Suntay vs. People 101 Phil. 833 (1957) G.R. No. L-9430, June 29, 1957

Fact: On 26 June 1954, Dr. Antonio Nubla, father of Alicia Nubla, a minor of 16 years, filed a verified complaint against Emilio Suntay who took Alicia Nubla from St. Paul’s Colleges in Quezon City with lewd design and took her to somewhere near the U.P. compound in Diliman, Quezon City and was then able to have carnal knowledge of her. Alicia Nubla is a minor of 16 years. after an investigation, an Assistant City Attorney recommended to the City Attorney of Quezon City that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit. On 23 December 1954 attorney for the complainant addressed a letter to the City Attorney of Quezon City wherein he took exception to the recommendation of the Assistant City Attorney referred to and urged that a complaint for seduction be filed against the herein petitioner. the petitioner applied for and was granted a passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs and left the Philippines for San Francisco, California, U.S.A., where he is at present enrolled in school. The offended girl subscribed and swore to a complaint charging the petitioner with seduction which was filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City after preliminary investigation had been conducted. the private prosecutor filed a motion praying the Court to issue an order “directing such government agencies as may be concerned, particularly the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of having the accused brought back to the Philippines so that he may be dealt with in accordance with law. The respondent Secretary cabled the Ambassador to the United States instructing him to order the Consul General in San Francisco to cancel the passport issued to the petitioner and to compel him to return to the Philippines to answer the criminal charges against him. The counsel for the petitioner wrote to the respondent Secretary requesting that the action taken by him be reconsidered, and filed in the criminal case a motion praying that the respondent Court reconsider its order which the respondent Secretary denied. Hence this

Issue: Whether petitioner should have been granted a quasi-judicial hearing by the respondent Secretary before withdrawing or cancelling the passport issued to him?

Held: No, Hearing would have been proper and necessary if the reason for the withdrawal or cancellation of the passport were not clear but doubtful. But where the holder of a passport is facing a criminal a charge in our courts and left the country to evade criminal prosecution, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in the exercise of his discretion to revoke a passport already issued, cannot be held to have acted whimsically or capriciously in withdrawing and cancelling such passport. Due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing. When discretion is exercised by an officer vested with it upon an undisputed fact, such as the filing of a serious criminal charge against the passport holder, hearing maybe dispensed with by such officer as a prerequisite to the cancellation of his passport; lack of such hearing does not violate the due process of law clause of the Constitution; and the exercise of the discretion vested in him cannot be deemed whimsical and capricious of because of the absence of such hearing. If hearing should always be held in order to comply with the due process of clause of the Constitution, then a writ of preliminary injunction issued ex parte would be violative of the said


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