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CASE NO. 002-2011

REPRESENTATIVES NIH C. TUPAS, JR., JOSEPH EMILIO A. ABAYA, LORENZO R. TANADA, III, REYNALDO V. UMALI, ARLENE J. BAG-AO (other complainants comprising one third (1/3) of the total Members of the House of Representatives as are indicated below.)
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The HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, through its PROSECUTORS, in accordance with the Honorable Court's directive during the hearing held on 7 February 2012/ by way of this Memorandum, respectfully submits:

On 7 February 2012, the Honorable Court ordered the Prosecution to submit a legal Memorandum on the powers of the Chief Justice of control and supervision over the members of the Supreme Court.

The Role and Function of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

"Let me start off by saying that the Chief Justice has two major roles: first, he is the highest magistrate of the land, the primus inter pares (the first among equals) among the fifteen members of the Supreme Court; and second, he is the leader of the entire judicial branch of government composed of about 2.000 justices and judges plus about 26.000 employees nationwide; as well as of the Philippine bar composed of about 40.000 lawyers. As primus inter pares, the Chief Justice presides over all en bane sessions of the Supreme Court. He is thus able to control the flow of the proceedings. He shapes the Court's agenda. opens the discussion of the cases and summarizes the arguments. Nonetheless, like his fourteen colleagues, he has only one vote. So, it is by his moral ascendancy and persuasive skills, not by any boss-subordinate relationship, that the Chief Justice leads the Supreme Court. On the other hand, the Chief Justice is also the Chief Executive Officer of the entire judiciary. Outside the realm of decision-making in the Supreme Court in whieh he has one solitary vote. the Chief Justice is the unquestioned administrative boss of the entire Judicial Department of government; nothing happens without his say-so. But more than a boss. he is the leader of the judiciary. The 2,000 justices and judges, as well as the 26,000 court personnel all over the country, hold him up for inspiration and example. Indeed, the Chief Justice is looked up to as the leader who inspires, motivates, and leads other officials to work unceasingly, to rise above their puny limitations, to excel beyond themselves, and to achieve collectively their loftiest dreams and highest aspirations." (emphasis supplied) 2

1. In these terms does former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban describe the influence and pivotal role of the Chief Justice within the Court he leads. Indeed, in the recent case of De
Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council,3 Justice Brion's separate opinion instructs us that "(tlhe

Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary in the same manner that the President is the Chief Executive and the Senate President and the Speaker of the House head the two Houses of Congress." xxx

Panganiban, Artemio V., Visionary Leadership By Example, February 7, 2007. Available (last accessed February 12, 2012). 'G.R. No. 191002, 17 March 2010


2. It should be added too that the Chief Justice holds the power of the purse, having the exclusive power to disburse millions of pesos of the Judicial Development Fund (JDF)4 and the Special Allowance for the Judiciary.s

3. In more particular terms, the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court (the "SC Internal Rules,,)6 which "govern the internal operations of the Supreme Court and guide its exercise of judicial and administrative functions x x x" provide the functions ofthe Chief Justice.

4. Under Section 1, Rule 2 of the SC Internal Rules, the activities of the Supreme Court are
administered under the leadership of the Chief Justice, to wit:

"Section 1. Exercise of judicial and administrative functions. - The Court exercises its judicial functions and its powers of administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel through the Court en banc or its Divisions. It administers its activities under the leadership of the Chief Justice. who may, for this purpose, constitute supervisory or special committees headed by individual Members of the Court or working committees of court officials and personnel." (emphasis supplied)

5. The numerous functions of the Chief Justice under the SC Internal Rules include the following:

5.1. He chairs the sessions of the court on en bane matters and cases (See: Section 2, Rule 2); 5.2. At his call, he reorganizes the Divisions when a new member is appointed. He is also given the prerogative to consider factors other than seniority in the composition of Divisions (or Division assignments) (See: Section 8, Rule 2); He designates the members of the permanent Committees in the Supreme Court such as the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, Security, Bids and Awards, and others (See: Section 12, Rule 2);


Presidential Decree 1949, Establishing A Judiciary Development Fund And For Other Purposes (1984). Republic Act 9227, An Act Granting Additional Compensation In The Form Of Special Allowances For Justices, Judges And All Other Positions In The Judiciary With The Equivalent Rank Of Justices Of The Court Of Appeals And Judges OfThe Regional Trial Court, And For Other Purpose (2003). 6 A.M. No. 1-4-20-5C.
4 5

5.4. He establishes and chairs the Supreme Court's Ethics Committee (See: Section 12, Rule 2); He designates the positions for members of the Supreme Court in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (See: Section 13, Rule 2); He designates from among the members of the Supreme Court on the basis of seniority, the two (2) raffle committees (See: Section 2, Rule 7); He receives the report of the Clerk of Court on the classification of cases for raffle (See: Section 4, Rule 7); He may direct or order the conduct of a special raffle when advised by the Clerk of Court that an initiatory pleading prays for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or an urgent and extraordinary writs, and the case cannot be included in the special raffle (See: Section 6, Rule 7); He may act when the Supreme Court is in recess and "the urgency of the case requires immediate action" (See: Section 6[g], Rule 7);






5.10. When a member of the Supreme Court is on leave or there is a vacancy in a Division, he designates another member from the other Divisions by rotation, according to reverse order of seniority to be acting member (See: Section 4, Rule 8); 5.11. His office is the repository of rollos7. It is where the Rollo Room is located and all rollos are kept (See: Section 2, Rule 9); 5.12. He assigns consolidated cases to the Member-in-Charge to whom the case having the lower or lowest docket number has been raffled, subject to equalization of case load by raffle; (See: Section 5, Rule 9); In case of a lost rollo, he directs the Judicial Records Office to reconstitute 5.13. the rollo (See: Section 6, Rule 9); 5.14. He records the action(s} taken in each case for transmittal to the Clerk of Court after each session. His notes are the bases of the minutes of the sessions (See: Section 2, Rule 10); 5.15. He approves the Minutes of any session (See: Section 8, Rule 11);

5.16. He accepts dissenting, separate or concurring opinions (See: Section 7, Rule 13); 5.17. In all decided cases whether by the Court en bone or by a Division, he issues a certification regarding the conduct of consultation among the members of the Court and the assignment of the writing of the decision to a member after such consultation (See: Section 8, Rule 13);

Section 1, Rule 9 provides: "The rolla of a case. The original of all pleadings, communications, documents and other papers filed by the parties shall be encased in a rollo, which shall serve as their official repository for purposes of the case. The roJ/a shall be properly and sequentially paginated by the Docket Division of the Judicial Records Office to prevent intercalation or detachment of a page."

5.18. The original of all decisions and resolutions, as well as separate, concurring or dissenting opinions are submitted to him accompanied by electronic copies (See: Section 9, Rule 13); He is informed of the promulgation of a decision or resolution within 5.19. twenty four (24) hours thereof (See: Section 2, Rule 14); 5.20. He directs the Staff Head to deliver immediately the electronic copy of the decision or resolution to the Management Information System Office (MISO) (See: Section 3, Rule 14); He decides on policy considerations and determination of matters and 5.21. issues;(See: Section 3(e), Rule 4) 5.22. He may authorize the correction of typographical errors discovered after the promulgation of a decision or resolution (See: Section 1, Rule 17).

6. In relation to the third Article of Impeachment against Chief Justice Corona, the follOWing powers and functions of the Chief Justice are directly relevant:

6.1. He may direct the immediate inclusion of any matter in the agenda (Section 2, Rule 11); 6.2. He provides the Clerk of Court with his notes on the actions taken by the Court. The copy of the Agenda containing his handwritten notes shall serve as the basis for the preparation of the minutes of the session by the Office of the Clerk of Court (See: Section 3, Rule 11); 6.3. He approves the draft minutes of the sessions of the Court. Extended resolutions showing the actions of the Court on the cases on the agenda are released to the parties only after he has approved the minutes in writing (See: Section 4, Rule 11); 6.4. He gives the final approval to any minute resolution. Also, he may direct the preparation of unsigned extended resolutions and approve the same. He also orders the Clerk of Court to release duly approved minute and unsigned extended resolutions (See: Section 6, Rule 11).

The FASAP Case

7. It is recalled that in FASAP v. Philippine Airlines, Inc., et al. docketed as G.R. No. 178083 (the "FASAP Case"), the Supreme Court had issued a Decision dated 22 July 2008 holding

that the retrenchment effected by Philippine Air Lines ("PAL") in 1998 of more than one thousand four hundred (1,400) of its flight attendants was illegal.

8. Subsequently, that Decision dated 22 July 2008 became final after the Supreme Court denied, with finality, PAL's motions for reconsideration, explicitly stating that "no further pleadings will be entertained." These denials are contained in Resolutions issued by the
Supreme Court in the FASAP case (G.R. No. 178083) dated 02 October 2009 and 07

September 2011.

9. The Decision of the FASAP case would have, in the normal course of things, remained undisturbed were it not for letters written and sent by Atty. Estelito Mendoza to the Supreme Court on four (4) dates, namely September 13, 16, 20 and 22, all of 2011. Respondent Corona was given copies of 3 of the 4 letters written by Atty. Mendoza.

9.1. Significantly, Atty. Estelito Mendoza is the same person who filed A.M. No. 10-2-S-SC which, consolidated with other cases in De Castro v. ludicial and Bar Council (supra), gave occasion for the Supreme Court to declare as legal the appointment as Chief Justice of respondent Renato C. Corona.

9.2. More telling, previous to writing the letters starting on September 13, 2011, Atty. Estelito Mendoza was not the lawyer of PAL in the FASAP case and never represented the airline since the FASAP case started in 1998.

10. The Supreme Court, through an Order rendered by a division, required FASAP to furnish PAL with copies of the letters which the members of FASAP individually sent to the justices. The Order was not considered as an administrative matter, but was considered as a matter to be resolved under the main case, G.R. No. 178083. Against established norm and despite

defying all reasonable expectations, the letters of Atty. Mendoza were successfully included in the agenda of the Supreme Court en bane as evidenced by the Court's Resolution dated 04 October 2011 (hereinafter "the October 4, 2011 Resolution") under his control and not as a matter under the main case G.R. No. 178083 (which is already under the control of a particular division).

11 .. Given that the Decision in the FASAP case was already final and moreover, that no further pleading would be entertained, the letters sent by Atty. Mendoza should never have been considered, much less acted upon by the Court en bane. Further, it is curious that the

letters did not retain the docket number of the FASAP case (i.e. G.R. No. 178083) but were assigned a docket number reserved for Administrative Matters, i.e. A.M. No. 11-10-1-SC.8 This is highly irregular and causes confusion. And yet, had the letters remained as part of G.R. No. 178083, it would have been addressed and resolved by the Division to which it was assigned - with little justification for the participation of the Chief Justice. With a "new" Administrative Matter however, the Chief Justice could now justify his participation, allowing the matter to be placed in the Court's agenda prior to its being accepted by the Court en bane.

12. It should be pointed out that two (2) unsanctioned personal letters were submitted to the Supreme Court Clerk of Court by Estelito Mendoza, PAL's lawyer. In the letters dated 13 and 29 September 2011, Atty. Mendoza asked for the following confidential information from the Clerk of Court: (a) the identity of the present Member-in-Charge of the FASAP case; (b) the circumstance by which the Member-in-Charge was designated; and (c) the names ofthe Members of the Supreme Court who participated in the deliberation and voted on the

Resolution dated 7 September 2011.

The matter was entitled Re: Letters oj Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza re: G.R. No. 178083 - Flight Attendants and Stewards Association oj the Philippines (FASAP) v. Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL), Patria Chiong et 01.

13. Clearly, the letters sent by PAL's counsel were seeking for only one request - be advised on the names of the members of the Court who deliberated and voted on the Resolution denying PAL's Second Motion for Reconsideration. The letters were bereft of any Thus, being

statement regarding the authority of the division to issue the Resolution.

merely an administrative proceeding, the respondent-led en bane should have acted in its administrative capacity and should have limited the discussion on whether to advise PAL's counsel on the names of the members of the Court who deliberated and voted on the Resolution. It cannot touch upon the final Resolution in G.R. No 178083 which is an entirely separate case, unless both are consolidated.

Respondent Chief Justice'$ participation in the FASAP case

14. In this matter of Renpto C. Corona's participation in the FASAP case, it is critical to remember that in his Answer to the Verified Complaint, Corona asserts that he "took no part in the FASAP eaSIi/, having inhibited since 2008.,,9 This is untrue and is contrary to documentary evidenc,. namely the October 4. 2011 Resolution itself. On its face, the Resolution shows that respondent Corona took part in the decision to recall the final and executory judgment in the FASAP case inasmuch as it indicates only Justices Carpio, Velasco, Jr., leonardo-De Castro, Del Castillo and Brion to have taken no part therein. Further, as the Resolution is iSSUEld by the Court en bane, it was released only with the approval of the Chief Justice (Rule 11, section 4 of the SC Internal Rules). Thus, the participation of the Chief Justice in the FASAP case is readily shown, and his subsequent prevarication on the matter, proved.

15. Aside from Corona's participation in the issuance of the October 4, 2011 resolution, there is yet another set of falsities in Corona's Answer relative to Article 3 of the Impeachment Complaint. According to Corona, "(t)he Supreme Court uniformly treats all letters as official

Answer, page 37.

communications that it must act on when warranted. The practice is that all letters are endorsed to the proper division or the Supreme Court en bane to which their subject matters are pending. No letter to the Supreme Court is treated in secret."

16. And yet, all of Atty. Mendoza's letters were kept secret from FASAP and its counsel. FASAP was never given an opportunity to read them, much less comment on them. As it turned out, FASAP knew about the letters written by Atty. Mendoza only after the Supreme Court
en bane had already considered and acted on them.

17. The reason for the denial of FASAP's right to notice and opportunity to comment is apparent. The respondent, acted upon the letters of PAL's counsel in an administrative matter (A.M. No. 11-10-1-SC) so that the main case (G.R. No. 178083) will not attain finality. The 7 September 2011 Resolution denying PAL's 2nd Motion for Reconsideration (which was recalled by the Supreme Court en bane) was received by both PAL and FASAP on 19 September 2011. According to the Rules of Court, the said Resolution would have been final and executory after fifteen (15) days from the receipt thereof of both parties or after 04 October 2011. 10 Therefore, the Supreme Court had only until the very last day of 4 October 2011 to act on the case. And this is exactly what respondent Chief Justice did at the expense of the right of FASAP to notice and opportunity to comment.

18. Thus, (1) the fact that the mere letters of Atty. Mendoza were considered, (2) that they were not assigned to the Division which decided G.R. No. 178083, (3) that they were made to appear in the agenda of the Supreme Court en bane as an Administrative Matter, and worst or all (4) that they were kept from FASAP and its counsel all the while 10 Section 1, Rule 52 of the Rules of Court states that "[a] party may file a motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution within fifteen (15) days from notice thereof, with proof of service on the adverse party." In relation thereto, Section 2, Rule 36 states that "If no appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, the judgment or final order shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of judgments." Thus, the 7 September 2011 Resolution should have become final and executory and should have been entered in the book of entries of judgment on 04 October 2011 had it not been for the Order of the Supreme Court en bane recalling the said Resolution promulgated on the same day.

depriving them an opportunity to be heard, all these evince Corona's manifest partialitv. failure to act with integrity and independence as a member of judiciary.

19. But this is not all. The most pernicious aspects ofthe October 4,2011 Resolution, the ONLY Resolution in which Corona openly participates. is apparent from a reading of its contents: RESOLUTION Pursuant to Section 3 (m) and (n), Rule II of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the Court En Bane resolves to accept G.R. No. 178083 (Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines [FASAP] v. Philippine Airlines. Inc. [PAL], Patria Chiong et al.) and to take cognizance thereof. The Court En Bane further resolves to recall the resolution dated September 7, 2011 issued by the Second Division in this case. The Court furthermore resolves to re-raffle this case to a new Member-In-Charge. (Carpio, Velasco. Jr., Leonardo De Castro and Del Castillo, JJ., no part. Brion, J., no part insofar as the re-raffle is concerned.)

20. Thus, the October 4, 2011 Resolution had the intent and effect of defeating the final Decision in the FASAP case in favor of the flight attendants by recalling the Court's two earlier Resolutions denying PAL's Motions for ReconsiderationY In this way, the October

4, 2011 Resolution - with the participation of Corona as Chief Justice - prevented the execution of the Decision in the FASAP case. Thus, in shOWing manifest partiality towards mere letters written by Atty. Mendoza, respondent Corona causes grave injustice to the 1,400 employees who - after 14 years of legal struggle - continue to pray that at long last, they may see justice finally fulfilled.

The Chief Justice as the head and leader of the highest court

21. In fine, the Chief Justice had special opportunities to exercise influence to steer the court in the proper direction. As primus inter pares and as the leader of the entire Judiciary, he has

Dated October 2, 2009 and September 7, 2011.

the power to direct the agenda and the flow of discussion, provide alternatives to the issues at hand, and control the release of documents. This goes into his specific acts regarding his participation despite prior inhibition and his express statements and instructions.

22. Chief Justice Corona, being the head of the highest court of the land, is obliged to uphold the law and ensure that his department does not transgress any rights in the same way as the heads of the other departments of the government are mandated to ensure that their respective departments do not incur violations of the law (Le. President, Senate President and Speaker of the House).

23. The importance of the power of administrative supervision by the Chief Justice of the Philippines has been discussed in recent jurisprudence, 12 viz: "Under Section 6 of Article VIII of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is granted the power of administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof. Pursuant to this power, the Court issues administrative circulars and memoranda to promote the efficient and effective administration of justice xxx Through these circulars, memoranda and administrative matters and cases, the Court likewise interprets laws relevant to its power of supervision. (CONSTITUTION, Article VIII, Section, 6.)The Court likewise issues rules concerning, among others, the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the Integrated Bar. (/d., Article VIII, Section 5(5).) xxx xxx xxx

An administrative matter that is entered in the Court's docket is either an administrative case (A.C.) or an administrative matter (A.M.) submitted to the Court for its consideration and action pursuant to its power of supervision. An A.C. involves disciplinary and other actions over members of the Bar, based on the Court's supervision over them arising from the Supreme Court's authority to promulgate rules relating to the admission to the practice of law and to the Integrated Bar. Closely related to A.C. cases are the Bar Matter (B.M.) cases particularly involving admission to the practice of law.(CONSTITUTION, Article VIII, Section 5(5).) An A.M. is a matter based on the Supreme Court's power of supervision: under Section 6, Article VIII. this refers to the Court's administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof xxx xxx xxx xxx


Brion, Separate Opinion, De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council, G.R. No. 191002, 17 March 2010

The Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary in the same manner that the President is the Chief Executive and the Senate President and the Speaker of the House head the two Houses of Congress. xxx More than the vote, Court deliberation is the core of the decision-making process and one voice less is not only a vote less but a contributed opinion, an observation, or a cautionary word less for the Court. One voice can be a big difference if the missing voice is that of the Chief Justice. Without meaning to demean the capability of an Acting Chief Justice, the ascendancy in the Court of a permanent sitting Chief Justice cannot be equaled. He is the first among equals - a primus inter pares - who sets the tone for the Court and the Judiciary, and who is looked up to on all matters, whether administrative or judicial. To the world outside the Judiciary, he is the personification of the Court and the whole Judiciary. And this is not surprising since, as Chief Justice, he not only chairs the Court en banc, but chairs as well the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that sits in judgment over election disputes affecting the President and the Vice-President. Outside of his immediate Court duties, he sits as Chair of the Judicial and Bar Council, the Philippine Judicial Academy and, by constitutional command, presides over the impeachment of the President. (CONSTITUTION, Article XI, Section 2(6).) To be sure, the Acting Chief Justice may be the ablest, but he is not the Chief Justice without the mantle and permanent title of the Office, and even his presence as Acting Chief Justice leaves the Court with one member less. Sadly, this member is the Chief Justice; even with an Acting Chief Justice, the Judiciary and the Court remain headless." (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

24. As a personification of the Court and the entire judiciary, the Chief Justice is duty-bound to ensure that the Court does not figure in any instance of judicial conduct which may irreparably damage the moral authority of the Court. This is his primordial duty as the head of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. By allowing the recall of an otherwise final and executory decision, Chief Justice Corona affixed his imprimatur on a violation by the Supreme Court of the tenets of judicial ethics and brought the Court into disrepute.

25. The nature of the office of the Chief Justice cannot be overemphasized. His term of office is longer compared to the terms of the members of the Executive Department and the Legislative Department. Members of these two departments are subject to the mechanisms of removal, recall, and election, and in certain instances impeachment. Respondent Chief Justice Corona is only subject to impeachment; this is the check and balance mandated by the Constitution.

26. Corona will enjoy the longest term since 1961 as the Chief Justice of the Philippines; in the 110-year history of the Supreme Court, only three chief justices had terms longer than his.13 By the time Corona retires, he would have been a member of the SC for 16 years.

27. The proper administration of justice and public confidence in the rule of law will be
compromised if the Chief Justice is left to take advantage of his office. It is the responsibility of the Senate Impeachment Court to give life to the power of the sovereign to inquire into the conduct of an impeachable officer and remove him for the public interest.

WHEREFORE, the House of Representatives prays that this Honorable Court NOTE the instant Memorandum.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITIED Pasay City, Metro Manila, February 11, 2012.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Republic of the Philippines Ambrosio Padilla Hall 2 nd Floor, GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City By:

AR ENE 'KA rosecutor

Copy Furnished: Justice Serafin R. Cuevas (Ret.) et al. Counsel for Respondent Chief Justice Renato Corona Suite 1902 Security Bank Centre 6776 Ayala Avenue Makati City, Philippines 1226


Panganiban, Transforming the Court, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 December 2010.