Gonzales v. Provincial Auditor of Iloilo
12 SCRA 711
The petitioner Ramon Gonzales was appointed Assistant on Complaints and Investigation, Office of the Governor, by Governor Jose C. Zulueta of Iloilo. At the time of his appointment, the petitioner was holding the office of Municipal Councilor of Lambunao, Iloilo, and he had not resigned from said office to accept the appointment in the Office of the Governor. The petitioner presented a voucher covering his salary as Assistant on Complaints and Investigation. Respondent Provincial Auditor of Iloilo respondent refused to pass in audit the said voucher for the reason that the petitioner continued to hold office as Councilor of Lambunao. He alleges that said appointment was in violation of the provisions of Sec. 2175 of the Revised Administrative Code as construed by the Secretary of Justice in his Opinion No. 121, Series of 1951.
Whether or not the lower court had correctly dismissed the petition for mandamus praying that respondents be ordered to pass in audit the vouchers of said petitioner covering his salary.
The Auditor General exercises a discretion or a quasi-judicial power when he acts on whether to pass a salary voucher in an audit or not. Certainly, the Auditor General has the power to look into the question of whether the person claiming salary payment is entitled to the salary or not. When the Auditor General sustained the action of the respondent Provincial Auditor of Iloilo in refusing to pass in audit the salary voucher of the petitioner, what petitioner should have done, being then a government employee, was to appeal to the President from the decision of the Auditor General. This the petitioner did not do. Instead, he filed the present action for mandamus in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. The step taken by the petitioner was not in accordance with the procedure provided by law. The rule that no recourse to court can be had until all administrative remedies had been exhausted and that special civil actions against administrative officer should not be entertained if superior administrative officers could grant relief, is squarely applicable to the present case. Thus, the decision of the lower court dismissing the petition for mandamus is in accordance with the law and the applicable decisions of this Court.