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Dean’s

Circle
2016
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS
Digested by: DC 2016 Members
Editors:
Tricia Lacuesta
Lorenzo Gayya
Cristopher Reyes
Macky Siazon
Janine Arenas
Ninna Bonsol
Lloyd Javier

POLITICAL
LAW
Supreme Court decisions penned by Associate
Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 1
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SEPARATION OF POWERS AND CHECKS AND BALANCES

BAYAN MUNA, AS REPRESENTED BY REP. SATUR OCAMPO, REP. CRISPIN BELTRAN,


AND REP. LIZA L. MAZA v. ALBERTO ROMULO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY, AND BLAS F. OPLE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF FOREIGN
AFFAIRS
G.R. No. 159618, February 01, 2011, J. Velasco, Jr.
The authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the
concurrence of legislators is premised upon the doctrine of separation of powers. Absent
any clear contravention of the law, the courts should exercise utmost caution in declaring
any executive agreement invalid.

Facts:
On 2003, then Ambassador Ricciardone sent US Embassy Note to DFA proposing the
terms of the non-surrender bilateral agreement bet USA and RP. The RP, represented
by then DFA Sec. Ople, agreed with the US proposals. Such Agreement provides that
current or former government officials or employees or military personnel of one
party present in the territory of the other shall not be surrendered to any international
tribunal, absent the express consent of the first party, and unless such tribunal has
been established by the UN Security Council. Bayan Muna imputes grave abuse of
discretion to respondents and prays that the Agreement be struck down as
unconstitutional.

Issues:
1. Whether or not the Agreement was contracted validly.
2. Whether or not the Agreement, which has not been submitted to the Senate for
concurrence, contravenes the Rome Statute and other treaties.

Ruling:
1. Yes. Under the Doctrine of Incorporation, as expressed in Art II of the 1987
Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international
law as part of the law of the land. An exchange of notes falls into the category of inter-
governmental agreements, which is an internationally accepted form of international
agreement. Hence, the Non-Surrender Bilateral Agreement in the exchange note is a
recognized mode of concluding a legally binding international written contract among
nations.
2. No. An act of the executive branch with a foreign government must be afforded great
respect. This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the
concurrence of legislators is provided by the inviolable doctrine of separation of
powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. Thus,
absent any clear contravention of the law, the courts should exercise utmost caution in
declaring any executive agreement invalid.
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DELEGATION OF POWERS

SM LAND, INC. V. BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY


G.R. No. 203655, March 18, 2015, VELASCO JR., J.
Administrative issuances, such as the NEDA JV Guidelines, duly promulgated pursuant to
the rule-making power granted by statute, have the force and effect of law.

Facts:
Pursuant to RA No. 7227, the BCDA opened for disposition and
development its Bonifacio South Property. SM Land, Inc. (SMLI) submitted
to the BCDA an unsolicited proposal for the development of the lot which
was accepted by the BCDA. However, the BCDA clarified that its act
should not be construed to bind the agency to enter into a joint venture
agreement with SMLI but only constitutes an authorization to conduct
detailed negotiations with SMLI and iron out the terms and conditions of
the agreement. Afterwards, a Certification was issued by the BCDA and
signed by both parties. BCDA prepared for the conduct of a Competitive
Challenge. In furtherance thereof, the agency issued Terms of Reference.
Consequently, SMLI was required to post a proposal security in the
amount of PhP 187 million, following the prescribed procedure outlined in
the TOR and the NEDA JV Guidelines. Instead of proceeding with the
Competitive Challenge, the BCDA corresponded with SMLI stating that it
will welcome any “voluntary and unconditional proposal” to improve the
original offer. In turn, SMLI increased the total secured payments with an
upfront payment. Without responding to SMLI’s new proposal, the BCDA
sent a memorandum to the OP categorically recommending the
termination of the Competitive Challenge. Alarmed by this development,
SMLI urged the BCDA to proceed with the Competitive Challenge as
agreed upon. However, the BCDA terminated the Competitive Challenge
altogether.
Issue:
Whether or not the BCDA gravely abused its discretion in terminating the
Competitive Challenge.
Ruling:
Yes. SMLI has the right to a completed competitive challenge pursuant to
the NEDA JV Guidelines and the Certification issued by the BCDA. The
reservation clause adverted to by the respondent cannot, in any way,
prejudice said right. Under the Administrative Code of 1987, acts of the
President providing for rules of a general or permanent character in
implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall
be promulgated in EOs. Through Section 5 of EO 109, Section 8 of EO
109-A and now Section 8 of EO 423, the President effectively delegated
her inherent executive power to issue rules and regulations on
procurement to her subordinate executive officials, her alter egos.
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Pursuant to said repeated directives from no less than the Chief


Executive, the NEDA issued the JV Guidelines providing the procedures
for the coagulation of joint ventures between the government and a
private entity. In this regard, attention must be drawn to the well-
established rule that administrative issuances, such as the NEDA JV
Guidelines, duly promulgated pursuant to the rule-making power granted
by statute, have the force and effect of law.

DR. PEDRO F. GOBENCIONG vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS,


DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), REGIONAL DIRECTOR of the
Department of Health, Region VIII, and FLORA DELA PEÑA
G.R. No. 159883, March 31, 2008, Velasco, Jr., J.
Provisionary orders of the Ombudsman are immediately executory. The
Ombudsman has the power to ensure compliance with imposition of
penalties pursuant to his administrative disciplinary authority.

Facts:
The petitioner, Gobenciong, was preventively suspended by the
Ombudsman after an investigation made upon a complaint filed against
him by respondent Dela Pena. The petition for certiorari filed by the
petitioner having been denied by the Court of Appeals, the petitioner
now contends that the Ombudsman does not have the power to
investigate, prosecute and discipline public officers. Hence, RA 6770 is
unconstitutional as it constitutes an undue delegation of power.
Issue:
Whether or not RA 6770, on the ground of undue delegation of legislative
authority, is unconstitutional.
Ruling:
No. RA 6770 provisos granting investigative, prosecutorial and
disciplinary powers to the Ombudsman are not unconstitutional. The
espoused theory of undue delegation of authority is untenable. It is the
1987 Constitution no less which granted and allowed the grant by
Congress of sweeping prosecutorial, investigatory, and disciplinary
powers to the Ombudsman. he Office of the Ombudsman is a creature of
the Constitution. The framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the
office to be strong and effective, with sufficient bite and muscle to
enable it to carry out its mandate as protector of the people against the
inept, abusive, and corrupt in the Government. They, however, left it to
Congress to invest the office with more broad powers to enforce its own
action. And so it was that RA 6770 was enacted empowering, under Sec.
15(1) thereof, the Ombudsman to take over, at any stage, from any
investigatory agency of government, the investigation of cases [of which
he has primary jurisdiction.
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STATE PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES


METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY v.
CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF MANILA BAY
G.R. Nos. 171947-48, December 18, 2008, VELASCO, JR., J.
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology need not even be written
in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other civil and political rights
guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind
and it is an issue of transcendental importance with intergenerational
implications.
Facts:
Concerned Residents of Manila Bay filed a complaint before the RTC
against several government agencies, among them the MMDA, for the
cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. They also
prayed that MMDA et al. be ordered to clean the Manila Bay and submit
to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the purpose. RTC
rendered a Decision in favor of the concerned residents of Manila. MMDA
et al. filed an appeal before CA arguing that the pertinent provisions of
the Environment Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific
pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general. And apart from
raising concerns about the lack of funds appropriated for cleaning
purposes, MMDA et al. also asserted that the cleaning of the Manila Bay
is not a ministerial act which can be compelled by mandamus. CA
sustained the decision of RTC.
Issue:
1. Whether or not the pertinent provisions of the Environment Code (PD
1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific pollution incidents and do
not cover cleaning in general.
2. Whether or not the cleaning of the Manila Bay is a ministerial act
which can be compelled by mandamus.

Ruling:
1. No. The right to a balanced and healthful ecology need not even be
written in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other civil and political
rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, to exist from the inception of
mankind and it is an issue of transcendental importance with
intergenerational implications. Even assuming the absence of a
categorical legal provision specifically prodding petitioners to clean up
the bay, they and the men and women representing them cannot escape
their obligation to future generations of Filipinos to keep the waters of
the Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as possible. Anything less
would be a betrayal of the trust reposed in them.

2. Yes. While the implementation of the MMDAs mandated tasks may


entail a decision-making process, the enforcement of the law or the very
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act of doing what the law exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and
may be compelled by mandamus. The MMDAs duty in this regard is
spelled out in Sec. 3(c) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7924 creating the MMDA
which states that Solid waste disposal and management which include
formulation and implementation of policies, standards, programs and
projects for proper and sanitary waste disposal. It shall likewise include
the establishment and operation of sanitary land fill and related facilities
and the implementation of other alternative programs intended to
reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste. The MMDAs duty in the area of
solid waste disposal, as may be noted, is set forth not only in the
Environment Code (PD 1152) and RA 9003, but in its charter as well.

LEGISLATURE
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY(SJS) v. DANGEROUS DRUGS
BOARD(DDB) and PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT
AGENCY(PDEA)
G.R. No. 157870, November 3, 2008, VELASCO, JR., J.
The right of a citizen in the democratic process of election should not be
defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement not otherwise
specified in the Constitution.
Facts:
SJS, a registered political party, seeks to prohibit the DDB and PDEA from
enforcing paragraphs (g) of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 on the ground that it is
constitutionally infirm because it imposes an additional qualification for a
senator- mandatory drug testing. Pimentel Jr. and Atty. Laserna Jr. also
seek the nullification of said law, including the COMELEC Res. No. 6486
which implements the former.
Issue:
Whether or not Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Res. No. 6486
impose an additional qualification for candidates for senator.
Ruling:
Yes. It is unconstitutional because it is basic that if a law or an
administrative rule violates any norm of the Constitution, that issuance is
null and void and has no effect.
Thus, COMELEC cannot, in the guise of enforcing and administering
election laws or promulgating rules and regulations to implement Sec.
36(g), validly impose qualifications on candidates for senator in addition
to what the Constitution prescribes. If Congress cannot require a
candidate for senator to meet such additional qualification, the
COMELEC, to be sure, is also without such power. The right of a citizen in
the democratic process of election should not be defeated by
unwarranted impositions of requirement not otherwise specified in the
Constitution. Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165, effectively enlarges the qualification
requirements enumerated in the Sec. 3, Art. VI of the Constitution
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Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED),


Manuel V. Del Rosario, Domingo P. Espina, Salvador P. Vallares,
Joselito A. Moraleda, et al. v. Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 177857-58 January 24, 2012, Velasco Jr., J.
The general principle of taxation is that tax levied for special purpose
shall be treated as a special fund and paid out of such purpose only. It
cannot be treated as private funds to be disbursed or invested for the
benefit of private individuals in their private capacities.
Facts:
Republic Act 6260 was enacted creating the Coconut Investment
Company (CIC) to administer the Coconut Investment Fund (CIF) which
imposes a levy on every sale of copra. The seller was issued Cocofund
receipts for levy of such sales. The fund was placed under the disposition
of Cocofed, the national association of coconut producers having the
largest membership. The Philippine Coconut Authority also had its share
of the coco levy funds. When martial law started in 1972, several
presidential decrees were issued to improve the coconut industry
through collection and use of the coco levy fund, two of which are:

PD 961 and PD 1468 which both provide that the CCSF and CDIF shall not
be construed as special and/or fiduciary funds, or as part of the general
funds of the government. The intention is for the said funds to belong to
coconut farmers in their private capacities.

It is a contention that PD 961 and PD1468 is unconstitutional because


the funds collected by PCA are in the nature of a special fund which
should be disbursed only for the special purpose for which it is collected.

Issue:
Whether or not the PD’s issued are unconstitutional for declaring the
funds which the PCA is authorized to collect or as part of the funds of the
government.
Ruling:
Yes, the mandate of PD’s are unconstitutional. The coconut levy funds
are in the nature of taxes and can only be used for public purpose.
Consequently, they cannot be used to purchase shares of stocks to be
given for free to private individuals. The coco levy funds were exactions
with the end goal of developing the entire coconut industry, to hold
therefore, even by law, that the revenues received from the imposition of
the coconut levies be used purely for private purposes to be owned by
private individuals in their private capacity and for their benefit, would
contravene the rationale behind the imposition of taxes or levies.
Furthermore, Article VI, Section 29 (3) provides that all money collected
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on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund
and paid out for such purpose only. The conversion of public funds into
private assets was illegally allowed, in fact mandated, by these PDs.
Clearly therefore, the pertinent provisions of P.D. Nos. 755, 961 and 1468
are unconstitutional for violating Article VI, Section 29 (3) of the
Constitution. In this context, the distribution by PCA of the UCPB shares
purchased by means of the coconut levy fund a special fund of the
government to the coconut farmers, is therefore void.

CITIZENS BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION (CIBAC) v. COMELEC


represented by CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN ABALOS, SR.
G.R. No. 172103, 13 April 2007, J. Velasco, Jr.
In determining the number of additional seats for each party-list that has
met the 2% threshold, "proportional representation" is the touchstone to
ascertain entitlement to extra seats. In order to be entitled to one
additional seat, an exact whole number is necessary. Rounding off may
result in the awarding of a number of seats in excess of that provided by
the law.
Facts.
Petitioner CIBAC, together with Luzon Farmers Party (BUTIL) and Partido
ng Manggagawa, filed a Joint Motion for Immediate Proclamation
entreating the COMELEC en banc to recognize their entitlement to an
additional seat and that their second nominees be immediately
proclaimed. They based their claim on Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor
Party v. COMELEC (G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613, November 20, 2003, 416
SCRA 304.) applying the formula adopted by the Supreme Court in
Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC. COMELEC (G.R. Nos. 136781,
136786, & 136795, October 6, 2000, 342 SCRA 244) however resolved to
deny CIBAC’s motion following the simplified formula of the Commission.
Issue.
Whether or not the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion when it
denied petitioner CIBAC an additional seat in the House of
Representatives under the party-list system.
Held.
NO. It is the Veterans formula that is sanctioned by the Court and not the
Ang Bagong Bayani and Bayan Muna formula that petitioner alleges.
In determining the number of additional seats for each party-list that has
met the 2% threshold, "proportional representation" is the touchstone to
ascertain entitlement to extra seats.
The correct formula in ascertaining the entitlement to additional seats of
the first party and other qualified party-list groups was clearly explicated
in Veterans: The only basis given by the law is that a party receiving at
least 2% of the total votes shall be entitled to one seat. Proportionally, if
the first party were to receive twice the number of votes of the second
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party, it should be entitled to twice the latter’s number of seats and so


on.

The next step is to solve for the number of additional seats that the other
qualified parties are entitled to, based on proportional representation. In
simplified form, it is written as follows:

“Additional seats for concerned party = (No. of votes of concerned


party/No. of votes of the first party) x No. of additional seats allocated to
first party.” The above formula does not give an exact mathematical
representation of the number of additional seats to be awarded since, in
order to be entitled to one additional seat, an exact whole number is
necessary. In fact, most of the actual mathematical proportions are not
whole numbers and are not rounded off for the reasons explained earlier.
To repeat, rounding off may result in the awarding of a number of seats
in excess of that provided by the law.

Applying the Veterans formula in petitioner’s case, we reach the


conclusion that CIBAC is not entitled to an additional seat. Since
petitioner CIBAC got a result of 0.82304986 only, which is less than one,
then it did not obtain or reach a whole number. Petitioner has not
convinced us to deviate from our ruling in Veterans that in order to be
entitled to one additional seat, an exact whole number is necessary.
Clearly, petitioner is not entitled to an additional seat.

PRESIDENCY
LOURDES D. RUBRICO, JEAN RUBRICO APRUEBO, and MARY JOY
RUBRICO CARBONEL, Petitioners, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-
ARROYO
G.R. No. 183871 February 18, 2010, Velasco, J.
The President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not
be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for
it in the Constitution or law.
Facts:
Lourdes Rubrico, chair of the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa Adhikan,
was abducted by armed men belonging to the 301st Air Intelligence and
Security Squadron (AISS, for short), and brought to and detained at, the
air base without charges. But even after her release, the harassment
continued that led to the filing of criminal complaint for kidnapping and
arbitrary detention and administrative complaint for gross abuse of
authority and grave misconduct. However, in the said case nothing
happened.
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The petition prayed that a writ of amparo issue, ordering the individual
respondents including President Gloria Macapgal-Arroyo to desist from
performing any threatening act against the security of the petitioners
and for the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to immediately file an
information for kidnapping qualified with the aggravating circumstance
of gender of the offended party. The CA, however, dismissed the petition
and dropped President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent.
Issue:
Whether or not the Court of Appeals reversible error in dismissing the
petition and dropping President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party
respondent.
Ruling:
No. The presidential immunity from suit remains preserved under our
system of government, albeit not expressly reserved in the present
constitution. The President may not be sued during his or her tenure. The
Court subsequently made it abundantly clear in David v. Macapagal-
Arroyo, a case likewise resolved under the umbrella of the 1987
Constitution, that indeed the President enjoys immunity during her
incumbency, and why this must be so:

Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or
actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and
there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade
the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can
be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is
important that he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or
distraction to enable him to fully attend to the performance of his official
duties and functions.

JUDICIARY
PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION, INC. (COCOFED)
VS. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. Nos. 177857-58, 178193, 180705 February 11, 2010,
Velasco, J.
The Court is not empowered to review and go into the wisdom of the
policy decision or choices of PCGG and other executive agencies of the
government absent any grave abuse of discretion.
Facts:
Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED) filed a motion
for the conversion of the sequestered 753,848,312 Class "A" and "B"
common shares of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), registered in the name
of Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Holding Companies
(hereunder referred to as SMC Common Shares), into 753,848,312 SMC
Series 1 Preferred Shares. Oppositors-intervenors Salonga, et al. anchor
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their plea for reconsideration on the following submission or issues: The


conversion of the shares is patently disadvantageous to the government
and the coconut farmers, given that SMC’s option to redeem ensures
that the shares will be bought at less than their market value.
Issue:
Whether or not the contentions of the oppositors are shall be given
credence.
Ruling:
NO. The conversion may be viewed as a sound business strategy to
preserve and conserve the value of the government’s interests in CIIF
SMC shares.
Due to the nature of stocks in general and the prevailing business
conditions, the government, through the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG), chose not to speculate with the CIIF SMC
shares. It is the executive branch, either pursuant to the residual power
of the President or by force of her enumerated powers under the laws,
that has control over all matters pertaining to the disposition of
government property or, in this case, sequestered assets under the
administration of the PCGG. Surely, such control is neither legislative nor
judicial. Well settled is the rule that the courts cannot inquire into the
wisdom of an executive act but must respect the decision of the
executive department, absent a clear showing of grave abuse of
discretion.

HACIENDA LUISITA, INC. v. PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM


G.R. No. 171101 November 22, 2011 Velasco, Jr., J.
The operative fact doctrine is not confined to statutes. It extends to rules
and regulations issued by the executive department that are accorded
the same status as that of a statute or those which are quasi-legislative
in nature.
Facts:
On July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court en banc voted unanimously (11-0) to
DISMISS/DENY the petition filed by HLI and AFFIRM with MODIFICATIONS
the resolutions of the PARC revoking HLI’s Stock Distribution Plan (SDP)
and placing the subject lands in Hacienda Luisita under compulsory
coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the
government.

The Court however did not order outright land distribution. Voting 6-5,
the Court noted that there are operative facts that occurred in the
interim and which the Court cannot validly ignore. Thus, the Court
declared that the revocation of the SDP must, by application of the
operative fact principle, give way to the right of the original 6,296
qualified farmworkers-beneficiaries (FWBs) to choose whether they want
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to remain as HLI stockholders or [choose actual land distribution]. It thus


ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to “immediately
schedule meetings with the said 6,296 FWBs and explain to them the
effects, consequences and legal or practical implications of their choice,
after which the FWBs will be asked to manifest, in secret voting, their
choices in the ballot, signing their signatures or placing their
thumbmarks, as the case may be, over their printed names.”
The parties thereafter filed their respective motions for reconsideration
of the Court decision.
Issue:
Whether or not the operative fact doctrine is applicable in this case.
Ruling:
Yes. The Court maintained its stance that the operative fact doctrine is
applicable in this case since, contrary to the suggestion of the minority,
the doctrine is not limited only to invalid or unconstitutional laws but also
applies to decisions made by the President or the administrative
agencies that have the force and effect of laws. Prior to the nullification
or recall of said decisions, they may have produced acts and
consequences that must be respected. It is on this score that the
operative fact doctrine should be applied to acts and consequences that
resulted from the implementation of the PARC Resolution approving the
SDP of HLI. The majority stressed that the application of the operative
fact doctrine by the Court in its July 5, 2011 decision was in fact
favorable to the FWBs because not only were they allowed to retain the
benefits and homelots they received under the stock distribution
scheme, they were also given the option to choose for themselves
whether they want to remain as stockholders of HLI or not.

REGHIS M. ROMERO II, EDMOND Q. SESE, LEOPOLDO T. SANCHEZ,


REGHIS M. ROMERO III, MICHAEL L. ROMERO, NATHANIEL L.
ROMERO, and JEROME R. CANLAS v. SENATOR JINGGOY E.
ESTRADA and SENATE COMMITTEE ON LABOR, EMPLOYMENT AND
HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
G.R. No. 174105, April 2, 2009, Velasco, Jr., J.
On-going judicial proceedings do not preclude congressional hearings in
aid of legislation.
Facts:
Pursuant to a resolution directing the Labor Committee to investigate, in
aid of legislation, the liability for plunder of the Former President Ramos
and others for the illegal investment of OWWA funds in the Smokey
Mountain Project, Reghis Romero II, as owner of R-II Builders, Inc.,
received from the Committee an invitation to attend at a public hearing
to be conducted for the said purpose. His request to be excused was
denied by the Committee. Petitioners then filed the instant petition which
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seeks to bar the Committee from continuing with its inquiry and to enjoin
it from compelling petitioners to appear before it. In a manifestation with
urgent plea for a TRO, Romero raised, among others, that when Senator
Estrada called on Atty. Francisco I. Chavez, as resource person, the latter
spoke of the facts and issues he raised with the Court in Chavez v.
National Housing Authority, none of which were related to the subject of
the inquiry. Petitioners claim that the subject matter of the investigation
is sub judice owing to the pendency of the Chavez petition.
Issue:
Whether or not the subject matter of the Committee’s inquiry is sub
judice.
Ruling:
No. The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to
judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court,
or obstructing the administration of justice. In this case, the subject
matter of the senate inquiry is no longer sub judice for the reason that
the Court has denied with finality the motion for reconsideration of its
decision filed by Chavez. Even assuming that Chavez is still pending final
adjudication by the Court, still, such circumstance would not bar the
continuance of the committee investigation. Suffice it to state that the
Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation
provide that the filing or pendency of any prosecution or administrative
action should not stop or abate any inquiry to carry out a legislative
purpose. (See Sabio v. Gordon, 504 SCRA 704, October 17, 2006)

A legislative investigation in aid of legislation and court proceedings has


different purposes. On one hand, courts conduct hearings or like
adjudicative procedures to settle, through the application of a law, actual
controversies arising between adverse litigants and involving
demandable rights. On the other hand, inquiries in aid of legislation are,
inter alia, undertaken as tools to enable the legislative body to gather
information and, thus, legislate wisely and effectively; and to determine
whether there is a need to improve existing laws or enact new or
remedial legislation, albeit the inquiry need not result in any potential
legislation. On-going judicial proceedings do not preclude congressional
hearings in aid of legislation.

When the Committee issued invitations and subpoenas to petitioners to


appear before it in connection with its investigation of the
aforementioned investments, it did so pursuant to its authority to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. This is clearly provided in Art. VI,
Sec. 21 of the Constitution. And the Court has no authority to prohibit a
Senate committee from requiring persons to appear and testify before it
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in connection with an inquiry in aid of legislation in accordance with its


duly published rules of procedure.

CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
ROQUE VS. COMELEC
G.R. No. 188456 September 10, 2009, Velasco, J.
The COMELEC shall be responsible for the enforcement and
administration of all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall.
Facts:
The enactment of Republic Act No. 8436 in 1997 authorized the adoption
of an automated election system (AES) in the May 11, 1998 national and
local elections and onwards. In 2007, RA 9369 was passed authorizing
anew the Comelec to use an AES. Petitioners claim that the conclusion of
the automation contract constitutes an abdication on the part of
Comelec of the constitutional mandate that the Comelec shall be
responsible for the enforcement and administration of “all laws and
regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative,
referendum and recall.” (Section 2, Article 9 of the 1987 Constitution)
Issue:
Whether or not Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Corporation automation
contract abandons the constitutional mandate that the COMELEC shall be
responsible for election law enforcement.
Ruling:
No. The role of Smartmatic TIM Corporation is basically to supply the
goods necessary for the automation project, such as but not limited to
the PCOS machines, PCs, electronic transmission devices and related
equipment, both hardware and software, and the technical services
pertaining to their operation. As lessees of the goods and the back-up
equipment, the corporation and its operators would provide assistance
with respect to the machines to be used by the Comelec which, at the
end of the day, will be conducting the election thru its personnel and
whoever it deputizes.
Moreover, the RFP (Request for Proposal or otherwise known as Terms of
Reference), which forms an integral part of the automation contract, has
put all prospective bidders on notice of Comelecs intent to automate and
to accept bids that would meet several needs, among which is a
complete solutions provider which can provide effective overall
nationwide project management service under COMELEC supervision and
control, to ensure effective and successful implementation of the
[automation] Project.
15

FELICIANO LEGASPI vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ALFREDO D.


GERMAR, AND ROGELIO P. SANTOS JR.
G.R. No. 216572, April 19, 2016
COMELEC divisions has the authority to decide election cases. Their
decisions are capable of attaining finality, without need of any
affirmative or confirmatory action on the part of the COMELEC en banc.
FACTS:
Germar, Santos and Esquivel were among the candidates fielded by the
LP to vie for positions in Norzagaray, Bulcan during the 2013 elections.
Legaspi on the other hand was the NUP bet for Mayor in the same town.
Germar and Santos were the winning candidates. Legaspi moved for the
suspension of their proclamation with the COMELEC for their alleged vote
buying but to no avail. The First Division and Special Division of the
COMELEC ruled to disqualify Germar and Santos. The COMELEC en banc
had a 3-2 vote in the disqualification of the LP bets which did not reach
the 4 vote requirement. A rehearing was made in which the COMELEC en
banc took another vote but still failed to get a 4 vote thus dismissing
Legaspi’s complaint.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the COMELEC divisions’ decisions can attain finality.
RULING:
YES. The decisions of the COMELEC divisons can attain finality.
Sec. 3, Article IX-C of the Constitution bestows on the COMELEC divisions
the authority to decide election cases. Their decisions are capable of
attaining finality, without need of any affirmative or confirmatory action
on the part of the COMELEC en bane. And while the Constitution requires
that the motions for reconsideration be resolved by the COMELEC en
banc, it likewise requires that four votes must be reached for it to render
a valid ruling and, consequently, to GRANT the motion for
reconsideration of private respondents. Hence, when the private
respondents failed to get the four-vote requirement on their motion for
reconsideration, their motion is defeated and lost as there was NO valid
ruling to sustain the plea for reconsideration. The prior valid action - the
COMELEC Special First Division's October 3, 2013 Resolution in this case -
therefore subsists and is affirmed by the denial of the motion for
reconsideration.

COMMISSION ON AUDIT
Dennis A. Funa v. The Chairman, Commission on Audit, Reynaldo
A. Villar
G.R. No. 192791 April 24, 2012, Velasco, Jr., J.
16

Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) of the 1987 Constitution does not prohibit
promotional appointment as long as the Commissioner has not served
his full term of seven years, and the appointment shall only be for the
unexpired portion of the Commissioner’s term.
Facts:
On February 15, 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA)
appointed Guillermo N. Carague (Carague) as Chairman of the
Commission on Audit (COA) for a term of seven years starting February
2, 2004 to February 2, 2008. Meanwhile, on February 7, 2004, she
appointed Reynaldo A. Villar (Villar) as a third member of COA for a term
of seven years starting from February 2, 2004, to February 2, 2011.
Following the retirement of Carague on February 2, 2008 and during the
fourth year of Villar as commissioner, the latter was designated acting
chairman of the COA from February 4, 2008 to April 14, 2008.
Subsequently, on April 18, 2008 Villar was appointed and nominated as
Chairman of the COA. The Commission on Appointments confirmed his
appointment. He was to serve chairman for the unexpired portion of his
term as commissioner or on February 2, 2011. Herein petitioner opposes
Villar’s appointment saying that such appointment is invalid under Sec.
1(2), Art. IX(D) of the 1987 Constitution. He said that reappointment of
any kind within the COA be it for the same position (Commissioner to
Commissioner) or for an upgraded position (Commissioner to Chairman)
is a prohibited appointment and therefore a nullity.
Issue:
Whether or not Villar’s appointment is invalid under Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D)
of the 1987 Constitution.
Ruling:
No, Villar’s appointment is not prohibited under the Constitution. The
Constitutional provision provides: The Chairman and Commissioners [on
Audit] shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the
Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without
reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office
for seven years, one commissioner for five years, and the other
commissioner for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to
any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the
predecessor. The provision, on its face, does not prohibit a promotional
appointment from commissioner to chairman as long as the
commissioner has not served the full term of seven years, further
qualified by the third sentence of Sec. 1(2), Article IX (D) that the
appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of
the term of the predecessor. In addition, such promotional appointment
to the position of Chairman must conform to the rotational plan or the
staggering of terms in the commission membership such that the
aggregate of the service of the Commissioner in said position and the
17

term to which he will be appointed to the position of Chairman must not


exceed seven years so as not to disrupt the rotational system in the
commission prescribed by Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D). There is nothing in Sec.
1(2), Article IX(D) that explicitly precludes a promotional appointment
from Commissioner to Chairman, provided it is made under the
aforestated circumstances or conditions.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
MAYOR ABELARDO ABUNDO, SR. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
and ERNESTO R. VEGA
G.R. No. 20171, January 8, 2013, VELASCO, JR., J.
An involuntary interrupted term, cannot, in the context of the
disqualification rule, be considered as one term for purposes of counting
the three-term threshold.
Facts:
For 4 successive regular elections, Abundo vied for the position of
municipal mayor of Viga, Catanduanes. In the 2004 electoral derby, the
Viga municipal board of canvassers initially proclaimed as winner one
Torres, who, in due time, performed the functions of the office of mayor.
Abundo protested and was eventually declared the winner of the 2004
mayoralty electoral contest. Then came the 2010 elections where
Abundo and Torres again opposed each other and Torres lost no time in
seeking the former’s disqualification to run, predicated on the 3-
consecutive term limit rule. COMELEC First Division ruled in favor of
Abundo. Vega commenced a quo warranto action before the RTC to
unseat Abundo on essentially the same grounds Torres raised. RTC
declared Abundo ineligible to serve as municipal mayor because he has
already served 3 consecutive terms. COMELEC’s 2nd division and en
banc affirmed.
Issue:
Whether or not Abundo is deemed to have served three consecutive
terms.
Ruling:
No. As stressed in Socrates v. COMELEC(G.R. No. 154512, 2002), the
principle behind the three-term limit rule covers only consecutive terms
and that what the Constitution prohibits is a consecutive fourth term. An
elective local official cannot, following his third consecutive term, seek
immediate reelection for a fourth term, albeit he is allowed to seek a
fresh term for the same position after the election where he could have
sought his fourth term but prevented to do so by reason of the
prohibition. There has, in fine, to be a break or interruption in the
successive terms of the official after his or her third term. An interruption
usually occurs when the official does not seek a fourth term, immediately
following the third.
18

As is clearly provided in Sec. 8, Art. X of the Constitution as well as in


Sec. 43(b) of the LGC, voluntary renunciation of the office by the
incumbent elective local official for any length of time shall not, in
determining service for three consecutive terms, be considered an
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the
elective official concerned was elected. This qualification was made as a
deterrent against an elective local official intending to skirt the three-
term limit rule by merely resigning before his or her third term ends. This
is a voluntary interruption as distinguished from involuntary interruption
which may be brought about by certain events or causes.

The almost two-year period during which Abundo’s opponent actually


served as Mayor is and ought to be considered an involuntary
interruption of Abundo’s continuity of service. An involuntary interrupted
term, cannot, in the context of the disqualification rule, be considered as
one term for purposes of counting the three-term threshold. It cannot be
overemphasized that pending the favorable resolution of his election
protest, Abundo was relegated to being an ordinary constituent since his
opponent, as presumptive victor in the 2004 elections, was occupying
the mayoralty seat. In other words, during which his opponent actually
assumed the mayoralty office, Abundo was a private citizen warming his
heels while awaiting the outcome of his protest. Hence, even if declared
later as having the right to serve the elective position such declaration
would not erase the fact that prior to the finality of the election protest,
Abundo did not serve in the mayor’s office and, in fact, had no legal right
to said position.

NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY


Ernesto Francisco, Jr. v. Toll Regulatory Board
GR Number 166910, October 19, 2010, VELASCO, JR., J.
The term ―franchise includes not only authorizations issuing directly
from Congress in the form of statute, but also those granted by
administrative agencies to which the power to grant franchise has been
delegated by Congress.
Facts:
PD 1112 created the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), vesting it with the
power to enter into contracts for the construction, maintenance, and
operation of tollways, grant authority to operate a toll facility, issue the
necessary Toll Operation Certificate (TOC) and fix initial toll rates, and
adjust it from time to time after due notice and hearing. PD 1113 was
issued granting the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC)
for a period of 30 years, a franchise to operate toll facilities in the North
Luzon and South Luzon Expressways. Subsequently, PD 1894 was issued
19

further granting the PNCC a franchise over the Metro Manila Expressway
and the expanded delineated NLEX and SLEX.
Then came the 1987 Constitution with its franchise provision. In 1993,
the Government Corporate Counsel held that the PNCC may enter into a
joint venture agreement (JVA) with private entities without going into
public bidding. In 1994, the DPWH together with other private entities
executed a MOU to open the door for entry of private capital in the Subic
and Clark extension projects. PNCC entered into a financial and technical
JVAs with entities for the toll operation of its franchised areas. Several
Supplemental Toll Operation Agreements (STOA) were entered for the
South Metro Manila Skyway, NLEX Expansion, and South Luzon
Expressway Projects.

Petitioners seek to nullify the various STOAs and assail the


constitutionality of Sections 3(a and d) of PD 1112 in relation to Section
8(b) of PD 1894. Insofar as they vested the TRB the power to issue,
modify, and promulgate toll rate changes while given the ability to
collect tolls.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the TRB may be empowered to grant authority to operate
the toll facility/system.
RULING:
Yes. The TRB was granted sufficient power to grant a qualified person or
entity with authority to operate the toll facility/system. By explicit
provisions of the PDs, the TRB was given power to grant administrative
franchise for toll facility projects. The limiting thrust of Article 12, Section
11 of the Constitution on the grant of franchise or other forms of
authorization to operate public utilities may, in context, be stated as
follows: (a) the grant shall be made only in favor of qualified Filipino
citizens or corporations; (b) Congress can impair the obligation of
franchises, as contracts; and (c) no such authorization shall be exclusive
or exceed fifty years. Under the 1987 Constitution, Congress has an
explicit authority to grant a public utility franchise. However, it may
validly delegate its legislative authority, under the power of subordinate
legislation, to issue 159883 franchises of certain public utilities to some
administrative agencies.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 2
THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE FUNDAMENTAL POWERS
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY(SJS) v. DANGEROUS DRUGS
BOARD(DDB) and PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT
AGENCY(PDEA)
G.R. No. 157870, November 3, 2008, VELASCO, JR., J.
20

To impose a mandatory drug test on the accused would violate his right
to privacy and right to self-incrimination.
Facts:
SJS, a registered political party, seeks to prohibit the DDB and PDEA from
enforcing paragraphs (c), (d), and (f) of Sec. 36 of RA 9165 on the ground
that they are constitutionally infirm. For one, the provisions constitute
undue delegation of legislative power when they give unbridled
discretion to schools and employers to determine the manner of drug
testing. For another, the provisions trench in the equal protection clause
inasmuch as they can be used to harass a student or an employee
deemed undesirable. And for a 3rd, a person's constitutional right
against unreasonable searches is also breached by said provisions.
Pimentel Jr. and Atty. Laserna Jr. also seek the nullification of said law,
including the COMELEC Res. No. 6486 which implements the former.
Issue:
Whether or not paragraphs (c), (d), and (f)of Sec. 36, RA 9165 is
unconstitutional for violating the right to privacy, the right against
unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal protection clause,
thus constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power.
Ruling:
No, paragraphs (c) and (d) is constitutional. The drug test prescribed
under Sec. 36(c) and (d), for secondary and tertiary level students and
public and private employees, while mandatory, is a random and
suspicion less arrangement. The primary legislative intent is not criminal
prosecution, as those found positive for illegal drug use as a result of this
random testing are not necessarily treated as criminals.
Schools, acting in loco parentis, have a duty to safeguard the health and
well - being of their students and may adopt such measures as may
reasonably be necessary to discharge such duty; and (4) schools have
the right to impose conditions on applicants for admission that are fair,
just, and non-discriminatory. In the case at bar, the SC is of the view and
so holds that the paragraph (c) and (d) are constitutional. Indeed, it is
within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a
condition for admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and
regulations and policies. To be sure, the right to enroll is not absolute; it
is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements.
Yes, paragraphs (f) is unconstitutional. SC finds no valid justification for
mandatory drug testing for persons accused of crimes. The operative
concepts in the mandatory drug testing are "randomness" and "suspicion
less." In the case of persons charged with a crime before the prosecutor's
office, a mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicion less.
The ideas of randomness and being suspicion less are antithetical to
their being made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not
randomly picked; neither are they beyond suspicion. When persons
21

suspected of committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and
are impleaded against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare
fact of being haled before the prosecutor's office and peaceably
submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not
necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to
privacy. To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant
attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for criminal prosecution,
contrary to the stated objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case
would violate a persons' right to privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III
of the Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced
to incriminate themselves.

DUE PROCESS
GONZALO S. GO, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS and OFFICE OF THE
PRESIDENT
G.R. No. 172027 July 29, 2010 VELASCO, JR., J.
Vested rights can only be deprived through due process of law.
FACTS:
Gonzalo Go Jr. was promoted to the position of Chief Hearing Officer
(Chief, Legal Division), with a salary rate of PhP 151,800 per annum. The
promotion was to the position of Attorney VI, Salary Grade (SG)-26.
However, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), informed the
then DOTC Secretary of the erroneous classification in the Position
Allocation List of the DBM of two positions in his department, one of
which is in the LTFRB (formerly BOT). Go wrote the DBM to question the
summary demotion or downgrading of his salary grade from SG-26 to
SG-25. The DBM reminded Go that based on the departments’ standards
and criteria formulated, the division chief of bureau-level agencies, like
the LTFRB, is allocable to Attorney V, SG-25. Following the denial of his
MR, Go appealed to the Office of the President (OP). The OP dismissed
Go's appeal. His petition was also denied by the CA via Rule 43 on
procedural grounds.

ISSUE:
Whether the reallocation of rank resulting in the downgrading of position
and diminution of salary was valid.
RULING:
No. Go has established a clear, equitable vested right to the emoluments
of his position as Attorney VI, SG-26. And being an incumbent to that
position, he has, at the very least, an equitable right to receive the
corresponding salary and emoluments attached thereto. The summary
demotion to a lower salary grade, with the corresponding decrease in
salary and emoluments after he has occupied his current rank and
position, goes against his right to continue enjoying the benefits
22

accorded the position and which his predecessors must have been
receiving. His right thereto has ripened into a vested right, of which he
could be deprived only by due process of law, but which we believe he
was denied through the summary reallocation. With the view we take of
this case, Go was neither apprised nor given the opportunity to contest
the reallocation before its summary implementation.

EQUAL PROTECTION
LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, et al. v. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, et al.
G.R. Nos. 176951, 177499, 178056 December 21, 2009, Velasco,
Jr., J.
Classification, to be reasonable, must (1) rest on substantial distinctions;
(2) be germane to the purpose of the law; (3) not be limited to existing
conditions only; and (4) apply equally to all members of the same class.
Facts:
There were twenty-four (24) cityhood bills that were not acted upon in
the 11th Congress. During the 12th Congress, RA 9009 was signed into
law amending Sec. 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160)
increasing the income requirement to qualify for conversion into a city
from P20M average annual income to P100M locally generated income.
During the 13th Congress, sixteen (16) out of the 24 municipalities filed,
through their respective sponsors, their individual cityhood bills. Each of
the cityhood bills contained a common provision exempting the
municipality covered from the P100M income requirement imposed by
RA 9009. The cityhood bills were approved by Congress and eventually
lapsed into law. Each cityhood law directs the COMELEC to hold a
plebiscite to determine whether the voters approve of the conversion.
Petitioners sought to declare the cityhood laws unconstitutional for
violation of Sec. 10, Art. X of the Constitution, as well as for violation of
the equal-protection clause. It is contended that the grant of exemption
from the P100M income requirement to only the 16 municipalities is
unconstitutional.
Issue:
Whether or not the sixteen (16) cityhood laws are valid and
constitutional. Ruling:
Yes. Looking at the circumstances behind the enactment of the laws
subject of contention, the LGC-amending RA 9009, no less, intended the
LGUs covered by the cityhood laws to be exempt from the PhP100 million
income criterion. .
The equal protection clause does not preclude the state from recognizing
and acting upon factual differences between individuals and classes. It
recognizes that inherent in the right to legislate is the right to classify,
necessarily implying that the equality guaranteed is not violated by a
23

legislation based on reasonable classification. Classification, to be


reasonable, must (1) rest on substantial distinctions; (2) be germane to
the purpose of the law; (3) not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) apply equally to all members of the same class. The Court finds that
all these requisites have been met by the laws challenged as arbitrary
and discriminatory under the equal protection clause.
The exemption accorded the 16 municipalities is based on the fact that
each had pending cityhood bills long before the enactment of RA 9009
that substantially distinguish them from other municipalities aiming for
cityhood. To impose on them the much higher income requirement after
what they have gone through would appear to be indeed unfair.

PRIVACY OF COMMUNICATION AND CORRESPONDENCE


RHONDA AVE S. VIVARES AND SPOUSES MARGARITA AND DAVID
SUZARA v. ST. THERESA’S COLLEGE, MYLENE RHEZA T.
ESCUDERO, AND JOHN DOES
G.R. No. 202666, September 29, 2014, Velasco, Jr., J.
Without proof that the subject photographs are placed within the ambit
of their protected zone of privacy, one cannot insist that there is an
expectation of privacy with respect to the photographs in question.
Facts:
Pictures of Julia Daluz and Julienne Suzara , clad only in their
undergarments, were uploaded by Angela Tan on her Facebook profile.
Escudero, a computer teacher at STC’s high school department, learned
that some students posted pictures online, dressed only in brassiers.
Escudero then reported the matter to Rose Tigol, STC’s Discipline-in-
Charge, for appropriate action. After an investigation, STC found Julia,
Julienne and other identified students to have violated the rules
proscribed by the school’s student handbook. These identified students
claimed that they were castigated and verbally abused by the STC
officials in the conference they attended. The students then were barred
from joining the commencement exercises as a penalty.
Despite the issuance of a TRO, STC still barred the sanctioned students
from participating in the graduation rites. The petitioners then filed a
Petition for the Issuance of a Wirt of Habeas Data. However, the RTC
dismissed the petition for failure to prove the existence of an actual or
threatened violation of the minors’ right to privacy.
Issue:
Whether or not the minors can invoke their right to informational privacy.

Ruling:
No. Right to informational privacy is the right of individuals to control
information about themselves. Considering that the default setting for
Facebook posts is "Public," it can be surmised that the photographs in
24

question were viewable to everyone on Facebook, absent any proof that


petitioners’ children positively limited the disclosure of the photograph. If
such were the case, they cannot invoke the protection attached to the
right to informational privacy. The ensuing pronouncement in US v.
Gines-Perez is most instructive:

A person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely intends to


forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such imagery, particularly
under circumstances such as here, where the defendant did not employ
protective measures or devices that would have controlled access to the
Web page or the photograph itself.

As applied, even assuming that the photos in issue are visible only to the
sanctioned students’ Facebook friends, STC did not violate the minors’
right to privacy, as it was the minors’ Facebook friends who showed the
pictures to Tigol. Respondents were mere recipients of what were posted.
They did not resort to any unlawful means of gathering the information
as it was voluntarily given to them by persons who had legitimate access
to the said posts.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, RIGHT TO ASSEMBLY AND ACADEMIC


FREEDOM
ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner, vs MA. CONSOLIZA P. LAGUARDIA,
in her capacity as Chairperson of the Movie and Television
Review and Classification Board, MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW
AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ANABEL M.
DELA CRUZ, MANUEL M. HERNANDEZ, JOSE L. LOPEZ, CRISANTO
SORIANO, BERNABE S. YARIA, JR., MICHAEL M. SANDOVAL, and
ROLDAN A. GAVINO, Respondents. G.R. No. 164785, March 15,
2010, Velasco
The welfare of children and the States mandate to protect and care for
them, as parens patriae, constitute a substantial and compelling
government interest in regulating petitioners utterances in TV broadcast
as provided in PD 1986.
Facts:
Eliseo Soriano made the following remarks in his program, Ang Dating
Daan: Lehitimong anak ng demonyo; sinungaling; Gago ka talaga
Michael, masahol ka pa sa putang babae o di ba. Yung putang babae ang
gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, [dito] kay Michael ang gumagana ang
itaas, o di ba! O, masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sabi ng lola ko
masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng mga
demonyong ito.
The one referred by Soriano is Michael Sandoval, a minister of Iglesia ni
Cristo and a regular host of the TV program, Ang Tamang Daan. The
25

MTRCB preventively suspended the showing of Ang Dating Daan program


for 20 days.
Issue:
Whether or not the preventive suspension order was unconstitutional for
it amounts to abridgement of the freedom of speech and expression and
an impermissible prior restraint.
Ruling:
No. The Court rules that the government's interest to protect and
promote the interests and welfare of the children adequately buttresses
the reasonable curtailment and valid restraint on petitioner's prayer to
continue as program host of Ang Dating Daan during the suspension
period.

Petitioner's offensive and obscene language uttered in a television


broadcast, without doubt, was easily accessible to the children. His
statements could have exposed children to a language that is
unacceptable in everyday use. As such, the welfare of children and the
States mandate to protect and care for them, as parens patriae,
constitute a substantial and compelling government interest in
regulating petitioners utterances in TV broadcast as provided in PD 1986.

There can be no quibbling that the remarks in question petitioner uttered


on prime-time television are blatantly indecent if not outright obscene. It
is the kind of speech that PD 1986 proscribes necessitating the exercise
by MTRCB of statutory disciplinary powers. It is the kind of speech that
the State has the inherent prerogative, nay duty, to regulate and prevent
should such action served and further compelling state interests. One
who utters indecent, insulting, or offensive words on television when
unsuspecting children are in the audience is, in the graphic language of
FCC, a pig in the parlor. Public interest would be served if the pig is
reasonably restrained or even removed from the parlor.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
ELISEO F. SORIANO, Petitioner, vs MA. CONSOLIZA P. LAGUARDIA,
in her capacity as Chairperson of the Movie and Television
Review and Classification Board, MOVIE AND TELEVISION REVIEW
AND CLASSIFICATION BOARD, JESSIE L. GALAPON, ANABEL M.
DELA CRUZ, MANUEL M. HERNANDEZ, JOSE L. LOPEZ, CRISANTO
SORIANO, BERNABE S. YARIA, JR., MICHAEL M. SANDOVAL, and
ROLDAN A. GAVINO, Respondents. G.R. No. 164785, March 15,
2010, Velasco
Plain and simple insults directed at another person cannot be elevated to
the status of religious speech.
Facts:
26

Eliseo Soriano made the following remarks in his program, Ang Dating
Daan: Lehitimong anak ng demonyo; sinungaling; Gago ka talaga
Michael, masahol ka pa sa putang babae o di ba. Yung putang babae ang
gumagana lang doon yung ibaba, [dito] kay Michael ang gumagana ang
itaas, o di ba! O, masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sabi ng lola ko
masahol pa sa putang babae yan. Sobra ang kasinungalingan ng mga
demonyong ito.

The one referred by Soriano is Michael Sandoval, a minister of Iglesia ni


Cristo and a regular host of the TV program, Ang Tamang Daan. The
MTRCB preventively suspended the showing of Ang Dating Daan program
for 20 days. It is the contention of the petitioner that the statement was
made in the exercise of his religious freedom.
Issue:
Whether or not the words he uttered were only said in the exercise of his
religious freedom.
Ruling:
The Court is at a loss to understand how petitioners utterances in
question can come within the pale of Sec. 5, Article III of the 1987
Constitution on religious freedom. The section reads as follows:

No law shall be made respecting the establishment of a religion, or


prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of
religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference,
shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the
exercise of civil or political rights.

There is nothing in petitioner's statements subject of the complaints


expressing any particular religious belief, nothing furthering his avowed
evangelical mission. The fact that he came out with his statements in a
televised bible exposition program does not automatically accord them
the character of a religious discourse. Plain and simple insults directed at
another person cannot be elevated to the status of religious speech.
Even petitioners attempts to place his words in context show that he was
moved by anger and the need to seek retribution, not by any religious
conviction. His claim, assuming its veracity, that some INC ministers
distorted his statements respecting amounts Ang Dating Daan owed to a
TV station does not convert the foul language used in retaliation as
religious speech. They simply illustrate that petitioner had descended to
the level of name-calling and foul-language discourse. Hence, his speech
cannot be protected by the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.
27

EMINENT DOMAIN
ANUNCIACION VDA. DE OUANO, MARIO P. OUANO, LETICIA OUANO
ARNAIZ, and CIELO OUANO MARTINEZ v. THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THE MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
AUTHORITY, and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE CITY OF
CEBU;
MACTAN-CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY (MCIAA) v.
RICARDO L. INOCIAN, in his personal capacity and as Attorney-in-
Fact of OLYMPIA E. ESTEVES, et. al.
G.R. No. 168770 & G.R. No. 168812, February 9, 2011, Velasco,
Jr., J.
A condemnor should commit to use the property pursuant to the purpose
stated in the petition for expropriation, failing which it should file another
petition for the new purpose. If not, then it behooves the condemnor to
return the said property to its private owner, if the latter so desires.
Facts:
The following are two (2) consolidated cases whereby the respective
owners and successors-in-interest. They pray for the reconveyance of
their respective properties subjected to expropriation in favor of the
government for the expansion of Lahug Airport for public use. Their claim
for reconveyance is based on the alleged promise of the National Airport
Corporation (NAC), Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority’s (MCIAA)
predecessor agency, that should the Lahug Airport expansion project do
not push through or once the Lahug Airport closes or its operations
transferred to Mactan-Cebu Airport, they are assured the right to
repurchase their land.
When the Lahug Airport was closed and transferred its operations with
MCIAA, the latter refused to honor the said agreement. Hence, Ouanos
and Inocians filed their respective complaints against the latter. MCIAA
averred that the claim of the Ouanos and the Inocians regarding the
alleged verbal assurance of the NAC negotiating team that they can
reacquire their landholdings is already barred by the Statute of Frauds.
Hence, this petition was filed.
Issue:
Whether or not the Ouanos and Inocians have the right to repurchase
their properties pursuant to the verbal agreement with the government’s
negotiating team assuring them of its reacquisition should the public
purpose for which the properties were used ceases.
Ruling:
Yes. The taking of a private land in expropriation proceedings is always
conditioned on its continued devotion to its public purpose. As a
necessary corollary, once the purpose is terminated or peremptorily
abandoned, then the former owner, if he so desires, may seek its
28

reversion, subject of course to the return, at the very least, of the just
compensation received.
Given the foregoing disquisitions, equity and justice demand the
reconveyance by MCIAA of the litigated lands in question to the Ouanos
and Inocians. In the same token, justice and fair play also dictate that the
Ouanos and Inocian return to MCIAA what they received as just
compensation for the expropriation of their respective properties plus
legal interest to be computed from default, which in this case should run
from the time MCIAA complies with the reconveyance obligation. They
must likewise pay MCIAA the necessary expenses it might have incurred
in sustaining their respective lots and the monetary value of its services
in managing the lots in question to the extent that they, as private
owners, were benefited thereby.

BARANGAY SINDALAN, SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA represented


by BARANGAY CAPTAIN ISMAEL GUTIERREZ v. COURT OF
APPEALS, JOSE MAGTOTO III, and PATRICIA SINDAYAN
G.R. No. 150640, 22 March 2007, J. Velasco, Jr.
The power of eminent domain can only be exercised for public use and
with just compensation.
Facts:
Petitioner filed a complaint for eminent domain against respondent
spouses Jose Magtoto III and Patricia Sindayan, the registered owner of a
parcel of land covered by TCT No. 117674-R. Claiming that respondents
property was the most practical and nearest way to the municipal road,
petitioner sought to convert a portion of respondents land into Barangay
Sindalan’s feeder road. Respondents, on the other hand, alleged that the
expropriation was for a private purpose, that is, for the benefit of the
homeowners of Davsan II Subdivision. They contended that petitioner
deliberately omitted the name of Davsan II Subdivision and, instead,
stated that the expropriation was for the benefit of the residents of Sitio
Paraiso in order to conceal the fact that the access road being proposed
to be built across the respondents land was to serve a privately owned
subdivision and those who would purchase the lots of said subdivision.
Issue:
Whether or not the proposed exercise of the power of eminent domain
was for a public purpose.
Held:
No. While the number of people who use or can use the property is not
determinative of whether or not it constitutes public use or purpose, the
factual milieu of the case reveals that the intended use of respondents’
lot is confined solely to the Davsan II Subdivision residents and is not
exercisable in common. Worse, the expropriation will actually benefit the
subdivisions owner who will be able to circumvent his commitment to
29

provide road access to the subdivision in conjunction with his


development permit and license to sell from the HLURB, and also be
relieved of spending his own funds for a right-of-way. In this factual
setting, the Davsan II Subdivision homeowners are able to go to the
barrio road by passing through the lot of a certain Torres family. Thus, the
inescapable conclusion is that the expropriation of respondents’ lot is for
the actual benefit of the Davsan II Subdivision owner, with incidental
benefit to the subdivision homeowners.

The power of eminent domain can only be exercised for public use and
with just compensation. Taking an individual’s private property is a
deprivation which can only be justified by a higher good which is public
use and can only be counterbalanced by just compensation. Without
these safeguards, the taking of property would not only be unlawful,
immoral, and null and void, but would also constitute a gross and
condemnable transgression of an individual’s basic right to property as
well.

HACIENDA LUISITA, INCORPORATED, LUISITA INDUSTRIAL PARK


CORPORATION AND RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION
v. PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIL; SECRETARY
NASSER PANGANDAMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN
REFORM;
ALYANSA NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG BUKID NG HACIENDA
LUISITA, RENE GALANG,
NOEL MALLARI, AND JULIO SUNIGA AND HIS SUPERVISORY
GROUP OF THE
HACIENDA LUISITA, INC. AND WINDSOR ANDAYA
G.R. No. 171101 April 24, 2012, Velasco, Jr., J.
“Taking” in eminent domain cases also occurs when agricultural lands
voluntarily offered by a landowner are approved for CARP coverage
through SDOs.
Facts:
The SC denied the petition for review of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI), but
ordered that the original qualified farmworker-beneficiaries of Hacienda
Luisita (FWBs) be still given the option to remain as stockholders of HLI.
The said stock distribution option (SDO) was revoked upon motion for
reconsideration, and the SC ordered compulsory acquisition in favor of
the farmers.
On “Motion to Clarify and Reconsider Resolution”, HLI argues for the
impropriety of the revocation of the SDO. But should the option stays
revoked, HLI argues that the just compensation should be pegged at
2006 (the time when the lands were placed under compulsory acquisition
due to HLI’s failure to perform its obligations under the Stock Distribution
30

Program). This was opposed by the Alyansa, which argued for the
revocation of the SDO, and pegged the just compensation at 1989 (the
time when the Stock Distribution Program was approved).
Issue:
Whether or not the SDO should remain revoked, and just compensation
pegged at 1989.
Ruling:
Yes. Just compensation should be pegged at 1989. Just compensation for
the property should be based at the time it was taken from the owner
and appropriated by the PARC. The “time of taking” does not only mean
the time when the landowner was deprived of the use of his property, or
when the title was issued to the Republic or the beneficiaries. “Taking”
also occurs when agricultural lands voluntarily offered by a landowner
are approved for CARP coverage through SDOs. The approval by the
PARC of the SDO takes place over the notice of coverage ordinarily
issued for compulsory acquisition, and is considered as the operative act
to determine the time of “taking”.

In this case, Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco), the original owner


of the Hacienda Luisita agricultural lands, voluntarily ceded its ownership
over the said lands to HLI (a corporation with a personality distinct from
Tadeco), to comply with CARP through the SDO scheme. Hence, when the
PARC approved for CARP coverage the said conveyed lands subject to the
SDO scheme in 1989, the said date is also construed as the “time of
taking” for purposes of determining just compensation.

CONTRACT CLAUSE
HACIENDA LUISITA, INC. v. PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM
COUNCIL
G.R. No. 171101, 05 July 2011, En Banc, Velasco Jr., J.
The non-impairment protection is applicable only to laws that derogate
prior acts of contracts by enlarging, abridging or in any manner changing
the intention of the parties.
Facts:
The original farm worker beneficiaries (FWB) chose to become
stockholders of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) by reason of the
implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. 93% of the
FWBs agreed to the Stock Distribution Option Agreement which became
the basis of the Stock Distribution Plan (SDP) approved by the
Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC). In their agreement the
parties agree among others that 33.296% of the outstanding capital
stock of HLI that has to be distributed to the FWBs under the SDP. Also
that HLI shall within a reasonable time subdivide and allocate among the
qualified family-beneficiaries. The FWBs through their representatives
31

sought to have the agreement revoked alleging that HLI did not perform
their obligations as required under the agreement. The PARC adopted the
resolution of the DAR and revoked the agreement between the FWB and
HLI.
Issue:
Whether or not PARC has jurisdiction to recall or revoke HLI’s SDP and
whether such revocation violate the non-impairment of contract clause.
Ruling:
Under Sec. 31 of RA 6657, as implemented by DAO 10, the authority to
approve the plan for stock distribution of the corporate landowner
belongs to PARC. However, contrary to petitioner HLI’s posture, PARC also
has the power to revoke the SDP which it previously approved. Such
power or authority is deemed possessed by PARC under the principle of
necessary implication, a basic postulate that what is implied in a statute
is as much a part of it as that which is expressed. To deny PARC such
revocatory power would reduce it into a toothless agency of CARP,
because the very same agency tasked to ensure compliance by the
corporate landowner with the approved SDP would be without authority
to impose sanctions for non-compliance with it.
A law authorizing interference, when appropriate, in the contractual
relations between and among parties is deemed read into the contract
and its implementation cannot successfully be resisted by force of the
non-impairment guarantee. There is no impingement of the impairment
clause, the non-impairment protection being applicable only to laws that
derogate prior acts of contracts by enlarging, abridging or in any manner
changing the intention of the parties. Impairment obtains if a subsequent
law changes the terms of a contract between the parties, imposes new
conditions, dispenses with those agreed upon or withdraws existing
remedies for the enforcement of the rights of the parties. Necessarily,
the constitutional proscription would not apply to laws already in effect
at the time of the contract execution.

MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY and ANTONIO P.


GANA v. OLONGAPO MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC. and TRIPLE
CROWN SERVICES, INC.
G.R. Nos. 146184-85, G.R. No. 161117, G.R. No. 167827, January
31, 2008, Velasco, Jr., J.
“The rationale behind the requirement of a public bidding, as a mode of
awarding government contracts, is to ensure that the people get
maximum benefits and quality services from the contracts. More
significantly, the strict compliance with the requirements of a public
bidding echoes the call for transparency in government transactions and
accountability of public officers. Public biddings are intended to minimize
32

occasions for corruption and temptations to abuse of discretion on the


part of government authorities in awarding contracts.”
Facts:
Olongapo Maintenance Services, Inc. (OMSI) and Triple Crown Services,
Inc. (TCSI) were among the five contractors of Manila International
Airport Authority (MIAA) which had janitorial and maintenance service
contracts covering various areas in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
(NAIA). Before their service contracts expired, the MIAA Board of
Directors, through Antonio P. Gana, then General Manager (GM) of MIAA,
wrote OMSI and TCSI informing them that their contracts would no longer
be renewed. TCSI and OMSI suggested that a public bidding be
conducted and that the effectivity of its service contract be meanwhile
extended until a winning bid is declared.

Notwithstanding, MIAA granted the concession to a new service


contractor, Gana and Goodline Staffers & Allied Services, Inc. (Goodline)
pursuant to Sec. 1(e) of EO 301, series of 1987, entitled Decentralizing
Actions on Government Negotiated Contracts, Lease Contracts and
Records Disposal. Thus, OMSI and TCSI sought for injunctive writs before
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) against MIAA and Goodline which were
granted. The RTC declared null and void the negotiated contract awarded
to Goodline and the resolution of the MIAA board which authorized Gana
to negotiate the award of service contract, and ordered the holding of a
public bidding on the janitorial service contract.

MIAA and Gana appealed before the Court of Appeals (CA) but it was
denied on the ground that EO 301 refer only to contracts for the
purchase of supplies, materials, and equipment, and do not refer to other
contracts, such as lease of equipment, and that in the same vein,
supplies in Sec. 1(e) of EO 301 only include materials and equipment and
not service contracts, which are included in the general rule of Sec. 1.
Hence, this petition was filed.
Issue:
Whether or not MIAA in the context of this case, can be barred from
entering into negotiated contracts after the expiration of the service
contracts of OMSI and TCSI.
Ruling:
Yes. We cannot agree with the contention of MIAA and Gana that the
exceptions to the public bidding rule in Sec. 1 of EO 301 cover both
contracts for public services and for supplies, material, and equipment.
Their reliance on Sec. 1(e) of EO 301 for the award of a service contract
for janitorial and maintenance services without public bidding is
misplaced.
33

This Court explained the rationale behind EO 301, upholding the general
rule that contracts shall not be entered into or renewed without public
bidding, thus:
Executive Order No. 301 explicitly permits negotiated contracts in
particular identified instances. In its preamble, it adverted to the then
existing set-up of a centralized administrative system . . . for
reviewing and approving negotiated contracts . . ., and to the
unsatisfactory character thereof in that such centralized
administrative system is not at all facilitative particularly in
emergency situations, characterized as it is by red tape and too
much delay in the processing and final approval of the required
transaction or activity; hence, the need to decentralize the
processing and final approval of negotiated contracts . . . It then
laid down, in its Section 1, guidelines for negotiated contracts
thenceforth to be followed. While affirming the general policy that
contracts shall not be entered into or renewed without public
bidding.

CITIZENSHIP
JOEVANIE ARELLANO TABASA v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.
G.R. No. 125793 August 29, 2006, Velasco, Jr., J.
The only persons entitled to repatriation under RA 8171 are (1) Filipino
women who lost their Philippine citizenship by marriage to aliens; and
(2) Natural-born Filipinos including their minor children who lost their
Philippine citizenship on account of political or economic necessity.
Facts:
When he was seven years old, Joevanie Arellano Tabasa acquired
American citizenship when his father became a naturalized American
citizen. When he arrived in the Philippines in 1995, he was admitted as a
“balikbayan”. Thereafter, he was arrested and detained by the agent of
the BID. The Consul General of the US Embassy requested the
deportation of Tabasa on the ground that a standing warrant for several
charges has been issued against him and that his passport has been
revoked. Tabasa filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus before the CA. As
ordered, the BID presented Tabasa before the CA. However, Tabasa filed
a Supplemental Petition alleging that he had acquired Filipino citizenship
by repatriation in accordance with Republic Act No. 8171, and that
because he is now a Filipino citizen, he cannot be deported or detained
by the respondent Bureau. The CA denied Tabasa’s petition.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioner has validly reacquired Philippine citizenship
under RA 8171 and thus cannot be summarily deported for his being an
undocumented alien.
Ruling:
34

No. The only persons entitled to repatriation under RA 8171 are the
following: a.) Filipino women who lost their Philippine citizenship by
marriage to aliens; and b.) Natural-born Filipinos including their minor
children who lost their Philippine citizenship on account of political or
economic necessity.

Petitioner overlooks the fact that the privilege of repatriation under RA


8171 is available only to natural-born Filipinos who lost their citizenship
on account of political or economic necessity, and to the minor children
of said natural-born Filipinos. This means that if a parent who had
renounced his Philippine citizenship due to political or economic reasons
later decides to repatriate under RA 8171, his repatriation will also
benefit his minor children according to the law. To claim the benefit of RA
8171, however, the children must be of minor age at the time the
petition for repatriation is filed by the parent. This is so because a child
does not have the legal capacity for all acts of civil life much less the
capacity to undertake a political act like the election of citizenship. On
their own, the minor children cannot apply for repatriation or
naturalization separately from their parents. Petitioner was no longer a
minor at the time of his "repatriation" on June 13, 1996. The privilege
under RA 8171 belongs to children who are of minor age at the time of
the filing of the petition for repatriation.

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, PUBLIC OFFICERS AND ELECTION LAWS


PUBLIC OFFICERS
OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ISABEL A. SIWA,
STENOGRAPHER, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 16,
MANILA
A.M. No. P-13-3156, November 11, 2014, Velasco, Jr., J.
Failure to submit the TSNs within the period prescribed by law
constitutes gross neglect of duty- an offense classified as a grave
offense even if committed only once.
Facts:
A letter-complaint against Siwa alleged that she has been engaged in
lending activities and in the discounting of checks. She claimed that the
business of rediscounting checks is a legitimate business; that her
business transactions occurred outside office premises; and that she
never neglected her duty as a court stenographer. The investigating
judge recommended that she be directed to explain why she still has
pending transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs) despite having already
availed of optional retirement. The Court then found Siwa
administratively liable for engaging in the business of lending and
discounting of checks. OCA then directed Siwa to comment on her
alleged failure to submit the TSNs. But, Siwa had already moved to the
35

US, without completing the clearance required for her retirement. OCA
recommended that Siwa be adjudged liable for gross neglect of duty, for
her failure to submit the TSNs, despite an administrative circular
providing that "all stenographers are required to transcribe all
stenographic notes and to attach the transcripts to the record of the case
not later than twenty (20) days from the time the notes are taken.”
Issue:
Whether or not Siwa is liable for gross neglect of duty from failure to
submit the TSNs.
Ruling:
Yes. In Absin v. Montalla, which is on all fours applicable in this case, the
Court held:
The failure to submit the TSNs within the period prescribed under
Administrative Circular No. 24-90 constitutes gross neglect of duty. Gross
neglect of duty is classified as a grave offense and punishable by
dismissal even if for the first offense pursuant to Section 52(A)(2) of Rule
IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

As a stenographer, he should realize that the performance of his duty is


essential to the prompt and proper administration of justice, and his
inaction hampers the administration of justice and erodes public faith in
the judiciary. Public office is a public trust, and he has without a doubt
violated this trust by his failure to execute his duty as a court
stenographer.

But in lieu of dismissal, which may no longer be imposed due to her


retirement, as a penalty for the offense, all her retirement benefits are
forfeited.

ELECTION LAW
ROQUE VS. COMELEC
G.R. No. 188456 September 10, 2009, Velasco, J.
The legislative intent in RA 8436 is for the May 2010 electoral exercise to
be fully automated, regardless of whether or not pilot testing was run in
the 2007 polls.
Facts:
The enactment of Republic Act No. 8436 in 1997 authorized the adoption
of an Automated Election System (AES) in the May 11, 1998 national and
local elections and onwards. However, the following elections were not
able to adopt the AES. In 2007, RA 9369 was passed authorizing anew
the Comelec to use an AES. Pursuant to the law, Comelec Special Bids
and Awards Committee (SBAC) caused the publication in different
newspapers of the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid for the
procurement of goods and services to be used in the automation project.
36

Among the submitted bids, only the joint venture of TIM and Smartmatic
was declared as the single complying calculated bid. Petitioners question
the validity and seek to nullify the Comelec-Smartmatic-TIM Corporation
automation contract contending Comelec did not conduct any pilot
testing of the PCOS machines in violation of RA 8436 as amended by RA
8369.
Issue:
Whether or not pilot testing of the PCOS machines is necessary for the
2010 electoral exercise to be fully automated.
Ruling:
NO. Sec. 6 of the amended RA 8436, as couched, therefore, unmistakably
conveys the idea of unconditional full automation in the 2010 elections.
A construal making pilot testing of the AES a prerequisite or condition
sine qua non to putting the system in operation in the 2010 elections is
tantamount to reading into said section something beyond the clear
intention of Congress, as expressed in the provision itself.

The provisions of the clearly conveys that the [AES] to be used in the
2010 elections need not have been used in the 2007 elections, and that
the demonstration of its capability need not be in a previous Philippine
election. Demonstration of the success and capability of the PCOS may
be in an electoral exercise in a foreign jurisdiction. As determined by the
Comelec, the PCOS system had been successfully deployed in previous
electoral exercises in foreign countries, such as Ontario, Canada; and
New York, USA, albeit Smartmatic was not necessarily the system
provider. But then, RA 9369 does not call for the winning bidder of the
2010 automation project and the deploying entity/provider in the foreign
electoral exercise to be one and the same entity. Neither does the law
incidentally require that the system be first used in an archipelagic
country or with a topography or a voting population similar to or
approximating that of the Philippines.

JAIME C. REGIO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and RONNIE C. CO


G.R. No. 204828, December 3, 2013, Velasco, Jr., J.
It is only when the protestant has successfully discharged the burden of
proving that the re-counted ballots are the very same ones counted
during the revision proceedings, will the court or the Commission, as the
case may be, even consider the revision results.
Facts:
Petitioner Regio and private respondent Co, among other candidates, ran
in the October 25, 2010 barangay elections for the position of punong
barangay. Regio was proclaimed winner for the contested post of punong
barangay. Co then filed an election protest before the MeTC. During the
preliminary conference, there was a revision of ballots which indicated a
37

substantial recovery on the part of Co. During his turn to present


evidence, Co limited his offer to the revision committee report, showing
that he garnered the highest number of votes. Regio, on the other hand,
denied that the elections were tainted with irregularities. Despite it, the
trial court declared Regio as the duly-elected punong barangay.
Aggrieved, Co filed an appeal before the COMELEC but it dismissed the
appeal noting that Co failed to show that the integrity of the ballots in
question was in fact preserved. Co then filed a Motion for
Reconsideration and accordingly declared Co as the duly elected punong
barangay.
Issue:
Whether or not COMELEC erred in ruling that private respondent had
successfully discharged the burden of proving the integrity of the ballots.
Ruling:
Yes. The Court summarized the standards to be observed in an election
contest predicated on the theory that the election returns do not
accurately reflect the will of the voters due to alleged irregularities in the
appreciation and counting of ballots. These guiding standards are:

(1) The ballots cannot be used to overturn the official count as reflected
in the election returns unless it is first shown affirmatively that the
ballots have been preserved with a care which precludes the opportunity
of tampering and suspicion of change, abstraction or substitution;

(2) The burden of proving that the integrity of the ballots has been
preserved in such a manner is on the protestant;
(3) Where a mode of preserving the ballots is enjoined by law, proof must
be made of such substantial compliance with the requirements of that
mode as would provide assurance that the ballots have been kept
inviolate notwithstanding slight deviations from the precise mode of
achieving that end;
(4) It is only when the protestant has shown substantial compliance with
the provisions of law on the preservation of ballots that the burden of
proving actual tampering or likelihood thereof shifts to the protestee; and
(5) Only if it appears to the satisfaction of the court of COMELEC that the
integrity of the ballots has been preserved should it adopt the result as
shown by the recount and not as reflected in the election returns. In the
same case, the Court referred to various provisions in the Omnibus
Election Code providing for the safe-keeping and preservation of the
ballots, more specifically Secs. 160, 217, 219, and 220 of the Code.
In the case at bar, Respondent Co cannot simply rely on the alleged
absence of evidence of reports of untoward incidents, and from there
immediately conclude that the ballots have been preserved. What he
should have presented are concrete pieces of evidence, independent of
38

the revision proceedings that will tend to show that the ballots counted
during the revision proceedings were the very same ones counted by the
BETs during the elections, and the very same ones cast by the public.
Without presenting to the court any evidence outside of the proceedings,
respondent Co as protestant may simply claim that the ballot boxes
themselves are the proof that they were properly preserved.

JOSE TAPALES VILLAROSA v. ROMULO DE MESA FESTIN and


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 212953, August 5, 2014, Velasco, J.
The COMELEC First Division exercises jurisdiction over the cases that
were assigned to it before the substitution was made. This jurisdiction
was not lost by the subsequent formation of the Special First Division
since this only entailed a change in the Division’s composition of
magistrates.
Facts:
Petitioner Villarosa and respondent Festin were rival candidates for the
mayoralty post in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro during the May 2013
elections where Festin initially won. Since the accuracy of the vote count
was disputed, a physical recount of the ballots was conducted. RTC
rendered a Decision declaring the proclamation of respondent Festin
void. Petitioner filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal, which was
granted by the RTC.
Aggrieved, Festin elevated the case to COMELEC via a Petition for
Certiorari with prayer for injunctive relief. The COMELEC, acting through
its First Division, issued an Order requiring petitioner to file his answer to
the petition. To petitioner’s surprise, on April 10, 2014, COMELEC granted
private respondent’s request for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the
RTC Decision’s execution pending appeal. What petitioner considered
questionable was that the injunction was issued by a newly-constituted
Special First Division, which was allegedly formed due to the absence of
several COMELEC commissioners who, at that time, were personally
attending to the concerns of the overseas absentee voters abroad.
Petitioner points out that the special division was constituted only on
April 8, 2014 through Resolution No. 9868 and was composed of only two
members, Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioner Al A.
Parreño, with the former presiding.
Issue:
Whether or not the Special First Division has jurisdiction to issue an
injunction.
39

Ruling:
Yes. Contrary to petitioner’s claim, it cannot be said that the First Division
and the Special First Division are two distinct bodies and that there has
been consequent transfers of the case between the two. Strictly
speaking, the COMELEC did not create a separate Division but merely
and temporarily filled in the vacancies in both of its Divisions. The
additional term "special," in this case, merely indicates that the
commissioners sitting therein may only be doing so in a temporary
capacity or via substitution.
The COMELEC First Division exercises jurisdiction over the cases that
were assigned to it before the substitution was made. This jurisdiction
was not lost by the subsequent formation of the Special First Division
since this only entailed a change in the Division’s composition of
magistrates. Indeed, the case was not reassigned or re-raffled anew. If
anything, it was only petitioner’s naivety that misled him into
interpreting the designation of the division as a "special" one, meaning it
is distinct from the first. Corollarily, petitioner is also mistaken in claiming
that the jurisdiction was eventually "re-acquired" by the First Division
from the Special First Division by ruling on the motion to quash since the
First Division never lost jurisdiction to begin with.

MARIA ANGELA S. GARCIA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and


JOSE P. PAYUMO III
G.R. No. 216691; July 21, 2015; VELASCO, JR., J.
The reglementary period for instituting an election period should be
reckoned from the actual date of proclamation.
Facts:
Maria Angela S. Garcia (Garcia) and Payumo were candidates for the
mayoralty race of Dinalupihan, Bataan during the May 13, 2013 national
and local elections. In the poll’s conclusion, Garcia was proclaimed
winner for having garnered 31,138 votes as against Payumo’s 13,202. On
May 27, 2013, Payumo lodged an election protest with the RTC in
Balanga, Bataan (RTC), on the ground of the alleged prevalence of fraud
and irregularities in all the clustered precincts of Dinalupihan, amplified
by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines’ unreliability,
casting doubt on the results of the counting and canvassing of votes.
Garcia contends that the reckoning date of the 10-day reglementary
period is from the actual date of proclamation, which is May 14, 2013.
Meanwhile, Payumo counters that Garcia was proclaimed on May 15,
2013, and assuming arguendo that it was done on May 14, 2013, as
Garcia insists the proclamation date to be, he cannot be faulted for
relying on the date appearing on the printed COCP he received.
Issue:
Whether or not Payumo’s election protest was filed out of time.
40

Ruling:
YES. As the members of the MBOC individually declared, Garcia was
proclaimed winner of the mayoralty race on May 14, 2013, not on May
15, 2013 as what erroneously appears on the printed COCP. Payumo’s
reliance on the date appearing on the printed COCP is misplaced. To be
sure, Comelec Resolution No. 9700 is explicit that the printed COCP
becomes necessary only for purposes of transmitting the results to the
next level of canvassing, and not for proclaiming the winning candidates,
insofar as local government units whose canvassing thresholds have
been lowered are concerned. The manual COCP, in such cases, are more
controlling.

Jurisprudence have established that the rule prescribing the 10-day


reglementary period is mandatory and jurisdictional, and that the filing of
an election protest beyond the period deprives the court of jurisdiction
over the protest. Violation of this rule should neither be taken lightly nor
brushed aside as a mere procedural lapse that can be overlooked. The
rule is not a mere technicality but an essential requirement, the non-
compliance of which would oust the court of jurisdiction over the case.

ERNESTO BATALLA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and TEODORO


BATALLER
G.R. No. 184268, September 15, 2009, VELASCO, JR., J.
In the appreciation of the ballot, the objective should be to ascertain and
carry into effect the intention of the voter, if it could be determined with
reasonable certainty (Intent Rule). Where the name of a candidate is not
written in the proper space in the ballot, but is preceded by the name of
the office for which he is a candidate, the vote should be counted as
valid for said candidate (Neighborhood Rule).
Facts:
Petitioner Batalla, and private respondent Bataller, were candidates for
the position of Punong Barangay. During the count, Batalla garnered 113
votes while Bataller garnered 108 votes. Consequently, Batalla was
proclaimed the Punong Barangay winner. Bataller afterwards filed an
election protest and claimed misappreciation of seven ballots. MCTC
rendered its Decision finding that Batalla and Bataller had garnered an
equal number of votes. Section 240 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881, as
amended, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, provides for
the drawing of lots in case of a tie of two or more electoral candidates
garnering the same or equal highest number of votes, with the
proclamation as winner of the candidate favored by luck. Batalla
disagreed with the findings of the trial court in appreciating the five
protested ballots in favor of Bataller
Issue:
41

Whether or not the five protested ballots were correctly appreciated by


the MCTC as votes for Bataller, resulting into a tie between the
contenders.
Ruling:
No. Only three ballots to be credited to Bataller. After a scrutiny of the
five (5) contested ballots subject of Batallas instant position, we rule that
three (3) ballots marked as Exhibits A, E, and G were properly
appreciated and credited in favor of Bataller under the neighborhood rule
and intent rule. On the other hand, the ballots marked as Exhibits B and
C are stray ballots.
In Exhibit A ballot, the intent rule is well settled in this jurisdiction that in
the appreciation of the ballot, the objective should be to ascertain and
carry into effect the intention of the voter, if it could be determined with
reasonable certainty. Hence, the intention of the voter to vote for Bataller
is unequivocal from the face of the Exhibit A ballot. The ballot in question
should be liberally appreciated to effectuate the voters choice of Bataller.
The ballot marked as Exhibit E was properly credited in Batallers name
under the neighborhood rule where the Court applied the same rule and
credited to the candidates for Punong Barangay the votes written on the
first line for kagawad with the spaces for Punong Barangay left vacant.

The neighborhood rule is a settled rule stating that where the name of a
candidate is not written in the proper space in the ballot, but is preceded
by the name of the office for which he is a candidate, the vote should be
counted as valid for said candidate. Such rule is usually applied in
consonance with the intent rule which stems from the principle that in
the appreciation of the ballot, the object should be to ascertain and carry
into effect the intention of the voter, if it could be determined with
reasonable certainty.

H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No.


188456, September 10, 2009, VELASCO, JR., J.
The choice of PCOS by Comelec was not a spur-of-moment affair, but the
product of honest-to-goodness studies, consultations with CAC, and
lessons learned from the ARMM 2008 automated elections.
Facts:
Congress passed RA 9369 which authorized the COMELEC to use an
automated election system. On 10 July 2009, the COMELEC, and TIM and
Smartmatic , signed the Contract for the automated tallying and
recording of votes cast nationwide. Petitioners, as taxpayers and citizens,
filed a petition to enjoin the signing of the Contract or its implementation
and to compel disclosure of the terms of the Contract and other
agreements between the Provider and its subcontractors. Petitioners
sought the Contract's invalidation for non-compliance with the
42

requirement in Section 5 of RA 8436, as amended, mandating the partial


use of an automated election system before deploying it nationwide. To
further support their claim on the Contract's invalidity, petitioners
alleged that (1) the optical scanners leased by the COMELEC do not
satisfy the minimum systems capabilities" under RA 8436, as amended
and (2) the Provider not only failed to submit relevant documents during
the bidding but also failed to show "community of interest" as required.
Issue:
Whether or not public respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in awarding the
2010 elections automation project to private respondents tim and
smartmatic.
Ruling:
No. Congress has chosen the May 2010 elections to be the maiden run
for full automation. And judging from what the Court has heard and read
in the course of these proceedings, the choice of PCOS by Comelec was
not a spur-of-moment affair, but the product of honest-to-goodness
studies, consultations with CAC, and lessons learned from the ARMM
2008 automated elections. With the backing of Congress by way of
budgetary support, the poll body has taken this historic, if not ambitious,
first step. It started with the preparation of the RFP/TOR, with a list of
voluminous annexes embodying in specific detail the bidding rules and
expectations from the bidders. And after a hotly contested and, by most
accounts, a highly transparent public bidding exercise, the joint venture
of a Filipino and foreign corporation won and, after its machine hurdled
the end-to-end demonstration test, was eventually awarded the contract
to undertake the automation project. Not one of the losing or disqualified
bidders questioned, at least not before the courts, the bona fides of the
bidding procedures and the outcome of the bidding itself. Assayed
against the provisions of the Constitution, the enabling automation law,
RA 8436, as amended by RA 9369, the RFP and even the Anti-Dummy
Law, which petitioners invoked as an afterthought, the Court finds the
project award to have complied with legal prescriptions, and the terms
and conditions of the corresponding automation contract in question to
be valid. No grave abuse of discretion, therefore, can be laid on the
doorsteps of respondent Comelec. And surely, the winning joint venture
should not be faulted for having a foreign company as partner.

HECTOR T. HIPE v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and MA. CRISTINA


L. VICENCIO
G.R. No. 181528; October 2, 2009; VELASCO, JR., J.
COMELEC is created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution
itself on a level higher than statutory administrative organs.
Facts:
43

Petitioner Hipe and respondent Vicencio were candidates for the


mayoralty post in Catubig, Northern Samar in the May 14, 2007
elections. During the canvass proceedings of the Municipal Board of
Canvassers of Catubig, Northern Samar (MBOC), Vicencio petitioned for
the exclusion of seven election returns on the grounds that they were
prepared under duress, threats, intimidation or coercion; and that the
election was marred by massive vote buying, widespread coercion,
terrorism, threats, and intimidation, preventing voters from voting, so
that the said returns did not reflect the will of the electorate.

The MBOC ruled in favor of Vicencio and excluded the seven election
returns adverted to. Petitioner Hipe filed a notice of appeal arguing that
the written petition to exclude the election returns was filed out of time,
and that the grounds used to exclude the questioned returns were not
proper for a pre-proclamation controversy, were not supported by
credible evidence, and were beyond the jurisdiction of the MBOC. The
Second Division of COMELEC dismissed the appeal for being filed out of
time. Petitioner Hipe filed a Motion for Reconsideration which the
COMELEC En Banc resolved to deny petitioner Hipes Motion for
Reconsideration.
Issue:
Whether or not the COMELEC En Banc acted without or in excess of
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction in issuing its challenged Resolution dismissing petitioner
Hipes appeal for being filed out of time.
Ruling:
No. Even if the Court would entertain petitioner Hipe’s appeal from the
decision of the MBOC on the questioned election returns, the Court still
rules in favor of respondent Vicencio. The COMELEC, after a judicious
evaluation of the documents on record, upheld the findings of the MBOC
to exclude the subject election returns on the basis of the affidavits of
the members of the Board of Election Inspectors. What exactly these
documents and evidence are upon which the COMELEC based its
resolution, and how they have been appreciated in respect of their
sufficiency, are beyond this Courts scrutiny. The rule that factual findings
of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by courts of justice except
when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in
support of such findings should be applied with greater force when it
concerns the COMELEC, as the framers of the Constitution intended to
place the COMELEC created and explicitly made independent by the
Constitution itself on a level higher than statutory administrative organs.
44

DR. HANS CHRISTIAN M. SEERES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and MELQUIADES A. ROBLES
G.R. No. 178678, April 16, 2009, Velasco, J.
Once a winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and
assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives, COMELECs
jurisdiction over elections relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications ends, and the HRETs own jurisdiction begins.
Facts:
In 1999, private respondent Robles was elected president and
chairperson of BUHAY paty-list. The constitution of BUHAY provides for a
three-year term for all its party officers, without re-election. BUHAY
participated in the 2001 and 2004 elections, with Robles as its president.
On March 2007, Robles signed and filed a Certificate of Nomination of
BUHAY’s nominees for the 2007 elections. Earlier, however, petitioner
Hans Christian Seeres, holding himself up as acting president and
secretary-general of BUHAY, also filed a Certificate of Nomination.
Seeres, in his Petition to Deny Due Course to Certificates of Nomination,
claims that the nominations made by Robles were, for lack of authority,
null and void owing to the expiration of the latter’s term as party
president. COMELEC proclaimed BUHAY as a winning party-list
organization and declared through a July 19, 2007 Resolution Robles as
the duly authorized representative of BUHAY. On July 23, 2007, Seeres
filed a Petition for Certiorari imputing grave abuse of discretion on the
part of COMELEC. Seeres also contends that Robles, acting as BUHAY
President and nominating officer, as well as being the Administrator of
the LRTA, was engaging in electioneering or partisan political campaign,
hence, in violation of Civil Service Law and Omnibus Election Code.
Issue:
Whether or not the petition for certiorari filed by Seeres is the proper
remedy.
Ruling:
No. A plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law
was available to Seeres. Once a winning candidate has been proclaimed,
taken his oath, and assumed office as a Member of the House of
Representatives, COMELECs jurisdiction over elections relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRETs own jurisdiction
begins.
Since Seeres failed to file a petition for quo warranto before the HRET
within 10 days from receipt of the July 19, 2007 Resolution declaring the
validity of Robles Certificate of Nomination, said Resolution of the
COMELEC has already become final and executory. Thus, this petition has
now become moot and can be dismissed outright. And even if we
entertain the instant special civil action, still, petitioner’s postulations are
bereft of merit.
45

PUBLIC CORPORATION
POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
HEIRS OF DR. JOSE DELESTE v. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES
(LBP)
G.R. No. 169913, June 08, 2011, J. Velasco, Jr.
It is undeniable that the local government has the power to reclassify
agricultural into non-agricultural lands pursuant to Sec. 3 of RA 2264,
amending the Local Government Code.
Facts:
Spouses Gregorio and Hilaria were the owners of a parcel of agricultural
land. When Hilaria died, the administrator of the intestate estate of the
deceased spouses filed an action for reversion of title against Deleste in
1963. While the case was pending in 1972, PD 27 was issued which
mandates that agricultural lands be awarded to farmers. Certificates of
Land Transfers was then awarded in favor of the private respondent-
farmers. In 1975, the City of Iligan passed City Ordinance No. 1313,
reclassifying the subject property as residential. Because of this, the
heirs of Deleste filed with DARAB a petition seeking to nullify private
respondents' CLTs. The Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD)
declared the CLTs as void in view of the subsequent reclassification of the
subject property into a residential land, and the violation of petitioners'
constitutional right to due process of law. Conversely, DARAB reversed
the ruling of PARAD on the ground that the city ordinance has not been
approved by the HLURB.
Issue:
Whether LGUs have the power to classify lands and whether petitioners’
right to due process was violated.
Ruling:
YES. It is undeniable that the local government has the power to
reclassify agricultural into non-agricultural lands. Pursuant to Sec. 3 of RA
2264, amending the Local Government Code, municipal and/or city
councils are empowered to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or
regulations in consultation with the National Planning Commission. In this
case, since the subject property had been reclassified as
residential/commercial land with the enactment of City Ordinance No.
1313 in 1975, it can no longer be considered as an "agricultural land,”
and is therefore outside the coverage of the agrarian reform program.

CRISOSTOMO B. AQUINO, v. MUNICIPALITY OF MALAY, AKLAN G.R.


No. 211356, September 29, 2014, Velasco Jr., J
In the exercise of police power under the general welfare clause, the
local government, through the mayor, has the power to order the
demolition of an establishment.
Facts:
46

Island West Cove Management Philippines, to which Petitioner Aquino is


working as the President and Chief Executive Officer, applied for a zoning
compliance with the municipal government of Malay, Aklan. While the
company was already operating a resort in the area, the application
sought the issuance of a building permit covering the construction of a
three-storey hotel, covered by a Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism
Purposes (FLAgT) issued by the DENR. However, the Municipal Zoning
Administrator denied petitioner’s application on the ground that the
proposed construction site was within the "no build zone”. There was no
action taken by the Municipality despite Aquino’s appeal. EO 10, ordering
the closure and demolition of Boracay West Cove’s hotel was then
issued. Respondents thereafter demolished the improvements. The
Petitioner argued that since the area is a forestland, it is the DENR—and
not the municipality of Malay that has primary jurisdiction.

Issue: Whether or not respondent mayor committed grave abuse of


discretion in ordering the demolition of the property.
Ruling:
No. The LGU may properly order the hotel’s demolition. Based on law and
jurisprudence, the office of the mayor has quasi-judicial powers to order
the closing and demolition of establishments. Moreover, in the exercise
of police power and the general welfare clause, property rights of
individuals may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfill
the objectives of the government. In establishing a no build zone through
local legislation, the LGU effectively made a determination that
constructions therein, without first securing exemptions from the local
council, qualify as nuisances for they pose a threat to public safety.
Based on law and jurisprudence, the office of the mayor has quasi-
judicial powers to order the closing and demolition of establishments No
build zones are intended for the protection of the public because the
stability of the ground’s foundation is adversely affected by the nearby
body of water.

CONVERSION
AURELIO M. UMALI v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JULIUS CESAR
V. VERGARA, and THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF CABANATUAN
G.R. No. 203974, April 22, 2014, Velasco, Jr., J.
J.V. BAUTISTA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 204371, April 22, 2014, Velasco Jr., J.
In view of these changes in the economic and political rights of the
province of Nueva Ecija and its residents, the entire province certainly
stands to be directly affected by the conversion of Cabanatuan City into
an Highly Urbanized City. Hence, all the qualified registered voters of
47

Nueva Ecija should then be allowed to participate in the plebiscite called


for that purpose.
Facts:
Presidential Proclamation No. 418, Series of 2012, was issued by the
President proclaiming the City of Cabanatuan as an HUC subject to
"ratification in a plebiscite by the qualified voters therein, as provided for
in Section 453 of the Local Government Code of 1991." Pursuant to such
proclamation, COMELEC issued a minute resolution which provided that
only those registered residents of Cabanatuan City should participate in
the said plebiscite. Petitioner, Aurelio Umali, then Governor of Nueva
Ecija, filed a verified motion for reconsideration, maintaining that the
proposed conversion in question will necessarily and directly affect the
mother province of Nueva Ecija. Hence, all the registered voters in the
province are qualified to cast their votes in resolving the proposed
conversion of Cabanatuan City. However, his motion for reconsideration
was denied by COMELEC.
Issue:
Whether or not only the qualified registered voters of Cabanatuan City
can participate in the plebiscite called for the conversion of Cabanatuan
City from a component city into an HUC.
Ruling:
No. The qualified registered voters of the entire province of Nueva Ecija
can participate in the plebiscite called for the conversion of Cabanatuan
City from a component city into an HUC. The phrase "by the qualified
voters therein" in Sec. 453 means the qualified voters not only in the city
proposed to be converted to an HUC but also the voters of the political
units directly affected by such conversion in order to harmonize Sec. 453
with Sec. 10, Art. X of the Constitution.

The province will inevitably suffer a corresponding decrease in territory


brought about by Cabanatuan City’s gain of independence. It reduces the
territorial jurisdiction of the province. Also, the said conversion will result
in the reduction of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to the province
based on Sec. 285 of the LGC. The residents of the city will cease to be
political constituencies of the province, effectively reducing the latter’s
population. It will likewise reduce the province’s taxing jurisdiction, and
corollary to this, it will experience a corresponding decrease in shares in
local tax collections. A component city’s conversion into an HUC and its
resultant autonomy from the province is a threat to the latter’s economic
viability.

In view of these changes in the economic and political rights of the


province of Nueva Ecija and its residents, the entire province certainly
stands to be directly affected by the conversion of Cabanatuan City into
48

an HUC. Following the doctrines in Tan and Padilla, all the qualified
registered voters of Nueva Ecija should then be allowed to participate in
the plebiscite called for that purpose.

UNITED CLAIMANTS ASSOCIATION OF NEA v. NATIONAL


ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION
G.R. No. 187107 January 31, 2012, Velasco, Jr., J.
The power of reorganization includes the power of removal. However, for
a reorganization to be valid, it must pass the test of good faith;
otherwise, it is void ab initio.
Facts:
Respondent NEA is a government-owned and/or controlled corporation.
Under PD 269, the NEA Board is empowered to organize or reorganize
NEAs staffing structure.
Thereafter, Resolutions Nos. 46 and 59 was enacted and all the NEA
employees and officers are considered terminated and the 965 plantilla
positions of NEA vacant.
Hence, This is an original action for Injunction to restrain and/or prevent
the implementation of Resolution Nos. 46 and 59 otherwise known as the
National Electrification Administration (NEA) Termination Pay Plan, issued
by respondent NEA Board of Administrators (NEA Board).
Issue:
Whether the NEA Board had the power to pass Resolution Nos. 46 and 59
terminating all of its employees.
Ruling:
Yes. Under of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the EPIRA Law,
all NEA employees shall be considered legally terminated with the
implementation of a reorganization program pursuant to a law enacted
by Congress.
Petitioners argue that the power granted unto the NEA Board to organize
or reorganize does not include the power to terminate employees but
only to reduce NEAs manpower complement. Such contention is
erroneous.

Reorganization involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of


offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of
functions. It could result in the loss of ones position through removal or
abolition of an office. However, for a reorganization for the purpose of
economy or to make the bureaucracy more efficient to be valid, it must
pass the test of good faith; otherwise, it is void ab initio.

Evidently, the termination of all the employees of NEA was within the
NEA Boards powers and may not successfully be impugned absent proof
of bad faith. The fact that the NEA Board resorted to terminating all the
49

incumbent employees of NPC and, later on, rehiring some of them,


cannot, on that ground alone, vitiate the bona fides of the reorganization.