Joson v. Executive Secretary [G.R. No. 131255. May 20, 1998]FACTSPetitioner Governor Joson was filed a complaint before the Office of the President for barging violentlyinto the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the company of armed men. The case wasendorsed to the DILG. For failure to file an answer after three (3) extensions, petitioner was declared indefault and ordered the petitioner 60-day preventive suspension. Petitioner later “Motion to ConductFormal Investigation”. DILG denied the motion declaring that the submission of position paperssubstantially complies with the requirements of procedural due process in administrative proceedings.Later, the Executive Secretary, by authority of the President, adopted the findings andrecommendation of the DILG Secretary. The former imposed on petitioner the penalty of suspensionfrom office for six (6) months without pay.ISSUESWhether or not:(a) Preventive suspension is proper;(b) Procedural due process is violated;(c) The resolution of DILG Secretary is invalid on the ground of undue delegation; that it is thePresident who is the Disciplining Authority, not the Secretary of DILG;RULING“(a) Yes. Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Disciplining Authority at any time (a) after theissues are joined; (b) when the evidence of guilt is strong; and (c) given the gravity of the offense,there is great probability that the respondent, who continues to hold office, could influence thewitnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence. The act ofrespondent in allegedly barging violently into the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in thecompany of armed men constitutes grave misconduct. The allegations of complainants are bolsteredby the joint-affidavit of two (2) employees of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Respondent who is thechief executive of the province is in a position to influence the witnesses. Further, the history ofviolent confrontational politics in the province dictates that extreme precautionary measures be taken.“(b) Yes. The rejection of petitioner’s right to a formal investigation denied him procedural dueprocess. Section 5 of A. O. No. 23 provides that at the preliminary conference, the InvestigatingAuthority shall summon the parties to consider whether they desire a formal investigation. Thisprovision does not give the Investigating Authority the discretion to determine whether a formalinvestigation would be conducted. The records show that petitioner filed a motion for formalinvestigation. There is nothing in the Local Government Code and its Implementing Rules andRegulations nor in A.O. No. 23 that provide that administrative cases against elective local officials canbe decided on the basis of position papers. A.O. No. 23 states that the Investigating Authority mayrequire the parties to submit their respective memoranda but this is only after formal investigation andhearing.