pick up the money so the next day I asked Dave "Where do you intend to get the money, the Boss wanted to know." Q What was the answer of Dave? A And he told me, Wendy's Restaurant at 3:00 o'clock. Q When? A June 6 Wednesday. Q When he told you that did you comply with June 6 appointment? A I told my boss what he told me again that the meeting will take place at Wendy's Restaurant corner Edsa and Camias Street at around 8:00 o'clock p.m. June 6, Wednesday. Q What did your boss tell you? A The next day he told me to ask Dave. Q What did your boss tell you? A My boss told me to ask Dave to postpone the meeting on June 6 to be postponed on June 8 at the same place and same time because my boss is having financial problem. Q Did you relay the postponement to Dave Preclaro? A Yes sir. I told what my boss told me. Q What was his reaction? A Dave told me "O.K. lang with me" because we are not in a hurry. Any way we are the ones to sign the acceptance papers and my boss instructed me that on Friday to ask Dave to bring along the result of the punch list and if possible also to bring along the acceptance papers to be signed by Dave, Lydia Mejia and Dr. Lirag the director. Q What happened next after meeting with Preclaro to relay the postponement if any?

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A Nothing happened. The next day, Thursday the boss instructed me to go with him to the NBI to give a statement. Q Did you go to the NBI and report to the incident to the NBI? A Yes sir. Q Did you give a statement before any of the agents of the of the NBI? A Yes sir. 21 xxx xxx xxx Likewise, petitioner's alleged refusal to see Mr. Jaime Sta. Maria Sr. when the latter tried to arrange meetings with him regarding his demand 22 does not weaken the cause against petitioner. It does not at all prove that petitioner did not ask for money. Conceivably petitioner did not muster enough courage to ask money directly from the contractor himself. Getting the amount through the project engineer would be safer because if Mr. Sta. Maria, Sr. had refused to give money, petitioner could always deny having made the demand. Petitioner contends that the percentage demanded in the amount of P200,000.00 is too high considering that the estimated profit of the contractor from the CMD project is only P460,000.00. In petitioner's words, this would "scare the goose that lays the golden egg." 23 We reject this argument. The aforementioned contractor's profit is petitioner's own computation as testified to by Engr. Resoso: xxx xxx xxx A I asked him that my boss is asking me to ask you how come it became deductive when my computation is additive and he told me that I have done so much for your company already and then he picked up cement bag paper bag and computed our alleged profit amounting to One Hundred Sixty Thousand Pesos and then he told me that he used to use some percentage in projects maximum and minimum and in our case he would use a minimum percentage and multiply to 460 and . . . (Emphasis ours.) JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Q What is 460? A P460,000.00 and it ended to P215 thousand or P20,000.00 and he said take of the butal and get the Two Hundred Thousand Pesos. (Emphasis ours.) JUSTICE BALAJADIA: What is the translation now? WITNESS: A And he said disregard the excess and I will just get the P200,000.00. PROS. CAOILI: Q What does he mean by that if you know? A I do not know sir. He just said, I will get the P200,000.00 and tell it to your boss. 24 xxx xxx xxx

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The records, however, do not show the true and actual amount that the Sta. Maria Construction will earn as profit. There is, therefore, no basis for petitioner's contention as the actual profit may be lower or higher than his estimation. Besides, as related by Engr. Resoso, petitioner considers the P200,000.00 percentage proper compensation since he has allegedly done so much for the Sta. Maria construction company. 25 Petitioner also argues that: According to STA. MARIA, SR., they were deductive by P280,000.00 (Id., pp. 34-35). If STA. MARIA CONSTRUCTION was deductive in the amount of P280,000.00, why would the petitioner still demand P200,000.00 which would increase the contractor's loss to P480,000.00! It might have been different if the changes were additive where STA. MARIA CONSTRUCTION would have earned more, thereby providing motive for the petitioner to ask for a percentage! 26 But this is precisely what petitioner was bargaining for P200,000.00 in exchange for forgetting about the deductive 27 and thus prevent the Sta. Maria Construction from incurring losses. Petitioner's contention that it was impossible for him to make any demands because the final decision regarding accomplishments and billing lies with the DOST technical committee is unacceptable. Petitioner is part of the abovementioned technical committee as the ITDI representative consultant. This is part of his duties under the contract of services in connection with which he was employed by the ITDI. Even, assuming arguendo that petitioner does not make the final decision, as supervisor/consultant, his recommendations will necessarily carry much weight. Engr. Resoso testified thus: PROS. CAOILI: Q As a Project Engineer to whom do you present your billing papers accomplishment report or purchase order? A The billing paper was being taken cared of by the, of our office. I personally do my job as supervision in the construction. Q Do you have any counterpart to supervise the project from the government side? A Yes, we have. Yes, the DOST have a technical Committee Infra-Structure Committee and also the ITDI as its own representative. Q Who composed the Technical Committee of the DOST? A A certain Engineer Velasco, Engineer Sande Banez and Engineer Mejia. Q How about the ITDI? A The ITDI representative composed of Dave Preclaro. Q Who is this Dave Preclaro? A He is the consultant of ITDI. (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx ATTY. CAOILI: Q As Project Engineer do you consult to any body regarding your job?

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GENERAL PRINCIPLES A First if there is any problem in the site I consult my boss. PROS. CAOILI: Q How about with the other consultants representing the ITDI and DOST?

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A In the construction site we have meeting every Monday to discuss any problem. Q With whom do you discuss this problem? A The Infra-structure Committee of DOST and the Infra-structure Committee of ITDI, the architect and the contractor. We had weekly meetings. Q What matters if any do you consult with Mr. Claro Preclaro? ATTY. JIMENEZ: No basis. JUSTICE ESCAREAL: They met on problems on Mondays. ATTY. JIMENEZ: But there is no mention of Preclaro specifically. JUSTICE ESCAREAL: With the representative of DOST and Preclaro ATTY. JIMENEZ: Does that also mean that Preclaro is also among the representatives he is going to consult with? Well any way. . . JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Witness may answer the question. Read back the question. COURT STENOGRAPHER: Reading back the question as ordered by the Court. WITNESS: A Every Monday meeting we tackle with accomplishment report the billing papers. 28 (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx Petitioner also claims that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses regarding the entrapment itself are conflicting, doubtful or improbable:

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(aaa) according to RESOSO, only FOUR (4) P500 bills were dusted with flourescent powder and used in the alleged entrapment. Contradicting RESOSO, STA. MARIA, SR. said that he gave fifty thousand (P50,000.00) pesos in P500 denomination to the NBI. 29 There is no such inconsistency. Said witnesses were testifying on two different subjects. Engr. Sta. Maria, Sr.'s testimony touched on the amount he gave the NBI for use in the entrapment while Engr. Resoso's declaration referred only to the number of bills dusted with flourescent powder. Petitioner, likewise, misappreciated the following testimony of Resoso: PROS. CAOILI: Q What did he do with the two envelopes upon receiving the same? A Then he asked Jaime Sta. Maria, Jr. if there is bank teller express, if he could deposit the money but Mr. Sta. Maria said, "I do not have, I only have credit cards." 30 Petitioner intended to deposit the money in his own account not that of Mr. Sta. Maria, Jr. He was merely inquiring from the latter if there was an express teller nearby where he could make the deposit. Mr. Sta. Maria Jr. himself testified as follows: A He asked me if there was express teller. I told him I do not know then he asked me whether it is possible to deposit at the Express Teller at that time. I told him I don't know because I have no express teller card and he asked me how am I going to arrange, how was it arranged if I will bring it, can I bring it. Then I told him that it was placed in two envelopes consisting of 500 Peso bills and then he said "Okay na yan." 31 The failure of the NBI to take photographs of the actual turn-over of the money to petitioner is not fatal to the People's cause. The transaction was witnessed by several people, among whom were Engr. Resoso, Mr. Sta. Maria Jr. and the NBI agents whose testimonies on the circumstances before, during and after the turn-over are consistent, logical and credible. According to NBI Agent Francisco Balanban Sr., they purposely took no photographs of the actual turn-over so as not to alert and scare off the petitioner. During cross-examination Agent Balanban Jr. stated: xxx xxx xxx Q Now, of course, this entrapment operation, you made certain preparation to make sure that you would be able to gather evidence in support of the entrapment? A Yes sir. Q As a matter of fact you even brought photographer for the purpose? A That is right sir. Q And that photographer was precisely brought along to record the entrapment? A Yes sir. Q From the beginning to the end, that was the purpose? A At the time of the arrest sir. ATTY. JIMENEZ: From the time of the handing over of the envelopes until the entrapment would have been terminated?

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A No sir we plan to take the photograph only during the arrest because if we take photographs he would be alerted during the handing of the envelopes. (Emphasis ours.) Q So you did not intend to take photographs of the act of handing of the envelopes to the suspect? A We intended but during that time we cannot take photographs at the time of the handling because the flash will alert the suspect. (Emphasis ours.) JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Why did you not position the photographer to a far distance place with camera with telescopic lens? A We did not Your Honor. ATTY. JIMENEZ: So was it your intention to take photographs only at the time that he is already being arrested? A Yes sir. 32 xxx xxx xxx Petitioner insists that when his hands were placed under ultra-violet light, both were found negative for flourescent powder. This is petitioner's own conclusion which is not supported by evidence. Such self-serving statement will not prevail over the clear and competent testimony and the report 33 submitted by the forensic expert of the NBI Ms. Demelen R. dela Cruz, who was the one who conducted the test and found petitioner's right palmar hand positive for flourescent powder, the same hand he used, according to witnesses Resoso and Sta. Maria Jr., to get the money from the latter. xxx xxx xxx Q Mrs. dela Cruz since when have you been a Forensic Chemist at NBI? A Since 1981 sir. Q JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Q By the way, is the defense willing to admit that the witness is a competent as . . . . ATTY. JIMENEZ: Admitted Your Honor. PROS. CAOILI: Madam Witness did you conduct a forensic examination in the person of one Dave Preclaro y Jambalos? A Yes sir. Q If that person whom you examined is here in court would you be able to recognize him? ATTY. JIMENEZ: We admit that the accused is the one examined by the witness. ATTY. CAOILI:

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GENERAL PRINCIPLES Did you prepare the result of the examination in writing? A Yes sir. PROS. CAOILI:

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Showing to you Physic Examination No. 90-961 which for purposes of identification has already been marked as Exh. H what relation has this have with the report that you mentioned a while ago? A This is the same report that I prepared sir. Q How did you conduct such flourescent examination? A The left and right hands of the accused were placed under the ultra violet lamp sir. Q What was the result? A It gave a . . . under the ultra violent lamp the palmer hands of the suspect gave positive result for the presence of flourescent powder. Q What palmar hands? A Right hand sir. Q What other examination did you conduct? A And also the clothing, consisting of the t-shirts and the pants were examined. Under the ultra violet lamp the presence of the flourescent powder of the t-shirts and pants cannot be seen or distinguished because the fibers or the material of the cloth under the ultra violet lamp was flouresce. Q Please tell the Court why the t-shirts and pants under the ultra violent lamp was flouresce? A The materials or the fibers of the clothings it could have been dyed with flourescent dyes sir. 34 xxx xxx xxx What we find improbable and contrary to human experience is petitioner's claim that he was set up by Engr. Sta. Maria Sr. and Engr. Resoso for no other purpose but revenge on account, for petitioner's failure to recommend the Sta. Maria Construction to perform the extra electrical works. 35 The Sandiganbayan has aptly ruled on this matter, thus: For another, the claim of accused that there was ill-will on the part of the construction company is hardly plausible. It is highly improbable for the company to embark on a malicious prosecution of an innocent person for the simple reason that such person had recommended the services of another construction firm. And it is extremely impossible for such company to enlist the cooperation and employ the services of the government's chief investigative agency for such an anomalous undertaking. It is more in accord with reason and logic to presuppose that there was some sort of a mischievous demand made by the accused in exchange for certain favorable considerations, such as, favorable recommendation on the completeness of the project, hassle-free release of funds, erasure of deductives, etc. Indeed, the rationale for the occurrence of the meeting and the demand for money is infinite and boundless. 36 As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, Engr. Sta. Maria Sr., who was then engaged in the construction of another DOST building, would not risk his business or livelihood just to exact revenge which is neither profitable nor logical. As we aptly stated in Maleg v. Sandiganbayan: 37 It is hard to believe that the complainant who is a contractor would jeopardize and prejudice his business interests and risk being blacklisted in government infrastructure projects, knowing that with the institution of the case, he may find it

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GENERAL PRINCIPLES

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no longer advisable nor profitable to continue in his construction ventures. It is hardly probable that the complainant would weave out of the blue a serious accusation just to retaliate and take revenge on the accused. From the foregoing, the conclusion is inescapable that on the basis of the testimonial and documentary evidence presented during the trial, the guilt of petitioner has been established beyond reasonable doubt. WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Sandiganbayan is hereby AFFIRMED.

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