Archive for July, 2016


CASE 2016-0046:  G.R. NO. 220598 – GLORIA MACAPAGALARROYO, PETITIONER,  -VERSUS- PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN  RESPONDENTS; G.R. NO. 220953: BENIGNO B. AGUAS, PETITIONER, -VERSUS- SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), RESPONDENT (19 JULY 2016, BERSAMIN, J.) (BRIEF TITLE: ARROYO AND AGUAS VS. SANDIGANBAYAN)

                               

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petitions for certiorari; ANNULS and SETS ASIDE the resolutions issued in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 by the Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015; GRANTS the petitioners’ respective demurrers to evidence; DISMISSES Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 as to the petitioners GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO and BENIGNO AGUAS for insufficiency of evidence; ORDERS the immediate release from detention of said petitioners; and MAKES no pronouncements on costs of suit.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

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

 

 SCD-2016-0046-PRES. ARROYOSCD-2016-0046-PRES. ARROYO

 

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CASE 2016-0044: DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS V. BCA INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION  (G.R. 210858, 29 JUNE 2016, CARPIO, J.) (SUBJECT/S: ARBITRATION; 9285, ITS IRR, AND THE SPECIAL ADR RULES; RA 876;  PRIVILEGED INFORMATION; RIGHT TO INFORMATION; DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE; CONFLICT OF LAWS) (BRIEF TITLE: DFA VS BCA INTERNATIONAL)


DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, we resolve to PARTIALLY GRANT the petition and REMAND this case to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 146, to determine whether the documents and records sought to be subpoenaed are protected by the deliberative process privilege as explainedin this Decision. The Resolution dated 2 April 2014 issuing a Temporary Restraining Order is superseded by this Decision.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

IN THIS JURISDICTION WHAT IS THE NATURE OF ARBITRATION AND WHAT GOVERNS IT?

 

ARBITRATION IS DEEMED A SPECIAL PROCEEDING AND GOVERNED BY THE SPECIAL PROVISIONS OF RA 9285, ITS IRR, AND THE SPECIAL ADR RULES.

 

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF RA 9285.

 

RA 9285 IS THE GENERAL LAW APPLICABLE TO ALL MATTERS AND CONTROVERSIES TO BE RESOLVED THROUGH ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION METHODS.

 

RA 9285 WAS ENACTED IN 2004. CAN IT APPLY TO PENDING ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS?

 

YES BECAUSE IT IS A PROCEDURAL LAW AND THUS HAS RETROACTIVE EFFECT.

 

WELL SETTLED IS THE RULE THAT PROCEDURAL LAWS ARE CONSTRUED TO BE APPLICABLE TO ACTIONS PENDING AND UNDETERMINED AT THE TIME OF THEIR PASSAGE, AND ARE DEEMED RETROACTIVE IN THAT SENSE AND TO THAT EXTENT.

 

BUT DOES THE RETROACTIVE APPLICATION OF PROCEDURAL  LAWS NOT VIOLATE PERSONAL RIGHTS?

 

NO BECAUSE  NO VESTED RIGHT HAS YET ATTACHED NOR ARISEN FROM THEM.

 

IN THIS INSTANT CASE DOES RA 9285 AND ITS IRR APPLY?

 

YES BECAUSE THE ARBITRATION BETWEEN THE DFA AND BCA IS STILL PENDING, SINCE NO ARBITRAL AWARD HAS YET BEEN RENDERED.

 

MOREOVER, DFA DID NOT ALLEGE ANY VESTED RIGHTS IMPAIRED BY THE APPLICATION OF THOSE PROCEDURAL RULES.

 

DFA CONTENDS THAT THE RTC CANNOT ISSUE  SUBPOENAS BECAUSE RA 9285 AND THE SPECIAL ADR RULES DO NOT APPLY TO THIS CASE AND WHAT APPLY ARE THE 1976 UNCITRAL ARBITRATION RULES. IS THIS CORRECT?

 

EVEN IF RA 9285 DOES NOT APPLY STILL RTC CAN ISSUE SUBPOENAS.

 

ESTABLISHED IN THIS JURISDICTION IS THE RULE THAT THE LAW OF THE PLACE WHERE THE CONTRACT IS MADE GOVERNS, OR LEX LOCI CONTRACTUS.26 SINCE THERE IS NO LAW DESIGNATED BY THE PARTIES AS APPLICABLE AND THE AGREEMENT WAS PERFECTED IN THE PHILIPPINES, “THE ARBITRATION LAW,” OR REPUBLIC ACT NO. 876 (RA 876), APPLIES.

 

RA 876 EMPOWERED ARBITRATORS TO SUBPOENA WITNESSES AND DOCUMENTS WHEN THE MATERIALITY OF THE TESTIMONY HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO THEM.

 

DFA VIOLATED THE RA 9285, THE SPECIAL ADR RULES AND 1976 UNCITRAL ARBITRATION RULES BY DIRECTLY BRINGING THE CASE TO SC. THE RULES PROVIDE THAT THEY FIRST RESORT TO CA. IS IT PROPER FOR SC TO RESOLVE THE CASE ON THE MERITS?

 

YES. THE ENDS OF JUSTICE ARE BETTER SERVED WHEN

 

CASES ARE DETERMINED ON THE MERITS AFTER ALL PARTIES ARE GIVEN FULL OPPORTUNITY TO VENTILATE THEIR CAUSES AND DEFENSES RATHER THAN ON TECHNICALITY OR SOME PROCEDURAL IMPERFECTIONS.

 

THE RTC RULED THAT BASED ON CHAVEZ VS PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY ACTS, TRANSACTIONS OR DECISIONS ARE PRIVILEGED ONLY BEFORE A DEFINITE PROPOSITION IS REACHED BY THE AGENCY. SINCE, IN THIS CASE, DFA NOT ONLY MADE “A DEFINITE PROPOSITION” BY AWARDING THE BID BUT ALREADY ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT THEN THE EVIDENCE SOUGHT TO BE PRODUCED IS NO LONGER PRIVILEGED. IS RTC CORRECT?

 

NO.

 

THERE ARE EVIDENCES WHICH ARE PRIVILEGED INFORMATION AND PERSONS CANNOT BE COMPELLED BY SUBPOENA TO TESTIFY ON THEM. CHAVEZ VS PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY RECOGNIZE THIS. RTC MIS-APPLIED SAID CASE. THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION DOES NOT COVER THESE PRIVILEGED INFORMATION.

 

WHAT ARE THESE PRIVILEGED  INFORMATION?

 

EXAMPLE ARE MATTERS RECOGNIZED AS PRIVILEGED INFORMATION UNDER THE SEPARATION OF POWERS  SUCH AS PRESIDENTIAL CONVERSATIONS, CORRESPONDENCES, OR DISCUSSIONS DURING CLOSED-DOOR CABINET MEETINGS, INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT AND OTHER COLLEGIATE COURTS, OR EXECUTIVE SESSIONS OF EITHER HOUSE OF CONGRESS. THESE  ARE RECOGNIZED AS CONFIDENTIAL.


ALSO, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC SECRETS, INFORMATION AFFECTING NATIONAL SECURITY, AND INFORMATION ON INVESTIGATIONS OF CRIMES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES BEFORE THE PROSECUTION OF THE ACCUSED, WHICH COURTS HAVE LONG RECOGNIZED AS CONFIDENTIAL.


THE RIGHT MAY ALSO BE SUBJECT TO OTHER LIMITATIONS THAT CONGRESS MAY IMPOSE BY LAW.

 

WHY ARE PRESIDENTIAL CONVERSATIONS, CORRESPONDENCES, OR DISCUSSIONS DURING CLOSED-DOOR CABINET MEETINGS WHICH, LIKE INTERNAL DELIBERATIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT AND OTHER COLLEGIATE COURTS, OR EXECUTIVE SESSIONS OF EITHER HOUSE OF CONGRESS, CONSIDERED AS PRIVILEGED INFORMATION AND THUS CONFIDENTIAL>

 

 TO PROTECT THE INDEPENDENCE OF DECISION-MAKING BY THE GOVERNMENT.

 

WHAT IS MEANT BY DELIVERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE?

 

IT IS THE PRIVILEGE AGAINST DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION ON DELIBERATIONS OF GOVERNMENT BODIES WHICH INVOLVE THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS OF REACHING A DECISION. IN THIS CASE DELIBERATIONS DURING THE EVALUATION OF THE BIDS CONDUCTED BY DFA.

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?

 

A FRANK EXCHANGE OF EXPLORATORY IDEAS AND ASSESSMENTS, FREE FROM THE GLARE OF PUBLICITY AND PRESSURE BY INTERESTED PARTIES, IS ESSENTIAL TO PROTECT THE INDEPENDENCE OF DECISION-MAKING OF THOSE TASKED TO EXERCISE PRESIDENTIAL, LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL POWER.


THE RULES ON CONFIDENTIALITY WILL ENABLE THE MEMBERS OF THE COURT TO “FREELY DISCUSS THE ISSUES WITHOUT FEAR OF CRITICISM FOR HOLDING UNPOPULAR POSITIONS” OR FEAR OF HUMILIATION FOR ONE’S COMMENTS.

 

THE PRIVILEGE IS INTENDED “TO PREVENT THE ‘CHILLING’ OF DELIBERATIVE COMMUNICATIONS.”39

 

IN THIS INSTANT CASE WHAT IS COVERED BY THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVIDEDGE?

 

THE DELIBERATIONS BEFORE AWARD WAS MADE IN BIDDING.

 

IS DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE CONSIDERED PRIVILEGED INFORMATION?

 

YES.

 

IT IS WITHIN THE EXCEPTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO INFORMATION.

 

DOES THE PRIVILEGED CHARACTER OF THE INFORMATION END WHEN AN AGENCY HAS ADOPTED A  DEFINITE PROPOSITION (MEANING THE AGENCY HAS DECIDED TO AWARD THE CONTRACT) OR WHEN A CONTRACT HAS BEEN PERFECTED OR CONSUMMATED

 

NO.

 

OTHERWISE, THE PURPOSE OF THE PRIVILEGE WILL BE DEFEATED.

 

WHEN DOES THE  DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE APPLIES?

 

IF ITS PURPOSE IS SERVED, THAT IS, “TO PROTECT THE FRANK EXCHANGE OF IDEAS AND OPINIONS CRITICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION[-]MAKING PROCESS WHERE DISCLOSURE WOULD DISCOURAGE SUCH DISCUSSION IN THE FUTURE.”

 

WHAT DOES THE  DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE TYPICALLY COVERS?

 

RECOMMENDATIONS, ADVISORY OPINIONS, DRAFT DOCUMENTS, PROPOSALS, SUGGESTIONS, AND OTHER SUBJECTIVE DOCUMENTS THAT REFLECT THE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF THE WRITER RATHER THAN THE POLICY OF THE AGENCY.

 

WHAT DOES THE  DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE EXEMPTS?

 

MATERIALS THAT ARE ‘PREDECISIONAL’ AND ‘DELIBERATIVE,’

 

WHAT DOES THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILDEGE EXCLUDE?

 

DISCLOSURE OF POLICY STATEMENTS AND FINAL OPINIONS ‘THAT HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW OR EXPLAIN ACTIONS THAT AN AGENCY HAS ALREADY TAKEN.

 

CAN THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE BE INVOKED IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS UNDER RA 9285.

 

YES.

 

WHAT ARE THE POLICY BASES OF THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE?

 

FIRST, THE PRIVILEGE PROTECTS CANDID DISCUSSIONS WITHIN AN AGENCY;

 

SECOND, IT PREVENTS PUBLIC CONFUSION FROM PREMATURE DISCLOSURE OF AGENCY OPINIONS BEFORE THE AGENCY ESTABLISHES FINAL POLICY;

 

AND THIRD, IT PROTECTS THE INTEGRITY OF AN AGENCY’S DECISION; THE PUBLIC SHOULD NOT JUDGE OFFICIALS BASED ON INFORMATION THEY CONSIDERED PRIOR TO ISSUING THEIR FINAL DECISIONS.”52

 

STATED DIFFERENTLY, THE PRIVILEGE SERVES:

 

“TO ASSURE THAT SUBORDINATES WITHIN AN AGENCY WILL FEEL FREE TO PROVIDE THE DECISION[-]MAKER WITH THEIR UNINHIBITED OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WITHOUT FEAR OF LATER BEING SUBJECT TO PUBLIC RIDICULE OR CRITICISM;

 

TO PROTECT AGAINST PREMATURE DISCLOSURE OF PROPOSED POLICIES BEFORE THEY HAVE BEEN FINALLY FORMULATED OR ADOPTED;

 

AND TO PROTECT AGAINST CONFUSING THE ISSUES AND MISLEADING THE PUBLIC BY DISSEMINATION OF DOCUMENTS SUGGESTING REASONS AND RATIONALES FOR A COURSE OF ACTION WHICH WERE NOT IN FACT THE ULTIMATE REASONS FOR THE AGENCY’S ACTION.”53

 

CAN THE RIGHT TO DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PREVILEGE  BE WAIVED?

 

NO BECAUSE SUCH WAIVER IS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY.

 

RIGHTS CANNOT BE WAIVED IF IT IS CONTRARY TO LAW, PUBLIC ORDER, PUBLIC POLICY, MORALS, OR GOOD CUSTOMS, OR PREJUDICIAL TO A THIRD PERSON WITH A RIGHT RECOGNIZED BY LAW.

 

THERE IS A PUBLIC POLICY INVOLVED IN A CLAIM OF DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE -“THE POLICY OF OPEN, FRANK DISCUSSION BETWEEN SUBORDINATE AND CHIEF CONCERNING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.”57

 

WHO HAS THE BURDEN TO PROVE THE APPROPRIATENESS OF INVOKING THE DELIVERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE?

 

THE GOVERNMENT.

 

AS A QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE, THE BURDEN FALLS UPON THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY ASSERTING THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE TO PROVE THAT THE INFORMATION IN QUESTION SATISFIES BOTH REQUIREMENTS -PREDECISIONAL AND DELIBERATIVE. 59

 

 “THE AGENCY BEARS THE BURDEN OF ESTABLISHING THE CHARACTER OF THE DECISION, THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS INVOLVED, AND THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE DOCUMENTS IN THE COURSE OF THAT PROCESS.”60

 

HOW CAN THIS BURDEN BE OVERCOME?

 

UPON A SHOWING THAT THE DISCOVERANT’S INTERESTS IN DISCLOSURE OF THE MATERIALS OUTWEIGH THE GOVERNMENT’S INTERESTS IN THEIR CONFIDENTIALITY.61

 

THE DETERMINATION OF NEED MUST BE MADE FLEXIBLY ON A CASE-BY-CASE, AD HOC BASIS,” AND THE “FACTORS RELEVANT TO THIS BALANCING INCLUDE: THE RELEVANCE OF THE EVIDENCE, WHETHER THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE THE DOCUMENTS MAY SHED LIGHT ON GOVERNMENT MISCONDUCT, WHETHER THE INFORMATION SOUGHT IS AVAILABLE FROM OTHER SOURCES AND CAN BE OBTAINED WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE GOVERNMENT’S DELIBERATIVE PROCESSES, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MATERIAL TO THE DISCOVERANT’S CASE.”62

 

IN THIS INSTANT CASE IS THE EVIDENCE SOUGHT TO BE PRODUCED COVERED BY THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE?

 

IT IS NOT CLEAR BECAUSE BOTH BCA’S AND DFA’S ASSERTIONS OF SUBPOENA OF EVIDENCE AND THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE ARE BROAD AND LACK SPECIFICITY.

 

THUS, THE PARTIES ARE DIRECTED TO SPECIFY THEIR CLAIMS BEFORE THE RTC AND, THEREAFTER, THE RTC SHALL DETERMINE WHICH EVIDENCE IS COVERED BY THE DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE, IF THERE IS ANY, BASED ON THE STANDARDS PROVIDED IN THIS DECISION.


WHAT GUIDELINE TO BE OBSERVED?

 

IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DEMAND FOR THE EVIDENCE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT ITS PRODUCTION IS INJURIOUS TO THE CONSULTATIVE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT THAT THE PRIVILEGE OF NON-DISCLOSURE PROTECTS.

 

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

 

SCD-2016-0045-BCA INTERNATIONAL

 

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CASE 2016-0038: TAN SIOK1 KUAN and PUTECHING, VS. FELICISIMO “BOY” HO, RODOLFO C. RETURTA,2 VICENTE M. SALAS, and LOLITA MALONZO, (G.R. 175085, 01 JUNE 2016, PEREZ J.) (SUBJECT/S: UNLAWFUL DETAINER; RES INTER ALIAS ACTA)  (BRIEF TITLE: KUAN ET AL. VS. HO ET AL.)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the assailed rulings, the Court resolves to DENY the present petition. Accordingly, the Decision dated June 29, 2006 and the Resolution dated October 17, 2006 of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED and the complaints for unlawful detainer filed by petitioners Tan Siu Kuan and Pute Ching against respondents Felicisimo “Boy” Ho, Rodolfo Returta, Vicente Salas, and Lolita Malonzo are DISMISSED.

 

SO ORDERED.”


SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE OF RES INTER ALIAS ACTA?

 

IT STATES THAT THE RIGHT OF A PARTY CANNOT BE PREJUDICED BY AN ACT, DECLARATION OR OMISSION OF ANOTHER, EXCEPT AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED, AMONG WHICH ARE: (1) ADMISSION BY THIRD PARTY, (2) ADMISSION BY CO-PARTNER OR AGENT, (3) ADMISSION BY CONSPIRATOR, AND ( 4) ADMISSION BY PRIVIES.

 

WHAT IS THE RATIONALE BEHIND SAID PRINCIPLE?

 

ON  A PRINCIPLE OF GOOD FAITH AND MUTUAL CONVENIENCE, A MAN’S OWN ACTS ARE BINDING UPON HIMSELF, AND ARE EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM. SO ARE HIS CONDUCT AND DECLARATIONS. YET IT WOULD NOT ONLY BE RIGHTLY INCONVENIENT, BUT ALSO MANIFESTLY UNJUST, THAT A MAN SHOULD BE BOUND BY THE ACTS OF MERE UNAUTHORIZED STRANGERS; AND IF A PARTY OUGHT NOT TO BE BOUND BY THE ACTS OF STRANGERS, NEITHER OUGHT THEIR ACTS OR CONDUCT BE USED AS EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM.

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

 

PETITIONERS FAILED  TO PROVE THAT LESSOR-LESSEE RELATIONSHIP EXIST. NO LEASE CONTRACT WAS PRESENTED. THERE WAS NO PROOF OF RENTAL PAYMENTS.

 

THUS PETIONERS APPEAR AS STRANGERS TO RESPONDENTS. THEIR ALLEGATIONS AS LESSORS WHICH WERE VEHEMENTLY DENIED BY RESPONDENTS CANNOT BE USED AS EVIDENCE AGAINST RESPONDENTS.

 

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

 

SCD-2016-0038-KUAN

 

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