Due Process

Atty. Noel Atienza
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Due process is a law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial 

Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution states: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Kinds of Due Process

  1. substantive due process—requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the person to life, liberty or property. In short, it is to determine whether it has a valid governmental objective like for the interest of the public as against mere particular class.
  2. Procedural due process—one which hears before it condemns

Requisites of “judicial due process”

  1. There must be an impartial court or tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and decide the matter before it;
  2. Jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired over the person of the defendant or over the property subject of the proceedings;
  3. The defendant must be given the opportunity to be heard;
  4. Judgment must be rendered only after lawful hearing.

Requisites of procedural due process before administrative bodies

  1. the right to a hearing which includes the right to present evidence;
  2. the tribunal must consider the evidence presented;
  3. the decision must have something to support itself;
  4. the evidence must be substantial;
  5. the decision must be based on the evidence presented during the hearing;
  6. the tribunal or body must act on its own independent consideration of the law or facts;
  7. the board or body shall in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceedings can know the various issues involved.

The following minimum standards must be met to satisfy the demands of procedural due process in disciplinary cases involving students

  1. the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them;
  2. they shall have the right to answer the charges against them, with the assistance of counsel;
  3. they shall be informed of the evidence against them;
  4. they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf;
  5. the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.

Requisites of Due Process IN LABOR CASES

  1. Notice; and
  2. Hearing

Due process of law in administrative cases is not identical with “judicial process” for a trial in court is not always essential to due process.  While a day in court is a matter of right in judicial proceedings, it is otherwise in administrative proceedings since they rest upon different principles.  The due process clause guarantees no particular form of procedure and its requirements are not technical.  Thus, in certain proceedings of administrative character, the right to a notice or hearing are not essential to due process of law.  The constitutional requirement of due process is met by a fair hearing before a regularly established administrative agency or tribunal. It is not essential that hearings be had before the making of a determination if thereafter, there is available trial and tribunal before which all objections and defenses to the making of such determination may be raised and considered.  One adequate hearing is all that due process requires.

Due process, a constitutional precept, does not therefore always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. The essence of due process is found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit one’s evidence in support of his defense. What the law prohibits is not merely the absence of previous notice but the absence thereof and the lack of opportunity to be heard. This opportunity was made completely available to respondents who participated in all stages of the litigation

The essence of procedural due process is embodied in the basic requirement of notice and a real opportunity to be heard. In administrative proceedings, as in the case at bar, procedural due process simply means the opportunity to explain one’s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. ‘To be heard’ does not mean only verbal arguments in court; one may also be heard thru pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process

The observance of fairness in the conduct of any investigation is at the very heart of procedural due process. The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not strictly applied. Ledesma v. Court Appeals [(565 Phil. 731, 740 [2007])] elaborates on the well-established meaning of due process in administrative proceedings in this wise:

Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.”

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