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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. L-25204 and L-25219 January 23, 1970
QUETO alias TAN QUETO, (PERSHING TAN QUETO), ET
AL., petitioners,
vs.
HON. ALFREDO CATOLICO, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Misamis Occidental, respondent. REPUBLIC
OF THE PHILIPPINES, intervenor.

3. COURTS; JUDGES; DUTIES AND LIMITATIONS OF


AUTHORITY. Judges, in their zeal to uphold the law,
should not lose the proper judicial perspective, and should
see to it that in the execution of their sworn duties they do not
overstep the limitations of their power as laid down by statute
and by the rules of procedure. If they arrogate unto
themselves the authority allocated to other officials, there can
be no consequence but confusion in the administration of
justice and, in many instances, oppressive disregard of the
basic requirements of due process.
DECISION
MAKALINTAL, J.:

In the annals of Philippine Jurisprudence there has been no


case quite like the one now before us, where over fifty
Valeriano S. Kaamio for petitioners.
naturalized citizens were haled into court by officiousness on
the part of a Judge, and one of them, as if by way of example,
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo and Solicitor was unnecessarily subjected to overbearing and abusive
verbal treatment from the bench. The time wasted in the
Ceferino S. Gaddi for intervenor.
proceedings below, and here as a result of the petition for
prohibition which had to be filed in order to correct them,
Hon. Judge Alfredo Catolico in his own.
could have been employed more profitably in meritorious
cases instead of aggravating the already dogged court
SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; CITIZENSHIP; JURISDICTION TO dockets.
INQUIRE INTO INFIRMITIES OF NATURALIZATION
PROCEEDINGS; OFFICIALS AUTHORIZED TO INITIATE The instant petition for prohibition 1 was filed on October 26,
PROCEEDINGS. The jurisdiction of the court to inquire into
1965 in behalf of thirty-seven of those naturalized citizens, in
and rule upon infirmities connected with the original
proceedings must be properly invoked in accordance with the whose favor the corresponding certificates of naturalization
procedure laid down by law. The procedure is by cancellation had been issued on different dates, the earliest of which was
of the naturalization certificate (Sec. 1(5), Commonwealth Act August 27, 1961, and the latest, June 6, 1964.
No. 63), in the manner fixed in Section 18 of Commonwealth
Act No. 473, hereinbefore quoted, namely, "upon motion The proceedings complained of began when, under date of
made in the proper proceedings by the Solicitor General or his October 5, 1965, each one of those affected was served with
representatives, or by the proper provincial fiscal." In other
words, the initiative must come from these officers, a uniformly worded mimeographed notice from the Clerk of
presumably after previous investigation in each particular the Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental, presided by
herein respondent Judge Alfredo Catolico, as follows:
case.
2. COURTS; NATURE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS;
JUDGE AS INQUISITOR, DANGERS. As a general rule, a
court proceeding in our judicial set-up is accusatorial or
adversarial and not inquisitorial in nature. It contemplates two
contending parties before the court, which hears them
impartially and renders judgment only after trial. This basic
philosophy would be violated if a judge were permitted to act
as inquisitor, pursue his own independent investigation, arrive
at a conclusion ex-parte, and then summon the party affected
so as to enable him, if that were still possible, to show that the
conclusion thus arrived at is without justification. The danger
in all this is most forcefully demonstrated in the present case,
where respondent Judge took "judicial notice," to use his own
words, of "news" derogatory to one of the petitioners, thereby
elevating rumors and gossips to the level of incontrovertible
proof; and worse, where judgment, not to say prejudice, on
the part of said respondent was so blatantly shown by the
abusive epithets he used in referring to the same petitioner
before he had any chance to be heard.

Acting in accordance with the instructions received from the


Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance of this district,
and in accordance further with the records of the
naturalization cases in this Court, you are hereby notified that
you are one among those who have taken oath of allegiance
to the Republic of the Philippines where the proceedings in
connection therewith were null and void, ab initio, in the light
of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court on
naturalization.
By authority granted me by the Executive Judge, you are
hereby ordered to appear before him on October 15, 1965, at
9:00 in the morning, at the Session Hall, Branch I, at
Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental, with your counsel, for the
purpose of discussing the ways and means of how to avoid
further ill use of your pretended Philippine Citizenship either
by acquiring real properties which is prohibited by the

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Constitution to aliens like you, or exercising the right of Thus, at one stroke, without any petition from the Solicitor
suffrage.
General and without hearing, respondent Judge in effect
nullified all the previous proceedings petition, publication,
On October 15, 1965 respondent Judge called the cases for trial judgment, oath taking and issuance of the certificate of
hearing, "to thresh out," in the language of the order he issued naturalization. And following the example of Chua Tuan the
on the same date, "the best procedure to follow tending to other petitioners herein were called to hear the same fate,
stave off the imminent declaration of nullity of the oath taking although with respect to them the Judge, after saying that he
and consequent issuance of the certificate of naturalization to was going to declare all of them aliens, expressed his
the applicants in the above-named cases as a natural readiness to hear their arguments.
consequence of the nullity of the proceedings had in
connection with the aforecited legally defective oath taking for To the credit of the lawyers who appeared before him, the
lack of notification to the Solicitor General who is the only manner in which they argued their cases was a lesson in
counsel of record of the State."
humility, decorum and forbearance. In respectful language
they pointed out, among other things, that the proper
As thus spelled out, the Judge took it upon himself to summon procedure that should have been pursued against each of
herein petitioners, among many others, for a discussion of their clients was through cancellation of the naturalization
what to do in connection with the nullity of their naturalization certificate by the court "upon motion made in the proper
a matter he had evidently already pre-judged, on the proceedings by the Solicitor General or his representatives, or
ground, according to him, that said petitioners were allowed to by the proper provincial fiscal ... (a) if it is shown that sand
take their respective oaths of allegiance without previous naturalization certificate was obtained fraudulently or illegally,"
notices of the Solicitor General, the notices to the provincial as provided in Commonwealth Act No. 473, Section 18; that
and/or city fiscals who actually appeared in the naturalization respondent Judge had no jurisdiction to act motu propio and
declare that herein petitioners had not acquired Filipino
proceedings being ineffective.
citizenship by virtue of their naturalization; and that such
At the hearing on October 15, 1965 the Judge reveal that the declaration was arbitrary and void.
action he took was the result of a letter of Chua Tuan, alias
Lim Tian Yu, through his counsel, asking the Clerk of Court to Respondent Judge, however, made short shrift of the
furnish him with copies of his certificate of naturalization and arguments by saying that since the petitioners had not
oath of allegiance, which were needed in connection with become Filipino citizens because their oath taking was void
certain requirements of the Bureau of Lands. The Judge for lack of notice to the Solicitor General, there were no
remarked that he did not know Chua Tuan at all but "could not naturalization certificates to be cancelled pursuant to the legal
ignore his activities." He then proceeded to deliver in open provision aforementioned. Nevertheless, acting on counsel's
court a lengthy dissertation reflecting on the honesty and motion for continuance in order to await the advice already
integrity of provincial and city fiscals appearing in requested by them from the Solicitor General, respondent
naturalization cases, and venting his spleen particularly on Judge granted the same and set the hearing anew for
Chua Tuan, referred to him as a Chinese who had become a November 12, 1965. However, they filed the instant petition
multi-millionaire by making overshipments of copra, who was on October 26, 1965, to stop said respondent from taking
"untouchable because he could buy his way out in further action in the proceedings initiated by him. As prayed
Malacaang, in the Army, in the Foreign Affairs, in the for by the petitioners this Court issued a writ of preliminary
Immigration, in the Bureau of Internal Revenue and in the injunction on November 3, 1965.
Courts of Justice." Of all these things, the Judge said, he
would take judicial notice. Other epithets were used by him to Since then thirty-five of the thirty-seven petitioners have
castigate the object of his tirade "balasubas;" ingrate; withdrawn as such, alleging that they would file the proper
"humbug;" animalistic; a danger and a disgrace to the petitions in the Court below to remove whatever cloud there
community; a dishonor to the Filipino people.
might be in their status as naturalized Filipino citizens; and the
corresponding motions for withdrawal have been granted by
The letter-request of Chua Tuan elicited the following written this Court. Only two petitioners still remain, namely, Chua
Tuan @ Lim Tian Su (CFI No. 75, G.R. No. L-25204); and
reply from the Court:
Pepito Go (CFI No. 33, G.R. No. L- 25219).
In view of the inherent nullity of the proceedings above
pointed out leading to your acquisition of Philippine On December 8, 1965 the Solicitor General filed a motion to
citizenship, you did not acquire a valid Filipino citizenship; and intervene in this proceeding, which motion was duly granted
therefore you, for all legal purposes, are still an alien by resolution of this Court dated December 15, 1965. The
prohibited by the Constitution to acquire lands in the case was set for hearing on April 18, 1966, on which date
counsel for the remaining petitioners and a representative of
Philippines.

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the Solicitor General appeared and moved that they be


allowed to file memoranda in lieu of oral argument. The
memorandum for the petitioners was filed in due time, but
none was submitted by the Solicitor General.
The issue is whether or not respondent Judge, motu
proprio, had jurisdiction to reopen and review, or putting it
more accurately in this case, to declare null and void the grant
of citizenship to the petitioners pursuant to final judgments of
competent courts and after the oaths of allegiance had been
taken and the corresponding certificates of naturalization
issued. It may be true, as alleged by said respondent, that the
proceedings for naturalization were tainted with certain
infirmities, fatal or otherwise, but that is beside the point in this
case. The jurisdiction of the court to inquire into and rule upon
such infirmities must be properly invoked in accordance with
the procedure laid down by law. Such procedure is by
cancellation of the naturalization certificate [Sec. 1 (5),
Commonwealth Act No. 63], in the manner fixed in Section 18
of Commonwealth Act No. 473, hereinbefore quoted, namely,
"upon motion made in the proper proceedings by the Solicitor
General or his representatives, or by the proper provincial
fiscal." In other words, the initiative must come from these
officers, presumably after previous investigation in each
particular case.
As a general rule a court proceeding in our judicial set-up is
accusatorial or adversary and not inquisitorial in nature. It
contemplates two contending parties before the court, which
hears them impartially and renders judgment only after trial.
This basic philosophy would be violated if a judge were
permitted to act as inquisitor pursue his own independent
investigation, arrive at a conclusion ex-parte, and then
summon the party affected so as to enable him, if that were
still possible, to show that the conclusion thus arrived at is
without justification. The danger in all this is most forcefully
demonstrated in the present case, where respondent Judge
took "judicial notice," to use his own words, of "news"
derogatory to one of the petitioners, thereby elevating rumors
and gossip to the level of incontrovertible proof ; and worse,
where prejudgment, not to say prejudice, on the part of said
respondent was so blatantly shown by the abusive epithets he
used in referring to the same petitioner before he had any
chance to be heard.

WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for is granted, and the


injunction heretofore issued by this Court is made permanent.
The Solicitor General is, of course, not precluded from taking
such steps as may be warranted in connection with the
naturalization cases of the petitioners.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished to the Honorable the
Secretary of Justice.
Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Fernando
and Teehankee, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J., and Barredo, J., took no part.
Footnotes
1 Although only one petition was filed, it was given thirty-seven docket
numbers, from L-25183 to L-25219, inclusive, each number corresponding to
one petitioner.

===============================================
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FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. Nos. 143618-41. July 30, 2002]
BENJAMIN Kokoy ROMUALDEZ, petitioner, vs. THE
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division) and THE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by SPECIAL
PROSECUTION OFFICER II EVELYN TAGOBA
LUCERO, respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Previous to this case, petitioner instituted a petition
docketed as G.R. No. 105248, entitled, Benjamin (Kokoy)
Romualdez, Petitioner, versus Sandiganbayan (First Division)
and Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG),
Respondents.[1] He assailed therein, among others, the
validity of twenty-four informations which the PCGG filed
against him for violation of Section 7 of Republic Act No.
3019, more specifically for failure to file his statements of
assets and liabilities covering the years 1962 to 1985 when he
was in the government service. The cases were filed with the
Sandiganbayan as Criminal Cases Nos. 13406-13429. He
argued that PCGG Commissioner Augusto E. Villarin, who
conducted the preliminary investigation, had no authority to do
so.

Judges, in their zeal to uphold the law, should not lose the
proper judicial perspective, and should see to it that in the
execution of their sworn duties they do not overstep the
limitations of their power as laid down by statute and by the
rules of procedure. If they arrogate unto themselves the
authority allocated to other officials, there can be no
consequence but confusion in the administration of justice
On May 16, 1995, a Decision was rendered in said case
and, in many instances, oppressive disregard of the basic
declaring the preliminary investigation conducted by the
requirements of due process.
PCGG invalid, based on the following findings:

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Now, the crimes ascribed to Romualdez (failure to file his


annual statements of assets and liabilities) do not relate to
alleged ill-gotten wealth amassed by him. No such relation
may be perceived in the indictments themselves, which in fact
merely state that there was no justifiable cause for
Romualdezs refusal or failure to file his annual
statements. Moreover, the Sandiganbayan itself made the
finding that the cases against Romualdez did not refer to
acquisition of wealth under a crony status, but solely ** (to)
his bare physical non-compliance with his mechanical duty to
file his statement of assets and liabilities over a period of
twenty-four (24) years **; and that the omissions have no
bearing on Civil Case No. 0035 against Romualdez involving
transactions in which he allegedly took advantage of his
relationship with the spouses Ferdinand and Imelda
Marcos. These considerations also call for rejection of the
Solicitor Generals theory that Romualdezs non-filing of
statements of assets and liabilities ** (was) a means
of concealing ** (his) assets and frustrating the efforts of the
Government to determine the actual value or extent of ** (his)
wealth.
The Court therefore declares invalid the preliminary
investigation conducted by the PCGG over the 24 offenses
ascribed to Romualdez (of failure to file annual statements of
assets and liabilities), for lack of jurisdiction of said offenses. [2]

immediately went to Prosecutor Luceros office to inform her


that he was not the counsel for petitioner in these particular
cases, although he represented petitioner in other cases
pending before different divisions of the Sandiganbayan. The
scheduled hearing on June 2, 2000 was cancelled for nonappearance of petitioner and counsel.
In the meantime, petitioner, through Atty. Otilia
Dimayuga-Molo, filed with the Sandiganbayan on June 2,
2000 a Motion to Quash the informations in Criminal Cases
Nos. 13406-13429.[6] He argued therein that the PCGG
Commissioner who filed the informations had no authority to
do so.
On June 6, 2000, petitioner received at his address in
Tacloban City a notice from Prosecutor Taguba of the
clarificatory hearing scheduled on June 9, 2000.[7]
The Motion to Quash was heard by the Sandiganbayan
on June 8, 2000, one day before the clarificatory
hearing. Without granting the prosecution time to oppose the
motion, the Presiding Justice, in open court, denied the
Motion to Quash and terminated the preliminary investigation
being conducted by Prosecutor Lucero. Furthermore, the
Presiding Justice set the arraignment of petitioner on June 26,
2000.

On June 23, 2000, petitioner was able to obtain a written


copy of the order dated June 8, 2000 denying his Motion to
While the preliminary investigation was invalid, we ruled Quash and setting his arraignment on June 26, 2000.
that the invalidity of the preliminary investigation did not impair [8] Petitioner likewise received another order dated June 8,
the validity of the informations much less did it affect the 2000, denying his oral motion for reconsideration. [9]
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Hence, we held that the
The arraignment scheduled on June 26, 2000 was reset
Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
to
July
28, 2000.[10]
refusing to quash the warrants of arrest against
petitioner. However, the Sandiganbayan was directed to
On July 7, 2000, petitioner filed the instant petition,
suspend the proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 13406- seeking to annul the assailed orders dated June 8, 2000 and
13429, and to require the Office of the Ombudsman to to prohibit the Sandiganbayan from implementing the
conduct a proper preliminary investigation of the charges same. Petitioner further prayed for the issuance of a writ of
against petitioner.
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order,
In
compliance
with
the
said
decision,
the enjoining his arraignment on July 28, 2000.
Sandiganbayan, on November 13, 1995, issued a resolution
In a resolution dated July 17, 2000, respondents were
giving petitioner fifteen days from receipt thereof within which required to comment and the parties were directed to maintain
to submit his counter-affidavit and controverting evidence, the status quo anteprevailing at the time of filing of the
furnishing copies thereof to the PCGG. The Sandiganbayan petition.[11]
also gave the PCGG the same period to file a reply affidavit or
The petition is anchored on the following grounds:
pleading if it so desired. Thereafter, the Office of the Special
Prosecutor was directed to conduct the reinvestigation. [3]
I. RESPONDENT
COURT
ACTED
WITHOUT
At that time, however, petitioner was still in exile JURISDICTION AND/OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
AMOUNTING
TO
LACK
OF
abroad. Naturally, he failed to submit the required counter- DISCRETION
affidavits. He returned to the Philippines only on April 27, JURISDICTION IN DENYING PETITIONERS MOTION
2000, after which he voluntarily surrendered to the TO QUASH THE INFORMATION FILED IN CRIMINAL
CASES NOS. 13406-13429 NOTWITHSTANDING THE
Sandiganbayan and posted the required bail bond.
FACT THAT THE PCGG COMMISSIONER WHO FILED
On May 8, 2000, the Sandiganbayan gave Special SAID INFORMATIONS HAD NO AUTHORITY TO DO
Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero ten days within which to submit SO;
the result of any reinvestigation she may have undertaken.
[4]
II. THE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITHOUT
Prosecutor Lucero informed the Sandiganbayan that she
has set a clarificatory hearing on June 2, 2000, and moved for JURISDICTION AND/OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF
AMOUNTING
TO
LACK
OF
a thirty-day extension to submit the results of the DISCRETION
JURISDICTION IN NOT COMPLYING WITH THE
reinvestigation.[5]
DIRECTIVE OF THE SUPREME COURT IN THE
Prosecutor Lucero sent notice of the clarificatory hearing ROMUALDEZ CASE THAT IT SHOULD ORDER THE
to Atty. Jesus Borromeo, on behalf of petitioner. The latter

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OMBUDSMAN
TO
CONDUCT
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION;

PROPER

III. THE PETITION WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS THAT


SHOULD COME FROM AN IMPARTIAL AND COLDLY
NEUTRAL JUDGE.RESPONDENT PREJUDGED THE
ISSUES WHEN IT DICTATED IN OPEN COURT THE
LENGTHY ORDER OF JUNE 8, 2000, DENYING
OUTRIGHT THE MOTION TO QUASH AND ISSUING
ANOTHER ORDER ON THE SAME DATE DENYING AN
ALLEGED ORAL MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.
[12]

Court prior thereto must be accorded validity and effect,


subject to the outcome of the preliminary investigation yet to
be conducted. The dispositions thus made by respondent
Sandiganbayan, i.e., its refusal to recall and quash the
warrants of arrest or to modify the conditions laid down by it
for petitioner's cash bond; and its confiscation of the cash
deposit of petitioner for violation by the latter of the conditions
thereof, cannot be regarded as having been made without or
in excess of jurisdiction, or so whimsical, capricious or
oppressive or so utterly without foundation as to amount to
grave abuse of discretion.[13]

The above-quoted ruling is based on our earlier


Respondents counter that the first issue raised by
petitioner has already been resolved in G.R. No. 105248, decisions in the cited cases of Luciano v. Mariano,[14] Ilagan v.
Enrile,[15] Sanciangco, Jr. v. People[16] and Go v. Court of
thus:
Appeals.[17] In these cases, what was assailed was the lack of
proper preliminary investigation before the filing of the
The invalidity or absence of a preliminary investigation does
not however affect the jurisdiction of the Trial Court which may informations. The informations therein were filed by the proper
officer albeit without conducting the requisite preliminary
have taken cognizance of the information.The controlling
investigation. The case at bar, on the other hand, differs in
principles are set out by a well known authority now sitting in
the Court, in his work entitled Remedial Law Compendium, as that the officer who filed the informations against petitioner,
PCGG Commissioner Villarin, was not authorized to do so.
follows:
**. Any objection to lack of preliminary investigation must be
made before entry of the plea (People vs. Monteverde, G.R.
No. 60962, July 11, 1986) and the court, instead of dismissing
the information, must remand the case for preliminary
investigation (People vs. Casiano, L-15309, Feb. 16, 1961;
People vs. Figueroa, L-24273, April 30, 1960; Zacarias vs.
Cruz, L-25899, Nov. 29, 1969; People vs. Abejuela, L-29715,
Mar. 31, 1971; Sanciangco, et al. vs. People, G.R. No. 12830,
Mar. 24, 1987). The refusal of the court to remand the case
for preliminary investigation can be controlled by certiorari and
prohibition to prevent trial (Bandiala vs. CFI, L-24652, Sept.
30, 1970).**.

This defect invoked by petitioner is one of the grounds


for filing a motion to quash, to wit:
Grounds. --- The accused may move to quash the complaint
or information on any of the following grounds:
xxx xxx xxx.
(d) That the officer who filed the information had no authority
to do so;
xxx xxx xxx.[18]

As regards proceedings in the Sandiganbayan, particularly,


another author observes that:

What was assailed in G.R. No. 105248 was the


Sandiganbayans refusal to quash the warrants and modify the
conditions of the bail bond, as well as its confiscation of the
cash deposit. While we ruled therein that the PCGG
Since absence of preliminary investigation is not a
Commissioner had no authority to conduct the preliminary
ground to quash the complaint or information (Sec. 3,
Rule 117, Rules of Court), proceedings upon such information investigation, we did not squarely rule on his lack of authority
to file the informations. The issue before the Court was the
in the Sandiganbayan should be held in abeyance and the
invalidity of the preliminary investigation and its
case remanded to the Ombudsman, for him or the Special
Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation (Luciano vs. consequences.
Mariano, 40 SCRA 187, 201; Ilagan vs. Enrile, 139 SCRA
The Solicitor General, on behalf of the Sandiganbayan,
349; Sanciangco, Jr. vs. People, 149 SCRA 1, 3-4).
argues that a petition for certiorari is not the proper remedy
against the denial of a motion to quash. He cites the cases
of Quion v. Sandiganbayan[19] and Raro v. Sandiganbayan.
[20]
That, however, is the general rule, from which there are
known exceptions. In both cases, we qualified the rule by
stating that [i]t is only where there are special circumstances
clearly demonstrating the inadequacy of an appeal that the
special civil action of certiorari and prohibition may
Considering that the invalidity of the preliminary exceptionally be allowed.[21]
investigation did not impair the validity of the
There are such special circumstances in the case at
informations or otherwise render it defective, ** (m)uch
bar.
Indeed,
it would be a gross infringement of petitioners
less did it affect the jurisdiction of the Court **," the only effect,
right
to
due
process,
not to mention an utter waste of time and
to repeat, being the imposition on the latter of the obligation to
judicial
resources,
if
trial is allowed to proceed only to be
suspend the proceedings and require the holding of a proper
preliminary investigation, it follows that all acts done by the nullified by the higher courts later on upon the ground that the
The principle was applied despite the fact that trial on the
merits had begun and the prosecution had already presented
four witnesses. The trial was ordered suspended pending the
preliminary investigation (Go vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
101837, February 11, 1992).

5 | Page

charges were filed by a person who had no authority to file the against the petitioner for investigation and prosecution in
same.
accordance with Section 2(b) of Executive Order No. 1.
An information is defined as an accusation in writing
charging a person with an offense, subscribed by the Moreover, an examination of the complaint filed with
respondent PCGG, as well as the affidavits, counter-affidavits
prosecutor and filed with the court.[22]
and exhibits submitted at the preliminary investigation show
As can be clearly gleaned, it is the prosecutor, not the that there is no evidence at all that this alleged violation is
PCGG, who subscribes and files the information. In cases crony-related, committed by petitioner by taking
before the Sandiganbayan, the prosecutor is the advantage of his public office, and was committed in
Ombudsman. As we have held, the crimes charged against relation with the ill-gotten wealth being sought to be
petitioner do not relate to alleged ill-gotten wealth, over which recovered as aforestated. There is, therefore, no evidence
in the hands of the respondent PCGG to justify the
the PCGG had no jurisdiction.
amendment of the information.
All trial courts, the Sandiganbayan included, are
reminded that they should take all the necessary measures
Indeed, the said amendment appears to be an afterthought to
guaranteeing procedural due process from the inception of
make it fall under the type of offenses respondent PCGG may
[23]
custodial investigation up to rendition of judgment. They are
investigate and prosecute under the law.It is a fundamental
not to turn a blind eye to procedural irregularities which
principle that when on its face the information is null and
transpired before the criminal case reached the court. The
void for lack of authority to file the same, it cannot be
[24]
validity and sufficiency of the information are important.
cured nor resurrected by an amendment. Another
In the case at bar, the flaw in the information is not a preliminary investigation must be undertaken and
mere remediable defect of form, as in Pecho v. thereafter, based on evidence adduced, a new
Sandiganbayan[25] where the wording of the certification in the information should be filed.
information was found inadequate, or in People v. Marquez,
[26]
where the required certification was absent. Here, the Consequently all the actions respondent PCGG had taken
informations were filed by an unauthorized party. The defect in this case including the filing of the information and
cannot be cured even by conducting another preliminary amended information with the respondent court should
investigation. An invalid information is no information at all be struck down.[32]
and cannot be the basis for criminal proceedings.
Recently, we ruled that the infirmity in the information
In fact, where an information does not conform
caused
by lack of authority of the officer signing it cannot be
substantially to the prescribed form, it is subject to
cured
by
silence, acquiescence or even by express
quashal. More particularly, the information may be quashed
[27]
consent.
A
new
information must be filed by the proper
where the officer who filed it had no authority to do so.
officer. Thus:
At all stages of the proceedings leading to his trial and
conviction, the accused must be charged and tried according xxx xxx xxx. It is a valid information signed by a competent
to the procedure prescribed by law and marked by officer, among other requisites, which confers jurisdiction on
observance of the rights given to him by the Constitution. In the court over the person of the accused (herein petitioner)
the same way that the reading of the information to the and the subject matter of the accusation. In consonance with
accused during arraignment is not a useless formality,[28] so is this view, an infirmity in the information, such as lack of
the validity of the information being read not an idle ceremony. authority of the officer signing it, cannot be cured by silence,
Criminal due process requires that the accused must be
proceeded against under the orderly processes of law. [29] In all
criminal cases, the judge should follow the step-by-step
procedure required by the Rules. The reason for this is to
assure that the State makes no mistake in taking the life or
liberty except that of the guilty.[30]

acquiescence, or even by express consent.

In fine, there must have been a valid and sufficient complaint


or information in the former prosecution. If, therefore, the
complaint or information was insufficient because it was so
defective in form or substance that the conviction upon it
could not have been sustained, its dismissal without the
The case of Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[31] is directly in consent of the accused cannot be pleaded. As the fiscal had
point:
no authority to file the information, the dismissal of the first
information would not be a bar in petitioners subsequent
Consequently, the amended information that was filed against prosecution. Jeopardy does not attach where a defendant
petitioner did not fall under the category of criminal actions for pleads guilty to a defective indictment that is voluntarily
recovery of ill-gotten wealth filed against a member of the
dismissed by the prosecution.[33]
family of President Marcos, relatives, subordinates or close
associates who took advantage of their office or authority as
The Sandiganbayan also committed grave abuse of
contemplated under Section 2(a) of Executive Order No. 1.
discretion when it abruptly terminated the reinvestigation
being conducted by Prosecutor Lucero. It should be recalled
What the petitioner is actually charged with is for a violation of that our directive in G.R. No. 105248 for the holding of a
Republic Act No. 3019. Public respondent PCGG does not
preliminary investigation was based on our ruling that the right
pretend that the President assigned to it this particular case
to a preliminary investigation is a substantive, rather than a

6 | Page

[30]

Tabao v. Espina, 257 SCRA 298 [1996] and Alonte v. Sabellano, 287
procedural right. Petitioners right was violated when the
245 [1998].
preliminary investigation of the charges against him were SCRA
[31]
194 SCRA 474, 484-485 [1991].
conducted by an officer without jurisdiction over the said [32] Ibid., at 484-485; emphasis supplied.
cases. It bears stressing that our directive should be strictly [33] Cudia v. Court of Appeals, 284 SCRA 173, 182 [1998].
[34]
Tabao v. Espina, 257 SCRA 298 (1996).
complied with in order to achieve its objective of affording
===============================================
petitioner his right to due process.
===============================================
The Sandiganbayan contends that petitioner waived his
===============================================
right to a proper preliminary investigation. This is
untenable. The records show that petitioner was unable to ===============================================
attend the clarificatory hearings on June 2 and 5, 2000 simply ===============================================
due to lack of notice. Prosecutor Lucero herself admits that
Republic of the Philippines
Atty. Borromeo, to whom she initially served notice of the
SUPREME COURT
hearing, did not represent petitioner in Criminal Cases Nos.
13406-13429.Effectively, petitioner was only notified of the
Manila
clarificatory hearing scheduled on June 9, 2000. That setting,
however, no longer materialized because the day before, the
THIRD DIVISION
Sandiganbayan prematurely terminated the reinvestigation.

Finally, petitioner charges the Sandiganbayan with


having prejudged the cases and deprived him of his right to
due process. Considering the defective nature of the
informations in the criminal cases below, there is no more
need to pass upon this last assignment of error. The
Sandiganbayan has committed grave abuse of discretion in
refusing to quash the informations against petitioner. In the
exercise of their discretion, all courts are admonished to
uphold the law and procedure and to do what is fair and just.
[34]
The Sandiganbayan failed in this regard.

G.R. No. L-65192 April 27, 1988


RODOLFO DELA CRUZ, petitioner,
vs.
Hon. FELIX L. MOYA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge
of Branch II of the Court of First Instance of Davao, and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Rolando C. Rama for petitioner.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is


GRANTED. The assailed orders of the Sandiganbayan dated The Solicitor General for respondents.
June 8, 2000 are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
Davide,
Jr.,
C.J.,
(Chairman),
Kapunan, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., concur.
[1]

Vitug,

244 SCRA 152 [1995].


Ibid., at 162-163; emphasis provided.
[3]
Rollo, p. 103.
[4]
Ibid., p. 107.
[5]
Ibid., pp. 108-109.
[6]
Ibid., pp. 110-114.
[7]
Ibid., p. 115.
[8]
Ibid., pp. 45-50.
[9]
Ibid., pp. 51-52.
[10]
Ibid., p. 53.
[11]
Ibid., pp. 132-134.
[12]
Ibid., p. 14.
[13]
Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan, supra, at 164-165; emphasis provided.
[14]
40 SCRA 187 [1971].
[15]
139 SCRA 349 [1985].
[16]
149 SCRA 1 [1987].
[17]
206 SCRA 138 [1992].
[18]
Rules of Court, Rule 117, Sec. 3.
[19]
271 SCRA 575 [1997].
[20]
335 SCRA 581 [2000].
[21]
Quion v. Sandiganbayan, supra, at 592; Raro v. Sandiganbayan, supra, at
600.
[22]
Rules of Court, Rule 110, Sec. 4.
[23]
Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 12 (1); Morales v. Enrile, 121 SCRA 538 [1983];
People v. Lino, 196 SCRA 809 [1991].
[24]
People v. Mencias, 46 SCRA 88 [1972].
[25]
238 SCRA 116 [1994].
[26]
27 SCRA 808 [1969].
[27]
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 117, Section 3 (d).
[28]
Borja v. Mendoza, 77 SCRA 422 [1977]; Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U.S.
78 [1908]; Rogers v. Peck, 199 U.S. 425 [1905].
[29]
Mejia v. Pamaran, 160 SCRA 457 [1988].
[2]

SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; ONE OF THE
ESSENTIAL REQUISITES OF A VALID COURT
PROCEEDING. For a court proceeding to be valid, it is
essential that the court hearing the case must have
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case, otherwise the
entire proceedings are null and void.
2. ID.; JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER,
DETERMINED
BY
STATUTE
IN
FORCE
AT
COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION. Jurisdiction over the
subject matter is determined by the statute in force at the time
of the commencement of the action.
3. ID.; JURISDICTION; RETAINED UP TO TERMINATION
OF LITIGATION. Once jurisdiction is vested in the court, it
is retained up to the end of the litigation.
4. ID.; GENERAL ORDER NO. 59; VESTED IN MILITARY
TRIBUNALS JURISDICTION OVER ALL OFFENSES
COMMITTED BY MILITARY PERSONNEL. General Order
No. 59, dated June 24, 1977, published in 73 Official Gazette
(Supplement) #28, pages 6373-1 to 6378-3. (July 11, 1977),
military tribunals created under General Order No. 8
exercised exclusive jurisdiction over" (a)ll offenses committed
by military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
while in the performance of their official duty or which arose
out of any act or omission done in the performance of their

7 | Page

official duty; Provided, that for the purpose of determining


whether an offense was committed while in the performance
of official duty or whether it arose out of an act or omission
done in the performance of official duty, a certificate issued by
the Secretary of National Defense to that effect shall be
conclusive unless modified or revoked by the President . . ."
(Section 1.)

the Provincial Fiscal. The case was docketed as Criminal


Case No. 40080.

While the case was pending trial, Presidential Decree Nos.


1822 and 1822-A were promulgated by the President of the
Philippines on January 16, 1981, vesting in courts-martial
jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the Armed
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE Forces or of the Philippine Constabulary in performance of
SECRETARY OF FINANCE, NOT A CONDITION their duties.
PRECEDENT FOR THE EXERCISE OF JURISDICTION BY
EITHER CIVIL COURT OR MILITARY TRIBUNALS. The
proviso in General Order No. 59 merely states that the Claiming that the crime for which he was charged was
certificate issued by the Secretary of National Defense is committed in relation to the performance of his duties, Dela
conclusive for the purpose of determining whether an offense Cruz filed with the Court of First Instance of Davao a motion
was committed while in the performance of official duty, or to transfer the case to the military authorities so he could be
arose out of an act or omission done in the performance of tried by court martial. The motion was denied. Hence, the
official duty. It does not in any way preclude the courts from present petition.
making any finding as to whether an offense is dutyconnected. Nor does it make the certificate a condition
precedent for the exercise by either civilian courts or military At issue is whether the civil courts have jurisdiction over the
tribunals of their jurisdiction over offenses committed by subject matter of Criminal Case No. 40080.
members of the AFP.
One of the essential requisites of a valid court proceeding is
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The CFI has no jurisdiction that the court hearing the case must have jurisdiction over the
over the case where evidence of the prosecution presented in
subject matter of the case. If the court is acting without
court likewise shows that the victim was shot while petitioner
jurisdiction, then the entire proceedings are null and void.
was executing the mission order.
DECISION

Jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the


CORTES, J. statute in force at the time of the commencement of the
:
action. [Silvestre v. Military Commission, L-48366, March 8,
1978, 82 SCRA 10; People v. Romualdo, 90 Phil. 739 (1952);
Involving as it does a purely legal question, the present Rilloraza v. Arciaga, 128 Phil. 799 (1967), 21 SCRA 717.] And
petition for certiorari and mandamus was certified to this Court once jurisdiction is vested in the court, it is retained up to the
by the then Intermediate Appellate Court in its resolution end of the litigation. [Pamintuan v. Tiglao, 53 Phil. 1, (1929);
dated August 30, 1983.
Phil. Land-Air-Sea Labor Union (PLASLU), Inc. v. CIR, 93
Phil. 747 (1953); Tuvera v. De Guzman, 121 Phil. 706
On February 23, 1979, Rodolfo Dela Cruz, a member of the (1965),13 SCRA 729; Rilloraza v. Arciaga, supra: Rizal Surety
Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned to the Intelligence and Insurance Co. v. Manila Railroad Co., et al., 123 Phil. 766
and Operations Section of the 432nd PC Company, together (1966),16 SCRA908).
with other PC men, received a mission order to proceed to
Barangay Pangi, Maco, Sto. Tomas, Davao for the purpose of In the instant case, the information was filed on August 2,
verifying and apprehending persons who were allegedly 1979. On such date, by virtue of General Order No. 59, dated
engaged in illegal cockfighting. In compliance with said June 24, 1977, published in 73 Official Gazette (Supplement)
mission order, Dela Cruz and company proceeded to Maco, #28, pages 6373-1 to 6373-3. (July 11, 1977), military
Davao del Norte and caught in flagrante the operators of said tribunals created under General Order No. 8 exercised
illegal cockfighting, but said operators resisted arrest. The exclusive jurisdiction over "(a)ll offenses committed by military
soldiers left the place but they brought with them to the PC personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while in the
Headquarters the evidence of the crime, such as gaffs and performance of their official duty or which arose out of any act
fighting cocks. The operators of the illegal cockfights, or omission done in the performance of their official duty;
including the deceased Eusebio Cabilto, followed the soldiers Provided, that for the purpose of determining whether an
on their way back to the PC Headquarters, catching up with offense was committed while in the performance of official
them on the Tagum-Mati National Highway. Fighting ensued duty or whether it arose out of an act or omission done in the
and in the scuffle, Dela Cruz shot Cabilto.
performance of official duty, a certificate issued by the
Secretary of National Defense to that effect shall be
On August 2, 1979, Dela Cruz was charged with homicide in conclusive unless modified or revoked by the President. . . "
the Court of First Instance of Davao, in an information filed by (Section 1.) As no amendatory law was ever published in the

8 | Page

Official Gazette between the time G.R. No. 59 was published Fernan, Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.
until the information in Criminal Case No. 40080 was filed on
August 2,1979, then said General Order No. 59 remained in ==============================================
force on said date.
==============================================
==============================================
In the case at bar, it is not disputed that at the time of the ==============================================
commission of the alleged offense, petitioner Dela Cruz was a ===
member of the Philippine Constabulary, and that the shooting
of the deceased Cabilto was committed while petitioner was
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
executing the Mission Order.
Manila
But what is the significance of the proviso regarding the
certificate to be issued by the Secretary of National Defense?
The proviso merely states that the certificate issued by the
Secretary of National Defense is conclusive for the purpose of
determining whether an offense was committed while in the
performance of official duty, or arose out of an act or omission
done in the performance of official duty. It does not in any way
preclude the courts from making any finding as to whether an
offense is duty-connected. Nor does it make the certificate a
condition precedent for the exercise by either civilian courts or
military tribunals of their jurisdiction over offenses committed
by members of the AFP.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 118013-14 October 11, 1995

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
HON. DEMOSTHENES L. MAGALLANES, as Presiding
Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Bacolod
City, and P/COL. NICOLAS M. TORRES, P/INSP. ADONIS
C. ABETO, PO MARIO LAMIS Y FERNANDEZ, PO JOSE
PAHAYUPAN, PO VICENTE CANUDAY, JR., JEANETTE
YANSON-DUMANCAS, CHARLES DUMANCAS,
DOMINADOR GEROCHE Y MAHUSAY, JAIME
GARGALLANO, ROLANDO R. FERNANDEZ, EDWIN
DIVINAGRACIA, TEODY DELGADO, CESAR PECHA, and
In the instant case, even as no certificate issued by the EDGAR HILADO, respondents.
Secretary of National Defense was presented in court, the
SYLLABUS
record contains a copy of Mission Order No. 7, signed by a
1.
REMEDIAL
LAW;
SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS;
certain Lieutenant Huerta, directing Dela Cruz, among others,
CERTIORARI; NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
to proceed to Barangay Pangi, Maco, Sto. Tomas, Davao to
COMMITTED IN CASE AT BAR. Public respondent Judge
verify and apprehend persons reportedly engaged in illegal Magallanes committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding
cockfighting. The evidence of the prosecution presented in that it is his court and not the Sandiganbayan which has
court likewise shows that Cabilto was shot while petitioner jurisdiction over the two cases for kidnapping for ransom with
was executing the mission order. These undisputed facts murder. At the time the informations in the said cases were
compel this Court to declare that respondent court was filed, the law governing the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
without jurisdiction to try the case against petitioner Dela was Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No.
1861, which pertinently provides for its exclusive original
Cruz.
jurisdiction and exclusive appellate jurisdiction.
The Solicitor General points out that at the time the
information was filed, Presidential Decrees Nos. 1822 and
1822-A which vest in the courts-martial jurisdiction over
offenses committed by members of the AFP in the
performance of their duties were not yet in effect, the same
having been promulgated only in 1981.
Truly, PD 1822 and 1822-A are inapplicable to the case at bar.
However, General Order No. 59 cited above applies.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The in Criminal
Case No. 4008 are declared null and void but without
prejudice to the filing of another action in the proper forum.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Judge Advocate of
the Philippine Constabulary, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for
appropriate action.

2. ID.; JURISDICTION; SANDIGANBAYAN; FELONIES


COMMITTED BY PUBLIC OFFICERS; REQUISITE. We
held in Aguinaldo v. Domagas (G.R. No. 98452, En Banc
Resolution, 26 September 1991) that for the Sandiganbayan
to have exclusive original jurisdiction over offenses or felonies
committed by public officers or employees under Section 4(a)
(2), of PD No. 1606, as amended by PD 1861, it is not enough
that the penalty prescribed therefor is higher than prision
correccional or imprisonment for six years, or a fine of
P6,000.00; it is also necessary that the offenses or felonies
were committed in relation to their office. We reiterated this
pronouncement in Sanchez v. Demetriou, (G.R. Nos. 11177177, 9 November 1993, 227 SCRA 627) Natividad v. Felix,
(G.R. No. 111616, 4 February 1994, 229 SCRA 680) and
Republic v. Asuncion. (G.R. No. 108208, 11 March 1994, 231
SCRA 211). In Sanchez, we restated the principle laid down in
Montilla v. Hilario (90 Phil. 49 [1951]) that an offense may be
considered as committed in relation to the office if it cannot
exist without the office, or if the office is a constituent element

9 | Page

of the crime as defined in the statute, such as, for instance,


the crimes defined and punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title
Seven, of the Revised Penal Code. We also reiterated the
principle in People v. Montejo (108 Phil, 613 [1960]) that the
offense must be intimately connected with the office of the
offender, and we further intimated that the fact that the offense
was committed in relation to the office must be alleged in the
information.

officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the


Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (RA.
No. 6758). Moreover, its jurisdiction over other offenses or
felonies committed by public officials and employees in
relation to their office is no longer determined by the
prescribed penalty, viz., that which is higher than prision
correccional or imprisonment for six years or a fine of
P6,000.00; it is enough that they are committed by those
public officials and employees enumerated in said subsection
3. ID.; ID.; DETERMINED BY ALLEGATIONS IN a, Section 4. However, it retains its exclusive original over civil
INFORMATION. It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is and criminal cases filed pursuant to or in connection with E.O.
determined by the allegations in the complaint or information, Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 14-A.
and not by the result of evidence after trial. The informations
in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 in the court below 6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; APPLICATION ON THE ASSUMPTION
do not indicate that the accused arrested and investigated the THAT THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED IN RELATION TO
victims and then killed the latter in the course of the OFFICE; CASE AT BAR. Assuming then for the sake of
investigation. The informations merely allege that the argument that the informations in the said cases allege that
accused, for the purpose of extracting or extorting the sum of the crimes charged were committed by the PNP officers in
P353,000.00, abducted, kidnapped and detained the two relation to their office, it would appear indubitable that the
victims, and failing in their common purpose, they shot and cases would fall within the jurisdiction of the court a quo.
killed the said victims. For the purpose of determining Under Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as further amended by R.A.
jurisdiction, it is these allegations that shall control and not the No. 7975. In cases where none of the principal accused are
evidence presented by the prosecution at the trial.
occupying the positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or
higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or
4. ID.; ID.; TAKING ADVANTAGE OF POSITION DOES PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher,
NOT MEAN OFFENSES COMMITTED IN RELATION TO or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be
PUBLIC OFFICE. The allegation of taking advantage of vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
his position" or "taking advantage of their respective positions" Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court,
incorporated in the informations is not sufficient to bring the as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction
offenses within the definition of "offenses committed in as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129." However, the
relation to public office." In Montilla v. Hilario, such an jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law in force at the
allegation was considered merely as an allegation of an time of the commencement of the action. Under the above
aggravating circumstance, and not as one that qualifies the assumption then, the cases should have been filed with the
crime as having been committed in relation to public office. It Sandiganbayan since at the time the informations were filed,
says: But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the the governing law was Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as
crime as an element; and even as an aggravating amended by P.D. No. 1861. But, would that jurisdiction of the
circumstance, its materiality arises, not from the allegations Sandiganbayan be affected by R.A. No. 7975? Ordinarily,
but on the proof, not from the fact that the criminals are public jurisdiction once acquired is not affected by subsequent
officials but from the manner of the commission of the crime. legislative enactment placing jurisdiction in another tribunal. It
Also, in Bartolome v. People of the Philippines, (142 SCRA remains with the court until the case is finally tertninated.
459 [1986]) despite the allegation that the accused public Hence, the Sandiganbayan or the courts, as the case may be,
officers committed the crime of falsification of official cannot be divested of jurisdiction over cases filed before them
document by "taking advantage of their official positions," this by reason of R.A. No. 7975. They retain their jurisdiction until
Court held that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the end of the litigation. In the instant case, the
the case because" [t]he information [did] not allege that there Sandiganbayan has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the
was an intimate connection between the discharge of official subject criminal cases, as the informations were filed not
duties and the commission of the offense. Accordingly, for lack before it but before the Regional Trial Court. Even if we labor
of an allegation in the informations that the offenses were under the foregoing assumption that the informations in the
committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP officers subject cases do charge the respondent PNP officers with
or were intimately connected with the discharge of the offenses committed in relation to their office so that jurisdiction
functions of the accused, the subject cases come within the thereof would fall under the Sandiganbayan, and assuming
jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court and not of the further that the informations had already been filed with the
Sandiganbayan as insisted by the petitioner.
said tribunal but hearing thereon has not begun yet, the
Sandiganbayan can no longer proceed to hear the cases in
5. ID.; ID.; SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION MODIFIED view of the express provision of Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975.
UNDER RA 7975. In view of the amendments to Section 4 That Section provides that upon the effectivity of the Act, all
of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, introduced by R.A. No. 7975, criminal cases in which trial has not yet begun in the
approved on 30 March 1995, the Sandiganbayan partly lost its Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts. Hence,
exclusive original jurisdiction in cases involving violations of cases which were previously cognizable by the
R.A. No. 3019, as amended; R.A. No. 1379; and Chapter II, Sandiganbayan under P.D. No. 1606, as amended, but are
Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code; it retains only already under the jurisdiction of the courts by virtue of the
cases where the accused are those enumerated in subsection amendment introduced by R.A. No. 7975, shall be referred to
a, Section 4 of RA 7975 and, generally, national and local the latter courts if hearing thereon has not yet been

10 | P a g e

commenced in the Sandiganbayan. It would, therefore, be a


futile exercise to transfer the cases to the Sandiganbayan
because the same would anyway be transferred again to the
Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 7 of the new law in
relation to Section 2 thereof.
7. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; BAIL;
MOTION REJECTED FOR FAILURE TO QUESTION WITHIN
A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME DENIAL OF
APPLICATION IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. As
regards the motion for bail of accused-respondents, the same
must fail. The motions for bail filed by the accusedrespondents with the Regional Trial Court where the cases
against them are pending were denied sometime in February,
1994. In Enrile v. Salazar, (186 SCRA 217 [1990]) as
reiterated in Galvez v. Court of Appeals, (237 SCRA 685
[1994]) this Court said: "Only after that remedy [petition to be
admitted to bail] was denied by the trial court should the
review jurisdiction of this Court [be] invoked, and even then,
not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate
relief was also available there." There is no showing that the
said accused-respondents have questioned the denial of their
applications for bail in a petition for certiorari either before the
Court of Appeals or this Court. It was only on 26 December
1994, when they filed their respective comments on the
instant petition, that they challenged the denial premised on
the ground that the evidence of guilt against them was not
strong. Even if their respective Comment and Reiteration of
Motion for Bail and respondent Dumancas Motion for Bail
filed on 22 March 1995, were treated as petitions for certiorari,
still the same would not prosper for not having been
seasonably filed. While the Rules of Court does not fix a timeframe for the filing of a special civil action for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, existing jurisprudence requires
that the same be filed within a reasonable period of time from
receipt of the questioned judgment or order. And, in Philec
Workers Union v. Hon Romeo A. Young (GR. No. 101734 22
January 1992) it was held that a petition forcertiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court should be filed within a
reasonable period of three months from notice of the decision
or order. Here, about nine to ten months had already elapsed
before the respondents assailed the denial of their motions for
bail. In any event the private respondents who were denied
bail are not precluded from reiterating before the trial court
their plea for admission to bail.

would have been properly filed with the Sandiganbayan since


the law in force at the time was P.D. No. 1606 which gave the
Sandiganbayan jurisdiction over offenses committed by public
officers in relation to their office where the penalty prescribed
by law is higher than prision correctional or imprisonment of
six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00.
2. ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT 7975; REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT AS PROPER TRIBUNAL. Rep. Act No. 7975 has
revised the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Under said
revised jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Courts now have
jurisdiction over offenses committed by PNP officers with
ranks below that of superintendent or its equivalent, whether
or not the offenses are committed in relation to their office. In
the present case, none of the accused PNP officers has the
rank of superintendent or higher. Section 7 of Rep. Act No.
7975 also provides that upon effectivity of said Act, all criminal
cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan under P.D.
No. 1606 where trial has not begun in said court, shall be
referred to the proper courts. In the present case, even if the
criminal cases were then within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, the offenses having been committed in
relation to the accuseds office, as earlier discussed, yet, the
cases were not filed in said court. Since the cases now fall
within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court under the
express provisions of Rep. Act. No. 7975, they can remain in
said regional trial court.

3. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; BAIL;


PROPER IN CASE AT BAR. Whether accused Jeanette
Ya.nson-Dumancas should be granted bail, I agree with Mr.
Justice Kapunan that the Court should exercise its discretion,
disregard technicalities and rule on the motion for bail filed
with this Court. Accused Jeanette should, in my view, be
released on bail for the following reasons: 1, The spouses
Dumancas were included in the informations as accused
merely because they were the ones who complained to the
police that the two (2) victims had swindled them. There is no
showing that the spouses knew, much less instigated, the
kidnapping and murder of the victims. 2. The situation of
Jeanette is no different from that of her husband who was
granted bail by the trial court. 3. Jeanette came back from
abroad even after the charges against her had been filed.
Certainly, this is not indicative of a probability of her later
jumping bail should she be released on bail. 4. To deny bail to
a mother of two (2) minor children in the absence of direct
PADILLA, J., concurring and dissenting opinion:
evidence that she was indeed a principal by inducement as
alleged in the two (2) informations, is antagonistic not only to
1.
REMEDIAL
LAW;
JURISDICTION;
PD
1606; her constitutional right to bail but also to the ideals and
SANDIGANBAYAN; OFFENSES COMMITTED BY PUBLIC demands
of
ajust
and
humane
society.
OFFICERS IN RELATION TO THEIR OFFICE AS ALLEGED
IN INFORMATION The accused PNP personnel committed KAPUNAN, J., concurring and dissenting opinion:*
the crime alleged in the two (2) informations in relation to their
office. The wording of the informations clearly shows that 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; BAIL;
P/Col. Torres used his authority over his subordinate officers PETITION PROPER FOR HUMANITARIAN REASONS. At
when he ordered them to arrest the two (2) swindling least with respect to petitioner Jeanette Dumancas, this Court,
suspects/victims in connection with the complaint of the mainly for humanitarian reasons, should exercise its
Dumancas spouses. This act of Torres is "intimately discretion to grant said petitioner her constitutional right to
connected" with his position as Station Commander of the bail, pending the determination of her guilt or innocence in the
PNP, Bacolod Station. In turn, the other accused PNP trial court. The facts so far established in the case at bench
personnel who detained the two (2) victims were performing with respect to the spouses Dumancas as narrated in the
their functions as law enforcers under orders from their direct courts opinion clearly casts enough doubt regarding the
superior. Under such circumstances, the two (2) informations strength of the evidence of guilt against Mrs. Dumancas,

11 | P a g e

which ought to be sufficient for us to exercise our discretion to


grant bail in her case. The trial court has already refused to
grant her petition for bail, which under the facts and
circumstances so far available to the lower court, constitutes a
grave abuse of discretion, subject to this courts action. While
normally, a motion for reconsideration should be addressed to
the trial court or to the Court of Appeals (if the said motion
were denied by the lower court), I see no reason why we
should not exercise our discretion to grant Mrs. Dumancas
her right to bail.
DECISION
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
At issue in this special civil action for certiorari is whether it is
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City or the
Sandiganbayan that has jurisdiction over the two criminal
cases for kidnapping for ransom with murder wherein some of
the accused implicated as principals are members of the
Philippine National Police (PNP).
On 13 January 1994, two informations for kidnapping for
ransom with murder were filed with the RTC of Bacolod City
against fourteen persons, five of whom are members of the
PNP, namely, P/Col. Nicolas M. Torres, P/Insp. Adonis C.
Abeto, Police Officers Mario Lamis, Jose Pahayupan, and
Vicente Canuday, Jr.; the other nine are civilians. The
informations, later docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 15562
and 15563 in Branch 47 of the said court, are similarly
worded, except as to the names of the victims, who are
Rufino Gargar, Jr. in the first case and Danilo Lumangyao in
the second, thus:
The undersigned hereby accuses JEANETTE YANSONDUMANCAS,
CHARLES
DUMANCAS
(BOTH
AS
PRINCIPALS BY INDUCTION), POLICE COL. NICOLAS M.
TORRES (AS PRINCIPAL BY INDUCTION AND BY
DIRECTION AND/OR INDISPENSABLE COOPERATION),
POLICE INSPECTOR ADONIS C. ABETO, POLICE
OFFICERS MARIO LAMIS Y FERNANDEZ, JOSE
PAHAYUPAN, VICENTE CANUDAY, JR., DOMINADOR
GEROCHE Y MAHUSAY, JAIME GARGALLANO, ROLANDO
R. FERNANDEZ, EDWIN DIVINAGRACIA, TEODY
DELGADO, ALL AS PRINCIPALS BY PARTICIPATION,
CESAR PECHA AND EDGAR HILADO, BOTH AS
ACCESSORIES, of the crime of KIDNAPPING FOR
RANSOM WITH MURDER, committed as follows:
That during the period beginning in the late afternoon of
August 6, 1992 and ending the late evening of the following
day in Sitio Pedrosa, Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City, Philippines
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and concurring in
a common criminal intent and execution thereof with one
another, save for the accessories for the purpose of extracting
or extorting the sum of P353, 000.00, did, then and there
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously to wit:
Acting upon the inducement of spouses Jeanette YansonDumancas and Charles Dumancas, under the direction
cooperation and undue influence, exerted by P/Col. Nicolas
M. Torres, taking advantage of his position as Station
Commander of the Philippine National Police, Bacolod City

Station, with the direct participation and cooperation of Police


Inspector Adonis C. Abeto, other police officers Vicente
Canuday, Jr., Jose Pahayupan, Mario Lamis, civilian (police)
agents Rolando R. Fernandez, Edwin Divinagracia, Teody
Delgado, Jaime Gargallano, also taking advantage of their
respective positions, and Dominador Geroche, concurring and
affirming in the said criminal design, with the use of motor
vehicle abduct, kidnap and detain one RUFINO GARGAR,
JR. (Criminal Case No. 94-15562 and DANILO LUMANGYAO
(Criminal Case No. 94-15563), shortly thereafter at around
11:00 o'clock in the evening of August 7, 1992, failing in their
aforesaid common purpose to extort money and in
furtherance of said conspiracy, with evident premeditation and
treachery nocturnity and the use of motor vehicle, did then
and there shot and kill the said victims, while being
handcuffed and blindfolded; that accused Cesar Pecha and
Edgar Hilado, with knowledge that the said Gargar [and
Lumangyao, in Crim. Case No. 94-15563 were victims] of
violence, did then and there secretly bury the corpses in a
makeshift shallow grave for the purpose of concealing the
crime of murder in order to prevent its discovery for a fee of
P500.00 each; aforesaid act or acts has caused damage and
prejudice to the heirs of said victims, to wit:

P 50,000.00

as indemnity for death;

50,000.00

actual damages;

300,000.00

compensatory damages

(Lost income);

100,000.00

moral damages;

50,000.00

exemplary damages.

CONTRARY TO LAW (Articles 268 and 248 in relation to


Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code). 1
These cases were consolidated.
Each of the accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment.
Later, they filed their respective motions for bail. At the
hearings thereof, the prosecution presented state witness
Moises Grandeza, the alleged lone eyewitness and coconspirator in the commission of the complex crimes. After the
completion of his testimony, the trial court, per Judge Edgar
G. Garvilles, granted bail in favor of only six of the accused,
namely, P/Insp. Adonis Abeto, Police Officers Jose
Pahayupan and Vicente Canuday, Jr., Charles Dumancas,
Edgar Hilado, and Cesar Pecha. The other eight accused who

12 | P a g e

were denied bail are now detained at the City Jail of Bacolod an aggravating circumstance. It further stated that a public
City. 2
office is not a constituent element of the offense of kidnapping
with murder nor is the said offense intimately connected with
Through the testimony of Grandeza, the prosecution the office. It then denied the motion for transfer of the records
established that in response to the complaint of spouses to the Sandiganbayan and declared that the trial of the case
Charles and Jeanette Dumancas, P/Col. Nicolas Torres should continue.
instructed his men to look for Rufino Gargar and Danilo
Lumangyao who were allegedly members of the group that Relying on People vs. Montejo, 8 the prosecution moved to
had swindled the Dumancas spouses. On 6 August 1992, reconsider the said order. 9
Police Officer Mario Lamis, together with civilian agents,
namely, Teody Delgado, Edwin Divinagracia, Jaime On 7 September 1994, 10 the trial court issued an order
Gargallano, Rolando Fernandez, and Moises Grandeza, denying the motion because People vs. Montejo is not
arrested and abducted the two swindling suspects. applicable, since in that case there was (a) an intimate
Conformably with Torres's order, the two suspects were connection between the offense charged and the public
brought to Dragon Lodge Motel. There, they were investigated position of the accused and (b) a total absence of personal
by Police Inspector Adonis Abeto and Police Officers Jose motive; whereas, in these cases, no such intimate connection
Pahayupan and Vicente Canuday, Jr.. They were then taken exists and the informations emphasize that the accused were
to the Ceres Compound, where Jeanette Dumancas identified moved by selfish motives of ransom and extortion.
Lumangyao as a member of the group that had swindled her.
She then asked about the money that the group had received The respondent Judge then resumed the reception of the
from her. Upon being told by Lumangyao that the money had evidence for the other accused. Accused Gargallano,
already been divided among his partners long time ago, she Fernandez, Lamis, Delgado, and Geroche, as well as his
said to the accused, specifically to Dominador Geroche: three witnesses, had already completed their respective
"Doming, bring these two to the PC or police and I will call testimonies when, upon motion of the prosecution, the
Atty. Geocadin so that proper cases could be filed against respondent Judge voluntarily inhibited himself on 15
them." Thereafter, the two suspects were transferred to D' September 1994. The cases were then re-raffled to Branch 49
Hacienda Motel, then to Moonlit Inn, then to Casa Mel Lodge, of the RTC of Bacolod City.
and back to D' Hacienda Motel, where the two were shot and
killed. The team forthwith went to the office of P/Col. Torres
and reported that the killing had been done. The latter told On 5 December 1994, the prosecution, represented by the
them: "You who are here inside, nobody knows what you have Office of the Solicitor General, filed with us a petition
done, but you have to hide because the NBI's are after you." 3 for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with a prayer for a
temporary restraining order challenging the refusal of the
respondent Judge to transfer the cases to the
Thereafter, the prosecution rested its case and the trial court Sandiganbayan.
started to receive the evidence for the accused. Accused
Torres and Abeto presented their respective evidence.
Presentation of evidence by the other accused was, however, On 12 December 1994, we required the respondents to
suspended because of the motions of several accused for the comment on the petition and issued a temporary restraining
to
inhibition of Judge Garvilles. Despite opposition by the order enjoining the public respondent or his successor
11
desist
from
proceeding
with
the
trial
of
the
subject
cases.
prosecution, Judge Garvilles voluntarily inhibited himself from
further hearing both cases, which were thereafter re-raffled to
Branch 54, presided by herein public respondent Judge On 27 February 1995, after considering the allegations,
issues, and arguments adduced in the petition as well as in
Demosthenes L. Magallanes.
the comments of the private respondents, we gave due
On 24 June 1994, the private prosecutors moved for the course to the petition and required the parties to submit their
transmittal of the records of the cases to the Sandiganbayan respective memoranda. Most of them submitted their
on the ground that, pursuant to our decision of 11 March 1994 memoranda, while the petitioner and some of the private
in Republic of the Philippines vs. Asuncion, 4 the trial court has respondents adopted their initiatory pleadings as their
no jurisdiction over the cases because the offenses charged memoranda.
were committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP
officers. In his Manifestation with Urgent Motion to Transmit On 22 March 1995, private respondent Jeanette Yanson12
Records, the State Prosecutor adopted the motion of the Dumancas filed an urgent motion for the grant of bail, which
13
5
we
noted
on
15
May
1995.
private prosecutors.
In its order of 15 August 1994, 6 the trial court, thru respondent
Judge, ruled that the Sandiganbayan does not have
jurisdiction over the subject cases because the informations
do not state that the offenses were committed in relation to
the office of the accused PNP officers. Citing People vs.
Montilla, 7 it held that the allegation in the informations that the
accused PNP officers took advantage of their office in the
commission of the offense charged is merely an allegation of

Deliberating on the arguments adduced by the parties, we are


convinced that public respondent Judge Magallanes
committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding that it is his
court and not the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over
the two cases for kidnapping for ransom with murder.
At the time the informations in the said cases were filed, the
law governing the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was

13 | P a g e

Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No. 1861, the Revised Penal Code. We also reiterated the principle
which pertinently provides as follows:
in People vs. Montejo 19 that the offense must be intimately
connected with the office of the offender, and we further
intimated that the fact that the offense was committed in
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
relation to the office must be alleged in the information. 20
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

There is no dispute that the prescribed penalties for the


(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, offenses charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, before the court below are higher than prision correcional or
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of imprisonment for more than six years. The only question that
remains to be resolved then is whether the said offenses were
the Revised Penal Code;
committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP officers.
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and
employees in relation to their office, including those employed
in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether
simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty
prescribed by Law is higher than prision correccional or
imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of
16,000.00:PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies
mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by
law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment of
six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial
Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.

Relying on its evidence and on the Montejo case, the


petitioner submits that the crimes charged in the subject
cases were connected with public office because the accused
PNP officers, together with the civilian agents, arrested the
two swindling suspects in the course of the performance of
their duty and not out of personal motive, and if they
demanded from the two suspects the production of the money
of the Dumancas spouses and later killed the two; they did so
in the course of the investigation conducted by them as
policemen. The petitioner further asserts that the allegations
in the informations reading "taking advantage of his position
as Station Commander of the Philippine National Police" and
"taking advantage of their respective positions" presuppose
(b) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction:
the exercise of the functions attached to the office of the
accused PNP officers and are sufficient to show that the
(1) On appeal, from the final judgments, resolutions or orders offenses charged were committed in relation to their office.
of the Regional Trial Courts in cases originally decided by The petitioner then concludes that the cases below fall within
them in their respective territorial jurisdiction.
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
(2) By petition for review, from the final judgments, resolutions
or orders of the Regional Trial Courts in the exercise of their
appellate jurisdiction over cases originally decided by the
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
Circuit Trial Court, in their respective jurisdiction.

It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the


allegations in the complaint or information, 21 and not by the
result of evidence after trial. 22

xxx xxx xxx

Leroy S. Brown, City Mayor of Basilan City, as such, has


organized groups of police patrol and civilian commandoes
consisting of regular policemen and . . . special policemen,
appointed and provided by him with pistols and high power
guns and then established a camp . . . at Tipo-tipo, which is
under his command . . . supervision and control, where his
codefendants were stationed, entertained criminal complaints
and conducted the corresponding investigations, as well as
assumed the authority to arrest and detain persons without
due process of law and without bringing them to the proper
court, and that in line with this set-up established by said
Mayor of Basilan City as such, and acting upon his orders, his
codefendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag, who
died in consequence thereof.

In case private individuals are charged as co-principals,


accomplices or accessories with the public officers or
employees, including those employed in government-owned
or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said
public officers and employees.
Applying this section, we held in Aguinaldo vs.
Domagas 14 that
for
the
Sandiganbayan
to
have exclusive original jurisdiction over offenses or felonies
committed by public officers or employees under Section 4(a)
(2) above, it is not enough that the penalty prescribed therefor
is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six
years, or a fine of P6,000.00; it is also necessary that the
offenses or felonies were committed in relation to their office.
We reiterated this pronouncement inSanchez vs.
Demetriou, 15 Natividad
vs.
Felix, 16 and Republic
vs.
17
Asuncion, In Sanchez, we restated the principle laid down
in Montilla vs. Hilario 18 that an offense may be considered as
committed in relation to the office if it cannot exist without the
office, or if the office is a constituent element of the crime as
defined in the statute, such as, for instance, the crimes
defined and punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven, of

In Montejo 23 where the amended information alleged:

we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to


the office of the accused because it was perpetrated while
they were in the performance, though improper or irregular, of
their official functions and would not have peen committed
had they not held their office; besides, the accused had no
personal motive in committing the crime; thus, there was an
intimate connection between the offense and the office of the
accused.

14 | P a g e

Unlike in Montejo, the informations in Criminal Cases Nos.


15562 and 15563 in the court below do not indicate that the
accused arrested and investigated the victims and then killed
the latter in the course of the investigation. The informations
merely allege that the accused, for the purpose of extracting
or extorting the sum of P353,000.00, abducted, kidnapped,
and detained the two victims, and failing in their common
purpose, they shot and killed the said victims. For the purpose
of determining jurisdiction, it is these allegations that shall
control, and not the evidence presented by the prosecution at
the trial.
The allegation of "taking advantage of his position" or "taking
advantage of their respective positions" incorporated in the
informations is not sufficient to bring the offenses within the
definition of "offenses committed in relation to public office."
In Montilla vs. Hilario, 24 such an allegation was considered
merely
as
an
allegation
of
an
aggravating
circumstance, 25 and not as one that qualifies the crime as
having been committed in relation to public office, It says:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended,


otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal
accused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim
capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
(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
Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the
sanggunian panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang
panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other
city department heads;

But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime as (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of
an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance, its consul and higher;
materiality arises, not from the allegations but on the proof,
not from the fact that the criminals are public officials but from
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and
the manner of the commission of the crime.
all officers of higher rank;
Also, in Bartolome vs. People of the Philippines, 26 despite the
allegation that the accused public officers committed the
crime of falsification of official document by "taking advantage
of their official positions," this Court held that the
Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the case because
"[t]he information [did] not allege that there was an intimate
connection between the discharge of official duties and the
commission of the offense."

(a) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;


(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants and
officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and
special prosecutor;

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of


government-owned or -controlled corporations, state
Accordingly, for lack of an allegation in the informations that universities or educational institutions or foundations;
the offenses were committed in relation to the office of the
accused PNP officers or were intimately connected with the (2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as
discharge of the functions of the accused, the subject cases Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position
come within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court 27 and Classification Act of 1989;
not of the Sandiganbayan as insisted by the petitioner.
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the
In Dumancas's and Torres's motions for the early resolution of provisions of the Constitution;
this case and in Abeto's Supplement to Comment with Motion
to Dismiss all filed in July 1995, it is contended that even (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions,
assuming that the informations do charge the accused PNP without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
officers with crimes committed in relation to their office, still
the Regional Trial Court would have jurisdiction over the
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade
subject cases in view of the amendments to Section 4 of P.D.
"27" and higher under the Compensation and Position
No. 1606, as amended, introduced by R.A. No. 7975, which
Classification Act of 1989.
was approved on 30 March 1995, whose Section 2 provides:
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials
Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No.
and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in
1606, as amended] is hereby further amended to read as
relation to their office.
follows:
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise
with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying
the positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as

15 | P a g e

prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers


occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their
equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the
proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the
case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying


the positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as
prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers
occupying the rank of superintendent 35 or higher, or their
equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the
proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the
case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments, resolutions or
orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying However, the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law in
positions lower than grade "27," or not otherwise covered by force at the time of the commencement of the action. 36 Under
the preceding enumeration.
the above assumption then, the cases should have been filed
with the Sandiganbayan since at the time the informations
were filed, the governing law was Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606,
xxx xxx xxx
as amended by P.D. No. 1861. But, would that jurisdiction of
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, the Sandiganbayan be affected by R.A. No. 7975?
accomplices or accessories with the public officers or
employees, including those employed in government-owned
or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with
said public officers and employees in the proper courts which
shall have exclusive jurisdiction over them. (emphasis
supplied).

Ordinarily, jurisdiction once acquired is not affected by


subsequent legislative enactment placing jurisdiction in
another tribunal. It remains with the court until the case is
finally terminated. 37 Hence, the Sandiganbayan or the courts,
as the case may be, cannot be divested of jurisdiction over
cases filed before them by reason of R.A. No. 7975. They
As a consequence of these amendments, the Sandiganbayan retain their jurisdiction until the end of the litigation.
partly lost its exclusive original jurisdiction in cases involving
violations of R.A. No. 3019, 28 as amended; R.A. No. In the instant case, the Sandiganbayan has not yet acquired
1379; 29 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised jurisdiction over the subject criminal cases, as the
Penal Code; 30 it retains only cases where the accused are informations were filed not before it but before the Regional
those enumerated in subsection a, Section 4 above and, Trial Court. Even if we labor under the foregoing assumption
generally, national and local officials classified as Grade "27" that the informations in the subject cases do charge the
and higher under the Compensation and Position respondent PNP officers with offenses committed in relation to
Classification Act of 1989 (R.A. No. 6758). Moreover, its their office so that jurisdiction thereof would fall under the
jurisdiction over other offenses or felonies committed by Sandiganbayan, and assuming further that the informations
public officials and employees in relation to their office is no had already been filed with the said tribunal but hearing
longer determined by the prescribed penalty, viz., that which thereon has not begun yet, the Sandiganbayan can no longer
is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six proceed to hear the cases in view of the express provision of
years or a fine of P6,000.00; it is enough that they are Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975. That section provides that upon
committed by those public officials and employees the effectivity of the Act, all criminal cases in which trial has
enumerated in subsection a, Section 4 above. However, it not yet begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the
retains its exclusive original jurisdiction over civil and criminal proper courts. Hence, cases which were previously
cases filed pursuant to or in connection with E.O. Nos. cognizable by the Sandiganbayan under P.D. No. 1606, as
amended, but are already under the jurisdiction of the courts
1, 31 2, 32 14, 33 and 14-A. 34
by virtue of the amendment introduced by R.A. No. 7975,
The respondents maintain that the Sandiganbayan has no shall be referred to the latter courts if hearing thereon has not
jurisdiction over Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 yet been commenced in the Sandiganbayan.
because none of the five PNP officers involved therein occupy
the rank of chief superintendent or higher, or are classified as
Grade "27" or higher under R.A. No. 6758 and of the five,
P/Col. Nicolas Torres has the highest rank,viz., Senior
Superintendent whose salary grade under the said Act is
Grade "18."

It would, therefore, be a futile exercise to transfer the cases to


the Sandiganbayan because the same would anyway be
transferred again to the Regional Trial Court pursuant to
Section 7 of the new law in relation to Section 2 thereof.

As regards the motions for bail of accused-respondents


Assuming then for the sake of argument that the informations Jeanette Dumancas and Nicolas Torres, the same must fail.
in the said cases allege that the crimes charged were Section 17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:
committed by the five PNP officers in relation to their office, it
would appear indubitable that the cases would fall within the Sec. 17 Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may
jurisdiction of the court a quo. Under Section 4 of P.D. No. be filed with the court where the case is pending, or, in the
1606, as further amended by R.A. No. 7975:
absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another
branch of the same court within the province or city. If the
accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality other
than where the case is pending, bail may be filed also with

16 | P a g e

any regional trial court of said place, or, if no judge thereof is This decision is immediately executory.
available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial SO ORDERED.
judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
Bellosillo and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
PADILLA, J., concurring and dissenting:
While I agree with the ponencia of Mr. Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. that the two (2) informations subject of the present
petition should remain in the Regional Trial Court, I arrive at
this conclusion based solely on the provisions of Rep. Act No.
(c) Any person in custody who is not yet charged in court may 7975.
apply for bail with any court in the province, city or
It is my considered opinion, unlike the majority, that the
municipality where he is held.
accused PNP personnel committed the crime alleged in the
In the instant case, the motions for bail filed by the said two (2) informations in relation to their office. The wording of
accused-respondents with the Regional Trial Court where the the two (2) informations clearly shows that P/Col. Nicolas M.
cases against them are pending were denied sometime in Torres used his authority over his subordinate officers when
he ordered them to arrest the two (2) swindling
February, 1994
suspects/victims in connection with the complaint of the
Dumancas spouses. This act of Torres is undoubtedly
In Enrile vs. Salazar, 38 as reiterated in Galvez vs. Court of "intimately connected" with his position as Station
Appeals, 39 this Court said: "Only after that remedy [petition to Commander of the PNP, Bacolod Station. In turn, the other
be admitted to bail] was denied by the trial court should the accused PNP personnel who detained the two (2) victims
review jurisdiction of this Court [be] invoked, and even then, were performing their functions as law enforcers under orders
not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate from their direct superior. Under such circumstances, the two
relief was also available there."
(2) informations would have been properly filed with the
Sandiganbayan since the law in force at the time was P.D. No.
There is no showing that the said accused-respondents have 1606 which gave the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction over
questioned the denial of their applications for bail in a petition offenses committed by public officers in relation to their office
for certiorari either before the Court of Appeals or this Court. It where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision
was only on 26 December 1994, when they filed their correctional or imprisonment of six (6) years or a fine of
respective comments on the instant petition, that they P6,000.00.
challenged the denial premised on the ground that the
evidence of guilt against them was not strong. Even if their The above view notwithstanding, Rep. Act No. 7975 has
respective Comment and Reiteration of Motion for Bail 40 and revised the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Under said
respondent Dumancas's Motion for Bail 41 filed on 22 March revised jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Courts now have
1995, were treated as petitions forcertiorari, still the same jurisdiction over offenses committed by PNP officers with
would not prosper for not having been seasonably filed. While ranks below that of superintendent or its equivalent, whether
the Rules of Court does not fix a time-frame for the filing of a or not the offenses are committed in relation to their office. In
special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of the present case, none of the accused PNP officers has the
Court, existing jurisprudence requires that the same be filed rank of superintendent or higher.
within a reasonable period of time from receipt of the
questioned judgment or order. 42 And, in Philec Workers'
Union vs. Hon. Romeo A. Young 43 it was held that a petition Section 7 of Rep. Act No. 7975 also provides that upon
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court should be effectivity of said Act, all criminal cases within the jurisdiction
filed within a reasonable period of three months from notice of of the Sandiganbayan under P.D. No. 1606 where trial has not
the decision or order. Here, about nine to ten months had begun in said court, shall be referred to the proper courts.
already elapsed before the respondents assailed the denial of
their motions for bail. In any event, the private respondents In the present case, even if the criminal cases were then
who were denied bail are not precluded from reiterating within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the offenses
having been committed in relation to the accuseds' office, as
before the trial court their plea for admission to bail.
earlier discussed, yet, the cases were not filed in said court.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Since the cases now fall within the jurisdiction of the Regional
challenged orders are AFFIRMED, and the motions for bail of Trial Court under the express provisions of Rep. Act No. 7975,
accused-respondents Jeanette Dumancas and Nicolas Torres they can remain in said regional trial court.
(b) Whenever the grant of bail is a matter of discretion, or the
accused seeks to be released on recognizance, the
application therefor may be filed only in the particular court
where the case is pending, whether for preliminary
investigation, trial, on appeal.

are DENIED.
The temporary restraining order issued on 12 December 1994
is LIFTED, and the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City is
directed to immediately resume the hearings of Criminal
Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 and to thereafter resolve them
with reasonable and purposeful dispatch.

On the issue of whether accused Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas


should be granted bail, I agree with Mr. Justice Santiago M.
Kapunan that the Court should exercise its discretion,
disregard technicalities and rule on the motion for bail filed
with this Court.

17 | P a g e

Accused Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas should, in my view, be This narration clearly casts enough doubt regarding the
released on bail for the following reasons:
strength of the evidence of guilt against Mrs. Dumancas,
which ought to be sufficient for us for us to exercise our
1. The spouses Dumancas were included in the informations discretion to grant bail in her case. The trial court has already
as accused merely because they were the ones who refused to grant her petition for bail, which under the facts and
complained to the police that the two (2) victims had swindled circumstances so far available to the lower court, constitutes a
them. There is no showing that the spouses knew, much less grave abuse of discretion, subject to this court's action. While
instigated, the kidnapping and murder of the victims. Of note I agree that normally, a motion for reconsideration should be
is a portion of the testimony of the alleged lone eyewitness addressed to the trial court or to the Court of Appeals (if the
and co-conspirator turned state witness, Moises Grandeza, said motion were denied by the lower court), I see no reason
where he declared that Jeanette Dumancas told accused why, here and now, we should not exercise our discretion, for
Dominador Geroche to bring the two (2) swindling suspects to compelling humanitarian reasons, to grant Mrs. Dumancas
the police station and that she would call a certain Atty. her constitutional right to bail. Firstly, she is the mother of two
Geocadin so the proper cases could be filed against them. minor children, aged seven (7) and one (1) years old, who
Such statements of Dumancas indicate lack of any criminal have been deprived of her care for over a year. Second, even
with the knowledge that she would face possible arrest, she
intent unless the contrary is later proven during the trial.
came back to the country from abroad, risking-incarceration in
2. The situation of Jeanette Dumancas is no different from order to face the charges against her.
that of her husband who was granted bail by the trial court.

Without prejudice to whatever the lower court would in the


3. Jeanette Dumancas came back from abroad even after the course of hearing the case, deem appropriate, I vote to grant
charges against her had been filed. Certainly, this is not Mrs. Dumancas' petition for bail.
indicative of a probability of her later jumping bail should she
Separate Opinions
be released on bail.
4. To deny bail to a mother of two (2) minor children in the
absence of direct evidence that she was indeed a principal by
inducement as alleged in the two (2) informations, is
antagonistic not only to her constitutional right to bail but also
to the ideals and demands of a just and humane society.
KAPUNAN, J., concurring and dissenting:
I fully agree with much of what my esteemed colleague,
Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. has Mitten in this case. However,
at least with respect to petitioner Jeanette Dumancas, I think
this Court, mainly for humanitarian reasons, should exercise
its discretion to grant said petitioner her constitutional right to
bail, pending the determination of her guilt or innocence in the
trial court.
The facts so far established in the case at bench with respect
to the spouses Dumancas as narrated in the court's opinion
simply show that they were civilians who complained to the
authorities (respondents herein) to the effect that they were
swindled by Rufino Gangar and Danilo Lumangyao, the
alleged murder-kidnapping victims. After respondent Jeanette
Yanson-Dumancas identified them, the lone witness for the
prosecution in this case testified that she requested the
accused, specifically Domingo Geroche to "bring (the two
men) to the PC or police" so that she could in the meantime
locate her attorney for the purpose of filing the proper charges
against them. Possibly out of sheer overzealousness, or for
reasons not yet established in the trial court, both men were
brought elsewhere and shot. Thus, apparently, the only
reason why the spouses were charged as principals by
inducement was because, as possible victims of a group of
alleged swindlers, they initiated-through their apparently
legitimate complaint the chain of events which led to the
death of the victims in the case at bench.

PADILLA, J., concurring and dissenting:


While I agree with the ponencia of Mr. Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. that the two (2) informations subject of the present
petition should remain in the Regional Trial Court, I arrive at
this conclusion based solely on the provisions of Rep. Act No.
7975.
It is my considered opinion, unlike the majority, that the
accused PNP personnel committed the crime alleged in the
two (2) informations in relation to their office. The wording of
the two (2) informations clearly shows that P/Col. Nicolas M.
Torres used his authority over his subordinate officers when
he ordered them to arrest the two (2) swindling
suspects/victims in connection with the complaint of the
Dumancas spouses. This act of Torres is undoubtedly
"intimately connected" with his position as Station
Commander of the PNP, Bacolod Station. In turn, the other
accused PNP personnel who detained the two (2) victims
were performing their functions as law enforcers under orders
from their direct superior. Under such circumstances, the two
(2) informations would have been properly filed with the
Sandiganbayan since the law in force at the time was P.D. No.
1606 which gave the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction over
offenses committed by public officers in relation to their office
where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision
correctional or imprisonment of six (6) years or a fine of
P6,000.00.
The above view notwithstanding, Rep. Act No. 7975 has
revised the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Under said
revised jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Courts now have
jurisdiction over offenses committed by PNP officers with
ranks below that of superintendent or its equivalent, whether
or not the offenses are committed in relation to their office. In
the present case, none of the accused PNP officers has the
rank of superintendent or higher.

18 | P a g e

Section 7 of Rep. Act No. 7975 also provides that upon


effectivity of said Act, all criminal cases within the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan under P.D. No. 1606 where trial has not
begun in said court, shall be referred to the proper courts.
In the present case, even if the criminal cases were then
within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the offenses
having been committed in relation to the accuseds' office, as
earlier discussed, yet, the cases were not filed in said court.
Since the cases now fall within the jurisdiction of the Regional
Trial Court under the express provisions of Rep. Act No. 7975,
they can remain in said regional trial court.
On the issue of whether accused Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas
should be granted bail, I agree with Mr. Justice Santiago M.
Kapunan that the Court should exercise its discretion,
disregard technicalities and rule on the motion for bail filed
with this Court.
Accused Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas should, in my view, be
released on bail for the following reasons:
1. The spouses Dumancas were included in the informations
as accused merely because they were the ones who
complained to the police that the two (2) victims had swindled
them. There is no showing that the spouses knew, much less
instigated, the kidnapping and murder of the victims. Of note
is a portion of the testimony of the alleged lone eyewitness
and co-conspirator turned state witness, Moises Grandeza,
where he declared that Jeanette Dumancas told accused
Dominador Geroche to bring the two (2) swindling suspects to
the police station and that she would call a certain Atty.
Geocadin so the proper cases could be filed against them.
Such statements of Dumancas indicate lack of any criminal
intent unless the contrary is later proven during the trial.
2. The situation of Jeanette Dumancas is no different from
that of her husband who was granted bail by the trial court.

14 G.R. No. 98452, En Banc Resolution, 26 September 1991.


15 G.R. Nos. 111771-77, 9 November 1993, 227 SCRA 627.
16 G.R. No. 111616, 4 February 1994, 229 SCRA 680.
17 Supra note 4.
18 Supra note 7.
19 Supra note 8.
20 See Republic vs. Asuncion, supra note 4, at 233.
21 Republic vs. Asuncion, supra note 4.
22 U.S. vs. Mallari, 24 Phil. 366 [1913]; People vs. Co Hiok, 62 Phil. 501
[1935]; People vs. Ocaya, 83 SCRA 218 [1978].
23 Supra note 8.
24 Supra note 7.
25 Article 14(1), Revised Penal Code.
26 142 SCRA 459 [1986].
27 Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129, which provides: "Regional Trial Courts shall
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the
exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body, except those now falling
under the exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which
shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance of by the latter."
28 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
29 Entitled, "An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property
Found to Have Been Unlawfully Acquired by Any Public Officer or Employee
and Providing for the Proceeding Therefor."
30 Article 210, Direct Bribery; Article 211, Indirect Bribery; and Article 212,
Corruption of Public Officials.
31 Creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
32 Regarding the Funds, Moneys, Assets, and Properties Illegally Acquired or
Misappropriated by Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Mrs. Imelda R.
Marcos, Their Close Relatives, Subordinates, Business Associates,
Dummies, Agents, or Nominees.
33 Defining the Jurisdiction Over Cases Involving the Ill-gotten Wealth of
Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, Members of
Their Immediate Family, Close Relatives, Subordinates, Close and/or
Business Associates, Dummies, Agents, and Nominees.
34 Amending E.O. No. 14.
35 Should be read as chief superintendent in view of Section 4(a) (1)(e) of
P.D. No. 1606, as further amended by R.A. No. 7975.
36 People vs. Pegarum, 58 Phil. 715 [1933]; People vs. Paderna, 22 SCRA
273 [1968]; People vs. Mariano, 71 SCRA 600 [1976]; Tiongson vs. Court of
Appeals, 214 SCRA 197 [1992].
37 Iburan vs. Labes, 87 Phil. 234 [1950]; Uypaunco vs. Leuterio, 27 SCRA
776 [1969]; Paulino vs. Belen, 37 SCRA 357 [1971]; Bengson vs. Inciong, 91
SCRA 248 [1979].
38 186 SCRA 217 [1990].
39 237 SCRA 685 [1994].
40 Rollo, 84 & 102.
41 Id., 263.
42 Tupas vs. Court of Appeals, 193 SCRA 597 [1991]; Allied Leasing &
Finance Corp. vs. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 71 [1991]; People vs. Court of
Appeals, 199 SCRA 539 [1991]; Torres vs. NLRC, 200 SCRA 424 [1991].
43 G.R. No. 101734, 22 January 1992.

3. Jeanette Dumancas came back from abroad even after the


charges against her had been filed. Certainly, this is not
indicative of a probability of her later jumping bail should she ===============================================
===============================================
be released on bail.
===============================================
4. To deny bail to a mother of two (2) minor children in the ===============================================
absence of direct evidence that she was indeed a principal by
inducement as alleged in the two (2) informations, is
Republic of the Philippines
antagonistic not only to her constitutional right to bail but also
SUPREME COURT
to the ideals and demands of a just and humane society.
Manila
Footnotes
1 Rollo, 5-7, 49-51.
2 Id., 324-325.
3 TSN, 14 February 1994, 6-9, 30, 43, 52-59; 9 March 1994, 43.
4 G.R. No. 108208, 11 March 1994, 231 SCRA 211.
5 Annex "A" of Petition; Rollo, 26.
6 Annex "B," Id.; Id., 30.
7 90 Phil. 49 [1951].
8 108 Phil. 613 [1960].
9 Annex "C" of Petition; Rollo, 34.
10 Annex "D," Id.; Id., 49.
11 Rollo, 59 & 66.
12 Id., 263.
13 Id., 320.

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-28870 September 6, 1985
AMADO D. TOLENTINO, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION, GILBERTO TEODORO
and ANGEL PENANO respondents-appellees.

19 | P a g e

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SO ORDERED (p. 109, rec. of G.R. No. L-39149).


G.R. No. L-39149. September 6, 1985

G.R. NO. L-28870

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM and GILBERTO


TEODORO, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS,
THE SSS EMPLOYEES' LABOR UNION-NLU, and AMADO
TOLENTINO, respondents.

Petitioner was employed as an Editorial Assistant in the SSS


before April 14, 1961 with a salary of P2,400.00 per annum.
His appointment as such was duly approved by the Civil
Service Commission.

Ernesto Duran and Mercedes Bala for petitioners SSS and


Teodoro.
Eulogio R. Lerum for respondents SSS Labor Union and A.
Tolentino.

On April 14, 1961, petitioner was given a promotion in salary


from P2,400.00 per annum to P2,580.00 per annum effective
March 1, 1961. This promotion in salary was likewise duly
approved by the Civil Service Commission. The copy of
petitioner's aforesaid promotional appointment is hereto
attached and made an integral part hereof as Annex 'A'.

On March 16, 1962, petitioner's designation was changed


from Editorial Assistant' to 'Credit Analyst.' This appointment
MAKASIAR, CJ.:
was also duly approved by the Civil Service Commission. The
The present petitions for review by certiorari involve two copy of this appointment is hereto attached and made an
integral part hereof as Annex 'B'.
different decisions of two different tribunals.
In G.R. No. L-28870, appellant Amado Tolentino seeks the
annulment and setting aside of the order of the Court of First
Instance (CFI) of Rizal (Branch IX, Quezon City) dated June
5, 1967 in Civil Case No. Q- 10566 dismissing said appellant's
petition for mandamus with preliminary mandatory injunction,
thus... this Court deems it unnecessary to consider the other
grounds raised, and is constrained to dismiss the herein
petition for lack of jurisdiction to issue either preliminarily or
permanently the writ sought in this petition, considering that
the person or body against whom the writ is sought to be
applied is of the same rank as this Court (pp. 97-98, Record
on Appeal, p. 13, rec. of G.R. No. L-28870).

On June 15, 1964, petitioner was given an appointment


reinstating him to his former position as 'Credit Analyst.' This
reappointment was extended to petitioner following his
resignation from the SSS to run for a municipal position in his
municipality in the 1961 elections. The copy of this
appointment is hereto attached and made an integral part
hereof as Annex 'C'.
On June 16, 1964, petitioner took his Oath of Office. The copy
of the Oath of Office appearing in C.S. Form No. 32 of the
Philippine Civil Service is hereto attached and made an
integral part hereof as Annex 'D'.

On May 11, 1965, petitioner's designation was changed from


'Credit Analyst' to 'Technical Assistant' effective January 1,
This appeal also seeks the annulment of the same Court's 1965, with an increase in salary from P2,580.00 per annum to
order dated December 1, 1967, denying herein petitioner- P4,200 per annum. The copy of this appointment is hereto
attached and made an integral part hereof as Annex 'E'.
appellant's motion for reconsideration.
It was the position of 'Technical Assistant' (Executive Assistant
that petitioner was holding when respondent Commission
passed Resolution No. 1003 on September 15, 1966 affirming
the decision of respondent Administrator Gilberto Teodoro
'finding petitioner guilty of dishonesty, as charged, and
imposing upon him the penalty of dismissal from the service,
effective on the first day of his preventive suspension (July 6,
WHEREFORE, respondents are hereby found to have 1966) with prejudice to reinstatement.'
committed unfair labor practice as charged and are ordered to
cease and desist therefrom, reinstate complainant Amado Under dates of May 23 and 24, 1966, respectively, respondent
Tolentino to his former position, with back wages from the Administrator filed charges against petitioner for dishonesty
date of dismissal up to actual reinstatement, and without loss and electioneering.
of seniority and other privileges.
In G.R. No. L-39149, petitioners Gilberto Teodoro and the
Social Security System seek the annulment of the decision of
the Court of Industrial Relations (CIR) in Case No. 5042-ULP,
entitled "SSS Employees' Labor Union-NLU and Amado
Tolentino vs. Social Security System and Gilberto Teodoro",
the dispositive portion of which reads-

20 | P a g e

In two (2) separate letters, dated July 2, 1966, to respondent 1954, as amended, following the decision of this Honorable
Administrator, petitioner answered and denied the charges Tribunal in Poblete Construction Co., et al. vs. Social Security
against him.
Commission, et al. (G.R. No. L-17605, promulgated January
22, 1964).
On July 6, 1966, petitioner received a copy of a memorandum
of the same date signed by Mr. Reynaldo Gregorio as Acting On August 12, 1967-within the reglementary period to appealAdministrator of the SSS informing him that his answer was petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the
not satisfactory and therefore, the charges against him would abovementioned order of the lower court, which the latter
be formally investigated by a committee composed of Attys. denied in an order dated December 1, 1967" (Brief for
Ernesto D. Duran (as Chairman), Fabiana J. Patag and Petitioner-Appellant, pp. 23, p. 19, rec. of L- 28870).
Florencio Ongkingko theretofore constituted by virtue of
Personnel Order 52-G. The same memorandum placed Not satisfied with the last two mentioned orders, petitionerpetitioner on preventive suspension effective .July, 1966.
appellant Tolentino elevated the case to this Court.
On July 12, 1966, said committee began investigation of the G.R. No. L-39149
charges against petitioner officially terminating the same on
September 7, 1966.
On May 7, 1968, the Prosecution Division of the CIR filed with
said court a complaint . . . . on motion of the SSS Employees
On September 30, 1966, petitioner received a letter dated Labor Union- NLU and Amado Tolentino charging the SSS
September 20, 1966 from respondent Administrator informing and Gilberto Teodoro with commission of unfair labor
him, among others, of his dismissal from the service by virtue practices. This case, docketed as Case No. 5042-ULP, was
of Resolution No. 1003 of respondent Commission (Brief for entitled The Employees' Labor Union-NLU and Amado
Petitioner-Appellant, pp. 3-5, p. 19, rec. of L-28870).
Tolentino, petitioners, versus Social Security System and
Gilberto Teodoro, respondents.
On November 10, 1966, appellant Amado Tolentino filed with
the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Quezon City, Branch IX) a On May 16, 1968, in answer to the complaint filed before the
petition for mandamus with preliminary mandatory injunction CIR, the herein petitioner Social Security System (hereinafter
questioning the validity of Resolution No. 1003. His theory referred to as SSS, for short) denied the charges of unfair
was "that Resolution No. 1003 of respondent Commission and labor practices and asserted that Amado Tolentino was
the decision of respondent Administrator which it affirmed, is dismissed from the service after being charged and found
null and void and of no effect whatever, for lack of jurisdiction guilty of Dishonesty on Two counts which was preceded by a
because the power, nay, jurisdiction to decide administrative formal investigation.
cases against civil service employees like petitioner is vested
by the Civil Service Act of 1959 and the Civil Service Rules On March 5, 1974, the CIR rendered a decision declaring the
exclusively in the Civil Service Commissioner" (pp, 5-6, SSS and Gilberto Teodoro guilty of unfair labor practice and
Record on Appeal, p. 13, rec. of G. R. no. L-28870).
ordering the reinstatement of herein respondent-appellee
Tolentino with back wages.
Under date of December 8, 1966, respondents filed their
answer raising, among others, the affirmative defense of lack On August 13, 1974, the CIR en banc denied the motion for
of jurisdiction of the lower court over respondent Social reconsideration dated March 12, 1974 filed by the SSS,
Security Commission (Commission, for short), the latter being hence, this petition for review on certiorari (Brief for
of the same rank as the former.
Petitioners, pp. 2-3).
On June 5, 1967, after the parties had submitted memoranda
to support their respective contentions on the question raised
by the pleadings, among others-whether respondents Social
Security Administrator (Administrator, for short) and Social
Security Commission have the jurisdiction and authority to
decide cases of administrative discipline against employees of
the Social Security System (SSS, for short)- the lower court
rendered an order dismissing petitioner's petition for lack of
jurisdiction over respondent Commission because the latter
ranks with the Court of First Instance in the exercise of the
quasi-judicial powers granted to it by the Social Security Act of

On January 13, 1975, this Court issued a resolution in G.R.


No. L-39149 consolidating the two appeal cases as both
involve the same parties and substantially the same issues.
The primordial question is one of jurisdiction-whether or not
the Social Security Commission has jurisdiction over
administrative actions filed before it against its own erring
employees.
Jurisdiction over the subject matter is vested by law. It is not
acquired by the consent or acquiescence of the parties, nor

21 | P a g e

the unilateral assumption thereof by any tribunal (Bacalso vs.


Ramolete, G.R. No. L-22488, October 26, 1967; De Jesus vs.
Garcia, L-26816, February 28, 1967). The settled rule is that
jurisdiction of a court or tribunal is determined by the statute in
force at the time of the commencement of the action Aquisap
vs. Basilio, L-21293, December 29, 1967; Rilloraza vs.
Arciaga, L-23848, October 31, 1967; People vs. Pegarum 58
Phil. 715). And once acquired, jurisdiction continues,
regardless of "subsequent happenings", until the case is
finally terminated (People vs. Pegarum 57 Phil. 715).

covered by the Civil Service Law of 1962 (Republic Act 2260),


Section 33 whereof provided the following:
Sec. 23. Administrative Jurisdiction for Disciplining Officers
and Employees.-The Commissioner may, for dishonesty,
oppression, misconduct, neglect of duty, conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude, notoriously disgraceful or immoral
conduct, improper or unauthorized solicitation of contributions
from subordinate employees and by teachers or school
officials from school children, violation of the existing Civil
Service Law and rules of reasonable office regulations, or in
the interest of the service, remove any subordinate officer or
employee from the service, demote him in rank, suspend him
for not more than one year without pay or fine him in an
amount not exceeding six months' salary.

WE recall that the petition before US originated from


administrative charges of dishonesty and electioneering filed
by the Administrator of the Social Security Commission before
the same office on May 23 and 24, 1966. The Commission's
Resolution No. 1003, the validity of which is questioned here
in G.R. No. 28870 for jurisdictional reasons, was promulgated In meting out punishment, like penalties shall be imposed for
on September 15, 1966.
like offenses and only one penalty shall be imposed in each
case.
G.R. No. L-28870 was submitted for decision on January 21,
1969.
The Commission answered the petition averring that it was
empowered by section 5 of the Social Security Act (Republic
The pertinent laws under the circumstances are the Social Act No. 1161); . . . and that the Court of First Instance had no
Security Act of 1954 (R.A. 1161), as amended by R.A. 2658 jurisdiction to review the resolutions of the Commission.
(which took effect June 18, 1960) and the Civil Service Act of
1959(R.A. 2260).
After due trial, the court below, by decision of 13 January
1968, ruled that section 5 of the Social Security Act was
Re: G.R. No. L-28870
inapplicable to the case since it did not involve a settlement of
benefit claims; that the assailed Resolution No. 198 was
The question posed in this appeal is not an untrodden path. void ab initio, the Commission having no power to discipline
Mendoza vs. Social Security Commission, et al. (L-29189, and penalize civil service officers to the exclusion of the
April 11, 1972, 44 SCRA 373) penned by Justice J.B.L. Commissioner of Civil Service . . .. The latter duly appealed to
this Court.
Reyes, is in point.
The case arose in this wise: appellee herein, Victor D.
Mendoza, then Manager of the Commercial and Industrial
Loans Department in the Social Security System was
subjected to formal investigation of various irregularities
allegedly committed by him. Hearings were duly conducted by
the Investigating Committee on the formal charges filed and
the explanations offered by appellee. The records and
proceedings were reviewed by a Committee of
Commissioners that found Mendoza guilty on four charges,
and recommended his separation from the service. But the
Commission en bancdecided instead that said officer be only
demoted in rank and salary, from that of Manager,
Commercial and Industrial Loans Department, to that of
Division Chief. The decision was embodied in Resolution No.
198 dated 9 February 1967.

It is clear that under section 33 of the Civil Service Act


(Republic Act 2260) heretofore quoted, before the
amendments introduced therein by Republic Act No.
6040, the sole power to impose disciplinary sanctions on civil
service employees was vested exclusively in the
Commissioner of Civil Service. This is emphasized by the
provisions of section 27 of the Civil Service Rules requiring
the Department Head concernedwithin 15 days from receipt of the complete record of the
case, to forward such record with his comment and
recommendation to the Commissioner for decision,

so that, as pointed out by the court below, the Department


Head's powers were purely recommendatory; it had no power
to decide nor impose any penalty, much less to implement the
Mendoza then resorted to the Court a quo in quest of a writ of decision or carry it out into execution.
prohibition, with preliminary injunction, contending that the
Commission had no authority to impose the penalties That the petitioner, as Manager of the Loans Department in
embodied in its Resolution No. 198, the petitioner being the Social Security System, was and is a civil service official is

22 | P a g e

plain from Article II (section 3) of the Civil Service Act of 1959, This office has observed that there are officers and
as well as from section 3 of the Social Security Act of 1954, as employees of these corporations who, while not union
amended by Republic Act No. 2658.
members, accept benefits under the collective bargaining
contract between union and management and in so doing,
have by implied acquiescence, become parties to said
ARTICLE II.- Scope of the Civil Servicecollective bargaining contract. They, therefore, likewise fall
SEC. 3. Positions embraced in the Civil Service.-The under the exempt service and are not governed or protected
Philippine Civil Service shall embrace all branches, by the Civil Service Act of 1959.'
subdivisions and instrumentalities of the Government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations, and We entertain serious doubts on the validity of the foregoing
appointments therein except as to those which are policy- circulars, in view of the fact that under section 6 of the Civil
determining, primarily confidential or highly technical in Service Act of 1959, the Exempt Servicenature, shall be made only according to merit and fitness, to
be determined as far as practicable by competitive shall consist of the following:
examination. Positions included in the civil service fall into
three categories; namely, competitive or classified service, (a) Elective officers
non-competitive or unclassified service and exempt service.
The exempt service does not fall within the scope of this law (b) Members of the commissioned and enlisted service of the
(Emphasis supplied).
Army, Navy and Air Force of the Philippines,
SEC. 3. Social Security system.-x x x

(c) Persons employed on a contract basis.

(c) The Commission, upon the recommendation of the


Administrator, shall appoint an actually, medical director, and
such other personnel as may be deemed necessary, shall fix
their compensation, prescribe their duties and establish such
methods and procedures as may insure the efficient, honest
and economical administration of the provisions and purpose
of this Act: Provided, however, That the personnel of the
system shall be selected only from civil service eligibles
certified by the Commissioner of Civil Service and shall be
subject to civil service rules and regulations' (Emphasis
supplied).

It is clear from the foregoing that in order to belong to the


exempt service and thus forfeit the protection of the Civil
Service Law, a civilian non-elective officer must have obtained
employment through a contract. In fact, section 2, paragraph
(j), of the Civil Service Rules, interpreting section 6 of the Act,
declares that-

By way of avoidance of the application of the legal


dispositions cited, the respondent Social Security Commission
contends that its officers and employees are not covered by
the Civil Service Law and Rules, invoking the memorandum
circulars of Commissioner Abelardo Subido, dated 8 January
1964 and 23 January 1964 (Exhibits '4' and pages '5', pages
217 and 218, Record), thatofficers and employees of government owned or controlled
corporations performing proprietary functions who have
entered into collective bargaining contracts with the
management of their respective corporations, through their
labor unions, fall in the exempt service and are not covered or
protected by the Civil Service Act (Exhibit '4').

(j) ... the term 'persons employed on a contract basis' refers to


independent contractors and those who may be employed by
them; it does not include employees or laborers who serve
under the direction and supervision of a governmental
agency, except aliens who may be thus employed on a
contract basis when the exigencies of the service so require.
In this context, the term 'independent contractor' refers to one
who undertakes to do a piece of work for the government
under his own responsibility, with minimum interference on the
part of any governmental agency in the performance or
accomplishment thereof.
Plainly, the circulars in question invoked by respondent
Commission improperly attempted to broaden the scope of
the exempt service under the law, which was not within the
powers of the Civil Service Commissioners to do.
x x x x x x.

We are not unmindful of the fact that by Republic Act No.


In the memorandum of 23 January 1964 (Exhibit '5'), the 6040 the Legislature extended the scope of the exempt
Commissioner of Civil Service further broadened the service to persons employed in government owned or
preceding circular, remarking thatcontrolled corporations primarily performing proprietary
functions with collective bargaining agreements; and that
furthermore, the same Act also amended section 33 of the

23 | P a g e

Civil Service Act by adding at the end of the original section As earlier noted, by Republic Act No. 6040, the legislature
the following provisos:
extended the scope of the exempt service to persons
employed in government owned or controlled corporations
Provided, however, that heads of departments, agencies and primarily performing proprietary functions with collective
instrumentalities, provinces and chartered cities, shall have bargaining agreements; in addition, it appended the following
original jurisdiction to investigate and decide on matters proviso to section 33 of the Civil Service Actinvolving disciplinary action. Provided further, that when the
penalty imposed is a reprimand or a fine not exceeding one Provided, however, that heads of departments, agencies and
month salary or suspension without pay for a period not instrumentalities, provinces and chartered cities, shall have
exceeding one month, the decision of the aforementioned original jurisdiction to investigate and decide on matters
heads shall be final; but if the penalty imposed is heavier the involving disciplinary action: Provided further, that when the
decision shall be appealable to the Commission as provided penalty imposed is a reprimand or a fine not exceeding one
in this Act: Provided finally, that a decision imposing removal month salary or suspension without pay for a period not
shall always be subject to review by the Commission.
exceeding one month, the decision of the aforementioned
heads shall he final; but if the penalty imposed is heavier the
Had the present case arisen, therefore, under Republic Act decision shall be appealable to the Commission as provided
6040, the Social Security Commission would have had in this Act: Provided finally, that a decision imposing removal
jurisdiction, after due investigation, to impose the penalty of shall always be subject to review by the Commission.
demotion subject only to appeal by the officer or employee
affected to the Civil Service Commission. Unfortunately for However, Section 1(1), Article XII (B) of the 1973 Constitution
appellant Commission, Republic Act No. 6040 was enacted readson 4 August 1969, and the case at bar had been litigated,
decided and appealed to the Supreme Court and submitted The Civil Service embraces every branch, agency,
for decision as of February, 1969. Republic Act No. 6040 subdivision, and instrumentality of the Government, including
cannot be retroactively applied to the case, specially since the every government-owned or controlled corporation ... .
same act expressly provides in its section 47 thatClearly, insofar as Republic Act No. 6040 insulates
rights and privileges vested or acquired under the provisions government-owned or controlled-corporations with collective
of the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations prior to the bargaining agreements with their employees from the
effectivity of this Act shall remain in force and effect' (italics embrace of the Civil Service Commission, said statute is
Ours).
inconsistent with the fundamental law of the land. As such, it
is void (Article 7, New Civil Code).
Clearly at the time the questioned Resolution No. 1003 was
promulgated and implemented dismissing petitioner- appellant RE: G.R. No. L-39149
Amado Tolentino, the respondents-appellees Social Security
Commission, Gilberto Teodoro and Angel Penano did not In view of OUR decision in G.R. No. L- 28870, WE rule to
have the power to hear and decide administrative and setaside as null and void the decision of respondent Court of
disciplinary charges filed against erring employees of the Industrial Relations dated March 5, 1974, and its
Commission.
subsequent en banc resolutions dated August 13, 1974 the
same having been issued without jurisdiction.
WE are not, however, ready to dismiss the questioned
Resolution No. 1003 as inutile The Social Security At the time Amado Tolentino was charged with and convicted
Commission, as an agency of the government, may be of dishonesty in 1966 up to the time the Prosecution Division
considered a department and respondent Gilberto Teodoro, its of the Court of Industrial Relations filed with said court the
department head. Resolution No. 1003 may be treated as the unfair labor suit docketed as Case No. 5042-ULP on May 7,
recommendation of the department head which may be 1968, the power to impose disciplinary sanctions on erring
submitted to the Civil Service Commission for decision and/or employees of the Social Security Commission was
appropriate action.
vested exclusively in the Commissioner of Civil Service,
without prejudice to appeal to the Civil Service Board of
At this juncture, and to pave the way for a complete resolution Appeals (sections 18 and 36, R.A. 2260). Consequently, the
of the case at bar, WE must consider the constitutionality of Court of Industrial Relations, created under Commonwealth
the amendments to the Civil Service Act of 1959 as contained Act No. 103, a statute of earlier vintage, had no jurisdiction
in Republic Act No. 6040, enacted ten years after or on over Case No. 5042-ULP. Again, jurisdiction of a court is
August 4, 1969.
determined by the statute in force at the time of the

24 | P a g e

commencement
of
the
action Aquisap
vs. That on or about June 25, 1992, or sometime subsequent thereto, in
Basilio, supra Rilloraza vs. Arciaga, L- 23848, October 31, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Bayani Subido,
1967; People vs. Pegarum, supra).
Jr., being then a Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation (BID) and accused Rene Parina, being then a BID
WE find no further need to scrutinize the findings of the Court Special Agent, while in the performance of their official functions,
of Industrial Relations. To do so would benefit no one.
and conspiring and confederating with each other, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously cause the issuance and
WHEREFORE, THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTION NO. 1003 implementation of a warrant of arrest dated June 25, 1992 against
TOGETHER WITH THE RECORDS THEREOF ARE James J. Maksimuk, said accused knowing fully well that the BID
Decision dated June 6, 1991, requiring Maksimuk's deportation has
HEREBY REMANDED TO THE OFFICE OF THE
not as yet become final and executory considering the pendency of a
COMMISSIONER OF CIVIL SERVICE FOR APPROPRIATE Motion for Reconsideration, resulting in the detention of the latter
ACTION.
for a period of forty-three (43) days and, thus, causing him undue
injury.
THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION APPEALED FROM IN
G.R. NO. L-39149 ARE HEREBY SET ASIDE AS NULL AND CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]
VOID FOR HAVING BEEN RENDERED WITHOUT
The arraignment was originally set for 28 August 1995.[5]
JURISDICTION.
On 28 August 1995, however, the petitioners filed a
Motion to Quash,[6] contending that in view of the effectivity of
R.A. No. 7975[7] on 6 May 1995, amending 4 of P.D. No. 1606,
[8]
the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over both the offense
Concepcion, Jr., Escolin, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
charged and the persons of the accused.They argued that: (1)
Arbitrary Detention did not fall within Chapter II, 2, Title VII of
Aquino (Chairman) and Abad Santos, JJ., is on leave.
the RPC, but within 1, Chapter 1, Title II (Crimes Against the
Fundamental Laws of the State), hence, not covered by R.A.
=============================================== No. 7975 and, therefore, the case should have been filed with
=============================================== the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila; (2) R.A. No. 7975
=============================================== should be given prospective application and at the time the
============================================== case was filed, petitioner Subido was already a private person
since he was separated from the service on 28 February
1995; while petitioner Parina did not hold a position
corresponding to salary grade 27; and (3) penal laws must be
strictly construed against the State.
THIRD DIVISION
In compliance with the order of the Sandiganbayan, the
[G.R. No. 122641. January 20, 1997]
prosecution filed its Opposition to the Motion to Quash [9] on 28
BAYANI SUBIDO, JR. and RENE PARINA, petitioners,
September 1995. It contended that it was clear from 4(b) of
vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGAN-BAYAN and THE
R.A. No. 7975 that the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
both the offense charged and the persons of the accused
DECISION
considering that the basis of its jurisdiction xxx is the position
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
of the accused in the government service when the offense
charged was committed and not the nature of the offense
In this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
charged, provided the said offense committed by the accused
Court, the petitioners seek to set aside, on ground of grave
was in the exercise of his duties and in relation to his
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, the
office. The fact then that accused Subido was already a
following acts of the respondent Sandiganbayan in Criminal
private individual was of no moment.
[1]
Case No. 22825: (a) the Resolution of 25 October 1995
which denied the petitioners Motion to Quash of 28 August
In a Supplement to the Motion to Quash [10] filed on 9
1995 and Supplementary Motion to Quash of 7 October 1995; October 1995, the petitioners further asserted that: (1) the
(b) the Order[2] of 10 November 1995 which denied the allegations in the information were vague; (2) under 1, Rule
petitioners motion for reconsideration; and (c) the Order [3] of VIII of Memorandum Order (MO) No. 04-92 (Rules of
10 November 1995 which entered a plea of not guilty for the Procedure to Govern Deportation Proceedings), the grant or
petitioners and set pre-trial on 12 January 1996.
denial of bail to an alien in a deportation proceeding was
discretionary upon the Commissioner, hence could not be
In Criminal Case No. 22825, the petitioners were
subject to a charge of arbitrary detention; (3) petitioner Subido
charged with Arbitrary Detention, defined and penalized by
was separated from the service before the effectivity of R.A.
Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), under an
No. 7975, hence retroactive application thereof would be
information dated 17 July 1995 (but filed on 28 July 1995), the
prejudicial to him; and (4) at the time the information was filed,
accusatory portion of which reads as follows:
petitioner Parina was not occupying a position corresponding
to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed by R.A. No. 6758.
NO COSTS.

[11]

25 | P a g e

In its Rejoinder[12] filed on 20 October 1995, the


prosecution maintained that with 4 of MO No. 04-92, Salazar
v. Achacoso,[13] andGatchalian v. CID,[14] the only instance
when an alien facing deportation proceedings could be
arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest was when the
Commissioner issued the warrant to carry out a final order of
deportation, which was absent in this case due to the
pendency of the motion for reconsideration timely filed. It
further reiterated that the basis of the Sandiganbayans
jurisdiction over the case was the position of the accused
when the crime was committed, not when the information was
filed; in any event, petitioner Subidos position as a
Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration was classified
even higher than grade 27 under the Compensation and
Classification Act of 1989.

Sec. 2. Section 4 of [P.D. No. 1606] is hereby further amended to


read as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original
jurisdiction in all cases involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise
known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act
No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal
Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials
occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a
permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission
of the offense;

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of


In its Resolution[15] of 25 October 1995, the regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and
Sandiganbayan denied the petitioners Motion to Quash and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989
the Supplement thereto, ruling:
(Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
1. [T]he jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan remains not only over the
xxx
specific offenses enumerated in Sec. 4 of P.D. 1606 as Amended by
R.A. 7975 but over offenses committed in relation to their office,
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and
regardless of the penalty provided that the salary of the accused is at higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
Grade 27 under [R.A. 6758] or that he is occupying any of the
1989.
position described in Sec. 4(a)e of the law, which includes the
position of Deputy Commissioner.
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and
employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to
2. [A]t this time the position of the prosecution in response to this
their office.
Court's misgivings stated in its Order of August 28, 1995, appears to
be that aliens may not be arrested except upon execution of a
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with
deportation order, a matter which can be taken up at further
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
proceedings after the arraignment of the accused.
It likewise set arraignment on 10 November 1995. To abort
arraignment, the petitioners filed on 9 November 1995 a
motion for reconsideration[16] and submitted that under the
vast power of the Commissioner of the Department of
Immigration, he could authorize the arrest and detention of an
alien even though a deportation order had not yet become
final, in light of the preventive, not penal, nature of a
deportation order.[17]
On 10 November 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued an
Order[18] denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration,
and a second Order[19]entering a plea of not guilty in favor of
the petitioners since they objected to arraignment, setting pretrial on 12 January 1996, and making of record that
arraignment was conducted with the reservation of the
petitioners to seek redress with this Court from the denial of
their motion for reconsideration.
Hence, this special civil action, where the parties, in the
main, reiterate the arguments they raised before the
Sandiganbayan. In due time, we resolved to give due course
to the petition and required the parties to file their respective
memoranda, which they subsequently complied with.
The petition must be dismissed.

In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying


positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed
in said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank
of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive
jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their
respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which
trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the
proper courts.
R.A. No. 7975 took effect on 16 May 1995, [20] or one year,
ten months and twenty-one days after the alleged commission
of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. 22825 before the
Sandiganbayan. The provisions of 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by E.O. No. 184, but prior to their further
amendment by R.A. No. 7975, are then the applicable
provisions. 4 of P.D. No. 1606 then pertinently provided as
follows:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:

Sections 2 and 7 of R.A. No. 7975 pertinently provide as (a) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving:
follows:

26 | P a g e

(1) violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise


known as the Anti-Graft and practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379,
and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
(2) other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and
employees in relation to their office, including those employed in
government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or
complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is
higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years,
or a fine of P6,000.00: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or
felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed
by law does not exceedprision correccional or imprisonment of six
(6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional
Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and
Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
In Aguinaldo
v.
Domagas,[21] and
subsequently
[22]
in Sanchez v. Demetriou, Natividad v. Felix,[23] and Republic
v. Asuncion,[24] we ruled that for the Sandiganbayan to have
exclusive original jurisdiction over offenses or felonies
committed by public officers or employees under the
aforementioned 4(a)(2), it was not enough that the penalty
prescribed therefor was higher than prision correccional or
imprisonment for six years, or a fine of P6,000.00; it was
likewise necessary that the offenses or felonies were
committed in relation to their office.[25]

That petitioner Parina held a position with a salary grade


of less than 27 at the time of the commission of the alleged
arbitrary detention is of no moment. He is prosecuted as a coconspirator of petitioner Subido, a principal accused, who held
a position higher than grade 27. The following provision of 4
of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, then applies:
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying the
positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed
in the said Republic Act No. 6758 ... exclusive jurisdiction therefor
shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
Finally, the petitioners invocation of the prohibition
against the retroactivity of penal laws is misplaced. Simply
put, R.A. No. 7975 is not a penal law. Penal laws or statutes
are those acts of the Legislature which prohibit certain acts
and establish penalties for their violation;[28] or those that
define crimes, treat of their nature, and provide for their
punishment.[29] R.A. No. 7975, in further amending P.D. No.
1606 as regards the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction, mode of
appeal, and other procedural matters, is clearly a procedural
law, i.e., one which prescribes rules and forms of procedure of
enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion, or
those which refer to rules of procedure by which courts
applying laws of all kinds can properly administer justice.
[30]
Moreover, the petitioners even suggest that it is likewise a
curative or remedial statute; one which cures defects and
adds to the means of enforcing existing obligations. [31] As
noted by the petitioners, previous to the enactment of R.A.
No. 7975:

The information in Criminal Case No. 22825 before the


Sandiganbayan charged the petitioners with the crime of
arbitrary detention which was committed while in the
performance of their official functions, or, evidently, in relation
to their office. As the detention allegedly lasted for a period of
43 days, the prescribed penalty is prision mayor,[26] with a
duration of six years and one day to twelve
years. Indisputably, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over
As before, not [sic] matter what kind of offense, so long as it is
the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 22825.
alleged that the crime is committed in relation to the office of the
The petitioners, however, urge us to apply 4 of P.D. No. public official, the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiciton to try and hear
1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, the law in force at the the case, such that in many cases accused persons even from the far
time of the filing of the information in Criminal Case No. away parts of the country, Mindanao, Visayas and the northern parts
22825. They submit that under the new law, the of Luzon had to come personally to Manila to attend and appear for
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the offense charged cases filed against them, considering that the Sandiganbayan has its
and their persons because at the time of the filing of the office/court in Manila.
information, petitioner Subido was already a private individual,
while the classification of petitioner Parinas position was lower The said R.A. No. 7975 changed this lamentable situation. For no as
than grade 27.
so provided in the said law, there ha[s] been a modification that
benefits [the] accused xxx in the sense that now where none of the
We are not persuaded. The petitioners overlook the fact
principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary
that for purposes of 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, the
grade 27 or higher as prescribed by Republic Act No. 6758 xxx
reckoning point is the timeof the commission of the
exclusive jurisdiction there shall be vested now in the proper
crime. This is plain from the last clause of the opening
Regional Trial and Metropolitan Trial Court and Municipal Circuit
sentence of paragraph (a), 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as further
Trial Court, as the case may be xxx. [32]
amended by R.A. No. 7975.
Petitioner Subido never denied the respondents claim
that as commissioner of Immigration and Deportation [now
Bureau of Immigration] at the time of the commission of the
crime [he was] classified as having a position even higher
than grade 27.[27] Both parties are, however, agreed that at
such time petitioner Parina was holding a position with a
classification much lower than salary grade 27. There can,
therefore, be no doubt that the Sandiganbayan had
jurisdiction over the crime allegedly committed by Subido.

All told, as a procedural and curative statute, R.A. No. 7975


may validly be given retroactive effect, there being no
impairment of contractual or vested rights. [33]
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED, and
the questioned resolution and orders of the respondent
Sandiganbayan are AFFIRMED.
Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

27 | P a g e

Narvasa,
C.J.,
(Chairman),
Francisco, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

Melo, Apolinario M. Buaya for petitioner.

[1]

Original Record (OR), vol. 1, 69; Rollo, 16. Per Garchitorena, P.J.,
Balajadia and Chico-Nazario, JJ.
[2]
Id., 86; Id., 17.
[3]
Id., 87-88; Id., 18-19.
[4]
OR, vol. 1, 1-2; Rollo, 20-21.
[5]
OR, vol. 1, 32.
[6]
Id., 35-37; Rollo, 22-24.
[7]
Entitled An Act to Strengthen the Functional and Structural Organization of
the Sandiganbayan, Amending for that Purpose Presidential Decree No.
1606, as Amended.
[8]
Entitled Revising Presidential Decree No. 1486 Creating a Special Court to
be Known as Sandiganbayan and for Other Purposes.
[9]
OR, vol. 1, 57-58; Rollo, 25-26.
[10]
Id., 61-64; Id., 27-30.
[11]
Compensation and Classification Act of 1989.
[12]
OR, vol. 1, 65-68; Rollo, 31-34.
[13]
182 SCRA 155 [1990].
[14]
197 SCRA 853 [1991].
[15]
Supra note 1.
[16]
OR, vol. 1, 77-82; Rollo, 35-40.
[17]
Citing Mahler v. Eby, 264 U.S. 32, U.S. v. De los Santos, 33 Phil. 397,
[1916]; Kessler v. Stracker, 307 U.S. 22, Murdock v. Clark, 53 F 2d. 15.
[18]
Supra note 2.
[19]
Supra note 3.
[20]
8 thereof provides that the Act shall effect fifteen (15) days following its
publication in the Official Gazette or in two national newspaper of general
circulation. It was published in the 21 April 1995 issues of the MALAYA and
The PHILIPPINE JOURNAL, and in the 17 July 1995 issue of the Official
Gazette.
[21]
G.R. No. 98452, En Banc Resolution, 26 September 1991.
[22]
227 SCRA 627 [1993].
[23]
229 SCRA 680 [1994].
[24]
231 SCRA 211 [1994].
[25]
See People v. Magallanes, 249 SCRA 212, 220-221 [1995].
[26]
Article 124(3), Revised Penal Code.
[27]
Rejoinder to the Comment/Opposition to the Motion to Quash, Rollo, 31;
Comment to the instant petition, Id., 31.
[28]
Lorenzo v. Posadas, 64 Phil. 353, 367, [1937].
[29]
Hernandez v. Albano, 19 SCRA 95, 102 [1967], note 13, citing 82 C.J.S.,
922.
[30]
RUBEN E. AGPALO, STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION 268, [2d. 1990]
(hereinafter Agpalo).
[31]
See AGPALO, at 270-271.
[32]
Petitioners Memorandum, 6; Rollo, 115 et. seq.
[33]
See AGPALO, at 268-272.

Romeo G. Velasquez for respondent Country Bankers


Insurance Corporation.

SYLLABUS
1.
REMEDIAL
LAW;
CRIMINAL
PROCEDURE;
AVERMENTS IN THE COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION,
DETERMINATIVE OF THE CRIME TO BE PROSECUTED
AND PROPER COURT TO HEAR THE CASE. It is wellsettled that the averments in the complaint or information
characterize the crime to be prosecuted and the court before
which it must be tried (Balite v. People, L-21475, Sept. 30,
1966 cited in People v. Masilang, 142 SCRA 680). The
jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined by the
allegations of the complaint or information, and not by the
findings the court may make after the trial (People v. Mission,
87 Phil. 641).
2. ID.; ID.; VENUE OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTION;
GENERAL RULE. Section 14(a), Rule 110 of the Revised
Rules of Court provides: In all criminal prosecutions the action
shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or
province wherein the offense was committed or any of the
essential elements thereof took place.

3. ID.; ID.; ESTAFA FILING A TRANSITORY OFFENSE,


PROSECUTION MAY BE TAKEN WHERE ANY OF THE
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME TOOK PLACE.
The subject information charges petitioner with estafa
committed "during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982 inclusive
in the City of Manila, Philippines . . ." (p. 44, Rollo) Clearly
then, from the very allegation of the information the Regional
Trial Court of Manila has jurisdiction. Besides, the crime of
estafa is a continuing or transitory offense which may be
prosecuted at the place where any of the essential elements
of the crime took place. One of the essential elements of
estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended party. The
=============================================== private respondent has its principal place of business and
=============================================== office at Manila. The failure of the petitioner to remit the
insurance premiums she collected allegedly caused damage
===============================================
and prejudice to private respondent in Manila.
===============================================
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-75079 January 26, 1989
SOLEMNIDAD M. BUAYA, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE WENCESLAO M. POLO, Presiding
Judge, Branch XIX, Regional Trial) Court of Manila and
the COUNTRY BANKERS INSURANCE
CORPORATION, respondents.

DECISION
PARAS, J.:
Petitioner, Solemnidad M. Buaya, in the instant petition
for certiorari, seeks to annul and set aside the orders of denial
issued by the respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch XIX on her Motion to Quash/Dismiss and
Motion for Reconsideration in Criminal Case No. L-83-22252
entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Solemnidad M.
Buaya." The Motion to Dismiss was anchored on the following
grounds (a) the court has no jurisdiction over the case and (b)
the subject matter is purely civil in nature.

28 | P a g e

It appears that petitioner was an insurance agent of the


private respondent, who was authorized to transact and
underwrite insurance business and collect the corresponding
premiums for and in behalf of the private respondent. Under
the terms of the agency agreement, the petitioner is required
to make a periodic report and accounting of her transactions
and remit premium collections to the principal office of private
respondent located in the City of Manila. Allegedly, an audit
was conducted on petitioner's account which showed a
shortage in the amount of P358,850.72. As a result she was
charged with estafa in Criminal Case No. 83-22252, before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XIX with the
respondent Hon. Wenceslao Polo as the Presiding Judge.
Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss. which motion was denied
by respondent Judge in his Order dated March 26, 1986. The
subsequent motion for reconsideration of this order of denial
was also denied.
These two Orders of denial are now the subject of the present
petition. It is the contention of petitioner that the Regional trial
Court of Manila has no jurisdiction because she is based in
Cebu City and necessarily the funds she allegedly
misappropriated were collected in Cebu City.
Petitioner further contends that the subject matter of this case
is purely civil in nature because the fact that private
respondent separately filed Civil Case No. 83-14931 involving
the same alleged misappropriated amount is an acceptance
that the subject transaction complained of is not proper for a
criminal action.
The respondents on the other hand, call for adherence to the
consistent rule that the denial of a motion to dismiss or to
quash, being interlocutory in character, cannot be questioned
by certiorari and it cannot be the subject of appeal until final
judgment or order rendered (See. 2, Rule 41, Rules of Court).
the ordinary procedure to be followed in such a case is to
enter a Plea, go to trial and if the decision is adverse, reiterate
the issue on appeal from the final judgment (Newsweek Inc. v.
IAC, 142 SCRA 171).

court before which it must be tried (Balite v. People, L-21475,


Sept. 30,1966 cited in People v. Masilang, 142 SCRA 680).
In Villanueva v. Ortiz, et al . (L-15344, May 30, 1960, 108 Phil,
493) this Court ruled that in order to determine the jurisdiction
of the court in criminal cases, the complaint must be
examined for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the
facts set out therein and the punishment provided for by law
fall within the jurisdiction of the court where the complaint is
filed. The jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined
by the allegations of the complaint or information, and not by
the findings the court may make after the trial (People v.
Mission, 87 Phil. 641).
The information in the case at reads as follows:
The undersigned accuses Solemnidad Buaya of the crime of
estafa, committed as follows:
That during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982, inclusive, in the
City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the Country
Bankers Insurance Corporation represented by Elmer Banez
duly organized and earth under the laws of the Philippine with
principal address at 9th floor, G.R. Antonio Bldg., T.M. Kalaw,
Ermita, in said City, in the following manner, to wit. the said
having been authorized to act as insurance agent of said
corporation, among whose duties were to remit collections
due from customers thereat and to account for and turn over
the same to the said Country Bankers Insurance Corporation
represented by Elmer Banez, as soon as possible or
immediately upon demand, collected and received the amount
of P368,850.00 representing payments of insurance
premiums from customers, but herein accused, once in
possession of said amount, far from complying with her
aforesaid obligation, failed and refused to do so and with
intent to defraud, absconded with the whole amount thereby
misappropriated, misapplied and converted the said amount
of P358,850.00 to her own personal used and benefit, to the
damage and prejudice of said Country Bankers Insurance
Corporation in the amount of P358,850.00 Philippine
Currency.

The general rule is correctly stated. But this is subject to


certain exceptions the reason is that it would be unfair to
require the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 44, Rollo)
expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over the
subject matter or offense or it is not the court of proper venue. Section 14(a), Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court
provides: In all criminal prosecutions the action shall be
Here, petitioner questions the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or province
Court of Manila to take cognizance of this criminal case for wherein the offense was committed or any of the essential
estafa.
elements thereof took place.

It is well-settled that the averments in the complaint or The subject information charges petitioner with estafa
information characterize the crime to be prosecuted and the committed "during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982
inclusive in the City of Manila, Philippines . . . ." (p. 44, Rollo)

29 | P a g e

Clearly then, from the very allegation of the information the MAPA, J.:
Regional Trial Court of Manila has jurisdiction.
The complaint charges the defendant with the crime of estafa
and falsification, and alleges that he, while an employee of the
Besides, the crime of estafa is a continuing or transitory Manila-Dagupan Railway, on the 18th of July, 1901, in the
offense which may be prosecuted at the place where any of vicinity of the Province of Manila, issued a ticket to a
the essential elements of the crime took place. One of the passenger who was going from Manila to Caloocan, and who
essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the continued his trip to Malolos; that the difference in the fare
offended party. The private respondent has its principal place amounted to 1 peso and 22 cents; that the ticket issued
of business and office at Manila. The failure of the petitioner to simulated that the trip was from Manila to Bocaue and the
charge only 18 cents; and that he rendered account to the
remit the insurance premiums she collected allegedly caused
company for this amount, appropriating the balance of the
damage and prejudice to private respondent in Manila.
sum received.
Anent petitioners other contention that the subject matter is It appears, therefore, that the complaint does not precisely
purely civil in nature, suffice it to state that evidentiary facts on designate the place where the falsification was committed, nor
where occurred the appropriation of the money with which the
this point have still to be proved.
accused is charged. The testimony introduced has not
resulted in determining the first point, but this is not the case
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit with respect to the second. It appears from the testimony of
The case is remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, the accused himself that he rendered an account, to the
station master at Tarlac, of the money collected on the trip in
Branch XIX for further proceedings.
question that he there delivered the money collected during
the trip, amounting to 6 pesos and 48 cents, and that there
SO ORDERED.
also, finally, he delivered the stub in which, it is charged, the
simulation or falsification denounced was committed. There is
Melencio-Herrera, (Chairperson), Padilla, Sarmiento and nothing in the record to contradict or offset the testimony of
the accused. In addition to his testimony the record discloses
Regalado JJ., concur
an itemized account of the collections made by him on the trip
=============================================== in question, in which appears the entry corresponding to the
stub alleged to have been falsified. This document is dated in
===============================================
Tarlac and contains an invoice of delivery, signed by the
=============================================== accused, and a receipt, signed by the station master at that
=============================================== point, for the sum of 6 pesos and 48 cents. As part of this sum
is included the 18 cents entered on the stub in question which
appears as one of the vouchers of the account referred to.
G.R. No. 472, U.S. v. Reyes, 1 Phil. 249
This document fully corroborates the statements of the
Republic of the Philippines
accused, and these facts considered together constitute in our
SUPREME COURT
judgment a sufficient demonstration that the appropriation of
Manila
the difference resulting between the sum of 18 cents entered
EN BANC
April 28, 1902
G.R. No. 472
THE UNITED STATES, complainant-appellant,
vs.
JOSE REYES, defendant-appellee.

on the stub and the 1 peso and 22 cents actually collected as


charged in the complaint was consummated in Tarlac, and
that in Tarlac, also, he made use of the stub referred to in
rendering an account of the trip in question, and delivering the
amount collected to the station master at that point.

SYLLABUS

This being so, under article 29 of the General Compilation of


Laws upon Criminal Procedure, jurisdiction to try the offense
charged is vested in the court of Tarlac, not only because it
was within the territory of that court that the appropriation
constituting the crime of estafa charged was committed, but
also because within the same territory the accused made use
of the document alleged to be false, it not appearing with
certainty, on the other hand, at what place the falsification was
committed. (Judgment of the supreme court of Spain of
October 7, 1896.)

1. CRIMINAL LAW; ESTAFA; JURISDICTION. Where a


railroad conductor collects 1 peso and 22 cents from a
passenger and issues a false ticket for a shorter journey for
which the proper charge is 18 cents the estafa is committed at
the place where his account was rendered and the stub of the
false ticket turned in.

The fact that the Court of First Instance of Manila took


jurisdiction of the offense charged, because, in the opinion of
the court, the place of the commission of the crime was not
clearly shown, is not an obstacle to the court's declaring itself
to be without jurisdiction as soon as the lack of jurisdiction
appeared from proceedings subsequently had. Jurisdiction

Assistant Attorney-General Constantino, for the Government,


and Jose Robles Lahesa, for private prosecutor.
A.A. Montagne, for appellee.

30 | P a g e

over criminal cases can not be conferred by consent. (Art. 23 2. ID.; ESTOPPEL; DIFFERENT WAYS A PARTY MAY BE
of the compilation above cited.)
BARRED FROM RAISING QUESTION. A party may be
estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways
We therefore affirm the order appealed, with the costs of this
and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais,
instance to the appellant.
of estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Cooper, Willard, and Ladd, JJ., concur.
3. ID.; LACHES; DEFINITION. Laches, in a general sense,
=============================================== is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained
=============================================== length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence,
=============================================== could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or
=============================================== omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting
a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
Republic of the Philippines
abandoned it or declined to assert it.
SUPREME COURT
Manila
4. ID.; ID.; BASIS. The doctrine of laches or of "stale
demands" is based upon grounds of public policy which
EN BANC
requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale
claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a mere
G.R. No. L-21450
April 15, 1968
question of time but is principally a question of the inequity or
unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or
asserted.
SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias GAVINO
5. ID.; ID.; INSTANCES WHEN PARTY MAY BE ESTOPPED
SIBONGHANOY and LUCIA BAGUIO, defendants,
FROM INVOKING QUESTION OF JURISDICTION. A
MANILA SURETY AND FIDELITY CO., INC. (CEBU
party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure
BRANCH) bonding company and defendant-appellant.
affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or
failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same
jurisdiction. The question whether the court had jurisdiction
F. S. Urot and G. A. Uriate for plaintiffs-appellees.
either of the subject matter of the action or of the parties was
Carlos J. Cuizon for defendants Gavino Sibonghanoy and
not important in such cases because the party is barred from
Lucia Baguio.
Villaluz Law Office, Velasco Law Office, Pages and Soberano such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court
for defendant-appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, is valid and conclusive as an adjudication, but for the reason
that such a practice cannot be tolerated obviously for
Inc
reasons of public policy.
SYLLABUS
6. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO RAISE QUESTION OF
1. REMEDIAL LAW; COURTS; JURISDICTION; PARTY JURISDICTION AT AN EARLIER STAGE BARS PARTY
GUILTY OF LACHES MAY NOT INVOKE LACK OF FROM QUESTIONING IT LATER. Where from the time the
JURISDICTION ON APPEAL AS IN INSTANT CASE. It is Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it could have
undisputed fact that the action commenced by appellees in raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the Court of
the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the Sibonghanoy First Instance of Cebu by reason of the sum of money
spouses was for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only involved which was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of
an amount within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior inferior courts but failed to do so and instead, at several
courts in accordance with the provisions of the Judiciary Act of stages of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the
1948 which had taken effect about a month prior to the date Court of Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to
when the action was commenced. True also is the rule that obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final
jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred upon the adjudication on the merits, and it was only after an adverse
courts exclusively by law, and as the lack of it affects the very decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally
authority of the court to take cognizance of the case, the raised said question of jurisdiction, to sanction such conduct
objection may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. on its part would in effect be declaring as useless all the
However, considering the facts and circumstances of the proceedings had in the present case since it was commenced
present case, We are of the opinion that the Surety is now on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to go up
barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for their Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is
the purpose of annulling everything done heretofore in the not only patent but revolting.
case with its active participation.

31 | P a g e

DECISION
DIZON, J.:
On July 19, 1948 barely one month after the effectivity of
Republic Act No. 296 known as the Judiciary Act of 1948
the spouses Serafin Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog commenced
Civil Case No. R-660 in the Court of First Instance of Cebu
against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia
Baguio to recover from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal
interest thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint
until the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in
the complaint, a writ of attachment was issued by the court
against defendants' properties, but the same was soon
dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by defendants and
the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. hereinafter referred to
as the Surety, on the 31st of the same month.

Rules, and in due time it filed its brief raising therein no other
question but the ones covered by the following assignment of
errors:
I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order
dated November 2, 1957, by holding the incident as submitted
for resolution, without a summary hearing and compliance
with the other mandatory requirements provided for in Section
17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court.
II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the
issuance of execution against the herein bonding companyappellant.

III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the


motion to quash the writ of execution filed by the herein
After being duly served with summons the defendants filed bonding company-appellant as well as its subsequent motion
their answer in which, after making some admissions and for reconsideration, and/or in not quashing or setting aside the
denials of the material averments of the complaint, they writ of execution.
interposed a counterclaim. This counterclaim was answered
by the plaintiffs.
Not one of the assignment of errors it is obvious raises
the question of lack of jurisdiction, neither directly nor
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered indirectly.
judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and, after the same had
become final and executory, upon motion of the latter, the
Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of
Court issued a writ of execution against the defendants. The
Appeals, on December 11, 1962, decided the case affirming
writ having been returned unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for
the orders appealed from.
the issuance of a writ of execution against the Surety's bond
(Rec. on Appeal, pp. 46-49), against which the Surety filed a
On January 8, 1963 five days after the Surety received
written opposition (Id. pp. 49) upon two grounds, namely, (1)
notice of the decision, it filed a motion asking for extension of
Failure to prosecute and (2) Absence of a demand upon the
time within which to file a motion for reconsideration. The
Surety for the payment of the amount due under the
Court of Appeals granted the motion in its resolution of
judgment. Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the Court
January 10 of the same year. Two days later the Surety filed a
not only to deny the motion for execution against its counterpleading entitled MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially
bond but also the following affirmative relief : "to relieve the
that appellees action was filed in the Court of First Instance of
herein bonding company of its liability, if any, under the bond
Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of
in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court denied this motion on the
P1,908.00 only; that a month before that date Republic Act
ground solely that no previous demand had been made on the
No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had
Surety for the satisfaction of the judgment. Thereafter the
already become effective, Section 88 of which placed within
necessary demand was made, and upon failure of the Surety
the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil
to satisfy the judgment, the plaintiffs filed a second motion for
actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of
execution against the counterbond. On the date set for the
the demand does not exceed P2,000.00, exclusive of interest
hearing thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's
and costs; that the Court of First Instance therefore had no
counsel, granted the latter a period of five days within which
jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Upon these premises
to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file such answer, the
the Surety's motion prayed the Court of Appeals to set aside
Court granted the motion for execution and the corresponding
its decision and to dismiss the case. By resolution of January
writ was issued.
16, 1963 the Court of Appeals required the appellees to
answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so.
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the
Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year, the Court resolved
ground that the same was issued without the required
to set aside its decision and to certify the case to Us. The
summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of Rule 59 of the
pertinent portions of its resolution read as follows:
Rules of Court. As the Court denied the motion, the Surety
appealed to the Court of Appeals from such order of denial
It would indeed appear from the record that the action at bar,
and from the one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p.
which is a suit for collection of money in the sum of exactly
97). Its record on appeal was then printed as required by the

32 | P a g e

P1,908.00 exclusive of interest, was originally instituted in the


Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948. But about a
month prior to the filing of the complaint, more specifically on
June 17, 1948, the Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect, depriving
the Court of First Instance of original jurisdiction over cases in
which the demand, exclusive of interest, is not more than
P2,000.00. (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b], R.A. No. 296.)

the purpose of annuling everything done heretofore in the


case with its active participation.
As already stated, the action was commenced in the Court of
First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948, that is, almost fifteen
years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss on January
12, 1963 raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first
time.

We believe, therefore, that the point raised in appellant's


motion is an important one which merits serious
consideration. As stated, the complaint was filed on July 19,
1948. This case therefore has been pending now for almost
15 years, and throughout the entire proceeding appellant
never raised the question of jurisdiction until after receipt of
this Court's adverse decision.

It must be remembered that although the action, originally,


was exclusively against the Sibonghanoy spouses the Surety
became a quasi-party therein since July 31, 1948 when it filed
a counter-bond for the dissolution of the writ of attachment
issued by the court of origin (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-19).
Since then, it acquired certain rights and assumed specific
obligations in connection with the pending case, in
There are three cases decided by the Honorable Supreme accordance with sections 12 and 17, Rule 57, Rules of Court
Court which may be worthy of consideration in connection (Bautista vs. Joaquin, 46 Phil. 885; Kimpang & Co. vs. Javier,
with this case, namely: Tyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas 65 Phil. 170).
Compaia de Seguros, et al., G.R. No. L-10096, March 23,
1956; Pindangan Agricultural Co., Inc. vs. Jose P. Dans, etc., Upon the filing of the first motion for execution against the
et al., G.R. No. L-14591, September 26, 1962; and Alfredo counter-bond the Surety not only filed a written opposition
Montelibano, et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. thereto praying for its denial but also asked for an
No. L-15092, September 29, 1962, wherein the Honorable additional affirmative relief that it be relieved of its liability
Supreme Court frowned upon the 'undesirable practice' of under the counter-bond upon the grounds relied upon in
appellants submitting their case for decision and then support of its opposition lack of jurisdiction of the court a
accepting the judgment, if favorable, but attacking it for lack of quo not being one of them.
jurisdiction when adverse.
Then, at the hearing on the second motion for execution
Considering, however, that the Supreme Court has the against the counter-bond, the Surety appeared, through
"exclusive" appellate jurisdiction over "all cases in which the counsel, to ask for time within which to file an answer or
jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue" (See. 1, Par. 3[3], opposition thereto. This motion was granted, but instead of
Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended), we have no choice but to such answer or opposition, the Surety filed the motion to
certify, as we hereby do certify, this case to the Supreme dismiss mentioned heretofore.
Court.1wph1.t
A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in
ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act of different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of
1948 as amended, let the record of this case be forwarded to estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of
the Supreme Court.
estoppel by laches.
It is an undisputed fact that the action commenced by
appellees in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the
Sibonghanoy spouses was for the recovery of the sum of
P1,908.00 only an amount within the original exclusive
jurisdiction of inferior courts in accordance with the provisions
of the Judiciary Act of 1948 which had taken effect about a
month prior to the date when the action was commenced.
True also is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is
conferred upon the courts exclusively by law, and as the lack
of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance
of the case, the objection may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings. However, considering the facts and
circumstances of the present case which shall forthwith be
set forth We are of the opinion that the Surety is now
barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for

Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an


unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that
which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been
done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right
within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the
party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined
to assert it.
The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon
grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of
society, the discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the
statute of limitations, is not a mere question of time but is
principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of
permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted.

33 | P a g e

It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of
a court to sure affirmative relief against his opponent and,
after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or
question that same jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694,
86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining the
rule, it was further said that the question whether the court
had jurisdiction either of the subject-matter of the action or of
the parties was not important in such cases because the party
is barred from such conduct not because the judgment or
order of the court is valid and conclusive as an adjudication,
but for the reason that such a practice can not be tolerated
obviously for reasons of public policy.

Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the
entire record, We have become persuaded that We can do
nothing better than to quote in toto, with approval, the
decision rendered by the Court of Appeals on December 11,
1962 as follows:

Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily


submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on
the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction
or power of the court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243
U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs.
McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 L. Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs.
Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that it is not right for a
party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court
in a particular matter to secure an affirmative relief, to
afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.

After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs.

Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases


mentioned in the resolution of the Court of Appeals of May 20,
1963 (supra) to the effect that we frown upon the
"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for
decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable,
and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse as
well as in Pindagan etc. vs. Dans, et al., G.R. L-14591,
September 26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. Bacolod-Murcia
Milling Co., Inc., G.R. L-15092; Young Men Labor Union etc.
vs. The Court of Industrial Relation et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb.
26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277.

In Civil Case No. R-660 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu,


which was a suit for collection of a sum of money, a writ of
attachment was issued against defendants' properties. The
attachment, however, was subsequently discharged under
Section 12 of Rule 59 upon the filing by defendants of a bond
subscribed by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.

The writ of execution against defendants having been


returned totally unsatisfied, plaintiffs moved, under Section 17
of Rule 59, for issuance of writ of execution against Manila
Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. to enforce the obligation of the
bond. But the motion was, upon the surety's opposition,
denied on the ground that there was "no showing that a
demand had been made, by the plaintiffs to the bonding
company for payment of the amount due under the judgment"
(Record on Appeal, p. 60).
Hence, plaintiffs made the necessary demand upon the surety
for satisfaction of the judgment, and upon the latter's failure to
pay the amount due, plaintiffs again filed a motion dated
October 31, 1957, for issuance of writ of execution against the
surety, with notice of hearing on November 2, 1957. On
October 31, 1957, the surety received copy of said motion
and notice of hearing.

It appears that when the motion was called on November 2,


1957, the surety's counsel asked that he be given time within
which to answer the motion, and so an order was issued in
The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety open court, as follows:1wph1.t
became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it could have raised
the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First As prayed for, Atty. Jose P. Soberano, Jr., counsel for the
Instance of Cebu to take cognizance of the present action by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., Cebu Branch, is given until
reason of the sum of money involved which, according to the Wednesday, November 6, 1957, to file his answer to the
law then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction motion for the issuance of a writ of execution dated October
of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at several stages 30, 1957 of the plaintiffs, after which this incident shall be
of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the Court of deemed submitted for resolution.
Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to obtain
affirmative relief and submitted its case for a final adjudication SO ORDERED.
on the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was
rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to Given in open court, this 2nd day of November, 1957, at Cebu
raise the question of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such City, Philippines.
conduct on its part, We would in effect be declaring as
useless all the proceedings had in the present case since it (Sgd.) JOSE M. MENDOZA
was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment Judge
creditors to go up their Calvary once more. The inequity and
unfairness of this is not only patent but revolting.

34 | P a g e

(Record on Appeal, pp.


64-65, emphasis ours)
Since the surety's counsel failed to file any answer or
objection within the period given him, the court, on December
7, 1957, issued an order granting plaintiffs' motion for
execution against the surety; and on December 12, 1957, the
corresponding writ of execution was issued.
On December 24, 1957, the surety filed a motion to quash the
writ of execution on the ground that the same was "issued
without the requirements of Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules
of Court having been complied with," more specifically, that
the same was issued without the required "summary hearing".
This motion was denied by order of February 10, 1958.
On February 25, 1958, the surety filed a motion for
reconsideration of the above-stated order of denial; which
motion was likewise denied by order of March 26, 1958.
From the above-stated orders of February 10, 1958 and
March 26, 1958 denying the surety's motion to quash the
writ of execution and motion for reconsideration, respectively
the surety has interposed the appeal on hand.
The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its
motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was
issued without the summary hearing required by Section 17 of
Rule 59, which reads;
"Sec. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery had
upon bond. If the execution be returned unsatisfied in
whole or in part, the surety or sureties on any bond given
pursuant to the provisions of this role to secure the payment
of the judgment shall become finally charged on such bond,
and bound to pay to the plaintiff upon demand the amount
due under the judgment, which amount may be recovered
from such surety or sureties after notice and summary
hearing in the same action." (Emphasis ours)

In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs'
motion for execution and of the date when the same would be
submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was
present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon
his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days
within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to
lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot
now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in
court.
It is argued that the surety's counsel did not file an answer to
the motion "for the simple reason that all its defenses can be
set up during the hearing of the motion even if the same are
not reduced to writing" (Appellant's brief, p. 4). There is
obviously no merit in this pretense because, as stated above,
the record will show that when the motion was called, what
the surety's counsel did was to ask that he be allowed and
given time to file an answer. Moreover, it was stated in the
order given in open court upon request of the surety's counsel
that after the four-day period within which to file an answer,
"the incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution"; and
counsel apparently agreed, as the order was issued upon his
instance and he interposed no objection thereto.
It is also urged that although according to Section 17 of Rule
59, supra, there is no need for a separate action, there must,
however, be a separate judgment against the surety in order
to hold it liable on the bond (Appellant's Brief, p. 15). Not so,
in our opinion. A bond filed for discharge of attachment is, per
Section 12 of Rule 59, "to secure the payment to the plaintiff
of any judgment he may recover in the action," and stands "in
place of the property so released". Hence, after the judgment
for the plaintiff has become executory and the execution is
"returned unsatisfied" (Sec. 17, Rule 59), as in this case, the
liability of the bond automatically attaches and, in failure of the
surety to satisfy the judgment against the defendant despite
demand therefor, writ of execution may issue against the
surety to enforce the obligation of the bond.

UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are


Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellant Manila
formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is
resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in Reyes, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro,
preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.
(Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is
notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to ===============================================
hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, ===============================================
after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties" ===============================================
(Ibid., pp. 793-794); and as to the extent and latitude of the ===============================================
hearing, the same will naturally lie upon the discretion of the
court, depending upon the attending circumstances and the
nature of the incident up for consideration.

35 | P a g e

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
SECOND DIVISION

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants


contained herein and intending to be legally bound hereby,
the parties agree as follows:
1. Tanchanco shall cooperate with any and all Philippine
Government investigations or prosecutions pursuant to
Executive Order No. 1.

G.R. Nos. 141675-96 November 25, 2005


JESUS T. TANCHANCO and ROMEO R.
LACSON, Petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE SANDI-GANBAYAN (Second
Division), Respondent.
DECISION
Tinga, J.:

2. "Cooperation" means that Tanchanco shall provide


complete, candid and absolutely truthful disclosures, in
response to any and all questions and inquiries that may be
put to him/her in connection with the Philippines
investigations, civil actions, criminal prosecutions, or any
other proceedings whether in the Philippines, the United
States or elsewhere. Further, upon the request of the
Philippines, Tanchanco will offer such cooperation in
investigations
and
proceedings
brought
by
other
governments, including but not limited to the United States
and Switzerland.

The Courts duty to enforce the law takes on greater


imperative when in so doing, it compels the execution of
commitments made by the State to its citizens. However the
modality a right or privilege is granted by the State to a person
whether under the Constitution, a statute or a mere contract
recognition thereof is required by the government and, if
need be, mandated by this Court.

Cooperation also means a disgorgement of assets, if any,


acquired in violation of Philippine laws, rules and regulations.
Cooperation further means a full disclosure of assets and
liabilities, beneficially owned by Tanchanco. Any assets not
therein listed as Tanchancos personal property, and
thereafter discovered to be in Tanchancos name or under
his/her legal or beneficial control, directly or indirectly, as of
Presently for consideration is what appears to be a broken the date of this Agreement, shall become the property of the
covenant by the State, made particularly by the Presidential PCGG.
Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to former National
Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jesus Tanchanco 3. Should any of Tanchancos statements or testimonies be
(Tanchanco), one of the petitioners at bar. Granted, it is a false, misleading or materially incomplete, or should
covenant that should not be lightly undertaken, involving as it Tanchanco knowingly fail to act with total honesty and candor
does the grant of criminal immunity. Notwithstanding, the legal in any such matters, the Philippines shall no longer be bound
order has never subscribed to the notion that promises are by any of its representations contained herein. Immunities and
other considerations granted in reliance thereof, shall be null
meant to be broken.
and void.
We begin with the facts.

In return for the above, the Philippines hereby represents and


Tanchanco served as NFA Administrator from 1972 to 1986, agrees as follows:
during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. His co-petitioner
Romeo Lacson (Lacson) was the Deputy Administrator of the (1) At a time to be mutually agreed upon between
Tanchanco and the Philippines, the Philippines shall
NFA when he was the Administrator.
move to dismiss all actions that are presently pending
On 6 May 1988, Tanchanco and the PCGG entered into against Tanchanco before the Sandiganbayan and any
a Cooperation Agreement,1 occasioned by the desire of such other courts;
Tanchanco to cooperate with the Philippine government in
connection with the latters efforts in the location and pursuit
of government properties "purloined" by Ferdinand and
Imelda Marcos, their agents and others who hold property on
their behalf. In the Cooperation Agreement, the parties
stipulated as follows:

(2) The Philippines shall lift any sequestration orders


against Tanchancos properties, if any, and rescind hold
orders it may have issued against his/her actions;
(3) The Philippines shall not bring any additional civil or
criminal charges against Tanchanco, arising from:

36 | P a g e

(A) Service in or for the Marcos government;

Division. On 2 September 1997, Tanchanco and Lacson


pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.7

(B) Any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to


his/her cooperation as defined in this Agreement.
On 26 November 1997, Tanchanco and Lacson filed a Motion
to Quash and/or Dismiss all 22 cases, citing as basis
Except as expressly set forth herein, there is no the Cooperation Agreement which was said to have granted
understanding or agreement of any kind between the immunity to Tanchanco from criminal prosecution. They
Philippines or its counsel, and Tanchanco, concerning the likewise presented an affidavit executed by former Vicepossible use(s) of his/her liability for criminal or civil President Emmanuel Pelaez, who was serving as Philippine
Ambassador to the United States at the time of the New York
prosecution by the Philippines, or any other jurisdiction.
trial of Imelda Marcos. In his affidavit, Ambassador Pelaez
Nothing in this Agreement between the Philippines and relevantly stated:
Tanchanco is conditioned on the result of any proceedings
that might be brought or have been brought against Ferdinand 2. During my incumbency as Ambassador, I had the privilege
or Imelda Marcos or others in connection with the information to assist the Philippine Government thru the Presidential
provided or to be provided. Thus none of the obligations or Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in obtaining the
undertakings described above are in any way dependent full cooperation of Mr. Jesus Tanchanco relative to its
upon a jurys or courts verdict at any trial, or the success of investigation on the transfer of TEN MILLION PESOS
(P10,000,000.00) rebate obtained by the National Food
any criminal or civil prosecution.2
Authority (NFA) from the Philippine National Lines (PNL) to
Significantly, Tanchanco was called upon as one of the the Security Bank. The scope of investigation also
witnesses for the prosecution in the case filed against Imelda encompassed the controversial use of discretionary and/or
Marcos in New York for violation of the so-called RICO Act. It intelligence funds by the Marcos Administration particularly
appears that his testimony was elicited concerning the involving the funds of NFA during the administratorship of Mr.
transfer of P10,000,000.00 rebate obtained by the NFA from Tanchanco.
the Philippine National Lines to the Security Bank, as well as
the matter of the use of discretionary and/or intelligence funds 3. In this regard, sometime May 1990, I invited Mr. Jesus
by the Marcos administration involving the funds of the NFA Tanchanco, on behalf of PCGG, to my office in Washington,
D.C. to have an investigative meeting with Atty. Severina
during Tanchancos administration.3
Rivera and Atty. Labella, both of whom presented PCGG in
Nonetheless, a criminal case, docketed as Criminal Case No. cases against the Marcoses in the U.S. On this occasion, it
16950, was filed in 1991 against Tanchanco with the was explained to Mr. Tanchanco that his disclosure/testimony
Sandiganbayan for malversation of public funds in the amount on the adverted P10M fund transfer and the matter of
of P10,000,000.00 from the Philippine National Bank. discretionary and intelligence funds of the NFA were
Tanchanco filed a Motion for Reinvestigation, wherein he indispensable to the Philippine Governments case against
argued that the case should be dismissed as he had been the Marcoses. I urged him to cooperate with the Government
granted immunity from the said suit by the PCGG. Eventually, and he signified his willingness to do so.
the Sandiganbayan First Division agreed with Tanchanco and
in a Resolution dated 27 October 2000, the case was ordered 4. After a time of reflection, Mr. Tanchanco obliged, and he
thereafter had lengthy question and answer sessions with
dismissed.4
Attys. Rivera and Labella on the aforesaid major and other
8
However, Criminal Case No. 16950 proved to be only just one collateral issues.
of several attempts of the government to prosecute
Tanchanco. In 1997, a total of 22 Informations were filed with Still, the motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan Second
the Sandiganbayan against Tanchanco. He was charged with Division in a Resolution dated 5 March 1999.9 The
21 counts of Malversation of Public Funds under Article 217 of Sandiganbayan examined Section 5 of Executive Order (E.O.)
the Revised Penal Code, and one count of Failure of No. 14, which empowered the PCGG to grant immunity from
Accountable Officer to Render Accounts under Article 218 of criminal prosecution, and ruled that the grant of immunity by
the same Code.5 Lacson was charged as a co-defendant in the PCGG pertained only to offenses which may arise from
the act of a person testifying or giving information in
four of the
connection with the recovery of supposed ill-gotten wealth.
6
informations for Malversation of Public Funds. These cases
were consolidated and raffled to the Sandiganbayan Second Respondent court declared that the charges of malversation
and failure to render an accounting could not be considered

37 | P a g e

as falling within the immunity granted to Tanchanco as the


offenses were not related or connected to the testimony or
information furnished by Tanchanco in a proceeding
concerning the recovery of the purported ill-gotten wealth of
the Marcoses. The Sandiganbayan opined that the PCGG
could not have intended the grant of immunity to extend to
any other crime which Tanchanco may have committed while
serving the Marcos Administration, "such as bribery and
rape," since such was beyond the scope of the PCGG to
bestow. To construe the grant of immunity so broadly, held the
Sandiganbayan, would violate the equal protection clause of
the Constitution, as well as the due process clause.10
The Sandiganbayan likewise concluded that even assuming
the immunity granted by the Cooperation Agreementcovered
the offenses charged against Tanchanco, the same could not
benefit Lacson, as he was not a party to the immunity
agreement.11
A Motion for Reconsideration filed by Tanchanco and Lacson
was denied in a Resolution dated 28 December 1998, the
Sandiganbayan declaring therein that the crimes to which
petitioners were charged "are beyond the authority and
mandate of the PCGG."12
Petitioners now argue before this Court that the grant of
immunity under the Cooperation Agreementencompassed the
subject charges. They note that Tanchanco had given
testimony in the United States regarding the intelligence fund
of the NFA, which was used by President Marcos for his own
personal benefit. Petitioners advert to the affidavit attesting to
such testimony by Ambassador Pelaez. It is argued that
Tanchanco had complied with all his commitments made in
the Cooperation Agreement, and it would be the height of
"gross distortion of justice and both moral and legal outrage
for the government now to welch on the said Agreement" after
Tanchanco had already testified against the Marcoses.
Petitioners likewise cite the relevant jurisprudence concerning
the grant of immunity from criminal prosecution by the PCGG.

not covered by the immunity granted by the PCGG, which


pertained only to offenses which may arise from his act in
testifying or giving information in connection with the recovery
of ill-gotten wealth.15
Before delving into the merits, we make two preliminary
qualifications. First, the general rule under Rule 117 of the
Rules of Criminal Procedure is that the accused may move to
quash the complaint or information at any time before entering
his plea and the failure of the accused to assert any ground of
a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or
information shall be deemed a waiver of any objection. 16 In
this case, Tanchanco and Lacson had pleaded not guilty in all
the subject cases on 2 September 1997, two months before
they filed the instant Motion to Quash and/or Dismiss in
November of 1997. Nonetheless, Section 9 of Rule 117
expressly qualifies that the failure to timely raise the objection
of lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged cannot be
waived,17 and may be raised or considered motu proprio by
the court at any stage of the proceedings or on appeal. 18 Such
objection could be raised through a motion to dismiss when it
is no longer timely to file a motion to quash. 19 We have no
doubt that a claim of immunity from prosecution arising from
an immunity statute or agreement is a jurisdictional question.
A statutory grant of immunity enjoins the prosecution of a
criminal action and thus deprives the court of jurisdiction to
proceed.20
Accordingly, the invocation of immunity may have been the
proper subject of petitioners instant motion, and properly
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan even after the plea had
been entered. We need not belabor this point further,
especially since none of the parties, and certainly not the
Sandiganbayan, have either raised or considered this aspect
of the case.

Second, we note that different circumstances obtain between


Tanchanco and Lacson, the latter being evidently not a party
to any immunity agreement with the Philippine government.
Thus, it is proper to treat their cases separately. We first rule
The Office of the Special Prosecutor, on behalf of the People on Tanchancos claim of immunity.
of the Philippines, cites the comment filed by the PCGG to
the Motion
to
Quash
and/or
Dismiss before
the The Plain Meaning of the
Sandiganbayan, wherein it alleged that contrary to the terms
of the Cooperation Agreement, Tanchanco had not yet Cooperation Agreement
provided the PCGG "a full disclosure of assets and liabilities
beneficially owned by Tanchanco." 13 This claim is countered Our first point of reference understandably is the Cooperation
by petitioners, who assert before this Court that he had Agreement. Therein, we note that the grant of immunity to
already submitted such disclosure to the PCGG even prior to Tanchanco is deliberately broad. It is stipulated that the
the execution and signing of theCooperation Agreement.14
government "shall not bring any additional civil or criminal
charges against Tanchanco arising from: (a) service in or for
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing the Marcos government; and (b) any other actions revealed
respondent Sandiganbayan, provides a different argument by Tanchanco pursuant to his/her (sic) cooperation as defined
against petitioners. The OSG reiterates the position of the in this Agreement."21
Sandiganbayan that the 22 charges against Tanchanco were

38 | P a g e

The undertakings expressed by the Philippine government


through the PCGG in the Cooperation Agreement are quite
clear-cut, even if broad in scope. Facially, it seemingly
encompasses three classes of actions committed by
Tanchanco: those committed while he was in the service of
the Marcos government; those committed in behalf of the
Marcos government; and any other act revealed by him in the
course of his cooperation with the PCGG.

Other provisions of the Cooperation Agreement likewise


indicate that the intent of the PCGG, as representative of the
Philippine government, was to offer Tanchanco broad
protection from criminal prosecution. The Second Whereas
Clause expresses that both Tanchanco and the PCGG "are
desirous of resolving their differences and settling all litigation
between them".22 Moreover, it is stipulated that "none of the
obligations or undertakings described [herein] are in any way
dependent upon a jurys or courts verdict at any trial, or the
Especially telling are the segregations made in the success of any criminal or civil prosecution."23
classification of the acts covered by the grant of criminal
immunity. First, the distinction is laid, as signified by the We thus cannot accept the conclusion that the intent of the
conjunctive "or", between those acts committed by Tanchanco parties to the Cooperation Agreement was to limit the scope
arising from service in the Marcos government and those of immunity to cover only offenses arising from the testimony
committed for or in behalf of the Marcos government. The or information given by Tanchanco pursuant to his
difference between those two classes of acts is crucial, for if cooperation; or that said agreement pertains only to those
the agreement is construed plainly, the immunity covers not offenses committed by Tanchanco in behalf of the Marcos
only those acts committed by Tanchanco for the benefit or government. Such limited construction is belied by the clear
under the instruction of the Marcoses, but even those acts of terms of the Cooperation Agreement.
Tanchanco which may not have been tinged with the
involvement of Marcos or his government yet which The reasons or motives of the PCGG in agreeing to so broad
nevertheless occurred during Tanchancos term as NFA an immunity agreement are not evidently determinable, yet
Administrator.
ultimately excluded from the scope of judicial inquiry. In Mapa
v. Sandiganbayan,24 the Court was asked to rule on the range
On the face of the document, we cannot simply say that the and power of the courts to review the exercise of discretion of
clause should be read as covering only those acts of the PCGG in granting immunity pursuant to Section 5 of E.O.
Tanchanco which he committed for the Marcos government No. 14. The Court, speaking through now Senior Associate
while he was in service as NFA Administrator. The use of the Justice Reynato S. Puno, ruled that such review "can go no
word "or" signifies the joinder of two distinct concepts: further than to pass upon [the immunity grants] procedural
"service in" and "service for", and it is our conclusion that the regularity", and is especially limited to the questions of "(a)
PCGG and Tanchanco, in forging the Cooperation whether the person claiming immunity has provided
Agreement purposively intended to segregate acts arising information or testimony in any investigation conducted by the
from "service in" and acts arising from "service for" the PCGG in the discharge of its functions; (b) whether in the
Marcos government.
bona fide judgment of the PCGG, the information or testimony
given would establish the unlawful manner in which the
The Cooperation Agreement also utilizes a distinction respondent, defendant or accused has acquired or
between these acts arising from "service in or for the Marcos accumulated the property or properties in question; and (c)
government", and "any other actions revealed by Tanchanco whether in the bona fide judgment of the PCGG, such
pursuant to [his] cooperation as defined in the Agreement." information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove
This qualification is again crucial, as it is the contention of the the guilt or civil liability of the respondent, defendant or
OSG that the scope of immunity is limited only to those accused."25
offenses which may arise from his act in testifying or giving
information in connection with the recovery of ill-gotten The ruling in Mapa, which was ignored by the
wealth. Immunity from criminal prosecution arising from those Sandiganbayan, establishes several principles that govern
acts elicited from Tanchanco in the course of his cooperation this case as seen in our subsequent discussion. But the first
falls squarely within the second ground for immunity, "any integral point which we now invoke is that the reasons or
other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to [his] motives of the PCGG in granting broad criminal immunity to
cooperation." If indeed, as the OSG suggests, the scope of Tanchanco are beyond the scope of judicial review. The more
immunity is limited to those offenses that arise from appropriate legal question now lies as to whether the PCGG,
Tanchancos act in testifying or giving information, then why in entering into the Cooperation Agreement, acted within the
the provision of the first ground of immunity under scope of its statutory authority to extend immunity in the first
the Cooperation Agreement, for acts arising from "service in place? Does such authority encompass the broadly granted
or service for the Marcos government"? The provision is there immunity as so plainly expressed in the Cooperation
to effectuate what it declares.
Agreement?

39 | P a g e

Statutory Authority of PCGG

hamper the investigation or otherwise


Commission from accomplishing its task."

prevent

the

To Extend Criminal Immunity


Before we examine the particular statutory authority of the
PCGG to extend criminal immunity, it is useful to recall the
unique nature and mandate of the PCGG itself. The seminal
case of BASECO v. PCGG26 explained the background behind
the creation of the PCGG through E.O. No. 1.
The impugned executive orders are avowedly meant to carry
out the explicit command of the Provisional Constitution,
ordained by Proclamation No. 3, that the President in the
exercise of legislative power which she was authorized to
continue to wield "(u)ntil a legislature is elected and convened
under a new Constitution" "shall give priority to
measures to achieve the mandate of the people," among
others to (r)ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the
leaders and supporters of the previous regime and
protect the interest of the people through orders of
sequestration or freezing of assets or accounts."
xxx
Executive Order No. 1 stresses the "urgent need to recover
all ill-gotten wealth," and postulates that "vast resources
of the government have been amassed by former
President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family,
relatives, and close associates both here and
abroad." Upon
these
premises,
the
Presidential
Commission on Good Government was created, "charged
with the task of assisting the President in regard to . . .
(certain specified) matters," among which was precisely
". . . The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by
former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate
family, relatives, subordinates and close associates,
whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including
the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises
and entities owned or controlled by them, during his
administration, directly or through nominees, by taking
undue advantage of their public office and/or using their
powers, authority, influence, connections or relationship."

"2. "To provisionally take over in the public interest or to


prevent the disposal or dissipation, business enterprises and
properties taken over by the government of the Marcos
Administration or by entities or persons close to former
President Marcos, until the transactions leading to such
acquisition by the latter can be disposed of by the appropriate
authorities.
"3. "To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission
of acts by any person or entity that may render moot and
academic, or frustrate or otherwise make ineffectual the
efforts of the Commission to carry out its task under this
order."
So that it might ascertain the facts germane to its objectives, it
was granted power to conduct investigations; require
submission of evidence by subpoenae ad testificandum and
duces tecum; administer oaths; punish for contempt. It was
given power also to promulgate such rules and regulations as
may be necessary to carry out the purposes of . . . (its
creation.)."
xxx
Executive Order No. 2 gives additional and more specific data
and directions respecting "the recovery of ill-gotten properties
amassed by the leaders and supporters of the previous
regime." It declares that:
1) ". . . the Government of the Philippines is in possession of
evidence showing that there are assets and properties
purportedly pertaining to former Ferdinand E. Marcos, and/or
his wife Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their close relatives,
subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents or
nominees which had been or were acquired by them directly
or indirectly, through or as a result of the improper or illegal
use of funds or properties owned by the government of the
Philippines or any of its branches, instrumentalities,
enterprises, banks or financial institutions, or by taking undue
advantage of their office, authority, influence, connections or
relationship, resulting in their unjust enrichment and causing
grave damage and prejudice to the Filipino people and the
Republic of the Philippines;" and

In relation to the takeover or sequestration that it was


authorized to undertake in the fulfillment of its mission, the
PCGG was granted "power and authority" to do the following
particular acts, to wit:
2) ". . . said assets and properties are in the form of bank
accounts, deposits, trust accounts, shares of stocks,
1. "To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its buildings, shopping centers, condominiums, mansions,
control or possession any building or office wherein any ill- residences, estates, and other kinds of real and personal
gotten wealth or properties may be found, and any records properties in the Philippines and in various countries of the
pertaining thereto, in order to prevent their destruction, world."
concealment or disappearance which would frustrate or

40 | P a g e

xxx

properties in question in any case where such information or


testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter's guilt
A third executive order is relevant: Executive Order No. 14, by or his civil liability."
which the PCGG is empowered, "with the assistance of the
Office of the Solicitor General and other government While there is no doubt that the information or testimony of
agencies, . . . to file and prosecute all cases investigated by the grantee must pertain to the manner of acquisition of illit . . . as may be warranted by its findings." All such cases, gotten wealth by the Marcoses, their close relatives and
whether civil or criminal, are to be filed "with the associates, the question now before us is whether the
Sandiganbayan, which shall have exclusive and original available immunity from criminal prosecution relates only to
jurisdiction thereof." Executive
the prosecution of the grantee in like minded cases. The
Sandiganbayan opined in the affirmative, declaring that "[t]he
Order No. 14 also pertinently provides that "(c)ivil suits for charges of malversation and failure to render an account
restitution, reparation of damages, or indemnification for cannot be considered within the purview of the immunity
consequential damages, forfeiture proceedings provided for granted to Tanchanco by the PCGG, since the offenses are
under Republic Act No. 1379, or any other civil actions under not related to or connected with the testimony or information
the Civil Code or other existing laws, in connection with . . . furnished by Tanchanco in a proceeding concerning the
(said Executive Orders Numbered 1 and 2) may be filed recovery of the purported ill-gotten wealth of the former
separately from and proceed independently of any criminal President, his relatives and associates." 30 We are constrained
proceedings and may be proved by a preponderance of to disagree.
evidence;" and that, moreover, the "technical rules of
procedure and evidence shall not be strictly applied to . . . The Court has been called upon before to construe Section 5
(said) civil cases."27
of E.O. No. 14-A. As earlier noted, the Court inMapa31 held
that the power of the Sandiganbayan to review such grant of
Executive Order No. 14, as amended by E.O. No. 14-A, immunity by the PCGG could "go no further than to pass upon
defines "the jurisdiction over cases involving the ill-gotten its procedural regularity." In Chavez v. PCGG,32 the Court
wealth of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Mrs. Imelda reiterated that the conditions under which the PCGG may
R. Marcos, members of their immediate family, close relatives, grant criminal immunity were: "(1) the person to whom
subordinates, close and/or business associates, dummies, criminal immunity is granted provides information or testifies
agents and nominees."28 It is Section 5 thereof, as amended, in an investigation conducted by the Commission; (2) the
which authorizes the PCGG to grant immunity from criminal information or testimony pertains to the unlawful manner in
which the respondent, defendant or accused acquired or
prosecution, in the following manner:
accumulated ill-gotten property; and (3) such information or
Sec. 5. The Presidential Commission on Good testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove guilt or civil
33
Government is authorized to grant immunity from liability of such individual."
criminal prosecution to any person who provides
information or testifies in any investigation conducted by The Court in both cases adverted to the same
such Commission to establish the unlawful manner in characterization of criminal immunity under Section 5.
which any respondent, defendant or accused has Notably, the Court did not affirm the belief that the scope of
acquired or accumulated the property or properties in criminal immunity was limited to any class of criminal acts,
question in any case where such information or offenses, or casesunderstandable considering that Section 5
testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter's does not make any such qualification. Moreover, our ruling
guilt or his civil liability. The immunity thereby granted shall inMapa went as far as to squarely characterize the witness
be continued to protect the witness who repeats such under Section 5 of E.O. No. 14-A as "completely immunized
testimony before the Sandiganbayan when required to do so from prosecution."34 In the same case, the Court even
upheld the immunity granted to petitioners Mapa and Vergara
by the latter or by the Commission.29
despite the fact that the PCGG subsequently reversed track
From these premises, we can draw useful conclusions. and acceded to the prosecution of the said petitioners.
Section 5 is worded in such a manner as it does not provide
any express limitations as to the scope of immunity from To be certain, the Sandiganbayans conclusion in this case is
criminal prosecution that the PCGG is authorized to grant. not entirely off-base. We have recognized in this jurisdiction
The qualifications that Section 5 do provide relate to the that American common law generally recognizes two kinds of
character of the information or testimony before the PCGG of statutory criminal immunity available to a witness:
the grantee of immunity, namely, that it "establish[es] the transactional immunity and the use-and-derivative-use
unlawful manner in which any respondent, defendant or immunity.35 Transactional immunity is broader in the scope of
accused has acquired or accumulated the property or its protection. By its grant, a witness can no longer be

41 | P a g e

prosecuted for any offense whatsoever arising out of the act


or transaction to which the testimony relates. In contrast, by
the grant of use-and-derivative-use immunity, a witness is only
assured that his or her particular testimony and evidence
derived from it will not be used against him or her in a
subsequent prosecution.36

assurance of some protection, or perhaps corresponding


benefit on their part. There may be some inherent unease
with the notion that persons may acquit themselves of their
own criminal culpability by striking a deal with the
government, yet the process of compromise has long been
allowed in our jurisdiction, and in the jurisdiction of other
states as well.39 This holds especially true in the prosecution
Applying the broader standard of "transactional immunity", it of ill-gotten wealth cases, which not only involve monumental
might be argued that the immunity which the PCGG is amounts, but have also ineluctably acquired immense
authorized to grant to Tanchanco should pertain only to those symbolic value.
acts or offenses which are the subject of the information or
testimony given by him. Considering though that the The overwhelming need to prosecute the ill-gotten wealth
applicable law at hand does not make such a qualification, the cases is entrenched in statute and public policy. The stakes
adoption of that view would force us into a concession that the being as they are, the need is apparent for a highly conducive
legislative authority to grant criminal immunity is limited to environment under which witnesses may be induced to
transactional or use-and-derivative-use immunity. We cannot cooperate with the PCGG in the prosecution of the ill-gotten
accept the proposition.
wealth cases. The authorization of the PCGG to broadly
extend criminal immunity, as is apparent in the language of
Transactional immunity derives from common-law tradition, Section 5, is attuned to such aims. Certainly, Section 5 as
which gives greater deference to the weight of judicial constructed leads to a reasonable conclusion that the scope
precedents since the codification of laws by the legislature is of criminal immunity which the PCGG may offer need not be
atypical in practice. In our jurisdiction though, the definition of limited to prosecution relating to the information or testimony
crimes and provision of criminal penalties are ineluctably offered by the witness. And it is apparent on the face of
within the sole province of the legislative branch of the Cooperation Agreement with Tanchanco that the PCGG
government. It thus follows that this prerogative necessarily understood just as well that it had the power to grant criminal
empowers the legislative to enact conditions under which a immunity even over such acts which did not directly bear on
class of persons may be immune from criminal or civil the information or testimony.
prosecution. Since the legislature possesses sole discretion to
enact statutes to such effect, it is not obliged to conform with Our conclusion is also supported by the fact that based on the
judge-made standards, or even traditional modalities PCGG immunity agreements which have come before this
concerning the grant of criminal immunity. The solitary Court, the scope of offered immunity has proven variable. For
limitation on legislative grant of immunity, as with all other example, the grant of immunity accorded by the PCGG to
legislative acts, is adherence to the Constitution.
Jose Yao Campos and his family was qualified only by
reference to Section 5 of E.O. No. 14 40. On the other hand,
Another consideration impels us to sustain this broad the immunity received by Placido Mapa and Lorenzo Vergara
application of immunity under Section 5 of E.O. No. 14-A. We was limited over "any offense with reference to which [their]
cannot ignore the special circumstances under which the testimony and information are given, including any offense
PCGG was created, and the extra-ordinary powers with which and commission of which any information, directly or indirectly
it was vested. The Freedom Constitution itself, under which derived from such testimony or other information is used as
regime the body was created, recognized the need "to basis thereof, except a prosecution for perjury and/or giving
[r]ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and false testimony."41 In Tanchancos case, his entitlement to
supporters of the [Marcos] regime". It has been acknowledged criminal immunity applies to three determinate circumstances:
that the PCGG is "charged with the herculean task of bailing for acts committed while he was in the service of the Marcos
the country out of the financial bankruptcy and morass of the government; acts committed in behalf of the Marcos
previous regime and returning to the people what is rightfully government; and any other act revealed by him in the course
theirs."37 For this reason, the PCGG was granted quasi- of his cooperation with the PCGG.
judicial functions38 encompassing special investigatory and
prosecutorial powers, among them, the power to grant These variances are indicative of the fact that the PCGG has
immunity.
the discretion to vest appropriate levels of criminal immunity
according to the particular witness. There are several factors
In tracing and recovering the colossal sums of "ill-gotten that may affect this choice, which may include the relative
wealth", the PCGG would inevitably collide with powerful importance of the witness to the prosecution of ill-gotten
interests. Persons who would be able to assist in the wealth cases, the degree of culpability of such cases, or even
prosecution of cases of ill-gotten wealth may understandably the conditions expressed by the witness as sufficient to induce
be hesitant to cooperate with the PCGG without the cooperation. Given the language of Section 5, we do not

42 | P a g e

doubt the latitude afforded to the PCGG in determining the


extent of criminal immunity it can afford the cooperative
witness. Such is conformable to the unprecedented power of
the PCGG to grant criminal immunity. We made the following
pertinent observations in Mapa:
We observe that in contrast to our other laws on immunity,
section 5 of E.O. No. 14, as amended, confers on the PCGG
the power to grant immunity alone and on its own authority.
The exercise of the power is not shared with any other
authority. Nor is its exercise subject to the approval or
disapproval of another agency of government. The basic
reason for vesting the power exclusively on the PCGG lies in
the principles of separation of power. The decision to grant
immunity from prosecution forms a constituent part of the
prosecution process. It is essentially a tactical decision to
forego prosecution of a person for government to achieve a
higher objective. It is a deliberate renunciation of the right of
the State to prosecute all who appear to be guilty of having
committed a crime. Its justification lies in the particular need of
the State to obtain the conviction of the more guilty criminals
who, otherwise, will probably elude the long arm of the law.
Whether or not the delicate power should be exercised, who
should be extended the privilege, the timing of its grant, are
questions addressed solely to the sound judgment of the
prosecution. The power to prosecute includes the right to
determine who shall be prosecuted and the corollary right to
decide whom not to prosecute. In reviewing the exercise of
prosecutorial discretion in these areas, the jurisdiction of the
respondent court is limited. For the business of a court of
justice is to be an impartial tribunal, and not to get involved
with the success or failure of the prosecution to prosecute.
Every now and then, the prosecution may err in the selection
of its strategies, but such errors are not for neutral courts to
rectify, any more than courts should correct the blunders of
the defense. For fairness demands that courts keep the
scales of justice at equipoise between and among all litigants.
Due process demands that courts should strive to maintain
the legal playing field perfectly even and perpetually level. 42
Certainly, especially since nothing in Section 5 mandates a
minimum standard of criminal immunity, the PCGG was not
obliged to grant Tanchanco so broad an exemption. Yet the
extent to which it did is permissible under E.O. No. 14-A, and
we are wont to uphold the broad grant, especially as it favors
a criminal defendant. Ambiguities in immunity agreements
must be construed against the State, 43 and any question of
interpretation must be resolved in favor of the

the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Special


Prosecutor which eventually served as the basis for the
institution of the cases. From these documents, it is clear that
no consideration was given to the possible effects of
the Cooperation Agreement on the viability of prosecuting
Tanchanco. The attitude of the investigators and prosecutors
appears to have been to pretend that the Cooperation
Agreement did not exist at all. This fact weakens the
believability of belated claims, raised in opposition to the
instant motion to quash/dismiss, that Tanchanco had actually
violated portions of theCooperation Agreement. The
indications are that the prosecutors, prior to the institution of
the case, had not considered such agreement at all as a
factor, despite the clear language therein.
If indeed the government had known as a fact that Tanchanco
had violated his obligations under the Cooperation
Agreement, the very least it could have done was to notify him
of such violations, or of its intent to rescind theCooperation
Agreement. Vested rights were at stake which affected the
liberty of a person, and any deprivation or revocation therein
could not be effected in so blithe a fashion as that which
occurred in this case.
Neither does it appear that the Sandiganbayan had given
careful consideration to the Cooperation Agreementwhen it
ruled on the motion to quash/dismiss. It resorted to
generalizations such as "the offenses are not related to or
connected with the testimony or information furnished by
Tanchanco"45 or "the subject matter of the informations are
NFA funds and the records do not indicate that they have any
relation whatsoever to the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses or
their cronies."46
Yet from the results of the investigations that led to the
institution of the charges, it is clear that the cases against
Tanchanco arose from the following acts or irregularities: (1)
the transfer of NFA funds either to Tanchancos personal
account, the account of "Oplan
Wag-Wag", or a private institution; (2) the failure to account
for several classes of funds received by Tanchanco, including
discretionary funds, amounts contributed to the Food
Production and Nutrition Fund, and other donations. From the
Pelaez affidavit, it is clear that the PCGG had precisely
investigated the anomalous transfer of NFA funds during the
Marcos Administration, particularly the use of discretionary or
intelligence funds of the NFA, and that Tanchanco had given
information relating to such investigation.

defendant,44 following the underlying fundamental principle


that all doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused.
Faced with these facts, the conclusion of the Sandiganbayan
that the subject informations bore no relation either to the
We are not in accord with the behavior of both the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth or the investigations of the
government and the Sandiganbayan in this case. We have PCGG is questionable. It may be within the realm of
reviewed the pertinent memoranda prepared respectively by possibility that at least some of the charges against

43 | P a g e

Tanchanco pertain to acts he performed for his own personal


benefit, without regard to the scheme implemented for the
acquisition of ill-gotten wealth. Still, neither the
Sandiganbayan nor the prosecution appears to have seriously
considered or laid down such a distinction. And besides, as
earlier stated, the scope of the Cooperation Agreement itself
precludes the prosecution of Tanchanco under the subject
charges.

since he was not a party thereto. Nor is there, on the face of


the Cooperation Agreement, any evident intention on the part
of the PCGG and Tanchanco to extend the grant of immunity
to other persons as well. Besides, even if there was such
intent, it may be of doubtful validity since the authority of the
PCGG to grant immunity under Section 5-A of E.O. No. 14-A
is limited to "person[s] who provide information or testif[y] in
any investigation conducted by [the PCGG]." 48

We should observe that the Sandiganbayan First Division, in a


different case, had also considered the application of
the Cooperation Agreement in the criminal prosecution of
Tanchanco. The disposition of the instant motion to quash
and/or dismiss of the Sandiganbayan Second Division pales
in comparison to the judicious deliberation of the First
Division, through the late Presiding Justice Francis
Garchitorena. Particularly admirable was how the First
Division had applied this Courts precedents on the authority
of the PCGG to grant criminal immunity, especiallyMapa. The
First Division cited the threefold test laid down in Mapa on the
parameters under which the Sandiganbayan could review the
grant of immunity, and arrived at the following crucial
conclusions, namely: (i) that Tanchanco had cooperated with
the PCGG in obtaining information on the Marcos wealth; and
(ii) that the PCGG exercised bona fide judgment in deciding to
grant immunity to Tanchanco. In contrast, the Sandiganbayan
Second Division, without considering Mapa and other relevant
precedents, rashly concluded without palpable basis that
the Cooperation Agreement did not cover the subject
charges.47

Criminal immunity must be specifically granted. 49 We cannot


uphold a grant of criminal immunity to a person whom the
State never intended to exempt from prosecution, or who
performed no act to the benefit of the State that may have
served as basis for a possible grant of exemption. It should be
emphasized that the grant of immunity to Tanchanco did not
have the effect of obviating all consequential culpabilities
arising from Tanchancos acts. Only Tanchancos own criminal
liability was extirpated, for the reason that the government
saw a higher social value in eliciting information from him
rather than engaging in his prosecution. No correlative
tradeoff occurred as to Lacson, so we do not see any reason
in law or in equity to exempt him as well.

of criminal prosecution. The extent of immunity available to


each particular grantee depends on their respective immunity
agreements with the PCGG and the surrounding facts.

Associate Justice

It may seem unsettling to some that Lacson will have to


endure criminal prosecution while Tanchanco would be
discharged, or that Tanchanco will need not answer for
whatever culpable acts of his during his service in the Marcos
government. Yet the Court is not the guarantor of karmic
warrants, but only of legal ones. TheCooperation Agreement,
entered into in the judgment of the State that it would serve a
higher end of justice, is a valid document, enforceable as to
We thus hold that the Cooperation Agreement, validly Tanchanco before this Court and other courts of the land.
undertaken between the PCGG and Tanchanco as it was,
precludes the prosecution of Tanchanco under the subject WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED IN PART. The Court
charges. The Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of hereby orders the DISMISSAL of the SUBJECT CRIMINAL
discretion in refusing to dismiss the charges despite its lack of CASES INSOFAR AS PETITIONER JESUS TANCHANCO IS
jurisdiction to continue hearing the cases against Tanchanco. CONCERNED. No pronouncement as to costs.
The present petition, insofar as it relates to Tanchanco, must
be granted. It goes without saying though that this ruling does SO ORDERED.
not shield all grantees under Section 5 of E.O. No. 14-A from
DANTE O. TINGA
all kinds

Lacson Not Entitled To Immunity

WE CONCUR:
REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice

A different result must obtain for petitioner Lacson. There is no


legal basis that would preclude his prosecution under the
subject informations. The reason is simple. There is no
subsisting agreement by virtue of which the State granted any
kind of immunity from criminal prosecution to Lacson.
Certainly,
Lacson
could
not
inveigh
that
Tanchancos Cooperation Agreement also applies as to him

Chairman
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
Associate Justice Associate Justice

44 | P a g e

(On Leave)

12

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO

13

Associate Justice

14

ATTESTATION

15

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been in consultation
before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts
Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO

Id. at 33-35.
Id. at 178.
Id. at 182.
Id. at 204-206.

16

See Sections 1 and 9, Rule 117, Rules of Criminal Procedure.

17

See Section 9, Rule 117, Rules of Criminal Procedure.

18

See F. Regalado, II Remedial Law Compendium (9th ed., 2001), at


442. See also Suy Sui v. People, 92 Phil. 684, 686-687 (1953); Uy v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 119000, 28 July 1997, 276 SCRA 367.

Associate Justice
Chairman, Second Division

19

See People v. Paderna, 130 Phil. 317, 320 (1968).

CERTIFICATION
20

See People v. King, 66 Cal. 2d 633, 58 Cal. Rptr. 571, 427 P.2d 171 (1967).

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
Chairmans Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to
the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR.
Chief Justice

21

Supra note 2.

22

Rollo, p. 104.

23

Id. at 105.

24

G.R. No. 100295, 26 April 1994, 231 SCRA 783.

25

Id. at 802-803.

Footnotes
1

Rollo, pp. 104-106.

Ibid. Emphasis supplied.

Rollo, p. 16.

26

G.R. No. 75885, 25 May 1987, 150 SCRA 181.

27

Id. at 201-205.

28

See also Republic v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 84895, 4 May 1989, 173
SCRA 72, 80.
29

Prior to its amendment, Section 5 of E.O. No. 14 read: "The Presidential


Commission on Good Government is authorized to grant immunity from
4
Id. at 231-246. The Resolution was penned by Presiding Justice F. criminal prosecution to any person who testifies to the unlawful manner in
Garchitorena, and concurred in by Justices C. Castaeda and G. Ong.
which any respondent, defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated
the property or properties in question in cases where such testimony is
5
necessary to prove violation of existing laws." However, since the amendatory
Id. at 37-99.
executive order took effect on 18 August 1986, or before the Tanchanco
immunity agreement was executed, there is no need to apply the original
6
With respect to the other informations, Tanchanco was either charged alone,
Section 5.
or with Cesar Aquino, Director of the Department of Accounting and Budget of
the NFA, with the exception of one information, wherein Tanchanco and
30
Rollo, p. 30.
Lacson were charged together with Jacobo Clave, former Ambassador to
Italy.
31

Supra note 24.

See Rollo, pp. 100-102.


32

360 Phil. 133 (1998).

Id. at 103.
33

Id. at 169.

Id. at 27-32. Resolution penned by Justice A. Gustillo, concurred in by


Justices E. Sandoval and G. Legaspi.
10

34

Mapa v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 24 at 799.

Id. at 30-31.

35

Id. at 31.

36

11

Id. at 797.
Id. at 797-798.

45 | P a g e

37

SYLLABUS

38

1. COURTS; JURISDICTION. In criminal cases the Court


of First In stance before which a complaint or information is
presented shall have jurisdiction over its subject-matter if the
criminal act charged in the allegations of the information is
punished by law with a penalty which, by reason of its extent,
pertains to the jurisdiction of said court, although the penalty
which it may have to impose in accordance with the evidence,
is below that which falls under the original jurisdiction thereof.
(U. S. v. Mallari and Cueson, 24 Phil., 366.) If, under the law,
the court has no jurisdiction over the subject-matter, it cannot
take cognizance of the case, notwithstanding the silence or
acquiescence of the accused. (U. S. v. De la Santa, 9 Phil.,
22; U. S. V5. Jayme, 24 Phil., 90.)

PCGG v. Pea, G.R. No. L-77663, 12 April 1988, 159 SCRA 556, 565.

See PCGG v. Pea, id. at 564; PCGG v. Nepumuceno, G.R. No. 78750, 20
April 1990, 184 SCRA 449, 459.
39

Mapa v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 24 at 795-797, provides a lengthy


history of the grant of criminal immunity in the Philippines.
40

See Republic v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 28 at 83. The immunity clause


read: "The [PCGG] has decided and agreed [t]o grant to Mr. Jose Y. Campos,
his family, Mariano K. Tan and Francisco de Guzman immunity from criminal
prosecutions, as provided in Section 5 of Executive Order No. 14."
41

Mapa v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 24 at 790-791.

42

Id. at 802.

43

See State v. Howington, 907 S.W. 2d 403 (Tenn. 1995).

44

See State v. Anderson, 612 P.2d 778 (Utah 1980).

2. ID.; ID.; "LESIONES GRAVES" WITH RECKLESS


IMPRUDENCE. The crime of lesiones graves committed
with reckless imprudence does not fall within the original
jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, as it is punished with
arresto mayor in its minimum and medium degree.

45

Rollo, p. 30.

DECISION
VILLAMOR, J.:

46

Id. at 35.

The appellant in this cause was sentenced by the Court of


First Instance of Manila to four months of arresto mayor and
payment of costs for the crime of lesiones graves by reckless
imprudence.

47

Supra note 10.

48

Supra note 29.

49

Republic v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 28 at 83.

===============================================
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===============================================

G.R. No. 16388, U.S. v. Jimenez, 41 Phil. 1


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC DECISION
July 21, 1920
G.R. No. L-16388
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
GREGORIO JIMENEZ, defendant-appellant.
Ross and Lawrence for appellant.
Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.

The information by virtue of which he was tried and found


guilty is as follows:
That on or about November 20, 1918, in the city of Manila,
Philippine Islands, the said accused, being then the motorman
and person in charge of electric car No. 150 which was
among those making the run between Pasay and San Juan,
ran and operated said car along Calle P. Burgos in this city, in
a careless, negligent, and imprudent manner, giving it a
greater speed than traffic conditions permitted and without
taking the proper precautions in order to avoid accidents to
life and damages to property, thereby causing his car through
his said imprudence, recklessness and carelessness, to strike
and knock down a boy named Aurelio Ibaes, who as a result
thereof lost a principal member, which is his left arm, and
suffered the consequent injuries which will require medical
assistance for a period of more than thirty days and
incapacitate him permanently for manual labor, contrary to the
law in such case made and provided.
The brief for the appellant having been presented, the
Attorney-General asks in his motion of May 27, 1920, that the
cause be dismissed in order that the accused may be tried by
a competent court, it being alleged that by reason of the
subject-matter of the suit the Court of First Instance lacked
jurisdiction over the case charged in the information.
In order to determine the jurisdiction of the court in criminal
cases, the complaint must be examined for the purpose of
ascertaining whether or not the court in which the complaint is
presented. If the facts set out in the complaint are sufficient to
show that the court in which the complaint is presented has
jurisdiction, then the court has jurisdiction. (U. S. vs. Mallari
and Cueson, 24 Phil., 366.)

46 | P a g e

A careful examination of the information herein quoted shows


that the facts therein stated would constitute, had malice been
present, the crime of lesiones graves punished with a
correctional penalty, that is, with prision correccional in its
medium and maximum degree, according to case No. 2,
article 416, of the Penal Code. If, as alleged in the information
there was reckless imprudence, then the same acts fall under
the provisions of the first paragraph, case No. 2, of article 568
of the same Code, which imposes the penalty of arresto
mayor in its minimum and medium degree. It therefore results
that the penalty which the law fixed upon the criminal act
complained of in the information cannot exceed four months
of arresto mayor, and, therefore, the Court of First Instance,
according to section 56, paragraph 6, of Act No. 136, had no
original jurisdiction of the case by reason of its subject-matter.
If, malice being present, the facts set out in the information,
were punished with an afflictive penalty, they would, when
committed by reckless imprudence, fall under the provisions
of the first paragraph, first case, of said article 568 of the
Penal Code, which imposes the penalty of arresto mayor in its
maximum degree to prision correccional in its minimum
degree, that is, from four months and one day of arresto
mayor to two years and four months of prision correccional. In
this case the Court of First Instance would have jurisdication
of the case and could impose the penalty which, according to
the evidence, should be imposed, even if said penalty should
be lower than that which is within the original jurisdiction of
the court to impose. (U. S. vs. Mallari and Cueson, supra.)

EN BANC
March 28, 1914
G.R. Nos. 9619 and 9620
NGO YAO TIT, ET AL., and CHUA ENG CHENG, petitioners,
vs.
THE SHERIFF OF THE CITY OF MANILA, respondent.
Southworth, Hargis, Adams & Jordain for petitioners.
No appearance for respondent.

MORELAND, J.:
These are applications for writs of habeas corpus.
The petitioners herein are detained under a commitment
issued upon a final judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Manila convicting them on a new trial, following an appeal
from the municipal court of said city, of a violation of section 3
of Ordinance No. 152, and sentencing each one of them to
pay P100 fine, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
nonpayment.
Section 3 of said ordinance reads as follows:
SEC. 3. Visiting places where opium is smoked or dealt in
prohibited. No person shall visit or present at or in any
place where opium, or any of its derivatives or compounds, is
smoked or otherwise used in or upon the human body, or
unlawfully sold, given away, or otherwise disposed of.

The accused did not object to the jurisdiction of the court, nor
did he answer the motion of the Attorney-General in which the
dismissal of the appeal is asked, although he has been
notified thereof. His silence, however, produces no effect, for
when jurisdiction had not been conferred by law, the accused Petitioners allege that the judgments of conviction are null and
in a criminal case cannot confer it by express waiver or void and state the reason therefore as follows:
otherwise. (U. S. vs. De la Santa, 9 Phil., 22; U. S. vs. Jayme,
24 Phil., 90.)
(1) That there is no evidence to support said judgment.
In view of what has been said the present case is dismissed
without any special pronouncement as to costs, the AttorneyGeneral being granted the right to institute in any competent
court the action which he may deem necessary for the
prosecution of the same crime. So ordered.
Mapa, C.J., Johnson,
Avancea, JJ., concur.

Carson,

Araullo,

Malcolm

and The decision of the court referred to is as follows:

===============================================
===============================================
===============================================
===============================================

G.R. No. 9619,


Ngo Yao Tit et al. and Chua Eng Cheng v. Sheriff of the
City of Manila, 27 Phil. 378
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

(2) That the trial court in its findings as set out in the copy of
the decision of said court hereunto attached and made a part
hereof and marked Exhibit A, finds that it was not shown that
petitioners or any of them were guilty of a violation of said
Ordinance No. 152.

This action arise on an information presented against the


accused for a violation of Ordinance No. 152, already tried
and determined in the municipal court, wherein the accused
were found guilty as charged and sentenced, each one, to
pay a fine of P100, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, in accordance with the law. The case is before this
court for a new trial upon an appeal from that judgment.
During the trial Sergeant Worrel and Patrolman Pealosa
testified as witnesses. From their testimony it appears that in
a house known as No. 363 Calle Ilang-Ilang in one of the
living rooms thereof, there were found upon a bed certain
utensils used in the smoking of opium, namely, a pipe, a lamp
and three small packages, two of them empty and one
containing a quantity of opium. They also testified that when
they entered the room there was a strong odor of opium

47 | P a g e

fumes and that the opium pipe found upon the bed was still that, while a court may have authority to hear and determine a
warm.
cause, its determination or judgment must be within the law
and such power does not authorize it, simply because it has
With respect to the evidence of the accused, their testimony jurisdiction to render some judgment in the cause, to trample
establishes the entry of the house by the police and the down the prisoners' fundamental and constitutional rights by
arrest, but they avoided answering questions relative to the pronouncing a sentence authorized by law. Or, to put the
utensils that were found in the room, as to who was the contention in another aspect, in addition to jurisdiction over
person who was smoking opium there that night, as well as the person and the subject matter, the court must have
the designation of what person was occupying the room and jurisdiction to render the particular judgment. Authorities are
bed on that night.
cited to the further proposition that habeas corpus will lie for
the discharge of one imprisoned for an act which does not
There is no proof whatever, on the other hand, that the house, constitutes any offense known to the law.
which was a Chinese club, was a placed destined or
habitually used or the smoking of opium, for if it had been While the authorities cited sustain the propositions advanced,
other utensils for the smoking of opium, of if it had been neither the one nor the other applies, in our judgment, to the
found; and there not having been found more than those case before us. It is admitted that the court had jurisdiction
shown to the court, it may not be asserted that said house over the person of the petitioners and that it had jurisdiction to
was destined or habitually used as a place for the smoking of try a person accused of violating section 3 of Ordinance No.
opium.
152. There was, therefore, jurisdiction over the person and the
subject matter. It is equally undoubted that, if the acts of the
The defense in discussing the presence of the accused in the petitioners constituted the crime defined in that ordinance,
house maintained that they were not there as visitors but they they were properly convicted. It having been demonstrated by
lived there. Four of the accused, China Eng Cheng, Chen Po, the evidence, as stated in the decision of the trial court, that
Uy Ching, and Ngo Tiao, were employees of the club, the first the petitioners were found in the club house in question and
being the clerk, the second the cashier, the third the collector, that opium was being smoked therein, it became the duty of
and the fourth the cook. The other, Sec Hong, was a transient the court to determine, by he exercise of its judicial functions,
who had arrived from Tacloban three weeks before and was a whether such acts constituted the crime defined by the
guest at the club.
ordinance. This was a judicial determination admittedly within
the jurisdiction and authority of the court to make. That being
It is not necessary to discuss the relations which the accused so, the exercise of that jurisdiction would not result in void
before to the club on that night. The fact is sufficient that all of judgment, provided the court kept within the limits thereof. In
them were caught on that occasion in said house and that in the determination of the case before it, it is clear that the court
said house opium was being smoked at that time. This is kept fully within the limits of its jurisdiction and, exercising the
sufficient to establish a violation of Ordinance No. 152, article authority which it had a right to exercise within that
3, if it is clear to the court that opium was being smoked there jurisdiction, determined the question whether the acts
in that house at the time and that the accused were there developed by the evidence fell within the prohibition of the
present.
ordinance. This same question is one which is passed upon
by a court every time it tries a criminal cause. That is one of
Wherefore the court declares the said accused guilty of a
the necessary adjudications. If it is to be held that a wrong
violation of Ordinance No. 152, article 3, and affirms the
determination of that question deprives the court of
judgment of the municipal court sentencing each one of them
jurisdiction, then the correctness of a judgment of conviction
to pay a fine of P100 and to suffer the corresponding
in a criminal case will nearly always be determined by a writ
subsidiary imprisonment in case of nonpayment as provided
of habeas corpus. ( Ex parte Coy, 127 U.S., 731.) This, of
by law.
course, is not the function of that writ, and makers of
The petitioners contend that, the Supreme Court having legislation and constitutions which preserve the writ never
already held in the case of United States vs. Ten Yu (24 Phil., intended that it should be used in that manner and for that
Rep., 1), that, before a conviction can be had under section 3 purpose.
of Ordinance No. 152, "the defendants may prove, if the fact
exists, that they visited the place described in the complaint
lawfully and not in violation of the provisions or the spirit of
said ordinance," and that, in effect, it must be shown, to
sustain a conviction under said ordinance that the house
visited was one generally used for the smoking of opium, and
it appearing by an affirmative statements in the decision of the
Court of First Instance that the house in question was a
Chinese Club and was not destined or generally used for the
smoking of opium, and there being no finding that the
accused were unlawfully there, the judgment of conviction has
nothing to sustain it and is, therefore, absolutely void. That
such being the case, a writ of habeas corpus will lie, it is
contended, as imprisonment under a judgment absolutely void
is an illegal imprisonment. In support of their contention
petitioners cite numerous authorities holding in substance

The petitioners also cite authorities, among them cases of this


court, which declare that a finding with nothing to sustain it is
arbitrary and useless and is a nullity. (Edwards vs. McCoy, 22
Phil., Rep., 598.) We may admit, for purposes of discussion,
that the authorities cited lay down the proposition as stated
and still they fail to support the contention to which they are
cited. It is to be noted that these decisions say hat a finding
with nothing to support it is a nullity. It should also be noted
that in the cases in which those decisions are found there is
absolutely nothing upon which the mind of the court making
the finding could act to arrive at the conclusion reached. In
other words, there was an entire absence of any fact
whatever which by any possibility could support the finding or
which could even tend to support it. The finding was utterly
without relation to any fact of record, was drawn from nothing

48 | P a g e

except imagination, was a pure invention, was not the result


of the operation of the mind of the board upon a fact or
circumstance, was not the product of the exercise of the
deliberative faculty, but was a creation from nothing, a fiction,
an arbitrary thing. That is not the case before us. Here we
have evidence which supports the finding, although not
sufficiently. There is evidence showing that opium was
smoked in a house and that the accused were present at the
time the smoking was going on. To support properly the
judgment of conviction it would be necessary to have only two
additional facts, namely, that the house was destined and
generally used for the smoking of opium and that the accused
were there unlawfully. Those two facts, added to the other
facts already established, would have sustained a conviction.

not similar to the case where, as claimed by petitioners, an


information is filed by a person who is not authorized in law to
file it. The fact that the city of Manila was the plaintiff in the
action does not signify that said city was the person who
signed and filed the information. The accused where
prosecuted by the same officials, before the same court, and
in the same manner as they would have been if the action had
been brought in the name of the United States, and they
received the benefits of the same rights and the same
privileges which they would have received if the action had
been properly entitled. They have been in no sense injured or
prejudiced.

The defect is one which could have been cured at any stage
of the trial by an amendment on the motion of the court itself
Moreover, in considering these cases it must be remembered or upon the motion of any person interested in the
that they relate to the findings of boards of special inquiry and prosecution. Defects of that character which are not taken
not to the decisions of courts.
advantage of in the court below in the manner prescribed by
law cannot be raised for the first time here, and especially in a
It is clear, therefore, that the case in hand is not one where petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
there is an absolute failure of anything to support the
conviction, where the finding is a pure invention, a creature of The writ of habeas corpus was not intended and cannot be
the imagination only, an arbitrary thing. It is, rather, a case in used to correct mere errors or defects in proceedings, and
which there is some evidence to support the conviction, but accordingly does not lie in the present application.
not enough. The difference between a finding with absolutely
nothing to support it and a finding with something, although The writ is denied.
not sufficient, to support it, is very great. In fact, this difference
Arellano, C.J. and Araullo, J., concur.
is the determining feature of the case before us.
Carson and Trent, JJ., concur in the result.
While the judgment attacked in these proceedings was
erroneous and the conviction unwarranted by the evidence as ===============================================
it stands before us, it was not void. The record presents ===============================================
simply a cases where the conviction is not sustained by the ===============================================
evidence. While it may be a case of improper conviction, the
===============================================
court had jurisdiction to convict and its determination,
therefore, is not a nullity. It necessarily follows that the
petitioners are restrained of their liberty by reason of being "in
custody of an officer under process issued . . . by virtue of a
judgment . . . of a court of record, and that the court . . . had
jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment or make
the order, . . . ." (Code Civ. Proc., sec. 528.)
The applications for the writs are denied. Costs de officio.
Republic of the Philippines
Since writing the above decision an application has been
SUPREME COURT
made to amend the petition in this proceeding by inserting an
Manila
allegation to the effect that the action in which the petitioners
were convicted was entitled, both in the municipal court and in
EN BANC
the Court of First Instance, "City of Manila vs. Ngo Yao Tit,
Chen P, Uy Ching, Sec Hong, and Ngo Tiao" and "City of
Manila vs. Chua Eng Cheng."
G.R. No. L-25366
March 29, 1968
It is urged that, in view of the decisions of this court in the
case of the City of Manila vs. Rizal (p. 50, ante), the action
should have been in the name of the United States and not
the city of Manila; and that, the action having been wrongly
entitled, the court acquired no jurisdiction of the person or the
subject matter of the action and that its judgment of conviction
was absolutely void. This being the case, it is argued, habeas
corpus will lie as the imprisonment is illegal.
We cannot agree with this contention. The bringing of the
action in the name of the city of Manila instead of the United
States is an error merely and not a jurisdictional defect. It is

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JOSE BUAN, accused-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Felipe C. Magat and Amado D. Dyoco for accused-appellant.
SYLLABUS

49 | P a g e

1. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE; DOUBLE


JEOPARDY;
QUASI
OFFENSE
OF
CRIMINAL
NEGLIGENCE; SUBSEQUENT PROSECUTION FOR THE
SAME ACT. Once convicted or acquitted of a specific act
of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted
again for that same act. The essence of the quasi offense of
criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act
that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony.
The law penalizes the negligent or careless act, not the result
thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into
account to determine the penalty; it does not qualify the
substance of the offense. As the careless act is single,
whether the injurious result should affect one person or
several persons, the offense remains one and the same. It
cannot be split into different crimes and prosecutions.
2. ID.; ID.; ACQUITTAL FROM THE CHARGE OF SLIGHT
PHYSICAL
INJURIES
THROUGH
RECKLESS
IMPRUDENCE A BAR TO SUBSEQUENT PROSECUTION
FOR SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURIES AND DAMAGE TO
PROPERTY THROUGH RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE. The
exoneration of appellant by the Municipal Court of the charge
of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of
the province, as both charges are derived from the
consequence of one and the same vehicular accident. The
second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy
for the same offense.
DECISION
REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.:
Direct appeal by the accused from an order of the Court
of First Instance of Bulacan, in its Criminal Case No. 5243 (for
serious physical injuries and damage to property through
reckless imprudence), overruling a motion to quash on the
ground of double jeopardy.
Stripped to essentials, the case arose in this wise:
The accused was driving a passenger bus of the La
Mallorca Company on July 23, 1962, along the MacArthur
Highway in the municipality of Guiguinto, Bulacan. Allegedly
because of his negligence and recklessness, the vehicle
driven by him struck and collided with the passenger jeep of
Sergio Lumidao, damaging said jeep and causing it to turn
turtle, and injuring its passengers. Six of the latter suffered
slight physical injuries requiring medical attendance for 5 to 9
days: three other riders came out with serious bodily injuries
that needed medical attention for 30 to 45 days; while the jeep
was damaged to the extent of P1,395.00.
A charge was filed against the accused-appellant, one
for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, in the
Justice of the Peace Court of Guiguinto, for which he was
tried and acquitted on December 16, 1963. Prior to this

acquittal, however, the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed in the


Court of First Instance the information in the case now before
us, for serious physical injuries, and damage to property
through reckless imprudence. Admittedly, both charges
referred to the same highway collision.
When the accused was arraigned in the Court of First
Instance, his counsel moved to quash the charges on the
ground that he had already been acquitted of the same
offense by the Justice of the Peace Court. The prosecution
opposed the motion and the Court denied the motion quash.
Unable to secure reconsideration, the accused appealed to
this Court.
Sole issue before us, therefore, is whether the second
case placed the appellant twice in jeopardy for the same
offense, and is barred by the previous acquittal.
We agree with the appellant that the Court below erred
in not dismissing the information for "serious physical injuries
and damage to property through reckless imprudence," in
view of the appellant's previous acquittal by the Justice of the
Peace Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, for the same imprudence.
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once
convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless
imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for
that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of
criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act
that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony.
The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless act, not the
result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken
into account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the
substance of the offense. And, as the careless act is single,
whether the injurious result should affect one person or
several persons, the offense (criminal negligence) remains
one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes
and prosecutions. This has been the constant ruling of the
Spanish Supreme Court, and is also that of this Court in its
most recent decisions on the matter.
Thus, in People vs. Silva, L-15974, January 30, 1962,
where as the result of the same vehicular accident one man
died, two persons were seriously injured while another three
suffered only slight physical injuries, we ruled that the
acquittal on a charge of slight physical injuries through
reckless imprudence, was a bar to another prosecution for
homicide through reckless imprudence. In People vs. Diaz, L6518, March 30, 1954, the ruling was that the dismissal by the
Municipal Court of a charge of reckless driving barred a
second information of damage to property through reckless
imprudence based on the same negligent act of the accused.
In People vs, Belga, 100 Phil. 996, dismissal of an information
for physical injuries through needless imprudence as a result

50 | P a g e

of a collision between two automobiles was declared, to block


two other prosecutions, one for damage to property through
reckless imprudence and another for multiple physical injuries
arising from the same collision. The same doctrine was
reasserted in Yap vs. Lutero, et al., L-12669, April 30, 1959. In
none of the cases cited did the Supreme Court regard as
material that the various offenses charged for the same
occurrence were triable in Courts of differing category, or that
the complainants were not the individuals.
As for the Spanish jurisprudence, Cuello Calon, in
his Derecho Penal (12th Ed.), Vol. I, p. 439, has this to
say:1wph1.t

prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this


case the more serious charge of homicide with serious
physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out
of the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the
defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior court.
In view of the foregoing, we must perforce rule that the
exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the
Peace (now Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the
charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries
through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of
the province, where both charges are derived from the
consequences of one and the same vehicular accident,
because the second accusation places the appellant in
second jeopardy for the same offense.

Aun cuando de un solo hecho imprudente se originen


males diversos, como el hecho culposo es uno solo, existe un
solo delito de imprudencia. Esta es jurisprudencia constante
del Tribunal Supremo. De acuerdo con esta doctrinael
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed,
automovilista imprudente que atropella y causa lesiones a and the Court of First Instance of Bulacan is directed to quash
dos personas y ademas daos, no respondera de dos delitos and dismiss the charge in its Criminal Case No. 5243. No
de lesiones y uno de daos por imprudencia, sino de un solo costs. So ordered.
delito culposo.
Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Angeles
The said author cites in support of the text the following and
Fernando,
JJ.,
concur.
decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain (footnotes 2 and 3). Castro, J., took no part.
8 octubre 1887, 18 octubre 1927.

===============================================
===============================================
Si con el hecho imprudente se causa la muerte de una ===============================================
persona y ademas se ocasionan daos, existe un solo hecho ===============================================
punible, pues uno solo fue el acto, aun cuando deben
apreciarse dos enorden a la responsabilidad civil, 14
diciembre 1931 si a consecuencia de un solo acto imprudente
se produjeron tres delitos, dos de homicidio y uno de daos,
FIRST DIVISION
como todos son consecuencia de un solo acto culposo, no
cabe penarlos por separado, 2 abril 1932.
[G.R. No. 119000. July 28, 1997]
The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the
charge for slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence could not be joined with the accusation for
serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
because Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code allows only the
complexing of grave or less grave felonies. This same
argument was considered and rejected by this Court in the
case of People vs. Diaz, supra:
... The prosecution's contention might be true. But
neither was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute the
accused for slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of
homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the
lesser offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of
Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the

ROSA
UY, petitioner, vs.
APPEALS and PEOPLE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

COURT
OF

OF
THE

SYNOPSIS
Petitioner Rosa Uy worked as an accountant in a company
owned by the husband of Consolacion Leong. After Rosas
resignation from the company, Rosa and Consolacion formed
a partnership in a lumber business, into which a total of
P500,000.00 was claimed to have been contributed by
Consolacion, for which no receipt was issued. When the
friendship between the two turned sour, Consolacion asked
for the return of her investment, but the checks issued by
Rosa for the purpose were dishonored for insufficiency of
funds. Consolacion filed a complaint against Rosa for estafa
and for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila.

51 | P a g e

After a joint trial, the Manila Regional Trial Court acquitted


Rosa of estafa but convicted her of the charges under B.P.
Blg. 22. On appeal, respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the
decision of the trial court.
In this petition for review on certiorari, Rosa raises the issue
of whether the RTC of Manila acquired jurisdiction over the
violations of the Bouncing Checks Law.
Petitioner challenges the jurisdiction of the lower court stating
that none of the essential elements constitutive of violation of
B.P. Blg. 22 was shown to have been committed in the City of
Manila: (a) complainant was a resident of Makati; (b)
petitioner was a resident of Caloocan City; (c) the place of
business of alleged partnership was located in Malabon; (d)
the drawee bank was located in Malabon; and (e) the checks
were all deposited for collection in Makati. No proof has been
offered that the checks were issued, delivered, dishonored or
knowledge of insufficiency of funds occurred in Manila, which
are essential elements necessary of Manila to acquire
jurisdiction over the offense.
The ineluctable conclusion is that said evidence would only
show that none of the essential elements of B.P. Blg. 22
occurred in Manila. The trial courts acquisition of jurisdiction
over the estafa case does not follow that it also acquired
jurisdiction over the violation of the Bouncing Checks Law on
the theory that the latter violations were merely incidental to
the estafa case. The crimes of estafa and violation of the
Bouncing Checks Law are two different offenses having
different elements and, necessarily, for a court to acquire
jurisdiction each of the essential ingredients of each crime has
to be satisfied.
The decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of
the trial court is reversed and set aside
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION IN
CRIMINAL CASES, DISCUSSED. For jurisdiction to be
acquired by courts in criminal cases the offense should have
been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took
place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Territorial
jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court
has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense
allegedly committed therein by the accused. Thus, it cannot
take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense
allegedly committed outside of that limited territory.
Furthermore, the jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case
is determined by the allegations in the complaint or
information. And once it is so shown, the court may validly
take cognizance of the case. However, if the evidence
adduced during the trial show that the offense was committed
somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want
of jurisdiction.
2. ID.; ID.; ESTAFA AND VIOLATION OF BOUNCING
CHECKS LAW, DISTINGUISHED. The crimes of estafa
and violation of the Bouncing Checks Law are two (2) different
offenses having different elements and, necessarily, for a
court to acquire jurisdiction each of the essential ingredients
of each crime has to be satisfied. In the crime of estafa, deceit

and damage are essential elements of the offense and have


to be established with satisfactory proof to warrant conviction.
For violation of the Bouncing Checks Law, on the other hand,
the elements of deceit and damage are neither essential nor
required. Rather, the elements of B.P. Blg. 22 are (a) the
making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply to
account or for value; (b) the maker, drawer or issuer knows at
the time of issuance that he does not have sufficient funds in
or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check
in full upon its presentment; and, (c) the check is
subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency
of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same
reason had not the drawer, without valid reason, ordered the
bank to stop payment. Hence, it is incorrect for respondent
People to conclude that inasmuch as the Regional Trial Court
of Manila acquired jurisdiction over the estafa case then it
also acquired jurisdiction over the violations of B.P. Blg. 22.
The crime of estafa and the violation of B.P. Blg. 22 have to
be treated as separate offenses and therefore the essential
ingredients of each offense have to be satisfied.
3. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; MOTION TO QUASH ON
THE GROUND OF LACK OF JURISDICTION; TIMELY
RAISED IN CASE AT BAR. The Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure, under Rule 117, Sec. 3, provides that the
accused may move to quash the complaint or information on
any of the following grounds: . . . (b) that the court trying the
case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or over the
person of the accused. Moreover, under Sec. 8 of the same
Rule it is provided that the failure of the accused to assert any
ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint
or information, either because he did not file a motion to
quash or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be
deemed a waiver of the grounds of a motion to quash, except
the grounds of . . . lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged
. . . as provided for in paragraph . . . (b) . . . of Section 3 of this
Rule. After a careful perusal of the records, it is clear that
petitioner timely questioned the jurisdiction of the court in a
memorandum before the Regional Trial Court and thereafter
in succeeding pleadings. Even if a party fails to file a motion
to quash, he may still question the jurisdiction of the court
later on. Moreover, these objections may be raised or
considered motu propio by the court at any stage of the
proceedings or on appeal.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE OF TIJAM V. SIBONGHANOY, NOT
APPLICABLE. The ruling in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy is an
exception to the general rule that the lack of jurisdiction of a
court may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on
appeal. In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of
the court that rendered the questioned ruling was held to be
barred by laches. It was ruled that the lack of jurisdiction
having been raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss
filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned ruling had
been rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for being
barred by laches. As defined in said case, laches is failure or
neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time,
to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should
have been done earlier; it is the negligence or omission to
assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a
presumption that the party entitled to assert has abandoned it
or declined to assert it. The circumstances of the present case
are very different from Tijam v. Sibonghanoy. No judgment

52 | P a g e

has yet been rendered by the trial court in this case. As a


matter of fact, as soon as the accused discovered the
jurisdictional defect, she did not fail or neglect to file the
appropriate motion to dismiss. They questioned the
jurisdiction of the trial court in a memorandum before the
lower court. Hence, finding the pivotal element of laches to be
absent, we hold that the ruling in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy does
not control the present controversy. Instead, the general rule
that the question of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any
stage of the proceedings must apply. Petitioner is therefore
not estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the trial
court.
DECISION

regards Crim. Cases Nos. 84-32335 to 84-32340, Alexander


D. Bangit, manager of the Commercial Bank of Manila,
Malabon Branch, where Rosa Uy maintained an account,
testified on the following transactions with respect to the six
(6) checks referred to in Crim. Cases Nos. 84-32335 to 8432840 which were dishonored:
CHECK NO. DATE PRESENTED REASON FOR DISHONOR
(1) 068604 16 December 1983 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund
(DAIF)/Payment Stopped
(Exh. G)

(2) 068605 16 December 1983 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund


BELLOSILLO, J.: (DAIF)/Payment Stopped
(Exh. H)

(3) 068603 16 December 1983 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund


(DAIF)/Payment Stopped
This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of (Exh. F)
respondent Court of Appeals[1] which affirmed in toto the
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Br. 32, [2] finding
(4) 068601 16 December 1983 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund
the accused ROSA UY guilty of violating B.P. Blg. 22 in Crim.
(DAIF)/Payment Stopped
Cases Nos. 84-32335 to 84-32340, inclusive, and acquitting
(Exh. E)
her of estafa under Art. 315, par. 2 (a), of the Revised Penal
Code in Crim. Case No. 84-32334.
(5) 043122 3 January 1984 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund
Rosa Uy was employed as an accountant in Don Tim (DAIF)/Payment Stopped
Shipping Company owned by the husband of complaining (Exh. A)
witness Consolacion Leong.During Rosas employment she
was regarded by the Leongs as an efficient and hardworking (6) 068660 24 January 1984 Drawn Against Insufficient Fund
employee. On 15 March 1982, a few months before she was (DAIF)/Payment Stopped
to give birth, Rosa resigned. In the meantime, she helped her (Exh. I)
husband manage their lumber business. The friendly relations
between Rosa and Consolacion continued. The two later
For her part, petitioner and her witnesses Fernando Abad
agreed to form a partnership with Consolacion to contribute
and Antonio Sy maintained that no misrepresentation was
additional capital for the expansion of Rosas lumber business
committed and that the funds were utilized to construct the
and the latter as industrial partner. Various sums of money
building in Bulacan, Bulacan. With respect to the issuance of
amounting to P500,000.00 were claimed to have been given
the subject checks, petitioner did not deny their existence but
by Consolacion for the business; however, because of the
averred that these were issued to evidence the investment of
trust they had for each other, no receipt was ever issued.
complainant in the proposed partnership between them.
Thereafter a lumber store with warehouse was
After a joint trial, the Manila Regional Trial Court
constructed in Bulacan, Bulacan, with the funds contributed
acquitted petitioner of estafa but convicted her of the charges
by Consolacion evidenced by various receipts. But,
under B.P. Bldg. 22.[5]
unfortunately, the friendship between Consolacion and Rosa
turned sour when the partnership documents were never
On appeal, respondent appellate court affirmed the
processed. As a result, Consolacion asked for the return of decision of the trial court.
her investment but the checks issued by Rosa for the purpose
Petitioner now raises the following issues before us in
were dishonored for insufficiency of funds.
this petition for review on certiorari: (a) whether the RTC of
The preceding events prompted Consolacion to file a Manila acquired jurisdiction over the violations of the
complaint for estafa and for violation of the Bouncing Checks Bouncing Checks Law, and (b) whether the checks had been
Law before the Regional Trial Court of Manila.
issued on account or for value.[6]
On 10 December 1984 an Information for estafa[3] and
As regards the first issue, petitioner contends that the
several other Informations[4] for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 were trial court never acquired jurisdiction over the offenses under
filed against petitioner.The offenses were subsequently B.P. Blg. 22 and that assuming for the sake of argument that
consolidated and tried jointly.
she raised the matter of jurisdiction only upon appeal to
respondent appellate court, still she cannot beestopped from
Through Consolacion Leong and Alexander D. Bangit the
questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court.
prosecution tried to establish that petitioner Rosa Uy
employed deceit in obtaining the amount of P500,000.00 from
It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to be acquired
complainant with respect to Crim. Case No. 84-32334. As by courts in criminal cases the offense should have been

53 | P a g e

committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place


within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Territorial
jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court
has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense
allegedly committed therein by the accused. Thus, it cannot
take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense
allegedly committed outside of that limited territory.
[7]
Furthermore, the jurisdiction of a court over the criminal
case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or
information.[8] And once it is so shown, the court may validly
take cognizance of the case. However, if the evidence
adduced during the trial show that the offense was committed
somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want
of jurisdiction.[9]
In the case at bar, the complaint for estafa and the
various charges under B.P. Blg. 22 were jointly tried before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Petitioner challenges the
jurisdiction of the lower court stating that none of the essential
elements constitutive of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was shown to
have been committed in the City of Manila. She maintains that
the evidence presented established that (a) complainant was
a resident of Makati; (b) petitioner was a resident of Caloocan
City; (c) the place of business of the alleged partnership was
located in Malabon; (d) the drawee bank was located in
Malabon; and, (e) the checks were all deposited for collection
in Makati. Taken altogether, petitioner concludes that the said
evidence would only show that none of the essential elements
of B.P. Blg. 22 occurred in Manila. Respondent People of the
Philippines through the Solicitor General on the one hand
argues that even if there is no showing of any evidence that
the essential ingredients took place or the offense was
committed in Manila, what is critical is the fact that the court
acquired jurisdiction over the estafa case because the same
is the principal or main case and that the cases for violations
of the Bouncing Checks Law are merely incidental to
the estafacase.

In the crime of estafa, deceit and damage are essential


elements of the offense and have to be established with
satisfactory proof to warrant conviction.[10] For violation of the
Bouncing Checks Law, on the other hand, the elements of
deceit and damage are neither essential nor required. Rather,
the elements of B.P. Blg. 22 are (a) the making, drawing and
issuance of any check to apply to account or for value; (b) the
maker, drawer or issuer knows at the time of issuance that he
does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
bank for the payment of such check in full upon its
presentment; and, (c) the check is subsequently dishonored
by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or
would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the
drawer, without valid reason, ordered the bank to stop
payment.[11] Hence, it is incorrect for respondent People to
conclude that in as much as the Regional Trial Court of Manila
acquired jurisdiction over the estafa case then it also acquired
jurisdiction over the violations of B.P. Blg. 22. The crime
of estafa and the violation of B.P. Blg. 22 have to be treated
as separate offenses and therefore the essential ingredients
of each offense have to be satisfied.

In this regard, the records clearly indicate that business


dealings were conducted in a restaurant in Manila where
sums of money were given to petitioner; hence, the
acquisition of jurisdiction by the lower court over
the estafa case. The various charges for violation of B.P. Blg.
22 however are on a different plain. There is no scintilla of
evidence to show that jurisdiction over the violation of B.P.
Bldg. 22 had been acquired.On the contrary, all that the
evidence shows is that complainant is a resident of Makati;
that petitioner is a resident of Caloocan City; that the principal
place of business of the alleged partnership is located in
Malabon; that the drawee bank is likewise located in Malabon
and that all the subject checks were deposited for collection in
Makati. Verily, no proof has been offered that the checks were
issued, delivered, dishonored or knowledge of insufficiency of
funds occurred in Manila, which are essential elements
We disagree with respondent. The crimes of estafa and necessary for the Manila Court to acquire jurisdiction over the
violation of the Bouncing Checks Law are two (2) different offense.
offenses having different elements and, necessarily, for a
court to acquire jurisdiction each of the essential ingredients
Upon the contention of respondent that knowledge on
of each crime has to be satisfied.
the part of the maker or drawer of the check of the
insufficiency of his funds is by itself a continuing eventuality
whether the accused be within one territory or another, the
same is still without merit. It may be true that B.P. Blg. 22 is a
transitory or continuing offense and such being the case the
theory is that a person indicted with a transitory offense may
be validly tried in any jurisdiction where the offense was in
part committed. We note however that knowledge by the
maker or drawer of the fact that he has no sufficient funds to
cover the check or of having sufficient funds is simultaneous
to the issuance of the instrument. We again find no iota of
proof on the records that at the time of issue, petitioner or
complainant was in Manila. As such, there would be no basis
in upholding the jurisdiction of the trial court over the offense.
In an attempt to salvage the issue that the RTC of Manila
had jurisdiction over the violations of B.P. Blg. 22, respondent
relies on the doctrine of jurisdiction by estoppel. Respondent
posits that it took some five (5) years of trial before petitioner
raised the issue of jurisdiction.

54 | P a g e

The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, under Rule


117, Sec. 3, provides that the accused may move to quash
the complaint or information on any of the following grounds: x
x x (b) that the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over
the offense charged or over the person of the
accused. Moreover, under Sec. 8 of the same Rule it is
provided that the failure of the accused to assert any ground
of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or
information, either because he did not file a motion to quash
or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be deemed a
waiver of the grounds of a motion to quash, except the
grounds of x x x lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged x
x x as provided for in paragraph x x x (b) x x x of Section 3 of
this Rule.[12]

barred by laches. As defined in said case, laches is failure or


neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time,
to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should
have been done earlier; it is the negligence or omission to
assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a
presumption that the party entitled to assert has abandoned it
or declined to assert it.[18]
The circumstances of the present case are very different
from Tijam v. Sibonghanoy. No judgment has yet been
rendered by the trial court in this case. As a matter of fact, as
soon as the accused discovered the jurisdictional defect, she
did not fail or neglect to file the appropriate motion to
dismiss. They questioned the jurisdiction of the trial court in a
memorandum before the lower court. Hence, finding the
pivotal element of laches to be absent, we hold that the ruling
in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy does not control the present
controversy. Instead, the general rule that the question of
jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings
must
apply. Petitioner
is
therefore
not estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the trial
court.[19]

After a careful perusal of the records, it is crystal clear


that petitioner timely questioned the jurisdiction of the court in
a memorandum[13]before the Regional Trial Court and
thereafter in succeeding pleadings. On this finding alone, we
cannot countenance the inadvertence committed by the court.
Clearly, from the above-quoted law, we can see that even if a
party fails to file a motion to quash, he may still question the
jurisdiction of the court later on. Moreover, these objections
WHEREFORE, finding the Regional Trial Court of
may be raised or considered motu propio by the court at any
Manila,
Br. 32, to have no jurisdiction over Crim. Case Nos.
[14]
stage of the proceedings or on appeal.
84-32335 to 8432340, inclusive, the assailed decision of
Assuming arguendo that there was a belated attempt to respondent Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the trial
question the jurisdiction of the court and hence, on the basis court dated 24 September 1991 is REVERSED and SET
of the Tijam v. Sibonghanoy case[15] in which respondent ASIDE, without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges
seeks refuge, the petitioner should be estopped. We against petitioner with the court of competent jurisdiction
nonetheless find the jurisprudence of the Sibonghanoy case when warranted.
not in point.
SO ORDERED
In Calimlim v. Ramirez,[16] the Court held that the ruling in
Padilla, (Chairman), and Vitug, JJ., concur.
the Sibonghanoy case is an exception to the general rule that
Kapunan, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., on leave.
the lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of
the proceedings, even on appeal. The Court stated further
that Tijam v. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case because of
the presence of laches. The Court said:
[1]
A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld
in decisions so numerous to cite is that the jurisdiction of a court
over the subject matter of the action is a matter of law and may not
be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of
jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the proceedings,
even on appeal. This doctrine has been qualified by recent
pronouncements which stemmed principally from the ruling in the
cited case of Sibonghanoy.It is to be regretted, however, that the
holding in said case had been applied to situations which were
obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstance
involved in Sibonghanoy which justified the departure from the
accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has
been ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly
upheld that rendered the supposed ruling in Sibonhanoy not as the
exception, but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing
altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of jurisdiction is
not lost by waiver or by estoppel.[17]
In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the
court that rendered the questioned ruling was held to be
barred by laches. It was ruled that the lack of jurisdiction
having been raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss
filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned ruling had
been rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for being

CA-G. R. CR No. 13428, Decision penned by Justice Lourdes TayaoJaguros, concurred in by Justices Jesus M. Elbinias and Bernardo L. Salas.
[2]
Judge Benjamin P. Martinez presiding.
[3]
Crim. Case No. 84-32334; Records, pp. 1-2.
[4]
Crim. Cases Nos. 84-32335 to 84-32240; id., p. 1.
[5]
Rollo, pp. 66-78, with the following disposition:
1. In Criminal Case. No. 84-32334, on reasonable doubt, accused Rosa Uy is
hereby acquitted of the charge of Estafa;
2. In Criminal Case Nos. 84-32335 to 84-32340, the court finds accused
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang
22. Accordingly, accused is hereby sentenced as follows:
a. In Criminal Case No. 84-32335, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
b. In Criminal Case No. 84-32336, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
c. In Criminal Case No. 84-32337, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
d. In Criminal Case No. 84-32338, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
e. In Criminal Case No. 84-32339, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
f. In Criminal Case No. 84-32340, to suffer a definite prison term of six (6)
months and to pay the private complainant an indemnity of P50,000.00 plus
legal interest from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid.
SO ORDERED.
[6]
Id., pp. 19-22.
[7]
U.S. v. Cunanan, 26 Phil. 376-378 (1913).

55 | P a g e

[8]

Colmenares v. Villar, No. L-27124, 29 May 1970, 33 SCRA 186.


People v. Galano, No. L-42925, 31 January 1977, 75 SCRA 193.
[10]
People v. Grospe, G.R. Nos. 74053-54, 20 January 1988, 157 SCRA 154.
[11]
Navarro v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 112389-90, 1 August 1994, 234
SCRA 639.
[12]
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
[13]
Rollo, pp. 103-104.
[14]
Suy Sui v. People, 49 O.G. 967.
[15]
Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, No. L-21450, 15 April 1968, 23 SCRA 29.
[16]
No. L-34362, 19 November 1982, 118 SCRA 399; Dy v. NLRC, G.R. No.
68544, 27 October 1989, 145 SCRA 211.
[17]
People v. Eduarte, G.R. No. 88232, 26 February 1990, 182 SCRA 750,
citing Calimlim v. Ramirez, No. L-34362, 19 November 1982, 118 SCRA 399.
[18]
Ibid.
[19]
Ibid.
[9]

contending that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over


the cases under Republic Act No. 7975, which was
subsequently amended by Republic Act No. 8249, approved
on February 5, 1997.
On June 8, 1998, Prosecutor Jacqueline J. Ongpauco-Cortel
filed with the Sandiganbayan her comment stating that "the
prosecution interposes no objection to the remanding of the
case to the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City." [3]
On August 5, 1998, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution
denying petitioner's motion to quash and on September 21,
1998, issued another resolution ordering the preventive
suspension of petitioner and his co-accused for ninety (90)
days.[4]

===============================================
=============================================== On September 23, 1998, petitioner filed with the
=============================================== Sandiganbayan a motion for reconsideration seeking to set
=============================================== aside the resolutions in question and to dismiss the criminal
cases for want of jurisdiction.[5]
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. Nos. 137017-18. February 8, 2000]

On December 16, 1998, the Sandiganbayan issued a


resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. [6]

Hence, this petition.[7]


RAMON G. CUYCO, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE
SANDIGANBAYAN,
FIFTH
DIVISION
and
THE
HONORABLE
OFFICE
OF
THE
SPECIAL On March 8, 1999, we required respondents to comment on
the petition, and issued a temporary restraining order, without
PROSECUTOR, respondents.
bond, enjoining the Sandiganbayan from enforcing its
resolution suspending petitioner from office.[8]
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The case before the Court is a special civil action
for certiorari with preliminary injunction or temporary
restraining order seeking to review the resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan, Fifth Division,[1] that denied petitioner's
motion to quash information for violation of Section 3(e),
Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, for lack of jurisdiction,
and another resolution suspending petitioner from office for a
period of ninety (90) days for the same offense.

On August 25, 1999, we resolved to give due course to the


petition.[9]
At issue is whether or not at the time of the filing of the
informations on November 2, 1995 the Sandiganbayan had
jurisdiction over the cases against petitioner for violation of
Sections 3(a) and (e), Republic Act No. 3019, as amended.

The Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over offenses and


felonies, whether simple or complexed with other crimes
committed by public officers and employees mentioned in
subsection (a) of Section 4, Republic Act No. 7975, as
The facts are as follows:
amended by Republic Act No. 8249 in relation to their office,
where the accused holds a position with salary grade "27" and
On April 18, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Ma. Lourdes M. higher under the Compensation and Position Classification
Vilaria-Yap found probable cause for the indictment of Act of 1989.
petitioner Ramon G. Cuyco, Generoso P. Germino and Melcy
V. Wee for violation of Section 3(a), Republic Act No. 3019,
Petitioner contends that at the time of the commission of the
and petitioner Ramon G. Cuyco together with Rolando R.
offense in 1992, he was occupying the position of Director II,
Madarang for violation of Section 3(e) of the same Act, and
Salary Grade 26, hence, jurisdiction over the cases falls with
recommended the filing of two informations against petitioner,
the Regional Trial Court.[10]
together with the other respondents.
We sustain petitioner's contention.
On October 30, 1995, the Ombudsman approved the
recommendation, and on November 2, 1995, the prosecution
filed with the Sandiganbayan two informations against The Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over violations of
Section 3(a) and (e), Republic Act No. 3019, as amended,
petitioner for the offenses aforesaid.[2]
unless committed by public officials and employees occupying
positions of regional director and higher with Salary Grade
On June 20, 1997, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a
"27" or higher, under the Compensation and Position
motion to quash the information for lack of jurisdiction,

56 | P a g e

Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758) in relation The Court orders the Sandiganbayan to dismiss Criminal
to their office.
Cases Nos. 23016 and 23017, for lack of jurisdiction.
However, the Ombudsman may re-file the cases with the
In ruling in favor of its jurisdiction, even though petitioner court of proper jurisdiction, the Regional Trial Court,
admittedly occupied the position of Director II with Salary Zamboanga City, and inform this Court of the action taken
Grade "26" under the Compensation and Position hereon within ten (10) days from finality.
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), the
Sandiganbayan incurred in serious error of jurisdiction, and No costs.
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction in suspending petitioner from office, entitling SO ORDERED.
petitioner to the reliefs prayed for.
Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition
for certiorari and
ANNULS
the
resolutions
of
the Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), voted to REFER this case to the
Sandiganbayan, issued on August 5, 1998, September 21, RTC, instead of ordering the dismissal thereof.
1998, and December 16, 1998, in Criminal Case Nos. 23016
and 23017, and makes the temporary restraining order
permanent.

57 | P a g e