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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
 

   
September-2009 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6672 - Pedro L. Linsangan v. Atty. Nicodemes Tolentino

  • A.C. No. 5955 - John Christen S. Hegna v. Atty. Goering G.C. Paderanga

  • A.C. No. 7297 - Imdelda Bides-Ulaso v. Atty. Edita Noe-Lacsamana

  • A.C. No. 7435 - Rey C. Sarmiento, et al. v. Atty. Edelson G. Oliva

  • A.C. No. 7547 - Gregory U. chan v. NLRC Commissioner Romeo L. Go, et al.

  • A.C. No. 7910 - Wen Ming W. Chen a.k.a. Domingo Tan v. Atty. F.D. Nicolas B. Pichay

  • A.M. No. 01-1-04-SC-PHILJA - Re: Further clarifying and strengthening the organization strcture and administrative set-up of the Philippine Judicial Academy

  • A.M. No. 06-3-07-SC - Request for the approval of the revised qualification standard for the chief of MISO

  • A.M. No. 2009-04-SC - Complaint of Atty. Wilhelmina D. Geronga againts Mr. Ross C. Romero, driver, shuttle bus no. 5 for reckless driving

  • A.M. No. CTA-05-2 - Office of the Court Administrator v. Concepcion G. Espineda, etc.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-06-1623 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1635-MTJ, A.M. NO. MTJ-06-1624 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1636-MTJ, A.M. NO. MTJ-06-1625 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1630-MTJ, A.M. NO. MTJ-06-1627 Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1661-MTJ, A.M. NO. P-09-2693 Formerly OCA IPI

  • A.M. No. P-05-2046 Formerly No. 05-6-159-MCTC - Office of the Court Administrator v. Clerk of Court Fe P. Ganzan, MCTC, Jasaan, Misamis Oriental

  • A.M. No. P-06-2264 Formerly OCA I.P.I Nos. 05-2136-P and 05-2137-P - Atty. Lelu P. Contreras v. Teresita O. Monge, Clerk IV, Rigional Trial Court - Office of the Clerk of Court, Iriga City

  • A.M. No. P-07-2332 Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 07-2511-P - Dr. Salome U. Jorge v. Carlos P. Diaz, Deputy Sheriff, RTC, Branch 20, Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat

  • A.M. No. P-08-2433 Formerly OCA IPI No. 07-2667-P - Judge Jenny Lind Aldecia-Delorino v. Marilyn De Castro Remigio-Versosa, Clerk III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 137, Makati City

  • A.M. No. P-08-2570 Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2547-P - Leticia Sales v. Arnel Jose A. Rubio, Sheriff IV, RTC, OCC, Naga City

  • A.M. No. P-09-2685 OCA-IPI No. 08-2839-P - P/Supt. Rene Macaling Orbe v. Marcos U. Digandang, Process Server, Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Cotabato City

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1650 Formerly OCA IPI No. 01-1195-RTJ - Margie Corpus Macias v. Mariano v. Mariano Joaquin S. Macias, Presiding Judge, Branh 28, Regional Trial Court, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte

  • A.M. No. RTJ-07-2089 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2659-RTJ and A.M. NO. RTJ-0921-99 Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2698-RTJ- Land Bank of the Philippines v. Judge Ernesto P. Pagayatan

  • G.R. No. 132826 - Rolando Saa v. Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commissoion on Bar Discipline, Board of Governors, Pasig City and Atty. Freddie A. Venida

  • G.R. NOS. 140743 & 140745 and G.R. NOS. 141451-52 - City Government of Tagaytay v. Hon. Eleuterio F. Guerrero, etc. et al.

  • G.R. No. 146534 - Spouses Hu Chuan Hai and Leonica Lim Hu v. Spouses Renato Unico and Maria Aurora J. Unico

  • G.R. NOS. 147026-27 - Carolina R. Javier v. Sandiganbayan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 148444 - Associated Bank (now United Overseas Bank [Phils.]) v. Spouses Rafael and Monaliza Pronstroller/Spouses Eduardo and Ma. Pilar Vaca (Intervenors)

  • G.R. No. 149588 - Francisco R. Llamas, et al. v. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 150664 - Vicente Dacanay, in his capacity as administrator of the Testate Estate of Tereso D. Fernandez v. Hon. Raphael Prastora Sr., etc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 151969 - Valle Verde Country Club, Inc., et al. v. Victor Africa

  • G.R. No. 152101 - Emcor, Incorporated v. Ma. Lourdes D. Sienes

  • G.R. No. 152614 - Salvador A. Fernandez v. Cristina D. Amagna

  • G.R. No. 154720 - Juan Balbuena and Teodulfo Retuya v. Leona Aparicio Sabay, et al.

  • G.R. No. 156164 - Sps. Leonardo and Milagros Chua v. Hon. Jacinto G. Ang, et al.

  • G.R. No. 157901 - Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation v. M/V "PILAR-I" and Spouses Ernesto Dy and Lourdes Dy

  • G.R. No. 157952 - Jowett K. Golango v. Jone B. Fung

  • G.R. No. 158630 and G.R. No. 162047 - Joyce Y. Lim, represented by her attorney-in-fact Bernardo M. Nicolas

  • G.R. No. 159116 - Sps. Nestor and Felicidad Dadizon v. Hon. Court of Appeals and Sps. Dominador and Elsa Mocorro

  • G.R. No. 159710 - Carmen A. Blas v. Spouses Eduardo and Salud Galapon

  • G.R. No. 161902 - Edgar Mercado v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 162104 - R Transport Corporation v. Eduardo Pante

  • G.R. No. 163270 - Eduardo M. Tomada, Sr. v. RFM Corporation-Bakery Flour Division, et al.

  • G.R. No. 164104 - Philippine National Bank v. Gregorio B. Maraya, Jr. and Wenefrida Maraya

  • G.R. No. 164205 - Oldarico S. Trave o, et al. v. Bobongon Banana Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, et al.

  • G.R. No. 164435 - Victoria S. Jarillo v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 164549 - Philippine National Bank v. Spouses Agustin and Pilar Rocamora

  • G.R. No. 164815 - Sr. Inspector Jerry Valeroso v. Court of Appeals and People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 165141 - Peregina Mistica v. Republic of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 166516 - Emma Ver Reyes and Ramon Reyes v. The Register of Deeds of Cavite, et al.

  • G.R. No. 166857 - D.M. Wenceslao & Associates, inc. v. Freyssinet Philippines, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 167330 - Philippine Health Providers, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 167569, G.R. No. 167570 & G.R. No. 171946 - Carlos T. Go., Sr., v. Luis T. Ramos

  • G.R. No. 167955 Formerly G.R. No. 151275 - People of the Philippines v. Armando Padilla y Nicolas

  • G.R. No. 167995 - Julita V. Imuan, et al. v. Juanito Cereno, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168151 - Regional Container Lines (RCL) of Singapore and Shipping Agency v. The Netherlands Insurance Co. (Philippines) Inc.

  • G.R. No. 168446 Formerly G.R. NOS. 144174-75 - People of the Philippines v. Ernesto Cruz, Jr. y Concepcion, et al.

  • G.R. No. 168927 - Arsenio F. Quevedo, et al. v. Benguet Electric Cooperative Incorporated, et al.

  • G.R. No. 169228 - The Alexandra Condominium Corporation v. Laguna Lake Development Authority

  • G.R. No. 169364 - People of the Philippines v. Evangeline Siton y sacil, et al.

  • G.R. No. 169641 - People of the Philippines v. Richard O. Sarcia

  • G.R. No. 169889 - Spouses Simon Yap and Milagros Guevarra v. First e-Bank, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 169919 - B.D. Long Span Builders, Inc. v. R.S. Ampeloquio Realty Development Inc.

  • G.R. No. 169940 - Univeristy of Santo Tomas v. Samahang Manggagawa ng UST (SM-UST)

  • G.R. No. 170072 - Joaquin P. Obieta v. Edward Cheok

  • G.R. No. 170342 - Allan Dizon v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 170482 - Manila Electric Company v. Aguida Vda. De Santiago

  • G.R. No. 171018 - People of the Philippines v. Elly Naelga

  • G.R. No. 171260 - Amparo Robles Cabreza v. Ceferino S. Cabreza Jr., et al.

  • G.R .No. 171491 - Dr. Castor C. De Jesus v. Rafel D. Guerrero III, Cesario R. Pagdilao and Fortuna B. Aquino

  • G.R. No. 171681 - Kei Marie and Bianca Angelica both surnamed Abrera, minors, represented by their parents Evelyn C. Abrera, et al. v. Hon. Romeo F. Barza, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati City and College Assu

  • G.R. No. 171984 - Bandila Maritime Services, Inc. and/or Tokomaru Kaiun Co., Ltd. v. Rolando Dubduban

  • G.R. No. 172217 - Spouses Lydia Flores-Cruz, et al. v. Spouses Leonardo and Iluminada Goli-Cruz, et al.

  • G.R. No. 172447 & G.R. No. 179404 - Iglesia Evangelisca Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), Inc. v. Nataniel B. Juane/Nataniel B. Juane v. Iglesia Evangelisca Metodista En Las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), Inc.

  • G.R. No. 174116 - Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 175064 - Province of Camarines Sur, represented by Governor Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr. v. Hon. Court of Appeals and City of Naga, represented by Mayor Jesse M. Robredo

  • G.R. No. 175172 - Cresencia Achevara, Alfredo Achevara and Benigno Valdez v. Elvira Ramos, John Arnel Ramos and Kristine Camille Ramos

  • G.R. No. 175528 - PO3 Benito Sombilon, Jr. v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 175490 - Ileana Dr. Macalino v. Bank of the Philippines Islands

  • G.R. No. 176014 - Alice Vitangcol and Norberto Vitangcol v. New Vista Properties, Inc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 176040 - Casa Cebuana Incoporada, et al. v. Ireneo P. Leuterio

  • G.R. No. 176364 - Juanito R. Rimando v. Commission on Elections and Norma O. Magno

  • G.R. No. 176546 - Felicitas P. Ong v. The People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 176700 - Romero Montederamos v. Tri-Union International Corporation

  • G.R. No. 177056 - The Office of the Solicitor General v. Ayala Land Incorporated, et al.

  • G.R. No. 177066 - Joselito Musni Puno (as heir of the late Carlos Puno) v. Puno Enterprises, Inc., represented by Jesusa Puno

  • G.R. No. 177456 - Bank of the Philippine Isalands v. Domingo R. Dando

  • G.R. No. 177531 - Civil Service Commission v. Fatima A. Macud

  • G.R. No. 177705 - Kimberly-Clark Philippines, Inc. v. Nora Dimayuga, et al.

  • G.R. No. 177753 - People of the Philippines v. Benjamin Ocampo

  • G.R. No. 177836 - Edwino A. Torres (deceased), represented and substitute by Alfonso P. Torres III, et al.

  • G.R. NOS. 177857-58, G.R. NO. 178193 and G.R. NO. 180705 - Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED), Manuel V. Del Rosario, Domingo P. Espina, et al. v. Republic of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 178034, G.R. No. 178117 and G.R. NOS. 186984-85 - Andrew Jame Mcburne v. Eulalio Ganzon, et al.

  • G.R. No. 178485 - People of the Philippines v. Mariano Sapigao, Jr.

  • G.R. No. 178529 - Equitable PCI Bank, Inc (now known as Banco De Oro-EPCI, Inc.) v. Heirs of Antonio C. Tiu, et al.

  • G.R. No. 178543 - People of the Philippines v. Aristo Villanueva

  • G.R. No. 178933 - Recardo S. Silverio, Jr. v. Court of Appeals and Nelia S. Silverio-Dee

  • G.R. No. 179103 and G.R. NO. 180209 - National Power Corporation v. Premier Shipping Lines, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 179213 - People of the Philippines v. Nicolas Gutierrez y Licunan

  • G.R. No. 179313 - Makil U. Pundaodaya v. Commission on Elections, et al.

  • G.R. No. 179319 - Eugene C. Firaza v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 179475 - People of the Philippines v. Daniel Sibunga y Agtoca

  • G.R. No. 179502 - Progressive Trade & Service Enterprises v. Maria Milagrosa Antonio

  • G.R. No. 179583 - Jimmy L. Barnes a.k.a. James Barnes v. Teresita C. Reyes, et al.

  • G.R. No. 179799 - Zenaida R. Gregorio v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 179862 - Land Bank of the Philippines v. Heirs of Asuncion Anonuevo Vda. Santos, et al.

  • G.R. No. 179944 - People of the Philippines v. Antonio Ortiz, et al.

  • G.R. No. 179985 - Pdilon L. Martinez v. B&B Fish Broker and/or Norberto M. Lucinario

  • G.R. No. 180274 - Virgilio C. Crystal and Glynna F. Cystal v. Bank of the Philippines Islands

  • G.R. No. 180453 - Republic of the Philippines v. Dante C. Abril, represented by his Attorney-in-fact, Manuel C. Blaco, Jr.

  • G.R. No. 180478-79 - The Heritage Hotel of Manila v. National Labor Relations Commission, Rufino C. Ra on II, and Ismael C. Villa

  • G.R. No. 180508 - People of the Philippines v. Antonio v. Antonio Ramos y Viray

  • G.R. No. 180693 - Bonifacio Dolera y Tejada v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 180863 - Angelita Valdez v. Republic of the Philippines

  • G.R. NOS. 180880-81 and G.R. NOS. 180896-97 - Keppel Cebu Shipyard, Inc. v. Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation

  • G.R. No. 180888 - Rolando Placido and Edgardo Caragay v. National Labor Relations Commission and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Incorporated

  • G.R. No. 180992 - Elmer Diamante y Sioson, et al. v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 181081 - People of the Philippines v. Roldan Arcosiba alias "Entoy"

  • G.R. No. 181300 - Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. v. Jardine Davies Transport Services, Inc. and Asian Terminals, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 181303 - Carmen Danao Malana, et al. v. Benigno Tappa, et al.

  • G.R. No. 181503 - Bio Quest Marketing Inc. and/or Jose L. Co v. Edmund Rey

  • G.R. No. 181613 - Rosalinda A. Penera v. Commission on Elections and Edgar T. Andanar

  • G.R. No. 181629 - People of the Philippines v. Elizardo Cabiles alias "SARDO"

  • G.R. NOS. 181999 & G.R. No. 182001-04 and G.R. NOS. 182020-24 - Ofelia Caunan v. People of the Philippines, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182185 - Joaquin Ga, Jr., et al. v. Spouses Antonio Tabungan, et al.

  • G.R. No. 182320 - Tacloban Far East Marketing Corporation, et al. v. The Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183088 - People of the Philippines v. Donato Capco y Sabadlab

  • G.R. No. 183141 - Edgardo H. Catindig v. People of the Philippines, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183142 - Rosita A. Montanez v. Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), et al.

  • G.R. No. 183387 - Simeon M. Valdez v. Financiera Manila Inc.

  • G.R. No. 183457 - People of the Philippines v. Roel Arbalate, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183546 - Wilson A. Go v. Harry A. Go

  • G.R. No. 183646 - Great Southern Maritime Services Corp., et al. v. Leonila Surigao, et al.

  • G.R. No. 183656 - Gilbert Zalameda v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 183802 - Alexander Tam Wong v. Catherine Factor-Koyoma

  • G.R. No. 183965 - Joanie Surposa Uy v. Jose Ngo Chua

  • G.R. No. 184037 - Antonio Lopez y Dela Cruz v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 184225 - Spouses Rogelio F. Lopez and Teotima G. Lopez v. Samuel R. Espinosa and Angelita S. Espinosa

  • G.R. No. 184252 - China Banking Corporation v. Sps. Wenceslao & Marcelina Martir

  • G.R. No. 184268 - Ernesto Batalla v. Commission on Elections and teodoro Bataller

  • G.R. No. 184285 - Rodolfo "Rudy" Canlas, et al. v. Iluminada Tubil

  • G.R. No. 184735 - Miriam B. Elleccion vda. De Lecciones v. National Labor Relations Commission, et al.

  • G.R. No. 184958 - People of the Philippines v. Anthony C. Domingo and Gerry Domingo

  • G.R. No. 185001 - Ronnie H. Lumayna, et al. v. Commission on Audit

  • G.R. No. 185203 - People of the Philippines v. Domingo Araojo

  • G.R. No. 186138 - People of the Philippines v. Loreto Daria y Cruz

  • G.R. No. 186497 - People of the Philippines v. Hasanaddin Guira y Bansil

  • G.R. No. 187043 - People of the Philippines v. Lorenzo Oliva y Rosela

  • G.R. No. 187156 - People of the Philippines v. Melody Gutierrez y Lauriada

  • G.R. No. 187503 - People of the Philippines v. Tecson Lim y Chua and Maximo Flores y Viterbo

  • G.R. No. 188456 - Harry L. Roque, et al. v. Commission on Election, et al.

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    G.R. No. 170482 - Manila Electric Company v. Aguida Vda. De Santiago

      G.R. No. 170482 - Manila Electric Company v. Aguida Vda. De Santiago

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. NO. 170482 : September 4, 2009]

    MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, Petitioner, v. AGUIDA VDA. DE SANTIAGO, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    QUISUMBING, J.:

    This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the Decision1 dated April 22, 2005 and the Resolution2 dated November 21, 2005, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78800. The appellate court had reversed the Decision3 dated November 18, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 18, in Civil Case No. 249-M-2000. Earlier the RTC dismissed the complaint for damages filed by Aguida vda. de Santiago (Aguida) against the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and ordered Aguida to pay Meralco a differential billing amount of P65,819.754 in her electric billing. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed the RTC's decision and found that Aguida had been deprived of electricity without due process of law. It ordered Meralco to pay Aguida moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees and dismissed Meralco's claim for differential billing.

    The facts of the case, as summarized by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

    Respondent Aguida vda. de Santiago is the widow of the late Jose Santiago, a registered customer of petitioner Meralco. Since the death of her husband in October 1990, Aguida, along with her daughter Elsa, her five grandchildren and a housemaid, have been living in their residential house located at No. 26, Purok I Meyto, Calumpit, Bulacan, under the same contract of service entered into by Jose Santiago.

    On March 10, 2000, Antonio Cruz, an inspector of Meralco, together with two other Meralco inspectors, conducted a routine inspection of Aguida's meter installation posted outside the gate of their ancestral house at a distance of more or less twenty meters.

    After inspection, Cruz found that a self-grounding wire connected to the electric meter was being used to deflect the actual consumption of electricity. Cruz immediately disconnected the electric service and prepared a Meter/Socket Inspection Report5 and Notice of Disconnection6 which Aguida was made to sign. Thereafter, Cruz demanded payment of a differential billing amounting to P65,819.75. On the same day, Aguida filed a protest with the Malolos branch of Meralco and its main office in Ortigas, Pasig City. Aguida claimed that the electric meter was inspected without her knowledge or prior permission, nor were her neighbors called to witness the inspection. She also denied having seen a policeman in uniform during the inspection.

    Meralco, on the other hand, relied on Cruz' report and sent a differential billing to Aguida totaling P385,467.10. It likewise invoked the provisions of the contract of service and Republic Act No. 7832,7 otherwise known as the "Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994," to justify its right to effect immediate disconnection of the electric service.8

    On April 4, 2000, Aguida filed a complaint for damages against Meralco before the RTC of Malolos, Branch 18.9

    In a Decision dated November 18, 2002, the RTC dismissed the complaint for damages and ordered Aguida to pay Meralco P65,819.75 differential billing. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Judgment is hereby rendered in favor of defendants [Meralco and Antonio Cruz] and against plaintiff [Aguida vda. de Santiago]:

    1. dismissing plaintiff's Complaint for damages against defendants Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and Antonio Cruz;

    2. ordering plaintiff or her representative to pay or deposit with defendant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) the "differential billing" in the amount of Sixty-Five Thousand Eight Hundred Nineteen Pesos and Seventy-Five Centavos (P65,819.75), Philippine currency, within ten (10) days from receipt of this Decision; andcralawlibrary

    3. ordering defendant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to immediately restore or reconnect its electric service to plaintiff at [the] latter's residence at No. 26, Purok 1, Meyto, Calumpit, Bulacan, under the name of registered customer Jose Santiago, Aguida Vda. de Santiago, as user, upon payment by plaintiff of the foregoing "differential billing" of Sixty-Five Thousand Eight Hundred Nineteen Pesos and Seventy-Five Centavos (P65,819.75) with defendant Meralco. In the interest of public service and public interest, this particular disposition, with respect to immediate restoration of electric service only, is immediately executory without prejudice to any appeal that may be taken therefrom by any of the parties.

    No pronouncement as to costs.

    SO ORDERED.10

    Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals. Meralco protested the order to pay P65,819.75, arguing it should be P385,467.10, while Aguida argued that the RTC erred in finding that there was a regular inspection of her residence.

    On April 22, 2005, the Court of Appeals reversed the RTC's ruling after finding that there was no due process in the disconnection of Aguida's electric service.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    Thus:

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the RTC Branch 18, Malolos, Bulacan is hereby SET ASIDE and REVERSED. Defendant-appellant MERALCO is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff-appellant the sum of P100,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 exemplary damages plus P20,000.00 as attorney's fees. Furthermore, MERALCO's claim for P385,467.10 differential billing is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. Finally, the MERALCO is hereby ordered to immediately restore the electric supply of plaintiff-appellant.

    SO ORDERED.11

    Meralco's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, the instant appeal by Meralco where it raises the following issues:

    I.

    WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE WAS NO SUFFICIENT PROOF THAT RESPONDENT WAS FOUND USING SELF-GROUND WIRE.

    II.

    WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER MERALCO DID NOT OBSERVE DUE PROCESS OF LAW WHEN IT DISCONTINUED THE ELECTRIC SUPPLY OF RESPONDENT.

    III.

    WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO DISCONNECT RESPONDENT'S ELECTRIC SERVICE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF RA 7832.

    IV.

    WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING THE RULING OF [THE] COURT A QUO BY AWARDING DAMAGES IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT.12

    Simply, the issue is: Did the Court of Appeals err in reversing the RTC's decision dismissing respondent's complaint for damages against petitioner for allegedly disconnecting respondent's electric service without due process of law?cralawred

    At the onset, well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court, unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions:

    (1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures;

    (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;

    (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;

    (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;

    (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;

    (6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;

    (7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;

    (8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based;

    (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners' main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; andcralawlibrary

    (10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record.13 (Emphasis supplied.)

    As a rule, only questions of law are entertained by this Court in Petitions for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45. It is not our function to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence presented. It is a settled doctrine that in a civil case, final and conclusive are the factual findings of the trial court, but only if supported by clear and convincing evidence on record.14

    In this case, the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to the findings of the RTC. Hence, a review thereof is in order.

    Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 7832 states:

    SEC. 4. Prima Facie Evidence. − (a) The presence of any of the following circumstances shall constitute prima facie evidence of illegal use of electricity, as defined in this Act, by the person benefitted thereby, and shall be the basis for: (1) the immediate disconnection by the electric utility to such person after due notice, (2) the holding of a preliminary investigation by the prosecutor and the subsequent filing in court of the pertinent information, and (3) the lifting of any temporary restraining order or injunction which may have been issued against a private electric utility or rural electric cooperative:

    (i) The presence of a bored hole on the glass cover of the electric meter, or at the back or any other part of said meter;

    (ii) The presence inside the electric meter of salt, sugar and other elements that could result in the inaccurate registration of the meter's internal parts to prevent its accurate registration of consumption of electricity;

    (iii) The existence of any wiring connection which affects the normal operation or registration of the electric meter;

    (iv) The presence of a tampered, broken, or fake seal on the meter, or mutilated, altered, or tampered meter recording chart or graph, or computerized chart, graph or log;

    (v) The presence in any part of the building or its premises which is subject to the control of the consumer or on the electric meter, of a current reversing transformer, jumper, shorting and/or shunting wire, and/or loop connection or any other similar device;

    (vi) The mutilation, alteration, reconnection, disconnection, bypassing or tampering of instruments, transformers, and accessories;

    (vii) The destruction of, or attempt to destroy, any integral accessory of the metering device box which encases an electric meter or its metering accessories; andcralawlibrary

    (viii) The acceptance of money and/or other valuable consideration by any officer or employee of the electric utility concerned or the making of such an offer to any such officer or employee for not reporting the presence of any of the circumstances enumerated in subparagraphs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), or (vii) hereof: Provided, however, That the discovery of any of the foregoing circumstances, in order to constitute prima facie evidence, must be personally witnessed and attested to by an officer of the law or a duly authorized representative of the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB).

    (b) The possession, control or custody of electric power transmission line/material by any person, natural or juridical, not engaged in the transformation, transmission or distribution of electric power, or in the manufacture of such electric power transmission line/material shall be prima facie evidence that such line/material is the fruit of the offense defined in Section 3 hereof and therefore such line/material may be confiscated from the person in possession, control or custody thereof. (Emphasis supplied.)

    Under the above provision, the prima facie presumption that will authorize immediate disconnection will arise only upon the satisfaction of certain requisites. One of these requisites is the personal witnessing and attestation by an officer of the law or by an authorized ERB representative when the discovery was made.15

    After a careful review of the evidence on record, we affirm the appellate court's holding that "there is no solid, strong and satisfactory evidence to prove the alleged meter-tampering."

    The Court of Appeals correctly held:

    After our careful scrutiny of the records, we find merit to plaintiff-appellant's appeal. We believe that there is no solid, strong and satisfactory evidence to prove the alleged meter-tampering. The law states that, in order to constitute prima facie evidence of electric pilferage, the discovery thereof must be personally witnessed and attested to by at least a police officer or a representative of [the] Energy Regulatory Board (ERB).

    Here, PO2 Chavez had allegedly witnessed and attested to the conduct of routine inspection. It is intriguing to note, however, that the inspection was conducted in Calumpit, Bulacan whereas PO2 Chavez is a police officer assigned in Caloocan City. PO2 Chavez likewise failed to present a written order from [the] Caloocan Police Station that allowed/sent him to escort MERALCO inspectors in Calumpit, Bulacan. Moreover, PO2 Chavez likewise admitted that the inspection team did not coordinate with [the] Calumpit Police Station for assistance in the conduct of said inspection. This fact alone makes us wary of imputing any legitimacy or regularity in the conduct of operation by [the] MERALCO inspection team.

    We are inclined to lend credence to the testimony of plaintiff-appellant and her daughter Elsa that there was no policeman in uniform during the inspection.

    Moreover, if the meter-tampering was really committed, it could have been discovered at the earliest opportunity during the previous inspection on the subject meter installation conducted by [the] MERALCO, Malolos Branch in July 1999. Besides, plaintiff-appellant's billing records from May 1999 to February 2000 marked as EXHS. "A" to "A-9", will attest to the fact that her average monthly electric consumption ranges from 578 to 721 kwh. or with equivalent billing of P2,000 to P3000. There was no showing of drastic changes in the billing except only for the billing period of April 16, 1999 to May 18, 1999 when it had gone up to P7,793.60 which prompted the plaintiff-appellant to lodge a protest for investigation, re-computation and refund for over billing. Upon investigation, [the] MERALCO, Malolos Branch found the meter to be DEFECTIVE but not tampered. Thus, it replaced the defective meter but despite thereof, MERALCO did not make a corresponding refund in favor of the plaintiff-appellant. Furthermore, the meter was last seen in January 2000 and yet MERALCO found no traces of meter-tampering. Surprisingly, after barely two months from the last inspection, plaintiff-appellant is charged of meter-tampering by defendant CRUZ.

    The RTC had evidently failed to consider some relevant facts and circumstances, which if considered, would have altered its conclusion and judgment.16

    Like the Court of Appeals, we are also wary of imputing legitimacy or regularity to the acts of PO2 Chavez, who allegedly witnessed and attested to the conduct of the inspection at respondent's house, since he is a police officer of Caloocan City and not Bulacan. Police officers must act only within their assigned territory.

    In view of the foregoing, we affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated April 22, 2005 and the Resolution dated November 21, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 78800 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    * Additional member per Raffle of July 29, 2008 in place of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion who concurred in the assailed Decision and Resolution.

    1 Rollo, pp. 40-55. Penned by Associate Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, with Associate Justices Edgardo P. Cruz and Arturo D. Brion (now a member of this Court) concurring.

    2 Id. at 75-76.

    3 CA rollo, pp. 57-64. Penned by Presiding Judge Victoria C. Fernandez-Bernardo.

    4 Id. at 64.

    5 Records, Vol. I, p. 393.

    6 Id. at 394.

    7 An Act Penalizing the Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Power Transmission Lines/Materials, Rationalizing System Losses by Phasing Out Pilferage Losses as a Component Thereof, and for Other Purposes, approved on December 8, 1994.

    8 Records, Vol. I, p. 122.

    9 Id. at 3-14.

    10 CA rollo, pp. 63-64.

    11 Rollo, p. 53.

    12 Id. at 340.

    13 Ontimare, Jr. v. Elep, G.R. No. 159224, January 20, 2006, 479 SCRA 257, 265.

    14 Vibram Manufacturing Corporation v. Manila Electric Company, G.R. No. 149052, August 9, 2005, 466 SCRA 178, 183.

    15 Quisumbing v. Meralco, G.R. No. 142943, April 3, 2002, 380 SCRA 195, 204.

    16 Rollo, pp. 242-244.

    G.R. No. 170482 - Manila Electric Company v. Aguida Vda. De Santiago


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