Case Digests
Case Digests, Constitutional Law 1 Digests, Law School

Case Digest: Garcia v. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, 25 June 2013

Garcia v. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, 25 June 2013

TOPIC: Judicial Review and the Expanded Power of Judicial Review


On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of her minor children, a verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support.

R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women’s intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or any person who has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman has a common child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care providers, and other local government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.

Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson’s Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted him about it in 2004. He even boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their accounts with the bank.

All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On December 17, 2005, while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house instead of taking her to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in which time petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has been undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications.

When private respondent informed the management of Robinson’s Bank that she intends to file charges against the bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager’s job. He then packed his things and told private respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even told private respondent’s mother, who lives with them in the family home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and has not sired a child with her.

Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is the President of three corporations – 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation – of which he and private respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private respondent merely draws a monthly salary of ₱20,000.00 from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household expenses amounting to not less than ₱200,000.00 a month are paid for by private respondent through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation together with the bills for utilities.

On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of ₱60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of pesos from the corporations.16 After private respondent confronted him about the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full information about said businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an accounting of the businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos.

Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO.

Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the bond from ₱5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at ₱100,000.00.

Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his children.

During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a petition34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order, challenging (1) the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of the modified TPO issued in the civil case for being “an unwanted product of an invalid law.”

On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order36 (TRO) against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.

Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed36 the petition for failure of petitioner to raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same. Secondly, the challenge to the validity of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the trial court constituted a collateral attack on said law.

His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before us.


WON the court of appeals seriously erred in not declaring RA. no. 9262 as invalid and unconstitutional because it allows an undue delegation of judicial power to the barangay officials


Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which, under the Constitution, is placed upon the “Supreme Court and such other lower courts as may be established by law” and, thus, protests the delegation of power to barangay officials to issue protection orders. The pertinent provision reads, as follows:

SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. – Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act.1âwphi1 A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal service.

The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. On the other hand, executive power “is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance.”

As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to “enforce all laws and ordinances,” and to “maintain public order in the barangay.”

We have held that “(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the existence of certain facts and to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official conduct shall be and the fact that these acts may affect private rights do not constitute an exercise of judicial powers.”

In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or proceeding “whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof,” the Punong Barangay must determine reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the woman and her children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true with the issuance of a BPO.

We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it would be very unlikely that they would remain objective and impartial, and that the chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to maintain peace and order.



We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

You may also like...