Wednesday, October 29, 2014

case digest

Police Power (Zoning and Regulatory Ordinances)

Bel-Air Association vs. Intermediate Appellate Court (1989)

Ayala Corporation (original owner of the property subsequently subdivided as Bel-Air Village) executed a Deed of Donation covering Jupiter and Orbit streets to Bel-Air Village Association (BAVA). Respondents allege that upon instructions of the Mayor of Makati, studies were made by the on the feasibility of opening streets in Bel-Air Village calculated to alleviate traffic congestions along the public streets adjacent to Bel-Air Village. Accordingly, it was deemed necessary by the Municipality of Makati in the interest of the general public to open to traffic several village streets including Jupiter and Orbit streets.                                                            Respondent’s claim: BAVA had agreed to the opening of Bel-Air Village streets and that the opening was demanded by public necessity and in the exercise of police power. Petitioner’s counter-argument: It has never agreed on the opening of Jupiter and Orbit streets. By virtue of its ownership of the streets, it should not be deprived without due process of law and without just compensation.
1.     Whether or not the Mayor of Makati could have validly opened Jupiter and Orbit streets? If yes, what is the nature of the state power being invoked by the Mayor?
BAVA cannot rightfully complain that the Mayor of Makati, in opening up Jupiter and Orbit streets, had acted arbitrarily. Citing Sangalang v. IAC, the Court held that Jupiter Street lies as the boundary between Bel-Air Village and Ayala Corporation’s commercial section. Being considered as merely a boundary – and hence not part of Ayala’s real estate development projects – it cannot be said to have been for the exclusive benefit of Bel-Air Village residents. The very Deed of Donation executed by Ayala Corporation covering Jupiter and Orbit Streets, amongst others, effectively required both passageways open to the general public.As the Court asserted in Sangalang, the opening of Jupiter and Orbit streets was warranted by the demands of the common good, in terms of traffic decongestion and public convenience.                                                                                                                                               The act of the Mayor now challenged is in the concept of police power. The demolition of the gates at Orbit and Jupiter streets does not amount to deprivation of property without due process of law or expropriation without just compensation – there is no taking of property involved. Police power as the, state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare. Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act accordingly to one’s will. It is subject to the far more overriding demands and requirements of the greater number. Public welfare when clashing with the individual right to property should not be made to prevail through the state’s exercise of its police power. The exercise of police power, however, may not be done arbitrarily or unreasonably. But the burden of showing that it is unjustified lies on the aggrieved party. In the case at bar, BAVA has failed to show that the opening up of Orbit and Jupiter streets was unjustified or that the Mayor acted unreasonably.The fact that the opening has led to the loss of privacy of BAVA residents is no argument against the Municipality’s effort to ease vehicular traffic in Makati. The duty of local executive is to take care of the needs of the greater number, in many cases at the expense, of the minority.
Dispositive: Motion for reconsideration by Bel-Air Village Association is DENIED with FINALITY. The petition in G.R. 60727 is GRANTED.

Eminent Domain

G.R. No. 107916     February 20, 1997
Moday is a landowner in Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur. In 1989, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bunawan passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to initiate an expropriation case against a 1 hectare portion of Moday’s land. Purpose of which is to erect a gymnasium and other public buildings. The mayor approved the resolution and the resolution was transmitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan which disapproved the said resolution ruling that the expropriation is not necessary because there are other lots owned by Bunawan that can be used for such purpose. The mayor pushed through with the expropriation nonetheless.
Whether or not a Municipality may expropriate private property by virtue of a municipal resolution which was disapproved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Yes. Eminent domain, the power which the Municipality of Bunawan exercised in the instant case, is a fundamental State power that is inseparable from sovereignty.  It is government’s right to appropriate, in the nature of a compulsory sale to the State, private property for public use or purpose. Inherently possessed by the national legislature, the power of eminent domain may be validly delegated to local governments, other public entities and public utilities. For the taking of private property by the government to be valid, the taking must be for public use and there must be just compensation. The only ground upon which a provincial board may declare any municipal resolution, ordinance, or order invalid is when such resolution, ordinance, or order is “beyond the powers conferred upon the council or president making the same.” This was not the case in the case at bar as the SP merely stated that there are other available lands for the purpose sought, the SP did not even bother to declare the SB resolution as invalid. Hence, the expropriation case is valid.

Rights of the Accused

G.R. No. 85215
July 7, 1989
People vs. Judge Ayson
175 SCRA 216

Felipe Ramos was a ticket freight clerk of the Philippine Airlines, assigned at its Baguio City station. It was alleged that he was involved in irregularities in the sales of plane tickets, the PAL management notified him of an investigation to be conducted. That investigation was scheduled in accordance with PAL's Code of Conduct and Discipline, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by it with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) to which Ramos pertained. A letter was sent by Ramos stating his willingness to settle the amount of P76, 000. The findings of the Audit team were given to him, and he refuted that he misused proceeds of tickets also stating that he was prevented from settling said amounts. He proffered a compromise however this did not ensue. Two months after a crime of estafa was charged against Ramos. Ramos pleaded not guilty. Evidence by the prosecution contained Ramos’ written admission and statement, to which defendants argued that the confession was taken without the accused being represented by a lawyer. Respondent Judge did not admit those stating that accused was not reminded of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel. A motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecutors was denied. Hence this appeal.
Whether or not the respondentJudge iscorrect in making inadmissible as evidence the admission and statement of accused.
No. Section 20 of the 1987 constitution provides that the right against self-incrimination (only to witnesses other than accused, unless what is asked is relating to a different crime charged- not present in case at bar).      
This is accorded to every person who gives evidence, whether voluntarily or under compulsion of subpoena, in any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. The right is not to "be compelled to be a witness against himself.” It prescribes an "option of refusal to answer incriminating questions and not a prohibition of inquiry." the right can be claimed only when the specific question, incriminatory in character, is actually put to the witness. It cannot be claimed at any other time. It does not give a witness the right to disregard a subpoena, to decline to appear before the court at the time appointed, or to refuse to testify altogether. It is a right that a witness knows or should know. He must claim it and could be waived.
Rights in custodial interrogation as laid down in Miranda v. Arizona: the rights of the accused include:
1)      He shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right.
2)      Nor force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him.
3)      Any confession obtained in violation of these rights shall be inadmissible in evidence.
The individual may knowingly and intelligently waive these rights and agree to answer or make a statement. But unless and until such rights and waivers are demonstrated by the prosecution at the trial, no evidence obtained as a result of interrogation can be used against him.

Right to Information

Social Security System (SSS) Employees Association
Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 85279, July 28, 1989

The petitioners went on strike after the SSS failed to act upon the union’sdemands concerning the implementation of their CBA. SSS filed before the courtaction for damages with prayer for writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners for staging an illegal strike. The court issued a temporary restrainingorder pending the resolution of the application for preliminary injunction while petitioners filed a motion to dismiss alleging the court’s lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Petitioners contend that the court made reversible error in taking cognizance on the subject matter since the jurisdiction lies on the DOLE or the National Labor Relations Commission as the case involves a labor dispute. The Social Security System contends on one hand that the petitioners are covered by the Civil Servicelaws, rules and regulation thus have no right to strike. They are not covered by the NLRC or DOLE therefore the court may enjoin the petitioners from striking.
Whether or not Social Security System employers have the right to strike.
The Constitutional provisions enshrined on Human Rights and Social Justice provides guarantee among workers with the right to organize and conduct peacefulconcerted activities such as strikes. On one hand, Section 14 of E.O No. 180 provides that “the Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed, subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress” referring to Memorandum Circular No. 6, s. 1987 of the Civil Service Commission which states that “prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees enjoinsunder pain of administrative sanctions, all government officers and employeesfrom staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service.” Therefore in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees tostrike they are prohibited from doing so.

Right against Self-incrimination

MANUEL F. CABAL, petitioner,
G.R. No. L-19052, December 29, 1962
Col. Jose C. Maristela filed with the Secretary of National Defense a letter-complaint charging petitioner Manuel Cabal, then Chief of Staff of the AFP, with "graft, corrupt practices, unexplained wealth, and other equally reprehensible acts". The President of the Philippines created a committee to investigate the charge of unexplained wealth. The Committee ordered petitioner herein to take the witness stand in the administrative proceeding and be sworn to as witness for Maristela, in support of his aforementioned charge of unexplained wealth. Petitioner objected to the order of the Committee, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination. The Committee insisted that petitioner take the witness stand and be sworn to, subject to his right to refuse to answer such questions as may be incriminatory. This notwithstanding, petitioner respectfully refused to be sworn to as a witness to take the witness stand.                                                                                                                                                 The Committee referred the matter to the Fiscal of Manila, for such action as he may deem proper. The City Fiscal filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila a "charge" of contempt for failing to obey the order of the Committee to take the witness stand. The "charge" was assigned to the sala of respondent judge Kapunan. Petitioner filed with respondent Judge a motion to quash, which was denied. Hence this petition for certiorari and prohibition.
Whether or not the Committee's order requiring petitioner to take the witness stand violates his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Yes. Although the said Committee was created to investigate the administrative charge of unexplained wealth, it seems that the purpose of the charge against petitioner is to apply the provisions of the Anti-Graft Law, which authorizes the forfeiture to the State of property of a public officer or employee which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property. However, such forfeiture has been held to partake of the nature of a penalty. As a consequence, proceedings for forfeiture of property are deemed criminal or penal, and, hence, the exemptions of defendants in criminal case from the obligation to be witnesses against themselves are applicable thereto.            No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. This prohibition against compelling a person to take the stand as a witness against himself applies to criminal, quasi-criminal, and penal proceedings, including a proceeding civil in form for forfeiture of property by reason of the commission of an offense, but not a proceeding in which the penalty recoverable is civil or remedial in nature.The privilege of a witness not to incriminate himself is not infringed by merely asking the witness a question which he refuses to answer. The privilege is simply an option of refusal, and not a prohibition of inquiry. A question is not improper merely because the answer may tend to incriminate but, where a witness exercises his constitutional right not to answer, a question by counsel as to whether the reason for refusing to answer is because the answer may tend to incriminate the witness is improper.                                                                                                                                        The possibility that the examination of the witness will be pursued to the extent of requiring self-incrimination will not justify the refusal to answer questions. However, where the position of the witness is virtually that of an accused on trial, it would appear that he may invoke the privilege in support of a blanket refusal to answer any and all questions. It is not disputed that the accused in a criminal case may refuse, not only to answer incriminatory questions, but, also, to take the witness stand.


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