10. On several occasions, [respondent] went to see the [petitioners] to get his ToR, but all of these were futile for he was not even entertained at the Office of the Dean. Worst, he was treated like a criminal forcing him to admit the fact that he did not enroll for the last three (3) semesters of his schooling. [Petitioner] Dean tried to persuade the [respondent] to give the original copies of the Class Cards which he has in his possession. These are the only [bits of] evidence on hand to prove that he was in fact officially enrolled. [Respondent] did not give the said class cards and instead gave photo copies to the [Petitioner] Dean. The Office of the Dean of Nursing of [petitioner] UST became very strict in receiving documents from the [respondent]. [They have] to be scrutinized first before the same are received. Receiving, as [respondent] believes, is merely a ministerial function [of] the [petitioners] and the documents presented for receiving need not be scrutinized especially so when x x x they are not illegal. Copies of the class cards are hereto attached as "F" hereof.5
x x x exhaustion of administrative remedies is applicable when there is competence on the part of the administrative body to act upon the matter complained of. Administrative agencies are not courts; x x x neither [are they] part of the judicial system, [or] deemed judicial tribunals. Specifically, the CHED does not have the power to award damages. Hence, petitioner could not have commenced her case before the Commission. (Emphasis ours)
Section 33. Authority to Graduate Without Department Approval. One of the benefits which may be made available for accredited schools of the appropriate level is the authority to graduate students from accredited courses or programs of study without prior approval of the Department, the conditions of which are as follows:
a) The school head must furnish the Regional Office of the region where the school is situated a copy of its certificate of accreditation.
b) Within two weeks after the graduation exercise, the school shall submit to the Regional Office concerned an alphabetical list of graduates by course, accompanied by a certification under oath signed by the school registrar certifying that the students listed (1) have complied with all the requirements of the Department, (2) were conferred their respective certificates or degrees on a specific date, (3) have complete scholastic records on file in the school, and (4) have their Form 137 for high school and Form IX for college, as the case may be, in the custody of the school. This list shall be sufficient basis for issuing special orders, if still necessary.
The school will be held fully liable for the veracity of the records without prejudice to any legal action, including revocation of government recognition, as may be called for under the circumstances.
The Department reserves the right to cancel or revoke the graduation of any student whose records are found to be fraudulent.
Section 72. Withholding of Credentials. The release of the transfer credentials of any pupil or student may be withheld for reasons of suspension, expulsion, or non-payment of financial obligations or property responsibility of the pupil or student to the school. The credentials shall be released as soon as his obligation shall have been settled or the penalty of suspension or expulsion lifted.
However, if, after due inquiry, a school is found to have unjustifiably refused to issue transfer credentials or student records, the Department may issue the same without prejudice to the imposition of appropriate administrative sanctions against the school concerned.
The courts, tribunal and agencies referred to under Circular No. 28-91, revised Circular No. 28-91 and Administrative Circular No. 04-94 are those vested with judicial powers or quasi-judicial powers and those who not only hear and determine controversies between adverse parties, but to make binding orders or judgments. As succinctly put by R.A. 157, the NBI is not performing judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The NBI cannot therefore be among those forums contemplated by the Circular that can entertain an action or proceeding, or even grant any relief, declaratory or otherwise.
10. On several occasions, [respondent] went to see the [petitioners] to get his ToR, but all of these were futile for he was not even entertained at the Office of the Dean. Worst, he was treated like a criminal forcing him to admit the fact that he did not enroll for the last three (3) semesters of his schooling. [Petitioner] Dean tried to persuade the [respondent] to give the original copies of the Class Cards which he has in his possession. These are the only [bits of] evidence on hand to prove that he was in fact officially enrolled. [Respondent] did not give the said class cards and instead gave photo copies to the [Petitioner] Dean. The Office of the Dean of Nursing of [petitioner] UST became very strict in receiving documents from the [respondent]. [They have] to be scrutinized first before the same are received. Receiving, as [respondent] believes, is merely a ministerial function [of] the [petitioners] and the documents presented for receiving need not be scrutinized especially so when x x x they are not illegal. Copies of the class cards are hereto attached as "F" hereof.28
1 Rollo, pp. 39-54; penned by Associate Justice Salvador J. Valdez, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr. and Vicente Q. Roxas.
2 Id. at 56-57.
3 Id. at 58-64, with Annexes.
4 Id. at 76-79.
5 Id. at 61.
6 Respondent filed his Opposition/Comment dated March 11, 2003, id. at 80-84; petitioners filed their Reply to Opposition/Comment dated March 13, 2003, id. at 85-90.
7 Id. at 91-96.
8 Respondent filed his Opposition/Comment to the Supplement dated March 19, 2003, id. at 97-99; petitioners filed their Reply dated March 31, 2003, id. at 100-102.
9 Id. at 104.
10 Id. at 105-109.
11 Id. at 118.
12 Pacana v. Hon. Consunji, 195 Phil. 454, 457 (1982); Antonio v. Hon. Tanco, Jr., 160 Phil. 467, 473-474 (1975); Vda. de Caina v. Hon. Reyes, 108 Phil. 510, 512 (1960).
13 Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation v. Mendoza, 112 Phil. 960, 963-965 (1961); Pilar v. Secretary of Public Works and Communications, 125 Phil. 766, 769 (1967); Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Court of Appeals, 334 Phil. 369, 381-382 (1997).
14 x x x [T]he principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies as tested by a battery of cases is not an ironclad rule. This doctrine is a relative one and its flexibility is called upon by the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual and circumstantial settings of a case. Hence, it is disregarded (1) when there is a violation of due process, (2) when the issue involved is purely a legal question, (3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, (4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned, (5) when there is irreparable injury, (6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bear the implied and assumed approval of the latter, (7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable, (8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim, (9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings, (10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy, and (11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention. Paat v. Court of Appeals, 334 Phil. 146, 153 (1997).
15 One Heart Sporting Club, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 195 Phil. 253, 262-263 (1981); Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 401 Phil. 431, 454-455 (2002).
16 Ateneo de Manila University v. Court of Appeals, 229 Phil. 128, 138 (1986).
17 485 Phil. 446, 455 (2004).
18 Smart Communications, Inc. v. National Telecommunications Commission, 456 Phil. 145, 158 (2003).
19 Not to be confused with the quasi-legislative or rule-making power of an administrative agency is its quasi-judicial or administrative adjudicatory power. This is the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself in enforcing and administering the same law. The administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial power when it performs in a judicial manner an act which is essentially of an executive or administrative nature, where the power to act in such manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for the performance of the executive or administrative duty entrusted to it. In carrying out their quasi-judicial functions, the administrative officers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from them as basis for their official action and exercise of discretion in a judicial nature. Id. at 156-157.
20 Id. at 158.
21 An Act Creating The Commission On Higher Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor And For Other Purposes (1994).
SEC. 8. Powers and Functions of the Commission. - The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:
a) formulate and recommend development plans, policies, priorities and programs on higher education and research;
b) formulate and recommend development plans, policies, priorities and programs on research;
c) recommend to the executive and legislative branches, priorities and grants on higher education and research;
d) set minimum standards for programs and institutions of higher learning recommended by panels of experts in the field and subject to public hearing, and enforce the same;
e) monitor and evaluate the performance of programs and institutions of higher learning for appropriate incentives as well as the imposition of sanctions such as, but not limited to, diminution or withdrawal of subsidy, recommendation on the downgrading or withdrawal of accreditation, program termination or school closure;
f) identify, support and develop potential centers of excellence in program areas needed for the development of world-class scholarship, nation building and national development;
g) recommend to the Department of Budget and Management the budgets of public institutions of higher learning as well as general guidelines for the use of their income;
h) rationalize programs and institutions of higher learning and set standards, policies and guidelines for the creation of new ones as well as the conversion or elevation of schools to institutions of higher learning, subject to budgetary limitations and the number of institutions of higher learning in the province or region where creation, conversion or elevation is sought to be made;
i) develop criteria for allocating additional resources such as research and program development grants, scholarships, and other similar programs: Provided, That these shall not detract from the fiscal autonomy already enjoyed by colleges and universities;
j) direct or redirect purposive research by institutions of higher learning to meet the needs of agro-industrialization and development;
k) devise and implement resource development schemes;
l) administer the Higher Education Development Fund, as described in section 10 hereunder, which will promote the purposes of higher education;
m) review the charters of institutions of higher learning and state universities and colleges including the chairmanship and membership of their governing bodies and recommend appropriate measures as basis of necessary action;
n) promulgate such rules and regulations and exercise such other powers and functions as may be necessary to carry out effectively the purpose and objective of this Act; and
o) perform such other functions as may be necessary for its effective operations and for the continued enhancement, growth or development of higher education.
22 DECS Order No. 92, series of 1992.
23 Public Interest Center, Inc. v. Roxas, G.R. No. 125509, January 31, 2007, 513 SCRA 457, 471.
24 344 Phil. 802, 810 (1997).
25 In Cañete v. Genuino Ice Company, Inc., G.R. No. 154080, January 22, 2008, 542 SCRA 206, 217, we reiterated the elements of a cause of action:
x x x "Cause of action" has been defined as an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other; and its essential elements are: 1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; 2) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and 3) an act or omission on the part of the named defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages. If these elements are not extant, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action. x x x
26 Jose Y. Feria & Ma. Concepcion S. Noche, Civil Procedure Annotated 442 (2001 ed.), citing Paminsan v. Costales, 28 Phil. 487, 489 (1914); De Jesus v. Belarmino, 95 Phil. 365, 371 (1954).
27 Regino v. Pangasinan Colleges of Science and Technology, supra note 17 at 457; Dabuco v. Court of Appeals, 379 Phil. 939, 949 (2000); Sea-Land Services, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 383 Phil. 887, 893 (2000); China Road and Bridge Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 401 Phil. 590, 602 (2000).
28 Rollo, p. 61.