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SECOND DIVISION That on or about September 10, 1997, at Sanchez Mira, Cagayan and within the jurisdiction

[G.R. No. 133289. December 23, 1999] of this Honorable Court, the accused Licerio Antiporda, Jr., being the Municipal Mayor of
LICERIO A. ANTIPORDA, JR., ELITERIO RUBIACO, VICTOR GASCON and CAESAR Buguey, Cagayan in the exercise of his official duties as such and taking advantage of his
TALIA petitioners, vs. HON. FRANCIS E. GARCHITORENA, HON. EDILBERTO G. SANDOVAL, position, ordered, confederated and conspired with Juan Gallardo, Barangay Captain of San
HON. CATALINO CASTAEDA, JR. in their capacity as Presiding Justice and Associate Justices Lorenzo, Buguey, Cagayan (now deceased) and accused Eliterio Rubiaco, barangay
of the Sandiganbayan respondents. councilman of San Lorenzo, Buguey, Cagayan, Vicente Gascon and Caesar Talla with the use
DECISION of firearms, force, violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
BUENA, J.: feloniously kidnap and abduct the victim Elmer Ramos without any authority of law from his
This is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary residence at Marzan, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan against his will, with the use of a Maroon
Restraining Order to restrain the respondent Justices of the First Division of the Tamaraw FX motor vehicle and subsequently bring and detain him illegally at the residence of
Sandiganbayan from further proceeding with Crim. Case No. 24339 and from enforcing the accused Mayor Licerio Antiporda, Jr. for more than five (5) days.
warrants for the arrest of the accused named therein (herein petitioners) or to maintain CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]
the status quo until further orders from this Court. Accused then filed an Urgent Omnibus Motion dated November 16, 1997 praying that a
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows: reinvestigation of the case be conducted and the issuance of warrants of arrest be
Accused Licerio A. Antiporda, Jr., Eliterio Rubiaco, Victor Gascon, and Caesar Talla were deferred.[5]
charged with the crime of kidnapping one Elmer Ramos in an Information dated September An order dated November 26, 1997 was penned by Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero-Agcaoili
18, 1997. It was filed with the First Division of the Sandiganbayan comprised of the recommending the denial of the accuseds Urgent Omnibus Motion[6] was approved by
Honorable Francis E. Garchitorena, Edilberto E. Sandoval, and Catalino Castaeda, Jr. The Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto on January 9, 1998.[7]
Information reads as follows: The accused thereafter filed on March 5, 1998 a Motion for New Preliminary Investigation and
That on or about September 1, 1995, in the Municipality of Sanchez Mira, Province of to Hold in Abeyance and/or Recall Warrant of Arrest Issued.[8] The same was denied in an
Cagayan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Eliterio Rubiaco, order given in open court dated March 12, 1998 "on the ground that there was nothing in the
Caesar Talla, Vicente Gascon and Licerio Antiporda, Jr., armed with guns, conspiring together Amended Information that was added to the original Information so that the accused could
and helping one another, by means of force, violence and intimidation and without legal not claim a right to be heard separately in an investigation in the Amended
grounds or any authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap Information. Additionally, the Court ruled that 'since none of the accused have submitted
and carry away one Elmer Ramos from his residence in Marzan, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan themselves to the jurisdiction of the Court, the accused are not in a position to be heard on
against his will with the use of a Maroon Tamaraw FX motor vehicle. this matter at this time' (p. 245, Record)."[9]
CONTRARY TO LAW[1] Subsequently, the accused filed on March 24, 1998 a Motion to Quash the Amended
On November 10, 1997, the Court issued an order giving the prosecution represented by Information for lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged.[10]
Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero Agcaoili thirty (30) days within which to submit the amendment On March 27, 1998, the Sandiganbayan issued an Order, to wit:
to the Information.The said order is quoted in full as follows: "The Motion to Quash filed in behalf of the accused by Atty. Orlando B. Consigna is ignored, it
ORDER appearing that the accused have continually refused or otherwise failed to submit themselves
This morning, the prosecution represented by Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero Agcaoili appeared to the jurisdiction of this Court. At all events there is an Amended Information here which
in response to this Courts Order of clarification on the propriety of proceeding with the makes an adequate description of the position of the accused thus vesting this Court with the
Information as it stands. office related character of the offense of the accused.
On her own, Prosecutor Agcaoili informed the Court that there were inadequacies in the "SO ORDERED."[11]
allegations in the Information for which reason she would beg leave to amend the same. The A motion for reconsideration was filed on April 3, 1998 by the accused wherein it was alleged
Court for its part expressed anxiety as to the Courts jurisdiction over the case considering that the filing of the Motion to Quash and the appearance of their counsel during the
that it was not clear whether or not the subject matter of the accusation was office related. scheduled hearing thereof amounted to their voluntary appearance and invested the court
For this purpose, Prosecutor Agcaoili is given thirty (30) days within which to submit the with jurisdiction over their persons.[12]
amendment embodying whatever changes she believes are appropriate or necessary in order The Sandiganbayan denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the accused in its
for the Information to effectively describe the offense herein charged. Within the same resolution dated April 24, 1998.[13]
period, Prosecutor Agcaoili shall submit an expansion of the recommendation to file the Hence, this petition filed by Licerio A. Antiporda, Jr., Eliterio Rubiaco, Victor Gascon, and
instant Information against the accused before this Court indicating thereon the office related Caesar Talla.
character of the accusation herein so that the Court might effectively exercise its jurisdiction The petitioners pose the following questions for the resolution of this Court.
over the same. a) CAN THE SANDIGANBAYAN, WHICH HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED
SO ORDERED.[2] IN THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION, SUBSEQUENTLY ACQUIRE SUCH JURISDICTION BY THE
The prosecution on even date complied with the said order and filed an Amended SIMPLE EXPEDIENT OF AMENDING THE INFORMATION TO SUPPLY, FOR THE FIRST TIME,
Information, which was admitted by the Sandiganbayan in a resolution dated November 24, JURISDICTIONAL FACTS NOT PREVIOUSLY AVERRED IN THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION? and
1997.[3] The Amended Information thus reads:
b) COROLLARILY, CAN THE AMENDED INFORMATION BE ALLOWED WITHOUT CONDUCTING To counter this contention of the petitioners the prosecution adverted to case of de los
ANEW A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION FOR THE GRAVER OFFENSE CHARGED THEREIN? Santos-Reyes vs. Montesa, Jr.[19] which was decided some 28 years after the Layosa
The petition is devoid of merit. case. In this more recent case, it was held that:
Jurisdiction is the power with which courts are invested for administering justice, that is, for xxx the accused xxx have no right to invoke the processes of the court since they have not
hearing and deciding cases. In order for the court to have authority to dispose of the case on been placed in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of their liberty by reason or as a
the merits, it must acquire jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties.[14] consequence of the filling of the information. For the same reason, the court had no authority
Section 4, paragraph (a) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No. 1861 provides for the to act on the petition.
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan: We find that the case of Layosa and de los Santos-Reyes are not inconsistent with each other
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise: since both these cases discussed the rules on when a court acquires jurisdiction over the
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: persons of the accused, i.e., either through the enforcement of warrants of arrest or their
xxx voluntary submission to the court.
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their The only difference, we find, is that the de los Santos-Reyes case harped mainly on the
office, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether warrant of arrest angle while the Layosa case dealt more on the issue of voluntary
simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than submission ruling, that the appearance at the hearing through a lawyer was a submission to
prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00. Provided, the courts jurisdiction.
however, That offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed Having discussed the third requirement we now come to the question of whether or not the
by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years or a fine Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the offense charged.
of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, We answer in the negative. The original Information filed with the Sandiganbayan did not
Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court. mention that the offense committed by the accused is office-related. It was only after the
The Sandiganbayan exercises not only civil but also criminal jurisdiction. Criminal jurisdiction, same was filed that the prosecution belatedly remembered that a jurisdictional fact was
as defined in the case of People vs. Mariano[15], is necessarily the authority to hear and try a omitted therein.
particular offense and impose the punishment for it. However, we hold that the petitioners are estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the
The case of Arula vs. Espino[16]enumerates the requirements wherein a court acquires Sandiganbayan for in the supplemental arguments to motion for reconsideration and/or
jurisdiction to try a criminal case, to wit: reinvestigation dated June 10, 1997[20] filed with the same court, it was they who
To paraphrase: beyond the pale of disagreement is the legal tenet that a court acquires challenged the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court over the case and clearly stated in their
jurisdiction to try a criminal case only when the following requisites concur: (1) the offense is Motion for Reconsideration that the said crime is work connected, which is hereunder quoted,
one which the court is by law authorized to take cognizance of, (2) the offense must have as follows:
been committed within its territorial jurisdiction, and (3) the person charged with the offense Respondents (petitioners herein) have thoroughly scanned the entire records of the instant
must have been brought in to its forum for trial, forcibly by warrant of arrest or upon his case and no where is there any evidence to show that the Honorable Prosecution Office of the
voluntary submission to the court. Province of Cagayan have been authorized by the Office of the Honorable Ombudsman to
The petitioners argue that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the conduct the Preliminary Investigation much less had the former office been authorized to file
case because the original information did not allege that one of the petitioners, Licerio A. the corresponding Information as the said case, if evidence warrants, fall exclusively with the
Antiporda, Jr., took advantage of his position as mayor of Buguey, Cagayan to order the jurisdiction of the Honorable Sandiganbayan notwithstanding the presence of other public
kidnapping of Elmer Ramos. They likewise assert that lacking jurisdiction a court can not officers whose salary range is below 27 and notwithstanding the presence of persons who are
order the amendment of the information. In the same breath, they contend however that the not public officers.
Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the persons of the accused. It is a well-settled rule that a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure
They question the assumption of jurisdiction by the Sandiganbayan over their case yet they affirmative relief against his opponent, and after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief,
insist that said court acquired jurisdiction over their motion to quash. The petitioner can not repudiate or question that same jurisdiction.[21]
have their cake and eat it too. We therefore hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the case because of estoppel
In the aforementioned case of Arula vs. Espino[17]it was quite clear that all three and it was thus vested with the authority to order the amendment of the Information.
requisites, i.e., jurisdiction over the offense, territory and person, must concur before a court Rule 110, Section 14 of the Rules of Court provides thus:
can acquire jurisdiction to try a case. Section 14. Amendment. The information or complaint may be amended, in substance or
It is undisputed that the Sandiganbayan had territorial jurisdiction over the case. form, without leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads; and thereafter and
And we are in accord with the petitioners when they contended that when they filed a motion during the trial as to all matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the
to quash it was tantamount to a voluntary submission to the Courts authority. They cite the same can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.
case of Layosa vs. Rodriguez[18] in support of their contention. For therein, it was ruled that xxx xxx xxx
the voluntary appearance of the accused at the pre-suspension hearing amounted to his Petitioner prayed that a reinvestigation be made in view of the Amended Information.
submission to the courts jurisdiction even if no warrant of arrest has yet been issued. We hold that the reinvestigation is not necessary anymore. A reinvestigation is proper only if
the accuseds substantial rights would be impaired. In the case at bar, we do not find that
their rights would be unduly prejudiced if the Amended Information is filed without a right to bail 2 are involved in this petition which, even if not so denominated, partakes of the
reinvestigation taking place. The amendments made to the Information merely describe the nature of a certiorari. It must have been the zeal of private prosecutors Francisco Cruz and
public positions held by the accused/petitioners and stated where the victim was brought Renecio Espiritu, 3 no doubt under the conviction that there was no time to lose, that must
when he was kidnapped. have led them to devote less than that full measure of attention to certain fundamentals.
It must here be stressed that a preliminary investigation is essentially inquisitorial, and it is They ignored the principle that the responsibility for the conduct of the prosecution is with
often the only means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a the public officials concerned. Nonetheless, the importance of the questions raised, the need
crime, to enable the prosecutor to prepare his complaint or information. It is not a trial of the for a change of venue and the cancellation of the bail bonds, necessitated that further action
case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining whether a crime has been be taken. Accordingly, in a resolution dated February 12, 1981, one day after the filing of the
committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof, petition, the Court required the comment of the Solicitor General as well as of the private
and it does not place the persons accused in jeopardy. It is not the occasion for the full and respondents, 4 the accused in six pending criminal cases before the Court of First Instance of
exhaustive display of the parties evidence; it is for the presentation of such evidence only as Negros Occidental.
may engender a well-grounded belief that an offense has been committed and that the On March 4, 1981, the Comment was submitted by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza. 5 It
accused is probably guilty thereof.[22] opened with this preliminary statement: "The present petition was filed by the private
The purpose of a preliminary investigation has been achieved already and we see no cogent prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos. 1700-1706, People v. Pablo Sola, et al., pending trial
nor compelling reason why a reinvestigation should still be conducted. before the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. Rightly, any petition before this
As an aside, an offense is considered committed in relation to office when it is intimately Honorable Court on behalf of the People of the Philippines can, under the law, be instituted
connected with their respective offices and was perpetrated while they were in the only by the Solicitor General. The assertion of the petitioner private prosecutors that they are
performance, though improper or irregular, of their official functions.[23] instituting the action 'subject to the control and supervision of the Fiscal' will not, therefore,
In the case of Cunanan vs. Arceo, it was held that: improve their legal standing." 6 Nonetheless, it did not press the legal point but instead
... the absence in the information filed on 5 April 1991 before Branch 46 of the RTC of San adopted "the two-pronged trusts of the petition: 1. the setting aside, by certiorari, of the
Fernando, Pampanga, of an allegation that petitioner had committed the offense charged in order of the Municipal Court of Kabankalan, presided over by Judge Rafael Gasataya, granting
relation to his office is immaterial and easily remedied. Respondent RTC judges had bail to the accused in the criminal cases mentioned above, and 2. the petition for a change of
forwarded petitioners case to the Sandiganbayan, and the complete records transmitted venue or place of trial of the same criminal cases to avoid a miscarriage of justice. 7
thereto in accordance with the directions of this Court set out in the Asuncion case: x x x As The facts were therein narrated thus: "On September 15, 1980, acting on the evidence
if it was originally filed with [the Sandiganbayan]. That Information may be amended at any presented by the Philippine Constabulary commander at Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, the
time before arraignment before the Sandiganbayan, and indeed, by leave of court at any time Court of First Instance of that province issued a search warrant for the search and seizure of
before judgment is rendered by the Sandiganbayan, considering that such an amendment tile deceased bodies of seven persons believed in the possession of the accused Pablo Sola in
would not affect the juridical nature of the offense charged (i.e., murder), the qualifying his hacienda at Sta. Isabel, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. * * * On September 16, 1980
circumstances alleged in the information, or the defenses that petitioner may assert before armed with the above warrant, elements of the of the 332nd PC/INP Company proceeded to
the Sandiganbayan. In other words, the amendment may be made before the place of Sola. Diggings made in a canefield yielded two common graves containing the
the Sandiganbayan without surprising the petitioner or prejudicing his substantive bodies of Fernando Fernandez, Mateo Olimpos, Alfredo Perez, Custodio Juanica, Arsolo
rights.[24] (Underscoring Supplied) Juanica, Rollie Callet and Bienvenido Emperado. On September 23 and October 1, 1980, the
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. PC provincial commander of Negros Occidental filed seven (7) separate complaints for murder
SO ORDERED. against the accused Pablo Sola, Francisco Garcia, Ricardo Garcia, Jose Bethoven Cabral,
Republic of the Philippines Florendo Baliscao and fourteen (14) other persons of unknown names. The cases were
SUPREME COURT docketed as Criminal Cases No. 4129, 4130, 4131, 4137, 4138, 4139 and 4140 of the
Manila Municipal Court of Kabankalan. After due preliminary examination of the complainant's
EN BANC witnesses and his other evidence, the municipal court found probable cause against the
G.R. No. L-56158-64 March 17, 1981 accused. It thus issued an order for their a. rest. However, without giving the prosecution the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, opportunity to prove that the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, the court granted
vs. them the right to post bail for their temporary release. The accused Pablo Sola, Francisco
MAYOR PABLO SOLA, SANGGUNIANG BAYAN MEMBER FRANCISCO (ECOT) GARCIA, RICARDO Garcia, and Jose Bethoven Cabral availed themselves of this right and have since been
(CADOY) GARCIA, JOSE BETHOVEN (ATSONG) CABRAL, CAPTAIN FLORENDO BALISCAO, released from detention. In a parallel development. the witnesses in the murder cases
JOHN, PETER, OSCAR, OMAR, JACK, RICHARD, JAMES, DONALD, WILLIAM, ROBERT, HOMER, informed the prosecution of their fears that if the trial is held at the Court of First Instance
JESSIE, ANDY, PAUL, all surnamed DOES respondents. branch in Himamaylan which is but 10 kilometers from Kabankalan, their safety could be
jeopardized. At least two of the accused are officials with power and influence in Kabankalan
FERNANDO, C.J.: and they have been released on bail. In addition, most of the accused remained at large.
The power of this Tribunal, constitutionally mandated, 1 to order a change of venue to avoid Indeed, there have been reports made to police authorities of threats made on the families of
any miscarriage of justice as well as the procedure ordained in the implementation of the
the witnesses." 8 The facts alleged argue strongly for the remedies sought, namely a change Court. Such a plea could have been done administratively. In this particular case, however,
of venue and the cancellation of the bail bonds. there is justification for the procedure followed in view of the fact that along with the change
On the very next day, March 15, 1981, this Court issued the following resolution: "The Court of venue, the cancellation of the bail bonds was also sought.
Resolved to: (a) [Note] the comment of the Solicitor General on the urgent petition for 2. Equally so the cancellation of the bail bonds is more than justified. Bail was granted to the
change of venue and cancellation of bail bonds, adopting the plea of the petition, namely, (1) accused in the Order of the Municipal Court without hearing the prosecution That is to
the setting aside, by certiorari, of the order of the Municipal Court of Kabankalan, presided disregard the authoritative doctrine enunciated in People v. San Diego. 16 As pointed out by
over by Judge Rafael Gasataya, granting bail to the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 4129, Justice Capistrano, speaking for the Court: "The question presented before us is, whether the
4130, 4131, 4137, 4138, 4139 and 4140, all entitled "People of the Philippines v. Mayor prosecution was deprived of procedural due process. The answer is in the affirmative. We are
Pablo Sola. et al."; (2) the petition for a change of venue or place of trial of the same criminal of the considered opinion that whether the motion for bail of a defendant who is in custody
cases to avoid a miscarriage of Justice; (b) [Transfer] the venue of the aforesaid criminal for a capital offense be resolved in a summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial,
cases to Branch V of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental at Bacolod City, the prosecution must be given an opportunity to present, within a reasonable time, all the
presided by Executive Judge Alfonso Baguio, considering that District Judge Ostervaldo Emilia evidence that it may desire to introduce before the court should resolve the motion for bail.
of the Court of First Instance, Negros Occidental, Branch VI at Himamaylan has an approved If, as in the criminal case involved in the instant special civil action, the prosecution should
leave of absence covering the period from January 12 to March 12, 1981 due to a mild attack be denied such an opportunity, there would be a violation of procedural due process, and the
of cerebral thrombosis and that the said Branch V is the nearest court station to Himamaylan: order of the court granting bail should be considered void on that ground." 17 These words of
and (c) [Await] the comment of respondents on the petition to cancel bail, without prejudice Justice Cardozo come to mind: "The law, as we have seen, is sedulous in maintaining for a
to the public officials concerned taking the necessary measures to assure the safety of the defendant charged with crime whatever forms of procedure are of the essence of an
witnesses of the prosecution." 9 Thus, the issue of a change of venue has become moot and opportunity to defend. Privileges so fundamental as to be inherent in every concept of a fair
academic. The comments respectively submitted by respondent Florendo Baliscao on March trial that could be acceptable to the thought of reasonable men will be kept inviolate and
5, 1981, respondent Francisco Garcia on March 11, 1981 and respondent Pablo Sola on March inviolable, however crushing may be the pressure of incriminating proof. But justice, though
16, 1981, dealt solely with the question of the cancellation of the bail bonds. Such comments due to the accused, is due to the accuser also. The concept of fairness must not be strained
were considered as answers, with the case thereafter deemed submitted for decision. till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance true." 18 This norm which is of
The sole remaining issue of the cancellation of the bail bonds of respondents, there being a the very essence of due process as the embodiment of justice requires that the prosecution
failure to abide by the basic requirement that the prosecution be heard in a case where the be given the opportunity to prove that there is strong evidence of guilt. It does not suffice, as
accused is charged with a capital offense, prior to bail being granted, must be decided in asserted herein, that the questions asked by the municipal judge before bail was granted
favor of petitioner. The bail bonds must be cancelled and the case remanded to the sala of could be characterized as searching. That fact did not cure an infirmity of a jurisdictional
Executive Judge Alfonso Baguio for such hearing. So we rule. character. 19
1. It may not be amiss to say a few words on the question of transferring the place of trial, in WHEREFORE, the assailed order of Judge Rafael Gasataya granting bail to private
this case, from Himamaylan to Bacolod City. The Constitution is quite explicit. The Supreme respondents is nullified, set aside, and declared to be without force and effect. Executive
Court could order "a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of Judge Alfonso Baguio of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, to whose sala the
justice." 10 The Constitutional Convention of 1971 wisely incorporated the ruling in the cases had been transferred by virtue of the resolution of this Court of March 5, 1981, is
landmark decision of People v. Gutierrez, 11 where Justice J. B. L. Reyes directed forthwith to hear the petitions for bail of private respondents, with the prosecution
as ponente vigorously and categorically affirmed: "In the particular case before Us, to compel being duly heard on the question of whether or not the evidence of guilt against the
the prosecution to proceed to trial in a locality where its witnesses will not be at liberty to respondents is strong. This decision is immediately executory. No costs.
reveal what they know is to make a mockery of the judicial process, and to betray the very Republic of the Philippines
purpose for which courts have been established." 12 Why a change of venue is imperative SUPREME COURT
was made clear in the Comment of the Solicitor General. Thus: "The exercise by this Manila
Honorable Court of its above constitutional power in this case will be appropriate. The THIRD DIVISION
witnesses in the case are fearful for their lives. They are afraid they would be killed on their G.R. No. 90625 May 23, 1991
way to or from Himamaylan during any of the days of trial. Because of qqqts fear, they may PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
either refuse to testify or testimony falsely to save their lives. 13 Respondent Florendo vs.
Baliscao was not averse to such transfer, but his preference is for a court anywhere in Metro BENEDICTO DAPITAN y MARTIN, @ "Benny" and FRED DE GUZMAN, accused. BENEDICTO
Manila. 14 Respondent Francisco Garcia confined his comment to the question of the DAPITAN y MARTIN @ "Benny", accused-appellant.
cancellation of the bail bonds. Respondent Pablo Sola made clear that he had "no objection to The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
the transfer. 15 It may be added that there may be cases where the fear, objectively viewed, Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
may, to some individuals, be less than terrifying, but the question must always be the effect DAVIDE, JR., J.:
it has on the witnesses who will testify. The primordial aim and intent of the Constitution This is an appeal from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Rizal (Branch 75, San
must ever be kept in mind. In case of doubt, it should be resolved in favor of a change of Mateo) 4th Judicial Region, finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of Robbery with
venue. As a matter of fact, there need not be a petition of this character filed before this Homicide and sentencing him to:
. . . suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the heirs of the victim Rolando The initial reception of evidence took place on 24 August 1987 with the accused-appellant
Amil in the amount of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment represented by Atty. Benjamin Pozon, also of the CLAO.
in case of On various dates thereafter, hearings were had until the parties completed the presentation
insolvency. 1 of their evidence. Witnesses Orencia Amil and Cpl. Rodolfo Rivera for the prosecution testified
Only the accused-appellant was tried. His co-accused, Fred de Guzman, remained at large during the incumbency of Judge Rodriguez. The rest testified before Judge Edilberto H.
and the court ordered the archival of the case as against him, to be revived upon his arrest. Noblejas who succeeded Judge Rodriguez.
The information filed with the court a quo on 7 August 1986 against accused-appellant and On 5 May 1989, the trial court promulgated its Decision 9 the dispositive portion of which
his co-accused reads in part as follows: reads:
That on or about the 16th day of May, 1986, in Barangay San Rafael, Municipality of WHEREFORE, premises considered, after appraising the evidence presented by the
Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Province of Rizal, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction prosecution and the evidence of the defense, the Court finds the accused BENEDICTO
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused conspiring and confederating together and DAPITAN y MARTIN GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of ROBBERY WITH
mutually helping and aiding one another, with intent to gain, armed with deadly weapon and HOMICIDE, punishable under Article 294, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code and sentences him
by means of force and violence, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously took, to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, and to pay the heirs of the victim Rolando
robbed/stole and carried (sic) away two (2) pieces of men's watches worth One Thousand Amil in the amount of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment
One Hundred Eighty Eight Pesos (P1,188.00), one (1) pair of long pants worth Two Hundred in case of insolvency.
Fifty Pesos (P250.00) and cash money in the amount of Seventy Five Pesos (P75.00) With respect to the case against FRED DE GUZMAN, the records of the case insofar as he is
belonging to Orencia E. Amil, without the knowledge and consent of said owner and to her concerned is hereby ordered ARCHIVED to be revived upon his arrest when he may be heard
damage and prejudice in the total amount of One Thousand Five Hundred Thirteen Pesos to answer for the offense charged.
(P1,513.00), Philippine Currency; that on the occasion of the said robbery and for the On 11 May 1 989, accused-appellant filed his Notice of Appeal, manifesting therein that he
purpose of enabling them to take, steal and carry away the above-mentioned articles, the was appealing the decision to this Court. 10 However, in the Order of 11 May 1989, Judge
herein accused in pursuance of their conspiracy, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and Cipriano de Roma erroneously directed the transmittal of the records of the case to the Court
feloniously, with evident premeditation and taking advantage of their superior strength and of Appeals. 11 The Court of Appeals transmitted to this Court on 4 March 1989 the records
with intent to kill, treacherously attack, assault and employ personal violence upon the which were erroneously transmitted to it. 12
person of Rolando Amil (an eight year old child) by stabbing him on the neck and hitting him In this appeal accused-appellant assigns only one error:
several times on the head with a piece of wood, to prevent him from making an outcry, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPLYING THE INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW THAT
thereby inflicting upon him physical injuries which directly caused his death. 2 FAVORS THE ACCUSED APPELLANT. 12
When arraigned on 25 November 1986 with the assistance of counsel de oficio, Atty. He is thus deemed to be in complete agreement with the findings and conclusion of facts by
Magsanoc, accused entered a plea of not guilty. 3 the trial court which We quote:
At the scheduled hearing on 10 February 1987, new counsel de oficio for the accused, Atty. The evidence adduced by the prosecution more than prove with moral certainty the guilt of
Gabriel Alberto of the Citizens Legal Assistance Office (CLAO) of San Mateo, Rizal, manifested the accused Benedicto Dapitan for the crime of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE. While there may
that the accused had expressed to him the desire to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense. be no direct evidence linking the accused to said crime, the witnesses who testified more
The court forthwith issued an order reading as follows: than fully satisfy the requirements for conviction on the basis of circumstancial evidence,
Atty. Alberto of CLAO and de oficio counsel for the accused manifested that the accused has because it affords enough basis for a reasonable inference of the existence of the fact thereby
manifested his desire to make a plea of guilty to a lesser offense but the circumstances are sought to be proved, that the accused performed the criminal act.
yet to be made in details. It appears that there are two mitigating circumstances that maybe Orencia Amil, principal witness for the prosecution testified that at around 8:30 in the
applied. The Prosecuting Fiscal made no objection but also manifested that he has to look morning of May 16, 1986, she left for her farm which was about 50 meters away, leaving
into the penalty applicable. The counsel for the accused and the Prosecuting Fiscal jointly behind in her house his adopted son Rolando (the victim) very much alive.(TSN, page 5,
moved that the hearing of this case be reset to another date. hearing of August 24, 1987) who refused to go with her because he chose to play in the
WHEREFORE, reset the hearing of this case for March 9, 1987 at 9:30 A.M. . . . . 4 house instead; and that because she heard the barking of her dog which aroused her
The scheduled hearing of 9 March 1987 was cancelled and reset to April 13, 1987 in view of suspicion, she immediately returned and saw the accused Benedicto Dapitan and his co-
the required vacation leave of absence of the judge. accused Fred de Guzman passing through her fence (TSN, pp. 5-6, hearing of August 24,
On 13 April 1987, upon motion of the prosecution and the defense in view of the projected 1987); and that when she entered her house calling her child's name, and seeing the
settlement of the civil liability of this case, the hearing was reset to 19 May 1987. 5 On that backdoor open, she entered and saw Rolando's body sprawled on the floor and his brain
date, however, counsel de oficio for the accused did not appear, hence "a report on the "scattered". Near his body was a piece of wood, also bloodied. Thinking her son to be still
projected settlement of the civil aspect of the case cannot be made" and the hearing was alive she took her in her arms, placed him on the table and that was the time she realized he
reset again to 15 June 1987 6 which schedule was later on cancelled due to the compulsory was dead. (TSN pages 6-7, hearing of Aug. 24, 1987).
retirement of the presiding judge (Judge Conrado Beltran) which took effect on 7 June She likewise testified that she lost two watches worth P1,180; pants at P250.00 and cash
1987. 7 amounting to P75.00; and after her son's burial she further found that her child's toy worth
In the meantime, Judge Francisco C. Rodriguez, Jr. presided over the trial court 8
P500.00, a flashlight and a bolo worth P45.00 and P120.00, respectively, were missing. (TSN, 2. That the accused Benedicto Dapitan and an unidentified companion entered the house at a
pages 8-9, hearing of August 24, 1987). time when Mrs. Amil had already left, and that the victim, at the time, was still alive.
Orencia Amil's testimony is likewise corroborated on its material points by the testimony of (Testimonies of Celo Nilo & Orencia Amil)
Celo Nilo, another prosecution witness. He testified that between the hours of 8:00 to 9:00 in 3. That when Mrs. Amil returned at quarter to nine she saw Benedicto Dapitan and Fred de
the morning of May 16, 1986, he saw two persons entering the house of Mrs. Orencia Amil, Guzman leaving the premises.(Testimony of Orencia Amil)
one of whom he identified as Benedicto Dapitan, (TSN, pages 4-5, hearing of October 26, 4. And that when Mrs. Amil entered her house, the victim, Rolando Amil, was already dead.
1987). He positively identified Benedicto Dapitan who was in Court (TSN, pages 5-6, hearing (Testimony of Orencia Amil)
of October 26, 1987). He likewise testified that when the two suspects entered the house of As gleaned from the records, witness Orencia Amil was straightforward in her testimony. She
Mrs. Amil, he heard the voice of a child. In the statement he gave the police investigators remained steadfast even on cross-examination, and there is nothing on record concerning her
(Exhibit B) which he confirmed when he testified, pertinent portions of which are herein testimony which would leave the court in doubt as to the truth of what she testified to. Her
quoted, he said: testimony therefore, relative to the circumstances transpiring at the time she left the house
xxx xxx xxx at 8:30 a.m. up to the time she returned at quarter to nine engenders belief.
T Noong May 16, 1986, sa pagitan ng ika 8:00 ng umaga, natatandaan mo ba noon kung Celo Nilo's testimony was likewise made in the same vein as that of Orencia Amil. This
saan ka naroroon? witness was not shown to have cause to perjure himself on a serious crime against the
S Ako po ay galing sa aming bahay at ako po ay patungo sa bundok para magtanim po ng accused. As the Court observed during the trial, his testimony, based on his demeanor when
punong saging. he testified, is impressed with a ring of veracity.
xxx xxx xxx The Court did not give credit to the testimony of Patrolman Rodolfo Rivera except on the fact
T Noong ikaw ay papadaan sa malapit sa bahay ni Orencia Amil, wala ka bang napansin na that he conducted an investigation. No value whatsoever was given to the sworn statement
tao na nagtungo doon sa kanilang bahay.? of Benedicto Dapitan, even as to the portion in said testimony, where Benedicto Dapitan
S Mayroon po. admitted being present when Fred de Guzman allegedly hit the victim on the head and that
T Nakilala mo ba naman kung sinong tao ang iyong nakita na dumaan doon sa bahay nina the stolen articles were in the possession of Fred de Guzman, because as wisely put by
Mrs. Orencia Amil? defense counsel, the sworn statement was taken in violation of the constitutional rights of the
S Iyon lang pong isang tao ang aking kilala na dumaan doon sa bahay nina Mrs. Orencia Amil accused.
na si Benny Dapitan na ang tirahan po ay doon po rin sa Sitio Tabak, Brgy. San Rafael, R/R, In sum, therefore, there can be no other inference from the evidence presented by the
pero iyon pong isa na kasama ni Benny Dapitan ay hindi ko po kilala sa kanyang tunay na prosecution considering the short span of time the victim Rolando Amil was left alive by his
pangalan. mother, and her return fifteen (15) minutes later to find him dead and the testimony that the
T Ilan bang tao ang iyong nakita na nagpunta doon sa bahay ni Mrs. Orencia Amil? accused was seen entering and leaving the premises during this intervening period, except
S Dalawang tao po. the inevitable conclusion that the accused is responsible for the death of Rolando Amil.
T Mayroon ka ba gaano kalayo doon sa dalawang tao na ang isa ay si Benny Dapitan ng sila For his part, the accused Benedicto Dapitan interposes the defense of "alibi". This, he sought
ay makita mo na pumunta doon sa bahay ni Mrs. Orencia Amil? to establish through the testimony of witness Ismael Anacio. Pertinent portion of the witness'
S Mayroon po lamang na mga 10 metro ang aking layo sa kanila. testimony, is herein quoted, to wit:
T Matapos na makita mo si na si Benny Dapitan at iyong isa niyang kasama ay pumasok doon xxx xxx xxx
sa bahay, ano pa ang sunod na pangyayari? Q Now, do you remember, Mr. Witness, if this Benedicto Dapitan was present in the said
S Akin pong nakita na matapos na sila ay makapasok sa loob ng bahay ni Mrs. Amil ay kanila house on the period from May 16 to May 19, 1986?
pong isinara iyong pintuan noong bahay, at hindi ko po naman sila pinansin at ako po ay A He was there, sir.
nagpatuloy na sa aking pupuntahan. Q Was there any occasion when this Benedicto Dapitan left your house during that period?
xxx xxx xxx A None, sir.
T Matapos na makapasok iyong sina Benny Dapitan doon sa bahay, wala ka ba namang (TSN, pages 3-5, hearing of September 12, 1988).
narinig na sigaw ng isang bata? The testimony of witness Ismael Anacio, a salesman by occupation, that defendant Benedicto
S Mayroon po pero hindi ko po pinansin. (Emphasis supplied). Dapitan, from May 16 to May 19, 1986, was in his house all the time, and that there was no
xxx xxx xxx occasion that he left the place during this period does not spark belief. In the first place, the
The testimonies of these two witnesses, evaluated together, on what transpired in the witness wants the Court to believe that he was in his house during all the time so that he
morning of May 16, 1986, between the hours of 8:00-9:00 a.m. attest to the existence of the could during all the days alluded to, be in a position to be positive as to the whereabouts of
following facts: the accused. This circumstance alone generates doubt on his testimony, because it was not
1. That the victim, Rolando Amil, was alive when her mother left her as testified to by explained why the witness, a salesman by occupation, would be in his house from the period
Orencia Amil and witness Celo Nilo, who cry out when the two suspects entered the house. beginning May 16-19, 1986 (TSN, pages 2-3, hearing of September 12, 1988).
(Testimony of Orencia Amil) Assuming though, for the sake of argument, that the witness actually monitored the
whereabouts of the accused during all the time, his testimony sustaining Benedicto Dapitan's
defense of "alibi" cannot defeat the positive identification made of Benedicto Dapitan and of
his presence in Montalban on May 16, 1986, by witness Orencia Amil and Celo Nilo. Even on property which is the subject of the proceeding; (3) the defendant must be given an
this score alone, without taking into consideration that Sampaloc District where he allegedly opportunity to be heard; and (4) judgment must be rendered upon lawful hearing. 21
was, is geographically not so far from Montalban, from where he could have commuted In People vs. Castillo, et al., 22 We ruled that if an accused has been heard in a court of
through the ordinary means of transportation present in the area, his defense of "alibi" competent jurisdiction, and proceeded against under the orderly processes of law, and only
naturally falls, so that his conviction is reasonably called for. 14 punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice to him, with opportunity to be heard,
In support of the assigned error accused-appellant argues that the imposition over him of the and a judgment awarded within the authority of the constitutional law, then he has had due
penalty of reclusion temporal by the trial court is "tantamount to deprivation of life or liberty process .23
without due process of law or is tantamount to a cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment We reiterated the above doctrine in People vs. Muit. 24
prohibited by the Constitution" and he submits that "the righteous and humane punishment All the requisites or conditions of due process are present in this case. The records further
that should have been meted out should be indeterminate sentence" with "all mitigating disclose that accused-appellant was given the fullest and unhampered opportunity not only to
circumstances as well as the legal provisions favorable to the accused-appellant . . . reflect dispassionately on his expressed desire to plead guilty to a lesser offense which
appreciated or . . . taken advantage for constructive and humanitarian reasons." He stresses prompted the court to cancel the hearing of 10 February 1987, but also to confront the
that since mitigating circumstances are based on, among others, the lesser perversity of the witnesses presented against him and to present his own evidence.
offender, such should be appreciated in his favor since he had "a companion then when he If indeed accused-appellant had been deprived of due process, he would have faulted the trial
entered Mrs. Orencia Amil's house and perpetrated the offense. 15 And it was his companion court not just for failure to apply the Indeterminate Sentence Law, but definitely for more.
or mate by the name of Fred de Guzman who took the personal belongings of Mrs. Amil as Yet, he found it futile to go any farther.
the men's watch worth P1,188.00. It was Fred de Guzman who is still at large who stabbed Neither is the penalty of reclusion perpetua cruel, degrading, and inhuman.1wphi1 To make
and hit the head of Rolando Amil. 16 These facts or circumstances reveal that accused- that claim is to assail the constitutionality of Article 294, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code, or
appellant had a "lesser perversity than his companion Fred de Guzman." As evidence of such of any other provisions therein and of special laws imposing the said penalty for specific
lesser perversity, "he did not flee or hide himself from the authorities. . . . within two (2) crimes or offenses. The proposition cannot find any support. Article 294, par. 1 of the Revised
days' time he surrendered voluntarily to the police authorities . . . ." Thus, the "mitigating Penal Code has survived four Constitutions of the Philippines, namely: the 1935 Constitution,
circumstance of voluntary surrender must be considered" in his favor. 17 the 1973 Constitution, the Freedom Constitution of 1986 and the 1987 Constitution. All of
He prays that he be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from twelve (12) years these documents mention life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua as a penalty which may be
and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to reclusion perpetua as maximum. 18 imposed in appropriate cases.25 As a matter of fact, the same paragraph of the section of
Meeting squarely the points raised by the accused-appellant, the People, in the Brief for Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits the imposition of cruel,
Plantiff-Appellee submitted by the Solicitor General on 9 June 1990, asserts that the same degrading and inhuman punishment expressly recognizes reclusion perpetua. Thus:
are without merit for the accused was not deprived of due process as he was, as admitted by Sec. 19(l). Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment
him, afforded full opportunity to be heard; for a penalty to be cruel, degrading or inhuman, inflicted. Neither shall the death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving
"it must take more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe. . . . ; it heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides it. Any death penalty already imposed shall
must be flagrantly and plainly oppressive, disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
shock the moral sense of the community 19 or when they involve torture or lingering As to the appreciation of mitigating circumstances, We also agree with the Solicitor General
death" 20 and since the penalty of reclusion perpetuaimposed on him is sanctioned by law, that since robbery with homicide under paragraph 1 of Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code
Act No. 3815 as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, said penalty is not is now punishable by the single and indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua in view of the
cruel, degrading or inhuman. It further argues that the special complex crime of robbery with abolition of the death penalty, it follows that the rule prescribed in the first paragraph of
homicide defined under Article 294, par. 1, of the Revised Penal Code is punishable Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code shall apply. 26 Consequently, reclusion perpetua must
with reclusion perpetua to death; with the abolition of the death penalty by the 1987 be imposed in this case regardless of the presence of mitigating or aggravating
Constitution, the only penalty imposable upon a person found to have committed such circumstances.
complex crime is the single penalty of reclusion perpetua, which is an indivisible penalty. The trial court correctly imposed on the accused the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Under Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code it should be applied regardless of the presence of The civil indemnity awarded by the trial court should, in line with Our decision in People vs.
any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Sison, G.R. No. 86455, 14 September 1990, and People vs. Sazon, G.R. No. 89684, 18
As regards the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the People submits that the accused-appellant September 1970, be increased from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00.
cannot avail of it since Section 2 of the law (Act No. 4103) specifically provides that it shall WHEREFORE, except as modified above in respect to the civil indemnity, the decision
not apply to, among others, persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against accused-appellant.
imprisonment. SO ORDERED.
We find the instant appeal to be totally bereft of merit. EN BANC
There was no denial of due process. [G.R. No. 131652. March 9, 1998]
Due process is satisfied if the following conditions are present: (1) there must be a court or BAYANI M. ALONTE, petitioner, vs. HON. MAXIMO A. SAVELLANO JR., NATIONAL BUREAU OF
tribunal clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter before it; (2) INVESTIGATION and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
jurisdiction must be lawfully acquired by it over the person of the defendant or over the [G.R. No. 131728. March 9, 1998]
BUENAVENTURA CONCEPCION, petitioner, vs. JUDGE MAXIMO SAVELLANO, JR., THE PEOPLE 4. That during the entire period since I filed the case, my family has lived a most abnormal
OF THE PHILIPPINES, and JUVIELYN Y. PUNONGBAYAN, respondents. life: my father and mother had to give up their jobs; my younger brother, who is in fourth
DECISION grade, had to stop his schooling, like myself;
VITUG, J.: 5. That I do not blame anyone for the long, judicial process, I simply wish to stop and live
Pending before this Court are two separate petitions, one filed by petitioner Bayani M. Alonte, elsewhere with my family, where we can start life anew, and live normally once again;
docketed G.R. No. 131652, and the other by petitioner Buenaventura Concepcion, docketed 6. That I pray that I be allowed to withdraw my complaint for rape and the other charge for
G.R. No. 131728, that assail the decision of respondent Judge Maximo A. Savellano, Jr., of child abuse wherein the Five-Man Investigating Panel of the Office of the State Prosecutor
the Regional Trial Court ("RTC"), Branch 53, of Manila finding both petitioners guilty beyond found a prima facie case although the information has not been filed, and that I will not at
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. The two petitions were consolidated. any time revive this, and related cases or file new cases, whether, criminal, civil, and/or
On 05 December 1996, an information for rape was filed against petitioners Bayani M. administrative, here or anywhere in the Philippines;
Alonte, an incumbent Mayor of Bian, Laguna, and Buenaventura Concepcion predicated on a 7. That I likewise realize that the execution of this Affidavit will put to doubt my credibility as
complaint filed by Juvie-lyn Punongbayan. The information contained the following a witness-complainant;
averments; thus: 8. That this is my final decision reached without fear or favor, premised on a corresponding
That on or about September 12, 1996, in Sto. Tomas, Bian, Laguna, and within the commitment that there will be no reprisals in whatever form, against members of the police
jurisdiction of this Honorable court, the above named accused, who is the incumbent mayor force or any other official of officer, my relatives and friends who extended assistance to me
of Bian, Laguna after giving complainant-child drinking water which made her dizzy and in whatever way, in my search for justice.
weak, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with said "WHEREOF, I affix my signature this 25 day of June, 1997, in Quezon City.
JUVIELYN PUNONGBAYAN against her will and consent, to her damage and prejudice. "(Sgd) JUVIE-LYN Y. PUNONGBAYAN
That accused Buenaventura `Wella Concepcion without having participated as principal or Complainant
accessory assisted in the commission of the offense by bringing said complainant child to the "Assisted by:
rest house of accused Bayani `Arthur Alonte at Sto. Tomas, Bian, Laguna and after receiving (Sgd) ATTY. REMEDIOS C. BALBIN
the amount of P1,000.00 left her alone with Bayani Alonte who subsequently raped her. Private Prosecutor
Contrary to Law.[1] "In the presence of:
The case was docketed Criminal Case No. 9619-B and assigned by raffle to Branch 25 of the (Sgd) PABLO PUNONGBAYAN
RTC of Bian, Laguna, presided over by Judge Pablo B. Francisco. Father
On 13 December 1996, Juvie-lyn Punongbayan, through her counsel Attorney Remedios C. (Sgd) JULIE Y. PUNONGBAYAN
Balbin, and Assistant Chief State Prosecutor (ACSP) Leonardo Guiyab, Jr., filed with the Office Mother
of the Court Administrator a Petition for a Change of Venue (docketed Administrative Matter "SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 25 day of June, 1997, in Quezon City.
No. 97-1-12-RTC) to have the case transferred and tried by any of the Regional Trial Courts "(Sgd) Illegible
in Metro Manila. Administering Officer"[2]
During the pendency of the petition for change of venue, or on 25 June 1997, Juvie-lyn On 28 June 1997, Atty. Ramon C. Casino, on behalf of petitioners, moved to have the petition
Punongbayan, assisted by her parents and counsel, executed an affidavit of desistance, for change of venue dismissed on the ground that it had become moot in view of
quoted herein in full, as follows: complainant's affidavit of desistance. On 22 August 1997, ACSP Guiyab filed his comment on
AFFIDAVIT OF DESISTANCE the motion to dismiss. Guiyab asserted that he was not aware of the desistance of private
I, JUVIE-LYN YAMBAO PUNONGBAYAN, 17 years of age, a resident of No. 5 Uranus Street, complainant and opined that the desistance, in any case, would not produce any legal effect
Congressional Avenue Subdivision, Quezon City, duly assisted by private legal counsel and since it was the public prosecutor who had direction and control of the prosecution of the
my parents, after having duly sworn in accordance with law, depose and say: criminal action. He prayed for the denial of the motion to dismiss.
1. That I am the Complainant in the rape case filed against Mayor Bayani `Arthur Alonte of On 02 September 1997, this Court issued a Resolution (Administrative Matter No. 97-1-12-
Bian, Laguna, with the RTC-Branch 25 of Bian, Laguna; RTC), granting the petition for change of venue. The Court said:
2. That the case has been pending for some time, on preliminary issues, specifically, "These affidavits give specific names, dates, and methods being used to abort, by coercion or
(a) change of venue, filed with the Supreme Court; (b) propriety of the appeal to the Court of corruption, the prosecution of Criminal Case No. 9619-B. It is thus incorrect for oppositors
Appeals, and after its denial by said court, brought to the Office of the President, on the Alonte and Concepcion to contend that the fear of the petitioner, her private counsel and her
veracity of the findings of the Five-Man Investigating Panel of the State Prosecutors Office, witnesses are too generalized if not fabricated. Indeed, the probability that in desisting from
and the Secretary of Justice, and (c) a hold-departure order filed with the Bian Court; pursuing her complaint for rape, petitioner, a minor, may have succumbed to some illicit
3. That the legal process moves ever so slowly, and meanwhile, I have already lost two influence and undue pressure. To prevent possible miscarriage of justice is a good excuse to
(2) semesters of my college residence. And when the actual trial is held after all the grant the petition to transfer the venue of Criminal Case No. 9619-B from Bian, Laguna to the
preliminary issues are finally resolved, I anticipate a still indefinite suspension of my City of Manila.
schooling to attend the hearings; "IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Petition for Change of Venue from Bian, Laguna to the City of Manila
is granted. The Executive Judge of RTC Manila is ordered to raffle Crim. Case No. 9619-B to
any of its branches. The judge to whom Crim. Case No. 9619-B shall be raffled shall resolve interposed no objection to the granting of bail and in fact Justice and Equity dictates that it
the petitioner's Motion to Resume Proceedings filed in Br. XXV of the RTC of Bian, Laguna and joins the accused in his prayer for the granting of bail.
determine the voluntariness and validity of petitioner's desistance in light of the opposition of Respondent judge did not act on the application for bail.
the public prosecutor, Asst. Chief State Prosecutor Leonardo Guiyab. The branch clerk of On 17 November 1997, Alonte filed anew an Urgent Plea to Resolve the Motion for Bail. On
court of Br. XXV of the RTC of Bian, Laguna is ordered to personally deliver to the Executive even date, ASP Campomanes filed a Manifestation deeming "it proper and in accord with
Judge of Manila the complete records of Crim. Case No. 9619-B upon receipt of this justice and fair play to join the aforestated motion.
Resolution."[3] Again, the respondent judge did not act on the urgent motion.
On 17 September 1997, the case, now re-docketed Criminal Case No. 97-159955 by the The records would indicate that on the 25th November 1997, 1st December 1997, 8th
Clerk of Court of Manila, was assigned by raffle to Branch 53, RTC Manila, with respondent December 1997 and 10th December 1997, petitioner Alonte filed a Second, Third, Fourth and
Judge Maximo A. Savellano, Jr., presiding. Fifth Motion for Early Resolution, respectively, in respect of his application for bail. None of
On 07 October 1997, Juvie-lyn Punongbayan, through Attorney Balbin, submitted to the these motions were acted upon by Judge Savellano.
Manila court a "compliance" where she reiterated "her decision to abide by her Affidavit of On 17 December 1997, Attorney Philip Sigfrid A. Fortun, the lead counsel for petitioner Alonte
Desistance." received a notice from the RTC Manila, Branch 53, notifying him of the schedule of
In an Order, dated 09 October 1997, Judge Savellano found probable cause for the issuance promulgation, on 18 December 1997, of the decision on the case. The counsel for accused
of warrants for the arrest of petitioners Alonte and Concepcion without prejudice to, and Concepcion denied having received any notice of the scheduled promulgation.
independent of, this Courts separate determination as the trier of facts, of the voluntariness On 18 December 1997, after the case was called, Atty. Sigrid Fortun and Atty. Jose
and validity of the [private complainant's] desistance in the light of the opposition of the Flaminiano manifested that Alonte could not attend the promulgation of the decision because
public prosecutor, Asst. Chief State Prosecutor Leonardo Guiyab. he was suffering from mild hypertension and was confined at the NBI clinic and that, upon
On 02 November 1997, Alonte voluntarily surrendered himself to Director Santiago Toledo of the other hand, petitioner Concepcion and his counsel would appear not to have been notified
the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), while Concepcion, in his case, posted the of the proceedings. The promulgation, nevertheless, of the decision proceeded in absentia;
recommended bail of P150,000.00. the reading concluded:
On 07 November 1997, petitioners were arraigned and both pleaded not guilty to the charge. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the two (2) accused Mayor Bayani Alonte
The parties manifested that they were waiving pre-trial. The proceedings forthwith went and Buenaventura `Wella Concepcion guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the heinous crime of
on.Per Judge Savellano, both parties agreed to proceed with the trial of the case on the RAPE, as defined and penalized under Article 335(2) in relation to Article 27 of the Revised
merits.[4] According to Alonte, however, Judge Savellano allowed the prosecution to present Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, for which each one of the them is hereby
evidence relative only to the question of the voluntariness and validity of the affidavit of sentenced to suffer the indivisible penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA or imprisonment for
desistance.[5] twenty (20) years and one (1) day to forty (40) years.
It would appear that immediately following the arraignment, the prosecution presented In view thereof, the bail bond put up by the accused Buenaventura `Wella Concepcion for his
private complainant Juvie-lyn Punongbayan followed by her parents. During this hearing, provisional liberty is hereby cancelled and rendered without any further force and effect.
Punongbayan affirmed the validity and voluntariness of her affidavit of desistance. She stated SO ORDERED.[7]
that she had no intention of giving positive testimony in support of the charges against Alonte On the same day of 18th December 1997, petitioner Alonte filed a motion for
and had no interest in further prosecuting the action. Punongbayan confirmed: (i) That she reconsideration. Without waiting for its resolution, Alonte filed the instant "Ex Abundante Ad
was compelled to desist because of the harassment she was experiencing from the media, Cautelam" for"Certiorari, Prohibition, Habeas Corpus, Bail, Recusation of respondent Judge,
(ii)that no pressures nor influence were exerted upon her to sign the affidavit of desistance, and for Disciplinary Action against an RTC Judge." Petitioner Concepcion later filed his own
and (iii) that neither she nor her parents received a single centavo from anybody to secure petition for certiorari and mandamus with the Court.
the affidavit of desistance. Alonte submits the following grounds in support of his petition seeking to have the decision
Assistant State Prosecutor Marilyn Campomanes then presented, in nullified and the case remanded for new trial; thus:
sequence: (i) Punongbayans parents, who affirmed their signatures on the affidavit of The respondent Judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
desistance and their consent to their daughters decision to desist from the case, and jurisdiction when he rendered a Decision in the case a quo (Annex A) without affording the
(ii) Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alberto Nofuente, who attested that the affidavit of petitioner his Constitutional right to due process of law (Article III, 1, Constitution).
desistance was signed by Punongbayan and her parents in his presence and that he was The respondent Judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
satisfied that the same was executed freely and voluntarily. Finally, Campomanes manifested jurisdiction when he rendered a Decision in the case a quo in violation of the mandatory
that in light of the decision of private complainant and her parents not to pursue the case, provisions of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, specifically, in the conduct and order of trial
the State had no further evidence against the accused to prove the guilt of the accused. She, (Rule 119) prior to the promulgation of a judgment (Rule 120; Annex A).
then, moved for the "dismissal of the case" against both Alonte and Concepcion. The respondent Judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
Thereupon, respondent judge said that "the case was submitted for decision."[6] jurisdiction when, in total disregard of the Revised Rules on Evidence and existing doctrinal
On 10 November 1997, petitioner Alonte filed an "Urgent Motion to Admit to Bail." Assistant jurisprudence, he rendered a Decision in the case a quo (Annex A) on the basis of two (2)
State Prosecutor Campomanes, in a Comment filed on the same date, stated that the State affidavits (Punongbayans and Balbins) which were neither marked nor offered into evidence
by the prosecution, nor without giving the petitioner an opportunity to cross-examine the
affiants thereof, again in violation of petitioners right to due process (Article III, 1, "(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
Constitution). proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the
The respondent Judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial,
jurisdiction when he rendered a Decision in the case a quo without conducting a trial on the to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance
facts which would establish that complainant was raped by petitioner (Rule 119, Article III, 1, of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial
Constitution), thereby setting a dangerous precedent where heinous offenses can result in may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly
conviction without trial (then with more reason that simpler offenses could end up with the notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable."
same result).[8] Jurisprudence[11] acknowledges that due process in criminal proceedings, in particular,
On the other hand, Concepcion relies on the following grounds in support of his own petition; require (a) that the court or tribunal trying the case is properly clothed with judicial power to
thus: hear and determine the matter before it; (b) that jurisdiction is lawfully acquired by it over
1. The decision of the respondent Judge rendered in the course of resolving the prosecutions the person of the accused; (c) that the accused is given an opportunity to be heard; and (d)
motion to dismiss the case is a patent nullity for having been rendered without jurisdiction, that judgment is rendered only upon lawful hearing.[12]
without the benefit of a trial and in total violation of the petitioners right to due process of The above constitutional and jurisprudential postulates, by now elementary and deeply
law. imbedded in our own criminal justice system, are mandatory and indispensable. The
2. There had been no valid promulgation of judgment at least as far as petitioner is principles find universal acceptance and are tersely expressed in the oft-quoted statement
concerned. that procedural due process cannot possibly be met without a "law which hears before it
3. The decision had been rendered in gross violation of the right of the accused to a fair trial condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only after trial."[13]
by an impartial and neutral judge whose actuations and outlook of the case had been The order of trial in criminal cases is clearly spelled out in Section 3, Rule 119, of the Rules of
motivated by a sinister desire to ride on the crest of media hype that surrounded this case Court; viz:
and use this case as a tool for his ambition for promotion to a higher court. "Sec. 3. Order of trial. - The trial shall proceed in the following order:
4. The decision is patently contrary to law and the jurisprudence in so far as it convicts the "(a) The prosecution shall present evidence to prove the charge and, in the proper case, the
petitioner as a principal even though he has been charged only as an accomplice in the civil liability.
information.[9] "(b) The accused may present evidence to prove his defense, and damages, if any, arising
The petitions deserve some merit; the Court will disregard, in view of the case milieu, the from the issuance of any provisional remedy in the case.
prematurity of petitioners' invocation, i.e., even before the trial court could resolve Alonte's "(c) The parties may then respectively present rebutting evidence only, unless the court, in
motion for reconsideration. furtherance of justice, permits them to present additional evidence bearing upon the main
The Court must admit that it is puzzled by the somewhat strange way the case has issue.
proceeded below. Per Judge Savellano, after the waiver by the parties of the pre-trial "(d) Upon admission of the evidence, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision unless
stage, the trial of the case did proceed on the merits but that - the court directs the parties to argue orally or to submit memoranda.
"The two (2) accused did not present any countervailing evidence during the trial. They did "(e) However, when the accused admits the act or omission charged in the complaint or
not take the witness stand to refute or deny under oath the truth of the contents of the information but interposes a lawful defense, the order of trial may be modified accordingly."
private complainant's aforementioned affidavit which she expressly affirmed and confirmed in In Tabao vs. Espina,[14] the Court has underscored the need to adhere strictly to the above
Court, but, instead, thru their respective lawyers, they rested and submitted the case for rules. It reminds that -
decision merely on the basis of the private complainant's so called 'desistance' which, to "x x x each step in the trial process serves a specific purpose. In the trial of criminal cases,
them, was sufficient enough for their purposes. They left everything to the so-called the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of an accused requires that an accused
'desistance' of the private complainant."[10] be given sufficient opportunity to present his defense. So, with the prosecution as to its
According to petitioners, however, there was no such trial for what was conducted on 07 evidence.
November 1997, aside from the arraignment of the accused, was merely a proceeding in "Hence, any deviation from the regular course of trial should always take into consideration
conformity with the resolution of this Court in Administrative Case No. 97-1-12-RTC to the rights of all the parties to the case, whether in the prosecution or defense. In the exercise
determine the validity and voluntariness of the affidavit of desistance executed by of their discretion, judges are sworn not only to uphold the law but also to do what is fair and
Punongbayan. just. The judicial gavel should not be wielded by one who has an unsound and distorted sense
It does seem to the Court that there has been undue precipitancy in the conduct of the of justice and fairness.[15]
proceedings. Perhaps the problem could have well been avoided had not the basic procedures While Judge Savellano has claimed in his Comment that -
been, to the Court's perception, taken lightly. And in this shortcoming, looking at the records "Petitioners-accused were each represented during the hearing on 07 November 1997 with
of the case, the trial court certainly is not alone to blame. their respective counsel of choice. None of their counsel interposed an intention to cross-
Section 14, paragraphs (1) and (2), of Article III, of the Constitution provides the examine rape victim Juvielyn Punongbayan, even after she attested, in answer to respondent
fundamentals. judge's clarificatory questions, the voluntariness and truth of her two affidavits - one detailing
"(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. the rape and the other detailing the attempts to buy her desistance; the opportunity was
missed/not used, hence waived. The rule of case law is that the right to confront and cross- The Junio rule is no different from ordinary criminal cases. For instance, in People vs.
examine a witness 'is a personal one and may be waived.'" (emphasis supplied) - Ballabare,[23] a murder case, the Court has ruled:
it should be pointed out, however, that the existence of the waiver must be positively The contention has no merit. To begin with, the Affidavit executed by eyewitness Tessie
demonstrated. The standard of waiver requires that it "not only must be voluntary, but must Asenita is not a recantation. To recant a prior statement is to renounce and withdraw it
be knowing, intelligent, and done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and formally and publicly. [36 WORDS AND PHRASES 683, citing Pradlik vs. State, 41-A 2nd, 906,
likely consequences."[16] Mere silence of the holder of the right should not be so construed 907.] In her affidavit, Tessie Asenita did not really recant what she had said during the
as a waiver of right, and the courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against trial. She only said she wanted to withdraw her testimony because her father, Leonardo
waiver.[17] The Solicitor General has aptly discerned a few of the deviations from what Tacadao, Sr., was no longer interested in prosecuting the case against accused-
otherwise should have been the regular course of trial: (1) Petitioners have not been directed appellant. Thus, her affidavit stated:
to present evidence to prove their defenses nor have dates therefor been scheduled for the 3. That inasmuch as my father, Leonardo Tacadao, Sr., the complainant therein, was no
purpose;[18] (2) the parties have not been given the opportunity to present rebutting longer interested to prosecute the case as manifested in the Sworn Affidavit of Desistance
evidence nor have dates been set by respondent Judge for the purpose;[19] and (3) before the Provincial Prosecutor, I do hereby WITHDRAW and/or REVOKE my testimony of
petitioners have not admitted the act charged in the Information so as to justify any record to confirm (sic) with my fathers desire;
modification in the order of trial.[20] There can be no short-cut to the legal process, and It is absurd to disregard a testimony that has undergone trial and scrutiny by the court and
there can be no excuse for not affording an accused his full day in court. Due process, rightly the parties simply because an affidavit withdrawing the testimony is subsequently presented
occupying the first and foremost place of honor in our Bill of Rights, is an enshrined and by the defense. In the first place, any recantation must be tested in a public trial with
invaluable right that cannot be denied even to the most undeserving. sufficient opportunity given to the party adversely affected by it to cross-examine the
This case, in fine, must be remanded for further proceedings. And, since the case would have recanting witness. In this case, Tessie Asenita was not recalled to the witness stand to testify
to be sent back to the court a quo, this ponencia has carefully avoided making any statement on her affidavit. Her affidavit is thus hearsay. It was her husband, Roque Asenita, who was
or reference that might be misconstrued as prejudgment or as pre-empting the trial court in presented and the matters he testified to did not even bear on the substance of Tessies
the proper disposition of the case. The Court likewise deems it appropriate that all related affidavit. He testified that accused-appellant was not involved in the perpetration of the
proceedings therein, including the petition for bail, should be subject to the proper disposition crime.
of the trial court. In the second place, to accept the new evidence uncritically would be to make a solemn trial
Nevertheless, it is needful to stress a few observations on the affidavit of desistance executed a mockery and place the investigation at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. [De Guzman
by the complainant. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 184 SCRA 128, 134, citing People vs. Morales, 113 SCRA
Firstly, the affidavit of desistance of Juvie-Lyn Punongbayan, hereinbefore quoted, does not 683.] For even assuming that Tessie Asenita had made a retraction, this circumstance alone
contain any statement that disavows the veracity of her complaint against petitioners but does not require the court to disregard her original testimony. A retraction does not
merely seeks to "be allowed to withdraw" her complaint and to discontinue with the case for necessarily negate an earlier declaration. [People vs. Davatos, 229 SCRA 647.] For this
varied other reasons. On this subject, the case of People vs. Junio,[21] should be reason, courts look with disfavor upon retractions because they can easily be obtained from
instructive. The Court has there explained: witnesses usually through intimidation or for monetary considerations. [People vs. Clamor,
The appellants submission that the execution of an Affidavit of Desistance by complainant 198 SCRA 642.] Hence, when confronted with a situation where a witness recants his
who was assisted by her mother supported the `inherent incredibility of prosecutions testimony, courts must not automatically exclude the original testimony solely on the basis of
evidence is specious. We have said in so many cases that retractions are generally unreliable the recantation. They should determine which testimony should be given credence through a
and are looked upon with considerable disfavor by the courts. The unreliable character of this comparison of the original testimony and the new testimony, applying the general rules of
document is shown by the fact that it is quite incredible that after going through the process evidence. [Reano vs. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 525.] In this case we think the trial court
of having accused-appellant arrested by the police, positively identifying him as the person correctly ruled.[24]
who raped her, enduring the humiliation of a physical examination of her private parts, and It may not be amiss to state that courts have the inherent power to compel the attendance of
then repeating her accusations in open court by recounting her anguish, Maryjane would any person to testify in a case pending before it, and a party is not precluded from invoking
suddenly turn around and declare that `[a]fter a careful deliberation over the case, (she) that authority.[25]
find(s) that the same does not merit or warrant criminal prosecution. Secondly, an affidavit of desistance by itself, even when construed as a pardon in the so-
Thus, we have declared that at most the retraction is an afterthought which should not be called "private crimes," is not a ground for the dismissal of the criminal case once the action
given probative value. It would be a dangerous rule to reject the testimony taken before the has been instituted. The affidavit, nevertheless, may, as so earlier intimated, possibly
court of justice simply because the witness who has given it later on changed his mind for constitute evidence whose weight or probative value, like any other piece of evidence, would
one reason or another. Such a rule will make a solemn trial a mockery and place the be up to the court for proper evaluation. The decision in Junio went on to hold -
investigation at the mercy of unscrupulous witnesses. Because affidavits of retraction can While `[t]he offenses of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness, shall not be
easily be secured from poor and ignorant witnesses, usually for monetary consideration, the prosecuted except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or her parents, grandparents,
Court has invariably regarded such affidavits as exceedingly unreliable. [Flores vs. People, or guardian, nor in any case, if the offender has been expressly pardoned by the above
211 SCRA 622, citing De Guzman vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 184 SCRA 128; People named persons, as the case may be, [Third par. of Art. 344, The Revised Penal Code.] the
vs. Galicia, 123 SCRA 550.][22] pardon to justify the dismissal of the complaint should have been made prior to the
institution of the criminal action. [People vs. Entes, 103 SCRA 162, cited by People vs. Soliao, thereafter expressly repealed the old Penal Code, and in so doing did not have the effect of
194 SCRA 250, which in turn is cited in People vs. Villorente, 210 SCRA 647.] Here, the reviving any of its provisions which were not in force. But with the incorporation of the
motion to dismiss to which the affidavit of desistance is attached was filed after the second paragraph of article 344, the pardon given by the offended party again constitutes a
institution of the criminal case.And, affiant did not appear to be serious in `signifying (her) bar to the prosecution for adultery.Once more, however, it must be emphasized that this
intention to refrain from testifying since she still completed her testimony notwithstanding pardon must come before the institution of the criminal prosecution and must be for both
her earlier affidavit of desistance. More, the affidavit is suspect considering that while it was offenders to be effective - circumstances which do not concur in this case."[30]
dated `April 1992, it was only submitted sometime in August 1992, four (4) months after the The decisions speak well for themselves, and the Court need not say more than what it has
Information was filed before the court a quoon 6 April 1992, perhaps dated as such to heretofore already held.
coincide with the actual filing of the case.[26] Relative to the prayer for the disqualification of Judge Savellano from further hearing the
In People vs. Miranda,[27] applying the pertinent provisions of Article 344 of the Revised case, the Court is convinced that Judge Savellano should, given the circumstances, be best
Penal Code which, in full, states - excused from the case. Possible animosity between the personalities here involved may not
"Art. 344. Prosecution of the crimes of adultery, concubinage, seduction, abduction, rape, all be that unlikely. The pronouncement of this Court in the old case of Luque vs.
and acts of lasciviousness. The crimes of adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted Kayanan[31]could again be said: All suitors are entitled to nothing short of the cold neutrality
except upon a complaint filed by the offended spouse. of an independent, wholly-free, disinterested and unbiased tribunal. Second only to the duty
"The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including both the guilty of rendering a just decision is the duty of doing it in a manner that will not arouse any
parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the suspicion as to the fairness and integrity of the Judge.[32] It is not enough that a court is
offenders. impartial, it must also be perceived as impartial.
"The offenses of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness, shall not be prosecuted The Court cannot end this ponencia without a simple reminder on the use of proper language
except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or her parents, grandparents, or before the courts. While the lawyer in promoting the cause of his client or defending his
guardian, nor, in any case, if the offender has been expressly pardoned by the above named rights might do so with fervor, simple courtesy demands that it be done within the bounds of
persons, as the case may be. propriety and decency. The use of intemperate language and unkind ascriptions hardly can be
"In cases of seduction, abduction, acts of lasciviousness and rape, the marriage of the justified nor can have a place in the dignity of judicial forum. Civility among members of the
offender with the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or remit the penalty legal profession is a treasured tradition that must at no time be lost to it.
already imposed upon him. The provisions of this paragraph shall also be applicable to the Finally, it may be opportune to say, once again, that prosecutors are expected not merely to
coprincipals, accomplices and accessories after the fact of the above-mentioned crimes." - discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism and skill but also
the Court said: to act each time with utmost devotion and dedication to duty.[33] The Court is hopeful that
"Paragraph 3 of the legal provision above quoted prohibits a prosecution for seduction, the zeal which has been exhibited many times in the past, although regrettably a
abduction, rape, or acts of lasciviousness, except upon a complaint made by the offended disappointment on few occasions, will not be wanting in the proceedings yet to follow.
party or her parents, grandparents, or guardian, nor, in any case, if the offender has been WHEREFORE, conformably with all the foregoing, the Court hereby RULES that -
expressly pardoned by the above-named persons, as the case may be. It does not prohibit (a) The submission of the "Affidavit of Desistance," executed by Juvie-Lyn Y. Punongbayan on
the continuance of a prosecution if the offended party pardons the offender after the cause 25 June 1997, having been filed AFTER the institution of Criminal Case No. 97-159935, DOES
has been instituted, nor does it order the dismissal of said cause. The only act that according NOT WARRANT THE DISMISSAL of said criminal case;
to article 344 extinguishes the penal action and the penalty that may have been imposed is (b) For FAILURE OF DUE PROCESS, the assailed judgment, dated 12 December 1997,
the marriage between the offended and the offended party."[28] convicting petitioners is declared NULL AND VOID and thereby SET ASIDE; accordingly, the
In People vs. Infante,[29] decided just a little over a month before Miranda, the Court case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings; and
similarly held: (c) Judge Maximo A. Savellano, Jr., presiding Judge of Branch 53 of the Regional Trial Court
"In this court, after the case had been submitted, a motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of of Manila, is ENJOINED from further hearing Criminal Case No. 97-159935; instead, the case
the appellant predicated on an affidavit executed by Manuel Artigas, Jr., in which he shall immediately be scheduled for raffle among the other branches of that court for proper
pardoned his guilty spouse for her infidelity. But this attempted pardon cannot prosper for disposition.
two reasons. The second paragraph of article 344 of the Revised Penal Code which is in No special pronouncement on costs.
question reads: 'The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without including SO ORDERED.
both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any case, if he shall have consented or THIRD DIVISION
pardoned the offenders.'This provision means that the pardon afforded the offenders must [G.R. No. 123340. August 29, 2002]
come before the institution of the criminal prosecution, and means, further, that both the LUTGARDA CRUZ, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and
offenders must be pardoned by the offended party. To elucidate further, article 435 of the old the HEIRS OF ESTANISLAWA C. REYES, represented by MIGUEL C. REYES, respondents.
Penal Code provided: 'The husband may at any time remit the penalty imposed upon his DECISION
wife. In such case the penalty imposed upon the wife's paramour shall also be deemed to be CARPIO, J.:
remitted.' These provisions of the old Penal Code became inoperative after the passage of Act The Case
No. 1773, section 2, which had the effect of repealing the same. The Revised Penal Code
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to reverse the service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit and the registry
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 1995[1] and its Resolution dated December receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon
1, 1995.[2] The Court of Appeals dismissed for being insufficient in substance the Petition for receipt thereof by the sender, or in lieu thereof the letter unclaimed together with the
Certiorari and Mandamus, which sought to nullify two orders of the Regional Trial Court of certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee.
Manila, Branch 53, dated April 18, 1994 and May 6, 1994. Patent from the language of the said section is that in case service is made by registered
The Antecedent Facts mail, proof of service shall be made by (a) affidavit of the person mailing and (b) the registry
The City Prosecutor of Manila charged petitioner with the crime of Estafa thru Falsification of receipt issued by the mailing office. Both must concur. In the case at bench, there was no
Public Document before the Manila Regional Trial Court.[3] Petitioner executed before a such affidavit or registry receipt when the motion was considered. Thus, respondent Judge
Notary Public in the City of Manila an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of a parcel of land stating cannot be said to have acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction,
that she was the sole surviving heir of the registered owner when in fact she knew there were in ruling in the manner he did.[7]
other surviving heirs. Since the offended party did not reserve the right to file a separate civil The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial courts order of May 6, 1994 denying the
action arising from the criminal offense, the civil action was deemed instituted in the criminal subsequent motion for reconsideration, as follows:
case. xxx, while there is merit in petitioners submission that the motion for reconsideration dated
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered its decision dated January 17, 1994 April 22, 1994 was not a second motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment, as
acquitting petitioner on the ground of reasonable doubt. In the same decision, the trial court contemplated in the Interim Rules because the motion sought to impugn the order dated 18
rendered judgment on the civil aspect of the case, ordering the return to the surviving heirs April 1994 not on the basis of the issues raised in the motion for reconsideration dated 07
of the parcel of land located in Bulacan.[4] February 1994 but on the erroneous legal conclusion of the order dated May 6, 1994,[8] this
On January 28, 1994, petitioner received a copy of the decision. is already academic. The decision dated January 7, 1994 had long become final when the
On February 10, 1994, petitioner filed by registered mail a motion for reconsideration dated second motion for reconsideration was filed on 03 May 1994. Hence, the pairing Judge who
February 7, 1994, assailing the trial courts ruling on the civil aspect of the criminal case. issued the order on 06 May 1994 had no more legal competence to promulgate the same.[9]
Petitioner furnished the City Prosecutor a copy of the motion by registered mail. Finally, the Court of Appeals upheld the assailed decision of the trial court on the civil aspect
On April 18, 1994, the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration stating: of the case, to wit:
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration dated February 7, 1994, filed by the accused x x x, the institution of a criminal action carries with it the civil action for the recovery of the
through counsel and considering that there is nothing to show that the Office of the City civil liability arising from the offense charged. There was neither reservation nor waiver of the
Prosecutor was actually furnished or served with a copy of the said Motion for right to file the civil action separately nor has one been instituted to the criminal action.
Reconsideration within the reglementary period of fifteen (15) days from receipt by the Hence, the civil action for the civil liability has been impliedly instituted with the filing of the
accused on January 28, 1994 of a copy of the Courts decision dated January 17, 1994, so criminal case before respondent Judge. This is the law on the matter. The proposition
that the same is already final and executory, let the Motion for Reconsideration be Denied for submitted by petitioner that the court presided by respondent Judge had no jurisdiction over
lack of merit.[5] the property because it is located in Bulacan - outside the territorial jurisdiction of said court
Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the trial courts order of April 18, 1994. The trial -does not hold water. Being a civil liability arising from the offense charged, the governing
court denied the same in an order dated May 6, 1994, to wit: law is the Rules of Criminal Procedure, not the civil procedure rules which pertain to civil
Under the Interim Rules, no party shall be allowed a second motion for reconsideration of a action arising from the initiatory pleading that gives rise to the suit.[10]
final order or judgment (Sec. 4). The motion of accused dated 22 April 1994 is a violation of In the dispositive portion of its assailed decision, the Court of Appeals declared:
this rule. WHEREFORE, the instant petition not being sufficient in substance is hereby DENIED DUE
WHEREFORE, said motion is DENIED.[6] COURSE and the case DISMISSED.[11]
Left with no recourse, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the Court of In a resolution dated December 1, 1995, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for
Appeals to nullify the two assailed orders of the trial court. Petitioner also asked the Court of reconsideration.[12]
Appeals to compel the trial court to resolve her motion for reconsideration of the decision Hence, this petition.
dated February 7, 1994. The Issues
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues:
On March 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals denied due course to the petition and dismissed the 1. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION
case for being insufficient in substance. WAS DULY FURNISHED WITH COPY OF THE PETITIONERS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
The Court of Appeals sustained the trial courts order of April 18, 1994 denying petitioners WITH RESPECT TO THE DECISION ON THE CIVIL ASPECT OF CRIMINAL CASE NO. 87-54773
motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals declared in part: (SIC) OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 53.
Section 10, Rule 13, Rules of Court, provides as follows: 2. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
SEC. 10. Proof of Service. Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the OF MANILA HAD JURISDICTION TO RENDER JUDGMENT ON THE CIVIL ASPECT OF CRIMINAL
party served, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, CASE NO. 87-57743 FOR FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT, INVOLVING A PROPERTY
place and manner of service. If the service is by ordinary mail, proof thereof shall consist of LOCATED IN BULACAN.
an affidavit of the person mailing of facts showing compliance with Section 5 of this rule. If
3. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE PETITIONER WAS If service is by registered mail, proof of service consists of the affidavit of the person
DENIED DUE PROCESS WHEN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 53, mailing and the registry receipt, both of which must be appended to the motion. Absent one
RENDERED DECISION ON THE CIVIL ASPECT OF CRIMINAL CASE NO. 87-57743.[13] or the other, or worse both, there is no proof of service.
The Ruling of the Court In the instant case, an examination of the record shows that petitioner received a copy of the
We grant the petition. trial courts decision of January 17, 1994 on January 28, 1994. Within the reglementary
When the accused is acquitted on reasonable doubt but is adjudged civilly liable, his motion period to appeal, petitioner filed on February 10, 1994, by registered mail, a motion for
for reconsideration of the civil aspect must be served not only on the prosecution, also on the reconsideration. However, petitioner failed to attach both the affidavit and the registry receipt
offended party if the latter is not represented by a private counsel. Moreover, if the trial court to the motion for reconsideration as required by the Rules.
has jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the accused, and the crime was committed The defect of the motion is apparent on its face. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was a
within its territorial jurisdiction, it necessarily exercises jurisdiction over all matters that the mere scrap of paper as it did not contain the required proof of service.
law requires the court to resolve. This includes the power to order the restitution to the However, petitioner is contesting that part of the decision of the trial court finding him civilly
offended party of real property located in another province. liable even as he is acquitted from the criminal charge on reasonable doubt. This raises the
Absence of Proof of Service issue of whether the public prosecutor is the only proper party to be served with petitioners
The first issue is whether petitioners motion for reconsideration dated February 7, 1994 motion for reconsideration. The present Rules do not require the accused to serve a copy of
complied with the mandatory requirements of Section 6, Rule 15 on proof of service. his motion for reconsideration on the offended party who may not be represented by a
Petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the trial courts finding that private counsel. The Rules require service only on the public prosecutor if the offended party
the City Prosecutor was not duly and timely furnished with petitioners motion for is not represented by a private counsel.
reconsideration of February 7, 1994. A judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory and the prosecution cannot appeal
Petitioner asserts that both copies of the motion for reconsideration were sent to the trial the acquittal because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. However,
court and the City Prosecutor by registered mail on February 10, 1994. Petitioner relies on either the offended party or the accused may appeal the civil aspect of the judgment despite
jurisprudence that the date of mailing is the date of filing, arguing that the date of mailing of the acquittal of the accused. The public prosecutor has generally no interest in appealing the
both motions was on February 10, 1994. Petitioner maintains that the motion was properly civil aspect of a decision acquitting the accused.
filed within the 15-day period, citing the registry return card which shows actual receipt on The acquittal ends the work of the public prosecutor and the case is terminated as far as he is
February 22, 1994 by the City Prosecutor of a copy of the motion. concerned.
The Court of Appeals, noting that petitioner received a copy of the decision on January 28, The real parties in interest in the civil aspect of a decision are the offended party and the
1994, stated that petitioner had until February 12, 1994 to appeal the decision or file a accused. Thus, any appeal or motion for reconsideration of the civil aspect of a decision in a
motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner, by filing a motion for criminal case must be served on the other real party in interest. If the offended party appeals
reconsideration without any proof of service, merely filed a scrap of paper and not a motion or moves for reconsideration, the accused is necessarily served a copy of the pleading
for reconsideration. Hence, the reglementary period of petitioner to appeal continued to run through his counsel.
and lapsed after the 15-day period, making the trial courts decision final and executory. If the accused appeals or moves for reconsideration, a lacuna arises if the offended party is
We agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner patently failed to comply with the not represented by a private counsel. In such a situation, under the present Rules only the
mandatory requirements on proof of service insofar as the public prosecutor is concerned. public prosecutor is served the notice of appeal or a copy of the motion for reconsideration.
The Court has stressed time and again that non-compliance with Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Rule To fill in this lacuna in the present Rules, we require that henceforth if the accused appeals or
15 is a fatal defect. The well-settled rule is that a motion which fails to comply with Sections moves for reconsideration, he should serve a copy of his pleading on the offended party
4, 5, and 6 of Rule 15 is a useless piece of paper. If filed, such motion is not entitled to himself if the latter is not represented by a private counsel. This is in addition to service on
judicial cognizance and does not stop the running of the reglementary period for filing the the public prosecutor who is the counsel of record of the State.
requisite pleading.[14] In the instant case, the Court notes that petitioner did not serve a copy of her motion for
Section 6 of Rule 15 reads: reconsideration on the offended party who was not represented by a private counsel in the
SEC. 6. - Proof of service to be filed with motions. No motion shall be acted upon by the trial court. In the interest of justice, and considering that the present Rules are silent on the
court, without proof of service of the notice thereof.[15] (Emphasis supplied) matter, it is only fair to give petitioner a period of five days from receipt of this decision
From the language of the rule, proof of service is mandatory. Without such proof of service to within which to serve a copy of her motion for reconsideration on the offended party.
the adverse party, a motion is nothing but an empty formality deserving no judicial Trial courts jurisdiction over the civil aspect.
cognizance. Petitioner maintains that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that the trial court had
Section 13 of Rule 13 further requires that: jurisdiction to render judgment on the civil aspect of the criminal case. Petitioner asserts that
SEC. 13. Proof of Service. x x x. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by the Manila trial court had no jurisdiction over the parcel of land in Bulacan which is outside
such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card the trial courts territorial jurisdiction.
shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender, or in lieu thereof the unclaimed In upholding the trial courts jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals held:
letter together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the
addressee.[16] (Emphasis supplied)
Being a civil liability arising from the offense charged, the governing law is the Rules of against herein respondent for alleged violation of Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 3019 (R.A.
Criminal Procedure, not the civil procedure rules which pertain to civil action arising from the 3019), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
initiatory pleading that gives rise to the suit.[17] The Information filed against respondent is an offshoot of this Court's Decision3 in Agan, Jr.
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals. v. Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc. which nullified the various contracts
Petitioner asserts that the location of the subject property outside the courts territorial awarded by the Government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications
jurisdiction deprived the trial court of jurisdiction over the civil aspect of the criminal case. (DOTC), to Philippine Air Terminals, Co., Inc. (PIATCO) for the construction, operation and
This argument is contrary to the law and the rules. maintenance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport International Passenger Terminal III
There are three important requisites which must be present before a court can acquire (NAIA IPT III). Subsequent to the above Decision, a certain Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco filed a
criminal jurisdiction. First, the court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter. Second, complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against several individuals for alleged violation
the court must have jurisdiction over the territory where the offense was committed. Third, of R.A. 3019. Among those charged was herein respondent, who was then the Chairman and
the court must have jurisdiction over the person of the accused.[18] In the instant case, the President of PIATCO, for having supposedly conspired with then DOTC Secretary Arturo Enrile
trial court had jurisdiction over the subject matter as the law has conferred on the court the (Secretary Enrile) in entering into a contract which is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous
power to hear and decide cases involving estafa through falsification of a public document. to the government.
The trial court also had jurisdiction over the offense charged since the crime was committed On September 16, 2004, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon found probable
within its territorial jurisdiction. The trial court also acquired jurisdiction over the person of cause to indict, among others, herein respondent for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019.
accused-petitioner because she voluntarily submitted to the courts authority. While there was likewise a finding of probable cause against Secretary Enrile, he was no
Where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the person of the accused, longer indicted because he died prior to the issuance of the resolution finding probable cause.
and the crime was committed within its territorial jurisdiction, the court necessarily exercises Thus, in an Information dated January 13, 2005, respondent was charged before the SB as
jurisdiction over all issues that the law requires the court to resolve. One of the issues in a follows:
criminal case is the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime. Article 100 of the On or about July 12, 1997, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Pasay City, Metro
Revised Penal Code provides that [E]very person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the late ARTURO
liable. Article 104 of the same Code states that civil liability x x x includes restitution. ENRILE, then Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),
The action for recovery of civil liability is deemed instituted in the criminal action unless committing the offense in relation to his office and taking advantage of the same, in
reserved by the offended party.[19] In the instant case, the offended party did not reserve conspiracy with accused, HENRY T. GO, Chairman and President of the Philippine
the civil action and the civil action was deemed instituted in the criminal action. Although the International Air Terminals, Co., Inc. (PIATCO), did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
trial court acquitted petitioner of the crime charged, the acquittal, grounded on reasonable criminally enter into a Concession Agreement, after the project for the construction of the
doubt, did not extinguish the civil liability.[20] Thus, the Manila trial court had jurisdiction to Ninoy Aquino International Airport International Passenger Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) was
decide the civil aspect of the instant case - ordering restitution even if the parcel of land is awarded to Paircargo Consortium/PIATCO, which Concession Agreement substantially
located in Bulacan. amended the draft Concession Agreement covering the construction of the NAIA IPT III under
Consequently, while we find no reversible error in the decision of the Court of Appeals as to Republic Act 6957, as amended by Republic Act 7718 (BOT law), specifically the provision on
proof of service and the trial courts jurisdiction on the civil aspect, we remand this case for Public Utility Revenues, as well as the assumption by the government of the liabilities of
further proceedings in the interest of justice. PIATCO in the event of the latter's default under Article IV, Section 4.04 (b) and (c) in
WHEREFORE, petitioner is given five (5) days from receipt of this decision within which to relation to Article 1.06 of the Concession Agreement, which terms are more beneficial to
serve a copy of her motion for reconsideration on the offended party. Let this case be PIATCO while manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government of the Republic of
remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. the Philippines.4
SO ORDERED. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28090.
Republic of the Philippines On March 10, 2005, the SB issued an Order, to wit:
SUPREME COURT The prosecution is given a period of ten (10) days from today within which to show cause
Manila why this case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused
EN BANC considering that the accused is a private person and the public official Arturo Enrile, his
G.R. No. 168539 March 25, 2014 alleged co-conspirator, is already deceased, and not an accused in this case.5
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, The prosecution complied with the above Order contending that the SB has already acquired
vs. jurisdiction over the person of respondent by reason of his voluntary appearance, when he
HENRY T. GO, Respondent. filed a motion for consolidation and when he posted bail. The prosecution also argued that
DECISION the SB has exclusive jurisdiction over respondent's case, even if he is a private person,
PERALTA, J.: because he was alleged to have conspired with a public officer.6
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolution1 of the Third On April 28, 2005, respondent filed a Motion to Quash7 the Information filed against him on
Division2 of the Sandiganbayan (SB) dated June 2, 2005 which quashed the Information filed the ground that the operative facts adduced therein do not constitute an offense under
Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019. Respondent, citing the show cause order of the SB, also contended
that, independently of the deceased Secretary Enrile, the public officer with whom he was The only question that needs to be settled in the present petition is whether herein
alleged to have conspired, respondent, who is not a public officer nor was capacitated by any respondent, a private person, may be indicted for conspiracy in violating Section 3(g) of R.A.
official authority as a government agent, may not be prosecuted for violation of Section 3(g) 3019 even if the public officer, with whom he was alleged to have conspired, has died prior to
of R.A. 3019. the filing of the Information.
The prosecution filed its Opposition.8 Respondent contends that by reason of the death of Secretary Enrile, there is no public
On June 2, 2005, the SB issued its assailed Resolution, pertinent portions of which read thus: officer who was charged in the Information and, as such, prosecution against respondent may
Acting on the Motion to Quash filed by accused Henry T. Go dated April 22, 2005, and it not prosper.
appearing that Henry T. Go, the lone accused in this case is a private person and his alleged The Court is not persuaded.
co-conspirator-public official was already deceased long before this case was filed in court, for It is true that by reason of Secretary Enrile's death, there is no longer any public officer with
lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, the Court grants the Motion to Quash and whom respondent can be charged for violation of R.A. 3019. It does not mean, however, that
the Information filed in this case is hereby ordered quashed and dismissed.9 the allegation of conspiracy between them can no longer be proved or that their alleged
Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues, to wit: conspiracy is already expunged. The only thing extinguished by the death of Secretary Enrile
I is his criminal liability. His death did not extinguish the crime nor did it remove the basis of
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF the charge of conspiracy between him and private respondent. Stated differently, the death
SUBSTANCE IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE IN of Secretary Enrile does not mean that there was no public officer who allegedly violated
GRANTING THE DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE AND IN DISMISSING CRIMINAL CASE NO. 28090 Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019. In fact, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon found
ON THE GROUND THAT IT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF RESPONDENT GO. probable cause to indict Secretary Enrile for infringement of Sections 3 (e) and (g) of R.A.
II 3019.14 Were it not for his death, he should have been charged.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF The requirement before a private person may be indicted for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A.
SUBSTANCE IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE, IN 3019, among others, is that such private person must be alleged to have acted in conspiracy
RULING THAT IT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF RESPONDENT GO DESPITE with a public officer. The law, however, does not require that such person must, in all
THE IRREFUTABLE FACT THAT HE HAS ALREADY POSTED BAIL FOR HIS PROVISIONAL instances, be indicted together with the public officer. If circumstances exist where the public
LIBERTY officer may no longer be charged in court, as in the present case where the public officer has
III already died, the private person may be indicted alone.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED WHEN, IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF Indeed, it is not necessary to join all alleged co-conspirators in an indictment for
THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IT QUASHED THE INFORMATION conspiracy.15 If two or more persons enter into a conspiracy, any act done by any of them
AND DISMISSED CRIMINAL CASE NO. 2809010 pursuant to the agreement is, in contemplation of law, the act of each of them and they are
The Court finds the petition meritorious. jointly responsible therefor.16 This means that everything said, written or done by any of the
Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 provides: conspirators in execution or furtherance of the common purpose is deemed to have been
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers said, done, or written by each of them and it makes no difference whether the actual actor is
already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public alive or dead, sane or insane at the time of trial.17 The death of one of two or more
officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: conspirators does not prevent the conviction of the survivor or survivors.18 Thus, this Court
xxxx held that:
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and x x x [a] conspiracy is in its nature a joint offense. One person cannot conspire alone. The
grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit crime depends upon the joint act or intent of two or more persons. Yet, it does not follow that
thereby. one person cannot be convicted of conspiracy. So long as the acquittal or death of a co-
The elements of the above provision are: conspirator does not remove the bases of a charge for conspiracy, one defendant may be
(1) that the accused is a public officer; found guilty of the offense.19
(2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and The Court agrees with petitioner's contention that, as alleged in the Information filed against
(3) that such contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the respondent, which is deemed hypothetically admitted in the latter's Motion to Quash, he
government.11 (respondent) conspired with Secretary Enrile in violating Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 and that
At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule that private persons, when acting in in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. Hence, the criminal liability incurred by a co-
conspiracy with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the conspirator is also incurred by the other co-conspirators.
pertinent offenses under Section 3 of R.A. 3019, in consonance with the avowed policy of the Moreover, the Court agrees with petitioner that the avowed policy of the State and the
anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike constituting legislative intent to repress "acts of public officers and private persons alike, which constitute
graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto.12 This is the controlling doctrine as graft or corrupt practices,"20 would be frustrated if the death of a public officer would bar the
enunciated by this Court in previous cases, among which is a case involving herein private prosecution of a private person who conspired with such public officer in violating the Anti-
respondent.13 Graft Law.
In this regard, this Court's disquisition in the early case of People v. Peralta21 as to the xxxx
nature of and the principles governing conspiracy, as construed under Philippine jurisdiction, x x x A time-honored rule in the corpus of our jurisprudence is that once conspiracy is
is instructive, to wit: proved, all of the conspirators who acted in furtherance of the common design are liable as
x x x A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the co-principals. This rule of collective criminal liability emanates from the ensnaring nature of
commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Generally, conspiracy is not a crime except conspiracy. The concerted action of the conspirators in consummating their common purpose
when the law specifically provides a penalty therefor as in treason, rebellion and sedition. The is a patent display of their evil partnership, and for the consequences of such criminal
crime of conspiracy known to the common law is not an indictable offense in the Philippines. enterprise they must be held solidarily liable.22
An agreement to commit a crime is a reprehensible act from the view-point of morality, but This is not to say, however, that private respondent should be found guilty of conspiring with
as long as the conspirators do not perform overt acts in furtherance of their malevolent Secretary Enrile. It is settled that the absence or presence of conspiracy is factual in nature
design, the sovereignty of the State is not outraged and the tranquility of the public remains and involves evidentiary matters.23 Hence, the allegation of conspiracy against respondent is
undisturbed. better left ventilated before the trial court during trial, where respondent can adduce
However, when in resolute execution of a common scheme, a felony is committed by two or evidence to prove or disprove its presence.
more malefactors, the existence of a conspiracy assumes pivotal importance in the Respondent claims in his Manifestation and Motion24 as well as in his Urgent Motion to
determination of the liability of the perpetrators. In stressing the significance of conspiracy in Resolve25 that in a different case, he was likewise indicted before the SB for conspiracy with
criminal law, this Court in U.S. vs. Infante and Barreto opined that the late Secretary Enrile in violating the same Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 by allegedly
While it is true that the penalties cannot be imposed for the mere act of conspiring to commit entering into another agreement (Side Agreement) which is separate from the Concession
a crime unless the statute specifically prescribes a penalty therefor, nevertheless the Agreement subject of the present case. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28091.
existence of a conspiracy to commit a crime is in many cases a fact of vital importance, when Here, the SB, through a Resolution, granted respondent's motion to quash the Information on
considered together with the other evidence of record, in establishing the existence, of the the ground that the SB has no jurisdiction over the person of respondent. The prosecution
consummated crime and its commission by the conspirators. questioned the said SB Resolution before this Court via a petition for review on certiorari. The
Once an express or implied conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators are liable as co- petition was docketed as G.R. No. 168919. In a minute resolution dated August 31, 2005,
principals regardless of the extent and character of their respective active participation in the this Court denied the petition finding no reversible error on the part of the SB. This
commission of the crime or crimes perpetrated in furtherance of the conspiracy because in Resolution became final and executory on January 11, 2006. Respondent now argues that
contemplation of law the act of one is the act of all. The foregoing rule is anchored on the this Court's resolution in G.R. No. 168919 should be applied in the instant case.
sound principle that "when two or more persons unite to accomplish a criminal object, The Court does not agree. Respondent should be reminded that prior to this Court's ruling in
whether through the physical volition of one, or all, proceeding severally or collectively, each G.R. No. 168919, he already posted bail for his provisional liberty. In fact, he even filed a
individual whose evil will actively contributes to the wrong-doing is in law responsible for the Motion for Consolidation26 in Criminal Case No. 28091. The Court agrees with petitioner's
whole, the same as though performed by himself alone." Although it is axiomatic that no one contention that private respondent's act of posting bail and filing his Motion for Consolidation
is liable for acts other than his own, "when two or more persons agree or conspire to commit vests the SB with jurisdiction over his person. The rule is well settled that the act of an
a crime, each is responsible for all the acts of the others, done in furtherance of the accused in posting bail or in filing motions seeking affirmative relief is tantamount to
agreement or conspiracy." The imposition of collective liability upon the conspirators is clearly submission of his person to the jurisdiction of the court.27
explained in one case where this Court held that x x x it is impossible to graduate the Thus, it has been held that:
separate liability of each (conspirator) without taking into consideration the close and When a defendant in a criminal case is brought before a competent court by virtue of a
inseparable relation of each of them with the criminal act, for the commission of which they warrant of arrest or otherwise, in order to avoid the submission of his body to the jurisdiction
all acted by common agreement x x x. The crime must therefore in view of the solidarity of of the court he must raise the question of the courts jurisdiction over his person at the very
the act and intent which existed between the x x x accused, be regarded as the act of the earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to the complaint or files any dilatory plea or
band or party created by them, and they are all equally responsible x x x pleads to the merits, he thereby gives the court jurisdiction over his person. (State ex rel.
Verily, the moment it is established that the malefactors conspired and confederated in the John Brown vs. Fitzgerald, 51 Minn., 534)
commission of the felony proved, collective liability of the accused conspirators attaches by xxxx
reason of the conspiracy, and the court shall not speculate nor even investigate as to the As ruled in La Naval Drug vs. CA [236 SCRA 78, 86]:
actual degree of participation of each of the perpetrators present at the scene of the crime. "[L]ack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be waived either expressly or
Of course, as to any conspirator who was remote from the situs of aggression, he could be impliedly. When a defendant voluntarily appears, he is deemed to have submitted himself to
drawn within the enveloping ambit of the conspiracy if it be proved that through his moral the jurisdiction of the court. If he so wishes not to waive this defense, he must do so
ascendancy over the rest of the conspirators the latter were moved or impelled to carry out seasonably by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court; otherwise,
the conspiracy. he shall be deemed to have submitted himself to that jurisdiction."
In fine, the convergence of the wills of the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the Moreover, "[w]here the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the
crime amply justifies the imputation to all of them the act of any one of them. It is in this jurisdiction of the court over the person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of
light that conspiracy is generally viewed not as a separate indictable offense, but a rule for objecting to said jurisdiction. If the appearance is for any other purpose, the defendant is
collectivizing criminal liability.
deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Such an appearance gives (First Division) from further enforcing and/or implementing its order dated February 20, 1995
the court jurisdiction over the person." which bans petitioner from leaving the country except upon prior approval by said court.[1]
Verily, petitioners participation in the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan was not Criminal Case No. 22018 is an offshoot of a complaint filed on January 12, 1990, by the
confined to his opposition to the issuance of a warrant of arrest but also covered other Office of the Solicitor General before the Presidential Commission on Good Government
matters which called for respondent courts exercise of its jurisdiction. Petitioner may not be (PCGG), docketed as I.S. No. 74, against the former Administrator of the Philippine Coconut
heard now to deny said courts jurisdiction over him. x x x.28 Authority (PCA) and the former members of the PCA Governing Board, petitioner among
In the instant case, respondent did not make any special appearance to question the them, for violation of Republic Act No. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as
jurisdiction of the SB over his person prior to his posting of bail and filing his Motion for amended. In said complaint, the respondents were charged for having conspired and
Consolidation. In fact, his Motion to Quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 28090 only confederated together and taking undue advantage of their public positions and/or using their
came after the SB issued an Order requiring the prosecution to show cause why the case powers, authority, influence, connections or relationship with the former President Ferdinand
should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over his person. E. Marcos and former First Lady, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos without authority granted a
As a recapitulation, it would not be amiss to point out that the instant case involves a donation in the amount of Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00) to the Philippine Coconut
contract entered into by public officers representing the government. More importantly, the Producers Federation (COCOFED), a private entity, using PCA special fund, thereby giving
SB is a special criminal court which has exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving COCOFED unwarranted benefits, advantage and preference through manifest partiality,
violations of R.A. 3019 committed by certain public officers, as enumerated in P.D. 1606 as evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence to the grave (sic) and prejudice of the
amended by R.A. 8249. This includes private individuals who are charged as co-principals, Filipino people and to the Republic of the Philippines.[2]
accomplices or accessories with the said public officers. In the instant case, respondent is Subsequently, however, this Court ruled that all proceedings in the preliminary investigation
being charged for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019, in conspiracy with then Secretary conducted by the PCGG were null and void and the PCGG was directed to transmit the
Enrile. Ideally, under the law, both respondent and Secretary Enrile should have been complaints and records of the case to the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.[3]
charged before and tried jointly by the Sandiganbayan. However, by reason of the death of In a Resolution dated June 2, 1992, the panel of investigators recommended the filing of an
the latter, this can no longer be done. Nonetheless, for reasons already discussed, it does not Information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, against herein
follow that the SB is already divested of its jurisdiction over the person of and the case petitioner and five other respondents.
involving herein respondent. To rule otherwise would mean that the power of a court to As set out in the Memorandum of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, subsequently, the
decide a case would no longer be based on the law defining its jurisdiction but on other following relevant incidents took place:
factors, such as the death of one of the alleged offenders. The above Resolution dated June 2, 1992 was referred by Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo L.
Lastly, the issues raised in the present petition involve matters which are mere incidents in Aportadera, Jr. to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for review and if warranted, for the
the main case and the main case has already been pending for over nine (9) years. Thus, a preparation of the criminal information.
referral of the case to the Regional Trial Court would further delay the resolution of the main In a Memorandum dated July 15, 1992 the Office of the Special Prosecutor affirmed the
case and it would, by no means, promote respondent's right to a speedy trial and a speedy recommendation as contained in the Resolution dated June 2, 1992.
disposition of his case. However, on August 19, 1992 then Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez ordered the panel of
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated June 2, investigators to discuss the merits of the prejudicial question posed by respondent Lobregat.
2005, granting respondent's Motion to Quash, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The In a Memorandum dated November 18, 1992, the panel of investigators found that Civil Case
Sandiganbayan is forthwith DIRECTED to proceed with deliberate dispatch in the disposition No. 0033 does not pose a prejudicial question which will warrant the suspension of the filing
of Criminal Case No. 28090. of the criminal case.
SO ORDERED. The aforesaid Memorandum was received by Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo L. Aportadera
FIRST DIVISION on December 1, 1992 who submitted his comment thereto on December 16, 1992 to then
[G.R. No. 134307. December 21, 1998] Ombudsman Vasquez.
EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR., petitioner vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) and On December 23, 1992, then Ombudsman Vasquez ordered the panel of investigators to go
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. to the specifics and not the general averments on issue of prejudicial question.
DECISION In a Memorandum dated December 1, 1993 the panel of investigators recommended that the
QUISUMBING, J.: motion to suspend proceedings be granted.
This petition for prohibition under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeks to dismiss On December 3, 1993 then Ombudsman Vasquez referred for comment to the Office of the
Criminal Case No. 22018 entitled People of the Philippines vs. Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., et Special Prosecutor the Memorandum dated December 1, 1993 of the panel of investigators on
al., now pending before respondent Sandiganbayan (First Division), and to prohibit said court the issue of the existence of prejudicial question.
from further proceeding with the case. Petitioner invokes his constitutional right to due In a Memorandum dated January 16, 1995, Special Prosecution Officer Daniel B. Jovacon, Jr.
process, a speedy trial, and a speedy determination of his cases before all judicial, quasi- resolved that no prejudicial question exists to warrant the suspension of the criminal
judicial and administrative bodies. Further, he prays for the issuance of a Temporary proceedings which recommendation was approved by then Ombudsman Vasquez on January
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction enjoining respondent Sandiganbayan 26, 1995. The Information, together with the case record of OMB-0-90-2806, was forwarded
to the Office of the Ombudsman on February 10, 1995.
On February 16, 1995 Criminal Case No. 22018 was filed with the Sandiganbayan and In the meantime, in a Memorandum dated October 22, 1995, Special Prosecution Officer
thereafter raffled to the First Division. Victorio U. Tabanguil found no probable cause to warrant the filing against petitioner and the
On February 17, 1995, an order for the arrest of petitioner was issued by the respondent other accused in Criminal Case No. 22018 and recommended the dismissal of the case. The
Sandiganbayan. recommendation for dismissal was approved by the Honorable Ombudsman on November 15,
On February 19, 1995 petitioner filed with respondent court an Opposition to Issuance of 1996.
Warrant of Arrest with Motion For Leave To File Motion For Reconsideration of Ombudsman On December 6, 1996, Special Prosecutor Officer Victorio U. Tabanguil filed a Manifestation
Resolutions. In his Opposition, petitioner alleged that since the only documents attached to attaching a copy of the Memorandum dated October 22, 1995 with the respondent
the Information and submitted to respondent Sandiganbayan were the Resolution dated June Sandiganbayan for its consideration.
2, 1992 of the panel of investigators and the Memorandum dated January 16, 1995 of the On December 13, 1996 petitioner filed an Urgent Motion To Dismiss alleging that with the
Office of the Special Prosecutor, the same were not adequate for the determination of reversal of the earlier findings of the Ombudsman of probable cause, there was therefore
probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest by respondent Sandiganbayan. Hence, nothing on record before the respondent Sandiganbayan which would warrant the issuance of
petitioner claims the respondent Sandiganbayan should recall the warrant of arrest already a warrant of arrest and the assumption of jurisdiction over the instant case.
issued or desist from issuing a warrant of arrest. Petitioner, avers, furthermore that the filing On December 23, 1996 the Office of the Solicitor General, in representation of the PCGG,
of the Information was premature considering that he was not furnished a copy of the filed with the Office of the Special Prosecutor a motion for reconsideration of the
Ombudsmans Resolution in violation of Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770 and prays that he be Memorandum dated October 22, 1996 recommending the dismissal of the case against
given leave to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans Resolution dated June 2, petitioner and the other accused in Criminal Case No. 22018.
1992 and the Office of the Special Prosecutors Memorandum dated January 16, 1995. In an Order dated January 6, 1997, Special Prosecution Officer Victorio U. Tabanguil merely
On February 22, 1995, petitioner posted bail. On the same day he likewise filed, through noted the motion for reconsideration dated December 23, 1996 of the Office of the Solicitor
counsel, a Manifestation stating that he was posting bail without prejudice to the Opposition General.
To Issuance of Warrant of Arrest with Motion For Leave To File a Motion For Reconsideration On January 13, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion To Strike Out Alternatively, Opposition To
of the Ombudsmans Resolution which he filed. Complainants Motion For Reconsideration dated December 23, 1996 alleging that the motion
In a Resolution dated February 20, 1995, the respondent Sandiganbayan barred petitioner was filed out of time.
from leaving the country except upon approval of the court. In an Order dated January 9, 1997, the respondent Sandiganbayan ordered the prosecution
In an Order dated February 22, 1995, the respondent Sandiganbayan gave petitioner and the to justify the relationship that may be established with respect to the COCOFED on one hand
other accused twenty (20) days to file their respective motions for reconsideration of the and the Philippine Coconut Authority on the other, as a basis for justifying the position of the
Ombudsmans Resolution with the Office of the Ombudsman. PCGG was likewise given a prosecution in this case. Furthermore, upon information provided by Prosecutor Tabanguil
similar period within which to file its comment to the motions for that the Office of the Solicitor General has sought a reconsideration on the desire of the
reconsideration. Furthermore, the respondent Sandiganbayan ordered petitioner to prosecution to withdraw the information, the Office of the Solicitor General was given fifteen
supplement or amplify his existing motion on the issue of the propriety of the issuance of an (15) days to submit its comment to the Motion to Withdraw Information. The petitioner and
Order of Arrest based merely on the resolution of the Ombudsman in support of the filing of the other accused were given the same period to reply to the comment if they so
the Information, among others. desire. After which the matter will be deemed submitted for resolution.
On March 9, 1995, petitioner filed a Memorandum in Amplification of Opposition To Issuance On January 17, 1997, the prosecution filed its compliance to the Order dated January 9,
of Warrant of Arrest. 1997. On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General filed its comment on January 24,
In a Resolution dated March 14, 1995, petitioner was granted additional fifteen (15) days or 1997.
until March 29, 1995 within which to file his motion for reconsideration with the Office of the In an Order dated February 4, 1997, the respondent Sandiganbayan ordered the PCGG
Ombudsman. lawyers to present themselves before the respondent court and respond to the claim of the
Petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration on March 28, 1995. OSG that the exhibits necessary are with the PCGG so that the Republic might effectively
In a Resolution dated April 3, 1995, the respondent Sandiganbayan denied petitioners motion substantiate its position that probable cause exists. Furthermore, it is as much the function of
seeking the recall of the issuance of the warrant for his arrest. the court to determine the existence of probable cause and the propriety of the withdrawal of
On April 7, 1995, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated April 3, the Information to be assured that the evidence for the complainant has been properly
1995 of the respondent Sandiganbayan. presented or the accused is properly protected at preliminary investigation.
On May 25, 1995, petitioner was conditionally arraigned pleading not guilty to the In an Order dated February 17, 1997, the respondent Sandiganbayan, with the agreement of
Information. The arraignment was undertaken solely to accommodate the petitioner in his the parties, gave the Office of the Solicitor General ten (10) days within which to submit
request to travel pending the determination of probable cause against him at the some form of cataloging and explanation of the documents on record to the prosecution. On
reinvestigation stage. The conditional arraignment is subject to the condition that if petitioner the other hand, the prosecution was given fifteen (15) days from receipt of the submission
is exonerated at the preliminary investigation, the arraignment is set aside. On the other within which to review the matter once more and to respond thereat.
hand, should there be cause against the petitioner either as already charged or a separate On June 13, 1997, the PCGG filed its Entry of Appearance dated June 3, 1997.
charge which might be related to the case pending, the arraignment will not serve as basis On June 19, 1997, petitioner filed a Second Motion To Resolve the Urgent Motion To Dismiss
for the invocation of the right against double jeopardy. dated December 12, 1996.
On July 3, 1997, petitioner filed a Motion to Strike Out (Re: PCGGs Entry of Appearance) During the oral argument, the Court suggested that the parties take up in their arguments
dated June 30, 1997. the following issues:
On July 16, 1997, the PCGG filed an Opposition to the Motion To Strike Out (Re: PCGGs Entry (1) whether the warrant of arrest issued by respondent Sandiganbayan is null and void, or
of Appearance). should now be lifted if initially valid;
On July 18, 1997, petitioner filed a Reply to the Opposition to Strike Out. (2) whether petitioners basic rights to due process, speedy trial and speedy disposition of the
On July 31, 1997, the PCGG filed a Rejoinder to the Reply of petitioner. case have been violated as to warrant dismissal of Criminal Case No. 22018; and
On January 23, 1998, petitioner filed a Third Motion To Resolve the Urgent Motion To Dismiss (3) whether the ban on foreign travel imposed on petitioner per Order of February 20, 1995
dated December 12, 1996. should be vacated to enable petitioner to go abroad without prior permission of, and
In an Order dated January 26, 1998, respondent Sandiganbayan duly noted petitioners other restrictions imposed by, the respondent Sandiganbayan.[14]
Motion to Dismiss. [4] After hearing the arguments of the parties, the Court resolved to require them to submit their
Hence, the present petition. respective memoranda on the related issues taken up on the hearing including the merits of
On July 22, 1998, the Court issued a resolution requiring respondents to file their respective the case within twenty (20) days. The motion of counsel for petitioner that the issue of lifting
comments to the petition.[5] the ban on foreign travel imposed on petitioner be resolved first, was held under
On August 5, 1998, petitioner filed a motion reiterating his application for temporary advisement.[15]
restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction with urgent motion for hearing On November 6, 1998, petitioner filed another Motion to Resolve Petitioners Motion for
thereon[6] citing the urgency of lifting the travel restriction on him in view of the various Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order or Writ of Preliminary Injunction Enjoining
problems involving the investments of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) abroad which must be Enforcement of Respondent Sandiganbayans Order dated February 20, 1995 (Hold Departure
immediately attended to by petitioner as duly elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Order) with an alternative prayer to travel abroad within a period of six (6) months.[16]
SMC. Petitioner asserts that quite often, it becomes necessary for him to attend meetings and In its Resolution dated November 9, 1998, the Court noted the aforesaid motion and directed
conferences abroad where attendance must be confirmed promptly.Considering that he must petitioner that in the meanwhile, he may address his request for permission to travel abroad
first secure the permission of respondent Sandiganbayan before he can travel abroad and to the Sandiganbayan.[17]
abide by the conditions imposed by said court upon the grant of such permission, petitioner On November 12, 1998, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Courts resolution
contends that it becomes impossible for him to immediately attend to the aforecited tasks. dated November 9, 1998 and argued that:
On September 2, 1998, the Court noted the respective comments to the petition filed by the xxxxxxxxx
Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Solicitor General and required petitioner to file a (6) While the petitioner may indeed obtain some relief by addressing his prayer for
consolidated reply within ten (10) days from notice.[7] permission to travel abroad to the Sandiganbayan, to a large extent, this defeats the purpose
On September 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Second Motion Reiterating Application for Temporary of the petition because petitioner has precisely come to the Supreme Court to obtain relief
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction with Urgent Motion for from an oppressive regime of authorization to travel abroad that the Order of the
Hearing,[8] arguing among others that the continued maintenance of the hold-departure Sandiganbayan of February 20, 1995 (Annex E, Petition) has imposed. Significantly, not any
order against him has deleterious consequence not only on him personally but also on San of the respondents have opposed petitioners application for the issuance of temporary
Miguel Corporation, a publicly listed stock company, of which he is now Chairman and restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction or for permission to travel abroad.[18]
Executive Officer.[9] On November 20, 1998, petitioner filed a Manifestation[19] in support of his motion for
On September 7, 1998, the Court resolved to defer action on the aforementioned second reconsideration, setting forth the urgency of lifting the ban on foreign travel imposed on him
motion reiterating the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a in view of the need to oversee the critical stages in the international operations of SMC as its
writ of preliminary injunction until the filing of petitioners Consolidated Reply and required Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
the Sandiganbayan to file its own Comment on the petition in view of the Comment filed by On November 20, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation indicating that
the Office of the Special Prosecutor divergent from the position taken by respondent it is not interposing any objection to petitioners prayer that he be allowed to travel abroad.
Sandiganbayan.[10] With the submission of the parties respective memoranda, the Court now proceeds to resolve
On September 10, 1998, petitioner filed a Consolidated Reply[11] and prayed that his Second the petition.
Application for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction with As postulated during the oral argument, three main issues confront us in this petition, to wit:
Urgent Motion for hearing dated September 2, 1998 be now acted upon. (1) whether the warrant of arrest issued by respondent Sandiganbayan is null and void, or
On September 17, 1998, respondent Sandiganbayan filed a motion for extension of time to should now be lifted if initially valid;
file its comment to the petition. Subsequently, petitioner filed his Third Motion Reiterating (2) whether petitioners basic rights to due process, speedy trial and speedy disposition of the
Application for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction with Urgent case have been violated as to warrant dismissal of Criminal Case No. 22018; and
Motion for Hearing[12] in view of the urgency of lifting the ban on foreign travel imposed on (3) whether the ban on foreign travel imposed on petitioner per Order of February 20, 1995
him by respondent Sandiganbayan. should be vacated to enable petitioner to go abroad without prior permission of, and
After respondent Sandiganbayan filed its comment on October 5, 1998, the Court in its other restrictions imposed by, the respondent Sandiganbayan.[20]
Resolution dated October 7, 1998, noted the aforesaid comment and resolved to set the case On the first issue, petitioner and the Office of the Special Prosecutor both argue that the
for oral argument on October 21, 1998.[13] warrant of arrest issued by respondent Sandiganbayan is null and void for lack of sufficient
basis upon which it could have personally determined the existence of probable cause to trial courts by obliging them to examine the complete records of every case all the time
issue the warrant of arrest against him. They contend that there was a violation of Section 2, simply for the purpose of ordering the arrest of an accused. What is required, rather, is that
Article III of the Constitution because the Information in Criminal Case No. 22018 was the judge must have sufficient supporting documents (such as the complaint, affidavits,
accompanied only by the Resolution dated June 2, 1992 of the Panel of Graft Investigators of counter-affidavits, sworn statements of witnesses or transcripts of stenographic notes, if any)
the Office of the Ombudsman recommending the filing of the information and the upon which to make his independent judgment or, at the very least, upon which to verify the
Memorandum dated January 16, 1995 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor denying the findings of the prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause. The point is: he cannot rely
existence of a prejudicial question which will warrant the suspension of the filing of the solely and entirely on the prosecutors recommendation, as Respondent Court did in this
criminal case. Their argument is principally anchored on the pronouncements made in the case. Although the prosecutor enjoys the legal presumption of regularity in the performance
case of Ho vs. People[21] that reliance on the prosecutors report alone is not sufficient in of his official duties and functions, which in turn gives his report the presumption of accuracy,
determining whether there is probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of the Constitution, we repeat, commands the judge to personally determine probable cause in
arrest. Consequent to the nullity of the warrant of arrest, petitioner further argues that the the issuance of warrants of arrest. This Court has consistently held that a judge fails in his
Sandiganbayan has not acquired jurisdiction over him and is without power to exercise the bounden duty if he relies merely on the certification or the report of the investigating
same. officer.[23]
However, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Office of the Solicitor General maintain As alleged by petitioner, in the case at bar, the Sandiganbayan had two pieces of documents
that any infirmity that may have attended the issuance of the warrant of arrest was cured by to consider when it resolved to issue the warrant of arrest against the accused: (1) the
petitioners voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the respondent Sandiganbayan when Resolution dated June 2, 1992 of the Panel of Investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman
petitioner posted bail and subsequently invoked the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by recommending the filing of the Information and (2) the Memorandum dated June 16, 1995 of
filing numerous motions wherein he sought affirmative reliefs. the Office of the Special Prosecutor denying the existence of a prejudicial question which will
Now, pertinent to the issue at hand is the second clause of Section 2, Article III of the 1987 warrant the suspension of the criminal case. The Sandiganbayan had nothing more to support
Constitution, which provides that: its resolution.
Sec. 2. x x x no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon a probable cause In Roberts vs. Court of Appeals, [24] we struck down as invalid an order for the issuance of a
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the warrant of arrest which were based only on the information, amended information and Joint
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be Resolution, without the benefit of the records or evidence supporting the prosecutors finding
searched and the persons or things to be seized. (Emphasis supplied) of probable cause. And in Ho vs. People,[25] we declared that respondent palpably
In Ho vs. People,[22] the Court had the opportunity to elucidate on the matter of determining committed grave abuse of discretion in ipso facto issuing the challenged warrant of arrest on
of probable cause to merit the issuance of a warrant of arrest: the sole basis of the prosecutors findings and recommendation, and without determining on
First, x x x the determination of probable cause by the prosecutor is for a purpose different its own the issue of probable cause based on evidence other than such bare findings and
from that which is to be made by the judge. Whether there is reasonable ground to believe recommendation.[26]
that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and should be held for trial is what the Similarly, we are now constrained to rule that herein respondent court failed to abide by the
prosecutor passes upon. The judge, on the other hand, determines whether a warrant of constitutional mandate of personally determining the existence of probable cause before
arrest should be issued against the accused, i.e., whether there is a necessity for placing him issuing a warrant of arrest. For the two cited documents were the product of somebody elses
under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the ends of justice. Thus, even if both determination, insufficient to support a finding of probable cause by the
should base their findings on one and the same proceeding or evidence, there should be no Sandiganbayan. Hence, the warrant of arrest issued by respondent court on February 17,
confusion as to their distinct objectives. 1995 against herein petitioner is palpably invalid.
Second, since their objectives are different, the judge cannot rely solely on the report of the Consequent to the nullity of the warrant of arrest, the crucial issue now posed is whether or
prosecutor in finding probable cause to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest. Obviously not respondent Sandiganbayan could still exercise jurisdiction over the petitioner and proceed
and understandably, the contents of the prosecutors report will support his own conclusion with the trial of the case.
that there is reason to charge the accused of an offense and hold him for trial. However, the As already adverted to, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Office of the Solicitor
judge must decide independently. Hence, he must have supporting evidence, other than the General are in agreement, that whatever infirmity might have attended the issuance of the
prosecutors bare report, upon which to legally sustain his own findings on the existence (or warrant of arrest against petitioner, it was cured by petitioners subsequent act of voluntarily
nonexistence) of a probable cause to issue an arrest order. This responsibility of determining submitting to respondent courts jurisdiction by posting his bail and filing the following
personally and independently the existence or nonexistence of probable cause is lodged in pleadings which sought affirmative relief, to wit: (1) Opposition to Issuance of Warrant of
him by no less than the most basic law of the land. Parenthetically, the prosecutor could ease Arrest with Motion for Leave to File Motion for Reconsideration; (2) Motion for extension of
the burden of the judge and speed up the litigation process by forwarding to the latter not time to file Motion for Reconsideration; (3) seven Motions to Travel Abroad and two Motions
only the information and his bare resolution finding probable cause, but also so much of the for Extension of time to stay abroad.[27] Hence, they contend that respondent courts
records and the evidence on hand as to enable His Honor to make his personal and separate jurisdiction over petitioner has remained in effect.
judicial finding on whether to issue a warrant of arrest. Petitioner objects to this contention, and asserts that since the warrant of arrest issued by
Lastly, it is not required that the complete or entire records of the case during the preliminary respondent Sandiganbayan is null and void, it never acquired jurisdiction over the person of
investigation be submitted to and examined by the judge. We do not intend to unduly burden the petitioner; as a consequence, it never acquired jurisdiction to take of the offense charged
and to issue any order adverse to the rights of petitioner, including an Order restricting his have filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary
right to travel.[28] According to petitioner, the submission of both the Office of the Special restraining order, rather than actively participate in the proceedings before the
Prosecutor and the Office of the Solicitor General is not only absurd but also oppressive and Sandiganbayan. And as exemplified by the case of Allado vs. Diokno,[35]this remedy has
offensive to the Bill of Rights since it would mean that to preserve his right against the already proved to be effective.
issuance of a warrant of arrest without probable cause determined in accordance with Sec. 2, Against the continued exercise of jurisdiction by respondent Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case
Article III of the Constitution, petitioner should have allowed himself to be incarcerated or No. 22018, petitioner also invokes the Memorandum of the Office of the Special Prosecutor
imprisoned from the time the warrant of arrest was issued on February 20, 1995 up to the dated October 22, 1995 recommending the dismissal of the case against him due to the
present, or for more than three (3) years now, and continue to be imprisoned until the absence of probable cause, which was later on approved by the Ombudsman on November
Supreme Court decides to declare the arrest void.[29] 15, 1996. Citing the case of Torralba vs. Sandiganbayan,[36] petitioner argues that this
On this score, the rule is well-settled that the giving or posting of bail by the accused is Memorandum is an integral part of the preliminary investigation and should take precedence
tantamount to submission of his person to the jurisdiction of the court.[30] Thus, it has been notwithstanding the fact that the same was made after the filing of the Information before
held that: the Sandiganbayan, for to deny any efficacy to the finding of the Office of the Special
When a defendant in a criminal case is brought before a competent court by virtue of a Prosecutor would negate the right of the petitioner to a preliminary investigation.
warrant of arrest or otherwise, in order to avoid the submission of his body to the jurisdiction The well-entrenched rule however, as laid down by the case of Crespo vs. Mogul[37] is that:
of the court he must raise the question of the courts jurisdiction over his person at the very x x x once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its
earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to the complaint or files any dilatory plea or dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the
pleads to the merits, he thereby gives the court jurisdiction over his person. (State ex rel. Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal
John Brown vs. Fitzgerald, 51 Minn., 534) cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial
xxxxxxxxx court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The
Conceding again that the warrant issued in this case was void for the reason that no probable determination of the case is within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to
cause was found by the court before issuing it, the defendant waived all his rights to object to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the Court who has the option to
the same by appearing and giving bond.[31] grant or deny the same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of
By posting bail, herein petitioner cannot claim exemption from the effect of being subject to the accused or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the
the jurisdiction of respondent court. While petitioner has exerted efforts to continue disputing Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation.
the validity of the issuance of the warrant of arrest despite his posting bail, his claim has Nevertheless, petitioner claims exception to this rule by making this distinction:
been negated when he himself invoked the jurisdiction of respondent court through the filing b. The preliminary investigation in Crespo vs. Mogul, supra, was conducted by the Office of
of various motions that sought other affirmative reliefs. the Provincial Fiscal and, following established procedure with respect to such preliminary
As ruled in La Naval Drug vs. CA[32]: investigations, the preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal, in the language of
[L]ack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be waived either expressly or Crespo, is terminated upon the filing of the information in the proper court (at p. 470). On
impliedly. When a defendant voluntarily appears, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the other hand, the instant case involves a preliminary investigation conducted by the Office
the jurisdiction of the court. If he so wishes not to waive this defense, he must do so of the Special Prosecutor pursuant to Sec. 11[4](a), and under Sec. 27 of R.A. No.
seasonably by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court; otherwise, 6770. In preliminary investigations conducted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the
he shall be deemed to have submitted himself to that jurisdiction. respondent has the right to file a motion for reconsideration of any resolution within five (5)
Moreover, [w]here the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the days from receipt of written notice, and pursuant to Sec. 7, Rule II of Administrative Order
jurisdiction of the court over the person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of No. 7 (Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman), the respondent has the right to file a motion
objecting to said jurisdiction. If the appearance is for any other purpose, the defendant is for reconsideration within fifteen (15) days from notice of the Resolution of the
deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Such an appearance gives Ombudsman. Until the motion for reconsideration is resolved, preliminary investigation is not
the court jurisdiction over the person.[33] terminated notwithstanding filing of information in court. In the instant case, no copy of the
Verily, petitioners participation in the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan was not Resolution of the Office of the Special Prosecutor which brought about the filing of the
confined to his opposition to the issuance of a warrant of arrest but also covered other Information, was served on the petitioner; consequently, when the Information was filed, the
matters which called for respondent courts exercise of its jurisdiction. Petitioner may not be preliminary investigation had not yet been terminated. It follows that the Resolution of the
heard now to deny said courts jurisdiction over him. Nor can we ignore the long line of Office of the Special Prosecutor (approved by the Ombudsman) resolving in petitioners favor
precedents declaring that where the accused had posted bail, as required, to obtain his the Motion for Reconsideration he had filed, now finding no probable cause, was an integral
provisional liberty, it becomes futile to assail the validity of the issuance of the warrants of part of the preliminary investigation, not subject to review by the Sandiganbayan (see
arrest.[34] Torralba vs. Sandiganbayan, 230 SCRA 33 [1994]).[38]
As to petitioners contention that he should have just allowed himself to stay in jail pending Petitioners reliance on Torralba vs. Sandiganbayan is not, in our view, persuasive. In that
the resolution of his opposition to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against him, if only to case the petitioners were not given any chance at all to seek reconsideration from the
avoid waiving his right to question the jurisdiction of respondent court, the Office of the Ombudsmans final resolution because they were not furnished with a copy of the final
Special Prosecutor has pointed out that petitioner is not without a remedy. Petitioner could resolution of the Ombudsman that could have enabled them to file a motion for
reconsideration. As a result, the Court declared that petitioners were not only effectively whether this constitutional rights has been violated are as follows: (1) the length of delay,
denied the opportunity to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans final (2) the reason for such delay and (3) the assertion or failure to assert such right by the
resolution but also deprived of their right to a full preliminary investigation preparatory to the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay.[48]
filing of the information against them.[39] As in previous occasions, the Court takes judicial cognizance of the fact that structural
In the case at bar, however, notwithstanding the filing of the Information before the reorganizations[49] and the ever increasing case load of courts have adversely affected the
Sandiganbayan, petitioner was able to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans speedy disposition of the cases pending before them.
Resolution with leave of court, and in fact his two motions for extensions to file the same In the instant case, however, the Court finds that delay concerns the resolution of petitioners
were granted by the respondent court.[40] This eventually paved the way for the filing of Urgent Motion to Dismiss, which is an offshoot of the Memorandum of the Office of the
subsequent Memorandum of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which was later on Special Prosecutor recommending the dismissal of the case. Such delay is now far from
approved by the Ombudsman, recommending the dismissal of the case against excusable. Petitioners Motion to Dismiss has been filed as early as December 13, 1996 and,
him. However, since the Information has already been filed before the Sandiganbayan, the on three occasions, petitioner has moved for the urgent resolution of this motion.[50] What
resolution of the aforesaid recommendation now lies within the jurisdiction and discretion of further militates against further delay in resolving this case is the fact that the government
respondent court. Parenthetically, in the Torralba case, we did not altogether deprive the prosecutors themselves concede that this case is of paramount importance, involving as it
Sandiganbayan of its jurisdiction to proceed with the case, despite the defect in the conduct does the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth or government funds, unlawfully used or misused
of the preliminary investigation, since we declared that: by persons close or perceived to be close to the Marcoses.[51] Respondent court declared in
The incomplete preliminary investigation in this case, however, does not warrant the quashal its Order dated February 17, 1997 that the matter would be deemed submitted for resolution
of the information, nor should it obliterate the proceedings already had. Neither is the courts upon compliance with the Office of the Special Prosecutor as to whether there is indeed no
jurisdiction nor validity of an information adversely affected by deficiencies in the preliminary probable cause against petitioner,[52] which compliance was submitted by the Office of the
investigation. Instead, the Sandiganbayan is to hold in abeyance any further proceedings Special Prosecutor on March 17, 1997.[53] Under these circumstances, the Court does find
therein and to remand the case to the Office of the Ombudsman for the completion of the the period of more than one year that elapsed for resolving petitioners motion to dismiss
preliminary investigation, the outcome of which shall then be indorsed to Sandiganbayan for quite long, considering that all pertinent pleadings required by the Sandiganbayan were
its appropriate action.[41] (Underscoring supplied) already submitted.
Clearly, consistent with the rule in Crespo vs. Mogul, after the filing of the information in Even if petitioner himself might have contributed to said delay, as contended by respondents,
court, any disposition of the case as to its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the in our view it is best that the case be resolved on the merits by the Sandiganbayan with due
accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court.[42] regard to petitioners right to due process, speedy trial and speedy disposition of the case
Proceeding now to the second issue, petitioner maintains that the long delay that against him and his co-accused.
characterized the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 22018 before respondent Sandiganbayan Finally, with respect to the issue of whether or not the ban on foreign travel should be
has resulted in the violation of his Constitutional right to a speedy trial and a speedy continued, as imposed on petitioner by respondent Sandiganbayan per its Order dated
determination of his case. Thus, petitioner submits that: February 20, 1995 with accompanying restrictions in effect, we resolve to rule in the
4.09. It has been more than three (3) years since the Information in Criminal Case No. negative. The travel ban should be lifted, considering all the circumstances now prevailing.
22018 was filed with respondent Sandiganbayan. More than one and a half (1/2) years have The rule laid down by this Court is that a person facing a criminal indictment and
elapsed since the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed its Manifestation seeking the dismissal provisionally released on bail does not have an unrestricted right to travel, the reason being
of the case. Based on the Office of the Special Prosecutors finding of the absence of probable that a persons right to travel is subject to the usual constraints imposed by the very
cause, petitioner filed on December 13, 1996, an Urgent Motion To Dismiss. Three times, on necessity of safeguarding the system of justice.[54] But, significantly, the Office of the
March 24, 1997, June 18, 1997 and January 23, 1998, petitioner has sought resolution of his Solicitor General in its Manifestation dated November 20, 1998 indicated that it is not
Urgent Motion To Dismiss. These notwithstanding, the dismissal of the information as to interposing any objection to petitioners prayer that he be allowed to travel abroad based on
petitioner remains pending and petitioner continues to be under criminal indictment -- the following considerations:
constrained to suffer without justification in law and the Constitution, the humiliation, the x x x (1) that it is well within the power of this Court to suspend its own rules, including the
restraints to liberty and the tormenting anxieties of an accused.[43] second paragraph, Section 23, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court; (2) that it has been shown in
Respondents concede that there has indeed been some delay but deny that it amounted to a the past that the petitioner has always returned to the Philippines after the expiration of the
violation of petitioners right of speedy disposition of his case. They cite as justification the period of his allowed travel; and (3) that petitioner, now Chairman of the Board of San Miguel
reorganization of the Sandiganbayan on September 23, 1997 wherein it was reconstituted Corporation, may be constrained to leave the country for business purposes, more often than
into five (5) Divisions;[44] (2) the filing of motions by petitioner seeking affirmative reliefs he had done in the past, x x x.[55]
from the Sandiganbayan; (3) the failure of petitioner himself to invoke his right to speedy It however recommended that the period of travel should be reduced to three (3) months
resolution of his pending motions prior to the filing of this petition;[45] (4) the heavy instead of six (6) months as requested by petitioner and that the latter should be required to
caseload of respondent court.[46] post an additional cash bond equivalent to the present cash bond posted by him.[56]
The right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated Moreover, prescinding from our initial declaration that the issuance of warrant of arrest
only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays.[47] It against petitioner by respondent court is invalid, it now becomes necessary that there be
should be emphasized that the factors that must be taken into account in determining strong and compelling reasons to justify the continued restriction on petitioners right to travel
abroad. Admittedly, all of petitioners previous requests to travel abroad has been granted DECISION
and that, as confirmed by the Office of the Solicitor General, that petitioner has always
returned to the Philippines and complied with the restrictions imposed on him. The necessity
of further denying petitioners right to travel abroad, with attendant restrictions, appears less CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
than clear. The risk of flight is further diminished in view of petitioners recent reinstatement
as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of San Miguel Corporation, though he has now more
justification to travel so as to oversee the entire operations of that company. In this regard, it This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the 18
has to be conceded that his assumption of such vital post has come at a time when the December 2002 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 67770 and its 12 June
current economic crisis has adversely affected the international operations of many 2003 Resolution denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. The dispositive portion of the
companies, including San Miguel. The need to travel abroad frequently on the part of assailed decision reads as follows:
petitioner, to formulate and implement the necessary corporate strategies and decisions,
could not be forestalled. These considerations affecting the petitioners duties to a publicly WHEREFORE, finding public respondent Judge Anastacio D. Anghad to have acted with grave
held company, militate against imposing further restrictions on petitioners right to travel abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Orders,
abroad. the instant petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition is hereby GRANTED and GIVEN
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby resolves to DISMISS the petition insofar as the dismissal of DUE COURSE, and it is hereby ordered:
Criminal Case No. 22018 against the petitioner is concerned. Respondent Sandiganbayan
(First Division) is hereby ordered to proceed with the resolution of the pending motions and 1. The assailed Joint Order dated August 17, 2001, Order dated September 21, 2001,
incidents in Criminal Case No. 22018 with utmost dispatch. Meanwhile, the Resolution of the Joint Order dated October 16, 2001 and Joint Order dated November 14, 2001 dismissing the
Sandiganbayan (First Division), dated February 20, 1995, imposing a ban on petitioners two (2) Informations for Murder, all issued by public respondent
travel abroad without its prior approval pending the resolution of Criminal Case No. 22018 is, Judge Anastacio D. Anghad in Criminal Cases Nos. 36-3523 and 36-3524 are hereby
for the reasons heretofore advanced, hereby LIFTED for a period of three (3) months counted REVERSED and SET ASIDE for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting
from the finality of this decision. Any similar request during the pendency of said case before to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and another entered UPHOLDING, AFFIRMING[,] and
the Sandiganbayan shall be addressed to that court. REINSTATING the Order dated June 25, 2001 and Joint Order dated July 6, 2001 issued by
No pronouncement as to costs. the then acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo Tumaliuan;
SO ORDERED.
2. Criminal Cases Nos. 36-3523 and 36-3524 are hereby ordered REINSTATED in the
docket of active criminal cases of Branch 36 of the Regional Trial Court of Santiago
City, Isabela; and
FIRST DIVISION
3. Public respondent Judge Anastacio D. Anghad is DIRECTED to ISSUE forthwith
Warrants of Arrest for the apprehension of private respondents Jose Pempe Miranda, SPO3
JOSE C. MIRANDA, ALBERTO P. DALMACIO, G.R. No. 158763 Alberto P. Dalmacio, PO3 Romeo B. Ocon and accused Rodel T. Maderal in said Criminal
and ROMEO B. OCON, Cases Nos. 36-3523 and 36-3524.[2]
Petitioners,
Present:
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows:
PANGANIBAN, C.J.
Chairperson, On 8 March 1996, two burnt cadavers were discovered in Purok Nibulan, Ramon, Isabela,
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, which were later identified as the dead bodies of Vicente Bauzon and ElizerTuliao, son of
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, private respondent Virgilio Tuliao who is now under the witness protection program.
CALLEJO, SR., and
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. Two informations for murder were filed against SPO1 Wilfredo Leao, SPO1 Ferdinand Marzan,
SPO1 Ruben B. Agustin, SPO2 Alexander Micu, SPO2 Rodel Maderal, and SPO4 Emilio
VIRGILIO M. TULIAO, Promulgated: Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Santiago City.
Respondent.
March 31, 2006 The venue was later transferred to Manila. On 22 April 1999, the RTC of Manila convicted all
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x of the accused and sentenced them to two counts of reclusion perpetuaexcept
SPO2 Maderal who was yet to be arraigned at that time, being at large. The case was
appealed to this Court on automatic review where we, on 9 October 2001, acquitted the Appeals in view of the previous referral to it of respondents petition for certiorari, prohibition
accused therein on the ground of reasonable doubt. and mandamus.

Sometime in September 1999, SPO2 Maderal was arrested. On 27 April 2001, he executed a On 18 December 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed decision granting the
sworn confession and identified petitioners Jose C. Miranda, PO3 Romeo B. Ocon, and SPO3 petition and ordering the reinstatement of the criminal cases in the RTC of Santiago City, as
Alberto P. Dalmacio, a certain Boyet dela Cruz and Amado Doe, as the persons responsible well as the issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioners and SPO2 Maderal. Petitioners
for the deaths of Vicente Bauzon and Elizer Tuliao. moved for a reconsideration of this Decision, but the same was denied in a Resolution
dated 12 June 2003.
Respondent Tuliao filed a criminal complaint for murder against petitioners, Boyet dela Cruz,
and Amado Doe, and submitted the sworn confession of SPO2 Maderal. On 25 June 2001, Hence, this petition.
Acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo Tumaliuan issued warrants of arrest against petitioners and
SPO2 Maderal. The facts of the case being undisputed, petitioners bring forth to this Court the following
assignments of error:
On 29 June 2001, petitioners filed an urgent motion to complete preliminary investigation, to
reinvestigate, and to recall and/or quash the warrants of arrest. FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

In the hearing of the urgent motion on 6 July 2001, Judge Tumaliuan noted the absence of With all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in reversing and setting
petitioners and issued a Joint Order denying said urgent motion on the ground that, since the aside the Joint Order of Judge Anastacio D. Anghad dated August 17, 2001, September 21,
court did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons, the motion cannot be properly heard by 2001, October 16, 2001 and November 14, 2001 issued in criminal cases numbered 36-3523
the court. In the meantime, petitioners appealed the resolution of State Prosecutor Leo T. and 36-3524; and, erred in upholding, affirming and reinstating the Order dated July 6, 2001
Reyes to the Department of Justice. issued by then Acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo Tumaliuan, on the alleged rule that an
accused cannot seek any judicial relief if he does not submit his person to the jurisdiction of
On 17 August 2001, the new Presiding Judge Anastacio D. Anghad took over the case and the court.
issued a Joint Order reversing the Joint Order of Judge Tumaliuan. Consequently, he ordered
the cancellation of the warrant of arrest issued against petitioner Miranda. He likewise applied
this Order to petitioners Ocon and Dalmacio in an Order dated 21 September 2001. State SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
Prosecutor Leo S. Reyes and respondent Tuliao moved for the reconsideration of the said
Joint Order and prayed for the inhibition of Judge Anghad, but the motion for reconsideration With all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in directing the
was denied in a Joint Order dated 16 October 2001 and the prayer for inhibition was denied reinstatement of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and 36-3524 in the docket of Active Criminal
in a Joint Order dated 22 October 2001. Cases of Branch 36 of the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City, Philippines, and in ordering
the public respondent to re-issue the warrants of arrest against herein petitioners.
On 25 October 2001, respondent Tuliao filed a petition for certiorari, mandamus and
prohibition with this Court, with prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order, seeking to enjoin
Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the case, and seeking to nullify the Orders and THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
Joint Orders of Judge Anghad dated 17 August 2001, 21 September 2001, 16 October 2001,
and 22 October 2001. Wit all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in ordering
the reinstatement of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-3524 in the docket of active
On 12 November 2001, this Court issued a Resolution resolving to grant the prayer for a criminal cases of Branch 36 of the regional trial court of Santiago City, Philippines, and in
temporary restraining order against Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the criminal ordering the public respondent to issue warrants of arrest against herein petitioners, the
cases. Shortly after the aforesaid resolution, Judge Anghad issued a Joint Order dated 14 order of dismissal issued therein having become final and executory.
November 2001 dismissing the two Informations for murder against petitioners. On 19
November 2001, this Court took note of respondents cash bond evidenced by O.R. No.
15924532 dated 15 November 2001, and issued the temporary restraining order while Adjudication of a motion to quash a warrant of arrest requires neither jurisdiction over the
referring the petition to the Court of Appeals for adjudication on the merits. person of the accused, nor custody of law over the body of the accused.

Respondent Tuliao filed with this Court a Motion to Cite Public Respondent in Contempt,
alleging that Judge Anghad deliberately and willfully committed contempt of court when he The first assignment of error brought forth by the petitioner deals with the Court of Appeals
issued on 15 November 2001 the Order dated 14 November 2001 dismissing ruling that:
the informations for murder. On 21 November 2001, we referred said motion to the Court of
[A]n accused cannot seek any judicial relief if he does not submit his person to the Our pronouncement in Santiago shows a distinction between custody of the
jurisdiction of the court. Jurisdiction over the person of the accused may be acquired either law and jurisdiction over the person. Custody of the law is required before the court can act
through compulsory process, such as warrant of arrest, or through his voluntary appearance, upon the application for bail, but is not required for the adjudication of other reliefs sought by
such as when he surrenders to the police or to the court. It is only when the court has the defendant where the mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack
already acquired jurisdiction over his person that an accused may invoke the processes of the of jurisdiction over the person of the accused.[8] Custody of the law is accomplished either
court (Pete M. Pico vs. Alfonso V. Combing, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-91-764, November 6, by arrest or voluntary surrender,[9] while jurisdiction over the person of the accused is
1992). Thus, an accused must first be placed in the custody of the law before the court may acquired upon his arrest or voluntary appearance.[10] One can be under the custody of the
validly act on his petition for judicial reliefs.[3] law but not yet subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a person
arrested by virtue of a warrant files a motion before arraignment to quash the warrant. On
the other hand, one can be subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and yet
Proceeding from this premise, the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners not be in the custody of the law, such as when an accused escapes custody after his trial has
Miranda, Ocon and Dalmacio cannot seek any judicial relief since they were not yet arrested commenced.[11] Being in the custody of the law signifies restraint on the person, who is
or otherwise deprived of their liberty at the time they filed their Urgent Motion to complete thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to become obedient to the will of the
preliminary investigation; to reinvestigate; to recall and/or quash warrants of arrest.[4] law.[12] Custody of the law is literally custody over the body of the accused. It includes, but
is not limited to, detention.
Petitioners counter the finding of the Court of Appeals by arguing that jurisdiction over the
person of the accused is required only in applications for bail. Furthermore, petitioners argue, The statement in Pico v. Judge Combong, Jr.,[13] cited by the Court of Appeals should not
assuming that such jurisdiction over their person is required before the court can act on their have been separated from the issue in that case, which is the application for admission to bail
motion to quash the warrant for their arrest, such jurisdiction over their person was already of someone not yet in the custody of the law. The entire paragraph of our pronouncement
acquired by the court by their filing of the above Urgent Motion. in Pico reads:

In arguing that jurisdiction over the person is required only in the adjudication of applications A person applying for admission to bail must be in the custody of the law or otherwise
for bail, petitioners quote Retired Court of Appeals Justice Oscar Herrera: deprived of his liberty. A person who has not submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court
has no right to invoke the processes of that court. Respondent Judge should have diligently
Except in applications for bail, it is not necessary for the court to first acquire jurisdiction over ascertained the whereabouts of the applicant and that he indeed had jurisdiction over the
the person of the accused to dismiss the case or grant other relief. The outright dismissal of body of the accused before considering the application for bail.[14]
the case even before the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused is
authorized under Section 6(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and the While we stand by our above pronouncement in Pico insofar as it concerns bail, we clarify
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure (Sec. 12a). In Allado vs. Diokno (232 SCRA 192), the that, as a general rule, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to
case was dismissed on motion of the accused for lack of probable cause without the accused the jurisdiction of the court.[15] As we held in the aforecited case of Santiago, seeking an
having been arrested. In Paul Roberts vs. Court of Appeals (254 SCRA 307), the Court was affirmative relief in court, whether in civil or criminal proceedings, constitutes voluntary
ordered to hold the issuance of a warrant of arrest in abeyance pending review by the appearance.
Secretary of Justice. And in Lacson vs. Executive Secretary (301 SCRA 102[5]), the Court
ordered the case transferred from the Sandiganbayan to the RTC which eventually ordered Pico deals with an application for bail, where there is the special requirement of the applicant
the dismissal of the case for lack of probable cause.[6] being in the custody of the law. In Feliciano v. Pasicolan,[16] we held that [t]he purpose of
bail is to secure ones release and it would be incongruous to grant bail to one who is
In arguing, on the other hand, that jurisdiction over their person was already acquired by free. Thus, bail is the security required and given for the release of a person who is in the
their filing of the above Urgent Motion, petitioners invoke our pronouncement, through custody of law. The rationale behind this special rule on bail is that it discourages and
Justice Florenz D. Regalado, in Santiago v. Vasquez[7]: prevents resort to the former pernicious practice wherein the accused could just send another
in his stead to post his bail, without recognizing the jurisdiction of the court by his personal
The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court acquires jurisdiction over his appearance therein and compliance with the requirements therefor.[17]
person, is accomplished either by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to
quash or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the courts jurisdiction thereover, appearing There is, however, an exception to the rule that filing pleadings seeking affirmative relief
for arraignment, entering trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is constitutes voluntary appearance, and the consequent submission of ones person to the
intended to obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule the same cannot be posted jurisdiction of the court. This is in the case of pleadings whose prayer is precisely for the
before custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his avoidance of the jurisdiction of the court, which only leads to a special appearance. These
arrest or voluntary surrender. pleadings are: (1) in civil cases, motions to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over
the person of the defendant, whether or not other grounds for dismissal are included;[18] (2)
in criminal cases, motions to quash a complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the
person of the accused; and (3) motions to quash a warrant of arrest. The first two are determination of probable cause, and he can easily deny the motion to quash if he really did
consequences of the fact that failure to file them would constitute a waiver of the defense of find probable cause after personally examining the records of the case.
lack of jurisdiction over the person. The third is a consequence of the fact that it is the very
legality of the court process forcing the submission of the person of the accused that is the Moreover, pursuant to the presumption of regularity of official functions, the warrant
very issue in a motion to quash a warrant of arrest. continues in force and effect until it is quashed and therefore can still be enforced on any day
and at any time of the day and night.[22] Furthermore, the continued absence of the accused
To recapitulate what we have discussed so far, in criminal cases, jurisdiction over the person can be taken against him in the determination of probable cause, since flight is indicative of
of the accused is deemed waived by the accused when he files any pleading seeking an guilt.
affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special jurisdiction of the court by
impugning such jurisdiction over his person. Therefore, in narrow cases involving special In fine, as much as it is incongruous to grant bail to one who is free, it is likewise
appearances, an accused can invoke the processes of the court even though there is neither incongruous to require one to surrender his freedom before asserting it. Human rights enjoy
jurisdiction over the person nor custody of the law. However, if a person invoking the special a higher preference in the hierarchy of rights than property rights,[23] demanding that due
jurisdiction of the court applies for bail, he must first submit himself to the custody of the process in the deprivation of liberty must come before its taking and not after.
law.
Quashing a warrant of arrest based on a subsequently filed petition for review with the
In cases not involving the so-called special appearance, the general rule applies, i.e., the Secretary of Justice and based on doubts engendered by the political climate constitutes
accused is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court upon seeking grave abuse of discretion.
affirmative relief. Notwithstanding this, there is no requirement for him to be in the custody
of the law. The following cases best illustrate this point, where we granted variousreliefs to We nevertheless find grave abuse of discretion in the assailed actions of
accused who were not in the custody of the law, but were deemed to have placed their Judge Anghad. Judge Anghad seemed a little too eager of dismissing the criminal cases
persons under the jurisdiction of the court. Note that none of these cases involve the against the petitioners. First, he quashed the standing warrant of arrest issued by his
application for bail, nor a motion to quash an information due to lack of jurisdiction over the predecessor because of a subsequently filed appeal to the Secretary of Justice, and because
person, nor a motion to quash a warrant of arrest: of his doubts on the existence of probable cause due to the political climate in the
1. In Allado v. Diokno,[19] on the prayer of the accused in a petition for certiorari on the city. Second, after the Secretary of Justice affirmed the prosecutors resolution, he dismissed
ground of lack of probable cause, we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining PACC the criminal cases on the basis of a decision of this Court in another case with different
from enforcing the warrant of arrest and the respondent judge therein from further accused, doing so two days after this Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order
proceeding with the case and, instead, to elevate the records to us. against further proceeding with the case.

2. In Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,[20] upon the accuseds Motion to Suspend After Judge Tumaliuan issued warrants for the arrest of petitioners, petitioner Miranda
Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance Issuance of Warrants of Arrest on the ground that they appealed the assistant prosecutors resolution before the Secretary of Justice. Judge Anghad,
filed a Petition for Review with the Department of Justice, we directed respondent judge shortly after assuming office, quashed the warrant of arrest on the basis of said appeal.
therein to cease and desist from further proceeding with the criminal case and to defer the According to Judge Anghad, x x x prudence dictates (that) and because of comity, a
issuance of warrants of arrests against the accused. deferment of the proceedings is but proper.[24]
Quashal on this basis is grave abuse of discretion. It is inconceivable to charge
3. In Lacson v. Executive Secretary,[21] on the prayer of the accused in a petition for Judge Tumaliuan as lacking in prudence and oblivious to comity when he issued the warrants
certiorari on the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Sandiganbayan, we directed of arrest against petitioners just because the petitioners might, in the future, appeal the
the Sandiganbayan to transfer the criminal cases to the Regional Trial Court even before the assistant prosecutors resolution to the Secretary of Justice. But even if the petition for review
issuance of the warrants of arrest. was filed before the issuance of the warrants of arrest, the fact remains that the pendency of
a petition for the review of the prosecutors resolution is not a ground to quash the warrants
of arrest.
We hold that the circumstances forcing us to require custody of the law in applications for bail
are not present in motions to quash the warrant of arrest. If we allow the granting of bail to In Webb v. de Leon,[25] we held that the petitioners therein cannot assail as premature the
persons not in the custody of the law, it is foreseeable that many persons who can afford the filing of the information in court against them on the ground that they still have the right to
bail will remain at large, and could elude being held to answer for the commission of the appeal the adverse resolution of the DOJ Panel to the Secretary of Justice. Similarly, the
offense if ever he is proven guilty. On the other hand, if we allow the quashal of warrants of issuance of warrants of arrest against petitioners herein should not have been quashed as
arrest to persons not in the custody of the law, it would be very rare that a person not premature on the same ground.
genuinely entitled to liberty would remain scot-free. This is because it is the same judge who
issued the warrant of arrest who will decide whether or not he followed the Constitution in his
The other ground invoked by Judge Anghad for the quashal of the warrant of arrest is in 3. Affidavit dated 19 May 2001 of Romeo B. Ocon;
order if true: violation of the Constitution. Hence, Judge Anghad asked and resolved the 4. Joint Counter Affidavit dated 23 May 2001 of Mayor Jose C. Miranda and Reynaldo de la
question: Cruz;
5. Affidavit dated 19 May 2001 of Alberto Dalmacio;
In these double murder cases, did this Court comply or adhere to the above-quoted 6. Decision dated 22 April 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 41 in
constitutional proscription, which is Sec. 2, Article III Bill of Rights; to Sec. 6(a), Rule 112, Criminal Case No. 97-160355;
Rules of Criminal Procedure and to the above-cited decisional cases? To this query or issue, 7. Sworn statement dated 27 April 2001 of Rodel Maderal;
after a deep perusal of the arguments raised, this Court, through [its] regular Presiding 8. Information dated 22 June 2001;
Judge, finds merit in the contention of herein accused-movant, Jose Pempe Miranda.[26] 9. Affidavit-complaint of Virgilio Tuliao; and
10. Medico-legal Reports of the cadavers of Elezer Tuliao and Vicente Buazon.

Judge Anghad is referring to the following provision of the Constitution as having been
violated by Judge Tumaliuan: Hence, procedurally, we can conclude that there was no violation on the part of
Judge Tumaliuan of Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution. Judge Anghad, however,
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects focused on the substantive part of said section, i.e., the existence of probable cause. In
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be failing to find probable cause, Judge Anghad ruled that the confession of SPO2 Maderal is
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause incredible for the following reasons: (1) it was given after almost two years in the custody of
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the the National Bureau of Investigation; (2) it was given by someone who rendered himself
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be untrustworthy for being a fugitive for five years; (3) it was given in exchange for an obvious
searched and the persons or things to be seized.[27] reward of discharge from the information; and (4) it was given during the election period
amidst a politically charged scenario where Santiago City voters were pitted against each
other along the lines of the Miranda camp on one side and former City Mayor Amelita S.
However, after a careful scrutiny of the records of the case, including the supporting evidence Navarro, and allegedly that of DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez on the other.[32]
to the resolution of the prosecutor in his determination of probable cause, we find that
Judge Anghad gravely abused his discretion. We painstakingly went through the records of the case and found no reason to disturb the
findings of probable cause of Judge Tumaliuan.
According to petitioners:
It is important to note that an exhaustive debate on the credibility of a witness is not within
In this case, the nullity of the order of Judge Tumaliuan, for the arrest of the petitioners is the province of the determination of probable cause. As we held in Webb[33]:
apparent from the face of the order itself, which clearly stated that the determination of
probable cause was based on the certification, under oath, of the fiscal and not on a separate A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not
determination personally made by the Judge. No presumption of regularity could be drawn a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspects. Probable cause need not be
from the order since it expressly and clearly showed that it was based only on based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond
the fiscals certification.[28] reasonable doubt and definitely, not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. As
well put in Brinegar v. United States, while probable cause demands more than bare
suspicion, it requires less than evidence which would justify x x x conviction. A finding of
Petitioners claim is untrue. Judge Tumaliuans Joint Order contains no such indication that he probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand trial. It is not a pronouncement of
relied solely on the prosecutors certification. The Joint Order even indicated the contrary: guilt.

Upon receipt of the information and resolution of the prosecutor, the Court proceeded to x x x Probable cause merely implies probability of guilt and should be determined in a
determine the existence of a probable cause by personally evaluating the records x x x.[29] summary manner. Preliminary investigation is not a part of trial x x x.

The records of the case show that the prosecutors certification was accompanied by Dismissing a criminal case on the basis of a decision of this Court in another case with
supporting documents, following the requirement under Lim, Sr. v. Felix[30] and People different accused constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
v. Inting.[31] The supporting documents are the following:

1. Resolution dated 21 June 2001 of State Prosecutor Leo S. Reyes; Judge Anghad had quashed the warrant of arrest on the ground, among other things, that
2. Affidavit dated 22 May 2001 of Modesto Gutierrez; there was a petition for review of the assistant prosecutors resolution before the Secretary of
Justice. However, after the Secretary of Justice affirmed the prosecutors resolution, We cannot let unnoticed, too, Judge Anghads dismissal of the informations two days after we
Judge Anghad summarily dismissed the two criminal cases against the petitioners on the resolved to issue, upon the filing of a bond, a temporary restraining order prohibiting him
basis of the following explanation: from further proceeding with the case. The bond was filed the day after
the informations were dismissed. While the dismissal of the case was able to beat the
Rodel Maderal was one of the accused in People vs. Wilfredo Leano, et al., RTC, Branch 41, effectivity date of the temporary restraining order, such abrupt dismissal of
Manila, and based from his sworn statements, he pinpointed to Mr. Miranda the mastermind the informations (days after this Courts resolve to issue a TRO against Judge Anghad) creates
and with him and the other police officers as the direct perpetrators, the October 9, 2001 wild suspicions about the motives of Judge Anghad.
Decision of the Supreme Court absolving the five cops of murder, certainly makes his sworn
Statements a narration of falsehood and lies and that because of the decision acquitting said Nullification of a proceeding necessarily carries with it the reinstatement of the orders set
officers who were likewise falsely linked by said Rodel Maderal in his April 27, 2001 aside by the nullified proceeding.
statements, it is now beyond doubt that Rodel Maderal made untruthful, fabricated and
perjured statements and therefore the same is without probable value. This Court agrees In their second assignment of error, petitioners claim that the Court of Appeals did not recall
with the defenses views. Indeed, of what use is Maderals statements when the Supreme or reinstate the warrants of arrest issued by Judge Tumaliuan, but instead directed
Court rejected the prosecutions evidence presented and adduced in Criminal Case No. 97- Judge Anghad to issue apparently new warrants of arrest.[36] According to the petitioners, it
160355. Rodel Maderal is supposed to turn state witness in these two (2) cases but with the was an error for the Court of Appeals to have done so, without a personal determination of
Supreme Court decision adverted to, the probative value of his statements is practically nil. probable cause.

xxxx We disagree. Whether the Court of Appeals ordered the issuance of new warrants of arrest or
merely ordered the reinstatement of the warrants of arrest issued by Judge Tumaliuan is
This Court finds merit to the manifestation of the accused Miranda dated October 18, 2001, merely a matter of scrupulous semantics, the slight inaccuracy whereof should not be allowed
praying for the summary dismissal of the two (2) murder charges in view of the latest to affect the dispositions on the merits, especially in this case where the other dispositions of
decision of the Supreme Court in People of the Philippines vs. Wilfredo Leao, et al., G.R. No. the Court of Appeals point to the other direction. Firstly, the Court of Appeals had reinstated
13886, acquitting the accused therein and in effect disregarding all the evidence presented the 25 June 2001 Order of Judge Tumaliuan,[37] which issued the warrants of
by the prosecution in that case. Accordingly, the two (2) informations [for] murder filed arrest. Secondly, the Court of Appeals likewise declared the proceedings conducted by
against Jose Miranda are ordered dismissed.[34] Judge Anghad void. Certainly, the declaration of nullity of proceedings should be deemed to
carry with it the reinstatement of the orders set aside by the nullified proceedings.
Judge Anghads order quashing the warrants of arrest had been nullified; therefore those
This is a clear case of abuse of discretion. Judge Anghad had no right to twist our decision warrants of arrest are henceforth deemed unquashed.
and interpret it to the discredit of SPO2 Maderal, who was still at large when the evidence of
the prosecution in the Leao case was presented. A decision, even of this Court, acquitting the Even if, however, the Court of Appeals had directed the issuance of new warrants of arrest
accused therein of a crime cannot be the basis of the dismissal of criminal case against based on a determination of probable cause, it would have been legally permissible for them
different accused for the same crime. The blunder of Judge Anghad is even more pronounced to do so. The records of the preliminary investigation had been available to the Court of
by the fact that our decision in Leao was based on reasonable doubt. We never ruled Appeals, and are also available to this Court, allowing both the Court of Appeals and this
in Leao that the crime did not happen; we just found that there was reasonable doubt as to Court to personally examine the records of the case and not merely rely on the certification of
the guilt of the accused therein, since the prosecution in that case relied on circumstantial the prosecutor. As we have ruled in Allado v. Diokno and Roberts v. Court of Appeals, the
evidence, which interestingly is not even the situation in the criminal cases of the petitioners determination of probable cause does not rest on a subjective criteria. As we had resolved in
in the case at bar as there is here an eyewitness: RodelMaderal. The accused those cases to overrule the finding of probable cause of the judges therein on the ground of
in Leao furthermore had no motive to kill respondent Tuliaos son, whereas petitioners herein grave abuse of discretion, in the same vein, we can also overrule the decision of a judge
had been implicated in the testimony of respondent Tuliaobefore the Senate Blue Ribbon reversing a finding of probable cause, also on the ground of grave abuse of discretion.
Committee.
There is no double jeopardy in the reinstatement of a criminal case dismissed before
It is preposterous to conclude that because of our finding of reasonable doubt in Leao, it is arraignment
now beyond doubt that Rodel Maderal made untruthful, fabricated and perjured statements
and therefore the same is without probable value.[35] On the contrary, if we are to permit In their third assignment of error, petitioners claim that the Court of Appeals committed a
the use of our decision in Leao, an acquittal on the ground of reasonable doubt actually reversible error in ordering the reinstatement of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-
points to the probability of the prosecutions version of the facts therein. Such probability of 3524, alleging that the order of dismissal issued therein had become final and executory.
guilt certainly meets the criteria of probable cause. According to petitioners:
It is also worthy to point out at this juncture that the Joint Order of Judge Anghad dated
November 14, 2001 is NOT ONE of those Orders which were assailed in the private In any case, the reinstatement of a criminal case dismissed before arraignment does not
respondent TuliaosPetition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition filed by the private constitute double jeopardy. Double jeopardy cannot be invoked where the accused has not
respondent before the Court of Appeals. As carefully enumerated in the first page of the been arraigned and it was upon his express motion that the case was dismissed.[40]
assailed Decision, only the following Orders issued by Judge Anghad were questioned by As to respondent Tuliaos prayer (in both the original petition for certiorari as well as in his
private respondent, to wit: motion to cite for contempt) to disqualify Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the
case, we hold that the number of instances of abuse of discretion in this case are enough to
1.) Joint Order dated August 17, 2001; convince us of an apparent bias on the part of Judge Anghad. We further resolve to follow the
2.) Order dated September 21, 2001; case of People v. SPO1 Leao,[41] by transferring the venue of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523
3.) Joint Order dated October 16, 2001; and and No. 36-3524 to the City of Manila, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4, of the Constitution.
4.) Joint Order dated October 22, 2001. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 18 December 2002 and the
Resolution dated 12 June 2003 of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED, with the
Obviously, the Joint Order dated November 14, 2001 of Judge Anghad, which ultimately modification that Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-3524 be transferred to and raffled
dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. 36-3523 AND 36-3524 is NOT included in the list of the in the Regional Trial Court of the City of Manila. In this connection,
assailed Order/Joint Orders. Hence, the Court of Appeals should not have passed upon the
validity or nullity of the Joint Order of November 14, 2001.[38] 1) Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Executive Judge of the RTC of the City of
Santiago, Isabela, who is directed to effect the transfer of the cases within ten (10) days
after receipt hereof;
Petitioners must have forgotten that respondent Tuliaos Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and 2) The Executive Judge of the RTC of the City of Santiago, Isabela, is likewise directed to
Mandamus was filed not with the Court of Appeals, but with this Court. The Court of Appeals report to this Court compliance hereto within ten (10) days from transfer of these cases;
decided the case because we referred the same to them in our 19 November 3) The Executive Judge of the City of Manila shall proceed to raffle the criminal cases
2001 Resolution. Such petition was filed on 25 October 2001, around three within ten (10) days from the transfer;
weeks beforethe 14 November 2001 Order. Upon receipt of the 14 November 2001 Order, 4) The Executive Judge of the City of Manila is likewise directed to report to this Court
however, respondent Tuliao lost no time in filing with this Court a Motion to Cite Public compliance with the order to raffle within ten (10) days from said compliance; and
Respondent in Contempt, alleging that Judge Anghad deliberately and willfully committed 5) The RTC Judge to whom the criminal cases are raffled is directed to act on said cases
contempt of court when he issued on 15 November 2001 the Order dated 14 November 2001 with reasonable dispatch.
dismissing the informations for murder. On 21 November 2001, we referred said motion to 6) Finally, Judge Anastacio D. Anghad is directed to issue forthwith warrants of arrest for
the Court of Appeals, in view of the previous referral of respondent Tuliaos petition the apprehension of petitioners Jose C. Miranda, Alberto P. Dalmacio, Romeo B. Ocon, and
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. accused Rodel T. Maderal, conformably with the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 18
December 2002.
Our referral to the Court of Appeals of the Motion to Cite Public Repondent in Contempt
places the 14 November 2001 Order within the issues of the case decided by the Court of The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court dated 4 August 2003 is hereby
Appeals. In claiming that Judge Anghad committed contempt of this Court in issuing the 14 LIFTED. Costs against Petitioners.
November 2001 Order, respondent Tuliao had ascribed to Judge Anghad an act much more
serious than grave abuse of discretion. SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION
Respondent Tuliao claims that Judge Anghad issued the 14 November 2001 Order on 15 G.R. No. 199113, March 18, 2015
November 2001, antedating it so as to avoid the effects of our 12 November 2001Resolution. RENATO M. DAVID, Petitioner, v. EDITHA A. AGBAY AND PEOPLE OF THE
In said 12 November 2001 Resolution, we resolved to issue a temporary restraining order PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
enjoining Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the criminal cases upon the DECISION
respondent Tuliaos filing of a bond in the amount of P20,000.00. Respondent Tuliao had filed VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
the bond on 15 November 2005. This is a petition for review under Rule 45 seeking to reverse the Order1 dated October 8,
2011 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, which denied the
While we cannot immediately pronounce Judge Anghad in contempt, seeing as disobedience petition for certiorari filed by Renato M. David (petitioner). Petitioner assailed the
to lawful orders of a court and abuse of court processes are cases of indirect contempt which Order2 dated March 22, 2011 of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro
require the granting of opportunity to be heard on the part of respondent,[39] the prayer to denying his motion for redetermination of probable cause.
cite public respondent in contempt and for other reliefs just and equitable under the
premises should be construed to include a prayer for the nullification of said 14 November The factual antecedents:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
2001 Order.
In 1974, petitioner migrated to Canada where he became a Canadian citizen by effectivity, and those who lost their Philippine citizenship before its enactment when the
naturalization. Upon their retirement, petitioner and his wife returned to the Philippines. governing law was Commonwealth Act No. 6311 (CA 63). Since the crime for which petitioner
Sometime in 2000, they purchased a 600-square meter lot along the beach in Tambong, was charged was alleged and admitted to have been committed on April 12, 2007 before he
Gloria, Oriental Mindoro where they constructed a residential house. However, in the year had re-acquired his Philippine citizenship, the MTC concluded that petitioner was at that time
2004, they came to know that the portion where they built their house is public land and part still a Canadian citizen. Thus, the MTC ordered:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
of the salvage zone. WHEREFORE, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, and for lack of merit, the
motion is DENIED.
On April 12, 2007, petitioner filed a Miscellaneous Lease Application3 (MLA) over the subject
land with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Community SO ORDERED.12
Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Socorro. In the said application, In his motion for reconsideration,13 petitioner questioned the foregoing order denying him
petitioner indicated that he is a Filipino citizen. relief on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and insisted that the issue raised is purely legal. He
argued that since his application had yet to receive final evaluation and action by the DENR
Private respondent Editha A. Agbay opposed the application on the ground that petitioner, a Region IV-B office in Manila, it is academic to ask the citizenship of the applicant (petitioner)
Canadian citizen, is disqualified to own land. She also filed a criminal complaint for who had re-acquired Philippine citizenship six months after he applied for lease of public land.
falsification of public documents under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) (I.S. No. The MTC denied the motion for reconsideration.14chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
08-6463) against the petitioner.
Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the case to the RTC via a petition15 for certiorari under Rule
Meanwhile, petitioner re-acquired his Filipino citizenship under the provisions of Republic Act 65, alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the MTC. He asserted that first,
No. 9225,4(R.A. 9225) as evidenced by Identification Certificate No. 266-10-075 issued by jurisdiction over the person of an accused cannot be a pre-condition for the re-determination
the Consulate General of the Philippines (Toronto) on October 11, 2007. of probable cause by the court that issues a warrant of arrest; and second, the March 22,
2011 Order disregarded the legal fiction that once a natural-born Filipino citizen who had
In his defense, petitioner averred that at the time he filed his application, he had intended to been naturalized in another country re-acquires his citizenship under R.A. 9225, his Filipino
re-acquire Philippine citizenship and that he had been assured by a CENRO officer that he citizenship is thus deemed not to have been lost on account of said naturalization.
could declare himself as a Filipino. He further alleged that he bought the property from the
Agbays who misrepresented to him that the subject property was titled land and they have In his Comment and Opposition,16 the prosecutor emphasized that the act of falsification was
the right and authority to convey the same. The dispute had in fact led to the institution of already consummated as petitioner has not yet re-acquired his Philippine citizenship, and his
civil and criminal suits between him and private respondents family. subsequent oath to re-acquire Philippine citizenship will only affect his citizenship status and
not his criminal act which was long consummated prior to said oath of allegiance.
On January 8, 2008,6 the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor issued its Resolution7 finding
probable cause to indict petitioner for violation of Article 172 of the RPC and recommending On October 8, 2011, the RTC issued the assailed Order denying the petition for certiorari
the filing of the corresponding information in court. Petitioner challenged the said resolution after finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court,
in a petition for review he filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ). thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DENIED. At any rate petitioner is not left without any
On June 3, 2008, the CENRO issued an order rejecting petitioners MLA. It ruled that remedy or recourse because he can proceed to trial where he can make use of his claim to be
petitioners subsequent re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship did not cure the defect in his a Filipino citizen as his defense to be adjudicated in a full blown trial, and in case of
MLA which was void ab initio.8chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary conviction, to appeal such conviction.

In the meantime, on July 26, 2010, the petition for review filed by petitioner was denied by SO ORDERED.17
the DOJ which held that the presence of the elements of the crime of falsification of public Petitioner is now before us arguing that
document suffices to warrant indictment of the petitioner notwithstanding the absence of any By supporting the prosecution of the petitioner for falsification, the lower court has
proof that he gained or intended to injure a third person in committing the act of disregarded the undisputed fact that petitioner is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and that by
falsification.9 Consequently, an information for Falsification of Public Document was filed re-acquiring the same status under R.A. No. 9225 he was by legal fiction deemed not to
before the MTC (Criminal Case No. 2012) and a warrant of arrest was issued against the have lost it at the time of his naturalization in Canada and through the time when he was
petitioner. said to have falsely claimed Philippine citizenship.
By compelling petitioner to first return from his legal residence in Canada and to surrender or
On February 11, 2011, after the filing of the Information and before his arrest, petitioner filed allow himself to be arrested under a warrant for his alleged false claim to Philippine
an Urgent Motion for Re-Determination of Probable Cause10 in the MTC. Interpreting the citizenship, the lower court has pre-empted the right of petitioner through his wife and
provisions of the law relied upon by petitioner, the said court denied the motion, holding that counsel to question the validity of the said warrant of arrest against him before the same is
R.A. 9225 makes a distinction between those who became foreign citizens during its implemented, which is tantamount to a denial of due process.18
In his Comment, the Solicitor General contends that petitioners argument regarding the While Section 2 declares the general policy that Filipinos who have become citizens of
retroactivity of R.A. 9225 is without merit. It is contended that this Courts rulings in Frivaldo another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship, such is
v. Commission on Elections19 and Altarejos v. Commission on Elections20 on the retroactivity qualified by the phrase under the conditions of this Act. Section 3 lays down such conditions
of ones re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship to the date of filing his application therefor for two categories of natural-born Filipinos referred to in the first and second paragraphs.
cannot be applied to the case of herein petitioner. Even assuming for the sake of argument Under the first paragraph are those natural-born Filipinos who have lost their citizenship by
that such doctrine applies in the present situation, it will still not work for petitioners cause naturalization in a foreign country who shall re-acquire their Philippine citizenship upon taking
for the simple reason that he had not alleged, much less proved, that he had already applied the oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. The second paragraph covers those
for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship before he made the declaration in the Public Land natural-born Filipinos who became foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 took effect, who shall
Application that he is a Filipino. Moreover, it is stressed that in falsification of public retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the same oath. The taking of oath of allegiance
document, it is not necessary that the idea of gain or intent to injure a third person be is required for both categories of natural-born Filipino citizens who became citizens of a
present. As to petitioners defense of good faith, such remains to be a defense which may be foreign country, but the terminology used is different, re-acquired for the first group, and
properly raised and proved in a full-blown trial. retain for the second group.

On the issue of jurisdiction over the person of accused (petitioner), the Solicitor General The law thus makes a distinction between those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign
opines that in seeking an affirmative relief from the MTC when he filed his Urgent Motion for citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225. Although the heading of Section 3 is
Re-determination of Probable Cause, petitioner is deemed to have submitted his person to Retention of Philippine Citizenship, the authors of the law intentionally employed the terms
the said courts jurisdiction by his voluntary appearance. Nonetheless, the RTC correctly ruled re-acquire and retain to describe the legal effect of taking the oath of allegiance to the
that the lower court committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitioners Republic of the Philippines. This is also evident from the title of the law using both re-
motion after a judicious, thorough and personal evaluation of the parties arguments acquisition and retention.
contained in their respective pleadings, and the evidence submitted before the court.
In fine, for those who were naturalized in a foreign country, they shall be deemed to have re-
In sum, the Court is asked to resolve whether (1) petitioner may be indicted for falsification acquired their Philippine citizenship which was lost pursuant to CA 63, under which
for representing himself as a Filipino in his Public Land Application despite his subsequent re- naturalization in a foreign country is one of the ways by which Philippine citizenship may be
acquisition of Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. 9225; and (2) the MTC lost. As its title declares, R.A. 9225 amends CA 63 by doing away with the provision in the
properly denied petitioners motion for re-determination of probable cause on the ground of old law which takes away Philippine citizenship from natural-born Filipinos who become
lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused (petitioner). naturalized citizens of other countries and allowing dual citizenship,21 and also provides for
the procedure for re-acquiring and retaining Philippine citizenship. In the case of those who
R.A. 9225, otherwise known as the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, became foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 took effect, they shall retain Philippine citizenship
was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 29, 2003. Sections 2 despite having acquired foreign citizenship provided they took the oath of allegiance under
and 3 of said law read:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary the new law.
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine
citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Petitioner insists we should not distinguish between re-acquisition and retention in R.A. 9225.
Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act. He asserts that in criminal cases, that interpretation of the law which favors the accused is
preferred because it is consistent with the constitutional presumption of innocence, and in
SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship.Any provision of law to the contrary this case it becomes more relevant when a seemingly difficult question of law is expected to
notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine have been understood by the accused, who is a non-lawyer, at the time of the commission of
citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby the alleged offense. He further cites the letter-reply dated January 31, 201122 of the Bureau
deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance of Immigration (BI) to his query, stating that his status as a natural-born Filipino will be
to the Republic:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary governed by Section 2 of R.A. 9225.
I ______________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders These contentions have no merit.
promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare that I
recognize and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and That the law distinguishes between re-acquisition and retention of Philippine citizenship was
allegiance thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental made clear in the discussion of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing
reservation or purpose of evasion. Provisions of House Bill No. 4720 and Senate Bill No. 2130 held on August 18, 2003, where
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens Senator Franklin Drilon was responding to the query of Representative Exequiel
of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath. Javier:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(Emphasis supplied) REP. JAVIER. I have some questions in Section 3. Here, under Section 3 of the Senate
version, Any provision of law on the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the
Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, shall and so forth, ano, shall retain their reacquisition because R.A. 9225 itself treats those of his category as having already lost
Philippine citizenship. Philippine citizenship, in contradistinction to those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign
citizens after R.A. 9225 came into force. In other words, Section 2 declaring the policy that
Now in the second paragraph, natural-born citizens who have lost their citizenship by reason considers Filipinos who became foreign citizens as not to have lost their Philippine citizenship,
of their naturalization after the effectivity of this Act are deemed to have reacquired should be read together with Section 3, the second paragraph of which clarifies that such
policy governs all cases after the new laws effectivity.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Prior to the effectivity.
As to the letter-reply of BI, it simply quoted Section 2 of R.A. 9225 without any reference to
REP. JAVIER. Well, you have two kinds of natural-born citizens here. Natural-born citizens Section 3 on the particular application of reacquisition and retention to Filipinos who became
who acquired foreign citizenship after the effectivity of this act are considered to have foreign citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225.
retained their citizenship. But natural-born citizens who lost their Filipino citizenship before
the effectivity of this act are considered to have reacquired. May I know the distinction? Do Petitioners plea to adopt the interpretation most favorable to the accused is likewise
you mean to say that natural-born citizens who became, lets say, American citizens after the misplaced. Courts adopt an interpretation more favorable to the accused following the time-
effectivity of this act are considered natural-born? honored principle that penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and liberally in
favor of the accused.23 R.A. 9225, however, is not a penal law.
Now in the second paragraph are the natural-born citizens who lost their citizenship before
the effectivity of this act are no longer natural born citizens because they have just Falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 17224 in relation to Article 17125 of the
reacquired their citizenship. I just want to know this distinction, Mr. Chairman. RPC refers to falsification by a private individual, or a public officer or employee who did not
take advantage of his official position, of public, private, or commercial documents. The
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). The title of the Senate version is precisely retention and elements of falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 of the RPC
reacquisition. The reacquisition will apply to those who lost their Philippine citizenship by are:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
virtue of Commonwealth Act 63. Upon the effectivity -- assuming that we can agree on this, (1) that the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take
upon the effectivity of this new measure amending Commonwealth Act 63, the Filipinos who advantage of his official position;
lost their citizenship is deemed to have reacquired their Philippine citizenship upon the (2) that he committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the RPC;
effectivity of the act. and
(3) that the falsification was committed in a public, official or commercial document.26
The second aspect is the retention of Philippine citizenship applying to future instances. So Petitioner made the untruthful statement in the MLA, a public document, that he is a Filipino
thats the distinction. citizen at the time of the filing of said application, when in fact he was then still a Canadian
citizen. Under CA 63, the governing law at the time he was naturalized as Canadian citizen,
REP. JAVIER. Well, Im just asking this question because we are here making distinctions naturalization in a foreign country was among those ways by which a natural-born citizen
between natural-born citizens. Because this is very important for certain government loses his Philippine citizenship. While he re-acquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225 six
positions, no, because natural-born citizens are only qualified for a specific months later, the falsification was already a consummated act, the said law having no
retroactive effect insofar as his dual citizenship status is concerned. The MTC therefore did
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). That is correct. not err in finding probable cause for falsification of public document under Article 172,
paragraph 1.
REP. JAVIER. ...positions under the Constitution and under the law.
The MTC further cited lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner accused as ground for
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Yes. We can get to that later on. Its one of the provisions, denying petitioners motion for re-determination of probable cause, as the motion was filed
yes. But just for purposes of the explanation, Congressman Javier, that is our prior to his arrest. However, custody of the law is not required for the adjudication of reliefs
conceptualization. Reacquired for those who previously lost [Filipino citizenship] by virtue of other than an application for bail.27 In Miranda v. Tuliao,28 which involved a motion to quash
Commonwealth Act 63, and retention for those in the future. (Emphasis supplied) warrant of arrest, this Court discussed the distinction between custody of the law and
Considering that petitioner was naturalized as a Canadian citizen prior to the effectivity of jurisdiction over the person, and held that jurisdiction over the person of the accused is
R.A. 9225, he belongs to the first category of natural-born Filipinos under the first paragraph deemed waived when he files any pleading seeking an affirmative relief, except in cases when
of Section 3 who lost Philippine citizenship by naturalization in a foreign country. As the new he invokes the special jurisdiction of the court by impugning such jurisdiction over his person.
law allows dual citizenship, he was able to re-acquire his Philippine citizenship by taking the Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
required oath of allegiance. In arguing, on the other hand, that jurisdiction over their person was already acquired by
their filing of the above Urgent Motion, petitioners invoke our pronouncement, through
For the purpose of determining the citizenship of petitioner at the time of filing his MLA, it is Justice Florenz D. Regalado, in Santiago v. Vasquez:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
not necessary to discuss the rulings in Frivaldo and Altarejos on the retroactivity of such
The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court acquires jurisdiction over his is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
person, is accomplished either by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to
quash or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the courts jurisdiction thereover, With costs against the petitioner.
appearing for arraignment, entering trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the
same is intended to obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule the same cannot SO ORDERED.
be posted before custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either FIRST DIVISION
by his arrest or voluntary surrender.cralawred
Our pronouncement in Santiago shows a distinction between custody of the ARNOLD ALVA, G.R. No. 157331
law and jurisdiction over the person. Custody of the law is required before the court can act P e t i t i o n e r,
upon the application for bail, but is not required for the adjudication of other reliefs sought by
the defendant where the mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack
of jurisdiction over the person of the accused. Custody of the law is accomplished either by
arrest or voluntary surrender, while jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired
upon his arrest or voluntary appearance. One can be under the custody of the law but not yet Present:
subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a person arrested by
virtue of a warrant files a motion before arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other - versus - PANGANIBAN, CJ,
hand, one can be subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and yet not be in Chairman,
the custody of the law, such as when an accused escapes custody after his trial has YNARES-SANTIAGO
commenced. Being in the custody of the law signifies restraint on the person, who is thereby AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to become obedient to the will of the law. CALLEJO, SR., and
Custody of the law is literally custody over the body of the accused. It includes, but is not CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.
limited to, detention.

xxxx Promulgated:
HON. COURT OF APPEALS
While we stand by our above pronouncement in Pico insofar as it concerns bail, we clarify R e s p o n d e n t. April 12, 2006
that, as a general rule, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to x----------------------------------------x
the jurisdiction of the court. As we held in the aforecited case of Santiago, seeking an
affirmative relief in court, whether in civil or criminal proceedings, constitutes voluntary DECISION
appearance.

xxxx CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

To recapitulate what we have discussed so far, in criminal cases, jurisdiction over the person Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as
of the accused is deemed waived by the accused when he files any pleading seeking an amended, assailing the twin Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated 18 October
affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special jurisdiction of the court by 2002[1] and 19 February 2003,[2] respectively, in CA-G.R. CR No. 24077, entitled People of
impugning such jurisdiction over his person. Therefore, in narrow cases involving special the Philippines v. Arnold Alva.
appearances, an accused can invoke the processes of the court even though there is neither
jurisdiction over the person nor custody of the law. However, if a person invoking the special The CA, in the assailed resolutions, dismissed petitioners appeal of the trial courts judgment
jurisdiction of the court applies for bail, he must first submit himself to the custody of the of conviction for failing to post a new bail bond to secure his provisional liberty on appeal.
law.29 (Emphasis supplied)
Considering that petitioner sought affirmative relief in filing his motion for re-determination of The Facts
probable cause, the MTC clearly erred in stating that it lacked jurisdiction over his person.
Notwithstanding such erroneous ground stated in the MTCs order, the RTC correctly ruled The present petition stemmed from an Information[3] charging petitioner with having
that no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the MTC in denying the said motion for committed the crime of estafa defined under Article 315, Paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal
lack of merit. Code, alleging as follows:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Order dated October 8, 2011 of the Regional Trial The undersigned accuses ARNOLD ALVA of the crime of ESTAFA, committed as follows:
Court of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro in Civil Case No. SCA-07-11 (Criminal Case No. 2012)
That in or about and during the period covered between October 18, 1993 up to December In response to the aforestated acts of petitioner and counsel, the RTC issued an
18, 1993, inclusive, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, did then and there Order[10] directing the promulgation of its decision in absentiaand the issuance of a bench
willfully (sic), unlawfully and feloniously defraud YUMI VERANGA y HERVERA in the following warrant of arrest against petitioner for his failure to appear before it despite due notice.
manner, to wit: the said accused, by means of false manifestation and fraudulent
representation which he made to said YUMI VERANGA y HERVERA to the effect that he could In its decision dated 25 March 1999,[11] the RTC found petitioner guilty of the crime of
process the latters application for U.S. Visa provided she would give the amount estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the decretal part of
of P120,000.00, and by means of other similar deceit, induced and succeeded in inducing which reads:
said YUMI VERANGA y HERVERA to give and deliver, as in fact she gave and delivered to said
accused the amount of P120,000.00 on the strength of said manifestation and representation WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable
said accused well knowing that the same were false and untrue for the reason that the U.S. doubt of the crime of estafa under Article 315, No. 2(a) of the RPC and sentences him to an
Visa is not genuine and were made solely to obtain, as in fact he did obtain the amount indeterminate term of imprisonment of nine (9) years and one (1) day as minimum of prision
of P120,000.00 which amount once in his possession with intent to defraud, he wilfully (sic), mayor to seventeen (17) years as maximum of reclusion temporal in accordance with the
unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and converted the said amount to his provisions of Article 315, first, and the Indeterminate Sentence Law, and further for the
own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the said YUMI VERANGA y accused to return the P120,000.00 to the complainant with an interest at the rate of twelve
HERVERA in the aforesaid amount of P120,000.00, Philippine Currency. percent (12%) compounded annually from January 1, 1994 (the amount has been given to
the accused in October and December 1993).
CONTRARY TO LAW.

Meanwhile, as appearing in the records of the RTC, immediately following an original


The resultant criminal case was filed and docketed as Criminal Case No. 95-143803 and duplicate copy of the aforequoted decision, a document entitled Personal Bail Bond[12] dated
raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, presided by Judge Manuel T. 21 May 1999 issued by Mega Pacific Insurance Corporation, seemed to have been filed before
Muro. and approved by the RTC as evidenced by the signature of Judge Muro on the face of said
bail bond.[13] For such reason, petitioner appeared to have been admitted to bail anew after
On 5 September 1995, the RTC issued a Recall Order[4] of the Warrant of Arrest issued his conviction.
on 18 July 1995 against petitioner in view of the approval of his bail bond by Hon. William
Bayhon, then Executive Judge of the RTC of Manila. Incongruous to the above inference, however, in an Order[14] dated 25 May 1999, judgment
was rendered against Eastern Insurance and Surety Corporation, the bonding company that
Upon arraignment on 7 December 1995, petitioner, duly assisted by counsel,[5] pleaded not issued petitioners original bail bond, in the amount of P17,000.00, for failure to produce the
guilty to the crime charged. person of petitioner within the 10 day period earlier provided and to explain why the amount
of its undertaking should not be forfeited.
After the trial on the merits, in an Order[6] dated 6 April 1998, the RTC considered the case
submitted for decision. In the interregnum, Police Superintendent Ramon Flores De Jesus, Chief of Warrant and
Subpoena Section,[15] manifested to the RTC the return of the unexecuted Warrant of Arrest
On 4 May 1999, petitioners counsel filed an Urgent Motion to Cancel Promulgation[7] praying issued on 19 May 1999 for the reason that the address of the accused (petitioner) is not
for the resetting of the 5 May 1999 schedule of promulgation of the RTCs decision to 17 June within our area of responsibility. x x x Nevertheless, De Jesus reassured the RTC that the
1999 in view of the fact that said counsel already had a prior commitment on subject date. name of the accused will be included in our list of wanted persons for our future reference.
The RTCgranted the motion. The promulgation, however, was deferred only until 19 May Examination of the records of the case revealed that petitioner already moved out of his
1999. address on record without informing the RTC.

A day before the rescheduled date of promulgation, or on 18 May 1999, petitioners counsel On 15 July 1999, hand delivered by a certain Remedios Caneda, petitioner wrote[16] the RTC
again moved for the deferment of the promulgation, due to prior undertakings of similar requesting for a certified photocopy of his exhibits submitted to it during trial.
importance.[8]
On 21 July 1999, a Termination of Legal Services was filed by petitioner before
On 19 May 1999, petitioner and counsel both failed to appear in court despite due notice. In the RTC informing it of his decision to terminate the services of his counsel and that he was
his stead, claiming to be petitioners representative, a certain Joey Perez personally delivered currently in the process of hiring a new one.
to the RTC a hand written medical certificate[9] expressing petitioners inability to attend the
days hearing due to hypertension. On 26 July 1999,[17] petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the RTC.
In an Order[18] dated 30 August 1999, the RTC declined to give due course to said motion 3. Upon learning of the course of action taken by the presiding judge, and for purposes of
for failure to set it for hearing; thus, treating it as a mere scrap of paper. appealing the decision subject of the instant case, on May 21, 1999, accused immediately
posted a new bond for his provisional liberty. The presiding judge of the lower court, which
On 2 September 1999, petitioner received the above Order. The next day, or on 3 September issued the questioned decision, duly approved the new bond. Certified true copy of the bond
1999, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal[19] before the RTC. is hereto attached as Annex 3 and made an integral part hereof;

In an Order[20] dated 20 September 1999, the RTC again declined to give due course to x x x x.
the Notice of Appeal, ratiocinating thus:

The Notice of Appeal filed by accused cannot be given due course as it was filed out of time. In a Resolution[23] dated 18 October 2002, the Court of Appeals, nonetheless dismissed the
Although accused filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated 23 July 1999, the Court considered appeal filed by petitioner for appellants failure to post a new bond for his provisional liberty
it as a mere scrap of paper and was not acted upon as the same was not set for hearing, on appeal despite our directive as contained in our Resolution dated October 16, 2001, and in
hence, it did not stop the reglementary period to file appeal. view of the fact that his personal bail bond posted in the lower court had already expired, x x
x.
On 25 November 1999, petitioner filed anew a motion praying for the RTCs categorical
resolution of his 23 July 1999 Motion for Reconsideration. Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration[24] thereto seeking its reversal.
According to petitioners counsel, he was of the understanding that the Show
In an Order dated 7 December 1999, the RTC granted the abovestated motion, the full text of Cause Resolution of 16 October 2001 merely sought an explanation vis--vis the absence of a
which states: bail bond guaranteeing petitioners provisional liberty while his conviction was on appeal. All
the same, petitioners counsel manifested that Mega Pacific Insurance Corporation, had
The Motion to Resolve the Motion for Reconsideration of the accused, dated November 20, already extended the period covered by its 21 May 1999 bail bond. Attached to said motion
1999 is granted in the interest of justice, considering that the one who prepared the Motion was a Bond Endorsement[25] extending the coverage of the bail bond from 21 May
for Reconsideration appears to be the accused himself, who may not appear to be a lawyer 1999 to 21 May 2003.
and may not be conversant with the rules, among others, governing motions.
Asked to comment on the Motion for Reconsideration, respondent People of
Acting on the said Motion for Reconsideration itself, same is denied for lack of merit. The the Philippines (People), through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), interposed
Decision has examined and discussed the evidence presented and the merits of the case. objections. In its Comment,[26] respondent People raised two arguments: 1) that an
application for bail can only be availed of by a person who is in the custody of the law or
Because of the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration, the appeal is deemed filed on otherwise deprived of his liberty; and 2) that bail on appeal is a matter of discretion when the
time, and the appeal is given due course. penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years.

Let the records of the case, together with three (3) copies of the transcripts of stenographic On 19 February 2003, the Court of Appeals issued the second assailed
notes be transmitted to the Hon. Court of Appeals. Resolution,[27] disposing of petitioners motion as follows:

On appeal before the Court of Appeals, in a Resolution[21] dated 16 October 2001, the Finding no merit in appellants motion for reconsideration (citation omitted) filed on November
appellate court required petitioner to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed it 12, 2002, the same is hereby DENIED. We agree with the appellee that appellant has failed
appearing that no new bail bond for his provisional liberty on appeal had been posted, to wit: to submit himself under the jurisdiction of the court or under the custody of the law since his
conviction in 1999 and that there was no valid bail bond in place when appellant took his
Considering the arrest warrant issued by the trial court against the accused who failed to appeal.
appear at the promulgation of the judgment, and it appearing from the record that no new
bond for his provisional liberty on appeal has been posted, appellant is ORDERED to SHOW WHEREFORE, appellants motion for reconsideration is DENIED. [Emphasis supplied.]
CAUSE within ten (10) days from notice why his appeal should not be dismissed outright.

Hence, this petition.


On 29 October 2001, petitioner, through new counsel, filed a Compliance[22] essentially
stating therein that: The Issues

xxxx Petitioner now comes to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court alleging the following errors:[28]
his provisional liberty on appeal; and 2) whether or not petitioner failed to submit himself to
the jurisdiction of the court or to the custody of the law despite the posting of the subject bail
I. bond.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED QUESTIONS OF SUBSTANCE IN A The Courts Ruling
WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR WITH APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE
SUPREME COURT; Petitioner faults the appellate court for expressing x x x in its questioned resolutions that
herein petitioner did not submit to the jurisdiction of the court or custody of the law, or that
there was no valid bail bond when the appeal was taken when the records of the case would
II. readily prove the contrary.[29] In issuing said resolution, petitioner concludes that the Court
of Appeals made x x x no careful examination of the records x x x. Petitioner rationalizes his
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION deduction in the following manner:
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE PETITION
DOCKETED AS CA G.R. CR NO. 24077 ON THE GROUND OF ALLEGED FAILURE TO x x x [T]he records of the case readily reveals (sic) that several pleadings were filed by the
POST A NEW BOND FOR PETITIONERS PROVISIONAL LIBERTY AND THAT THE PERSONAL petitioner before the lower court even after the promulgation of judgment was made. Right
BAIL BOND POSTED IN THE LOWER COURT HAD ALLEGEDLY ALREADY EXPIRED; after the promulgation of the decision in the lower court, herein petitioner went to the court
and posted a bail bond. If the posting of the bond which was approved by the same Regional
Trial Court who rendered the decision subject of appeal is not yet a submission to the
III. jurisdiction of the court, then the respondent Hon. Court of Appeals must have been thinking
of another matter beyond the comprehension of the petitioner and obviously outside the
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF matters being contemplated by law and the Rules of Court.
DISCRETION WHEN IT DID NOT CONSIDER AS SUBSTANTIAL, THE COMPLAINCE FILED BY
THE PETITIONER WHICH SHOWED THE FACT THAT INDEED THERE WAS A BAIL BOND FILED
FOR THE PROVISIONAL LIBERTY OF THE ACCUSED DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE APPEAL; Equally, petitioner further posits that:

IV. x x x Although it is respectfully submitted that an accused shall be denied bail or his bail shall
be cancelled if sentenced to an imprisonment exceeding six (6) years as provided in Section
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, just the same, there must be a showing by the prosecution
DISCRETION WHEN IT IGNORED THE RECENT BAIL BOND EXTENSION ATTACHED TO THE with notice to the accused of the fact that, the accused is a recidivist, has previously escaped
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION FILED BY THE PETITIONER; from confinement, evaded sentence, has committed an offense while under probation, there
are circumstances indicating the probability of flight if released on bail, etc. But there was
V. none of the said instances that may be attributable to herein petitioner.[30]

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT THE PETITIONER FAILED TO SUBMIT TO THE Respondent People, in contrast, counters that x x x [a]lthough a personal bail bond dated
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OR TO THE CUSTODY OF LAW DESPITE THE BAIL BOND May 21, 1999 was executed in favor of petitioner by Mega Pacific Insurance Corporation two
POSTED ON MAY 21, 1999; and days after the promulgation of the Decision, there is nothing on record which shows that
petitioner had surrendered, was arrested or otherwise deprived of his liberty after the
VI. promulgation of the judgment of his conviction in his absence. x x x. To illustrate its point,
respondent People cites the following facts: 1) the return of the Warrant of Arrest issued
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF on May 19, 1999 signed by P/Superintendent Ramon Flores De Jesus, Chief of Warrant and
DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED THAT THERE WAS NO VALID BAIL BOND IN PLACE WHEN THE Subpoena Section, which states in full:
PETITIONER TOOK HIS APPEAL.
Respectfully returned this unexecuted Warrant of Arrest for the reason that the address of
the accused is not within our area of responsibility. Further request that the warrant of Arrest
The bombardment of errors notwithstanding, only two issues are raised in this petition: 1) be forwarded to the Police Station which has Jurisdiction over the address of the accused.
with the exception of the fifth assignment of error, all six can be encapsulated in one solitary
question, that is, whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in However, the name of the accused will be included in our list of wanted persons for our future
dismissing the appeal in view of petitioners alleged failure to post a valid bail bond to secure reference.
(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded
2) the fact that six days after the decision of the RTC was promulgated, or on 25 May 1999, sentence, or has violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification;
said court rendered judgment against the bail bond issued by Eastern Assurance and Surety
Corporation executed to secure petitioners provisional liberty during the trial, for the (c) That the accused committed the offense while on probation, parole, or under conditional
bondsmans failure to produce petitioner before the court, to wit: pardon;

In view of the failure of Eastern Insurance & Surety Corporation, bondsman of herein (d) That the circumstances of the accused or his case indicate the probability of flight if
accused, to produce the herein accused within the period granted it by this Court, judgment released on bail; or
is hereby rendered against said bond in the amount of Seventeen Thousand (P17,000.00)
Pesos.[31] (e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the appeal, the accused may commit
another crime.

Respondent People explains that the first two facts make it improbable to conclude that there The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court, on motion and with
existed a valid bail bond securing petitioners provisional liberty even after conviction. Stated notice to the adverse party. [Emphasis supplied.]
in another way, petitioners admission to bail presumes that the latter surrendered, was
arrested or he had otherwise submitted himself under the custody of the law. From the preceding quoted provision, the RTC is given the discretion to admit to bail an
accused even after the latter has been convicted to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a
And, 3) that petitioner belatedly attached a bond endorsement to his motion for term of more than six (6) years but less than twenty (20) years. However, the same also
reconsideration dated November 7, 2002 submitted before the Court of Appeals, purportedly provides for the cancellation of bail bonds already granted or the denial of a bail bond
to extend the expired personal bond dated May 21, 1999 x x x, did not automatically confer application upon the concurrence of two points: 1) if the judgment of the Regional Trial Court
on petitioner the benefits of an effective bail bond,[32] as petitioner made no extension of exceeds six (6) years but not more than twenty (20) years; and 2) upon a showing by the
the previous personal bond before the same expired. prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the presence of any of the five circumstances
therein enumerated or other similar circumstances.
We disagree in petitioners assertions; hence, the petition must fail.
In the case at bar, petitioner was convicted by the RTC to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
A definitive disposition of the issue relating to the existence and validity of petitioners bail for an indeterminate term of nine (9) years and one (1) day as minimum of prision mayor to
bond on appeal presupposes that the latter was allowed by law to post bail notwithstanding seventeen (17) years as maximum of reclusion temporal. Quite clearly, the approval of
the RTCs judgment of conviction and the imposition of the penalty of imprisonment for an petitioners applicationfor bail was discretionary upon the RTC.
indeterminate period of nine (9) years and one (1) day as minimum of prision mayor to
seventeen (17) years as maximum of reclusion temporal. It is incongruous, to say the least, that the posting of a bail presupposes that the accused
and/ or accused-appellant is detained or in the custody of the law.[33] In the case at bar, the
Section 5 of Rule 114 of the 1994 Rules of Court, as amended, intrinsically addresses the bench warrant issued by the RTC on 19 May 1999 still remains unserved. Nothing in the
foregoing prefatory matter viz: records of the case, neither in the RTC nor the Court of Appeals, demonstrates that petitioner
was ever arrested, as there has been no related Order of Release issued by any court, or that
SEC. 5. Bail, when discretionary. Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense he voluntarily surrendered or at the very least placed himself under the custody of the law.
not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on
application, may admit the accused to bail. Basic is the principle that that the right to bail can only be availed of by a person who is in
custody of the law or otherwise deprived of his liberty and it would be premature, x x x, to
The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue on provisional liberty under the file a petition for bail for someone whose freedom has yet to be curtailed.[34]
same bail bond during the period to appeal subject to the consent of the bondsman.
All told, no bail should have been granted petitioner. It is beyond dispute that the subject bail
If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, but not more than bond issued by Mega Pacific Insurance Corporation was irregularly approved. Worth noting is
twenty (20) years, the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be the fact that nowhere in the records of the case is it shown that petitioner applied for bail
cancelled, upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following or through a motion duly filed for such purpose nor is there showing that the RTC issued an
other similar circumstances: Order of Approval or any other court process acknowledging such document.Be that as it
may, even granting for the sake of argument that it was indeed approved by Judge Muro,
(a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed such approval did not render the subject bail bond valid and binding for it has been
the crime aggravated by the circumstances of reiteration; established that petitioner was not entitled to bail on appeal.
Another telling evidence of the violation of petitioners original bail bond is revealed by
That the prosecution appears not to have been given the chance to object, as evidently the Process Servers Return,[38] indicated at the dorsal portion of the RTCs Produce Order,
required under the quoted rule, to the application or approval of the subject bail bond (with indicating petitioners change of address without prior notice to the RTC, it states:
notice to the accused), fortifies the declaration as to its invalidity. Nowhere in the original
records of the RTC does it even show that the prosecution was informed of petitioners PROCESS SERVERS RETURN
application for bail, much less the approval of such application.
This certifies that on the 17th day of May, (sic) 1999, undersigned return (sic) again
Noting that the raison d'tre for such requirement is the discretionary nature of the admission to Fersal Apartelle located at 130 Kalayaan Ave. (sic) Diliman, Quezon City for confirmation
to bail of an accused after conviction, though discretionary, such assessment must be and indeed the addressee, Arnold Alva, had no (sic) longer been residing nor holding office at
exercised in accordance with applicable legal principles. As when there is a concurrence of the the aforementioned address.
enumerated circumstances and the range of penalty imposed, the prosecution must first be
accorded an opportunity to object and present evidence, if necessary, with notice to the
accused. It is on this basis that judicial discretion is balanced in determining whether or not By failing to inform the RTC of his change of address, petitioner failed to hold himself
an accused-appellant should be admitted to bail pending appeal of his conviction vis--vis the amenable to the orders and processes of the RTC. It was an unmistakable arrant breach of
increased possibility or likelihood of flight. the conditions of his bail bond.

Approval of an application for bail on appeal, absent the knowledge of the prosecution of such Prescinding from the above discussion, the conviction of petitioner to a period beyond six (6)
application or, at the very least, failing to allow it to object, is not the product of sound years but less than twenty (20) years in tandem with attendant circumstances effectively
judicial discretion but of impulse and arbitrariness, not to mention violative of respondent violating his bail without valid justification should have effectively precluded him from being
Peoples right of procedural due process. admitted to bail on appeal.

This is especially true in this case as a close scrutiny of the original records of the case at bar The issue of the validity of petitioners bail bond on appeal having been laid to rest by Section
reveals that petitioner violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification his failure 5 of Rule 114 of the 1994 Rules of Court, as amended, petitioners alleged failure to post a
to appear before the RTC, despite due notice, on the day of the promulgation of the latters bail bond on appeal is, therefore, inconsequential as, under the circumstances, he is
judgment, absent any justifiable reason. His absence was a clear contravention of the disallowed by law to be admitted to bail on appeal. Thus, for all legal intents and purposes,
conditions of his bail bond to say the least. As evidenced by the undertaking printed on the there can be no other conclusion than that at the time petitioner filed his notice of appeal and
face of the bond issued by Eastern Insurance and Surety Corporation and likewise required during the pendency of his appeal even until now he remains at large, placing himself beyond
under Section 6[35] of Rule 120 of the Rules of Court, petitioner must present himself before the pale, and protection of the law.
the court for the reading of the judgment of the RTC in order to render himself to the
execution thereof. Inexorably, having jumped bail and eluded arrest until the present, the issue of whether or
not petitioner has lost his right to appeal his conviction now ensues.
While, indeed, a medical certificate was hand delivered and filed by a certain Joey Perez,
allegedly a representative of petitioner, stating therein the reason for the latters absence, the The manner of review of petitioners conviction is governed by the Rules of Court.
RTC found insubstantial the explanation proffered. Appropriately, it ordered the promulgation Appropriately, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court presents the procedural requirements regarding
of its judgment in absentia. It also issued a bench warrant of arrest against petitioner. appeals taken to the Court of Appeals. Section 8 of said Rule finds application to the case at
bar, viz:
Upon examination, the subject medical certificate[36] merely states that petitioner was
diagnosed to be suffering from hypertension. It failed to elucidate further any concomitant SEC. 8. Dismissal of appeal for abandonment or failure to prosecute. The appellate court
conditions necessitating petitioners physical incapability to present himself before the court may, upon motion of the appellee or its own motion and notice to the appellant, dismiss the
even for an hour or two; thus, it considered the absence of petitioner unjustified. What's appeal if the appellant fails to file his brief within the time prescribed by this Rule, except in
more, though notarized, the subject document failed to indicate evidence of case the appellant is represented by a counsel de oficio.
affiants[37]identity making its due execution doubtful.
The court may also, upon motion of the appellee or on its own motion, dismiss the appeal if
Further, it should be recalled as well, that as early as 4 May 1999, petitioner and counsel had the appellant escapes from prison or confinement or jumps bail or flees to a foreign country
already been notified of the 19 May 1999 schedule of promulgation. The first having been during the pendency of the appeal. [Emphasis supplied.]
postponed in view of the Urgent Motion to Cancel Promulgation (on 5 May 1999) filed by
petitioners counsel.
By virtue of the second paragraph of the abovequoted provision, the act of jumping bail, Custody of the law is accomplished either by arrest or voluntary surrender (citation omitted);
among otherthings, will result in the outright dismissal of petitioners appeal. As pointed out while (the term) jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired upon his arrest or
by the Court in the case of People v. Mapalao,[39] the reason for said rule is that: voluntary appearance (citation omitted). One can be under the custody of the law but not yet
subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a person arrested by
[O]nce an accused escapes from prison or confinement or jumps bail or flees to a foreign virtue of a warrant files a motion before arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other
country, he losses his standing in court and unless he surrenders or submits to the hand, one can be subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and yet not be in
jurisdiction of the court he is deemed to have waived any right to seek relief from the court. the custody of the law, such as when an accused escapes custody after his trial has
commenced (citation omitted).[42]

Thus, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in dismissing petitioners appeal.
Within the meaning of the principles governing the prevailing criminal procedure, petitioner Moreover, jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost at the instance of parties, as when an
impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping bail and thereby made the judgment of accused escapes from the custody of the law, but continues until the case
the RTC final and executory.[40] is terminated.[43] Evidently, petitioner is correct in that there is no doubt that the RTC
already acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused petitioner when he appeared at
By putting himself beyond the reach and application of the legal processes of the land, the arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the crime charged notwithstanding the fact that he
petitioner revealed his contempt of the law and placed himself in a position to speculate at jumped bail and is now considered a fugitive.
his pleasure his chances for a reversal. This, we cannot condone. Once more, by jumping
bail, petitioner has waived his right to appeal. In the case of People v. Ang Gioc,[41] we As to whether or not petitioner has placed himself under the custody of the CA, alas, we
enunciated that: cannot say the same for [b]eing in the custody of the law signifies restraint on the person,
who is thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to become obedient to the
There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived even by the accused himself, will of the law (citation omitted). Custody of the law is literally custody over the body of the
but the right of appeal is not one of them. This right is granted solely for the benefit of the accused. It includes, but is not limited to, detention.[44] In the case at bar, petitioner, being
accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He may waive it either expressly or by a fugitive, until and unless he submits himself to the custody of the law, in the manner of
implication. When the accused flees after the case has been submitted to the court for being under the jurisdiction of the courts, he cannot be granted any relief by the CA.
decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the judgment rendered
against him x x x. Parenthetically, we cannot end this ponencia without calling attention to a very disturbing fact
that petitioner admits of being the author of a falsified public document was treated
Coming now to the second issue of whether or not petitioner failed to submit himself to the nonchalantly by authorities.
jurisdiction of the court or to the custody of the law, despite the posting of the subject bail
bond, petitioner argues that his act of filing several pleadings after the promulgation of In fine, the petitioner has remained at large even as he hopes that his appeal, and
the RTCs judgment plus his filing of the application for his admission to bail should be consequently, this petition, will succeed and he can then appear before the Court to claim his
considered a submission to the courts jurisdiction. He rationalizes that: victory. He hopes in vain.

[T]he records of the case readily reveals that several pleadings were filed by the petitioner WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Resolutions of the
before the lower court even after the promulgation of judgment was made. Right after the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. 24077, which dismissed petitioners appeal, are hereby
promulgation of the decision in the lower court, herein petitioner went to the court and AFFIRMED. In this connection, Judge Manuel Muro is DIRECTED to issue forthwith a warrant
posted a bail bond. If the posting of the bond which was approved by the same Regional Trial of arrest for the apprehension of Petitioner Arnold Alva and for proper disposition of the case
Court who rendered the decision subject of appeal is not yet a submission to the jurisdiction in line with the foregoing discussion.
of the court, then the respondent Hon. Court of Appeals must have been thinking of another Costs against the petitioner.
matter beyond the comprehension of the petitioner and obviously outside the matters being
contemplated by law and the Rules of Court. SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
For the resolution of the second issue, it should have been sufficient to state that for reasons
stated in the foregoing discussion, the question posed has now become academic. However, [G.R. No. L-47448. May 17, 1978.]
to diminish the confusion brought about by ostensibly equating the term jurisdiction of the
court (over the person of the accused) with that of custody of the law, it is fundamental to THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. HON. EMETERIO C. OCAYA, as District Judge,
differentiate the two. The term: 15th Judicial District, Branch VI, Province of Bukidnon, and ESTERLINA MARAPAO, LETICIA
MARAPAO and DIOSDADO MARAPAO, Respondents.
Arcadio D. Fabria and Camilo E. Tamin, Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Malaybalay, Bukidnon already attached."cralaw virtua1aw library
for Petitioner.
4. ID.; DUTY; DUTY OF TRIAL COURTS TO PROPERLY STUDY CASES BEFORE IT. Trial
Eusebio P. Aquino for Private Respondents. courts are duty bound to proceed with proper study and circumspection before summarily
dismissing cases duly filed within their courts jurisdiction so as not to needlessly burden the
SYNOPSIS appellate courts with cases. Judges should know that it is an established rule that where the
A charge of serious physical injuries was filed against private respondents but the trial judge information for serious physical injuries properly vested his court with jurisdiction to try and
after scanning the records and noting that the medical certificate stated that the injuries hear the case, but if from the evidence submitted a lesser offense was established, he equally
would require medical attention from seven (7) to ten (10) days and therefore may either be has jurisdiction to impose the sentence for such lesser offense.
slight or less serious physical injuries only and without receiving the evidence or hearing the
witnesses, precipitately dismissed the information for lack of jurisdiction on the erroneous 5. ID.; ID.; ID.; DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGES; TRANSFER OF ACTION; TRIAL COURTS
notion that in physical injury cases, the duration of the treatment of the injury inflicted on the PRE-JUDGMENT OF THE CASE, GROUND FOR TRANSFERRING CASE TO ANOTHER BRANCH OF
victim as indicated in the medical certificate determines the jurisdiction of the court. THE SAME COURT. Respondent judges actions and premature and baseless declaration
that the victims declaration as to the period of her incapacity is "self-serving" raise serious
The motion for reconsideration having been denied, the fiscal filed the petition for certiorari. doubts as to whether the State and the offended party may expect a fair and impartial
hearing and determination of the case from him, since seemingly with his erroneous
The Supreme Court holding that the allegations of the information determine the jurisdiction preconceptions and predilections, he has adversely prejudged their case as one merely of
of the court, nullified the questioned orders and ordered the remand of the case for further slight or less serious physical injuries, necessitates the transfer of the case to another court
proceedings to another branch of the same Court of First Instance since it is doubtful that the presided by another judge.
State and offended party may expect a fair and impartial hearing and determination of the
case in view of the respondents erroneous pre-conceptions and pre-delictions which had
adversely prejudged the case for serious physical injuries as one merely of slight or less DECISION
serious physical injuries.

SYLLABUS TEEHANKEE, J.:

1. COURTS; JURISDICTION; MEDICAL CERTIFICATE; DURATION OF TREATMENT OF THE


INJURY AS INDICATED IN THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE DOES NOT CONFER JURISDICTION The Court declares the questioned orders of respondent judge dismissing the information for
UPON THE COURT. Respondent judge committed a grave abuse of discretion in supposed lack of jurisdiction as null and void. Respondent judge wrongfully dismissed the
precipitately dismissing the case for alleged lack of jurisdiction on the mere basis of his case before him in disregard to the elemental rule that jurisdiction is determined by the
totally wrong notion that what governs in the filing of a physical injury case is the medical allegations of the information and that the offense of serious physical injuries charged in the
certificate regarding the duration of treatment and "not what the victim declares because the information had duly vested his court with jurisdiction. The Court orders the transfer of the
same is self-serving."cralaw virtua1aw library case below to another branch of the Bukidnon court of first instance, since it is doubtful that
the State and offended party may expect a fair and impartial hearing and determination of
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ALLEGATIONS OF THE INFORMATION VEST JURISDICTION UPON THE the case from respondent judge who with his erroneous preconceptions and predilections has
COURT. It is elemental that the jurisdiction of a court in criminal cases is determined by adversely prejudged their case for serious physical injuries as one merely of slight or less
the allegations of the information or criminal complaint and not by the result of the evidence serious physical injuries.
presented at the trial, much less by the trial judges personal appraisal of the affidavits and
exhibits attached by the fiscal to the record of the case without hearing the parties and their The office of the provincial fiscal of Bukidnon, after preliminary investigation filed an
witnesses nor receiving their evidence at a proper trial. information dated October 13, 1977 in the court of respondent judge, charging the three
private respondents-accused (Esterlina Marapao, Leticia Marapao and Diosdado Marapao) for
3. ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION ONCE VESTED CANNOT BE OUSTED BY THE FACT THAT WHAT serious physical injuries committed as follows:chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
HAS BEEN PROVED BY THE EVIDENCE IS AN OFFENSE BEYOND THE COURTS JURISDICTION.
It is elementary that the mere fact that the evidence presented at the trial would indicate "That on or about the 23rd day of July, 1977, in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Philippines and within
that a lesser offense outside the trial courts jurisdiction was committed does not deprive the the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating
trial court of its jurisdiction which had vested in it under the allegations of the information as and mutually helping each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
filed since" (once the jurisdiction attaches to the person and subject matter of the litigation, attack, assault and use personal violence upon one Mrs. LOLITA ARES, a mother who was
the subsequent happening of events, although they are of such a character as would have then still on the twelfth (12th) day from her child delivery, by then and there wrestling her to
prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance, will not operate to past jurisdiction the ground and thereafter throwing and hitting her with a fist-size stone at the face thereby
inflicting upon said Mrs. LOLITA ARES: Information that a fist-size stone hit the face of Lolita Ares causing lacerated wound on the
maxillary arch of the face which considerably deformed her face (are) not only supported by
lacerated wound, transverse right at about 2.5 cm. x 0.5 cm. in width at the level of the the medical certificate, but also by the admission of accused Diosdado Marapao during the
maxillary arch of the face, with contusion and swelling all around the inflicted area preliminary investigation that he threw a fist- size stone which hit the face of Lolita Ares and
the personal finding of Fiscal Tamin during the preliminary investigation that there is a
which injury considerably deforms her face, and further causing upon said Mrs. LOLITA ARES prominent scar on her face," and that the offense as charged falls under Article 263,
to suffer a relapse (nabughat in the local dialect) arising from her weak constitution due to paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code which imposes thereon a penalty of prision
her recent child delivery, which relapse incapacitated her from performing her customary correccional in its minimum and medium periods and is therefore properly cognizable by
labor for a period of more than thirty days. respondent judges court.chanrobles virtuallawlibrary

"Contrary to and in violation of Article 263, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code."cralaw The Court finds that respondent judge committed a grave abuse of discretion in precipitately
virtua1aw library dismissing the case for alleged lack of jurisdiction on the mere basis of his totally wrong
notion that what governs in the filing of a physical injury case is the medical certificate
The records do not show that arraignment or trial on the merits has been held much less that regarding the duration of treatment and "not what the victim declares because the same is
warrants for the arrest of the accused had been issued. Instead after "scanning the records of self-serving."cralaw virtua1aw library
(the) case" and noting that the thereto attached medical certificate stated that the injuries
suffered by the victim Lolita Ares would require medical attention from 7 to 10 days and, It is elemental that the jurisdiction of a court in criminal cases is determined by the
therefore, "may either be slight or less serious physical injuries only" contrary to victims allegations of the information or criminal complaint and not by the result of the evidence
affidavit that she was incapacitated from her customary labor for more than 30 days and the presented at the trial, 1 much less by the trial judges personal appraisal of the affidavits and
fiscals findings as to the prominent scar left on the victims face as a result "which exhibits attached by the fiscal to the record of the case without hearing the parties and their
considerably deforms her face" (as duly alleged in the information), respondent judge motu witnesses nor receiving their evidence at a proper trial.
proprio ordered the dismissal of the case "as the crime of slight or less physical injury is not
within the jurisdiction of the court" as per his Order of October 27, 1977, stating as his It is equally elementary that the mere fact that evidence presented at the trial would indicate
reason that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph that a lesser offense outside the trial courts jurisdiction was committed does not deprive the
trial court of its jurisdiction which had vested in it under the allegations of the information as
"The Court is of the opinion that what governs in the filing of a physical injury case is the filed since" (once) the jurisdiction attaches to the person and subject matter of the litigation,
certificate issued by the physician regarding the duration of treatment, and not what the the subsequent happening of events, although they are of such a character as would have
victim declares because the same is self-serving."cralaw virtua1aw library prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance, will not operate to oust jurisdiction
already attached." 2
The fiscals motion for reconsideration proved futile with respondent judge in his Order of
November 16, 1977 denying the same, evaluating the case without having heard the parties Indeed, the Solicitor General has aptly commented that "the dismissal of the case had only
or their witnesses (particularly the physician who issued the medical certificate) nor having resulted in duplication of work and wasted time in the remand of records when respondent
received their evidence and ruling against the deformity alleged in the information on the trial judge dismissed the instant case for want of jurisdiction, when it could have immediately
basis of his perception from a reading of the medical certificate and the fiscals written proceeded to arraign the accused and try him."cralaw virtua1aw library
resolution finding proper basis for the filing of the information, that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
Once more the Court is constrained to admonish the trial courts to proceed with proper study
"Now, does the finding of the fiscal to the effect that he observed a big scar at the left cheek and circumspection before summarily dismissing cases duly filed within their courts
bone of Mrs. Lolita Ares justify the filing of the charge of serious physical injuries, under cognizance and needlessly burdening the appellate courts with cases such as that at bar
Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code, when the attending physician certified that what he which should not have reached us at all in the first instance. Respondent judges disregard of
found was a lacerated wound on the right side of the face? Clearly, the scar found by the the established rule that the information for serious physical injuries properly vested his court
investigating fiscal could not be the result of the acts imputed to the accused but for some with jurisdiction to try and hear the case, and that if from the evidence submitted a lesser
other cause, for how could the scar be found on the left side when the injury inflicted was on offense was established, that he equally had jurisdiction to impose the sentence for such
the right side?" * lesser offense, is difficult of comprehension. Besides, the doctor who issued the medical
certificate had yet to be presented at the trial and conceivably could corroborate the victims
Hence, the petition at bar as filed by the provincial fiscal for nullification of respondent testimony that her injuries bad taken longer to heal than had at first been estimated by him
judges orders. as well as clarify the location of the victims facial scar.

The Solicitor General in his comment has noted that there is ample legal and factual basis for Respondent judges actions and premature and baseless declaration that the victims
the information charging serious physical injuries, stating that" (T)hat the allegations in the declaration as to the period of her incapacity is "self-serving" raise serious doubts as to
whether the State and the offended party may expect a fair and impartial hearing and TEODORICO PABLO ALMINE at the left side of the body with its pellet, causing injuries which
determination of the case from him, since seemingly with his erroneous preconceptions and directly caused his untimely death; . . . (p. 8, Rollo)
predilections, he has adversely prejudged their case as one merely of slight or less serious On 25 October 1985, petitioner moved to quash the said information on the following
physical injuries. The case below should therefore be transferred to another court presided by grounds:
another judge.chanrobles law library : red I
THAT THE FACTS CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE OFFENSE.
ACCORDINGLY, the questioned orders of respondent judge are declared null and void. The II
case below for serious physical injuries is remanded and ordered transferred to Branch V of THAT THE INFORMATION CONTAINS AVERMENTS WHICH IF TRUE WOULD CONSTITUTE A
the court of first instance below, and the judge presiding the same is ordered to issue the LEGAL EXCUSE OR JUSTIFICATION.
corresponding warrants of arrest and to proceed with dispatch with the arraignment of the III
respondents-accused and the trial and determination of the case on the merits. Let copy of THAT THIS HONORABLE COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED AND
this decision be attached to the personal record of respondent judge. No pronouncement as THE PERSON OF THE DEFENDANT. (p. 9, Rollo)
to costs. This motion, in an Order dated 4 April 1986, was denied with respect to the first and third
grounds relied upon. However, the resolution of the second ground was deferred until
SO ORDERED. evidence shall have been presented during trial.
On 26 July 1986, this present petition for certiorari was filed, raising two (2) issues, to wit:
Republic of the Philippines I
SUPREME COURT WHETHER AN ELEVEN (11) YEAR OLD BOY COULD BE CHARGED WITH THE CRIME OF
Manila HOMICIDE THRU RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE, AND
SECOND DIVISION II
G.R. No. 75256 January 26, 1989 WHETHER THE COURT HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT
JOHN PHILIP GUEVARRA, petitioner, THAT IT DID NOT PASS THRU THE BARANGAY LUPON. (Petition, p. 3, Rollo)
vs. Going through the written arguments of the parties, the surfacing of a corollary controversy
HONORABLE IGNACIO ALMODOVAR, respondent. with respect to the first issue raised is evident, that is, whether the term "discernment", as
Teresita Dy-Liacco and Roberto Madrid for petitioner. used in Article 12(3) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) is synonymous with "intent." It is the
position of the petitioner that "discernment" connotes 'intent' (p. 96, Rollo), invoking the
PARAS, J.: unreported case of People vs. Nieto, G.R. No. 11965, 30 April 1958. In that case We held that
Presented before Us is a special civil action for certiorari against the Honorable Judge Ignacio the allegation of "with intent to kill . . ." amply meets the requirement that discernment
Almodovar of the City Court of Legaspi, Branch 1, Legaspi City, raising beautiful questions of should be alleged when the accused is a minor between 9 and 15 years old. Petitioner
law which We are tasked to resolve. Considering the issues and arguments raised by completes his syllogism in saying that:
petitioner, We impleaded the People of the Philippines as party respondents herein in a If discernment is the equivalent of 'with intent', then the allegation in the information that the
resolution dated 17 September 1986 (p. 41, Rollo). accused acted with discernment and willfully unlawfully, and feloniously, operate or cause to
The relevant facts gathered from the records are as follows: be fired in a reckless and imprudent manner an air rifle .22 caliber' is an inherent
Petitioner John Philip Guevarra, then 11 years old, was playing with his best friend Teodoro contradiction tantamount to failure of the information to allege a cause of action or constitute
Almine, Jr. and three other children in their backyard in the morning of 29 October 1984. a legal excuse or exception. (Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 97, Rollo)
They were target-shooting a bottle cap (tansan) placed around fifteen (15) to twenty (20) If petitioner's argument is correct, then no minor between the ages of 9 and 15 may be
meters away with an air rifle borrowed from a neighbor. In the course of their game, Teodoro convicted of a quasi-offense under Article 265 of the RPC.
was hit by a pellet on his left collar bone which caused his unfortunate death. On the contrary, the Solicitor General insists that discernment and intent are two different
After conduct a preliminary investigation, the examining Fiscal exculpated petitioner due to concepts. We agree with the Solicitor General's view; the two terms should not be confused.
his age and because the unfortunate occurrence appeared to be an accident. The victim's The word "intent" has been defined as
parents appealed to the Ministry of Justice, which ordered the Fiscal to file a case against (a) design; a determination to do a certain things; an aim; the purpose of the mind, including
petitioner for Homicide through reckless Imprudence. The information dated 9 October 1985 such knowledge as is essential to such intent;. . .; the design resolve, or determination with
was consequently filed, which narrated in part: which a person acts.' (46 CJS Intent p. 1103.)
. . . the above-named accused, who is over 9 years but below 15 years of age and acting with It is this intent which comprises the third element of dolo as a means of committing a felony,
discernment, did then and there, without taking the necessary precautions to prevent and/or freedom and intelligence being the other two. On the other hand, We have defined the term
avoid accident or injuries to persons, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously operate and cause to discernment, as used in Article 12(3) of the RPC, in the old case of People vs. Doquena, 68
be fired, in a reckless and imprudent manner, an air rifle with .22 caliber bore with rifling, Phil. 580(1939), in this wise:
oxygen and bolt operated thereby hitting as a result of said carelessness and imprudence one The discernment that constitutes an exception to the exemption from criminal liability of a
minor under fifteen years of age but over nine, who commits an act prohibited by law, is
his mental capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong . . . (Emphasis Idea that she knew what would be the consequence of her unlawful act of pushing her victim
supplied) p. 583 into deep water and that she knew it to be wrong. (Emphasis supplied)
From the foregoing, it is clear that the terms "intent" and "discernment" convey two distinct From the above, it is clear that We did not mean to equate the words "intent" and
thoughts. While both are products of the mental processes within a person, the former refers "discernment." What We meant was that the combined effect of the words used in the
to the desired of one's act while the latter relates to the moral significance that person information is to express a knowledge, on the part of the accused Nieto, of the wrongness or
ascribes to the said act. Hence a person may not intend to shoot another but may be aware rightness of her act. Hence, petitioner may not validly contend that since the information now
of the consequences of his negligent act which may cause injury to the same person in in question alleged "discernment", it in effect alleged "intent." The former may never
negligently handling an air rifle. It is not connect, therefore, to argue, as petitioner does, that embrace the Idea of the latter; the former expresses the thought of passivity while the latter
since a minor above nine years of age but below fifteen acted with discernment, then he signifies activity.
intended such act to be done. He may negligently shoot his friend, thus did not intend to Coming now to the second issue of jurisdiction, it is contended by the petitioner that the case
shoot him, and at the same time recognize the undesirable result of his negligence. against him should have first been brought before the Lupong Tagapayapa pursuant to
In further outlining the distinction between the words "intent" and "discernment," it is worthy Presidential Decree No. 1508, Section 2(3). He submits that, considering his entitlement to a
to note the basic reason behind the enactment of the exempting circumstances embodied in two-degree privileged mitigating circumstance due to his minority, P.D. 1508 applies to his
Article 12 of the RPC; the complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or case because the penalty imposable is reduced to not higher than arresto menor from an
on the absence of negligence on the part of the accused. 1 In expounding on intelligence as original arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional medium as prescribed in Article 365
the second element of dolus, Albert 2 has stated: of the RPC. This is not correct. The jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined
The second element of dolus is intelligence; without this power, necessary to determine the by the penalty imposable under the law for the offense and not the penalty ultimately
morality of human acts to distinguish a licit from an illicit act, no crime can exist, and imposed (People vs. Caldito, 72 Phil. 263; People vs. Purisima, 69 SCRA 314; Dioquino vs.
because ... the infant 3 (has) no intelligence, the law exempts (him) from criminal liability. Cruz and People vs. Savellano, 116 SCRA 451). The same principle applies in construing
(Emphasis supplied) Section 2(3) of P.D. 1508, which states:
lt is for this reason, therefore, why minors nine years of age and below are not capable of xxx xxx xxx
performing a criminal act. On the other hand, minors above nine years of appeal but below (3) Offense punishable by imprisonment exceeding 30 day , or a fine exceeding P 200.00; ...
fifteen are not absolutely exempt. However, they are presumed to be without criminal (emphasis supplied)
capacity, but which presumption may be rebutted if it could be proven that they were Expounding on the above provision, a member of the committee that drafted P.D. 1508 has
"capable of appreciating the nature and criminality of the act, that is, that (they) acted with said:
discernment. " 4 The preceding discussion shows that "intelligence" as an element The law says 'punishable,' not 'punished.' One should therefore consider the penalty provided
of dolo actually embraces the concept of discernment as used in Article 12 of the RPC and as for by law or ordinance as distinguished from the penalty actually imposed in particular cases
defined in the aforecited case of People vs. Doquena, supra. It could not therefore be argued after considering the attendant circumstances affecting criminal liability. 5
that discernment is equivalent or connotes 'intent' for they refer to two different concepts. The foregoing finds support in our jurisprudence as above cited. We therefore rule that, in
Intelligence, which includes discernment, is a distinct element of dolo as a means of construing Section 2(3) of P.D. 1508, the penalty which the law defining the offense attaches
committing an offense. to the latter should be considered. Hence, any circumstance which may affect criminal liability
In evaluating felonies committed by means of culpa, three (3) elements are indispensable, must not be considered.
namely, intelligence, freedom of action, and negligence. Obviously, intent is wanting in such The petitioner, in his arguments, asserts that since P.D. 1508 has not been complied with,
felonies. However, intelligence remains as an essential element, hence, it is necessary that a the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case. This erroneous perception has been corrected
minor above nine but below fifteen years of age be possessed with intelligence in committing long before. As intimated in the case of Royales vs. IAC, 127 SCRA 470, and categorically
a negligent act which results in a quasi-offense. For him to be criminally liable, he must stated in Ebol vs. Amin, 135 SCRA 438, P.D. 1508 is not jurisdictional.
discern the rightness or wrongness of the effects of his negligent act. Indeed, a minor over WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, this petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit
nine years of age but below fifteen may be held liable for a quasi-offense under Article 365 of and the Temporary Restraining Order effective 17 September 1986 is LIFTED. Let this case
the RPC. A reading of the said Article would reveal such fact as it starts off with the phrase be REMANDED to the lower court for trial on the merits. No cost.
"Any person. . ." without any distinction or exception made. Ubi lex non distinquit nec nos SO ORDERED.
distinguere debemos. EN BANC
In his last attempt to justify his position equating the words "intent" and "discernment" used
under the law, he cites the case of People vs. Nieto, supra. However, petitioner failed to LT. (SG) EUGENE GONZALES, LT. (SG) ANDY G.R. No. 164007
present the qualifying sentence preceding the ruling he now invokes, which reads: TORRATO, LT. (SG) ANTONIO TRILLANES IV,
That requirement should be deemed amply met with the allegation in the information that CPT. GARY ALEJANO, LT. (SG) JAMES LAYUG, Present:
she. . ."with the intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, criminally and feloniously push one CPT. GERARDO GAMBALA, CPT. NICANOR
Lolita Padilla . . ." into a deep place of the Pearanda River and as a consequence thereof FAELDON, LT. (SG) MANUEL CABOCHAN, PANGANIBAN, C.J.,
Lolita Padilla got drowned and died right then and there.' This allegation clearly conveys the ENS. ARMAND PONTEJOS, LT. (JG) ARTURO PUNO,
PASCUA, and 1LT. JONNEL SANGGALANG, QUISUMBING,
Petitioners, YNARES-SANTIAGO, About noontime of the same day, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 427 declaring a
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, state of rebellion, followed by General Order No. 4 directing the AFP and PNP to take all
- versus - CARPIO, necessary measures to suppress the rebellion then taking place in Makati City. She then
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, called the soldiers to surrender their weapons at five oclock in the afternoon of that same
CORONA, day.
GEN. NARCISO ABAYA, in his capacity as CARPIO MORALES, In order to avoid a bloody confrontation, the government sent negotiators to dialogue with
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of CALLEJO, SR., the soldiers. The aim was to persuade them to peacefully return to the fold of the law. After
the Philippines, and B. GEN. MARIANO M. AZCUNA, several hours of negotiation, the government panel succeeded in convincing them to lay
SARMIENTO, JR., in his capacity as the Judge TINGA, down their arms and defuse the explosives placed around the premises of the Oakwood
Advocate General of the Judge Advocate CHICO-NAZARIO, Apartments. Eventually, they returned to their barracks.
Generals Office (JAGO), GARCIA, and
Respondents. VELASCO, JJ. A total of 321 soldiers, including petitioners herein, surrendered to the authorities.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigated the incident and recommended that
Promulgated: the military personnel involved be charged with coup detat defined and penalized under
Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. On July 31, 2003, the Chief State
August 10, 2006 Prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of the corresponding
Information against them.
Meanwhile, on August 2, 2003, pursuant to Article 70 of the Articles of War, respondent
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x General Narciso Abaya, then AFP Chief of Staff, ordered the arrest and detention of the
soldiers involved in the Oakwood incident and directed the AFP to conduct its own separate
investigation.
DECISION On August 5, 2003, the DOJ filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Makati City an
Information for coup detat[2] against those soldiers, docketed as Criminal Case No. 03-2784
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: and eventually raffled off to Branch 61, presided by Judge Romeo F. Barza.[3] Subsequently,
this case was consolidated with Criminal Case No. 03-2678, involving the other accused,
For our resolution is the Petition for Prohibition (with prayer for a temporary restraining pending before Branch 148 of the RTC, Makati City, presided by Judge Oscar B. Pimentel.
order) filed by the above-named members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), On August 13, 2003, the RTC directed the DOJ to conduct a reinvestigation of Criminal Case
herein petitioners, against the AFP Chief of Staff and the Judge Advocate General, No. 03-2784.
respondents.
The facts are: On the same date, respondent Chief of Staff issued Letter Order No. 625 creating a Pre-Trial
On July 26, 2003, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo received intelligence reports that some Investigation Panel tasked to determine the propriety of filing with the military tribunal
members of the AFP, with high-powered weapons, had abandoned their designated places of charges for violations of the Articles of War under Commonwealth Act No. 408,[4] as
assignment. Their aim was to destabilize the government. The President then directed the amended, against the same military personnel. Specifically, the charges are: (a) violation of
AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to track and arrest them. Article 63 for disrespect toward the President, the Secretary of National Defense, etc., (b)
On July 27, 2003 at around 1:00 a.m., more than 300 heavily armed junior officers and violation of Article 64 for disrespect toward a superior officer, (c) violation of Article 67 for
enlisted men of the AFP mostly from the elite units of the Armys Scout Rangers and the mutiny or sedition, (d) violation of Article 96 for conduct unbecoming an officer and a
Navys Special Warfare Group entered the premises of the Oakwood Premier Luxury gentleman, and (e) violation of Article 97 for conduct prejudicial to good order and military
Apartments on Ayala Avenue, Makati City. They disarmed the security guards and planted discipline.
explosive devices around the building. Of the original 321 accused in Criminal Case No. 03-2784, only 243 (including petitioners
Led by Navy Lt. (SG) Antonio Trillanes IV, the troops sported red armbands emblazoned with herein) filed with the RTC, Branch 148 an Omnibus Motion praying that the said trial court
the emblem of the Magdalo faction of the Katipunan.[1] The troops then, through broadcast assume jurisdiction over all the charges filed with the military tribunal. They invoked Republic
media, announced their grievances against the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Act (R.A.) No. 7055.[5]
Arroyo, such as the graft and corruption in the military, the illegal sale of arms and On September 15, 2003, petitioners filed with the Judge Advocate Generals Office (JAGO) a
ammunition to the enemies of the State, and the bombings in Davao City intended to acquire motion praying for the suspension of its proceedings until after the RTC shall have resolved
more military assistance from the US government. They declared their withdrawal of support their motion to assume jurisdiction.
from their Commander-in-Chief and demanded that she resign as President of the On October 29, 2003, the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel submitted its Initial Report to the AFP
Republic. They also called for the resignation of her cabinet members and the top brass of the Chief of Staff recommending that the military personnel involved in the Oakwood incident be
AFP and PNP. charged before a general court martial with violations of Articles 63, 64, 67, 96, and 97 of the
Articles of War.
Meanwhile, on November 11, 2003, the DOJ, after conducting a reinvestigation, found position and asserted that 23 of the accused have already been arraigned;[14] and that
probable cause against only 31 (petitioners included) of the 321 accused in Criminal Case No. petitioners moved for a reconsideration but it was denied by the general court martial in its
03-2784. Accordingly, the prosecution filed with the RTC an Amended Information.[6] Order dated September 14, 2005.[15]
In an Order dated November 14, 2003, the RTC admitted the Amended Information and
dropped the charge of coup detat against the 290 accused. In his Comment, the Solicitor General prays that the Supplemental Petition be denied for lack
Subsequently, or on December 12, 2003, the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel submitted its Final of merit. He alleges that contrary to petitioners pretensions, all the accused were duly
Pre-Trial Investigation Report[7] to the JAGO, recommending that, following the doctrine of arraigned on July 13 and 18, 2005.[16] The (r)ecords show that in the hearing on July 13,
absorption, those charged with coup detat before the RTC should not be charged before the 2005, all the 29 accused were present and, (o)n that day, Military Prosecutor Captain Karen
military tribunal for violation of the Articles of War. Ong Jags read the Charges and Specifications from the Charge Sheet in open court (pp. 64,
For its part, the RTC, on February 11, 2004, issued an Order[8] stating that all charges TSN, July 13, 2005).[17]
before the court martial against the accusedare hereby declared not service-connected, but
rather absorbed and in furtherance of the alleged crime of coup detat. The trial court then The sole question for our resolution is whether the petitioners are entitled to the writ of
proceeded to hear petitioners applications for bail. prohibition.
In the meantime, Colonel Julius A. Magno, in his capacity as officer-in-charge of the JAGO, There is no dispute that petitioners, being officers of the AFP, are subject to military
reviewed the findings of the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel. He recommended that 29 of the law. Pursuant to Article 1 (a) of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended, otherwise known
officers involved in the Oakwood incident, including petitioners, be prosecuted before a as the Articles of War, the term officer is construed to refer to a commissioned officer. Article
general court martial for violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a 2 provides:
gentleman) of the Articles of War. Art. 2. Persons Subject to Military Law. The following persons are subject to these articles
On June 17, 2004, Colonel Magnos recommendation was approved by the AFP top brass. The and shall be understood as included in the term any person subject to military law or persons
AFP Judge Advocate General then directed petitioners to submit their answer to the subject to military law, whenever used in these articles:
charge. Instead of complying, they filed with this Court the instant Petition for Prohibition (a) All officers and soldiers in the active service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or of
praying that respondents be ordered to desist from charging them with violation of Article 96 the Philippine Constabulary, all members of the reserve force, from the dates of their call to
of the Articles of War in relation to the Oakwood incident.[9] active duty and while on such active duty; all trainees undergoing military instructions; and
Petitioners maintain that since the RTC has made a determination in its Order of February 11, all other persons lawfully called, drafted, or ordered into, or to duty or for training in the said
2004 that the offense for violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a service, from the dates they are required by the terms of the call, draft, or order to obey the
gentleman) of the Articles of War is not service-connected, but is absorbed in the crime same.
of coup detat, the military tribunal cannot compel them to submit to its jurisdiction. Upon the other hand, Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055 reads:
The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, counters that R.A. No. 7055 specifies
which offenses covered by the Articles of War are service-connected. These are violations of SEC. 1. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military
Articles 54 to 70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97. The law provides that violations of these Articles law, including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes
are properly cognizable by the court martial. As the charge against petitioners is violation ofor offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local
Article 96 which, under R.A. No. 7055 is a service-connected offense, then it falls under the government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or
jurisdiction of the court martial. offended parties, which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil
court, except when the offense, as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is
Subsequently, petitioners filed with this Court a Supplemental Petition raising the additional service-connected, in which case, the offense shall be tried by court-martial, Provided, That
issue that the offense charged before the General Court Martial has prescribed.Petitioners the President of the Philippines may, in the interest of justice, order or direct at any time
alleged therein that during the pendency of their original petition, respondents proceeded before arraignment that any such crimes or offenses be tried by the proper civil courts.
with the Pre-Trial Investigation for purposes of charging them with violation of Article 96 As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses shall be limited to those defined
(conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) of the Articles of War; that the Pre-Trial in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as
Investigation Panel then referred the case to the General Court Martial; that almost two years amended.
since the Oakwood incident on July 27, 2003, only petitioner Lt. (SG) Antonio Trillanes was In imposing the penalty for such crimes or offenses, the court-martial may take into
arraigned, and this was done under questionable circumstances;[10] that in the hearing of consideration the penalty prescribed therefor in the Revised Penal Code, other special laws,
July 26, 2005, herein petitioners moved for the dismissal of the case on the ground that they or local government ordinances.
were not arraigned within the prescribed period of two (2) years from the date of the
commission of the alleged offense, in violation of Article 38 of the Articles of War;[11] that Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055, quoted above, is clear and unambiguous. First, it lays down
the offense charged prescribed on July 25, 2005;[12] that the General Court Martial ruled, the general rule that members of the AFP and other persons subject to military law, including
however, that the prescriptive period shall end only at 12:00 midnight of July 26, members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses
2005;[13] that (a)s midnight of July 26, 2005 was approaching and it was becoming penalized under the Revised Penal Code (like coup detat), other special penal laws, or local
apparent that the accused could not be arraigned, the prosecution suddenly changed its ordinances shall be tried by the proper civil court. Next, it provides the exception to the
general rule, i.e., where the civil court, before arraignment, has determined the offense to disciplinary in character, evidently intended to cleanse the military profession of misfits and
be service-connected, then the offending soldier shall be tried by a court martial. Lastly, the to preserve the stringent standard of military discipline.
law states an exception to the exception, i.e., where the President of the Philippines, in the
interest of justice, directs before arraignment that any such crimes or offenses be tried by the Obviously, there is no merit in petitioners argument that they can no longer be charged
proper civil court. before the court martial for violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War because the same has
The second paragraph of the same provision further identifies the service-connected crimes been declared by the RTC in its Order of February 11, 2004 as not service-connected, but
or offenses as limited to those defined in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 rather absorbed and in furtherance of the alleged crime of coup detat, hence, triable by said
to 97 of the Articles of War. Violations of these specified Articles are triable by court court (RTC). The RTC, in making such declaration, practically amended the law which
martial. This delineates the jurisdiction between the civil courts and the court martial over expressly vests in the court martial the jurisdiction over service-connected crimes or
crimes or offenses committed by military personnel. offenses. What the law has conferred the court should not take away. It is only the
Constitution or the law that bestows jurisdiction on the court, tribunal, body or officer over
Such delineation of jurisdiction by R.A. No. 7055 is necessary to preserve the peculiar nature the subject matter or nature of an action which can do so.[22] And it is only through a
of military justice system over military personnel charged with service-connected constitutional amendment or legislative enactment that such act can be done. The first and
offenses. The military justice system is disciplinary in nature, aimed at achieving the highest fundamental duty of the courts is merely to apply the law as they find it, not as they like it to
form of discipline in order to ensure the highest degree of military efficiency.[18] Military law be.[23] Evidently, such declaration by the RTC constitutes grave abuse of discretion
is established not merely to enforce discipline in times of war, but also to preserve the tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and is, therefore, void.
tranquility and security of the State in time of peace; for there is nothing more dangerous to
the public peace and safety than a licentious and undisciplined military body.[19] The In Navales v. Abaya.,[24] this Court, through Mr. Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., held:
administration of military justice has been universally practiced. Since time immemorial, all We agree with the respondents that the sweeping declaration made by the RTC (Branch 148)
the armies in almost all countries of the world look upon the power of military law and its in the dispositive portion of its Order dated February 11, 2004 that all charges before the
administration as the most effective means of enforcing discipline. For this reason, the court court-martial against the accused were not service-connected, but absorbed and in
martial has become invariably an indispensable part of any organized armed forces, it being furtherance of the crime of coup detat, cannot be given effect. x x x, such declaration was
the most potent agency in enforcing discipline both in peace and in war.[20] made without or in excess of jurisdiction; hence, a nullity.
The second paragraph of the above provision (referring to Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055)
Here, petitioners are charged for violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a explicitly specifies what are considered service-connected crimes or offenses under
gentleman) of the Articles of War before the court martial, thus: Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended, also known as the Articles of War, to wit:
All persons subject to military law, did on or about 27 July 2003 at Oakwood Hotel, Makati Articles 54 to 70:
City, Metro Manila, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously violate their solemn oath as officers to
defend the Constitution, the law and the duly-constituted authorities and abused their Art. 54. Fraudulent Enlistment.
constitutional duty to protect the people and the State by, among others, attempting to oust Art. 55. Officer Making Unlawful Enlistment.
the incumbent duly-elected and legitimate President by force and violence, seriously Art. 56. False Muster.
disturbing the peace and tranquility of the people and the nation they are sworn to Art. 57. False Returns.
protect, thereby causing dishonor and disrespect to the military profession, conduct Art. 58. Certain Acts to Constitute Desertion.
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, in violation of AW 96 of the Articles of War. Art. 59. Desertion.
CONTRARY TO LAW. (Underscoring ours) Art. 60. Advising or Aiding Another to Desert.
Article 96 of the Articles of War[21] provides: Art. 61. Entertaining a Deserter.
ART. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. Any officer, member of the Nurse Art. 62. Absence Without Leave.
Corps, cadet, flying cadet, or probationary second lieutenant, who is convicted of conduct Art. 63. Disrespect Toward the President, Vice-President,
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be dismissed from the service. (Underscoring Congress of the Philippines, or Secretary of National
ours) Defense.
Art. 64. Disrespect Toward Superior Officer.
We hold that the offense for violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War is service- Art. 65. Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying Superior Officer.
connected. This is expressly provided in Section 1 (second paragraph) of R.A. No. 7055. It Art. 66. Insubordinate Conduct Toward Non-Commissioned Officer.
bears stressing that the charge against the petitioners concerns the alleged violation of their Art. 67. Mutiny or Sedition.
solemn oath as officers to defend the Constitution and the duly-constituted authorities. Such Art. 68. Failure to Suppress Mutiny or Sedition.
violation allegedly caused dishonor and disrespect to the military profession. In short, the Art. 69. Quarrels; Frays; Disorders.
charge has a bearing on their professional conduct or behavior as military officers. Equally Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement.
indicative of the service-connected nature of the offense is the penalty prescribed for the Articles 72 to 92:
same dismissal from the service imposable only by the military court. Such penalty is purely Art. 72. Refusal to Receive and Keep Prisoners.
Art. 73. Report of Prisoners Received. civilians. History, experience, and the nature of a military organization dictate that military
Art. 74. Releasing Prisoner Without Authority. personnel must be subjected to a separate disciplinary system not applicable to unarmed
Art. 75. Delivery of Offenders to Civil Authorities. civilians or unarmed government personnel.
Art. 76. Misbehavior Before the Enemy. A civilian government employee reassigned to another place by his superior may question his
Art. 77. Subordinates Compelling Commander to Surrender. reassignment by asking a temporary restraining order or injunction from a civil
Art. 78. Improper Use of Countersign. court. However, a soldier cannot go to a civil court and ask for a restraining or injunction if
Art. 79. Forcing a Safeguard. his military commander reassigns him to another area of military operations. If this is
Art. 80. Captured Property to be Secured for Public Service. allowed, military discipline will collapse.
Art. 81. Dealing in Captured or Abandoned Property. xxx
Art. 82. Relieving, Corresponding With, or Aiding the Enemy. This Court has recognized that courts-martial are instrumentalities of the Executive to enable
Art. 83. Spies. the President, as Commander-in-Chief, to effectively command, control, and discipline the
Art. 84. Military Property.Willful or Negligent Loss, Damage armed forces (see Ruffy v. Chief of Staff, 75 Phil. 875 [1946], citing Winthrops Military Law
or wrongful Disposition. and Precedents, 2nd edition, p. 49). In short, courts-martial form part of the disciplinary
Art. 85. Waste or Unlawful Disposition of Military Property system that ensures the Presidents control, and thus civilian supremacy, over the military. At
Issued to Soldiers. the apex of this disciplinary system is the President who exercises review powers over
Art. 86. Drunk on Duty. decisions of courts-martial (citing Article 50 of the Articles of War; quoted provisions
Art. 87. Misbehavior of Sentinel. omitted).
Art. 88. Personal Interest in Sale of Provisions. xxx
Art. 88-A. Unlawful Influencing Action of Court. While the Court had intervened before in courts-martial or similar proceedings, it did so
Art. 89. Intimidation of Persons Bringing Provisions. sparingly and only to release a military personnel illegally detained (Ognir v. Director of
Art. 90. Good Order to be Maintained and Wrongs Redressed. Prisons, 80 Phil. 401 [1948] or to correct objectionable procedures (Yamashita v. Styer, 75
Art. 91. Provoking Speeches or Gestures. Phil. 563 [1945]). The Court has never suppressed court-martial proceedings on the ground
Art. 92. Dueling. that the offense charged is absorbed and in furtherance of another criminal charge pending
Articles 95 to 97: with the civil courts. The Court may now do so only if the offense charged is not one of the
service-connected offenses specified in Section 1 of RA 7055. Such is not the situation in the
Art. 95. Frauds Against the Government. present case.
Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. With respect to the issue of prescription raised by petitioners in their Supplemental Petition,
Art. 97. General Article. suffice it to say that we cannot entertain the same. The contending parties are at
Further, Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 7055 vests on the military courts the jurisdiction over the loggerheads as to (a) who among the petitioners were actually arraigned, and (b) the dates
foregoing offenses. x x x. of their arraignment. These are matters involving questions of fact, not within our power of
It is clear from the foregoing that Rep. Act No. 7055 did not divest the military courts of review, as we are not a trier of facts. In a petition for prohibition, such as the one at bar, only
jurisdiction to try cases involving violations of Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles legal issues affecting the jurisdiction of the tribunal, board or officer involved may be
95 to 97 of the Articles of War as these are considered service-connected crimes or resolved on the basis of the undisputed facts.[26]
offenses. In fact, it mandates that these shall be tried by the court-martial.
Clearly, the instant petition for prohibition must fail. The office of prohibition is to prevent the
Moreover, the observation made by Mr. Justice Antonio T. Carpio during the deliberation of unlawful and oppressive exercise of authority and is directed against proceedings that are
this case is worth quoting, thus: done without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, there being no
The trial court aggravated its error when it justified its ruling by holding that the charge of appeal or other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[27] Stated
Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman is absorbed and in furtherance to the differently, prohibition is the remedy to prevent inferior courts, corporations, boards, or
alleged crime of coup detat. Firstly, the doctrine of absorption of crimes is peculiar to criminal persons from usurping or exercising a jurisdiction or power with which they have not been
law and generally applies to crimes punished by the same statute,[25] unlike here where vested by law.[28]
different statutes are involved. Secondly, the doctrine applies only if the trial court has In fine, this Court holds that herein respondents have the authority in convening a court
jurisdiction over both offenses. Here, Section 1 of R.A. 7055 deprives civil courts of martial and in charging petitioners with violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War.
jurisdiction over service-connected offenses, including Article 96 of the Articles of War. Thus, WHEREFORE, the instant petition for prohibition is DISMISSED.
the doctrine of absorption of crimes is not applicable to this case. Republic of the Philippines
Military law is sui generis (Calley v. Callaway, 519 F.2d 184 [1975]), applicable only to SUPREME COURT
military personnel because the military constitutes an armed organization requiring a system Manila
of discipline separate from that of civilians (see Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 U.S. 83 EN BANC
[1953]). Military personnel carry high-powered arms and other lethal weapons not allowed to G.R. No. 154473 April 24, 2009
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and PHOTOKINA MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioners, On June 18, 2002, the trial court issued the challenged Order13 dismissing Criminal Case No.
vs. Q-02-109407 and considering as moot and academic petitioners motion to inhibit. While the
ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, Respondent. RTC found that respondent was no longer an impeachable officer because his appointment
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x was not confirmed by Congress, it ruled that the case had to be dismissed for lack of
G.R. No. 155573 April 24, 2009 jurisdiction considering that the alleged libel was committed by respondent in relation to his
PHOTOKINA MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioner, officehe delivered the speech in his official capacity as COMELEC Chair. Accordingly, it was
vs. the Sandiganbayan that had jurisdiction over the case to the exclusion of all other courts.
ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, Respondent. On motion for reconsideration, the trial court adhered to its ruling that it was not vested with
DECISION jurisdiction to hear the libel case.14
NACHURA, J.: Aggrieved, petitioners timely filed before the Court, on pure questions of law, the instant
Before the Court are two consolidated petitions for review on certiorari filed under Rules 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari15 under Rule 122 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
and 122 of the Rules of Court: (1) G.R. No. 154473 assailing the June 18, 20021 and the raising the following grounds:
June 23, 20022 Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 102 in I. THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE FIRST RESOLVED THE MOTION TO INHIBIT BEFORE
Criminal Case No. Q-02-109407; and (2) G.R. No. 155573 challenging the June 25, RESOLVING THE MOTION TO DISMISS;
20023 and the September 18, 20024 Orders of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101 in II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL IN THIS CASE WAS
Criminal Case No. Q-02-109406. COMMITTED BY ACCUSED "IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE;" AND
The petitions, while involving the same issues, rest on different factual settings, thus: III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION IN THIS CASE.16
G.R. No. 154473 G.R. No. 155573
On January 31, 2002, respondent Alfredo L. Benipayo, then Chairman of the Commission on On March 13, 2002, respondent, as COMELEC Chair, and COMELEC Commissioner Luzviminda
Elections (COMELEC), delivered a speech in the "Forum on Electoral Problems: Roots and Tangcangco were guests of the talk show "Point Blank," hosted by Ces Drilon and televised
Responses in the Philippines" held at the Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines-Diliman nationwide on the ANC-23 channel. The television shows episode that day was entitled
Campus, Quezon City.5 The speech was subsequently published in the February 4 and 5, "COMELEC Wars."17 In that episode, the following conversation transpired:
2002 issues of the Manila Bulletin.6 Drilon: Are you saying, Chairman, that COMELEC funds are being used for a "PR" campaign
Petitioner corporation, believing that it was the one alluded to by the respondent when he against you? Is that what you are saying?
stated in his speech that Benipayo: No, I think [its] not COMELEC funds, [its] Photokina funds. You know, admittedly,
Even worse, the Commission came right up to the brink of signing a 6.5 billion contract for a according to [c]harg d[a]ffaires of the U.S. Embassy[,] in a letter sent to me in July of
registration solution that could have been bought for 350 million pesos, and an ID solution 2001, it is whats been [so] happening to the Photokina deal, they have already spent in
that isnt even a requirement for voting. But reason intervened and no contract was excess of 2.4 [m]illion U.S. [d]ollars. At that time[,] thats about 120 [m]illion pesos and I
signed. Now, they are at it again, trying to hoodwink us into contract that is so grossly said, what for[?] [T]hey wouldnt tell me, you see. Now you asked me, [who is] funding this?
disadvantageous to the government that it offends common sense to say that it would be I think its pretty obvious.18
worth the 6.5 billion-peso price tag.7 Petitioner considered respondents statement as defamatory, and, through its authorized
filed, through its authorized representative, an Affidavit-Complaint8 for libel. representative, filed a Complaint-Affidavit19 for libel. Respondent similarly questioned the
Arguing that he was an impeachable officer, respondent questioned the jurisdiction of the jurisdiction of the OCP-QC.20 The City Prosecutor, however, consequently instituted Criminal
Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City (OCP-QC).9 Despite the challenge, the City Case No. Q-02-109406 by filing the corresponding Information21 with the RTC of Quezon
Prosecutor filed an Information10 for libel against the respondent, docketed as Criminal Case City, Branch 101.
No. Q-02-109407, with the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 102. Respondent also moved for the dismissal of the information raising similar arguments that
Petitioner later filed a Motion for Inhibition and Consolidation,11 contending that Judge Jaime the court had no jurisdiction over his person, he being an impeachable officer; and that, even
N. Salazar of Branch 102 could not impartially preside over the case because his appointment if criminal prosecution were possible, jurisdiction rested with the Sandiganbayan.22
to the judiciary was made possible through the recommendation of respondents father-in- On June 25, 2002, the trial court issued the assailed Order23 dismissing Criminal Case No. Q-
law. Petitioner further moved that the case be ordered consolidated with the other libel case 02-109406 for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the respondent. The RTC, in the further
[Criminal Case No. Q-02-103406, which is the subject of G.R. No. 155573] pending with assailed September 18, 2002 Order,24 denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.25
Branch 101 of the RTC. Displeased with the rulings of the trial court, petitioners seasonably filed before this Court, on
While the said motion remained unresolved, respondent, for his part, moved for the dismissal pure questions of law, another Petition for Review on Certiorari26 under Rule 122 in relation
of the case on the assertion that the trial court had no jurisdiction over his person for he was to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following grounds:
an impeachable officer and thus, could not be criminally prosecuted before any court during I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL IN THIS CASE WAS
his incumbency; and that, assuming he can be criminally prosecuted, it was the Office of the COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT "IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE"; AND
Ombudsman that should investigate him and the case should be filed with the II. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY ALLEGATION IN THE INFORMATION THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL
Sandiganbayan.12 WAS COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED
IN RULING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE BELOW.
III. EVEN ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE had jurisdiction due to the enactment of RA 7691. Upon elevation of the matter to us,
CASE, THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE ENDORSED THE CASE TO THE SANDIGANBAYAN respondent judges orders were nullified for lack of jurisdiction, as follows:
INSTEAD OF DISMISSING IT OUTRIGHT.27 "WHEREFORE, the petition is granted: the respondent Courts Orders dated August 14, 1995,
Considering that the two petitions, as aforesaid, involve the same issues and the same September 7, 1995, and October 18, 1995 are declared null and void for having been issued
parties, the Court, upon the recommendation of the Clerk of Court,28 consolidated the without jurisdiction; and said Court is enjoined from further taking cognizance of and
cases.29 proceeding with Criminal Case No. 43-00548, which it is commanded to remand to the
The core issue for the resolution of the Court in these twin cases is whether the RTC has Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for proper disposition."
jurisdiction over libel cases to the exclusion of all other courts. Another case involving the same question was cited as resolving the matter:
The Ruling of the Court "Anent the question of jurisdiction, we ** find no reversible error committed by public
The Court observes that the parties have argued at length in their pleadings on the issue of respondent Court of Appeals in denying petitioners motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
whether the alleged criminal acts of respondent are committed in relation to his office. They The contention ** that R.A. 7691 divested the Regional Trial Courts of jurisdiction to try libel
are of the conviction that the resolution of the said question will ultimately determine which cases cannot be sustained. While libel is punishable by imprisonment of six months and one
courtthe RTC or the Sandiganbayanhas jurisdiction over the criminal cases filed. The day to four years and two months (Art. 360, Revised Penal Code) which imposable penalty is
Court, however, notes that both parties are working on a wrong premise. The foremost lodged within the Municipal Trial Courts jurisdiction under R.A. No. 7691 (Sec. 32 [2]), said
concern, which the parties, and even the trial court, failed to identify, is whether, under our law however, excludes therefrom ** cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of
current laws, jurisdiction over libel cases, or written defamations to be more specific, is the Regional Trial Courts **. The Court in Bocobo vs. Estanislao, 72 SCRA 520 and Jalandoni
shared by the RTC with the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, if the said courts do not have concurrent vs. Endaya, 55 SCRA 261, correctly cited by the Court of Appeals, has laid down the rule that
jurisdiction to try the offense, it would be pointless to still determine whether the crime is Regional Trial courts have the exclusive jurisdiction over libel cases, hence, the expanded
committed in relation to office. jurisdiction conferred by R.A. 7691 to inferior courts cannot be applied to libel cases."
Uniformly applied is the familiar rule that the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a Conformably with [these] rulings, we now hold that public respondent committed an error in
case is conferred by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action, unless a latter ordering that the criminal case for libel be tried by the MTC of Bangued.
statute provides for a retroactive application thereof.30 Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code For, although RA 7691 was enacted to decongest the clogged dockets of the Regional Trail
(RPC),31 as amended by Republic Act No. 4363,32 is explicit on which court has jurisdiction Courts by expanding the jurisdiction of first level courts, said law is of a general character.
to try cases of written defamations, thus: Even if it is a later enactment, it does not alter the provision of Article 360 of the RPC, a law
The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in of a special nature. "Laws vesting jurisdiction exclusively with a particular court, are special in
this chapter, shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance [now, character, and should prevail over the Judiciary Act defining the jurisdiction of other courts
the Regional Trial Court] of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first (such as the Court of First Instance) which is a general law." A later enactment like RA 7691
published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission does not automatically override an existing law, because it is a well-settled principle of
of the offense xxx.33 [Underscoring and italics ours.]1avvphi1.zw+ construction that, in case of conflict between a general law and a special law, the latter must
More than three decades ago, the Court, in Jalandoni v. Endaya,34 acknowledged the prevail regardless of the dates of their enactment. Jurisdiction conferred by a special law on
unmistakable import of the said provision: the RTC must therefore prevail over that granted by a general law on the MTC.
There is no need to make mention again that it is a court of first instance [now, the Regional Moreover, from the provisions of R.A. 7691, there seems to be no manifest intent to repeal or
Trial Court] that is specifically designated to try a libel case. Its language is categorical; its alter the jurisdiction in libel cases. If there was such intent, then the amending law should
meaning is free from doubt. This is one of those statutory provisions that leave no room for have clearly so indicated because implied repeals are not favored. As much as possible, effect
interpretation. All that is required is application. What the law ordains must then be must be given to all enactments of the legislature. A special law cannot be repealed,
followed.35 amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere implication. Furthermore, for an
This exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC over written defamations is echoed in implied repeal, a pre-condition must be found, that is, a substantial conflict should exist
Bocobo v. Estanislao,36where the Court further declared that jurisdiction remains with the between the new and prior laws. Absent an express repeal, a subsequent law cannot be
trial court even if the libelous act is committed "by similar means,"37 and despite the fact construed as repealing a prior one unless an irreconcilable inconsistency or repugnancy exists
that the phrase "by similar means" is not repeated in the latter portion of Article 360.38 In in the terms of the new and old laws. The two laws, in brief, must be absolutely incompatible.
these cases, and in those that followed, the Court had been unwavering in its pronouncement In the law which broadened the jurisdiction of the first level courts, there is no absolute
that the expanded jurisdiction of the municipal trial courts cannot be exercised over libel prohibition barring Regional Trial Courts from taking cognizance of certain cases over which
cases. Thus, in Manzano v. Hon. Valera,39 we explained at length that: they have been priorly granted special and exclusive jurisdiction. Such grant of the RTC
The applicable law is still Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, which categorically provides (previously CFI) was categorically contained in the first sentence of the amended Sec. 32 of
that jurisdiction over libel cases [is] lodged with the Courts of First Instance (now Regional B.P. 129. The inconsistency referred to in Section 6 of RA 7691, therefore, does not apply to
Trial Courts). cases of criminal libel.
This Court already had the opportunity to rule on the matter in G.R. No. 123263, People vs. Lastly, in Administrative Order No. 104-96 issued 21 October 1996, this Court delineated the
MTC of Quezon City, Branch 32 and Isah v. Red wherein a similar question of jurisdiction over proper jurisdiction over libel cases, hence settled the matter with finality:
libel was raised. In that case, the MTC judge opined that it was the first level courts which
"RE: DESIGNATION OF SPECIAL COURTS FOR KIDNAPPING, ROBBERY, CARNAPPING, The undisputed facts show that on March 7, 2002, two informations for unfair competition
DANGEROUS DRUGS CASES AND OTHER HEINOUS CRIMES; INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY under Section 168.3 (a), in relation to Section 170, of the Intellectual Property Code
RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND JURISDICTION IN LIBEL CASES. (Republic Act No. 8293), similarly worded save for the dates and places of commission, were
xxxx filed against petitioner Manolo P. Samson, the registered owner of ITTI Shoes. The
C accusatory portion of said informations read:
"LIBEL CASES SHALL BE TRIED BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVING JURISDICTION That on or about the first week of November 1999 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto,
OVER THEM TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named
COURTS IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS." accused, owner/proprietor of ITTI Shoes/Mano Shoes Manufactuirng Corporation located at
(Underscoring supplied)40 Robinsons Galleria, EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City, did then and there willfully,
As we have constantly held in Jalandoni, Bocobo, People v. Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon unlawfully and feloniously distribute, sell and/or offer for sale CATERPILLAR products such as
City, Br. 32,41Manzano, and analogous cases, we must, in the same way, declare herein that footwear, garments, clothing, bags, accessories and paraphernalia which are closely identical
the law, as it still stands at present, dictates that criminal and civil actions for damages in to and/or colorable imitations of the authentic Caterpillar products and likewise using
cases of written defamations shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the RTC to the trademarks, symbols and/or designs as would cause confusion, mistake or deception on the
exclusion of all other courts. A subsequent enactment of a law defining the jurisdiction of part of the buying public to the damage and prejudice of CATERPILLAR, INC., the prior
other courts cannot simply override, in the absence of an express repeal or modification, the adopter, user and owner of the following internationally: CATERPILLAR, CAT, CATERPILLAR &
specific provision in the RPC vesting in the RTC, as aforesaid, jurisdiction over defamations in DESIGN, CAT AND DESIGN, WALKING MACHINES and TRACK-TYPE TRACTOR & DESIGN.
writing or by similar means.42The grant to the Sandiganbayan43 of jurisdiction over offenses CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]
committed in relation to (public) office, similar to the expansion of the jurisdiction of the On April 19, 2002, petitioner filed a motion to suspend arraignment and other proceedings in
MTCs, did not divest the RTC of its exclusive and original jurisdiction to try written view of the existence of an alleged prejudicial question involved in Civil Case No. Q-00-41446
defamation cases regardless of whether the offense is committed in relation to office. The for unfair competition pending with the same branch; and also in view of the pendency of a
broad and general phraseology of Section 4, Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by petition for review filed with the Secretary of Justice assailing the Chief State Prosecutors
Republic Act No. 8249,44 cannot be construed to have impliedly repealed, or even simply resolution finding probable cause to charge petitioner with unfair competition. In an Order
modified, such exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC.45 dated August 9, 2002, the trial court denied the motion to suspend arraignment and other
Since jurisdiction over written defamations exclusively rests in the RTC without qualification, proceedings.
it is unnecessary and futile for the parties to argue on whether the crime is committed in On August 20, 2002, petitioner filed a twin motion to quash the informations and motion for
relation to office. Thus, the conclusion reached by the trial court that the respondent reconsideration of the order denying motion to suspend, this time challenging the jurisdiction
committed the alleged libelous acts in relation to his office as former COMELEC chair, and of the trial court over the offense charged. He contended that since under Section 170 of R.A.
deprives it of jurisdiction to try the case, is, following the above disquisition, gross error. This No. 8293, the penalty5 of imprisonment for unfair competition does not exceed six years, the
Court, therefore, orders the reinstatement of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-02-109406 and Q-02- offense is cognizable by the Municipal Trial Courts and not by the Regional Trial Court, per
109407 and their remand to the respective Regional Trial Courts for further proceedings. R.A. No. 7691.
Having said that, the Court finds unnecessary any further discussion of the other issues In its assailed March 26, 2003 Order, the trial court denied petitioners twin motions.6 A
raised in the petitions. motion for reconsideration thereof was likewise denied on August 5, 2003.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the consolidated petitions for review on certiorari are Hence, the instant petition alleging that respondent Judge gravely abused its discretion in
GRANTED. Criminal Cases Nos. Q-02-109406 and Q-02-109407 are REINSTATED and issuing the assailed orders.
REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for further proceedings. The issues posed for resolution are (1) Which court has jurisdiction over criminal and civil
SO ORDERED. cases for violation of intellectual property rights? (2) Did the respondent Judge gravely abuse
FIRST DIVISION his discretion in refusing to suspend the arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal Case
[G.R. Nos. 160054-55. July 21, 2004] Nos. Q-02-108043-44 on the ground of (a) the existence of a prejudicial question; and (b)
MANOLO P. SAMSON, petitioner, vs. HON. REYNALDO B. DAWAY, in his capacity as Presiding the pendency of a petition for review with the Secretary of Justice on the finding of probable
Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 90, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and cause for unfair competition?
CATERPILLAR, INC., respondents. Under Section 170 of R.A. No. 8293, which took effect on January 1, 1998, the criminal
DECISION penalty for infringement of registered marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: and false description or representation, is imprisonment from 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging
Assailed in this petition for certiorari is the March 26, 2003 Order[1] of the Regional Trial from Fifty Thousand Pesos to Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, to wit:
Court of Quezon City, Branch 90, which denied petitioners (1) motion to quash the SEC. 170. Penalties. Independent of the civil and administrative sanctions imposed by law, a
information; and (2) motion for reconsideration of the August 9, 2002 Order denying his criminal penalty of imprisonment from two (2) years to five (5) years and a fine ranging from
motion to suspend the arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal Case Nos. Q-02- Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00), shall be
108043-44. Petitioner also questioned its August 5, 2003 Order[2] which denied his motion imposed on any person who is found guilty of committing any of the acts mentioned in
for reconsideration.
Section 155 [Infringement], Section 168 [Unfair Competition] and Section 169.1 [False decide Intellectual Property Code and Securities and Exchange Commission cases in specific
Designation of Origin and False Description or Representation]. Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Commercial Courts.
Corollarily, Section 163 of the same Code states that actions (including criminal and civil) The case of Mirpuri v. Court of Appeals,11 invoked by petitioner finds no application in the
under Sections 150, 155, 164, 166, 167, 168 and 169 shall be brought before the proper present case. Nowhere in Mirpuri did we state that Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 was repealed
courts with appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws, thus by R.A. No. 8293. Neither did we make a categorical ruling therein that jurisdiction over
SEC. 163. Jurisdiction of Court. All actions under Sections 150, 155, 164 and 166 to 169 shall cases for violation of intellectual property rights is lodged with the Municipal Trial Courts. The
be brought before the proper courts with appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws. passing remark in Mirpuri on the repeal of R.A. No. 166 by R.A. No. 8293 was merely a
(Emphasis supplied) backgrounder to the enactment of the present Intellectual Property Code and cannot thus be
The existing law referred to in the foregoing provision is Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 (The construed as a jurisdictional pronouncement in cases for violation of intellectual property
Trademark Law) which provides that jurisdiction over cases for infringement of registered rights.
marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false description or representation, Anent the second issue, petitioner failed to substantiate his claim that there was a prejudicial
is lodged with the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) question. In his petition, he prayed for the reversal of the March 26, 2003 order which
SEC. 27. Jurisdiction of Court of First Instance. All actions under this Chapter [V sustained the denial of his motion to suspend arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal
Infringement] and Chapters VI [Unfair Competition] and VII [False Designation of Origin and Case Nos. Q-02-108043-44. For unknown reasons, however, he made no discussion in
False Description or Representation], hereof shall be brought before the Court of First support of said prayer in his petition and reply to comment. Neither did he attach a copy of
Instance. the complaint in Civil Case No. Q-00-41446 nor quote the pertinent portion thereof to prove
We find no merit in the claim of petitioner that R.A. No. 166 was expressly repealed by R.A. the existence of a prejudicial question.
No. 8293. The repealing clause of R.A. No. 8293, reads At any rate, there is no prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according
SEC. 239. Repeals. 239.1. All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent herewith, more particularly to law, proceed independently of each other.12 Under Rule 111, Section 3 of the Revised
Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as amended; and Articles 188 and Rules on Criminal Procedure, in the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil
189 of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, including Presidential Decree No. Code, the independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall proceed
285, as amended, are hereby repealed. (Emphasis added) independently of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.
Notably, the aforequoted clause did not expressly repeal R.A. No. 166 in its entirety, In the case at bar, the common element in the acts constituting unfair competition under
otherwise, it would not have used the phrases parts of Acts and inconsistent herewith; and it Section 168 of R.A. No. 8293 is fraud.13 Pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, in cases of
would have simply stated Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and
amended; and Articles 188 and 189 of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Hence, Civil Case No.
including Presidential Decree No. 285, as amended are hereby repealed. It would have Q-00-41446, which as admitted14 by private respondent also relate to unfair competition, is
removed all doubts that said specific laws had been rendered without force and effect. The an independent civil action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as a
use of the phrases parts of Acts and inconsistent herewith only means that the repeal prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of the criminal cases at bar.
pertains only to provisions which are repugnant or not susceptible of harmonization with R.A. Section 11 (c), Rule 116 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides
No. 8293.7 Section 27 of R.A. No. 166, however, is consistent and in harmony with Section SEC. 11. Suspension of arraignment. Upon motion by the proper party, the arraignment shall
163 of R.A. No. 8293. Had R.A. No. 8293 intended to vest jurisdiction over violations of be suspended in the following cases
intellectual property rights with the Metropolitan Trial Courts, it would have expressly stated xxxxxxxxx
so under Section 163 thereof. (c) A petition for review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending at either the
Moreover, the settled rule in statutory construction is that in case of conflict between a Department of Justice, or the Office of the President; Provided, that the period of suspension
general law and a special law, the latter must prevail. Jurisdiction conferred by a special law shall not exceed sixty (60) days counted from the filing of the petition with the reviewing
to Regional Trial Courts must prevail over that granted by a general law to Municipal Trial office.
Courts.8 While the pendency of a petition for review is a ground for suspension of the arraignment,
In the case at bar, R.A. No. 8293 and R.A. No. 166 are special laws9 conferring jurisdiction the aforecited provision limits the deferment of the arraignment to a period of 60 days
over violations of intellectual property rights to the Regional Trial Court. They should reckoned from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. It follows, therefore, that
therefore prevail over R.A. No. 7691, which is a general law.10 Hence, jurisdiction over the after the expiration of said period, the trial court is bound to arraign the accused or to deny
instant criminal case for unfair competition is properly lodged with the Regional Trial Court the motion to defer arraignment.
even if the penalty therefor is imprisonment of less than 6 years, or from 2 to 5 years and a In the instant case, petitioner failed to establish that respondent Judge abused his discretion
fine ranging from P50,000.00 to P200,000.00. in denying his motion to suspend. His pleadings and annexes submitted before the Court do
In fact, to implement and ensure the speedy disposition of cases involving violations of not show the date of filing of the petition for review with the Secretary of
intellectual property rights under R.A. No. 8293, the Court issued A.M. No. 02-1-11-SC dated Justice.15 Moreover, the Order dated August 9, 2002 denying his motion to suspend was not
February 19, 2002 designating certain Regional Trial Courts as Intellectual Property Courts. appended to the petition. He thus failed to discharge the burden of proving that he was
On June 17, 2003, the Court further issued a Resolution consolidating jurisdiction to hear and entitled to a suspension of his arraignment and that the questioned orders are contrary to
Section 11 (c), Rule 116 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Indeed, the age-old but conspirators, conduits, dummies and fronts of petitioner in receiving, accumulating, using
familiar rule is that he who alleges must prove his allegations. and disposing of his ill-gotten wealth.
In sum, the dismissal of the petition is proper considering that petitioner has not established On the same day, 27 October 2004, the Republic of the Philippines, acting through public
that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion. So also, his failure to attach respondent Office of the Ombudsman, filed before the Sandiganbayan, a Petition with Verified
documents relevant to his allegations warrants the dismissal of the petition, pursuant to Urgent Ex Parte Application for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Attachment6 against
Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which states: petitioner, his wife, and three sons, seeking the forfeiture of unlawfully acquired properties
SEC. 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirements. The under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379, as amended. The petition was docketed as Civil Case No.
petition shall contain the full names and actual addresses of all the petitioners and 0193, entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, et al." It was
respondents, a concise statement of the matters involved, the factual background of the alleged that the Office of the Ombudsman, after conducting an inquiry similar to a
case, and the grounds relied upon for the relief prayed for. preliminary investigation in criminal cases, has determined that a prima facie case exists
It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible copies together with proof of service thereof on the
against Maj. Gen. Garcia and the other respondents therein who hold such properties for,
respondent with the original copy intended for the court indicated as such by the with, or on behalf of, Maj. Gen. Garcia, since during his incumbency as a soldier and public
petitioner, and shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true officer he acquired huge amounts of money and properties manifestly out of proportion to his
copy of the judgment, order, resolution, or ruling subject thereof, such material portions of salary as such public officer and his other lawful income, if any.7
the record as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto. Acting on the Republics prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment, the
xxxxxxxxx Sandiganbayan issued the questioned Resolution granting the relief prayed for. The
The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be corresponding writ of preliminary attachment was subsequently issued on 2 November 2004
sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. (Emphasis added) upon the filing of a bond by the Republic. On 17 November 2004, petitioner (as respondent a
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is DISMISSED. quo) filed a Motion to Dismiss8 in Civil Case No. 0193 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of
SO ORDERED. the Sandiganbayan over forfeiture proceedings under R.A. No. 1379. On even date, petitioner
filed the present Petition, raising the same issue of lack jurisdiction on the part of the
Republic of the Philippines Sandiganbayan.
SUPREME COURT Petitioner argues in this Petition that the Sandiganbayan is without jurisdiction over the "civil
Manila action" for forfeiture of unlawfully acquired properties under R.A. No. 1379, maintaining that
EN BANC such jurisdiction actually resides in the Regional Trial Courts as provided under Sec. 29 of the
G.R. No. 165835 June 22, 2005 law, and that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in civil actions pertains only to separate
MAJOR GENERAL CARLOS F. GARCIA, Petitioner, actions for recovery of unlawfully acquired property against President Marcos, his family, and
vs. cronies as can be gleaned from Sec. 4 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606,10 as amended,
SANDIGANBAYAN and the OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents. and Executive Orders (E.O.) Nos. 1411 and 14-A.12
DECISION Theorizing that the Sandiganbayan, under P.D. No. 1606 or the law creating it, was intended
Tinga, J.: principally as a criminal court, with no jurisdiction over separate civil actions, petitioner
Petitioner Major General Carlos F. Garcia was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Comptrollership, points to President Corazon C. Aquinos issuances after the EDSA Revolution, namely: (1)
J6, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Petitioner filed this Petition for certiorari and E.O. No. 1 creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) for the
prohibition under Rule 65 to annul and set aside public respondent recovery of ill-gotten wealth amassed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his family and
Sandiganbayans Resolution1 dated 29 October 2004 and Writ of Preliminary cronies, (2) E.O. No. 14 which amended P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379 by transferring to
Attachment2dated 2 November 2004, and to enjoin public respondents Sandiganbayan and the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction over civil actions filed against President Marcos, his family and
Office of the Ombudsman from further proceeding with any action relating to the enforcement cronies based on R.A. No. 1379, the Civil Code and other existing laws, and (3) E.O. No. 14-A
of the assailed issuances. whch further amended E.O. No. 14, P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379 by providing that the
On 27 September 2004, Atty. Maria Olivia Elena A. Roxas, Graft Investigation and civil action under R.A. No. 1379 which may be filed against President Marcos, his family and
Prosecution Officer II of the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman, after cronies, may proceed independently of the criminal action.
due investigation, filed a complaint against petitioner with public respondent Office of the Petitioner gathers from the presidential issuances that the Sandiganbayan has been granted
Ombudsman, for violation of Sec. 8, in relation to Sec. 11 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. jurisdiction only over the separate civil actions filed against President Marcos, his family and
6713,3 violation of Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code, and violation of Section 52 (A)(1), (3) cronies, regardless of whether these civil actions were for recovery of unlawfully acquired
and (20) of the Civil Service Law. Based on this complaint, a case for Violations of R.A. No. property under R.A. No. 1379 or for restitution, reparation of damages or indemnification for
1379,4 Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code, and Sec. 8 in relation to Sec. 11 of R.A. No. consequential damages or other civil actions under the Civil Code or other existing laws.
6713, docketed as Case According to petitioner, nowhere in the amendments to P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379
No. OMB-P-C-04-1132-I, was filed against petitioner.5 Petitioners wife Clarita Depakakibo does it provide that the Sandiganbayan has been vested jurisdiction over separate civil
Garcia, and their three sons, Ian Carl, Juan Paolo and Timothy Mark, all surnamed Garcia, actions other than those filed against President Marcos, his family and cronies.13 Hence, the
were impleaded in the complaint for violation of R.A. No. 1379 insofar as they acted as
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over any separate civil action against him, even if such and cronies. It would also not be accurate to refer to a petition for forfeiture as a "civil case,"
separate civil action is for recovery of unlawfully acquired property under R.A. No. 1379. since it has been held that petitions for forfeiture are deemed criminal or penal and that it is
Petitioner further contends that in any event, the petition for forfeiture filed against him is only the proceeding for its prosecution which is civil in nature.21
fatally defective for failing to comply with the jurisdictional requirements under Sec. 2, R.A. The Office of the Ombudsman filed a separate Comment,22 likewise relying on Republic v.
No. 1379, 14 namely: (a) an inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation conducted by the Sandiganbayan to argue that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the petition for
prosecution arm of the government; (b) a certification to the Solicitor General that there is forfeiture filed against petitioner. The Ombudsman explains that the grant to the
reasonable ground to believe that there has been violation of the said law and that Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379 did not change even under the
respondent is guilty thereof; and (c) an action filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of the amendments of
Republic of the Philippines.15 He argues that only informations for perjury were filed and R.A. No. 797523 and R.A. No. 829424, although it came to be limited to cases involving high-
there has been no information filed against him for violation of R.A. No. 1379. Consequently, ranking public officials as enumerated therein, including Philippine army and air force
he maintains, it is impossible for the Office of the Ombudsman to certify that there is colonels, naval captains, and all other officers of higher rank, to which petitioner belongs.25
reasonable ground to believe that a violation of the said law had been committed and that he In arguing that it has authority to investigate and initiate forfeiture proceedings against
is guilty thereof. The petition is also supposedly bereft of the required certification which petitioner, the Office of the Ombudsman refers to both the Constitution26 and R.A. No.
should be made by the investigating City or Provincial Fiscal (now Prosecutor) to the Solicitor 6770.27 The constitutional power of investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman is plenary
General. Furthermore, he opines that it should have been the Office of the Solicitor General and unqualified; its power to investigate any act of a public official or employee which
which filed the petition and not the Office of the Ombudsman as in this case. The petition appears to be "illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient" covers the unlawful acquisition of
being fatally defective, the same should have been dismissed, petitioner concludes. wealth by public officials as defined under R.A. No. 1379. Furthermore, Sec. 15 (11)28 of
In their Comment,16 respondents submit the contrary, noting that the issues raised by R.A. No. 6770 expressly empowers the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute such cases
petitioner are not novel as these have been settled in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan17 which of unlawful acquisition of wealth. This authority of the Ombudsman has been affirmed also
categorically ruled that "there is no issue that jurisdiction over violations of [R.A.] Nos. 3019 in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan.29
and 1379 now rests with the Sandiganbayan."18 Respondents argue that under the The Office of the Ombudsman then refutes petitioners allegation that the petition for
Constitution19 and prevailing statutes, the Sandiganbayan is vested with authority and forfeiture filed against him failed to comply with the procedural and formal requirements
jurisdiction over the petition for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379 filed against petitioner. under the law. It asserts that all the requirements of R.A. No. 1379 have been strictly
Respondents point to Sec. 4.a (1) (d) of P.D. 1606, as amended, as the prevailing law on the complied with. An inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation was conducted by a
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, thus: Prosecution Officer of the Office of the Ombudsman. The participation of the Office of the
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all Solicitor General, claimed by petitioner to be necessary, is actually no longer required since
cases involving: the Office of the Ombudsman is endowed with the authority to investigate and prosecute the
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and case as discussed above.30
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of In addition, the Office of the Ombudsman alleges that the present Petition should be
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the dismissed for blatant forum-shopping. Even as petitioner had filed a Motion to Dismiss as
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at regards the petition for forfeiture (docketed as Civil Case No. 0193) before the
the time of the commission of the offense: Sandiganbayan on the ground of the Sandiganbayans alleged lack of jurisdiction, he filed the
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, instant Petition raising exactly the same issue, even though the Motion to Dismiss in Civil
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher of the Compensation and Position Classification Case No. 0193 is still pending resolution.1avvphi1 Worse, it appears that the Motion to
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: Dismiss and the instant Petition were filed on the same day, 17 November 2004.
. Petitioner refutes these arguments in his Reply31 and enunciates that the Sandiganbayans
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher ranks; criminal jurisdiction is separate and distinct from its civil jurisdiction, and that the
. Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over forfeiture cases had been removed without subsequent
As petitioner falls squarely under the category of public positions covered by the aforestated amendments expressly restoring such civil jurisdiction. His thesis is that R.A. No. 1379 is a
law, the petition for forfeiture should be within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. special law which is primarily civil and remedial in nature, the clear intent of which is to
Respondents also brush off as inconsequential petitioners argument that the petition for separate the prima facie determination in forfeiture proceedings from the litigation of the civil
forfeiture is "civil" in nature and the Sandiganbayan, having allegedly no jurisdiction over civil action. This intent is further demonstrated by Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 which grants the
actions, therefore has no jurisdiction over the petition, since the same P.D. No. 1606 authority to make an inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation being done by the City or
encompasses all cases involving violations of R.A. No. 3019, irrespective of whether these Provincial Fiscal, and the authority to file a petition for forfeiture to the Solicitor General.
cases are civil or criminal in nature. The petition for forfeiture should not be confused with Petitioner also points out in his Reply32 to the Comment of the Office of the Ombudsman,
the cases initiated and prosecuted by the PCGG pursuant to E.O. Nos. 14 and 14-A, as these that the use of the phrase "violations of [R.A.] Nos. 3019 and 1379" in P.D. No. 1606, as
are dealt with under a separate subparagraph of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, in particular amended, implies jurisdiction over cases which are principally criminal or penal in nature
Sec. 4.c thereof.20 Further, respondents stress that E.O. Nos. 14 and 14-A exclusively apply because the concept of "violation" of certain laws necessarily carries with it the concept of
to actions for recovery of unlawfully acquired property against President Marcos, his family, imposition of penalties for such violation. Hence, when reference was made to "violations of
[R.A.] Nos. 3019 and 1379," the only jurisdiction that can supposedly be implied is criminal penalty not higher than prision correccional or its equivalent, and such cases not being of a
jurisdiction, not civil jurisdiction, thereby highlighting respondent Sandiganbayans lack of serious nature, P.D. No. 1606 was again amended by P.D. No. 186040 and eventually by P.D.
jurisdiction over the "civil case" for forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth. Of course, petitioner does No. 1861.41
not rule out cases where the crime carries with it the corresponding civil liability such that On the foregoing premises alone, the Court in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, deduced that
when the criminal action is instituted, the civil action for enforcement of the civil liability is jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 3019 and 1379 is lodged with the Sandiganbayan.42 It
impliedly instituted with it, and the court having jurisdiction over the criminal action also could not have taken into consideration R.A. No. 797543 and R.A. No. 824944 since both
acquires jurisdiction over the ancillary civil action. However, petitioner argues that the action statutes which also amended the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan were not yet enacted at
for forfeiture subject of this case is not the ancillary civil action impliedly instituted with the the time. The subsequent enactments only serve to buttress the conclusion that the
criminal action. Rather, the petition for forfeiture is an independent civil action over which the Sandiganbayan indeed has jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379.
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction. Petitioner points to P.D. No. 1606, as amended, which Under R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan is vested with exclusive original jurisdiction in all
treats of independent civil actions only in the last paragraph of Sec. 4 thereof: cases involving violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379, and Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII,
Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying
and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be the following positions whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the
simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the commission of the offense: (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade '27' and higher, of the
necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such Compensation and Position Classification Act of 989 (R.A. No. 6758), specifically including:
civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; (b) City mayor,
been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers,
appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the and other city department heads; (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position
appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the of consul and higher; (d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all
criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned. officers of higher rank; (e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the
Petitioner however did not raise any argument to refute the charge of forum-shopping. position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior superintended or higher;
The issues for resolution are: (a) whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over petitions (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379; (b) whether the Office of the Ombudsman has the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or
authority to investigate, initiate and prosecute such petitions for forfeiture; and (c) whether managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational
petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping. institutions or foundations; (2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade
The petition is patently without merit. It should be dismissed. '27' and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; (3) Members of
The seminal decision of Republic v. Sandiganbayan33 squarely rules on the issues raised by the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; (4) Chairmen and
petitioner concerning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the authority of the Office of members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the provisions of the
the Ombudsman. After reviewing the legislative history of the Sandiganbayan and the Office Constitution; and (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade '27' and higher
of the Ombudsman, the Court therein resolved the question of jurisdiction by the under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.45
Sandiganbayan over violations of R.A. No. 3019 and R.A. No. 1379. Originally, it was the In the face of the prevailing jurisprudence and the present state of statutory law on the
Solicitor General who was authorized to initiate forfeiture proceedings before the then Court jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, petitioners argumentthat the Sandiganbayan has no
of First Instance of the city or province where the public officer or employee resides or holds jurisdiction over the petition for forfeiture it being "civil" in nature and the Sandiganbayan
office, pursuant to Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379.Upon the creation of the Sandiganbayan pursuant allegedly having no jurisdiction over civil actionscollapses completely.
to P.D. No. 1486,34 original and exclusive jurisdiction over such violations was vested in the The civil nature of an action for forfeiture was first recognized in Republic v. Sandiganbayan,
said court.35 P.D. No. 160636 was later issued expressly repealing P.D. No. 1486, as well as thus: "[T]he rule is settled that forfeiture proceedings are actions in rem and, therefore, civil
modifying the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by removing its jurisdiction over civil actions in nature."46 Then, Almeda, Sr.
brought in connection with crimes within the exclusive jurisdiction of said court.37 Such civil v. Perez,47 followed, holding that the proceedings under R.A. No. 1379 do not terminate in
actions removed from the jurisdiction of the Sandigabayan include those for restitution or the imposition of a penalty but merely in the forfeiture of the properties illegally acquired in
reparation of damages, recovery of instruments and effects of the crime, civil actions under favor of the State. It noted that the
Articles 32 and 34 of the Civil Code, and forfeiture proceedings provided for under R.A. No. procedure outlined in the law leading to forfeiture is that provided for in a civil action.48
1379.38 However, the Court has had occasion to rule that forfeiture of illegally acquired property
Subsequently, Batas Pambansa Blg. 12939 abolished the concurrent jurisdiction of the partakes the nature of a penalty. In Cabal v. Kapunan, Jr.,49 the Court cited voluminous
Sandiganbayan and the regular courts and expanded the exclusive original jurisdiction of the authorities in support of its declaration of the criminal or penal nature of forfeiture
Sandiganbayan over the offenses enumerated in Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to embrace all such proceedings, viz:
offenses irrespective of the imposable penalty. Since this change resulted in the proliferation In a strict signification, a forfeiture is a divestiture of property without compensation, in
of the filing of cases before the Sandiganbayan where the offense charged is punishable by a consequence of a default or an offense, and the term is used in such a sense in this article. A
forfeiture, as thus defined, is imposed by way of punishment not by the mere convention of Perez, it imposes the penalty of forfeiture of the properties unlawfully acquired upon the
the parties, but by the lawmaking power, to insure a prescribed course of conduct. It is a respondent public officer or employee.57
method deemed necessary by the legislature to restrain the commission of an offense and to It is logically congruent, therefore, that violations of R.A. No. 1379 are placed under the
aid in the prevention of such an offense. The effect of such a forfeiture is to transfer the title jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, even though the proceeding is civil in nature, since the
to the specific thing from the owner to the sovereign power. (23 Am. Jur. 599) forfeiture of the illegally acquired property amounts to a penalty. The soundness of this
"In Black's Law Dictionary a 'forfeiture' is defined to be 'the incurring of a liability to pay a reasoning becomes even more obvious when we consider that the respondent in such
definite sum of money as the consequence of violating the provisions of some statute or forfeiture proceedings is a public officer or employee and the violation of R.A. No. 1379 was
refusal to comply with some requirement of law.' It may be said to be a penalty imposed for committed during the respondent officer or employees incumbency and in relation to his
misconduct or breach of duty.'" (Com. vs. French, 114 S.W. 255.) office. This is in line with the purpose behind the creation of the Sandiganbayan as an anti-
. graft courtto address the urgent problem of dishonesty in public service.58
"Generally speaking, informations for the forfeiture of goods that seek no judgment of fine or Following the same analysis, petitioner should therefore abandon his erroneous belief that the
imprisonment against any person are deemed to be civil proceedings in rem. Such Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction only over petitions for forfeiture filed against President
proceedings are criminal in nature to the extent that where the person using the res illegally Marcos, his family and cronies.
is the owner of rightful possessor of it the forfeiture proceeding is in the nature of a We come then to the question of authority of the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate, file
punishment. They have been held to be so far in the nature of and
criminal proceedings that a general verdict on several counts in an information is upheld if prosecute petitions for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379. This was the main issue resolved
one count is good. According to the authorities such proceedings, where the owner of the in Republic v. Sandiganbayan.59
property appears, are so far considered as quasicriminal proceedings as to relieve the owner Under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379, it was the Solicitor General who was authorized to initiate
from being a witness against himself and to prevent the compulsory production of his books forfeiture proceedings before the then Courts of First Instance. P.D. No. Decree No. 1486 was
and papers. . . ." (23 Am. Jur. 612) later issued on 11 June 1978 vesting the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over R.A. No. 1379
. forfeiture proceedings. Sec. 12 of P.D. No. 1486 gave the Chief Special Prosecutor the
"Proceedings for forfeitures are generally considered to be civil and in the nature of authority to file and prosecute forfeiture cases. This may be taken as an implied repeal by
proceedings in rem. The statute providing that no judgment or other proceedings in civil P.D. No. 1486 of the jurisdiction of the former Courts of First Instance and the authority of
causes shall be arrested or reversed for any defect or want of form is applicable to them. In the Solicitor General to file a petition for forfeiture under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 by
some aspects, however, suits for penalties and forfeitures are of quasi-criminal nature and transferring said jurisdiction and authority to the Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special
within the reason of criminal proceedings for all the purposes of . . . that portion of the Fifth Prosecutor, respectively.60 An implied repeal is one which takes place when a new law
Amendment which declares that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a contains some provisions which are contrary to, but do not expressly repeal those of a former
witness against himself. The proceeding is one against the owner, as well as against the law.61 As a rule, repeals by implication are not favored and will not be so declared unless it
goods; for it is his breach of the laws which has to be proved to establish the forfeiture and be manifest that the legislature so intended. Before such repeal is deemed to exist, it must
his property is sought to be forfeited." (15 Am. Jur., Sec. 104, p. 368)50 be shown that the statutes or statutory provisions deal with the same subject matter and that
Cabal v. Kapunan modified the earlier ruling in Almeda, Sr. v. Perez.51 The Court the latter be inconsistent with the former. The language used in the latter statute must be
in Cabal held that the doctrine laid down in Almeda refers to the purely procedural aspect of such as to render it irreconcilable with what had been formerly enacted. An inconsistency that
the forfeiture proceedings and has no bearing on the substantial rights of respondents, falls short of that standard does not suffice. What is needed is a manifest indication of the
particularly their constitutional right against self-incrimination.52 This was reaffirmed and legislative purpose to repeal.62
reiterated in P.D. No. 1486 contains a repealing clause which provides that "[A]ny provision of law, order,
Republic v. Agoncillo53 and Katigbak v. Solicitor General.54 rule or regulation inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree is hereby repealed or
The Sandiganbayan is vested with jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379, entitled "An modified accordingly."63 This is not an express repealing clause because it fails to identify or
Act Declaring Forfeiture In Favor of the State Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully designate the statutes that are intended to be repealed. Rather, it is a clause which
Acquired By Any Public Officer or Employee and Providing For the Proceedings predicates the intended repeal upon the condition that a substantial conflict must be found in
Therefor." What acts would constitute a violation of such a law? A reading of R.A. No. 1379 existing and prior laws.64
establishes that it does not enumerate any prohibited acts the commission of which would The conflict between P.D. No. 1486 and R.A. No. 1379 refers to the jurisdiction over the
necessitate the imposition of a penalty. Instead, it provides the procedure for forfeiture to be forfeiture proceeding and the authority to file the petition for forfeiture. As P.D. No. 1486
followed in case a public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount grants exclusive jurisdiction and authority to the Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special
of property manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and Prosecutor, the then Courts of First Instance and Solicitor General cannot exercise concurrent
to his lawful income and income from legitimately acquired property.55 Section 1256 of the jurisdiction or authority over such cases. Hence, P.D. No. 1486 and Sec. 2, R.A. No. 1379 are
law provides a penalty but it is only imposed upon the public officer or employee who inconsistent with each other and the former should be deemed to have repealed the
transfers or conveys the unlawfully acquired property; it does not penalize the officer or latter.lawphil.net
employee for making the unlawful acquisition. In effect, as observed in Almeda, Sr. v. On 11 June 1978, the same day that P.D. No. 1486 was enacted, P.D. No. 148765 creating
the Office of the Ombudsman (then known as the Tanodbayan) was passed. The Tanodbayan
initially had no authority to prosecute cases falling within the jurisdiction of the initiate the proper action for recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth is restricted
Sandiganbayan as provided in Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 1486, such jurisdiction being vested in the only to cases for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth amassed after 25
Chief Special Prosecutor as earlier mentioned. February 1986.81 As regards such wealth accumulated on or before said date, the
On 10 December 1978, P.D. No. 1606 was enacted expressly repealing P.D. No. 1486. Issued Ombudsman is without authority to commence before the Sandiganbayan such forfeiture
on the same date was P.D. No. 160766 which amended the powers of the Tanodbayan to actionsince the authority to file forfeiture proceedings on or before 25 February 1986
investigate administrative complaints67 and created the Office of the Chief Special belongs to the Solicitor Generalalthough he has the authority to investigate such cases for
Prosecutor.68 P.D. No. 1607 provided said Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor with forfeiture even before 25 February 1986, pursuant to the Ombudsmans
exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the general investigatory power under Sec. 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770.82
Sandiganbayan, file informations therefor, and direct and control the prosecution of said It is obvious then that respondent Office of the Ombudsman acted well within its authority in
cases.69 P.D. No. 1607 also removed from the Chief Special Prosecutor the authority to file conducting the investigation of petitioners illegally acquired assets and in filing the petition
actions for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379.70 for forfeiture against him. The contention that the procedural requirements under Sec. 2 of
The rule is that when a law which expressly repeals a prior law is itself repealed, the law first R.A. No. 1379 were not complied with no longer deserve consideration in view of the
repealed shall not be thereby revived unless expressly so provided. From this it may fairly be foregoing discussion.
inferred that the old rule continues in force where a law which repeals a prior law, not Now to the charge that petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping. Forum-shopping is manifest
expressly but by implication, is itself repealed; and that in such cases the repeal of the whenever a party "repetitively avail[s] of several judicial remedies in different courts,
repealing law revives the prior law, unless the language of the repealing statute provides simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the
otherwise.71Hence, the repeal of P.D. No. 1486 by P.D. No. 1606 necessarily revived the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either
authority of the Solicitor General to file a petition for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379, but not pending in, or already resolved adversely by, some other court."83 It has also been defined
the jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance over the case nor the authority of the Provincial as "an act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum of
or City Fiscals (now Prosecutors) to conduct the preliminary investigation therefore, since seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or
said powers at that time remained in the Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special Prosecutor.72 the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actions or proceedings
The Tanodbayans authority was further expanded by P.D. No. 163073 issued on 18 July grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a
1990. Among other things, the Tanodbayan was given the exclusive authority to conduct favorable disposition."84 Considered a pernicious evil, it adversely affects the efficient
preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, to file informations administration of justice since it clogs the court dockets, unduly burdens the financial and
therefore and to direct and control the prosecution of said cases.74 The power to conduct the human resources of the judiciary, and trifles with and mocks judicial processes.85 Willful and
necessary investigation and to file and prosecute the corresponding criminal and deliberate forum-shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the complaint or initiatory
administrative cases before the Sandiganbayan or the proper court or administrative agency pleading with prejudice and constitutes direct contempt of court, as well as a cause for
against any public personnel who has acted in a manner warranting criminal and disciplinary administrative sanctions, which may both be resolved and imposed in the same case where
action or proceedings was also transferred from the Chief Special Prosecutor to the the forum-shopping is found.86
Tanodbayan.75 There is ample reason to hold that petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping. The present petition
Thereafter, P.D. No. 1606 was amended by P.D. Nos. 1860 and 186176 which granted the was filed accompanied by the requisite Verification and Certification Against Forum
Tanodbayan the same authority. The present Constitution was subsequently ratified and then Shopping87 in which petitioner made the following representation:
the Tanodbayan became known as the Office of the Special Prosecutor which continued to .
exercise its powers except those conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman created under 3.] As Petitioner, I have not heretofore commenced any other action or proceeding in the
the Constitution.77 The Office of the Ombudsman was officially created under R.A. No. Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, involving the same
6770.78 issues as that in the above-captioned case.
At present, the powers of the Ombudsman, as defined by R.A. No. 6770, corollary to Sec. 13, 4.] To the best of my knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme
Art. XI of the Constitution, include the authority, among others, to: Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency.
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission 5.] If I should hereafter learn that such proceeding has been commenced or is pending before
of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to
illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the report that fact to this Honorable Court within five (5) days from knowledge thereof.
Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary jurisdiction, may take over, at any stage, However, petitioner failed to inform the Court that he had filed a Motion to Dismiss88 in
from any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases;79 relation to the petition for forfeiture before the Sandiganbayan. The existence of this motion
was only brought to the attention of this Court by respondent Office of the Ombudsman in
(11) Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or its Comment. A scrutiny of the Motion to Dismiss reveals that petitioner raised substantially
unexplained wealth amassed after 25 February 1986 and the prosecution of the parties the same issues and prayed for the same reliefs therein as it has in the instant petition. In
involved therein.80 fact, the Arguments and Discussion89 in the Petition of petitioners thesis that the
Ostensibly, it is the Ombudsman who should file the petition for forfeiture under R.A. No. Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over separate civil actions for forfeiture of unlawfully
1379. However, the Ombudsmans exercise of the correlative powers to investigate and acquired properties appears to be wholly lifted from the Motion to Dismiss. The only
difference between the two is that in the Petition, petitioner raises the ground of failure of the Currency, intended for the payment of Five (5) rolls of Polyethylene pipes to be used in the
petition for forfeiture to comply with the procedural requirements of R.A. No. 1379, and Corte-Cantumog Water System Project of the Municipality of Carmen, Cebu, for which they
petitioner prays for the annulment of the Sandiganbayans Resolution dated 29 October 2004 are accountable by reason of the duties of their office, in such capacity and committing the
and Writ of Preliminary Attachment dated 2 November 2004. Nevertheless, these differences offense in relation to office, conniving and confederating together and mutually helping each
are only superficial. Both Petition and Motion to Dismiss have the same intent of dismissing other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, take, embezzle
the case for forfeiture filed against petitioner, his wife and their sons. It is undeniable that and convert into their own personal use and benefit said amount of P23,047.20, and despite
petitioner had failed to fulfill his undertaking. This is incontestably forum-shopping which is demands made upon them to account for said amount, they have failed to do so, to the
reason enough to dismiss the petition outright, without prejudice to the taking of appropriate damage and prejudice of the government.
action against the counsel and party concerned.90 The brazenness of this attempt at forum- CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
shopping is even demonstrated by the fact that both the Petition and Motion to Dismiss were The inculpatory portion of the second Amended Information, docketed as Criminal Case No.
filed on the same day, 17 November 2004. Petitioner should have waited for the resolution of 27436, charging the said accused with illegal use of public funds, reads:
his Motion to Dismiss before resorting to the petition at hand. That in or about the month of November 1995, or sometime prior or subsequent
Petitioners counsel of record, Atty. Constantino B. De Jesus, needs to be reminded that his thereto, in the Municipality of Carmen, Province of Cebu, Philippines, and within the
primary duty is to assist the courts in the administration of justice. As an officer of the court, jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, above-named accused VIRGINIO E. VILLAMOR and
his duties to the court are more significant and important than his obligations to his clients. DINAH C. BARRIGA, both public officers, being then the Municipal Mayor and Municipal
Any conduct which tends to delay, impede or obstruct the administration thereof contravenes Accountant, respectively, of the Municipality of Carmen, Cebu, and as such, had in their
his oath of office.91 Atty. De Jesus failed to accord due regard, as he must, the tenets of the possession and control public funds in the amount of ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FIVE
legal profession and the mission of our courts of justice. For this, he should be penalized. PESOS (P1,305.00) Philippine Currency, representing a portion of the Central Visayas Water
Penalties imposed upon lawyers who engaged in forum-shopping range from severe censure and Sanitation Project Trust Fund (CVWSP Fund) intended and appropriated for the projects
to suspension from the practice of law.92 In the instant case, we deem the imposition of a classified under Level I and III particularly the construction of Deep Well and Spring Box
fine in the amount of P20,000.00 to be sufficient to make Atty. De Jesus realize the for Level I projects and construction of water works system for Level III projects of specified
seriousness of his naked abuse of the judicial process. barangay beneficiaries/recipients, and for which fund accused are accountable by reason of
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition is DISMISSED. Atty. Constantino B. De the duties of their office, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to office,
Jesus is DECLARED in CONTEMPT of this Court and meted a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos conniving and confederating together and mutually helping each other, did then and there,
(P20,000.00) to be paid within ten (10) days from the finality of this D E C I S I O N. Costs willfully unlawfully and feloniously disburse and use said amount of P1,305.00 for the Spring
against petitioner. Box of Barangay Natimao-an, Carmen, Cebu, a barangay which was not included as a
SO ORDERED. recipient of CVWSP Trust Fund, thus, accused used said public fund to a public purpose
SECOND DIVISION different from which it was intended or appropriated, to the damage and prejudice of the
[G.R. Nos. 161784-86. April 26, 2005] government, particularly the barangays which were CVWSP Trust Fund beneficiaries.
DINAH C. BARRIGA, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (4TH DIVISION) and CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. The accusatory portion of the third Amended Information, docketed as Criminal Case No.
DECISION 27437, charged the same accused with illegal use of public funds, as follows:
CALLEJO, SR., J.: That in or about the month of January 1997, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of the Municipality of Carmen, Province of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Resolution[1] of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case Nos. 27435 to 27437 denying the Honorable Court, above-named accused Virginio E. Villamor and Dinah C. Barriga, both public
motion to quash the Informations filed by one of the accused, Dinah C. Barriga, and the officers, being then the Municipal Mayor and Municipal Accountant, respectively, of the
Resolution denying her motion for reconsideration thereof. Municipality of Carmen, Cebu, and as such, had in their possession and control public funds in
The Antecedents the amount of TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN and
On April 3, 2003, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a motion with the Sandiganbayan for the 96/100 (P267,537.96) PESOS, representing a portion of the Central Visayas Water and
admission of the three Amended Informations appended thereto. The first Amended Sanitation Project Trust Fund (CVWSP Fund), intended and appropriated for the projects
Information docketed as Criminal Case No. 27435, charged petitioner Dinah C. Barriga and classified under Level I and Level III, particularly the construction of Spring Box and Deep
Virginio E. Villamor, the Municipal Accountant and the Municipal Mayor, respectively, of Well for Level I projects and construction of water works system for Level III projects of
Carmen, Cebu, with malversation of funds. The accusatory portion reads: specified barangay beneficiaries/ recipients, and for which fund accused are accountable by
That in or about January 1996 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of reason for the duties of their office, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to
Carmen, Province of Cebu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, office, conniving and confederating together and mutually helping each other, did then and
above-named accused VIRGINIO E. VILLAMOR and DINAH C. BARRIGA, both public officers, there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously disburse and use said amount of P267,537.96 for
being then the Municipal Mayor and Municipal Accountant, respectively, of the Municipality of the construction and expansion of Barangay Cantucong Water System, a project falling
Carmen, Cebu, and as such, had in their possession and custody public funds amounting to under Level II of CVWSP, thus, accused used said public funds to a public purpose different
TWENTY- THREE THOUSAND FORTY-SEVEN AND 20/100 PESOS (P23,047.20), Philippine
from which it was intended and appropriated, to the damage and prejudice of the improper. It posits that any error committed by the Sandiganbayan in denying the petitioners
government, particularly the barangay beneficiaries of Levels I and III of CVWSP. motion to quash is merely an error of judgment and not of jurisdiction. It asserts that as
CONTRARY TO LAW.[4] ruled by the Sandiganbayan, what applies is the ruling of this Court in Montilla v. Hilario and
The Sandiganbayan granted the motion and admitted the Amended Informations. The not People v. Montejo. Furthermore, the crimes of malversation and illegal use of public funds
petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the said Amended Informations on the ground that under are classified as crimes committed by public officers in relation to their office, which by their
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8294, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the crimes nature fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It insists that there is no more need
charged. She averred that the Amended Informations failed to allege and show the intimate for the Amended Informations to specifically allege intimacy between the crimes charged and
relation between the crimes charged and her official duties as municipal accountant, which the office of the accused since the said crimes can only be committed by public officers. It
are conditions sine qua non for the graft court to acquire jurisdiction over the said offense. further claims that the petitioner has been charged of malversation and illegal use of public
She averred that the prosecution and the Commission on Audit admitted, and no less than funds in conspiracy with Municipal Mayor Virginio E. Villamor, who occupies a position
this Court held in Tan v. Sandiganbayan,[5] that a municipal accountant is not an classified as SG 27; and even if the petitioners position as municipal accountant is only
accountable officer. She alleged that the felonies of malversation and illegal use of public classified as SG 24, under Section 4 of Rep. Act No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan still has
funds, for which she is charged, are not included in Chapter 11, Section 2, Title VII, Book II, jurisdiction over the said crimes. The Office of the Special Prosecutor further avers that the
of the Revised Penal Code; hence, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the said petitioners claim, that she is not an accountable officer, is a matter of defense.
crimes. Moreover, her position as municipal accountant is classified as Salary Grade (SG) 24. The Ruling of the Court
The petitioner also posited that although the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over offenses The petition has no merit.
committed by public officials and employees in relation to their office, the mere allegation in We agree with the ruling of the Sandiganbayan that based on the allegations of the Amended
the Amended Informations that she committed the offenses charged in relation to her office Informations and Rep. Act No. 8249, it has original jurisdiction over the crimes of
is not sufficient as the phrase is merely a conclusion of law; controlling are the specific malversation and illegal use of public funds charged in the Amended Informations subject of
factual allegations in the Informations that would indicate the close intimacy between the this petition.
discharge of her official duties and the commission of the offenses charged. To bolster her Rep. Act No. 8249,[13] which amended Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606,
stance, she cited the rulings of this Court in People v. Montejo,[6] Soller v. provides, inter alia, that the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over crimes and felonies
Sandiganbayan,[7] and Lacson v. Executive Secretary.[8] She further contended that committed by public officers and employees, at least one of whom belongs to any of the five
although the Amended Informations alleged that she conspired with her co-accused to categories thereunder enumerated at the time of the commission of such crimes.[14] There
commit the crimes charged, they failed to allege and show her exact participation in the are two classes of public office-related crimes under subparagraph (b) of Section 4 of Rep.
conspiracy and how she committed the crimes charged. She also pointed out that the funds Act No. 8249: first, those crimes or felonies in which the public office is a constituent element
subject of the said Amended Informations were not under her control or administration. as defined by statute and the relation between the crime and the offense is such that, in a
On October 9, 2003, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution[9] denying the motion of the legal sense, the offense committed cannot exist without the office;[15] second, such offenses
petitioner. The motion for reconsideration thereof was, likewise, denied, with the graft court or felonies which are intimately connected with the public office and are perpetrated by the
holding that the applicable ruling of this Court was Montilla v. Hilario,[10] i.e., that an offense public officer or employee while in the performance of his official functions, through improper
is committed in relation to public office when there is a direct, not merely accidental, relation or irregular conduct.[16]
between the crime charged and the office of the accused such that, in a legal sense, the The Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction over criminal cases involving crimes and felonies
offense would not exist without the office; in other words, the office must be a constituent under the first classification. Considering that the public office of the accused is by statute a
element of the crime as defined in the statute. The graft court further held that the offices of constituent element of the crime charged, there is no need for the Prosecutor to state in the
the municipal mayor and the municipal accountant were constituent elements of the felonies Information specific factual allegations of the intimacy between the office and the crime
of malversation and illegal use of public funds. The graft court emphasized that the rulings of charged, or that the accused committed the crime in the performance of his duties. However,
this Court in People v. Montejo[11] and Lacson v. Executive Secretary[12] apply only where the Sandiganbayan likewise has original jurisdiction over criminal cases involving crimes or
the office held by the accused is not a constituent element of the crimes charged. In such felonies committed by the public officers and employees enumerated in Section (a) (1) to (5)
cases, the Information must contain specific factual allegations showing that the commission under the second classification if the Information contains specific factual allegations showing
of the crimes charged is intimately connected with or related to the performance of the the intimate connection between the offense charged and the public office of the accused,
accused public officers public functions. In fine, the graft court opined, the basic rule is that and the discharge of his official duties or functions - whether improper or irregular.[17] The
enunciated by this Court in Montilla v. Hilario, and the ruling of this Court in People v. requirement is not complied with if the Information merely alleges that the accused
Montejo is the exception. committed the crime charged in relation to his office because such allegation is merely a
The petitioner thus filed the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, conclusion of law.[18]
seeking to nullify the aforementioned Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan. The petitioner Two of the felonies that belong to the first classification are malversation defined and
claims that the graft court committed grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or penalized by Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and the illegal use of public funds or
lack of jurisdiction in issuing the same. property defined and penalized by Article 220 of the same Code. The public office of the
In its comment on the petition, the Office of the Special Prosecutor averred that the remedy accused is a constituent element in both felonies.
of filing a petition for certiorari, from a denial of a motion to quash amended information, is
For the accused to be guilty of malversation, the prosecution must prove the following private person conspiring with an accountable public officer in committing malversation is
essential elements: also guilty of malversation.[23]
(a) The offender is a public officer; We reiterate that the classification of the petitioners position as SG 24 is of no moment. The
(b) He has the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; determinative fact is that the position of her co-accused, the municipal mayor, is classified as
(c) The funds or property involved are public funds or property for which he is accountable; SG 27, and under the last paragraph of Section 2 of Rep. Act No. 7975, if the position of one
and of the principal accused is classified as SG 27, the Sandiganbayan has original and exclusive
(d) He has appropriated, taken or misappropriated, or has consented to, or through jurisdiction over the offense.
abandonment or negligence, permitted the taking by another person of, such funds or We agree with the petitioners contention that under Section 474 of the Local Government
property.[19] Code, she is not obliged to receive public money or property, nor is she obligated to account
For the accused to be guilty of illegal use of public funds or property, the prosecution is for the same; hence, she is not an accountable officer within the context of Article 217 of the
burdened to prove the following elements: Revised Penal Code. Indeed, under the said article, an accountable public officer is one who
(1) The offenders are accountable officers in both crimes. has actual control of public funds or property by reason of the duties of his office. Even then,
(2) The offender in illegal use of public funds or property does not derive any personal gain or it cannot thereby be necessarily concluded that a municipal accountant can never be
profit; in malversation, the offender in certain cases profits from the proceeds of the crime. convicted for malversation under the Revised Penal Code. The name or relative importance of
(3) In illegal use, the public fund or property is applied to another public use; in the office or employment is not the controlling factor.[24] The nature of the duties of the
malversation, the public fund or property is applied to the personal use and benefit of the public officer or employee, the fact that as part of his duties he received public money for
offender or of another person.[20] which he is bound to account and failed to account for it, is the factor which determines
We agree with the ruling of the Sandiganbayan that the public office of the accused Municipal whether or not malversation is committed by the accused public officer or employee. Hence,
Mayor Virginio E. Villamor is a constituent element of malversation and illegal use of public a mere clerk in the provincial or municipal government may be held guilty of malversation if
funds or property. Accused mayors position is classified as SG 27. Since the Amended he or she is entrusted with public funds and misappropriates the same.
Informations alleged that the petitioner conspired with her co-accused, the municipal mayor, IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against the
in committing the said felonies, the fact that her position as municipal accountant is classified petitioner.
as SG 24 and as such is not an accountable officer is of no moment; the Sandiganbayan still SO ORDERED.
has exclusive original jurisdiction over the cases lodged against her. It must be stressed that Republic of the Philippines
a public officer who is not in charge of public funds or property by virtue of her official SUPREME COURT
position, or even a private individual, may be liable for malversation or illegal use of public Manila
funds or property if such public officer or private individual conspires with an accountable EN BANC
public officer to commit malversation or illegal use of public funds or property. G.R. No. L-14595 May 31, 1960
In United States v. Ponte,[21] the Court, citing Viada, had the occasion to state: THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
Shall the person who participates or intervenes as co-perpetrator, accomplice or abettor in vs.
the crime of malversation of public funds, committed by a public officer, have the penalties of HONORABLE GREGORIO MONTEJO, Judge, Court of First Instance, Zamboanga City and
this article also imposed upon him? In opposition to the opinion maintained by some jurists Basilan City, MAYOR LEROY S. BROWN, DETECTIVE JOAQUIN R. POLLISCO, PATROLMAN
and commentators (among others the learned Pacheco) we can only answer the question GRACIANO LACERNA alias DODONG, PATROLMAN MOHAMAD HASBI, SPECIAL POLICEMAN
affirmatively, for the same reasons (mutatis mutandis) we have already advanced in DIONISIO DINGLASA, SPECIAL POLICEMAN HADJARATIL, SPECIAL POLICEMAN ALO, and
Question I of the commentary on article 314. French jurisprudence has also settled the JOHN DOES, respondents.
question in the same way on the ground that the person guilty of the crime necessarily Acting City Atty. Perfecto B. Querubin for petitioner.
aids the other culprit in the acts which constitute the crime. (Vol. 2, 4th edition, p. 653) Hon. Gregorio Montejo in his own behalf.
The reasoning by which Groizard and Viada support their views as to the correct C. A. S. Sipin, Jr. for the other respondents.
interpretation of the provisions of the Penal Code touching malversation of public funds by a CONCEPCION, J.:
public official, is equally applicable in our opinion, to the provisions of Act No. 1740 defining This is a special civil action for certiorari , with mandamus and preliminary injunction, against
and penalizing that crime, and we have heretofore, in the case of the United States vs. Hon. Gregorio Montejo, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of the cities of Zamboanga and
Dowdell (11 Phil. Rep., 4), imposed the penalty prescribed by this section of the code upon a Basilan, and the defendants in Criminal Case No. 672 of said court.
public official who took part with another in the malversation of public funds, although it was In the petition herein, which was filed by the prosecution in said criminal case, it is prayed
not alleged, and in fact clearly appeared, that those funds were not in his hands by virtue of that, pending the final determination thereof, a writ of preliminary injunction issue, enjoining
his office, though it did appear that they were in the hands of his co-principal by virtue of the respondent Judge from proceeding with the trial of said case; that, after due hearing, the
public office held by him.[22] rulings of respondent Judge, rejecting some evidence for the prosecution therein and not
The Court has also ruled that one who conspires with the provincial treasurer in committing permitting the same to propound certain questions, be set aside; that said respondent Judge
six counts of malversation is also a co-principal in committing those offenses, and that a be ordered to admit the aforementioned evidence and permit said questions; and that
Senator Roseller Lim be declared, contrary to another ruling made by respondent Judge,
disqualified by the Constitution from appearing as counsel for the accused in said criminal 4. Exhibits J to V Consisting of the following, namely: a sketch of the sub-station; pictures
case. Soon, after the filing of the petition, we issued the writ of preliminary injunction prayed of several huts therein, indicating their relative positions and distances; a picture depicting
for, without bond. how the body of Tebag was taken from a camarin in the sub-station; a picture showing how
In their respective answers, respondents alleged, in substance, that the ruling complained of Patrolman Hasbiwas shot by a companion, at this request; and a picture, Exhibit T,
are in conformity with law. demonstrating how Mayor Brown allegedly gave the Japanese rifle, Exhibit Y, to Hasbi, to be
Respondents Leroy S. Brown, Mayor of Basilan City, Detective Joaquin R. Pollisco, Patrolman planted beside Tebag's body.
Graciano Lacerna (alias Dodong) and Mohamad Hasbi, Special Policemen Dionisio Dinglasa, Although referred to by Yakan Carnain, Arit, Lianson, Kona Amenola, and Asidin, in the
Moro Yakan, Hadjaratil, Moro Alo and several John Does, are charged, in said Criminal Case course of their testimony as witnesses for the prosecution, these exhibits were not admitted
No. 672, with murder. It is alleged in the information therein that, during May and June, in evidence, which were presented to show how they were able to observe the movements in
1958, in the sitio of Tipo-Tipo, district of Lamitan, City of Basilan, Mayor Brown "organized the sub-station, the same being quite small.
groups of police patrol and civilian commandoes", consisting of regular and special policemen, 5. Exhibits X (a "barong") and X-1 (a scabbard) Amenola said that these effects were
whom he "armed with pistols and high power guns", and then "established a camp", called given to him by Mayor Brown in the latter's office, and that he then saw therein the Japanese
sub-police headquarters hereinafter referred to as sub-station at Tipo-Tipo, Lamitan, rifle, Exhibit Y, which was later placed beside the dead body of Awalin Tebag.
which was placed under his command, orders, direct supervision and control, and in which his 6. Exhibits DD, DD-1, FF, JJ, KK and LL These show that on April 28, 1958, Yakan
codefendants were stationed; that the criminal complaints were entertained in said sub- Kallapattoh and Fernandez (Pilnandiz) executed affidavits admitting participation in a given
station, in which defendant Pollisco acted as investigating officer and exercised authority to robbery; that an information therefor (Exh. KK) was filed against them on May 2, 1958, with
order the apprehension of persons and their detention in the camp, for days or weeks, the municipal court of Basilan City (Criminal Case No. 1774); and that, in compliance with
without due process of law and without bringing them to the proper court; that, on or about warrants for their arrest then issued, they were apprehended and detained in the sub-station,
June 4, and 5, 1958; one Yokan Awalin Tebag was arrested by order of Mayor Brown, without thus corroborating the testimony of prosecution witness Yakans Amenola, Carnain Asidin and
any warrant or complaint filed in court, and then brought to, and detained in, the Arip to the effect that Kallapattoh and Fernandez (Pilnandiz) were together with them, in the
aforementioned sub-station; that while on the way thereto, said Awalin Tebag was aforementioned sub-station, when Tebag was maltreated and died therein, on June 4, 1958,
maltreated, pursuant to instructions of Mayor Brown, concurred in by Pollisco, to the effect as well as confirming Pollisco's statement, Exhibit TT-18, before the City Fiscal of Basilan city,
that Tebag be mauled until such time as he shall surrender his gun; that, once in the sub- on June 21, 1958, admitting that Fernandez was in the sub-station on June 5, 1958, on
station, Tebag, whose hands were securely tied, was subjected, by defendants Lacerna, account of the warrant of arrest adverted to. Through the exhibits in question the prosecution
Hasbi, Pollisco, Dinglasa, and other special policemen, to further and more severe torture, in sought, also, to bolster up its theory that Kallapattoh and Fernandez disappeared from the
consequence of which Tebag died; that, in order to simulate that Tebag had been killed by sub-station after Tebag's death, because the main respondents herein illegally released them
peace officers in the course of an encounter between the latter and a band of armed bandits to prevent them from revealing the circumstances surrounding said event.
of which he formed part, the body of Tebag was brought, early the next morning, to a nearby 7. Exhibits II, II-1, and MM These are sketches of a human body and pictures purporting
isolated field, where defendant Hasbi fired twice at said dead body from behind, and then an to show the points of entrance, as well as of exit, of two (2) bullets wounds found on the
old Japanese rifle, supplied by Mayor Brown, was placed beside said body; and that, in body of Tebag. Respondent Judge rejected these exhibits and did not allow Dr. Rosalino
furtherance of the aforementioned simulation, a report of said imaginary encounter, Reyes, Chief of the Medico-Legal Section of the National Bureau of Investigation, to answer
mentioning Tebag as the only member of a band of armed bandits whose identity was known, questions asked by the prosecution, to establish that the trajectories of said bullets wounds
was submitted and respondent Hasbi caused one of his companions to shoot him on the left were parallel to each other, which, the prosecution claims, would have been impossible had
arm. Tebag been alive when he sustained said wounds..
During the trial of said criminal case, respondent Judge rejected the following evidence for 8. Respondent Judge sustained, also, the objections to certain questions propounded to said
the prosecution therein: Dr. Reyes, to show that the injuries sustained by Tebag in the large intestines must have
1. Exhibit A A report of Capt. F. G. Sarrosa, Commanding Officer of the PC Detachment in been inflicted when Tebag was dead already, and did not allow Dr. Reyes to draw lines on
Basilan City, who investigated the case, showing that on June 5, 1958, he and Lt. Clemente Exhibits II and MM, indicating the connection between the points of entrance and those of
Antonio, PAF, found nine (9) detainees in the Tipo-Tipo sub-station. This was part of the exit of said wounds.
chain of evidence of the prosecution to prove that persons used to be detained in the 9. Exhibits Z, Z-1, Z-2 These are records of the office of the City Fiscal of Basilan City
aforementioned sub-station by the main respondents herein, without either a warrant of showing that the Japanese rifle, Exhibit Y, two rounds of ammunitions and one empty shell
arrest or a complaint filed in court. were received by said Office from the Police Department of Basilan City on June 17, 1958.
2. Exhibit C Letter of Atty. Doroteo de Guzman to the officer in charge of the sub-station, These exhibits were presented to show that said rifle tallies with the description thereof given
dated June 4, 1958, inquiring as to the whereabouts of Awalin Tebag, who, according to the by prosecution witness Kona Amenola, in his affidavit, dated June 14, 1958, when said
letter, was arrested in his house, by policemen, on June 4, 1958. Capt. Sarrosa took weapon was still in the possession of respondent Pollisco, and hence, to establish Amenola's
possession of this letter in the course of his aforementioned investigation. veracity.
3. Exhibits G, G-1, G-2 and G-3 These are the transcript of the testimony of Tebag's Likewise, the following rebuttal evidence for the prosecution were rejected by respondent
mother, before the City Fiscal of Basilan City, when she asked an autopsy of the body of her Judge, viz:
son.
1. Exhibits OO to OO-8 These are daily records of events of the police department, Lamitan the issues involved in Criminal Case No. 627. Although it is not possible to determine with
District, Basilan City, including the Tipo-Tipo region. They do not mention the killing therein, precision, at this stage of the proceedings, how far said exhibits may affect the outcome of
by the police patrol, of any outlaw on June 5, 1958, thereby contradicting the reports (Exhs. that case, it is elemental that all parties therein are entitled to a reasonable opportunity to
12 and 12-A) of respondent Pollisco and Hasbi about it. Respondent Judge did not allow the establish their respective pretense. In this connection it should be noted that, in the light of
record clerk of the City Fiscal's office to identify said exhibits, upon the ground that it was too the allegations of the amended information in said case and of the records before us, the
late to present him although when the exhibits were marked by the prosecution it reserved issue of the guilt or innocence of the accused therein is bound to hinge heavily upon the
the right to identify them as part of official records. veracity of the opposing witnesses and the weight attached to their respective testimony.
2. Exhibits PP, QQ to QQ-3 Respondent Pollisco had testified that on June 4, 1958, Hadji Hence, the parties should be allowed a certain latitude in the presentation of their evidence
Aisa inquired about one Awalin; that he told Aisa that Awalin was taken by Mayor Brown to lest they may be so hampered that the ends of justice may eventually be defeated or appear
the seat of the city government; and that he (Pollisco) suggested that Datu Unding be to be defeated. The danger of leading to such result must be avoided, particularly in cases of
advised not to worry, because there was no evidence against Awalin. To impeach the veracity the nature, importance and significance of the one under consideration.
of Pollisco, the prosecution presented the exhibits under consideration, for the same show With respect to the question whether or not Senator Roseller Lim may appear as counsel for
that one Dong Awalin (who is different from Awalin Tebag) was apprehended on May 27, the main respondents herein, as defendants in said criminal case, the Constitution provides
1958, and released on bail on June 23, 1958; that Pollisco could not have truthfully informed that no Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall "appear as counsel ... in
Aisa on June 4, 1958, what Dong Awalin had been taken by Mayor Brown to the seat of the any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the Government is accused of an offense
city government and that there was no evidence against him; for he was then a detention committed in relation of his office ... (Art. VI, Sec. 17, Const. of the Phil.). The issue,
prisoner; and that Pollisco could not have had in mind, therefore, said Dong Awalin as the therefore, is whether the defendants in Criminal case No. 672 are "accused of an offense
Awalin about whom Aisa had inquired. Indeed, Exhibits TT-13 to TT-16 show that, testifying committed in relation" to their office.
before the City Fiscal, respondent Pollisco said that he twice ordered Patrolman Lacerna on A mere perusal of the amended information therein readily elicits an affirmative answer. It is
June 4, 1958, to bring Awalin Tebag to him (Pollisco) for investigation. alleged in said amended information that "Leroy S. Brown, City Mayor of Basilan City, as
3. Exhibits SS to SS-7 These are the testimonies before the City Fiscal, of defense witness such, has organized groups of police patrol and civilian commandoes consisting of regular
Mohammad Sali who, on cross examination by the prosecution, denied having given it. Thus policemen and ... special policemen, appointed and provided by him with pistols and high
the predicate therefor was established by the prosecution which sought thereby to impeach power guns" and then "established a camp ... at Tipo-Tipo," which is under his "command, ...
Sali's veracity. supervision and control," where his codefendants were stationed, entertained criminal
4. Exhibits TT, TT-1 to TT-25 These are the testimonies, before the City Fiscal of the main complaints and conducted the corresponding investigations, as well as assumed the authority
respondents herein, who gave a different story before respondent Judge. The prosecution to arrest and detain persons without due process of law and without bringing them to the
thus sought to impeach their veracity as witnesses in their own behalf, after laying down the proper court, and that, in line with this set-up established by said Mayor of Basilan City as
predicate in the course of their cross examination. such, and acting upon his orders, his codefendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag,
5. Exhibits UU, UU-1 to UU-3 These are sworn statements made by defendant Hasbi before who died in consequence thereof.
the City Fiscal. They were presented in rebuttal, after laying down the predicate, to impeach It is apparent from these allegations that, although public office is not an element of the
his testimony in court. crime of murder in abstract, as committed by the main respondents herein, according to the
6. Exhibits RR, RR-1, XX and XX-1 With these exhibits the prosecution tried to rebut amended information, the offense therein charged is intimately connected with their
Pollisco's testimony to the effect that prosecution witness Lianson Arip had a grudge against respective offices and was perpetrated while they were in the performance, though improper
him, he (Pollisco) having charged him with theft in the City Fiscal's Office. It appears from or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed, they had no personal motive to commit the
said exhibits that Arip's affidavit, implicating Pollisco, was dated June 8, 1958, whereas crime and they would not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid offices. The co-
Pollisco's affidavit charging Arip with theft, was dated June 20, 1958, so that said statement defendants of respondent Leroy S. Brown, obeyed his instructions because he was their
of Arip could not have been influenced by Pollisco's subsequent act. superior officer, as Mayor of Basilan City.
In contrast with the severe and rigorous policy used by respondent Judge in dealing with the The case of Monllito vs. Hilario and Crisologo, 90 Phil., 49, relied upon by respondent Judge,
aforementioned evidence for the prosecution, petitioner herein cites the liberality with which in overruling the objection of the prosecution to the appearance of Senator Roseller Lim, is
the lower court admitted, as evidence for the defense, records of supposed achievements of not in point, for, as stated in the decision therein:
the Tipo-Tipo sub-station (Exhibits 9 to 9-G, 10 to 10-I, 17 to 17-C, 19 to 19-A, 20 to 20-I 21 From the allegations of the information it does not appear that the official positions of the
and 22), a congratulatory communication (Exh. 24), and a letter of commendation to a peace accused were connected with the offense charged. In fact, the attorneys for the prosecution
officer assigned thereto (Exh. 7), including an article in the Philippine Free Press (Exhs. 23 stated that the motives for the crimes were personal with political character. It does not even
and 23-A). appear, nor is there assertion, that the crimes were committed by the defendants in line of
Upon a review of the record, we are fully satisfied that the lower court had, not only erred, duty or in the performance of their official functions. (Emphasis supplied.)
but, also, committed a grave abuse of discretion in issuing the resolutions complained of, in Such is not the situation obtaining in the case at bar.
rejecting the aforementioned direct and rebuttal evidence for the prosecution, and in not Wherefore, the rulings complained of are set aside and reversed and respondent Judge is
permitting the same to propound the questions, already adverted to. It is obvious to us that hereby enjoined to admit the aforementioned direct and rebuttal evidence for the
said direct and rebuttal evidence, as well as the aforementioned questions, are relevant to
prosecution, as well as to permit the formulation, of the questions already referred to, with of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders as defined and penalized under
costs against the respondents herein. It is so ordered. Section 1, Paragraph b of P.D. 1829, committed as follows:
THIRD DIVISION That on or about March 14, 1997, prior or subsequent thereto, at the Municipality of Bansud,
[G.R. No. 144261-62. May 9, 2001] Oriental Mindoro and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above name accused,
PRUDENTE D. SOLLER, M.D., PRECIOSA M. SOLLER, M.D., RODOLFO I. SALCEDO, JOSEFINA all public officers, then being the Municipal Mayor, Municipal Health Officer, SPO II, PO 1,
B. MORADA, MARIO M. MATINING, and ROMMEL M. LUARCA, petitioners vs. THE HONORABLE Sanitary Inspector and Midwife, respectively, all of said municipality, conspiring and
SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. confederating with one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and criminally alter
DECISION and suppress the gunshot wound and conceal the brain of JERRY MACABAEL with intent to
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: impair its veracity, authenticity, and availability as evidence in the investigation of criminal
This special civil action for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus raises the issue of the case for murder against the accused Vincent Soller, the son of herein respondents.
propriety of the assumption of jurisdiction by the Sandiganbayan[1] in Criminal Cases Nos. CONTRARY TO LAW.
25521 and 25522 both entitled People of the Philippines vs. Prudente D. Soller, Preciosa M. Criminal Case No. 25522
Soller, Rodolfo Salcedo, Josefina Morada, Mario Matining and Rommel Luarca wherein The undersigned Graft Investigation Officer, I, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon,
petitioners are charged with Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal hereby accuses PRUDENTE SOLLER, PRECIOSA SOLLER, MARIO MATINING, ROMMEL
Offenders as defined and penalized under P.D. No. 1829. The grounds for petitioners Motion LUARCA, RODOLFO SALCEDO, and JOSIE MORADA, of committing the offense of Obstruction
to Quash the Informations against them are that only petitioner Prudente D. Soller occupied a of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders as defined and penalized under
position classified as Grade 27 and higher and because the offenses charged were not Section 1, Paragraph b of P.D. 1829, committed as follows:
committed by him in violation of his office as Municipal Mayor of Bansud, Oriental Mindoro. That on or about March 14, 1997, prior or subsequent thereto, at the Municipality of Bansud,
It appears that in the evening of March 14, 1997, Jerry Macabael a municipal guard, was shot Oriental Mindoro and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above name accused,
and killed along the national highway at Bansud, Oriental Mindoro while driving a motorcycle all public officers, then being the Municipal Mayor, Municipal health Officer, SPO II, PO 1,
together with petitioner Sollers son, Vincent M. Soller. His body was brought to a medical Sanitary Inspector and Midwife, respectively, all of said municipality, conspiring and
clinic located in the house of petitioner Dr. Prudente Soller, the Municipal Mayor, and his wife confederating with one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and criminal give false
Dr. Preciosa Soller, who is the Municipal Health Officer. The incident was reported to and and fabricated information in the autopsy report and police report to mislead or prevent the
investigated by petitioner SPO4 Mario Matining. An autopsy was conducted on the same night law enforcement agency, from apprehending the offender by reporting that there are several
on the cadaver of Jerry by petitioner Dr. Preciosa Soller with the assistance of petitioner gunshot wounds in the body of the victim, JERRY MACABAEL and that there is no tattooing
Rodolfo Salcedo, Sanitary Inspector, and petitioner Josefina Morada, Rural Health Midwife. (blackening) around the wound of the said victim when in truth and in fact, there is only one
On the basis of the foregoing incident, a complaint was later filed against the petitioners by gunshot wound and there is tattooing (blackening) around the wound which would indicate
the widow of Jerry Macabael with the Office of the Ombudsman charging them with that the victim was shot by Vincent Soller, the son of the herein respondents spouses
conspiracy to mislead the investigation of the fatal shootout of Jerry Macabael by (a) altering Prudente and Preciosa Soller.
his wound (b) concealing his brain; (c) falsely stating in police report that he had several CONTRARY TO LAW.
gunshot wounds when in truth he had only one; and d) falsely stating in an autopsy report Petitioners filed a Motion to Quash on the principal ground that the Sandiganbayan had no
that there was no blackening around his wound when in truth there was. jurisdiction over the offenses charged; this motion was opposed by respondent People. In its
Petitioners spouses Soller denied having tampered with the cadaver of Jerry Macabael, and assailed Order dated April 14, 2000, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioners Motion to Quash
claimed, among others that Jerry Macabael was brought to their private medical clinic on the ground that the accusation involves the performance of the duties of at least one (1)
because it was there where he was rushed by his companions after the shooting, that of the accused public officials, and if the Mayor is indeed properly charged together with that
petitioner Prudente Soller, who is also a doctor, was merely requested by his wife Preciosa official, then the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the entire case and over all the co-
Soller, who was the Municipal Health Officer, to assist in the autopsy considering that the accused. The Order stated that the accused is the Mayor of the municipality where the
procedure involved sawing which required male strength, and that Mrs. Macabaels consent alleged incident took place and, therefore, any attempt to deviate or to present false
was obtained before the autopsy. The two (2) police officers denied having planted three (3) evidence in connection with a criminal offense committed in his municipality for which he is
shells at the place where the shooting took place. charged would be an offense also in which the accused Mayor would be probably held
The Office of the Ombudsman recommended the filing of an Information for Obstruction of accountable before this Court.
Justice (Violation of P.D. 1829), and two (2) Informations[2] were filed with the Motion for Reconsideration of the above order was filed on the premise that it is not among
Sandiganbayan which were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 25521 and 25522. The two (2) the functions of the mayor to conduct autopsies so that any misdeed, if indeed there was
informations respectively read as follows: any, could not be an offense which would put him under the jurisdiction of the court. Motion
Criminal Case No. 25521 for Reconsideration was denied, the Sandiganbyan ruling that:
The undersigned Graft Investigation Officer I, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, The enumeration of the functions of the mayor indicate very clearly that he is the primary
hereby accuses PRUDENTE SOLLER, PRECIOSA SOLLER, MARIO MATINING, ROMMEL executive and, therefore, necessarily the primary peace officer of the municipality, for which
LUARCA, RODOLFO SALCEDO, and JOSIE MORADA, of committing the offense of Obstruction reason, any action on his part which deviates from that function is an office-related
offense. In this particular instance, the accused is charged for having cooperated or co-
participated with another public official of lower rank in the same municipality in the The rule is that in order to ascertain whether a court has jurisdiction or not, the provisions of
supposed falsification of the results of an autopsy. Additionally, even if the functions of an the law should be inquired into.[5] Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the court must appear
autopsy were totally unrelated to any of the administrative or executive functions over which clearly from the statute law or it will not be held to exist. It cannot be presumed or
the mayor may have supervision and, more specially, control, the fact of the matter is that implied. For this purpose in criminal cases, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the
the jurisdiction of the Court covers not only the offenses committed by the officials of Grade law at the time of the commencement of the action.[6]
Level 27 or higher as the principal accused but even where such officials are also accused The action here was instituted with the filing of the Informations on May 25, 1999 charging
together with some other public officials who may be at a level below Grade Level 27 in the petitioners with the offense of Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal
connection with the performance of their duties. Offenders as defined and penalized under Section 1, Paragraph b of P.D. 1829. The applicable
In this instance, accused Mayor Prudente D. Soller, Sr. who occupies a position at Grade statutory provisions are those of P.D. No. 1606 as last amended by the Republic Act No.
Level 27, is co-accused with his wife, the Municipal Health Officer who occupies a position at 8249. Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 as amended provides insofar as pertinent:
Grade Level 24, so that, necessarily, the offense attributed to the lower ranking officer SEC. 4. Jurisdiction - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all
elevates the entire case to this Court primarily because somebody over whom this Court has cases involving:
jurisdiction, the Mayor, is accused together with the lower ranking officer.[3] a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Hence, this petition alleging that- Corruption Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II
RESPONDENT SANDIGANBAYAN ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION OR WITH of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
IT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN SUBJECT CRIMINAL CASES NOS. the time of the commission of the offense:
25521 and 25522.[4] xxx xxx xxx
Citing Section 4 of P.D. 1606 as amended, which defines the jurisdiction of the (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
Sandiganbayan, petitioners claim that for an offense to fall within the jurisdiction of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
Sandiganbayan, the offense must have been committed by the officials enunciated in xxx xxx xxx
paragraph (a) in relation to their office, i.e. it should be intimately connected with the office b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crime committed by the
of the offender, and should have been perpetrated while the offender was in the performance public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their
of his official functions. Moreover, these requisites must all be alleged in the office.
information. Petitioners assert that in the subject criminal cases, the Informations do not xxx xxx xxx
contain factual averments showing that they committed the acts charged in relation to their In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade 27
office, i.e., the acts charged are intimately connected with their respective offices and were or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned
perpetrated by them while they were in the performance of their duties and functions. above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
On the other hand, respondent People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case
Ombudsman, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, posits that even if the offense may be, pursuant to their jurisdictions as provided by Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, amended.
charged was not committed by the accused while in the performance of his official functions, xxx xxx xxx
the same could still be considered done in relation to his office if the acts were committed in In Binay vs. Sandiganbayan,[7] this Court held that the Municipal Mayor, who occupies
line of duty. Respondents position is that an offense may be considered committed in relation Salary Grade 27 in the hierarchy of positions in the government under Republic Act No. 6758
to office if it arose from misuse or abuse of public office or from non-performance of an and the Index of Occupational Services. Position Titles and Salary Grades, falls within the
official duty or function; thus the offense of falsifying autopsy and police reports is office- exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
related considering that among the duties and functions of the municipal mayor in the The bone of contention here is whether the offenses charged may be considered as
exercise of general supervision and control over all programs, projects, services and activities committed in relation to their office as this phrase is employed in the above-quoted Section
of the municipal government, is that he shall ensure that all executive officials and employees 4.
of the municipality faithfully discharge their duties and functions. The fact that the As early as Montilla vs. Hilario,[8] this Court has interpreted the requirement that an offense
informations do not allege that the acts charged were committed by petitioner Prudente be committed in relation to the office to mean that the offense cannot exist without the office
Soller while he was in the performance of his official functions or duties is not a fatal defect, or that the office must be a constituent element of the crime as defined and punished in
as the conclusion of law that his acts are in violation of his duties as municipal mayor could Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven of the Revised Penal Code (referring to the crimes committed
necessarily be deduced from the informations. by the public officers). People vs. Montejo[9] enunciated the principle that the offense must
Petitioners, in their Reply, reiterate that the factual averments in the Information were fatally be intimately connected with the office of the offender and perpetrated while he was in the
defective in view of the absence of any specific allegation that would indicate that the crimes performance, though improper or irregular of his official functions. The Court, speaking
charged were committed by the defendants in line of duty or in the performance of their through Chief Justice Concepcion said that although public office is not an element of the
official functions. crime of murder in (the) abstract, the facts in a particular case may show that -
The petition is meritorious. xxx the offense therein charged is intimately connected with (the accuseds) respective offices
and was perpetrated while they were in the performance though improper or irregular, of
their official functions.Indeed (the accused) had no personal motive to commit the crime and charged in the subject criminal cases fall within the exclusive original function of the Regional
they would not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid offices. The co- Trial Court, not the Sandiganbayan.
defendants of respondent Leroy S. Brown obeyed his instructions because he was their WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the challenged orders are SET ASIDE and declared
superior officer, as Mayor of Basilan City.[10] NULL and VOID for lack of jurisdiction. No costs.
The cited rulings in Montilla vs. Hilario and in People vs. Montejo were reiterated in Sanchez SO ORDERED.
vs. Demetriou,[11] Republic vs. Asuncion,[12] and Cunanan vs. Arceo.[13] The case THIRD DIVISION
of Republic vs. Asuncioncategorically pronounced that the fact that offense was committed in
relation to the office must be alleged in the information:
That the public officers or employees committed the crime in relation to their office, must, HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, G.R. No. 162059
however, be alleged in the information for the Sandiganbayan to have jurisdiction over a case Petitioner,
under Section 4 (a) (2). This allegation is necessary because of the unbending rule that Present:
jurisdiction is determined by the allegations of the information.[14]
For this purpose what is controlling is not whether the phrase committed in violation to public YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
office appears in the information; what determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is Chairperson,
the specific factual allegation in the information that would indicate close intimacy between - versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
the discharge of the accuseds official duties and the commission of the offense charged in CORONA,*
order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office.[15] NACHURA, and
In this case, the Informations subject of Criminal Cases Nos. 25521 and 25522 quoted REYES, JJ.
earlier, fail to allege that petitioners had committed the offenses charged in relation to their
offices. Neither are there specific allegations of facts to show the intimate relation/connection SANDIGANBAYAN and Promulgated:
between the commission of the offense charged and the discharge of official functions of the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
offenders, i.e. that the obstruction of and apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders Respondents. January 22, 2008
was committed in relation to the office of petitioner Prudente Soller, whose office as Mayor is x--------------------------------------------------x
included in the enumeration in Section 4 (a) of P.D. 1606 as amended. Although the DECISION
petitioners were described as being all public officers, then being the Municipal Mayor,
Municipal Health Officer, SPO II, PO I, Sanitary Inspector and Midwife, there was no
allegation that the offense of altering and suppressing the gunshot wound of the victim with REYES, R.T., J.:
intent to impair the veracity, authenticity and availability as evidence in the investigation of
the criminal case for murder (Criminal Case No. 25521) or of giving false and fabricated CAN the Sandiganbayan try a government scholar** accused, along with her brother, of
information in the autopsy report and police report to mislead the law enforcement agency swindling government funds?
and prevent the apprehension of the offender (Criminal Case No. 25522) was done in the
performance of official function. Indeed the offenses defined in P.D. 1829 may be committed MAAARI bang litisin ng Sandiganbayan ang isang iskolar ng bayan, at ang kanyang kapatid,
by any person whether a public officer or a private citizen, and accordingly public office is not na kapwa pinararatangan ng estafa ng pera ng bayan?
an element of the offense. Moreover, the Information in Criminal Case No. 25522 states that
the fabrication of information in the police and autopsy report would indicate that the victim The jurisdictional question is posed in this petition for certiorari assailing the
was shot by Vincent Soller, the son of herein petitioners spouses Prudente and Preciosa Resolutions[1] of the Sandiganbayan, Fifth Division, denying petitioners motion to quash the
Soller. Thus there is a categorical indication that the petitioners spouses Soller had a personal information and her motion for reconsideration.
motive to commit the offenses and they would have committed the offenses charged even if
they did not respectively hold the position of Municipal Mayor or Municipal Health Officer. The Antecedents
A cursory reading of the duties and functions of the Municipal Mayor as enumerated in
Section 444 of the Local Government Code will readily show that the preparation of police Petitioner Hannah Eunice D. Serana was a senior student of the University of the Philippines-
and autopsy reports and the presentation and gathering of evidence in the investigation of Cebu. A student of a state university is known as a government scholar. She was appointed
criminal cases are not among such duties and functions, and the broad responsibility to by then President Joseph Estrada on December 21, 1999 as a student regent of UP, to serve
maintain peace and order cannot be a basis for construing that the criminal acts imputed to a one-year term starting January 1, 2000 and ending on December 31, 2000.
petitioner Mayor fall under his functions as Municipal Mayor.[16] What is obvious is that
petitioners spouses probably acted as the parents of the alleged assailant and if at all, were In the early part of 2000, petitioner discussed with President Estrada the renovation of
motivated by personal reasons rather than official duty. Vinzons Hall Annex in UP Diliman.[2] On September 4, 2000, petitioner, with her siblings and
Consequently, for failure to show in the informations that the charges were intimately relatives, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission the Office of the Student
connected with the discharge of the official functions of accused Mayor Soller, the offenses Regent Foundation, Inc. (OSRFI).[3]
no jurisdiction over the crime of estafa.[9] It only has jurisdiction over crimes covered by
One of the projects of the OSRFI was the renovation of the Vinzons Hall Annex.[4] President Title VII, Chapter II, Section 2 (Crimes Committed by Public Officers), Book II of the Revised
Estrada gave Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00) to the OSRFI as financial assistance for Penal Code (RPC). Estafa falling under Title X, Chapter VI (Crimes Against Property), Book II
the proposed renovation. The source of the funds, according to the information, was the of the RPC is not within the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
Office of the President.
She also argued that it was President Estrada, not the government, that was duped. Even
The renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize.[5] The succeeding student regent, assuming that she received the P15,000,000.00, that amount came from Estrada, not from
Kristine Clare Bugayong, and Christine Jill De Guzman, Secretary General of the KASAMA sa the coffers of the government.[10]
U.P., a system-wide alliance of student councils within the state university, consequently filed
a complaint for Malversation of Public Funds and Property with the Office of the Petitioner likewise posited that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over her person. As a
Ombudsman.[6] student regent, she was not a public officer since she merely represented her peers, in
contrast to the other regents who held their positions in an ex officio capacity. She added
On July 3, 2003, the Ombudsman, after due investigation, found probable cause to indict that she was a simple student and did not receive any salary as a student regent.
petitioner and her brother Jade Ian D. Serana for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No.
27819 of the Sandiganbayan.[7] The Information reads: She further contended that she had no power or authority to receive monies or funds. Such
power was vested with the Board of Regents (BOR) as a whole. Since it was not alleged in
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby the information that it was among her functions or duties to receive funds, or that the crime
accuses HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA and JADE IAN D. SERANA of the crime of Estafa, was committed in connection with her official functions, the same is beyond the jurisdiction of
defined and penalized under Paragraph 2(a), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as the Sandiganbayan citing the case of Soller v. Sandiganbayan.[11]
amended committed as follows:
The Ombudsman opposed the motion.[12] It disputed petitioners interpretation of the
That on October, 24, 2000, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Metro law. Section 4(b) of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606 clearly contains the catch-all
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, phrase in relation to office, thus, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the charges against
HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, a high-ranking public officer, being then the Student Regent of petitioner. In the same breath, the prosecution countered that the source of the money is a
the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, while in the performance of her official matter of defense. It should be threshed out during a full-blown trial.[13]
functions, committing the offense in relation to her office and taking advantage of her
position, with intent to gain, conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private According to the Ombudsman, petitioner, despite her protestations, was a public officer. As a
individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government by member of the BOR, she had the general powers of administration and exercised the
falsely and fraudulently representing to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada that the corporate powers of UP. Based on Mechems definition of a public office, petitioners stance
renovation of the Vinzons Hall of the University of the Philippines will be renovated and that she was not compensated, hence, not a public officer, is erroneous. Compensation is not
renamed as President Joseph Ejercito Estrada Student Hall, and for which purpose accused an essential part of public office. Parenthetically, compensation has been interpreted to
HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA requested the amount of FIFTEEN MILLION PESOS include allowances. By this definition, petitioner was compensated.[14]
(P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the latter relying
and believing on said false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said Sandiganbayan Disposition
accused Land Bank Check No. 91353 dated October 24, 2000 in the amount of FIFTEEN
MILLION PESOS (P15,000,000.00), which check was subsequently encashed by accused Jade In a Resolution dated November 14, 2003, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioners motion for
Ian D. Serana on October 25, 2000 and misappropriated for their personal use and benefit, lack of merit.[15] It ratiocinated:
and despite repeated demands made upon the accused for them to return aforesaid amount,
the said accused failed and refused to do so to the damage and prejudice of the The focal point in controversy is the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over this case.
government in the aforesaid amount. It is extremely erroneous to hold that only criminal offenses covered by Chapter II, Section 2,
Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code are within the jurisdiction of this Court. As
CONTRARY TO LAW. (Underscoring supplied) correctly pointed out by the prosecution, Section 4(b) of R.A. 8249 provides that the
Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction over other offenses committed by public officials and
Petitioner moved to quash the information. She claimed that the Sandiganbayan does not employees in relation to their office. From this provision, there is no single doubt that this
have any jurisdiction over the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP Court has jurisdiction over the offense of estafa committed by a public official in relation to
student regent. his office.
Accused-movants claim that being merely a member in representation of the student body,
Petitioner claimed that Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended by R.A. No. 8249, she was never a public officer since she never received any compensation nor does she fall
enumerates the crimes or offenses over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction.[8]It has
under Salary Grade 27, is of no moment, in view of the express provision of Section 4 of
Republic Act No. 8249 which provides: Finally, this court finds that accused-movants contention that the same of P15 Million was
received from former President Estrada and not from the coffers of the government, is a
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all matter a defense that should be properly ventilated during the trial on the merits of this
cases involving: case.[16]

(A) x x x On November 19, 2003, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.[17] The motion was
denied with finality in a Resolution dated February 4, 2004.[18]
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Issue
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
Petitioner is now before this Court, contending that THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED
xxxx GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACKAND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN
NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION AND DISMISING THE CASE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled IS HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.[19]
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. (Italics supplied)
In her discussion, she reiterates her four-fold argument below, namely: (a) the
It is very clear from the aforequoted provision that the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over estafa; (b) petitioner is not a public officer with
jurisdiction over all offenses involving the officials enumerated in subsection (g), irrespective Salary Grade 27 and she paid her tuition fees; (c) the offense charged was not committed in
of their salary grades, because the primordial consideration in the inclusion of these officials relation to her office; (d) the funds in question personally came from President Estrada, not
is the nature of their responsibilities and functions. from the government.

Is accused-movant included in the contemplated provision of law? Our Ruling

A meticulous review of the existing Charter of the University of the Philippines reveals that The petition cannot be granted.
the Board of Regents, to which accused-movant belongs, exclusively exercises the general
powers of administration and corporate powers in the university, such as: 1) To receive and Preliminarily, the denial of a motion to
appropriate to the ends specified by law such sums as may be provided by law for the quash is not correctible by certiorari.
support of the university; 2) To prescribe rules for its own government and to enact for the
government of the university such general ordinances and regulations, not contrary to law, as We would ordinarily dismiss this petition for certiorari outright on procedural grounds. Well-
are consistent with the purposes of the university; and 3) To appoint, on recommendation of established is the rule that when a motion to quash in a criminal case is denied, the remedy
the President of the University, professors, instructors, lecturers and other employees of the is not a petition for certiorari, but for petitioners to go to trial, without prejudice to reiterating
University; to fix their compensation, hours of service, and such other duties and conditions the special defenses invoked in their motion to quash.[20]Remedial measures as regards
as it may deem proper; to grant to them in its discretion leave of absence under such interlocutory orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often
regulations as it may promulgate, any other provisions of law to the contrary dismissed.[21] The evident reason for this rule is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single
notwithstanding, and to remove them for cause after an investigation and hearing shall have action.[22]
been had.
In Newsweek, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[23] the Court clearly explained and
It is well-established in corporation law that the corporation can act only through its board of illustrated the rule and the exceptions, thus:
directors, or board of trustees in the case of non-stock corporations. The board of directors or
trustees, therefore, is the governing body of the corporation. As a general rule, an order denying a motion to dismiss is merely interlocutory and cannot be
subject of appeal until final judgment or order is rendered. (Sec. 2 of Rule 41). The ordinary
It is unmistakably evident that the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines is procedure to be followed in such a case is to file an answer, go to trial and if the decision is
performing functions similar to those of the Board of Trustees of a non-stock adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final judgment. The same rule applies to an
corporation. This draws to fore the conclusion that being a member of such board, accused- order denying a motion to quash, except that instead of filing an answer a plea is entered
movant undoubtedly falls within the category of public officials upon whom this Court is and no appeal lies from a judgment of acquittal.
vested with original exclusive jurisdiction, regardless of the fact that she does not occupy a
position classified as Salary Grade 27 or higher under the Compensation and Position This general rule is subject to certain exceptions. If the court, in denying the motion to
Classification Act of 1989. dismiss or motion to quash, acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion, then certiorari or prohibition lies. The reason is that it would be unfair to require repeats the reference in the instant petition for certiorari[26] and in her memorandum of
the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no authorities.[27]
jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is not the court of proper venue, or if the
denial of the motion to dismiss or motion to quash is made with grave abuse of discretion or
a whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment. In such cases, the ordinary remedy of
appeal cannot be plain and adequate. The following are a few examples of the exceptions to
the general rule. We cannot bring ourselves to write this off as a mere clerical or typographical error. It bears
stressing that petitioner repeated this claim twice despite corrections made by the
In De Jesus v. Garcia (19 SCRA 554), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on lack of Sandiganbayan.[28]
jurisdiction over the subject matter, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and
prohibition against the City Court of Manila and directed the respondent court to dismiss the Her claim has no basis in law. It is P.D. No. 1606, as amended, rather than R.A. No. 3019, as
case. amended, that determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. A brief legislative history of
the statute creating the Sandiganbayan is in order. The Sandiganbayan was created by P.D.
In Lopez v. City Judge (18 SCRA 616), upon the denial of a motion to quash based on lack of No. 1486, promulgated by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 11, 1978. It was
jurisdiction over the offense, this Court granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the promulgated to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of public officers and
respondent court from further proceeding in the case. employees, based on the concept that public officers and employees shall serve with the
highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times
accountable to the people.[29]

In Enriquez v. Macadaeg (84 Phil. 674), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on P.D. No. 1486 was, in turn, amended by P.D. No. 1606 which was promulgated on December
improper venue, this Court granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent 10, 1978. P.D. No. 1606 expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.[30]
judge from taking cognizance of the case except to dismiss the same.
P.D. No. 1606 was later amended by P.D. No. 1861 on March 23, 1983, further altering the
In Manalo v. Mariano (69 SCRA 80), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on bar by Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. R.A. No. 7975 approved on March 30, 1995 made succeeding
prior judgment, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and directed the respondent amendments to P.D. No. 1606, which was again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. No.
judge to dismiss the case. 8249. Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249 further modified the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. As it
now stands, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the following:
In Yuviengco v. Dacuycuy (105 SCRA 668), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on
the Statute of Frauds, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and dismissed the Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all
amended complaint. cases involving:

In Tacas v. Cariaso (72 SCRA 527), this Court granted the petition for certiorari after the A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, other known as the Anti-Graft and
motion to quash based on double jeopardy was denied by respondent judge and ordered him Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of
to desist from further action in the criminal case except to dismiss the same. the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
In People v. Ramos (83 SCRA 11), the order denying the motion to quash based on the time of the commission of the offense:
prescription was set aside on certiorari and the criminal case was dismissed by this
Court.[24] (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
We do not find the Sandiganbayan to have committed a grave abuse of discretion. otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is
set by P.D. No. 1606, as amended, not by (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
R.A. No. 3019, as amended. provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

We first address petitioners contention that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is (b) City mayor, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
determined by Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
amended). We note that petitioner refers to Section 4 of the said law yet quotes Section 4 of
P.D. No. 1606, as amended, in her motion to quash before the Sandiganbayan.[25]She (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that
the Supreme Court has promulgated and may thereafter promulgate, relative to
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for
and those holding the rank of senior superintended or higher; review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from
the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special
prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper
courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action
and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall, at all times, be
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the
Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the provisions necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing such
of the Constitution; and civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That
where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the
B. Other offenses of felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned.
the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their
office. Upon the other hand, R.A. No. 3019 is a penal statute approved on August 17, 1960. The
said law represses certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute
C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.[31] Pursuant to Section 10 of R.A. No.
14 and 14-A, issued in 1986. 3019, all prosecutions for violation of the said law should be filed with the
Sandiganbayan.[32]
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade
27 or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officer R.A. No. 3019 does not contain an enumeration of the cases over which the Sandiganbayan
mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional has jurisdiction. In fact, Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019 erroneously cited by petitioner, deals not
court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the with the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but with prohibition on private individuals. We
case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. quote:
129, as amended.
Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take
resolutions or order of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or
jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other person having
some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which
The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of such public official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by
the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary consanguinity or affinity in the third civil degree. The word close personal relation shall
writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature, include close personal friendship, social and fraternal connections, and professional
including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public officer.
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over
these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to
commit any of the offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.
In fine, the two statutes differ in that P.D. No. 1606, as amended, defines the jurisdiction of Development Committee (NPDC) on February 7, 1974 (E.O. No. 69). On January 9, 1966,
the Sandiganbayan while R.A. No. 3019, as amended, defines graft and corrupt practices and Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and Teodoro F. Valencia were designated Chairman and Vice-Chairman
provides for their penalties. respectively (E.O. No. 3). Despite an attempt to transfer it to the Bureau of Forest
Development, Department of Natural Resources, on December 1, 1975 (Letter of
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over Implementation No. 39, issued pursuant to PD No. 830, dated November 27, 1975), the
the offense of estafa. NPDC has remained under the Office of the President (E.O. No. 709, dated July 27, 1981).

Relying on Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, petitioner contends that estafa is not among those Since 1977 to 1981, the annual appropriations decrees listed NPDC as a regular government
crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. We note that in hoisting this argument, petitioner agency under the Office of the President and allotments for its maintenance and operating
isolated the first paragraph of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, without regard to the succeeding expenses were issued direct to NPDC (Exh. 10-A, Perlas, Item Nos. 2, 3).
paragraphs of the said provision.
The Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over estafa was reiterated with greater firmness in Bondoc
The rule is well-established in this jurisdiction that statutes should receive a sensible v. Sandiganbayan.[38] Pertinent parts of the Courts ruling in Bondoc read:
construction so as to avoid an unjust or an absurd conclusion.[33] Interpretatio talis in
ambiguis semper fienda est, ut evitetur inconveniens et absurdum. Where there is ambiguity, Furthermore, it is not legally possible to transfer Bondocs cases to the Regional Trial Court,
such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity is to be adopted. Kung saan for the simple reason that the latter would not have jurisdiction over the offenses. As already
mayroong kalabuan, ang pagpapaliwanag ay hindi dapat maging mahirap at katawa-tawa. above intimated, the inability of the Sandiganbayan to hold a joint trial of Bondocs cases and
those of the government employees separately charged for the same crimes, has not altered
Every section, provision or clause of the statute must be expounded by reference to each the nature of the offenses charged, as estafa thru falsification punishable by penalties higher
other in order to arrive at the effect contemplated by the legislature.[34] The intention of the than prision correccional or imprisonment of six years, or a fine of P6,000.00, committed by
legislator must be ascertained from the whole text of the law and every part of the act is to government employees in conspiracy with private persons, including Bondoc. These crimes
be taken into view.[35] In other words, petitioners interpretation lies in direct opposition to are within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. They simply cannot be
the rule that a statute must be interpreted as a whole under the principle that the best taken cognizance of by the regular courts, apart from the fact that even if the cases could be
interpreter of a statute is the statute itself.[36] Optima statuti interpretatrix est ipsum so transferred, a joint trial would nonetheless not be possible.
statutum. Ang isang batas ay marapat na bigyan ng kahulugan sa kanyang kabuuan sa ilalim
ng prinsipyo na ang pinakamainam na interpretasyon ay ang mismong batas. Petitioner UP student regent
is a public officer.
Section 4(B) of P.D. No. 1606 reads:
Petitioner also contends that she is not a public officer. She does not receive any salary or
B. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by remuneration as a UP student regent. This is not the first or likely the last time that We will
the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their be called upon to define a public officer. In Khan, Jr. v. Office of the Ombudsman, We ruled
office. that it is difficult to pin down the definition of a public officer.[39] The 1987 Constitution does
not define who are public officers. Rather, the varied definitions and concepts are found in
Evidently, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over other felonies committed by public officials different statutes and jurisprudence.
in relation to their office. We see no plausible or sensible reason to exclude estafaas one of
the offenses included in Section 4(B) of P.D. No. 1606. Plainly, estafa is one of those other In Aparri v. Court of Appeals,[40] the Court held that:
felonies. The jurisdiction is simply subject to the twin requirements that (a) the offense is
committed by public officials and employees mentioned in Section 4(A) of P.D. No. 1606, as A public office is the right, authority, and duty created and conferred by law, by which for a
amended, and that (b) the offense is committed in relation to their office. given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an
individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be
In Perlas, Jr. v. People,[37] the Court had occasion to explain that the Sandiganbayan has exercise by him for the benefit of the public ([Mechem Public Offices and Officers,] Sec.
jurisdiction over an indictment for estafa versus a director of the National Parks Development 1). The right to hold a public office under our political system is therefore not a natural
Committee, a government instrumentality. The Court held then: right. It exists, when it exists at all only because and by virtue of some law expressly or
impliedly creating and conferring it (Mechem Ibid., Sec. 64). There is no such thing as a
vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office. Excepting
constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one
The National Parks Development Committee was created originally as an Executive can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary (42 Am. Jur. 881).
Committee on January 14, 1963, for the development of the Quezon Memorial, Luneta and
other national parks (Executive Order No. 30). It was later designated as the National Parks In Laurel v. Desierto,[41] the Court adopted the definition of Mechem of a public office:
state university. Resultantly, her act was done in a private capacity and not in relation to
A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a public office.
given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an
individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be It is axiomatic that jurisdiction is determined by the averments in the information.[51] More
exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested is a public than that, jurisdiction is not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by defendant or
officer.[42] respondent in an answer, a motion to dismiss, or a motion to quash.[52] Otherwise,
jurisdiction would become dependent almost entirely upon the whims of defendant or
Petitioner claims that she is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27; she is, in fact, a regular respondent.[53]
tuition fee-paying student. This is likewise bereft of merit. It is not only the salary grade that
determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction In the case at bench, the information alleged, in no uncertain terms that petitioner, being
over other officers enumerated in P.D. No. 1606. In Geduspan v. People,[43] We held that then a student regent of U.P., while in the performance of her official functions, committing
while the first part of Section 4(A) covers only officials with the offense in relation to her office and taking advantage of her position, with intent to gain,
Salary Grade 27 and higher, its second part specifically includes other conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private individual, did then and there
executive officials whose positions may not be of Salary Grade 27 and higher but who are by wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government x x x. (Underscoring supplied)
express provision of law placed under the jurisdiction of the said court. Petitioner falls under
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as she is placed there by express provision of law.[44] Clearly, there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it did
not quash the information based on this ground.
Section 4(A)(1)(g) of P.D. No. 1606 explictly vested the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction
over Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled Source of funds is a defense that should
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. Petitioner falls be raised during trial on the merits.
under this category. As the Sandiganbayan pointed out, the BOR performs functions similar
to those of a board of trustees of a non-stock corporation.[45] By express mandate of law, It is contended anew that the amount came from President Estradas private funds and not
petitioner is, indeed, a public officer as contemplated by P.D. No. 1606. from the government coffers. Petitioner insists the charge has no leg to stand on.

Moreover, it is well established that compensation is not an essential element of public We cannot agree. The information alleges that the funds came from the Office of the
office.[46] At most, it is merely incidental to the public office.[47] President and not its then occupant, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Under the
information, it is averred that petitioner requested the amount of Fifteen Million Pesos
Delegation of sovereign functions is essential in the public office. An investment in an (P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the latter relying
individual of some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by and believing on said false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said
him for the benefit of the public makes one a public officer.[48] accused Land Bank Check No. 91353 dated October 24, 2000 in the amount of Fifteen Million
Pesos (P15,000,000.00).
The administration of the UP is a sovereign function in line with Article XIV of the
Constitution. UP performs a legitimate governmental function by providing advanced Again, the Court sustains the Sandiganbayan observation that the source of the P15,000,000
instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences, and arts, and giving professional and is a matter of defense that should be ventilated during the trial on the merits of the instant
technical training.[49] Moreover, UP is maintained by the Government and it declares no case.[54]
dividends and is not a corporation created for profit.[50]
A lawyer owes candor, fairness
The offense charged was committed and honesty to the Court.
in relation to public office, according
to the Information. As a parting note, petitioners counsel, Renato G. dela Cruz, misrepresented his reference to
Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 as a quotation from Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019. A review of his
Petitioner likewise argues that even assuming that she is a public officer, the Sandiganbayan motion to quash, the instant petition for certiorari and his memorandum, unveils the
would still not have jurisdiction over the offense because it was not committed in relation to misquotation. We urge petitioners counsel to observe Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
her office. Responsibility, specifically Rule 10.02 of the Rules stating that a lawyer shall not misquote or
misrepresent.
According to petitioner, she had no power or authority to act without the approval of the
BOR. She adds there was no Board Resolution issued by the BOR authorizing her to contract The Court stressed the importance of this rule in Pangan v. Ramos,[55] where Atty Dionisio
with then President Estrada; and that her acts were not ratified by the governing body of the D. Ramos used the name Pedro D.D. Ramos in connection with a criminal case. The Court
ruled that Atty. Ramos resorted to deception by using a name different from that with which
he was authorized. We severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned that a repetition may Sandiganbayan8 and Serana v. Sandiganbayan, et al.,9 he asserted that under Presidential
warrant suspension or disbarment.[56] Decree (P.D.) No. 1606, as amended by Section 4 (A) (1) of R.A No. 8249,10 the
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction to try and hear the case because he is an official of the
We admonish petitioners counsel to be more careful and accurate in his citation. A lawyers executive branch occupying the position of a Regional Director but with a compensation that
conduct before the court should be characterized by candor and fairness.[57]The is classified as below Salary Grade 27.
administration of justice would gravely suffer if lawyers do not act with complete candor and
honesty before the courts.[58] In its Opposition,11 the OSP argued that a reading of Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g) of the
subject law would clearly show that the qualification as to Salary Grade 27 and higher applies
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. only to officials of the executive branch other than the Regional Director and those
specifically enumerated. This is so since the term Regional Director and higher are
SO ORDERED. separated by the conjunction and, which signifies that these two positions are different,
THIRD DIVISION apart and distinct, words but are conjoined together relating one to the other to give effect
G.R. No. 191894, July 15, 2015 to the purpose of the law. The fact that the position of Regional Director was specifically
DANILO A. DUNCANO, Petitioner, v. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (2ND DIVISION), AND HON. mentioned without indication as to its salary grade signifies the lawmakers intention that
OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, Respondents. officials occupying such position, regardless of salary grade, fall within the original and
DECISION exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. This issue, it is claimed, was already resolved
PERALTA, J.: in Inding. Finally, the OSP contended that the filing of the motion to dismiss is premature
This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Rules) with prayer for issuance considering that the Sandiganbayan has yet to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the
of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order seeks to reverse and set aside accused.
the August 18, 2009 Resolution1 and February 8, 2010 Order2 of respondent Sandiganbayan
Second Division in Criminal Case No. SB-09-CRM-0080, which denied petitioners Motion to Still not to be outdone, petitioner invoked the applicability of Cuyco v.
Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. Sandiganbayan12 and Organo v. Sandiganbayan13 in his rejoinder.

The facts are plain and undisputed. On August 18, 2009, the Sandiganbayan Second Division promulgated its Resolution,
disposing:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
Petitioner Danilo A. Duncano is, at the time material to the case, the Regional Director of the
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) with Salary Grade 26 as classified under Republic Act ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(R.A.) No. 6758.3 On March 24, 2009,4 the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), Office of WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Court hereby DENIES the instant Motion to
the Ombudsman, filed a criminal case against him for violation of Section 8, in relation to Dismiss for being devoid of merit. Let a Warrant of Arrest be therefore issued against the
Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713,5 allegedly committed as follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw accused.

ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary14
That on or about April 15, 2003, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused DANILO DUNCANO y The respondent court ruled that the position of Regional Director is one of those exceptions
ACIDO, a high ranking public officer, being the Regional Director of Revenue Region No. 7, of where the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction even if such position is not Salary Grade 27. It was
the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Quezon City, and as such is under an obligation to opined that Section 4 (A) (1) of R.A No. 8249 unequivocally provides that respondent court
accomplish and submit declarations under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth and has jurisdiction over officials of the executive branch of the government occupying the
financial and business interests, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally fail to position of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Salary Grade 27 and higher,
disclose in his Sworn Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for the year of R.A. No. 6758, including those officials who are expressly enumerated in subparagraphs
2002, his financial and business interests/connection in Documail Provides Corporation and (a) to (g). In support of the ruling, this Courts pronouncements in Indingand Binay v.
Don Plus Trading of which he and his family are the registered owners thereof, and the 1993 Sandiganbayan15 were cited.
Nissan Patrol motor vehicle registered in the name of his son VINCENT LOUIS P. DUNCANO
which are part of his assets, to the damage and prejudice of public interest. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied;16 Hence, this petition.

CONTRARY TO LAW.6 Instead of issuing a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction, the Court
required respondents to file a comment on the petition without necessarily giving due course
Prior to his arraignment, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss With Prayer to Defer the thereto.17 Upon compliance of the OSP, a Rejoinder (supposedly a Reply) was filed by
Issuance of Warrant of Arrest7 before respondent Sandiganbayan Second Division. As the petitioner.
OSP alleged, he admitted that he is a Regional Director with Salary Grade 26. Citing Inding v.
At the heart of the controversy is the determination of whether, according to P.D. No. 1606, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
as amended by Section 4 (A) (1) of R.A No. 8249, only Regional Directors with Salary Grade
of 27 and higher, as classified under R.A. No. 6758, fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the "(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
Sandiganbayan. Arguing that he is not included among the public officials specifically
enumerated in Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g) of the law and heavily relying as well on Cuyco, "(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
petitioner insists that respondent court lacks jurisdiction over him, who is merely a Regional
Director with Salary Grade 26. On the contrary, the OSP maintains that a Regional Director, "(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial
irrespective of salary grade, falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;
Sandiganbayan.
"(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
We find merit in the petition. Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;

The creation of the Sandiganbayan was mandated by Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 "(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
Constitution.18By virtue of the powers vested in him by the Constitution and pursuant to corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations.
Proclamation No. 1081, dated September 21, 1972, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos
issued P.D. No. 1486.19 The decree was later amended by P.D. No. 1606,20 Section 20 of "(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,21 P.D. No. 1860,22 and P.D. No. 1861.23redarclaw Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;

With the advent of the 1987 Constitution, the special court was retained as provided for in "(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
Section 4, Article XI thereof.24 Aside from Executive Order Nos. 1425 and 14-a,26 and R.A.
7080,27 which expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 1606 was further "(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the
modified by R.A. No. 7975,28 R.A. No. 8249,29 and just this year, R.A. No. provisions of the Constitution; and
10660.30redarclaw
"(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
For the purpose of this case, the relevant provision is Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, which Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
states:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
B. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their
SEC. 4. Section 4 of the same decree is hereby further amended to read as office.
follows:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1,
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all
cases involving:LawlibraryofCRAlaw x x x

A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Based on the afore-quoted, those that fall within the original jurisdiction of the
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of Sandiganbayan are: (1) officials of the executive branch with Salary Grade 27 or higher, and
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the (2) officials specifically enumerated in Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at grades.31 While the first part of Section 4 (A) covers only officials of the executive branch
the time of the commission of the offense:LawlibraryofCRAlaw with Salary Grade 27 and higher, its second part specifically includes other executive officials
whose positions may not be of Salary Grade 27 and higher but who are by express provision
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, of law placed under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.32redarclaw
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:LawlibraryofCRAlaw That the phrase otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher qualifies regional director
and higher is apparent from the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Raul S. Roco on Senate Bill
"(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and Nos. 1353 and 844, which eventually became R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8249,
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads; respectively:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

"(b) City mayor, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
As proposed by the Committee, the Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction over
the cases assigned to it only in instances where one or more of the principal accused are Thus, to cite a few, We have held that a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod,40 a
officials occupying the positions of regional director and higher or are otherwise classified as department manager of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth),41 a student
Grade 27 and higher by the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, whether in regent of the University of the Philippines,42 and a Head of the Legal Department and Chief
a permanent, acting or interim capacity at the time of the commission of the offense. The of the Documentation with corresponding ranks of Vice-Presidents and Assistant Vice-
jurisdiction, therefore, refers to a certain grade upwards, which shall remain with the President of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefits System
Sandiganbayan.33 (Emphasis supplied) (AFP-RSBS)43 fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

To speed up trial in the Sandiganbayan, Republic Act No. 7975 was enacted for that Court to Petitioner is not an executive official with Salary Grade 27 or higher. Neither does he hold
concentrate on the larger fish and leave the small fry to the lower courts. This law any position particularly enumerated in Section 4 (A) (1) (a) to (g). As he correctly argues,
became effective on May 6, 1995 and it provided a two-pronged solution to the clogging of his case is, in fact, on all fours with Cuyco. Therein, the accused was the Regional Director of
the dockets of that court, to wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw the Land Transportation Office, Region IX, Zamboanga City, but at the time of the
commission of the crime in 1992, his position was classified as Director II with Salary Grade
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary 26.44 It was opined:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
It divested the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over public officials whose salary grades were at
Grade 26 or lower, devolving thereby these cases to the lower courts, and retaining the ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan only over public officials whose salary grades were at Grade Petitioner contends that at the time of the commission of the offense in 1992, he was
27 or higher and over other specific public officials holding important positions in occupying the position of Director II, Salary Grade 26, hence, jurisdiction over the cases falls
government regardless of salary grade; x x x34 (Emphasis supplied) with the Regional Trial Court.

The legislative intent is to allow the Sandiganbayan to devote its time and expertise to big- We sustain petitioner's contention.
time cases involving the so-called big fishes in the government rather than those accused
who are of limited means who stand trial for petty crimes, the so-called small fry, which, The Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over violations of Section 3(a) and (e), Republic Act
in turn, helps the court decongest its dockets.35redarclaw No. 3019, as amended, unless committed by public officials and employees occupying
positions of regional director and higher with Salary Grade "27" or higher, under the
Yet, those that are classified as Salary Grade 26 and below may still fall within the jurisdiction Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758) in relation to
of the Sandiganbayan, provided that they hold the positions enumerated by the law.36 In their office.
this category, it is the position held, not the salary grade, which determines the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan.37 The specific inclusion constitutes an exception to the general In ruling in favor of its jurisdiction, even though petitioner admittedly occupied the position of
qualification relating to officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional Director II with Salary Grade "26" under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), the Sandiganbayan incurred in serious error of jurisdiction,
Position Classification Act of 1989.38 As ruled in Inding:LawlibraryofCRAlaw and acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in suspending
petitioner from office, entitling petitioner to the reliefs prayed for.45
ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Following this disquisition, the paragraph of Section 4 which provides that if the accused is In the same way, a certification issued by the OIC Assistant Chief, Personnel Division of the
occupying a position lower than SG 27, the proper trial court has jurisdiction, can only be BIR shows that, although petitioner is a Regional Director of the BIR, his position is classified
properly interpreted as applying to those cases where the principal accused is occupying a as Director II with Salary Grade 26.46redarclaw
position lower than SG 27 and not among those specifically included in the enumeration in
Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g). Stated otherwise, except for those officials specifically included in There is no merit in the OSPs allegation that the petition was prematurely filed on the
Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary grades, over whom the Sandiganbayan ground that respondent court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of petitioner.
has jurisdiction, all other public officials below SG 27 shall be under the jurisdiction of the Records disclose that when a warrant of arrest was issued by respondent court, petitioner
proper trial courts where none of the principal accused are occupying positions voluntarily surrendered and posted a cash bond on September 17, 2009. Also, he was
corresponding to SG 27 or higher. By this construction, the entire Section 4 is given effect. arraigned on April 14, 2010, prior to the filing of the petition on April 30, 2010.
The cardinal rule, after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words, clauses and
phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every WHEREFORE, the foregoing considered, the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED. The
part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order August 18, 2009 Resolution and February 8, 2010 Order of the Sandiganbayan Second
to produce a harmonious whole. And courts should adopt a construction that will give effect Division, which denied petitioners Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction,
to every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis valeat quam pereat or that construction are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.
is to be sought which gives effect to the whole of the statute its every word. 39
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary Before the Court is the motion filed by petitioner to cite respondent DOJ Panel of
Investigating Prosecutors (respondent for brevity) in contempt of court for alleged blatant
disregard and defiance of the agreement of the parties with this Court to maintain the status
EN BANC quo before the filing of their petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

On September 22, 2003, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance
SENATOR GREGORIO B. HONASAN II, G.R. No. 159747 of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against respondents
Petitioner, Members: alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Panel for assuming jurisdiction to
conduct the preliminary investigation on the charge of coup detatagainst
DAVIDE, JR., C.J. petitioner. Respondents filed their respective comments and petitioner his reply thereto. An
PUNO, oral argument on the case was held on November 18, 2003. Parties submitted their
VITUG, respective memoranda as required by the Court. On April 13, 2004, the Court rendered a
PANGANIBAN, decision dismissing the petition and upholding the concurrent jurisdiction of the respondent to
QUISUMBING, conduct the preliminary investigation. Petitioner received a copy of the decision on April 22,
YNARES-SANTIAGO, 2004, thus he has until May 7, 2004 to file his motion for reconsideration.
- versus - SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CARPIO, On April 23, 2004, respondent issued its assailed order as follows:
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA, In the light of the ruling of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 159747 dated 13 April 2004,
CARPIO-MORALES, confirming that this Investigating Panel has jurisdiction to investigate the instant complaint
CALLEJO, SR., against respondent Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II, et al., and to afford respondent full
AZCUNA, and opportunity to controvert the allegations of the complaint and to adduce evidence;
TINGA, JJ.
Wherefore, in the interest of justice, respondent(s) thru counsel are hereby given a final
THE PANEL OF INVESTIGATING PROSECUTORS extension of up to 3 May 2004 within which to file their counter-affidavit and controverting
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (LEO DACERA, evidence furnishing with a copy thereof complainant with proof of service thereof to this
SUSAN F. DACANAY, EDNA A. VALENZUELA AND Panel.
SEBASTIAN F. CAPONONG, JR.), CIDG-PNP-
P/DIRECTOR EDUARDO MATILLANO, AND THE
HON. OMBUDSMAN SIMEON V. MARCELO, Petitioner now comes before this Court with a motion to cite respondent in contempt alleging
that the issuance of the assailed order is in direct contravention and flagrant violation of the
agreement of the parties as stated in the Courts Resolution dated November 18, 2003, which
Promulgated: categorically provides:
Respondents. ___June 15, 2004__
Further, it was agreed that the Department of Justice, with the assurance of the Chief State
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuo, will maintain the STATUS QUO before the filing of the petition.
-x

Petitioner argues that he still has 15 days from receipt of the Courts decision to file a motion
for reconsideration, i.e., until May 7, 2004, and therefore, until that period, the decision
RESOLUTION dated April 13, 2004 is not yet final and executory; he intends to file a motion for
reconsideration within the reglementary period; the assailed order requiring him to submit his
counter-affidavit is premature and intended to pre-empt and render futile and nugatory any
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: action of petitioner with respect to the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004, subverting his
right to due process; the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 has not lifted said directives to
the parties to maintain the status quo nor did the decision automatically lift the status quo
order; the submission of petitioners counter-affidavit would upset the status quo sought to be
maintained; with the assailed order of the respondent panel requiring him to submit his
counter-affidavit, the latter has belittled, degraded, obstructed and impeded the respondent to impede the administration of justice. As respondent has explained in its
administration of justice and has wantonly defied the Courts authority; and the Panels order Comment, the charges against petitioner was filed with the DOJ in August 2003 and since
only confirms his fear that his preliminary investigation and detention are being railroaded. then, the preliminary investigation has been pending, thus with the Courts decision upholding
In its Comment, respondent contends that: contempt of court presupposes a contumacious their jurisdiction, respondent issued the assailed order taking into account petitioners right to
attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence, a virtual defiance of the court; no such attitude a speedy disposition of his case. Clearly, respondents intention is to give respondent all the
or intent is discernible from its assailed action in proceeding with the preliminary opportunity to controvert the accusation against him and to adduce evidence in his
investigation since the respondent issued the assailed Order in good faith and in the behalf. The Court finds respondents explanation satisfactory and does not see the act of
conscientious implementation of the Courts decision upholding the concurrent jurisdiction of respondent as contumacious, as herein earlier defined by the Court.
the DOJ to investigate the charges against petitioner for the crime of coup detat; it has no
intention to willfully disregard the authority of the Court since the assailed order was Petitioner asserts in his Motion that he received on April 22, 2004, a copy of the Courts
promulgated in furtherance and in the exercise of their authority to conduct preliminary decision upholding respondents authority to conduct preliminary investigation, and that he
investigation on charges against public officers and employees as mandated by the has until May 7, 2004 to file his motion for reconsideration. However, verification with the
Constitution and laws as confirmed by the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004;the charges Courts docket section reveals that petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration only on June
against petitioner was filed in August 2003 and the preliminary investigation was pending 8, 2004, or thirty days late. The Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 has already attained
since then because of the jurisdictional issue raised before this Court which was decided on finality as of May 8, 2004. Hence, there is no longer any impediment for respondent to
April 13, 2004; upon receipt of such decision, respondent issued the assailed order with the proceed with the preliminary investigation and for petitioner to comply with the respondents
objective of resolving the investigation taking into account petitioners right to a speedy order to submit his counter-affidavit.
disposition of the case against him; the subject order was not in any manner effected to
railroad petitioners arrest and detention but to serve his right to due process by giving him all WHEREFORE, petitioners motion to cite respondent in contempt of court
the opportunity to controvert the accusations against him and to adduce evidence in his is DENIED. Respondent is required to give petitioner a fresh period from receipt of this
behalf; otherwise, the respondent could have immediately filed the information against Resolution to submit his counter-affidavit.
petitioner the moment he failed to submit his counter-affidavit; as a manifestation of good
faith, respondent desisted from further proceeding with the investigation and deferred any SO ORDERED.
action until after the Courts decision on April 13, 2004; in contempt proceeding, intent,
however, goes to the gravamen of the offense, and the good faith or lack of it, of the alleged Republic of the Philippines
contemnor should be considered; contempt partakes of the nature of a criminal offense, and SUPREME COURT
doubts should be resolved in favor of the person against whom proceedings have been Baguio City
brought; and only in cases of clear and contumacious refusal to obey should the power to SECOND DIVISION
punish for contempt of court be exercised. G.R. No. 175750-51 April 2, 2014
SILVERINA E. CONSIGNA, Petitioner,
We deny the motion to cite respondent Panel in contempt of court. vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), and
Contempt of court is defined as disobedience to the court by acting in opposition to its EMERLINA MOLETA,Respondents.
authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the DECISION
courts orders, but such conduct as tends to bring the authority of the court and PEREZ, J.:
administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of For review on certiorari is the Decision1 of the Honorable Sandiganbayan dated 12 December
justice.[1] The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative 2006, finding Silverina E. Consigna (petitioner) guilty for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic
and not on the vindictive principle.[2] Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Estafa, as
power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of justice may falter or defined and penalized under Article 315 (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
fail. Such power being drastic and extraordinary in its nature should not be resorted to unless The facts as culled from the records are as follows:
necessary in the interest of justice.[3] On or about 14 June 1994, petitioner, the Municipal Treasurer of General Luna, Surigao del
Norte, together with Jose Herasmio, obtained as loan from private respondent Hermelina
In compliance with the Courts Resolution dated November 18, 2003, respondent had stopped Moleta (Moleta), the sum of P320,000.00, to pay for the salaries of the employees of the
from further proceeding with the preliminary investigation while the case is pending before municipality and to construct the municipal gymnasium as the municipalitys Internal
the court. Respondent issued its assailed order requiring petitioner to submit his counter- Revenue Allotment (IRA) had not yet arrived. As payment, petitioner issued three (3) Land
affidavit after receipt of the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 upholding respondents Bank of the Philippines (LBP) checks signed by Jaime Rusillon (Rusillon), the incumbent
authority to conduct the preliminary investigation on the charge of coup detat against mayor of the Municipality of General Luna: (1) Check No. 11281104 for P130,000.00 dated
petitioner. Although the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 is not yet final as of the date of 14 June 1994; (2) Check No. 9660500 for P130,000.00 dated 14 June 1994; and (3) Check
the issuance of the said assailed order, the court finds no contemptuous intent on the part of No. 9660439 for P60,000.00 dated 11 July 1994.
Between 15 June 1994 and 18 August 1994, in several attempts on different occasions, On the charge of graft and corruption, petitioner argued that, "[w]hen allegations in the
Moleta demanded payment from petitioner and Rusillon, but to no avail. information do not show that the official position of the [petitioner] was connected with the
Thus, on 18 August 1994, Moleta deposited the three (3) LBP checks to her account in offense charged, the accused is not charged with an offense in relation to her official
Metrobank-Surigao Branch. Upon presentation for payment, Metrobank returned the checks functions".6 Petitioner, citing Lacson v. The Executive Secretary,7 further argued:
to Moleta as the checks had no funds. The following day, Moleta again deposited the checks. x x x [M]ere allegation in the information "that the offense was committed by the accused
This time, however, she deposited the checks to her LBP account. Upon presentation for public officer in relation to his office is not sufficient. That phrase is a mere conclusion of law
payment, the checks were again returned for the reason, "Signature Not on File." Upon not a factual averment that would show the close intimacy between the offense charged and
verification, LBP informed Moleta that the municipalitys account was already closed and the discharge of accuseds official duties."8
transferred to Development Bank of the Philippines, and that petitioner, the municipal Petitioner also contends that there was no fraud or misrepresentation. By demanding
treasurer, has been relieved from her position. payment from Rusillon, Moleta attested that there exists no fraud or misrepresentation. In
Hence, Moleta filed with the Sandiganbayan two (2) sets of Information against petitioner, in petitioners words, " why will she [Moleta] insist payment from [Rusillon] if she has no
the latters capacity as Municipal Treasurer and Rusillon, in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of knowledge that the money loaned have reached him?"9
General Luna, Surigao del Norte, to wit: On the other hand, Rusillon maintained that he had no participation in the acts committed by
(1) Criminal Case No. 24182 - Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and petitioner. Based on his testimony, he signed the three (3) checks to pay the following: (1)
Corrupt Practices Act: payroll of the following day; (2) daily expenses of the municipal building; (3) construction of
That on or about 15 June 1994, or sometime after said date, at the General Luna, Surigao del the municipal gymnasium; and (4) health offices medical supplies.10 As found by the court a
Norte, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court accused Municipal Treasurer quo, "the only link of Rusillon to [petitioner] with respect to the loan transaction is his
Silverina Consigna (with Salary Grade below 27), and Municipal Mayor Jaime Rusillon (with signature on the three (3) checks which [petitioner] used as security to Moleta."11
Salary Grace 27) did then and there, willfully and unlawfully, with evident bad faith, in After trial, the Sandiganbayan, on 12 December 2006, found petitioner guilty, but exonerated
cooperation with each other, and taking advantage of their official positions and in the Rusillon. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:12
discharge for the functions as such, borrow the amount of P320,000.00 from one Emerlina WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
Moleta to whom they misrepresented to be for the municipality of General Luna, when in fact (1) In Criminal Case No. 24182, accused SILVERINA E. CONSIGNA is found GUILTY beyond
the same is not; and fail to pay back said amount thereby causing undue injury to said reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of the Republic Act No. 3019, and is hereby
Emerlina Moleta in the amount of P320,000.00.2 SENTENCED to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and one (1) month to
(2) Criminal Case No. 24183 Art. 315 of the RPC, otherwise known as Estafa: eight (8) years.
That on or about 15 June 1994, or sometime after said date, at the General Luna, Surigao del Accused JAIME RUSILLON is ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt with
Norte, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Municipal Treasurer moral certainty.
Silverina Consigna (with Salary Grade below 27), and Municipal Mayor Jaime Rusillon (with (2) In Criminal Case No. 24183, accused SILVERINA E. CONSIGNA is found GUILTY beyond
Salary Grade 27), did then and there, willfully and unlawfully, with evident bad faith, in reasonable doubt of Estafa under Article 315 (2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, and is hereby
cooperation with each other, representing themselves to be transacting in behalf of the SENTENCED to the indeterminate prison term of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision
[M]unicipality of Gen. Luna, in truth and in fact they are not, contract a loan from one mayor as MINIMUM, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as MAXIMUM.
Emerlina Moleta in the amount of P320,000.00 for which they issued three (3) checks: LBP Accused JAIME RUSILLON is ACQUITTED as his guilt was not proven with moral certainty.
Check No. 11281104 dated 14 June 1994 in the amount of P130,000.00, LBP Check No. (3) Accused SILVERIA E. CONSIGNA is ordered to pay private complainant Emerlina F. Moleta
9660500 dated 14 June 1994 in the amount of P130,000.00, and LBP Check no. 9660439 the amount of PhP368,739.20 by way of actual damages; PhP30,000.00 as moral damages,
dated 11 July 1994 in the amount of P60,000.00, all in favor of said Emerlina Moleta, and the costs of suit; and
knowing fully well that the account belongs to the Municipality of the (sic) Gen. Luna, and (4) The hold departure order against accused JAIME RUSILLON in connection with these
that they have no personal funds [of] the same account such that upon presentation of the cases is hereby LIFTED.
said checks to the bank, the same were dishonored and refused payment, to the damage and Hence, this Petition.
prejudice of said Emerlina Moleta in the amount of P320,000.00.3 Noticeably, the petitioner formulated its arguments, thus:
As defense, petitioner argued that the court a quo has no jurisdiction because (1) the crime a. The court a quo committed grave abuse of discretion in making its finding of facts which
as charged did not specify the provision of law allegedly violated, i.e., the specific type of amounts to lack of jurisdiction.
Estafa; and (2) Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 does not fall within the jurisdiction of the court a quo xxxx
because the offense as charged can stand independently of public office and public office is b. The court a quo committed grave abuse of discretion when it convicted the accused on
not an element of the crime.4 "false pretense, fraudulent act or means" made or executed prior to or simultaneously with
The court a quo admitted that the Information for violation of Estafa did not specify the the commission of fraud.
provision of law allegedly violated.5 However, based on the allegations of deceit and xxxx
misrepresentation, the court a quo allowed the prosecution to indict petitioner and Rusillon c. The court a quo committed grave abuse of discretion when it made a conclusion that the
under Art. 315 (2)(a) of the RPC. petitioner acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence to justify
its conclusion that all the elements of violations of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 are present."13
Preliminarily, We here note a common disorder in petitions that mingle the concepts involved Entrenched in jurisprudence is the dictum that the real nature of the criminal charge is
in a Petition for Review under Rule 45 and in the special civil action of certiorari under Rule determined not from the caption or preamble of the information, or from the specification of
65, as a prevalent practice of litigants to cure a lapsed appeal. the provision of law alleged to have been violated, which are mere conclusions of law, but by
We shall discuss the distinction. the actual recital of the facts in the complaint or information.25 As held in People v.
With regard to the period to file a petition, in Rule 45, the period within which to file is fifteen Dimaano:26
(15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from.14 In For complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name of the accused; the
contrast to Rule 65, the petition should be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as
the judgment, order or resolution.15 constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the
Regarding the subject matter, a review on certiorari under Rule 45 is generally limited to the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is
review of legal issues; the Court only resolves questions of law which have been properly controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charge or the
raised by the parties during the appeal and in the petition.16 A Rule 65 review, on the other particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made by
hand, is strictly confined to the determination of the propriety of the trial courts jurisdiction the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein
whether it has jurisdiction over the case and if so, whether the exercise of its jurisdiction recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to
has or has not been attended by grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged,
jurisdiction.17 Otherwise stated, errors of judgment are the proper subjects of a Rule 45 and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be
petition; errors of jurisdiction are addressed in a Rule 65 petition. sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every
The special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 is resorted to only in the absence of appeal element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are
or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.18 So when appeal, necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and
or a petition for review is available, certiorari cannot be resorted to; certiorari is not a essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the
substitute for a lapsed or lost appeal.19 A Rule 65 certiorari petition cannot be a substitute information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to
for a Rule 45 petition so as to excuse the belatedness in filing the correct petition. Where an enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no
appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. (Emphasis supplied)
discretion.20 As early in United States v. Lim San,27 this Court has determined that:
Grave abuse of discretion means "such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is of no concern to the accused what is
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, in other words where the power is exercised in an the technical name of the crime of which he stands charged. It in no way aids him in a
arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so defense on the merits. x x x. That to which his attention should be directed, and in which he,
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform above all things else, should be most interested, are the facts alleged. The real question is
the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.21 not did he commit a crime given in the law some technical and specific name, but did he
Petitioner was correct when she filed a Petition for Review under Rule 45. However, instead of perform the acts alleged in the body of the information in the manner therein set forth. If he
raising errors of judgment as a proper subject of a petition for review under Rule 45, the did, it is of no consequence to him, either as a matter of procedure or of substantive right,
petition formulated jurisdictional errors purportedly committed by the court a quo, i.e., how the law denominates the crime which those acts constitute. The designation of the crime
whether or not the court a quo committed grave abuse of discretion,22which is the proper by name in the caption of the information from the facts alleged in the body of that pleading
subject of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65. Noticeably, the petition does not allege any is a conclusion of law made by the fiscal. In the designation of the crime the accused never
bias, partiality or bad faith by the court a quo in its proceedings;23 and the petition does not has a real interest until the trial has ended. For his full and complete defense he need not
raise a denial of due process in the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan.24 know the name of the crime at all. It is of no consequence whatever for the protection of his
Importantly, however, the petition followed the period specified in Rule 45. It was timely substantial rights. The real and important question to him is, "Did you perform the acts
filed. For that reason, we excuse the repeated referral to the supposed grave abuse of alleged in the manner alleged?" not "Did you commit a crime named murder." If he
discretion of the Sandiganbayan and treat the petition as, nonetheless, one for review of the performed the acts alleged, in the manner stated, the law determines what the name of the
questioned decision. We thus recast the arguments as: crime is and fixes the penalty therefor. It is the province of the court alone to say what the
I. Whether or not the court a quo committed a reversible error for finding petitioner guilty of name of the crime is or what it is named. x x x. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
estafa, based on information which does not specifically designate the provision allegedly Petitioners argument is as outdated as it is erroneous. The averments in the two (2) sets of
violated. Information against petitioner and Rusillon clearly stated facts and circumstances constituting
II. Whether or not petitioner is guilty of estafa as penalized under Art. 315 (2)(a) of the RPC. the elements of the crime of estafa as to duly inform them of the nature and cause of the
III. Whether or not petitioner is guilty of Sec. 3 (e) of RA 3019. accusation, sufficient to prepare their respective defenses.
The Petition must fail. 2. Contrary to the submission of petitioner, false pretense and fraudulent acts attended her
1. On the first issue, petitioner insists that even if the court a quo already admitted that the transaction with Moleta. The law explicitly provides that in the prosecution for Estafa under
Information failed to specifically identify the mode or manner by which estafa was committed par. (2)(a), Art. 315 of the RPC, it is indispensable that the element of deceit, consisting in
by petitioner, it nonetheless went on to convict her by relying on the allegation in the the false statement or fraudulent representation of the accused, be made prior to, or at least
Information of deceit and misrepresentation and applying par. (2)(a), Art. 315 of the RPC. simultaneously with the commission of the fraud, it being essential that such false statement
or representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive which induced the offended for P130,000.00 (Exh. 3) dated June 14, 1994 intended for the expenses of the municipal
party to part with his money. Paragraph 2(a), Art. 315 of the RPC provides: building and for the daily transactions of the municipality in the following days, and the other
Art. 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means check was for P60,000.00 (Exh. 4) dated July 11, 1994 for the purchase of medicines for the
mentioned hereinbelow x x x: municipalitys health office. The latter check was postdated to July because it would be
xxxx charged against the IRA in the 3rd quarter of 1994 since they bought medicines at that time
2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or on a quarterly basis as the budget allowed only P240,000.00 per year for such
simultaneously with the commission of the fraud: expenditure."30
xxxx 3. Anent the issue on the alleged grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction
(a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, committed by the court a quo when it took cognizance of Criminal Case No. 24182, charging
property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar petitioner for "taking advantage of her official position and the discharge of the functions as
deceits. such," petitioner averred that the charge was erroneous because borrowing of money is not a
xxxx function of a Municipal Treasurer under the Local Government Code. Petitioner asserts that
The elements of estafa by means of deceit, whether committed by false pretenses or the last sentence of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 cannot cover her.
concealment, are the following: (a) there must be a false pretense, fraudulent act or We find such reasoning misplaced.
fraudulent means; (b) such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made The following are the essential elements of violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019:
or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (c) the offended 1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official
party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means, that is, he functions;
was induced to part with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act 2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence;
or fraudulent means; and (d) as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.28 and
As borne by the records, petitioners representations were outright distortions of the truth 3. That his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving
perpetrated for the sole purpose of inducing Moleta to hand to her the amount any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
of P320,000.00 purportedly for the Municipality of General Luna. Being the Municipal functions.31
Treasurer, there was reason for Moleta to rely on petitioners representations that money is There is no doubt that petitioner, being a municipal treasurer, was a public officer discharging
needed for the payment of the employees salary as well as for the construction of the official functions when she misused such position to be able to take out a loan from Moleta,
gymnasium. There was also a ring of truth to the deception that the share of the municipality who was misled into the belief that petitioner, as municipal treasurer, was acting on behalf of
from the IRA is forthcoming. Added to this, petitioners representations were even supported the municipality.
by the issuance of three (3) LBP checks to guarantee payment taken from the account of the In Montilla v. Hilario,32 this Court described the "offense committed in relation to the office"
municipality and signed by no less than the municipal mayor, giving the impression that the as:
loaned amount would indeed be utilized for public purposes. [T]he relation between the crime and the office contemplated by the Constitution is, in our
As the court a quo correctly observed: opinion, direct and not accidental. To fall into the intent of the Constitution, the relation has
It is undisputed that Consigna obtained a loan from Moleta for the reason that the to be such that, in the legal sense, the offense cannot exist without the office. In other
municipality lacked funds for the June 15, 1994 payroll of the employees and materials of the words, the office must be a constituent element of the crime as defined in the statute, such
gymnasium. However, several circumstances point to the fact that Consignas representation as, for instance, the crimes defined and punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven, of the
has no basis. Revised Penal Code.
She contradicted her own testimony that at the time she borrowed from Moleta on June 14, Public office is not of the essence of murder. The taking of human life is either murder or
1994, the municipality suffered a shortage of funds, with her admission that when she was homicide whether done by a private citizen or public servant, and the penalty is the same
relieved as a municipal treasurer, the Municipality had more than 1 million in Land Bank from except when the perpetrator, being a public functionary took advantage of his office, as
the IRA of P600,000.00 a month for the past three months x x x. This means that when she alleged in this case, in which event the penalty is increased.
left her post before the second week of July x x x, the municipality had money from the April But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime as an element; and even as an
to June 1994 IRA, enough to meet the need of P320,000.00. x x x29 aggravating circumstance, its materiality arises not from the allegations but on the proof, not
The circumstances and the reason behind the issuance of the three (3) checks given to from the fact that the criminals are public officials but from the manner of the commission of
Moleta by petitioner was testified to by Rusillon: the crime. (Emphasis supplied)
He was the incumbent mayor of the Municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte, in 1994. In this case, it was not only alleged in the Information, but was proved with certainty during
In the morning of June 14, 1994, he received the amount of P268,800.00 from accused trial that the manner by which petitioner perpetrated the crime necessarily relates to her
Consigna, as evidenced by a voucher (Exh. 1) signed by him on the same day. The money official function as a municipal treasurer. Petitioners official function created in her favor an
was to be used for the purchase of materials for the gymnasium of the municipality which impression of authority to transact business with Moleta involving government financial
construction started in 1992. After signing the voucher, he ordered Consigna to prepare a concerns. There is, therefore, a direct relation between the commission of the crime and
check for P130,000.00 (Exh. 2) for the June 15, 1994 payroll of the municipalitys employees. petitioners office the latter being the very reason or consideration that led to the
After the check was prepared, he again ordered Consigna to make another two checks, one unwarranted benefit she gained from Moleta, for which the latter suffered damages in the
amount of P320,000.00. It was just fortunate that Rusillon instructed the bank to stop The above pronouncement was reiterated in Cruz v. Sandiganbayan,40 where the Court
payment of the checks issued by petitioner, lest, the victim could have been the Municipality affirmed the Mejorada ruling that finally puts to rest any erroneous interpretation of the last
of General Luna. sentence of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law.
As regards the two other elements, the Court explained in Cabrera v. Sandiganbayan33 that All the elements of the crimes as charged are present in the case at bar.1wphi1 All told, this
there are two (2) ways by which a public official violates Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the Court finds no justification to depart from the findings of the lower court. Petitioner failed to
performance of his functions, namely: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including the present any cogent reason that would warrant a reversal of the Decision assailed in this
Government; or (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or petition.
preference. The accused may be charged under either mode or under both.34 This was WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No.
reiterated in Quibal v. Sandiganbayan,35 where the Court held that the use of the disjunctive 24182-83 is AFFIRMED in toto.
term "or" connotes that either act qualifies as a violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. SO ORDERED.
In this case, petitioner was charged of violating Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 under the EN BANC
alternative mode of "causing undue injury" to Moleta committed with evident bad faith, for [G.R. No. 128096. January 20, 1999]
which she was correctly found guilty. "Evident bad faith" connotes not only bad judgment but PANFILO M. LACSON, petitioner vs. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SANDIGANBAYAN,
also palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MYRNA ABALORA,
conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. "Evident bad faith" contemplates a NENITA ALAP-AP, IMELDA PANCHO MONTERO, and THE PEOPLE OF THE
state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest PHILIPPINES, respondents.
or ill will or for ulterior purposes,36which manifested in petitioners actuations and ROMEO M. ACOP and FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR., petitioners-intervenors.
representation. DECISION
The inevitable conclusion is that petitioner capitalized on her official function to commit the MARTINEZ, J.:
crimes charged. Without her position, petitioner would not have induced Moleta to part with The constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of Republic Act No. 8249 an act which further
her money. In the same vein, petitioner could not have orchestrated a scheme of issuing defines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is being challenged in this petition for
postdated checks meddling with the municipalitys coffers and defiling the mayors signature. prohibition and mandamus.Petitioner Panfilo Lacson, joined by petitioners-intervenors Romeo
As correctly found by the court a quo: Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr., also seeks to prevent the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with
x x x Likewise worthy of stress is [petitioners] failure to establish that the amount she the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 (for multiple murder) against them on the
disbursed to Rusillon came from the money she loaned from Moleta. If indeed ground of lack of jurisdiction.
the P268,800.00 advanced to Rusillon was charged against the loan, then, this should have The antecedents of this case, as gathered from the parties pleadings and documentary
been reflected in the municipalitys books of accounts. The same is true with the P320,000.00 proofs, are as follows:
and the P32,000.00 given to Moleta if the proceeds of the loan really went to the In the early morning of May 18, 1995, eleven (11) persons believed to be members of
municipalitys treasury. It is a standard accounting procedure that every transaction must be the Kuratong Baleleng gang, reportedly an organized crime syndicate which had been involve
properly entered in the books of accounts of the municipality. A cash that comes in is a debit in a spate of bank robberies in Metro Manila, were slain along Commonwealth Avenue in
to the asset account and every loan incurred is a credit to the liability account.37 Quezon City by elements of the Anti-Bank Robbery and Intelligence Task Group (ABRITG)
Given the above disquisition, it becomes superfluous to dwell further on the issue raised by headed by Chief Superintendent Jewel Canson of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The
petitioner that Sec. 3(e) applies only to officers and employees of offices or government ABRITG was composed of police officers from the Traffic Management Command (TMC) led by
corporations charged with the grant of licenses or other concessions. Nonetheless, to finally petitioner-intervenor Senior Superintendent Francisco Zubia, Jr.; Presidential Anti-Crime
settle the issue, the last sentence of the said provision is not a restrictive requirement which Commission Task Force Habagat (PACC-TFH) headed by petitioner Chief Superintendent
limits the application or extent of its coverage. This has long been settled in our ruling in Panfilo M. Lacson; Central Police District Command (CPDC) led by Chief Superintendent
Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan,38 where we categorically declared that a prosecution for Ricardo de Leon; and the Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) headed by petitioner-
violation of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of whether or not the accused intervenor Chief Superintendent Romeo Acop.
public officer is "charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions." Quoted Acting on a media expose of SPO2 Eduardo delos Reyes, a member of the CIC, that what
hereunder is an excerpt from Mejorada:39 actually transpired at dawn of May 18, 1995 was a summary execution (or a rub out) and not
Section 3 cited above enumerates in eleven subsections the corrupt practices of any public a shoot-out between the Kuratong Baleleng gang members and the ABRITG, Ombudsman
officers (sic) declared unlawful. Its reference to "any public officer" is without distinction or Aniano Desierto formed a panel of investigators headed by the Deputy Ombudsman for
qualification and it specifies the acts declared unlawful. We agree with the view adopted by Military Affairs, Bienvenido Blancaflor, to investigate the incident. This panel later absolve
the Solicitor General that the last sentence of paragraph [Section 3] (e) is intended to make from any criminal liability all the PNP officers and personnel allegedly involved in the May 18,
clear the inclusion of officers and employees of officers (sic) or government corporations 1995 incident, with a finding that the said incident was a legitimate police operation.[1]
which, under the ordinary concept of "public officers" may not come within the term. It is a However, a review board led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Francisco Villa modified the
strained construction of the provision to read it as applying exclusively to public officers Blancaflor panels finding and recommended the indictment for multiple murder against
charged with the duty of granting licenses or permits or other concessions. (Emphasis and twenty-six (26) respondents, including herein petitioner and intervenors. This
underscoring supplied)
recommendation was approved by the Ombudsman, except for the withdrawal of the charges After Justice Lagman wrote the Resolution and Justice Demetriou concurred in it,
against Chief Supt. Ricardo de Leon. but before Justice de Leon, Jr. rendered his concurring and dissenting opinion, the legislature
Thus, on November 2, 1995, petitioner Panfilo Lacson was among those charged as principal enacted Republic Act 8249 and the President of the Philippines approved it on February 5,
in eleven (11) informations for murder[2] before the Sandiganbayans Second Division, while 1997. Considering the pertinent provisions of the new law, Justices Lagman and Demetriou
intervenors Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr. were among those charged in the same are now in favor of granting, as they are now granting, the Special Prosecutors motion for
informations as accessories after-the-fact. reconsideration. Justice de Leon has already done so in his concurring and dissenting opinion.
Upon motion by all the accused in the 11 informations,[3] the Sandiganbayan allowed them xxxxxxxxx
to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans action.[4] Considering that three of the accused in each of these cases are PNP Chief
After conducting a reinvestigation, the Ombudsman filed on March 1, 1996 eleven Superintendents: namely, Jewel T. Canson, Romeo M. Acop and Panfilo M. Lacson, and that
(11) amended informations[5] before the Sandiganbayan, wherein petitioner was charged trial has not yet begun in all these cases in fact, no order of arrest has been issued this court
only as an accessory, together with Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr. and others. One of has competence to take cognizance of these cases.
the accused[6] was dropped from the case. To recapitulate, the net result of all the foregoing is that by the vote of 3 to 2, the court
On March 5-6, 1996, all the accused filed separate motions questioning the jurisdiction of the admitted the Amended Informations in these cases and by the unanimous vote of 4 with 1
Sandiganbayan, asserting that under the amended informations, the cases fall within the neither concurring nor dissenting, retained jurisdiction to try and decide the
jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of Republic cases.[16] [Emphasis supplied]
Act No. 7975.[7] They contend that the said law limited the jurisdiction of Petitioner now questions the constitutionality of Section 4 R.A. No. 8249, including Section 7
the Sandiganbayan to cases where one or more of the "principal accused are government thereof which provides that the said law shall apply to all cases pending in any court over
officials with Salary Grade (SG) 27 or higher, or PNP officials with the rank of Chief which trial has not begun as of the approval hereof. Petitioner argues that:
Superintendent (Brigadier General) or higher. The highest ranking principal accused in the a) The questioned provision of the statute were introduced by the authors thereof in bad faith
amended informations has the rank of only a Chief Inspector, and none has the equivalent of as it was made to precisely suit the situation in which petitioners cases were in at
at least SG 27. the Sandiganbayan by restoring jurisdiction thereover to it, thereby violating his right to
Thereafter, in a Resolution[8] dated May 8, 1996 (promulgated on May 9, 1996), penned by procedural due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Further, from the
Justice Demetriou, with Justices Lagman and de Leon concurring, and Justices Balajadia and way the Sandiganbayan has foot-dragged for nine (9) months the resolution of a pending
Garchitorena dissenting,[9] the Sandiganbayan admitted the amended information and incident involving the transfer of the cases to the Regional Trial Court, the passage of the law
ordered the cases transferred to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court which has original and may have been timed to overtake such resolution to render the issue therein moot, and
exclusive jurisdiction under R.A. 7975, as none of the principal accused has the rank of Chief frustrate the exercise of petitioners vested rights under the old Sandiganbayan law (RA 7975)
Superintendent or higher. b) Retroactive application of the law is plain from the fact that it was again made to suit the
On May 17, 1996, the Office of the Special Prosecutor moved for a reconsideration, insisting peculiar circumstances in which petitioners cases were under, namely, that trial had not yet
that the cases should remain with the Sandiganbayan. This was opposed by petitioner and commenced, as provided in Section 7, to make certain that those cases will no longer be
some of the accused. remanded to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, as the Sandiganbayan alone should try
While these motions for reconsideration were pending resolution, and even before the issue them, thus making it an ex post factolegislation and a denial of the right of petitioner as an
of jurisdiction cropped up with the filing of the amended informations on March 1, 1996, accused in Criminal Case Nos. 23047 23057 to procedural due process
House Bill No. 2299[10] and No. 1094[11] (sponsored by Representatives Edcel C. Lagman c) The title of the law is misleading in that it contains the aforesaid innocuous provisions in
and Neptali M. Gonzales II, respectively), as well as Senate Bill No. 844[12] (sponsored by Sections 4 and 7 which actually expands rather than defines the old Sandiganbayan law (RA
Senator Neptali Gonzales), were introduced in Congress, defining/expanding the jurisdiction 7975), thereby violating the one-title-one-subject requirement for the passage of statutes
of the Sandiganbayan. Specifically, the said bills sought, among others, to amend the under Section 26(1), Article VI of the Constitution.[17]
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by deleting the word principal from the phrase principal For their part, the intervenors, in their petition-in-intervention, add that while Republic Act
accused in Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of R.A. No. 7975. No. 8249 innocuously appears to have merely expanded the jurisdiction of
These bills were consolidated and later approved into law as R.A. No. 8249[13]. The law is the Sandiganbayan, the introduction of Sections 4 and 7 in said statute impressed upon it the
entitled, AN ACT FURTHER DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, character of a class legislation and an ex-post facto statute intended to apply specifically to
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606, AS AMENDED, PROVIDING the accused in the Kuratong Baleleng case pending before the Sandiganbayan.[18] They
FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. It took effect on February 25, 1997.13 by further argued that if their case is tried before the Sandiganbayan their right to procedural
the President of the Philippines on February 5, 1997. due process would be violated as they could no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal to
Subsequently, on March 5, 1997, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a Resolution[14] denying the Sandiganbayan, which they acquired under R.A. 7975, before recourse to the Supreme
the motion for reconsideration of the Special Prosecutor, ruling that it stands pat in its Court.
resolution dated May 8, 1996. Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Solicitor General filed separate pleadings in
On the same day,[15] the Sandiganbayan issued an ADDENDUM to its March 5, 1997 support of the constitutionality of the challenged provisions of the law in question and praying
Resolution, the pertinent portion of which reads: that both the petition and the petition-in-intervention be dismissed.
This Court then issued a Resolution[19] requiring the parties to file simultaneously within (e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial
a nonextendible period of ten (10) days from notice thereof additional memoranda on the director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;
question of whether the subject amended informations filed in Criminal Cases Nos. 23047- (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
23057 sufficiently alleged the commission by the accused therein of the crime charged within Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
the meaning Section 4 b of Republic Act No. 8249, so as to bring the said cases within the (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
The parties, except for the Solicitor General who is representing the People of the Philippines, (2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the
filed the required supplemental memorandum within the nonextendible reglementary period. Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
The established rule is that every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, (3) Members of the Judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
and to justify its nullification there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the (4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the
Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative one.[20] The burden of proving the invalidity provisions of the Constitution;
of the law lies with those who challenge it. That burden, we regret to say, was not (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 or higher under the
convincingly discharged in the present case. Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
The creation of the Sandiganbayan was mandated in Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by
Constitution, which provides: the public officials and employees mentioned in Subsection a of this section in relation to
SEC. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, their office.
which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2,
and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees including those in 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade 27
determined by law." or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned
The said special court is retained in the new (1987) Constitution under the following provision above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
in Article XI, Section 4: metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case
Section 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as
function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law. amended.
Pursuant to the constitutional mandate, Presidential Decree No. 1486[21] created The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgment,
the Sandiganbayan. Thereafter, the following laws on the Sandiganbayan, in chronological resolution or orders of the regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original
order, were enacted: P.D. No. 1606,[22] Section 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,[23] P.D. jurisdiction of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.
No. 1860,[24] P.D. No. 1861,[25] R.A. No. 7975,[26] and R.A. No. 8249.[27] Under the "The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions of the issuance of
latest amendments introduced by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary
jurisdiction over the following cases: writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature,
SEC. 4. Section 4 of the same decree [P.D. No. 1606, as amended] is hereby further including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under
amended to read as follows: Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.
cases involving: The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special
the time of the commission of the offense: prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads; courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, x x x x x x x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 states:
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher; SEC. 7. Transitory provision. This act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; trial has not begun as of the approval hereof. (Emphasis supplied)
The Sandiganbayan law prior to R.A. 8249 was R.A. 7975. Section 2 of R.A. 7975 provides:
SEC. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended] is hereby Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 reads:
further amended to read as follows: SEC. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases which trial has not begun in the
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
all cases involving: Under paragraphs a and c, Section 4 of R.A. 8249, the word principal before the word
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and accused appearing in the above-quoted Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of R.A. 7975,
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of was deleted. It is due to this deletion of the word principal that the parties herein are at
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying loggerheads over the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner and intervenors, relying on
the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim R.A. 7975, argue that the Regional Trial Court, not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over
capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: the Subject criminal cases since none of the principal accused under
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, the amended information has the rank of Superintendent[28] or higher. On the other hand,
otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Special Prosecutor who is tasked to represent the
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: People before the Supreme Court except in certain cases,[29] contends that
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction pursuant to R.A. 8249.
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads; A perusal of the aforequoted Section 4 of R.A. 8249 reveals that to fall under the exclusive
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites must concur: (1) the
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; offense committed is a violation of (a) R.A. 3019, as amended (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher; Practices Act), (b) R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth), (c) Chapter II, Section 2, Title
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of high rank; VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery),[30] (d) Executive Order Nos. 1,
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; 2, 14, and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration cases),[31] or (e) other offenses or felonies
(f) City and Provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the whether simple or complexed with other crimes; (2) the offender committing the offenses in
Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; items (a), (b), (c) and (e) is a public official or employee[32] holding any of the positions
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4; and (3) the offense committed is in relation to the
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations; office.
(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Considering that herein petitioner and intervenors are being charged with murder which is a
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; felony punishable under Title VIII of the Revised Penal Code, the governing provision on the
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; jurisdictional offense is not paragraph but paragraph b, Section 4 of R.A. 8249. This
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the paragraph b pertains to other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other
provisions of the Constitution; crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of [Section
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 or higher under the 4, R.A. 8249] in relation to their office. The phrase other offenses or felonies is too broad as
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. to include the crime of murder, provided it was committed in relation to the accuseds official
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in functions. Thus, under said paragraph b, what determines the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction is
Subsection a of this section in relation to their office. the official position or rank of the offender that is, whether he is one of those public officers
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, or employees enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4. The offenses mentioned in paragraphs
14 and 14-A. a, b and c of the same Section 4 do not make any reference to the criminal participation of
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary the accused public officer as to whether he is charged as a principal, accomplice or
Grade 27 or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or PNP officers occupying the accessory. In enacting R.A. 8249, the Congress simply restored the original provisions of P.D.
rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be 1606 which does not mention the criminal participation of the public officer as a requisite to
vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as Petitioner and intervenors posture that Section 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate their right to
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. equal protection of the law[33] because its enactment was particularly directed only to
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final the Kuratong Balelengcases in the Sandiganbayan, is a contention too shallow to deserve
judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying merit. No concrete evidence and convincing argument were presented to warrant a
positions lower than grade 27, or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration. declaration of an act of the entire Congress and signed into law by the highest officer of the
xxxxxxxxx co-equal executive department as unconstitutional. Every classification made by law is
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the presumed reasonable. Thus, the party who challenges the law must present proof of
public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled arbitrariness.[34]
corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper It is an established precept in constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of
courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction over them. the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. The classification is
x x x x x x. (Emphasis supplied) reasonable and not arbitrary when there is concurrence of four elements, namely:
(1) it must rest on substantial distinction; Again, this contention is erroneous. There is nothing ex post facto in R.A. 8249. In Calder v.
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law; Bull,[42] an ex post facto law is one
(3) must not be limited to existing conditions only, and (a)which makes an act done criminal before the passing of the law and which was innocent
(4) must apply equally to all members of the same class,[35] when committed, and punishes such action; or
all of which are present in this case. (b) which aggravates a crime or makes it greater that when it was committed; or
The challengers of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 failed to rebut the presumption of (c) which changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to
constitutionality and reasonableness of the questioned provisions. The classification between the crime when it was committed,
those pending cases involving the concerned public officials whose trial has not yet (d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and receives less or different testimony than the
commenced and whose cases could have been affected by the amendments of law required at the time of the commission of the offense in order to convict the
the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction under R.A. 8249, as against those cases where trial had defendant.[43]
already started as of the approval of the law, rests on substantial distinction that makes real (e) Every law which, in relation to the offense or its consequences, alters the situation of a
differences.[36] In the first instance, evidence against them were not yet presented, whereas person to his disadvantage.[44]
in the latter the parties had already submitted their respective proofs, examined witness and This Court added two more to the list, namely:
presented documents. Since it is within the power of Congress to define the jurisdiction of (f) that which assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only but in effect imposes a
courts subject to the constitutional limitations,[37] it can be reasonably anticipated that an penalty or deprivation of a right which when done was lawful;
alteration of that jurisdiction would necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to (g) deprives a person accused of crime of some lawful protection to which he has become
provide for a remedy in the form of a transitory provision. Thus, petitioner and intervenors entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of
cannot now claim that Sections 4 and 7 placed them under a different category from those amnesty.[45]
similarly situated as them. Precisely, paragraph a of Section 4 provides that it shall apply to Ex post facto law, generally, prohibits retrospectivity of penal laws.[46] R.A. 8249
all cases involving" certain public officials and, under the transitory provision in Section 7, to is not a penal law. It is a substantive law on jurisdiction which is not penal in character. Penal
all cases pending in any court. Contrary to petitioner and intervenors arguments, the law is laws are those acts of the Legislature which prohibit certain acts and establish penalties for
not particularly directed only to the Kuratong Baleleng cases. The transitory provision does their violations;[47] or those that define crimes, treat of their nature, and provide for their
not only cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in any court. It just happened punishment.[48] R.A. 7975, which amended P.D. 1606 as regards
that the Kuratong Baleleng cases are one of those affected by the law. Moreover, those cases the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction, its mode of appeal and other procedural matters, has been
where trial had already begun are not affected by the transitory provision under Section 7 of declared by the Court as not a penal law, but clearly a procedural statute, i.e. one which
the new law (R.A. 8249). prescribes rules of procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly
In their futile attempt to have said sections nullified, heavy reliance is premised on what is administer justice.[49] Not being a penal law, the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 cannot
perceived as bad faith on the part of a Senator and two Justices of be challenged as unconstitutional.
the Sandiganbayan[38] for their participation in the passage of the said provisions. In Petitioners and intervenors contention that their right to a two-tiered appeal which they
particular, it is stressed that the Senator had expressed strong sentiments against those acquired under R.A. 7975 has been diluted by the enactment of R.A. 8249, is incorrect. The
officials involved in the Kuratong Baleleng cases during the hearings conducted on the matter same contention has already been rejected by the court several times[50] considering that
by the committee headed by the Senator. Petitioner further contends that the legislature is the right to appeal is not a natural right but statutory in nature that can be regulated by
biased against him as he claims to have been selected from among the 67 million other law. The mode of procedure provided for in the statutory right of appeal is not included in the
Filipinos as the object of the deletion of the word principal in paragraph a, Section 4 of P.D. prohibition against ex post facto laws.[51] R.A. 8249 pertains only to matters of procedure,
1606, as amended, and of the transitory provision of R.A. 8249.[39] R.A. 8249, while still a and being merely an amendatory statute it does not partake the nature of an ex post
bill, was acted, deliberated, considered by 23 other Senators and by about 250 facto law. It does not mete out a penalty and, therefore, does not come within the
Representatives, and was separately approved by the Senate and House of Representatives prohibition.[52] Moreover, the law did not alter the rules of evidence or the mode of
and, finally, by the President of the Philippines. trial.[53] It has been ruled that adjective statutes may be made applicable to actions pending
On the perceived bias that the Sandiganbayan Justices allegedly had against petitioner during and unresolved at the time of their passage.[54]
the committee hearings, the same would not constitute sufficient justification to nullify an In any case, R.A. 8249 has preserved the accuseds right to appeal to the Supreme Court to
otherwise valid law. Their presence and participation in the legislative hearings was deemed review questions of law.[55] On the removal of the intermediate review facts, the Supreme
necessary by Congress since the matter before the committee involves the graft court of Court still has the power of review to determine if the presumption of innocence has been
which one is the head of the Sandiganbayan and the other a member thereof. The Congress, convincingly overcome.[56]
in its plenary legislative powers, is particularly empowered by the Constitution to invite Another point. The challenged law does not violate the one-title-one-subject provisions of the
persons to appear before it whenever it decides to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.[40] Constitution. Much emphasis is placed on the wording in the title of the law that it defines
Petitioner and intervenors further argued that the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 to the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction when what it allegedly does is to expand its jurisdiction. The
the Kuratong Baleleng cases constitutes an ex post facto law[41] for they are deprived of expansion in the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, if it can be considered as such, does not
their right to procedural due process as they can no longer avail of the two tiered appeal have to be expressly stated in the title of the law because such is the necessary consequence
which they had allegedly acquired under R.A. 7975. of the amendments. The requirement that every bill must only have one subject expressed in
the title[57] is satisfied if the title is comprehensive enough, as in this case, to include The noble object of written accusations cannot be overemphasized. This was explained
subjects related to the general purpose which the statute seeks to achieve.[58] Such rule is in U.S. v. Karelsen:[69]
severally interpreted and should be given a practical rather than a technical The object of this written accusations was First, To furnish the accused with such a
construction. There is here sufficient compliance with such requirement, since the title of R.A. description of the charge against him as will enable him to make his defense, and second, to
8249 expresses the general subject (involving the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the avail himself of his conviction or acquittal for protection against a further prosecution for the
amendment of P.D. 1606, as amended) and all the provisions of the law are germane to that same cause, and third, to inform the court of the facts alleged so that it may decide whether
general subject.[59] The Congress, in employing the word define in the title of the law, acted they are sufficient in law to support a conviction if one should be had. In order that this
within its powers since Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution itself empowers the requirement may be satisfied, facts must be stated, not conclusions of law Every crime is
legislative body to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts.[60] made up of certain acts and intent these must be set forth in the complaint with reasonable
There being no unconstitutional infirmity in both the subject amendatory provision of Section particularity of time, place, names (plaintiff and defendant) and circumstances. In short, the
4 and the retroactive procedural application of the law as provided in Section 7 R.A. No. complaint must contain a specific allegation of every fact and circumstance necessary to
8249, we shall now determine whether under the allegations in the Informations, it is constitute the crime charged. (Emphasis supplied)
the Sandiganbayan or Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the multiple murder It is essential, therefore, that the accused be informed of the facts that are imputed to him
case against herein petitioner and intervenors. as he is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the
The jurisdiction of a court is defined by the Constitution or statute. The elements of that offense.[70]
definition must appear in the complaint or information so as to ascertain which court has Applying these legal principles and doctrines to the present case, we find the amended
jurisdiction over a case.Hence the elementary rule that the jurisdiction of a court is informations for murder against herein petitioner and intervenors wanting of specific
determined by the allegations in the complaint or information,[61] and not by the evidence factual averments to show the intimate relation/connection between the offense charged and
presented by the parties at the trial.[62] the discharge of official function of the offenders.
As stated earlier, the multiple murder charge against petitioner and intervenors falls under In the present case, one of the eleven (11) amended informations[71] for murder reads:
Section 4 [paragraph b] of R.A. 8249. Section 4 requires that the offense charged must be AMENDED INFORMATION
committed by the offender in relation to his office in order for the Sandiganbayan to have The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III, Office of the Ombudsman hereby accuses
jurisdiction over it.[63] This jurisdictional requirement is in accordance with Section 5, Article CHIEF INSP MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP ERWIN T. VILLACORTE SENIOR INSP
XIII of the 1973 Constitution which mandated that the Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL. INSP RICARDO G. DANDAN SPO4 VICENTE P. ARNADO, SPO4
over criminal cases committed by public officers and employees, including those in ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2 VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1
government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO, CHIEF
determined by law. This constitutional mandate was reiterated in the new (1987) Constitution SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMEO M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO M. LACSON,
when it declared in Section 4 thereof that the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR
exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law. O. MANCAO III, CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INISP. GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR
The remaining question to be resolved then is whether the offense of multiple murder was INSP. ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S.
committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP officers. BACOLOD, PO2 NORBERTO LASAGA, PO2 LEONARDO GLORIA and PO2 ALEJANDRO G.
In People vs. Montejo,[64] we held that an offense is said to have been committed in relation LIWANAG of the crime of Murder as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised
to the office if it (the offense) is intimately connected with the office of the offender and Penal Code committed as follows:
perpetrated while he was in the performance of his official functions.[65] This intimate That on or about May 18, 1995 in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines and
relation between the offense charged and the discharge of official duties must be alleged in within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused CHIEF INISP. MICHAEL RAY
the Information.[66] AQUINO, CHIEF INSP. ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL, INSP.
As to how the offense charged be stated in the information, Section 9, Rule 110 of the RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4 VICENTE P. ARNADO SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2
Revised Rules of Court mandates: VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1 WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1
SEC. 9. Cause of Accusation. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, and SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO all taking advantage of their public
offense must be stated in ordinary and concise language without repetition not necessarily in and official positions as officers and members of the Philippine National Police and committing
the terms of the statute defining the offense, but in such form as is sufficient to enable a the acts herein alleged in relation to their public office, conspiring with intent to kill and using
person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and firearms with treachery, evident premeditation and taking advantage of their superior
enable the court to pronounce proper judgment.(Emphasis supplied) strengths did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot JOEL AMORA, thereby
As early as 1954, we pronounced that the factor that characterizes the charge is the actual inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds which caused his instantaneous death to the damage
recital of the facts.[67] The real nature of the criminal charges is determined not from the and prejudice of the heirs of the said victim.
caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the provision of law That accused CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON CHIEF SUPT. ROMEO M. ACOP CHIEF SUPT.
alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of PANFILO M. LACSON, SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR. SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO,
facts in the complaint or information.[68] CHIEF INSP. CESAR O. MANCAO II CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN
DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP. ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN SPO3 WILLY NUAS
SPO3 CICERO S. BACOLOD, PO2 ALEJANDRO G. LIWANAG committing the acts in relation to established by said Mayor of Basilan City as such, and acting upon his orders his co-
office as officers and members of the Philippine National Police are charged herein defendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag who died in consequence thereof.
as accessories after-the-fact for concealing the crime herein above alleged by among we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to the office of the accused
others falsely representing that there were no arrests made during the raid conducted by the because it was perpetrated while they were in the performance, though improper or irregular
accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro Manila on or about the early dawn of their official functions and would not have been committed had they not held their office,
of May 18, 1995. besides, the accused had no personal motive in committing the crime, thus, there was an
CONTRARY TO LAW intimate connection between the offense and the office of the accused.
While the above-quoted information states that the above-named principal accused Unlike in Montejo, the informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 in the court
committed the crime of murder in relation to their public office, there is, however, no specific below do not indicate that the accused arrested and investigated the victims and then killed
allegation of facts that the shooting of the victim by the said principal accused was intimately the latter in the course of the investigation. The informations merely allege that the accused,
related to the discharge of their official duties as police officers. Likewise, the amended for the purpose of extracting or extorting the sum of P353,000.00 abducted, kidnapped and
information does not indicate that the said accused arrested and investigated the victim and detained the two victims, and failing in their common purpose, they shot and killed the said
then killed the latter while in their custody. victims. For the purpose of determining jurisdiction, it is these allegations that shall control,
Even the allegations concerning the criminal participation of herein petitioner and intervenors and not the evidence presented by the prosecution at the trial.
as among the accessories after-the-fact, the amended information is vague on this. It is In the aforecited case of People vs. Montejo, it is noteworthy that the phrase committed in
alleged therein that the said accessories concealed the crime herein-above alleged by, among relation to public office does not appear in the information, which only signifies that the said
others, falsely representing that there were no arrests made during the raid conducted by the phrase is not what determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. What is controlling is
accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro Manila, on or about the early dawn the specific factual allegations in the information that would indicate the close intimacy
of May 18, 1995. The sudden mention of the arrests made during the raid conducted by the between the discharge of the accuseds official duties and the commission of the offense
accused surprises the reader. There is no indication in the amended information that the charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office.
victim was one of those arrested by the accused during the raid. Worse, the raid and arrests Consequently, for failure to show in the amended informations that the charge of murder was
were allegedly conducted at Superville Subdivision, Paraaque, Metro Manila but, as alleged in intimately connected with the discharge of official functions of the accused PNP officers, the
the immediately preceding paragraph of the amended information, the shooting of the victim offense charged in the subject criminal cases is plain murder and, therefore, within the
by the principal accused occurred in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City. How the raid, exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court,[73] not the Sandiganbayan.
arrests and shooting happened in two places far away from each other is puzzling. Again, WHEREFORE, the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 is hereby sustained. The
while there is the allegation in the amended information that the said accessories committed Addendum to the March 5, 1997 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is
the offense in relation to office as officers and members of the (PNP), we, however, do not REVERSED. The Sandiganbayan is hereby directed to transfer Criminal Cases Nos. 23047 to
see the intimate connection between the offense charged and the accuseds official functions, 23057 (for multiple murder) to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which has exclusive
which, as earlier discussed, is an essential element in determining the jurisdiction of original jurisdiction over said cases.
the Sandiganbayan. SO ORDERED.
The stringent requirement that the charge be set forth with such particularity as will
reasonably indicate the exact offense which the accused is alleged to have committed in
relation to his office was, sad to say, not satisfied. We believe that the mere allegation in the EN BANC
amended information that the offense was committed by the accused public officer in relation
to his office is not sufficient. That phrase is merely a conclusion of law, not
a factual averment that would show the close intimacy between the offense charged and the SENATOR GREGORIO B. HONASAN II, G.R. No. 159747
discharge of the accuseds official duties. Petitioner, Members:
In People vs. Magallanes,[72] where the jurisdiction between the Regional Trial Court and
the Sandiganbayan was at issue, we ruled: DAVIDE, JR., C.J.
It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or PUNO,
information and not by the result of evidence after trial. VITUG,
In (People vs. ) Montejo (108 Phil 613 [1960] ), where the amended information alleged PANGANIBAN,
Leroy S. Brown, City Mayor of Basilan City, as such, has organized groups of police patrol and QUISUMBING,
civilian commandos consisting of regular policemen and x x x special policemen, appointed YNARES-SANTIAGO,
and provided by him with pistols and high power guns and then established a camp x x x at - versus - SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
Tipo-tipo which is under his command x x x supervision and control where his co-defendants CARPIO,
were stationed, entertained criminal complaints and conducted the corresponding AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
investigations, as well as assumed the authority to arrest and detain persons without due CORONA,
process of law and without bringing them to the proper court, and that in line with this set-up CARPIO-MORALES,
CALLEJO, SR., against respondent Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II, et al., and to afford respondent full
AZCUNA, and opportunity to controvert the allegations of the complaint and to adduce evidence;
TINGA, JJ.
Wherefore, in the interest of justice, respondent(s) thru counsel are hereby given a final
THE PANEL OF INVESTIGATING PROSECUTORS extension of up to 3 May 2004 within which to file their counter-affidavit and controverting
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (LEO DACERA, evidence furnishing with a copy thereof complainant with proof of service thereof to this
SUSAN F. DACANAY, EDNA A. VALENZUELA AND Panel.
SEBASTIAN F. CAPONONG, JR.), CIDG-PNP-
P/DIRECTOR EDUARDO MATILLANO, AND THE
HON. OMBUDSMAN SIMEON V. MARCELO, Petitioner now comes before this Court with a motion to cite respondent in contempt alleging
that the issuance of the assailed order is in direct contravention and flagrant violation of the
agreement of the parties as stated in the Courts Resolution dated November 18, 2003, which
Promulgated: categorically provides:
Respondents. ___June 15, 2004__
Further, it was agreed that the Department of Justice, with the assurance of the Chief State
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuo, will maintain the STATUS QUO before the filing of the petition.
-x

Petitioner argues that he still has 15 days from receipt of the Courts decision to file a motion
for reconsideration, i.e., until May 7, 2004, and therefore, until that period, the decision
RESOLUTION dated April 13, 2004 is not yet final and executory; he intends to file a motion for
reconsideration within the reglementary period; the assailed order requiring him to submit his
counter-affidavit is premature and intended to pre-empt and render futile and nugatory any
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: action of petitioner with respect to the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004, subverting his
right to due process; the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 has not lifted said directives to
the parties to maintain the status quo nor did the decision automatically lift the status quo
order; the submission of petitioners counter-affidavit would upset the status quo sought to be
maintained; with the assailed order of the respondent panel requiring him to submit his
counter-affidavit, the latter has belittled, degraded, obstructed and impeded the
Before the Court is the motion filed by petitioner to cite respondent DOJ Panel of administration of justice and has wantonly defied the Courts authority; and the Panels order
Investigating Prosecutors (respondent for brevity) in contempt of court for alleged blatant only confirms his fear that his preliminary investigation and detention are being railroaded.
disregard and defiance of the agreement of the parties with this Court to maintain the status In its Comment, respondent contends that: contempt of court presupposes a contumacious
quo before the filing of their petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence, a virtual defiance of the court; no such attitude
or intent is discernible from its assailed action in proceeding with the preliminary
On September 22, 2003, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance investigation since the respondent issued the assailed Order in good faith and in the
of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against respondents conscientious implementation of the Courts decision upholding the concurrent jurisdiction of
alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Panel for assuming jurisdiction to the DOJ to investigate the charges against petitioner for the crime of coup detat; it has no
conduct the preliminary investigation on the charge of coup detatagainst intention to willfully disregard the authority of the Court since the assailed order was
petitioner. Respondents filed their respective comments and petitioner his reply thereto. An promulgated in furtherance and in the exercise of their authority to conduct preliminary
oral argument on the case was held on November 18, 2003. Parties submitted their investigation on charges against public officers and employees as mandated by the
respective memoranda as required by the Court. On April 13, 2004, the Court rendered a Constitution and laws as confirmed by the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004;the charges
decision dismissing the petition and upholding the concurrent jurisdiction of the respondent to against petitioner was filed in August 2003 and the preliminary investigation was pending
conduct the preliminary investigation. Petitioner received a copy of the decision on April 22, since then because of the jurisdictional issue raised before this Court which was decided on
2004, thus he has until May 7, 2004 to file his motion for reconsideration. April 13, 2004; upon receipt of such decision, respondent issued the assailed order with the
objective of resolving the investigation taking into account petitioners right to a speedy
On April 23, 2004, respondent issued its assailed order as follows: disposition of the case against him; the subject order was not in any manner effected to
railroad petitioners arrest and detention but to serve his right to due process by giving him all
In the light of the ruling of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 159747 dated 13 April 2004, the opportunity to controvert the accusations against him and to adduce evidence in his
confirming that this Investigating Panel has jurisdiction to investigate the instant complaint behalf; otherwise, the respondent could have immediately filed the information against
petitioner the moment he failed to submit his counter-affidavit; as a manifestation of good
faith, respondent desisted from further proceeding with the investigation and deferred any SO ORDERED.
action until after the Courts decision on April 13, 2004; in contempt proceeding, intent, THIRD DIVISION
however, goes to the gravamen of the offense, and the good faith or lack of it, of the alleged [G.R. No. 141710. March 3, 2004]
contemnor should be considered; contempt partakes of the nature of a criminal offense, and EVELYN V. RODRIGUEZ, AND ANDRES ABONITA, JR., petitioners, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, AND
doubts should be resolved in favor of the person against whom proceedings have been PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
brought; and only in cases of clear and contumacious refusal to obey should the power to DECISION
punish for contempt of court be exercised. CARPIO-MORALES, J.:
The January 17, 2000 three separate Orders of the Sandiganbayan denying petitioners
We deny the motion to cite respondent Panel in contempt of court. motion to quash the second amended information,[1] denying the motion to defer
arraignment,[2]and entering a plea of not guilty for petitioners in light of their refusal to
Contempt of court is defined as disobedience to the court by acting in opposition to its plead to the information,[3] are assailed in the present petition for certiorari.
authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the The antecedents of the case are as follows:
courts orders, but such conduct as tends to bring the authority of the court and On September 24, 1996, acting upon an information that rampant illegal logging activities
administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of have been going on in different areas of Taytay, Palawan, a joint team composed of the
justice.[1] The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB), the Provincial Environment and
and not on the vindictive principle.[2] Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent Natural Resources Office (PENRO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) Tiniguiban Command,
power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of justice may falter or the Bantay Palawan, and the Philippine Marines confiscated freshly cut/processed ipil lumber
fail. Such power being drastic and extraordinary in its nature should not be resorted to unless at Sitio Maypa, Barangay Pancol, Taytay. The cutting and sawing of the lumber, which were
necessary in the interest of justice.[3] alleged to have been done under the supervision of Pancol Barangay Captain Pedro
Samaniego upon orders of herein petitioner Mayor Evelyn Rodriguez and Association of
In compliance with the Courts Resolution dated November 18, 2003, respondent had stopped Barangay Captains President Roberto Rodriguez, were without proper permit or license.
from further proceeding with the preliminary investigation while the case is pending before Due to the unavailability of trucks to haul all the lumber to Puerto Princesa for safekeeping,
the court. Respondent issued its assailed order requiring petitioner to submit his counter- some were hauled inside the Rural Agriculture Center (RAC) Compound of Taytay and left
affidavit after receipt of the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 upholding respondents under the custody of 2nd Lt. Ernan Libao.
authority to conduct the preliminary investigation on the charge of coup detat against On September 25, 1997, Barangay Captain Rodriguez appeared at the RAC Compound
petitioner. Although the Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 is not yet final as of the date of demanding the release of the lumber by presenting a letter-request addressed to the CENRO
the issuance of the said assailed order, the court finds no contemptuous intent on the part of to salvage old cut timber, duly indorsed by Mayor Rodriguez. As the request did not bear the
respondent to impede the administration of justice. As respondent has explained in its approval of the CENRO, it was denied.
Comment, the charges against petitioner was filed with the DOJ in August 2003 and since On October 5, 1997, Pancol Barangay Captain Pedro Samaniego and the other herein
then, the preliminary investigation has been pending, thus with the Courts decision upholding petitioner, Igang Barangay Captain Andres Abonita, Jr., went to the RAC Compound upon
their jurisdiction, respondent issued the assailed order taking into account petitioners right to orders of Mayor Rodriguez to haul the lumber to the Municipal Hall, but the officer-in-charge
a speedy disposition of his case. Clearly, respondents intention is to give respondent all the refused to release the same without the advice of EIIB authorities. On even date, acting upon
opportunity to controvert the accusation against him and to adduce evidence in his the orders of Mayor Rodriguez, Barangay Captain Abonita returned to the RAC Compound
behalf. The Court finds respondents explanation satisfactory and does not see the act of accompanied by two fully armed policemen who then and there forcibly took possession,
respondent as contumacious, as herein earlier defined by the Court. hauled, and transferred the lumber to the Municipal Hall of Taytay.
On November 7, 1996, Enrique A. Cuyos, Sr. of the EIIB, Region IV-A, Palawan filed
Petitioner asserts in his Motion that he received on April 22, 2004, a copy of the Courts complaints for robbery[4] and violation of Section 1(b), P.D. No. 1829[5] (DECREE
decision upholding respondents authority to conduct preliminary investigation, and that he PENALIZING OBSTRUCTION OF APPREHENSION AND PROSECUTION OF CRIMINAL
has until May 7, 2004 to file his motion for reconsideration. However, verification with the OFFENDERS) against petitioners Mayor Rodriguez and Barangay Captain Abonita before the
Courts docket section reveals that petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration only on June Provincial Prosecution Office of Palawan.
8, 2004, or thirty days late. The Courts decision dated April 13, 2004 has already attained By Resolution[6] of February 18, 1997, the Deputized Ombudsman Investigator
finality as of May 8, 2004. Hence, there is no longer any impediment for respondent to recommended the filing of an information against petitioners for violation of Section 1(b),
proceed with the preliminary investigation and for petitioner to comply with the respondents P.D. No. 1829,[7]and the forwarding of the records of the case to the Office of the
order to submit his counter-affidavit. Ombudsman-Luzon for review and further proceedings, petitioner Mayor Rodriguez being a
public officer and the charge against her being work-connected.
WHEREFORE, petitioners motion to cite respondent in contempt of court Following its review of the case, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman-Luzon, by a Joint
is DENIED. Respondent is required to give petitioner a fresh period from receipt of this Review Action[8] of October 19, 1998, resolved to, as it did file an information[9] for
Resolution to submit his counter-affidavit.
violation of Section 1(b) P.D. 1829 on December 8, 1998 against petitioners before the complaints or charges, and necessarily places both of them in double danger of conviction
Sandiganbayan, docketed as Criminal Case No. 25065. and punishment for the same offense.[32]
A warrant of arrest[10] was accordingly issued against petitioners on December 14, 1998. Petitioners additionally question the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, they arguing that they
Before the 1st Division of the Sandiganbayan, petitioner Mayor Rodriguez voluntarily are not tasked with the enforcement and implementation of P.D. No. 705 (REVISED
surrendered and posted a cash bond on January 4, 1999,[11] as did Barangay Captain FORESTRY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES) as neither of them are law enforcement officers or
Abonita on January 29, 1999.[12] prosecutors but are mere executive officials of their respective local government units with
On January 27, 1999, petitioners filed a Motion to Defer Arraignment,[13] they having filed entirely different official functions and, as such, the accusation against them is not in relation
on even date a Motion to Quash[14]. By Order[15] of January 29, 1999, the Sandiganbayan to their office.[33] Petitioners thus conclude that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over
reset the arraignment to February 26, 1999. the subject matter of the case, as Section 4 of R.A. 8249 limits the jurisdiction of the
During the scheduled arraignment on February 26, 1999, the special prosecutor moved to Sandiganbayan to those offenses defined and penalized in Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII,
defer the arraignment as recommended changes in the information were not yet acted upon Book II of the Revised Penal Code.[34]
by the Ombudsman. Without objection from petitioners counsel, the arraignment was The petition fails.
reset[16] to April 8, 1999. Tatad v. Sandiganbayan[35] cited by petitioners has a different factual setting from the
In the meantime, the special prosecutor filed on April 6, 1999 an opposition[17] to petitioners present case. The cases against Tatad remained dormant for almost three years, drawing this
Motion to Quash. Court to dismiss them in light of the following observations: political motivation played a vital
Subsequently, the Sandiganbayan, acting upon a Motion to Admit Information[18] which was role in activating and propelling the prosecutorial process; there was a blatant departure from
filed by the special prosecutor, admitted the amended information by Order[19] of April 8, established procedures prescribed by law for the conduct of a preliminary investigation; and
1999. the long delay in resolving the preliminary investigation could not be justified on the basis of
Petitioners filed on April 26, 1999 a Motion to Quash[20] the amended information, to which the record.[36]
motion the special prosecutor filed a comment/opposition[21] on June 9, 1999, explaining From the records of the case at bar, it is gathered that the Provincial Prosecutor of Palawan
that the belated filing thereof was due to the transfer of the records of the Office of the took only three months, from November 7, 1996 to February 18, 1997, to come up with its
Special Prosecutor to its new office at the Sandiganbayan Centennial Building in Quezon City. resolution finding probable cause against petitioners. The Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon took
Thereafter or on June 28, 1999, the special prosecutor filed another Ex-parte Motion to Admit eight months to review the case and come up with the joint review action on October 19,
Amended Information[22] which was set for hearing on November 25, 1999. The scheduled 1998. On the other hand, the Office of the Ombudsman acted on the case for around two
hearing on November 25, 1999 was, however, cancelled and reset[23] to December 3, 1999 months. Considering that the records were passed upon by three offices, the period of
upon urgent motion by petitioners counsel upon the ground that on said date, he needed to preliminary investigation, which did not exceed two years, cannot be deemed to have
appear before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong. violated petitioners constitutionally guaranteed rights to procedural due process and to a
By Order[24] of December 3, 1999, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion to admit speedy disposition of cases.
amended information, denied the motion to quash the amended information, and ordered the As Ty-Dazo v. Sandiganbayan[37] instructs:
arraignment of petitioners on January 17, 2000. The right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed violated
On January 14, 2000, petitioners filed a Motion to Quash/Dismiss[25] the second amended only when the proceedings [are] attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or
information. when the unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without
During the scheduled arraignment of petitioners on January 17, 2000, the Sandiganbayan cause or unjustifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party
issued in open court the assailed separate orders denying petitioners motion to quash the having his case tried. In the determination of whether or not the right has been violated, the
second amended information,[26] denying the motion to defer arraignment,[27] and entering factors that maybe considered and balanced are: the length of the delay, the reasons for
a plea of not guilty for both accused[28] herein petitioners, which orders petitioners allege such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice
have been rendered with grave abuse of discretion. caused by the delay.
Petitioners argue that the pendency of the preliminary investigation of the case which A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In
dragged for almost three years is unreasonable or unjustifiable and violates their the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy disposition of cases,
constitutional rights as accused to due process,[29] they citing Tatad v. particular regard must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each
Sandiganbayan.[30] They add that the repeated and ex-parte amendment of the information case.[38]
by the Ombudsman resulted to inordinate delay in bringing the case to trial, which is a Parenthetically, as reflected in the following observation of the Sandiganbayan, petitioners
ground for dismissal of the information under Section 13, in relation to Section 7 of R.A. 8493 themselves contributed to the delay, thus:
(The Speedy Trial Act of 1998).[31] With respect to the alleged delay of the filing of the Information and for the delay in finally
Petitioners likewise argue that the simultaneous filing by the Ombudsman of two informations getting the case ready for arraignment, Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero has stated that, to a
against them, one before the Sandiganbayan (Criminal Case No. 25065), and the other certain extent, the claim is valid although the delay is caused not unreasonably but because
before the Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City (Criminal Case No. 14959), involving of the exercise of the right of the accused to determine whether or not they could be charged
the same subject matter constitutes forum shopping which is expressly prohibited under the under the Information for which they have filed Motions to Quash; thus, the delay cannot be
Supreme Court Revised Circular No. 28-91 directing the summary dismissal of multiple
considered unreasonable nor the grounds for setting aside the amended Information as it Classification Act of 1989,[45] the Sandiganbayan exercises exclusive original
now stands.[39] (Underscoring supplied) jurisdiction over offenses or felonies committed by public officials whether simple or
The rule is well settled that the right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and employees in relation to
speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, their office.[46](Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
capricious, and oppressive delay.[40] For purposes of vesting jurisdiction with the Sandiganbayan, the crux of the issue is whether
In further pressing for the dismissal of the case, petitioners cite Sections 7[41] and 13[42] of petitioner Mayor Rodriguez, who holds a position of Grade 27 under the Local Government
R.A. 8493, averring that the unreasonable delay in bringing them to arraignment is a ground Code of 1991[47], committed the offense charged in relation to her office.
for the dismissal of the case, they having been arraigned only on January 17, 2000, after In Montilla v. Hilario[48], this Court laid down the principle that for an offense to be
several and repeated amendments of the information. committed in relation to the office, the relation between the crime and the office must be
The records show, however, that it was on account of petitioners continuous filing of motions direct and not accidental, in that in the legal sense, the offense can not exist without the
that the arraignment was deferred. office.[49]
Under Section 2 of Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98, Implementing Rules for R.A.8493, the As an exception to Montilla, this Court, in People v. Montejo,[50] held that although public
pendency of petitioners motion to quash takes the case out from the time limit for office is not an element of an offense charged, as long as the offense charged in the
arraignment (and pre-trial) provided under Section 2 of said law. information is intimately connected with the office and is alleged to have been perpetrated
Sec. 2. Time Limit for Arraignment and Pre-trial. - The arraignment, and the pre-trial if the while the accused was in the performance, though improper or irregular, of his official
accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, shall be held within thirty (30) days from the functions, there being no personal motive to commit the crime and had the accused would
date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The period of the not have committed it had he not held the aforesaid office,[51] the accused is held to have
pendency of a motion to quash, or for a bill of particulars, or other cause justifying been indicted for an offense committed in relation to his office.
suspension of arraignment shall be excluded. (Underscoring supplied) Applying the exception laid down in Montejo, this Court in Cunanan v. Arceo,[52] held that
On the claim of petitioners that the Sandiganbayan should be faulted for granting the although public office is not an element of the crime of murder as it may be committed by
repeated amendments of the information by the Ombudsman, suffice it to state that an any person, whether a public officer or a private citizen, the circumstances under which the
information may be amended in form or in substance without leave of court at any time therein petitioner, who was a member of the Philippine National Police, shot and killed the
before an accused enters his plea.[43] victim in the course of trying to restore local public order, bring the therein petitioners case
In another attempt at having the case dismissed, petitioners aver that the Ombudsman squarely within the meaning of an offense committed in relation to the [accuseds] public
committed forum shopping by filing the same information before the Sandiganbayan and the office.[53]
Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa, Palawan in violation of Supreme Court Circular No. In the present case, public office is not an essential element of the offense of obstruction of
28-91 (Additional Requisites for Petitions filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of justice under Section 1(b) of P.D. 1829. The circumstances surrounding the commission of
Appeals to Prevent Forum Shopping or Multiple Filing of Petitions and Complaints). the offense alleged to have been committed by petitioner Rodriguez are such, however, that
Assuming arguendo that indeed the same information for violation of Section 1(b) of P.D. the offense may not have been committed had said petitioner not held the office of the
1829 was also filed before the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, then as the mayor. As found during the preliminary investigation, petitioner Rodriguez, in the course of
People by the Office of the Ombudsman through the Special Prosecutor contends in its her duty as Mayor, who is tasked to exercise general and operational control and supervision
Memorandum, since the Information in Criminal Case No. 25065 was filed with the over the local police forces[54], used her influence, authority and office to call and command
Sandiganbayan on December 8, 1988, while the information before the regional Trial Court members of the municipal police of Taytay to haul and transfer the lumber which was still
was allegedly filed on February 24, 1999, then, if there is any case to be dismissed for forum subject of an investigation for violation of P.D. 705.
shopping, that case should be the one before the Regional trial Court, as it was the second The joint-counter affidavits[55] signed by petitioners during the preliminary investigation
action filed.[44] quoted the letter of petitioner Mayor Rodriguez to the municipal police officers, viz:
Petitioners further assail the jurisdiction of Sandiganbayan over the offense for which they To: SPO1 Juanito G. Gan and
were indicted. PO2 Emmanuel Nangit;
Lamentably, petitioners may well have been confused regarding the charge against them for PNP Members of Taytay
instead of showing that the offense with which they were charged - violation of Section 1(b) Municipal Police Office,
of P.D. 1829 (obstruction of justice) - is not in relation to their office, they argued that they Taytay Palawan
are not tasked with the enforcement and implementation of P.D. No. 705 the offense subject Upon receipt of this order you are hereby directed to proceed to Sitio Igang, Poblacion
of the investigation which petitioners allegedly obstructed or interfered with. Taytay, Palawan, at the compound of the Rural Agricultural Center[, in order t]o haul the
Petitioners are charged not for violation of P.D. 705 but of P.D. 1829, hence, petitioners flitches ipil lumber intended for the projects of the Municipal Government of Taytay and to
argument that the act complained of was not done in relation to their office to take the case turn over to the DENR office of Taytay, Palawan.
out of the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan does not lie. For immediate strict compliance. [56]
At all events, Republic Act 8249, which amended Presidential Decree No. 1606, provides Reference to this above-quoted letter of petitioner Rodriguez is found in both the
that as long as one (or more) of the accused is an official of the executive branch occupying Resolution[57] of the Deputized Ombudsman Investigator of the Provincial Prosecution Office
position otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher of the Compensation and Position of Palawan and the Joint Review Action[58] of the Graft Investigation Officer-Luzon.
What determines the jurisdiction of a court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing On 19 October 1993, Crisostomo, a member of the Philippine National Police and a jail guard
from the allegations in the information[59]. The averment in the information that petitioner at the Solano Municipal Jail was charged with the murder of Renato Suba (Renato), a
Rodriguez, as municipal mayor, took advantage of her office and caused the hauling of the detention prisoner at the Solano Municipal Jail. The Information alleged that Crisostomo
lumber to the municipal hall to obstruct the investigation of the case for violation of P.D. 705 conspired with his co-accused, Dominador C. dela Cruz (dela Cruz), Efren M. Perez (Perez),
effectively vested jurisdiction over the offense on the Sandiganbayan. Thus, the amended Raki T. Anggo (Anggo), Randy A. Lumabo (Lumabo), Rolando M. Norberte (Norberte) and
information reads: Mario Calingayan (Calingayan), all inmates at the Solano Municipal Jail, in murdering Renato.
AMENDED INFORMATION The Information reads in full:
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer II, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby That on or about the 14th day of February 1989, in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, and
accuses EVELYN VILLABERT RODRIGUEZ and ANDREWS BONITA JR. of Violation of Section within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Pat. Edgar T.
1(b), Presidential Decree No. 1829 committed as follows: Crisostomo, a public officer, being then a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
That on or about October 5, 1996, at Sitio Igang, Barangay Poblacion, Municipality of Taytay, stationed at Solano Police Station and a jailer thereat, taking advantage of his public position
Province of Palawan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused EVELYN and thus committing the offense in relation to his office, conspiring, confederating and
VILLABERT RODRIGUEZ and ANDREWS ABONITA JR., both public officers, being the Municipal conniving with his co-accused who are inmates of the Solano Municipal Jail, namely:
Mayor and Barangay Captain of Barangay Igang of the same municipality, respectively, Dominador C. dela Cruz, Efren M. Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. Lumabo, Rolando M.
committing the offense in relation to their office and taking advantage of the Norberte and Mario B. Calingayan, with intent to kill and with treachery, taking advantage of
same, confederating and conspiring with each other enter the compound of the Rural superior strength and with the aid of armed men or employing means to weaken the defense
Agricultural Center (RAC) at Sitio Igang, Poblacion, Taytay, Palawan and while inside with or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity, did then and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully
force, intimidation and against the will of the one officially detailed thereat, 2LT. ERNAN O. and feloniously attack and assault one Renato Suba, a detention prisoner, with the use of
LIBAO, did then and there willfully, feloniously, unlawfully, knowingly and forcibly haul 93 rough-surfaced instruments, including fist blows, inflicting upon him serious injuries causing
pieces or 2.577.32 board feet of assorted dimensions of ipil lumber, that were officially his internal organs to be badly damaged such as his liver, messentery and stomach resulting
confiscated by a joint team of EIIB, PENRO, BANTAY PALAWAN, PNP-TINIGUIBAN COMMAND to the death of said Renato Suba to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the latter.
and PHILIPPINE MARINES, stockpiled inside the RAC for safekeeping while waiting for CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
available transportation to haul the same to Puerto Princesa City, and brought the same ipil Arraignment and Plea
lumber within the compound of the Municipal Hall of Taytay, with the primordial purpose of On 15 December 1993, Crisostomo assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the crime
suppressing or concealing the said ipil lumber as evidence in the investigation of the case for charged.[3] Thereafter, trial ensued.
violation of P.D. 705, as amended.[60] (Italics supplied) Version of the Prosecution
There being no flaw or infirmity then in the amended information, respondent Sandiganbayan On 13 February 1989, Renato was detained at the municipal jail in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya for
did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing allegedly hitting the head of one Diosdado Lacangan. The following day, 14 February 1989, at
the order of January 17, 2000, denying petitioners motion to quash. 5:00 p.m., Renatos brother Rizalino Suba (Rizalino) visited him at the municipal jail. Renato
The orders of the Sandiganbayan denying the motion to defer arraignment and entering a asked Rizalino to bring him blanket, toothbrush, clothes and food. Rizalino left the municipal
plea of not guilty for petitioners in light of their refusal to plead were accordingly rendered jail that day at 5:20 p.m. At that time, Renato was in good physical condition and did not
without any grave abuse of discretion. complain of any bodily pain. Renato was 26 years old, single, and was employed in a logging
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. concession.
SO ORDERED. At 9:00 p.m., a barangay councilman informed Rizalino that policemen assigned at the
FIRST DIVISION Solano municipal jail wanted Rizalino to go to the municipal building. Rizalino arrived at the
[G.R. No. 152398. April 14, 2005] municipal jail at 9:10 p.m. and saw his brother Renato already dead on the floor outside his
EDGAR CRISOSTOMO, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent. cell.
DECISION Renato was detained alone in the third cell, one of the four cells at the municipal jail.
CARPIO, J.: Although each of the four cells had an iron grill door equipped with a padlock, the doors were
The Case usually left open. The keys to the padlocks were with the jail guard. There was a common
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure of front door, which no one could enter but the jail guard. Only one jail guard at a time was
the Sandiganbayan Resolutions promulgated on 17 September 2001 and 14 January 2002, assigned at the municipal jail. Crisostomo was the one on duty at the time of the death of
denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner SPO1 Edgar Crisostomo Renato. At no time was Renato brought out of the cell during his detention on 13 February
(Crisostomo) assailing the courts Decision[1] promulgated on 28 November 2000. The 1989 until his death in the evening of the following day. Crisostomos position in relation to
Decision found Crisostomo guilty of the crime of murder and sentenced him to suffer the the cell where the victim was killed was such that Crisostomo as jail guard could have heard
indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years, five (5) months and eleven (11) days of prision if not seen what was going on inside the cell at the time that Renato was killed.
mayor as minimum, to eighteen (18) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion There are unexplained discrepancies in the list of detainees/prisoners and police blotter. The
temporal as maximum. list of detainees/prisoners dated 20 February 1989 shows that there were eight prisoners on
The Charge 14 February 1989, including Renato, but after Renatos death, only six were turned over by
Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard. On 15 February 1989, nine prisoners/detainees were fourth cell, which is also open so that the inmates would not anymore ask for the key from
on the list, including Renato who was already dead. However, the police blotter shows that the office of the jail guard.
only six prisoners were under custody. The persons who were detained with Renato at the The blanket that Renato used to hang himself was tied to the iron grills of the window of the
time of his death were released without being investigated by the Solano police. cell. The window is small, only about two feet by one and one-half feet with eight iron bars.
Renato did not commit suicide. His body bore extensive injuries that could have been inflicted The window is nine feet from the floor.
by several persons. The exhumation and autopsy reports ruled out suicide as the cause of No other person was admitted on 14 February 1989. Calingayan does not have a grudge
Renatos death. The deafening silence of the inmates and the jail guard, Crisostomo, point to against Renato. He could not recall if there was any untoward incident between Renato and
a conspiracy. Crisostomos guilt is made apparent when he jumped bail during trial. the other inmates. The Solano police investigated Calingayan the next morning.
Version of the Defense The Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
The presentation of evidence for Crisostomos defense was deemed waived for his failure to Only Crisostomo and Calingayan stood trial. The other accused, dela Cruz, Perez, Anggo,
appear at the scheduled hearings despite notice. Lumabo and Norberte were at large. The Sandiganbayan found sufficient circumstantial
Calingayan, Crisostomos co-accused, was the sole witness for the defense. Calingayan was evidence to convict Crisostomo and Calingayan of murder. The Sandiganbayan relied on the
only 16 years old at the time that he was charged with the murder of Renato. Calingayan autopsy and exhumation reports in disregarding the defense theory that Renato committed
denied killing Renato. suicide by hanging himself with a blanket. The Sandiganbayan thus held:
Calingayan was detained at the Solano Municipal Jail on 12 February 1989 because his Premises considered, accused Edgar Crisostomo and Mario Calingayan are hereby found
brother-in-law, Patrolman Feliciano Leal (Leal), also a jail guard, had him arrested for guilty of the crime of murder.
pawning some of the belongings of Leal. Leal told Calingayan that he had him detained for xxx
safekeeping to teach him a lesson. There being no attending mitigating or aggravating circumstance in the case of accused
Renato was detained on 13 February 1989. Calingayan learned that Renato was detained for Edgar Crisostomo, and taking into consideration the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is
hitting somebodys head. hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for the period from twelve (12)
There were four cells at the municipal jail. Calingayan was detained with five other inmates in years, five (5) months and eleven (11) days of prision mayor, minimum, to eighteen (18)
the second cell. Renato was detained alone in the third cell. The four cells had their own years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, maximum.
separate doors with padlocks but each door was always open. It was up to the inmates to xxx
close the doors. A common door leading to the four cells was always padlocked and no one As to the other accused, Dominador C. Dela Cruz, Efren M. Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A.
could enter the door without the jail guards permission. The jail guard had the keys to the Lumabo and Rolando M. Norberte, considering they are still at-large up to the present time,
cells and the common door. Only one jail guard was assigned to guard the cells. Crisostomo let an alias warrant of arrest be issued against them. In the meantime, the cases against
was the jail guard on duty at the time that Renato died. them are hereby ordered archived.
Calingayan was in jail for three days or until 15 February 1989. Calingayan last saw Renato SO ORDERED.[4]
alive between 5 to 6 p.m. of 14 February 1989. Just as Calingayan was about to take a bath The Issues
after 6 p.m., he saw Renato lying down. One of the inmates asked for Renatos food because Crisostomo continues to assail the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction. He raises the following
he did not like to eat his food. After taking a bath, Calingayan went back to his cell and issues:
played cards with his three cellmates whose names he could not recall. Calingayan did not WHETHER THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE CRIME OF MURDER
leave his cell during the four hours that he played cards but one of his cellmates went out. CHARGED AGAINST CRISOSTOMO WHO IS A SENIOR POLICE OFFICER 1 (SPO1) AT THE
Calingayan discovered Renatos body on 14 February 1989 between 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. TIME OF THE FILING OF THE INFORMATION AGAINST HIM.
Calingayan went to the fourth cell, where the comfort room was located, to urinate. While EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT HAS JURISDICTION, WHETHER
urinating, Calingayan saw at the corner of the cell a shadow beside him. A bulb at the alley THE SANDIGANBAYAN COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
lighted the cell. Calingayan ran away and called the other inmates, telling them that the EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT RULED THAT CRISOSTOMO IS GUILTY OF HAVING
person in cell number four was in the dark place. The other inmates ran towards the place CONSPIRED IN THE MURDER OF RENATO DESPITE THE SANDIGANBAYANS ADMISSION IN
and shouted si kuwan, si kuwan. Crisostomo was in the room at the left side from where ITS DECISION THAT THERE IS NO DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT WILL SHOW THE PARTICIPATION
Calingayan was detained, about fifteen meters away. Upon hearing the shouts, Crisostomo OF CRISOSTOMO IN THE DEATH OF THE VICTIM.[5]
opened the main door. Once inside the cell, Crisostomo instructed the inmates to bring down The Courts Ruling
Renatos body that was hanging from the iron bars of the window of the cell. At that time, The Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction to try the case. However, the prosecution failed to prove
Calingayan did not notice what was used in hanging Renato but when the body was brought Crisostomo and Calingayans guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, we acquit Crisostomo and
outside, Calingayan saw that Renato had hanged himself with a thin blanket. Calingayan.
The four cells are not similar in area and size. The cell where Renato stayed is the smallest. The Sandiganbayan had Jurisdiction to Try the Case
The cells are separated by a partition made of hollow blocks as high as the ceiling. The four Crisostomo argues that the Sandiganbayan was without jurisdiction to try the case.
cells are in one line so that if you are in one cell you cannot see what is happening in the Crisostomo points out that the crime of murder is not listed in Section 4 of Presidential
other cells. The inmates could go to any of the four cells in the prison but they could not get Decree No. 1606 (PD 1606) as one of the crimes that the Sandiganbayan can try. Crisostomo
out of the main door without the permission of the jail guard. The comfort room is in the faults the Sandiganbayan for not applying the ruling in Sanchez v. Demetriou[6] to this case.
In Sanchez v. Demetriou, the Court ruled that public office must be a constituent element of advantage of his public position and thus committing the offense in relation to his office
the crime as defined in the statute before the Sandiganbayan could acquire jurisdiction over a conspired, confederated and connived with his co-accused who are inmates of the Solano
case. Crisostomo insists that there is no direct relation between the commission of murder Municipal Jail to kill Renato, a detention prisoner.
and Crisostomos public office. Crisostomo further contends that the mere allegation in the If the victim were not a prisoner, the Information would have to state particularly the
Information that the offense was committed in relation to Crisostomos office is not sufficient intimate relationship between the offense charged and the accused public officers office to
to confer jurisdiction on the Sandiganbayan. Such allegation without the specific factual vest jurisdiction on the Sandiganbayan. This is not the case here. The law restrains the
averments is merely a conclusion of law, not a factual averment that would show the close liberty of a prisoner and puts him under the custody and watchful eyes of his jail guard.
intimacy between the offense charged and the discharge of Crisostomos official duties. Again, the two-fold duties of a jail guard are to insure the safe custody and
We are not convinced. proper confinement of persons detained in the jail. The law restricts access to a prisoner.
Since the crime was committed on 14 February 1989, the applicable provision of law is However, because of the very nature of the work of a jail guard, he has access to the
Section 4 of PD 1606, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861 (PD 1861), which took prisoner. Crisostomo, as the jail guard, could not have conspired with the inmates to murder
effect on 23 March 1983. The amended provision reads: the detention prisoner in his cell if Crisostomo were not a jailer.
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise: The Information accused Crisostomo of murdering a detention prisoner, a crime that collides
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: directly with Crisostomos office as a jail guard who has the duty to insure the safe custody of
xxx the prisoner. Crisostomos purported act of killing a detention prisoner, while irregular and
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their contrary to Crisostomos duties, was committed while he was performing his official functions.
office, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether The Information sufficiently apprised Crisostomo that he stood accused of committing the
simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher crime in relation to his office, a case that is cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, not the
than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00: Regional Trial Court. There was no prejudice to Crisostomos substantive rights.
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the Assuming that the Information failed to allege that Crisostomo committed the crime in
penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) relation to his office, the Sandiganbayan still had jurisdiction to try the case. The Information
years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan was filed with the Sandiganbayan on 19 October 1993. Deloso v. Domingo,[8] promulgated
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court. on 21 November 1990, did not require that the information should allege that the accused
Crisostomo was charged with murder, the penalty for which is reclusion temporal in its public officer committed the offense in relation to his office before the Sandiganbayan could
maximum period to death, a penalty within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. assume jurisdiction over the case. The ruling in Deloso v. Domingo relied solely on PD 1606.
Crisostomo would have the Court believe that being a jail guard is a mere incidental Aguinaldo v. Domagas,[9] promulgated on 26 September 1991, modified Deloso v.
circumstance that bears no close intimacy with the commission of murder. Crisostomos Domingo. Aguinaldo v. Domagas clarified that offenses specified in Section 4(a)(2) of PD
theory would have been tenable if the murdered victim was not a prisoner under his custody 1606, as amended by PD 1861, must be committed by public officers and employees in
as a jail guard. The function of a jail guard is to insure the safe custody and relation to their office and the information must allege this fact. The succeeding cases
proper confinement of persons detained in the jail. In this case, the Information alleges that of Sanchez v. Demetriou[10] and Natividad v. Felix,[11] reiterated the Aguinaldo v.
the victim was a detention prisoner when Crisostomo, the jail guard, conspired with the Domagas ruling.
inmates to kill him. However, despite the subsequent cases clarifying Deloso v. Domingo, the Court in Republic v.
Indeed, murder and homicide will never be the main function of any public office. No public Asuncion,[12] promulgated on 11 March 1994, applied the ruling in Deloso v. Domingo. Since
office will ever be a constituent element of murder. When then would murder or homicide, the effects of the misapprehension of Deloso v. Domingo doctrine were still persistent, the
committed by a public officer, fall within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Court set out the following directives in Republic v. Asuncion:
Sandiganbayan? People v. Montejo[7] provides the answer. The Court explained that a public The dismissal then of Criminal Case No. Q-91-23224 solely on the basis of Deloso vs.
officer commits an offense in relation to his office if he perpetrates the offense while Domingo was erroneous. In the light of Aguinaldo and Sanchez, and considering the absence
performing, though in an improper or irregular manner, his official functions and he cannot of any allegation in the information that the offense was committed by private respondent in
commit the offense without holding his public office. In such a case, there is an intimate relation to his office, it would even appear that the RTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the
connection between the offense and the office of the accused. If the information alleges the case. However, it may yet be true that the crime of homicide charged therein was committed
close connection between the offense charged and the office of the accused, the case falls by the private respondent in relation to his office, which fact, however, was not alleged in the
within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. People v. Montejo is an exception that Sanchez information probably because Deloso vs. Domingo did not require such an allegation. In view
v. Demetriou recognized. of this eventuality and the special circumstances of this case, and to avoid further delay, if
Thus, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over this case will stand or fall on this test: Does not confusion, we shall direct the court a quo to conduct a preliminary hearing in this case to
the Information allege a close or intimate connection between the offense charged and determine whether the crime charged in Criminal Case No. Q-91-23224 was committed by
Crisostomos public office? the private respondent in relation to his office. If it be determined in the affirmative, then it
The Information passes the test. shall order the transfer of the case to the Sandiganbayan which shall forthwith docket and
The Information alleged that Crisostomo a public officer, being then a member of the proceed with the case as if the same were originally filed with it. Otherwise, the court a
Philippine National Police (PNP) stationed at Solano Police Station and a jailer thereat, taking
quo shall set aside the challenged orders, proceed with the trial of the case, and render The extent of Renatos injuries indicates the perpetrators deliberate intent to kill him. Dr.
judgment thereon. Ruben M. Agobung (Dr. Agobung), the NBI Medico Legal Officer[20] who exhumed and re-
Republic v. Asuncion ordered the trial court to conduct a preliminary hearing to determine autopsied Renatos body, stated in his affidavit[21] that Renato sustained several external
whether the accused public officer committed the crime charged while performing his office. and internal injuries, the most significant of which are the ruptured liver, torn messentery
If so, the trial court must order the transfer of the case to the Sandiganbayan as if the same and torn stomach. The injuries caused massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage that ultimately
were originally filed with the Sandiganbayan. caused Renatos death. Dr. Agobung further declared that Renatos injuries could bring about
In the present case, the Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan upon the death in a matter of minutes to a few hours from the time of infliction, if not promptly and
recommendation of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman in a Resolution dated 30 June 1993. properly attended to by a competent surgeon.
That Crisostomo committed the crime in relation to his office can be gleaned from the Deputy Renatos internal injuries were so severe that the injuries could not have been sustained prior
Ombudsmans resolution as it stated that: (1) Crisostomo was the jail guard on duty at the to his detention at the Solano Municipal Jail. If this were so, Renato would have experienced
time that Renato was killed; (2) from the time that Crisostomo assumed his duty up to the continuous and severe body pains and he would have fallen into shock, which could have
discovery of Renatos body, no one had entered the jail and no one could enter the jail, as it been obvious even to those who are not doctors. Dr. Agobung also concluded that Renatos
was always locked, without the permission of the jail guard; (3) the key is always with the injuries could have been inflicted by the application of considerable force with the use of a
jail guard; (4) Renato sustained severe and multiple injuries inflicted by two or more persons hard and rough surface as well as hard smooth surface instruments, fist blows included.
indicating conspiracy; and (5) the relative position of the jail guard to the cell is in such a While the blanket that was tied around Renatos neck caused abrasion and contusion on the
way that any activity inside the cell could be heard if not seen by the jail guard. neck area, these injuries, however, did not cause Renatos death because the blood vessels
Based on the foregoing findings, as well as on the Deloso v. Domingo ruling and the Courts on his neck were still intact.[22] The Exhumation Report[23] and Exhumation
instructions in Republic v. Asuncion, the Sandiganbayan had every reason to assume Findings[24] stated that Renato died due to hemorrhagic shock, secondary to multiple
jurisdiction over this case. Crisostomo waited until the very last stage of this case, the internal organ injuries. These findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that Renato was killed
rendition of the verdict, before he questioned the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction. Crisostomo is with deliberate intent and his body was hanged just to simulate suicide.
already estopped from questioning the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.[13] Prosecution Failed to Prove Crisostomos Involvement in the Killing
Crisostomos Guilt was not Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt No direct evidence linked Crisostomo to the killing of Renato. The prosecution relied on
In the exercise of the Courts judicial discretion, this petition for certiorari will be treated as an circumstantial evidence to prove that there was a conspiracy to kill Renato and Crisostomo
appeal from the decision of the Sandiganbayan to prevent the manifest miscarriage of participated in carrying out the conspiracy. Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of
justice[14] in a criminal case involving a capital offense. An appeal in a criminal case opens collateral facts and circumstances from which the existence of the main fact may be inferred
the entire case for review.[15] The reviewing tribunal can correct errors though unassigned in according to reason and common experience.[25] Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of
the appeal, or even reverse the lower courts decision on grounds other than those the parties Evidence states that circumstantial evidence is sufficient if: (a) there is more than one
raised as errors.[16] circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; (c) the
In this case, the prosecution had the burden to prove first, the conspiracy to murder Renato, combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
and second, Crisostomos complicity in the conspiracy. The prosecution must prove that doubt.
Renatos death was not the result of suicide but was produced by a deliberate intent to kill In convicting Crisostomo, the Sandiganbayan cited the following circumstantial evidence:
him with the attendant circumstances that would qualify the killing to murder. Since 1. The deceased, Renato Suba, was brought to the police station on the night of February 13,
Crisostomo had no direct hand in the killing of Renato, the conviction could only be sustained 1989 for investigation for allegedly hitting the head of a certain Diosdado Lacangan; and that
if the murder was carried out through a conspiracy between Crisostomo and his co-accused, after investigation, the deceased was brought to the detention cell (tsn, hearing of April 21,
the inmates. It must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that Crisostomos action and 1994, pp. 5-11).
inaction were all part of a scheme to murder Renato. 2. On the following day at 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, the deceased was visited by his
Renato was Killed with Deliberate Intent brother, Rizalino Suba; that the deceased asked his brother to bring him a blanket,
To prove that Renatos death is a case of homicide or murder, there must be incontrovertible toothbrush, clothes and foods (ibid, pp. 13-14).
evidence, direct or circumstantial, that he was deliberately killed.[17] Intent to kill can be 3. Rizalino Suba left the municipal jail on February 14, 1989, at almost 5:20 p.m., while his
deduced from the weapons used by the malefactors, the nature, location and number of other brother, Rolando, brought the things to the deceased in jail; and that Rolando left their
wounds sustained by the victim and the words uttered by the malefactors before, at the time house at about 5:30 p.m. and came back at 6:00 oclock in which Rizalino asked him
or immediately after the killing of the victim.[18] If the victim dies because of a deliberate (Rolando) if he (Renato Suba) was able to finish the food that he sent and he answered in the
act of the malefactor, intent to kill is conclusively presumed.[19] affirmative (ibid, pp. 16, 18-19).
The prosecution established that Renato did not commit suicide. Witnesses for the 4. At that time, the deceased was in good health and in good condition and that he was not
prosecution vouched that Renato was in good health prior to his death. Calingayan, the sole complaining anything about his body; and that the deceased was then 26 years old, single
witness for the defense, did not point out that there was any thing wrong with Renato prior to and had finished advance ROTC and worked in a logging concession (ibid, pp. 16-18).
his death. The autopsy and exhumation reports debunked the defenses theory that Renato 5. Accused Mario Calingayan saw the deceased still alive lying down after 6:00 p.m. when he
hanged himself to death. Renatos injuries were so massive and grave that it would have been was about to take a bath; and that after taking a bath, he (witness) went to his cell and
impossible for these injuries to have been self-inflicted by Renato.
played cards with his three (3) cellmates (whose names he could not recall) for about four evaluated the NBIs investigation of the case. The Sandiganbayan quoted the following
(4) hours (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995, pp. 16-17). portions of the report:
6. At around 9:00 oclock of the same day, Mr. Baldovino, a barangay councilman, informed xxx
them that they should go to the municipal building as per request of the policemen; that 5. That when he [victim] was brought to the Solano Municipal Jail at around 12:00 midnight
Rizalino Suba, first asked his uncle David Suba and Manuel Rollo, a barangay councilman, to on 14 February 1989 (the same was corrected by witness Oscar Oida to be February 13,
accompany him; that they arrived at the municipal building at 9:10 p.m. and they saw that 1989 when he testified in open court), he was accompanied by his brother, Rizalino Suba, his
the deceased was already lying dead on the cement floor outside the cell 1 in the municipal cousin, Rodolfo Suba and Brgy. Councilman Manuel Rulloda in good physical condition with no
building (tsn, hearing of April 21, 1994, pp. 20-22). injuries[;]
7. Accused Mario Calingayan was detained with five (5) others at the second cell among four 6. That when Luis Suba, father of the victim, Renato Suba, visited him in jail at around 8:00
(4) cells in the jail; that the deceased, Renato Suba, was detained alone at the third cell (tsn, a.m., on February 14, 1989 and brought food for his breakfast, he was in good physical
hearing of April 4, 1995, pp. 6-7). condition, and did not complain of any physical injury or pain. In fact, he was able to eat all
8. The four (4) cells, although having their own separate doors, made of iron grills and the food[;]
equipped each with a padlock, were always open; that it was up to them whether to close the 7. That when Rizalino Suba, brother of the victim, visited the latter at around 5:00 oclock
doors; that the keys of the padlocks are held by the guard; and that any detention prisoner p.m. on 14 February 1989, victim was in good spirit and never complained of any injury or
could go to any cell inside the prison (ibid, pp. 7-8, 21, 23). bodily pain. He was in good physical condition. He even requested that he be brought his
9. There was a common door located in front, leading inside to the cells which no one could clothes, beddings and food[;]
enter because it is padlocked, except with the jail guards permission; and that the comfort 8. That when Rolando Suba, another brother of victim, brought the clothes, bedding and food
room is located in the 4thcell which is not equipped with a padlock so that if you want to go as requested by the latter at around 6:00 oclock p.m. on 14 February 1989, he was in good
to the comfort room, you do not anymore need the key in the office of the jail guard (ibid, p. physical condition and did not complain of any injury or body pain[;]
22). 9. That the good physical condition of victim, Renato Suba was even corroborated by his four
10. There is only one guard assigned in the cells and accused Edgar Crisostomo was the one co-inmates, namely, Arki Anggo, Randy A. Lumabo, Rolando M. Norberte and Mario B.
who was rendering duty at the time of the death of the victim (ibid, pp. 9, 13). Calingayan and by the jailer, Pat. Edgar T. Crisostomo, when he was placed under detention
11. There was no other person who was admitted on February 12, 13 and 14, 1989, and in the Solano Municipal Jail;
there was no instance when Suba was brought out of the prison cell from the time he was 10. That the jailer Pat. Edgar Crisostomo from the time he assumed his tour of duty from
detained on February 14, 1989 (ibid, p. 29). 4:00 oclock p.m. on 14 February 1989, up to the time the victim was discovered allegedly
12. The persons who were detained together with the deceased at the time of his death were dead and hanging inside the jail at 9:00 oclock p.m. on that same day, nobody entered the
released without any investigation having been conducted by the local police (tsn, hearing of jail and no one would enter said jail, as it was always locked, without the permission of the
April 21, 1994, pp. 28-29). jailer. The key is always with the jailer;
13. The apparent inconsistency in the list of detainees/prisoners dated February 20, 1989 11. That the only companions of the victim at the time of the discovery of his death on 14
(Exhibit I) and the police blotter (Exhibits J and J-1) whereby in the former there were eight February 1989 at around 9:00 p.m. were his six (6) co-inmates namely: Dominador C. dela
prisoners on February 14, 1989 including the victim but only six were turned over by accused Cruz, Edren M. Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. Luma[b]o, Rolando M. Norbert[e] and Mario
Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard after the death of the victim; the list contains nine (9) Calingayan;
detainees/prisoners on February 15, 1989 which includes the victim, who was then dead, 12. That definitely the cause of death was not suicide by hanging but due to several injuries
while the police blotter shows that only six prisoners were under their custody. Why the sustained by the victim. The most significant and remarkable of which are the ruptured liver,
apparent inconsistency? torn messentery and a torn stomach which injuries resulted into massive intra-abdominal
14. Accused Mario Calingayans claim that he was detained on February 12, 1989, which is hemorrhage that ultimately caused the death of said victim per autopsy examination;
contrary to the master list of detainees showing that he was detained only on February 14, 13. That said injuries can bring about death in a matter of minutes to a few hours if not
1989 (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995, p. 19). promptly and properly attended by a competent surgeon;
15. Accused Mario Calingayans allegation that when Renato Suba was brought outside, he 14. That said injuries could not have been sustained by victim before he was detained at the
saw that he hanged himself with a thin blanket (tsn, hearing of April 4, 1995, pp. 12-13) Solano Municipal Jail as he could have been experiencing continuous severe pain which can
which was what the policemen also told the brother of the victim (tsn, hearing of April 21, easily be observed by the policemen who arrested him on 14 February 1989 at around 12:00
1994, pp. 23-24). midnight and therefore should have been brought to the hospital and not confined in the
16. After the prosecution rested its case and after co-accused Mario Calingayan was finished detention cell;
with his testimony in court, accused Edgar Crisostomo jumped bail and up to this day had 15. That the several injuries sustained by victim were caused by hard rough-surfaced as well
remained at large (Rollo, pp. 297-298, 305). as hard smooth surfaced instruments, fist blows included;
17. The fact that accused Dominador C. Dela Cruz, Efren M. Perez, Raki T. Anggo, Randy A. 16. That the multiple injuries and the gravity of the injuries sustained by victim indicate that
Lumabo and Rolando M. Norberte are also still at-large.[26] they were inflicted by more than two persons;
The Sandiganbayan also relied on the Memorandum Report[27] dated 22 October 1991 of 17. That the nature of the injuries sustained by victim were almost in one particular part of
Oscar Oida, then National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Director for Region II, who the body, shown by the fact that the internal organs badly damaged were the liver,
messentery and stomach indicating that the victim was defenseless and helpless thus Thus, even assuming that Renato was simultaneously attacked, this does not prove
affording the assailants to pounce on continuously with impunity almost on one spot of the conspiracy. The malefactors who inflicted the fatal injuries may have intended by their own
body of the victim. The victim could have been held by two or more assailants while the separate acts to bring about the death of the victim.[33] No evidence was presented to show
others were alternately or giving victim blows on his body with hard rough surfaced as well as that Crisostomo and the inmates planned to kill Renato or that Crisostomos overt acts or
hard smooth surfaced instruments, fist blows included; inaction facilitated the alleged plan to kill Renato. The prosecution had the burden to show
18. That with the location and gravity of the injuries sustained by victim, the persons who Crisostomos intentional participation to the furtherance of the common design and purpose.
inflicted the injuries know fully well that victim will die and knew the consequences of their The pieces of circumstantial evidence are not sufficient to create a prima facie case against
acts; Crisostomo. When the three circumstances are examined with the other evidence on record,
19. That the motive was revenge, as victim before he was killed, hit in the head a certain it becomes all the more clear that these circumstances do not lead to a logical conclusion that
Diosdado Lacangan with a wood causing serious injury. Lacangan was in serious condition at Crisostomo lent support to an alleged conspiracy to murder Renato.
the time victim was killed[;] First, while Crisostomo as jail guard had in his possession the keys to the main door and
20. That the claims of the Solano police and the six (6) co-inmates of victim that the latter individual cells, there is no proof that Crisostomo allowed an outsider inside the prison.
committed suicide by hanging is only a cover up to hide a heinous offense[;] Calingayan, the sole witness for the defense, testified that no new detainee was admitted
21. That the extreme silence of the suspects regarding the death of victim is so deafening from 13 to 14 of February 1989.[34] The NBI Report[35] relied upon by the Sandiganbayan
that it established only one thing, conspiracy. It is unusual for a person not to volunteer confirms Calingayans testimony that nobody entered the jail and that Renatos only
information as to who could be the author of the offense if he is not a participant to a heinous companions inside the jail were the six inmates.[36]
offense particularly in this case where the circumstances show that there can be no other There is also no proof that Crisostomo purposely left the individual cells open to allow the
person responsible for the death of the victim except the suspects in this instant case[;] inmates to attack Renato who was alone in the third cell. Calingayan, who was detained
22. That the victim was killed between 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on 14 February 1989 inside the ahead of Renato,[37] testified that while each of the four cells had a padlock, the cells had
Solano Municipal Jail[;] always been kept open.[38] The inmates had always been allowed to enter the cells and it
xxx was up to the inmates to close the doors of the cells.[39] The inmates could freely go to the
The relative position of the jailer to the cell where victim was killed was such that the jailer fourth cell, which was the inmates comfort room so that they would no longer ask for the key
and the policemen present, could hear if not see what was going inside the cell at the time from the jail guard every time the inmates would use the comfort room.[40]
the victim was killed. The injuries sustained by victim could not be inflicted without victim Second, the Sandiganbayan should not have absolutely relied on the NBI Report[41] stating
shouting and crying for help. Even the assailants when they inflicted these injuries on victim that Crisostomo as jail guard was in such a position that he could have seen or heard the
could not avoid making loud noises that could attract the attention of the police officers killing. The prosecution failed to establish that Crisostomo actually saw and heard the killing
present. Conspiracy to kill the victim among the inmates and the police officers was clearly of Renato.
established from the circumstances preceding and after the killing of victim.[28] Based on Calingayans testimony, it was not impossible for Crisostomo not to have actually
In sum, the Sandiganbayan believed that Crisostomo took part in the conspiracy to kill seen and heard the killing of Renato. On cross-examination, Calingayan testified that all of
Renato because of these three circumstances: 1) Crisostomo as the jail guard on duty at the the cells were in one line.[42] Crisostomos office was at the left side of the cells about 15
time of Renatos killing had in his possession the keys to the main door and the cells; (2) meters away from cell number two, the cell where Calingayan was detained.[43] Hollow
Crisostomo was in such a position that he could have seen or heard the killing of Renato; and blocks from the floor to the ceiling separated each of the four cells.[44] With the partition, an
(3) there are discrepancies between the list of detainees/prisoners and the police blotter. inmate in one cell could not see what was happening in the other cells.[45] Calingayan
According to the Sandiganbayan, there is a prima facie case against Crisostomo. further testified that Renatos body was in a dark place,[46] as it was lighted from outside
Except for the extensive injuries that Renatos body bore, there is no other evidence that only by a bulb at the alley, at the corridor.[47]
proves that there was a prior agreement between Crisostomo and the six inmates to kill Since Renatos body was found in cell number four, this would make the distance between
Renato. In People v. Corpuz,[29] one of the inmates killed by the other inmates sustained Crisostomos office and the crime scene more than 15 meters. Crisostomo could not have had
stab wounds that were possibly inflicted by ten persons. The Court ruled that conspiracy a full view of cell number four because of the distance between Crisostomos office and cell
could not be inferred from the manner that the accused inmates attacked their fellow inmate number four, the partitions of the four cells and poor lighting in the jail.
because there was no sufficient showing that all the accused inmates acted pursuant to a Calingayans description of the jail, the cells, the location of Renatos body and Crisostomos
previous common accord. Each of the accused inmates was held liable for his individual act. actual position was not contradicted by the prosecution. There is no other evidence on record
Although no formal agreement is necessary to establish conspiracy because conspiracy may that describes the layout and conditions of the jail at the time of Renatos death.
be inferred from the circumstances attending the commission of the crime, yet conspiracy The prosecution had the burden to present evidence that Crisostomo indeed saw and heard
must be established by clear and convincing evidence.[30] Even if all the malefactors joined Renatos killing and Crisostomo consented to the killing as part of the plan to kill Renato. The
in the killing, such circumstance alone does not satisfy the requirement of conspiracy because absence of such evidence does not preclude the possibility that Renato was covertly killed
the rule is that neither joint nor simultaneous action is per se sufficient proof of and the sounds were muffled to conceal the crime from Crisostomo, the jail guard. Or
conspiracy.[31] Conspiracy must be shown to exist as clearly and convincingly as the Crisostomo as jail guard was simply negligent in securing the safety of the inmates under his
commission of the offense itself.[32] custody. If Crisostomo were negligent, this would be incompatible with conspiracy because
negligence denotes the absence of intent while conspiracy involves a meeting of the minds to
commit a crime.[48] It was the prosecutions burden to limit the possibilities to only one: that Crisostomo and his counsel failed to attend the 22 June 1995 hearing. The Sandiganbayan,
Crisostomo conspired with the inmates to kill Renato. The prosecution failed to do so. on the very same day, issued an order[60] directing the issuance of a warrant for the arrest
Third, the prosecution was not clear as to the implication of the discrepancies between the of Crisostomo and ordering the confiscation of his surety bond. The order further declared
list of detainees/prisoners and police blotter to the conspiracy to murder Renato. The that Crisostomo had waived his right to present evidence because of his non-appearance at
prosecution did not even pinpoint which of the two documents is the accurate document. The yesterdays and todays scheduled hearings.[61] The Sandiganbayan terminated the trial and
prosecution merely asked: why the apparent inconsistency?[49] gave the parties thirty days within which to file their memoranda, after which, with or without
Courts must judge the guilt or innocence of the accused based on facts and not on mere the memoranda, the case would still be deemed submitted for decision.
conjectures, presumptions or suspicions.[50] The inconsistency between the two documents The Sandiganbayans error is obvious. Strictly speaking, Crisostomo failed to appear only on
without anything more remains as merely that an inconsistency. The inconsistency does not the 22 June 1995 hearing. Crisostomos appearance on the 21 June 1995 hearing would not
even have any bearing on the prosecutions conspiracy theory. The NBI Report and have mattered because the hearing on this date was cancelled for lack of quorum of justices
Calingayans testimony stated that six inmates were with Renato inside the jail. This was also in the Sandiganbayans Second Division.
the same number of inmates turned over by Crisostomo to the incoming jail guard after Under Section 2(c), Rule 114 and Section 1(c), Rule 115 of the Rules of Court, Crisostomos
Renatos death.[51] non-appearance during the 22 June 1995 trial was merely a waiver of his right to be present
The alleged motive for Renatos killing was to avenge the attack on Lacangan who was then in for trial on such date only and not for the succeeding trial dates.[62] Section 1(c) of Rule 115
a serious condition because Renato hit him on the head with a piece of wood. No evidence clearly states that:
was presented to link Crisostomo to Lacangan or to show what compelling motive made xxx The absence of the accused without any justifiable cause at the trial on a particular date
Crisostomo, a jail guard, abandon his duty and instead facilitate the killing of an inmate of which he had notice shall be considered a waiver of his right to be present during that trial.
under his custody. Motive is generally held to be immaterial because it is not an element of When an accused under custody had been notified of the date of the trial and escapes, he
the crime.[52] However, motive becomes important when the evidence on the commission of shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present on said date and on all subsequent
the crime is purely circumstantial or inconclusive.[53] Motive is thus vital in this case. trial dates until custody is regained.
Clearly, the Sandiganbayan had no basis to convict Crisostomo because the prosecution failed Moreover, Crisostomos absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing should not have been deemed
to produce the evidence necessary to overturn the presumption of innocence. The as a waiver of his right to present evidence. While constitutional rights may be waived, such
insufficiency of evidence was the same reason why the National Police Commission dismissed waiver must be clear and must be coupled with an actual intention to relinquish the
the administrative case for grave misconduct (murder) against Crisostomo on 24 October right.[63] Crisostomo did not voluntarily waive in person or even through his counsel the
1990.[54] The circumstances in this case did not constitute an unbroken chain that would right to present evidence. The Sandiganbayan imposed the waiver due to the agreement of
lead to a reasonable conclusion that Crisostomo played a role in the inmates supposed the prosecution, Calingayan, and Calingayans counsel.
preconceived effort to kill Renato. Thus, Crisostomo must be acquitted. In criminal cases where the imposable penalty may be death, as in the present case, the
The deafening silence of all of the accused does not necessarily point to a conspiracy. In the court is called upon to see to it that the accused is personally made aware of the
first place, not all of the accused remained silent. Calingayan put himself on the witness consequences of a waiver of the right to present evidence.[64] In fact, it is not enough that
stand. Calingayan further claimed that the Solano police investigated him and his handwritten the accused is simply warned of the consequences of another failure to attend the succeeding
statements were taken the morning following Renatos death.[55] Secondly, an accused has hearings.[65] The court must first explain to the accused personally in clear terms the exact
the constitutional right to remain silent and to be exempt from being compelled to be a nature and consequences of a waiver.[66] Crisostomo was not even forewarned. The
witness against himself.[56] Sandiganbayan simply went ahead to deprive Crisostomo of his right to present evidence
A judgment of conviction must be predicated on the strength of the evidence for the without even allowing Crisostomo to explain his absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing.
prosecution and not on the weakness of the evidence for the defense.[57] The circumstantial Clearly, the waiver of the right to present evidence in a criminal case involving a grave
evidence in this case is not sufficient to create a prima facie case to shift the burden of penalty is not assumed and taken lightly. The presence of the accused and his counsel is
evidence to Crisostomo. Moreover, Calingayans testimony inured to Crisostomos favor. The indispensable so that the court could personally conduct a searching inquiry into the
supposed waiver of presentation of evidence did not work against Crisostomo because the waiver.[67] Moreover, the searching inquiry must conform to the procedure recently
prosecution failed to prove Crisostomos guilt beyond reasonable doubt. reiterated in People v. Beriber,[68] to wit:
In Salvatierra v. CA,[58] upon ruling for the defendants acquittal, the Court disregarded the 1. The trial court shall hear both the prosecution and the accused with their respective
issue of whether the defendants jumped bail for failing to attend trial and whether their counsel on the desire or manifestation of the accused to waive the right to present evidence
absence should be considered as flight and as evidence of guilt. Even with this ruling and be heard.
in Salvatierra v. CA, which is applicable to this case, and Crisostomos failure to question the 2. The trial court shall ensure the attendance of the prosecution and especially the accused
violation of his right to procedural due process before the Court, we cannot simply ignore the with their respective counsel in the hearing which must be recorded. Their presence must be
Sandiganbayans grave abuse of discretion. duly entered in the minutes of the proceedings.
The records show that the Sandiganbayan set the hearing of the defenses presentation of 3. During the hearing, it shall be the task of the trial court to
evidence on 21, 22 and 23 June 1995. The 21 June 1995 hearing was cancelled because of a. ask the defense counsel a series of question[s] to determine whether he had conferred
lack of quorum in the regular membership of the Sandiganbayans Second Division and upon with and completely explained to the accused that he had the right to present evidence and
the agreement of the parties.[59] The hearing was reset the next day, 22 June 1995. be heard as well as its meaning and consequences, together with the significance and
outcome of the waiver of such right. If the lawyer for the accused has not done so, the trial not served on Atty. Guades as he could not be located in the building where his office was
court shall give the latter enough time to fulfill this professional obligation. located.[71]
b. inquire from the defense counsel with conformity of the accused whether he wants to Clearly, Atty. Guadess negligence was so gross that it should not prejudice Crisostomos
present evidence or submit a memorandum elucidating on the contradictions and constitutional right to be heard,[72] especially in this case when the imposable penalty may
insufficiency of the prosecution evidence, if any or in default thereof, file a demurrer to be death. At any rate, the remand of the case is no longer necessary.[73] The prosecutions
evidence with prior leave of court, if he so believes that the prosecution evidence is so weak evidence failed to overturn the constitutional presumption of innocence warranting
that it need not even be rebutted. If there is a desire to do so, the trial court shall give the Crisostomos acquittal.
defense enough time for this purpose. The Sandiganbayan imposed an indeterminate sentence on Crisostomo. The Indeterminate
c. elicit information about the personality profile of the accused, such as his age, socio- Sentence Law (ISL) is not applicable to persons convicted of offenses punished with the
economic status, and educational background, which may serve as a trustworthy index of his death penalty or reclusion perpetua.[74] Since Crisostomo was accused of murder, the
capacity to give a free and informed waiver. penalty for which is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, the Sandiganbayan
d. all questions posed to the accused should be in a language known and understood by the should have imposed the penalty in its medium period since it found no aggravating
latter, hence, the record must state the language used for this purpose as well as reflect the circumstance.[75] The medium period of the penalty is reclusion perpertua.
corresponding translation thereof in English. Calingayan must be also Acquitted
If no waiver of the right to present evidence could be presumed from Crisostomos failure to The Sandiganbayan cited only two circumstances as evidence of Calingayans guilt. The
attend the 22 June 1995 hearing, with more reason that flight could not be logically inferred Sandiganbayan held that Calingayans claim that he was detained on 12 February 1989 is
from Crisostomos absence at that hearing. Crisostomos absence did not even justify the contrary to the master list of detainees showing that Calingayan was detained on 14 February
forfeiture of his bail bond. A bail bond may be forfeited only in instances where the presence 1989.[76] Second is Calingayans allegation that when Renato Suba was brought outside, he
of the accused is specifically required by the court or the Rules of Court and, despite due saw that he hanged himself with a thin blanket, which was what the policemen also told the
notice to the bondsmen to produce him before the court on a given date, the accused fails to brother of the victim.[77] The Sandiganbayan did not elaborate on this circumstance. The
appear in person as so required.[69] Crisostomo was not specifically required by the Sandiganbayan was apparently suspicious of Renatos knowledge of the material that was
Sandiganbayan or the Rules of Court to appear on the 22 June 1995 hearing. Thus, there was used to hang Renato.
no basis for the Sandiganbayan to order the confiscation of Crisostomos surety bond and Renato could have been killed by two or more inmates or possibly even by all of the inmates.
assume that Crisostomo had jumped bail. However, since no conspiracy was proven to exist in this case, the perpetrators of the crime
Prior to his absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing, Crisostomo had regularly attended the needed to be identified and their independent acts had to be proven.[78] The two
hearings of the case. When it was Crisostomos turn to present his evidence, Atty. Anecio R. circumstances that were held against Calingayan are not sufficient proof that Calingayan was
Guades (Atty. Guades), Crisostomos former counsel, instructed Crisostomo to wait for the one of the inmates who killed Renato. Thus, Calingayan must be also acquitted.
notice of hearing from him and the Sandiganbayan. Crisostomo did not receive any notice Section 11(a) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that [a]n appeal taken by one or
from the Sandiganbayan or from Atty. Guades who disappeared without informing Crisostomo more [of] several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the
of his new office address. Upon notification of the promulgation of the case scheduled on 28 judgment of the appellant court is favorable and applicable to the latter. In this case, only
November 2000, Crisostomo voluntarily appeared before the Sandiganbayan. Crisostomo Crisostomo questioned the jurisdiction and decision of the Sandiganbayan. However, the
then terminated the services of Atty. Guades and engaged the services of another counsel. In evidence against Crisostomo and Calingayan are inextricably linked as their conviction hinged
the omnibus motion for new trial filed by Crisostomos new counsel, Crisostomo denied that on the prosecutions unproven theory of conspiracy. Thus, Crisostomos acquittal, which is
he went into hiding. If given the chance, Crisostomo would have presented his pay slips and favorable and applicable to Calingayan, should benefit Calingayan.[79]
certificates of attendance to prove that he had been reporting for work at the Police Station in WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 19780 convicting
Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.[70] appellant EDGAR CRISOSTOMO and co-accused MARIO B. CALINGAYAN is hereby REVERSED.
We could not absolutely fault the Sandiganbayan for not correcting its 22 June 1995 Order. EDGAR CRISOSTOMO and co-accused MARIO B. CALINGAYAN are ACQUITTED of the crime of
The Sandiganbayan lost the opportunity to review the order when Crisostomos new counsel murder and ordered immediately released from prison, unless held for another lawful cause.
changed his legal strategy by withdrawing the omnibus motion for new trial and instead The Director of Prisons is directed to report to this Court compliance within five (5) days from
sought the nullification of the Sandiganbayans decision for lack of jurisdiction over the case. receipt of this Decision. No costs.
However, the withdrawal of the omnibus motion could not erase the Sandiganbayans SO ORDERED.
violation of Crisostomos right to procedural due process and Atty. Guades gross negligence. Republic of the Philippines
Atty. Guades failed to protect his clients interest when he did not notify Crisostomo of the SUPREME COURT
scheduled hearings and just vanished without informing Crisostomo and the Sandiganbayan Manila
of his new office address. The 22 June 1995 Order was served on Atty. Guades but he did not EN BANC
even comply with the directive in the Order to explain in writing his absence at the 21 and 22
June 1995 hearings. Atty. Guades did not file the memorandum in Crisostomos behalf G.R. Nos. 111771-77 November 9, 1993
required by the same Order. Atty. Guades did not also question the violation of Crisostomos ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ, petitioner,
right to procedural due process. The subsequent notices of hearing and promulgation were vs.
The Honorable HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU (in her capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial The respondent Secretary of Justice subsequently expressed his apprehension that the trial of
Court, NCR, Branch 70, Pasig), The Honorable FRANKLIN DRILON (in his capacity as the said cases might result in a miscarriage of justice because of the tense and partisan
Secretary of Justice), JOVENCITO R. ZUO, LEONARDO C. GUIYAB, CARLOS L. DE LEON, atmosphere in Laguna in favor of the petitioner and the relationship of an employee, in the
RAMONCITO C. MISON, REYNALDO J. LUGTU, and RODRIGO P. LORENZO, the last six trial court with one of the accused. This Court thereupon ordered the transfer of the venue of
respondents in their official capacities as members of the State Prosecutor's the seven cases to Pasig, Metro Manila, where they were raffled to respondent Judge Harriet
Office), respondents. Demetriou.
Mario E. Ongkiko and Marciano P. Brion, Jr. for petitioner. On September 10, 1993, the seven informations were amended to include the killing of Allan
The Solicitor General for respondents. Gomez as an aggravating circumstance.
On that same date, the petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations substantially on
CRUZ, J.: the grounds now raised in this petition. On September 13, 1993, after oral arguments, the
There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor Antonio L. respondent judge denied the motion. Sanchez then filed with this Court the instant petition
Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, who stands accused of an unspeakable crime. On him, the for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order/writ of injunction.
verdict has already been rendered by many outraged persons who would immediately impose The petitioner argues that the seven informations filed against him should be quashed
on him an angry sentence. Yet, for all the prejudgments against him, he is under our because: 1) he was denied the right to present evidence at the preliminary investigation; 2)
Constitution presumed innocent as long as the contrary has not been proved. Like any other only the Ombudsman had the competence to conduct the investigation; 3) his warrantless
person accused of an offense, he is entitled to the full and vigilant protection of the Bill of arrest is illegal and the court has therefore not acquired jurisdiction over him, 4) he is being
Rights. charged with seven homicides arising from the death of only two persons; 5) the informations
Sanchez has brought this petition to challenge the order of the respondent judge denying his are discriminatory because they do not include Teofilo Alqueza and Edgardo Lavadia; and 6)
motion to quash the informations for rape with homicide filed against him and six other as a public officer, he can be tried for the offense only by the Sandiganbayan.
persons. We shall treat it as we would any other suit filed by any litigant hoping to obtain a The respondents submitted a Comment on the petition, to which we required a Reply from
just and impartial judgment from this Court. the petitioner within a non-extendible period of five days. 1 The Reply was filed five days
The pertinent facts are as follows: late. 2 The Court may consider his non-compliance an implied admission of the respondents'
On July 28, 1993, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission requested the filing of appropriate arguments or a loss of interest in prosecuting his petition, which is a ground for its dismissal.
charges against several persons, including the petitioner, in connection with the rape-slay of Nevertheless, we shall disregard this procedural lapse and proceed to discuss his petition on
Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of Allan Gomez. the basis of the arguments before us.
Acting on this request, the Panel of State Prosecutors of the Department of Justice conducted The Preliminary Investigation.
a preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993. Petitioner Sanchez was not present but was The records of the hearings held on August 9 and 13, 1993, belie the petitioner's contention
represented by his counsel, Atty. Marciano Brion, Jr. that he was not accorded the right to present counter-affidavits.
On August 12, 1993, PNP Commander Rex Piad issued an "invitation" to the petitioner During the preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993, the petitioner's counsel, Atty.
requesting him to appear for investigation at Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna. It was Marciano Brion, manifested that his client was waiving the presentation of a counter-affidavit,
served on Sanchez in the morning of August 13,1993, and he was immediately taken to the thus:
said camp. Atty. Brion, Jr.:
At a confrontation that same day, Sanchez was positively identified by Aurelio Centeno, and [W]e manifest that after reviewing them there is nothing to rebut or countermand all these
SPO III Vivencio Malabanan, who both executed confessions implicating him as a principal in statements as far as Mayor Sanchez is concerned, We are not going to submit any counter-
the rape-slay of Sarmenta and the killing of Gomez. The petitioner was then placed on "arrest affidavit.
status" and taken to the Department of Justice in Manila. ACSP Zuo to Atty. Brion:
The respondent prosecutors immediately conducted an inquest upon his arrival, with Atty. xxx xxx xxx
Salvador Panelo as his counsel. Q. So far, there are no other statements.
After the hearing, a warrant of arrest was served on Sanchez. This warrant was issued on A. If there is none then, we will not submit any counter-affidavit because we believe there is
August 13, 1993, by Judge Enrico A. Lanzanas of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, nothing to rebut or countermand with all these statements.
in connection with Criminal Cases Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for violation of Section 8, in Q. So, you are waiving your submission of counter-affidavit?
relation to Section 1, of R.A. No. 6713. Sanchez was forthwith taken to the CIS Detention A. Yes, your honor, unless there are other witnesses who will come up soon. 3
Center, Camp Crame, where he remains confined. Nonetheless, the head of the Panel of Prosecutors, respondent Jovencito Zuo, told Atty.
On August 16, 1993, the respondent prosecutors filed with the Regional Trial Court of Brion that he could still file a counter-affidavit up to August 27, 1993. No such counter-
Calamba, Laguna, seven informations charging Antonio L. Sanchez, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio affidavit was filed.
Corcolon, Pepito Kawit, Baldwin Brion, Jr., George Medialdea and Zoilo Ama with the rape and During the hearing on August 1'3, 1993, respondent Zuo furnished the petitioner's counsel,
killing of Mary Eileen Sarmenta. this time Atty. Salvador Panelo, with copies of the sworn statements of Centeno and
On August 26, 1993, Judge Eustaquio P. Sto. Domingo of that court issued a warrant for the Malabanan, and told him he could submit counter-affidavits on or before August 27, 1993.
arrest of all the accused, including the petitioner, in connection with the said crime. The following exchange ensued:
ACSP Zuo: on the part of any public official, i.e., any crime imputed to a public official. It must, however,
For the record, we are furnishing to you the sworn statement of witness Aurelio Centeno y be pointed out that the authority of the Ombudsman to investigate "any [illegal] act or
Roxas and the sworn statement of SPO3 Vivencio Malabanan y Angeles. omission of any public official" (191 SCRA at 550) is not an exclusiveauthority but rather a
Do I understand from you that you are again waiving the submission of counter-affidavit? shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense here charged, i.e., the crime of
Atty. Panelo: sedition. Thus, the non-involvement of the office of the Ombudsman in the present case does
Yes. not have any adverse legal consequence upon the authority the panel of prosecutors to file
ACSP Zuo: and prosecute the information or amended information.
So, insofar as the respondent, Mayor Antonio Sanchez is concerned, this case is submitted for In fact, other investigatory agencies, of the government such as the Department of Justice, in
resolution. 4 connection with the charge of sedition, 10 and the Presidential Commission on Good
On the other hand, there is no support for the petitioner's subsequent manifestation that his Government, in ill-gotten wealth cases, 11 may conduct the investigation,
counsel, Atty. Brion, was not notified of the inquest held on August 13, 1993, and that he The Arrest
was not furnished with the affidavits sworn to on that date by Vivencio Malabanan and Aurelio Was petitioner Sanchez arrested on August 13, 1993?
Centeno, or with their supplemental affidavits dated August 15, 1993. Moreover, the above- "Arrest" is defined under Section 1, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court as the taking of a person
quoted excerpt shows that the petitioner's counsel at the hearing held on August 13, 1993, into custody in order that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense.
was not Atty. Brion but Atty. Panelo. Under Section 2 of the same Rule, an arrest is effected by an actual restraint of the person to
The petitioner was present at that hearing and he never disowned Atty. Panelo as his be arrested or by his voluntary submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.
counsel. During the entire proceedings, he remained quiet and let this counsel speak and Application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical restraint or a formal
argue on his behalf. It was only in his tardy Reply that he has suddenly bestirred himself and declaration of arrest is not, required. It is enough that there be an intent on the part of one
would now question his representation by this lawyer as unauthorized and inofficious. of the parties to arrest the other and an intent onthe part of the other to submit, under the
Section 3, Paragraph (d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, provides that if the respondent belief and impression that submission is necessary. 12
cannot be subpoenaed or, if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits, the The petitioner was taken to Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Laguna, by virtue of a letter-
investigating officer shall base his resolution on the evidence presented by the complainant. invitation issued by PNP Commander Rex Piad requesting him to appear at the said camp for
Just as the accused may renounce the right to be present at the preliminary investigation 5, investigation.
so may he waive the right to present counter-affidavits or any other evidence in his defense. In Babst v. National Intelligence Board 13 this Court declared:
At any rate, it is settled that the absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the Be that as it may, it is not idle to note that ordinarily, an invitation to attend a hearing and
validity of the information or otherwise render the same defective and neither does it affect answer some questions, which the person invited may heed or refuse at his pleasure, is not
the jurisdiction of the court over the case or constitute a ground for quashing the illegal or constitutionally objectionable. Under certain circumstances, however, such an
information. 6 invitation can easily assume a different appearance. Thus, where the invitation comes from a
If no preliminary investigation has been held, or if it is flawed, the trial court may, on motion powerful group composed predominantly of ranking military officers issued at a time when
of the accused, order an investigation or reinvestigation and hold the proceedings in the the country has just emerged from martial rule and when the suspension of the privilege of
criminal case