G.R. No. L-29185. September 24, 1985 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title
Gavino T. Vagilidad vs. Manuel M. Mas and The Public Service Commission

### Facts
On August 5, 1966, Manuel M. Mas filed a complaint against Gavino T. Vagilidad with the Public Service Commission (PSC), alleging illegal operation of four jeepneys under a “kabit” system and their unauthorized operation on the Sibalom-San Jose route via Barrio Odiong, Antique—a route covered by Mas’ certificate but not Vagilidad’s. Shortly after, the PSC ordered an investigation, resulting in 3 jeepneys being apprehended for various violations.

Despite being notified, Vagilidad failed to appear at the scheduled hearing on September 20, 1966, leading to a default judgment against him. He later filed a motion to lift the default and for permission to cross-examine witnesses, which was granted, and a new hearing was set for November 10, 1966.

The PSC’s final order on September 15, 1967, found Vagilidad guilty of violating his certificates of public convenience, imposing fines totaling P450.00. An appeal for reconsideration was denied on April 22, 1968.

Vagilidad filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court on July 1, 1968, raising issues about public convenience, operator protection, and alleged monopoly by Mas.

### Issues
1. Whether public convenience and comfort as primary considerations were violated in the orders appealed.
2. If the principle of protecting the prior operator in a transportation business was violated by the orders.
3. Whether the orders effectively sanctioned a monopoly by respondent Manuel Mas.

### Court’s Decision
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for review, citing its longstanding position of not disturbing the findings of the Public Service Commission regarding the sufficiency of evidence. It emphasized that it does not speculate on the credibility of witnesses nor re-evaluate evidence but rather respects the discretion and conclusions of the PSC on factual matters. The Court further noted the transition from the PSC to newer transportation governing bodies, marking the evolving regulatory landscape.

### Doctrine
– The sufficiency of evidence presented before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies and its appreciation thereof is generally not subject to review by the Supreme Court, especially when it involves the evaluation of factual circumstances and the credibility of witnesses.
– The dismissal of claims based on alleged violations of principles of public convenience, protection of prior operators, and avoidance of monopoly where evidence does not sufficiently support such claims.

### Class Notes
– **Principle of Non-Interference:** The Supreme Court reinforces its reluctance to substitute its own judgment for that of administrative bodies on factual matters, grounded in the expertise and focused jurisdiction of those bodies over specific areas.
– **Public Convenience and Operator Protection:** When dealing with the transportation sector, the concepts of public convenience, protection of prior operators, and avoidance of monopoly underpin regulatory oversight but need solid evidential support for challenges based on these principles to succeed.
– **Administrative Process in Transportation Regulation:** The procedural journey from complaint to final decision—including motions to lift default judgments and appeals for reconsideration—illustrates the administrative process in the regulation of public services.

### Historical Background
The regulatory landscape for transportation in the Philippines has evolved, with the Public Service Commission being replaced first by the Board of Transportation and later by the Land Transportation Commission, reflecting changes in governance and regulatory approaches to public service and utilities. This case marks a period of transition in regulatory oversight and underscores the legal challenges in the operation of public transportation services.


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