G.R. No. L-26803 . October 14, 1975
AMERICAN TOBACCO COMPANY, CARNATION COMPANY, CURTISS CANDY COMPANY, CUDAHY PACKING CO., CLUETT, PEABODY & CO., INC., CANNON MILLS COMPANY, FORMICA CORPORATION, GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, INTERNATIONAL LATEX CORPORATION, KAYSER-ROTH CORPORATION, M and R DIETETIC LABORATORIES, INC., OLIN MATHIESON, PARFUM CIRO, INC., PROCTER and GAMBLE COMPANY, PROCTER and GAMBLE PHILIPPINE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, PARFUMS PORVIL DENTRIFICES DU DOCTEUR PIERRE REUNIS SOCIETE ANONYME, R.J. REYNOLDS TOBACCO COMPANY, SWIFT AND COMPANY, STERLING PRODUCTS INTERNATIONAL, THE CLOROX COMPANY, WARNER LAMBERT PHARMACEUTICALS COMPANY and ZENITH RADIO CORPORATION, petitioners,
THE DIRECTOR OF PATENTS, ATTYS. AMANDO L. MARQUEZ, TEOFILO P. VELASCO, RUSTICO A. CASIA and HECTOR D. BUENALUZ, respondents.
Petitioners are parties to various “inter partes” cases before the Philippine Patent Office.
Under the Trademark Law (R.A. No. 166), the Director of Patents have original jurisdiction over “inter partes” proceedings. This Rule, however, was subsequently amended by the Director of Patents, with the Approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, authorizing any ranking official designated by the Director of said office to hear “inter partes” proceedings.
In accordance with the amended Rule, the Director of Patents delegated the hearing of petitioners’ cases to hearing officers Attys. Amando Marquez, Teofilo Velasco, Rustico Casia and Hector Buenaluz, the other respondents herein.
Petitioners filed their objections to the Authority of the hearing officers to hear their cases, alleging that the amendment of Rule is illegal and void because under the law, the Director must personally hear and decide “inter partes” cases. Said objections were overruled by the Director of Patents. Hence, this petition.
Whether the designation of hearing offices other than the Director of Patents is a violation of due process.
No. The Supreme Court ruled that the power to decide resides solely in the administrative agency vested by law, this does not preclude a delegation of the power to hold a hearing on the basis of which the decision of the administrative agency will be made.
The rule that requires an administrative officer to exercise his own judgment and discretion does not preclude him from utilizing, as a matter of practical administrative procedure, the aid of subordinates to investigate and report to him the facts, on the basis of which the officer makes his decisions. It is sufficient that the judgment and discretion finally exercised are those of the officer authorized by law. Neither does due process of law nor the requirements of fair hearing require that the actual taking of testimony be before the same officer who will make the decision in the case. 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 abnegation 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.”