G.R. No. L-7708
May 30, 1955
The petitioner is the duly elected and qualified mayor of the municipality of Mainit, province of Surigao. Consolación Vda. de Mosende filed a sworn complaint with the Presidential Complaints and Action Committee accusing him of (1) rape committed on her daughter Caridad Mosende; and (2) concubinage for cohabiting with her daughter in a place other than the conjugal dwelling. The Assistant Executive Secretary indorsed the complaint to the respondent provincial governor for immediate investigation, appropriate action and report. The provincial governor issued Administrative Order No. 8 suspending the petitioner from office. Thereafter, the Provincial Board proceeded to hear the charges preferred against the petitioner over his objection. The petitioner prays for a writ of prohibition with preliminary injunction to enjoin the respondents from further proceeding with the hearing of the administrative case against him and for a declaration that the order of suspension issued by the respondent provincial governor is illegal and without legal effect.
Whether or not the investigation of the charges against petitioner by the provincial board and the the consequent suspension of the petitioner as mayor of the municipality of Mainit is unauthorized and illegal.
Sec. 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code and 37 of Act No. 4007 expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to “receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude.” And if the charges are serious, “he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such case suspend the officer pending action by the board, if in his opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question.”
In the instant case, the charges preferred against the respondent are not malfeasances or any of those enumerated or specified in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, because rape and concubinage have nothing to do with the performance of his duties as mayor nor do they constitute or involve “neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or any other form of maladministration of office.” The Court ruled that before the provincial governor and board may act and proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Administrative Code referred to, a conviction by final judgment must precede the filing by the provincial governor of charges and trial by the provincial board. Even the provincial fiscal cannot file an information for rape without a sworn complaint of the offended party who is 28 years of age and the crime of concubinage cannot be prosecuted but upon a sworn complaint of the offended spouse.
Hence, the charges preferred against the petitioner, Municipal Mayor of Mainit, province of Surigao, not being those or any of those specified in Sec.2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, the investigation of such charges by the provincial board is unauthorized and illegal. Consequently, the suspension of the petitioner, as Mayor of the Municipality of Mainit, is unlawful and without authority of law.