Category: LATEST SUPREME COURT CASES


CASE 2019-0012: DOMINGO CREBELLO VS OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND TIMOTEO T. CAPOQUIAN, JR. (G.R. NO. 232325, 10 APRIL 2019, BERSAMIN, C.J.) (SUBJECT/S: CONDONATION AS DEFENSE) (BRIEF TITLE: CREBELLO VS OMBUDSMAN)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for review on certiorari; REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the resolution promulgated by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 148977 on January 16, 2017; DECLARES and FINDS respondent TIMOTEO T. CAPOQUIAN, JR. guilty of NEPOTISM (in violation of Section 59, in relation to Section 67, of Presidential Decree No. 807, also known as the Administrative Code of 1987, and Section 49, in relation to Section 55, of Executive Order No. 292, also known as the Civil Service Law); IMPOSES on respondent TIMOTEO T. CAPOQUIAN, JR. the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and bar from taking civil service examinations; and ORDERS him to pay the costs of suit.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

PETITIONER CREBELLO CHARGED MAYOR CAPOQUIAN OF NEPOTISM FOR APPOINTING THE LATTER’S  WIFE AS MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF THEIR WATER DISTRICT. OMB DISMISSED THE CASE ON THE GROUND THAT THE REELECTION OF MAYOR CAPOQUIAN ABSOLVED HIM OF ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY. CREBELLO APPEALED CASE TO CA WHICH DISMISSED THE APPEAL ON THE GROUND THAT THE APPEAL SHOULD HAVE BEEN FILED UNDER RULE 43 NOT UNDER RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT.

 

WAS  CA CORRECT?

 

NO. THE DECISION OF THE OMBUDSMAN MAY BE REVIEWED IF THERE IS GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. THE RESOLUTION OF THE OMB BEING FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE COULD BE CHALLENGED THROUGH CERTIORARI. SAID THE SC;

 

“……. Decisions of administrative or quasi-administrative agencies which are declared by law final and unappealable are subject to judicial review if they fail the test of arbitrariness, or upon proof of gross abuse of discretion, fraud or error of law. When such administrative or quasi-judicial bodies grossly misappreciate evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary conclusion, the Court will not hesitate to reverse the factual findings. Thus, the decision of the Ombudsman may be reviewed, modified or reversed via petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, on a finding that it had no jurisdiction over the complaint, or of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction.[12] (Emphasis supplied)

 

In view of the foregoing, we find and hold to be correct the petitioner’s stance that the resolution absolving respondent Capoquian, Jr. of the charge of nepotism, being final and unappealable, could still be challenged or assailed through the petition for certiorari. Plainly enough, the CA wrongly dismissed the petition for certiorari for being the wrong remedy on the notion that the decisions of the OMB in administrative cases should be assailed before the CA by petition for review under Rule 43.”

 

WAS OMB CORRECT IN ABSOLVING CAPOQUIAN OF ADMINISTRATIVE LIABILITY BECAUSE OF CONDONATION SINCE THE ABANDONMENT OF THE DOCTRINE OF CONDONATION TOOK EFFECT 12 APRIL 2016 WHILE ITS RESOLUTION WAS ISSUED 31  MARCH 2016?

 

THE OMB WAS NOT CORRECT BECAUSE CAPOQUIAN DID NOT INVOKE THE DOCTRINE OF CONDONATION AS A DEFENSE. THE APPLICATION OF SUCH DOCTRINE REQUIRES THAT RESPONDENT MUST INVOKE IT IN HIS DEFENSE. CAPOQUIAN FAILED TO SUBMIT COUNTER-AFFIDAVIT AND VERIFIED POSITION PAPER. SAID THE SC:

 

“We sustain the insistence of the OMB. The ruling promulgated in Morales v. Court of Appeals on the abandonment of the doctrine of condonation had, indeed, become final only on April 12, 2016, and thus the abandonment should be reckoned from April 12, 2016. Under the circumstances, the decision of the OMB dated March 31, 2016 absolving respondent Capoquian, Jr. by reason of the application of the doctrine of condonation might have been justified.

 

However, the petitioner has assailed the application of the doctrine of condonation precisely because respondent Capoquian, Jr. had not invoked the doctrine of condonation as a defense. This omission on his part appears to be confirmed by the records, which indicated that he did not submit or file his counter-affidavit and verified position paper despite being required to do so. Worse, the omission to submit or file, according to the petitioner, amounted to his waiver of his right to controvert the charge of nepotism brought against him.”

 

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SC-2019-0012-SC CASE G.R. NO 232325-10 APR 2019-DOMINGO CREBELLO VS OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN ET AL 

 

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CASE 2019-0011: JIMMY LIM PALACIOS, PETITIONER, V. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT (G.R. NO. 24676, 18 MARCH 2019, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.) (SUBJECT/S: RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT) (BRIEF TITLE: PALACIOS VS PEOPLE)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Decision dated January 18, 2018 and the Resolution dated July 11, 2018 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 150260 upholding the Orders dated October 5, 2016 and January 25, 2017 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 86 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Office of the City Prosecutor, Quezon City is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary investigation on the charge of violation of Section 5 (i) of Republic Act No. 9262 against petitioner Jimmy Lim Palacios. The trial on the merits of Crim. Case No. R-QZN-15-04286 shall be SUSPENDED until the conclusion of the preliminary investigation. No pronouncement as to costs.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

 

WIFE FILED CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AT THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE  AGAINST HER HUSBAND FOR ECONOMIC ABUSE PUNISHABLE UNDER R.A. 9262. SHE GAVE WRONG ADDRESS OF HUSBAND. NATURALLY, HUSBAND DID NOT RECEIVE NOTICE ON THE CASE. INFORMATION WAS FILED AND WARRANT OF ARREST WAS ISSUED. HUSBAND FILED MOTION FOR RE-INVESTIGATION. RTC DENIED SAID MOTION AND CA AFFIRMED RTC DECISION. SC REVERSED CA DECISION AND GRANTED RE-INVESTIGATION ON THE GROUND THAT RIGHT TO PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IS A SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT NOT MERELY FORMAL OR TECHNICAL. SAID THE COURT:

 

It bears to stress that the right to preliminary investigation is substantive, not merely formal or technical.[43] As such, to deny petitioner’s motion for reinvestigation on the basis of the provisions of A.M. No. 11-6-10-SC would be to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process[44] on purely procedural grounds. Thus, the courts a quo should allow petitioner to be accorded the right to submit counter-affidavits and evidence in a preliminary investigation for, after all, “the fiscal is not called by the Rules of Court to wait in ambush; the role of a fiscal is not mainly to prosecute but essentially to do justice to every man and to assist the court in dispensing that justice.”[45]

 

BUT THE INVESTIGATING PROSECUTOR HAS CERTIFIED IN THE INFORMATION THAT HE HAD CONDUCTED THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND HAS EXAMINED THE EVIDENCES OF THE COMPLAINANT. IS THIS CERTIFICATION NOT SUFFICIENT?

 

NO. SAID CERTIFICATION IN THE INFORMATION IS MERELY PRO FORMA, AND HENCE, DOES NOT ENJOY THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN ITS ISSUANCE. SAID THE SUPREME COURT:

 

Contrary to the CA’s conclusion, the fact that ACP Tresvalles certified in the Information that: (a) he had conducted the preliminary investigation in accordance with law and examined Ramirez’s statements and pieces of evidence; and (b) the accused was informed of the complaint and evidence against him, and thus, given an opportunity to submit controverting evidence, should not suffice in light of the absence of notice to petitioner regarding the conduct of the preliminary investigation. Given petitioner’s insistence that Ramirez provided the wrong address in her complaint, it behooved the respondent to show that petitioner was duly notified at the said address, especially in light of the fact that the warrant for his arrest was returned unserved[46] at the said address. Such failure, to the Court’s mind, compounded the violation of petitioner’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process. Besides, the said certification in the Information is merely pro forma, and hence, does not enjoy the presumption of regularity in its issuance.[47] Consequently, Crim. Case No. R-QZN-15-04286 pending before the RTC must be suspended until the completion of a preliminary investigation in order to afford petitioner a chance to present his counter-affidavit and any countervailing evidence.

 

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SC-2019-0011-SC CASE G.R. NO G.R. NO. 240676-18 MARCH 2019- JIMMY LIM PALACIOS VS THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES 

 

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CASE 2019-0001: JOSE T. VILLAROSA ET AL VS. THE HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN ET AL (G.R. NO. 221418, 01 FEB 2019, PERALTA J.) SUBJECT/S: TECHNICAL MALVERSATION; MANIFEST PARTIALITY, GROSS NEGLIGENCE (BRIEF TITLE: VILLAROSA VS OMBUDSMAN)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court dated December 1, 2015 of petitioners Jose T. Villarosa, Carlita T. Cajayon and Pablo I. Alvaro is PARTLY GRANTED. The Joint Resolution dated March 23, 2015 and Order dated July 29, 2015 of the Office of the Ombudsman are AFFIRMED only insofar as its finding of probable cause against petitioners for the crime of Technical Malversation.

  

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT ARE THE THREE ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME OF TECHNICAL MARVERSATION?

 

THE 3 ELEMENTS ARE:

 

(A) THAT THE OFFENDER IS AN ACCOUNTABLE PUBLIC OFFICER;

 

(B) THAT HE APPLIES PUBLIC FUNDS OR PROPERTY UNDER HIS ADMINISTRATION TO SOME PUBLIC USE; AND

 

( C) THAT THE PUBLIC USE FOR WHICH SUCH FUNDS OR PROPERTY WERE APPLIED IS DIFFERENT FROM THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THEY WERE ORIGINALLY APPROPRIATED BY LAW OR ORDINANCE.

 

ACCORDING TO THE OMBUDSMAN TECHNICAL MALVERSATION RESULTED IN THE USE OF FUNDS TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THE FARMERS AND IN FAVOR OF OTHER CONCERNS OF THE PETITIONERS THUS THERE WAS MANIFEST IMPARTIALITY. IS IS CORRECT?

 

WRONG.

 

ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT:         

 

“For an act to be considered as exhibiting “manifest partiality,” there must be a showing of a clear, notorious or plain inclination or predilection to favor one side rather than the other.32 “Partiality” is synonymous with “bias” which “excites a disposition to see and report matters as they are wished for rather than as they are.”

 

WHAT IS GROSS NEGLIGENCE?

 

THE SUPREME COURT DEFINES IT AS:

 

“Gross negligence has been so defined as negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences in so far as other persons may be affected. It is the omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to take on their own property. “

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SCD-2019-0001-JOSE T. VILLAROSA ET AL. VS. THE HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN AND ROLANDO C. BASILIO

 

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