Sunday, October 23, 2011

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN POLITICAL LAW

QUESTION NO. 1. (A) Is the position of Provincial Administrator primarily confidential? (2) Does the rule on nepotism apply to designation?(3) May a private citizen who does not claim any better right to a position file a verified complaint with the Civil Service Commission to denounce a violation by an appointing authority of the Civil Service Law and rules?
JOSE P. LAUREL V, in his official capacity as Provincial Governor of Batangas, petitioner, vs.CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and LORENZO SANGALANG, respondents. THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 71562 October 28, 1991

QUESTION NO. 2. On the basis of a sworn complaint against Jose Valera, a Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman issued a preventive suspension order for six months without pay against the respondent Valera. The record shows that the Ombudsman inhibited from said case for the reason that said commissioner is his relative. Is the preventive suspension issued by the Special Prosecutor valid? Explain.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN V. VALERA, GR 164250, September 30, 2005

QUESTION NO. 3. A Complaint for disbarment was filed by Atty. Rodante D. Marcoleta (complainant) against respondents Commissioners Resurreccion Z. Borra (Borra) and Romeo A. Brawner (Brawner) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) charging them with violating Canons 1 (1.01, 1.02 and 1.03) and 3 (3.01, 3.02, 3.05 and 3.06) of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons 4, 5, 6 and 17 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. Additionally, complainant charges respondents of violating Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. While the complaint is still pending, Borra retired, while Brawner died.
Questions: (1) Is the complaint for disbarment valid? (2) Will the complaint against the two officials be given due course despite Borra’s retirement and Brawner’s death?
Marcoleta v. Borra, A.C. 7732, March 30, 2009

Question No. 4. Petitioner Hannah Eunice D. Serana was a senior student of the University of the Philippines-Cebu (UP) who was appointed by then President Estrada as a student regent of UP, to serve a one-year term starting January 1, 2000 and ending on December 31, 2000.In the early part of 2000, she discussed with President Estrada the renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex in UP Diliman. On September 4, 2000, petitioner, with her siblings and relatives, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission the Office of the Student Regent Foundation, Inc. (OSRFI).One of the projects of the OSRFI was the renovation of the Vinzons Hall Annex. President Estrada gave Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00) to the OSRFI as financial assistance for the proposed renovation. The renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize.The succeeding student regent, Kristine Bugayong, and Christine Guzman, Secretary General of the KASAMA sa U.P., a system-wide alliance of student councils within the state university, consequently filed a complaint for Malversation of Public Funds and Property with the Office of the Ombudsman.On July 3, 2003, the Ombudsman, after due investigation, found probable cause to indict petitioner and her brother Jade Ian D. Serana for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 27819 of the Sandiganbayan.
Serana posed the following contentions for her defense:
(1) She moved to quash the information. She claimed that the Sandiganbayan does not have any jurisdiction over the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP student regent.
(2)She claimed that Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended by R.A. No. 8249, enumerates the crimes or offenses over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. It has no jurisdiction over the crime of estafa. It only has jurisdiction over crimes covered by Title VII, Chapter II, Section 2 (Crimes Committed by Public Officers), Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Estafa falling under Title X, Chapter VI (Crimes Against Property), Book II of the RPC is not within the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction.
(3)She also argued that it was President Estrada, and not the government, that was duped. Even assuming that she received the P15,000,000.00, that amount came from Estrada, and not from the coffers of the government.
(4)She likewise posited that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over her person. She claimed that as a student regent, she was not a public officer since she merely represented her peers, in contrast to the other regents who held their positions in an ex officio capacity. She added that she was a simple student and did not receive any salary as a student regent.
(5)She further contended that she had no power or authority to receive monies or funds. She claimed such power was vested with the Board of Regents (BOR) as a whole. Hence, Since it was not alleged in the information that it was among her functions or duties to receive funds, or that the crime was committed in connection with her official functions, the same is beyond the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan .
RULE ON THE ON THE FIVE CONTENTIONS OF SERANA

HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, G.R. No. 162059 Petitioner, VS. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. [ G.R. No. 162059, January 22, 2008 ]

QUESTION NO. 5.Roque Flores was proclaimed by the board of canvassers as having received the highest number of votes for PUNONG BARANGAY in the elections held in Barangay Poblacion, Tayum, Abra.
However, his election was protested by Nobelito Rapisora who placed second in the election with 463 votes, or one vote less than him. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tayum, Abra, sustained Rapisora and installed him as punong barangay in place of the petitioner after deducting two votes as stray from the latter's total.
Flores appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Abra, which affirmed the challenged decision in toto. Judge Francisco O. Villarta, Jr. agreed that the four votes cast for "Flores" only, without any distinguishing first name or initial, should all have been considered invalid instead of being divided equally between the petitioner and Anastacio Flores, another candidate for kagawad. The judge held that the original total credited to the petitioner was correctly reduced by 2, to 462, demoting him to second place.
The petitioner then went to the Commission on Elections, but his appeal was dismissed on the ground that the public respondent had no power to review the decision of the regional trial court.
QUESTIONS: (1) Is the appeal of Flores to the Regional Trial Court proper? Explain. (2) Is the COMELEC correct in saying that it has no power to review the decision of the RTC?

QUESTION NO. 6. Administrative charges for dishonesty and grave misconduct were filed by complainant Renato S. Muñoz, Mayor of the Municipality of La Paz, Agusan del Sur, before the OMB against therein respondents Milagros A. Orlandez, Rey C. Torralba, and Tomas B. Gomez, docketed as OMB-M-A-02-215-H. Complainant alleged that on 5 December 2000, the Municipality of La Paz, Agusan del Sur, paid to Ronwood Construction Supply the amount of P300,000.00 as payment for the delivery of 2,400 bags of Portland cement intended to be used for the concreting of Morgadez Street (Poblacion-Hospital Road Section). However, complainant, upon investigation of why the said project remained unfinished and incomplete, discovered from Municipal Supply Officer (MSO) Teresita G. Sergio and Municipal Planning Development Officer (MPDO) Lalineth A. Lisondra that there was actually no delivery of 2,400 bags of Portland cement made by Ronwood Construction Supply to the Municipality.After the investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), on the basis of the affidavits of the complainant and the counteraffidavits of the respondents, the OMB found that the respondents are guilty as charged. The OMB then issued an order dismissing them from service. The respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals, which modified the judgment of the OMB stating that the OMB has no power to dismiss them immediately because the thing which should have been done is to submit the findings of the OMB to the Office of the Mayor. The Court of Appeals ruled in this wise: The appellate court, in a Decision dated 31 May 2005, ruled on their appeal in this wise:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED in so far as it seeks to set aside the finding of the Ombudsman that Petitioners LALINETH A. LISONDRA and TERESITA SERGIO are administratively liable for dishonesty. The petition is GRANTED in so far as it seeks to nullify the penalty directly imposed by the OMBUDSMAN upon Petitioners. The OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN is hereby DIRECTED TO TRANSMIT ITS FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS relative to this case to the incumbent Municipal Mayor or Chief Executive Officer of the Municipality of La Paz, Agusan del Sur pursuant to Section 13(3), Article XI of the 1987 Constitution and Section 15(3) of Republic Act No. 6770.
Questions: (1) Is the ruling of the Court of Appeals correct? Specifically, is the power of the OMBUDSMAN to dismiss a government employee constitutionally correct? Explain your answer.

ANSWER: OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, vs. LALINETH LISONDRA, TERESITA SERGIO, and THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER TWENTY-FIRST DIVISION), Cagayan de Oro City, Respondents. [ G.R. No. 174045, March 07, 2008 ]

QUESTION NO. 7. In how many divisions shall the Sandiganbayan sit, and how many members per division? Where are these divisions stationed? How many justices shall constitute as a quorum? In case the quorum is not obtained state the procedure to be followed.

ANSWER: "Sec. 3. Division of the Court; Quorum. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in five (5) divisions of three justices each. The five (5) may sit at the same time.

"The first three divisions shall be stationed in the Metro Manila area, the fourth division shall be in Cebu City for cases coming from the Visayas region, and the fifth division shall be in Cagayan de Oro City for cases coming from the Mindanao region.
"Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in divisions: Provided, That when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and determination of a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case, the President shall, upon the recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein."

QUESTION NO. 8. Petitioners Dante V. Liban, Reynaldo M. Bernardo, and Salvador M. Viari (petitioners) filed with this Court a Petition to Declare Richard J. Gordon as Having Forfeited His Seat in the Senate. Petitioners are officers of the Board of Directors of the Quezon City Red Cross Chapter while respondent is Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Board of Governors.

During respondent’s incumbency as a member of the Senate of the Philippines, he was elected Chairman of the PNRC during the 23 February 2006 meeting of the PNRC Board of Governors. Petitioners allege that by accepting the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors, respondent has ceased to be a member of the Senate as provided in Section 13, Article VI of the Constitution, which reads:

SEC. 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.

Petitioners cite Camporedondo v. NLRC, which held that the PNRC is a government-owned or controlled corporation. Petitioners claim that in accepting and holding the position of Chairman of the PNRC Board of Governors, respondent has automatically forfeited his seat in the Senate, pursuant to Flores v. Drilon, which held that incumbent national legislators lose their elective posts upon their appointment to another government office.The following issues were raised. Rule on the following:
QUESTIONS: 1.Is the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) is a government- owned or controlled corporation? 2. Is Section 13, Article VI of the Philippine Constitution applicable to the case of respondent who is Chairman of the PNRC and at the same time a Member of the Senate? 3. Should respondent be automatically removed as a Senator pursuant to Section 13, Article VI of the Philippine Constitution ?and (4) Can petitioners legally institute this petition against respondent?

ANSWER: LIBAN V. GORDON, G.R. NO. 175352

QUESTION NO. 9. State the ways by which you can propose REVISION of the Philippine Constitution.
QUESTION NO. 10: On August 1, 1991, respondent Sojor was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as president of the Central Visayas Polytechnic College (CVPC) in Dumaguete City. In June 1997, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8292, or the "Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997," was enacted. This law mandated that a Board of Trustees (BOT) be formed to act as the governing body in state colleges. The BOT of CVPC appointed respondent as president, with a four-year term beginning September 1998 up to September 2002.3 Upon the expiration of his first term of office in 2002, he was appointed president of the institution for a second four-year term, expiring on September 24, 2006.4
On June 25, 2004, CVPC was converted into the Negros Oriental State University (NORSU).5 A Board of Regents (BOR) succeeded the BOT as its governing body.
Meanwhile, three (3) separate administrative cases against respondent were filed by CVPC faculty members before the CSC Regional Office (CSC-RO) No. VII in Cebu City.
Before filing his counter-affidavits, respondent moved to dismiss the first two complaints on grounds of lack of jurisdiction, bar by prior judgment and forum shopping.
He claimed that the (1)CSC had no jurisdiction over him as a presidential appointee. Being part of the non-competitive or unclassified service of the government, he was exclusively under the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office of the President (OP). He argued that (2)CSC had no authority to entertain, investigate and resolve charges against him; that the Civil Service Law contained no provisions on the investigation, discipline, and removal of presidential appointees. He also pointed out that the subject matter of the complaints had already been resolved by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Finding no sufficient basis to sustain respondent’s arguments, the CSC-RO denied his motion to dismiss in its Resolution dated September 4, 2002. His motion for reconsideration was likewise denied. Thus, respondent was formally charged with three administrative cases, namely: (1) Dishonesty, Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Document; (2) Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service; and (3) Nepotism.
Respondent appealed the actions of the regional office to the Commission proper (CSC), raising the same arguments in his motion to dismiss He argued that since the BOT is headed by the Committee on Higher Education Chairperson who was under the OP, the BOT was also under the OP. Since the president of CVPC was appointed by the BOT, then he was a presidential appointee.
QUESTONS: (1) Are the contentions of Sojor correct? (2) IS the president of a state university outside the reach of the disciplinary jurisdiction constitutionally granted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) over all civil servants and officials? (3) Does the assumption by the CSC of jurisdiction over a president of a state university violate academic freedom? (4) Does the Board of Regents of NORSU have also the power of removing and disciplining its employees and officials?



ANSWER: THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION vs.HENRY A. SOJOR, respondent. G.R. No. 168766 EN BANC May 22, 2008

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