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A. ARTICLE VIII JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT Section 1.

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. ECHEGARAY vs. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE For resolution are public respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of this Court dated January 4, 1999 temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner and Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. It is the submission of public respondents that: "(1) The Decision in this case having become final and executory, its execution enters the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive authority. The issuance of the TRO may be construed as trenching on that sphere of executive authority; (2) The issuance of the temporary restraining order x x x creates dangerous precedent as there will never be an end to litigation because there is always a possibility that Congress may repeal a law. (3) Congress had earlier deliberated extensively on the death penalty bill. To be certain, whatever question may now be raised on the Death Penalty Law before the present Congress within the 6-month period given by this Honorable Court had in all probability been fully debated upon x x x. (4) Under the time honored maxim lex futuro, judex praeterito, the law looks forward while the judge looks at the past, x x x the Honorable Court in issuing the TRO has transcended its power of judicial review. (5) At this moment, certain circumstances/supervening events transpired to the effect that the repeal or modification of the law imposing death penalty has become nil, to wit: a. The public pronouncement of President Estrada that he will veto any law imposing the death penalty involving heinous crimes. b. The resolution of Congressman Golez, et al., that they are against the repeal of the law; c. The fact that Senator Roco's resolution to repeal the law only bears his signature and that of Senator Pimentel." In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, public respondents attached a copy of House Resolution No. 629 introduced by Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representative to reject any move to review Republic Act No. 7659 which provided for the re-imposition of death penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the position of the House of Representatives on this matter, and urging the President to exhaust all means under the law to immediately implement the death penalty law." The Resolution was concurred in by one hundred thirteen (113) congressmen. In their Consolidated Comment, petitioner contends: (1) the stay order x x x is within the scope of judicial power and duty and does not trench on executive powers nor on congressional prerogatives; (2) the exercise by this Court of its power to stay execution was reasonable; (3) the Court did not lose jurisdiction to address incidental matters involved or arising from the petition; (4) public respondents are estopped from challenging the Court's jurisdiction; and (5) there is no certainty that the law on capital punishment will not be repealed or modified until Congress convenes and considers all the various resolutions and bills filed before it.

Prefatorily, the Court likes to emphasize that the instant motions concern matters that are not incidents in G.R. No. 117472, where the death penalty was imposed on petitioner on automatic review of his conviction by this Court. The instant motions were filed in this case, G.R. No. 132601, where the constitutionality of R.A. No. 8177 (Lethal Injection Law) and its implementing rules and regulations was assailed by petitioner. For this reason, the Court in its Resolution of January 4, 1999 merely noted the Motion to Set Aside of Rodessa "Baby" R. Echegaray dated January 7, 1999 and Entry of Appearance of her counsel dated January 5, 1999. Clearly, she has no legal standing to intervene in the case at bar, let alone the fact that the interest of the State is properly represented by the Solicitor General. We shall now resolve the basic issues raised by the public respondents. First. We do not agree with the sweeping submission of the public respondents that this Court lost its jurisdiction over the case at bar and hence can no longer restrain the execution of the petitioner. Obviously, public respondents are invoking the rule that final judgments can no longer be altered in accord with the principle that "it is just as important that there should be a place to end as there should be a place to begin [1] litigation." To start with, the Court is not changing even a comma of its final Decision. It is appropriate to examine with precision the metes and bounds of the Decision of this Court that became final. These metes and bounds are clearly spelled out in the Entry of Judgment in this case, viz: "ENTRY OF JUDGMENT This is to certify that on October 12, 1998 a decision rendered in the above-entitled case was filed in this Office, the dispositive part of which reads as follows: `WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar as petitioner seeks to declare the assailed statute (Republic Act No. 8177) as unconstitutional; but GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are concerned, which are hereby declared INVALID because (a) Section 17 contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659; and (b) Section 19 fails to provide for review and approval of the Lethal Injection Manual by the Secretary of Justice, and unjustifiably makes the manual confidential, hence unavailable to interested parties including the accused/convict and counsel. Respondents are hereby enjoined from enforcing and implementing Republic Act No. 8177 until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are appropriately amended, revised and/or corrected in accordance with this Decision. SO ORDERED.' and that the same has, on November 6, 1998 become final and executory and is hereby recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgment. Manila, Philippines. Clerk of Court By: (SGD) TERESITA G. DIMAISIP Acting Chief Judicial Records Office" The records will show that before the Entry of Judgment, the Secretary of Justice, the Honorable Serafin Cuevas, filed with this Court on October 21, 1998 a Compliance where he submitted the Amended Rules and Regulations implementing R.A. No. 8177 in compliance with our Decision. On October 28, 1998, Secretary Cuevas submitted a Manifestation informing the Court that he has caused the publication of the said Amended Rules and Regulations as required by the Administrative Code. It is crystalline that the Decision of this Court that became final and unalterable mandated: (1) that R.A. No. 8177 is not unconstitutional; (2) that sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement R.A. No. 8177 are invalid, and (3) R.A. No. 8177 cannot be enforced and implemented until

sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and Regulations to Implement R.A. No. 8177 are amended. It is also daylight clear that this Decision was not altered a whit by this Court. Contrary to the submission of the Solicitor General, the rule on finality of judgment cannot divest this Court of its jurisdiction to execute and enforce the same judgment. Retired Justice Camilo [2] Quiason synthesized the well established jurisprudence on this issue as follows: xxx "the finality of a judgment does not mean that the Court has lost all its powers nor the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the court loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final the court retains its jurisdiction [3] to execute and enforce it. There is a difference between the jurisdiction of the court to execute its judgment and its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. The former continues even after the judgment has become final for the purpose of enforcement of [4] judgment; the latter terminates when the judgment becomes final. x x x For after the judgment has become final facts and circumstances may transpire which can render the [5] execution unjust or impossible. In truth, the argument of the Solicitor General has long been rejected by this Court. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner, as early as 1915, this Court has unequivocably ruled in [6] the case of Director of Prisons v. Judge of First Instance, viz: "This Supreme Court has repeatedly declared in various decisions, which constitute jurisprudence on the subject, that in criminal cases, after the sentence has been pronounced and the period for reopening the same has elapsed, the court cannot change or alter its judgment, as its jurisdiction has terminated . . . When in cases of appeal or review the cause has been returned thereto for execution, in the event that the judgment has been affirmed, it performs a ministerial duty in issuing the proper order. But it does not follow from this cessation of functions on the part of the court with reference to the ending of the cause that the judicial authority terminates by having then passed completely to the Executive. The particulars of the execution itself, which are certainly not always included in the judgment and writ of execution, in any event are absolutely under the control of the judicial authority, while the executive has no power over the person of the convict except to provide for carrying out of the penalty and to pardon. Getting down to the solution of the question in the case at bar, which is that of execution of a capital sentence, it must be accepted as a hypothesis that postponement of the date can be requested. There can be no dispute on this point. It is a well-known principle that notwithstanding the order of execution and the executory nature thereof on the date set or at the proper time, the date therefor can be postponed, even in sentences of death. Under the common law this postponement can be ordered in three ways: (1) By command of the King; (2) by discretion (arbitrio)of the court; and (3) by mandate of the law. It is sufficient to state this principle of the common law to render impossible that assertion in absolute terms that after the convict has once been placed in jail the trial court can not reopen the case to investigate the facts that show the need for postponement. If one of the ways is by direction of the court, it is acknowledged that even after the date of the execution has been fixed, and notwithstanding the general rule that after the (court) has performed its ministerial duty of ordering the execution . . . and its part is ended, if however a circumstance arises that ought to delay the execution, and there is an imperative duty to investigate the emergency and to order a postponement. Then the question arises as to whom the application for postponing the execution ought to be addressed while the circumstances is under investigation and as to who has jurisdiction to make the investigation."

The power to control the execution of its decision is an essential aspect of [7] jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial subtraction for our Constitution vests the entirety of judicial power in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be estabished by law. To be sure, the most important part of a litigation, whether civil or criminal, is the process of execution of decisions where supervening events may change the circumstance of the parties and compel courts to intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforseen, supervening contingencies that courts have been conceded the inherent and necessary power of control [8] of its processes and orders to make them conformable to law and justice. For this purpose, Section 6 of Rule 135 provides that "when by law jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such court or officer and if the procedure to be followed in the exercise of such jurisdiction is not specifically pointed out by law or by these rules, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which appears conformable to the spirit of said law or rules." It bears repeating that what the Court restrained temporarily is the execution of its own Decision to give it reasonble time to check its fairness in light of supervening events in Congress as alleged by petitioner. The Court, contrary to popular misimpression, did not restrain the effectivity of a law enacted by Congress. The more disquieting dimension of the submission of the public respondents that this Court has no jurisdiction to restrain the execution of petitioner is that it can diminish the independence of the judiciary. Since the implant of republicanism in our soil, our courts have been conceded the jurisdiction to enforce their final decisions. In accord with this unquestioned jurisdiction, this Court promulgated rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure which, among others, spelled out the rules on execution of judgments. These rules are all predicated on the assumption that courts have the inherent, necessary and incidental power to control and supervise the process of execution of their decisions. Rule 39 governs execution, satisfaction and effects of judgments in civil cases. Rule 120 governs judgments in criminal cases. It should be stressed that the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure was granted by our Constitutions to this Court to enhance its independence, for in the words of Justice Isagani Cruz "without independence and integrity, courts will lose that popular trust so essential to the [9] maintenance of their vigor as champions of justice." Hence, our Constitutions continuously vested this power to this Court for it enhances its independence. Under the 1935 Constitution, the power of this Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure was granted but it appeared to be co-existent with legislative power for it was subject to the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement. Thus, its Section 13, Article VIII provides: "Sec. 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines." The said power of Congress, however, is not as absolute as it may appear on its [10] surface. In In re Cunanan Congress in the exercise of its power to amend rules of the Supreme Court regarding admission to the practice of law, enacted the Bar Flunkers Act of [11] 1953 which considered as a passing grade, the average of 70% in the bar examinations

after July 4, 1946 up to August 1951 and 71% in the 1952 bar examinations. This Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. In his ponencia, Mr. Justice Diokno held that "x x x the disputed law is not a legislation; it is a judgment - a judgment promulgated by this Court during the aforecited years affecting the bar candidates concerned; and although this Court certainly can revoke these judgments even now, for justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court, and not the legislative nor executive department, that may do so. Any attempt on the part of these departments would be a clear usurpation of its function, as is [12] the case with the law in question." The venerable jurist further ruled: "It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law belongs exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum conditions for the license." By its ruling, this Court qualified the absolutist tone of the power of Congress to "repeal, alter or supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. The ruling of this Court in In re Cunanan was not changed by the 1973 Constitution. For the 1973 Constitution reiterated the power of this Court "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, x x x which, however, may be repealed, altered or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa x x x." More completely, Section 5(2)5 of its Article X provided: xxx xxx xxx "Sec. 5 (5). The Supreme Court shall have the following powers. (5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the Bar, which, however, may be repealed, altered, or supplemented by the Batasang Pambansa. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights." Well worth noting is that the 1973 Constitution further strengthened the independence of the judiciary by giving to it the additional power to promulgate rules [13] governing the integration of the Bar. The 1987 Constitution molded an even stronger and more independent judiciary. Among others, it enhanced the rule making power of this Court. Its Section 5(5), Article VIII provides: xxx xxx xxx "Section 5 (5). The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court." The rule making power of this Court was expanded. This Court for the first time was given the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. The Court was also granted for the first time the power to disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. But most importantly, the 1987 Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. In fine, the power to promulgate rules of pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this Court with Congress, more so with the Executive. If the manifest intent of the 1987 Constitution is to strengthen the

independence of the judiciary, it is inutile to urge, as public respondents do, that this Court has no jurisdiction to control the process of execution of its decisions, a power conceded to it and which it has exercised since time immemorial. To be sure, it is too late in the day for public respondents to assail the jurisdiction of this Court to control and supervise the implementation of its decision in the case at bar. As aforestated, our Decision became final and executory on November 6, 1998. The records reveal that after November 6, 1998, or on December 8, 1998, no less than the Secretary of Justice recognized the jurisdiction of this Court by filing a Manifestation and Urgent Motion to compel the trial judge, the Honorable Thelma A. Ponferrada, RTC, Br. 104, Quezon City to provide him "x x x a certified true copy of the Warrant of Execution dated November 17, 1998 bearing the designated execution day of death convict Leo Echegaray and allow (him) to reveal or announce the contents thereof, particularly the execution date fixed by such trial court to the public when requested." The relevant portions of the Manifestation and Urgent Motion filed by the Secretary of Justice beseeching this Court "to provide the appropriate relief" state: xxx xxx xxx 5. Instead of filing a comment on Judge Ponferrada's Manifestation however, herein respondent is submitting the instant Manifestation and Motion (a) to stress, inter alia, that the non-disclosure of the date of execution deprives herein respondent of vital information necessary for the exercise of his statutory powers, as well as renders nugatory the constitutional guarantee that recognizes the people's right to information of public concern, and (b) to ask this Honorable Court to provide the appropriate relief. 6. The non-disclosure of the date of execution deprives herein respondent of vital information necessary for the exercise of his power of supervision and control over the Bureau of Corrections pursuant to Section 39, Chapter 8, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, in relation to Title III, Book IV of such Administrative Code, insofar as the enforcement of Republic Act No. 8177 and the Amended Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 is concerned and for the discharge of the mandate of seeing to it that laws and rules relative to the execution of sentence are faithfully observed. 7. On the other hand, the willful omission to reveal the information about the precise day of execution limits the exercise by the President of executive clemency powers pursuant to Section 19, Article VII (Executive Department) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Article 81 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, which provides that the death sentence shall be carried out `without prejudice to the exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times." (Underscoring supplied) For instance, the President cannot grant reprieve, i.e., postpone the execution of a sentence to a day certain (People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56, 110 [1937]) in the absence of a precise date to reckon with. The exercise of such clemency power, at this time, might even work to the prejudice of the convict and defeat the purpose of the Constitution and the applicable statute as when the date of execution set by the President would be earlier than that designated by the court. 8. Moreover, the deliberate non-disclosure of information about the date of execution to herein respondent and the public violates Section 7, Article III (Bill of Rights) and Section 28, Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which read: SEC. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

SEC. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. 9. The `right to information' provision is self-executing. It supplies 'the rules by means of which the right to information may be enjoyed (Cooley, A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations, 167 [1972]) by guaranteeing the right and mandating the duty to afford access to sources of information. Hence, the fundamental right therein recognized may be asserted by the people upon the ratification of the Constitution without need for any ancillary act of the Legislature (Id., at p. 165) What may be provided for by the Legislature are reasonable conditions and limitations upon the access to be afforded which must, of necessity, be consistent with the declared State policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest (Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 28). However, it cannot be overemphasized that whatever limitation may be prescribed by the Legislature, the right and the duty under Art. III, Sec. 7 have become operative and enforceable by virtue of the adoption of the New Charter." (Decision of the Supreme Court En Bancin Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, 150 SCRA 530, 534-535 [1987]." The same motion to compel Judge Ponferrada to reveal the date of execution of petitioner Echegaray was filed by his counsel, Atty. Theodore Te, on December 7, 1998. He invoked his client's right to due process and the public's right to information. The Solicitor General, as counsel for public respondents, did not oppose petitioner's motion on the ground that this Court has no more jurisdiction over the process of execution of Echegaray. This Court granted the relief prayed for by the Secretary of Justice and by the counsel of the petitioner in its Resolution of December 15, 1998. There was not a whimper of protest from the public respondents and they are now estopped from contending that this Court has lost its jurisdiction to grant said relief. The jurisdiction of this Court does not depend on the convenience of litigants. Second. We likewise reject the public respondents' contention that the "decision in this case having become final and executory, its execution enters the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive department x x x. By granting the TRO, the Honorable Court has [14] in effect granted reprieve which is an executive function." Public respondents cite as their authority for this proposition, Section 19, Article VII of the Constitution which reads: "Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment. He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Congress." The text and tone of this provision will not yield to the interpretation suggested by the public respondents. The provision is simply the source of power of the President to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment. It also provides the authority for the President to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Congress. The provision, however, cannot be interpreted as denying the power of courts to control the enforcement of their decisions after their finality. In truth, an accused who has been convicted by final judgment still possesses collateral rights and these rights can be claimed in the appropriate courts. For instance, a death convict who becomes insane after his final conviction cannot be [15] executed while in a state of insanity. As observed by Antieau, "today, it is generally assumed that due process of law will prevent the government from executing the death [16] sentence upon a person who is insane at the time of execution." The suspension of such a death sentence is undisputably an exercise of judicial power. It is not a usurpation of the presidential power of reprieve though its effect is the same -- the temporary suspension of the execution of the death convict. In the same vein, it cannot be denied that Congress can

at any time amend R.A. No. 7659 by reducing the penalty of death to life imprisonment. The effect of such an amendment is like that of commutation of sentence. But by no stretch of the imagination can the exercise by Congress of its plenary power to amend laws be considered as a violation of the power of the President to commute final sentences of conviction. The powers of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary to save the life of a death convict do not exclude each other for the simple reason that there is no higher right than the right to life. Indeed, in various States in the United States, laws have even been enacted expressly granting courts the power to suspend execution of convicts and their constitutionality has been upheld over arguments that they infringe upon the power of the President to grant reprieves. For the public respondents therefore to contend that only the Executive can protect the right to life of an accused after his final conviction is to violate the principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of the three branches of our government. Third. The Court's resolution temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner must be put in its proper perspective as it has been grievously distorted especially by those who make a living by vilifying courts. Petitioner filed his Very Urgent Motion for Issuance of TRO on December 28, 1998 at about 11:30 p.m. He invoked several grounds, viz: (1) that his execution has been set on January 4, the first working day of 1999; (b) that members of Congress had either sought for his executive clemency and/or review or repeal of the law authorizing capital punishment; (b.1) that Senator Aquilino Pimentel's resolution asking that clemency be granted to the petitioner and that capital punishment be reviewed has been concurred by thirteen (13) other senators; (b.2) Senate President Marcelo Fernan and Senator Miriam S. Defensor have publicly declared they would seek a review of the death penalty law; (b.3) Senator Raul Roco has also sought the repeal of capital punishment, and (b.4) Congressman Salacrib Baterina, Jr., and thirty five (35) other congressmen are demanding review of the same law. When the Very Urgent Motion was filed, the Court was already in its traditional recess and would only resume session on January 18, 1999. Even then, Chief Justice Hilario Davide, [17] Jr. called the Court to a Special Session on January 4, 1999 at 10. a.m. to deliberate on petitioner's Very Urgent Motion. The Court hardly had five (5) hours to resolve petitioner's motion as he was due to be executed at 3 p.m. Thus, the Court had the difficult problem of resolving whether petitioner's allegations about the moves in Congress to repeal or amend the Death Penalty Law are mere speculations or not. To the Court's majority, there were good reasons why the Court should not immediately dismiss petitioner's allegations as mere speculations and surmises. They noted that petitioner's allegations were made in a pleading under oath and were widely publicized in the print and broadcast media. It was also of judicial notice that the 11th Congress is a new Congress and has no less than one hundred thirty (130) new members whose views on capital punishment are still unexpressed. The present Congress is therefore different from the Congress that enacted the Death Penalty Law (R.A. No. 7659) and the Lethal Injection Law (R.A. No. 8177). In contrast, the Court's minority felt that petitioner's allegations lacked clear factual bases. There was hardly a time to verify petitioner's allegations as his execution was set at 3 p.m. And verification from Congress was impossible as Congress was not in session. Given these constraints, the Court's majority did not rush to judgment but took anextremely cautious stance by temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner. The suspension was temporary - - - "until June 15, 1999, coeval with the constitutional duration of the present regular session of Congress, unless it sooner becomes certain that no repeal or modification of the law is going to be made." The extreme caution taken by the Court was compelled, among others, by the fear that any error of the Court in not stopping the execution of the petitioner will preclude any further relief for all rights stop at the graveyard. As life was at

stake, the Court refused to constitutionalize haste and the hysteria of some partisans. The Court's majority felt it needed the certainty that the legislature will not change the circumstance of petitioner as alleged by his counsel. It was believed that law and equitable considerations demand no less before allowing the State to take the life of one its citizens. The temporary restraining order of this Court has produced its desired result, i.e., the crystallization of the issue whether Congress is disposed to review capital punishment. The public respondents, thru the Solicitor General, cite posterior events that negate beyond doubt the possibility that Congress will repeal or amend the death penalty law. He names these supervening events as follows: xxx "a. The public pronouncement of President Estrada that he will veto any law repealing the death penalty involving heinous crimes. b. The resolution of Congressman Golez, et al., that they are against the repeal of the law; c. The fact that Senator Roco's resolution to repeal the law only bears his signature and that [18] of Senator Pimentel." In their Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, the Solicitor General cited House Resolution No. 629 introduced by Congressman Golez entitled "Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to reject any move to review R.A. No. 7659 which provided for the reimposition of death penalty, notifying the Senate, the Judiciary and the Executive Department of the position of the House of Representatives on this matter and urging the President to exhaust all means under the law to immediately implement the death penalty law." The Golez resolution was signed by 113 congressmen as of January 11, 1999. In a marathon session yesterday that extended up to 3 o'clock in the morning, the House of Representatives with minor amendments formally adopted the Golez resolution by an overwhelming vote. House Resolution No. 25 expressed the sentiment that the House "x x x does not desire at this time to review Republic Act 7659." In addition, the President has stated that he will not request Congress to ratify the Second Protocol in view of the prevalence of heinous crimes in the country. In light of these developments, the Court's TRO should now be lifted as it has served its legal and humanitarian purpose. A last note. In 1922, the famous Clarence Darrow predicted that "x x x the question of capital punishment has been the subject of endless discussion and will probably never be [19] settled so long as men believe in punishment." In our clime and time when heinous crimes continue to be unchecked, the debate on the legal and moral predicates of capital punishment has been regrettably blurred by emotionalism because of the unfaltering faith of the pro and anti-death partisans on the right and righteousness of their postulates. To be sure, any debate, even if it is no more than an exchange of epithets is healthy in a democracy. But when the debate deteriorates to discord due to the overuse of words that wound, when anger threatens to turn the majority rule to tyranny, it is the especial duty of this Court to assure that the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the minority fully hold. As Justice Brennan reminds us "x x x it is the very purpose of the Constitution - - - and particularly the Bill of Rights - - - to declare certain values transcendent, beyond the reach of [20] temporary political majorities." Man has yet to invent a better hatchery of justice than the courts. It is a hatchery where justice will bloom only when we can prevent the roots of reason to be blown away by the winds of rage. The flame of the rule of law cannot be ignited by rage, especially the rage of the mob which is the mother of unfairness. The business of courts in rendering justice is to be fair and they can pass their litmus test only [21] when they can be fair to him who is momentarily the most hated by society.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court grants the public respondents' Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion to Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and lifts the Temporary Restraining Order issued in its Resolution of January 4, 1999. The Court also orders respondent trial court judge (Hon. Thelma A. Ponferrada, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 104) to set anew the date for execution of the convict/petitioner in accordance with applicable provisions of law and the Rules of Court, without further delay. SO ORDERED. Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice G.R. No. 132601, January 19, 1999 Facts: On January 4, 1999, the SC issued a TRO staying the execution of petitioner Leo Echegaray scheduled on that same day. The public respondent Justice Secretary assailed the issuance of the TRO arguing that the action of the SC not only violated the rule on finality of judgment but also encroached on the power of the executive to grant reprieve. Issue: WON the SC, after the decision in the case becomes final and executory, still has jurisdiction over the case Held: The finality of judgment does not mean that the SC has lost all its powers or the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the SC loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final, the SC retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce it. The power to control the execution of the SCs decision is an essential aspect of its jurisdiction. It cannot be the subject of substantial subtraction for the Constitution vests the entirety of judicial power in one SC and in such lower courts as may be established by law. The important part of a litigation, whether civil or criminal, is the processof execution of decisions where supervening events may change the circumstance of the parties and compel courts to intervene and adjust the rights of the litigants to prevent unfairness. It is because of these unforeseen, supervening contingencies that courts have been conceded the inherent and necessary power of control of its processes and orders to make them comform to law and justice. The Court also rejected public respondents contention that by granting the TRO, the Court has in effect granted reprieve which is an executive function under Sec. 19, Art. VII of the Constitution. In truth, an accused who has been convicted by final judgment still possesses collateral rights and these rights can be claimed in the appropriate courts. For instance, a death convict who becomes insane after his final conviction cannot be executed while in a state of insanity. The suspension of such a death sentence is indisputably an exercise of judicial power. It is not a usurpation of the presidential power of reprieve though its effects are the same as the temporary suspension of the execution of the death convict. In the same vein, it cannot be denied that Congress can at any time amend the Death Penalty Law by reducing the penalty of death to life imprisonment. The effect of such an amendment is like that of commutation of sentence. But the exercise of Congress of its plenary power to amend laws cannot be considered as a violation of the power of the President to commute final sentences of conviction. The powers of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary to save the life of a death convict do not exclude each other for the simple reason that there is no higher right than the right to life. To contend that only the Executive can protect the right to life of an accused after his final conviction is to violate the principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of the 3 branches of the government.

The Philippine Writ of Amparo is a legal means designed to protect the constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the people. In recent years, the Philippines was plagued by a substantial number of reported and unreported incidents of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances refer to the unlawful killings and abductions of persons due to their political activities such as politicians, media men, trade union members and other political activists. As a matter of fact, the Philippines was branded as one of the most dangerous places in the world for media people due to an alarmingly high rate of assassinations and murders involving journalists and other media men. This scenario, coupled with the inability of the current remedy of habeas corpus, provided the impetus for the Philippine authorities specifically the Judiciary, to take measures to address the situation. One of these is the promulgation of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. Philippine Writ of Amparo, definition and nature The writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or is threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. The word "Amparo" is a Spanish term which means "protection". The concept of the writ is of Mexican origin. In Mexico, there is what they call "recurso de amparo" under the Mexican Constitution; it serves as the legal remedy for the protection of any individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. (Article 103 and Article 107, Federal Constitution of Mexico) The amparo remedy of the Philippines, on the other hand, is of a relatively limited purpose. It only deals with the violation or threatened violation of the right to life, liberty and security of the people which includes the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Basis of the Philippine Writ of Amparo The 1987 Philippine Constitution, in Article VIII, Sec.5 (5) thereof, vests the power to the Philippine Supreme Court to "promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights..." This served as the legal basis for the formulation of the Philippine writ of amparo. Features of the Philippine Writ of Amparo As can be gleaned from the definition thereof, the writ is a remedy for the protection of right to life, liberty and personal security. It is not available as a remedy for the protection of property right although in some cases, property right is so intertwined with right to liberty or security thus, the remedy can still be used. The writ can be availed of by anybody but the Rule provides for a strict order of preference, non-compliance therewith can be fatal to the granting of the writ by the courts. (Sec. 2, Rule on the Writ of Amparo) The writ can be granted by the second-level courts, i.e., Regional Trial Courts, and the collegiate courts such as the Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court or any of the individual justices thereof. (Sec. 3, Rule on the Writ of Amparo). On the other hand, the writ can be directed against anybody, whether they be public officials, employees, or even private persons as long as it can be proved that these entities committed acts or omitted to perform acts as prohibited by the Rule. (Sec. 2, Rule on the Writ of Amparo)

In proceedings for the application of writ of amparo, parties are required to prove their respective allegations on the basis of substantial evidence, i.e., such amount of evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Philippine Writ of Amparo, applied From the time the Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated in 2007, there are already numerous instances where the writ was availed of and was successfully granted, some of them directed against the Philippine military.

The "equipoise doctrine" is the rule which states that when the evidence of the prosecution and the defense are so evenly balanced the appreciation of such evidence calls for tilting of the scales in favor of the accused. Thus, the evidence for the prosecution must be heavier to overcome the presumption of innocence of the accused. The constitutional basis of the rule is Bill of Rights which finds expressions in Sec. 1, par. (a), Rule 115 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended . B. COMPOSITION (Article VIII, Section 4) (1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It may sit en banc or in its discretion, in division of three, five, or seven Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof. (2) All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, and all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. (3) Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc. VARGAS vs RILLORAZA 80 Phil 297 Counsel for the defense, in a motion dated August 28, 1947, assails the constitutionality of section 14 of the People's Court Act (Commonwealth Act No. 682) upon the following grounds: (a) It provides for qualification of members of the Supreme Court, other than those provided in section 6, Article VIII of the Philippine Constitution. (b) It authorizes the appointment of members of the Supreme Court who do not possess the qualifications set forth in section 6, Article VIII, of the Philippine Constitution. (c) It removes from office the members of the Supreme Court by means of a procedure other than impeachment, contrary to Article IX, of the Philippine Constitution. (d) It deprives the Commission on Appointments of Congress of its constitutional prerogative to confirm or reject appointments to the Supreme Court. (e) It creates two Supreme Courts.

(f) it impairs the rule making power of the Supreme Court, contrary to section 13, Article VIII of the Philippine Constitution. (g) It is a Bill of Attainder, for it punishes by disqualification members of the Supreme Court who rendered said public service during the Japanese occupation. (h) It denies equal protection of the laws. (i) It is an ex post pacto legislation. (j) It amends the Constitution by a procedure not sanctioned by Article XV, of the Philippine Constitution. (k) It destroys the independence of the Judiciary, and it permits the "packing" of the Supreme Court in certain cases, either by Congress or by the President. The Solicitor General, in behalf of the prosecution, opposes the motion and in support of his opposition submits these propositions: 1. Power of Congress to enact section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 682. 2. Section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 does not and is not intended to provide an additional qualification for members of the Supreme Court, much less does it amend section 6, Article VIII, of the Constitution of the Philippines. 3. Qualifications of members of the Supreme Court prescribed in section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution apply to permanent "appointees" not to temporary "designees." 4. Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution is not applicable to temporary designations under section 14, Commonwealth Act No. 682. 5. It does not remove but merely disqualifies the members of the Supreme Court affected to sit and vote in the particular class of cases therein mentioned. 6. It does not create an additional "Special Supreme Court." 7. It does not impair the rule-making power of the Supreme Court but merely supplements the Rules of Court. 8. It is not a bill of attainder. 9. It is not an ex post pacto law. 10. It does not deny equal protection of the laws either to the Justices of the Supreme Court affected or the treason indicates concerned. 11. It does not amend any constitutional provision. 12. It does not destroy the independence of the judiciary or curtail the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This opposition is a reproduction by reference in the instant case of a similar pleading filed by the Solicitor General in G.R. No. L-398, People vs. Sison, pursuant to the resolution of this Court in the instant case dated October 30, 1947, granting the prayer of the Assistant Solicitor General that in the consideration of petitioner's memorandum herein of September 27, 1947. It will not be necessary for the purposes of this resolution to consider and decide all the legal questions thus raised by these conflicting contentions of the parties. For the purposes of the present resolution, the considerations presently to be set forth are deemed insufficient. Article VIII, section 4, of the Constitution ordains that the Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and ten Associate Justices and may sit either in banc or in two divisions unless otherwise provided by law. Section 5 of the same Article provides, inter alia, that the members of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Section 6 of the same Article stipulates that no person may be appointed member of the Supreme Court unless he has been five years a citizen of the Philippines, is at least 40 years of age, and has for 10 years or more been a judge of a court of record or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. By virtue of section 9 of said Article, the members of the Supreme Court, among other

judicial officials, shall not hold office during good behavior, until they reach, the age of 70 years, or become incapacitated, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. Section 13 of the same Article VIII, inter alia, enunciates procedure thereby repealed as statutes and are declared rules of court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same, and to the power of the Congress to repeal, alter, or supplement them. Art. XVI, section 2, provides that "all laws of the Philippine Islands shall continue in force until the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and thereafter they shall remain operative unless inconsistent with this Constitution, until amended, altered, modified, or repealed by the Congress of the Philippines ..." Before the adoption of the Constitution, the law on disqualification of judges was contained in the Code of Civil Procedure, sections 8 and 608. If said sections should be considered as parts of the then existing adjective legislation, Article VIII, section 13, of the constitution repealed them along with the others dealing with pleading, practice and procedure, as statutes, and declared them rules of court, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same, without prejudice to the power of the Congress to repeal, alter or supplement them. In such case, when the Constitution so provided in said section 13, it sanctioned as rules of court, among other provisions, those in said sections 8 and 609 of the former Code of Civil Procedure concerning the disqualification of judges. If said sections should be deemed as pertaining to then existing substantive legislation, then they were continued as laws or statutes by the aforecited provision of Article XVI, section 2. By virtue either of Article VIII, section 13, or Article XVI, section 2, of the constitution, therefore, the grounds for disqualifying judges, which had been held to include justices of the Supreme Court (Jurado & Co, vs. Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, 1 Phil., 395) were those established in sections 8 and 608 of the former Code of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court later promulgated the present Rules of Court wherein Rule 123 treats of the matter of disqualification of judicial officers. The provisions of said rule have been taken from the above-cited sections 8 and 608 of the same former Code of Civil Procedure (see also II Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 2d ed., pp. 779-782). By reason of the fact that the aforementioned provisions of the former Code of Civil Procedure were continued by the constitution itself, either as rules of court or as laws or statutes a point we need not now decide there can be no question of unconstitutionality or repugnancy of said provisions to the constitution as regards the disqualification of judicial officers. In other words, the framers deemed it fit, right and proper that said provisions shall continue to govern the disqualification of judicial officers. Such question of unconstitutionality or repugnancy to the constitution, however, arises in relation to the disqualification of certain members of the Supreme Court provided for in section 14 of the People's Court Act which says: SEC. 14. Any Justice of the Supreme Court who held any office or position under the Philippine Executive Commission or under the government called Philippine Republic may not sit and vote in any case brought to that Court under section thirteen hereof in which the accused is a person who held any office or position under either or both the Philippine Executive Commission and the Philippine Republic or any branch, instrumentality and/or agency thereof. If, on account of such disqualification, or because of any of the grounds or disqualification of judges, in Rule 126, section 1 of the Rules of Court, or on account of illness, absence of temporary disability the requisite number of Justices necessary to constitute a quorum or to render judgment in any case is not present, the President may designate such number of Judges of First Instance, Judges-at-large of First Instance, or Cadastral Judges, having none of the disqualifications set forth in said section one hereof, as may be necessary to sit

temporarily as Justice of said Court, in order to form a quorum or until a judgment in said case is reached. We propose to approach this question from the following angles: ( a) whether or not the Congress had power to ass to the pre-existing grounds of disqualification of a Justice of the Supreme Court, that provided for in said section 14; (b) whether or not a person may act as a Justice of the Supreme Court who has not been duly appointed by the President and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments pursuant to the constitution , even only as a "designee"; and (c) whether or not by the method of "designation" created by the aforecited section 14 a Judge of First Instance, Judge-at-large of First Instance, or Cadastral Judge, designated by the President under the same section can constitutionally "sit temporarily as Justice" of the Supreme Court by virtue thereof. (a) We start with the principle, well known to the legal profession, that no act of the legislature repugnant to the constitution can become law (In re Guaria, 24 Phil., 37, 45; Marbury vs. Madison, 1 Cranch 175). To discover whether the above quoted section 14 of the People's Court Act is repugnant to the constitution, one of the best tests would be to compare the operation with the same section if the latter were to be allowed to produce its effects. It is self evident that before the enactment of the oft-quoted section of the People's Court Act, it was not only the power but the bounden duty of all members of the Supreme Court to sit in judgment in all treason cases duly brought or appealed to the Court. That power and that duty arise from the above cited sections of Article VIII of the Constitution, namely, section 4, providing how the court shall be composed and how it may sit, section 9, ordaining that they shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become, incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office, and the pertinent constitutional and statutory provisions bearing on the jurisdiction, powers and responsibilities of the Supreme Court. Competently referring to the instant case, if section 14 of the People's Court Act had not been inserted therein, there can be no question that each and every member of this Court would have to sit in judgment in said case. But if said section 14 were to be effective, such members of the Court "who held any office or position under the Philippine Executive Commission or under the government called Philippine Republic" would be disqualified from sitting and voting in the instant case, because the accused herein is a person who likewise held an office or position at least under the Philippine Executive Commission. In other words, what the constitution in this respect ordained as a power and a duty to be exercised and fulfilled by said members of the People's Court Act would prohibit them from exercising and fulfilling. What the constitution directs the section prohibits. A clearer case of repugnancy of fundamental law can hardly be imagined. For repugnancy to result it is not necessary that there should be an actual removal of the disqualified Justice from his office for, as above demonstrated, were it not for the challenged section 14 there would have been an uninterrupted continuity in the tenure of the displaced Justice and in his exercise of the powers and fulfillment of the duties appertaining to his office, saving only proper cases or disqualification under Rule 126. What matters here is not only that the Justice affected continue to be a member of the Court and to enjoy the emoluments as well as to exercise the other powers and fulfill the other duties of his office, but that he be left unhampered to exercise all the powers and fulfill all the responsibilities of said office in all cases properly coming before his Court under the constitution, again without prejudice to proper cases of disqualification under Rule 126. Any statute enacted by the legislature which would impede him in this regard, in the words of this Court in In re Guaria,supra, citing Marbury vs. Madison, supra, "simply can not become law."

It goes without saying that, whether the matter of disqualification of judicial officers belong to the realm of adjective, or to that of substantive law, whatever modifications, change or innovation the legislature may propose to introduce therein, must not in any way contravene the provisions of the constitution, nor be repugnant to the genius of the governmental system established thereby. The tripartite system, the mutual independence of the three departments in particular, the independence of the judiciary , the scheme of checks and balances, are commonplaces in democratic governments like this Republic. No legislation may be allowed which would destroy or tend to destroy any of them. Under Article VIII, section 2 (4) of the Constitution the Supreme Court may not be deprived of its appellate jurisdiction, among others, over those criminal cases where the penalty may be death or life imprisonment. Pursuant to Article VIII, sections 4, 5, 6, and 9 of the Constitution the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may only be exercised by the Chief Justice with the consent of the Commission of Appointments, sitting in banc or in division, and in cases like those involving treason they must sit in banc. If according to section 4 of said Article VIII, "the Supreme Court shall be composed" of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices therein referred to, its jurisdiction can only be exercised by it as thus composed. To disqualify any of these constitutional component members of the Court particularly, as in the instant case, a majority of them is nothing short of pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. (Diehl vs. Crumb, 72 Okl., 108; 179 Pac., 44). And if that judge is the one designated by the constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It would seem evident that if the Congress could disqualify members of this Court to take part in the hearing and determination of certain collaboration cases it could extend the disqualification to other cases. The question is not one of degree or reasonableness. It affects the very heart of judicial independence. Willoughby's United States Constitutional Law, under the topic of separation of powers, Volume 3, pages 1622-1624, says: Upon the other hand, as we shall see, the courts have not hesitated to protect their own independence from legislative control, not simply be refusing to give effect to retroactive declaratory statutes, or to acts attempting the revision or reversal of judicial determination, but by refusing themselves to entertain jurisdiction in cases in which they have not been given the power to enforce their decrees by their own writs of execution. Thus, as already mentioned, they have refused to act where their decisions have been subject to legislative or administrative revisions. Finally, even where the extent of their jurisdiction, as to both parties litigant and subject-matter, has been subject to legislative control, the courts have not permitted themselves to be deprived of the power necessary for maintaining the dignity, the orderly course of their procedure, and the effectiveness of their writs. In order that the court may perform its judicial functions with dignity and effectiveness, it is necessary that it should possess certain powers. Among these is the right to issue certain writs, called extra-ordinary writs, such as mandamus, injunction, certiorari, prohibition, etc. and especially, to punish for contempt any disobedience to its orders. The possession of these powers the courts have jealously guarded, and in accordance with the constitutional doctrine of the separation and independence of the three departments of government, have held, and undoubtedly will continue to hold, invalid any attempt on the part of the legislature to deprive them by statute of any power the exercise of which they deem essential to the proper performance of their judicial functions. The extent of their jurisdiction, they argue, may be more or less within legislative control, but the possession of

powers for the efficient exercise of that jurisdiction, whether statutory or constitutional, which they do possess, they cannot be deprived of. It has already been pointed out that the jurisdiction of the inferior Federal courts and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court are wholly within the control of Congress, depending as they do upon statutory grant. It has, however, been argued that while the extent of this jurisdiction is thus within the control of the legislature, that body may not control the manner in which the jurisdiction which is granted shall be exercised, at least to the extent of denying to the courts the authority to issue writs and take other judicial action necessary for the proper and effective execution of their functions. In other words, the argument is, that while jurisdiction is obtained by congressional grant, judicial power, when once a court is established and given a jurisdiction, at once attaches by direct force of the Constitution. This position was especially argued by Senator Knox, Spooner and Culberson and contested by Senator Bailey during the debate upon the Repburn Railway Rate Bill of 1906. The point at issue was the constitutionality of the amendment offered by Senator Bailey providing that no rate or charge, regulation or practice, prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, should be set aside or suspended by any preliminary or interlocutory decree or order of a circuit court. This position would seem to be well taken, and would apply to attempts upon the part of Congress to specify the classes of statutes whose constitutionality may be questioned by the courts, or to declare the number of justices of the Supreme Court who will be required to concur in order to render a judgment declaring the unconstitutionality of an act of Congress. In State vs. Morrill (16 Ark., 384), the Supreme Court of Arkansas declared: The legislature may regulate the exercise of, but cannot abridge, the express or necessarily implied powers granted to this court by the Constitution. If it could, it might encroach upon both the judicial and executive departments, and draw to itself all the powers of government; and thereby destroy that admirable system of checks and balances to be found in the organic framework of both the federal and state institutions, and a favorite theory in the government of the American people . . . . The members affected by the prohibition have heretofore disqualified themselves, partly because they presumed the statute valid and partly because they would rather have no hand in the revision of the appeals, for the purpose of avoiding even a breath of suspicion as to the impartiality of their actuations. However, realizing upon a thorough analysis of the matter by counsel on both sides, the far-reaching implications which the precedent might authorize, imperilling the independence of one coordinate branch of the Government, they finally cast aside all reluctance to consider the point, and came out with practical unanimity to condemn any legislation which impinges or might impinge upon the fundamental independents powers of the judicature. Some of them have no quarrel with legislative authority to enumerate instances in which judges may not sit. They would even concede that. But, they say, let the rules be promulgated before the event happens or litigation arises. To promulgate them after, would enable the Congress in specific situations to order that Judge X shall not decide the controversy between Y and Z or that Justice M shall not sit in the appeal of P.S. and so on ad infinitum, and thus decisively influence the decision, for or against one party litigant. Such legislative power might thus be wielded to interfere with the functions of the judiciary, depriving Philippine citizens of their right of impartial awards from judges selected without any reference to the parties or interest to be affected. Unnecessary to prove or impute

sinister motives behind the statutory disqualification. Enough that recognition of the power might give way to the operation of unworthy combinations or oppressive designs. Let it not be argued that the Court is the same, only the membership being different. Because Article VIII, sections 4 and 5, of the Constitution do not admit any composition of the Supreme Court other than the Chief Justice and Associate Justices therein mentioned appointed as therein provided. And the infringement is enhanced and aggravated where a majority of the members of the Court as in this case are replaced by judges of first instance. It is distinctly another Supreme Court in addition to this. And the constitution provides for only oneSupreme Court. From all that has been said above it results that the ground for disqualification added by section 14 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 to those already existing at the time of the adoption of the Constitution and continued by it is not only arbitrary and irrational but positively violative of the organic law. (b) In the face of the constitutional requirement (Art. VIII, section 5) that the members of the Supreme Court should be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, we are of the opinion that no person not so appointed may act as Justice of the Supreme Court and that the "designation" authorized in section 14 of the People's Court Act to be made by the President of any Judge of First Instance, Judge-at-large of First Instance or cadastral Judge can not possibly be a compliance with the provision requiring that appointment. An additional disqualifying circumstance of the "designee" is the lack of confirmation by or consent of the Commission on Appointments. Without intending the least reflection on the ability, learning, and integrity of any such "designee", we are merely construing and applying the fundamental law of the land. A Judge of First Instance, Judge-atlarge of First Instance or Cadastral Judge, under section 149 of the Revised Administrative Code, need not be at least forty years of age, nor have more than ten years or more been a judge of a court of record or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines (as required by section 6 of Article VIII of the Constitution), because under said section he need only have practiced law for a period of not less than five years or have held during a like period within the Philippines an office requiring a lawyer's diploma. So that it may happen that a "designee" under section 14 of the People's Court Act, sitting as a substitute Justice of the Supreme Court in particular collaboration cases, and participating therein in the deliberations and functions of the Supreme Court, like any regular Justice thereof, does not possess the required constitutional qualifications of a regular member of said Court. Here again is another point of repugnancy between the challenged section and the constitution. And if we consider the actual fact that only four of the present ten Justices of this Court are not adversely affected by the disqualification established in section 14 of the People's Court Act, we see that the "designees" constitute a majority when sitting with said four Justices, giving rise to the result that, if the composed by them all should be considered as the Supreme Court, it would be composed by four members appointed and confirmed pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of Article VIII of the Constitution and six who have not been so appointed and confirmed. The situation would not be helped any by saying that such composition of the Court is only temporary, for no temporary composition of the Supreme Court is authorized by the constitution. This tribunal, as established under the organic law, is one of the permanent institutions of the government. The clause "unless otherwise provided by law" found in said section 4 can not be construed to authorize any legislation which would alter the composition of the Supreme Court, as determined by the Constitution, for however brief a time as may be imagined. In principle, what really matters is not the length or shortness of the constitutional composition of the Court, but the very permanence an unalterability of that composition so long as the constitution which ordains it remains permanent and

unaltered. We are furthermore of opinion that said clause refers to the number of Justices who were to compose the Court upon its initial organization under the Commonwealth, and the manner of its sitting; that is, that the Legislature, when providing for the initial organization of the Supreme Court under the Commonwealth, was authorized to fix a different number of Justices than eleven, and determine the manner of the Court's sitting differently from that established in section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution, but it was and is not empowered to alter the qualifications of the Justices and the mode of their appointment, which are matters governed by sections 5 and 6 of said Article VIII wherein the clause "unless otherwise provided by law" does not ever exist, nor the provision on who shall be the component members of the Court. Such a legislation was enacted in the form of Commonwealth Acts Nos. 3 and 259, the pertinent provisions of which amended sections 133 and 134 of the Revised Administrative Code. But after liberation, the Chief Executive, by Executive Order No. 40 (41 Off. Gaz., 187) amended sections 133 and 134 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by section section 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 3 and sections 1 and 2 of Commonwealth Act No. 259, and repealed all acts or parts of acts inconsistent with the provisions of said executive order; and the same Chief Executive, by Executive Order No. 86 (42 Off. Gaz., 15) further amended section 133 of the Revised Administrative Code, as thus previously amended, also repealing all acts or parts of acts inconsistent therewith. Both by virtue of Executive Order no. 40 and Executive Order No. 86, the number of Justices of the Supreme Court, as originally fixed at eleven by the Constitution, was restored. (c) However temporary or brief may be the action or participation of a judge designated under section 14 of the People's Court Act in a collaboration case of the class therein defined, there is no escaping the fact that he would be participating in the deliberations and acts of the Supreme Court, as the appellate tribunal in such a case, and if allowed to do so, his vote would count as much as that of any regular Justice of the Court. There can be no doubt that the Chief Justice and Associate Justices required by section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution to compose the Supreme Court indeed, a "temporary member" thereof would be a misnomer, implying a position not contemplated by the constitution. Section 5 of the same Article VIII, in requiring the members of the Supreme Court to be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointment, makes it plainly indubitable that the Chief Justice and Associate Justices who are to compose the Court and sit therein under section 4, have to be thus appointed and confirmed. As already adverted to, a mere designation under section 14 of the People's Court Act does not satisfy the Constitutional requirement of appointment, with the additional circumstance that as to such designation, the Commission on Appointments is entirely dispensed with. We find absolutely nothing in the context which may soundly be construed as authorizing, merely by legislation, any change in the constitutional composition of the Supreme Court, or the performance of its functions by any but its constitutional members. On the other hand, we have to go by the cardinal rule that "usually provisions of a constitution are mandatory rather than directory, and mandatory provisions are binding on all department of the government." (16 C.J.S., 120). The main reason for this rule is that in the Constitutions the sovereign itself speaks and is laying down rules which, for the time at least, are to control alike the government and the governed. It is an instrument of a solemn and permanent character, laying down fundamental maxims, and, ordinarily, is not supposed to concern itself with mere rules or order in unessential matters. Court is loath to say that any language of the constitution is merely directory.

Under sections 4 and 5 of Article VIII of the Constitution, it is clear that the framers intended the Supreme Court to function through the members who are therein defined: and by section 6 they determined who may be appointed such members. This naturally excludes the intervention of any person or official who is not a member of the Court in the performance of its functions; and it is self-evident that the "designees" spoken of in section 14 of the People's Court Act can not be such members in view of the fact that they have not been appointed and confirmedas such pursuant to said sections 5 and 6. Hence, we do not see the way clear to the proposition that the "designees" in such a case can constitutionally "sit temporarily as Justices" of the Supreme Court. By an act of the United States Congress dated February 6, 1905, it was provided in part as follows: Temporary judges of the Supreme Court; ... Whenever by reason of temporary disability of any judge of the Supreme Court or by reason of vacancies occurring therein, a quorum of the court shall not be present for business the Governor General of the Philippine Islands is authorized to designate a judge or judges of the court of First Instance in the islands to sit and act temporarily as judge or judges of the Supreme Court in order to constitute a quorum of said Supreme Court for business. . . . . As part of the membership of the Court believes that this provision is still in force by virtue of Article XVI, section 2, of the Constitution, and should still be applied to cases of "temporary disability ... or vacancies occurring" and preventing a quorum; while the other members are not prepared to subscribe to the same view, for the reason that the designation" thereby authorized would be "inconsistent with this constitution," in the word of the cited section, the same as the "designation" authorized by section 14 of the People's Court Act. Anyway, we need not decide the point now. This decision has been prepared before this date, and is being promulgated before the Court acts upon the Solicitor General's motion to dismiss dates February 17, 1948, for the rulings contained herein. For the foregoing consideration, it is declared and ordered: (a) that section 14 of the People's Court Act is unconstitutional in the respects specified in the body of this resolution; and (b) that this case be dealt with henceforward in pursuance of and in harmony with this resolution. So ordered. VARGAS V RILLORAZA No act of the legislature repugnant to Constitution can become law. The method of appointment of an SC justice provided by the Constitution is mandatory. Thus, the provision in the Act that added grounds for disqualification is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. FORTICH vs. HON. RENATO C. CORONA This resolves the pending incidents before us, namely, respondents and intervenors separate motions for reconsideration of our Resolution dated November 17, 1998, as well as their motions to refer this case to this Courten banc. Respondents and intervenors jointly argue, in fine, that our Resolution dated November 17, 1998, wherein we voted two-two on the separate motions for reconsideration of our earlier Decision of April 24, 1998, as a result of which the Decision was deemed affirmed, did not effectively resolve the said motions for reconsideration inasmuch as the matter should have been referred to the Court sitting en banc, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4(3) of the Constitution. Respondents and intervenors also assail our Resolution dated January 27, 1999, wherein we noted without action the intervenors Motion For Reconsideration With Motion

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To Refer The Matter To The Court En Bancfiled on December 3, 1998, on the following considerations, to wit: the movants have no legal personality to further seek redress before the Court after their motion for leave to intervene in this case was denied in the April 24, 1998 Decision. Their subsequent motion for reconsideration of the said decision, with a prayer to resolve the motion to the Court En Banc, was also denied in the November 17, 1998 Resolution of the Court. Besides, their aforesaid motion of December 3, 1998 is in the nature of a second motion for reconsideration which is a forbidden motion (Section 2, Rule 52 in relation to Section 4, Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). The impropriety of movants December 3, 1998 motion becomes all the more glaring considering that all the respondents in this case did not anymore join them (movants) in seeking a reconsideration of the November 17, 1998 Resolution.[1 Subsequently, respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed their Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order) on December 3, 1998, accompanied by a Manifestation and Motion[2and a copy of the Registered Mail Bill[3 evidencing filing of the said motion for reconsideration to this Court by registered mail. In their respective motions for reconsideration, both respondents and intervenors pray that this case be referred to this Court en banc. They contend that inasmuch as their earlier motions for reconsideration (of the Decision dated April 24, 1998) were resolved by a vote of two-two, the required number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not met. Consequently, the case should be referred to and be decided by this Court en banc, relying on the following constitutional provision: Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decideden banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the Court sitting en banc.[4 A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however, reveals the intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and matters, on the other hand, such that cases are decided while matters, which include motions, are resolved. Otherwise put, the word decided must refer to cases; while the word resolved must refer to matters, applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. This is true not only in the interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3), but also of the other provisions of the Constitution where these words appear.[5 With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion for reconsideration. Hence, the second sentence of the aforequoted provision speaks only of case and not matter. The reason is simple. The above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a motion for reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the division to

muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. It is the movants further contention in support of their plea for the referral of this case to the Court en banc that the issues submitted in their separate motions are of first impression. In the opinion penned by Mr. Justice Antonio M. Martinez during the resolution of the motions for reconsideration on November 17, 1998, the following was expressed: Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no extraordinary import to merit the attention of the Court en banc. Specifically, the issue of whether or not the power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the DAR is no longer novel, this having been decided by this Court in the case of Province of Camarines Sur, et al. vs. Court of Appeals wherein we held that local government units need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural to nonagricultural use. The dispositive portion of the Decision in the aforecited case states: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is set aside insofar as it(a) nullifies the trial courts order allowing the Province of Camarines Sur to take possession of private respondents property; (b) orders the trial court to suspend the expropriation proceedings; and (c) requires the Province of Camarines Sur to obtain the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform to convert or reclassify private respondents property from agricultural to non-agricultural use. xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied) Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a unanimous vote of all five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court. Stated otherwise, this Second Division is of the opinion that the matters raised by movants are nothing new and do not deserve the consideration of the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court in the resolution of movants motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate.[6 The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not dispose of the earlier motions for reconsideration of the Decision dated April 24, 1998 is flawed. Consequently, the present motions for reconsideration necessarily partake of the nature of a second motion for reconsideration which, according to the clear and unambiguous language of Rule 56, Section 4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is prohibited. True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second motion for reconsideration, such as where there are extraordinarily persuasive reasons. Even then, we have ruled that such second motions for reconsideration must be filed with express leave of court first obtained.[7 In this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave of court, but more importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional reasons for us to give due course to their second motions for reconsideration. Stripped of the arguments for referral of this incident to the Court en banc, the motions subject of this resolution are nothing more but rehashes of the motions for reconsideration which have been denied in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations contained therein have already been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the said Resolution. The crux of the controversy is the validity of the Win-Win Resolution dated November 7, 1997. We maintain that the same is void and of no legal effect considering that the March 29, 1996 decision of the Office of the President had already become final and executory even prior to the filing of the motion for reconsideration which became the basis of the said WinWin Resolution. This ruling, quite understandably, sparked a litany of protestations on the part of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for a liberal interpretation of the

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rules. The sentiment was that notwithstanding its importance and far-reaching effects, the case was disposed of on a technicality. The situation, however, is not as simple as what the movants purport it to be. While it may be true that on its face the nullification of the WinWin Resolution was grounded on a procedural rule pertaining to the reglementary period to appeal or move for reconsideration, the underlying consideration therefor was the protection of the substantive rights of petitioners. The succinct words of Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban are quoted in the November 17, 1998 opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, viz: Just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his/her case.[8 In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly vested appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on the people of Bukidnon and other parts of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of the property. The issue in this case, therefore, is not a question of technicality but of substance and merit.[9 Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule once and for all on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their present motions, intervenors insist that they are real parties in interest inasmuch as they have already been issued certificates of land ownership award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal farmworkers at the plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified beneficiaries of the property. These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they have already been raised in intervenors earlier motion for reconsideration of our April 24, 1998 Decision. Again as expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, intervenors, who are admittedly not regular but seasonal farmworkers, have no legal or actual and substantive interest over the subject land inasmuch as they have no right to own the land. Rather, their right is limited only to a just share of the fruits of the land.[10 Moreover, the Win-Win Resolution itself states that the qualified beneficiaries have yet to be carefully and meticulously determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform.[11 Absent any definitive finding of the Department of Agrarian Reform, intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest in the controversy as to be qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the issuance of the CLOA's to them does not grant them the requisite standing in view of the nullity of the Win-Win Resolution. No legal rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void. WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the following incidents, namely: intervenors Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The Court En Banc, dated December 3, 1998; respondents Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order), dated December 2, 1998; and intervenors Urgent Omnibus Motion For The Supreme Court Sitting En Banc To Annul The Second Divisions Resolution Dated 27 January 1999 And Immediately Resolve The 28 May 1998 Motion For Reconsideration Filed By The Intervenors, dated March 2, 1999; are all DENIED with FINALITY. No further motion, pleading, or paper will be entertained in this case. SO ORDERED. FORTICH VS CORONA (August 19, 1999) FACTS: Concerns the MR of the courts resolution dated November 17, 1998 and motion to refer the case to the Court en banc. In previous case, the Court voted two-two on the separate motions for reconsideration, as a result of which the decision was affirmed. The Court noted in a resolution dated January 27, 1999 that the movants have no legal personality to seek redress before the Court as their motion to intervene was already denied and that the motion to refer the case to the Court en banc is akin to a second MR which is

prohibited. In this motion, both respondents and intervenors prayed that the case be referred to the case en banc inasmuch as their earlier MR was resolved by a vote of two-two, the required number to carry a decision under the Constitution (3 votes) was not met. ISSUE: WON failure to meet 3-votes justifies the referral of the case to the court en banc. HELD: No. Ratio: A careful reading of the constitutional provision reveals the intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one hand, and matters, on the other hand, such that cases are decided while matters, which include motions, are resolved. Otherwise put, the word decided must refer to cases; while the word resolved must refer to matters, applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. With this interpretation, it is clear that only cases are referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of votes is not obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this case, the required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a MR. Hence, the second sentence of the provision speaks only of case and not matter. The reason is simple. Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, if a case has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a MR, the failure of the division to resolve the motion because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the division to muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if the voting results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be deemed affirmed. Such was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. Issue: WON the referral to the court en banc is justified on the ground that the issues are of first impression Held: No Ratio: The issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no extraordinary import to merit the attention of the Court en banc. The issue of whether or not the power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the DAR is no longer novel, this having been decided by this Court in the case of Province of Camarines Sur, et al. vs. CA wherein we held that local government units need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural to non-agricultural use. Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a unanimous vote of all five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court. Stated otherwise, this Second Division is of the opinion that the matters raised by movants are nothing new and do not deserve the consideration of the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court in the resolution of movants motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate. Issue: WON the referral to the court en banc partakes of the nature of a second MR Held: Yes Ratio: The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not dispose of the earlier MR of the Decision dated April 24, 1998 is flawed. Consequently, the present MR necessarily partakes of the nature of a second motion for reconsideration which, according to the clear and unambiguous language of Rule 56, Section 4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is prohibited. True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second motion for reconsideration, such as where

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there are extraordinarily persuasive reasons. Even then, we have ruled that such second MRs must be filed with express leave of court first obtained. In this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave of court, but more importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional reasons for us to give due course to their second motions for reconsideration. Stripped of the arguments for referral of this incident to the Court en banc, the motions subject of this resolution are nothing more but rehashes of the motions for reconsideration which have been denied in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations contained therein have already been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the said Resolution. Issue: WON the Win-Win Resolution was valid Held: No Ratio: This refers to the resolution by authority of the President modifying the Decision dated 29 March1996 of the OP through Executive Secretary Ruben Torres. NQSRMDCs (Norberto Quisumbing) Application for Conversion is approved only with respect to 44 hectares as recommended by the DA. The remaining100 hectares found to be suitable for agriculture shall be distributed to qualified farmer beneficiaries (FBs)in accordance with RA 6657 The resolution is void and of no legal effect considering that the March 29, 1996 decision of the Office of the President had already become final and executory even prior to the filing of the MR which became the basis of the said Win-Win Resolution. While it may be true that on its face the nullification of the Win-Win Resolution was grounded on a procedural rule pertaining to the reglementary period to appeal or move for reconsideration, the underlying consideration therefor was the protection of the substantive rights of petitioners. Just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his/her case.In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly vested appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on the people of Bukidnon and other parts of the country who stand to be benefited by the development of the property. Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule once and for all on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their present motions, intervenors insist that they are real parties in interest inasmuch as they have already been issued certificates of land ownership award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal farm workers at the plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified beneficiaries of the property. These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they have already been raised in intervenors earlier motion for reconsideration of our April 24, 1998 Decision. Again as expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, intervenors, who are admittedly not regular but seasonal farmworkers, have no legal or actual and substantive interest over the subject land inasmuch as they have no right to own the land. Rather, their right is limited only to a just share of the fruits of the land. Moreover, the Win-Win Resolution itself states that the qualified beneficiaries have yet to be carefully and meticulously determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform. Absent any definitive finding of the DAR, intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest in the controversy as to be qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the issuance of the CLOA's to them does not grant them the requisite standing in view of the nullity of the Win-Win Resolution. No legal rights can emanate from a resolution that is null and void. Melo: By mandate of the Constitution, cases heard by a division when the required majority of at least 3 votes in the division is not obtained are to be heard and decided by the Court En Banc. The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission disclose that if the case is not decided in a division by a majority vote, it goes to the Court En Banc and not to a larger

division in a situation where a division of 5 has only 4 members, the 5th member having inhibited himself or is otherwise not in a position to participate, or has retired, a minimum of 3 votes would still be required before there can be any valid decision or resolution by that division. There may, then, be instances when a deadlock may occur, i.e., the votes tied at 22. It is my humble view that under the clear and unequivocal provisions of the 1986 Constitution, if the required majority is not reached in a division, the case should automatically go to Court En Banc. I submit that the requirement of 3 votes equally applies to motions for reconsideration because the provision contemplates cases or matters (which for me has no material distinction insofar as divisions are concerned) heard by a division, and a motion for reconsideration cannot be divorced from the decision in a case that it seeks to be reconsidered. Consequently, if the required minimum majority of 3 votes is not met, the matter of the motion for reconsideration has to be heard by the Court En Banc, as mandated by the Constitution (par. 3, Sec. 4, Art. VIII). To say that the motion is lost in the division on a 2-2 vote, is to construe something which cannot be sustained by a reading of the Constitution. To argue that a motion for reconsideration is not a case but only a matter which does not concern a case, so that, even though the vote thereon in the division is 2-2, the matter or issue is not required to elevated to the Court En Banc, is to engage in a lot of unfounded hairsplitting. C. Administrative supervision over lower courts (Art VIII, Sec 6) The Supreme Court shall have administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. FUENTES vs OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN-MINDANAO [1] The case is a petition for certiorari assailing the propriety of the Ombudsmans action [2] investigating petitioner for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, Section 3(e). On August 23, 1995, we promulgated a decision in Administrative Matter No. RTJ-94[3] 1270. The antecedent facts are as follows: x x x *P+ursuant to the governments plan to construct its first fly-over in Davao City, the Republic of the Philippines (represented by DPWH) filed an expropriation case against the owners of the properties affected by the project, namely, defendants Tessie Amadeo, Reynaldo Lao and Rev. Alfonso Galo. The case was docketed as Special Civil Case No. 22,05293 and presided by Judge Renato A. Fuentes. The government won the expropriation case. x x x As of May 19, 1994, the DPWH still owed the defendants-lot owners, the total sum of P15,510,415.00 broken down as follows: Dr. Reynaldo Lao P 489,000.00 Tessie P. Amadeo P 1,094,200.00 Rev. Alfonso Galo-P 13,927,215.00 In an order dated April 5, 1994, the lower court granted Tessie Amadeos motion for the issuance of a writ of execution against the DPWH to satisfy her unpaid claim. The Order was received by DPWH (Regional XI) through its Legal Officer, Atty. Warelito Cartagena. DPWHs counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General, received its copy of the order only on May 10, 1994. On April 6, 1994, Clerk of Court Rogelio Fabro issued the corresponding Writ of Execution. On April 15, 1994, the writ was served by respondent Sheriff Paralisan to the DPWH-Region XI (Legal Services) through William Nagar. On May 3, 1994, respondent Sheriff Paralisan issued a Notice of Levy, addressed to the Regional Director of the DPWH, Davao City, describing the properties subject of the levy as

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All scrap iron/junks found in the premises of the Department of Public Works and Highways depot at Panacan, Davao Cityx x x. The auction sale pushed through on May 18, 1994 at the DPWH depot in Panacan, Davao City. Alex Bacquial emerged as the highest bidder. x x x Sheriff Paralisan issued the corresponding certificate of sale in favor of Alex Bacquial. x x x Meanwhile, Alex Bacquial, together with respondent Sheriff Paralisan, attempted to withdraw the auctioned properties on May 19, 1994. They were, however, prevented from doing so by the custodian of the subject DPWH properties, a certain Engr. Ramon Alejo, Regional Equipment Engineer, Regional Equipment Services, DPWH depot in Panacan, Davao City. Engr. Alejo claimed that his office was totally unaware of the auction sale, and informed the sheriff that many of the properties within the holding area of the depot were still serviceable and were due for repair and rehabilitation. On May 20, 1994, Alex Bacquial filed an ex-parte urgent motion for the issuance of a break through order to enable him to effect the withdrawal of the auctioned properties. The motion was granted by Judge Fuentes on the same date. On May 21, 1994, Alex Bacquial and Sheriff Paralisan returned to the depot, armed with the [4] lower courts order. Thus, Bacquial succeeded in hauling off the scrap iron/junk equipment in the depot, including the repairable equipment within the DPWH depot. He hauled equipment from the depot for five successive days until the lower court issued another order temporarily suspending the writ of execution it earlier issued in the expropriation case and directing [5] Bacquial not to implement the writ. However, on June 21, 1994, the lower court issued another order upholding the validity of the writ of execution issued in favor of the defendants in Special Civil Case No. 22, 052[6] 93. On the basis of letters from Congressman Manuel M. Garcia of the Second District of Davao City and Engineer Ramon A. Alejo, the Court Administrator, Supreme Court directed Judge Renato A. Fuentes and Sheriff Norberto Paralisan to comment on the report recommending the filing of an administrative case against the sheriff and other persons responsible for the anomalous implementation of the writ of execution. Also, on September 21, 1994, the Department of Public Works and Highways, through the Solicitor General, filed an administrative complaint against Sheriff Norberto Paralisan for conduct prejudicial to the [7] best interest of the service, in violation of Article IX, Section 36 (b) of P. D. No. 807. After considering the foregoing facts, on August 23, 1995, the Supreme Court promulgated a decision, the dispositive portion of which states: IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent NORBERTO PARALISAN, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court (Branch XVII), Davao City, is declared guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, in violation of Section 36 (b), Article IX of PD 807. Accordingly, respondent sheriff is DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and accrued leave credits and with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations. The office of the Court Administrator is directed to conduct an investigation on Judge Renato Fuentes and to charge him if the result of the investigation so warrants. The Office of the Solicitor General is likewise ordered to take appropriate action to recover the value of the serviceable or [8] repairable equipment which were unlawfully hauled by Alex Bacquial. (underscoring ours) On January 15, 1996, Director Antonio E. Valenzuela (hereafter, Valenzuela) of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao recommended that petitioner Judge Renato A. Fuentes be charged before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Republic Act No. 3019, Section 3 (e)

and likewise be administratively charged before the Supreme Court with acts unbecoming of [9] a judge. On January 22, 1996, Director Valenzuela filed with the Office of the Deputy [10] Ombudsman for Mindanao a criminal complaint charging Judge Rentao A. Fuentes with violation of Republic Act No. 3019, Section 3 (e). On February 6, 1996, the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao through Graft Investigation Officer II Marivic A. Trabajo-Daray issued an order directing petitioner to submit [11] his counter-affidavit within ten days. On February 22, 1996, petitioner filed with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao a motion to dismiss complaint and/or manifestation to forward all records to the Supreme [12] Court. On March 15, 1996, Graft Investigation Officer Marivic A. Trabajo-Daray denied the [13] motion of petitioner. [14] Hence, this petition. The issue is whether the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation of acts of a judge in the exercise of his official functions alleged to be in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in the absence of an administrative charge for the same acts before the Supreme Court. Petitioner alleged that the respondent Ombudsman-Mindanao committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he initiated a criminal complaint against petitioner for violation of R.A. No. 3019, Section 3 [e]. And he conducted an investigation of said complaint against petitioner. Thus, he encroached on the power of the Supreme Court of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. The Solicitor General submitted that the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation because the Supreme Court is not in possession of any record which would verify the propriety of the issuance of the questioned order and writ. Moreover, the Court Administrator has not filed any administrative case against petitioner judge that would pose similar issues on the present inquiry of the Ombudsman-Mindanao. We grant the petition. Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides: Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. - The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties: (1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of [15] Government, the investigation of such cases. xxx xxx xxx Section 21. Officials Subject To Disciplinary Authority, Exceptions.- The Office of the Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including members of the Cabinet, local government, government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, except over officials who may be removed only by impeachment or over [16] Members of Congress, and the Judiciary. (underscoring ours) Thus, the Ombudsman may not initiate or investigate a criminal or administrative complaint before his office against petitioner judge, pursuant to his power to investigate public officers. The Ombudsman must indorse the case to the Supreme Court, for appropriate action.

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Article VIII, Section 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of [17] the Court of Appeals to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. Hence, it is the Supreme Court that is tasked to oversee the judges and court personnel and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation of the laws of the land. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the independence of the judiciary and the doctrine of separation of [18] powers. Petitioners questioned order directing the attachment of government property and issuing a writ of execution were done in relation to his office, well within his official functions. The order may be erroneous or void for lack or excess of jurisdiction. However, whether or not such order of execution was valid under the given circumstances, must be inquired into in the course of the judicial action only by the Supreme Court that is tasked to supervise the courts. No other entity or official of the Government, not the prosecution or investigation service of any other branch, not any functionary thereof, has competence to review a judicial order or decision--whether final and executory or not--and pronounce it erroneous so as to lay the basis for a criminal or administrative complaint for rendering an [19] unjust judgment or order. That prerogative belongs to the courts alone. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Ombudsman is directed to dismiss the case and refer the complaint against petitioner Judge Renato A. Fuentes to the Supreme Court for appropriate action. No costs. SO ORDERED.

Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years or more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar. (3) A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence. Section 8. (1) A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. (2) The regular members of the Council shall be appointed by the President for a term of four years with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Of the Members first appointed, the representative of the Integrated Bar shall serve for four years, the professor of law for three years, the retired Justice for two years, and the representative of the private sector for one year. (3) The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the Secretary ex officio of the Council and shall keep a record of its proceedings. (4) The regular Members of the Council shall receive such emoluments as may be determined by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall provide in its annual budget the appropriations for the Council. (5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it. Section 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation. For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from the submission of the list.

Judge Fuentes v. Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao G.R. No. 124295 (October 23, 2001) ISSUE: Whether the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation of acts of a judge in the exercise of his official functions alleged to be in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in the absence of an administrative charge for the same acts before the Supreme Court. HELD: No. RA 6770, Sec. 21 provides that the Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of the Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including members of the Cabinet, local government, government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, except over officials who may be removed only by impeachment or over Members of Congress, and the Judiciary. Thus, the Ombudsman may not initiate or investigate a criminal or administrative complaint before his office against petitioner judge, pursuant to his power to investigate public officers. The Ombudsman must indorse the case to the Supreme Court, for appropriate action. Article VIII, Section 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. Hence, it is the Supreme Court that is tasked to oversee the judges and court personnel and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation of the laws of the land. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the independence of the judiciary and the doctrine of separation of powers. D. Appointment and Qualifications (Art VIII, Sections 7,8 and 9) Section 7. (1) No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. A Member of the

CAYETANO V. MONSOD, 201 SCRA 210 FACTS: Monsod was nominated by President Aquino as Chairman of the Comelec. The Commission on Appointments confirmed the appointment despite Cayetano's objection, based on Monsod's alleged lack of the required qualification of 10 year law practice. Cayetano filed this certiorari and prohibition. ISSUE: Whether or not Monsod has been engaged in the practice of law for 10 years RULING: YES. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court. It embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients, and other works where the work done involves the determination of the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. The records of the 1986 constitutional commission show that the interpretation of the term practice of law was liberal as to consider lawyers employed in the Commission of Audit as engaged in the practice of law provided that they use their legal knowledge or talent in their

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respective work. The court also cited an article in the January 11, 1989 issue of the Business Star, that lawyers nowadays have their own specialized fields such as tax lawyers, prosecutors, etc., that because of the demands of their specialization, lawyers engage in other works or functions to meet them. These days, for example, most corporation lawyers are involved in management policy formulation. Therefore, Monsod, who passed the bar in 1960, worked with the World Bank Group from 1963-1970, then worked for an investment bank till 1986, became member of the CONCOM in 1986, and also became a member of the Davide Commission in 1990, can be considered to have been engaged in the practice of law as lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, etc. ISSUE: Whether or not the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse of discretion in confirming Monsods appointment RULING: NO. The power of the COA to give consent to the nomination of the Comelec Chairman by the president is mandated by the constitution. The power of appointment is essentially within the discretion of whom it is so vested subject to the only condition that the appointee should possess the qualification required by law. From the evidence, there is no occasion for the SC to exercise its corrective power since there is no such grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA. Adapted CAYETANO V. MONSOD, 201 SCRA 210 FACTS: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of chairman of the COMELEC. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirtyfive years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. ISSUE: It is whether the respondent has the ten year practice of law requirement for him to assume such office HELD: Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill. In general, a practice of law requires a lawyer and client relationship, it is whether in or out of court. Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.. CAYETANO V. MONSOD, 201 SCRA 210 FACTS: Monsod was nominated by President Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC on April 25, 1991. Cayetano opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on

Appointments of Monsods nomination, petitioner filed a petition for Certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void because Monsod did not meet the requirement of having practiced law for the last ten years. ISSUE: WON Monsod satisfies the requirement of the position of Chairman of COMELEC. HELD: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he: . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86.55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. Atty. Monsods past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyermanager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyerlegislator of both the rich and the poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

E. Salary (Art VIII, Sec 10) The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of lower courts, shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. Art XVIII (Transitory Provisions), Sec 17 Until the Congress provides otherwise, the President shall receive an annual salary of P300, 000; the Vice-President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, P240,000 each; the Senators, the Members of the House of Representatives, the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and the Chairmen of the Constitutional Commissions, P204, 000 each; and the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, P180, 000 each. NITAFAN VS. CIR,152 SCRA 284 FACTS: 1. Petitioners David Nitafan, Wenceslao Polo and Maximo Savellano Jr., were duly appointed and qualified Judges of the RTC National Capital Judicial Region. 2. Petitioners seeks to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin respondents, (CIR and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court) from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries. 3. Petitioners submit that any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decreased or diminution of their salaries, contrary to Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. ISSUE: Is a deduction of withholding tax a diminution of the salaries of Judges/Justices?

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HELD: The SC hereby makes of record that it had then discarded the ruling in PERFECTO VS. MEER (88 Phil 552) and ENDENCIA VS. DAVID (93 Phil 696), that declared the salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during their continuance in office. The Court hereby reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are property subject to general income tax applicable to all income earners and that the payment of such income tax by Justices and Judges does not fall within the constitution protection against decrease of their salaries during their continuance in office. The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The ruling that the imposition of income tax upon the salary of judges is a diminution thereof, and so violates the Constitution in Perfecto vs. Meer, as affirmed in Endencia vs. David must be deemed discarded. NITAFAN VS. CIR,152 SCRA 284 FACTS: The petitioners seek to enjoin CIR from making deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries. Petitioners contend that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or diminution of theirsalaries, contra ry to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987Constitution mandating that during their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. ISSUE: WON appointed and qualified judges may be exempt from payment of income tax HELD: No. This petition of the judges is then dismissed. RATIO: To resolve the legal issue raised in this petition the court looked into the intent of the framers of the Constitution who drafted the provision in question. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. The intent of the 1987 Constitutional Commission was to delete the proposed express grant of exemption from payment of income tax to members of the Judiciary, so as to "give substance to equality among the three branches of Government". Commissioner Joaquin Bernas also said that the salaries of members of the Judiciary would be subject to the general income tax applied to all taxpayers. This intent became unclear in the final text of the 1987 Constitution. Having seen the failure of not including a prohibition on the exemption of any public officer or employee from payment of income tax, the court has authorized the continuation of the deduction of the withholding tax from the salaries of the members of the Supreme Court, as well as from the salaries of all other members of the Judiciary. ADDITIONAL INFO (Might be asked): *In relation to the legal issue raised in this case, it was stated here that they have discarded the ruling in Perfecto vs. Meer and Endencia vs. David that declared the salaries of members of the Judiciary exempt from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during their continuance in office.*Here is a comparison of the constitutional provision involved 1935: ". . . (The members of the SC and all judges of inferior courts) shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office

1973: "The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the SC, and of judges of inferior courts shall be fixed by law, which shall not be decreased during their continuance in office "No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, shall be exempt from payment of income tax." 1987:"The salary of the Chief Justice and of theAssociate Justices of theSupreme Court, and o f judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. NITAFAN VS. CIR,152 SCRA 284 FACTS: Nitafan and some others seek to prohibit the CIR from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries or compensation for such would tantamount to a diminution of their salary, which is unconstitutional. On June 7 1987, the Court en banc had reaffirmed the directive of the Chief Justice. ISSUE: WON the members of the judiciary are exempt from the payment of income tax. HELD: What is provided for by the constitution is that salaries of judges may not be decreased during their continuance in office. They have a fix salary which may not be subject to the whims and caprices of congress. But the salaries of the judges shall be subject to the general income tax as well as other members of the judiciary. F. Security of Tenure (Art VIII, Sec 2 (2)) No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members. De La Llana vs Alba FACTS: In 1981, BP 129, entitled An Act Reorganizing the Judiciary, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes, was passed. De la Llana was assailing its validity because, first of all, he would be one of the judges that would be removed because of the reorganization and second, he said such law would contravene the constitutional provision which provides the security of tenure of judges of the courts, He averred that only the SC can remove judges NOT Congress. ISSUE: WON Judge De La Llana can be validly removed by the legislature by such statute (BP 129). HELD: The SC ruled the following way: Moreover, this Court is empowered to discipline judges of inferior courts and, by a vote of at least eight members, order their dismissal. Thus it possesses the competence to remove judges. Under the Judiciary Act, it was the President who was vested with such power. Removal is, of course, to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that from the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise. Nonetheless, for the incumbents of inferior courts abolished, the effect is one of separation. As to its effect, no distinction exists between removal and the abolition of the office. Realistically, it is devoid of significance. He ceases to be a member of the judiciary. In the implementation of the assailed legislation, therefore, it would be in accordance with accepted principles of constitutional construction that as far as incumbent justices and judges are concerned, this Court be consulted and that its view be accorded the fullest consideration. No fear need be entertained that there is a failure to accord respect to the basic principle that this Court does

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not render advisory opinions. No question of law is involved. If such were the case, certainly this Court could not have its say prior to the action taken by either of the two departments. Even then, it could do so but only by way of deciding a case where the matter has been put in issue. Neither is there any intrusion into who shall be appointed to the vacant positions created by the reorganization. That remains in the hands of the Executive to whom it properly belongs. There is no departure therefore from the tried and tested ways of judicial power. Rather what is sought to be achieved by this liberal interpretation is to preclude any plausibility to the charge that in the exercise of the conceded power of reorganizing the inferior courts, the power of removal of the present incumbents vested in this Tribunal is ignored or disregarded. The challenged Act would thus be free from any unconstitutional taint, even one not readily discernible except to those predisposed to view it with distrust. Moreover, such a construction would be in accordance with the basic principle that in the choice of alternatives between one which would save and another which would invalidate a statute, the former is to be preferred. G. Removal (Art VIII, Sec 11) The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.

MACEDA VS HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. VASQUEZ The issue in this petition for certiorari with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order is whether the Office of the Ombudsman could entertain a criminal complaint for the alleged falsification of a judge's certification submitted to the SC, and assuming that it can, whether a referral should be made first to the SC. Petitioner Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of Antique, seeks the review of the following orders of the Office of the Ombudsman: (1) the Order dated September 18, 1991 denying the ex-parte motion to refer to the Supreme Court filed by petitioner; and (2) the Order dated November 22, 1951 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration and directing petitioner to file his counter-affidavit and other controverting evidences. In his affidavit-complaint dated April 18, 1991 filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, respondent Napoleon A. Abiera of the Public Attorney's Office alleged that petitioner had falsified his Certificate of Service 1 dated February 6, 1989, by certifying "that all civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision or determination for a period of 90 days have been determined and decided on or before January 31, 1998," when in truth and in fact, petitioner knew that no decision had been rendered in five (5) civil and ten (10) criminal cases that have been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera further alleged that petitioner similarly falsified his certificates of service for the months of February, April, May, June, July and August, all in 1989; and the months beginning January up to September 1990, or for a total of seventeen (17) months. On the other hand, petitioner contends that he had been granted by this Court an extension of 90 days to decide the aforementioned cases. Petitioner also contends that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over said case despite this Court's ruling in Orap vs. Sandiganbayan, 2 since the offense charged arose from the judge's performance of his official duties, which is under the control and supervision of the Supreme

Court. Furthermore, the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the Supreme Court's constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts. The Court disagrees with the first Part of petitioner's basic argument. There is nothing in the decision in Orap that would restrict it only to offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the Supreme Court for serious misconduct and inefficiency under Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act. However, We agree with petitioner that in the absence of any administrative action taken against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court's power of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judges' and court personnel's compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by the Constitution, 3 for such a justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary. Thus, the Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner's certificates of service to this Court for determination of whether said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case load, as the Court has the necessary records to make such a determination. The Ombudsman cannot compel this Court, as one of the three branches of government, to submit its records, or to allow its personnel to testify on this matter, as suggested by public respondent Abiera in his affidavit-complaint. The rationale for the foregoing pronouncement is evident in this case. Administratively, the question before Us is this: should a judge, having been granted by this Court an extension of time to decide cases before him, report these cases in his certificate of service? As this question had not yet been raised with, much less resolved by, this Court. how could the Ombudsman resolve the present criminal complaint that requires the resolution of said question? In fine, where a criminal complaint against a Judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to this Court for determination whether said Judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The Ombudsman is hereby directed to dismiss the complaint filed by public respondent Atty. Napoleon A. Abiera and to refer the same to this Court for appropriate action. SO ORDERED. MACEDA VS HON. OMBUDSMAN CONRADO M. VASQUEZ G.R. No. 102781, April 22, 1993 Facts: Respondent Napoleon Abiera of PAO filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against petitioner RTC Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda. Respondent Abiera alleged that petitioner Maceda has falsified his certificate of service by certifying that all civil and criminal cases which have been submitted for decision for a period of 90 days have been

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determined and decided on or before January 31, 1989, when in truth and in fact, petitioner Maceda knew that no decision had been rendered in 5 civil and 10 criminal cases that have been submitted for decision. Respondent Abiera alleged that petitioner Maceda falsified his certificates of service for 17 months. Issue: Whether or not the investigation made by the Ombudsman constitutes an encroachment into the SCs constitutional duty of supervision over all inferior courts Held: A judge who falsifies his certificate of service is administratively liable to the SC for serious misconduct and under Sec. 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and criminally liable to the State under the Revised Penal Code for his felonious act. In the absence of any administrative action taken against him by the Court with regard to his certificates of service, the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Courts power of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. Art. VIII, Sec. 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests in the SC administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the CA down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the SC that can oversee the judges and court personnels compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers. Where a criminal complaint against a judge or other court employee arises from their administrative duties, the Ombudsman must defer action on said complaint and refer the same to the SC for determination whether said judge or court employee had acted within the scope of their administrative duties. PEOPLE VS. GACOTT JULY 13, 1995 Facts: For failure to check the citations of the prosecution, the order of respondent RTC Judge Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. dismissing a criminal case was annulled by the SC. The respondent judge was also sanctioned with a reprimand and a fine of P10,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law. The judgment was made by the Second Divisionof the SC. Issue: WON the Second Division of the SC has the competence to administratively discipline respondent judge Held: To support the Courts ruling, Justice Regalado relied on his recollection of a conversation with former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion who was the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary of the 1986 Constitutional Commission of which Regalado was also a member. The very text of the present Sec. 11, Art. VIII of the Constitution clearly shows that there are actually two situations envisaged therein. The first clause which states that the SC en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, is a declaration of the grant of that disciplinary power to, and the determination of the procedure in the exercise thereof by, the Court en banc. It was not therein intended that all administrative disciplinary cases should be heard and decided by the whole Court since it would result in an absurdity. The second clause, which refers to the second situation contemplated therein and is intentionally separated from the first by a comma, declares on the other hand that the Court en banc can order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted therein. In this instance, the administrative case must be deliberated upon and decided by the full Court itself. Pursuant to the first clause which confers administrative disciplinary power to the Court en banc, a decision en banc is needed only where the penalty to be imposed is the dismissal of a

judge, officer or employee of the Judiciary, disbarment of a lawyer, or either the suspension of any of them for a period of more than 1 year or a fine exceeding P10, 000.00 or both. Indeed, to require the entire Court to deliberate upon and participate in all administrative matters or cases regardless of the sanctions, imposable or imposed, would result in a congested docket and undue delay in the adjudication of cases in the Court, especially in administrative matters, since even cases involving the penalty of reprimand would require action by the Court en banc. H. Fiscal Autonomy (Art VIII, Sec 3) The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released. J. Art VII, sec 18 (3) The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing. Art VII, Sec 4 (7) The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose. LOPEZ VS ROXAS Constitutional Law Judicial Power Defined FACTS: Lopez and Roxas were the candidates for VP in the 1965 elections. Lopez won the election. Roxas appealed his lost before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). The PET was created by RA 1793. It is provided in the law that There shall be on independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal . . . which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the president-elect and the Vicepresident elect of the Philippines. In effect, a losing candidate would have the right to appeal his loss. Lopez assailed the law and he sought to enjoin Roxas and the PET from proceeding with the case. Lopez averred that the PET is unconstitutional for it was not provided for in the constitution. Also, since the PET is composed of the Chief Justice and the other ten members of the SC any decision of the PET cannot be validly appealed before the SC or that there may be conflict that may arise once a PET decision is appealed before the SC. ISSUE: WON the PET is a valid body. HELD: Pursuant to the Constitution, the Judicial power shall be vested in one SC and in such inferior courts as may be established by law. This provision vests in the judicial branch of the government, not merely some specified or limited judicial power, but the judicial power under our political system, and, accordingly, the entirety or all of said power, except, only, so much as the Constitution confers upon some other agency, such as the power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the Senate and those of the House of Representatives, which is vested by the fundamental law solely in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House Electoral Tribunal, respectively. Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights. The proper exercise of said authority requires legislative action: (1) defining such enforceable and demandable rights and/or prescribing remedies for

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violations thereof; and (2) determining the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide said controversies or disputes, in the first instance and/or on appeal. For this reason, the Constitution ordains that Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, subject to the limitations set forth in the fundamental law. The SC ruled that the PET is not in conflict with the constitution. RA 1793 merely added the courts jurisdiction and such can be validly legislated by Congress. It merely conferred upon the SC additional functions i.e., the functions of the PET. This is valid because the determining of election contests is essentially judicial. K. Art IX, A (Common Provisions), Sec 7 Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members, any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof.

simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. (6) Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law. Art VI, Sec 30 No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and concurrence. VILLAVERT vs HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Sec. 27 of RA 6770[1] (The Ombudsman Act of 1989), seeking the annulment of the Memorandum[2] of the Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas dated 17 July 1997, in Adm. Case No. OMB-VIS-ADM-95-0088, approved by the Ombudsman, which recommended the dismissal of petitioner from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Cebu, as well as the Order[3] dated 30 January 1998 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. Petitioner Douglas R. Villavert is a Sales & Promotion Supervisor of PCSO Cebu Branch responsible for the sale and disposal of PCSO sweepstakes tickets withdrawn by him, which are already considered sold. As Villavert is not expected to sell all withdrawn tickets on his own, he is allowed by the PCSO to consign tickets to ticket outlets and/or to engage the help of sales agents, usually sidewalk peddlers and hawkers. From 20 March to 12 June 1994, or for two (2) months of weekly draws, petitioner Villavert incurred a total of P997,373.60 worth of unpaid PCSO tickets. On 13 October 1994 he wrote the Chairman and Acting General Manager of PCSO, Manuel L. Morato, proposing to settle his unpaid ticket accounts.[4] His proposal involved the payment of P50,000.00 in cash as down payment; payment of the remaining amount in equal monthly installments of P5,000.00; application of all his per diems and commissions to his account as they became due; and, sale of fifty (50) booklets or more per draw.[5] On 11 January 1995 Lorna H. Muez, COA State Auditor III, wrote petitioner demanding the immediate settlement of the latters past due ticket accounts with PCSO in the total amount of P997,373.60 with interest at the rate of fourteen percent (14%) per annum. Muez also required petitioner to submit within seventy-two (72) hours a written explanation for the delay.[6] In response, petitioner informed Muez that he had already submitted a proposal for the settlement of his past due accounts and that pending its approval he had already made a total payment ofP23,920.68. Meanwhile, on 26 January 1995 the PCSO Board of Directors[7] approved Resolution No. 059, Series of 1995, which adopted the recommendation of the Management Committee to reinstate sales supervisors Rene de Guia and Luis Renolla, Jr., and rehabilitate their accounts. By reason of the Resolution, OIC Manager of the Sales Department, Carlos M. Castillo, requested Chairman Morato to give petitioner the same terms and conditions given to de Guia and Renolla, Jr. On 20 February 1995 Santos M. Alquizalas, COA Director IV, recommended to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Arturo C. Mojica that the shortage in the ticket accounts of petitioner should be properly treated under Art. 217[8] of the RPC, Sec. 3 of RA 3019,[9] and RA 6713.[10] Taken as a letter-complaint, it was docketed as Adm. Case No. OMB-VIS-ADM95-0088.

Congressional Power over Jurisdiction of SC Art VIII, Sec 2 (1) The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof. Art VIII, Sec 5 The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: 1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. (2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. (b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto. (c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue. (d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher. (e) All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved. (3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned. (4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a

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On 27 February 1995 petitioner submitted an amended proposal of settlement for his accounts: a down payment of ten percent (10%) of the total unpaid account or P97,345.29, and the balance to be paid on equal monthly installments equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the down payment orP9,734.52. Petitioner likewise bound himself from then on to purchase all his tickets in cash; to have a ticket quota of no less than fifty (50) booklets for the small draws, and twenty-five (25) booklets for the big draws; and, not to be entitled to his salary for the month if he failed to meet his quota in any draw within that month. The amended proposal was favorably indorsed and recommended for approval by Regional Manager of PCSO-Cebu, William H. Medici, and by PCSO OIC-Manager of the Sales Department, Carlos M. Castillo.[11] On 19 April 1995 petitioner filed his counter-affidavit where he explained the circumstances which led him to incur subject unpaid ticket accounts. He emphasized his proposal to settle his liability and underscored the favorable indorsement of the Regional Manager of PCSO Cebu as well as by the PCSO OIC-Manager of the Sales Department.[12] On 4 June 1996 petitioner filed a Manifestation[13] with respondent Deputy OmbudsmanVisayas informing the latter of the approval by PCSO Chairman and Acting General Manager of his amended proposal for settlement. However, in an Order dated 14 August 1996 respondent Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas required petitioner to secure further approval from the PCSO Board of Directors.[14] In compliance, petitioner submitted inter alia a copy of the Affidavit of Desistance[15] executed by the Regional Director of PCSO-Cebu manifesting the disinterest of the PCSO in further prosecuting the case against petitioner. On 20 December 1996 the PCSO Board of Directors approved petitioners proposed settlement of 13 October 1994 in its Resolution No. 1491, Series of 1996.[16] Graft Investigation Officer II Edgemelo C. Rosales, after due consideration of the evidence submitted by petitioner, rendered a resolution recommending the dismissal of Adm. Case No. OMB-VIS-ADM-95-0088 in view of: (a) the approval of petitioners proposal of settlement by the PCSO Chairman-Acting General Manager; (b) the findings that petitioner did not mismanage his responsibilities in the sale of sweepstakes tickets; and, (c) the Affidavit of Desistance executed by the PCSO through its authorized representative. Despite the recommendation, however, the Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas through Director Virginia Palanca-Santiago issued a Memorandum dated 17 July 1997 finding petitioner "liable for administrative sanction for Grave Misconduct and / or Dishonesty." Consequently, petitioner was recommended for dismissal from the public service with all the accessory penalties provided under Memorandum Circular No. 30, Series of 1989, of the Civil Service Commission.[17]On 7 November 1997 respondent Ombudsman approved the Memorandum. On 4 December 1997 petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied by the Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas in an Order dated 30 January 1998 and approved by the Ombudsman on 3 April 1998. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Sec. 27 of RA 6770. This petition for review was filed on 18 June 1998. Thereafter, on 16 September 1998 we promulgated Fabian v. Desierto[18] where the basis for the filing of this petition before this Court, i.e., Sec. 27, RA 6770,[19] insofar as it allows appeals to the Supreme Court in administrative disciplinary cases, was declared invalid, thus depriving this Court of jurisdiction. In Fabian, Sec. 27 of RA 6770, which authorizes an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases, was declared violative of the

proscription in Sec. 30, Art. VI, of the Constitution[20] against a law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of this Court without its advice and consent. In addition, the Court noted that Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure precludes appeals from quasi-judicial agencies, like the Office of the Ombudsman, to the Supreme Court. Consequently, appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43, as reiterated in the subsequent case ofNamuhe v. Ombudsman.[21] In both Fabian and Namuhe, the petitions were referred to the Court of Appeals for final disposition and considered as petitions for review under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. On 9 February 1999 this Court promulgated A.M. No. 99-2-02-SC thus In light of the decision in Fabian v. Ombudsman (G.R. No. 129742, 16 September 1998), any appeal by way of petition for review from a decision or final resolution or order of the Ombudsman in administrative cases, or special civil action relative to such decision, resolution or order filed with the Court after 15 March 1999 shall no longer be referred to the Court of Appeals, but must be forthwith DENIED or DISMISSED, respectively. As the instant petition was filed prior to 15 March 1999, its referral for final disposition to the Court of Appeals is still in order. ACCORDINGLY, let this case be REFERRED to the Court of Appeals as a petition for review under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to be disposed of in accordance with law. SO ORDERED. FABIAN VS. DESIERTO G.R. NO. 129742 (SEPTEMBER 16, 1998) Facts: Petitioner Teresita Fabian was the major stockholder and President of PROMAT Construction Development Corporation which was engaged in the construction business. Private respondent Nestor Agustin was the District Engineer of the First Metro Manila Engineering District. PROMAT participated in the bidding for government construction projects, and private respondent, reportedly taking advantage of his official position, inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship. Their affair lasted for some time, in the course of which, private respondent gifted PROMAT with public works contracts and interceded for it in problems concerning the same in his office. When petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted her attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. Petitioner filed an administrative complaint against private respondent. Ombudsman found private respondent guilty of misconduct and meted out the penalty of suspension without pay for 1 year. After private respondent moved for reconsideration, the Ombudsman discovered that the private respondents new counsel had been his classmate and close associate, hence, he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman who exonerated private respondent from the administrative charges. Petitioner appealed to the SC by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Issue: WON Section 27 of RA 6770 which provides for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases from the Office of the Ombudsman to the SC in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is valid Held: The revised Rules of Civil Procedure preclude appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the SC via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through a petition for review on certiorari but only from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Sec. 1 thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the CA on a verified

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petition for review, under the requirements and conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for quasijudicial agencies. Section 27 of RA 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to the SC from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Sec 30, Art VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the appellate jurisdiction of the SC. FABIAN vs. DESIERTO Facts: Petitioner Teresita G. Fabian was the major stockholder and president of PROMAT Construction Development Corporation(PROMAT) which was engaged in the construction business. Private respondent Nestor V. Agustin was the incumbent District Engineering District (FMED) when he allegedly committed the offenses for which he was administratively charged in the Office in the office of the Ombudsman. Private respondent, reportedly taking advantage of his official position, inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship. Their affair lasted for some time, in the course of which private respondents gifted PROMAT with public works contracts and interceded for it in problems concerning the same in his office. Later, when petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted her attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. She eventually filed the aforementioned administrative case against him in a letter-complaint dated July 24, 1995.Respondent Ombudsman found private respondent guilty of misconduct and meting out the penalty of suspension without pay for one year. After private respondent moved for reconsideration, respondent Ombudsman discovered that the former's new counsel had been his "classmate and close associate" hence he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman Jesus F. Guerrero who, set aside the February 26, 1997Order of respondent Ombudsman and exonerated private respondents from the administrative charges. In the present appeal, petitioner argues that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) pertinently provides that -In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the SC by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45of the Rules of Court. (Emphasis supplied).However, she points out that under Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of Procedure of the office of the Ombudsman), when a respondent is absolved of the charges in an administrative proceeding decision of the ombudsman is final and unappealable. She accordingly submits that the office of the ombudsman has no authority under the law to restrict, in the manner provided in its aforesaid Rules, the right of appeal allowed by Republic Act No. 6770, nor to limit the power of review of this Court. Because of the aforecited provision in those Rules of Procedure, she claims that she found it "necessary to take analternative recourse under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, because of the doubt it creates on the availability of appeals under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Issue: The propriety of Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770. Ruling: There is the consideration that Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that "(n)o law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and consent," and that Republic Act No. 6770, with its challenged Section 27, took effect on November17, 1989, obviously in spite of that constitutional grounds.

When it is clear that a statute transgresses the authority vested in a legislative body, it is the duty of the courts to declare that the constitution, and not the statute, governs in a case before them for judgement. If a statute on which a court's jurisdiction in a proceeding depends is unconstitutional, the court has no jurisdiction in the proceeding, and since it may determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, it necessarily follows that it may inquire into the constitutionality of the statute. The Court observes that the present petition, from the very allegations thereof, is "an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the 'Joint Order (Re: Motion for Reconsideration)' issued in OMB-Adm. Case No. 0-95-0411, entitled 'Teresita G. Fabian vs. Engr. Nestor V. Agustin, Asst. Regional Director, Region IV-A, EDSA, Quezon City,' which absolved the latter from the administrative charges for grave misconduct, among other." It is further averred therein that the present appeal to this Court is allowed under Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act of 1987 (R.A. No.6770) and, pursuant thereto, the Office of the Ombudsman issued its Rules of Procedure, Section 7 whereof is assailed by petitioner in this proceeding. It will be recalled that R.A. No. 6770 was enacted on November 17, 1989, with Section 27 thereof pertinently providing that all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to this Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The appellate jurisdiction of this Court over appeals by certiorari under Rule 45 is to be exercised over "final judgements and orders of lower courts," that is, the courts composing the integrated judicial system. It does not include the quasi-judicial bodies or agencies, hence whenever the legislature intends that the decisions or resolutions of the quasi-judicial agency shall be reviewable by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, a specific provision to that effect is included in the law creating that quasi-judicial agency and, for that matter, any special statutory court. No such provision on appellate procedure is required for the regular courts of the integrated judicial system because they are what are referred to and already provided for in Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution. Apropos to the foregoing, and as correctly observed by private respondent, the revised Rules of Civil Procedure preclude appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the Supreme Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. In the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1 Rule 45, on "Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court," explicitly states: SECTION 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court . - A person desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgement or final order or Resolution of the CA, the Sandiganbayan, the RTC or other court whenever authorized by law , may file with the SC a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only question of law which must be distinctly set forth. Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through apetition for review on certiorari but only from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Section 1 thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the Court of Appeals on a verified petitionfor review, under the requirements and conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform ruleof appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies. The provisions of Rule 43 should apply not only to "ordinary" quasi- judicial agencies, but also to the Office of the Ombudsman which is a"high constitutional body." After all, factual controversies are usually involved in administrative disciplinary actions, just like those coming from the Civil Service, Commission, and the Court of Appeals as a trier of fact is better prepared than this Court to resolve the same. On the other hand, we cannot have this situation covered by Rule 45since it now applies only to appeals from the regular courts.

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Neither can we place it under Rule 65 since the review therein is limited to jurisdictional questions. Therefore, Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the Appellate jurisdiction of this Court. As a consequence of our ratiocination that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 should be struck down as unconstitutional, and in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasi- judicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43. M. Manner of sitting and vote required Art VIII, Sec 4 (See letter B. Composition) Rules of Court PROCEDURE IN THE SUPREME COURT Rule 56, Sec 7 Procedure if opinion is equally divided. Where the court en banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall again be deliberated on, and if after such deliberation no decision is reached, the original action commenced in the court shall be dismissed, in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and on all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied. Rule 125, Sec 3 Decision if opinion is equally divided.When the Supreme Court en banc is equally divided in opinion or the necessary majority cannot be had on whether to acquit the appellant, the case shall again be deliberated upon and if no decision is reached after redeliberation, the judgment of conviction of the lower court shall be reversed and the accused acquitted. (3a) N. Requirements as to decisions Art VIII Section 13. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any Members who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution, must state the reason therefor. The same requirements shall be observed by all lower collegiate courts. Section 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor. ASIAVEST V. CA The petitioner Asiavest Merchant Bankers (M) Berhad is a corporation organizedunder the laws of Malaysia

Private respondent Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) is a corporation duly incorporated and existing under Philippine laws. In 1983, petitioner initiated a suit for collection against private respondent before the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. Petitioner sought to recover the indemnity of the performance bond it had put upin favor of private respondent to guarantee the completion of the Felda Projectand the nonpayment of the loan it extended to Asiavest-CDCP Sdn. Bhd. for the completion of Paloh Hanai and Kuantan By Pass; Project. On September 13, 1985, the High Court of Malaya (Commercial Division)rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner and against the private respondent The private respondent was asked to pay 5,108,290.23 Ringgits Following unsuccessful attempts to secure payment from private respondent under the judgment, petitioner initiated on September 5, 1988 the complaint before Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, to enforce the judgment of the High Court of Malaya The RTC of Manila and the CA denied the motion for lack of want of jurisdiction ISSUE: Whether or not the Malaysian High Court acquired jurisdiction over the PNCC Contentions of Private Respondent: (more of the rules of procedure) 1.The Malaysian High Court did not serve the summons to the right persons a. The summons was sent to the accountant of the PNCC, Cora Deala; she is not authorized to receive the summons for and in behalf of the private respondent. 2.And that there is no lawyer who will defend or act in behalf of the privaterespondent a. According to Abelardo, the private respondents executive secretary said that there is no resolution granting or authorizing Allen and Glendhill (thesaid to be lawyers of the company) to admit all the claims of the petitioner. 3.That the decision of the Malaysian High Court is tainted with fraud and clear mistake of fact/law; since there is no statement of facts and law given which the award is given in favor of the petitioner. Held: Petition Granted. The Malaysian High Court acquired jurisdiction over PNCC due to the following ground: 1.Due to t he fact that the r ule s of proced ur e ( suc h as those serv ing of summons) a re governed by the lex fori or the internal law forumwhich is in this case is Malaysia a.it is the proce dura l law of Malaysia w her e th e ju dg ment was ren der ed t hat determines the validity of the service of court process on privaterespondent as well as other matters raised by it. i. Since the burden of proof of showing that there are irregularities in the serving of summons as to the procedural rules of the Malaysian high court should be shouldered by the private respondents; however, the private respondent failed to show or give proof in the said irregularities therefore the PRESUMPTION of validity andr egularity of service of summons and the decision rendered by the High Court of Malaya should stand. 2.On the matter of alleged lack of authority of the law firm of Allen and Gledhill torepresent private respondent, not only did the private respondent's witnesses admi tthat the said law firm of Allen and Gledhill were its counsels in its transactions inMalaysia a.but of greater significance is the fact that petitioner offered in evidencerelevant Malaysian jurisprudence to the effect that

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i.it is not necessary under Malaysian law for counsel appearing before the Malaysian High Court to submit a special power of attorney authorizing him to represent a client before said court, ii.that counsel appearing before the Malaysian High Court has full authority to compromise the suit iii. that counsel appearing before the Malaysian High Court need not comply with certain pre-requisites as required under Philippine law to appear and compromise judgments on behalf of their clients before said court. 3.On the ground that collusion, fraud and, clear mistake of fact and law tainted the judgment of the High Court of Malaya, no clear evidence of the same was adduced or shown. Since the burden of proof again should be shouldered by the private respondent a . A s aforestated, t h e lex fori or the internal law of the forum governs matters of remedy and procedure. i. Considering that under the procedural rules of the High Court of Malaya, a valid judgment may be rendered even without stating inthe judgment every fact and law upon which the judgment is based,then the same must be accorded respect and the courts in the jurisdiction cannot invalidate the judgment of the foreigncourt simply because our rules provide otherwise. CONSING VS CA Fast facts: Merlin Consing (pet) sold a house and lot to Caridad Santos. Provided in their contract of sale were particular terms of payment in which the purchase price shall be paid (installment basis, plus interest). In the process, Santos defaulted in her payments. Consing demanded for her payment and had planned to resort to court litigation. Santos expressed her willingness to settle her obligation. However, this is upon the condition that the Consings comply with all the laws and regulations onsubdivision and after payment to her damages as a consequence of the use of a portion of her lot as a subdivision road. Inresponse, the Consings submitted a revised subdivision plan. CFI Decision: Santos was fully justified in refusing to pay further her monthly amortizations because although Consing submitted arevised plan and may have corrected irregularities and/or have complied with the legal requirements for the operation of their subdivision, he cannot escape liability to Santos for having sold to her portions of the roads or streets denominated asright-of-way. Contention c/o Consing: CA did not comply with the certification requirement. Purpose of certification requirement To ensure that all court decisions are reached after consultation with members of the court en banc or division, as the case may be To ensure that the decision is rendered by a court as a whole, not merely by a member of the same To ensure that decisions are arrived only after deliberation, exchange of ideas, and concurrence of majority vote Held & Ratio The absence of certification does not invalidate a decision. It is only evidence for failure to observe the requirement. There could be an administrative case on the ground of lack of certification. O. Mandatory Periods for deciding cases

Art VIII, Section 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the SC, and, unless reduced by the SC, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts. (2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself. (3) Upon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice or the presiding judge shall forthwith be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period. (4) Despite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred in consequence thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted thereto for determination, without further delay. Art VII, Sec 18 (3): The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing. Art XVIII, Sec 12: The Supreme Court shall, within one year after the ratification of this Constitution, adopt a systematic plan to expedite the decision or resolution of cases or matters pending in the Supreme Court or the lower courts prior to the effectivity of this Constitution. A similar plan shall be adopted for all special courts and quasi-judicial bodies. Art XVIII, Sec 13: The legal effect of the lapse, before the ratification of this Constitution, of the applicable period for the decision or resolution of the cases or matters submitted for adjudication by the courts, shall be determined by the Supreme Court as soon as practicable. Art XVIII, Sec 14: The provisions of paragraphs (3) and (4), Section 15 of Article VIII of this Constitution shall apply to cases or matters filed before the ratification of this Constitution, when the applicable period lapses after such ratification. P. ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS 1. Supervision of lower courts Art VIII, Sec 6: The Supreme Court shall have administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. Art VIII, Sec 11: The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. Maceda vs Ombudsman Vasquez (See letter G. Removal) 2. Temporary Assignment of Judges

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Art VIII, Sec 5 (3): Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned. 3. Change of Venue Art VIII, Sec 5 (4): Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. 4. Appointment of Officials and employees of judiciary Art VIII, Sec 5 (6): Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law. Q. RULE-MAKING POWERS 1. Art VIII, Sec 5 (5): Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. 2. Art VII, Sec 18 (3): The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

MANIAGO vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS Petitioner Ruben Maniago was the owner of shuttle buses which were used in transporting employees of the Texas Instruments, (Phils.), Inc. from Baguio City proper to its plant site at the Export Processing Authority in Loakan, Baguio City. On January 7, 1990, one of his buses figured in a vehicular accident with a passenger jeepney owned by private respondent Alfredo Boado along Loakan Road, Baguio City. As a result of the accident, a criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and multiple physical injuries was filed on March 2, 1990 against petitioners driver, Herminio Andaya, with the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch III, where it was docketed as Criminal Case No. 7514-R. A month later, on April 19, 1990, a civil case for damages was filed by private respondent Boado against petitioner himself The complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 2050-R, was assigned to Branch IV of the same court. Petitioner moved for the suspension of the proceedings in the civil case against him, citing the pendency of the criminal case against his driver. But the trial court, in its order dated August 30, 1991, denied petitioners motion on the ground that pursuant to the Civil Code, the action could proceed independently of the criminal action, in addition to the fact that the petitioner was not the accused in the criminal case. Petitioner took the matter on certiorari and prohibition to the Court of Appeals, maintaining that the civil action could not proceed independently of the criminal case because no reservation of the right to bring it separately had been made in the criminal case.

On January 31, 1992, the Court of Appeals dismissed his petition on the authority 1 2 of Garcia v. Florido, and Abellana v. Marave, which it held allowed a civil action for damages to be filed independently of the criminal action even though no reservation to file the same has been made. Therefore, it was held, the trial court correctly denied petitioners 3 motion to suspend the proceedings in the civil case. Hence this petition for review on certiorari. There is no dispute that private respondent, as offended party in the criminal case, did not reserve the right to bring a separate civil action, based on the same accident, either against the driver, Herminio Andaya, or against the latters employer, herein petitioner Ruben Maniago. The question is whether despite the absence of such reservation, private respondent may nonetheless bring an action for damages against petitioner under the following provisions of the Civil Code: Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. xxx xxx xxx Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. Art. 2177 states that responsibility for fault or negligence under the above-quoted provisions is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Revised Penal Code. However, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, while reiterating that a civil action under these provisions of the Civil Code may be brought separately from the criminal action, provides that the right to bring it must be reserved. This Rule reads: Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of thePhilippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. xxx xxx xxx The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 3. When civil action may proceed independently. - In the cases provided for in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil action which has been reserved may be brought by the offended party, shall proceed independently of the criminal action, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. Based on these provisions, petitioner argues that the civil action against him was impliedly instituted in the criminal action previously filed against his employee because private respondent did not reserve his right to bring this action separately. (The records show that while this case was pending in the Court of Appeals, the criminal action was dismissed on July 10, 1992 for failure of the prosecution to file a formal offer of its evidence, with the consequence that the prosecution failed to prosecute its case. Accordingly, it seems to be

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petitioners argument that since the civil action to recover damages was impliedly instituted with the criminal action, the dismissal of the criminal case brought with it the dismissal of the civil action.) Private respondent admits that he did not reserve the right to institute the present civil action against Andayas employer. He contends, however, that the rights provided in Arts. 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code are substantive rights and, as such, their enforcement cannot be conditioned on a reservation to bring the action to enforce them separately. Private respondent cites in support of his position statements made in Abellana v. 4 5 6 7 Marave, Tayag v. Alcantara, Madeja v. Caro, and Jarantilla v. Court of Appeals, to the effect that the requirement to reserve the civil action is substantive in character and, 8 therefore, is beyond the rulemaking power of this Court under the Constitution. After considering the arguments of the parties, we have reached the conclusion that the right to bring an action for damages under the Civil Code must be reserved as required by Rule 111, 1, otherwise it should be dismissed. I. A. To begin with, 1 quite clearly requires that a reservation must be made to institute separately all civil actions for the recovery of civil liability, otherwise they will be deemed to have been instituted with the criminal case. Such civil actions are not limited to those which arise from the offense charged, as originally provided in Rule 111 before the amendment of the Rules of Court in 1988. In other words the right of the injured party to sue separately for the recovery of the civil liability whether arising from crimes (ex delicto) or from quasi delict under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code must be reserved otherwise they will be deemed 9 instituted with the criminal action. Thus Rule 111, 1 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly provides: Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.- When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of thePhilippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. B. There are statements in some cases implying that Rule 111, 1 and 3 are beyond the rulemaking power of the Supreme Court under the Constitution. A careful examination of the cases, however, will show that approval of the filing of separate civil action for damages even though no reservation of the right to institute such civil action had been reserved rests on considerations other than that no reservation is needed. 10 In Garcia v. Florido the right of an injured person to bring an action for damages even if he did not make a reservation of his action in the criminal prosecution for physical injuries through reckless imprudence was upheld on the ground that by bringing the civil action the injured parties had in effect abandoned their right to press for recovery of damages in the criminal case. . .. Undoubtedly an offended party loses his right to intervene in the prosecution of a criminal case, not only when he has waived the civil action or expressly reserved his right to institute, but also when he has actually instituted the civil action. For by 11 either of such actions his interest in the criminal case has disappeared. The statement that Rule 111, 1 of the 1964 Rules is an unauthorized amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code, which do not provide for the reservation is not the ruling of the Court but only an aside, quoted from an observation made in the footnote of a decision 12 in another case.

Another case cited by private respondent in support of his contention that the civil case 13 need not be reserved in the criminal case isAbellana v. Marave in which the right of persons injured in a vehicular accident to bring a separate action for damages was sustained despite the fact that the right to bring it separately was not reserved. But the basis of the decision in that case was the fact that the filing of the civil case was equivalent to a reservation because it was made after the decision of the City Court convicting the accused had been appealed. Pursuant to Rule 123, 7 of the 1964 Rules, this had the effect of vacating the decision in the criminal case so that technically, the injured parties could still reserve their right to institute a civil action while the criminal case was pending in the Court of First Instance. The statement the right of a party to sue for damages independently of the criminal action is a substantive right which cannot be frittered away by a construction that could render it nugatory without 14 raising a serious constitutional question was thrown in only as additional support for the ruling of the Court. 15 On the other hand, in Madeja v. Caro the Court held that a civil action for damages could proceed even while the criminal case for homicide through reckless imprudence was pending and did not have to await the termination of the criminal case precisely because the widow of the deceased had reserved her right to file a separate civil action for damages. We do not see how this case can lend support to the view of private respondent. 16 In Jarantilla v. Court of Appeals the ruling is that the acquittal of the accused in the criminal case for physical injuries through reckless imprudence on the ground of reasonable doubt is not a bar to the filing of an action for damages even though the filing of the latter action was not reserved. This is because of Art. 29 of the Civil Code which provides that when an accused is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be instituted. This ruling obviously cannot apply to this case because the basis of the dismissal of the criminal case against the driver is the fact that the prosecution failed to prove its case as a result of its failure to make a formal offer of its evidence. Rule 132, 34 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides that The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified. 17 To the same effect are the holdings in Tayag, Sr. v. Alcantara, Bonite v. 18 19 Zosa and Diong Bi Chu v. Court of Appeals. Since Art. 29 of the Civil Code authorizes the bringing of a separate civil action in case of acquittal on reasonable doubt and under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure such action is not required to be reserved, it is plain that the statement in these cases that to require a reservation to be made would be to sanction an unauthorized amendment of the Civil Code provisions is a mere dictum. As already noted in connection with the case of Garcia v. Florido, that statement was not the ruling of the 20 Court but only an observation borrowed from another case. The short of it is that the rulings in these cases are consistent with the proposition herein made that, on the basis of Rule 111, 1-3, a civil action for the recovery of civil liability is, as a general rule, impliedly instituted with the criminal action, except only (1) when such action arising from the same act or omission, which is the subject of the criminal action, is waived; (2) the right to bring it separately is reserved or (3) such action has been instituted prior to the criminal action. Even if an action has not been reserved or it was brought before the institution of the criminal case, the acquittal of the accused will not bar recovery of civil liability unless the acquittal is based on a finding that the act from which the civil liability might arise did not exist because of Art. 29 of the Civil Code. Indeed the question on whether the criminal action and the action for recovery of the civil liability must be tried in a single proceeding has always been regarded a matter of procedure and, since the rulemaking power has been conferred by the Constitution on this

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Court, it is in the keeping of this Court. Thus the subject was provided for by G.O. No. 58, the first Rules of Criminal Procedure under the American rule. Sec. 107 of these Orders provided: The privileges now secured by law to the person claiming to be injured by the commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same shall not be held to be abridged by the provisions of this order; but such person may appear and shall be heard either individually or by attorney at all stages of the case, and the court upon conviction of the accused may enter judgment against him for the damages occasioned by his wrongful act. It shall, however, be the duty of the promotor fiscal to direct the prosecution, subject to the right of the person injured to appeal from any decision of the court denying him a legal right. This was superseded by the 1940 Rules of Court, Rule 106 of which provided: SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. - Unless the offended party has waived the civil action or expressly reserved the right to institute it after the termination of the criminal case, and subject to the provisions of Section 4 hereof, he may intervene, personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense. This Rule was amended thrice, in 1964, in 1985 and lastly in 1988. Through all the shifts or changes in policy as to the civil action arising from the same act or omission for which a criminal action is brought, one thing is clear: The change has been effected by this Court. 21 Whatever contrary impression may have been created by Garcia v. Florid and its 22 progeny must therefore be deemed to have been clarified and settled by the new rules which require reservation of the right to recover the civil liability, otherwise the action will be deemed to have been instituted with the criminal action. Contrary to private respondents contention, the requirement that before a separate civil action may be brought it must be reserved does not impair, diminish or defeat substantive rights, but only regulates their exercise in the general interest of orderly procedure. The requirement is merely procedural in nature. For that matter the Revised Penal Code, by providing in Art. 100 that any person criminally liable is also civilly liable, gives the offended party the right to bring a separate civil action, yet no one has ever questioned the rule that such action must be reserved before it may be brought separately. Indeed, the requirement that the right to institute actions under the Civil Code separately must be reserved is not incompatible with the independent character of such actions. There is a difference between allowing the trial of civil actions to proceed independently of the criminal prosecution and requiring that, before they may be instituted at all, a reservation to bring them separately must be made. Put in another way, it is the conduct of the trial of the civil action - not its institution through the filing of a complaint - which is allowed to proceed independently of the outcome of the criminal case. C. There is a practical reason for requiring that the right to bring an independent civil action under the Civil Code separately must be reserved. It is to avoid the filing of more than one action for the same act or omission against the same party. Any award made against the employer, whether based on his subsidiary civil liability under Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code or his primary liability under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, is ultimately recoverable from 23 the accused. In the present case, the criminal action was filed against the employee, bus driver. Had the driver been convicted and found insolvent, his employer would have been held subsidiarily liable for damages. But if the right to bring a separate civil action (whether arising from the crime or from quasi-delict) is reserved, there would be no possibility that the employer would be held liable because in such a case there would be no pronouncement as to the civil liability of the accused. In such a case the institution of a separate and independent civil action under the Civil Code would not result in the employee being held

liable for the same act or omission. The rule requiring reservation in the end serves to 24 implement the prohibition against double recovery for the same act or omission. As held 25 in Barredo v. Garcia, the injured party must choose which of the available causes of action for damages he will bring. If he fails to reserve the filing of a separate civil action he will be deemed to have elected to recover damages from the bus driver on the basis of the crime. In such a case his cause of action against the employer will be limited to the recovery of the latters subsidiary liability under Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. II. Nor does it matter that the action is against the employer to enforce his vicarious liability under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code. Though not an accused in the criminal case, the employer is very much a party, as long as the right to bring or institute a separate action 26 (whether arising from crime or from quasi delict) is not reserved. The ruling that a decision convicting the employee is binding and conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to its civil liability but also with regard to its amount because the liability of an employer 27 cannot be separated but follows that of his employee is true not only with respect to the civil liability arising from crime but also with respect to the civil liability under the Civil Code. Since whatever is recoverable against the employer is ultimately recoverable by him from the employee, the policy against double recovery requires that only one action be maintained for the same act or omission whether the action is brought against the employee or against his 28 employer. Thus in Dulay v. Court of Appeals this Court held that an employer may be sued under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code and that the right to bring the action did not have to be reserved because, having instituted before the criminal case against the employee, the filing of the civil action against the employer constituted an express reservation of the right to institute its separately. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is RESERVED and the complaint against petitioner is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

MANIAGO V. CA Facts: Petitioner Ruben Maniago was the owner of shuttle buses which were used in transporting employees of the Texas Instruments, (Phils.), Inc. from Baguio City proper to its plant site at the Export Processing Authority. In 1990, one of his buses figured in a vehicular accident with a passenger jeepney owned by private respondent Alfredo Boado. As a result of the accident, a criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and multiple physical injuries against petitioners driver, Herminio Andaya. A month later, a civil case for damages was filed by private respondent Boado against petitioner Maniago. Petitioner moved for the suspension of the proceedings in the civil case against him, citing the pendency of the criminal case against his driver and because no reservation of the right to bring it (civil case) separately had been made in the criminal case. But the lower court denied petitioners motion on the ground that pursuant to the Civil Code, the action could proceed independently of the criminal action. Issue: whether or not despite the absence of reservation, private respondent may nonetheless bring an action for damages against petitioner under the following provisions of the Civil Code: Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is

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demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. Held: No. The right to bring an action for damages under the Civil Code must be reserved as required by Rule 111, 1, otherwise it should be dismissed. To begin with, 1 quite clearly requires that a reservation must be made to institute separately all civil actions for the recovery of civil liability, otherwise they will be deemed to have been instituted with the criminal case. Such civil actions are not limited to those which arise from the offense charged. In other words the right of the injured party to sue separately for the recovery of the civil liability whether arising from crimes (ex delicto) or from quasi delict under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code must be reserved otherwise they will be deemed instituted with the criminal action. On the basis of Rule 111, 1-3, a civil action for the recovery of civil liability is, as a general rule, impliedly instituted with the criminal action, except only (1) when such action arising from the same act or omission, which is the subject of the criminal action, is waived; (2) the right to bring it separately is reserved or (3) such action has been instituted prior to the criminal action. Even if an action has not been reserved or it was brought before the institution of the criminal case, the acquittal of the accused will not bar recovery of civil liability unless the acquittal is based on a finding that the act from which the civil liability might arise did not exist because of Art. 29 of the Civil Code. 3. RE: REQUEST OF ACCUSED THROUGH COUNSEL FOR CREATION OF A SPECIAL DIVISION TO TRY THE PLUNDER CASE (SB CRIM. CASE NO. 26558 AND RELATED CASES) This Court through its Oversight Committee received on 11 January 2002 Resolution No. 01-2002 of the Sandiganbayan (En Banc) captioned Re: Request for the Creation of a Special Division to Try the Plunder Case (SB Crim. Case No. 26558 and related cases affecting the accused). The Resolution was promulgated on 8 and 11 January 2002 in response to the Request for Re-Raffle of the defense counsel and the Opposition to Request for ReRaffle of the Special Prosecution Panel. Resolution No. 01-2002 recommends that "the cases against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and those accused with him be referred to a special division created by constitutional authority of the Supreme Court composed of three justices with two alternates in case of temporary absence of any of the three to be chosen from among the present composition of this Court who will be able to participate therein until the termination of said cases." In its Request for Re-Raffle, the Defense alleges that it is made "for (a) better administration of justice" in view of the "shifting and uncertain nature of (the) composition (of the Third Division)" to which the "Plunder Case" was originally assigned, citing as bases therefor the compulsory retirement of Associate Justice Ricardo M. Ilarde on 27 November 2001, and the indefinite leave of absence of Associate Justice Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr., pursuant to our Resolution of 11 December 2001, thereby leaving a void in the composition of the regular Third Division. Only Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro remains as permanent member thereof. Associate Justices Narciso S. Nario, Sr., and Nicodemo T. Ferrer who were earlier designated to sit in the Third Division as special members or socalled "warm bodies" are by the nature of their designations temporary therein. On 9 January 2002 the Special Prosecution Panel filed an Opposition to Request for ReRaffle arguing that there was no assurance that the other divisions would have a complete set of members since "[c]hanges in membership in any one of the divisions will surely occur

every now and then occasioned by death, resignation, optional or mandatory retirement, promotion or other causes x x x x" This Court is informed that on the basis of the letter-request for re-raffle and the opposition thereto, the Acting Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan immediately called the parties through counsel to a conference on the same date to give their comment and/or suggestion on how to resolve the issue at hand. On 10 January 2002 the Special Prosecution Panel filed its comment/suggestion maintaining that the Third Division should continue hearing the Plunder Case, and to achieve constancy in the membership of that division it recommended the creation of a Special Third Division to be composed of the remaining permanent member of the Third Division, Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, and two (2) other justices who have heretofore at one time or another taken part in hearing the Plunder Case, who are not retirable within the next three (3) years, and who are not appointees of the principal accused. The Defense Panel on the other hand, in its letter of 11 January 2002, argues that the creation of an Ad Hoc Special Division "may create serious equal protection concerns and set a dangerous precedent that may come back to haunt us." The Defense also manifests its "deep reservations" against the participation of Justice Leonardo-De Castro "being an object of an unresolved petition to recuse as well as an administrative complaint." Consequently, it recommended the transfer of the "Estrada Cases" to the Fifth Division composed of Acting Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario and Associate Justices Ma. Cristina G. CortezEstrada and Francisco H. Villaruz, Jr., "a tribunal with a predictable, stable, regular, permanent membership." As a result of the 7 January 2002 meeting of the Oversight Committee with Acting Presiding Justice and the Chairmen of the various divisions of the Sandiganbayan, it was learned that Justices Nicodemo T. Ferrer, Catalino R. Castaeda, Jr., Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr., Narciso S. Nario, Sr. and Rodolfo G. Palattao are retiring on 3 August 2002, 20 September 2002, 19 October 2002, 29 October 2002 and 14 December 2003, respectively. Associate Justices Godofredo L. Legaspi, Gregory S. Ong and Raoul V. Victorino had expressed their preference not to be assigned to the Special Division to be created in view of their close relationship and association with the accused and their families, while Associate Justice Ma. Cristina G. Cortez-Estrada is an appointee of the principal accused. Associate Justice Francisco H. Villaruz Jr. is a very recent appointee, while Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena is devoting himself exclusively to decision writing under authority of A. M. No. 00-8-05-SC. Thus, we are left with hardly any choice but to designate Acting Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario as Chairman, and Associate Justices Edilberto G. Sandoval and Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro as Members of the Special Division to try and decide the Plunder Case(SB Crim. Case No. 26558 and related cases). As regards Associate Justice Leonardo-De Castro, we do not find the objection of the Defense Panel sufficient to disqualify her from the case. Under Sec. 5, par. [5], Art. VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights and procedure in all courts, including the Sandiganbayan. Accordingly, given the nature of the Plunder Caseand cases related thereto, the prominence of the principal accused and the importance of the immediate resolution of the cases to the Filipino people and the Philippine Government, this Court, in the interest of justice and the speedy disposition of cases, with due regard to the procedural and substantive rights of the accused, deems it best to create a Special Division of the Sandiganbayan to be composed of members mentioned in the immediately preceeding paragraph. This Special Division shall hear, try

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and decide with dispatch the Plunder Case and all related cases filed or which may hereafter be filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and those accused with him, until they are resolved, decided and terminated. The designation of temporary alternate members may be properly addressed later. Meanwhile, until otherwise revoked, the Acting Presiding Justice is authorized to designate from time to time, an alternate member to be drawn from the remaining members of the Sandiganbayan as the exigencies of the service may require. WHEREFORE, upon recommendation of the Oversight Committee of this Court, with due consideration to the facts and all attendant circumstances, and in the interest of a speedy administration of justice, this Court RESOLVES to CREATE, as it hereby creates, under its constitutional authority a Special Division of the Sandiganbayan to be composed of Acting Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario as Chairman, and Associate Justices Edilberto G. Sandoval and Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro as Members, to hear, try and decide with dispatch the Plunder Case and all related cases filed or may hereafter be filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and those accused with him, until such cases are resolved, decided or otherwise finally terminated in the Sandiganbayan. The Special Division may promulgate its own rules not otherwise inconsistent with or contrary to the Rules of Court or the Rules of the Sandiganbayan to govern the proceedings in these cases taking into consideration the constitutional rights of all the parties concerned. The regular members of the Special Division shall hereafter be excluded from the regular raffle of cases in the Sandiganbayan except those related cases herein before mentioned, until such time as this Court or the Sandiganbayan may see fit to include them as existing conditions may warrant. SO ORDERED.

3. AGUIRRE VS RANA The Case Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the requisite moral integrity for membership in the legal profession. Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than possession of legal learning. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he passes the bar examinations. The Facts Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation. The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyers oath on the scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now.

Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon, Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan). On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a municipal government employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or administrative body. On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents services. Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty candidate. On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent to take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from signing the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the same resolution, the Court required respondent to comment on the complaint against him. In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his specific assistance to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent claims that he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who knows the law. Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented himself as an attorney in the pleading. On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent claims that he submitted his resignation on 11 May 2001 which was allegedly accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of the Certification of Receipt of Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001 signed by Vice-Mayor Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the complaint is politically motivated considering that complainant is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. Respondent prays that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys. On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondents Comment and refuted the claim of respondent that his appearance before the MBEC was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance on two grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was an employee of the government. Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative case is motivated mainly by political vendetta. On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and recommendation. OBCs Report and Recommendation The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that respondent actively participated in the proceedings. The OBC likewise found that

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respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001. The OBC believes that respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondents unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore recommends that respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar. On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a law which respondent allegedly violated when he appeared as counsel for Bunan while he was a government employee. Respondent resigned as secretary and his resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was authorized by Bunan to represent him before the MBEC. The Courts Ruling We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar. Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took the lawyers oath. In the pleading entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for George Bunan. In the first paragraph of the same pleading respondent stated that he was the (U)ndersigned Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him before the MBEC and similar bodies. On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also retained respondent as her counsel. On the same date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been authorized by REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal counsel of the party and the candidate of the said party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was entering his appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the MBEC praying for the proclamation of EstiponaHao as the winning candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. All these happened even before respondent took the lawyers oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of law without being a member of the Philippine Bar. [1] In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava, the Court elucidated that: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law, incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x [2] In Cayetano v. Monsod, the Court held that practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform acts which are usually performed by members of the legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.

Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing that he had no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral [3] unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar. The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge, [4] educational attainment, and even public trust since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a [5] license. The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. [6] Abad, a candidate passed the bar examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for practicing law even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who [7] engages in the unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court. True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyers oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar [8] is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyers [9] oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys. On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does not allow respondent to act as counsel for a private client in any court or administrative body since respondent is the secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan. Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that he was resigning effective upon your [10] acceptance. Vice-Mayor Relox accepted respondents resignation effective 11 May [11] 2001. Thus, the evidence does not support the charge that respondent acted as counsel for a client while serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan. On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to practice law. WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar. SO ORDERED. 3. IN RE: PETITION TO DISQUALIFY ATTY. LEONARD DE VERA, ON LEGAL AND MORAL GROUNDS, FROM BEING ELECTED IBP GOVERNOR FOR EASTERN MINDANAO IN THE MAY 31, IBP ELECTIONS [1] This is a Petition filed by Attys. Oliver Owen L. Garcia, Emmanuel Ravanera and Tony Velez, mainly seeking the disqualification of respondent Atty. Leonard De Vera from being elected Governor of Eastern Mindanao in the 16th Intergrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Regional Governors elections. Petitioner Garcia is the Vice-President of the Bukidnon IBP

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Chapter, while petitioners Ravanera and Velez are the past President and the incumbent President, respectively, of the Misamis Oriental IBP Chapter. The facts as culled from the pleadings of the parties follow. The election for the 16th IBP Board of Governors (IBP Board) was set on April 26, 2003, a month prior to the IBP National Convention scheduled on May 22-24, 2003. The election was so set in compliance with Section 39, Article VI of the IBP By Laws, which reads: SECTION 39. Nomination and election of the Governors. At least one month before the national convention, the delegates from each region shall elect the governor of their region, the choice of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region. [2] Later on, the outgoing IBP Board, in its Resolution No. XV-2003-99 dated April 16, 2003, reset the elections to May 31, 2003, or after the IBP National Convention. Respondent De Vera, a member of the Board of Directors of the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter in Eastern Mindanao, along with Atty. P. Angelica Y. Santiago, President of the IBP [3] Rizal Chapter, sent a letter dated 28 March 2003, requesting the IBP Board to reconsider its Resolution of April 6, 2003. Their Motion was anchored on two grounds viz. (1) adhering to the mandate of Section 39 of the IBP By Laws to hold the election of Regional Governors at least one month prior to the national convention of the IBP will prevent it from being politicized since post-convention elections may otherwise lure the candidates into engaging in unacceptable political practices, and; (2) holding the election on May 31, 2003 will render it impossible for the outgoing IBP Board from resolving protests in the election for governors not later than May 31, 2003, as expressed in Section 40 of the IBP By Laws, to wit: SECTION 40. Election contests. - Any nominee desiring to contest an election shall, within two days after the announcement of the results of the elections, file with the President of the Integrated Bar a written protest setting forth the grounds therefor. Upon receipt of such petition, the President shall forthwith call a special meeting of the outgoing Board of Governors to consider and hear the protest, with due notice to the contending parties. The decision of the Board shall be announced not later than the following May 31, and shall be final and conclusive. On April 26, 2003, the IBP Board denied the request for reconsideration in [4] its Resolution No. XV-2003-162. On May 26, 2003, after the IBP national convention had been adjourned in the [5] afternoon of May 24, 2003, the petitioners filed a Petition dated 23 May 2003 before the IBP Board seeking (1) the postponement of the election for Regional Governors to the second or third week of June 2003; and (2) the disqualification of respondent De Vera from being elected Regional Governor for Eastern Mindanao Region. The IBP Board denied the Petition in a Resolution issued on May 29, 2003. The pertinent portions of the Resolution read: WHEREAS, two specific reliefs are being sought, to wit, first, the postponement of the elections for regional governors and, second, the disqualification of Atty. Leonard de Vera. WHEREAS, anent the first relief sought, the Board finds no compelling justification for the postponement of the elections especially considering that preparations and notices had already been completed. WHEREAS, with respect to the disqualifications of Atty. Leonard de Vera, this Board finds the petition to be premature considering that no nomination has yet been made for the election of IBP regional governor. PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Board hereby resolves, as it hereby [6] resolves, to deny the petition. Probably thinking that the IBP Board had not yet acted on their Petition, on the same date, May 29, 2003, the petitioners filed the presentPetition before this Court, seeking the same reliefs as those sought in their Petition before the IBP.

On the following day, May 30, 2003, acting upon the petitioners application, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), directing the IBP Board, its agents, representatives or persons acting in their place and stead to cease and desist from [7] proceeding with the election for the IBP Regional Governor in Eastern Mindanao. Citing the IBP By-Laws, the petitioners expound on the mechanics for the selection of the IBP officers from the Chapter Officers up to the Regional Governors constituting the IBP Board which is its highest policy-making body, as well as the underlying dynamics, to wit: IBP Chapter Officers headed by the President are elected for a term of two years. The IBP Chapter Presidents in turn, elect their respective Regional Governors following the rotation rule. The IBP has nine (9) regions, viz: Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Greater Manila, Southern Luzon, Bicolandia, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Eastern Mindanao and Western Mindanao. The governors serve for a term of two (2) years beginning on the 1st of July of the first year and ending on the 30th of June of the second year. From the members of the newly constituted IBP Board, an Executive Vice President (EVP) shall be chosen, also on rotation basis. The rationale for the rotation rule in the election of both the Regional Governors and the Vice President is to give everybody a chance to serve the IBP, to avoid politicking and to democratize the selection process. Finally, the National President is not elected. Under the By-Laws, whoever is the incumbent EVP will automatically be the National President for the following term. Petitioners elucidate that at present, all the IBP regions, except Eastern Mindanao, have had two (2) National Presidents each. Following the rotation rule, whoever will be elected Regional Governor for Eastern Mindanao Region in the 16th Regional Governors elections will automatically become the EVP for the term July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2005. For the next term in turn, i.e., from July 1, 2005 to June 20, 2007, the EVP immediately before then will automatically assume the post of IBP National President. Petitioners asseverate that it is in this light that respondent De Vera had transferred his IBP membership from the Pasay, Paranaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa (PPLM) Chapter to [8] Agusan del Sur Chapter, stressing that he indeed covets the IBP presidency. The transfer of IBP membership to Agusan del Sur, the petitioners went on, is a brazen abuse and misuse of the rotation rule, a mockery of the domicile rule and a great insult to lawyers from Eastern Mindanao for it implies that there is no lawyer from the region qualified and willing to serve [9] the IBP. Adverting to the moral fitness required of a candidate for the offices of regional governor, executive vice-president and national president, the petitioners submit that respondent De Vera lacks the requisite moral aptitude. According to them, respondent De Vera was sanctioned by the Supreme Court for irresponsibly attacking the integrity of the SC Justices during the deliberations on the constitutionality of the plunder law. They add that he could have been disbarred in the United States for misappropriating his clients funds had he not surrendered his California license to practice law. Finally, they accuse him of having actively campaigned for the position of Eastern Mindanao Governor during the IBP National [10] Convention held on May 22-24, 2003, a prohibited act under the IBP By-Laws. After seeking leave of court, respondent De Vera filed on June 9, 2003 a Respectful [11] Comment on the Petition. In his defense, respondent De Vera raises new issues. He argues that this Court has no jurisdiction over the present controversy, contending that the election of the Officers of the IBP, including the determination of the qualification of those who want to serve the organization, is purely an internal matter, governed as it is by the IBP By-Laws and exclusively regulated and administered by the IBP. Respondent De Vera also assails the petitioners legal standing, pointing out that the IBP By-Laws does not have a provision for the disqualification

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of IBP members aspiring for the position of Regional governors, for instead all that it provides for is only an election protest under Article IV, Section 40, pursuant to which only a qualified nominee can validly lodge an election protest which is to be made after, not before, the election. He posits further that following the rotation rule, only members from the Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur IBP chapters are qualified to run for Governor for Eastern Mindanao Region for the term 2003-2005, and the petitioners who are from Bukidnon and [12] Misamis Oriental are not thus qualified to be nominees. Meeting the petitioners contention head on, respondent De Vera avers that an IBP [13] member is entitled to select, change or transfer his chapter membership. He cites the last paragraph of Section 19, Article II and Section 29-2, Article IV of the IBP By-Laws, thus: Article II, Section 19. Registration. - xxx Unless he otherwise registers his preference for a particular Chapter, a lawyer shall be considered a member of the Chapter of the province, city, political subdivision or area where his office or, in the absence thereof, his residence is located. In no case shall any lawyer be a member of more than one Chapter. Article IV, Section 29-2. Membership- The Chapter comprises all members registered in its membership roll. Each member shall maintain his membership until the same is terminated on any of the grounds set forth in the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar, or he transfers his membership to another Chapter as certified by the Secretary of the latter, provided that the transfer is made not less than three months immediately preceding any Chapter election. The right to transfer membership, respondent De Vera stresses, is also recognized in Section 4, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court which is exactly the same as the first of the abovequoted provisions of the IBP By-Laws, thus: Rule 139-A, Section 4. xxx Unless he otherwise registers his preference for a particular Chapter, a lawyer shall be considered a member of the Chapter of the province, city, political subdivision or area where his office, or, in the absence thereof, his residence is located. In no case shall any lawyer be a member of more than one Chapter. Clarifying that it was upon the invitation of the officers and members of the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter that he transferred his IBP membership, respondent De Vera submits that it is unfair and unkind for the petitioners to state that his membership transfer was done for convenience and as a mere subterfuge to qualify him for the Eastern Mindanao [14] governorship. On the moral integrity question, respondent De Vera denies that he exhibited disrespect to the Court or to any of its members during its deliberations on the constitutionality of the plunder law. As for the administrative complaint filed against him by one of his clients when he was practicing law in California, which in turn compelled him to surrender his California license to practice law, he maintains that it cannot serve as basis for determining his moral qualification (or lack of it) to run for the position he is aspiring for. He explains that there is as yet no final judgment finding him guilty of the administrative charge, as the records relied upon by the petitioners are mere preliminary findings of a hearing referee which are recommendatory in character similar to the recommendatory findings of an IBP Commissioner on Bar Discipline which are subject to the review of and the final decision of the Supreme Court. He also stresses that the complainant in the California administrative case has retracted the accusation that he misappropriated the complainants money, but unfortunately the retraction was not considered by the investigating officer. Finally, on the alleged politicking he committed during the IBP National Convention held on May 22-24, 2003, he states that it is baseless to assume that he was campaigning simply because he declared that he had 10 votes to support his candidacy for governorship in the Eastern Mindanao Region and that the petitioners did not present any evidence to

substantiate their claim that he or his handlers had billeted the delegates from his region at [15] the Century Park Hotel. [16] On July 7, 2003, the petitioners filed their Reply to the Respectful Comment of [17] respondent De Vera who, on July 15, 2003, filed anAnswer and Rejoinder. [18] In a Resolution dated 5 August 2003, the Court directed the other respondent in this case, the IBP Board, to file its comment on thePetition. The IBP Board, through its General [19] Counsel, filed a Manifestation dated 29 August 2003, reiterating the position stated in itsResolution dated 29 May 2003 that it finds the petition to be premature considering that [20] no nomination has as yet been made for the election of IBP Regional Governors. Based on the arguments of the parties, the following are the main issues, to wit: (1) whether this Court has jurisdiction over the present controversy; (2) whether petitioners have a cause of action against respondent De Vera, the determination of which in turn requires the resolution of two sub-issues, namely: (a) whether the petition to disqualify respondent De Vera is the proper remedy under the IBP By-Laws; and (b) whether the petitioners are the proper parties to bring this suit; (3) whether the present Petition is premature; (4) assuming that petitioners have a cause of action and that the present petition is not premature, whether respondent De Vera is qualified to run for Governor of the IBP Eastern Mindanao Region; Anent the first issue, in his Respectful Comment respondent De Vera contends that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on the present controversy. As noted earlier, respondent De Vera submits that the election of the Officers of the IBP, including the determination of the qualification of those who want to serve the IBP, is purely an internal matter and exclusively within the jurisdiction of the IBP. The contention is untenable. Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution confers on the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules affecting the IBP, thus: Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: .... (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and the legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied) Implicit in this constitutional grant is the power to supervise all the activities of the IBP, including the election of its officers. The authority of the Supreme Court over the IBP has its origins in the 1935 Constitution. Section 13, Art. VIII thereof granted the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law. It reads: SECTION 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice, and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Courts, subject to the power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter or

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supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the Philippines. The above-quoted sections in both the 1987 and 1935 Constitution and the similarly [21] worded provision in the intervening 1973 Constitution through all the years have been the sources of this Courts authority to supervise individual members of the Bar. The term Bar refers to the collectivity of all persons whose names appear in the Roll of [22] Attorneys. Pursuant to this power of supervision, the Court initiated the integration of the Philippine Bar by creating on October 5, 1970 the Commission on Bar Integration, which [23] was tasked to ascertain the advisability of unifying the Philippine Bar. Not long after, [24] Republic Act No. 6397 was enacted and it confirmed the power of the Supreme Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar. Finally, on January 1, 1973, in the per curiam Resolution of this Court captioned In the Matter of the Integration of the Bar to the Philippines, we ordained the Integration of the Philippine Bar in accordance with Rule 139A, of the Rules of Court, which we promulgated pursuant to our rule-making power under the 1935 Constitution. The IBP By-Laws, the document invoked by respondent De Vera in asserting IBP independence from the Supreme Court, ironically recognizes the full range of the power of [25] supervision of the Supreme Court over the IBP. For one, Section 77 of the IBP By-Laws vests on the Court the power to amend, modify or repeal the IBP By-Laws, either motu propio or upon recommendation of the Board of Governors of the IBP. Also in Section [26] 15, the Court is authorized to send observers in IBP elections, whether local or national. [27] Section 44 empowers the Court to have the final decision on the removal of the members of the Board of Governors. On the basis of its power of supervision over the IBP, the Supreme Court looked into the irregularities which attended the 1989 elections of the IBP National Officers. In Bar Matter No. 491 entitled In the Matter of the Inquiry into the 1989 Elections of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines the Court formed a committee to make an inquiry into the 1989 elections. The results of the investigation showed that the elections were marred by irregularities, with the principal candidates for election committing acts in violation of 28 Section 14 of the IBP By-Laws. The Court invalidated the elections and directed the conduct of special elections, as well as explicitly disqualified from running thereat the IBP members who were found involved in the irregularities in the elections, in order to impress upon the participants, in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct which attended it and the stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this Court, and to restore the nonpolitical character of the IBP and reduce, if not entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering. The Court likewise amended several provisions of the IBP By-Laws. First, it removed direct election by the House of Delegates of the (a) officers of the House of Delegates; (b) IBP President; and (c) Executive Vice-President (EVP). Second, it restored the former system of the IBP Board choosing the IBP President and the Executive Vice President (EVP) from among themselves on a rotation basis (Section 47 of the By-Laws, as amended) and the automatic succession by the EVP to the position of the President upon the expiration of their common two-year term. Third, it amended Sections 37 and 39 by providing that the Regional Governors shall be elected by the members of their respective House of Delegates and that the position of Regional Governor shall be rotated among the different chapters in the region. The foregoing considerations demonstrate the power of the Supreme Court over the IBP and establish without doubt its jurisdiction to hear and decide the present controversy. In support of its stance on the second issue that the petitioners have no cause of action against him, respondent De Vera argues that the IBP By-Laws does not allow petitions to

disqualify candidates for Regional Governors since what it authorizes are election protests or post-election cases under Section 40 thereof which reads: SECTION 40. Election contests. - Any nominee desiring to contest an election shall, within two days after the announcement of the results of the elections, file with the President of the Integrated Bar a written protest setting forth the grounds therefor. Upon receipt of such petition, the President shall forthwith call a special meeting of the outgoing Board of Governors to consider and hear the protest, with due notice to the contending parties. The decision of the Board shall be announced not later than the following May 31, and shall be final and conclusive. Indeed, there is nothing in the present IBP By-Laws which sanctions the disqualification of candidates for IBP governors. The remedy it provides for questioning the elections is the election protest. But this remedy, as will be shown later, is not available to just anybody. Before its amendment in 1989, the IBP By-Laws allowed the disqualification of nominees for the position of regional governor. This was carefully detailed in the former Section 39(4) of the IBP By-Laws, to wit: SECTION 39 (4) Disqualification proceedings. - Any question relating to the eligibility of a candidate must be raised prior to the casting of ballots, and shall be immediately decided by the Chairman. An appeal from such decision may be taken to the Delegates in attendance who shall forthwith resolve the appeal by plurality vote. Voting shall be by raising of hands. The decision of the Delegates shall be final, and the elections shall thereafter proceed. Recourse to the Board of Governors may be had in accordance with Section 40. The above-quoted sub-section was part of the provisions on nomination and election of the Board of Governors. Before, members of the Board were directly elected by the 29 members of the House of Delegates at its annual convention held every other year. The election was a two-tiered process. First, the Delegates from each region chose by secret plurality vote, not less than two nor more than five nominees for the position of Governor for their Region. The names of all the nominees, arranged by region and in alphabetical order, were written on the board within the full view of the House, unless complete mimeographed 30 copies of the lists were distributed to all the Delegates. Thereafter, each Delegate, or, in his 31 absence, his alternate voted for only one nominee for Governor for each Region. The nominee from every Region receiving the highest number of votes was declared and certified 32 elected by the Chairman. In the aftermath of the controversy which arose during the 1989 IBP elections, this Court deemed it best to amend the nomination and election processes for Regional Governors. The Court localized the elections, i.e, each Regional Governor is nominated and elected by the delegates of the concerned region, and adopted the rotation process through the following provisions, to wit: SECTION 37: Composition of the Board. - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall be governed by a Board of Governors consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as delineated in Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the representation basis of one Governor for each region to be elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that region only. The position of Governor should be rotated among the different chapters in the region. SECTION 39: Nomination and election of the Governors. - At least one (1) month before the national convention the delegates from each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region. The changes adopted by the Court simplified the election process and thus made it less controversial. The grounds for disqualification were reduced, if not totally eradicated, for the

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pool from which the Delegates may choose their nominees is diminished as the rotation process operates. The simplification of the process was in line with this Courts vision of an Integrated Bar 33 which is non-political and effective in the discharge of its role in elevating the standards of the legal profession, improving the administration of justice and contributing to the growth 34 and progress of the Philippine society. The effect of the new election process convinced this Court to remove the provision on disqualification proceedings. Consequently, under the present IBP By-Laws, the instant petition has no firm ground to stand on. Respondent De Vera likewise asseverates that under the aforequoted Section 40 of the IBP By-Laws, petitioners are not the proper persons to bring the suit for they are not qualified to be nominated in the elections of regional governor for Eastern Mindanao. He argues that following the rotation rule under Section 39 of the IBP By-Laws as amended, only IBP members from Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte are qualified to be nominated. Truly, with the applicability of Section 40 of the IBP By-Laws to the present petition, petitioners are not the proper parties to bring the suit. As provided in the aforesaid section, only nominees can file with the President of the IBP a written protest setting forth the grounds therefor. As claimed by respondent De Vera, and not disputed by petitioners, only IBP members from Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte are qualified to be nominated and elected at the election for the 16th Regional Governor of Eastern Mindanao. This is pursuant to the rotation rule enunciated in the aforequoted Sections 37 and 38 of the IBP By-Laws. Petitioner Garcia is from Bukidnon IBP Chapter while the other petitioners, Ravanera and Velez, are from the Misamis Oriental IBP Chapter. Consequently, the petitioners are not even qualified to be nominated at the forthcoming election. On the third issue relating to the ripeness or prematurity of the present petition. This Court is one with the IBP Board in its position that it is premature for the petitioners to seek the disqualification of respondent De Vera from being elected IBP Governor for the Eastern Mindanao Region. Before a member is elected governor, he has to be nominated first for the post. In this case, respondent De Vera has not been nominated for the post. In fact, no nomination of candidates has been made yet by the members of the House of Delegates from Eastern Mindanao. Conceivably too, assuming that respondent De Vera gets nominated, he can always opt to decline the nomination. Petitioners contend that respondent de Vera is disqualified for the post because he is not really from Eastern Mindanao. His place of residence is in Paraaque and he was originally a member of the PPLM IBP Chapter. He only changed his IBP Chapter membership to pave the way for his ultimate goal of attaining the highest IBP post, which is the national presidency. Petitioners aver that in changing his IBP membership, respondent De Vera violated the domicile rule. The contention has no merit. Under the last paragraph of Section 19 Article II, a lawyer included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court can register with the particular IBP Chapter of his preference or choice, thus: Section 19. Registration. .... Unless he otherwise registers his preference for a particular Chapter, a lawyer shall be considered a member of the Chapter of the province, city, political subdivision or area where his office or, in the absence thereof, his residence is located. In no case shall any lawyer be a member of more than one Chapter. (Underscoring supplied)

It is clearly stated in the afore-quoted section of the By-Laws that it is not automatic that a lawyer will become a member of the chapter where his place of residence or work is located. He has the discretion to choose the particular chapter where he wishes to gain membership. Only when he does not register his preference that he will become a member of the Chapter of the place where he resides or maintains his office. The only proscription in registering ones preference is that a lawyer cannot be a member of more than one chapter at the same time. The same is provided in Section 29-2 of the IBP By-Laws. In fact, under this Section, transfer of IBP membership is allowed as long as the lawyer complies with the conditions set forth therein, thus: SECTION 29-2. Membership - The Chapter comprises all members registered in its membership roll. Each member shall maintain his membership until the same is terminated on any of the grounds set forth in the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar, or he transfers his membership to another Chapter as certified by the Secretary of the latter, provided that the transfer is made not less than three months immediately preceding any Chapter election. The only condition required under the foregoing rule is that the transfer must be made not less than three months prior to the election of officers in the chapter to which the lawyer wishes to transfer. In the case at bar, respondent De Vera requested the transfer of his IBP membership to Agusan del Sur on 1 August 2001. One month thereafter, IBP National Secretary Jaime M. 35 Vibar wrote a letter addressed to Atty. Amador Z. Tolentino, Jr., Secretary of IBP PPLM Chapter and Atty. Lyndon J. Romero, Secretary of IBP Agusan del Sur Chapter, informing them of respondent De Veras transfer and advising them to make the necessary notation in their respective records. This letter is a substantial compliance with the certification mentioned in Section 29-2 as aforequoted. Note that De Veras transfer was made effective sometime between August 1, 2001 and September 3, 2001. On February 27, 2003, the elections of the IBP Chapter Officers were simultaneously held all over the Philippines, as mandated by Section 29-12.a of the IBP By-Laws which provides that elections of Chapter Officers and Directors shall be held on the last Saturday of February of every other 36 year. Between September 3, 2001 and February 27, 2003, seventeen months had elapsed. This makes respondent De Veras transfer valid as it was done more than three months ahead of the chapter elections held on February 27, 2003. Petitioners likewise claim that respondent De Vera is disqualified because he is not morally fit to occupy the position of governor of Eastern Mindanao. We are not convinced. As long as an aspiring member meets the basic requirements provided in the IBP By-Laws, he cannot be barred. The basic qualifications for one who wishes to be elected governor for a particular region are: (1) he is a member in good standing 37 of the IBP; 2) he is included in the voters list of his chapter or he is not disqualified by the Integration Rule, by the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar, or by the By-Laws of the Chapter to 38 which he belongs; (3) he does not belong to a chapter from which a regional governor has 39 already been elected,unless the election is the start of a new season or cycle; and (4) he is 40 not in the government service. There is nothing in the By-Laws which explicitly provides that one must be morally fit before he can run for IBP governorship. For one, this is so because the determination of moral fitness of a candidates lies in the individual judgment of the members of the House of Delegates. Indeed, based on each members standard of morality, he is free to nominate and elect any member, so long as the latter possesses the basic requirements under the law. For another, basically the disqualification of a candidate involving lack of moral fitness should

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emanate from his disbarment or suspension from the practice of law by this Court, or conviction by final judgment of an offense which involves moral turpitude. Petitioners, in assailing the morality of respondent De Vera on the basis of the alleged sanction imposed by the Supreme Court during the deliberation on the constitutionality of the plunder law, is apparently referring to this Courts Decision dated 29 July 2002 in In Re: Published Alleged Threats Against Members of the Court in the Plunder Law Case Hurled by 41 Atty. Leonard De Vera. In this case, respondent De Vera was found guilty of indirect contempt of court and was imposed a fine in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) for his remarks contained in two newspaper articles published in the Inquirer. Quoted hereunder are the pertinent portions of the report, with De Veras statements written in italics. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER Tuesday, November 6, 2001 Erap camp blamed for oust-Badoy maneuvers Plunder Law De Vera asked the Supreme Court to dispel rumors that it would vote in favor of a petition filed by Estradas lawyers to declare the plunder law unconstitutional for its supposed vagueness. De Vera said he and his group were greatly disturbed by the rumors from Supreme Court insiders. Reports said that Supreme Court justices were tied 6-6 over the constitutionality of the Plunder Law, with two other justices still undecided and uttered most likely to inhibit, said Plunder Watch, a coalition formed by civil society and militant groups to monitor the prosecution of Estrada. We are afraid that the Estrada camps effort to coerce, bribe, or influence the justicesconsidering that it has a P500 million slush fund from the aborted power grab that May-will most likely result in a pro-Estrada decision declaring the Plunder Law either unconstitutional 42 or vague, the group said. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER Monday, November 19, 2001 SC under pressure from Erap pals, foes Xxx People are getting dangerously, passionate.. .emotionally charged. said lawyer Leonard De Vera of the Equal Justice for All Movement and a leading member of the Estrada Resign movement. He voiced his concern that a decision by the high tribunal rendering the plunder law unconstitutional would trigger mass actions, probably more massive than those that led to People Power II. Xxx De Vera warned of a crisis far worse than the jueteng scandal that led to People Power II if the rumor turned out to be true. People wouldnt just swallow any Supreme Court decision that is basically wrong. 43 Sovereignty must prevail. In his Explanation submitted to the Court, respondent De Vera admitted to have made said statements but denied to have uttered the same to degrade the Court, to destroy 44 public confidence in it and to bring it into disrepute. He explained that he was merely exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech.

The Court found the explanation unsatisfactory and held that the statements were aimed at influencing and threatening the Court to decide in favor of the constitutionality of 45 the Plunder Law. The ruling cannot serve as a basis to consider respondent De Vera immoral. The act for which he was found guilty of indirect contempt does not involve moral turpitude. 46 In Tak Ng v. Republic of the Philippines cited in Villaber v. Commission on 47 Elections, the Court defines moral turpitude as an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man, or 48 conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals. The determination of whether an act involves moral turpitude is a factual issue and frequently depends on the 49 circumstances attending the violation of the statute. In this case, it cannot be said that the act of expressing ones opinion on a public interest issue can be considered as an act of baseness, vileness or depravity. Respondent De Vera did not bring suffering nor cause undue injury or harm to the public when he voiced his 50 views on the Plunder Law. Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner to invoke the administrative case as evidence of respondent De Veras alleged immorality. On the administrative complaint that was filed against respondent De Vera while he was still practicing law in California, he explained that no final judgment was rendered by the California Supreme Court finding him guilty of the charge. He surrendered his license to protest the discrimination he suffered at the hands of the investigator and he found it impractical to pursue the case to the end. We find these explanations satisfactory in the absence of contrary proof. It is a basic rule on evidence that he who alleges a fact has the 51 burden to prove the same. In this case, the petitioners have not shown how the administrative complaint affects respondent De Veras moral fitness to run for governor. Finally, on the allegation that respondent de Vera or his handlers had housed the delegates from Eastern Mindanao in the Century Park Hotel to get their support for his candidacy, again petitioners did not present any proof to substantiate the same. It must be emphasized that bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof 52 under our Rules of Court. WHEREFORE, the Petition to disqualify respondent Atty. Leonard De Vera to run for the position of IBP Governor for Eastern Mindanao in the 16th election of the IBP Board of Governors is hereby DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 30 May 2003 which enjoined the conduct of the election for the IBP Regional Governor in Eastern Mindanao is hereby LIFTED. Accordingly, the IBP Board of Governors is hereby ordered to hold said election with proper notice and with deliberate speed. SO ORDERED. R. PROHIBITION AGAINST QUASI-JUDICIAL OR ADMIN WORKS Art VIII, Sec 12: The Members of the Supreme Court and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. IN RE: DESIGNATION OF JUDGE RODOLFO U. MANZANO AS MEMBER OF THE ILOCOS NORTE PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE. On 4 July 1988, Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Branch 19, sent this Court a letter which reads: Hon. Marcelo Fernan Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Manila

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Thru channels: Hon. Leo Medialdea Court Administrator Supreme Court of the Philippines Sir: By Executive Order RF6-04 issued on June 21, 1988 by the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte, Hon. Rodolfo C. Farinas, I was designated as a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice created pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 856 of 12 December 1986, as amended by Executive Order No. 326 of June 1, 1988. In consonance with Executive Order RF6-04, the Honorable Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte issued my appointment as a member of the Committee. For your ready reference, I am enclosing herewith machine copies of Executive Order RF6-04 and the appointment. Before I may accept the appointment and enter in the discharge of the powers and duties of the position as member of the Ilocos (Norte) Provincial Committee on Justice, may I have the honor to request for the issuance by the Honorable Supreme Court of a Resolution, as follows: (1) Authorizing me to accept the appointment and to as assume and discharge the powers and duties attached to the said position; (2) Considering my membership in the Committee as neither violative of the Independence of the Judiciary nor a violation of Section 12, Article VIII, or of the second paragraph of Section .7, Article IX (B), both of the Constitution, and will not in any way amount to an abandonment of my present position as Executive Judge of Branch XIX, Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, and as a member of the Judiciary; and (3) Consider my membership in the said Committee as part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge. May I please be favored soon by your action on this request. Very respectfully yours, (Sgd) RODOLFO U. MANZANO Judge An examination of Executive Order No. 856, as amended, reveals that Provincial/City Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of detainees, particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating jail congestion and improving local jail conditions. Among the functions of the Committee are 3.3 Receive complaints against any apprehending officer, jail warden, final or judge who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of his duties and refer the same to proper authority for appropriate action; 3.5 Recommend revision of any law or regulation which is believed prejudicial to the proper administration of criminal justice. It is evident that such Provincial/City Committees on Justice perform administrative functions. Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for; their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc., vs. Tapucar, SP-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Blacks Law Dictionary). Furthermore, under Executive Order No. 326 amending Executive Order No. 856, it is provided that

Section 6. Supervision.The Provincial/City Committees on Justice shall be under the supervision of the Secretary of justice Quarterly accomplishment reports shall be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Justice. Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by law shag not be designated to any agency performing quasi- judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). Considering that membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges a administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution, the Court is constrained to deny his request. Former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando in his concurring opinion in the case of Garcia vs. Macaraig (39 SCRA 106) ably sets forth: 2. While the doctrine of separation of powers is a relative theory not to be enforced with pedantic rigor, the practical demands of government precluding its doctrinaire application, it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to assume a position or perform a duty non-judicial in character. That is implicit in the principle. Otherwise there is a plain departure from its command. The essence of the trust reposed in him is to decide. Only a higher court, as was emphasized by Justice Barredo, can pass on his actuation. He is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official, however eminent. It is indispensable that there be no exception to the rigidity of such a norm if he is, as expected, to be confined to the task of adjudication. Fidelity to his sworn responsibility no less than the maintenance of respect for the judiciary can be satisfied with nothing less. This declaration does not mean that RTC Judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility or unbecoming indifference to Province/City Committee on Justice. As incumbent RTC Judges, they form part of the structure of government. Their integrity and performance in the adjudication of cases contribute to the solidity of such structure. As public officials, they are trustees of an orderly society. Even as non-members of Provincial/City Committees on Justice, RTC judges should render assistance to said Committees to help promote the laudable purposes for which they exist, but only when such assistance may be reasonably incidental to the fulfillment of their judicial duties. ACCORDINGLY, the aforesaid request of Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano is DENIED. SO ORDERED. IN RE RODOLFO U. MANZANO 166 SCRA 246 FACTS: Judge Rodolfo U. Manzano, Executive Judge, RTC, Bangui, Ilocos Norte, sent a letter to the Court which requests it to issue a resolution that his membership in the Committee on Justice, as neither violative of the independence of the Judiciary nor a violation of Section 12, Article of the Constitution, and that it will not amount to an abandonment of his position as Executive Judge and as a member of the Judiciary; and to consider it as part of the primary functions of an Executive Judge. Under the Constitution, the members of the Supreme Court and other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi- judicial or administrative functions (Section 12, Art. VIII, Constitution). ISSUE: Whether the function of a member of the Committee on Justice an administrative function HELD: YES. Administrative functions are those which involve the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals for; their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and

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regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature or such as are devolved upon the administrative agency by the organic law of its existence (Nasipit Integrated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services Inc., vs. Tapucar, SP-07599-R, 29 September 1978, Blacks Law Dictionary). An examination of Executive Order No. 856, as amended, reveals that Committees on Justice are created to insure the speedy disposition of cases of detainees, particularly those involving the poor and indigent ones, thus alleviating jail congestion and improving local jail conditions. Among the functions of the Committee are to receive complaints against any apprehending officer, jail warden, final or judge who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of his duties and refer the same to proper authority for appropriate action; and to recommend the revision of any law or regulation which is believed prejudicial to the proper administration of criminal justice. Thus, the membership of Judge Manzano in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice, which discharges administrative functions, will be in violation of the Constitution. Dissenting Opinions "Administrative functions" as used in Section 12 refers to the executive machinery of government and the performance by that machinery of governmental acts. It refers to the management actions, determinations, and orders of executive officials as they administer the laws and try to make government effective. There is an element of positive action, of supervision or control. Membership in the Provincial or City Committee on Justice would not involve any regulation or control over the conduct and affairs of individuals. Neither will the Committee on Justice promulgate rules and regulations nor exercise any quasilegislative functions. Its work is purely advisory. The Committee on Justice cannot be likened to an administrative agency of government. It is a study group with recommendatory functions. S. REPORT ON JUDICIARY Art VIII, Sec 16: The Supreme Court shall, within thirty days from the opening of each regular session of the Congress, submit to the President and the Congress an annual report on the operations and activities of the Judiciary. T. THE LOWER COURTS 1. Qualifications and Appointments Art VIII, Sec 7: (1) No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. A Member of the Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years or more, a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. (2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualifications of judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar. Art VIII, Sec 8: (5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it.

Art VIII, Sec 9: The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation. For the lower courts, the President shall issue the appointments within ninety days from the submission of the list. SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF TAGUIG VS. JUDGE SANTIAGO G. ESTRELLA At bar is a sworn letter-complaint dated October 20, 1997 filed by 10 members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Taguig, Metro Manila charging Judge Santiago G. Estrella of Branch 68 of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region stationed in Pasig City with serious misconduct relative to Election Protest No. 144, entitled Ricardo D. Papa, Jr. vs. Isidro B. Garcia. The present controversy stems from an election protest filed by then mayoral candidate Ricardo D. Papa, Jr. against Isidro B. Garcia, the candidate proclaimed mayor of Taguig, Metro Manila in the May 8, 1995 elections. In his protest, Papa impugned the results of all 713 precincts in the municipality. This was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig and eventually raffled to the sala of respondent wherein it was docketed as Election Protest No. 144. Garcia filed his answer with counter-protest and after the rejoinder of issues, Papa filed a Motion to Withdraw First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Causes of Action, thereby limiting his cause of action to only one: the determination of the number of the plain Garcia votes which should be considered stray and their number deducted from votes credited to protestee Garcia, there having been another candidate surnamed Garcia. The motion was granted and forthwith, the revision committee opened 712 questioned ballot boxes, examined the contents, and revised the ballots. On March 14, 1996, after the revision of ballots was completed, Papa filed a Motion for Technical Examination, wherein he objected to more than 5,000 ballots, the same allegedly having been Written By One (WBO) or Written By Two (WBT) persons. Respondent judge granted the motion. However, on March 25, 1996, Papa withdrew this motion. On April 10, 1996, a final revision report was submitted to respondent judge by Atty. Katherine A. Go, the over-all chairperson of the Revision Committee. The report stated that Papa actually objected to a total of 11,290 ballots for Garcia, over 5,000 of which were objected to by reason of the same having been written by one person (WBO) or written by two (WBT). The said report also mentioned that Garcia had 3,049 plain Garcia votes. Thereafter, both parties offered their respective exhibits, which were all admitted by respondent judge. On February 11, 1997, respondent issued an order directing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to examine the contested ballots in the presence of a representative of both parties. The pertinent portion of the order provided that so as to enable the court to get a complete overview of the matter, it was better to have a handwriting expert examine the questioned ballots to settle once and for all the questions and objections relative to the ballots. After the NBI finished its examination of the contested ballots and upon the determination by respondent that he had no further need of the ballot boxes, he issued an order dated May 19, 1997 directing the removal of the ballot boxes and election paraphernalia from his courtroom. On May 27, 1997, respondent ordered the immediate transfer of all the ballot boxes and election paraphernalia to the sala of Judge Vivencio Baclig, Branch 157 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, so that Judge Baclig may proceed with

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the trial of the vice-mayoralty election protest of the same municipality. On June 5, 1997, all the ballot boxes which contained both contested and uncontested ballots were removed from the custody of respondent and transferred to RTC, Branch 157. On June 26, 1997, the NBI Report was submitted to respondent. On July 22, 1997, Garcia filed a Manifestation and Formal Motion with Formal Query, praying that an order be issued to the Branch Clerk of Court to be furnished a copy of the NBI Reports and/or allow him to copy or review or at least to read said reports. Respondent judge denied the motion on the same day, proclaiming that the examination of contested ballots by the NBI was ordered, upon the instance of the court, and not by the parties, hence, only the court was given copies of the NBI Reports. On the same day that Garcias motion was denied, respondent also set the da te of promulgation of judgment for July 31, 1997. This prompted Garcia to file a Manifestation and Most Urgent Motion to Defer and/or Cancel Scheduled Promulgation of Judgment premised on respondents refusal to furnish him a copy of the NBI Reports, and Garcias physical impossibility of examining the contested ballots because (a) the report was submitted on June 26, 1997, and (b) the contested ballots and other election paraphernalia had been transferred to the sala of Judge Vivencio Baclig in RTC, Branch 157. Respondent judge denied Garcias motion on July 28, 1997, explaining that: . . . To allow parties at this stage to secure copies of the NBI report and to comment on the same before promulgating the decision would be opening the floodgates for undue delay. Thereafter, Garcia filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus, with a prayer for restraining order and preliminary injunction with the COMELEC on July 29, 1997. The very next day or on July 30, 1997, the COMELEC issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining respondent judge from proceeding with the scheduled promulgation of judgment set on July 31, 1997. On August 21, 1997, after the expiration of the TRO, Papa filed a Motion for Immediate Promulgation of Judgment, requesting that the same be heard on August 25, 1997. This was, however, granted by respondent judge the very next day, three days ahead of the date set for hearing of the motion, with respondent setting August 27, 1997 as the promulgation date. Forthwith, Garcia filed with the COMELEC an Urgent Manifestation and Motion Reiterating Prayer for Preliminary Injunction. One day before the scheduled promulgation of judgment, or on August 26, 1997, the COMELEC issued an order directing respondent to allow both parties or their counsel to have access to the NBI reports and to give the parties copies thereof before the promulgation of the decision. On the day of the promulgation of judgment (August 27, 1997), respondent gave Garcias counsel 5 minutes to go over Questioned Documents Report No. 152-297 which consisted of 53 pages, and Questioned Document Report No. 152-297(A), which consisted of 17 pages. Thereafter, judgment was promulgated, disposing: WHEREFORE, and all the forgoing considered, the Court resolves to SUSTAIN as it hereby SUSTAINS the Protest lodged by Ricardo D. Papa, Jr., and accordingly renders judgment DECLARING the aforenamed Protestant the duly elected mayor of the Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila. The Counter-Protest filed by protestee Isidro B. Garcia is ordered DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to damages as no proof was presented by either party. Complainants further claim that it was only after the promulgation of judgment that Garcia was able to secure copies of the NBI Reports.

It must be noted that Papa filed an Urgent Motion for Execution Pending Appeal on August 26, 1997, a day before the scheduled promulgation of judgment lending credibility to the claim of Garcia that Papa had prior knowledge of respondents decision. Despite Garcias opposition, respondent granted said motion on September 2, 1997. That same day, respondent also issued the Writ of Execution. Complainants now allege that respondent judge, together with Papa and the NBI officials concerned, violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that: Sec. 3. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officers and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxxx (e) Causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. . . . Complainants claim that: respondent gave unwarranted benefits to Papa and caused, on the other hand, undue injury to Mayor Garcia as well as to the people of Taguig by depriving the latter of their duly elected mayor, and giving Papa unwarranted benefits; the decision and reports were prepared, issued, and executed with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence; that respondent conspired, confederated, and confabulated with the NBI officials concerned and Papa to make the NBI Reports and the decision favorable to Papa; that respondent did not bother to check the figures and to analyze the data contained in the reports, allegedly because a careful perusal of said reports would have led to the discovery of flaws and mistakes; and that the hasty transfer of ballot boxes from respondents sala to that of Judge Vivencio Baclig violated Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code which requires the examination and appreciation of the ballots to be done by the judge himself rather than mere reliance on the work of the Revision Committee. In his Comment dated December 10, 1997, respondent vehemently denied the allegations in the complaint by addressing complainants two main issues: (1) whether it was proper for respondent to have designated the NBI to conduct the necessary handwriting examination and to submit reports on the results thereof to the court and not to the parties considering that said reports were the sole basis of the decision rendered by the court, and (2) whether it was proper for respondent to have granted the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal filed by the declared winner Ricardo D. Papa, Jr., allowing him to take his oath notwithstanding the pendency of an appeal filed with the Commission on Elections concerning the decision rendered by respondent. In addressing the first issue, respondent claimed that the examination conducted by the NBI, which included the segregation, photocopying, and photographing of the contested ballots was in fact done in the presence of the court and the representatives of the parties. Respondent also alleged that the NBI gave one copy each of the reports only to the court since the request therefor did not emanate from the parties. He further claimed that the reports were made available to the parties as early as August 25, 1997, but that neither party took the time to reproduce the same. Concerning the second issue, respondent asserted that he acted in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure which provide that upon motion of the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party, the court may, in its discretion and upon good reasons, order the execution of a judgment or final order even before the expiration of the period to appeal. Respondent further contended that Papa, the rightful winner of the May 1995

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elections, had been deprived of his right to sit as the duly elected mayor of the Municipality of Taguig and that his constituents had been equally deprived of his services as their duly elected municipal head. In the letter-reply dated August 12, 1998, complainants informed this Court that the COMELEC had promulgated an En Banc resolution in SPR No. 42-97 entitled, Isidro B. Garcia vs. Hon. Santiago G. Estrella, Judge, RTC, Branch 68, Pasig City and Ricardo D. Papa, Jr., nullifying the September 2, 1997 order of respondent directing execution pending appeal of his July 21, 1997 decision and the corresponding Writ of Execution, and ordering (a) Papa to cease and desist from performing or continuing to perform the duties and functions of Mayor of the Municipality of Taguig pending the final resolution of the appeal, and (b) to immediately relinquish the position of Mayor of Taguig in favor Garcia. Both complainants and respondent were required by the Court on April 12, 2000 to manifest whether they were willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the record. Respondent did manifest that he was so willing, while complainants, despite proper service of the notice, failed to respond. They are, therefore, deemed to be likewise willing to submit the case for resolution without further pleadings and arguments. In the previous report and recommendation dated February 29, 2000 submitted by Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo, it was pertinently observed that respondent gravely abused his discretion in deciding the case and in issuing the questioned order since grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction occurs when a board, tribunal or officer exercising judicial functions exercises its judgment in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner, or fails to consider the evidence adduced by the parties. The Office of the Court Administrator echoed the COMELECs finding that respondents action showed utter disregard of the appropriate procedure required of him, resulting in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters. No less than the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence (Rule 1.01, Canon 1). Indeed, in every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and applicable laws unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion, or fear of criticism (Rule 3.02, Canon 3, Code of Judicial Conduct). Thus, this Court has continually reminded members of the bench that: The Judge should always be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of his obligation to promptly and properly administer justice. He must view himself as a priest for the administration of justice is akin to a religious crusade. Thus, exerting the same devotion as a priest in the performance of the most sacred ceremonies of religious liturgy, the judge must render service with impartiality commensurate with public trust and confidence reposed in him. (Dimatulac vs. Villon, 297 SCRA 679 [1998]) In the case at bar, respondents demeanor during the entirety of the trial is clearly wanting. From the outset, it must be noted that Garcia obtained a total of 41,900 votes as compared to Papas 36,539. However, respondent based his decision to proclaim Papa the winner of the 1995 elections on the basis of the NBI reports which recommended the deduction of 12,734 votes from Garcia's total votes of 41,900 (per revision report), and 3,809 votes from Papas total votes of 36, 539 (per revision report). Deducting 12,734 votes from Garcias votes would give him a total of 29,166; while deducting 3,809 votes from Papas votes would result in him getting a total of 32,730 votes. This will wipe out Garcias edge of 5,361 and give Papa a judge-made plurality of 3,564 votes. A more careful perusal of the data contained in the NBI reports would have shown a different outcome. Upon analyzing the NBI report, it should have been apparent to respondent that the actual count of the listed Garcia-manufactured ballots (GMB) to be deducted is 12,388 votes. This would have resulted in a total of 29,512 votes for Garcia as

compared to 32,730 for Papa. It must also be noted that there were 3,049 votes for Garcia which were not counted because these were considered stray votes, there having been another candidate surnamed Garcia. This other candidate was, however, declared a nuisance candidate. Upon adding these 3,049 alleged stray Garcia votes to Garcias 29,512, we get a total of 32,561 votes for Garcia as compared to 32,730 for Papa. This would have given Papa only a margin of 169 votes. This close margin between the two candidates should have given respondent reason enough to subject the NBI Reports to closer scrutiny. It should be noted that respondent had already transferred the questioned ballot boxes to another RTC sala on June 5, 1997, 21 days before he received the reports and recommendation of the NBI. This fact made it impossible for him to form a proper basis for his decision, as clearly, there was no way for him to ascertain the veracity of the NBI Reports. Section 255 of the Omnibus Election Code requires that, where allegations in a protest or counter-protest so warrant, or whenever in the opinion of the court the interests of justice so require, it shall immediately order the book of voters, ballot boxes and their keys, ballots and other documents used in the election be brought before it and that the ballots be examined and the votes recounted. In this case, respondent was remiss in examining the questioned ballots despite the wrong figures, computations, and typographical errors and mistakes present in the NBI Reports. Notwithstanding these errors, respondent based his decision solely on the conclusions and findings of the NBI. Respondents obvious partiality for Papa is further bolstered by his acts during the promulgation of judgment on August 27, 1997. The facts show that respondent did not set the NBI Reports for hearing, nor was Garcia allowed to confront the NBI officials concerned. He did not even allow Garcia to get copies of the reports until after the promulgation of the decision on August 27, 1997, and this, only after the COMELEC had ordered respondent to do so on August 26, 1997. In fact, the only time Garcias counsel was able to study the two reports of the NBI consisting of 53 and 17 pages, respectively, was five minutes before the promulgation of judgment. Respondents justification that he alone should have copies of the reports since these were court-sponsored and the request did not emanate from either of the parties, is an explanation which this Court finds hard to accept. Judge Estrellas obvious bias became even more apparent when he granted the motion for execution pending appeal filed by Papa on the day of promulgation of judgment, August 27, 1997. What is disturbing is that said motion was dated August 26, 1997, a day before the scheduled promulgation, indicating that Papa had prior knowledge of a decision favorable to him. On this score, we find pertinent our ruling in the recent case of Evelyn Agpalasin vs. Judge Ernesto M. Agcaoili, (A.M. No. RTJ-95-1308, April 12, 2000), that: A judge should, in pending or prospective litigation before him, be scrupulously careful to avoid such action as may reasonably tend to waken the suspicion that his social or business relations or friendships constitute an element in determining his judicial course. He must not only render a just, correct and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to his fairness, impartiality and integrity. A decision which correctly applies the law and jurisprudence will nevertheless be subject to questions of impropriety when rendered by a magistrate or tribunal believed to be less than impartial and honest. We also find credence in the COMELEC resolution promulgated on January 5, 1998 which observed that it was physically impossible for the NBI document examiners to have examined over 16,000 ballots and to have come out with an accurate finding. Declared thus the COMELEC:

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In the case at bench, the NBI necessarily examined xerox copies of 14,664 ballots from 713 precincts and without the guidance of objections from revisors, the NBI document examiner, on his own initiative and determination, sorted out as written by one person 12,274 ballots in six (6) groups. This was done in a record time of less than two (2) months, from March 31, 1997 to May 19, 1997. As we know, standard document examination procedure requires the examination of original documents (ballots, in this case) not photocopies. Other than this, invalidating ballots not objected to by the revisors in the revision report, as pointed out, is not sanctioned by the rules on revision and appreciation of ballots. To conduct this kind of examination, involving enormous number of ballots, is almost impossible to accomplish. One would have to spread the 14,664 ballots from 713 precincts beside each other, in a floor or table space bigger than the size of a basketball court, and by going over those thousands of ballots, pick at random groups of ballots six groups in all and, by examining them, reach a conclusion that the ballots in each of these groups were written by one person. Common sense dictates that this is simply an impossible procedure. And we are not convinced that through this method, the NBI could correctly and with scientific precision invalidate 12,724 ballots of the protestee. Indubitably, the foregoing have raised the suspicion of partiality on the part of respondent. Verily, a judge must promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. These stringent standards are intended to assure parties of just and equitable decisions and of a judiciary that is capable of dispensing impartial justice in every issue in every trial (Abundo vs. Manio, Jr., 312 SCRA 1 [1999]). WHEREFORE, Judge Santiago G. Estrella is hereby found guilty of serious misconduct, partiality, and inexcusable negligence, and is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), with the stern warning that any similar misconduct on his part in the future will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. 2. SALARY (See letter E) 3. Congressional power to reorganize and security of tenure (See letter F) DE LA LLANA VS ALBA (See letter F) 4. Removal (See letter G) 5. Jurisdiction (See letter A) Ynot vs. Intermediate Appellate Court AC, 148 SCRA 659 (1987) FACTS: Petitioners'''' 6 carabaos were confiscated by the police for having been transported from Masbate to Iloilo in violation of EO 626-A. He brought an action for replevin, challenging the consitutionality of the EO. The trial court sustained the confiscation of the animals and declined to rule on the validity of the law on the ground that it lacked authority to do so. Its decision was affirmed by the IAC. Hence this petition for review. HELD: (1) Under the provision granting the SC jurisdiction to "review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide final judgments of lower courts" in all cases involving the constitutionality of certain measures, lower courts can pass upon the validity of a statute in the first instance.

(2) There is no doubt that by banning the slaughter of these animals (except where there at least 7 yrs. old if male and 11 yrs old if female upon the issuance of the necessary permit) the EO will be conserving those still fit for farm work or breeding and preventing their improvident depletion. We do not see, however, how the prohibition of the interprovincial transport of carabaos can prevent their indiscriminate slaughter, considering that they can be killed any where, w/ no less difficulty in on province than in another. Obviously, retaining the carabao in one province will not prevent their slaughter there, any more than moving them to another province will make it easier to kill them there. As for the carabeef, the prohibition is made to apply to it as otherwise, so says the EO, it could be easily circumsbcribed by simply killing the animal. Perhaps so. However, if the movement of the live animals for the purpose of preventing their slaughter cannot be prohibited, it should follow that there is no reason either to prohibit their transfer as, not to be flippant, dead meat. (3) In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by the police station commander, were returned to the petitioner only after he had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas bond w/c was ordered confiscated upon his failure to produce the carabaos when ordered by the trial court. The EO defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner and immediately imposed punishment, w/c was carried out forthright. The measures struck him at once and pounced upon the petitioner w/o giving him a chance to be heard, thus denying him elementary fair play. (4) It is there authorized that the seized prop. shall "be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may see fit in the case of carabaos." The phrase may see fit is an extremely generous and dangerous condition, if condition it is. It is laden w/ perilous opportunities for partiality and abuse, and even corruption. One searches in vain for the usual standard and the reasonable guidelines, or better still, the limitations that the said officers must observe when they make their distribution. Ynot vs. IAC, 148 SCRA 659 (1987) ISSUE: WON EO 626-A is constitutional FACTS: Petitioner was charged of violation of EO 626 when he transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984, when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of replevin upon his filing of a supersede as bond of P12,000.00. Petitioner raised the issue of EOs constitutionality and filed case in the lower court. However, the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as raised by the petitioner. Therefore, petitioner appealed the decision to IAC with the following contentions: 1. EO is unconstitutional as confiscation is outright 2. Penalty is invalid as it is imposed without the owner's right to be heard before a competent and impartial court. 3. Measure should have not been presumed 4. Raises a challenge to the improper exercise of the legislative power by the former President. HELD: Petiton is GRANTED with the following justifications:

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1. Right of the petitioner to question for constitutionality is valid as theres no exigency showing to justify the exercise of this extraordinary power of the President 2. Properties involved were not even inimical per se as to require their instant destrcution 3. Case involved roving commission and invalid delegation of powers and invalid exercise of police power 4. Due process is violated because the owner is denied the right to be heard in his defense and was immediately condemned and punish 6. Preparation for decisions Art VIII, Sec 14: No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor. 7. Mandatory period for deciding (See letter O) BUHAY DE ROMA V. CA (JULY 23, 1987) Facts: Candeleria De Roma adopted two daughters, Buhay and Rosalinda. She died intestate. When administration proceedings was ongoing, Buhay was appointed administratrix and filed an inventory of the estate. Opposed by Rosalinda on the ground that certain properties donated by their mother to Buhay and fruits thereof had not been included. The Parcels of Land totaled P10,297.50 and the value is not disputed. The TC issued an order in favor of Buhay because when Candelaria donated the properties to Buhay she said in the Deed of Donation sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay na din a mababawing muli which the TC interpreted as a prohibition to collate and besides the legitimes of the two daughters were not impaired. On appeal, it was reversed as it merely described the donation as irrevocable not an express prohibition to collate. Issue: WON these lands are subject to collation. Held: The pertinent Civil Code provisions are: Art. 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. (1035a) Art. 1062. Collation shall not take place among compulsory heirs if the donor should have so expressly provided, or if the donee should repudiate the inheritance, unless the donation should be reduced as inofficious. (1036) The SC affirmed the appellate courts decision and that it merely described the donation as irrevocable. The Fact that a donation is irrevocable does not necessarily exempt the donated properties from collation as required under the provisions of the NCC. Given the precise language of the deed of donation the decedent donor would have included an express prohibition to collate if that had been the donors intention. Absent such indication of that intention, the rule not the exemption should be applied. T. THE JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL Art VIII, Sec 8: Section 8. (1) A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress as ex officio Members, a representative of the

Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector. (2) The regular members of the Council shall be appointed by the President for a term of four years with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Of the Members first appointed, the representative of the Integrated Bar shall serve for four years, the professor of law for three years, the retired Justice for two years, and the representative of the private sector for one year. (3) The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be the Secretary ex officio of the Council and shall keep a record of its proceedings. (4) The regular Members of the Council shall receive such emoluments as may be determined by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall provide in its annual budget the appropriations for the Council. (5) The Council shall have the principal function of recommending appointees to the Judiciary. It may exercise such other functions and duties as the Supreme Court may assign to it. U. AUTOMATIC RELEASE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR JUDICIARY Art VIII, Sec 3: The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.

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