Wednesday, October 29, 2014

case digest

G.R. No. 83988  September 29, 1989


Ricardo C. Valmonte for himself and his co-petitioners.

On 20 January 1987, the National Capital Region District Command (NCRDC) was activated pursuant to Letter of Instruction 02/87 of the Philippine General Headquarters, AFP, with the mission of conducting security operations within its area of responsibility and peripheral areas, for the purpose of establishing an effective territorial defense, maintaining peace and order, and providing an atmosphere conducive to the social, economic and political development of the National Capital Region. 1 As part of its duty to maintain peace and order, the NCRDC installed checkpoints in various parts of Valenzuela, Metro Manila.
Petitioners aver that, because of the installation of said checkpoints, the residents of Valenzuela are worried of being harassed and of their safety being placed at the arbitrary, capricious and whimsical disposition of the military manning the checkpoints, considering that their cars and vehicles are being subjected to regular searches and check-ups, especially at night or at dawn, without the benefit of a search warrant and/or court order. Their alleged fear for their safety increased when, at dawn of 9 July 1988, Benjamin Parpon, a supply officer of the Municipality of Valenzuela, Bulacan, was gunned down allegedly in cold blood by the members of the NCRDC manning the checkpoint along McArthur Highway at Malinta, Valenzuela, for ignoring and/or refusing to submit himself to the checkpoint and for continuing to speed off inspire of warning shots fired in the air. Petitioner Valmonte also claims that, on several occasions, he had gone thru these checkpoints where he was stopped and his car subjected to search/check-up without a court order or search warrant.
                Whether or not the installation of checkpoints violates the right of the people against unreasonable searches and seizures?
                The setting up of the questioned checkpoints in Valenzuela (and probably in other areas) may be considered as a security measure to enable the NCRDC to pursue its mission of establishing effective territorial defense and maintaining peace and order for the benefit of the public. Checkpoints may also be regarded as measures to thwart plots to destabilize the government, in the interest of public security. In this connection, the Court may take judicial notice of the shift to urban centers and their suburbs of the insurgency movement, so clearly reflected in the increased killings in cities of police and military men by NPA "sparrow units," not to mention the abundance of unlicensed firearms and the alarming rise in lawlessness and violence in such urban centers, not all of which are reported in media, most likely brought about by deteriorating economic conditions — which all sum up to what one can rightly consider, at the very least, as abnormal times. Between the inherent right of the state to protect its existence and promote public welfare and an individual's right against a warrantless search which is however reasonably conducted, the former should prevail.
True, the manning of checkpoints by the military is susceptible of abuse by the men in uniform, in the same manner that all governmental power is susceptible of abuse. But, at the cost of occasional inconvenience, discomfort and even irritation to the citizen, the checkpoints during these abnormal times, when conducted within reasonable limits, are part of the price we pay for an orderly society and a peaceful community.

G.R. No. 155282 January 17, 2005




On October 15, 1991, at 10:45 in the evening, respondent ABS-CBN aired “Prosti-tuition,” an episode of the television (TV) program “The Inside Story” produced and hosted by respondent Legarda.  It depicted female students moonlighting as prostitutes to enable them to pay for their tuition fees.  In the course of the program, student prostitutes, pimps, customers, and some faculty members were interviewed.  The Philippine Women’s University (PWU) was named as the school of some of the students involved and the facade of PWU Building at Taft Avenue, Manila conspicuously served as the background of the episode.

                The showing of “The Inside Story” caused uproar in the PWU community.  Dr. Leticia P. de Guzman, Chancellor and Trustee of the PWU, and the PWU Parents and Teachers Association filed letter-complaints with petitioner MTRCB.  Both complainants alleged that the episode besmirched the name of the PWU and resulted in the harassment of some of its female students.

Acting on the letter-complaints, the MTRCB Legal Counsel initiated a formal complaint with the MTRCB Investigating Committee, alleging among others, that respondents  did not submit “The Inside Story” to petitioner for its review and  exhibited the same without its permission, thus, violating Section 7 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1986  and Section 3, Chapter III and Section 7, Chapter IV of the MTRCB Rules and Regulations.

On February 5, 1993, after hearing and submission of the parties’ memoranda, the MTRCB Investigating Committee rendered a Decision, the decretal portion of which reads:

“WHEREFORE, the aforementioned premises, the respondents are ordered to pay the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) for non-submission of the program, subject of this case for review and approval of the MTRCB.

Heretofore, all subsequent programs of the ‘The Inside Story’ and all other programs of the ABS-CBN Channel 2 of the same category shall be submitted to the Board of Review and Approval before showing; otherwise the Board will act accordingly.”

Respondents then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 77, Quezon City.  It seeks to:  declare as unconstitutional Sections 3(b), 3(c), 3(d), 4, 7, and 11 of P. D. No. 1986 and Sections 3, 7, and 28 (a) of the MTRCB Rules and Regulations;  (in the alternative) exclude the “The Inside Story” from the coverage of the above cited provisions; and  annul and set aside the MTRCB Decision dated March 12, 1993 and Resolution dated April 14, 1993.  Respondents averred that the above-cited provisions constitute “prior restraint” on respondents’ exercise of freedom of expression and of the press, and, therefore, unconstitutional.  Furthermore, the above cited provisions do not apply to the “The Inside Story” because it falls under the category of “public affairs program, news documentary, or socio-political editorials” governed by standards similar to those governing newspapers. The RTC rendered a decision in favour of the respondent.

Petitioner MTRCB through the Solicitor General, contends inter alia: first, all television programs, including “public affairs programs, news documentaries, or socio-political editorials,” are subject to petitioner’s power of review under Section 3 (b) of P.D. No. 1986 and pursuant to this Court’s ruling in Iglesia ni Cristo vs. Court of Appeals; second, television programs are more accessible to the public than newspapers, thus, the liberal regulation of the latter cannot apply to the former; third, petitioner’s power to review television programs under Section 3(b) of P. D. No. 1986 does not amount to “prior restraint;” and fourth, Section 3(b) of  P. D. No. 1986 does not violate respondents’ constitutional freedom of expression and of the press.


                Whether the MTRCB has the power or authority to review the “The Inside Story” prior to its exhibition or broadcast by television?


                Settled is the rule in statutory construction that where the law does not make any exception, courts may not except something therefrom, unless there is compelling reason apparent in the law to justify it. Ubi lex non distinguit nec distinguere debemos.  Thus, when the law says “all television programs,” the word “all” covers all television programs, whether religious, public affairs, news documentary, etc. The principle assumes that the legislative body made no qualification in the use of general word or expression.

                It bears stressing that the sole issue here is whether petitioner MTRCB has authority to review “The Inside Story.”  Clearly, we are not called upon to determine whether petitioner violated Section 4, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution providing that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of oppression or the press.  Petitioner did not disapprove or ban the showing of the program.  Neither did it cancel respondents’ permit.  Respondents were merely penalized for their failure to submit to petitioner “The Inside Story” for its review and approval.  Therefore, we need not resolve whether certain provisions of P. D. No. 1986 and the MTRCB Rules and Regulations specified by respondents contravene the Constitution.

Consequently, we cannot sustain the RTC’s ruling that Sections 3 (c) (d), 4, 7 and 11 of P. D. No. 1986 and Sections 3, 7 and 28 (a) of the MTRCB Rules and Regulations are unconstitutional.  It is settled that no question involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for judicial inquiry, namely: (1) that the question must be raised by the proper party; (2) that there must be an actual case or controversy; (3) that the question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and, (4) that the decision on the constitutional or legal question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED.  The assailed RTC Decision dated November 18, 1997 and Order dated August 26, 2002 are hereby REVERSED.  The Decision dated March 12, 1993 of petitioner MTRCB is AFFIRMED.  Costs against respondents.

G.R. No. 96131  September 6, 1991

CORAZON C. GONZAGA, petitioner,


Petitioner alleges in her present petition  that a complaint for malversation of public funds was filed against her, in her capacity as School Principal of the Malabon Municipal High School, Malabon, Metro Manila. The complaint was filed before the Ombudsman by the Municipal Administrator of the Municipality of Malabon, based on the audit report of the Commission on Audit, wherein petitioner as an accountable officer is alleged to have incurred a shortage of P15,188.37; that an information  dated 2 March 1990 was thereafter filed against petitioner before the Sandiganbayan for the crime of malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code;  that before she could be arraigned, accused-petitioner filed with respondent court a motion for re- investigation, which motion was denied by said court in its resolution dated 2 July 1990;  that on 17 August 1990, accused-petitioner pleaded not guilty to the crime charged; and that on the same date, the prosecution filed a motion seeking to suspend, pendente lite, the accused as school principal of the above-named school,  on the basis of Section 13, Republic Act 3019 ("Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act"), as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 195.

The resolution dated 10 September 1990 granted the prosecutions motion to suspend the accused.


                Whether or not the suspension of the petitioner under Section 13, Republic Act 3019 ("Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act"), as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 195 valid?


                To the extent that there may be cases of indefinite suspension imposed either under Section 13 of Rep. Act 3019, or Section 42 of Pres. Decree 807, it is best for the guidance of all concerned that this Court set forth the rules on the period of preventive suspension under the aforementioned laws, as follows:

1.            Preventive suspension under Section 13, Rep. Act 3019 as amended shall be limited to a maximum period of ninety (90) days, from issuance thereof, and this applies to all public officers, (as defined in Section 2(b) of Rep. Act 3019) who are validly charged under said Act.

2.            Preventive suspension under Section 42 of Pres. Decree 807 shall apply to all officers or employees whose positions are embraced in the Civil Service, as provided under Sections 3 and 4 of Id Pres. Decree 807; 22 and shall be limited to a maximum period of ninety (90) days from issuance, except where there is delay in the disposition of the case, which is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, in which case the period of delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein stated; provided that if the person suspended is a presidential appointee, 23 the continuance of his suspension shag be for a reasonable time as the circumstances of the case may warrant.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned resolutions of the respondent Sandiganbayan, dated 10 September 1990 and 30 October 1990, are hereby SET ASIDE. Petitioner may re-assume the position of school principal of the Malabon Municipal High School, Malabon Metro Manila without prejudice to the continuation of trial on the merits of the pending case against her in the Sandiganbayan, unless there are other supervening legal grounds which would prevent such re-assumption of office.

[G.R. No. 93219. August 30, 1990.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HON. MARCELINO F. BAUTISTA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch III, Baguio City, Respondents.
On December 16, 1988, petitioner Marcelino G. Rivera, Jr. was arrested and detained for he allegedly was about to transport marijuana to Manila. Consequently, on December 20, 1988 a case for violation of Section 4, Art. II of RA 6425 was filed against him with the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch III presided over by respondent Judge Marcelino F. Bautista. Petitioner was arraigned on February 20, 1989. He pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
On April 5, 1989, the first witness for the prosecution Cpl. Victorio Afalla partially testified on direct examination and reserved the right to identify the marijuana specimen allegedly confiscated from the petitioner. The hearing was thus re-set to May 3, 1989 and June 6, 1989. But due to the absence of any prosecution witness despite notice and the non-availability of the allegedly confiscated marijuana specimen, the hearings set for May 3, 1989 and June 6, 1989 were postponed to June 8, 1989.
On June 8, 1989, for the same reasons, the hearing was re-set to February 27, 1990.
On March 28, 1990, when the case was called at about 8:30 a.m. Capt. Lina Sarmiento despite notice, was not around thereby necessitating a second call. When the case was called for the second time at around 9:00 a.m. Capt. Sarmiento was still not around. Hence, Atty. Tomas Gorospe, in behalf of petitioner orally moved for the dismissal of the case invoking the right to speedy trial as the petitioner stands confined and that the Government failed to prosecute or adduce evidence due to the non-appearance of a vital prosecution witness. The respondent Judge verbally granted the motion and ordered the immediate release of the accused.
While the subsequent calendared cases set for that day was in progress, and in less than an hour after pronouncement of the verbal order of dismissal, Capt. Lina Sarmiento arrived direct from Quezon City. Alleging that the verbal order of dismissal made in open court amounted to the acquittal of petitioner and which order is immediately final and executory, the respondent Judge could no longer set it aside without violating petitioner’s constitutional right against double jeopardy.
                Whether or not the verbal order of dismissal is final and executor?
                The petition should be denied. The earlier verbal order of dismissal was not final, in fact, was ineffective, because it left something to be done in line with the decision of this Court in Cabarroguis v. San Diego, L-19517, Nov. 30, 1962, 6 SCRA 866. This Court in said case ruled:
                "Petitioner’s pretense is untenable. The verbal order of dismissal of said case was withdrawn or set aside, as soon as it was dictated by respondent and before it could be reduced to writing and signed by her. As a matter of fact, it was never put in writing. Much less was it ever signed by Respondent. For this reason, respondent contended that said order of dismissal was incomplete and did not have the effect of acquitting the accused before it was withdrawn. Indeed, pursuant to section 2 of Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, `the judgment’ — and the order of dismissal in question had, if completed, such effect — ‘must be written . . . personally and directly prepared by the judge, and signed by him . . . .’ The cases cited by herein petitioner involved written orders of dismissal, which were signed by the corresponding judges. Hence, said cases are not controlling in the one at bar."
                ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED. The case is remanded to the court of origin for farther proceedings.

G.R. No. L-49677               May 4, 1989
NATIONAL HOUSING CORPORATION and ATTY. VIRGILIO SY, as Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations, respondents.
                On July 13, 1977, TUPAS filed a petition for the conduct of a certification election with Regional Office No. IV of the Department of Labor in order to determine the exclusive bargaining representative of the workers in NHC. It was claimed that its members comprised the majority of the employees of the corporation.  The petition was dismissed by med-arbiter Eusebio M. Jimenez in an order, dated November 7, 1977, holding that NHC "being a government-owned and/or controlled corporation its employees/workers are prohibited to form, join or assist any labor organization for purposes of collective bargaining pursuant to Section 1, Rule II, Book V of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code."
From this order of dismissal, TUPAS appealed to the Bureau of Labor Relations  where, acting thereon in BLR Case No. A-984-77 (RO4-MED-1090-77), Director Carmelo C. Noriel reversed the order of dismissal and ordered the holding of a certification election.  This order was, however, set aside by Officer-in-Charge Virgilio S.J. Sy in his resolution of November 21, 1978 6 upon a motion for reconsideration of respondent NHC.
In the instant petition for certiorari, TUPAS seeks the reversal of the said resolution and prays that a certification election be held among the rank and file employees of NHC.
                Whether or not the employees of NHC have the right to form union?
                With respect to other civil servants, that is, employees of all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the government including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters and who are, therefore, covered by the civil service laws, the guidelines for the exercise of their right to organize is provided for under Executive Order No. 180. Chapter IV thereof, consisting of Sections 9 to 12, regulates the determination of the "sole and exclusive employees representative"; Under Section 12, "where there are two or more duly registered employees' organizations in the appropriate organization unit, the Bureau of Labor Relations shall, upon petition order the conduct of certification election and shall certify the winner as the exclusive representative of the rank-and-file employees in said organizational unit."
Parenthetically, note should be taken of the specific qualification in the Constitution that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law" and that they shall also participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law."
ON THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the assailed resolution of the Bureau of Labor Relations, dated November 21, 1978, is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and the conduct of a certification election among the affected employees of respondent National Housing Corporation in accordance with the rules therefor is hereby GRANTED.



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