Sampiano vs. Judge Indar
Sampiano vs. Judge Indar...
Mayor Hadji Amer R. Sampiano, et. al. vs. Judge Cader P. Indar, et. al. December 21, 2009 Leonardo-De Castro, J. Digest by Clark Uytico SUMMARY This case stemmed from an election protest by incumbent Mayor Sampiano against his uncle Ogka. Pending the resolution of the “double proclamation” election protest, COMELEC allowed Sampiano to temporarily assume the duties of a Mayor “to prevent paralysis to the Public Service.” However, Ogka wrote to PNB thru PNB’s chief legal counsel, Atty. Alvin C. Go, to suspend the release of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to the Municipality of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur. Atty. Go however allowed the release of IRA. To prevent the release, Ogka filed a Special Civil Action for Prohibiton and Injunction with TRO and Preliminary Injunction. On the same day (October 11, 2004), Judge issued ex parte a TRO which lasted for 11 days total. SC subjected the judge to disciplinary fine of 10,000 pesos for violating the Rules of Court. Ex-parte TROs can only last 72 hours, and a 20-day TRO only after a summary hearing. The SC also stated that the automatic release of the IRA from the national treasury does not prevent the proper court from deferring or suspending the release thereof to particular local officials when there is a legal question presented in the court pertaining to the rights of the parties to receive the IRA or to the propriety of the issuance of a TRO or a preliminary injunction while such rights are still being determined. FACTS Administrative case against Judge Cader P. Indar of the RTC Branch 12 of Malabang, Lanao del Sur, by Mayor Hadji Amer R. Sampiano and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, charging him with gross and wanton ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority, manifest partiality and serious acts of impropriety. Prior to that, Sampiano filed before the COMELEC a Petition for Annulment of Proclamation with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction/TRO against his rival mayoralty candidate, his uncle Ogka, and the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur composed of Vadria Pungginagina and Zenaida Mante. The Comelec issued an order allowing Sampiano to act, perform and discharge the duties, functions and responsibilities as mayor "to prevent paralysis to public service" pending determination and final resolution of the controversy involving the mayorship of the Municipality of Balabagan. Ogka however filed for an MR of the said COMELEC order and informed in writing PNB’s Chief Legal Counsel, Atty. Alvin C. Go, not to release the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for Municipality of Balabagan pending the resolution of double proclamation. Go however directed PNB to release the IRA. Aggrieved, and to prevent the release, Ogka filed a Special Civil Action for Prohibiton and Injunction with TRO and Preliminary Injunction. On the same day (October 11, 2004), Judge Indar issued ex parte a TRO which lasted for 11 days total. Sampiano’s arguments: 1. The October 11 order is in the nature of a TRO or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. As such prior notice and hearing are required. He added that a TRO has a limited life of 20 days while a writ of preliminary injunction is effective only during the pendency of the case and only after posting the required injunction bond. This is the ex-parte issuance of the October 11, 2004 order freezing the IRA of the Municipality of Balabagan "unless ordered otherwise by the Court." 2. Said Order was issued in violation of Section 286 of the Local Government Code (LGC), which provides for the automatic release of the share of the local government unit from the national government. This is so as not to deprive the officials and employees of the Municipality of Balabagan from receiving their hard earned salaries, but the Judge did not heed the said request. 3. Judge has no jurisdiction as the same belongs to COMELEC. Judge Indar’s arguments: 1. The October 11, 2004 order DID NOT FREEZE the IRA but merely HELD or DEFERRED its release to any person. Since said proclamation was neither annulled nor invalidated by the COMELEC pending resolution of the petitioner Ogka's Motion for Reconsideration of the above-mentioned 3 orders. Since petitioner Ogka was left with no alternative to protect his interest in the IRA and to prevent irreparable injury, he filed the instant petition with the prayer for the issuance of TRO and preliminary injunction.
2. The provision on the automatic release of IRA is not a shield or immunity to the authority of the courts to interfere, interrupt or suspend its release when there is a legal question presented before it in order to determine the rights of the parties concerned. 3. His court assumed jurisdiction as it is a petition for prohibition and injunction and not an enforcement of election laws. While he considered the said petition as an improper remedy, hence, the court should not have taken cognizance of the case, he had nevertheless acted on it since the petition prays for the issuance of temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, both an auxiliary remedy which concerns the "enforcement of legal right or a matter that partakes of a question of law" and not the enforcement of election laws. ISSUE 1. WON 2. WON 3. WON 4. WON
RTC has jurisdiction the October 11 order freezing the release of the IRA is valid. the said order partakes of a TRO. the Order contravenes the automatic release of funds to LGUs
HELD 1. YES. RTC has jurisdtion. 2. YES. But Judge violated the Rules when the TRO extended to 11 days, when only a 72-hour TRO is allowed ex-parte. 3. YES. It is obviously one of the prayers prayed for which is subsequently granted by the judge. 4. NO. This automatic release of the IRA from the national treasury does not prevent the proper court from deferring or suspending the release. Dispositive: WHEREFORE, the penalty of a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) is hereby imposed on respondent Judge for the above-mentioned violation of the Rules of Court. SO ORDERED. RATIO 1. The petition prayed, among others, that Go should cease and desist from ordering PNB-Marawi through its branch manager to release the IRA for the month of October 2004 and the succeeding months to Sampiano and Macabato or their agents. The issue here involves the determination of whether Ogka is entitled to the issuance of a TRO or an injunction and not the application or enforcement of election law. Undeniably, RTC has jurisdiction pursuant to BP 129. 2. Judge issued the October 11, 2004 Order on the very same day it was filed, and without any hearing and prior notice to herein complainants. Respondent was allowed by the Rules to issue ex parte a TRO of limited effectivity and, in that time, conduct a hearing to determine the propriety of extending the TRO or issuing a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondent conducted the hearing of the petition on October 14, 2004 or on the third day of the issuance of a TRO ex parte. The October 11, 2004 Order was lifted in an Order dated October 27, 2004 issued by the latter. Hence, the TRO issued ex parte was effective for 11 days from October 11, 2004 until October 22, 2004 in violation of the Rules. Only a TRO issued after a summary hearing can last for a period of 20 days. It is worthy to note that the said October 11, 2004 Order was subsequently lifted by the succeeding judge on the ground that the requisites for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction were not present. 3. A cursory reading of the said Order reveals that it was in effect a TRO or preliminary injunction order. The Order directed PNB's Go and Disomangcop to hold or defer the release of the IRA to Sampiano and Macabato while the petition is pending resolution of the trial court and unless ordered otherwise by the court. This Order was merely consistent with the relief prayed for in respondent's petition for prohibition and injunction. 4. The automatic release of the IRA under Section 286 is a mandate to the national government through the Department of Budget and Management to effect automatic release of the said funds from the treasury directly to the local government unit, free from any holdbacks or liens imposed by the national government. However, this automatic release of the IRA from the national treasury does not prevent the proper court from deferring or suspending the release thereof to particular local officials when there is a legal question presented in the court pertaining to the rights of the parties to receive
the IRA or to the propriety of the issuance of a TRO or a preliminary injunction while such rights are still being determined. This should be considered an exercise of judicial functions and judicial prerogatives in the most cautious manner taking into account the factual and serious circumstances obtaining between petitioner Ogka and his Uncle Mayor Sampiano whose family were already at war with each other.