Mayor EDGARDO G. FLORES, petitioner
SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF PAMPANGA, GOVERNOR MANUEL M. LAPID OF PAMPANGA, MUNICIPAL COUNCILORS VANZALON F. TIZON, ROMULO N. MANDAP, EDGARDO P. YAMBAO, JEROME M. TONGOL, MARCIANO L. SACDALAN, and RICKY Y. NARCISO, respondents.
G.R. No. 159022 February 23, 2005
- An administrative complaint for dishonesty and gross misconduct against then Mayor Flores of Minalin, Pampanga, was filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the same province.
- The complainants were the municipal councilors of Minalin.
- The administrative complaint against petitioner alleged that on August 1, 2001, he executed Purchase Request No. 1 for the acquisition of a communication equipment amounting to P293,000.00 without any Resolution or Ordinance enacted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Minalin.
- The winning bidder was one Kai Electronics.
- The communication equipment delivered by Kai Electronics was overpriced by more than 100%.
- Respondent Sangguniang Panlalawigan issued an Order recommending to Governor Manuel Lapid of Pampanga, that petitioner be preventively suspended from office for a period of sixty (60) days.
- Without seeking a reconsideration of the Order of respondent Sangguniang Panlalawigan, petitioner sent a letter to respondent Governor Lapid requesting him “to veto” the same.
- Also, without waiting for respondent Governor Lapid’s action on his letter, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari.
- The CA denied and dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
- In ruling against the petitioner, the Court of Appeals held that he failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before going to court.
- Moreover, respondent Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Pampanga did not gravely abuse its discretion when it issued the challenged Order considering that the allegation of overpricing is supported by documentary evidence.
- Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration, but this was denied by the CA.
- Hence, petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari to the SC.
- Whether or not petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies.
- Section 61 (b) of R.A. No. 7160 (the LGC of 1991) partly provides: A complaint against any elective official of a municipality shall be filed before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan whose decision may be appealed to the Office of the President.
- After receiving the Order of respondent Sangguniang Panlalawigan preventively suspending him from office, petitioner should have filed a motion for reconsideration in order to give the latter the opportunity to correct itself if there was any error on its part.
- Such motion is a condition sine qua non before filing a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.
- Section 1 of the same Rule requires that petitioner must not only show that respondentSangguniang Panlalawigan, in issuing the questioned Order, “acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,” but that “there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.”
- The SC have held that the “plain” and “adequate remedy” referred to in Section 1 of Rule 65 is a motion for reconsideration of the assailed Order or Resolution.
- The SC also added that petitioner, before filing with the CA his petition for certiorari, should have waited for respondent Governor Lapid’s action on the recommendation of respondentSangguniang Panlalawigan.
- It is a well-settled rule that where, as here, the petitioner has available remedies within the administrative machinery against the action of an administrative board, body, or officer, the intervention of the courts can be resorted to by him only after having exhausted all such remedies.
- The rationale of this rule rests upon the presumption that the administrative body, if given the chance to correct its mistake or error, may amend its decision on a given matter and decide it properly.
- The strict application of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies will also prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the court.