Republic of the Philippines
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
National Capital Region
Branch 111, Pasay City
PHILIPPINE MIGRANT RIGHTS
WATCH, INC., on its own behalf and
on behalf of its member-overseas
Filipino workers, Jesus P. Reyes and
Rodolfo B. Macorol,
- versus - Civil Case No. 04-0077 CFM
OVERSEAS WORKERS WELFARE For: Annulment of Sections 4, 5,
ADMINISTRATION and its Board of 6, 7 and 8 of Article II,
Trustees composed of Hon. Patricia A. Sections 5(c) and (h) of
Sto. Tomas, Virgilio R. Angelo, Manuel Article III, Articles IV, V, VI
G. Imson, The Secretary of Foreign VII and VIII of OWWA Board
Affairs represented by Undersecretary Resolution No. 038, Series
Jose S. Brillantes, Rosalida D. Baldoz, of 2003, with prayer for a
The Secretary of Budget and Management the issuance of a writ of
represented by Assistant Secretary preliminary injunction.
Eduardo P. Opida, Mina C. Figueroa,
Victorino F. Balais, Caroline R. Rogge,
Gregorio S. Oca, Corazon P. Carsola and
Virginia J. Pasalo,
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The PLAINTIFFS, by counsel, and unto this Honorable Court, respectfully moves
for the reconsideration of the Order dated August 31, 2004 (received by registered mail on
September 6, 2004) dismissing the instant case on the following grounds:
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE
THE CONSTITUTIONALITY AND VALIDITY OF THE
OWWA OMNIBUS POLICIES.
1.1 The authority and jurisdiction of this Honorable Court to decide cases involving the
constitutionality and validity of administrative rules issued by the administrative
agencies of government is well established in law and jurisprudence.
1.2 Section 5(a) of Article VIII of the Constitution of the Philippines states:
“Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
x x x x x x
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as
the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and
orders of lower courts in:
(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any
treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential
decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or
regulation is in question.”
1.3 The above-quoted constitutional provision clearly provides for the appellate
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to decide cases involving the constitutionality or
validity of laws and regulations, among others, after the same has been decided at
the first instance by the lower courts. This implies that the issue of constitutionality
or validity of a statute or administrative regulation, must first be ruled upon by the
Regional Trial Court at the first instance before the Supreme Court may exercise its
1.4 The jurisdiction of this Honorable Court to hear and decide cases involving the
constitutionality and validity of laws and administrative rules, among others, is part
of the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court to hear and decide civil actions in
which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation under
Section 19 (1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 otherwise known as “The Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980”, as amended.
1.5 In a long line of cases, the Supreme Court has affirmed the authority of the
Regional Trial Court to heart and decide cases involving the constitutionality and
validity of laws and administrative regulations.
1.6 In the case of J. M. Tuason & Co. v. Court of Appeals (3 SCRA 696), one of the
issues raised was whether or not the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to
decide on the issue of the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 2616 which
provided for the expropriation of the Tatalon Estate. The Supreme Court ruled in
the affirmative. The Supreme Court held that:
“Plainly, the Constitution contemplates that the inferior courts should have
jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of
appellate review of final judgments of inferior courts in cases where such
constitutionality happens to be in issue. Construing both provisions together, it is
readily discerned that the two-thirds vote of the Supreme Court, required by section
10 of Article VIII, conditions only the decisions of the Supreme Court in the
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.”
1.7 In the case of Ynot v. Intermediate Appellate Court (148 SCRA 659) where the
Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City refused to rule upon the constitutionality of
Executive Order No. 626-A banning the transportation of carabaos from one
province to another, the Supreme Court held that:
“This Court has declared that while lower courts should observe a becoming
modesty in examining constitutional questions, they are nonetheless not prevented
from resolving the same whenever warranted, subject only to review by the highest
tribunal. We have jurisdiction under the Constitution to ‘review, revise, reverse,
modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide,’
final judgments and orders of lower courts in, among others, all cases involving the
constitutionality of certain measures. This simply means that the resolution of such
cases may be made in the first instance by these lower courts.
“And while it is true that laws are presumed to be constitutional, that
presumption is not by any means conclusive and in fact may be rebutted. Indeed, if
there be a clear showing of their invalidity, and of the need to declare them so, then
‘will be the time to make the hammer fall, and heavily,’ to recall Justice Laurel's
trenchant warning. Stated otherwise, courts should not follow the path of least
resistance by simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned.
On the contrary, they should probe the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess,
paraphrasing another distinguished jurist, and so heal the wound or excise the
“Judicial power authorizes this; and when the exercise is demanded, there
should be no shirking of the task for fear of retaliation, or loss of favor, or popular
censure, or any other similar inhibition unworthy of the bench, especially this
1.8 In the case of Drilon v. Lim, et al., (235 SCRA 135), the Regional Trial Court of
Manila declared Section 187 of the Local Government Code to be unconstitutional.
Although the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court, the jurisdiction
of the Regional Trial Court to decide the constitutionality of Section 187 of the
Local Government Code was upheld. Said the Supreme Court:
“We stress at the outset that the lower court had jurisdiction to consider the
constitutionality of Section 187, this authority being embraced in the general
definition of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding laws by
the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law. Specifically, BP 129 vests
in the regional trial courts jurisdiction over all civil cases in which the subject of
the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation, even as the accused in a criminal
action has the right to question in his defense the constitutionality of a law he is
charged with violating and of the proceedings taken against him, particularly as
they contravene the Bill of Rights. Moreover, Article X, Section 5(2), of the
Constitution vests in the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction over final judgments
and orders of lower courts in all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of
any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree,
proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.”
1.9 This Court, in the exercise of its power of judicial review, also has the jurisdiction
to decide on the constitutionality and validity of administrative rules and
regulations issued by the administrative agencies of government in the exercise of
its quasi-legislative powers. In the aforecited cases, the Supreme Court upheld the
jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court to decide the constitutionality and validity
of statutes. Verily, this Court can likewise rule at the first instance, on the
constitutionality or validity of administrative rules and regulations.
1.10 In the case of Miller v. Mardo (2 SCRA 898), the Courts of First Instance of
Baguio, Manila, Cebu and Isabela declared unconstitutional and invalid
Reorganization Plan No. 20-A prepared by the Government Survey and
Reorganization Commission. The Supreme Court sustained the decisions of the
1.11 In the case of Dabuet, et al., v. Roche Products Labor Union, et al., (149 SCRA
386), the Supreme Court upheld the power of courts to determine the
constitutionality or validity of acts of administrative agencies of government
performed in the exercise of its quasi-judicial or delegated legislative powers. The
Supreme Court held:
“To be sure, Art. 223 of the Labor Code, while providing expressly that
decisions of the Secretary of Labor may be appealed to the Office of the President,
does not provide for review of the decisions of the Office of the President by the
Supreme Court. This does not mean, however, that the power of judicial review
does not extend to decisions of the Office of the President. In San Miguel Corp. vs.
Secretary of Labor, where the same issue was raised, the Court categorically
declared that there is an underlying power in the courts to scrutinize the acts of
agencies exercising quasi-judicial or legislative power on questions of law and
jurisdiction even though no right of review is given by the statute. The Court
‘Yanglay raised a jurisdictional question which was not brought up
by respondent public officials. He contends that this Court has no
jurisdiction to review the decisions of the NLRC and the Secretary of Labor
'under the principle of separation of powers' and that judicial review is not
provided for in Presidential Decree No. 21.
‘That contention is a flagrant error. 'It is generally understood that as
to administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial or legislative power
there is an underlying power in the courts to scrutinize the acts of such
agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of
review is given by statute' (73 C.J.S. 506, note 56).
‘The purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative agency
within its jurisdiction and protect substantial rights of parties affected by its
decisions' (73 C.J.S. 504, Sec. 165). It is part of the system of checks and
balances which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and
‘Judicial review is proper in case of lack of jurisdiction, grave abuse
of discretion, error of law, fraud or collusion (Timbancaya vs. Vicente, 62
O.G. 9424; Macatangay vs. Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, 63 O.G, 11236; Ortua vs. Singson Encarnacion, 59 Phil.
“In Macailing vs. Andrada, the Court also ruled that judicial review of
administrative decisions is available even if the statute does not provide for judicial
review. The Court said:
‘In the matter of judicial review of administrative decisions, some
statutes especially provide for such judicial review; others are silent. Mere
silence, however, does not necessarily imply that judicial review is
unavailable. Modes of judicial review vary according to the statutes; appeal,
petition for review or a writ of certiorari. No general rule applies to all the
various administrative agencies. Where the law stands mute, the accepted
view is that the extraordinary remedies in the Rules of Court are still
“Accordingly, we restate that this Court, in the exercise of its power of
judicial review, may review decisions of the Office of the President on questions of
law and jurisdiction, when properly raised. This does not mean judicial supremacy
over the Office of the President but the performance by this Court of a duty
specifically enjoined upon it by the Constitution, as part of a system of checks and
THE CASES OF FORTICH v. CORONA (289 SCRA 624) AND PEOPLE v.
CUARESMA (172 SCRA 415) ARE INAPPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR.
2.1 In dismissing the instant case, this Honorable Court relied upon the Supreme
Court’s decision in the cases of Fortich v. Corona (289 SCRA 624) and People v.
Cuaresma (172 SCRA 415). Why said decisions were found to be applicable in the
instant case was not explained in the questioned Order.
2.2 In the case of Fortich v. Corona, the issue involved was the validity of the
Resolution dated November 7, 1997 issued by the Office of the President which
resolution modified an earlier resolution issued also by the Office of the President
that has already become final and executory. Said resolutions were issued by the
Office of the President in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions in resolving
on appeal the decision rendered by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform awarding 144
hectares of agricultural land to farmer beneficiaries in Sumilao, Bukidnon.
2.3 In the Fortich v. Corona case, the Supreme Court ruled upon the appropriateness of
the petition for certiorari filed by the petitioners before the Supreme Court instead
of a petition for review before the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the Rules of
Court. In said case, the Supreme Court upheld the propriety of the filing of the
petition for certiorari because the resolution being questioned was alleged to be
“patently illegal” and constitutes an error of jurisdiction and not an error of
2.4 Said case finds no application to the case at bar. The Fortich v. Corona case
involves the question of validity of a resolution issued by the Office of the
President in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions, the proper remedy of which
is a petition for certiorari. The instant case however, does not involve the exercise
of quasi-judicial functions by an administrative agency of government. Plaintiffs
are seeking the nullification of the OWWA Omnibus Policies which were
promulgated by the OWWA Board of Trustees in the exercise of its quasi-
legislative functions. Hence, the special civil action of certiorari is not the
appropriate remedy in the present case. (boldface ours)
2.5 In the same case of Fortich v. Corona, the Supreme Court cited the case of People
v. Cuaresma in ruling that the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the
Regional Trial Court have original concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. Nowhere in said decision did the Supreme
Court state that where the challenged act of administrative agencies is deemed
“patently illegal” the petition should only be filed before the Supreme Court.
2.6 In fact, in the case of People v. Cuaresma, the Supreme Court admonished the
petitioner from bringing the petition for certiorari directly to the Supreme Court
and for failing to observe the hierarchy of courts. Said the Supreme Court:
“Furthermore, the remedy of certiorari is limited to acts of any agency or
officer exercising judicial functions or of any judge which are claimed to be
‘without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion.’ It
does not lie for the correction of errors of judgment which may be brought about
only by appeal. Not every error in procedure, or every erroneous conclusion of law
or of fact of serious nature, is correctible by certiorari, appeal being the appropriate
remedy, except where the error constitutes grave abuse of discretion, i.e., ‘such
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction.’ The error here committed by His Honor obviously does not constitute
grave abuse of discretion. It was an error of law, involving what was then deemed
unsettled principle whether or not the filing of a complaint in the office of the fiscal
interrupted the period of prescription of the offense charged. It is not correctible by
certiorari. A last word. This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari
(as well as prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction) is
not exclusive. It is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts (formerly
Courts of First Instance), which may issue the writ, enforceable in any part of their
respective regions. It is also shared by this Court, and by the Regional Trial Court,
with the Court of Appeals (formerly, Intermediate Appellate Court), although prior
to the effectivity of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 on August 14, 1981, the latter's
competence to issue the extraordinary writs was restricted to those ‘in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction.’ This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however; to be taken
as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom
of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed. There is after
all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals,
and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for
petitions for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy
most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against
first level (‘inferior’) courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court, and
those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation of the
Supreme Court's original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only
when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set
out in the petition. This is established policy. It is a policy that is necessary to
prevent inordinate demands upon the Court's time and attention which are better
devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further
over-crowding of the Court's docket. Indeed, the removal of the restriction on the
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in this regard, supra — resulting from the
deletion of the qualifying phrase, ‘in aid of its appellate jurisdiction’ — was
evidently intended precisely to relieve this Court pro tanto of the burden of dealing
with applications for the extraordinary writs which, but for the expansion of the
Appellate Court corresponding jurisdiction, would have had to be filed with it.
“The Court feels the need to reaffirm that policy at this time, and to enjoin
strict adherence thereto in the light of what it perceives to be a growing tendency
on the part of litigants and lawyers to have their applications for the so-called
extraordinary writs, and sometime even their appeals, passed upon and adjudicated
directly and immediately by the highest tribunal of the land. The proceeding at bar
is a case in point. The application for the writ of certiorari sought against a City
Court was brought directly to this Court although there is discernible special and
important reason for not presenting it to the Regional Trial Court.
“The Court therefore closes this decision with the declaration for the
information and evidence of all concerned, that it will not only continue to enforce
the policy, but will require a more strict observance thereof.” (underscoring ours)
A SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 IS NOT THE
PROPER REMEDY FOR THE PLAINTIFFS IN THIS CASE.
3.1 With all due respect to this Honorable Court, it appears that this Court is of the
view that the plaintiffs should have instead filed a petition for certiorari before the
Supreme Court in challenging the OWWA Omnibus Policies instead of filing the
present action for annulment of the OWWA Omnibus Policies before the Regional
Trial Court of Pasay City.
3.2 The Plaintiffs beg to disagree.
3.3 In the first place, a petition for certiorari under Section 1 of Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court is a judicial remedy available when “any tribunal, board or officer exercising
judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of its or
his jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law.”
3.4 A petition for certiorari is not the proper judicial remedy for herein plaintiffs for the
simple reason that the OWWA Omnibus Policies were promulgated by the OWWA
Board of Trustees in the exercise of its quasi-legislative functions and not quasi-
judicial functions. A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is
not proper to challenge quasi-legislative actions of administrative agencies.
3.5 A special civil action for prohibition is likewise not a remedy available to the
plaintiffs because the special civil action of prohibition lies against judicial and
ministerial functions but not against legislative functions. (Ruperto v. Torres, L-
9785, February 25, 1957)
SECTION 2 OF RULE 43 OF THE REVISED RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, AS
WELL AS REASONS OF COMITY AND CONVENIENCE FINDS NO
APPLICATION TO THE CASE AT BAR.
4.1 In addition to the cases of Fortich v. Corona (289 SCRA 624) and People v.
Cuaresma (172 SCRA 415), this Honorable Court also cited several other reasons
for dismissing the instant case.
4.2 This Honorable Court invoked Section 2 of Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure as a ground for dismissal. Said Rule states:
“Rule 43, Section 2. Cases not covered. - This Rule shall not apply to
judgments or final orders issued under the Labor Code of the Philippines.”
4.2.1 Clearly, this Honorable Court erred in invoking said provision of the Rules
4.2.2 Rule 43 of the Rules of Court governs “Appeals from the Court of Tax
Appeals and Quasi-Judicial Agencies to the Court of Appeals.”
4.2.3 The OWWA is not a quasi-judicial agency of government. Neither is it
included among the government agencies enumerated under Section 1 of
Rule 43 of the Rules of Court to which said Rule applies.
4.2.4 The OWWA Omnibus Policies were issued by the OWWA Board in the
exercise of its quasi-legislative functions and not in the exercise of quasi-
4.2.5 There is no “judgment or final order” to speak of in this case.
4.2.6 The OWWA Omnibus Policies were approved by the OWWA Board of
Trustees pursuant to its perceived legislative mandate under LOI No. 537,
P. D. 1694, P. D. 1809 and R. A. 8042 and not under the provisions of the
Labor Code of the Philippines.
4.2.7 Clearly, Section 2 of Rule 43 of the Rules of Court finds no application in
the instant case.
4.3 This Honorable Court also invoked “comity” as a ground for dismissal of the
instant case. The OWWA was likewise deemed a co-equal in rank of this Court.
4.3.1 “Comity” is not a valid ground for dismissing this case.
4.3.2 First, the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is determined by
law. Refusal to exercise jurisdiction over a case where it is clearly evident
that jurisdiction exists is a grave abuse of discretion, at the very least. In the
case of Ynot v. Intermediate Appellate Court (148 SCRA 659), the Supreme
Court held “when the exercise is demanded, there should be no shirking of
the task for fear of retaliation, or loss of favor, or popular censure, or any
other similar inhibition unworthy of the bench, especially this Court.”
4.3.3 Second, the refusal of a trial court to exercise jurisdiction over a case on
grounds of comity may be justified only in cases involving conflict of laws.
No such situation exists in this case.
4.3.4 Third, under Section 4 of Rule 65 governing petitions for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus relating to the act of a lower court, or of a
corporation, board, officer or person, it is required that the petition should
be filed before the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the
territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. OWWA has its office
within Pasay City within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court.
4.3.5 The fact that this Court treats the OWWA as a co-equal in rank does not
justify the refusal to exercise the power of judicial review where jurisdiction
is clearly established. The exercise of this Court of its judicial power is a
performance of a duty enjoined by the Constitution as part of the system of
checks and balances in government.
4.4 This Honorable Court likewise invoked “convenience” as a ground for dismissal of
the instant case.
4.4.1 Convenience is not a valid ground for the court’s refusal to exercise
jurisdiction in the instant case. Nowhere in the Rules is it stated that a case
may be dismissed on the ground of the “convenience” of the court.
4.4.2 Plaintiffs are enjoined by the Supreme Court to strictly follow the
established hierarchy of courts. Plaintiffs have no choice but to file the
instant case before this Court that has original jurisdiction over the subject
matter of this case.
THE PLAINTIFFS ARE OBLIGED TO FOLLOW THE ESTABLISHED
HEIRARCHY OF COURTS
5.1 Plaintiffs are of the view that they have no other recourse than to file the instant
action before this Honorable Court in view of the Supreme Court’s admonition to
all party litigants and lawyers to follow the established hierarchy of courts.
5.2 Had the plaintiffs opted to file the instant case before the Supreme Court or the
Court of Appeals, the instant case might have been dismissed for failure to follow
the hierarchy of courts.
5.3 In the case of Miriam Defensor Santiago v. Conrado Vasquez, et al., (G. R. No.
99289-90, January 27, 1993), the Supreme Court held:
“One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this case a
propensity on the part of petitioner, and, for that matter, the same may be said of a
number of litigants who initiate recourses before us, to disregard the hierarchy of
courts in our judicial system by seeking relief directly from this Court despite the
fact that the same is available in the lower courts in the exercise of their original or
concurrent jurisdiction, or is even mandated by law to be sought therein. This
practice must be stopped, not only because of the imposition upon the precious
time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay, intended or
otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or
referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as
better equipped to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We,
therefore, reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort
to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or
where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy
within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.”
5.4 In view of the aforequoted directive from the Supreme Court, the Plaintiffs are
obliged under the circumstances to file the instant case before this Honorable Court
that has original jurisdiction to try the instant case.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Plaintiffs respectfully prays that the Order
dated August 31, 2004 be reversed and set aside; the Plaintiff’s application for the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction be resolved; and that the pre-trial of the instant case be
Other reliefs, just and equitable under the premises, are likewise prayed for.
Pasig City for Pasay City, September 15, 2004.
HENRY S. ROJAS
Counsel for the Plaintiffs
PTR NO. 0440686 1/19/04 Pasig City
IBP NO. 607207 1/15/04 Cavite
Roll of Attorneys No. 42023
Unit 702 Manila Luxury Condominium
Pearl Drive cor. Gold Loop, Ortigas Center
CHARMAINE M. CALALANG
Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs
PTR NO. 0022637 11/27/03 Caloocan City
IBP NO. 594353 12/29/03 Caloocan City
Roll of Attorneys No. 48296
NOTICE OF HEARING
The Clerk of Court
Pasay City RTC Branch 111
Associate Solicitor Tomas D. Tagra, Jr.
Office of the Solicitor General
Please take notice that the instant “Motion for Reconsideration” shall be submitted
for the consideration of the Honorable Court on October 1, 2004 at 8:30 a. m.
HENRY S. ROJAS
Copy furnished by registered mail due to heavy delivery schedule of messenger:
Associate Solicitor Tomas D. Tagra, Jr.
Office of the Solicitor General
134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village