Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Exhaustion of administrative remedies vis-a-vis cause of action



"xxx.

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

The settled rule is before a party may seek the intervention of the courts, he should first avail of all the means afforded by administrative processes. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery is still available, with a procedure prescribed pursuant to law for an administrative officer to decide the controversy, a party should first exhaust such remedy before resorting to the courts. The premature invocation of a court's intervention renders the complaint without cause of action and dismissible on such ground.16

RED Principe of the DENR Region IV Office issued the ECC based on (1) Presidential Decree No. 1586 ("PD No. 1586") and its implementing rules establishing the Environmental Impact Statement System, (2) DAO 96-3717 and (3) the Procedural Manual of DAO 96-37. Section 418 of PD No. 1586 requires a proponent of an environmentally critical project, or a project located within an environmentally critical area as declared by the President, to secure an ECC prior to the project's operation.19 NAPOCOR thus secured the ECC because the mooring facility in Minolo Cove, while not an environmentally critical project, is located within an environmentally critical area under Presidential Proclamation No. 2146, issued on 14 December 1981.20

The rules on administrative appeals from rulings of the DENR Regional Directors on the implementation of PD No. 1586 are found in Article VI of DAO 96-37, which provides:

SECTION 1.0. Appeal to the Office of the Secretary. — Any party aggrieved by the final decision of the RED may, within 15 days from receipt of such decision, file an appeal with the Office of the Secretary. The decision of the Secretary shall be immediately executory.

SECTION 2.0. Grounds for Appeal. — The grounds for appeal shall be limited to grave abuse of discretion and serious errors in the findings of fact which would cause grave or irreparable injury to the aggrieved party. Frivolous appeals shall not be countenanced.

SECTION 3.0. Who May Appeal. — The proponent or any stakeholder, including but not limited to, the LGUs concerned and affected communities, may file an appeal.

The DENR Procedural Manual for DAO 96-37 explains these provisions thus:

Final decisions of the RED may be appealed. These decisions include those relating to the issuance or non-issuance of an ECC, and the imposition of fines and penalties. By inference, the decision of the Secretary on the issuance or non-issuance of the ECC may also be appealed based on this provision. Resort to courts prior to availing of this remedy would make the appellant's action dismissible on the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies.

The right to appeal must be exercised within 15 days from receipt by the aggrieved party of such decision. Failure to file such appeal within the requisite period will result in the finality of the RED's or Secretary's decision(s), which can no longer be disturbed.

An appeal shall not stay the effectivity of the RED's decision, unless the Secretary directs otherwise.

The right to appeal does not prevent the aggrieved party from first resorting to the filing of a motion for reconsideration with the RED, to give the RED an opportunity to re-evaluate his decision. (Emphasis added)

Instead of following the foregoing procedure, petitioners bypassed the DENR Secretary and immediately filed their complaint with the Manila RTC, depriving the DENR Secretary the opportunity to review the decision of his subordinate, RED Principe. Under the Procedural Manual for DAO 96-37 and applicable jurisprudence, petitioners' omission renders their complaint dismissible for lack of cause of action.21 Consequently, the Manila RTC did not err in dismissing petitioners' complaint for lack of cause of action.

Xxx."


FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 131442, July 10, 2003

BANGUS FRY FISHERFOLK, DIWATA MAGBUHOS, ANGELITA BINAY, ELMA GARCIA, VIRGILIO PANGUIO, ARSENIO CASTILLO, ARIEL PANGUIO, ANTONIO PANGUIO, ANTONIO BUNQUIN, GENEROSO BUNQUIN, CHARLIE DIMAYACYAC, RENATO PANGUIO, ATILANO BUNQUIN, CARLOS CHAVEZ, JUAN DIMAYACYAC, FILEMON BUNQUIN, MARIO MAGBUHOS, MAURO MAGBUHOS, NORA MAGBUHOS, JEOVILYN, GENALYN and JORVAN QUIMUEL, minors, represented by their parents FELICIANA and SABINO QUIMUEL, MARICAR MAGBUHOS, minor, represented by her parents CARMELITA and ANTONIO MAGBUHOS, MARLO BINAY, minor, represented by his parents EFRENITA and CHARLITO BINAY, and the BANGUS, BANGUS FRY and other MARINE LIFE OF MINOLO COVE, petitioners,

vs.

THE HONORABLE ENRICO LANZANAS as Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch VII, THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES — Region IV, represented by its Regional Executive Director and its Regional Director for Environment, THE NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, ORIENTAL MINDORO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ORIENTAL MINDORO, herein represented by GOVERNOR RODOLFO VALENCIA, PUERTO GALERA MAYOR GREGORIO DELGADO, VICE MAYOR ARISTEO ATIENZA, and MEMBERS OF THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF PUERTO GALERA, JUAN ASCAN, JR., RAFAEL ROMEY, CENON SALCEDO, JERRY DALISAY, SIMON BALITAAN, RENATO CATAQUIS, MARCELINO BANAAG, DANIEL ENRIQUEZ, AMELYN MARCO, GABRIEL ILAGAN, MUNICIPAL ENGINEER RODEL RUBIO, and MUNICIPAL PLANNING and DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR WILHELMINA LINESES, respondents.

https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2003/jul2003/gr_131442_2003.html







Jurisdiction over annulment of environmental compliance certificate



"xxx.

Jurisdiction of the Manila RTC over the Case

Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law. Such jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the reliefs sought.11

A perusal of the allegations in the complaint shows that petitioners' principal cause of action is the alleged illegality of the issuance of the ECC. The violation of laws on environmental protection and on local government participation in the implementation of environmentally critical projects is an issue that involves the validity of NAPOCOR's ECC. If the ECC is void, then as a necessary consequence, NAPOCOR or the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro could not construct the mooring facility. The subsidiary issue of non-compliance with pertinent local ordinances in the construction of the mooring facility becomes immaterial for purposes of granting petitioners' main prayer, which is the annulment of the ECC. Thus, if the court has jurisdiction to determine the validity of the issuance of the ECC, then it has jurisdiction to hear and decide petitioners' complaint.

Petitioners' complaint is one that is not capable of pecuniary estimation. It falls within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts under Section 19(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act No. 7691. The question of whether petitioners should file their complaint in the Regional Trial Court of Manila or Oriental Mindoro then becomes a matter of venue, to be determined by the residence of the parties.12

Petitioners' main prayer is the annulment of the ECC. The principal respondent, DENR Region IV, has its main office at the L & S Building, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Regional Executive Director Principe of the DENR Region IV, who issued the ECC, holds office there. Plainly, the principal respondent resides in Manila, which is within the territorial jurisdiction of the Manila RTC. Thus, petitioners filed their complaint in the proper venue.

On the other hand, the jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts to issue injunctive writs is limited to acts committed or about to be committed within their judicial region.13 Moreover, Presidential Decree No. 1818 ("PD No. 1818") prohibited14 courts from issuing injunctive writs against government infrastructure projects like the mooring facility in the present case. Republic Act No. 8975 ("RA No. 8975"), which took effect on 26 November 2000, superseded PD No. 1818 and delineates more clearly the coverage of the prohibition, reserves the power to issue such writs exclusively with this Court, and provides penalties for its violation.15 Obviously, neither the Manila RTC nor the Oriental Mindoro RTC can issue an injunctive writ to stop the construction of the mooring facility. Only this Court can do so under PD No. 1818 and later under RA No. 8975. Thus, the question of whether the Manila RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint considering that its injunctive writ is not enforceable in Oriental Mindoro is academic.

Clearly, the Manila RTC has jurisdiction to determine the validity of the issuance of the ECC, although it could not issue an injunctive writ against the DENR or NAPOCOR. However, since the construction of the mooring facility could not proceed without a valid ECC, the validity of the ECC remains the determinative issue in resolving petitioners' complaint.

Xxx."


FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 131442, July 10, 2003

BANGUS FRY FISHERFOLK, DIWATA MAGBUHOS, ANGELITA BINAY, ELMA GARCIA, VIRGILIO PANGUIO, ARSENIO CASTILLO, ARIEL PANGUIO, ANTONIO PANGUIO, ANTONIO BUNQUIN, GENEROSO BUNQUIN, CHARLIE DIMAYACYAC, RENATO PANGUIO, ATILANO BUNQUIN, CARLOS CHAVEZ, JUAN DIMAYACYAC, FILEMON BUNQUIN, MARIO MAGBUHOS, MAURO MAGBUHOS, NORA MAGBUHOS, JEOVILYN, GENALYN and JORVAN QUIMUEL, minors, represented by their parents FELICIANA and SABINO QUIMUEL, MARICAR MAGBUHOS, minor, represented by her parents CARMELITA and ANTONIO MAGBUHOS, MARLO BINAY, minor, represented by his parents EFRENITA and CHARLITO BINAY, and the BANGUS, BANGUS FRY and other MARINE LIFE OF MINOLO COVE, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE ENRICO LANZANAS as Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch VII, THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES — Region IV, represented by its Regional Executive Director and its Regional Director for Environment, THE NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, ORIENTAL MINDORO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ORIENTAL MINDORO, herein represented by GOVERNOR RODOLFO VALENCIA, PUERTO GALERA MAYOR GREGORIO DELGADO, VICE MAYOR ARISTEO ATIENZA, and MEMBERS OF THE SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF PUERTO GALERA, JUAN ASCAN, JR., RAFAEL ROMEY, CENON SALCEDO, JERRY DALISAY, SIMON BALITAAN, RENATO CATAQUIS, MARCELINO BANAAG, DANIEL ENRIQUEZ, AMELYN MARCO, GABRIEL ILAGAN, MUNICIPAL ENGINEER RODEL RUBIO, and MUNICIPAL PLANNING and DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR WILHELMINA LINESES, respondents.

https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2003/jul2003/gr_131442_2003.html

Monday, January 23, 2023

Speedy Trial; Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98, August 11, 1998




CIRCULAR NO. 38-98 August 11, 1998

IMPLEMENTING THE PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8493, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO ENSURE A SPEEDY TRIAL OF ALL CRIMINAL CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES."

SECTION 1. PURPOSE OF CIRCULAR. — This Circular is promulgated for the purpose of implementing the provisions of Republic Act No. 8493, otherwise known as the "Speedy Trial Act of 1998," as directed in Section 15 hereof.

Sec. 2. TIME LIMIT FOR ARRAIGNMENT AND PRE-TRIAL. — The arraignment and the pre-trial, if the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, shall be held within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The period of the pendency of a motion to quash, or for a bill of particulars, or other causes justifying suspension of arraignment shall be excluded.

Sec. 3. MANDATORY PRE-TRIAL IN CRIMINAL CASES. — In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court shall, after arraignment, order a pre-trial conference to consider the following:

(a) Plea bargaining;

(b) Stipulation of facts;

(c) Marking for identification of evidence of the parties;

(d) Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; and

(e) Such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.

If the accused has pleaded not guilty to the crime charged, he may state whether he interposes a negative or affirmative defense. A negative defense shall require the prosecution to proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, while an affirmative defense may modify the order of trial and require the accused to prove such defense by clear and convincing evidence.

Sec. 4. PRE-TRIAL AGREEMENT. — All agreements or admissions made or entered into during the pre-trial conference shall be reduced to writing and signed by the accused and counsel, otherwise the same shall not be used against the accused. The agreements in relation to matters referred to in Section 3 hereof are subject to the approval of the court; Provided, That the agreement on the please of the accused should be to a lesser offense necessarily included in the offense charged.

Sec. 5. NON-APPEARANCE AT PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE. — Where counsel for the accused or the prosecutor does not appear at the pretrial conference and does not offer an acceptable excuse for his lack of cooperation, the court may impose proper sanctions or penalties.

Sec. 6. PRE-TRIAL ORDER. — After the pre-trial conference, the court shall issue an order reciting the actions taken, the facts stipulated, and the evidence marked. Such order shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of and control the course of action during the trial, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.

Thereafter, where a plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least fifteen (15) days to prepare for trial which shall commence within thirty (30) days from receipt of the pre-trial order.

Sec. 7. EXTENDED TIME LIMIT. — Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding sections 2 and 6 for the first twelve-calendar-month period following its effectivity, the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial imposed by said provision shall be one hundred eighty (180) days. For the second twelve-month period, the time limit shall be one hundred twenty (120) days, and for the third twelve-month period the time limit shall be eighty (80) days.

Sec. 8. TIME LIMIT FOR TRIAL. — In criminal cases involving persons charged with a crime, except those subject to the Rule of Summary Procedure, or where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed six (6) months imprisonment, or a fine of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, the court shall, after consultation with the public prosecutor and the counsel for the accused, set the case for continuous trial on a weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time so as to ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial period exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as otherwise authorized by the Court Administrator pursuant to Section 2, Rule 30 of the Rules of Court.

Sec. 9. EXCLUSIONS. — The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence:

(a) Any period resulting from other proceedings concerning the accused, including but not limited to the following:

(1) delay resulting from an examination of the physical and mental condition of the accused;

(2) delay resulting from proceedings with respect to other criminal charges against the accused;

(3) delay resulting from extraordinary remedies against interlocutory orders;

(4) delay resulting from pre-trial proceedings; Provided, that the delay does not exceed thirty (30) days;

(5) delay resulting from orders of inhibition or proceedings relating to change of venue of cases or transfer from other courts;

(6) delay resulting from a finding of the existence of a valid prejudicial question; and

(7) delay reasonably attributable to any period, not to exceed thirty (30) days, during which any proceeding concerning the accused is actually under advisement.

(b) Any period of delay resulting from the absence or unavailability of an essential witness.

For purposes of this subparagraph, an essential witness shall be considered absent when his whereabouts are unknown or his whereabouts cannot be determined by due diligence. An essential witness shall be considered unavailable whenever his whereabouts are known but his presence for trial cannot be obtained by due diligence.

(c) Any period of delay resulting from the fact that the accused is mentally incompetent or physically unable to stand trial.

(d) If the information is dismissed upon motion of the prosecution and thereafter a charge is filed against the accused for the same offense, any period of delay from the date the charge was dismissed to the date the time limitation would commence to run as to the subsequent charge had there been no previous charge.

(e) A reasonable period of delay when the accused is mentally incompetent or physically unable to stand trial.

(f) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any court motu propio or on motion of either the accused for the same offense, any period of delay from the date the charge was dismissed to the date the time limitation would commence to run as to the subsequent charge had there been no previous charge.

Sec. 10. FACTORS FOR GRANTING CONTINUANCE. — The following factors, among others, shall be considered by a court in determining whether to grant a continuance under subparagraph (f) of Section 9 hereof:

(a) Whether or not the failure to grant a continuance in the proceeding would be like to make a continuation of such proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice; and

(b) Whether or not the case taken as a whole is so novel, unusual and complex, due to the number of accused or the nature of the prosecution or otherwise, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation within the periods of time established herein.

No continuance under subparagraph (f) Section 9 hereof shall be granted because of congestion of the court’s calendar, or lack of diligent preparation or failure to obtain available witnesses on the part of the public prosecutor.

Sec. 11. TIME LIMIT FOLLOWING AN ORDER FOR NEW TRIAL. — If the accused is to be tried again pursuant to an order of a court for a new trial, the trial shall commence within thirty (30) days from notice of that order, except that the court retrying the case may extend such period but not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from notice of said order for a new trial if unavailability of witnesses or other factors make trial within thirty (30) days impractical.

Sec. 12. PUBLIC ATTORNEY’S DUTIES WHERE ACCUSED IS IMPRISONED. — If the public attorney assigned to defend a person charged with a crime knows that the latter is preventively detained, either because he is charged with a bailable crime and has no means to post bail, or is charged with a non-bailable crime, or is serving a term of imprisonment in any penal institution:

(a) The public attorney shall promptly undertake to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial, or cause a notice to be served on the person having custody of the prisoner requiring such person to so advise the prisoner of his right to demand trial.

(b) Upon receipt of that notice, the person having custody of the prisoner shall promptly advise the prisoner of the charge and of his right to demand trial, If at any time thereafter the prisoner informs his custodian that he demands such trial, the latter shall cause notice to that effect to be sent promptly to the public attorney.

(c) Upon receipt of such notice, the public attorney shall promptly seek to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial.

(d) When the person having custody of the prisoner receives from the public attorney a properly supported request for the availability of the prisoner for purposes of the trial, the prisoner shall be made available accordingly.

Sec. 13. SANCTIONS. — In any case in which private counsel for the accused, the public attorney or the public prosecutor:

(a) knowingly allows the case to be set for trial without disclosing the fact that a necessary witness would be unavailable for trial;

(b) files a motion solely for the purpose of delay which he knows is totally frivolous and without merit;

(c) makes a statement for the purpose of obtaining continuance which he know to be false and which is material to the granting of a continuance; or

(d) otherwise willfully fails to proceed to trial without justification consistent with the provisions hereof, the court may punish any such counsel, attorney or prosecutor, as follows:

(1) in the case of a counsel privately retained in connection with the defense of an accused, by imposing a fine of not exceeding twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00);

(2) by imposing on any appointed counsel de oficio, public attorney or public prosecutor a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00); and

(3) by denying any defense counsel or public prosecutor the right to practice before the court considering the case for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days.

The authority to punish provided for by this section shall be without prejudice to any appropriate criminal action or any other sanction authorized under the Rules of Court.

Sec. 14. REMEDY WHERE ACCUSED IS NOT BROUGHT TO TRIAL WITHIN THE TIME LIMIT. — If the accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by Sections 2 and 6 hereof, as extended by Section 7, the information may be dismissed on motion of the accused on the ground of denial of his right to speedy trial. The accused shall have the burden of proving such motion by the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with the evidence in connection with the exclusion of time under Section 9 hereof. The dismissal shall be subject to the rules on double jeopardy.

Failure of the accused to move for dismissal prior to trial shall constitute a waiver of the right to dismiss under this section.

Sec. 15. REPUBLIC ACT NO 8493 NOT A BAR TO PROVISION ON SPEEDY TRIAL IN THE CONSTITUTION. — No provision of Republic Act No. 8493 shall be interpreted as a bar to any charge of denial of speedy trial as provided by Article III, Section 14(2), of the 1987 Constitution.

Sec. 16. EFFECTIVITY. — This Circular shall be published in two (2) newspapers of general circulation and shall take effect on September 15, 1998.

August 11, 1998.

https://lawphil.net/courts/supreme/cn/cn_38_1998.html











RA 8493, Speedy Trial Act of 1998



REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8493

AN ACT TO ENSURE A SPEEDY TRIAL OF ALL CRIMINAL CASES BEFORE THE SANDIGANBAYAN, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Speedy Trial Act of 1998.”

SEC. 2. Mandatory Pre-Trial in Criminal Cases. – In all cases cognizable by the Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Regional Trial Court, and the Sandiganbayan, the justice or judge shall, after arraignment, order a pre-trial conference to consider the following:

(a) Plea bargaining;

(b) Stipulation of Facts;

(c) Marking for identification of evidence of parties;

(d) Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence; and

(e) Such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial.

SEC. 3. Pre-Trial Agreement. – All agreements or admissions made or entered into during the pre-trial conference shall be reduced to writing and signed by the accused and counsel, otherwise the same shall not be used in evidence against the accused. The agreements in relation to matters referred to in Sec. 2 hereof is subject to the approval of the court: Provided, That the agreement on the plea of the accused to a lesser offense may only be revised, modified, or annulled by the court when the same is contrary to law, public morals, or public policy.

SEC. 4. Nonappearance at Pre-Trial Conference. – Where counsel for the accused or the prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial conference and does not offer an acceptable excuse for his/her lack of cooperation, the pre-trial justice or judge may impose proper sanctions or penalties.

SEC. 5. Pre-Trial Order. – After the pre-trial conference, the court shall issue an order reciting the actions taken, the facts stipulated, and evidence marked. Such order shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of and control the course of action during the trial, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.

SEC. 6. Time Limit for Trial. – In criminal cases involving persons charged of a crime, except those subject to the Rules on Summary Procedure, or where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed six (6) months imprisonment, or a fine of One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, the justice or judge shall, after consultation with the public prosecutor and the counsel for the accused, set the case for continuous trial on a weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time so as to ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial period exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as otherwise authorized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 22 of the Rules of Court.

SEC. 7. Time Limit Between Filing of Information and Arraignment and Between Arraignment and Trial. – The arraignment of an accused shall be held within thirty (30) days from the filing of the information, or from the date the accused has appeared before the justice, judge or court in which the charge is pending, whichever date last occurs. Thereafter, where a plea of not guilty is entered, the accused shall have at least fifteen (15) days to prepare for trial. Trial shall commence within thirty (30) days from arraignment as fixed by the court.

If the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, he/she shall state whether he/she interposes a negative or affirmative defense. A negative defense shall require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, while an affirmative defense may modify the order of trial and require the accused to prove such defense by clear and convincing evidence.

SEC. 8. Time Limit Following an Order for New Trial. – If the accused is to be tried again following an order of a court for a new trial, the trial shall commence within thirty (30) days from the date the order for a new trial becomes final, except that the court retrying the case may extend such period but in any case shall not exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the date the order for a new trial becomes final if unavailability of witnesses or other factors resulting from passage of time shall make trial within thirty (30) days impractical.

SEC. 9. Extended Time Limit. – Notwithstanding the provisions of SEC. 7 of this Act, for the first twelve-calendar-month period following its effectivity, the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial imposed by Sec. 7 of this Act shall be one hundred eighty (180) days. For the second twelve-month period the time limit shall be one hundred twenty (120) days, and for the third twelve-month period the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial shall be eighty (80) days.

SEC. 10. Exclusions. – The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence:

(a) Any period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the accused, including but not limited to the following:

(1) delay resulting from an examination of the accused, and hearing on his/her mental competency, or physical incapacity;

(2) delay resulting from trials with respect to charges against the accused;

(3) delay resulting from interlocutory appeals;

(4) delay resulting from hearings on pre-trial motions: Provided, That the delay does not exceed thirty (30) days,

(5) delay resulting from orders of inhibition, or proceedings relating to change of venue of cases or transfer from other courts;

(6) delay resulting from a finding of the existence of a valid prejudicial question; and

(7) delay reasonably attributable to any period, not to exceed thirty (30) days, during which any proceeding concerning the accused is actually under advisement.

(b) Any period of delay resulting from the absence or unavailability of the accused or an essential witness.

For purposes of this subparagraph, an accused or an essential witness shall be considered absent when his/her whereabouts are unknown and, in addition, he/she is attempting to avoid apprehension or prosecution or his/her whereabouts cannot be determined by due diligence. An accused or an essential witness shall be considered unavailable whenever his/her whereabouts are known but his/her presence for trial cannot be obtained by due diligence or he/she resists appearing at or being returned for trial.

(c) Any period of delay resulting from the fact that the accused is mentally incompetent or physically unable to stand trial.

(d) If the information is dismissed upon motion of the prosecution and thereafter a charge is filed against the accused for the same offense, or any offense required to be joined with that offense, any period of delay from the date the charge was dismissed to the date the time limitation would commence to run as to the subsequent charge had there been no previous charge.

(e) A reasonable period of delay when the accused is joined for trial with a co-accused over whom the court has not acquired jurisdiction, or as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for severance has been granted.

(f) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any justice or judge motu propio or on motion of the accused or his/her counsel or at the request of the public prosecutor, if the justice or judge granted such continuance on the basis of his/her findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. No such period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court in accordance with this subparagraph shall be excludable under this section unless the court sets forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing, its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the accused in a speedy trial.

SEC. 11. Factors for Granting Continuance. – The factors, among others, which a justice or judge shall consider in determining whether to grant a continuance under subparagraph (f) of Sec. 10 of this Act are as follows:

(a) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in the proceeding would be likely to make a continuation of such proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice.

(b) Whether the case taken as a whole is so novel, so unusual and so complex, due to the number of accused or the nature of the prosecution or otherwise, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation within the periods of time established by this Act.

No continuance under subparagraph (f) of Sec. 10 shall be granted because of general congestion of the court’s calendar, or lack of diligent preparation or failure to obtain available witnesses on the part of the public prosecutor.

SEC. 12. Public Attorney’s Duties Where Accused is Imprisoned. – If the public attorney knows that a person charged of a crime is preventively detained, either because he/she is charged of a bailable crime and has no means to post bail, or is charged of a non-bailable crime, or is serving a term of imprisonment in any penal institution, the public attorney shall promptly:

(a) Undertake to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial, or cause a notice to be served on the person having custody of the prisoner mandating such person to so advise the prisoner of his/her right to demand trial.

(b) Upon receipt of a notice, the person having custody of the prisoner shall promptly advise the prisoner of the charge and of his/her right to demand trial. If at any time thereafter the prisoner informs the person having custody that he/she demands trial, such person shall cause notice to that effect to be sent promptly to the public attorney.

(c) Upon receipt of such notice, the public attorney shall promptly seek to obtain the presence of the prisoner for trial.

(d) When the person having custody of the prisoner receives from the public attorney a properly supported request for temporary custody of the prisoner for trial, the prisoner shall be made available to that public attorney.

SEC. 13. Remedy Where Accused is Not Brought to Trial Within the Time Limit. – If an accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by Sec. 7 of this Act as extended by Sec. 9, the information shall be dismissed on motion of the accused. The accused shall have the burden of proof of supporting such motion but the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with the evidence in connection with the exclusion of time under Sec. 10 of this Act.

In determining whether to dismiss the case with or without prejudice, the court shall consider, among other factors, the seriousness of the offense, the facts and circumstances of the case which led to the dismissal, and the impact of a reprosecution on the implementation of this Act and on the administration of justice. Failure of the accused to move for dismissal prior to trial or entry of a plea of guilty shall constitute a waiver of the right to dismissal under this section.

SEC. 14. Sanctions. – In any case in which counsel for the accused, the public prosecution or public attorney:

(a) knowingly allows the case to be set for trial without disclosing the fact that a necessary witness would be unavailable for trial;

(b) files a motion solely for the purpose of delay which he/she knows is totally frivolous and without merit;

(c) makes a statement for the purpose of obtaining continuance which he/she knows to be false and which is material to the granting of a continuance; or

(d) otherwise willfully fails to proceed to trial without justification consistent with the provisions of this Act, the court may, without prejudice to any appropriate criminal and/or administrative charges to be instituted by the proper party against the erring counsel if and when warranted, punish any such counsel or attorney, as follows:

(1) in the case of a counsel privately retained in connection with the defense of an accused, by imposing a fine not exceeding; fifty percent (50%) of the compensation to which he/she is entitled in connection with his/her defense of the accused;

(2) by imposing on any appointed counsel de officio or public prosecutor a fine not exceeding Ten thousand pesos (10,000.00); and

(3) by denying any defense counsel or public prosecutor the right to practice before the court considering the case for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days.

The authority to punish provided for by this section shall be in addition to any other authority or power available to the court. The court shall follow the procedures established in the Rules of Court in punishing any counsel or public prosecutor pursuant to this section.

SEC. 15. Rules and Regulations. – The Supreme Court shall promulgate rules, regulations, administrative orders and circulars which shall seek to accelerate the disposition of criminal cases. The rules, regulations, administrative orders and circulars formulated shall provide sanctions against justices and judges who willfully fail to proceed to trial without justification consistent with the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 16. Funding. – For the effective implementation of the rules, regulations, administrative orders and circulars promulgated under this Act, the amount of Twenty million pesos (P20,000,000.00) annually shall be appropriated from the allocation of the Supreme Court under the General Appropriations Act. Thereafter, such additional amounts as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

SEC. 17. Act Not a Bar to Speedy Trial Claim Under the Constitution. – No provision of this Act shall be interpreted as a bar to any claim of denial of speedy trial as required by Article III, Sec. 14(2) of the 1987 Constitution.

SEC. 18. Repealing Clause. – All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 19. Separability Clause. – In case any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional, the other provisions shall remain in effect.

SEC. 20. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation: Provided, That Sec. 7 of this Act shall become effective after the expiration of the aforementioned third-calendar-month period provided in Sec. 9 of this Act.

https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1998/02/12/republic-act-no-8493/

Bill of Rights, 1987 Constitution



ARTICLE III

Bill of Rights

SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

SECTION 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

SECTION 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

SECTION 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

SECTION 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

SECTION 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

SECTION 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

SECTION 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

SECTION 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

SECTION 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.

SECTION 11. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.

SECTION 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

SECTION 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

SECTION 14. (1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

SECTION 15. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.

SECTION 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.

SECTION 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

SECTION 18. (1) No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.

(2) No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

SECTION 19. (1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

(2) The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.

SECTION 20. No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.

SECTION 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

SECTION 22. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.

https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/constitutions/1987-constitution/






FIXERS IN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES





Republic Act 9485, or the "Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007", was amended in 2018 by Republic Act 11032, which re-named the old law as the "Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018".

A FIXER is defined by Section 4 of RA 9485, as amended by RA 11032, as follows:

"(e) Fixer – any individual whether or not officially involved in the operation of a government office or agency who has access to people working therein, and whether or not in collusion with them, facilitates speedy completion of transactions for pecuniary gain or any other advantage or consideration;"

Section 21 (h) of the law declares "FIXING and/or COLLUSION WITH FIXERS in consideration of economic and/or other gain or advantage" as prohibited and punishable acts.

Section 21 (Violations and Persons Liable)
and Section 22 (Penalties and Liabilities) of the law read as follows:

"Sec. 21. Violations and Persons Liable. – Any person who performs or cause the performance of the following acts shall be liable:

"(a) Refusal to accept application or request with complete requirements being submitted by an applicant or requesting party without due cause;

"(b) Imposition of additional requirements other than those listed in the Citizen’s Charter;

"(c) Imposition of additional costs not reflected in the Citizen’s Charter;

"(d) Failure to give the applicant or requesting party a written notice on the disapproval of an application or request;

"(e) Failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time on any application or request without due cause;

"(f) Failure to attend to applicants or requesting parties who are within the premises of the office or agency concerned prior to the end of official working hours and during lunch break;

"(g) Failure or refusal to issue official receipts; and

"(h) Fixing and/or collusion with fixers in consideration of economic and/or other gain or advantage."

"Sec. 22. Penalties and Liabilities. – Any violations of the preceding actions will warrant the following penalties and liabilities.1âwphi1

"(a) First Offense: Administrative liability with six (6) months suspension: Provided, however, That in the case of fixing and/or collusion with fixers under Section 21(h), the penalty and liability under Section 22(b) of this Act shall apply.

"(b) Second Offense: Administrative liability and criminal liability of dismissal from the service, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits and imprisonment of one (1) year to six (6) years with a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), but not more than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00).

"CRIMINAL LIABILITY shall also be incurred through the commission of bribery, extortion, or when the violation was done deliberately and maliciously to solicit favor in cash or in kind. In such cases, the pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code and other special laws shall apply."

Further, on the matter of CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY, Section 23 of the law provides:

"Sec. 23. Civil and Criminal Liability, Not Barred.- The finding of administrative liability under this Act SHALL NOT BE A BAR to the filing of criminal, civil or other related charges under existing laws arising from the same act or omission as herein enumerated."

Section 24 of the law vests the ADMINISTRATIVE JURISDICTION on violations of the law either on the CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (CSC) or the OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN. It reads as follows:

"Sec. 24. Administrative Jurisdiction. – The administrative jurisdiction on any violation of the provisions of this Act shall be vested in either the CSC, or the Office of the Ombudsman as determined by appropriate laws and issuances."

RA 11032 - https://lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2018/ra_11032_2018.html

News - https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1717967/lto-fixer-in-antique-faces-24-arrest-warrants-total-bail-at-p1-29-m

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Periods to file pleadings - Dean Tranquil Salvador III



"The computation of the period prescribed by the Rules of Court before a deadline expires is as follows: “[I]f the last day of the period… falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday in the place where the court sits, the time shall not run until the next working day” (Section 1, Rule 22, 2019 Rules of Civil Procedure).

For example, if the deadline to file a pleading or motion is on December 25, 2022, which is a non-working holiday, the filing will be on the next working day.

The period to file an Answer is within 30 calendar days after the service of summons to the defendant or person sued. If your deadline falls on a day after the holiday, you will have to work through the holidays to meet your deadline.

Only one extension of 30 days to file an Answer is allowed for meritorious reasons (see Section 11, Rule 11).

Before filing an Answer, “a party [defendant] may move for a definite statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity [in the complaint] to enable him… to prepare [for] his… responsive pleading” (Section 1, Rule 12).

The defendant has 30 calendar days to file a Motion for a Bill of Particulars.

After the motion is granted and the plaintiff serves the bill of particulars, or after notice of the denial of the defendant’s motion, the latter may file his responsive pleading within the remainder of the period he was originally entitled to which shall not be less than five days in any event (see Section 5, Rule 12).

If the plaintiff or complainant amends the complaint before an Answer is filed, the defendant must file an Answer within 30 calendar days from service of the amended complaint.

However, if the amended complaint is filed after an Answer has been filed, the defendant has 15 calendar days from notice to file another Answer (see Section 3, Rule 11).

A Reply, if allowed under Section 10, Rule 6 of the 2019 Rules of Civil Procedure (2019 Rules), may be filed within 15 calendar days from the service of the Answer (Section 6, Rule 11).

The plaintiff may file a Reply only if the defending party attaches an actionable document (basis of the claim) to his answer (Section 10, Rule 6).

A counterclaim or cross-claim (incorporated in the Answer) must be answered within 20 calendar days from service of the same (Section 4, Rule 11).

A counterclaim is any claim which a defending party may have against the opposing party, while a cross-claim is any claim by one party against a co-party out of the transaction or occurrence subject of the action (Section 6, Rule 6).

A third-party (fourth-party) complaint must be answered within 30 calendar days after service of summons since it is governed by the same rule as the Answer to a complaint (Section 5, Rule 11).

A third-party complaint is a claim of a defending party against a person not a party to the action for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief (Section 11, Rule 6).

The period to file a Motion to Dismiss is a bit tricky since the original Rule 16 on Motion to Dismiss has been deleted in the 2019 Rules.

Today, the Motion to Dismiss is only based on four grounds, including lack of subject matter jurisdiction, litis pendentia, res judicata, and statute of limitations.

As there is no express period in which to file a Motion to Dismiss under the 2019 Rules, it is to be filed within 30 calendar days from service of the summons and complaint.

The period to file an Answer will be interrupted by the filing of the Motion to Dismiss and if it is denied, the defendant has only the remainder of the 30 days to file the former (see Section 2, Rule 22).

A Demurrer to Evidence, a litigious motion, can be filed by the defendant after the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence and if he believes that the plaintiff has no right to relief (see Section 1, Rule 33).

It is at that stage of the proceedings wherein the plaintiff has filed his Formal Offer of Evidence and the court has resolved the same.

The Motion for Reconsideration of a Judgment or Motion for New Trial must be filed within 15 calendar days or the period to file an appeal (see Section 1, Rule 37).

While these motions are litigious, they will have to be resolved by the court within 30 calendar days from the time these are submitted for resolution (Section 4, Rule 37).

An ordinary appeal may be taken within 15 days after notice to the appellant of the judgment or final order appealed from.

Where a record on appeal is required, as in special proceedings and multiple appeals, the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within 30 days after notice of the judgment or final order (see Section 2, Rule 40 and Section 3, Rule 41).

Petitions for Review to the Court of Appeals “shall be filed and served within 15 days from notice of the decision sought to be reviewed or of the denial of petitioner’s [appellant’s] motion for new trial or reconsideration… [U]pon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket and other lawful fees… [and] before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Court of Appeals may grant an additional period of 15 days…” (Section 1, Rule 42).

Petition for Review on Certiorari or Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court “shall be filed within 15 days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from, or of the denial of the petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration… [T]he Supreme Court may for justifiable reasons grant an extension of 30 days only within which to file the petition” (Section 2, Rule 45).

As for special civil actions for certiorari or Petitions for Certiorari, these “may be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed in the Supreme Court.

“If it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board, officer or person, [it is to be filed] in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area…” (Section 4, Rule 65).

The Petition for Certiorari “may also be filed [within the same period] in the Court of Appeals or … the Sandiganbayan, whether or not the same is in aid of the court’s appellate jurisdiction.

“If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals” (Section 4, Rule 65)."


MEETING COURT DEADLINES 
By TRANQUIL G.S. SALVADOR III
JANUARY 6, 2023
MANILA STANDARD 

https://manilastandard.net/opinion/314293600/meeting-court-deadlines.html





Tuesday, December 13, 2022

RA 10845, c. 2016, Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.



REPUBLIC ACT No. 10845 - ANTI-AGRICULTURAL SMUGGLING ACT OF 2016..

SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the

“ANTI-AGRICULTURAL SMUGGLING ACT OF 2016”.

SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to promote the productivity of the agriculture sector and to protect farmers from unscrupulous traders and importers, who by their illegal importation of agricultural products, especially rice, significantly affect the production, availability of supply and stability of prices, and the food security of the State.

The State shall impose higher sanctions for large-scale smuggling of agricultural products, as a self-preservation measure to shield itself from the manipulative scheme of economic saboteurs, and to protect the livelihood of our farmers and to ensure their economic well-being.

SECTION 3. Large-Scale Agricultural Smuggling as Economic Sabotage. – The crime of large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage, involving sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots, fish, and cruciferous vegetables, in its raw state, or which have undergone the simple processes of preparation or preservation for the market, with a minimum amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00), or rice, with a minimum amount of ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00), as valued by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), is committed through any of the following acts:

(a) Importing or bringing into the Philippines without the required import permit from the regulatory agencies;

(b) Using import permits of persons, natural or juridical, other than those specifically named in the permit;

(c) Using fake, fictitious or fraudulent import permits or shipping documents;

(d) Selling, lending, leasing, assigning, consenting or allowing the use of import permits of corporations, nongovernment organizations, associations, cooperatives, or single proprietorships by other persons;

(e) Misclassification, undervaluation or misdeclaration upon the filing of import entry and revenue declaration with the BOC in order to evade the payment of rightful taxes and duties due to the government;

(f) Organizing or using dummy corporations, nongovernment organizations, associations, cooperatives, or single proprietorships for the purpose of acquiring import permits;

(g) Transporting or storing the agricultural product subject to economic sabotage regardless of quantity; or

(h) Acting as broker of the violating importer.

SECTION 4. Penalties. – (a) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on any person who commits any of the acts enumerated under Section 3 of this Act.

(b) The penalty of imprisonment of not less than seventeen (17) years but not more than twenty (20) years, and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on the officers of dummy corporations, nongovernment organizations, associations, cooperatives, or single proprietorships who knowingly sell, lend, lease, assign, consent or allow the unauthorized use of their import permits for purposes of smuggling.

(c) The penalty of imprisonment of not less than fourteen (14) years but not more than seventeen (17) years and a fine equal to the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on the following:

(1) The registered owner and its lessee or charterer, in case of lease, of a chartered boat, motorized commercial vessel of more than three (3) gross tonnage, who knowingly transports the agricultural product subject to economic sabotage, regardless of quantity;

(2) The registered owner and its lessee, in case of lease of six (6) or more wheeler trucks, vans and other means of transportation, who knowingly transports the agricultural product subject to economic sabotage, regardless of quantity;

(3) The registered owner and lessee of a warehouse, or any property, who knowingly stores the smuggled agricultural product subject to economic sabotage; or

(4) The registered owner, lessee, president or chief executive officer of the private port, fish port, fish landing sites, resorts, and airports who knowingly allows the agricultural product to be smuggled into the country.

(d) The penalty of imprisonment of not less than twelve (12) years but not more than fourteen (14) years and a fine equal to the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product subject to economic sabotage and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on the following:

(1) The registered owner and its lessee or charterer, in case of lease.; of a chartered boat, motorized commercial vessel of three (3) gross tonnage or less, who knowingly transports the agricultural product subject to economic sabotage, regardless of quantity; or

(2) The registered owner and its lessee, in case of lease, of less than six (6) wheeler trucks, vans and other means of transportation, who knowingly transports the agricultural product subject to economic sabotage, regardless of quantity.

In all cases, the smuggled agricultural products shall be confiscated and the property used in agricultural smuggling, consistent with Section 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code and without prejudice to Section 2531 of the same Code, shall be forfeited in favor of the government.

When the offender is a juridical person, criminal liability shall attach to its president, chief operating officer or manager who consents to or knowingly tolerates the commission of the prohibited crime.

Any person, natural or juridical, found guilty under this Act shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification to engage in any business involving importation.

In applying the abovementioned penalties, if the offender is an alien and the prescribed penalty is not life imprisonment, he/she shall be deported after serving the sentence without further proceedings for deportation.

If the offender is a government official or employee, the penalty shall be the maximum as hereinabove prescribed and the offender shall suffer an additional penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office, to vote and to participate in any public election.

SECTION 5. Presumption of Agricultural Smuggling. – Mere possession of rice or any agricultural product under this Act, which has been the subject of smuggling, entered into the Philippines other than the BOC controlled ports or without the necessary permits shall be prima facie evidence of smuggling.

SECTION 6. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – The BOC, in consultation with concerned agencies, shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act within thirty (30) days upon its effectivity.

SECTION 7. Prescription of Crimes. – The crime punishable under this Act shall prescribe in twenty (20) years.1âwphi1

SECTION 8. Separability Clause. – If any portion of this Act is declared unconstitutional or invalid, the portions or provisions which are not affected shall continue to be in full force and effect.

SECTION 9. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, executive issuances, rules and regulations inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed and/or modified accordingly.

SECTION 10. Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Independent central monetary authority



TOPIC: THE "INDEPENDENT CENTRAL MONETARY AUTHORITY" VIS-A-VIS THE PROPOSED MAHARLIKA INVESTMENT FUND ACT (MAHARLIKA SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND, MAHARLIKA INVESTMENT CORPORATION). -

Under Section 20 of Article XII, "National Economy and Patrimony", of the 1987 Constitution, "Congress shall establish an "INDEPENDENT CENTRAL MONETARY AUTHORITY".

That "INDEPENDENT central monetary authority" is the BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (BSP).

The BSP (formerly called the "Central Bank of the Philippines") was created by R.A. No. 7653, c. 1993, entitled "The Central Bank Act". R. A. No. 7653 was later amended in 2018 by R. A. No. 11211 to strengthen the regulatory powers of the BSP as the "INDEPENDENT central monetary authority" mentioned in the 1987 Constitution.

The central monetary authority (BSP) "shall provide POLICY DIRECTION in the areas of MONEY, BANKING, AND CREDIT". It shall have "SUPERVISION over the operations of BANKS and exercise such REGULATORY POWERS as may be provided by LAW OVER THE OPERATIONS OF FINANCE COMPANIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS PERFORMING SIMILAR FUNCTIONS". (Section 20, Article XII, 1987 Constitution).

FURTHER, under Section 21 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, "FOREIGN LOANS may only be incurred in accordance with LAW and the REGULATION OF THE MONETARY AUTHORITY".

FURTHERMORE, under Section 20 of Article VII, "Executive Department", of the 1987 Constitution, "the PRESIDENT may CONTRACT OR GUARANTEE FOREIGN LOANS on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the PRIOR CONCURRENCE OF THE MONETARY BOARD, and subject to such LIMITATIONS as may be provided by LAW".

FINALLY, the MONETARY BOARD is mandated by the 1987 Constitution to regularly submit to Congress a COMPLETE REPORT of its decisions on APPLICATIONS FOR FOREIGN LOANS "CONTRACTED OR GUARANTEED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS which would have the EFFECT OF INCREASING THE FOREIGN DEBT".

The statements issued yesterday by the leaders of the Lower House of the Philippine Congress revealed that the "SURPLUS PROFITS OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS" would be used to fund the start-up capital or equity of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (Maharlika Investment Corporation).

I humbly submit that if the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas would stand as the SOLE OR MAIN OR MAJOR EQUITY/CAPITAL CONTRIBUTOR of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (Maharlika Investment Corporation), SUCH A FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

How can the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas be expected to INDEPENDENTLY, HONESTLY AND COMPETENTLY SUPERVISE AND EXAMINE THE OPERATIONS of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (Maharlika Investment Corporation) when it is the sole or main or major equity owner, capital contributor or shareholder of the proposed financial institution?

Moreover, how can the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas be expected to INDEPENDENTLY, FAIRLY AND REASONABLY PROVIDE "POLICY DIRECTION IN THE AREAS OF MONEY, BANKING, AND CREDIT" when it is a MAJOR PLAYER IN THE PRIVATE CAPITAL MARKET as the sole or main or major equity owner, capital contributor or shareholder of the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (Maharlika Investment Corporation)?

The CONFLICT OF INTEREST will weaken, if not destroy, the fundamental constitutional principles of TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND CHECK AND BALANCE that guide the equitable and Inclusive socio-economic development of a genuine democratic republic.

The aforementioned scenario will produce a fertile ground conducive to UNCHECKED MASSIVE GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION.

An UNCONSTITUTIONAL LEGISLATIVE ACT is VOID AB INITIO for being violative of the spirit, intent and express language of the Constitution.

"PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST. Public officers and employees must, at all times, BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE , SERVE THEM with UTMOST RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY, LOYALTY, and EFFICIENCY; ACT WITH PATRIOTISM AND JUSTICE, and LEAD MODEST LIVES." (Section 1, "Accountability of Public Officers", Article XI, 1987 Constitution).

Please note that the incumbent BSP Governor FELIPE M. MEDALLA a few days ago expressed the same sentiment as stated above (although he meekly added that he would abide by the final decision of Congress on the matter).

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

GSIS Provident Fund is a Trust Fund (Trust vs. Co-ownership)



"TRUST is the legal relationship between one person having an equitable ownership in property and another person owning the legal title to such property, the equitable ownership of the former entitling him to the performance of certain duties and the exercise of certain powers by the latter.[19] A trust fund refers to money or property set aside as a trust for the benefit of another and held by a trustee.[20] Under the Civil Code, trusts are classified as either express or implied. An express trust is created by the intention of the trustor or of the parties, while an implied trust comes into being by operation of law.[21]

There is no doubt that respondent intended to establish a trust fund from the employees’ contributions (5% of monthly salary) and its own contributions (45% of each member’s monthly salary and all unremitted Employees Welfare contributions). We cannot accept petitioners’ submission that respondent could not impose terms and conditions on the availment of benefits from the Fund on the ground that members already own respondent’s contributions from the moment such was remitted to their account. Petitioners’ assertion that the Plan was a purely contractual obligation on the part of respondent is likewise mistaken.

Republic Act No. 8291, otherwise known as “The Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997,” mandated respondent to maintain a provident fund subject to rules and regulations it may adopt. Thus:

SECTION 41. Powers and Functions of the GSIS. — The GSIS shall exercise the following powers and functions:

x x x x

(s) to maintain a provident fund, which consists of contributions made by both the GSIS and its officials and employees and their earnings, for the payment of benefits to such officials and employees or their heirs under such terms and conditions as it may prescribe; (Emphasis supplied.)

In Development Bank of the Philippines v. Commission on Audit,[22] this Court recognized DBP’s establishment of a trust fund to cover the retirement benefits of certain employees. We noted that as the trustor, DBP vested in the trustees legal title over the Fund as well as control over the investment of the money and assets of the Fund. The Trust Agreement therein also stated that the principal and income must be used to satisfy all of the liabilities to the beneficiary officials and employees under the Gratuity Plan.[23]

Here, petitioners as beneficiaries of the Fund contend that they became co-owners of the entire Fund including respondent’s contributions and its accumulated earnings. On this premise, they demand a proportionate share in the GRF which was deducted from the earnings on respondents’ contributions.

Under the PFRR, however, the GRF is allocated for specific purposes and not intended for distribution to members. Section 8,[24] Article IV thus provides:

Section 8. Earnings. At the beginning of each quarter, the earnings realized by the Fund in the previous quarter just ended shall be credited to the accounts of the members in proportion to the amounts standing to their credit as of the beginning of the same quarter after deducting therefrom twenty per cent (20%) of the proportionate earnings of the System’s contributions, which deduction shall be credited to a General Reserve Fund. Whenever circumstances warrant, however, the Committee may reduce the percentage to be credited to the General Reserve Fund for any given quarter; provided that in no case shall such percentage be lower than five per cent (5%) of the proportionate earnings of the System’s contributions for the quarter. When and as long as the total amount in the General Reserve Fund is equivalent to at least ten per cent (10%) of the total assets of the Fund, the Committee may authorize all the earnings for any given quarter to be credited to the members.

The General Reserve Fund shall be used for the following purposes:

(a) To cover the deficiency, if any, between the amount standing to the credit of a member who dies or is separated from the service due to permanent and total disability, and the amount due him under Article V Section 4[25];

(b) To make up for any investment losses and write-offs of bad debts, in accordance with policies to be promulgated by the Board;

(c) To pay the benefits of separated employees in accordance with Article IV, Section 3[26]; and

(d) For other purposes as may be approved by the Board, provided that such purposes is consistent with Article IV, Section 4[27].

It is clear that while respondent’s monthly contributions are credited to the account of each member, and the same were received by petitioners upon their retirement, they were entitled to only a proportionate share of the earnings thereon. The benefits of retiring members of the Fund are covered by Section 1(b), Article V which states:

(b) Retirement. In the event the separation from the System is due to retirement under existing laws, such as P.D. 1146, R.A. 660 or R.A. 1616, irrespective of the length of membership to the Fund, the retiree shall be entitled to withdraw the entire amount of his contributions to the Fund, as well as the corresponding proportionate share of the accumulated earnings thereon, and in addition, 100% of the System’s contributions, plus the proportionate earnings thereon.

We find nothing illegal or anomalous in the creation of the GRF to address certain contingencies and ensure the Fund’s continuing viability. Petitioners’ right to receive retirement benefits under the Plan was subject to well-defined rules and regulations that were made known to and accepted by them when they applied for membership in the Fund.

Petitioners have the right to demand for an accounting of the Fund including the GRF. Under Section 5,[28] Article VIII of the PFRR, the Committee is required to prepare an annual report showing the income and expenses and the financial condition of the Fund as of the end of each calendar year. Said report shall be submitted to the GSIS Board and shall be available to members. There is, however, no allegation or evidence that the Committee failed to comply with the submission of such annual report, or that such report was not made available to members."


G.R. No. 189827, October 16, 2013

GERSIP ASSOCIATION, INC., LETICIA ALMAZAN, ANGELA NARVAEZ, MARIA B. PINEDA, LETICIA DE MESA AND ALFREDO D. PINEDA, PETITIONERS, VS. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, RESPONDENT.


https://elibrary.judiciary.gov.ph/thebookshelf/showdocs/1/56303

The funds contributed to the Social Security System (SSS) created by the law are NOT PUBLIC FUNDS, but funds belonging to the members which are MERELY HELD IN TRUST BY THE GOVERNMENT.



"It is significant to note that when Republic Act No. 1161 was enacted, services performed in the employ of institutions organized for religious or charitable purposes were by express provisions of said Act excluded from coverage thereof (sec. 8, par. [j] subpars. 7 and 8). That portion of the law, however, has been deleted by express provision of Republic Act No. 1792, which took effect in 1957. This is clear indication that the Legislature intended to include charitable and religious institutions within the scope of the law.

In support of its contention that the Social Security Law was intended to cover only employment for profit or gain, appellant also cites the discussions of the Senate, portions of which were quoted in its brief. There is, however, nothing whatsoever in those discussions touching upon the question of whether the law should be limited to organizations for profit or gain. Of course, the said discussions dwelt at length upon the need of a law to meet the problems of industrializing society and upon the plight of an employer who fails to make a profit. But this is readily explained by the fact that the majority of those to be affected by the operation of the law are corporations and industries which are established primarily for profit or gain.

Appellant further argues that the Social Security Law is a labor law and, consequently, following the rule laid down in the case of Boy Scouts of the Philippines vs. Araos (G.R. No. L-10091, January 29, 1958) and other cases1, applies only to industry and occupation for purposes of profit and gain. The cases cited, however, are not in point, for the reason that the law therein involved expressly limits its application either to commercial, industrial, or agricultural establishments, or enterprises. .

Upon the other hand, the Social Security Law was enacted pursuant to the "policy of the Republic of the Philippines to develop, establish gradually and perfect a social security system which shall be suitable to the needs of the people throughout the Philippines and shall provide protection to employees against the hazards of disability, sickness, old age and death." (See. 2, Republic Act No. 1161, as amended.) Such enactment is a legitimate exercise of the police power. It affords protection to labor, especially to working women and minors, and is in full accord with the constitutional provisions on the "promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people." Being in fact a social legislation, compatible with the policy of the Church to ameliorate living conditions of the working class, appellant cannot arbitrarily delimit the extent of its provisions to relations between capital and labor in industry and agriculture.

There is no merit in the claim that the inclusion of religious organizations under the coverage of the Social Security Law violates the constitutional prohibition against the application of public funds for the use, benefit or support of any priest who might be employed by appellant. The funds contributed to the System created by the law are not public funds, but funds belonging to the members which are merely held in trust by the Government. At any rate, assuming that said funds are impressed with the character of public funds, their payment as retirement death or disability benefits would not constitute a violation of the cited provisions of the Constitution, since such payment shall be made to the priest not because he is a priest but because he is an employee.

Neither may it be validly argued that the enforcement of the Social Security Law impairs appellant's right to disseminate religious information. All that is required of appellant is to make monthly contributions to the System for covered employees in its employ. These contributions, contrary to appellant's contention, are not in the nature of taxes on employment." Together with the contributions imposed upon the employees and the Government, they are intended for the protection of said employees against the hazards of disability, sickness, old age and death in line with the constitutional mandate to promote social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people."

EN BANC
G.R. No. L-15045 January 20, 1961

IN RE: PETITION FOR EXEMPTION FROM COVERAGE BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM. ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION, respondent-appellee.


https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1961/jan1961/gr_l-15045_1961.html

Signing bonus, when not a truly reasonable compensation



"This Court has been very consistent in characterizing the funds being administered by SSS as a trust fund for the welfare and benefit of workers and employees in the private sector.37 In United Christian Missionary v. Social Security Commission38 we were unequivocal in declaring the funds contributed to the Social Security System by compulsion of law as funds belonging to the members which were merely held in trust by the government, and resolutely imposed the duty upon the trustee to desist from any and all acts which would diminish the property rights of owners and beneficiaries of the trust fund. Consistent with this declaration, it would indeed be very reasonable to construe the authority of the SSC to provide for the compensation of SSS personnel in accordance with the established rules governing the remuneration of trustees -

x x x x the modern rule is to give the trustee a reasonable remuneration for his skill and industry x x x x In deciding what is a reasonable compensation for a trustee the court will consider the amount of income and capital received and disbursed, the pay customarily given to agents or servants for similar work, the success or failure of the work of the trustee, any unusual skill which the trustee had and used, the amount of risk and responsibility, the time consumed, the character of the work done (whether routine or of unusual difficulty) and any other factors which prove the worth of the trustee’s services to the cestuis x x x x The court has power to make extraordinary compensation allowances, but will not do so unless the trustee can prove that he has performed work beyond the ordinary duties of his office and has engaged in especially arduous work.39

On the basis of the foregoing pronouncement, we do not find the signing bonus to be a truly reasonable compensation. The gratuity was of course the SSC’s gesture of good will and benevolence for the conclusion of collective negotiations between SSC and ACCESS, as the CNA would itself state, but for what objective? Agitation and propaganda which are so commonly practiced in private sector labor-management relations have no place in the bureaucracy and that only a peaceful collective negotiation which is concluded within a reasonable time must be the standard for interaction in the public sector. This desired conduct among civil servants should not come, we must stress, with a price tag which is what the signing bonus appears to be."

EN BANC, G.R. No. 149240, July 11, 2002

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.


https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2002/jul2002/gr_149240_2002.html

Authority to sue



"We find no legitimate and compelling reason to reverse the COA. To begin with, the instant petition is fatally defective. It was filed in the name of the SSS although no directive from the SSC authorized the instant suit and only the officer-in-charge in behalf of petitioner executed the purported directive. Clearly, this is irregular since under Sec. 4, par. 10, in relation to par. 7,13 RA 1161 as amended by RA 8282 (The Social Security Act of 1997, which was already effective14 when the instant petition was filed), it is the SSC as a collegiate body which has the power to approve, confirm, pass upon or review the action of the SSS to sue in court. Moreover, the appearance of the internal legal staff of the SSS as counsel in the present proceedings is similarly questionable because under both RA 1161 and RA 8282 it is the Department of Justice (DoJ) that has the authority to act as counsel of the SSS.15 It is well settled that the legality of the representation of an unauthorized counsel may be raised at any stage of the proceedings16 and that such illicit representation produces no legal effect.17 Since nothing in the case at bar shows that the approval or ratification of the SSC has been undertaken in the manner prescribed by law and that the DoJ has not delegated the authority to act as counsel and appear herein, the instant petition must necessarily fail. These procedural deficiencies are serious matters which this Court cannot take lightly and simply ignore since the SSS is in reality confessing judgment to charge expenditure against the trust fund under its custodianship.

In Premium Marble Resources v. Court of Appeals18 we held that no person, not even its officers, could validly sue in behalf of a corporation in the absence of any resolution from the governing body authorizing the filing of such suit. Moreover, where the corporate officer’s power as an agent of the corporation did not derive from such resolution, it would nonetheless be necessary to show a clear source of authority from the charter, the by-laws or the implied acts of the governing body.19 Unfortunately there is no palpable evidence in the records to show that the officer-in-charge could all by himself order the filing of the instant petition without the intervention of the SSC, nor that the legal staff of SSS could act as its counsel and appear therein without the intervention of the DoJ. The power of attorney supposedly authorizing this suit as well as the signature of the legal counsel appearing on the signing page of the instant petition is therefore ineffectual."

EN BANC, G.R. No. 149240, July 11, 2002

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.


https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2002/jul2002/gr_149240_2002.html

SSS funds are workers' trust funds



"THE FUNDS contributed to the SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS) are not only IMBUED WITH PUBLIC INTEREST, they are part and parcel of the fruits of the workers’ labors pooled into ONE ENORMOUS TRUST FUND UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SYSTEM designed to insure against the vicissitudes and hazards of their working lives. In a very real sense, the trust funds are the workers’ property which they could turn to when necessity beckons and are thus more personal to them than the taxes they pay. It is therefore only fair and proper that charges against the trust fund be STRICTLY SCRUTINIZED for every lawful and judicious opportunity to keep it intact and viable in the interest of enhancing the WELFARE OF THEIR TRUE AND ULTIMATE BENEFICIARIES."


EN BANC, G.R. No. 149240, July 11, 2002

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondent.


https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2002/jul2002/gr_149240_2002.html

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Pork barrel system is unconstitutional



"Conclusion

The Court renders this Decision to rectify an error which has persisted in the chronicles of our history. In the final analysis, the Court must strike down the Pork Barrel System as unconstitutional in view of the inherent defects in the rules within which it operates. To recount, insofar as it has allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight, post-enactment authority in vital areas of budget execution, the system has violated the principle of separation of powers; insofar as it has conferred unto legislators the power of appropriation by giving them personal, discretionary funds from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine, it has similarly violated the principle of non-delegability of legislative power ; insofar as it has created a system of budgeting wherein items are not textualized into the appropriations bill, it has flouted the prescribed procedure of presentment and, in the process, denied the President the power to veto items ; insofar as it has diluted the effectiveness of congressional oversight by giving legislators a stake in the affairs of budget execution, an aspect of governance which they may be called to monitor and scrutinize, the system has equally impaired public accountability ; insofar as it has authorized legislators, who are national officers, to intervene in affairs of purely local nature, despite the existence of capable local institutions, it has likewise subverted genuine local autonomy ; and again, insofar as it has conferred to the President the power to appropriate funds intended by law for energy-related purposes only to other purposes he may deem fit as well as other public funds under the broad classification of "priority infrastructure development projects," it has once more transgressed the principle of non-delegability.

For as long as this nation adheres to the rule of law, any of the multifarious unconstitutional methods and mechanisms the Court has herein pointed out should never again be adopted in any system of governance, by any name or form, by any semblance or similarity, by any influence or effect. Disconcerting as it is to think that a system so constitutionally unsound has monumentally endured, the Court urges the people and its co-stewards in government to look forward with the optimism of change and the awareness of the past. At a time of great civic unrest and vociferous public debate, the Court fervently hopes that its Decision today, while it may not purge all the wrongs of society nor bring back what has been lost, guides this nation to the path forged by the Constitution so that no one may heretofore detract from its cause nor stray from its course. After all, this is the Court‘s bounden duty and no other‘s.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTLY GRANTED. In view of the constitutional violations discussed in this Decision, the Court hereby declares as UNCONSTITUTIONAL: (a) the entire 2013 PDAF Article; (b) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which authorize/d legislators – whether individually or collectively organized into committees – to intervene, assume or participate in any of the various post-enactment stages of the budget execution, such as but not limited to the areas of project identification, modification and revision of project identification, fund release and/or fund realignment, unrelated to the power of congressional oversight; (c) all legal provisions of past and present Congressional Pork Barrel Laws, such as the previous PDAF and CDF Articles and the various Congressional Insertions, which confer/red personal, lump-sum allocations to legislators from which they are able to fund specific projects which they themselves determine; (d) all informal practices of similar import and effect, which the Court similarly deems to be acts of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (e) the phrases (1) "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910 and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" under Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, for both failing the sufficient standard test in violation of the principle of non-delegability of legislative power.

Accordingly, the Court‘s temporary injunction dated September 10, 2013 is hereby declared to be PERMANENT. Thus, the disbursement/release of the remaining PDAF funds allocated for the year 2013, as well as for all previous years, and the funds sourced from (1) the Malampaya Funds under the phrase "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" pursuant to Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 910, and (2) the Presidential Social Fund under the phrase "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" pursuant to Section 12 of Presidential Decree No. 1869, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1993, which are, at the time this Decision is promulgated, not covered by Notice of Cash Allocations (NCAs) but only by Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), whether obligated or not, are hereby ENJOINED. The remaining PDAF funds covered by this permanent injunction shall not be disbursed/released but instead reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund, while the funds under the Malampaya Funds and the Presidential Social Fund shall remain therein to be utilized for their respective special purposes not otherwise declared as unconstitutional.

On the other hand, due to improper recourse and lack of proper substantiation, the Court hereby DENIES petitioners‘ prayer seeking that the Executive Secretary and/or the Department of Budget and Management be ordered to provide the public and the Commission on Audit complete lists/schedules or detailed reports related to the availments and utilization of the funds subject of these cases. Petitioners‘ access to official documents already available and of public record which are related to these funds must, however, not be prohibited but merely subjected to the custodian‘s reasonable regulations or any valid statutory prohibition on the same. This denial is without prejudice to a proper mandamus case which they or the Commission on Audit may choose to pursue through a separate petition.

The Court also DENIES petitioners prayer to order the inclusion of the funds subject of these cases in the budgetary deliberations of Congress as the same is a matter left to the prerogative of the political branches of government.

Finally, the Court hereby DIRECTS all prosecutorial organs of the government to, within the bounds of reasonable dispatch, investigate and accordingly prosecute all government officials and/or private individuals for possible criminal offenses related to the irregular, improper and/or unlawful disbursement/utilization of all funds under the Pork Barrel System.

This Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.

SO ORDERED."



ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:


See Concurring Opinion
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice



See Concurring Opinion
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice


NO PART
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice


I concur and also join the concurring opinion of Justice Carpio.
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice


I join the Opinion of Justice Carpio, subject to my Concurring & Dissenting Opinion.
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice


DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice


LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice


MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice


I join the concurring opinion of J. A.T. Carpio of the ponencia
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice


MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
Associate Justice


JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice


JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice


BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice


See Concurring Opinion
MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN
Associate Justice



G.R. No. 208566, November 19, 2013

GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA JOSE M. VILLEGAS JR. JOSE L. GONZALEZ REUBEN M. ABANTE and QUINTIN PAREDES SAN DIEGO, Petitioners,

vs.

HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR. SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. ABAD, NATIONAL TREASURER ROSALIA V. DE LEON SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by FRANKLIN M. DRILON m his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES represented by FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR. in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, Respondents.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

G.R. No. 208493

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) PRESIDENT SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, Petitioner,

vs.

HONORABLE FRANKLIN M. DRILON in his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HONORABLE FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

G.R. No. 209251

PEDRITO M. NEPOMUCENO, Former Mayor-Boac, Marinduque Former Provincial Board Member -Province of Marinduque, Petitioner,

vs.

PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III* and SECRETARY FLORENCIO BUTCH ABAD, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents.


Link - https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2013/nov2013/gr_208566_2013.html

"Operative fact" doctrine



"Consequential Effects of Decision.

As a final point, it must be stressed that the Court‘s pronouncement anent the unconstitutionality of (a) the 2013 PDAF Article and its Special Provisions, (b) all other Congressional Pork Barrel provisions similar thereto, and (c) the phrases (1) "and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President" under Section 8 of PD 910, and (2) "to finance the priority infrastructure development projects" under Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, must only be treated as prospective in effect in view of the operative fact doctrine.

To explain, the OPERATIVE FACT DOCTRINE exhorts the recognition that until the judiciary, in an appropriate case, declares the invalidity of a certain legislative or executive act, such act is presumed constitutional and thus, entitled to obedience and respect and should be properly enforced and complied with. As explained in the recent case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation,266 the doctrine merely "reflects awareness that precisely because the judiciary is the governmental organ which has the final say on whether or not a legislative or executive measure is valid, a period of time may have elapsed before it can exercise the power of judicial review that may lead to a declaration of nullity. It would be to deprive the law of its quality of fairness and justice then, if there be no recognition of what had transpired prior to such adjudication."267 "In the language of an American Supreme Court decision: ‘The actual existence of a statute, prior to such a determination of unconstitutionality, is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly be ignored.‘"268

For these reasons, this Decision should be heretofore applied prospectively."



G.R. No. 208566, November 19, 2013

GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA JOSE M. VILLEGAS JR. JOSE L. GONZALEZ REUBEN M. ABANTE and QUINTIN PAREDES SAN DIEGO, Petitioners,

vs.

HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR. SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. ABAD, NATIONAL TREASURER ROSALIA V. DE LEON SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by FRANKLIN M. DRILON m his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES represented by FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR. in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, Respondents.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

G.R. No. 208493

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS) PRESIDENT SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, Petitioner,

vs.

HONORABLE FRANKLIN M. DRILON in his capacity as SENATE PRESIDENT and HONORABLE FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents.

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

G.R. No. 209251

PEDRITO M. NEPOMUCENO, Former Mayor-Boac, Marinduque Former Provincial Board Member -Province of Marinduque, Petitioner,

vs.

PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III* and SECRETARY FLORENCIO BUTCH ABAD, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents.


Link - https://lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2013/nov2013/gr_208566_2013.html