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Republic v.

Sandiganbayan, Ramas and Dimaano


Summary Cases:

Republic vs Sandiganbayan 407 SCRA 10

Subject: PCGGJurisdiction, Revolutionary Government, International Law

Facts:

Upon herassumption to office following the EDSA Revolution, then President Aquinoissued Executive
Order No. 1 creating the PresidentialCommission on Good Government (PCGG). Pursuant to its
mandate to recover allill-gotten wealth of former President Marcos, his immediate family,
relatives,subordinates and close associates, PCGG created an AFP Anti-Graft Board toinvestigate
corrupt practices by AFP personnel, whether in the active serviceor retired.

The AFPBoard investigated reports of unexplained wealth of Major General Ramas, the Commanding
General of the Philippine Army until 1986 (with the rank ofMajor General) and filed a petitionfor forfeiture
against him and his office clerk and alleged mistress, ElizabethDimaano.

Duringthe trial, respondents filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the PCGGdoes not have
jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute military officers byreason of mere position held without a
showing that they are"subordinates" of former President Marcos.

Moreover,during the raid conducted onDimaanos residence, there were items seized that were not
includedin the search warrant. Respondents therefore seek these items to beexcluded from evidence for
being illegally seized.

Notably, the search and seizure was conducted onMarch 3, 1986 or five days after the EDSA revolution.
According to the Republic, the items seizedare admissible since at the time of their seizure, private
respondents did notenjoy any constitutional right. What was in place at the time of the seizurewas a
revolutionary governmentand it effectively withheld the operation of the 1973 Constitution which wasthe
basis of respondents exclusionary right.

Held:

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PCGG Jurisdiction
PCGG has no jurisdiction to investigate and cause the filing of a forfeiture petition against Ramas and
Dimaano for unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379.a. Ramas is not asubordinate as the term is
contemplated under EO No. 1.
b. Mere position heldby a military officer does not automatically make him a "subordinate"as this term is
used in EO No.1 absent a showing that he enjoyed closeassociation with former President Marcos.
c. There must be a prima facie showing that Ramas unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close
association orrelation with former Pres. Marcos and/or his wife.
d. Such closeassociation is manifested either by Ramas' complicity with former PresidentMarcos in the
accumulation of ill-gotten wealth by the deposed President or byformer President Marcos' acquiescence
in Ramas' own accumulation of ill-gottenwealth if any.
The proper government agencies, and not the PCGG, should investigate and prosecute forfeiture
petitions not falling under EO No. 1 and its amendments. The preliminary investigation of unexplained
wealth amassed on or before 25 February 1986 falls under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, while the
authority to file the corresponding forfeiture petition rests with the Solicitor General. The right of the State
to forfeit unexplained wealth under RA No. 1379 is not subject to prescription, laches or estoppel
Rights under theRevolutionary Government (Legality of the seizure)

The Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution was not operative during the interregnum a. The EDSA
Revolution took place on February 23-25, 1986. The INTERREGNUM refers toperiod after the actualand
effective take-over of power by the revolutionary government following thecessation of resistance by
loyalist forces up to March 24, 1986 -- immediately before the adoption ofthe Provisional Constitution).
b. During the interregnum, a person could not invokeany exclusionary right under a Bill of Rights
because there was neither aconstitution nor a Bill of Rights during the interregnum During
theinterregnum, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were thesupreme law
because no constitution limited the extent and scope of suchdirectives and orders.

Nevertheless, even during the interregnum the Filipino people continued to enjoy, under the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Covenant) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(Declaration), almost the same rights found in the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution.a. The
Declaration, to which the Philippines is asignatory, provides in its Article 17(2) that no one shall be
arbitrarilydeprived of his property.
b. Although the signatories to the Declaration did notintend it as a legally binding document, being only a
declaration, the Courthas interpreted the Declaration as part of the generally accepted principlesof
international law (customaryinternational law) and binding on the State. Thus, the
revolutionarygovernment was also obligated under international law to observe therights of individuals
under the Declaration.
6. After the EDSA Revolution, theresulting government was a revolutionary government bound by no
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constitution orlegal limitations except treaty obligations that the revolutionary government,as the de jure
government in the Philippines, assumed underinternational law.
7. The search warrant, issued duringthe interregnum, was valid. However, the seizure of the items not
included inthe warrant was void, unless these items are contraband per se, which they arenot.

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