Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > March 2008 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 166859 : March 25, 2008] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, V. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), ET AL., RESPONDENTS [G.R. NO. 169203] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, V. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), ET AL., RESPONDENT [G.R. NO.180702] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,PETITIONER, V. EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, ET AL., RESPONDENTS. :




EN BANC

[G.R. No. 166859 : March 25, 2008]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, V. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), ET AL., RESPONDENTS


 


[G.R. NO. 169203]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER, V. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), ET AL., RESPONDENT


[G.R. NO. 180702]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,PETITIONER, V. EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, ET AL., RESPONDENTS

 

Sirs/Mesdames:

 

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the Court En Banc dated March 25, 2008

G.R. No. 166859 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), et al., Respondents;

G.R. No. 169203 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), et al., Respondent;

G.R. No. 180702 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, et al., Respondents.

For resolution are these two motions filed by respondents:

(1) MOTION [DATED FEBRUARY 29, 2008] FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE RESOLUTION OF JANUARY 28, 2008 INSOFAR AS IT GRANTS THE "MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE AND ADMIT ATTACHED PETITION-IN-INTERVENTION" DATED JANUARY 8, 2008, AND to consider THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AS THEIR INITIAL AND PARTIAL COMMENT ON THE PETITION-IN-INTERVENTION filed with reference to G.R. No. 180702, and

(2) MOTION [DATED MARCH 3, 2008] TO SUSPEND PERIOD TO COMPLETE COMMENT ON THE PETITION-IN-INTERVENTION filed also with reference to G.R. No. 180702.

As grounds for their first motion - Motion for Reconsideration, respondents assert that a motion to intervene may be filed only before rendition of judgment by the trial court pursuant to Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court; that petitioners-in-intervention do not possess the legal interest required by Rule 19, Section 1 of the same Rules; and that the petition for review filed by petitioner Republic was filed out of time; hence, an intervention which is merely ancillary to the principal action may not be, allowed.

While intervention is, as a rule, allowed only before rendition of judgment by the trial court, the Court has in some cases permitted intervention even after judgment. In Millares v. NLRC,[1] the Court allowed a third party to intervene, not only after the NLRC had already rendered judgment in the illegal dismissal case subject thereof, but even after this Court had already promulgated a decision in the petition for certiorari challenging the same NLRC decision, the pleading-in-intervention therein being a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision.

Respecting intervenors' alleged lack of legal interest, the petition-in-intervention may be deemed a taxpayer’s suit which this Court may entertain at its discretion.[2]

It bears noting that intervenors Jovito R. Salonga, Wigberto E. Taflada, and Oscar Santos are suing in their capacity as taxpayers, among other grounds, while the following intervenor-organizations assert that their members or predecessors-in-interest were among those who paid the coconut levy: Surigao del Sur Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (SUFAC) and Moro Farmers Association of Zamboanga del Sur (MOFAZS), both represented herein by Romeo C. Royandoyan, and Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan ng Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) represented by Vicente Fabe,

This Court having already ruled in Republic of the Philippines v. COCOFED[3] that the coconut levy funds are prima facie public funds partaking of the nature of taxes, the claim of these intervenor-organizations that their members and predecessors-in-interest were among those who paid the coconut levy may be construed as an assertion of their interest in this case as taxpayers.

The present controversy may be the proper subject of a taxpayer’s suit since the Republic is claiming that, inter alia, respondent Cojuangco acquired the subject San Miguel Corporation shares by unlawfully using coconut levy funds during the Marcos regime - funds which, as priorly mentioned, have been found to be prima facie public in character.

As for the other intervenors[4] who neither allege that they are suing as taxpayers nor assert that their members or predecessors-in-interest paid the coconut levy, their interest in the present case is, at best, vague. The Court must thus deny them standing to intervene.

Respondents must then submit their comment on the petition-in-intervention, given that some of the intervenors have standing, as discussed above.

Respecting respondents' argument that the motion for leave to intervene must be denied since the petition for review of the Republic was filed out of time, suffice it to state that by Resolution of February 12, 2008, the Court granted the Republic’s Very Urgent Motion dated January 11, 2008 praying for a special and equitable extension often (10) days or until January 23, 2008 for the filing of a petition for review, and that by Resolution of February 19, 2008, the Court granted the Republic’s Motion to Admit Attached Petition for Review on Certiorari dated January 23, 2008.

There being then an existing petition for review, the petition-in-intervention may be entertained.

As for their second motion - Motion to Suspend, respondents pray for the suspension of the time within which they may complete their comment on the petition-in-intervention until the Court shall have decided their first Motion. Finding this second motion meritorious, the Court grants the same; the period shall run again after respondents receive a copy of this Resolution.

WHEREFORE, respondents' first MOTION insofar as it seeks to set aside this Court’s January 28, 2008 Resolution granting the "Motion for Leave to Intervene and Admit Attached Petition-in-intervention is DENIED, but is GRANTED insofar as it prays to consider the motion as their "Initial and Partial Comment on the Petition-in-Intervention."

Respondents' second MOTION is GRANTED. The period for respondents to file their comment on the petition-in-intervention shall begin to run again upon their receipt of a copy of this Resolution.

De Castro, J., no part.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] 434 Phil. 524(2002).

[2] Francisco, Jr. v. House of Representatives (November 10, 2003): "At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. This Court has opted to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds."

[3] 423 Phil. 735(2001).

[4] Virgilo M. David, Coconut Fanners of Southern Leyte Cooperative (COFA-SL), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Coconut Industry Reform Movement, Inc. (COIR), Nonito Clemente, Nagkakaisang Ugnayan ng mga Maliliit na Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan (NIUGAN), Dionelo M. Suante, Sr., and Kalipunan ng Maliliit na Magniniyog ng Pilipinas (KAMMPIL), Inc.

 




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