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[G. R. No. 144479.October 17, 2001]

MARINO INC. et al., vs. HON. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, et al.

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 17 2001.

G.R. No. 144479(Mariners Association for Regional and International Networking Organization (MARINO), Inc. and Merchant Marine Overseas Association, Inc., Petitioners, versus Hon. Bienvinedo Laguesma, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, and Hon. Reynaldo Regalado, in his capacity as the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Respondents.)

Petition for prohibition with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the constitutionality or legality of Department Order No. 04, Series of 2000, issued by then Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Department Order No. 04, which took effect on June 25, 2000, amended certain provisions of the Rules On The Standard Terms And Conditions Governing. The Employment Of Filipino Seafarers On Board Ocean-Going Vessels adopted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Petitioners contend that the amendments incorporated in Department Order No. 04 are unconstitutional and violative of existing laws since they constitute a diminution of Filipino seafarers' benefits. Thus, they claim that respondent, then Secretary Laguesma, issued the said order "in excess of his jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion."

Earlier, or on June 23, 2000, a petition for certiorari with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction was filed with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 143476.1 "PEDRO L. LINSANGAN, ROMULO DELGADO, JR. and JANUARIO JIAO, Petitioners, vs. HON. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, and HON. REYNALDO REGALADO, in his capacity as the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Respondents." Petitioners therein challenged the constitutionality or legality of the same Department Order.

On September 10, 2001, this Court issued a Resolution dismissing the petition in G.R. No. 143476 on the grounds that: (1) the questioned Department Order is not within the ambit of a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended; and (2) the petition was filed in violation of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. The pertinent portions of the Resolution read:

"The instant petition is one for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which may be filed in case a tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial function has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. In this case, the Secretary of Labor did not act as a quasi-judicial officer. He promulgated a Department Order pursuant to his rule-making or quasi-legislative power under Section 9 of Executive Order No. 247 (Reorganizing the POEA [July 24, 1987]), being the Chairman of the Governing Board of the POEA (Pursuant to Executive Order No. 797 reorganizing the DOLE and creating the POEA [May 1, 1982]. Such act is not within the ambit of a special civil action for certiorari (Philnabank Employees Association vs. Estanislao, 227 SCRA 804 f [1993]).

x x x x

"Moreover, assuming that this petition falls under Rule 65 of the same Rules, it should have been filed with the lower court, not this Court, under the doctrine of hierarchy of courts (Executive Secretary vs. Gordon, 298 SCRA 736 (1998); Pearson vs. IAC, 295 SCRA 27 (1998)."

"WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

"SO ORDERED."

In like manner, a special civil action for prohibition may be invoked against a tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person exercising only judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions.2 Section 2, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. Following this Court's Resolution in G.R. No. 143476, the issuance of Department Order No. 04, Series of 2000 by then Secretary of Labor Bienvenido Laguesma is not a proper subject of an original action for prohibition.

Moreover, Section 5 paragraph 2 (A), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution vests this Court with appellate jurisdiction over final judgments and orders of lower courts in "all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question." In the instant case, a direct resort to this Court is improper. Such action violates the doctrine of hierarchy of courts.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON

Clerk of Court


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