Bar Q and A #34

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.

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.

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.

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, [2000]);
m. Resort to administrative remedies would be futile (University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Rasul, G.R. No. 91551 [1991]);
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).

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 [1979]).

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).

(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.

Under Section 40 of the Local Government Code, the following are disqualified from running for any local elective position:

  1. 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;

  2. Those removed from office as a result of an administrative case;

  3. Those convicted by final judgment for violating the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;

  4. Those with dual citizenship;

  5. Fugitives from justice in criminal or nonpolitical cases here or abroad;

  6. 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

  7. The insane or feeble-minded.

a. To be qualified for the office to which a local official has been elected, it is sufficient that he is a Filipino citizen at the time of his proclamation and at the start of his term. Philippine citizenship is required for holding an elective public office to ensure that no person owing allegiance to another country shall govern our people and a unit of the Philippine territory. An official begins to discharge his functions only upon his proclamation and on the day his term of office begins. [Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections, 257 SCRA 727 (1996)]

b. To be qualified for the office to which a local official has been elected, he must be a resident of the locality for at least one year immediately before the election. (Section 39(a), Local Government Code).