The undersigned Special Prosecutor charges GRACE GUY CHEU and GERALDINE GAW GUY, both Canadian citizens, for working without permit, for fraudulently representing themselves as Philippine citizens in order to evade immigration laws and for failure to comply with the subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum, in violation of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, committed as follows:As a remedy, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with Damages and a Prayer for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction14 dated May 31, 2004 before the RTC of Manila, Branch 37.15That respondents GRACE GUY CHEU and GERALDINE GAW GUY, knowingly, willfully and unlawfully engage in gainful activities in the Philippines without appropriate permit by working as the Vice-President for Finance & Treasurer and General Manager, respectively, of Northern Islands Company, Inc., with office address at No. 3 Mercury Avenue, Libis, Quezon City;
That both respondents, knowingly, willfully and fraudulently misrepresent themselves as Philippine citizens as reflected in the general Information Sheet of Northern Islands Company, Inc., for 2004, in order to evade any requirement of the Philippine Immigration Laws;
That both respondents, duly served with subpoenas duces tecum/ad testificandum, dated April 20, 2004, knowingly, willfully and unlawfully failed to comply with requirements thereof.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the application for temporary restraining order is hereby GRANTED. The respondents and all persons acting in their behalf and those under their instructions are directed to cease and desist from continuing with the deportation proceedings involving the petitioners. In the meantime set the case for hearing on preliminary injunction on July 5 and 6, 2004, both at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon and the respondents are directed to show cause why writ of preliminary injunction should not issue.
In view of the foregoing, the Court finds that, indeed, there exists a pressing reason to issue a writ of preliminary injunction to protect the rights of the petitioners pending hearing of the main case on the merits and unless this Court issues a writ, grave irreparable injury would be caused against the petitioners.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the application for the Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby GRANTED. The respondents and all persons acting on their behalf and those under their instructions are directed to cease and desist from continuing with the deportation proceedings involving the petitioners during the pendency of the instant case. The petitioners are directed to post a bond in the amount of P50,000.00 to answer for whatever damages that may be sustained by the respondent should the court finally resolve that the petitioners are not entitled thereto.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED and the Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 37, Manila, dated July 19, 2004, is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition impressed with merit and in accordance with our decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 86432, the same is GIVEN DUE COURSE and is GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the respondent court dated 28 June and 19 July 2004 are hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE LOWER COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER CIVIL CASE NO. 04-110179 AND ISSUE A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION THEREIN CONSIDERING THAT THE INSTANT CASE IS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE ON PRIMARY JURISDICTION DOCTRINE AND WARRANTS PETITIONERS' IMMEDIATE RESORT TO JUDICIAL INTERVENTION.
CONSIDERING THAT PROOF OF PETITIONERS' PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP IS SUBSTANTIAL, PETITIONERS ARE ALLOWED UNDER THIS HONORABLE COURT'S RULING IN BID V. DELA ROSA, SUPRA, TO SEEK INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FROM THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT TO ENJOIN THE DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED AGAINST THEM.
LIKEWISE, CONSIDERING THAT PETITIONERS STAND TO SUFFER GRAVE AND IRREPARABLE INJURIES SHOULD THE DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THEM BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE, PETITIONERS ARE ALLOWED UNDER TE LAW TO IMMEDIATELY SEEK JUDICIAL RELIEF DESPITE THE PENDENCY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS.
FURTHER, IT IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED THAT THE RULING OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN DWIKARNA V. DOMINGO, 433 SCRA 748 (2004) DID NOT STRIP THE LOWER COURT OF ITS AUTHORITY TO ENTERTAIN THE PETITION IN CIVIL CASE NO. 04-110179 AND TO ISSUE A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN THE AFORESAID CASE.
EVEN IF THE RULING OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN DWIKARNA V. DOMINGO, SUPRA, DID STRIP THE LOWER COURT OF ITS JURISDICTION IN BID V. DELA ROSA, SUPRA, TO ENJOIN DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS, THE RULING CAN ONLY HAVE PROSPECTIVE EFFECT.
True, it is beyond cavil that the Bureau of Immigration has the exclusive authority and jurisdiction to try and hear cases against an alleged alien, and in the process, determine also their citizenship (Lao vs. Court of Appeals, 180 SCRA 756 . And a mere claim of citizenship cannot operate to divest the Board of Commissioners of its jurisdiction in deportation proceedings (Miranda vs. Deportation Board, 94 Phil. 531 ).
However, the rule enunciated in the above-cases admits of an exception, at least insofar as deportation proceedings are concerned. Thus, what if the claim to citizenship of the alleged deportee is satisfactory? Should the deportation proceedings be allowed to continue or should the question of citizenship be ventilated in a judicial proceeding? In Chua Hiong vs. Deportation Board (96 Phil. 665 ), this Court answered the question in the affirmative, and We quote:When the evidence submitted by a respondent is conclusive of his citizenship, the right to immediate review should also be recognized and the courts should promptly enjoin the deportation proceedings. A citizen is entitled to live in peace, without molestation from any official or authority, and if he is disturbed by a deportation proceeding, he has the unquestionable right to resort to the courts for his protection, either by a writ of habeas corpus or of prohibition, on the legal ground that the Board lacks jurisdiction. If he is a citizen and evidence thereof is satisfactory, there is no sense nor justice in allowing the deportation proceedings to continue, granting him the remedy only after the Board has finished its investigation of his undesirability.
x x x And if the right (to peace) is precious and valuable at all, it must also be protected on time, to prevent undue harassment at the hands of ill-meaning or misinformed administrative officials. Of what use is this much boasted right to peace and liberty if it can be availed of only after the Deportation Board has unjustly trampled upon it, besmirching the citizen's name before the bar of public opinion?
The doctrine of primary jurisdiction of petitioners Board of Commissioners over deportation proceedings is, therefore, not without exception (Calayday vs. Vivo, 33 SCRA 413 ; Vivo vs. Montesa, 24 SCRA 155 ). Judicial intervention, however, should be granted in cases where the claim of citizenship is so substantial that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the claim is correct. In other words, the remedy should be allowed only on sound discretion of a competent court in a proper proceeding (Chua Hiong v. Deportation Board, supra; Co vs. Deportation Board, 78 SCRA 107 ). It appearing from the records that respondent's claim of citizenship is substantial, as We shall show later, judicial intervention should be allowed.45
The general rule is that before a party may seek the intervention of the court, he should first avail of all the means afforded him by administrative processes.51 The issues which administrative agencies are authorized to decide should not be summarily taken from them and submitted to a court without first giving such administrative agency the opportunity to dispose of the same after due deliberation.52
Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; that is, courts cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.53
Nonetheless, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the corollary doctrine of primary jurisdiction, which are based on sound public policy and practical considerations, are not inflexible rules. There are many accepted exceptions, such as: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively small so as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice;54 (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) when its application may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot;55 (j) when there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) when strong public interest is involved; and, (l) in quo warranto proceedings. x x x56
1 Rollo, (G.R. No. 167824), pp. 3-152; rollo, (G.R. No. 168622), pp. 3-138.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Magdangal M. de Leon, with Associate Justices Romeo A. Brawner and Mariano C. del Castillo (now a member of this Court), concurring; CA rollo (CA-G.R. SP No. 86432), pp. 254-261.
3 Penned by Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo, with Associate Justices Regalado E. Maambong and Magdangal M. de Leon, concurring; CA rollo (CA-G.R. SP No. 86298), pp. 391-397.
4 CA rollo (CA-G.R. SP No. 86432), pp. 350-351.
5 CA rollo (CA-G.R. SP No. 86298), p. 427.
6 Records, Vol. II, pp. 373-378.
7 Id. at 48-53.
8 Id. at 46-47.
9 Id. at 29-31.
10 Id. at 34-35.
11 Id. at 36-44.
12 Id. at 45.
13 Id. at 67-68.
14 Records, Vol. I, pp. 1-53.
15 Docketed as SCA No. 04-110179.
16 Supra note 6.
17 Records, Vol. I, pp. 1-12.
18 Records, Vol. II, pp. 335-341.
19 Id. at 366-372
20 Id. at 345-366.
21 Id. at 380-394.
22 Id. at 373-378.
23 Supra note 3.
24 Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 86298 and raffled off to the Eighth Division and entitled, The Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration, Atty. Maricel I. Salcedo, Maynardo Marinas, Ricardo Cabochan and Eliseo Exconde v. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 37, and Geraldine Gaw Guy and Grace Guy Cheu.
25 Supra note 2.
26 Docketed as CA-GR SP No. 86432 and raffled off to the Ninth Division and entitled, Alvin Agustin T. Ignacio v. Hon, Vicente A. Hidalgo, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 37, Geraldine Gaw Guy and Grace Gaw Cheu.
27 Supra note 2, at 261.
28 CA rollo, pp. 309-320.
29 Id. at 332-337.
30 Id. at 350-351.
31 Supra note 1.
32 Supra note 3.
33 CA rollo, pp. 404-416.
34 Id. at 427.
35 Supra note 1.
36 Rollo (G.R. No. 168622), p. 139.
37 Id. at 140-144.
38 Id. at 161.
39 Id. at 162-166.
40 Id. at 169.
41 Id. at 366-369.
42 Id. at 235-291.
43 G.R. Nos. 95122-23 and G.R. Nos. 95612-13, May 31, 1991, 197 SCRA 853, 874-875.
44 Supra note 43.
45 Id. (Emphasis supplied.)
46 Marked as Annexes "D" and "E" in the Comment of petitioners Grace and Geraldine, respectively; CA rollo, 257, 313.
47 Copies marked as Annexes "C" and "F," id.
48 Omictin v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 148004, January 22, 2007, 512 SCRA 70, 82, citing Pambujan Sur United Mine Workers v. Samar Mining Co., Inc., 94 Phil. 932 (1954).
49 Machete v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109093, November 20, 1995, 250 SCRA 176, 182.
50 G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255.
51 Associate Communications and Wireless Services (ACWS), Ltd. v. Dumlao, 440 Phil. 787, 801-802 (2002); Zabat v. Court of Appeals, 393 Phil. 195, 206 (2000).
52 ACWS, Ltd. v. Dumlao, supra, at 802.
53 Paloma v. Mora, G.R. No. 157783, September 23, 2005, 470 SCRA 711, 725; Fabia v. Court of Appeals, 437 Phil. 389, 403 (2002).
54 Rocamora v. Regional Trial Court-Cebu (Branch VIII), No. L-65037, November 23, 1988, 167 SCRA 615, 623.
55 Carale v. Abarintos, 336 Phil. 126, 137 (1997).
56 Castro v. Sec. Gloria, 415 Phil. 645, 651-652 (2001).