Mendoza V Laxina Digest For Admin Law

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Transcript

MENDOZA v. LAXINA, JR.

406 SCRA 156 (2003)

FACTS:

Manuel Laxina took his oath and assumed office as the duly proclaimed and elected barangay captain.
Meanwhile, his rival candidate, Fermo, filed an election protest and the latter was declared as the winner by
the trial court. Laxina filed a petition with the COMELEC questioning the order and COMELEC annulled the
order on the ground that there were no good reasons to justify it. On October 27, 1999, a writ was issued
ordering Fermo to vacate said position. He refused. However, this did not stop respondent Laxina from the
discharge of his duties as the duly elected baranggay captain. Laxina he held office in the SK-Hall and
appointed two people to become his secretary and treasurer.

COMELEC issued an alias writ of execution against Fermo but this was still unsatisfied. Laxina was able to
take his oath (again) on November 16, 1999. It was only on the following day that Fermo turned over all the
assets and properties of the barangay. On November 20, 1999, the appointments of Laxina’s secretary and
treasurer were ratified to reflect the appointment date of November 1, 1999. Fermo's appointees objected to
this but they eventually agreed only if they were paid for their services from November 1-7, 1999.

Sometime in 2000, Mendoza and other baranggay councillors filed a complaint for violation of the anti-graft
and corrupt practices against Laxina’s appointees. They contended that defendants made it appear in the
payroll that he and his appointees rendered services starting November 8, 1999 when, in truth, they
commenced to serve only on November 17, 1999 after respondent took his oath and assumed the office of
barangay chairman.

Defendants claimed that the taking anew of the oath of office as barangay chairman was a mere formality
and was not a requirement before respondent can validly discharge the duties of his office.

The Special Investigation Committee on Administrative Cases of the City ruled that respondent had no power
to make appointments prior to his oath taking on November 16, 1999. It found respondent guilty of grave
misconduct and recommended the penalty of 2 months suspension. The Quezon City Council adopted the
findings and recommendations of the Committee. Laxina then appealed the case to the RTC. A summary
judgment was rendered by the trial court in favor of respondent. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Is the re-taking of an oath of office by a duly proclaimed but subsequently unseated local elective official a
condition sine qua non to the validity of his re-assumption in office? (In other words, is the re-taking of the
oath a requirement before Laxina could do his duties as barangay captain?)

HELD:

NO. In the case at bar, respondent was proclaimed as the winner in the 1997 Barangay Elections in Batasan
Hills, Quezon City; he took his oath on May 27, 1997 and thereafter assumed office. He is therefore vested
with all the rights to discharge the functions of his office. An oath of office is a qualifying requirement for
a public office; a prerequisite to the full investiture with the office. It is only when the public officer
has satisfied the prerequisite of oath that his right to enter into the position becomes plenary and
complete. However, once proclaimed and duly sworn in office, a public officer is entitled to assume
office and to exercise the functions thereof. When the COMELEC nullified the trial court’s decision, the
last actual peaceful uncontested situation preceding the controversy was restored which referred to the
stage when Laxina was occupying the office of Barangay Captain and discharging its functions. The re-
taking of his oath of office was a mere formality.