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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
August-1992 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 78341 August 3, 1992 - TURIANO M. SAN ANDRES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 85962-63 August 3, 1992 - ROSARIO GACOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95703 August 3, 1992 - RURAL BANK OF BOMBON (CAM. SUR), INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97306 August 3, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO TUBURO

  • G.R. No. 75363 August 4, 1992 - FIRESTONE TIRE AND RUBBER CO. v. FIRESTONE TIRE EMPLOYEES’ UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 83190 August 4, 1992 - CEBU SEAMEN’S ASSOCIATION, INC. v. PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 86436 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOVENCIO DE PAZ

  • G.R. No. 90802 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TOM CHANAS

  • G.R. No. 91160 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX FULGARILLAS

  • G.R. No. 91695 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT MALONZO

  • G.R. No. 93143 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMO R. RACE, JR.

  • G.R. No. L-95757 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARSENIO RAÑOLA

  • G.R. No. 97319 August 4, 1992 - GODOFREDO T. SWAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98251 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO CRUDA

  • G.R. No. 100399 August 4, 1992 - TEKNIKA SKILLS AND TRADE SERVICES, INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100511 August 4, 1992 - SPS. BENITO TRINIDAD and SOLEDAD TRINIDAD v. SPS. LUIS CABRERA and DELIA CABRERA

  • G.R. No. 100752 August 4, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO DIAZ

  • G.R. No. 102869 August 4, 1992 - SEN PO EK MARKETING CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-47158 August 5, 1992 - ANGUSTIA M. IBAY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 57127 August 5, 1992 - RHODORA DEL CASTILLO v. CANDIDO AGUINALDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 82782 August 5, 1992 - JOSE B. TIONGCO, ET AL. v. PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 87434 August 5, 1992 - PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INS., ET AL. v. SWEET LINES, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97291 August 5, 1992 - RUFINO MISA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100138 August 5, 1992 - FIVE J TAXI, ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101148 August 5, 1992 - TERRY LYN MAGNO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101428 August 5, 1992 - ISABELITA VITAL-GOZON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102448 August 5, 1992 - RICARDO CUARTERO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 60506 August 6, 1992 - FIGURACION VDA. DE MAGLANA, ET AL. v. FRANCISCO Z. CONSOLACION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94490 August 6, 1992 - JOSE DE LUNA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96635 August 6, 1992 - ATLANTIC, GULF AND PACIFIC CO. v. BIENVENIDO E. LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97952 August 6, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALVIN LIQUEN

  • G.R. No. 101279 August 6, 1992 - PHIL. ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS, INC. v. RUBEN D. TORRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105628 August 6, 1992 - RODULFO SARMIENTO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-90-408 August 7, 1992 - RICHARD M. HOUGHTON, ET AL. v. ANTONIO D. VELASCO

  • Adm. Matter No. P-91-660 August 7, 1992 - UNKNOWN MUN. COUNCILOR OF STO. DOMINGO, NUEVA ECIJA v. MARIO V. ALOMIA, JR.

  • G.R. No. 72001 August 7, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO BECHAYDA

  • G.R. No. 76966 August 7, 1992 - CAFFCO INT’L. LTD. v. OFF. OF THE MINISTER-MIN. OF LABOR & EMPLOYMENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91797 August 7, 1992 - WIDOWS & ORPHANS ASSOCIATION, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95431 August 7, 1992 - FLORENCIA DE LA CALZADA-CIERRAS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95838 August 7, 1992 - MARCELINO LAURETO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 101127-31 August 7, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRESENIA C. REYES

  • G.R. No. 101512 August 7, 1992 - NILDA GABRIEL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95832 August 10, 1992 - MAYNARD R. PERALTA v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 96126 August 10, 1992 - ESTERIA F. GARCIANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97611 August 10, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO TALENTO

  • G.R. No. 97753 August 10, 1992 - CALTEX (PHILIPPINES), INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 97764 August 10, 1992 - LEVY D. MACASIANO v. ROBERTO C. DIOKNO

  • G.R. No. 102549 August 10, 1992 - ERWIN B. JAVELLANA v. DEPT. OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVT., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102795 August 10, 1992 - DAMIAN OGBURN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 79664 August 11, 1992 - ANDRES VILLAVILLA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99431 August 11, 1992 - GOLDLOOP PROPERTIES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 64019 August 12, 1992 - BACOLOD-MURCIA MILLING CO., INC. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 80491 August 12, 1992 - J. ARTIE VERGEL DE DIOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91491 August 12, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELO ALMENARIO

  • G.R. No. 93516 August 12, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BASILIO DAMASO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95583 August 12, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO WENCESLAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98325 August 12, 1992 - LUCINO DIAZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100490 August 12, 1992 - PHILIPPINE RABBIT LINES, INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100942 August 12, 1992 - LUCIO TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 62556 August 13, 1992 - VENANCIO GONZALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100285 August 13, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAPOLEON DUQUE

  • Adm. Case No. 3187 August 14, 1992 - MYRNA D. ROQUE, ET AL. v. FELICIANO B. CLEMENCIO

  • G.R. No. 100643 August 14, 1992 - ADEZ REALTY, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100969 August 14, 1992 lab

    CARLOS RANARA v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 75112 August 17, 1992 - FILAMER CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94555 August 17, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHlL. v. EDUARDO LABALAN OCIMAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101566 August 17, 1992 - FLORENCIO A. RUIZ, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-90-496 August 18, 1992 - MARCELO B. ASUNCION, ET AL. v. K. CASIANO P. ANUNCIACION, JR.

  • G.R. No. 85997 August 19, 1992 - HORTENSIA L. STARKE v. PHILIPPINE SUGAR COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96182 August 19, 1992 - MARCELO FERNANDO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 80739 August 2, 1992 - GRACIA R. JOVEN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91004-05 August 20, 1992 - JOSEPH TAY CHUN SUY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 95305 August 20, 1992 - ELENA LINDAIN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 90036 August 21, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAYMUNDO GONZAGA

  • G.R. No. 90107 August 21, 1992 - DOMINGO A. TUZON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91646 August 21, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMIL MARCOS

  • G.R. No. 91846 August 21, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO MACLID, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94115 August 21, 1992 - RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO v. LUIS SANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 94299 August 21, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO MALLARI

  • G.R. No. 96810 August 21, 1992 - THE HEIRS OF JESUS AMADO ARANETA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101858 August 21, 1992 - BATANGAS LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS CO. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 85286 August 24, 1992 - BASILIO A. BALASBAS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMM., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100401 August 24, 1992 - CONSOLIDATED DAIRY PRODUCTS CO., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101630 August 24, 1992 - VICTOR DE JESUS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 91129 August 25, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO D. PABLO

  • G.R. No. 94374 August 27, 1992 - PHIL. LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY v. EASTERN TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHIL., INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 59436 August 28, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DELFIN MOLINA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 74740 August 28, 1992 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 48532 August 31, 1992 - HERNANDO B. CONWI, ET AL. v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 65532 August 31, 1992 - CONCEPCION PELAEZ VDA. DE TAN, ET AL. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 66253 August 31, 1992 - METRO PORT SERVICE, INC. v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 75959 August 31, 1992 - VICTORIANO V. OROCIO v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 92758 August 31, 1992 - EMILIO VENEGAS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 93238 August 31, 1992 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102131 August 31, 1992 - FRANCO GORION v. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 94115   August 21, 1992 - RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO v. LUIS SANTOS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 94115. August 21, 1992.]

    RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO, Petitioner, v. HON. LUIS SANTOS, as Secretary of the Department of Local Government, and MELVIN VARGAS, as Acting Governor of Cagayan, Respondents.

    Victor I. Padilla for Petitioner.

    Doroteo B. Laguna and Manuel T . Molina for Private Respondent.


    SYLLABUS


    1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PUBLIC OFFICERS; AS RULE, CANNOT BE REMOVED FOR MISCONDUCT COMMITTED DURING A PRIOR TERM; NOT APPLICABLE TO CRIMINAL CASES PENDING AGAINST HIM. — The rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup.

    2. ID.; ID.; ACTS OF DISLOYALTY TO THE REPUBLIC AS A GROUND FOR REMOVAL THEREOF; NEED NOT BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. — The power of respondent Secretary to remove local government officials is anchored on both the Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative branch. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the President the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices and the power of general supervision over local governments, and by the doctrine that the acts of the department head are presumptively the acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. The statutory grant found in B.P. Blg. 337 itself has constitutional roots, having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution, Section 2. A similar provision is found in Section 3, Article X of the 1987 Constitution. Equally without merit is petitioner’s claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence.

    3. LOCAL GOVERNMENT; POWER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL; ANCHORED ON BOTH THE CONSTITUTION AND A STATUTORY GRANT FROM THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. — Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to enact a local government code, which provides for the manner of removal of local government officials, is found in the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution, then it can not be said that B.P. Blg. 337 was repealed by the effectivity of the present Constitution. Moreover, in Bagabuyo Et. Al. v. Davide, Jr., Et Al., this Court had the occasion to state that B.P. Blg. 337 remained in force despite the effectivity of the present Constitution, until such time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is approved.

    4. ID.; PERMANENT VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR; SHALL BE FILED BY THE VICE-GOVERNOR. — As to petitioner’s argument of the want of authority of respondent Secretary to appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as Governor of Cagayan, We need but point to Section 48 (1) of B.P. Blg. 337 to show the fallacy of the same, to wit — In case a permanent vacancy arises when a governor .. refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies or is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office, the vice-governor . . . shall assume the office for the unexpired term of the former.


    D E C I S I O N


    NOCON, J.:


    In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order, petitioner Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo assails the decision of respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March 19, 1990 in Adm. Case No. P-10437-89 dismissing him as Governor of Cagayan on the ground that the power of the Secretary of Local Government to dismiss local government officials under Section 14, Article I, Chapter 3 and Sections 60 to 67, Chapter 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, was repealed by the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution.

    The pertinent facts are as follows: Petitioner was the duly elected Governor of the province of Cagayan, having been elected to said position during the local elections held on January 17, 1988, to serve a term of four (4) years therefrom. He took his oath sometime around March 1988.

    Shortly after the December 1989 coup d’etat was crushed, respondent Secretary of Local Government sent a telegram and a letter, both dated December 4, 1989, to petitioner requiring him to show cause why he should not be suspended or removed from office for disloyalty to the Republic, within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt thereof.chanrobles law library

    On December 7, 1989, a sworn complaint for disloyalty to the Republic and culpable violation of the Constitution was filed by Veronico Agatep, Manuel Mamba and Orlino Agatep, respectively the mayors of the municipalities of Gattaran, Tuao and Lasam, all in Cagayan, against petitioner for acts the latter committed during the coup. Petitioner was required to file a verified answer to the complaint.

    On January 5, 1990, the Department of Local Government received a letter from petitioner dated December 29, 1989 in reply to respondent Secretary’s December 4, 1989 letter requiring him to explain why he should not be suspended or removed from office for disloyalty. In his letter, petitioner denied being privy to the planning of the coup or actively participating in its execution, though he admitted that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rebel soldiers. 1

    Respondent Secretary considered petitioner’s reply letter as his answer to the complaint of Mayor Veronico Agatep and others. 2 On the basis thereof, respondent Secretary suspended petitioner from office for sixty (60) days from notice, pending the outcome of the formal investigation into the charges against him.

    During the hearing conducted on the charges against petitioner, complainants presented testimonial and documentary evidence to prove the charges. Petitioner neither presented evidence nor even cross-examined the complainants’ witnesses, choosing instead to move that respondent Secretary inhibit himself from deciding the case, which motion was denied.

    Thereafter, respondent Secretary rendered the questioned decision finding petitioner guilty as charged and ordering his removal from office. Installed as Governor of Cagayan in the process was respondent Melvin Vargas, who was then the Vice-Governor of Cagayan.

    Petitioner relies on three grounds for the allowance of the petition, namely: (1) that the power of respondent Secretary to suspend or remove local government officials under Section 60, Chapter IV of B.P. Blg. 337 was repealed by the 1987 Constitution; (2) that since respondent Secretary no longer has power to suspend or remove petitioner, the former could not appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as Governor of Cagayan; and (3) the alleged act of disloyalty committed by petitioner should be proved by proof beyond reasonable doubt, and not be a mere preponderance of evidence, because it is an act punishable as rebellion under the Revised Penal Code.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    While this case was pending before this Court, petitioner filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of Governor of Cagayan for the May 11, 1992 elections. Three separate petitions for his disqualification were then filed against him, all based on the ground that he had been removed from office by virtue of the March 19, 1990 resolution of respondent Secretary. The Commission on Elections granted the petitions by way of a resolution dated May 9, 1992. On the same day, acting upon a "Motion to Clarify" filed by petitioner, the Commission ruled at inasmuch as the resolutions of the Commission become final and executory only after five (5) days from promulgation, petitioner may still be voted upon as a candidate for governor pending the final outcome of the disqualification cases with this Court.

    Consequently, on May 13, 1992, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with this Court, G.R. Nos. 105128-30, entitled Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo v. Commission on Elections, Et Al., seeking to nullify the resolution of the Commission ordering his disqualification. The Court, in a resolution dated May 14, 1992, issued a temporary restraining order against the Commission to cease and desist from enforcing its May 9, 1992 resolution pending the outcome of the disqualification case, thereby allowing the canvassing of the votes and returns in Cagayan to proceed. However, the Commission was ordered not to proclaim a winner until this Court has decided the case.

    On June 9, 1992, a resolution was issued in the aforementioned case granting the petition and annulling the May 9, 1992 resolution of the Commission on the ground that the decision of respondent Secretary has not yet attained finality and is still pending review with this Court. As petitioner won by a landslide margin in the elections, the resolution paved the way for his eventual proclamation as Governor of Cagayan.

    Under the environmental circumstances of the case, We find the petition meritorious.

    Petitioner’s re-election to the position of Governor of Cagayan has rendered the administrative case pending before Us moot and academic. It appears that after the canvassing of votes, petitioner garnered the most number of votes among the candidates for governor of Cagayan province. As held by this Court in Aguinaldo v. Comelec Et. Al., supra,:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . [T]he certified true xerox copy of the "CERTIFICATE OF VOTES OF CANDIDATES", attached to the "VERY URGENT MOTION FOR THE MODIFICATION OF THE RESOLUTION DATED MAY 14, 1992[" ] filed by petitioner shows that he received 170,382 votes while the other candidates for the same position received the following total number of votes: (1) Patricio T. Antonio — 54,412; 2) Paquito F. Castillo — 2,198; and 3) Florencio L. Vargas — 48,129.

    x       x       x


    ‘Considering the facts narrated, the expiration of petitioner’s term of office during which the acts charged were allegedly committed, and his subsequent reelection, the petition must be dismissed for the reason that the issue has become academic. In Pascual v. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, L-11959, October 31, 1959, this Court has ruled:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ‘The weight of authority, however, seems to incline to the rule denying the right to remove from office because of misconduct during a prior term to which we fully subscribe.

    ‘Offenses committed, or acts done, during a previous term are generally held not to furnish cause for removal and this is especially true where the Constitution provides that the penalty in proceeding for removal shall not extend beyond the removal from office, and disqualification from holding office for a term for which the officer was elected or appointed. (6 C.J.S. p. 248, citing Rice v. State, 161 S.W. 2nd 4011; Montgomery v. Newell, 40 S.W. 23rd 418; People ex rel Bashaw v. Thompson, 130 P. 2nd 237; Board of Com’rs Kingfisher County v. Shutler, 281 P. 222; State v. Blake, 280 P. 388; In re Fedula, 147 A 67; State v. Wald, 43 S.W. 217).

    ‘The underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. (43 Am. Jur. p. 45, citing Atty. Gen. v. Kasty, 184 Ala. 121, 63 Sec. 599, 50 L.R.A. [NS] 553). As held in Comant v. Bregan [1887] 6 N.Y.S.R. 332, cited in 17 A.L.R. 63 Sec. 559, 50 [NE] 553.

    ‘The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people.’ (Lizares v. Hechanova, Et. Al. 17 SCRA 58, 59-60 [1966]) (See also Oliveros v. Villaluz, 57 SCRA 163 [1974]) 3

    Clearly then, the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer’s previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminal cases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup.chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

    The other grounds raised by petitioner deserve scant consideration. Petitioner contends that the power of respondent Secretary to suspend or remove local government officials as alter ego of the President, and as embodied in B.P. Blg. 337 has been repealed by the 1987 Constitution and which is now vested in the courts.

    We do not agree. The power of respondent Secretary to remove local government officials is anchored on both the Constitution and a statutory grant from the legislative branch. The constitutional basis is provided by Articles VII (17) and X (4) of the 1987 Constitution which vest in the President the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices and the power of general supervision over local governments, and by the doctrine that the acts of the department head are presumptively the acts of the President unless expressly rejected by him. 4 The statutory grant found in B.P. Blg. 337 itself has constitutional roots, having been enacted by the then Batasan Pambansa pursuant to Article XI of the 1973 Constitution, Section 2 of which specifically provided as follows —

    SEC. 2. The National Assembly shall enact a local government code which may not thereafter be amended except by a majority vote of all its Members, defining a more responsive and accountable local government structure with an effective system of recall, allocating among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and providing for the qualifications, election and removal, term, salaries, power, functions, and duties of local government officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. However, any change in the existing form of local government shall not take effect until ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite called for the purpose. 5

    A similar provision is found in Section 3, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SEC. 3. The Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum, allocate among the different local government units their powers, responsibilities, and resources, and provide for the qualifications, election, appointment, and removal, term and salaries, powers and functions and duties of local officials, and all other matters relating to the organization and operation of the local units. 6

    Inasmuch as the power and authority of the legislature to enact a local government code, which provides for the manner of removal of local government officials, is found in the 1973 Constitution as well as in the 1987 Constitution, then it can not be said that B.P. Blg. 337 was repealed by the effectivity of the present Constitution.

    Moreover, in Bagabuyo Et. Al. v. Davide, Jr., Et Al., 7 this Court had the occasion to state that B.P. Blg. 337 remained in force despite the effectivity of the present Constitution, until such time as the proposed Local Government Code of 1991 is approved.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

    The power of respondent Secretary of the Department of Local Government to remove local elective government officials is found in Secs. 60 and 61 of B.P. Blg. 337. 8

    As to petitioner’s argument of the want of authority of respondent Secretary to appoint respondent Melvin Vargas as Governor of Cagayan, We need but point to Section 48 (1) of B.P. Blg. 337 to show the fallacy of the same, to wit —

    In case a permanent vacancy arises when a governor .. refuses to assume office, fails to qualify, dies or is removed from office, voluntarily resigns, or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the functions of his office, the vice-governor . . . shall assume the office for the unexpired term of the former. 9

    Equally without merit is petitioner’s claim that before he could be suspended or removed from office, proof beyond reasonable doubt is required inasmuch as he is charged with a penal offense of disloyalty to the Republic which is defined and penalized under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner is not being prosecuted criminally under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, but administratively with the end in view of removing petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Cagayan Province for acts of disloyalty to the Republic where the quantum of proof required is only substantial evidence. 10

    WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the decision of public respondent Secretary of Local Government dated March 19, 1990 in Adm. Case No. P-10437-89, dismissing petitioner as Governor of Cagayan, is hereby REVERSED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa C . J., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

    Melo, J., took no part.

    Endnotes:



    1. See the text of the letter quoted in the Decision of respondent Secretary, pp. 4-6.

    2. The validity of respondent Secretary’s action was upheld by this Court in Santos v. Villacete, G.R. No. 91522, January 25, 1990.

    3. G.R. Nos. 105128-30, Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo v. Comelec, Florencio Vargas, Luzviminda Villaflor and Alfonso Purugganan, prom. June 9, 1992, pp. 3, 4-5.

    4. Citizen J. Antonio Carpio v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 96409, February 14, 1992; Federation of Free Workers v. Inciong, 161 SCRA 295 (1988); Villena v. Secretary of Interior, 67 Phil. 451 (1951).

    5. Emphasis supplied.

    6. Emphasis supplied.

    7. G.R. No. 87233, September 21, 1989.

    8. Sec. 60. Suspension and Removal; Grounds. — An elective local official may be suspended or removed from office on any of the following grounds committed while in office:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines;

    (2) Culpable violation of the Constitution;

    (3) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office and neglect of duty;

    (4) commission of any offense involving moral turpitude;

    (5) Abuse of authority;

    (6) Unauthorized absence for three consecutive months.

    9. Emphasis supplied.

    10. Ang Tibay v. CIT, 69 Phil. 635; Air Manila, Inc. v. Balatbat, 38 SCRA 489.

    G.R. No. 94115   August 21, 1992 - RODOLFO E. AGUINALDO v. LUIS SANTOS, ET AL.


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