Rule 65; purely ministerial duty

Under Rule 65, Section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, any person may file a verified petition for mandamus "when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law." For a petition for mandamus to prosper, it must be shown that the subject of the petition for mandamus is a ministerial act or duty, and not purely discretionary on the part of the board, officer or person, and that the petitioner has a well-defined, clear and certain right to warrant the grant thereof. (G.R. No. 192223)

The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. A purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment. (G.R. No. 157660)

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