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					                                              REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
                                                   SUPREME COURT
                                                        MANILA
                                                     [Third Division]

TEODORO C. BORLONGAN,
                                       Petitioner,

         - versus -                                                                              G.R. NO. 163765
                                                                                                 [CA-G.R. SP NO. 72270]
RAFAEL B. BUENAVENTURA, ALBERTO
V. REYES, MA. DOLORES B. YUVIENGCO,
CANDON B. GUERRERO, JUAN DE
ZUÑIGA, JR., TOMAS S. AURE, JR.,
                                       Respondents.
x-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x


                                  MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
                                             [to the Resolution dated 26 July 2004]


        Petitioner, by counsel, respectfully moves for the reconsideration of the 26 July 2004 Resolution of this
Honorable Court (received on 2 September 2004) summarily denying the Petition in the above-captioned case,
and states:

         In its minute Resolution dated 26 July 2004, this Honorable Court denied due course to the present
Petition in this wise:

                         ―G.R. No. 163765 (Teodoro C. Borlongan vs. Rafael B. Buenaventura, et al.)— Acting
                   on the petition for review on certiorari of the amended decision dated June 4, 2004 of the
                   Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 72270, the Court Resolved to DENY the petition for
                   failure of the petitioner to show that a reversible error had been committed by the appellate
                   court.

                        The motion dated July 20, 2004, filed by counsel for petitioner to refer the case to the
                   Court En Banc and to consolidate this case with G.R. No. 161276, as both cases involve the
                   same questions of law, is NOTED WITHOUT ACTION.‖


        Petitioner humbly submits that it may have been rash and premature for this Honorable Court to
summarily deny the Petition. A second and perhaps more circumspect examination of the Petition will readily
reveal that it is deserving of the attention of this Honorable Court and a final disposition of the merits thereof in
an extensive decision.

        Specifically, the 26 July 2004 Resolution of this Honorable Court should be reconsidered and set aside,
and the Petition be given due course, on the following:

                                                               Grounds

                                                                   I.

                   THE PATENT AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS OF THE HONORABLE COURT
                   OF APPEALS WERE CLEARLY AND PLAINLY SET FORTH IN THE
                   GROUNDS OF THE PETITION AND ITS SUB-ARGUMENTS.

                                                                  II.

                   BECAUSE IT ABRUPTLY AND UNJUSTIFIABLY REVERSED THE WELL-
                   GROUNDED FINDINGS OF BOTH THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AND
                   THE SAME DIVISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE ASSAILED
                   AMENDED DECISION IS LEGALLY ANOMALOUS AND ABERRANT, AND
                   THEREFORE PATENTLY DESERVING TO BE SET ASIDE.

                   A.     The court a quo’s Amended Decision improperly disregarded the Office of
                          the Ombudsman‘s factual findings, which were adequately supported by
                                                                                     2
     substantial evidence, to reverse said Office‘s ruling that respondents were
     guilty of Neglect of Duty.

B.   The assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision ungainly ignored the key
     issues that the court a quo identified in its 13 August 2003 Decision. The
     fact that there was a prior conflicting decision by the court a quo demands
     that the present Petition be given due course.

C.   The irregularity of the court a quo’s Amended Decision was further
     highlighted by the Manifestation of the Office of the Ombudsman dated 21
     June 2004 in CA G.R. SP No. 72270, questioning the Amended Decision
     that dismissed the administrative case against respondents Reyes,
     Yuviengco, Guerrero and Aure.

D.   Even the Special Division of Five which rendered the court a quo’s
     Amended Decision was not in complete concurrence in respect of the
     reversal of the prior Decision. The Concurring/Dissenting Opinion of the
     Division chairman indicates that there is reason to question the Amended
     Decision, which justifies a review thereof by this Honorable Court.

                                      III.

THE DISMISSAL OF THE ABOVE-CAPTIONED PETITION BY THIS
HONORABLE DIVISION WAS PREMATURE CONSIDERING THERE WERE
PENDING INCIDENTS TO BE RESOLVED, WHICH INCLUDES THE MOTION
TO CONSOLIDATE WITH G.R. NO. 161276 PENDING BEFORE THE FIRST
DIVISION AND THE MOTION TO REFER THE CASE TO THIS HONORABLE
COURT EN BANC.

A.   Petitioner filed a Motion to Refer the present case to this Honorable Court
     En Banc, in view of the vital constitutional and legal issues involved, which
     have far-reaching effects on jurisprudence.

B.   Petitioner filed an identical Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc
     in G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related with the present case. The
     consolidation and referral of both the present case and G.R. No. 161276 to
     the Court En Banc shall promote judicial economy and convenience as well
     as the conclusiveness of the final disposition of this case.

C.   G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related with the present case, is pending
     before the First Division of this Honorable Court. Nevertheless, despite the
     similarity of the two cases, the petition in G.R. No. 161276 has been given
     due course by said Division, whereas the present case was dismissed
     outright.

                                      IV.

THE THIRD DIVISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT MAY HAVE PRE-
JUDGED THIS CASE CONSIDERING THREE (3) OTHER CASES RELATING
TO UBI’S CLOSURE HAVE BEEN RAFFLED TO IT, TWO (2) OF WHICH
HAVE BEEN DISMISSED OUTRIGHT IN ADDITION TO THE PRESENT
CASE. THUS, TO PRESERVE THE APPEARANCE OF IMPARTIALITY, THE
HONORABLE THIRD DIVISION SHOULD INHIBIT ITSELF FROM ACTING
ON THIS PETITION AT THE FIRST INSTANCE AND REFER THE CASE TO
THE HONORABLE COURT EN BANC.

     G.R. No. 158537, Tabios vs Ombudsman et al.

     G.R. No. 159605, Borlongan vs Ombudsman et al.

     G.R. No. 159754, Borlongan vs Ombudsman et al.

     A Motion to Inhibit Justices Carpio, Morales and Corona had been filed in
     G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related with the present case.
                                                                                                                 3


                                                       Discussion

The patent and reversible errors of the
Honorable Court of Appeals were clearly and
plainly set forth in the Grounds of the
Petition and its sub-arguments.


         1.      Petitioner‘s complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman accused respondent Bangko Sentral
ng Pilipinas (BSP) officials of gross negligence, partiality, lack of diligence, and bad faith for causing the
preparation of three (3) falsified and antedated BSP-SES (Supervision and Examination Sector) Reports that
justified the closure of three viable financial institutions -- Urban Bank, Inc. (UBI), Urbancorp Development
Bank (UDB) and Urbancorp Investments, Inc. (UII).

        2.      Worse yet, contrary to the BSP‘s own rules and procedures, respondents denied petitioner of due
process, reminiscent and yet worse than the Banco Filipino case1, in effecting the closure of UBI, UDB and UII.
More importantly, respondents unethically, and with bad faith and deception, justified the closure of UBI, UDB
and UII through falsification and perjury long after the three viable financial institutions were closed.

        3.      Petitioner sought redress for respondents‘ gross neglect of duty, falsification and perjury, before
the Office of the Ombudsman, the competent body to rule upon the abominable injustice done to him and the
public. Said Office ruled that there was indeed neglect of duty, but declined to impose the proper penalty on most
of the respondents, while absolving those respondents most responsible for the atrocity done to UBI, UDB and
UII and the banking community.

         4.       The Honorable Court of Appeals initially found the strength and moral fortitude to render a more
just judgment and yet quibbled on the fitting penalty. In the end, the Honorable Court of Appeals slipped and
faltered into error worse than that committed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

          5.      In its Amended Decision 2, the court a quo ruled:

                       ―The respondents Reyes and Aure, Jr. contend that this administrative case is a
                  disguised attempt to raise an issue against the legality of the closure of UBI and its
                  subsidiaries made by the petitioner who had no right to do so and long after the
                  permissible period for d oing so had expired. We agree, for, indeed, the issue
                  about the prohibition against UBI and its subsidiaries from doing business in the
                  Philippines pursuant to MB Resolutions Nos. 634, 635 and 636 is already a dead
                  one which this administrative case cannot revive. The petitioner's disguised attempt
                  should not, therefore, prosper.

                       The law is definite about how, when and by whom the MB resolutions should be
                  assailed. Sec. 30, Republic Act No. 7653, states in its penultimate paragraph:

                            The actions of the Monetary Board taken under this section or under Section
                      29 of this Act shall be final and executory and may not be restrained or set
                      aside by the court except on petition for certiorari on the ground that the action
                      taken was in excess of jurisdiction or with such grave abuse of discretion as to
                      amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The petition for certiorari may only be
                      filed by the stockholders of record representing the majority of the capital
                      stock within ten (10) days from receipt by the board of directors of the
                      institution of the order directing receivership, liquidation or conservatorship.

                       To be clear, the proper remedy against MB Resolutions Nos. 634, 635 and 636
                  was a petition for certiorari. Any other remedy circumvents Sec. 30. This administrative
                  charge is no exception.

                       Sec. 30 further imposes a period to challenge the MB resolutions, providing
                  that the petition for certiorari should be filed within 10 days from receipt by the
                  UBI Board of Directors of the order directing the receivership. T he MB
                  resolutions thus became unassailable when no petition for certio rari was filed
                  within 10 days from receipt by the UBI Board of Directors of the order directing the
                  receivership.

                                ****                    ****                      ****
                       Did the petitioner have any right at all to bring th is administrative charge?


    1   G.R. No. 70054, December 11, 1991.
    2   pp. 11-13.
                                                                                                                  4
                     We hold that he did not. The standard for our determination is the benefit to be
                gained or the prejudice to be suffered from the judgment. Thus, UBI and its subsidiaries
                were the only parties in interest since they alone would be entitled to commence a
                civil action to claim indemnity of any loss or injury suffered from the
                implementation of the MB resolutions issued through the neglect being attributed
                to the respondent BSP officials. The right to initiate and maintain any compla int
                (civil or administrative) founded on the neglect solely belonged to UBI and its
                subsidiaries and did not inure to the petitioner. True, he filed the charge as the
                former president of UBI and as a former director of UDB and UII. Still, his right to file
                as such was doubtful. Sec. 30, supra, limits the right to challenge the MB resolutions
                by petition for certiorari only to the stockholders of record representing the majority of the
                capital stock. Without him claiming to own the majority of the capital stock, which
                he never did herein, his initiation of this charge was futile.

                     The essentiality for the petitioner to be first a party in interest on the issue of
                neglect is, indeed, decisive of whether the charge should prosper or not. For, if he
                had no direct personal interest to be affected by a determination of the issue, his
                present appeal and, for that matter, the administrative investigation a quo, will not resolve
                any real and actual controversy for him and for the respondents. The whole exercise will
                thus be useless. For this reason, Sec. 20, (4), Republic Act No. 6770, authorizes the
                Office of the Ombudsman not to conduct an investigation of any administrative act or
                omission complained of if the complainant has no sufficient personal interest in the
                subject matter of the grievance.‖


       6.     The assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision reversed the Honorable Court of Appeal‘s 13
August 2003 Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

                      ―WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Order of the Ombudsman dated July 2,
                2002, in OMB-ADM-0-00-0867 is hereby partially REVERSED and AFFIRMED subject to
                the following modifications: (1) We affirm the order of the Ombudsman in exonerating Juan
                de Zuñiga, Jr.: (2) We find respondent Rafael B. Buenaventura, Governor of Bangko Sentral
                ng Pilipinas, guilty of gross neglect of duty. Respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma. Dolores
                V. Yuviengco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure, Jr. are likewise found guilty of
                gross neglect of duty. A one (1) year suspension without pay pursuant to Section 25 of
                Republic Act 6770 is hereby imposed upon respondents Rafael B. Buenaventura, Alberto V.
                Reyes, Ma. Dolores V. Yuviengco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure, Jr.

                     SO ORDERED.‖


       7.      Otherwise stated, the 13 August 2003 Decision, in the same case and by the same court, not only
found respondents, except respondent Zuñiga, guilty of gross neglect of duty, but it also extended the penalty
imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman to one year suspension.

        8.      In its effort to justify the whiplash dismissal of the administrative complaint against respondents,
the court a quo merely fearfully evaded the fundamental issue in this case as delineated by its earlier 13 August
2003 Decision. Said decision lucidly stated:

                      ―This petition questions the manner of closure done to UBI and its subsidiary banking
                institutions by the MB headed by respondent Buenaventura and how it was later on justified
                by the Office of the Ombudsman.

                     Section 16 of Republic Act 7653 states:

                         ―Section 16. Responsibility. – Members of the monetary Board, officials,
                    examiners, and employees of the Bangko Sentral who willfully violate this Act or
                    who are guilty of negligence, abuses or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance of fail
                    to exercise extraordinary diligence in the performance of his duties shall be
                    held liable for any loss or injury suffered by the Bangko Sentral or other
                    banking institutions as a result of such violation, negligence, abuse,
                    malfeasance, misfeasance or failure to exercise extraordinary diligence”.
                    (underscoring supplied)

                     applying Section 4 (b) of Republic Act 6713 which reads:

                         ―Section 4. Norms of conduct of Public Officials and Employees. (a) Every
                    public official and employee shall observe the following as standards of personal
                    conduct in the discharge and execution of official duties:

                         (b)     Professionalism. Public officials and employees shall perform and
                    discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism,
                                                                                                                        5
                        intelligence and skill. They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and
                        dedication to duty. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perception of their
                        roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage‖. (underscoring supplied).

                          In essence the provisions of these rules require that public officers must act at all times
                    diligently with utmost regard to the public and to the office they are holding.

                                     ****                      ****                    ****
                         What we are tasked now is to determine whether or not the public officials behind the
                    bank‘s closure acted in the manner asked of them under the law.‖3


        9.      In absolving respondents of the administrative charges filed by petitioner, previously adjudged
meritorious by the Office of the Ombudsman and affirmed by the court a quo in its 13 August 2003 Decision, the
Honorable Court of Appeals avoided discussing the manner by which UBI, UDB, and UII were ordered closed.

         10.   Whereas the 13 August 2003 Decision addressed the issue head-on, the 4 June 2004 Amended
Decision dodged and sought to obscure the issue in a string of technicalities to justify failing to go into the merits
of this case. With all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals—after rendering a proper, yet watered-down
ruling—sought to backtrack and elude the issues of this case, which are simply public accountability and redress
of grievances.

        11.      Petitioner anchors his right on R.A. No. 6713, which provides for ―a high standard of ethics in
public service‖, giving flesh to the Constitutional mandate that ―[p]ublic officials and employees shall at all times
be accountable to the people‖. Petitioner‘s case is made all the more relevant by the fact that respondents are
required by Section 16 of R.A. 7653 to exercise extraordinary diligence in the performance of their functions.
Tragically, the assailed Amended Decision of the Honorable Court of Appeals granted a blanket absolution on
respondents as if they were above the law and the Constitution.

         12.     Aggrieved by the assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision, petitioner filed a petition for review
on certiorari with this Honorable Court, which consisted of 58 pages, setting forth four (4) major arguments—the
first of which having five (5) sub-arguments, with several tabular presentations—supportive of petitioner‘s prayer
for relief. The issue of the case and the grounds for the Petition were stated in this wise:

                                                                Issue
                    WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
                    ABSOLVING RESPONDENTS IN PETITIONER‘S ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT
                    FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION 16 OF REPUBLIC ACT 7653, AND SECTION 4 OF
                    REPUBLIC ACT 6713.

                                                              Grounds
                                                                 I.
                    THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT
                    PETITIONER‘S ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE
                    OMBUDSMAN CIRCUMVENTED SECTION 30 OF RA 7653, WHICH IS A RULING
                    THAT DEPRIVES THE PUBLIC OF REDRESS FROM NEGLIGENCE OR
                    MALFEASANCE COMMITTED BY CENTRAL BANK OFFICIALS.

                                                                  II.
                    THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT
                    DISREGARDED THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE OFFICE OF THE
                    OMBUDSMAN, CONSIDERING IT WAS SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL
                    EVIDENCE, AND, IN RULING THAT THE CASE OF BANCO FILIPINO SHOULD
                    NOT APPLY BECAUSE THE CASE WAS DECIDED UNDER THE RA NO. 265, OR
                    THE OLD CENTRAL BANK ACT.

                                                                  III
                    THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN SUSTAINING
                    RESPONDENTS‘ OBJECTIONS AS TO FORM WHICH PROMOTE MULTIPLICITY
                    OF SUITS AND DIMINISH THE COURTS‘ INHERENT POWERS OF REVIEW.


        13.      Mayhap a second and more considered perusal of the Petition is necessary to appreciate the
sweeping effect of the court a quo‘s Amended Decision on the banking industry and on public service as a whole.
In any case, petitioner believes that the Petition, because of the inherent merits thereof, deserves another look by
this Honorable Court.


     3   Decision dated 13 August 2003, pp. 9-10.
                                                                                                                                     6
          14.   At the very least, the fundamental public interest involved in this case should justify an
exhaustive decision that silences the parties‘ arguments and counter-arguments. Only this Honorable Court, and
none other, can finally put to rest, for all posterity, the issues in this case. Petitioner merely desires an equivocal
and thorough decision by this Honorable Court in order to still the nagging questions this controversy has brought
to light.

          15.    The rationale behind the denial of the Petition before the Honorable Court of Appeals was that the
administrative case against respondents before the Office of the Ombudsman was a circumvention of Section 30
of R.A. 7653. As argued extensively in the Petition before this Honorable Court, the administrative case was not
at all a circumvention of said Section 30.

        16.     The 13 August 2003 Decision found no such circumvention of Section 30 of RA 7653 as it
properly concentrated on respondents‘ dereliction of duty and imposed what the court a quo believed to be the
appropriate penalty for respondents‘ malfeasance considering the utter gravity of their offense against petitioner
and the public.

        17.      The 13 August 2003 Decision therefore should not have been reconsidered (except for the penalty
imposed), since it did not rule on the invalidity of the closure of the subject financial institutions (FIs), which is
the central flawed argument supporting respondents‘ theory of a circumvention of Section 30 of R.A. 7653.

         18.     The following tabular discussion condenses the arguments supportive of petitioner‘s contention
that the present case is an administrative and criminal action against respondents [for violations of Art. 171(4) and
(5) of the Revised Penal Code; Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019, as amended); Sec.
4 of the Code of Conduct & Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713); and Sec. 16 of the
New Central Bank Act (RA 7653)], and not a special civil action for certiorari against the Monetary Board (MB)
which seeks to re-open UBI, UDB and UII.



           Sec. 30, RA 7653                                                          Argument

“The actions of the Monetary                        Petitioner‘s complaint is not a special civil action for certiorari
Board…may not be restrained or set              against the MB which seeks to re-open UBI, UDB and UII.
aside except on petition for certiorari
on the ground that the action taken                  It is an administrative and criminal action against public officers for
was in excess of jurisdiction or with           falsification of official reports [under Art. 171(4) and (5) of the Revised
such grave abuse of discretion as to            Penal Code]; for corruption [under Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019 as amended];
amount to lack or excess of                     and for violations of Sec. 4 of R.A. 6713 and Sec. 16 of R.A. 7653.
jurisdiction.”
                                                      As correctly defined by the Ombudsman, “the subject matter of this
                                                case is the alleged falsification of the SES Reports and the alteration of
                                                its true dates committed by respondents.”


“The petition for certiorari may only                Since the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman was not a
be filed by the stockholders of record          petition for certiorari, but an administrative and criminal action, the
representing the majority of the                majority stockholders of any corporation was clearly not needed in order
capital stock…”                                 to file the complaint. Anyone, including private individuals, can
                                                denounce public offenses before the prosecuting authorities.4




     4 In Damaso P. Perez vs. Monetary Board, 20 SCRA 592, the Supreme Court held that “xxx it does not appear from the law that
only the Central Bank or its respondent officials can cause the prosecution of alleged violations of banking laws. Said violations
constitute a public offense, the prosecution of which is a matter of public interest and hence, anyone—even private individuals—
can denounce such violations before the prosecuting authorities.”

      In People of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, 135 SCRA 372, the Supreme Court held that “xxx it is the commission of the act
defined by the law, not the character or effect thereof that determines whether said law has been violated. xxx For what would
prevent the officials from entering into those kinds of transactions against which Republic Act No. 3019 is directed, and then
deliberately omit the observance of certain formalities just to provide a convenient leeway to avoid the clutches of the law in the
event of discovery and consequent prosecution?”
                                                                                                                   7

“…from receipt by the board of                  The notice, served upon UBI, of the MB‘s closure order was a letter
directors of the institution…of the        by the PDIC addressed to the bank‘s president ―or to the Highest Officer
order directing receivership”              Present‖. Said notice, citing the MB resolution, placed the bank under
                                           PDIC‘s receivership, and dissolved the authority of the board and
                                           officers, thus: “Forthwith, all members of the Board of Directors and
                                           Officers of the Bank shall ipso facto cease to have any further authority
                                           to act for and in behalf of the Bank.”

                                                Rule 65, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court provides that the 60-day period
                                           (not 10-days), within which to file a petition for certiorari, commences
                                           from notice of the order or resolution served upon petitioners who, in
                                           this case, should be the majority if not all of the stockholders of the
                                           bank.     In UBI‘s case, no notice was properly served to such
                                           stockholders. (UBI was also a publicly listed bank.)


“…within ten (10) days from                     Petitioner filed his complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman
receipt…of the order directing             on 8 November 2000, soon after his discovery of respondents‘
receivership”                              falsification of the SES reports. The BSP belatedly furnished petitioner,
                                           through counsel, the SES Report on UBI only on 20 September 2000,
                                           and the SES Reports on UDB and UII on 11 October 2000. Despite the
                                           requirements of the Central Bank Manual of Examination Procedures,
                                           respondents did not furnish UBI, UDB, UII nor petitioner with a copy of
                                           the SES reports or their findings therein until after written demand by
                                           petitioner‘s counsel.

                                               Art. 91 of RPC provides that prescription commences upon
                                           discovery of the crime by the aggrieved party, the authorities or their
                                           agents. It does not compute commencement from the time when the
                                           crime was committed, much less, when a closure order was served upon
                                           a bank.

                                               Moreover, Rule 65, Sec. 1 of Rules of Court requires that a petition
                                           for certiorari must “alleg(e) the facts with certainty.” There was
                                           nothing to allege at the time until the discovery of respondents‘
                                           wrongdoing five months later.



        19.     Petitioner emphatically declared that he is not disputing the MB‘s orders closing UBI, UDB and
UII through his complaint, because the proceedings before the Office of the Ombudsman were strictly criminal
and administrative in nature. The Office of the Ombudsman correctly ruled that the actions taken by the
Monetary Board, insofar as the closure of UBI and UDB is concerned, is final and executory, and that the only
way to dispute the actions of the MB would be a petition for certiorari under Section 30 of RA 7653.

        20.     The Office of the Ombudsman properly proceeded to rule upon the administrative liability of the
respondents, and, in so doing, clearly fine-tuned the difference between an action under Section 30 of RA 7653
and an administrative complaint against respondents.

         21.     Moreover, a petition for certiorari by the bank‘s majority stockholders, or the lack thereof, does
not excuse respondents‘ administrative liability for their acts. They are distinct and separate causes of action that
belie respondents‘ contention that this case is a collateral attack on the closure of the FIs. An action to question
the legality of the closure of UBI, UII and UDB, as respondents imply this case to be, would entail a prayer
invalidating the closure of afore-mentioned FIs and seeking the reopening thereof. No such prayer is made in this
case.

         22.    Section 16 of R.A. 7653 expressly requires BSP officers and personnel, including, and most of
all, the BSP‘s highest executive officer, to exercise extraordinary diligence in the performance of their duties.
Thus:

                      ―Sec. 16. Responsibility. - Members of the Monetary Board, officials, examiners, and
                employees of the Bangko Sentral who willfully violate this Act or who are guilty of
                negligence, abuses, or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance or fail to exercise extraordinary
                diligence in the performance of his duties shall be held liable for any loss or injury suffered
                by the Bangko Sentral or other banking institutions as a result of such violation, negligence,
                abuse, malfeasance, misfeasance or failure to exercise extraordinary diligence.
                                                                                                                       8


        23.      Nevertheless, when respondents closed down UBI, UDB and UII or forebade them from doing
business in the Philippines on the basis of SES Reports, cobbled together, as admitted by respondents themselves,
in a span of a few hours, they decapitated and dissolved the FIs whimsically and without the extraordinary
diligence required by law.

        24.      Coupled with respondents‘ other acts of ante-dating and falsifying the subject SES Reports, after
they had been implemented, as alleged in petitioner‘s complaint-affidavit before the Office of the Ombudsman,
petitioner‘s causes of action against respondents clearly transcended a mere petition for certiorari questioning the
closure of the three FIs. It is therefore a mystery how the court a quo could mistake the present case for the latter.

        25.     The subject of the present case and the allegations made in the complaint-affidavit before the
Office of the Ombudsman clearly takes the present case away from the ambit of a mere petition for certiorari
questioning the closure of the three FIs.

        26.     Accordingly, it was clear and patent error for the court a quo to rule that the present case is a
circumvention of Section 30 of RA 7653. A mere reading of the allegations made in the present case will reveal
that the present case is an administrative suit to hold respondents liable for their negligence and malfeasance,
which does not, in any way, short-change itself by merely questioning the legality of the closure of UBI, UII and
UDB.

       27.      The assailed Amended Decision of the court a quo as argued in the Petition is founded on error
upon error, compounded by yet more errors. It deserves to be reversed and set aside because it is a blot on not
only R.A. 6713 and R.A. 7653, but on the Constitution itself. Respondents‘ malfeasance are condemnable in
themselves, however, the apologetic Amended Decision of the court a quo is likewise malodorous and abhorrent
under our system of laws that prizes public accountability.

         28.      This Honorable Court, in the case of Calo, Jr. vs. Tapucar, ruled that ―[a]ny act that is
malodorous cannot be swallowed and therefore abhorrent to any man's sense of fairness and justice. It shatters the
hopes of the citizenry that the courts are the last bulwark of democracy where the excesses of the executive and
legislative officials can be questioned.‖ Thus:

                    ―* * * But when a litigant makes his utterances in a formal pleading in order to give the
                    Court a chance to correct itself, it is not worthy of any punishment. It is an exercise of his
                    constitutional right to seek redress of grievances in the means provided for by law. Any act
                    which is tantamount to partiality or unfairness is not only 'obnoxious' or 'abhorrent.' It is
                    scandalous. It is not pleasant to be the victim of unfairness or partiality. Anything unpleasant
                    is malodorous. Any act that is malodorous cannot be swallowed and therefore abhorrent to
                    any man's sense of fairness and justice. It shatters the hopes of the citizenry that the courts
                    are the last bulwark of democracy where the excesses of the executive and legislative
                    officials can be questioned.‖5 (underscoring supplied)


        29.     The assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision, and necessarily the 26 July 2004 Resolution of this
Honorable Court, must be reversed and set aside, otherwise, public accountability will become a hollow concept.
A contrary ruling in this case abrogates the ruling in the Banco Filipino case, and places officials of the BSP
above the law, including Section 4 of R.A. 6713 and Section 16 of R.A. 7653. A ruling absolving respondents in
this case, no matter what the basis, sanctions the wholesale slaughter of viable financial institutions, upon the
mere whim of unscrupulous BSP officials.

         30.      This Honorable Court is in a position to prevent such a travesty of justice. Petitioner‘s grievances
as set forth in his administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman are not petty grudges deserving
of being swept under the rug of indifference, technicality, and apathy. Certainly, the crimes committed by
respondents are no simple misdemeanors deserving of a mere slap on the wrist. Respondents violated their oath
as public officers and betrayed the public trust for which they must be administratively punished.


Because it abruptly and unjustifiably
reversed the well-grounded findings of both
the Office of the Ombudsman and the same
division of the Court of Appeals, the assailed
Amended Decision is legally anomalous and
aberrant, and therefore patently deserving to
be set aside.


     5   G.R. No. L-47244, January 16, 1979.
                                                                                                                         9


A.       The court a quo’s Amended Decision improperly disregarded
         the Office of the Ombudsman’s factual findings, which were
         adequately supported by substantial evidence, to reverse said
         Office’s ruling that respondents were guilty of Neglect of Duty.

         1.     It is well established that findings of fact of administrative agencies are binding on the courts,
especially, when they are duly supported by substantial evidence as borne by the records of the case. It is the
policy of the courts not to interfere with the actions of the executive branch unless there is a clear showing of
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction.6

        2.      The general rule is that the courts will not disturb the (factual) findings of administrative agencies
acting within the parameters of their own competence so long as such findings are supported by substantial
evidence, even if not overwhelming or preponderant. This is known as the Substantial Evidence Rule.7

        3.       Courts are enjoined not to disturb the findings of administrative agencies acting within the
parameters of their own competence so long as such findings are supported by substantial evidence. Substantial
evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion (Ang Tibay vs. CIR, 69 Phil. 635) and its absence is not shown by stressing that
there is a contrary evidence on record, direct or circumstantial, for the court, in determining wherein lies the
weight of evidence or what evidence is entitled to belief, cannot substitute its own judgment or criteria for that of
the administrative agency. (Heirs of E.B. Roxas Inc. vs. Tolentino, 167 SCRA 334)

          4.       In Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation vs. Factoran, Jr.8, this Honorable
Court held that ―it is sufficient that administrative findings of fact are supported by evidence, or negatively stated,
it is sufficient that findings of fact are not shown to be unsupported by evidence. Substantial evidence is all that is
needed to support an administrative finding of fact, and substantial evidence is ‗such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion‘.‖ 9

        5.      By reason of their special knowledge, expertise, and experience, gained from the handling of
specific matters falling under their respective jurisdictions, the courts ordinarily accord respect if not finality to
factual findings of administrative tribunals.10 They are generally not disturbed by the judicial department on
appeal.11

        6.      A noted authority in Administrative Law opines that ―in the exercise of their jurisdiction, when
confronted with conflicting versions of factual matter, it is for administrative agencies in the exercise of discretion
to determine which party deserves credence on the basis of evidence received.‖12

       7.      The rationale behind the principle that administrative agencies‘ findings of fact are generally
accorded respect, if not finality, is best explained in the case of Villaflor vs. Court of Appeals, where this
Honorable Court held that:

                       "* * * By reason of the special knowledge and expertise of said administrative agencies
                 over matters falling under their jurisdiction, they are in a better position to pass judgment
                 thereon; thus, their findings of fact in that regard are generally accorded great respect, if not
                 finality, by the courts. The findings of fact of an administrative agency must be respected as
                 long as they are supported by substantial evidence, even if such evidence might not be
                 overwhelming or even preponderant. It is not the task of an appellate court to weigh once
                 more the evidence submitted before the administrative body and to substitute its own'
                 judgment for that of the administrative agency in respect of sufficiency of evidence." 13


         8.      It bears emphasis that under Section 10 of Rule 43 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,
the jurisprudential rule that the findings of fact of the court or agency a quo are binding on the appellate court has
now been made a specific rule of procedure.14 Said Rule provides:


     6  De Leon, Administrative Law: Text and Cases (1993: 2nd ed.), p. 291.
     7  Id., p. 296.
     8 G. R. No. 75501, 15 September 1987, 154 SCRA 49, 54.
     9 Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635, 642; Police Commission v. Lood, 127 SCRA 762 [1984].
     10 Qualitrans Limousine Service vs. Royal Class Limousine Service, 179 SCRA 569 [1989]; Alejandro vs. CA, 191 SCRA 700

[1990].
     11 De Leon, Administrative Law: Text and Cases (1993: 2 nd ed.), pp. 296-297.
     12 Id., p. 298.
     13 280 SCRA 297, 329-330.
     14 Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium (Vol. I; 2002 ed.), p. 538.
                                                                                                                       10
                     ―SEC. 10. Due Course. — * * * The findings of fact of the court or agency concerned,
                 when supported by substantial evidence, shall be binding on the Court of Appeals.‖


         9.       In the case of PCCG vs. Desierto,15 this Honorable Court declared once more its reluctance to
interfere in the investigatory and prosecutory powers of the Ombudsman absent any compelling reason. To
insulate the Office from outside pressure and improper influence, the Constitution as well as RA No. 6770 has
endowed it with a wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutory powers virtually free from legislative, executive
or judicial intervention.

         10.     In said case, this Honorable Court stressed that the prosecution of offenses committed by public
officers is vested in the Office of the Ombudsman. This Honorable Court consistently refrained from interfering
with the exercise of its powers, and respected the initiative and independence inherent in the Office of the
Ombudsman who, "beholden to no one, acts as the champion of the people and the preserver of the integrity of
public service."16

        11.     In Deloso vs. Domingo,17 this Honorable Court had occasion to elucidate on the broad
investigative powers of the Office of Ombudsman. Thus:

                       ―The reason for the creation of the Ombudsman in the 1987 Constitution and for the
                 grant to it of broad investigative authority, is to insulate said office from the long tentacles of
                 officialdom that are able to penetrate judges‘ and fiscals‘ offices, and others involved in the
                 prosecution of erring public officials, and through the exertion of official pressure and
                 influence, quash, delay, or dismiss investigations into malfeasances and misfeasances
                 committed by public officers. It was deemed necessary, therefore, to create a special office
                 to investigate all criminal complaints against public officers regardless of whether or not the
                 acts or omissions complained of are related to or arise from the performance of the duties of
                 their office. The Ombudsman Act makes perfectly clear that the jurisdiction of the
                 Ombudsman encompasses ‗all kinds of malfeasance, misfeasance, and non-feasance that
                 have been committed by any officer or employee as mentioned in Section 13 hereof, during
                 his tenure of office.‘‖


        12.       Nevertheless, the court a quo, in its assailed Amended Decision, disregarded all of the factual
findings made by the Office of the Ombudsman in the present case. More than substantial evidence exists on
record to justify the finding of respondents‘ neglect of duty as found by the Office of the Ombudsman. To wit:

                ―On the contrary and while we are convinced that UBI is suffering from liquidity problems,
                 we find that the Supervision and Examination Sector Report rendered by respondents Reyes,
                 Yuvienco, Aure and Guerrero and which became the bases for the closure of UBI and UDB
                 were haphazardly and negligently done.‖ (Office of the Ombudsman’s Order dated 2 July
                 2002, pp. 6-7)

                ―There were still highly significant items to be weighed and determined such as the
                 valuation reserves,18 among other things.‖ (Ibid., p. 7)

                ―As such, it would be a drastic move to conclude prematurely that a bank is insolvent if the
                 basis for such conclusion is lacking and insufficient, especially if doubt exists as to whether
                 such bases or findings faithfully represent the real financial condition of the bank.‖ (Ibid.,
                 p. 7)

                ―For instance, the SES Report has not made a categorical finding with respect to the
                 existence or absence of financial panic in the banking community which induced the
                 extraordinary demand upon UBI‘s deposits in the second and third week of April 2000.‖
                 (Ibid., p. 7)

                ―Another is that a ‗bank holiday‘ is a self-imposed and temporary suspension of banking
                 activities which may not be a reason to conclude that a bank is actually insolvent and as
                 such, need to be closed.‖ (Ibid., p. 7)

                ―Their mere recommendation to the Monetary Board to harshly place UBI and UDB under
                 receivership without giving the latter the six (6) month period within which to meet the
                 minimum capital requirement as provided for under BSP Circular No. 156 is Simple
                 Neglect of Duty plain and simple.‖ (Ombudsman’s Order dated 30 July 2002, p. 5-6)



    15 349 SCRA 767.
    16 Yu vs. Sandiganbayan, 358 SCRA 353; Roxas vs. Vasquez, 358 SCRA 636.
    17 191 SCRA 545.
    18 Referring to the loan-loss reserves against past-due and adversely classified loans.
                                                                                                                   11
              ―While the bank‘s closure is now moot and academic as they are now undergoing
               rehabilitation, we cannot ignore the fact that with respondents Yuvienco‘s, Reyes‘, Aure‘s
               and Guerrero‘s harsh recommendation to place them under receivership at that early for
               being illiquid, the Monetary Board acquiesced to the same without giving the bank enough
               time under the law to meet the required minimum capital requirement.‖ (Ibid., p. 6)

              ―As frontline soldiers, it is but natural that the Monetary Board, as BSP‘s policy-making
               body, would tend to believe that the respondents‘ report and findings of facts and applicable
               law are real and accurate insofar as UBI and UDB are concerned.‖ (Ibid., p. 6)


        13.     It boggles the mind how the court a quo was able to turn a totally blind eye to these factual
findings when even the Office of the Ombudsman was able to recognize the dereliction of duty committed by
respondents, although improperly characterizing the same as only simple neglect of duty. The mere fact that the
assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision awkwardly evaded factual findings of the Office of the Ombudsman,
which were affirmed by its 13 August 2003 Decision, cries out for a review of the assailed decision.


B.    The assailed 4 June 2004 Amended Decision ungainly ignored
      the key issues that the court a quo identified in its 13 August
      2003 Decision. The fact that there was a prior conflicting
      decision by the court a quo demands that the present Petition be
      given due course.

       1.     On 13 August 2003, the Court of Appeals issued its Decision finding respondents Buenaventura,
Reyes, Yuvienco, Guerrero and Aure guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty. Thus:

                    ―After we painstakingly reviewed the records of the case and weighed the position of
               the parties, this court is constrained to rule that there is partial merit in the petition.

                                 ****                       ****                         ****
                     In essence the provisions of these rules require that public officers must act at all times
               diligently with utmost regard to the public and to the office they are holding.

                     Reports have it that UBI, the mother bank of UDB and UII, was suffering from
               liquidity problems. Many of its clients started withdrawing their deposits from these banks
               which eventually resulted in the declaration of Bank Holiday.

                    In its quest to salvage UBI, UBD and UII, the Bangko Sentral offered liquidity support
               to be given by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) in the amount of P800
               Million. However, the offer was allegedly not accepted by petitioner for no apparent reason.
               Thus, the move to rehabilitate UBI was overtaken by events, i.e., the declaration of a bank
               holiday by said banks on April 25, 2000.

                     Admittedly, the closure of UBI and its subsidiary financial institutions came as a bolt
               out of the blue, to the public. What was more startling was the nagging question of why it
               was abruptly closed for business. The question as to the bank‘s closure, sad to say must be
               put to rest considering that UBI, UDB and UII have ceased to do banking business.

                    What we are tasked now is to determine whether or not the public officials behind the
               bank‘s closure acted in the manner asked of them under the law.

                    No less than the Office of the Ombudsman in its assailed Order observed that:

                         ‗x x x x while we are convinced that UBI is suffering from liquidity problems,
                   we find that the Supervision and Examination Sector Report rendered by
                   respondents Reyes, Yuvienco, Aure and Guerrero (pp. 35-39; pp. 96-99, Records)
                   and which became the bases for the closure of UBI and UDB were haphazardly and
                   negligently done. There were still highly significant items to be weighed and
                   determined such as the valuation reserves, among other things. As such, it would be
                   a drastic move to conclude prematurely that a bank is insolvent if the basis for such
                   conclusion is lacking and insufficient, especially if doubt exists as to whether such
                   bases or findings faithfully represent the real financial status of the bank (Banco
                   Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank vs. Monetary Board, Central Bank of the
                   Philippines, 204 SCRA 771).

                        ‗For instance, the SES Report has not made a categorical finding with respect
                   to the existence or absence of financial panic in the banking community which
                   induced the extraordinary demand upon UBI's deposits in the second and third
                   week of April 2000. Another is that a "bank holiday" is a self-imposed and
                   temporary suspension of banking activities which may not be a reason to conclude
                                                                                                 12
    that a bank is actually insolvent and as such, need to be closed. For these reasons,
    we hold herein respondents Reyes, Yuvienco, Aure, Jr., and Guerrero
    administratively liable for Simple Neglect of Duty‘.

      Hence, from the foregoing pronouncements of the Ombudsman, it is safe to say that
respondents indeed made perfunctory review and investigation of UBI, UBD and UII's
financial status and precipitately concluded that said banks were experiencing insolvency or
liquidity problems. This defeats the very purpose sought to be achieved by the amendments
introduced in Section 29 of the Central Bank Act, i.e.,

                 ****                       ****                        ****
      Respondents were informed by petitioner that UBI was solvent (Statement from Urban
Bank), per Annex ‗C‘ of the letter dated April 25, 2000 of petitioner to respondent Rafael
Buenaventura. With this information that UBI is solvent, respondents were under notice that
the bank further examination on the solvency of said bank was required before its precipitate
closures on April 26, 2000. The extraordinary diligence required by law for the respondents
before closing UBI, UDB and UII was simply ignored and disregarded. They have not
followed the amendment of Section 29 of the Central Bank Act as provided in Section 38 for
an additional test in determining insolvency, which is the ability of a bank to meet its debts
as they become due.

      The Ombudsman found respondents Reyes, Yuvienco, Aure and Guerrero
administratively liable for simple neglect of duty. This Court cannot help but notice why
private respondent Buenaventura was absolved from any liability when he is the governor of
BSP, the Chief Executive of the Bangko Sentral, tasked to supervise the operation of the
Monetary Board. As we see it, private respondent Buenaventura has not been meticulous
and zealous as he should have been in supervising the work of his subordinates. Under the
principle of chain of command and responsibility, private respondent Rafael B.
Buenaventura must be held administratively liable as well. He cannot take refuge behind the
inefficiency of his subordinates. Also, it is doctrinally entrenched that public officers are
accountable for their actuations at all times and must perform their duties well.

      The nature and responsibility of public officers enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and
repeated in case law are not merely rhetorical words, not to be taken as idealistic sentiments
but as working standards and attainable goals that should be matched with actual deeds.

     Had the respondents, headed by Governor Buenaventura adhered to the
pronouncements enunciated in the case of Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank vs.
Monetary Board, Central Bank of the Philippines, et al., they would not have hastily closed
these banking institutions. The respondents failed in their duties and responsibilities in
precipitately recommending the closure of UBI, UBD and UII.

     The relevant portion of the Banco Filipino case is hereby cited:

                ****                         ****             ****
     As for the penalty, we cannot subscribe to the ruling of the Ombudsman that
respondents are guilty of simple neglect of duty only.

      It is evident from the records of this case that when respondent Buenaventura
acquiesced to the recommendation of his Deputy Director (respondent Reyes) in closing
UBI, UBD and UII, who based the closure on the SES Reports which were haphazardly
prepared as found no less by the Ombudsman-then, respondent Buenaventura is grossly
incompetent and negligent in the observation and discharge of his duties/responsibilities
spelled out in the New Central Bank Act. He did not comply in the exercise of his duties and
responsibilities as mandated by Section 16 of R.A. 7653.

     Negligence involves deficiency in perception, or the failure to pay proper attention and
due diligence in foreseeing the impending injury or damage.

      Moreover, public officers occupying exalted positions must in accordance with the
Constitution and Ethical Standards Law, exemplify the ideals of integrity, efficiency and
particularly proficiency in the law.

      We, however, agree with the findings of the Ombudsman as regards respondent
Zuniga, Jr. BSP'S General Counsel that we find his legal opinion in order as it merely an
opinion which may be reversed or be the subject of an attack. Absent, therefore, any proven
bad faith on his part in rendering the same, we cannot hold him administratively liable
therefore.

      As to petitioner's claim that there was denial of due process, we have to rule that
petitioner was in fact heard. For purposes of administrative due process, this was complied
with when he filed his motion for reconsideration. As such, any contention of denial of due
process must fail as the same was cured by the filing of the motion for reconsideration. What
                                                                                                                   13
                   the law prohibits is absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard, hence, a party cannot
                   feign denial of due process when he had been afforded the opportunity to present his side.

                         WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Order of the Ombudsman dated July 2,
                   2002 in OMB-ADM-0-00-0867 is hereby partially REVERSED and AFFIRMED subject to
                   the following modifications: (1) We affirm the order of the Ombudsman in exonerating Juan
                   de Zuniga, Jr.; (2) We find respondent Rafael B. Buenaventura, Governor of Bangko Sentral
                   ng Pilipinas, guilty of gross neglect of duty. Respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma. Dolores V.
                   Yuvienco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure Jr. are likewise found guilty of gross
                   neglect of duty. A one (1) year suspension without pay pursuant to Section 25 of Republic
                   Act. 6770 is hereby imposed upon respondents Rafael B. Buenaventura, Alberto V. Reyes,
                   Ma. Dolores B. Yuvienco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure, Jr.

                        SO ORDERED.‖


        2.     On the other hand, in the Amended Decision 19, in the same case and by the same Division, the
court a quo ruled:

                        ―The respondents Reyes and Aure, Jr. contend that this administrative case is a
                   disguised attempt to raise an issue against the legality of the closure of UBI and its
                   subsidiaries made by the petitioner who had no right to do so and long after the
                   permissible period for doing so had expired. We agree, for, indeed, the issue
                   about the prohibition against UBI and its subsidiaries from doing business in the
                   Philippines pursuant to MB Resolutions Nos. 634, 635 and 636 is already a dead
                   one which this administrative case cannot revive. The petitioner's disguised attempt
                   should not, therefore, prosper.

                        The law is definite about how, when and by whom the MB resolutions should be
                   assailed. Sec. 30, Republic Act No. 7653, states in its penultimate paragraph:

                             The actions of the Monetary Board taken under this section or under Section
                       29 of this Act shall be final and executory and may not be restrained or set
                       aside by the court except on petition for certiorari on the ground that the action
                       taken was in excess of jurisdiction or with such grave abuse of discretion as to
                       amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The petition for certiorari may only be
                       filed by the stockholders of record representing the majority of the capital
                       stock within ten (10) days from receipt by the board of directors of the
                       institution of the order directing receivership, liquidation or conservatorship.

                        To be clear, the proper remedy against MB Resolutions Nos. 634, 635 and 636
                   was a petition for certiorari. Any other remedy circumvents Sec. 30. This administrative
                   charge is no exception.

                               ****                 ****                  ****
                        ―WHEREFORE, the DECISION issued on August 13, 2003 is AMENDED, as
                   follows:

                        1. The petitioner's MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION is DENIED;

                      2. The respondents' respective MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION are
                   GRANTED; and

                        3. The administrative complaint against all the respondents is DISMISSED.

                        SO ORDERED.‖


       3.       In its effort to rationalize the whiplash dismissal of the administrative complaint against
respondents, the court a quo tragically evaded the fundamental issue in this case as delineated by its earlier 13
August 2003 Decision. In absolving respondents of the administrative charges filed by petitioner, previously
adjudged meritorious by the Office of the Ombudsman and affirmed by the 13 August 2003 Decision, the
Honorable Court of Appeals stumbled to affirm the closure of UBI, UDB, and UII.

        4.        The volte-face of the Honorable Court of Appeals in this case is radical and astounding. Whereas
the 13 August 2003 Decision addressed the issue head-on, the 4 June 2004 Amended Decision dodged and
sought to obscure the issue in a string of technicalities to justify failing to go into the merits of this case. After
rendering a proper yet watered-down ruling, the Honorable Court of Appeals sought to backtrack on its earlier
decision in this case.

     19   pp. 11-13.
                                                                                                                 14


        5.      In juxtaposing the 13 August 2003 Decision of the Honorable Court of Appeals with its
subsequent 4 June 2004 Amended Decision, the need for this Honorable Court to review this case has become
painfully clear and glaringly apparent. Not only are the parties in this case opposed in their arguments and
counter-arguments, but the court a quo is seemingly locked in the vice of its own indecision as well.

        6.      The two decisions of the Honorable Court of Appeals in the present are as conflicting and
divergent as day is to night. Whereas the 13 August 2003 Decision addressed the merits of the case, the 4 June
2004 Amended Decision delved and dwelled in incidental and ancillary matters to justify its dismissal. This
Honorable Court should therefore step in and clear the confusion that the issues in this case have engendered.


C.     The irregularity of the court a quo’s Amended Decision was
       further highlighted by the Manifestation of the Office of the
       Ombudsman dated 21 June 2004 in CA G.R. SP No. 72270
       questioning the Amended Decision that dismissed the
       administrative case against respondents Reyes, Yuviengco,
       Guerrero and Aure.

         1.      In its Manifestation dated 21 June 2004 in CA G.R. SP No. 72270, the Office of the Ombudsman
itself questioned the dismissal of the administrative case against respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma. Dolores B.
Yuviengco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure. It argued:

                      ―3. As a competent disciplining body, the Ombudsman has the right to seek redress on
                the apparent erroneous dismissal of its decision in the administrative case docketed as OMB-
                ADM-0-00-0867, in so far as it concerns herein respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma. Dolores
                B. Yuviengco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure.

                      4. This manifestation is being filed considering that, with due respect, an error has
                been apparently committed by this Honorable Court insofar as the dismissal of the
                administrative complaint (OMB-ADM-0-00-0867) against the abovementioned respondents
                is concerned, in view of the fact that the very same respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma.
                Dolores B. Yuviengco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure have filed a separate
                petition assailing the decision in OMB-ADM-0-00-0867 before this Honorable Court‘s
                Seventeenth Division, docketed as G.R. SP No. 72234. It is in that case that any affirmative
                relief may be afforded in favour of respondents Reyes, Yuviengco, Guerrero and Aure, who
                are the petitioners therein.

                            ****               ****                        ****
                     FOREGOING PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is respectfully prayed that:

                     I. This Manifestation be noted; and

                     II. In view of the existence of CA G.R. SP No. 72234, it is respectfully prayed that this
                Honorable Court‘s 4 June 2004 Amended Decision be modified and set aside insofar as it
                dismissed the administrative complaint against respondents Alberto V. Reyes, Ma. Dolores
                B. Yuvienco, Candon B. Guerrero and Tomas S. Aure.‖


        2.       Accordingly, a question of law was raised by the Office of the Ombudsman with respect to the
dismissal of the administrative complaint against respondents Reyes, Yuviengco, Guerrero and Aure. According
to the Office of the Ombudsman, the court a quo has no jurisdiction to dismiss the administrative complaints
against said respondents .

        3.       This matter alone, brought to fore by the Office of the Ombudsman, supports petitioner‘s
contention that the present Petition must be ruled upon. Aside from the legal and constitutional issues raised in
the Petition, the issue raised by the Office of the Ombudsman must likewise be resolved decisively by this
Honorable Court.

       4.      If indeed the court a quo has no jurisdiction to dismiss the administrative complaint against
respondents Reyes, Yuviengco, Guerrero and Aure, then the assailed Amended Decision must be reversed by this
Honorable Court, and it may only do so by giving due course to this Petition.
                                                                                                                 15


D.     Even the Special Division of Five which rendered the court a
       quo’s Amended Decision was not in complete concurrence in
       respect of the reversal of the prior Decision.              The
       Concurring/Dissenting Opinion of the Division chairman
       indicates that there is reason to question the Amended Decision,
       which justifies a review thereof by this Honorable Court.

       1.      Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, Chairman of the Special Division of Five and the Fifth Division of
the Court of Appeals, penned the 13 August 2003 Decision in CA G.R. SP No. 72270. Said Decision was
concurred in by the other members of the Fifth Division, namely, Justices Elvi John S. Asuncion and Lucas P.
Bersamin—with no dissenting opinion.

         2.     When the 13 August 2003 Decision was reconsidered, it was decided by the Special Division of
Five consisting of the members of the Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals, and two other Justices, namely,
Justices Salvador J. Valdez, Jr. and Rebecca De Guia Salvador. Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, who did not make a
dissenting opinion to the 13 August 2003 Decision, penned the assailed Amended Decision.

         3.      The addition of two other Justices to the Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals indicates that the
issues in this case are not easily resolved. Apparently, despite the unanimity of the Fifth Division in its previous
13 August 2003 Decision, the issues suddenly became more complicated with the motions for reconsideration of
respondents, who surprisingly did not state anything new or novel therein.

       4.      The difficulty in resolving the issues in the present case was further stressed by the
Concurring/Dissenting Opinion to the assailed Amended Decision of Justice Labitoria, who wrote:

                     ―Respondents are questioning the prerogative of the courts to scrutinize and inquire
                into a ‗highly technical domain such as the supervision and regulation of the country's
                banking system where they lack expertise * * *

                     I do not agree.

                      It is generally understood that as to administrative agencies exercising quasi-judicial
                or legislative power, there is an underlying power in the court to scrutinize the acts of
                such agencies on questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of review is
                given by the statute. In the matter of judicial review of administrative decision, 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 statute, 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
                available.

                      The purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative agency within its
                jurisdiction and protect substantial rights of parties affected by its decision. It is part of
                the system of checks and balances which restricts the separation of powers and forestalls
                arbitrary and unjust adjudication.

                      Accordingly, I would like to restate that this Court, in the exercise of its power of
                judicial review, may review decision of the Office of the Ombudsman. This does not mean
                judicial supremacy over the Office of the Ombudsman, but the performance by this Court
                of a duty specifically enjoined upon it by the Constitution as part of a system of checks
                and balances.

                                 ****                        ****                   ****
                      ―The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers is constitutionally vested
                in the Office of the Ombudsman. The Constitution and the Statute, has endowed it
                with wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutory powers virtually free from
                legislative, executive and judicial intervention.

                     ‗Drastically deviating from the concept of the Ombudsman as originated in the
                Scandinavian countries, the Philippine Ombudsman has been granted much broader
                powers under the Constitution and the Ombudsman. Act (RA No. 6770) of the Congress of
                the Philippines. xxx He has the power to suspend public officials by himself.

                                ****                         ****                  ****
                     The Code of Conduct on Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.
                A. No. 6713) inter alia enumerated the State's policy of promoting high standard of ethics
                and utmost responsibility in the public service.
                                                                                                                   16
                      The liability of public officer to an individual or the public is based and is co-
                intensive with his duty to the individual or the public. The good of the service and the
                degree of morality which every official and employee in the public service must observe, if
                respect and confidence are to be maintained by the government in the enforcement of the
                law, demand that no untoward conduct on his part affecting morality, integrity and
                efficiency while holding office should be left without proper and commensurate sanction, all
                attendant circumstances taken into account.

                      Respondents, as public officers occupying exalted positions must in accordance with
                the constitution and the Ethical Standards Law exemplify the ideals of integrity and
                efficiency in the discharge of these duties. They must ever be prudent to act always in
                accordance with law and not to perform or authorize legally doubtful acts that may stain the
                integrity of their office. Their acts of indiscriminately putting a stop to the banking
                business of UBI, UBD and UII in so short notice is already reflective of insufficiency
                and indicative of negligence for which they should be penalized. They failed to live up to
                the standards and ideals expected of their rank and stature. The conduct of public officials in
                highly sensitive positions, such as officers of the Monetary Board is circumscribed with
                heavy burden of responsibility such that by the nature of their function, respondents must
                conduct themselves with propriety and above all else, be above suspicion.‖ (underscoring
                and emphasis supplied)


         5.     The legal issues raised by the present Petition are undoubtedly not as cut-and-dried as can easily
be resolved by a mere minute resolution. Coupled with the fact that this case arose from the truly contentious and
dispute-laden closure of UBI, UII and UDB, with the court a quo flip-flopping along the way, this Honorable
Court should at least resolve the Petition in an extensive decision that will finally resolve the hostilities between
the parties.

         6.      Most of all, this Honorable Court is in the perfect position to rule on the extent of the judiciary‘s
power of review in respect of decisions by the Office of the Ombudsman. Perhaps this Honorable Court may also
be able to explain why respondents‘ motions for reconsideration were resolved in an Amended Decision instead of
an independent or separate decision divorced from the original decision. The unique significance of the word
―Amended‖ is entirely lost on petitioner considering that decisions resolving motions for reconsideration are
almost always plainly called ―decisions‖ or ―resolutions‖ without the word ―Amended‖ to confuse its meaning.


The dismissal of the above-captioned Petition
by this Honorable Division was premature
considering there were pending incidents to
be resolved, which includes the motion to
consolidate with G.R. No. 161276 pending
before the First Division and the motion to
refer the case to this Honorable Court En
Banc.


A.     Petitioner filed a Motion to Refer the present case to this
       Honorable Court En Banc, in view of the vital constitutional
       and legal issues involved, which have far-reaching effects on
       jurisprudence.

       1.       On 21 July 2004, petitioner filed his Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc and to
Consolidate dated 20 July 2004. Said motion prayed:

                          “WHEREFORE, premises considered, petitioner respectfully prays that:

                     1.   The present case be referred to the Supreme Court En Banc; and

                     2.   If so referred, that G.R. No. 161276 be consolidated with the present case

                     Other just and equitable relief are likewise prayed for.‖


        2.      Said motion was supported by four grounds; specifically:
                                                                                                                   17


                                             ―I.
                THE PRESENT CASE RAISES THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE OF WHETHER
                ANY LAW OR INTERPRETATION THEREOF CAN IMPOSE A TEN-DAY
                PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT OF
                PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY.

                                                 II.
                SECTION 30 OF R.A. 7653 PRESCRIBES A TEN-DAY PERIOD FOR A BANK‘S
                MAJORITY STOCKHOLDERS TO FILE A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI
                CONTRARY TO THE 60-DAY PERIOD PROVIDED BY THE RULES OF COURT.

                                                 III.
                THE PRESENT CASE QUESTIONS THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE COURT
                A QUO‘S RULING THAT THE TEN-DAY PERIOD FOR CERTIORARI PROVIDED
                IN SECTION 30 OF R.A 7653 AMENDS THE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIODS PROVIDED
                IN THE REVISED PENAL CODE, R.A. 3019, R.A. 6713 AND R.A 7653.

                                              IV.
                THE ISSUES IN THIS CASE, WHICH TOUCH UPON THE CONSTITUTIONAL
                PRINCIPLES OF SUBSTANTIAL AND PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS, PUBLIC
                ACCOUNTABILITY, AND THE PEOPLE‘S RIGHT TO A REDRESS OF THEIR
                GRIEVANCES, ARE RIPE FOR THE RESOLUTION OF THIS HONORABLE
                COURT EN BANC.‖


          3.      Aside from the issues presented in the Petition, the question whether or not this case must be
referred to this Honorable Court En Banc likewise demands resolution. Nevertheless, this Honorable Court
simply opted to note the above-mentioned motion ―without action‖ in the same resolution that dismissed the
Petition. Neither did this Honorable Court resolve the question whether or not this case may be consolidated with
its sister case, G.R. No. 161276. Thus, two questions remained unanswered which this Honorable Court should
perhaps resolve before disposing of this case.

         4.       Perhaps it will better serve the cause of justice for these motions to be resolved first before this
case is finally sent to its final resting place. When petitioner invoked the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court En
Banc, pursuant to Circular No. 2-89 dated 7 February 1989, as amended by the Resolution of 18 November 1993,
it would have been more fair, if not more just, if the Court En Banc was given the opportunity to either accept or
reject this case. Lamentably, the questioned minute resolution of this Honorable Court deprived the Court En
Banc of the opportunity to make such a determination.

        5.       Thus, it would undoubtedly be proper and perhaps more equitable if the Court En Banc is given
the opportunity to consider the present Petition before any action is taken thereon.


B.     Petitioner filed an identical Motion to Refer the Case to the
       Court En Banc in G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related
       with the present case. The consolidation and referral of both
       the present case and G.R. No. 161276 to the Court En Banc
       shall promote judicial economy and convenience as well as the
       conclusiveness of the final disposition of this case.

        1.       Earlier, on 12 February 2004, petitioner filed the petition in G.R. No. 161276, entitled Teodoro
Borlongan vs. Alberto Reyes, Ma. Dolores Yuviengco, Candon Guerrero and Tomas Aure, Jr., pending before the
First Division of this Honorable Court, questioning the Court of Appeals‘ decision in the related case CA G.R. SP
No. 72234. On 29 April 2004, petitioner filed a Consolidated Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc and
to Inhibit, which remains pending and unresolved. On 17 June 2004 in the same case, petitioner filed a
Manifestation and Motion to Consolidate said case and the present case pending before the Honorable Court.

        2.      Petitioner, in the corresponding motion in the present case, argued that the present case should be
consolidated with G.R. No. 161276, and together be resolved by this Honorable Court En Banc, considering the
subject matter of the cases and the issues involved therein are similar and deserving of final resolution.
Specifically:

                a. The two above-mentioned cases are closely related and are inextricably interwoven with one
        another. The case of G.R. No. 161276 originated from a petition filed by respondents before the
        Honorable Court of Appeals, which was subsequently docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 72234, questioning
        the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in OMB-ADM-0-00-0867. On the other hand, it was
        petitioner who initiated the action before the Honorable Court of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-
                                                                                                                   18
        G.R. SP No. 72270, which nonetheless questioned the same decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in
        OMB-ADM-0-00-0867.

                 b. These cases ensued from the same antecedent facts, which involve the same questions of law,
        that this Honorable Court may resolve with finality in one proceeding. The parties, needless to state, are
        the same, because they are the parties in OMB-ADM-0-00-0867.

                 c. The parties have interposed the same arguments and evidence that support their respective
        positions. Since the parties, facts, and issues are identical, there is no divergence of positions espoused by
        the litigants in the two cases.


         3.      Petitioner, in his Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc and to Consolidate dated 20 July
2004 in the present case, argued that it would be most expedient and for the best interest of the parties that these
cases be considered and resolved jointly before this Honorable Court En Banc. The prospect of duplication of the
proceedings in both cases will be wisely averted by the consolidation of these cases. More importantly, the
possibility that two Divisions of this Honorable Court would render conflicting rulings would be properly
prevented.

         4.       Accordingly, this Honorable Court may be able to resolve both motions to consolidate and refer
in the present case and G.R. No. 161276 with the consolidation of said cases and the referral of both to the Court
En Banc. This would undoubtedly serve the purposes for which a consolidation is allowed under the Rules of
Court as well as promote judicial economy, convenience, and expediency. Moreover, said consolidation before
the Court En Banc shall ensure the conclusiveness of the judgment in both cases when that single judgment
reaches finality.


C.     G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related with the present case,
       is pending before the First Division of this Honorable Court.
       Nevertheless, despite the similarity of the two cases, the petition
       in G.R. No. 161276 has been given due course by said Division,
       whereas the present case was dismissed outright.

        1.      It is both curious and distressing to note that, despite the identity of present case and G.R. No.
161276, the resolutions of this Honorable Division and the First Division vary greatly. G.R. No. 161276 has been
given due course and has now been submitted for decision with the last pleading having been filed on 28 July
2004. On the other hand, the present case was dismissed by this Honorable Court by virtue of the minute
Resolution dated 26 July 2004.

         2.       Such great divergence in the treatment of the two petitions, despite their almost undeniable
identity, calls for the reconsideration of the 26 July 2004 minute Resolution and for the Petition in the present case
to be given due course. If the First Division found enough merit in the petition in G.R. No. 161276 to allow due
course, then a more circumspect perusal of the Petition in this case may yield similar results.


The Third Division of this Honorable Court
may have pre-judged this case considering
three (3) other cases relating to UBI’s closure
have been raffled to it, two (2) of which have
been dismissed outright in addition to the
present case. Thus, to preserve the appearance
of impartiality, the Honorable Third Division
should inhibit itself from acting on this Petition
at the first instance and refer the case to the
Honorable Court En Banc.


       G.R. No. 158537, Tabios vs Ombudsman et al.

         1.       In its Resolution dated 11 August 2003, the Third Division of this Honorable Court dismissed
outright the case of G.R. No. 158537, entitled “Benjamin Tabios, Jr. vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.‖, which
was a case for Perjury and Falsification against respondent BSP officials, including herein private respondents,
relating to the closure of UBI, UDB, and UII.

       2.     The Third Division ―denied the petition for failure of petitioner to show that a reversible error had
been committed by the appellate court.‖ It essentially upheld the Court of Appeal‘s ruling that petitions filed
                                                                                                                  19
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (which Atty. Tabios filed before the appellate court in this case) assailing the
Ombudsman‘s dismissal of criminal cases are not within the appellate court‘s jurisdiction but within the Supreme
Court‘s exclusive jurisdiction.

        3.       Subsequently, Atty. Liwayway Vinzons-Chato wrote a letter dated 14 January 2004 to Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., asking that the Bar be properly guided and informed of such policy of the Court
through a memorandum or circular. However, in its resolution dated 21 January 2004, the Third Division merely
noted Atty. Chato‘s letter, citing as reason that ―the petition for review on certiorari had already been denied…and
the motion for reconsideration thereof had already been denied with finality in the resolution of October 8, 2003.‖

       G.R. No. 159605, Borlongan vs Ombudsman et al.

        4.      Likewise, in its Resolution dated 13 October 2003, the Third Division of this Honorable Court
dismissed the case of G.R. No. 159605, entitled “Teodoro Borlongan vs. Office of the Ombudsman, et al.‖, which
was a case for violation of Articles 171(4) and (5) of the Revised Penal Code, Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019, and
Section 16 of RA 7653 against same private respondents herein. G.R. No. 159605 pertained to the criminal case
related to the present case, arising from the same Complaint that petitioner had filed before the Office of the
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman dismissed the criminal case without making any factual finding because ―certain
issues‖ ―appeared to be beyond its jurisdiction‖ and ―it is the court and not this Office which has the authority to
decide such questions‖.

        5.      In its resolution, the Third Division dismissed outright the petition on the grounds that – (1) the
Ombudsman‘s findings are essentially factual, which the Court does not try or review; and (2) the right to
question criminal acts related to the closure of a bank belongs only to the bank‘s majority stockholders under
Section 30 of R.A. 7653, filed within ten days from the bank‘s closure.

       G.R. No. 159754, Borlongan vs Ombudsman et al.

         6.      On the other hand, the case of G.R. No. 159754, entitled “Teodoro Borlongan vs. Office of the
Ombudsman, et al.‖, is still pending before the Third Division of this Honorable Court. This is the criminal case
filed before the Ombudsman, pertaining to Land Bank‘s P562.5-million withdrawal from UBI after the latter was
already closed and placed under receivership. Petitioner alleged that BSP and PDIC officials facilitated the
unlawful withdrawal in order to justify BSP‘s finding of illiquidity which was the basis of UBI‘s closure.

        7.    In said case, the respondents therein were directed by the Third Division through its Resolution
dated 8 October 2003 to file their comment to the petition, nine (9) days after the Court of Appeals ordered the
same respondents in the related administrative case to file their comment.


        8.      Needless to state, the present case G.R. No. 163765, also arising from the closure of UBI, UDB
and UII, was dismissed in a minute Resolution dated 26 July 2004.

        9.      A total of five (5) cases relating to the closure of UBI, UDB and UII have been filed before the
Honorable Court within a period of one year. Of the five cases, four (4) have been assigned by raffle to the Third
Division. Of these four cases, three (3) were dismissed outright by this Honorable Division.

        10.      The Third Division of this Honorable Court has been deciding cases relating to the closure of
UBI, UDB and UII, since 2003. Indubitably, it has already formed its opinion in respect of the parties‘ relative
assertions and arguments. In fact, the consistency of this Honorable Division‘s treatment of the Urban-related
cases indicates an inclination towards the dismissal of petitions in connection with the closure of the three FIs.
Although petitioner imputes no ill motive to the Honorable Justices comprising said Division of this Court, he
believes that, considering the fate of other Urban-related cases before this Division, the latter may no longer be
capable of functioning as an impartial arbiter of the merits of this case.

        11.     With all due respect, petitioner is inclined to believe that this Honorable Division may have pre-
judged the present case because of the dismissal of related petitions before it. Because of its past decisions in the
above-mentioned cases, this Honorable Division may be incapable of acting with the cold neutrality required by
law and jurisprudence.

      12.      Jurisprudence is replete with cases setting down the requirement of impartiality for judges and
Supreme Court justices alike, but a noted authority in Legal Ethics best sums it up. To wit:

                      "A judge should not lonely render a just, correct and impartial decision but should do
                so in a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to its fairness and impartiality and as to
                his integrity. (footnote omitted) While a judge should possess proficiency in law in order
                that he can competently construe and enforce the law, it is more important that he should act
                and behave in such a manner that the parties before him should have confidence in his
                                                                                                                     20
                 impartiality. (footnote omitted) Thus, it is not enough that he decides cases without bias and
                 favoritism. Nor is it sufficient that he in fact rids himself of prepossessions. His actuations
                 should moreover inspire the belief. Like Caesar's wife, a judge must not only be pure but
                 beyond suspicion. (footnote omitted) For "due process of law requires a hearing before an
                 impartial and disinterested tribunal" and every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the
                 cold neutrality of an impartial judge. (footnote omitted) And "next in importance to the duty
                 of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in such a manner as will beget no
                 suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge".(footnote omitted)" 20


          13.    Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court states:

                           SECTION. 1.       Disqualification of judges. – No judge or judicial officer shall sit
                 in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee,
                 creditor or otherwise, or in which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of
                 consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed according to the
                 rules of the civil law, or in which he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or
                 counsel, or in which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the
                 subject of review, without the written consent of all parties in interest, signed by them and
                 entered upon the record.

                           A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting
                 in a case, for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.


          14.    In Gutierrez vs. Santos21, this Honorable Court, in interpreting the aforecited Rule, declared:

                          ―Petitioner invoking the provisions of section 1, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court,
                 argues that the case of the respondent judge does not fall under any one of the grounds for
                 the disqualification of judicial officers stated therein. Assuming arguendo that a literal
                 interpretation of the legal provision relied upon justifies petitioner‘s contention to a certain
                 degree, it should not be forgotten that, in construing and applying said legal provision, we
                 cannot disregard its true intention nor the real ground for the disqualification of a judge or
                 judicial officer, which is the impossibility of rendering an impartial judgment upon the
                 matter before him. It has been said, in fact, that due process of law requires a hearing before
                 an impartial and disinterested tribunal, and that every litigant is entitled to nothing less than
                 the cold neutrality of an impartial judge (30 Am. Jur. P. 767). Moreover, second only to the
                 duty of rendering a just decision, is the duty of doing it in a manner that will not arouse any
                 suspicion as to its fairness and the integrity of the Judge. Consequently, we take it to be the
                 true intention of the law – stated in general terms – that no judge shall preside in a case in
                 which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent (30 Am. Jur. Supra)
                 because –

                           ―*** However upright the judge, and however free from the slightest
                     inclination but to do justice, there is peril of his unconscious bias or prejudice, or
                     lest any former opinion formed ex parte may still linger to affect unconsciously his
                     present judgment, or lest he may be moved or swayed unconsciously by his
                     knowledge of the facts which may not be revealed or stated at the trial, or cannot
                     under the rules of evidence. No effort of the will can shut out memory; there is no
                     art of forgetting. We cannot be certain that the human mind will deliberate and
                     determine unaffected by that which it knows, but which it should forget in that
                     process.‖ *** (Ann. Cas. 1917A, p. 1235) (underscoring supplied)


        15.     In Masadao vs. Elizaga22, and Naldoza vs. Lavilles23, this Honorable Court ruled that ―for a
spotless dispensation of justice requires not only that the decision rendered be intrinsically fair but the judge
rendering it must at all times, maintain the appearance of fairness and impartiality‖ (underscoring supplied).

         16.      This Honorable Division no longer appears "wholly free, disinterested, impartial and
independent". The prior dismissals of Urban-related cases indicate that this Honorable Division has already
formed an immutable opinion in respect of the merits of said cases. Unfortunately, the belief formed in the mind
of petitioner is so persistent such that he believes he no longer expects an impartial evaluation of the merits of this
case from this Honorable Division.




     20 Agpalo, Legal Ethics (1989 ed.), pp. 454-455.
     21 G.R. No. L-15824, 30 May 1961, 2 SCRA 249, 254.
     22 155 SCRA 72.
     23 254 SCRA 286.
                                                                                                                               21
         A Motion to Inhibit Justices Carpio, Morales and Corona had
         been filed in G.R. No. 161276, a case intimately related with the
         present case.

        17.      In G.R. No. 161276, petitioner filed on 29 April 2004, along with his Consolidated Motion to
Refer the Case to the Court En Banc, an integral Motion to Inhibit Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Conchita Carpio-
Morales, and Renato C. Corona from the case. Unfortunately, the membership of Justices Conchita Carpio-
Morales and Renato C. Corona in this Honorable Division exacerbates his inclination to believe that he cannot
obtain justice and impartiality therefrom.

         18.      Petitioner thus prays for the voluntary inhibition of this Honorable Division pursuant to the
second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Revised Rules of Court. A careful self-examination as
prescribed by the case of Pimentel vs. Salanga will undoubtedly lead to no other conclusion that a voluntary
inhibition of this Honorable Division will buttress any decision reached by this Honorable Court in this case.

                         " xxx        xxx      xxx A judge may not be legally prohibited from sitting in a
                   litigation. But when suggestion is made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of
                   one party or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of circumstances reasonably
                   capable of inciting such a state of mind, he should conduct a careful self-examination. He
                   should exercise his discretion in a way that the people's faith in the courts of justice is not
                   impaired. A salutary norm is that he reflect on the probability that a losing party might
                   nurture at the back of his mind the thought that the judge had unmeritoriously tilted the
                   scales of justice against him. That passion on the part of a judge may be generated because
                   of serious charges of misconduct against him by a suitor or his counsel, is not altogether
                   remote. He is a man, subject to the frailties of other men. He should. therefore, exercise great
                   care and caution before making up his mind to act or withdraw from a suit where that party
                   or counsel is involved. He could in good grace inhibit himself where that case could be
                   heard by another judge and where no appreciable prejudice would be occasioned to others
                   involved thereon. On the result of his decisions to sit or not to sit may depend to a great
                   extent that all-important confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. If after reflection he
                   should resolve to voluntarily desist from sitting in a case where his motives or fairness might
                   be seriously impugned, his action is to be interpreted as giving meaning and substance to the
                   second paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137. He serves the cause of the law who forestalls
                   miscarriage of justice."24


                                Case Law in Support of the Reconsideration of the
                                Minute Resolution Denying the Present Petition


                                                                  In one case, (People v. Molina, 184 SCRA 597) this Court,
                                                            exasperated over the inordinate length of a decision rife with
                                                            irrelevant details, castigated the trial judge for his "extraordinary
                                                            verbiage." Kilometric decisions without much substance must be
                                                            avoided, to be sure, but the other extreme, where substance is also
                                                            lost in the wish to be brief, is no less unacceptable either. The ideal
                                                            decision is that which, with welcome economy of words, arrives at
                                                            the factual findings, reaches the legal conclusions, renders its ruling
                                                            and, having done so, ends.25


        1.       This Honorable Court denied the present Petition by a mere minute resolution. Given the
foregoing, this Honorable Court may yet set aside its minute resolution and allow the present Petition due course.
Sufficient case law exists to justify such reversal in favor of a more comprehensive and extensive decision
resolving the merits of this case.

         2.     In the case of Cariaga vs. Laguna Tayabas Bus Co., this Honorable Court, ―in view of the
conflicting opinions of the parties‖, reconsidered its minute resolution in favor of a more extensive decision ―for
the guidance of the lower court‖. To wit:

                         ―The above motion was denied by our minute resolution of December 14, 1961, but
                   four days thereafter defendant-appellant filed its answer to the aforesaid motion. In view of
                   the conflicting opinions of the parties on the question of whether the interests awarded shall
                   be on the increased compensatory damages or on the amount awarded by the lower court, or
                   whether interests on the amount of the compensatory damages were awarded at all, we find
                   it necessary to reconsider the minute resolution already mentioned and to state the following


    24   21 SCRA 160, 167-168.
    25   Nicos Industrial Corp. vs. CA, G.R. No. 88709, February 11, 1992.
                                                                                                                  22
                for the guidance of the lower court in the execution of the final judgment rendered in this
                case.‖26


         3.     In the case of SSS vs. CA, this Honorable Court, though sustaining the validity of its minute
resolution, declined to afford what it called its ―curt and summary pronouncement‖ the effect of
―conclusiveness‖, such that the Court is ―forever precluded from [re-]considering such a question, when the
matter is appropriately presented to [it]‖. Thus:

                      ―1. It would appear obvious that if our minute resolution of July 6, 1964, in a petition
                for the review of a decision of the Court of Industrial Relations involving both the Central
                and the Union, as respondents in an action filed by another labor union, PLUM Federation of
                Industrial and Agrarian Workers, were conclusive as to the status of the Union as an
                independent contractor, then respondent Court of Appeals decided the matter correctly. As
                pointed out above, however, no such conclusiveness should attach to our minute resolution.
                In that petition for review, one of the grievances allegedly inflicted on petitioner PLUM
                Federation of Industrial and Agrarian Workers was that only the Union and not the Central
                was held guilty of unfair labor practice. Petitioner there would insist that the true employer
                was the Central rather than such Union, contrary to the finding made by the Court of
                Industrial Relations. From a perusal of its petition, however, there was nothing to rebut the
                conclusion reached by the Court of Industrial Relations as to which was the true employer
                outside of general assertions found in one paragraph. Under the circumstances, it was clearly
                lacking in the element of persuasiveness. That would account for our minute resolution
                dismissing the petition. It does not follow, however, that with such a curt and summary
                pronouncement valid and justifiable under the circumstances, petitioner PLUM Federation
                of Industrial and Agrarian Workers, having dismally failed to assail the conclusion reached
                by the Court of Industrial Relations, even if on its face such a holding could have been
                impressed at the most with deceptive plausibility, we are forever precluded from considering
                such a question, when the matter is appropriately presented to us. Such is the situation now.
                We have to consider the force and effect of such a contract and to construe it in such a way
                as not to offend or emasculate any law, especially legislation favorable to labor, the evasion
                of which cannot be tolerated. While, therefore, respondent Court of Appeals did exhibit
                proper deference and respect for what this Tribunal says and does, the conclusion reached as
                to the finality of the resolution of July 6, 1964 is clearly erroneous.‖ (underscoring and
                emphasis supplied)27


         4.       In the case of People vs. Cupin, this Honorable Court, though it could resolve the motion to
dismiss with a simple minute resolution, opted to ―issue [an] extended resolution because of the need to point out
a situation‖ that it found ―anomalous and unedifying‖. Viz:

                      ―The motion for dismissal before Us could be resolved with a simple minute resolution
                granting or denying it, but We have chosen instead to issue this extended resolution because
                of the need to point out a situation—in our opinion anomalous and unedifying — clearly
                disclosed by the facts of the case: that of two groups of public prosecutors with different
                ideas about the same case and working at cross purposes in connection therewith; * * *. 28


        5.      In the case of Macavinta vs. People, this Honorable Court nevertheless issued a ―brief of recital
pertinent matters, rather than simply a minute resolution of denial‖, despite the fact that petitioner‘s plea ―lacks
support in law and therefore does not merit approval‖. To wit:

                      ―What is before this Court from the procedural standpoint goes no further than the
                disposition of a motion for leave on the part of petitioner, who as set forth therein is a
                member of the Philippine Bar, to be allowed to appear on his own behalf and be heard in
                oral argument in support of a second motion for reconsideration previously denied for being
                filed late. It suffices to state that such a plea primarily premised on what he termed "the
                interest of justice and expediency" lacks support in law and therefore does not merit
                approval. As such a motion did impute negligence to his counsel of record, Attorney Sergio
                L. Guadiz, he was asked to comment. Instead of explaining the tardy submission, there was
                the rather lame assertion that it simply was not so. Under the circumstances, the Court feels
                that a brief recital of pertinent matters, rather than simply a minute resolution of denial, is
                called for.‖29




    26 G.R. No. L-11037, January 30, 1962.
    27 G.R. No. L-25406, December 24, 1968.
    28 G.R. No. L-30317, June 9, 1969.
    29 G.R. No. L-36052, December 28, 1973.
                                                                                                                    23
        6.      In the case of People vs. Navarro, despite having dismissed the original petition for lack of merit
in a minute resolution, this Honorable Court ultimately reversed the dismissal and granted the motion for
reconsideration as well as the petition. To wit:

                      ―While we fault the petitioner for having presented an unconvincing original petition
                which induced this Court to dismiss the same in a minute resolution "for lack of merit," We
                now have to commend Rizal Provincial Fiscal Castillo for his well-prepared and well-
                documented motion for reconsideration which has persuaded Us to grant the same,
                notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of respondents, in view of the facts and the reasons
                that now follow, which are also the facts and the reasons for our granting the petition for
                certiorari.‖30


        7.       In the case of Aratuc vs. Comelec, this Honorable Court, despite initially agreeing to dispose of
the cases in a minute resolution, subsequently decided to ―put down at least some of the important considerations‖
in ―an extended or reasoned out opinion‖ in view of ―strong considerations warranting further meticulous
inquiry‖. To wit:

                      ―Before closing, it may not be amiss to state here that the Court had initially agreed to
                dispose of the cases in a minute resolution, without prejudice to an extended or reasoned out
                opinion later, so that the Court's decision may be known earlier. Considering, however, that
                no less than the Honorable Chief Justice has expressed misgivings as to the propriety of
                yielding to the conclusions of respondent Commission because in his view there are strong
                considerations warranting further meticulous inquiry of what he deems to be earmarks of
                seemingly traditional faults in the manner elections are held in the municipalities and
                provinces herein involved, and he is joined in this pose by two other distinguished
                colleagues of Ours, the majority opted to ask for more time to put down at least some of the
                important considerations that impelled Us to see the matters in dispute the other way, just as
                the minority bidded for the opportunity to record their points of view. In this manner, all
                concerned will perhaps have ample basis to place their respective reactions in proper
                perspective.‖31


        8.      In the case of GSIS vs. GSIS Supervisors Union, this Honorable Court, in granting a motion to
dismiss an appeal in a minute resolution because ―there is no necessity to go into the merits of the appeal‖,
nevertheless took cognizance of the same ―in view of the legal implications‖. Thus:

                      ―A close scrutiny of this case leads this Court to believe that there is no necessity to go
                into the merits of the appeal. As previously mentioned, respondent GSISSU filed a Motion
                to Dismiss Petition on the ground that the Court of Industrial Relations Order, dated April
                29, 1970, had already become final and executory, the GSIS Motion for Reconsideration of
                the same having been filed out of time. Although said Motion to Dismiss was denied in the
                Minute Resolution of this Court dated July 17, 1970, said denial did not delve into the merits
                of the Motion. And while the grounds cited in the Motion to Dismiss are not reiterated in
                respondent's Brief, we are taking cognizance of the same in view of the legal
                implications.‖32


         9.     In yet another case entitled SSS vs. CA, this Honorable Court, despite having dismissed the
petition by minute resolution, decided to issue an extensive decision in order ―to put an end to litigations of this
sort‖. Thus:

                      ―We could have dismissed the instant petition by minute resolution because precedents
                warrant such an action. But to put an end to litigations of this sort and arrest what Cosmos
                calls judicial harassment, a decision is in order.‖33


        10.      Also, in the case of Molino vs. CA, this Honorable Court, although inclined to deny the petition in
a minute resolution, felt that ―the ends of justice will best be served by a signed resolution‖ because ―the
petitioners raised an important legal question before the CAR when they moved for the reconsideration of its
judgment but which that court did not discuss adequately‖. Thus:

                      ―The petition lacks merit and could have been denied in a minute resolution but for the
                fact that the petitioners raised an important legal question before the CAR when they moved
                for the reconsideration of its judgment but which that court did not discuss adequately and

    30 G.R. No. L-38453-54, March 25, 1975.
    31 G.R. Nos. L-49705-09, February 8, 1979.
    32 G.R. No. L-32018, April 30, 1979.
    33 G.R. No. L-55764, February 16, 1982.
                                                                                                                    24
                 the Court of Appeals ignored it entirely so that We feel that the ends of justice will best be
                 served by a signed resolution.‖34


        11.     In the case of Alliance of Government Workers vs. Minister of Labor, this Honorable Court,
―considering the important issues propounded and the fact, that constitutional principles are involved * * *
decided to give due course to the petition‖, despite being initially inclined to deny due course to the petition in a
minute resolution. To wit:

                       ―Our initial reaction was to deny due course to the petition in a minute resolution.
                 However, considering the important issues propounded and the fact, that constitutional
                 principles are involved, we have now decided to give due course to the petition, to consider
                 the various comments as answers and to resolve the questions raised through a full length
                 decision in the exercise of this Court's symbolic function as an aspect of the power of
                 judicial review.‖35


        12.     Furthermore, in the case of Tropical Homes vs. NHA, this Honorable Court, although ruling that
the ―NHA decision appears to be fair and correct‖ and the ―issue of constitutionality is poorly discussed‖, decided
to give due course to the petition and require memoranda from the parties instead of summarily denying it on a
minute resolution because ―it is best for public policy that the issue raised should be resolved‖. Thus:

                      ―The petitioner has not clearly shown how a ruling upon the constitutionality of P.D.
                 No. 1344 will in any way affect the correctness of the decision rendered against him. There
                 is no discussion whatsoever on the merits of the original case. As far as the records show,
                 the NHA decision appears to be fair and correct. Moreover, the resolution promulgated by
                 respondent NHA, was issued before the passage of the questioned decree. The writ of
                 execution it issued, as admitted by the petitioner in its memorandum, did not in anyway rely
                 upon P.D. No. 1344. The issue of constitutionality is poorly discussed.

                       Nonetheless, we decided to give due course and require memoranda from the parties
                 instead of summarily denying the petition on a minute resolution because it is best for public
                 policy that the issue raised should be resolved. (See Edu v. Ericta, 35 SCRA 481); Gonzales
                 v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835). Sufficiently numerous persons are affected by
                 NHA powers and functions.‖36


        13.     On the other hand, in the case of CIR vs. TMX Sales, Inc., this Honorable Court reconsidered its
minute resolution in order ―to lay down a categorical pronouncement‖ as to the issues involved and in light of
recent pronouncements thereon. To wit:

                      ―He cites the case of Pacific Procon Limited vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
                 (G.R. No. 68013, November 12, 1984) involving a similar set of facts, wherein this Court in
                 a minute resolution affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision denying the claim for refund of
                 the petitioner therein for being barred by prescription.

                       A re-examination of the aforesaid minute resolution of the Court in the Pacific Procon
                 case is warranted under the circumstances to lay down a categorical pronouncement on the
                 question as to when the two-year prescriptive period in cases of quarterly corporate income
                 tax commences to run. A full-blown decision in this regard is rendered more imperative in
                 the light of the reversal by the Court of Tax Appeals in the instant case of its previous ruling
                 in the Pacific Procon case.‖37


       14.     In sum, considering the above-cited arguments and case law, the 26 July 2004 Resolution of this
Honorable Court should be reconsidered and set aside. Moreover, the present Petition should be consolidated
with G.R. No. 161276 and given due course before this Honorable Court En Banc.

                                                      Service by Post

        Copy of this Motion for Reconsideration cannot be personally served upon private respondents‘ counsels
and public respondents in compliance with Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure because their
distance from the Firm‘s office and messenger‘s unavailability make personal service impractical.



     34 G.R. No. L-59283, July 30, 1982.
     35 G.R. No. L-60403, August 3, 1983.
     36 G.R. No. L-48672, July 31, 1987.
     37 G.R. No. 83736, January 15, 1992.
                                                                                                          25


                                                      RELIEF

        WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the 26 July 2004 Resolution of this Honorable Court denying
the present Petition be reconsidered and set aside, and for the Petition to be:

        1.       consolidated with G.R. No. 161276;

        2.       referred to this Honorable Court En Banc; and,

        3.       given due course.

        Other equitable reliefs are likewise prayed for.

        Makati City, for Manila, 16 September 2004.


                                                     FORTUN NARVASA & SALAZAR
                                                            Counsel for Petitioner
                                                  rd
                                                23 Floor, Multinational Bancorporation Centre
                                                      6805 Ayala Avenue, City of Makati
                                     By:

                                                        PHILIP SIGFRID A. FORTUN
                                                     PTR # 7012237; 01-05-2004; Makati City
                                                   IBP # 522613; Lifetime; Makati City Chapter
                                                            Roll of Attorneys # 33041


                                                             GILBERT V. SANTOS
                                                     PTR # 7012231; 01-05-2004; Makati City
                                                  IBP # 603272; 01-05-2004; Quezon City Chapter
                                                            Roll of Attorneys # 45318


Copy furnished:
(by registered mail; Explanation on page 48)

YNGSON & ASSOCIATES
Counsel for Respondents Alberto V. Reyes and
Tomas S. Aure, Jr.
7/F Strata 2000 Bldg.
Emerald Avenue, Ortigas Centre
Pasig City

ONGKIKO KALAW MANHIT & ACORDA
Counsel for Respondents Juan de Zuñiga, Jr.,
Ma. Dolores B. Yuvienco and
Candon B. Guerrero
4/F Cacho-Gonzales Bldg.
101 Aguirre Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City

ATTY. REYNALDO GERONIMO
Counsel for Respondent Rafael B. Buenaventura
Romulo Mabanta Law Offices
30th Flr., Citibank Tower
Citibank Plaza, 8741 Paseo de Roxas
Makati City

THE COURT OF APPEALS
Former Fifth Division
CA-G.R. SP NO. 72270
Manila

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
Ombudsman Building, Agham Road,
Government Center, North Triangle, Diliman,
Quezon City
                                       26

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
134 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village
Makati City

HON. HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
Chief Justice
Supreme Court
Manila

				
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