Archive for December, 2011


TRIVIA 0032: WHO IS MUJIV HATAMAN?

TRIVIA 0032: WHO IS MUJIV HATAMAN?

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

 

*   Hataman was born on Sept. 11, 1972 in Buli-Buli, Sumisip, Basilan and  graduated from AMA Computer University with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

*   Hataman, 39, is a member of the Yakan indigenous community in Basilan. He is the younger brother of Basilan Rep. Jim Salliman Hataman.

*   He was former volunteer of the Moro Human Rights Center. Before entering politics, Hataman was Wahab Akbar’s chief of staff when Akbar was Basilan governor.

*   Hataman eventually created Anak Mindanao, a party-list group he had represented in Congress from 2001.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

 

 

Personal Information

 

click on the link:

  POLITICAL INFORMATION | LEGISLATIVE PERFORMANCE | ASSETS & LIABILITIES | BUSINESS INTERESTS | RELATIVES IN GOV’T

 

HATAMAN, Mujiv Sabbihi

 

Date of Birth: September 11, 1972

Place of Birth: Buli-Buli, Sumisip, Basilan

 

ADDRESS

Provincial: Malagutay, Zamboanga City

Metro Manila: no data

 

Civil Status: married

Spouse: Sitti Djalia Turabin                                                                                   

Position: Secretary

Office: Congressional district office, Zamboanga City

 

 

Educational Attainment

 

ELEMENTARY

Level School Year Graduated
Elementary education Buli-BuliElementary School 1986

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Level School Year Graduated
Secondary education Basilan National High Scool 1990

 

COLLEGE

Degree School Year Graduated
Computer Engineering AMA Computer Univeristy 1994

 

 

Career History

Position Office Years
Senior executive assistant Provincial Governor’s Office 1998-2000
President/executive director KAHAPAN Foundation Inc. 1996-1998
Program coordinator MoroHumanRightsCenter 1995-1996
Community organizer coordinator Al Fatitah Foundation Inc. 1994-1995

 

 

Affiliations

Organization Position
Al Fatitah Foundation Inc. Former community organizer coordinator
KAHAPAN Foundation Inc. Former president and executive director

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

In the Know: Mujiv Hataman

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:45 pm | Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Former Anak Mindanao Rep. Mujiv Hataman, a known friend of President Benigno Aquino, was implicated in the November 2007 bombing at the Batasan Complex that killed then Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar and several others.

Hataman, a native of Basilan, has been cleared of the charges when the Department of Justice (DOJ) last Oct. 20 dismissed the criminal case filed against him for his alleged role in the bombing.

The resolution approving the dismissal of the case came swiftly, only a day after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that Hataman, then reported to be Mr. Aquino’s top choice to lead the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, had a pending case

in her department.

A Feb. 22, 2008, resolution signed by then Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño had dismissed the complaint against Hataman for the complex crime of multiple murder and frustrated murder.

However, Akbar’s widow, Jum Akbar, sought a review which had been pending since May 5, 2008. The latest DOJ resolution struck down her petition. In 2010, Hataman ran for Basilan governor but lost to Jum Akbar.

Hataman was born on Sept. 11, 1972, and graduated from AMAComputerUniversitywith a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

It’s official: Hataman is ARMM OIC

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:51 pm | Saturday, December 17th, 2011

 

Former Anak Mindanao party-list Representative Mujiv Hataman. http://www.congress.gov.ph/

ZAMBOANGACITY—A former party-list representative who had faced charges for the assassination of a congressman has been appointed officer in charge of one of the country’s most impoverished, but highly resource-rich areas, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Mujiv Hataman, former representative of the party-list group Anak Mindanao, was named OIC of the five-province ARMM, product of a 1996 peace agreement between the government and Moro rebels that failed to put an end to the Moro quest for an independent state in Mindanao.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said President Aquino had signed Hataman’s appointment papers about three days ago along with those of Bainon Karon, a prominent Moro female leader who would serve as Hataman’s deputy.

Robredo, in a text message to Inquirer, said Hataman and Karon would take their oaths of office either Thursday or Friday during formal the turnover ceremonies to be held in the ARMM complex inCotabatoCity.

“There was no law violated with the appointments of the caretaker officials,” he said.

But Parouk Majirul, an aide of Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar, said the appointment of caretaker officials—particularly of Hataman—was improper.

He said the legality of the law that had reset the ARMM elections from Aug. 16 to May next year was still being questioned and the Supreme Court has not decided on it yet.

But Robredo said Malacañang knew that some people would not be happy about Hataman heading the five-province region.

“It was expected, but Hataman underwent and passed through many processes before he was appointed. He applied, was screened, presented to the public and interviewed (during the screening process),” Robredo said.

He said Hataman, an ally of President Aquino, was picked among the applicants for interim officials “because he can balance. He is accepted both by politicians and nongovernment organizations.”

He said Hataman’s first priority when he assumes office would be peace and security issues in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

Hataman said among his priorities was to bring warring politicians and families to negotiations.

As far as he was concerned, he said he was trying to reach out to the Akbars, his main political rivals.

The Akbars had charged Hataman with involvement in the 2007 Batasan explosion that killed, among others, then Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar.

Hataman told Inquirer by phone that he will be assisted by a technical team, whose composition could be finalized this month, in running the affairs of the ARMM.

“We will maximize our time this December for transition, planning and workshop, focusing on good governance, peace and security and socioeconomic development and we will put more emphasis on reform programs for the ARMM,” he said.

Hataman, 39, is a member of the Yakan indigenous community in Basilan. He is the younger brother of Basilan Rep. Jim Salliman Hataman.

He was former volunteer of the Moro Human Rights Center. Before entering politics, Hataman was Wahab Akbar’s chief of staff when Akbar was Basilan governor.

Hataman eventually created Anak Mindanao, a party-list group he had represented in Congress from 2001.

Anak Mindanao did not win a seat during the 2010 general elections after it only got 161,418 votes or just 0.54 percent of that required by the law. Julie Alipala and Nash Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao

 

CASE 2011-0225: RAMON S. CHING AND PO WING PROPERTIES, INC. VS. HON. JANSEN R. RODRIGUEZ, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 6, JOSEPH CHENG, JAIME CHENG, MERCEDES IGNE AND LUCINA SANTOS, SUBSTITUTED BY HER SON, EDUARDO S. BALAJADIA (G.R. NO. 192828, 28 NOVEMBER 2011, REYES) (SUBJECTS: WHAT DETERMINES WHETHER A CASE FALLS WITHIN PROBATE OR INTESTATE PROCEEDINGS; DISINHERITANCE; MOTION TO DISMISS. (BRIEF TITLE: RAMON CHING ET AL VS. JUDGE RODRIGUEZ).

=================

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The petitioners’ (a) Opposition to the respondents’ Motion to Admit Substitution of Party;[1][38] and (b) Manifestation[2][39] through counsel that they will no longer file a reply to the respondents’ Comment/Opposition to the instant petition are NOTED.

 

        SO ORDERED.

 

=================

 

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

 

IN 1996 ANTONIO CHING WAS STABBED TO DEATH. THE SUSPECT WAS RAMON CHING, HIS ALLEGED SON. CRIMINAL CASE WAS FILED AGAINST RAMON,  WHO REMAINED AT LARGE. ANTONIO’S TWO COMMON LAW WIVES AND 2 CHILDREN OF ONE OF THE COMMON LAW WIFE FILED A CASE AGAINST RAMON ALLEGING THAT RAMON BY FRAUD TRANSFERRED PROPERTIES OF ANTONIO CHING TO HIS NAME AND PRAYED FOR RECONVEYANCE AND ANNULMENT OF TITLES WITH DAMAGES AND  THAT RAMON BE DISINHERITED AND PREVENTED FROM ACQUIRING OTHER PROPERTIES OF THE LATE ANTONIO. LATER THEY AMENDED THEIR COMPLAINT IMPLEADING METROBANK.

 

 

SPOUSE OF RAMON FILED A MOTION TO DISMISS ON THE GROUND THAT THE RTC HANDLING THE CASE HAS NO JURISDICTION BECAUSE THE ISSUES RAISED CAN ONLY BE RESOLVED IN A SPECIAL PROCEEDING AND NOT IN AN ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION. SOME ISSUES RAISED ARE: (a) filiations with Antonio of Ramon, Jaime and Joseph; (b) rights of  common-law wives, Lucina and Mercedes, to be considered as heirs of Antonio; AND (c) determination of the extent of Antonio’s estate.

 

 

RTC DENIED THE MOTION. C.A. AFFIRMED RTC RULING.  DOES RTC HAVE JURISDICTION?

 

 

YES. RTC AND CA RULINGS ARE CORRECT. AN ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE AND ANNULMENT OF TITLE WITH DAMAGES IS A CIVIL ACTION.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

WHAT IS A SPECIAL PROCEEDING?

 

 

IT IS A REMEDY BY WHICH A PARTY SEEKS TO ESTABLISH A STATUS, A RIGHT, OR A PARTICULAR FACT. EXAMPLE: IT CONCERNS MATTERS RELATING TO THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF A DECEASED PERSON. IT REQUIRES THE APPLICATION OF SPECIFIC RULES AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE RULES OF COURT.

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

HOW IS A SPECIAL PROCEEDING DISTINGUISHED FROM AN ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION?

 

 

IN AN ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION,  A PARTY SUES ANOTHER FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OR PROTECTION OF A RIGHT, OR THE PREVENTION OR REDRESS OF A WRONG. IN A SPECIAL PROCEEDING THE PARTY SEEKS TO ESTABLISH A STATUS, RIGHT OR A PARTICULAR FACT. TO INITIATE A SPECIAL PROCEEDING, A PETITION AND NOT A COMPLAINT SHOULD BE FILED.

 

 

An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a civil action, whereas matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as advancement of property made by the decedent, partake of the nature of a special proceeding, which concomitantly requires the application of specific rules as provided for in the Rules of Court.[3][32] A special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.[4][33] It is distinguished from an ordinary civil action where a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.[5][34] To initiate a special proceeding, a petition and not a complaint should be filed.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

THE COMPLAINT SOUGHT THE DISINHERITANCE OF RAMON. DOES THIS NOT MAKE THE COMPLAINT FALL UNDER SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS?

 

 

NO. BECAUSE NO WILL OR ANY INSTRUMENT SUPPOSEDLY EFFECTING THE DISPOSITION OF ANTONIO’S ESTATE WAS EVEN MENTIONED.

 

 

Under Article 916 of the NCC, disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefor shall be specified. This Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that while the respondents in their Complaint and Amended Complaint sought the disinheritance of Ramon, no will or any instrument supposedly effecting the disposition of Antonio’s estate was ever mentioned. Hence, despite the prayer for Ramon’s disinheritance, Civil Case No. 02-105251 does not partake of the nature of a special proceeding and does not call for the probate court’s exercise of its limited jurisdiction.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

PETITIONER RAMON ARGUES THAT THE AMENDED COMPLAINT SEEKS THE RELEASE OF CERTAIN DEPOSITS AT METRO BANK IN FAVOR OF MERCEDES. THIS REQUIRES DETERMINATION OF THE STATUS OF MERCEDES AS ANTONIO’S HEIR AND THEREFORE PROPER SUBJECT OF A SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS. IS RAMON CORRECT?

 

 

NO. AT ISSUE IS THE SIGNING BY MERCEDES OF AN AGREEMENT AND WAIVER OVER THE DEPOSITS IN FAVOR OF RAMON. SHE SAID SHE WAS DECEIVED BY RAMON.  THEREFORE THE PRAYER FOR THE RELEASE OF DEPOSITS WAS BASED ON MERCEDES’ PRIOR POSESSION OF THE DEPOSITS. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO FIRST DECLARE HER AS HEIR.

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

RAMON ARGUES THAT IN HIS ANSWER HE STATED THAT RESPONDENT’S ALLEGATION THAT AN EXTRA-JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF ANTONIO’S ESTATE EXECUTED BY RAMON AS WELL AS THE TCT’S ISSUED ARE NULL AND VOID REQUIRES THE DETERMINATION FIRST OF WHO ARE THE HEIRS OF ANTONIO. SUCH ALLEGATION BY HIM IN HIS ANSWER MAKES THE COMPLAINT ONE OF SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS. IS RAMON CORRECT?

 

 

NO. IT IS COMPLAINANT’S AVERMENTS AND NOT DEFENDANT’S AVERMENTS THAT DETERMINE JURISDICTION. OTHERWISE, JURISDICTION WOULD DEPEND ON THE WHIM OF DEFENDANT. RAMON’S AVERMENT THAT A RESOLUTION OF THE ISSUES RAISED SHALL FIRST REQUIRE A DECLARATION OF THE RESPONDENTS’ STATUS AS HEIRS IS A MERE DEFENSE WHICH IS NOT DETERMINATIVE OF WHICH COURT SHALL PROPERLY EXERCISE JURISDICTION.

 

 

The petitioners also argue that the prayers in the Amended Complaint, seeking the release in favor of the respondents of the CPPA under Metrobank’s custody and the nullification of the instruments subject of the complaint, necessarily require the determination of the respondents’ status as Antonio’s heirs.

 

It bears stressing that what the respondents prayed for was that they be declared as the rightful owners of the CPPA which was in Mercedes’ possession prior to the execution of the Agreement and Waiver. The respondents also prayed for the alternative relief of securing the issuance by the RTC of a hold order relative to the CPPA to preserve Antonio’s deposits with Metrobank during the pendency of the case. It can thus be said that the respondents’ prayer relative to the CPPA was premised on Mercedes’ prior possession of and their alleged collective ownership of the same, and not on the declaration of their status as Antonio’s heirs. Further, it also has to be emphasized that the respondents were parties to the execution of the Agreement[6][35] and Waiver[7][36] prayed to be nullified. Hence, even without the necessity of being declared as heirs of Antonio, the respondents have the standing to seek for the nullification of the instruments in the light of their claims that there was no consideration for their execution, and that Ramon exercised undue influence and committed fraud against them. Consequently, the respondents then claimed that the Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Antonio’s estate executed by Ramon, and the TCTs issued upon the authority of the said affidavit, are null and void as well. Ramon’s averment that a resolution of the issues raised shall first require a declaration of the respondents’ status as heirs is a mere defense which is not determinative of which court shall properly exercise jurisdiction.

 

In Marjorie Cadimas v. Marites Carrion and Gemma Hugo,[8][37] the Court declared:

 

                It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. As a necessary consequence, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

IS THE STRATEGY OF THE HEIRS SOUND?

 

 

NO BECAUSE A SETTLEMENT PROCEEDING SHOULD STILL FOLLOW. BUT THE RTC CANNOT BE RESTRAINED FROM TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE COMPLAINT AND AMENDED COMPLAINT.

 

 

The respondents’ resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically sound, because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow, if their intent is to recover from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. Be that as it may, the RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, cannot be restrained from taking cognizance of respondents’ Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding.

 

 

 

 

=====================

 

 

Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court

Manila

 

 

 

SECOND DIVISION

 

RAMON S. CHING AND PO WING PROPERTIES, INC.,

                                        Petitioners,

 

 

                         –  versus –

 

 

HON. JANSEN R. RODRIGUEZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 6, JOSEPH CHENG, JAIME CHENG, MERCEDES IGNE AND LUCINA SANTOS, substituted by her son, EDUARDO S. BALAJADIA,

                                        Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 192828

 

Present:

 

CARPIO, J.,

         Chairperson,

BRION,

PEREZ,

ARANAL-SERENO, and        

REYES, JJ.

 

 

 

Promulgated:

 

   November 28, 2011

 

 x————————————————————————————x

 

RESOLUTION

 

REYES, J.:

 

The Case

 

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari[9][1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the December 14, 2009 Decision[10][2] and July 8, 2010 Resolution[11][3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 99856. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads:

 

          WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us DENYING the petition filed in this case and AFFIRMING the assailed Orders dated March 15, 2007 and May 16, 2007 issued by the respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 6, in Manila in Civil Case No. 02-105251.[12][4]

 

 

The assailed Resolution denied the petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration.

 

The Factual Antecedents

 

Sometime between November 25, 2002  and  December 3, 2002,[13][5] the respondents filed a Complaint[14][6] against the petitioners and Stronghold Insurance Company, Global Business Bank, Inc. (formerly PhilBank), Elena Tiu Del Pilar, Asia Atlantic Resources Ventures, Inc., Registers of Deeds of  Manila and Malabon, and all persons claiming rights or titles from Ramon Ching (Ramon) and his successors-in-interest.

 

The Complaint, captioned as one for “Disinheritance, Declaration of Nullity of Agreement and Waiver, Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement, Deed of Absolute Sale, Transfer Certificates of Title with Prayer for [the] Issuance of [a] Temporary Restraining Order and [a] Writ of Preliminary Injunction,” was docketed as Civil Case No. 02-105251 and raffled to Branch 8 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC).

 

In the Complaint, the respondents alleged the following as causes of action:

 

First Cause of Action. They are the heirs of Lim San, also known as Antonio Ching / Tiong Cheng / Ching Cheng Suy (Antonio). Respondents Joseph Cheng (Joseph) and Jaime Cheng (Jaime) are allegedly the children of Antonio with his common-law wife, respondent Mercedes Igne (Mercedes). Respondent Lucina Santos (Lucina) claimed that she was also a common-law wife of Antonio. The respondents averred that Ramon misrepresented himself as Antonio’s and Lucina’s son when in truth and in fact, he was adopted and his birth certificate was merely simulated. On July 18, 1996, Antonio died of a stab wound. Police investigators identified Ramon as the prime suspect and he now stands as the lone accused in a criminal case for murder filed against him. Warrants of arrest issued against him have remained unserved as he is at large. From the foregoing circumstances and upon the authority of Article 919[15][7] of the New Civil Code (NCC), the respondents concluded that Ramon can be legally disinherited, hence, prohibited from receiving any share from the estate of Antonio.

 

Second Cause of Action. On August 26, 1996, prior to the conclusion of the police investigations tagging Ramon as the prime suspect in the murder of Antonio, the former made an inventory of the latter’s estate. Ramon misrepresented that there were only six real estate properties left by Antonio. The respondents alleged that Ramon had illegally transferred to his name the titles to the said properties. Further, there are two other parcels of land, cash and jewelries, plus properties in Hongkong, which were in Ramon’s possession.

 

Third Cause of Action. Mercedes, being of low educational attainment, was sweet-talked by Ramon into surrendering to him a Global Business Bank, Inc. (Global Bank) Certificate of Time Deposit of  P4,000,000.00 in the name of Antonio, and the certificates of title covering two condominium units in Binondo which were purchased by Antonio using his own money but which were registered in Ramon’s name. Ramon also fraudulently misrepresented to Joseph, Jaime and Mercedes that they will promptly receive their complete shares, exclusive of the stocks in Po Wing Properties, Inc. (Po Wing), from the estate of Antonio. Exerting undue influence, Ramon had convinced them to execute an Agreement[16][8] and a Waiver[17][9] on August 20, 1996. The terms and conditions stipulated in the Agreement and Waiver, specifically, on the payment by Ramon to Joseph, Jaime and Mercedes of the amount of P22,000,000.00, were not complied with. Further, Lucina was not informed of the execution of the said instruments and had not received any amount from Ramon. Hence, the instruments are null and void.

 

Fourth Cause of Action. Antonio’s 40,000 shares in Po Wing, which constitute 60% of the latter’s total capital stock, were illegally transferred by Ramon to his own name through a forged document of sale executed after Antonio died. Po Wing owns a ten-storey building in Binondo. Ramon’s claim that he bought the stocks from Antonio before the latter died is baseless. Further, Lucina’s shares in Po Wing had also banished into thin air through Ramon’s machinations.

 

Fifth Cause of Action. On October 29, 1996, Ramon executed an Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate[18][10] adjudicating solely to himself Antonio’s entire estate to the prejudice of the respondents. By virtue of the said instrument, new Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) covering eight real properties owned by Antonio were issued in Ramon’s name. Relative to the Po Wing shares, the Register of Deeds of Manila had required Ramon to post a Surety Bond conditioned to answer for whatever claims which may eventually surface in connection with the said stocks. Co-defendant Stronghold Insurance Company issued the bond in Ramon’s behalf.

 

Sixth Cause of Action. Ramon sold Antonio’s two parcels of land in Navotas to co-defendant Asia Atlantic Business Ventures, Inc. Another parcel of land, which was part of Antonio’s estate, was sold by Ramon to co-defendant Elena Tiu Del Pilar at an unreasonably low price. By reason of Ramon’s lack of authority to dispose of any part of Antonio’s estate, the conveyances are null and void ab initio.

 

Since Ramon is at large, his wife, Belen Dy Tan Ching, now manages Antonio’s estate. She has no intent to convey to the respondents their shares in the estate of Antonio.

 

The respondents thus prayed for the following in their Complaint:

 

          1. x x x a temporary restraining order be issued restraining the defendant RAMON CHING and/or his attorney-in-fact Belen Dy Tan Ching from disposing, selling or alienating any property that belongs to the estate of the deceased ANTONIO CHING;

 

x x x

 

            4. x x x

 

a.) Declaring that the defendant RAMON CHING who murdered his father ANTONIO CHING disqualified as heir and from inheriting to (sic) the estate of his father;

 

b.) Declaring the nullity of the defendant RAMON CHING transfer (sic) of the six [6] parcels of land from the name of his father ANTONIO CHING to his name covered by TCT No. x x x;

 

c.) Declaring the nullity of the AGREEMENT and WAIVER executed by plaintiffs x x x in favor of x x x RAMON CHING for being patently immoral, invalid, illegal, simulated and (sic) sham;

 

d.) Declaring the nullity of the transfer of the shares of stocks at (sic) PO WING from the names of ANTONIO CHING and LUCINA SANTOS to the defendant ANTONIO  CHING’s name for having been illegally procured through the falsification of their signatures in the document purporting the transfer thereof;

 

e.) Declaring the nullity and to have no force and effect the AFFIDAVIT OF SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE executed by x x x RAMON CHING for being contrary to law and existing jurisprudence;

 

f.)  Declaring the nullity of the DEED OF SALES (sic) executed by x x x RAMON CHING (i) over two (2) parcels of land x x x to defendant ASIA ATLANTIC BUSINESS VENTURES, Inc.; and (ii) one (1) parcel of land x x x sold to x x x ELENA TIU DEL PILAR for having illegally procured the ownership and titles of the above properties;

 

            x x x.[19][11]

 

 

The petitioners filed with the RTC a Motion to Dismiss[20][12] alleging forum shopping, litis pendentia, res judicata and the respondents as not being the real parties in interest.

 

On July 30, 2004, the RTC issued an Omnibus Order[21][13] denying the petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss.

 

The respondents filed an Amended Complaint[22][14] dated April 7, 2005 impleading Metrobank as the successor-in-interest of co-defendant Global Bank. The Amended Complaint also added a seventh cause of action relative to the existence of a Certificate of Premium Plus Acquisition (CPPA) in the amount of P4,000,000.00 originally issued by PhilBank to Antonio. The respondents prayed that they be declared as the rightful owners of the CPPA and that it be immediately released to them. Alternatively, the respondents prayed for the issuance of a hold order relative to the CPPA to preserve it during the pendency of the case.

 

On April 22, 2005, the petitioners filed their Consolidated Answer with Counterclaim.[23][15]

 

On October 28, 2005, the RTC issued an Order[24][16] admitting the respondents’ Amended Complaint. The RTC stressed that Metrobank had already filed Manifestations admitting that as successor-in-interest of Global Bank, it now possesses custody of Antonio’s deposits. Metrobank expressed willingness to abide by any court order as regards the disposition of Antonio’s deposits. The petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration filed to assail the aforecited Order was denied by the RTC on May 3, 2006.

 

On May 29, 2006, the petitioners filed their Consolidated Answer with Counterclaim to the respondents’ Amended Complaint.

 

On August 11, 2006, the RTC issued a pre-trial order.[25][17]

 

          On January 18, 2007, the petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss[26][18] the respondents’ Amended Complaint on the alleged ground of the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Complaint. The petitioners argued that since the Amended Complaint sought the release of the CPPA to the respondents, the latter’s declaration as heirs of Antonio, and the propriety of Ramon’s disinheritance, the suit partakes of the nature of a special proceeding and not an ordinary action for declaration of nullity. Hence, jurisdiction pertains to a probate or intestate court and not to the RTC acting as an ordinary court.

 

          On March 15, 2007, the RTC issued an Order[27][19] denying the petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss on grounds:

 

In the case at bar, an examination of the Complaint would disclose that the action delves mainly on the question of ownership of the properties described in the Complaint which can be properly settled in an ordinary civil action. And as pointed out by the defendants, the action seeks to declare the nullity of the Agreement, Waiver, Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement, Deed of Absolute Sale, Transfer Certificates of Title, which were all allegedly executed by defendant Ramon Ching to defraud the plaintiffs. The relief of establishing the status of the plaintiffs which could have translated this action into a special proceeding was nowhere stated in the Amended Complaint. With regard [to] the prayer to declare the plaintiffs as the rightful owner[s] of the CPPA and that the same be immediately released to them, in itself poses an issue of ownership which must be proved by plaintiffs by substantial evidence. And as emphasized by the plaintiffs, the Amended Complaint was intended to implead Metrobank as a co-defendant.

 

            As regards the issue of disinheritance, the court notes that during the Pre-trial of this case, one of the issues raised by the defendants Ramon Ching and Po Wing Properties is: Whether or not there can be disinheritance in intestate succession? Whether or not defendant Ramon Ching can be legally disinherited from the estate of his father? To the mind of the Court, the issue of disinheritance, which is one of the causes of action in the Complaint, can be fully settled after a trial on the merits. And at this stage, it has not been sufficiently established whether or not there is a will.[28][20] (Emphasis supplied.)

 

 

The above Order, and a subsequent Order dated May 16, 2007 denying the petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration, became the subjects of a petition for certiorari filed with the CA. The petition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 99856, raised the issue of whether or not the RTC gravely abused its discretion when it denied the petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss despite the fact that the Amended Complaint sought to establish the status or rights of the respondents which subjects are within the ambit of a special proceeding.

 

On December 14, 2009, the CA rendered the now assailed Decision[29][21] denying the petition for certiorari on grounds:

 

          Our in-depth assessment of the condensed allegations supporting the causes of action of the amended complaint induced us to infer that nothing in the said complaint shows that the action of the private respondents should be threshed out in a special proceeding, it appearing that their allegations were substantially for the enforcement of their rights against the alleged fraudulent acts committed by the petitioner Ramon Ching. The private respondents also instituted the said amended complaint in order to protect them from the consequence of the fraudulent acts of Ramon Ching by seeking to disqualify Ramon Ching from inheriting from Antonio Ching as well as to enjoin him from disposing or alienating the subject properties, including the P4 Million deposit with Metrobank. The intestate or probate court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate such issues, which must be submitted to the court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction as a regional trial court. Furthermore, we agree with the trial court that the probate court could not take cognizance of the prayer to disinherit Ramon Ching, given the undisputed fact that there was no will to be contested in a probate court.

 

            The petition at bench apparently cavils the subject amended complaint and complicates the issue of jurisdiction by reiterating the grounds or defenses set up in the petitioners’ earlier pleadings. Notwithstanding, the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint without regard to whether or not the private respondents (plaintiffs) are entitled to recover upon all or some of the causes of action asserted therein. In this regard, the jurisdiction of the court does not depend upon the defenses pleaded in the answer or in the motion to dismiss, lest the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the petitioners (defendants).[30][22] Hence, we focus our resolution on the issue of jurisdiction on the allegations in the amended complaint and not on the defenses pleaded in the motion to dismiss or in the subsequent pleadings of the petitioners.

 

            In fine, under the circumstances of the present case, there being no compelling reason to still subject the action of the petitioners in a special proceeding since the nullification of the subject documents could be achieved in the civil case, the lower court should proceed to evaluate the evidence of the parties and render a decision thereon upon the issues that it defined during the pre-trial in Civil Case No. 02-105251.[31][23] (emphasis supplied)

 

 

The petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the CA through a Resolution[32][24] issued on July 8, 2010.

 

The Issue

 

          The instant Petition for Review on Certiorari[33][25] is anchored on the issue of:

 

Whether or not the RTC should have granted the Motion to Dismiss filed by the PETITIONERS on the alleged ground of the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Amended Complaint, to wit, (a) filiations with Antonio of Ramon, Jaime and Joseph; (b) rights of  common-law wives, Lucina and Mercedes, to be considered as heirs of Antonio; (c) determination of the extent of Antonio’s estate; and (d) other matters which can only be resolved in a special proceeding and not in an ordinary civil action.

 

The petitioners argue that only a probate court has the authority to determine (a) who are the heirs of a decedent; (b) the validity of  a waiver of  hereditary rights; (c) the status of each heir; and (d) whether the property in the inventory is conjugal or the exclusive property of  the deceased spouse.[34][26] Further, the extent of Antonio’s estate, the status of the contending parties and the respondents’ alleged entitlement as heirs to receive the proceeds of Antonio’s CPPA now in Metrobank’s custody are matters which are more appropriately the subjects of a special proceeding and not of an ordinary civil action.

 

The respondents opposed[35][27] the instant petition claiming that the petitioners are engaged in forum shopping. Specifically, G.R. Nos. 175507[36][28] and 183840,[37][29] both involving the contending parties in the instant petition were filed by the petitioners and are currently pending before this Court. Further, in Mendoza v. Hon. Teh,[38][30] the SC declared that whether a particular matter should be resolved by the RTC in the exercise of  its general jurisdiction  or its limited probate jurisdiction, is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of procedure. Besides, the petitioners, having validly submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC and having actively participated in the trial of the case, are already estopped from challenging the RTC’s jurisdiction over the respondents’ Complaint and Amended Complaint.[39][31]

 

The Court’s Ruling

 

We resolve to deny the instant petition.

 

The petitioners failed to comply with a lawful order of this Court directing them to file their reply to the respondents’ Comment/Opposition to the instant Petition. While the prescribed period to comply expired on March 15, 2011, the petitioners filed their Manifestation that they will no longer file a reply only on October 10, 2011 or after the lapse of almost seven months.

 

Further, no reversible errors were committed by the RTC and the CA when they both ruled that the denial of the petitioners’ second motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 02-105251 was proper.

 

Even without delving into the procedural allegations of the respondents that the petitioners engaged in forum shopping and are already estopped from questioning the RTC’s jurisdiction after having validly submitted to it when the latter participated in the proceedings, the denial of the instant Petition is still in order. Although the respondents’ Complaint and Amended Complaint sought, among others, the disinheritance of Ramon and the release in favor of the respondents of the CPPA now under Metrobank’s custody, Civil Case No. 02-105251 remains to be an ordinary civil action, and not a special proceeding pertaining to a settlement court.

 

An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a civil action, whereas matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as advancement of property made by the decedent, partake of the nature of a special proceeding, which concomitantly requires the application of specific rules as provided for in the Rules of Court.[40][32] A special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.[41][33] It is distinguished from an ordinary civil action where a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.[42][34] To initiate a special proceeding, a petition and not a complaint should be filed.

 

Under Article 916 of the NCC, disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefor shall be specified. This Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that while the respondents in their Complaint and Amended Complaint sought the disinheritance of Ramon, no will or any instrument supposedly effecting the disposition of Antonio’s estate was ever mentioned. Hence, despite the prayer for Ramon’s disinheritance, Civil Case No. 02-105251 does not partake of the nature of a special proceeding and does not call for the probate court’s exercise of its limited jurisdiction.

 

The petitioners also argue that the prayers in the Amended Complaint, seeking the release in favor of the respondents of the CPPA under Metrobank’s custody and the nullification of the instruments subject of the complaint, necessarily require the determination of the respondents’ status as Antonio’s heirs.

 

It bears stressing that what the respondents prayed for was that they be declared as the rightful owners of the CPPA which was in Mercedes’ possession prior to the execution of the Agreement and Waiver. The respondents also prayed for the alternative relief of securing the issuance by the RTC of a hold order relative to the CPPA to preserve Antonio’s deposits with Metrobank during the pendency of the case. It can thus be said that the respondents’ prayer relative to the CPPA was premised on Mercedes’ prior possession of and their alleged collective ownership of the same, and not on the declaration of their status as Antonio’s heirs. Further, it also has to be emphasized that the respondents were parties to the execution of the Agreement[43][35] and Waiver[44][36] prayed to be nullified. Hence, even without the necessity of being declared as heirs of Antonio, the respondents have the standing to seek for the nullification of the instruments in the light of their claims that there was no consideration for their execution, and that Ramon exercised undue influence and committed fraud against them. Consequently, the respondents then claimed that the Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Antonio’s estate executed by Ramon, and the TCTs issued upon the authority of the said affidavit, are null and void as well. Ramon’s averment that a resolution of the issues raised shall first require a declaration of the respondents’ status as heirs is a mere defense which is not determinative of which court shall properly exercise jurisdiction.

 

In Marjorie Cadimas v. Marites Carrion and Gemma Hugo,[45][37] the Court declared:

 

                        It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. As a necessary consequence, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted.

 

 

In sum, this Court agrees with the CA that the nullification of the documents subject of Civil Case No. 02-105251 could be achieved in an ordinary civil action, which in this specific case was instituted to protect the respondents from the supposedly fraudulent acts of Ramon. In the event that the RTC will find grounds to grant the reliefs prayed for by the respondents, the only consequence will be the reversion of the properties subject of the dispute to the estate of Antonio. Civil Case No. 02-105251 was not instituted to conclusively resolve the issues relating to the administration, liquidation and distribution of Antonio’s estate, hence, not the proper subject of a  special proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person  under Rules 73-91 of  the Rules of Court.

 

The respondents’ resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically sound, because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow, if their intent is to recover from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. Be that as it may, the RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, cannot be restrained from taking cognizance of respondents’ Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding.

 

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The petitioners’ (a) Opposition to the respondents’ Motion to Admit Substitution of Party;[46][38] and (b) Manifestation[47][39] through counsel that they will no longer file a reply to the respondents’ Comment/Opposition to the instant petition are NOTED.

 

 

 

          SO ORDERED.

 

 

                                      BIENVENIDO L. REYES

                                      Associate Justice

 

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

 

 

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

ARTURO D. BRION

Associate Justice

JOSE P. PEREZ

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

A T T E S T A T I O N

 

          I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

 

                                      ANTONIO T. CARPIO

                                      Associate Justice

                                      Chairperson, Second Division

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

          Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

 

 

                                      RENATO C. CORONA

                                      Chief Justice

 


 


[1][38]       Rollo, pp. 670-675.

[2][39]       Id. at 676-680.

[3][32]       Natcher v. Court of Appeals, et al.,  418 Phil 669, 677 (2001).

[4][33]       Rules of Court, Rule 1, Section 3.

[5][34]       Reyes v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 162956, April 10, 2008, 551 SCRA  86, 92.

[6][35]       Supra note 8.

[7][36]       Supra note 9.

[8][37]       G.R. No. 180394, September 29, 2008, 567 SCRA 101, 116, citing Serdoncillo v. Spouses Benolirao, 358 Phil. 83, 94-95 (1998).

[9][1]         Rollo, pp. 12-57.

[10][2]       Penned by Associate Justice Isaias Dicdican, with Associate Justices Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando and Romeo F. Barza, concurring; id. at 59-70.

[11][3]      Id. at 72-73.

[12][4]       Id. at 69.

[13][5]       The copy of the Complaint filed with this Court was dated November 25, 2002 and stamped as received by the RTC on December 3, 2002. However, the copy does not indicate if the Complaint was filed personally or by registered mail. 

[14][6]       Rollo, pp. 110-126.

[15][7]       Art. 919. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, legitimate as well as  illegitimate:

                (1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;

                x x x

                (6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant;

                x x x.

[16][8]       Rollo, p. 615.

[17][9]       Id. at 616.

[18][10]    Id. at 617-620.

[19][11]     Id. at 122-123.

[20][12]    Id. at 127-136.

[21][13]    Id. at 137-143.

[22][14]    Id. at 242-259.

[23][15]    Id. at 191-229.

[24][16]    Id. at 271-272.

[25][17]    Id. at 327-339.

[26][18]    Id. at 348-356.

[27][19]    Id. at 414-419.

[28][20]    Id. at 418-419.

[29][21]    Id. at 59-70.

[30][22]     Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. v.  Hon. Edwin D. Sorongon, G.R. No. 176709, May 8, 2009, 587 SCRA 613, 619-620, citing Caparros v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 56803, February 28, 1989, 170 SCRA 758, 761.

[31][23]     Rollo, pp. 67-68.

[32][24]     Id. at 72-73.

[33][25]    Id. at 12-57.

[34][26]     Citing Associate Justice Florenz Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. 2, 9th Revised Ed., p. 11.

[35][27]     Please see Comment/Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari, rollo, pp. 499-535. Lucina died on October 20, 2010, hence, substituted by Eduardo Santos Balajadia who claims to be her son.

[36][28]     Id. at 536-570. G.R. No. 175507 originated from the RTC Order (Id. at 632) issued on November 22, 2002 dismissing Civil Case No. 02-103319 without prejudice. On the other hand, the petition now under this Court’s consideration originated from Civil Case No. 02-105251.

[37][29]     Id. at 571-612. Although G.R. No. 183840 involves the same parties, it originated from the RTC Omnibus Order issued on July 30, 2004 denying the petitioners’ first motion to dismiss. The RTC Order issued on March 15, 2007 denying the petitioners’ second motion to dismiss is the origin of the instant petition now under this Court’s consideration.

[38][30]     336 Phil 735, 740 (1997).

[39][31]     Citing Tijam, et al. v. Sibonghanoy, et al., 131 Phil 556 (1968), Melendres, Jr. v. COMELEC, 377 Phil 275 (1999), Antiporda v. Garchitorena, 378 Phil 1166, 1174 (1999).

[40][32]     Natcher v. Court of Appeals, et al.,  418 Phil 669, 677 (2001).

[41][33]     Rules of Court, Rule 1, Section 3.

[42][34]     Reyes v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 162956, April 10, 2008, 551 SCRA  86, 92.

[43][35]     Supra note 8.

[44][36]     Supra note 9.

[45][37]     G.R. No. 180394, September 29, 2008, 567 SCRA 101, 116, citing Serdoncillo v. Spouses Benolirao, 358 Phil. 83, 94-95 (1998).

[46][38]     Rollo, pp. 670-675.

[47][39]     Id. at 676-680.

CASE 2011-0224: VICTOR R. REYES, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, CLARIBEL G. REYES, CLARISSA G. REYES AND CZARINA G. REYES VS. COURT OF APPEALS, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HON. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS CITY MAYOR OF MANILA, SENEN D. TOMADA, AND HERNANDO B. GARCIA (G.R. NO. 167002, 12 DECEMBER 2011, MENDOZA, J.) SUBJECTS: PROHIBITIVE APPOINTMENT DURING ELECTION PERIOD; MEANING OF TRANSFER OR DETAIL; WHO CAN ASK FOR RECON IN  CSC RULING.  (BRIEF TITLE: REYES VS. CA)

====================

 

DISPOSITIVE PORTION:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

 

 

====================

 

Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court

Manila

EN BANC

VICTOR R. REYES,substituted by his heirs, CLARIBEL G. REYES, CLARISSA G. REYES,

and CZARINA G. REYES,

                                               Petitioners,

– versus –

COURT OF APPEALS, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION,

HON. JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR.,

in his capacity as City Mayor of Manila, SENEN D. TOMADA,

and HERNANDO B. GARCIA,

                                           Respondents.

  G.R. No.  167002Present:

CORONA, C.J.,

CARPIO,

VELASCO, JR.,

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,

BRION,

PERALTA,

BERSAMIN,

DEL CASTILLO,

ABAD,

VILLARAMA, JR.,

PEREZ,

MENDOZA,  

SERENO, 

REYES, and

PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promulgated:  

 December 12, 2011

x —————————————————————————————x

D E C I S I O N

 

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioner Victor R. Reyes (Reyes) assailing the August 28, 2003 Decision[1][1] of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 59616, entitled “Hernando B. Garcia, petitioner, v. Senen D. Tomada, Civil Service Commission Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr. in his capacity as the City Mayor of Manila, respondents” and Victor R. Reyes, Intervenor,the dispositive portion of which reads:

            WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the assailed resolution of the Civil Service Commission is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The appointment of petitioner Hernando B. Garcia as Assistant City Assessor of the City of Manila is UPHELD over the claims of respondent Senen D. Tomada and intervenor Victor R. Reyes to that position.

            SO ORDERED.[2][2]    

Reyes filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the CA in its Resolution datedFebruary 2, 2005.

          Hence, this petition.

THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS

 

The factual and procedural antecedents have been succinctly recited in the subject decision of the CA as follows:

 

OnMarch 26, 1998, or forty-six days before theMay 11, 1998elections, then Mayor Alfredo Lim (or “Lim”) of the City ofManilaappointed Senen Tomada (or “Tomada”) as City Government Assistant Department Head III (Assistant City Assessor, or “subject position”).  On the same date, Tomada’s appointment, which was indicated as ‘Transfer with Promotion,” was submitted to the Civil Service Commission Field Office (or “CSCFO”) inManilafor consideration and approval.

Prior to her appointment, Tomada was assigned at the Office of the City Treasurer of Manila as Local Treasury Operations Officer IV.

In a letter datedMarch 26, 1998, Tomada sought clarification from the Commission on Elections (or “COMELEC”) on whether her appointment to the subject position was prohibited under Sec. 261(g) of the Omnibus Election Code.  In a reply-letter datedApril 2, 1998, the COMELEC opined that her appointment was valid because promotional appointments are only prohibited under said law if issued within forty-five days prior to theMay 11, 1998elections, or betweenMarch 27, 1998andMay 11, 1998.

On April 24, 1998, CSCFO head Arturo Panaligan (or “Panaligan”) wrote to the Civil Service Commission (or “CSC”) office requesting clarification on the validity of Tomada’s appointment given the prohibition against certain personnel actions under Section 261(g) and (h), id., which reads:

“Sec. 261.  Prohibited acts.—The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

                        x x x

(g) Appointment of new employees, creation of new position, promotion, or giving salary increases.—During the period of forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election. x x x

h) Transfers of officers and employees in the civil service.— Any public official who makes or causes any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or employee in the civil service including public school teachers, within the election period except upon prior approval of the Commission.”

The CSC-NCR, in turn, referred Panaligan’s request to the CSC Central Office for appropriate action.

Pending action on Tomada’s appointment, however, Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr. (or “Mayor Atienza”) assumed Lim’s position upon the latter’s running for president in theMay 11, 1998elections.  On July 1, 1998, Mayor Atienza, who ran for and was elected as mayor of the City of Manila in the same elections, appointed Hernando Garcia (or “Garcia”) to the subject position.

On July 28, 1998, Panaligan cancelled Tomada’s appointment without awaiting the CSC’s reply to his April 24, 1998 letter, explaining that said appointment constituted a “transfer” which was allegedly a violation of Sec. 261(h), id.   Nevertheless, Panaligan stated that his action was without prejudice to the CSC’s resolution on the matter.

Tomada sought reconsideration of the cancellation of her appointment, per her letter datedJuly 29, 1998, pointing out that the CSC was yet to reply to Panaligan’s request for clarification.

OnSeptember 27, 1999, the CSC issued Resolution              No. 99, 2208 approving Tomada’s promotional appointment. The resolution pertinently reads:

“Considering, therefore, that the promotional appointment of Tomada was issued prior to the prohibited period as provided for in the Omnibus Election Code; and considering, further, that her movement from one office to another is merely incidental to her promotion, the Commission finds such personnel action not in violation of the Omnibus Election Code and CSC Office Memorandum No.  11, s. 1998.”

OnNovember 19, 1999, Mayor Atienza filed a petition for reconsideration which was, however, dismissed by the CSC onMay 22, 2000.

OnJune 7, 2000, Panaligan wrote to Mayor Atienza requesting immediate implementation of CSC Resolution No. 99-2208 and recalling Garcia’s appointment to the subject position.

OnJuly 11, 2000, Garcia filed the instant petition for certiorari and quo warranto, with an application for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the CSC for recalling his appointment.

Garcia maintains that he was not notified of Tomada’s appeal to the CSC and that he assumed the subject position by virtue of a valid appointment issued by Mayor Atienza which was approved onAugust 31, 1998by Panaligan of the CSCFO.  He argues that he cannot be removed from the subject position in the guise of a recall since the ground for his removal is not sanctioned by law.

Garcia also faults the CSC for acting on Tomada’s motion for reconsideration even as it was not made by the proper appointing authority prescribed in CSC Memorandum Circular No. 38, Series of 1993, and Tomada did not pay the requisite docket fee. He adds that Tomada’s right to claim the subject position is barred by prescription for failure to file an action for quo warranto within one year from his (Garcia) appointment to the subject position (on July 1, 1998).

For her part, Tomada counters that Garcia’s appointment is null and void because, at that time, the subject position was not yet vacant as the CSCFO disapproved her appointment only onJuly 27, 1998.  In support of her argument, Tomada cites Sec. 10, Rule V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Exec. Order No. 292 which provides that “an appointment shall remain effective until disapproved by the Commission.”

Tomada further claims superior right to the subject position because:  (i) her appointment was issued prior to that of Garcia; and (ii) the CSCFO’s disapproval of her appointment is merely conditional as shown in the notation on her appointment letter which reads, “without prejudice to whatever resolution the Commission may issue on this (appointment).”

Anent the issue of prescription, Tomada explains that she could not immediately institute a quo warranto proceeding against Garcia pending the administrative proceedings before the CSC concerning the validity of her appointment.  Tomada also points out that the CSC did not violate Garcia’s right to due process because a hearing is not required in CSC proceedings which are not disciplinary in nature.

As for Mayor Atienza, he merely adopted the arguments raised by Garcia in his petition before this Court.

Meantime, onOctober 12, 2000, Victor Reyes (or “Reyes”) filed a motion for intervention in his alleged capacity as the incumbent Assistant City Assessor of Manila, which was denied per resolution datedFebruary 14, 2001but later granted pursuant to the resolution datedAugust 7, 2002.  In his answer-in-intervention, Reyes averred that former Manila Mayor Gemiliano Lopez appointed him to the subject position on August 3, 1989; that when Lim assumed office in 1992 as Manila mayor, he (Reyes) was among the officials pressured to resign from office so that Lim could appoint his own people; that those who failed to tender courtesy resignations were physically harassed or subjected to trumped-up criminal and administrative charges; that he (Reyes) himself was charged with falsification and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and that an administrative complaint was filed against him by a certain Amador Valdeviego.

Reyes also alleged that in light of the abovementioned circumstances, he wrote Lim onOctober 1, 1993requesting for his transfer to theQuezonCity Halland approval of his application for sick leave for two months, which requests were granted by Lim, and manifesting willingness to retire if his transfer could not be effected byDecember 31, 1993.

Reyes further alleged that the criminal and administrative charges against him were dismissed but despite this development which could have allowed him to retire from the service, Lim failed to act on his application for retirement; that on March 10, 1999, Reyes wrote Mayor Atienza advising of his desire to re-assume the subject position; and that when Mayor Atienza failed to act on his request, Reyes filed with the CSC a complaint for Assumption of Office against Mayor Atienza, Garcia and the City of Manila.

On October 18, 2000, Garcia filed a reply to Tomada’s comment alleging that her appointment has not become effective for failure to assume the subject position; that his appointment being “complete, lawful and effective,” he has superior right and title to the subject position vis-à-vis Tomada; and that the recall of his appointment amounted to his removal from office without cause and without due process.

For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General (or “OSG”) maintains that the CSC correctly upheld the promotional appointment of Tomada. The OSG points out that CSC Resolution No.  99-2208 does not involve the imposition of an administrative disciplinary measure and, therefore, “the appointee need not be previously heard thereon;” and that the CSC merely recalled Garcia’s appointment inasmuch as the earlier appointment of Tomada is valid.

 On August 28, 2003, the CA rendered the assailed decision[3][3] granting the petition of Garcia and upholding his appointment over the claims of Tomada and Reyes to the position.  In justifying its ruling, the CA wrote:

            At the outset, it should be observed that Tomada’s appointment actually involved two kinds of personnel action, i.e., promotion and transfer. This is clear from the phrase “transfer with promotion” used in her appointment paper by way of describing the nature of her appointment.

            Tomada’s promotion did not fall within the 45-day period prior to theMay 11, 1998elections (Sec. 261[g], Omnibus Election Code). However, her transfer from the Office of the City Treasurer to the Office of the City Assessor is a different matter.

            Sec. 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits “any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or employee in the civil service including public school teachers, within the election period except upon prior approval of the Commission.” Pursuant to this provision, the CSC, through Office Memorandum (OM) No. 11, Series of 1998, issued the following guideline:

            “The transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service, including public school teachers pursuant to Section 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code for the period beginning January 11, 1998(Sunday) to June 10, 1998(Wednesday), or 120 days before election and 30 days after election, is hereby prohibited. The phrase transfer or detail shall be construed in general terms. Thus any movement of officer or employee in the civil service, including public school teachers, from one agency is prohibited and is considered an election offense.” (Underscoring supplied)

            From the foregoing, it is clear that Tomada’s transfer from the Office of the City Treasurer to the Office of the City Assessor onMarch 26,1998, which was during the election period, contravened the express provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and its implementing rules and regulations. Consequently, there is no legal basis for the CSC’s stance that “the movement of Tomada from one office to another in the City Government of Manila cannot be considered as ‘transfer’ as contemplated in Sec. 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code and CSC Office Memorandum No. 11, s. 1998.”

            To recall, CSC OM No. 11, Series of 1998, explicitly provides that the phrase “transfer or detail” shall be construed in general terms. Hence, a transfer incidental to a promotion, as in Tomada’s case, is within the purview of the prohibition against transfers during the election period.  This is as it should be in keeping with the well-entrenched rule that where the law does not distinguish, the courts should not distinguish (Guerrero vs. Commission on Elections, 336 SCRA 458). Ubi lex not distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus.

            In a long line of cases, it has been held that when a statute is clear and explicit, there is no need for any extended court ratiocination thereon – there is no room for interpretation, vacillation or equivocation, only for application (Caguioa vs. Lavina, 345 SCRA 49). Only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court interpret or construe its true intent (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 320 SCRA 279).

            Another reason why the instant petition should be granted is Tomada’s lack of standing to appeal the disapproval of her appointment to the CSC. In Mathay, Jr. vs. Civil Service Commission (312 SCRA 91), the Supreme Court ruled that only the appointing officer may ask for reconsideration of actions taken by the CSC on appointments. Thus, the CSC should have refrained from acting on Tomada’s request for reconsideration, the same not having been endorsed by Mayor Atienza, the incumbent mayor of Manila and the appointing authority at the time of disapproval of her appointment.    

            Consequently, CSC Resolution No. 99-2208 is contrary to law and jurisprudence.

            On the other hand, Reyes’ answer-in-intervention deserves scant consideration. The CSC found that Reyes had effectively vacated the position of Assistant City Assessor of Manila when his application for retirement effectiveJanuary 1, 1994was approved by Lim. Having voluntarily caused his separation from the service, he may not make a turnabout and lay claim to said office just because his retirement benefits were not released to him in due course. His failure to obtain said benefits does not affect the validity of his voluntary retirement. He may avail of remedies available under the law to compel the release of his retirement benefits, but not his reinstatement to the subject position.

            The only way Reyes can re-assume the subject position is by re-appointment. Having lost his standing to claim the position he previously held, the prayer in his answer-in-intervention must necessarily be denied.

          Dissatisfied, Reyes seeks relief via this petition for review praying that the Court

1.  set aside the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated28 August 2003, the Resolution dated02 February 2005and Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 99-2208 datedSeptember 27, 1999;

2.  declare the appointments of Senen Tomada and Hernando Garcia null and void and;

3.  declare petitioner Victor [R.] Reyes as the duly constituted Assistant City Assessor for Operation of the City ofManila;

4.  order the reinstatement of Victor [R.] Reyes to the said position of Assistant City Assessor for Operation of the City ofManila;

5.  order the payment of backwages of Victor [R.] Reyes from the time he sought assumption of his office until he is restored to his position.

Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are also prayed for.[4][4]      

          To sway the Court to his position, Reyes posits that the case be decided by resolving the following

                                                I S S U E S

 

I.          WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE, NOT THERETOFORE DETERMINED BY THE SUPREME COURT, OR HAS DECIDED IT IN A WAY PROBABLY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT.

 

II.        WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS SO FAR DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS, OR SO FAR COMMITTED SUCH DEPARTURE SO AS TO CALL FOR AN EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF SUPERVISION. [5][5]      

Garcia and the CSC filed their respective comments on the petition. Later, the City of Manilaand its City Mayor also filed their Comment.[6][6]

Tomada, despite notice through counsel, did not file any comment.

OnSeptember 20, 2006, Reyes passed away, leaving his heirs – Claribel G. Reyes, Clarissa G. Reyes and Czarina G. Reyes – as substitute petitioners.  Reyes, through his heirs, filed his reply to the comments of the respondents. Thereafter, the Court directed the parties to file their respective memoranda. In compliance, petitioner Reyes, substituted by his heirs; and respondents Garcia, the CSC, the City ofManilaand the City Mayor of Manila, filed their respective memoranda.

THE COURT’S RULING

 

          The CA committed no reversible error in granting the petition of Garcia and upholding the appointment of Garcia as Assistant City Assessor of the City ofManila over the claims of Tomada and Reyes to that position. For said reason, Reyes could not be reinstated to the position of Assistant City Assessor for Operation and, therefore, was not entitled to backwages.

Petitioner Victor R. Reyes

effectively vacated his post

as of January 1, 1994

          Records bear out that petitioner Reyes was the Assistant City Assessor for Operation of the City ofManilawhen Mayor Lim assumed office in 1992. He claimed to be one of those pressured to tender a courtesy resignation so that Mayor Lim could appoint his own people. Initially, he did not oblige but later, in a letter datedOctober 1, 1993, he manifested his desire to be transferred toQuezonCity Halland, if it (transfer) would not be possible, to apply for retirement.  In the meantime, he requested that his sick leave be approved. The said letter reads:

HON. ALFREDO S. LIM

City Mayor

City of Manila

 

Sir:

 

            I would like to request for a transfer in Quezon City Hall. In order to facilitate all the necessary documents and clearances, I would like to request for an allowance of three months to process. If ever I could not transfer until December 31, 1993, then eventually, I would be applying for a retirement effective January 1, 1994.

 

            Requesting, His Honor, that the sick leave I filed for two months (August & September) be approved on the basis of the medical certificate I had submitted.

 

            Hoping for your kind consideration. Thank you very much.

 

 

                                                                        Very truly yours,

 

                                                                                      (Signed)  

                                                                        VICTOR R. REYES

                                                                        Assistant City Assessor[7][7]

          Mayor Lim approved his request by placing a notation on the latter itself.

          Following his manifestation in his October 1, 1993letter, he never reported for work from January 1, 1994, never resumed working and never sought reinstatement. Instead, as averred in his petition, when Mayor Lim resigned, he worked for his retirement benefits. He was informed, however, by City Hall officials that he had not retired because he had not filed his formal application for retirement.[8][8]

          Failing to receive his retirement benefits, he filed a petition for mandamus with the Regional Trial Court of Manila to compel the City Government of Manila to approve his claim for said benefits.[9][9]

In hisApril 8, 1994letter addressed to Atty. Carlos C. Antonio, City Assessor of Manila, Reyes stated, among others, that:

I would like to request for Clearances as needed for my retirement. Be informed that last October 1993, upon my request to his Honor Mayor Alfredo S. Lim approved my retirement effective January 1, 1994, including my clearances, but to my surprise the legal department of Manila filed a case which was dismissed by the Ombudsman.[10][10]            

On March 16, 1999, Reyes also wrote to then Presidential Assistant for Appointment and Legislative Affairs, Hon. Rolando C. Ramirez, requesting, among others, assistance for the supposed grave injustice that the City of Manila(under Mayor Lim and Mayor Atienza) had committed against him since 1994, depriving him of benefits due him and his family.[11][11]  

In a letter datedApril 12, 1999addressed to then Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, Reyes averred:

“x x x eventually I applied for (optional) retirement effective Jan. 1, 1994 with the necessary clearance. My letter bears the Mayor’s marginal notation ‘approved’ on October 22, 1993.”[12][12]

          All the foregoing actions and inactions clearly manifest that Reyes voluntarily and effectively separated himself from the service effective January 1, 1994.  As of said date, his position was deemed vacant. In the earlier case of Reyes v. Hon. Atienza,[13][13] it was written:

Still, the vitality of Reyes’s claim of incumbency, crucial to the cause of action in his complaint, is severely undercut by his prior statements, which are not disputed and even at times averred under oath, that indicate that starting 1994, he had considered himself as having been separated from service as Assistant City Assessor. To recapitulate, Reyes had informed the City Assessor of Manila as early as 8 April 1994 that Mayor Lim “approved my retirement effective January 1, 1994.” Reyes also averred under oath in his petition for mandamus filed in 1995 that he “retired from the service as City Assessor of Manila.”  Reyes had even spent considerable energy since 1994 following up on his clearances for retirement.  There is no showing that he has attempted to perform the functions of Assistant City Assessor since 1994.  It is extremely disingenuous on the part of Reyes to suddenly claim that all this time, he actually still was the Assistant City Assessor, a position whose functions has since been assumed by three other persons, the appointments of the first two never having been challenged by him. [Emphases supplied]

As he had vacated his position, the appointing power could, and did, appoint his successors

Considering that his position was deemed vacant, the appointing power could, and did, appoint his successors. Thus, Mayor Lim made two (2) subsequent appointments to the position of Assistant City Assessor − Angel R. Purisima (Purisima) and Tomada. Purisima was appointed to the position onJuly 26, 1995, and his appointment was approved by the CSC onSeptember 18, 1995. He resigned onOctober 31, 1996 and, in his stead, Mayor Lim appointed Tomada onMarch 26, 1998.

As Tomada’s appointment or transfer appeared to have been made during a prohibitive period, it was questioned on the ground that it was violative of Section 261(g) of the Omnibus Election Code.

As there was an unresolved controversy on Tomada’s appointment, onJuly 1, 1998, Mayor Atienza, who ran for and was elected as mayor of the City ofManila, appointed Garcia to the subject position.

On July 28, 1998, Civil Service Commission Field Office (CSCFO) head, Arturo Panaligan (Panaligan) cancelled Tomada’s appointment stating, however, that his action was without prejudice to the CSC’s resolution on the matter. OnSeptember 27, 1999, the CSC issued Resolution No.  99-2208 approving Tomada’s promotional appointment. OnNovember 19, 1999, Mayor Atienza filed a petition for reconsideration which was, however, dismissed by the CSC onMay 22, 2000. OnJune 7, 2000, Panaligan wrote Mayor Atienza requesting the immediate implementation of CSC Resolution No. 99-2208 and recalling Garcia’s appointment to the subject position.

On July 11, 2000, Garcia filed the petition for certiorari and quo warranto before the CA ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the CSC for recalling his appointment.

Notably, on October 19, 2000, the CSC-NCR issued an order dismissing the complaint of Reyes for assumption of office, which he subsequently appealed to the CSC. The CSC then issued Resolution No. 02-0310[14][14] dated February 28, 2002, wherein it stated that he was “separated from the service through the mode of retirement effective January 1, 1994, and the position which he formerly occupied, Assistant City Assessor of Manila, [was] deemed vacant on said date.”[15][15]

Due to the unfavorable action of the CSC-NCR, he intervened in the certiorari proceedings instituted by Garcia against Tomada in the CA.

As earlier recited, the CA upheld the appointment of Garcia as Assistant City Assessor of the City ofManilaover the claims of Tomada and Reyes to that position. In this petition, Reyes questioned such ruling but, interestingly, Tomada never filed her comment on his petition.

 

Hernando B. Garcia

acquired a legal right to

the subject position

At this juncture, the Court resolves the issue of whether or not the CA was correct in upholding the validity of the appointment of Garcia over the claims of Tomada and Reyes.

In this regard, the Court agrees with the CA that Tomada’s transfer from the Office of the City Treasurer to the Office of the City Assessor was violative of         Section 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code. Said section prohibits “any transfer or detail whatever of any officer or employee in the civil service including public school teachers, within the election period except upon prior approval of the Commission.”  In this regard, the CSC, through Office Memorandum (OM) No. 11, Series of 1998, issued the following guideline:

The transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service, including public school teachers pursuant to Section 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code for the period beginning January 11, 1998(Sunday) to June 10, 1998(Wednesday), or 120 days before election and 30 days after election, is hereby prohibited. The phrase transfer or detail shall be construed in general terms. Thus any movement of officer or employee in the civil service, including public school teachers, from one agency is prohibited and is considered an election offense. [Emphasis supplied]

Another reason why the CA granted Garcia’s petition was Tomada’s lack of standing to appeal the disapproval of her appointment to the CSC.  It cited the case of Mathay, Jr. v. Civil Service Commission[16][16] where it was ruled that only the appointing officer may ask for reconsideration of actions taken by the CSC on appointments. Thus, the CA stated that CSC should have refrained from acting on Tomada’s request for reconsideration, the same not having been endorsed by Mayor Atienza, the incumbent mayor of Manila and the appointing authority at the time of the disapproval of her appointment.

Moreover, as Garcia qualified, assumed office and became at that moment a government employee or part of the civil service, he then began to enjoy the constitutional protection that “No officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law.”[17][17] He acquired a legal right to the office which is protected not only by statute but also by the Constitution.  Therefore, he could only be removed for cause, after notice and hearing, consistent with the requirements of due process.

Here, Garcia was not accorded due process. It was only by a letter to Garcia dated June 7, 2000[18][18] from the CSC-GSIS Field Office that the CSC officially communicated, through Manila City Personnel Officer Josefino Reoma, that his appointment as City Government Assistant Department Head III (Assistant City Assessor) was recalled and that Mayor Atienza was requested to implement CSC Resolution Nos. 992208 and 001214 approving the appointment of Tomada. He was never given an opportunity to be heard.

As Garcia’s appointment was valid, there was no vacancy and Reyes could not ask for reinstatement or even reappointment. A fortiori, he (or his heirs) could not demand backwages.

Reyes never formally retired either 

 

         Retirement has been defined as a withdrawal from office, public station, business, occupation, or public duty. It involves bilateral act of the parties, a voluntary agreement between the employer and the employee whereby the latter, after reaching a certain age, agrees and/or consents to sever his employment with the former.[19][19] Retirement plans create a contractual obligation in which the promise to pay benefits is made in consideration of the continued faithful service of the employee for the requisite period. Before a right to retirement benefits vests in an employee, he must have met the stated conditions of eligibility with respect to the nature of employment, age, and length of service. This is a condition precedent to his acquisition of rights thereunder.[20][20]

In hisOctober 1, 1993letter to Mayor Lim, Reyes manifested his desire to be transferred toQuezonCity Halland, if it would not be possible, to apply for retirement.

If ever I could not transfer until December 31, 1993, then eventually, I would be applying for a retirement effective January 1, 1994.

 

Despite pronouncements of the CSC and the CA to the contrary, there is no evidence that Reyes properly took the required legal steps to effect his intention of retiring.

Reyes might have intended to retire but it is clear that he did not follow the normal process of retirement. As stated in the letter of Mayor Lim, his intended retirement required further action on his part to complete. Elaborating, Mayor Lim wrote that he was required to submit a “formal application and in a prescribed form.”[21][21]  Thus, he could not be considered retired for all intents and purposes and reap the benefits that flow from it.  TheJuly 23, 2001 clarificatory letter of Mayor Lim reads:

Dear Mr. Reyes,

            In respon[se] to your letter-query datedJuly 17, 2001and based n your letter datedOctober 1, 1993with my marginal note therein, and other related communications shown to me, I recall to have approved your signified intentions to take a vacation leave, transfer toQuezon Cityand/or to retire.

            The approval of your vacation leave took effect immediately. However, the same marginal note of approval to my understanding did not automatically result to transfer or retirement.  The intended transfer and/or retirement were termed in future tense and requires further action on your part to complete. x x x.

            Both instance requires formal application and in a prescribed form. Transfer toQuezon City requires formal endorsement to the Mayor of Quezon City, to which I do not recall having made any. On the other hand, your application for retirement you claim to have filed did not reach my office. I do not recall having signed your formal retirement application.

            I hope that this clarification will help all concerned in resolving whatever petition you filed with the Civil Service Commission.

                                                                                    (Signed)

                                                                        ALFREDO S. LIM

                                                                 Former City Mayor of Manila[22][22]

Thus, when he tried to work for his retirement benefits, he was advised by City Hall officials that he was not entitled to them because he had not filed his formal application for retirement.[23][23] Despite the same, he did not file any application. Instead, he filed a petition for mandamus with the RTC to compel the City Government of Manila to grant his application for retirement.[24][24] As earlier stated, on March 16, 1999, he also wrote then Presidential Assistant for Appointment and Legislative Affairs, Hon. Rolando C. Ramirez, requesting assistance. [25][25]  

 

Interestingly, in the earlier case, Reyes v. Hon. Atienza,[26][26] the Court refrained from concluding that the legal processes pertaining to his retirement were observed since there was uncertainty as to whether Reyes indeed retired. Indeed the record is bereft of any proof that Reyes had indeed retired. Hence, the Court holds that he was not retired but was considered separated from service effective January 1, 1994 and that the legal processes pertaining to his retirement were not complied with.  Pertinently, in the earlier Reyes case,[27][27] it was written:

x x x. Yet it is clear from the letter that the option of retirement was not actually exercised then, but merely mentioned as a possibility, requiring further action on the part of Reyes. What Reyes had sought approval in the said letter was his application for sick leave and it was only such sick leave, and not retirement, which was approved by then Mayor Lim in October of 1993.

In essence, if indeed Reyes had applied for retirement or submitted his resignation following the normal processes, it would have been easy for respondents to present the countervailing documents which would have conclusively refuted Reyes’s claims that he still was the incumbent Assistant City Assessor. The fact that no such documents were presented makes us refrain from concluding that the legal processes pertaining to resignation or retirement were observed in this case. [Emphases supplied]

 

In fine, Reyes had already vacated his post as of January 1, 1994, not by way of retirement for failure to show compliance with the existing retirement requirements and procedures, but by voluntary separation from the service. His intended retirement was not duly processed because he failed to comply with the formal requirements of retirement. Having voluntarily initiated his separation from the service, he could not be allowed to make a turnabout and press claim to the subject office just because the supposed benefits due him were not released to him in due time due to his own neglect.

As he had already passed away, the only remedy left for his heirs is to properly apply for separation or retirement and claim the benefits from the proper office, if warranted.

          WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

 

SO ORDERED.

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

     Associate Justice

                 

WE CONCUR:

                                                RENATO C. CORONA

                                                   Chief Justice

                                                                         (On Official Leave)

ANTONIO T. CARPIO                               PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. 

        Associate Justice                                           Associate Justice                

 

 

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO       ARTURO D. BRION

Associate Justice                                    Associate Justice

 

 

 

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA                             LUCAS P. BERSAMIN

Associate Justice                                                Associate Justice

 

 

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO                        ROBERTO A. ABAD

Associate Justice                                       Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.                JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ

Associate Justice                                     Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO                     BIENVENIDO L. REYES

Associate Justice                                    Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE

Associate Justice

 

 

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

 

          Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I hereby certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

                                                                   RENATO C. CORONA

                                                                             Chief Justice

 



[1][1] Rollo, pp. 40-49. Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz with Associate Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Justice Noel G. Tijam, concurring.

[2][2]Id. at 46-48.

[3][3] Id. at 40-49.

[4][4] Id. at 36.

[5][5] Id. at 23-24.

[6][6] Id. at 536-553.

[7][7] Id. at 27, 245.

[8][8]Id. at 15.

[9][9] See Memorandum of respondents CSC and City of Manila and City Mayor.

[10][10] See Memorandum of respondents CSC and City ofManila and City Mayor.

[11][11] Rollo, pp. 255-256.

[12][12] See Memorandum of respondents CSC and City ofManila and City Mayor.

[13][13] 507 Phil. 653, 665 (2005).

[14][14] Rollo, pp. 356-366.

[15][15]Id.

[16][16] 371 Phil. 17 (1999).

[17][17] Sec. 2(3), Article IX-B of the Constitution.

[18][18] Rollo, pp. 144, 145-146.

[19][19] Brion v. South Phil. Union Mission of the 7th Day Adventist Church, 366 Phil. 967, 974 (1999).

[20][20]Id.

[21][21] Rollo, p. 59.

[22][22]Id., Emphases supplied.

[23][23]Id. at 15.

[24][24] See Memorandum of respondents CSC and City of Manila and City Mayor.

[25][25] Rollo, pp. 255-256.

[26][26] Supra note 13at 653.

[27][27]Id. at 664-665.