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CASE 2019-0015:  ALYANSA PARA SA BAGONG PILIPINAS, INC. (ABP), REPRESENTED BY EVELYN V. JALLORINA AND NOEL VILLONES, PETITIONER, VS. ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRMAN, JOSE VICENTE B. SALAZAR, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY ALFONSO G. CUSI, MERALCO, CENTRAL LUZON PREMIERE POWER CORPORATION, ST. RAPHAEL POWER GENERATION CORPORATION, PANAY ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, MARIVELES POWER GENERATION CORPORATION, GLOBAL LUZON ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ATIMONAN ONE ENERGY, INC., REDONDO PENINSULA ENERGY, INC., AND PHILIPPINE COMPETITION COMMISSION, RESPONDENTS (G.R. NO. 227670, 03 MAY 2019, 03 MAY 2019, CARPIO, J.) (BRIEF TITLE: ALYANSA VS ERC).

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. The first paragraph of Section 4 of Energy Regulatory Commission Resolution No. 13, Series of 2015 (CSP Guidelines), and Energy Regulatory Commission Resolution No. 1, Series of 2016 (ERC Clarificatory Resolution), are hereby declared VOID ab initio. Consequently, all Power Supply Agreement applications submitted by Distribution Utilities to the Energy Regulatory Commission on or after 30 June 2015 shall comply with the Competitive Selection Process in accordance with Department of Energy Circular No. DC2018-02-0003 (2018 DOE Circular) and its Annex “A.” Upon compliance with the Competitive Selection Process, the power purchase cost resulting from such compliance shall retroact to the date of effectivity of the complying Power Supply Agreement, but in no case earlier than 30 June 2015, for purposes of passing on the power purchase cost to consumers.

 


SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

“Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9209 provides that “[t]he retail rates to [Meralco’s] captive market and charges for the distribution of electric power by [Meralco] to its end-users shall be regulated by and subject to the approval of the ERC.” As the holder of a distribution franchise, Meralco is obligated to provide electricity at the least cost to its consumers. The ERC, as Meralco’s rate regulator, approves the retail rates – comprising of power and distribution costs – to be charged to end-users. As we have demonstrated above, both Meralco and the ERC have been remiss in their obligations. Going through competitive public bidding as prescribed in the 2015 DOE Circular is the only way to ensure a transparent and reasonable cost of electricity to consumers.

Lest we forget, the ERC is expressly mandated in Section 43(o) of the EP1RA of “ensuring that the x x x pass through of bulk purchase cost by distributors is transparent.” The ERC’s postponement of CSP twice, totaling 305 days and enabling 90 PSAs in various areas of the country to avoid CSP for at least 20 years, directly and glaringly violates this express mandate of the ERC, resulting in the non-transparent, secretive fixing of prices for bulk purchases of electricity, to the great prejudice of the 95 million Filipinos living in this country as well as the millions of business enterprises operating in this country. This ERC action is a most extreme instance of grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, warranting the strong condemnation by this Court and the annulment of the ERC’s action.

Absent compliance with CSP in accordance with the 2015 DOE Circular, the PSAs shall be valid only as between the DUs and the power generation suppliers, and shall not bind the DOE, the ERC, and the public for purposes of determining the transparent and reasonable power purchase cost to be passed on to consumers.

On 1 February 2018, the DOE issued Circular No. DC2018-02-0003 entitled “Adopting and Prescribing the Policy for the Competitive Selection Process in the Procurement by the Distribution Utilities of Power Supply Agreements for the Captive Market” (2018 DOE Circular). The DOE prescribed, in Annex “A” of this 2018 DOE Circular, the DOE’s own CSP Policy in the procurement of power supply by DUs for their captive market (2018 DOE CSP Policy). Section 16.1 of the 2018 DOE CSP Policy expressly repealed Section 4 of the 2015 DOE Circular authorizing ERC to issue supplemental guidelines to implement CSP.

In short, the DOE revoked the authority it delegated to the ERC to issue supplemental guidelines to implement CSP, and the DOE itself issued its own guidelines, the 2018 DOE CSP Policy, to implement CSP under the 2015 DOE Circular. This means that the CSP Guidelines issued by the ERC have become functus officio and have been superseded by the 2018 DOE CSP Policy. Under its Section 15, the 2018 DOE CSP Policy is expressly made to apply to “all prospective PSAs.” The 2018 DOE Circular, including its Annex “A,” took effect upon its publication on 9 February 2018. Thus, the 90 PSAs mentioned in this present case must undergo CSP in accordance with the 2018 DOE Circular, in particular the 2018 DOE CSP Policy prescribed in Annex “A” of the 2018 DOE Circular.”

 

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

 

SC-2019-0016-G.R. N0. 227670-03 MAY 2019- ALYANSA PARA SA BAGONG PILIPINAS, INC. VS ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION ET AL

 

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CASE 2019-0015: JOAQUINA ZAMBALES ET AL VS SALVACION VILLON ZAMBALES (G.R. No. 216878, 03 April 2019, PERALTA, J) (SUBJECT/S: FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS GENERALY CONCLUSIVE; EVIDENCE NOT OFFERED CANNOT BE CONSIDERED) (BRIEF TITLE: ZAMBALES VS ZAMBALES)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The September 30, 2013 Decision and the December 12, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 97079 are AFFIRMED.



SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

LIMIT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE SC:

 

REVIEW OF ERRORS OF LAW ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED BY THE APPELLATE COURT.

 

“It bears emphasis that the factual findings of the appellate court generally are conclusive, and carry even more weight when said court affirms the findings of the trial court, absent any showing that the findings are totally devoid of support in the records, or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.[19]E As a rule, the jurisdiction of this Court is limited to a review of errors of law allegedly committed by the appellate court. It is not bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below.”

 

EXCEPTIONS TO THE ABOVE RULE:

 

“In several cases, however, it has been repeatedly held that the rule that factual findings of the appellate are binding on the Court are subject to the following exceptions: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to that of the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; or (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion.

 

WHY IS EVIDENCE NOT FORMALLY CANNOT BE CONSIDERED?

 

 

BECAUSE THE COURT CANNOT DETERMINE THE VERACITY OF THE CLAIMS OF THE WITNESSES.

 


“In this case, the records show that apart from the fact that the Extrajudicial Settlement Among Heirs with Waiver of Rights and Sale sought to be annulled and the titles sought to be cancelled were not offered in evidence,[26] the Extrajudicial Settlement itself alluded to in the testimonial evidence presented was not offered in order to allow the trial court to determine the veracity of the claims of the witnesses.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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CASE 2019-0014: LEONORA RIVERA-AVANTE VS. MILAGROS RIVERA AND THEIR HEIRS WITH THE LATE ALEJANDRO RIVERA, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS WHO ARE DERIVING CLAIM OR RIGHTS FROM THEM (G.R. NO. 224137, 03 APRIL 2019, PERALTA J.) (SUBJECT/S: LATE FILING OF MOTION FOR RECON) (BRIEF TITLE: AVANTE VS RIVERA ET AL)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals, promulgated on March 5, 2015 and April 12, 2016, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 120047, are hereby AFFIRMED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

BEFORE A DECISION OF INFERIOR COURT IS APPEALED TO SUPERIOR COURT IS MOTION FOR RECON NECESSARY?

 

YES. FAILURE TO FILE MOTION FOR RECON WITHIN THE PERIOD TO APPEAL WILL FORECLOSE RIGHT TO APPEAL.

 

 As a step to allow an inferior court to correct itself before review by a higher court, a motion for reconsideration must necessarily be filed w thin the period to appeal.[26] When filed beyond such period, the motion for reconsideration ipso facto forecloses the right to appeal.[27]

 

SUPPOSE MOTION FOR RECON WAS FILED ONLY ONE DAY LATE, WILL SUCH RULE STILL APPLY?

 

YES BASED ON PAST DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT.


In Ponciano Jr. v. Laguna Lake Development Authority, et al.,[28] the Court refused to admit a motion for reconsideration filed only one day ate, pointing out that the Court has, in the past, similarly refused to admit motions for reconsideration which were filed late without sufficient justification.

ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS?

 

YES BUT THESE EXCEPTIONS MUST BE SUFFICIENTLY JUSTIFIED BY MERITORIOUS AND EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

 


Indeed, there are cases where this Court allowed the liberal application of procedural rules, but these are exceptions, sufficiently justified by meritorious and exceptional circumstances attendant therein.[29] Not every entreaty for relaxation of rules of procedure, however, shall b so lightly granted by the Court for it will render such rules inutile.[30] Certainly, the relaxation of the application of the Rules in exceptional cases was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity.

 

PETITIONER INVOKED THE PRINCIPLE OF “IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE”. WILL THIS SUFFICE?

 

NO.

 


Petitioner’s bare invocation of “the interest of justice” is not a magic wand that will automatically compel this Court to suspend procedural rules. Procedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have prejudiced a party’s substantive rights.[31] Like all rules, they are required to be followed except only for the most persuasive of reasons when they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.[32]

 

PETITIONER FAILED TO FILE HER MOTION FOR RECON ON TIME. WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE?

 

 

HER FAILURE PREVENTS HER FROM EXERCISING HER RIGHT TO APPEAL.

 

Hence, since petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was belatedly filed, the Decision of the CA dated March 5, 2015 became final and executory by operation of law. In other words, the petitioner’s failure to timely file her Motion for Reconsideration foreclosed any right which she may have had under the rules not only to seek reconsideration of the CA’s assailed Decision but more importantly, such failure prevents her from exercising her right to assail the CA Decision before this Court.

 

WHAT IS THE REMEDY OF PETITIONER?

 

FILE ANOTHER ACTION TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE ASSESSED VALUE OF THE LOT AND THE FACT THAT DISPOSSESSION HAS LATED FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR.

 


The foregoing being the case, all is not lost for petitioner as she can still opt to file another action to recover possession of the subject property which should be brought in the proper court, taking into consideration the assessed value of the lot and the fact that dispossession has lasted for more than one year.

 

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

 

SC-2019-0014-SC CASE G.R. NO 224137-03 APR 2019-LEONORA RIVERA AVANTE VS MILAGROS RIVERA ET AL

 

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