Legal Case Digest: Lumiqued vs. Exevea

Pages: 1 (523 words) Published: April 17, 2015
282 SCRA 125

Arsenio P. Lumiqued was dismissed from his position as the Regional Director of the Department of Agrarian Reform-Cordillera Autonomous Region (DAR-CAR). The dismissal was the aftermath of 3 affidavit-complaints filed by private respondent and DAR-CAR cashier Jeannette Obar-Zamudio. The affidavit-complaints charged Lumiqued with malversation due to falsifying gas receipts for reimbursements, violation of COA’s rules and regulations on concealing unliquidated cash advance, and oppression and harassment for unjustly terminating Zamudio’s services as cashier. Committee hearings on the complaints were conducted, but Lumiqued was not assisted by counsel. The committee granted Lumiqued’s request for resetting the second hearing to enable him to employ the services of counsel. However, neither Lumiqued nor his counsel appeared, so the committee deemed the case submitted for resolution. Adopting the recommendation of the Investigating Committee, President Fidel V. Ramos dismissed Lumiqued from his position pursuant to Administrative Order No. 52. Lumiqued filed a motion for reconsideration alleging that he was denied the constitutional right to counsel during the hearing. In view of Lumiqued's death, his heirs instituted this petition for certiorari and mandamus, questioning such order.

Does the due process clause encompass the right to be assisted by counsel during an administrative inquiry?

In the case at bar, the investigation conducted was for the purpose of determining if Lumiqued could be held administratively liable under the law. As such, the hearing conducted was not part of a criminal prosecution. Under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel.

The right to counsel is not indispensable to due process unless required by the Constitution or the law. In Nera v.Auditor General,  the Court said: . . . There is nothing in the Constitution that says...
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