Pals Bar Ops 2017 (Polit)

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DUCO v. COMELEC [G.R. No. 183366; August 19, 2009] Facts: • On Oct. 2007, simultaneous barangay and SK elections were held all over the country. • In Brgy Ibabao, Loay, Bohol, Duco was proclaimed as elected Punong Barangay. • Avelino, his opponent, initiated an election protest in the MCTC seeking a recount of the ballots in four precincts. o He alleged that the election results were spurious, fraudulent and did not indicate the true will of the electorate. • MCTC ruled in favor of Avelino. • Duco filed a notice of appeal and subsequently a motion for reconsideration. o COMELEC dismissed for failure to pay necessary motion fees and for failure to specify that evidence is insufficient to justify assailed COMELEC Order. Issue: WON COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing Duco’s appeal and in denying his Motion for Reconsideration Held: Yes and no. The court noted that the assailed resolution by COMELEC denying the Motion for Reconsideration was issued by the 1st Division when instead it should have been made by the

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

COMELEC en banc due to the matter thereby resolved being the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. The action of the 1st Division was contrary to Sec. 3, Art. IX-C of the Constitution which provides that “…provided that motions for reconsiderations of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc.” Moreover, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides that upon the filing of a motion for reconsideration of a Division, the Clerk of Court concerned shall notify the Presiding Commissioner, who shall thereafter certify the case to the Commission en banc. The Clerk of Court shall then calendar the motion for reconsideration for the resolution of the commission en banc within 10 days from the certification thereof. There is no showing that the clerk of court of the 1st Division notified the Presiding Commissioner; or that the Presiding Commissioner certified the case to the COMELEC en banc; or that the Clerk of Court of COMELEC en banc calendared the motion within 10 days from its certification. Overlooking the said constitutional violation, the court provides that there is no need to remand the motion for reconsideration to the COMELEC en banc for its proper resolution. Considering the urgent need for resolution of election cases, the court has decided that the petition for certiorari lacks merit. Firstly, Duco filed his appeal on time but paid the deficiency of his appeal fees beyond the 5-day reglementary period. This payment did not cure the defect because the date of payment of appeal fee is deemed the actual date of the filing of notice of appeal. This means the decision of the MCTC was already final and immutable, since his appeal is considered filed beyond the reglementary period. The court


will not bar any claim of good faith, excusable negligence or mistake in any failure to pay the full amount of filing fees in election cases. Thus, the plea for a liberal application of technical rules of procedure is undeserving of any sympathy. Such payment is not a mere technicality of law or procedure, but an essential requirement. An appeal is not a right but a mere statutory privilege that must be exercised strictly in accordance with the provisions set by law. Lastly, petitioner’s claim that MCTC was not furnished a copy of said Resolution lacks substance. The resolution was not unknown to the MCTC and to his counsel, because it has already been issued in 2002. Thus, the COMELEC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The petitioner was not able to discharge the burden of proving that there was not merely a reversible error but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of COMELEC for his issuance of such order.

RE: QUERY OF MR. ROGER C. PRIORESCHI RE EXEMPTION FROM LEGAL AND FILING FEES OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD FOUNDATION, INC. A. M. No. 09-6-9-SC, August 19, 2009 Facts: • Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc. is a foundation working for indigent and underprivileged people. • Mr. Roger C. Prioreschi, administrator of the Good Shepherd Foundation, Inc., wrote a letter addressed to the Chief Justice. o He asks the Court to apply to it the exemption from paying legal fees granted to indigent applicants. Issue: WON a foundation working for the indigent and underprivileged people can be granted the same exemption from payment of legal fees granted to indigent litigants. – NO Held: The basis of the exemption from legal and filing fees is the free access clause embodied in Art. 3, Sec. 11 of the Constitution which is implemented under Rule 3, Sec. 21 and Rule 141, Sec. 19 of the Rules of Court. The clear intent and precise language of said provisions of the Rules of Court indicate that only a natural party litigant may be regarded as an indigent litigant. Good Shepherd Foundation has a separate juridical personality from its members. It being a juridical person, it is not covered by the scope of the free

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017


access clause and the provisions of the Rules of Court. Furthermore, poverty is a condition that can only be experienced by a natural person. Other reasons for denying the expansion of the language of the law is that such allowance could be prone to abuse by corporations and that scrutiny of the necessary documents if a corporation were to comply would be time consuming for the courts.

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

GUZMAN v. COMELEC [GR No. 182380, August 28, 2009] Facts ● On March 31, 2004, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tugegarao City authorized City Mayor Ting to acquire two parcels of land for use as a public cemetery ● As payment, City Treasurer Garcia issued and released a Treasury Warrant ● Guzman then filed a complaint in the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Cagayan Province against both Ting and Garcia for violations of the Omnibus Election Code, for having undertaken construction of a public cemetery and disbursement of public funds withing 45 days prior to the May 9, 2004 elections due to the election ban having commenced on March 26, 2004, ending on May 9, 2004 ● The Acting Provincial Election Supervisor of Cagayan recommended dismissal of the complaint, which the COMELEC en banc adopted ○ It argued that acquisition of the two parcels of land was not considered within the term public works, hence this present case ● This is a petition under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 assailing the resolution of the COMELEC of the dismissing the criminal complaints against Mayor Randolph Ting and City Treasurer Salvacion Garcia, both of Tugegarao City


The two were charged with allegedly violating prohibitions against: 1) disbursing public funds and undertaking public works; and 2) issuing treasury warrant in payment ○ Guzman alleges that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in exonerating Ting and Garcia, based on its finding that the acquisition of the land for use as a public cemetery and the issuance of treasury warrants

Issues 1. WON the acquisition of lots during the election ban was covered by the term public works as to be in violation of Section 261 (v) of the Omnibus Election Code 2. WON the issuance of Treasury Warrants during the period of the election ban was in violation of Section 261 (w) of the Omnibus Election Code Held 1. NO. To be liable for violation of Section 261 (v) of the Omnibus Election Code, four essential elements must concur: 1) A public official releases, disburses or expends any public funds; 2) The release, disbursement or expenditure of such funds must be within forty-five days before regular elections; 3) The release, disbursement or expenditure of funds is for any and all kinds of public works,

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

and; 4) The release, disbursement or expenditure of the public funds should not cover any exceptions of Section 261 (v) of the OEC. The Local Government Code of 1991 defines public works to be the fixed infrastructures and facilities owned and operated by the government for public use and enjoyment. Likewise the Administrative Code in defining the Declaration of Poliy of the DPWH states that the said department has the responsibility in: “The planning design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure facilities, especially national highways, flood control and water resources development systems and other public works in accordance with national development objectives…” Thus only fixed infrastructures for the use of the public are regarded as public works. This construction conforms to the rule of ejusdem generis. The Omnibus Election Code construes public works as any building or structure on land or to structures (such as roads or dams) built by the Government for public use and paid for by public funds. Public works are clearly works, whether of construction or adaptation undertaken and carried out by the national, state, or municipal authorities, designed to subserve some purpose or public necessity, use or convenience, such as public buildings, roads, aqueducts, parks, etc:; or, in other words, all fixed works construed for public use 2. THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE TO CHARGE TING AND GARCIA. The OSG posits that there are two methods of violation of Section 261 (w) of the OEC: a). By any person who, within 45 days preceding a regular election and 30 days


before a special election, undertakes the construction of any public works except those exempted by law or b) by any person who issues, uses or avails of treasury warrants or any device undertaking future delivery of money, goods or other things of value chargeable against public funds within 45 days preceding a regular election and 30 days before a special election. The court concurred with the OSG’s position. There was a probable cause to believe that Section 261 (w), subparagraph (b) of the OEC was violated by Ting and garcia when they issued a treasury warrant during the election ban period. The COMELEC en banc gravely abused its discretion in dismissing the election case for lack of merit.

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SUHURI v. COMELEC [G.R. No. 181869; October 2, 2009] Facts: • Ismunlatip Suhuri ran for the position of Municipal Mayor of Patikul, Sulu during the 2007 national and local elections. He was opposed by Kabir Hayudini and a third candidate, Datu Jun Tarsum. • During the canvassing, Suhuri orally objected to the inclusion of the election returns from 25 precincts. o He asserted that the 25 election returns were (1) obviously fabricated (2) tampered with or falsified (3) prepared under duress and (4) characterized by statistical improbability. • The Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) ruled against Suhuri by rejecting his objections to the 25 election returns. • Suhuri filed his notice of appeal. • MBC proclaimed Hayudini as the duly elected Mayor. • Suhuri filed a petition-appeal with the COMELEC. This was assigned to the Second Division. • Suhuri filed an election protest ad cautelam in the RTC in Patikul, Sulu to contest the results of the elections. • RTC held the election protest in abeyance given the pending pre-proclamation controversy. • Suhuri brought a petition to declare a failure of election with urgent motion to suspend and/or annul the canvass the election returns. • COMELEC en banc denied the petition to declare a failure of election for insufficiency of evidence.


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COMELEC Second Division gave due course to Suhuri’s petition-appeal. COMELEC Second Division excluded the 25 questioned electoral returns and voided the proclamation of Hayudini as the duly elected Mayor. Hayudini moved for the reconsideration of the COMELEC Second Division resolution. Due to the fact that the required majority vote necessary to reverse the COMELEC Second Division resolution was not reached, COMELEC en banc conducted a re-hearing. COMELEC en banc granted the motion for reconsideration. Thus the proclamation of Hayudini was declared valid.

is without jurisdiction to go beyond or behind the election returns and to investigate election irregularities. In a special civil action for certiorari, the petitioner carries the burden of proving not merely reversible error but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction non the part of the public respondent for its issuance of the impugned order. In this case, Suhuri did not discharge his burden as petitioner. The COMELEC cannot look behind or beyond the 25 contested election returns in a preproclamation controversy. Thus Court affirmed COMELEC en banc resolution, and confirmed the proclamation of Hayudini as the duly elected Mayor of the Municipality of Patikul, Sulu in the 2007 local elections.

Issue: WON there were proper grounds for a pre-proclamation controversy? Held: NO. Not every question bearing on or arising from the elections may constitute a ground for a pre-proclamation controversy. Sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code enumerates the scope of a preproclamation controversy; the enumeration is restrictive and exclusive. As a result, the petition for a pre-proclamation controversy must fail in the absence of any clear showing or proof that the election returns canvassed are incomplete or contain material defects; or appear to have been tampered with, falsified or prepared under duress; or contain discrepancies in the votes credited to any candidate, the difference of which affects the result of the election. To be noted too is that in a pre-proclamation controversy, the COMELEC is restricted to an examination of the election returns and

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Mayor Tolentino vs. COMELEC

[G.R. Nos. 187958, 187961, and 187962; April 7, 2010] • Facts: • In the May 14, 2007 elections, Tolentino and De Castro were proclaimed as the duly elected Mayor and Vice-Mayor, respectively. • Ricardo contested the election results in 116 ballot boxes by filing 3 separate election protests against the proclaimed winning candidates for Mayor, VM and Members of the Sanggunian Panlungsod. • After finding the protests sufficient in form and substance, the COMELEC Division required the City Treasurer of Tagaytay to inventory the protested ballot boxes and turn them over to the Election Officer for delivery and submission to the COMELEC’s Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) in Manila. • The delivery and submission took place only in Dec. 17, 2008 due to the actions of Tolentino and Castro in suspending the transmittal. • Further delay occurred because 44 of the 116 contested ballot boxes became involved in the election protest of Koko Pimentel against Sen. Migz Zubiri pending in the SET. These were set aside due to apparent sealing defects or irregularities. • On Jan. 6, 2009, upon receipt of the 72 ballot boxes, the Division ordered the constitution of the 4 Revision Committees.

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Tolentino and De Castro moved for the reconsideration of the order. -GRANTED The Division suspended the revision proceedings until all the contested ballots were already in the custody of the COMELEC. But lifted the suspension when the SET agreed to conduct the revision proceedings in the SET premises. De Castro filed a verified omnibus motion requesting the Division to formulate the mechanics, guidelines and procedure for the simultaneous revision of the ballots for the 3 distinct positions protested, and to defer the revision proceedings until after all pending incidents had been resolved. –DENIED De Castro assailed the denial. Meanwhile, Tolentino filed a supplement to his petition asserting that the revision proceedings conducted within the SET premises involved only 28 ballot boxes because the Revision Committee suspended the revision of the set-aside 16 ballot boxes.

Issue: WON the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the revision, thereby depriving Tolentino and De Castro of due process? –NO. Held: • NO. The SC held that the order of revision and the revision of ballots synchronized with that of the SET were proper.


In the case of Air Manila, Inc. v. Balatbat, the procedural due process was simplified into four basic rights, as follows: 1. The right to notice, be it actual or constructive, of the institution of the proceedings that may affect a person’s legal right; 2. The right to a reasonable opportunity to appear and defend his rights and to introduce witnesses and relevant evidence in his favor; 3. The right to a tribunal so constituted as to give him reasonable assurance of honesty and impartiality, and one of competent jurisdiction; and 4. The right to a finding or decision of that tribunal supported by substantial evidence presented at the hearing or at least ascertained in the records or disclosed to the parties. Gauged upon the foregoing guidelines, Tolentino’s complaint was unwarranted. o He was not denied procedural due process. o The Division had required him to provide the names of his revisors whose tasks included the raising of objections, the claiming votes for him, or the contesting of the votes in favor of his opponent. He has neither alleged being deprived of this opportunity, nor indicated any situation in which his revisors were denied access to the revision proceedings. He could not also insist that the COMELEC did not consider his legal and factual

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

arguments; besides, he could still raise them in his memorandum should he chose to. During the revision stage, he should raise all objections, present his evidence and witnesses, and file his memorandum before the case would be submitted for resolution. Thus, the Division did not commit any abuse of discretion, least of all grave, in its issuance of the assailed orders. Its actuations relative to the conduct of the revision proceedings in the three election protests were far from capricious or whimsical. o The Division issued ground rules with sufficient notice to the parties, who were thereby adequately shielded from partiality or unfairness during the process of revision. The Division should instead be commended for carrying out its mandate to expedite the disposition of the present election controversies. In an election protest, the electoral tribunal has an imperative duty to promptly ascertain by all means within its command the candidates the electorate have chosen. It bears stressing that in the exercise of the plenitude of its powers to protect the integrity of the elections, the COMELEC should not and must not be straitjacketed by procedural rules in resolving election disputes. The nature of election protests cases often makes the COMELEC face varied situations calling for the exercise of its general authority to adopt means necessary to effect its powers and jurisdiction. The COMELEC, in its performance of its duties, must be given a considerable latitude in


adopting means and methods that would insure the accomplishment of the great objective for which it was created to promote free, orderly, and honest elections. The choice of the means by the COMELEC should not be interfered with, unless the means were clearly illegal or the choice constituted grave abuse of discretion. Thus, a liberal construction of its rules should be conceded to the COMELEC

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CIBAC v. COMELEC GR No. 179431-32, June 22, 2010 Facts: • Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) is a dulyorganized party-list. • CIBAC submitted a list of 5 nominees from which its representatives will be chosen. o The nominees are Villanueva (CIBAC’s president), Lokin, Jr., Cruz-Gonzales, Tugna, and Galang. o This list was also published in newspapers of general circulation. • Prior to the election, CIBAC, through Villanueva, filed a certificate of nomination, substitution, and amendment of the list of nominees. o The new list consist of Villanueva, Cruz-Gonzales, and Borje. • Following the close of polls, Villanueva sent a letter to COMELEC Chairman Abalos transmitting a signed petition of CIBAC members confirming the withdrawal of Lokin, Tugna, and Galang. • CIBAC filed with COMELEC en banc a motion seeking the proclamation of Lokin as its second nominee as it is entitled to a second seat based on preliminary computations. o This motion was opposed by Villanueva and CruzGonzales. • COMELEC, as National Board of Canvassers, issued a resolution proclaiming CIBAC as one of the winning partylist.


Another resolution was issued by COMELEC proclaiming CIBAC to an additional seat. Ricardo de los Santos, the secretary of CIBAC, requested the secretary general of the House of Representatives to have Lokin be sworn in by Speaker Jose de Venecia. o De los Santos replied that he could not do so because he was notified by the COMELEC regarding the issue in CIBAC’s list of nominees. COMELEC en banc issued a resolution declaring that CIBAC’s list of nominees is composed of Villanueva, CruzGonzales, and Borje and the withdrawal of Lokin, Tugno, and Galang. o COMELEC ruled that such change was done by Villanueva within his power as CIBAC’s president. o As a result, Cruz-Gonzales became the official second nominee of CIBAC. Hence, Lokin seeks through certiorari and mandamus to compel COMELEC to declare him as the official second nominee of CIBAC. o He assails Resolution No. 7804 (promulgating the IRR for RA 7941) and COMELEC’s resolution allowing the amended list of nominees as unconstitutional because it expands the scope of RA 7941 (Party-list System Act). o COMELEC counters that the proper remedy should be an election protest with the HRET and not a petition with the Court. o

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Issues: (1) Whether or not the Court has jurisdiction. – YES (2) Whether or not Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 or the IRR is unconstitutional and violates the Party-List System Act. – YES Held: (1) YES. The court has jurisdiction over the issue of Lokin because it is neither an election protest or a proper subject for quo warranto. Hence, a petition for certiorari and mandamus is the proper remedy. Lokin’s case is not an issue wherein one nominee of a party-list seeks to unseat a nominee of another party-list nor is it an issue imputing ineligibility or disloyalty of Cruz-Gonzales to the Republic of the Philippines. Lokin’s case is one in which he seeks to be seated as the proper second nominee of CIBAC. • An election protest proposes to oust the winning candidate from office. It is strictly a contest between the defeated and the winning candidates, based on the grounds of electoral frauds and irregularities, to determine who between them has actually obtained the majority of the legal votes cast and is entitled to hold the office. It can only be filed by a candidate who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for in the preceding elections. • A special civil action for quo warranto refers to questions of disloyalty to the State, or of ineligibility of the winning candidate. The objective of the action is to unseat the ineligible person from the office, but not to


install the petitioner in his place. Any voter may initiate the action, which is, strictly speaking, not a contest where the parties strive for supremacy because the petitioner will not be seated even if the respondent may be unseated. The proper remedy is a petition for certiorari under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court which seeks to review the judgments or resolutions of COMELEC.

For an IRR to be valid, the following requisites must be present: o Its promulgation must be authorized by the Legislature; o It must be within the scope of the authority given by the Legislature; o It must be promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure; and o It must be reasonable.

(2) YES. RA 7941 provides that no change of names or alteration of the order of nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the (1) nominee dies, (2) withdraws in writing his nomination, or (3) becomes incapacitated. On the other hand, the IRR includes as a fourth exception the instance when the nominee withdraws his acceptance to the nomination. • The Court noted that adding the fourth ground is against the object of RA 7941. It will promote arbitrariness on the part of the party-list and will not give the electorate a chance of making an intelligent and informed choice. • Since such provision or additional exception in the IRR is void, COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in allowing the amendment of the list of nominees of CIBAC after it has submitted an original list to COMELEC. Hence, the proclamation of Cruz-Gonzales was annulled and set-aside and the Court ordered COMELEC to have Lokin be proclaimed as one of the representatives for CIBAC.

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GOMEZ-CASTILLO v. COMELEC [G.R. No. 187231; June 22, 2010] Facts: • Minerva Gomez-Castillo and Strike Revilla ran for Municipal Mayor of Bacoor, Cavite during the May 14, 2007 local elections. • After the Municipal Board of Canvassers proclaimed Revilla as the elected Municipal Mayor, Castillo filed an Election Protest Ad Cautelam in the RTC in Bacoor, Cavite. o The election protest was raffled to Branch 19. • Revilla sought the dismissal of the election protest, alleging that it was filed in the wrong Branch of the RTC. o Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 54-2007 designated Branch 22 of the RTC in Imus, Cavite and Branch 88 of the RTC in Cavite City to hear, try and decide election contests involving municipal officials in Cavite. • Branch 19 dismissed Castillo’s election protest for being violative of SCAO No. 54-2007. • Castillo presented a notice of appeal. • RTC ordered that the complete records of the protest be forwarded to the Election Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) of the COMELEC. • COMELEC First Division dismissed the appeal for being brought beyond the five-day reglementary period prescribed in Sec. 3 of Rule 22 of COMELEC Rules of Procedure. o Although Castillo received the November 21, 2008 order of RTC on December 15, 2008, she filed the

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notice of appeal on December 23, 2008, a day too late to appeal. Castillo moved for reconsideration of dismissal of appeal. COMELEC denied the motion because Castillo did not pay the motion fees required under Sec. 7 (f), Rule 40 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Castillo brought the present recourse, contending that the COMELEC’s orders were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Issues: 1) Does Sec. 13 of Rule 2 of A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC designate the RTC Branch that has jurisdiction over an election contest, or does it merely designate the proper venue for filing? 2) WON Castillo’s tardy appeal should be dismissed? Held: 1) It merely designates the proper venue for filing. Jurisdiction over election contests involving municipal offices has been vested in the RTC by Section 251, Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 (Omnibus Election Code). On the other hand, A.M. No. 074-15-SC, by specifying the proper venue where such cases may be filed and heard, only spelled out the manner by which an RTC with jurisdiction exercises such jurisdiction. Like other rules on venue, A.M. No. 07-4-15-SC was designated to ensure a just and orderly administration of justice and is permissive. Castillo’s filing her protest in the RTC in Bacoor, Cavite amounted only to a wrong choice of


venue. The dismissal of the protest by Branch 19 constituted plain error, considering that her wrong choice did not affect the jurisdiction of the RTC. What Branch 19 should have done under the circumstances was to transfer the protest to Branch 22 of the RTC in Imus, Cavite, which was the proper venue. 2) YES. Although Castillo had received the November 21, 2008 order of the RTC on December 15, 2008, she filed her notice of appeal only on December 23, 2008 or eight days after her receipt of the decision. Her appeal was properly dismissed for being too late under the aforequoted rule of COMELEC. The period of appeal and the perfection of appeal are not mere technicalities to be so lightly regarded, for they are essential to the finality of judgments, a notion underlying the stability of our judicial system.

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DE CASTRO v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL (JBC) and PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO [GR No. 191002, March 17, 2010] Facts ● The controversy in the case arose from the then-forthcoming compulsory retirement of Chief Justice Puno on May 17, 2010 or seven days after the presidential election. Under Section 4(1), in relation to Section 9, Article VIII, that vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. ● The JBC passed a resolution stating that it will open applications or recommendations and deliberate on the list of candidates for Chief Justice, however, as to the time to submit the list, the JBC said that it “welcomes and will consider all views on the matter” taking into consideration the seemingly incongruent provisions banning midnight appointments in Article VII and the imperative duty of the president to fill out a vacancy in the Supreme Court within ninety days from the occurrence thereof ● The OSG submitted its comment stating that the incumbent President can appoint the successor of Chief Justice Puno upon his retirement by May 17, 2010 ○ The OSG contends that the incumbent President may appoint the next Chief Justice, because the prohibition under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution does not apply to appointments in the Supreme Court. It argues that any vacancy in the


Supreme Court must be filled within 90 days from its occurrence, pursuant to Section 4(1), Article VIII of the Constitution It argues that the framers of the Constitution neither mentioned nor referred to the ban against midnight appointments or its effects on such period, vice versa Had the framers intended the prohibition to apply to the Supreme Court, they could have expressly stated so in the Constitution The Valenzuela case involved the appointment of RTC judges, the situation now refers to the appointment of the next Chief Justice to which the prohibition does not apply At any rate, Valenzuela even recognized that there might be the imperative need for an appointment during the period of the ban

were not arbitrarily or whimsically done by the framers. It was the intention of the framers that the awesome powers of the government were allocated among the three great departments. Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15, Article VII to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court, they could have explicitly done so. They could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. They would have easily and surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15, Article VII as being equally applicable to the appointment of members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself, most likely in Section 4(1). Moreover, the usage of in Section 4(1), Article VIII of the word shall an imperative, operating to impose a duty may be enforced should not be disregarded. Thereby Section 4(1) imposes on the President the imperative duty to make an appointment of a Member of the Supreme Court within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy. The failure of the President to do so will be a clear disobedience to the Constitution.

Issue WON the ban on midnight appointments in Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution applies to appointments in the Supreme Court as well? Held NO. The deliberations of the Constitutional COmmission reveal that the framers evoted time to meticulously drafting, styling and arranging the Constitution. Such meticulousness indicates that the organization and arrangement of the provisions of the Constitution

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Facts: • Sps. Yusay owned a parcel of land with an area of 1,044 sq. meters between 2 streets in Mandaluyong City. o Half of their land was used as their residence, while the rest was rented out to nine other families. o Allegedly, the land was their only property and only source of income. • On Oct. 1997, the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Mandaluyong City adopted a Resolution authorizing the Mayor to take necessary steps for the expropriation of the land of Sps. Yusay o This was said to be for the purpose of developing it for low cost housing for the less privileged but deserving city inhabitants. • Despite such resolution being only the initial step, Sps. Yusay became alarmed and filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition in the RTC o They prayed for the annulment of the Resolution for being unconstitutional, confiscatory, improper, and without force and effect. • RTC ruled in favor of the City saying that certiorari did not lie against a legislative act of the City Government. • On Motion for Reconsideration, RTC set aside its decision and declared the resolution null and void.

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

The passage of said Resolution would already pave the way for the City to deprive Sps. Yusay and their heirs of their only property without due process CA reversed RTC’s second decision claiming presumption of regularity and validity of laws. o

[G.R. No. 156664; April 6, 2011] •

Issue: WON the validity of a resolution may be assailed even before its implementation? Held: No. Certiorari does not lie to assail the issuance of a resolution by the Sanggunian Panglungsod which was not part of the Judiciary settling an actual controversy involving legally demandable and enforceable rights when it adopted the Resolution but a legislative and policy making body declaring its sentiment or opinion. Moreover, the LGC required the City to pass an ordinance and not adopt a resolution. Such resolution that merely expresses the sentiment of the Sangguniang Panglungsod is not sufficient for the purpose of initiating an expropriation proceeding. Prohibition also does not lie against expropriation considering that only a resolution expressing the desire of the Sangguniang Panglungsod to expropriate the property was issued. As of then, it was premature for Sps. Yusay to mount any judicial challenge. Before the City, as the expropriating authority, files a verified complaint, no expropriation proceeding could be said to exist. Until then, Sps. Yusay, as the owners, could not also be dperived of heir property under the power of eminent dominion.


NAPOCOR v. Heirs of Sangkay [G.R. No. 165828; August 24, 2011] Facts: • Pursuant to its legal mandate under RA 6395, NPC undertook the Agus River Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in the 1970s to generate electricity for Mindanao. o The project included the construction of several underground tunnels to be used in diverting the water flow from the Agus River to the hydroelectric plants. • The Heirs of Sangkay sued NPC in the RTC for recovery damages and property, with the alternative prayer for payment of just compensation. o They alleged that (1) the underground tunnel had been constructed without their knowledge and consent (2) the presence of the tunnel deprived them of the agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential value of their land, and (3) their land had become an unsafe place for habitation. • NPC countered that the Heirs of Sangkay had no right of compensation, and assuming that they were entitled to compensation, their cause of action already prescribed. o NPC argued that the Heirs of Sangkay had no right to compensation under Sec. 3 (f) of RA 6395, under which a mere legal easement of their land was established. And should they be entitled to compensation, their cause of action already prescribed due to the tunnel having been constructed

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in 1979. By reason of the tunnel being an apparent and continuous easement, any action arising from such easement prescribed in five years. RTC ruled in favor of the Heirs of Sangkay. NPC had concealed the construction of the tunnel in 1979 and had since continuously denied its existence. o Prayer for removal or dismantling of tunnel was denied. However RTC ordered payment just compensation. o RTC fixed the just compensation at P500/square meter based on the testimony of Dionisio Banawan, OIC-City Assessor of Iligan City. RTC based its fixing of just compensation on the prevailing market value at the time of the filing of the complaint, instead of reckoning from the time of taking. NPC appealed to the CA. CA affirmed the decision of RTC.

Issue: WON the Heirs of Sangkay are entitled to just compensation? Held: YES. Firstly, the five-year prescriptive period under Sec. 3 (i) of RA 6395 is applicable only to an action for damages, and does not extend to an action to recover just compensation. An action to recover just compensation, also known as inverse condemnation, has the objective to recover the value of the property taken by the governmental defendant. Just compensation is the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator.


On the other hand, action for damages seeks to vindicate a legal wrong through damages, which may be actual, moral, nominal, temperate, liquidated or exemplary. Secondly, NPC is liable to pay not merely an easement fee but rather the full compensation for the land. It is settled that the taking of private property for public use, to be compensable, need not be an actual physical taking or appropriation. Compensable taking includes destruction, restriction, diminution, or interruption of the rights of ownership or of the common and necessary use and enjoyment of the property in a lawful manner, lessening or destroying its value. NPC then should pay just compensation for the entire land. Lastly, the valuation of P500/square meter is binding given that NPC did not assail the valuation in the lower courts. As for the reckoning value, Court held that value should be determined at the time of the filing of the complaint in order to prevent NCC from unjustly profiting from its deliberate acts of denying due process of law to the Heirs of Sangkay.

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[GR No. 188995, August 24, 2011] Facts • This case involved expropriation of three parcels of land in Rosario Cavite, by the petitioner, Export Processing Zone Authority, of land belonging to Salud Jimenez (who would later be represented by the Estate of Salud Jimenez). • Export Processing Zone Authority filed expropriation cases in May 15, 1981 • Originally, three parcels of land were subject of expropriation, Lots 1408, 1409-B-2 and 1406. o Lot 1406 was later subdivided into Lots 1406 A and B during the pendency of the case For this case, Lot 1406 B is of importance • The RTC sustained the right of EPZA to expropriate the land except Lot 1406-A 1991, which led EPZA to file an appeal to the Court of Appeals. • EPZA and the Estate of Salud Jimenez later entered into a compromise agreement where the parties agreed that: o EPZA would withdraw its appeal over the release of 1406 A from expropriation while the Estate would waive its claim for damages because of the possession by EPZA over the parcel of land since 1981 o The Estate would transfer Lot 1406-B in exchange for Lot 434, as just compensation


• •

The CA remanded the case to the RTC and the RTC approved the compromise agreement in August of 1993 The EPZA was not able to transfer the title of Lot 434 to the Estate because the registered owner was Progressive Realty Inc., not EPZA The Estate filed a motion to partially annul the compromise agreement which was granted. The EPZA appealed from this decision by the RTC and the RTC which the CA granted. o The CA remanded the case to the RTC to determine just compensation for Lot 1406 B o The RTC determined that the just compensation should be the value of Lot 1406 B in 1993 when the compromise agreement was entered into, not 1981, when the actual taking occurred o EPZA appealed from this decision, hence this present case

had in fact settled between themselves the question of what is just compensation and that had intended that the Estate would be compensated on the basis of the prevailing values at the time of the agreement. What the compromise agreement only set out to do is to determine the mode of compensation which is by land swap. Since such is not possible the value of the Lot 1406 B or Lot 434 in 1993 should be the basis for the determination of just compensation 2. YES. The EPZA should have known the inefficacy of land swapping as a mode of just compensation. In view of the long delay in the payment of just compensation to the Estate, an interest rate of 12% is imposed from the approval of the compromise agreement until full payment.

Issues 1. WON just compensation should be determined from the value or assessment rate prevailing in 1981 (date of taking) or 1993 (date of the compromise agreement) or 1997 (the date when the compromise agreement was set aside) 2. WON the Estate is entitled to legal interest Held 1. Just compensation should be determined from the value or assessment rate prevailing in 1993. When the parties signed the compromise agreement and the same was approved, they

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LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES V. SUNTAY [GR. No. 188376; December 14, 2011] Facts: • Federico Suntay owned land situated in Sta. Lucia, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. • In 1972, the Department of Agrarian Reform expropriated 948.1911 hectares of Suntay’s land pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 27. o Land Bank and DAR fixed the value of the expropriated portion at P4,497.50/hectare, for a total valuation of P4,251,141. • Rejecting the valuation, however, Suntay filed a petition for determination of just compensation in the Office of the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator of Region IV, DARAB. • On January 24, 2001, after summary administrative proceeding, RARAD Mias rendered a decision fixing the total just compensation for the expropriated portion at P157,541,951.30. • On October 11, 2007, the Supreme Court promulgated its decision in Land Bank v. Suntay (G.R. No. 157903) holding that it is the Regional Trial Courts sitting as Special Agrarian Courts which has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the determination of just compensation. o Adjudicators are merely empowered to make a preliminary determination of the compensation, subject to the ultimate power of the courts.

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Suntay alleged that the RARAD Decision had already attained finality in DARAB v. Lubrica because the Land Bank failed to file the petition within the reglementary period, notwithstanding its recourse to the special agrarian court.

Issue: WON a final and executory decision may be reversed, modified, or set aside by the Supreme Court en banc Held: NO. Such insinuation runs afoul of the well settled doctrine of immutability of judgments. Although Article VIII, Section 4 (1) of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the discretion to sit either en banc or in divisions of three, five, or seven Members, the divisions are not considered separate and distinct courts. Nor is a hierarchy of courts thereby established within the Supreme Court, which remains a unit notwithstanding that it also works in divisions. The actions taken and the decisions rendered by any of the divisions are those of the Court itself, considering that the divisions are not considered separate and distinct courts but as divisions of one and the same court. Lastly, the only thing that the Constitution allows the banc to do in this regard is to reverse a doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court en banc or in division.



[G.R. No. 176951; February 15, 2011] • Facts: • Congress filed 57 bills for the conversion of 57 municipalities into component cities. o Only 33 were enacted into law. 24 remained as pending bills, with 16 municipalities already converted into component cities through the Cityhood Laws • A Senate Bill was introduced to amend LGC o The amendment sought to increase the income requirement to qualify for conversion into a city from P20M average annual income to P100M locally generated income • The said amendment was signed into law as RA 9009 • After he effectivity of RA 9009, the Congress soght to exempt from the income requirement in the law the 24 municipalities o However, Senate did not approve the Resolution exempting them • During a Senate session, Sen. Pimentel asserted passing the Resolution, suggesting that the House of Representatives file individual bills. o Heeding the advice, 16 municipalities filed individual cityhood bills, which all had a provision exempting the municipality from the P100M requirement

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Both Houses of Congress approved the individual cityhood bills. Petitions were then filed seeking to declare the cityhood laws unconstitutional for violation of Art. X of the Constitution, as well as violation of the equal protection clause. o The conversion of the municipalities into cities will reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment. On Nov. 2008, the court held that the exemption clauses in the pending bills were unconstitutional because they were not written in the LGC.

Issue: WON the Cityhood Laws are unconstitutional and violative of the equal protection clause Held: No. The phrase in the Constitution “in accordance with the criteria established in the LGC” was put to lay stress that it is Congress alone and no other which can impose the criteria. Since the GC is a creation of Congress, Congress also has the power to alter or modify as it did when it enacted RA 9009. This power of amendment of laws was again exercised when Congress enacted the Cityhood Laws. The exemption clauses found in the individual Cityhood Laws are the express articulation of that intent to exempt respondent municipalities from the coverage of RA 9009, which amended the LGC. Therefore, since the Cityhood Laws explicitly amended the 16


municipalities from RA 9009, such Cityhood Laws are also amendments to the LGC itself.


As to the equal protection clause, the favorable treatment accorded to the 16 municipalities rests on substantial distinction. It must be noted that the 16 municipalities were going through the process of becoming a city when RA 9009 was passed. It would be unfair if they were suddenly restricted by the sudden increase in the revenue requirement. The classification was also germane to the purpose of law because it was meant to reduce inequality brought by the amendment, which was non-retroactive since it was a mere declaration of prior qualification with the non-retroactive effect of RA 9009. The constitutional protection extends to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction. Artificial persons, however, are entitled to protection only insofar as their property is concerned. League of cities cannot invoke equal protection clause because no deprivation of property results by virtue of the enactment of the Cityhood Laws. It is also presumptuous on the part of the League of Cities membercities to stake a claim on the IRA as the IRA is yet to be allocated. For final consideration, the existence of cities consequent to the approval of the creating, but challenged cityhood laws in the plebiscites held in the affected LGUs is now an operative fact. Thus, the Cityhood Laws are constitutional.

Facts: • Spouses Ramos discovered that a portion of their lot was being used as a runway of the Loakan Airport being operated by Air Transportation Office (ATO). • Spouses Ramos agreed to convey the affected portion by deed of sale to ATO in consideration of P 778,150. • ATO failed to pay despite demands. Thus, the Spouses filed a collection case against ATO. • ATO’s invoked the following defenses: o Proclamation No. 1358 by Pres. Marcos reserving certain parcels of land, including the Spouses’, for use by Loakan Airport o Since the deed of sale was entered by ATO in the performance of its governmental function, it cannot be sued without the consent of the State. • RTC ruled in favor of the Spouses which was affirmed by the CA. Issue: WON ATO can be sued without the State’s consent (or can it claim State immunity). Held:

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YES. ATO is an agency of the government NOT performing a purely governmental or sovereign function, but was involved in the management and maintenance of the Loakan Airport, an activity that was not the exclusive prerogative of the State in its sovereign capacity. Hence, the ATO had no claim to the States immunity from suit. Furthermore, the doctrine of State immunity cannot be used as a shield to defeat a valid claim for compensation arising from the taking without just compensation and without the proper expropriation proceeding being first resorted to. Lastly, RA 9497 or the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 which abolished ATO and to be replaced by CAAP. Section 23 of said Act provides that one of the powers of CAAP is to sue and be sued. Hence, the obligations of ATO it incurred through the deed of sale can now be enforced against CAAP which can be sued.

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CAGAS v. COMELEC [G.R. No. 194139; January 29, 2012] Facts: • Douglas Cagas and Claude Bautista contested the position of Governor of Province of Davao del Sur in the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections. o Cagas was proclaimed the winner with 163,440 votes, with Bautista garnering 159,527 votes. • Bautista filed an electoral protest alleging fraud, anomalies, irregularities, vote buying and violation of election laws, rules and resolutions. o The protest was raffled to COMELEC First Division. • Cagas averred that Bautista did not make the requisite cash deposit on time, and that Bautista did not render a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of. • COMELEC First Division issued the first assailed order denying the special affirmative defenses of Cagas. • Cagas moved to reconsider on the ground that the order did not discuss whether the protest specified the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the elections. o COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 requires all decisions to clearly and distinctly express the facts and the law on which they were based, and further requires a detailed specified of the acts or omissions complained of. o Cagas prayed that the matter be certified to the COMELEC en banc.


Bautista countered that the assailed orders, being merely interlocutory, could not be elevated to the COMELEC en banc. COMELEC First Division issued its second assailed order, denying Cagas’ motion for reconsideration for failing to show that the first order was contrary to law. o The allegations in Bautista’s petition have substantially complied with the requirements of COMELEC Resolution No. 8804 that will warrant the opening of the ballot boxes in order to resolve not only the issues raised in the protest but also those set forth in Cagas’ answer. o The prayer to elevate the motion for reconsideration to the COMELEC en banc is denied considering that the COMELEC First Division order is merely interlocutory and it does not dispose of the instant case with finality. Cagas commenced this special civil action for certiorari directly in this Court.

power to review on certiorari an interlocutory order or even a final resolution issued by a COMELEC Division. A decision, order or resolution of a COMELEC Division must be reviewed by the COMELEC en banc via a motion for reconsideration before the final en banc decision may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari. The pre-requisite filing of a motion for reconsideration is mandatory.

Issue: WON Court can take cognizance of the petition for certiorari? Held: NO. Sec. 7, Art. IX of the 1987 Constitution, although it confers on the Court the power to review any decision, order or ruling of the COMELEC, limits such power to a final decision or resolution of the COMELEC en banc. It does not extend to an interlocutory order issued by a COMELEC Division. Otherwise stated, the Court has no

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employee in the office of the Social Secretary; that the properties acquired while Luz Bakunawa was employed in the government were purchased with honestly earned money and their acquisition was well within their legitimate income

PEOPLE v. BAKUNAWA [GR No. 180418, August 28, 2013] Facts ● The Republic appeals from the decision of the Sandiganbayan dismissing the action for reconveyance brought against Luz Reyes-Bakunawa, Manuela Bakunawa, Jr. Manuel Bakunawa III, President Marcos and First Lady Imelda R. Marcos for allegedly having acquired and accumulated ill-gotten wealth consisting of funds and other property “in unlawful concert with one another” and “in flagrant breach of trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers…” ● The complaint alleged that respondent Luz Reyes-Bakunawa had served as Imelda Marcos’ Social Secretary during the Marcos administration; that it was during that period of her incumbency in that position that Luz Bakunawa and her husband Manuel Bakunawa had acquired assets, funds and other property grossly and manifestly disproportionate to her salaries and their other lawful income and that Luz Bakunawa by herself and/or in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E. marcos and Imelda R. marcos, taking undue advantage of her position, influence and connection with the latter Defendant spouses, for their benefit and unjust enrichment and in order to prevent disclosure and recovery of assets illegally obtained, engaged in devices, schemes and startagems ● In their defense, the Bakunawas alleged that Luz Bakunawa was never Social Secretary of Imelda Marcos, but only an

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Issue WON the defendant Luz Bakunawa, considering her position in Malacanang during the incumbency of President Marcos occupied a confidential position and was able to obtain contracts, run businesses and acquire real properties using her officer and the influence of either or both of the spouses Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos so as to give propriety to the filing of cases by the Presidential Commission on Good Government under EOs 1, 2, 14 and 14-a Held NO. In Republic v. Migrino, the Court held that it does not suffice that the respondent is or was a government official or employee during the administration of Former President Marcos.. There must be prima facie showing that the respondent unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close association or relation with former President Marcos and/or his wife. The Republic particularly insists that Luz Bakunawa served as the Social Secretary or the Assistant Social Secretary of the First Lady Marcos; and mentions several other circumstances that indicated her close relationship with the Marcoses, such as her assumption of office in the early part of the Marcos administration, the


accommodations extended to her during her various travels, and the fact that her close relationship was common knowledge among the Masbatenos, and the negotiated contracts with Bakunawas entered into during the Marcos administration. The Court holds that the Sandiganbayan correctly ruled that the evidence of Republic was able to establish, at best, that Luz Bakunawa had been an employee in Malacanang Palace during the marcos admnistration, and did not establish her having a close relationship with the Marcoses

FUNA v. AGRA [GR. No. 191644; February 19, 2013] Facts: • On January 12, 2010, Alberto C. Agra was the Government Corporate Counsel when President Arroyo designated him as the Acting Solicitor General in place of Solicitor General Devanadera. • On March 5, 2010, President Arroyo designated him also as the Acting Secretary of Justice vice Secretary Devanadera who had tendered her resignation in order to run for Congress. • Agra alleged that he then relinquished his position as the Government Corporate Counsel, and that pending the appointment of his successor, Agra continued to perform his duties as the Acting Solicitor General. • On April 7, 2010, Funa, in his capacity as a taxpayer, a concerned citizen and a lawyer, commenced this suit to challenge the constitutionality of Agra’s concurrent appointments or designations, claiming it to be prohibited under Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. • During the pendency of the suit, President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed Atty. Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz as the Solicitor General. Issue/s: 1. WON the designation of Agra as the Acting Secretary of Justice, concurrently with his position of Acting

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Solicitor General, violates the constitutional prohibition against dual or multiple offices for the Members of the Cabinet and their deputies and assistants 2. WON the Agra was designated as Secretary of Justice in an ex officio capacity. 3. Assuming that his designation as Secretary of Justice is void, WON his actions are without effect.

officials’ offices. In Civil Liberties Union v. The Executive Secretary, the Supreme Court held that the phrase “the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants” found in Section 13 referred only to the heads of the various executive departments, their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, and did not extend to other public officials given the rank of Secretary, Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary.

Held: 1. YES. The designation of Agra as Acting Secretary of Justice concurrently with his position of Acting Solicitor General was unconstitutional and void because the Constitution has not otherwise so provided. It was of no moment that Agra’s designation was in an acting or temporary capacity. The prohibition against dual or multiple offices being held by one official must be construed as to apply to all appointments or designations, whether permanent or temporary, for it is without question that the avowed objective of Section 13 of Article VII is to prevent the concentration of powers in the Executive Department officials, specifically the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet and their deputies and assistants.

2. NO. Agra’s designation as the Acting Secretary of Justice was not in an ex officio capacity, by which he would have been validly authorized to concurrently hold the two positions due to the holding of one office being the consequence of holding the other. An ex officio means “from office; by virtue of office.” It refers to an “authority derived from official character merely, not expressly conferred upon the individual character, but rather annexed to the official position.”

According to Public Interest Center, Inc. v. Elma, the only two exceptions against the holding of multiple offices are: (1) those provided for under the Constitution, such as Section 3, Article VII, authorizing the Vice-President to become a member of the Cabinet; and (2) posts occupied by Executive officials specified in Section 13, Article VII without additional compensation in ex officio capacities as provided by law and as required by the primary functions of the

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Indeed, the powers and functions of the OSG are neither required by the primary functions nor included by the powers of the DOJ, and vice versa. The OSG, while attached to the DOJ, is not a constituent unit of the latter, as, in fact, the Administrative Code of 1987 decrees that the OSG is independent and autonomous. With the enactment of Republic Act No. 9417, the Solicitor General is now vested with a cabinet rank, and has the same qualifications for appointment, rank, prerogatives, salaries, allowances, benefits and privileges as those of the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals. Considering that the nature and duties of the two offices are such as to render it improper, from considerations of public policy, for one person to retain both, an incompatibility between the offices exists, further warranting the


declaration of Agra’s designation as the Acting Secretary of Justice, concurrently with his designation as the Acting Solicitor General, to be void for being in violation of the express provisions of the Constitution. 3. NO. All official actions of Agra as a de facto Acting Secretary of Justice were presumed valid, binding and effective as if he was the officer legally appointed and qualified for the office. A de facto officer is one who derives his appointment from one having colorable authority to appoint, if the office is an appointive office, and whose appointment is valid on its face. Consequently, the acts of the de facto officer are just as valid for all purposes as those of a de jure officer, in so far as the public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned.

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Nazareth vs. COA [GR. No. 188635; January 29, 2013] Facts: • Congress enacted R.A. No. 8439 to provide a program for human resources development in science and technology in maintaining the necessary reservoir of talent and manpower that would sustain the drive for total science and technology mastery. • Sec. 7 grants additional allowances and benefits (Magna Carta benefits) such as honorarium, share in royalties, hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, laundry allowance, housing and quarter allowance, longevity pay and medical examination. • The funds of the Magna Carta benefits are to be appropriated by the GAA of the year following the enactment of the law. • The DOST Regional Offices released the Magna Carta benefits to the covered officials and employees commencing in CY 1998 despite the absence of specific appropriation for the purpose in GAA. • Subsequently, COA State Auditor Vargas issued several Notice of Disallowances (ND) disapproving the payment of the benefits following a post-audit. • This prompted DOST Sec. Uriarte Jr. to request the OP for the authority to utilize the DOST’s savings to pay the benefits. -GRANTED • Exec. Sec. Zamora, acting by authority of the Pres, approved the request through a Memorandum.


Nazareth as the DOST RD in Region IX, lodged an appeal with COA RD Sescon, urging the lifting of the disallowance of the benefits for the period covering CY 1998 to CY 2001 amounting to P4,363,997.47, citing the Memorandum issued by Exec. Sec. Zamora and Sec. 58 of GAA in 1998. She argued that the Memorandum ratified the payment of the benefits out of the savings for CY 1998 and CY 1999 and allowed the use of the savings for CY 2000, but also operated as a continuing endorsement of the use of savings to cover the benefits in succeeding calendar years. – DENIED. Director Inok of COA Legal and Adjudication Office denied the appeal but set-aside the NDs covering the Magna Carta benefits for CY 2000 in view of the authorization under the Memorandum. Nazareth filed a petition for review with COA Head Office, insisting that the payments had been allowed under RA 8349. COA rendered a decision lifting the NDs covering the Magna Carta benefits for CY 1998 and CY 1999 for the same reason for lifting NDs for CY 2000. However, it maintained the disallowance of the benefits for CY 2001 because they were not covered by the authorization granted by the Memorandum.

Issue: WON the COA committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the disallowance of the Magna Carta benefits for CY 2001 despite the

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provision of RA 8439 and in ruling that the Memorandum did not cover the payment of the Magna Carta benefits for CY2001? Held: • No. The Memorandum is not a blanket authority from the OP to pay the benefits out of the DOST’s savings. Although it was silent as to the period, it was clear that it only encompassed CY 1998, 1999, and CY 2000. o The limitation of its applicability to those calendar years was based on the tenor of the request of Secretary Uriarte, Jr. to the effect that the DOST had previously used its savings to pay the Magna Carta benefits in CY 1998 and CY 1999; that the 2000 GAA did not provide for the use of savings; and that the DOST personnel were looking forward to the President’s favorable consideration. The Memorandum could only be read as an authority covering the limited period until and inclusive of CY 2000. The text of the Memorandum was also bereft of any indication that the authorization was to be indefinitely extended to any calendar year beyond CY 2000. • The COA correctly ruled on the matter. Art. VI Sec. 29 (1) provides that, “No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” This requires that the GAA be purposeful, deliberate and precise in its provisions and stipulations. In line with this, the requirement in RA 8439 that the amounts needed to fund the Magna Carta benefits were to be appropriated by the GAA


only meant that such funding must be purposefully, deliberately and precisely included in the GAA. The funding for the Magna Carta benefits would not materialize if not initially proposed by the officials of the DOST for submission and consideration by the Congress. RA 8439 alone could not fund the payment of the benefits because the GAA did not mirror every provision of law that referred to it as the source of funding. DOST itself acknowledged the need for appropriation. In the funding of current activities, projects, and programs, the general rule should still be that the budgetary amount contained in the appropriations bill is the extent Congress will determine as sufficient for the budgetary allocation for the proponent agency. o The only exception is found in Section 25 (5), Article VI of the Constitution, by which the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions are authorized to transfer appropriations to augment any item in the GAA for their respective offices from the savings in other items of their respective appropriations. The plain language of the constitutional restriction leaves no room for the Nazareth’s posture. Lastly, Nazareth ignored the provisions in the 2000 GAA on the use of savings o Augmentation implies the existence in this Act of an item, project, activity or purpose with an

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appropriation which upon implementation or subsequent evaluation of needed resources is determined to be deficient. In no case, therefore, shall a non-existent item, project, activity, purpose or object of expenditure be funded by augmentation from savings or by the use of appropriations authorized otherwise in this Act. Clearly and indubitably, the prohibition against the transfer of appropriations is the general rule. Consequently, the payment of the Magna Carta benefits for CY 2001 without a specific item or provision in the GAA and without due authority from the President to utilize the DOST’s savings in other items for the purpose was repugnant to R.A. No. 8439, the Constitution, and the re-enacted GAA for 2001. The COA is generally accorded complete discretion in the exercise of its constitutional duty and responsibility to examine and audit expenditures of public funds, particularly those which are perceptibly beyond what is sanctioned by law.


LAND BANK OF THE PHILS v. SPS. RIGOR-SORIANO [G.R. No. 178312; January 30, 2013] Facts: • Sps Rigor-Soriano and other respondents are children of the owners of two parcels of land in Nueva Ecija covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title. • The properties became subject to Operation Land Transfer (OLT) and were valued at P10,000/hectare by Land Bank and DAR. • Sps. Rigor-Soriano filed an action for just compensation contending that the valuation was too low compared to other existing valuations of agricultural lands. o They claim that the properties were irrigated lands o They asked that a final valuation of the properties be pegged at P1,800,000. • Land Bank claimed that under PD27 and EP228 the Government, through the DAR had taken the properties in 1972 and had since then redistributed the properties to farmer-beneficiaries. o Thus, in all cases under PD27 and EO 228, its participation was only to pay the landowners accepting the valuations fixed by the DAR.

No. It appears that the parties entered into a Joint Manifestation and Motion stating the approval by Land Bank of the revaluation of the properties which was communicated to Sps. Rigor Soriano for their unconditional acceptance. There is no question that the agreement was a compromise that the parties freely and voluntarily entered into for the purpose of finally settling their dispute in this case. A compromise is either judicial, if the objective is to put an end to a pending litigation; or extrajudicial, if the objective is to avoid a litigation. It is perfected by mutual consent. However, a judicial compromise, while immediately binding between the parties upon its execution, is not executory until it is being approved by the court and reduced to a judgment. A review of the terms of the Agreement indicates that it is a judicial compromise because the parties intended it to terminate their pending litigation by fully settling their dispute. With the respondents thereby expressly signifying their “unconditional or absolute acceptance and full receipt of the foregoing amounts as just compensation,” the ultimate objective of the action to determine just compensation for the landowners was achieved. Therefore, the court approves the agreement being in compliance with the requirements of the law.

Issue: WON the respondents may ask for a revaluation for just compensation? Held:

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MANALANG-DEMIGILLO v TIDCORP [G.R. No. 168613 ; March 5, 2013] Facts: • Petitioner Rosario Manalang-Demigillo (Demigillo) was appointed as Senior Vice President (PG 15) with permanent status, and was assigned to the Legal and Corporate Services Department (LCSD) of TIDCORP. • In 2002, TIDCORP President Joel C. Valdes sought an opinion from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) relative to TIDCORP’s authority to undertake a reorganization under the law. o Assailing that Sec 7 and Sec 8 provides that it must be the Board of directors who should reorganize. • Government Corporate Counsel released an Opinion which sided with TIDCORP • TIDCORP then passed a resolution (Resolution 1365) to approve the following o a so-called Organizational Refinement/Restructuring Plan to implement a new organizational structure and staffing pattern, o a position classification system, o a new set of qualification standards. • During the implementation of the Organizational Refinement/Restructuring Plan, the LCSD was abolished. o Petitioner Demigillo, albeit retaining her position as a Senior Vice President, was assigned to head the Remedial and Credit Management Support Sector (RCMSS). On the same date, President Valdes

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issued her appointment as head of RCMSS, such appointment being in nature a reappointment under the reorganization plan. o This was later approved by the president Demigillo challenged before the Board of Directors the validity of Resolution No. 1365 and of her assignment to the RCMSS. o She averred that she had been thereby illegally removed from her position of Senior Vice President in the LCSD to which she had been previously assigned during the 1st reorganization. o She insisted that the Board of Directors had not been authorized to undertake the reorganization and corporate restructuring. Pending determination of her challenge by the Board of Directors, Demigillo appealed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), raising the same issues. The TIDCORP board dismissed Demigillo’s appeal for its lack of merit, thereby rendering the question about the propriety of Demigillo’s appeal moot and academic In the meanwhile, by letter, President Valdes informed Demigillo of her poor performance rating for the period from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002, Demigillo formally communicated to Atty. Florencio P. Gabriel Jr., Executive Vice President of the Operations Group, appealing the "poor rating" given her by President Valdes. o Atty. Gabriel informed Demigillo that he could not act on her appeal because of her "failure to state


• •

facts and arguments constituting the grounds for the appeal and submit any evidence to support the same." Demigillo received a memorandum from President Valdes stating that her performance rating for the period from January 1, 2003 to June 2003 "needs improvement," attaching the pertinent Performance Evaluation Report Form that she was instructed to return "within 24 hours from receipt." The Board of Directors rendered Decision No. 03-003 which unanimously dropped Demigillo from the rolls. CSC decision held the following: o that the 2002 Organizational Refinements or Restructuring Plan of TIDCORP had been valid for being authorized by Republic Act. No. 6656 o that Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8498 granted a continuing power to TIDCORP’s Board of Directors to prescribe the agency’s organizational structure, staffing pattern and compensation packages o that such grant continued until declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction or revoked by Congress. o However, TIDCORP’s implementation of its reorganization did not comply with Section 6 of Republic Act No. 6656  that although there was no diminution in Demigillo’s rank, salary and status, there was nonetheless a demotion in her functions and authority

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017


the functions of Demigillo’s office were in fact transferred to the Operations Group. that the dropping from the rolls of Demigillo did not comply with the mandatory requirement

Issue: WON the Board of Directors of TIDCORP was an alter ego of the President who had the continuing authority to reorganize TIDCORP – NO HELD: • The doctrine of qualified political agency essentially postulates that the heads of the various executive departments are the alter egos of the President, and, thus, the actions taken by such heads in the performance of their official duties are deemed the acts of the President unless the President himself should disapprove such acts. o This doctrine is in recognition of the fact that in our presidential form of government, all executive organizations are adjuncts of a single Chief Executive;  that the heads of the Executive Departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive; and  that the multiple executive functions of the President as the Chief Executive are performed through the Executive Departments. • The doctrine has been adopted here out of practical necessity, considering that the President cannot be expected


to personally perform the multifarious functions of the executive office. But the doctrine of qualified political agency could not be extended to the acts of the Board of Directors of TIDCORP despite some of its members being themselves the appointees of the President to the Cabinet. o Under the circumstances, when the members of the Board of Directors effected the assailed 2002 reorganization, they were acting as the responsible members of the Board of Directors of TIDCORP constituted pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1080, as amended by Republic Act No. 8494, not as the alter egos of the President. Nonetheless, the court upholds the 2002 reorganization and declare it valid for being done in accordance with the exclusive and final authority expressly granted under Republic Act No. 8494 The court also reiterate that the ruling of the CSC that deals with specific cases coming within its area of technical knowledge and expertise that the reorganization was not arbitrary and whimsical. It had been formulated following lengthy consultations and close coordination with the affected offices within TIDCORP in order for them to come up with various functional statements relating to the new organizational setup

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

ARAULLO V. AQUINO III [G.R. No. 209287; February 3, 2015] Facts: • In a privilege speech, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed that he and his fellow senators received 50 million-peso incentive because of their vote to impeach Chief Justice Corona. • Sec. Abad responded to the speech saying that it is part of the Spending Acceleration Program. 1. The Spending Acceleration Program is also known as the Disbursement Acceleration Program [DAP]. 2. Sec. Abad also said that the money was given in response to several funding requests from the senators. • The money used for the DAP are taken from: 1. Unreleased appropriations under personnel services; 2. Unprogrammed [sic] funds; 3. Carry-over appropriations unreleased from the previous year; and 4. Budget for slow-moving items or projects that had been realigned to support faster-disbursing projects. • The Department of Budget and Management [DBM] released a claim on its website saying that the money used for the DAP are savings from: 1. Pooling of unreleased appropriations, and 2. Withdrawal of unobligated allotments. • The legal bases of DBM in implementing DAP vis-à-vis the use of savings are as follows:


• •

1. Article VI, Sec. 25 (5) of the Constitution, which granted the President the power to augment an item for his office in the general appropriations law, 2. Administrative Code of 1987’s Book VI, Chapter 5, Sections 38 (suspension of expenditure appropriations) and 49 (Authority to use savings for certain purpose), 3. 2011-2013 General Appropriations Acts (GAAs) which provides for (a) use of savings, (b) meanings of savings and augmentation, and (c) priority in the use of savings. With regard to unprogrammed [sic] funds, the legal bases of DBM are the 2011-2013 GAAs. Araullo, et al., filed a petition to the Supreme Court assailing the Constitutionality of National Budget Circular [NBC] No. 541, which was issued to implement the DAP.

Issues: 1. WON the certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus are proper remedies to assail the Constitutionality and validity of the DAP, NBC no. 541, and other issuances implementing the DAP? a. WON controversy is ripe for judicial determination; and b. WON the petitioners have locus standi? 2. WON the DAP violates Article VI, Sec. 29 of the Constitution, which provides, “[n]o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law”?

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

3. WON the DAP, NBC Bo. 541, and all other executive issuances allegedly implementing the DAP violate Article VI, Sec. 25 (5) of the Constitution insofar as: a. They treat the unreleased appropriations and unobligated allotments withdrawn from government agencies as “savings” as the term used in Sec. 25 (5), in relation to 2011-2013 GAAs, b. They authorize the disbursement of funds for projects or programs not provided in the GAAs for the Executive Departments, and c. They augment discretionary lump sum appropriations in the GAAs? 4. WON the DAP violates (1) the equal protection clause [EPC], (2) the system of checks and balances, and (3)the principle of public accountability enshrined in the Constitution that it authorizes the release of funds upon the request of legislators? 5. WON factual and legal justification exists to issue a TRO to restrain the implementation of DAP and other executive issuances implementing DAP? Held/Ratio: 1. Yes, certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus are proper remedies to assail the Constitutionality of DAP. Since certiorari and prohibition are large in scope and the issues involved the limitations of the Executive’s spending power, the said remedies are proper. a. The case is not moot and academic even if the President has terminated the DAP. The fact that huge


public funds have been allocated, disbursed, or utilized by reason or on account of the challenged executive acts gave rise to an actual controversy that is ripe for adjudication. Even if assuming that the DAP has mooted the case, this case still falls under the exception to the requirement of ripeness: i. There is a grave violation of the Constitution, ii. The case involved a situation of exceptional character and was of paramount public interest, iii. When the constitutional issue raised required the formulation of controlling principles to guide the Bench, the Bar, and the public, and iv. When the case was capable of repetition yet evading review. b. The petitioners have legal standing to assail the Constitutionality of the DAP. Considering that the issue involves the expenditure of public funds and the present case is of transcendental importance, the petitioners do have a legal standing to raise the issues before the Court. 2. No, there is no violation of the provision since DAP is not an appropriation measure but a program of prioritizing spending. Congress’s duty vis-à-vis treasury is to allocate funds in the treasury in a particular fund. 3. Yes. The term “savings” does not include unreleased appropriations and withdrawn unobligated allotments under the DAP because “savings” refers to portions or balances of

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

any programmed appropriation in the GAA free from any obligation or encumbrance, which are: a. Still available after the completion or final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the appropriation is authorize, b. From appropriations balances arising from unpaid compensation and related costs pertaining to vacant positions and leaves of absences without pay, and c. From appropriations balances realized form the implementation of measures resulting in improved systems and efficiencies and thus enabled agencies to meet and deliver the required or planned targets, programs, and services approved in the GAAs at a lesser cost. Mere declaration of the DBM will not ripen the status of the funds under the DAP to the categories considered as savings. It is necessary that these funds must be released first and not merely withheld. On the other hand, the term “augment” means to enlarge or increase the allotment for an item in the GAA wherein the current appropriation for the said item is deficient. The Constitution also limits the augmentation within the office of the President; hence, savings of the Executive branch must be augmented only to an item under the executive. In the present case, the “savings” of the Executive were augmented to the members of Congress. Therefore, the Constitutional provision was violated. 4. The Court did not pass upon a judgment over the alleged violation of the EPC because the contentions of Luna and


COURAGE are speculative. As regards to the violation of separation of powers and the public accountability, the Court has already addressed the issue in the discussion of other issues. 5. No, the doctrine of operative fact applies. A legislative or executive act is presumed to be constitutional such that when it is declared void for being unconstitutional does not give rise to any right or obligation. The Court recognized that the result of the DAP and its related issuances could not be ignored and be undone. The Court also declared that the doctrine of operative fact is not confined to statutes and rules and regulations. The doctrine can be invoked only in situations where the nullification of the effects of what used to be a valid law would result in inequity and injustice. Other concepts discussed: • Budget cycle: o Budget preparation- it is commenced by the issuance of DBM of budget calls, i.e., one for government offices including SUCs and another for GOCCs and GFIs. The government agencies will then submit their respective budget proposals to the DBM. DBM will consolidate these proposals to the National Expenditure Program [NEP] and a Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing [BESF]. o Budget legislation or budget authorization- the Congress will receive the President’s budget, which includes the NEP and BESF. With this, Congress will come up with a General Appropriations Bill [GAB]. The President will then approve of the GAB

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

and make it into GAA [See PHIL. CONST. art. VI, § 27 (2)]. o Budget execution- the Budget Execution Phase is primarily the function of the DBM, which is tasked to perform the following procedures, namely: (1) to issue the programs and guidelines for the release of funds; (2) to prepare an Allotment and Cash Release Program; (3) to release allotments; and (4) to issue disbursement authorities. o Accountability- it ensures that the government funds have been effectively and efficiently utilized to achieve the State’s socio-economic goals. It also allows the DBM to assess the performance of agencies during the fiscal year for the purpose of implementing reforms and establishing new policies. An agency’s accountability may be examined and evaluated through (1) performance targets and outcomes; (2) budget accountability reports; (3) review of agency performance; and (4) audit conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA). Public Expenditures: o Categories:  Capital Expenditures are the expenses whose usefulness lasts for more than one year, and which add to the assets of the Government, including investments in the capital of government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.



Current Operating Expenditures are the purchases of goods and services in current consumption the benefit of which does not extend beyond the fiscal year. Functions:  Economic development expenditures  Social services or social development expenditures  General government or general public services expenditures  National defense expenditures  Public debt

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION (NAPOCOR) v. HEIRS OF SATURNINO BORBON [GR No. 165354, January 12, 2015] Facts: • In 1993, NAPOCOR entered into the property owned by the Heirs of Borbon in order to construct and maintain transmission lines. • In 1995, NAPOCOR filed a complaint for expropriation in the RTC seeking the acquisition of easement of right of way over a portion of the same property. o It allege that it had negotiated with the Heirs but failed to reach any agreement and that it is willing to deposit an amount of P 9,790 representing the assessed value of the property. • The Heirs answered that there was no prior negotiation. NAPOCOR entered their property without consent and in the process destroyed some fruit trees without payment. o They also allege that the presence of the high tension wires rendered the remaining unaffected portion inutile for any future use and capabilities. o They tendered no objection to the expropriation by NAPOCOR as long as it is for the entire property and not only for the affected portion. • The RTC ruled in favor of the Heirs and ordered NAPOCOR to pay the Heirs just compensation for the whole property. The CA affirmed the RTC ruling. • Hence, NAPOCOR appealed to the SC.




During the pendency of the appeal, NAPOCOR filed a manifestation stating that there is no longer any public purpose since the transmission lines will be retired already. NAPOCOR wants the expropriation proceedings to be discontinued.

Issue: (1) Whether or not the expropriation proceedings should be discontinued. – YES (2) Whether or not just compensation should be paid by NAPOCOR. – NO Held: (1) YES. Since public use is the fundamental basis for the action of expropriation, NAPOCOR’s motion to discontinue the proceedings is warranted. • The very moment that it appears at any stage of the proceedings that the expropriation is not for a public use, the action must necessarily fail and should be dismissed, for the reason that the action cannot be maintained at all except when the expropriation is for some public use. That must be true even during the pendency of the appeal or at any other stage of the proceedings. • Although there is no Board Resolution showing that NAPOCOR decided as a corporate body to retire the

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

transmission lines, the Court considered the Memorandum and the Certificate of Inspection/Accomplishment attached to NAPOCOR’s motion attesting to the retirement of the transmission lines as sufficient to establish that the public purpose has ceased to exist. (2) NO. In view of the discontinuance of the expropriation proceedings, there is no need to pay just compensation since the property will be returned to the Heirs. However, NAPOCOR is liable to compensate the Heirs for the disturbance they caused given that NAPOCOR entered the property without the Heirs’ consent, destroying fruit trees, and the effect of the transmission lines or hogh tension wires with respect to the whole property. • The Court ordered that the payment will be reckoned when the property was taken (1993) and not when the expropriation complaint was filed (1995). • Furthermore, the compensation should be based on what the Heirs actually lost as a result of dispossession of their property and its use including the value of the fruit trees and crops destroyed. • Considering that the dismissal of the expropriation proceeding occurred during the appeal, the action is now treated as an action for damages. Hence, the case will be remanded back to the RTC to give both parties the opportunity to re-establish the factual and legal issues.


LIMKAICHONG v. LBP [GR. No. 158464; August 2, 2016] Facts: • Federico Suntay owned land situated in Sta. Lucia, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. • In 1972, the Department of Agrarian Reform expropriated 948.1911 hectares of Suntay’s land pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 27. o Land Bank and DAR fixed the value of the expropriated portion at P4,497.50/hectare, for a total valuation of P4,251,141. • Rejecting the valuation, however, Suntay filed a petition for determination of just compensation in the Office of the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator of Region IV, DARAB. • On January 24, 2001, after summary administrative proceeding, RARAD Mias rendered a decision fixing the total just compensation for the expropriated portion at P157,541,951.30. • On October 11, 2007, the Supreme Court promulgated its decision in Land Bank v. Suntay (G.R. No. 157903) holding that it is the Regional Trial Courts sitting as Special Agrarian Courts which has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the determination of just compensation. o Adjudicators are merely empowered to make a preliminary determination of the compensation, subject to the ultimate power of the courts.

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

Suntay alleged that the RARAD Decision had already attained finality in DARAB v. Lubrica because the Land Bank failed to file the petition within the reglementary period, notwithstanding its recourse to the special agrarian court.

Issue: WON a final and executory decision may be reversed, modified, or set aside by the Supreme Court en banc Held: NO. Such insinuation runs afoul of the well settled doctrine of immutability of judgments. Although Article VIII, Section 4 (1) of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the discretion to sit either en banc or in divisions of three, five, or seven Members, the divisions are not considered separate and distinct courts. Nor is a hierarchy of courts thereby established within the Supreme Court, which remains a unit notwithstanding that it also works in divisions. The actions taken and the decisions rendered by any of the divisions are those of the Court itself, considering that the divisions are not considered separate and distinct courts but as divisions of one and the same court. Lastly, the only thing that the Constitution allows the banc to do in this regard is to reverse a doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court en banc or in division.


Macapagal-Arroyo v. People of the Philippines [G.R. No. 220598, July 19, 2016] FACTS: • The Ombudsman charged in the Sandiganbayan with plunder as defined by, and penalized under Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7080, as amended by R.A. No. 7659 the following: (1) GMA, (2) Aguas, (3) former PCSO General Manager and Vice Chairman Rosario C. Uriarte, (4) former PCSO Chairman of the Board of Directors Sergio O. Valencia, (5) former members of the PCSO Board of Directors, and (6) two former officials of the Commission on Audit (COA). • The Sandiganbayan eventually acquired jurisdiction over most of the accused, including petitioners. All filed petitions for bail, which the Sandiganbayan granted except those of the petitioners. Their motions for reconsideration were denied. GMA assailed the denial of her petition for bail before the Supreme Court. However, this remains unresolved. • After the Prosecution rested its case, the accused separately filed their demurrers to evidence asserting that the Prosecution did not establish a case for plunder against them. • The Sandiganbayan granted the demurrers and dismissed the case against the accused within its jurisdiction, except for petitioners and Valencia. It held that there was sufficient evidence showing that they had conspired to commit plunder.

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017

Petitioners filed this case before the Supreme Court on certiorari before the Supreme Court to assail the denial of their demurrers to evidence, on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

Issue: WON the special civil action for certiorari is proper to assail the denial of the demurrers to evidence – NO.

Held: The special civil action for certiorari is generally not proper to assail such an interlocutory order issued by the trial court because of the availability of another remedy in the ordinary course of law. Moreover, Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court expressly provides that “the order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment.” It is not an insuperable obstacle to this action, however, that the denial of the demurrers to evidence of the petitioners was an interlocutory order that did not terminate the proceedings, and the proper recourse of the demurring accused was to go to trial, and that in case of their conviction they may then appeal the conviction, and assign the denial as among the errors to be reviewed. Indeed, it is doctrinal that the situations in which the writ of certiorari may issue should not be limited, because to do so “x x x would be to destroy its comprehensiveness and usefulness. So wide is the discretion of the court that authority is not wanting to show that certiorari is more discretionary than either prohibition or mandamus. In the exercise of our superintending


control over other courts, we are to be guided by all the circumstances of each particular case ‘as the ends of justice may require.’ So it is that the writ will be granted where necessary to prevent a substantial wrong or to do substantial justice.” The exercise of this power to correct grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government cannot be thwarted by rules of procedure to the contrary or for the sake of the convenience of one side. This is because the Court has the bounden constitutional duty to strike down grave abuse of discretion whenever and wherever it is committed. Thus, notwithstanding the interlocutory character and effect of the denial of the demurrers to evidence, the petitioners as the accused could avail themselves of the remedy of certiorari when the denial was tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

Bersamin Political Law Case Digests 2017


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