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WHEN THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGES SHOULD BE ₱195,155.

00 as actual
CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE damages;
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT
₱200,000.00 as moral
G.R. No. 139031 October 18, 2004 damages;

MARIE ANTOINETTE R. SOLIVEN, petitioner, ₱100,000.00 as exemplary


vs. damages; and
FASTFORMS PHILIPPINES, INC., respondent.
₱100,000.00 as attorney’s
DECISION fees, plus the costs of suit.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Plaintiff prays for such other relief just and
equitable in the premises."

For our resolution is the instant petition for review on


certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated February 8, Respondent, in its answer with counterclaim,5 denied
1999 and Resolution dated June 17, 1999, both issued that it obtained a loan from petitioner; and that it did
by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 51946. not authorize its then president, Dr. Eduardo Escobar,
to secure any loan from petitioner or issue various
checks as payment for interests.
Records show that on May 20, 1994, Marie Antoinette
R. Soliven, petitioner, filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 60, Makati City a complaint for sum of After trial on the merits, the court a quo rendered a
money with damages against Fastforms Philippines, Decision dated July 3, 19956 in favor of petitioner, the
Inc., respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 94-1788. dispositive portion of which reads:

The complaint alleges that on June 2, 1993, respondent, "22. WHEREFORE, the court hereby renders
through its president Dr. Eduardo Escobar, obtained a judgment as follows:
loan from petitioner in the amount of One Hundred
Seventy Thousand Pesos (₱170,000.00), payable within 22.1. The defendant FASTFORMS
a period of twenty-one (21) days, with an interest of 3%, PHILS., INC. is ordered to pay the
as evidenced by a promissory note3 executed by Dr. plaintiff, MARIE ANTOINETTE R.
Escobar as president of respondent. The loan was to be SOLIVEN, the following amounts:
used to pay the salaries of respondent’s employees. On
the same day, respondent issued a postdated check
(dated June 25, 1993)4 in favor of petitioner in the 22.1.1. ₱175,000.00 – the
amount of ₱175,000.00 (representing the principal amount of the loan and its
amount of ₱170,000.00, plus ₱5,000.00 as interest). It interest covered by the
was signed by Dr. Escobar and Mr. Lorcan Harney, check (Exh. 3);
respondent's vice-president. About three weeks later,
respondent, through Dr. Escobar, advised petitioner not 22.1.2. Five (5%) percent
to deposit the postdated check as the account from of ₱175,000.00 – a month
where it was drawn has insufficient funds. Instead, from June 25, 1993 until
respondent proposed to petitioner that the ₱175,000.00 the ₱175,000.00 is fully
be "rolled-over," with a monthly interest of 5% (or paid – less the sum of
₱8,755.00). Petitioner agreed to the proposal. ₱76,250.00 – as interest;
Subsequently, respondent, through Dr. Escobar, Mr.
Harney and Mr. Steve Singson, the new president,
22.1.3. ₱50,000.00 – as
issued several checks in the total sum of ₱76,250.00 in
attorney’s fees.
favor of petitioner as payment for interests
corresponding to the months of June, August,
September, October and December, 1993. Later, despite 22.2. The COMPLAINT for MORAL
petitioner’s repeated demands, respondent refused to and EXEMPLARY damages is
pay its principal obligation and interests due. DISMISSED.

In her complaint, petitioner prays: 22.3. The COUNTERCLAIM is


DISMISSED; and
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is
respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court 22.4. Costs is taxed against the
that judgment be rendered: defendant."

(a) holding/declaring defendant (now Respondent then filed a motion for


respondent) guilty of breach of reconsideration7 questioning for the first time the trial
contract x x x; and court’s jurisdiction. It alleged that since the amount of
petitioner’s principal demand (₱195,155.00) does not
exceed ₱200,000.00, the complaint should have been
(b) ordering defendant to pay
plaintiff (now petitioner) the filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court pursuant to
Republic Act No. 7691.8
following sums:

1
Petitioner opposed the motion for reconsideration, Here, the main cause of action is for the recovery of sum
stressing that respondent is barred from assailing the of money amounting to only ₱195,155.00. The damages
jurisdiction of the trial court since it has invoked the being claimed by petitioner are merely the
latter’s jurisdiction by seeking affirmative relief in its consequences of this main cause of action. Hence, they
answer to the complaint and actively participated in all are not included in determining the jurisdictional
stages of the trial.9 amount. It is plain from R.A. 7691 and our
Administrative Circular No. 09-94 that it is the
Metropolitan Trial Court which has jurisdiction over
In its Order dated October 11, 1995,10 the trial court
the instant case. As correctly stated by the Court of
denied respondent’s motion for reconsideration, holding
Appeals in its assailed Decision:
that it has jurisdiction over the case because the
totality of the claim therein exceeds ₱200,000.00. The
trial court also ruled that respondent, under the "Conformably, since the action is principally
principle of estoppel, has lost its right to question its for the collection of a debt, and the prayer for
jurisdiction. damages is not one of the main causes of
action but merely a consequence thereto, it
should not be considered in determining the
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial
jurisdiction of the court."
court’s Decision on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
The Appellate Court held that the case is within the
jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Court, petitioner’s While it is true that jurisdiction may be raised at any
claim being only ₱195,155.00; and that respondent may time, "this rule presupposes that estoppel has not
assail the jurisdiction of the trial court anytime even for supervened."13 In the instant case, respondent actively
the first time on appeal. participated in all stages of the proceedings before the
trial court and invoked its authority by asking for an
affirmative relief. Clearly, respondent is estopped from
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was
challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction, especially
denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated
when an adverse judgment has been rendered. In
June 17, 1999.11
PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals,14 we held:
Hence, this petition.
"Moreover, we note that petitioner did not
The fundamental issue for our resolution is whether the question at all the jurisdiction of the lower
trial court has jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 94-1788. court x x x in its answers to both the amended
complaint and the second amended complaint.
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 7691, which took effect on It did so only in its motion for reconsideration
April 15, 199412 or prior to the institution of Civil Case of the decision of the lower court after it had
No. 94-1788, provides inter alia that where the amount received an adverse decision. As this Court
of the demand in civil cases instituted in Metro Manila held in Pantranco North Express, Inc. vs.
exceeds ₱200,000.00, exclusive of interest, damages of Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 105180, July 5,
whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and 1993, 224 SCRA 477, 491), participation in all
costs, the exclusive original jurisdiction thereof is stages of the case before the trial court, that
lodged with the Regional Trial Court. included invoking its authority in asking for
affirmative relief, effectively barred petitioner
by estoppel from challenging the court’s
Under Section 3 of the same law, where the amount of jurisdiction. Notably, from the time it filed its
the demand in the complaint instituted in Metro answer to the second amended complaint on
Manila does not exceed ₱200,000.00, exclusive of April 16, 1985, petitioner did not question the
interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, lower court’s jurisdiction. It was only on
litigation expenses, and costs, the exclusive original December 29, 1989 when it filed its motion for
jurisdiction over the same is vested in the Metropolitan reconsideration of the lower court’s decision
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal that petitioner raised the question of the
Circuit Trial Court. lower court’s lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner
thus foreclosed its right to raise the issue of
In Administrative Circular No. 09-94 dated March 14, jurisdiction by its own inaction."
1994, we specified the guidelines in the implementation (underscoring ours)
of R.A. 7691. Paragraph 2 of the Circular provides:
Similarly, in the subsequent case of Sta. Lucia Realty
"2. The exclusion of the term ‘damages of and Development, Inc. vs. Cabrigas,15 we ruled:
whatever kind’ in determining the
jurisdictional amount under Section 19 (8) "In the case at bar, it was found by the trial
and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as court in its 30 September 1996 decision in
amended by R.A. No. 7691, applies to cases LCR Case No. Q-60161(93) that private
where the damages are merely incidental to respondents (who filed the petition for
or a consequence of the main cause of action. reconstitution of titles) failed to comply with
However, in cases where the claim for both sections 12 and 13 of RA 26 and
damages is the main cause of action, or one of therefore, it had no jurisdiction over the
the causes of action, the amount of such claim subject matter of the case. However, private
shall be considered in determining the respondents never questioned the trial court’s
jurisdiction of the court." (underscoring ours) jurisdiction over its petition for reconstitution
throughout the duration of LCR Case No. Q-
60161(93). On the contrary, private

2
respondents actively participated in the SP No. 45480 which reversed and set aside the decision
reconstitution proceedings by filing pleadings of the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City, Branch 32
and presenting its evidence. They invoked the in Civil Case No. 4907 and ordered said case dismissed
trial court’s jurisdiction in order to obtain for lack of jurisdiction.
affirmative relief – the reconstitution of their
titles. Private respondents have thus
The antecedents show that petitioners were lay
foreclosed their right to raise the issue of
members of the Philippine Independent Church (PIC)
jurisdiction by their own actions.
in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. Respondents Porfirio de
la Cruz and Rustom Florano were the bishop and parish
"The Court has constantly upheld the doctrine priest, respectively, of the same church in that locality.
that while jurisdiction may be assailed at any Petitioners, led by Dominador Taruc, clamored for the
stage, a litigant’s participation in all stages of transfer of Fr. Florano to another parish but Bishop de
the case before the trial court, including the la Cruz denied their request. It appears from the
invocation of its authority in asking for records that the family of Fr. Florano’s wife belonged to
affirmative relief, bars such party from a political party opposed to petitioner Taruc’s, thus the
challenging the court’s jurisdiction (PNOC animosity between the two factions with Fr. Florano
Shipping and Transport Corporation vs. Court being identified with his wife’s political camp. Bishop de
of Appeals, 297 SCRA 402 [1998]). A party la Cruz, however, found this too flimsy a reason for
cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to transferring Fr. Florano to another parish.
secure affirmative relief against his opponent
and after obtaining or failing to obtain such
Meanwhile, hostility among the members of the PIC in
relief, repudiate or question that same
Socorro, Surigao del Norte worsened when petitioner
jurisdiction (Asset Privatization Trust vs.
Taruc tried to organize an open mass to be celebrated
Court of Appeals, 300 SCRA 579 [1998];
by a certain Fr. Renato Z. Ambong during the town
Province of Bulacan vs. Court of Appeals, 299
fiesta of Socorro. When Taruc informed Bishop de la
SCRA 442 [1998]). The Court frowns upon the
Cruz of his plan, the Bishop tried to dissuade him from
undesirable practice of a party participating
pushing through with it because Fr. Ambong was not a
in the proceedings and submitting his case for
member of the clergy of the diocese of Surigao and his
decision and then accepting judgment, only if
credentials as a parish priest were in doubt. The Bishop
favorable, and attacking it for lack of
also appealed to petitioner Taruc to refrain from
jurisdiction, when adverse (Producers Bank of
committing acts inimical and prejudicial to the best
the Philippines vs. NLRC, 298 SCRA 517
interests of the PIC. He likewise advised petitioners to
[1998], citing Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative,
air their complaints before the higher authorities of PIC
Inc. vs. NLRC, 241 SCRA 36 [1995])."
if they believed they had valid grievances against him,
(underscoring ours)
the parish priest, the laws and canons of the PIC.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED.


Bishop de la Cruz, however, failed to stop Taruc from
The assailed Decision dated February 8, 1999 and
carrying out his plans. On June 19, 1993, at around
Resolution dated June 17, 1999 of the Court of Appeals
3:00 p.m., Taruc and his sympathizers proceeded to
in CA-G.R. CV No. 51946 are REVERSED. The
hold the open mass with Fr. Ambong as the celebrant.
Decision dated July 3, 1995 and Resolution dated
October 11, 1995 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
60, Makati City in Civil Case No. 94-1788 are On June 28, 1993, Bishop de la Cruz declared
hereby AFFIRMED. petitioners expelled/excommunicated from the
Philippine Independent Church for reasons of:
SO ORDERED.
(1) disobedience to duly constituted authority in the
Church;
DO TRIAL COURTS HAVE JURISDICTION OVER
ECCLESIASTICAL MATTER
(2) inciting dissension, resulting in division in the
Parish of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Iglesia Filipina
.R. No. 144801. March 10, 2005 Independiente, Socorro, Surigao del Norte when they
celebrated an open Mass at the Plaza on June 19, 1996;
and
DOMINADOR L. TARUC, WILBERTO DACERA,
NICANOR GALANIDA, RENERIO CANTA, JERRY
CANTA, CORDENCIO CONSIGNA, SUSANO (3) for threatening to forcibly occupy the Parish Church
ALCALA, LEONARDO DIZON, SALVADOR causing anxiety and fear among the general
GELSANO and BENITO LAUGO, Petitioners, membership.1
vs.
BISHOP PORFIRIO B. DE LA CRUZ, REV. FR.
Petitioners appealed to the Obispo Maximo and sought
RUSTOM FLORANO and DELFIN
reconsideration of the above decision. In his letter to
BORDAS, Respondents.
Bishop de la Cruz, the Obispo Maximo opined that Fr.
Florano should step down voluntarily to avert the
DECISION hostility and enmity among the members of the PIC
parish in Socorro but stated that:
CORONA, J.:
… I do not intervene in your diocesan decision in asking
Fr. Florano to vacate Socorro parish….2
This is an appeal under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of
Court of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.

3
In the meantime, Bishop de la Cruz was reassigned to The only issue to be resolved in this case is whether or
the diocese of Odmoczan and was replaced by Bishop not the courts have jurisdiction to hear a case involving
Rhee M. Timbang. Like his predecessor, Bishop the expulsion/excommunication of members of a
Timbang did not find a valid reason for transferring Fr. religious institution.
Florano to another parish. He issued a circular denying
petitioners’ persistent clamor for the transfer/re-
We rule that the courts do not.
assignment of Fr. Florano. Petitioners were informed of
such denial but they continued to celebrate mass and
hold other religious activities through Fr. Ambong who Section 5, Article III or the Bill of Rights of the 1987
had been restrained from performing any priestly Constitution specifically provides that:
functions in the PIC parish of Socorro, Surigao del
Norte. Sec. 5. No law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise
Because of the order of expulsion/excommunication, thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious
petitioners filed a complaint for damages with profession and worship, without discrimination or
preliminary injunction against Bishop de la Cruz before preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test
the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City, Branch 32. shall be required for the exercise of civil or political
They impleaded Fr. Florano and one Delfin T. Bordas rights.
on the theory that they conspired with the Bishop to
have petitioners expelled and excommunicated from the In our jurisdiction, we hold the Church and the State to
PIC. They contended that their expulsion was illegal be separate and distinct from each other. "Give to
because it was done without trial thus violating their Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s." We
right to due process of law. have, however, observed as early as 1928 that:

Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the case before upon the examination of the decisions it will be readily
the lower court on the ground of lack of jurisdiction but apparent that cases involving questions relative to
it was denied. Their motion for reconsideration was ecclesiastical rights have always received the
likewise denied so they elevated the case to the Court of profoundest attention from the courts, not only because
Appeals. of their inherent interest, but because of the far
reaching effects of the decisions in human society.
The appellate court reversed and set aside the decision [However,] courts have learned the lesson of
of the court a quo and ordered the dismissal of the case conservatism in dealing with such matters, it having
without prejudice to its being refiled before the proper been found that, in a form of government where the
forum. It held: complete separation of civil and ecclesiastical authority
is insisted upon, the civil courts must not allow
themselves to intrude unduly in matters of an
… We find it unnecessary to deal on the validity of the
ecclesiastical nature.4 (italics ours)
excommunication/expulsion of the private respondents
(Taruc, et al.), said acts being purely ecclesiastical
matters which this Court considers to be outside the We agree with the Court of Appeals that the
province of the civil courts. expulsion/excommunication of members of a religious
institution/organization is a matter best left to the
discretion of the officials, and the laws and canons, of

said institution/organization. It is not for the courts to
exercise control over church authorities in the
"Civil Courts will not interfere in the internal affairs of performance of their discretionary and official
a religious organization except for the protection of civil functions. Rather, it is for the members of religious
or property rights. Those rights may be the subject of institutions/organizations to conform to just church
litigation in a civil court, and the courts have regulations. In the words of Justice Samuel F. Miller5:
jurisdiction to determine controverted claims to the
title, use, or possession of church property." (Ibid.,
… all who unite themselves to an ecclesiastical body do
p.466)
so with an implied consent to submit to the Church
government and they are bound to submit to it.

In the leading case of Fonacier v. Court of Appeals,6 we
Obviously, there was no violation of a civil right in the enunciated the doctrine that in disputes involving
present case. religious institutions or organizations, there is one area
which the Court should not touch: doctrinal and
disciplinary differences.7 Thus,

The amendments of the constitution, restatement of


Ergo, this Court is of the opinion and so holds that the
articles of religion and abandonment of faith or
instant case does not involve a violation and/or
abjuration alleged by appellant, having to do with faith,
protection of a civil or property rights in order for the
practice, doctrine, form of worship, ecclesiastical law,
court a quo to acquire jurisdiction in the instant case.3
custom and rule of a church and having reference to
the power of excluding from the church those
Petitioners appealed from the above decision but their allegedly unworthy of membership, are
petition was denied. Their motion for reconsideration unquestionably ecclesiastical matters which are
was likewise denied, hence, this appeal. outside the province of the civil courts.(emphasis
ours)

4
We would, however, like to comment on petitioners’ writ of mandamus requiring the respondent to appoint
claim that they were not heard before they were the plaintiff to a vacant chaplaincy, to enforce an
expelled from their church. The records show that accounting for the income of the chaplaincy for the
Bishop de la Cruz pleaded with petitioners several period during which it. has been vacant, and to secure
times not to commit acts inimical to the best interests of other relief. Upon hearing the cause the trial court
PIC. They were also warned of the consequences of entered judgment which, as subsequently amended,
their actions, among them their embraces three features, namely: First, ordering the
expulsion/excommunication from PIC. Yet, these pleas defendant, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila,
and warnings fell on deaf ears and petitioners went as a corporation sole, and His Grace, Michael J.
ahead with their plans to defy their Bishop and foment O’Doherty, Roman Catholic Apostolic Archbishop of
hostility and disunity among the members of PIC in Manila, its sole representative, forthwith to appoint
Socorro, Surigao del Norte. They should now take full plaintiff, Raul Rogerio Gonzalez, as chaplain of the said
responsibility for the chaos and dissension they caused. chaplaincy founded by Doña Petronila de Guzman;
secondly, ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff,
through his guardian ad litem, the sum of one hundred
WHEREFORE, the petition is herby DENIED for lack
seventy-three thousand, seven hundred and twenty-five
of merit.
pesos (P173,725) as the rents and income of the
property of said chaplaincy from January 1, 1911, to
Costs against petitioners. December 31, 1925, plus the rents and income accrued
since December 31, 1925, from the total of which should
SO ORDERED. be deducted the expenses allowed by the court as
legitimate charges against the fund, and requiring the
defendant, furthermore, to pay to the plaintiff, through
Panganiban, (Chairman), and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., his guardian or guardian ad litem, from the date of
concur. plaintiff’s appointment as chaplain, the net income of
said property from time to time as collected; thirdly,
Carpio-Morales, J., on leave. reserving to plaintiff any legal rights that he may have
with reference to the cancellation of the transfer
certificate of title No. 17603 in a proper proceeding
Garcia, J., no part. before the fourth branch of this court, which branch has
exclusive jurisdiction of all cases relative to the
registration of real estate in the City of Manila (Act No.
G.R. No. 27619. February 4, 1928.]
2347, sec. 11). From this judgment the defendant
appealed.
RAUL ROGERIO GONZALEZ, by his guardian ad
item Adelaida Gonzalez, Plaintiff-Appellee, v.
On March 13, 1816, Doña Petronila de Guzman, a
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF
resident of what is now the district of Binondo, in the
MANILA, Defendant-Appellant.
City of Manila, executed a will in which she instructed
her executor to take the steps necessary to the
Feria & La O and Araneta & Zaragoza,
foundation of a collative chaplaincy upon certain real
for Appellant.
property adjacent to her residence in Binondo. The part
of the will pertinent to the foundation is found in three
Gibbs & McDonough, for Appellee.
paragraphs of the will which read as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
SYLLABUS
"Ninth Item: I declare and dispose that the new house
1. ECCLESIASTICAL LAW; CHAPLAINCIES; situated in this said town and bounded by this house of
VALIDITY OF ORDINANCE PRESCRIBING my residence toward the right of its exit, which between
ECCLESIASTICAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR myself and my deceased sister Da. Vicenta de Guzman
CHAPLAIN. — The properly constituted authorities of we have constructed with our own money, at a cost of
the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church have the power to one thousand six hundred pesos without including the
adopt an ordinance prescribing ecclesiastical value of the lot on which it is erected, and I charge my
qualifications for chaplains to be appointed to collative executor to constitute said house into a collative
chaplaincies; and such ordinance will be effective as chaplaincy, the foundation of which they shall effect
regards an appointment to a benefice although at the immediately after my death, choosing for chaplain D.
time when the particular chaplaincy was founded no Esteban de Guzman, legitimate son of my grandson Dn.
ecclesiastical qualifications were prerequisite to the Jose Telesforo de Guzman, and in his default, the
appointment. nearest relative, and in default of the latter, a collegian
of San Juan de Letran, who should be an orphan
mestizo, native of this said town, and I request the
DECISION father chaplain to celebrate sixty masses annually,
which should be said in the churches of the City of
Manila or in those outside of its walls, and in privileged
STREET, J.: altars, in behalf of the souls of my father, Dn. Tomas de
Guzman, and of my mother, Dila. Sebastiana de Jesus,
and of my brothers and sisters, and for me, the
This action was instituted in the Court of First Instance testatrix, after my days.
of Manila by Raul Rogerio Gonzalez, through his
guardian ad litem, Adelaida Gonzalez, against the "Tenth Item: It is my will that for patron of said
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, a corporation chaplaincy my executors name the Father President of
sole, represented by His Grace, M. J. O’Doherty, the College of San Juan de Letran.
Apostolic Archbishop, for the purpose of obtaining a

5
"Eleventh Item: I appoint my first executor as which was her own; and to accomplish the foundation of
administrator of the chaplaincy which shall be founded said chaplaincy in accordance with law, the said
on the house referred to, during the minority of said executor appeared before the most Illustrious and Most
chaplain."cralaw virtua1aw library Reverend Metropolitan Archbishop, stating that (the
chaplaincy) was subject to the charge that the
The property thus intended as the foundation of the incumbent was required to say sixty masses annually,
chaplaincy consists of the lots now known as Nos. 210- either in the churches of this City or in those without
212 and 214, Rosario Street, Manila, with the its walls, and in privileged altars, for the benefit of the
improvements thereon. souls of her deceased parents, Don Tomas de Guzman
and Doña Sebastiana de Jesus, of the testatrix and of
After the death of the testatrix her executor, Don Jose her brothers and sisters, electing as chaplain her great
Telesforo de Guzman, on April 24, 1820, addressed a grandson Don Esteban de Guzman, a student of the
petition to the Archbishop, informing him of the wishes Royal College of San Juan de Letran, and as
of the testatrix and praying that the property be administrator during the minority of the said chaplain,
declared sufficient and that the chaplaincy be created, the executor himself, upon whom she has conferred
with the petitioner’s son as chaplain and the petitioner power to appoint as Patron of the chaplaincy the Father
himself as administrator of the property during the President of the said Royal College of San Juan de
minority of the son. This petition, addressed by the Letran, asking that the said living (congrua), the rents
executor to the Archbishop, in the part material to be of the property of which amount at present to P180 per
here considered, reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph year, be declared sufficient, issuing the corresponding
title of chaplain to his said son (i. e., of the executor);
"Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Sir—Don Jose and as a consequence whereof he (i. e., the executor)
Telesforo de Guzman resident of the town of Binondo segregates said property from temporal properties and
with all due respect, before Your Illustrious Grace in transfers it to the spiritual properties of this
the best legal form, I present myself and say,—That the Archbishopric, with the restriction that, as a spiritual
annexed testimony which with due solemnity I enclose property, it cannot be alienated or converted into any
shows that my deceased great grandmother Da. other estate for any cause, even though of a more pious
Petronila de Guzman provided in her last will the character, (the grantor) protesting that if the contrary
institution of a collative chaplaincy for one son of mine should be done from now until then, he declares null
named Esteban Sixto de Guzman, student of the Royal and without value or effect whatever may be done or
College of San Juan de Letran, for the patronage of executed contrary to the tenor of these presents, and
which the Most Reverend Father President of said the said executor affirms and ratifies said conditions
college has been named, with a house of lime and stone before me and the witnesses herein below named, so
situated at Calle Rosario as capital, which, according to that by virtue of this Deed of Foundation canonical
the certificate hereto attached, nets a rent of one collation may be conferred on the said appointed
hundred eighty pesos annually, it being located on the chaplain. And for its stability and greater validity he
Calle Real del Rosario; and I, being her testamentary renounces with all solemnity the laws that may favor
executor and appointed administrator of my above- the said decedent, inserting and repeating herein all
mentioned son, present myself before Your Most the clauses that may be necessary with all the
Illustrious Grace, praying that you declare the living requisites and conditions, so that the purpose which
sufficient and order that a title to said chaplaincy issue actuated her to do this act of piety may be duly
to my said son and to me the administrator during his accomplished, with the solemnities above set forth and
minority."cralaw virtua1aw library the conditions herein inserted, which he asks and
charges the above named chaplain and those who will
In support of this petition the executor of the will of the succeed him to respect, comply and execute ad
foundress executed, on April 26, 1820, a formal perpetuam rei memoriam amen."cralaw virtua1aw
document of endowment, setting aside for pious uses library
the property intended for the foundation and
transferring it to the spiritual properties of the The two documents from which we have just quoted
archbishopric. This document, omitting formal parts at appear to have been passed to the procurator fiscal for
the end, reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph comment; and this official made indorsement to the
effect that no reason occurred to him for opposing the
"In the City of Manila on the 26th day of April one project and that he accordingly recommended that the
thousand eight hundred and twenty, before me the establishment be effected. The matter was then brought
Clerk of Court and the undersigned witnesses, to the attention of the Archbishop who gave the
(appeared) D. Jose Telesforo, resident of the town of necessary formal approval to the foundation and an
Binondo, and testamentary executor of the deceased appropriate decree to this effect was entered. According
Da. Petronila de Guzman, as shown by the certificate to the note of this decree, His Grace declared that
which was shown me and which appears to have been "concurring entirely with what had been expressed by
sealed and signed by the Public Clerk Dn. Francisco the promotor fiscal, he was approving and approved the
Castro de Reyes, to me known, and said — foundation of said chaplaincy, with all the
circumstances and conditions specified in said clause (of
"That whereas the said Petronila de Guzman, deceased, the will) and the deed of foundation, as also the charge
has ordered in the ninth clause of her will that after her of P1,700 upon said house, erecting said sum into
death a house of lime and stone belonging to her be spiritual property and making it, as he makes it, by
constituted into a chaplaincy, which house had been perpetual title, to be of the ecclesiastical forum and
constructed by her and her deceased sister Doña jurisdiction."cralaw virtua1aw library
Vicenta de Guzman who died single, at a cost of one
thousand six hundred pesos without including the value Since the foundation of this chaplaincy, five chaplains
of the lot whereon said house is erected, in said town of have been appointed thereto by the Archbishop of
Binondo, being bounded towards the right of its exit by Manila. The first and second chaplains were great
the house in which the said testatrix formerly lived, grandsons of the foundress, the third was a great great

6
grandson, and the fourth and fifth great great great destruction by fire of the house belonging to the
grandsons. At the time of their appointments they were chaplaincy. The expenses of rebuilding and repairs,
respectively more than 13, 21, 22, 27 and 19 years old. over the same period, is stated to have been P24,603.34.
All of the income thus received, less the expenses of
The fifth and last chaplain or beneficiary of the administration and cost of the masses, has been applied
chaplaincy in question was Angel Gonzalez, father of to the purposes of education, beneficence, and charity,
the present plaintiff. This individual resigned the office under the directions of the Archbishop, with the
of chaplain, effective December 6, 1910, since which approval of His Holiness, the Pope.
date the chaplaincy has remained vacant. Though not of
decisive importance in the case, the document by which Since the Council of Trent it has been the law of the
Angel Gonzalez was appointed to the chaplaincy on Roman Catholic Apostolic Church that no person who
August 21, 1901, is perhaps instructive as indicating has received the first tonsure or who has already been
the nature of the rights appurtenant to the office. ordained in minority is eligible to a benefice before his
Omitting the formal conclusion, this document reads as 14th year (Council of Trent, Chap. 6, sec. 23, July,
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph 1563), that is to say, he must be at least 13 years and 1
day old. With this exception there seems to have been
"Whereas, the Chaplaincy founded by Da. Petronila de no ecclesiastical law or ordinance of the Church in force
Guzman, the capital of which consists of a building of at the time the chaplaincy in question was founded,
brick and mortar erected on its own lot located on the prescribing ecclesiastical qualifications for incumbents
Calle de Rosario, District of Binondo, is now vacant of the office of chaplain. However, in the year 1918 a
because of the renunciation by its last possessor D. new canon law was promulgated by the Catholic
Fernando Maniquis y Guzman; now, therefore, the Church to the effect that "the chaplaincies, or simple
necessary requisites and qualifications according to law benefices, are conferred on clericals of the secular
being found concurring in D. Angel Gonzalez y Guzman, clergy;" and in order to be a clerical, one must have
tonsured, a boarding student in the College of San Juan received the first tonsure. Also in order to take the first
de Letran of this City, we order to issue and do issue tonsure, one must have begun the study of theology,
this present title by virtue of which we elect and and in order to study theology, one must be a bachelor.
appoint the above-named D. Angel Gonzalez y Guzman,
as chaplain of the benefice above referred to, and by the Raul Rogerio Gonzalez, the plaintiff in this action, was
manner and form which we best can do, we hereby give born on September 16, 1912. He was therefore nearly
him collation, canonical institution and real possession 12 years of age when this action was instituted on July
vel quasi of the above-mentioned chaplaincy, which 31, 1924. He is a son of Angel Gonzalez, the last
shall be administered as heretofore by the incumbent of the chaplaincy in question. At the trial
administrator of the funds of this Holy Archbishopric, the young man testified that he was then a student in
so that, as such chaplain he may possess and enjoy it as the sixth grade of the public school and that his
an ecclesiastical benefice and by perpetual title with the inclinations and desires are towards an ecclesiastical
obligation of ordering to be said, by means of a priest, career. More than two years prior to the institution of
while he himself cannot say them, sixty masses this action he was presented to the Archbishop of
annually according to the will of the foundress, and Manila, with the request that he be appointed to the
with the understanding that every year he has to show chaplaincy in question, he being at that time 10 years of
to our Court of Chaplaincies wherein this shall be age. The application was turned down by the
recorded, that he has discharged said masses, without Archbishop in a letter, addressed to the boy’s father,
which requisite the rent which for the purpose may be and dated March 20, 1922, on the ground that the youth
necessary shall be withheld from him. And by virtue of did not have the necessary qualifications under existing
Holy Obedience we order those to whom these presents canon law. His Grace, the Archbishop of Manila,
may concern to have and treat the said D. Angel testified that although he could not appoint plaintiff as
Gonzalez y Guzman as the beneficiary and possessor of chaplain of the chaplaincy in question, he had made an
said chaplaincy, and that they pay him well and offer at his expense to educate the plaintiff so that he
faithfully the income which in the future the capital might obtain the necessary preparations to qualify
may produce and that which it has produced while himself as a cleric and might later be appointed as
vacant, placing upon his conscience the duty of chaplain. He added, however, that although he did not
complying with the annexed conditions and relieving us consider himself in duty bound to make such an offer,
thereof."cralaw virtua1aw library the same was made for equitable motives in view of the
claim of the child as the nearest relative of the
The function of administering the property pertaining foundress of the said chaplaincy.
to the foundation appears to have been exercised, at
least since about 1863, by the Archbishop; and for this In the deed of foundation of April 26, 1820, the
service a commission has been charged against the Presiding Father of the Royal College of San Juan de
incumbent whenever a chaplain has been in office. In Letran is designated as patron of the chaplaincy; and
September, 1914, a Torrens title in fee simple was before this action was instituted, Father Calixto Prieto,
issued for the property in the name of the Archbishop. then rector of San Juan de Letran College, addressed a
During vacancies the duty of causing sixty masses to be letter to the Archbishop, presenting the plaintiff as
said per annum, as provided in the will, devolves upon candidate for the chaplaincy. Father Prieto stated that,
the Archbishop; and this obligation has been performed prior to presenting the plaintiff for the chaplaincy, he
by the present respondent, at an expense of not more satisfied himself that the applicant was the heir to the
than P300 per year. chaplaincy, but did not take account of his moral or
intellectual qualifications, leaving these matters to be
The trial judge found that, from January 1, 1911, to passed upon by his superior. The application of the
December 31, 1925, the administrator had obtained, in plaintiff was also indorsed by other priests of the
the way of rents of the property, a total of P153,600. In church.
addition to this there was collected, in the year 1912,
the sum of P20,125, as insurance, upon occasion of the We now pass to the consideration of the nature of the

7
chaplaincy, or office of chaplain, as understood in unqualified right to be appointed to the chaplaincy,
Spanish and ecclesiastical law. In the first place, it is to without regard to his lack of ecclesiastical
be noted that the collative chaplaincy is a form of qualifications; that the plaintiff, having title to the
ecclesiastical benefice, in which the incumbent is chaplaincy, is entitled to demand of the defendant the
appointed and canonically installed by the Bishop, or entire net income received by the latter as
Archbishop, and given a living, constituting a charge administrator of the property during the pending
upon specified property, subject to the duty of saying vacancy, as well as the right to be paid the income that
masses and performing other pious or religious duties. may hereafter be produced by the property so long as
The collative chaplaincy is said to be a simple benefice. the plaintiff shall occupy the post of chaplain. In a
In the second place, the term "collative chaplaincy" is word, it is the contention of the plaintiff that the
used in contradistinction to "lay chaplaincy" ; and the foundation in question is a perfected trust, enforcible in
difference is that the collative chaplaincy can be a court of equity, that the Archbishop is a mere trustee,
constituted only upon the intervention of ecclesiastical and that the plaintiff is the present rightful beneficiary
authority, while the lay chaplaincy does not require of the entire property.
such intervention.
On the other hand, the attorneys for the Archbishop
In the case before us it is undeniable, and admitted, challenge practically every phase of the plaintiff’s
that the chaplaincy in question is of the sort known as presentation of the case; and in this connection various
the collative chaplaincy. The documents of foundation propositions are submitted by them, which may
expressly provide that this chaplaincy shall be of a perhaps be fairly condensed as follows: That the
collative character; and to this end the property which transfer made by the executor of the foundress of the
was to serve as the foundation of the chaplaincy was property with which we are here concerned had the
segregated by the executor of Doña Petronila de effect of conveying it to the Archbishop, as
Guzman from other property pertaining to her estate representative of the Church, in whom, upon his
and transferred to the Church, with the effect of its acceptance of the same, the entire property became
being converted into spiritual property for the pious use vested, for the purpose of maintaining the chaplaincy in
intended. Furthermore, in accepting the transfer, the question, and subject to all the circumstances and
Archbishop declared that said property was raised to conditions specified in the documents; that the collative
the status of spiritual property and that it thereby chaplaincy thus constituted is an ecclesiastical benefice,
passed to the ecclesiastical forum and jurisdiction. the right of appointment to which is vested exclusively
Speaking broadly, the substantial effect of the in the Archbishop; that the Church, by lawful
conveyance of the property to the Church and the ordinance, effective in 1918, has required that, in order
acceptance of the transfer by the Archbishop in the to be eligible to the office of chaplain, the candidate
manner above stated was that the legal title of the must possess ecclesiastical qualifications, of the
property became vested in the Archbishop, subject to sufficiency of which the Archbishop is constituted judge;
the ecclesiastical charge intended in the creation of the that the plaintiff in this action does not possess the
chaplaincy. qualifications for chaplain which have thus been
prescribed, and the Archbishop has so found and
The trial judge found that the plaintiff is next kin declared; that, by the laws of the Church, the plaintiff,
(pariente mas cercano) to the foundress of the if aggrieved by the decision of the Archbishop, has a
chaplaincy, in the sense intended in the Ninth Item of right of appeal to His Holiness, the Pope, of which right
the will, and, therefore, that he is qualified for the the plaintiff has not availed himself; that, as the owner
chaplaincy in point of relationship. Exception is taken of the property which is the subject of this foundation,
to this finding by the appellant, who maintains that the Archbishop has the free disposition, for charitable,
there is no evidence in the record to support it. We are educational, and religious purposes, of the income
of the opinion, however, that the proof on this point is derived from the property during a vacancy in the office
sufficient, and we shall assume in what is to follow that of chaplain, subject only to the obligation of causing
the necessary relationship on the part of the plaintiff to masses to be said as required in the documents of
the foundress exists. foundation; that the incumbent of the office of chaplain
is entitled, from the bounty of the Archbishop, to
As has been already stated, this action was instituted receive the income derived from the property during his
shortly before the plaintiff had reached the age of 12 incumbency in the office to the extent necessary to
years; and upon this fact the appellant plants the secure a suitable living only, and that, as to the residue,
proposition that the plaintiff is not qualified for the it is the duty of the chaplain to apply it to charitable
chaplaincy on point of his age. The appellee has and religious purposes; that the subject matter of this
attempted to meet this criticism by the filing of an suit is not a proper matter of cognizance in any civil
amended complaint on April 5, 1926, when the plaintiff court; and, finally, that the court of origin was without
was in his 15th year. We shall therefore assume, for the jurisdiction to compel the Archbishop to perform a
purposes of this decision, that the immaturity of the canonical function, to wit, to appoint the plaintiff to an
plaintiff in point of age is not a fatal obstacle to the ecclesiastical office.
maintenance of the action; and at any rate in the view
we take of the case this question may be ignored. While the field of controversy thus laid out is extensive,
it will be found, upon a careful survey of the ground,
Upon turning our attention more directly to the legal that the decision must in the end turn upon one or two
aspects of the controversy, we discover that the case of vital points, which are concerned with the right of the
the plaintiff proceeds upon a train of reasoning which plaintiff to the chaplaincy and the right of the court to
may be expressed as follows, namely, that the compel the Archbishop to appoint the plaintiff to said
Archbishop, as representative of the Church, is the office.
holder of the empty legal title to the property on which
the chaplaincy is founded; that the beneficial interest At the outset of the discussion we may state that we see
thereto is vested exclusively in the heirs of the no reason to question the jurisdiction of the court over
foundress; that the plaintiff, as her next of kin, has an the subject matter of the action. The complaint alleges

8
that the plaintiff is beneficiary of a trust, and that the plaintiff’s case that no decision of any civil court
defendant, as trustee, has refused to recognize the whatever can be pointed to as a precedent for such an
plaintiff’s right to the office of chaplain and is diverting exercise of judicial power, and the mere novelty of the
the income of the foundation to unlawful uses. As was proposition is an argument against the soundness of the
observed by Mr. Justice Miller, of the Supreme Court of plaintiff’s case. It is true that there are decisions from
the United States, in the leading case of Watson v. the Supreme Court of Spain wherein the right to the
Jones (13 Wallace, 679, 723; 20 Law. ed., 666), it seems possession of properties constituting the foundation of
hardly to admit of rational doubt that an individual chaplaincies has been debated, and numerous cases are
may dedicate property by way of trust to the purpose of found in modern Spanish jurisprudence where actions
sustaining religious doctrines, provided that in so doing have been maintained by heirs of the founders to
he violates no law of morality and gives to the recover property constituting the foundation of
instrument by which his purpose is to be accomplished chaplaincies; but such actions had their basis in the
the formalities which the law requires. It also seems to Spanish legislation abolishing chaplaincies. But so far
be the obvious duty of the court, in a case properly as our investigations go, and as far as the industry of
made, to see that the property so dedicated is not counsel has revealed, no case has been discovered
diverted from the trust which is thus attached to its where Bishop or Archbishop has been compelled to
use; and so long as there is any one so interested in the appoint any person to the office of chaplain or other
execution of the trust as to have a standing in court, it ecclesiastical benefice. It is also true that there are a
must be that he can prevent the diversion of the few English and American decisions in which the rights
property or fund to other and different uses. This is the of rectors, or ministers, after the title to the
general doctrine of courts of equity as to charities, and ecclesiastical office had once been acquired, have been
it seems equally applicable to ecclesiastical matters (23 sustained in the courts in the face of attempts to
R. C. L., p. 451). But while it may be, and is, the duty of deprive them of their office. But so far as the American
the court to inquire into a case of the character stated courts are concerned, these cases proceed exclusively on
in this complaint, the rule to be applied in determining the idea of supplying redress for breach of contract; and
the right to relief is to be sought in the principles neither American nor English jurisprudence supplies
governing the courts in dealing with rights derived from any precedent for compelling the ecclesiastical
ecclesiastical sources. authorities to appoint a person to an ecclesiastical
office.
The rule that appears to offer most assistance in the
solution of the case before us is that formulated by the In dealing with the subject of the conclusiveness of the
Court of Appeals of South Carolina in the case of decisions of church authorities in ecclesiastical matters
Harmon v. Dreher (Speers Eq., 87), to the effect that: the author of the monographic article on "Religious
Where a civil right depends upon some matter Societies," in Ruling Case Law, has this to say: ". . .The
pertaining to ecclesiastical affairs, the civil tribunal judgment of the constituted church tribunal is
tries the civil right and nothing more, taking the absolutely conclusive upon the civil courts, whether, in
ecclesiastical decisions out of which the civil right has the opinion of the judges of such courts, the decision
arisen as it finds them, and accepting those decisions as appears to be right or wrong. Where a right of property
matters adjudicated by another jurisdiction. The turns upon such a decision, the civil courts will allow
proposition thus stated in Harmon v. Dreher has the property to go in that direction in which the
subsequently been considered from different points of decision of the church tribunal carries it. According to
view by many able courts, and it has uniformly been the rule broadly stated by some courts, when a civil
looked upon as a sound and correct statement of the law right depends upon some matter pertaining to
in cases where it is of proper application. Among ecclesiastical affairs, the civil tribunal tries the right
decisions in which said rule has been quoted with and nothing more, taking the ecclesiastical decisions
approval are Watson v. Jones (13 Wall., 679; 20 Law. out of which the civil right has arisen as it finds them,
ed., 666); Lamb v. Cain (129 Ind., 486; 14 L. R. A., 518; and accepts such decisions as matters adjudicated by
29 N. E., 13); and White Lick Quarterly Meeting of another legally constituted jurisdiction."cralaw
Friends v. White Lick Quarterly Meeting of Friends (89 virtua1aw library
Ind., 136).
In conformity with the ideas above set forth, it is
Upon examination of the decisions it will be readily insisted, for the appellant, that it was erroneous on the
apparent that cases involving questions relative to part of the trial court to order the defendant to perform
ecclesiastical rights have always received the the canonical act of appointing the plaintiff chaplain of
profoundest attention from the courts, not only because the chaplaincy in question, and furthermore that the
of their inherent interest, but because of the far trial court erred in not accepting as conclusive the
reaching effects of the decisions in human society. decision of the Archbishop in regard to the question
Moreover, courts have learned the lesson of whether or not the plaintiff is ecclesiastically qualified
conservatism in dealing with such matters, it having to be appointed chaplain. The authorities, we think,
been found that, in a form of government where the strongly indicate that there is merit in this contention.
complete separation of civil and ecclesiastical authority But in our opinion there is another proposition, still
is insisted upon, the civil courts must not allow more clear, upon which the decision can be safely
themselves to intrude unduly in matters of an rested, and this is, that as a matter of fact the plaintiff
ecclesiastical nature. does not possess the qualifications necessary for
appointment to the office of chaplain and consequently
It will be noted that the first and principal relief sought that the Archbishop was justified in refusing to appoint
by the plaintiff in the case before us is to obtain from the plaintiff to that office. We shall therefore
the court an order, in the form of writ of mandamus or provisionally assume that it is proper for the court to
injunction, requiring the Roman Catholic Archbishop of inquire into these qualifications and state our
Manila to appoint the plaintiff to an ecclesiastical office, conclusion with respect thereto.
for that the office of chaplain is of an ecclesiastical
nature is undeniable. It is a sinister omen for the Under the law of the Church as it stood when this

9
chaplaincy was created, no ecclesiastical qualifications for a chaplain without ecclesiastical qualifications.
were required in a candidate for appointment to the Perpetuities of any sort are objectionable, but one of
office of chaplain; but as we have already stated, a new this character would be intolerable. As is justly said by
canon became effective in the Church in 1918 to the the attorney for the appellant, "It is unthinkable that
effect that, in order to be appointed chaplain, the qualifications for chaplains should remain stagnant and
candidate must be a clerical, and that in order to be a the same forever." In passing upon a question of this
clerical, one must have taken the first tonsure, as a character the court is not at liberty to ignore the effects
prerequisite to which he must also be a bachelor who upon human society which would result from adopting
has begun the study of theology. It is admitted that the the proposition upon which the case for the plaintiff
plaintiff in this case does not possess these here rests.
qualifications, and it is abvious that if the new canon is
to be applied to the chaplaincy in question, the action of It follows from what has been said that the plaintiff has
the Archbishop in refusing to appoint the plaintiff was not the requisite qualifications for the office of chaplain
correct and this court must recognize the validity of his and the defendant, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of
exclusion from the chaplaincy. Manila, acted within the limits of his proper
ecclesiastical authority in excluding the plaintiff from
That the new canon is valid and applicable to the chaplaincy in question. The trial court was
candidates for chaplaincies already created is, in our therefore in error in ordering the said defendant to
opinion, obvious, since it is general in terms and appoint the plaintiff as chaplain of the chaplaincy
evidently intended to be applicable to all chaplains founded by Doña Petronila de Guzman. As corollary of
appointed in the future. There is no reason discernible this, there was also error on the part of the trial court
why the court should read into it an exception in favor in ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff,
of candidates to chaplaincies already created. But it is through his guardian ad litem, the amount awarded in
said that, if interpreted in this sense, the ordinance will paragraph (b) of the dispositive part of the appealed
be retroactive. This is in our opinion a mistake. If the decision.
Church had attempted to make the ordinance
applicable to chaplains already appointed, thereby The appellant’s brief contains an elaborate discussion of
depriving them of an office as to which title had been the rights of the respective parties to the income of the
previously acquired, the effect would be to make the property during the vacancy in the office of chaplain,
statute truly retroactive. But such is not the case now and of the extent of the rights of the plaintiff during the
before us. time that he might occupy the chaplaincy, — all on the
supposition that the right of the plaintiff to the office
When the foundress caused this property to be might be upheld by this court. But in view of the fact
originally conveyed to the Church as a foundation for that we are now to reverse the judgment in its principal
the chaplaincy in question, no restriction was imposed features, with the result that the plaintiff will not be
with respect to the requirement of ecclesiastical appointed chaplain, all discussion of his rights to the
qualifications for the chaplains to be appointed to the income, based on the supposition of his appointment to
benefice; and in submitting the appointment of the the chaplaincy, becomes in a measure academic. We
chaplains to the ecclesiastical authority, as resulted shall therefore not enter into any discussion of this
from the creation of a collative chaplaincy, it must be phase of the case, and shall content ourselves by
considered as an implied term of the agreement that observing that if those who are interested in conserving
the ecclesiastical qualifications for the spiritual office the income derived from the chaplaincy and in holding
should be such as might be required by the Church. As the defendant responsible for alleged improper
was said by Mr. Justice Miller in Watson v. Jones (13 diversion of funds should see fit to proceed judicially in
Wall., 679, 729), all who unite themselves to an an independent proceeding, the action should be
ecclesiastical body do so with an implied consent to brought as a class-suit in behalf of all the descendants
submit to the Church government and they are bound of Doña Petronila de Guzman, since under the present
to submit to it. decision the minor plaintiff in this action has no
particular title to relief.
The trial court appears to have been of the opinion that
the new canon of 1918 cannot be given effect as regards In paragraph (c) of the dispositive part of the appealed
the chaplaincy in question for the reason that to do so decision the trial court reserved to the plaintiff any
would impair the obligation of the trust involved in the legal rights that he may have with reference to the
acceptance by the Archbishop of the provisions for the cancellation of transfer certificate of title No. 17603, in
establishment of the chaplaincy, with the result of a proper proceeding before the fourth branch of the
impairing the obligation of a contract in violation of our Court of First Instance of Manila. The plaintiff did not
Organic Act. This idea is in our opinion fallacious. It is appeal from this disposition, and the appellant has not
undeniable that under Spanish law an acclesiastical assigned error against said feature of the decision. We
canon such as we are now considering could have been shall therefore not interfere with the decision on this
adopted regardless of its effect upon the foundation or point, but we should perhaps observe that if relief
the persons interested therein, and it cannot be should be sought in the direction indicated the
admitted that an obligation which could be changed contention will probably in the end resolve itself into
under Spanish law has become immutable from the the question whether the Torrens certificate of title now
promulgation by Congress of the constitutional held by the defendant should be annotated so as to
provision forbidding the impairment of contracts by show that the property covered by the certificate is held
legislative Acts. Under said constitutional provision by the defendant subject to the conditions stated in the
obligations are to be respected as they stand, and it was documents constituting the chaplaincy in question; and
not intended that, by virtue of this provision, of course such proceeding ought also to be brought as a
obligations should be made more onerous to either class-suit.
party. If the proposition maintained by the plaintiff’s
attorneys be true, then we are confronted with the The judgment appealed from is therefore reversed and
spectacle of a chaplaincy which is a perpetual sinecure the defendant, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of

10
Manila, is hereby absolved from the complaint, without document of endowment contemplated that "the
prejudice to the right of proper persons in interest to incumbent was required to say sixty masses annually."
proceed for independent relief in either of the directions It transferred the parcel of land and building now 210,
above indicated. So ordered, without express 212, and 214 Calle Rosario, Binondo, Manila, to "the
pronouncement as to costs. spiritual properties of the Archbishopric." The trust was
accepted by the Archbishop "as spiritual property ’ . . .
Villamor, Ostrand and Villa-Real, JJ., concur. making it . . . to be of the ecclesiastic forum and
jurisdiction." The Supreme Court of Spain has held that
Separate Opinions properties aggregated to a chaplaincy with the approval
of the competent ecclesiastical authority become
spiritualized, and form an integral part of its
MALCOLM, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw endowment (Sentencia del Tribunal Supremo, June 1,
library 1863; 8 Jurisprudencia Civil, p. 364).

This is a most unusual case without a parallel in When the endowment was created, there existed a
American or Spanish jurisprudence. Involving as it does unity of Church and State in the Philippines. The
the relations which should exist between the State and change to American sovereignty caused the complete
the Church, and the status of the Church with reference separation of Church and State. All special privileges of
to the Judiciary, the court should enter upon the Roman Catholic Church were abolished. But the
consideration of the questions involved reluctantly and property of the Church was protected since in the
cautiously. This separate opinion is intended to Treaty of Paris it was declared that the relinquishment
expound the mental processes which have passed or cession of the Philippine Islands "cannot in any
through the writer’s mind in arriving at a definite respect impair the property or rights which by law
decision. belong to the peaceful possession of property of all kinds
of . . .ecclesiastical or civil bodies."cralaw virtua1aw
The most logical method of approach is to write down library
those statements of fact and those propositions of law
regarding which there can reasonably be no With the Church and State standing apart in the
controversy. Then with these admitted facts and law as Philippines, the jurisdiction of the civil courts naturally
the basis, the issue will readily disclose itself, and can does not extend to certain matters connected with the
be decided. Church, but does extend to certain other matters which
can be taken under their purview. It is well settled that
There can be no dispute on any material fact. The will the civil courts will take cognizance of cases involving
of Doña Petronila de Guzman executed on March 13, property rights, and in so doing will enforce the canons
1816, the document of endowment formulated by her of a church. (Evangelista v. Ver [1907], 8 Phil., 663.) It
executor in 1820, and the acceptance of the endowment is the duty of the courts to see that the property
by the Archbishop of Manila, established what is known dedicated to a church is not diverted from the trust.
in canon law as a collative chaplaincy. The great (Watson v. Jones [1871], 13 Wall., 679.)
grandson of the testatrix was specifically named as the
first chaplain. Thereafter, it has been assumed that the The Catholic Church has obtained a fee simple Torrens
chaplaincy was to be occupied by the nearest relative in title to the property, the source of income of the
succession of the first chaplain, and in default of the chaplaincy. It has also been using the revenue of the
latter, a collegian of San Juan de Letran, who should be chaplaincy for educational purposes. Neither is
an orphan mestizo, native of Manila. Chaplains have permissible pursuant to the trust agreement. Nor can
presented themselves for the office, and have been the Church keep the chaplaincy vacant indefinitely and
approved by the church authorities without much in the meantime appropriate the rental of the property
trouble until the resignation of the last chaplain on of the chaplaincy. To do any of these things would be to
December 6, 1910. Since that date, the chaplaincy has violate the will of the foundress, for the foundation
remained vacant. It is the purpose of this action of prohibited the alienation or conversion of the property
mandamus to require the Apostolic Archbishop to "into any other estate for any cause, even though it be
appoint Raul Rogerio Gonzalez, the son of the last of a more pious character," which would make the
chaplain, as chaplain, and to obtain an accounting of foundation null and without value or effect. (See in this
the income of the chaplaincy from 1910 until the connection Government of the Philippine Islands v.
present. Avila [1918], 38 Phil., 383.)

It is well to repeat that the trust was provided for Up to this point, therefore, we find the following to be
spiritual purposes. A collative chaplaincy was erected. the situation: A trust founded for spiritual purposes;
A chaplaincy, it has been said, "is an institution which chaplains named in conformity with the foundation up
has the obligation to celebrate or cause to be celebrated to the year 1910; the will of the testatrix the supreme
annually a certain number of masses in a determined law which must govern; the Church without right to
church or altar, conforming to the will of the founder. A obtain title in its own name to the property or to divert
chaplaincy is either laical or collative. . . . A collative the income from the purposes intended by the testatrix;
chaplaincy is that instituted with the intervention of and the courts with jurisdiction to enforce property
the ecclesiastical authority, and requires a title of rights. Under this admitted state of affairs, the plaintiff
ordination. It is called ecclesiastical because it is in the would have a clear right to ask the courts to assist him
form of ecclesiastical benefice, and it is proper for the in getting into the chaplaincy and in securing the
Bishop to confer it." (2 Alcubilla, Diccionario de la income of the chaplaincy for himself. But further facts,
Administracion, p. 118 II Gutierrez, Codigos o Estudios which will immediately be mentioned, alter the
Fundamentales sobre el Derecho Civil Español, pp. 341- situation, and at once disclose the troublesome crux of
344.) The will of the founder of the collative chaplaincy the case.
entailed the obligation on the part of "the father
chaplain to celebrate sixty masses annually." The When the trust was established, aside from the general

11
provisions of the Council of Trent, there were no The portion of the Organic Act, the Act of Congress of
particular provisions applicable to chaplaincies. In August 29, 1916, section 3, paragraph 5, providing
1918, the "Codex Juris Canonici" was promulgated by "That no law impairing the obligation of contracts shall
the Pope. According to this new canon law, "The be enacted" is not applicable since the "law" there
chaplaincies or simple benefices are conferred on mentioned is an Act of the Philippine Commission or
clericals of the secular clergy" ; in order to be a "clerigo" Legislature or an ordinance or resolution of a municipal
one must have "prima tonsura" ; in order to have council, and does not include an ecclesiastical law
"prima tonsura" one must have begun the study of promulgated by the Pope for the Catholic world. The
theology; and in order to study theology one must be a legislative power of the state has not undertaken, as in
"bachiller." Broadly speaking, Raul Rogerio Gonzalez the Dartmouth College Case, to remodel the charter of
met the requirements of the Church before the canon an institution in most important particulars without
law of 1918 went into effect. After that law was the consent of the corporators. But following the theory
provided, he did not meet the qualifications since he pertaining to the impairment of the obligation of
was not a "clerigo," since he did not have "prima contracts, and by analogy applying the same principles
tonsura," since he had not begun the study of theology, to the canon law, it yet remains to be said that there
and since he was not a "bachiller."cralaw virtua1aw are limitations on the application of the constitutional
library provision. Thus, as significant restrictions, the state
cannot abridge or weaken any of the essential powers
It was after the canon law of 1918 was decreed that inherent in government; the state cannot abdicate its
Raul Rogerio Gonzalez was presented for the chaplaincy trust over property; and the Legislature cannot
by the Rector of San Juan de Letran College, the patron withdraw from its successors the power to take
of the chaplaincy — to be exact on February 25, 1922. appropriate measures under the police power. Not only
The Archbishop of Manila considered the matter, and in this, but charter contracts are subject to state
a letter to the father of the boy came to the conclusion regulation. A party operating under a charter must
"that the child, Raul Gonzalez, does not unite the conform to such rules as the state may establish. Added
qualifications of chaplain of the said chaplaincy." The conditions or duties may be imposed provided they do
basis of the conclusion was mentioned as the new Code not amount to a change in the obligations or in the
of Canon Law, particularly canon 1442, in relation with substantial rights of a party. Changes may be made in
canons 108 and 976. His Grace closed his letter with the general laws even though incidental injury may
this statement: "By the canons above mentioned, as result.
well as other reasons which could be advanced, I believe
that the child Raul Gonzalez is not legally qualified to Construing the canon law as we must if we are to
enjoy a chaplaincy." No appeal from what amounted to determine if it has retroactive and destroying effect, it
a decision by the Archbishop was taken to the Pope, but is apparent that the highest power in the Catholic
instead the authority of the civil courts was invoked. In Church provided a law universal in character operative
this connection, it is the established doctrine that in on all chaplaincies after it went into effect. The Pope
matters purely ecclesiastical the decisions of proper did no more than did the civil authorities of Spain when
church tribunals are conclusive upon the civil tribunals. in 1841 they enacted a law regulating chaplaincies. As
(U. S. v. Cañete [1918], 38 Phil., 253; Fussell v. Hail a matter of internal discipline, the Church was
[1908], 233 Ill., 73.) attempting to make certain that all persons filling
chaplaincies had the necessary training to perform
The vital question, on the answer to which will depend their duties. General regulations were prescribed to
a correct decision, then is if the church authorities in secure the ends for which chaplaincies were erected. In
giving application of the canon law of 1918 to the the particular case before us, the father chaplain, the
spiritual trust, should be overruled by the civil courts. incumbent of a "collative chaplaincy," was expected by
the testatrix "to celebrate sixty masses annually," and it
The trial judge, in his learned decision, states the would not be at all unreasonable for the canon law to
matter as forcefully and graphically as may be when he prescribe qualifications for the holder of the chaplaincy
says: "The canon which the defendant now invokes in sufficient to permit him to say the masses personally.
support of the refusal to appoint plaintiff as chaplain The will did not negative this in any manner when the
was only promulgated in the year 1918. The will was property was turned over for spiritual uses. As far as
executed in 1816 and the order of the Archbishop of the will went, it intended to create a collative rather
Manila, approving the foundation of the chaplaincy in than a laical chaplaincy, thus subjecting the institution
accordance with said will, was entered in the year to the authority and the laws of the Church, as every
1820." His Honor continues, "The court is of the opinion collative chaplaincy is so subjected.
that the new canon law of 1918 cannot in this case be
given a retroactive effect, for to do so would impair the The Supreme Court of Porto Rico has found perfectly
obligation of the trust involved in the acceptance of the applicable the principles of the canon law to a case
provision of said will for the establishment of the brought in the secular courts, for the reason that the
chaplaincy, and it would impair the obligation of a rights and relations in question "have been fixed by
contract in violation of the Organic Act, the Jones Law." rules issued, in the exercise of its powers to govern its
Much can be said in support of that position. In the first own institutions, by the Roman Catholic Church, the
place, the disposition of property in a will is governed personality of which has been fully recognized by the
by the law existing at the time of execution — in this Supreme Court of the United States and by the
instance by the law as it was to be found in 1816. In the Supreme Court of Porto Rico, naturally within the
next place, the trust agreement was in the nature of a constitutional limitations and principles of
civil contract, and as to contracts, existing statutes international law." (Jones, Catholic Bishop of Porto
enter into and become a part of them — in this instance Rico, v. Registrar of Property [1912], 18 Porto Rico, 124;
the law as existing in 1820. But the last principle is Jones, Catholic Bishop of Porto Rico, v. Registrar of
here not literally true, for the executor of the will Property [1911], 17 Porto Rico, 211.)
renounced the laws which might favor the foundress.
When the case between the father of the applicant and

12
the Church was here before, this court took under view and testament in which she charged that the executor
the provision of the trust agreement relating to the of her estate should "constitute said house into a
administration of the property. Mr. Justice Torres, collative chaplaincy, the foundation of which they shall
speaking for the court, said: "This provision must be effect immediately after my death, electing for chaplain
understood to be mandatory, except as otherwise D. Esteban de Guzman, legitimate son of my grandson
provided by the canonical laws and as, pursuant Dn. Jose Telesforo de Guzman, and in his default, the
therewith, the chief ecclesiastical authority may order nearest relative, and in default of the latter, a collegian
for, after the latter had accepted the foundation of the (colegial) of San Juan de Letran, who should be an
chaplaincy, the administration of its property orphan mestizo, native of this town," in which it was
appertains to the authorities established by the Church, further provided:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
pursuant to the latter’s own laws, and this rule has
been observed since 1863." (Gonzalez v. Harty and "Tenth Item: It is my will that for patron of said
Hartigan [1915], 32 Phil., 328.) chaplaincy my executors name the Father President of
the College of San Juan de Letran.
The parties seem much concerned with worldly
consideration, with obtaining control of the tidy sum "Eleventh Item: I appoint my first executor as
involved. Yet if we would place ourselves in the position administrator of the chaplaincy which shall be founded
of the elderly lady who conceived the foundation, it on the house referred to, during the minority of said
would be realized that what she desired was the saying chaplain."cralaw virtua1aw library
of masses for pious purposes by a descendant, and so
instituted a foundation to attain that purpose. The After the death of Petronila de Guzman, and on April
wishes of the foundress of the spiritual trust should 24, 1820, her executor Jose Telesforo de Guzman, and
govern and will rather be subserved than thwarted by under the provisions of the will, petitioned the
the application of the canon law of 1918 to the trust. Archbishop of Manila that the title to the chaplaincy be
issued to his son Esteban de Guzman and to him as
It is not for the courts to exercise control over the administrator during the minority of his son, which
dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church in the petition, among other things,
performance of their discretionary and official duties. recites:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Rather is it for the applicant to conform to just church
regulations. The courts should ponder long before "That the annexed testimony which with due solemnity
compelling the defendant Archbishop of Manila to I enclose shows that my deceased great grandmother
appoint a particular person to a chaplaincy, in Da. Petronila de Guzman provided in her last will the
contravention of the mandatory provisions of existing institution of a collative chaplaincy for one son of mine
canon law. named Esteban Sixto de Guzman, student of the Royal
College of San Juan de Letran, for the patronage of
The all controlling considerations in the disposition of which the most Reverend Father President of said
this case are the intention of the foundress of the College has been named, with a house of lime and stone
spiritual trust, which should be respected, and the situated at Calle Rosario as capital, which, according to
impropriety of the courts invading the religious realm the Certificate hereto attached, nets a rent of One
and their attempting to order things to be done, the Hundred Eighty Pesos Annually, it being located on the
performance of which appertain exclusively to the Calle Real del Rosario; and I, being her testamentary
regularly constituted authorities of the Roman Catholic executor and appointed administrator of my above
Church. mentioned son, present myself before Your Most
Illustrious Grace, praying that you declare sufficient
Premises conceded, the issue should be resolved by the income (congrua) referred to and order that a title
holding that the court will not sanction the expedition to said chaplaincy issue to my said son and to me the
of a writ of mandamus, directed to the Roman Catholic administrator during his minority. This is what I
Archbishop of Manila, reversing him in his decision to beseech of Your Illustrious Grace, and to secure it to
apply the canon law of 1918 to the foundation. Your Illustrious Grace I humbly ask and request that
you so decree and order as I pray for. I swear according
I concur in the disposition of the appeal. to form — FURTHER — the deed of ownership of the
house which I also attach, I request that after this
JOHNS, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library petition is terminated, said document be delivered to
me as above requested — JOSE TELESFORO DE
In 1816 the Archbishop of Manila had not only GUZMAN. Manila, April 24, 1820 — To the Promotor
ecclesiastical but also civil and political powers in the Fiscal — Subscribed and sealed before me, Doctor
Philippine Islands. Rojas, Secretary."cralaw virtua1aw library

In 1816 Petronila de Guzman was a resident of the City April 26, 1820, the executor of the will, pursuant to
of Manila and a devout Catholic and the owner therein such petition, executed a formal document for the
of "a house of lime and stone situated at Calle Rosario," endowment of the chaplaincy, which, among other
from which she received an annual net rental of P180. things, recites:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
In accord with her religious belief, she wished to
perpetuate her family name and to found a chaplaincy ". . . And to accomplish the foundation of said
and provided for the saying of sixty masses annually by chaplaincy in accordance with law, the said executor
the Father chaplain "in the churches of the City of (Telesforo de Guzman) appeared before the Most
Manila or in those of its vicinities, and in privileged Illustrious and Most Reverend Metropolitan
altars, in behalf of the souls of my father, Dn. Tomas de Archbishop, stating that he had the pension in
Guzman, and of my mother, Dña. Sebastiana de Jesus, consideration of which the chaplain had to say sixty
and my brothers and sisters, and for me, the testatrix masses annually in the churches of this City or in those
after my days," and to that end and for that purpose, on of its vicinities and in privileged altars for the benefit of
March 13, 1816, she made and published her last will the souls of her deceased parents, Don Tomas de

13
Guzman and Doña Sebastiana de Jesus, of the testatrix for in the original and amended complaints.
and of her brothers and sisters, electing as chaplain her
great grandson Don Esteban de Guzman, a student of On appeal the defendant assigns the following
the Royal College of San Juan de Letran, and as errors:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
administrator (to act) during the minority of the said
chaplain, the executor himself, whom she has "I. The trial court erred in ordering the defendant
empowered to appoint as Patron of the chaplaincy the forthwith to appoint plaintiff as chaplain of the
Father President of the said Royal College of San Juan Chaplaincy in question notwithstanding the fact that
de Letran, asking that the said ’congrua’ (pension, plaintiff is only twelve (12) years old and is not a cleric.
living or maintenance) the rents of the property of
which amount at present to P180 per year, be declared "II. The trial court erred in declaring that the defendant
sufficient. . . . And for its firmness and greater validity was not duly and legally authorized to use the income of
he renounces with all solemnity the laws that may said Chaplaincy for analogous charitable and pious
favor the said decedent, inserting and repeating herein works during the time the Chaplaincy in question has
all the clauses that may be necessary with all the been vacant.
requisites and conditions, so that the purpose which
actuated her to do this act of piety may be duly "III. The trial court erred in declaring that it had
accomplished, with the solemnities above set forth and jurisdiction to compel the defendant to do a canonical
the conditions herein inserted, which he asks and function, to wit: that of appointing plaintiff as chaplain
charges the above named chaplain and those who will of the Chaplaincy in question.
succeed him to respect, comply and execute ad
perpetuam rei mee memoriam amen."cralaw virtua1aw "IV. The trial court erred in not accepting as conclusive
library the decision of the ecclesiastical authority concerned, in
regard to the question whether or not plaintiff is
The "Promotor Fiscal" having first approved as legal ecclesiastically qualified to be appointed as chaplain.
under the canonical law the proposed endowment, the
petition was granted by the Archbishop as "V. The trial court erred in not holding that there is no
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph evidence in record that plaintiff was the nearest
relative of the foundress, and therefore that plaintiff
"That in conformity with the representations of the has not shown that he is entitled to be appointed
Promotor Fiscal, he was disposed to approve and did chaplain.
approve the foundation of the chaplaincy with all the
circumstances and conditions provided for in said "VI. The trial court erred in sentencing the defendant to
clause (of the will) and in the deed of foundation, as pay the plaintiff the sum of P173,720 less certain
well as the imposition (charge) of seventeen hundred liquidated as well as unliquidated amounts referred to
pesos against said building, converting said sum into in the judgment."cralaw virtua1aw library
spiritual property of a perpetual character subject to
the ecclesiastical forum and jurisdiction, etc."cralaw In the final analysis, two important and decisive
virtua1aw library questions are presented. First, the construction which
should be placed upon the will of the foundress and its
The last chaplain, Angel Gonzalez, served until legal force and effect, and, second, whether or not under
December 6, 1910, between whom and the defendant the pleadings and upon the admitted facts, the
there was a full, complete and final settlement of all of judgment in favor of the plaintiff can legally be
the accounts arising from, and growing out of, the sustained.
chaplaincy up to December 31, 1910. The defendant
after December 6, 1910, declared the chaplaincy in In arriving at the solution of the first question, careful
question vacant, and at all times since, it has remained thought and consideration should be given to the
and is now vacant. In this situation, the plaintiff minor, purpose and intent with which Petronila de Guzman
Raul Rogerio Gonzalez, claiming to be the eldest son of executed the will in question so far as it can be
Angel Gonzalez, the last chaplain, and of his wife, ascertained and determined from the instrument itself.
Adelaida Gonzalez, and the nearest relative in
succession to the first chaplain, Esteban de Guzman, In truth and in fact the house in question was
and the legitimate successor to the said chaplaincy, constructed for the sole and specific purpose of
petitioned the defendant to be appointed chaplain, with providing sufficient rental to insure the payment of the
all of the rights, powers and duties as such, which amount required to pay for the specified number of
petition was denied. masses, and the will of the foundress recites that the
property had a net annual rental of P180, and it
The original complaint in this action and the one on specifically charged and enjoined upon the executor to
which the evidence was taken in the lower court was found a chaplaincy and to make all arrangements
filed on August 5, 1924. The answer of the defendant necessary for the saying of such perpetual masses.
was filed on October 13, 1924. The testimony was Upon her death such application was made to the
completed on March 24, 1926, and on April 5, 1926, for Archbishop, and the chaplaincy was founded and the
the purpose of making his pleadings conform to his chaplain appointed in compliance with the terms and
alleged proofs, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, provisions of the will. A chaplaincy having thus been
to which objection was made by the defendant and founded, it is important to know the meaning of that
overruled by the trial court word.

Upon such pleadings, including the amended complaint, Alcubilla, in his work entitled "Diccionario de la
the lower court in a learned, exhaustive and well Administracion," published in 1886, vol. 2, p. 118,
written opinion of ninety-five printed pages, found all of says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
the material facts for the plaintiff for whom it rendered
judgment against the defendant as substantially prayed "A chaplaincy is an institution which has the obligation

14
to celebrate or cause to be celebrated annually a certain The second chaplain was Vicente de Guzman, who was
number of masses in a determined church or altar, a brother of the first, and was appointed by the
conforming to the will of the founder. A chaplaincy is Archbishop on April 7, 1838.
either laical or collative.
The third chaplain was Mariano de Guzman, a nephew
"A laical chaplaincy is that instituted without the of the first, and he was appointed October 11, 1867.
intervention of the ecclesiastical authority; in does not
require a title in order to be ordained, and the possessor The fourth chaplain was Fernando Maniquis, who was
is only obligated to cause to be celebrated, or to appointed May 23, 1890, and served until November 17,
celebrate, if he is a priest, a certain number of masses 1897.
in accordance with the foundation. The laical or
mercenary chaplaincies are not subject to the The fifth and last chaplain was Angel Gonzalez, the
ecclesiastical authority, which, with regard thereto, has plaintiff’s father, and he was appointed on June 20,
no other right than to investigate if the obligations are 1901, and served until December 6, 1910, and to whom
fulfilled; and this is one of the characteristics which the defendant accounted for all of the rentals of the
most distinguish the said chaplaincies from the property of the chaplaincy from the date of the
collative chaplaincies; . . . . resignation of the preceding chaplain in November,
1897, and also the rentals of the property which were
"A collative chaplaincy is that instituted with the collected during his chaplaincy, and when paid to him,
intervention of the ecclesiastical authority and requires they were appropriated by Angel Gonzalez to his own
a title of ordination. It is called ecclesiastical because it use.
is in the form of ecclesiastical benefice, and it is proper
for the Bishop to confer it. When the foundation calls Although the defendant held the title to the property in
for relatives of the founder or of the persons whom he trust, yet, apparently prior to ’863, the different
designated as trunk, to enjoy the chaplaincy, the latter chaplains had the control and management of the
is called colativa familiar; when individuals of a certain property, and collected the rentals, when in that year
family are not called to the possession but the patron is for the first time the defendant took over the actual
authorized to appoint, then the chaplaincy is called management of the property and the collection of the
colativa simple or gentilicia."cralaw virtua1aw library rentals.

It is conceded that the purpose and intent of the As stated, Angel Gonzalez, the last chaplain, was
deceased was to found a "collative chaplaincy," and the appointed by the defendant on June 20,1901, and
will provides that the position should be filled by served until December 6, 1910, and to whom the
certain specified relatives. It will be noted that the deed defendant not only accounted for all of the rentals of the
of endowment of the executor of April 26, 1820, recites property of the chaplaincy from November, 1897, the
that he "appeared before the Most Illustrious and Most date of the resignation of the preceding chaplain, but
Reverend Metropolitan Archbishop, stating that he had also for the rentals received from June 20, 1901, to
the pension in consideration of which the chaplain had December 6, 1910, during the period of his own
to say sixty masses annually in the churches of this chaplaincy. There is nothing in the record tending to
City, etc.," and that "the rents of the property of which show what was done with the rentals collected from
amount at present to P180 per year, be declared 1863 to 1897 or the amount of them, or to whom they
sufficient, issuing the corresponding title of chaplain to were paid. But in view of the fact that an accounting
his said son." That is to say, to found the chaplaincy was had and made to Angel Gonzalez for the rentals
and to insure the saying of the masses in question, the from the year 1897 to December 6, 1910, it is fair to
executor proposed to the Archbishop that the estate had assume that there must have been some kind of a
property which had a rental value of P180 per annum, settlement or accounting between the defendant and
which he was ready and willing to pay for the founding the former chaplains of the rentals collected from 1863
of a chaplaincy and the saying of such masses, and to to 1897. In any event, the record is conclusive that
insure the payment of the P180 annually, he was ready, there was a full, final and complete settlement between
able and willing to convey the property in trust to the the defendant and Angel Gonzalez, as chaplain, for the
church for spiritual purposes. But it should be noted rentals collected from the year 1897 to December 6,
that his proposition specifically provided that the 1910.
property should not be used for any other or different
purpose, and that, "if the contrary should be done from Upon this question, the recitals made in the original
now until then, he (the executor) declares null and appointment of Angel Gonzalez, the last chaplain, are
without value or effect whatever may be done or very important. After giving the history of the
executed contrary to the tenor of these presents." That foundation of the chaplaincy founded by Da. Petronila
must be construed as a specific limitation upon the de Guzman, his appointment
rights, powers and duties of the trustee, which would recites:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
prohibit the use of the property by the trustee for any
other or different purpose than the one specified in the ". . . So that, as such chaplain he may possess and enjoy
will. it as Ecclesiastical benefice and by perpetual title with
the obligation of ordering to be said, by means of a
It will also be noted that the proposition of the executor priest, while he himself cannot say them, sixty masses
was accepted by the defendant upon the terms and annually according to the will of the foundress, and
conditions therein stated as provided for in the will of with the understanding that every year he has to show
the foundress, and Esteban de Guzman, who was then to our Court of Chaplaincies wherein this shall be
not 14 years of age, was duly appointed by the recorded, that he has discharged said masses, without
defendant as the first chaplain in the chaplaincy as which requisite the rent which for the purpose may be
thus founded and entered upon the discharge of his necessary shall be withheld from him. And by virtue of
duties. Holy Obedience we order those to whom these presents
may concern to have and treat the said D. Angel

15
Gonzalez y Guzman as the beneficiary and possessor of obligation of ordering to be said, by means of a priest,
said chaplaincy, and that they pay him well and while he himself cannot say them, sixty-masses
faithfully the income which in the future the capital annually according to the will of the foundress," for
may produce and that which it has produced while which he shall duly report, and "without which
vacant."cralaw virtua1aw library requisite the rent which for the purpose may be
necessary shall be withheld from him," and that it was
This order was made on August 21, 1901, and remained further ordered that he should be recognized and
in full force and effect until Angel Gonzalez resigned, treated "as the beneficiary and possessor of said
and the final settlement was made with him on chaplaincy, and that they pay him well and faithfully
December 6, 1910, at which time the chaplaincy was the income which in the future the capital may produce
declared vacant, and it has remained vacant ever since, and that which it has produced while vacant." This is
and clause ten of the will an- express recognition of the foundation of the
provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph chaplaincy and of its continued existence, and of the
right of the chaplain to enjoy it as "ecclesiastical
"It is my will that for patron of said chaplaincy my benefice and by perpetual title," and to collect and
executors name the Father President of the College of receive the rents and profits of the chaplaincy not only
San Juan de Letran."cralaw virtua1aw library during its existence, but "while vacant."cralaw
virtua1aw library
And clause eleven provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Such are the actual facts evidenced by written
"I appoint my first executor as administrator of the documents, about which there is not and cannot be any
chaplaincy which shall be founded on the house dispute. In addition to which, His Grace Michael J.
referred to, during the minority of said chaplain."cralaw O’Doherty testified:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
virtua1aw library
"Q. Without reference to your having seen the
That is to say, "the Father President of the College of properties or not, your Grace acknowledges that these
San Juan de Letran" was made Patron of the properties belong to the chaplaincy in question?
chaplaincy, and the executor under the will was made
"administrator of the chaplaincy during the minority of "A. Yes, sir; there is no question about that."cralaw
said chaplain," D. Esteban de Guzman, who was then a virtua1aw library
minor less than 14 years of age.
And it appears that upon the foundation of the
Hence, we have this situation. On March 13, 1816, chaplaincy in the year 1820, it was expressly agreed
Petronila de Guzman made her last will and testament with the executor of the foundress that any attempt to
in which she sought to provide for the foundation of a use the funds of the property in question for any other
chaplaincy and the celebration of "sixty masses or different purpose than that provided in the will, no
annually" in behalf of her own soul and the souls of her matter how pious it might be, should be considered null
father and mother and brothers and sisters, and in and void.
which she named the Father President of the College of
San Juan de Letran as Patron of the chaplaincy, and Upon such undisputed evidence, the trial court made an
appointed her executor as administrator of the express finding of fact that the defendant held the title
chaplaincy during the minority of her son, D. Esteban to the property in trust and as trustee under the terms
de Guzman, whom she appointed the first chaplain, and provisions of the will of the foundress, and that
whom she charged and enjoined to carry out the terms finding is well sustained by the evidence.
and provisions of her will.
We are clearly of the opinion that by the terms and
Pursuant to that charge and by the terms of the will, provisions of the will and what has been done under it
the executor made a formal application to the defendant and through its own actions and conduct covering a
to found the chaplaincy and to have D. Esteban de period of almost a century, the defendant is now
Guzman, the minor, who was the "legitimate son of my estopped to claim or assert that it has a fee simple title
grandson Don Jose Telesforo de Guzman," appointed as to the property or that it does not hold the title as
first chaplain under the will, and to provide for the trustee under the will of the foundress.
celebration of "sixty masses annually," and the
application was formally granted and the chaplaincy The next and most serious question is whether or not
was thus founded, and as provided in the will, the the defendant should be required to account to the
minor was appointed as the first chaplain under the plaintiff and the judgment in his favor should be
chaplaincy, and to that end and for such use and sustained.
purpose, the property was then conveyed to the
defendant in trust. From that date to 1901, four other As stated, the chaplaincy in question is a collative
chaplains have been appointed. In 1863, and for the chaplaincy which required the title of ordination, and it
first time, the defendant took over the actual control is called ecclesiastical because it is in the form of an
and management of the property and collected the ecclesiastical benefice, and the foundation called for
rents, and the record is conclusive that from 1897 to relatives of the foundress whom she designated as a
December 6, 1910, the defendant accounted to Angel trunk to enjoy the chaplaincy, and hence it is called
Gonzalez, the last chaplain, for all of such rents and "colativa familiar."cralaw virtua1aw library
profits, and that in the final settlement, the defendant
actually paid to Angel Gonzalez the sum of P12,500 for In the instant case, the trunk of the chaplaincy was D.
and on account of such rentals and profits. Esteban de Guzman, the legitimate son of D. Jose
Telesforo de Guzman, who was a grandson of the
It will be noted that his order of appointment expressly foundress, who was born on August 4, 1806, who was
recites that "he may possess and enjoy it as formally appointed chaplain by the ecclesiastical
Ecclesiastical benefice and by perpetual title with the authorities under the provisions of the will on the 16th

16
of June, 1820, and at the time of his appointment, he part of this amended complaint, and that there is no
was less then 14 years of age. other person who has or claims to have the right to said
chaplaincy.
The second chaplain was Vicente de Guzman, also a son
of Jose Telesforo de Guzman, and a brother of the first "IX. That subsequent to the settlement of accounts set
chaplain, and he was born on November 22, 1816, and forth in the seventh paragraph of this amended
was appointed chaplain on April 7, 1838. complaint, the defendant in the month of September,
1914, wrongfully obtained and caused to be registered
The third chaplain was Mariano de Guzman, a son of in its own name in the registry of property of the City of
Juan Bautista de Guzman and the grandson of Jose Manila, a Torrens title in fee simple to said property
Telesforo de Guzman, and he was born on January 20, free and clear of the trust imposed upon it and upon the
1845, and appointed on October 11, 1867. defendant as its administrator for the maintenance of
said chaplaincy. That a description of the property as
The fourth chaplain was Fernando Maniquis, a son of thus wrongfully registered marked Exhibit F is hereto
Eugenia de Guzman and grandson of Tomasa de attached and made a part of this amended complaint.
Guzman, who was a sister of the first chaplain, Esteban
de Guzman, and he was born on May 3, 1870, and was "XII. That the plaintiff through his parents and
appointed on May 23, 1890. attorneys has repeatedly made application to the
defendant for appointment to said chaplaincy; that at
The fifth and last chaplain was Angel Gonzalez, a son of first no objection was made to plaintiff’s right to or
Escolastica de Guzman and grandson of Tomasa de fitness for said office, and defendant promised to
Guzman, who was a sister of the first chaplain, Esteban appoint him, but later refused to do so, alleging at first
de Guzman, and he was born on August 18, 1882, and that he was too young and later declining to state its
was appointed on June 20, 1901. reasons for such refusal; that the language of the will
establishing said chaplaincy, and particularly the
It is stipulated that no one of the five chaplains above eleventh paragraph thereof, expressly discloses the
mentioned was a "clerigo" at the time of his intention of the foundress to fill said chaplaincy with
appointment to the chaplaincy, and minors without limitation as to their youthfulness; that
also:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Esteban de Guzman, the first chaplain chosen by the
foundress Petronila de Guzman, was less than 14 years
"9. That according to the new canon law promulgated in of age on the date of his appointment by the defendant
the year 1918, ’las capellanias o beneficios simples se Archbishop of Manila."cralaw virtua1aw library
confieren a clerigos del clero secular; that in order to be
a ’clerigo’ one must have ’prima tonsura’; that in order By the stipulation of facts, paragraphs 1, 9 and 12 are
to have ’prima tonsura’ one must have begun the study admitted. Paragraph 4 is contested and disputed. As to
of theology; and that in order to study theology one paragraph 6, there is no claim or pretense that any
must be a ’bachiller.’ other person has or claims to have a right to the
chaplaincy. Neither is it claimed that the plaintiff is not
"13. That the plaintiff Raul Rogerio Gonzalez is the the eldest son of Angel and Adelaida Gonzalez, and
legitimate son of said Angel Gonzalez and Adelaida there is no dispute as to the contents of Exhibits B, C, D
Gonzalez, and was born on September 16, 1912."cralaw and E. But the defendant denies that the plaintiff is
virtua1aw library "the nearest relative in succession to the first chaplain,
Esteban de Guzman, and the legitimate successor to the
It is not alleged, and plaintiff does not claim, that he is said chaplaincy," or that he is now spiritually qualified
now a priest or that he has a "prima tonsura," but it is for a career of priesthood.
alleged in the amended
complaint:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph After an exhaustive analysis of all of the evidence pro
and con, the trial court made the following finding of
"I. That he is a minor residing in the municipality of fact:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Baliwag, Province of Bulacan; that he will be 14 years
of age on the 16th day of September of the present year "8. So far as the records show, plaintiff is the nearest
(1926); that Adelaida Gonzalez is his mother and duly relative of the first chaplain, Esteban de Guzman. The
appointed and authorized guardian ad litem for the fourth chaplain, Fernando Maniquis, has a son who is
purposes of this action and that the defendant is a of about the same age and in the same degree of
corporation sole, domiciled in the City of Manila, P. I., relationship from the first chaplain as the plaintiff, but
and represented by His Grace, M. J. O’Doherty, he is not a candidate for appointment to this
apostolic archbishop. chaplaincy, and his father expressly renounced such
candidacy in open court while he was testifying as a
"IV. That it is provided in the said will that said witness for plaintiff in this case. According to the
chaplaincy should be occupied by the nearest relative in Archbishop of Manila himself, plaintiff is the only
succession of the first chaplain, Esteban de Guzman. applicant for appointment to the chaplaincy in question.
(Deposition, p. 14.)"
"VI. That plaintiff is the eldest son of the said Angel
and Adelaida Gonzalez, and as such, the nearest That finding is sustained by the evidence and is also
relative in succession to the first chaplain, Esteban de accepted by the majority opinion.
Guzman, and the legitimate successor to said
chaplaincy; that plaintiff possesses the necessary The evidence is also conclusive that the plaintiff in all
intelligence, aptitude and spiritual inclination for the things and respects has the intellectual qualifications of
career of priesthood; that the testimonials of various a chaplain which specially appears from Exhibits B, C,
Roman Catholic priests as to plaintiff’s aptitude and D and E, and the evidence is also conclusive that the
inclination for the priesthood marked Exhibits B, C, D plaintiff possesses even more learning and intelligence
and E for identification are hereto attached and made a than any previous chaplain at the time of his

17
appointment and that he was personally recommended legislature."cralaw virtua1aw library
for the appointment by the Father President of the
College of San Juan de Letran, who, under the terms of Commenting on this decision, Chancellor Kent, vol. 1, p.
the will, was the "Patron of said chaplaincy,’ and that 418, said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
exclusive of the canonical law above quoted, the
plaintiff has all of the requisite qualifications of a "The argument of the Supreme Court in this celebrated
chaplain, and that if it was not for that law, his case contains one of the most full and elaborate
appointment would have been simply a matter of form expositions of the constitutional sanctity of contracts to
and not of substance. Hence, the question is squarely be met with in any of the reports.’The decision in this
presented whether the promulgation of the canonical case did more than any other single act, proceeding
law in question in 1918 is a bar and can now be urged from the authority of the United States, to throw an
against his appointment as chaplain. impregnable barrier around all rights and franchises
derived from the grant of the government; and to give
It must be conceded that prior to 1918, there was no solidity and inviolability to the literary, charitable,
law of the church which would prohibit the religious and commercial institutions of our country.’"
appointment of the plaintiff as chaplain, and that upon
the showing made prior to the promulgation of the law Since the rendition of that decision, no court of last
in question, the plaintiff would have been appointed resort, under the jurisdiction of the United States Flag,
chaplain as a matter of course. It must also be conceded has ever declared any law valid, either legislative or
that under the provisions of the existing canonical law, canonical, that impaired the obligation of a contract.
plaintiff does not have the requisite qualifications to be
appointed chaplain. The question is thus squarely In substance, both of those provisions in the
presented whether after the defendant has accepted Constitution of the United States are incorporated in,
and approved the will of the foundress and appointed and made a part of, the Organic Law of the Philippine
five different chaplains under its provisions and the Islands.
conditions then existing, to the last of whom it has
accounted for the rents and profits during his Upon this question, the majority opinion
chaplaincy, can it now ex parte and of its own volition says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
promulgate and enforce a canonical law which imposes
new and different terms and conditions and in legal "It is undeniable that under Spanish law an
effect nullifies the will of the foundress, which it has ecclesiastical canon such as we are now considering
recognized and enforced for nearly a century? Whatever could have been adopted regardless of its effect upon
may have been the rights, privileges and prerogatives of the foundation or the persons interested therein, and it
the church while this country was under the dominion cannot be admitted that an obligation which could be
of Spain, it was held by this court in United States v. changed under Spanish law has become immutable
Balcorta (25 Phil., 273, 276), that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph from the promulgation by congress of the constitutional
provision forbidding the impairment of contracts by
"The change of sovereignty and the enactment of the legislative Acts."cralaw virtua1aw library
fourteenth paragraph of section 5 of the Philippine Bill
caused the complete separation of church and state, and That is to say, because in 1918 there was no law in
the abolition of all special privileges and all restrictions Spain against impairing the obligation of a contract, the
theretofore conferred or imposed upon any particular defendant then had the legal right to promulgate a
religious sect."cralaw virtua1aw library canonical law which did impair the obligation of a
contract. Therein lies the fallacy of the majority
The Constitution of the United States prohibits the opinion. It overlooks the underlying, fundamental fact
passing of an ex post facto law or of any law impairing that in 1918, and for a long time previous, this country
the obligation of contracts. was no longer under the dominion of Spain, and that it
was then under the laws of the United States in which
In the celebrated case of Trustees of Dartmouth College neither the church nor state can enact a law which will
v. Woodward (4 Law. ed. [U. S. ], p. 629), in an opinion impair the obligation of a contract.
written by Chief Justice Marshall, the Supreme Court
of the United States held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph That statement is not good law, and is in direct conflict
with, and overlooks the provision of, article 3 of the
"The charter granted by the British crown to the Civil Code which says that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
trustees of Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, in
the year 1769, is a contract within the meaning of that "Laws shall not have a retroactive effect unless therein
clause of the Constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. otherwise provided."cralaw virtua1aw library
10, which declares that no state shall make any law
impairing the obligation of contracts. The charter was That is to say, the Federal Constitution prohibits the
not dissolved by the revolution. law-making power from passing any law which impairs
the obligation of a contract, and the Spanish code
"An act of the state legislature of New Hampshire, expressly provides that no law shall have a retroactive
altering the charter, without the consent of the effect "unless therein otherwise provided." If the
corporations in a material respect, is an act impairing Legislature cannot enact a law which would impair the
the obligation of the charter, and is unconstitutional obligation of a contract, how, in what manner and by
and void. what authority can the defendant promulgate a
canonical law which in legal effect impairs the
"Under its charter, Dartmouth College was a private obligation of a contract? Even under the Spanish code,
and not a public corporation. That a corporation is how and in what manner and by what authority can a
established for purposes of general charity, or for canonical law be made retroactive unless the canonical
education generally, does not, per se, make it a public law also provides that it shall be retroactive? Upon
corporation, liable to the control of the what legal principle is the defendant church exempt

18
from the express language of the Constitution, or the any cause, even though it be of a more pious character,
plain provisions of the statute? It must be conceded that protesting that if the contrary should be done from now
such provisions are binding upon private persons and until then, he (the executor) declares null and without
the legislative bodies of the government; hence, why are value or effect whatever may be done or executed
not they binding upon the defendant? And why is it contrary to the tenor of these presents," which
exempt? The execution of the will by the foundress and immediately follow the words "the rents of the property
the acceptance of its terms and conditions by the of which amount at present to P180 per year, be
defendant and the conveyance to it of the property and declared sufficient, issuing the corresponding title of
the appointment of the chaplain specified in the will chaplain to his said son."cralaw virtua1aw library
and of four other chaplains in accord with its terms and
provisions, covering almost a century of time, and the It is conceded that in September, 1914, the defendant
admitted accounting to the last chaplain, makes a valid, made an application to have the property registered in
binding, executed contract between the foundress and its own name and to obtain a Torrens title, and that in
the defendant. Otherwise, the whole transaction from truth and in fact it did obtain and now holds a Torrens
its inception was null and void and of no legal force or title in fee simple in its own name, and for aught that
effect. appears upon the official record, the defendant is the
sole and exclusive owner of the property in its own right
The deed of endowment recites that the expense of the and name.
construction of the "house of lime and stone" was
P1,600, exclusive of the value of the lob on which it was It is also conceded that at all times since December 6,
situated, and that the rental value of the house on April 1910, the chaplaincy has been and is now vacant, and
26, 1820, was P180 per annum. It appears that its that the defendant has refused to appoint the plaintiff
rental value at present is P1,000 per month, and that as chaplain or to account to him for the rents and
the amount of the rents and profits from December 6, profits, and that, if the canonical law of 1918 is to be
1910, to the rendition of the judgment on December 20, applied and should be enforced, the plaintiff does not
1926, is P173,725, less certain enumerated costs and have the requisite qualifications under the existing
expenses, from which the importance of this case laws of the church to be appointed chaplain.
becomes very apparent.
Among other things, the purpose of this action is to
The defendant vigorously contends that the property in compel the defendant to appoint the plaintiff to the
question became and is now spiritual property, and that vacant chaplaincy, and upon that point the lower court
as such it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. Here, sustained the plaintiff’s contention. We frankly concede
again, we must look to the purpose and intent of the that the court should not interfere with the internal
foundress and what has been done by the defendant affairs of the church upon any question of religion or
under the terms and provisions of the will. The building any matter of spiritual nature. That is a constitutional
was constructed at a cost of P1,600, and at the time of right which is expressly reserved to the church. Even
the execution of the will, it had a rental value of P180 so, when a church enters into a valid and binding
per annum. The chaplaincy was founded and provision contract which involves temporal and property rights,
was made for the saying of sixty masses annually, for the construction and legal force of such a contract
which the P180 annual rent was then deemed devolves exclusively upon the courts, and while they do
sufficient. In its acceptance of 1820, the defendant not claim or exercise the power to interfere with the
approved "the foundation of the chaplaincy, etc., as well spiritual matters of the church, they do claim and
as the imposition (charge) of seventeen hundred pesos exercise the power over the property rights of the
against said building, converting said sum into spiritual church and any right arising from, or growing out of, a
property of a perpetual character, etc.," and it was to valid and binding contract over property to which the
that extent, and to that extent only, that the property church is a party.
was spiritualized. It was never the purpose or intent of
the foundress that it should be spiritualized above and We frankly concede that the courts do not exercise or
beyond the amount of the specified rental value at the claim the power to say to the church whom it should or
time of the execution of the will. By the acceptance of should not appoint chaplain, to perform any spiritual
the deed of endowment upon the terms and conditions right or duty, or in the least to interfere with the
stated, and the founding of the chaplaincy, the spiritual affairs of the church, its erred or religious
defendant declared itself satisfied with the P180 per belief, or the spiritual duties of any officer or member of
annum as a full and complete compensation for the the church. But the question involved in this case is one
saying of the sixty annual masses, and for nearly a of a property right founded upon a contract made
century, it has taken and accepted that compensation in between the church and the foundress, and the purpose
full for those services, and it accounted to the last of this action is not to procure the appointment of a
chaplain for the amount of such rents and profits, less chaplain with authority under the laws of the church to
costs and expenses, and the amount of such annual say the masses, for which the will provides, Or in any
masses. Those facts alone are conclusive evidence that manner to interfere with the spiritual affairs of the
the defendant by its own actions and conduct is now church. The sole purpose is to have a chaplain
estopped to claim or assert that the property in appointed with legal authority to receive and receipt for
question was spiritualized above and beyond the the net income of the property.
original amount of P180 per annum. Such a
construction is also in accord with, and gives full force If, as the defendant contends, it has the sole and
and effect to, the deed of the foundation in which it is exclusive right at its option and in its discretion to
said that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph change, modify or enlarge the requisite qualifications
for a chaplain, and the sole and exclusive power in its
"Property is segregated from temporal properties and own discretion to appoint a chaplain, it is fair to assume
transferred to the spiritual properties of this that in the instant case, no chaplain would ever be
Archbishopric, without its being possible to alienate or appointed and that no accounting would ever be made,
convert the property as such into any other estate for for the simple reason that in no circumstances would

19
any church or any other person want to appoint a to whom the defendant should account. It is elementary
chaplain to whom, when appointed, it would be that you cannot have a trust without a beneficiary.
required to make an accounting of the rents and profits Under all of the definitions of an express trust, there
of the property, as in the instant case, covering a period must be a trustee who holds the legal title to the
of seventeen years, the rental value of which is now property for the use and benefit of some third person;
P1,000 per month, and that would be especially true otherwise, it is not a trust. Having accepted the trust
where the chaplaincy has been vacant seventeen years. and having recognized it and performed the duties of
If that is the law, the defendant would have the power trustee for nearly a century, the defendant cannot now
at its option and in its own discretion to impose new defeat or impair the trust by neglecting or refusing to
terms and conditions for the appointment of a chaplain, appoint a beneficiary to whom it should account for the
with which no member of the Guzman family could ever net income of the property.
comply, and thus defeat and prevent the appointment of
any chaplain at any time in the future. That is not the It appears by its own evidence that the defendant has
law; neither should the original contract be so been using the funds arising from the rents and profits
construed. "for religious purposes, education, benefices, charity,
etc.," and "I have done nothing more than follow the
The chaplaincy has been vacant for the last seventeen custom which I found had been followed by my
years, and if, under the existing canonical law, the predecessor Mons. Harty." In addition to which, under
defendant has the sole and exclusive power to appoint the Torrens System, it has applied for and obtained a
and the appointee must be a "clerigo" with all of the title in fee simple in its own name. If the will is to be so
necessary qualifications, the question naturally arises construed, then by and through the actions and conduct
who, if any one, will ever be appointed chaplain, and of the defendant, it becomes void for want of a
when, if ever, would he be appointed? The stubborn fact beneficiary.
remains that it has been vacant for the last seventeen
years, and that under the existing canonical law, no That question was squarely decided in an exhaustive
member of the Guzman. family would ever be appointed opinion by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, April
chaplain. 6, 1926, 45 A. L. R., p. 1433, in which, among other
things, the syllabus says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Upon this question, in its brief, appellant
says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "Wills, Sec. 201 — requisites of bequest.

"For argument’s sake, we shall admit that plaintiff has "2. To create a valid bequest there must be a
a right to the income of the chaplaincy and that the beneficiary, or class of beneficiaries, indicated in the
same is a civil right. Such a right, however, would will, capable of coming into court and claiming the
depend on whether plaintiff is appointed chaplain of the benefit of the bequest.
said chaplaincy."cralaw virtua1aw library
"(See 28 R. C. L., 339; 3 R. C. L. Sup., 1572.)
In response to which, respondent
says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "Trusts, Sec. 21 — necessity of definite beneficiary.

"I admit that you are the owner of the sum of over "3. To effect an enforceable private trust by will there
P150,000 which I have collected as rents of the property must be a beneficiary, or class of beneficiaries,
of the chaplaincy, but you can only take and enjoy it if I indicated in the will, capable of coming into court and
give you the key, which I do not propose to do."cralaw claiming the benefit of the bequest.
virtua1aw library
"(See 26 R. C. L., 1189; 4 R. C. L. Sup., 1701; 5 R. C. L.
And Sup., 1444.)

"That its refusal to give the plaintiff that key is a "Trusts, Sec. 20 — indefiniteness — effect.
judicial decision final and conclusive against plaintiff’s
right to recover that money."cralaw virtua1aw library "5. A gift to trustees to dispose of the same as they
think fit is too uncertain to be carried out by the courts.
That is a statement of the whole case in a nutshell.
"(See 26 R. C. L., 1184.)
Previous to the promulgation of the canon law of 1918,
any male descendant of the first chaplain over 13 years "Wills, Sec. 198 — ascertainment of beneficiaries.
of age was eligible to the position, and the will provides
that for the failure of such descendant, a student of San "9. The identity of a beneficiary in a will is a question of
Juan de Letran School should be appointed. Yet, that is fact to be found from the language of the will, construed
nothing more than a high school, or one of secondary in the light of all the competent evidence, rather than
education, and there is no claim or pretense that any of by the application of arbitrary rules of law.
its students is a "clerigo" or possesses the necessary
qualifications to be appointed chaplain under the canon "Trusts, Sec. 21 — designation of beneficiaries.
law of 1918. That is to say, if that law is to be enforced,
the provisions of the will for the appointment of a "10. Beneficiaries under a trust may be designated by
chaplain, which were then valid under the laws of the class.
church, are wholly nullified, and for such reason, the
chaplaincy would remain forever vacant, against the "Trusts, Sec. 44 — failure — effect.
clear intention and the express will of the foundress. By
that construction and defendant’s course of conduct, "12. Where a gift is impressed with a trust, ineffectively
there is no longer any beneficiary under the will of the declared, and incapable of taking effect because of the
foundress, for the simple reason that there is no person indefiniteness of the cestui que trust, the donee will

20
hold the property in trust for the next taker under the defendant and over which this court does not have any
will, for the next of kin by way of a resulting trusts. control. The purpose here is confined and limited to the
appointment of a chaplain for administrative purposes
"(See 26 R. C. L., 1216; 5 R. C. L. Sup., 1446.)" only, to whom the defendant should account for the net
income of the property. Therein lies the distinction. In
That same legal principle is laid down by the Supreme other words, the plaintiff seeks to have a chaplain
Court of Alabama in Festorazzi v. St. Joseph Roman appointed for the sole and specific purpose of carrying
Catholic Church (25 L. R. A., 360, 362 and 363), and by out the will of the foundress and to comply with the
the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in McHugh v. McCole legal obligation arising out of the original contract.
(72 N. W., 630, 632, 634-637). In legal effect, those
decisions support the contention of the plaintiff that, if The majority opinion suggests that the proper remedy,
the appointment of a chaplain is a matter which is left if any, would be an independent action "brought as a
to the sole discretion of the defendant, it must follow class suit in behalf of all the descendants of Doña
that in the instant case, the beneficiary is not made Petronila de Guzman, since under the present decision
definite and certain, and that the foundation is void for the minor plaintiff in this action has no particular title
want of any person who is qualified to enforce it, and, to relief."cralaw virtua1aw library
for such reason, the legal title to the property must
revert to, and become vested in, the heirs of the The plaintiff here is a son of the last chaplain, Angel
foundress. Gonzalez, who is a son of Escolastica de Guzman, and
grandson of Tomasa de Guzman, who was a sister of the
If the contention of the defendant is to prevail in the first chaplain, Esteban de Guzman, and this action is
instant case, the very fact that the chaplaincy has been prosecuted by Adelaida Gonzalez, who is the wife of
vacant for the last seventeen years, and that no Angel Gonzalez, the former chaplain and the mother of
member of the Guzman family or student of the San the plaintiff. It also appears that Fernando Maniquis,
Juan de Letran College is qualified to fill the position who was the fourth chaplain, is a son of Eugenia de
under the canonical law of 1918, and that under such Guzman and the grandson of Tomasa de Guzman, who
conditions, a chaplain may never be appointed under was a sister of the first chaplain, Esteban de Guzman,
the provisions of the will in the future, would leave the and who appeared and testified as a witness for the
whole question in the realm of doubt, uncertainty and plaintiff, and in open court waived any right that his
speculation as to when if ever there would be a minor son might have to be appointed chaplain. In
beneficiary under the will of the foundress. If there ever other words, it appears from the record that a number
was any doubt as to how the deed of the foundation of the immediate descendants of the foundress
should be construed, it has been forever removed by the appeared in court and testified as witnesses on behalf of
course of conduct and the long, continuous construction the plaintiff, and not one of them appeared to contest
which has been placed upon it by all of the parties in his claim from the date of the filing of the original
interest, including the legal descendants of the complaint on August 5, 1924, and there is no claim or
foundress and the defendant, in particular, in the pretense that any descendant of the foundress is
appointment of the five previous chaplains, the manner contesting plaintiff’s right to prosecute this action or to
of their appointment, and the terms and conditions be appointed chaplain.
upon which they were appointed, the conduct of the
defendant, and the accounting which it made to the last Even from that point of view, under the allegations of
chaplain. All of such parties by their actions and the amended complaint and its broad prayer for relief,
conduct, having approved and followed that there is much force in the contention that the instant
construction for nearly a century, cannot at this time case could be construed as "a class-suit in behalf of all
contend for any other or different construction, in of the descendants of Doña Petronila de
particular, where the contention would defeat and Guzman."cralaw virtua1aw library
destroy the will of the foundress.
There is no dispute about any material fact, and in the
This case is one of first impression in this court, and we final analysis, the only questions involved are those of
doubt very much whether a similar case has ever been law and as to how they should be construed and applied
decided by any court. On page 17, the majority opinion to the undisputed facts, and those questions are of vast
says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph importance to both the litigants, the profession and the
public in general, and in the orderly administration of
". . . It is a sinister omen for the plaintiff’s case that no justice, they should be squarely met and decided as
decision of any civil court whatever can be pointed to as they now appear in this record.
a precedent for such an exercise of judicial power, and
the mere novelty of the proposition is an argument If, under the law, the defendant should be required to
against the soundness of the plaintiff’s case. . . ."cralaw make an accounting, it would not make any legal
virtua1aw library difference to it whether such an accounting should be
made in this action or in the so-called "class-suit." This
Our answer is that each case is decided upon its own proceeding being equitable in its nature, if the
facts, and that no case will ever be found with the same judgment of the lower court in favor of the plaintiff
peculiar facts shown to exist in the record, and it is for should be affirmed, it would have full and ample power
that reason that no case can be found either pro or con to protect the legal rights of all parties having or
upon this particular question. claiming an interest in the fund, by reason of which and
upon the facts in the record, the judgment would be a
Be that as it may, the primary purpose of this action is legal bar to any other action against the defendant. In
to obtain an accounting, for which the appointment of a that situation and in the interest of justice, it is the
chaplain is only an incident and not one of substance, duty of this court to decide this case on its merits.
and, as stated, it is not sought to have a chaplain
appointed for the saying of masses. We frankly concede We are clearly of the opinion that the defendant holds
that is a matter peculiarly within the province of the the legal title to the property in trust, and that under

21
the terms and provisions of the will of the foundress, it Cordova were found sprawled on the ground lifeless.
should make an accounting of the net income from its The post-incident report of the Philippine Army states
rents and profits, the receipt of which it admits, and that a legitimate military operation was conducted and
that whether this action should be construed as in the course of which, the victims, armed with high-
prosecuted by the plaintiff under his right to be powered firearms, engaged in a shoot-out with the
appointed chaplain for administrative purposes or in military.
the nature of a "class-suit," the judgment of the lower
court should be affirmed, and for such reasons, I dissent
On the other hand, petitioners complained that there
from the learned and well written majority opinion.
was no encounter that ensued and that the victims were
summarily executed in cold blood by respondents.
Hence, they requested the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) to investigate the case. After
investigation, the NBI recommended to the Provincial
2. CRIMINAL CASES Prosecutor of Masbate City that a preliminary
investigation be conducted against respondents for the
G.R. No. 171855 October 15, 2012 crime of multiple murder. In reaching its
recommendation, the NBI relied on the statements of
witnesses who claim that the military massacred
FE V. RAPSING, TITA C. VILLANUEVA and helpless and unarmed civilians.
ANNIE F. APAREJADO, represented by EDGAR
AP AREJADO,Petitioners,
vs. On February 9, 2005, the provincial prosecutor issued a
HON. JUDGE MAXIMINO R. ABLES, of RTC- Resolution3 recommending the filing of an Information
Branch 47, Masbate City; SSGT. EDISON RURAL, for Multiple Murder. Consequently, respondents were
CAA JOSE MATU, CAA MORIE FLORES, CAA charged with multiple murder in an Information4 dated
GUILLEN TOPAS, CAA DANDY FLORES, CAA February 15, 2005, which reads:
LEONARDO CALIMUTAN and CAA RENE
ROM, Respondents. The undersigned 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
accuses SSGT Edison Rural, CAA Jose Matu. CAA
DECISION Morie Flores, CAA Guillen Topas, CAA Dandy Flores,
CAA Leonardo Calimutan and CAA Rene Rom,
stationed at Alpha Company, 22nd Infantry Battalion,
PERALTA, J.: 9th Division, Philippine Army, Cabangcalan
Detachment, Aroroy, Masbate, committed as follows:
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, filed by That on May 9, 2004, at around 1:00 o'clock in the
petitioners Fe Rapsing, Tita C. Villanueva and Annie afternoon thereof, at Barangay Lagta, Municipality of
Aparejado, · as represented by Edgar Aparejado, Baleno, Province of Masbate, Philippines, and within
seeking to set aside the Orders dated December 6, the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
20051 and January 11, 2006,2 respectively, of the named accused, conspiring together and mutually
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Masbate City, Branch 47, helping with one another, taking advantage of their
in Criminal Case No. 11846. superior strength as elements of the Philippine Army,
armed with their government issued firearms, with
The antecedents are as follows: intent to kill, by means of treachery and evident
premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously attack, assault and shoot Teogenes
Respondents SSgt. Edison Rural, CAA Jose Matu, CAA Rapsing y Manlapaz, Teofilo Villanueva y Prisado,
Morie Flores, CAA Guillien Topas, CAA Dandy Flores, Marianito Villanueva y Oliva, Edwin Aparejado y
CAA Leonardo Calimutan and CAA Rene Rom are Valdemoro, Isidro Espino y Arevalo, Roque Tome y
members of the Alpha Company, 22nd Infantry Morgado and Norberto Aranilla y Cordova, hitting them
Battalion, 9th Division of the Philippine Army based at on different parts of their bodies, thereby inflicting
Cabangcalan Detachment, Aroroy, Masbate. upon them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their
deaths.
Petitioners, on the other hand, are the widows of
Teogenes Rapsing, Teofilo Villanueva and Edwin CONTRARY TO LAW.
Aparejado, who were allegedly killed in cold blood by
the respondents.
Masbate City, February 15, 2005.
Respondents alleged that on May 3, 2004, around 1
o'clock in the afternoon, they received information On July 28, 2005, a warrant5 for the arrest of
about the presence of armed elements reputed to be respondents was issued by the RTC of Masbate City,
New People’s Army (NPA) partisans in Sitio Gaway- Branch 47, but before respondents could be arrested,
gaway, Barangay Lagta, Baleno, Masbate. Acting on the Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO) of the
the information, they coordinated with the Philippine Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) filed an
National Police and proceeded to the place. Thereat, Omnibus Motion6 dated July 20, 2005, with the trial
they encountered armed elements which resulted in an court seeking the cases against respondents be
intense firefight. When the battle ceased, seven (7) transferred to the jurisdiction of the military
persons, namely: Teogenes Rapsing y Manlapaz, Teofilo tribunal.7 Initially, the trial court denied the motion
Villanueva y Prisado, Marianito Villanueva y Oliva, filed by the JAGO on the ground that respondents have
Edwin Aparejado y Valdemoro, Isidro Espino y Arevalo, not been arrested. The JAGO filed a Motion for
Roque Tome y Morgado and Norberto Aranilla y Reconsideration,8and in an Order9 dated December 6,

22
2005, the trial court granted the Omnibus Motion and complaint and the character of the relief sought are the
the entire records of the case were turned over to the matters to be consulted.15
Commanding General of the 9th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army, for appropriate action.
In the case at bar, the information states that
respondents, "conspiring together and mutually helping
Petitioners sought reconsideration10 of the Order, but with one another, taking advantage of their superior
was denied by the trial court in an Order11 dated strength, as elements of the Philippine Army, armed
January 11, 2006. with their government-issued firearms with intent to
kill, by means of treachery and evident premeditation,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
Hence, the present petition with the following
attack, assault and shoot the [victims], hitting them on
arguments:
different parts of their bodies, thereby inflicting upon
them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their
I deaths."16 Murder is a crime punishable under Article
248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, and
HON. JUDGE MAXIMINO ABLES is within the jurisdiction of the RTC.17 Hence,
GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION irrespective of whether the killing was actually justified
AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OF or not, jurisdiction to try the crime charged against the
JURISDICTION IN GRANTING THE respondents has been vested upon the RTC by law.
MOTION TO TRANSFER THE INSTANT
CRIMINAL CASE OF MULTIPLE MURDER Respondents, however, contend that the military
TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE tribunal has jurisdiction over the case at bar because
MILITARY COURT MARTIAL, AS THE the crime charged was a service-connected offense
SAID TRIBUNAL, BASED ON FACTS AND allegedly committed by members of the AFP. To support
IN LAW, HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER their position, respondents cite the senate deliberations
THE INSTANT MURDER CASE. on R.A. 7055.

II Respondents stress in particular the proposal made by


Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani to define a service-
IT IS GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION connected offense as those committed by military
AMOUNTING TO EXCESS IN personnel pursuant to the lawful order of their superior
JURISDICTION IF NOT GROSS officer or within the context of a valid military exercise
IGNORANCE OF THE LAW ON THE PART or mission.18 Respondents maintain that the foregoing
OF HONORABLE JUDGE MAXIMINO definition is deemed part of the statute.1âwphi1
ABLES TO HOLD THAT HIS ORDER
DATED DECEMBER 6, 2005 COULD ONLY However, a careful reading of R.A. 7055 indicate that
BE REVIEWED THROUGH AN APPEAL, AS the proposed definition was not included as part of the
THERE IS NO TRIAL ON THE MERIT YET statute. The proposed definition made by Senator
ON THE INSTANT CRIMINAL CASE.12 Shahani was not adopted due to the amendment made
by Senator Wigberto E. Tañada, to wit:
Petitioners alleged that the trial court gravely abused
its discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction when Senator Tañada. Yes, Mr. President. I would just want
it transferred the criminal case filed against the to propose to the Sponsor of this amendment to
respondents to the jurisdiction of the military tribunal, consider, perhaps, defining what this service-related
as jurisdiction over the same is conferred upon the civil offenses would be under the Articles of War. And so, I
courts by Republic Act No. 7055 (RA 7055).13 On the would submit for her consideration the following
other hand, the respondents and the Office of the amendment to her amendment which would read as
Solicitor General (OSG) alleged that the acts follows: AS USED IN THIS SECTION, SERVICE-
complained of are service connected and falls within the CONNECTED CRIMES OR OFFENSES SHALL BE
jurisdiction of the military court. LIMITED TO THOSE DEFINED IN ARTICLES 54 TO
70, ARTICLES 72 TO 75, ARTICLES 76 TO 83 AND
The petition is meritorious. The trial court gravely ARTICLES 84 TO 92, AND ARTICLES 95 TO 97,
abused its discretion in not taking cognizance of the COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 408 AS AMENDED.
case, which actually falls within its jurisdiction.
This would identify, I mean, specifically, what these
It is an elementary rule of procedural law that service-related or connected offenses or crimes would
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is be. (Emphasis supplied.)
conferred by law and is determined by the allegations of
the complaint irrespective of whether the plaintiff is The President. What will happen to the definition of
entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims "service-connected offense" already put forward by
asserted therein.14 As a necessary consequence, the Senator Shahani?
jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon
the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to
Senator Tañada. I believe that would be incorporated in
dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction
the specification of the Article I have mentioned in the
would almost entirely depend upon the defendant.
Articles of War.
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 SUSPENSION OF THE SESSION

23
The President. Will the Gentleman kindly try to work it Art. 55. Officer Making Unlawful Enlistment.
out between the two of you? I will suspend the session
for a minute, if there is no objection. There was none.
Art. 56. False Muster.

It was 5:02 p.m.


Art. 57. False Returns.

RESUMPTION OF THE SESSION


Art. 58. Certain Acts to Constitute Desertion.

At 5:06 p.m., the session was resumed.


Art. 59. Desertion.

The President. The session is resumed.


Art. 60. Advising or Aiding Another to Desert.

Senator Tañada. Mr. President, Senator Shahani has


Art. 61. Entertaining a Deserter.
graciously accepted my amendment to her amendment,
subject to refinement and style.
Art. 62. Absence Without Leave.
The President. Is there any objection? Silence There
being none, the amendment is approved.19 Art. 63. Disrespect Toward the President, Vice-
President, Congress of the Philippines, or Secretary of
National Defense.
In the same session, Senator Tañada emphasized:

Art. 64. Disrespect Toward Superior Officer.


Senator Tañada. Section 1, already provides that crimes
of offenses committed by persons subject to military law
... will be tried by the civil courts, except, those which Art. 65. Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying Superior
are service-related or connected. And we specified Officer.
which would be considered service-related or connected
under the Articles of War, Commonwealth Act No. Art. 66. Insubordinate Conduct Toward Non-
408.20 (Emphasis supplied.) Commissioned Officer.

The said amendment was later on reflected in the final Art. 67. Mutiny or Sedition.
version of the statute as Paragraph 2 of Section 1.
Section 1 of R.A. 7055 reads in full:
Art. 68. Failure to Suppress Mutiny or Sedition.
Section 1. Members of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and other persons subject to military law, Art. 69. Quarrels; Frays; Disorders.
including members of the Citizens Armed Forces
Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement.
penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special
penal laws, or local government ordinances, regardless
of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or Articles 72 to 92
offended parties which may be natural or juridical
persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court, except Art. 72. Refusal to Receive and Keep Prisoners.
when the offense, as determined before arraignment by
the civil court, is service-connected, in which case the
offense shall be tried by court-martial: Provided, That Art. 73. Report of Prisoners Received.
the President of the Philippines may, in the interest of
justice, order or direct at any time before arraignment Art. 74. Releasing Prisoner Without Authority.
that any such crimes or offenses be tried by the proper
civil courts.
Art. 75. Delivery of Offenders to Civil Authorities.

As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or


Art. 76. Misbehavior Before the Enemy.
offenses shall be limited to those defined in Articles 54
to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of
Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended. (Emphasis Art. 77. Subordinates Compelling Commander to
supplied) Surrender.

The second paragraph of Section 1 of R.A. 7055 Art. 78. Improper Use of Countersign.
explicitly specifies what are considered "service-
connected crimes or offenses" under Commonwealth Act
Art. 79. Forcing a Safeguard.
No. 408 (CA 408), as amended,21 to wit:

Art. 80. Captured Property to be Secured for Public


Articles 54 to 70:
Service.

Art. 54. Fraudulent Enlistment.


Art. 81. Dealing in Captured or Abandoned Property.

24
Art. 82. Relieving, Corresponding With, or Aiding the
Enemy.

3. ORIGINAL JURISDICTION IN OTHER CASES


Art. 83. Spies.

CERTIORARI,PROHIBITION AND MANDAMUS


Art. 84. Military Property. – Willful or Negligent Loss,
Damage or Wrongful Disposition.
.R. No. 164242 November 28, 2008

Art. 85. Waste or Unlawful Disposition of Military


Property Issued to Soldiers. DESTILERIA LIMTUACO & CO., INC. and
CONVOY MARKETING
CORPORATION,petitioners,
Art. 86. Drunk on Duty. vs.
ADVERTISING BOARD OF THE
Art. 87. Misbehavior of Sentinel. PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Art. 88. Personal Interest in Sale of Provisions. DECISION

Art. 88-A. Unlawfully Influencing Action of Court. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Art. 89. Intimidation of Persons Bringing Provisions. The present dispute focuses mainly on the power of the
Advertising Board of the Philippines (AdBoard) to
require its clearance prior to commercial advertising
Art. 90. Good Order to be Maintained and Wrongs and to impose sanctions on its members who broadcast
Redressed. advertisements without its clearance.

Art. 91. Provoking Speeches or Gestures. AdBoard is an umbrella non-stock, non-profit


corporation created in 19741 composed of several
Art. 92. Dueling. national organizations in the advertising industry,
including: Advertising Suppliers Association of the
Philippines (ASAP), Association of Accredited
Articles 95 to 97:
Advertising Agencies Philippines (4As),Cinema
Advertising Association of the Philippines (CAAP),
Art. 95. Frauds Against the Government. Independent Blocktimers Association of the Philippines
(IBA), Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng
Pilipinas (KBP), Outer Advertising Association of the
Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and
Philippines (OAAP), the Marketing & Opinion Research
Gentleman.
Society of the Philippines (MORES), Philippine
Association of National Advertisers (PANA) and the
Art. 97 General Article. Print Media Organization (PRIMO).

In view of the provisions of R.A. 7055, the military Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc. (Destileria) was
tribunals cannot exercise jurisdiction over respondents' formerly a member of PANA.
case since the offense for which they were charged is
not included in the enumeration of "service-connected
In January 2004, Destileria and Convoy Marketing
offenses or crimes" as provided for under Section 1
Corporation (Convoy), through its advertising agency,
thereof. The said law is very clear that the jurisdiction
SLG Advertising (SLG), a member of the 4As, applied
to try members of the AFP who commit crimes or
with the AdBoard for a clearance of the airing of a radio
offenses covered by the RPC, and which are not service-
advertisement entitled, "Ginagabi (Nakatikim ka na ba
connected, lies with the civil courts. Where the law is
ng Kinse Anyos)."
clear and unambiguous, it must be taken to mean
exactly what it says and the court has no choice but to
see to it that its mandate is obeyed. There is no room AdBoard issued a clearance for said advertisement. Not
for interpretation, but only application.22 Hence, the long after the ad started airing, AdBoard was swept
RTC cannot divest itself of its jurisdiction over the with complaints from the public. This prompted
alleged crime of multiple murder.1âwphi1 AdBoard to ask SLG for a replacement but there was no
response. With the continued complaints from the
public, AdBoard, this time, asked SLG to withdraw its
WHEREFORE, the assailed Orders of the Regional
advertisement, to no avail. Thus, AdBoard decided to
Trial Court of Masbate City, Branch 47, dated
recall the clearance previously issued, effective
December 6, 2005 and January 11, 2006, respectively,
immediately.2 Said decision to recall was conveyed to
in Criminal Case No. 11846 are REVERSED and SET
SLG and AdBoard's members-organizations.3
ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 47, Masbate
City, is DIRECTED to reinstate Criminal Case No.
11846 to its docket and conduct further proceedings Petitioners protested the AdBoard's decision, after
thereon with utmost dispatch in light of the foregoing which, they filed a Complaint which was later on
disquisition. amended, for Dissolution of Corporation, Damages and
Application for Preliminary Injunction with prayer for a
Temporary Restraining Order with the Regional Trial
SO ORDERED.

25
Court (RTC) of Makati, docketed as Civil Case No. 04- there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and
277.4 The Amended Complaint sought the adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.7
revocation/cancellation of AdBoard's registration and its
dissolution on the grounds, inter alia, that it was
A respondent is said to be exercising judicial function
usurping the functions of the Department of Trade and
by which he has the power to determine what the law is
Industry (DTI) and the Movie and Television Review
and what the legal rights of the parties are, and then
and Classification Board (MTRCB) by misrepresenting
undertakes to determine these questions and adjudicate
that it has the power to screen, review and approve all
upon the rights of the parties. Quasi-judicial function is
radio and television advertisements. Petitioners seek
a term which applies to the action and discretion of
the nullity of AdBoard's "Code of Ethics for Advertising"
public administrative officers or bodies, which are
and "ACRC Manual of Procedures for Screening and
required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence
Filing of Complaints and Appeals."5
of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them
as a basis for their official action and to exercise
On May 20, 2004, AdBoard issued ACRC Circular No. discretion of a judicial nature. Ministerial function is
2004-02, reminding its members-organizations of one which an officer or tribunal performs in the context
Article VIII of the ACRC Manual of Procedures, which of a given set of facts, in a prescribed manner and
prohibits the airing of materials not duly screened by it. without regard for the exercise of his/its own judgment
upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done.8
Petitioners then filed with the Ombudsman a complaint
for misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best The acts sought to be prohibited in this case are not the
interest of the service against AdBoard's officers. acts of a tribunal, board, officer, or person exercising
judicial, quasi-judicial, or ministerial functions.9 What
is at contest here is the power and authority of a
On July 16, 2004, petitioners filed the present petition
private organization, composed of several members-
for writ of prohibition and preliminary injunction under
organizations, which power and authority were vested
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
to it by its own members. Obviously, prohibition will
not lie in this case. The definition and purpose of a writ
Petitioners argue that their right to advertise is a of prohibition excludes the use of the writ against any
constitutionally protected right, as well as a property person or group of persons acting in a purely private
right. Petitioners believe that requiring a clearance capacity, and the writ will not be issued against private
from AdBoard before advertisements can be aired individuals or corporations so acting.10
amounts to a deprivation of property without due
process of law. They also argue that AdBoard's
Moreover, it appears that petitioners already filed Civil
regulation is an exercise of police power which must be
Case No. 04-277, wherein they sought the
subject to constitutional proscriptions.
revocation/cancellation of AdBoard's registration and
dissolution and the nullity of AdBoard's Code of Ethics
On the other hand, AdBoard seeks the dismissal of the for Advertising and ACRC Manual of Procedures for
petition for failure to observe the rule on hierarchy of Screening and Filing of Complaints and Appeals (ACRC
courts and for failure to comply with certain Manual), with the RTC. Although dubbed differently,
requirements for the filing of the petition, namely: the present petition is obviously an attempt on
statement of material dates, attachment of certified petitioners' part to have AdBoard's authority
true copy of ACRC Circular No. 2004-02, and defect in challenged in yet another forum. This is a clear act of
the certification of non-forum shopping. forum shopping on petitioners' part.

As to the merits of petitioners' arguments, AdBoard Forum shopping has been defined as the "institution of
counters that it derives its authority from the voluntary two (2) or more actions or proceedings grounded on the
submission of its members to its jurisdiction. According same cause on the supposition that one or the other
to AdBoard, there is no law that prohibits it from court would make a favorable disposition" or "the act of
assuming self-regulatory functions or from issuing a party against whom an adverse judgment has been
clearances prior to advertising. rendered in one forum, of seeking another (and possibly
favorable) opinion in another forum other than by
The petition is bereft of merit. appeal or the special civil action of certiorari."11 The test
in determining the presence of forum shopping is
whether in the two or more cases pending, there is
First of all, the petition filed in this case is one for identity of: (a) parties; (b) rights or causes of action; and
prohibition, i.e., to command AdBoard to desist from (c) reliefs sought,12 such that any judgment rendered in
requiring petitioners to secure a clearance and the other action will, regardless of which party is
imposing sanctions on any agency that will air, successful, amount to res adjudicata in the action under
broadcast or publish petitioners' ads without such consideration: all the requisites, in fine, of auter action
clearance.6 pendant.13

Under Section 2, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, for Civil Case No. 04-277 and the present petition both
petitioners to be entitled to such recourse, it must involve the same parties. The petitioners in this case
establish the following requisites: (a) it must be are Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc. and Convoy
directed against a tribunal, corporation, board or person Marketing Corp., while the respondent is AdBoard. On
exercising functions, judicial, quasi-judicial or the other hand, the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 04-277
ministerial; (b) the tribunal, corporation, board or also are petitioners, while the defendant is still
person has acted without or in excess of its/his AdBoard, only with the addition of Oscar T. Valenzuela,
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion; and (c) who is the Executive Director of AdBoard.

26
Both cases also raise practically the same basic causes were without prejudice to the claim for reimbursement
of action/issues and seek the same relief. for the remaining value of the bank buildings
constructed on the leased lot with a book value of
₱5,728,000.70.3
The test to determine whether the causes of action are
identical is to ascertain whether the same evidence will
sustain both actions, or whether there is an identity in Soriano filed a complaint for perjury against Hirang
the facts essential to the maintenance of the two with the Office of the Manila City Prosecutor. Soriano
actions. If the same facts or evidence would sustain claimed that the statement of Hirang in his affidavit is
both, the two actions are considered the same, and a totally untrue and a deliberate falsehood because PDIC,
judgment in the first case is a bar to the subsequent or any of its authorized representatives, made no
action.14 The principle applies even if the reliefs sought reservation whatsoever concerning the claim for
in the two cases may be different.15 Otherwise, a party reimbursement when the lease contracts were pre-
could easily escape the operation of res judicata by terminated. Soriano relied on the letter of Deputy
changing the form of the action or the relief sought.16 Receiver Mauricia Manzanares to one of the lessors,
attached to the complaint as Annex "D" thereof. The
complaint was docketed as I.S. No. 01J-43460.4The case
There is identity in the causes of action in Civil Case
was assigned to Assistant City Prosecutor Joel
No. 04-277 and the present petition for prohibition
Lucasan.
inasmuch as there is identity in the facts and evidence
essential to the resolution of the identical issue raised
in these cases. Both cases were instituted after Soriano likewise filed a complaint for libel against
AdBoard recalled the clearance for Nazareno. He alleged therein that Nazareno uttered
petitioners' Ginagabi advertisement, and its members malicious and libelous statements when he was
refused to air the same. Also, the main issue raised in interviewed by a reporter of Business World on July 16,
the present petition and one of the issues raised in Civil 2001. Nazareno declared in the interview that a case for
Case No. 04-277 refer to AdBoard's authority and the estafa filed in the Department of Justice (DOJ) against
legality of the AdBoard Code of Ethics and ACRC Soriano for alleged self-dealing after a ₱10.5 million
Manual. The determination of this issue in either case RBSM loan was used by affiliate Coconut Rural Bank in
would clearly amount to res judicata in regard to the Batangas, and that some other estafa cases for ₱100
other. Consequently, the present petition should be million were also filed by the DOJ in the Regional Trial
dismissed. Court (RTC) of Manila.5 The case was docketed as I.S.
No. 01H-32904.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSEDfor lack of
merit. Thereafter, Soriano filed a third criminal complaint in
the Office of the Manila City Prosecutor for violation of
Articles 183 and 184 of the Revised Penal Code against
SO ORDERED.
Zenaida A. Cabais, the comptroller appointed by the
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to oversee the
G.R. No. 167743 November 22, 2006 operations of RBSM, particularly the proper utilization
of emergency loans extended to it by the BSP. The
complaint alleged that Cabais submitted an affidavit in
HILARIO P. SORIANO, Petitioner, support of the Monetary Board in the petition filed by
vs. RBSM against BSP with the CA. It further alleged that
OMBUDSMAN SIMEON V. MARCELO, HON. Cabais made a false statement in the said affidavit
PLARIDEL OSCAR J. BOHOL, Graft when she stated that, before RBSM declared a bank
Investigation Officer II, and RAMON R. holiday, it paid Force Collect Professional Solution, Inc.
GARCIA, Respondents. and Sure Collect Professional Solution, Inc., which are
allegedly owned by Soriano and other RBSM officers,
DECISION ₱5.3 million and ₱5.75 million, respectively, without
any supporting documents as payment of 25% collection
fee. Soriano averred that this statement is not correct
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
as the manager’s checks for the said amounts were, in
fact, withheld and no payment was made to the two
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari corporations.6 The case, docketed as I.S. No. 00D-18089,
of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. was assigned to Assistant City Prosecutor Anabel
SP No. 85319 dated January 20, 2005 and its Magabilin.
Resolution2 dated April 12, 2005 which denied the
motion for reconsideration thereof.
On January 14, 2002, Assistant City Prosecutor Joel A.
Lucasan recommended the dismissal of the criminal
On July 9, 2001, Hilario P. Soriano, the President of complaint against Hirang in I.S. No. 01J-43460 for lack
Rural Bank of San Miguel, Inc. (RBSM), filed a criminal of probable cause. He noted that the Office of the
complaint for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019 Ombudsman had not yet made a finding that Hirang
against Norberto Nazareno, Philippine Deposit made a deliberate and willful assertion of falsehood in
Insurance Corporation (PDIC) President and Chief the affidavit submitted to it. He opined that without
Executive, charging the latter, among others, with such finding, it cannot be concluded that Hirang had
illegal pre-termination of RBSM’s lease contracts over made such alleged falsehood which would constitute the
certain lots while under receivership. Nazareno filed his crime of perjury.7 First Assistant City Prosecutor
counter-affidavit appending thereto the affidavit of Eufrosino A. Sulla approved this recommendation for
Teodoro Jose B. Hirang, the Department Manager of City Prosecutor Ramon R. Garcia.8 The criminal
the Takeover Center of the PDIC. Nazareno claimed complaint was consequently dismissed. Soriano filed a
that the notices of termination of the lease contracts

27
petition for review of the resolution with the DOJ on with the Office of the Provincial/City Prosecutor shall
March 21, 2002.9 be under the control and supervision of the Office of the
Ombudsman.
On January 24, 2002, Assistant City Prosecutor Yvonne
G. Corpuz also recommended the dismissal of the Soriano likewise relied on Section 4(8), Rule II of the
complaint for libel against Nazareno for lack of Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman,
probable cause. Prosecutor Corpuz made the following which provides that, upon the termination of the
findings: preliminary investigation, the investigating officer shall
forward the records of the case together with his
resolution to the designated authorities for appropriate
A perusal of the subject article shows that they are true
action; and that no information may be filed and no
and fair reports on a matter of public interest. It must
complaint may be dismissed without the written
be noted that when respondent Nazareno was
authority or approval of the Ombudsman in cases
interviewed by the reporter, Ms. Yap, he just mentioned
falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan or
facts which the public was entitled to know because
of the proper Deputy Ombudsman in all other
complainant Soriano headed a bank that dealt with the
cases.14Soriano alleged that Hirang and Nazareno
public. These are matters of public interests and
committed the crime charged against them in relation
concerns of which the citizenry has the right to be
to their office; hence, respondent Garcia should not
informed especially when it affects the integrity of the
have dismissed the Hirang and Nazareno complaints
banking system. Being a matter of public interest, the
without the written authority or approval of the Deputy
alleged defamatory articles are protected by the mantle
Ombudsman.
of privilege communication, which does away with
presumption of malice. The privilege character of the
news article in question stems from constitutional Soriano averred that respondent acted unlawfully in
guarantee of free speech and free press. authorizing the dismissal of the complaints against
Hirang and Nazareno instead of endorsing the
complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman, together
Moreover, malice in fact has not been shown in the case
with the recommendations for dismissal, in the same
at bar. Respondent was not prompted by ill will or spite.
way that the Cabais case was endorsed. He insisted
He merely makes a disclosure of facts and not an
that the special treatment of the Nazareno and Hirang
imputation affecting character.10
cases, which resulted in their dismissal without having
been reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman, was
City Prosecutor Ramon R. Garcia approved the uncalled for.15
recommendation of Prosecutor Corpuz and the criminal
complaint was therefore dismissed.11 Soriano filed a
The Office of the Ombudsman docketed the criminal
petition for review of the resolution with the DOJ.
aspect of the complaint as OMB-C-C-02-0416-G, and
the administrative aspect as OMB-C-A-02-0287-G.
On the other hand, in I.S. No. 00D-18089, Assistant
City Prosecutor Anabel D. Magabilin recommended that
In his Counter-Affidavit,16 respondent declared that
the complaint against Cabais be dismissed for lack of
although Nazareno was a public officer (being the
probable cause. However, City Prosecutor Garcia
President and Chief Executive Officer of PDIC, a
merely recommended to the Ombudsman the approval
government-owned or controlled corporation), since the
of Prosecutor Magabilin’s findings. In a March 4, 2002
offense of libel for which he was charged does not
Indorsement,12 he forwarded the records of the said
appear to have been committed in relation to his office,
complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman upon his
it is the regular courts, particularly the RTC, not the
finding that Cabais was a public officer and that the
Sandiganbayan, that has jurisdiction over the case. The
complaint imputed against her was related to the
Business World interview was his personal and private
performance of her duties.
undertaking which was not related to the performance
of his duty as PDIC President and Chief Executive
On July 2, 2002, Soriano filed an Affidavit- Officer. Hence, respondent retained the authority to
Complaint13 charging City Prosecutor Ramon Garcia conduct the preliminary investigation of a complaint
with gross inexcusable negligence or manifest partiality conformably with OMB-DOJ Joint Circular No. 95-001,
in the performance of his duties as City Prosecutor Series of 1995 which reads, thus:
which resulted in unwarranted benefits to Hirang and
Nazareno, compromising public interest and injuring
(2) Unless the OMBUDSMAN under his constitutional
complainant’s private rights, and violation of Section
mandate finds reason to believe otherwise, offenses
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. Soriano alleged in his affidavit-
NOT IN RELATION TO OFFICE and cognizable by the
complaint that respondent erred in forwarding the
REGULAR COURTS shall be investigated and
records of I.S. No. 00D-18089 for perjury to the
prosecuted by the OFFICE OF THE
Ombudsman because in perjury, public office is not an
PROVINCIAL/CITY PROSECUTOR, which shall rule
essential ingredient. Soriano averred that if public
thereon with finality.17
office was an ingredient for perjury, then respondent
should have forwarded his complaints against Hirang
and Nazareno to the Office of the Ombudsman together He cannot be faulted for the dismissal of the Hirang
with his recommendations thereon for final resolution, case because the recommendation of the Investigating
conformably with paragraph 1 of OMB-DOJ Joint Prosecutor was approved by First Assistant City
Circular No. 95-001 dated October 5, 1995. The Circular Prosecutor Eufrosino A. Sulla. Under Office Order No.
states that preliminary investigation and prosecution of 24 which he issued on February 5, 1996 and which
offenses committed by public officers and employees in remained in effect, only those cases involving offenses
relation to office whether cognizable by the which are within the trial jurisdiction of the RTCs shall
Sandiganbayan or the regular courts, and whether filed be forwarded to him for final disposition. Those cases

28
for offenses cognizable by the Metropolitan Trial Courts adequate remedy in another judicial or quasi-judicial
(MeTCs) are forwarded to then First Assistant City body. The Ombudsman opined that, unless there is a
Prosecutor Vicenta Ofilada, whose functions were final determination by the appropriate office that,
performed by incumbent First Assistant City indeed, respondent Garcia abused his position and/or
Prosecutor Sulla upon Ofilada’s retirement from the violated pertinent rules in issuing the questioned
service.18 resolution, any administrative complaint against
respondent was premature.22
Respondent further averred that perjury is within the
trial jurisdiction of the MeTC. The final disposition of Soriano filed a Motion for Reconsideration23 which was
the said case, which includes the determination of likewise denied on February 16, 2004.24 Thereafter, he
whether or not it should be endorsed to the Office of the filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA
Ombudsman, is vested with Prosecutor Sulla. He submitting the sole issue –
explained that he ordered the indorsement of the case
against Cabais to the Ombudsman for final disposition
Whether or not public respondents gravely abused their
because Cabais, being the comptroller appointed by the
discretion in rendering the impugned Order
BSP to oversee the operations of the RBSM while the
exonerating respondent Ramon Garcia from any
latter was under receivership, was a public officer.
administrative liability and the Order denying
Hence, his actions in the Hirang, Nazareno and Cabais
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.25
cases cannot be considered as unlawful, irregular or
inconsistent or in total disregard of established
procedure. Respondent averred that even if he erred in On January 20, 2005, the CA dismissed the
his actions on said cases, said error cannot be made the petition.26 It stressed that under Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
basis of a criminal or administrative action especially in 3019, the public officer complained of should have acted
the absence of any allegation, much less any evidence, with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
showing that such disposition was done out of certain inexcusable negligence. The appellate court held that
extraneous consideration other than plain appreciation the assailed orders of the Ombudsman dismissing the
of the evidence on hand. The remedy of complainant complaint against respondent were justified considering
was to file a motion for the reconsideration of his that there was no evident bad faith on his part nor was
resolutions in the said cases and/or appeal to the DOJ there any act of irregularity from which an inference of
which he, in fact, did. Respondent pointed out that, on malice or bad faith could be made. The CA found
March 13, 2002, complainant, through counsel, filed a satisfactory respondent Garcia’s explanation on why he
20-page petition for review with the DOJ in the could not be made liable. He explained that, in
Nazareno case. On March 21, 2002, he appealed the Nazareno’s case, the alleged libelous act appears not to
Hirang case to the DOJ.19 have been committed in relation to the performance of
his duty as PDIC Chief but as a personal remark based
on existing records. As for the Hirang case, he had no
After due proceedings, the Ombudsman, through Graft
participation thereon, as the same was not forwarded to
Investigator Plaridel Oscar J. Bohol, dismissed the
his office for final disposition.271âwphi1
administrative complaint against respondent Garcia on
October 25, 2002.20 The dispositive portion of the
decision reads: On April 12, 2005, the CA resolved to deny Soriano’s
motion for reconsideration of its decision.28 Dissatisfied,
Soriano filed this petition for review.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the
instant administrative case against RAMON R.
GARCIA, City Prosecutor of the Office of the City In this petition, Soriano as petitioner avers that he is
Prosecutor of Manila, with address at Room 208, City not asking the Office of the Ombudsman to review or
Hall Building, Manila, is hereby DISMISSED. reverse or do any act relative to the resolutions of the
Hirang and Nazareno complaints. He avers that what
he is questioning is respondent Garcia’s failure to
SO ORDERED.21
comply with OMB-DOJ Joint Circular No. 95-
00129 which calls for the endorsement of said
The Ombudsman held that Soriano’s complaint was resolutions to the Office of the Ombudsman for final
premature. It is not within the province of its action.30
administrative disciplinary jurisdiction to review the
quasi-judicial findings and decisions of government
Petitioner contends that respondent acted in bad faith,
officials such as the City Prosecutor of Manila. If
or, at the very least, committed acts of irregularity from
complainant was dissatisfied with such findings of the
which an inference of malice or bad faith could be made.
City Prosecutor, his remedy was to move for
He points out that Nazareno could not have had access
reconsideration or file a petition for review with the
to said information and would not have disclosed such
DOJ, the proper office mandated by law to review the
information against Soriano if he was not the PDIC
resolutions of the Office of the City Prosecutor of
President. He, therefore, concludes that the impugned
Manila. The Ombudsman noted that, on March 13,
remarks were made in relation to office or in the
2002 and March 21, 2002, complainant had, in fact,
performance of public duties.31
filed the appropriate petition with the DOJ seeking the
review of the Nazareno and Hirang cases.
Respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor
General, point out that the dismissal of the
Moreover, Section 20(1) of R.A. No. 6770, the
administrative complaint against respondent is final
Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides that the Office of the
and immediately executory, and unappealable.
Ombudsman may not conduct the necessary
Nonetheless, they aver that the ruling of the CA, that
investigation of any administrative act or omission
there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
complained of if it believes that the complainant has an
Ombudsman when he dismissed the administrative

29
case, was correct. They maintain that the factual remedy designed for the correction of errors of
findings of the Ombudsman in administrative jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.36 An error of
disciplinary proceedings are entitled to great respect judgment is one in which the court may commit in the
and finality.32 exercise of its jurisdiction, which error is reversible only
by an appeal.37
The petition is without merit.
We quote with approval the following discussion of the
Ombudsman on its finding that petitioner’s complaint
Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court reads:
was premature:

Sec. 1. Petition for certiorari. – When any tribunal,


After a careful study of the records, we find no
board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
sufficient cause to warrant further proceeding in the
functions has acted without or in excess of its or his
instant administrative case. The complainant, by filing
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
the instant administrative case, in effect, would like
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is
this Office to, among others, rule on the legality of the
no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy
resolution of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila
in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved
in I.S. No. 01J-43460 entitled "Soriano v. Hirang" and
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court,
I.S. No. 01H-32904 entitled "Soriano v. Nazareno."
alleging the facts with certainty and praying that
judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the
proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and It must be emphasized that it is not within the province
granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may of this Office’s administrative disciplinary jurisdiction
require. to review the quasi-judicial findings and decisions of
government officials. If the complainant is dissatisfied
with the said findings, his remedy is to move for
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true
reconsideration, and/or file a Petition for Review with
copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject
the Department of Justice, the proper office mandated
thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant
by law to review the resolutions of the Office of the City
and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-
Prosecutor of Manila. In fact, on March 13, 2002 and
forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of
March 21, 2002, the herein complainant, through
Section 3, Rule 46.
counsel, filed the appropriate Petition for Review in the
Nazareno and Hirang cases, respectively.
A writ for certiorari may issue only when the following
requirements are set out in the petition and
Besides, it may be pointed out that Section 20(1) of
established:
Republic Act 6770, otherwise known as the
Ombudsman Act of 1989, provides, thus:
(1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, a
board or any officer exercising judicial or
"Section 20. Exceptions. – The Office of the
quasi-judicial functions;
Ombudsman may not conduct the necessary
investigation of any administrative act or omission
(2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted complained of if it believes that:
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
(1) The complainant has an adequate remedy in
excess of jurisdiction; and
another judicial or quasi-judicial body x x x"

(3) there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and


This is not to say, however, that the herein complainant
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
totally has no recourse to this Office. Should there be a
law.33
final determination by the appropriate office that,
indeed, the herein respondent abused his position
The Court has invariably defined "grave abuse of and/or violated pertinent rules in issuing the
discretion" as follows: questioned resolutions, the complainant may very well
file before this Office the appropriate complaint against
x x x By grave abuse of discretion is meant such the latter. Until then, therefore, the instant
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is administrative complaint is premature.38
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, and it must be shown
that the discretion was exercised arbitrarily or It appears on record that, on January 27, 2003, the DOJ
despotically. For certiorari to lie, there must be a had dismissed the petition for review of respondent in
capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power, I.S. No. 01H-32904 (for libel) for lack of merit. The DOJ
the very antithesis of the judicial prerogative in ruled as follows:
accordance with centuries of both civil law and common
law traditions.34
Verily, we are not inclined to impute any form of malice
on the part of respondent. There is no sufficient overt
Mere abuse of discretion is not enough.35 The only acts performed by him from which we can deduce that
question involved is jurisdiction, either the lack or he, in providing the information that became the basis
excess thereof, and abuse of discretion warrants the of the subject news item, was motivated by personal ill-
issuance of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari only will, hatred, animosity, vengeance, resentment and
when the same is grave, as when the power is exercised aversion against complainant (see People v. Quemel,
in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, CA 02583-CR, March 18, 1964; People v. Dianelan, 13
prejudice or personal hostility. A writ of certiorari is a CAR 34). These would have shown his malice or, at

30
least, his intention to inflict ulterior and unjustifiable factual and legal basis to file any administrative
injury on complainant’s reputation, honor and credit complaint against respondent.
(see People v. Canete, 38 Phil. 253). What constitutes
libel is not only the defamatory matter but also the
In this case, petitioner failed to establish his claim that
malicious attitude of the accused (Esteban v.
the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of discretion
Veneracion, et al., 16 CAR 1171).
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in dismissing
his complaint. Indeed, the Ombudsman was justified in
On the basis of the presumption of regularity in the dismissing the administrative case against respondent.
performance of official function and on evidence extant The latter cannot be held administratively liable for the
on record, it readily appears that respondent narrated dismissal of the complaint of petitioner against
the information to the reporter exactly as they are Nazareno and Hirang without the authority or approval
reflected on the records of PDIC. Even then, he relayed of the Ombudsman. It bears emphasizing that the
the information merely in response to questions in an Ombudsman and the City Prosecutor have concurrent
interview made by a reporter of a newspaper. Besides, jurisdiction to investigate offenses involving public
respondent, as head of the PDIC, merely performed his officers and employees. It is only in cases cognizable by
legal duty to fully disclose to the public all the the Sandiganbayan that the Ombudsman has the
transactions of his office involving public interest. primary jurisdiction to investigate; hence, in such cases,
Certainly, the information disclosed by respondent is a it may take over, at any stage, from any investigating
matter of public concern where everyone has an agency of the government, the investigation of such
interest. Since respondent merely discharged a legal cases.41
duty, the presumption of malice in a defamatory
statement is necessarily negated. His statements in this
Section 4, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
regard are well within the mantle of protection of
Procedure likewise provides:
privileged communication. It now behooves upon
complainant to show that respondent had, in fact, acted
with malice. As stated above, it has not been shown SEC. 4. Resolution of investigating prosecutor and its
that respondent had acted with ill-motive in the review. – If the investigating prosecutor finds cause to
publication of the subject news item.39 hold the respondent for trial, he shall prepare the
resolution and information. He shall certify under oath
in the information that he, or as shown by the record,
Earlier on July 26, 2002, the DOJ had, motu proprio,
an authorized officer, has personally examined the
resolved to dismiss the petition for review of petitioner
complainant and his witnesses; that there is reasonable
in I.S. No. 01J-43460, thus:
ground to believe that a crime has been committed and
that the accused is probably guilty thereof; that the
This resolves the petition for review of the resolution of accused was informed of the complaint and of the
the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila in the above- evidence submitted against him; and that he was given
captioned case dismissing the complaint against an opportunity to submit controverting evidence.
Teodoro Jose D. Hirang for perjury. Otherwise, he shall recommend the dismissal of the
complaint.
Section 12(c) of Department Circular No. 70 dated July
3, 2000 provides that the Secretary of Justice Within five (5) days from his resolution, he shall
may, motu proprio, dismiss the petition if there is no forward the record of the case to the provincial or city
showing of any reversible error in the appealed prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, or to the
resolution. Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its
original jurisdiction. They shall act on the resolution
We considered the arguments raised and discussed in
within ten (10) days from their receipt thereof and shall
the petition, as well as respondent’s comment thereon,
immediately inform the parties of such action.
but found no cogent reason to justify a reversal of the
assailed resolution. The evidence on record, by and
large, does not engender enough faith that respondent No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed
is guilty of the charge. Here, respondent, at least, by an investigating prosecutor without the prior written
believes that the facts stated in his affidavit are true at authority or approval of the provincial or city
the time he subscribes the same, not to mention that, prosecutor or chief state prosecutor of the Ombudsman
through the footnote on the affidavit, respondent did, or his deputy.
likewise, explain why no claim for reimbursement was
made in some of the notices.
Where the investigating prosecutor recommends the
dismissal of the complaint but his recommendation is
In passing, the date September 13, 2001 therein cited disapproved by the provincial or city prosecutor or chief
was just a typographical error in the light of the state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy on
attendant circumstances. the ground that a probable cause exists, the latter may,
by himself file the information against the respondent,
or direct another assistant prosecutor or state
WHEREFORE, we resolve to DISMISS the instant
prosecutor to do so without conducting another
petition.40
preliminary investigation.

Patently, petitioner filed his complaint against


If upon petition by a proper party under such rules as
respondent with the Ombudsman despite the pendency
the Department of Justice may prescribe or motu
of his petition for review in the DOJ. It turned out that
proprio, the Secretary of Justice reverses or modifies
the DOJ would sustain the rulings of First Assistant
the resolution of the provincial or city prosecutor or
Sulla and respondent, respectively. There was thus no
chief state prosecutor, he shall direct the prosecutor

31
concerned either to file the corresponding information Finally, it has been declared that OMB-DOJ Joint
without conducting another preliminary investigation, Circular No. 95-001 is just an internal agreement
or to dismiss or move for dismissal of the complaint or between the Ombudsman and the DOJ.44
information with notice to the parties. The same Rule
shall apply in preliminary investigations conducted by
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is
the officers of the Office of the Ombudsman. (Emphasis
DENIED DUE COURSE. The Decision of the Court of
supplied.)
Appeals dated January 20, 2005 and its Resolution
dated April 12, 2005 are AFFIRMED.
Hence, in cases within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, the prosecutor has the duty to forward
SO ORDERED.
the case to the Ombudsman for proper disposition. In
such cases, Section 4 provides that no complaint may be
dismissed by an investigating prosecutor without the epublic of the Philippines
prior written authority or approval of the Ombudsman SUPREME COURT
or his deputy. Manila

However, the impugned dismissals in the present case THIRD DIVISION


involve complaints over offenses which were found to be
committed not in relation to office and within the
jurisdiction of the regular courts (I.S. No. 01J-43460 is G.R. No. 175049 November 27, 2008
a complaint for perjury while I.S. No. 01H-32904 is a
complaint for libel). When the case involves an offense HEIRS OF SOFIA NANAMAN LONOY, namely,
not in relation to office and cognizable by the regular MANUEL N. LONOY, OSCAR N. LONOY,
courts, the investigating prosecutor is under no WARREN N. LONOY, EXCELINO N. LONOY,
obligation to forward his recommendations together EDGAR N. LONOY, VICTOR N. LONOY, APOLLO
with the records of the case to the Ombudsman for a N. LONOY, GEMMA N. LONOY-SAMSON, HEIRS
final disposition. OF RODOLFO N. LONOY (ISABEL A. LONOY,
ISABELITA A. LONOY-YOUNG, WINONA A.
Petitioner ascribes administrative liability to LONOY, RODERICK A. LONOY, NANCY A.
respondent for allegedly not following OMB-DOJ Joint LONOY-PAYNAEN, ROBERT LONOY, ROMMEL
Circular No. 95-001 when he dismissed the Nazareno A. LONOY, RAFAEL A. LONOY, ZENAIDA
and Hirang cases. We are not convinced. LONOY-OPADA, HONEYLYN A. LONOY,
MARITES LONOY CABURNAY, and RODOLFO
LONOY, JR.), HEIRS OF CORNELIA NANAMAN
For one, respondent did not actually ignore OMB-DOJ ADIS/ASEQUIA, namely, HEIRS OF ELSA N.
Joint Circular No. 95-001. In fact, respondent dismissed ADIS, BRICCIO N. ADIS, TOMAS N. ADIS, ROMY
the Nazareno case on the honest belief that he was N. ADIS, JUSTINO N. ADIS, MERCITA N.
complying with the guidelines set forth in said circular. ASEQUIA, and TOMASITA N. ASEQUIA, HEIRS
The Nazareno case was dismissed by respondent based OF VICENTE NANAMAN (LUDEM NANAMAN, ET
on the finding that the offense committed by respondent AL.), HEIRS OF MANUELA NANAMAN AMARGA,
therein was not in relation to office. Paragraph 2 of namely, HEIRS OF CLARITA AMARGA-UBGUIA
OMB-DOJ Joint Circular No. 95-001 provides that (VERLITO A. UBGUIA, DANILO A. UBGUIA,
offenses not in relation to office and cognizable by the ASTERIO A. UBGUIA, and CARLO A. UBGUIA),
regular courts shall be investigated and prosecuted by HEIRS OF ACOLON AMARGA (ALMIRANTE
the Office of the Provincial/City Prosecutor, which shall AMARGA, SPARTACUS AMARGA, MELVIN
rule thereon with finality. Respondent is not obliged to AMARGA, and RODRIGO AMARGA), ALONSO N.
forward cases involving offenses not in relation to office AMARGA, HERDA N. AMARGA, DELOS MIMBA
to the Office of the Ombudsman. AMARGA-TOGONON, HEIRS OF ASCONA
AMARGA UBAGAN (DEMOSTHENES A.
An offense is deemed to be committed in relation to the UBAGAN, ET AL.), HEIRS OF NICODEMO N.
accused’s office when such office is an element of the AMARGA (JIMMY AMARGA, MARIETTA
crime charged or when the offense charged is intimately AMARGA, BENIGNO AMARGA, NICODEMO
connected with the discharge of the official function of AMARGA, JR., ALMA AMARGA, FELIX AMARGA,
the accused.42 Respondent found that the interview ADOR AMARGA, LYDIA AMARGA, JUDY
Nazareno had given to Business World was his personal AMARGA, LOLOT AMARGA, and MADONNA
and private undertaking, and not related to the AMARGA), HEIRS OF ATANACIO NANAMAN
performance of his duty as a PDIC officer. Whether or AMARGA (GLORIOSA A. APOR, NESTOR
not such finding is correct is beyond the reach of the AMARGA, NORVILLA AMARGA, GENITA
administrative case filed against him; such question AMARGA, and GILMA AMARGA), HEIRS OF
should be properly resolved in the petition for review of OLIVA AMARGA-BADELLES (JOSE I.
the City Prosecutor’s resolution with the DOJ. BADELLES, JIMBO BADELLES, JOHNSON
BADELLES, ALITA BADELLES-JALAGAT,
NINIAN BADELLES, JONA A. BADELLES,
Neither can respondent be made administratively liable CEFERINO A. BADELLES, OLIVER BADELLES,
for the dismissal of the Hirang case in which he had no OHARA A. BADELLES, MARIA BADELLES,
participation.1âwphi1 The negligence of the SARAH A. BADELLES, JEBA A. BADELLES, and
subordinate cannot be ascribed to his superior in the MICHAELA A. BADELLES), and HEIRS OF
absence of evidence of the latter’s own negligence.43 MANSUETO N. AMARGA (EDNA AMARGA –
surviving spouse of JESSE AMARGA, DEÑA
AMARGA-MAGHINAY, and MARLON AMARGA),
HEIRS OF GENARA NANAMAN SAKALL, namely,

32
AMPARO SAKALL-DURANO, BENEDICTO N. (Virgilio), Gregorio’s son by another woman, and fifteen
SAKALL, ISABELITA N. SAKALL, FRANCISCA tenants.
SAKALL MARQUINA, HONORIO N. SAKALL,
VIRGINIA SAKALL ESTANISLAO, and NORMA N.
When Gregorio died in 1945, Hilaria administered the
SAKALL, HEIRS OF JULIETA NANAMAN,
subject property with Virgilio. On 16 February 1954,
namely, HEIRS OF JAIME NANAMAN/RIVERA
Hilaria and Virgilio executed a Deed of Sale3 over the
(ANASTASIA LAUGAM NANAMAN – surviving
subject property in favor of Jose C. Deleste (Deleste).
spouse, DULSORA NANAMAN, and GUILLERMO
NANAMAN), HEIRS OF PIO NANAMAN/ROA
(WILMA NANAMAN, ALFREDO NANAMAN, Upon Hilaria’s death on 15 May 1954, Juan Nanaman
DELIA NANAMAN, SALVADOR NANAMAN, (Juan), Gregorio’s brother, was appointed as special
HEIRS OF RAUL NANAMAN, EVELYN administrator of the estate of the deceased spouses
NANAMAN, VIOLA NANAMAN, EDITHA Gregorio and Hilaria (joint estate). On 16 June 1956,
NANAMAN, PINKY NANAMAN, and ALEXANDER Edilberto Noel (Noel) was appointed as the regular
NANAMAN), HEIRS OF GREGORIO administrator of the joint estate.
NANAMAN/DACAMPO (VICTOR NANAMAN,
VICENTE NANAMAN, GREGORIO NANAMAN, The subject property was included in the list of assets of
JR., and VIRGIE NANAMAN), and HEIRS OF the joint estate. However, Noel could not take
ORLANDO NANAMAN (EMILIA G. NANAMAN – possession of the subject property since it was already
surviving spouse, ALEX NANAMAN, EMMA in Deleste’s possession. Thus, on 30 April 1963, Noel
NANAMAN, HEIRS OF GEORGINA NANAMAN, filed before the Court of First Instance (CFI), Branch II,
GEORGE NANAMAN, RAMIL NANAMAN, and Lanao del Norte, an action against Deleste for the
CAROLYN NANAMAN), HEIRS OF ROSARIO reversion of title over the subject property to the Estate,
NANAMAN RUEDAS, namely, HEIRS OF docketed as Civil Case No. 698.
BERNARDO N. RUEDAS (JULIA RUEDAS,
JONATHAN RUEDAS, MARLON RUEDAS,
MARIVIC RUEDAS, EDITHA RUEDAS, and Through the years, Civil Case No. 698 was heard,
MARGIE RUEDAS-POGOY), and HEIRS OF JOSE decided, and appealed all the way to this Court in Noel
"FEBE" NANAMAN (SOCORRO NANAMAN, AIDA v. Court of Appeals. On 11 January 1995, the Court
NANAMAN, LERMA NANAMAN-MORALES, rendered its Decision4 in Noel, affirming the ruling of
EDUARDO NANAMAN, JOSEFA NANAMAN, the Court of Appeals that the subject property was the
MARISA NANAMAN, ARTURO NANAMAN, and conjugal property of the late spouses Gregorio and
MARYFLOR NANAMAN), and ATTY. ELPEDIO Hilaria, such that the latter could only sell her one-half
CABASAN as Administrator of the Intestate (1/2) share therein to Deleste. Consequently, the
Estate of Gregorio Nanaman, petitioners, intestate estate of Gregorio and Deleste were held to be
vs. the co-owners of the subject property, each with a one-
CITY OF ILIGAN, HEIRS OF JUAN NANAMAN, half (1/2) interest in the same.
HEIRS OF LIMBANIA CABILI MERCADO, HEIRS
OF MARIANO ANDRES Operation Land Transfer Program
CABILI, respondents/unwilling co-petitioners.

While Civil Case No. 698 was still pending before the
DECISION CFI, Presidential Decree No. 275 was issued on 21
October 1972, which mandated that tenanted rice and
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: corn lands be brought under the Operation Land
Transfer Program and be awarded to farmer
beneficiaries. In accordance therewith, the subject
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule property was placed under the Operation Land
45 of the Rules of Court, seeking (a) the reversal of the Transfer Program.
Resolution1dated 13 July 2005 of the Twenty-Second
(22nd) Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 00365, which dismissed the Special Civil Action for On 12 February 1984, the Department of Agrarian
Prohibition, Declaration of Nullity of Emancipation Reform (DAR) issued Certificates of Land Transfer
Patents, Injunction with Prayer for the Issuance of a (CLTs) in the names of herein private respondents, the
Temporary Restraining Order; and (b) the reversal of tenants and actual cultivators of the subject property.
the Resolution2 of the Twenty-First (21st) Division of the The CLTs were registered on 15 July 1986.
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 00365 dated 22
September 2006, which denied the Motion for Subsequently, on 1 August 2001, Original Certificates
Reconsideration of the aforementioned Resolution. of Title (OCTs) and Emancipation Patents (EPs) were
issued in favor of the private respondents over their
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are respective portions of the subject property. Private
set forth hereunder. respondents’ OCTs, EP numbers, and dates of
registration with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City
are presented in the table below:
Action for Reversion of Title

Private Respondents OCT/ EP No


The spouses Gregorio Nanaman (Gregorio) and Hilaria
Tabuclin (Hilaria) were the owners of a parcel of
agricultural land situated in Tambo, Iligan City,
consisting of 34.7 hectares (subject property), upon 1. Heirs of Neciforo A. Cabaluna OCT No. P-01 (a.f.)/
which they likewise erected their residence. Living with EP No. 190251
them on the subject property were Virgilio Nanaman

33
2. Heirs of Abdon P. Manreal On (a.f.)/
OCT No. P-02 appeal, docketed as DARAB 2.5799Case No. 12486, the2001
21 Sept
DARAB reversed the ruling of the PARAD in its
EP No. 00032029
3. Tranquilina C. Manreal Decision10 dated 15 March 1.3612
OCT No. P-03(a.f.)/ 2004. The DARAB held, inter
1 October 2001
alia, that the EPs were valid, since it was the Heirs of
EP No. 190253
4. Tito L. Baller Deleste
OCT No. P-04 (a.f.)/who should have informed
.4409 the DAR1 of the 2001
October
pendency of Civil Case No. 698 at the time the subject
EP No. 190254
property was placed under the coverage of the
5. Heirs of Herculano Balorio OCT No. P-05 (a.f.)/ 1.7937 1 October 2001
Operation Land Transfer Program. It further found
EP No. 190255
that the question of exemption from the Operation
6. Alicia B. Manreal OCT No. P-06
Land(a.f.)/
Transfer Program lay1.5233 1 October
within the jurisdiction of 2001
EP No. 190256
the DAR Secretary or his authorized representative.
7. Felipe D. Manreal OCT No. P-07
The(a.f.)/
Heirs of Deleste filed a .9760
Motion for 1 October 2001
EP No. 190257
Reconsideration11 of the aforementioned Decision, but
8. Salvacion Manreal the (a.f.)/
OCT No. P-08 Motion was denied by the DARAB in its1 Resolution
.5502 October 2001
dated 8 July 2004.
EP No. 190258
9. Heirs of Domingo N. Rico OCT No. P-09 (a.f.)/ 2.7850 1 October 2001
EP No. 190261
The Heirs of Deleste thereafter filed a Petition for
10. Macario Veloria OCT No. P-10 (a.f.)/
Review .5778
12 with the Court of Appeals, docketed1 October
as CA- 2001
EP No. 190262
G.R. SP No. 85471, challenging the Decision and
11. Heirs of Custodio M. Rico Resolution
OCT No. P-11 (a.f.)/ in DARAB Case1.4499 No. 12486. The1Petition
Octoberwas
2001
denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution13 dated
EP No. 190263
12. Heirs of Clemente M. Rico 28 October
OCT No. P-12 (a.f.)/ 2004 as material.7320portions of the1record and
October 2001
other supporting papers were not attached thereto, in
EP No. 190264
13. Martillano D. Obeso accordance
OCT No. P-13 (a.f.)/ with Section 6 of Rule 43. The1Motion
2.0492
14
Octoberfor2001
Reconsideration15 of the Heirs of Deleste was likewise
EP No. 190265
denied by the appellate court in a Resolution16 dated 13
14. Heirs of Pablo F. Rico OCT No. P-14 (a.f.)/ .2608 1 October 2001
September 2005 for being pro forma.17
EP No. 190266
15. Heirs of Domingo V. Rico OCT No. P-15 (a.f.)/ 1.8036 1 October 20016
Petition for Prohibition
EP No. 190267

Expropriation Case During the pendency of CA-G.R. SP No. 85471 before


the Court of Appeals, a Petition for Prohibition,
Declaration of Nullity of Emancipation Patents Issued
Deleste passed away sometime in 1992. by DAR and the Corresponding [Original Certificates of
Title] Issued by the [Land Registration Authority],
About a year earlier, in 1991, the subject property was Injunction with Prayer for Temporary Restraining
surveyed. The survey of a portion of the land consisting Order (TRO)18 was filed on 7 June 2005 by herein
of 20.2611 hectares, designated as Lot No. 1407, was petitioners Heirs of Sofia Nanaman Lonoy, et al. with
approved on 8 January 1999. the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
00365.
On 22 November 1999, the City of Iligan filed a
complaint with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch Petitioners are more than one hundred twenty (120)
4, Iligan City, for the expropriation of a 5.4686-hectare individuals who claim to be the descendants of
portion of Lot No. 1407, docketed as Civil Case No. Fulgencio Nanaman, Gregorio’s brother, and who
4979. On 11 December 2000, RTC Branch 4 issued a collectively assert their right to a share in Gregorio’s
Decision7 granting the expropriation. Since the true estate. Arguing that they were deprived of their
owner of the expropriated portion could not be inheritance by virtue of the improper issuance of the
determined, as the subject property had not yet been EPs to private respondents without notice to them,
partitioned and distributed to any of the Heirs of petitioners prayed that a TRO be forthwith issued,
Gregorio and Deleste, the just compensation for the prohibiting the DAR Secretary, the Land Registration
expropriated portion of the subject property in the Authority (LRA), the DARAB, the Land Bank of the
amount of P27,343,000.00 was deposited with the Philippines (LBP), as well as the RTC, Branch 4 of
Development Bank of the Philippines in Iligan City, in Iligan City, from enforcing the EPs and OCTs in the
trust for RTC Branch 4. names of private respondents until CA-G.R. SP No.
00365 was resolved. Petitioners further prayed that
judgment be subsequently rendered declaring the said
Petition for Nullification of the Emancipation EPs and the OCTs null and void.
Patents (Heirs of Deleste)

In a Resolution19 dated 13 July 2005, the Court of


On 28 January 2002, the Heirs of Deleste,8 filed with Appeals dismissed the Petition in CA-G.R. SP No.
the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board 00365 on the following grounds:
(DARAB) a petition seeking to nullify private
respondents’ EPs. The petition was docketed as Reg.
Case No. X-471-LN-2002. A perusal, however, of the instant petition
disclose the following defects and/or
infirmities which constrain us to dismiss the
The Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) petition:
rendered a Decision9 on 21 July 2003 declaring that the
EPs were null and void in view of the pending issues of
ownership and the subsequent reclassification of the (a.) Annexes "V", "W", "HH", "LL", "NN",
subject property into a residential/commercial land. "QQ", "UU" and "VV" are not duplicate

34
originals or certified true copies in violation to rights. Like all rules, they are required to be
Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, followed except only for compelling reasons.
hence, sufficient ground for the dismissal of
the petition.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing,
petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration is
(b.) There is no explanation why personal hereby DENIED and Our July 13, 2005
service was not resorted to by petitioner in Resolution is MAINTAINED.
serving copies of the petition to adverse
parties contrary to the provision of Section 11,
Aggrieved, petitioners now come to this Court via the
Rule 13 of the Rules of Court which provides:
present Petition for Review, raising the following
issues:
Sec. 11. Priorities in modes of
service and filing. – Whenever
I.
practicable, the service and filing of
pleadings and other papers shall be
done personally. Except with respect WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF
to papers emanating from the APPEALS ACTED CONTRARY TO LAW
court, a resort to other modes AND JURISPRUDENCE OR COMMITTED
must be accompanied by a GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
written explanation why the AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
service or filing was not done JURISDICTION IN HASTILY DISMISSING
personally. A violation of this Rule THE PETITIONERS’ PETITION FOR
may be cause to consider the paper PROHIBITION, ETC. IN CA-G.R. SP NO.
as not filed. 00365 ON PURELY TECHNICAL GROUNDS
SOME OF WHICH ARE PATENTLY
ERRONEOUS OR UNTRUE.
(c.) Petitioners in the instant case are not
parties to the Department of Agrarian Reform
Adjudication Board (DARAB) case who’s (sic) II.
Decision they now seek to be nullified in this
present petition for prohibition. IN THE EVENT THAT THE OUTRIGHT
AND HASTY DISMISSAL OF CA-G.R. SP
(d.) Although a Special Power of Attorney NO. 00365 WILL BE SET ASIDE,
(SPA) was obtained in favor of Rodolfo Lonoy WHETHER OR NOT THE OTHER ISSUES
who signed in the verification and SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY THIS
certification of non-forum shopping, it can be HONORABLE COURT INSTEAD OF
gleaned, however, that other heirs whose REMANDING THE CASE TO THE COURT
names appeared in the SPA have not signed OF APPEALS.
therein. It is also apparent that there was
only one person who signed for the first four III.
(4) heirs of Donny Ruedas and only one person
who signed in some of the heirs of Jose Febe
Nanaman in the Special Power of Attorney WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT
executed in favor of Rodolfo Lonoy. SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM
ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION OR IN
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN PLACING
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the THE RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL LOT
instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. OF PETITIONERS UNDER THE
COVERAGE OF AGRARIAN REFORM.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration20 of the
afore-quoted Resolution, but the said Motion was IV.
denied by the appellate court in another
Resolution21 dated 22 September 2006, which reads:
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS
SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM,
After a careful evaluation of petitioners’ LRA, AND DARAB VIOLATED
arguments vis-à-vis public respondents’ PETITIONERS’ CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
comment, We resolve to deny the instant TO DUE PROCESS BY DEPRIVING THEM
motion. OF THEIR INHERITANCE SHARES IN LOT
1407 WITHOUT IMPLEADING THEM AS
While litigation is not a game of INDISPENSABLE PARTIES AND
technicalities, and the rules should not be WITHOUT SERVICE OF SUMMONS UPON
enforced strictly at the cost of substantial THEM.
justice, still it does not follow that the Rules of
Court may be ignored at will and at random V.
to the prejudice of the orderly presentation,
assessment and just resolution of the issues.
Procedural rules should not be belittled or WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS
dismissed simply because they may have SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM,
resulted in prejudice to a party’s substantial LRA, AND DARAB VIOLATED SECTION 6,
RA 6657 – COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN
REFORM LAW, BY PLACING THE

35
INDIVIDUAL INHERITANCE SHARES OF their annexes, in violation of Section 3, Rule 46 of the
PETITIONERS IN LOT 1407 WHEN THE Rules of Court.
SAME IS WAY BELOW THE
LANDOWNER’S RETENTION LIMIT OF
The Court of Appeals was mistaken in this regard.
FIVE (5) HECTARES [OR SEVEN (7)
HECTARES UNDER PD 27].
It should be recalled that petitioners initiated before
the Court of Appeals, in its original jurisdiction, CA-
VI.
G.R. SP No. 00365, a Petition for Prohibition.

WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC


Section 3 of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court states the
RESPONDENTS COMMITTED GRAVE
requirements for a petition originally filed before the
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
Court of Appeals, relevant portions of which are
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN
reproduced below:
MAKING PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
AGRARIAN REFORM BENEFICIARIES
DESPITE THE UNDISPUTABLE ABSENCE Sec. 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of
OF CONSENT, AGRICULTURAL non-compliance with requirements. –
PRODUCTION, SHARING OF HARVESTS,
AND OTHER ELEMENTS OF A xxxx
LEGITIMATE TENANCY RELATIONSHIP.

It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible


VII. copies together with proof of service thereof on
the respondent with the original copy
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC intended for the court indicated as such by the
RESPONDENTS ACTED WITHOUT OR IN petitioner, and shall be accompanied by a
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN clearly legible duplicate original or certified
REVIEWING [AND] OVERRULING true copy of the judgment, order, resolution,
JUDICIAL DECISIONS CONSIDERING or ruling subject thereof, such material
THAT THE POWER OF JUDICIAL REVIEW portions of the record as are referred to
OVER ACTS OF THE EXECUTIVE OR therein, and other documents relevant or
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH BELONGS TO pertinent thereto. The certification shall be
THE JUDICIARY AND NOT VICE VERSA. accomplished by the proper clerk of court or
by his duly authorized representative, or by
the proper officer of the court, tribunal,
[VIII.]
agency or office involved or by his duly
authorized representative. The other requisite
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC number of copies of the petition shall be
RESPONDENTS ACTED WITHOUT accompanied by clearly legible plain copies of
JURISDICTION IN REVIEWING AND all documents attached to the original.
OVERRULING THE EARLIER JUDICIAL
DETERMINATION OF JUST
Reference is also made to Section 2 of Rule 65 of the
COMPENSATION BY RTC BRANCH 4,
Rules of Court, particularly governing petitions for
ILIGAN CITY, RE LOT 1407 PORTION
prohibition, which pertinently provides:
AFFECTED BY THE INTEGRATED BUS
TERMINAL [AND] BAGSAKAN MARKET.
Sec. 2. Petition for Prohibition. –
[IX.]
xxxx
WHETHER OR NOT PUBLIC
RESPONDENTS COMMITTED GRAVE The petition shall likewise be accompanied by
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO a certified true copy of the judgment, order or
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN resolution subject thereof, copies of all
EXPROPRIATING THROUGH AGRARIAN pleadings and documents relevant and
REFORM LAND ALREADY JUDICIALLY pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of
EXPROPRIATED FOR THE INTEGRATED non-forum shopping as provided in the third
BUS TERMINAL AND BAGSAKAN paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46.
MARKET.22
Section 3 of Rule 46 does not require that all supporting
The primary issue for resolution of this Court is papers and documents accompanying a petition be
whether or not the Court of Appeals was correct in duplicate originals or certified true copies. What it
dismissing outright petitioners’ Petition in CA-G.R. SP explicitly directs is that all petitions originally filed
No. 00365, without considering the merits thereof. before the Court of Appeals shall be accompanied by a
clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of
the judgment, order, resolution or ruling subject
In its assailed Resolution dated 13 July 2005, the
thereof. Similarly, under Rule 65, governing the
appellate court dismissed CA-G.R. SP No. 00365 on
remedies of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,
several procedural grounds, among which was
petitions for the same need to be accompanied only by
petitioner’s failure to attach to their Petition the
duplicate originals or certified true copies of the
duplicate originals or certified true copies of some of
questioned judgment, order or resolution.23Other

36
relevant documents and pleadings attached to such Failure to comply with the foregoing
petitions may be mere machine copies thereof.24 As to requirements shall not be curable by mere
petitioners’ Petition for Prohibition in CA-G.R. SP No. amendment of the complaint or other
00365, the attached annexes that were not duplicate initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the
originals or certified true copies, namely, Annexes dismissal of the case without prejudice,
"V,"25 "W,"26 "HH,"27 "LL,"28 "NN,"29 "QQ,"30 "UU"31 and unless otherwise provided, upon motion and
"VV,"32 were mere supporting documents and pleadings after hearing. The submission of a false
referred to in the petition and were not themselves the certification or non-compliance with any of
judgments, orders or resolutions being challenged in the undertakings therein shall constitute
said Petition. At any rate, petitioners were able to indirect contempt of court, without prejudice
attach certified true copies of these annexes to their to the corresponding administrative and
Motion for Reconsideration of the dismissal of their criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his
Petition. counsel clearly constitute willful and
deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be
ground for summary dismissal with prejudice
Another ground for which CA-G.R. SP No. 00365 was
and shall constitute direct contempt, as well
dismissed by the Court of Appeals was the alleged
as a cause for administrative sanctions.
failure by petitioners to provide an explanation as to
why the Petition therein was served upon adverse
parties by registered mail instead of personal service, In PET Plans, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,35 this Court
as required by Section 11, Rule 1333 of the Rules of affirmed the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the petition,
Court. To the contrary, petitioners provided such an since the verification and certification of non-forum
explanation,34 except that it was incorporated into the shopping was signed by the company’s vice president
main body of the Petition, right before the statement of for legal affairs/corporate secretary without any
the Relief prayed for. It was clearly stated therein that: showing that he was authorized to do so.

EXPLANATION FOR SERVICE BY MAIL Indeed, ample jurisprudence exists to the effect that
subsequent and substantial compliance of a petitioner
may call for the relaxation of the rules of procedure in
Copies of this petition were served upon
the interest of justice. But to merit the Court's liberal
respondents SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN
consideration, petitioner must show reasonable cause
REFORM, LRA, DARAB, LBP, and counsels
justifying non-compliance with the rules and must
of other respondents to save time and costs
convince the Court that the outright dismissal of the
considering the number of parties to be served
petition would defeat the administration of
and the far distance of [the] LBP Office in
justice.36 Hence, deviation from the requirements of
Cagayan de Oro City, the DAR/DARAB offices
verification and certification against forum shopping
in Diliman, Quezon City, and the LRA office
may only be allowed in special circumstances.
in East Ave. corner NIA Road, Diliman,
Quezon City.
In the present case, petitioners failed to provide the
Court with sufficient justification for the suspension or
The Court, however, agrees with the Court of Appeals
relaxation of the rules in their favor. In their Motion for
that the failure of all the petitioners to sign the Special
Reconsideration of the 13 July 2005 Resolution of the
Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of Rodolfo Lonoy,
Court of Appeals, petitioners merely claimed that some
authorizing him to sign the verification and
of them signed for their co-petitioners, while others
certification against forum shopping on their behalf,
were at work so that they could not sign the SPA in
was fatal to their Petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 00365.
favor of Rodolfo Lonoy. Needless to say, the reason is
flimsy and unsatisfactory. That other petitioners were
Section 5 of Rule 7 of the Rules of Court explicitly at work does not make it impossible to secure their
provides: signatures, only a little more inconvenient. It is not,
therefore, unreasonable for the Court to demand in this
Sec. 5. Certification against forum shopping. – case compliance with the requirements for proper
verification of the Petition and execution of the
certificate against shopping.
The plaintiff or principal party shall certify
under oath in the complaint or other
initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, Furthermore, the Court takes note of another
or in a sworn certification annexed thereto procedural lapse committed by petitioners justifying the
and simultaneously filed therewith: (a) that dismissal of their Petition for Prohibition in CA-G.R. SP
he has not theretofore commenced any action No. 00365, for it was the wrong remedy for them to
or filed any claim involving the same issues in pursue.
any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency
and, to the best of his knowledge, no such According to Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if a petition for prohibition may be availed of under the
there is such other pending action or claim, a following circumstances:
complete statement of the present status
thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn
Sec. 2. Petition for prohibition. –
that the same or similar action or claim has
been filed or is pending, he shall report that
fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court When the proceedings of any tribunal,
wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory corporation, board, officer or person, whether
pleading has been filed. exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or
ministerial functions, are without or in excess

37
of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse year from and after the date of the entry
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of of such decree of registration, but in no
jurisdiction, and there is no appeal or any case shall such petition be entertained by the
other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in court where an innocent purchaser for value
the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved has acquired the land or an interest therein,
thereby may file a verified petition in the whose rights may be prejudiced. Whenever
proper court, alleging the facts with certainty the phrase "innocent purchaser for value" or
and praying that judgment be rendered an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree, it
commanding the respondent to desist shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee,
from further proceedings in the action or mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for
matter specified therein, or otherwise value. Upon the expiration of said period
granting such incidental reliefs as law and of one year, the decree of registration
justice may require. and the certificate of title issued shall
become incontrovertible. Any person
aggrieved by such decree of registration
Prohibition is a legal remedy, provided by the common
in any case may pursue his remedy by
law, extraordinary in the sense that it is ordinarily
action for damages against the applicant
available only when the usual and ordinary proceedings
or any other persons responsible for the
at law or in equity are inadequate to afford redress,
fraud.
prerogative in character to the extent that it is not
always demandable of right, to prevent courts, or other
tribunals, officers, or persons, from usurping or In Estribillo v. Department of Agrarian Reform,40 the
exercising a jurisdiction with which they have not been Court affirmed the long-settled doctrine that
vested by law.37 certificates of title issued in administrative proceedings
are as indefeasible as certificates of title issued in
judicial proceedings. In the case at bar, the DAR had
The writ of prohibition, as the name imports, is one
already issued the corresponding OCTs after granting
which commands the person to whom it is directed not
EPs to the tenant-beneficiaries in compliance with
to do something which, by suggestion of the relator, the
Presidential Decree No. 27 and Section 10541 of
court is informed he is about to do. If the thing be
Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the
already done, it is manifest the writ of prohibition
Property Registration Decree. Hence, the OCTs issued
cannot undo it, for that would require an affirmative
to petitioners pursuant to their EPs have already
act; and the only effect of a writ of prohibition is to
acquired the same protection accorded to other
suspend all action and to prevent any further
certificates of title issued judicially or administratively.
proceeding in the prohibited direction.38 Prohibition, as
a rule, does not lie to restrain an act that is already
a fait accompli.39 A certificate of title becomes indefeasible and
incontrovertible upon the expiration of one year from
the date of the issuance of the order for the issuance of
In this case, a close reading of the Petition for
the patent. Land covered by such title may no longer be
Prohibition filed by the petitioners before the Court of
the subject matter of a cadastral proceeding, nor can it
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 00365 would reveal that the
be decreed to another person.42
same is essentially more of an action for the
nullification of the allegedly invalid EPs and OCTs
issued in the names of private respondents. The writ of Private respondents’ EPs were issued in their favor on 1
prohibition is only sought by petitioners to prevent the August 2001 and their OCTs were correspondingly
implementation of the EPs and OCTs. Considering that issued and subsequently registered with the Register of
such EPs and OCTs were issued in 2001, they had Deeds of Iligan City on 21 September 2001 and 1
become indefeasible and incontrovertible by the time October 2001. Petitioners directly went to the Court of
petitioners instituted CA-G.R. SP No. 00365 in 2005, Appeals, instead to the Regional Trial Court as
and may no longer be judicially reviewed. mandated by Section 32 of the Property Registration
Decree, to seek the nullification of the said EPs and
OCTs and only on 7 June 2005, or almost four (4) years
Section 32 of the Property Registration Decree
after the issuance and registration thereof. Petitioners
unequivocally provides:
failed to vindicate their rights within the one-year
period from issuance of the certificates of title as the
Sec. 32. Review of decree of registration; law requires.
Innocent purchaser for value.
After the expiration of the one-year period, a person
The decree of registration shall not be whose property has been wrongly or erroneously
reopened or revised by reason of absence, registered in another’s name may bring an ordinary
minority, or other disability of any person action for reconveyance,43 or if the property has passed
adversely affected thereby, nor by any into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value,
proceeding in any court for reversing Section 32 of the Property Registration Decree gives
judgments, subject, however, to the right of petitioners only one other remedy, i.e., to file an action
any person, including the government and the for damages against those responsible for the
branches thereof, deprived of land or of any fraudulent registration.
estate or interest therein by such adjudication
or confirmation of title obtained by actual
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant
fraud, to file in the proper Court of First
Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. No costs.
Instance [now Regional Trial Court] a
petition for reopening and review of the
decree of registration not later than one SO ORDERED.

38
G.R. No. 144681 June 21, 2004 The respondents are all graduates of the
Fatima College of Medicine, Valenzuela City,
Metro Manila. They passed the Physician
PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION
Licensure Examination conducted in
(PRC), CHAIRMAN HERMOGENES P. POBRE,
February 1993 by the Board of Medicine
ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ARMANDO
(Board). Petitioner Professional Regulation
PASCUAL, BOARD OF MEDICINE, CHAIRMAN
Commission (PRC) then released their names
RODOLFO P. DE GUZMAN, JOSE S. RAMIREZ,
as successful examinees in the medical
JUANITO B. BILLOTE, RUBEN R. POLICARPIO,
licensure examination.
EDGARDO T. FERNANDO and RICARDO D.
FULGENCIO II, petitioners,
vs. Shortly thereafter, the Board observed that
ARLENE V. DE GUZMAN, VIOLETA V. MENESES, the grades of the seventy-nine successful
CELERINA S. NAVARRO, JOSE RAMONCITO P. examinees from Fatima College in the two
NAVARRO, ARNEL V. HERRERA and most difficult subjects in the medical licensure
GERALDINE ELIZABETH M. PAGILAGAN, exam, Biochemistry (Bio-Chem) and
ELNORA R. RAQUENO, MARISSA A. REGODON, Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne), were
LAURA M. SANTOS, KARANGALAN D. unusually and exceptionally high. Eleven
SERRANO, DANILO A. VILLAVER, MARIA Fatima examinees scored 100% in Bio-Chem
ROSARIO L. LEONOR, ALICIA S. LIZANO, and ten got 100% in OB-Gyne, another eleven
MARITEL M. ECHIVERRI, BERNADETTE T. got 99% in Bio-Chem, and twenty-one scored
MENDOZA, FERNANDO F. MANDAPAT, ALELI A. 99% in OB-Gyne. The Board also observed
GOLLAYAN, ELCIN C. ARRIOLA, that many of those who passed from Fatima
HERMINIGILDA E. CONEJOS, SALLY B. got marks of 95% or better in both subjects,
BUNAGAN, ROGELIO B. ANCHETA, OSCAR H. and no one got a mark lower than 90%. A
PADUA, JR., EVELYN D. GRAJO, EVELYN S. comparison of the performances of the
ACOSTA, MARGARITA BELINDA L. VICENCIO, candidates from other schools was made. The
VALENTINO P. ARBOLEDA, EVELYN O. RAMOS, Board observed that strangely, the unusually
ACHILLES J. PERALTA, CORAZON M. CRUZ, high ratings were true only for Fatima
LEUVINA P. CHICO, JOSEPH A. JAO, MA. LUISA College examinees. It was a record-breaking
S. GUTIERREZ, LYDIA C. CHAN, OPHELIA C. phenomenon in the history of the Physician
HIDALGO, FERNANDO T. CRUZ, MELVIN M. Licensure Examination.
USITA, RAFAEL I. TOLENTINO, GRACE E. UY,
CHERYL R. TRIGUERO, MICHAEL L. SERRANO,
On June 7, 1993, the Board issued Resolution No. 19,
FEDERICO L. CASTILLO, MELITA J. CAÑEDO,
withholding the registration as physicians of all the
SAMUEL B. BANGOY, BERNARDITA B. SY,
examinees from the Fatima College of Medicine.4 The
GLORIA T. JULARBAL, FREDERICK D.
PRC asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
FRANCISCO, CARLOS M. BERNARDO, JR.,
to investigate whether any anomaly or irregularity
HUBERT S. NAZARENO, CLARISSA B. BACLIG,
marred the February 1993 Physician Licensure
DAYMINDA G. BONTUYAN, BERNADETTE H.
Examination.
CABUHAT, NANCY J. CHAVEZ, MARIO D.
CUARESMA, ERNESTO L. CUE, EVELYN C.
CUNDANGAN, RHONEIL R. DEVERATURDA, Prior to the NBI investigation, the Board requested Fr.
DERILEEN D. DORADO, SAIBZUR N. EDDING, Bienvenido F. Nebres, S.J., an expert mathematician
VIOLETA C. FELIPE, HERMINIO V. and authority in statistics, and later president of the
FERNANDEZ, JR., MARIA VICTORIA M. Ateneo de Manila University, to conduct a statistical
LACSAMANA, NORMA G. LAFAVILLA, RUBY B. analysis of the results in Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne of the
LANTIN, MA. ELOISA Q. MALLARI, CLARISA SJ. said examination.
NICOLAS, PERCIVAL H. PANGILINAN,
ARNULFO A. SALVADOR, ROBERT B. SANCHEZ, On June 10, 1993, Fr. Nebres submitted his report. He
MERLY D. STA. ANA and YOLANDA P. reported that a comparison of the scores in Bio-Chem
UNICA, respondents. and Ob-Gyne, of the Fatima College examinees with
those of examinees from De La Salle University and
DECISION Perpetual Help College of Medicine showed that the
scores of Fatima College examinees were not only
incredibly high but unusually clustered close to each
TINGA, J.:
other. He concluded that there must be some unusual
reason creating the clustering of scores in the two
This petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules subjects. It must be a cause "strong enough to eliminate
of Civil Procedure seeks to nullify the Decision,1 dated the normal variations that one should expect from the
May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP examinees [of Fatima College] in terms of talent, effort,
No. 37283. The appellate court affirmed the energy, etc."5
judgment2 dated December 19, 1994, of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case
For its part, the NBI found that "the questionable
No. 93-66530. The trial court allowed the respondents
passing rate of Fatima examinees in the [1993]
to take their physician’s oath and to register as duly
Physician Examination leads to the conclusion that the
licensed physicians. Equally challenged is
Fatima examinees gained early access to the test
the Resolution3 promulgated on August 25, 2000 of the
questions."6
Court of Appeals, denying petitioners’ Motion for
Reconsideration.
On July 5, 1993, respondents Arlene V. De Guzman,
Violeta V. Meneses, Celerina S. Navarro, Jose
The facts of this case are as follows:

39
Ramoncito P. Navarro, Arnel V. Herrera, and Geraldine adverse counsel was notified less than three (3) days
Elizabeth M. Pagilagan (Arlene V. De Guzman et al., prior to the hearing.
for brevity) filed a special civil action for mandamus,
with prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction
Meanwhile, to prevent the PRC and the Board from
docketed as Civil Case No. 93-66530 with the Regional
proceeding with Adm. Case No. 1687, the respondents
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 52. Their petition
herein moved for the issuance of a restraining order,
was adopted by the other respondents as intervenors.
which the lower court granted in its Order dated April
4, 1994.
Meanwhile, the Board issued Resolution No. 26, dated
July 21, 1993, charging respondents with "immorality,
The petitioners then filed with this Court a petition for
dishonest conduct, fraud, and deceit" in connection with
certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 115704, to annul
the Bio-Chem and Ob-Gyne examinations. It
the Orders of the trial court dated November 13, 1993,
recommended that the test results of the Fatima
February 28, 1994, and April 4, 1994. We referred the
examinees be nullified. The case was docketed as Adm.
petition to the Court of Appeals where it was docketed
Case No. 1687 by the PRC.
as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506.

On July 28, 1993, the RTC issued an Order in Civil


On August 31, 1994, the appellate court decided CA-
Case No. 93-66530 granting the preliminary mandatory
G.R. SP No. 34506 as follows:
injunction sought by the respondents. It ordered the
petitioners to administer the physician’s oath to Arlene
V. De Guzman et al., and enter their names in the rolls WHEREFORE, the present petition for
of the PRC. certiorari with prayer for temporary
restraining order/preliminary injunction is
GRANTED and the Orders of December 13,
The petitioners then filed a special civil action for
1993, February 7, 1994, February 28, 1994,
certiorari with the Court of Appeals to set aside the
and April 4, 1994 of the RTC-Manila, Branch
mandatory injunctive writ, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
52, and all further proceedings taken by it in
31701.
Special Civil Action No. 93-66530 are hereby
DECLARED NULL and VOID. The said RTC-
On October 21, 1993, the appellate court decided CA- Manila is ordered to allow petitioners’ counsel
G.R. SP No. 31701, with the dispositive portion of to cross-examine the respondents’ witnesses,
the Decision ordaining as follows: to allow petitioners to present their evidence
in due course of trial, and thereafter to decide
the case on the merits on the basis of the
WHEREFORE, this petition is GRANTED.
evidence of the parties. Costs against
Accordingly, the writ of preliminary
respondents.
mandatory injunction issued by the lower
court against petitioners is hereby nullified
and set aside. IT IS SO ORDERED.8

SO ORDERED.7 The trial was then set and notices were sent to the
parties.
Arlene V. de Guzman, et al., then elevated the
foregoing Decision to this Court in G.R. No. 112315. In A day before the first hearing, on September 22, 1994,
our Resolution dated May 23, 1994, we denied the the petitioners filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation
petition for failure to show reversible error on the part and Motion praying for the partial reconsideration of
of the appellate court. the appellate court’s decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506,
and for the outright dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-
66530. The petitioners asked for the suspension of the
Meanwhile, on November 22, 1993, during the
proceedings.
pendency of the instant petition, the pre-trial
conference in Civil Case No. 93-66530 was held. Then,
the parties, agreed to reduce the testimonies of their In its Order dated September 23, 1994, the trial court
respective witnesses to sworn questions-and-answers. granted the aforesaid motion, cancelled the scheduled
This was without prejudice to cross-examination by the hearing dates, and reset the proceedings to October 21
opposing counsel. and 28, 1994.

On December 13, 1993, petitioners’ counsel failed to Meanwhile, on October 25, 1994, the Court of Appeals
appear at the trial in the mistaken belief that the trial denied the partial motion for reconsideration in CA-
was set for December 15. The trial court then ruled that G.R. SP No. 34506. Thus, petitioners filed with the
petitioners waived their right to cross-examine the Supreme Court a petition for review docketed as G.R.
witnesses. No. 117817, entitled Professional Regulation
Commission, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.
On January 27, 1994, counsel for petitioners filed
a Manifestation and Motion stating the reasons for her On November 11, 1994, counsel for the petitioners
non-appearance and praying that the cross-examination failed to appear at the trial of Civil Case No. 93-66530.
of the witnesses for the opposing parties be reset. The Upon motion of the respondents herein, the trial court
trial court denied the motion for lack of notice to ruled that herein petitioners waived their right to cross-
adverse counsel. It also denied the Motion for examine the herein respondents. Trial was reset to
Reconsideration that followed on the ground that November 28, 1994.

40
On November 25, 1994, petitioners’ counsel moved for While CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 was awaiting disposition
the inhibition of the trial court judge for alleged by the appellate court, Arnel V. Herrera, one of the
partiality. On November 28, 1994, the day the Motion to original petitioners in Civil Case No. 93-66530, joined
Inhibit was to be heard, petitioners failed to appear. by twenty-seven intervenors, to wit: Fernando F.
Thus, the trial court denied the Motion to Inhibit and Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo, Bernadette T. Mendoza,
declared Civil Case No. 93-66530 deemed submitted for Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando T. Cruz, Marissa A.
decision. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-Largoza, Cheryl R.
Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette H. Cabuhat,
Evelyn S. Acosta-Cabanes, Laura M. Santos, Maritel M.
On December 19, 1994, the trial court handed down its
Echiverri, Bernadette C. Escusa, Carlosito C. Domingo,
judgment in Civil Case No. 93-66530, the fallo of which
Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R. Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur
reads:
N. Edding, Derileen D. Dorado-Edding, Robert B.
Sanchez, Maria Rosario L. Leonor-Lacandula,
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-Palma, Margarita
ordering the respondents to allow the Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla, Herminigilda E. Conejos,
petitioners and intervenors (except those with Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio, Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and
asterisks and footnotes in pages 1 & 2 of this Jose Ramoncito P. Navarro, manifested that they were
decision) [sic],9 to take the physician’s oath no longer interested in proceeding with the case and
and to register them as physicians. moved for its dismissal. A similar manifestation and
motion was later filed by intervenors Mary Jean I.
It should be made clear that this decision is Yeban-Merlan, Michael L. Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla,
without prejudice to any administrative Arnulfo A. Salvador, Belinda C. Rabara, Yolanda P.
disciplinary action which may be taken Unica, Dayminda G. Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma.
against any of the petitioners for such causes Luisa S. Gutierrez, Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A.
and in the manner provided by law and Gollayan, Evelyn C. Cundangan, Frederick D.
consistent with the requirements of the Francisco, Violeta V. Meneses, Melita J. Cañedo,
Constitution as any other professionals. Clarisa SJ. Nicolas, Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D.
Serrano, Danilo A. Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C.
Chan, and Melvin M. Usita. The Court of Appeals ruled
No costs. that its decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 would not
apply to them.
SO ORDERED.10
On May 16, 2000, the Court of Appeals decided CA-G.R.
As a result of these developments, petitioners filed with SP No. 37283, with the following fallo, to wit:
this Court a petition for review on certiorari docketed
as G.R. No. 118437, entitled Professional Regulation WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in
Commission v. Hon. David G. Nitafan, praying inter the decision appealed from, We hereby
alia, that (1) G.R. No. 118437 be consolidated with G.R. AFFIRM the same and DISMISS the instant
No. 117817; (2) the decision of the Court of Appeals appeal.
dated August 31, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 be
nullified for its failure to decree the dismissal of Civil
Case No. 93-66530, and in the alternative, to set aside No pronouncement as to costs.
the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-
66530, order the trial court judge to inhibit himself, and SO ORDERED.13
Civil Case No. 93-66530 be re-raffled to another branch.
In sustaining the trial court’s decision, the appellate
On December 26, 1994, the petitioners herein filed court ratiocinated that the respondents complied with
their Notice of Appeal11 in Civil Case No. 93-66530, all the statutory requirements for admission into the
thereby elevating the case to the Court of Appeals, licensure examination for physicians in February 1993.
where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 37283. They all passed the said examination. Having fulfilled
the requirements of Republic Act No. 2382,14 they
In our Resolution of June 7, 1995, G.R. No. 118437 was should be allowed to take their oaths as physicians and
consolidated with G.R. No. 117817. be registered in the rolls of the PRC.

On July 9, 1998, we disposed of G.R. Nos. 117817 and Hence, this petition raising the following issues:
118437 in this wise:
I
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No.
117817 is DISMISSED for being moot. The WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS HAVE
petition in G.R. No. 118437 is likewise A VALID CAUSE OF ACTION FOR
DISMISSED on the ground that there is a MANDAMUS AGAINST PETITIONERS IN
pending appeal before the Court of Appeals. THE LIGHT OF THE RESOLUTION OF
Assistant Solicitor General Amparo M. THIS HONORABLE COURT IN G.R. NO.
Cabotaje-Tang is advised to be more 112315 AFFIRMING THE COURT OF
circumspect in her dealings with the courts as APPEALS’ DECISION DECLARING THAT
a repetition of the same or similar acts will be IF EVER THERE IS SOME DOUBT AS TO
dealt with accordingly. THE MORAL FITNESS OF EXAMINEES,
THE ISSUANCE OF LICENSE TO
SO ORDERED.12 PRACTICE MEDICINE IS NOT

41
AUTOMATICALLY GRANTED TO THE as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; or
SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES. (2) excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a
right or office to which the other is entitled.
II
We shall discuss the issues successively.
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION FOR
MANDAMUS COULD PROCEED DESPITE 1. On The Existence of a Duty of the Board of Medicine
THE PENDENCY OF ADMINISTRATIVE To Issue Certificates of Registration as Physicians under
CASE NO. 1687, WHICH WAS PRECISELY Rep. Act No. 2382.
LODGED TO DETERMINE THE MORAL
FITNESS OF RESPONDENTS TO BECOME
For mandamus to prosper, there must be a showing
DOCTORS.15
that the officer, board, or official concerned, has a clear
legal duty, not involving discretion.19 Moreover, there
To our mind, the only issue is: Did the Court of Appeals must be statutory authority for the performance of the
commit a reversible error of law in sustaining the act,20 and the performance of the duty has been
judgment of the trial court that respondents are refused.21 Thus, it must be pertinently asked now: Did
entitled to a writ of mandamus? petitioners have the duty to administer the Hippocratic
Oath and register respondents as physicians under the
Medical Act of 1959?
The petitioners submit that a writ of mandamus will
not lie in this case. They point out that for a writ of
mandamus to issue, the applicant must have a well- As found by the Court of Appeals, on which we agree on
defined, clear and certain legal right to the thing the basis of the records:
demanded and it is the duty of the respondent to
perform the act required. Thus, mandamus may be
It bears emphasizing herein that petitioner-
availed of only when the duty sought to be performed is
appellees and intervenor-appellees have fully
a ministerial and not a discretionary one. The
complied with all the statutory requirements
petitioners argue that the appellate court’s decision in
for admission into the licensure examinations
CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 upholding the decision of the
for physicians conducted and administered by
trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530 overlooked its
the respondent-appellants on February 12, 14,
own pronouncement in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The
20 and 21, 1993. Stress, too, must be made of
Court of Appeals held in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701 that the
the fact that all of them successfully passed
issuance of a license to engage in the practice of
the same examinations.22
medicine becomes discretionary on the PRC if there
exists some doubt that the successful examinee has not
fully met the requirements of the law. The petitioners The crucial query now is whether the Court of Appeals
stress that this Court’s Resolution dated May 24, 1994 erred in concluding that petitioners should allow the
in G.R. No. 112315 held that there was no showing respondents to take their oaths as physicians and
"that the Court of Appeals had committed any register them, steps which would enable respondents to
reversible error in rendering the questioned judgment" practice the medical profession23 pursuant to Section 20
in CA-G.R. SP No. 31701. The petitioners point out that of the Medical Act of 1959?
our Resolution in G.R. No. 112315 has long become final
and executory. The appellate court relied on a single provision, Section
20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, in concluding that the
Respondents counter that having passed the 1993 petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer
licensure examinations for physicians, the petitioners the Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them
have the obligation to administer to them the oath as as physicians. But it is a basic rule in statutory
physicians and to issue their certificates of registration construction that each part of a statute should be
as physicians pursuant to Section 2016 of Rep. Act No. construed in connection with every other part to
2382. The Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, produce a harmonious whole, not confining construction
found that respondents complied with all the to only one section.24 The intent or meaning of the
requirements of Rep. Act No. 2382. Furthermore, statute should be ascertained from the statute taken as
respondents were admitted by the Medical Board to the a whole, not from an isolated part of the provision.
licensure examinations and had passed the same. Accordingly, Section 20, of Rep. Act No. 2382, as
Hence, pursuant to Section 20 of Rep. Act No. 2382, the amended should be read in conjunction with the other
petitioners had the obligation to administer their oaths provisions of the Act. Thus, to determine whether the
as physicians and register them. petitioners had the ministerial obligation to administer
the Hippocratic Oath to respondents and register them
as physicians, recourse must be had to the entirety of
Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of
the Medical Act of 1959.
competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or the
sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or
board, or to some corporation or person requiring the A careful reading of Section 20 of the Medical Act of
performance of a particular duty therein specified, 1959 discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with
which duty results from the official station of the party respect to the issuance of certificates of registration.
to whom the writ is directed, or from operation of Thus, the petitioners "shall sign and issue certificates
law.17 Section 3 of Rule 6518 of the 1997 Rules of Civil of registration to those who have satisfactorily complied
Procedure outlines two situations when a writ of with the requirements of the Board." In statutory
mandamus may issue, when any tribunal, corporation, construction the term "shall" is a word of command. It
board, officer or person unlawfully (1) neglects the is given imperative meaning. Thus, when an examinee
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins satisfies the requirements for the grant of his

42
physician’s license, the Board is obliged to administer to Section 830 of Rep. Act No. 2382 prescribes, among
him his oath and register him as a physician, pursuant others, that a person who aspires to practice medicine
to Section 20 and par. (1) of Section 2225 of the Medical in the Philippines, must have "satisfactorily passed the
Act of 1959. corresponding Board Examination." Section 22, in turn,
provides that the oath may only be administered "to
physicians who qualified in the examinations." The
However, the surrounding circumstances in this case
operative word here is "satisfactorily," defined as
call for serious inquiry concerning the satisfactory
"sufficient to meet a condition or obligation" or "capable
compliance with the Board requirements by the
of dispelling doubt or ignorance."31 Gleaned from Board
respondents. The unusually high scores in the two most
Resolution No. 26, the licensing authority apparently
difficult subjects was phenomenal, according to Fr.
did not find that the respondents "satisfactorily passed"
Nebres, the consultant of PRC on the matter, and
the licensure examinations. The Board instead sought
raised grave doubts about the integrity, if not validity,
to nullify the examination results obtained by the
of the tests. These doubts have to be appropriately
respondents.
resolved.

2. On the Right Of The Respondents To Be Registered As


Under the second paragraph of Section 22, the Board is
Physicians
vested with the power to conduct administrative
investigations and "disapprove applications for
examination or registration," pursuant to the objectives The function of mandamus is not to establish a right
of Rep. Act No. 2382 as outlined in Section 126 thereof. but to enforce one that has been established by law. If
In this case, after the investigation, the Board filed no legal right has been violated, there can be no
before the PRC, Adm. Case No. 1687 against the application of a legal remedy, and the writ of
respondents to ascertain their moral and mental fitness mandamus is a legal remedy for a legal right.32 There
to practice medicine, as required by Section 927 of Rep. must be a well-defined, clear and certain legal right to
Act No. 2382. In its Decision dated July 1, 1997, the the thing demanded.33 It is long established rule that a
Board ruled: license to practice medicine is a privilege or franchise
granted by the government.34
WHEREFORE, the BOARD hereby
CANCELS the respondents[’] examination It is true that this Court has upheld the constitutional
papers in the Physician Licensure right35 of every citizen to select a profession or course of
Examinations given in February 1993 and study subject to a fair, reasonable, and equitable
further DEBARS them from taking any admission and academic requirements.36 But like all
licensure examination for a period of ONE (1) rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, their
YEAR from the date of the promulgation of exercise may be so regulated pursuant to the police
this DECISION. They may, if they so desire, power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace,
apply for the scheduled examinations for education, order, safety, and general welfare of the
physicians after the lapse of the period people.37 Thus, persons who desire to engage in the
imposed by the BOARD. learned professions requiring scientific or technical
knowledge may be required to take an examination as a
prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. This
SO ORDERED.28
regulation takes particular pertinence in the field of
medicine, to protect the public from the potentially
Until the moral and mental fitness of the respondents deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance among
could be ascertained, according to petitioners, the Board those who would practice medicine. In a previous case,
has discretion to hold in abeyance the administration of it may be recalled, this Court has ordered the Board of
the Hippocratic Oath and the issuance of the Medical Examiners to annul both its resolution and
certificates to them. The writ of mandamus does not lie certificate authorizing a Spanish subject, with the
to compel performance of an act which is not duly degree of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery from the
authorized. University of Barcelona, Spain, to practice medicine in
the Philippines, without first passing the examination
The respondents nevertheless argue that under Section required by the Philippine Medical Act.38 In another
20, the Board shall not issue a certificate of registration case worth noting, we upheld the power of the State to
only in the following instances: (1) to any candidate who upgrade the selection of applicants into medical schools
has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction through admission tests.39
of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude; (2) or
has been found guilty of immoral or dishonorable It must be stressed, nevertheless, that the power to
conduct after the investigation by the Board; or (3) has regulate the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an
been declared to be of unsound mind. They aver that occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its
none of these circumstances are present in their case. agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner.
A political body that regulates the exercise of a
Petitioners reject respondents’ argument. We are particular privilege has the authority to both forbid and
informed that in Board Resolution No. 26,29 dated July grant such privilege in accordance with certain
21, 1993, the Board resolved to file charges against the conditions. Such conditions may not, however, require
examinees from Fatima College of Medicine for giving up ones constitutional rights as a condition to
"immorality, dishonesty, fraud, and deceit in the acquiring the license.40 Under the view that the
Obstetrics-Gynecology and Biochemistry examinations." legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary power to
It likewise sought to cancel the examination results grant or refuse a license on a public agency or officer,
obtained by the examinees from the Fatima College. courts will generally strike down license legislation that
vests in public officials discretion to grant or refuse a
license to carry on some ordinarily lawful business,

43
profession, or activity without prescribing definite rules The petitioners have shown no cogent reason for us to
and conditions for the guidance of said officials in the reverse the aforecited ruling. Nor will their reliance
exercise of their power.41 upon the doctrine of the exhaustion of administrative
remedies in the instant case advance their cause any.
In the present case, the aforementioned guidelines are
provided for in Rep. Act No. 2382, as amended, which Section 2645 of the Medical Act of 1959 provides for the
prescribes the requirements for admission to the administrative and judicial remedies that respondents
practice of medicine, the qualifications of candidates for herein can avail to question Resolution No. 26 of the
the board examinations, the scope and conduct of the Board of Medicine, namely: (a) appeal the unfavorable
examinations, the grounds for denying the issuance of a judgment to the PRC; (b) should the PRC ruling still be
physician’s license, or revoking a license that has been unfavorable, to elevate the matter on appeal to the
issued. Verily, to be granted the privilege to practice Office of the President; and (c) should they still be
medicine, the applicant must show that he possesses all unsatisfied, to ask for a review of the case or to bring
the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. the case to court viaa special civil action of certiorari.
Furthermore, it must appear that he has fully complied Thus, as a rule, mandamus will not lie when
with all the conditions and requirements imposed by administrative remedies are still available.46 However,
the law and the licensing authority. Should doubt taint the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies
or mar the compliance as being less than satisfactory, does not apply where, as in this case, a pure question of
then the privilege will not issue. For said privilege is law is raised.47 On this issue, no reversible error may,
distinguishable from a matter of right, which may be thus, be laid at the door of the appellate court in CA-
demanded if denied. Thus, without a definite showing G.R. SP No. 37283, when it refused to dismiss Civil
that the aforesaid requirements and conditions have Case No. 93-66530.
been satisfactorily met, the courts may not grant the
writ of mandamus to secure said privilege without
As we earlier pointed out, herein respondents Arnel V.
thwarting the legislative will.
Herrera, Fernando F. Mandapat, Ophelia C. Hidalgo,
Bernadette T. Mendoza, Ruby B. Lantin-Tan, Fernando
3. On the Ripeness of the Petition for Mandamus T. Cruz, Marissa A. Regodon, Ma. Eloisa Q. Mallari-
Largoza, Cheryl R. Triguero, Joseph A. Jao, Bernadette
H. Cabuhat, Evelyn S. Acosta-Cabanes, Laura M.
Lastly, the petitioners herein contend that the Court of
Santos, Maritel M. Echiverri, Bernadette C. Escusa,
Appeals should have dismissed the petition for
Carlosito C. Domingo, Alicia S. Lizano, Elnora R.
mandamus below for being premature. They argue that
Raqueno-Rabaino, Saibzur N. Edding, Derileen D.
the administrative remedies had not been exhausted.
Dorado-Edding, Robert B. Sanchez, Maria Rosario
The records show that this is not the first time that
Leonor-Lacandula, Geraldine Elizabeth M. Pagilagan-
petitioners have sought the dismissal of Civil Case No.
Palma, Margarita Belinda L. Vicencio-Gamilla,
93-66530. This issue was raised in G.R. No. 115704,
Herminigilda E. Conejos, Leuvina P. Chico-Paguio,
which petition we referred to the Court of Appeals,
Elcin C. Arriola-Ocampo, and Jose Ramoncito P.
where it was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 34506. On
Navarro manifested to the Court of Appeals during the
motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506,
pendency of CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, that they were no
the appellate court denied the motion to dismiss on the
longer interested in proceeding with the case and
ground that the prayers for the nullification of the order
moved for its dismissal insofar as they were concerned.
of the trial court and the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-
A similar manifestation and motion were later filed by
66530 were inconsistent reliefs. In G.R. No. 118437, the
intervenors Mary Jean I. Yeban-Merlan, Michael L.
petitioners sought to nullify the decision of the Court of
Serrano, Norma G. Lafavilla, Arnulfo A. Salvador,
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 34506 insofar as it did not
Belinda C. Rabarra, Yolanda P. Unica, Dayminda G.
order the dismissal of Civil Case No. 93-66530. In our
Bontuyan, Clarissa B. Baclig, Ma. Luisa S. Gutierrez,
consolidated decision, dated July 9, 1998, in G.R. Nos.
Rhoneil R. Deveraturda, Aleli A. Gollayan, Evelyn C.
117817 & 118437, this Court speaking through Justice
Cundangan, Frederick D. Francisco, Violeta V.
Bellosillo opined that:
Meneses, Melita J. Cañedo, Clarisa SJ. Nicolas,
Federico L. Castillo, Karangalan D. Serrano, Danilo A.
Indeed, the issue as to whether the Court of Villaver, Grace E. Uy, Lydia C. Chan, and Melvin M.
Appeals erred in not ordering the dismissal of Usita. Following these manifestations and motions, the
Civil Case No. 93-66530 sought to be resolved appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 decreed that
in the instant petition has been rendered its ruling would not apply to them. Thus, inasmuch as
meaningless by an event taking place prior to the instant case is a petition for review of the appellate
the filing of this petition and denial thereof court’s ruling in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283, a decision
should follow as a logical consequence.42 There which is inapplicable to the aforementioned
is no longer any justiciable controversy so that respondents will similarly not apply to them.
any declaration thereon would be of no
practical use or value.43 It should be recalled
As to Achilles J. Peralta, Evelyn O. Ramos, Sally B.
that in its decision of 19 December 1994 the
Bunagan, Rogelio B. Ancheta, Oscar H. Padua, Jr.,
trial court granted the writ of mandamus
Evelyn D. Grajo, Valentino P. Arboleda, Carlos M.
prayed for by private respondents, which
Bernardo, Jr., Mario D. Cuaresma, Violeta C. Felipe,
decision was received by petitioners on 20
Percival H. Pangilinan, Corazon M. Cruz and Samuel
December 1994. Three (3) days after, or on 23
B. Bangoy, herein decision shall not apply pursuant to
December 1994, petitioners filed the instant
the Orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. 93-66530,
petition. By then, the remedy available to
dropping their names from the suit.
them was to appeal the decision to the Court
of Appeals, which they in fact did, by filing a
notice of appeal on 26 December 1994.44 Consequently, this Decision is binding only on the
remaining respondents, namely: Arlene V. de Guzman,

44
Celerina S. Navarro, Rafael I. Tolentino, Bernardita B. Philippine Embassy to Japan, Jesus I. Yabes;7 thus, he
Sy, Gloria T. Jularbal, Hubert S. Nazareno, Nancy J. was allowed to take the Medical Board Examinations in
Chavez, Ernesto L. Cue, Herminio V. Fernandez, Jr., August 1992, which he subsequently passed.8
Maria Victoria M. Lacsamana and Merly D. Sta. Ana,
as well as the petitioners.
In spite of all these, the Board of Medicine (Board) of
the PRC, in a letter dated March 8, 1993, denied
WHEREFORE, the instant petition respondent's request for a license to
is GRANTED. Accordingly, (1) the assailed decision
dated May 16, 2000, of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R.
practice medicine in the Philippines on the ground that
SP No. 37283, which affirmed the judgment dated
the Board "believes that no genuine reciprocity can be
December 19, 1994, of the Regional Trial Court of
found in the law of Japan as there is no Filipino or
Manila, Branch 52, in Civil Case No. 93-66530, ordering
foreigner who can possibly practice there."9
petitioners to administer the physician’s oath to herein
respondents as well as the resolution dated August 25,
2000, of the appellate court, denying the petitioners’ Respondent then filed a Petition
motion for reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET for Certiorari and Mandamus against the Board before
ASIDE; and (2) the writ of mandamus, issued in Civil the RTC of Manila on June 24, 1993, which petition was
Case No. 93-66530, and affirmed by the appellate court amended on February 14, 1994 to implead the PRC
in CA-G.R. SP No. 37283 is NULLIFIED AND SET through its Chairman.10
ASIDE.
In his petition before the RTC, respondent alleged that
SO ORDERED. the Board and the PRC, in refusing to issue in his favor
a Certificate of Registration and/or license to practice
medicine, had acted arbitrarily, in clear contravention
G.R. No. 166097 July 14, 2008 of the provision of Section 20 of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
2382 (The Medical Act of 1959), depriving him of his
BOARD OF MEDICINE, DR. RAUL FLORES (now legitimate right to practice his profession in the
DR. JOSE S. RAMIREZ), in his capacity as Philippines to his great damage and prejudice.11
Chairman of the Board, PROFESSIONAL
REGULATION COMMISSION, through its On October 19, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision
Chairman, HERMOGENES POBRE (now DR. finding that respondent had adequately proved that the
ALCESTIS M. GUIANG), Petitioners, medical laws of Japan allow foreigners like Filipinos to
vs. be granted license and be admitted into the practice of
YASUYUKI OTA, Respondent. medicine under the principle of reciprocity; and that the
Board had a ministerial duty of issuing the Certificate
DECISION of Registration and license to respondent, as it was
shown that he had substantially complied with the
requirements under the law.12 The RTC then ordered
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: the Board to issue in favor of respondent the
corresponding Certificate of Registration and/or license
Before the Court is a Petition for Review to practice medicine in the Philippines.13
on Certiorari assailing the Decision1 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 849452 dated The Board and the PRC (petitioners) appealed the case
November 16, 2004 which affirmed the Decision3 of the to the CA, stating that while respondent submitted
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 22, Manila, dated documents showing that foreigners are allowed to
October 19, 2003.4 practice medicine in Japan, it was not shown that the
conditions for the practice of medicine there are
The facts are as follows: practical and attainable by a foreign applicant, hence,
reciprocity was not established; also, the power of the
PRC and the Board to regulate and control the practice
Yasuyuki Ota (respondent) is a Japanese national, of medicine is discretionary and not ministerial, hence,
married to a Filipina, who has continuously resided in not compellable by a writ of mandamus.14
the Philippines for more than 10 years. He graduated
from Bicol Christian College of Medicine on April 21,
1991 with a degree of Doctor of Medicine.5 After The CA denied the appeal and affirmed the ruling of
successfully completing a one-year post graduate the RTC.15
internship training at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical
Center, he filed an application to take the medical Hence, herein petition raising the following issue:
board examinations in order to obtain a medical license.
He was required by the Professional Regulation
Commission (PRC) to submit an affidavit of WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS
undertaking, stating among others that should he COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN
successfully pass the same, he would not practice FINDING THAT RESPONDENT HAD
medicine until he submits proof that reciprocity exists ESTABLISHED THE EXISTENCE OF
between Japan and the Philippines in admitting RECIPROCITY IN THE PRACTICE OF
foreigners into the practice of medicine.6 MEDICINE BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES
AND JAPAN.16

Respondent submitted a duly notarized English


translation of the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan Petitioners claim that: respondent has not established
duly authenticated by the Consul General of the by competent and conclusive evidence that reciprocity
in the practice of medicine exists between the

45
Philippines and Japan. While documents state that a physician’s license, which right is enforceable
foreigners are allowed to practice medicine in Japan, by mandamus.23
they do not similarly show that the conditions for the
practice of medicine in said country are practical and
Petitioners filed a Reply24 and both parties filed their
attainable by a foreign applicant. There is no reciprocity
respective memoranda25 reiterating their
in this case, as the requirements to practice medicine in
arguments.1avvphi1
Japan are practically impossible for a Filipino to comply
with. There are also ambiguities in the Medical
Practitioners Law of Japan, which were not clarified by The Court denies the petition for lack of merit.
respondent, i.e., what are the provisions of the School
Educations Laws, what are the criteria of the Minister There is no question that a license to practice medicine
of Health and Welfare of Japan in determining whether is a privilege or franchise granted by the
the academic and technical capability of foreign medical government.26 It is a right that is earned through years
graduates are the same or better than graduates of of education and training, and which requires that one
medical schools in Japan, and who can actually qualify must first secure a license from the state through
to take the preparatory test for the National Medical professional board examinations.27
Examination. Consul General Yabes also stated that
there had not been a single Filipino who was issued a
license to practice medicine by the Japanese Indeed,
Government. The publication showing that there were
foreigners practicing medicine in Japan, which [T]he regulation of the practice of medicine in all its
respondent presented before the Court, also did not branches has long been recognized as a reasonable
specifically show that Filipinos were among those listed method of protecting the health and safety of the public.
as practicing said profession.17 Furthermore, under That the power to regulate and control the practice of
Professional Regulation Commission v. De medicine includes the power to regulate admission to
Guzman,18the power of the PRC and the Board to the ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is
regulate and control the practice of medicine includes also well recognized. Thus, legislation and
the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those administrative regulations requiring those who wish to
authorized to practice medicine, which power is practice medicine first to take and pass medical board
discretionary and not ministerial, hence, not examinations have long ago been recognized as valid
compellable by a writ of mandamus.19 exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the
establishment of minimum medical educational
Petitioners pray that the CA Decision dated November requirements – i.e., the completion of prescribed courses
16, 2004 be reversed and set aside, that a new one be in a recognized medical school – for admission to the
rendered reinstating the Board Order dated March 8, medical profession, has also been sustained as a
1993 which disallows respondent to practice medicine legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the
in the Philippines, and that respondent's petition before state."28
the trial court be dismissed for lack of merit.20
It must be stressed however that the power to regulate
In his Comment, respondent argues that: Articles 2 and the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation
11 of the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan and cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an
Section 9 of the Philippine Medical Act of 1959 show arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner. A political
that reciprocity exists between the Philippines and body which regulates the exercise of a particular
Japan concerning the practice of medicine. Said laws privilege has the authority to both forbid and grant
clearly state that both countries allow foreigners to such privilege in accordance with certain conditions. As
practice medicine in their respective jurisdictions as the legislature cannot validly bestow an arbitrary
long as the applicant meets the educational power to grant or refuse a license on a public agency or
requirements, training or residency in hospitals and officer, courts will generally strike down license
pass the licensure examination given by either country. legislation that vests in public officials discretion to
Consul General Yabes in his letter dated January 28, grant or refuse a license to carry on some ordinarily
1992 stated that "the Japanese Government allows a lawful business, profession, or activity without
foreigner to practice medicine in Japan after complying prescribing definite rules and conditions for the
with the local requirements." The fact that there is no guidance of said officials in the exercise of their power.29
reported Filipino who has successfully penetrated the
medical practice in Japan does not mean that there is R.A. No. 2382 otherwise known as the Medical Act of
no reciprocity between the two countries, since it does 1959 states in Section 9 thereof that:
not follow that no Filipino will ever be granted a
medical license by the Japanese Government. It is not
the essence of reciprocity that before a citizen of one of Section 9. Candidates for Board Examinations.-
the contracting countries can demand its application, it Candidates for Board examinations shall have the
is necessary that the interested citizen’s country has following qualifications:
previously granted the same privilege to the citizens of
the other contracting country.21 Respondent further 1. He shall be a citizen of the Philippines or a citizen of
argues that Section 20 of the Medical Act of any foreign country who has submitted competent and
195922 indicates the mandatory character of the statute conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by the
and an imperative obligation on the part of the Board Department of Foreign Affairs, showing that his
inconsistent with the idea of discretion. Thus, a country’s existing laws permit citizens of the
foreigner, just like a Filipino citizen, who successfully Philippines to practice medicine under the same rules
passes the examination and has all the qualifications and regulations governing citizens thereof;
and none of the disqualifications, is entitled as a matter
of right to the issuance of a certificate of registration or
xxxx

46
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 22330 also provides in for the practice of medicine in said country are practical
Section (j) thereof that: and attainable by a foreign applicant; and since the
requirements are practically impossible for a Filipino to
comply with, there is no reciprocity between the two
j) The [Professional Regulation] Commission may, upon
countries, hence, respondent may not be granted license
the recommendation of the Board concerned, approve
to practice medicine in the Philippines.
the registration of and authorize the issuance of a
certificate of registration with or without examination
to a foreigner who is registered under the laws of his The Court does not agree.
country: Provided, That the requirement for the
registration or licensing in said foreign state or country
R.A. No. 2382, which provides who may be candidates
are substantially the same as those required and
for the medical board examinations, merely requires a
contemplated by the laws of the Philippines and that
foreign citizen to submit competent and conclusive
the laws of such foreign state or country allow the
documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of
citizens of the Philippines to practice the profession on
Foreign Affairs (DFA), showing that his country’s
the same basis and grant the same privileges as the
existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to
subject or citizens of such foreign state or country:
practice medicine under the same rules and regulations
Provided, finally, That the applicant shall submit
governing citizens thereof.
competent and conclusive documentary evidence,
confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs,
showing that his country's existing laws permit citizens Section (j) of P.D. No. 223 also defines the extent of
of the Philippines to practice the profession under the PRC's power to grant licenses, i.e., it may, upon
rules and regulations governing citizens thereof. The recommendation of the board, approve the registration
Commission is also hereby authorized to prescribe and authorize the issuance of a certificate of
additional requirements or grant certain privileges to registration with or without examination to a foreigner
foreigners seeking registration in the Philippines if the who is registered under the laws of his country,
same privileges are granted to or some additional provided the following conditions are met: (1) that the
requirements are required of citizens of the Philippines requirement for the registration or licensing in said
in acquiring the same certificates in his country; foreign state or country are substantially the same as
those required and contemplated by the laws of the
Philippines; (2) that the laws of such foreign state or
xxxx
country allow the citizens of the Philippines to practice
the profession on the same basis and grant the same
As required by the said laws, respondent submitted a privileges as the subject or citizens of such foreign state
copy of the Medical Practitioners Law of Japan, duly or country; and (3) that the applicant shall submit
authenticated by the Consul General of the Embassy of competent and conclusive documentary evidence,
the Philippines in Japan, which provides in Articles 2 confirmed by the DFA, showing that his country's
and 11, thus: existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to
practice the profession under the rules and regulations
governing citizens thereof.
Article 2. Anyone who wants to be medical practitioner
must pass the national examination for medical
practitioner and get license from the Minister of Health The said provision further states that the PRC is
and Welfare. authorized to prescribe additional requirements or
grant certain privileges to foreigners seeking
registration in the Philippines if the same privileges are
xxxx
granted to or some additional requirements are
required of citizens of the Philippines in acquiring the
Article 11. No one can take the National Medical same certificates in his country.
Examination except persons who conform to one of the
following items:
Nowhere in said statutes is it stated that the foreign
applicant must show that the conditions for the practice
1. Persons who finished regular medical of medicine in said country are practical and attainable
courses at a university based on the School by Filipinos. Neither is it stated that it must first be
Education Laws (December 26, 1947) and proven that a Filipino has been granted license and
graduated from said university. allowed to practice his profession in said country before
a foreign applicant may be given license to practice in
2. Persons who passed the preparatory test for the Philippines. Indeed, the phrase used in both R.A.
the National Medical Examination and No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223 is that:
practiced clinics and public sanitation more
than one year after passing the said test. [T]he applicant shall submit] competent and conclusive
documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of
3. Persons who graduated from a foreign Foreign Affairs, showing that his country's existing
medical school or acquired medical laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice the
practitioner license in a foreign country, and profession [of medicine] under the [same] rules and
also are recognized to have the same or more regulations governing citizens thereof. x x x (Emphasis
academic ability and techniques as persons supplied)
stated in item 1 and item 2 of this article.31
It is enough that the laws in the foreign country permit
Petitioners argue that while the Medical Practitioners a Filipino to get license and practice therein. Requiring
Law of Japan allows foreigners to practice medicine respondent to prove first that a Filipino has already
therein, said document does not show that conditions been granted license and is actually practicing therein

47
unduly expands the requirements provided for under From said letter, one can see that the Japanese
R.A. No. 2382 and P.D. No. 223. Government allows foreigners to practice medicine
therein provided that the local requirements are
complied with, and that it is not the impossibility or the
While it is true that respondent failed to give details as
prohibition against Filipinos that would account for the
to the conditions stated in the Medical Practitioners
absence of Filipino physicians holding licenses and
Law of Japan -- i.e., the provisions of the School
practicing medicine in Japan, but the difficulty of
Educations Laws, the criteria of the Minister of Health
passing the board examination in the Japanese
and Welfare of Japan in determining whether the
language. Granting that there is still no Filipino who
academic and technical capability of foreign medical
has been given license to practice medicine in Japan, it
graduates are the same as or better than that of
does not mean that no Filipino will ever be able to be
graduates of medical schools in Japan, and who can
given one.
actually qualify to take the preparatory test for the
National Medical Examination – respondent, however,
presented proof that foreigners are actually practicing Petitioners next argue that as held in De Guzman, its
in Japan and that Filipinos are not precluded from power to issue licenses is discretionary, hence, not
getting a license to practice there. compellable by mandamus.

Respondent presented before the trial court a Japanese The Court finds that the factual circumstances of De
Government publication, Physician-Dentist- Guzman are different from those of the case at bar;
Pharmaceutist Survey, showing that there are a hence, the principle applied therein should be viewed
number of foreign physicians practicing medicine in differently in this case. In De Guzman, there were
Japan.32 He also presented a letter dated January 28, doubts about the integrity and validity of the test
1992 from Consul General Yabes,33 which states: results of the examinees from a particular school which
garnered unusually high scores in the two most difficult
subjects. Said doubts called for serious inquiry
Sir:
concerning the applicants’ satisfactory compliance with
the Board requirements.34 And as there was no definite
With reference to your letter dated 12 January 1993, showing that the requirements and conditions to be
concerning your request for a Certificate of granted license to practice medicine had been
Confirmation for the purpose of establishing a satisfactorily met, the Court held that the writ
reciprocity with Japan in the practice of medical of mandamus may not be granted to secure said
profession relative to the case of Mr. Yasuyuki Ota, a privilege without thwarting the legislative will.35
Japanese national, the Embassy wishes to inform you
that inquiries from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign
Indeed, to be granted the privilege to practice medicine,
Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare as well as
the applicant must show that he possesses all the
Bureau of Immigration yielded the following
qualifications and none of the disqualifications. It must
information:
also appear that he has fully complied with all the
conditions and requirements imposed by the law and
1. They are not aware of a Filipino physician the licensing authority.36
who was granted a license by the Japanese
Government to practice medicine in Japan;
In De Guzman itself, the Court explained that:

2. However, the Japanese Government allows


A careful reading of Section 2037 of the Medical Act of
a foreigner to practice medicine in Japan after
1959 discloses that the law uses the word "shall" with
complying with the local requirements such as
respect to the issuance of certificates of registration.
holding a valid visa for the purpose of taking
Thus, the petitioners [PRC] "shall sign and issue
the medical board exam, checking the
certificates of registration to those who have
applicant's qualifications to take the
satisfactorily complied with the requirements of the
examination, taking the national board
Board." In statutory construction the term "shall" is a
examination in Japanese and filing an
word of command. It is given imperative meaning.
application for the issuance of the medical
Thus, when an examinee satisfies the requirements for
license.
the grant of his physician's license, the Board is obliged
to administer to him his oath and register him as a
Accordingly, the Embassy is not aware of a single physician, pursuant to Section 20 and par. (1) of Section
Filipino physician who was issued by the Japanese 22 of the Medical Act of 1959.38
Government a license to practice medicine, because it is
extremely difficult to pass the medical board
In this case, there is no doubt as to the competence and
examination in the Japanese language. Filipino doctors
qualifications of respondent. He finished his medical
here are only allowed to work in Japanese hospitals as
degree from Bicol Christian College of Medicine. He
trainees under the supervision of a Japanese doctor. On
completed a one-year post graduate internship training
certain occasions, they are allowed to show their
at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, a
medical skills during seminars for demonstration
government hospital. Then he passed the Medical
purposes only. (Emphasis supplied)
Board Examinations which was given on August 8,
1992 with a general average of 81.83, with scores
Very truly yours, higher than 80 in 9 of the 12 subjects.

Jesus I. Yabes In fine, the only matter being questioned by petitioners


Minister Counsellor & is the alleged failure of respondent to prove that there
Consul General is reciprocity between the laws of Japan and the

48
Philippines in admitting foreigners into the practice of King: for they saw that the wisdom of God
medicine. Respondent has satisfactorily complied with was in him, to do judgment. (Ibid, Verse 28)
the said requirement and the CA has not committed
any reversible error in rendering its Decision dated
We do resolve the herein controversy inspired by God's
November 16, 2004 and Resolution dated October 19,
own beloved King.
2003.

The Petition for Review on Certiorari before us seeks


WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for
the reversal of the decision1 of respondent Court of
lack of merit.
Appeals2which had reversed the decision3 of the
Regional Trial Court4 which granted the Petition
SO ORDERED. for Habeas Corpus filed by petitioner.

HABEAS CORPUS The following facts were developed by the evidence


presented by the opposing parties:

G.R. No. 111876 January 31, 1996


Petitioner is the mother of Arabella O. Sombong who
was born on April 23, 1987 in Signal Village, Taguig,
JOHANNA SOMBONG, petitioner, Metro Manila.5 Some time in November, 1987, Arabella,
vs. then only six months old, was brought to the Sir John
COURT OF APPEALS and MARIETTA NERI Clinic, located at 121 First Avenue, Kaloocan City, for
ALVIAR, LILIBETH NERI and all persons holding relief of coughing fits and for treatment of colds.
the subject child ARABELA SOMBONG in their Petitioner did not have enough money to pay the
custody, respondents. hospital bill in the amount of P300.00. Arabella could
not be discharged, then, because of the petitioner's
DECISION failure to pay the bill. Petitioner surprisingly gave
testimony to the effect that she allegedly paid the
private respondents by installments in the total amount
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.: of P1,700.00, knowing for a fact that the sum payable
was only P300.00. Despite such alleged payments, the
Every so often two women claim to be the legitimate owners of the clinic, Dra. Carmen Ty and her husband,
parent of the same child. One or the other, whether for Mr. Vicente Ty, allegedly refused to turn over Arabella
financial gain or for sheer cupidity, should be an to her. Petitioner claims that the reason for such a
impostor. The court is consequently called upon to refusal was that she refused to go out on a date with
decide as to which of them should have the child's Mr. Ty, who had been courting her. This allegedly gave
lawful custody. This is the very nature of this case. The Dra. Ty a reason to be jealous of her, making it difficult
child herein had considerably grown through the years for everyone all around.
that this controversy had unbearably lagged. The
wisdom of the ages should be of some help, delicate as On the other hand and in contrast to her foregoing
the case considerably is. The earliest recorded decision allegations, petitioner testified that she visited Arabella
on the matter is extant in the Bible, I Kings 3. As it at the clinic only after two years, i.e., in 1989. This
appears, King Solomon in all his glory resolved the time, she did not go beyond berating the spouses Ty for
controversy posed by two women claiming the same their refusal to give Arabella to her. Three years
child: thereafter, i.e., in 1992, petitioner again resurfaced to
lay claim to her child. Her pleas allegedly fell on deaf
And the King said, Bring me a sword. And ears.
they brought a sword before the King.
Consequently, on May 21, 1992, petitioner filed a
And the King said, Divide the living child in petition with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City
two, and give half to the one, and half to the for the issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus against the
other. spouses Ty. She alleged therein that Arabella was being
unlawfully detained and imprisoned at No. 121, First
Avenue, Grace Park, Kalookan City. The petition was
Then spoke the woman whose the living child
denied due course and summarily dismissed,6 without
was unto the King, for her bowels yearned
prejudice, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the
upon her son, and she said, O my Lord, give
alleged detention having been perpetrated in Kalookan
her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But
City.
the other said, Let it be neither mine nor
thine, but divide it.
Petitioner, thereafter, filed a criminal complaint7 with
the Office of the City Prosecutor of Kalookan City
Then the King answered and said, Give her
against the spouses Ty. Dr. Ty, in her counter-affidavit,
the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is
admitted that petitioner's child, Arabella, had for some
the mother thereof. (1 Kings, Chapter 3,
time been in her custody. Arabella was discharged from
Verses 25-27)
the clinic in April, 1989, and was, in the presence of her
clinic staff, turned over to someone who was properly
King Solomon's wisdom, was inspired by God: identified to be the child's guardian.

And all Israel heard of the judgment which In the face of the refusal of the spouses Ty to turn over
the King had judged; and they feared the Arabella to her, she had sought the help of Barangay

49
Captains Alfonso and Bautista of Kalookan City, Mayor City, owned by Dra. Carmen Ty, to Dra. Fe
Asistio of the same city, and even Congresswoman Mallonga and later given to the custody of the
Hortensia L. Starke of Negros Occidental. Their efforts respondents. In fact, Dra. Carmen Ty, in her
to help availed her nothing. testimony admitted that the petitioner is the
mother of Arabella . . .
On September 4, 1992, the Office of the City Prosecutor
of Kalookan City, on the basis of petitioner's complaint, On the question of whether or not the
filed an information8 against the spouses Ty for petitioner has the rightful custody of the
Kidnapping and Illegal Detention of a Minor before the minor child, in question, which is being
Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City.9 On September withheld by the respondents from her, as will
16, 1992, an order for the arrest of the spouses Ty was authorize the granting of the petition
issued in the criminal case. Facing arrest, Dra. Ty for habeas corpus . . . there is no question that
disclosed the possibility that the child, Arabella, may be the minor . . . is only about five (5) years old . .
found at No. 23 Jesus Street, San Francisco del Monte, . it follows that the child must not be
Quezon City. The agents of the National Bureau of separated from the mother, who is the
Investigation went to said address and there found a petitioner, unless, of course, this Court finds
female child who answered to the name of Cristina compelling reasons to order otherwise.
Grace Neri. Quite significantly, the evidence disclosed
that the child, Cristina, had been living with
Heretofore, under the New Civil Code of the
respondent Marietta Neri Alviar since 1988. When she
Philippines, the compelling reasons which
was just a baby, Cristina was abandoned by her parents
may deprive the parents of their authority or
at the Sir John Clinic. On April 18, 1988, Dr. Fe
suspend exercise thereof are stated. It was
Mallonga, a dentist at the Sir John Clinic and niece of
then provided in Article 332, supra, that:
both Dra. Ty and respondent Alviar, called the latter up
to discuss the possibility of turning over to her care one
of the several abandoned babies at the said clinic. The courts may deprive the parents
Respondent Alviar was told that this baby whose name of their authority . . . if they should
was unknown had long been abandoned by her parents treat their children with excessive
and appeared to be very small, very thin, and full of harshness . . . or abandon them. . . .
scabies. Taking pity on the baby, respondent Alviar and (Emphasis supplied by the RTC)
her mother, Maura Salacup Neri, decided to take care
of her. This baby was baptized at the Good Samaritan Unfortunately, the foregoing article, which
Church on April 30, 1988. Her Certificate of was under Title XI, parental authority, was
Baptism10 indicates her name to be Cristina Grace S. expressly repealed by Article 254 of the
Neri; her birthday to be April 30, 1987; her birthplace Family Code of the Philippines . . .
to be Quezon City; and her foster father and foster
mother to be Cicero Neri and Maura Salacup,
respectively. Respondent Alviar was invited by the xxx xxx xxx
National Bureau of Investigation for questioning on
September 22, 1992 in the presence of Dra. Ty and It can be seen, therefore, that the words "or
petitioner. Cristina was also brought along by said abandoned them" mentioned in Article 332 of
respondent. At that confrontation, Dra. Ty could not be the New Civil Code . . . is (sic) no longer
sure that Cristina was indeed petitioner's child, mentioned in the amending (of) Art. 231 of the
Arabella. Neither could petitioner with all certainty say Family Code of the Philippines.
that Cristina was her long lost daughter.

It is clear . . . that under the law presently


On October 13, 1992, petitioner filed a petition for the controlling, abandonment is no longer
issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Regional considered a compelling reason upon the basis
Trial Court11 of Quezon City. The trial court conducted of which the Court may separate the child
a total of eight (8) hearings, for the period, from October below seven (7) years old from the mother.
28, 1992 to December 11, 1992. On January 15, 1993, it
rendered a decision granting the Petition for Habeas
Corpus and ordering respondent Alviar to immediately Conceivably, however, in paragraph 6 of
deliver the person of Cristina Grace Neri to the Article 231, supra, the effects of culpable
petitioner, the court having found Cristina to be the negligence on the part of the parent may be
petitioner's long lost child, Arabella. considered by this Court in suspending
petitioner's parental authority over her
daughter, in question . . .
The trial court, in justification of its conclusions,
discussed that:
The question, therefore, is whether there is
culpable negligence on the part of the
On the issue of whether or not the minor petitioner so that her parental authority over
child, in question, is the daughter of the her child, in question, may at least be
petitioner, there seems to be no question, to suspended by this Court.
the mind of this Court, that the petitioner, is,
indeed, the mother of the child, registered by
the name of Arabella O. Sombong, per her This Court is not persuaded that the
Certificate of Birth . . . and later caused to be petitioner is guilty of culpable negligence vis-
baptized as Cristina Grace S. Nery (sic) . . . a-vis her daughter, in question, upon the
For, this child is the same child which was bases of the facts adduced. For, there is no
delivered by the Sir John Clinic at Kalookan question that from April, 1988 she kept on
demanding from Dra. Carmen Ty . . . the

50
return of her child to her but the latter Angelina Trono to identify the child in
refused even to see her or to talk to her. question. But both witnesses could not
Neither did Vicente Ty, the husband of Dra. positively declare that Cristina Neri is the
Carmen Ty, respond to her entreaties to same missing child Arabella Sombong of
return her daughter. petitioner. Dr. Trono even declared in court
that there were other babies left in the clinic
and that she could not be certain which baby
xxx xxx xxx
was given to respondents (pp. 48-49, tsn, Nov.
10, 1992). . . . Petitioner, herself, could not
Besides, in the interim, while petitioner was identify her own child, prompting the
looking for her daughter, she made respondent court to call for child Cristina Neri
representations for her recovery with to come forward near the bench for
Barangay Captains Alfonso and Bautista, and comparison of her physical features with that
Mayor Asistio, all of Kalookan City, as well as of her alleged mother, the petitioner (p. 32,
with Congresswoman Hortensia L. Starke to tsn, Nov. 5, 1992). After a comparison of
intervene in her behalf. petitioner and Cristina Neri's physical
features, the lower court found no similarity
It cannot be said, therefore, no matter how and to which petitioner agreed claiming that
remotely, that the petitioner was negligent, said child looked like her sister-in-law (p.
nay culpably, in her efforts for the recovery of 33, id.). When the lower court instructed
her daughter. petitioner to bring said sister-in-law in the
next hearing, petitioner stated they were not
on good terms (p. 34, id.) No one, therefore, up
xxx xxx xxx to this time has come forward to testify as a
witness in order to positively identify
Certainly, the respondents have no right to respondents' child Cristina Neri to be one and
the parental authority of the child, superior to the same as petitioner's missing child,
that of the petitioner as they are not her Arabella Sombong.
parents. They have, therefore, no right to the
custody of petitioner's daughter. The Sir John xxx xxx xxx
Clinic, or Dra. Carmen Ty, have (sic) no right
to deliver the child, in question, to Dra. Fe
Mallonga. Neither had the latter the right The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus does
and the authority to gave (sic) the child to the not lie in this case considering that petitioner
respondents, whose custody of petitioner's is not entitled to the custody of Cristina Neri
daughter is, consequently, illegal.12 because she is not the mother of the said
child, and does not have the right to have
custody over said child.
Herein private respondents filed an appeal from the
decision of the Regional Trial Court to the Court of
Appeals. The Appellate Court took cognizance of the xxx xxx xxx
following issues: (1) The propriety of the habeas
corpus proceeding vis-a-visthe problem respecting the We do not agree with the lower court that the
identity of the child subject of said proceeding; (2) If ground of abandonment of a child has been
indeed petitioner be the mother of the child in question, repealed by Art. 231 of the Family Code for
what the effect would proof of abandonment be under abandonment can also be included under the
the circumstances of the case; and (3) Will the question phrase "cases which have resulted from
of the child's welfare be the paramount consideration in culpable negligence of the parent" (par. 2, Art.
this case which involves child custody. 231 of the Family Code). What can be the
worst culpable negligence of a parent than
The Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the abandoning her own child. This court does not
decision of the trial court, ruling as it did that: believe petitioner-appellee's explanation that
she had been negotiating for the discharge of
her child for the past five years. That was too
. . . the lower court erred in sweepingly long a time for negotiation when she could
concluding that petitioner's child Arabella have filed immediately a complaint with the
Sombong and respondents' foster child authorities or the courts . . .
Cristina Neri are one and the same person to
warrant the issuance of the writ. . . .
As to the issue of the welfare of the child,
petitioner-appellee's capability to give her
As clearly stated in the facts of this case, not child the basic needs and guidance in life
even petitioner herself could recognize her appear (sic) to be bleak. Before the lower court
own child when respondents' foster child petitioner-appellee filed a motion to litigate as
Cristina Neri was presented to her before the pauper as she had no fixed income. She also
NBI and respondent court. Dr. Carmen Ty at admitted that she had no stable job, and she
the NBI investigation could not also ascertain had been separated from a man previously
whether or not Cristina Neri and petitioner's married to another woman. She also confessed
missing child are one and the same person. that she planned to go abroad and leave her
other child Johannes to the care of the nuns.
Before the lower court, petitioner-appellee The child Arabella Sombong wherever she is
presented two physicians from the Sir John certainly does not face a bright prospect with
Clinic, namely, Dr. Carmen Ty and Dr. petitioner-appellee.13

51
This prompted the petitioner to file this petition. petitioner to be relieved from unlawful imprisonment or
detention, as in the case of adults, but on the court's
view of the best interests of those whose welfare
We do not find the petition to be meritorious.
requires that they be in custody of one person or
another. Hence, the court is not bound to deliver a child
While we sympathize with the plight of petitioner who into the custody of any claimant or of any person, but
has been separated from her daughter for more than should, in the consideration of the facts, leave it in such
eight years, we cannot grant her the relief she is custody as its welfare at the time appears to require. In
seeking, because the evidence in this case does not short, the child's welfare is the supreme consideration.
support a finding that the child, Cristina, is in truth
and in fact her child, Arabella; neither is there
Considering that the child's welfare is an all-important
sufficient evidence to support the finding that private
factor in custody cases, the Child and Youth Welfare
respondents' custody of Cristina is so illegal as to
Code16unequivocally provides that in all questions
warrant the grant of a Writ of Habeas Corpus. In
regarding the care and custody, among others, of the
general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to
child, his welfare shall be the paramount
determine whether or not a particular person is legally
consideration.17 In the same vein, the Family Code
held. A prime specification of an application for a writ
authorizes the courts to, if the welfare of the child so
of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and effective, and
demands, deprive the parents concerned of parental
not merely nominal or moral, illegal restraint of liberty.
authority over the child or adopt such measures as may
"The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a
be proper under the circumstances.18
speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from
unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient
defense of personal freedom. A prime specification of an The foregoing principles considered, the grant of the
application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of writ in the instant case will all depend on the
liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ concurrence of the following requisites: (1) that the
of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of petitioner has the right of custody over the minor; (2)
involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, that the rightful custody of the minor is being withheld
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is from the petitioner by the respondent; and (3) that it is
illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of to the best interest of the minor concerned to be in the
action is sufficient."14 custody of petitioner and not that of the respondent.

Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ Not all of these requisites exist in this case. The
of habeas corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the dismissal of this petition is thus warranted.
nature of an illegal and involuntary deprivation of
freedom of action. This is the basic requisite under the
I
first part of Section 1, Rule 102, of the Revised Rules of
Court, which provides that "except as otherwise
expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas As to the question
corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or of identity.
detention by which any person is deprived of his
liberty." Petitioner does not have the right of custody over the
minor Cristina because, by the evidence disclosed before
In the second part of the same provision, the court a quo, Cristina has not been shown to be
however, Habeas Corpus may be resorted to in cases petitioner's daughter, Arabella. The evidence adduced
where "the rightful custody of any person is withheld before the trial court does not warrant the conclusion
from the person entitled thereto." Thus, although the that Arabella is the same person as Cristina. It will be
writ of Habeas Corpus ought not to be issued if the remembered that, in habeas corpus proceedings, the
restraint is voluntary, we have held time and again question of identity is relevant and material, subject to
that the said writ is the proper legal remedy to enable the usual presumptions including those as to identity of
parents to regain the custody of a minor child even if person.19 These presumptions may yield, however, to
the latter be in the custody of a third person of her own the evidence proffered by the parties.
free will.15
Identity may be thought of as a quality of a
It may even be said that in custody cases involving person or thing, — the quality of sameness
minors, the question of illegal and involuntary restraint with another person or thing. The essential
of liberty is not the underlying rationale for the assumption is that two persons or things are
availability of the writ as a remedy; rather, the writ first thought of as existing, and that then the
of habeas corpus is prosecuted for the purpose of one is alleged, because of common features, to
determining the right of custody over a child. be the same as the other.20

The controversy does not involve the question of Evidence must necessarily be adduced to prove that two
personal freedom, because an infant is presumed to be persons, initially thought of to be distinct and separate
in the custody of someone until he attains majority age. from each other, are indeed one and the same. The
In passing on the writ in a child custody case, the court process is both logical and analytical.
deals with a matter of an equitable nature. Not bound
by any mere legal right of parent or guardian, the court . . . it operates by comparing common marks
gives his or her claim to the custody of the child due found to exist in the two supposed separate
weight as a claim founded on human nature and objects of thought, with reference to the
considered generally equitable and just. Therefore, possibility of their being the same. It follows
these cases are decided, not on the legal right of the that its force depends on the necessariness of

52
the association between the mark and a single Good Samaritan Church on April 30, 1988, leads to the
object. Where a certain circumstance, feature, conclusion that Cristina is not Arabella.
or mark, may commonly be found associated
with a large number of objects, the presence of
Significantly, Justice Lourdes K. Tayao-Jaguros, herself
that feature or mark in two supposed objects
a mother and the ponente of the herein assailed
is little indication of their identity, because . .
decision, set the case for hearing on August 30, 1993
. the other conceivable hypotheses are so
primarily for the purpose of observing petitioner's
numerous, i.e., the objects that possess that
demeanor towards the minor Cristina. She made the
mark are numerous and therefore any two of
following personal but relevant manifestation:
them possessing it may well be different. But
where the objects possessing the mark are
only one or a few, and the mark is found in The undersigned ponente as a mother herself
two supposed instances, the chances of two of four children, wanted to see how petitioner
being different are "nil" or are comparatively as an alleged mother of a missing child
small. supposedly in the person of Cristina Neri
would react on seeing again her long lost
child. The petitioner appeared in the
Hence, in the process of identification of two
scheduled hearing of this case late, and she
supposed objects, by a common mark, the
walked inside the courtroom looking for a seat
force of the inference depends on the degree of
without even stopping at her alleged
necessariness of association of that mark with
daughter's seat; without even casting a glance
a single object.
on said child, and without even that tearful
embrace which characterizes the reunion of a
For simplicity's sake, the evidential loving mother with her missing dear child.
circumstance may thus be spoken of as "a Throughout the proceedings, the
mark." But in practice it rarely occurs that undersigned ponente noticed no signs of
the evidential mark is a single circumstance. endearment and affection expected of a
The evidencing feature is usually a group of mother who had been deprived of the embrace
circumstances, which as a whole constitute a of her little child for many years. The
feature capable of being associated with a conclusion or finding of
single object. Rarely can one circumstance undersigned ponente as a mother, herself,
alone be so inherently peculiar to a single that petitioner-appellee is not the mother of
object. It is by adding circumstance to Cristina Neri has been given support by
circumstance that we obtain a composite aforestated observation . . .22
feature or mark which as a whole cannot be
supposed to be associated with more than a
The process of constructing an inference of identity
single object.
having earlier been explained to consist of adding one
circumstance to another in order to obtain a composite
The process of constructing an inference of feature or mark which as a whole cannot be supposed to
identity thus consists usually in adding be associated with more than a single object, the
together a number of circumstances, each of reverse is also true, i.e., when one circumstance is
which by itself might be a feature of many added to another, and the result is a fortification of the
objects, but all of which together make it more corporeality of each of the two objects the identity of
probable that they co-exist in a single object which is being sought to be established, the nexus of
only. Each additional circumstance reduces circumstances correspondingly multiply the chances of
the chances of there being more than one there being more than one object so associated. This is
object so associated.21 the situation that confronts us in this case, and so the
inevitable but sad conclusion that we must make is that
petitioner has no right of custody over the minor
In the instant case, the testimonial and circumstantial
Cristina, because Cristina is not identical with her
proof establishes the individual and separate existence
missing daughter Arabella.
of petitioner's child, Arabella, from that of private
respondents' foster child, Cristina.
II
We note, among others, that Dr. Trono, who is
petitioner's own witness, testified in court that, Private respondents
together with Arabella, there were several babies left in not unlawfully
the clinic and so she could not be certain whether it was withholding custody.
Arabella or some other baby that was given to private
respondents. Petitioner's own evidence shows that,
Since we hold that petitioner has not been established
after the confinement of Arabella in the clinic in 1987,
by evidence to be entitled to the custody of the minor
she saw her daughter again only in 1989 when she
Cristina on account of mistaken identity, it cannot be
visited the clinic. This corroborates the testimony of
said that private respondents are unlawfully
petitioner's own witness, Dra. Ty, that Arabella was
withholding from petitioner the rightful custody over
physically confined in the clinic from November, 1987 to
Cristina. At this juncture, we need not inquire into the
April, 1989. This testimony tallies with her assertion in
validity of the mode by which private respondents
her counter-affidavit to the effect that Arabella was in
acquired custodial rights over the minor, Cristina. This
the custody of the hospital until April, 1989. All this,
matter is not ripe for adjudication in this instant
when juxtaposed with the unwavering declaration of
petition for habeas corpus.
private respondents that they obtained custody of
Cristina in April, 1988 and had her baptized at the
III

53
Private respondents
have the interest of
the child Cristina at
heart.

We find that private respondents are financially,


physically and spiritually in a better position to take
case of the child, Cristina. They have the best interest
of Cristina at heart. On the other hand, it is not to the
best interest of the minor, Cristina, to be placed in the
custody of petitioner, had the petitioner's custody rights
over Cristina been established. The Court of Appeals
gave the reason:

As to the issue of the welfare of the child,


petitioner-appellee's capability to give her
child the basic needs and guidance in life
appear (sic) to be bleak. Before the lower court
petitioner-appellee filed a motion to litigate as
pauper as she had no fixed income. She also
admitted that she had no stable job, and she
had been separated from a man previously
married to another woman. She also confessed
that she planned to go abroad and leave her
other child Johannes to the care of the nuns.
The child Arabella Sombong wherever she is
certainly does not face a bright prospect with
petitioner-appellee.23

In the light of the aforegoing premises, we are


constrained to rule that Habeas Corpus does not lie to
afford petitioner the relief she seeks.

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 30574 is AFFIRMED IN
TOTO. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

54