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Article III, Section 16

Right to Speedy Disposition of Cases,

(1501) GUIANI v. SANDIGANBAYAN


G.R. Nos. 146897-917, August 06, 2002
Ynares-Santiago, J.

POINT OF THE CASE:


The right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed violated only
when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delay. The right of an accused
to a speedy trial is guaranteed to him by the Constitution but the same shall not be utilized to deprive the
State of a reasonable opportunity of fairly indicting criminals. A party's individual rights should not work
against and preclude the people's equally important right to public justice.

FACTS:
On October 15, 1992, the Commission on Audit-Special Audit Office (COA-SAO) conducted a
physical inspection of the impact projects of DPWH-ARMM and found several irregularities therein. On
December 8, 1992, the Ombudsman ordered to conduct a preliminary investigation regarding the
irregularities. The investigation lasted 6 years and informations were filed against the petitioners only on
October 8, 1998.
The petitioners then filed petition to quash the informations on the grounds that the delay in the
resolution of the complaint against them by the Ombudsman violated their constitutional right to speedy
trial. The Sandiganbayan denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss the cases thus the present petition for
certiorari.

ISSUE: WON the informations be dismissed on the grounds of violation of the right to speedy trial.

RULING:
No. The Supreme Court ruled that the right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a
speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and
oppressive delay. In the determination of whether or not that right has been violated, the factors that may
be considered and balanced are: the length of delay, the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure to
assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay.
In the present case, the Ombudsman presented the documents and reason for the delay of the
preliminary investigation. It proved that the period of time that elapsed during the conduct of the
preliminary investigation in this case was warranted by the sequence of events.
Furthermore, most of the respondents, including some of petitioners herein, moved for
extensions of time. It would appear, therefore, that petitioners impliedly acquiesced in the delay in the
proceedings.
The right of an accused to a speedy trial is guaranteed to him by the Constitution but the same
shall not be utilized to deprive the State of a reasonable opportunity of fairly indicting criminals. A party's
individual rights should not work against and preclude the people's equally important right to public
justice.