Lex Rex Ph

Cariño vs. CHR

G.R. No. 96681, 02 December 1991

Facts

  • In 1990, an two associations of teachers (MPSTA and ACT) undertook a protest rally at the DECS (now DepEd) premises to call the DECS Secretary Cariño to make a certain action. Cariño ordered them to return to work in 24 hours or face dismissal. Nevertheless, the mass actions continued into the week and became even bigger. 
  • Among the protesting teachers were the 8 respondents herein, which were administratively charged and eventually, one was dismissed by Cariño and 3 were suspended.
  • The respondent teachers also submitted their sworn statements to CHR in Sept 1990 after they were replaced.
  • The CHR Chairman and commissioners heard the case and issued an ordered Cariño to appear before the CHR en banc in October 1990 and bring all relevant documents. Otherwise, CHR will resolve the complaint based on the teachers’ evidence.
  • Cariño filed a motion to dismiss through the OSG on the ground that CHR has no jurisdiction.

Issue

Does the CHR has the power under the Constitution or has jurisdiction to try, decide, hear, determine alleged human rights violations like a court of justice?

Ruling

  • No. 
  • It was not meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate the functions of the latter.
  • The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e. receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. 
  • But fact-finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi judicial agency or official.

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