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Santiago vs Sandiganbayan

On or about 17 Oct 1988, Santiago the then Commissioner of the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID) approved the application for legalization of the stay of about 32 aliens. Her act was said to be illegal and was tainted with bad faith and it ran counter against RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). The legalization of such is also a violation of EO 324 which prohibits the legalization of disqualified aliens. The aliens legalized by Santiago were allegedly known by her to be disqualified. Two other criminal cases were filed against Santiago. Pursuant to this information, Garchitorena, presiding Justice of Sandiganbayan, issued the arrest of Santiago. Santiago petitioned for a provisional liberty since she was just recovering from a car accident which was approved. After a long series of appeals and court battles between Santiago and Sandiganbayan, in 1995 the latter moved for the suspension of Santiago, who was already a senator by then, from office. Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate president (Maceda) to suspend Santiago from office for 90 days. ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the Senate without violating the Constitution. HELD: The Constitution provides that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of twothirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days. On the other hand, Sec 13 of RA 3019 provides : SEC. 13. Suspension and loss of benefits. any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is pending in court, shall be suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law, but if he is acquitted, he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him. In here, the order of suspension prescribed by RA. 3019 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution. The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate or the HOR, as the case may be, upon an erring member. This is quite distinct from the suspension spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the Senate.

But Santiago committed the said act when she was still the CID commissioner, can she still be suspended as a senator? In issuing the preventive suspension of petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely adhered to the clear an unequivocal mandate of the law, as well as the jurisprudence in which the SC has, more than once, upheld Sandiganbayans authority to decree the suspension of public officials and employees indicted before it. Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 does not state that the public officer concerned must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts with which he has been charged. Thus, it has been held that the use of the word office would indicate that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and not only the particular office under which he stands accused. Santiago has not yet been convicted of the alleged crime, can she still be suspended? The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be established in a pre-suspension proceeding before trial on the merits proceeds. Neither does it contemplate a proceeding to determine (1) the strength of the evidence of culpability against him, (2) the gravity of the offense charged, or (3) whether or not his continuance in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records another evidence before the court could have a valid basis in decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial of the case. All it secures to the accused is adequate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the proceedings against him, such as, that he has not been afforded the right to due preliminary investigation, that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a specific crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or that the information is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules on Criminal procedure.

US vs Pons
Pons and Gabino Beliso were trading partners. On 5 Apr 1914, the steamer Lopez y Lopez arrived at Manila from Spain and it contained 25 barrels of wine. The said barrels of wine were delivered to Beliso. Beliso subsequently delivered 5 barrels to Pons house. On the other hand, the customs authorities noticed that the said 25 barrels listed as wine on record were not delivered to any listed merchant (Beliso not being one). And so the customs officers conducted an investigation thereby discovering that the 25 barrels of wine actually contained tins of opium. Since the ct of trading and dealing opium is against Act 2381, Pons and Beliso were charged for illegally and fraudulently importing and introducing such contraband material to the Philippines. Pons appealed the sentence arguing that Act 2381 was not approved while the Philippine Commission (Congress) was not in session. He said that his witnesses claim that the said law was passed/approved on 01 March 1914 while the special session of the Commission was adjourned at 12MN on 28 Feb 1914. Since this is the case, Act 2381 should be null and void. ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must go beyond the recitals of the Journals to determine if Act 2381 was indeed made a as law on 28 Feb 1914. HELD: The SC looked into the Journals to ascertain the date of adjournment but the SC refused to go beyond the recitals in the legislative Journals. The said Journals are conclusive on the Court and to inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine Legislature, when they are, as the SC have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate both the letter and the spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature. Pons witnesses cannot be given due weight against the conclusiveness of the Journals which is an act of the legislature. The journals say that the Legislature adjourned at 12 midnight on February 28, 1914. This settles the question, and the court did not err in declining to go behind these journals. The SC passed upon the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill in this particular case.