Constitutional Law

OMBUDSMAN Carpio-Morales v. CA and Jejomar Binay G.R. Nos. 217126-27, November 10, 2015 Doctrine of Condonation Abandoned

FACTS:

A complaint/affidavit was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Binay, Jr. and other public officers and employees of the City Government of Makati (Binay, Jr., et al), accusing them of Plunder and violation of RA 3019, otherwise known as “The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” in connection with the five phases of the procurement and construction of the Makati City Hall Parking Building.

Before Binay, Jr., et al.’s filing of their counter-affidavits, the Ombudsman issued the order placing Binay, Jr., et al. under preventive suspension for not more than six months without pay, during the pendency of the OMB Cases.

The Ombudsman ruled that the requisites for the preventive suspension of a public officer are present, and that their continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation relative to the OMB Cases filed against them.

Binay, Jr. filed a petition for certiorari before the CA seeking the nullification of the preventive suspension order, and praying for the issuance of a TRO and/or WPI to enjoin its implementation.

Primarily, Binay, Jr. argued that he could not be held administratively liable for any anomalous activity attending any of the five phases of the Makati Parking Building project since: (a) Phases I and II were undertaken before he was elected Mayor of Makati in 2010; and (b) Phases III to V transpired during his first term and that his re-election as City Mayor of Makati for a second term effectively condoned his administrative liability therefor, if any, thus rendering the administrative cases against him moot and academic.

Prior to the hearing of the oral arguments before the CA, the Ombudsman filed the present petition before this Court, assailing the CA’s Resolution, which granted Binay, Jr.’s prayer for TRO.

The Ombudsman claims that the CA had no jurisdiction to grant Binay, Jr.’s prayer for a TRO.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the doctrine of condonation should apply in Binay’s case.

RULING:

The petition is partly meritorious.

This Court simply finds no legal authority to sustain the condonation doctrine in this jurisdiction. It was a doctrine adopted from one class of US rulings way back in 1959 and thus, out of touch from – and now rendered obsolete by – the current legal regime. In consequence, it is high time for this Court to abandon the condonation doctrine that originated from Pascual, and affirmed in the cases following the same, such as Aguinaldo, Salalima, Mayor Garcia, and Governor Garcia, Jr. which were all relied upon by the CA.

It should, however, be clarified that this Court’s abandonment of the condonation doctrine should be prospective in application for the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution, until reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.

The condonation doctrine was first enunciated in Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, There is no truth in Pascual’s postulation that the courts would be depriving the electorate of their right to elect their officers if condonation were not to be sanctioned. In political law, election pertains to the process by which a particular constituency chooses an individual to hold a public office.

In this jurisdiction, there is, again, no legal basis to conclude that election automatically implies condonation. Neither is there any legal basis to say that every democratic and republican state has an inherent regime of condonation. If condonation of an elective official’s administrative liability would perhaps, be allowed in this jurisdiction, then the same should have been provided by law under our governing legal mechanisms. May it be at the time of Pascual or at present, by no means has it been shown that such a law, whether in a constitutional or statutory provision, exists.

Therefore, inferring from this manifest absence, it cannot be said that the electorate’s will has been abdicated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.