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Jocelyn S. Limkaichong vs. Land Bank of the Philippines, et al. G.R. No.

158464 August 2, 2016

FACTS: Limkaichong was the registered owner of agricultural lands. Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication
Board (DARAB) sent to her in 1998 several Notices of Land Valuation and Acquisition by which her lands.

Limkaichong rejected such valuation of her lands, the DARAB conducted summary administrative proceedings for
the determination of just compensation.

Limkaichong filed in the RTC a complaint for the fixing of just compensation for her lands, prayed that the DARAB
valuation be set aside and declared null and void.

Respondents filed motion to dismiss, stating that the petitioner's failure to timely appeal the DARAB order had
rendered the order final and executory pursuant to Section 51 of R.A. No. 6657.

Limkaichong petitioner admitted that Civil Case filed beyond the reglementary period, but insisted that the RTC
sitting as special agrarian court (SAC) was not barred from acquiring jurisdiction over the complaint for
determination of just compensation, because her cause of action was anchored on the respondents' violation of her
right to due process and their taking of her property without just compensation due to the DARAB valuation being
too low and having been arbitrarily arrived at. She claimed that the RTC as the SAC should accord her the same
treatment it had accorded to other landowners who had been given the chance to be heard on their claim for re-
valuation despite the belated filing of their complaints for just compensation.

RTC: as the SAC granted the respondents' motion to dismiss. RTC concluded that dismissal was proper because she
had filed Civil Case beyond the statutory 15-day period.

Limkaichong brought her petition for certiorari in the CA assailing the dismissal of Civil Case.

CA: affirming the dismissal of Civil Case, opining that because the order of the RTC dismissing Civil Case was a
final order, the petitioner's remedy was not certiorari but an appeal in the CA; that she chose the wrong remedy
because certiorari could not take the place of an appeal; and that the RTC thus committed no grave abuse of
discretion that warranted the issuance of the writ of certiorari.

ISSUE: W/N the trial court's dismissal of her petition because of her failure to file it before the decision/order of the
DARAB became final and executory pursuant to Section 51 of R.A, No. 6657 was fair and proper.

HELD: Section 9, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that "[p]rivate property shall not be taken for public
use without just compensation." The determination of just compensation has been the subject of various discordant
rulings of the Court. Although some of the later rulings have supposedly settled the controversy of whether the
courts or the DAR should have the final say on just compensation, the conflict has continued, and has caused some
confusion to the Bench and the Bar, as well as to the other stakeholders in the expropriation of agricultural
landholdings.

Procedure for the determination of just compensation under R.A. No, 6657:
1. LBP is tasked with the responsibility of initially determining the value of lands placed under land.
2. By way of notice sent to the landowner pursuant to Section 16(a) of R.A. No. 6657, the DAR makes an
offer to acquire the land sought to be placed under agrarian reform.
3. If the concerned landowner rejects the offer, a summary administrative proceeding is held, and thereafter
the provincial adjudicator (PARAD), the regional adjudicator (RARAD) or the central adjudicator
(DARAB), as the case may be, fixes the price to be paid for the land, based on the various factors and
criteria as determined by law or regulation.
4. Should the landowner disagree with the valuation, he/she may bring the matter to the RTC acting as the
SAC.

The Court has reiterated EPZA v. Dulay in its later decisions, stressing that such determination was the function of
the courts of justice that no other branch or official of the Government could usurp.
DAR, as the central implementing agency of the law, promulgated the DARAB Rules of Procedures pursuant to the
provisions of Section 49 and Section 50 of R.A. No. 6657 vesting it with the power to issue rules and regulations,
whether substantive or procedural, to carry out the objects and purposes of the CARL, Moreover, Section 57 of the
CARL defines the jurisdiction of the RTC sitting as the SAC, viz.:

Section 57. Special Jurisdiction - The Special Agrarian Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction
over all petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all
criminal offenses under this Act. The Rules of Court shall apply to all proceedings before the Special
Agrarian Courts unless modified by this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty
(30) days from submission of the case for decision.
Republic v. Court of Appeals, which was principally relied upon by the petitioner herein, reiterated that the
determination of just compensation for the taking of lands under the CARL was a power vested in the courts and not
in administrative agencies, clarifying that the jurisdiction of the SAC was not appellate but original and exclusive

In Philippine Veterans Bank, the Court, through Justice Vicente V. Mendoza who had penned Republic v. Court of
Appeals, upheld the DARAB rule to the effect that the adjudicator's preliminary determination of just compensation
must be brought to the SAC within 15 days from receipt of the notice thereof; otherwise, the parties would be
concluded by the result.

In Land Bank v. Suntay, the Court opined that the RTC erred in dismissing the Land Bank's petition for
determination of just compensation on the ground that it was filed beyond the 15-day period provided in Section 11,
Rule XIII of the DARAB New Rules of Procedure. This Court then emphatically reminded that the SAC's
jurisdiction over petitions for the determination of just compensation was original and exclusive; that any effort to
transfer such jurisdiction to the adjudicators of the DARAB and to convert the original jurisdiction of the RTC into
appellate jurisdiction was void for being contrary to R.A, No. 6657; and that what DARAB adjudicators were
empowered to do was only to determine in a preliminary manner the reasonable compensation to be paid to the
landowners, leaving to the courts the ultimate power to decide this question

To purge any uncertainties brought about by the conflicting jurisprudence on the matter, this Court held in its July
31, 2008 resolution in Land Bank v. Martinez:45

On the supposedly conflicting pronouncements in the cited decisions, the Court reiterates its ruling
in this case that the agrarian reform adjudicator's decision on land valuation attains finality after the
lapse of the 15-day period stated in the DARAB Rules. The petition for the fixing of just compensation
should therefore, following the law and settled jurisprudence, be filed with the SAC within the said
period.This conclusion, as already explained in the assailed decision, is based on the doctrines laid down
in Philippine Veterans Bank v. Court of Appeals and Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
v. Lubrica.

xxxx

The Court notes that the Suntay ruling is based on Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, decided
in 1996 also through the pen of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza. In that case, the Court emphasized that the
jurisdiction of the SAC is original and exclusive, not appellate. Republic, however, was decided at a time
when Rule XIII, Section 11 was not yet present in the DARAB Rules. Further, Republic did not discuss
whether the petition filed therein for the fixing of just compensation was filed out of time or not. The Court
merely decided the issue of whether cases involving just compensation should first be appealed to the
DARAB before the landowner can resort to the SAC under Section 57 of R.A. No. 6657.

To resolve the conflict in the rulings of the Court, we now declare herein, for the guidance of the bench and
the bar, that the better rule is that stated in Philippine Veterans Bank, reiterated in Lubrica and in the
August 14, 2007 Decision in this case. Thus, while a petition for the fixing of just compensation with the
SAC is not an appeal from the agrarian reform adjudicator's decision but an original action, the same
has to be filed within the 15-day period stated in the DARAB Rules; otherwise, the adjudicator's decision
will attain finality. This rule is not only in accord with law and settled jurisprudence but also with the
principles of justice and equity. Verily, a belated petition before the SAC, e.g., one filed a month, or a year,
or even a decade after the land valuation of the DAR adjudicator, must not leave the dispossessed
landowner in a state of uncertainty as to the true value of his property. 46 (Emphasis supplied)
The petitioner's cause of action for the proper valuation of her expropriated property should be allowed to proceed.
Hence, her complaint to recover just compensation was properly brought in the RTC as the SAC, whose dismissal of
it upon the motion of Land Bank should be undone.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari, and REVERSE the decision of the Court of
Appeals dated November 22, 2002; and DIRECT the Regional Trial Court, Branch 30, in Dumaguete City to
resume the proceedings in Civil Case No. 12558 for the determination of just compensation of petitioner Jocelyn S.
Limkaichong's expropriated property.

Civil Service Commission vs. Carolina P. Juen G.R. No. 200577 August 17, 2016

FACTS: CSCRO V found that there existed a prima facie case for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service against the respondent. It found that, after a comparison of the
respondent's picture submitted in the Personal Data Sheet and with the picture of the person who took the exam as
found in the Picture Seat Plan, the respondent was not the one who actually took the examination but caused
somebody to take the exam on her behalf.

Ruling of the CSCRO V

CSCRO V found the respondent guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the service.

The CSCRO V, thus, imposed the penalty of dismissal with all the accessory penalties attached thereto

The respondent moved for reconsideration on the grounds that: 1) her constitutional right to due process and right to
be informed of the causes against her had been denied; and 2) the CSCRO V had no jurisdiction over the case. She
said she was not given sufficient notice to attend the scheduled hearings.

CSCRO V denied the motion. It stated that it had the jurisdiction to hear the complaint against the respondent by
virtue of Section 6 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS). Respondent had
been given an opportunity to present her case. While it was true that the notice for the September 4, 2003 hearing
was received on the same day by the respondent, her counsel received the notice of hearing. for November 13, 2003
two days prior to the scheduled hearing or on November 11, 2003. It reasoned that under Section 84 of the
URACCS, receipt by counsel is valid service. Despite due notice of CSCRO V, the respondent still failed to appear.

On appeal, the CSC, affirmed the CSCRO V orders.

The respondent, thus, filed an appeal before the CA.

However, the respondent's counsel informed the CA that the respondent died from ovarian cancer on December 23,
2008. The Office of the Solicitor General, on behalf of the CSC, agreed that the case should continue on the ground
that the "death of respondent in an administrative case does not preclude a finding of administrative liability."

CA found that the CSC did not afford the respondent a hearing where she could present her case and submit
evidence to support it.

ISSUE: W/N Respondent was denied due process of law.

HELD: Yes, notice was improper.


The Court has, in a long line of cases, stated that due process in administrative proceedings requires compliance
with the following cardinal principles:

(1) the respondents' right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one's case and submit supporting
evidence, must be observed;
(2) the tribunal must consider the evidence presented;
(3) the decision must have some basis to support itself;
(4) there must be substantial evidence;
(5) the decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the
record and disclosed to the parties affected;
(6) in arriving at a decision, the tribunal must have acted on its own consideration of the law and the facts
of the controversy and must not have simply accepted the views of a subordinate; and
(7) the decision must be rendered in such manner that the respondents would know the reasons for it and
the various issues involved.

After a careful review, the Court agrees with the conclusion of the CA especially when it stated:

The [respondent] cannot be faulted for her absence during the hearings set by the [CSCRO V]. It is of record that
notice for the first hearing set on September 4, 2003 was received in the same day, while the notice for the second
hearing was received by [the respondent] on November 11, 2003, or only two days before the hearing. [The
respondent's] counsel was in Cebu City and the hearing was to be conducted in Legaspi City, it would be extremely
unreasonable to expect [the respondent's] attendance. Evidently, [the respondent] was not given enough time to be
present and her counsel before the [CSCRO V]. She was unlawfully deprived of her right to adduce evidence for her
defense.

x x x x

The filing of a motion for reconsideration and appeal is not a substitute to deprive the [respondent] of her right to due
process. The opportunity to adduce evidence is essential in the administrative process, as decisions must be rendered
on the evidence presented, either in the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected.
x x x.
Since the case against the respondent was dismissed by the CA on the lack of due process, the Court finds it proper
to dismiss the present administrative case against the deceased under the circumstances since she can no longer
defend herself.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 8, 2011 and Resolution dated February 10, 2012
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 100240 are AFFIRMED.

Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines vs. Hon. Paquito Ochoa, et al. G.R. No. 204605 July 19,
2016

FACTS: The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid System), which is the centralized
system providing a one-stop solution for registering and managing marks worldwide, allows the trademark owner to
file one application in one language, and to pay one set of fees to protect his mark in the territories of up to 97
member-states. The Madrid System is governed by the Madrid Agreement, concluded in 1891, and the Madrid
Protocol, concluded in 1989. The Madrid Protocol has two objectives, namely: (1) to facilitate securing protection
for marks; and (2) to make the management of the registered marks easier in different countries.

In 2004, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), began considering the country's accession to
the Madrid Protocol. After a campaign for information dissemination, and a series of consultations with
stakeholders, IPOPHL ultimately arrived at the conclusion that accession would benefit the country and help raise
the level of competitiveness for Filipino brands. Hence, it recommended to the Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) that the Philippines should accede to the Madrid Protocol. After its own review, the DFA endorsed to the
President the country's accession to the Madrid Protocol. The DFA determined that the Madrid Protocol was an
executive agreement.

On March 27, 2012, President Benigno C. Aquino III ratified the Madrid Protocol through an instrument of
accession, which was deposited with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
on April 25, 2012. The Madrid Protocol entered into force in the Philippines on July 25, 2012.

Thus, the Intellectual Property Association of the Philippines (IPAP) commenced this special civil action for
certiorari and prohibition to challenge the validity of the President's accession to the Madrid Protocol without the
concurrence of the Senate. According to the IPAP, the Madrid Protocol is a treaty, not an executive agreement;
hence, respondent DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario acted with grave abuse of discretion in determining the Madrid
Protocol as an executive agreement. Also, the IPAP has argued that the implementation of the Madrid Protocol in
the Philippines; specifically the processing of foreign trademark applications, conflicts with the Intellectual Property
Code of the Philippines.

ISSUE: Is the Madrid Protocol unconstitutional for lack of concurrence by the Senate?

HELD: NO. The Court finds and declares that the President’s ratification is valid and constitutional because the
Madrid Protocol, being an executive agreement as determined by the Department of Foreign Affairs, does not
require the concurrence of the Senate.

Under prevailing jurisprudence, the registration of trademarks and copyrights have been the subject of
executive agreements entered into without the concurrence of the Senate. Some executive agreements have been
concluded in conformity with the policies declared in the acts of Congress with respect to the general subject matter.

Accordingly, DFA Secretary Del Rosario’s determination and treatment of the Madrid Protocol as an executive
agreement; being in apparent contemplation of the express state policies on intellectual property as well as within his
power under Executive Order No. 459, are upheld.

The Court observed that there are no hard and fast rules on the propriety of entering into a treaty or an executive
agreement on a given subject as an instrument of international relations. The primary consideration in the choice of
the form of agreement is the parties’ intent and desire to craft their international agreement in the form they so wish
to further their respective interests. The matter of form takes a back seat when it comes to effectiveness and binding
effect of the enforcement of a treaty or an executive agreement; inasmuch as all the parties; regardless of the form,
become obliged to comply conformably with the time-honored principle of pacta sunt servanda. The principle binds
the parties to perform in good faith their parts in the agreements.

Janet Lim Napoles vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division) G.R. No. 224162 November 7, 2017

FACTS: Ombudsman received the report of NBI, recommendeing to prosecute Napoles, Enrile, Reyes, and several
other named individuals for the crime of Plunder, for essentially misappropriating PDAF through NGOs that were
selected without the required bidding procedure
Office of the Ombudsman received a Complaint criminally charging former Senator Enrile, Reyes, Napoles, and fifty-
two (52) other individuals with violations of RA No. 7080 and Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019.
Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Napoles. They likewise recommended to immediately file the necessary
Informations against all the named accused.
Napoles, together with former Senator Enrile, Reyes, Ronald John Lim and John Raymund De Asis, were charged
with Plunder with the Sandiganbayan. The pertinent portions of the Information state:
Napoles filed her Petition for Bail, arguing that the evidence of the prosecution is insufficient to prove her guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. She particularly assailed the credibility of the State witnesses (otherwise referred to as
whistleblowers) as these are allegedly mere hearsay, tainted with bias, and baseless. Citing the res inter alios acta rule,
Napoles submitted that the testimonies of these whistleblowers are inadmissible against her.
In view of Napoles' application for bail, the Sandiganbayan conducted bail hearings.
After the conclusion of the prosecution's presentation of evidence, Napoles manifested that she is not presenting any
evidence for her bail application.
Sandiganbayan: the prosecution had presented clear and strong evidence which leads to a well-guarded dispassionate
judgment that the offense of plunder has been committed as charged; that accused Napoles is guilty thereof, and that
she will probably be punished capitally if the law were administered at this stage of the proceedings.
WHEREFORE, accused Janet Lim Napoles's (sic) Petition for Bail dated July 7, 2014, is DENIED for lack of merit.
Napoles moved for the reconsideration and the Sandiganbayan denied MR.
ISSUE: W/N the Sandiganbayan has committed error in denying Napoles’ application for bail.
HELD:
The prosecution bears the burden of proving that the
evidence of Napoles' guilt for the crime of Plunder is
strong.

Since Napoles was charged with the crime of Plunder, which carries the imposable penalty of reclusion perpetua, she
cannot be admitted to bail when the evidence of her guilt is strong. This was the burden that the prosecution assumed
in the subsequent hearings that followed the filing of Napoles' Petition for Bail before the Sandiganbayan. As a trial
court, the Sandiganbayan, in turn, possessed the jurisdiction to hear and weigh the evidence of the prosecution
and the defense.
At that stage of the proceedings, the bail hearings are limited to the determination of whether there is a
strong presumption of Napoles' guilt. It is merely a preliminary determination, and the Sandiganbayan may
deny admission to bail even when there is reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Napoles. Thus, the prosecution can
discharge its burden by proving that the evidence against Napoles shows evident proof of guilt or a great presumption
of guilt, which the Court defined in People v. Cabral as follows:
"Proof evident" or "Evident proof” in this connection has been held to mean clear, strong evidence which
leads a well-guarded dispassionate judgment to the conclusion that the offense has been committed as
charged, that accused is the guilty agent, and that he will probably be punished capitally if the law is
administered. "Presumption great" exists when the circumstances testified to are such that the inference of
guilt naturally to be drawn therefrom is strong, clear, and convincing to an unbiased judgment and excludes
all reasonable probability of any other conclusion. Even though there is a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of
accused, if on an examination of the entire record the presumption is great that accused is guilty of a capital
offense, bail should be refused.
As a lesser quantum of proof than guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the Sandiganbayan may deny the application for
bail on evidence less than that required for the conviction of Napoles. Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan "does not sit
to try the merits or to enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against
accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be therein offered and
admitted." It should not be forgotten that the purpose of the bail hearing is to determine whether the accused is entitled
to provisional liberty before conviction. To require more from the prosecution, as well as from the trial court,
effectively defeats the purpose of the proceeding.
The Sandiganbayan did not gravely abuse its discretion
in denying Napoles' Petition for Bail.
Is readily apparent that the Sandiganbayan did not gravely abuse its discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. Upon receiving Napoles' Petition for Bail, it scheduled hearings to allow the parties to submit their
respective pieces of evidence. The prosecution submitted numerous testimonial and documentary evidence,
endeavoring to establish evident proof of Napoles' guilt. Napoles, on the other hand, opted not to submit any evidence
on her behalf and relied instead on the supposed weakness of the prosecution's evidence.
The Sandiganbayan's first assailed Resolution also reveals straightaway that the evidence of the prosecution was
summarized accordingly, effectively complying with the due process requirements. It even extensively discussed the
available evidence in relation to the elements of Plunder, which the prosecution intended to prove point by point for
purposes of demonstrating Napoles' great presumption of guilt.
At first glance, it is apparent that the arguments of Napoles before this Court are fundamentally allegations of serious
errors on the part of the Sandiganbayan in appreciating the evidence of the prosecution. This is not within the purview
of this Court's review power under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. This Court is not a trier of facts and this proceeding
is limited to the determination of whether the Sandiganbayan patently, grossly, and arbitrarily exercised its discretion
with respect to Napoles' bail application.
The core issue, therefore, of whether there is strong evidence of guilt on the part of Napoles, was resolved by the
Sandiganbayan in accordance with the relevant laws, rules, and jurisprudence.
Plunder is a deplorable crime that unfairly exploits the trust that the public reposed in its officials. It is inherently
immoral not only because it involves the corruption of public funds, but also because its essence proceeds from a
rapacious intent.
It is precisely the enormous gravity of this offense that capital punishment is imposed on those who are found guilty
of Plunder. As a necessary consequence, provisional liberty is not easily granted to those accused of this offense,
especially when the prosecution more than amply established that the evidence of guilt is strong. This is a matter of
judicial discretion on the part of the trial court, which this Court may nullify only when the exercise of this discretion
is tainted with arbitrariness and capriciousness that the trial court failed to act within the contemplation of law.
Unfortunately for Napoles, there is nothing in the records showing that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It has discharged its judicial duty in Napoles' bail application
in a manner consistent with the applicable laws and jurisprudence, and the evidence on record.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Resolutions dated October 16, 2015 and
March 2, 2016 of the Sandiganbayan in SB-14-CRM-0238 are AFFIRMED, there being no grave

Tomas N. Joson III vs. Commission on Audit G.R. No. 223762 November 7, 2017

FACTS: COA conducted a special audit of selected transactions of the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija for
calendar years 2004-2007. The COA found an irregular award made by the province for the construction of the
Nueva Ecija Friendship Hotel to A.V.T. Construction. Thereafter, the COA issued Notice of Disallowance,
disallowing the payments made to A.V.T. on the following grounds:

1. A.V.T. is an ineligible contractor, without complying with the eligibility check process, contrary to the
provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9184;

2. Two more contracts costing Php35,037,826.50 and Php40,890,744.57, representing additional works for
the Hotel, were awarded to the same contractor by way of alternative method of procurement; and

3. The Hotel remains unoperational due to the failure of the contractor to complete the project and the
issuance of a Suspension Order effective by the project engineer and the provincial engineer duly noted by
the former Governor.
The COA found the members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), the BAC Technical Working Group
(TWG), the provincial accountant, the provincial engineer and herein Petitioner in his capacity as provincial
governor of Nueva Ecija and as head of the procuring entity, solidarily liable for the disallowed amount. Petitioner
was held solidarily liable for entering into the contract with A.V.T and for approving the payment vouchers to the
latter.

Petitioner: he should not be held liable for the disallowed amount since the determination of whether a prospective
bidder is eligible or not is the exclusive responsibility of the BAC and if there is indeed a liability, the members of
the BAC should be held liable since they are the persons directly responsible for the transaction.

COA: found Petitioner liable for the disallowed amount since he failed to exercise due diligence in the performance
of his duty. Had he done so, Petitioner could have discovered the inadequacies of the contract's supporting
documents and the winning bidder's ineligibility. Being a signatory in the contracts, Petitioner is presumed to have
prior knowledge that the bidding process was tainted with ineligibility. As such, Petitioner cannot seek refuge from
the Arias doctrine.

ISSUE: W/N petitioner should be held solidarily liable for the amount of the disallowance.

HELD: No.

The COA found the petitioner liable under Section 19 of the Manual on Certificate of Settlement and Balances.

Under this provision, an official or employee shall be personally liable for unauthorized expenditures if the
following requisites are present, to wit:

(a) there must be an expenditure of government funds or use of government property;

(b) the expenditure is in violation of law or regulation; and

(c) the official is found directly responsible therefor.

In this case, the COA committed grave abuse of discretion in holding petitioner liable for the disallowed amount.

The payments to A.V.T was disallowed by COA for the reason that the prequalification or eligibility checklist using
the “pass/ fail” criteria, the Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC), and Technical Eligibility documents are
missing.

It is well to note that the missing documents, the eligibility checklist using the pass/ fail criteria, the NFCC and the
technical eligibility documents, pertain to the pre-qualification stage of the bidding process. Under R.A. No. 9184,
the determination of whether a prospective bidder is eligible or not falls on the BAC. Petitioner had no hand in the
preparation of the same. He cannot therefore be held liable for its absence.

Yet, the COA held petitioner liable because of his award of the contract to A.V.T.
In this case, We hold that petitioner can invoke the protective mantle of the doctrine laid down in Arias. The COA
merely presumed petitioner's foreknowledge of the infirmity of the contract on the latter's signature. Unlike
in Escara where the latter acknowledged in a letter that the materials intended for the construction of the Navotas
Bridge had been confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Thus, Escara
should have inquired into the transaction and to verify the ownership of the lumber materials.

In the present case, other than the mere signature of the petitioner, no other evidence was presented by the COA to
show that petitioner had actual prior knowledge of the ineligibility of A.V.T. Nothing appears on record that would
prompt petitioner to thoroughly review and go over every document submitted by A.V.T, considering that they were
already evaluated and scrutinized by the BAC.

The fact that petitioner is the head of the procuring entity and the governor of Nueva Ecija does not automatically
make him the party ultimately liable for the disallowed amount. He cannot be held liable simply because he was the
final approving authority of the transaction in question and that the employees/ officers who processed the same
were under his supervision. With the amount of paperwork that normally passes through in his office and the
numerous documents he has to sign, it would be counterproductive to require petitioner to specifically and
meticulously examine each and every document that passes his office. Thus, petitioner has the right to rely to a
reasonable extent on the good faith of his subordinates.

Mere signature of the petitioner in the award of the contract and the contract itself without anything more cannot be
considered as a presumption of liability. It should be recalled that mere signature does not result to a liability of the
official involved without any showing of irregularity on the document's face such that a detailed examination would
be warranted. Liability depends upon the wrong committed and not solely by reason of being the head of a
government agency.

The COA further held that petitioner failed to exercise due diligence because under Section 37.2.3 of the
Implementing Rules of R.A. No. 9184, the eligibility requirements are part of the contract. In failing to examine the
supporting documents of the contract before he signed the same, petitioner can be held equally liable with the BAC.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9184 in Section 37.2.3, the following shall form part of
the contract:

37.2.3. The following documents shall form part of the contract:

f) Bidding Documents;

i) Eligibility requirements, documents and/or statements;

However, the said provision does not provide that the head of the procuring entity, in this case, petitioner Governor
Joson III, must ensure that each of the above-mentioned documents should be present in the contract before he signs
the same on behalf of the local government of Nueva Ecija. What the provision merely provides is that the said
documents form part of the contract. The said provision does not mention any direct responsibility on the part of the
head of the procuring entity to ensure that the said documents are attached in the contract before signing the same.

Assuming that petitioner Joson III committed a mistake in not ensuring that the eligibility documents were attached
to the contract, it is settled that mistakes committed by a public officer are not actionable absent any clear showing
that they were motivated by malice or gross negligence amounting to bad faith. In this case, there is no showing that
petitioner Joson III was motivated by malice or gross negligence amounting to bad faith in failing to ensure that the
eligibility documents of A.V.T were not attached to the contract. In fact, there was even no evidence that petitioner
was aware that A.V.T was ineligible due to the absence of the pre-qualification or eligibility checklist using the
“pass/ fail” criteria, the NFCC and the Technical eligibility documents. Good faith is always presumed. Here, the
COA failed to overcome the presumption of good faith.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision dated January 29, 2015 and
Resolution dated January 19, 2016 rendered by the Commission on Audit (COA) in Decision No. 2015-019 are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as it held petitioner Tomas N. Joson III solidarily liable for the
amount of the disallowance.

Lorie Marie Tomas Callo vs. Commissioner Jaime H. Morente, Bureau of Immigration, OIC Associates
Commissioners, Bureau of Immigration, and Brian Alas, Bureau of Immigration G.R. No. 230324 September
19, 2017

FACTS: Danielle Tan Parker (Parker) is a holder of Philippine Passport No. XX5678508 issued by DFA on 5 March
2010 and valid until 4 March 2015.

Parker was charged for deportation for being an undesirable, undocumented, and overstaying alien, in violation of the
Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. It was alleged that Danielle Nopuente (AKA Danielle Tan Parker) was a fugitive
from justice in the United States of America with an outstanding arrest warrant issued against her. Subsequently, a
Summary Deportation Order (SDO) was issued against Danielle Nopuente, upon verification that she arrived in the
Philippines under the Balikbayan Program, with an authorized stay of a period of one year. Parker was not in the list
of approved applications of the DFA for dual citizenship and her American Passport had been revoked by the United
States Department of State. Thus, she was considered an undocumented, undesirable, and overstaying alien, in
violation of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.

Pursuant to the SDO issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BoI), Parker was arrested in Tagaytay City on the premise
that Danielle Nopuente and Danielle Tan Parker are one and the same person. She was then taken to the Immigration
Detention Facility in Bicutan, Taguig City. She is still currently detained in the Immigration Detention Facility as the
deportation was not carried out due to the fact that Parker is charged with falsification and use of falsified documents
before MTC in Cities, Davao City.

Callo filed this petition for a writ of amparo with prayer to issue Interim Reliefs of Immediate Release of Danielle
Tan Parker from Detention. Callo argues that Parker is a natural-born Filipino citizen and thus, there is no reason for
her to be detained by the BoI.

ISSUE: Whether or not the right to life, liberty, and security of Parker is threatened by the respondents to warrant the
issuance of the writ of amparo and subsequently the award of the interim reliefs.
HELD: No. The protective writ of amparo is a judicial remedy to expeditiously provide relief to violations of a
person's constitutional right to life, liberty, and security, and more specifically, to address the problem of extralegal
killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.

Writ of amparo covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof Enforced disappearance is
defined under Republic Act (RA) No. 9851 of which provides:

(g) "Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons
by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of a State or a political organization followed by a
refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those
persons, with the intention of removing from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.

This Court also had the opportunity to define extralegal killings and enforced disappearance:

Extralegal killings are killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial
proceedings. On the other hand, enforced disappearance has been defined by the Court as the arrest, detention,
abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons
acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the
deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place
such a person outside the protection of the law.6

In Navia v. Pardico, this Court clarified that with the enactment of RA No. 9851, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo is
now a procedural law anchored, not only on the constitutional right to life, liberty, and security, but also on a concrete
statutory definition of "enforced or involuntary disappearance." Further, elements constituting enforced disappearance
as defined under RA No. 9851 were clearly laid down by this Court, viz:

(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty; ·

(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political
organization;

(c) that it be followed by the State or political organization's refusal to acknowledge or give information on
the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,

(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of the law for a
prolonged period oftime.

It is clear that the elements of enforced disappearance are not attendant in this case. There is also no threat of such
enforced disappearance. While there is indeed a detention carried out by the State through the BoI, the third and fourth
elements are not present. There is no refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom or refusal to give information
on the whereabouts of Parker because as Callo admits, Parker is detained in the Immigration Detention Facility of the
BoI. The BoI also does not deny this. In fact, the BoI had produced the body of Parker before the RTC in the
proceedings for the writ of habeas corpus previously initiated by Parker herself. Similarly, there is no intention to
remove Parker from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time. As the BoI explained, Parker has a
pending criminal case against her in Davao City, which prevents the BoI from deporting her from the country.

Simply put, we see no enforced or involuntary disappearance, or any threats thereof, that would warrant the issuance
of the writ of amparo. For the issuance of the writ, it is not sufficient that a person's life is endangered. It is even not
sufficient to allege and prove that a person has disappeared. It has to be shown by the required quantum of proof that
the disappearance was carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the government or a
political organization, and that there is a refusal to acknowledge the same or to give information on the fate or
whereabouts of the missing persons. In this case, Parker has not disappeared. Her detention has been sufficiently
justified by the BoI, given that there is an SDO and a pending criminal case against her.
Finally, we note that the petition for the writ of amparo was filed by Callo. However, there was no allegation of her
relationship to Parker.

Thus, while "any person" may file a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, in a petition for the writ of amparo, the
order of priority on who can file the petition should be strictly followed. In this case, there was no allegation nor proof
that Parker had no immediate family members or any ascendant, descendant, or collateral relative within the fourth
civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. In fact, no allegation was made on any of the familial relationship of Parker
as only her whereabouts from 2011 were alleged and discussed. Therefore, based on the order of priority, Callo had
no legal standing to file this petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

Police Director General Alan La Madrid Purisima vs. Hon. Conchita Carpio Morales, in her capacity as the
Ombudsman of the Republic of the Philippines G.R. No. 219501 July 26, 2017

PNP entered into a MOA with WER FAST Documentary Agency, Inc. (WER FAST) without going through any
public bidding. PNP undertook to allow WER FAST to provide courier services to deliver firearm licenses to gun
owners. WER FAST agreed to donate equipment for an online application system for the renewal of firearm
licenses. PCSupt. Napoleon R. Estilles (Estilles), then Chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) under the
Civil Security Group (CSG), signed the MOA on behalf of the PNP. Incumbent PNP Chief approved the signing of
the MOA.

PNP's Legal Service (LS) was instructed to review the signed MOA vis-a-vis a proposed revised MOA, noting that
the signed MOA had not been implemented. LS opined that the FEO should first formulate rules for accreditation,
by which to evaluate any company offering courier services, including WER FAST. It further suggested that the
rules should include the qualifications of the company to be accredited, the required scope of courier services, the
creation of an accreditation committee, provisions on strict confidentiality, disclaimer, and grounds to terminate
accreditation.

FEO Courier Services Accreditation Board (Accreditation Board) was constituted. In memorandum entitled "Policy
on Accreditation of FEO Courier Service" (Accreditation Policy), then CSG Director Police Director Gil Calaguio
Meneses (Meneses) laid down the criteria and procedure for the accreditation of courier service provider.

Purisima was appointed as PNP Chief. Thereafter, Meneses issued a Memorandum addressed to Purisima (Meneses
Memo), stating that the CSG has accredited WER FAST as the courier service to deliver the approved firearms
license cards to gun owners, and more importantly, recommended that the delivery of license cards via courier be
made mandatory:

Purisima approved this memorandum. It was only more than a month after the Meneses Memo was issued, that the
Accreditation Board issued Resolution Number 2013- 027, accrediting WER FAST as a courier services provider to
all FEO clients relative to the licensing of firearms (FEO Resolution).

Two (2) complaints were filed before the Ombudsman against Purisima, WER FAST, and other PNP officials
relative to the PNP's directive for gun owners to avail of the courier delivery of firearm licenses via WER FAST.

The Ombudsman issued the assailed Order, which preventively suspended Purisima and other PNP officers, for six
(6) months without pay.

Purisima and another PNP official filed their respective petitions for certiorari before the CA. While these
consolidated cases were pending before the CA, Purisima resigned as PNP Chief and the preventive suspension
period had lapsed.

CA dismissed the petitions and affirmed the Ombudsman's assailed Order.


ISSUE: W/N the CA correctly held that the Ombudsman did not gravely abuse her discretion in preventively
suspending Purisima.

The Court's Ruling

HELD: The Ombudsman is explicitly authorized to issue a preventive suspension order under Section 24 of RA
6770 when two (2) conditions are met. These are: (a) the evidence of guilt is strong based on the Ombudsman's
judgment; and (b) any of the three (3) circumstances are present - (I) the charge against such officer or employee
involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (2) the charges would
warrant removal from service; or (3) the respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against
him.

In this case, the Court need not belabor on the presence of the second condition, considering that (a) one of the
charges against Purisima is gross neglect of duty; and (b) the criminal and administrative charges against Purisima,
if proven, would indeed warrant his removal from office. Since Section 24 uses the disjunctive "or", then the
presence of any of the three (3) stated situations would be sufficient to comply with this condition.

As regards the first condition, case law states that the strength of the evidence is left to the determination of the
Ombudsman by taking into account the evidence before her; hence, the deliberate use of the words "in his
judgment."

The Court's deference to the Ombudsman's judgment regarding this condition not only stems from its policy of non-
interference with the Ombudsman's exercise of her prosecutorial and investigatory powers; it is also a conscious
recognition of the preliminary nature and purpose of a preventive suspension order.

Being a preventive measure essentially meant to ensure the proper course of a still ongoing investigation, the
Ombudsman should thus be given ample discretion to determine the strength of the preliminary evidence presented
before her and thereafter, decide whether or not to issue such order against a particular respondent.

However, as in any governmental power, the Ombudsman's authority to preventively suspend is not unlimited.
When a complaint is virtually bereft of any supporting evidence or the evidence so cited is, on its face, clearly
inadmissible, then no deference ought to be accorded. Under these instances, the Ombudsman may be said to have
gravely abused her discretion in finding that the first condition was met.

In the present case, the Ombudsman found that the evidence of guilt against Purisima was strong enough to place
him under preventive suspension. Said finding cannot be said to be tainted with grave abuse of discretion as it was
based on supporting documentary evidence, none of which were questioned to be inadmissible.

Since both conditions for the issuance of a preventive suspension order against Purisima are present in this case, the
Court therefore holds that the Ombudsman acted within her powers.

As a final point, the Court clarifies that - contrary to Purisima's stance - the Ombudsman did not violate his right to
due process nor did she prejudge the case when she issued the preventive suspension order before he was able to file
his counter-affidavit for the second complaint.

Lastimosa v. Ombudsman already settles that the Ombudsman may issue a preventive suspension order prior to the
filing of an answer or counter-affidavit, considering that the same is but a preventive measure:

Prior notice and hearing is not required, such suspension not being a penalty but only a preliminary step in
an administrative investigation. As held in Nera v. Garcia [(106 Phil. 1031, 1034 [1960])]:

In connection with the suspension of petitioner before he could file his answer to the
administrative complaint, suffice it to say that the suspension was not a punishment or penalty for
the acts of dishonesty and misconduct in office, but only as a preventive measure. Suspension is a
preliminary step in an administrative investigation.

As held in Buenaseda v. Flavier, however, whether the evidence of guilt is strong is left to the
determination of the Ombudsman by taking into account the evidence before him. A preliminary hearing as
in bail petitions in cases involving capital offenses is not required. In rejecting a similar argument as that
made by petitioner in this case, this Court said in that case:

Ultimately, it should be borne in mind that the issuance of a preventive suspension order does not amount to a
prejudgment of the merits of the case. Neither is it a demonstration of a public official's guilt as such pronouncement
can be done only after trial on the merits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 29, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 138296 and CA-G.R. SP No. 138722 is hereby AFFIRMED.