Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. vs Santiago

58 SCRA 493

The Public Service Commission (PSC) imposed a fine on a radio company for failure to render service expected of a radio operator.

The PSC, acting on complaints by dissatisfied RCPI customers, penalized it with a fine. RCPI alleged that the Commission was devoid of such competence since the Public Service Act (C.A. No. 146) expressly exempted radio companies from the jurisdiction, supervision, and control of such body over “their franchises, equipment, and other properties (Sec. 13[a] thereof) except with respect to the fixing of rates.” (Sec. 14 thereof)

The first paragraph of Sec.21 of the Act reads:

“Every public service violating or failing to comply with the terms and conditions of any certificate or any orders, decisions or regulations of the Commission shall be subject to a fine of not exceeding P200 per day for every day during which such default or violation continues; and the Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to impose such fine, after due notice and hearing.”

Is there anything in Sec.21 of the Act which empowers the PSC to impose a fine?

None. The power is neither expressly nor impliedly granted.
“In the face of the provision itself, it is rather apparent that the Public Service Commission lacked the required power to proceed against petitioner.x x x a public official must locate in the statute relied upon a grant of power before he can exercise it. It need not be express. It may be implied from the wording of the law. Absent such requisite, however, no warrant exists for the assumption of authority. The act performed, if properly challenged, cannot meet the test of validity. It must be set aside.”


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