2012 significant cases of SC - 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES THE COURTS WORK ADJUDICA TION ADJUDICATION Article VIII section 1

2012 significant cases of SC - 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME...

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Unformatted text preview: 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES THE COURT’S WORK ADJUDICA TION ADJUDICATION Article VIII, section 1 of the 1987 Constitution vests the judicial power in “one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.” A primary aspect of the judicial power is adjudication, which includes the “duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.” In 2012, the Court, sitting En Banc and in division, promulgated the following Decisions, pursuant to its work of adjudication. GR No. 199486, Cosalan v v.. Domogan, January 17, 2012 (En Banc Resolution) The Supreme Court issued a writ of kalikasan and temporary environmental protection order directing the Baguio City local government, headed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas, to “cease and desist from making use of the Irisan dump site either as a temporary holding/staging area or as a dumping or controlled area for any and all kinds of solid waste.” The Court issued the writ after a petition was filed against the city government due to a trash slide in 2011 that claimed six lives. 79 80 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES GR Nos. 177857-58, COCOFED v v.. Republic; GR v.. Republic, January 24, 2012, No. 178193, Ursua v En Banc The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Sandiganbayan ruling that reconveyed to the government San Miguel Corporation (SMC) shares in the aggregate amount of P1.656 billion bought using coconut levy funds. These shares had been registered in the names of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and its holding companies. It denied the consolidated petitions of the Philippine Coconut Producers Federation Inc. (COCOFED), et al. and Danilo S. Ursua, former COCOFED officer, assailing the anti-graft court’s ruling that, among others, declared the coco levy fund-bought SMC shares as public funds. GR No. 164197, Securities and Exchange Commission v .Com, Inc., January 25, v.. Prosperity Prosperity.Com, 2012, Third Division The Supreme Court sustained the application of the Howey Test in determining the existence of an investment contract so as to require registration before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursuant to the Securities Regulation Code (SRC). It unanimously held that Prosperity.Com, Inc. (PCI)’s scheme in selling its computer software is more akin to network marketing rather than an investment contract. GR No. 185124, Republic v v.. Rural Bank of Kabacan Inc., January 25, 2012, Second Division The Supreme Court excluded the value of excavated soil from the payment for just compensation to the owners of expropriated properties in Cotabato used by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) for its MalitubogMarigadao Irrigation Project in 1994. Upholding the ruling of the Court of Appeals Twenty-First (21st) Division which had deleted the inclusion of the value of the excavated soil in the payment for just compensation, the Court held that there was no legal basis to separate the value of the excavated soil from that of the expropriated properties as the soil has no value separate from that of the expropriated land. GR No. 187107, United Claimants Association of NEA v v.. NEA, January 31, 2012, En Banc The Supreme Court upheld the National Electrification Administration (NEA) Termination Pay Plan, affirming the power of NEA to terminate its employees as provided in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA Law). It held that under Rule 33, sec. 3(b)(ii) of the EPIRA Law Implementing Rules and Regulations, all NEA employees shall be considered legally terminated with the implementation of a reorganization program pursuant to a law enacted by Congress or pursuant to Sec. 5(a)(5) of PD 269, the law creating the NEA. Sec. 5(a)(5) of PD 269 gives NEA the power to organize or reorganize its staffing structure. GR No. 153304-05, People v v.. Sandiganbayan, February 7, 2012, En Banc The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Sandiganbayan dismissing two cases of malversation of public funds against former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos and two other former government officials. It dismissed the petition filed by the People of the Philippines assailing the decision of the Sandiganbayan which had granted the demurrers to evidence filed by Marcos, together with Jose Conrado Benitez, and Rafael Zagala, former Minister and Deputy Minister, respectively, of the Ministry of Human Settlements (MHS). It ruled that as a grant of demurrer to evidence amounts to a judgment of acquittal brought about by the dismissal of the case for insufficiency of evidence, any further prosecution of the accused would violate the 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES constitutional proscription on double jeopardy, except on two grounds: (1) grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and/or (2) where there is a denial of a party’s due process rights. GR No. 171701, Republic v v.. Marcos-Manotoc, February 8, 2012, Second Division The Supreme Court reinstated the children of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos, namely, Ma. Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos-Manotoc, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., and Irene R. Marcos-Araneta, as defendants in the ill-gotten wealth case in connection with the Marcoses’ accumulation of at least P200 billion and use of the media networks IBC-13, BBC2, and RPN-9 for the family’s personal benefit, among others, now pending before the Sandiganbayan. This even as it found wanting the conduct of the prosecution of the case by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). GR No. 193978, Galicto v v.. Pres. Aquino III, February 28, 2012, En Banc The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a petition to nullify and enjoin the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No. 7 issued by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino precluding the grant and release of bonuses and allowances to the Board of Directors of government-owned and –controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions and increase of salary rates and new or additional benefits and allowances to GOCC and GFI employees. GR No. 151258, Villareal v v.. People; GR No. v.. CA; GR No. 155101, Dizon v v.. 154954, People v People; GR Nos. 178057 and 178080, Villa v v.. Escalona, February 1, 2012, Second Division The Supreme Court modified the offenses of several of the accused in the cases involving the hazing death of Leonardo “Lenny” Villa in 1991. It modified the appealed judgment of the Court of Appeals (CA) in GR No. 155101 finding petitioner Fidelito Dizon guilty of homicide and that in GR No. 154954 finding Antonio Mariano Almeda, Junel Anthony Ama, Renato Bantug, Jr., and Vincent Tecson guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries by instead holding all five guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. It sentenced each to suffer an indeterminate prison term of four months and one day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four years and two months of 81 82 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES moot and academic when there is no more actual controversy between the parties or no useful purpose can be served in passing upon the merits of the case. Nieto, a member of Philcomsat Holdings Corporation (PHC)’s Board of Directors, challenged the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to annul the orders of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directing the PHC to convene its annual stockholders’ meeting. er, March 14, 2012, GR No. 166216, Aberca v v.. V Ver Third Division The Supreme Court ruled that former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Fabian Ver and other subordinate AFP officers were deprived of procedural due process when they were declared by the trial court in default based on a defective mode of service, i.e., service of notice to file answer by publication in a case for damages filed by former military detainees. Consequently, it affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) directing the remand of the case to the lower court for further proceedings. prision correccional, as maximum. In addition, it ordered them jointly and severally to pay the heirs of Lenny Villa P50,000 civil indemnity ex delicto, P1,000,000 moral damages, plus legal interest on all damages awarded at the rate of 12% from the date of the finality of its decision until satisfaction, and costs de oficio. Villa’s death eventually led to the passage in 1995 of RA 8049 (the Anti-Hazing Law) criminalizing hazing. GR Nos. 162335 & 162605, Manotok v v.. Heirs of Homer L. Barque, March 6, 2012, En Banc Denying with finality the motions for reconsideration of its August 24, 2010 decision, the Supreme Court made final its ruling that the National Government owns 342,945-square meter property in Lot 823 of the Piedad Estate, Quezon City fought over by the Manotoks, the Barques, and the Manahans. GR No. 190293, Fortun v v.. Pres. Arroyo; GR v.. Ermita ; GR No. No. 190294, Dilangalen v 190301, Colmenares v v.. Pres. Arroyo; GR No. 190302, Loyola v v.. Pres. Arroyo; GR No. 190307, Salonga v v.. Pres. Arroyo ; GR No. 190356, Mantawil v v.. Executive Secretary ; GR No. 190380, Monsod v v.. Ermita, March 20, 2012, En Banc The Supreme Court dismissed for being moot and academic seven consolidated petitions assailing Presidential Proclamation 1959, issued on December 4, 2011 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the Province of Maguindanao, except for identified areas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The subject proclamation was issued in the wake of the “Maguindanao Massacre,” where 57 people were gunned down on a desolate highway by armed men believed to be led by the ruling family in Maguindanao, the Ampatuans. GR No. 175263, Nieto, Jr Jr.. v v.. SEC, March 14, 2012, Second Division GR Nos. 147036-37, Pambansang Koalisyon ng mga Samahang Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan (PKSMMN) v. Executive Secretary; Amor v GR No. 14781 1, v.. Executive 147811, Secretary, April 10, 2012; En Banc Dismissing the petition filed by former Philippine Ambassador to Spain Manuel H. Nieto, Jr., the Supreme Court held that a case becomes The Court reaffirmed its previous pronouncements that coco-levy funds are public funds and are in the nature of taxes. It declared 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES Executive Order 312 ( Establishing the Erap’s Sagip Niyugan Program as an Emergency Measure to Alleviate the Plight of Coconut Farmers Adversely Affected by Low Prices of Copra and Other Coconut Products, and Providing Funds Therefor) and Executive Order 313 (Rationalizing the Use of the Coconut Levy Funds by Constituting a ‘Fund for Assistance to Coconut Farmers’ as an Irrevocable Trust Fund and Creating a Coconut Trust Fund Committee for the Management Thereof) as unconstitutional for being in contravention of P.D. 1445 and the Constitution. GR No. 171 101, Hacienda Luisita, Inc. v v.. 171101, Presidential Agrarian Reform Council; April 24, 2012 2012, En Banc The Court denied the Motion to Clarify and Reconsider Resolution of November 22, 2011 filed by petitioner Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) and the Motion for Reconsideration/ Clarification filed by Noel Mallari, Julio Suniga, Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. and Windsor Andaya. It also declared the 05 July 2011 Decision, as modified by the 22 November 2011 Resolution and further modified by the instant Resolution, final and executory. IN ITS DECISION, THE COURT RULED IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: 1. In determining the date of “taking,” the Court voted 8-6 to maintain the ruling fixing November 21, 1989 as the date of “taking,” the value of the affected lands to be determined by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); 2. On the propriety of the revocation of the option of the Farmworker-Beneficiaries (FWBs)to remain as HLI stockholders, the Court, by unanimous vote, agreed to reiterate its ruling in its November 22, 2011 Resolution that the option granted to the FWBs stays revoked; the government, through the DAR, to pay to HLI the just compensation for the homelots thus distributed to the FWBS. GR No. 164987, Lawyers Against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP) v v.. The Secretary of Budget and Management, April 24, 2012 2012, En Banc The Court upheld the constitutionality of the implementation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as provided for in Republic Act 9206 or the General Appropriations Act of 2004. The Court held that the direct allocation and release of PDAF to Members of Congress based on their list of projects did not violate the Constitution and the laws. GR No. 191970, Jalosjos v v.. COMELEC, April 24, 2012, En Banc The Court held that COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in ruling that Rommel Jalosjos failed to sufficiently establish his domicile. It ruled that Jalosjos has met the residency requirement for Provincial Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay. Moreover, since Jalosjos has already won, the Court stated it would respect the decision of the people and resolve all doubts in his favor to give life to the peoples’ will. illar, April 24, 2012 GR No. 192791, Funa v v.. V Villar 2012, En Banc The case, although rendered moot and academic by the resignation of Reynaldo A. Villar, was still considered by the Court for the guidance of the bench, the bar and the public. The Court held that the appointment of Commissioner Villar to the position of the Chairman of the Commission of Audit to replace Guillermo Carage was unconstitutional for violation of Section 1(2), Article IX (D) of the Constitution. The Court restated its ruling in Sec. 1 (2), Art. IX (D), to wit: 3. On the propriety of returning to the FWBs the proceeds of the sale of the 500-hectare converted land and of the 80.51-hectare SCTEX land, the Court unanimously voted to maintain its ruling to order the payment of the proceeds of the sale of the said land to the FWBs less the 3% share, taxes and expenses specified in the fallo of the November 22, 2011 Resolution; (1) The appointment of members of any of the three constitutional commissions, after the expiration of the uneven terms of office of the first set of commissioners, shall always be for a fixed term of seven (7) years; an appointment for a lesser period is void and unconstitutional. The appointing authority cannot validly shorten the full term of seven (7) years in case of the expiration of the term as this will result in the distortion of the rotational system prescribed by the Constitution. 4. On the payment of just compensation for the homelots to HLI, the Court, by unanimous vote, resolved to amend its July 5, 2011 Decision and November 22, 2011 Resolution by ordering (2) Appointments to vacancies resulting from certain causes (death, resignation, disability or impeachment) shall only be for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor, but such 83 84 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES appointments cannot be less than the unexpired portion as this will likewise disrupt the staggering of terms laid down under Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D). (3) Members of the Commission, e.g. COA, COMELEC or CSC, who were appointed for a full term of seven years and who served the entire period, are barred from reappointment to any position in the Commission. Corollarily, the first appointees in the Commission under the Constitution are also covered by the prohibition against reappointment. (4) A commissioner who resigns after serving in the Commission for less than seven years is eligible for an appointment to the position of chairman for the unexpired portion of the term of the departing chairman. Such appointment is not covered by the ban on reappointment, provided that the aggregate period of the length of service as commissioner and the unexpired period of the term of the predecessor will not exceed seven (7) years and provided further that the vacancy in the position of chairman resulted from death, resignation, disability or removal by impeachment. The Court clarifies that “reappointment” found in Sec. 1(2), Art. IX(D) means a movement to one and the same office (commissioner to commissioner or chairman to chairman). On the other hand, an appointment involving a movement to a different position or office (commissioner to chairman) would constitute a new appointment and, hence, not, in the strict legal sense, a reappointment barred under the Constitution. (5) Any member of the Commission cannot be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity. GR No. 189434, Marcos, Jr. v. Republic ; GR No. 189505, Marcos v. Republic ; April 25, 2012 2012, Second Division The Court affirmed the April 2, 2009 Decision of the Sandiganbayan, which granted the Republic’s Motion for Summary Judgment and declared all assets and properties of Arelma, S.A., an entity created by the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, forfeited in favor of the government. GR No. 201112, Capalla v. COMELEC; GR No. 201121, Solidarity for Sovereignty v. COMELEC ; GR No. 201127, Guingona v. COMELEC ; GR No. 201413, Tanggulang Demokrasya, Inc . v. COMELEC , June 13, 2012 2012, En Banc 2012 ANNUAL REPORT | SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES The Court upheld the constitutionality of the COMELEC Resolutions regarding the purchase of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines from Smartmatic-TIM and the Extension Agreement and the Deed of Sale covering said goods. ordered the Philippine Reclamation Authority to monitor submission of the province of the requirements to be issued by DENR-EMBR RVI. Finally, the Court also ordered the cessation of the implementation of the reclamation project until further orders. GR No. 190793, Magdalo Para sa Pagbabago v. COMELEC; June 19, 2012 2012, En Banc GR No. 200242, Corona v v.. Senate, July 17, 2012, En Banc The Court ruled that the COMELEC did not abuse its discretion in denying Magdalo’s Petition for Registration as a political party, on the ground of the use of violence and unlawful means for achieving its goals. Since the group was granted amnesty, the Court held that it could file a new Petition and register anew. The Court dismissed, on the ground of mootness, the petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for injunctive reliefs filed by former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona on February 8, 2012. The petition assailed the impeachment case initiated by the respondent members of the House of Representatives (HOR) and trial being conducted by respondent Senate of the Philippines. ellex Group, Inc. v GR No. 187951, The W Wellex v.. Sandiganbayan, June 25, 2012 2012, Second Division The Court upheld the Sandiganbayan’s September 24, 2008 and April 2, 2009 Resolutions, which included the four hundred fifty (450) million shares of stock of Waterfront Philippines Inc. in the forfeiture proceedings in the plunder case against former President Joseph E. Estrada. GR No. 139930, Republic v v.. Cojuangco, Jr Jr.., June 26, 2012, En Banc The Court denied the Petition of the Republic and affirmed the May 14, 1999 Memorandum of the Office of the Ombudsman, which dismissed the charge of violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 against the respondents on the ground of prescription. GR No. 196870, Boracay Foundation, Inc. v v.. The Province of Aklan, June 26, 2012 2012, En Banc This case involved the proposed reclamation of land between Caticlan and Boracay Island for commercial purposes. The Court partially granted the petition of Boracay Foundation, and converted the Temporary Environment Protection Order (TEPO) it previously issued into a writ of continuing manda...
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