1.) The S/S “Masoy" of Panamanian registry, while moored at the South Harbor, was found to have contraband goods on board. The Customs Team found out that the vessel did not have the required ship’s permit and shipping documents. The vessel and its cargo were held and a warrant of Seizure and Detention was issued after due investigation. In the course of the forfeiture proceedings, the ship captain and the ship’s resident agent executed sworn statements before the Custom legal officer admitting that contraband cargo were found aboard the vessel. The shipping lines object to the admission of the statements as evidence contending that during their execution, the captain and the shipping agent were not assisted by counsel, in violation of due process. Decide.
The admission of the statements of the captain and the shipping agent as evidence did not violate due process even if they were not assisted by counsel. In Feeder International Line, Pts, Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 842, it was held that the assistance of counsel is not indispensable to due process in forfeiture proceedings since such proceedings are not criminal in nature. Moreover, the strict rules of evidence and procedure will not apply in administrative proceedings like seizure and forfeiture proceedings. What is important is that the parties are afforded the opportunity to be heard and the decision of the administrative authority is based on substantial evidence.
2.) A complaint was filed by Intelligence agents of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) against Stevie, a German national, for his deportation as an undesirable alien. The Immigration Commissioner directed the Special Board of Inquiry to conduct an investigation. At the said investigation, a lawyer from the Legal Department of the BID presented as witnesses the three Intelligence agents who filed the complaint. On the basis of the findings, report and recommendation of the Board of Special Inquiry, the BID Commissioners unanimously voted for Stevie's deportation. Stevie’s lawyer questioned the deportation order: a. On the ground that Stevie was denied due process because the BID Commissioners who rendered the decision were not the ones who received the evidence, in violation of the “He who decides must hear" rule. Is he correct? b. On the ground that there was a violation of due process because the complainants, the prosecutor and the hearing officers were all subordinates of the BID Commissioners who rendered the deportation decision. Is he correct?
a. NO, Stevie is not correct. As held in Adamson & Adamson, Inc. vs. Amores, 152 SCRA237, administrative due process does not require that the actual taking of testimony or the presentation of evidence before the same officer who will decide the case. In American Tobacco Co. v. Director of Patents, 67 SCRA 287, the Supreme Court has ruled that so long as the actual decision on the merits of the cases is made by the officer authorized by law to decide, the power to hold a hearing on the basis of which his decision will be made can be delegated and is not offensive to due process. The Court noted that: “As long as a party is not deprived of his right to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof, and the decision is supported by the evidence in the record, there is no question that the requirements of due process and fair trial are fully met. In short, there is no abrogation of responsibility on the part of the officer concerned as the actual decision remains with and is made by said officer. It is, however, required that to give the substance of a hearing, which is for the purpose of making determinations upon evidence the officer who makes the determinations must consider and appraise the evidence which justifies them."
b. NO, Stevie was not denied due process simply be-cause the complainants, the prosecutor, and the hearing officers were all subordinates of the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. In accordance with the ruling in Erlanger & Galinger, Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 110 Phil. 470, the findings of the subordinates are not conclusive upon the Commissioners, who have the discretion to accept or reject them. What is important is that Stevie was not deprived of his right to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof, the decision is supported by substantial evidence, and the commissioners acted on their own independent consideration of the law and facts of the case, and did not simply accept the views of their subordinates in arriving at a decision.
3.) a. Distinguish the doctrine of primary jurisdiction from the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. b. Does the failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a case in court oust said court of jurisdiction to hear the case? Explain.
a. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction and the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies both deal with the proper relationships between the courts and administrative agencies. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies applies where a claim is cognizable in the first instance by an administrative agency alone. Judicial interference is withheld until the administrative process has been completed. As stated in Industrial Enterprises, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 184 SCRA 426, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction applies where a case is within the concurrent jurisdiction of the court and an administrative agency but the determination of the case requires the technical expertise of the administrative agency. In such a case, although the matter is within the jurisdiction of the court, it must yield to the jurisdiction of the administrative case.
b. NO, the failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a case in court does not oust the court of jurisdiction to hear the case. As held in Rosario vs. Court of Appeals, 211 SCRA 384, the failure to exhaust administrative remedies does not affect the jurisdiction of the court but results in the lack of a cause of action, because a condition precedent that must be satisfied before action can be filed was not fulfilled.
4.) 1. Explain the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies. 2. Give at least three (3) exceptions to its application.
1. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies means that when an adequate remedy is available within the Executive Department, a litigant must first exhaust this remedy before he can resort to the courts. The purpose of the doctrine is to enable the administrative agencies to correct themselves if they have committed an error (Rosales v. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 344).
2. The following are the exceptions to the application of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies:
a. The question involved is purely legal;
b. The administrative body is in estoppel;
c. The act complained of is patently illegal;
d. There is an urgent need for judicial intervention;
e. The claim involved is small;
f. Grave and irreparable injury will be suffered;
g. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy;
h. Strong public interest is involved;
i. The subject of the controversy is private law;
j. The case involves a quo warranto proceeding (Sunville Timber Products, Inc. v. Abad, 206 SCRA 48);
k. The party was denied due process (Samahang Magbubukid ng Kapdula, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 305 SCRA 147);
l. The decision is that of a Department Secretary (Nazareno v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 131641, );
m. Resort to administrative remedies would be futile (University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Rasul, G.R. No. 91551 );
n. There is unreasonable delay (Republic v. Sandiganbayan, 301 SCRA 237);
o. The action involves recovery of physical possession of public land (Gabrito v. Court of Appeals, 167 SCRA 771);
p. The party is poor (Sabello v. Department of Education, Culture and Sports, 180 SCRA 623); and
q. The law provides for immediate resort to the court (Rulian v. Valdez, 12 SCRA 501).
5.) Give the two (2) requisites for the judicial review of administrative decision/actions, that is,when is an administrative action ripe for judicial review?
The following are the conditions for ripeness for judicial review of an administrative action:
a. The administrative action has already been fully completed and, therefore, is a final agency action; and
b. All administrative remedies have been exhausted (Gonzales, Administrative Law, Rex Bookstore: Manila, p. 136 ).
The President can also abolish the Bureau in the Department of Interior and Local Governments, provided it is done in good faith because the President has been granted continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the National Government to effect economy and promote efficiency, and the powers include the abolition of government offices. (Presidential Decree No. 1416, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1772; Larin v. The Executive Secretary, 280 SCRA 71).
6.) Ascertain the constitutionality of the following acts: (a) An investigation conducted by the Ombudsman against a Commissioner of the Commission on Audit for serious misconduct. (b) A law prohibiting any court, other than the Supreme Court, from issuing a writ of injunction against an investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman. (c) A law prohibiting any appeal from the decision or final order of the Ombudsman in an administrative proceeding, except through a petition for review on certiorari filed before the Supreme Court.
(a) The act is constitutional. Article XI, Section 13(1) of the Constitution expressly gives the Ombudsman the power to investigate on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.
(b) The law is unconstitutional. The power to issue injunctive writs is part of judicial power. The rules governing the exercise of this power are within the powers of the Supreme Court to promulgate. The law therefore is an encroachment of the Court's rule-making power (Carpio-Morales v CA, GR 217126- 27, 10 Nov 2015).
(c) The law is unconstitutional. In Fabian v. Desierto (G.R. No. 129742, 16 September 1998), the Court invalidated Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 insofar as it provided for appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from the decisions or orders of the Ombudsman in administrative cases. Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 had the effect, not only of increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court without its advice and concurrence in violation of Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution; it is also inconsistent with Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which provides that a petition for review on certiorari shall apply only to a review of "judgments or final orders of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial Court, or other courts authorized by law." In the absence of concurrence by the Supreme Court, such a law would be unconstitutional.
7.) The Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued Memorandum Circular No. 123-15 prescribing the administrative requirements for the conversion of a timber license agreement (TLA) into an Integrated Forestry Management Agreement (IFMA). ABC Corporation, a holder of a TLA which is about to expire, claims that the conditions for conversion imposed by the said circular are unreasonable and arbitrary and a patent nullity because it violates the non- impairment clause under the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution. ABC Corporation goes to court seeking the nullification of the subject circular. The DENR moves to dismiss the case on the ground that ABC Corporation has failed to exhaust administrative remedies which is fatal to its cause of action. If you were the judge, will you grant the motion? EXPLAIN.
The motion to dismiss should be denied. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies applies only to judicial review of decisions of administrative agencies in the exercise of their quasi-judicial power. It has no application to their exercise of rule-making power. (Holy Spirit Homeowners Association, Inc. vs. Defensor, 2006)
8.) Under the Local Government Code, name four persons who are disqualified from running for any elective position.
Under Section 40 of the Local Government Code, the following are disqualified from running for any local elective position:
Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence;
Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;
Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
Those with dual citizenship;
Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;
Permanent residents in a foreign country or those who have acquired the right to reside abroad and continue to avail of the same right after the effectivity of the Local Government Code; and
The insane or feeble-minded.