Case Digest: Judge Angeles v. Gaite

G.R. No. 176596 : March 23, 2011.



It appears that sometime in June 1999, petitioner was charged of child abuse by her grandniece Maria Mercedes Vistan. The preliminary investigation of the complaint was assigned to State Prosecutor Emmanuel Y. Velasco (respondent Velasco) of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In a Resolution dated June 20, 1999, respondent Velasco filed a case against petitioner for 21 counts of Child Abuse under Republic Act (RA) No. 7610. Petitioner filed a petition for review with the DOJ Secretary who, in a Resolution dated April 4, 2000, ordered the withdrawal of the Information against petitioner. On July 7, 2000, petitioner filed with the DOJ an administrative complaint for Gross Misconduct, Gross Ignorance of the Law, Incompetence and Manifest Bad Faith against respondent Velasco, which the DOJ subsequently dismissed. On reconsideration, Velasco submitted a comment which contained statements pertaining to Judge Velasco's sexuality.

On the basis of the above statements which petitioner claimed to be a direct attack on her character and reputation as a public servant, she filed a Complaint for four counts of libel against respondent Velasco before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila. It was dismissed. Petitioner Judge was clearly undaunted, as she filed a petition for review with the DOJ of the dismissal. The petition was, again, dismissed, even upon reconsideration.

Petitioner then filed a Petition for Review Before the OP questioning the DOJ Resolutions dismissing her petition. The OP dismissed the Petition for Review, stating that under Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 58 dated 29 May 2003, no appeal from or petition for review of the decision or resolution of the Secretary of Justice on preliminary investigation of criminal cases shall be entertained by the Office of the President, except those involving offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.

Petitioner thereafter filed with the CA a petition for review under Rule 43 assailing the OP order. In denying the petition, the CA applied the doctrine laid down in Carpio v. Executive Secretary regarding the power of control of the President over all executive branches of the government, in relation to the doctrine of qualified political agency. The CA then ruled that the OP, relying on MC No. 58, dismissed petitioner's petition for review and exercised its prerogative not to disapprove or overturn the DOJ Secretary's resolutions, thus, approving the acts or decision of the DOJ Secretary, being her alter ego.

The CA also held that the OP's outright dismissal of petitioner's Petition for Review was valid and binding, and was not tainted with grave abuse of discretion. It found that the DOJ resolutions dismissing petitioner's petition for review became final and executory after petitioner failed to elevate the said DOJ resolutions directly with the CA in a petition for certiorari within the 60-day reglementary period provided for under Section 4, Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court.


1. Whether or not the CA was erroneous in applying the doctrine of qualified political agency

2. Whether or not the petition before the CA was filed on time


The petition is denied.

POLITICAL LAW: Qualified political agency.

First issue: The Court referred to Angeles v. Gaite, and explained that: "The President himself set the limits of his power to review decisions/orders/resolutions of the Secretary of Justice in order to expedite the disposition of cases. Petitioner's argument that the Memorandum Circular unduly expands the power of the Secretary of Justice to the extent of rendering even the Chief Executive helpless to rectify whatever errors or abuses the former may commit in the exercise of his discretion is purely speculative to say the least. Petitioner cannot second-guess the President's power and the President's own judgment to delegate whatever it is he deems necessary to delegate in order to achieve proper and speedy administration of justice, especially that such delegation is upon a cabinet secretary - his own alter ego.

REMEDIAL LAW: Prohibited petitions before the OP.

Second issue: Filing an action with the OP was fatal to the petitioners case, since MC No. 58 prohibits the filing of such petition with the OP. Petitioner's filing of the petition for review with the OP, which is prohibited, did not toll the running of the reglementaryperiod for filing a petition with the CA.Accordingly, the DOJ resolutions became final and executory after the lapse of the period for assailing the same in the CA.

Petition is DENIED.