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Administrative Law, Election Law and Law on Public Officers Cases Digest

Administrative Law, Election Law and Law on Public Officers Cases Digest

Dimayuga v. Benedicto II (373 SCRA 652, 2002)

G.R. No. 144153 - January  16, 2002

Facts: On October 26, 1992, then Secretary of Public Works and Highways Jose P. de Jesus issued a permanent appointment in favor of petitioner Chona M. Dimayuga as Executive Director II of the Toll Regulatory Board ("Board"). At the time, the position of Executive Director II was not deemed part of the career executive service, that is, until June 4, 1993, when it was included therein.


On May 31, 1994, the Civil Service Commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 21.3 Section 4 of the Memorandum states:

xxx - xxx - xxx

4. Status of Appointment of Incumbents of Positions Included Under the Coverage of the CES. Incumbents of positions which are declared to be Career Executive Service positions for the first time pursuant to this Resolution who hold permanent appointment thereto shall remain under permanent status in their respective positions. However, upon promotion or transfer to other Career Executive Service (CES) positions, these incumbents shall be under temporary status in said positions until they qualify.

xxx - xxx - xxx

In the meantime, responding to a letter dated December 1, 19989 from petitioner requesting a clarification on her status, the Career Executive Service Board ("CESB")


xxx - xxx - xxx

It has always been the stand of the CES Board, even before the issuance of MC 21 by the CSC, to respect or honor the appointment status of an official appointed to a position which is subsequently included in the CES, such that if the appointment was of a permanent status or nature, the inclusion of the position in the CES is not deemed to have changed the status of the appointee to the position. xxx

petitioner received a letter dated September 22, 1998 from respondent Vigilar informing her that then President Joseph E. Estrada had appointed respondent Mariano E. Benedicto II in her stead as Executive Director II of the Board. The letter cited a Memorandum dated June 30, 1998.


petitioner filed on September 6, 1999 a petition for quo warranto before the Court of Appeals




Ruling: No. In that case of Bacal this Court emphasized two (2) salient points, to wit:

First, in order to qualify an appointment as permanent, the appointee must possess the rank appropriate to the position. Failure in this respect will render the appointment merely temporary. In Atty. Bacal's case, it was ruled that she did not acquire tenure since she had only a CESO III rank; and that she was not appointed CESO I which was the requisite eligibility for the position of Chief Public Attorney.

Second, security of tenure in the career executive service ("CES") is thus acquired with respect to rank and not to position. The guaranty of security of tenure to members of the career executive service does not extend to the particular positions to which they may be appointed - a concept which is applicable only to first and second-level employees in the civil service - but to the rank to which they are appointed by the President.


The mere fact that a position belongs to the Career Service does not automatically confer security of tenure on its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications. Such right will have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in turn depends on his eligibility or lack of it. A person who does not have the requisite qualifications for the position cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an exception to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligibles. The appointment extended to him cannot be regarded as permanent even if it may be so designated.


Digest: Cuevas v. Bacal (347 SCRA 338, 2000)
G.R. No. 139382. December 6, 2000.


Facts: This case involves the appointment and transfer of career executive service officers (CESOs). More specifically, it concerns the "appointment" of respondent Josefina G. Bacal, who holds the rank of CESO III, to the position of Chief Public Attorney in the Public Attorney’s Office, which has a CES Rank Level I, and her subsequent transfer, made without her consent, to the Office of the Regional Director of the PAO.

Respondent Josefina G. Bacal passed the Career Executive Service Examinations in 1989.

she was conferred CES eligibility and appointed Regional Director of the Public Attorney’s Office

he was appointed by then President Fidel V. Ramos to the rank of CESO III.

she was designated by the Secretary of Justice as Acting Chief Public Attorney, her appointment was confirmed by President Ramos so that, on February 20, 1998, she took her oath and assumed office.


petitioner Carina J. Demaisip was appointed "CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER" by President Joseph Estrada. Apparently because the position was held by respondent, another appointment paper was issued by the President on July 6, 1998 designating petitioner Demaisip as "CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER (formerly chief public attorney), PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE vice ATTY. JOSEFINA G. BACAL, effective July 1, 1998." 2 On the other hand, respondent was appointed "Regional Director, Public Defender’s Office" by the President.


respondent filed a petition for quo warranto questioning her replacement as Chief Public Attorney. 




Ruling: It is settled that a permanent appointment can be issued only "to a person who meets all the requirements for the position to which he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility prescribed." Achacoso did not. At best, therefore, his appointment could be regarded only as temporary. And being so, it could be withdrawn at will by the appointing authority and "at a moment’s notice," conformably to established jurisprudence. . . .

The mere fact that a position belongs to the Career Service does not automatically confer security of tenure on its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications. Such right will have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in turn depends on his eligibility or lack of it. A person who does not have the requisite qualifications for the position cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an exception to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligibles. The appointment extended to him cannot be regarded as permanent even if it may be so designated. . . .


As a general rule, a CES eligible will be recommended for appointment to the rank equivalent of the level of his managerial responsibility if his performance rating is Satisfactory or higher. If the performance rating is Outstanding, he will be recommended one rank higher than his level of managerial responsibility.

Security of tenure in the career executive service is thus acquired with respect to rank and not to position. The guarantee of security of tenure to members of the CES does not extend to the particular positions to which they may be appointed — a concept which is applicable only to first and second-level employees in the civil service — but to the rank to which they are appointed by the President. Accordingly, respondent did not acquire security of tenure by the mere fact that she was appointed to the higher position of Chief Public Attorney since she was not subsequently appointed to the rank of CESO I based on her performance in that position as required by the rules of the CES Board.


Digest: Paloma v. Mora (479 SCRA 711, 2005)
G.R. NO. 157783. September 23, 2005


Facts: Petitioner Nilo Paloma was appointed General Manager of the Palompon, Leyte Water District by its Board of Directors in 1993. His services were subsequently terminated by virtue of Resolution No. 8-953 dated 29 December 1995, which was passed by respondents as Chairman and members of the Board of the Palompon, Leyte Water District, namely: Danilo Mora, Hilario Festejo, Bryn Bongbong and Maxima Salvino, respectively. The Board, in the same Resolution, designated respondent Valentino Sevilla as Officer-in-Charge.


Status of his appointment is co-terminus


Issue: Whether or not replacement was valid.


Ruling: Yes, as a general rule, no officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law as provided in Section 2(3), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution.  As exception to this, P.D. No. 198, which we held in Feliciano v. Commission On Audit 28 to be the special enabling charter of Local Water Districts, categorically provides that the General Manager shall serve "at the pleasure of the board."

Correlatively, the nature of appointment of General Managers of Water Districts under Section 23 of P.D. No. 198 falls under Section 14 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, which provides:

Sec. 14. An appointment may also be co-terminous which shall be issued to a person whose entrance and continuity in the service is based on the trust and confidence of the appointing authority or that which is subject to his pleasure, or co-existent with his tenure, or limited by the duration of project or subject to the availability of funds.

The co-terminous status may thus be classified as follows:

(1) Co-terminous with the project - when the appointment is co-existent with the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment was made or subject to the availability of funds for the same;

(2) Co-terminous with the appointing authority - when appointment is co-existent with the tenure of the appointing authority or at his pleasure;

(3) Co-terminous with the incumbent - when the appointment is co-existent with the appointee, in that after the resignation, separation or termination of the services of the incumbent the position shall be deemed automatically abolished; andcralawlibrary

(4) Co-terminous with a specific period - appointment is for a specific period and upon expiration thereof, the position is deemed abolished; . . . (Underscoring supplied.)


petitioner nevertheless serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority as this is clearly stipulated in his employment contract. 


 Approval/Recall of Appointment by the Civil Service Commission
Digest: Occidental Mindoro National College v. Macaraeg (419 SCRA 708, 2004)

Facts: Virginia Sicat was appointed Secondary Assistant Principal of San Jose National High School upon recommendation of the Division Superintendent of Schools for Occidental Mindoro. This was duly approved by the Secretary of Education and Culture and attested to by the Civil Service Commission on April 3, 1976 as a regular (permanent) appointment.


On May 13, 1975, respondent Virginia Macaraig and four others contested the said appointment on the ground that as next in rank they had a preferential right to be appointed to the vacancy.


However, the Department of Education and Culture (DEC) held that "all the protestants are not employees next-in-rank and therefore cannot claim promotional preference to the contested vacancy."


petitioner assumed the position of Assistant Principal of San Jose National High School. But School Principal Bernabe Macaraig, Virginia Macaraigs husband, refused to honor Sicats appointment and sought its revocation by citing irregularities which allegedly attended the appointment.


the CSC cancelled Sicats appointment. Thereafter, a permanent appointment was extended to Virginia Macaraig who assumed and began discharging the duties and functions of Assistant Principal on May 23, 1977.


In view of the foregoing, a new appointment should now be issued in favor of the original appointeeVirginia Sicat, after rectifying the errors found in the original appointment.




Ruling: Whether the appointment involved would have been a promotional one or an appointment to a converted/reclassified position would not have really mattered because in either situation, respondent would not have qualified. In both cases, respondents employment with OMNC was severed; or putting it mildly, she was separated from the service.

Granting again, for the sake of argument, that the January 1, 1984 "appointment" was a regular and valid one, the same fell short of a substantive requirement under the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations13 before it could become valid and effective. Notably, while the alleged appointment was issued on January 1, 1984, the same was submitted to the Civil Service Commission only on January 12, 1986, or after two (2) years and 12 days after its issuance. The much-delayed submission to the Civil Service Commission was a blatant violation of the mandatory provision of Sec. 11, Rule V of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations which clearly provides:

Sec. 11. An appointment not submitted to the Commission within thirty (30) days from the date of issuance which shall be the date appearing on the face of the appointment, shall be ineffective. The appointing authority shall be liable for the salaries of the appointee whose appointment became ineffective. The appointing authority shall likewise be liable for the payment of the salary of the appointee if the appointment is disapproved because the appointing authority has issued it in violation of existing laws or rules, making the appointment unlawful. (Underscoring supplied)

Verily, the failure to submit the alleged appointment of respondent to the Civil Service Commission way beyond the 30-day prescribed period was a patent violation of the aforequoted provision. Over two years had actually elapsed already. The appointment became stale, ineffective. It died a natural death, so to speak, from sheer delay and neglect. In fact, the Civil Service Commission returned the questioned appointment without action.

From the very beginning, respondents alleged appointment was made under anomalous and suspicious circumstances. When respondents husband, Mr. Bernabe Macaraig (then President of OMNC), issued the alleged appointment in favor of his respondent-wife on January 1, 1984, the former had no authority whatsoever to make such appointment for, it was only on November 20, 1984 when the OMNC Board of Trustees came out with a resolution14 authorizing the issuance of the said appointment to his wife. Thus, too, while the other employees-appointees were able to comply with the CSC mandatory requirement for an appointment to become valid and effective, only respondent Virginia Macaraig failed to do so.

Indubitably, respondents separation from the service had long been resolved by reason of the following:

First: In Sicat v. Manuel, the Courts Resolution15 dated December 3, 1984, declared Sicat as the rightful occupant of the contested position and correspondingly dislodged herein respondent from the said position.

Second: The alleged appointment was illegally issued on January 1, 1984 or ten (10) months before the Board of Trustees of OMNC issued an authority16 to appoint on November 20, 1984. The alleged appointment was spurious since there was no authority for its issuance.

Third: The questioned appointment was submitted to the Civil Service Commission way beyond the 30-day required mandatory period prescribed under the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations for approval and effectivity of the same. It took respondent two (2) years and 12 days before her alleged appointment was submitted to the Commission.

Fourth: The administrative case against respondent (MSPB Case No. 1574 (1651) 17 was still pending when the questioned appointment was issued on January 1, 1984. It should be emphasized that the above case was initially decided by the MSP Board only on June 3, 1988. And after two motions for reconsideration, the Board in an Order dated July 6, 1990 ruled with finality on the illegality of respondents appointment. We quote the pertinent portions of the final Order18, thus:


Digest: De Rama v. Court of Appeals (353 SCRA 94, 2001)
G.R. No. 131136. February 28, 2001

Facts: Upon his assumption to the position of Mayor of Pagbilao, Quezon, petitioner Conrado L. de Rama wrote a letter dated July 13, 1995 to the Civil Service Commission (or CSC), seeking the recall of the appointments of fourteen (14) municipal employees. Justifying his recall request on the allegation that the appointments of the said employees were “midnight” appointments of the former mayor, Ma. Evelyn S. Abeja, done in violation of Article VII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution. The CSC denied petitioner’s request for the recall of the appointments of the fourteen employees, for lack of merit. The CSC upheld the validity of the appointments on the ground that they had already been approved by the Head of the CSC Field Office in Lucena City, and for petitioner’s failure to present evidence that would warrant the revocation or recall of the said appointments.


Issue: whether or not the recall made by petitioner is valid.


Ruling: No. It is the CSC that is authorized to recall an appointment initially approved, but only when such appointment and approval are proven to be in disregard of applicable provisions of the civil service law and regulations. Rule V, Section 9 of the Omnibus Implementing Regulations of the Revised Administrative Code specifically provides that “an appointment accepted by the appointee cannot be withdrawn or revoked by the appointing authority and shall remain in force and in effect until disapproved by the Commission.


Accordingly, the appointments of the private respondents may only be recalled on the following grounds: (a) Non-compliance with the procedures/criteria provided in the agency’s Merit Promotion Plan; (b) Failure to pass through the agency’s Selection/Promotion Board; (c) Violation of the existing collective agreement between management and employees relative to promotion; or (d) Violation of other existing civil service law, rules and regulations.

 Vacancy - Appointment to a Non-vacant Position
Digest: Costin v. Quimbo (120 SCRA 159, 1983)
G.R. No. L-32271. January 27, 1983.

Facts:  Petitioner Estanislao Lajer was a member of municipal treasurer. Lajer and other eight members of police force was found to be illegally the municipal police force of Abuyog, Leyte since January 1, 1949. He was extended a promotional appointment as sergeant of police on October 15, 1958. On November 25, 1959, the outgoing municipal mayor of Abuyog accorded Lajer another promotional appointment as chief of police. This last appointment was not attested and approved as required by law. On January 14, 1960, the new municipal mayor dismissed Lajer and eight other members of the police department. On the same day, the municipal mayor extended to respondent Higinio Verra a permanent appointment as Chief of Police of Abuyog. Verra immediately took over the position. His appointment was eventually approved as permanent one. On January 19,1960, Lajer and eight other members of the police force filed an action for mandamus against the municipal mayor, municipal treasurer and the municipal council of Abuyog, contesting their separation from the service. While the petition was pending, there was again a change in the municipal administration, as a result of the 1963 elections.

The newly elected municipal mayor dismissed

Verra. Verra was replaced by Victoriano SIlleza, officer-in-charge when petitioner Marcial Costin was appointed as chief of police. Verra filed a case against Costin, the municipal mayor and dismissed. Lajer was reinstated as chief of police. Verra filed an amended petition. The respondent judge rendered a decision in favor of the reinstatement of Verra.


Issue: Whether or not the appointment of respondent Verra appointment in the position of Chief of Police was valid and consequently his removal therefrom illegal.


Ruling: The Supreme Court ruled that when respondent Verra was appointed chief of police on January 14, 1960, Lajer had just been dismissed from office with several other members of the police force. The validity of Verra’s appointment, therefore hinges on the legality of Lajer’s removal. It is elementary in the law of public officers that no person, no matter how qualified and eligible he is for a certain position, may be appointed to an office which is not vacant. There can be no appointment to a non-vacant position. The incumbent must first be legally removed or his appointment validly terminated.



IX. Qualifying to Office/Qualification (as an act) to an office
Digest: Quiatchon v. Villanueva (101 Phil. 989, 1957)
G.R. No. L-9903. July 31, 1957

Facts: This is an action for mandamus to compel respondent Manuel M. Villanueva, "in his capacity as Acting Mayor of the City of Bacolod," to reinstate petitioners Jesus Quiatchon, Jose T. Real, Manuel Cabiles and Alfredo T. Schwab, as members of the police force of the City of Bacolod, as well as to recover their salaries during the period of their ouster, in addition to moral and exemplary damages.

There is no dispute about the facts, the case having been submitted for decision upon an agreed stipulation of facts. It appears that Ignacio or Engracio Manguin, Melanio Quizon, Democrito Nanta and Bonifacio Ormeo, none of whom is a civil service eligible, were temporarily appointed" as members of the police force of the City of Bacolod.  Owing to the criminal action filed against them these members of the police force were suspended from the service pursuant to section 4 of Republic Act No. 557.


September, 1954, said Acting City Mayor appointed petitioners herein, who are civil service eligible. and soon thereafter, said petitioners assumed their respective offices and discharged the duties thereof. On or about December 20, 1954, the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental rendered judgment in the aforementioned criminal case, acquitting the defendants therein. Villanueva, removed the petitioners from their respective offices and appointed thereto the aforementioned Engracio Manguin, Melanio Quizon, Democrito Nanta and Bonifacio Ormeo.


Although the latter still lack civil service qualifications, and no administrative investigation had been conducted, or administrative charges filed, against said petitioners. Hence, the present action for mandamus against Manuel M. Villanueva, in his capacity as Acting Mayor of the City of Bacolod. 


Issue: Whether or not the replacement of temporary appointment without CSC Eligibility by an appointee who has CSC eligibility is valid.



Ruling: Yes.  "Temporary appointment without examination and certification by the Commissioner of Civil Service or his local representatives shall not be made to a competitive position in any case, except when the public interests so require, and then only upon the prior authorization of the Commissioner of Civil Service; and any temporary appointment so authorized shall continue only for such period not exceeding three months as may be necessary to make appointment through certification of eligibles, and in no case shall extend beyond thirty days from receipt by the chief of the bureau or office of the Commissioner’s certification of eligibles; . . .

"Appointments made under the section are temporary, when the public interests so require and only upon the prior authorization of the commissioner of civil service, not to exceed three months and in no case shall extend beyond thirty days from receipt by the chief of the bureau or office of the commissioner’s certification of eligibles. The fact that the petitioners held the positions for more than three months does not make them civil service eligibles. 


Also the fact that the acting commissioner of civil service authorized their appointments ‘under section 682 of the Revised Administrative Code to continue only until replaced by an eligible’ does not make them eligibles. The holding of a position by a temporary appointee until replaced by an eligible in disregard of the time limitation of three months is unauthorized and illegal. The temporary appointment of other non-eligibles to replace those whose term have expired is not prohibited. Hence the replacement of Teodulo T. Orais, David Lim, Lomingo Saligo and Eulalio Bernades, who are non-eligibles, by Isidro Magallanes, Pedro Flores, Francisco Tavera and Narciso Ravago, who are eligibles, is in accordance with law. The replacement of non-eligibles by non-eligibles is lawful under and pursuant to section 682 of the Revised Administrative Code." (Italics ours.)



IX. N. Necessity of Oath of Office
Digest:Mendoza v. Laxina, Jr. (406 SCRA 156, 2003)
GR No. 146875, Jul 14, 2003


Facts: On May 27, 1997, respondent took his oath and thereafter assumed office as the duly proclaimed and elected barangay captain of Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City, in the 1997 Barangay Elections. Meanwhile, Roque Fermo, his rival candidate, filed an election protest with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 40. On January 18, 1999, Fermo was declared as the winner in the Barangay Elections. Respondent filed a notice of appeal with the COMELEC while Fermo filed a motion for execution pending appeal.


On January 20, 1999, an order was issued by the trial court granting the motion for execution pending appeal. Hence, respondent vacated the position and relinquished the same to Fermo. Thereafter, respondent filed a petition with the COMELEC questioning the January 20, 1999 order of the trial court. On September 16, 1999, the COMELEC issued a resolution[2] annulling the order which granted the execution of the decision pending appeal on the ground that there existed no good reasons to justify execution.


COMELEC issued a writ of execution directing Fermo to vacate the office of Barangay Chairman. COMELEC, acting on respondent's motion to cite Fermo for contempt. Barangay Council of Batasan Hills issued Resolutions .


However, the appointees of Roque Fermo to the same position registered objections to the said Resolutions. In order to accommodate these appointees, respondent agreed to grant them allowances and renumerations for the period of November 1- 7, 1999.


Sometime in January 2000, petitioner barangay councilors filed with the Quezon City Council a complaint.


In their joint counter-affidavit,[19] defendants claimed that the taking anew of the oath of office as barangay chairman was a mere formality and was not a requirement before respondent can validly discharge the duties of his office.



Issue: Is the taking of an oath of office anew by a duly proclaimed but subsequently unseated local elective official a condition sine qua non to the validity of his re-assumption in office where the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) orders the relinquishment of the contested position?


Ruling: Yes. To be sure, an oath of office is a qualifying requirement for a public office; a prerequisite to the full investiture with the office. It is only when the public officer has satisfied the prerequisite of oath that his right to enter into the position becomes plenary and complete.[33] However, once proclaimed and duly sworn in office, a public officer is entitled to assume office and to exercise the functions thereof. The pendency of an election protest is not sufficient basis to enjoin him from assuming office or from discharging his functions.[34] Unless his election is annulled by a final and executory decision,[35] or a valid execution of an order unseating him pending appeal is issued, he has the lawful right to assume and perform the duties of the office to which he has been elected.



IX.O De Facto Officer Defined
Digest:  Zoleta v. Sandiganbayan (764 SCRA 110, 2015)
G.R. No. 185224. July 29, 2015


Facts: The case stemmed from an anonymous complaint filed against the petitioner, Mary Ann Gadian, and Sheryll Desiree Tangan before the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao (Ombudsman) for participating in the scheme of questionable grants and donations to fictitious entities using provincial funds. As a result of this complaint, the Commission on Audit (COA) conducted a special audit in Sarangani Province. Among the irregularities discovered by the Special Audit Team was a ₱20,000.00 financial assistance given to Women in Progress (WIP), a cooperative whose members were mostly government personnel or relatives of the officials of Sarangani Province.


On arraignment, the petitioner, Vice-Governor Constantino and Bahilidad pleaded "not guilty." Diaz and Camanay, on the other hand, remained at large. the Sandiganbayan found the petitioner and Bahilidad guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged.


In the present petition, the petitioner argued that: (a) the Sandiganbayan’s November 5, 2008 decision in Criminal Case No. 28326 was void because one of its signatories, Justice Gregory Ong, was not a natural-born Filipino citizen per Kilosbayan Foundation v. Exec. Sec. Ermita, and hence not qualified to be a Sandiganbayan justice; (b) the totality of evidence presented by the prosecution was insufficient to overcome the petitioner’s presumption of innocence; and (c) the Sandiganbayan denied her due process when it issued its Order dated April 5, 2006, amending certain portions of the pre-trial order without any hearing.


In its Comment, the People countered that Kilosbayan merely required Justice Ong to complete "all necessary steps, through the appropriate adversarial proceedings in court, to show that he is a natural born Filipino citizen and correct the records of his birth and citizenship." It added that Kilosbayan did not categorically rule that Justice Ong was not a natural-born Filipino who was disqualified from accepting an appointment to the position of Associate Justice of this Court. The People further pointed out that the Court in Topacio v. Ong already acknowledged Justice Ong’s actual physical possession and exercise of the functions of the office of an Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan.


Issue: Whether or not decision of Sandiganbayan should be invalidated because justice ong is a de facto officer.


Ruling: No. Even without this ruling, we hold that Justice Ong was a de facto officer during the period of his incumbency as a Sandiganbayan Associate Justice. A de facto officer is one who is in possession of an office and who openly exercises its functions under color of an appointment or election, even though such appointment or election may be irregular. It is likewise defined as one who is in possession of an office, and is discharging its duties under color of authority, by which is meant authority derived from an appointment, however irregular or informal, so that the incumbent be not a mere volunteer. Consequently, the acts of the de facto officer are as valid for all purposes as those of a de jure officer, in so far as the public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned.


IX. P. Instances of De Facto Officers
Digest: Rodriguez v. Tan (91 Phil. 725, 1952)


Facts. Plaintiff claims that on December 30, 1947, defendant usurped the office of Senator of the Philippines, and from that date until December 1949, he continously collected the salaries, emoluments and privileges attendant to that office amounting to P18,400; that protest having been filed by plaintiff against defendant, the Senate Electoral Tribunal on December 16, 1949, rendered judgment declaring plaintiff to have been duly elected to the office; and that by reason of such usurpation, plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of P35,524.55 for expenses he incurred in prosecuting the protest. Plaintiff claims that, as defendant was found and by final judgment not to have been entitled to the office of Senator, and, as such, he was during the time he discharged that office a mere de facto officer, he should reimbursed to the plaintiff the salaries and emoluments he has received on the following grounds; (1) because the salaries and emoluments follow and are inseparable from legal title to the office and do not depend on whether the duties of the office are discharged or not; and (2) because such a rule tends to curb election frauds and lessens the danger and frequency of usurpation or instrusion into the office.



Defendant, on the other hand, contends that the rule invoked by plaintiff, while sound and plausible cannot be invoked in the present case, since it runs counter to the principle and rule long observed in this jurisdiction to the effect that one who has been elected to an office, and has been proclaimed by the corresponding authority, has a right to assume the office and discharge its functions notwithstanding the protest filed against his election, and as a necessary consequence he has likewise the right to collect and received the salaries and emoluments thereunto appertaining as a compensation for the salaries he has rendered.


Issue: whether defendant, who has been proclaimed, took the oath of office, and discharged the duties of Senator, can be ordered to reimburse the salaries and emoluments he has received during his incumbency to the plaintiff who has been legally declared elected by the Senate Electoral Tribunal


Ruling: There is no question that the defendant acted as a de facto officer during the time he held the office of Senator. He was one of the candidates of the Liberal Party in the elections of November 11, 1947, and was proclaimed as one of those who had been elected by the Commission on Elections, and thereafter he took the oath of office and immediately entered into the performance of the duties of the position.

Having been thus duly proclaimed as Senator and having assumed office as required by law, it cannot be disputed that defendant is entitled to the compensation, emoluments and allowances which our Constitution provides for the position (article VI, section 14). This is as it should be. This is in keeping with the ordinary course of events. This is simple justice. The emolument must go to the person who rendered service unless the contrary is provided. There is no averment in the complaint that he is linked with any irregularity vitiating his election. This is the policy and the rule that has been followed consistently in this jurisdiction in connection with the provisions held by persons who had been elected thereto but were later ousted as a result of an election protest. The right of the persons elected to compensation during their incumbency has always been recognized. We cannot recall of any precedent wherein the contrary rule has been upheld.


Digest: Tuanda et. al. v. Sandiganbayan (249 SCRA 242, 1995)
G.R. No. 110544 October 17, 1995

Facts: Petitioners institute this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside the resolution of Sandiganbayan and its orders denying petitioners' motion for suspension of their arraignment.


Fabruary 9, 1989 Delia Estrellanes and Bartolome Binaohan were designated as industrial labor sectoral representative and agricultural labor sectoral representative for the Sangguniang Bayan of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental by DILG Secretary Santos. They both took their oath of office on February 16 and 17, 1989.


Then, petitioners filed a petition with the Office of the President for review and recall of said designations. This was denied and enjoined Tuanda to recognize private sectoral representatives. Estrallanes and Binaohan then filed a petition for mandamus with RTC Negros Oriental for recognition as members of the Sangguniang Bayan. It was dismissed.


The matter was then brought to RTC Dumaguete City accusing Tuanda and others of taking advantage of their official functions and unlawfully causing undue injury to Estrellanes and Binaohan.


Petitioners filed a motion with Sandiganbayan for suspension of the Criminal Case on the ground that a prejudicial question exists. The RTC rendered a decision declaring null and void ab initio the designations issued by DILG for violation of the provisions saying that the Sanggunian itself must make a determination first of the number of sectors in the city/municipality to warrant representation.


Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan has issued a resolution saying that the private respondents have rendered such services and the said appointments enjoy the presumption of regularity; for these reasons, the private respondents were entitled to the slaries attached to their office. Even if the RTC later declare the appointments null and void, they would still be given salaries because of the period they acted as representatives has made them a de facto officers.


Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution in view of the RTC nullification of the appointments. But it was likewise denied along with the cancellation of their arraignment, instead Sandiganbayan required Tuanda and the others to submit a written show cause why they should not be cited for contempt of court for their failure to appear in court today for the arraignment.


Hence, this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition where petitioners attribute to respondent Sandiganbayan the following errors:

A. The Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners' motions for the suspension of the proceedings in Criminal Case

B. The Respondent Court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in refusing to suspend the proceedings that would entail a retrial and rehearing by it of the basic issue involved

C. The Respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion and/or acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in effectively allowing petitioners to be prosecuted under two alternative theories that private respondents are de jure and/or de facto officers in violation of petitioners' right to due process.


Issue: whether private respondents' designation as sectoral representatives is legal and is entitle to compensation.


Ruling: The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting decisions. 14 It has two essential elements:

(a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and

(b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed. 15

Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bench, we find that the issue in the civil case, CA-G.R. CV No. 36769, constitutes a valid prejudicial question to warrant suspension of the arraignment and further proceedings in the criminal case against petitioners.

All the elements of a prejudicial question are clearly and unmistakably present in this case. There is no doubt that the facts and issues involved in the civil action (No. 36769) and the criminal case (No. 16936) are closely related. The filing of the criminal case was premised on petitioners' alleged partiality and evident bad faith in not paying private respondents' salaries and per diems as sectoral representatives, while the civil action was instituted precisely to resolve whether or not the designations of private respondents as sectoral representatives were made in accordance with law.


Private respondents insist that even if their designations are nullified, they are entitled to compensation for actual services rendered. We disagree. As found by the trial court and as borne out by the records, from the start, private respondents' designations as sectoral representatives have been challenged by petitioners. They began with a petition filed with the Office of the President copies of which were received by private respondents on 26 February 1989, barely eight (8) days after they took their oath of office. Hence, private respondents' claim that they have actually rendered services as sectoral representatives has not been established.


Finally, we find unmeritorious respondent Sandiganbayan's thesis that even in the event that private respondents' designations are finally declared invalid, they may still be considered de facto public officers entitled to compensation for services actually rendered.

The conditions and elements of de facto officership are the following:

1) There must be a de jure office;

2) There must be color of right or general acquiescence by the public; and

3) There must be actual physical possession of the office in good faith.


IX.Q Q. De Jure Officer Defined
Digest: Topacio v. Ong (574 SCRA 817, 2008)  G.R. No. 179895 . December 18, 2008.

Facts: Ferdinand Topacio (petitioner) via the present petition for certiorari and prohibition seeks, in the main, to prevent Justice Gregory Ong (Ong) from further exercising the powers, duties and responsibilities of a Sandiganbayan Associate Justice.


It will be recalled that in Kilosbayan Foundation v. Ermita, the Court, by Decision of July 3, 2007, enjoined Ong "from accepting an appointment to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court or assuming the position and discharging the functions of that office, until he shall have successfully completed all necessary steps, through the appropriate adversarial proceedings in court, to show that he is a natural-born Filipino citizen and correct the records of his birth and citizenship.


Issue: Whether or not Ong is a de jure officer.


Ruling: Suffice it to mention that a de facto officer is one who is in possession of the office and is discharging its duties under color of authority, and by color of authority is meant that derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or informal, so that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer. If a person appointed to an office is subsequently declared ineligible therefor, his presumably valid appointment will give him color of title that will confer on him the status of a de facto officer.

x x x A judge de facto assumes the exercise of a part of the prerogative of sovereignty, and the legality of that assumption is open to the attack of the sovereign power alone. Accordingly, it is a well-established principle, dating back from the earliest period and repeatedly confirmed by an unbroken current of decisions, that the official acts of a de facto judge are just as valid for all purposes as those of a de jure judge, so far as the public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned.

If only to protect the sanctity of dealings by the public with persons whose ostensible authority emanates from the State, and without ruling on the conditions for the interplay of the de facto doctrine, the Court declares that Ong may turn out to be either a de jure officer who is deemed, in all respects, legally appointed and qualified and whose term of office has not expired, or a de facto officer who enjoys certain rights, among which is that his title to said office may not be contested except directly by writ of quo warranto, which contingencies all depend on the final outcome of the RTC case.



IX.R Officer De Facto and De Jure Distinguished
Digest: Tayko v. Capistrano (53 Phil. 866, 1928)

Facts: The petitioners allege that the respondent judge, previous to this date, was appointed judge of the Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros, to hold office during good behavior and until he should reach the age of 65 years; that he now has reached that age and, therefore, under the provisions of section 148 of the Administrative Code as amended, is disqualified from acting as a judge of the Court of First Instance.


The petitioners further allege that in view of the many election protests and criminal cases for violation of the election law filed in the Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros arising in the Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros arising from the last election of June 5, 1928, the Honorable Sixto de la Costa was duly designated and acted as auxiliary judge of the Province of Oriental Negros; that between the auxiliary judge and the respondent judge herein there was an understanding, and the assignment of the said auxiliary judge was made with this understanding, that the said auxiliary judge so designated would hear and take cognizance of all election protests and criminal actions then pending or to filed arising from the said last general election, and that the respondent Honorable Nicolas Capistrano would try and hear the ordinary cases pending in the said court, but, notwithstanding this understanding or agreement, the respondent judge tried and is still trying to take cognizance of the election protests an criminal actions in said court; that said respondent is neither a judge de jure nor de facto, but that, notwithstanding this fact, he continues to hold the office of judge of the Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros and pretends to be duly qualified and acting judge of the said province; and that he has tried, and continues to try, to act as such judge and that there is reasonable ground to believe that he will take cognizance of the cases in question unless he be restrained by order of this court.


Issue: Whether or not the respondent judge is a de facto judge


Ruling: The court ruled that the respondent is a de facto judge

Briefly defined, a de facto judge is one who exercises the duties of a judicial office under color of an appointment or election thereto. He differs, on the one hand, from a mere usurper who undertakes to act officially without any color of right, and on the other hand, from a judge de jure who is in all respects legally appointed and qualified and whose term of office has not expired.


Apart from any constitutional or statutory regulation on the subject there seems to be a general rule of law that an incumbent of an office will hold over after the conclusion of his term until the election and qualification of a successor.

When a judge in good faith remains in office after his title has ended, he is a de facto officer.


Applying the principles stated to the facts set forth in the petition before us, we cannot escape


the conclusion that, on the assumption that said facts are true, the respondent judge must be considered a judge de facto. His term of office may have expired, but his successor has not been appointed, and as good faith is presumed, he must be regarded as holding over in good faith.

The contention of counsel for the petitioners that the auxiliary judge present in the district must be considered the regular judge seems obviously erroneous.


In these circumstances the remedy prayed for cannot be granted. "The rightful authority of a judge, in the full exercise of his public judicial function, cannot be questioned by any merely private suitor, nor by any other, excepting in the form especially provided by law. A judge de facto assumes the exercise of a part of the prerogative of sovereignty, and the legality of that assumption is open to the attack of the sovereign power alone. Accordingly, it is a well established principle, dating from the earliest period and repeatedly confirmed by an unbroken current of decisions, that the official acts of a de facto judge are just as valid for all purposes as those of a de jure judge, so far as the public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned.


IX.S Officer De Facto and Usurper Distinguished
Digest: Civil Service Commission v. Joson, Jr. (429 SCRA 77, 2004)
G.R. No. 154674. May 27, 2004


Facts: July 1, 1995, Felicisimo O. Joson, Jr., then Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) appointed Priscilla Ong as Executive Assistant IV in his office under a contractual status.  


The appointment was made after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) thru Director Miguel B. Doctor] approved his request for the creation of a contractual position of Executive Assistant IV at the Office of the POEA Administrator, effective not earlier than July 1, 1995.


Subsequently, respondent Joson wrote the CSC requesting exemption from the rule requiring appointees to confidential staff positions to meet the prescribed educational qualification. The educational requirement for the position of Executive Assistant is a “Bachelor’s degree relevant to the job” and Priscilla Ong was not a college degree holder.


Acting upon this request, the petitioner CSC issued a resolution, approving the appointment of Ong under a Coterminous Temporary status:


In this case, it is clear that Ong does not meet the educational qualification for the position of Executive Assistant IV.  However, considering that Ong has to her credit 65 units leading to a Bachelor’s degree and that the said position is coterminous with the appointing authority and belongs to his confidential/personal staff, the proposed appointment of Ong may be allowed under Coterminous Temporary status.


Issue:  Whether or not Ong be considered a de jure or de facto public officer?


Ruling: SC held that Ong is a de jure public offier. The inaction of certain officials led to the non-compliance with the CSC requirement that appointments should be included in the monthly report of personnel action (ROPA), which must be submitted in turn to the CSC. The Court held that legitimate justifications excused the delayed observance of or the non-compliance with the requirement.

 A de facto officer is:

1.      One who is in possession of the office and discharging its duties under color of authority. By color of authority is meant that derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or informal, so that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer.  

  1. The difference between the basis of the authority of a de jure officer and that of de facto officer is that one rests on right, the other on reputation.  It may be likened to the difference between character and reputation.  One is the truth of a man, the other is what is thought of him.” It is the color of authority, not the color of title that distinguishes an officer de facto  from a usurper.

The submission of the appointment beyond the prescribed period is not an impediment to its validity. An appointment remains valid despite the non-compliance of the proper officials with the pertinent CSC rules



IX.T Right to Compensations of a De Facto Officer
Digest: Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary (194 SCRA 317, 1991)
G.R. No. 83896. February 22, 1991


Facts; Two (2) petitions were consolidated per resolution dated August 9, 1988 1 and are being resolved jointly as both seek a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino on July 25, 1987. Petitioners maintain that this Executive Order which, in effect, allows members of the Cabinet, their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to hold other government offices or positions in addition to their primary positions, albeit subject to the limitation therein imposed, runs counter to Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. It is alleged that the above-quoted Section 13, Article VII prohibits public respondents, as members of the Cabinet, along with the other public officials enumerated in the list attached to the petitions as Annex "C" in G.R. No.83815 and as Annex "B" in G.R. No. 83896 from holding any other office or employment during their tenure. In addition to seeking a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive


Order No. 284, petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines further seeks in G.R. No. 83815 the issuance of the extraordinary writs of prohibition and mandamus, as well as a temporary restraining order directing public respondents therein to cease and desist from holding, in addition to their primary positions, dual or multiple positions other than those authorized by the 1987 Constitution and from receiving any salaries, allowances, per diems and other forms of privileges and the like appurtenant to their questioned positions, and compelling public respondents to return, reimburse or refund any and all amounts or benefits that they may have received from such positions. Specifically, petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines charges that notwithstanding the aforequoted "absolute and self-executing" provision of the 1987 Constitution, then Secretary of Justice Sedfrey Ordoñez, construing Section 13, Article VII in relation to Section 7, par. (2), Article IX-B, rendered on July 23, 1987 Opinion No. 73, series of 1987, declaring that Cabinet members, their deputies (undersecretaries) and assistant secretaries may hold other public office, including membership in the boards of government corporations: (a) when directly provided for in the Constitution as in the case of the Secretary of Justice who is made an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council under Section 8,


paragraph 1, Article VIII; or (b) if allowed by law; or (c) if allowed by the primary functions of their respective positions; and that on the basis of this Opinion, the President of the Philippines, on July 25, 1987 or two (2) days before Congress

convened on July 27, 1987: promulgated Executive Order No. 284.Petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines objects to both DOJ Opinion No. 73 and Executive Order No. 284 as they allegedly "lumped together" Section 13, Article VII and the general provision in another article, Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB.


Issue: Whether or not Executive Order No.284 was unconstitutional.

Ruling: On the strength of the foregoing constitutional provision, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional Executive Order No. 284 which, in effect, allowed Cabinet members, their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries and other appointive officials of the Executive Department to hold other positions in the government albeit subject to the limitations imposed therein.

Being head of an executive department is no mean job. It is more than a full-time job, requiring full attention, specialized knowledge, skills and expertise. If maximum benefits are to be derived


from a department head’s ability and expertise, he should be allowed to attend his duties and responsibilities without the distraction of other government offices or employment. He should be precluded from dissipating his efforts, attention and energy among too many positions of responsibility, which may result in haphazardness and inefficiency. Surely the advantages to be derived from this concentration of attention, knowledge and expertise, particularly at this stage of our national and economic development, far outweigh the benefits, if any, that may be gained from a department head spreading himself too thin and taking in more than what he can handle.


Digest: Dimaandal v. Commission on Audit (291 SCRA 322, 1998) 
122197 June 26, 1998

Facts: Zosimo Dimaandal, then holding the position of Supply Officer III, was designated Acting Assistant Provincial Treasurer for Administration by Governor Vicente A. Mayo of Batangas. Pursuant to the designation, on November 23, 1992 petitioner filed a claim for the difference in salary and Representation and Transportation Allowance or the RATA of Assistant Provincial Treasurer and Supply Officer III for the whole year of 1993 in the total amount of P61,308.00. However, the Provincial Auditor disallowed the claim. Governor Mayo wrote to the Provincial Auditor requesting reconsideration of the subject disallowance but still the Provincial Auditor denied the request. Petitioner appealed to the respondent Commission on Audit which sustained the stand of the Provincial Auditor of Batangas as valid and proper, and on the grounds that: 1) Petitioner was merely designated as an Assistant Provincial Treasurer for Administration in addition to his regular duties, 2) The Governor of Batangas had no authority to designate him to the said position. As such, he is not entitled to receive an additional salary.


Issue: Whether or not an employee who is designated in an acting capacity is entitled to the difference in salary between his regular position and the higher position to which he is designated.


Ruling: No. First, Sec. 471 of Local Government Code provides that “An Assistant treasurer may be appointed by the Secretary of Finance from a list of at least three (3) ranking eligible recommendees of the governor or mayor, subject to civil service law, rules and regulations”. As stated by the law it does not authorize the Provincial Governor to appoint nor even designate one temporarily in cases of temporary absence or disability or a vacancy in a provincial office. That power resides in the President of the Philippines or the Secretary of Finance. Second, the right to the salary of an Assistant Provincial Treasurer is based on the assumption that the appointment or designation thereof was made in accordance with law. Considering that petitioner's designation was without color of authority, the right to the salary or an allowance due from said office never existed. Lastly, there is a great difference between an appointment and designation. While an appointment is the selection by the proper authority of an individual who is to exercise the powers and functions of a given office, designation merely connotes an imposition of additional duties, usually by law, upon a person already in the public service by virtue of an earlier appointment. It does not entail payment of additional benefits or grant upon the person so designated the right to claim the salary attached to the position.



X.A Classification of Powers and Duties


A purely ministerial act or duty, in contradistinction to a discretional act, is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment, upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer, and gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor judgment.


DUTY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; MANDAMUS. — Duties of public officers are of two kinds: (1) Those of a political or legislative character, in the discharge of which their discretion is generally uncontrollable by mandamus; (2) those administrative, judicial, and quasi-judicial duties imposed by law which, under certain circumstances, are controllable by mandamus.

MINISTERIAL AND DISCRETIONARY DUTIES. — Broadly speaking, public officers in the performance of all their official duties use discretion. Such discretion is one of degree and not of kind.

DISCRETION DEFINED. — Where anything is left to any person to be done according to his discretion, the law intends it must be done with a sound discretion, and according to law. The discretion conferred upon officers by law is not a capricious or arbitrary discretion, but an impartial discretion, guided and controlled in its exercise by fixed legal principles. It is not a mental discretion to be exercised ex gratia, but a legal discretion to be exercised in conformity with the spirit of the law and in a manner to subserve and not to impede or defeat the ends of substantial justice.

The only discretion which public officers can use is legal discretion conferred upon them by law.

DISCRETION CONTROLLED BY MANDAMUS. — Where it is alleged and shown that the officer has grossly abused the legal discretion conferred upon him by law or has manifestly misinterpreted the law to the prejudice of the rights of citizens, the courts will then control the acts of the officer and direct him to go forward in accordance with the law and the principles of justice.


Digest: Lamb v. Phipps (22 Phil. 456, 1912)
G.R. No. 7806. July 12, 1912. ]

Facts: Lamb was the superintendent of the Iwahig Penal Colony until he resigned on Dec. 31, 1911 due to ill health. Before that he was assigned as provincial treasurer for Marinduque, Mindoro and Laguna. He requested the Auditor General, Phipps, for his clearance certificate (showing that Lamb has accounted for all property and funds under his custody) in order that Lamb may be allowed to leave the Philippines without incurring criminal liability.

Phipps, although the records of the Auditor General show that Lamb indeed has settled his accounts, refuses to issue the certificate because a certain Fernandez may bring a civil suit against the government. However the records also show that Fernandez signed the receipt acknowledging payment from the government.

The petition for mandamus, asking the SC to compel Phipps to issue the certificate was demurred to by the auditor because it is a suit against the government and the petition states no cause of action.

The SC initially asked Lamb to amend his petition but the latter did not do so hence the SC decided the case upon the facts Lamb intended to make.


Issue: Whether or not mandamus may issue to compel the auditor general to issue the certificate of clearance of Lamb.


Ruling: No, the certificate of clearance is needed only for bonded government employees and there is no averment that Lamb is a bonded employee other than having custody of government property and funds, however, the SC assumed that Lamb was a bonded officer.


We cannot believe that the legislature intended to limit the jurisdiction of this court in mandamus to the cases where there was no other adequate and speedy remedy in the ordinary courts of law. It is our duty, therefore, to give the statute a sensible construction; such as will effectuate the legislative intention and, if possible, avoid an injustice or an absurd conclusion. Clerical errors or misprints, which, if uncorrected, would render the statute unmeaning or nonsensical or would defeat or impair its intended operation, will not vitiate the act; they will be corrected by the court and the statute read as amended, provided the true meaning is obvious, and the real meaning of the legislature is apparent of the face of the whole enactment.


It is confidently contended that the Auditor is not obliged under the law to accept a mere paper accounting as final and conclusive as to the real responsibility of Government employees and to issue a clearance upon that alone. He may, it is true, if he is satisfied; but certainly, he may, if he so desires and if he has any doubt about the correctness of such accounts, make an actual examination of the funds and property represented by such paper accounts or balances.


Digest: Heirs of Sps. Luciano & Consolacion Venturillo v. Quitain (506 SCRA 102,2006)
G.R. NO. 157972 : October 30, 2006


Facts: The Heirs of Spouses Luciano and Consolacion Venturillo (Heirs of Venturillo), represented by Rowena B. Venturillo-Sucaldito, assail for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion the Order1 dated April 22, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 15, which dismissed their petition for mandamus and denied their prayer for injunctive relief.


Issue: Whether or not a mandamus lies to compel a ministerial duty


Ruling: Yes .Regional Trial Courts are fully clothed with jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions. Moreover, the question of whether it should have first ruled on the admissibility of the tardy formal offer of exhibits filed by the Heirs of Venturillo, and waited for respondent's comment or objection to said formal offer and answer in the mandamus case, were not raised and passed upon by the trial court precisely because the Heirs of Venturillo failed to file a motion for reconsideration. Had they done so, the trial court would have been given the opportunity to correct any factual or fancied error attributed to it by way of re-examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case.


These procedural errors, notwithstanding, and in the interest of finally disposing of this case, we reviewed its merits and found that indeed grave abuse of discretion attended the issuance of the assailed Order of the trial court.


The remedy of mandamus lies to compel the performance of a ministerial duty. A purely ministerial act or duty, in contradistinction to a discretionary act, is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment, upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer, and gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial.

Incumbent upon respondent City Engineer to issue the building permit applied for. His refusal to perform an act which the law enjoins him to do, upon the full compliance by the Heirs of Venturillo of the conditions provided under the law, entitles the latter to the writ of mandamus prayed for.



Digest: Bito-Onon v. Fernandez (350 SCRA 732, 2001)
G.R. No. 139813. January 31, 2001


Facts: Joel Bito-Onon is the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Barangay Tacras, Narra, Palawan and is the Municipal Liga Chapter President for the Municipality of Narra, Palawan. The private respondent, Elegio Quejano, Jr. on the other hand, is the duly elected Barangay Chairman of Barangay Rizal, Magsaysay, Palawan and is the Municipal Liga Chapter President for the Municipality of Magsaysay, Palawan. Both Onon and Quejano were candidates for the position of Executive Vice-President in the August 23, 1997 election for the Liga ng Barangay Provincial Chapter of the province of Palawan. Onon was proclaimed the winning candidate in the said election prompting Quejano to file a post proclamation protest with the Board of Election Supervisors (BES), which was decided against him on August 25, 1997.


Not satisfied with the decision of the BES, Quejano filed a Petition for Review of the decision of the BES with the Regional Trial Court of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City (RTC).


RTC denied Onon's motion to dismiss. In its order, the RTC ratiocinated that the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government2 is vested with the power "to establish and prescribe rules, regulations and other issuances and implementing laws on the general supervision of local government units and the promotion of local autonomy and monitor compliance thereof by said units.s




Ruling: Memorandum Circular No. 97-193 was issued by the DILG Secretary pursuant to the power of general supervision of the President over all local government units which was delegated to the DILG Secretary by virtue of Administrative Order No. 267 dated February 18, 1992.13 The President's power of general supervision over local government units is conferred upon him by the Constitution.14 The power of supervision is defined as "the power of a superior officer to see to it that lower officers perform their functions in accordance with law."15 This is distinguished from the power of control or "the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for the latter."16

On many occasions in the past, this court has had the opportunity to distinguish the power of supervision from the power of control. In Taule vs. Santos,17 we held that the Chief Executive wielded no more authority than that of checking whether a local government or the officers thereof perform their duties as provided by statutory enactments. He cannot interfere with local governments provided that the same or its officers act within the scope of their authority. Supervisory power, when contrasted with control, is the power of mere oversight over an inferior body; it does not include any restraining authority over such body.18 Officers in control lay down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, it is discretionary on his part to order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he may even decide to do it himself. Supervision does not cover such authority. Supervising officers merely sees to it that the rules are followed, but he himself does not lay down such rules, nor does he have the discretion to modify or replace them. If the rules are not observed, he may order the work done or re-done to conform to the prescribed rules. He cannot prescribe his own manner for the doing of the act.19



X.B Norms of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees
Digest: Marasigan v. Buena (284 SCRA 1, 1998)
A.M. No. 95-1-01-MTCC January 5, 1998

Facts: This administrative case arose from a letter-recommendation dated June 9, 1994 of Francisco L. Marasigan, Director IV, Commission on Audit, Regional Office No. V, Legaspi City, addressed to the court administrator recommending that, on the basis of a report and documents pertaining to the examination of the cash and accounts of Lilia S. Buena, clerk of court and ex oficio sheriff, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities (MTCC), Naga City, which found respondent short in her accountabilities in the amount of P81,650.00, appropriate administrative action be instituted against her. State Auditor Francisco T. Dela Viña of the City Auditor's Office in Naga City, who had conducted the examination of the cash and accounts of respondents, further executed a sworn affidavit2 on June 20, 1994, charging Mrs. Buena with the crime of malversation penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.


Issue: whether or not Buena is liable


Ruling: That "public office is a public trust" cannot be imprudently undermined for it is constitutionally enshrined. Public officers and employees are at all times accountable to the people; must serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency; and must lead modest lives.  The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. No. 6713) additionally provides that every public servant shall uphold public interest over his or her personal interest at all times.  Court personnel, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk, are further required to conduct themselves always beyond reproach, circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility as to free them from any suspicion that may taint the good image of the judiciary. As this Court has recently pronounced, "(t)he nature and responsibilities of public officers enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and oft-repeated in our case law are not mere rhetorical words. Not to be taken as idealistic sentiments but as working standards and attainable goals that should be matched with actual deeds."

With these time-honored principles and the substantiated findings of the Deputy Court Administrator, we are constrained to conclude that respondent is administratively guilty of the offense charged.


X.B.1 Duty to Act with Civility
Digest: Chiong v. Baloloy (505 SCRA 528, 2006)
A.M. NO. P-01-1523 : October 27, 2006

Facts: This administrative matter stems from a sworn affidavit-complaint dated November 14, 2000 by Carmelita P. Chiong of No. 198, F. Roxas Street, Caloocan City, charging Process Server Sherwin M. Baloloy of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 130, with Grave Misconduct


Issue: whether or not the conduct of respondent warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions.


Ruling: Respondent must always bear in mind that government service is people-oriented. Belligerent behavior has no place in government service where employees are bound by the rules of proper and ethical behavior and are expected to act with self-restraint and civility at all times, even when confronted with rudeness and insolence.

In Pablejan v. Calleja, the Court emphasized that employees of the judiciary should be living examples of uprightness not only in the performance of their official duties, but also in their personal and private dealings with other people, so as to preserve at all times the good name and standing of courts in the community. Any scandalous behavior or any act that may erode the people's high esteem for the judiciary unbecomes an employee.


Right to Compensation
XI.A.1 Forms of Compensation Defined and Distinguished
Digest: Domingo v. Commission on Audit (297 SCRA 163, 1998)
G.R. No. 112371 October 7, 1998

Facts: An original petition for certiorari seeks to nullify a COA decision preventing reimbursement for transportation expenses of DSWD Director Aida where transportation vehicle is already provided.


Issue: whether or not a commutable transportation allowance may still be claimed by a government official provided with a government vehicle for the days official did not actually use the vehicle?


Ruling: As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, there are two instances when transportation allowance cannot be granted to a government official, as when a government official is assigned a vehicle, and when a government official uses government transportation facilities. It is undeniable that several government vehicles were issued to the Regional Office of DSWD in Region V. That the vehicles thereat were issued not to petitioner herself, as Regional Director, but to the Regional Office itself, is of no moment. What is important and decisive is that such vehicles were intended primarily for the official use of subject office and its officials and employees. As maintained by the Solicitor General, whether or not the herein petitioner used the vehicle assigned to her office, is not an issue, as it is undeniable that she could have used the said vehicle whenever she wanted to since it was assigned to her office.


Digest: Belicena v. Secretary of Finance (367 SCRA 504, 2001)
G.R. No. 143190. October 17, 2001


Facts: Belicena was appointed Acting Undersecretary in the Department of Finance and forthwith assumed office. While acting as such, the President designated him as Acting Secretary of Finance while the Secretary of Finance was in Hongkong on official business for the government. Belicena took his oath of office and Acting Executive Secretary Liwanag confirmed the designation. The President extended his service as Acting Undersecretary of Finance and in anticipation of his impending compulsory retirement, Belicena filed an application for termination leave. His application was not acted upon by the Secretary. When a new Secretary of Finance assumed office, he approved the application. The voucher for his pay was not signed because in computation of Belicena’s terminal leave pay, it was alleged that his one-day salary as Acting Secretary of Finance should not be considered as his last month salary.


Issue: Whether the monetary value of Belicena’s terminal leave credits should be computed based on his 1-day salary as Acting Secretary of Finance?


Ruling: No. When the President designated the petitioner as Acting Secretary on May 22, 1997, he did so under a well considered opinion that the absence of Secretary de Ocampo was of such an extent that the latter would be unable to perform his duties and, by reason of such opinion, the President extended a temporary designation to petitioner under Section 17 of the Administrative Code of 1987.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

The Commission on Audit, the Constitutional office tasked with the duty to "examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue, and receipts of and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by or pertaining to the government or any of its subdivisions . . ." (Article IX-D, Section 2[1], 1987 Constitution), has held that a government official appointed or designated in an acting capacity pursuant to Section 17, Chapter 5, Title 1, Book III of the 1987 Administrative Code is entitled to salary differential and that his highest monthly salary for purposes of computing his terminal leave pay shall include such salary differential.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

The well-settled rule is that the money value of the terminal leave of a retiring government official shall be computed at the retiree’s highest monthly salary. In Paredes v. Acting Chairman, 10 the Court had occasion to interpret Subsection (c), Section 12, Commonwealth Act No. 186, the law authorizing the grant of terminal leave pay, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The foregoing legal provision requires the computation of the money value of the terminal leave to be based on the retiree’s "highest rate received." And a reading of the entire provision shows that "highest rate received" refers to the retirees’ highest "monthly salary."c


Digest: Civil Service Commission v. Pobre (438 SCRA 334, 2004)
G.R. No. 160568. September 15, 2004


Facts: Respondent Hermogenes P. Pobre is a former government official who retired from the government service three times. Respondent first retired as commissioner of the Commission on Audit (COA) on March 31, 1986. He reentered the government and retired as chairman of the Board of Accountancy on October 31, 1990. He was then appointed as associate commissioner of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) of which he retired eventually as chairman on February 17, 2001. The first two times he retired, respondent Pobre received his terminal leave pay amounting to ₱310,522.60 and ₱55,000, respectively.


On his third retirement, respondent Pobre claimed payment of his terminal leave based on his highest monthly salary as PRC chairman but to be reckoned from the date he first entered the government service as budget examiner in the defunct Budget Commission in 1958. He invoked Section 13 of Commonwealth Act 186.


petitioner CSC promulgated CSC Resolution stating that all respondent Pobre was entitled to were his terminal leave benefits based only on his accrued leave credits from the date of his assumption to office as PRC chairman and not his total terminal leave credits, including those earned in other government agencies from the beginning of his government service.


Issue: whether or not a retired employee who had served a string of government agencies in his career was entitled to have his terminal leaves computed from the time of his original appointment to the first agency in the manner retirement annuities are computed under Section 13 of Commonwealth Act 186


Ruling: This Court’s ruling in Borromeo vs. Civil Service Commission has already settled this issue. When petitioner Borromeo retired as chairman of the CSC, he wrote a letter to the COA, coursed through the CSC chairman, requesting the inclusion of allowances received at the time of his retirement in the computation of his terminal leave benefits. The COA did not oppose Borromeo’s claim. The CSC, on the other hand and upon the advice of DBM, denied it, arguing that it had exclusive jurisdiction over petitioner’s claim because the determination of the legality of leave credit claims was within its province as the central personnel agency of the government. We ruled that:

The respondent CSC’s stance, however, that it is the body empowered to determine the legality of claims on leave matters, to the exclusion of COA, is not well-taken. While the implementation and enforcement of leave benefits are matters within the functions of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the government, the duty to examine accounts and expenditures relating to leave benefits properly pertains to the COA. Where government expenditures or use of funds is involved, the CSC cannot claim an exclusive domain simply because leave matters are also involved.

The COA, the CSC and the Commission on Elections are equally pre-eminent in their respective spheres. Neither one may claim dominance over the others. In case of conflicting rulings, it is the Judiciary which interprets the meaning of the law and ascertains which view shall prevail.

Here, there is no conflicting ruling to speak of because the COA is yet to render its opinion on PRC’s query regarding respondent Pobre’s claim for terminal leave benefits. We therefore find it prudent to abstain from any pronouncement on this issue and to wait for COA to rule on respondent’s claim.

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