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Rubi vs Provincial Board of Mindoro

Constitutional Law : Article VI, Sec. 1(Legislative Power; Non-Delegation)

Does section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 constitute an unlawful delegation
of legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to a provincial official and a
department head, therefore making it unconstitutional?

G.R. No. L-14078; March 7, 1919; 39 Phil 660


FACTS:
The case is an application for habeas corpus in favor of Rubi and other Manguianes of the
Province of Mindoro. It is alleged that the Maguianes are being illegally deprived of their
liberty by the provincial officials of that province. Rubi and his companions are said to be
held on the reservation established at Tigbao, Mindoro, against their will, and one
Dabalos is said to be held under the custody of the provincial sheriff in the prison at
Calapan for having run away from the reservation.
The provincial governor of Mindoro and the provincial board thereof directed the
Manguianes in question to take up their habitation in Tigbao, a site on the shore of Lake
Naujan, selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial board. The
action was taken in accordance with section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917,
and was duly approved by the Secretary of the Interior as required by said action.
Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 reads as follows:
SEC. 2145. Establishment of non-Christian upon sites selected by provincial governor.
With the prior approval of the Department Head, the provincial governor of any province
in which non-Christian inhabitants are found is authorized, when such a course is deemed
necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such inhabitants to take up their
habitation on sites on unoccupied public lands to be selected by him an approved by the
provincial board.
Petitioners, however, challenge the validity of this section of the Administrative Code.
ISSUE:
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-14078

March 7, 1919

RUBI, ET AL. (manguianes), plaintiffs,


vs.
THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF MINDORO, defendant.
D. R. Williams & Filemon Sotto for plaintiff.
Office of the Solicitor-General Paredes for defendant.

HELD:
No. The Philippine Legislature has here conferred authority upon the Province of
Mindoro, to be exercised by the provincial governor and the provincial board.
In determining whether the delegation of legislative power is valid or not, the distinction
is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily involves a
discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its
execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to
the later no valid objection can be made. Discretion may be committed by the Legislature
to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make decisions of executive
departments of subordinate official thereof, to whom it has committed the execution of
certain acts, final on questions of fact. The growing tendency in the decision is to give
prominence to the "necessity" of the case.
In enacting the said provision of the Administrative Code, the Legislature merely
conferred upon the provincial governor, with the approval of the provincial board and the
Department Head, discretionary authority as to the execution of the law. This is necessary
since the provincial governor and the provincial board, as the official representatives of
the province, are better qualified to judge when such as course is deemed necessary in
the interest of law and order. As officials charged with the administration of the province
and the protection of its inhabitants, they are better fitted to select sites which have the
conditions most favorable for improving the people who have the misfortune of being in
a backward state.
Hence, Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 is not an unlawful delegation of
legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to provincial official and a department
head.
In one of the cases which denote a landmark in American Constitutional History
(Worcester vs. Georgia [1832], 6 Pet., 515), Chief Justice Marshall, the first luminary of
American jurisprudence, began his opinion (relating to the status of an Indian) with
words which, with a slight change in phraseology, can be made to introduce the present
opinion This cause, in every point of view in which it can be placed, is of the deepest
interest. The legislative power of state, the controlling power of the constitution and laws,
the rights if they have any, the political existence of a people, the personal liberty of a
citizen, are all involved in the subject now to be considered.
To imitate still further the opinion of the Chief Justice, we adopt his outline and proceed
first, to introduce the facts and the issues, next to give a history of the so called "nonChristians," next to compare the status of the "non-Christians" with that of the American
Indians, and, lastly, to resolve the constitutional questions presented.

MALCOLM, J.:

I. INTRODUCTION.
This is an application for habeas corpus in favor of Rubi and other Manguianes of the
Province of Mindoro. It is alleged that the Maguianes are being illegally deprived of their
liberty by the provincial officials of that province. Rubi and his companions are said to be
held on the reservation established at Tigbao, Mindoro, against their will, and one
Dabalos is said to be held under the custody of the provincial sheriff in the prison at
Calapan for having run away form the reservation.

3. That on December 4, 1917, the provincial governor of Mindoro issued executive order
No. 2 which says:
"Whereas the provincial board, by Resolution No. 25, current series, has selected a site in
the sitio of Tigbao on Naujan Lake for the permanent settlement of Mangyanes in
Mindoro.
"Whereas said resolution has been duly approve by the Honorable, the Secretary of the
Interior, on February 21, 1917.

The return of the Solicitor-General alleges:


1. That on February 1, 1917, the provincial board of Mindoro adopted resolution No. 25
which is as follows:
The provincial governor, Hon. Juan Morente, Jr., presented the following resolution:
"Whereas several attempts and schemes have been made for the advancement of the nonChristian people of Mindoro, which were all a failure,
"Whereas it has been found out and proved that unless some other measure is taken for
the Mangyan work of this province, no successful result will be obtained toward
educating these people.
"Whereas it is deemed necessary to obliged them to live in one place in order to make a
permanent settlement,
"Whereas the provincial governor of any province in which non-Christian inhabitants are
found is authorized, when such a course is deemed necessary in the interest of law and
order, to direct such inhabitants to take up their habitation on sites on unoccupied public
lands to be selected by him and approved by the provincial board.
"Whereas the provincial governor is of the opinion that the sitio of Tigbao on Lake
Naujan is a place most convenient for the Mangyanes to live on, Now, therefore be it
"Resolved, that under section 2077 of the Administrative Code, 800 hectares of public
land in the sitio of Tigbao on Naujan Lake be selected as a site for the permanent
settlement of Mangyanes in Mindoro subject to the approval of the Honorable Secretary
of the Interior, and
"Resolved further, That Mangyans may only solicit homesteads on this reservation
providing that said homestead applications are previously recommended by the provincial
governor."
2. That said resolution No. 25 (series 1917) of the provincial board of Mindoro was
approved by the Secretary of the Interior of February 21, 1917.

"Now, therefore, I, Juan Morente, jr., provincial governor of Mindoro, pursuant to the
provisions of section 2145 of the revised Administrative Code, do hereby direct that all
the Mangyans in the townships of Naujan and Pola and the Mangyans east of the Baco
River including those in the districts of Dulangan and Rubi's place in Calapan, to take up
their habitation on the site of Tigbao, Naujan Lake, not later than December 31, 1917.
"Any Mangyan who shall refuse to comply with this order shall upon conviction be
imprisoned not exceed in sixty days, in accordance with section 2759 of the revised
Administrative Code."
4. That the resolution of the provincial board of Mindoro copied in paragraph 1 and the
executive order of the governor of the same province copied in paragraph 3, were
necessary measures for the protection of the Mangyanes of Mindoro as well as the
protection of public forests in which they roam, and to introduce civilized customs among
them.
5. That Rubi and those living in his rancheria have not fixed their dwelling within the
reservation of Tigbao and are liable to be punished in accordance with section 2759 of
Act No. 2711.
6. That the undersigned has not information that Doroteo Dabalos is being detained by
the sheriff of Mindoro but if he is so detained it must be by virtue of the provisions of
articles Nos. 2145 and 2759 of Act No. 2711.
It thus appears that the provincial governor of Mindoro and the provincial board thereof
directed the Manguianes in question to take up their habitation in Tigbao, a site on the
shore of Lake Naujan, selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial
board. The action was taken in accordance with section 2145 of the Administrative Code
of 1917, and was duly approved by the Secretary of the Interior as required by said
action. Petitioners, however, challenge the validity of this section of the Administrative
Code. This, therefore, becomes the paramount question which the court is called upon the
decide.
Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 reads as follows:

SEC. 2145. Establishment of non-Christina upon sites selected by provincial governor.


With the prior approval of the Department Head, the provincial governor of any province
in which non-Christian inhabitants are found is authorized, when such a course is deemed
necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such inhabitants to take up their
habitation on sites on unoccupied public lands to be selected by him an approved by the
provincial board.
In connection with the above-quoted provisions, there should be noted section 2759 of
the same Code, which read as follows:
SEC. 2759. Refusal of a non-Christian to take up appointed habitation. Any nonChristian who shall refuse to comply with the directions lawfully given by a provincial
governor, pursuant to section two thousand one hundred and forty-five of this Code, to
take up habitation upon a site designated by said governor shall upon conviction be
imprisonment for a period not exceeding sixty days.
The substance of what is now found in said section 2145 is not new to Philippine law.
The genealogical tree of this section, if we may be permitted to use such terminology,
would read: Section 2077, Administrative Code of 1916; section 62, Act No. 1397;
section 2 of various special provincial laws, notably of Act No. 547, specifically relating
to the Manguianes; section 69, Act No. 387.
Section 2145 and its antecedent laws make use of the term "non-Christians." This word,
as will later be disclosed, is also found in varying forms in other laws of the Philippine
Islands. In order to put the phrase in its proper category, and in order to understand the
policy of the Government of the Philippine Islands with reference to the uncivilized
elements of the Islands, it is well first of all to set down a skeleton history of the attitude
assumed by the authorities towards these "non-Christians," with particular regard for the
legislation on the subject.

In order that the indios may be instructed in the Sacred Catholic Faith and the evangelical
law, and in order that they may forget the blunders of their ancient rites and ceremonies to
the end that they may live in harmony and in a civilized manner, it has always been
endeavored, with great care and special attention, to use all the means most convenient to
the attainment of these purposes. To carry out this work with success, our Council of the
Indies and other religious persons met at various times; the prelates of new Spain
assembled by order of Emperor Charles V of glorious memory in the year one thousand
five hundred and forty-six all of which meetings were actuated with a desire to serve
God an our Kingdom. At these meetings it was resolved that indios be made to live in
communities, and not to live in places divided and separated from one another by sierras
and mountains, wherein they are deprived of all spiritual and temporal benefits and
wherein they cannot profit from the aid of our ministers and from that which gives rise to
those human necessities which men are obliged to give one another. Having realized that
convenience of this resolution, our kings, our predecessors, by different orders, have
entrusted and ordered the viceroys, presidents, and governors to execute with great care
and moderation the concentration of the indios into reducciones; and to deal with their
doctrine with such forbearance and gentleness, without causing inconveniences, so that
those who would not presently settle and who would see the good treatment and the
protection of those already in settlements would, of their own accord, present themselves,
and it is ordained that they be not required to pay taxes more than what is ordered.
Because the above has been executed in the greater part of our Indies, we hereby order
and decree that the same be complied with in all the remaining parts of the Indies, and the
encomederos shall entreat compliance thereof in the manner and form prescribed by the
laws of this title.
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LAW VIII.
Philip II at the Pardo, on December 1, 1573. Philip III at Madrid, October 10, 1618.

II. HISTORY.
A. BEFORE ACQUISITION OF THE PHILIPPINE BY THE UNITED STATES.
The most important of the laws of the Indies having reference to the subject at hand are
compiled in Book VI, Title III, in the following language.
LAW I.
The Emperor Charles and the Prince, the governor, at Cigales, on March 21, 1551. Philip
II at Toledo, on February 19, 1560. In the forest of Segovia on September 13, 1565. In the
Escorial on November 10, 1568. Ordinance 149 of the poblaciones of 1573. In San
Lorenzo, on May 20, 1578,
THAT THE "INDIOS" BE REDUCED INTO "POBLACIONES" COMMUNITIES).

THE "REDUCCTIONES" BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS


OF THIS LAW.
The places wherein the pueblos and reducciones shall be formed should have the
facilities of waters. lands, and mountains, ingress and egress, husbandry and passageway
of one league long, wherein the indios can have their live stock that they may not be
mixed with those of the Spaniards.
LAW IX.
Philip II at Toledo, on February 19, 1956.
THAT THE "INDIOS" IN "REDUCCIONES" BE NOT DEPRIVED OF THE LANDS
PREVIOUSLY HELD BY THEM.

With more good-will and promptness, the indios shall be concentrated in reducciones.
Provided they shall not be deprived of the lands and granaries which they may have in the
places left by them. We hereby order that no change shall be made in this respect, and
that they be allowed to retain the lands held by them previously so that they may cultivate
them and profit therefrom.
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LAW XIII.
THE SAME AS ABOVE.
THAT THE "REDUCCIONES" BE NOT REMOVED WITHOUT ORDER OF THE
KING, VICEROY, OR COURT.
No governor, or magistrate, or alcalde mayor, or any other court, has the right to alter or
to remove the pueblos or the reducciones once constituted and founded, without our
express order or that of the viceroy, president, or the royal district court, provided,
however, that the encomenderos, priests, or indios request such a change or consent to it
by offering or giving information to that en. And, because these claims are often made for
private interests and not for those of the indios, we hereby order that this law be always
complied with, otherwise the change will be considered fraudulently obtained. The
penalty of one thousand pesos shall be imposed upon the judge or encomendero who
should violate this law.
LAW XV.
Philip III at Madrid, on October 10, 1618.
THAT THERE BE MAYORS AND ALDERMEN IN THE "REDUCTIONES," WHO
SHALL BE "INDIOS."
We order that in each town and reduccion there be a mayor, who should be an indio of the
same reduccion; if there be more than eighty houses, there should be two mayors and two
aldermen, also indios; and, even if the town be a big one, there should, nevertheless, be
more than two mayors and four aldermen, If there be less than eighty indios but not less
than forty, there should be not more than one mayor and one alderman, who should
annually elect nine others, in the presence of the priests , as is the practice in town
inhabited by Spaniards and indios.

THAT IN THE TOWNS OF THE "INDIOS," THERE SHALL LIVE NO SPANIARDS,


NEGROES, "MESTIZOS," AND MULATTOES.
We hereby prohibit and forbid Spaniards, negroes, mulattores, or mestizos to live to live
in the reducciones and towns and towns of the indios, because it has been found that
some Spaniards who deal, trade, live, and associate with the indios are men of
troublesome nature, of dirty ways of living; robbers, gamblers, and vicious and useless
men; and, to avoid the wrongs done them, the indios would leave their towns and
provinces; and the negroes, mestizos, and mulattoes, besides maltreating them and
utilizing their services, contaminate them with their bad customs, idleness, and also some
of their blunders and vices which may corrupt and pervert the goal which we desire to
reach with regard to their salvation, increase, and tranquillity. We hereby order the
imposition of grave penalties upon the commission of the acts above-mentioned which
should not be tolerated in the towns, and that the viceroys, presidents, governors, and
courts take great care in executing the law within their powers and avail themselves of
the cooperation of the ministers who are truly honest. As regards the mestizos and Indian
and Chinese half-breeds (zambaigos), who are children of indias and born among them,
and who are to inherit their houses and haciendas, they all not be affected by this law, it
appearing to be a harsh thing to separate them from their parents. (Law of the Indies, vol.
2, pp. 228, 229, 230, 231.)
A clear exposition of the purposes of the Spanish government, in its efforts to improve
the condition of the less advanced inhabitants of the Islands by concentrating them in
"reducciones," is found in the Decree of the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands
of January 14, 1881, reading as follows:
It is a legal principle as well as a national right that every inhabitant of a territory
recognized as an integral part of a nation should respect and obey the laws in force
therein; while, on other hand, it is the duty to conscience and to humanity for all
governments to civilize those backward races that might exist in the nation, and which
living in the obscurity of ignorance, lack of all the nations which enable them to grasp the
moral and material advantages that may be acquired in those towns under the protection
and vigilance afforded them by the same laws.
It is equally highly depressive to our national honor to tolerate any longer the separation
and isolation of the non-Christian races from the social life of the civilized and Christian
towns; to allow any longer the commission of depredations, precisely in the Island of
Luzon wherein is located the seat of the representative of the Government of the,
metropolis.

LAW XXI.
Philip II, in Madrid, On May 2, 1563, and on November 25, 1578. At Tomar, on May 8,
1581. At Madrid, on January 10, 1589. Philip III, at Todesillas, on July 12, 1600. Philip
IV, at Madrid, on October 1 and December 17, 1646. For this law and the one following,
see Law I, Tit. 4, Book 7.

It is but just to admit the fact that all the governments have occupied themselves with this
most important question, and that much has been heretofore accomplished with the help
and self-denial of the missionary fathers who have even sacrificed their lives to the end
that those degenerate races might be brought to the principles of Christianity, but the
means and the preaching employed to allure them have been insufficient to complete the

work undertaken. Neither have the punishments imposed been sufficient in certain cases
and in those which have not been guarded against, thus giving and customs of isolation.
As it is impossible to consent to the continuation of such a lamentable state of things,
taking into account the prestige which the country demands and the inevitable duty which
every government has in enforcing respect and obedience to the national laws on the part
of all who reside within the territory under its control, I have proceeded in the premises
by giving the most careful study of this serious question which involves important
interests for civilization, from the moral and material as well as the political standpoints.
After hearing the illustrious opinions of all the local authorities, ecclesiastics, and
missionaries of the provinces of Northern Luzon, and also after finding the unanimous
conformity of the meeting held with the Archbishop of Manila, the Bishops of Jaro and
Cebu, and the provincial prelates of the orders of the Dominicans, Agustinians,
Recoletos, Franciscans, and Jesuits as also of the meeting of the Council of Authorities,
held for the object so indicated, I have arrived at an intimate conviction of the inevitable
necessity of proceeding in a practical manner for the submission of the said pagan and
isolated races, as well as of the manner and the only form of accomplishing such a task.
For the reasons above stated and for the purpose of carrying out these objects, I hereby
promulgate the following:
DECREE.
1. All the indian inhabitants (indios) of the Islands of Luzon are, from this date, to be
governed by the common law, save those exceptions prescribed in this decree which are
bases upon the differences of instructions, of the customs, and of the necessities of the
different pagan races which occupy a part of its territory.
2. The diverse rules which should be promulgated for each of these races which may
be divided into three classes; one, which comprises those which live isolated and roaming
about without forming a town nor a home; another, made up of those subdued pagans
who have not as yet entered completely the social life; and the third, of those mountain
and rebellious pagans shall be published in their respective dialects, and the officials,
priests, and missionaries of the provinces wherein they are found are hereby entrusted in
the work of having these races learn these rules. These rules shall have executive
character, beginning with the first day of next April, and, as to their compliance, they
must be observed in the manner prescribed below.
3. The provincial authorities in conjunction with the priests shall proceed, from now on,
with all the means which their zeal may suggest to them, to the taking of the census of the
inhabitants of the towns or settlement already subdued, and shall adopt the necessary
regulations for the appointment of local authorities, if there be none as yet; for the
construction of courts and schools, and for the opening or fixing up of means of
communication, endeavoring, as regards the administrative organization of the said towns
or settlements, that this be finished before the first day of next July, so that at the
beginning of the fiscal year they shall have the same rights and obligations which affect

the remaining towns of the archipelago, with the only exception that in the first two years
they shall not be obliged to render personal services other than those previously
indicated.
4. So long as these subdued towns or settlements are located infertile lands appropriate
for cultivation, the inhabitants thereof shall not be obliged to move their dwelling-houses;
and only in case of absolute necessity shall a new residence be fixed for them, choosing
for this purpose the place most convenient for them and which prejudices the least their
interest; and, in either of these cases, an effort must be made to establish their homes with
the reach of the sound of the bell.
5. For the protection and defense of these new towns, there shall be established an armed
force composed precisely of native Christian, the organization and service of which shall
be determined in a regulations based upon that of the abolished Tercios de Policia
(division of the Guardia Civil).
6. The authorities shall see to it that the inhabitants of the new towns understand all the
rights and duties affecting them and the liberty which they have as to where and now they
shall till their lands and sell the products thereof, with the only exception of the tobacco
which shall be bought by the Hacienda at the same price and conditions allowed other
producers, and with the prohibition against these new towns as well as the others from
engaging in commerce of any other transaction with the rebellious indios, the violation of
which shall be punished with deportation.
7. In order to properly carry out this express prohibition, the limits of the territory of the
rebellious indios shall be fixed; and whoever should go beyond the said limits shall be
detained and assigned governmentally wherever convenient.
8. For the purpose of assisting in the conversion of the pagans into the fraternity of the
Catholic Church, all by this fact along be exempt for eight years from rendering personal
labor.
9. The authorities shall offer in the name of the State to the races not subdued (aetas and
mountains igorrots the following advantages in returns for their voluntary submission: to
live in towns; unity among their families; concession of good lands and the right to
cultivate them in the manner they wish and in the way them deem most productive;
support during a year, and clothes upon effecting submission; respect for their habits and
customs in so far as the same are not opposed to natural law; freedom to decide of their
own accord as to whether they want to be Christians or not; the establishment of missions
and families of recognized honesty who shall teach, direct, protect, and give them
security and trust them; the purchase or facility of the sale of their harvests; the
exemption from contributions and tributes for ten years and from the quintas (a kind of
tax) for twenty years; and lastly, that those who are governed by the local authorities as
the ones who elect such officials under the direct charge of the authorities of the province
or district.

10. The races indicated in the preceding article, who voluntarily admit the advantages
offered, shall, in return, have the obligation of constituting their new towns, of
constructing their town hall, schools, and country roads which place them in
communication with one another and with the Christians; provided, the location of these
towns be distant from their actual residences, when the latter do not have the good
conditions of location and cultivations, and provided further the putting of families in a
place so selected by them be authorized in the towns already constituted.
11. The armed force shall proceed to the prosecution and punishment of the tribes, that,
disregarding the peace, protection, and advantages offered them, continue in their
rebellious attitude on the first of next April, committing from now on the crimes and
vexations against the Christian towns; and for the this purposes, the Captain General's
Office shall proceed with the organization of the divisions of the Army which, in
conjunction with the rural guards (cuadrilleros), shall have to enter the territory of such
tribes. On the expiration of the term, they shall destroy their dwelling-houses, labors, and
implements, and confiscate their products and cattle. Such a punishment shall necessarily
be repeated twice a year, and for this purpose the military headquarters shall immediately
order a detachment of the military staff to study the zones where such operations shall
take place and everything conducive to the successful accomplishment of the same.
12. The chiefs of provinces, priests, and missioners, local authorities, and other
subordinates to my authorities, local authorities, and other subordinates to may authority,
civil as well as military authorities, shall give the most effective aid and cooperation to
the said forces in all that is within the attributes and the scope of the authority of each.
13. With respect to the reduccion of the pagan races found in some of the provinces in the
southern part of the Archipelago, which I intend to visit, the preceding provisions shall
conveniently be applied to them.
14. There shall be created, under my presidency as Governor-General, Vice-Royal Patron,
a council or permanent commission which shall attend to and decide all the questions
relative to the application of the foregoing regulations that may be brought to it for
consultations by the chiefs of provinces and priests and missionaries.
15. The secondary provisions which may be necessary, as a complement to the foregoing,
in brining about due compliance with this decree, shall be promulgated by the respective
official centers within their respective jurisdictions. (Gaceta de Manila, No. 15)
(Diccionario de la Administracion, vol. 7, pp. 128-134.)
B. AFTER ACQUISITON OF THE PHILIPPINES BY THE UNITED STATES.
Ever since the acquisition of the Philippine Islands by the United States, the question as
to the best method for dealing with the primitive inhabitants has been a perplexing one.
1. Organic law.

The first order of an organic character after the inauguration of the American Government
in the Philippines was President McKinley's Instructions to the Commission of April 7,
1900, later expressly approved and ratified by section 1 of the Philippine Bill, the Act of
Congress of July 1, 1902. Portions of these instructions have remained undisturbed by
subsequent congressional legislation. One paragraph of particular interest should here be
quoted, namely:
In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands, the Commission should adopt the
same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians
to maintain their tribal organization and government and under which many of these
tribes are now living in peace and contentment, surrounded by civilization to which they
are unable or unwilling to conform. Such tribal governments should, however, be
subjected to wise and firm regulation; and, without undue or petty interference, constant
and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce
civilized customs.
Next comes the Philippine Bill, the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, in the nature of an
Organic Act for the Philippines. The purpose of section 7 of the Philippine Bill was to
provide for a legislative body and, with this end in view, to name the prerequisites for the
organization of the Philippine Assembly. The Philippine Legislature, composed of the
Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly, was to have jurisdiction over the
Christian portion of the Islands. The Philippine Commission was to retain exclusive
jurisdiction of that part of said Islands inhabited by Moros or other non-Christian tribes.
The latest Act of Congress, nearest to a Constitution for the Philippines, is the Act of
Congress of August 29, 1916, commonly known as the Jones Law. This transferred the
exclusive legislative jurisdiction and authority theretofore exercised by the Philippine
Commission, to the Philippine Legislature (sec. 12). It divided the Philippine Islands into
twelve senatorial districts, the twelfth district to be composed of the Mountain Province,
Baguio, Nueva Vizcaya, and the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. The GovernorGeneral of the Philippine Islands was authorized to appoint senators and representatives
for the territory which, at the time of the passage of the Jones Law, was not represented in
the Philippine Assembly, that is, for the twelfth district (sec. 16). The law establish a
bureau to be known as the "Bureau of non-Christian Tribes" which shall have general
supervision over the public affairs of the inhabitants which are represented in the
Legislature by appointed senators and representatives( sec. 22).
Philippine organic law may, therefore, be said to recognized a dividing line between the
territory not inhabited by Moros or other non-Christian tribes, and the territory which
Moros or other non-Christian tribes, and the territory which is inhabited by Moros or
other non-Christian tribes.
2. Statute law.
Local governments in the Philippines have been provided for by various acts of the
Philippine Commission and Legislature. The most notable are Acts Nos. 48 and 49

concerning the Province of Benguet and the Igorots; Act NO. 82, the Municipal Code;
;Act no. 83, the Provincial Government Act; Act No. 183, the Character of the city of
Manila; Act No. 7887, providing for the organization and government of the Moro
Province; Act No. 1396, the Special Provincial Government Act; Act No. 1397, the
Township Government Act; Act No. 1667, relating to the organization of settlements; Act
No. 1963, the Baguio charger; and Act No. 2408, the Organic Act of the Department of
Mindanao and Sulu. The major portion of these laws have been carried forward into the
Administrative Codes of 1916 an d1917.
Of more particular interest are certain special laws concerning the government of the
primitive peoples. Beginning with Act No. 387, sections 68-71, enacted on April 9, 1902,
by the United States Philippine Commission, having reference to the Province of Nueva
Vizcaya, Acts Nos. 4111, 422, 445, 500, 547, 548, 549, 550, 579, 753, 855, 1113, 1145,
4568, 1306 were enacted for the provinces of Abra, Antique, Bataan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos
Sur, Isabela. Lepanto-Bontoc, Mindoro, Misamis, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Paragua
(Palawan), Tarlac, Tayabas, and Zambales. As an example of these laws, because
referring to the Manguianes, we insert Act No. 547:
No. 547. AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LOCAL CIVIL
GOVERNMENTS FOR THE MANGUIANES IN THE PROVINCE OF MINDORO.
By authority of the United States, be it enacted by the Philippine Commission, that:
SECTION 1. Whereas the Manguianes of the Provinces of Mindoro have not progressed
sufficiently in civilization to make it practicable to bring them under any form of
municipal government, the provincial governor is authorized, subject to the approval of
the Secretary of the Interior, in dealing with these Manguianes to appoint officers from
among them, to fix their designations and badges of office, and to prescribe their powers
and duties: Provided, That the powers and duties thus prescribed shall not be in excess of
those conferred upon township officers by Act Numbered Three hundred and eightyseven entitled "An Act providing for the establishment of local civil Governments in the
townships and settlements of Nueva Vizcaya."
SEC. 2. Subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, the provincial governor is
further authorized, when he deems such a course necessary in the interest of law and
order, to direct such Manguianes to take up their habitation on sites on unoccupied public
lands to be selected by him and approved by the provincial board. Manguianes who
refuse to comply with such directions shall upon conviction be imprisonment for a period
not exceeding sixty days.
SEC. 3. The constant aim of the governor shall be to aid the Manguianes of his province
to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary for successful local popular
government, and his supervision and control over them shall be exercised to this end, an
to the end that law and order and individual freedom shall be maintained.

SEC. 4. When in the opinion of the provincial board of Mindoro any settlement of
Manguianes has advanced sufficiently to make such a course practicable, it may be
organized under the provisions of sections one to sixty-seven, inclusive, of Act Numbered
three hundred and eighty-seven, as a township, and the geographical limits of such
township shall be fixed by the provincial board.
SEC. 5. The public good requiring the speedy enactment of this bill, the passage of the
same is hereby expedited in accordance with section two of 'An Act prescribing the order
of procedure by the Commission in the enactment of laws,' passed September twentysixth, nineteen hundred.
SEC. 6. This Act shall take effect on its passage.
Enacted, December 4, 1902.
All of these special laws, with the exception of Act No. 1306, were repealed by Act No.
1396 and 1397. The last named Act incorporated and embodied the provisions in general
language. In turn, Act No. 1397 was repealed by the Administrative Code of 1916. The
two Administrative Codes retained the provisions in questions.
These different laws, if they of the non-Christian inhabitants of the Philippines and a
settled and consistent practice with reference to the methods to be followed for their
advancement.
C. TERMINOLOGY.
The terms made use of by these laws, organic and statutory, are found in varying forms.
"Uncivilized tribes" is the denomination in President McKinley's instruction to the
Commission.
The most commonly accepted usage has sanctioned the term "non-Christian tribes."
These words are to be found in section 7 of the Philippine Bill and in section 22 of the
Jones Law. They are also to be found in Act No. 253 of the Philippines Commission,
establishing a Bureau of non-Christian Tribes and in Act No. 2674 of the Philippine
Legislature, carried forward into sections 701-705 of the Administrative Code of 1917,
reestablishing this Bureau. Among other laws which contain the phrase, there can be
mentioned Acts Nos. 127, 128, 387, 547, 548, 549, 550, 1397, 1639, and 2551.
"Non-Christian people," "non-Christian inhabitants," and "non-Christian Filipinos" have
been the favorite nomenclature, in lieu of the unpopular word "tribes," since the coming
into being of a Filipinized legislature. These terms can be found in sections 2076, 2077,
2390, 2394, Administrative Code of 1916; sections 701-705, 2145, 2422, 2426,
Administrative Code of 1917; and in Acts Nos. 2404, 2435, 2444, 2674 of the Philippine
Legislatures, as well as in Act No. 1667 of the Philippine Commission.

The Administrative Code specifically provides that the term "non-Christian" shall include
Mohammedans and pagans. (Sec. 2576, Administrative Code of 1917; sec. 2561,
Administrative Code of 1916, taken from Act No. 2408, sec. 3.)
D. MEANING OF TERM "NON-CHRISTIAN."
If we were to follow the literal meaning of the word "non-Christian," it would of course
result in giving to it a religious signification. Obviously, Christian would be those who
profess the Christian religion, and non-Christians, would be those who do not profess the
Christian religion. In partial corroboration of this view, there could also be cited section
2576 of the last Administrative Code and certain well-known authorities, as Zuiga,
"Estadismo de las Islas Filipinas," Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, "Philippine Tribes
and Languages," and Dr. N. M. Saleeby, "The Origin of Malayan Filipinos." (See Blair &
Robertson, "The Philippine Islands," 1493-1898, vol. III, p. 300, note; Craig-Benitez,
"Philippine Progress prior to 1898," vol. I. p. 107.)
Not content with the apparent definition of the word, we shall investigate further to
ascertain what is its true meaning.
In one sense, the word can have a geographical signification. This is plainly to be seen by
the provisions of many laws. Thus, according to the Philippine Bill, the authority of the
Philippine Assembly was recognized in the "territory" of the Islands not inhabited by
Moros or other non-Christian tribes. Again, the Jones Law confers similar recognition in
the authorization of the twelfth senatorial district for the "territory not now represented in
the Philippine Assembly." The Philippines Legislature has, time and again, adopted acts
making certain other acts applicable to that "part" of the Philippine Islands inhabited by
Moros or other non-Christian tribes.
Section 2145, is found in article XII of the Provincial Law of the Administrative Code.
The first section of this article, preceding section 2145, makes the provisions of the
article applicable only in specially organized provinces. The specially organized
provinces are the Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Mindoro, Batanes, and Palawan.
These are the provinces to which the Philippine Legislature has never seen fit to give all
the powers of local self-government. They do not, however, exactly coincide with the
portion of the Philippines which is not granted popular representation. Nevertheless, it is
still a geographical description.
It is well-known that within the specially organized provinces, there live persons some of
who are Christians and some of whom are not Christians. In fact, the law specifically
recognizes this. ( Sec. 2422, Administrative Code of 1917, etc.)
If the religious conception is not satisfactory, so against the geographical conception is
likewise inadquate. The reason it that the motive of the law relates not to a particular
people, because of their religion, or to a particular province because of its location, but
the whole intent of the law is predicated n the civilization or lack of civilization of the
inhabitants.

At most, "non-Christian" is an awkward and unsatisfactory word. Apologetic words


usually introduce the term. "The so-called non-Christian" is a favorite expression. The
Secretary of the Interior who for so many years had these people under his jurisdiction,
recognizing the difficulty of selecting an exact designation, speaks of the "backward
Philippine peoples, commonly known as the 'non-Christian tribes."' (See Hearings before
the Committee on the Philippines, United States Senate, Sixty-third Congress, third
session on H.R. 18459, An Act to declare the purpose of the People of the United States
as to the future political status of the Philippine Islands and to provide a more
autonomous government for the Islands, pp. 346, 351; letter of the Secretary of the
Interior of June 30, 1906, circulated by the Executive Secretary.)
The idea that the term "non-Christian" is intended to relate to degree of civilization, is
substantiated by reference to legislative, judicial, and executive authority.
The legislative intent is borne out by Acts Nos. 48, 253, 387, 1667, and 2674, and
sections 701 et seq, and sections 2422 et seq, of the Administrative Code of 1917. For
instance, Act No. 253 charged the Bureau of non-Christian tribes to conduct "systematic
investigations with reference to non-Christian tribes . . . with special view to determining
the most practicable means for bringing about their advancement in civilization and
material property prosperity."
As authority of a judicial nature is the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of
United States vs. Tubban [Kalinga] ([1915], 29, Phil., 434). The question here arose as to
the effect of a tribal marriage in connection with article 423 of the Penal code concerning
the husband who surprises his wife in the act of adultery. In discussing the point, the
court makes use of the following language:
. . . we are not advised of any provision of law which recognizes as legal a tribal marriage
of so-called non-Christians or members of uncivilized tribes, celebrated within that
province without compliance with the requisites prescribed by General Orders no. 68. . . .
We hold also that the fact that the accused is shown to be a member of an uncivilized
tribe, of a low order of intelligence, uncultured and uneducated, should be taken into
consideration as a second marked extenuating circumstance.
Of much more moment is the uniform construction of execution officials who have been
called upon to interpret and enforce the law. The official who, as a member of the
Philippine Commission, drafted much of the legislation relating to the so-called
Christians and who had these people under his authority, was the former Secretary of the
Interior. Under date of June 30, 1906, this official addressed a letter to all governor of
provinces, organized under the Special Provincial Government Act, a letter which later
received recognition by the Governor-General and was circulated by the Executive
Secretary, reading as follows:
Sir: Within the past few months, the question has arisen as to whether people who were
originally non-Christian but have recently been baptized or who are children of persons

who have been recently baptized are, for the purposes of Act 1396 and 1397, to be
considered Christian or non-Christians.
It has been extremely difficult, in framing legislation for the tribes in these islands which
are not advanced far in civilization, to hit upon any suitable designation which will fit all
cases. The number of individual tribes is so great that it is almost out of the question to
enumerate all of them in an Act. It was finally decided to adopt the designation 'nonChristians' as the one most satisfactory, but the real purpose of the Commission was not
so much to legislate for people having any particular religious belief as for those lacking
sufficient advancement so that they could, to their own advantage, be brought under the
Provincial Government Act and the Municipal Code.
The mere act of baptism does not, of course, in itself change the degree of civilization to
which the person baptized has attained at the time the act of baptism is performed. For
practical purposes, therefore, you will give the member of so-called "wild tribes" of your
province the benefit of the doubt even though they may recently have embraced
Christianity.
The determining factor in deciding whether they are to be allowed to remain under the
jurisdiction of regularly organized municipalities or what form of government shall be
afforded to them should be the degree of civilization to which they have attained and you
are requested to govern yourself accordingly.
I have discussed this matter with the Honorable, the Governor-General, who concurs in
the opinion above expressed and who will have the necessary instructions given to the
governors of the provinces organized under the Provincial Government Act. (Internal
Revenue Manual, p. 214.)
The present Secretary of the Interior, in a memorandum furnished a member of this court,
has the following to say on the subject:
As far as names are concerned the classification is indeed unfortunate, but while no other
better classification has as yet been made the present classification should be allowed to
stand . . . I believe the term carries the same meaning as the expressed in the letter of the
Secretary of the Interior (of June 30, 1906, herein quoted). It is indicative of the degree of
civilization rather than of religious denomination, for the hold that it is indicative of
religious denomination will make the law invalid as against that Constitutional guaranty
of religious freedom.
Another official who was concerned with the status of the non-Christians, was the
Collector of Internal Revenue. The question arose for ruling relatives to the cedula
taxation of the Manobos and the Aetas. Thereupon, the view of the Secretary of the
Interior was requested on the point, who, by return indorsement, agreed with the
interpretation of the Collector of Internal Revenue. This Construction of the Collector of
Internal Revenue can be found in circular letter No. 188 of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue, dated June 11, 1907, reading as follows (Internal Revenue Manual, p. 214):

The internal revenue law exempts "members of non-Christian tribes" from the payment
of cedula taxes. The Collector of Internal Revenue has interpreted this provision of law to
mean not that persons who profess some form of Christian worship are alone subject to
the cedula tax, and that all other person are exempt; he has interpreted it to mean that all
persons preserving tribal relations with the so-called non-Christian tribes are exempt
from the cedula tax, and that all others, including Jews, Mohammedans, Confucians,
Buddists, etc., are subject to said tax so long as they live in cities or towns, or in the
country in a civilized condition. In other words, it is not so much a matter of a man's form
of religious worship or profession that decides whether or not he is subject to the cedula
tax; it is more dependent on whether he is living in a civilized manner or is associated
with the mountain tribes, either as a member thereof or as a recruit. So far, this question
has not come up as to whether a Christian, maintaining his religious belief, but throwing
his lot and living with a non-Christian tribe, would or would not be subject to the cedula
tax. On one occasion a prominent Hebrew of Manila claimed to this office that he was
exempt from the cedula tax, inasmuch as he was not a Christian. This Office, however,
continued to collect cedula taxes from all the Jews, East Indians, Arabs, Chinamen, etc.,
residing in Manila. Quite a large proportion of the cedula taxes paid in this city are paid
by men belonging to the nationalities mentioned. Chinamen, Arabs and other s are quite
widely scattered throughout the Islands, and a condition similar to that which exist in
Manila also exists in most of the large provincial towns. Cedula taxes are therefore being
collected by this Office in all parts of these Islands on the broad ground that civilized
people are subject to such taxes, and non-civilized people preserving their tribal relations
are not subject thereto.
(Sgd.) JNO. S. HORD,
Collector of Internal Revenue.
On September 17, 1910, the Collector of Internal Revenue addressed circular letter No.
327, approved by the Secretary of Finance and Justice, to all provincial treasurers. This
letter in part reads:
In view of the many questions that have been raised by provincial treasurers regarding
cedula taxes due from members of non-Christian tribes when they come in from the hills
for the purposes of settling down and becoming members of the body politic of the
Philippine Islands, the following clarification of the laws governing such questions and
digest of rulings thereunder is hereby published for the information of all concerned:
Non-Christian inhabitants of the Philippine Islands are so classed, not by reason of the
fact that they do not profess Christianity, but because of their uncivilized mode of life and
low state of development. All inhabitants of the Philippine Islands classed as members of
non-Christian tribes may be divided into three classes in so far as the cedula tax law is
concerned . . .
Whenever any member of an non-Christian tribe leaves his wild and uncivilized mode of
life, severs whatever tribal relations he may have had and attaches himself civilized

community, belonging a member of the body politic, he thereby makes himself subject to
precisely the same law that governs the other members of that community and from and
after the date when he so attaches himself to the community the same cedula and other
taxes are due from him as from other members thereof. If he comes in after the expiration
of the delinquency period the same rule should apply to him as to persons arriving from
foreign countries or reaching the age of eighteen subsequent to the expiration of such
period, and a regular class A, D, F, or H cedula, as the case may be, should be furnished
him without penalty and without requiring him to pay the tax for former years.
In conclusion, it should be borne in mind that the prime factors in determining whether or
not a man is subject to the regular cedula tax is not the circumstance that he does or does
not profess Christianity, nor even his maintenance of or failure to maintain tribal relations
with some of the well known wild tribes, but his mode of life, degree of advancement in
civilization and connection or lack of connection with some civilized community. For this
reason so called "Remontados" and "Montescos" will be classed by this office as
members of non-Christian tribes in so far as the application of the Internal Revenue Law
is concerned, since, even though they belong to no well recognized tribe, their mode of
life, degree of advancement and so forth are practically the same as those of the Igorrots
and members of other recognized non-Christina tribes.
Very respectfully,
(Sgd.) ELLIS CROMWELL,
Collector of Internal Revenue,
Approved:
(Sgd.) GREGORIO ARANETA,
Secretary of Finance and Justice.
The two circular above quoted have since been repealed by Bureau of Internal Revenue
Regulations No. 1, promulgated by Venancio Concepcion, Acting Collector of Internal
Revenue, and approved on April 16, 1915, by Honorable Victorino Mapa, Secretary of
Finance and Justice. Section 30 of the regulations is practically a transcript of Circular
Letter No. 327.
The subject has come before the Attorney-General for consideration. The Chief of
Constabulary request the opinion of the Attorney-General as to the status of a nonChristian who has been baptized by a minister of the Gospel. The precise questions were
these: "Does he remain non-Christian or is he entitled to the privileges of a Christian? By
purchasing intoxicating liquors, does he commit an infraction of the law and does the
person selling same lay himself liable under the provision of Act No. 1639?" The opinion
of Attorney-General Avancea, after quoting the same authorities hereinbefore set out,
concludes:
In conformity with the above quoted constructions, it is probable that is probable that the
person in question remains a non-Christian, so that, in purchasing intoxicating liquors

both he and the person selling the same make themselves liable to prosecution under the
provisions of Act No. 1639. At least, I advise you that these should be the constructions
place upon the law until a court shall hold otherwise.
Solicitor-General Paredes in his brief in this case says:
With respect to the meaning which the phrase non-Christian inhabitants has in the
provisions of the Administrative code which we are studying, we submit that said phrase
does not have its natural meaning which would include all non-Christian inhabitants of
the Islands, whether Filipino or strangers, civilized or uncivilized, but simply refers to
those uncivilized members of the non-Christian tribes of the Philippines who, living
without home or fixed residence, roam in the mountains, beyond the reach of law and
order . . .
The Philippine Commission in denominating in its laws that portion of the inhabitants of
the Philippines which live in tribes as non-Christian tribes, as distinguished from the
common Filipinos which carry on a social and civilized life, did not intended to establish
a distinction based on the religious beliefs of the individual, but, without dwelling on the
difficulties which later would be occasioned by the phrase, adopted the expression which
the Spanish legislation employed to designate the uncivilized portion of the inhabitants of
the Philippines.
The phrase 'non-Christian inhabitants' used in the provisions of articles 2077 and 2741 of
Act No. 2657 (articles 2145 and 2759) should be understood as equivalent to members of
uncivilized tribes of the Philippines, not only because this is the evident intention of the
law, but because to give it its lateral meaning would make the law null and
unconstitutional as making distinctions base the religion of the individual.
The Official Census of 1903, in the portion written by no less an authority than De. David
P. Barrows, then "Chief of the Bureau of non-Christian Tribes," divides the population in
the Christian or Civilized Tribes, and non-Christian or Wild Tribes. (Census of the
Philippine Islands [1903], vol. 1, pp. 411 et seq). The present Director of the Census,
Hon. Ignacio Villamor, writes that the classification likely to be used in the Census now
being taken is: "Filipinos and Primitive Filipinos." In a Pronouncing Gazetteer and
Geographical Dictionary of the Philippine Islands, prepared in the Bureau of Insular
Affairs, War Department, a sub-division under the title non-Christian tribes is, "Physical
and Political Characteristics of the non-Christian Tribes," which sufficiently shows that
the terms refers to culture and not to religion.
In resume, therefore, the Legislature and the Judiciary, inferentially, and different
executive officials, specifically, join in the proposition that the term "non-Christian"
refers, not to religious belief, but, in a way , to geographical area, and, more directly, to
natives of the Philippine Islands of a law grade of civilization, usually living in tribal
relationship apart from settled communities.
E. THE MANGUIANES.

10

The so-called non-Christians are in various state approaching civilization. The Philippine
Census of 1903 divided them into four classes. Of the third class, are the Manguianes (or
Mangyans) of Mindoro.
Of the derivation of the name "Manguian" Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera in his Etimilogia de
los nombres de Rozas de Filipinas, says:
In Tagalog, Bicol, and Visaya, Manguian signifies "savage," "mountainer," "pagan,"
"negro." It may be that the use of this word is applicable to a great number of Filipinos,
but nevertheless it has been applied only to certain inhabitants of Mindoro. Even in
primitive times without doubt this name was given to those of that island who bear it today, but its employed in three Filipino languages shows that the radical ngian had in all
these languages a sense to-day forgotten. In Pampango this ending still exists and
signifies "ancient," from which we can deduce that the name was applied to men
considered to be the ancient inhabitants, and that these men were pushed back into the
interior by the modern invaders, in whose language they were called the "ancients."
The Manguianes are very low in culture. They have considerable Negrito blood and have
not advanced beyond the Negritos in civilization. They are a peaceful, timid, primitive,
semi-nomadic people. They number approximately 15,000. The manguianes have shown
no desire for community life, and, as indicated in the preamble to Act No. 547, have not
progressed sufficiently in civilization to make it practicable to bring them under any form
of municipal government. (See Census of the Philippine (Islands [1903], vol. I, pp. 22,
23, 460.)
III. COMPARATIVE THE AMERICAN INDIANS.
Reference was made in the Presidents' instructions to the Commission to the policy
adopted by the United States for the Indian Tribes. The methods followed by the
Government of the Philippines Islands in its dealings with the so-called non-Christian
people is said, on argument, to be practically identical with that followed by the United
States Government in its dealings with the Indian tribes. Valuable lessons, it is insisted,
can be derived by an investigation of the American-Indian policy.
From the beginning of the United States, and even before, the Indians have been treated
as "in a state of pupilage." The recognized relation between the Government of the
United States and the Indians may be described as that of guardian and ward. It is for the
Congress to determine when and how the guardianship shall be terminated. The Indians
are always subject to the plenary authority of the United States.
Chief Justice Marshall in his opinion in Worcester vs. Georgia, hereinbefore mentioned,
tells how the Congress passed an Act in 1819 "for promoting those humane designs of
civilizing the neighboring Indians." After quoting the Act, the opinion goes on "This
act avowedly contemplates the preservation of the Indian nations as an object sought by

the United States, and proposes to effect this object by civilizing and converting them
from hunters into agriculturists."
A leading case which discusses the status of the Indians is that of the United States vs.
Kagama ([1886], 118 U.S., 375). Reference is herein made to the clause of the United
States Constitution which gives Congress "power to regulate commerce with foreign
nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes." The court then
proceeds to indicate a brief history of the position of the Indians in the United States (a
more extended account of which can be found in Marshall's opinion in Worcester vs.
Georgia, supra), as follows:
The relation of the Indian tribes living within the borders of the United States, both
before and since the Revolution, to the people of the United States, has always been an
anomalous one and of a complex character.
Following the policy of the European Governments in the discovery of American towards
the Indians who were found here, the colonies before the Revolution and the States and
the United States since, have recognized in the Indians a possessory right to the soil over
which they roamed and hunted and established occasional villages. But they asserted an
ultimate title in the land itself, by which the Indian tribes were forbidden to sell or
transfer it to other nations or peoples without the consent of this paramount authority.
When a tribe wished to dispose of its lands, or any part of it, or the State or the United
States wished to purchase it, a treaty with the tribe was the only mode in which this could
be done. The United States recognized no right in private persons, or in other nations, to
make such a purchase by treaty or otherwise. With the Indians themselves these relation
are equally difficult to define. They were, and always have been, regarded as having a
semi-independent position when they preserved their tribal relations; not as States, not as
nation not a possessed of the fall attributes of sovereignty, but as a separate people, with
the power of regulating their internal and social relations, and thus far not brought under
the laws of the Union or of the State within whose limits they resided.
The opinion then continues:
It seems to us that this (effect of the law) is within the competency of Congress. These
Indian tribes are the wards of the nation. The are communities dependent on the United
States. dependent largely for their daily food. Dependent for their political rights. They
owe no allegiance to the States, and receive from the no protection. Because of the local
ill feeling, the people of the States where they are found are often their deadliest enemies.
From their very weakness and helplessness, so largely due to the course of dealing of the
Federal Government with them and the treaties in which it has been promised, there arise
the duty of protection, and with it the power. This has always been recognized by the
Executive and by Congress, and by this court, whenever the question has arisen . . . The
power of the General Government over these remnants of race once powerful, now weak
and diminished in numbers, is necessary to their protection, as well as to the safety of
those among whom they dwell. it must exist in that government, because it never has
existed anywhere else, because the theater of its exercise is within the geographical limits

11

of the United States, because it has never been denied, and because it alone can enforce
its laws on all the tribes.
In the later case of United States vs. Sandoval ([1913], 231 U.S., 28) the question to be
considered was whether the status of the Pueblo Indians and their lands was such that
Congress could prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquor into those lands
notwithstanding the admission of New Mexico to statehood. The court looked to the
reports of the different superintendent charged with guarding their interests and founds
that these Indians are dependent upon the fostering care and protection of the government
"like reservation Indians in general." Continuing, the court said "that during the Spanish
dominion, the Indians of the pueblos were treated as wards requiring special protection,
where subjected to restraints and official supervisions in the alienation of their property."
And finally, we not the following: "Not only does the Constitution expressly authorize
Congress to regulate commerce with the Indians tribes, but long-continued legislative and
executive usage and an unbroken current of judicial decisions have attributed to the
United States as a superior and civilized nation the power and the duty of exercising a
fostering care and protection over all dependent Indian communities within its borders,
whether within its original territory or territory subsequently acquired, and whether
within or without the limits of a state."
With reference to laws affecting the Indians, it has been held that it is not within the
power of the courts to overrule the judgment of Congress. For very good reason, the
subject has always been deemed political in nature, not subject to the jurisdiction of the
judicial department of the government. (Matter of Heff [1905], 197 U.S., 488; U.S. vs.
Celestine [1909], 215 U.S., 278; U.S. vs. Sandoval, supra; Worcester vs. Georgia, supra;
U.S. vs. Rogers [1846], 4 How., 567; the Cherokee Tobacco [1871], 11 Wall, 616; Roff
vs. Burney [1897], 168 U.S., 218; Thomas vs. Gay [1898], 169 U.S.., 264; Lone Wolf vs.
Hitchcock[1903], 187 U.S., 553; Wallace vs. Adams [1907], 204 U.S., 415; Conley vs.
Bollinger [1910], 216 U.S., 84; Tiger vs. Western Invest. Co. [1911], 221 U.S., 286; U.S.
vs. Lane [1913], 232 U.S.., 598; Cyr vs. Walker (1911], 29 Okla, 281; 35 L.R.A. [N. S.],
795.) Whenever, therefore, the United States sets apart any public land as an Indian
reservation, it has full authority to pass such laws and authorize such measures as may be
necessary to give to the Indians thereon full protection in their persons and property.
(U.S. vs. Thomas [1894], 151 U.S., 577.)
All this borne out by long-continued legislative and executive usage, and an unbroken
line of judicial decisions.
The only case which is even remotely in point and which, if followed literally, might
result in the issuance of habeas corpus, is that of United States vs. Crook ([1879], Fed.
Cas. No. 14891). This was a hearing upon return to a writ of habeas corpus issued against
Brigadier General George Crook at the relation of Standing Bear and other Indians,
formerly belonging to the Ponca Tribe of Indians. The petition alleged in substance that
the relators are Indians who have formerly belonged to the Ponca tribe of Indians, now
located in the Indian Territory; that they had some time previously withdrawn from the
tribe, and completely severed their tribal relations therewith, and had adopted the general

habits of the whites, and were then endeavoring to maintain themselves by their own
exertions, and without aid or assistance from the general government; that whilst they
were thus engaged, and without being guilty of violating any of the laws of the United
States, they were arrested and restrained of their liberty by order of the respondent,
George Crook. The substance of the return to the writ was that the relators are individual
members of, and connected with, the Ponca tribe of Indians; that they had fled or escaped
form a reservation situated some place within the limits of the Indian Territory had
departed therefrom without permission from the Government; and, at the request of the
Secretary of the Interior, the General of the Army had issued an order which required the
respondent to arrest and return the relators to their tribe in the Indian Territory, and that,
pursuant to the said order, he had caused the relators to be arrested on the Omaha Indian
Territory.
The first question was whether an Indian can test the validity of an illegal imprisonment
by habeas corpus. The second question, of much greater importance, related to the right
of the Government to arrest and hold the relators for a time, for the purpose of being
returned to the Indian Territory from which it was alleged the Indian escaped. In
discussing this question, the court reviewed the policy the Government had adopted in its
dealing with the friendly tribe of Poncase. Then, continuing, the court said: "Laws passed
for the government of the Indian country, and for the purpose of regulating trade and
intercourse with the Indian tribes, confer upon certain officers of the Government almost
unlimited power over the persons who go upon the reservations without lawful authority .
. . Whether such an extensive discretionary power is wisely vested in the commissioner of
Indian affairs or not , need not be questioned. It is enough to know that the power
rightfully exists, and, where existing, the exercise of the power must be upheld." The
decision concluded as follows:
The reasoning advanced in support of my views, leads me to conclude:
1. that an Indian is a 'person' within the meaning of the laws of the United States, and has,
therefore, the right to sue out a writ of habeas corpus in a federal court, or before a
federal judge, in all cases where he may be confined or in custody under color of
authority of the United States or where he is restrained of liberty in violation of the
constitution or laws of the United States.
2. That General George Crook, the respondent, being commander of the military
department of the Platte, has the custody of the relators, under color of authority of the
United States, and in violation of the laws therefore.
3. That n rightful authority exists for removing by force any of the relators to the Indian
Territory, as the respondent has been directed to do.
4. that the Indians possess the inherent right of expatriation, as well as the more fortunate
white race, and have the inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,"
so long as they obey the laws and do not trespass on forbidden ground. And,

12

5. Being restrained of liberty under color of authority of the United States, and in
violation of the laws thereof, the relators must be discharged from custody, and it is so
ordered.
As far as the first point is concerned, the decision just quoted could be used as authority
to determine that Rubi, the Manguian petitioner, a Filipino, and a citizen of the Philippine
Islands, is a "person" within the meaning of the Habeas Corpus Act, and as such, entitled
to sue out a writ in the Philippine courts. (See also In re Race Horse [1895], 70 Fed.,
598.) We so decide.
As to the second point the facts in the Standing Bear case an the Rubi case are not exactly
identical. But even admitting similarity of facts, yet it is known to all that Indian
reservations do exist in the United States, that Indians have been taken from different
parts of the country and placed on these reservation, without any previous consultation as
to their own wishes, and that, when once so located, they have been made to remain on
the reservation for their own good and for the general good of the country. If any lesson
can be drawn form the Indian policy of the United States, it is that the determination of
this policy is for the legislative and executive branches of the government and that when
once so decided upon, the courts should not interfere to upset a carefully planned
governmental system. Perhaps, just as may forceful reasons exists for the segregation as
existed for the segregation of the different Indian tribes in the United States.
IV. CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS.
A. DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER.
The first constitutional objection which confronts us is that the Legislature could not
delegate this power to provincial authorities. In so attempting, it is contended, the
Philippine Legislature has abdicated its authority and avoided its full responsibility.
That the maxim of Constitutional Law forbidding the delegation of legislative power
should be zealously protected, we agree. An understanding of the rule will, however,
disclose that it has not bee violated in his instance.
The rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case decided by Judge
Ranney, and since followed in a multitude of case, namely: "The true distinction therefore
is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily involves a
discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its
execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to
the later no valid objection can be made." (Cincinnati, W. & Z. R. Co. vs. Comm'rs.
Clinton County [1852], 1 Ohio S.t, 88.) Discretion, as held by Chief Justice Marshall in
Wayman vs. Southard ([1825], 10 Wheat., 1) may be committed by the Legislature to an
executive department or official. The Legislature may make decisions of executive
departments of subordinate official thereof, to whom t has committed the execution of
certain acts, final on questions of fact. (U.S. vs. Kinkead [1918], 248 Fed., 141.) The
growing tendency in the decision is to give prominence to the "necessity" of the case.

Is not all this exactly what the Legislature has attempted to accomplish by the enactment
of section 21454 of the Administrative Code? Has not the Legislature merely conferred
upon the provincial governor, with the approval of the provincial board and the
Department Head, discretionary authority as to the execution of the law? Is not this
"necessary"?
The case of West vs. Hitchock, ([1906], 205 U.S., 80) was a petition for mandamus to
require the Secretary of the Interior to approve the selection and taking of one hundred
and sixty acres by the relator out of the lands ceded to the United States by the Wichita
and affiliated bands of Indians. Section 463 of the United States Revised Statutes
provided: "The Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall, under the direction of the Secretary
of the Interior, and agreeably to such regulations as the President may prescribe, have the
management of all Indian affairs, and of all matters arising out to the Indian relations."
Justice Holmes said: "We should hesitate a good deal, especially in view of the long
established practice of the Department, before saying that this language was not broad
enough to warrant a regulation obviously made for the welfare of the rather helpless
people concerned. The power of Congress is not doubted. The Indians have been treated
as wards of the nation. Some such supervision was necessary, and has been exercised. In
the absence of special provisions naturally it would be exercised by the Indian
Department." (See also as corroborative authority, it any is needed, Union Bridge Co. vs.
U.S. [1907], 204 U.S.., 364, reviewing the previous decisions of the United States
Supreme Court: U.S. vs. Lane [1914], 232 U.S., 598.)
There is another aspect of the question, which once accepted, is decisive. An exception to
the general rule. sanctioned by immemorial practice, permits the central legislative body
to delegate legislative powers to local authorities. The Philippine Legislature has here
conferred authority upon the Province of Mindoro, to be exercised by the provincial
governor and the provincial board.
Who but the provincial governor and the provincial board, as the official representatives
of the province, are better qualified to judge "when such as course is deemed necessary in
the interest of law and order?" As officials charged with the administration of the
province and the protection of its inhabitants, who but they are better fitted to select sites
which have the conditions most favorable for improving the people who have the
misfortune of being in a backward state?
Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 is not an unlawful delegation of
legislative power by the Philippine Legislature to provincial official and a department
head.
B. RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION
The attorney de officio, for petitioners, in a truly remarkable brief, submitted on behalf of
his unknown clients, says that "The statute is perfectly clear and unambiguous. In
limpid English, and in words as plain and unequivocal as language can express, it

13

provides for the segregation of 'non-Christians' and none other." The inevitable result,
them, is that the law "constitutes an attempt by the Legislature to discriminate between
individuals because of their religious beliefs, and is, consequently, unconstitutional."
Counsel's premise once being conceded, his arguments is answerable the Legislature
must be understood to mean what it has plainly expressed; judicial construction is then
excluded; religious equality is demanded by the Organic Law; the statute has violated this
constitutional guaranty, and Q. E. D. is invalid. But, as hereinbefore stated, we do not feel
free to discard the long continued meaning given to a common expression, especially as
classification of inhabitants according to religious belief leads the court to what it should
avoid, the nullification of legislative action. We hold that the term "non-Christian" refers
to natives of the Philippines Islands of a low grade of civilization, and that section 2145
of the Administrative Code of 1917, does not discriminate between individuals an
account of religious differences.
C. LIBERTY; DUE PROCESS OF LAW; EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.
The third constitutional argument is grounded on those portions of the President's
instructions of to the Commission, the Philippine Bill, and the Jones Law, providing
"That no law shall be enacted in said Islands which shall deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny to any person therein the equal
protection of the laws." This constitutional limitation is derived from the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution and these provisions, it has been said
"are universal in their application, to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction, without
regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins
[1886], 118 U.S., 356.) The protection afforded the individual is then as much for the
non-Christian as for the Christian.
The conception of civil liberty has been variously expressed thus:
Every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties, compatible with the
possession of like liberty by every other. (Spencer, Social Statistics, p. 94.)
Liberty is the creature of law, essentially different from that authorized licentiousness that
trespasses on right. That authorized licentiousness that trespasses on right. It is a legal
and a refined idea, the offspring of high civilization, which the savage never understood,
and never can understand. Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint; the more
restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have . . . that man is free who
is protected from injury. (II Webster's Works, p. 393.)
Liberty consists in the ability to do what one caught to desire and in not being forced to
do what one ought not do desire. (Montesque, spirit of the Laws.)
Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is no unrestricted license to ac according to
one's own will. It is only freedom from restraint under conditions essential to the equal

enjoyment of the same right by others. (Field, J., in Crowley vs. Christensen [1890], 137
U.S., 86.)
Liberty does not import "an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all
circumstances, wholly freed from restraint. There are manifold restraints to which every
person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society
could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a
law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy. Real liberty for all
could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each
individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property,
regardless of the injury that may be done to others . . . There is, of course, a sphere with
which the individual may asserts the supremacy of his own will, and rightfully dispute
the authority of any human government especially of any free government existing
under a written Constitution to interfere with the exercise of that will. But it is equally
true that in very well-ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its
members, the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the
pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint to be enforced by reasonable
regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand." (Harlan, J., In Jacobson vs.
Massachusetts [1905] 197 U.S., 11.)
Liberty is freedom to do right and never wrong; it is ever guided by reason and the
upright and honorable conscience of the individual. (Apolinario Mabini.)
Civil Liberty may be said to mean that measure of freedom which may be enjoyed in a
civilized community, consistently with the peaceful enjoyment of like freedom in others.
The right to Liberty guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to exist and the
right to be free from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed
into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to
embrace the right of man to enjoy the faculties with which he has been endowed by this
Creator, subject only to such restraints as are necessary for the common welfare. As
enunciated in a long array of authorities including epoch-making decisions of the United
States Supreme Court, Liberty includes the right of the citizens to be free to use his
faculties in all lawful ways; to live an work where he will; to earn his livelihood by an
lawful calling; to pursue any avocations, an for that purpose. to enter into all contracts
which may be proper, necessary, and essential to his carrying out these purposes to a
successful conclusion. The chief elements of the guaranty are the right to contract, the
right to choose one's employment, the right to labor, and the right of locomotion.
In general, it may be said that Liberty means the opportunity to do those things which are
ordinarily done by free men. (There can be noted Cummings vs. Missouri [1866], 4 Wall,
277; Wilkinson vs. Leland [1829], 2 Pet., 627; Williams vs. Fears [1900], 179 U.S., 274;
Allgeyer vs. Louisiana [1896], 165, U.S., 578; State vs. Kreutzberg [1902], 114 Wis.,
530. See 6 R.C.L., 258, 261.)
One thought which runs through all these different conceptions of Liberty is plainly
apparent. It is this: "Liberty" as understood in democracies, is not license; it is "Liberty

14

regulated by law." Implied in the term is restraint by law for the good of the individual
and for the greater good of the peace and order of society and the general well-being. No
man can do exactly as he pleases. Every man must renounce unbridled license. The right
of the individual is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint by general law for the
common good. Whenever and wherever the natural rights of citizen would, if exercises
without restraint, deprive other citizens of rights which are also and equally natural, such
assumed rights must yield to the regulation of law. The Liberty of the citizens may be
restrained in the interest of the public health, or of the public order and safety, or
otherwise within the proper scope of the police power. (See Hall vs. Geiger-Jones [1916],
242 U.S., 539; Hardie-Tynes Manufacturing Co. vs. Cruz [1914], 189 Al., 66.)
None of the rights of the citizen can be taken away except by due process of law. Daniel
Webster, in the course of the argument in the Dartmouth College Case before the United
States Supreme Court, since a classic in forensic literature, said that the meaning of "due
process of law" is, that "every citizen shall hold his life, liberty, property, an immunities
under the protection of the general rules which govern society." To constitute "due
process of law," as has been often held, a judicial proceeding is not always necessary. In
some instances, even a hearing and notice are not requisite a rule which is especially true
where much must be left to the discretion of the administrative officers in applying a law
to particular cases. (See McGehee, Due Process of Law, p. 371.) Neither is due process a
stationary and blind sentinel of liberty. "Any legal proceeding enforced by public
authority, whether sanctioned by age and customs, or newly devised in the discretion of
the legislative power, in furtherance of the public good, which regards and preserves
these principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be due process of law." (Hurtado
vs. California [1883], 110, U.S., 516.) "Due process of law" means simply . . . "first, that
there shall be a law prescribed in harmony with the general powers of the legislative
department of the Government; second, that this law shall be reasonable in its operation;
third, that it shall be enforced according to the regular methods of procedure prescribed;
and fourth, that it shall be applicable alike to all the citizens of the state or to all of a
class." (U.S. vs. Ling Su Fan [1908], 10 Phil., 104, affirmed on appeal to the United
States Supreme Court. 1) "What is due process of law depends on circumstances. It varies
with the subject-matter and necessities of the situation." (Moyer vs. Peablody [1909], 212
U. S., 82.)
The pledge that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws is not infringed
by a statute which is applicable to all of a class. The classification must have a reasonable
basis and cannot be purely arbitrary in nature.
We break off with the foregoing statement, leaving the logical deductions to be made
later on.
D. SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE.
The fourth constitutional contention of petitioner relates to the Thirteen Amendment to
the United States Constitution particularly as found in those portions of Philippine
Organic Law providing "That slavery shall not exist in said Islands; nor shall involuntary

servitude exist except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted." It is quite possible that the Thirteenth Amendment, since reaching to "any
place subject to" the "jurisdiction" of the United States, has force in the Philippine.
However this may be, the Philippine Legislature has, by adoption, with necessary
modifications, of sections 268 to 271 inclusive of the United States Criminal Code,
prescribed the punishment for these crimes. Slavery and involuntary servitude, together
wit their corollary, peonage, all denote "a condition of enforced, compulsory service of
one to another." (Hodges vs. U.S. [1906], 203 U.S., 1.) The term of broadest scope is
possibly involuntary servitude. It has been applied to any servitude in fact involuntary, no
matter under what form such servitude may have been disguised. (Bailey vs. Alabama
[1910], 219 U.S., 219.)
So much for an analysis of those constitutional provisions on which petitioners rely for
their freedom. Next must come a description of the police power under which the State
must act if section 2145 is to be held valid.
E. THE POLICE POWER.
Not attempting to phrase a definition of police power, all that it is necessary to note at
this moment is the farreaching scope of the power, that it has become almost possible to
limit its weep, and that among its purposes is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, peace, morals, education, and good order of the people, and to
legislate so as to increase the industries of the State, develop its resources and add to is
wealth and prosperity. (See Barbier vs. Connolly [1884], 113 U.S., 27.) What we are not
interested in is the right of the government to restrain liberty by the exercise of the police
power.
"The police power of the State," one court has said, . . . "is a power coextensive with selfprotection, and is not inaptly termed the 'law of overruling necessity.' It may be said to be
that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful
to the comfort, safety and welfare of society." (Lake View vs. Rose Hill Cemetery Co.
[1873], 70 Ill., 191.) Carried onward by the current of legislation, the judiciary rarely
attempt to dam the on rushing power of legislative discretion, provided the purposes of
the law do not go beyond the great principles that mean security for the public welfare or
do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the individual.
The Government of the Philippine Islands has both on reason and authority the right to
exercise the sovereign police power in the promotion of the general welfare and the
public interest. "There can be not doubt that the exercise of the police power of the
Philippine Government belongs to the Legislature and that this power is limited only by
the Acts of Congress and those fundamental principles which lie at the foundation of all
republican forms of government." (Churchill and Tait vs. Rafferty [1915], 32 Phil., 580;
U.S. vs. Pompeya [1915], 31 Phil., 245.)
With the foregoing approximation of the applicable basic principles before us, before
finally deciding whether any constitutional provision has indeed been violated by section

15

2145 of the Administrative Code, we should endeavor to ascertain the intention of the
Legislature in enacting this section. If legally possible, such legislative intention should
be effectuated.
F. LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
The preamble of the resolution of the provincial board of Mindoro which set apart the
Tigbao reservation, it will be remembered, assigned as reasons fort the action, the
following: (1) The failure of former attempts for the advancement of the non-Christian
people of the province; and (2) the only successfully method for educating the
Manguianes was to oblige them to live in a permanent settlement. The Solicitor-General
adds the following; (3) The protection of the Manguianes; (4) the protection of the public
forests in which they roam; (5) the necessity of introducing civilized customs among the
Manguianes.

(a) Pursuance of the closer settlement policy whereby people of seminomadic race are
induced to leave their wild habitat and settle in organized communities.
(b) The extension of the public school system and the system of public health throughout
the regions inhabited by the non-Christian people.
(c) The extention of public works throughout the Mohammedan regions to facilitate their
development and the extention of government control.
(d) Construction of roads and trials between one place and another among non-Christians,
to promote social and commercial intercourse and maintain amicable relations among
them and with the Christian people.
(e) Pursuance of the development of natural economic resources, especially agriculture.

The present Secretary of the Interior says of the Tigbao reservation and of the motives for
its selection, the following:
To inform himself of the conditions of those Manguianes who were taken together to
Tigbao, the Secretary of the Interior on June 10 to 13, 1918, made a trip to the place.
There he found that the site selected is a good one; that creditable progress has been made
in the clearing of forests, construction of buildings, etc., that there appears to be
encouraging reaction by the boys to the work of the school the requirements of which
they appear to meet with enthusiastic interest after the first weeks which are necessarily a
somewhat trying period for children wholly unaccustomed to orderly behaviour and habit
of life. He also gathered the impression that the results obtained during the period of less
than one year since the beginning of the institution definitely justify its continuance and
development.
Of course, there were many who were protesting against that segregation. Such was
naturally to be expected. But the Secretary of the Interior, upon his return to Manila,
made the following statement to the press:
"It is not deemed wise to abandon the present policy over those who prefer to live a
nomadic life and evade the influence of civilization. The Government will follow its
policy to organize them into political communities and to educate their children with the
object of making them useful citizens of this country. To permit them to live a wayfaring
life will ultimately result in a burden to the state and on account of their ignorance, they
will commit crimes and make depredation, or if not they will be subject to involuntary
servitude by those who may want to abuse them."
The Secretary of the Interior, who is the official charged with the supervision of all the
non-Christian people, has adopted as the polaris of his administration "the
advancement of the non-Christian elements of our population to equality and unification
with the highly civilized Christian inhabitants." This is carried on by the adoption of the
following measures:

( f ) The encouragement of immigration into, and of the investment of private capital in,
the fertile regions of Mindanao and Sulu.
The Secretary adds:
To attain the end desired, work of a civilizing influence have been continued among the
non-Christian people. These people are being taught and guided to improve their living
conditions in order that they may fully appreciate the benefits of civilization. Those of
them who are still given to nomadic habits are being persuaded to abandon their wild
habitat and settle in organized settlements. They are being made to understand that it is
the purpose of the Government to organize them politically into fixed and per manent
communities, thus bringing them under the control of the Government, to aid them to live
and work, protect them from involuntary servitude and abuse, educate their children, and
show them the advantages of leading a civilized life with their civilized brothers. In short,
they are being impressed with the purposes and objectives of the Government of leading
them to economic, social, and political equality, and unification with the more highly
civilized inhabitants of the country. (See Report of the Department for 1917.)
The fundamental objective of governmental policy is to establish friendly relations with
the so-called non-Christians, and to promote their educational, agricultural, industrial,
and economic development and advancement in civilization. (Note Acts Nos. 2208, 2404,
2444.) Act No. 2674 in reestablishing the Bureau of non-Christian Tribes, defines the aim
of the Government towards the non-Christian people in the following unequivocal terms:
It shall be the duty of the Bureau of non-Christian Tribes to continue the work for
advancement and liberty in favor of the region inhabited by non-Christian Filipinos and
foster by all adequate means and in a systematical, rapid, and complete manner the moral,
material, economic, social, and political development of those regions, always having in
view the aim of rendering permanent the mutual intelligence between, and complete

16

fusion of, all the Christian and non-Christian elements populating the provinces of the
Archipelago. (Sec. 3.)
May the Manguianes not be considered, as are the Indians in the United States, proper
wards of the Filipino people? By the fostering care of a wise Government, may not these
unfortunates advance in the "habits and arts of civilization?" Would it be advisable for the
courts to intrude upon a plan, carefully formulated, and apparently working out for the
ultimate good of these people?
In so far as the Manguianes themselves are concerned, the purpose of the Government is
evident. Here, we have on the Island of Mindoro, the Manguianes, leading a nomadic life,
making depredations on their more fortunate neighbors, uneducated in the ways of
civilization, and doing nothing for the advancement of the Philippine Islands. What the
Government wished to do by bringing than into a reservation was to gather together the
children for educational purposes, and to improve the health and morals was in fine, to
begin the process of civilization. this method was termed in Spanish times, "bringing
under the bells." The same idea adapted to the existing situation, has been followed with
reference to the Manguianes and other peoples of the same class, because it required, if
they are to be improved, that they be gathered together. On these few reservations there
live under restraint in some cases, and in other instances voluntarily, a few thousands of
the uncivilized people. Segregation really constitutes protection for the manguianes.
Theoretically, one may assert that all men are created free and equal. Practically, we
know that the axiom is not precisely accurate. The Manguianes, for instance, are not free,
as civilized men are free, and they are not the equals of their more fortunate brothers.
True, indeed, they are citizens, with many but not all the rights which citizenship implies.
And true, indeed, they are Filipinos. But just as surely, the Manguianes are citizens of a
low degree of intelligence, and Filipinos who are a drag upon the progress of the State.
In so far as the relation of the Manguianes to the State is concerned, the purposes of the
Legislature in enacting the law, and of the executive branch in enforcing it, are again
plain. Settlers in Mindoro must have their crops and persons protected from predatory
men, or they will leave the country. It is no argument to say that such crimes are punished
by the Penal Code, because these penalties are imposed after commission of the offense
and not before. If immigrants are to be encouraged to develop the resources of the great
Islands of Mindoro, and its, as yet, unproductive regions, the Government must be in a
position to guarantee peace and order.
Waste lands do not produce wealth. Waste people do not advance the interest of the State.
Illiteracy and thriftlessness are not conducive to homogeneity. The State to protect itself
from destruction must prod on the laggard and the sluggard. The great law of
overwhelming necessity is all convincing.
To quote again from the instructive memorandum of the Secretary of the Interior:

Living a nomadic and a wayfaring life and evading the influence of civilization, they (the
manguianes) are engaged in the works of destruction burning and destroying the
forests and making illegal caigins thereon. Not bringing any benefit to the State but
instead injuring and damaging its interests, what will ultimately become of these people
with the sort of liberty they wish to preserve and for which they are now fighting in
court? They will ultimately become a heavy burden to the State and on account of their
ignorance they will commit crimes and make depredations, or if not they will be
subjected to involuntary servitude by those who may want to abuse them.
There is no doubt in my mind that this people a right conception of liberty and does not
practice liberty in a rightful way. They understand liberty as the right to do anything they
will going from one place to another in the mountains, burning and destroying forests
and making illegal caigins thereon.
Not knowing what true liberty is and not practising the same rightfully, how can they
allege that they are being deprived thereof without due process of law?
xxx

xxx

xxx

But does the Constitutional guaranty that 'no person shall be deprived of his liberty
without due process of law' apply to a class of persons who do not have a correct idea of
what liberty is and do not practise liberty in a rightful way?
To say that it does will mean to sanction and defend an erroneous idea of such class of
persons as to what liberty is. It will mean, in the case at bar, that the Government should
not adopt any measures looking to the welfare and advancement of the class of persons in
question. It will mean that this people should be let along in the mountains and in a
permanent state of savagery without even the remotest hope of coming to understand
liberty in its true and noble sense.
In dealing with the backward population, like the Manguianes, the Government has been
placed in the alternative of either letting them alone or guiding them in the path of
civilization. The latter measure was adopted as the one more in accord with humanity and
with national conscience.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The national legislation on the subject of non-Christian people has tended more and more
towards the education and civilization of such people and fitting them to be citizens. The
progress of those people under the tutelage of the Government is indeed encouraging and
the signs of the times point to a day which is not far distant when they will become useful
citizens. In the light of what has already been accomplished which has been winning the
gratitude of most of the backward people, shall we give up the noble work simply
because a certain element, believing that their personal interests would be injured by such
a measure has come forward and challenged the authority of the Government to lead this
people in the pat of civilization? Shall we, after expending sweat, treasure, and even

17

blood only to redeem this people from the claws of ignorance and superstition, now
willingly retire because there has been erroneously invoked in their favor that
Constitutional guaranty that no person shall be deprived of his liberty without due
process of law? To allow them to successfully invoke that Constitutional guaranty at this
time will leave the Government without recourse to pursue the works of civilizing them
and making them useful citizens. They will thus left in a permanent state of savagery and
become a vulnerable point to attack by those who doubt, nay challenge, the ability of the
nation to deal with our backward brothers.
The manguianes in question have been directed to live together at Tigbao. There they are
being taught and guided to improve their living conditions. They are being made to
understand that they object of the government is to organize them politically into fixed
and permanent communities. They are being aided to live and work. Their children are
being educated in a school especially established for them. In short, everything is being
done from them in order that their advancement in civilization and material prosperity
may be assured. Certainly their living together in Tigbao does not make them slaves or
put them in a condition compelled to do services for another. They do not work for
anybody but for themselves. There is, therefore, no involuntary servitude.
But they are compelled to live there and prohibited from emigrating to some other places
under penalty of imprisonment. Attention in this connection is invited to the fact that this
people, living a nomadic and wayfaring life, do not have permanent individual property.
They move from one place to another as the conditions of living warrants, and the entire
space where they are roving about is the property of the nation, the greater part being
lands of public domain. Wandering from one place to another on the public lands, why
can not the government adopt a measure to concentrate them in a certain fixed place on
the public lands, instead of permitting them to roam all over the entire territory? This
measure is necessary both in the interest of the public as owner of the lands about which
they are roving and for the proper accomplishment of the purposes and objectives of the
government. For as people accustomed to nomadic habit, they will always long to return
to the mountains and follow a wayfaring life, and unless a penalty is provinced for, you
can not make them live together and the noble intention of the Government of organizing
them politically will come to naught.
G. APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION.
Our exhaustive study should have left us in a position to answer specific objections and
to reach a general conclusion.
In the first place, it is argued that the citizen has the right, generally speaking, to go
where he pleases. Could be not, however, be kept away from certain localities ? To
furnish an example from the Indian legislation. The early Act of Congress of 1802 (2 U.S.
Stat. at L., p. 141) Indian reservation. Those citizens certainly did not possess absolute
freedom of locomotion. Again the same law provided for the apprehension of marauding

Indians. Without any doubt, this law and other similar were accepted and followed time
and again without question.
It is said that, if we hold this section to be constitutional, we leave this weak and
defenseless people confined as in a prison at the mercy of unscrupulous official. What, it
is asked, would be the remedy of any oppressed Manguian? The answer would naturally
be that the official into whose hands are given the enforcement of the law would have
little or not motive to oppress these people; on the contrary, the presumption would all be
that they would endeavor to carry out the purposes of the law intelligently and
patriotically. If, indeed, they did ill-treat any person thus confined, there always exists the
power of removal in the hands of superior officers, and the courts are always open for a
redress of grievances. When, however, only the validity of the law is generally challenged
and no particular case of oppression is called to the attention of the courts, it would seems
that the Judiciary should not unnecessarily hamper the Government in the
accomplishment of its laudable purpose.
The question is above all one of sociology. How far, consistently with freedom, may the
right and liberties of the individual members of society be subordinated to the will of the
Government? It is a question which has assailed the very existence of government from
the beginning of time. Now purely an ethical or philosophical subject, nor now to be
decided by force, it has been transferred to the peaceful forum of the Judiciary. In
resolving such an issue, the Judiciary must realize that the very existence of government
renders imperatives a power to restrain the individual to some extent, dependent, of
course, on the necessities of the class attempted to be benefited. As to the particular
degree to which the Legislature and the Executive can go in interfering with the rights of
the citizen, this is, and for a along time to come will be, impossible for the courts to
determine.
The doctrines of laissez faire and of unrestricted freedom of the individual, as axioms of
economics and political theory, are of the past. The modern period has shown as
widespread belief in the amplest possible demonstration of governmental activity. The
courts unfortunately have sometimes seemed to trial after the other two branches of the
government in this progressive march.
Considered, therefore, purely as an exercise of the police power, the courts cannot fairly
say that the Legislature has exceeded its rightful authority. it is, indeed, an unusual
exercise of that power. But a great malady requires an equally drastic remedy.
Further, one cannot hold that the liberty of the citizen is unduly interfered without when
the degree of civilization of the Manguianes is considered. They are restrained for their
own good and the general good of the Philippines. Nor can one say that due process of
law has not been followed. To go back to our definition of due process of law and equal
protection of the law, there exists a law ; the law seems to be reasonable; it is enforced
according to the regular methods of procedure prescribed; and it applies alike to all of a
class.

18

As a point which has been left for the end of this decision and which, in case of doubt,
would lead to the determination that section 2145 is valid. it the attitude which the courts
should assume towards the settled policy of the Government. In a late decision with
which we are in full accord, Gambles vs. Vanderbilt University (200 Southwestern
Reporter, 510) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee writes:
We can seen objection to the application of public policy as a ratio decidendi. Every
really new question that comes before the courts is, in the last analysis, determined on
that theory, when not determined by differentiation of the principle of a prior case or line
of cases, or by the aid of analogies furnished by such prior case. In balancing conflicting
solutions, that one is perceived to tip the scales which the court believes will best
promote the public welfare in its probable operation as a general rule or principle. But
public policy is not a thing inflexible. No court is wise enough to forecast its influence in
all possible contingencies. Distinctions must be made from time to time as sound reason
and a true sense of justice may dictate."
Our attempt at giving a brief history of the Philippines with reference to the so-called
non-Christians has been in vain, if we fail to realize that a consistent governmental policy
has been effective in the Philippines from early days to the present. The idea to unify the
people of the Philippines so that they may approach the highest conception of nationality.
If all are to be equal before the law, all must be approximately equal in intelligence. If the
Philippines is to be a rich and powerful country, Mindoro must be populated, and its
fertile regions must be developed. The public policy of the Government of the Philippine
Islands is shaped with a view to benefit the Filipino people as a whole. The Manguianes,
in order to fulfill this governmental policy, must be confined for a time, as we have said,
for their own good and the good of the country.
[G.R. No. 111953. December 12, 1997]

Most cautiously should the power of this court to overrule the judgment of the Philippine
Legislature, a coordinate branch, be exercised. The whole tendency of the best considered
case is toward non-interference on the part of the courts whenever political ideas are the
moving consideration. Justice Holmes, in one of the aphorisms for which he is justly
famous, said that "constitutional law, like other mortal contrivances, has to take some
chances." (Blinn vs. Nelson [1911], 222 U.S., 1.) If in the final decision of the many
grave questions which this case presents, the courts must take "a chance," it should be
with a view to upholding the law, with a view to the effectuation of the general
governmental policy, and with a view to the court's performing its duty in no narrow and
bigoted sense, but with that broad conception which will make the courts as progressive
and effective a force as are the other departments of the Government.
We are of the opinion that action pursuant to section 2145 of the Administrative Code
does not deprive a person of his liberty without due process of law and does not deny to
him the equal protection of the laws, and that confinement in reservations in accordance
with said section does not constitute slavery and involuntary servitude. We are further of
the opinion that section 2145 of the Administrative Code is a legitimate exertion of the
police power, somewhat analogous to the Indian policy of the United States. Section 2145
of the Administrative Code of 1917 is constitutional.
Petitioners are not unlawfully imprisoned or restrained of their liberty. Habeas corpus
can, therefore, not issue. This is the true ruling of the court. Costs shall be taxes against
petitioners. So ordered.

In issuing Administrative Order No. 04-92 (PPA-AO No. 04-92), limiting the term of
appointment of harbor pilots to one year subject to yearly renewal or cancellation, did the
Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) violate respondents right to exercise their profession
and their right to due process of law?

Arellano, C.J., Torres and Avancea, JJ., concur.


Pursuant to its power of control, regulation, and supervision of pilots and the pilotage
profession, [1] the PPA promulgated PPA-AO-03-85 [2] on March 21, 1985, which
embodied the Rules and Regulations Governing Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots
and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports. These rules mandate, inter alia, that aspiring pilots
must be holders of pilot licenses [3] and must train as probationary pilots in outports for
three months and in the Port of Manila for four months. It is only after they have
achieved satisfactory performance [4] that they are given permanent and regular
appointments by the PPA itself [5] to exercise harbor pilotage until they reach the age of
70, unless sooner removed by reason of mental or physical unfitness by the PPA General
Manager. [6] Harbor pilots in every harbor district are further required to organize
themselves into pilot associations which would make available such equipment as may be
required by the PPA for effective pilotage services. In view of this mandate, pilot
associations invested in floating, communications, and office equipment. In fact, every
new pilot appointed by the PPA automatically becomes a member of a pilot association
and is required to pay a proportionate equivalent equity or capital before being allowed to
assume his duties, as reimbursement to the association concerned of the amount it paid to
his predecessor.

The PPA was created on July 11, 1974, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 505. On
December 23, 1975, Presidential Decree No. 857 was issued revising the PPAs charter.

Subsequently, then PPA General Manager Rogelio A. Dayan issued PPA-AO No. 04-92
[7] on July 15, 1992, whose avowed policy was to instill effective discipline and thereby

HON. RENATO C. CORONA, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs,
HON. JESUS B. GARCIA, in his capacity as Acting Secretary, Department of
Transportation and Communications, and ROGELIO A. DAYAN, in his capacity as
General Manager of Philippine Ports Authority, petitioners, vs. UNITED HARBOR
PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES and MANILA PILOTS
ASSOCIATION, respondents.
DECISION
ROMERO, J.:

19

afford better protection to the port users through the improvement of pilotage services.
This was implemented by providing therein that all existing regular appointments which
have been previously issued either by the Bureau of Customs or the PPA shall remain
valid up to 31 December 1992 only and that all appointments to harbor pilot positions in
all pilotage districts shall, henceforth, be only for a term of one (1) year from date of
effectivity subject to yearly renewal or cancellation by the Authority after conduct of a
rigid evaluation of performance.
On August 12, 1992, respondents United Harbor Pilots Association and the Manila Pilots
Association, through Capt. Alberto C. Compas, questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 before the
Department of Transportation and Communication, but they were informed by then
DOTC Secretary Jesus B. Garcia that the matter of reviewing, recalling or annulling
PPAs administrative issuances lies exclusively with its Board of Directors as its
governing body.
Meanwhile, on August 31, 1992, the PPA issued Memorandum Order No. 08-92 [8]
which laid down the criteria or factors to be considered in the reappointment of harbor
pilots, viz.: (1) Qualifying Factors: [9] safety record and physical/mental medical exam
report and (2) Criteria for Evaluation: [10] promptness in servicing vessels, compliance
with PPA Pilotage Guidelines, number of years as a harbor pilot, average GRT of vessels
serviced as pilot, awards/commendations as harbor pilot, and age.
Respondents reiterated their request for the suspension of the implementation of PPA-AO
No. 04-92, but Secretary Garcia insisted on his position that the matter was within the
jurisdiction of the Board of Directors of the PPA. Compas appealed this ruling to the
Office of the President (OP), reiterating his arguments before the DOTC.
On December 23, 1992, the OP issued an order directing the PPA to hold in abeyance the
implementation of PPA-AO No. 04-92. In its answer, the PPA countered that said
administrative order was issued in the exercise of its administrative control and
supervision over harbor pilots under Section 6-a (viii), Article IV of P. D. No. 857, as
amended, and it, along with its implementing guidelines, was intended to restore order in
the ports and to improve the quality of port services.
On March 17, 1993, the OP, through then Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs
Renato C. Corona, dismissed the appeal/petition and lifted the restraining order issued
earlier. [11] He concluded that PPA-AO No. 04-92 applied to all harbor pilots and, for all
intents and purposes, was not the act of Dayan, but of the PPA, which was merely
implementing Section 6 of P.D. No. 857, mandating it to control, regulate and supervise
pilotage and conduct of pilots in any port district.

context of this case, PPA-AO 04-92 does not constitute a wrongful interference with, let
alone a wrongful deprivation of, the property rights of those affected thereby. As may be
noted, the issuance aims no more than to improve pilotage services by limiting the
appointment to harbor pilot positions to one year, subject to renewal or cancellation after
a rigid evaluation of the appointees performance.
PPA-AO 04-92 does not forbid, but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor pilots of
their profession in PPAs jurisdictional area. (Emphasis supplied)
Finally, as regards the alleged absence of ample prior consultation before the issuance of
the administrative order, Secretary Corona cited Section 26 of P.D. No. 857, which
merely requires the PPA to consult with relevant Government agencies. Since the PPA
Board of Directors is composed of the Secretaries of the DOTC, the Department of
Public Works and Highways, the Department of Finance, and the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the Director-General of the National
Economic Development Agency, the Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority
(MARINA), and the private sector representative who, due to his knowledge and
expertise, was appointed by the President to the Board, he concluded that the law has
been sufficiently complied with by the PPA in issuing the assailed administrative order.
Consequently, respondents filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with
prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and damages, before Branch 6 of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 93-65673. On
September 6, 1993, the trial court rendered the following judgment: [12]
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, this Court hereby rules that:
1. Respondents (herein petitioners) have acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave
abuse of discretion and in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary manner in promulgating
PPA Administrative Order 04-92 including all its implementing Memoranda, Circulars
and Orders;
2. PPA Administrative Order 04-92 and its implementing Circulars and Orders are
declared null and void;
3. The respondents are permanently enjoined from implementing PPA Administrative
Order 04-92 and its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and Orders.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

On the alleged unconstitutionality and illegality of PPA-AO No. 04-92 and its
implementing memoranda and circulars, Secretary Corona opined that:
The exercise of ones profession falls within the constitutional guarantee against wrongful
deprivation of, or interference with, property rights without due process. In the limited

The court a quo pointed out that the Bureau of Customs, the precursor of the PPA,
recognized pilotage as a profession and, therefore, a property right under Callanta v.
Carnation Philippines, Inc. [13] Thus, abbreviating the term within which that privilege
may be exercised would be an interference with the property rights of the harbor pilots.

20

Consequently, any withdrawal or alteration of such property right must be strictly made
in accordance with the constitutional mandate of due process of law. This was apparently
not followed by the PPA when it did not conduct public hearings prior to the issuance of
PPA-AO No. 04-92; respondents allegedly learned about it only after its publication in
the newspapers. From this decision, petitioners elevated their case to this Court on
certiorari.
After carefully examining the records and deliberating on the arguments of the parties,
the Court is convinced that PPA-AO No. 04-92 was issued in stark disregard of
respondents right against deprivation of property without due process of law.
Consequently, the instant petition must be denied.
Section 1 of the Bill of Rights lays down what is known as the due process clause of the
Constitution, viz.:
SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process
of law, x x x.
In order to fall within the aegis of this provision, two conditions must concur, namely,
that there is a deprivation and that such deprivation is done without proper observance of
due process. When one speaks of due process of law, however, a distinction must be
made between matters of procedure and matters of substance. In essence, procedural due
process refers to the method or manner by which the law is enforced, while substantive
due process requires that the law itself, not merely the procedures by which the law
would be enforced, is fair, reasonable, and just. [14] PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be
examined in light of this distinction.
Respondents argue that due process was not observed in the adoption of PPA-AO No. 0492 allegedly because no hearing was conducted whereby relevant government agencies
and the pilots themselves could ventilate their views. They are obviously referring to the
procedural aspect of the enactment. Fortunately, the Court has maintained a clear position
in this regard, a stance it has stressed in the recent case of Lumiqued v. Hon. Exevea, [15]
where it declared that (a)s long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his
interests in due course, he cannot be said to have been denied due process of law, for this
opportunity to be heard is the very essence of due process. Moreover, this constitutional
mandate is deemed satisfied if a person is granted an opportunity to seek reconsideration
of the action or ruling complained of.
In the case at bar, respondents questioned PPA-AO No. 04-92 no less than four times [16]
before the matter was finally elevated to this Tribunal. Their arguments on this score,
however, fail to persuade. While respondents emphasize that the Philippine Coast Guard,
which issues the licenses of pilots after administering the pilots examinations, was not
consulted, [17] the facts show that the MARINA, which took over the licensing function
of the Philippine Coast Guard, was duly represented in the Board of Directors of the PPA.
Thus, petitioners correctly argued that, there being no matters of naval defense involved

in the issuance of the administrative order, the Philippine Coast Guard need not be
consulted.[18]
Neither does the fact that the pilots themselves were not consulted in any way taint the
validity of the administrative order. As a general rule, notice and hearing, as the
fundamental requirements of procedural due process, are essential only when an
administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial function. In the performance of its
executive or legislative functions, such as issuing rules and regulations, an administrative
body need not comply with the requirements of notice and hearing.[19]
Upon the other hand, it is also contended that the sole and exclusive right to the exercise
of harbor pilotage by pilots is a settled issue. Respondents aver that said right has become
vested and can only be withdrawn or shortened by observing the constitutional mandate
of due process of law. Their argument has thus shifted from the procedural to one of
substance. It is here where PPA-AO No. 04-92 fails to meet the condition set by the
organic law.
There is no dispute that pilotage as a profession has taken on the nature of a property
right. Even petitioner Corona recognized this when he stated in his March 17, 1993,
decision that (t)he exercise of ones profession falls within the constitutional guarantee
against wrongful deprivation of, or interference with, property rights without due process.
[20] He merely expressed the opinion that (i)n the limited context of this case, PPA-AO
04-92 does not constitute a wrongful interference with, let alone a wrongful deprivation
of, the property rights of those affected thereby, and that PPA-AO 04-92 does not forbid,
but merely regulates, the exercise by harbor pilots of their profession. As will be
presently demonstrated, such supposition is gravely erroneous and tends to perpetuate an
administrative order which is not only unreasonable but also superfluous.
Pilotage, just like other professions, may be practiced only by duly licensed individuals.
Licensure is the granting of license especially to practice a profession. It is also the
system of granting licenses (as for professional practice) in accordance with established
standards. [21] A license is a right or permission granted by some competent authority to
carry on a business or do an act which, without such license, would be illegal. [22]
Before harbor pilots can earn a license to practice their profession, they literally have to
pass through the proverbial eye of a needle by taking, not one but five examinations, each
followed by actual training and practice. Thus, the court a quo observed:
Petitioners (herein respondents) contend, and the respondents (herein petitioners) do not
deny, that here (sic) in this jurisdiction, before a person can be a harbor pilot, he must
pass five (5) government professional examinations, namely, (1) For Third Mate and after
which he must work, train and practice on board a vessel for at least a year; (2) For
Second Mate and after which he must work, train and practice for at least a year; (3) For
Chief Mate and after which he must work, train and practice for at least a year; (4) For a
Master Mariner and after which he must work as Captain of vessels for at least two (2)

21

years to qualify for an examination to be a pilot; and finally, of course, that given for
pilots.
Their license is granted in the form of an appointment which allows them to engage in
pilotage until they retire at the age 70 years. This is a vested right. Under the terms of
PPA-AO No. 04-92, (a)ll existing regular appointments which have been previously
issued by the Bureau of Customs or the PPA shall remain valid up to 31 December 1992
only, and (a)ll appointments to harbor pilot positions in all pilotage districts shall,
henceforth, be only for a term of one (1) year from date of effectivity subject to renewal
or cancellation by the Authority after conduct of a rigid evaluation of performance.
It is readily apparent that PPA-AO No. 04-92 unduly restricts the right of harbor pilots to
enjoy their profession before their compulsory retirement. In the past, they enjoyed a
measure of security knowing that after passing five examinations and undergoing years of
on-the-job training, they would have a license which they could use until their retirement,
unless sooner revoked by the PPA for mental or physical unfitness. Under the new
issuance, they have to contend with an annual cancellation of their license which can be
temporary or permanent depending on the outcome of their performance evaluation.
Veteran pilots and neophytes alike are suddenly confronted with one-year terms which
ipso facto expire at the end of that period. Renewal of their license is now dependent on a
rigid evaluation of performance which is conducted only after the license has already
been cancelled. Hence, the use of the term renewal. It is this pre-evaluation cancellation
which primarily makes PPA-AO No. 04-92 unreasonable and constitutionally infirm. In a
real sense, it is a deprivation of property without due process of law.

Executive Secretary v CA G.R. No. 131719. May 25, 2004.

The Court notes that PPA-AO No. 04-92 and PPA-MO No. 08-92 are already covered by
PPA-AO No. 03-85, which is still operational. Respondents are correct in pointing out
that PPA-AO No. 04-92 is a surplusage [23] and, therefore, an unnecessary enactment.
PPA-AO 03-85 is a comprehensive order setting forth the Rules and Regulations
Governing Pilotage Services, the Conduct of Pilots and Pilotage Fees in Philippine Ports.
It provides, inter alia, for the qualification, appointment, performance evaluation,
disciplining and removal of harbor pilots - matters which are duplicated in PPA-AO No.
04-92 and its implementing memorandum order. Since it adds nothing new or substantial,
PPA-AO No. 04-92 must be struck down.
Finally, respondents insinuation that then PPA General Manager Dayan was responsible
for the issuance of the questioned administrative order may have some factual basis; after
all, power and authority were vested in his office to propose rules and regulations. The
trial courts finding of animosity between him and private respondents might likewise
have a grain of truth. Yet the number of cases filed in court between private respondents
and Dayan, including cases which have reached this Court, cannot certainly be
considered the primordial reason for the issuance of PPA-AO No. 04-92. In the absence
of proof to the contrary, Dayan should be presumed to have acted in accordance with law
and the best of professional motives. In any event, his actions are certainly always subject
to scrutiny by higher administrative authorities.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed decision of
the court a quo dated September 6, 1993, in Civil Case No. 93-65673 is AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Peitioner claims that great majority of the duly licensed recruitment agencies have
stopped or suspended their operations for fear of being prosecuted under the provisions of
a law that are unjust and unconstitutional.

7/6/2010
0 Comments
Facts: The Omnibus Rules and Regulations Implementing the Migrant Workers and
Overseas Filipino Act of 1995 RA 8042 was, thereafter, published in the April 7, 1996
issue of the Manila Bulletin. However, even before the law took effect, the Asian
Recruitment Council Philippine Chapter, Inc. (ARCO-Phil.) filed, on July 17, 1995, a
petition for declaratory relief under Rule 63 of the Rules of Court with the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City to declare as unconstitutional Section 2, paragraph (g), Section 6,
paragraphs (a) to (j), (l) and (m), Section 7, paragraphs (a) and (b), and Sections 9 and 10
of the law, with a plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of
preliminary injunction enjoining the respondents therein from enforcing the assailed
provisions of the law.

On August 1, 1995, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order effective for a
period of only twenty (20) days therefrom. After the petitioners filed their comment on
the petition, the ARCO-Phil. filed an amended petition, the amendments consisting in the
inclusion in the caption thereof eleven (11) other corporations which it alleged were its
members and which it represented in the suit, and a plea for a temporary restraining order
enjoining the respondents from enforcing Section 6 subsection (i), Section 6 subsection
(k) and paragraphs 15 and 16 thereof, Section 8, Section 10, paragraphs 1 and 2, and
Sections 11 and 40 of Rep. Act No. 8042.
The respondent averred that the aforequoted provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042 violate
Section 1, Article III of the Constitution. 5 According to the respondent, Section 6(g) and
(i) discriminated against unskilled workers and their families and, as such, violated the
equal protection clause, as well as Article II, Section 12 6 and Article XV, Sections 1 7
and 3(3) of the Constitution. 8 As the law encouraged the deployment of skilled Filipino
workers, only overseas skilled workers are granted rights. The respondent stressed that
unskilled workers also have the right to seek employment abroad.

22

According to the respondent, the right of unskilled workers to due process is violated
because they are prevented from finding employment and earning a living abroad. It
cannot be argued that skilled workers are immune from abuses by employers, while
unskilled workers are merely prone to such abuses. It was pointed out that both skilled
and unskilled workers are subjected to abuses by foreign employers. Furthermore, the
prohibition of the deployment of unskilled workers abroad would only encourage fly-bynight illegal recruiters.
According to the respondent, the grant of incentives to service contractors and
manning agencies to the exclusion of all other licensed and authorized recruiters is an
invalid classification. Licensed and authorized recruiters are thus deprived of their right
to property and due process and to the "equality of the person." It is understandable for
the law to prohibit illegal recruiters, but to discriminate against licensed and registered
recruiters is unconstitutional.
The respondent, likewise, alleged that Section 6, subsections (a) to (m) is
unconstitutional because licensed and authorized recruitment agencies are placed on
equal footing with illegal recruiters. It contended that while the Labor Code distinguished
between recruiters who are holders of licenses and non-holders thereof in the imposition
of penalties, Rep. Act No. 8042 does not make any distinction. The penalties in Section
7(a) and (b) being based on an invalid classification are, therefore, repugnant to the equal
protection clause, besides being excessive; hence, such penalties are violative of Section
19(1), Article III of the Constitution. 9 It was also pointed out that the penalty for
officers/officials/employees of recruitment agencies who are found guilty of economic
sabotage or large-scale illegal recruitment under Rep. Act No. 8042 is life imprisonment.
The respondent also posited that Section 6(m) and paragraphs (15) and (16), Sections
8, 9 and 10, paragraph 2 of the law violate Section 22, Article III of the Constitution 10
prohibiting ex-post facto laws and bills of attainder. This is because the provisions
presume that a licensed and registered recruitment agency is guilty of illegal recruitment
involving economic sabotage, upon a finding that it committed any of the prohibited acts
under the law. Furthermore, officials, employees and their relatives are presumed guilty
of illegal recruitment involving economic sabotage upon such finding that they
committed any of the said prohibited acts.
The respondent further argued that the 90-day period in Section 10, paragraph (1)
within which a labor arbiter should decide a money claim is relatively short, and could
deprive licensed and registered recruiters of their right to due process. The period within
which the summons and the complaint would be served on foreign employees and,
thereafter, the filing of the answer to the complaint would take more than 90 days. This
would thereby shift on local licensed and authorized recruiters the burden of proving the
defense of foreign employers.

SEC. 9. Venue. A criminal action arising from illegal recruitment as defined herein
shall be filed with the Regional Trial Court of the province or city where the offense was
committed or where the offended party actually resides at the time of the commission of
the offense: Provided, That the court where the criminal action is first filed shall acquire
jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts: Provided, however, That the aforestated
provisions shall also apply to those criminal actions that have already been filed in court
at the time of the effectivity of this Act.
In their answer to the petition, the petitioners alleged, inter alia, that (a) the respondent
has no cause of action for a declaratory relief; (b) the petition was premature as the rules
implementing Rep. Act No. 8042 not having been released as yet; (c) the assailed
provisions do not violate any provisions of the Constitution; and, (d) the law was
approved by Congress in the exercise of the police power of the State.
In opposition to the respondent's plea for injunctive relief, the petitioners averred that:
As earlier shown, the amended petition for declaratory relief is devoid of merit for failure
of petitioner to demonstrate convincingly that the assailed law is unconstitutional, apart
from the defect and impropriety of the petition.
On December 5, 1997, the appellate court came out with a four-page decision
dismissing the petition and affirming the assailed order and writ of preliminary injunction
issued by the trial court. The appellate court, likewise, denied the petitioners' motion for
reconsideration of the said decision.
Issue: The core issue in this case is whether or not the trial court committed grave abuse
of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed order
and the writ of preliminary injunction on a bond of only P50,000; and
Whether or not the appellate court erred in affirming the trial court's order and the writ
of preliminary injunction issued by it.
Held: IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed
decision of the appellate court is REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Order of the
Regional Trial Court dated August 21, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95-24401 and the Writ
of Preliminary Injunction issued by it in the said case on August 24, 1995 are
NULLIFIED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Ratio: The matter of whether to issue a writ of preliminary injunction or not is addressed
to the sound discretion of the trial court. However, if the court commits grave abuse of its
discretion in issuing the said writ amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction, the same
may be nullified via a writ of certiorari and prohibition.

The respondent asserted that the following provisions of the law are unconstitutional:

23

The possible unconstitutionality of a statute, on its face, does not of itself justify an
injunction against good faith attempts to enforce it, unless there is a showing of bad faith,
harassment, or any other unusual circumstance that would call for equitable relief. The
"on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly strong medicine,"
to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort," and is generally disfavored.
To be entitled to a preliminary injunction to enjoin the enforcement of a law assailed
to be unconstitutional, the party must establish that it will suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of injunctive relief and must demonstrate that it is likely to succeed on the
merits, or that there are sufficiently serious questions going to the merits and the balance
of hardships tips decidedly in its favor.
Just as the incidental "chilling effect" of such statutes does not automatically render
them unconstitutional, so the chilling effect that admittedly can result from the very
existence of certain laws on the statute books does not in itself justify prohibiting the
State from carrying out the important and necessary task of enforcing these laws against
socially harmful conduct that the State believes in good faith to be punishable under its
laws and the Constitution.
One who attacks a statute, alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity
beyond reasonable doubt (Caleon v. Agus Development Corporation, 207 SCRA 748). All
reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute (People
v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56). This presumption of constitutionality is based on the doctrine of
separation of powers which enjoin upon each department a becoming respect for the acts
of the other departments (Garcia vs. Executive Secretary, 204 SCRA 516 [1991]).
In view of petitioner's standing
The petitioners contend that the respondent has no locus standi. It is a non-stock, nonprofit organization; hence, not the real party-in-interest as petitioner in the action.
Although the respondent filed the petition in the Regional Trial Court in behalf of
licensed and registered recruitment agencies, it failed to adduce in evidence a certified
copy of its Articles of Incorporation and the resolutions of the said members authorizing
it to represent the said agencies in the proceedings. Neither is the suit of the respondent a
class suit so as to vest in it a personality to assail Rep. Act No. 8042; the respondent is
service-oriented while the recruitment agencies it purports to represent are profitoriented.
The petition is meritorious. The respondent has locus standi to file the petition in the
RTC in representation of the eleven licensed and registered recruitment agencies
impleaded in the amended petition. The modern view is that an association has standing
to complain of injuries to its members. This view fuses the legal identity of an association
with that of its members. 16 An association has standing to file suit for its workers
despite its lack of direct interest if its members are affected by the action. An organization
has standing to assert the concerns of its constituents.

We note that, under its Articles of Incorporation, the respondent was organized for the
purposes inter alia of promoting and supporting the growth and development of the
manpower recruitment industry, both in the local and international levels; providing,
creating and exploring employment opportunities for the exclusive benefit of its general
membership; enhancing and promoting the general welfare and protection of Filipino
workers; and, to act as the representative of any individual, company, entity or
association on matters related to the manpower recruitment industry, and to perform other
acts and activities necessary to accomplish the purposes embodied therein.
In view of standing in behalf of unskilled workers
However, the respondent has no locus standi to file the petition for and in behalf of
unskilled workers. We note that it even failed to implead any unskilled workers in its
petition. Furthermore, in failing to implead, as parties-petitioners, the eleven licensed and
registered recruitment agencies it claimed to represent, the respondent failed to comply
with Section 2 of Rule 63 20 of the Rules of Court. Nevertheless, since the eleven
licensed and registered recruitment agencies for which the respondent filed the suit are
specifically named in the petition, the amended petition is deemed amended to avoid
multiplicity of suits.
In view of retroactivity
In People v. Diaz, 24 we held that Rep. Act No. 8042 is but an amendment of the
Labor Code of the Philippines and is not an ex-post facto law because it is not applied
retroactively.
In view of equal protection clause
In any case, where the liberty curtailed affects at most the rights of property, the
permissible scope of regulatory measures is certainly much wider. To pretend that
licensing or accreditation requirements violates the due process clause is to ignore the
settled practice, under the mantle of the police power, of regulating entry to the practice
of various trades or professions. Professionals leaving for abroad are required to pass
rigid written and practical exams before they are deemed fit to practice their trade.
Finally, it is a futile gesture on the part of petitioners to invoke the non-impairment
clause of the Constitution to support their argument that the government cannot enact the
assailed regulatory measures because they abridge the freedom to contract.
The equal protection clause is directed principally against undue favor and individual
or class privilege. It is not intended to prohibit legislation which is limited to the object to
which it is directed or by the territory in which it is to operate. It does not require
absolute equality, but merely that all persons be treated alike under like conditions both
as to privileges conferred and liabilities imposed.

24

In view of the VALIDITY of Sec. 6 of RA 8042


The validity of Section 6 of R.A. No. 8042 which provides that employees of
recruitment agencies may be criminally liable for illegal recruitment has been upheld in
People v. Chowdury: An employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal
recruitment may be held liable as principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that
he actively and consciously participated in illegal recruitment.
By its rulings, the Court thereby affirmed the validity of the assailed penal and
procedural provisions of Rep. Act No. 8042, including the imposable penalties therefor.
Until the Court, by final judgment, declares that the said provisions are unconstitutional,
the enforcement of the said provisions cannot be enjoined.
Penalizing unlicensed and licensed recruitment agencies and their officers and
employees and their relatives employed in government agencies charged with the
enforcement of the law for illegal recruitment and imposing life imprisonment for those
who commit large scale illegal recruitment is not offensive to the Constitution. The
accused may be convicted of illegal recruitment and large scale illegal recruitment only
if, after trial, the prosecution is able to prove all the elements of the crime charged.

respondent even failed to adduce any evidence to prove irreparable injury because of the
enforcement of Section 10(1)(2) of Rep. Act No. 8042. Its fear or apprehension that,
because of time constraints, its members would have to defend foreign employees in
cases before the Labor Arbiter is based on speculations. Even if true, such inconvenience
or difficulty is hardly irreparable injury.
Preliminarily, the proliferation of illegal job recruiters and syndicates preying on
innocent people anxious to obtain employment abroad is one of the primary
considerations that led to the enactment of The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos
Act of 1995. Aimed at affording greater protection to overseas Filipino workers, it is a
significant improvement on existing laws in the recruitment and placement of workers for
overseas employment.
By issuing the writ of preliminary injunction against the petitioners sans any evidence,
the trial court frustrated, albeit temporarily, the prosecution of illegal recruiters and
allowed them to continue victimizing hapless and innocent people desiring to obtain
employment abroad as overseas workers, and blocked the attainment of the salutary
policies 52 embedded in Rep. Act No. 8042.

The respondent merely speculated and surmised that licensed and registered
recruitment agencies would close shop and stop business operations because of the
assailed penal provisions of the law. A writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the
enforcement of penal laws cannot be based on such conjectures or speculations. The
Ynot v IAC (1987) 148 SCRA 659
J. Cruz

The trial court committed a grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of
jurisdiction in issuing the assailed order and writ of preliminary injunction. It is for this
reason that the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the enforcement of
the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court.

Facts:
Petitioner transported 6 caracbaos from Masbate to Iloilo in 1984 and these wer
confiscated by the station commander in Barotac, Iloilo for violating E.O. 626 A which
prohibits transportation of a carabao or carabeef from one province to another.
Confiscation will be a result of this.
The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ
of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the
merits of the case, 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 raise by the petitioner,
for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity.
The same result was decided in the trial court.
In the Supreme Court, he then petitioned against the constitutionality of the E.O. due to
the outright confiscation without giving the owner the right to heard before an impartial
court as guaranteed by due process. He also challenged the improper exercise of
legislative power by the former president under Amendment 6 of the 1973 constitution
wherein Marcos was given emergency powers to issue letters of instruction that had the
force of law.

Ratio:
The lower courts are not prevented from examining the constitutionality of a law.
Constitutional grant to the supreme court to review.
Justice Laurel's said, courts should not follow the path of least resistance by simply
presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned. On the contrary, they
should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess, and so heal the wound or
excise the affliction.
The challenged measure is denominated an executive order but it is really presidential
decree, promulgating a new rule instead of merely implementing an existing law due to
the grant of legislative authority over the president under Amendment number 6.
Provisions of the constitution should be cast in precise language to avoid controvery. In
the due process clause, however, the wording was ambiguous so it would remain
resilient. This was due to the avoidance of an iron rule laying down a stiff command for
all circumstances. There was flexibility to allow it to adapt to every situation with
varying degrees at protection for the changing conditions.
Courts have also refrained to adopt a standard definition for due processlest they be
confined to its interpretation like a straitjacket.
There must be requirements of notice and hearing as a safeguard against arbitrariness.
There are exceptions such as conclusive presumption which bars omission of contrary
evidence as long as such presumption is based on human experience or rational

Issue: Is the E.O. constitutional?

Holding: The EO is unconstitutional. Petition granted.

25

connection between facts proved and fact presumed. An examples is a passport of a


person with a criminal offense cancelled without hearing.
The protection of the general welfare is the particular function of police power which
both restrains and is restrained by dure process. This power was invoked in 626-A, in
addition to 626 which prohibits slaughter of carabos with an exception.
While 626-A has the same lawful subjectas the original executive order, it cant be said
that it complies with the existence of a lawful method. The transport prohibition and the
purpose sought has a gap.
Summary action may be taken in valid admin proceedings as procedural due process is
not juridical only due to the urgency needed to correct it.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

There was no reason why the offense in the E.O. would not have been proved in a court
of justice with the accused acquired the rights in the constitution.
The challenged measure was an invalid exercise of police power because the method
toconfiscate carabos was oppressive.
Due process was violated because the owener was denied the right to be heard or his
defense and punished immediately.
This was a clear encroachment on judicial functions and against the separataion of
powers.
The policeman wasnt liable for damages since the law during that time was valid.

EN BANC

In case of publication, where the residence of a nonresident or absent defendant is known,


the judge must direct a copy of the summons and complaint to be forthwith deposited by
the clerk in the post-office, postage prepaid, directed to the person to be served, at his
place of residence

G.R. No. L-11390

March 26, 1918

EL BANCO ESPAOL-FILIPINO, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
VICENTE PALANCA, administrator of the estate of Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng,
defendant-appellant.
Aitken and DeSelms for appellant.
Hartigan and Welch for appellee.
STREET, J.:
This action was instituted upon March 31, 1908, by "El Banco Espanol-Filipino" to
foreclose a mortgage upon various parcels of real property situated in the city of Manila.
The mortgage in question is dated June 16, 1906, and was executed by the original
defendant herein, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, as security for a debt
owing by him to the bank. Upon March 31, 1906, the debt amounted to P218,294.10 and
was drawing interest at the rate of 8 per centum per annum, payable at the end of each
quarter. It appears that the parties to this mortgage at that time estimated the value of the
property in question at P292,558, which was about P75,000 in excess of the indebtedness.
After the execution of this instrument by the mortgagor, he returned to China which
appears to have been his native country; and he there died, upon January 29, 1810,
without again returning to the Philippine Islands.
As the defendant was a nonresident at the time of the institution of the present action, it
was necessary for the plaintiff in the foreclosure proceeding to give notice to the
defendant by publication pursuant to section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure. An
order for publication was accordingly obtained from the court, and publication was made
in due form in a newspaper of the city of Manila. At the same time that the order of the
court should deposit in the post office in a stamped envelope a copy of the summons and

complaint directed to the defendant at his last place of residence, to wit, the city of Amoy,
in the Empire of China. This order was made pursuant to the following provision
contained in section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure:

Whether the clerk complied with this order does not affirmatively appear. There is,
however, among the papers pertaining to this case, an affidavit, dated April 4, 1908,
signed by Bernardo Chan y Garcia, an employee of the attorneys of the bank, showing
that upon that date he had deposited in the Manila post-office a registered letter,
addressed to Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng, at Manila, containing copies of the
complaint, the plaintiff's affidavit, the summons, and the order of the court directing
publication as aforesaid. It appears from the postmaster's receipt that Bernardo probably
used an envelope obtained from the clerk's office, as the receipt purports to show that the
letter emanated from the office.
The cause proceeded in usual course in the Court of First Instance; and the defendant not
having appeared, judgment was, upon July 2, 1908, taken against him by default. Upon
July 3, 1908, a decision was rendered in favor of the plaintiff. In this decision it was
recited that publication had been properly made in a periodical, but nothing was said
about this notice having been given mail. The court, upon this occasion, found that the
indebtedness of the defendant amounted to P249,355. 32, with interest from March 31,
1908. Accordingly it was ordered that the defendant should, on or before July 6, 1908,
deliver said amount to the clerk of the court to be applied to the satisfaction of the
judgment, and it was declared that in case of the failure of the defendant to satisfy the
judgment within such period, the mortgage property located in the city of Manila should
be exposed to public sale. The payment contemplated in said order was never made; and
upon July 8, 1908, the court ordered the sale of the property. The sale took place upon
July 30, 1908, and the property was bought in by the bank for the sum of P110,200. Upon
August 7, 1908, this sale was confirmed by the court.
About seven years after the confirmation of this sale, or to the precise, upon June 25,
1915, a motion was made in this cause by Vicente Palanca, as administrator of the estate

26

of the original defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco, wherein the


applicant requested the court to set aside the order of default of July 2, 1908, and the
judgment rendered upon July 3, 1908, and to vacate all the proceedings subsequent
thereto. The basis of this application, as set forth in the motion itself, was that the order of
default and the judgment rendered thereon were void because the court had never
acquired jurisdiction over the defendant or over the subject of the action.
At the hearing in the court below the application to vacate the judgment was denied, and
from this action of the court Vicente Planca, as administrator of the estate of the original
defendant, has appealed. No other feature of the case is here under consideration than
such as related to the action of the court upon said motion.
The case presents several questions of importance, which will be discussed in what
appears to be the sequence of most convenient development. In the first part of this
opinion we shall, for the purpose of argument, assume that the clerk of the Court of First
Instance did not obey the order of the court in the matter of mailing the papers which he
was directed to send to the defendant in Amoy; and in this connection we shall consider,
first, whether the court acquired the necessary jurisdiction to enable it to proceed with the
foreclosure of the mortgage and, secondly, whether those proceedings were conducted in
such manner as to constitute due process of law.
The word "jurisdiction," as applied to the faculty of exercising judicial power, is used in
several different, though related, senses since it may have reference (1) to the authority of
the court to entertain a particular kind of action or to administer a particular kind of relief,
or it may refer to the power of the court over the parties, or (2) over the property which is
the subject to the litigation.
The sovereign authority which organizes a court determines the nature and extent of its
powers in general and thus fixes its competency or jurisdiction with reference to the
actions which it may entertain and the relief it may grant.
Jurisdiction over the person is acquired by the voluntary appearance of a party in court
and his submission to its authority, or it is acquired by the coercive power of legal
process exerted over the person.
Jurisdiction over the property which is the subject of the litigation may result either from
a seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into the actual custody
of the law, or it may result from the institution of legal proceedings wherein, under
special provisions of law, the power of the court over the property is recognized and
made effective. In the latter case the property, though at all times within the potential
power of the court, may never be taken into actual custody at all. An illustration of the
jurisdiction acquired by actual seizure is found in attachment proceedings, where the
property is seized at the beginning of the action, or some subsequent stage of its progress,
and held to abide the final event of the litigation. An illustration of what we term
potential jurisdiction over the res, is found in the proceeding to register the title of land
under our system for the registration of land. Here the court, without taking actual

physical control over the property assumes, at the instance of some person claiming to be
owner, to exercise a jurisdiction in rem over the property and to adjudicate the title in
favor of the petitioner against all the world.
In the terminology of American law the action to foreclose a mortgage is said to be a
proceeding quasi in rem, by which is expressed the idea that while it is not strictly
speaking an action in rem yet it partakes of that nature and is substantially such. The
expression "action in rem" is, in its narrow application, used only with reference to
certain proceedings in courts of admiralty wherein the property alone is treated as
responsible for the claim or obligation upon which the proceedings are based. The action
quasi rem differs from the true action in rem in the circumstance that in the former an
individual is named as defendant, and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his
interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property. All proceedings having
for their sole object the sale or other disposition of the property of the defendant, whether
by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general way thus designated.
The judgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive only between the parties.
In speaking of the proceeding to foreclose a mortgage the author of a well known treaties,
has said:
Though nominally against person, such suits are to vindicate liens; they proceed upon
seizure; they treat property as primarily indebted; and, with the qualification abovementioned, they are substantially property actions. In the civil law, they are styled
hypothecary actions, and their sole object is the enforcement of the lien against the res; in
the common law, they would be different in chancery did not treat the conditional
conveyance as a mere hypothecation, and the creditor's right ass an equitable lien; so, in
both, the suit is real action so far as it is against property, and seeks the judicial
recognition of a property debt, and an order for the sale of the res. (Waples, Proceedings
In Rem. sec. 607.)
It is true that in proceedings of this character, if the defendant for whom publication is
made appears, the action becomes as to him a personal action and is conducted as such.
This, however, does not affect the proposition that where the defendant fails to appear the
action is quasi in rem; and it should therefore be considered with reference to the
principles governing actions in rem.
There is an instructive analogy between the foreclosure proceeding and an action of
attachment, concerning which the Supreme Court of the United States has used the
following language:
If the defendant appears, the cause becomes mainly a suit in personam, with the added
incident, that the property attached remains liable, under the control of the court, to
answer to any demand which may be established against the defendant by the final
judgment of the court. But, if there is no appearance of the defendant, and no service of
process on him, the case becomes, in its essential nature, a proceeding in rem, the only

27

effect of which is to subject the property attached to the payment of the defendant which
the court may find to be due to the plaintiff. (Cooper vs. Reynolds, 10 Wall., 308.)
In an ordinary attachment proceeding, if the defendant is not personally served, the
preliminary seizure is to, be considered necessary in order to confer jurisdiction upon the
court. In this case the lien on the property is acquired by the seizure; and the purpose of
the proceedings is to subject the property to that lien. If a lien already exists, whether
created by mortgage, contract, or statute, the preliminary seizure is not necessary; and the
court proceeds to enforce such lien in the manner provided by law precisely as though the
property had been seized upon attachment. (Roller vs. Holly, 176 U. S., 398, 405; 44 L.
ed., 520.) It results that the mere circumstance that in an attachment the property may be
seized at the inception of the proceedings, while in the foreclosure suit it is not taken into
legal custody until the time comes for the sale, does not materially affect the fundamental
principle involved in both cases, which is that the court is here exercising a jurisdiction
over the property in a proceeding directed essentially in rem.
Passing now to a consideration of the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance in a
mortgage foreclosure, it is evident that the court derives its authority to entertain the
action primarily from the statutes organizing the court. The jurisdiction of the court, in
this most general sense, over the cause of action is obvious and requires no comment.
Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, if acquired at all in such an action, is
obtained by the voluntary submission of the defendant or by the personal service of
process upon him within the territory where the process is valid. If, however, the
defendant is a nonresident and, remaining beyond the range of the personal process of the
court, refuses to come in voluntarily, the court never acquires jurisdiction over the person
at all. Here the property itself is in fact the sole thing which is impleaded and is the
responsible object which is the subject of the exercise of judicial power. It follows that
the jurisdiction of the court in such case is based exclusively on the power which, under
the law, it possesses over the property; and any discussion relative to the jurisdiction of
the court over the person of the defendant is entirely apart from the case. The jurisdiction
of the court over the property, considered as the exclusive object of such action, is
evidently based upon the following conditions and considerations, namely: (1) that the
property is located within the district; (2) that the purpose of the litigation is to subject
the property by sale to an obligation fixed upon it by the mortgage; and (3) that the court
at a proper stage of the proceedings takes the property into custody, if necessary, and
expose it to sale for the purpose of satisfying the mortgage debt. An obvious corollary is
that no other relief can be granted in this proceeding than such as can be enforced against
the property.
We may then, from what has been stated, formulated the following proposition relative to
the foreclosure proceeding against the property of a nonresident mortgagor who fails to
come in and submit himself personally to the jurisdiction of the court: (I) That the
jurisdiction of the court is derived from the power which it possesses over the property;
(II) that jurisdiction over the person is not acquired and is nonessential; (III) that the
relief granted by the court must be limited to such as can be enforced against the property
itself.

It is important that the bearing of these propositions be clearly apprehended, for there are
many expressions in the American reports from which it might be inferred that the court
acquires personal jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by publication and notice;
but such is not the case. In truth the proposition that jurisdiction over the person of a
nonresident cannot be acquired by publication and notice was never clearly understood
even in the American courts until after the decision had been rendered by the Supreme
Court of the United States in the leading case of Pennoyer vs. Neff (95 U. S. 714; 24 L.
ed., 565). In the light of that decision, and of other decisions which have subsequently
been rendered in that and other courts, the proposition that jurisdiction over the person
cannot be thus acquired by publication and notice is no longer open to question; and it is
now fully established that a personal judgment upon constructive or substituted service
against a nonresident who does not appear is wholly invalid. This doctrine applies to all
kinds of constructive or substituted process, including service by publication and
personal service outside of the jurisdiction in which the judgment is rendered; and the
only exception seems to be found in the case where the nonresident defendant has
expressly or impliedly consented to the mode of service. (Note to Raher vs. Raher, 35 L.
R. A. [N. S. ], 292; see also 50 L .R. A., 585; 35 L. R. A. [N. S.], 312
The idea upon which the decision in Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) proceeds is that the
process from the tribunals of one State cannot run into other States or countries and that
due process of law requires that the defendant shall be brought under the power of the
court by service of process within the State, or by his voluntary appearance, in order to
authorize the court to pass upon the question of his personal liability. The doctrine
established by the Supreme Court of the United States on this point, being based upon the
constitutional conception of due process of law, is binding upon the courts of the
Philippine Islands. Involved in this decision is the principle that in proceedings in rem or
quasi in rem against a nonresident who is not served personally within the state, and who
does not appear, the relief must be confined to the res, and the court cannot lawfully
render a personal judgment against him. (Dewey vs. Des Moines, 173 U. S., 193; 43 L.
ed., 665; Heidritter vs. Elizabeth Oil Cloth Co., 112 U. S., 294; 28 L. ed., 729.) Therefore
in an action to foreclose a mortgage against a nonresident, upon whom service has been
effected exclusively by publication, no personal judgment for the deficiency can be
entered. (Latta vs. Tutton, 122 Cal., 279; Blumberg vs. Birch, 99 Cal., 416.)
It is suggested in the brief of the appellant that the judgment entered in the court below
offends against the principle just stated and that this judgment is void because the court in
fact entered a personal judgment against the absent debtor for the full amount of the
indebtedness secured by the mortgage. We do not so interpret the judgment.
In a foreclosure proceeding against a nonresident owner it is necessary for the court, as in
all cases of foreclosure, to ascertain the amount due, as prescribed in section 256 of the
Code of Civil Procedure, and to make an order requiring the defendant to pay the money
into court. This step is a necessary precursor of the order of sale. In the present case the
judgment which was entered contains the following words:

28

Because it is declared that the said defendant Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y


Limquingco, is indebted in the amount of P249,355.32, plus the interest, to the 'Banco
Espanol-Filipino' . . . therefore said appellant is ordered to deliver the above amount etc.,
etc.
This is not the language of a personal judgment. Instead it is clearly intended merely as a
compliance with the requirement that the amount due shall be ascertained and that the
evidence of this it may be observed that according to the Code of Civil Procedure a
personal judgment against the debtor for the deficiency is not to be rendered until after
the property has been sold and the proceeds applied to the mortgage debt. (sec. 260).
The conclusion upon this phase of the case is that whatever may be the effect in other
respects of the failure of the clerk of the Court of First Instance to mail the proper papers
to the defendant in Amoy, China, such irregularity could in no wise impair or defeat the
jurisdiction of the court, for in our opinion that jurisdiction rest upon a basis much more
secure than would be supplied by any form of notice that could be given to a resident of a
foreign country.
Before leaving this branch of the case, we wish to observe that we are fully aware that
many reported cases can be cited in which it is assumed that the question of the
sufficiency of publication or notice in a case of this kind is a question affecting the
jurisdiction of the court, and the court is sometimes said to acquire jurisdiction by virtue
of the publication. This phraseology was undoubtedly originally adopted by the court
because of the analogy between service by the publication and personal service of
process upon the defendant; and, as has already been suggested, prior to the decision of
Pennoyer vs. Neff (supra) the difference between the legal effects of the two forms of
service was obscure. It is accordingly not surprising that the modes of expression which
had already been molded into legal tradition before that case was decided have been
brought down to the present day. But it is clear that the legal principle here involved is
not effected by the peculiar language in which the courts have expounded their ideas.
We now proceed to a discussion of the question whether the supposed irregularity in the
proceedings was of such gravity as to amount to a denial of that "due process of law"
which was secured by the Act of Congress in force in these Islands at the time this
mortgage was foreclosed. (Act of July 1, 1902, sec. 5.) In dealing with questions
involving the application of the constitutional provisions relating to due process of law
the Supreme Court of the United States has refrained from attempting to define with
precision the meaning of that expression, the reason being that the idea expressed therein
is applicable under so many diverse conditions as to make any attempt ay precise
definition hazardous and unprofitable. As applied to a judicial proceeding, however, it
may be laid down with certainty that the requirement of due process is satisfied if the
following conditions are present, namely; (1) There must be a court or tribunal clothed
with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it; (2) jurisdiction must be
lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property which is the
subject of the proceeding; (3) the defendant must be given an opportunity to be heard;
and (4) judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing.

Passing at once to the requisite that the defendant shall have an opportunity to be heard,
we observe that in a foreclosure case some notification of the proceedings to the
nonresident owner, prescribing the time within which appearance must be made, is
everywhere recognized as essential. To answer this necessity the statutes generally
provide for publication, and usually in addition thereto, for the mailing of notice to the
defendant, if his residence is known. Though commonly called constructive, or
substituted service of process in any true sense. It is merely a means provided by law
whereby the owner may be admonished that his property is the subject of judicial
proceedings and that it is incumbent upon him to take such steps as he sees fit to protect
it. In speaking of notice of this character a distinguish master of constitutional law has
used the following language:
. . . if the owners are named in the proceedings, and personal notice is provided for, it is
rather from tenderness to their interests, and in order to make sure that the opportunity for
a hearing shall not be lost to them, than from any necessity that the case shall assume that
form. (Cooley on Taxation [2d. ed.], 527, quoted in Leigh vs. Green, 193 U. S., 79, 80.)
It will be observed that this mode of notification does not involve any absolute assurance
that the absent owner shall thereby receive actual notice. The periodical containing the
publication may never in fact come to his hands, and the chances that he should discover
the notice may often be very slight. Even where notice is sent by mail the probability of
his receiving it, though much increased, is dependent upon the correctness of the address
to which it is forwarded as well as upon the regularity and security of the mail service. It
will be noted, furthermore, that the provision of our law relative to the mailing of notice
does not absolutely require the mailing of notice unconditionally and in every event, but
only in the case where the defendant's residence is known. In the light of all these facts, it
is evident that actual notice to the defendant in cases of this kind is not, under the law, to
be considered absolutely necessary.
The idea upon which the law proceeds in recognizing the efficacy of a means of
notification which may fall short of actual notice is apparently this: Property is always
assumed to be in the possession of its owner, in person or by agent; and he may be safely
held, under certain conditions, to be affected with knowledge that proceedings have been
instituted for its condemnation and sale.
It is the duty of the owner of real estate, who is a nonresident, to take measures that in
some way he shall be represented when his property is called into requisition, and if he
fails to do this, and fails to get notice by the ordinary publications which have usually
been required in such cases, it is his misfortune, and he must abide the consequences. (6
R. C. L., sec. 445 [p. 450]).
It has been well said by an American court:
If property of a nonresident cannot be reached by legal process upon the constructive
notice, then our statutes were passed in vain, and are mere empty legislative declarations,

29

without either force, or meaning; for if the person is not within the jurisdiction of the
court, no personal judgment can be rendered, and if the judgment cannot operate upon the
property, then no effective judgment at all can be rendered, so that the result would be
that the courts would be powerless to assist a citizen against a nonresident. Such a result
would be a deplorable one. (Quarl vs. Abbett, 102 Ind., 233; 52 Am. Rep., 662, 667.)
It is, of course universally recognized that the statutory provisions relative to publication
or other form of notice against a nonresident owner should be complied with; and in
respect to the publication of notice in the newspaper it may be stated that strict
compliance with the requirements of the law has been held to be essential. In Guaranty
Trust etc. Co. vs. Green Cove etc., Railroad Co. (139 U. S., 137, 138), it was held that
where newspaper publication was made for 19 weeks, when the statute required 20, the
publication was insufficient.
With respect to the provisions of our own statute, relative to the sending of notice by
mail, the requirement is that the judge shall direct that the notice be deposited in the mail
by the clerk of the court, and it is not in terms declared that the notice must be deposited
in the mail. We consider this to be of some significance; and it seems to us that, having
due regard to the principles upon which the giving of such notice is required, the absent
owner of the mortgaged property must, so far as the due process of law is concerned, take
the risk incident to the possible failure of the clerk to perform his duty, somewhat as he
takes the risk that the mail clerk or the mail carrier might possibly lose or destroy the
parcel or envelope containing the notice before it should reach its destination and be
delivered to him. This idea seems to be strengthened by the consideration that placing
upon the clerk the duty of sending notice by mail, the performance of that act is put
effectually beyond the control of the plaintiff in the litigation. At any rate it is obvious
that so much of section 399 of the Code of Civil Procedure as relates to the sending of
notice by mail was complied with when the court made the order. The question as to what
may be the consequences of the failure of the record to show the proof of compliance
with that requirement will be discussed by us further on.
The observations which have just been made lead to the conclusion that the failure of the
clerk to mail the notice, if in fact he did so fail in his duty, is not such an irregularity, as
amounts to a denial of due process of law; and hence in our opinion that irregularity, if
proved, would not avoid the judgment in this case. Notice was given by publication in a
newspaper and this is the only form of notice which the law unconditionally requires.
This in our opinion is all that was absolutely necessary to sustain the proceedings.
It will be observed that in considering the effect of this irregularity, it makes a difference
whether it be viewed as a question involving jurisdiction or as a question involving due
process of law. In the matter of jurisdiction there can be no distinction between the much
and the little. The court either has jurisdiction or it has not; and if the requirement as to
the mailing of notice should be considered as a step antecedent to the acquiring of
jurisdiction, there could be no escape from the conclusion that the failure to take that step
was fatal to the validity of the judgment. In the application of the idea of due process of
law, on the other hand, it is clearly unnecessary to be so rigorous. The jurisdiction being

once established, all that due process of law thereafter requires is an opportunity for the
defendant to be heard; and as publication was duly made in the newspaper, it would seem
highly unreasonable to hold that failure to mail the notice was fatal. We think that in
applying the requirement of due process of law, it is permissible to reflect upon the
purposes of the provision which is supposed to have been violated and the principle
underlying the exercise of judicial power in these proceedings. Judge in the light of these
conceptions, we think that the provision of Act of Congress declaring that no person shall
be deprived of his property without due process of law has not been infringed.
In the progress of this discussion we have stated the two conclusions; (1) that the failure
of the clerk to send the notice to the defendant by mail did not destroy the jurisdiction of
the court and (2) that such irregularity did not infringe the requirement of due process of
law. As a consequence of these conclusions the irregularity in question is in some
measure shorn of its potency. It is still necessary, however, to consider its effect
considered as a simple irregularity of procedure; and it would be idle to pretend that even
in this aspect the irregularity is not grave enough. From this point of view, however, it is
obvious that any motion to vacate the judgment on the ground of the irregularity in
question must fail unless it shows that the defendant was prejudiced by that irregularity.
The least, therefore, that can be required of the proponent of such a motion is to show
that he had a good defense against the action to foreclose the mortgage. Nothing of the
kind is, however, shown either in the motion or in the affidavit which accompanies the
motion.
An application to open or vacate a judgment because of an irregularity or defect in the
proceedings is usually required to be supported by an affidavit showing the grounds on
which the relief is sought, and in addition to this showing also a meritorious defense to
the action. It is held that a general statement that a party has a good defense to the action
is insufficient. The necessary facts must be averred. Of course if a judgment is void upon
its face a showing of the existence of a meritorious defense is not necessary. (10 R. C. L.,
718.)
The lapse of time is also a circumstance deeply affecting this aspect of the case. In this
connection we quote the following passage from the encyclopedic treatise now in course
of publication:
Where, however, the judgment is not void on its face, and may therefore be enforced if
permitted to stand on the record, courts in many instances refuse to exercise their quasi
equitable powers to vacate a judgement after the lapse of the term ay which it was
entered, except in clear cases, to promote the ends of justice, and where it appears that the
party making the application is himself without fault and has acted in good faith and with
ordinary diligence. Laches on the part of the applicant, if unexplained, is deemed
sufficient ground for refusing the relief to which he might otherwise be entitled.
Something is due to the finality of judgments, and acquiescence or unnecessary delay is
fatal to motions of this character, since courts are always reluctant to interfere with
judgments, and especially where they have been executed or satisfied. The moving party

30

has the burden of showing diligence, and unless it is shown affirmatively the court will
not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor. (15 R. C. L., 694, 695.)
It is stated in the affidavit that the defendant, Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y
Limquingco, died January 29, 1910. The mortgage under which the property was sold
was executed far back in 1906; and the proceedings in the foreclosure were closed by the
order of court confirming the sale dated August 7, 1908. It passes the rational bounds of
human credulity to suppose that a man who had placed a mortgage upon property worth
nearly P300,000 and had then gone away from the scene of his life activities to end his
days in the city of Amoy, China, should have long remained in ignorance of the fact that
the mortgage had been foreclosed and the property sold, even supposing that he had no
knowledge of those proceedings while they were being conducted. It is more in keeping
with the ordinary course of things that he should have acquired information as to what
was transpiring in his affairs at Manila; and upon the basis of this rational assumption we
are authorized, in the absence of proof to the contrary, to presume that he did have, or
soon acquired, information as to the sale of his property.
The Code of Civil Procedure, indeed, expressly declares that there is a presumption that
things have happened according to the ordinary habits of life (sec. 334 [26]); and we
cannot conceive of a situation more appropriate than this for applying the presumption
thus defined by the lawgiver. In support of this presumption, as applied to the present
case, it is permissible to consider the probability that the defendant may have received
actual notice of these proceedings from the unofficial notice addressed to him in Manila
which was mailed by an employee of the bank's attorneys. Adopting almost the exact
words used by the Supreme Court of the United States in Grannis vs. Ordeans (234 U. S.,
385; 58 L. ed., 1363), we may say that in view of the well-known skill of postal officials
and employees in making proper delivery of letters defectively addressed, we think the
presumption is clear and strong that this notice reached the defendant, there being no
proof that it was ever returned by the postal officials as undelivered. And if it was
delivered in Manila, instead of being forwarded to Amoy, China, there is a probability
that the recipient was a person sufficiently interested in his affairs to send it or
communicate its contents to him.
Of course if the jurisdiction of the court or the sufficiency of the process of law depended
upon the mailing of the notice by the clerk, the reflections in which we are now indulging
would be idle and frivolous; but the considerations mentioned are introduced in order to
show the propriety of applying to this situation the legal presumption to which allusion
has been made. Upon that presumption, supported by the circumstances of this case, ,we
do not hesitate to found the conclusion that the defendant voluntarily abandoned all
thought of saving his property from the obligation which he had placed upon it; that
knowledge of the proceedings should be imputed to him; and that he acquiesced in the
consequences of those proceedings after they had been accomplished. Under these
circumstances it is clear that the merit of this motion is, as we have already stated,
adversely affected in a high degree by the delay in asking for relief. Nor is it an adequate
reply to say that the proponent of this motion is an administrator who only qualified a
few months before this motion was made. No disability on the part of the defendant

himself existed from the time when the foreclosure was effected until his death; and we
believe that the delay in the appointment of the administrator and institution of this action
is a circumstance which is imputable to the parties in interest whoever they may have
been. Of course if the minor heirs had instituted an action in their own right to recover the
property, it would have been different.
It is, however, argued that the defendant has suffered prejudice by reason of the fact that
the bank became the purchaser of the property at the foreclosure sale for a price greatly
below that which had been agreed upon in the mortgage as the upset price of the property.
In this connection, it appears that in article nine of the mortgage which was the subject of
this foreclosure, as amended by the notarial document of July 19, 1906, the parties to this
mortgage made a stipulation to the effect that the value therein placed upon the
mortgaged properties should serve as a basis of sale in case the debt should remain
unpaid and the bank should proceed to a foreclosure. The upset price stated in that
stipulation for all the parcels involved in this foreclosure was P286,000. It is said in
behalf of the appellant that when the bank bought in the property for the sum of P110,200
it violated that stipulation.
It has been held by this court that a clause in a mortgage providing for a tipo, or upset
price, does not prevent a foreclosure, nor affect the validity of a sale made in the
foreclosure proceedings. (Yangco vs. Cruz Herrera and Wy Piaco, 11 Phil. Rep., 402;
Banco-Espaol Filipino vs. Donaldson, Sim and Co., 5 Phil. Rep., 418.) In both the cases
here cited the property was purchased at the foreclosure sale, not by the creditor or
mortgagee, but by a third party. Whether the same rule should be applied in a case where
the mortgagee himself becomes the purchaser has apparently not been decided by this
court in any reported decision, and this question need not here be considered, since it is
evident that if any liability was incurred by the bank by purchasing for a price below that
fixed in the stipulation, its liability was a personal liability derived from the contract of
mortgage; and as we have already demonstrated such a liability could not be the subject
of adjudication in an action where the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant. If the plaintiff bank became liable to account for the difference between the
upset price and the price at which in bought in the property, that liability remains
unaffected by the disposition which the court made of this case; and the fact that the bank
may have violated such an obligation can in no wise affect the validity of the judgment
entered in the Court of First Instance.
In connection with the entire failure of the motion to show either a meritorious defense to
the action or that the defendant had suffered any prejudice of which the law can take
notice, we may be permitted to add that in our opinion a motion of this kind, which
proposes to unsettle judicial proceedings long ago closed, can not be considered with
favor, unless based upon grounds which appeal to the conscience of the court. Public
policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld. The maximum here applicable is non
quieta movere. As was once said by Judge Brewer, afterwards a member of the Supreme
Court of the United States:

31

Public policy requires that judicial proceedings be upheld, and that titles obtained in those
proceedings be safe from the ruthless hand of collateral attack. If technical defects are
adjudged potent to destroy such titles, a judicial sale will never realize that value of the
property, for no prudent man will risk his money in bidding for and buying that title
which he has reason to fear may years thereafter be swept away through some occult and
not readily discoverable defect. (Martin vs. Pond, 30 Fed., 15.)
In the case where that language was used an attempt was made to annul certain
foreclosure proceedings on the ground that the affidavit upon which the order of
publication was based erroneously stated that the State of Kansas, when he was in fact
residing in another State. It was held that this mistake did not affect the validity of the
proceedings.
In the preceding discussion we have assumed that the clerk failed to send the notice by
post as required by the order of the court. We now proceed to consider whether this is a
proper assumption; and the proposition which we propose to establish is that there is a
legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty as the ministerial officer of the court,
which presumption is not overcome by any other facts appearing in the cause.
In subsection 14 of section 334 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that there is a
presumption "that official duty has been regularly performed;" and in subsection 18 it is
declared that there is a presumption "that the ordinary course of business has been
followed." These presumptions are of course in no sense novelties, as they express ideas
which have always been recognized. Omnia presumuntur rite et solemniter esse acta
donec probetur in contrarium. There is therefore clearly a legal presumption that the clerk
performed his duty about mailing this notice; and we think that strong considerations of
policy require that this presumption should be allowed to operate with full force under the
circumstances of this case. A party to an action has no control over the clerk of the court;
and has no right to meddle unduly with the business of the clerk in the performance of his
duties. Having no control over this officer, the litigant must depend upon the court to see
that the duties imposed on the clerk are performed.
Other considerations no less potent contribute to strengthen the conclusion just stated.
There is no principle of law better settled than that after jurisdiction has once been
required, every act of a court of general jurisdiction shall be presumed to have been
rightly done. This rule is applied to every judgment or decree rendered in the various
stages of the proceedings from their initiation to their completion (Voorhees vs. United
States Bank, 10 Pet., 314; 35 U. S., 449); and if the record is silent with respect to any
fact which must have been established before the court could have rightly acted, it will be
presumed that such fact was properly brought to its knowledge. (The Lessee of Grignon
vs. Astor, 2 How., 319; 11 L. ed., 283.)
In making the order of sale [of the real state of a decedent] the court are presumed to have
adjudged every question necessary to justify such order or decree, viz: The death of the
owners; that the petitioners were his administrators; that the personal estate was
insufficient to pay the debts of the deceased; that the private acts of Assembly, as to the

manner of sale, were within the constitutional power of the Legislature, and that all the
provisions of the law as to notices which are directory to the administrators have been
complied with. . . . The court is not bound to enter upon the record the evidence on which
any fact was decided. (Florentine vs. Barton, 2 Wall., 210; 17 L. ed., 785.) Especially
does all this apply after long lapse of time.
Applegate vs. Lexington and Carter County Mining Co. (117 U. S., 255) contains an
instructive discussion in a case analogous to that which is now before us. It there
appeared that in order to foreclose a mortgage in the State of Kentucky against a
nonresident debtor it was necessary that publication should be made in a newspaper for a
specified period of time, also be posted at the front door of the court house and be
published on some Sunday, immediately after divine service, in such church as the court
should direct. In a certain action judgment had been entered against a nonresident, after
publication in pursuance of these provisions. Many years later the validity of the
proceedings was called in question in another action. It was proved from the files of an
ancient periodical that publication had been made in its columns as required by law; but
no proof was offered to show the publication of the order at the church, or the posting of
it at the front door of the court-house. It was insisted by one of the parties that the
judgment of the court was void for lack of jurisdiction. But the Supreme Court of the
United States said:
The court which made the decree . . . was a court of general jurisdiction. Therefore every
presumption not inconsistent with the record is to be indulged in favor of its jurisdiction. .
. . It is to be presumed that the court before making its decree took care of to see that its
order for constructive service, on which its right to make the decree depended, had been
obeyed.
It is true that in this case the former judgment was the subject of collateral , or indirect
attack, while in the case at bar the motion to vacate the judgment is direct proceeding for
relief against it. The same general presumption, however, is indulged in favor of the
judgment of a court of general jurisdiction, whether it is the subject of direct or indirect
attack the only difference being that in case of indirect attack the judgment is
conclusively presumed to be valid unless the record affirmatively shows it to be void,
while in case of direct attack the presumption in favor of its validity may in certain cases
be overcome by proof extrinsic to the record.
The presumption that the clerk performed his duty and that the court made its decree with
the knowledge that the requirements of law had been complied with appear to be amply
sufficient to support the conclusion that the notice was sent by the clerk as required by
the order. It is true that there ought to be found among the papers on file in this cause an
affidavit, as required by section 400 of the Code of Civil Procedure, showing that the
order was in fact so sent by the clerk; and no such affidavit appears. The record is
therefore silent where it ought to speak. But the very purpose of the law in recognizing
these presumptions is to enable the court to sustain a prior judgment in the face of such
an omission. If we were to hold that the judgment in this case is void because the proper
affidavit is not present in the file of papers which we call the record, the result would be

32

that in the future every title in the Islands resting upon a judgment like that now before us
would depend, for its continued security, upon the presence of such affidavit among the
papers and would be liable at any moment to be destroyed by the disappearance of that
piece of paper. We think that no court, with a proper regard for the security of judicial
proceedings and for the interests which have by law been confided to the courts, would
incline to favor such a conclusion. In our opinion the proper course in a case of this kind
is to hold that the legal presumption that the clerk performed his duty still maintains
notwithstanding the absence from the record of the proper proof of that fact.
In this connection it is important to bear in mind that under the practice prevailing in the
Philippine Islands the word "record" is used in a loose and broad sense, as indicating the
collective mass of papers which contain the history of all the successive steps taken in a
case and which are finally deposited in the archives of the clerk's office as a memorial of
the litigation. It is a matter of general information that no judgment roll, or book of final
record, is commonly kept in our courts for the purpose of recording the pleadings and
principal proceedings in actions which have been terminated; and in particular, no such
record is kept in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila. There is, indeed, a
section of the Code of Civil Procedure which directs that such a book of final record shall
be kept; but this provision has, as a matter of common knowledge, been generally
ignored. The result is that in the present case we do not have the assistance of the recitals
of such a record to enable us to pass upon the validity of this judgment and as already
stated the question must be determined by examining the papers contained in the entire
file.
But it is insisted by counsel for this motion that the affidavit of Bernardo Chan y Garcia
showing that upon April 4, 1908, he sent a notification through the mail addressed to the
defendant at Manila, Philippine Islands, should be accepted as affirmative proof that the
clerk of the court failed in his duty and that, instead of himself sending the requisite
notice through the mail, he relied upon Bernardo to send it for him. We do not think that
this is by any means a necessary inference. Of course if it had affirmatively appeared that
the clerk himself had attempted to comply with this order and had directed the
notification to Manila when he should have directed it to Amoy, this would be conclusive
that he had failed to comply with the exact terms of the order; but such is not this case.
That the clerk of the attorneys for the plaintiff erroneously sent a notification to the
defendant at a mistaken address affords in our opinion very slight basis for supposing that
the clerk may not have sent notice to the right address.
There is undoubtedly good authority to support the position that when the record states
the evidence or makes an averment with reference to a jurisdictional fact, it will not be
presumed that there was other or different evidence respecting the fact, or that the fact
was otherwise than stated. If, to give an illustration, it appears from the return of the
officer that the summons was served at a particular place or in a particular manner, it will
not be presumed that service was also made at another place or in a different manner; or
if it appears that service was made upon a person other than the defendant, it will not be
presumed, in the silence of the record, that it was made upon the defendant also (Galpin
vs. Page, 18 Wall., 350, 366; Settlemier vs. Sullivan, 97 U. S., 444, 449). While we

believe that these propositions are entirely correct as applied to the case where the person
making the return is the officer who is by law required to make the return, we do not
think that it is properly applicable where, as in the present case, the affidavit was made by
a person who, so far as the provisions of law are concerned, was a mere intermeddler.
The last question of importance which we propose to consider is whether a motion in the
cause is admissible as a proceeding to obtain relief in such a case as this. If the motion
prevails the judgment of July 2, 1908, and all subsequent proceedings will be set aside,
and the litigation will be renewed, proceeding again from the date mentioned as if the
progress of the action had not been interrupted. The proponent of the motion does not ask
the favor of being permitted to interpose a defense. His purpose is merely to annul the
effective judgment of the court, to the end that the litigation may again resume its regular
course.
There is only one section of the Code of Civil Procedure which expressly recognizes the
authority of a Court of First Instance to set aside a final judgment and permit a renewal of
the litigation in the same cause. This is as follows:
SEC. 113. Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or legal
representative from the judgment, order, or other proceeding taken against him through
his mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; Provided, That application
thereof be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six months after such
judgment, order, or proceeding was taken.
An additional remedy by petition to the Supreme Court is supplied by section 513 of the
same Code. The first paragraph of this section, in so far as pertinent to this discussion,
provides as follows:
When a judgment is rendered by a Court of First Instance upon default, and a party
thereto is unjustly deprived of a hearing by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable
negligence, and the Court of First Instance which rendered the judgment has finally
adjourned so that no adequate remedy exists in that court, the party so deprived of a
hearing may present his petition to the Supreme Court within sixty days after he first
learns of the rendition of such judgment, and not thereafter, setting forth the facts and
praying to have judgment set aside. . . .
It is evident that the proceeding contemplated in this section is intended to supplement
the remedy provided by section 113; and we believe the conclusion irresistible that there
is no other means recognized by law whereby a defeated party can, by a proceeding in the
same cause, procure a judgment to be set aside, with a view to the renewal of the
litigation.
The Code of Civil Procedure purports to be a complete system of practice in civil causes,
and it contains provisions describing with much fullness the various steps to be taken in
the conduct of such proceedings. To this end it defines with precision the method of
beginning, conducting, and concluding the civil action of whatever species; and by

33

section 795 of the same Code it is declared that the procedure in all civil action shall be in
accordance with the provisions of this Code. We are therefore of the opinion that the
remedies prescribed in sections 113 and 513 are exclusive of all others, so far as relates to
the opening and continuation of a litigation which has been once concluded.
The motion in the present case does not conform to the requirements of either of these
provisions; and the consequence is that in our opinion the action of the Court of First
Instance in dismissing the motion was proper.
If the question were admittedly one relating merely to an irregularity of procedure, we
cannot suppose that this proceeding would have taken the form of a motion in the cause,
since it is clear that, if based on such an error, the came to late for relief in the Court of
First Instance. But as we have already seen, the motion attacks the judgment of the court
as void for want of jurisdiction over the defendant. The idea underlying the motion
therefore is that inasmuch as the judgment is a nullity it can be attacked in any way and at
any time. If the judgment were in fact void upon its face, that is, if it were shown to be a
nullity by virtue of its own recitals, there might possibly be something in this. Where a
judgment or judicial order is void in this sense it may be said to be a lawless thing, which
can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it
exhibits its head.
But the judgment in question is not void in any such sense. It is entirely regular in form,
and the alleged defect is one which is not apparent upon its face. It follows that even if
the judgment could be shown to be void for want of jurisdiction, or for lack of due
process of law, the party aggrieved thereby is bound to resort to some appropriate
G.R. Nos. 212140-41, January 21, 2015
SENATOR JINGGOY EJERCITO ESTRADA, Petitioner, v. BERSAMIN, OFFICE OF
THE OMBUDSMAN, FIELD INVESTIGATION OFFICE, OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AND ATTY. LEVITO
D. BALIGOD, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
It is a fundamental principle that the accused in a preliminary investigation has no right
to cross-examine the witnesses which the complainant may present. Section 3, Rule 112
of the Rules of Court expressly provides that the respondent shall only have the right to
submit a counter-affidavit, to examine all other evidence submitted by the complainant
and, where the fiscal sets a hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or
their witnesses, to be afforded an opportunity to be present but without the right to
examine or cross-examine.

proceeding to obtain relief. Under accepted principles of law and practice, long
recognized in American courts, a proper remedy in such case, after the time for appeal or
review has passed, is for the aggrieved party to bring an action to enjoin the judgment, if
not already carried into effect; or if the property has already been disposed of he may
institute suit to recover it. In every situation of this character an appropriate remedy is at
hand; and if property has been taken without due process, the law concedes due process
to recover it. We accordingly old that, assuming the judgment to have been void as
alleged by the proponent of this motion, the proper remedy was by an original proceeding
and not by motion in the cause. As we have already seen our Code of Civil Procedure
defines the conditions under which relief against a judgment may be productive of
conclusion for this court to recognize such a proceeding as proper under conditions
different from those defined by law. Upon the point of procedure here involved, we refer
to the case of People vs. Harrison (84 Cal., 607) wherein it was held that a motion will
not lie to vacate a judgment after the lapse of the time limited by statute if the judgment is
not void on its face; and in all cases, after the lapse of the time limited by statute if the
judgment is not void on its face; and all cases, after the lapse of such time, when an
attempt is made to vacate the judgment by a proceeding in court for that purpose an
action regularly brought is preferable, and should be required. It will be noted taken
verbatim from the California Code (sec. 473).
The conclusions stated in this opinion indicate that the judgment appealed from is
without error, and the same is accordingly affirmed, with costs. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, and Avancea, JJ., concur.
This case is a Petition for Certiorari2 with prayer for (1) the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction enjoining respondents Office of
the Ombudsman (Ombudsman), Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Ombudsman,
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Atty. Levito D. Baligod (Atty. Baligod)
(collectively, respondents), from conducting further proceedings in OMB-C-C-13-03013
and OMB-C-C-13-0397 until the present Petition has been resolved with finality; and (2)
this Courts declaration that petitioner Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada (Sen. Estrada)
was denied due process of law, and that the Order of the Ombudsman dated 27 March
2014 and the proceedings in OMB-C-C-13-03013 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 subsequent to
and affected by the issuance of the challenged 27 March 2014 Order are void.
OMB-C-C-13-0313,3 entitled National Bureau of Investigation and Atty. Levito D.
Baligod v. Jose Jinggoy P. Ejercito Estrada, et al., refers to the complaint for Plunder as
defined under Republic Act (RA) No. 7080, while OMB-C-C-13-0397,4 entitled Field
Investigation Office, Office of the Ombudsman v. Jose Jinggoy P. Ejercito-Estrada, et
al., refers to the complaint for Plunder as defined under RA No. 7080 and for violation of
Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).cralawred
The Facts

- Paderanga v. Drilon1

34

On 25 November 2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada a copy of the
complaint in OMB-C-C-13-0313, filed by the NBI and Atty. Baligod, which prayed,
among others, that criminal proceedings for Plunder as defined in RA No. 7080 be
conducted against Sen. Estrada. Sen. Estrada filed his counter-affidavit in OMB-C-C-130313 on 9 January 2014.
On 3 December 2013, the Ombudsman served upon Sen. Estrada a copy of the complaint
in OMB-C-C-13-0397, filed by the FIO of the Ombudsman, which prayed, among others,
that criminal proceedings for Plunder, as defined in RA No. 7080, and for violation of
Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019, be conducted against Sen. Estrada. Sen. Estrada filed his
counter-affidavit in OMB-C-C-13-0397 on 16 January 2014.
Eighteen of Sen. Estradas co-respondents in the two complaints filed their counteraffidavits between 9 December 2013 and 14 March 2014.5chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
On 20 March 2014, Sen. Estrada filed his Request to be Furnished with Copies of
Counter-Affidavits of the Other Respondents, Affidavits of New Witnesses and Other
Filings (Request) in OMB-C-C-13-0313. In his Request, Sen. Estrada asked for copies of
the following documents:
(a)
Affidavit of [co-respondent] Ruby Tuason (Tuason);
(b)
Affidavit of [co-respondent] Dennis L. Cunanan (Cunanan);
(c)
Counter-Affidavit of [co-respondent] Gondelina G. Amata (Amata);
(d)
Counter-Affidavit of [co-respondent] Mario L. Relampagos (Relampagos);
(e)
Consolidated Reply of complainant NBI, if one had been filed; and
(f)
Affidavits/Counter-Affidavits/Pleadings/Filings filed by all the other respondents
and/or additional witnesses for the Complainants.6
Sen. Estradas request was made [p]ursuant to the right of a respondent to examine the
evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not have been furnished (Section
3[b], Rule 112 of the Rules of Court) and to have access to the evidence on record
(Section 4[c], Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman).7chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

On 27 March 2014, the Ombudsman issued the assailed Order in OMB-C-C-13-0313.


The pertinent portions of the assailed Order read:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
This Office finds however finds [sic] that the foregoing provisions [pertaining to
Section 3[b], Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and Section 4[c], Rule II of the Rules of
Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman] do not entitle respondent [Sen. Estrada] to be
furnished all the filings of the respondents.
Rule 112 (3) (a) & (c) of the Rules of Court provides [sic]:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be accompanied
by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting
documents to establish probable cause
xxx xxx xxx
(c) Within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena with the complaint and
supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall submit his counter-affidavit
and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for his defense. The
counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided in paragraph
(a) of this section, with copies thereof furnished by him to the complainant.
Further to quote the rule in furnishing copies of affidavits to parties under the Rules of
Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman [Section 4 of Rule II of Administrative Order
No. 07 issued on April 10, 1990]:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
a) If the complaint is not under oath or is based only on official reports, the
investigating officer shall require the complainant or supporting witnesses to execute
affidavits to substantiate the complaints.
b) After such affidavits have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an
order, attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing
the respondents to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his counteraffidavits and controverting evidence with proof of service thereof on the complainant.
The complainant may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after service of the
counter-affidavits.
It can be gleaned from these aforecited provisions that this Office is required to furnish
[Sen. Estrada] a copy of the Complaint and its supporting affidavits and documents; and
this Office complied with this requirement when it furnished [Sen. Estrada] with the
foregoing documents attached to the Orders to File Counter-Affidavit dated 19 November
2013 and 25 November 2013.
It is to be noted that there is no provision under this Offices Rules of Procedure which
entitles respondent to be furnished all the filings by the other parties, e.g. the respondents.

35

Ruby Tuason, Dennis Cunanan, Gondelina G. Amata and Mario L. Relampagos


themselves are all respondents in these cases. Under the Rules of Court as well as the
Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, the respondents are only required to
furnish their counter-affidavits and controverting evidence to the complainant, and not to
the other respondents.

proceedings in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397. Finally, Sen. Estrada asked


for a judgment declaring that (a) he has been denied due process of law, and as a
consequence thereof, (b) the Order dated 27 March 2014, as well as the proceedings in
OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 subsequent to and affected by the issuance
of the 27 March 2014 Order, are void.12chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

To reiterate, the rights of respondent [Sen.] Estrada in the conduct of the preliminary
investigation depend on the rights granted to him by law and these cannot be based on
whatever rights he believes [that] he is entitled to or those that may be derived from the
phrase due process of law.

On the same date, 7 May 2014, the Ombudsman issued in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMBC-C-13-0397 a Joint Order furnishing Sen. Estrada with the counter-affidavits of Tuason,
Cunanan, Amata, Relampagos, Francisco Figura, Gregoria Buenaventura, and Alexis
Sevidal, and directing him to comment thereon within a non-extendible period of five
days from receipt of the order.

Thus, this Office cannot grant his motion to be furnished with copies of all the filings
by the other parties. Nevertheless, he should be furnished a copy of the Reply of
complainant NBI as he is entitled thereto under the rules; however, as of this date, no
Reply has been filed by complainant NBI.
WHEREFORE, respondent [Sen.] Estradas Request to be Furnished with Copies of
Counter-Affidavits of the Other Respondents, Affidavits of New Witnesses and Other
Filings is DENIED. He is nevertheless entitled to be furnished a copy of the Reply if
complainant opts to file such pleading.8 (Emphases in the original)
On 28 March 2014, the Ombudsman issued in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-130397 a Joint Resolution9 which found probable cause to indict Sen. Estrada and his corespondents with one count of plunder and 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of RA
No. 3019. Sen. Estrada filed a Motion for Reconsideration (of the Joint Resolution dated
28 March 2014) dated 7 April 2014. Sen. Estrada prayed for the issuance of a new
resolution dismissing the charges against him.
Without filing a Motion for Reconsideration of the Ombudsmans 27 March 2014 Order
denying his Request, Sen. Estrada filed the present Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65
and sought to annul and set aside the 27 March 2014 Order.cralawred
THE ARGUMENTS
Sen. Estrada raised the following grounds in his Petition:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, IN ISSUING THE CHALLENGED ORDER
DATED 27 MARCH 2014, ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF ITS
JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION AND VIOLATED SEN. ESTRADA'S
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW.10
Sen. Estrada also claimed that under the circumstances, he has no appeal or any other
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, except through this
Petition.11 Sen. Estrada applied for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or
writ of preliminary injunction to restrain public respondents from conducting further

On 12 May 2014, Sen. Estrada filed before the Ombudsman a motion to suspend
proceedings in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 because the denial of his
Request to be furnished copies of counter-affidavits of his co-respondents deprived him
of his right to procedural due process, and he has filed the present Petition before this
Court. The Ombudsman denied Sen. Estradas motion to suspend in an Order dated 15
May 2014. Sen. Estrada filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated 15 May
2014 but his motion was denied in an Order dated 3 June 2014.
As of 2 June 2014, the date of filing of the Ombudsmans Comment to the present
Petition, Sen. Estrada had not filed a comment on the counter-affidavits furnished to him.
On 4 June 2014, the Ombudsman issued a Joint Order in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMBC-C-13-0397 denying, among other motions filed by the other respondents, Sen.
Estradas motion for reconsideration dated 7 April 2014. The pertinent portion of the 4
June 2014 Joint Order stated:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
While it is true that Senator Estradas request for copies of Tuason, Cunanan, Amata,
Relampagos, Figura, Buenaventura and Sevidals affidavits was denied by Order dated 27
March 2014 and before the promulgation of the assailed Joint Resolution, this Office
thereafter re-evaluated the request and granted it by Order dated 7 May 2014 granting his
request. Copies of the requested counter-affidavits were appended to the copy of the
Order dated 7 May 2014 transmitted to Senator Estrada through counsel.
This Office, in fact, held in abeyance the disposition of the motions for reconsideration
in this proceeding in light of its grant to Senator Estrada a period of five days from
receipt of the 7 May 2014 Order to formally respond to the above-named co-respondents
claims.
In view of the foregoing, this Office fails to see how Senator Estrada was deprived of
his right to procedural due process.13 (Emphasis supplied)
On 2 June 2014, the Ombudsman, the FIO, and the NBI (collectively, public
respondents), through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed their Comment to the
present Petition. The public respondents argued that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

36

I. PETITIONER [SEN. ESTRADA] WAS NOT DENIED DUE PROCESS OF LAW.


j) Two (2) counter-affidavits of Marivic V. Jover both dated 09 December 2013; and
II. THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI IS PROCEDURALLY INFIRM.
k) Counter-affidavit of Francisco B. Figura dated 08 January 2014.
A. LITIS PENDENTIA EXISTS IN THIS CASE.
B. PETITIONER HAS A PLAIN, SPEEDY AND ADEQUATE REMEDY IN THE
ORDINARY COURSE OF LAW.
III. PETITIONER IS NOT ENTITLED TO A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY
INJUNCTION AND/OR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER.14
On 6 June 2014, Atty. Baligod filed his Comment to the present Petition. Atty. Baligod
stated that Sen. Estradas resort to a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 is improper.
Sen. Estrada should have either filed a motion for reconsideration of the 27 March 2014
Order or incorporated the alleged irregularity in his motion for reconsideration of the 28
March 2014 Joint Resolution. There was also no violation of Sen. Estradas right to due
process because there is no rule which mandates that a respondent such as Sen. Estrada
be furnished with copies of the submissions of his co-respondents.
On 16 June 2014, Sen. Estrada filed his Reply to the public respondents Comment. Sen.
Estrada insisted that he was denied due process. Although Sen. Estrada received copies of
the counter-affidavits of Cunanan, Amata, Relampagos, Buenaventura, Figura, Sevidal, as
well as one of Tuasons counter-affidavits, he claimed that he was not given the following
documents:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Sen. Estrada argues that the Petition is not rendered moot by the subsequent issuance of
the 7 May 2014 Joint Order because there is a recurring violation of his right to due
process. Sen. Estrada also insists that there is no forum shopping as the present Petition
arose from an incident in the main proceeding, and that he has no other plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Finally, Sen. Estrada reiterates his
application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction to restrain public respondents from conducting further proceedings in OMB-CC-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397.cralawred
This Courts Ruling
Considering the facts narrated above, the Ombudsmans denial in its 27 March 2014
Order of Sen. Estradas Request did not constitute grave abuse of discretion. Indeed, the
denial did not violate Sen. Estradas constitutional right to due process.
First. There is no law or rule which requires the Ombudsman to furnish a respondent with
copies of the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents.
We reproduce below Sections 3 and 4, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, as well as Rule II of Administrative Order No. 7, Rules of Procedure of the
Office of the Ombudsman, for ready reference.

a) One other Counter-Affidavit of Ruby Tuason dated 21 February 2014;


From the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 112: Preliminary Investigation
b) Counter-Affidavit of Sofia D. Cruz dated 31 January 2014;
c) Counter-Affidavit of Evelyn Sugcang dated 11 February 2014;
d) Two (2) Counter-Affidavits of Alan A. Javellana dated 06 February 2014;
e) Counter-Affidavit of Victor Roman Cojamco Cacal dated 11 December 2013 (to the
FIO Complaint);
f) Counter-Affidavit of Victor Roman Cojamco Cacal dated 22 January 2014 (to the
NBI Complaint);
g) Two (2) counter-affidavits of Ma. Julie A. Villaralvo-Johnson both dated 14 March
2014;
h) Counter-affidavit of Rhodora Bulatad Mendoza dated 06 March 2014;

Section 3. Procedure. The preliminary investigation shall be conducted in the


following manner:
(a) The complaint shall state the address of the respondent and shall be accompanied
by the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting
documents to establish probable cause. They shall be in such number of copies as there
are respondents, plus two (2) copies for the official file. The affidavits shall be subscribed
and sworn to before any prosecutor or government official authorized to administer oath,
or, in their absence or unavailability, before a notary public, each of who must certify that
he personally examined the affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed
and understood their affidavits.
(b) Within ten (10) days after the filing of the complaint, the investigating officer shall
either dismiss it if he finds no ground to continue with the investigation, or issue a
subpoena to the respondent attaching to it a copy of the complaint and its supporting
affidavits and documents.

i) Counter-affidavit of Maria Ninez P. Guaizo dated 28 January 2014;

37

The respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the
complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy them at his expense. If
the evidence is voluminous, the complainant may be required to specify those which he
intends to present against the respondent, and these shall be made available for
examination or copying by the respondent at his expense.
Objects as evidence need not be furnished a party but shall be made available for
examination, copying, or photographing at the expense of the requesting party.
(c) Within ten (10) days from receipt of the subpoena with the complaint and
supporting affidavits and documents, the respondent shall submit his counter-affidavit
and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for his defense. The
counter-affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to and certified as provided in paragraph
(a) of this section, with copies thereof furnished by him to the complainant. The
respondent shall not be allowed to file a motion to dismiss in lieu of a counter-affidavit.
(d) If the respondent cannot be subpoenaed, or if subpoenaed, does not submit counteraffidavits within the ten (10) day period, the investigating officer shall resolve the
complaint based on the evidence presented by the complainant.
(e) The investigating officer may set a hearing if there are facts and issues to be
clarified from a party or a witness. The parties can be present at the hearing but without
the right to examine or cross-examine. They may, however, submit to the investigating
officer questions which may be asked to the party or witness concerned.
The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from submission of the counteraffidavits and other documents or from the expiration of the period for their submission.
It shall be terminated within five (5) days.
(f) Within ten (10) days after the investigation, the investigating officer shall determine
whether or not there is sufficient ground to hold the respondent for trial.

No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating prosecutor


without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city prosecutor or chief
state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy.
Where the investigating prosecutor recommends the dismissal of the complaint but his
recommendation is disapproved by the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state
prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy on the ground that a probable cause exists,
the latter may, by himself, file the information against the respondent, or direct any other
assistant prosecutor or state prosecutor to do so without conducting another preliminary
investigation.
If upon petition by a proper party under such rules as the Department of Justice may
prescribe or motu proprio, the Secretary of Justice reverses or modifies the resolution of
the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, he shall direct the prosecutor
concerned either to file the corresponding information without conducting another
preliminary investigation, or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the complaint or
information with notice to the parties. The same rule shall apply in preliminary
investigations conducted by the officers of the Office of the Ombudsman.
From the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, Administrative Order
No. 7, Rule II: Procedure in Criminal Cases
Section 1. Grounds. A criminal complaint may be brought for an offense in
violation of R.A. 3019, as amended, R.A. 1379, as amended, R.A. 6713, Title VII,
Chapter II, Section 2 of the Revised Penal Code, and for such other offenses committed
by public officers and employees in relation to office.
Sec. 2. Evaluation. Upon evaluating the complaint, the investigating officer shall
recommend whether it may be:
a) dismissed outright for want of palpable merit;

Section 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its review. If the investigating


prosecutor finds cause to hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the resolution and
information. He shall certify under oath in the information that he, or as shown by the
record, an authorized officer, has personally examined the complainant and his witnesses;
that there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof; that the accused was informed of the complaint and of
the evidence submitted against him; and that he was given an opportunity to submit
controverting evidence. Otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of the complaint.

b) referred to respondent for comment;


c) indorsed to the proper government office or agency which has jurisdiction over the
case;
d) forwarded to the appropriate office or official for fact-finding investigation;
e) referred for administrative adjudication; or

Within five (5) days from his resolution, he shall forward the record of the case to the
provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, or to the Ombudsman or his deputy
in cases of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original
jurisdiction. They shall act on the resolution within ten (10) days from their receipt
thereof and shall immediately inform the parties of such action.

f) subjected to a preliminary investigation.


Sec. 3. Preliminary investigation; who may conduct. Preliminary investigation may
be conducted by any of the following:

38

1) Ombudsman Investigators;

be asked by the investigating officer or a party shall be reduced into writing and served
on the witness concerned who shall be required to answer the same in writing and under
oath.

2) Special Prosecuting Officers;


3) Deputized Prosecutors;

g) Upon the termination of the preliminary investigation, the investigating officer shall
forward the records of the case together with his resolution to the designated authorities
for their appropriate action thereon.

4) Investigating Officials authorized by law to conduct preliminary investigations; or


5) Lawyers in the government service, so designated by the Ombudsman.
Sec. 4. Procedure. The preliminary investigation of cases falling under the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and Regional Trial Courts shall be conducted in the
manner prescribed in Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, subject to the following
provisions:
a) If the complaint is not under oath or is based only on official reports, the
investigating officer shall require the complainant or supporting witnesses to execute
affidavits to substantiate the complaints.
b) After such affidavits have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order,
attaching thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the
respondent to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his counter-affidavits and
controverting evidence with proof of service thereof on the complainant. The
complainant may file reply affidavits within ten (10) days after service of the counteraffidavits.
c) If the respondent does not file a counter-affidavit, the investigating officer may
consider the comment filed by him, if any, as his answer to the complaint. In any event,
the respondent shall have access to the evidence on record.
d) No motion to dismiss shall be allowed except for lack of jurisdiction. Neither may a
motion for a bill of particulars be entertained. If respondent desires any matter in the
complainants affidavit to be clarified, the particularization thereof may be done at the
time of clarificatory questioning in the manner provided in paragraph (f) of this section.
e) If the respondent cannot be served with the order mentioned in paragraph 6 hereof,
or having been served, does not comply therewith, the complaint shall be deemed
submitted for resolution on the basis of the evidence on record.
f) If, after the filing of the requisite affidavits and their supporting evidences, there are
facts material to the case which the investigating officer may need to be clarified on, he
may conduct a clarificatory hearing during which the parties shall be afforded the
opportunity to be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine the witness
being questioned. Where the appearance of the parties or witnesses is impracticable, the
clarificatory questioning may be conducted in writing, whereby the questions desired to

No information may be filed and no complaint may be dismissed without the written
authority or approval of the Ombudsman in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, or of the proper Deputy Ombudsman in all other cases.
xxxx
Sec. 6. Notice to parties. The parties shall be served with a copy of the resolution as
finally approved by the Ombudsman or by the proper Deputy Ombudsman.
Sec. 7. Motion for reconsideration. a) Only one (1) motion for reconsideration or
reinvestigation of an approved order or resolution shall be allowed, the same to be filed
within fifteen (15) days from notice thereof with the Office of the Ombudsman, or the
proper deputy ombudsman as the case may be.
xxxx
b) The filing of a motion for reconsideration/reinvestigation shall not bar the filing of
the corresponding Information in court on the basis of the finding of probable cause in
the resolution subject of the motion. (Emphasis supplied)
Sen. Estrada claims that the denial of his Request for the counter-affidavits of his corespondents violates his constitutional right to due process. Sen. Estrada, however, fails
to specify a law or rule which states that it is a compulsory requirement of due process in
a preliminary investigation that the Ombudsman furnish a respondent with the counteraffidavits of his co-respondents. Neither Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure nor Section 4(c), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of
the Ombudsman supports Sen. Estradas claim.
What the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman require is for the
Ombudsman to furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint and the supporting
affidavits and documents at the time the order to submit the counter-affidavit is issued to
the respondent. This is clear from Section 4(b), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the
Office of the Ombudsman when it states, [a]fter such affidavits [of the complainant and
his witnesses] have been secured, the investigating officer shall issue an order, attaching
thereto a copy of the affidavits and other supporting documents, directing the respondent
to submit, within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, his counter-affidavits x x x. At this
point, there is still no counter-affidavit submitted by any respondent. Clearly, what
Section 4(b) refers to are affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, not the

39

affidavits of the co-respondents. Obviously, the counter-affidavits of the co-respondents


are not part of the supporting affidavits of the complainant. No grave abuse of discretion
can thus be attributed to the Ombudsman for the issuance of the 27 March 2014 Order
which denied Sen. Estradas Request.
Although Section 4(c), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman
provides that a respondent shall have access to the evidence on record, this provision
should be construed in relation to Section 4(a) and (b) of the same Rule, as well as to the
Rules of Criminal Procedure. First, Section 4(a) states that the investigating officer shall
require the complainant or supporting witnesses to execute affidavits to substantiate the
complaint. The supporting witnesses are the witnesses of the complainant, and do not
refer to the co-respondents.
Second, Section 4(b) states that the investigating officer shall issue an order attaching
thereto a copy of the affidavits and all other supporting documents, directing the
respondent to submit his counter-affidavit. The affidavits referred to in Section 4(b) are
the affidavits mentioned in Section 4(a). Clearly, the affidavits to be furnished to the
respondent are the affidavits of the complainant and his supporting witnesses. The
provision in the immediately succeeding Section 4(c) of the same Rule II that a
respondent shall have access to the evidence on record does not stand alone, but should
be read in relation to the provisions of Section 4(a and b) of the same Rule II requiring
the investigating officer to furnish the respondent with the affidavits and other
supporting documents submitted by the complainant or supporting witnesses. Thus, a
respondents access to evidence on record in Section 4(c), Rule II of the Ombudsmans
Rules of Procedure refers to the affidavits and supporting documents of the complainant
or supporting witnesses in Section 4(a) of the same Rule II.
Third, Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that
[t]he respondent shall have the right to examine the evidence submitted by the
complainant which he may not have been furnished and to copy them at his expense. A
respondents right to examine refers only to the evidence submitted by the complainant.
Thus, whether under Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure or under Rule
II of the Ombudsmans Rules of Procedure, there is no requirement whatsoever that the
affidavits executed by the co-respondents should be furnished to a respondent.
Justice Velascos dissent relies on the ruling in Office of the Ombudsman v. Reyes (Reyes
case),15 an administrative case, in which a different set of rules of procedure and
standards apply. Sen. Estradas Petition, in contrast, involves the preliminary
investigation stage in a criminal case. Rule III on the Procedure in Administrative Cases
of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman applies in the Reyes case,
while Rule II on the Procedure in Criminal Cases of the Rules of Procedure of the Office
of the Ombudsman applies in Sen. Estradas Petition. In both cases, the Rules of Court
apply in a suppletory character or by analogy.16chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In the Reyes case, the complainant Acero executed an affidavit against Reyes and
Pealoza, who were both employees of the Land Transportation Office. Pealoza
submitted his counter-affidavit, as well as those of his two witnesses. Reyes adopted his
counter-affidavit in another case before the Ombudsman as it involved the same parties
and the same incident. None of the parties appeared during the preliminary conference.
Pealoza waived his right to a formal investigation and was willing to submit the case for
resolution based on the evidence on record. Pealoza also submitted a counter-affidavit of
his third witness. The Ombudsman found Reyes guilty of grave misconduct and
dismissed him from the service. On the other hand, Pealoza was found guilty of simple
misconduct and penalized with suspension from office without pay for six months. This
Court agreed with the Court of Appeals finding that Reyes right to due process was
indeed violated. This Court remanded the records of the case to the Ombudsman, for two
reasons: (1) Reyes should not have been meted the penalty of dismissal from the service
when the evidence was not substantial, an d (2) there was disregard of Reyes right to due
process because he was not furnished a copy of the counter-affidavits of Pealoza and of
Pealozas three witnesses. In the Reyes case, failure to furnish a copy of the counteraffidavits happened in the administrative proceedings on the merits, which resulted in
Reyes dismissal from the service. In Sen. Estradas Petition, the denial of his Request
happened during the preliminary investigation where the only issue is the existence of
probable cause for the purpose of determining whether an information should be filed,
and does not prevent Sen. Estrada from requesting a copy of the counter-affidavits of his
co-respondents during the pre-trial or even during the trial.
We should remember to consider the differences in adjudicating cases, particularly an
administrative case and a criminal case:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Any lawyer worth his salt knows that quanta of proof and adjective rules vary
depending on whether the cases to which they are meant to apply are criminal, civil or
administrative in character. In criminal actions, proof beyond reasonable doubt is
required for conviction; in civil actions and proceedings, preponderance of evidence, as
support for a judgment; and in administrative cases, substantial evidence, as basis for
adjudication. In criminal and civil actions, application of the Rules of Court is called for,
with more or less strictness. In administrative proceedings, however, the technical rules
of pleading and procedure, and of evidence, are not strictly adhered to; they generally
apply only suppletorily; indeed, in agrarian disputes application of the Rules of Court is
actually prohibited.17
It should be underscored that the conduct of a preliminary investigation is only for the
determination of probable cause, and probable cause merely implies probability of guilt
and should be determined in a summary manner. A preliminary investigation is not a part
of the trial and it is only in a trial where an accused can demand the full exercise of his
rights, such as the right to confront and cross-examine his accusers to establish his
innocence.18 Thus, the rights of a respondent in a preliminary investigation are limited
to those granted by procedural law.

40

A preliminary investigation is defined as an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of


determining whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well founded belief that a
crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has been committed and that the respondent
is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. The quantum of evidence now
required in preliminary investigation is such evidence sufficient to engender a well
founded belief as to the fact of the commission of a crime and the respondent's probable
guilt thereof. A preliminary investigation is not the occasion for the full and exhaustive
display of the parties evidence; it is for the presentation of such evidence only as may
engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed and that the accused
is probably guilty thereof. We are in accord with the state prosecutors findings in the
case at bar that there exists prima facie evidence of petitioners involvement in the
commission of the crime, it being sufficiently supported by the evidence presented and
the facts obtaining therein.
Likewise devoid of cogency is petitioners argument that the testimonies of Galarion
and Hanopol are inadmissible as to him since he was not granted the opportunity of
cross-examination.
It is a fundamental principle that the accused in a preliminary investigation has no right
to cross-examine the witnesses which the complainant may present. Section 3, Rule 112
of the Rules of Court expressly provides that the respondent shall only have the right to
submit a counter-affidavit, to examine all other evidence submitted by the complainant
and, where the fiscal sets a hearing to propound clarificatory questions to the parties or
their witnesses, to be afforded an opportunity to be present but without the right to
examine or cross-examine. Thus, even if petitioner was not given the opportunity to
cross-examine Galarion and Hanopol at the time they were presented to testify during the
separate trial of the case against Galarion and Roxas, he cannot assert any legal right to
cross-examine them at the preliminary investigation precisely because such right was
never available to him. The admissibility or inadmissibility of said testimonies should be
ventilated before the trial court during the trial proper and not in the preliminary
investigation.
Furthermore, the technical rules on evidence are not binding on the fiscal who has
jurisdiction and control over the conduct of a preliminary investigation. If by its very
nature a preliminary investigation could be waived by the accused, we find no compelling
justification for a strict application of the evidentiary rules. In addition, considering that
under Section 8, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, the record of the preliminary
investigation does not form part of the record of the case in the Regional Trial Court, then
the testimonies of Galarion and Hanopol may not be admitted by the trial court if not
presented in evidence by the prosecuting fiscal. And, even if the prosecution does present
such testimonies, petitioner can always object thereto and the trial court can rule on the
admissibility thereof; or the petitioner can, during the trial, petition said court to compel
the presentation of Galarion and Hanopol for purposes of cross-examination.19
(Emphasis supplied)

Furthermore, in citing the Reyes case, Justice Velascos dissent overlooked a vital portion
of the Court of Appeals reasoning. This Court quoted from the Court of Appeals
decision: x x x [A]dmissions made by Pealoza in his sworn statement are binding only
on him. Res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet. The rights of a party cannot be
prejudiced by an act, declaration or omission of another. In OMB-C-C-13-0313 and
OMB-C-C-13-0397, the admissions of Sen. Estradas co-respondents can in no way
prejudice Sen. Estrada. Even granting Justice Velascos argument that the 28 March 2014
Joint Resolution in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-039720 mentioned the
testimonies of Sen. Estradas co-respondents like Tuason and Cunanan, their testimonies
were merely corroborative of the testimonies of complainants witnesses Benhur Luy,
Marina Sula, and Merlina Suas and were not mentioned in isolation from the testimonies
of complainants witnesses.
Moreover, the sufficiency of the evidence put forward by the Ombudsman against Sen.
Estrada to establish its finding of probable cause in the 28 March 2014 Joint Resolution
in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 was judicially confirmed by the
Sandiganbayan, when it examined the evidence, found probable cause, and issued a
warrant of arrest against Sen. Estrada on 23 June 2014.
We likewise take exception to Justice Brions assertion that the due process standards
that at the very least should be considered in the conduct of a preliminary investigation
are those that this Court first articulated in Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations
[Ang Tibay].21 Simply put, the Ang Tibay guidelines for administrative cases do not
apply to preliminary investigations in criminal cases. An application of the Ang Tibay
guidelines to preliminary investigations will have absurd and disastrous consequences.
Ang Tibay enumerated the constitutional requirements of due process, which Ang Tibay
described as the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials and
investigations of an administrative character.22 These requirements are fundamental
and essential because without these, there is no due process as mandated by the
Constitution. These fundamental and essential requirements cannot be taken away by
legislation because they are part of constitutional due process. These fundamental and
essential requirements are:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the
party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support
thereof. x x x.
(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and adduce
evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider
the evidence presented. x x x.
(3) While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does
imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to
support its decision. A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity, x x x.

41

(4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion, but the
evidence must be substantial. Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. x x x.
(5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least
contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. x x x.
(6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or
his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply
accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. x x x.
(7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its
decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues
involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered. The performance of this duty is
inseparable from the authority conferred upon it.23
The guidelines set forth in Ang Tibay are further clarified in GSIS v. CA24 (GSIS): what
Ang Tibay failed to explicitly state was, prescinding from the general principles
governing due process, the requirement of an impartial tribunal which, needless to say,
dictates that one called upon to resolve a dispute may not sit as judge and jury
simultaneously, neither may he review his decision on appeal.25 The GSIS clarification
affirms the non-applicability of the Ang Tibay guidelines to preliminary investigations in
criminal cases: The investigating officer, which is the role that the Office of the
Ombudsman plays in the investigation and prosecution of government personnel, will
never be the impartial tribunal required in Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS. The purpose
of the Office of the Ombudsman in conducting a preliminary investigation, after
conducting its own fact-finding investigation, is to determine probable cause for filing an
information, and not to make a final adjudication of the rights and obligations of the
parties under the law, which is the purpose of the guidelines in Ang Tibay. The
investigating officer investigates, determines probable cause, and prosecutes the criminal
case after filing the corresponding information.
The purpose in determining probable cause is to make sure that the courts are not clogged
with weak cases that will only be dismissed, as well as to spare a person from the travails
of a needless prosecution.26 The Ombudsman and the prosecution service under the
control and supervision of the Secretary of the Department of Justice are inherently the
fact-finder, investigator, hearing officer, judge and jury of the respondent in preliminary
investigations. Obviously, this procedure cannot comply with Ang Tibay, as amplified in
GSIS. However, there is nothing unconstitutional with this procedure because this is
merely an Executive function, a part of the law enforcement process leading to trial in
court where the requirements mandated in Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, will apply.
This has been the procedure under the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. To now rule
that Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, should apply to preliminary investigations will
mean that all past and present preliminary investigations are in gross violation of
constitutional due process.

Moreover, a person under preliminary investigation, as Sen. Estrada is in the present case
when he filed his Request, is not yet an accused person, and hence cannot demand the full
exercise of the rights of an accused person:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely
than not a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspects. Probable cause
need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence
establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt and definitely, not on evidence establishing
absolute certainty of guilt. As well put in Brinegar v. United States, while probable cause
demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which would justify .
. . conviction. A finding of probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand trial. It
is not a pronouncement of guilt.
Considering the low quantum and quality of evidence needed to support a finding of
probable cause, we also hold that the DOJ Panel did not gravely abuse its discretion in
refusing to call the NBI witnesses for clarificatory questions. The decision to call
witnesses for clarificatory questions is addressed to the sound discretion of the
investigator and the investigator alone. If the evidence on hand already yields a probable
cause, the investigator need not hold a clarificatory hearing. To repeat, probable cause
merely implies probability of guilt and should be determined in a summary manner.
Preliminary investigation is not a part of trial and it is only in a trial where an accused can
demand the full exercise of his rights, such as the right to confront and cross-examine his
accusers to establish his innocence. In the case at bar, the DOJ Panel correctly adjudged
that enough evidence had been adduced to establish probable cause and clarificatory
hearing was unnecessary.27
Justice J.B.L. Reyes, writing for the Court, emphatically declared in Lozada v.
Hernandez,28 that the rights conferred upon accused persons to participate in
preliminary investigations concerning themselves depend upon the provisions of law by
which such rights are specifically secured, rather than upon the phrase due process of
law. This reiterates Justice Jose P. Laurels oft-quoted pronouncement in Hashim v.
Boncan29 that the right to a preliminary investigation is statutory, not constitutional. In
short, the rights of a respondent in a preliminary investigation are merely statutory rights,
not constitutional due process rights. An investigation to determine probable cause for the
filing of an information does not initiate a criminal action so as to trigger into operation
Section 14(2), Article III of the Constitution.30 It is the filing of a complaint or
information in court that initiates a criminal action.31chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The rights to due process in administrative cases as prescribed in Ang Tibay, as amplified
in GSIS, are granted by the Constitution; hence, these rights cannot be taken away by
mere legislation. On the other hand, as repeatedly reiterated by this Court, the right to a
preliminary investigation is merely a statutory right,32 not part of the fundamental and
essential requirements of due process as prescribed in Ang Tibay and amplified in GSIS.
Thus, a preliminary investigation can be taken away by legislation. The constitutional
right of an accused to confront the witnesses against him does not apply in preliminary

42

investigations; nor will the absence of a preliminary investigation be an infringement of


his right to confront the witnesses against him.33 A preliminary investigation may be
done away with entirely without infringing the constitutional right of an accused under
the due process clause to a fair trial.34chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The quantum of evidence needed in Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, is greater than the
evidence needed in a preliminary investigation to establish probable cause, or to establish
the existence of a prima facie case that would warrant the prosecution of a case. Ang
Tibay refers to substantial evidence, while the establishment of probable cause needs
only more than bare suspicion, or less than evidence which would justify . . .
conviction. In the United States, from where we borrowed the concept of probable
cause,35 the prevailing definition of probable cause is this:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In dealing with probable cause, however, as the very name implies, we deal with
probabilities. These are not technical; they are the factual and practical considerations of
everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act. The
standard of proof is accordingly correlative to what must be proved.
The substance of all the definitions of probable cause is a reasonable ground for
belief of guilt. McCarthy v. De Armit, 99 Pa. St. 63, 69, quoted with approval in the
Carroll opinion. 267 U. S. at 161. And this means less than evidence which would
justify condemnation or conviction, as Marshall, C. J., said for the Court more than a
century ago in Locke v. United States, 7 Cranch 339, 348. Since Marshalls time, at any
rate, it has come to mean more than bare suspicion: Probable cause exists where the
facts and circumstances within their [the officers] knowledge and of which they had
reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of
reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed. Carroll
v. United States, 267 U. S. 132, 162.
These long-prevailing standards seek to safeguard citizens from rash and unreasonable
interferences with privacy and from unfounded charges of crime. They also seek to give
fair leeway for enforcing the law in the communitys protection. Because many situations
which confront officers in the course of executing their duties are more or less
ambiguous, room must be allowed for some mistakes on their part. But the mistakes must
be those of reasonable men, acting on facts leading sensibly to their conclusions of
probability. The rule of probable cause is a practical, nontechnical conception affording
the best compromise that has been found for accommodating these often opposing
interests. Requiring more would unduly hamper law enforcement. To allow less would be
to leave law-abiding citizens at the mercy of the officers whim or caprice.36
In the Philippines, there are four instances in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
where probable cause is needed to be established:
(1) In Sections 1 and 3 of Rule 112: By the investigating officer, to determine whether
there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been
committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. A

preliminary investigation is required before the filing of a complaint or information for an


offense where the penalty prescribed by law is at least four years, two months and one
day without regard to the fine;
(2) In Sections 6 and 9 of Rule 112: By the judge, to determine whether a warrant of
arrest or a commitment order, if the accused has already been arrested, shall be issued and
that there is a necessity of placing the respondent under immediate custody in order not to
frustrate the ends of justice;
(3) In Section 5(b) of Rule 113: By a peace officer or a private person making a
warrantless arrest when an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be
arrested has committed it; and
(4) In Section 4 of Rule 126: By the judge, to determine whether a search warrant shall be
issued, and only upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to
be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
In all these instances, the evidence necessary to establish probable cause is based only on
the likelihood, or probability, of guilt. Justice Brion, in the recent case of Unilever
Philippines, Inc. v. Tan37 (Unilever), stated:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The determination of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more
likely than not, a crime has been committed and there is enough reason to believe that it
was committed by the accused. It need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of
guilt, neither on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. What is merely required
is probability of guilt. Its determination, too, does not call for the application of rules or
standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. Thus, in
concluding that there is probable cause, it suffices that it is believed that the act or
omission complained of constitutes the very offense charged.
It is also important to stress that the determination of probable cause does not depend
on the validity or merits of a partys accusation or defense or on the admissibility or
veracity of testimonies presented. As previously discussed, these matters are better
ventilated during the trial proper of the case. As held in Metropolitan Bank & Trust
Company v. Gonzales:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances as
would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of
the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was
prosecuted. x x x. The term does not mean actual or positive cause nor does it import
absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of
probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to
procure a conviction. It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained

43

of constitutes the offense charged. Precisely, there is a trial for the reception of evidence
of the prosecution in support of the charge. (Boldfacing and italicization supplied)
Justice Brions pronouncement in Unilever that the determination of probable cause
does not depend on the validity or merits of a partys accusation or defense or on the
admissibility or veracity of testimonies presented correctly recognizes the doctrine in the
United States that the determination of probable cause can rest partially, or even entirely,
on hearsay evidence, as long as the person making the hearsay statement is credible. In
United States v. Ventresca,38 the United States Supreme Court
held:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
While a warrant may issue only upon a finding of probable cause, this Court has
long held that the term probable cause . . . means less than evidence which would
justify condemnation, Locke v. United States, 7 Cranch 339, 11 U.S. 348, and that a
finding of probable cause may rest upon evidence which is not legally competent in a
criminal trial. Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 358 U.S. 311. As the Court stated in
Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 173, There is a large difference between the
two things to be proved (guilt and probable cause), as well as between the tribunals which
determine them, and therefore a like difference in the quanta and modes of proof required
to establish them. Thus, hearsay may be the basis for issuance of the warrant so long as
there . . . [is] a substantial basis for crediting the hearsay. Jones v. United States, supra,
at 362 U.S. 272. And, in Aguilar, we recognized that an affidavit may be based on
hearsay information and need not reflect the direct personal observations of the affiant,
so long as the magistrate is informed of some of the underlying circumstances
supporting the affiants conclusions and his belief that any informant involved whose
identity need not be disclosed . . . was credible or his information reliable. Aguilar
v. Texas, supra, at 378 U.S. 114. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, probable cause can be established with hearsay evidence, as long as there is
substantial basis for crediting the hearsay. Hearsay evidence is admissible in determining
probable cause in a preliminary investigation because such investigation is merely
preliminary, and does not finally adjudicate rights and obligations of parties. However, in
administrative cases, where rights and obligations are finally adjudicated, what is
required is substantial evidence which cannot rest entirely or even partially on hearsay
evidence. Substantial basis is not the same as substantial evidence because substantial
evidence excludes hearsay evidence while substantial basis can include hearsay evidence.
To require the application of Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, in preliminary
investigations will change the quantum of evidence required in determining probable
cause from evidence of likelihood or probability of guilt to substantial evidence of guilt.
It is, moreover, necessary to distinguish between the constitutionally guaranteed rights of
an accused and the right to a preliminary investigation. To treat them the same will lead
to absurd and disastrous consequences. All pending criminal cases in all courts
throughout the country will have to be remanded to the preliminary investigation level
because none of these will satisfy Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS. Preliminary
investigations are conducted by prosecutors, who are the same officials who will

determine probable cause and prosecute the cases in court. The prosecutor is hardly the
impartial tribunal contemplated in Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS. A reinvestigation by
an investigating officer outside of the prosecution service will be necessary if Ang Tibay,
as amplified in GSIS, were to be applied. This will require a new legislation. In the
meantime, all pending criminal cases in all courts will have to be remanded for
reinvestigation, to proceed only when a new law is in place. To require Ang Tibay, as
amplified in GSIS, to apply to preliminary investigation will necessarily change the
concept of preliminary investigation as we know it now. Applying the constitutional due
process in Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, to preliminary investigation will necessarily
require the application of the rights of an accused in Section 14(2), Article III of the 1987
Constitution. This means that the respondent can demand an actual hearing and the right
to cross-examine the witnesses against him, rights which are not afforded at present to a
respondent in a preliminary investigation.
The application of Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, is not limited to those with pending
preliminary investigations but even to those convicted by final judgment and already
serving their sentences. The rule is well-settled that a judicial decision applies
retroactively if it has a beneficial effect on a person convicted by final judgment even if
he is already serving his sentence, provided that he is not a habitual criminal.39 This
Court retains its control over a case until the full satisfaction of the final judgment
conformably with established legal processes.40 Applying Ang Tibay, as amplified in
GSIS, to preliminary investigations will result in thousands of prisoners, convicted by
final judgment, being set free from prison.
Second. Sen. Estradas present Petition for Certiorari is premature.
Justice Velascos dissent prefers that Sen. Estrada not be subjected to the rigors of a
criminal prosecution in court because there is a pending question regarding the
Ombudsmans grave abuse of its discretion preceding the finding of a probable cause to
indict him. Restated bluntly, Justice Velascos dissent would like this Court to conclude
that the mere filing of the present Petition for Certiorari questioning the Ombudsmans
denial of Sen. Estradas Request should have, by itself, voided all proceedings related to
the present case.
Although it is true that, in its 27 March 2014 Order, the Ombudsman denied Sen.
Estradas Request, the Ombudsman subsequently reconsidered its Order. On 7 May 2014,
the same date that Sen. Estrada filed the present Petition, the Ombudsman issued a Joint
Order in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397 that furnished Sen. Estrada with the
counter-affidavits of Ruby Tuason, Dennis Cunanan, Gondelina Amata, Mario
Relampagos, Francisco Figura, Gregoria Buenaventura, and Alexis Sevidal, and directed
him to comment within a non-extendible period of five days from receipt of said Order.
Sen. Estrada did not file any comment, as noted in the 4 June 2014 Joint Order of the
Ombudsman.
On 4 June 2014, the Ombudsman issued another Joint Order and denied Sen. Estradas
Motion for Reconsideration of its 28 March 2014 Joint Resolution which found probable

44

cause to indict Sen. Estrada and his co-respondents with one count of plunder and 11
counts of violation of Section 3(e), Republic Act No. 3019. In this 4 June 2014 Joint
Order, the Ombudsman stated that [t]his Office, in fact, held in abeyance the disposition
of motions for reconsideration in this proceeding in light of its grant to Senator Estrada a
period of five days from receipt of the 7 May 2014 Order to formally respond to the
above-named respondents claims.
We underscore Sen. Estradas procedural omission. Sen. Estrada did not file any
pleading, much less a motion for reconsideration, to the 27 March 2014 Order in OMBC-C-13-0313. Sen. Estrada immediately proceeded to file this Petition for Certiorari
before this Court. Sen. Estradas resort to a petition for certiorari before this Court stands
in stark contrast to his filing of his 7 April 2014 Motion for Reconsideration of the 28
March 2014 Joint Resolution finding probable cause. The present Petition for Certiorari
is premature.
A motion for reconsideration allows the public respondent an opportunity to correct its
factual and legal errors. Sen. Estrada, however, failed to present a compelling reason that
the present Petition falls under the exceptions41 to the general rule that the filing of a
motion for reconsideration is required prior to the filing of a petition for certiorari. This
Court has reiterated in numerous decisions that a motion for reconsideration is mandatory
before the filing of a petition for certiorari.42chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Justice Velascos dissent faults the majority for their refusal to apply the Reyes case to the
present Petition. Justice Velascos dissent insists that this Court cannot neglect to
emphasize that, despite the variance in the quanta of evidence required, a uniform
observance of the singular concept of due process is indispensable in all proceedings.
As we try to follow Justice Velascos insistence, we direct Justice Velasco and those who
join him in his dissent to this Courts ruling in Ruivivar v. Office of the Ombudsman
(Ruivivar),43 wherein we stated that [t]he law can no longer help one who had been
given ample opportunity to be heard but who did not take full advantage of the proffered
chance.
The Ruivivar case, like the Reyes44 case, was also an administrative case before the
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman found petitioner Rachel Beatriz Ruivivar administratively
liable for discourtesy in the course of her official functions and imposed on her the
penalty of reprimand. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision on the
ground that she was not furnished copies of the affidavits of the private respondents
witnesses. The Ombudsman subsequently ordered that petitioner be furnished with copies
of the counter-affidavits of private respondents witnesses, and that petitioner should
file, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Order, such pleading which she may deem
fit under the circumstances. Petitioner received copies of the affidavits, and simply filed
a manifestation where she maintained that her receipt of the affidavits did not alter the
deprivation of her right to due process or cure the irregularity in the Ombudsmans
decision to penalize her.

In Ruivivar, petitioner received the affidavits of the private respondents witnesses after
the Ombudsman rendered a decision against her. We disposed of petitioners deprivation
of due process claim in this manner:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The CA Decision dismissed the petition for certiorari on the ground that the petitioner
failed to exhaust all the administrative remedies available to her before the Ombudsman.
This ruling is legally correct as exhaustion of administrative remedies is a requisite for
the filing of a petition for certiorari. Other than this legal significance, however, the
ruling necessarily carries the direct and immediate implication that the petitioner has been
granted the opportunity to be heard and has refused to avail of this opportunity; hence,
she cannot claim denial of due process. In the words of the CA ruling itself: Petitioner
was given the opportunity by public respondent to rebut the affidavits submitted by
private respondent. . . and had a speedy and adequate administrative remedy but she
failed to avail thereof for reasons only known to her.
For a fuller appreciation of our above conclusion, we clarify that although they are
separate and distinct concepts, exhaustion of administrative remedies and due process
embody linked and related principles. The exhaustion principle applies when the ruling
court or tribunal is not given the opportunity to re-examine its findings and conclusions
because of an available opportunity that a party seeking recourse against the court or the
tribunals ruling omitted to take. Under the concept of due process, on the other hand, a
violation occurs when a court or tribunal rules against a party without giving him or her
the opportunity to be heard. Thus, the exhaustion principle is based on the perspective of
the ruling court or tribunal, while due process is considered from the point of view of the
litigating party against whom a ruling was made. The commonality they share is in the
same opportunity that underlies both. In the context of the present case, the available
opportunity to consider and appreciate the petitioners counter-statement of facts was
denied the Ombudsman; hence, the petitioner is barred from seeking recourse at the CA
because the ground she would invoke was not considered at all at the Ombudsman level.
At the same time, the petitioner who had the same opportunity to rebut the belatedlyfurnished affidavits of the private respondents witnesses was not denied and cannot
now claim denial of due process because she did not take advantage of the opportunity
opened to her at the Ombudsman level.
The records show that the petitioner duly filed a motion for reconsideration on due
process grounds (i.e., for the private respondents failure to furnish her copies of the
affidavits of witnesses) and on questions relating to the appreciation of the evidence on
record. The Ombudsman acted on this motion by issuing its Order of January 17, 2003
belatedly furnishing her with copies of the private respondents witnesses, together with
the directive to file, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Order, such pleading which
she may deem fit under the circumstances.
Given this opportunity to act on the belatedly-furnished affidavits, the petitioner
simply chose to file a Manifestation where she took the position that The order of the
Ombudsman dated 17 January 2003 supplying her with the affidavits of the complainant

45

does not cure the 04 November 2002 order, and on this basis prayed that the
Ombudsmans decision be reconsidered and the complaint dismissed for lack of merit.
For her part, the private respondent filed a Comment/Opposition to Motion for
Reconsideration dated 27 January 2003 and prayed for the denial of the petitioners
motion.
In the February 12, 2003 Order, the Ombudsman denied the petitioners motion for
reconsideration after finding no basis to alter or modify its ruling. Significantly, the
Ombudsman fully discussed in this Order the due process significance of the petitioners
failure to adequately respond to the belatedly-furnished affidavits. The Ombudsman
said:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Undoubtedly, the respondent herein has been furnished by this Office with copies
of the affidavits, which she claims she has not received. Furthermore, the respondent has
been given the opportunity to present her side relative thereto, however, she chose not to
submit countervailing evidence or argument. The respondent, therefore (sic), cannot
claim denial of due process for purposes of assailing the Decision issued in the present
case. On this score, the Supreme Court held in the case of People v. Acot, 232 SCRA 406,
that a party cannot feign denial of due process where he had the opportunity to present
his side. This becomes all the more important since, as correctly pointed out by the
complainant, the decision issued in the present case is deemed final and unappealable
pursuant to Section 27 of Republic Act 6770, and Section 7, Rule III of Administrative
Order No. 07. Despite the clear provisions of the law and the rules, the respondent herein
was given the opportunity not normally accorded, to present her side, but she opted not to
do so which is evidently fatal to her cause. [emphasis supplied].
Under these circumstances, we cannot help but recognize that the petitioners cause is
a lost one, not only for her failure to exhaust her available administrative remedy, but also
on due process grounds. The law can no longer help one who had been given ample
opportunity to be heard but who did not take full advantage of the proffered chance.45
Ruivivar applies with even greater force to the present Petition because here the affidavits
of Sen. Estradas co-respondents were furnished to him before the Ombudsman rendered
her 4 June 2014 Joint Order. In Ruivivar, the affidavits were furnished after the
Ombudsman issued a decision.
Justice Velascos dissent cites the cases of Tatad v. Sandiganbayan46 (Tatad) and Duterte
v. Sandiganbayan47 (Duterte) in an attempt to prop up its stand. A careful reading of
these cases, however, would show that they do not stand on all fours with the present
case. In Tatad, this Court ruled that the inordinate delay in terminating the preliminary
investigation and filing the information [by the Tanodbayan] in the present case is
violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the petitioner to due process and to a
speedy disposition of the cases against him.48 The Tanodbayan took almost three years
to terminate the preliminary investigation, despite Presidential Decree No. 911s
prescription of a ten-day period for the prosecutor to resolve a case under preliminary

investigation. We ruled similarly in Duterte, where the petitioners were merely asked to
comment and were not asked to file counter-affidavits as is the proper procedure in a
preliminary investigation. Moreover, in Duterte, the Ombudsman took four years to
terminate its preliminary investigation.
As we follow the reasoning in Justice Velascos dissent, it becomes more apparent that
Sen. Estradas present Petition for Certiorari is premature for lack of filing of a motion
for reconsideration before the Ombudsman. When the Ombudsman gave Sen. Estrada
copies of the counter-affidavits and even waited for the lapse of the given period for the
filing of his comment, Sen. Estrada failed to avail of the opportunity to be heard due to
his own fault. Thus, Sen. Estradas failure cannot in any way be construed as violation of
due process by the Ombudsman, much less of grave abuse of discretion. Sen. Estrada has
not filed any comment, and still chooses not to.
Third. Sen. Estradas present Petition for Certiorari constitutes forum shopping and
should be summarily dismissed.
In his verification and certification of non-forum shopping in the present petition filed on
7 May 2014, Sen. Estrada stated:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
3.1 I, however, disclose that I have filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated 07 April
2014 in OMB-C-C-13-0313 and OMB-C-C-13-0397, raising as sole issue the finding of
probable cause in the Joint Resolution dated 28 March 2014.
Such Motion for Reconsideration has yet to be resolved by the Office of the
Ombudsman.49 (Emphasis supplied)
Sen. Estradas Motion for Reconsideration of the 28 March 2014 Joint Resolution prayed
that the Ombudsman reconsider and issue a new resolution dismissing the charges against
him. However, in this Motion for Reconsideration, Sen. Estrada assailed the
Ombudsmans 27 March 2014 Joint Order denying his Request, and that such denial is a
violation of his right to due process.
8. It is respectfully submitted that the Ombudsman violated the foregoing rule [Rule
112, Section 4 of the Rules of Court] and principles. A reading of the Joint Resolution
will reveal that various pieces of evidence which Senator Estrada was not furnished with
hence, depriving him of the opportunity to controvert the same were heavily
considered by the Ombudsman in finding probable cause to charge him with Plunder and
with violations of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.
xxxx
11. Notably, under dated 20 March 2014, Senator Estrada filed a Request to be
Furnished with Copies of Counter-Affidavits of the Other Respondents, Affidavits of
New Witnesses and Other Filings, pursuant to the right of a respondent to examine the
evidence submitted by the complainant which he may not have been furnished (Section

46

3[b], Rule 112 of the Rules of Court), and to have access to the evidence on record
(Section 4[c], Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman).
However, notwithstanding the gravity of the offenses leveled against Senator Estrada
and the laws vigilance in protecting the rights of an accused, the Special Panel of
Investigators, in an Order dated 27 March 2014, unceremoniously denied the request on
the ground that there is no provision under this Offices Rules of Procedure which
entitles respondent to be furnished all the filings by the other parties x x x x. (Order
dated 27 March 2013, p. 3)

Philippine Daily Inquirer Online Edition news article entitled Benhur Luy upstages
Napoles in Senate Hearing by Norman Bordadora and TJ Borgonio, published on 06
March 2014,
none of which were ever furnished Sen. Estrada prior to the issuance of the challenged
Joint Resolution, despite written request.
xxxx
II

As such, Senator Estrada was not properly apprised of the evidence offered against
him, which were eventually made the bases of the Ombudsmans finding of probable
cause.50
The Ombudsman denied Sen. Estradas Motion for Reconsideration in its 4 June 2014
Joint Order. Clearly, Sen. Estrada expressly raised in his Motion for Reconsideration with
the Ombudsman the violation of his right to due process, the same issue he is raising in
this petition.
In the verification and certification of non-forum shopping attached to his petition
docketed as G.R. Nos. 212761-62 filed on 23 June 2014, Sen. Estrada disclosed the
pendency of the present petition, as well as those before the Sandiganbayan for the
determination of the existence of probable cause. In his petition in G.R. Nos. 212761-62,
Sen. Estrada again mentioned the Ombudsmans 27 March 2014 Joint Order denying his
Request.
17. Sen. Estrada was shocked not only at the Office of the Ombudsmans finding of
probable cause, which he maintains is without legal or factual basis, but also that such
finding of probable cause was premised on evidence not disclosed to him, including those
subject of his Request to be Furnished with Copies of Counter-Affidavits of the Other
Respondents, Affidavits of New Witnesses and Other Filings dated 20 March 2014.
In particular, the Office of the Ombudsman used as basis for the Joint Resolution the
following documents Alexis G. Sevidals Counter-Affidavits dated 15 January and 24 February 2014;

THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, IN ISSUING THE CHALLENGED JOINT


RESOLUTION DATED 28 MARCH 2014 AND CHALLENGED JOINT ORDER
DATED 04 JUNE 2014, NOT ONLY ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF ITS
JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, BUT ALSO VIOLATED SEN. ESTRADAS
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND TO EQUAL
PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.
xxxx
2.17 x x x x
Notably, in its Joint Order dated 07 May 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman even
arbitrarily limited the filing of Sen. Estradas comment to the voluminous documents
comprising the documents it furnished Sen. Estrada to a non-extendible period of five
(5) days, making it virtually impossible for Sen. Estrada to adequately study the charges
leveled against him and intelligently respond to them. The Joint Order also failed to
disclose the existence of other counter-affidavits and failed to furnish Sen. Estrada copies
of such counter-affidavits.51
Sen. Estrada has not been candid with this Court. His claim that the finding of probable
cause was the sole issue he raised before the Ombudsman in his Motion for
Reconsideration dated 7 April 2014 is obviously false.

Ruby Tuasons Counter-Affidavits both dated 21 February 2014;

Moreover, even though Sen. Estrada acknowledged his receipt of the Ombudsmans 4
June 2014 Joint Order which denied his motion for reconsideration of the 28 March 2014
Joint Resolution, Sen. Estrada did not mention that the 4 June 2014 Joint Order stated
that the Ombudsman held in abeyance the disposition of the motions for reconsideration
in this proceeding in light of its grant to [Sen. Estrada] a period of five days from receipt
of the 7 May 2014 [Joint] Order to formally respond to the above-named co-respondents
claims.

Gregoria G. Buenaventuras Counter-Affidavit dated 06 March 2014; and

Sen. Estrada claims that his rights were violated but he flouts the rules himself.

Dennis L. Cunanans Counter-Affidavits both dated 20 February 2014;


Francisco B. Figuras Counter-Affidavit dated 08 January 2014;

47

The rule against forum shopping is not limited to the fulfillment of the requisites of litis
pendentia.52 To determine whether a party violated the rule against forum shopping, the
most important factor to ask is whether the elements of litis pendentia are present, or
whether a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another.53
Undergirding the principle of litis pendentia is the theory that a party is not allowed to
vex another more than once regarding the same subject matter and for the same cause of
action. This theory is founded on the public policy that the same matter should not be the
subject of controversy in court more than once in order that possible conflicting
judgments may be avoided, for the sake of the stability in the rights and status of
persons.54
x x x [D]espite the fact that what the petitioners filed was a petition for certiorari, a
recourse that in the usual course and because of its nature and purpose is not covered
by the rule on forum shopping. The exception from the forum shopping rule, however, is
true only where a petition for certiorari is properly or regularly invoked in the usual
course; the exception does not apply when the relief sought, through a petition for
certiorari, is still pending with or has as yet to be decided by the respondent court,
tribunal or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial body, e.g., a motion for
reconsideration of the order assailed via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, as in the
present case. This conclusion is supported and strengthened by
Section 1, Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that the availability
of a remedy in the ordinary course of law precludes the filing of a petition for certiorari;
under this rule, the petitions dismissal is the necessary consequence if recourse to Rule
65 is prematurely taken.
To be sure, the simultaneous remedies the petitioners sought could result in possible
conflicting rulings, or at the very least, to complicated situations, between the RTC and
the Court of Appeals. An extreme possible result is for the appellate court to confirm that
the RTC decision is meritorious, yet the RTC may at the same time reconsider its ruling
and recall its order of dismissal. In this eventuality, the result is the affirmation of the
decision that the court a quo has backtracked on. Other permutations depending on the
rulings of the two courts and the timing of these rulings are possible. In every case, our
justice system suffers as this kind of sharp practice opens the system to the possibility of
manipulation; to uncertainties when conflict of rulings arise; and at least to vexation for
complications other than conflict of rulings. Thus, it matters not that ultimately the Court
of Appeals may completely agree with the RTC; what the rule on forum shopping
addresses are the possibility and the actuality of its harmful effects on our judicial
system.55
Sen. Estrada resorted to simultaneous remedies by filing this Petition alleging violation of
due process by the Ombudsman even as his Motion for Reconsideration raising the very
same issue remained pending with the Ombudsman. This is plain and simple forum
shopping, warranting outright dismissal of this Petition.cralawred
SUMMARY

The Ombudsman, in furnishing Sen. Estrada a copy of the complaint and its supporting
affidavits and documents, fully complied with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 112 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Section 4, Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of
the Office of the Ombudsman, Administrative Order No. 7. Both the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure and the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman require
the investigating officer to furnish the respondent with copies of the affidavits of the
complainant and affidavits of his supporting witnesses. Neither of these Rules require the
investigating officer to furnish the respondent with copies of the affidavits of his corespondents. The right of the respondent is only to examine the evidence submitted by
the complainant, as expressly stated in Section 3(b), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure. This Court has unequivocally ruled in Paderanga that Section 3,
Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure expressly provides that the
respondent shall only have the right to submit a counter-affidavit, to examine all other
evidence submitted by the complainant and, where the fiscal sets a hearing to propound
clarificatory questions to the parties or their witnesses, to be afforded an opportunity to
be present but without the right to examine or cross-examine. Moreover, Section 4 (a, b
and c) of Rule II of the Ombudsmans Rule of Procedure, read together, only require the
investigating officer to furnish the respondent with copies of the affidavits of the
complainant and his supporting witnesses. There is no law or rule requiring the
investigating officer to furnish the respondent with copies of the affidavits of his corespondents.
In the 7 May 2014 Joint Order, the Ombudsman went beyond legal duty and even
furnished Sen. Estrada with copies of the counter-affidavits of his co-respondents whom
he specifically named, as well as the counter-affidavits of some of other co-respondents.
In the 4 June 2014 Joint Order, the Ombudsman even held in abeyance the disposition of
the motions for reconsideration because the Ombudsman granted Sen. Estrada five days
from receipt of the 7 May 2014 Joint Order to formally respond to the claims made by his
co-respondents. The Ombudsman faithfully complied with the existing Rules on
preliminary investigation and even accommodated Sen. Estrada beyond what the Rules
required. Thus, the Ombudsman could not be faulted with grave abuse of discretion.
Since this is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65, the Petition fails in the absence of
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman.
The constitutional due process requirements mandated in Ang Tibay, as amplified in
GSIS, are not applicable to preliminary investigations which are creations of statutory
law giving rise to mere statutory rights. A law can abolish preliminary investigations
without running afoul with the constitutional requirements of due process as prescribed in
Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS. The present procedures for preliminary investigations
do not comply, and were never intended to comply, with Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS.
Preliminary investigations do not adjudicate with finality rights and obligations of
parties, while administrative investigations governed by Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS,
so adjudicate. Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, requires substantial evidence for a
decision against the respondent in the administrative case. In preliminary investigations,
only likelihood or probability of guilt is required. To apply Ang Tibay, as amplified in

48

GSIS, to preliminary investigations will change the quantum of evidence required to


establish probable cause. The respondent in an administrative case governed by Ang
Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, has the right to an actual hearing and to cross-examine the
witnesses against him. In preliminary investigations, the respondent has no such rights.
Also, in an administrative case governed by Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, the hearing
officer must be impartial and cannot be the fact-finder, investigator, and hearing officer at
the same time. In preliminary investigations, the same public officer may be the
investigator and hearing officer at the same time, or the fact-finder, investigator and
hearing officer may be under the control and supervision of the same public officer, like
the Ombudsman or Secretary of Justice. This explains why Ang Tibay, as amplified in
GSIS, does not apply to preliminary investigations. To now declare that the guidelines in
Ang Tibay, as amplified in GSIS, are fundamental and essential requirements in
preliminary investigations will render all past and present preliminary investigations
invalid for violation of constitutional due process. This will mean remanding for
reinvestigation all criminal cases now pending in all courts throughout the country. No
preliminary investigation can proceed until a new law designates a public officer, outside
of the prosecution service, to determine probable cause. Moreover, those serving
sentences by final judgment would have to be released from prison because their
conviction violated constitutional due process.
Sen. Estrada did not file a Motion for Reconsideration of the 27 March 2014 Order in
OMB-C-C-13-0313 denying his Request, which is the subject of the present Petition. He
should have filed a Motion for Reconsideration, in the same manner that he filed a
Motion for Reconsideration of the 15 May 2014 Order denying his motion to suspend
proceedings. The unquestioned rule in this jurisdiction is that certiorari will lie only if
EN BANC

there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law against the acts of the public respondent.56 The plain, speedy and adequate
remedy expressly provided by law is a Motion for Reconsideration of the 27 March 2014
Order of the Ombudsman. Sen. Estradas failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration
renders this Petition premature.
Sen. Estrada also raised in this Petition the same issue he raised in his Motion for
Reconsideration of the 28 March 2014 Joint Resolution of the Ombudsman finding
probable cause. While his Motion for Reconsideration of the 28 March 2014 Joint
Resolution was pending, Sen. Estrada did not wait for the resolution of the Ombudsman
and instead proceeded to file the present Petition for Certiorari. The Ombudsman issued a
Joint Order on 4 June 2014 and specifically addressed the issue that Sen. Estrada is
raising in this Petition. Thus, Sen. Estradas present Petition for Certiorari is not only
premature, it also constitutes forum shopping.
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the Petition for Certiorari in G.R. Nos. 212140-41.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
Sereno, (Chief Justice),Peralta, Del Castillo, Villarama, Jr., Perez, Mendoza, Reyes,
Perlas-Bernabe, and Jardeleza, JJ., concur.
Velasco, Jr., J., I register my Dissenting Opinion.
Leonardo-De Castro, J., I join the Dissent of Justice Velasco.
Brion, J.,* Justice Brion left his vote; see his Dissenting Opinion.
Bersamin, J., I join the Dissent of J. Velasc
1. COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS; POWER. The nature of the Court of
Industrial Relations and of its power is extensively discussed in the decision.

[G.R. No. 46496. February 27, 1940.]


ANG TIBAY, represented by TORIBIO TEODORO, manager and proprietor, and
NATIONAL WORKERS BROTHERHOOD, Petitioners, v. THE COURT OF
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS and NATIONAL LABOR UNION, INC., Respondents.
Solicitor-General Ozaeta and Assistant Attorney Barcelona for the Court of Industrial
Relations.
Antonio D. Paguia; for National Labor Union.

2. ID.; ID.; TECHNICAL RULES OF PROCEDURE; DUE PROCESS OF LAW. The


Court of Industrial Relations is not narrowly constrained by technical rules of procedure,
and Commonwealth Act No. 103 requires it to act according to justice and equity and
substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal evidence but may
inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and equitable (Goseco v. Court of
Industrial Relations Et. Al., G. R. No. 46673). The fact, however, that the Court of
Industrial Relations may be said to be free from the rigidity of certain procedural
requirements does not mean that it can, in justiciable cases coming before it, entirely
ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials
and investigations of an administrative character.

Claro M. Recto; for petitioner "Ang Tibay."


Jose M. Casal; for National Workers Brotherhood.
SYLLABUS

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CARDINAL PRIMARY RIGHTS. There are cardinal primary
rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this character. The first of these
rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or affected
to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. Not only must the party
be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish
the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented. While

49

the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does imply a
necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to support its
decision. Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion, but
the evidence must be substantial. The decision must be rendered on the evidence
presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties
affected. The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its
or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not
simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. The Court of Industrial
Relations should, in all controvercial questions, render its decision in such a manner that
the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for
the decisions rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority
conferred upon it.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR; NEW TRIAL GRANTED. In the light of
the foregoing fundamental principles, it is sufficient to observe here that, except as to the
alleged agreement between the Ang Tibay and the National Workers Brotherhood
(appendix A), the record is barren and does not satisfy the thirst for a factual basis upon
which to predicate, in a rational way, a conclusion of law. This result, however, does not
now preclude the concession of a new trial prayed for by the respondent National Labor
Union, Inc. The interest of justice would be better served if the movant is given
opportunity to present at the hearing the documents referred to in his motion and such
other evidence as may be relevant to the main issue involved. The legislation which
created the Court of Industrial Relations and under which it acts is new. The failure to
grasp the fundamental issue involved is not entirely attributable to the parties adversely
affected by the result. Accordingly, the motion for a new trial should be, and the same is
hereby, granted, and the entire record of this case shall be remanded to the Court of
Industrial Relations, with instruction that it re-open the case, receive all such evidence as
may be relevant, and otherwise proceed in accordance with the requirements set forth in
the decision.
DECISION
LAUREL, J.:

"2. Que los obreros de una empresa fabril, que han celebrado contrato, ya individual ya
colectivamente, con ella, sin tiempo fijo, y que se han visto obligados a cesar en sus
trabajos por haberse declarado paro forzoso en la fabrica en la cual trabajan, dejan de ser
empleados u obreros de la misma;
"3. Que un patrono o sociedad que ha celebrado un contrato colectivo de trabajo con sus
obreros sin tiempo fijo de duracion y sin ser para una obra determinada y que se niega a
readmitir a dichos obreros que cesaron como consecuencia de un paro forzoso, no es
culpable de practica injusta ni incurre en la sancion penal del articulo 5 de la Ley No. 213
del Commonwealth, aunque su negativa a readmitir se deba a que dichos obreros
pertenecen a un determinado organismo obrero, puesto que tales ya han dejado de ser
empleados suyos por terminacion del contrato en virtud del paro."cralaw virtua1aw
library
The respondent National Labor Union, Inc., on the other hand, prays for the vacation of
the judgment rendered by the majority of this Court and the remanding of the case to the
Court of Industrial Relations for a new trial, and avers:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. That Toribio Teodoros claim that on September 26,1938, there was shortage of
leather soles in ANG TIBAY making it necessary for him to temporarily lay off the
members of the National Labor Union Inc., is entirely false and unsupported by the
records of the Bureau of Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather.
"2. That the supposed lack of leather materials claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a
scheme adopted to systematically discharge all the members of the National Labor
Union, Inc., from work.
"3. That Toribio Teodoros letter to the Philippine Army dated September 29, 1938, (re
supposed delay of leather soles from the States) was but a scheme to systematically
prevent the forfeiture of this bond despite the breach of his CONTRACT with the
Philippine Army.
"4. That the National Workers Brotherhood of ANG TIBAY is a company or employer
union dominated by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal.
(281 U. S., 548, petitioners printed memorandum, p. 25.)

The Solicitor-General in behalf of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the


above-entitled case has filed a motion for reconsideration and moves that, for the reasons
stated in his motion, we reconsider the following legal conclusions of the majority
opinion of this Court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"5. That in the exercise by the laborers of their rights to collective bargaining, majority
rule and elective representation are highly essential and indispensable. (Sections 2 and 5,
Commonwealth Act No. 213.)

"1. Que un contrato de trabajo, asi individual como colectivo, sin termino fijo de duracion
o que no sea para una determinada, termina o bien por voluntad de cualquiera de las
partes o cada vez que llega el plazo fijado para el pago de los salarios segun costumbre en
la localidad o cuando se termine la obra;

"6. That the century provisions of the Civil Code which had been (the) principal source of
dissensions and continuous civil war in Spain cannot and should not be made applicable
in interpreting and applying the salutary provisions of a modern labor legislation of
American origin where industrial peace has always been the rule.

50

"7. That the employer Toribio Teodoro was guilty of unfair labor practice for
discriminating against the National Labor Union, Inc., and unjustly favoring the National
Workers Brotherhood.
"8. That the exhibits hereto attached are so inaccessible to the respondents that even with
the exercise of due diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and
offered as evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations.
"9. That the attached documents and exhibits are of such far-reaching importance and
effect that their admission would necessarily mean the modification and reversal of the
judgment rendered herein."cralaw virtua1aw library
The petitioner, Ang Tibay, has filed an opposition both to the motion for reconsideration
of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations and to the motion for new trial of the
respondent National Labor Union, Inc.
In view of the conclusion reached by us and to be herein- after stated with reference to
the motion for a new trial of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc., we are of the
opinion that it is not necessary to pass upon the motion for reconsideration of the
Solicitor-General. We shall proceed to dispose of the motion for new trial of the
respondent labor union. Before doing this, however, we deem it necessary, in the interest
of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, to make several observations regarding the
nature of the powers of the Court of Industrial Relations and emphasize certain guiding
principles which should be observed in the trial of cases brought before it. We have reexamined the entire record of the proceedings had before the Court of Industrial
Relations in this case, and we have found no substantial evidence to indicate that the
exclusion of the 89 laborers here was due to their union affiliation or activity. The whole
transcript taken contains what transpired during the hearing and is more of a record of
contradictory and conflicting statements of opposing counsel, with sporadic conclusion
drawn to suit their own views. It is evident that these statements and expressions of views
of counsel have no evidentiary value.
The Court of Industrial Relations is a special court whose functions are specifically stated
in the law of its creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103). It is more an administrative
board than a part of the integrated judicial system of the nation. It is not intended to be a
mere receptive organ of the Government. Unlike a court of justice which is essentially
passive, acting only when its jurisdiction is invoked and deciding only cases that are
presented to it by the parties litigant, the function of the Court of Industrial Relations, as
will appear from perusal of its organic law, is more active, affirmative and dynamic. It
not only exercises judicial or quasijudicial functions in the determination of disputes
between employers and employees but its functions are far more comprehensive and
extensive. It has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to consider, investigate, decide,
and settle any question, matter controversy or dispute arising between, and/or affecting,
employers and employees or laborers, and landlords and tenants or farm-laborers, and
regulate the relations between them, subject to, and in accordance with, the provisions of

Commonwealth Act No. 103 (section 1). It shall take cognizance for purposes of
prevention, arbitration, decision and settlement, of any industrial or agricultural dispute
causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout, arising from differences as regards
wageshares or compensation, hours of labor or conditions of tenancy or employment,
between employers and employees or laborers and between landlords and tenants or
farm-laborers, provided that the number of employees, laborers or tenants or farmlaborers involved exceeds thirty, and such industrial or agricultural dispute is submitted
to the Court by the Secretary of Labor or by any or both of the parties to the controversy
and certified by the Secretary of Labor as existing and proper to be death with by the
Court for the sake of public interest. (Section A, ibid.) It shall, before hearing the dispute
and in the course of such hearing, endeavor to reconcile the parties and induce them to
settle the dispute by amicable agreement. (Paragraph 2, section 4, ibid.) When directed by
the President of the Philippines, it shall investigate and study all pertinent facts related to
the industry concerned or to the industries established in a designated locality, with a
view to determining the necessity and fairness of fixing and adopting for such industry or
locality a minimum wage or share of laborers or tenants, or a maximum "canon" or rental
to be paid by the "inquilinos" or tenants or lessees to landowners. (Section 5, ibid.) In
fine, it may appeal to voluntary arbitration in the settlement of industrial disputes; may
employ mediation or conciliation for that purpose, or recur to the more effective system
of official investigation and compulsory arbitration in order to determine specific
controversies between labor and capital in industry and in agriculture. There is in reality
here a mingling of executive and judicial functions, which is a departure from the rigid
doctrine of the separation of governmental powers.
In the case of Goseco v. Court of Industrial Relations Et. Al., G. R. No. 46673,
promulgated September 13, 1939, we had occasion to point out that the Court of
Industrial Relations is not narrowly constrained by technical rules of procedure, and the
Act requires it to "act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the case,
without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any technical
rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem just and
equitable." (Section 20, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) It shall not be restricted to the
specific relief claimed or demands made by the parties to the industrial or agricultural
dispute, but may include in the award, order or decision any matter or determination
which may be deemed necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute or of
preventing further industrial or agricultural disputes. (Section 13, ibid.) And in the light
of this legislative policy, appeals to this Court have been especially regulated by the rules
recently promulgated by this Court to carry into effect the avowed legislative purpose.
The fact, however, that the Court of Industrial Relations may be said to be free from the
rigidity of certain procedural requirements does not mean that it can, in justiciable cases
coming before it, entirely ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements
of due Process in trials and investigations of an administrative character. There are
cardinal primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this
character:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing which includes the right of the party
interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In

51

the language of Chief Justice Hughes, in Morgan v. U. S., 304 U. S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999,
82 Law. ed 1129, "the liberty and property of the citizen shall be protected by the
rudimentary requirements of fair play."cralaw virtua1aw library
(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce
evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider
the evidence presented. (Chief Justice Hughes in Morgan v. U. S. 298 U. S. 468, 56 S. Ct.
906, 80 Law. ed. 1288.) In the language of this Court in Edwards v. McCoy, 22 Phil., 598,
"the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty on the part of the board to
consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the person or persons to whom
the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without notice or consideration."cralaw
virtua1aw library
(3) "While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does
imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to
support its decision. A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity, a place
when directly attached." (Edwards v. McCoy, supra.) This principle emanates from the
more fundamental principle that the genius of constitutional government is contrary to the
vesting of unlimited power anywhere. Law is both a grant and a limitation upon power.
(4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of
Manila v. Agustin, G. R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O. G.
1335), but the evidence must be "substantial." (Washington, Virginia & Maryland Coach
Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 301 U. S. 142, 147, 57 S. Ct. 648, 650, 81 Law ed
965.) Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla It means such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion."cralaw virtua1aw
library
(Appalachian Electric Power v. National Labor Relations Board, 4 Cir., 93 F. 2d 985,
989; National Labor Relations Board v. Thompson Products, 6 Cir., 97 F. 2d 13, 15;
Ballston-stillwater Knitting Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 2 Cir., 98 F. 2d 758,
760.) . . . The statute provides that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and
equity shall not be controlling. The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to
free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere
admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent in judicial proceedings would
not invalidate the administrative order. (Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baird, 194
U. S. 25, 44, 24 S. Ct. 563, 568, 48 Law. ed. 860; Interstate Commerce Commission v.
Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 227 U. S. 88, 93, 33 S. Ct. 185, 187, 57 Law. ed. 431;
United States v. Abilene & Southern Ry. Co., 265 U. S. 274, 288, 44 S. Ct. 565, 569, 68
Law. ed. lola; Tagg Bros. & Moorhead v. United States, 280 U. S. 420, 442, 50 S. Ct.
220, 225, 74 Law. ed. 624.) But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative
procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having
rational probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute
substantial evidence. (Consolidated Edison Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 59 S.
Ct. 206, 83 Law. ed. No. 4, Adv. Op., p. 131.)"

(5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least
contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. (Interstate Commence
Commission v. L. & N. R. Co., 227 U. S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185, 57 Law. ed. 431. )Only by
confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to the parties, can the latter
be protected in their right to know and meet the case against them. It should not,
however, detract from their duty actively to see that the law is enforced, and for that
purpose, to use the authorized legal methods of securing evidence and informing itself of
facts material and relevant to the controversy. Boards of inquiry may be appointed for the
purpose of investigating and determining the facts in any given case, but their report and
decision are only advisory. (Section 9, Commonwealth Act No. 103.) The Court of
Industrial Relations may refer any industrial or agricultural dispute of any matter under
its consideration or advisement to a local board of inquiry, a provincial fiscal, a justice of
the peace or any public official in any part of the Philippines for investigation, report and
recommendation, and may delegate to such board or public official such powers and
functions as the said Court of Industrial Relations may deem necessary, but such
delegation shall not affect the exercise of the Court itself of any of its powers (Section 10,
ibid.)
(6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his
own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply
accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. It may be that the volume of
work is such that it is literally impossible for the titular heads of the Court of Industrial
Relations personally to decide all controversies coming before them. In the United States
the difficulty is solved with the enactment of statutory authority authorizing examiners or
other subordinates to render final decision, with right to appeal to board or commission,
but in our case there is no such statutory authority.
(7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its
decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the vario issues
involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered. The performance of this duty is
inseparable from the authority conferred upon it.
In the light of the foregoing fundamental principles, it is sufficient to observe here that,
except as to the alleged agreement between the Ang Tibay and the National Workers
Brotherhood (appendix A), the record is barren and does not satisfy the thirst for a factual
basis upon which to predicate, in a rational way, a conclusion of law.
This result, however, does not now preclude the concession of a new trial prayed for by
the respondent National Labor Union, Inc. In the portion of the petition hereinabove
quoted of the National Labor Union, Inc., it is alleged that "the supposed lack of leather
material claimed by Toribio Teodoro was but a scheme adopted to systematically
discharge all the members of the National Labor Union, Inc., from work" and this
averment is desired to be proved by the petitioner with the "records of the Bureau of
Customs and the Books of Accounts of native dealers in leather" ; that "the National
Workers Brotherhood Union of Ang Tibay is a company or employer union dominated
by Toribio Teodoro, the existence and functions of which are illegal." Petitioner further

52

alleges under oath that the exhibits attached to the petition to prove his substantial
averments "are so inaccessible to the respondents that even with the exercise of due
diligence they could not be expected to have obtained them and offered as evidence in the
Court of Industrial Relations", and that the documents attached to the petition "are of
such far reaching importance and effect that their admission would necessarily mean the
modification and reversal of the judgment rendered therein." We have considered the
reply of Ang Tibay and its arguments against the petition. By and large, after considerable
discussion, we have come to the conclusion that the interest of justice would be better
served if the movant is given opportunity to present at the hearing the documents referred
to in his motion and such other evidence as may be relevant to the main issue involved.
SECOND DIVISION

The legislation which created the Court of Industrial Relations and under which it acts is
new. The failure to grasp the fundamental issue involved is not entirely attributable to the
parties adversely affected by the result. Accordingly, the motion for a new trial should be,
and the same is hereby granted, and the entire record of this case shall be remanded to the
Court of Industrial Relations, with instruction that it reopen the case, receive all such
evidence as may be relevant, and otherwise proceed in accordance with the requirements
set forth hereinabove. So ordered.
Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, Concepcion and Moran, JJ., concur.
THE PHILIPPINES, NATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT COMPANY,
PHILIPPINE EXPORT AND

RODOLFO M. CUENCA, G.R. No. 146214

FOREIGN LOAN GUARANTEE

Petitioner,

CORPORATION, and

- versus -

GOVERNMENT SERVICE Promulgated:


INSURANCE SYSTEM,

HON. ALBERTO P. ATAS, Present:


JULITO F. FABRERO, and HON.

Respondents. October 5, 2007


x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

NATHANIEL A. LOBIGAS, in CARPIO MORALES, J.,


their capacity as Hearing Officers Acting Chairperson,

DECISION

of the SECURITIES AND TINGA,

VELASCO, JR., J.:

EXCHANGE COMMISSION; VELASCO, JR.,


PHILIPPINE NATIONAL NACHURA,* and

The Case

CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, REYES,* JJ.


ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST,
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK,
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF

In this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] of the adverse November 29, 2000
Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 60366, petitioner Rodolfo
M. Cuenca, in effect, questions the July 10, 2000 Decision[3] of the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) Securities Investigation and Clearing Department (SICD)
in SICD SEC Case No. 05-96-5357 entitled Rodolfo M. Cuenca v. Philippine National
Construction Corporation (PNCC), et al., which declared defendants-government

53

financial institutions (GFIs) as majority stockholders of the PNCC. The SICD Decision
was affirmed by the SEC in SEC Case No. AC 807, which, in turn, was upheld by the CA
in its assailed November 29, 2000 Decision.

Consequently, CDCP issued common shares to DBP, NDC, GSIS, LBP, PEFLGC, and
preferred D shares to PNB in consideration for the extinguishment of some of CDCPs
outstanding loan obligations to said GFIs, all of which were duly recorded in its corporate
books. Subsequently, in December 1983, the SEC approved the increase of CDCPs
authorized capital stock, and the corresponding CDCP Certificates of Stock were issued
in the names of DBP, GSIS, LBP, PEFLGC, and PNB, to wit:

The Facts
Certificates of stock issued Name No. of shares issued to GFIs
Petitioner was an incorporator, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the then
Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), now PNCC, from its
incorporation in 1966 until 1983. Sometime in 1977, CDCP was granted a franchise
under Presidential Decree No. 1113 to construct, operate, and maintain toll facilities of
the North and South Luzon Expressway. In the course of its operations, it incurred
substantial credit obligations from both private and government sources.

Cert. of Stock No. 40269[5] DBP 26,987,477 common shares


Cert. of Stock No. 40270[6] PEFLGC 37,584,577 common shares
Cert. of Stock No. 40271[7] GSIS 47,490,000 common shares
Cert. of Stock No. 40272 LBP 657,836 common shares

However, its unpaid obligations ballooned so much that by 1983, it became impossible
for it to settle its maturing and overdue accounts with various GFIs, namely, the
Philippine National Bank (PNB), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), National
Development Company (NDC), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Land
Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and Philippine Export and Foreign Loan Guarantee
Corporation (PEFLGC), now known as the Trade and Investment Development
Corporation of the Philippines.
On February 23, 1983, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Letter of Instruction
No. (LOI) 1295,[4] directing the creditor GFIs to convert into CDCPs shares of stock the
following: (1) all of the direct obligations of CDCP and those of its wholly-owned
subsidiaries, including, but not limited to loans, credits, accrued interests, fees and
advances in any currency outstanding as of December 31, 1982; (2) the direct obligations
of CDCP maturing in 1983; and (3) obligations maturing in 1983 which were guaranteed
by the GFIs.

On April 25, 1983, a special stockholders meeting, presided by petitioner, was held
whereby stockholders representing more than two-thirds (2/3) of the outstanding capital
stock of CDCP approved the increase of its authorized capital stock from PhP 1.6 to 2.7
billion in accordance with LOI 1295. Thus, the CDCP, pursuant to said letter, converted
some of its obligations to GFIs into equity.

Cert. of Stock No. N[8] PNB 25,500,000 Preferred Class D

The total subscription of the above issuance of shares of stock pursuant to LOI 1295
amounted to PhP 1,405,202,000 or 1.4 billion.

Thus, with the implementation of LOI 1295, respondents-GFIs became the majority
stockholders of CDCP to the extent of 70% of the authorized capital stocks. The change
in the corporations ownership was made public through various announcements.[9]
CDCP was later renamed to PNCC to reflect the Philippine Government stockholding,
and became a government-acquired asset corporation. Consequently, the various GFIs
were given seats in the Board of Directors of PNCC and participated in the management
of the company.

On August 19, 1987, PNCC issued Certificate of Stock No. 43032 in the name of NDC
for 14,699,000 shares of common stock.

Meanwhile, sometime in 1988, pursuant to Administrative Order Nos. 14 and 64, DBP,
PNB, PEFLGC, and NDC transferred their interests in PNCC to the Republic of the
Philippines which in turn conveyed them to the Asset Privatization Trust (APT), now the

54

Privatization and Management Office, for disposition to the private sector pursuant to the
governments privatization program.

On May 31, 1996, more than a decade after LOI 1295 was implemented, petitioner filed a
complaint before the SEC SICD docketed as SEC Case No. 05-96-5357 entitled Rodolfo
M. Cuenca v. PNCC, et al., for the SEC to determine and declare whether the GFIs were
registered stockholders of PNCC and the number of shares held by each of them and to
compel PNCC to call and hold regular stockholders meetings and election of directors
every year.

Petitioner averred that while PNCC issued the above specified certificates of stock to the
GFIs pursuant to LOI 1295, the GFIs however refused to cancel and never did cancel the
loans in their books as payment for the shares issued in their names by PNCC as they
considered it to be a diminution of the value of their investments. Thus, petitioner
claimed that some of the GFIs refused to accept delivery of the stock certificates from
PNCC while others were not even aware of the issuance of the certificates of stock in
their names. Consequently, respondents-GFIs continued to charge and receive payments
for their loan and interest charges from PNCC though these loans were supposed to have
been converted into common stock in 1983 pursuant to LOI 1295.

In March 1998, with the idea of spinning-off its toll-way operations, PNCC scheduled a
special stockholders meeting on April 14, 1998. On March 31, 1998, petitioner filed
before the SEC SICD an Urgent Application for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and
Writ of Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin PNCC from allowing the GFIs to vote
their shares of stock in PNCC, either issued or subscribed, pursuant to LOI 1295, and
from exercising any right arising from the shares.

On April 14, 1998, the date of the special stockholders meeting of PNCC, the SEC SICD,
through its hearing officer, granted petitioners urgent application and issued a TRO
enjoining the GFIs from voting their shares of stock in PNCC.[10] Thereafter, the parties
presented their respective preliminary evidence during the hearings for the issuance of a
preliminary injunction.

Meanwhile, despite the pendency of SICD SEC Case No. 05-96-5357, petitioner filed a
Third Amended Complaint[11] before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 142, docketed as Civil Case No. 95-1356 and entitled Rodolfo M. Cuenca, for

and in behalf of PNCC v. APT, et al. for (1) enforcement and strict compliance with LOI
1295; (2) cancellation of all penalties, interest, and surcharges accrued after December
31, 1982; (3) enjoinment of the GFIs from receiving any real or personal properties from
PNCC; and (4) cancellation of the transfer of Lot 3, Block 1, RL-04-000001 covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 34996 to APT.

On September 8, 1998, the SEC SICD issued an Order[12] granting the preliminary
injunction. PNCCs Motion for Reconsideration was then denied in the December 21,
1998 SEC SICD Omnibus Order.[13] Thus, on January 8, 1999, PNCC filed a Petition for
Certiorari[14] before the SEC en banc to review and set aside the September 8, 1998 and
December 21, 1998 SEC SICD Orders, docketed as SEC-EB Case No. 640. On March
14, 2000, the SEC en banc issued an order dismissing PNCCs petition. Consequently,
PNCC brought before the CA the SEC en banc March 14, 2000 Order through a Petition
for Review,[15] docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 58117.

In the meantime, on May 20, 1999, petitioner filed a Motion to Admit Amended
Complaint in SEC SICD Case No. 05-96-5357, which was granted despite oppositions
from PNCC and the GFIs. Respondents PNCC and GFIs then filed their respective
answers to the amended complaint.

On March 23, 2000, PNCC filed a Motion to Designate Hearing Panel[16] on the ground
that the instant case would be better heard and resolved by a hearing panel of three than
by a sole hearing officer, considering the interests the Philippine Government holds in
PNCC through the GFIs. This was opposed by petitioner. Nonetheless, while not finding
any valid reason for said motion, respondent SEC SICD Hearing Officer Alberto P. Atas
granted PNCCs motion through the April 6, 2000 Order[17] to allay respondent PNCCs
fear that it may not be able to obtain a sense of fairness and justness in the determination
of the merits of its claims. No Motion for Reconsideration of the April 6, 2000 Order was
filed by petitioner.

Consequently, SEC SICD Director Daisy Besa-De Asis designated respondents Hearing
Officers Alberto P. Atas, Julito F. Fabrero, and Nathaniel A. Lobigas as the three (3)person Hearing Panel.

During the hearings of the instant case, through a May 4, 2000 Order, the Hearing Panel
admitted almost all of petitioners exhibits. On May 8, 2000, PNCC filed an Amended

55

Answer[18] raising a new matter of the April 14, 2000 Deed of Confirmation and June 7,
2000 Supplement to Deed of Confirmation. On June 1, 2000, the Hearing Panel admitted
PNCCs Amended Answer through an Order.[19]

rebuttal evidence, and submitted the case for resolution on the merits. Thus, the instant
case was submitted for decision on the merits based on the pleadings, evidence, and other
submissions of the parties.

On June 2, 2000, the Hearing Panel scheduled a new preliminary conference on June 13,
2000. At the hearing on June 5, 2000, due to conflicts with the schedules of some of the
parties counsels, the preliminary conference was moved to June 29, 2000. However, on
June 6, 2000, PNCC filed an Urgent Motion[20] praying that the preliminary conference
be reset back to the original schedule of June 13, 2000 so as to follow the proviso in the
SEC Rules of Procedure. PNCCs Urgent Motion was granted through a June 8, 2000
Order,[21] and the preliminary conference was reset back to June 13, 2000.

The Ruling of the SEC SICD

In the preliminary conference on June 13, 2000, petitioner adopted his previous
preliminary conference brief dated November 15, 1999. PNCC and APT filed their
preliminary conference briefs dated June 8, 2000 and June 13, 2000, respectively; while
DBP, GSIS, PNB, and PEFLGC adopted their respective preliminary conference briefs
previously filed. On the same date, petitioner was barred from presenting additional
evidence due to his failure to file a reply to PNCCs Amended Answer and to file an
amended preliminary conference brief together with the affidavits of witnesses as
required by the new SEC Rules.

On June 13 and 14, 2000, PNCC adopted the testimonial and documentary evidence it
presented during the hearing on the preliminary injunction as part of its evidence-in-chief
and adduced further additional witnesses and documentary evidence to substantiate the
new matter presented in its amended answer. The GFIs adopted PNCCs evidence which
was orally offered by PNCC over petitioners objection.

The Hearing Panel scheduled the reception of petitioners rebuttal evidence on June 19
and 20, 2000. However, on June 19, 2000, instead of presenting rebuttal evidence,
petitioner filed a Motion to Admit Second Amended Complaint, but an opposition was
filed to it by respondents for being dilatory.

On July 10, 2000, the Hearing Panel rendered its Decision dismissing petitioners
complaint for lack of merit and revoking the writ of preliminary injunction issued on
September 8, 1998. The fallo reads:

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs Complaint is hereby dismissed for lack of merit and the Orders
dated April 14, 1998 and September 8, 1998 are hereby revoked and set aside.[25]

The Hearing Panel found that the evidence presented by PNCC and GFIs constituted
substantial proof of the implementation of LOI 1295. It reasoned that not only did PNCC
issue the shares of stock as shown in its stock ledger cards but such fact was corroborated
by Caval Securities Registry, Inc., PNCCs stock transfer agent, which prepared PNCCs
September 15, 1987 Schedule of Subscription.[26] Moreover, prior to the filing of the
instant case, the GFIs have been nominating their representatives to PNCCs Board of
Directors which is an attribute of ownership of shares of stock in PNCC.

The Hearing Panel also took cognizance of the April 14, 2000 Deed of Confirmation[27]
and the June 7, 2000 Supplement to Deed of Confirmation[28] executed by the GFIs,
which erased all doubts on the implementation of LOI 1295 by the conversion of the
GFIs loan receivables from PNCC into the latters equity. Thus, with the clear
consideration of loan receivables for the shares of stock, the shares issued to the GFIs
cannot in any way be considered watered stocks. It cited Section 62 of the Corporation
Code which expressly allows the issuance of shares of stock in consideration for
previously incurred indebtedness.

On June 21, 2000, PNCC filed a Motion to Terminate Plaintiffs Rebuttal Evidence and to
Submit the Case for Decision on the Merits[22] which was opposed[23] by petitioner. On
July 3, 2000, the Hearing Panel issued an Omnibus Order[24] denying petitioners motion
to admit second amended complaint, granted PNCCs motion to terminate petitioners

56

Moreover, the Notes to the Financial Statements[29] on the Report on Examinations of


Financial Statements[30] for comparative periods of December 31, 1982 and December
31, 1983 prepared by independent auditors from Carlos J. Valdes & Co., Certified Public
Accountants, clearly show the reduction of PNCC loan obligations. Specifically, Note
No. 11[31] stated that as of December 31, 1983, total obligations already converted into
equity amounted to PhP 1,382,202 or roughly 1.4 billion representing the increase of
authorized capital stock of PNCC.

On the other hand, the Hearing Panel found the pieces of evidence presented by
petitioner, most of which were the same ones presented by respondents, to be
inconsequential and insufficient to overthrow the weight of the evidence presented by
respondents that a conversion of PNCCs debt into equity was implemented. It
ratiocinated that the badges of fraud pointed out by petitioner are inconsequential as no
clear and convincing evidence was presented by petitioner, and that allegations cannot
take the place of proof. Likewise, the lack of a subscription agreement was not fatal to the
shares of stock issued to the GFIs as LOI 1295 in no uncertain terms mandated such
conversion of debt-to-equity which was duly approved by the stockholders of PNCC in
increasing its authorized capital stock precisely pursuant to LOI 1295.

Anent the August 15, 1995 Memorandum of Agreement[32] executed by the Department
of Finance (DOF), APT, and PNCC, whereby PNCC assigned to APT and the DOF Lot 3,
Block 1, RL-04-000001 covered by TCT No. 34996, such did not by far prove that PNCC
paid its obligations to PNB and DBP, which transferred their assets to the National
Government, and the shares PNCC issued to these GFIs were without consideration.
Evidence shows that PNCC owed PNB PhP 1.79 billion and DBP PhP 629 million, but
what were converted into equity were only PhP 255 million for PNB and PhP 269.874
million for DBP, thus leaving outstanding balances of PhP 1.535 billion for PNB and PhP
359 million for DBP. These outstanding and unconverted loan credits were the subject of
the assignment of receivables to APT.

In fine, the Hearing Panel cited the resolution of the 1992 case of Childrens Garden of the
Philippines v. APT,[33] where this Court ruled that the implementation of LOI 1295 was
already a fait accompli; thus, there was clear recognition by the Court of the factual
conversion of GFIs loan credits to PNCC shares.

As regards NDC, the Hearing Panel dismissed the complaint against it for failure of
petitioner to state a cause of action as the issuance of 14,699,000 shares of common stock

of PNCC in favor of NDC in 1987 was pursuant to LOI 1136 and not LOI 1295, and the
shares were issued for valuable consideration.

The Ruling of the SEC En Banc

With the adverse ruling against him, petitioner timely filed his Notice of Appeal[34] and
Petition for Review on Certiorari and/or Memorandum on Appeal.[35] Aside from
assailing the July 10, 2000 SEC SICD Decision, petitioner also assailed the July 3, 2000
Omnibus Order terminating the presentation of his rebuttal evidence and submitting the
case for decision on the merits, and the June 27, 2000 Preliminary Conference Order[36]
barring him from presenting additional witnesses as part of his evidence-in-chief.
Petitioner raised before the SEC en banc the allegations that the Hearing Panel conspired
with PNCC in railroading the trial and issuing the questioned Orders and Decision.

Among other things, petitioner assails the speed, taking only seven (7) days from the date
the case was submitted for decision, with which the Hearing Panel came out with a
grammar-perfect decision. It concluded that it was PNCC which prepared the decision,
pointing out numerous instances where the text of the assailed decision is identical to or
very similar to some portions of PNCCs petitions in another case.

Subsequently, the SEC en banc issued its August 8, 2000 Order denying petitioners
appeal and affirming in toto the July 10, 2000 Decision of the SEC SICD. The decretal
portion states:

FINDING NO REVERSIBLE ERROR, therefore, the herein Appeal should be, as it is


hereby DISMISSED.

The 10th July 2000 Decision in SICD Case No. 05-96-5357 is herewith AFFIRMED in
toto.

Costs adjudged against the appellant.[37]

57

The SEC en banc found that petitioner banked on sweeping speculations and assumptions
except the significant and substantial proof to corroborate the serious charges leveled
against the Hearing Panel. It reasoned that petitioner had not shown malice, bad faith, or
corrupt purpose on the part of the Hearing Panel to warrant the reversal of the assailed
Decision.
Moreover, it pointed out that petitioner failed to procedurally appreciate the import of the
mandatory requirements set forth in the SEC Rules of Procedure in effect at that time, as
the Hearing Panel merely adhered to Rule V, Sec. 4 of said Rules of Procedure, which
provides that hearings shall be commenced not later than 15 days from the date of the
termination of the preliminary conference and completed within 20 days from the date of
the first hearing. Besides, according to the SEC en banc, the proceedings in the SEC
SICD were summary in nature; thus, speed seemed to ensue when the case was heard and
decided.

On the issue of violation or infringement of petitioners right to due process, the SEC en
banc found no basis for it, as the summary nature of the proceedings below has to be
followed by the Hearing Panel. Moreover, the SEC en banc found a dearth of evidence to
lend support to petitioners contention.

Finally, the SEC en banc likewise relied on the GFIs ratification of their subscription to
the shares issued by PNCC pursuant to LOI 1295 to erase any doubt about its
implementation and the extinguishment of PNCCs unpaid loan credits to the extent of
such issuance of shares of stock.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Aggrieved, on August 24, 2000, petitioner raised through a Petition for Review[38]
before the CA the August 8, 2000 SEC en banc Order dismissing his appeal, docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 60366. Petitioner likewise assailed in its CA petition the SEC SICD
June 27, 2000 Preliminary Conference Order, July 3, 2000 Omnibus Order, and July 10,
2000 Decision.

Thereafter, through its assailed November 29, 2000 Decision,[39] the CA denied and
dismissed the petition for review for lack of merit; thus, it upheld the SEC en banc order
affirming the SEC SICD decision which dismissed petitioners complaint. The CA found
that neither the SEC en banc nor the SEC Hearing Panel committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in rendering their respective orders
and decision.

The appellate court failed to see any rhyme or reason in finding fault in or to disturb the
findings of the SEC en banc on its ruling regarding the alleged suspicious and compelling
badges of fraud pointing to a conspiracy between the Hearing Panel and PNCC. It quoted
with approbation the quasi-judicial agencys disquisition on this matter. Moreover, it
reasoned that there was nothing startling or irregular in the fact that the text of the same
decision was similar in language with the text of the pleadings filed by PNCC as the
Hearing Panel is allowed by the Rules to adopt any part of the position papers or draft
decisions the parties had filed in their resolution or decision. As regards the constitution
of the three-person Hearing Panel, the CA held that by not filing a motion for
reconsideration of the order granting the constitution of the panel, petitioner could not
now evoke suspicion on it.

The CA further upheld the summary proceedings before the Hearing Panel for being in
accord with the SECs New Rules of Procedure, and, thus, such could not be prejudicial to
petitioner. As regards the admission of PNCCs amended answer, the CA held that such
could not be considered as a conspiratorial act as petitioner did not oppose such
admission.

On the issue of the preliminary conference brief being merely permissive, the CA noted
that during the June 5, 2000 hearing, it was specifically ordered by the Hearing Panel for
the parties to file their respective briefs with attached affidavits of their witnesses before
the actual preliminary conference. Thus, petitioner could have prepared and filed his brief
before the June 13, 2000 preliminary conference. However, petitioner chose to remain
silent and simply adopted his previous preliminary conference brief. Petitioner never
made known to the Hearing Panel his assertion that the filing of his brief was merely
permissive. Besides, it was the Hearing Panel who had the say on whether preliminary
conference briefs should be filed or not.

58

On the issue of the limitation on the presentation of petitioners rebuttal evidence, the CA
likewise found it untenable as he could have filed a reply to traverse the new oneparagraph allegation in the amended answer or, in the alternative, referred to supporting
documents and affidavits negating such new matter in his preliminary conference brief.
Petitioner did neither. The CA then opined that [petitioner] could not now cry foul over
his lapses as due process is not violated where a person is given the opportunity to be
heard but chooses not to give his side.

Likewise, the CA reasoned that petitioner could not assail the findings of facts and
conclusions of law by the Hearing Panel as such are based on the aggregate evidence
presented by the parties. It pointed out that the evidence presented during the hearings for
the issuance of a preliminary injunction was preliminary or only a sample to support the
issuance of the injunctive writ. Verily, the CA ruled that the findings of the Hearing
Officer in the issuance of the TRO and injunctive writ could not pre-empt the conclusive
findings of the tribunal after due trial and presentation of all the evidence adduced by the
parties. Thus, the CA was convinced that petitioner was indeed accorded due process and
given ample opportunity to ventilate his case.

In fine, the appellate court likewise held the applicability of Childrens Garden of the
Philippines[40] and the fact that the assailed issuance of shares of stock to the GFIs was
for valuable consideration, that is, the existing loan credit obligations. The CA then ruled
that petitioner was guilty of forum shopping for having raised substantially the same
issues before the SEC and RTC.

Hence, the instant petition is now before the Court.

Parenthetically, on June 19, 2000, petitioner filed a Notice of Dismissal and Motion to
Dismiss Third Amended Complaint[41] in Civil Case No. 95-1356 before the Makati
City RTC, Branch 142. Petitioner reasoned that based on the position taken and the
admissions made by PNCC and the GFIs in other cases, with respect to the validity of
LOI 1295, he was no longer certain if it was proper for him to maintain suit for the
enforcement and implementation of said law. The trial court promptly dismissed Civil
Case No. 95-1356 through its June 23, 2000 Order.[42]

academic by the July 10, 2000 Decision of the SEC SICD Hearing Panel, which lifted
and revoked the preliminary injunction granted through the assailed SEC SICD
September 8, 1998 Order. Consequently, CA-G.R. SP No. 58117 was dismissed through
the September 19, 2000 CA Resolution.[43]

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following grounds for our consideration:

THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT


FINDING THAT THE SEC EN BANC GROSSLY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT
THE PROCEEDINGS BELOW WERE PROCEDURALLY FLAWED BECAUSE THE
HEARING PANEL HAD RAILROADED THE TRIAL IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT
PNCC.

A. The Court of Appeals has committed reversible error in not finding that the SEC en
banc grossly erred in not holding that the Hearing Panel, in issuing the Omnibus Order
dated 3 July 2000 terminating the presentation of petitioners rebuttal evidence and
submitting the case for decision on the merits, committed reversible error and grave
abuse of discretion.

i. Respondent PNCCs Motion to Terminate Plaintiffs Rebuttal Evidence was a mere scrap
of paper and should not have been given due course by the Hearing Panel.
Similarly, sometime in September 2000, PNCC filed a motion to dismiss CA-G.R. SP
No. 58117 before the CA Ninth Division, as said case had been rendered moot and

59

ii. The premature termination of petitioners rebuttal evidence was a denial of his right to
due process.
iii. The cancellation of the 19 and 20 June 2000 trial sessions where petitioner was
scheduled to present rebuttal evidence, [sic] was due to the lack of quorum in the Hearing
Panel, which was not the fault of petitioner and for which he should not have been
penalized.

D. The Court of Appeals has committed reversible error in not ruling that the SEC en
banc grossly erred in not holding that the Hearing Panel committed reversible error and
grave abuse of discretion in considering evidence not formally offered and admitted.
E. The Court of Appeals has committed reversible error in not ruling that the SEC en
banc grossly erred in not holding that the Hearing Panel committed reversible error and
grave abuse of discretion in making findings of fact not supported by the evidence on
record and in disregarding overwhelming evidence.[44]

iv. The Hearing Panel grossly erred in finding that petitioner could not have presented
new or significant evidence on rebuttal, and that petitioner had already presented
sufficient rebuttal evidence, considering that said findings contradict each other and are
presumptuous and bereft of any factual basis.

B. The Court of Appeals has committed reversible error in not finding that the SEC en
banc grossly erred in not holding that the Hearing Panel, in issuing the Preliminary
Conference Order dated 27 June 2000 (released on 3 July 2000) barring petitioner from
presenting additional witnesses as part of his evidence-in-chief, committed reversible
error and grave abuse of discretion.

Petitioner challenges the CA decision on the ground that he was denied due process. He
also claims that the CA erred in ruling that the factual findings of the SEC SICD Hearing
Panel, as affirmed by the SEC en banc, were conclusive on it. Finally, he faults the CA
for its failure to appreciate circumstances that would not only show denial of due process
but of fraud and conspiracy in railroading the instant case against him.

The Courts Ruling


II
The petition is bereft of merit.
THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN
UPHOLDING THE SEC EN BANC ORDER DATED 8 AUGUST 2000 AFFIRMING
THE HEARING PANELS DECISION DATED 10 JULY 2000.

A. Badges of fraud abound in the pages of the Decision dated 10 July 2000, indubitably
showing the Hearing Panels utter disregard of due process.
B. The SEC en bancs and the Hearing Panels findings of fact are inexplicably the
opposite of the findings of fact previously made by Hearing Officer Gallegos and the
SEC en banc, even though both sets of findings of fact are based on the very same
evidence.
C. The Court of Appeals has committed reversible error in finding that petitioner is guilty
of forum shopping.

Procedural Due Process

Procedural due process, in gist, is the necessity for notice and an opportunity to be heard
before judgment is rendered. Its essence is encapsulated in the immortal cry of
Themistocles to Alcibiades: Strikebut hear me first.[45] Thus, as long as a party is given
the opportunity to defend his/her interests in due course, the party would have no reason
to complain, for it is this opportunity to be heard that makes up the essence of due
process.[46]

In administrative and quasi-judicial proceedings where the magistrates or tribunals


hearing the case are not bound by the niceties and finer points of judicial due process, the
cardinal primary requirements of procedural due process, as gleaned by Justice Laurel

60

from an array of American decisions, were enumerated in Tibay v. Court of Industrial


Relations, as follows:

(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party
interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. x x
x

(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce
evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider
the evidence presented. x x x

Prescinding from the above requirements, it is thus clear that the proceedings before the
SEC SICD Hearing Panel are bound by these requirements. To determine whether
petitioner was denied due process as alleged, we will scrutinize the proceedings below.

Proceedings before the Hearing Panel

For clarity, we reiterate the significant and relevant events that transpired which are
mainly being assailed by petitioner.
(3) While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does
imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to
support its decision. x x x

(4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of
Manila vs. Agustin, G. R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O.G.
1335), but the evidence must be substantial. x x x

(5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least
contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. x x x

(6) The [c]ourt x x x or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his own
independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept
the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision. x x x

(7) [The court] should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner
that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons
for the decisions rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority
conferred upon it.[47] (Emphasis supplied.)

It is undisputed that the instant case was pending for over four (4) years before the SEC
SICD, that is, from May 31, 1996 until the rendition of the SEC SICD Decision on July
10, 2000. In the intervening time, petitioner was granted a 20-day TRO on April 13, 1998
and a writ of preliminary injunction was likewise issued in his favor on September 8,
1998.

Meanwhile, on May 20, 1999, petitioner filed a motion to admit amended complaint
which was granted by the Hearing Officer. Consequently, PNCC and the GFIs filed their
respective answers to the amended complaint. On May 8, 2000, PNCC in turn filed a
motion for leave to admit amended answer, which was not opposed by petitioner, and
duly granted by the Hearing Panel on June 1, 2000.

Likewise, PNCCs March 21, 2000 motion to designate hearing panel, while opposed by
petitioner, was granted on April 6, 2000 and the Hearing Panel was constituted; however,
petitioner did not assail this grant as he failed to file a Motion for Reconsideration of the
April 6, 2000 Order.

Consequently, a new preliminary conference was scheduled for June 13, 2000 but was
moved to June 29, 2000 due to conflict of schedules of the counsels, but was reset to the

61

original date of June 13, 2000 upon PNCCs urgent motion to conform with the then SEC
New Rules of Procedure.

During the preliminary conference of June 13, 2000, petitioner was barred from
presenting additional evidence. The preliminary conference order was subsequently
issued on June 27, 2000. Petitioners presentation of rebuttal witnesses was terminated
through the July 3, 2000 Omnibus Order which also denied admission of petitioners
second amended complaint and submitted the case for decision on the merits.

On July 10, 2000, the Hearing Panel rendered its Decision dismissing petitioners case for
lack of merit.

SEC. 4. Nature of Proceedings.Subject to the requirements of due process, proceedings


before the Commission shall be summary in nature not necessarily adhering to or
following the technical rules of evidence obtaining in the regular courts. Provided,
however, that the Rules of Court may apply in a suppletory manner whenever practicable.

xxxx

RULE V
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE
DESIGNATED HEARING OFFICER

Were the foregoing proceedings procedurally flawed as alleged by petitioner? Were the
proceedings of the instant case before the SEC SICD Hearing Panel railroaded? Was
there a conspiracy between the Hearing Panel and respondent PNCC and the GFIs? Was
petitioners right to due process violated? A review of the then SEC New Rules of
Procedure will shed light on the issue of due process.

SECTION 1. Preliminary Conference.In any action, the Hearing Officer shall set the case
for preliminary conference within ten (10) days after the last pleading is filed, and the
parties and their attorneys shall be directed to appear before the Hearing Officer on the
dates set on the notice, to consider based on the affidavits, documents and other evidence
submitted by the parties:

SEC Rules prescribe a summary procedure

a. The possibility of an amicable settlement;


A cursory reading of the then prevailing SEC New Rules of Procedure shows that the
proceedings before the Hearing Officers or Hearing Panel are summary in nature and to
be conducted expeditiously in the interest of just, speedy and inexpensive determination
of disputes and claims.[48]

b. The simplification of the issues;


c. Schedule hearing which must be undertaken continuously as scheduled until
completed and terminated; and
d.

Such other matters as may aid in the just and speedy disposition of the case.

Notably, said rules provided:


The Hearing Officer shall terminate the preliminary conference ten (10) days after its
commencement, whether or not the parties have agreed to settle their differences.
RULE I

62

xxxx

SEC. 4. Preliminary Conference Order.After the preliminary conference, the Hearing


Officer shall issue an Order reciting the action taken at the conference; the stipulations
made by the parties as to any of the matters considered; a recital of such other evidence
as the parties may have agreed upon; the witnesses, if any, to be presented by all the
parties; and the scheduled dates of hearing for presentation of all such witnesses.
Provided, however, that the hearings shall be commenced not later than fifteen (15) days
from the date of the termination of the preliminary conference and completed within
twenty (20) days from the date of the first hearing. Provided, further, that the failure of a
party to present a witness or witnesses on a scheduled hearing date shall be deemed a
waiver of such hearing date. Provided, finally, that a party may present such witness or
witnesses within the remaining hearing dates.

SEC. 5. Submission of Position Papers and Draft Decisions. Within fifteen (15) days after
the submission of case for resolution, the parties shall submit their position papers setting
forth the law and the facts relied upon by them. They shall also be required to submit a
draft of the decision or resolution they seek, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the
law upon which it is based. The Hearing Officer may adopt, in whole or in part, either of
the parties draft decision or resolution, or reject both.

RULE VI

From the foregoing provisions, it becomes clear that petitioner was indeed accorded due
process. The requirements spelled out in Ang Tibay have been complied with. Verily, a
close examination of the proceedings in the SEC SICD in the backdrop of the above rules
shows that petitioners right to due process was not violated. He was indeed accorded
ample opportunity to ventilate his position.

First, there is no cause shown for arbitrariness or ill-motive in the constitution of the
Hearing Panel. While petitioner opposed PNCCs motion for its constitution, the April 6,
2000 Order granting it was not questioned nor assailed by petitioner in a motion for
reconsideration. Verily, the rules allow the constitution of a hearing panel, as Sec. 2 of
Rule I, SEC New Rules of Procedure on Definitions provides that a Hearing Officer is
any Commissioner, officer, body or panel duly designated or created by the Commission
to hear and decide a particular case (emphasis supplied).

Thus, by failing to question the Hearing Panels constitution, and by participating in the
proceedings before the panel, petitioner had indeed acquiesced to and waived any
question on its constitution.

Second, the resetting of the preliminary conference back to the original schedule of June
13, 2000 is well within the authority of the Hearing Panel and pursuant to Rule V, Sec. 1
of the SEC Rules which provides that the preliminary conference be set within 10 days
after the last pleading was filed.

DECISION

SECTION 1. Decision.The Hearing Officer shall render a decision within twenty (20)
days from submission of the case for resolution. (Emphasis supplied.)

No denial of due process

Indeed, the last pleading filed was the amended answer to which petitioner opted not to
file a reply despite the opportunity to do so. More so, when the amended answer only
raised a new one-paragraph matter on the deed of confirmation and its supplement
executed by the GFIs. In this setting, we find nothing out of line.

Third, petitioner contends that the SEC Hearing Panel required the submission of
preliminary conference briefs for the June 13, 2000 preliminary conference when, under
the SECs Rules of Procedure, the filing of such briefs was not mandatory. In this regard,
we do not fault but rather commend the SEC Hearing Panel for taking the necessary steps
to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in an orderly fashion. The SEC Hearing
Panel, in directing the submission of briefs, was simply mindful of the importance of pretrial as means of facilitating the disposal of cases by simplifying or limiting the issues
and avoiding unnecessary proof of facts at the trial, or exploring the possibility of an

63

amicable settlement or of submission to arbitration, and generally to do whatever may


reasonably be necessary to facilitate and shorten the formal trial.[49] Recently, we issued
Resolution No. 03-1-09-SC on the Guidelines on Pre-trial and on the Use of the Different
Modes of Discovery and Deposition, stressing that pre-trial, if used properly, is a very
effective case management tool to obliterate case delay and expedite case processing and
adjudication.

In any event, no prejudice could have been suffered by petitioner arising from his
inability to file brief for the June 13, 2000 preliminary conference as he had already
finished presentation of his evidence. The conference was conducted only with respect to
additional matters raised in PNCCs Amended Answer which did not however alter its
theory. Moreover, petitioner cannot now say that he failed to file his preliminary
conference brief due to short notice as he only received the order granting the resetting on
June 9, 2000, a Friday. It is undisputed that the parties were granted enough time through
the June 2, 2000 Order setting the original schedule on June 13, 2000 and for the parties
to file their respective briefs. Indeed, petitioner had sufficient time to prepare and file his
brief.

Fourth, on the issue of not being accorded the opportunity to file an opposition to PNCCs
urgent motion to reset the preliminary conference back to June 13, 2000, suffice it to say
that the urgent motion was non-litigious, then it may be granted ex-parte as the matter
raised pertains only to the schedule of the preliminary conference in accordance with the
rules. Otherwise, the opposition will further delay the preliminary conference proceeding
which the rules precisely obviate.

Fifth, the ruling of the Hearing Panel during the June 13, 2000 preliminary conference
barring petitioner from presenting additional witnesses is within its authority and
competence. Indeed, the reasons given for such curtailment were that petitioner failed to
file his reply to address the sole new matter raised in the amended answer, to file an
amended preliminary conference brief required by the panel, and to submit the affidavits
of his witnesses required to be appended to his brief.

While the SEC New Rules of Procedure allows the testimony of adverse witnesses sans
their affidavits, the records do not show that petitioner informed the Hearing Panel of the
names of his additional witnesses, the description of their testimony, and the documentary
evidence they would identify except the general description that they are adverse
witnesses. Indeed, petitioner did not dispute these except to cry foul that the curtailment
of presenting additional witnesses and evidence violated his right to due process. Given

the fact that petitioner was hedging and was, so to say, fishing for evidence, it is but
proper that he was barred from further presenting additional witnesses in order not to
needlessly prolong the proceedings.

Sixth, in the same vein, the ruling of the Hearing Panel to terminate petitioners
presentation of rebuttal evidence in the July 3, 2000 Omnibus Order is likewise welltaken. Indeed, the Hearing Panel granted petitioners oral motion for presentation of
rebuttal evidence but limited it to the testimony of petitioner himself and Mr. Froilan V.
Bacugan. However, on the scheduled date for their testimony, petitioner presented other
witnesses and again went on a fishing expedition. Given that no persuasive additional
evidence was forthcoming, the termination of rebuttal evidence is proper. Besides, as
correctly ruled by the Hearing Panel, additional evidence of the same class may be
dispensed with if such would not add anything substantial or material to what has already
been presented.

Petitioner however argues that by the termination of his rebuttal evidence, he was
deprived of the right to prove that (1) the signatories to the Deed of Confirmation and
Supplement were not authorized by their respective Boards of Directors; (2) the GFIs
have not actually cancelled PNCCs loan in their books; and (3) the GFIs have likewise
not cancelled the interest, penalties, adjustments for peso devaluation, and other
surcharges that accrued PNCCs loan from 1982 to 2000.[50]

The records reveal that petitioner could very well have introduced evidence on the
alleged non-cancellation of the loans and other charges in the books of the GFIs during
the presentation of his evidence-in-chief. Having failed to do so, petitioner can no longer
belatedly interject such evidence into the record through the right to introduce rebuttal
evidence. Such evidence, if any, can be considered as forgotten evidence which is
evidence already existing at the time of the trial but was not presented at that stage of the
proceedings.

Anent the authority of the signatories to the Deed of Confirmation and Supplement,
petitioner could also have confronted PNCCs witnesses, especially Atty. Raul Villanueva
who was presented to prove this fact, when they testified before the SEC Hearing Panel.
Petitioner again failed to do this. Lastly, the SEC Hearing Panel had determined that there
was sufficient evidence on record to render an informed judgment on the issues of fact
before it. Thus, there is nothing irregular in the discontinuation of the presentation of
rebuttal evidence.

64

Seventh, the disallowance of petitioners second amended complaint is also proper as the
proceedings were already at the late stage, and it was not expeditious to go back again to
the stage for respondents to file their answers and set anew a fourth preliminary
conference. Besides, the amendment which petitioner wanted to be incorporated refers to
the sole new issue in PNCCs amended answer, which he could have addressed with a
reply to the amended answer or through an amended preliminary conference brief.
Petitioner did neither. He had thus waived his right to address the sole new matter raised
in the amended answer; and if otherwise, the summary and expeditious nature of the
proceedings below would be duly compromised. Indeed, when a party is given ample
opportunity to present his case, his failure to do so is not a denial of due process.

In no uncertain terms, the CA explicated that the assailed acts of the SEC Hearing Panel
considered as badges of fraud by petitioner find legal mooring either in the SECs Rules
of Procedure or are within its quasi-judicial powers. Petitioners participation in the
proceedings and actions taken by the panel or his failure to vigorously pursue his
objections to them can only be construed to be an acquiescence to such actions or waiver
of his rights. Petitioner cannot now be heard to complain.

Petitioner has not shown any proof or substantial evidence of fraud and conspiracy.
Indeed, he who alleges fraud must prove it for basic is the rule that actori incumbit onus
probandi.[51] Differently stated, upon the plaintiff in a civil case, the burden of proof
never parts.[52] In the case at bar, the petitioner must therefore establish his allegation of
fraud by a preponderance of evidence.[53] Once again, petitioner utterly failed to do this.
In addition, it is an aged-old rule in civil cases that he who alleges a fact has the burden
of proving it and a mere allegation is not evidence.[54] Fraud is never presumed, but
must be established by clear and convincing evidence.[55]

Indeed, a cursory reading of the comparative statements presented by petitioner proves


nothing beyond the fact that they are similarly worded. Even granting arguendo that these
statements in the decision were taken from the pleadings of PNCC, no ill-motive or
adverse conclusion may be derived from said decision as the SEC New Rules of
Procedure, specifically Sec. 5 of Rule V, allows the Hearing Officer to adopt in whole or
in part a draft decision, position paper, or other pleadings for that matter filed by the
parties. While it is true that the parties did not file any draft decision or position paper,
yet the Hearing Panel is not barred to adopt a part or portion of any pleadings filed by the
parties. If the Hearing Panel is allowed to adopt a draft decision or position paper, more
so is it allowed to adopt any portion from the pleadings filed by the parties.

No evidence of fraud and conspiracy

We now move on to the issues of fraud and conspiracy which petitioner foisted to show
that the instant case was railroaded and fast-tracked against him.

Petitioner would like us to believe that the CA and the SEC en banc erred in not
considering the badges of fraud he presented to show that the case was railroaded. First,
petitioner points out that the SEC SICD only took seven (7) days to come out with a
grammar-perfect decision. Second, petitioner strongly asserts that the proceedings were
fast-tracked due to the governments action to privatize some of the assets of the GFIs
which include the subject shares of stock. Third, petitioner presents numerous instances
in the July 10, 2000 SEC SICD Decision which, he proffers, indubitably showed that it
was not the Hearing Panel which penned the decision but respondent PNCC.

Moreover, Sec. 1 of Rule VI particularly provides that the decision must be rendered
within 20 days from the submission of the case for resolution. Thus, by complying with
the directive provided by said Rules, the Hearing Panel cannot be faulted in rendering the
July 10, 2000 Decision after only seven (7) days from the submission of the instant case
for resolution on the merits. In fact, the Hearing Panel must be commended for doing its
job expeditiously.

Anent the issue of the governments privatization as the cause of the alleged rapid
processing of the case, such is utterly specious and bereft of any factual basis. Petitioner
wants us to believe that the government, through the GFIs, exerted pressure on the
Hearing Panel and the SEC en banc for a favorable judgment. This is utterly an
unfounded innuendo as petitioner has not presented even an iota of proof to substantiate
his accusation. Allegations are easily leveled but proving them is another matter. In the
absence of proof, petitioner only has bare allegations and nothing more.

We are not persuaded.

65

Findings of facts of administrative bodies accorded finality when supported by


substantial evidence

On the merits of the case, suffice it to say that the findings of facts and conclusions of
law of the SEC are controlling on the reviewing authority. Indeed, the rule is that the
findings of fact of administrative bodies, if based on substantial evidence, are controlling
on the reviewing authority.[56]

The CA found neither reversible error nor grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
SEC en banc in affirming the decision of the SEC SICD Hearing Panel, which was
supported by substantial evidence. Thus, we find no reason to rule otherwise.

LOI 1295 has been implemented

Even without considering our factual determination in Childrens Garden of the


Philippines v. APT,[60] still we arrive at the same conclusion that LOI 1295 was indeed
implemented.
We disagree with petitioner that there was a change in the findings by the Hearing Panel
vis--vis the findings of the Hearing Officer in the grant of the preliminary injunction upon
the same set of evidence. It must be borne in mind that the pieces of evidence presented
during the hearings for the issuance of the injunctive writ were only preliminary ones,
that is, a sampling of the evidence intended to give the tribunal an idea of the justification
for the issuance of the injunctive writ pending the decision of the case on the merits. As
often repeated, the issuance of an injunctive writ cannot preempt the resolution of the
case on the merits. Indeed, the records show that PNCC and respondent GFIs presented
additional evidence aside from what were presented during the hearings for the issuance
of the injunctive writ. Thus, petitioner has no basis to say that the decision was based on
the same evidence presented during the hearings for the issuance of the preliminary
injunction, which were held in 1998.
It has been held that it is not for the appellate court to substitute its own judgment for that
of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of the evidence and the credibility of the
witnesses.[57] The Hearing Panel had the optimum opportunity to review the pieces of
evidence presented before it and to observe the demeanor of the witnesses.
Administrative decisions on matters within their jurisdiction are entitled to respect and
can only be set aside on proof of grave abuse of discretion, fraud, or error of law,[58]
which have not been shown by petitioner in this case.

It is well-settled that factual findings of administrative agencies are generally held to be


binding and final so long as they are supported by substantial evidence in the record of
the case. It is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh all over again the
evidence and credibility of witnesses presented before the lower court, tribunal, or office,
as we are not a trier of facts. Our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing and revising errors
of law imputed to the lower court, the latters findings of fact being conclusive and not
reviewable by this Court.[59]

First, it is undisputed that shares of stock were issued to the GFIs converting part of their
outstanding loan credit to equity with PNCC. The certificates of stock issued attest to this
fact. Moreover, the administrative body below had duly debunked any irregularity in the
face of these certificates of stock. Second, the records and accounts of PNCC duly
reflected such debt-to-equity conversion as attested to by the independent auditors from
Carlos J. Valdes & Co., Certified Public Accountants, in the comparative Financial
Statements covering the years 1982 and 1983. Third, the due issuance of the shares of
stock in the names of the GFIs was corroborated by PNCCs stock transfer agent, Caval
Securities Registry, Inc. Fourth, the Deed of Confirmation and its Supplement erased any
doubt as to the implementation of LOI 1295. Thus, based on these reasons, there can be
no doubt as to the implementation of LOI 1295. Corollarily, the shares of stock subject of
the instant case issued to the GFIs were for value and thus cannot be considered as void
or watered stocks.

Petitioner guilty of forum shopping

On the issue of forum shopping, we agree with both the SEC en banc and the CA that
petitioner is guilty of forum shopping. A close perusal of both the Amended Complaint in
SICD SEC Case No. 05-96-5357 and the Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No.
95-1356 shows that both cases are derived from the same factual issues involving
substantially the same parties. Although the actions seem to be different, yet it can be
seen that there is a splitting of a cause of action.

While, on the one hand, the instant case was for the determination whether the GFIs are
indeed stockholders of PNCC and their respective number of shares, and on the other,

66

Civil Case No. 95-1356 was for the enforcement and compliance of LOI 1295, yet both
actions involved substantially the same parties, stemming from the same factual
antecedent of the debt-to-equity conversion mandated by LOI 1295 and involved the
same cause of action that petitioner anchors both complaints, that is, that LOI 1295 was
not fully implemented.

In this connection, we reject petitioners pretense that no identity exists between Civil
Case No. 95-1356 and the instant case, both of which substantially involve the same
parties, having the same cause of action and which stem from the same factual
antecedents. The fact remains that in Civil Case No. 95-1356, petitioner prayed for the
enforcement and compliance of LOI 1295, the same relief he could have asked for in the
instant case before the SEC proceedings below. The fact that he made PNCC as
complainant in the civil case does not alter the essence of said case in which the GFIs are
made to answer substantially the same issues raised in the instant case. It is indeed
revealing that petitioner withdrew his third amended complaint before the trial court on
June 19, 2000 when the instant case was at its last stages before the Hearing Panel.
Moreover, while petitioner informed the trial court of the pendency of the instant case,
yet petitioner fatally failed to state in his verification and certification[61] the status of
the instant case as required by Sec. 5, 1(b)[62] of Rule 7, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
Clearly, petitioner is guilty of forum shopping.

SEC has jurisdiction to compel PNCC to hold annual stockholders meetings and election
of board of directors

Finally, it has been settled in Philippine National Construction Corporation v. Pabion[63]


that PNCC is an acquired asset corporation and not a government-owned and/or
controlled corporation (GOCC). In said case, we held that PNCC did not lose its status as
a private corporation upon acquisition by the government through GFIs of the majority of
its shares of stock. Our determination that PNCC is an acquired asset corporation
removed it from the category of a GOCC. Thus, while the SEC has no jurisdiction over
GOCCs with original charter or created by special law primarily because they are
governed by their charters, it retains jurisdiction over government-acquired asset
corporations. Therefore, the SEC may compel PNCC to hold a stockholders meeting for
the purpose of electing members of the latters board of directors.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the November
29, 2000 Decision of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 60366 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
The antecedent facts are as follows:

[G.R. No. 134625. August 31, 1999]


UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES BOARD OF REGENTS, CHANCELLOR
ROGER POSADAS, DR. EMERLINDA ROMAN, DEAN CONSUELO PAZ, DR.
ISAGANI MEDINA, DR. MARIA SERENA DIOKNO, DR. OLIVIA CAOILI, DR.
FRANCISCO NEMENZO II, DEAN PACIFICO AGABIN, CARMELITA GUNO, and
MARICHU LAMBINO, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and
AROKIASWAMY WILLIAM MARGARET CELINE, respondents.
DECISION

Private respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine is a citizen of India and holder
of a Philippine visitors visa. Sometime in April 1988, she enrolled in the doctoral
program in Anthropology of the University of the Philippines College of Social Sciences
and Philosophy (CSSP) in Diliman, Quezon City.
After completing the units of course work required in her doctoral program, private
respondent went on a two-year leave of absence to work as Tamil Programme Producer
of the Vatican Radio in the Vatican and as General Office Assistant at the International
Right to Life Federation in Rome. She returned to the Philippines in July 1991 to work on
her dissertation entitled, Tamil Influences in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

MENDOZA, J.:
For review before the Court is the decision of the Court of Appeals[1] in CA-G.R. SP No.
42788, dated December 16, 1997, which granted private respondents application for a
writ of mandatory injunction, and its resolution, dated July 13, 1998, denying petitioners
motion for reconsideration.

On December 22, 1992, Dr. Realidad S. Rolda, chairperson of the U.P. Department of
Anthropology, wrote a letter to Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, CSSP Associate Dean and
Graduate Program Director, certifying that private respondent had finished her
dissertation and was ready for her oral defense. Dr. Rolda suggested that the oral defense
be held on January 6, 1993 but, in a letter, dated February 2, 1993, Dr. Serena Diokno
rescheduled it on February 5, 1993. Named as members of the dissertation panel were

67

Drs. E. Arsenio Manuel, Serafin Quiason, Sri Skandarajah, Noel Teodoro, and Isagani
Medina, the last included as the deans representative.
After going over private respondents dissertation, Dr. Medina informed CSSP Dean
Consuelo Joaquin-Paz that there was a portion in private respondents dissertation that
was lifted, without proper acknowledgment, from Balfours Cyclopaedia of India and
Eastern and Southern Asia (1967), volume I, pp. 392-401 (3 v., Edward Balfour 1885
reprint) and from John Edyes article entitled Description of the Various Classes of Vessels
Constructed and Employed by the Natives of the Coasts of Coromandel, Malabar, and the
Island of Ceylon for their Coasting Navigation in the Royal Asiatic Society of Great
Britain and Ireland Journal, volume I, pp. 1-14 (1833).[2]
Nonetheless, private respondent was allowed to defend her dissertation on February 5,
1993. Four (4) out of the five (5) panelists gave private respondent a passing mark for her
oral defense by affixing their signatures on the approval form. These were Drs. Manuel,
Quiason, Skandarajah, and Teodoro. Dr. Quiason added the following qualification to his
signature:
Ms. Arokiaswamy must incorporate the suggestions I made during the successful defense
of her Ph.D. thesis.[3]
Dr. Medina did not sign the approval form but added the following comment:
Pipirmahan ko ang pagsang-ayon/di pagsang-ayon kapag nakita ko na ang mga revisions
ng dissertation.[4]
Dr. Teodoro added the following note to his signature:
Kailangang isagawa ang mga mahahalagang pagbabago at ipakita sa panel ang bound
copies.[5]

Private respondent left a copy of her dissertation in Dr. Teodoros office on April 15, 1993
and proceeded to submit her dissertation to the CSSP without the approvals of Dr.
Medina and Dr. Teodoro, relying on Dean Pazs March 5, 1993 statement.
Dr. Teodoro later indicated his disapproval, while Dr. Medina did not sign the approval
form.[7]
Dean Paz then accepted private respondents dissertation in partial fulfillment of the
course requirements for the doctorate degree in Anthropology.
In a letter to Dean Paz, dated April 17, 1993, private respondent expressed concern over
matters related to her dissertation. She sought to explain why the signature of Dr. Medina
was not affixed to the revision approval form. Private respondent said that since she
already had the approval of a majority of the panel members, she no longer showed her
dissertation to Dr. Medina nor tried to obtain the latters signature on the revision approval
form. She likewise expressed her disappointment over the CSSP administration and
charged Drs. Diokno and Medina with maliciously working for the disapproval of her
dissertation, and further warned Dean Paz against encouraging perfidious acts against her.
On April 17, 1993, the University Council met to approve the list of candidates for
graduation for the second semester of school year 1992-1993. The list, which was
endorsed to the Board of Regents for final approval, included private respondents name.
On April 21, 1993, Dean Paz sent a letter to Dr. Milagros Ibe, Vice Chancellor for
Academic Affairs, requesting the exclusion of private respondents name from the list of
candidates for graduation, pending clarification of the problems regarding her
dissertation. Her letter reads:[8]
Abril 21, 1993

In a letter, dated March 5, 1993 and addressed to her thesis adviser, Dr. Manuel, private
respondent requested a meeting with the panel members, especially Dr. Medina, to
discuss the amendments suggested by the panel members during the oral defense. The
meeting was held at the deans office with Dean Paz, private respondent, and a majority of
the defense panel present.[6] During the meeting, Dean Paz remarked that a majority vote
of the panel members was sufficient for a student to pass, notwithstanding the failure to
obtain the consent of the Deans representative.

Dr. Milagros Ibe

On March 24, 1993, the CSSP College Faculty Assembly approved private respondents
graduation pending submission of final copies of her dissertation.

Mahal na Dr. Ibe,

In April 1993, private respondent submitted copies of her supposedly revised dissertation
to Drs. Manuel, Skandarajah, and Quiason, who expressed their assent to the dissertation.
Petitioners maintain, however, that private respondent did not incorporate the revisions
suggested by the panel members in the final copies of her dissertation.

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


Unibersidad ng Pilipinas
Quezon Hall, Diliman, Q.C.

Mahigpit ko pong hinihiling na hwag munang isama ang pangalan ni Ms. Arokiaswam[y]
William Margaret Celine sa listahan ng mga bibigyan ng degri na Ph.D. (Anthropology)
ngayon[g] semester, dahil sa mga malubhang bintang nya sa ilang myembro ng panel
para sa oral defense ng disertasyon nya at sa mga akusasyon ng ilan sa mga ito sa kanya.

68

Naniniwala po kami na dapat mailinaw muna ang ilang bagay bago makonfer ang degri
kay Ms. Arokiaswam[y]. Kelangan po ito para mapangalagaan ang istandard ng
pinakamataas na degree ng Unibersidad.
(Sgd.)
CONSUELO JOAQUIN-PAZ, Ph.D.
Dekano
Apparently, however, Dean Pazs letter did not reach the Board of Regents on time,
because the next day, April 22, 1993, the Board approved the University Councils
recommendation for the graduation of qualified students, including private respondent.
Two days later, on April 24, 1993, private respondent graduated with the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology.
On the other hand, Dean Paz also wrote a letter to private respondent, dated April 21,
1993, that she would not be granted an academic clearance unless she substantiated the
accusations contained in her letter dated April 17, 1993.
In her letter, dated April 27, 1993, private respondent claimed that Dr. Medinas
unfavorable attitude towards her dissertation was a reaction to her failure to include him
and Dr. Francisco in the list of panel members; that she made the revisions proposed by
Drs. Medina and Teodoro in the revised draft of her dissertation; and that Dr. Diokno was
guilty of harassment.
In a letter addressed to Dean Paz, dated May 1, 1993, Dr. Medina formally charged
private respondent with plagiarism and recommended that the doctorate granted to her be
withdrawn.[9]
On May 13, 1993, Dean Paz formed an ad hoc committee, composed of faculty members
from various disciplines and chaired by Dr. Eva Duka-Ventura, to investigate the
plagiarism charge against private respondent. Meanwhile, she recommended to U.P.
Diliman Chancellor, Dr. Emerlinda Roman, that the Ph.D. degree conferred on private
respondent be withdrawn.[10]
In a letter, dated June 7, 1993, Dean Paz informed private respondent of the charges
against her.[11]
On June 15, 1993, the Ventura Committee submitted a report to Dean Paz, finding at least
ninety (90) instances or portions in private respondents thesis which were lifted from
sources without proper or due acknowledgment.
On July 28, 1993, the CSSP College Assembly unanimously approved the
recommendation to withdraw private respondents doctorate degree and forwarded its

recommendation to the University Council. The University Council, in turn, approved


and endorsed the same recommendation to the Board of Regents on August 16, 1993.
On September 6, 1993, the Board of Regents deferred action on the recommendation to
study the legal implications of its approval.[12]
Meanwhile, in a letter, dated September 23, 1993, U.P. Diliman Chancellor Emerlinda
Roman summoned private respondent to a meeting on the same day and asked her to
submit her written explanation to the charges against her.
During the meeting, Chancellor Roman informed private respondent of the charges and
provided her a copy of the findings of the investigating committee.[13] Private
respondent, on the other hand, submitted her written explanation in a letter dated
September 25, 1993.
Another meeting was held on October 8, 1993 between Chancellor Roman and private
respondent to discuss her answer to the charges. A third meeting was scheduled on
October 27, 1993 but private respondent did not attend it, alleging that the Board of
Regents had already decided her case before she could be fully heard.
On October 11, 1993, private respondent wrote to Dr. Emil Q. Javier, U.P. President,
alleging that some members of the U.P. administration were playing politics in her case.
[14] She sent another letter, dated December 14, 1993, to Dr. Armand Fabella, Chairman
of the Board of Regents, complaining that she had not been afforded due process and
claiming that U.P. could no longer withdraw her degree since her dissertation had already
been accepted by the CSSP.[15]
Meanwhile, the U.P. Office of Legal Services justified the position of the University
Council in its report to the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents, in its February 1,
1994 and March 24, 1994 meetings, further deferred action thereon.
On July 11, 1994, private respondent sent a letter to the Board of Regents requesting a reinvestigation of her case. She stressed that under the Rules and Regulations on Student
Conduct and Discipline, it was the student disciplinary tribunal which had jurisdiction to
decide cases of dishonesty and that the withdrawal of a degree already conferred was not
one of the authorized penalties which the student disciplinary tribunal could impose.
On July 28, 1994, the Board of Regents decided to release private respondents transcript
of grades without annotation although it showed that private respondent passed her
dissertation with 12 units of credit.
On August 17, 1994, Chancellor Roger Posadas issued Administrative Order No. 94-94
constituting a special committee composed of senior faculty members from the U.P. units
outside Diliman to review the University Councils recommendation to withdraw private
respondents degree. With the approval of the Board of Regents and the U.P. Diliman
Executive Committee, Posadas created a five-man committee, chaired by Dr. Paulino B.

69

Zafaralla, with members selected from a list of nominees screened by Dr. Emerenciana
Arcellana, then a member of the Board of Regents. On August 31, 1994, the members of
the Zafaralla committee and private respondent met at U.P. Los Baos.

On January 4, 1995, the secretary of the Board of Regents sent private respondent the
following letter:[17]
4 January 1995

Meanwhile, on August 23, 1994, the U.P. Diliman Registrar released to private
respondent a copy of her transcript of grades and certificate of graduation.
In a letter to Chancellor Posadas, dated September 1, 1994, private respondent requested
that the Zafaralla committee be provided with copies of the U.P. Charter (Act No. 1870),
the U.P. Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline, her letter-response to
Chancellor Roman, dated September 25, 1993, as well as all her other communications.

Ms. Margaret Celine Arokiaswamy William


Department of Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City

On September 19, 1994, Chancellor Posadas obtained the Zafaralla Committees report,
signed by its chairman, recommending the withdrawal of private respondents doctorate
degree. The report stated:[16]
After going through all the pertinent documents of the case and interviewing Ms.
Arokiaswamy William, the following facts were established:

Dear Ms. Arokiaswamy William:


This is to officially inform you about the action taken by the Board of Regents at its
1081st and 1082nd meetings held last 17 November and 16 December 1994 regarding
your case, the excerpts from the minutes of which are attached herewith.

1. There is overwhelming evidence of massive lifting from a published source word for
word and, at times, paragraph by paragraph without any acknowledgment of the source,
even by a mere quotation mark. At least 22 counts of such documented liftings were
identified by the Committee. These form part of the approximately ninety (90) instances
found by the Committee created by the Dean of the College and subsequently verified as
correct by the Special Committee. These instances involved the following forms of
intellectual dishonesty: direct lifting/copying without acknowledgment, full/partial lifting
with improper documentation and substitution of terms or words (e.g., Tamil in place of
Sanskrit, Tamilization in place of Indianization) from an acknowledged source in support
of her thesis (attached herewith is a copy of the documents for reference); and

Please be informed that the members present at the 1081st BOR meeting on 17
November 1994 resolved, by a majority decision, to withdraw your Ph.D. degree as
recommended by the U.P. Diliman University Council and as concurred with by the
External Review Panel composed of senior faculty from U.P. Los Baos and U.P. Manila.
These faculty members were chosen by lot from names submitted by the University
Councils of U.P. Los Baos and U.P. Manila.

2. Ms. Arokiaswamy William herself admits of being guilty of the allegation of


plagiarism. Fact is, she informed the Special Committee that she had been admitting
having lifted several portions in her dissertation from various sources since the
beginning.

Sincerely yours,

In reply to your 14 December 1994 letter requesting that you be given a good lawyer by
the Board, the Board, at its 1082nd meeting on 16 December 1994, suggested that you
direct your request to the Office of Legal Aid, College of Law, U.P. Diliman.

(Sgd.)
VIVENCIO R. JOSE

In view of the overwhelming proof of massive lifting and also on the admission of Ms.
Arokiaswamy William that she indeed plagiarized, the Committee strongly supports the
recommendation of the U.P. Diliman Council to withdraw the doctoral degree of Ms.
Margaret Celine Arokiaswamy William.
On the basis of the report, the University Council, on September 24, 1994, recommended
to the Board of Regents that private respondent be barred in the future from admission to
the University either as a student or as an employee.

Secretary of the University


and of the Board of Regents
On January 18, 1995, private respondent wrote a letter to Commissioner Sedfrey Ordoez,
Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, asking the commissions intervention.
[18] In a letter, dated February 14, 1995, to Secretary Ricardo Gloria, Chairman of the
Board of Regents, she asked for a reinvestigation of her case. She also sought an
audience with the Board of Regents and/or the U.P. President, which request was denied
by President Javier, in a letter dated June 2, 1995.

70

On August 10, 1995, private respondent then filed a petition for mandamus with a prayer
for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and damages, which was docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-95-24690 and assigned to Branch 81 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City.[19] She alleged that petitioners had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without
justification and without affording her procedural due process. She prayed that petitioners
be ordered to restore her degree and to pay her P500,000.00 as moral and exemplary
damages and P1,500,000.00 as compensation for lost earnings.
On August 6, 1996, the trial court, Branch 227, rendered a decision dismissing the
petition for mandamus for lack of merit.[20] Private respondent appealed to the Court of
Appeals, which on December 16, 1997, reversed the lower court. The dispositive portion
of the appellate courts decision reads:[21]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is hereby reversed and set aside.
Respondents are ordered to restore to petitioner her degree of Ph.D. in Anthropology.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN GRANTING THE
WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO RESTORE
RESPONDENTS DOCTORAL DEGREE.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN HOLDING THAT
THE DOCTORAL DEGREE GIVEN RESPONDENT BY U.P. CANNOT BE
RECALLED WITHOUT VIOLATING HER RIGHT TO ENJOYMENT OF
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TO JUSTICE AND EQUITY.
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN DEPRIVING
PETITIONERS OF THEIR RIGHT TO SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS.[22]
Petitioners argue that private respondent failed to show that she had been unlawfully
excluded from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which she is entitled so as to
justify the issuance of the writ of mandamus. They also contend that she failed to prove
that the restoration of her degree is a ministerial duty of U.P. or that the withdrawal of the
degree violated her right to the enjoyment of intellectual property.

On the other hand, private respondent, unassisted by counsel, argue that petitioners acted
arbitrarily and with grave abuse of discretion in withdrawing her degree even prior to
verifying the truth of the plagiarism charge against her; and that as her answer to the
charges had not been forwarded to the members of the investigating committees, she was
deprived of the opportunity to comment or refute their findings.
In addition, private respondent maintains that petitioners are estopped from withdrawing
her doctorate degree; that petitioners acted contrary to 9 of the U.P. Charter and the U.P.
Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline of the University, which
according to her, does not authorize the withdrawal of a degree as a penalty for erring
students; and that only the college committee or the student disciplinary tribunal may
decide disciplinary cases, whose report must be signed by a majority of its members.
We find petitioners contention to be meritorious.
Mandamus is a writ commanding a tribunal, corporation, board or person to do the act
required to be done when it or he unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the
law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully
excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is
entitled, there being no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law.[23] In University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Ligot-Telan,[24] this
Court ruled that the writ was not available to restrain U.P. from the exercise of its
academic freedom. In that case, a student who was found guilty of dishonesty and
ordered suspended for one year by the Board of Regents, filed a petition for mandamus
and obtained from the lower court a temporary restraining order stopping U.P. from
carrying out the order of suspension. In setting aside the TRO and ordering the lower
court to dismiss the students petition, this Court said:
[T]he lower court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the writ of preliminary
injunction of May 29, 1993. The issuance of the said writ was based on the lower courts
finding that the implementation of the disciplinary sanction of suspension on Nadal
would work injustice to the petitioner as it would delay him in finishing his course, and
consequently, in getting a decent and good paying job. Sadly, such a ruling considers only
the situation of Nadal without taking into account the circumstances, clearly of his own
making, which led him into such a predicament. More importantly, it has completely
disregarded the overriding issue of academic freedom which provides more than ample
justification for the imposition of a disciplinary sanction upon an erring student of an
institution of higher learning.
From the foregoing arguments, it is clear that the lower court should have restrained itself
from assuming jurisdiction over the petition filed by Nadal. Mandamus is never issued in
doubtful cases, a showing of a clear and certain right on the part of the petitioner being
required. It is of no avail against an official or government agency whose duty requires
the exercise of discretion or judgment.[25]

71

In this case, the trial court dismissed private respondents petition precisely on grounds of
academic freedom but the Court of Appeals reversed holding that private respondent was
denied due process. It said:

include the right to cross examination. An administrative proceeding conducted to


investigate students participation in a hazing activity need not be clothed with the
attributes of a judicial proceeding. . .

It is worthy to note that during the proceedings taken by the College Assembly
culminating in its recommendation to the University Council for the withdrawal of
petitioners Ph.D. degree, petitioner was not given the chance to be heard until after the
withdrawal of the degree was consummated. Petitioners subsequent letters to the U.P.
President proved unavailing.[26]

In this case, in granting the writ of mandamus, the Court of Appeals held:

As the foregoing narration of facts in this case shows, however, various committees had
been formed to investigate the charge that private respondent had committed plagiarism
and, in all the investigations held, she was heard in her defense. Indeed, if any criticism
may be made of the university proceedings before private respondent was finally stripped
of her degree, it is that there were too many committee and individual investigations
conducted, although all resulted in a finding that private respondent committed
dishonesty in submitting her doctoral dissertation on the basis of which she was conferred
the Ph.D. degree.
Indeed, in administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is simply the
opportunity to explain ones side of a controversy or a chance to seek reconsideration of
the action or ruling complained of.[27] A party who has availed of the opportunity to
present his position cannot tenably claim to have been denied due process.[28]
In this case, private respondent was informed in writing of the charges against her[29]
and afforded opportunities to refute them. She was asked to submit her written
explanation, which she forwarded on September 25, 1993.[30] Private respondent then
met with the U.P. chancellor and the members of the Zafaralla committee to discuss her
case. In addition, she sent several letters to the U.P. authorities explaining her position.
[31]
It is not tenable for private respondent to argue that she was entitled to have an audience
before the Board of Regents. Due process in an administrative context does not require
trial-type proceedings similar to those in the courts of justice.[32] It is noteworthy that
the U.P. Rules do not require the attendance of persons whose cases are included as items
on the agenda of the Board of Regents.[33]
Nor indeed was private respondent entitled to be furnished a copy of the report of the
Zafaralla committee as part of her right to due process. In Ateneo de Manila University v.
Capulong,[34] we held:
Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were not accorded the
opportunity to see and examine the written statements which became the basis of
petitioners February 14, 1991 order, they were denied procedural due process. Granting
that they were denied such opportunity, the same may not be said to detract from the
observance of due process, for disciplinary cases involving students need not necessarily

First. Petitioner graduated from the U.P. with a doctorate degree in Anthropology. After
graduation, the contact between U.P. and petitioner ceased. Petitioner is no longer within
the ambit of the disciplinary powers of the U.P. As a graduate, she is entitled to the right
and enjoyment of the degree she has earned. To recall the degree, after conferment, is not
only arbitrary, unreasonable, and an act of abuse, but a flagrant violation of petitioners
right of enjoyment to intellectual property.
Second. Respondents aver that petitioners graduation was a mistake.
Unfortunately this mistake was arrived at after almost a year after graduation.
Considering that the members of the thesis panel, the College Faculty Assembly, and the
U.P. Council are all men and women of the highest intellectual acumen and integrity, as
respondents themselves aver, suspicion is aroused that the alleged mistake might not be
the cause of withdrawal but some other hidden agenda which respondents do not wish to
reveal.
At any rate, We cannot countenance the plight the petitioner finds herself enmeshed in as
a consequence of the acts complained of. Justice and equity demand that this be rectified
by restoring the degree conferred to her after her compliance with the academic and other
related requirements.
Art. XIV, 5 (2) of the Constitution provides that [a]cademic freedom shall be enjoyed in
all institutions of higher learning. This is nothing new. The 1935 Constitution[35] and the
1973 Constitution[36] likewise provided for the academic freedom or, more precisely, for
the institutional autonomy of universities and institutions of higher learning. As pointed
out by this Court in Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology,
[37] it is a freedom granted to institutions of higher learning which is thus given a wide
sphere of authority certainly extending to the choice of students. If such institution of
higher learning can decide who can and who cannot study in it, it certainly can also
determine on whom it can confer the honor and distinction of being its graduates.
Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was obtained through
fraud, a university has the right to revoke or withdraw the honor or distinction it has thus
conferred. This freedom of a university does not terminate upon the graduation of a
student, as the Court of Appeals held. For it is precisely the graduation of such a student
that is in question. It is noteworthy that the investigation of private respondents case
began before her graduation. If she was able to join the graduation ceremonies on April
24, 1993, it was because of too many investigations conducted before the Board of
Regents finally decided she should not have been allowed to graduate.

72

Wide indeed is the sphere of autonomy granted to institutions of higher learning, for the
constitutional grant of academic freedom, to quote again from Garcia v. Faculty
Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, is not to be construed in a niggardly
manner or in a grudging fashion.

of disciplinary powers of the U.P., is private respondents contention that it is the Student
Disciplinary Tribunal which had jurisdiction over her case because the charge is
dishonesty. Private respondent invokes 5 of the U.P. Rules and Regulations on Student
Conduct and Discipline which provides:

Under the U.P. Charter, the Board of Regents is the highest governing body of the
University of the Philippines.[38] It has the power to confer degrees upon the
recommendation of the University Council.[39] It follows that if the conferment of a
degree is founded on error or fraud, the Board of Regents is also empowered, subject to
the observance of due process, to withdraw what it has granted without violating a
students rights. An institution of higher learning cannot be powerless if it discovers that
an academic degree it has conferred is not rightfully deserved. Nothing can be more
objectionable than bestowing a universitys highest academic degree upon an individual
who has obtained the same through fraud or deceit. The pursuit of academic excellence is
the universitys concern. It should be empowered, as an act of self-defense, to take
measures to protect itself from serious threats to its integrity.

Jurisdiction. All cases involving discipline of students under these rules shall be subject
to the jurisdiction of the student disciplinary tribunal, except the following cases which
shall fall under the jurisdiction of the appropriate college or unit;

While it is true that the students are entitled to the right to pursue their education, the
USC as an educational institution is also entitled to pursue its academic freedom and in
the process has the concomitant right to see to it that this freedom is not jeopardized.[40]

Private respondent argues that under 25 (a) of the said Rules and Regulations, dishonesty
in relation to ones studies (i.e., plagiarism) may be punished only with suspension for at
least one (1) year.

In the case at bar, the Board of Regents determined, after due investigation conducted by
a committee composed of faculty members from different U.P. units, that private
respondent committed no less than ninety (90) instances of intellectual dishonesty in her
dissertation. The Board of Regents decision to withdraw private respondents doctorate
was based on documents on record including her admission that she committed the
offense.[41]

As the above-quoted provision of 5 of the Rules and Regulations indicates, the


jurisdiction of the student disciplinary tribunal extends only to disciplinary actions. In
this case, U.P. does not seek to discipline private respondent. Indeed, as the appellate
court observed, private respondent is no longer within the ambit of disciplinary powers of
the U.P. Private respondent cannot even be punished since, as she claims, the penalty for
acts of dishonesty in administrative disciplinary proceedings is suspension from the
University for at least one year. What U.P., through the Board of Regents, seeks to do is
to protect its academic integrity by withdrawing from private respondent an academic
degree she obtained through fraud.

On the other hand, private respondent was afforded the opportunity to be heard and
explain her side but failed to refute the charges of plagiarism against her. Her only claim
is that her responses to the charges against her were not considered by the Board of
Regents before it rendered its decision. However, this claim was not proven. Accordingly,
we must presume regularity in the performance of official duties in the absence of proof
to the contrary.[42]

(a) Violation of college or unit rules and regulations by students of the college, or
(b) Misconduct committed by students of the college or unit within its classrooms or
premises or in the course of an official activity;
Provided, that regional units of the University shall have original jurisdiction over all
cases involving students of such units.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and the
petition for mandamus is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

Very much the opposite of the position of the Court of Appeals that, since private
respondent was no longer a student of the U.P., the latter was no longer within the ambit
Supreme Court

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.


JOSE R. CATACUTAN,

Manila

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 175991

73

Petitioner,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BERSAMIN,

DEL CASTILLO, and

Present:

VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


CORONA, C.J., Chairperson,
- versus -

74

Promulgated:

with Salary Grade 16, both at the Surigao del Norte School of Arts and Trades (SNSAT).
[3]

Respondent.

August 31, 2011


x------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

On June 2, 1997, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Caraga Administrative


Region, appointed and promoted private complainants as Vocational Instruction
Supervisor III with Salary Grade 18 at SNSAT.[4] These promotional appointments were
duly approved and attested as permanent by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on June
3, 1997.[5] Being then the Officer-In-Charge of SNSAT, the approved appointments were
formally transmitted to the petitioner on June 6, 1997,[6] copy furnished the concerned
appointees. Despite receipt of the appointment letter, the private complainants were not
able to assume their new position since petitioner made known that he strongly opposed
their appointments and that he would not implement them despite written orders from
CHED[7] and the CSC, Caraga Regional Office.[8] Thus, on August 2, 1997, private
complainants lodged a formal complaint against petitioner for grave abuse of authority
and disrespect of lawful orders before the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao.[9]

In an Information dated February 27, 1998, petitioner was charged before the RTC of
Surigao City with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 as amended, committed in the
following manner, to wit:

It is well within the Courts discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it
judiciously believes irrelevant and impertinent to the proceeding on hand.

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by petitioner Jose R. Catacutan


seeking to set aside and reverse the Decision[1] dated December 7, 2006 of the
Sandiganbayan which affirmed the Decision[2] dated July 25, 2005 of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 30, Surigao City convicting him of the crime of violation of Section
3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act.

Factual Antecedents

That in June 1997 or sometime thereafter, in Surigao City, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN, OIC Principal
of Surigao del Norte School of Arts and Trades (SNSAT), Surigao City, with salary grade
below 27, while in the performance of his official duties, thus committing the act in
relation to his office, willfully, feloniously and unlawfully did then and there, with grave
abuse of authority and evident bad faith, refuse to implement the promotion/appointments
of Georgito Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as Vocational Supervisors III
notwithstanding the issuance of the valid appointments by the appointing authority and
despite the directive of the Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education
and the Civil Service Commission in the region, thereby causing undue injury to
complainants who were supposed to receive a higher compensation for their promotion,
as well as [to] the school and the students who were deprived of the better services which
could have been rendered by Georgito Posesano and Magdalena A. Divinagracia as
Vocational Instruction Supervisors [III].

The antecedent facts are clear and undisputed.


Private complainant Georgito Posesano was an Instructor II with Salary Grade 13 while
private complainant Magdalena Divinagracia was an Education Program Specialist II

CONTRARY TO LAW.[10]

75

The RTC disposed of the case as follows:

During arraignment on September 22, 1998, petitioner pleaded not guilty.

For his defense, petitioner admitted that he did not implement the promotional
appointments of the private complainants because of some procedural lapses or
infirmities attending the preparation of the appointment papers. According to him, the
appointment papers were prepared by SNSAT Administrative Officer, Crispin Noguera,
using blank forms bearing the letterhead of SNSAT and not of the CHED Regional Office
who made the appointments. He also averred that the appointment papers cited the entire
plantilla[11] (1996 Plantilla-OSEC-DECSB-VOCIS3-19, Pages 1-16) instead of only the
particular page on which the vacant item occurs. He likewise claimed that he received
only the duplicate copies of the appointments contrary to the usual procedure where the
original appointment papers and other supporting documents are returned to his office.
Finally, he asserted that the transmittal letter from the CHED did not specify the date of
effectivity of the appointments. These alleged infirmities, he contended, were formally
brought to the attention of the CHED Regional Director on June 20, 1997[12] who,
however, informed him that the subject appointments were regular and valid and directed
him to implement the same. Still not satisfied, petitioner sought the intercession of CHED
Chairman Angel C. Alcala in the settlement of this administrative problem[13] but the
latter did not respond. Petitioner alleged that his refusal to implement the appointments of
the private complainants was not motivated by bad faith but he just wanted to protect the
interest of the government by following strict compliance in the preparation of
appointment papers.

WHEREFORE, finding the accused JOSE R. CATACUTAN guilty beyond reasonable


doubt [of] VIOLATION OF SECTION 3(e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act, this Court hereby imposes upon him the penalty of
imprisonment [of] SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH and PERPETUAL
DISQUALIFICATION FROM PUBLIC OFFICE, and to pay the costs.

The aforementioned accused is hereby ordered to pay private complainants Georgito


Posesano and Magdalena Divinagracia the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00)
each, for moral damages.

SO ORDERED.[15]

Petitioner moved for reconsideration[16] but it was denied in an Order[17] dated


October 13, 2005.

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan


Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

On July 25, 2005, the RTC rendered its Decision[14] holding that the act of the petitioner
in defying the orders of the CHED and the CSC to implement the subject promotional
appointments despite the rejection of his opposition, demonstrates his palpable and patent
fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for
some perverse motive or ill will. The trial court ruled that petitioners refusal to
implement the appointments of the private complainants had caused undue injury to
them. Thus, it held petitioner guilty of the crime charged and accordingly sentenced him
to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) month and perpetual
disqualification from public office.

On appeal, petitioners conviction was affirmed in toto by the Sandiganbayan.[18] The


appellate court ruled that the Decision of the trial court, being supported by evidence and
firmly anchored in law and jurisprudence, is correct. It held that petitioner failed to show
that the trial court committed any reversible error in judgment.

Hence, this petition.

In the Courts Resolution[19] dated February 26, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) was required to file its Comment. The OSG filed its Comment[20] on June 5,

76

2007 while the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed the Comment[21] for respondent
People of the Philippines on February 22, 2008.

Issue

Due process simply demands an opportunity to be heard.[24] Due process is satisfied


when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective
sides of the controversy.[25] Where an opportunity to be heard either through oral
arguments or through pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.
[26]

The sole issue for consideration in this present petition is:

Whether the [petitioners] constitutional right[s] to due process x x x and x x x equal


protection of [the] law x x x were violated x x x [when he was denied] the opportunity to
present [in] evidence [the Court of Appeals] Decision dated April 18, 2001 x x x in CAG.R. SP No. 51795 entitled Jose R. Catacutan, petitioner, versus Office of the
Ombudsman for Mindanao, et al., respondents.[22]

Invoking the constitutional provision on due process,[23] petitioner argues that the
Decision rendered by the trial court is flawed and is grossly violative of his right to be
heard and to present evidence. He contends that he was not able to controvert the findings
of the trial court since he was not able to present the Court of Appeals (CAs) Decision in
CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 which denied the administrative case filed against him and
declared that his intention in refusing to implement the promotions of the private
complainants falls short of malice or wrongful intent.

Our Ruling

The petition lacks of merit.

Guided by these established jurisprudential pronouncements, petitioner can hardly claim


denial of his fundamental right to due process. Records show that petitioner was able to
confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, argue his case vigorously, and
explain the merits of his defense. To reiterate, as long as a party was given the
opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he cannot be said to have been denied
due process of law for the opportunity to be heard is the better accepted norm of
procedural due process.

There is also no denial of due process when the trial court did not allow petitioner to
introduce as evidence the CA Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795. It is well within the
courts discretion to reject the presentation of evidence which it judiciously believes
irrelevant and impertinent to the proceeding on hand. This is specially true when the
evidence sought to be presented in a criminal proceeding as in this case, concerns an
administrative matter. As the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked:

The RTC committed no error in judgment when it did not allow the Accused-appellant to
present the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51795 (Jose R.
Catacutan vs. Office of the Ombudsman). The findings in administrative cases are not
binding upon the court trying a criminal case, even if the criminal proceedings are based
on the same facts and incidents which gave rise to the administrative matter. The
dismissal of a criminal case does not foreclose administrative action or necessarily gives
the accused a clean bill of health in all respects. In the same way, the dismissal of an
administrative case does not operate to terminate a criminal proceeding with the same
subject matter. x x x[27]

Petitioner was not deprived of his right to due process.


This action undertaken by the trial court and sustained by the appellate court was not
without legal precedent. In Paredes v. Court of Appeals,[28] this Court ruled:

77

It is indeed a fundamental principle of administrative law that administrative cases are


independent from criminal actions for the same act or omission. Thus, an absolution from
a criminal charge is not a bar to an administrative prosecution, or vice versa. One thing is
administrative liability; quite another thing is the criminal liability for the same act.

At any rate, even assuming that the trial court erroneously rejected the introduction as
evidence of the CA Decision, petitioner is not left without legal recourse. Petitioner could
have availed of the remedy provided in Section 40, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which
provides:

xxxx

Section 40. Tender of excluded evidence. If documents or things offered in evidence are
excluded by the court, the offeror may have the same attached to or made part of the
record. If the evidence excluded is oral, the offeror may state for the record the name and
other personal circumstances of the witness and the substance of the proposed testimony.

Thus, considering the difference in the quantum of evidence, as well as the procedure
followed and the sanctions imposed in criminal and administrative proceedings, the
findings and conclusions in one should not necessarily be binding on the other. Notably,
the evidence presented in the administrative case may not necessarily be the same
evidence to be presented in the criminal cases. x x x
As observed by the appellate court, if the petitioner is keen on having the RTC admit the
CAs Decision for whatever it may be worth, he could have included the same in his offer
of exhibits. If an exhibit sought to be presented in evidence is rejected, the party
producing it should ask the courts permission to have the exhibit attached to the record.
In Nicolas v. Sandiganbayan,[29] the Court reiterated:

This Court is not unmindful of its rulings that the dismissal of an administrative case does
not bar the filing of a criminal prosecution for the same or similar acts subject of the
administrative complaint and that the disposition in one case does not inevitably govern
the resolution of the other case/s and vice versa. x x x

As things stand, the CA Decision does not form part of the records of the case, thus it has
no probative weight. Any evidence that a party desires to submit for the consideration of
the court must be formally offered by him otherwise it is excluded and rejected and
cannot even be taken cognizance of on appeal. The rules of procedure and jurisprudence
do not sanction the grant of evidentiary value to evidence which was not formally
offered.

Section 3(e) of RA 3019, as amended, provides:

On the basis of the afore-mentioned precedents, the Court has no option but to declare
that the courts below correctly disallowed the introduction in evidence of the CA
Decision. Due process of law is not denied by the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial, or
incompetent evidence, or testimony of an incompetent witness. It is not an error to refuse
evidence which although admissible for certain purposes, is not admissible for the
purpose which counsel states as the ground for offering it.[30]

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public


officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices
of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful.

78

xxxx

(e) Causing any 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. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of
offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other
concessions.

Under said provision of law, three essential elements must thus be satisfied, viz:

1.
The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or
official functions;

2.
He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable
negligence; and

3.
His action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government or
gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of
his functions.[31]

All the above enumerated elements of the offense charged have been successfully proven
by the prosecution.

First, petitioner could not have committed the acts imputed against him during the time
material to this case were it not for his being a public officer, that is, as the Officer-InCharge (Principal) of SNSAT. As such public officer, he exercised official duties and
functions, which include the exercise of administrative supervision over the school such

as taking charge of personnel management and finances, as well as implementing


instruction as far as appointment of teachers.[32]

Second, petitioner acted with evident bad faith in refusing to implement the appointments
of private complainants. As the Sandiganbayan aptly remarked:

The records clearly indicate that the refusal of Catacutan to implement the subject
promotion was no longer anchored on any law or civil service rule as early [as] the July
14, 1997 letter of the CHED Regional Director addressing the four issues raised by the
Accused-appellant in the latters protest letter. x x x In light of the undisputed evidence
presented to the trial court that Catacutans reason for not implementing the appointments
was a personal dislike or ill feelings towards Posesano, this Court believes that
Catacutans refusal was impelled by an ill motive or dishonest purpose characteristic of
bad faith. x x x

xxxx

In the August 1, 1997 [m]emorandum issued by the CHED Regional Director, Catacutan
was once again directed, in strong words, to cease and desist from further questioning
what has been lawfully acted upon by competent authorities. Catacutan deliberately
ignored the memorandum and even challenged the private complainants to file a case
against him. Such arrogance is indicative of the bad faith of the accused-appellant.

Yet again, the [CSC] Regional Director wrote the Accused-appellant on September 5,
1997, clarifying with finality the validity of the appointment. Still, Accused-appellant
failed to implement the subject promotions. This stubborn refusal to implement the clear
and repeated directive of competent authorities established the evident bad faith of
Catacutan and belies any of his claims to the contrary.[33]

While petitioner may have laudable objectives in refusing the implementation of private
complainants valid appointments, the Court fails to see how he can still claim good faith
when no less than the higher authorities have already sustained the validity of the subject

79

appointments and have ordered him to proceed with the implementation. It is well to
remember that good intentions do not win cases, evidence does.[34]

Third, undue injury to the private complainants was duly proven to the point of moral
certainty. Here, the private complainants suffered undue injury when they were not able
to assume their official duties as Vocational Supervisors III despite the issuance of their
valid appointments. As borne out by the records, they were able to assume their new
positions only on November 19, 1997. So in the interregnum from June to November
1997, private complainants failed to enjoy the benefits of an increased salary
corresponding to their newly appointed positions. Likewise established is that as a result
of petitioners unjustified and inordinate refusal to implement their valid appointments
notwithstanding clear and mandatory directives from his superiors, the private
complainants suffered mental anguish, sleepless nights, serious anxiety warranting the
award of moral damages under Article 2217 of the New Civil Code.
SUPREME COURT
Manila

At this point, the Court just needs to stress that the foregoing are factual matters that were
threshed out and decided upon by the trial court which were subsequently affirmed by the
Sandiganbayan. Where the factual findings of both the trial court and the appellate court
coincide, the same are binding on this Court. In any event, apart from these factual
findings of the lower courts, this Court in its own assessment and review of the records
considers the findings in order.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Sandiganbayan
promulgated on December 7, 2006 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Burauen, Leyte, charging petitioners with violation of Section 261(y)(2)8 and Section
261(y)(5)9 of the Omnibus Election Code, similarly referred to as Batas Pambansa Blg.
881; and Section 1210 of Republic Act No. 8189.

EN BANC
G.R. No. 167011

April 30, 2008

SPOUSES CARLOS S. ROMUALDEZ and ERLINDA R. ROMUALDEZ, petitioners,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DENNIS GARAY, respondents.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This treats of the Petition for Review on Certiorari with a prayer for the issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction filed by petitioners
Spouses Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda R. Romualdez seeking to annul and set aside
the Resolutions, dated 11 June 20041 and 27 January 20052 of the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) in E.O. Case No. 2000-36. In the Resolution of 11 June 2004, the
COMELEC En Banc directed the Law Department to file the appropriate Information
with the proper court against petitioners Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez for
violation of Section 10(g) and (j)3 in relation to Section 45(j)4 of Republic Act No. 8189,
otherwise known as The Voters Registration Act of 1996.5 Petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration thereon was denied.
The factual antecedents leading to the instant Petition are presented hereunder:
On 12 July 2000, private respondent Dennis Garay, along with Angelino Apostol6 filed a
Complaint-Affidavit7 with the COMELEC thru the Office of the Election Officer in

Private respondent deposed, inter alia, that: petitioners are of legal ages and residents of
113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa Street, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City; on 9
May 2000 and 11 May 2000, petitioners Carlos S. Romualdez and Erlinda R. Romualdez,
applied for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election Officer of Burauen,
Leyte, as evidenced by Voter Registration Record Nos. 42454095 and 07902952,
respectively; in their sworn applications, petitioners made false and untruthful
representations in violation of Section 1011 of Republic Act Nos. 8189, by indicating
therein that they are residents of 935 San Jose Street, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and
in fact, they were and still are residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa Street, Bagong
Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City, and registered voters of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng
Crame, District IV, Quezon City, Precinct No. 4419-A, as evidenced by Voter
Registration Record Nos. 26195824 and 26195823; and that petitioners, knowing fully
well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not fill the blank spaces in said
applications corresponding to the length of time which they have resided in Burauen,
Leyte. In fine, private respondent charged petitioners, to wit:
Respondent-spouses, Carlos Sison Romualdez and Erlinda Reyes Romualdez committed
and consummated election offenses in violation of our election laws, specifically, Sec.
261, paragraph (y), subparagraph (2), for knowingly making any false or untruthful
statements relative to any data or information required in the application for registration,
and of Sec. 261, paragraph (y), subparagraph (5), committed by any person who, being a
registered voter, registers anew without filing an application for cancellation of his
previous registration, both of the Omnibus Election Code (BP Blg. 881), and of Sec. 12,
RA 8189 (Voter Registration Act) for failure to apply for transfer of registration records
due to change of residence to another city or municipality."12

80

The Complaint-Affidavit contained a prayer that a preliminary investigation be conducted


by the COMELEC, and if the evidence so warrants, the corresponding Information
against petitioners be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for the prosecution of
the same.
Petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss13 dated 2 April 2001.
They contended therein that they did not make any false or untruthful statements in their
application for registration. They avowed that they intended to reside in Burauen, Leyte,
since the year 1989. On 9 May 2000, they took actual residence in Burauen, Leyte, by
leasing for five (5) years, the house of Juanito and Fe Renomeron at No. 935, San Jose
Street in Burauen, Leyte. On even date, the Barangay District III Council of Burauen
passed a Resolution of Welcome, expressing therein its gratitude and appreciation to
petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez for choosing the Barangay as his official residence.14
On 28 November 2003, Atty. Maria Norina S. Tangaro-Casingal, COMELEC
Investigating Officer, issued a Resolution, recommending to the COMELEC Law
Department (Investigation and Prosecution Division), the filing of the appropriate
Information against petitioners, disposing, thus:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Law Department (Investigation and Prosecution
Division), RECOMMENDS to file the necessary information against Carlos Sison
Romualdez before the proper Regional Trial Court for violation of Section 10 (g) and (j)
in relation to Section 45 (j) of Republic Act 8189 and to authorize the Director IV of the
Law Department to designate a Comelec Prosecutor to handle the prosecution of the case
with the duty to submit periodic report after every hearing of the case.15

As aptly observed by the Investigating Officer, the filing of request for the cancellation
and transfer of Voting Registration Record does not automatically cancel the registration
records. The fact remains that at the time of application for registration as new voter of
the herein Respondents on May 9 and 11, 2001 in the Office of Election Officer of
Burauen, Leyte their registration in Barangay 4419-A, Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng
Crame Quezon City was still valid and subsisting.18
On 12 January 2006, Alioden D. Dalaig, Director IV, Law Department of the COMELEC
filed with the RTC, Burauen, Leyte, separate Informations against petitioner Carlos S.
Romualdez19 for violation of Section 10(g), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act
No. 8189, and against petitioner Erlinda R. Romualdez20 for violation of Section 10(g),
in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, subsequently docketed as Crim.
Case No. BN-06-03-4185 and Crim. Case No. BN-06-03-4183, respectively. Moreover,
separate Informations for violation of Section 10(j), in relation to Section 45(j) of
Republic Act No. 8189 were filed against petitioners.21
Hence, petitioners come to us via the instant Petition, submitting the following
arguments:
I
RESPONDENT COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF OR IN EXCESS OF ITS JURISDICTION;
and
II

On 11 June 2004, the COMELEC En Banc found no reason to depart from the
recommendatory Resolution of 28 November 2003, and ordered, viz:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Law Department is hereby directed to file the
appropriate information with the proper court against respondents CARLOS S.
ROMUALDEZ AND ERLINDA ROMUALDEZ for violation of Section 10 (g) and (j) in
relation to Section 45 (j) of the Republic Act No. 8189.16
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereon.
Acting on the Motion, the COMELEC found no cogent reason to disturb the assailed En
Banc Resolution of 11 June 2004,17 rationalizing, thus:
However, perusal of the records reveal (sic) that the arguments and issues raised in the
Motion for Reconsideration are merely a rehash of the arguments advanced by the
Respondents in [their] Memorandum received by the Law Department on 17 April 2001,
the same [w]as already considered by the Investigating Officer and was discussed in her
recommendation which eventually was made as the basis for the En Bancs resolution.

COMELEC GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT PREMISED ITS


RESOLUTION ON A MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS AND FAILED TO
CONSIDER CERTAIN RELEVANT FACTS THAT WOULD JUSTIFY A DIFFERENT
CONCLUSION.22
On 4 May 2006, petitioners filed a Motion Reiterating Prayer for Issuance of Writ of
Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for Indirect Contempt,23 alleging that two separate
Informations, both dated 12 January 2006, were filed with the RTC by the COMELEC
against petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez for violation of Section 10(j), in relation to
Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, in Criminal Case No. BN-06-03-9184; and for
violation of Section 10(g), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, in
Criminal Case No. BN-06-03-9185. Similarly, the Motion alleged that the COMELEC
filed with the RTC, two separate Informations, both dated 12 January 2006, against
petitioner Erlinda R. Romualdez, charging her with the same offenses as those charged
against petitioner Carlos S. Romualdez, and thereafter, docketed as Criminal Case No.
BN-06-03-9182, and No. BN-06-03-9183.

81

On 20 June 2006, this Court issued a Resolution24 denying for lack of merit petitioners
Motion Reiterating Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for
Indirect Contempt.
We shall now resolve, in seriatim, the arguments raised by petitioners.

The application for registration shall contain three (3) specimen signatures of the
applicant, clear and legible rolled prints of his left and right thumbprints, with four
identification size copies of his latest photograph, attached thereto, to be taken at the
expense of the Commission.

Petitioners contend that the election offenses for which they are charged by private
respondent are entirely different from those which they stand to be accused of before the
RTC by the COMELEC. According to petitioners, private respondents complaint
charged them for allegedly violating, to wit: 1) Section 261(y)(2) and Section 261(y)(5)
of the Omnibus Election Code, and 2) Section 12 of the Voters Registration Act;
however, the COMELEC En Banc directed in the assailed Resolutions, that they be
charged for violations of Section 10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of the Voters
Registration Act. Essentially, petitioners are of the view that they were not accorded due
process of law. Specifically, their right to refute or submit documentary evidence against
the new charges which COMELEC ordered to be filed against them. Moreover,
petitioners insist that Section 45(j) of the Voters Registration Act is vague as it does not
refer to a definite provision of the law, the violation of which would constitute an election
offense; hence, it runs contrary to Section 14(1)25 and Section 14(2),26 Article III of the
1987 Constitution.

Before the applicant accomplishes his application for registration, the Election Officer
shall inform him of the qualifications and disqualifications prescribed by law for a voter,
and thereafter, see to it that the accomplished application contains all the data therein
required and that the applicants specimen signatures, fingerprints, and photographs are
properly affixed in all copies of the voters application.

We are not persuaded.

Significantly, the allegations in the Complaint-Affidavit which was filed with the Law
Department of the COMELEC, support the charge directed by the COMELEC En Banc
to be filed against petitioners with the RTC. Even a mere perusal of the ComplaintAffidavit would readily show that Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8189 was specifically
mentioned therein. On the matter of the acts covered by Section 10(g) and (j), the
Complaint-Affidavit, spells out the following allegations, to wit:

First. The Complaint-Affidavit filed by private respondent with the COMELEC is


couched in a language which embraces the allegations necessary to support the charge for
violation of Section 10(g) and (j), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189.

Moreover, Section 45(j) of the same Act, recites, thus:


SEC. 45. Election Offense. The following shall be considered election offenses under
this Act:
xxxx
(j) Violation of any of the provisions of this Act.

A reading of the relevant laws is in order, thus:


Section 10(g) and Section 10(j) of Republic Act No. 8189, provide as follows:
SEC. 10 Registration of Voters. - A qualified voter shall be registered in the permanent
list of voters in a precinct of the city or municipality wherein he resides to be able to vote
in any election. To register as a voter, he shall personally accomplish an application form
for registration as prescribed by the Commission in three (3) copies before the Election
Officer on any date during office hours after having acquired the qualifications of a voter.
The application shall contain the following data:

5. Respondent-spouses made false and untruthful representations in their applications


(Annexes "B" and "C") in violation of the requirements of Section 10, RA 8189 (The
Voters Registration Act):
5.1 Respondent-spouses, in their sworn applications (Annexes "B" and "C", claimed to be
residents of 935 San Jose [S]treet, Burauen, Leyte, when in truth and in fact, they were
and still are residents of 113 Mariposa Loop, Mariposa [S]treet, Bagong Lipunan ng
Crame, Quezon City and registered voters of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame,
District IV, Quezon City, Precinct No. 4419-A, a copy of the Certification issued by Hon.
Emmanuel V. Gozon, Punong Barangay, Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, Quezon City is
hereto attached and made an integral part hereof, as Annex "D";

xxxx
(g) Periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place of registration;

5.2 Respondent-spouses knowing fully well said truth, intentionally and willfully, did not
fill the blank spaces in their applications (Annexes "B" and "C") corresponding to the
length of time they have resided in Burauen, Leyte;

xxxx
(j) A statement that the application is not a registered voter of any precinct;

6. Respondent-spouses, in (sic) all intents and purposes, were and still are residents and
registered voters of Quezon City, as evidenced by Voter Registration Record Nos.

82

26195824 and 26195823, respectively; photocopies of which are hereto attached as


Annexes "E" and "F"[.] Likewise, attached is a "Certification" (Annex "G") of Ms.
Evelyn B. Bautista, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Election Officer, Fourth
District, Quezon City, dated May 31, 2000, together with a certified copy of the computer
print-out of the list of voters of Precinct No. 4419-A (Annex "G-1" ) containing the
names of voters Carlos Romualdez and Erlinda Reyes Romualdez. The Certification
reads as follows:
"THIS IS TO CERTIFY that as per office record MR. CARLOS ROMUALDEZ and MS.
ERLINDA REYES ROMUALDEZ are registered voters of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng
Crame, District IV, Quezon City, Precinct Number 4419A with voters affidavit serial nos.
26195824 and 26195823, respectively.
This certification is issued for whatever legal purpose it may serve."
7. Respondent-spouses, registered as new voters of the Municipality of Burauen, Leyte,
[in spite of] the fact that they were and still are, registered voters of Quezon City as early
as June 22, 1997;

COMELEC against petitioners, and which were, in fact, filed with the RTC, were based
on the same set of facts as originally alleged in the private respondents ComplaintAffidavit.
Petitioners buttress their claim of lack of due process by relying on the case of Lacson v.
Executive Secretary.28 Citing Lacson, petitioners argue that the real nature of the
criminal charge is determined by the actual recital of facts in the Complaint or
Information; and that the object of such written accusations was to furnish the accused
with such a description of the charge against him, as will enable him to make his defense.
Let it be said that, in Lacson, this court resolved the issue of whether under the
allegations in the subject Informations therein, it is the Sandiganbayan or the Regional
Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the multiple murder case against therein petitioner
and intervenors. In Lacson, we underscored the elementary rule that the jurisdiction of a
court is determined by the allegations in the Complaint or Information, and not by the
evidence presented by the parties at the trial.29 Indeed, in Lacson, we articulated that the
real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the
Information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been
violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of facts in the Complaint
or Information.30

7.1 That, Double Registration is an election offense.


A person qualified as a voter is only allowed to register once.
If a person registers anew as a voter in spite of a subsisting registration, the new
application for registration will be disapproved. The registrant is also liable not only for
an election offense of double registration, but also for another election offense of
knowingly making any false or untruthful statement relative to any data or information
required in the application for registration.
In fact, when a person applies for registration as a voter, he or she fills up a Voter
Registration Record form in his or her own handwriting, which contains a Certification
which reads:
"I do solemnly swear that the above statements regarding my person are true and correct;
that I possess all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a voter; that the
thumbprints, specimen signatures and photographs appearing herein are mine; and that I
am not registered as a voter in any other precinct."27
Petitioners cannot be said to have been denied due process on the claim that the election
offenses charged against them by private respondent are entirely different from those for
which they stand to be accused of before the RTC, as charged by the COMELEC. In the
first place, there appears to be no incongruity between the charges as contained in the
Complaint-Affidavit and the Informations filed before the RTC, notwithstanding the
denomination by private respondent of the alleged violations to be covered by Section
261(y)(2) and Section 261(y)(5) of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 12 of
Republic Act No. 8189. Evidently, the Informations directed to be filed by the

Petitioners reliance on Lacson, however, does not support their claim of lack of due
process because, as we have said, the charges contained in private respondents
Complaint-Affidavit and the charges as directed by the COMELEC to be filed are based
on the same set of facts. In fact, the nature of the criminal charges in private respondents
Complaint-Affidavit and that of the charges contained in the Informations filed with the
RTC, pursuant to the COMELEC Resolution En Banc are the same, such that, petitioners
cannot claim that they were not able to refute or submit documentary evidence against the
charges that the COMELEC filed with the RTC. Petitioners were afforded due process
because they were granted the opportunity to refute the allegations in private respondents
Complaint-Affidavit. On 2 April 2001, in opposition to the Complaint-Affidavit,
petitioners filed a Joint Counter-Affidavit with Motion to Dismiss with the Law
Department of the COMELEC. They similarly filed a Memorandum before the said body.
Finding that due process was not dispensed with under the circumstances in the case at
bar, we agree with the stance of the Office of the Solicitor General that petitioners were
reasonably apprised of the nature and description of the charges against them. It likewise
bears stressing that preliminary investigations were conducted whereby petitioners were
informed of the complaint and of the evidence submitted against them. They were given
the opportunity to adduce controverting evidence for their defense. In all these stages,
petitioners actively participated.
The instant case calls to our minds Orquinaza v. People,31 wherein the concerned police
officer therein designated the offense charged as sexual harassment; but, the prosecutor
found that there was no transgression of the anti-sexual harassment law, and instead, filed
an Information charging therein petitioner with acts of lasciviousness. On a claim that
there was deprivation of due process, therein petitioner argued that the Information for
acts of lasciviousness was void as the preliminary investigation conducted was for sexual

83

harassment. The court held that the designation by the police officer of the offense is not
conclusive as it is within the competence of the prosecutor to assess the evidence
submitted and determine therefrom the appropriate offense to be charged.
Accordingly, the court pronounced that the complaint contained all the allegations to
support the charge of acts of lasciviousness under the Revised Penal Code; hence, the
conduct of another preliminary investigation for the offense of acts of lasciviousness
would be a futile exercise because the complainant would only be presenting the same
facts and evidence which have already been studied by the prosecutor.32 The court
frowns upon such superfluity which only serves to delay the prosecution and disposition
of the criminal complaint.33
Second. Petitioners would have this court declare Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189
vague, on the ground that it contravenes the fair notice requirement of the 1987
Constitution, in particular, Section 14(1) and Section 14(2), Article III of thereof.
Petitioners submit that Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189 makes no reference to a
definite provision of the law, the violation of which would constitute an election offense.
We are not convinced.
The void-for-vagueness doctrine holds that a law is facially invalid if men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.34
However, this Court has imposed certain limitations by which a criminal statute, as in the
challenged law at bar, may be scrutinized. This Court has declared that facial
invalidation35 or an "on-its-face" invalidation of criminal statutes is not appropriate.36
We have so enunciated in no uncertain terms in Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan, 37 thus:
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools
developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that 'one
to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on
the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other
situations in which its application might be unconstitutional.' As has been pointed out,
'vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges
typically produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due
process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant.'"
(underscoring supplied)
"To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the ground of
ambiguity." While mentioned in passing in some cases, the void-for-vagueness concept
has yet to find direct application in our jurisdiction. In Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, the
Bookkeeping Act was found unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection
clause, not because it was vague. Adiong v. Comelec decreed as void a mere Comelec
Resolution, not a statute. Finally, Santiago v. Comelec held that a portion of RA 6735 was

unconstitutional because of undue delegation of legislative powers, not because of


vagueness.
Indeed, an "on-its-face" invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass acquittal
of parties whose cases may not have even reached the courts. Such invalidation would
constitute a departure from the usual requirement of "actual case and controversy" and
permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context having no factual concreteness.
In Younger v. Harris, this evil was aptly pointed out by the U.S. Supreme Court in these
words:
"[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring
correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the
controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed
statutes, x x x ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for
deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided."
For this reason, generally disfavored is an on-its-face invalidation of statutes, described
as a "manifestly strong medicine" to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort." In
determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions that have allegedly
been violated must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant has
been charged. (Emphasis supplied.)
At the outset, we declare that under these terms, the opinions of the dissent which seek to
bring to the fore the purported ambiguities of a long list of provisions in Republic Act
No. 8189 can be deemed as a facial challenge. An appropriate "as applied" challenge in
the instant Petition should be limited only to Section 45 (j) in relation to Sections 10 (g)
and (j) of Republic Act No. 8189the provisions upon which petitioners are charged. An
expanded examination of the law covering provisions which are alien to petitioners case
would be antagonistic to the rudiment that for judicial review to be exercised, there must
be an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, and not
conjectural or anticipatory.
We further quote the relevant ruling in David v. Arroyo on the proscription anent a facial
challenge:38
Moreover, the overbreadth doctrine is not intended for testing the validity of a law that
"reflects legitimate state interest in maintaining comprehensive control over harmful,
constitutionally unprotected conduct." Undoubtedly, lawless violence, insurrection and
rebellion are considered "harmful" and "constitutionally unprotected conduct." In
Broadrick v. Oklahoma, it was held:
It remains a matter of no little difficulty to determine when a law may properly be held
void on its face and when such summary action is inappropriate. But the plain import of
our cases is, at the very least, that facial overbreadth adjudication is an exception to our

84

traditional rules of practice and that its function, a limited one at the outset, attenuates as
the otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves from pure
speech toward conduct and that conduct even if expressive falls within the scope of
otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate state interests in maintaining
comprehensive controls over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct.
Thus, claims of facial overbreadth are entertained in cases involving statutes which, by
their terms, seek to regulate only "spoken words" and again, that "overbreadth claims, if
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that
are sought to be applied to protected conduct." Here, the incontrovertible fact remains
that PP 1017 pertains to a spectrum of conduct, not free speech, which is manifestly
subject to state regulation.
Second, facial invalidation of laws is considered as "manifestly strong medicine," to be
used "sparingly and only as a last resort," and is "generally disfavored;" The reason for
this is obvious. Embedded in the traditional rules governing constitutional adjudication is
the principle that a person to whom a law may be applied will not be heard to challenge a
law on the ground that it may conceivably be applied unconstitutionally to others, i.e., in
other situations not before the Court. A writer and scholar in Constitutional Law explains
further:
The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an exception to
some of the usual rules of constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant claims
that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if the litigant prevails, the courts
carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating its improper
applications on a case to case basis. Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to
raise the rights of third parties and can only assert their own interests. In overbreadth
analysis, those rules give way; challenges are permitted to raise the rights of third parties;
and the court invalidates the entire statute "on its face," not merely "as applied for" so
that the overbroad law becomes unenforceable until a properly authorized court construes
it more narrowly. The factor that motivates courts to depart from the normal adjudicatory
rules is the concern with the "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third
parties not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad laws
"very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally
protected speech or expression." An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that
deterrent effect on the speech of those third parties.
In other words, a facial challenge using the overbreadth doctrine will require the Court to
examine PP 1017 and pinpoint its flaws and defects, not on the basis of its actual
operation to petitioners, but on the assumption or prediction that its very existence may
cause others not before the Court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or
expression.
Xxx xxx xxx

And third, a facial challenge on the ground of overbreadth is the most difficult challenge
to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that there can be no instance
when the assailed law may be valid. Here, petitioners did not even attempt to show
whether this situation exists.
Petitioners likewise seek a facial review of PP 1017 on the ground of vagueness. This,
too, is unwarranted.
Related to the "overbreadth" doctrine is the "void for vagueness doctrine" which holds
that "a law is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
meaning and differ as to its application." It is subject to the same principles governing
overbreadth doctrine. For one, it is also an analytical tool for testing "on their faces"
statutes in free speech cases. And like overbreadth, it is said that a litigant may challenge
a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications.
Be that as it may, the test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty
is whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed
conduct when measured by common understanding and practice.39 This Court has
similarly stressed that the vagueness doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of
certainty for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude.40
As structured, Section 4541 of Republic Act No. 8189 makes a recital of election offenses
under the same Act. Section 45(j) is, without doubt, crystal in its specification that a
violation of any of the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189 is an election offense. The
language of Section 45(j) is precise. The challenged provision renders itself to no other
interpretation. A reading of the challenged provision involves no guesswork. We do not
see herein an uncertainty that makes the same vague.
Notably, herein petitioners do not cite a word in the challenged provision, the import or
meaning of which they do not understand. This is in stark contrast to the case of Estrada
v. Sandiganbayan42 where therein petitioner sought for statutory definition of particular
words in the challenged statute. Even then, the Court in Estrada rejected the argument.
This Court reasoned:
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain
and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of
terms without defining them; much less do we have to define every word we use.
Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature
to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of
expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will
not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative
will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed
in the Plunder Law."

85

Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will


be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is
evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words.
The intention of the lawmakers who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and
lexicographers to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed.
Perforce, this Court has underlined that an act will not be held invalid merely because it
might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially
where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in
advance as in all other statutes.43
The evident intent of the legislature in including in the catena of election offenses the
violation of any of the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189, is to subsume as punishable,
not only the commission of proscribed acts, but also the omission of acts enjoined to be
observed. On this score, the declared policy of Republic Act No. 8189 is illuminating.
The law articulates the policy of the State to systematize the present method of
registration in order to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters.
A reading of Section 45 (j) conjointly with the provisions upon which petitioners are
charged, i.e., Sections 10 (g) and (j) would reveal that the matters that are required to be
set forth under the aforesaid sections are crucial to the achievement of a clean, complete,
permanent and updated list of voters. The factual information required by the law is
sought not for mere embellishment.

those not so declared but are clearly enjoined to be observed to carry out the fundamental
purpose of the law.45 Gatchalian remains good law, and stands unchallenged.
It also does not escape the mind of this Court that the phraseology in Section 45(j) is
employed by Congress in a number of our laws.46 These provisions have not been
declared unconstitutional.
Moreover, every statute has in its favor the presumption of validity.47 To justify its
nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, and not
one that is doubtful, speculative or argumentative.48 We hold that petitioners failed to
overcome the heavy presumption in favor of the law. Its constitutionality must be upheld
in the absence of substantial grounds for overthrowing the same.
A salient point. Courts will refrain from touching upon the issue of constitutionality
unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis mota. In the case at bar, the lis mota is the
alleged grave abuse of discretion of the COMELEC in finding probable cause for the
filing of criminal charges against petitioners.
Third. Petitioners maintain that the COMELEC En Banc, premised its finding on a
misapprehension of facts, and committed grave abuse of discretion in directing the filing
of Informations against them with the RTC.
We are once again unimpressed.

There is a definitive governmental purpose when the law requires that such facts should
be set forth in the application. The periods of residence in the Philippines and in the place
of registration delve into the matter of residency, a requisite which a voter must satisfy to
be deemed a qualified voter and registered in the permanent list of voters in a precinct of
the city or municipality wherein he resides. Of even rationality exists in the case of the
requirement in Section 10 (j), mandating that the applicant should state that he/she is not
a registered voter of any precinct. Multiple voting by so-called flying voters are glaring
anomalies which this country strives to defeat. The requirement that such facts as
required by Section 10 (g) and Section 10 (j) be stated in the voters application form for
registration is directly relevant to the right of suffrage, which the State has the right to
regulate.
It is the opportune time to allude to the case of People v. Gatchalian44 where the therein
assailed law contains a similar provision as herein assailed before us. Republic Act No.
602 also penalizes any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of the Act. The
Court dismissed the challenged, and declared the provision constitutional. The Court in
Gatchalian read the challenged provision, "any of the provisions of this [A]ct" conjointly
with Section 3 thereof which was the pertinent portion of the law upon which therein
accused was prosecuted. Gatchalian considered the terms as all-embracing; hence, the
same must include what is enjoined in Section 3 thereof which embodies the very
fundamental purpose for which the law has been adopted. This Court ruled that the law
by legislative fiat intends to punish not only those expressly declared unlawful but even

The constitutional grant of prosecutorial power in the COMELEC finds statutory


expression under Section 26549 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the
Omnibus Election Code.50 The task of the COMELEC whenever any election offense
charge is filed before it is to conduct the preliminary investigation of the case, and make
a determination of probable cause. Under Section 8(b), Rule 34 of the COMELEC Rules
of Procedure, the investigating officer makes a determination of whether there is a
reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed.51 In Baytan v.
COMELEC,52 this Court, sufficiently elucidated on the matter of probable cause in the
prosecution of election offenses, viz:
It is also well-settled that the finding of probable cause in the prosecution of election
offenses rests in the COMELEC's sound discretion. The COMELEC exercises the
constitutional authority to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases for
violation of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds,
offense and malpractices. Generally, the Court will not interfere with such finding of the
COMELEC absent a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion. This principle emanates
from the COMELEC's exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all
election offenses punishable under the election laws and to prosecute the same, except as
may otherwise be provided by law.53
It is succinct that courts will not substitute the finding of probable cause by the
COMELEC in the absence of grave abuse of discretion. The abuse of discretion must be

86

so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to


perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the
power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or
hostility.54
According to the COMELEC En Banc, the investigating officer, in the case at bar, held
that there was sufficient cause for the filing of criminal charges against petitioners, and
found no reason to depart therefrom. Without question, on May 9 and 11 of 2001,
petitioners applied for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election Officer of
Burauen, Leyte, notwithstanding the existence of petitioners registration records as
registered voters of Precinct No. 4419-A of Barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District
IV, Quezon City. The directive by the COMELEC which affirmed the Resolution55 of 28
November 2000 of Investigating Officer Atty. Tangaro-Casingal does not appear to be
wanting in factual basis, such that a reasonably prudent man would conclude that there
exists probable cause to hold petitioners for trial. Thus, in the aforesaid Resolution, the
Investigating Officer, found:
A violation therefore of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8189 is an election offense.
In the instant case, when respondents Carlos Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez filed
their respective applications for registration as new voters with the Office of the Election
Officer of Burauen, Leyte on May 9 and 11, 2001, respectively, they stated under oath
that they are not registered voters in other precinct (VRR Nos. 42454095 and 07902941).
However, contrary to their statements, records show they are still registered voters of
Precinct No. 4419-A, barangay Bagong Lipunan ng Crame, District IV, Quezon City, as
per VRR Nos. 26195825 and 26195823. In other words, respondents registration records
in Quezon City is (sic) still in existence.
While it may be true that respondents had written the City Election Officer of District IV,
Quezon City for cancellation of their voters registration record as voters (sic) therein,
they cannot presume that the same will be favorably acted upon. Besides, RA 8189
provides for the procedure in cases of transfer of residence to another city/municipality
which must be complied with, to wit:
"Section 12. Change of Residence to Another City or Municipality. Any registered voter
who has transferred residence to another city or municipality may apply with the Election
Officer of his new residence for the transfer of his registration records.
The application for transfer of registration shall be subject to the requirements of notice
and hearing and the approval of the Election Registration Board, in accordance with this
Act. Upon approval, of the application for transfer, and after notice of such approval to
the Election Officer of their former residence of the voter, said Election Officer shall
transmit by registered mail the voters registration record to the Election Officer of the
voters new residence."

They cannot claim ignorance of the abovestated provision on the procedure for transfer of
registration records by reason of transferred new residence to another municipality. Based
on the affidavit executed by one Eufemia S. Cotoner, she alleged that the refusal of the
Assistant Election Officer Ms. Estrella Perez to accept the letter of respondents was due
to improper procedure because respondents should have filed the required request for
transfer with the Election Officer of Burauen, Leyte. Despite this knowledge, however,
they proceeded to register as new voters of Burauen, Leyte, notwithstanding the existence
of their previous registrations in Quezon City.
In their subsequent affidavit of Transfer of Voters Registration under Section 12 of
Republic Act 8189, respondents admitted that they erroneously filed an application as a
new voter (sic) with the office of the Election Officer of Burauen, Leyte, by reason of an
honest mistake, which they now desire to correct. (underscoring ours).
Respondents lose sight of the fact that a statutory offense, such as violation of election
law, is mala prohibita. Proof of criminal intent is not necessary. Good faith, ignorance or
lack of malice is beside the point. Commission of the act is sufficient. It is the act itself
that is punished.
xxxx
In view of the foregoing, the Law Department respectfully submits that there is probable
cause to hold respondents Carlos Romualdez and Erlinda Romualdez for trial in violation
of Section 10(g) and (j) in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189. There is no
doubt that they applied for registration as new voters of Burauen, Leyte consciously,
freely and voluntarily.56
We take occasion to reiterate that the Constitution grants to the COMELEC the power to
prosecute cases or violations of election laws. Article IX (C), Section 2 (6) of the 1987
Constitution, provides:
(6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion
or exclusion of voters; investigate and where appropriate, prosecute cases or violations of
election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and
malpractices.
This power to prosecute necessarily involves the power to determine who shall be
prosecuted, and the corollary right to decide whom not to prosecute.57 Evidently, must
this power to prosecute also include the right to determine under which laws prosecution
will be pursued. The courts cannot dictate the prosecution nor usurp its discretionary
powers. As a rule, courts cannot interfere with the prosecutors discretion and control of
the criminal prosecution.58 Its rationale cannot be doubted. For the business of a court of
justice is to be an impartial tribunal, and not to get involved with the success or failure of
the prosecution to prosecute.59 Every now and then, the prosecution may err in the
selection of its strategies, but such errors are not for neutral courts to rectify, any more
than courts should correct the blunders of the defense.60

87

Fourth. In People v. Delgado,61 this Court said that when the COMELEC, through its
duly authorized law officer, conducts the preliminary investigation of an election offense
and upon a prima facie finding of a probable cause, files the Information in the proper
court, said court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, all the
subsequent disposition of said case must be subject to the approval of the court. The
records show that Informations charging petitioners with violation of Section 10(g) and
(j), in relation to Section 45(j) of Republic Act No. 8189 had been filed with the RTC.
The case must, thus, be allowed to take its due course.
It may be recalled that petitioners prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order or Writ of Preliminary Injunction before this Court to restrain the COMELEC from

executing its Resolutions of 11 June 2004 and 27 January 2005. In a Resolution dated 20
June 2006, this Court En Banc denied for lack of merit petitioners Motion Reiterating
Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and to Cite for Indirect Contempt.
Logically, the normal course of trial is expected to have continued in the proceedings a
quo.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The assailed Resolutions, dated 11 June 2004
and 27 January 2005 of the COMELEC En Banc are AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC

Villavicencio
Facts:

G.R. No. L-14639

Justo Lukban as Manila Mayor together with the police officer, took custody of 170
women at the night of October 25 beyond the latter's consent and knowledge and
thereafter were shipped to Davao City where they were signed as laborers.

ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents.

A writ of habeas corpus was filed against the mayor on behalf of those women. The court
granted the writ, but the mayor was not able to bring any of the women before the court
on the stipulated date.

Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners.


City Fiscal Diaz for respondents.

Issue:
Whether or not the act of mayor has a legal basis.
Held:
The supreme court said that the mayor's acts were not legal. His intent of exterminating
vice was commendable, but there was no law saying that he could force filipino women
to change their domicile from manila to nother place. The women, said the court,
although in a sense "lepers of society" were still filipino citizens and such they were
entitled to the constitutional enjoyed by all other filipino citizens. The right to freedom of
domicile was such a fundamental right that its suppression could considered tantamount
to slavery.
The supreme court upheld the right of filipino citizens to freedom of domicile or the
Liberty of abode."Ours is a government of laws and not of men."
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

March 25, 1919

MALCOLM, J.:
The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one which
this application for habeas corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be expected to be
met with in this modern epoch of triumphant democracy, yet, after all, the cause presents
no great difficulty if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of
popular government, and if we give expression to the paramount purpose for which the
courts, as an independent power of such a government, were constituted. The primary
question is Shall the judiciary permit a government of the men instead of a
government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands?
Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these proceedings, but which might
prove profitable reading for other departments of the government, the facts are these: The
Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to exterminate vice,
ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted for a
number of years in the city of Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918,
the women were kept confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably,
during this period, the city authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau of
Labor for sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some government
office for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the
Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. At any rate, about midnight of October 25, the
police, acting pursuant to orders from the chief of police, Anton Hohmann and the Mayor
of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the houses, hustled some 170

88

inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their
arrival. The women were given no opportunity to collect their belongings, and apparently
were under the impression that they were being taken to a police station for an
investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao.
They had not been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither
directly nor indirectly given their consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were
received on board the steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor and a
detachment of Constabulary soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers
sailed for Davao during the night of October 25.
The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed
and receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by
Feliciano Yigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the hacendero Yigo, who appear
as parties in the case, had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who
had been expelled from the city of Manila. The further happenings to these women and
the serious charges growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest, but are not
essential to the disposition of this case. Suffice it to say, generally, that some of the
women married, others assumed more or less clandestine relations with men, others went
to work in different capacities, others assumed a life unknown and disappeared, and a
goodly portion found means to return to Manila.
To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were
putting in to Davao, the attorney for the relatives and friends of a considerable number of
the deportees presented an application for habeas corpus to a member of the Supreme
Court. Subsequently, the application, through stipulation of the parties, was made to
include all of the women who were sent away from Manila to Davao and, as the same
questions concerned them all, the application will be considered as including them. The
application set forth the salient facts, which need not be repeated, and alleged that the
women were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of
Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, and by certain unknown
parties. The writ was made returnable before the full court. The city fiscal appeared for
the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann, admitted certain facts relative to sequestration
and deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be granted because the petitioners
were not proper parties, because the action should have been begun in the Court of First
Instance for Davao, Department of Mindanao and Sulu, because the respondents did not
have any of the women under their custody or control, and because their jurisdiction did
not extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila. According to an exhibit attached
to the answer of the fiscal, the 170 women were destined to be laborers, at good salaries,
on the haciendas of Yigo and Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in
answer to question of a member of the court, that these women had been sent out of
Manila without their consent. The court awarded the writ, in an order of November 4, that
directed Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of
the city of Manila, Francisco Sales, governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano
Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, to bring before the court the persons therein named,
alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on December 2, 1918.

Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own
expense. On motion of counsel for petitioners, their testimony was taken before the clerk
of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the day named in the order, December
2nd, 1918, none of the persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were produced in
court by the respondents. It has been shown that three of those who had been able to
come back to Manila through their own efforts, were notified by the police and the secret
service to appear before the court. The fiscal appeared, repeated the facts more
comprehensively, reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to the original petition
copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to the provincial governor of
Davao and the answer thereto, and telegrams that had passed between the Director of
Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and offered certain affidavits
showing that the women were contained with their life in Mindanao and did not wish to
return to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to fulfill
the order of the Supreme Court because the women had never been under his control,
because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and because they had married or
signed contracts as laborers. Respondent Yigo answered alleging that he did not have
any of the women under his control and that therefore it was impossible for him to obey
the mandate. The court, after due deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a
second order, which related that the respondents had not complied with the original order
to the satisfaction of the court nor explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed
that those of the women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents
Lukban, Hohmann, Sales, and Yigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should, in
written statements voluntarily made before the judge of first instance of Davao or the
clerk of that court, renounce the right, or unless the respondents should demonstrate some
other legal motives that made compliance impossible. It was further stated that the
question of whether the respondents were in contempt of court would later be decided
and the reasons for the order announced in the final decision.
Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of a number of the women, of
certain detectives and policemen, and of the provincial governor of Davao, was taken
before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioner and the clerk of the Court
of First Instance of Davao acting in the same capacity. On January 13, 1919, the
respondents technically presented before the Court the women who had returned to the
city through their own efforts and eight others who had been brought to Manila by the
respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their returns, once again recounted the
facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons involved in the habeas
corpus. In substance, it was stated that the respondents, through their representatives and
agents, had succeeded in bringing from Davao with their consent eight women; that
eighty-one women were found in Davao who, on notice that if they desired they could
return to Manila, transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn statements; that
fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means, and that despite all efforts to
find them twenty-six could not be located. Both counsel for petitioners and the city fiscal
were permitted to submit memoranda. The first formally asked the court to find Justo
Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of
Manila, Jose Rodriguez and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of
Manila, Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the

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Bureau of Labor, and Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the city of Manila, in contempt of court.
The city fiscal requested that the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, (reply to
respondents' memorandum) dated January 25, 1919, be struck from the record.
In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of habeas
corpus in the final decision. We will now proceed to do so.
One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled these one hundred and seventy women
were isolated from society, and then at night, without their consent and without any
opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their rights, were forcibly hustled on
board steamers for transportation to regions unknown. Despite the feeble attempt to prove
that the women left voluntarily and gladly, that such was not the case is shown by the
mere fact that the presence of the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and
that these officers of the law chose the shades of night to cloak their secret and stealthy
acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible to refute and practically admitted by the
respondents.
With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question By authority of
what law did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress
these persons from Manila to another distant locality within the Philippine Islands? We
turn to the statutes and we find
Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an Act of
congress. The Governor-General can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a
hearing from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine Commission and section 733 of
the Revised Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment
by a court of justice of any person who is a common prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes
the return of any citizen of the United States, who may have been convicted of vagrancy,
to the homeland. New York and other States have statutes providing for the commitment
to the House of Refuge of women convicted of being common prostitutes. Always a law!
Even when the health authorities compel vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a
leprous person in the Culion leper colony, it is done pursuant to some law or order. But
one can search in vain for any law, order, or regulation, which even hints at the right of
the Mayor of the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to force citizens of the
Philippine Islands and these women despite their being in a sense lepers of society are
nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional
guaranties as are other citizens to change their domicile from Manila to another
locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public officer
who, not being expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels any person to change
his residence.
In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed so
important as to be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Under the American
constitutional system, liberty of abode is a principle so deeply imbedded in jurisprudence
and considered so elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional sanction.
Even the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, even the President of the United

States, who has often been said to exercise more power than any king or potentate, has no
such arbitrary prerogative, either inherent or express. Much less, therefore, has the
executive of a municipality, who acts within a sphere of delegated powers. If the mayor
and the chief of police could, at their mere behest or even for the most praiseworthy of
motives, render the liberty of the citizen so insecure, then the presidents and chiefs of
police of one thousand other municipalities of the Philippines have the same privilege. If
these officials can take to themselves such power, then any other official can do the same.
And if any official can exercise the power, then all persons would have just as much right
to do so. And if a prostitute could be sent against her wishes and under no law from one
locality to another within the country, then officialdom can hold the same club over the
head of any citizen.
Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that "No freeman shall be
taken, or imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be
outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him nor condemn
him, but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. We will sell to no
man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9 Hen.,
111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. stat. at Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the
law. The courts are the forum which functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to
punish official transgressors. "The law," said Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of the
Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only supreme power in our system of
government, and every man who by accepting office participates in its functions is only
the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and to observe the limitations
which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee [1882],
106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews of the same high tribunal in
another case, "that one man may be compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or
any material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems to
be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery
itself." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this explains the motive in
issuing the writ of habeas corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that
the primary question was whether the courts should permit a government of men or a
government of laws to be established in the Philippine Islands.
What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of the
citizen are three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.
The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may recoup
money damages. It may still rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action, but
it was never intended effectively and promptly to meet any such situation as that now
before us.
As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands
provides:
Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a general
character in force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a place more than two

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hundred kilometers distant from his domicile, except it be by virtue of the judgment of a
court, shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred and twenty-five and not
more than three thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.
Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation of a general
character in force in the Philippines who shall compel any person to change his domicile
or residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a fine of not less than six hundred
and twenty-five and not more than six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.)
We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper prosecuting officers
find that any public officer has violated this provision of law, these prosecutors will
institute and press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously as they have defended the
same official in this action. Nevertheless, that the act may be a crime and that the persons
guilty thereof can be proceeded against, is no bar to the instant proceedings. To quote the
words of Judge Cooley in a case which will later be referred to "It would be a
monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one unlawfully confined, ta be
restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient answer that the confinement was a crime,
and therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty party was tried and
punished therefor by the slow process of criminal procedure." (In the matter of Jackson
[1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a
speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best
and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left
untouched by decision on the writ, whose principal purpose is to set the individual at
liberty.
Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised three specific
objections to its issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there is a defect in
parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court should not a assume jurisdiction, and (3)
that the person in question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. It was finally
suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila
only extends to the city limits and that perforce they could not bring the women from
Davao.
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners were
relatives and friends of the deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city
officials made it impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. It was
consequently proper for the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 78; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its zealous
regard for personal liberty, even makes it the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of
habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the court's jurisdiction a person is unjustly
imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no application be made therefor. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in court.
The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of First
Instance of Davao or should have been made returnable before that court. It is a general
rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience, petitions for

habeas corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. But
this is not a hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme
Court or any judge thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 79; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 526.) Whether the writ shall
be made returnable before the Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests in the
discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on the particular circumstances. In this
instance it was not shown that the Court of First Instance of Davao was in session, or that
the women had any means by which to advance their plea before that court. On the other
hand, it was shown that the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original
respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was shown that the case involved
parties situated in different parts of the Islands; it was shown that the women might still
be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ was to
accomplish its purpose, it must be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the
appellate court. The failure of the superior court to consider the application and then to
grant the writ would have amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.
The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. When the
writ was prayed for, says counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no
restraint; the women, it is claimed, were free in Davao, and the jurisdiction of the mayor
and the chief of police did not extend beyond the city limits. At first blush, this is a
tenable position. On closer examination, acceptance of such dictum is found to be
perversive of the first principles of the writ of habeas corpus.
A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty.
The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner
of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom
if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is
sufficient. The forcible taking of these women from Manila by officials of that city, who
handed them over to other parties, who deposited them in a distant region, deprived these
women of freedom of locomotion just as effectively as if they had been imprisoned.
Placed in Davao without either money or personal belongings, they were prevented from
exercising the liberty of going when and where they pleased. The restraint of liberty
which began in Manila continued until the aggrieved parties were returned to Manila and
released or until they freely and truly waived his right.
Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. The chief
executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private
citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality, and then, when called
upon to defend his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the person
was under no restraint and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other
municipality. We believe the true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the
jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the order of the court and thus to
undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if the party to
whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the custody of a person before the
application for the writ is no reason why the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the
chief of police, acting under no authority of law, could deport these women from the city

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of Manila to Davao, the same officials must necessarily have the same means to return
them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within the reach of process, may not be
permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile
and to avow the act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has lost her
birthright of liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be
easily evaded.
It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the courts for
decision. Nevertheless, strange as it may seem, a close examination of the authorities fails
to reveal any analogous case. Certain decisions of respectable courts are however very
persuasive in nature.
A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an early date as to
whether or not a writ of habeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a person
within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the State a minor child under
guardianship in the State, who has been and continues to be detained in another State.
The membership of the Michigan Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was
composed of Martin, chief justice, and Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On
the question presented the court was equally divided. Campbell, J., with whom concurred
Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed. Cooley, J., one of the most
distinguished American judges and law-writers, with whom concurred Christiancy, J.,
held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice Campbell was predicated to a
large extent on his conception of the English decisions, and since, as will hereafter
appear, the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the following eloquent
passages from the opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted:
I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue the present
writ on the petition which was laid before us. . . .
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six centuries and a
half have been expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers of blood shed for its
establishment; after its many confirmations, until Coke could declare in his speech on the
petition of right that "Magna Charta was such a fellow that he will have no sovereign,"
and after the extension of its benefits and securities by the petition of right, bill of rights
and habeas corpus acts, it should now be discovered that evasion of that great clause for
the protection of personal liberty, which is the life and soul of the whole instrument, is so
easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be determined without delay, that
the legislature may apply the proper remedy, as I can not doubt they would, on the subject
being brought to their notice. . . .
The second proposition that the statutory provisions are confined to the case of
imprisonment within the state seems to me to be based upon a misconception as to the
source of our jurisdiction. It was never the case in England that the court of king's bench
derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes were not
passed to give the right, but to compel the observance of rights which existed. . . .

The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon this writ is,
that it is directed to and served upon, not the person confined, but his jailor. It does not
reach the former except through the latter. The officer or person who serves it does not
unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner free, but the court relieves him by compelling
the oppressor to release his constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the
respondent, and if he fails to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the purposes of
compulsion are fine and imprisonment. This is the ordinary mode of affording relief, and
if any other means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those which are usual. The
place of confinement is, therefore, not important to the relief, if the guilty party is within
reach of process, so that by the power of the court he can be compelled to release his
grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is not increased by the confinement being
beyond the limits of the state, except as greater distance may affect it. The important
question is, where the power of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy.
(In the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)
The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by other courts.
(Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57 Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People [1911], Colo., 117 Pac.
Rep., 1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)
The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a child had been
taken out of English by the respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the
Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the mother and her husband directing the
defendant to produce the child. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date
to produce the child, but he did not do so. His return stated that the child before the
issuance of the writ had been handed over by him to another; that it was no longer in his
custody or control, and that it was impossible for him to obey the writ. He was found in
contempt of court. On appeal, the court, through Lord Esher, M. R., said:
A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was issued on January 22. That writ
commanded the defendant to have the body of the child before a judge in chambers at the
Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt of the writ, together with the cause
of her being taken and detained. That is a command to bring the child before the judge
and must be obeyed, unless some lawful reason can be shown to excuse the
nonproduction of the child. If it could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully
parted with the possession of the child before the issuing of the writ, the defendant had no
longer power to produce the child, that might be an answer; but in the absence of any
lawful reason he is bound to produce the child, and, if he does not, he is in contempt of
the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful excuse. Many efforts have been made in
argument to shift the question of contempt to some anterior period for the purpose of
showing that what was done at some time prior to the writ cannot be a contempt. But the
question is not as to what was done before the issue of the writ. The question is whether
there has been a contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not producing the child
in obedience to its commands. (The Queen vs. Bernardo [1889], 23 Q. B. D., 305. See
also to the same effect the Irish case of In re Matthews, 12 Ir. Com. Law Rep. [N. S.],
233; The Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283.)

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A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus was
directed to the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia three
colored persons, with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his return to the writ, stated
on oath that he had purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of Washington; that, as he
believed, they were removed beyond the District of Columbia before the service of the
writ of habeas corpus, and that they were then beyond his control and out of his custody.
The evidence tended to show that Davis had removed the negroes because he suspected
they would apply for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held the return to be evasive and
insufficient, and that Davis was bound to produce the negroes, and Davis being present in
court, and refusing to produce them, ordered that he be committed to the custody of the
marshall until he should produce the negroes, or be otherwise discharged in due course of
law. The court afterwards ordered that Davis be released upon the production of two of
the negroes, for one of the negroes had run away and been lodged in jail in Maryland.
Davis produced the two negroes on the last day of the term. (United States vs. Davis
[1839], 5 Cranch C.C., 622, Fed. Cas. No. 14926. See also Robb vs. Connolly [1883],
111 U.S., 624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)
We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by the
respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.
There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders of
the Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that they did
not, whether the contempt should be punished or be taken as purged.
The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco
Sales, and Feliciano Yigo to present the persons named in the writ before the court on
December 2, 1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918. The respondents were thus
given ample time, practically one month, to comply with the writ. As far as the record
discloses, the Mayor of the city of Manila waited until the 21st of November before
sending a telegram to the provincial governor of Davao. According to the response of the
attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief, there were then in Davao
women who desired to return to Manila, but who should not be permitted to do so
because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort naturally resulted in none of
the parties in question being brought before the court on the day named.
For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were open:
(1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the command of the
writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of sickness or infirmity
those persons could not safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have
presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right
to be present. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the bodies of
the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted; they did not show impossibility of
performance; and they did not present writings that waived the right to be present by
those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits purporting to show that the women
were contended with their life in Davao, some of which have since been repudiated by
the signers, were appended to the return. That through ordinary diligence a considerable

number of the women, at least sixty, could have been brought back to Manila is
demonstrated to be found in the municipality of Davao, and that about this number either
returned at their own expense or were produced at the second hearing by the respondents.
The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been warranted
summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in sending them to
jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the non-production of the persons were
far from sufficient. The, authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar facts all
tend to indicate with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example,
in Gossage's case, supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court,
said: "We thought that, having brought about that state of things by his own illegal act, he
must take the consequences; and we said that he was bound to use every effort to get the
child back; that he must do much more than write letters for the purpose; that he must
advertise in America, and even if necessary himself go after the child, and do everything
that mortal man could do in the matter; and that the court would only accept clear proof
of an absolute impossibility by way of excuse." In other words, the return did not show
that every possible effort to produce the women was made by the respondents. That the
court forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did not wish to see
presented to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between executive officials and the
judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents another chance to demonstrate
their good faith and to mitigate their wrong.
In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become more
zealous and to have shown a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao, placards
were posted, the constabulary and the municipal police joined in rounding up the women,
and a steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While charges and
counter-charges in such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and while a critical
reading of the record might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our mandate, we
come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with it. Our finding to this effect
may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to see this unhappy incident finally
closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated in Davao, it should receive an executive
investigation. If any particular individual is still restrained of her liberty, it can be made
the object of separate habeas corpus proceedings.
Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial compliance with
it, nothing further in this connection remains to be done.
The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban,
Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose
Rodriguez, and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila,
Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of
Davao, and Anacleto Diaz, Fiscal of the city of Manila.
The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and
not on the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent
power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of justice must

93

falter or fail. Nevertheless when one is commanded to produce a certain person and does
not do so, and does not offer a valid excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority,
adjudge the respondent to be guilty of contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or
fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a person in obedience to a writ of habeas
corpus when he has power to do so, is a contempt committed in the face of the court. (Ex
parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888], 99 N. C., 407.)
With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for human
imperfections, we cannot say that any of the respondents, with the possible exception of
the first named, has flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its authority.
Respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the orders of their
chiefs, and while, under the law of public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely,
it is nevertheless a powerful mitigating circumstance. The hacendero Yigo appears to
have been drawn into the case through a misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic
communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would seem to have done no more than
to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city government. Finding him innocent
of any disrespect to the court, his counter-motion to strike from the record the
memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which brings him into this undesirable
position, must be granted. When all is said and done, as far as this record discloses, the
official who was primarily responsible for the unlawful deportation, who ordered the
police to accomplish the same, who made arrangements for the steamers and the
constabulary, who conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor, and who later, as
the head of the city government, had it within his power to facilitate the return of the
unfortunate women to Manila, was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His
intention to suppress the social evil was commendable. His methods were unlawful. His
regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by the court was only tardily and reluctantly
acknowledged.
Case Digest: People vs Nazario
Facts:

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, which relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof
to require respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as P400 each,
which would reach to many thousands of pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a
contempt. Some members of the court are inclined to this stern view. It would also be
possible to find that since respondent Lukban did comply substantially with the second
order of the court, he has purged his contempt of the first order. Some members of the
court are inclined to this merciful view. Between the two extremes appears to lie the
correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first mandate of the court
tended to belittle and embarrass the administration of justice to such an extent that his
later activity may be considered only as extenuating his conduct. A nominal fine will at
once command such respect without being unduly oppressive such an amount is P100.
In resume as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is necessary.
The respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yigo, and Diaz are found not to
be in contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of court and shall pay
into the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred
pesos (P100). The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the
Replica al Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall be
taxed against respondents. So ordered.
In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be permitted to express the
hope that this decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government
of laws and to protect individual liberty from illegal encroachment.
Arellano, C.J., Avancea and Moir, JJ., concur.
Johnson, and Street, JJ., concur in the result.
2. Whether or not the ordinance was unconstitutional for being ex post facto
Held:

Eusebio Nazario was charged in violation of refusal and failure to pay his municipal taxes
amounting to Php 362.62 because of his fishpond operation provided under Ordinance 4,
Series of 1955, as amended. He is a resident of Sta. Mesa Manila and just leases a
fishpond located at Pagbilao, Quezon with the Philippine Fisheries Commission. The
years in question of failure to pay was for 1964, 1965, and 1966. Nazario did not pay
because he was not sure if he was covered under the ordinance. He was found guilty thus
this petition.
Issues:
1. Whether or not Ordinance 4, Series of 1955, as amended null and void for being
ambiguous and uncertain
SUPREME COURT
Manila

1. No, the coverage of the ordinance covers him as the actual operator of the fishpond
thus he comes with the term Manager. He was the one who spent money in developing
and maintaining it, so despite only leasing it from the national government, the latter does
not get any profit as it goes only to Nazario. The dates of payment are also clearly stated
Beginnin and taking effect from 1964 if the fishpond started operating in 1964.
2. No, it is not ex post facto. Ordinance 4 was enacted in 1955 so it cant be that the
amendment under Ordinance 12 is being made to apply retroactively. Also, the act of
non-payment has been made punishable since 1955 so it means Ordinance 12 is not
imposing a retroactive penalty
The appeal is DISMISSED with cost against the appellant.
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-44143 August 31, 1988

94

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff,


vs.
EUSEBIO NAZARIO, accused-appellant.

I worked with the accused up to March 1964.


NICOLAS MACAROLAY, 65 years of age, married, copra maker and resident of
Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Teofilo Ragodon for accused-appellant.

I resided at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon since 1959 up to the present. I know the
accused since 1959 when he opened a fishpond at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon. He
still operates the fishpond up to the present and I know this fact as I am the barrio captain
of Pinagbayanan.

SARMIENTO, J.:

On cross-examination, this witness declared:

The petitioner was charged with violation of certain municipal ordinances of the
municipal council of Pagbilao, in Quezon province. By way of confession and avoidance,
the petitioner would admit having committed the acts charged but would claim that the
ordinances are unconstitutional, or, assuming their constitutionality, that they do not
apply to him in any event.

I came to know the accused when he first operated his fishpond since 1959.

The facts are not disputed:

On re-cross examination, this witness declared:

This defendant is charged of the crime of Violation of Municipal Ordinance in an


information filed by the provincial Fiscal, dated October 9, 1968, as follows:

I do not remember the month in 1962 when the accused caught fish.

That in the years 1964, 1965 and 1966, in the Municipality of Pagbilao, Province of
Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, being then the owner and operator of a fishpond situated in the barrio of
Pinagbayanan, of said municipality, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously refuse and fail to pay the municipal taxes in the total amount of THREE
HUNDRED SIXTY TWO PESOS AND SIXTY TWO CENTAVOS (P362.62), required
of him as fishpond operator as provided for under Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, as
amended, inspite of repeated demands made upon him by the Municipal Treasurer of
Pagbilao, Quezon, to pay the same.
Contrary to law.
For the prosecution the following witnesses testified in substance as follows;
MIGUEL FRANCIA, 39 years of age, married, farmer and resident of Lopez, Quezon
In 1962 to 1967, I resided at Pinagbayanan, Pagbilao, Quezon. I know the accused as I
worked in his fishpond in 1962 to 1964. The fishpond of Nazario is at Pinagbayanan,
Pagbilao, Quezon. I worked in the clearing of the fishpond, the construction of the dikes
and the catching of fish.

On re-direct examination, this witness declared:


I was present during the catching of fish in 1967 and the accused was there.

RODOLFO R. ALVAREZ, 45 years old, municipal treasurer of Pagbilao, Quezon,


married
As Municipal Treasurer I am in charge of tax collection. I know the accused even before I
was Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao. I have written the accused a letter asking him to
pay his taxes (Exhibit B). Said letter was received by the accused as per registry return
receipt, Exhibit B-1. The letter demanded for payment of P362.00, more or less, by way
of taxes which he did not pay up to the present. The former Treasurer, Ceferino Caparros,
also wrote a letter of demand to the accused (Exhibit C). On June 28, 1967, I sent a letter
to the Fishery Commission (Exhibit D), requesting information if accused paid taxes with
that office. The Commission sent me a certificate (Exhibits D-1, D-2 & D-3). The
accused had a fishpond lease agreement. The taxes unpaid were for the years 1964, 1965
and 1966.
On cross-examination, this witness declared:
I have demanded the taxes for 38.10 hectares.
On question of the court, this witness declared:
What I was collecting from the accused is the fee on fishpond operation, not rental.

On cross-examination, this witness declared:

95

The prosecution presented as part of their evidence Exhibits A, A-1, A-2, B, B-2, C, D,
D-1, D-2, D-3, E, F, F-1 and the same were admitted by the court, except Exhibits D, D1, D-2 and D-3 which were not admitted for being immaterial.
For the defense the accused EUSEBIO NAZARIO, 48 years of age, married, owner and
general manager of the ZIP Manufacturing Enterprises and resident of 4801 Old Sta.
Mesa, Sampaloc, Manila, declared in substance as follows:
I have lived in Sta. Mesa, Manila, since 1949. I buy my Residence Certificates at Manila
or at San Juan. In 1964, 1965 and 1966, I was living in Manila and my business is in
Manila and my family lives at Manila. I never resided at Pagbilao, Quezon. I do not own
a house at Pagbilao. I am a lessee of a fishpond located at Pagbilao, Quezon, and I have a
lease agreement to that effect with the Philippine Fisheries Commission marked as
Exhibit 1. In 1964, 1965 and 1966, the contract of lease, Exhibit 1, was still existing and
enforceable. The Ordinances Nos. 4, 15 and 12, series of 1955, 1965 and 1966, were
translated into English by the Institute of National Language to better understand the
ordinances. There were exchange of letters between me and the Municipal Treasurer of
Pagbilao regarding the payment of the taxes on my leased fishpond situated at Pagbilao.
There was a letter of demand for the payment of the taxes by the treasurer (Exhibit 3)
which I received by mail at my residence at Manila. I answered the letter of demand,
Exhibit 3, with Exhibit 3-A. I requested an inspection of my fishpond to determine its
condition as it was not then in operation. The Municipal Treasurer Alvarez went there
once in 1967 and he found that it was destroyed by the typhoon and there were pictures
taken marked as Exhibits 4, 4-A, 4-B and 4C. I received another letter of demand, Exhibit
5, and I answered the same (Exhibit 5-A). I copied my reference quoted in Exhibit 5-A
from Administrative Order No. 6, Exhibit 6. I received another letter of demand from
Tomas Ornedo, Acting Municipal Treasurer of Pagbilao, dated February 16, 1966,
Exhibit 7, and I answered the same with the letter marked as Exhibit 7-A, dated February
26, 1966. I received another letter of demand from Treasurer Alvarez of Pagbilao, Exhibit
8, and I answered the same (Exhibit 8-A). In 1964, I went to Treasurer Caparros to ask
for an application for license tax and he said none and he told me just to pay my taxes. I
did not pay because up to now I do not know whether I am covered by the Ordinance or
not. The letters of demand asked me to pay different amounts for taxes for the fishpond.
Because under Sec. 2309 of the Revised Administrative Code, municipal taxes lapse if
not paid and they are collecting on a lapsed ordinance. Because under the Tax Code,
fishermen are exempted from percentage tax and privilege tax. There is no law
empowering the municipality to pass ordinance taxing fishpond operators.

On the other hand, the accused, by his evidence, tends to show to the court that the taxes
sought to be collected have already lapsed and that there is no law empowering
municipalities to pass ordinances taxing fishpond operators. The defense, by their
evidence, tried to show further that, as lessee of a forest land to be converted into a
fishpond, he is not covered by said municipal ordinances; and finally that the accused
should not be taxed as fishpond operator because there is no fishpond yet being operated
by him, considering that the supposed fishpond was under construction during the period
covered by the taxes sought to be collected.
Finally, the defendant claims that the ordinance in question is ultra vires as it is outside of
the power of the municipal council of Pagbilao, Quezon, to enact; and that the defendant
claims that the ordinance in question is ambiguous and uncertain.
There is no question from the evidences presented that the accused is a lessee of a parcel
of forest land, with an area of 27.1998 hectares, for fishpond purposes, under Fishpond
Lease Agreement No. 1066, entered into by the accused and the government, through the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources on August 21, 1959.
There is no question from the evidences presented that the 27.1998 hectares of land
leased by the defendant from the government for fishpond purposes was actually
converted into fishpond and used as such, and therefore defendant is an operator of a
fishpond within the purview of the ordinance in question. 1
The trial Court 2 returned a verdict of guilty and disposed as follows:
VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 4,
series of 1955, as amended by Ordinance No. 15, series of 1965 and further amended by
Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966, of the Municipal Council of Pagbilao, Quezon; and
hereby sentences him to pay a fine of P50.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency at the rate of P8.00 a day, and to pay the costs of this proceeding.
SO ORDERED. 3
In this appeal, certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals, the petitioner alleges that:
I.

The defense presented as part of their evidence Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 3-A, 4, 4-B, 4-B, 4-C, 5,
5-A, 6, 6-A, 6-B, 6-C, 7, 7-A, 8 and 8-A and the same were admitted by the court.
From their evidence the prosecution would want to show to the court that the accused, as
lessee or operator of a fishpond in the municipality of Pagbilao, refused, and still refuses,
to pay the municipal taxes for the years 1964, 1965 and 1966, in violation of Municipal
Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, as amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 15, series of
1965, and finally amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT ORDINANCE NO. 4,


SERIES OF 1955, AS AMENDED BY ORDINANCE NO. 15, SERIES OF 1965, AND
AS FURTHER AMENDED BY ORDINANCE NO. 12, SERIES OF 1966, OF THE
MUNICIPALITY OF PAGBILAO, QUEZON, IS NULL AND VOID FOR BEING
AMBIGUOUS AND UNCERTAIN.
II.

96

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ORDINANCE IN


QUESTION, AS AMENDED, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING EX POST
FACTO.
III.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ORDINANCE IN
QUESTION COVERS ONLY OWNERS OR OVERSEER OF FISHPONDS OF
PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND NOT TO LESSEES OF PUBLIC LANDS.
IV.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE QUESTIONED
ORDINANCE, EVEN IF VALID, CANNOT BE ENFORCED BEYOND THE
TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF PAGBILAO AND DOES NOT COVER NONRESIDENTS. 4
The ordinances in question are Ordinance No. 4, series of 1955, Ordinance No. 15, series
of 1965, and Ordinance No. 12, series of 1966, of the Municipal Council of Pagbilao.
Insofar as pertinent to this appeal, the salient portions thereof are hereinbelow quoted:
Section 1. Any owner or manager of fishponds in places within the territorial limits of
Pagbilao, Quezon, shall pay a municipal tax in the amount of P3.00 per hectare of
fishpond on part thereof per annum. 5
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. l (a). For the convenience of those who have or owners or managers of fishponds
within the territorial limits of this municipality, the date of payment of municipal tax
relative thereto, shall begin after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date said
fishpond is approved by the Bureau of Fisheries. 6
xxx xxx xxx
Section 1. Any owner or manager of fishponds in places within the territorial limits of
Pagbilao shall pay a municipal tax in the amount of P3.00 per hectare or any fraction
thereof per annum beginning and taking effect from the year 1964, if the fishpond started
operating before the year 1964. 7
The first objection refers to the ordinances being allegedly "ambiguous and uncertain." 8
The petitioner contends that being a mere lessee of the fishpond, he is not covered since
the said ordinances speak of "owner or manager." He likewise maintains that they are
vague insofar as they reckon the date of payment: Whereas Ordinance No. 4 provides that
parties shall commence payment "after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date
said fishpond is approved by the Bureau of Fisheries." 9 Ordinance No. 12 states that

liability for the tax accrues "beginning and taking effect from the year 1964 if the
fishpond started operating before the year 1964." 10
As a rule, a statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards
that men "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to
its application." 11 It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targetted by it, fair notice of
the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out
its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.
But the act must be utterly vague on its face, that is to say, it cannot be clarified by either
a saving clause or by construction. Thus, in Coates v. City of Cincinnati, 12 the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down an ordinance that had made it illegal for "three or more
persons to assemble on any sidewalk and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying
to persons passing by." 13 Clearly, the ordinance imposed no standard at all "because one
may never know in advance what 'annoys some people but does not annoy others.' " 14
Coates highlights what has been referred to as a "perfectly vague" 15 act whose obscurity
is evident on its face. It is to be distinguished, however, from legislation couched in
imprecise language but which nonetheless specifies a standard though defectively
phrased in which case, it may be "saved" by proper construction.
It must further be distinguished from statutes that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly
applicable to certain types of activities. In that event, such statutes may not be challenged
whenever directed against such activities. In Parker v. Levy, 16 a prosecution originally
under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice (prohibiting, specifically, "conduct
unbecoming an officer and gentleman"), the defendant, an army officer who had urged
his men not to go to Vietnam and called the Special Forces trained to fight there thieves
and murderers, was not allowed to invoke the void for vagueness doctrine on the premise
that accepted military interpretation and practice had provided enough standards, and
consequently, a fair notice that his conduct was impermissible.
It is interesting that in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 17 a divided Court
sustained an act of Congress (Republic Act No. 4880 penalizing "the too early
nomination of candidates" 18 limiting the election campaign period, and prohibiting
"partisan political activities"), amid challenges of vagueness and overbreadth on the
ground that the law had included an "enumeration of the acts deemed included in the
terms 'election campaign' or 'partisan political activity" 19 that would supply the
standards. "As thus limited, the objection that may be raised as to vagueness has been
minimized, if not totally set at rest." 20 In his opinion, however, Justice Sanchez would
stress that the conduct sought to be prohibited "is not clearly defined at all." 21 "As
worded in R.A 4880, prohibited discussion could cover the entire spectrum of expression
relating to candidates and political parties." 22 He was unimpressed with the
"restrictions" Fernando's opinion had relied on: " 'Simple expressions of opinions and
thoughts concerning the election' and expression of 'views on current political problems
or issues' leave the reader conjecture, to guesswork, upon the extent of protection offered,

97

be it as to the nature of the utterance ('simple expressions of opinion and thoughts') or the
subject of the utterance ('current political problems or issues')." 23

municipal taxes in question. He cannot say that he did not have a fair notice of such a
liability to make such ordinances vague.

The Court likewise had occasion to apply the "balancing-of-interests" test, 24 insofar as
the statute's ban on early nomination of candidates was concerned: "The rational
connection between the prohibition of Section 50-A and its object, the indirect and
modest scope of its restriction on the rights of speech and assembly, and the embracing
public interest which Congress has found in the moderation of partisan political activity,
lead us to the conclusion that the statute may stand consistently with and does not offend
the Constitution." 25 In that case, Castro would have the balance achieved in favor of
State authority at the "expense" of individual liberties.

Neither are the said ordinances vague as to dates of payment. There is no merit to the
claim that "the imposition of tax has to depend upon an uncertain date yet to be
determined (three years after the 'approval of the fishpond' by the Bureau of Fisheries,
and upon an uncertain event (if the fishpond started operating before 1964), also to be
determined by an uncertain individual or individuals." 34 Ordinance No. 15, in making
the tax payable "after the lapse of three (3) years starting from the date said fishpond is
approved by the Bureau of Fisheries," 35 is unequivocal about the date of payment, and
its amendment by Ordinance No. 12, reckoning liability thereunder "beginning and taking
effect from the year 1964 if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964 ," 36 does
not give rise to any ambiguity. In either case, the dates of payment have been definitely
established. The fact that the appellant has been allegedly uncertain about the reckoning
dates as far as his liability for the years 1964, 1965, and 1966 is concerned presents
a mere problem in computation, but it does not make the ordinances vague. In addition,
the same would have been at most a difficult piece of legislation, which is not unfamiliar
in this jurisdiction, but hardly a vague law.

In the United States, which had ample impact on Castro's separate opinion, the balancing
test finds a close kin, referred to as the "less restrictive alternative " 26 doctrine, under
which the court searches for alternatives available to the Government outside of statutory
limits, or for "less drastic means" 27 open to the State, that would render the statute
unnecessary. In United States v. Robel, 28 legislation was assailed, banning members of
the (American) Communist Party from working in any defense facility. The U.S.
Supreme Court, in nullifying the statute, held that it impaired the right of association, and
that in any case, a screening process was available to the State that would have enabled it
to Identify dangerous elements holding defense positions. 29 In that event, the balance
would have been struck in favor of individual liberties.
It should be noted that it is in free expression cases that the result is usually close. It is
said, however, that the choice of the courts is usually narrowed where the controversy
involves say, economic rights, 30 or as in the Levy case, military affairs, in which less
precision in analysis is required and in which the competence of the legislature is
presumed.
In no way may the ordinances at bar be said to be tainted with the vice of vagueness. It is
unmistakable from their very provisions that the appellant falls within its coverage. As
the actual operator of the fishponds, he comes within the term " manager." He does not
deny the fact that he financed the construction of the fishponds, introduced fish fries into
the fishponds, and had employed laborers to maintain them. 31 While it appears that it is
the National Government which owns them, 32 the Government never shared in the
profits they had generated. It is therefore only logical that he shoulders the burden of tax
under the said ordinances.
We agree with the trial court that the ordinances are in the character of revenue measures
33 designed to assist the coffers of the municipality of Pagbilao. And obviously, it cannot
be the owner, the Government, on whom liability should attach, for one thing, upon the
ancient principle that the Government is immune from taxes and for another, since it is
not the Government that had been making money from the venture.
Suffice it to say that as the actual operator of the fishponds in question, and as the
recipient of profits brought about by the business, the appellant is clearly liable for the

As it stands, then, liability for the tax accrues on January 1, 1964 for fishponds in
operation prior thereto (Ordinance No. 12), and for new fishponds, three years after their
approval by the Bureau of Fisheries (Ordinance No. 15). This is so since the amendatory
act (Ordinance No. 12) merely granted amnesty unto old, delinquent fishpond operators.
It did not repeal its mother ordinances (Nos. 4 and 15). With respect to new operators,
Ordinance No. 15 should still prevail.
To the Court, the ordinances in question set forth enough standards that clarify imagined
ambiguities. While such standards are not apparent from the face thereof, they are visible
from the intent of the said ordinances.
The next inquiry is whether or not they can be said to be ex post facto measures. The
appellant argues that they are: "Amendment No. 12 passed on September 19, 1966,
clearly provides that the payment of the imposed tax shall "beginning and taking effect
from the year 1964, if the fishpond started operating before the year 1964.' In other
words, it penalizes acts or events occurring before its passage, that is to say, 1964 and
even prior thereto." 37
The Court finds no merit in this contention. As the Solicitor General notes, "Municipal
Ordinance No. 4 was passed on May 14, 1955. 38 Hence, it cannot be said that the
amendment (under Ordinance No. 12) is being made to apply retroactively (to 1964)
since the reckoning period is 1955 (date of enactment). Essentially, Ordinances Nos. 12
and 15 are in the nature of curative measures intended to facilitate and enhance the
collection of revenues the originally act, Ordinance No. 4, had prescribed. 39 Moreover,
the act (of non-payment of the tax), had been, since 1955, made punishable, and it cannot
be said that Ordinance No. 12 imposes a retroactive penalty. As we have noted, it

98

operates to grant amnesty to operators who had been delinquent between 1955 and 1964.
It does not mete out a penalty, much less, a retrospective one.
The appellant assails, finally, the power of the municipal council of Pagbilao to tax
"public forest land." 40 In Golden Ribbon Lumber Co., Inc. v. City of Butuan 41 we held
that local governments' taxing power does not extend to forest products or concessions
under Republic Act No. 2264, the Local Autonomy Act then in force. (Republic Act No.
2264 likewise prohibited municipalities from imposing percentage taxes on sales.)

They are, more accurately, privilege taxes on the business of fishpond maintenance. They
are not charged against sales, which would have offended the doctrine enshrined by
Golden Ribbon Lumber, 45 but rather on occupation, which is allowed under Republic
Act No. 2264. 46 They are what have been classified as fixed annual taxes and this is
obvious from the ordinances themselves.
There is, then, no merit in the last objection.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. Costs against the appellant.

First of all, the tax in question is not a tax on property, although the rate thereof is based
on the area of fishponds ("P3.00 per hectare" 42). Secondly, fishponds are not forest
lands, although we have held them to the agricultural lands. 43 By definition, "forest" is
"a large tract of land covered with a natural growth of trees and underbush; a large
wood." 44 (Accordingly, even if the challenged taxes were directed on the fishponds,
they would not have been taxes on forest products.)

Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Cortes, GrioAquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera, and Regalado, J., took no part.
Gancayco, J., is on leave.

City of Manila vs. Laguio


ISSUES:
G.R. No. 118127, April 12, 2005
W/N the City of Manila validly exercised police power
W/N there was a denial of equal protection under the law
Due Process
Equal Protection
Requisites of a Valid Exercise of Police Power by LGU
FACTS:
The private respondent, Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTOC) is a
corporation engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels, and lodgin
houses. It built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel
although duly accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.
March 30, 1993 - City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim approved an ordinance enacted which
prohibited certain forms of amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where
women are used as tools in entertainment and which tend to disturb the community,
annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the
community. The Ordinance also provided that in case of violation and conviction, the
premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked permanently.
June 28, 1993 - MTOC filed a Petition with the lower court, praying that the Ordinance,
insofar as it included motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be declared
invalid and unconstitutional for several reasons but mainly because it is not a valid
exercise of police power and it constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law.
Judge Laguio ruled for the petitioners. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court.

HELD:
The Ordinance infringes the due process clause since the requisites for a valid exercise of
police power are not met. The prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per
se protect and promote the social and moral welfare of the community; it will not in itself
eradicate the alluded social ills fo prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the
spread of sexual diseases in Manila. It is baseless and insupportable to bring within that
classification sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars, night clubs, day clubs, super
clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and inns. These are lawful pursuits
which are not per se offensive to the moral welfare of the community.
Sexual immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent places....
Every house, building, park, curb, street, or even vehicles for that matter will not be
exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no "pure" places where there are
impure men.
The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality.
Try as the Ordinance may to shape morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can
make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building or
establishment; it is in the hearts of men.
The Ordinance violates equal protection clause and is repugnant to general laws; it is
ultra vires. The Local Government Code merely empowers local government units to
regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated in Section 1 thereof.

99

All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights adn
impairs personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes
statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently
[G.R. No. 118127. April 12, 2005]
CITY OF MANILA, HON. ALFREDO S. LIM as the Mayor of the City of Manila,
HON. JOSELITO L. ATIENZA, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila and
Presiding Officer of the City Council of Manila, HON. ERNESTO A. NIEVA, HON.
GONZALO P. GONZALES, HON. AVELINO S. CAILIAN, HON. ROBERTO C.
OCAMPO, HON. ALBERTO DOMINGO, HON. HONORIO U. LOPEZ, HON.
FRANCISCO G. VARONA, JR., HON. ROMUALDO S. MARANAN, HON. NESTOR
C. PONCE, JR., HON. HUMBERTO B. BASCO, HON. FLAVIANO F. CONCEPCION,
JR., HON. ROMEO G. RIVERA, HON. MANUEL M. ZARCAL, HON. PEDRO S. DE
JESUS, HON. BERNARDITO C. ANG, HON. MANUEL L. QUIN, HON. JHOSEP Y.
LOPEZ, HON. CHIKA G. GO, HON. VICTORIANO A. MELENDEZ, HON.
ERNESTO V.P. MACEDA, JR., HON. ROLANDO P. NIETO, HON. DANILO V.
ROLEDA, HON. GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., HON. MA. PAZ E. HERRERA, HON.
JOEY D. HIZON, HON. FELIXBERTO D. ESPIRITU, HON. KARLO Q. BUTIONG,
HON. ROGELIO P. DELA PAZ, HON. BERNARDO D. RAGAZA, HON. MA.
CORAZON R. CABALLES, HON. CASIMIRO C. SISON, HON. BIENVINIDO M.
ABANTE, JR., HON. MA. LOURDES M. ISIP, HON. ALEXANDER S. RICAFORT,
HON. ERNESTO F. RIVERA, HON. LEONARDO L. ANGAT, and HON. JOCELYN B.
DAWIS, in their capacity as councilors of the City of Manila, petitioners, vs. HON.
PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., as Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila and MALATE
TOURIST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what
you feel bad after.
Ernest Hermingway
Death in the Afternoon, Ch. 1
It is a moral and political axiom that any dishonorable act, if performed by oneself, is less
immoral than if performed by someone else, who would be well-intentioned in his
dishonesty.
J. Christopher Gerald
Bonaparte in Egypt, Ch. I

detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to
be forgotten, the City Council unde the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is
therefore ultra vires null and void.
The Courts commitment to the protection of morals is secondary to its fealty to the
fundamental law of the land. It is foremost a guardian of the Constitution but not the
conscience of individuals. And if it need be, the Court will not hesitate to make the
hammer fall, and heavily in the words of Justice Laurel, and uphold the constitutional
guarantees when faced with laws that, though not lacking in zeal to promote morality,
nevertheless fail to pass the test of constitutionality.
The pivotal issue in this Petition[1] under Rule 45 (then Rule 42) of the Revised Rules on
Civil Procedure seeking the reversal of the Decision[2] in Civil Case No. 93-66511 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 18 (lower court),[3] is the validity of
Ordinance No. 7783 (the Ordinance) of the City of Manila.[4]
The antecedents are as follows:
Private respondent Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTDC) is a corporation
engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels and lodging houses.[5] It
built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly
accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.[6] On 28 June 1993, MTDC filed a
Petition for Declaratory Relief with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or
Temporary Restraining Order[7] (RTC Petition) with the lower court impleading as
defendants, herein petitioners City of Manila, Hon. Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), Hon. Joselito
L. Atienza, and the members of the City Council of Manila (City Council). MTDC
prayed that the Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as among its prohibited
establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional.[8]
Enacted by the City Council[9] on 9 March 1993 and approved by petitioner City Mayor
on 30 March 1993, the said Ordinance is entitled
AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF
BUSINESSES PROVIDING CERTAIN FORMS OF AMUSEMENT,
ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE
AREA, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF, AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES.[10]
The Ordinance is reproduced in full, hereunder:
SECTION 1. Any provision of existing laws and ordinances to the contrary
notwithstanding, no person, partnership, corporation or entity shall, in the Ermita-Malate
area bounded by Teodoro M. Kalaw Sr. Street in the North, Taft Avenue in the East, Vito
Cruz Street in the South and Roxas Boulevard in the West, pursuant to P.D. 499 be
allowed or authorized to contract and engage in, any business providing certain forms of
amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in

100

entertainment and which tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and
adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community, such as but not limited
to:

5. Records and music shops


6. Restaurants

1. Sauna Parlors
7. Coffee shops
2. Massage Parlors
8. Flower shops
3. Karaoke Bars
4. Beerhouses
5. Night Clubs

9. Music lounge and sing-along restaurants, with well-defined activities for wholesome
family entertainment that cater to both local and foreign clientele.
10. Theaters engaged in the exhibition, not only of motion pictures but also of cultural
shows, stage and theatrical plays, art exhibitions, concerts and the like.

6. Day Clubs
7. Super Clubs
8. Discotheques
9. Cabarets
10. Dance Halls
11. Motels
12. Inns
SEC. 2 The City Mayor, the City Treasurer or any person acting in behalf of the said
officials are prohibited from issuing permits, temporary or otherwise, or from granting
licenses and accepting payments for the operation of business enumerated in the
preceding section.

11. Businesses allowable within the law and medium intensity districts as provided for in
the zoning ordinances for Metropolitan Manila, except new warehouse or open-storage
depot, dock or yard, motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light industry with any
machinery, or funeral establishments.
SEC. 4. Any person violating any provisions of this ordinance, shall upon conviction, be
punished by imprisonment of one (1) year or fine of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00)
PESOS, or both, at the discretion of the Court, PROVIDED, that in case of juridical
person, the President, the General Manager, or person-in-charge of operation shall be
liable thereof; PROVIDED FURTHER, that in case of subsequent violation and
conviction, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked
permanently.
SEC. 5. This ordinance shall take effect upon approval.
Enacted by the City Council of Manila at its regular session today, March 9, 1993.
Approved by His Honor, the Mayor on March 30, 1993. (Emphasis supplied)

SEC. 3. Owners and/or operator of establishments engaged in, or devoted to, the
businesses enumerated in Section 1 hereof are hereby given three (3) months from the
date of approval of this ordinance within which to wind up business operations or to
transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other
kinds of business allowable within the area, such as but not limited to:
1. Curio or antique shop
2. Souvenir Shops
3. Handicrafts display centers
4. Art galleries

In the RTC Petition, MTDC argued that the Ordinance erroneously and improperly
included in its enumeration of prohibited establishments, motels and inns such as MTDCs
Victoria Court considering that these were not establishments for amusement or
entertainment and they were not services or facilities for entertainment, nor did they use
women as tools for entertainment, and neither did they disturb the community, annoy the
inhabitants or adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community.[11]
MTDC further advanced that the Ordinance was invalid and unconstitutional for the
following reasons: (1) The City Council has no power to prohibit the operation of motels
as Section 458 (a) 4 (iv)[12] of the Local Government Code of 1991 (the Code) grants to
the City Council only the power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance
of hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses and other similar establishments;

101

(2) The Ordinance is void as it is violative of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 499[13]
which specifically declared portions of the Ermita-Malate area as a commercial zone with
certain restrictions; (3) The Ordinance does not constitute a proper exercise of police
power as the compulsory closure of the motel business has no reasonable relation to the
legitimate municipal interests sought to be protected; (4) The Ordinance constitutes an ex
post facto law by punishing the operation of Victoria Court which was a legitimate
business prior to its enactment; (5) The Ordinance violates MTDCs constitutional rights
in that: (a) it is confiscatory and constitutes an invasion of plaintiffs property rights; (b)
the City Council has no power to find as a fact that a particular thing is a nuisance per se
nor does it have the power to extrajudicially destroy it; and (6) The Ordinance constitutes
a denial of equal protection under the law as no reasonable basis exists for prohibiting the
operation of motels and inns, but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other
similar establishments, and for prohibiting said business in the Ermita-Malate area but
not outside of this area.[14]

Petitioners likewise asserted that the Ordinance was enacted by the City Council of
Manila to protect the social and moral welfare of the community in conjunction with its
police power as found in Article III, Section 18(kk) of Republic Act No. 409,[19]
otherwise known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila (Revised Charter of
Manila)[20] which reads, thus:

In their Answer[15] dated 23 July 1993, petitioners City of Manila and Lim maintained
that the City Council had the power to prohibit certain forms of entertainment in order to
protect the social and moral welfare of the community as provided for in Section 458 (a)
4 (vii) of the Local Government Code,[16] which reads, thus:

...

Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
....
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city
in order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall:
....
(vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or
amusement facilities, including theatrical performances, circuses, billiard pools, public
dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for
entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or
entertainment, particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the
inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain
forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of
the community.
Citing Kwong Sing v. City of Manila,[17] petitioners insisted that the power of regulation
spoken of in the above-quoted provision included the power to control, to govern and to
restrain places of exhibition and amusement.[18]

ARTICLE III
THE MUNICIPAL BOARD
...
Section 18. Legislative powers. The Municipal Board shall have the following legislative
powers:

(kk) To enact all ordinances it may deem necessary and proper for the sanitation and
safety, the furtherance of the prosperity, and the promotion of the morality, peace, good
order, comfort, convenience, and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, and such
others as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties
conferred by this chapter; and to fix penalties for the violation of ordinances which shall
not exceed two hundred pesos fine or six months imprisonment, or both such fine and
imprisonment, for a single offense.
Further, the petitioners noted, the Ordinance had the presumption of validity; hence,
private respondent had the burden to prove its illegality or unconstitutionality.[21]
Petitioners also maintained that there was no inconsistency between P.D. 499 and the
Ordinance as the latter simply disauthorized certain forms of businesses and allowed the
Ermita-Malate area to remain a commercial zone.[22] The Ordinance, the petitioners
likewise claimed, cannot be assailed as ex post facto as it was prospective in operation.
[23] The Ordinance also did not infringe the equal protection clause and cannot be
denounced as class legislation as there existed substantial and real differences between
the Ermita-Malate area and other places in the City of Manila.[24]
On 28 June 1993, respondent Judge Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr. (Judge Laguio) issued an
ex-parte temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the Ordinance.[25] And
on 16 July 1993, again in an intrepid gesture, he granted the writ of preliminary
injunction prayed for by MTDC.[26]
After trial, on 25 November 1994, Judge Laguio rendered the assailed Decision,
enjoining the petitioners from implementing the Ordinance. The dispositive portion of
said Decision reads:[27]

102

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring Ordinance No. 778[3], Series of


1993, of the City of Manila null and void, and making permanent the writ of preliminary
injunction that had been issued by this Court against the defendant. No costs.
SO ORDERED.[28]
Petitioners filed with the lower court a Notice of Appeal[29] on 12 December 1994,
manifesting that they are elevating the case to this Court under then Rule 42 on pure
questions of law.[30]
On 11 January 1995, petitioners filed the present Petition, alleging that the following
errors were committed by the lower court in its ruling: (1) It erred in concluding that the
subject ordinance is ultra vires, or otherwise, unfair, unreasonable and oppressive
exercise of police power; (2) It erred in holding that the questioned Ordinance
contravenes P.D. 499[31] which allows operators of all kinds of commercial
establishments, except those specified therein; and (3) It erred in declaring the Ordinance
void and unconstitutional.[32]
In the Petition and in its Memorandum,[33] petitioners in essence repeat the assertions
they made before the lower court. They contend that the assailed Ordinance was enacted
in the exercise of the inherent and plenary power of the State and the general welfare
clause exercised by local government units provided for in Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the
Revised Charter of Manila and conjunctively, Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code.[34]
They allege that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power; it does not contravene
P.D. 499; and that it enjoys the presumption of validity.[35]
In its Memorandum[36] dated 27 May 1996, private respondent maintains that the
Ordinance is ultra vires and that it is void for being repugnant to the general law. It
reiterates that the questioned Ordinance is not a valid exercise of police power; that it is
violative of due process, confiscatory and amounts to an arbitrary interference with its
lawful business; that it is violative of the equal protection clause; and that it confers on
petitioner City Mayor or any officer unregulated discretion in the execution of the
Ordinance absent rules to guide and control his actions.
This is an opportune time to express the Courts deep sentiment and tenderness for the
Ermita-Malate area being its home for several decades. A long-time resident, the Court
witnessed the areas many turn of events. It relished its glory days and endured its days of
infamy. Much as the Court harks back to the resplendent era of the Old Manila and
yearns to restore its lost grandeur, it believes that the Ordinance is not the fitting means to
that end. The Court is of the opinion, and so holds, that the lower court did not err in
declaring the Ordinance, as it did, ultra vires and therefore null and void.
The Ordinance is so replete with constitutional infirmities that almost every sentence
thereof violates a constitutional provision. The prohibitions and sanctions therein
transgress the cardinal rights of persons enshrined by the Constitution. The Court is
called upon to shelter these rights from attempts at rendering them worthless.

The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions has held that
for an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the corporate powers of the local
government unit to enact and must be passed according to the procedure prescribed by
law, it must also conform to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not
contravene the Constitution or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must
not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5) must be
general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be unreasonable.[37]
Anent the first criterion, ordinances shall only be valid when they are not contrary to the
Constitution and to the laws.[38] The Ordinance must satisfy two requirements: it must
pass muster under the test of constitutionality and the test of consistency with the
prevailing laws. That ordinances should be constitutional uphold the principle of the
supremacy of the Constitution. The requirement that the enactment must not violate
existing law gives stress to the precept that local government units are able to legislate
only by virtue of their derivative legislative power, a delegation of legislative power from
the national legislature. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise
powers higher than those of the latter.[39]
This relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not
been enfeebled by the new provisions in the Constitution strengthening the policy of local
autonomy. The national legislature is still the principal of the local government units,
which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.[40]
The Ordinance was passed by the City Council in the exercise of its police power, an
enactment of the City Council acting as agent of Congress. Local government units, as
agencies of the State, are endowed with police power in order to effectively accomplish
and carry out the declared objects of their creation.[41] This delegated police power is
found in Section 16 of the Code, known as the general welfare clause, viz:
SECTION 16. General Welfare.Every local government unit shall exercise the powers
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary,
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the
preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of
the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate
and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
Local government units exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies;
in this case, the sangguniang panlungsod or the city council. The Code empowers the
legislative bodies to enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the
general welfare of the province/city/municipality and its inhabitants pursuant to Section
16 of the Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the province/city/

103

municipality provided under the Code.[42] The inquiry in this Petition is concerned with
the validity of the exercise of such delegated power.

mode of judicial procedure; and to secure to all persons equal and impartial justice and
the benefit of the general law.[51]

The Ordinance contravenes

The guaranty serves as a protection against arbitrary regulation, and private corporations
and partnerships are persons within the scope of the guaranty insofar as their property is
concerned.[52]

the Constitution
The police power of the City Council, however broad and far-reaching, is subordinate to
the constitutional limitations thereon; and is subject to the limitation that its exercise must
be reasonable and for the public good.[43] In the case at bar, the enactment of the
Ordinance was an invalid exercise of delegated power as it is unconstitutional and
repugnant to general laws.
The relevant constitutional provisions are the following:
SEC. 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property,
and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people
of the blessings of democracy.[44]
SEC. 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men.[45]
SEC. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of
law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws.[46]

This clause has been interpreted as imposing two separate limits on government, usually
called procedural due process and substantive due process.
Procedural due process, as the phrase implies, refers to the procedures that the
government must follow before it deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. Classic
procedural due process issues are concerned with what kind of notice and what form of
hearing the government must provide when it takes a particular action.[53]
Substantive due process, as that phrase connotes, asks whether the government has an
adequate reason for taking away a persons life, liberty, or property. In other words,
substantive due process looks to whether there is a sufficient justification for the
governments action.[54] Case law in the United States (U.S.) tells us that whether there is
such a justification depends very much on the level of scrutiny used.[55] For example, if
a law is in an area where only rational basis review is applied, substantive due process is
met so long as the law is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. But if it is
an area where strict scrutiny is used, such as for protecting fundamental rights, then the
government will meet substantive due process only if it can prove that the law is
necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose.[56]

Sec. 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.[47]
A. The Ordinance infringes
the Due Process Clause
The constitutional safeguard of due process is embodied in the fiat (N)o person shall be
deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. . . .[48]
There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It furnishes though a
standard to which governmental action should conform in order that deprivation of life,
liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. This standard is aptly described as
a responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice,[49] and
as such it is a limitation upon the exercise of the police power.[50]
The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent governmental encroachment against the life,
liberty and property of individuals; to secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of
the powers of the government, unrestrained by the established principles of private rights
and distributive justice; to protect property from confiscation by legislative enactments,
from seizure, forfeiture, and destruction without a trial and conviction by the ordinary

The police power granted to local government units must always be exercised with
utmost observance of the rights of the people to due process and equal protection of the
law. Such power cannot be exercised whimsically, arbitrarily or despotically[57] as its
exercise is subject to a qualification, limitation or restriction demanded by the respect and
regard due to the prescription of the fundamental law, particularly those forming part of
the Bill of Rights. Individual rights, it bears emphasis, may be adversely affected only to
the extent that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or
public welfare.[58] Due process requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering
with the rights of the person to his life, liberty and property.[59]
Requisites for the valid exercise
of Police Power are not met
To successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rationale for the enactment of
the Ordinance, and to free it from the imputation of constitutional infirmity, not only must
it appear that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a
particular class, require an interference with private rights, but the means adopted must
be reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly
oppressive upon individuals.[60] It must be evident that no other alternative for the

104

accomplishment of the purpose less intrusive of private rights can work. A reasonable
relation must exist between the purposes of the police measure and the means employed
for its accomplishment, for even under the guise of protecting the public interest,
personal rights and those pertaining to private property will not be permitted to be
arbitrarily invaded.[61]
Lacking a concurrence of these two requisites, the police measure shall be struck down as
an arbitrary intrusion into private rights[62] a violation of the due process clause.
The Ordinance was enacted to address and arrest the social ills purportedly spawned by
the establishments in the Ermita-Malate area which are allegedly operated under the
deceptive veneer of legitimate, licensed and tax-paying nightclubs, bars, karaoke bars,
girlie houses, cocktail lounges, hotels and motels. Petitioners insist that even the Court in
the case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of
Manila[63] had already taken judicial notice of the alarming increase in the rate of
prostitution, adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to existence of
motels, which provide a necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence and exit
and thus become the ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers.[64]
The object of the Ordinance was, accordingly, the promotion and protection of the social
and moral values of the community. Granting for the sake of argument that the objectives
of the Ordinance are within the scope of the City Councils police powers, the means
employed for the accomplishment thereof were unreasonable and unduly oppressive.
It is undoubtedly one of the fundamental duties of the City of Manila to make all
reasonable regulations looking to the promotion of the moral and social values of the
community. However, the worthy aim of fostering public morals and the eradication of
the communitys social ills can be achieved through means less restrictive of private
rights; it can be attained by reasonable restrictions rather than by an absolute prohibition.
The closing down and transfer of businesses or their conversion into businesses allowed
under the Ordinance have no reasonable relation to the accomplishment of its purposes.
Otherwise stated, the prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per se protect
and promote the social and moral welfare of the community; it will not in itself eradicate
the alluded social ills of prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the spread of
sexual disease in Manila.
Conceding for the nonce that the Ermita-Malate area teems with houses of ill-repute and
establishments of the like which the City Council may lawfully prohibit,[65] it is baseless
and insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors, massage parlors,
karaoke bars, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls,
motels and inns. This is not warranted under the accepted definitions of these terms. The
enumerated establishments are lawful pursuits which are not per se offensive to the moral
welfare of the community.
That these are used as arenas to consummate illicit sexual affairs and as venues to further
the illegal prostitution is of no moment. We lay stress on the acrid truth that sexual

immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent of places that it
may even take place in the substitute establishments enumerated under Section 3 of the
Ordinance. If the flawed logic of the Ordinance were to be followed, in the remote
instance that an immoral sexual act transpires in a church cloister or a court chamber, we
would behold the spectacle of the City of Manila ordering the closure of the church or
court concerned. Every house, building, park, curb, street or even vehicles for that matter
will not be exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no pure places where
there are impure men. Indeed, even the Scripture and the Tradition of Christians churches
continually recall the presence and universality of sin in mans history.[66]
The problem, it needs to be pointed out, is not the establishment, which by its nature
cannot be said to be injurious to the health or comfort of the community and which in
itself is amoral, but the deplorable human activity that may occur within its premises.
While a motel may be used as a venue for immoral sexual activity, it cannot for that
reason alone be punished. It cannot be classified as a house of ill-repute or as a nuisance
per se on a mere likelihood or a naked assumption. If that were so and if that were
allowed, then the Ermita-Malate area would not only be purged of its supposed social ills,
it would be extinguished of its soul as well as every human activity, reprehensible or not,
in its every nook and cranny would be laid bare to the estimation of the authorities.
The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality.
Try as the Ordinance may to shape morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can
make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building or
establishment; it is in the hearts of men. The City Council instead should regulate human
conduct that occurs inside the establishments, but not to the detriment of liberty and
privacy which are covenants, premiums and blessings of democracy.
While petitioners earnestness at curbing clearly objectionable social ills is commendable,
they unwittingly punish even the proprietors and operators of wholesome, innocent
establishments. In the instant case, there is a clear invasion of personal or property rights,
personal in the case of those individuals desirous of owning, operating and patronizing
those motels and property in terms of the investments made and the salaries to be paid to
those therein employed. If the City of Manila so desires to put an end to prostitution,
fornication and other social ills, it can instead impose reasonable regulations such as daily
inspections of the establishments for any violation of the conditions of their licenses or
permits; it may exercise its authority to suspend or revoke their licenses for these
violations;[67] and it may even impose increased license fees. In other words, there are
other means to reasonably accomplish the desired end.
Means employed are
constitutionally infirm
The Ordinance disallows the operation of sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars,
beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls,
motels and inns in the Ermita-Malate area. In Section 3 thereof, owners and/or operators

105

of the enumerated establishments are given three (3) months from the date of approval of
the Ordinance within which to wind up business operations or to transfer to any place
outside the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of business
allowable within the area. Further, it states in Section 4 that in cases of subsequent
violations of the provisions of the Ordinance, the premises of the erring establishment
shall be closed and padlocked permanently.
It is readily apparent that the means employed by the Ordinance for the achievement of
its purposes, the governmental interference itself, infringes on the constitutional
guarantees of a persons fundamental right to liberty and property.
Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include the
right to exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot
be dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is
deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been
endowed by his Creator, subject only to such restraint as are necessary for the common
welfare.[68] In accordance with this case, the rights of the citizen to be free to use his
faculties in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by any
lawful calling; and to pursue any avocation are all deemed embraced in the concept of
liberty.[69]
The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roth v. Board of Regents,[70] sought to clarify
the meaning of liberty. It said:
While the Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty. . . guaranteed [by
the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments], the term denotes not merely freedom from bodily
restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common
occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up
children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally
to enjoy those privileges long recognizedas essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness
by free men. In a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of
liberty must be broad indeed.
In another case, it also confirmed that liberty protected by the due process clause includes
personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships,
child rearing, and education. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands for the
autonomy of the person in making these choices, the U.S. Supreme Court explained:
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a
lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty
protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define ones
own concept of existence, of meaning, of universe, and of the mystery of human life.
Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood where they
formed under compulsion of the State.[71]

Persons desirous to own, operate and patronize the enumerated establishments under
Section 1 of the Ordinance may seek autonomy for these purposes.
Motel patrons who are single and unmarried may invoke this right to autonomy to
consummate their bonds in intimate sexual conduct within the motels premisesbe it
stressed that their consensual sexual behavior does not contravene any fundamental state
policy as contained in the Constitution.[72] Adults have a right to choose to forge such
relationships with others in the confines of their own private lives and still retain their
dignity as free persons. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows persons the right
to make this choice.[73] Their right to liberty under the due process clause gives them the
full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government, as long as
they do not run afoul of the law. Liberty should be the rule and restraint the exception.
Liberty in the constitutional sense not only means freedom from unlawful government
restraint; it must include privacy as well, if it is to be a repository of freedom. The right to
be let alone is the beginning of all freedomit is the most comprehensive of rights and the
right most valued by civilized men.[74]
The concept of liberty compels respect for the individual whose claim to privacy and
interference demands respect. As the case of Morfe v. Mutuc,[75] borrowing the words of
Laski, so very aptly stated:
Man is one among many, obstinately refusing reduction to unity. His separateness, his
isolation, are indefeasible; indeed, they are so fundamental that they are the basis on
which his civic obligations are built. He cannot abandon the consequences of his
isolation, which are, broadly speaking, that his experience is private, and the will built out
of that experience personal to himself. If he surrenders his will to others, he surrenders
himself. If his will is set by the will of others, he ceases to be a master of himself. I
cannot believe that a man no longer a master of himself is in any real sense free.
Indeed, the right to privacy as a constitutional right was recognized in Morfe, the
invasion of which should be justified by a compelling state interest. Morfe accorded
recognition to the right to privacy independently of its identification with liberty; in itself
it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. Governmental powers should stop short
of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen.[76]
There is a great temptation to have an extended discussion on these civil liberties but the
Court chooses to exercise restraint and restrict itself to the issues presented when it
should. The previous pronouncements of the Court are not to be interpreted as a license
for adults to engage in criminal conduct. The reprehensibility of such conduct is not
diminished. The Court only reaffirms and guarantees their right to make this choice.
Should they be prosecuted for their illegal conduct, they should suffer the consequences
of the choice they have made. That, ultimately, is their choice.
Modality employed is

106

unlawful taking
In addition, the Ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive as it substantially divests the
respondent of the beneficial use of its property.[77] The Ordinance in Section 1 thereof
forbids the running of the enumerated businesses in the Ermita-Malate area and in
Section 3 instructs its owners/operators to wind up business operations or to transfer
outside the area or convert said businesses into allowed businesses. An ordinance which
permanently restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable
purpose goes beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property
without just compensation.[78] It is intrusive and violative of the private property rights
of individuals.
The Constitution expressly provides in Article III, Section 9, that private property shall
not be taken for public use without just compensation. The provision is the most
important protection of property rights in the Constitution. This is a restriction on the
general power of the government to take property. The constitutional provision is about
ensuring that the government does not confiscate the property of some to give it to others.
In part too, it is about loss spreading. If the government takes away a persons property to
benefit society, then society should pay. The principal purpose of the guarantee is to bar
the Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all
fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.[79]
There are two different types of taking that can be identified. A possessory taking occurs
when the government confiscates or physically occupies property. A regulatory taking
occurs when the governments regulation leaves no reasonable economically viable use of
the property.[80]
In the landmark case of Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon,[81] it was held that a taking also
could be found if government regulation of the use of property went too far. When
regulation reaches a certain magnitude, in most if not in all cases there must be an
exercise of eminent domain and compensation to support the act. While property may be
regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking.
[82]
No formula or rule can be devised to answer the questions of what is too far and when
regulation becomes a taking. In Mahon, Justice Holmes recognized that it was a question
of degree and therefore cannot be disposed of by general propositions. On many other
occasions as well, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the issue of when regulation
constitutes a taking is a matter of considering the facts in each case. The Court asks
whether justice and fairness require that the economic loss caused by public action must
be compensated by the government and thus borne by the public as a whole, or whether
the loss should remain concentrated on those few persons subject to the public action.[83]
What is crucial in judicial consideration of regulatory takings is that government
regulation is a taking if it leaves no reasonable economically viable use of property in a
manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for use.[84] A regulation that

permanently denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land is, from the
owners point of view, equivalent to a taking unless principles of nuisance or property law
that existed when the owner acquired the land make the use prohibitable.[85] When the
owner of real property has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses
in the name of the common good, that is, to leave his property economically idle, he has
suffered a taking.[86]
A regulation which denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land will
require compensation under the takings clause. Where a regulation places limitations on
land that fall short of eliminating all economically beneficial use, a taking nonetheless
may have occurred, depending on a complex of factors including the regulations
economic effect on the landowner, the extent to which the regulation interferes with
reasonable investment-backed expectations and the character of government action.
These inquiries are informed by the purpose of the takings clause which is to prevent the
government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness
and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.[87]
A restriction on use of property may also constitute a taking if not reasonably necessary
to the effectuation of a substantial public purpose or if it has an unduly harsh impact on
the distinct investment-backed expectations of the owner.[88]
The Ordinance gives the owners and operators of the prohibited establishments three (3)
months from its approval within which to wind up business operations or to transfer to
any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of
business allowable within the area. The directive to wind up business operations amounts
to a closure of the establishment, a permanent deprivation of property, and is practically
confiscatory. Unless the owner converts his establishment to accommodate an allowed
business, the structure which housed the previous business will be left empty and
gathering dust. Suppose he transfers it to another area, he will likewise leave the entire
establishment idle. Consideration must be given to the substantial amount of money
invested to build the edifices which the owner reasonably expects to be returned within a
period of time. It is apparent that the Ordinance leaves no reasonable economically viable
use of property in a manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for use.
The second and third options to transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or
to convert into allowed businessesare confiscatory as well. The penalty of permanent
closure in cases of subsequent violations found in Section 4 of the Ordinance is also
equivalent to a taking of private property.
The second option instructs the owners to abandon their property and build another one
outside the Ermita-Malate area. In every sense, it qualifies as a taking without just
compensation with an additional burden imposed on the owner to build another
establishment solely from his coffers. The proffered solution does not put an end to the
problem, it merely relocates it. Not only is this impractical, it is unreasonable, onerous
and oppressive. The conversion into allowed enterprises is just as ridiculous. How may
the respondent convert a motel into a restaurant or a coffee shop, art gallery or music

107

lounge without essentially destroying its property? This is a taking of private property
without due process of law, nay, even without compensation.

because one may never know in advance what annoys some people but does not annoy
others.

The penalty of closure likewise constitutes unlawful taking that should be compensated
by the government. The burden on the owner to convert or transfer his business,
otherwise it will be closed permanently after a subsequent violation should be borne by
the public as this end benefits them as a whole.

Similarly, the Ordinance does not specify the standards to ascertain which establishments
tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and
moral welfare of the community. The cited case supports the nullification of the
Ordinance for lack of comprehensible standards to guide the law enforcers in carrying out
its provisions.

Petitioners cannot take refuge in classifying the measure as a zoning ordinance. A zoning
ordinance, although a valid exercise of police power, which limits a wholesome property
to a use which can not reasonably be made of it constitutes the taking of such property
without just compensation. Private property which is not noxious nor intended for
noxious purposes may not, by zoning, be destroyed without compensation. Such principle
finds no support in the principles of justice as we know them. The police powers of local
government units which have always received broad and liberal interpretation cannot be
stretched to cover this particular taking.
Distinction should be made between destruction from necessity and eminent domain. It
needs restating that the property taken in the exercise of police power is destroyed
because it is noxious or intended for a noxious purpose while the property taken under
the power of eminent domain is intended for a public use or purpose and is therefore
wholesome.[89] If it be of public benefit that a wholesome property remain unused or
relegated to a particular purpose, then certainly the public should bear the cost of
reasonable compensation for the condemnation of private property for public use.[90]
Further, the Ordinance fails to set up any standard to guide or limit the petitioners actions.
It in no way controls or guides the discretion vested in them. It provides no definition of
the establishments covered by it and it fails to set forth the conditions when the
establishments come within its ambit of prohibition. The Ordinance confers upon the
mayor arbitrary and unrestricted power to close down establishments. Ordinances such as
this, which make possible abuses in its execution, depending upon no conditions or
qualifications whatsoever other than the unregulated arbitrary will of the city authorities
as the touchstone by which its validity is to be tested, are unreasonable and invalid. The
Ordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial enforcement could be
secured.[91]
Ordinances placing restrictions upon the lawful use of property must, in order to be valid
and constitutional, specify the rules and conditions to be observed and conduct to avoid;
and must not admit of the exercise, or of an opportunity for the exercise, of unbridled
discretion by the law enforcers in carrying out its provisions.[92]
Thus, in Coates v. City of Cincinnati,[93] as cited in People v. Nazario,[94] the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down an ordinance that had made it illegal for three or more
persons to assemble on any sidewalk and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying
to persons passing by. The ordinance was nullified as it imposed no standard at all

Petitioners cannot therefore order the closure of the enumerated establishments without
infringing the due process clause. These lawful establishments may be regulated, but not
prevented from carrying on their business. This is a sweeping exercise of police power
that is a result of a lack of imagination on the part of the City Council and which amounts
to an interference into personal and private rights which the Court will not countenance.
In this regard, we take a resolute stand to uphold the constitutional guarantee of the right
to liberty and property.
Worthy of note is an example derived from the U.S. of a reasonable regulation which is a
far cry from the ill-considered Ordinance enacted by the City Council.
In FW/PBS, INC. v. Dallas,[95] the city of Dallas adopted a comprehensive ordinance
regulating sexually oriented businesses, which are defined to include adult arcades,
bookstores, video stores, cabarets, motels, and theaters as well as escort agencies, nude
model studio and sexual encounter centers. Among other things, the ordinance required
that such businesses be licensed. A group of motel owners were among the three groups
of businesses that filed separate suits challenging the ordinance. The motel owners
asserted that the city violated the due process clause by failing to produce adequate
support for its supposition that renting room for fewer than ten (10) hours resulted in
increased crime and other secondary effects. They likewise argued than the ten (10)-hour
limitation on the rental of motel rooms placed an unconstitutional burden on the right to
freedom of association. Anent the first contention, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the
reasonableness of the legislative judgment combined with a study which the city
considered, was adequate to support the citys determination that motels permitting room
rentals for fewer than ten (10 ) hours should be included within the licensing scheme. As
regards the second point, the Court held that limiting motel room rentals to ten (10) hours
will have no discernible effect on personal bonds as those bonds that are formed from the
use of a motel room for fewer than ten (10) hours are not those that have played a critical
role in the culture and traditions of the nation by cultivating and transmitting shared
ideals and beliefs.
The ordinance challenged in the above-cited case merely regulated the targeted
businesses. It imposed reasonable restrictions; hence, its validity was upheld.
The case of Ermita Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of
Manila,[96] it needs pointing out, is also different from this case in that what was
involved therein was a measure which regulated the mode in which motels may conduct

108

business in order to put an end to practices which could encourage vice and immorality.
Necessarily, there was no valid objection on due process or equal protection grounds as
the ordinance did not prohibit motels. The Ordinance in this case however is not a
regulatory measure but is an exercise of an assumed power to prohibit.[97]
The foregoing premises show that the Ordinance is an unwarranted and unlawful
curtailment of property and personal rights of citizens. For being unreasonable and an
undue restraint of trade, it cannot, even under the guise of exercising police power, be
upheld as valid.

class should be treated in the same fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the
group equally binding on the rest.[102]
Legislative bodies are allowed to classify the subjects of legislation. If the classification
is reasonable, the law may operate only on some and not all of the people without
violating the equal protection clause.[103] The classification must, as an indispensable
requisite, not be arbitrary. To be valid, it must conform to the following requirements:
1) It must be based on substantial distinctions.

B. The Ordinance violates Equal

2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law.

Protection Clause

3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only.

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated
alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. Similar subjects, in other
words, should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly
discriminate against others.[98] The guarantee means that no person or class of persons
shall be denied the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other
classes in like circumstances.[99] The equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the
protection of equal laws.[100] It limits governmental discrimination. The equal protection
clause extends to artificial persons but only insofar as their property is concerned.[101]

4) It must apply equally to all members of the class.[104]

The Court has explained the scope of the equal protection clause in this wise:
What does it signify? To quote from J.M. Tuason & Co. v. Land Tenure Administration:
The ideal situation is for the laws benefits to be available to all, that none be placed
outside the sphere of its coverage. Only thus could chance and favor be excluded and the
affairs of men governed by that serene and impartial uniformity, which is of the very
essence of the idea of law. There is recognition, however, in the opinion that what in fact
exists cannot approximate the ideal. Nor is the law susceptible to the reproach that it does
not take into account the realities of the situation. The constitutional guarantee then is not
to be given a meaning that disregards what is, what does in fact exist. To assure that the
general welfare be promoted, which is the end of law, a regulatory measure may cut into
the rights to liberty and property. Those adversely affected may under such circumstances
invoke the equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental act
assailed, far from being inspired by the attainment of the common weal was prompted by
the spirit of hostility, or at the very least, discrimination that finds no support in reason.
Classification is thus not ruled out, it being sufficient to quote from the Tuason decision
anew that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar
circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not
being different, both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. Favoritism
and undue preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and
security shall be given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are
analogous. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a

In the Courts view, there are no substantial distinctions between motels, inns, pension
houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments. By definition, all are
commercial establishments providing lodging and usually meals and other services for
the public. No reason exists for prohibiting motels and inns but not pension houses,
hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments. The classification in the instant
case is invalid as similar subjects are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and
obligations imposed. It is arbitrary as it does not rest on substantial distinctions bearing a
just and fair relation to the purpose of the Ordinance.
The Court likewise cannot see the logic for prohibiting the business and operation of
motels in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside of this area. A noxious establishment
does not become any less noxious if located outside the area.
The standard where women are used as tools for entertainment is also discriminatory as
prostitutionone of the hinted ills the Ordinance aims to banishis not a profession
exclusive to women. Both men and women have an equal propensity to engage in
prostitution. It is not any less grave a sin when men engage in it. And why would the
assumption that there is an ongoing immoral activity apply only when women are
employed and be inapposite when men are in harness? This discrimination based on
gender violates equal protection as it is not substantially related to important government
objectives.[105] Thus, the discrimination is invalid.
Failing the test of constitutionality, the Ordinance likewise failed to pass the test of
consistency with prevailing laws.
C. The Ordinance is repugnant
to general laws; it is ultra vires

109

The Ordinance is in contravention of the Code as the latter merely empowers local
government units to regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated in Section
1 thereof.
The power of the City Council to regulate by ordinances the establishment, operation,
and maintenance of motels, hotels and other similar establishments is found in Section
458 (a) 4 (iv), which provides that:
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
...
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city
in order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall:
...
(iv) Regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes, restaurants,
beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar
establishments, including tourist guides and transports . . . .
While its power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of any
entertainment or amusement facilities, and to prohibit certain forms of amusement or
entertainment is provided under Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code, which reads as
follows:
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
...
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city
in order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall:
...
(vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or
amusement facilities, including theatrical performances, circuses, billiard pools, public
dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for

entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or


entertainment, particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the
inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain
forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of
the community.
Clearly, with respect to cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension
houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments, the only power of the City
Council to legislate relative thereto is to regulate them to promote the general welfare.
The Code still withholds from cities the power to suppress and prohibit altogether the
establishment, operation and maintenance of such establishments. It is well to recall the
rulings of the Court in Kwong Sing v. City of Manila[106] that:
The word regulate, as used in subsection (l), section 2444 of the Administrative Code,
means and includes the power to control, to govern, and to restrain; but regulate should
not be construed as synonymous with suppress or prohibit. Consequently, under the
power to regulate laundries, the municipal authorities could make proper police
regulations as to the mode in which the employment or business shall be exercised.[107]
And in People v. Esguerra,[108] wherein the Court nullified an ordinance of the
Municipality of Tacloban which prohibited the selling, giving and dispensing of liquor
ratiocinating that the municipality is empowered only to regulate the same and not
prohibit. The Court therein declared that:
(A)s a general rule when a municipal corporation is specifically given authority or power
to regulate or to license and regulate the liquor traffic, power to prohibit is impliedly
withheld.[109]
These doctrines still hold contrary to petitioners assertion[110] that they were modified
by the Code vesting upon City Councils prohibitory powers.
Similarly, the City Council exercises regulatory powers over public dancing schools,
public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for entertainment or
amusement as found in the first clause of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii). Its powers to regulate,
suppress and suspend such other events or activities for amusement or entertainment,
particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants and to
prohibit certain forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and
moral welfare of the community are stated in the second and third clauses, respectively of
the same Section. The several powers of the City Council as provided in Section 458 (a)
4 (vii) of the Code, it is pertinent to emphasize, are separated by semi-colons (;), the use
of which indicates that the clauses in which these powers are set forth are independent of
each other albeit closely related to justify being put together in a single enumeration or
paragraph.[111] These powers, therefore, should not be confused, commingled or
consolidated as to create a conglomerated and unified power of regulation, suppression
and prohibition.[112]

110

The Congress unequivocably specified the establishments and forms of amusement or


entertainment subject to regulation among which are beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns,
pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments (Section 458 (a) 4 (iv)),
public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places
for entertainment or amusement (Section 458 (a) 4 (vii)). This enumeration therefore
cannot be included as among other events or activities for amusement or entertainment,
particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants or certain
forms of amusement or entertainment which the City Council may suspend, suppress or
prohibit.
The rule is that the City Council has only such powers as are expressly granted to it and
those which are necessarily implied or incidental to the exercise thereof. By reason of its
limited powers and the nature thereof, said powers are to be construed strictissimi juris
and any doubt or ambiguity arising out of the terms used in granting said powers must be
construed against the City Council.[113] Moreover, it is a general rule in statutory
construction that the express mention of one person, thing, or consequence is tantamount
to an express exclusion of all others. Expressio unius est exclusio alterium. This maxim is
based upon the rules of logic and the natural workings of human mind. It is particularly
applicable in the construction of such statutes as create new rights or remedies, impose
penalties or punishments, or otherwise come under the rule of strict construction.[114]
The argument that the City Council is empowered to enact the Ordinance by virtue of the
general welfare clause of the Code and of Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the Revised Charter of
Manila is likewise without merit. On the first point, the ruling of the Court in People v.
Esguerra,[115] is instructive. It held that:
The powers conferred upon a municipal council in the general welfare clause, or section
2238 of the Revised Administrative Code, refers to matters not covered by the other
provisions of the same Code, and therefore it can not be applied to intoxicating liquors,
for the power to regulate the selling, giving away and dispensing thereof is granted
specifically by section 2242 (g) to municipal councils. To hold that, under the general
power granted by section 2238, a municipal council may enact the ordinance in question,
notwithstanding the provision of section 2242 (g), would be to make the latter
superfluous and nugatory, because the power to prohibit, includes the power to regulate,
the selling, giving away and dispensing of intoxicating liquors.
On the second point, it suffices to say that the Code being a later expression of the
legislative will must necessarily prevail and override the earlier law, the Revised Charter
of Manila. Legis posteriores priores contrarias abrogant, or later statute repeals prior ones
which are repugnant thereto. As between two laws on the same subject matter, which are
irreconcilably inconsistent, that which is passed later prevails, since it is the latest
expression of legislative will.[116] If there is an inconsistency or repugnance between
two statutes, both relating to the same subject matter, which cannot be removed by any
fair and reasonable method of interpretation, it is the latest expression of the legislative
will which must prevail and override the earlier.[117]

Implied repeals are those which take place when a subsequently enacted law contains
provisions contrary to those of an existing law but no provisions expressly repealing
them. Such repeals have been divided into two general classes: those which occur where
an act is so inconsistent or irreconcilable with an existing prior act that only one of the
two can remain in force and those which occur when an act covers the whole subject of
an earlier act and is intended to be a substitute therefor. The validity of such a repeal is
sustained on the ground that the latest expression of the legislative will should prevail.
[118]
In addition, Section 534(f) of the Code states that All general and special laws, acts, city
charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or part
or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby
repealed or modified accordingly. Thus, submitting to petitioners interpretation that the
Revised Charter of Manila empowers the City Council to prohibit motels, that portion of
the Charter stating such must be considered repealed by the Code as it is at variance with
the latters provisions granting the City Council mere regulatory powers.
It is well to point out that petitioners also cannot seek cover under the general welfare
clause authorizing the abatement of nuisances without judicial proceedings. That tenet
applies to a nuisance per se, or one which affects the immediate safety of persons and
property and may be summarily abated under the undefined law of necessity. It can not be
said that motels are injurious to the rights of property, health or comfort of the
community. It is a legitimate business. If it be a nuisance per accidens it may be so
proven in a hearing conducted for that purpose. A motel is not per se a nuisance
warranting its summary abatement without judicial intervention.[119]
Notably, the City Council was conferred powers to prevent and prohibit certain activities
and establishments in another section of the Code which is reproduced as follows:
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city
government, and in this connection, shall:
...
(v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for
habitual drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment
and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited games of chance,
fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of
drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of

111

obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such other activities inimical to


the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the city;
...
If it were the intention of Congress to confer upon the City Council the power to prohibit
the establishments enumerated in Section 1 of the Ordinance, it would have so declared
in uncertain terms by adding them to the list of the matters it may prohibit under the
above-quoted Section. The Ordinance now vainly attempts to lump these establishments
with houses of ill-repute and expand the City Councils powers in the second and third
clauses of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code in an effort to overreach its prohibitory
powers. It is evident that these establishments may only be regulated in their
establishment, operation and maintenance.
It is important to distinguish the punishable activities from the establishments
themselves. That these establishments are recognized legitimate enterprises can be
gleaned from another Section of the Code. Section 131 under the Title on Local
Government Taxation expressly mentioned proprietors or operators of massage clinics,
sauna, Turkish and Swedish baths, hotels, motels and lodging houses as among the
contractors defined in paragraph (h) thereof. The same Section also defined amusement
as a pleasurable diversion and entertainment, synonymous to relaxation, avocation,
pastime or fun; and amusement places to include theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses
and other places of amusement where one seeks admission to entertain oneself by seeing
or viewing the show or performances. Thus, it can be inferred that the Code considers
these establishments as legitimate enterprises and activities. It is well to recall the maxim
reddendo singula singulis which means that words in different parts of a statute must be
referred to their appropriate connection, giving to each in its place, its proper force and
effect, and, if possible, rendering none of them useless or superfluous, even if strict
grammatical construction demands otherwise. Likewise, where words under
consideration appear in different sections or are widely dispersed throughout an act the
same principle applies.[120]
Not only does the Ordinance contravene the Code, it likewise runs counter to the
provisions of P.D. 499. As correctly argued by MTDC, the statute had already converted
the residential Ermita-Malate area into a commercial area. The decree allowed the
establishment and operation of all kinds of commercial establishments except warehouse
or open storage depot, dump or yard, motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light
industry with any machinery or funeral establishment. The rule is that for an ordinance to
be valid and to have force and effect, it must not only be within the powers of the council
to enact but the same must not be in conflict with or repugnant to the general law.[121]
As succinctly illustrated in Solicitor General v. Metropolitan Manila Authority:[122]
The requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law explains itself. Local
political subdivisions are able to legislate only by virtue of a valid delegation of
legislative power from the national legislature (except only that the power to create their
own sources of revenue and to levy taxes is conferred by the Constitution itself). They are

mere agents vested with what is called the power of subordinate legislation. As delegates
of the Congress, the local government units cannot contravene but must obey at all times
the will of their principal. In the case before us, the enactment in question, which are
merely local in origin cannot prevail against the decree, which has the force and effect of
a statute.[123]
Petitioners contend that the Ordinance enjoys the presumption of validity. While this may
be the rule, it has already been held that although the presumption is always in favor of
the validity or reasonableness of the ordinance, such presumption must nevertheless be
set aside when the invalidity or unreasonableness appears on the face of the ordinance
itself or is established by proper evidence. The exercise of police power by the local
government is valid unless it contravenes the fundamental law of the land, or an act of the
legislature, or unless it is against public policy or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial,
discriminating or in derogation of a common right.[124]
Conclusion
All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and
impairs personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes
statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently
detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to
be forgotten, the City Council under the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is
therefore ultra vires, null and void.
Concededly, the challenged Ordinance was enacted with the best of motives and shares
the concern of the public for the cleansing of the Ermita-Malate area of its social sins.
Police power legislation of such character deserves the full endorsement of the judiciary
we reiterate our support for it. But inspite of its virtuous aims, the enactment of the
Ordinance has no statutory or constitutional authority to stand on. Local legislative
bodies, in this case, the City Council, cannot prohibit the operation of the enumerated
establishments under Section 1 thereof or order their transfer or conversion without
infringing the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection of laws not
even under the guise of police power.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Regional Trial
Court declaring the Ordinance void is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez,
Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Chico-Nazario and Garcia, JJ., concur
Panganiban, J., in the result.
Ynares- Santiago, J., concur in the result only.

112

ESTRADA v. SANDIGANBAYAN [369 SCRA 394 2001)] Issues:


1. WON Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague No. As long as the law affords
some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what
conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. The
amended information itself closely tracks the language of law, indicating w/ reasonable
certainty the various elements of the offense w/c the petitioner is alleged to have
committed. We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous that will
confuse petitioner in his defense.
Petitioner however bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of
the terms combination and series in the key phrase a comb
ination or series of overt or criminal acts. These omissions, according to the petitioner,
render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad
and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
him, hence violative of his fundamental right to due process. A statute is not rendered
uncertain and void merely because general terms are used herein, or because of the
employment of terms without defining them. A statute or act may be said to be vague
when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence most
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute
is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects

it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it,
fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in
carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. A
facial challenge is allowed to be made to vague statute and to one which is overbroad
because of possible chilling effect upon protected speech.
The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of other may be deterred and
perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad
statutes. But in criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech. 2.
WON the Plunder Law requires less evidence for providing the predicate crimes of
plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process No. Sec. 4 (Rule of
Evidence) states that: For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be
necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being
sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts
indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. In a criminal prosecution for
plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the presumption of
innocence guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in
demonstrating by proof beyond
[G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]

reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an acquittal. The
reasonable doubt standard has acquired
such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process
Clause which protects the accused against conviction except upon proof of reasonable
doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged. Not
everything alleged in the information needs to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What
is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is every element of the crime charged

the element of the offense.


Relative to petitioners contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission
that pattern is a very important
element of the crime of plun
der; and that Sec. 4 is two
-pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element
of the crime, such that without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder

JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division)


and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his pen in
defense of the rights of the individual from the vast powers of the State and the inroads of
societal pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on
individuality beyond which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual
spontaneity" must be allowed to flourish with very little regard to social interference - he

DECISION

We do not subscribe to petitioners stand. Primarily, all the essential e


lements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation
to sec. 1 par. (d). Sec. 4 purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the
prosecution of a criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4
does not define or establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only
operated in furtherance of a remedy. What is crucial for the prosecution is to present
sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to
prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 3. WON Plunder as defined in
RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within the power of Congress to
so classify it. No. It is malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Precisely
because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be proven in
a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that
the crime of plunder was committed willfully, unlawfully and criminally. It thus
alleges guilty knowledge on the part of
petitioner. In support of his contention In support of his contention that the statute
eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void,
petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator Taada made during the deliberation on
S.B. No.733 Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to
commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to
further the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a
pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.
BELLOSILLO, J.:

113

veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a civic
obligation, which society is justified in enforcing at all cost, against those who would
endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering
with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for
which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community,
against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to selfpreservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the body
politic, it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel obeisance
to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance.
The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought
changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights and
duties more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the
process, the web of rights and State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed
in threads of multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and broken. Antagonism,
often outright collision, between the law as the expression of the will of the State, and the
zealous attempts by its members to preserve their individuality and dignity, inevitably
followed. It is when individual rights are pitted against State authority that judicial
conscience is put to its severest test.
Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under RA
7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),[1] as amended by RA
7659,[2] wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it
crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm.
He therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the
crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice
of vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal
prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable
under The Revised Penal Code, all of which are purportedly clear violations of the
fundamental rights of the accused to due process and to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him.

(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or


raids on the public treasury;
(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage,
kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in
connection with any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position
of the public office concerned;
(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the
National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, or
government owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries;
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity
or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment
in any business enterprise or undertaking;
(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other
combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular
persons or special interests; or
(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or
influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and
prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.

Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have transgressed
constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder:

Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by
himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or
consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates
or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as
described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty
million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be
punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said
public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall
likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of
participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances as provided
by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any
and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the
properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in
favor of the State (underscoring supplied).

Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business, enterprise
or material possession of any person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof,
acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates
and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar
schemes:

Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall
not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance
of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being
sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts
indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring supplied).

114

On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight (8)
separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080,
as amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of
Secs. 3, par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of Sec. 7, par. (d), of
RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employees); (d) Crim. Case No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal
Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA No. 142, as
amended by RA 6085).
On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to the
Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges
in the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of
the offenses under specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to
file counter-affidavits and other documents necessary to prove lack of probable cause.
Noticeably, the grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation,
reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to prove lack of probable
cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges and the vagueness of the law under which
they are charged were never raised in that Omnibus Motion thus indicating the
explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder Law.
On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case
No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify
the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's
motion for reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan.
On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558 on
the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the
law on which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the Amended
Information for Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the
Government filed its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26
June 2001 petitioner submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the
Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's Motion to Quash.
As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September 2001,
the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is
unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence for proving
the predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due
process; and, (c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if
so, whether it is within the power of Congress to so classify it.
Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is
predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony
with the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule
whenever a legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of
constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings

on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the
duties and powers of another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the
deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate branch - the legislature.
If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts
must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary
powers, and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of
promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence in determining
whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should
proceed with judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of
the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a
measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a statute, courts must first
ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly possible to sidestep the question of
constitutionality.
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that as long as there is some
basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged law will not be
touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of the
presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe
environs of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably transgresses
the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the positive
commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded.
Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party
challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt
that there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a showing, there
can be no finding of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly
suffice. As tersely put by Justice Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain."[5] And petitioner has
miserably failed in the instant case to discharge his burden and overcome the
presumption of constitutionality of the Plunder Law.
As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined
parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation.
Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts, conduct and conditions
required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty
and particularity. Thus 1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with
members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates,
subordinates or other persons;
2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or
series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation, conversion,
misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving,
directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form
of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government

115

contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the
illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National
Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government
owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or
accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or
participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or
undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or
other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit
particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official position,
authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at
the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of
the Philippines; and,
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated
or acquired is at least P50,000,000.00.
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those
who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity
will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in
defending one charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in
identifying the realm of the proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little
difficulty that what the assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing
or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or
combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law.
In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, indicating
with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged
to have committed:
"The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the
Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE
VELARDE,' together with Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio,
Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos
Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of
Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No.
7659, committed as follows:
That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by himself AND/OR in
CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS
FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS
ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE
ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP,
CONNECTION, OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and

criminally amass, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR


INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR
BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE
HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS
(P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF OR
THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO
PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A
combination OR A series of overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR
MEANS, described as follows:
(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES,
MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE
MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL
GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR
ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with
co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte,
Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in consideration OF
TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING;
(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and benefit, public
funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS (P130,000,000.00),
more or less, representing a portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS
(P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share allocated for the province of Ilocos Sur under
R.A. No. 7171, by himself and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang,
Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia
Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied).
(c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT,
the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE 351,878,000
SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS),
329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE
CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE
HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX
HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,102,965,607.50) AND
MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED
TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00),
RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT
HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT
THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50);
AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY
HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES,
COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID PURCHASES OF
SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE
MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P189,700,000.00) MORE OR
LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE

116

DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE


VELARDE;'

Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining. To


combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual characters.

(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES,


PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN
CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR
LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND
SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME
UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI
BANK."

Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial
and temporal succession.

We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously


none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these factual
assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal
assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable
him to prepare for an intelligent defense.

REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH
A COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED
IN SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say,
if there are two or more means, we mean to say that number one and two or number one
and something else are included, how about a series of the same act? For example,
through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will these be included also?

Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition
of the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of
overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec.
4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for
being impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right
to due process.

REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.

The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain


and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of
terms without defining them;[6] much less do we have to define every word we use.
Besides, there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature
to define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of
expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will
not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative
will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed
in the Plunder Law.

REP. GARCIA: Yes.

That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their
popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative deliberations on the bill which
eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law:
DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991

REP. ISIDRO: Series.


REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series.
REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination.

REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that REP. GARCIA: Two.
REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means not
twice of one enumeration.
REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.

Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will


be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification,[7] unless
it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those
words.[8] The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and
lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed. Thus,
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly accepted
definition of the words "combination" and "series:"

REP. ISIDRO: Not twice?


REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts.
REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say combination, we mean, two
different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act.
REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.

117

REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two.

SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts
mentioned in this.

REP. GARCIA: A series.

THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be....

REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination or
series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?

SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or many; two or more.
SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x

REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said,
that is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary
crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x
REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....

THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular
crime. But when we say acts of plunder there should be, at least, two or more.
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr.
President.

SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series?


REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.
REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations....
REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series.
REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?
REP. GARCIA: Yes.

Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2)
acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g.,
raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of
assets belonging to the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal
acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say,
misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under
Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive
meaning for "combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically
providing for it in the law.

REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?


REP. GARCIA: Yes.
SEN. TANADA: Two different.
REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...
REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989
SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes one or maybe even
two acts may already result in such a big amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider
deleting the words a series of overt or, to read, therefore: or conspiracy COMMITTED by
criminal acts such as. Remove the idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the criminal
acts are in the plural.

As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan[9] that this term is
sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or series
of overt or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly,
pursuant to Sec. 2 of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a
common purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or
acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either be an 'overall unlawful scheme' or
'conspiracy' to achieve said common goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall
unlawful scheme' indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the principal
accused and public officer and others conniving with him follow to achieve the aforesaid
common goal. In the alternative, if there is no such overall scheme or where the schemes
or methods used by multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a
conspiracy to attain a common goal.
Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and
sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's
reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has
been formulated in various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute

118

establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that
persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute.
It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face,
i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men
of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its
application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2)
respects - it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties
targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled
discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
Government muscle.[10] But the doctrine does not apply as against legislations that are
merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless specify a standard though
defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to
certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction, while no
challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such
activities.[11] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed
statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case.
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when
measured by common understanding and practice.[12] It must be stressed, however, that
the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute
to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to
suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes
and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely
because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions,
especially where, because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all
the details in advance as in all other statutes.
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente V.
Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is
vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the
doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily
guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due
process of law."[13] The overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a
governmental purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly
and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms."[14]
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen
statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself
as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value
to all society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing

attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack
demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow
specificity."[15] The possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to
go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be
deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
overly broad statutes.
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem
effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this
reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially
harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of
free speech.
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free
speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S.
Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized
an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment."[16] In
Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[17] the Court ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been
entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken
words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed
when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected
conduct." For this reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is
the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that
no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid."[18] As for the
vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is
vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is
clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct
of others."[19]
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools
developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in
American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is
involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that
"one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the
statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or
other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional."[20] As has been
pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth
challenges typically produce facial invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of
due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."[21]
Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review the AntiPlunder Law on its face and in its entirety.
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the
ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities are
constitutionally protected.[22] It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy

119

requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete


factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts.[23] But, as the U.S. Supreme Court
pointed out in Younger v. Harris[24]
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring
correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an
appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the
controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the
speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line analysis of detailed
statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding
constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly
strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort,"[25] and is
generally disfavored.[26] In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its
provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the
light of the conduct with which the defendant is charged.[27]
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the
Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined
than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words
in the statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in
the law. Every provision of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to
every other part. To be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the wellentrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori,
petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the
Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively
deliberated upon by the Senate and its appropriate committees by reason of which he
even registered his affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal implications and
sound constitutional anchorage.
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be mentioned if only to illustrate
and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty
unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is susceptible of no
reasonable construction that will support and give it effect. In that case, petitioners
Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others, that
the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common law meaning or
settled definition by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its vagueness,
Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in that it does not give fair warning or sufficient
notice of what it seeks to penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information charged
them with three (3) distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through
manifest partiality; (b) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and,
(c) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable negligence while in the
discharge of their official function and that their right to be informed of the nature and

cause of the accusation against them was violated because they were left to guess which
of the three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being charged and prosecuted.
In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The
phrases "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable negligence"
merely describe the different modes by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of
the statute may be committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same Information
does not mean that the indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses.
The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official support;
unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without
justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice,
C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A
1978, Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).
The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt
practice and make unlawful the act of the public officer in:
x x x 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, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as
amended).
It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions penalize
is the act of a public officer, in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial
functions, in giving any private party benefits, advantage or preference which is
unjustified, unauthorized or without justification or adequate reason, through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the use of
the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
which was understood in its primary and general acceptation. Consequently, in that case,
petitioners' objection thereto was held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional.
On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of the
Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond
reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when it requires
only proof of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not
be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of
the scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being
sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts
indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.

120

The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal
prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State
succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the
accused is entitled to an acquittal.[29] The use of the "reasonable doubt" standard is
indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the community in the
application of criminal law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not
diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men are being
condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual going about his
ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot adjudge him guilty of a
criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty.
This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of
constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused
against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to
constitute the crime with which he is charged.[30] The following exchanges between
Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during the deliberations in the
floor of the House of Representatives are elucidating DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October
1990
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is
alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove only
one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the information, does that not
work against the right of the accused especially so if the amount committed, say, by
falsification is less than P100 million, but the totality of the crime committed is P100
million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, coercion,
theft?
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved
beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is
every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is an enumeration of
the things taken by the robber in the information three pairs of pants, pieces of jewelry.
These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but these will not prevent the
conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, say, instead of 3 pairs of
diamond earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is required to be proved beyond
reasonable doubt is the element of the offense.
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of
plunder the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt
criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of bribery, he was able to
accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of extortion, he was only able to accumulate
P1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required under this bill
through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single act, so how can we
now convict him?

MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential
element of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For
example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is P100 million.
Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the enumeration the total
amount would be P110 or P120 million, but there are certain acts that could not be
proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those transactions which were
proved. Now, if the amount involved in these transactions, proved beyond reasonable
doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring supplied).
It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion the
standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the
prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary to
constitute the crime.
The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the crime
suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the prosecution
needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a
combination or series which would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at
least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and every other act alleged in the
Information to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate,
supposing that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder with having
committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these
fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond
reasonable doubt provided only that they amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]
A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion that
"pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy"
inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated
otherwise, such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable
doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of
the proof of the predicate acts. This conclusion is consistent with reason and common
sense. There would be no other explanation for a combination or series of
overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy to
amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required
to make a deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with
the establishment of a series or combination of the predicate acts.
Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission
that "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is
"two pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime,"
such that without it the accused cannot be convicted of plunder -

121

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the


Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond
reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of?
ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in the
Revised Penal Code, but not plunder.
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved
beyond reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction
under the Plunder Law?

the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus,
even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and vitiated for the reasons
advanced by petitioner, it may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without
necessarily resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can
supplant Sec. 4 more than enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability
clause Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application thereof
to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this Act and the
application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected
thereby.

ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor.


JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting
an accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law?
ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive
element of the law x x x x
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is
proof beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged constituting plunder?
ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule of
evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is no
way by which we can avoid Section 4.
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the
predicate crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go that far by applying
Section 4?
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important
element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.[32]
We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder
can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d),
and "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is
clear and unequivocal:
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x
It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a
criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or
establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of
a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even
without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the
prosecution is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by

Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared invalid
as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it
is not really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated independently of
each other, especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved.
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a malum
in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea
must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended
information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully and
criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part of petitioner.
In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and
that is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of
Senator Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733:
SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would not
be evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to
establish the conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder.[33]
However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the succeeding portion of the
transcript quoted by petitioner:
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in
Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a
speedier and faster process of attending to this kind of cases?
SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34]
Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the
prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or
conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or
ciminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts

122

constituting the pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved
and the requisite mens rea must be shown.
Indeed, 2 provides that Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the
imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and
extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered
by the court.

that bankrupted the government and impoverished the population, the Philippine
Government must muster the political will to dismantle the culture of corruption,
dishonesty, greed and syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the
structures of society and the psyche of the populace. [With the government] terribly
lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its people, any form of
misappropriation or misapplication of government funds translates to an actual threat to
the very existence of government, and in turn, the very survival of the people it governs
over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of crimes
like qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and drug offenses involving
government officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators must not be allowed to
cause further destruction and damage to society.

The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code
to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an
element of plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his
criminal intent. It is true that 2 refers to "any person who participates with the said public
officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder." There is no
reason to believe, however, that it does not apply as well to the public officer as principal
in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying
criminal laws with what they omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in
construing laws as saying what they obviously mean."[35]

The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that
it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently
wrong, they are mala in se[37] and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a
special law, especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala
in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere
prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance
against jaywalking, without regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts.

Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to
have been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it
among the heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous
crimes are punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these
groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:[36]

To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of RA
7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late in the
day for him to resurrect this long dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by
People v. Echegaray[38] to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this
Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a declaration of the State,
and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part
of it.

The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very
nature, despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like an
animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her
growth as a human being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and
serious illegal detention for ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is
raped, tortured, or subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death;
and drug offenses involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the case of
other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious
illegal detention, where the victim is detained for more than three days or serious
physical injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill him were made or the
victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or intentional mutilation, destructive
arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is
killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death, are clearly heinous by
their very nature.
There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and
implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and
economic context in which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide
for its poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule

Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of officials
in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and
corruption has become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people
relentlessly contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government.
Drastic and radical measures are imperative to fight the increasingly sophisticated,
extraordinarily methodical and economically catastrophic looting of the national treasury.
Such is the Plunder Law, especially designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of
grand-scale corruption which, if left unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and
ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law,
indeed, is a living testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this
scourge and thus secure society against the avarice and other venalities in public office.
These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation, few issues of
national importance can equal the amount of interest and passion generated by
petitioner's ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual prosecution and
trial under a virginal statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge of dissension
among our people that may linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion call

123

for patriotism, to rise above factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in
the midst of ferment.

Secretary of Justice vs Lantion, 322 SCRA 160, Jaabuary 28, 2000


Facts : On June 18, 199 , the Department of Justice received from the Department of
Foreign Affairs U.S. Note No. 0522 containing a request for the extradition of private
respondent Mark Jimenez. Secretary of Justice then ordered a technical evaluation and
assessment of the extradition request.
Pending evaluation, private respondent (Mark Jimenez) through counsel wrote a letter
addressed to herein petitioner requesting copies of official extradition request from the
US Government. He requested ample time to comment and for the matter to be held in
abeyance in the meantime.
Secretary of Justice denied the said request specifically invoking our countrys
responsibility to the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties that every treaty in force
is binding upon parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith. Extradition is
a toll of criminal law enforcement and to be effective must be processed expeditiously.
Particularly in this case is the RP-US Extradition Treaty. Extradition is the process by
which persons charged with or convicted of crimes against the law of a State and found in
a foreign state are returned by the latter to the former for trial or punishment.
Pacta sunt servanda requires the parties to a treaty to keep their agreement therein in good
faith. The observance of our countrys legal duties under a treaty is also compelled by
Section 2, Article II of the Constitution.
The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, and adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the nation.
Under the doctrine of incorporation, rules of international law form part of the law of the
land and no further legislative action is needed to make such rules applicable in the
domestic sphere.
EN BANC

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the
Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the
petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
After the denial of the request letter, Mark Jimenez filed a petition against herein
Secretary of Justice. RTC presiding Judge Lantion favored Jimenez. Thus, this petition is
now at bar.
Issue: Whether or not respondent Judge Lantion acted without or in excess of jurisdiction
or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing
the temporary restraining order to herein petitioner in performing his legal duties as
Secretary of Justice.
Held : The Extradition Law provides Rules of Court shall apply, thus extradite has the
basic right of notice and hearing. The RP-US Extradition Treaty under the Incorporation
Clause in case of conflict is not superior over a national law. International law is given
equal standing but not superior to national legislative enactment. The principle lex
posterior degorat oriori takes effect a treaty may repeal a statute and a statute may
repeal a treaty. In States where the constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the
Republic of the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in
conflict with the constitution.
Thus, petitioner is ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request
and its supporting papers and to grant him (Jimenez) a reasonable period within which to
file his comment and supporting evidence
There was only a void on some provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty as regards to
the basic due process right of a prospective extradite at the evaluation stage of the
extradition proceeding.
RTCs decision is rendered moot and academic and herein petition is DISMISSED.
supporting papers and to grant him a reasonable period within which to file his comment
with supporting evidence.[1]

[G.R. No. 139465. October 17, 2000]


SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner, vs. HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding
Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B. JIMENEZ,
respondents.

On February 3, 2000, the petitioner timely filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.
He assails the decision on the following grounds:
"The majority decision failed to appreciate the following facts and points of substance
and of value which, if considered, would alter the result of the case, thus:

RESOLUTION
PUNO, J.:

I. There is a substantial difference between an evaluation process antecedent to the filing


of an extradition petition in court and a preliminary investigation.

On January 18, 2000, by a vote of 9-6, we dismissed the petition at bar and ordered the
petitioner to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and its

II. Absence of notice and hearing during the evaluation process will not result in a denial
of fundamental fairness.

124

III. In the evaluation process, instituting a notice and hearing requirement satisfies no
higher objective.
IV. The deliberate omission of the notice and hearing requirement in the Philippine
Extradition Law is intended to prevent flight.
V. There is a need to balance the interest between the discretionary powers of government
and the rights of an individual.
VI. The instances cited in the assailed majority decision when the twin rights of notice
and hearing may be dispensed with in this case results in a non sequitur conclusion.
VII. Jimenez is not placed in imminent danger of arrest by the Executive Branch
necessitating notice and hearing.
VIII. By instituting a 'proceeding' not contemplated by PD No. 1069, the Supreme Court
has encroached upon the constitutional boundaries separating it from the other two coequal branches of government.
IX. Bail is not a matter of right in proceedings leading to extradition or in extradition
proceedings."[2]
On March 28, 2000, a 58-page Comment was filed by the private respondent Mark B.
Jimenez, opposing petitioners Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.
On April 5, 2000, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Allow Continuation and
Maintenance of Action and Filing of Reply. Thereafter, petitioner filed on June 7, 2000 a
Manifestation with the attached Note 327/00 from the Embassy of Canada and Note No.
34 from the Security Bureau of the Hongkong SAR Government Secretariat. On August
15, 2000, private respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion for Leave to File
Rejoinder in the event that petitioner's April 5, 2000 Motion would be granted. Private
respondent also filed on August 18, 2000, a Motion to Expunge from the records
petitioner's June 7, 2000 Manifestation with its attached note verbales. Except for the
Motion to Allow Continuation and Maintenance of Action, the Court denies these
pending motions and hereby resolves petitioner's Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.
The jugular issue is whether or not the private respondent is entitled to the due process
right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process.
We now hold that private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the
evaluation stage of the extradition process.
First. P.D. No. 1069[3] which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty provides the
time when an extraditee shall be furnished a copy of the petition for extradition as well as
its supporting papers, i.e., after the filing of the petition for extradition in the extradition
court, viz:

"Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing; Service of Notices. - (1)


Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as
practicable, summon the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour
fixed in the order . . . Upon receipt of the answer, or should the accused after having
received the summons fail to answer within the time fixed, the presiding judge shall hear
the case or set another date for the hearing thereof.
(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be
promptly served each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case."
It is of judicial notice that the summons includes the petition for extradition which will be
answered by the extraditee.
There is no provision in the RP-US Extradition Treaty and in P.D. No. 1069 which gives
an extraditee the right to demand from the petitioner Secretary of Justice copies of the
extradition request from the US government and its supporting documents and to
comment thereon while the request is still undergoing evaluation. We cannot write a
provision in the treaty giving private respondent that right where there is none. It is wellsettled that a "court cannot alter, amend, or add to a treaty by the insertion of any clause,
small or great, or dispense with any of its conditions and requirements or take away any
qualification, or integral part of any stipulation, upon any motion of equity, or general
convenience, or substantial justice."[4]
Second. All treaties, including the RP-US Extradition Treaty, should be interpreted in
light of their intent. Nothing less than the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to
which the Philippines is a signatory provides that "a treaty shall be interpreted in good
faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in
their context and in light of its object and purpose."[5] (emphasis supplied) The
preambular paragraphs of P.D. No. 1069 define its intent, viz:
"WHEREAS, under the Constitution[,] the Philippines adopts the generally accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of
peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations;
WHEREAS, the suppression of crime is the concern not only of the state where it is
committed but also of any other state to which the criminal may have escaped, because it
saps the foundation of social life and is an outrage upon humanity at large, and it is in the
interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go unpunished;
WHEREAS, in recognition of this principle the Philippines recently concluded an
extradition treaty with the Republic of Indonesia, and intends to conclude similar treaties
with other interested countries;
x x x." (emphasis supplied)

125

It cannot be gainsaid that today, countries like the Philippines forge extradition treaties to
arrest the dramatic rise of international and transnational crimes like terrorism and drug
trafficking. Extradition treaties provide the assurance that the punishment of these crimes
will not be frustrated by the frontiers of territorial sovereignty. Implicit in the treaties
should be the unbending commitment that the perpetrators of these crimes will not be
coddled by any signatory state.
It ought to follow that the RP-US Extradition Treaty calls for an interpretation that will
minimize if not prevent the escape of extraditees from the long arm of the law and
expedite their trial. The submission of the private respondent, that as a probable
extraditee under the RP-US Extradition Treaty he should be furnished a copy of the US
government request for his extradition and its supporting documents even while they are
still under evaluation by petitioner Secretary of Justice, does not meet this desideratum.
The fear of the petitioner Secretary of Justice that the demanded notice is equivalent to a
notice to flee must be deeply rooted on the experience of the executive branch of our
government. As it comes from the branch of our government in charge of the faithful
execution of our laws, it deserves the careful consideration of this Court. In addition, it
cannot be gainsaid that private respondents demand for advance notice can delay the
summary process of executive evaluation of the extradition request and its accompanying
papers. The foresight of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes did not miss this danger. In 1911,
he held:
"It is common in extradition cases to attempt to bring to bear all the factitious niceties of
a criminal trial at common law. But it is a waste of time . . . if there is presented, even in
somewhat untechnical form according to our ideas, such reasonable ground to suppose
him guilty as to make it proper that he should be tried, good faith to the demanding
government requires his surrender."[6] (emphasis supplied)
We erode no right of an extraditee when we do not allow time to stand still on his
prosecution. Justice is best served when done without delay.
Third. An equally compelling factor to consider is the understanding of the parties
themselves to the RP-US Extradition Treaty as well as the general interpretation of the
issue in question by other countries with similar treaties with the Philippines. The rule is
recognized that while courts have the power to interpret treaties, the meaning given them
by the departments of government particularly charged with their negotiation and
enforcement is accorded great weight.[7] The reason for the rule is laid down in Santos
III v. Northwest Orient Airlines, et al.,[8] where we stressed that a treaty is a joint
executive-legislative act which enjoys the presumption that "it was first carefully studied
and determined to be constitutional before it was adopted and given the force of law in
the country."
Our executive department of government, thru the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
and the Department of Justice (DOJ), has steadfastly maintained that the RP-US
Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 do not grant the private respondent a right to notice
and hearing during the evaluation stage of an extradition process.[9] This understanding

of the treaty is shared by the US government, the other party to the treaty.[10] This
interpretation by the two governments cannot be given scant significance. It will be
presumptuous for the Court to assume that both governments did not understand the
terms of the treaty they concluded.
Yet, this is not all. Other countries with similar extradition treaties with the Philippines
have expressed the same interpretation adopted by the Philippine and US governments.
Canadian[11] and Hongkong[12] authorities, thru appropriate note verbales
communicated to our Department of Foreign Affairs, stated in unequivocal language that
it is not an international practice to afford a potential extraditee with a copy of the
extradition papers during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. We cannot
disregard such a convergence of views unless it is manifestly erroneous.
Fourth. Private respondent, however, peddles the postulate that he must be afforded the
right to notice and hearing as required by our Constitution. He buttresses his position by
likening an extradition proceeding to a criminal proceeding and the evaluation stage to a
preliminary investigation.
We are not persuaded. An extradition proceeding is sui generis. It is not a criminal
proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not involve the
determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused.[13] His guilt or innocence will be
adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule,
constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an
accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee especially by one whose extradition papers
are still undergoing evaluation.[14] As held by the US Supreme Court in United States v.
Galanis:
"An extradition proceeding is not a criminal prosecution, and the constitutional
safeguards that accompany a criminal trial in this country do not shield an accused from
extradition pursuant to a valid treaty."[15]
There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding.
An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a
full-blown trial.[16] In contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in
an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less stringent standards.[17]
In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond
reasonable doubt for conviction[18] while a fugitive may be ordered extradited "upon
showing of the existence of a prima facie case."[19] Finally, unlike in a criminal case
where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition
proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the
final discretion to extradite him.[20] The United States adheres to a similar practice
whereby the Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the
case and the demands of the nation's foreign relations before making the ultimate
decision to extradite.[21]

126

As an extradition proceeding is not criminal in character and the evaluation stage in an


extradition proceeding is not akin to a preliminary investigation, the due process
safeguards in the latter do not necessarily apply to the former. This we hold for the
procedural due process required by a given set of circumstances "must begin with a
determination of the precise nature of the government function involved as well as the
private interest that has been affected by governmental action."[22] The concept of due
process is flexible for "not all situations calling for procedural safeguards call for the
same kind of procedure."[23]
Fifth. Private respondent would also impress upon the Court the urgency of his right to
notice and hearing considering the alleged threat to his liberty "which may be more
priceless than life."[24] The supposed threat to private respondents liberty is perceived to
come from several provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 which
allow provisional arrest and temporary detention.
We first deal with provisional arrest. The RP-US Extradition Treaty provides as follows:
"PROVISIONAL ARREST
1. In case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person
sought pending presentation of the request for extradition. A request for provisional arrest
may be transmitted through the diplomatic channel or directly between the Philippine
Department of Justice and the United States Department of Justice.
2. The application for provisional arrest shall contain:

executive authority of the Requested State has not received the formal request for
extradition and the supporting documents required in Article 7." (emphasis supplied)
In relation to the above, Section 20 of P.D. No. 1069 provides:
"Sec. 20. Provisional Arrest.- (a) In case of urgency, the requesting state may, pursuant to
the relevant treaty or convention and while the same remains in force, request for the
provisional arrest of the accused, pending receipt of the request for extradition made in
accordance with Section 4 of this Decree.
(b) A request for provisional arrest shall be sent to the Director of the National Bureau of
Investigation, Manila, either through the diplomatic channels or direct by post or
telegraph.
(c) The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation or any official acting on his
behalf shall upon receipt of the request immediately secure a warrant for the provisional
arrest of the accused from the presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of the
province or city having jurisdiction of the place, who shall issue the warrant for the
provisional arrest of the accused. The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation
through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall inform the requesting state of the result of
its request.
(d) If within a period of 20 days after the provisional arrest the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs has not received the request for extradition and the documents mentioned in
Section 4 of this Decree, the accused shall be released from custody." (emphasis
supplied)

a) a description of the person sought;


b) the location of the person sought, if known;
c) a brief statement of the facts of the case, including, if possible, the time and location of
the offense;

Both the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 clearly provide that private
respondent may be provisionally arrested only pending receipt of the request for
extradition. Our DFA has long received the extradition request from the United States and
has turned it over to the DOJ. It is undisputed that until today, the United States has not
requested for private respondents provisional arrest. Therefore, the threat to private
respondents liberty has passed. It is more imagined than real.

d) a description of the laws violated;


e) a statement of the existence of a warrant of arrest or finding of guilt or judgment of
conviction against the person sought; and
f) a statement that a request for extradition for the person sought will follow.
3. The Requesting State shall be notified without delay of the disposition of its
application and the reasons for any denial.
4. A person who is provisionally arrested may be discharged from custody upon the
expiration of sixty (60) days from the date of arrest pursuant to this Treaty if the

Nor can the threat to private respondents liberty come from Section 6 of P.D. No. 1069,
which provides:
"Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1)
Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as
practicable, summon the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour
fixed in the order. [H]e may issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the accused which
may be served anywhere within the Philippines if it appears to the presiding judge that
the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of
justice. . .

127

(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be
promptly served each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case."
(emphasis supplied)
It is evident from the above provision that a warrant of arrest for the temporary detention
of the accused pending the extradition hearing may only be issued by the presiding judge
of the extradition court upon filing of the petition for extradition. As the extradition
process is still in the evaluation stage of pertinent documents and there is no certainty that
a petition for extradition will be filed in the appropriate extradition court, the threat to
private respondents liberty is merely hypothetical.
Sixth. To be sure, private respondents plea for due process deserves serious consideration
involving as it does his primordial right to liberty. His plea to due process, however,
collides with important state interests which cannot also be ignored for they serve the
interest of the greater majority. The clash of rights demands a delicate balancing of
interests approach which is a "fundamental postulate of constitutional law."[25] The
approach requires that we "take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of
interests observable in a given situation or type of situation."[26] These interests usually
consist in the exercise by an individual of his basic freedoms on the one hand, and the
governments promotion of fundamental public interest or policy objectives on the other.
[27]
In the case at bar, on one end of the balancing pole is the private respondents claim to due
process predicated on Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, which provides that "No
person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law . . ."
Without a bubble of doubt, procedural due process of law lies at the foundation of a
civilized society which accords paramount importance to justice and fairness. It has to be
accorded the weight it deserves.
This brings us to the other end of the balancing pole. Petitioner avers that the Court
should give more weight to our national commitment under the RP-US Extradition Treaty
to expedite the extradition to the United States of persons charged with violation of some
of its laws. Petitioner also emphasizes the need to defer to the judgment of the Executive
on matters relating to foreign affairs in order not to weaken if not violate the principle of
separation of powers.
Considering that in the case at bar, the extradition proceeding is only at its evaluation
stage, the nature of the right being claimed by the private respondent is nebulous and the
degree of prejudice he will allegedly suffer is weak, we accord greater weight to the
interests espoused by the government thru the petitioner Secretary of Justice. In Angara v.
Electoral Commission, we held that the "Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes
and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial
departments of the government."[28] Under our constitutional scheme, executive power
is vested in the President of the Philippines.[29] Executive power includes, among others,
the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans and the power to enter into treaties or
international agreements.[30] The task of safeguarding that these treaties are duly

honored devolves upon the executive department which has the competence and authority
to so act in the international arena.[31] It is traditionally held that the President has power
and even supremacy over the countrys foreign relations.[32] The executive department is
aptly accorded deference on matters of foreign relations considering the Presidents most
comprehensive and most confidential information about the international scene of which
he is regularly briefed by our diplomatic and consular officials. His access to ultrasensitive military intelligence data is also unlimited.[33] The deference we give to the
executive department is dictated by the principle of separation of powers. This principle
is one of the cornerstones of our democratic government. It cannot be eroded without
endangering our government.
The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to
do it is to facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered by our
government. More and more, crimes are becoming the concern of one world. Laws
involving crimes and crime prevention are undergoing universalization. One manifest
purpose of this trend towards globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose
activities threaten the peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest
of the Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to
crimes, especially transnational crimes.
In tilting the balance in favor of the interests of the State, the Court stresses that it is not
ruling that the private respondent has no right to due process at all throughout the length
and breadth of the extrajudicial proceedings. Procedural due process requires a
determination of what process is due, when it is due, and the degree of what is due. Stated
otherwise, a prior determination should be made as to whether procedural protections are
at all due and when they are due, which in turn depends on the extent to which an
individual will be "condemned to suffer grievous loss."[34] We have explained why an
extraditee has no right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition
process. As aforesaid, P.D. No. 1069 which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty
affords an extraditee sufficient opportunity to meet the evidence against him once the
petition is filed in court. The time for the extraditee to know the basis of the request for
his extradition is merely moved to the filing in court of the formal petition for extradition.
The extraditee's right to know is momentarily withheld during the evaluation stage of the
extradition process to accommodate the more compelling interest of the State to prevent
escape of potential extraditees which can be precipitated by premature information of the
basis of the request for his extradition. No less compelling at that stage of the extradition
proceedings is the need to be more deferential to the judgment of a co-equal branch of the
government, the Executive, which has been endowed by our Constitution with greater
power over matters involving our foreign relations. Needless to state, this balance of
interests is not a static but a moving balance which can be adjusted as the extradition
process moves from the administrative stage to the judicial stage and to the execution
stage depending on factors that will come into play. In sum, we rule that the temporary
hold on private respondent's privilege of notice and hearing is a soft restraint on his right
to due process which will not deprive him of fundamental fairness should he decide to
resist the request for his extradition to the United States. There is no denial of due process
as long as fundamental fairness is assured a party.

128

SO ORDERED.
We end where we began. A myopic interpretation of the due process clause would not
suffice to resolve the conflicting rights in the case at bar. With the global village
shrinking at a rapid pace, propelled as it is by technological leaps in transportation and
communication, we need to push further back our horizons and work with the rest of the
civilized nations and move closer to the universal goals of "peace, equality, justice,
freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations."[35] In the end, it is the individual who
will reap the harvest of peace and prosperity from these efforts.
WHEREFORE, the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED. The Decision in
the case at bar promulgated on January18, 2000 is REVERSED. The assailed Order
issued by the public respondent judge on August 9, 1999 is SET ASIDE. The temporary
restraining order issued by this Court on August 17, 1999 is made PERMANENT. The
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25 is enjoined from conducting further
proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Mendoza, Purisima, Pardo, Gonzaga-Reyes, and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
concur.
Bellosillo, and Kapunan, JJ., joined the dissent of J. Melo & J. Ynares-Santiago.
Melo, J., see dissent.
Vitug, J., I join in the dissent and reiterate my separate opinion in the original ponencia.
Quisumbing, J., in the result.
Buena, J., I join the dissent of Justice Consuelo Y-Santiago.
Ynares-Santiago, J., see separate dissent.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-45987

May 5, 1939

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CAYAT, defendant-appellant.
Sinai Hamada y Cario for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for appellee.
MORAN, J.:
Prosecuted for violation of Act No. 1639 (secs. 2 and 3), the accused, Cayat, a native of
Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province, was sentenced by the justice of the peace court of
Baguio to pay a fine of five pesos (P5) or suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. On appeal of the Court of First Instance, the following information was filed
against him:
That on or about the 25th day of January, 1937, in the City of Baguio, Commonwealth of
the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this court, the above-named accused, Cayat,
being a member of the non-Christian tribes, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and
illegally receive, acquire, and have in his possession and under his control or custody, one
bottle of A-1-1 gin, an intoxicating liquor, other than the so-called native wines and
liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make
prior to the passage of Act No. 1639.

Accused interposed a demurrer which was overruled. At the trial, he admitted all the facts
alleged in the information, but pleaded not guilty to the charge for the reasons adduced in
his demurrer and submitted the case on the pleadings. The trial court found him guilty of
the crime charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of fifty pesos (P50) or supper
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. The case is now before this court on
appeal. Sections 2 and 3 of Act No. 1639 read:
SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member of a
non-Christian tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred and
ninety-seven, to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer,
wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors
which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the
passage of this Act, except as provided in section one hereof; and it shall be the duty of
any police officer or other duly authorized agent of the Insular or any provincial,
municipal or township government to seize and forthwith destroy any such liquors found
unlawfully in the possession of any member of a non-Christian tribe.
SEC. 3. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act
shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable for each offense by a fine of not exceeding
two hundred pesos or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, in the
discretion of the court.
The accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the following grounds:
(1) That it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws;
(2) That it is violative of the due process clause of the Constitution: and.
(3) That it is improper exercise of the police power of the state.

129

Counsel for the appellant holds out his brief as the "brief for the non-Christian tribes." It
is said that as these less civilized elements of the Filipino population are "jealous of their
rights in a democracy," any attempt to treat them with discrimination or "mark them as
inferior or less capable rate or less entitled" will meet with their instant challenge. As the
constitutionality of the Act here involved is questioned for purposes thus mentioned, it
becomes imperative to examine and resolve the issues raised in the light of the policy of
the government towards the non-Christian tribes adopted and consistently followed from
the Spanish times to the present, more often with sacrifice and tribulation but always with
conscience and humanity.

It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection
of the laws is not equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on
reasonable classification. And the classification, to be reasonable, (1) must rest on
substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) must not be
limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must apply equally to all members of the
same class. (Borgnis vs. Falk Co., 133 N.W., 209; Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic Gas Co.,
220 U.S. 61; 55 Law. ed., Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., 660; People
and Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation vs. Vera and Cu Unjieng, 37 Off. Gaz .,
187.)

As early as 1551, the Spanish Government had assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude
toward these inhabitants, and in the different laws of the Indies, their concentration in socalled "reducciones" (communities) have been persistently attempted with the end in
view of according them the "spiritual and temporal benefits" of civilized life. Throughout
the Spanish regime, it had been regarded by the Spanish Government as a sacred "duty to
conscience and humanity" to civilize these less fortunate people living "in the obscurity
of ignorance" and to accord them the "the moral and material advantages" of community
life and the "protection and vigilance afforded them by the same laws." (Decree of the
Governor-General of the Philippines, Jan. 14, 1887.) This policy had not been deflected
from during the American period. President McKinley in his instructions to the Philippine
Commission of April 7, 1900, said:

Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on real and substantial,
not merely imaginary or whimsical, distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or
parentage," as counsel to the appellant asserts, but upon the degree of civilization and
culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to religious belief, but, in a way, to the
geographical area, and, more directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade
of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities." (Rubi
vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, supra.) This distinction is unquestionably reasonable,
for the Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian
tribes. The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who at present have reached a
position of cultural equality with their Christian brothers, cannot affect the
reasonableness of the classification thus established.

In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands, the Commission should adopt the
same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians
to maintain their tribal organization and government, and under which many of those
tribes are now living in peace and contentment, surrounded by civilization to which they
are unable or unwilling to conform. Such tribal government should, however, be
subjected to wise and firm regulation; and, without undue or petty interference, constant
and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce
civilized customs.

That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The prohibition "to buy,
receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating
liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members
of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this
Act.," is unquestionably designed to insure peace and order in and among the nonChristian tribes. It has been the sad experience of the past, as the observations of the
lower court disclose, that the free use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian
tribes have often resulted in lawlessness and crimes, thereby hampering the efforts of the
government to raise their standard of life and civilization.

Since then and up to the present, the government has been constantly vexed with the
problem of determining "those practicable means of bringing about their advancement in
civilization and material prosperity." (See, Act No. 253.) "Placed in an alternative of
either letting them alone or guiding them in the path of civilization," the present
government "has chosen to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity
and with the national conscience." (Memorandum of Secretary of the Interior, quoted in
Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, 39 Phil., 660, 714.) To this end, their homes and
firesides have been brought in contact with civilized communities through a network of
highways and communications; the benefits of public education have to them been
extended; and more lately, even the right of suffrage. And to complement this policy of
attraction and assimilation, the Legislature has passed Act No. 1639 undoubtedly to
secure for them the blessings of peace and harmony; to facilitate, and not to mar, their
rapid and steady march to civilization and culture. It is, therefore, in this light that the Act
must be understood and applied.

The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment.
It is intended to apply for all times as long as those conditions exist. The Act was not
predicated, as counsel for appellant asserts, upon the assumption that the non-Christians
are "impermeable to any civilizing influence." On the contrary, the Legislature
understood that the civilization of a people is a slow process and that hand in hand with it
must go measures of protection and security.
Finally, that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is evident from a perusal
thereof. That it may be unfair in its operation against a certain number non-Christians by
reason of their degree of culture, is not an argument against the equality of its application.

130

Appellants contends that that provision of the law empowering any police officer or other
duly authorized agent of the government to seize and forthwith destroy any prohibited
liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member of the non-Christian tribes is
violative of the due process of law provided in the Constitution. But this provision is not
involved in the case at bar. Besides, to constitute due process of law, notice and hearing
are not always necessary. This rule is especially true where much must be left to the
discretion of the administrative officials in applying a law to particular cases. (McGehee,
Due Process of Law p. 371, cited with approval in Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro,
supra.) Due process of law means simply: (1) that there shall be a law prescribed in
harmony with the general powers of the legislative department of the government; (2)
that it shall be reasonable in its operation; (3) that it shall be enforced according to the
regular methods of procedure prescribed; and (4) that it shall be applicable alike to all
citizens of the state or to all of the class. (U.S. vs. Ling Su Fan, 10 Phil., 104, affirmed on
appeal by the United States Supreme Court, 218 U.S., 302: 54 Law. ed., 1049.) Thus, a
person's property may be seized by the government in payment of taxes without judicial
hearing; or property used in violation of law may be confiscated (U.S. vs. Surla, 20 Phil.,
163, 167), or when the property constitutes corpus delicti, as in the instant case (Moreno
vs. Ago Chi, 12 Phil., 439, 442).
Neither is the Act an improper exercise of the police power of the state. It has been said
that the police power is the most insistent and least limitable of all powers of the
government. It has been aptly described as a power co-extensive with self-protection and
constitutes the law of overruling necessity. Any measure intended to promote the health,
peace, morals, education and good order of the people or to increase the industries of the
state, develop its resources and add to its wealth and prosperity (Barbier vs. Connolly,
113 U.S., 27), is a legitimate exercise of the police power, unless shown to be whimsical
or capricious as to unduly interfere with the rights of an individual, the same must be
upheld.
Act No. 1639, as above stated, is designed to promote peace and order in the nonChristian tribes so as to remove all obstacles to their moral and intellectual growth and,
eventually, to hasten their equalization and unification with the rest of their Christian
brothers. Its ultimate purpose can be no other than to unify the Filipino people with a
view to a greater Philippines.
EN BANC

The law, then, does not seek to mark the non-Christian tribes as "an inferior or less
capable race." On the contrary, all measures thus far adopted in the promotion of the
public policy towards them rest upon a recognition of their inherent right to equality in
tht enjoyment of those privileges now enjoyed by their Christian brothers. But as there
can be no true equality before the law, if there is, in fact, no equality in education, the
government has endeavored, by appropriate measures, to raise their culture and
civilization and secure for them the benefits of their progress, with the ultimate end in
view of placing them with their Christian brothers on the basis of true equality. It is
indeed gratifying that the non-Christian tribes "far from retrograding, are definitely
asserting themselves in a competitive world," as appellant's attorney impressively avers,
and that they are "a virile, up-and -coming people eager to take their place in the world's
social scheme." As a matter of fact, there are now lawyers, doctors and other
professionals educated in the best institutions here and in America. Their active
participation in the multifarious welfare activities of community life or in the delicate
duties of government is certainly a source of pride and gratification to people of the
Philippines. But whether conditions have so changed as to warrant a partial or complete
abrogation of the law, is a matter which rests exclusively within the prerogative of the
National Assembly to determine. In the constitutional scheme of our government, this
court can go no farther than to inquire whether the Legislature had the power to enact the
law. If the power exists, and we hold it does exist, the wisdom of the policy adopted, and
the adequacy under existing conditions of the measures enacted to forward it, are matters
which this court has no authority to pass upon. And, if in the application of the law, the
educated non-Christians shall incidentally suffer, the justification still exists in the allcomprehending principle of salus populi suprema est lex. When the public safety or the
public morals require the discontinuance of a certain practice by certain class of persons,
the hand of the Legislature cannot be stayed from providing for its discontinuance by any
incidental inconvenience which some members of the class may suffer. The private
interests of such members must yield to the paramount interests of the nation (Cf. Boston
Beer Co. vs. Mass., 97 U.S., 25; 24 law. ed., 989).
Judgment is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO G. JALOSJOS,


accused-appellant.

Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz, Laurel, and Conception, JJ., concur.
The accused-appellant, Romeo G. Jalosjos is a full-fledged member of Congress who is
now confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape on two
counts and acts of lasciviousness on six counts[1] is pending appeal. The accusedappellant filed this motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of a
Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings
despite his having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense.

RESOLUTION

The issue raised is one of first impression.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

Does membership in Congress exempt an accused from statutes and rules which apply to
validly incarcerated persons in general? In answering the query, we are called upon to

[G.R. Nos. 132875-76. February 3, 2000]

131

balance relevant and conflicting factors in the judicial interpretation of legislative


privilege in the context of penal law.
The accused-appellants "Motion To Be Allowed To Discharge Mandate As Member of
House of Representatives" was filed on the grounds that
1. Accused-appellants reelection being an expression of popular will cannot be rendered
inutile by any ruling, giving priority to any right or interest not even the police power of
the State.
2. To deprive the electorate of their elected representative amounts to taxation without
representation.

misimpression in the public mind that election or appointment to high government office,
by itself, frees the official from the common restraints of general law. Privilege has to be
granted by law, not inferred from the duties of a position. In fact, the higher the rank, the
greater is the requirement of obedience rather than exemption.
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of
Representatives, the latter customarily addressed as Congressmen, arises from a provision
of the Constitution. The history of the provision shows that the privilege has always been
granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an exemption as a special privilege
cannot be extended beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms. It may not be extended by
intendment, implication or equitable considerations.
The 1935 Constitution provided in its Article VI on the Legislative Department:

3. To bar accused-appellant from performing his duties amounts to his


suspension/removal and mocks the renewed mandate entrusted to him by the people.
4. The electorate of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte wants their voice to be
heard.
5. A precedent-setting U.S. ruling allowed a detained lawmaker to attend sessions of the
U.S. Congress.
6. The House treats accused-appellant as a bona fide member thereof and urges a coequal branch of government to respect its mandate.

Sec. 15. The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases
except treason, felony, and breach of the peace be privileged from arrest during their
attendance at the sessions of Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; xxx.
Because of the broad coverage of felony and breach of the peace, the exemption applied
only to civil arrests. A congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted under Title
Eleven of the Revised Penal Code could not claim parliamentary immunity from arrest.
He was subject to the same general laws governing all persons still to be tried or whose
convictions were pending appeal.
The 1973 Constitution broadened the privilege of immunity as follows:

7. The concept of temporary detention does not necessarily curtail the duty of accusedappellant to discharge his mandate.
8. Accused-appellant has always complied with the conditions/restrictions when allowed
to leave jail.
The primary argument of the movant is the "mandate of sovereign will." He states that
the sovereign electorate of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte chose him as their
representative in Congress. Having been re-elected by his constituents, he has the duty to
perform the functions of a Congressman. He calls this a covenant with his constituents
made possible by the intervention of the State. He adds that it cannot be defeated by
insuperable procedural restraints arising from pending criminal cases.

Article VIII, Sec. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall, in all offenses
punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest during his
attendance at its sessions and in going to and returning from the same.
For offenses punishable by more than six years imprisonment, there was no immunity
from arrest. The restrictive interpretation of immunity and the intent to confine it within
carefully defined parameters is illustrated by the concluding portion of the provision, to
wit:
xxx but the Batasang Pambansa shall surrender the member involved to the custody of
the law within twenty four hours after its adjournment for a recess or for its next session,
otherwise such privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so.

True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. In the exercise of
suffrage, a free people expects to achieve the continuity of government and the
perpetuation of its benefits. However, inspite of its importance, the privileges and rights
arising from having been elected may be enlarged or restricted by law. Our first task is to
ascertain the applicable law.

The present Constitution adheres to the same restrictive rule minus the obligation of
Congress to surrender the subject Congressman to the custody of the law. The
requirement that he should be attending sessions or committee meetings has also been
removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in session.

We start with the incontestable proposition that all top officials of Government-executive,
legislative, and judicial are subject to the majesty of law. There is an unfortunate

The accused-appellant argues that a member of Congress function to attend sessions is


underscored by Section 16 (2), Article VI of the Constitution which states that

132

(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller
number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members
in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide.
However, the accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted
from the operation of Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution. The members of
Congress cannot compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for the absence
is a legitimate one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable
by imprisonment of more than six months is not merely authorized by law, it has
constitutional foundations.
Accused-appellants reliance on the ruling in Aguinaldo v. Santos[2], which states, inter
alia, that
The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of
office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers.
When a people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with
the knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or
misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the Court, by reason of such fault or
misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.
will not extricate him from his predicament. It can be readily seen in the above-quoted
ruling that the Aguinaldo case involves the administrative removal of a public officer for
acts done prior to his present term of office. It does not apply to imprisonment arising
from the enforcement of criminal law. Moreover, in the same way that preventive
suspension is not removal, confinement pending appeal is not removal. He remains a
congressman unless expelled by Congress or, otherwise, disqualified.

now the same body whose call he initially spurned which accused-appellant is invoking
to justify his present motion. This can not be countenanced because, to reiterate, aside
from its being contrary to well-defined Constitutional restrains, it would be a mockery of
the aims of the States penal system.
Accused-appellant argues that on several occasions, the Regional Trial Court of Makati
granted several motions to temporarily leave his cell at the Makati City Jail, for official or
medical reasons, to wit:
a) to attend hearings of the House Committee on Ethics held at the Batasan Complex,
Quezon City, on the issue of whether to expel/suspend him from the House of
Representatives;
b) to undergo dental examination and treatment at the clinic of his dentist in Makati City;
c) to undergo a thorough medical check-up at the Makati Medical Center, Makati City;
d) to register as a voter at his hometown in Dapitan City. In this case, accused-appellant
commuted by chartered plane and private vehicle.
He also calls attention to various instances, after his transfer at the New Bilibid Prison in
Muntinlupa City, when he was likewise allowed/permitted to leave the prison premises,
to wit:
a) to join "living-out" prisoners on "work-volunteer program" for the purpose of 1)
establishing a mahogany seedling bank and 2) planting mahogany trees, at the NBP
reservation. For this purpose, he was assigned one guard and allowed to use his own
vehicle and driver in going to and from the project area and his place of confinement.

One rationale behind confinement, whether pending appeal or after final conviction, is
public self-defense. Society must protect itself. It also serves as an example and warning
to others.

b) to continue with his dental treatment at the clinic of his dentist in Makati City.

A person charged with crime is taken into custody for purposes of the administration of
justice. As stated in United States v. Gustilo,[3] it is the injury to the public which State
action in criminal law seeks to redress. It is not the injury to the complainant. After
conviction in the Regional Trial Court, the accused may be denied bail and thus subjected
to incarceration if there is risk of his absconding.[4]

There is no showing that the above privileges are peculiar to him or to a member of
Congress. Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to
all prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or upon court orders.

The accused-appellant states that the plea of the electorate which voted him into office
cannot be supplanted by unfounded fears that he might escape eventual punishment if
permitted to perform congressional duties outside his regular place of confinement.
It will be recalled that when a warrant for accused-appellants arrest was issued, he fled
and evaded capture despite a call from his colleagues in the House of Representatives for
him to attend the sessions and to surrender voluntarily to the authorities. Ironically, it is

c) to be confined at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City for his heart condition.

What the accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing accusedappellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for five (5) days or
more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to
his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused-appellants status to that
of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system. Of
particular relevance in this regard are the following observations of the Court in Martinez
v. Morfe:[5]

133

The above conclusion reached by this Court is bolstered and fortified by policy
considerations. There is, to be sure, a full recognition of the necessity to have members of
Congress, and likewise delegates to the Constitutional Convention, entitled to the utmost
freedom to enable them to discharge their vital responsibilities, bowing to no other force
except the dictates of their conscience. Necessarily the utmost latitude in free speech
should be accorded them. When it comes to freedom from arrest, however, it would
amount to the creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason, if
notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be considered immune
during their attendance in Congress and in going to and returning from the same. There is
likely to be no dissent from the proposition that a legislator or a delegate can perform his
functions efficiently and well, without the need for any transgression of the criminal law.
Should such an unfortunate event come to pass, he is to be treated like any other citizen
considering that there is a strong public interest in seeing to it that crime should not go
unpunished. To the fear that may be expressed that the prosecuting arm of the
government might unjustly go after legislators belonging to the minority, it suffices to
answer that precisely all the safeguards thrown around an accused by the Constitution,
solicitous of the rights of an individual, would constitute an obstacle to such an attempt at
abuse of power. The presumption of course is that the judiciary would remain
independent. It is trite to say that in each and every manifestation of judicial endeavor,
such a virtue is of the essence.
The accused-appellant avers that his constituents in the First District of Zamboanga del
Norte want their voices to be heard and that since he is treated as bona fide member of
the House of Representatives, the latter urges a co-equal branch of government to respect
his mandate. He also claims that the concept of temporary detention does not necessarily
curtail his duty to discharge his mandate and that he has always complied with the
conditions/restrictions when he is allowed to leave jail.
We remain unpersuaded.
No less than accused-appellant himself admits that like any other member of the House of
Representatives "[h]e is provided with a congressional office situated at Room N-214,
North Wing Building, House of Representatives Complex, Batasan Hills, Quezon City,
manned by a full complement of staff paid for by Congress. Through [an] interdepartment coordination, he is also provided with an office at the Administration
Building, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, where he attends to his constituents."
Accused-appellant further admits that while under detention, he has filed several bills and
resolutions. It also appears that he has been receiving his salaries and other monetary
benefits. Succinctly stated, accused-appellant has been discharging his mandate as a
member of the House of Representative consistent with the restraints upon one who is
presently under detention. Being a detainee, accused-appellant should not even have been
allowed by the prison authorities at the National Pentientiary to perform these acts.
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with
full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the
knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish

within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person
with full knowledge that he is suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that
at any time, he may no longer serve his full term in office.
In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional
equal protection.
The Constitution guarantees: "x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of
laws."[6] This simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both
in rights enjoyed and responsibilities imposed.[7] The organs of government may not
show any undue favoritism or hostility to any person. Neither partiality nor prejudice
shall be displayed.
Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows different
treatment? Is being a Congressman a substantial differentiation which removes the
accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same class as all persons validly confined under
law?
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been
an excuse to free a person validly in prison. The duties imposed by the "mandate of the
people" are multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks
highest in the hierarchy of government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250
members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate,
charged with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical
absence of one or a few of its members. Depending on the exigency of Government that
has to be addressed, the President or the Supreme Court can also be deemed the highest
for that particular duty. The importance of a function depends on the need for its exercise.
The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most compelling under the law of nature. A
doctor with unique skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a particular
affliction. An elective governor has to serve provincial constituents. A police officer must
maintain peace and order. Never has the call of a particular duty lifted a prisoner into a
different classification from those others who are validly restrained by law.
A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest wittingly or otherwise, insidious
discriminations are made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals.[8]
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public
welfare may justify exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain
groups may plausibly assert that their interests are disregarded.[9]
We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable
classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not
substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their
freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are
germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class.[10]

134

Imprisonment is the restraint of a mans personal liberty; coercion exercised upon a


person to prevent the free exercise of his power of locomotion.[11]
More explicitly, "imprisonment" in its general sense, is the restraint of ones liberty. As a
punishment, it is restraint by judgment of a court or lawful tribunal, and is personal to the
accused.[12] The term refers to the restraint on the personal liberty of another; any
prevention of his movements from place to place, or of his free action according to his
own pleasure and will.[13] Imprisonment is the detention of another against his will
depriving him of his power of locomotion[14] and it "[is] something more than mere loss
of freedom. It includes the notion of restraint within limits defined by wall or any exterior
barrier."[15]
It can be seen from the foregoing that incarceration, by its nature, changes an individuals
status in society.[16] Prison officials have the difficult and often thankless job of
preserving the security in a potentially explosive setting, as well as of attempting to
provide rehabilitation that prepares inmates for re-entry into the social mainstream.
Necessarily, both these demands require the curtailment and elimination of certain rights.
[17]
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 113811 October 7, 1994


ISHMAEL HIMAGAN, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HON. JUDGE HILARIO MAPAYO, RTC, Br. 11,
Davao City, respondents.
Victorio S. Advincula for petitioner.

Premises considered, we are constrained to rule against the accused-appellants claim that
re-election to public office gives priority to any other right or interest, including the
police power of the State.
WHEREFORE, the instant motion is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Kapunan, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
concur.
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., see separate concurring opinion.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, and Mendoza, JJ., concurs in the main
and separate opinion.

Sec. 47. Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case. Upon the filing of a
complaint or information sufficient in form and substance against a member of the PNP
for grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law is six (6) years and one (1) day or
more, the court shall immediately suspend the accused from office until the case is
terminated. Such case shall be subject to continuous trial and shall be terminated within
ninety (90) days from arraignment of the accused (Emphasis ours).
On October 11, 1993, petitioner filed a motion to lift the order for his suspension, 3
relying on Section 42 of P.D. 807 of the Civil Service Decree, that his suspension should
be limited to ninety (90) days and, also, on our ruling in Deloso v. Sandiganbayan, 4 and
Layno v. Sandiganbayan. 5 In his order dated December 14, 1993 6 respondent judge
denied the motion pointing out that under Section 47 of R.A. 6975, the accused shall be
suspended from office until his case is terminated. The motion for reconsideration of the
order of denial was, likewise, denied. 7 Hence, the petition for certiorari and mandamus
to set aside the orders of respondent Judge and to command him to lift petitioner's
preventive suspension.

KAPUNAN, J.:

We find the petition devoid of merit.

Petitioner, a policeman assigned with the medical company of the Philippine National
Police Regional Headquarters at Camp Catitigan, Davao City, was implicated in the
killing of Benjamin Machitar, Jr. and the attempted murder of Bernabe Machitar. After
the informations for murder 1 and attempted murder 2 were filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 11, Davao City, on September 16, 1992, the trial court issued an Order
suspending petitioner until the termination of the case on the basis of Section 47, R.A.
6975, otherwise known as Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990,
which provides:

There is no question that the case of petitioner who is charged with murder and attempted
murder under the Revised Penal Code falls squarely under Sec. 47 of RA 6975 which
specifically applies to members of the PNP. In dispute however, is whether the provision
limits the period of suspension to 90 days, considering that while the first sentence of
Sec. 47 provides that the accused who is charged with grave felonies where the penalty
imposed is six (6) years and one (1) day shall be suspended from office "until the case is
terminated", the second sentence of the same section mandates that the case, which shall

135

be subject to continuous trial, shall be terminated within 90 days from the arraignment of
the accused.
Petitioner posits that as a member of the Philippine National Police, under Sec. 91 of RA
6975 which reads:
Sec. 91. The Civil Service Law and its implementing rules and regulations shall apply to
all personnel of the Department.
he is covered by the Civil Service Law, particularly Sec. 42 of PD 807 of the Civil
Service Decree, which limits the maximum period of suspension to ninety (90) days,
thus:
Sec. 42. Lifting of Preventive Suspension Pending Administrative Investigation. When
the administrative case against the officer or employee under preventive suspension is not
finally decided by the disciplining authority within the period of ninety (90) days after
the date of suspension of the respondent who is not a presidential appointee, the
respondent shall be automatically reinstated in the service; Provided, That when the delay
in the disposition of the case is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent,
the period of delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein
provided.
He claims that an imposition of preventive suspension of over 90 days is contrary to the
Civil Service Law and would be a violation of his constitutional right to equal protection
of laws. He further asserts that the requirements in
Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 that "the court shall immediately suspend the accused from office
until the case is terminated" and the succeeding sentence, "Such case shall be subject to
continuous trial and shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment of the
accused" are both substantive and should be taken together to mean that if the case is not
terminated within 90 days, the period of preventive suspension must be lifted because of
the command that the trial must be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment.
We disagree.
First. The language of the first sentence of Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 is clear, plain and free
from ambiguity. It gives no other meaning than that the suspension from office of the
member of the PNP charged with grave offense where the penalty is six years and one
day or more shall last until the termination of the case. The suspension cannot be lifted
before the termination of the case. The second sentence of the same Section providing
that the trial must be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment does not
qualify or limit the first sentence. The two can stand independently of each other. The
first refers to the period of suspension. The second deals with the time frame within
which the trial should be finished.
Suppose the trial is not terminated within ninety days from arraignment, should the
suspension of accused be lifted? The answer is certainly no. While the law uses the

mandatory word "shall" before the phrase "be terminated within ninety (90) days", there
is nothing in R.A. 6975 that suggests that the preventive suspension of the accused will
be lifted if the trial is not terminated within that period. Nonetheless, the Judge who fails
to decide the case within the period without justifiable reason may be subject to
administrative sanctions and, in appropriate cases where the facts so warrant, to criminal
8 or civil liability. 9 If the trial is unreasonably delayed without fault of the accused such
that he is deprived of his right to a speedy trial, he is not without a remedy. He may ask
for the dismissal of the case. Should the court refuse to dismiss the case, the accused can
compel its dismissal by certiorari, prohibition or mandamus, or secure his liberty by
habeas corpus. 10
Second. Petitioner misapplies Sec. 42 of PD 807. A meticulous reading of the section
clearly shows that it refers to the lifting of preventive suspension in pending
administrative investigation, not in criminal cases, as here. What is more, Section 42
expressly limits the period of preventive suspension to ninety (90) days. Sec. 91 of R.A.
6975 which states that "The Civil Service Law and its implementing rules shall apply to
all personnel of the Department" simply means that the provisions of the Civil Service
Law and its implementing rules and regulations are applicable to members of the
Philippine National Police insofar as the provisions, rules and regulations are not
inconsistent with
R.A. 6975. Certainly, Section 42 of the Civil Service Decree which limits the preventive
suspension to ninety (90) days cannot apply to members of the PNP because Sec. 47 of
R.A. 6995 provides differently, that is, the suspension where the penalty imposed by law
exceeds six (6) years shall continue until the case is terminated.
Third. Petitioner's reliance on Layno and Deloso is misplaced. These cases all stemmed
from charges in violation of R.A. 3019 (1060), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act which, unlike
R.A. 6975, is silent on the duration of the preventive suspension. Sec. 13 of R.A. 3019
reads as follows:
Suspension and loss of benefits. Any public officer against whom any criminal
prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under the provisions of the
Revised Penal Code on bribery is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.
Should he be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits
under any law, but if he is acquitted, he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the
salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime
administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
In the case of Layno, the duly elected mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, was preventively
suspended after an information was filed against him for offenses under R.A. 3019
(1060), the Anti-Graft Corrupt Practices Act. He had been suspended for four (4) months
at the time he filed a motion to lift his preventive suspension. We held that his indefinite
preventive suspension violated the "equal protection clause" and shortened his term of
office. Thus:

136

2. Petitioner is a duly elected municipal mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. His term of
office does not expire until 1986. Were it not for this information and the suspension
decreed by the Sandiganbayan according to the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, he
would have been all this while in the full discharge of his functions as such municipal
mayor. He was elected precisely to do so. As of October 26, 1983, he has been unable to.
It is a basic assumption of the electoral process implicit in the right of suffrage that the
people are entitled to the services of elective officials of their choice. For misfeasance or
malfeasance, any of them could, of course, be proceeded against administratively or, as in
this instance, criminally. In either case, his culpability must be established. Moreover, if
there be a criminal action, he is entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence. A
preventive suspension may be justified. Its continuance, however, for an unreasonable
length of time raises a due process question. For even if thereafter he were acquitted, in
the meanwhile his right to hold office had been nullified. Clearly, there would be in such
a case an injustice suffered by him. Nor is he the only victim. There is injustice inflicted
likewise on the people of Lianga. They were deprived of the services of the man they had
elected to serve as mayor. In that sense, to paraphrase Justice Cardozo, the protracted
continuance of this preventive suspension had outrun the bounds of reason and resulted in
sheer oppression. A denial of due process is thus quite manifest. It is to avoid such an
unconstitutional application that the order of suspension should be lifted.
3. Nor is it solely the denial of procedural due process that is apparent. There is likewise
an equal protection question. If the case against petitioner Layno were administrative in
character the Local Government Code would be applicable. It is therein clearly provided
that while preventive suspension is allowable for the causes therein enumerated, there is
this emphatic limitation on the duration thereof: "In all cases, preventive suspension shall
not extend beyond sixty days after the start of said suspension." It may be recalled that
the principle against indefinite suspension applies equally to national government
officials. So it was held in the leading case of Garcia v. Hon. Executive Secretary.
According to the opinion of Justice Barrera: "To adopt the theory of respondents that an
officer appointed by the President, facing administrative charges, can be preventively
suspended indefinitely, would be to countenance a situation where the preventive
suspension can, in effect, be the penalty itself without a finding of guilt after due hearing,
contrary to the express mandate of the Constitution and the Civil Service law." Further:
"In the guise of a preventive suspension, his term of office could be shortened and he
could in effect, be removed without a finding of a cause duly established after due
hearing, in violation of the Constitution. Clearly then, the policy of the law mandated by
the Constitution frowns at a suspension of indefinite duration. In this particular case, the
mere fact that petitioner is facing a charge under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
does not justify a different rule of law. To do so would be to negate the safeguard of the
equal protection guarantee. 11
The case of Deloso, likewise, involved another elective official who
was preventively suspended as provincial governor, also under RA 3019 the Anti-Graft
Law. This Court, faced with similar factual circumstances as in Layno, applied the ruling
in the latter case "in relation to the principles of due process and equal protection."

It is readily apparent that Section 13 of R.A. 3019 upon which the preventive suspension
of the accused in Layno and Deloso was based is silent with respect to the duration of the
preventive suspension, such that the suspension of the accused therein for a prolonged
and unreasonable length of time raised a due process question. Not so in the instant case.
Petitioner is charged with murder under the Revised Penal Code and it is undisputed that
he falls squarely under Sec. 47 of R.A. 6975 which categorically states that his
suspension shall last until the case is terminated. The succeeding sentence of the same
section requires the case to be subjected to continuous trial which shall be terminated
within ninety (90) days from arraignment of the accused. As previously emphasized,
nowhere in the law does it say that after the lapse of the 90-day period for trial, the
preventive suspension should be lifted. The law is clear, the ninety (90) days duration
applies to the trial of the case not to the suspension. Nothing else should be read into the
law. When the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning
determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly
what it says. 12
Fourth. From the deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee on National
Defense relative to the bill that became R.A. 6975, the meaning of Section 47 of R.A.
6975 insofar as the period of suspension is concerned becomes all the more clear. We
quote:
So other than that in that particular section, ano ba itong "Jurisdiction in Criminal
Cases?" What is this all about?
REP. ZAMORA. In case they are charged with crimes.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Ah, the previous one is administrative, no. Now, if
it is charged with a crime, regular courts.
SEN. GONZALES. Ano, the courts mismo ang magsasabing . . .
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, the jurisdiction.
REP. ZAMORA. The jurisdiction if there is robbery.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay. "Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal
Case. Upon the filing of a complaint or informations sufficient in form and substance
against a member of the PNP for grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law is six
years and one day or more, the court shall immediately suspend the accused from the
office until the case is terminated."
REP. ALBANO. Where are we now Mr. Chairman.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Grave felonies ito e. Six years and one day or
more.

137

SEN. SAGUISAG. Kung five years and litigation ng Supreme Court, ganoon ba and . . .?

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Criminal case? Hindi ba that has all been held as
directory even if you put it in the law?

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Hindi, dahil iyong iba panay disciplinary iyon e.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Anong page iyan, Rene?
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Page 29 Preventive Suspension.
REP. GUTANG. Ang complaint kasi ng mga tao, pagka may pulis na may criminal case
at may baril pa rin at nag-uuniforme, hindi magandang tingnan e. So parang natatakot
iyong mga witnesses.
SEN. GONZALES. Anyway, kung ma-exempt na rito naman siya e.

SEN. PIMENTEL. I know, but, iyon na nga, we are looking at some solution to a
particular situation.
SEN. ANGARA. Let's have continuous hearing and be terminated not later than ninety
days.
REP. ZAMORA. Ang point ni Ernie, that's really only the directory. All of these, well,
looks exactly the same thing.
SEN. ANGARA. No, but at least, we will shorten it up in a case like this. We are really
keen on having it quick, swift.

REP. GUTANG. Mayroong entitlement to reinstatement and pay. . . .


SEN. PIMENTEL. Swift justice.
xxx xxx xxx
REP. ALBANO. Mr. Chairman.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Dito sa "Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case." Okay ito but
I think we should also mandate the early termination of the case. Ibig sabihin, okay, hindi
ba "the suspension of the accused from office until the case is terminated?" Alam naman
natin ang takbo ng mga kaso rito sa ating bansa e.
REP. ZAMORA. Twenty days, okay na.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Hindi, and ibig kong sabihin, let us just assume that a case can be, as
Rene pointed out, can run to six years bago
ma-terminate, sometimes ten years pa nga e. Okay, but maybe we should mandate. . .

THE CHAIRMAN. (SEN. MACEDA). Yes.


REP. ALBANO. Following the Veloso case in Anti-graft cases before the Sandiganbayan,
the preventive suspension is only ninety days. In no case shall it go beyond ninety days
which can also be applicable here because this is a preventive suspension.
SEN. PIMENTEL. No, because you can legislate at least.
SEN. SAGUISAG. But then the case may be anti-graft ha. The case filed against a
policeman may be anti-graft in nature. . .

REP. ZAMORA. Continuous hearing.


SEN. PIMENTEL. Correct, correct, but is that a constitutional provision? Is it?
SEN. PIMENTEL. Not only that, but the case must be terminated within a period.
REP. ALBANO. No, but as a standard procedure.
REP. ALBANO. Ninety days na ho sa Supreme Court the trial.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Then you can legislate.
SEN. PIMENTEL. Ha?
REP. ALBANO. The trial must be done within ninety days,
SEN. PIMENTEL. Ang ibig kong sabihin kung maari sanang ilagay rito that the case
shall also be terminated in one year from the time . . . aywan ko kung kaya nating gawin
iyon.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, because this particular provision is for
criminal cases. I know anti-graft is a criminal case but here we are talking, let's say, of
murder, rape, treason, robbery. That's why it is in that context that there is a difference
between a purely anti-graft case and a criminal case which could be a serious case since it
is six years and one day or more, so it must be already a grave felony.
xxx xxx xxx

REP. ALBANO. One solution, Mr. Chairman.


REP. ALBANO. . . .

138

What I mean to say is, preventive suspension, we can use the


Veloso case.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). No, that's too short, that's what I am saying. The
feeling here is, for policeman, we have to be stricter especially if it is a criminal case.
What Rene is just trying to say is, he is agreeable that the suspension is until the case is
terminated, but he just wants some administrative balancing to expedite it. So let us study
what kind of language could be done along that line. So just on the National Police
Commission . . .

preventive suspension is concerned is that policemen carry weapons and the badge of the
law which can be used to harass or intimidate witnesses against them, as succinctly
brought out in the legislative discussions.
If a suspended policeman criminally charged with a serious offense is reinstated to his
post while his case is pending, his victim and the witnesses against him are obviously
exposed to constant threat and thus easily cowed to silence by the mere fact that the
accused is in uniform and armed. The imposition of preventive suspension for over 90
days under Section 47 of
R.A. 6975 does not violate the suspended policeman's constitutional right to equal
protection of the laws.

SEN. ANGARA. Can I suggest a language that may reflect. . .


THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay, please.
SEN. ANGARA. "Such case shall be subject to continuous trial and be terminated not
later than . . ." whatever we agree.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. MACEDA). Okay, so let's study that.
So if there are any further amendments to Chapter 2 on the National Police
Commission. . . . . . 13
The foregoing discussions reveal the legislative intent to place on preventive suspension a
member of the PNP charged with grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law
exceeds six years of imprisonment and which suspension continues until the case against
him is terminated.
The reason why members of the PNP are treated differently from the other classes of
persons charged criminally or administratively insofar as the application of the rule on
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 148208

December 15, 2004

CENTRAL BANK (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION,


INC., petitioner,
vs.
BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS and the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
respondents.
DECISION

The equal protection clause exists to prevent undue favor or privilege. It is intended to
eliminate discrimination and oppression based on inequality. Recognizing the existence
of real differences among men, the equal protection clause does not demand absolute
equality. It merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like
circumstances and conditions both as to the privileges conferred and liabilities enforced.
14 Thus, the equal protection clause does not absolutely forbid classifications, such as the
one which exists in the instant case. If the classification is based on real and substantial
differences; 15 is germane to the purpose of the law; 16 applies to all members of the
same
class; 17 and applies to current as well as future conditions, 18 the classification may not
be impugned as violating the Constitution's equal protection guarantee. A distinction
based on real and reasonable considerations related to a proper legislative purpose such
as that which exists here is neither unreasonable, capricious nor unfounded.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Can a provision of law, initially valid, become subsequently unconstitutional, on the
ground that its continued operation would violate the equal protection of the law? We
hold that with the passage of the subsequent laws amending the charter of seven (7) other
governmental financial institutions (GFIs), the continued operation of the last proviso of
Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7653, constitutes invidious
discrimination on the 2,994 rank-and-file employees of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
(BSP).
I.
The Case
First the facts.

PUNO, J.:

139

On July 3, 1993, R.A. No. 7653 (the New Central Bank Act) took effect. It abolished the
old Central Bank of the Philippines, and created a new BSP.
On June 8, 2001, almost eight years after the effectivity of R.A. No. 7653, petitioner
Central Bank (now BSP) Employees Association, Inc., filed a petition for prohibition
against BSP and the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President, to restrain
respondents from further implementing the last proviso in Section 15(c), Article II of
R.A. No. 7653, on the ground that it is unconstitutional.
Article II, Section 15(c) of R.A. No. 7653 provides:
Section 15. Exercise of Authority - In the exercise of its authority, the Monetary Board
shall:
xxx

xxx

xxx

(c) establish a human resource management system which shall govern the selection,
hiring, appointment, transfer, promotion, or dismissal of all personnel. Such system shall
aim to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels of the Bangko Sentral in
accordance with sound principles of management.
A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject
to the Board's approval, shall be instituted as an integral component of the Bangko
Sentral's human resource development program: Provided, That the Monetary Board shall
make its own system conform as closely as possible with the principles provided for
under Republic Act No. 6758 [Salary Standardization Act]. Provided, however, That
compensation and wage structure of employees whose positions fall under salary grade
19 and below shall be in accordance with the rates prescribed under Republic Act No.
6758. [emphasis supplied]
The thrust of petitioner's challenge is that the above proviso makes an unconstitutional
cut between two classes of employees in the BSP, viz: (1) the BSP officers or those
exempted from the coverage of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) (exempt class); and
(2) the rank-and-file (Salary Grade [SG] 19 and below), or those not exempted from the
coverage of the SSL (non-exempt class). It is contended that this classification is "a
classic case of class legislation," allegedly not based on substantial distinctions which
make real differences, but solely on the SG of the BSP personnel's position. Petitioner
also claims that it is not germane to the purposes of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No.
7653, the most important of which is to establish professionalism and excellence at all
levels in the BSP.1 Petitioner offers the following sub-set of arguments:

b. subjecting the compensation of the BSP rank-and-file employees to the rate prescribed
by the SSL actually defeats the purpose of the law3 of establishing professionalism and
excellence at all levels in the BSP; 4 (emphasis supplied)
c. the assailed proviso was the product of amendments introduced during the deliberation
of Senate Bill No. 1235, without showing its relevance to the objectives of the law, and
even admitted by one senator as discriminatory against low-salaried employees of the
BSP;5
d. GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS personnel are all exempted from the coverage of the SSL;
thus within the class of rank-and-file personnel of government financial institutions
(GFIs), the BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon;6 and
e. the assailed proviso has caused the demoralization among the BSP rank-and-file and
resulted in the gross disparity between their compensation and that of the BSP officers'.7
In sum, petitioner posits that the classification is not reasonable but arbitrary and
capricious, and violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.8 Petitioner also
stresses: (a) that R.A. No. 7653 has a separability clause, which will allow the declaration
of the unconstitutionality of the proviso in question without affecting the other
provisions; and (b) the urgency and propriety of the petition, as some 2,994 BSP rankand-file employees have been prejudiced since 1994 when the proviso was implemented.
Petitioner concludes that: (1) since the inequitable proviso has no force and effect of law,
respondents' implementation of such amounts to lack of jurisdiction; and (2) it has no
appeal nor any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course except
through this petition for prohibition, which this Court should take cognizance of,
considering the transcendental importance of the legal issue involved.9
Respondent BSP, in its comment,10 contends that the provision does not violate the equal
protection clause and can stand the constitutional test, provided it is construed in
harmony with other provisions of the same law, such as "fiscal and administrative
autonomy of BSP," and the mandate of the Monetary Board to "establish professionalism
and excellence at all levels in accordance with sound principles of management."
The Solicitor General, on behalf of respondent Executive Secretary, also defends the
validity of the provision. Quite simplistically, he argues that the classification is based on
actual and real differentiation, even as it adheres to the enunciated policy of R.A. No.
7653 to establish professionalism and excellence within the BSP subject to prevailing
laws and policies of the national government.11
II.

a. the legislative history of R.A. No. 7653 shows that the questioned proviso does not
appear in the original and amended versions of House Bill No. 7037, nor in the original
version of Senate Bill No. 1235; 2

Issue

140

Thus, the sole - albeit significant - issue to be resolved in this case is whether the last
paragraph of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, runs afoul of the constitutional
mandate that "No person shall be. . . denied the equal protection of the laws."12
III.

discretion. It is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked


differences of things or in their relation. Neither is it necessary that the classification be
made with mathematical nicety. Hence, legislative classification may in many cases
properly rest on narrow distinctions, for the equal protection guaranty does not preclude
the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm, and legislation is addressed to
evils as they may appear. (citations omitted)

Ruling
A. UNDER THE PRESENT STANDARDS OF EQUAL PROTECTION,
SECTION 15(c), ARTICLE II OF R.A. NO. 7653 IS VALID.
Jurisprudential standards for equal protection challenges indubitably show that the
classification created by the questioned proviso, on its face and in its operation, bears no
constitutional infirmities.
It is settled in constitutional law that the "equal protection" clause does not prevent the
Legislature from establishing classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules
shall operate - so long as the classification is not unreasonable. As held in Victoriano v.
Elizalde Rope Workers' Union,13 and reiterated in a long line of cases:14
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the
application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in
order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman
and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not
mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the
circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The
Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as
though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as
to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the
object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification.
Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the
grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in
certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of
classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of
inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required of a
valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be
based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane
to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that
it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is
satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational
basis and is not palpably arbitrary.
In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over
matters within its jurisdiction, the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of

Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification.15 The equal
protection clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons
falling within a specified class.16 If the groupings are characterized by substantial
distinctions that make real differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently
from another.17 The classification must also be germane to the purpose of the law and
must apply to all those belonging to the same class.18
In the case at bar, it is clear in the legislative deliberations that the exemption of officers
(SG 20 and above) from the SSL was intended to address the BSP's lack of
competitiveness in terms of attracting competent officers and executives. It was not
intended to discriminate against the rank-and-file. If the end-result did in fact lead to a
disparity of treatment between the officers and the rank-and-file in terms of salaries and
benefits, the discrimination or distinction has a rational basis and is not palpably, purely,
and entirely arbitrary in the legislative sense. 19
That the provision was a product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of the
Senate Bill does not detract from its validity. As early as 1947 and reiterated in
subsequent cases,20 this Court has subscribed to the conclusiveness of an enrolled bill to
refuse invalidating a provision of law, on the ground that the bill from which it originated
contained no such provision and was merely inserted by the bicameral conference
committee of both Houses.
Moreover, it is a fundamental and familiar teaching that all reasonable doubts should be
resolved in favor of the constitutionality of a statute.21 An act of the legislature, approved
by the executive, is presumed to be within constitutional limitations.22 To justify the
nullification of a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution,
not a doubtful and equivocal breach.23
B. THE ENACTMENT, HOWEVER, OF SUBSEQUENT LAWS EXEMPTING ALL OTHER RANK-AND-FILE EMPLOYEES
OF GFIs FROM THE SSL - RENDERS THE CONTINUED
APPLICATION OF THE CHALLENGED PROVISION
A VIOLATION OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.
While R.A. No. 7653 started as a valid measure well within the legislature's power, we
hold that the enactment of subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of
other GFIs leeched all validity out of the challenged proviso.
1. The concept of relative constitutionality.

141

The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be determined by a mere


comparison of its provisions with applicable provisions of the Constitution, since the
statute may be constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and invalid in its
application to another.24
A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered
circumstances.25 Thus, if a statute in its practical operation becomes arbitrary or
confiscatory, its validity, even though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to
inquiry and investigation in the light of changed conditions.26
Demonstrative of this doctrine is Vernon Park Realty v. City of Mount Vernon,27 where
the Court of Appeals of New York declared as unreasonable and arbitrary a zoning
ordinance which placed the plaintiff's property in a residential district, although it was
located in the center of a business area. Later amendments to the ordinance then
prohibited the use of the property except for parking and storage of automobiles, and
service station within a parking area. The Court found the ordinance to constitute an
invasion of property rights which was contrary to constitutional due process. It ruled:
While the common council has the unquestioned right to enact zoning laws respecting the
use of property in accordance with a well-considered and comprehensive plan designed to
promote public health, safety and general welfare, such power is subject to the
constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably and this is
so whenever the zoning ordinance precludes the use of the property for any purpose for
which it is reasonably adapted. By the same token, an ordinance valid when adopted will
nevertheless be stricken down as invalid when, at a later time, its operation under
changed conditions proves confiscatory such, for instance, as when the greater part of its
value is destroyed, for which the courts will afford relief in an appropriate case.28
(citations omitted, emphasis supplied)
In the Philippine setting, this Court declared the continued enforcement of a valid law as
unconstitutional as a consequence of significant changes in circumstances. Rutter v.
Esteban29 upheld the constitutionality of the moratorium law - its enactment and
operation being a valid exercise by the State of its police power30 - but also ruled that the
continued enforcement of the otherwise valid law would be unreasonable and oppressive.
It noted the subsequent changes in the country's business, industry and agriculture. Thus,
the law was set aside because its continued operation would be grossly discriminatory
and lead to the oppression of the creditors. The landmark ruling states:31

losses with the Philippine War Damage Commission. It is therein provided that said
obligation shall not be due and demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after
settlement of the claim filed by the debtor with said Commission. The purpose of the law
is to afford to prewar debtors an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves by giving them a
reasonable time within which to pay their prewar debts so as to prevent them from being
victimized by their creditors. While it is admitted in said law that since liberation
conditions have gradually returned to normal, this is not so with regard to those who have
suffered the ravages of war and so it was therein declared as a policy that as to them the
debt moratorium should be continued in force (Section 1).
But we should not lose sight of the fact that these obligations had been pending since
1945 as a result of the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 and at present their
enforcement is still inhibited because of the enactment of Republic Act No. 342 and
would continue to be unenforceable during the eight-year period granted to prewar
debtors to afford them an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, which in plain language
means that the creditors would have to observe a vigil of at least twelve (12) years before
they could effect a liquidation of their investment dating as far back as 1941. his period
seems to us unreasonable, if not oppressive. While the purpose of Congress is plausible,
and should be commended, the relief accorded works injustice to creditors who are
practically left at the mercy of the debtors. Their hope to effect collection becomes
extremely remote, more so if the credits are unsecured. And the injustice is more patent
when, under the law, the debtor is not even required to pay interest during the operation
of the relief, unlike similar statutes in the United States.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In the face of the foregoing observations, and consistent with what we believe to be as the
only course dictated by justice, fairness and righteousness, we feel that the only way open
to us under the present circumstances is to declare that the continued operation and
enforcement of Republic Act No. 342 at the present time is unreasonable and oppressive,
and should not be prolonged a minute longer, and, therefore, the same should be declared
null and void and without effect. (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)
2. Applicability of the equal protection clause.

The question now to be determined is, is the period of eight (8) years which Republic Act
No. 342 grants to debtors of a monetary obligation contracted before the last global war
and who is a war sufferer with a claim duly approved by the Philippine War Damage
Commission reasonable under the present circumstances?

In the realm of equal protection, the U.S. case of Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ivey32 is
illuminating. The Supreme Court of Florida ruled against the continued application of
statutes authorizing the recovery of double damages plus attorney's fees against railroad
companies, for animals killed on unfenced railroad right of way without proof of
negligence. Competitive motor carriers, though creating greater hazards, were not
subjected to similar liability because they were not yet in existence when the statutes
were enacted. The Court ruled that the statutes became invalid as denying "equal
protection of the law," in view of changed conditions since their enactment.

It should be noted that Republic Act No. 342 only extends relief to debtors of prewar
obligations who suffered from the ravages of the last war and who filed a claim for their

In another U.S. case, Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Faulkner,33 the Court of Appeals of
Kentucky declared unconstitutional a provision of a statute which imposed a duty upon a

142

railroad company of proving that it was free from negligence in the killing or injury of
cattle by its engine or cars. This, notwithstanding that the constitutionality of the statute,
enacted in 1893, had been previously sustained. Ruled the Court:
The constitutionality of such legislation was sustained because it applied to all similar
corporations and had for its object the safety of persons on a train and the protection of
property. Of course, there were no automobiles in those days. The subsequent
inauguration and development of transportation by motor vehicles on the public
highways by common carriers of freight and passengers created even greater risks to the
safety of occupants of the vehicles and of danger of injury and death of domestic animals.
Yet, under the law the operators of that mode of competitive transportation are not subject
to the same extraordinary legal responsibility for killing such animals on the public roads
as are railroad companies for killing them on their private rights of way.
The Supreme Court, speaking through Justice Brandeis in Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. Co.
v. Walters, 294 U.S. 405, 55 S.Ct. 486, 488, 79 L.Ed. 949, stated, "A statute valid when
enacted may become invalid by change in the conditions to which it is applied. The
police power is subject to the constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted
arbitrarily or unreasonably." A number of prior opinions of that court are cited in support
of the statement. The State of Florida for many years had a statute, F.S.A. 356.01 et seq.
imposing extraordinary and special duties upon railroad companies, among which was
that a railroad company was liable for double damages and an attorney's fee for killing
livestock by a train without the owner having to prove any act of negligence on the part
of the carrier in the operation of its train. In Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Co. v. Ivey, it
was held that the changed conditions brought about by motor vehicle transportation
rendered the statute unconstitutional since if a common carrier by motor vehicle had
killed the same animal, the owner would have been required to prove negligence in the
operation of its equipment. Said the court, "This certainly is not equal protection of the
law."34 (emphasis supplied)

because of their effect in operation. If a law has the effect of denying the equal
protection of the law it is unconstitutional. .36 (emphasis supplied, citations omitted
3. Enactment of R.A. Nos. 7907 + 8282 + 8289 + 8291 + 8523 + 8763
+ 9302 = consequential unconstitutionality of challenged proviso.
According to petitioner, the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653 is
also violative of the equal protection clause because after it was enacted, the charters of
the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS were also amended, but the personnel of the latter GFIs
were all exempted from the coverage of the SSL.37 Thus, within the class of rank-andfile personnel of GFIs, the BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon.
Indeed, we take judicial notice that after the new BSP charter was enacted in 1993,
Congress also undertook the amendment of the charters of the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS,
and three other GFIs, from 1995 to 2004, viz:
1. R.A. No. 7907 (1995) for Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP);
2. R.A. No. 8282 (1997) for Social Security System (SSS);
3. R.A. No. 8289 (1997) for Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation,
(SBGFC);
4. R.A. No. 8291 (1997) for Government Service Insurance System (GSIS);
5. R.A. No. 8523 (1998) for Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP);
6. R.A. No. 8763 (2000) for Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC);38 and
7. R.A. No. 9302 (2004) for Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

Echoes of these rulings resonate in our case law, viz:


[C]ourts are not confined to the language of the statute under challenge in determining
whether that statute has any discriminatory effect. A statute nondiscriminatory on its face
may be grossly discriminatory in its operation. Though the law itself be fair on its face
and impartial in appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with
an evil eye and unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations
between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal
justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution.35 (emphasis supplied, citations
omitted)
[W]e see no difference between a law which denies equal protection and a law which
permits of such denial. A law may appear to be fair on its face and impartial in
appearance, yet, if it permits of unjust and illegal discrimination, it is within the
constitutional prohibition.. In other words, statutes may be adjudged unconstitutional

It is noteworthy, as petitioner points out, that the subsequent charters of the seven other
GFIs share this common proviso: a blanket exemption of all their employees from the
coverage of the SSL, expressly or impliedly, as illustrated below:
1. LBP (R.A. No. 7907)
Section 10. Se