Category: LATEST SUPREME COURT CASES


CASE 2013-0020: ORIENTAL PETROLEUM AND MINERALS CORPORATION, PETITIONER, -VERSUS- TUSCAN REAL TV, INC., RESPONDENT. (G.R. NO. 195481, 10 JULY 2013, ABAD J.) SUBJECT/S: BROKER’S COMMISSION; PRINCIPLE OF PROCURING CAUSE. (BRIEF TITLE: ORIENTAL PETROLIUM VS. TUSCAN REALTY)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 86417 dated August II, 2010.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

TUSCAN REALTY WAS ENGAGED BY ORIENTAL PETROLEUM TO LOOK FOR BUYERS FOR ITS CONDOMINIUM UNITS IN CORINTHIAN PLAZA. TUSCAN INTRODUCED GATEWAY TO ORIENTAL PETROLEUM AND A CONTRACT TO SELL WAS EXECUTED. HOWEVER GATEWAY ASSIGNED ITS RIGHT UNDER THE CONTRACT TO SELL IN FAVOR OF ANCHETA WHO ULTIMATELY BOUGHT THE PROPERTY. IS TUSCAN ENTITLED TO BROKER’S COMMISSION?

 

YES.

 

BECAUSE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF “PROCURING CAUSE”.

 

IT WAS ON ACCOUNT OF TUSCAN REALTY’S EFFORT THAT ORIENTAL PETROLEUM GOT CONNECTED TO GATEWAY, THE PROSPECTIVE BUYER, RESULTING IN THE LATTER TWO ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT TO SELL INVOLVING THE TWO CONDOMINIUM UNITS. ALTHOUGH GATEWAY TURNED AROUND AND SOLD THE CONDOMINIUM UNITS TO ANCHETA, THE FACT IS THAT SUCH ULTIMATE SALE COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT GATEWAY’S INDISPENSABLE INTERVENTION AS INTERMEDIATE BUYER.

 

 

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WHAT IS MEANT BY “PROCURING CAUSE”?

 

THE TERM “PROCURING CAUSE” REFERS TO A CAUSE WHICH STARTS A SERIES OF EVENTS AND RESULTS, WITHOUT BREAK IN THEIR CONTINUITY, IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A BROKER’S PRIME OBJECTIVE OF PRODUCING A PURCHASER WHO IS READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO BUY ON THE OWNER’S TERMS.

 

THIS IS SIMILAR TO THE CONCEPT OF PROXIMATE CAUSE IN TORTS, WITHOUT WHICH THE INJURY WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED.

 

TO BE REGARDED AS THE PROCURING CAUSE OF A SALE, A BROKER’S EFFORTS MUST HAVE BEEN THE FOUNDATION OF THE NEGOTIATIONS WHICH SUBSEQUENTLY RESULTED IN A SALE.

 

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ORIENTAL PETROLEUM  CLAIMS THAT GATEWAY WAS NOT A READY, WILLING, AND ABLE PURCHASER AND THAT IT IN FACT ASSIGNED ITS RIGHT TO ANCHETA WHO BECAME THE ULTIMATE BUYER AND THAT, MOREOVER, IT WAS NOT TUSCAN REALTY THAT INTRODUCED ANCHETA TO ORIENTAL PETROLEUM. IS THIS CONTENTION CORRECT?

 

NO. 

 

THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE CONTRACT TO SELL THAT ORIENTAL PETROLEUM CONCLUDED WITH GATEWAY WAS A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT TO SELL, WHICH PRECLUDED ORIENTAL PETROLEUM FROM PEDDLING THE PROPERTIES TO OTHERS. INDEED, ORIENTAL PETROLEUM EXECUTED A DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE IN ANCHETA’S FAVOR BY VIRTUE OF GATEWAY’S ASSIGNMENT TO HIM OF ITS RIGHTS UNDER THE CONTRACT TO SELL. CONSEQUENTLY, IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT ORIENTAL PETROLEUM FOUND A DIRECT BUYER IN ANCHETA WITHOUT THE INTERMEDIATE CONTRACT TO SELL IN FAVOR OF GATEWAY, TUSCAN REALTY’S PROPOSED BUYER.

 

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ORIENTAL PETROLEUM FURTHER POINTS OUT THAT TUSCAN REALTY TOOK NO PART IN ITS NEGOTIATION WITH GATEWAY. IS THEIR ARGUMENT MERITORIOUS?

 

NO.

 

THAT MAY BE THE CASE BUT THE REASON WHY TUSCAN REALTY REFRAINED FROM DOING SO WAS BECAUSE OF ORIENTAL PETROLEUM’S ADVICE THAT IT WOULD HENCEFORTH DIRECTLY NEGOTIATE THE SALE WITH GATEWAY.

 

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ASSUMING THE ADVICE AMOUNTED TO A REVOCATION OF TUSCAN REALTY’S AUTHORITY TO SELL, IS TUSCAN STILL ENTITLED TO COMMISSION?

 

YES.

 

THE COURT HAS ALWAYS RECOGNIZED THE BROKER’S RIGHT TO HIS COMMISSION, ALTHOUGH THE OWNER REVOKED HIS AUTHORITY AND DIRECTLY NEGOTIATED WITH THE BUYER WHOM HE MET THROUGH THE BROKER’S EFFORTS. IT  WOULD BE UNFAIR NOT TO GIVE THE BROKER THE REWARD HE HAD EARNED FOR HELPING THE OWNER FIND A BUYER WHO WOULD PAY THE PRICE.

 

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LASTLY, ORIENTAL PETROLEUM ARGUES THAT THIS IS JUST A SIMPLE CASE OF NON-FULFILLMENT OF A SUSPENSIVE CONDITION. IT CLAIMS THAT THE COMMISSION IS ONLY TO BE AWARDED IF THE PROPERTIES WERE SOLD AT A MINIMUM OF PL20,000.00 PER SQUARE METER AND THAT THE DELIVERY MUST BE MADE WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY 1997. IS THIS ARGUMENT CORRECT?

 

NO. 

 

THESE ARE JUST LAME EXCUSES TO AVOID LIABILITY. AS THE CA CORRECTLY NOTED, ORIENTAL PETROLEUM DID NOT RAISE THE ISSUE REGARDING THE DELIVERY DEADLINE IN ITS ANSWER. AS FOR THE FACT THAT THE PROPERTIES WERE EVENTUALLY SOLD FOR LESS THAN THE ORIGINAL ASKING PRICE, THAT ACTION WAS WITHIN ORIENTAL PETROLEUM’S DISCRETION. IT DECIDED THE MATTER UNILATERALLY WITHOUT CONSULTING ITS BROKER. CONSEQUENTLY, IT SHOULD BE DEEMED TO HAVE WAIVED ITS OWN MINIMUM PRICE REQUIREMENT.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

SCD-2013-0020 -JULY 2013 – 0RIENTAL PETROLEUM

CASE 2013-0019: UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION AND LANCE Y. GOKONGWEI, PETITIONERS, -VERSUS- WILFREDO Z. CASTILLO, RESPONDENT. (G.R. NO. 189686, 10 JULY 2013, PEREZ, J.) SUBJECT/S: SEPARATION PAY IN CASE OF DISMISSAL FOR LEGAL CAUSE  (BRIEF TITLE: URC VS. CASTILLO)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The 20 July 2009 Decision and 17 September 2009 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA G. R. SP. No. 105604 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolution dated 31 March 2008 of the National Labor Relations Commission is REINSTATED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

MR. CASTILLO WAS DISMISSED AS REGIONAL SALES MANAGER OF ROBINA SALES CORPORATION FOR JUST CAUSE, SPECIFICALLY,  LOSS OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE UNDER ART. 282. HE WAS FOUND TO HAVE ACCEPTED GIFT CHECKS FROM A SUPPLIER. THE LABOR ARBITER RULED THERE WAS ILLEGAL DISMISSAL. NLRC REVERSED THE DECISION. CA AFFIRMED THE NLRC DECISION BUT AWARDED CASTILLO WITH SEPARATION PAY AS A FORM OF EQUITABLE RELIEF. WAS CA CORRECT?

 

NO.

 

THE AWARD OF SEPARATION PAY IS AUTHORIZED IN THE SITUATIONS DEALT WITH IN ARTICLE 283 AND 284 OF THE LABOR CODE, BUT NOT IN TERMINATIONS OF EMPLOYMENT BASED ON INSTANCES ENUMERATED IN ARTICLE 282.

“x x x [L]abor adjudicatory officials and the CA must demur theaward of separation pay based on social justice when an employee’s dismissal is based on serious misconduct or willful disobedience; gross and habitual neglect of duty; fraud or willful breach of trust; or commission of a crime against the person of the employer or his immediate family— grounds under Art. 282 of the Labor Code that sanction dismissals of employees. They must be most judicious and circumspect in awarding separation pay or financial assistance as the constitutional policy to provide

full protection to labor is not meant to be an instrument to oppress the employers. The commitment of the Court to the cause of labor should not embarrass us from sustaining the employers when they are right, as here. In fine, we should be more cautious in awarding financial assistance to the

undeserving and those who are unworthy of the liberality of the law.”

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

SCD-2013-0019 -JULY 2013 – UNIVERSAL ROBINA

 

CASE 2013-0018: BENILDA  N. BACASMAS, PETITIONER, -VERSUS-SANDIGANAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PIHLIPPINES, RESPONDENTS; ALAN C. GAVIOLA, PETITIONER, -VERSUS- PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT.; EUSTAQUIO B. CESA, PETITIONER, -VERSUS- PEOPLE OF TILE PHILIP.PINES, RESPONDENT. (G.R. NO. 189343, G.R. NO. 189369. G.R. NO. 189553, 10 JULY 2013, SERENO, CJ.) SUBJECT/S: WHEN INFORMATION IS SUFFICIENT; MEANING OF ACTING  WITH MANIFEST PARTIALITY, EVIDENT BAD FAITH OR GROSS INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE; MEANING OF CONSPIRACY, UNDUE INJURY AND UNWARRANTED BENEFIT, ADVANTAGE OR PREFERENCE; IMPOSING PENALTY UNDER THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW (BRIEF TITLE: BACASMAS ET AL. VS. PEOPLE).

 

 DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the 07 May 2009 Decision and 27 August 2009 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan in Crim. Case No. 26914 are AFFIRMED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

 

WHEN IS AN INFORMATION DEEMED SUFFICIENT?

 

IF IT CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING:

 (A) THE NAME OF ALL THE ACCUSED;

 

 (B) THE DESIGNATION OF THE OFFENSE AS GIVEN IN THE

STATUTE;

 

(C) THE ACTS OR OMISSIONS COMPLAINED OF AS CONSTITUTING THE OFFENSE;

 

 

(D) THE NAME OF THE OFFENDED PARTY;

 

(E) THE APPROXIMATE DATE OF THE

COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE; AND

 

(F) THE PLACE WHERE THE OFFENSE WAS

COMMITTED.

 

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WHAT IS THE CHARGE AGAINST THE ACCUSED?

 

VIOLATION OF  SECTION 3(E) OF R.A. 3019, THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF WHICH ARE AS FOLLOWS:

 

1. THE ACCUSED MUST BE A PUBLIC OFFICER DISCHARGING ADMINISTRATIVE, JUDICIAL OR OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS;

 

2. THE ACCUSED MUST HAVE ACTED WITH MANIFEST PARTIALITY, EVIDENT BAD FAITH OR GROSS INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE;

 

AND

 

3. THE ACTION OF THE ACCUSED CAUSED UNDUE INJURY TO ANY PARTY, INCLUDING THE GOVERNMENT, OR GAVE ANY PRIVATE PARTY UNWARRANTED BENEFITS, ADVANTAGE OR PREFERENCE IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE ACCUSED.

 

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CESA AND GAVIOLA QUESTION THE INFORMATION ON THE GROUND THAT IT DID NOT SPECIFY A REASONABLE TIME FRAME WITHIN WHICH THEOFFENSE WAS COMMITTED? ARE THEY CORRECT?

 

NO.

 

IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO STATE THE PRECISE DATE WHEN THE OFFENSE WAS COMMITTED, EXCEPT WHEN IT IS A MATERIAL INGREDIENT THEREOF.

 

“First, it is not necessary to state the precise date when the offense was committed, except when it is a material ingredient thereof. The offense may be alleged to have been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commission. Here, the date is not a material ingredient of the crime, not having been committed on one day alone, but rather within a period of time ranging from 20 September 1995 to 5 March 1998. Hence, stating the exact dates of the commission of the crime is not only unnecessary, but impossible as well. That the Information alleged a date and a period during which the crime was committed was sufficient, because it duly informed petitioners that before and until 5 March 1998, over nine million pesos had been taken by Gonzales as a result of petitioners’ acts.

 

These acts caused undue injury to the government and unwarranted benefits to the said paymaster.”

 

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SECOND THEY QUESTION THE INFORMATION ON THE GROUND THAT NOT ALL OF THE ACCUSED WERE NAMED, AS GONZALES WAS NOT CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION. SPECIFICALLY, CESA CONTENDS THAT GONZALES SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE INFORMATION, BECAUSE THE LATTER INCURRED CASH SHORTAGES AND ALLEGEDLY HAD UNLIQUIDATED CASH ADVANCES. IS THEIR CONTENTION CORRECT?

 

NO.

 

THE INFORMATION CORRECTLY EXCLUDED HER BECAUSE HER ALLEGED ACTS DID NOT FALL UNDER THE CRIME CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.

 

IT WAS THE ACTS OF PETITIONERS WHICH ALLOWED GONZALES TO OBTAIN CASH ADVANCES.

 

“Cesa contends that Gonzales should have been included in the Information, because the latter incurred cash shortages and allegedly had unliquidated cash advances. Cesa is wrong. The Information seeks to hold petitioners accountable for their actions, which allowed Gonzales to obtain cash advances, and paved the way for her to incur cash shortages, leading to a loss of over nine million pesos. Thus, the Information correctly excluded her because her alleged acts did not fall under the crime charged in the Information.”

 

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THEY ALSO QUESTION THE INFORMATION ON THE GROUND THAT THE INFORMATION DID NOT SPECIFY AN OFFENSE, BECAUSE NEGLIGENCE AND CONSPIRACY CANNOT CO-EXIST IN A CRIME. IS THEIR CONTENTION CORRECT?

 

NO.

 

THERE WAS NO INCONSISTENCY IN ALLEGING BOTH THE PRESENCE OF CONSPIRACY AND GROSS INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE, BECAUSE THE LATTER WAS NOT SIMPLE NEGLIGENCE. RATHER, THE NEGLIGENCE INVOLVED A WILLFUL, INTENTIONAL, AND CONSCIOUS INDIFFERENCE TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF ONE’S ACTIONS OR OMISSIONS.

 

“and third, The Sandiganbayan earlier held that the Information was sufficient in that it contained no inherent contradiction and properly charged an offense.

 

We uphold its ruling for the following reasons: Second, the Information charges petitioners with violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, to wit:

 

Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful.

 

x x x x

 

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

 

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BACASMAS ADMITTED SIGNING VOUCHERS BECAUSE IT WAS COMMON PRACTICE TO SIGN THEM EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE DEFICIENCIES. CESA ALLEGED HE CANNOT SUPERVISE ALL PERSONNEL SO HE INSTRUCTED BACASMAS TO REVIEW THE DOCUMENTS WELL AND WHEN HE SAW THAT BACASMAS SIGNED THEM HE ALSO SIGNED THEM. GAVIOLA SAID SHE SIGNED THE VOUCHERS BECAUSE BACASMAS AND GAVIOLA ALREADY SIGNED THEM. ARE THEIR DEFENSE CORRECT?

 

NO. THEY HAVE THE DUTY TO FOLLOW PROPER PROCEDURE FOR THE APPROVAL AND GRANT OF CASH ADVANCES.

 

“Petitioners being the Cash Division Chief, City Treasurer and City Administrator have to comply with R.A. 7160, P.D. 1445, and COA Circulars 90-331, 92-382, and 97-002 on the proper procedure for the approval and grant of cash advances. These laws and rules and regulations state that cash advances can only be disbursed for a legally authorized specific purpose and cannot be given to officials whose previous cash advances have not been settled or properly accounted for.67 Cash advances should also be equal to the net amount of the payroll for a certain pay period, and they should be supported by the payroll or list of payees and their net payments.”

 

 

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WHAT IS GROSS AND INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE?

 

GROSS AND INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE IS CHARACTERIZED BY A WANT OF EVEN THE SLIGHTEST CARE, ACTING OR OMITTING TO ACT IN A SITUATION IN WHICH THERE IS A DUTY TO ACT NOT INADVERTENTLY, BUT WILFULLY AND INTENTIONALLY, WITH CONSCIOUS INDIFFERENCE TO CONSEQUENCES INSOFAR AS OTHER PERSONS ARE AFFECTED.75 BAD FAITH DOES NOT SIMPLY CONNOTE BAD JUDGMENT OR SIMPLE NEGLIGENCE.76 IT IMPORTS A DISHONEST PURPOSE OR SOME MORAL OBLOQUY AND CONSCIOUS DOING OF A WRONG, A BREACH OF A KNOWN DUTY DUE TO SOME MOTIVE OR INTEREST OR ILL WILL THAT PARTAKES OF THE NATURE OF FRAUD.

 

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WHAT IS THE FINDING OF THE COURT ON THE ACTUATIONS OF THE ACCUSED?

 

PETITIONERS WERE WELL AWARE OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES BEFORE THEY AFFIXED THEIR SIGNATURES ON THE CASH ADVANCE VOUCHERS. YET, THEY STILL CHOSE TO DISREGARD THE REQUIREMENTS LAID DOWN BY LAW AND RULES AND REGULATIONS BY APPROVING THE VOUCHERS DESPITE THE INCOMPLETE INFORMATION THEREIN, THE PREVIOUS UNLIQUIDATED CASH ADVANCES, THE ABSENCE OF PAYROLL TO SUPPORT THE CASH REQUESTED, AND THE DISPARITY BETWEEN THE REQUESTED CASH ADVANCES AND THE TOTAL NET PAY.

 

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IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH THE EXISTENCE OF CONSPIRACY WHAT MUST BE PROVEN?

 

UNITY OF PURPOSE AND UNITY IN THE EXECUTION OF AN UNLAWFUL OBJECTIVE BY THE ACCUSED MUST BE PROVEN.

 

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IS DIRECT PROOF ESSENTIAL?

 

NO. DIRECT PROOF IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO SHOW CONSPIRACY.80 IT IS ENOUGH THAT THERE BE PROOF THAT TWO OR MORE PERSONS ACTED TOWARDS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A COMMON UNLAWFUL OBJECTIVE THROUGH A CHAIN OF CIRCUMSTANCES, EVEN IF THERE WAS NO ACTUAL MEETING AMONG THEM.81

 

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WHAT IS UNDUE INJURY?

 

 

UNDUE INJURY MEANS ACTUAL DAMAGE.83 IT MUST BE ESTABLISHED BY EVIDENCE84 AND MUST HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY THE QUESTIONED CONDUCT OF THE OFFENDERS.85

 

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WHAT IS UNWARRANTED BENEFIT, ADVANTAGE OR PREFERENCE?

 

IT MEANS GIVING A GAIN OF ANY KIND WITHOUT JUSTIFICATION OR ADEQUATE REASONS.

 

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WHAT IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARD VIOLATED?

 

NO LESS THAN THE CONSTITUTION DECLARES THAT PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST.89 PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES MUST AT ALL TIMES BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE AND SERVE THEM WITH UTMOST RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY, LOYALTY, AND EFFICIENCY.

 

“Petitioners, by intentionally approving deficient cash advance vouchers, have manifestly failed to live up to this constitutional standard.”

 

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THE INDETERMINATE PENALTY IMPOSED WAS 12 YEARS AND ONE MONTH AS MINIMUM AND 15 YEARS AS MAXIMUM. IS THIS CORRECT?

 

YES. THE PENALTY IMPOSED IS ON THE HIGHEST TIER. SANDIGANBAYAN  SHOULD  HAVE EXPLAINED WHY THE MAXIMUM PENALTY WAS IMPOSED. OTHERWISE, THE EXERCISE OF THIS DISCRETION WOULD APPEAR TO BE WHIMSICAL.

 

“However, we are aware that if the range of imposable penalty under the law were to be divided into three tiers based on the length of imprisonment, the penalty imposed in this case would be on the highest tier.

 

Hence, the Sandiganbayan should have explained the reason behind its imposed penalty, for while Section 9 of R.A. 3019 seems to grant it discretion over the indeterminate penalty to be prescribed for violation of Section 3(e), this Court finds it only proper that the anti-graft court justify the latter’s imposition of the highest possible penalty. Otherwise, the exercise of this discretion would appear to be whimsical – something that this Court will not tolerate. After all, it is our duty to be vigilant in ensuring the correctness and justness of the ultimate adjudication of cases before us.”

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

SCD-2013-0018 -JULY 2013 – BACASMAS

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