Case Brief: People vs. Tan

G.R. No. 167526 July 26, 2010
DANTE TAN, Respondent

Two separate information were filed against respondent Tan for violation of the Revised Securities Act, when he failed to file with SEC the amount of all BWRC (Best World Resources Corporation) shares of which he is the beneficial owner within 10 days after he became such beneficial owner.

During the trial, petitioner made its formal offer of evidence. RTC admitted the pieces of evidence, but denied admission of all other exhibits. Tan filed Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to Evidence. Petitioner filed its Opposition to which Tan filed a Reply. In the end, RTC issued an order granting Tan’s Demurrer to Evidence.

Petitioner filed a petition before the CA assailing the order of RTC which granted Tan’s motion. CA denied, ruling that the dismissal of a criminal action by the grant of a Demurrer to Evidence is one on the merits and operates as an acquittal, for which reason, the prosecution cannot appeal therefrom as it would place the accused in double jeopardy.

Hence, the appeal.

Whether or not the court erred in granting Tan’s Demurrer to Evidence.


The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is “filed after the prosecution had rested its case,” and when the same is granted, it calls “for an appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal of the accused.” Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in double jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there.

The only instance when double jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, which is not present in this case. RTC did not violate petitioner’s right to due process as the petitioner was given more than ample opportunity to present its case which led to grant of Tan’s demurrer. RTC never prevented petitioner from presenting its case. In fact, one of the main reasons for the RTCs decision to grant the demurrer was the absence of evidence to prove the classes of shares that the Best World Resources Corporation stocks were divided into, whether there are preferred shares as well as common shares, or even which type of shares respondent had acquired,

Petitioner argues that the RTC displayed resolute bias when it chose to grant respondents demurrer to evidence notwithstanding that it had filed a Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Resolution of Tan’s Demurrer to Evidence and The Prosecution’s Opposition Thereto. Petitioner contends that instead of acting on the motion, the RTC peremptorily granted Tan’s demurrer to evidence which prevented petitioner from its intention to file a petition to question the orders.

While it would have been ideal for the RTC to hold in abeyance the resolution of the demurrer to evidence, nowhere in the rules, however, is it mandated to do so. Furthermore, even if this Court were to consider the same as an error on the part of the RTC, the same would merely constitute an error of procedure or of judgment and not an error of jurisdiction as persistently argued by petitioner.

As such RTC did not abuse its discretion in the manner it conducted the proceedings of the trial, as well as its grant of respondent’s demurrer to evidence.


Case Brief: Salvanera vs. People

G.R. No. 143093   May 21, 2007


Rimberto Salvanera, Feliciano Abutin and Domingo Tampelix were charged with conspiracy of murder; Salvanera as the mastermind. The prosecution moved for the discharge of Abutin and Tampelix from the information to serve as State witnesses.  However, the trial court denied the prosecution’s motion.

Thereafter, the prosecution appealed to the CA, contending that the trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion when it denied the motion for discharge, as the testimonies of accused Abutin and Tampelix are essential to establish that Salvenera masterminded the murder.  The CA ruled in favor of the prosecution. Hence, the appeal.


Whether the CA committed serious error when it ruled that the “substantial corroboration” requirement under Sec. 9, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court was satisfied by the prosecution.


No.  The CA did not commit an error in its judgment. In the discharge of an accused, in order that he may be a State witness, the following condition must be present, namely:

1. Two or more accused are jointly charged with the commission of an offense;

2. The motion for discharged is filed by the prosecution before it rests its case;

3. The prosecution is required to present evidence and the sworn statement of each proposed State witness at a hearing in support of the discharge;

4. The accused gives his consent to be a State witness; and,

5. The trial court is satisfied that:

a.) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused;

b.) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed;

c.) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;

d.) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty;

e.) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.

Moreover, the corroborative evidence required by the Rules does not have to consist of the very same evidence as will be testified on by the proposed state witness. The rule on conspiracy is more readily proved by the acts of a fellow criminal than by any other method. Here, Abutin and Tampelix can testify on the criminal plan of the conspirators. Where a crime is contrived in secret, the discharge of one of the conspirators is essential because only they have knowledge of the crime.

Case Brief: Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. vs. POEA

G.R. No. 76633 October 18, 1988


A Chief Officer of a ship was killed in an accident in Japan. The widow filed a complaint for charges against the Eastern Shipping Lines with POEA, based on a Memorandum Circular No. 2, issued by the POEA which stipulated death benefits and burial for the family of overseas workers. ESL questioned the validity of the memorandum circular as violative of the principle of non-delegation of legislative power. It contends that no authority had been given the POEA to promulgate the said regulation; and even with such authorization, the regulation represents an exercise of legislative discretion which, under the principle, is not subject to delegation. Nevertheless, POEA assumed jurisdiction and decided the case.


Whether or not the Issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 2 is a violation of non-delegation of powers.


No. SC held that there was a valid delegation of powers.

The authority to issue the said regulation is clearly provided in Section 4(a) of Executive Order No. 797. … “The governing Board of the Administration (POEA), as hereunder provided shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to govern the exercise of the adjudicatory functions of the Administration (POEA).”

It is true that legislative discretion as to the substantive contents of the law cannot be delegated. What can be delegated is the discretion to determine how the law may be enforced, not what the law shall be. The ascertainment of the latter subject is a prerogative of the legislature. This prerogative cannot be abdicated or surrendered by the legislature to the delegate.

The reasons given above for the delegation of legislative powers in general are particularly applicable to administrative bodies. With the proliferation of specialized activities and their attendant peculiar problems, the national legislature has found it more and more necessary to entrust to administrative agencies the authority to issue rules to carry out the general provisions of the statute. This is called the “power of subordinate legislation.”

With this power, administrative bodies may implement the broad policies laid down in a statute by “filling in’ the details which the Congress may not have the opportunity or competence to provide. This is effected by their promulgation of what are known as supplementary regulations, such as the implementing rules issued by the Department of Labor on the new Labor Code. These regulations have the force and effect of law.

There are two accepted tests to determine whether or not there is a valid delegation of legislative power:

1. Completeness test – the law must be complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate the only thing he will have to do is enforce it.

2. Sufficient standard test – there must be adequate guidelines or stations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.

Both tests are intended to prevent a total transference of legislative authority to the delegate, who is not allowed to step into the shoes of the legislature and exercise a power essentially legislative.

Case Brief: Gerochi vs. Department of Energy

G.R. No. 159796 July 17, 2007


On June 8, 2001 Congress enacted RA 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Act of 2001. Petitioners Romeo P. Gerochi and company assail the validity of Section 34 of the EPIRA Law for being an undue delegation of the power of taxation. Section 34 provides for the imposition of a “Universal Charge” to all electricity end users after a period of (1) one year after the effectively of the EPIRA Law. The universal charge to be collected would serve as payment for government debts, missionary electrification, equalization of taxes and royalties applied to renewable energy and imported energy, environmental charge and for a charge to account for all forms of cross subsidies for a period not exceeding three years. The universal charge shall be collected by the ERC on a monthly basis from all end users and will then be managed by the PSALM Corp. through the creation of a special trust fund.


Whether or not there is an undue delegation of the power to tax on the part of the ERC


No, the universal charge as provided for in section 34 is not a tax but an exaction of the regulatory power (police power) of the state. The universal charge under section 34 is incidental to the regulatory duties of the ERC, hence the provision assailed is not for generation of revenue and therefore it cannot be considered as tax, but an execution of the states police power thru regulation.

Moreover, the amount collected is not made certain by the ERC, but by the legislative parameters provided for in the law (RA 9136) itself, it therefore cannot be understood as a rule solely coming from the ERC. The ERC in this case is only a specialized administrative agency which is tasked of executing a subordinate legislation issued by congress; which before execution must pass both the completeness test and the sufficiency of standard test. The court in appreciating Section 34 of RA 9136 in its entirety finds the said law and the assailed portions free from any constitutional defect and thus deemed complete and sufficient in form.

Case Brief: Miller vs. Mardo and Gonzales

G.R. No. L-15138 July 31, 1961
BILL MILLER, petitioner-appellee,
ATANACIO A. MARDO, and MANUEL GONZALES, respondents-appellants.


This is a consolidation of cases, which originated from different CFIs posing question about the validity of Reorganization Plan No. 20-A by Government Survey and Reorganization Commission under RA997 as amended by RA 1241 in so far as it confers jurisdiction to RO of DOLE created in said Plan to decide claims of laborers for wages, overtime and separation pay, et al.

Manuel Gonzales filed before Regional Office (RO) of DOLE against his employer Bill Miller of Miller Motors, claiming that he was his dirver from 1956 to 1956, on which he was arbitrarily dismissed without separation pay. The Chief Hearing Office required Miller to file for an answer. Miller filed before CFI of Baguio a petition to prohibit CHO from proceeding with the case for he does not have jurisdiction to hear and decide the subject matter. CFI issued writ of preliminary injunction.


Whether the new conferment to DOLE of jurisdiction to take cognizance of cases affecting money claims not before exercised by it is valid under Constitution and applicable statutes as accorded under RO Plan 20-A.


No. RO Plan 20-A in so far it confers quasi-judicial function to RO of DOLE is invalid and without effect.

RA 997, which was later amended by RA 1241 created Government Survey and Reorganization Commission (GSRC). GSRC was empowered to: 1) abolish department offices which may not be necessary and 2. Create those which may be necessary for efficient conduct of the government service, activities and functions.

GSRC, an administrative body, was merely granted power to create functions in connection with reorganization and should not validly confer quasi-judicial power. GSRC argued that this defect was cured when Congress did not disapprove of the same under the provisions of Section 691 of RA997.

The Supreme Court held that procedure of enactment of law by legislative inaction is not countenanced in this jurisdiction. Under our Constitution, to pass a bill or law, there must be a requisite for and separate action by each House of Congress to pass a law. Mere non-disapproval will not suffice as source for conferment of quasi-judicial function.

Legislature may confer on administrative bodies quasi-judicial powers involving exercise of discretion and judgement as incident to performance of administrative functions. But in so doing must be stated in express terms that leave no doubt.

Case Brief: Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education

G.R. No. L-14283 November 29, 1960
GIL BALBUNA, ET AL., petitioners-appellants,
THE HON. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, ET AL., respondents-appellees.


Sec. 1 of R.A. No. 1265 requires all educational constitution to observe daily flag ceremony, which shall be simple and dignified and shall include the playing or singin of the national anthem. sec 2 authorizes the sec of education to issie rules and regulations on the proper comduct of flag ceremony.

Petitioner, members of Jehovah’s witness challenged the constitutionality of the Act, by virtue of which, the Secretary of Education issued Department Order No. 8, prescribing compulsory flag ceremony, as an undue delegation of legislative power.


WON the requirements of simplicity and dignity of the flag ceremony and the singing of the national anthem constitute an adequate standard.



The requirements set in Sec. 1 and Sec. 2 of the Act constitute an adequate standard, to wit, simplicity and dignity of the flag ceremony and the singing of the national anthem. That the Legislature did not specify the details of the flag ceremony is no objection to the validity of the statute, for all that is required of it is the laying down of the standards and policy that will limit the discretion of the regulatory agency.

Case Brief: Board of Medical Education vs. Alfonso

THE BOARD OF MEDICAL EDUCATION and the HON. LOURDES R. QUISUMBING, in her capacity as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and Chairman, Board of Medical Education, petitioners,
HON. DANIEL P. ALFONSO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 74, Fourth Judicial Region, Antipolo, Rizal, and the PHILIPPINE MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE FOUNDATION, INC., respondents.
G.R. No. 88259  August 10, 1989


The, College, a private educational institution, was founded in 1981 for the avowed purpose of producing physicians who will “emancipate Muslim citizens from age-old attitudes on health.” The, unstable peace and order situation in Mindanao led to the establishment of the College in Antipolo, Rizal, which granted it a temporary permit to operate in the municipality, instead of in Zamboanga City where the school was first proposed to be located. It has since adopted Antipolo as its permanent site and changed its name to the Rizal College of Medicine.

In 1985, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) and the Board of Medical Education (BME) authorized the Commission on Medical Education to conduct a study of all medical schools in the Philippines. The report of the Commission showed that the College fell very much short of the minimum standards set for medical schools.  The team of inspectors recommended the closure of the school upon the following findings, to wit:
(a) the College was not fulfilling the purpose for which it had been created because of its inappropriate location and the absence in its curriculum of subjects relating to Muslim culture and welfare;
(b) its lack of university affiliation hindered its students from obtaining a “balanced humanistic and scientific” education;
(c) it did not have its philosophy base hospital for the training of its students in the major clinical disciplines, as required by the DECS;
(d) more than 60% of the college faculty did not teach in the College full-time, resulting in shortened and irregular class hours, subject overloading, and in general, poor quality teaching.

The school disputed these findings as biased and discriminatory. Four (4) other surveys were thereafter made by as many different committees or teams, at the school’s instance or otherwise, all of which basically confirmed the results of that first survey.

In her letter of June 23, 1988, Secretary Quisumbing informed the Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, Mr. Victor Sumulong, of the decision of the Board of Medical Education to close the College. Mr. Sumulong instead proposed a gradual phase-out starting the school year 1989-1990 in order not to dislocate the students and staff and to minimize financial loss. The Board subsequently allowed the College to continue its operations but only until May 1989, after which it was to be closed, this decision being “final and unappealable.”

The College appealed the decision to the Office of the President, imputing grave abuse of discretion to the Secretary. On February 16, 1989, Executive Secretary Catalino Macaraig, Jr., finding “no reason to disturb” the contested decision, affirmed it.

On March 2, 1989, the College went to court. It filed Civil Case No. 1385 in the court of respondent Judge Daniel P. Alfonso against Secretary Quisumbing in her capacity as Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, questioning the decision as illegal, oppressive, arbitrary and discriminatory and applied for a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain its implementation. The writ was issued as prayed for, by order of the respondent Judge dated May 10, 1989, ruled that the inspection of June 18, 1988 was the principal basis of the closure order, and on such basis sustained the claim of the College that the inspection was done in an “arbitrary and haphazard manner” by a team of inspectors who had already prejudged the school.


Whether or not the order of injunction dated May 10, 1989 was issued with grave abuse of discretion and a restraining order against its enforcement as well as for the dismissal of the action may be instituted in the court a quo.


The petition is hereby granted and the temporary restraining order issued by the Court is made permanent. The questioned writ of preliminary injunction dated May 10, 1989 is set aside and respondent Judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1385.

Respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in substituting his judgment for theirs. It is well-settled doctrine that courts of justice should not generally interfere with purely administrative and discretionary functions; that courts have no supervisory power over the proceedings and actions of the administrative departments of the government; involving the exercise of judgment and findings of facts, because by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction, the latter are in a better position to pass judgment on such matters and in their findings of facts in that regard are generally accorded respect, if not finality, by the courts. There are, to be sure, exceptions to this general rule but none of them obtains in this case.