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Engineer Claro Preclaro vs Sandiganbayan and People of the Philippines

GR No 111091; 21 August 1995

 Petitioner hired as project manager of the Chemical Division of Industrial Technology Development Institute—an agency of
DOST. Contract of employment was to remain in effect from 1 October 1989 to the end of construction period.
 Petitioner was paid a monthly salary drawn from counterpart funds financed by foreign-assisted projects and government
funds released by Department of Budget and Management
 Petitioner charged before Sandiganbayan with violation of Sec 3(b) of RA No 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
allegedly for demanding for himself P200,000 from contractor’s profit as payment for letting the Change Order slide.
 Petitioner pleaded “NOT GUILTY”
 Second Division of Sandiganbayan found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

1. WON Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the case
2. WON elements of offense charged have been established beyond reasonable doubt.

1. Yes
 Public Officer under RA 3019 includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in
the Career Service and Non-Career Service,
 The word “includes” used in defining a public officer in Sec. 2(b) indicates that the definition is not restrictive.
 A private individual hired on a contractual basis as Project Manager for a government undertaking falls under the non-
career service category of the Civil Service and thus is a public officer as defined by Sec. 2(b) of R.A. 3019.
 The petitioner falls within the definition of a public officer and as such, his duties delineated in Annex “B” of the contract of
services are subsumed under the phrase “wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.”
Petitioner’s allegation, to borrow a cliche, is nothing but a mere splitting of hairs.

2. Yes
 Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean that which produces absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is required or
“that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.”
 Court has extensively reviewed the records of this case and found no reason to overturn the findings of the Sandiganbayan.
 The failure of the NBI to take photographs of the actual turn-over of the money to petitioner is not fatal to the People’s
cause where the testimony of those who witnessed the transaction are consistent, logical and credible.
 Self-serving statements do not prevail over the clear and competent testimony and report.
 The Court finds improbable and contrary to human experience the accused’s claim that he was set up by the private
contractor for no other purpose but revenge on account of the former’s failure to recommend the latter’s company to
perform the extra electrical works.