Motion to Elevate this Case to the
Court En Banc
The petitioner prays for the elevation of the case to the Court en banc on the following grounds:
1. The main issue of the propriety of the bidding process involved in the present case has been confused with the policy issue of the supposed fate of the shipping industry which has never been an issue that is determinative of this case.
2. The present case may be considered under the Supreme Court Resolution dated February 23, 1984 which included among en banc cases those involving a novel question of law and those where a doctrine or principle laid down by the Court en banc or in division may be modified or reversed.
3. There was clear executive interference in the judicial functions of the Court when the Honorable Jose Isidro Camacho, Secretary of Finance, forwarded to Chief Justice Davide, a memorandum dated November 5, 2001, attaching a copy of the Foreign Chambers Report dated October 17, 2001, which matter was placed in the agenda of the Court and noted by it in a formal resolution dated November 28, 2001.
Opposing J.G. Summit’s motion to elevate the case en banc, PHILYARDS points out the petitioner’s inconsistency in previously opposing PHILYARDS’ Motion to Refer the Case to the Court En Banc. PHILYARDS contends that J.G. Summit should now be estopped from asking that the case be referred to the Court en banc. PHILYARDS further contends that the Supreme Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of its divisions may be appealed citing Supreme Court Circular No. 2-89 dated February 7, 1989. PHILYARDS also alleges that there is no novel question of law involved in the present case as the assailed Resolution was based on well-settled jurisprudence. Likewise, PHILYARDS stresses that the Resolution was merely an outcome of the motions for reconsideration filed by it and the COP and APT and is “consistent with the inherent power of courts to ‘amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice.’ (Rule 135, sec. 5)” Private respondent belittles the petitioner’s allegations regarding the change in ponente and the alleged executive interference as shown by former Secretary of Finance Jose Isidro Camacho’s memorandum dated November 5, 2001 arguing that these do not justify a referral of the present case to the Court en banc.
In insisting that its Motion to Elevate This Case to the Court En Banc should be granted, J.G. Summit further argued that: its Opposition to the Office of the Solicitor General’s Motion to Refer is different from its own Motion to Elevate; different grounds are invoked by the two motions; there was unwarranted “executive interference”; and the change in ponente is merely noted in asserting that this case should be decided by the Court en banc.
We find no merit in petitioner’s contention that the propriety of the bidding process involved in the present case has been confused with the policy issue of the fate of the shipping industry which, petitioner maintains, has never been an issue that is determinative of this case. The Court’s Resolution of September 24, 2003 reveals a clear and definitive ruling on the propriety of the bidding process. In discussing whether the right to top granted to KAWASAKI in exchange for its right of first refusal violates the principles of competitive bidding, we made an exhaustive discourse on the rules and principles of public bidding and whether they were complied with in the case at bar. This Court categorically ruled on the petitioner’s argument that PHILSECO, as a shipyard, is a public utility which should maintain a 60%-40% Filipino-foreign equity ratio, as it was a pivotal issue. In doing so, we recognized the impact of our ruling on the shipbuilding industry which was beyond avoidance.
We reject petitioner’s argument that the present case may be considered under the Supreme Court Resolution dated February 23, 1984 which included among en banc cases those involving a novel question of law and those where a doctrine or principle laid down by the court en banc or in division may be modified or reversed. The case was resolved based on basic principles of the right of first refusal in commercial law and estoppel in civil law. Contractual obligations arising from rights of first refusal are not new in this jurisdiction and have been recognized in numerous cases. Estoppel is too known a civil law concept to require an elongated discussion. Fundamental principles on public bidding were likewise used to resolve the issues raised by the petitioner. To be sure, petitioner leans on the right to top in a public bidding in arguing that the case at bar involves a novel issue. We are not swayed. The right to top was merely a condition or a reservation made in the bidding rules which was fully disclosed to all bidding parties. In Bureau Veritas, represented by Theodor H. Hunermann v. Office of the President, et al., we dealt with this conditionality, viz:
x x x It must be stressed, as held in the case of A.C. Esguerra
& Sons v. Aytona, et al., (L-18751, 28 April 1962, 4 SCRA 1245), that in an
“invitation to bid, there is a condition imposed upon the bidders
to the effect that the bidding shall be subject to the right of the government
to reject any and all bids subject to its discretion. In the case at bar, the
government has made its choice and unless an unfairness or injustice is shown,
the losing bidders have no cause to complain nor right to dispute that choice.
This is a well-settled doctrine in this jurisdiction and elsewhere.”
The discretion to accept or reject a bid and award contracts is vested in the Government agencies entrusted with that function. The discretion given to the authorities on this matter is of such wide latitude that the Courts will not interfere therewith, unless it is apparent that it is used as a shield to a fraudulent award (Jalandoni v. NARRA, 108 Phil. 486 ). x x x The exercise of this discretion is a policy decision that necessitates prior inquiry, investigation, comparison, evaluation, and deliberation. This task can best be discharged by the Government agencies concerned, not by the Courts. The role of the Courts is to ascertain whether a branch or instrumentality of the Government has transgressed its constitutional boundaries. But the Courts will not interfere with executive or legislative discretion exercised within those boundaries. Otherwise, it strays into the realm of policy decision-making.
It is only upon a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion that the Courts will set aside the award of a contract made by a government entity. Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power (Filinvest Credit Corp. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, No. 65935, 30 September 1988, 166 SCRA 155). The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, as to act at all in contemplation of law, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility (Litton Mills, Inc. v. Galleon Trader, Inc., et al[.], L-40867, 26 July 1988, 163 SCRA 489).
The facts in this case do not indicate any such grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondents when they awarded the CISS contract to Respondent SGS. In the “Invitation to Prequalify and Bid” (Annex “C,” supra), the CISS Committee made an express reservation of the right of the Government to “reject any or all bids or any part thereof or waive any defects contained thereon and accept an offer most advantageous to the Government.” It is a well-settled rule that where such reservation is made in an Invitation to Bid, the highest or lowest bidder, as the case may be, is not entitled to an award as a matter of right (C & C Commercial Corp. v. Menor, L-28360, 27 January 1983, 120 SCRA 112). Even the lowest Bid or any Bid may be rejected or, in the exercise of sound discretion, the award may be made to another than the lowest bidder (A.C. Esguerra & Sons v. Aytona, supra, citing 43 Am. Jur., 788). (emphases supplied)
Like the condition in the Bureau Veritas case, the right to top was a condition imposed by the government in the bidding rules which was made known to all parties. It was a condition imposed on all bidders equally, based on the APT’s exercise of its discretion in deciding on how best to privatize the government’s shares in PHILSECO. It was not a whimsical or arbitrary condition plucked from the ether and inserted in the bidding rules but a condition which the APT approved as the best way the government could comply with its contractual obligations to KAWASAKI under the JVA and its mandate of getting the most advantageous deal for the government. The right to top had its history in the mutual right of first refusal in the JVA and was reached by agreement of the government and KAWASAKI.
Further, there is no “executive interference” in the functions of this Court by the mere filing of a memorandum by Secretary of Finance Jose Isidro Camacho. The memorandum was merely “noted” to acknowledge its filing. It had no further legal significance. Notably too, the assailed Resolution dated September 24, 2003 was decided unanimously by the Special First Division in favor of the respondents.
Again, we emphasize that a decision or resolution of a Division is that of the Supreme Court and the Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of a Division may be appealed.
For all the foregoing reasons, we find no basis to elevate this case to the Court en banc.
SOURCE: [ G.R. NO. 124293, January 31, 2005 ]J.G. SUMMIT HOLDINGS, INC., PETITIONER, VS. COURT OF APPEALS; COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION, ITS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS; ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST; AND PHILYARDS HOLDINGS, INC., RESPONDENTS. Tags: Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries