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CASE 2018-0006: REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY SOLICITOR GENERAL JOSE C. CALIDA VS MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO RESPONDENT (G.R. NO. 237428, 11 MAY 2018, TIJAM, J.) (BRIEF TITLE: REPUBLIC VS CJ SERENO)

 

 DISPOSITIVE:

  

“WHEREFORE, the Petition for Quo Warranto is GRANTED. Respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is found DISQUALIFIED from and is hereby adjudged GUILTY of UNLAWFULLY HOLDING and EXERCISING the OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Accordingly, Respondent Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno is OUSTED and EXCLUDED therefrom.

 

The position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is declared vacant and the Judicial and Bar Council is directed to commence the application and nomination process.

 

This Decision is immediately executory without need of further action from the Court.

 

Respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is ordered to SHOW CAUSE within ten (10) days from receipt hereof why she should not be sanctioned for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub Judice rule and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the Members of the Supreme Court.

 

SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

The right to hold public office under our political system is therefore not a natural right. It exists, when it exists at all, only because and by virtue of some law expressly or impliedly creating and conferring it.333 Needless to say, before one can hold public office, he or she must be eligible in accordance with the qualifications fixed by law and the authority conferring and creating the office. There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office. A public officer who is not truthful, not forthright, in complying with the qualifications to public office, perforce, has not legally qualified, was not legally appointed, and consequently, has not legally assumed the said public office. A disqualification cannot be erased by intentional concealment of certain defects in complying with the qualifications to public office set by the Constitution and laws. The passage of time will not cure such invalidity of holding public office, much less, foreclose the right and duty of the government, the keeper of the said public office, to oust and remove the usurper.

 

One who claims title to a public office must prove beyond cavil that he/she is legally qualified to the said office, otherwise, he or she has no ground to stand upon his or her claim of title to the office and his or her title may reasonably be challenged. A qualification must be proved positively, clearly, and affirmatively. It cannot be proved by mere acquiescence nor by estoppel or prescription. In the same vein, a disqualification cannot be obliterated by intentional concealment thereof. As a matter of fact, such concealment is a clear manifestation of lack of integrity, probity, and honesty. It cannot be over-emphasized that public service requires integrity. For this reason, public servants must, at all times, exhibit the highest sense of honesty. By the very nature of their duties and responsibilities, they must faithfully adhere to, and hold sacred and render inviolate the constitutional principle that a public office is a public trust.334 The expectation of a strong adherence to this principle escalates proportionately as one ascends to public office. John Adams, then President of the United States, said, “society’s demands· for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

 

In this case, it was found that respondent is ineligible to hold the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court position for lack of integrity on account of her failure to file a substantial number of SALNs and also, her failure to submit the required SALNs to the JBC during her application for the position. Again, one of the Constitutional duties of a public officer is to submit a declaration under oath of his or her assets, liabilities, and net worth upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law. 335 When the Constitution and the law exact obedience, public officers must comply and not offer excuses. When a public officer is unable or unwilling to comply, he or she must not assume office in the first place, or if already holding one, he or she must vacate that public office because it is the correct and honorable thing to do. A public officer who ignores, trivializes or disrespects Constitutional and legal provisions, as well as the canons of ethical standards, forfeits his or her right to hold and continue in that office.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2018-0006-Republic of the Philippines Vs. Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno

 

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CASE 2018-0005: MAYOR TOMAS R. OSMENA VS. JOEL CAPILI GARGANERA (G.R. NO. 231164, 20 MARCH 2018, TIJAM J.) (SUBJECT/S WRIT OF KALIKASAN; ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS)  (BRIEF TITLE: OSMENA VS GARGANERA)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated December 15, 2016 and Resolution dated March 14, 2017 of the Court of Appeals, which granted the privilege of the writ of kalikasan and ordered petitioner Mayor Tomas R. Osmefia, in his capacity as City Mayor of Cebu and/or his representatives, to permanently cease and desist from dumping or disposing of garbage or solid waste at the Inayawan landfill and to continue to rehabilitate the same, are hereby AFFIRMED.

 

SO ORDERED.

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

“Moreover, the DOI-I Inspection Reporf;1 dated September 6, 20 J 6, observed that the Inayawan landfill had been in operation for l 7 years, which exceeded the 7-year estimated duration period in the projected design data. This caused the over pile-up of refuse/garbage in the perimeter and boarder of the landfill, having a height slope distance of approximately 120 meters at the side portion of Fil-Invest Subdivision, Cogon Pardo Side portion has approximately height of 40 meters and at Inayawan side portion is approximately from 10-20 meters from the original ground level. The standard process procedur7 management was poorly implemented.5~

 

As to the health impact, the DOH found that the residents, commercial centers, shanties and scavengers near the dump site are at high risk of acquiring different types of illness due to pollution, considering the current status of the dump site.53

 

The DOH highly recommended the immediate closure of the Inayawan sanitary landfill. lt was further stated that the disposal area is not anymore suitable as a sanitary landfill even if rehabilitated considering its location within the city, the number of residents and the increasing population of the city, the neighboring cities and towns, and the expected increase in number of commercial centers, transportation and tourist concerns.54

 

Prescinding from the above, the EMH, DOH, Mr. Amancio Dongcoy, a representative from the DENR-EMB, and the Cebu and Talisay residents are all in agreement as to the need of closing the Inayawan landfill due to the environmental violations committed by the City Government in its operation. The Court, while it have the jurisdiction and power to decide cases, is not precluded from utilizing the findings and recommendations of the administrative agency on questions that demand “the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience, and services of the adminjstrative tribunal to determine technical and. intricate matters of fact. 55

 

Lastly, as much as this Court recognizes the parties’ good intention and sympathize with the dilemma of Mayor Osmefia or the City Government in looking for its final disposal site, considering the garbage daily dis1–1osal of 600 tons generated by the city and its duty to provide basic services and facilities of garbage collection and disposal system, we agree with the appellate court that the continued operation of the Inayawan landfill poses a serious and pressing danger to the environment that could result in injurious consequences to the health and lives of the nearby residents, thereby warranting the issuance of a writ of kalikasan.”

 

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SCD-2018-0005-Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña Vs. Joel Capili Garganera 

 

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CASE 2018-0043: LUIS JUAN L. VIRATA ET AL VS ALEJANDRO NG WEE ET AL (G.R. 220926, 27 MARCH 2018, VELASCO, JR. J.) AND RELATED CASES (G.R. 221058, 221109, 221135 AND  221218 )

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the following motions are hereby DENIED for lack of merit:

 

  1. Motion for Partial Reconsideration filed by Luis Juan L. Virata;
  2. Motion for Reconsideration ofMariza Santos-Tan;
  3. Motion for Reconsideration of Manuel Estrella;
  4. Motion for Partial Reconsideration of Alejandro Ng Wee;
  5. Motion for Reconsideration of Simeon Cua, Vicente Cualoping, and Henry Cualoping;
  6. Motion for Reconsideration of Anthony T. Reyes; and
  7. Motion for Reconsideration of Westmont Investment Corporation.

 

No further pleadings or motions will be entertained.

 

Let entry of judgment be issued.

 

SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

“To emphasize, there were clear warning signs that Power Merge would not have been able to pay the almost P2.5 billion face value of its promissory notes. To Our mind, the Wincorp board of directors’ approval of the credit line agreement, notwithstanding these telltale signs and the above outlined circumstances, establishes the movant-directors’ liability to Ng Wee. For if these do not attest to their privity to Wincorp’s fraudulent scheme, they would, at the very least, convincingly prove that the movantdirectors are guilty of gross negligence in managing the company affairs. The movant-board directors should not have allowed the exclusion of Virata from the collection suit against Hottick knowing that he is a surety thereof. As revealed by their subsequent actions, this was not a mere error in judgment but a calculated maneuver to defraud its investors. Hence, the Court did not err when it ruled that Sec. 31 of the Corporation Code must be applied, and the separate juridical personality of Wincorp, pierced.

 

Moreover, the Court finds it highly suspect that the movant-directors, aside from Estrella, did not question why the case proceeded without the board chairman, John Anthony B. Espiritu (Espiritu). There were seventeen (17) named defendants in Civil Case No. 00-99006 with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 39 in Manila, which included the entire composition of the Wincorp board of directors. If the movant-directors truly believed that they are on par with each other in terms of participation, then they should have instituted a cross-claim against Espiritu, or at least objected against his being dropped as a party defendant.”

  

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2018-0043-LUIS JUAN L. VIRATA ET AL VS ALEJANDRO NG WEE ET AL

 

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