SECOND DIVISION

 

ROBERTO P. FUENTES, JR.,                G.R. No. 164865

 Petitioner,            

Present:

                  

                                                                             PUNO, J., Chairman,

                                                                                      AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

       -   versus   -                                                     CALLEJO, SR.,

                                                                                       TINGA, and

CHICO-NAZARIO,* JJ.

                                                                         

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN,                   Promulgated:

SANDIGANBAYAN  and   FE    N.

VALENZUELA,                                                  November 11, 2005

                              Respondents.                

 

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

 

 

D E C I S I O N

 

CALLEJO, SR., J.:      

 

Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of the Order[1] of the Ombudsman in OMB-V-C-02-0287-F denying the petition for review of Roberto P. Fuentes, Jr., Municipal Mayor of Isabel, Leyte, assailing the decision of the Deputy Ombudsman, as well as the Order[2] denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.

 

Private respondent Fe N. Valenzuela was engaged in business under the business name Triple “A” Ship Chandling and General Maritime Services (Triple A) since 1993 up to 2001, as shown by the various permits issued by the Office of the Mayor of Isabel and by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Tacloban Port Management Office.[3]  She supplied commodities and general maritime services to foreign and domestic vessels docked in  the PHILPHOS and PASAR wharves or at anchorage in Isabel, Leyte (Isabel). She was the only authorized ship chandler of Smith Bell Shipping Company. 

 

On January 8, 2002, Valenzuela filed an Application for Permit to Engage/Operate a Business/Trade[4] with the Office of Mayor Roberto P. Fuentes, Jr. of Isabel, Leyte. The application was processed and the recommending authorities[5] affixed their signatures thereon. Mayor’s Permit No. 51, Series of 2002 was, thereafter, forwarded to the Mayor’s office on January 31, 2002[6] for approval and signature, which Mayor Fuentes refused to sign. When Valenzuela asked why, he reportedly replied, “I will not issue a mayor’s permit to you. Just file any case in any court you wish.”

 

In the meantime, the M/V Ace Dragon owned by Smith Bell Shipping Company docked at the Isabel wharf. Valenzuela applied for a special permit to provide ship chandling services on the vessel. Romulo T. Diu, Terminal Supervisor of the port in Palompon, Leyte, issued a temporary permit[7] to Valenzuela on March 5, 2002. Fernando B. Claveria, PPA Port of Tacloban Manager, likewise issued a Hold-Over Authority[8] to Valenzuela effective March 15, 2002 until June 15, 2002, allowing her to continue ship chandling services at the Isabel port. Forthwith, Valenzuela purchased provisions and supplies worth thousands of pesos for the M/V Ace Dragon as ordered by the representative of the said vessel.

 

Unknown to Valenzuela, Mayor Fuentes issued an unnumbered Memorandum[9] on March 14, 2002, instructing the port manager of Isabel, Leyte not to allow her to board any cargo vessel or conduct transactions related to ship chandling.  Mayor Fuentes stated therein that he had received reports that Valenzuela had been allowed to render chandling services on board foreign vessels without the necessary mayor’s permit. He also informed the port manager that a permit had not been issued to Valenzuela because of reports that she had harassed and threatened other business competitors, and was reportedly involved in smuggling activities and delivery of prohibited drugs, such as shabu, to the crew of the vessels.[10]

 

In light of said Memorandum, Acting Port Collector of the Customs of Isabel, Atty. Vicente V. Yutangco, Jr., immediately issued a Memorandum directing the Chief of the Port Operations Division to cease and desist from issuing a boarding permit to Triple A.[11] Terminal Supervisor Romulo Diu also issued a Memorandum on March 15, 2002 advising Valenzuela to desist
from providing ship chandling services until she had submitted a mayor’s permit.[12]   Consequently, the commodities and supplies she had purchased became rotten and unusable.

 

Valenzuela, thereafter, wrote Mayor Fuentes pleading for a reconsideration of the unnumbered Memorandum in the interest of the town’s economy. She averred that the reports against her were fabricated by her competitors and were designed to malign her.  She furnished copies of the letter to the Bureau of Customs and the PPA.[13] Valenzuela further claimed that she was denied her right to confront those who reported against her and to air her side. 

 

For his part, Mayor Fuentes furnished Valenzuela unsigned handwritten reports, purportedly from his “unnamed confidential agents” accusing her of being a financier and dealer of shabu.[14]

 

On May 31, 2002, Valenzuela filed consolidated criminal and administrative Complaints against Fuentes before the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) charging him with violation of Republic Act  (R.A.) No. 3019 and Department of Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular No. 2001-120 (Anti-Red Tape Program for Local Governments), as well as oppression, grave misconduct, and grave abuse in the performance of duty.[15] The criminal and administrative cases were docketed as OMB-V-C-02-0287-F and OMB-V-A-02-0255-F, respectively.

To prove that she was not involved in smuggling and dealings with prohibited drugs, Valenzuela submitted in evidence the Certification dated April 26, 2002 issued by Chief of Police Martin F. Tamse of Isabel, which reads:

CERTIFICATION

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

 

This is to certify that Mrs. Fe “Neneng” N. Valenzuela, a resident of Purok 5, Brgy. Libertad, Isabel, Leyte/Brgy. San Roque, Isabel, Leyte, a Ship Chandler of this Municipality, is not involved in any illegal business activities/operations particular with drugs after three (3) weeks of our discreet surveillance conducted by intel operatives of this station.

 

This certification is issued upon the request of Mrs. Fe “Neneng” N. Valenzuela for whatever legal purposes it may serve. 

 

Issued this 26th day of April 2002, at Isabel, Leyte, Philippines.

 

                                                                      (Sgd.)

                                                            MARTIN F. TAMSE

                                                            P/INSP PNP

CHIEF OF POLICE[16]

 

Valenzuela also claimed that she submitted a police clearance in her application for business permit.[17] She alleged that the Mayor refused to issue the permit to her because of his partiality in favor of her competitor, Maria Jesusa Larriba, the proprietor/manager of S.E. De Guzman Ship Chandler and General Maritime Services. Valenzuela alleged that Larriba was “a stranger, a new applicant and new to the business of [s]hip chandling” who also harassed her (Valenzuela).  She further claimed that Mayor Fuentes gave the capital investment of another competitor, Ronilo Sentones, the proprietor/manager of Golden Sea Kers Marine Service, to whom a permit was later issued.[18]

          In his Counter-Affidavit[19] filed on July 23, 2002, Mayor Fuentes averred that in denying Valenzuela’s application for a mayor’s permit, he merely considered the paramount interest of his constituency, as he wanted to curb smuggling activities and the proliferation of drugs. He appended thereto a Certification dated July 2, 2002 issued by Tamse, stating that based on the police blotter, Larriba reported that on March 6, 2002, Valenzuela  threatened to kill her via text message saying, “Hoy Susan binabalaan kita sinungaling ka.[20] Additionally, Mayor Fuentes submitted two unsigned handwritten confidential reports to Tamse linking Valenzuela to illegal drugs and smuggling activities.[21]

 

          Valenzuela denied the Mayor’s allegations. In her Reply,[22] she claimed that the alleged reports of unidentified agents were mere fabrications to justify his refusal to issue a mayor’s permit.  She pointed out that the said reports were received two months after she applied for a permit in January 2002. Moreover, she could not find the logic behind his refusal to issue the permit for her ship chandling business since she was given a business permit in 2002 for one of her other businesses, Gemini Security and Investigation Agency, which provided security guards in foreign vessels.[23] She surmised that there was no other reason behind the refusal to issue a permit in her favor other than that the Mayor favored her competitors over her.

 

          During the preliminary conference held on August 28, 2002, the petitioner and the private respondent agreed to submit the case for decision on the basis of the evidence on record, including the testimonies given in evidence on the October 4, 2002 clarificatory conference.[24]

 

          After due proceedings, the Visayas Deputy Ombudsman approved a Resolution prepared by Graft Investigation Officer I Gaudioso J. Melendez, dated October 23, 2002, in OMB-V-C-02-0287-F, finding probable cause for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.[25]  An Information was then filed, charging Mayor Fuentes of the crime.

 

In a related case, the Deputy Ombudsman rendered a decision in OMB-V-A-02-0255-F finding the Mayor guilty of simple misconduct and suspending him from office for three months.[26]

 

On April 29, 2003, Mayor Fuentes filed, without leave of court, a Motion for Reinvestigation or Reconsideration of the resolution in OMB-V-C-02-0287-F on the ground of newly discovered evidence and errors of law or irregularities.[27] He averred that since he could no longer rely on Tamse to conduct the investigation on Valenzuela’s involvement in illegal activities, he sought the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Director.  He claimed that the Leyte Provincial Command had valuable information that would materially affect the resolution of the case, which information, however, could only be revealed in an executive session upon the subpoena of the proper authorities. He further claimed that he withheld the business permit as a preventive measure dictated by the exigency of the menace sought to be avoided. He posited that as a public official, he enjoys the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty; thus, the finding of probable cause against him was biased and based on mere conjectures. Moreover, there was no concrete evidence to show that Valenzuela’s application actually reached him for appropriate action in January 2002.

 

In an Order dated May 28, 2003, the Deputy Ombudsman denied the motion on the following grounds: (a) the motion was filed without prior leave of court; (b) the allegations and grounds in the motion were merely reiterations of those already passed upon; and (c) Mayor Fuentes’s letter to the PNP Director only proved his negligence.[28]  

 

On July 4, 2003, the petitioner filed a petition for review of the Resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman, restating in substance his arguments in his pleadings. The Ombusman denied the petition in an Order dated September 12, 2003.[29] Mayor Fuentes filed a motion for reconsideration of the said Order[30] which the Ombudsman denied on November 17, 2003.[31] 

 

Mayor Fuentes, now the petitioner, filed the instant petition for certiorari, alleging that –

 

RESPONDENT OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT FOUND PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST PETITIONER FOR VIOLATION OF SEC. 3(E) OF R.A. NO. 3019.

 

 

The petitioner maintains that the issuance of a business permit is a discretionary power that is vested on him as a municipal mayor by virtue of Section 444(b)(3)(iv) of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160).[32]  He claims that there is no factual basis for the finding of manifest partiality, bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. Moreover, the finding of the Deputy Ombudsman that the private respondent lost thousands of pesos because he (petitioner) refused to issue the permit to her was without basis. While he concedes that manifest partiality and evident bad faith may co-exist, both terms could not be lumped up together with gross inexcusable neglect because malice is an element of the first two but not in the third. The petitioner posits that his refusal to issue a mayor’s permit does not equate to manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross and inexcusable negligence. He argues that the assailed resolution and decision of the Deputy Ombudsman were based on pure conjectures and speculations; so was the assailed Order of the Ombudsman.  He insists that in finding probable cause against him, the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 

 

In his comment on the petition, the Special Prosecutor alleged that the petitioner failed to establish that the Ombusman and the Deputy Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019.  Citing the ruling of this Court in Llorente, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[33] and Arce v. Office of the Ombudsman,[34] the Special Prosecutor asserts that proof of the existence of the injury sustained by the private respondent is not required. 

 

The petition has no merit.

 

Case law has it that this Court does not ordinarily interfere with the discretion of the Office of the Ombudsman to determine whether there exists reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding information with the appropriate courts if necessary.[35] Certainly, it has been the policy of this Court to vest upon the Office of the Ombudsman wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutory prerogatives in the exercise of its power to pass upon criminal complaints.[36] As held in the leading case of Alba vs. Nitorreda:[37]

… [T]his Court has consistently refrained from interfering with the exercise by the Ombudsman of his constitutionally mandated investigatory and prosecutory powers. Otherwise stated, it is beyond the ambit of this Court to review the exercise of discretion of the Ombudsman in prosecuting or dismissing a complaint filed before it. Such initiative and independence are inherent in the Ombudsman who, beholden to no one, acts as the champion of the people and preserver of the integrity of the public service.

 

 

The rationale of this rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers that the Office of the Ombudsman is granted under the present Constitution, but upon practicality as well; otherwise, the functions of the courts would be perilously bound by numerous petitions assailing the result of the investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office, in much the same way that the courts would be saturated if compelled to review the prosecutors’ exercise of discretion each time they decide to file an information or dismiss a complaint.[38]

 

It is settled that the findings of facts of quasi-judicial bodies, like the Deputy Ombudsman and the Ombudsman, may be nullified on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction.  There is grave abuse of discretion when the power is exercised in an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility so patent and gross as to amount to evasion of positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by, or in contemplation of law.[39]

 

In the present case, the petitioner failed to establish that the Deputy Ombudsman committed grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause against him for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, or that the Ombudsman similarly erred in upholding the said order and denying the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.

 

First.  As correctly declared by the Ombudsman, the petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration/reinvestigation with the Deputy Ombudsman without prior leave of court as required by Ombudsman Administrative Order No. 5 dated February 16, 2001.

 

Second. As gleaned from the Resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman, there is probable cause to hold the petitioner liable for violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019:

 

Here, it appears that respondent acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence in his dealings with complainant when he refused to renew complainant’s mayor’s business permit on the basis of the raw reports on complainant’s alleged involvement in prohibited drugs and on grounds of the pendency of his investigation thereon.  In the first place, it is unlikely that respondent conducted an investigation on the matter before his refusal.  Records show that complainant’s renewal application was ready for respondent’s signature in January 2002 but the reports of his confidential agents came only on 09 February 2002 and 12 March 2002.  Respondent in effect was putting the cart ahead of the horse.

 

Granting that he conducted an earlier investigation thereon, would it take ten (10) months, or so, to determine whether the confidential agents’ reports are true or not? Or respondent would not renew complainant’s business permit on purpose?

 

Respondent did not give weight to the clearances of nine (9) offices for complainant’s renewal of her business permit even with the recommending approval of the Municipal Treasurer. Among these offices are the Municipal Licensing Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Philippine National Police.  Respondent appeared that he did not rely on the clearances of the said offices but on the reports of his confidential agents whose existence can hardly be identified and confirmed.  With the mere reports of the confidential agents, respondent set aside complainant’s business permit application.

 

Moreover, respondent appeared to have influenced the PPA and the BOC to revoke complainant’s special permit to engage in ship chandling activities on the basis of respondent’s 14 March 2002 Memorandum.  Respondent must have a personal reason for his going after complainant.  “Nullius commodum potest de injuria sua propia.” No one should be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong.

 

Respondent’s contention that he would renew complainant’s business permit after the investigation is dubious.  During the clarificatory hearing at this Office on 04 October 2002, P/Insp. Martin Tamse testified, inter alia, that he has already closed his investigation without adverse findings, yet respondent has not renewed complainant’s business permit.  Complainant is still at the mercy of the respondent.[40]

 

 

The Court defined probable cause for the filing of an Information in Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto,[41] thus:

 

Probable cause is a reasonable ground for presuming that a matter is or may be well-founded on such state of facts in the prosecutor's mind as would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to believe — or entertain an honest or strong suspicion — that it is so. The term does not mean “actual and positive cause”; neither does it import absolute certainty. It is based merely on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. It is enough that the act or the omission complained of is believed to constitute the offense charged. Precisely, there is a trial to allow the reception of evidence for the prosecution in support of the charge.

 

It ought to be emphasized that in determining probable cause, the average person weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of technical rules of evidence, of which such person's knowledge is nil. Rather, the lay person usually relies on the calculus of common sense, of which all reasonable persons have an abundance. [42]

 

Thus, the Ombudsman did not commit a grave abuse of his discretion in giving his imprimatur to the Resolution and Order of the Deputy Ombudsman.  In fact, the Ombudsman correctly ruled that –

 

Respondent has failed to prove his allegations of criminal activity against the complainant.  His statement that it is his duty “to see to it that the mayor’s permit is granted only to legitimate businesses, not to legitimize an otherwise illegal activity” is laudable, but such statement implies or presupposes that complainant was or is engaged in illegal activity. It must be noted that there is no evidence showing that a criminal case for illegal activity has been filed against the complainant from the time she applied for a business permit in January 2002 up to and until the present.  Being a ship chandler for Smith Bell Shipping Company, which complainant was at the time this case was instituted, is certainly not an illegal activity.  Mere suspicion that a person is engaged in illegal activity, not being equivalent to proof, is insufficient to warrant the deprivation of livelihood or legitimate source of income. This is certainly the effect if an applicant who has complied with all the legal requirements for a mayor’s permit is not granted one on mere suspicion that he is engaged in illegal activity.[43]  

 

The petitioner further claims that the Deputy Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding that the private respondent suffered undue injury due to his obstinate refusal to issue a mayor’s permit, since such injury was not duly proved. The Special Prosecutor, on the other hand, avers:

 

            3. The People are convinced that petitioners’ reliance on Arce is misplaced.  In the case of Olaguer vs. Military Commission No. 34, (G.R. No. L-54448, 22 May 1987), for instance, it was held that:

 

“xxx [R]everence  for precedent, simply as precedent, cannot prevail when constitutionalism and the public interest demand otherwise.  Thus, a doctrine which should be abandoned or modified should be abandoned or modified accordingly. After all, more important than anything else is that this court should be right.”

 

4.      Considering the phraseology of the law itself, the People submit that the cases of Jacinto vs. Sandiganbayan and Santiago vs. Garchitorena are applicable.  Said cases remain good law.  The court’s pronouncements therein have not been categorically abandoned.

 

5.      In Santiago, the Supreme Court had occasion to delve into the verbal composition of Section 3(e) and, in turn, deliberate on the meaning thereof, as follows:

 

“Anent petitioner’s claim that the Amended Informations did not allege that she had caused ‘undue injury to any party, including the Government,’ there are two ways of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.  These are (a) by causing any undue injury to any party, including the government; and (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.

             The use of the distinctive term ‘or’ connotes that either act qualifies as a violation of Section 3(a) (sic).  In other words the act of giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference is not an indispensable element of the offense of ‘causing any undue injury to any party’ as claimed by petitioners although there may be instances where both elements concur.”

 

            6.  Otherwise stated, said phrases are distinct and independent of each other although at times, could be both present.  The offense could be committed by either causing undue injury or by giving unwarranted benefits.  This does not preclude, however, instances where both circumstances attend the commission of the crime.  Hence, it is not necessary that both elements be present.

 

7.       In herein case, the complaint against petitioner alleged unwarranted and unjustified refusal by the mayor to issue the business permit necessary for Valenzuela to continue the operation of her ship chandling business.  It was alleged further that as a result of petitioner’s act, Valenzuela lost not only her means of livelihood but thousands of pesos worth of perishable commodities as well.

 

8.  In the case of Fonacier vs. Sandiganbayan, the Supreme Court declared that proof of the extent of injury is not essential, thus:

 

                        “The third element of the offense is satisfied when the questioned conduct causes undue injury to any party, including the government, or gives unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.  Proof of the extent or quantum of damage is not thus essential; it should be sufficient that the injury suffered or the benefit received can be perceived to be substantial enough and not merely negligible.[44]

 

 

          The Court agrees with the Special Prosecutor. The element of “undue injury” in violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 was extensively discussed in Cabrera v.  Sandiganbayan,[45] to wit:

 

                We find the contention of the petitioners to be untenable.  For one thing, we have reviewed the rulings of the Court in Mendoza-Arce and kindred cases and find that the issue of whether or not violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019 may be committed only by causing undue injury to the government or to a private individual, the giving of unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference being only a mode of causing undue injury to the government or to a private party had not been raised therein, nor resolved by the Court.  In any event, the ruling in this case has categorized any perceived inconsistencies spawned by the rulings of the Court in Mendoza-Arce and other cases and those in Jacinto, Santiago, Evangelista, Quibal and Bautista.

 

            In Gallego v. Sandiganbayan, the Court ruled that “unwarranted means lacking adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized; or without justification or adequate reasons.  “Advantage” means a more favorable or improved position or condition; benefit or gain of any kind; benefit from course of action.  “Preference” signifies priority or higher evaluation or desirability; choice or estimation above another.

 

            Section (e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, which was approved by Congress in Spanish reads:

 

            (e) Causar algun perjuicio indebido a cualquiera, incluyendo al Gobierno, o dar a alguna persona particular cualesquier beneficios, vengaja o preferencia injustificados en el desempeño de sus funciones administrativas judiciales de indole oficial con manifesta parcialidad, evidente mala fe o crasa negligencia inexecusable.  Esta disposicion se aplicara a los funcionarios y empleados de oficinas o de las corporaciones del gobierno encargados de otogar licencias o permisos u otras concesiones.

 

            “Perjuicio” means prejudice, mischief, injury, damages.  Prejudice means injury or damage, due to some judgment or action of another.  Mischief connotes a specific injury or damage caused by another. “Indebido” means undue, illegal, immoral, unlawful, void of equity and moderations. In Pecho v. Sandiganbayan, the Court en banc defined injury as “any wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, or in his rights, reputation or property; the invasion of any legally protected interests of another.  It must be more than necessary or are excessive, improper or illegal.  It is required that the undue injury caused by the positive or passive acts of the accused be quantifiable and demonstrable and proven to the point of moral certainty.  Undue injury cannot be presumed even after a wrong or a violation of a right has been established.

 

            In Fonacier v. Sandiganbayan, the Court en banc held that proof of the extent or quantum of damage is not essential.  It is sufficient that the injury suffered or benefits received can be perceived to be substantial enough and not merely negligible.

 

 

In the instant case, the evidence on record shows that by the time the petitioner had issued his unnumbered Memorandum on March 14, 2002, the private respondent had already purchased perishable provisions and supplies worth thousands of pesos intended for the M/V Ace Dragon.  Thus, the private respondent alleged in her Complaint-Affidavit:

 

 


                21.) That because of the oppressive and unlawful memorandum of the herein respondent the Acting Port Collector of the Bureau of Customs Atty. Vicente V. Yutangco Jr. issued a memorandum disallowing me to board foreign vessels.  Copy of social memorandum is hereto attached marked as Annex “L” likewise PPA terminal supervisor Romulo T. Diu issued a memorandum recalling the Hold Over Authority.  Copy of said memorandum is hereto attached marked as Annex “M”;

 

            22.)  That because of the unlawful refusal of the herein respondent mayor I am denied of my right to engaged in a legitimate calling or livelihood and a lost thousands of pesos because my purchased perishable provision/commodities to be supplied to M/V ACE DRAGON got rotten and perished because I was not allowed to supply without legal basis but by sheer whims and caprices and discriminatory acts of the herein respondent mayor amounting to violation of Republic Act No. 3019 as amended (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. And Grave abuse and misconduct in the performance of function.[46]

 

 

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The September 12, 2003 and November 17, 2003 Orders of the Ombudsman are AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.

 

SO ORDERED.

ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR

                                                                    Associate Justice

 

 

WE CONCUR:

 

 

REYNATO  S. PUNO

 Associate Justice

Chairman

 

 

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ                   DANTE O. TINGA

        Associate Justice                                             Associate Justice

 

 

 

On leave

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO

Associate Justice

 

 

 

 

 

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

 

 

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

 

                                     

                                        REYNATO S. PUNO

                                         Acting Chief Justice

                                  

 



* On leave.

[1] Rollo,  pp. 25-30.

[2] Id. at 31-37.

[3] Records, pp. 8-25

[4] Id. at 26.

[5] Among the signatories in the application were Revenue Collection Officer Maricon B. Pastor, License Chief Merlito M. Onde, Chief of Police Martin H. Tamse, and Municipal Health Officer Dr. Refelina Y. Baje.

[6] Id. at 27.

[7]  Records, p. 28.

[8]  Id. at 29.

[9]  Id. at 30.

[10] Id. at 30.

[11] Id. at 36.

[12] Records, p. 37.

[13] Id. at 31.

[14] Id. at 32.

[15] Id. at 3-6.

[16] Records, p. 33.

[17] Id. at 26.

[18] Id. at 5.

[19] Records, pp. 48-49.

[20] Id. at 50.

[21] Id. at 51-52.

[22] Id. at 56-58.

[23] Id. at 62.

[24] Records, p. 84.

[25] Id. at 121-125.

[26] Rollo, pp. 83-86.

[27] Records, pp. 87-97.

[28] Rollo, pp. 48-49.

[29] Id. at 25-30.

[30] Id. at 152-166.

[31] Id. at 167-173.

[32] SECTION 444. The Chief Executive: Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. -

(b) For efficient, effective and economical governance the purpose of which is the general welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of this Code, the municipal mayor shall:

     (3) Initiate and maximize the generation of resources and revenues, and apply the same to the implementation of development plans, program objectives and priorities as provided for under Section 18 of this Code, particularly those resources and revenues programmed for agro-industrial development and country-wide growth and progress, and relative thereto shall:

          (iv) Issue licenses and permits and suspend or revoke the same for any violation of the conditions upon which said licenses or permits had been issued, pursuant to law or ordinances;

[33] G.R. No. 122166, 11 March 1998, 287 SCRA 382.

[34] G.R. No. 149148, 5 April 2002, 380 SCRA 325.

[35] Venus v. Desierto, G.R. No. 130319, 21 October 1998, 298 SCRA 196.

[36] Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto, G.R. No. 132120, 10 February 2003, 397 SCRA 171.

[37] 325 Phil. 229 (1996). The case was subsequently cited in Venus v. Desierto, supra; Loquias v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 139396, 15 August 2000, 338 SCRA 62; Mamburao, Inc. v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. Nos. 139141-42, 15 November 2000, 344 SCRA 805; Kuizon v. Desierto, G.R. Nos. 140619-24, 9 March 2001, 354 SCRA 158; Barata v. Abalos, Jr., G.R. No. 142888, 6 June 2001, 358 SCRA 575; Presidential Ad Hoc Fact Finding Committee on Behest Loans, G.R. No. 136192, 14 August 2001, 362 SCRA 730; Nava v. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 136470, 16 October 2001, 367 SCRA 263; Flores v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 136769, 17 September 2002, 389 SCRA 127; Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto, supra; and Kara-an v. Office of the Ombudsman, GR. No. 119990, 21 June 2004, 432 SCRA 457.

[38] Ocampo v. Ombudsman, G.R. Nos. 103446-47, 30 August 1993, 225 SCRA 725, as cited in Espinosa v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 135775, 19 October 2000, 343 SCRA 744; Nava v. Commission on Audit; Venus v. Desierto; Mamburao, Inc. v. Office of the Ombudsman; and Kara-an v. Office of the Ombudsman.

[39] Baylosis v. Office of the Ombudsman, G.R. No. 142738, 14 December 2001, 372 SCRA 437. 

[40] Rollo, p. 46.

[41] Supra, note 37.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Id. at 40.

[44] Rollo, pp. 82-85.

[45] G.R. Nos. 162314-17, 25 October 2004, 441 SCRA 377.

[46] Rollo, p. 41.