Monday, September 17, 2012

Case Digests for Statutory Construction

G.R. No. 113092 September 1, 1994
236 SCRA 197

Facts: The officers of a group of elderly men of a civic organization known as theSamahang Katandaan ng Nayon ng Tikay launched a fund drive for the purpose of renovating the chapel of Barrio Tikay, Malolos, Bulacan. Martin Centeno, the chairman of the group, approached Judge Adoracion G. Angeles, a resident of Tikay, and solicited from her a contribution of P1,500.00. It is admitted that the solicitation was made without a permit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. As a consequence, an information was filed against Centeno, for violation of PD No. 1564 or the Solicitation Permit Law. Centeno filed a motion to quash the information on the ground that the facts alleged therein do not constitute an offense, claiming that PD No. 1564 only covers solicitations made for charitable or public welfare purposes, but not those made for a religious purpose such as the construction of a chapel.

Issue: Should the phrase "charitable purposes" be construed in its broadest sense so as to include a religious purpose?

Ruling: No and that legislative enactments specifically spelled out "charitable" and "religious" in an enumeration, whereas Presidential Decree No. 1564 merely stated "charitable or public welfare purposes," only goes to show that the framers of the law in question never intended to include solicitations for religious purposes within its coverage. Otherwise, there is no reason why it would not have so stated expressly.

Solicitation for religious purposes may be subject to proper regulation by the State in the exercise of police power. However, in the case at bar, considering that solicitations intended for a religious purpose are not within the coverage of Presidential Decree No. 1564, as earlier demonstrated, petitioner cannot be held criminally liable therefor and therefore acquitted.


Fule v. CA

Facts: Gregorio Fule, a banker and a jeweller, offered to sell his parcel of land to Dr. Cruz in exchange for P40,000 and a diamond earring owned by the latter. A deed of absolute sale was prepared by Atty. Belarmino, and on the same day Fule went to the bank with Dichoso and Mendoza, and Dr. Cruz arrived shortly thereafter. Dr. Cruz got the earrings from her safety deposit box and handed it to Fule who, when asked if those were alright, nodded and took the earrings. Two hours after, Fule complained that the earrings were fake. He files a complaint to declare the sale null and void on the ground of fraud and deceit.

Issue: Whether the sale should be nullified on the ground of fraud

Held: A contract of sale is perfected at the moment there is a meeting of the minds upon the thing which is the object of the contract and upon the price. Being consensual, a contract of sale has the force of law between the contracting parties and they are expected to abide in good faith by their respective contractual commitments. It is evident from the facts of the case that there was a meeting of the minds between petitioner and Dr. Cruz. As such, they are bound by the contract unless there are reasons or circumstances that warrant its nullification.

Contracts that are voidable or annullable, even though there may have been no damage to the contracting parties are: (1) those where one of the parties is incapable of giving consent to a contract; and (2) those where the consent is vitiated by mistake, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud. The records, however, are bare of any evidence manifesting that private respondents employed such insidious words or machinations to entice petitioner into entering the contract of barter. It was in fact petitioner who resorted to machinations to convince Dr. Cruz to exchange her jewelry for the Tanay property.

Furthermore, petitioner was afforded the reasonable opportunity required in Article 1584 of the Civil Code within which to examine the jewelry as he in fact accepted them when asked by Dr. Cruz if he was satisfied with the same. By taking the jewelry outside the bank, petitioner executed an act which was more consistent with his exercise of ownership over it. This gains credence when it is borne in mind that he himself had earlier delivered the Tanay property to Dr. Cruz by affixing his signature to the contract of sale. That after two hours he later claimed that the jewelry was not the one he intended in exchange for his Tanay property, could not sever the juridical tie that now bound him and Dr. Cruz. The nature and value of the thing he had taken preclude its return after that supervening period within which anything could have happened, not excluding the alteration of the jewelry or its being switched with an inferior kind.

Ownership over the parcel of land and the pair of emerald-cut diamond earrings had been transferred to Dr. Cruz and petitioner, respectively, upon the actual and constructive delivery thereof. Said contract of sale being absolute in nature, title passed to the vendee upon delivery of the thing sold since there was no stipulation in the contract that title to the property sold has been reserved in the seller until full payment of the price or that the vendor has the right to unilaterally resolve the contract the moment the buyer fails to pay within a fixed period.

While it is true that the amount of P40,000.00 forming part of the consideration was still payable to petitioner, its nonpayment by Dr. Cruz is not a sufficient cause to invalidate the contract or bar the transfer of ownership and possession of the things exchanged considering the fact that their contract is silent as to when it becomes due and demandable.


Bersabal v. Salvador
G.R. No. L-35910 (July 21, 1978)

FACTS: Private Respondents filed an ejectment suit against the Petitioner. The subsequent decision was appealed by the Petitioner and during its pendency, the court issued an order stating that “…counsels for both parties are given 30 days from receipt of this order within which to file their memoranda in order for this case to be submitted for decision by the court.” After receipt, Petitioner filed a motion ex parte to submit memorandum within 30 days from receipt of notice of submission of the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the hearing of the case which was granted by the court. But the Respondent judge issued an order dismissing the case for failure to prosecute Petitioner’s appeal. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration citing the submitted ex parte motion but the court denied it.

ISSUE: W/N the mere failure of an Appellant to submit the mentioned memorandum
would empower the CFI to dismiss the appeal on the ground of failure to prosecute.

HELD: The court is not empowered by law to dismiss the appeal on the mere failure of an Appellant to submit his memorandum. The law provides that “Courts… shall decide… cases on the basis of the evidence and records transmitted from the city… courts: Provided… parties may submit memoranda… if so requested…” It cannot be interpreted otherwise than that the submission of memoranda is optional.


Loyola Grand Villas Homeowners Association Inc. vs. Court of Appeals
[GR 117188, 7 August 1997]

Facts: Loyola Grand Villas Homeowners Association (LGVHAI) was organized on 8 February 1983 as theassociation of homeowners and residents of the Loyola Grand Villas. It was registered with the HomeFinancing Corporation, the predecessor of Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation (HIGC), as the solehomeowners' organization in the said subdivision under Certificate of Registration 04-197. It was organizedby the developer of the subdivision and its first president was Victorio V. Soliven, himself the owner of thedeveloper. For unknown reasons, however, LGVHAI did not file its corporate by-laws. Sometime in 1988, theofficers of the LGVHAI tried to register its by-laws. They failed to do so. To the officers' consternation, theydiscovered that there were two other organizations within the subdivision ² the Loyola Grand VillasHomeowners (North) Association Incorporated (North Association) and the Loyola Grand VillasHomeowners (South) Association Incorporated (South Association). According to Emden Encarnaction andHoratio Aycardo, a non-resident and Soliven himself, respectively headed these associations. They also discovered that these associations had 5 registered homeowners each who were also the incorporators,directors and officers thereof. None of the members of the LGVHAI was listed as member of the NorthAssociation while 3 members of LGVHAI were listed as members of the South Association. The NorthAssociation was registered with the HIGC on 13 February 1989 under Certificate of Registration 04-1160covering Phases West II, East III, West III and East IV. It submitted its by-laws on 20 December 1988. In July1989, when Soliven inquired about the status of LGVHAI, Atty. Joaquin A. Bautista, the head of the legaldepartment of the HIGC, informed him that LGVHAI had been automatically dissolved for two reasons. First,it did not submit its by-laws within the period required by the Corporation Code and, second, there was non-user of corporate charter because HIGC had not received any report on the association's activities. Apparently,this information resulted in the registration of the South Association with the HIGC on 27 July 1989 coveringPhases West I, East I and East II. It filed its by-laws on 26 July 1989. These developments prompted theofficers of the LGVHAI to lodge a complaint with the HIGC. They questioned the revocation of LGVHAI'scertificate of registration without due notice and hearing and concomitantly prayed for the cancellation of thecertificates of registration of the North and South Associations by reason of the earlier issuance of a certificateof registration in favor of LGVHAI. On 26 January 1993, after due notice and hearing, Encarnacion andAycaydo obtained a favorable ruling from HIGC Hearing Officer Danilo C. Javier (HIGC Case RRM-5-89)recognizing the LGVHAI under Certificate of Registration 04-197 as the duly registered and existinghomeowners association for Loyola Grand Villas homeowners, and declaring the Certificates of Registrationof North and South Associations as revoked or cancelled, among others. The South Association appealed tothe Appeals Board of the HIGC. In its Resolution of 8 September 1993, the Board dismissed the appeal for lack of merit. Rebuffed, the South Association in turn appealed to the Court of Appeals. However, in theDecision of 23 August 1994, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Resolution of the HIGC Appeals Board. TheSouth Association filed the petition for review on certiorari.

Issue: Whether the LGVHAI's failure to file its by-laws within the period prescribed by Section 46 of theCorporation Code had the effect of automatically dissolving the said corporation.

Held: Automatic corporate dissolution for failure to file the by-laws on time was never the intention of the legislature. Moreover, even without resorting to the records of deliberations of the Batasang Pambansa, thelaw itself provides the answer to the issue. Taken as a whole and under the principle that the best interpreter of a statute is the statute itself (optima statuli interpretatix est ipsum statutum), Section 46 reveals the legislativeintent to attach a directory, and not mandatory, meaning for the word ''must" in the first sentence thereof. Thesecond paragraph of the law which allows the filing of the by-laws even prior to incorporation. This provisionin the same section of the Code rules out mandatory compliance with the requirement of filing the by-laws"within 1 month after receipt of official notice of the issuance of its certificate of incorporation by theSecurities and Exchange Commission." It necessarily follows that failure to file the by-laws within that perioddoes not imply the "demise" of the corporation. By-laws may be necessary for the "government" of thecorporation but these are subordinate to the articles of incorporation as well as to the Corporation Code andrelated statutes. There are in fact cases where by-laws are unnecessary to corporate existence or to the validexercise of corporate powers, thus: "In the absence of charter or statutory provisions to the contrary, by-lawsare not necessary either to the existence of a corporation or to the valid exercise of the powers conferred uponit, certainly in all cases where the charter sufficiently provides for the government of the body; and evenwhere the governing statute in express terms confers upon the corporation the power to adopt by-laws, the failure to exercise the power will be ascribed to mere non action which will not render void any acts of the corporation which would otherwise be valid." Although the Corporation Code requires the filing of by-laws, itdoes not expressly provide for the consequences of the non-filing of the same within the period provided for in Section 46. And even if such omission has been rectified by Presidential Decree 902-A, and under the express grant of power and authority to the SEC, there can be no automatic corporate dissolution simply because the incorporators failed to abide by the required filing of by-laws embodied in Section 46 of the Corporation Code. There is no outright "demise" of corporate existence. Proper notice and hearing are cardinal components of due process in any democratic institution, agency or society. In other words, the incorporators must be given the chance to explain their neglect or omission and remedy the same. That the failure to file by-laws is not provided for by the Corporation Code but in another law is of no moment. PD902-A, which took effect immediately after its promulgation on 11 March 1976, is very much apposite to the Code. The Corporation Code and PD 902-A are statutes in pari materia. Every statute must be so construedand harmonized with other statutes as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. As the "rules and regulations or private laws enacted by the corporation to regulate, govern and control its own actions, affairs and concerns and its stockholders or members and directors and officers with relation thereto and among themselves in their relation to it," by-laws are indispensable to corporations in this jurisdiction. These may not be essential to corporate birth but certainly, these are required by law for an orderly governance and management of corporations. Nonetheless, failure to file them within the period required by law by no means tolls the automatic dissolution of a corporation


QUIZON V. BALTAZAR [76 S 560 (1977)]

The RPC provides that an action for serious oral defamation prescribes in six months. The months should be computed by the regular 30 days, not the calendar months. Hence, where the crime was committed on November 11, 1963, and the action was filed exactly 180 days later, said action was filed on time.


GR. NO. 107508 April 25, 1996
1st Division Kapunan

FACTS: Ministry of Education Culture issued a check payable to Abante Marketing and drawn against Philippine National Bank (PNB). Abante Marketing, deposited the questioned check in its savings account with Capitol City Development Bank (CAPITOL). In turn, Capitol deposited the same in its account with the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) which, in turn, sent the check to PNB for clearing. PNB cleared the check as good and thereafter, PBCom credited Capitol's account for the amount stated in the check. However, PNB returned the check to PBCom and debited PBCom's account for the amount covered by the check, the reason being that there was a "material alteration" of the check number. PBCom, as collecting agent of Capitol, then proceeded to debit the latter's account for the same amount, and subsequently, sent the check back to petitioner. PNB, however, returned the check to PBCom. On the other hand, Capitol could not in turn, debit Abante Marketing's account since the latter had already withdrawn the amount of the check. Capitol sought clarification from PBCom and demanded the re-crediting of the amount. PBCom followed suit by requesting an explanation and re-crediting from PNB. Since the demands of Capitol were not heeded, it filed a civil suit against PBCom which in turn, filed a third-party complaint against PNB for reimbursement/indemnity with respect to the claims of Capitol. PNB, on its part, filed a fourth-party complaint against Abante Marketing.
The Trial Court rendered its decision, ordering PBCom to re-credit or reimburse; PNB to reimburse and indemnify PBCom for whatever amount PBCom pays to Capitol; Abante Marketing to reimburse and indemnify PNB for whatever amount PNB pays to PBCom. The court dismissed the counterclaims of PBCom and PNB. The appellate court modified the appealed judgment by ordering PNB to honor the check. After the check shall have been honored by PNB, the court ordered PBCom to re-credit Capitol's account with it the amount. PNB filed the petition for review on certiorari averring that under Section 125 of the NIL, any change that alters the effect of the instrument is a material alteration.

ISSUE: WON an alteration of the serial number of a check is a material alteration under the NIL.

HELD: NO, alteration of a serial number of a check is not a material alteration contemplated under Sec. 125 of the NIL.

RATIO: An alteration is said to be material if it alters the effect of the instrument. It means an unauthorized change in an instrument that purports to modify in any respect the obligation of a party or an unauthorized addition of words or numbers or other change to an incomplete instrument relating to the obligation of a party. In other words, a material alteration is one which changes the items which are required to be stated under Section 1 of the Negotiable Instruments Law.
In the present case what was altered is the serial number of the check in question, an item which is not an essential requisite for negotiability under Section 1 of the Negotiable Instruments Law. The aforementioned alteration did not change the relations between the parties. The name of the drawer and the drawee were not altered. The intended payee was the same. The sum of money due to the payee remained the same. The check's serial number is not the sole indication of its origin. The name of the government agency which issued the subject check was prominently printed therein. The check's issuer was therefore insufficiently identified, rendering the referral to the serial number redundant and inconsequential.


[G.R. No. 109902. August 02, 1994]

FACTS: Petitioners, as employees of private respondent National Steel Corporation (NSC), filed separate complaints for unfair labor practice, regularization and monetary benefits with the NLRC, Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch XII, Iligan City. The complaints were consolidated and after hearing, the Labor Arbiter declared petitioners “regular project employees who shall continue their employment as such for as long as such [project] activity exists,” but entitled to the salary of a regular employee pursuant to the provisions in the collective bargaining agreement. It also ordered payment of salary differentials.

The NLRC in its questioned resolutions modified the Labor Arbiter’s decision. It affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s holding that petitioners were project employees since they were hired to perform work in a specific undertaking — the Five Years Expansion Program, the completion of which had been determined at the time of their engagement and which operation was not directly related to the business of steel manufacturing. The NLRC, however, set aside the award to petitioners of the same benefits enjoyed by regular employees for lack of legal and factual basis.

The law on the matter is Article 280 of the Labor Code, where the petitioners argue that they are “regular” employees of NSC because: (i) their jobs are “necessary, desirable and work-related to private respondent’s main business, steel-making”; and (ii) they have rendered service for six (6) or more years to private respondent NSC.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners are considered “permanent employees” as opposed to being only “project employees” of NSC.

HELD: NO. Petition for Certiorari dismissed for lack of merit. NLRC Resolutions affirmed.

RATIO: Function of the proviso. Petitioners are not considered “permanent employees”. However, contrary to petitioners’ apprehensions, the designation of named employees as “project employees” and their assignment to a specific project are effected and implemented in good faith, and not merely as a means of evading otherwise applicable requirements of labor laws.

On the claim that petitioners’ service to NSC of more than six (6) years should qualify them as “regular employees”, the Supreme Court believed this claim is without legal basis. The simple fact that the employment of petitioners as project employees had gone beyond one (1) year, does not detract from, or legally dissolve, their status as “project employees”. The second paragraph of Article 280 of the Labor Code, quoted above, providing that an employee who has served for at least one (1) year, shall be considered a regular employee, relates to casual employees, not to project employees.


Abakada Guro Party List, et al vs Exec. Sec. Ermita

Facts: On May 24, 2005, the President signed into law Republic Act 9337 or the VAT Reform Act. Before the law took effect on July 1, 2005, the Court issued a TRO enjoining government from implementing the law in response to a slew of petitions for certiorari and prohibition questioning the constitutionality of the new law.

The challenged section of R.A. No. 9337 is the common proviso in Sections 4, 5 and 6: “That the President, upon the recommendationof the Secretary of Finance, shall, effective January 1, 2006, raise the rate of value-added tax to 12%, after any of the followingconditions has been satisfied:

(i) Value-added tax collection as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the previous year exceeds two and four-fifth percent (2 4/5%);

or (ii) National government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds one and one-half percent (1½%)”

Petitioners allege that the grant of stand-by authority to the President to increase the VAT rate is an abdication by Congress of its exclusive power to tax because such delegation is not covered by Section 28 (2), Article VI Consti. They argue that VAT is a tax levied on the sale or exchange of goods and services which can’t be included within the purview of tariffs under the exemption delegation since this refers to customs duties, tolls or tribute payable upon merchandise to the government and usually imposed on imported/exported goods. They also said that the President has powers to cause, influence or create the conditions provided by law to bring about the conditions precedent. Moreover, they allege that no guiding standards are made by law as to how the Secretary ofFinance will make the recommendation.

Issue: Whether or not the RA 9337's stand-by authority to the Executive to increase the VAT rate, especially on account of the recommendatory power granted to the Secretary of Finance, constitutes undue delegation of legislative power? NO

Held: The powers which Congress is prohibited from delegating are those which are strictly, or inherently and exclusively, legislative. Purely legislative power which can never be delegated is the authority to make a complete law- complete as to the time when it shall take effect and as to whom it shall be applicable, and to determine the expediency of its enactment. It is the nature of the power and not the liability of its use or the manner of its exercise which determines the validity of its delegation.

The exceptions are:
(a) delegation of tariff powers to President under Constitution
(b) delegation of emergency powers to President under Constitution
(c) delegation to the people at large
(d) delegation to local governments
(e) delegation to administrative bodies

For the delegation to be valid, it must be complete and it must fix a standard. A sufficient standard is one which defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it.

In this case, it is not a delegation of legislative power BUT a delegation of ascertainment of facts upon which enforcement andadministration of the increased rate under the law is contingent. The legislature has made the operation of the 12% rate effective January 1, 2006, contingent upon a specified fact or condition. It leaves the entire operation or non-operation of the 12% rate upon factual matters outside of the control of the executive. No discretion would be exercised by the President. Highlighting the absence of discretion is the fact that the word SHALL is used in the common proviso. The use of the word SHALL connotes a mandatory order. Its use in a statute denotes an imperative obligation and is inconsistent with the idea of discretion.

Thus, it is the ministerial duty of the President to immediately impose the 12% rate upon the existence of any of the conditions specified by Congress. This is a duty, which cannot be evaded by the President. It is a clear directive to impose the 12% VAT rate when the specified conditions are present.

Congress just granted the Secretary of Finance the authority to ascertain the existence of a fact--- whether by December 31, 2005, the VAT collection as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds 2 4/5 % or the national government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the previous year exceeds one and 1½%. If either of these two instances has occurred, the Secretary of Finance, by legislative mandate, must submit such information to the President.

In making his recommendation to the President on the existence of either of the two conditions, the Secretary of Finance is not acting as the alter ego of the President or even her subordinate. He is acting as the agent of the legislative department, to determine and declare the event upon which its expressed will is to take effect. TheSecretary of Finance becomes the means or tool by which legislative policy is determined and implemented, considering that he possesses all the facilities to gather data and information and has a much broader perspective to properly evaluate them. His function is to gather and collate statistical data and other pertinent information and verify if any of the two conditions laid out by Congress is present.

Congress does not abdicate its functions or unduly delegate power when it describes what job must be done, who must do it, and what is the scope of his authority; in our complex economy that is frequently the only way in which the legislative process can go forward.

There is no undue delegation of legislative power but only of the discretion as to the execution of a law. This is constitutionally permissible. Congress did not delegate the power to tax but the mere implementation of the law.


Salvacion v. Central Bank of the Philippines
278 SCRA 27

FACTS: Greg Bartelli, an American tourist, was arrested for committing four counts of rape and serious illegal detention against Karen Salvacion. Police recovered from him several dollar checks and a dollar account in the China Banking Corp. He was, however, able to escape from prison. In a civil case filed against him, the trial court awarded Salvacion moral, exemplary and attorney’s fees amounting to almost P1,000,000.00.

Salvacion tried to execute the judgment on the dollar deposit of Bartelli with the China Banking Corp. but the latter refused arguing that Section 11 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 exempts foreign currency deposits from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever.

Salvacion therefore filed this action for declaratory relief in the Supreme Court.

ISSUE: Should Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426, as amended by PD 1246, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act be made applicable to a foreign transient?

HELD: The provisions of Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246, insofar as it amends Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426, are hereby held to be INAPPLICABLE to this case because of its peculiar circumstances. Respondents are hereby required to comply with the writ of execution issued in the civil case and to release to petitioners the dollar deposit of Bartelli in such amount as would satisfy the judgment.

RATIO: Supreme Court ruled that the questioned law makes futile the favorable judgment and award of damages that Salvacion and her parents fully deserve. It then proceeded to show that the economic basis for the enactment of RA No. 6426 is not anymore present; and even if it still exists, the questioned law still denies those entitled to due process of law for being unreasonable and oppressive. The intention of the law may be good when enacted. The law failed to anticipate the iniquitous effects producing outright injustice and inequality such as the case before us.

The SC adopted the comment of the Solicitor General who argued that the Offshore Banking System and the Foreign Currency Deposit System were designed to draw deposits from foreign lenders and investors and, subsequently, to give the latter protection. However, the foreign currency deposit made by a transient or a tourist is not the kind of deposit encouraged by PD Nos. 1034 and 1035 and given incentives and protection by said laws because such depositor stays only for a few days in the country and, therefore, will maintain his deposit in the bank only for a short time. Considering that Bartelli is just a tourist or a transient, he is not entitled to the protection of Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246 against attachment, garnishment or other court processes.

Further, the SC said: “In fine, the application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. Eventually, if we rule that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 which exempts from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever, is applicable to a foreign transient, injustice would result especially to a citizen aggrieved by a foreign guest like accused Greg Bartelli. This would negate Article 10 of the New Civil Code which provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail.” 


Hagad vs Gozodadole
December 12, 1995

Facts: Criminal and administrative complaints were filed against respondents (Mayor AlfredoOuano, Vice-Mayor Paterno Cañete and Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Rafael Mayol, allpublic officials of Mandaue City, by Mandaue City Councilors Magno B. Dionson and Gaudiosa O.Bercede) by Mandaue City Councilors Magno B. Dionson and Gaudiosa O. Bercede with the Officeof the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas. The respondents were charged with having violatedR.A No. 3019, as amended; Articles 170 and 171 RPC; and R.A. No. 6713. Councilors Dionsonand Bercede averred that respondent officials, acting in conspiracy, had caused the alterationand/or falsification of Ordinance No. 018/92 by increasing the allocated appropriation thereinfrom P3,494,364.57 to P7M without authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod of MandaueCity.Aside from opposing the motion for preventive suspension, respondent officials prayed forthe dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the Ombudsman supposedly was bereft of jurisdiction to try, hear and decide the administrative case filed against them since, underSection 63 LGC, the power to investigate and impose administrative sanctions against said localofficials, as well as to effect their preventive suspension, had now been vested with the Office of the President. 

Dionson and Bercede argued that the LGC could not have repealed, abrogated orotherwise modified the pertinent provisions of the Constitution granting to the Ombudsman thepower to investigate cases against all public officials and that, in any case, the power of theOmbudsman to investigate local officials under the Ombudsman Act had remained unaffected bythe provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991. The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman denied the motion to dismiss and recommended thepreventive suspension of respondent officials, except City Budget Officer Pedro M. Guido, untilthe administrative case would have been finally resolved by the Ombudsman.A petition for prohibition, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and temporaryrestraining order, was filed by respondent officials with the RTC. Acting favorably on the pleas of petitioning officials, respondent Judge issued a restraining order directed at petitioner, enjoininghim from enforcing and/or implementing the questioned order of preventive suspension issuedin OMB-VIS-ADM-92-015.

Issue: WON the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the present case

Held: Yes. The general investigatory power of the Ombudsman is decreed by Section13(1,) Article X1, of the 1987 Constitution, while his statutory mandate to act onadministrative complaints is contained in Section 19 of R.A. No. 6770. Section 21 of thesame statute names the officials who could be subject to the disciplinary authority of theOmbudsman. Taken in conjunction with Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, petitioner thuscontends that the Office of the Ombudsman correspondingly has the authority to decreepreventive suspension on any public officer or employee under investigation by it.Respondent officials, upon the other hand, argue that the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman over local officials must be deemed to have been removed by thesubsequent enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991 which vests the authorityto investigate administrative charges, listed under Section 60 thereof, on various offices. In the case specifically of complaints against elective officials of provinces and highlyurbanized cities. 

Thus, respondents insist, conformably with Section 63 of the Local GovernmentCode, preventive suspension can only be imposed by: ". . . the President if therespondent is an elective official of a province, a highly urbanized or an independentcomponent city; . . ." There is nothing in the LGC to indicate that it has repealed, whether expressly orimpliedly, the pertinent provisions of the Ombudsman Act. The two statutes on thespecific matter in question are not so inconsistent, let alone irreconcilable, as to compelus to only uphold one and strike down the other. Well settled is the rule that repeals of laws by implication are not favored, and that courts must generally assume theircongruent application. The two laws must be absolutely incompatible, and a clearfinding thereof must surface, before the inference of implied repeal may be drawn. Therule is expressed in the maxim, interpretare et concordare leqibus esf optimusinterpretendi, i e, every statute must be so interpreted and brought into accord withother laws as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence. The fundament is that thelegislature should be presumed to have known the existing laws on the subject and notto have enacted conflicting statutes. Hence, all doubts must be resolved against anyimplied repeal, and all efforts should be exerted in order to harmonize and give effect toall laws on the subject.Certainly, Congress would not have intended to do injustice to the very reason thatunderlies the creation of the Ombudsman in the 1987 Constitution which "is to insulatesaid office from the long tentacles of officialdom." Quite interestingly, Sections 61 and63 of the present Local Government Code run almost parallel with the provisions thenexisting under the old code. The authority to conduct administrative investigation and to impose preventivesuspension over elective provincial or city officials was at that time entrusted to the Minister of Local Government until it became concurrent with the Ombudsman upon theenactment of R.A No. 6770, specifically under Sections 21 and 24 thereof, to the extentof the common grant The Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A No. 7160), in fine, did noteffect a change from what already prevailed, the modification being only in thesubstitution of the Secretary (the Minister) of Local Government by the Office of thePresident.Respondent local officials contend that the 6-month preventive suspension withoutpay under Section 24 of the Ombudsman Act is much too repugnant to the 60-daypreventive suspension provided by Section 63 of the Local Government Code to evennow maintain its application. 

The two provisions govern differently. In order to justify thepreventive suspension of a public official under Section 24 of R.A. No. 6770, the evidenceof guilt should be strong, and (a) the charge against the officer or employee shouldinvolve dishonestly, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) that charges should warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent'scontinued stay in office would prejudice the case filed against him. The Ombudsman canimpose the 6-month preventive suspension to all public officials, whether elective orappointive, who are under investigation. Upon the other hand, in imposing the shorterperiod of sixty (60) days of preventive suspension prescribed in the Local GovernmentCode of 1991 on an elective local official (at any time after the issues are joined), itwould be enough that (a) there is reasonable ground to believe that the respondent hascommitted the act or acts complained of, (b) the evidence of culpability is strong,(c) thegravity of the offense so warrants, or (d) the continuance in office of the respondentcould influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the recordsand other evidence.

The contention is without merit. The records reveal that petitioner issued the orderof preventive suspension after the filing (a) by respondent officials of their opposition onthe motion for preventive suspension and (b) by Mayor Ouano of his memorandum incompliance with the directive of petitioner Be that, as it may, we have heretofore heldthat, not being in the nature of a penalty, a preventive suspension can be decreed on anofficial under investigation after charges are brought and even before the charges areheard. Naturally, such a preventive suspension would occur prior to any finding of guiltor innocence.

Moreover, respondent officials were, in point of fact, put on preventive suspensiononly after petitioner had found, in consonance with our ruling in Buenaseda vs. Flavier  ,that the evidence of guilt was strong.Finally, it does appear, as so pointed out by the Solicitor General that respondentofficials' petition for prohibition, being an application for remedy against the findings of petitioner contained in his 21 September 1992 order, should not have been entertainedby the trial court.


Paras v. COMELEC
G.R. No. 123169 (November 4, 1996)

FACTS: A petition for recall was filed against Paras, who is the incumbent Punong Barangay. The recall election was deferred due to Petitioner’s opposition that under Sec. 74 of RA No. 7160, no recall shall take place within one year from the date of the official’s assumption to office or one year immediately preceding a regular local election. Since the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was set on the first Monday of May 2006, no recall may be instituted.

ISSUE: W/N the SK election is a local election.

HELD: No. Every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to its context, and it must be considered together and kept subservient to its general intent. The evident intent of Sec. 74 is to subject an elective local official to recall once during his term, as provided in par. (a) and par. (b). The spirit, rather than the letter of a law, determines its construction. Thus, interpreting the phrase “regular local election” to include SK election will unduly circumscribe the Code for there will never be a recall election rendering inutile the provision. In interpreting a statute, the Court assumed that the legislature intended to enact an effective law. An interpretation should be avoided under which a statute or provision being construed is defeated, meaningless, inoperative or nugatory.


Ursua vs Court of Appeals

FACTS: To Regulate the Use of Aliases” by the RTC of Davao City which was affirmed by the CA. Allegedly petitioner when asked by his counsel to take his letter of request to the Office of the Ombudsman because his law firm’s messenger Oscar Perez had personal matters to attend to, instead of writing his name wrote the name “Oscar Perez” when he was requested to sign. However, Loida Kahulugan who gave him the copy of complaint was able to know through Josefa Amparo that petitioner is not Oscar Perez. Loida reported the matter to the Deputy Ombudsman who recommended that petitioner be accordingly charged. Petitioner comes for review of his conviction to the SC as he reasserts his innocence.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner Cesario Ursua should be acquitted on the ground that he was charged under the wrong law.

HELD: The SC held that petitioner be acquitted of the crime charged. Time and again the SC has decreed that the statutes are to be construed in the light of the purposes to be achieved and the evil sought to be remedied. Thus in construing a statute the reason for its enactment should be kept in mind and the statute should be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. The court may consider the spirit and reason of the statute, where a literal meaning would lead to absurdity, contradiction, injustice, or would defeat the clear purpose of the law makers.


Agustin v Edu
88 SCRA 195

Facts: Leovillo Agustin, the owner of a Beetle, challenged the constitutionality of Letter ofInstruction 229 and its implementing order No. 1 issued by LTO Commissioner Romeo Edu. His car already had warning lights and did not want to use this. The letter was promulgation for the requirement of an early warning device installed on a vehicle to reduce accidents between moving vehicles and parked cars.
The LTO was the issuer of the device at the rate of not more than 15% of the acquisition cost.
The triangular reflector plates were set when the car parked on any street or highway for 30 minutes. It was mandatory. Petitioner: 1. LOI violated the provisions and delegation of police power, equal protection, and due process. 2. It was oppressive because the make manufacturers and car dealers millionaires at the expense f car owners at 56-72 pesos per set. Hence the petition. The OSG denied the allegations in par X and XI of the petition with regard to the unconstitutionality and undue delegation of police power to such acts. The Philippines was also a member of the 1968 Vienna convention of UN on road signs as a regulation. To the petitioner, this was still an unlawful delegation of police power.

Issue: Is the LOI constitutional? If it is, is it a valid delegation of police power?

Held: Yes on both. Petition dismissed.

Ratio: Police power, according to the case of Edu v Ericta, which cited J. Taney, is nothing more or less than the power of government inherent in every sovereignty. The case also says that police power is state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property to promote the general welfare. Primicias v Fulgoso- It is the power to describe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order, and general welfare of the people. J. Carazo- government limitations to protect constitutional rights did not also intend to enable a citizen to obstruct unreasonable the enactment of measures calculated to insure communal peace. There was no factual foundation on petitioner to refute validity. Ermita Malate Hotel-The presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of factual record in over throwing the statute. Brandeis- constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation in overthrowing the statute. Even if the car had blinking lights, he must still buy reflectors. His claims that the statute was oppressive was fantastic because the reflectors were not expensive. SC- blinking lights may lead to confusion whether the nature and purpose of the driver is concerned. Unlike the triangular reflectors, whose nature is evident because it’s installed when parked for 30 minutes and placed from 400 meters from the car allowing drivers to see clearly. There was no constitutional basis for petitioner because the law doesn’t violate any constitutional provision.
LOI 229 doesn’t force motor vehicle owners to purchase the reflector from the LTO. It only prescribes  requirement from any source. The objective is public safety. The Vienna convention on road rights and PD 207 both recommended enforcement for installation of ewd’s. Bother possess relevance in applying rules with the decvlaration of principles in the Constitution. On the unlawful delegation of legislative power, the petitioners have no settled legal doctrines.


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