The act of the head of a collegial body cannot be considered as that of the entire body itself

The Court finds petitioner’s allegations of bias and vindictiveness bereft of merit, there being hardly any indication thereof.   Mere suspicion of partiality does not suffice.[26]

The act of the head of a collegial body cannot be considered as that of the entire body itself.   So GMCR, Inc. v. Bell Telecommunications Phils.[27] teaches

First.  We hereby declare that the NTC is a collegial body requiring a majority vote out of the three members of the commission in order to validly decide a case or any incident therein.  Corollarily, the vote alone of the chairman of the commission, as in this case, the vote of Commissioner Kintanar, absent the required concurring vote coming from the rest of the membership of the commission to at least arrive at a majority decision, is not sufficient to legally render an NTC order, resolution or decision.

Simply put, Commissioner Kintanar is not the National Telecommunications Commission.  He alone does not speak and in behalf of the NTC.  The NTC acts through a three-man body x x x. [28]

In the present case, Rep. Tupas, public respondent informs, did not, in fact, vote and merely presided over the proceedings when it decided on the sufficiency of form and substance of the complaints.[29]

Even petitioner’s counsel conceded during the oral arguments that there are no grounds to compel the inhibition of Rep. Tupas.

JUSTICE CUEVAS:

Well, the Committee is headed by a gentleman who happened to be a respondent in the charges that the Ombudsman filed.  In addition to that[,] his father was likewise a respondent in another case.  How can he be expected to act with impartiality, in fairness and in accordance with law under that matter, he is only human we grant him that benefit.

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

                                    Is he a one-man committee? 

JUSTICE CUEVAS:

He is not a one-man committee, Your Honor, but he decides.

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

                                    Do we presume good faith or we presume bad faith?

                        JUSTICE CUEVAS:

We presume that he is acting in good faith, Your Honor, but then (interrupted)

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

So, that he was found liable for violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, does that mean that your client will be deprived of due process of law?

                        JUSTICE CUEVAS:

No, what we are stating, Your Honor, is that expectation of a client goes with the Ombudsman, which goes with the element of due process is the lack of impartiality that may be expected of him.

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

But as you admitted the Committee is not a one-man committee?

JUSTICE CUEVAS:

That is correct, Your Honor.

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

So, why do you say then that there is a lack of impartiality?

                        JUSTICE CUEVAS:

Because if anything before anything goes (sic) he is the presiding officer of the committee as in this case there were objections relative to the existence of the implementing rules not heard, there was objection made by Congressman Golez to the effect that this may give rise to a constitutional crisis.

                        JUSTICE MORALES:

That called for a voluntary inhibition.  Is there any law or rule you can cite which makes it mandatory for the chair of the committee to inhibit given that he had previously been found liable for violation of a law[?]

                        JUSTICE CUEVAS:

There is nothing, Your Honor.  In our jurisprudence which deals with the situation whereby with that background as the material or pertinent antecedent that there could be no violation of the right of the petitioner to due process.  What is the effect of notice, hearing if the judgment cannot come from an impartial adjudicator.[30]    (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2011/february2011/193459.htm

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About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
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