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CASE DIGESTS

[G.R. No. 135805. April 29, 1999]


CSC vs. DACOYCOY
FACTS: Pedro Dacoycoy was charged with
habitual drunkenness, misconduct and
nepotism. After the fact-finding investigation,
the CSC Regional Office Tacloban City,
found a prima facie case against respondent
and issued the corresponding formal charge
against him. Accordingly, the CSC conducted
a formal investigation and the CSC
promulgated its resolution finding no
substantial evidence to support the charge of
habitual drunkenness and misconduct.
However, CSC found respondent Dacoycoy
guilty of nepotism on two counts as a result of
the appointment of his two sons, Rito and
Ped, as driver and utility worker, respectively,
and their assignment under his immediate
supervision and control as the Vocational
School Administrator Balicuatro College of
Arts and Trades, and imposed on him the
penalty of dismissal from the service.
Respondent Dacoycoy filed a motion for
reconsideration. However CSC denied the
motion. Respondent Dacoycoy filed with the
Court of Appeals a special civil action for
certiorari with preliminary injunction to set
aside the Civil Service Commissions
resolutions.
CA reversed and set aside the decision of the
CSC, ruling that respondent did not appoint
or recommend his two sons Rito and Ped,
and, hence, was not guilty of nepotism. The
Court further held that it is the person who
recommends or appoints who should be
sanctioned, as it is he who performs the
prohibited act. Hence, this appeal.
RULING: We agree with the CSC that
respondent Pedro O. Dacoycoy was guilty of
nepotism and correctly meted out the penalty
of dismissal from the service.
Danniel Ancheta

At this point, we have necessarily to resolve the


question of the party adversely affected who may
take an appeal from an adverse decision of the
appellate court in an administrative civil service
disciplinary case. There is no question that
respondent Dacoycoy may appeal to the Court of
Appeals from the decision of the Civil Service
Commission adverse to him.
He was the respondent official meted out the
penalty of dismissal from the service. On appeal
to the Court of Appeals, the court required the
petitioner therein, here respondent Dacoycoy, to
implead the Civil Service Commission as public
respondent as the government agency tasked
with the duty to enforce the constitutional and
statutory provisions on the civil service.
Subsequently, the Court of Appeals reversed the
decision of the Civil Service Commission and
held respondent not guilty of nepotism. Who
now may appeal the decision of the Court of
Appeals to the Supreme Court? Certainly not
the respondent, who was declared not guilty of
the charge. Nor the complainant George P.
Suan, who was merely a witness for the
government.
Consequently, the Civil Service Commission has
become the party adversely affected by such
ruling, which seriously prejudices the civil service
system. Hence, as an aggrieved party, it may
appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals to
the Supreme Court.
By this ruling, we now expressly abandon and
overrule extant jurisprudence that the phrase
party adversely affected by the decision refers
to the government employee against whom the
administrative case is filed for the purpose of
disciplinary action which may take the form of
suspension, demotion in rank or salary, transfer,
removal or dismissal from office and not
included are cases where the penalty imposed
is suspension for not more then thirty (30) days
or fine in an amount not exceeding thirty days

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salary or when the respondent is
exonerated of the charges, there is no
occasion for appeal.
In other words, we overrule prior decisions
holding that the Civil Service Law does not
contemplate
a
review
of
decisions
exonerating officers or employees from
administrative
charges
enunciated
in
Paredes v. Civil Service Commission;
Mendez v. Civil Service Commission;
Magpale v. Civil Service Commission;
Navarro v. Civil Service Commission and
Export Processing Zone Authority and more
recently Del Castillo v. Civil Service
Commission
[G.R. No. 128345. May 18, 1999]
PNCC vs. NLRC
FACTS: A complaint was formally aired to
the Tollway General Manager (GM) about the
mulcting activities of some security
personnel at the North Luzon Tollway. The
investigating team staged an entrapment.
The jeepney was then carrying a cargo of
dogs destined for Baguio City.
Before reaching the Plaza Santa Entry, the
jeepney was stopped by private respondent
Angeles who was on duty at that time. He
allegedly suspected them of illegally
transporting dogs. Angeles approached the
driver, asked for his drivers license and told
him to park at the shoulder of the road. After
the jeepney had parked, the driver alighted
and talked to the guards on duty. The
members of the investigating team saw
private respondents accept cash and a sack
containing a dog, after which they allowed the
jeepney to leave.
As private respondents walked toward the toll
plaza, they were accosted by the members of
the investigating team. Upon verification, the
team found that these were the same bills
they had previously marked. After the formal
investigation,
the
investigating
officer
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submitted his findings to GM and recommended


the dismissal of private respondents. Adopting
the findings and recommendation of the
investigating officer, GM issued a Notice of
Termination to private respondents.
Private respondents filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal against petitioner. They alleged that
they were dismissed without just or authorized
cause and without due process. The complaint
prayed for reinstatement plus payment of
backwages and mid-year bonus.
LA ruled in favor of private respondents. He held
that petitioner failed to prove by clear and
convincing evidence that private respondents
committed serious misconduct.
However,
instead of ordering their reinstatement, the Labor
Arbiter ordered the payment of separation pay
because of strained relations. He also ordered
petitioner to pay private respondents their
backwages and mid-year bonus.
On appeal, NLRC modified the decision of the
LA. It held that private respondents act of
receiving a sum of money and a dog from
motorists constituted bribery which was a
sufficient ground for their dismissal. The NLRC
nonetheless ordered petitioner to pay private
respondents their separation pay on the ground
of equity. It also retained the award of private
respondents mid-year bonus for 1994.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it
was denied by the NLRC for lack of merit. Hence
this petition for certiorari.
RULING: The petition was filed on March 13,
1997. At that time, the prevailing rule was that
petitions for certiorari may be filed within
reasonable time from receipt of the resolution
denying the motion for reconsideration. There
was no fixed standard to determine the
reasonableness of the period, but the Court
generally considered the period of three (3)
months to be reasonable.

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The records show that petitioner received the
resolution of the NLRC denying its motion for
reconsideration on December 16, 1996 and
the petition at bar was filed two (2) months
and twenty-seven (27) days later. We thus
find that the instant petition was filed on time.
We now go to the primary issue in this case
whether private respondents are entitled to
separation pay and mid-year bonus. We rule
in the negative.
An employee who is dismissed for just cause
is generally not entitled to separation pay. In
some cases, however, the Court awards
separation pay to a legally dismissed
employee on the grounds of equity and social
justice. This is not allowed, though, when the
employee has been dismissed for serious
misconduct or some other cause reflecting on
his moral character.
In the case at bar, private respondents were
caught in the act of accepting bribe in the
form of cash and a dog from a motorists who
was suspected of illegality transporting dogs.
As tollway guards, private respondents had
the duty to maintain peace and order at the
North Luzon Expressway and to ensure that
tollway rules and regulations are followed.
But private respondents did the contrary by
yielding to bribery. They were the first to
violate the rules they were tasked to enforce.
Undoubtedly, private respondents act
constituted
serious
misconduct
which
warranted their dismissal from service. It is
for this reason that we find private
respondents undeserving of the comparison
accorded by the law to workers who are
bound to join the ranks of the unemployed.
Likewise, private respondents are not entitled
to the mid-year bonus they are claiming. We
do not agree with the Solicitor Generals
contention that private respondents have
already earned their mid-year bonus at the
time of their dismissal. A bonus is a gift from
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the employer and the grant thereof is a


management prerogative. Petitioner may not be
compelled to award a bonus to private
respondents whom it found guilty of serious
misconduct.
We further held in Metro Transit Organization,
Inc. vs. NLRC that a bonus becomes a
demandable or enforceable obligation only when
it is made part of the wage or salary or
compensation of the employee, thus:
The general rule is that a bonus is a gratuity
or an act of liberality which the recipient has
no right to demand as a matter of right. A
bonus, however, is a demandable or
enforceable obligation when it is made part of
the wage or salary or compensation of the
employee. Whether or not a bonus forms
part of wages depends upon the
circumstances and conditions for its
payment. If it is additional compensation
which the employer promised and agreed to
give without any conditions imposed for its
payment, such as success of business or
greater production or output, then it is part of
the wage. But if it is paid only if profits are
realized or if a certain level of productivity is
achieved, it cannot be considered part of the
wage. Where it is not payable to all but only
to some employees and only when their labor
becomes more efficient or more productive, it
is only an inducement for efficiency, a prize
therefor, not a part of the wage.
Private respondents in this case neither alleged
nor adduced evidence to show that the bonus
they are claiming is a regular benefit which has
become part of their compensation. Thus, the
presumption is that it is not a demandable
obligation from the employer and the latter may
not be compelled to grant the same to
undeserving employees.

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[G.R. No. 123910. April 5, 1999]


UNILONGO, ET. AL., vs. CA, ET. AL.
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FACTS: Sto. Nio de Cul de Sac
Neighborhood Association, Inc. (SNSNAI),
was incorporated and registered by
petitioners (hereafter referred to as the
Unilongo group) as a non-stock corporation
with
the
Securities
and
Exchange
Commission (SEC). Petitioners comprised
SNSNAI's original Board of Trustees.
An issue as to who is the rightful Board of
Trustees of the said association ensued
between the petitioners (the Unilongo group)
and the private respondents(the Dio Group).
Private respondents filed a complaint for Quo
Warranto with Damages against petitioners
before the RTC of Makati (Branch 63). RTC
denied after hearing.
Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the
aforequoted order. The trial court denied.
Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition with the CA raising practically the
same issues set forth in their motion to
dismiss.
CA dismissed. Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioners maintain the view that private
respondents' complaint primarily concerns
matters pertaining to their homeowners
association, so that it is the Home Insurance
and Guarantee Corporation (HIGC) which
has jurisdiction over the dispute and not the
regular courts pursuant to RA 580, conferring
upon the said administrative agency, among
others, the power to regulate and supervise
the activities and operations of homeowners
associations.
Private respondents, on the other hand, claim
that the regional trial court properly took
cognizance of their quo warranto complaint in
accordance with Rule 66 of the Rules of
Court and Sec. 21(1) of B.P. No. 129 which
vests the RTC with original jurisdiction to
issue writs of quo warranto.

Danniel Ancheta

ISSUE: Whether it is the ordinary courts or the


Home Insurance and Guarantee Corporation
which has jurisdiction over the corporate
controversy between the contending groups both
of which claim to be the rightful officers of a
homeowners association.
RULING: It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over
the subject matter is determined by the
allegations in the complaint. Jurisdiction cannot
be made to depend upon the pleas and defenses
set up by the defendant in a motion to dismiss or
answer otherwise jurisdiction would become
dependent almost entirely upon the defendant.
On the basis of the foregoing undisputed facts,
the controversy between the parties is intracorporate and, therefore, not cognizable by the
ordinary courts of justice. The dispute between
the contending parties for control of the
corporation manifestly falls within the primary
and exclusive jurisdiction of the SEC in whom
the law has reserved such jurisdiction as an
administrative agency of special competence to
deal promptly and expeditiously therewith.
Furthermore, the intent to remove from the
regular courts jurisdiction over actions against
persons who usurp corporate offices and quo
warranto actions against corporations is
crystallized in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
as amended. Section 2, Rule 66 of the old rules
is deleted in its entirety, Section 1 (a), Rules 66
of the amended rules no longer contains the
phrase or an office in a corporation created by
authority of law found in the old section.
Section 1, Rule 66 of the new rules now reads:
SECTION 1. Action by Government against
individuals.-- An action for the usurpation of a
public office, position or franchise may be
commenced by a verified petition brought in
the name of the Republic of the Philippines
against:
(a) A person who usurps, intrudes into, or
unlawfully holds or exercises a public office,
position or franchise;

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(b) A public officer who does or suffers an
act which, by the provision of law,
constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of
his office; or
(c) An association which acts as a
corporation within the Philippines without
being legally incorporated or without
lawful authority so to act.
Explaining the changes in the aforequoted
provision, Justice Jose Y. Feria states:
This rule is now limited to actions of quo
warranto against persons who usurp a
public office, position or franchise; public
officers who forfeit their office; and
associations which act as corporations
without being legally incorporated.
Actions of quo warranto against corporations,
or against persons who usurp an office in a
corporation, fall under the jurisdiction of the
Securities and Exchange Commission and
are governed by its rules.
However, the jurisdiction of the SEC over
homeowners
associations
has
been
transferred to the HIGC by EO 90 and
exercise all the powers, authorities and
responsibilities that are vested on the
Securities and Exchange Commission with
respect to home owners association.
In this case, the entities involved are
homeowners associations. Although the
SNSNAI is registered with the SEC as a nonstock, non-profit corporation, the purposes for
which this neighborhood association was
established correspond to the requirements
laid down in the HIGC rules.
Finally, private respondents have also raised
the issue that petitioners are now estopped
from assailing the jurisdiction of the courts
over the intra-corporate controversy because
the trial of the case before the regional trial
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court was already half-way through when the


latter raised the issue of jurisdiction.
This is not true. Records bear out that the
individual petitioners through their counsel had in
fact filed a motion to dismiss in the Regional Trial
Court on the ground, among others, that the
regular courts lack jurisdiction over intracorporate matters. The trial court, however, did
not act on the motion. Instead, it proceeded to
trial. In fact, the allegations in the petition for
certiorari and prohibitions filed by petitioners in
the Court of Appeals were substantially a
reiteration of those contained in the said motion
to dismiss.
[G.R. No. 125931. September 16, 1999]
UNION MOTORS CORP., vs. NLRC
FACTS: Ms. Go was appointed as Assistant to
the President and Administrative and Personnel
Manager by the Board. She claimed she had
gone on leave to avoid further clashes between
her and Ms. Cua, the Vice-President/Treasurer.
However, Mr. Cua wrote private respondent a
letter advising her that he was accepting her
resignation. Insisting that she did not resign and
hence, an acceptance of her resignation could
not be possible, Ms. Go then filed a complaint for
constructive/illegal dismissal with the Labor
Arbiter. LA rendered his decision dismissing the
private respondents complaint. Dissatisfied, Ms.
Go appealed the LAs decision to the NLRC.
In their Reply/Opposition, petitioners initially
argued that she was not dismissed, but had
voluntarily resigned and abandoned her
employment. However, in their Supplemental
Reply, petitioners switched tracks. They now
contended that she was a corporate officer who
had been elected/appointed to the position of
Assistant to the President/Administrative and
Personnel Manager by the UMC Board of
Directors. Any issue relating to her removal from
the said posts was therefore an intra-corporate
dispute. As such, jurisdiction over the action did

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not lie with the NLRC but rather with the
SEC.
NLRC reversed LAs decision. Petitioners
filed a motion for reconsideration. Said
motion was denied by the NLRC. Petitioners
filed the instant petition for certiorari and/or
prohibition.
RULING: In the present case, we once again
face the tug-of-war between the jurisdiction of
the NLRC and the SEC. It is the private
respondents stand that she is but mere
employee of the petitioner corporation. A
high-ranking employee, but an employee
nonetheless, who was illegally dismissed.
Hence, no grave abuse of discretion was
committed by the NLRC when it assumed
jurisdiction over her case. Petitioners,
however, vehemently insist that she was a
corporate officer who had been ousted from
office.
Thus, private respondents dismissal squarely
falls within the jurisdiction of the SEC as an
intra-corporate dispute. A proper resolution
of this case thus entails determining whether
the private respondent is a mere employee
(albeit high in rank) or a corporate officer. To
determine which body has jurisdiction over
this case requires considering not only the
relationship of the parties, but also the nature
of the question that is the subject of their
controversy.
The records clearly show that private
respondents position as Assistant to the
President and Personnel & Administrative
Manager is a corporate office under the bylaws of UMC. We have held that one who is
included in the by-laws of an association in its
roster of corporate officers is an officer of
said corporation and not a mere employee.
Hence, the inescapable conclusion is that
private respondent was an officer of petitioner
UMC.
Danniel Ancheta

Under Section 23 of the Corporation Code,


directors are thus charged with the control and
management of their corporation. It is settled
that they may appoint officers and agents and as
incident to this power of appointment, they may
discharge those appointed.
From all the foregoing, it becomes clear that the
charges filed by Ms. Go against petitioners
partake of the nature of an intra-corporate
dispute. Similarly, the determination of the rights
of Ms. Go and the concomitant liability of the
petitioners arising from her ouster as a corporate
officer, is an intra-corporate controversy. For the
SEC to take cognizance of a case, the
controversy must pertain to any of the following
relationships:
(a) between the corporation, partnership or
association and the public;
(b) between the corporation, partnership or
association and its stockholders, partners,
members, or officers (italics for emphasis);
(c) between the corporation, partnership, or
association and the state so far as its
franchise, permit, or license to operate is
concerned; and
(d) among the stockholders, partners, or
associates themselves.
The instant case, in our view, is a dispute
between a corporation and one of its officers. As
such, Ms. Gos complaint is subject to the
jurisdiction of the SEC, and not the NLRC.
Interpreting Section 5 of PD 902-A, we have
consistently ruled that it is the SEC that has
exclusive
and
original
jurisdiction
over
controversies involving removal from a corporate
office.
Private respondent now faults petitioners for
failing to raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction by
the NLRC at the earliest possible time. She
contends that since the petitioners actively
participated in the proceedings before the Labor
Arbiter and the NLRC, they are now estopped
from assailing the jurisdiction of the NLRC.

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Private respondents reliance on the principle
of estoppel to justify the exercise of
jurisdiction by the NLRC over her case is
misplaced.
The long-established rule is that jurisdiction
over a subject matter is conferred by law.
Estoppel does not apply to confer jurisdiction
to a tribunal that has none over a cause of
action. Where it appears that the court or
tribunal has no jurisdiction, then the defense
may be interposed at any time, even on
appeal or even after final judgment.
Moreover, the principle of estoppel cannot be
invoked to prevent this court from taking up
the question of jurisdiction.
To conclude, we find that the NLRC erred in
assuming jurisdiction over, and thereafter in
failing to dismiss, the private respondents
complaint for illegal dismissal against
petitioners, because the NLRC is without
jurisdiction on the subject matter of the
controversy.
[G.R. No. 122269. September 30, 1999]
REPUBLIC vs. CA, ET. AL.,
FACTS: The parcel of land that is presently
the subject of the dispute in the instant case
Lot 3 Portion forms part of the abovementioned parcel of land declared by this
Honorable Court as belonging to the public
domain, classified/zonified land available for
fishpond development.
This lot has been leased to Mr. Porfirio
Morado by the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Secretary of Agriculture,
for a period of 25 years, or up to December
31, 2013, under Fishpond Lease Agreement.
On July 6, 1988, however, the late Zenaida
Bustria [daughter of Isidro Bustria] filed a
complaint against Porfirio Morado in the
Regional Trial Court of Alaminos, Pangasinan
for ownership and possession over the lot in
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question. Herein petitioner, the Republic of the


Philippines, was not made a party to that suit.
In her complaint, Zenaida Bustria claimed
absolute ownership and quiet and peaceful
possession of several lots under PSU-155696
surveyed in the name of her father, Isidro
Bustria. She further asserted that said Porfirio
Morado maliciously applied for a fishpond permit
with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
Resources over Lot 3 thereof (the subject lot),
well-knowing that said lot had always been
occupied, possessed and worked by her and her
predecessors-in-interest.
Porfirio Morado denied the allegations in the
complaint, claiming that the lot in question is part
of the public domain which he developed and
converted into a fishpond. Due, however, to
Porfirio Morados and his counsels failure to
appear at the pre-trial and subsequent court
hearings, the trial court subsequently declared
Porfirio Morado as in default.
Respondent Judge rendered a decision
declaring the plaintiff as the exclusive and
absolute owner of the land in question. Petitioner
(REPUBLIC), filed with the CA a petition for the
annulment of the trial courts decision. Petitioner
alleged that the land in question is within the
classified/zonified alienable and disposable land
for fishpond development and that since the land
formed part of the public domain, the BFAR has
jurisdiction over its disposition in accordance
with P.D. No. 704, 4. CA rendered a decision
dismissing the petition. Hence, this petition for
review.
The judgment rendered in a case may be
annulled on any of the following grounds: (a) the
judgment is void for want of jurisdiction or for
lack of due process of law; or (b) it was obtained
through extrinsic fraud. The question in this case
is whether the decision of the Regional Trial
Court is void on any of these grounds. The
preliminary question, however, is whether the
government can bring such action even though it

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was not a party to the action in which the
decision sought to be annulled was rendered.
We shall deal with these questions in inverse
order.
RULING: First, is the question whether
petitioner has personality to bring the action
below. To begin with, an action to recover a
parcel of land is in personam. As such, it is
binding only between the parties thereto, as
this Court explained in Ching v. Court of
Appeals, viz:
An action to redeem, or to recover title to
or possession of, real property is not an
action in rem or an action against the
whole world, like a land registration
proceeding or the probate of a will; it is an
action in personam, so much so that a
judgment therein is binding only upon the
parties properly impleaded and duly
heard or given an opportunity to be
heard. Actions in personam and actions
in rem differ in that the former are
directed against specific persons and
seek personal judgments, while the latter
are directed against the thing or property
or status of a person and seek judgments
with respect thereto as against the whole
world. An action to recover a parcel of
land is a real action but it is an action in
personam, for it binds a particular
individual only although it concerns the
right to a tangible thing.

subject of foreclosure proceedings has a


sufficient interest to bring an action for
annulment of the judgment rendered in the
foreclosure proceedings even though it was not
a party in such proceedings. It was held:
[A] person need not be a party to the
judgment sought to be annulled. What is
essential is that he can prove his allegation
that the judgment was obtained by the use of
fraud and collusion and he would be
adversely affected thereby.
Private respondents do not deny that Isidro
Bustria, to whom they trace their ownership,
previously filed a fishpond application with the
BFAR over the disputed land. Neither do they
deny that the disputed land formed part of the
public domain.
We agree with petitioner. The State clearly
stands to be adversely affected by the trial
courts disposition of inalienable public land. The
land involved in this case was classified as
public land suitable for fishpond development. In
controversies involving the disposition of public
land, the burden of overcoming the presumption
of state ownership of lands of the public domain
lies upon the private claimant. Private
respondents have not discharged this burden.

The appellate court, holding that the


proceedings before the trial court were in
personam, ruled that since petitioner was not
a party to Civil Case No. A-1759, it is not a
real party-in-interest and, therefore, has no
personality to bring the action for annulment
of the judgment rendered in that case.

The fact that the land in dispute was transformed


into a fully developed fishpond does not mean
that it has lost its character as one declared
suitable for fishpond purposes under the
decree. By applying for a fishpond permit with
BFAR, Isidro Bautista admitted the character of
the land as one suitable for fishpond
development since the disposition of such lands
is vested in the BFAR. Consequently, private
respondents, as his successors-in-interests, are
estopped from claiming otherwise.

The appellate court is in error. In Islamic


Dawah Council of the Phils. v. Court of
Appeals, this Court held that a party claiming
ownership of a parcel of land which is the

It is settled under the Public Land Law that


alienable public land held by a possessor,
personally or through his predecessor-in-interest,
openly, continuously, and exclusively for 30

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years is ipso jure converted to private
property by the mere lapse of time. However,
only public lands classified as agricultural are
alienable.
Lands declared for fishery
purposes are not alienable and their
possession, no matter how long continued,
cannot ripen into ownership.
Since the disposition of lands declared
suitable for fishpond purposes fall within the
jurisdiction of the BFAR, in accordance with
P.D. No 704, 4, the trial courts decision is
null and void. The trial court has no
jurisdiction to make a disposition of
inalienable public land.

With the denial of its Motion for Reconsideration,


NSC has come to this court via the present
petition.
RULING: Anent the issue of mistaken
appreciation of facts and law of the case, the
petitioner theorizes that the awards made by the
Board were unsubstantiated and the same were
a plain misapplication of the law and even
contrary to jurisprudence.
If Petitioner seeks to refute such evidence, it
should have done so before the Board of
Arbitrators, during the hearings. To raise the
issue now is futile.

[G.R. No. 127004. March 11, 1999]


NATIONAL STEEL CORPORATION
vs. RTC OF LANAO DEL NORTE

[G.R. No. 131039. December 8, 1999]


PEOPLE vs. FLORES

FACTS: Petitioner-defendant Edward Wilkom


Enterprises Inc. (EWEI for brevity) together
with
one
Ramiro
Construction
and
respondent-petitioner
National
Steel
Corporation (NSC for short) executed a
contract whereby the former jointly undertook
the Contract for Site Development for the
latter's Integrated Iron and Steel Mills
Complex to be established at Iligan City.
Differences arose thus their case was placed
in arbitration proceedings. After series of
hearings, the Arbitrators rendered the
decision which is the subject matter of these
present causes of action, both initiated
separately by the herein contending parties,
substantial portion of which directs NSC to
pay EWEI.
RTC rendered judgment declaring: the award
of the Board of Arbitrators to be duly
AFFIRMED and CONFIRMED "en toto;" that
an entry of judgment be entered therewith
pursuant to (the Arbitration Law); and costs
against
respondent
National
Steel
Corporation.

Danniel Ancheta

FACTS: Alberto Flores @ Amang Mangot and


Rodolfo Flores @ Rudy were accused to have
killed one Michael Manlapig. Trial ensued after
accused-appellants pled not guilty to the charge.
The trial court convicted the accused-appellants.
It relied heavily on the testimony of Marissa. It
held that she has no reason to testify falsely
against them. It observed that she testified
sincerely, candidly and was straightforward in
the witness stand. It accepted her explanation
that she did not immediately identify the
accused-appellants out of fear as they were then
still at large. It ruled that the positive
identification of the accused negated their
defense. The trial court further found that
treachery attended the commission of the crime.
In support of these assignment of errors,
accused-appellants
cite
the
glaring
inconsistencies made by Marissa in her sworn
statement at the police station and her testimony
in court. In her sworn statement, she claimed
that she did not see how and who killed the
victim. She alleged that the victim was stabbed
twice isa sa kanang sentido (right temple) at
isa sa kanang butas ng tainga (right ear).
However, in her testimony, she claimed that she

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saw Rodolfo stab the victim. She declared
that the victim was stabbed on his left temple
nd left ear. Accused-appellants also insist
lack of motive to kill the victim.
RULING:
We
acquit.
Jurisprudence
forewarns that when serious and inexplicable
discrepancies are present between a
previously executed sworn statement of a
witness and her testimonial declarations with
respect to one's participation in a serious
imputation such as murder, there is raised a
grave doubt on the veracity of the witness
account. In the case at bar, it is difficult to
reconcile the inconsistencies made by
Marissa in her sworn statement and
testimony in court. It is even more difficult to
accept her explanation in committing these
inconsistencies.
Equally perplexing is the absolute absence of
any action on the part of Marissa when she
saw the intruders before they killed the
victim. By her testimony, she did not even
wake up the victim to warn him that there
were intruders in their house. She did not
call for help. Neither did she attempt to help
the victim while he was being attacked. Nor
did she make any move to protect her
children who were sleeping by her side. All
these omissions do not enhance her
credibility.
The Court has no option but to acquit. This is
in keeping with the worn-out principle that the
prosecution must rely on the strength of its
evidence and not on the weakness of the
defense. So often has it been said that it is
better for 100 criminals to go free than for
one innocent man to be convicted. Conviction
should be decreed only when the exacting
standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt is
met.
[G.R. No. 110798. July 20, 1999]
BUSCAINO vs. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

Danniel Ancheta

FACTS: Petitioner Odelon T. Buscaino is the


Director of Fiscal Management Services of PUP.
His functions include signing disbursement
vouchers and certifying the availability of funds
and legality and propriety of supporting
documents. As such, petitioner is one of the
necessary PUP official signatories to every
disbursement voucher of PUP before payment
thereon can be made.
Auditor of PUP, disallowed in audit an aggregate
amount of P993,933.32, involving overpriced
purchases of various office and school supplies
in violation of pertinent laws, applicable rules and
regulations. A motion for reconsideration of the
aforestated disallowances was interposed by
former PUP President and the herein petitioner.
COA affirmed the subject disallowances ordered
by the PUP Auditor on the ground that there was
no public bidding and/or canvass resulting in
overpricing in the purchase of the various office
and school supplies in question and holding
petitioner jointly and severally liable with Dr.
Pablo Mateo, and Dr. Juan E. Manuel, Jr.,
former President and Vice-President of PUP,
respectively, for the said disallowances.
After
a
reevaluation,
the
motion
for
reconsideration was denied in COA Decision.
Petitioner filed with this Court a petition for
certiorari.
Before delving into the merits of the case, the
timeliness of the petition must first be looked into
and passed upon. The thirty day period for filing
a petition for certiorari should be reckoned from
the date subject decision was received by the
petitioner. Our pivot of inquiry therefore is the
true date petitioner received COA Decision.
RULING: As evinced by the allegations of the
parties, the issue at bar is factual in nature.
Normally, this Court does not rule on a question
of fact. However, since the factual issue
aforestated is relevant to the resolution of the

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issue of timeliness of filing of the petition, the
Court may rule on this question.
Respondent contends that subject decision
was received by petitioner, through his
secretary, on May 30, 1993. On the other
hand, it is petitioners submission that he
received such decision on June 15, 1993,
when a copy thereof was sent to his
residence by PUP President Zenaida Olonan
as he was then on official sick leave from
PUP.
Petitioners allegation that he received the
decision only on June 15, 1993 finds support
in the evidence that he was, in fact, on official
sick leave from PUP, as shown by Annex A
- a medical certificate from Lyceum
Northwestern General Hospital in Dagupan
City stating that petitioner was under the
hospitals medical care, Annex A-1 petitioners approved application for leave
from PUP for the period April 12 to May 31,
1993 and Annex A-2 - petitioners approved
application for leave for the period June 1-30,
1993. It is thus understandable that
petitioner received subject decision by
registered mail on June 15, 1993 and his
motion for extension of time sent in on July
15, 1993 was filed on the thirtieth day, within
the 30-day reglementary period.
Assuming arguendo that the thirty days for
filing a petition for certiorari had already
lapsed, this Court may still allow and, in fact,
has allowed some meritorious cases to
proceed despite the procedural defect or
lapse; in keeping with the principle that rules
of procedure are mere tools designed to
facilitate the attainment of justice and that
strict and rigid application of rules which
would result in technicalities that tend to
frustrate rather than promote substantial
justice must always be avoided.

grave abuse of discretion in handing down its


assailed decision. The various disbursements
upon which petitioners liability is based have not
been indubitably established as patently invalid
or irregular and the disallowances ordered by
COA were not substantiated by sufficient
evidence on record.
The requirements of due process of law mandate
that every accused or respondent be apprised of
the nature and cause of the charge against him,
and the evidence in support thereof be shown or
made available to him so that he can meet the
charge with traversing or exculpatory evidence.
COAs failure to furnish or show to the petitioner
the inculpatory documents or records of
purchases and price levels constituted a denial
of due process which is a valid defense against
the
accusation.
Absent
any
evidence
documentary or testimonial to prove the same,
the charge of COA against the herein petitioner
must fail for want of any leg to stand on.
We agree with
petitioners that COAs
disallowance was not sufficiently supported by
evidence, as it was premised purely on
undocumented claims, as in fact petitioners were
denied access to the actual canvass sheets or
price quotations from accredited suppliers.
It was incumbent upon the COA to prove that its
standards were met in its audit disallowance.
The records do not show that such was done in
this case.
x x x absent due process and evidence to
support COAs disallowance, COAs ruling on
petitioners liability has no basis.
Indeed, without the evidence upon which the
charge of overpricing is anchored, apart from
being a denial of due process, it would not be
possible to attach liability to petitioner.
[G.R. No. 120236. July 20, 1999]
E.G.V. REALTY vs. CA

Going into the merits of the case, the Court


finds that the Commission on Audit acted with
Danniel Ancheta

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FACTS: Respondent Unisphere International,
Inc. (Unisphere) is the owner/occupant of
Unit 301 of said condominium. Respondent
Unispheres Unit 301 was allegedly robbed of
valued at P6,165.00. The incident was
reported to petitioner Cristina Condo. Corp
(CCC). Another robbery allegedly occurred at
Unit 301 where the items carted away were
valued at P6,130.00, bringing the total value
of items lost to P12,295.00. This incident
was likewise reported to petitioner CCC.

SEC en banc issued the Order dismissing such


for having been filed out of time. CA reversed the
SEC en bancs Order. Hence, the instant petition
for review interposed by petitioners E.G.V.
Realty and CCC challenging the decision of the
CA.

Respondent
Unisphere
demanded
compensation and reimbursement from
petitioner CCC for the losses incurred as a
result of the robbery. As a consequence of
the denial, respondent Unisphere withheld
payment of its monthly dues. Petitioner
E.G.V. Realty executed a Deed of Absolute
Sale over Unit 301 in favor of respondent
Unisphere.
Thereafter,
Condominium
Certificate of Title was issued in respondent
Unispheres name bearing the annotation of a
lien in favor of petitioner E.G.V. Realty for the
unpaid condominium dues in the amount of
P13,142.67.

With respect to the second contention,


petitioners asseverate that the order of the SEC
en banc has already become final and
unappealable, therefore can no longer be
reversed, amended or modified. They maintain
that respondent Unisphere received a copy of
said order on February 26, 1990 and that 10
days thereafter, it filed its motion for
reconsideration. Said motion was denied by the
SEC on May 14, 1990 which was received by
respondent Unisphere on May 15, 1990.

Petitioners E.G.V. Realty and CCC jointly


filed a petition with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) for the
collection of the unpaid monthly dues in the
amount of P13,142.67 against respondent
Unisphere.
SEC Hearing Officer rendered a decision
ordered to pay petitioner the sum of
P13,142.67. Both parties filed their respective
motions for reconsideration. Accordingly, the
decision is partially reconsidered to the effect
that petitioners are not made liable for the
value of the items/articles burglarized from
respondents condominium unit. Respondent
Unisphere filed a notice of appeal with the
SEC en banc questioning the abovementioned decision.

Danniel Ancheta

RULING: Petitioners contend that assuming that


the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction, the
assailed SEC en banc Order of February 23,
1990 had already become final and executory.

Consequently, they assert that respondent


Unisphere had only the remaining 5 days or on
May 20, 1990 within which to file a notice of
appeal.
However, instead of appealing
therefrom, respondent Unisphere filed a second
motion for reconsideration on May 25, 1990 with
the SEC en banc. Petitioners contend that no
second motion for reconsideration is allowed by
SEC Rules unless with express prior to leave of
the hearing officer. Said second motion for
reconsideration was likewise denied on August
21, 1990. Fifteen days later or on September 5,
1990, respondent Unisphere filed its notice of
appeal.
Section 8, Rule XII of the Revised Rules of
Procedure of the SEC provides that:
SEC. 8. Reconsideration.-- Within 30 days from
receipt of the order or decision of the Hearing
Officer, the aggrieved party may file a motion for
reconsideration of such order or decision
together with proof of service thereof upon the
adverse party. No more than one motion for

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reconsideration shall be allowed unless with
the express prior leave of the Hearing Officer.
Respondent Unispheres non-observance of
the foregoing rule rendered the February 23,
1990 and the May 14, 1990 orders of the
SEC en banc final and unappealable. Its
failure to perfect its appeal in the manner and
within the period fixed by law rendered the
decision sought to be appealed final, with the
result that no court can exercise appellate
jurisdiction to review the decision. Contrary to
petitioners view, the appeal to the Court of
Appeals in this case should have been
perfected within 15 days from receipt of the
order denying the motion for reconsideration
on May 15, 1990.
But instead of appealing, respondent
Unisphere filed a prohibited second motion
for reconsideration without express prior
leave of the hearing officer. Consequently,
when it subsequently filed its notice of appeal
on September 6, 1990, it was already eightytwo (82) days late. Therefore, the appeal
before the Court of Appeals could have been
dismissed outright for being time-barred.
Rules of procedure are intended to ensure
the proper administration of justice and the
protection of substantive rights in judicial and
quasi-judicial proceedings. Blatant violation
of such rules smacks of a dilatory tactic which
we simply cannot countenance.
[G.R. No. 134441. May 19, 1999]
CONTI vs. CA, ET. AL.
FACTS: In 1989, PUP appointed petitioner
Indalicio P. Conti from Assistant Professor IV
to Professor I. On 01 July 1993, Dr. Zenaida
A. Olonan, President of PUP, issued an
appointment paper to Conti, confirming his
promotional appointment with Dionisia P.
Pingol, Director II of CSFO-NCR, signing
below the name of Dr. Olonan for the CSC.

Danniel Ancheta

Ms. Pingol sent a letter to Dr. Zenaida Olonan


asking for a copy of Contis MBA diploma or
transcript of records in order to verify an
information she had received to the effect that
Mr. Conti was not a masteral degree holder.
When furnished with a copy of the letter of Ms.
Pingol, Conti sent a written reply contending that
a masteral degree was not a requisite for the
position of Professor I.
Hence, the Director IV of CSC-NCR formally
charged Conti with dishonesty. CSC held Conti
guilty of dishonesty. Conti moved for a
reconsideration of the CSC resolution. Still, the
CSC had not acted. On 23 February 1998, Conti
finally filed with SC a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus.
SC referred the petition to the Court of Appeals.
In its now challenged resolution, the appellate
court dismissed the petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus for having been filed
out of time.
Conti sought reconsideration but it was to no
avail; hence, the instant recourse.
Conti explains that his petition before the
appellate court for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus is an original action under Rule 65 of
the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure and not an
appeal under Rule 43 thereof.
RULING: The instant petition has merit, and it
must be granted. Before the advent of Revised
Administrative Circular (RAC) No. 1-95 and the
eventual incorporation of its provisions in the
1997 Revised Civil Procedure under Rule 43
thereof, the established rule had been that a
decision, order, or ruling of the CSC, the single
arbiter of all contests relating to the civil service,
was unappealable subject only to this Courts
certiorari jurisdiction. In other words, no appeal
could then lie from judgments of the CSC and
that a party aggrieved thereby should proceed to
the SC alone on certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court within thirty (30) days from receipt
of a copy thereof.

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RAC No. 1-95, made effective as of 01 June
1995, now mandates, however, that an
appeal from judgments, final orders or
resolutions of quasi-judicial agencies, like the
CSC, may be taken to the Court of Appeals
by way of a petition for review within fifteen
(15) days from notice of the assailed
judgment, order or resolution. Regarding
cases still pending with this Court via
petitions for certiorari directed against CSC
prior to the effectivity of RAC 1-95 and those
that might have been filed soon thereafter.
Truly, an essential requisite for the availability
of the extraordinary remedies under the
Rules is an absence of an appeal nor any
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course of law, one which has been
so defined as a "remedy which (would)
equally (be) beneficial, speedy and sufficient,
not merely a remedy which at some time in
the future will bring about a revival of the
judgment x x x complained of in the certiorari
proceeding, but a remedy which will promptly
relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects
of that judgment and the acts of the inferior
court or tribunal" concerned.

the failure of justice without the writ, that should


determine the propriety of certiorari.
This Court has ruled that a recourse to certiorari
is proper not only where there is a clear
deprivation of petitioners fundamental right to
due process; but so also from where other
special circumstances warrant immediate
and more direct action. Contis motion for
reconsideration has been pending with the CSC
for more than two years since 13 December
1995 up until his petition with this Court on 28
February 1998. Given the circumstances, it
should behoove the appellate court to resolve
the case on its merits.

Illustrative of such a plain, speedy and


adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law is a motion for reconsideration that has
thus often been considered a condition sine
qua non for the grant of certiorari.
As the Solicitor General so aptly points out,
the continuous failure of respondent CSC to
resolve Contis motion for reconsideration for
so long a time has virtually amounted to a
denial of his right to due process and right to
the speedy disposition of his case. In fact,
there is yet no indication on record that CSC
has already resolved Contis motion for
reconsideration. It cannot be gainsaid that it
is the inadequacy, not the total absence, of
all other legal remedies, and the danger of
Danniel Ancheta

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