G.R. NO. 179492, June 05, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ABUSAMA M. ALID, OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-REGIONAL-FIELD UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII), Petitioner, v. ABDULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEÑA I. MONTAÑER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M. ALVARES, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE A.. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S. KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, IN THEIR OWN BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF DA-RFU XII, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
In compliance with Executive Order No. 304 of which Section 2 states "Transfer of Regional Offices. All departments, bureaus and offices of the National Government on the SOCCSKSARGEN Region shall transfer their regional seat of operations to Koronadal City," you are hereby directed to immediately effect the transfer of the administrative, finance and operations base of RFU XII from Cotabato City to Koronadal City. On the interim, part of the staff can temporarily hold office at either or both the ATI building in Tantangan and Tupi Seed Farm, but the main office shall be within Koronadal City.
The action plan for transfer should be submitted to my office not later than 6 April 2005 so that appropriate funding can be processed soonest. Further, execution of the plan should commence by 16 April 2005 or earlier so that concerned personnel can benefit from the summer break to make personal arrangements for the transfer of their work base.
For strict compliance.4
Concededly, the settled rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for certiorari.
Its purpose is to grant an opportunity for the court to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by the re-examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case. The rule is, however, circumscribed by well-defined exceptions, such as (a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction; (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable; (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless; (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief; (f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable; (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process; (h) where the proceeding were ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved.38 (Emphasis provided)
Respondent explained their omission of filing a motion for reconsideration before resorting to a petition for certiorari based on exceptions (b), (c) and (i). The CA brushed aside the filing of the motion for reconsideration based on the ground that the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court. We agree.
Respondent had filed its position paper in the RTC stating the reasons why the injunction prayed for by petitioner should not be granted. However, the RTC granted the injunction. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the CA and presented the same arguments which were already passed upon by the RTC. The RTC already had the opportunity to consider and rule on the question of the propriety or impropriety of the issuance of the injunction. We found no reversible error committed by the CA for relaxing the rule since respondent's case falls within the exceptions.40
COURT OF APPEALS
Motion to Dismiss41
dated June 27, 2005
dated September 1, 2006
Manifestation and Reply43
dated September 5, 2006
Petition for Certiorari44
dated December 17, 2006
The Honorable Supreme Court had already ruled that the propriety or wisdom of the transfer of government agencies or offices from Cotabato City to Koronadal, South Cotabato is beyond judicial inquiry.45
The instant complaint filed by plaintiffs for injunction is an indirect way of preventing the transfer of the regional seat of DA-RFU XII which has been upheld by the Supreme Court in DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees (409 SCRA 359 ). If this Honorable Court cannot countermand the Supreme Court's ruling directly, it cannot do so indirectly.46
To reiterate, the Supreme Court has held in the applicable case of DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees (409 SCRA 359 ) that respondent DENR employees "cannot, by means of an injunction, force the DENR XII Regional Offices to remain in Cotabato City, as the exercise of the authority to transfer the same is executive in nature." The Supreme Court further stated in said case that "the judiciary cannot inquire into the wisdom or expediency of the acts of the executive or the legislative department."47
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he enjoined petitioner from transferring DA-RFU XII from Cotabato City to South Cotabato and Koronadal City. The assailed order of the lower court enjoining petitioner from transferring the seat of the DA-RFU XII office to Koronadal City in South Cotabato is contrary to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees (409 SCRA 359 ).48
Corollary to the above, the Order dated May 31, 2005 of this Honorable Court enjoining defendants from transferring the seat of the DA-RFU XII office to Koronadal City in South Cotabato is contrary to the above pronouncement of the Supreme Court. Perforce, the Order must be set aside accordingly.49
The allegation under Paragraph 4 of the Complaint that her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo only made a public pronouncement that the effect of E.O. No. 304 is suspended is hearsay and contrary to the procedure on the repeal, amendment or modification of rules and regulations.50
Executive orders are amended, modified or revoked by subsequent ones. The alleged public pronouncement of the President suspending the implementation of Executive Order No. 304 is contrary to the ordinance power of the President as provided under the Administrative Code of 1987.51
Respondent judge acted arbitrarily, whimsically and in a very bias[ed] manner when he concluded that the President of the Republic has suspended the implementation of Executive Order No. 304.52
By the nature of their appointment as Regional Officials and Employees, plaintiffs can be reassigned anywhere within Region XII in the exigency of the service.53
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when he concluded that the transfer of DA-RFU XII to Koronadal City will affect seriously the studies of respondents' children and that there will be no buildings to house respondents.54
The allegation of possible injury to plaintiffs and their families as a consequence of the planned transfer of the regional seat of DA-RFU XII to Koronadal City had been ruled upon by the Supreme Court in DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees (409 SCRA 359 ) to be beyond judicial inquiry because it involves concerns that are more on the propriety or wisdom of the transfer rather than on its legality.55
If the plight and conditions of the families of the DENR employees are worth considering, like the dislocation of schooling of their children, which without doubt has more adverse impact than the supposed absence of allowances for the transfer, the Supreme Court should have granted the injunction prayed for by said DENR employees.
Apparently, the Supreme Court did not find it compelling to grant the injunction over and above the wisdom of the transfer.56
The families of the employees can still stay in Cotabato City in as much as they have established residences in the area. It must be emphasized that the employees derive salaries and benefits from their government work, from which they support their families. The movement of employees thus would not cause much financial dislocation as long as the employees received their salaries and benefits.57
The Honorable Court must further realize that the employees are being paid their salaries. In the given order of things, such salaries are enough to provide for their basic necessities. The Regional Office can simply provide for transportation to effectuate the minimum required for the transfer to Koronadal City and expect the employees to live on their salaries. Any allowances due and owing the employees connected with the transfer can be given to them later as back payments. This is not to forget that the Regional Office has provided temporary housing for said employees to alleviate any inconvenience that they may suffer.58
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when he concluded that the transfer of DA-RFU XII would stretch out the meager salaries of respondents and that it would cause them economic strangulation.59
There is absolutely no technical malversation in the realignment of budgetary allocation for the intended transfer of DA-RFU XII to Koronadal City.60
The issues on the alleged illegal realignment of funds, unauthorized issuance of memorandum and the alleged unjust transfer of employees of DA-RFU XII are acts that are executive in nature x x x.61
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when he ordered the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction based on the absence of appropriation for the transfer to Koronadal City in the amount of P9,250,000.00.62
x x x the funds needed for the transfer can be sourced and met by the DA from sources such as the discretionary administrative fund of the Office of the Secretary.
Respondent's computation of the amount required for the transfer in the amount of P9,222,000.00 is bloated or exaggerated.63
Respondents who are accountable officers cannot be coerced to transfer funds that are deemed illegal or improper. Hence, no personal liability or irreparable injury would be caused upon them. On the other hand, the rest of respondents who are ordinary employees would not suffer any irreparable injury. This is due to the fact that they have no privity to the alleged illegal transfer of funds.64
Respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion when he concluded that respondents would suffer irreparable damage if the transfer of DA-RFU XII from Cotabato City to Koronadal City is not enjoined.65
Section 25 — National Supervision over Local Government Units —
(a) Consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy, the President shall exercise general supervision over local government units to ensure that their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.
The President shall exercise supervisory authority directly over provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities; through the province with respect to component cities and municipalities; and through the city and municipality with respect to barangays.72
It may be true that the transfer of the offices may not be timely considering that: (1) there are no buildings yet to house the regional offices in Koronadal, (2) the transfer falls on the month of Ramadan, (3) the children of the affected employees are already enrolled in schools in Cotabato City, (4) the Regional Development Council was not consulted, and (5) the Sangguniang Panglungsod, through a resolution, requested the DENR Secretary to reconsider the orders. However, these concern issues addressed to the wisdom of the transfer rather than to its legality. It is basic in our form of government that the judiciary cannot inquire into the wisdom or expediency of the acts of the executive or the legislative department, for each department is supreme and independent of the others, and each is devoid of authority not only to encroach upon the powers or field of action assigned to any of the other department, but also to inquire into or pass upon the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed, measures taken or decisions made by the other departments.75 (Emphasis provided)
1Rollo, pp. 15-16.
2 Id. at 85.
4 Id. at 86.
5 Id. at 88.
7 Id. at 92.
9 Id. at 88.
10 Id. at 89.
12 Id. at 90.
13 Id. at 17.
14 Id. at 189.
15 Id. at 18.
16 Id. at 182.
17 Id. at 43-46.
18DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees, 456 Phil. 635 (2003).
19Rollo, p. 359.
20 Id. at 316.
21 Id. at 317.
22 Id. at 317-318.
23 Id. at 318.
24 Id. at 318-321.
25 Id. at 316.
26 Id. at 317.
27 Id. at 330.
28De Mendez v. Court of Appeals et al., G.R. NO. 174937, June 13, 2012, 672 SCRA 200, 207 citing Chua v. Santos, 483 Phil. 392, 400 (2004); G.R. NO. 132467, October 18, 2004, 440 SCRA 365, 373.
29Rollo, p. 330.
30 Id. at 318.
31 Id. at 386.
32 Id. at 360.
33 Id. at 169. See also p. 360.
34 Id. See also p. 362.
35 Id. See also p. 362.
36 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Tax Appeals, G.R. NO. 190680, September 13, 2012; Medado v. Heirs of Consing, G.R. NO. 186720, February 8, 2012, 665 SCRA 534, 548 citing Pineda v. Court of Appeals, G.R. NO. 181643, November 17, 2010, 635 SCRA 274, 281-282.
37Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Tax Appeals, supra.
38Siok Ping Tang v. Subic Bay Distribution, Inc., G.R. NO. 162575, December 15, 2010, 638 SCRA 457, 469-470. See also Republic v. Pantranco North Express et al., G.R. NO. 178593, February 15, 2012, 666 SCRA 199, 205-206. See also Domdom v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 182382-83, February 24, 2010, 613 SCRA 528, 532-533 citing Tan v. Court of Appeals, 341 Phil. 570, 576-578 (1997).
39 Siok Ping Tang v. Subic Bay Distribution, Inc., supra.
40 Id. at 470-471.
41Rollo, pp. 98-114.
42 Id. at 132-154.
43 Id. at 160-166.
44 Id. at 167- 184.
45 Id. at 99.
46 Id. at 136.
47 Id. at 161.
48 Id. at 173.
49 Id. at 138.
50 Id. at 108.
51 Id. at 144-145.
52 Id. at 174.
53 Id. at 104.
54 Id. at 176.
55 Id. at 149.
56 Id. at 163.
57 Id. at 144.
58 Id. at 163.
59 Id. at 177.
60 Id. at 106-107.
61 Id. at 140.
62 Id. at 178.
63 Id. at 143.
64 Id. at 142-143.
65 Id. at 181.
66DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees, supra note 18, at 643. Similarly, this involves an Order by the trial court to cease and desist the transfer of DENR XII regional office from Cotabato City to Koronadal. In this case, although no appeal was made within the reglementary period to appeal, the Court found that "departure from the general rule that the extraordinary writ of certiorari cannot be a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal is justified because the execution of the assailed decision would amount to an oppressive exercise of judicial authority."
67 Executive Order No. 304 (2004).
68Rollo, p. 389.
69 Id. at 362-363.
70Abbas v. COMELEC, 258-A Phil. 870, 884 (1989).
71 CONSTITUTION, Art. X, Sec. 4.
Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays, shall ensure that the acts of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.
72 Republic Act No. 7160 (1991), Chap. III, Art. I, Sec. 25.
73Chiongbian v. Orbos, 315 Phil. 251, 269 (1995).
74DENR v. DENR Region 12 Employees, supra at 645-646.
76DENR v. DENR Region I 2 Employees. supra at 648.
77Santiago v. Guingona. 359 PhiL 276 284 ( 1998).
78Tan et al. v. Macapagal, 150 Phil. 778. 784 ( 1971) citing Planas v. Gil, 67 PhiL 62, 73 (1939).
79 CIVIL CODE, Art. 7.
"Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse. or custom or practice to the contrary.
When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern.
Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution."