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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
December-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 7054 - Conrado N. Que v. Atty. Anastacio Revilla, Jr.

  • A.M. No. P-09-2600 - Emma B. Ramos v. Apollo R. Ragot

  • A.M. No. P-09-2636 Formerly OCA IPI No. 07-2681-P - Atty. Eduardo Francisco v. Liza O. Galvez

  • A.M. No. P-09-2676 - Judge Juanita T. Guerrero v. Teresita V. Ong

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1953 - Mayor Hadji Amer R. Sampiano, et al. v. Judge Cader P. Indar, Acting Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Br. 12, Malabang, Lanao del Sur

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2055 - Heir of the late Rev. Fr. Jose O. Aspiras v. Judge Clifton U. Ganay, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial court, Branch 31, Agoo, La Union

  • A.M. No. RTJ-09-2170 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 09-3094-RTJ - Heirs of Simeon Piedad, namely, Eliseo Piedad, et al. v. Executive Judge Cesar O. Estrena and Judge Gaudiso D. Villarin

  • G.R. No. 146548 : December 18, 2009 - HEIRS OF DOMINGO HERNANDEZ, SR., namely: SERGIA V. HERNANDEZ (Surviving Spouse), DOMINGO V. HERNANDEZ, JR., and MARIA LEONORA WILMA HERNANDEZ, Petitioners, v. PLARIDEL MINGOA, SR., DOLORES CAMISURA, MELANIE MINGOA AND

  • G.R. No. 147951 - Arsenio F. Olegario, et al. v. Pedro C. Mari, represented by Lilia C. Mari-Camba

  • G.R. No. 155125 - YSS Employees Union-Philippine Transport and General Organization v. YSS Laboratories, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 156208 - NPC Drivers and Mechanics Association, et al. v. The National Power Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 149548, G.R. No. 167505, G.R. No. 167540, G.R. No. 167543, G.R. No. 167845, G.R. No. 169163 and G.R. No. 179650 - ROXAS and COMPANY, INC. v. DAMBA-NFSW AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM/DAMAYAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG BUKID SA ASYENDA ROXAS-NATIO

  • G.R. No. 157038 - Government Serive Insurance System v. Jean E. Raoet

  • G.R. No. 157867 - Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company v. Hon. Salvador Abad Santos

  • G.R. No. 159788 - Sotero Roy Leonero, et al. v. Spouses Marcelino B. Barba, et al.

  • G.R. No. 159792 - Barangay Sangalang, represented by its Chairman Dante C. Marcellana v. Barangay Maguihan, represented by its Chairman Arnulfo Villarez

  • G.R. No. 160146 - Leslie Okol v. Slimmers World International, et al.

  • G.R. No. 160367 - Evelyn S. Cabungcal, et al. v. Sonia R. Lorenzo, et al.

  • G.R. No. 161424 - Republic of the Philippines v. Ignacio Leonor and Catalino Razon

  • G.R. No. 161929 - Lynn Paz T. Dela Cruz, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 163117 - Equitable PCI Bank, Inc. v. Maria Letecia Fernandez, et al.

  • G.R. No. 162243, G.R. NO. 164516 and G.R. NO. 171875 - Hon. Heherson T. Alvarez v. PICOP Resources, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 163553 - Yun Kwan Byung v. Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation

  • G.R. No. 164195 - Apo Fruits Corporation and Hijo Plantation, Inc. v. The Hon. Court of Appeals, and Land Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 165109 - Manuel Mamba, et al. v. Edgar R. Lara, et al.

  • G.R. No. 165299 - Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Laguna Lake Development Authority

  • G.R. No. 165387 - Mayon Estate Corporation and Earthland Developer Corporation v. Lualhati Beltran

  • G.R. No. 166570 - Efren M. Herrera, et al. v. National Power Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 166941 - Spouses Dennis Barias and Divina Barias v. Heirs of Bartolome Boneo, namely, Juanita Leopoldo, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168668 - Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), et al. v. Pearl City Manufacturing Corporation, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168897 - Gina M. Tiangco and Salvacion Jenny Manego v. Uniwide Sales Warehouse Club, Inc. and Jimmy Gow

  • G.R. No. 168756 and G.R. NO. 171476 - Shrimp Specialist, Inc., v. Fuji-Triumph Agri-Industrial Corporation

  • G.R. No. 170447 - Bievenido Di o and Renato Comparativo v. Pablo Olivarez

  • G.R. No. 170476 - People of the Philippines v. Ricardo Grande

  • G.R. No. 170661 - Ramon B. Formantes v. Duncan Pharmaceutical, Philis., Inc.

  • G.R. No. 171023 - Arsenio S. Quiambao v. Manila Electric Company

  • G.R. No. 171669 - Heirs of Rodrigo Yacapin, namely, Sol Belnas, et al. v. Felimon Belida (Deceased), represented by Merlyn B. Palos, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171916 - Constantino A. Pascual v. Lourdes S. Pascual

  • G.R. No. 172092 - People of the Philippines v. Joey Tion y Cabadu

  • G.R. No. 172372 - The People of the Philippines v. Romar Teodoro y Vallejo

  • G.R. No. 172822 - MOF COMPANY, INC., v. SHIN YANG BROKERAGE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 173158 - Alejandro B. Ty and International Realty Corporation v. Queen's Row Subdivision, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 173319 - Federico Miguel Olbes v. Hon. Danilo A. Buemio, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 173329 - Susan G. Po and Lilia G. Mutia v. Omerio Dampal

  • G.R. No. 173441 - Heirs of Sofia Quirong, etc. v. Development Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 173533 - Vicente N. Luna, Jr. v. Nario Cabales, Oscar Pabalan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 174480 - People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Albalate, Jr.

  • G.R. No. 175115 - Lily O. Orbase v. Office of the Ombudsman and Adoracion Mendoza-Bolos

  • G.R. No. 175393 and G.R. NO. 177731 - Government Service Insurance System v. RTC of Pasig, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175466 - Bank of the Philippine Islands as successor-in-interest of Far East Bank and Trust Company v. SMP, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 175803 - Governor Ornaldo A. Fua, Jr., et al. v. The Commission on Audit, et al.

  • G.R. No. 175994 - Jesus Campos and Rosemarie Campos-Bautista v. Nenita Buevinida Pastrana, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176291 - Jorge B. Navarra v. Office of the Ombudsman, Samuel Namnama, et al.

  • G.R. No. 176951, G.R. No. 177499 and G.R. No. 178056 - League of cities of the Philippines, et al. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 177384 - Josephine Wee v. Republic of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 177404 and G.R. NO. 178097 - Land Bank of the Philippines v. Kumassie Plantation Company Incorporated

  • G.R. No. 177486 - Purisimo S. Buyco v. Nelson Baraquia

  • G.R. No. 177664 - CRC Agricultural Trading and Rolando B. Catindig v. National Labor Relations Commission and Roberto Obias

  • G.R. No. 177777 - People of the Philippines v. Fernando Gutierrez y Gatso

  • G.R. No. 178000 and 178003 - Liberato M. Carabeo v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 178606 - The Episcopal Diocese of the Northern Philippines v. The District Engineer, MPED-DPWH

  • G.R. No. 179328 - Rizalina P. Positos v. Jacob M. Chua

  • G.R. No. 179356 - Kepco Philippines Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 179505 - First Philippine Holding Corporation v. Trans Middle East (Phils.) Equities Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179554 - Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Trackworks Rail Transit Advertising, Vending and Promotions, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 178158 and G.R. NO. 180428 - Strategic Alliance Development Corporation v. Radstock Securities Limited and Philippine National Construction corporation

  • G.R. No. 179830 - Lintang Bedol v. Commssion on Elections

  • G.R. No. 179946 - The People of the Philippines v. Quirino Cabral y Valencia

  • G.R. No. 179952 - Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, etc. v. BA Finance Corporation and Malayan Insurance Co, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 180218 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 180439 - Resort Hotels Corporation, Rodolfo M. Cuenca Insvestment Corporation v. Development Bank of the Philippines and SM Investment Corp.

  • G.R. No. 181174 - Ma. Cristina Torres Braza, et al. v. The City Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, minor Patrick Alvin Titular Braza, represented by Leon Titular, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181455 and G.R. No. 182008 - Santiago Cua, Jr., et al. v. Miguel Ocampo Tan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181556 - In Re: Petition for Assistance in the Liquidation of Intercity Savinds and Loan Bank, Inc., Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Stockholders of Intercity Savings and Loan Bank, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181571 - Juno Batistis v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 182013 - Quasha Ancheta Pe a & Nolasco Law Office and Legeng International Reports, Limited v. The Special Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182161 - Rev. Father Robert P. Reyes v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182216 - Plantation Bay Resort & Spa and Efren Belarmino v. Romel S. Dubrico, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182310 - People of the Philippines v. Jan Michael Tan and Archie Tan

  • G.R. No. 182336 - Elvira O. Ong v. Jose Casim Genio

  • G.R. No. 182430 - Leopoldo Abante v. KJGS Fleet Management Manila and/or Gur Domingo A. Macapayag, Kristian Gerhard Jebsens Skipsrenderi A/S

  • G.R. No. 182623 - Dionisio M. Musnit v. Sea Star Shipping Corporation and Sea Star Shipping Corporation, Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 182498 - Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Jr., chief, Philippine National Police (PNP), et al. v. Mary Jean B. Tagitis

  • G.R. No. 182626 - Hilario S. Ramirez v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182645 - In the matter of the Heirship (Intestate Estates) of the late Hermogenes Rodriguez, et al., Rene B. Pascual v. Jaime M. Robles

  • G.R. No. 182735 - Sps. Rogelio Marcelo & Milagros v. Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB)

  • G.R. No. 183233 - Virgilio G. Anabe v. Asian Construction (ASIAKONSTRUKT), et al.

  • G.R. No. 183297 - National Power Corporation v. Hon. Amer Ibrahim, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 183317 - Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. v. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, et al.

  • G.R. No. 18335 - Juanito Tabigue, et al. v. International Copra Export Corporation (INTERCO)

  • G.R. No. 183908 - Joelson O. Iloreta v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. and Norbulk Shipping U.K. Ltd.

  • G.R. No. 184836 - Simon B. Aldovino, Jr., Danilo B. Faller and Ferdinand N. Talabong v. Commission on Elections and Wilfredo F. Asilo

  • G.R. No. 184977 - Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. v. Ricky E. Dela Cruz, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185011 - People of the Philippines v. SP03 Sangki Ara y Mirasol, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185381 - People of the Philippines v. Danilo Cruz y Culala

  • G.R. No. 185477 - Herminio M. Gutierrez, et al. v. Flora Mendoza-Plaza, et al.

  • G.R. No. 185749 - Civil Service Commission v. Herminigildo L. Andal

  • G.R. No. 186234 - People of the Philippines v. Felix Palgan

  • G.R. No. 186242 - Government Service Insurance System v. City Treasurer and City Assessor of the City of Manila

  • G.R. No. 186460 - People of the Philippines v. Gualberto Cinco y Soyosa

  • G.R. No. 186965 - Temic Automotive Philippines, Inc. v. Temic Automotive Philippines, Inc., Employees Union

  • G.R. No. 187478 - Representative Danila Ramon S. Fernandez v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and Jesus L. Vicente

  • G.R. No. 187494 - People of the Philippines v. Elmer Barberos

  • G.R. No. 187838 - Adriatico Consortium, Inc. Primary Realty Corp., and Benito Cu-Uy-Gam v. Land Bank of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 188240 - Michael L. San Miguel v. Commission on Elections and Christopher V. Aguilar

  • G.R. No. 189868 - KABATAAN PARTY-LIST, ET AL. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 189698 - ELEAZAR P. QUINTO and GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., v. COMELEC

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    G.R. No. 170447 - Bievenido Di o and Renato Comparativo v. Pablo Olivarez

      G.R. No. 170447 - Bievenido Di o and Renato Comparativo v. Pablo Olivarez

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 170447 : December 4, 2009]

    BIENVENIDO DIÑO and RENATO COMPARATIVO, Petitioners v. PABLO OLIVAREZ, Respondent.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

    Before Us is a Motion for Reconsideration1 of Our Decision2 filed by respondent Pablo Olivarez

    In Our decision dated 23 June 2009, We found that the public prosecutor, in filing the Amended Informations, did not exceed the authority delegated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). We likewise ruled that no abuse of discretion could be attributed to Judge Fortunito L. Madrona (Madrona) when he issued the Orders dated 9 March 2005 and 31 March 2005 for the arrest of respondent due to his failure to be present for his arraignment and for the confiscation of his cash bond.

    We disposed of the case as follows:

    WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 September 2005 in CA-G.R. SP No. 89230 is REVEERSED. This Court orders the continuation of the proceedings in Criminal Cases No. 04-1104 and No. 04-1105 before the RTC, the prosecution of which shall be under the direction of the Law Department of the COMELEC. No. costs.3

    In order to fully understand our resolution of the instant motion, we quote the factual antecedents as narrated in our decision:

    Petitioners instituted a complaint for vote buying against respondent Pablo Olivarez. Based on the finding of probable cause in the Joint Resolution issued by Assistant City Prosecutor Antonietta Pablo-Medina, with the approval of the city prosecutor of Parañaque, two Informations were filed before the RTC on 29 September 2004 charging respondent Pablo Olivarez with Violation of Section 261, paragraphs a, b and k of Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code x x x.

    x x x

    The arraignment of the respondent was initially set on 18 October 2004.

    On 7 October 2004, respondent filed before the Law Department of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) an "[a]ppeal of [the] Joint Resolution of the City Prosecutor of Parañaque City with Motion to Revoke Continuing Authority" pursuant to Section 10, Rule 34 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure. Respondent argued that the pendency of the appeal of the Joint Resolution before the COMELEC should prevent the filing of the Informations before the RTC as there could be no final finding of probable cause until the COMELEC had resolved the appeal. Moreover, he argued that the charges made against him were groundless.

    In a letter dated 11 October 2004, the Law Department of the COMELEC directed the city prosecutor to transmit or elevate the entire records of the case and to suspend further implementation of the Joint Resolution dated 20 September 2004 until final resolution of the said appeal before the COMELEC en banc.

    On 11 October 2004, respondent filed a Motion to Quash the two criminal informations on the ground that more than one offense was charged therein, in violation of Section 3(f), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Section 13, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court. This caused the resetting of the scheduled arraignment on 18 October 2004 to 13 December 2004.

    Before Judge Madrona could act on the motion to quash, Assistant Prosecutor Pablo-Medina, with the approval of the city prosecutor, filed on 28 October 2004 its "Opposition to the Motion to Quash and Motion to Admit Amended Informations." The Amended Informations sought to be admitted charged respondent with violation of only paragraph a, in relation to paragraph b, of Section 261, Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code.

    On 1 December 2004, Judge Madrona issued an Order resetting the hearing scheduled on 13 December 2004 to 1 February 2005 on account of the pending Motion to Quash of the respondent and the Amended Informations of the public prosecutor.

    On 14 December 2004, respondent filed an "Opposition to the Admission of the Amended Informations," arguing that no resolution was issued to explain the changes therein, particularly the deletion of paragraph k, Section 261, Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code . Moreover, he averred that the city prosecutor was no longer empowered to amend the informations, since the COMELEC had already directed it to transmit the entire records of the case and suspend the hearing of the cases before the RTC until the resolution of the appeal before the COMELEC en banc.

    On 12 January 2005, Judge Madrona issued an order denying respondent's Motion to Quash dated 11 October 2004, and admitted the Amended Informations dated 25 October 2004. Respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration dated 20 January 2005 thereon.

    On 1 February 2005, Judge Madrona reset the arraignment to 9 March 2005, with a warning that the arraignment would proceed without any more delay, unless the Supreme Court would issue an injunctive writ.

    On 9 March 2005, respondent failed to appear before the RTC. Thereupon, Judge Madrona, in open court, denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying the Motion to Quash and admitting the Amended Informations, and ordered the arrest of respondent and the confiscation of the cash bond.

    On 11 March 2005, respondent filed an "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and/or to Lift the Order of Arrest of Accused Dr. Pablo Olivarez," which was denied in an Order dated 31 March 2005. The Order directed that a bench warrant be issued for the arrest of respondent to ensure his presence at his arraignment.

    On 5 April 2005, the Law Department of the COMELEC filed before the RTC a Manifestation and Motion wherein it alleged that pursuant to the COMELEC's powers to investigate and prosecute election offense cases, it had the power to revoke the delegation of its authority to the city prosecutor. Pursuant to these powers, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 7457 dated 4 April 2005. The dispositive portion of Resolution No. 7457 states:

    Considering the foregoing, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to APPROVE and ADOPT the recommendation of the Law Department as follows:

    1. To revoke the deputation of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Parañaque to investigate and prosecute election offense cases insofar as I.S. Nos. 04-2608 and 04-2774, entitled "Renato Comparativo v. Remedios Malabiran and Pablo Olivarez" and "Bienvenido et. al. v. Sally Rose Saraos, et. al.," respectively, are concerned; andcralawlibrary

    2. To direct the Law Department to handle the prosecution of these cases and file the appropriate Motion and Manifestation before the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque, Branch 274, to hold in abeyance further proceedings on Criminal Case Nos. 1104 and 1105 until the Commission has acted on the appeal of respondents.

    Let the Law Department implement this Resolution.

    Thus, the Law Department of the COMELEC moved (1) that the RTC hold in abeyance further proceedings in Criminal Cases No. 04-1104 and No. 04-1105 until the COMELEC has acted on respondent's appeal; and (2) to revoke the authority of the city prosecutor of Parañaque to prosecute the case, designating therein the lawyers from the Law Department of the COMELEC to prosecute Criminal Cases No. 04-1104 and No. 04-1105.

    On 8 April 2005, respondent filed a Special Civil Action for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 89230, assailing the Orders, dated 12 January 2005, 9 March 2005 and 31 March 2005 of the RTC. The appellate court granted the appeal in a Decision dated 28 September 2005 declaring that the COMELEC had the authority to conduct the preliminary investigation of election offenses and to prosecute the same. As such, the COMELEC may delegate such authority to the Chief State Prosecutor, provincial prosecutors, and city prosecutors. The COMELEC, however, has the corresponding power, too, to revoke such authority to delegate. Thus, the categorical order of the COMELEC to suspend the prosecution of the case before the RTC effectively deprived the city prosecutor of the authority to amend the two informations. The appellate court also pronounced that Judge Madrona erred in admitting the amended informations, since they were made in excess of the delegated authority of the public prosecutor, and his orders to arrest the respondent and to confiscate the latter's cash bond were devoid of legal basis. The fallo of the Decision reads:

    UPON THE VIEW WE TAKE OF THIS CASE, THUS, the petition at bench must be, as it hereby is, GRANTED. The impugned Orders of the public respondent Judge Fortunito L. Madrona of Branch 274, Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City dated 12 January 2005, 9 March 2005, and 31 March 2005 are hereby VACATED and NULLIFIED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued in the instant petition is made PERMANENT. Without costs in this instance.4

    In finding that the public prosecutor of Parañaque, in filing the Amended Informations, did not exceed the authority delegated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), we said that the public prosecutor's delegated authority to prosecute the case was not yet revoked when said amended informations were filed on 28 October 2004, since the authority was revoked only on 4 April 2005 when COMELEC Resolution No. 7457 was issued. We explained that the letter from the COMELEC Law Department dated 11 October 2004, which directed the public prosecutor to transmit the entire records of the case by the fastest means available and to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution (finding of probable cause to charge respondent with Violation of Section 261, paragraphs a, b and k of Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code) until final resolution of respondent's appeal therefrom by the COMELEC En Banc did not revoke said delegated authority. We added that the filing of the amended informations was not made in defiance of the instructions dated 11 October 2004, but was rather "an act necessitated by the developments of the case." We said that the instructions were intended not to have the public prosecutor abandon the prosecution of the case and negligently allow its dismissal by not filing the Amended Informations. By filing the amended informations, the public prosecutor avoided the undesirable situation that would have forced the COMELEC to re-file the cases, waste government resources and delay the administration of justice.

    As regards Judge Madrona, we ruled he did not abuse his discretion when he issued the Orders dated 9 March 2005 and 31 March 2005 for the arrest of respondent due to his failure to be present for his arraignment and for the confiscation of his cash bond. Having acquired jurisdiction over the cases and the persons of the accused, the disposition thereof, regardless of what the fiscal may have felt was the proper course of action, was within the exclusive jurisdiction, competence and discretion of the court.

    We further ruled that pursuant to Section 11 of Rule 116 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, the arraignment of respondent cannot be suspended indefinitely, for the reviewing authority has at most 60 days within which to decide the appeal. The arraignment of respondent was initially scheduled on 18 October 2004, but the same was reset three times. A motion to quash the two informations was filed on 11 October 2004. On 12 January 2005, Judge Madrona denied the Motion to Quash and admitted the Amended Informations. Respondent sought the reconsideration of said order. On the scheduled arraignment on 9 March 2005, respondent failed to appear, resulting in the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the order denying the motion to quash and admitting the amended informations, the order for his arrest, and the confiscation of his cash bond. We said that five months was more than the sixty days allowed by the rules for the suspension of the arraignment and was ample time to obtain from COMELEC a reversal of the Joint Resolution finding probable cause.

    Respondent anchors his motion for reconsideration on two grounds, to wit:

    A. The Honorable Court, with due respect, is incorrect in finding that the public prosecutor (of Paranaque City) did not exceed the authority delegated by the COMELEC when they filed the subject Amended Informations against herein Respondent; andcralawlibrary

    x x x

    b. The Honorable Court, with due respect, incorrectly ruled that Judge Madrona of the Regional Trial Court of Paranaque City, acted, in accordance with law when he admitted the two (2) Amended Informations and dismissed the Respondent's Motion to Quash, as the ground stated therein - the informations charged more than one offense - could no longer be sustained, and ordered the arrest of the Respondent due to his alleged failure to be present for his arraignment and for the confiscation of his cash bond (at page 11 of the Assailed Decision).5

    On the first ground, respondent argues that this Court erred in not construing the directive of the COMELEC to the public prosecutor of Parañaque City - - to transmit the entire records of the case to the COMELEC Law Department by the fastest means available and to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of the appeal by the COMELEC En Banc - - as not a revocation of the public prosecutor's delegated authority. He further argues that the intention to revoke the delegated authority given to the public prosecutor is crystal clear. The order directing the transmission of the entire records deprives the public prosecutor of the means and bases to prosecute the criminal cases. He adds that the directive to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of the appeal by the COMELEC En Banc is an express or, at the very least, an implied indication of revocation of the delegated authority inasmuch as the public prosecutor has been prevented, warned and stripped of any authority and control over the prosecution of the criminal cases. In not construing the mandatory directive as a revocation of the delegated authority, respondent argues that this Court violated the Pro Reo Doctrine6 and the Rule of Lenity.7 Since the COMELEC directive is capable of two interpretations, respondent argues that we should have adopted the interpretation that is favorable to him.

    Moreover, respondent maintains that since the Court liberally applied the rules when it did not dismiss petitioners' defective petition, it should likewise apply the liberal and relaxed interpretation of the COMELEC directive in favor of respondent by finding that the COMELEC directive revoked the delegated authority of the public prosecutor. By filing the amended informations, despite receipt of the COMELEC directive issued on 13 October 2004 which was confirmed by COMELEC Resolution No. 7457, the public prosecutor defied the entity from which it derived its authority and power to prosecute the election cases involved. It being made in defiance of the COMELEC directive, all acts of the public prosecutor are void and of no effect.

    On the second ground, respondent argues that we erred in ruling that the court a quo acted in accordance with law when he admitted the two amended informations and dismissed his motion to quash and ordered his arrest and confiscation of his cash bond. In support thereof, he contends that since the trial court had knowledge of the COMELEC directive dated 11 October 2004, stripping the public prosecutor of his delegated authority to prosecute the criminal cases, the trial court should have rejected the amended information, as there was no right that could be invoked from a defective/illegal source.

    Moreover, respondent contends that Section 11, Rule 116 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure does not apply to this case, because the application thereof presupposes a resolution issued by a public prosecutor who has the authority to prosecute. Since the public prosecutor has been deprived of its delegated authority by virtue of the 11 October 2004 directive, such directive has retroactive application, it being favorable to him. This being the case, there is no Joint Resolution of the City Prosecutor to speak of, because the same was issued without authority.

    The resolution of the instant motion boils down to whether the city prosecutor defied the order or directive of the COMELEC when it filed the amended informations.

    After giving the records of the case and the arguments adduced by respondent a second hard look, we grant the motion.

    The Constitution, particularly Article IX, Section 20, empowers the COMELEC to investigate and, when appropriate, prosecute election cases.8

    Under Section 265 of the Omnibus Election Code, the COMELEC, through its duly authorized legal officers, has the exclusive power to conduct a preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under the Omnibus Election Code, and to prosecute the same. The COMELEC may avail itself of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the government. Section 265 reads:

    Section 265. Prosecution. The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers, have the exclusive power to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under this Code, and to prosecute the same. The Commission may avail of the assistance of other prosecuting arms of the government: Provided, however, That in the event that the Commission fails to act on any complaint within four months from his filing, the complainant may file the complaint with the office of the fiscal or with the Ministry of Justice for proper investigation and prosecution, if warranted.

    Section 2, Rule 34 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure details the continuing delegation of authority to other prosecuting arms of the government, which authority the COMELEC may revoke or withdraw anytime in the proper exercise of its judgment. It provides:

    Section 2. Continuing Delegation of Authority to Other Prosecution Arms of the Government. The Chief State Prosecutor, all Provincial and City Fiscals, and/or their respective assistants are hereby given continuing authority, as deputies of the Commission, to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses under the election laws which may be filed directly with them, or which may be indorsed to them by the Commission or its duly authorized representative and to prosecute the same. Such authority may be revoked or withdrawn any time by the Commission whenever in its judgment such revocation or withdrawal is necessary to protect the integrity of the Commission, promote the common good, or when it believes that successful prosecution of the case can be done by the Commission.

    Furthermore, Section 10 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure gives the COMELEC the power to motu proprio revise, modify and reverse the resolution of the Chief State Prosecutor and/or provincial/city prosecutors. Said section reads:

    Section 10. Appeals from the Action of the State Prosecutor, Provincial or City Fiscal. Appeals from the resolution of the State Prosecutor or Provincial or City Fiscal on the recommendation or resolution of investigating officers may be made only to the Commission within ten (10) days from receipt of the resolution of said officials, provided, however that this shall not divest the Commission of its power to motu proprio review, revise, modify or reverse the resolution of the chief state prosecutor and/or provincial/city prosecutors. The decision of the Commission on said appeals shall be immediately executory and final.

    From the foregoing, it is clear that the Chief State Prosecutor, all Provincial and City Fiscals, and/or their respective assistants have been given continuing authority, as deputies of the Commission, to conduct a preliminary investigation of complaints involving election offenses under the election laws and to prosecute the same. Such authority may be revoked or withdrawn anytime by the COMELEC, either expressly or impliedly, when in its judgment such revocation or withdrawal is necessary to protect the integrity of the process to promote the common good, or where it believes that successful prosecution of the case can be done by the COMELEC. Moreover, being mere deputies or agents of the COMELEC, provincial or city prosecutors deputized by it are expected to act in accord with and not contrary to or in derogation of its resolutions, directives or orders in relation to election cases that such prosecutors are deputized to investigate and prosecute.9 Being mere deputies, provincial and city prosecutors, acting on behalf of the COMELEC, must proceed within the lawful scope of their delegated authority.

    In our assailed decision, we ruled that the letter dated 11 October 2004 of Director Alioden D. Dalaig of the COMELEC Law Department, which reads in part:

    In this connection, you are hereby directed to transmit the entire records of the case to the Law Department, Commission on Elections, Intramuros, Manila by the fastest means available. You are further directed to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of said appeal by the Comelec En Banc.

    did not revoke the continuing authority granted to the City Prosecutor of Parañaque, for it was COMELEC Resolution No. 7457 issued on 4 April 2005 that effectively revoked the deputation of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Parañaque.

    We stand by our ruling that it was COMELEC Resolution No. 7457 that revoked the deputation of the City Prosecutor of Parañaque. However, when the COMELEC Law Department directed the City Prosecutor of Parañaque to transmit the entire records of the case to the Law Department, Commission on Elections, Intramuros, Manila, by the fastest means available and to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of said appeal by the Comelec En Banc, it had the effect of SUSPENDING THE AUTHORITY of the City Prosecutor to prosecute the case. This was what we did not consider in our decision. We overlooked the fact that the order issued by the COMELEC Law Department was with the authority of the COMELEC En Banc. In other words, it was as if the COMELEC En Banc was the one that ordered the public prosecutor to transmit the entire records and to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until it finally resolves the appeal. As contained in the letter of the COMELEC Law Department, an appeal has been filed before the COMELEC and has yet to be resolved. Since the COMELEC has already taken cognizance of the appeal, and the public prosecutor has been directed to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of said appeal, it was but proper for the City Prosecutor of Parañaque to have held in abeyance any action until after the resolution of the appeal by the COMELEC En Banc. This suspension of delegated authority was made permanent and this delegated authority was revoked upon issuance of COMELEC Resolution No. 7457 because of the City Prosecutor's willful disobedience of the order of the COMELEC En Banc, through the COMELEC Law Department, to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of said appeal by the COMELEC En Banc.

    It cannot also be disputed that the COMELEC Law Department has the authority to direct, nay, order the public prosecutor to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of said appeal, for it is speaking on behalf of the COMELEC. The COMELEC Law Department, without any doubt, is authorized to do this as shown by the pleadings it has filed before the trial court. If the COMELEC Law Department is not authorized to issue any directive/order or to file the pleadings on behalf of the COMELEC, the COMELEC En Banc itself would have said so. This, the COMELEC En Banc did not do.

    The records are likewise bereft of any evidence showing that the City Prosecutor of Parañaque doubted such authority. It knew that the COMELEC Law Department could make such an order, but the public prosecutor opted to disregard the same and still filed the Amended Informations contrary to the order to hold the proceedings in abeyance until a final resolution of said appeal was made by the COMELEC En Banc.

    The abuse of authority by the City Prosecutor of Parañaque was aptly explained by the Court of Appeals:

    In the case at bench, public respondent city prosecutor clearly exceeded his authority as a COMELEC-designated prosecutor when he amended the two informations. For there is hardly any doubt or question that public respondent city prosecutor had already been duly advised and informed of the directive of the COMELEC days before he filed the amended informations. But instead of filing a motion to suspend proceedings and hold abeyance the issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioner and to defer the latter's arraignment until after the appeal shall have been resolved, public respondent city prosecutor took it upon himself to substitute his own judgment or discretion for that of the COMELEC, by proceeding with the prosecution of the criminal cases. Such act was a clear defiance of a direct and explicit order of the COMELEC, which was to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until the final resolution of said appeal by the COMELEC En Banc. Indubitably, there was, on the part of the public respondent city prosecutor, inordinate, if not indecent, haste in the filing of the amended informations, thereby depriving petitioner of due process.

    x x x However, despite the clear and categorical directive of the COMELEC to transmit or elevate the records of the case by the 'fastest means available,' the public respondent city prosecutor took his time to forward the records of the case. In fact, it was only on December 11, 2004 that he forwarded the records, - and these were not even the original copies, but mere photocopies.

    Quite irremissibly, his defiance of the order of the COMELEC, by itself, more than sufficed to warrant the revocation of the authority delegated to him.

    Considering that it was patently beyond his powers or authority to do such act, the amended informations are deemed scraps of papers, which have been stripped bare of their legal effect whatsoever.10

    In filing the Amended Informations despite the order to hold the proceedings in abeyance until final resolution of said appeal, the City Prosecutor of Parañaque clearly exceeded the legal limit of its delegated authority. As a deputy of the COMELEC, the public prosecutor acted on its own and wantonly defied the COMELEC's directives/orders. For that reason, we rule that any action made by the City Prosecutor of Parañaque in relation to the two criminal cases subsequent to the issuance of the COMELEC order dated 11 October 2004, like the filing of the amended informations and the amended informations themselves, is declared VOID and of NO EFFECT.

    The next query to be answered is: Did the trial court judge commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he admitted the amended informations despite full knowledge that the COMELEC had ordered the City Prosecutor of Parañaque to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of the appeal before it?cralawred

    We rule that he did.

    As ruled above, all actions of the City Prosecutor of Parañaque after the COMELEC's issuance of the order to transmit the entire records and to suspend all further proceedings until it has finally resolved the appeal before it, are void and of no effect. Consequently, the amended informations filed before the trial court are nothing but mere scraps of paper that have no value, for the same were filed sans lawful authority.

    As early as 14 December 2004, through respondent's "Opposition to the Admission of the Amended Informations," the trial court judge knew that the COMELEC had directed the City Prosecutor of Parañaque to transmit the entire records of the case to the COMELEC by the fastest means available and to suspend further implementation of the questioned resolution until final resolution of respondent's appeal. He knew that the City Prosecutor no longer had any authority to amend the original informations. Despite this, the trial court judge still admitted the amended informations. In doing so, the judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of excess of jurisdiction.

    We are not unmindful of the settled jurisprudence that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case as to its dismissal, or conviction or acquittal of the accused, rests on the sound discretion of the said court, as it is the best and sole judge of what to do with the case before it.11 Under the circumstances obtaining in this case, we hold that this settled jurisprudence does not apply in this case. The trial court's knowledge that the filing of the amended informations was done by the public prosecutor in excess of his delegated authority no longer gives him the discretion as to whether or not accept the amended informations. The only option the trial court had was not to admit the amended informations as a sign of deference and respect to the COMELEC, which already had taken cognizance of respondent's appeal. This, the trial court did not choose. It insisted on admitting the amended informations, which were patent nullities for being filed contrary to the directives of the COMELEC. Necessarily, all actions and rulings of the trial court arising from these amended informations must likewise be invalid and of no effect.

    As it stands, since there are no amended informations to speak of, the trial court has no basis for denying respondent's motion to quash. Consequently, there can be no arraignment on the amended informations. In view of this, there can be no basis for ordering the arrest of respondent and the confiscation of his cash bond.

    For having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the trial court's orders - - dated 12 January 2005 denying the Motion to Quash and admitting the amended information; 9 March 2005 denying the Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying the Motion to Quash, admitting the amended informations, and ordering the arrest of the respondent and the confiscation of his cash bond; and 31 March 2005 denying respondent's Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and/or to lift the Order of Arrest - - are declared void and of no effect.

    WHEREFORE, the instant motion for reconsideration filed by respondent Pablo Olivarez is GRANTED, and our assailed decision dated 23 June 2009 is RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 September 2005 in CA-G.R. SP No. 89230 is REINSTATED. The amended informations filed by the City Prosecutor of Parañaque on 28 October 2004 are declared VOID and of NO EFFECT.

    SO ORDERED.


    Endnotes:


    * In lieu of Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago.

    1 Rollo, pp. 150-164.

    2 Id. at 135-149.

    3 Id. at 147-148.

    4 Id. at 136-141.

    5 Id. at 151-158.

    6 In Dubio Pro Reo. When in doubt, rule for the accused.

    7 A court, in construing an ambiguous criminal statute that sets out multiple or inconsistent punishments, should resolve the ambiguity in favor of the more lenient punishment.

    8 Commission on Elections v. Español, 463 Phil. 240, 252-253 (2003).

    9 Id. at 253.

    10 Rollo, pp. 24-25.

    11 Viudez II v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 152889, 5 June 2009.

    G.R. No. 170447 - Bievenido Di o and Renato Comparativo v. Pablo Olivarez


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