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JOY ANN A.

BISA

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

LAW-2D

Department of Agrarian Reform VS APEX Investment


G.R. No. 149422, April 10, 2003

FACTS Respondent Apex Investment and Financing Corporation (now SM Investments Corporation), registered under the laws of the Philippines, owns several lots located at Barangay Paliparan, Dasmarias, Cavite. On August 24, 1994, the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) of Dasmarias initiated compulsory acquisition proceedings over those lots pursuant to Republic Act No. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988. The MARO issued a Notice of Coverage informing respondent of the compulsory acquisition and inviting it to a meeting set on September 8, 1994; and Notice of Acquisition. Copies of these notices were sent to respondent's office at 627 Echague Street, Manila. However, respondent denied having received the same because it was no longer holding office there. Respondent learned of the compulsory acquisition proceedings from the December 11, 1997 issue of the Balita stating, among others, that respondent's lot has been placed under the compulsory acquisition program. On January 12, 1998, respondent filed with the PARO a Protest rejecting the offer of compensation and contending that its lands are not covered by R.A. No. 6657 because they were classified as residential even prior to the effectivity of the law. On March 27, 1998, respondent filed with the PARO a Supplemental Protest with (a) the Certification issued by Engineer Baltazar M. Usis, Regional Irrigation Manager of the National Irrigation Administration, Region IV, stating that respondent's lots are not covered by any irrigation project; and (b) the Certification issued by Engineer Gregorio Bermejo, Municipal Engineer and Deputized Zoning Administrator of Dasmarias, Cavite, attesting that the same lots are within the residential zone based on the Land Use Plan of the Municipality of Dasmarias duly approved by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) in its Resolution No. R-42-A-3 dated February 11, 1981. It was only on February 15, 1999, or more than one year after respondent filed its protest, that the PARO forwarded to petitioner DAR the said protest together with the records of the compulsory acquisition proceedings. On June 21, 1999, respondent received a letter dated May 28, 1999 from petitioner requiring it to submit certified true copies of the TCTs covering its lots and a Certification from the HLURB attesting that they are within the residential zone of Dasmarias based on HLURB Resolution No. R42-A-3 dated February 11, 1981. Thereafter, respondent learned that on June 24, 1999, the Registry of Deeds of Cavite cancelled one of its titles, and in lieu thereof, issued a TCT in the name of the Republic of the Philippines.

ISSUE Whether or not the respondent failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before filing its petition.

HELD This Court has consistently held that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a relative one and is flexible depending on the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual and circumstantial settings of a case. Among others, it is disregarded where, as in this case, (a) there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention; and (b) the administrative action is patently illegal and amounts to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Records show that the PARO did not take immediate action on respondent's Protest filed on January 12, 1998. It was only on February 15, 1999, or after more than one year, that it forwarded the same to petitioner DAR. Since then, what petitioner has done was to require respondent every now and then to submit copies of supporting documents which were already attached to its Protest. In the meantime, respondent found that the PARO had caused the cancellation of its title and that a new one was issued to an alleged farmer-beneficiary. In Natalia Realty vs. Department of Agrarian Reform, we held that the aggrieved landowners were not supposed to wait until the DAR acted on their letter-protests (after it had sat on them for almost a year) before resorting to judicial process. Given the official indifference which, under the circumstances could have continued forever, the landowners had to act to assert and protect their interests. Thus, their petition for certiorari was allowed even though the DAR had not yet resolved their protests. In the same vein, respondent here could not be expected to wait for petitioner DAR to resolve its protest before seeking judicial intervention. Obviously, petitioner might continue to alienate respondent's lots during the pendency of its protest. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not err in concluding that on the basis of the circumstances of this case, respondent need not exhaust all administrative remedies before filing its petition for certiorari and prohibition.

JOY ANN A. BISA

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

LAW-2D

Ang Tibay vs CIR


G.R. No. L-46496, February 27, 1940

FACTS Teodoro Toribio owns and operates Ang Tibay, a leather company which supplies the Philippine Army. Due to alleged shortage of leather, Toribio caused the layoff of members of National Labor Union Inc. NLU averred that Toribios act is not valid as it is not within the CBA. There are two labor unions in Ang Tibay; NLU and National Workers Brotherhood. The NWB is dominated by Toribio hence he favors it over NLU. That NLU wishes for a new trial as they were able to come up with new evidence/documents that they were not able to obtain before as they were inaccessible and they were not able to present it before in the CIR. The petitioner, Ang Tibay, has filed an opposition both to the motion for reconsideration of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc. In view of the conclusion reached by us and to be herein after stead with reference to the motion for a new trial of the respondent National Labor Union, Inc., we are of the opinion that it is not necessary to pass upon the motion for reconsideration of the Solicitor-General. We shall proceed to dispose of the motion for new trial of the respondent labor union. Before doing this, however, we deem it necessary, in the interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, in interest of orderly procedure in cases of this nature, to make several observations regarding the nature of the powers of the Court of Industrial Relations and emphasize certain guiding principles which should be observed in the trial of cases brought before it. We have re-examined the entire record of the proceedings had before the Court of Industrial Relations in this case, and we have found no substantial evidence that the exclusion of the 89 laborers here was due to their union affiliation or activity.

ISSUE Whether or not the CIR is vested with quasi-judicial powers enabling it to hear and decide cases pertaining to labor disputes.

HELD The Court of Industrial Relations is a special court whose functions are specifically stated in the law of its creation (Commonwealth Act No. 103). It is more an administrative than a part of the integrated judicial system of the nation. It is not intended to be a mere receptive organ of the Government. Unlike a court of justice which is essentially passive, acting only when its jurisdiction is invoked and deciding only cases that are presented to it by the parties litigant, the function of the Court of Industrial Relations, as will appear from perusal of its organic law, is more active, affirmative and dynamic. It not only exercises judicial or quasi-judicial functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions in the determination of disputes between employers and employees but its functions are far more comprehensive and expensive. It has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to

consider, investigate, decide, and settle any question, matter controversy or dispute arising between, and/or affecting employers and employees or laborers, and regulate the relations between them, subject to, and in accordance with, the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 103 (section 1). It shall take cognizance or purposes of prevention, arbitration, decision and settlement, of any industrial or agricultural dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout, arising from differences as regards wages, shares or compensation, hours of labor or conditions of tenancy or employment, between landlords and tenants or farm-laborers, provided that the number of employees, laborers or tenants of farm-laborers involved exceeds thirty, and such industrial or agricultural dispute is submitted to the Court by the Secretary of Labor or by any or both of the parties to the controversy and certified by the Secretary of labor as existing and proper to be by the Secretary of Labor as existing and proper to be dealt with by the Court for the sake of public interest. It shall, before hearing the dispute and in the course of such hearing, endeavour to reconcile the parties and induce them to settle the dispute by amicable agreement. When directed by the President of the Philippines, it shall investigate and study all industries established in a designated locality, with a view to determining the necessity and fairness of fixing and adopting for such industry or locality a minimum wage or share of laborers or tenants, or a maximum "canon" or rental to be paid by the "inquilinos" or tenants or less to landowners. In fine, it may appeal to voluntary arbitration in the settlement of industrial disputes; may employ mediation or conciliation for that purpose, or recur to the more effective system of official investigation and compulsory arbitration in order to determine specific controversies between labor and capital industry and in agriculture. There is in reality here a mingling of executive and judicial functions, which is a departure from the rigid doctrine of the separation of governmental powers.

JOY ANN A. BISA

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

LAW-2D

Tirol vs Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 135913, November 4, 1999

FACTS In May 1993, based on a complaint filed by members of two groups, the Federated PTA Organization and the Teachers and Employees Union, the Commission on Audit (COA) conducted a general audit of the transactions of the Lalawigan National High School, Lalawigan, Borongan, Eastern Samar between January 1, 1990 and April 30, 1993. On October 19, 1993, the COA audit team reported that the acquisition of equipment costing P80,000.00 was made through negotiated contract, and not by public bidding in violation of COA Circular 85-55A, and resulted in overpricing amounting to P35,100.00. On December 1, 1994, COA Regional Director Santos M. Alquizalas recommended to Deputy Ombudsman (Visayas) Arturo C. Mojica the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the responsible personnel, namely: petitioner Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr., Conchita C. Devora and Maria A. Alvero. On January 2, 1998, petitioner Tirol filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion for leave to seek reconsideration/reinvestigation by the Ombudsman. On January 5, 1998, the Sandiganbayan ordered all the accused to file with the Ombudsman, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, their motion for reconsideration of the finding of probable cause, within ten (10) days therefrom. The court directed the prosecutor to reevaluate his findings and conclusions within thirty (30) days from receipt of the motion. On March 5, 1998, the Office of the Special Prosecutor recommended the denial of the motion for reconsideration. On May 22, 1998, the Ombudsman approved the recommendation. On July 17, 1998, petitioner Tirol filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari, pursuant to Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989). Petitioner averred that the Ombudsman gravely abused his discretion in concluding that the approval of the requisition and issue voucher (RIV) and signature in the check made petitioner liable for the overpricing. On September 14, 1998, petitioner moved for reconsideration, which the court denied in an order dated October 13, 1998.

ISSUE Whether or not the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioners motion to defer/suspend the trial.

HELD Sec. 27 of R.A. No. 6770 provides that orders, directives and decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative cases are appealable to the Supreme Court via Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. However, in Fabian v. Desierto, we declared that Section 27 is unconstitutional since it expanded the Supreme Court's jurisdiction, without its advice

and consent, in violation of Article VI, Section 30 of the Constitution. Hence, all appeals from decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases may be taken to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. True, the law is silent on the remedy of an aggrieved party in case the Ombudsman found sufficient cause to indict him in criminal or non-administrative cases. We cannot supply such deficiency if none has been provided in the law. We have held that the right to appeal is a mere statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by, and in accordance with, the provisions of law. 7 Hence, there must be a law expressly granting such privilege. The Ombudsman Act specifically deals with the remedy of an aggrieved party from orders, directives and decisions of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. As we ruled in Fabian, the aggrieved party is given the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals. Such right of appeal is not granted to parties aggrieved by orders and decisions of the Ombudsman in criminal cases, like finding probable cause to indict accused persons. However, an aggrieved party is not without recourse where the finding of the Ombudsman as to the existence of probable cause is tainted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. An aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. At any rate, it should be stressed that there is pending before this Court a petition for review under Rule 45 questioning the finding of probable cause by the Ombudsman. What is at issue in this petition for certiorari is the propriety of the Sandiganbayan's denial of the motion to suspend trial pending resolution of the certiorari case. Consequently, the Sandiganbayan did not gravely abuse its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioner's motion to suspend trial.