Thursday, January 8, 2009

digest cases for next meeting!

Nessia vs. Fermin
[GR 102918, 30 March 1993]
First Division, Bellosillo (J): 3 concur

Facts: Jose V. Nessia filed a complaint against Jesus M. Fermin and the Municipality of Victorias, Negros Occidental for recovery of damages and reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of his official duties as the then Deputy Municipal Assessor of Victorias. The complaint theorized that Fermin deliberately ignored and caused the non-payment of the vouchers in question because Nessia defied the former's request to all municipal officials to register and vote in Victorias in the 1980 local elections. In his answer with counterclaim, Fermin disputed the allegations in the complaint and countered that the claims of Nessia could not be approved because they exceeded the budgetary appropriations therefor. On its part, Victorias concurred with the arguments of Fermin, and added that Nessia was blamable for his predicament because he neither gave Fermin the justification for drawing funds in excess of the budgetary appropriations nor amended his vouchers to conform thereto. Issues having been joined, the parties presented their evidence, except for Victorias which was declared in default for non-appearance at the pre-trial conference. On 24 April 1987, judgment was rendered by the trial court in favor of Nessia. On the basis of the evidence, the trial court found that Fermin maliciously refused to act on Nessia's vouchers, bolstered by his inaction on Nessia's follow-up letters inquiring on the status thereof. Both Nessia and Fermin elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, Nessia praying for an increase in the award of moral and exemplary damages, and Fermin seeking exoneration from liability. The Municipality of Victorias did not appeal. On 19 July 1991, the appellate court dismissed Nessia's complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action because the complaint itself as well as Nessia's own testimony admitted that Fermin acted on the vouchers as may be drawn from the allegations that Fermin denied/refused the claims. Nessia appealed.

Issue: Whether the approval of certain vouchers, which are not supported by appropriations, may be compelled by mandamus.

Held: In Baldivia v. Lota, the Supreme Court dismissed on appeal the petition to compel by mandamus approval of certain vouchers, even though the disapproval was politically motivated, on the basis that respondent Mayor was bound to disapprove vouchers not supported by appropriations. In the penultimate paragraph, We made the following pronouncement, "Indeed, respondent could have, and should have, either included the claim of petitioners herein in the general budget he is bound to submit, pursuant to section 2295 of the Revised Administrative Code, or prepared a special budget for said claim, and urged the municipal council to appropriate the sum necessary therefor. In any event, if the municipal mayor fails or refuses to make the necessary appropriation, petitioners may bring an action against the municipality for the recovery of what is due them and after securing a judgment therefor, seek a writ of mandamus against the municipal council and the municipal mayor to compel the enactment and approval of the appropriation ordinance necessary therefor." Herein, this is precisely what Nessia did; he filed a collection case to establish his claim against Fermin and the Municipality of Victorias, which Nessia satisfactorily proved.

City of Caloocan vs. Allarde
[GR 107271, 10 September 2003]
Third Division, Corona (J): 3 concur, 1 on leave

Facts: Sometime in 1972, Marcial Samson, City Mayor of Caloocan City, through Ordinance 1749, abolished the position of Assistant City Administrator and 17 other positions from the plantilla of the local government of Caloocan. Then Assistant City Administrator Delfina Hernandez Santiago and the 17 affected employees of the City Government assailed the legality of the abolition before the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Caloocan City, Branch 33. In 1973, the CFI declared the abolition illegal and ordered the reinstatement of all the dismissed employees and the payment of their back salaries and other emoluments. The City Government of Caloocan appealed to the Court of Appeals. Santiago and her co-parties moved for the dismissal of the appeal for being dilatory and frivolous but the appellate court denied their motion. Thus, they elevated the case on certiorari before the Supreme Court (GR L-39288-89, Heirs of Abelardo Palomique, et al. vs. Marcial Samson, et al.) In the Supreme Court's Resolution dated 31 January 1985, it held that the appellate court "erred in not dismissing the appeal," and "that the appeal of the City Government of Caloocan was frivolous and dilatory." In due time, the resolution lapsed into finality and entry of judgment was made on 27 February 1985.

In 1986, the City Government of Caloocan paid Santiago P75,083.37 in partial payment of her backwages, thereby leaving a balance of P530,761.91. Her co-parties were paid in full. In 1987, the City of Caloocan appropriated funds for her unpaid back salaries. This was included in Supplemental Budget 3 for the fiscal year 1987. Surprisingly, however, the City later refused to release the money to Santiago. Santiago exerted effort for the execution of the remainder of the money judgment but she met stiff opposition from the City Government of Caloocan. On 12 February 1991, Judge Mauro T. Allarde, RTC of Caloocan City, Branch 123, issued a writ of execution for the payment of the remainder of Santiago’s back salaries and other emoluments. For the second time, the City Government of Caloocan went up to the Court of Appeals and filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction to stop the trial court from enforcing the writ of execution. The CA dismissed the petition and affirmed the order of issuance of the writ of execution. One of the issues raised and resolved therein was the extent to which back salaries and emoluments were due to respondent Santiago. The appellate court held that she was entitled to her salaries from October, 1983 to December, 1986. For the second time, the City Government of Caloocan appealed to the Supreme Court (GR 98366, City Government of Caloocan vs. Court of Appeals, et al.) The petition was dismissed, through its Resolution of 16 May 1991, for having been filed late and for failure to show any reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals. The resolution subsequently attained finality and the corresponding entry of judgment was made on 29 July 1991.

On motion of Santiago, Judge Mauro T. Allarde ordered the issuance of an alias writ of execution on 3 March 1992. The City Government of Caloocan moved to reconsider the order, insisting in the main that Santiago was not entitled to backwages from 1983 to 1986. The lower court denied the motion and forthwith issued the alias writ of execution. Unfazed, the City Government of Caloocan filed a motion to quash the writ, maintaining that the money judgment sought to be enforced should not have included salaries and allowances for the years 1983-1986. The trial court likewise denied the motion. On 27 July 1992, Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo levied and sold at public auction one of the motor vehicles of the City Government of Caloocan (SBH-165) for P100,000. The proceeds of the sale were turned over to Santiago in partial satisfaction of her claim, thereby leaving a balance of P439,377.14, inclusive of interest. The City of Caloocan and Norma M. Abracia filed a motion questioning the validity of the auction sale of the vehicle with plate SBH-165, and a supplemental motion maintaining that the properties of the municipality were exempt from execution. In his Order dated 1 October 1992, Judge Allarde denied both motions and directed the sheriff to levy and schedule at public auction three more vehicles of the City of Caloocan. All the vehicles, including that previously sold in the auction sale, were owned by the City and assigned for the use of Norma Abracia, Division Superintendent of Caloocan City, and other officials of the Division of City Schools.

Meanwhile, the City Government of Caloocan sought clarification from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on whether Santiago was considered to have rendered services from 1983-1986 as to be entitled to backwages for that period. In its Resolution 91-1124, the CSC ruled in the negative. On 22 November 1991, Santiago challenged the CSC resolution before the Supreme Court (GR 102625, Santiago vs. Sto. Tomas, et al.) On 8 July 1993, the Supreme Court initially dismissed the petition for lack of merit; however, it reconsidered the dismissal of the petition in its Resolution dated 1 August 1995, this time ruling in favor of Santiago, holding that CSC Resolution 91-1124 could not set aside what had been judicially decided with finality.

On 5 October 1992, the City Council of Caloocan passed Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992, which included the amount of P439,377.14 claimed by respondent Santiago as back salaries, plus interest. Pursuant to the subject ordinance, Judge Allarde issued an order dated 10 November 1992, decreeing that the City Treasurer (of Caloocan), Norberto Azarcon be ordered to deliver to the Court within 5 days from receipt, (a) manager’s check covering the amount of P439,378.00 representing the back salaries of Delfina H. Santiago in accordance with Ordinance 0134 S. 1992 and pursuant to the final and executory decision in these cases. Then Caloocan Mayor Macario A. Asistio, Jr., however, refused to sign the check intended as payment for Santiago’s claims. This, despite the fact that he was one of the signatories of the ordinance authorizing such payment. On 29 April 1993, Judge Allarde issued another order directing the Acting City Mayor of Caloocan, Reynaldo O. Malonzo, to sign the check which had been pending before the Office of the Mayor since 11 December 1992. Acting City Mayor Malonzo informed the trial court that "he could not comply with the order since the subject check was not formally turned over to him by the City Mayor" who went on official leave of absence on 15 April 1993, and that "he doubted whether he had authority to sign the same." Thus, in an order dated 7 May 1993, Judge Allarde ordered Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo to immediately garnish the funds of the City Government of Caloocan corresponding to the claim of Santiago. On the same day, Sheriff Alberto A. Castillo served a copy of the Notice of Garnishment on the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Sangandaan Branch, Caloocan City. When PNB immediately notified the City of Caloocan of the Notice of Garnishment, the City Treasurer sent a letter-advice informing PNB that the order of garnishment was "illegal," with a warning that it would hold PNB liable for any damages which may be caused by the withholding of the funds of the city. PNB opted to comply with the order of Judge Allarde and released to the Sheriff a manager’s check amounting to P439,378. After 21 long years, the claim of Santiago was finally settled in full.

On 4 June 1993, however, while the present petition was pending, the City Government of Caloocan filed yet another motion with the Supreme Court, a Motion to Declare in Contempt of Court; to Set Aside the Garnishment and Administrative Complaint against Judge Allarde, Santiago and PNB. Subsequently, the City Government of Caloocan filed a Supplemental Petition formally impleading PNB as a party-respondent in this case. The petition for certiorari is directed this time against the validity of the garnishment of the funds of the City of Caloocan, as well as the validity of the levy and sale of the motor vehicles belonging to the City of Caloocan.

Issue: Whether the funds of City of Caloocan, in PNB, may be garnished (i.e. exempt from execution), to satisfy Santiago’s claim.

Held: Garnishment is considered a specie of attachment by means of which the plaintiff seeks to subject to his claim property of the defendant in the hands of a third person, or money owed by such third person or garnishee to the defendant. The rule is and has always been that all government funds deposited in the PNB or any other official depositary of the Philippine Government by any of its agencies or instrumentalities, whether by general or special deposit, remain government funds and may not be subject to garnishment or levy, in the absence of a corresponding appropriation as required by law. Even though the rule as to immunity of a state from suit is relaxed, the power of the courts ends when the judgment is rendered. Although the liability of the state has been judicially ascertained, the state is at liberty to determine for itself whether to pay the judgment or not, and execution cannot issue on a judgment against the state. Such statutes do not authorize a seizure of state property to satisfy judgments recovered, and only convey an implication that the legislature will recognize such judgment as final and make provision for the satisfaction thereof. The rule is based on obvious considerations of public policy. The functions and public services rendered by the State cannot be allowed to be paralyzed or disrupted by the diversion of public funds from their legitimate and specific objects, as appropriated by law. However, the rule is not absolute and admits of a well-defined exception, that is, when there is a corresponding appropriation as required by law. Otherwise stated, the rule on the immunity of public funds from seizure or garnishment does not apply where the funds sought to be levied under execution are already allocated by law specifically for the satisfaction of the money judgment against the government. In such a case, the monetary judgment may be legally enforced by judicial processes. Herein, the City Council of Caloocan already approved and passed Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992, allocating the amount of P439,377.14 for Santiago’s back salaries plus interest. This case, thus, fell squarely within the exception. For all intents and purposes, Ordinance 0134, Series of 1992, was the "corresponding appropriation as required by law." The sum indicated in the ordinance for Santiago were deemed automatically segregated from the other budgetary allocations of the City of Caloocan and earmarked solely for the City’s monetary obligation to her. The judgment of the trial court could then be validly enforced against such funds.

Ocampo vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
[GR 158466, 15 June 2004]
En Banc, Sandoval-Gutierrez (J): 13 concur

Facts: On 23 May 2001, the Manila City Board of Canvassers proclaimed Mario B. Crespo, a.k.a. Mark Jimenez, the duly elected Congressman of the 6th District of Manila pursuant to the 14 May 2001 elections. He was credited with 32,097 votes or a margin of 768 votes over Pablo V. Ocampo who obtained 31,329 votes. On 31 May 2001, Ocampo filed with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) an electoral protest against Crespo, impugning the election in 807 precincts in the 6th District of Manila on the following grounds: (1) misreading of votes garnered by Ocampo; (2) falsification of election returns; (3) substitution of election returns; (4) use of marked, spurious, fake and stray ballots; and (5) presence of ballots written by one person or two persons (HRET Case 01-024). Ocampo prayed that a revision and appreciation of the ballots in the 807 contested precincts be conducted; and that, thereafter, he be proclaimed the duly elected Congressman of the 6th District of Manila. On 18 June 2001, Crespo filed his answer with counter-protest5 vehemently denying that he engaged in massive vote buying. After the preliminary conference between the parties on 12 July 2001, the HRET issued a Resolution6 limiting the issues to: first, whether massive vote-buying was committed by Crespo; and second, whether Ocampo can be proclaimed the duly elected Representative of the 6th District of Manila. Meanwhile, on 6 March 2003, the HRET, in HRET Cases 01-020 (Bienvenido Abante & Prudencio Jalandoni vs. Mario Crespo), and 01-023 (Rosenda Ann M. Ocampo vs. Mario Crespo), issued Resolutions declaring that Crespo is "ineligible for the Office of Representative of Sixth District of Manila for lack of residence in the district" and ordering "him to vacate his office." Crespo filed a motion for reconsideration therein but was denied. On 12 March 2003, Ocampo filed a motion to implement Section 6 of Republic Act 6646. On 26 March 2003, Crespo filed an opposition to Ocampo’s motion to implement the said provision. On 27 March 2003, the HRET issued a Resolution holding that Crespo was guilty of vote-buying and disqualifying him as Congressman of the 6th District of Manila. Anent the second issue of whether Ocampo can be proclaimed the duly elected Congressman, the HRET held that a second placer cannot be proclaimed the first among the remaining qualified candidates,a nd thus held the Ocampo cannot be proclaimed as the duly elected representative of the Sixth legislative District of Manila. Ocampo filed a partial motion for reconsideration but was denied. Ocampo filed the petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether Ocampo may be proclaimed the winner after Crespo was disqualified by the HRET.

Held: Section 6 of RA 6646 and section 72 of the Omnibus Election Code require a final judgment before the election for the votes of a disqualified candidate to be considered "stray." Hence, when a candidate has not yet been disqualified by final judgment during the election day and was voted for, the votes cast in his favor cannot be declared stray. To do so would amount to disenfranchising the electorate in whom sovereignty resides. The obvious rationale behind the foregoing ruling is that in voting for a candidate who has not been disqualified by final judgment during the election day, the people voted for him bona fide, without any intention to misapply their franchise, and in the honest belief that the candidate was then qualified to be the person to whom they would entrust the exercise of the powers of government. Herein, Crespo was declared disqualified almost 22 months after the 14 May 2001 elections. Obviously, the requirement of "final judgment before election" is absent. On the other hand, subsequent disqualification of a candidate who obtained the highest number of votes does not entitle the candidate who garnered the second highest number of votes to be declared the winner. This principle has been reiterated in a number the Court's decisions, such as Labo, Jr. vs. COMELEC, Abella vs. COMELEC, Benito vs. COMELEC and Domino vs. COMELEC. As a matter of fact, even as early as 1912, it was held that the candidate who lost in an election cannot be proclaimed the winner in the event that the candidate who won is found to be ineligible for the office for which he was elected. In Geronimo vs. Ramos, if the winning candidate is not qualified and cannot qualify for the office to which he was elected, a permanent vacancy is thus created. The second placer is just that, a second placer – he lost in the elections, he was repudiated by either the majority or plurality of voters. He could not be proclaimed winner as he could not be considered the first among the qualified candidates. To rule otherwise is to misconstrue the nature of the democratic electroral process and the sociological and psychological underpinnings behind voters’ preferences. At any rate, the petition has become moot and academic. The Twelfth Congress formally adjourned on 11 June 2004. And on 17 May 2004, the City Board of Canvassers proclaimed Bienvenido Abante the duly elected Congressman of the Sixth District of Manila pursuant to the 10 May 2004 elections.

Pamatong vs. Commission on Elections
[GR 161872, 13 April 2004]
En Banc, Tinga (J): 12 concur

Facts: Rev. Elly Velez Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy for President on 17 December 2003. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) refused to give due course to Pamatong’s Certificate of Candidacy in its Resolution 6558 dated 17 January 2004. The decision, however, was not unanimous since Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Mehol K. Sadain voted to include Pamatong as they believed he had parties or movements to back up his candidacy. On 15 January 2004, Pamatong moved for reconsideration of Resolution 6558. The COMELEC, acting on Pamatong’s Motion for Reconsideration (SPP [MP] 04-001) and on similar motions filed by other aspirants for national elective positions, denied the same under the aegis of Omnibus Resolution 6604 dated 11 February 2004. The COMELEC declared Pamatong and 35 others nuisance candidates who could not wage a nationwide campaign and/or are not nominated by a political party or are not supported by a registered political party with a national constituency. Commissioner Sadain maintained his vote for Pamatong. By then, Commissioner Tancangco had retired. Pamatong filed the Petition For Writ of Certiorari, seeking to reverse the resolutions which were allegedly rendered in violation of his right to "equal access to opportunities for public service" under Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, by limiting the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. In so doing, Pamatong argues that the COMELEC indirectly amended the constitutional provisions on the electoral process and limited the power of the sovereign people to choose their leaders. The COMELEC supposedly erred in disqualifying him since he is the most qualified among all the presidential candidates, i.e., he possesses all the constitutional and legal qualifications for the office of the president, he is capable of waging a national campaign since he has numerous national organizations under his leadership, he also has the capacity to wage an international campaign since he has practiced law in other countries, and he has a platform of government. Pamatong likewise attacks the validity of the form for the Certificate of Candidacy prepared by the COMELEC. Pamatong claims that the form does not provide clear and reasonable guidelines for determining the qualifications of candidates since it does not ask for the candidate’s bio-data and his program of government.

Issue: Whether there is a constitutional right to run for or hold public office and, particularly, to seek the presidency.

Held: There is no constitutional right to run for or hold public office and, particularly, to seek the presidency. What is recognized is merely a privilege subject to limitations imposed by law. Section 26, Article II of the Constitution neither bestows such a right nor elevates the privilege to the level of an enforceable right. There is nothing in the plain language of the provision which suggests such a thrust or justifies an interpretation of the sort. The "equal access" provision is a subsumed part of Article II of the Constitution, entitled "Declaration of Principles and State Policies." The provisions under the Article are generally considered not self-executing, and there is no plausible reason for according a different treatment to the "equal access" provision. Like the rest of the policies enumerated in Article II, the provision does not contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The disregard of the provision does not give rise to any cause of action before the courts. An inquiry into the intent of the framers5 produces the same determination that the provision is not self-executory. The original wording of the present Section 26, Article II had read, "The State shall broaden opportunities to public office and prohibit public dynasties." Commissioner (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide, Jr. successfully brought forth an amendment that changed the word "broaden" to the phrase "ensure equal access," and the substitution of the word "office" to "service." The provision is not intended to compel the State to enact positive measures that would accommodate as many people as possible into public office. The approval of the "Davide amendment" indicates the design of the framers to cast the provision as simply enunciatory of a desired policy objective and not reflective of the imposition of a clear State burden. Moreover, the provision as written leaves much to be desired if it is to be regarded as the source of positive rights. It is difficult to interpret the clause as operative in the absence of legislation since its effective means and reach are not properly defined. Broadly written, the myriad of claims that can be subsumed under this rubric appear to be entirely open-ended. Words and phrases such as "equal access," "opportunities," and "public service" are susceptible to countless interpretations owing to their inherent impreciseness. Certainly, it was not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operative but amorphous foundation from which innately unenforceable rights may be sourced. The privilege of equal access to opportunities to public office may be subjected to limitations. Some valid limitations specifically on the privilege to seek elective office are found in the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code on "Nuisance Candidates" and COMELEC Resolution 645210 dated 10 December 2002 outlining the instances wherein the COMELEC may motu proprio refuse to give due course to or cancel a Certificate of Candidacy. As long as the limitations apply to everybody equally without discrimination, however, the equal access clause is not violated. Equality is not sacrificed as long as the burdens engendered by the limitations are meant to be borne by any one who is minded to file a certificate of candidacy. Herein, there is no showing that any person is exempt from the limitations or the burdens which they create.

Calalang vs. Williams
[GR 47800, 2 December 1940]
First Division, Laurel (J): 4 concur

Facts: The National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of 17 July 1940, resolved to recommend to the Director of Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited from passing along Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon de la Barca to DasmariƱas Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Echague Street, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., from a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic. The Chairman of the National Traffic Commission, on 18 July 1940, recommended to the Director of Public Works the adoption of the measure proposed in the resolution, in pursuance of the provisions of Commonwealth Act 548, which authorizes said Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on national roads. On 2 August 1940, the Director of Public Works, in his first indorsement to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, recommended to the latter the approval of the recommendation made by the Chairman of the National Traffic Commission, with the modification that the closing of Rizal Avenue to traffic to animal-drawn vehicles be limited to the portion thereof extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Azcarraga Street. On 10 August 1940, the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, in his second indorsement addressed to the Director of Public Works, approved the recommendation of the latter that Rosario Street and Rizal Avenue be closed to traffic of animal-drawn vehicles, between the points and during the hours as indicated, for a period of 1 year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic. The Mayor of Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules and regulations thus adopted. Maximo Calalang, in his capacity as a private citizen and as a taxpayer of Manila, brought before the Supreme court the petition for a writ of prohibition against A. D. Williams, as Chairman of the National Traffic Commission; Vicente Fragante, as Director of Public Works; Sergio Bayan, as Acting Secretary of Public Works and Communications; Eulogio Rodriguez, as Mayor of the City of Manila; and Juan Dominguez, as Acting Chief of Police of Manila.

Issue: Whether the rules and regulations promulgated by the Director of Public Works infringe upon the constitutional precept regarding the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people.

Held: The promotion of social justice is to be achieved not through a mistaken sympathy towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex. Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."

Simon vs. Commission on Human Rights
[GR 100150, 5 January 1994]
En Banc, Vitug (J): 12 concur

Facts: A "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo in his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the Roque Fermo, et. al. (being the officers and members of the North Edsa Vendors Association, Incorporated). In said notice, Fermo, et. al. were given a grace-period of 3 days (up to 12 July 1990) within which to vacate the premises of North EDSA. Prior to their receipt of the demolition notice, Fermo, et. al. were informed by Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give way to the "People's Park". On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against Brigido R. Simon, Carlos Quimpo, Carlito Abelardo, and Generoso Ocampo, asking the late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Simon of Quezon City to stop the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA (CHR Case 90-1580). On 23 July 1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing Simon, et. al. "to desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" and ordering Simon, et. al. to appear before the CHR. On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by Fermo, et. al. on 31 July 1990, as well as CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 Simon, et. al. carried out the demolition of Fermo, et. al.'s stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, the CHR, in its resolution of 1 August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of Fermo, et. al. to purchase light housing materials and food under the Commission's supervision and again directed Simon, et. al. to "desist from further demolition, with the warning that violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest." A motion to dismiss, dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. During the 12 September 1990 hearing, Simon, et. al. moved for postponement, arguing that the motion to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved, and likewise manifested that they would bring the case to the courts. In an Order, dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited Simon, et. al. in contempt for carrying out the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them. On 1 March 1991, the CHR issued an Order, denying Simon, et.al.'s motion to dismiss and supplemental motion to dismiss. In an Order, dated 25 April 1991, Simon, et. al.'s motion for reconsideration was denied. Simon, et. al. filed the petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction, questioning the extent of the authority and power of the CHR, and praying that the CHR be prohibited from further hearing and investigating CHR Case 90 —1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al."

Issue: Whether the CHR has the power to issue the “order to desist” against the demolition of Fermo, et. al.’s stalls, and to cite Mayor Simon, et. al. for contempt for proceeding to demolish said stalls despite the CHR order.

Held: Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision empowering the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights." Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, it is readily apparent that the delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more severe cases of human rights violations; such areas as the "(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to have any preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless, significant for the tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in peremptorily making a conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its recommendation." Herein, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by Fermo, at. al. on a land which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park." More than that, the land adjoins the North EDSA of Quezon City which, the Court can take judicial notice of, is a busy national highway. The consequent danger to life and limb is thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is indeed paradoxical that a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first place, even be invoked, if its is not, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking at the standards vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining herein, the Court not prepared to conclude that the order for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of Fermo, et. al. can fall within the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the Constitution. On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court." Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in accordance with the procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite for contempt, however, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational guidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the power to cite for contempt could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said body, or who unduly withhold relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in pursuing its investigative work. The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order) herein, however, is not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative power that it does not possess. As held in Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights, "The constitutional provision directing the CHR to 'provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection' may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so. 'Jurisdiction is conferred only by the Constitution or by law'. It is never derived by implication. Evidently, the 'preventive measures and legal aid services' mentioned in the Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of preliminary injunction) which the CHR may seek from the proper courts on behalf of the victims of human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be issued `by the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within his district], or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. A writ of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose."

Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) vs. de Guzman
[GR 14681, 21 June 2004]
Second Division, Tinga (J): 4 concur

Facts: Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V. Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera And Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan, Elnora R. Raqueno, Marissa A. Regodon, Laura M. Santos, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver, Maria Rosario L. Leonor, Alicia S. Lizano, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette T. Mendoza, Fernando F. Mandapat, Aleli A. Gollayan, Elcin C. Arriola, Herminigilda E. Conejos, Sally B. Bunagan, Rogelio B. Ancheta, Oscar H. Padua, Jr., Evelyn D. Grajo, Evelyn S. Acosta, Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio, Valentino P. Arboleda, Evelyn O. Ramos, Achilles J. Peralta, Corazon M. Cruz, Leuvina P. Chico, Joseph A. Jao, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez, Lydia C. Chan, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Fernando T. Cruz, Melvin M. Usita, Rafael I. Tolentino, Grace E. Uy, Cheryl R. Triguero, Michael L. Serrano, Federico L. Castillo, Melita J. CaƱedo, Samuel B. Bangoy, Bernardita B. Sy, Gloria T. Jularbal, Frederick D. Francisco, Carlos M. Bernardo, Jr., Hubert S. Nazareno, Clarissa B. Baclig, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Bernadette H. Cabuhat, Nancy J. Chavez, Mario D. Cuaresma, Ernesto L. Cue, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Derileen D. Dorado, Saibzur N. Edding, Violeta C. Felipe, Herminio V. Fernandez, Jr., Maria Victoria M. Lacsamana, Norma G. Lafavilla, Ruby B. Lantin, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari, Clarisa Sj. Nicolas, Percival H. Pangilinan, Arnulfo A. Salvador, Robert B. Sanchez, Merly D. Sta. Ana and Yolanda P. Unica are all graduates of the Fatima College of Medicine, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. They passed the Physician Licensure Examination conducted in February 1993 by the Board of Medicine (Board). Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) then released their names as successful examinees in the medical licensure examination. Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that the grades of the 79 successful examinees from Fatima College in the two most difficult subjects in the medical licensure exam, Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne), were unusually and exceptionally high. 11 Fatima examinees scored 100% in Bio-Chem and 10 got 100% in OB-Gyne, another 11 got 99% in Bio-Chem, and 21 scored 99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed that many of those who passed from Fatima got marks of 95% or better in both subjects, and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A comparison of the performances of the candidates from other schools was made. The Board observed that strangely, the unusually high ratings were true only for Fatima College examinees. It was a record-breaking phenomenon in the history of the Physician Licensure Examination. On 7 June 1993, the Board issued Resolution 19, withholding the registration as physicians of all the examinees from the Fatima College of Medicine. The PRC asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate whether any anomaly or irregularity marred the February 1993 Physician Licensure Examination. Prior to the NBI investigation, the Board requested Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert mathematician and authority in statistics, and later president of the Ateneo de Manila University, to conduct a statistical analysis of the results in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the said examination. On 10 June 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He reported that a comparison of the scores in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne, of the Fatima College examinees with those of examinees from De La Salle University and Perpetual Help College of Medicine showed that the scores of Fatima College examinees were not only incredibly high but unusually clustered close to each other. He concluded that there must be some unusual reason creating the clustering of scores in the two subjects. It must be a cause "strong enough to eliminate the normal variations that one should expect from the examinees of Fatima College in terms of talent, effort, energy, etc." For its part, the NBI found that "the questionable passing rate of Fatima examinees in the [1993] Physician Examination leads to the conclusion that the Fatima examinees gained early access to the test questions." On 5 July 1993, Arlene V. De Guzman, Violeta V. Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan filed a special civil action for mandamus, with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction (Civil Case 93-66530) with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition was adopted by the other respondents as intervenors. Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution 26, dated 21 July 1993, charging de Guzman, et. al. with "immorality, dishonest conduct, fraud, and deceit" in connection with the Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne examinations. It recommended that the test results of the Fatima examinees be nullified (Adminstrative Case 1687) by the PRC. On 28 July 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil Case 93-66530 granting the preliminary mandatory injunction sought by de Guzman, et. al.. It ordered PRC, etc. to administer the physician’s oath to De Guzman et al., and enter their names in the rolls of the PRC. PRC, etc/ then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to set aside the mandatory injunctive writ (CA-GR SP 31701). On 21 October 1993, the appellate court granted the petition, nullifying the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issued by the lower court against PRC, etc. De Guzman, et al., then elevated the foregoing Decision to the Supreme Court in GR 112315. In the Supreme Court's Resolution dated 23 May 1994, it denied the petition for failure to show reversible error on the part of the appellate court.

Meanwhile, on 22 November 1993, during the pendency of the above petition, the pre-trial conference in Civil Case 93-66530 was held. Then, the parties, agreed to reduce the testimonies of their respective witnesses to sworn questions-and-answers. This was without prejudice to cross-examination by the opposing counsel.

On 13 December 1993, PRC’s counsel failed to appear at the trial in the mistaken belief that the trial was set for December 15. The trial court then ruled that PRC, etc. waived their right to cross-examine the witnesses. On 27 January 1994, counsel for PRC, etc. filed a Manifestation and Motion stating the reasons for her non-appearance and praying that the cross-examination of the witnesses for the opposing parties be reset. The trial court denied the motion for lack of notice to adverse counsel. It also denied the Motion for Reconsideration that followed on the ground that adverse counsel was notified less than 3 days prior to the hearing. Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from proceeding with Administrative Case 1687, De Guzman, et. al. moved for the issuance of a restraining order, which the lower court granted in its Order dated 4 April 1994. PRC, etc. then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari (GR 115704), to annul the Orders of the trial court dated 13 November 1993, 28 February 1994, and 4 April 1994. The Supreme Court referred the petition to the Court of Appeals (CA-GR SP 34506). On 31 August 1994, the appellate court granted the petition for certiorari, and thus allowing the PRC, etc. to present their evidence in due course of trial, and thereafter to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the evidence of the parties. The trial was then set and notices were sent to the parties. A day before the first hearing, on 22 September 1994, PRC, etc. filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation and Motion praying for the partial reconsideration of the appellate court’s decision in CA-GR SP 34506, for the outright dismissal of Civil Case 93-66530, and for the suspension of the proceedings. In its Order dated 23 September 1994, the trial court granted the aforesaid motion, cancelled the scheduled hearing dates, and reset the proceedings to October 21 and 28, 1994. Meanwhile, on 25 October 1994, the Court of Appeals denied the partial motion for reconsideration in CA-GR SP 34506. Thus, PRC, etc. filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review (GR 117817, entitled Professional Regulation Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.)

On 11 November 1994, PRC's counsel failed to appear at the trial of Civil Case 93-66530. Upon motion of De Guzman, et. al., the trial court ruled that PRC, etc. waived their right to cross-examine De Guzman, et. al. Trial was reset to 28 November 1994. On 25 November 1994, PRC’s counsel moved for the inhibition of the trial court judge for alleged partiality. On 28 November 1994, the day the Motion to Inhibit was to be heard, PRC, etc. failed to appear. Thus, the trial court denied the Motion to Inhibit and declared Civil Case 93-66530 deemed submitted for decision. On 19 December 1994, the trial court handed down its judgment in Civil Case 93-66530 in favor of De Guzman, et. al., ordering the PRC to allow De Guzman, et. al. to take the physician’s oath and to register them as physicians.

As a result of these developments, PRC, etc. filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari (GR 118437, entitled Professional Regulation Commission v. Hon. David G. Nitafan), praying inter alia, that (1) GR 118437 be consolidated with GR 117817; (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 31 August 1994 in CA-GR SP 34506 be nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil Case 93-66530, and in the alternative, to set aside the decision of the trial court in Civil Case 93-66530, order the trial court judge to inhibit himself, and Civil Case 93-66530 be re-raffled to another branch.

On 26 December 1994, PRC, etc. filed their Notice of Appeal in Civil Case 93-66530, thereby elevating the case to the Court of Appeals (CA-GR SP 37283).

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court's Resolution of 7 June 1995, GR 118437 was consolidated with GR 117817. On 9 July 1998, the Court disposed of GRs 117817 and 118437 by dismissing them for being moot. The petition in GR 118437 was likewise dismissed on the ground that there is a pending appeal before the Court of Appeals.

While CA-GR SP 37283 was awaiting disposition by the appellate court, Arnel V. Herrera, one of the original petitioners in Civil Case 93-66530, joined by 27 intervenors, manifested that they were no longer interested in proceeding with the case and moved for its dismissal. A similar manifestation and motion was later filed by 22 other intervenors. The Court of Appeals ruled that its decision in CA-GR SP 37283 would not apply to them. On 16 May 2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-GR SP 37283, affirming the decision of the lower court and dismissing the appeal. PRC, etc. filed the petition for review, seeking to nullify the 16 May 2000 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP 37283.

Issue: Whether De Guzman, et. al. may compel the PRC, etc. to administer them the Hippocratic oath, even in light of unusually high scores acquired by the examinees from Fatima College.

Held: A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of 1959 discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with respect to the issuance of certificates of registration. Thus, PRC, etc. "shall sign and issue certificates of registration to those who have satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is a word of command. It is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an examinee satisfies the requirements for the grant of his physician’s license, the Board is obliged to administer to him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant to Section 20 and par. (1) of Section 2225 of the Medical Act of 1959. However, the surrounding circumstances in the present case call for serious inquiry concerning the satisfactory compliance with the Board requirements by De Guzman, et. al. The unusually high scores in the two most difficult subjects was phenomenal, according to Fr. Nebres, the consultant of PRC on the matter, and raised grave doubts about the integrity, if not validity, of the tests. Under the second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is vested with the power to conduct administrative investigations and "disapprove applications for examination or registration," pursuant to the objectives of RA 2382 as outlined in Section 126 thereof. Herein, after the investigation, the Board filed before the PRC, Adminstrative Case 1687 against De Guzman, et. al. to ascertain their moral and mental fitness to practice medicine, as required by Section 927 of RA 2382. Further, Section 830 of RA 2382 prescribes, among others, that a person who aspires to practice medicine in the Philippines, must have "satisfactorily passed the corresponding Board Examination." Section 22, in turn, provides that the oath may only be administered "to physicians who qualified in the examinations." The operative word here is "satisfactorily," defined as "sufficient to meet a condition or obligation" or "capable of dispelling doubt or ignorance." Gleaned from Board Resolution 26, the licensing authority apparently did not find that De Guzman, et. al. "satisfactorily passed" the licensure examinations. The Board instead sought to nullify the examination results obtained by the latter. Thus, while it is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional right of every citizen to select a profession or course of study subject to a fair, reasonable, and equitable admission and academic requirements; like all rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, their exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order, safety, and general welfare of the people. Thus, persons who desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. This regulation takes particular pertinence in the field of medicine, to protect the public from the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance among those who would practice medicine. It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to regulate the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner. A political body that regulates the exercise of a particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant such privilege in accordance with certain conditions. Such conditions may not, however, require giving up ones constitutional rights as a condition to acquiring the license. Under the view that the legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer, courts will generally strike down license legislation that vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a license to carry on some ordinarily lawful business, profession, or activity without prescribing definite rules and conditions for the guidance of said officials in the exercise of their power. Herein, the guidelines are provided for in RA 2382, as amended, which prescribes the requirements for admission to the practice of medicine, the qualifications of candidates for the board examinations, the scope and conduct of the examinations, the grounds for denying the issuance of a physician’s license, or revoking a license that has been issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine, the applicant must show that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully complied with all the conditions and requirements imposed by the law and the licensing authority. Should doubt taint or mar the compliance as being less than satisfactory, then the privilege will not issue. For said privilege is distinguishable from a matter of right, which may be demanded if denied. Thus, without a definite showing that the requirements and conditions have been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the writ of mandamus to secure said privilege without thwarting the legislative will.

Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) vs. Court of Appeals
[GR 85279, 28 July 1989]
Third Division, Cortes (J): 4 concur

Facts: On 9 June 1987, the officers and members of Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) staged a strike and barricaded the entrances to the SSS Building, preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members from transacting business with the SSS. The SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the union's demands, which included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues; payment of accrued overtime pay, night differential pay and holiday pay; conversion of temporary or contractual employees with 6 months or more of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries, allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS; and payment of the children's allowance of P30.00, and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices. The strike was reported by the Social Security System (SSS) to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return to work. The strikers refused to return to work. On 11 June 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against the SSSEA, Dionisio T. Baylon, Ramon Modesto, Juanito Madura, Reuben Zamora, Virgilio De Alday, Sergio Araneta, Placido Agustin, and Virgilio Magpayo, praying that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return to work; that SSSEA, et. al. be ordered to pay damages; and that the strike be declared illegal. On 11 June 1987, the RTC issued a temporary restraining order pending resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction. In the meantime, the SSSEA, et. al. filed a motion to dismiss alleging the trial court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. On 22 July 1987, the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss and converted the restraining order into an injunction upon posting of a bond, after finding that the strike was illegal. As the SSSEA's motion for the reconsideration of the order was also denied on 14 August 1988, SSSEA ,et. al. filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before the Supreme Court (GR 79577). In a resolution dated 21 October 1987, the Court, through the Third Division, resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. SSSEA, et. al. filed a motion for reconsideration thereof, but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on 9 March 1988 promulgated its decision on the referred case. SSSEA, et. al. moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. In the meantime, the Court on 29 June 1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in GR 97577 for being moot and academic. SSSEA, et. al.'s motion to recall the decision of the Court of Appeals was also denied in view of the Supreme Court's denial of the motion for reconsideration. SSSEA filed the petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Issue: Whether SSS employees, in furtherance of labor interests, may conduct a strike.

Held: The 1987 Constitution, in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights (Art. XIII, Sec. 3), provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law." By itself, this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and employees, including those in the public sector, to strike. But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this impression, for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission, it provides, after defining the scope of the civil service as "all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters," that "the right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees." Parenthetically, the Bill of Rights also provides that "the right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. III, Sec. 8]. Thus, while there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize, it is silent as to whether such recognition also includes the right to strike. Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in understanding the meaning of these provisions. A reading of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution would show that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize, the commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or associations only, without including the right to strike. Statutorily, it will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (CA 875), which was repealed by the Labor Code (PD 442) in 1974, expressly banned strikes by employees in the Government, including instrumentalities exercising governmental functions, but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary functions. Understandably, the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not government employees may strike, for such are excluded from its coverage. But then the Civil Service Decree (PD 807), is equally silent on the matter. Thus, on 1 June 1987, to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of government employees to organize, the President issued EO 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. In Section 14 thereof, it is provided that "the Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed, subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress." The President was apparently referring to Memorandum Circular No. 6, series of 1987 of the Civil Service Commission under date 12 April 1987 which, "prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government officers and employees from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service." The air was thus cleared of the confusion. At present, in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike, recognizing their right to do so, or regulating the exercise of the right, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular 6 and as implied in EO 180. The Court is of the considered view that the SSS employees are covered by the prohibition against strikes. Considering that under the 1987 Constitution "the civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters" and that the SSS is one such government-controlled corporation with an original charter, having been created under RA 1161, its employees are part of the civil service and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. This being the case, the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal. In fine, government employees may through their unions or associations, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be referred to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, walkouts and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private sector, to pressure the Government to accede to their demands. As now provided under Sec. 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to Self-Organization, which took effect after the present dispute arose, "the terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof."

Roe vs. Wade
[410 US 113, 22 January 1973]
* (not applicable in the Philippines)
Blackmun (J): 3 concur, 3 concurred in separate opinions, 2 dissented in separate opinions

Facts: Jane Roe (pseudonym), a single woman who was residing in Dallas County, Texas, instituted the federal action in March 1970 against the District Attorney of the county. She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face, and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes. Roe alleged that she was unmarried and pregnant; that she wished to terminate her pregnancy by an abortion "performed by a competent, licensed physician, under safe, clinical conditions"; that she was unable to get a "legal" abortion in Texas because her life did not appear to be threatened by the continuation of her pregnancy; and that she could not afford to travel to another jurisdiction in order to secure a legal abortion under safe conditions. She claimed that the Texas statutes were unconstitutionally vague and that they abridged her right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. By an amendment to her complaint Roe purported to sue "on behalf of herself and all other women" similarly situated. James Hubert Hallford, a licensed physician, sought and was granted leave to intervene in Roe's action. In his complaint he alleged that he had been arrested previously for violations of the Texas abortion statutes and that two such prosecutions were pending against him. He described conditions of patients who came to him seeking abortions, and he claimed that for many cases he, as a physician, was unable to determine whether they fell within or outside the exception recognized by Article 1196. He alleged that, as a consequence, the statutes were vague and uncertain, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that they violated his own and his patients' rights to privacy in the doctor-patient relationship and his own right to practice medicine, rights he claimed were guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. John and Mary Doe (pseudonyms), a married couple, filed a companion complaint to that of Roe. They also named the District Attorney as defendant, claimed like constitutional deprivations, and sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The Does alleged that they were a childless couple; that Mrs. Doe was suffering from a "neural-chemical" disorder; that her physician had "advised her to avoid pregnancy until such time as her condition has materially improved" (although a pregnancy at the present time would not present "a serious risk" to her life); that, pursuant to medical advice, she had discontinued use of birth control pills; and that if she should become pregnant, she would want to terminate the pregnancy by an abortion performed by a competent, licensed physician under safe, clinical conditions. By an amendment to their complaint, the Does purported to sue "on behalf of themselves and all couples similarly situated." The two actions were consolidated and heard together by a duly convened three-judge district court. The suits thus presented the situations of the pregnant single woman, the childless couple, with the wife not pregnant, and the licensed practicing physician, all joining in the attack on the Texas criminal abortion statutes. Upon the filing of affidavits, motions were made for dismissal and for summary judgment. The court held that Roe and members of her class, and Dr. Hallford, had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies, but that the Does had failed to allege facts sufficient to state a present controversy and did not have standing. It concluded that, with respect to the requests for a declaratory judgment, abstention was not warranted. On the merits, the District Court held that the "fundamental right of single women and married persons to choose whether to have children is protected by the Ninth Amendment, through the Fourteenth Amendment," and that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were void on their face because they were both unconstitutionally vague and constituted an overbroad infringement of Roe, et. al.'s Ninth Amendment rights. The court then held that abstention was warranted with respect to the requests for an injunction. It therefore dismissed the Does' complaint, declared the abortion statutes void, and dismissed the application for injunctive relief. Roe and Doe and the intervenor Hallford, appealed to the US Supreme Court from that part of the District Court's judgment denying the injunction. The District Attorney has purported to cross-appeal from the court's grant of declaratory relief to Roe and Hallford. Both sides also have taken protective appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That court ordered the appeals held in abeyance pending decision in the US Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether the pregnant woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy, on the basis of her right to privacy.

Held: Three reasons have been advanced to explain historically the enactment of criminal abortion laws in the 19th century and to justify their continued existence: (1) these laws were the product of a Victorian social concern to discourage illicit sexual conduct; (2) abortion being a medical procedure, where a State's real concern in enacting a criminal abortion law was to protect the pregnant woman, i.e. to restrain her from submitting to a procedure that placed her life in serious jeopardy; and (3) the State's interest - some phrase it in terms of duty - in protecting prenatal life. The last justification rests on the theory that a new human life is present from the moment of conception. The State's interest and general obligation to protect life then extends to prenatal life. Only when the life of the pregnant mother herself is at stake, balanced against the life she carries within her, should the interest of the embryo or fetus not prevail. Logically, of course, a legitimate state interest in this area need not stand or fall on acceptance of the belief that life begins at conception or at some other point prior to live birth. In assessing the State's interest, recognition may be given to the less rigid claim that as long as at least potential life is involved, the State may assert interests beyond the protection of the pregnant woman alone. On the other hand, parties challenging state abortion laws have sharply disputed the contention that a purpose of these laws, when enacted, was to protect prenatal life. Pointing to the absence of legislative history to support the contention, they claim that most state laws were designed solely to protect the woman. Because medical advances have lessened this concern, at least with respect to abortion in early pregnancy, they argue that with respect to such abortions the laws can no longer be justified by any state interest. There is some scholarly support for this view of original purpose. The few state courts called upon to interpret their laws in the late 19th and early 20th centuries did focus on the State's interest in protecting the woman's health rather than in preserving the embryo and fetus. Proponents of this view point out that in many States, including Texas, by statute or judicial interpretation, the pregnant woman herself could not be prosecuted for self-abortion or for cooperating in an abortion performed upon her by another. They claim that adoption of the "quickening" distinction through received common law and state statutes tacitly recognizes the greater health hazards inherent in late abortion and impliedly repudiates the theory that life begins at conception.

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action or in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases, the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation. The US Supreme Court , therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation. Federal and state courts that have recently considered abortion law challenges have reached the same conclusion. Although the results are divided, most of these courts have agreed that the right of privacy, however based, is broad enough to cover the abortion decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute and is subject to some limitations; and that at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant. Where certain "fundamental rights" are involved, the Court has held that regulation limiting these rights may be justified only by a "compelling state interest," and that legislative enactments must be narrowly drawn to express only the legitimate state interests at stake.

De Jesus vs. Commission on Audit
[GR 109023, 12 August 1998]
En Banc, Purisima (J): 12 concur, 1 on leave

Facts: Rodolfo S. de Jesus, Edelwina de Parungao, Venus M. Pozon are employees of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). Prior to 1 July 1989, they were receiving honoraria as designated members of the LWUA Board Secretariat and the Pre-Qualification, Bids and Awards Committee. On 1 July 1989, Republic Act 6758, entitled "An Act Prescribing A Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and For Other Purposes", took effect. Section 12 of said law provides for the consolidation of allowances and additional compensation into standardized salary rates. Certain additional compensations, however, were exempted from consolidation. Section 12 (Consolidation of Allowances and Compensation), RA 6758, provides that "Allowances, except for representation and transportation allowances; clothing and laundry allowances; subsistence allowance of marine officers and allowances on board government vessels and hospital personnel; hazard pay; allowances of foreign services personnel stationed abroad; and such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be determined by the DBM, shall be deemed included in the standardized salary rates herein prescribed. Such other additional compensation, whether in cash or in kind, being received by incumbents as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized salary rates shall continue to be authorized." To implement RA 6758, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Corporate Compensation Circular 10 (DBM-CCC 10), discontinuing without qualification effective 1 November 1989, all allowances and fringe benefits granted on top of basic salary. Paragraph 5.6 of DBM-CCC 10 provided that "Payment of other allowances/fringe benefits and all other forms of compensation granted on top of basic salary, whether in cash or in kind . . . shall be discontinued effective 1 November 1989. Payment made for such allowances/fringe benefits after said date shall be considered as illegal disbursement of public funds." Pursuant to the said Law and Circular, Leonardo Jamoralin, as corporate auditor, disallowed on post audit, the payment of honoraria to de Jesus, et. al. Aggrieved, De Jesus, et. al. appealed to the Commission on Audit (COA), questioning the validity and enforceability of DBM-CCC 10. More specifically, they contend that DBM-CCC 10 is inconsistent with the provisions of RA 6758 (the law it is supposed to implement) and, therefore, void. And it is without force and effect because it was not published in the Official Gazette; they stressed. In its decision dated 29 January 1993, the COA upheld the validity and effectivity of DBM-CCC 10 and sanctioned the disallowance of De Jesus, et. al.'s honoraria. Undaunted, De Jesus, et. al. filed the petition with the Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether DBM-CCC 10 is legally effective despite its lack of publication in the Official Gazette.

Held: Publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines is sine qua non to the effectiveness or enforceability of DBM-CCC 10. The applicable provision of law requiring publication in the Official Gazette is found in Article 2 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which reads: "Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after such publication." In Tanada v. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 453,454, the Court succinctly construed the cited provision of law in point, holding that "all statutes including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature. Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative powers wherever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant to a valid delegation. Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties. Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies to only a portion of the national territory and directly affects only the inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even, say, those naming a public place after a favored individual or exempting him from certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board must be published if they are meant not merely to interpret but to 'fill in the details' of the Central Bank Act with that body is supposed to enforce." Herein, on the need for publication of subject DBM-CCC 10, publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines is required since DBM-CCC 10 is in the nature of an administrative circular the purpose of which is to enforce or implement an existing law. Stated differently, to be effective and enforceable, DBM-CCC No. must go through the requisite publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. It is decisively clear that DBM-CCC 10, which completely disallows payment of allowances and other additional compensation to government officials and employees, starting 1 November 1989, is not a mere interpretative or internal regulation. It is something more than that as it tends to deprive government workers of their allowances and additional compensation sorely needed to keep body and soul together. At the very least, before the said circular may be permitted to substantially reduce their income, the government officials and employees concerned should be apprised and alerted by the publication of subject circular in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines — to the end that they be given amplest opportunity to voice out whatever opposition they may have, and to ventilate their stance on the matter. This approach is more in keeping with democratic precepts and rudiments of fairness and transparency.

La Bugal-B'Laan Tribal Association vs. Ramos
[GR 127882, 2 December 2004]
Resolution En Banc, Panganiban (J): 14 concur

Facts: The Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus before the Court challenges the constitutionality of (1) Republic Act 7942 (The Philippine Mining Act of 1995); (2) its Implementing Rules and Regulations (DENR Administrative Order [DAO] 96-40); and (3) the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) dated 30 March 1995, executed by the government with Western Mining Corporation (Philippines), Inc. (WMCP). On 27 January 2004, the Court en banc promulgated its Decision, granting the Petition and declaring the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of RA 7942, DAO 96-40, as well as of the entire FTAA executed between the government and WMCP, mainly on the finding that FTAAs are service contracts prohibited by the 1987 Constitution. The Decision struck down the subject FTAA for being similar to service contracts,[9] which, though permitted under the 1973 Constitution, were subsequently denounced for being antithetical to the principle of sovereignty over our natural resources, because they allowed foreign control over the exploitation of our natural resources, to the prejudice of the Filipino nation. The Decision quoted several legal scholars and authors who had criticized service contracts for, inter alia, vesting in the foreign contractor exclusive management and control of the enterprise, including operation of the field in the event petroleum was discovered; control of production, expansion and development; nearly unfettered control over the disposition and sale of the products discovered/extracted; effective ownership of the natural resource at the point of extraction; and beneficial ownership of our economic resources. According to the Decision, the 1987 Constitution (Section 2 of Article XII) effectively banned such service contracts. Subsequently, Victor O. Ramos (Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR]), Horacio Ramos (Director, Mines and Geosciences Bureau [MGB-DENR]), Ruben Torres (Executive Secretary), and the WMC (Philippines) Inc. filed separate Motions for Reconsideration.

Issue: Whether the Court has a role in the exercise of the power of control over the EDU of our natural resources

Held: The Chief Executive is the official constitutionally mandated to “enter into agreements with foreign owned corporations.” On the other hand, Congress may review the action of the President once it is notified of “every contract entered into in accordance with this [constitutional] provision within thirty days from its execution.” In contrast to this express mandate of the President and Congress in the exploration, development and utilization (EDU) of natural resources, Article XII of the Constitution is silent on the role of the judiciary. However, should the President and/or Congress gravely abuse their discretion in this regard, the courts may -- in a proper case -- exercise their residual duty under Article VIII. Clearly then, the judiciary should not inordinately interfere in the exercise of this presidential power of control over the EDU of our natural resources.

Under the doctrine of separation of powers and due respect for co-equal and coordinate branches of government, the Court must restrain itself from intruding into policy matters and must allow the President and Congress maximum discretion in using the resources of our country and in securing the assistance of foreign groups to eradicate the grinding poverty of our people and answer their cry for viable employment opportunities in the country. “The judiciary is loath to interfere with the due exercise by coequal branches of government of their official functions.” As aptly spelled out seven decades ago by Justice George Malcolm, “Just as the Supreme Court, as the guardian of constitutional rights, should not sanction usurpations by any other department of government, so should it as strictly confine its own sphere of influence to the powers expressly or by implication conferred on it by the Organic Act.” Let the development of the mining industry be the responsibility of the political branches of government. And let not the Court interfere inordinately and unnecessarily. The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of the land. It is the repository of all the aspirations and hopes of all the people.

The Constitution should be read in broad, life-giving strokes. It should not be used to strangulate economic growth or to serve narrow, parochial interests. Rather, it should be construed to grant the President and Congress sufficient discretion and reasonable leeway to enable them to attract foreign investments and expertise, as well as to secure for our people and our posterity the blessings of prosperity and peace. The Court fully sympathize with the plight of La Bugal B’laan and other tribal groups, and commend their efforts to uplift their communities. However, the Court cannot justify the invalidation of an otherwise constitutional statute along with its implementing rules, or the nullification of an otherwise legal and binding FTAA contract. The Court believes that it is not unconstitutional to allow a wide degree of discretion to the Chief Executive, given the nature and complexity of such agreements, the humongous amounts of capital and financing required for large-scale mining operations, the complicated technology needed, and the intricacies of international trade, coupled with the State’s need to maintain flexibility in its dealings, in order to preserve and enhance our country’s competitiveness in world markets. On the basis of this control standard, the Court upholds the constitutionality of the Philippine Mining Law, its Implementing Rules and Regulations -- insofar as they relate to financial and technical agreements -- as well as the subject Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).

Jaworski vs. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)
[GR 144463, 14 January 2004]
En Banc, Ynares-Santiago (J): 13 concur

Facts: PAGCOR is a government owned and controlled corporation existing under PD 1869, issued on 11 July 1983 by then President Ferdinand Marcos. The PAGCOR was granted, subject to the terms and conditions established in the Decree, for a period of 25 years, renewable for another 25 years, the rights, privileges and authority to operate and maintain gambling casinos, clubs, and other recreation or amusement places, sports, gaming pools, i.e. basketball, football, lotteries, etc. whether on land or sea, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines. On 31 March 1998, PAGCOR’s board of directors approved an instrument denominated as "Grant of Authority and Agreement for the Operation of Sports Betting and Internet Gaming", which granted SAGE the authority to operate and maintain Sports Betting station in PAGCOR’s casino locations, and Internet Gaming facilities to service local and international bettors, provided that to the satisfaction of PAGCOR, appropriate safeguards and procedures are established to ensure the integrity and fairness of the games. On 1 September 1998, PAGCOR, represented by its Chairperson, Alicia Ll. Reyes, and SAGE, represented by its Chairman of the Board, Henry Sy, Jr., and its President, Antonio D. Lacdao, executed the document. Pursuant to the authority granted by PAGCOR, SAGE commenced its operations by conducting gambling on the Internet on a trial-run basis, making pre-paid cards and redemption of winnings available at various Bingo Bonanza outlets. Senator Robert S. Jaworski, in his capacity as member of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, files the petition for certiorari and prohibition, praying that the grant of authority by PAGCOR in favor of SAGE be nullified. He maintains that PAGCOR committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it authorized SAGE to operate gambling on the internet. He contends that PAGCOR is not authorized under its legislative franchise, P.D. 1869, to operate gambling on the internet for the simple reason that the said decree could not have possibly contemplated internet gambling since at the time of its enactment the internet was yet inexistent and gambling activities were confined exclusively to real-space. Further, he argues that the internet, being an international network of computers, necessarily transcends the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines, and the grant to SAGE of authority to operate internet gambling contravenes the limitation in PAGCOR’s franchise.

Issue: Whether PAGCOR’s legislative franchise include the right to vest another entity, SAGE, with the authority to operate Internet gambling.

Held: A legislative franchise is a special privilege granted by the state to corporations. It is a privilege of public concern which cannot be exercised at will and pleasure, but should be reserved for public control and administration, either by the government directly, or by public agents, under such conditions and regulations as the government may impose on them in the interest of the public. It is Congress that prescribes the conditions on which the grant of the franchise may be made. Thus the manner of granting the franchise, to whom it may be granted, the mode of conducting the business, the charter and the quality of the service to be rendered and the duty of the grantee to the public in exercising the franchise are almost always defined in clear and unequivocal language. Herein, PAGCOR has acted beyond the limits of its authority when it passed on or shared its franchise to SAGE. While PAGCOR is allowed under its charter to enter into operator’s and/or management contracts, it is not allowed under the same charter to relinquish or share its franchise, much less grant a veritable franchise to another entity such as SAGE. PAGCOR can not delegate its power in view of the legal principle of delegata potestas delegare non potest, inasmuch as there is nothing in the charter to show that it has been expressly authorized to do so.

Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies vs. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
[GR 114714, 21 April 1995]
First Division, Davide Jr. (J): 4 concur

Facts: Governing Board Resolution 1, issued on 14 January 1994, amended and increased the compensation and other benefits as specified under Part. II, Section C, paragraph 1 and Section L, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Standard Employment Contract for Seafarers, providing therein that "In case of death of the seamen during the term of his Contract, the employer shall pay his beneficiaries the Philippine Currency equivalent to the amount of US$50,000 and an additional amount of US$7,000 to each child under the age of 21 but not exceeding four children at the exchange rate prevailing during the time of payment. Where the death is caused by warlike activity while sailing within a declared warzone or war risk area, the compensation payable shall be doubled. The employer shall undertake appropriate warzone insurance coverage for this purpose." It also provided that "The maximum rate provided under Appendix I-A shall likewise be adjusted to US$50,000 regardless of rank and position of the seafarer"; that "Upon effectivity, the new compensation and other benefits herein provided shall apply to any Filipino seafarer on board any vessel, provided, that the cause of action occurs after this Resolution takes effect"; and that the "Resolution shall take effect after sixty (60) days from publication in a newspaper of general circulation." Memorandum Circular 5, issued on 19 January 1994, by POEA Administrator Felicisimo Joson and addressed to all Filipino seafarers, manning agencies, shipowners, managers and principals hiring Filipino seafarers, informed them that Governing Board Resolution 1 adjusted the rates of compensation and other benefits in Part II, Section C, paragraph 1; Section L, paragraphs 1 and 2; and Appendix 1-A of the POEA Standard Employment Contracts for Seafarers, which adjustments took effect on 20 March 1994, and that "Upon effectivity, the new compensation and other benefits . . . shall apply to any Filipino seafarer already on-board any vessel, provided, that the cause of action occurs after the said compensation and benefits take effect." The Tripartite Technical Working Group mentioned in the Resolution, was convened on 7 January 1994. The Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies, Inc., and incorporated association of licensed Filipino manning agencies, and its co-petitioners, all licensed manning agencies which hire and recruit Filipino seamen for and in behalf of their respective foreign shipowner-principals, filed the petition to annul Resolution 1, series of 1994, of the Governing Board of the POEA Memorandum Circular 5, series of 1994, on the grounds that: (1) The POEA does not have the power and authority to fix and promulgate rates affecting death and workmen's compensation of Filipino seamen working in ocean-going vessels; only Congress can; (2) Even granting that the POEA has that power, it, nevertheless, violated the standards for its exercise; (3) The resolution and the memorandum circular are unconstitutional because they violate the equal protection and non-impairment of obligation of contracts clauses of the Constitution; and (4) The resolution and the memorandum circular are not valid acts of the Governing Board because the private sector representative mandated by the law has not been appointed by the President since the creation of the POEA.

Issue: Whether the issuance of the challenged resolution and memorandum circular was a valid exercise of the POEA's rule-making authority or power of subordinate legislation.

Held: The constitutional challenge of the rule-making power of the POEA based on impermissible delegation of legislative power had been brushed aside by the Supreme Court in Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. vs. POEA. The authority to issue the regulation is clearly provided in Section 4(a) of Executive Order 797, which provides that "The governing Board of the Administration (POEA), as hereunder provided, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the adjudicatory functions of the Administration (POEA)." Therein, it was held that similar authorization had been granted the National Seamen Board, which had itself prescribed a standard shipping contract substantially the same as the format adopted by the POEA. The principle of non-delegation of powers is applicable to all the three major powers of the Government but is especially important in the case of the legislative power because of the many instances when its delegation is permitted. The occasions are rare when executive or judicial powers have to be delegated by the authorities to which they legally pertain. In the case of legislative power, however, such occasions have become the rule and its non-delegation the exception. The reason is the increasing complexity of the task of government and the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified its activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature cannot be expected reasonably to comprehend. Specialization even in legislation has become necessary. To many of the problems attendant upon present-day undertakings, the legislature may not have the competence to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to say, specific solutions. These solutions may, however, be expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in the particular fields assigned to them. The reason given for the delegation of legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called the "power of subordinate legislation." With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in a statute by "filing in" the details which the Congress may not have opportunity or competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary regulations. These regulations have the force and effect of law. Memorandum Circular 2 is one such administrative regulation. The power of the POEA (and before it the National Seamen Board) in requiring the model contract is not unlimited as there is a sufficient standard guiding the delegate in the exercise of the said authority. That standard is discoverable in the executive order itself which, in creating the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, mandated it to protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers to "fair and equitable employment practices." Thus, while the making of laws is a non-delegable power that pertains exclusively to Congress, nevertheless, the latter may constitutionally delegate the authority to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given legislation and effectuate its policies, for the reason that the legislature finds it impracticable, if not impossible, to anticipate situations that may be met in carrying the law into effect. All that is required is that the regulation should be germane to the objects and purposes of the law; that the regulation be not in contradiction to but in conformity with the standards prescribed by the law. This is the principle of subordinate legislation which was discussed by the Court in People vs. Rosenthal and in Pangasinan Transportation vs. Public Service Commission. The Memorandum, strictly conforming to the sufficient and valid standard of "fair and equitable employment practices" prescribed in EO 797 can no longer be disputed.

No comments: