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REPUBLIC ACT No.

3019
ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
Section 1. Statement of policy. It is the policy of the Philippine Government, in line with the principle that a public
office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or
corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.
Section 2. Definition of terms. As used in this Act, that term
(a) "Government" includes the national government, the local governments, the government-owned and governmentcontrolled corporations, and all other instrumentalities or agencies of the Republic of the Philippines and their
branches.
(b) "Public officer" includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the
classified or unclassified or exempt service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government as defined
in the preceding subparagraph.
(c) "Receiving any gift" includes the act of accepting directly or indirectly a gift from a person other than a member
of the public officer's immediate family, in behalf of himself or of any member of his family or relative within the
fourth civil degree, either by consanguinity or affinity, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national
festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is under the circumstances manifestly excessive.
(d) "Person" includes natural and juridical persons, unless the context indicates otherwise.
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized
by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be
unlawful:
(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and
regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter,
or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
(b) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for
any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part,
wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law.
(c) Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself
or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or
will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given, without
prejudice to Section thirteen of this Act.
(d) Accepting or having any member of his family accept employment in a private enterprise which has pending
official business with him during the pendency thereof or within one year after its termination.

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted
benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of
offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
(f) Neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable
time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested
in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or
giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous
to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
(h) Director or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection
with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by
any law from having any interest.
(i) Directly or indirectly becoming interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act
requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such
approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or
group.
Interest for personal gain shall be presumed against those public officers responsible for the approval of manifestly
unlawful, inequitable, or irregular transaction or acts by the board, panel or group to which they belong.
(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for
or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one
who is not so qualified or entitled.
(k) Divulging valuable information of a confidential character, acquired by his office or by him on account of his
official position to unauthorized persons, or releasing such information in advance of its authorized release date.
The person giving the gift, present, share, percentage or benefit referred to in subparagraphs (b) and (c); or offering
or giving to the public officer the employment mentioned in subparagraph (d); or urging the divulging or untimely
release of the confidential information referred to in subparagraph (k) of this section shall, together with the
offending public officer, be punished under Section nine of this Act and shall be permanently or temporarily
disqualified in the discretion of the Court, from transacting business in any form with the Government.
Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close personal
relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by
directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any other
person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public
official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity in the third
civil degree. The word "close personal relation" shall include close personal friendship, social and fraternal

connections, and professional employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public
officer.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of the
offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.
Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for any relative, by consanguinity
or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Philippines, the
President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to intervene, directly or indirectly, in any
business, transaction, contract or application with the Government: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any
person who, prior to the assumption of office of any of the above officials to whom he is related, has been already
dealing with the Government along the same line of business, nor to any transaction, contract or application already
existing or pending at the time of such assumption of public office, nor to any application filed by him the approval
of which is not discretionary on the part of the official or officials concerned but depends upon compliance with
requisites provided by law, or rules or regulations issued pursuant to law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an
official capacity or in the exercise of a profession.
Section 6. Prohibition on Members of Congress. It shall be unlawful hereafter for any Member of the Congress
during the term for which he has been elected, to acquire or receive any personal pecuniary interest in any specific
business enterprise which will be directly and particularly favored or benefited by any law or resolution authored by
him previously approved or adopted by the Congress during the same term.
The provision of this section shall apply to any other public officer who recommended the initiation in Congress of
the enactment or adoption of any law or resolution, and acquires or receives any such interest during his
incumbency.
It shall likewise be unlawful for such member of Congress or other public officer, who, having such interest prior to
the approval of such law or resolution authored or recommended by him, continues for thirty days after such
approval to retain such interest.
Section 7. Statement of assets and liabilities. Every public officer, within thirty days after the approval of this Act or
after assuming office, and within the month of January of every other year thereafter, as well as upon the expiration
of his term of office, or upon his resignation or separation from office, shall prepare and file with the office of the
corresponding Department Head, or in the case of a Head of Department or chief of an independent office, with the
Office of the President, or in the case of members of the Congress and the officials and employees thereof, with the
Office of the Secretary of the corresponding House, a true detailed and sworn statement of assets and liabilities,
including a statement of the amounts and sources of his income, the amounts of his personal and family expenses
and the amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year: Provided, That public officers assuming
office less than two months before the end of the calendar year, may file their statements in the following months of
January.
Section 8. Dismissal due to unexplained wealth. If in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act Numbered
One thousand three hundred seventy-nine, a public official has been found to have acquired during his incumbency,
whether in his name or in the name of other persons, an amount of property and/or money manifestly out of

proportion to his salary and to his other lawful income, that fact shall be a ground for dismissal or removal.
Properties in the name of the spouse and unmarried children of such public official may be taken into consideration,
when their acquisition through legitimate means cannot be satisfactorily shown. Bank deposits shall be taken into
consideration in the enforcement of this section, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.
Section 9. Penalties for violations. (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or
omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than one
year nor more than ten years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of
the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and
other lawful income.
Any complaining party at whose complaint the criminal prosecution was initiated shall, in case of conviction of the
accused, be entitled to recover in the criminal action with priority over the forfeiture in favor of the Government, the
amount of money or the thing he may have given to the accused, or the value of such thing.
(b) Any public officer violation any of the provisions of Section 7 of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less
than one hundred pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both
such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court.
The violation of said section proven in a proper administrative proceeding shall be sufficient cause for removal or
dismissal of a public officer, even if no criminal prosecution is instituted against him.
Section 10. Competent court. Until otherwise provided by law, all prosecutions under this Act shall be within the
original jurisdiction of the proper Court of First Instance.
Section 11. Prescription of offenses. All offenses punishable under this Act shall prescribe in ten years.
Section 12. Termination of office. No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation,
criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under this Act or under the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery.
Section 13. Suspension and loss of benefits. Any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid
information under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bribery is pending in court, shall be
suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits
under any law, but if he is acquitted, he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he
failed to receive during suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
Section 14. Exception. Unsolicited gifts or presents of small or insignificant value offered or given as a mere
ordinary token of gratitude or friendship according to local customs or usage, shall be excepted from the provisions
of this Act.
Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted to prejudice or prohibit the practice of any profession, lawful trade or
occupation by any private person or by any public officer who under the law may legitimately practice his
profession, trade or occupation, during his incumbency, except where the practice of such profession, trade or

occupation involves conspiracy with any other person or public official to commit any of the violations penalized in
this Act.
Section 15. Separability clause. If any provision of this Act or the application of such provision to any person or
circumstances is declared invalid, the remainder of the Act or the application of such provision to other persons or
circumstances shall not be affected by such declaration.
Section 16. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect on its approval, but for the purpose of determining unexplained
wealth, all property acquired by a public officer since he assumed office shall be taken into consideration.
Approved: August 17, 1960

REPUBLIC ACT No. 1379


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 PROCEEDINGS THEREFOR.
Section 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this Act, a "public officer or employee" means any person holding any
public office or employment by virtue of an appointment, election or contract, and any person holding any office or
employment, by appointment or contract, in any State owned or controlled corporation or enterprise.
(b) "Other legitimately acquired property" means any real or personal property, money or securities which the
respondent has at any time acquired by inheritance and the income thereof, or by gift inter vivos before his becoming
a public officer or employee, or any property (or income thereof) already pertaining to him when he qualified for
public office or employment, or the fruits and income of the exclusive property of the respondent's spouse. It shall
not include:
1. Property unlawfully acquired by the respondent, but its ownership is concealed by its being recorded in the name
of, or held by, the respondent's spouse, ascendants, descendants, relatives, or any other person.
2. Property unlawfully acquired by the respondent, but transferred by him to another person or persons on or after
the effectivity of this Act.
3. Property donated to the respondent during his incumbency, unless he can prove to the satisfaction of the court that
the donation is lawful.
Section 2. Filing of petition. Whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an
amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his
other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima

facie to have been unlawfully acquired. The Solicitor General, upon complaint by any taxpayer to the city or
provincial fiscal who shall conduct a previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases and
shall certify to the Solicitor General that there is reasonable ground to believe that there has been committed a
violation of this Act and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, shall file, in the name and on behalf of the
Republic of the Philippines, in the Court of First Instance of the city or province where said public officer or
employee resides or holds office, a petition for a writ commanding said officer or employee to show cause why the
property aforesaid, or any part thereof, should not be declared property of the State: Provided, That no such petition
shall be filed within one year before any general election or within three months before any special election.
The resignation, dismissal or separation of the officer or employee from his office or employment in the Government
or in the Government-owned or controlled corporation shall not be a bar to the filing of the petition:Provided,
however, That the right to file such petition shall prescribe after four years from the date of the resignation, dismissal
or separation or expiration of the term of the office or employee concerned, except as to those who have ceased to
hold office within ten years prior to the approval of this Act, in which case the proceedings shall prescribe after four
years from the approval hereof.
Section 3. The petition. The petition shall contain the following information:
(a) The name and address of the respondent.
(b) The public officer or employment he holds and such other public offices or employment which he has previously
held.
(c) The approximate amount of property he has acquired during his incumbency in his past and present offices and
employments.
(d) A description of said property, or such thereof as has been identified by the Solicitor General.
(e) The total amount of his government salary and other proper earnings and incomes from legitimately acquired
property, and
(f) Such other information as may enable the court to determine whether or not the respondent has unlawfully
acquired property during his incumbency.
Section 4. Period for the answer. The respondent shall have a period of fifteen days within which to present his
answer.
Section 5. Hearing. The Court shall set a date for a hearing, which may be open to the public, and during which the
respondent shall be given ample opportunity to explain, to the satisfaction of the court, how he has acquired the
property in question.
Section 6. Judgment. If the respondent is unable to show to the satisfaction of the court that he has lawfully acquired
the property in question, then the court shall declare such property, forfeited in favor of the State, and by virtue of
such judgment the property aforesaid shall become property of the State: Provided, That no judgment shall be
rendered within six months before any general election or within three months before any special election. The Court
may, in addition, refer this case to the corresponding Executive Department for administrative or criminal action, or
both.
Section 7. Appeal. The parties may appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance as provided in the Rules
of Court for appeals in civil cases.

Section 8. Protection against self-incrimination. Neither the respondent nor any other person shall be excused from
attending and testifying or from producing books, papers, correspondence, memoranda and other records on the
ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him may tend to incriminate him or
subject him to prosecution; but no individual shall be prosecuted criminally for or on account of any transaction,
matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed his privilege against self-incrimination, to
testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt
from prosecution and conviction for perjury or false testimony committed in so testifying or from administrative
proceedings.
Section 9. Immunity. The Solicitor General may grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any person who
testifies to the unlawful manner in which the respondent has acquired any of the property in question in cases where
such testimony is necessary to prove violations of this Act.
Section 10. Effect of record of title. The fact that any real property has been recorded in the Registry of Property or
office of the Register of Deeds in the name of the respondent or of any person mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2)
of subsection (b) of section one hereof shall not prevent the rendering of the judgment referred to in section six of
this Act.
Section 11. Laws on prescription. The laws concerning acquisitive prescription and limitation of actions cannot be
invoked by, nor shall they benefit the respondent, in respect of any property unlawfully acquired by him.
Section 12. Penalties. Any public officer or employee who shall, after the effective date of this Act, transfer or
convey any unlawfully acquired property shall be repressed with imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years,
or a fine not exceeding ten thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine. The same repression shall be
imposed upon any person who shall knowingly accept such transfer or conveyance.
Section 13. Separability of provisions. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or
circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or
circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Section 14. Effective date. This Act shall take effect on its approval, and shall apply not only to property thereafter
unlawfully acquired but also to property unlawfully acquired before the effective date of this Act.
Approved: June 18, 1955

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14-A August 18, 1986


AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14
WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 14 dated May 7, 1986 was issued vesting in the Sandiganbayan original and
exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal and civil suits filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government:
WHEREAS, there is a need to further clarify such Executive Order with respect to the scope and meaning of certain
provisions therein;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, do hereby order:

Sec. 1. Section 3 of Executive Order No. 14 dated May 7, 1986 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 3. The civil suits to recover unlawfully acquired property under Republic Act No. 1379 or for restitution,
reparation of damages, or indemnification for consequential and other damages or any other civil actions under the
Civil Code or other existing laws filed with the Sandiganbayan against Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos,
members of their immediate family, close relatives, subordinates, close and/or business associates, dummies, agents
and nominees, may proceed independently of any criminal proceedings and may be proved by a preponderance of
evidence."
Sec. 2. Section 4 of Executive Order No. 14 dated May 7, 1986 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 4. A witness may refuse on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or provide other
information in proceeding before the Sandiganbayan if the witness believes that such testimony or provision of
information would tend to incriminate him or subject him to prosecution. Upon such refusal the Sandiganbayan may
order the witness to testify or provide information.
The witness may refuse to comply with the order on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination; but no
testimony or other information compelled under the order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from
such testimony, or other information) may be used against the witness in any criminal case, except a prosecution for
perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with the order."
Sec. 3. Section 5 of dated Executive Order No. 14 May 7, 1986 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 5. The Presidential Commission on Good Government is authorized to grant immunity from criminal
prosecution to any person who provides information or testifies in any investigation conducted by such Commission
to establish the unlawful manner in which any respondent, defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the
property or properties in question in any case where such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove
the latter's guilt or his civil liability. The immunity thereby granted shall be continued to protect the witness who
repeats such testimony before the Sandiganbayan when required to do so by the latter or by the Commission."
Sec. 4. Section 7 Executive Order No. 14 dated May 7, 1986 is hereby amended as follows:
"Sec. 7. The provisions of this Executive Order shall prevail over any laws or parts thereof, or the Rules of Court as
regards the investigation, prosecution, and trial of cases to recover the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the persons
mentioned in Executive Orders Nos. 1 and 2."
Sec. 5. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 18th day of August, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and
eighty-six.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 162059

January 22, 2008

HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
DECISION
REYES, R.T., J.:
CAN the Sandiganbayan try a government scholaran** accused, along with her brother, of swindling government
funds?
MAAARI bang litisin ng Sandiganbayan ang isang iskolar ng bayan, at ang kanyang kapatid, na kapwa
pinararatangan ng estafa ng pera ng bayan?
The jurisdictional question is posed in this petition for certiorari assailing the Resolutions 1 of the Sandiganbayan,
Fifth Division, denying petitioners motion to quash the information and her motion for reconsideration.
The Antecedents
Petitioner Hannah Eunice D. Serana was a senior student of the University of the Philippines-Cebu. A student of a
state university is known as a government scholar. She was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada on December
21, 1999 as a student regent of UP, to serve a one-year term starting January 1, 2000 and ending on December 31,
2000.
In the early part of 2000, petitioner discussed with President Estrada the renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex in UP
Diliman.2 On September 4, 2000, petitioner, with her siblings and relatives, registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission the Office of the Student Regent Foundation, Inc. (OSRFI).3
One of the projects of the OSRFI was the renovation of the Vinzons Hall Annex. 4 President Estrada gave Fifteen
Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00) to the OSRFI as financial assistance for the proposed renovation. The source of the
funds, according to the information, was the Office of the President.
The renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize. 5 The succeeding student regent, Kristine Clare
Bugayong, and Christine Jill De Guzman, Secretary General of the KASAMA sa U.P., a system-wide alliance of
student councils within the state university, consequently filed a complaint for Malversation of Public Funds and
Property with the Office of the Ombudsman.6
On July 3, 2003, the Ombudsman, after due investigation, found probable cause to indict petitioner and her brother
Jade Ian D. Serana for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 27819 of the Sandiganbayan.7 The Information reads:
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby accuses HANNAH
EUNICE D. SERANA and JADE IAN D. SERANA of the crime of Estafa, defined and penalized under Paragraph
2(a), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended committed as follows:
That on October, 24, 2000, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, a
high-ranking public officer, being then the Student Regent of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon
City, while in the performance of her official functions, committing the offense in relation to her office and taking

advantage of her position, with intent to gain, conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private
individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government by falsely and
fraudulently representing to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada that the renovation of the Vinzons Hall of the
University of the Philippines will be renovated and renamed as "President Joseph Ejercito Estrada Student Hall," and
for which purpose accused HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA requested the amount of FIFTEEN MILLION PESOS
(P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the latter relying and believing on said
false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said accused Land Bank Check No. 91353 dated October
24, 2000 in the amount of FIFTEEN MILLION PESOS (P15,000,000.00), which check was subsequently encashed
by accused Jade Ian D. Serana on October 25, 2000 and misappropriated for their personal use and benefit, and
despite repeated demands made upon the accused for them to return aforesaid amount, the said accused failed and
refused to do so to the damage and prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount.
CONTRARY TO LAW. (Underscoring supplied)
Petitioner moved to quash the information. She claimed that the Sandiganbayan does not have any jurisdiction over
the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP student regent.
Petitioner claimed that Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended by R.A. No. 8249, enumerates the crimes or
offenses over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction.8 It has no jurisdiction over the crime of estafa.9 It only has
jurisdiction over crimes covered by Title VII, Chapter II, Section 2 (Crimes Committed by Public Officers), Book II
of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Estafa falling under Title X, Chapter VI (Crimes Against Property), Book II of the
RPC is not within the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
She also argued that it was President Estrada, not the government, that was duped. Even assuming that she received
the P15,000,000.00, that amount came from Estrada, not from the coffers of the government.10
Petitioner likewise posited that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over her person. As a student regent, she was
not a public officer since she merely represented her peers, in contrast to the other regents who held their positions in
an ex officio capacity. She addsed that she was a simple student and did not receive any salary as a student regent.
She further contended that she had no power or authority to receive monies or funds. Such power was vested with
the Board of Regents (BOR) as a whole. Since it was not alleged in the information that it was among her functions
or duties to receive funds, or that the crime was committed in connection with her official functions, the same is
beyond the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan citing the case of Soller v. Sandiganbayan.11
The Ombudsman opposed the motion.12 It disputed petitioners interpretation of the law. Section 4(b) of Presidential
Decree (P.D.) No. 1606 clearly contains the catch -all phrase "in relation to office," thus, the Sandiganbayan has
jurisdiction over the charges against petitioner. In the same breath, the prosecution countered that the source of the
money is a matter of defense. It should be threshed out during a full-blown trial.13
According to the Ombudsman, petitioner, despite her protestations, iwas a public officer. As a member of the BOR,
she hads the general powers of administration and exerciseds the corporate powers of UP. Based on Mechems
definition of a public office, petitioners stance that she was not compensated, hence, not a public officer, is
erroneous. Compensation is not an essential part of public office. Parenthetically, compensation has been interpreted
to include allowances. By this definition, petitioner was compensated.14
Sandiganbayan Disposition
In a Resolution dated November 14, 2003, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioners motion for lack of merit. 15 It
ratiocinated:

The focal point in controversy is the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over this case.
It is extremely erroneous to hold that only criminal offenses covered by Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of
the Revised Penal Code are within the jurisdiction of this Court. As correctly pointed out by the prosecution, Section
4(b) of R.A. 8249 provides that the Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction over other offenses committed by public
officials and employees in relation to their office. From this provision, there is no single doubt that this Court has
jurisdiction over the offense of estafa committed by a public official in relation to his office.
Accused-movants claim that being merely a member in representation of the student body, she was never a public
officer since she never received any compensation nor does she fall under Salary Grade 27, is of no moment, in view
of the express provision of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8249 which provides:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
(A) x x x
(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:
xxxx
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state
universities or educational institutions or foundations. (Italics supplied)
It is very clear from the aforequoted provision that the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive jurisdiction over all
offenses involving the officials enumerated in subsection (g), irrespective of their salary grades, because the
primordial consideration in the inclusion of these officials is the nature of their responsibilities and functions.
Is accused-movant included in the contemplated provision of law?
A meticulous review of the existing Charter of the University of the Philippines reveals that the Board of Regents, to
which accused-movant belongs, exclusively exercises the general powers of administration and corporate powers in
the university, such as: 1) To receive and appropriate to the ends specified by law such sums as may be provided by
law for the support of the university; 2) To prescribe rules for its own government and to enact for the government of
the university such general ordinances and regulations, not contrary to law, as are consistent with the purposes of the
university; and 3) To appoint, on recommendation of the President of the University, professors, instructors, lecturers
and other employees of the University; to fix their compensation, hours of service, and such other duties and
conditions as it may deem proper; to grant to them in its discretion leave of absence under such regulations as it may
promulgate, any other provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, and to remove them for cause after an
investigation and hearing shall have been had.
It is well-established in corporation law that the corporation can act only through its board of directors, or board of
trustees in the case of non-stock corporations. The board of directors or trustees, therefore, is the governing body of
the corporation.
It is unmistakably evident that the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines is performing functions
similar to those of the Board of Trustees of a non-stock corporation. This draws to fore the conclusion that being a
member of such board, accused-movant undoubtedly falls within the category of public officials upon whom this

Court is vested with original exclusive jurisdiction, regardless of the fact that she does not occupy a position
classified as Salary Grade 27 or higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
Finally, this court finds that accused-movants contention that the same of P15 Million was received from former
President Estrada and not from the coffers of the government, is a matter a defense that should be properly ventilated
during the trial on the merits of this case.16
On November 19, 2003, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. 17 The motion was denied with finality in a
Resolution dated February 4, 2004.18
Issue
Petitioner is now before this Court, contending that "THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE
INFORMATION AND DISMISING THE CASE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IS HAS NO JURISDICTION
OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION."19
In her discussion, she reiterates her four-fold argument below, namely: (a) the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction
over estafa; (b) petitioner is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27 and she paid her tuition fees; (c) the offense
charged was not committed in relation to her office; (d) the funds in question personally came from President
Estrada, not from the government.
Our Ruling
The petition cannot be granted.
Preliminarily,
the
quash is not correctible by certiorari.

denial

of

motion

to

We would ordinarily dismiss this petition for certiorari outright on procedural grounds. Well-established is the rule
that when a motion to quash in a criminal case is denied, the remedy is not a petition for certiorari, but for
petitioners to go to trial, without prejudice to reiterating the special defenses invoked in their motion to
quash.20Remedial measures as regards interlocutory orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often
dismissed.21 The evident reason for this rule is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action.22
In Newsweek, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,23 the Court clearly explained and illustrated the rule and the
exceptions, thus:
As a general rule, an order denying a motion to dismiss is merely interlocutory and cannot be subject of appeal until
final judgment or order is rendered. (Sec. 2 of Rule 41). The ordinary procedure to be followed in such a case is to
file an answer, go to trial and if the decision is adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final judgment. The
same rule applies to an order denying a motion to quash, except that instead of filing an answer a plea is entered and
no appeal lies from a judgment of acquittal.
This general rule is subject to certain exceptions. If the court, in denying the motion to dismiss or motion to quash,
acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari or prohibition lies. The
reason is that it would be unfair to require the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the
court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is not the court of proper venue, or if the denial of the
motion to dismiss or motion to quash is made with grave abuse of discretion or a whimsical and capricious exercise

of judgment. In such cases, the ordinary remedy of appeal cannot be plain and adequate. The following are a few
examples of the exceptions to the general rule.
In De Jesus v. Garcia (19 SCRA 554), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction over the
subject matter, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition against the City Court of Manila and
directed the respondent court to dismiss the case.
In Lopez v. City Judge (18 SCRA 616), upon the denial of a motion to quash based on lack of jurisdiction over the
offense, this Court granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent court from further proceeding in
the case.
In Enriquez v. Macadaeg (84 Phil. 674), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on improper venue, this Court
granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent judge from taking cognizance of the case except to
dismiss the same.
In Manalo v. Mariano (69 SCRA 80), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on bar by prior judgment, this
Court granted the petition for certiorari and directed the respondent judge to dismiss the case.
In Yuviengco v. Dacuycuy (105 SCRA 668), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on the Statute of Frauds,
this Court granted the petition for certiorari and dismissed the amended complaint.
In Tacas v. Cariaso (72 SCRA 527), this Court granted the petition for certiorari after the motion to quash based on
double jeopardy was denied by respondent judge and ordered him to desist from further action in the criminal case
except to dismiss the same.
In People v. Ramos (83 SCRA 11), the order denying the motion to quash based on prescription was set aside
on certiorari and the criminal case was dismissed by this Court.24
We do not find the Sandiganbayan to have committed a grave abuse of discretion.
The
jurisdiction
set
by
P.D.
R.A. No. 3019, as amended.

of
No.

the
1606,

as

Sandiganbayan
amended,
not

is
by

We first address petitioners contention that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is determined by Section 4 of R.A.
No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended). We note that petitioner refers to Section 4 of the
said law yet quotes Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, in her motion to quash before the Sandiganbayan. 25 She
repeats the reference in the instant petition for certiorari26 and in her memorandum of authorities.27
We cannot bring ourselves to write this off as a mere clerical or typographical error. It bears stressing that petitioner
repeated this claim twice despite corrections made by the Sandiganbayan.28
Her claim has no basis in law. It is P.D. No. 1606, as amended, rather than R.A. No. 3019, as amended, that
determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. A brief legislative history of the statute creating the
Sandiganbayan is in order. The Sandiganbayan was created by P.D. No. 1486, promulgated by then President
Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 11, 1978. It was promulgated to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of
public officers and employees, based on the concept that public officers and employees shall serve with the highest
degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times accountable to the people.29

P.D. No. 1486 was, in turn, amended by P.D. No. 1606 which was promulgated on December 10, 1978. P.D. No.
1606 expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.30
P.D. No. 1606 was later amended by P.D. No. 1861 on March 23, 1983, further altering the Sandiganbayan
jurisdiction. R.A. No. 7975 approved on March 30, 1995 made succeeding amendments to P.D. No. 1606, which was
again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. No. 8249. Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249 further modified the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan. As it now stands, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the following:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, other known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more
of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at 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 989 (Republic Act No. 6758),
specifically including:
" (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
" (b) City mayor, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and
other city department heads;
"(c ) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
" (d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
" (e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding
the rank of senior superintended or higher;
" (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
universities or educational institutions or foundations.
" (2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27'" and up under the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989;
" (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
" (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
and
" (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27'" and higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989.

B. Other offenses of felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and
employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued
in 1986.
" In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade "27'" or higher, as
prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officer mentioned above, exclusive original
jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional 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, as amended.
" The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or order of
regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as
herein provided.
" The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of
mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature, including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases
filed or which may be filed under Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the
jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.
" The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court
has promulgated and may thereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals,
shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the
Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its
special prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order
Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
" 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 in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
" Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding
civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall, at all times, be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly
determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action
being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing such civil
action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had
heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter
filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or
the appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action,
otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned."
Upon the other hand, R.A. No. 3019 is a penal statute approved on August 17, 1960. The said law represses certain
acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead
thereto.31 Pursuant to Section 10 of R.A. No. 3019, all prosecutions for violation of the said law should be filed with
the Sandiganbayan.32

R.A. No. 3019 does not contain an enumeration of the cases over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. In fact,
Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019 erroneously cited by petitioner, deals not with the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but
with prohibition on private individuals. We quote:
Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close
personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal
relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from
any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which
such public official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity
in the third civil degree. The word "close personal relation" shall include close personal friendship, social and
fraternal connections, and professional employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such
public officer.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of the
offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.
In fine, the two statutes differ in that P.D. No. 1606, as amended, defines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan while
R.A. No. 3019, as amended, defines graft and corrupt practices and provides for their penalties.
Sandiganbayan
the offense of estafa.

has

jurisdiction

over

Relying on Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, petitioner contends that estafa is not among those crimes cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan. We note that in hoisting this argument, petitioner isolated the first paragraph of Section 4 of P.D.
No. 1606, without regard to the succeeding paragraphs of the said provision.
The rule is well-established in this jurisdiction that statutes should receive a sensible construction so as to avoid an
unjust or an absurd conclusion.33 Interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper fienda est, ut evitetur inconveniens et
absurdum. Where there is ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity is to be
adopted. Kung saan mayroong kalabuan, ang pagpapaliwanag ay hindi dapat maging mahirap at katawatawa.
Every section, provision or clause of the statute must be expounded by reference to each other in order to arrive at
the effect contemplated by the legislature.34 The intention of the legislator must be ascertained from the whole text of
the law and every part of the act is to be taken into view.35 In other words, petitioners interpretation lies in direct
opposition to the rule that a statute must be interpreted as a whole under the principle that the best interpreter of a
statute is the statute itself.36 Optima statuti interpretatrix est ipsum statutum. Ang isang batas ay marapat na
bigyan ng kahulugan sa kanyang kabuuan sa ilalim ng prinsipyo na ang pinakamainam na interpretasyon ay
ang mismong batas.
Section 4(B) of P.D. No. 1606 reads:
B. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and
employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
Evidently, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over other felonies committed by public officials in relation to their
office. We see no plausible or sensible reason to exclude estafa as one of the offenses included in Section 4(bB) of
P.D. No. 1606. Plainly, estafa is one of those other felonies. The jurisdiction is simply subject to the twin
requirements that (a) the offense is committed by public officials and employees mentioned in Section 4(A) of P.D.
No. 1606, as amended, and that (b) the offense is committed in relation to their office.

In Perlas, Jr. v. People,37 the Court had occasion to explain that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over an
indictment for estafa versus a director of the National Parks Development Committee, a government instrumentality.
The Court held then:
The National Parks Development Committee was created originally as an Executive Committee on January 14,
1963, for the development of the Quezon Memorial, Luneta and other national parks (Executive Order No. 30). It
was later designated as the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) on February 7, 1974 (E.O. No. 69). On
January 9, 1966, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and Teodoro F. Valencia were designated Chairman and Vice-Chairman
respectively (E.O. No. 3). Despite an attempt to transfer it to the Bureau of Forest Development, Department of
Natural Resources, on December 1, 1975 (Letter of Implementation No. 39, issued pursuant to PD No. 830, dated
November 27, 1975), the NPDC has remained under the Office of the President (E.O. No. 709, dated July 27, 1981).
Since 1977 to 1981, the annual appropriations decrees listed NPDC as a regular government agency under the Office
of the President and allotments for its maintenance and operating expenses were issued direct to NPDC (Exh. 10-A,
Perlas, Item Nos. 2, 3).
The Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over estafa was reiterated
Sandiganbayan.38Pertinent parts of the Courts ruling in Bondoc read:

with

greater

firmness

in Bondoc

v.

Furthermore, it is not legally possible to transfer Bondocs cases to the Regional Trial Court, for the simple reason
that the latter would not have jurisdiction over the offenses. As already above intimated, the inability of the
Sandiganbayan to hold a joint trial of Bondocs cases and those of the government employees separately charged for
the same crimes, has not altered the nature of the offenses charged, as estafa thru falsification punishable by
penalties higher than prision correccional or imprisonment of six years, or a fine of P6,000.00, committed by
government employees in conspiracy with private persons, including Bondoc. These crimes are within the exclusive,
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. They simply cannot be taken cognizance of by the regular courts, apart
from the fact that even if the cases could be so transferred, a joint trial would nonetheless not be possible.
Petitioner
is a public officer.

UP

student

regent

Petitioner also contends that she is not a public officer. She does not receive any salary or remuneration as a UP
student regent. This is not the first or likely the last time that We will be called upon to define a public officer.
InKhan, Jr. v. Office of the Ombudsman, We ruled that it is difficult to pin down the definition of a public
officer.39The 1987 Constitution does not define who are public officers. Rather, the varied definitions and concepts
are found in different statutes and jurisprudence.
In Aparri v. Court of Appeals,40 the Court held that:
A public office is the right, authority, and duty created and conferred by law, by which for a given period, either
fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the
sovereign functions of the government, to be exercise by him for the benefit of the public ([Mechem Public Offices
and Officers,] Sec. 1). The right to hold a public office under our political system is therefore not a natural right. It
exists, when it exists at all only because and by virtue of some law expressly or impliedly creating and conferring it
(Mechem Ibid., Sec. 64). There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right
to hold office. Excepting constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no
one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary (42 Am. Jur. 881).
In Laurel v. Desierto,41 the Court adopted the definition of Mechem of a public office:

"A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either
fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the
sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so
invested is a public officer."42
Petitioner claims that she is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27; she is, in fact, a regular tuition fee-paying
student. This is likewise bereft of merit. It is not only the salary grade that determines the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction over other officers enumerated in P.D. No. 1606.
InGeduspan v. People,43 We held that while the first part of Section 4(A) covers only officials with Salary Grade 27
and higher, its second part specifically includes other executive officials whose positions may not be of Salary Grade
27 and higher but who are by express provision of law placed under the jurisdiction of the said court. Petitioner falls
under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as she is placed there by express provision of law.44
Section 4(A)(1)(g) of P.D. No. 1606 explictly vested the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over Presidents, directors
or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational
institutions or foundations. Petitioner falls under this category. As the Sandiganbayan pointed out, the BOR performs
functions similar to those of a board of trustees of a non-stock corporation. 45 By express mandate of law, petitioner
is, indeed, a public officer as contemplated by P.D. No. 1606.
Moreover, it is well established that compensation is not an essential element of public office. 46 At most, it is merely
incidental to the public office.47
Delegation of sovereign functions is essential in the public office. An investment in an individual of some portion of
the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public makes one a public
officer.48
The administration of the UP is a sovereign function in line with Article XIV of the Constitution. UP performs a
legitimate governmental function by providing advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences, and arts,
and giving professional and technical training.49 Moreover, UP is maintained by the Government and it declares no
dividends and is not a corporation created for profit.50
The
offense
in
relation
to the Information.

charged
to

public

was
office,

committed
according

Petitioner likewise argues that even assuming that she is a public officer, the Sandiganbayan would still not have
jurisdiction over the offense because it was not committed in relation to her office.
According to petitioner, she had no power or authority to act without the approval of the BOR. She adds there was
no Board Resolution issued by the BOR authorizing her to contract with then President Estrada; and that her acts
were not ratified by the governing body of the state university. Resultantly, her act was done in a private capacity
and not in relation to public office.
It is axiomatic that jurisdiction is determined by the averments in the information. 51 More than that, jurisdiction is
not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by defendant or respondent in an answer, a motion to dismiss, or a
motion to quash.52 Otherwise, jurisdiction would become dependent almost entirely upon the whims of defendant or
respondent.53
In the case at bench, the information alleged, in no uncertain terms that petitioner, being then a student regent of
U.P., "while in the performance of her official functions, committing the offense in relation to her office and taking

advantage of her position, with intent to gain, conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private
individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government x x x." (Underscoring
supplied)
Clearly, there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it did not quash the
information based on this ground.
Source
of
funds
be raised during trial on the merits.

is

defense

that

should

It is contended anew that the amount came from President Estradas private funds and not from the government
coffers. Petitioner insists the charge has no leg to stand on.
We cannot agree. The information alleges that the funds came from the Office of the President and not its then
occupant, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Under the information, it is averred that "petitioner requested the
amount of Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the
latter relying and believing on said false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said accused Land
Bank Check No. 91353 dated October 24, 2000 in the amount of Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00)."
Again, the Court sustains the Sandiganbayan observation that the source of the P15,000,000 is a matter of defense
that should be ventilated during the trial on the merits of the instant case.54
A
lawyer
and honesty to the Court.

owes

candor,

fairness

As a parting note, petitioners counsel, Renato G. dela Cruz, misrepresented his reference to Section 4 of P.D. No.
1606 as a quotation from Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019. A review of his motion to quash, the instant petition
forcertiorari and his memorandum, unveils the misquotation. We urge petitioners counsel to observe Canon 10 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 10.02 of the Rules stating that "a lawyer shall not
misquote or misrepresent."
The Court stressed the importance of this rule in Pangan v. Ramos,55 where Atty Dionisio D. Ramos used the name
Pedro D.D. Ramos in connection with a criminal case. The Court ruled that Atty. Ramos resorted to deception by
using a name different from that with which he was authorized. We severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned
that a repetition may warrant suspension or disbarment.56
We admonish petitioners counsel to be more careful and accurate in his citation. A lawyers conduct before the court
should be characterized by candor and fairness.57 The administration of justice would gravely suffer if lawyers do
not act with complete candor and honesty before the courts.58
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Ynares-Santiago, Chairperson, Austria-Martinez, Corona*, Nachura, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 165835

June 22, 2005

MAJOR GENERAL CARLOS F. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and the OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.
DECISION
Tinga, J.:
Petitioner Major General Carlos F. Garcia was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Comptrollership, J6, of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines. Petitioner filed this Petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 to annul and set
aside public respondent Sandiganbayans Resolution1 dated 29 October 2004 and Writ of Preliminary
Attachment2 dated 2 November 2004, and to enjoin public respondents Sandiganbayan and Office of the
Ombudsman from further proceeding with any action relating to the enforcement of the assailed issuances.
On 27 September 2004, Atty. Maria Olivia Elena A. Roxas, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II of the
Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman, after due investigation, filed a complaint against
petitioner with public respondent Office of the Ombudsman, for violation of Sec. 8, in relation to Sec. 11 of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713,3 violation of Art. 183 of the Revised Penal Code, and violation of Section 52 (A)(1),
(3) and (20) of the Civil Service Law. Based on this complaint, a case for Violations of R.A. No. 1379, 4 Art. 183 of
the Revised Penal Code, and Sec. 8 in relation to Sec. 11 of R.A. No. 6713, docketed as Case
No. OMB-P-C-04-1132-I, was filed against petitioner.5 Petitioners wife Clarita Depakakibo Garcia, and their three
sons, Ian Carl, Juan Paolo and Timothy Mark, all surnamed Garcia, were impleaded in the complaint for violation of
R.A. No. 1379 insofar as they acted as conspirators, conduits, dummies and fronts of petitioner in receiving,
accumulating, using and disposing of his ill-gotten wealth.
On the same day, 27 October 2004, the Republic of the Philippines, acting through public respondent Office of the
Ombudsman, filed before the Sandiganbayan, a Petition with Verified Urgent Ex Parte Application for the Issuance
of a Writ of Preliminary Attachment6 against petitioner, his wife, and three sons, seeking the forfeiture of unlawfully
acquired properties under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379, as amended. The petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 0193,
entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, et al." It was alleged that the Office of the
Ombudsman, after conducting an inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation in criminal cases, has determined that
a prima facie case exists against Maj. Gen. Garcia and the other respondents therein who hold such properties for,
with, or on behalf of, Maj. Gen. Garcia, since during his incumbency as a soldier and public officer he acquired huge
amounts of money and properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer and his other
lawful income, if any.7
Acting on the Republics prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment, the Sandiganbayan issued the
questioned Resolution granting the relief prayed for. The corresponding writ of preliminary attachment was
subsequently issued on 2 November 2004 upon the filing of a bond by the Republic. On 17 November 2004,

petitioner (as respondent a quo) filed a Motion to Dismiss8 in Civil Case No. 0193 on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over forfeiture proceedings under R.A. No. 1379. On even date, petitioner filed
the present Petition, raising the same issue of lack jurisdiction on the part of the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner argues in this Petition that the Sandiganbayan is without jurisdiction over the "civil action" for forfeiture
of unlawfully acquired properties under R.A. No. 1379, maintaining that such jurisdiction actually resides in the
Regional Trial Courts as provided under Sec. 2 9 of the law, and that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in civil
actions pertains only to separate actions for recovery of unlawfully acquired property against President Marcos, his
family, and cronies as can be gleaned from Sec. 4 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606, 10 as amended, and
Executive Orders (E.O.) Nos. 1411 and 14-A.12
Theorizing that the Sandiganbayan, under P.D. No. 1606 or the law creating it, was intended principally as a criminal
court, with no jurisdiction over separate civil actions, petitioner points to President Corazon C. Aquinos issuances
after the EDSA Revolution, namely: (1) E.O. No. 1 creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG) for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth amassed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his family and cronies, (2)
E.O. No. 14 which amended P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379 by transferring to the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction
over civil actions filed against President Marcos, his family and cronies based on R.A. No. 1379, the Civil Code and
other existing laws, and (3) E.O. No. 14-A whch further amended E.O. No. 14, P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379 by
providing that the civil action under R.A. No. 1379 which may be filed against President Marcos, his family and
cronies, may proceed independently of the criminal action.
Petitioner gathers from the presidential issuances that the Sandiganbayan has been granted jurisdiction only over the
separate civil actions filed against President Marcos, his family and cronies, regardless of whether these civil actions
were for recovery of unlawfully acquired property under R.A. No. 1379 or for restitution, reparation of damages or
indemnification for consequential damages or other civil actions under the Civil Code or other existing laws.
According to petitioner, nowhere in the amendments to P.D. No. 1606 and R.A. No. 1379 does it provide that the
Sandiganbayan has been vested jurisdiction over separate civil actions other than those filed against President
Marcos, his family and cronies.13 Hence, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over any separate civil action against
him, even if such separate civil action is for recovery of unlawfully acquired property under R.A. No. 1379.
Petitioner further contends that in any event, the petition for forfeiture filed against him is fatally defective for
failing to comply with the jurisdictional requirements under Sec. 2, R.A. No. 1379, 14 namely: (a) an inquiry similar
to a preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecution arm of the government; (b) a certification to the Solicitor
General that there is reasonable ground to believe that there has been violation of the said law and that respondent is
guilty thereof; and (c) an action filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. 15 He
argues that only informations for perjury were filed and there has been no information filed against him for violation
of R.A. No. 1379. Consequently, he maintains, it is impossible for the Office of the Ombudsman to certify that there
is reasonable ground to believe that a violation of the said law had been committed and that he is guilty thereof. The
petition is also supposedly bereft of the required certification which should be made by the investigating City or
Provincial Fiscal (now Prosecutor) to the Solicitor General. Furthermore, he opines that it should have been the
Office of the Solicitor General which filed the petition and not the Office of the Ombudsman as in this case. The
petition being fatally defective, the same should have been dismissed, petitioner concludes.
In their Comment,16 respondents submit the contrary, noting that the issues raised by petitioner are not novel as these
have been settled in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan17 which categorically ruled that "there is no issue that jurisdiction
over violations of [R.A.] Nos. 3019 and 1379 now rests with the Sandiganbayan."18 Respondents argue that under the
Constitution19 and prevailing statutes, the Sandiganbayan is vested with authority and jurisdiction over the petition
for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379 filed against petitioner. Respondents point to Sec. 4.a (1) (d) of P.D. 1606, as
amended, as the prevailing law on the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, thus:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive 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, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more
of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at 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:
.
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher ranks;
.
As petitioner falls squarely under the category of public positions covered by the aforestated law, the petition for
forfeiture should be within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Respondents also brush off as inconsequential petitioners argument that the petition for forfeiture is "civil" in nature
and the Sandiganbayan, having allegedly no jurisdiction over civil actions, therefore has no jurisdiction over the
petition, since the same P.D. No. 1606 encompasses all cases involving violations of R.A. No. 3019, irrespective of
whether these cases are civil or criminal in nature. The petition for forfeiture should not be confused with the cases
initiated and prosecuted by the PCGG pursuant to E.O. Nos. 14 and 14-A, as these are dealt with under a separate
subparagraph of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, in particular Sec. 4.c thereof.20Further, respondents stress that E.O. Nos.
14 and 14-A exclusively apply to actions for recovery of unlawfully acquired property against President Marcos, his
family, and cronies. It would also not be accurate to refer to a petition for forfeiture as a "civil case," since it has
been held that petitions for forfeiture are deemed criminal or penal and that it is only the proceeding for its
prosecution which is civil in nature.21
The Office of the Ombudsman filed a separate Comment,22 likewise relying on Republic v. Sandiganbayan to argue
that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the petition for forfeiture filed against petitioner. The Ombudsman
explains that the grant to the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379 did not change even
under the amendments of
R.A. No. 797523 and R.A. No. 829424, although it came to be limited to cases involving high-ranking public officials
as enumerated therein, including Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all other officers of
higher rank, to which petitioner belongs.25
In arguing that it has authority to investigate and initiate forfeiture proceedings against petitioner, the Office of the
Ombudsman refers to both the Constitution26 and R.A. No. 6770.27 The constitutional power of investigation of the
Office of the Ombudsman is plenary and unqualified; its power to investigate any act of a public official or
employee which appears to be "illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient" covers the unlawful acquisition of wealth by
public officials as defined under R.A. No. 1379. Furthermore, Sec. 15 (11) 28 of R.A. No. 6770 expressly empowers
the Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute such cases of unlawful acquisition of wealth. This authority of the
Ombudsman has been affirmed also in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan.29
The Office of the Ombudsman then refutes petitioners allegation that the petition for forfeiture filed against him
failed to comply with the procedural and formal requirements under the law. It asserts that all the requirements of

R.A. No. 1379 have been strictly complied with. An inquiry similar to a preliminary investigation was conducted by
a Prosecution Officer of the Office of the Ombudsman. The participation of the Office of the Solicitor General,
claimed by petitioner to be necessary, is actually no longer required since the Office of the Ombudsman is endowed
with the authority to investigate and prosecute the case as discussed above.30
In addition, the Office of the Ombudsman alleges that the present Petition should be dismissed for blatant forumshopping. Even as petitioner had filed a Motion to Dismiss as regards the petition for forfeiture (docketed as Civil
Case No. 0193) before the Sandiganbayan on the ground of the Sandiganbayans alleged lack of jurisdiction, he filed
the instant Petition raising exactly the same issue, even though the Motion to Dismiss in Civil Case No. 0193 is still
pending resolution.1avvphi1 Worse, it appears that the Motion to Dismiss and the instant Petition were filed on the
same day, 17 November 2004.
Petitioner refutes these arguments in his Reply31 and enunciates that the Sandiganbayans criminal jurisdiction is
separate and distinct from its civil jurisdiction, and that the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over forfeiture cases had
been removed without subsequent amendments expressly restoring such civil jurisdiction. His thesis is that R.A. No.
1379 is a special law which is primarily civil and remedial in nature, the clear intent of which is to separate theprima
facie determination in forfeiture proceedings from the litigation of the civil action. This intent is further
demonstrated by Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 which grants the authority to make an inquiry similar to a preliminary
investigation being done by the City or Provincial Fiscal, and the authority to file a petition for forfeiture to the
Solicitor General.
Petitioner also points out in his Reply32 to the Comment of the Office of the Ombudsman, that the use of the phrase
"violations of [R.A.] Nos. 3019 and 1379" in P.D. No. 1606, as amended, implies jurisdiction over cases which are
principally criminal or penal in nature because the concept of "violation" of certain laws necessarily carries with it
the concept of imposition of penalties for such violation. Hence, when reference was made to "violations of [R.A.]
Nos. 3019 and 1379," the only jurisdiction that can supposedly be implied is criminal jurisdiction, not civil
jurisdiction, thereby highlighting respondent Sandiganbayans lack of jurisdiction over the "civil case" for forfeiture
of ill-gotten wealth. Of course, petitioner does not rule out cases where the crime carries with it the corresponding
civil liability such that when the criminal action is instituted, the civil action for enforcement of the civil liability is
impliedly instituted with it, and the court having jurisdiction over the criminal action also acquires jurisdiction over
the ancillary civil action. However, petitioner argues that the action for forfeiture subject of this case is not the
ancillary civil action impliedly instituted with the criminal action. Rather, the petition for forfeiture is an
independent civil action over which the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction. Petitioner points to P.D. No. 1606, as
amended, which treats of independent civil actions only in the last paragraph of Sec. 4 thereof:
Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding
civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly
determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action
being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil
action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had
heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter
filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or
the appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action,
otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned.
Petitioner however did not raise any argument to refute the charge of forum-shopping.
The issues for resolution are: (a) whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over petitions for forfeiture under R.A.
No. 1379; (b) whether the Office of the Ombudsman has the authority to investigate, initiate and prosecute such
petitions for forfeiture; and (c) whether petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping.

The petition is patently without merit. It should be dismissed.


The seminal decision of Republic v. Sandiganbayan33 squarely rules on the issues raised by petitioner concerning the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the authority of the Office of the Ombudsman. After reviewing the legislative
history of the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Ombudsman, the Court therein resolved the question of
jurisdiction by the Sandiganbayan over violations of R.A. No. 3019 and R.A. No. 1379. Originally, it was the
Solicitor General who was authorized to initiate forfeiture proceedings before the then Court of First Instance of the
city or province where the public officer or employee resides or holds office, pursuant to Sec. 2 of R.A. No.
1379. Upon the creation of the Sandiganbayan pursuant to P.D. No. 1486, 34 original and exclusive jurisdiction over
such violations was vested in the said court. 35 P.D. No. 160636 was later issued expressly repealing P.D. No. 1486, as
well as modifying the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by removing its jurisdiction over civil actions brought in
connection with crimes within the exclusive jurisdiction of said court. 37Such civil actions removed from the
jurisdiction of the Sandigabayan include those for restitution or reparation of damages, recovery of instruments and
effects of the crime, civil actions under Articles 32 and 34 of the Civil Code, and forfeiture proceedings provided for
under R.A. No. 1379.38
Subsequently, Batas Pambansa Blg. 12939 abolished the concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the regular
courts and expanded the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over the offenses enumerated in Sec. 4
of P.D. No. 1606 to embrace all such offenses irrespective of the imposable penalty. Since this change resulted in the
proliferation of the filing of cases before the Sandiganbayan where the offense charged is punishable by a penalty
not higher than prision correccional or its equivalent, and such cases not being of a serious nature, P.D. No. 1606
was again amended by P.D. No. 186040 and eventually by P.D. No. 1861.41
On the foregoing premises alone, the Court in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, deduced that jurisdiction over violations
of R.A. No. 3019 and 1379 is lodged with the Sandiganbayan. 42 It could not have taken into consideration R.A. No.
797543 and R.A. No. 824944 since both statutes which also amended the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan were not
yet enacted at the time. The subsequent enactments only serve to buttress the conclusion that the Sandiganbayan
indeed has jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379.
Under R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan is vested with exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving
violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379, and Chapter II, Sec. 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code,
where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions 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 989 (R.A. No. 6758), specifically including: (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors,
members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department
heads; (b) City mayor, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers,
and other city department heads; (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; (e) Officers of the
Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior
superintended or higher; (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 governmentowned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations; (2) Members of
Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade '27' and up under the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989; (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; (4) Chairmen and
members of Constitutional Commission, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and (5) All other
national and local officials classified as Grade '27' and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989.45

In the face of the prevailing jurisprudence and the present state of statutory law on the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, petitioners argumentthat the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the petition for forfeiture it
being "civil" in nature and the Sandiganbayan allegedly having no jurisdiction over civil actionscollapses
completely.
The civil nature of an action for forfeiture was first recognized in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, thus: "[T]he rule is
settled that forfeiture proceedings are actions in rem and, therefore, civil in nature."46 Then, Almeda, Sr.
v. Perez,47 followed, holding that the proceedings under R.A. No. 1379 do not terminate in the imposition of a
penalty but merely in the forfeiture of the properties illegally acquired in favor of the State. It noted that the
procedure outlined in the law leading to forfeiture is that provided for in a civil action.48
However, the Court has had occasion to rule that forfeiture of illegally acquired property partakes the nature of a
penalty. In Cabal v. Kapunan, Jr.,49 the Court cited voluminous authorities in support of its declaration of the
criminal or penal nature of forfeiture proceedings, viz:
In a strict signification, a forfeiture is a divestiture of property without compensation, in consequence of a default or
an offense, and the term is used in such a sense in this article. A forfeiture, as thus defined, is imposed by way of
punishment not by the mere convention of the parties, but by the lawmaking power, to insure a prescribed course of
conduct. It is a method deemed necessary by the legislature to restrain the commission of an offense and to aid in the
prevention of such an offense. The effect of such a forfeiture is to transfer the title to the specific thing from the
owner to the sovereign power. (23 Am. Jur. 599)
"In Black's Law Dictionary a 'forfeiture' is defined to be 'the incurring of a liability to pay a definite sum of money
as the consequence of violating the provisions of some statute or refusal to comply with some requirement of law.' It
may be said to be a penalty imposed for misconduct or breach of duty.'" (Com. vs. French, 114 S.W. 255.)
.
"Generally speaking, informations for the forfeiture of goods that seek no judgment of fine or imprisonment against
any person are deemed to be civil proceedings in rem. Such proceedings are criminal in nature to the extent that
where the person using the res illegally is the owner of rightful possessor of it the forfeiture proceeding is in the
nature of a punishment. They have been held to be so far in the nature of
criminal proceedings that a general verdict on several counts in an information is upheld if one count is good.
According to the authorities such proceedings, where the owner of the property appears, are so far considered as
quasicriminal proceedings as to relieve the owner from being a witness against himself and to prevent the
compulsory production of his books and papers. . . ." (23 Am. Jur. 612)
.
"Proceedings for forfeitures are generally considered to be civil and in the nature of proceedings in rem. The statute
providing that no judgment or other proceedings in civil causes shall be arrested or reversed for any defect or want
of form is applicable to them. In some aspects, however, suits for penalties and forfeitures are of quasi-criminal
nature and within the reason of criminal proceedings for all the purposes of . . . that portion of the Fifth Amendment
which declares that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. The
proceeding is one against the owner, as well as against the goods; for it is his breach of the laws which has to be
proved to establish the forfeiture and his property is sought to be forfeited." (15 Am. Jur., Sec. 104, p. 368)50

Cabal v. Kapunan modified the earlier ruling in Almeda, Sr. v. Perez.51 The Court in Cabal held that the doctrine laid
down in Almeda refers to the purely procedural aspect of the forfeiture proceedings and has no bearing on the
substantial rights of respondents, particularly their constitutional right against self-incrimination. 52 This was
reaffirmed and reiterated in
Republic v. Agoncillo53 and Katigbak v. Solicitor General.54
The Sandiganbayan is vested with jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 1379, 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 Proceedings Therefor." What acts would constitute a violation of such a law? A
reading of R.A. No. 1379 establishes that it does not enumerate any prohibited acts the commission of which would
necessitate the imposition of a penalty. Instead, it provides the procedure for forfeiture to be followed in case a
public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property manifestly out of proportion
to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his lawful income and income from legitimately acquired
property.55 Section 1256 of the law provides a penalty but it is only imposed upon the public officer or employee who
transfers or conveys the unlawfully acquired property; it does not penalize the officer or employee for making the
unlawful acquisition. In effect, as observed in Almeda, Sr. v. Perez, it imposes the penalty of forfeiture of the
properties unlawfully acquired upon the respondent public officer or employee.57
It is logically congruent, therefore, that violations of R.A. No. 1379 are placed under the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, even though the proceeding is civil in nature, since the forfeiture of the illegally acquired property
amounts to a penalty. The soundness of this reasoning becomes even more obvious when we consider that the
respondent in such forfeiture proceedings is a public officer or employee and the violation of R.A. No. 1379 was
committed during the respondent officer or employees incumbency and in relation to his office. This is in line with
the purpose behind the creation of the Sandiganbayan as an anti-graft courtto address the urgent problem of
dishonesty in public service.58
Following the same analysis, petitioner should therefore abandon his erroneous belief that the Sandiganbayan has
jurisdiction only over petitions for forfeiture filed against President Marcos, his family and cronies.
We come then to the question of authority of the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate, file and
prosecute petitions for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379. This was the main issue resolved in Republic v.
Sandiganbayan.59
Under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379, it was the Solicitor General who was authorized to initiate forfeiture proceedings
before the then Courts of First Instance. P.D. No. Decree No. 1486 was later issued on 11 June 1978 vesting the
Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over R.A. No. 1379 forfeiture proceedings. Sec. 12 of P.D. No. 1486 gave the Chief
Special Prosecutor the authority to file and prosecute forfeiture cases. This may be taken as an implied repeal by P.D.
No. 1486 of the jurisdiction of the former Courts of First Instance and the authority of the Solicitor General to file a
petition for forfeiture under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 by transferring said jurisdiction and authority to the
Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special Prosecutor, respectively.60 An implied repeal is one which takes place when a
new law contains some provisions which are contrary to, but do not expressly repeal those of a former law. 61 As a
rule, repeals by implication are not favored and will not be so declared unless it be manifest that the legislature so
intended. Before such repeal is deemed to exist, it must be shown that the statutes or statutory provisions deal with
the same subject matter and that the latter be inconsistent with the former. The language used in the latter statute
must be such as to render it irreconcilable with what had been formerly enacted. An inconsistency that falls short of
that standard does not suffice. What is needed is a manifest indication of the legislative purpose to repeal.62

P.D. No. 1486 contains a repealing clause which provides that "[A]ny provision of law, order, rule or regulation
inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree is hereby repealed or modified accordingly." 63 This is not an express
repealing clause because it fails to identify or designate the statutes that are intended to be repealed. Rather, it is a
clause which predicates the intended repeal upon the condition that a substantial conflict must be found in existing
and prior laws.64
The conflict between P.D. No. 1486 and R.A. No. 1379 refers to the jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceeding and
the authority to file the petition for forfeiture. As P.D. No. 1486 grants exclusive jurisdiction and authority to the
Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special Prosecutor, the then Courts of First Instance and Solicitor General cannot
exercise concurrent jurisdiction or authority over such cases. Hence, P.D. No. 1486 and Sec. 2, R.A. No. 1379 are
inconsistent with each other and the former should be deemed to have repealed the latter.lawphil.net
On 11 June 1978, the same day that P.D. No. 1486 was enacted, P.D. No. 1487 65 creating the Office of the
Ombudsman (then known as the Tanodbayan) was passed. The Tanodbayan initially had no authority to prosecute
cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as provided in Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 1486, such jurisdiction
being vested in the Chief Special Prosecutor as earlier mentioned.
On 10 December 1978, P.D. No. 1606 was enacted expressly repealing P.D. No. 1486. Issued on the same date was
P.D. No. 160766 which amended the powers of the Tanodbayan to investigate administrative complaints 67and created
the Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor.68 P.D. No. 1607 provided said Office of the Chief Special Prosecutor with
exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, file
informations therefor, and direct and control the prosecution of said cases. 69 P.D. No. 1607 also removed from the
Chief Special Prosecutor the authority to file actions for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379.70
The rule is that when a law which expressly repeals a prior law is itself repealed, the law first repealed shall not be
thereby revived unless expressly so provided. From this it may fairly be inferred that the old rule continues in force
where a law which repeals a prior law, not expressly but by implication, is itself repealed; and that in such cases the
repeal of the repealing law revives the prior law, unless the language of the repealing statute provides
otherwise.71 Hence, the repeal of P.D. No. 1486 by P.D. No. 1606 necessarily revived the authority of the Solicitor
General to file a petition for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379, but not the jurisdiction of the Courts of First Instance
over the case nor the authority of the Provincial or City Fiscals (now Prosecutors) to conduct the preliminary
investigation therefore, since said powers at that time remained in the Sandiganbayan and the Chief Special
Prosecutor.72
The Tanodbayans authority was further expanded by P.D. No. 1630 73 issued on 18 July 1990. Among other things,
the Tanodbayan was given the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan, to file informations therefore and to direct and control the prosecution of said cases. 74 The power to
conduct the necessary investigation and to file and prosecute the corresponding criminal and administrative cases
before the Sandiganbayan or the proper court or administrative agency against any public personnel who has acted in
a manner warranting criminal and disciplinary action or proceedings was also transferred from the Chief Special
Prosecutor to the Tanodbayan.75
Thereafter, P.D. No. 1606 was amended by P.D. Nos. 1860 and 1861 76 which granted the Tanodbayan the same
authority. The present Constitution was subsequently ratified and then the Tanodbayan became known as the Office
of the Special Prosecutor which continued to exercise its powers except those conferred on the Office of the
Ombudsman created under the Constitution.77 The Office of the Ombudsman was officially created under R.A. No.
6770.78
At present, the powers of the Ombudsman, as defined by R.A. No. 6770, corollary to Sec. 13, Art. XI of the
Constitution, include the authority, among others, to:

(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or
employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has
primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this primary jurisdiction,
may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of Government, the investigation of such cases;79

(11) Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth amassed after
25 February 1986 and the prosecution of the parties involved therein.80
Ostensibly, it is the Ombudsman who should file the petition for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379. However, the
Ombudsmans exercise of the correlative powers to investigate and initiate the proper action for recovery of illgotten and/or unexplained wealth is restricted only to cases for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or unexplained wealth
amassed after 25 February 1986.81 As regards such wealth accumulated on or before said date, the Ombudsman is
without authority to commence before the Sandiganbayan such forfeiture actionsince the authority to file
forfeiture proceedings on or before 25 February 1986 belongs to the Solicitor Generalalthough he has the
authority to investigate such cases for forfeiture even before 25 February 1986, pursuant to the Ombudsmans
general investigatory power under Sec. 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770.82
It is obvious then that respondent Office of the Ombudsman acted well within its authority in conducting the
investigation of petitioners illegally acquired assets and in filing the petition for forfeiture against him. The
contention that the procedural requirements under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 1379 were not complied with no longer
deserve consideration in view of the foregoing discussion.
Now to the charge that petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping. Forum-shopping is manifest whenever a party
"repetitively avail[s] of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially
founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the
same issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely by, some other court."83 It has also been defined as "an
act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly getting a
favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of
two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would
make a favorable disposition."84 Considered a pernicious evil, it adversely affects the efficient administration of
justice since it clogs the court dockets, unduly burdens the financial and human resources of the judiciary, and trifles
with and mocks judicial processes.85 Willful and deliberate forum-shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the
complaint or initiatory pleading with prejudice and constitutes direct contempt of court, as well as a cause for
administrative sanctions, which may both be resolved and imposed in the same case where the forum-shopping is
found.86
There is ample reason to hold that petitioner is guilty of forum-shopping. The present petition was filed accompanied
by the requisite Verification and Certification Against Forum Shopping 87 in which petitioner made the following
representation:
.
3.] As Petitioner, I have not heretofore commenced any other action or proceeding in the Supreme Court, the Court
of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, involving the same issues as that in the above-captioned case.
4.] To the best of my knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending in the Supreme Court, the Court of
Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency.

5.] If I should hereafter learn that such proceeding has been commenced or is pending before the Supreme Court, the
Court of Appeals, or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report that fact to this Honorable Court within five
(5) days from knowledge thereof.
However, petitioner failed to inform the Court that he had filed a Motion to Dismiss88 in relation to the petition for
forfeiture before the Sandiganbayan. The existence of this motion was only brought to the attention of this Court by
respondent Office of the Ombudsman in its Comment. A scrutiny of the Motion to Dismiss reveals that petitioner
raised substantially the same issues and prayed for the same reliefs therein as it has in the instant petition. In fact, the
Arguments and Discussion89 in the Petition of petitioners thesis that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over
separate civil actions for forfeiture of unlawfully acquired properties appears to be wholly lifted from the Motion to
Dismiss. The only difference between the two is that in the Petition, petitioner raises the ground of failure of the
petition for forfeiture to comply with the procedural requirements of R.A. No. 1379, and petitioner prays for the
annulment of the Sandiganbayans Resolution dated 29 October 2004 and Writ of Preliminary Attachment dated 2
November 2004. Nevertheless, these differences are only superficial. BothPetition and Motion to Dismiss have the
same intent of dismissing the case for forfeiture filed against petitioner, his wife and their sons. It is undeniable that
petitioner had failed to fulfill his undertaking. This is incontestably forum-shopping which is reason enough to
dismiss the petition outright, without prejudice to the taking of appropriate action against the counsel and party
concerned.90 The brazenness of this attempt at forum-shopping is even demonstrated by the fact that both
the Petition and Motion to Dismiss were filed on the same day, 17 November 2004. Petitioner should have waited for
the resolution of his Motion to Dismiss before resorting to the petition at hand.
Petitioners counsel of record, Atty. Constantino B. De Jesus, needs to be reminded that his primary duty is to assist
the courts in the administration of justice. As an officer of the court, his duties to the court are more significant and
important than his obligations to his clients. Any conduct which tends to delay, impede or obstruct the administration
thereof contravenes his oath of office.91 Atty. De Jesus failed to accord due regard, as he must, the tenets of the legal
profession and the mission of our courts of justice. For this, he should be penalized. Penalties imposed upon lawyers
who engaged in forum-shopping range from severe censure to suspension from the practice of law. 92 In the instant
case, we deem the imposition of a fine in the amount of P20,000.00 to be sufficient to make Atty. De Jesus realize
the seriousness of his naked abuse of the judicial process.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition is DISMISSED. Atty. Constantino B. De Jesus is DECLARED
in CONTEMPT of this Court and meted a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) to be paid within ten (10)
days from the finality of this D E C I S I O N. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

Republic Act No. 6758

August 21, 1989

AN ACT PRESCRIBING A REVISED COMPENSATION AND POSITION CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM


IN THE GOVERNMENT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::

Section 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989."
Section 2. Statement of Policy. - It is hereby declared the policy of the State to provide equal pay for substantially
equal work and to base differences in pay upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and
qualification requirements of the positions. In determining rates of pay, due regard shall be given to, among others,
prevailing rates in the private sector for comparable work. For this purpose, the Department of Budget and
Managements (DBM) is hereby directed to establish and administer a unified Compensation and Position
Classification System, hereinafter referred to as the System, as provided for in Presidential Decree No. 985, as
amended, that shall be applied for all government entities, as mandated by the Constitution.
Section 3. General Provisions. - The following principles shall govern the Compensation and Position Classification
System of the Government:
(a) All government personnel shall be paid just and equitable wages; and while pay distinctions must necessarily
exist in keeping with work distinctions, the ratio of compensation for those occupying higher ranks to those at lower
ranks should be maintained at equitable levels, giving due consideration to higher percentage of increases to lower
level positions and lower percentage increases to higher level positions;
(b) Basic compensation for all personnel in the government and government-owned or controlled corporations and
financial institutions shall generally be comparable with those in the private sector doing comparable work, and must
be in accordance with prevailing laws on minimum wages;
(c) The total compensation provided for government personnel must be maintained at a reasonable level in
proportion to the national budget;
(d) A review of government compensation rates, taking into account possible erosion in purchasing power due to
inflation and other factors, shall be conducted periodically.
Section 4. Coverage. - The Compensation and Position Classification System herein provided shall apply to all
positions, appointive or elective, on full or part-time basis, now existing or hereafter created in the government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations and government financial institutions.
The term "government" refers to the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial Branches and the Constitutional
Commissions and shall include all, but shall not be limited to, departments, bureaus, offices, boards, commissions,
courts, tribunals, councils, authorities, administrations, centers, institutes, state colleges and universities, local
government units, and the armed forces. The term "government-owned or controlled corporations and financial
institutions" shall include all corporations and financial institutions owned or controlled by the National
Government, whether such corporations and financial institutions perform governmental or proprietary functions.
Section 5. Position Classification System. - The Position Classification System shall consist of classes of positions
grouped into four main categories, namely: professional supervisory, professional non-supervisory, sub-professional
supervisory, and sub-professional non-supervisory, and the rules and regulations for its implementation.
Categorization of these classes of positions shall be guided by the following considerations:
(a) Professional Supervisory Category. - This category includes responsible positions of a managerial character
involving the exercise of management functions such as planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, controlling
and overseeing within delegated authority the activities of an organization, a unit thereof or of a group, requiring
some degree of professional, technical or scientific knowledge and experience, application of managerial or
supervisory skills required to carry out their basic duties and responsibilities involving functional guidance and

control, leadership, as well as line supervision. These positions require intensive and thorough knowledge of a
specialized field usually acquired from completion of a bachelor's degree or higher degree courses.
The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 9 to Salary Grade 33.
(b) Professional Non-Supervisory Category. - This category includes positions performing task which usually
require the exercise of a particular profession or application of knowledge acquired through formal training in a
particular field or just the exercise of a natural, creative and artistic ability or talent in literature, drama, music and
other branches of arts and letters. Also included are positions involved in research and application of professional
knowledge and methods to a variety of technological, economic, social, industrial and governmental functions; the
performance of technical tasks auxiliary to scientific research and development; and in the performance of religious,
educational, legal, artistic or literary functions.
These positions require thorough knowledge in the field of arts and sciences or learning acquired through completion
of at least four (4) years of college studies.
The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 8 to Salary Grade 30.
(c) Sub-Professional Supervisory Category. - This category includes positions performing supervisory functions over
a group of employees engaged in responsible work along technical, manual or clerical lines of work which are short
of professional work, requiring training and moderate experience or lower training but considerable experience and
knowledge of a limited subject matter or skills in arts, crafts or trades. These positions require knowledge acquired
from secondary or vocational education or completion of up to two (2) years of college education.
The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 4 to Salary Grade 18.
(d) Sub-Professional Non-Supervisory Category. - This category includes positions involves in structured work in
support of office or fiscal operations or those engaged in crafts, trades or manual work. These positions usually
require skills acquired through training and experience of completion of elementary education, secondary or
vocational education or completion of up to two (2) years of college education.
The positions in this category are assigned Salary Grade 1 to Salary Grade 10.
Section 6. Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades of the Compensation and Position
Classification System. - All positions in the government covered under Section 4 hereof shall be allocated to their
proper position titles and salary grades in accordance with the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and
Salary Grades of the Compensation and Position Classification System which shall be prepared by the DBM.
Section 7. Salary Schedule. - The Department of Budget and Management is hereby directed to implement the
Salary Schedule prescribed below:

Salary Schedule

Grade 1st

1 - 2,000

2 - 2,073

3 - 2,156

4 - 2,250

5 - 2,355

6 - 2,473

7 - 2,604

8 - 2,752

9 - 2,917

10 - 3,102

11 - 3,309

12 - 3,540

13 - 3,800

14 - 4,091

15 - 4,418

16 - 4,786

17 - 5,201

18 - 5,670

19 - 6,199

20 - 6,798

21 - 7,478

22 - 8,250

23 - 9,131

24 -10,135

25 -11,385

26 -12,650

27 -13,915

28 -15,180

29 -17,075

30 -18,975

31 -19,550

32 -22,000

33 -25,000

The above Salary Schedule shall be used for positions that are paid on the annual or monthly rate basis. All salaries
in the Salary Schedule expressed as monthly rates in pesos shall represent full compensation for full-time
employment, regardless of where the work is performed. Salaries for services rendered on a part-time basis shall be
adjusted proportionately.
The Department of Budget and Management shall update the above Schedule whenever there are across-the-board
salary adjustments as may be provided by law.
The daily wage rate shall be determined by dividing the monthly salary rate by twenty-two (22) working days per
month.
Section 8. Salaries of Constitutional Officials and their Equivalent. - Pursuant to Section 17, Article XVIII of the
Constitution, the salary of the following officials shall be in accordance with the Salary Grades indicated hereunder:

Salary Grades

President of the Philippines

Vice-President of the Philippines

President of the Senate

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Member of the House of Representatives

Associate Justices of the Supreme Court

Chairman of a Constitutional Commission under


Article IX, 1987 Constitution

Member of a Constitutional Commission under


Article IX, 1987 Constitution

The Department of Budget and Management is hereby authorized to determine the officials who are of equivalent
rank to the foregoing Officials, where applicable, and may be assigned the same Salary Grades based on the
following guidelines:
GRADE 33 - This Grade is assigned to the President of the Republic of the Philippines as the highest position in the
government. No other position in the government service is considered to be of equivalent rank.
GRADE 32 - This Grade is limited to the Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines and those positions
which head the Legislative and Judicial Branches of the government, namely: the Senate President, Speaker of the
House of Representatives and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. No other positions in the government service are
considered to be of equivalent rank.
GRADE 31 - This Grade is assigned to Senators and Members of the House of Representatives and those with
equivalent rank as follows: the Executive Secretary, Department Secretary, Presidential Spokesman, Ombudsman,
Press Secretary, Presidential Assistant with Cabinet Rank, Presidential Adviser, National Economic and
Development Authority Director General, Court of Appeals Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice,
Secretary of the Senate, Secretary of the House of Representatives, and President of the University of the
Philippines.
An entity with a broad functional scope of operations and wide area of coverage ranging from top level policy
formulation to the provision of technical and administrative support to the units under it, with functions comparable
to the aforesaid positions in the preceding paragraph, can be considered organizationally equivalent to a Department,
and its head to that of a Department Secretary.
GRADE 30 - Positions included are those of Department Undersecretary, Cabinet Undersecretary, Presidential
Assistant, Solicitor General, Government Corporate Counsel, Court Administrator of the Supreme Court, Chief of
Staff of the Office of the Vice-President, National Economic and Development Authority Deputy Director General,
Presidential Management Staff Executive Director, Deputy Ombudsman, Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals,
Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan, Special Prosecutor, University of the Philippines Executive Vice-President,
Mindanao State University President, Polytechnic University of the Philippines President of and President of other
state universities and colleges of the same class.

Heads of councils, commissions, boards and similar entities whose operations cut across offices or departments or
are serving a sizeable portion of the general public and whose coverage is nationwide or whose functions are
comparable to the aforecited positions in the preceding paragraph, may be placed at this level.
The equivalent rank of positions not mentioned herein or those that may be created hereafter shall be determined
based on these guidelines.
The Provisions of this Act as far as they upgrade the compensation of Constitutional Officials and their equivalent
under this section shall, however, take effect only in accordance with the Constitution: Provided, That with respect to
the President and Vice-President of the Republic of the Philippines, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, the Senators, and the Members of the House of Representatives, no increase in salary
shall take effect even beyond 1992, until this Act is amended: Provided, further, That the implementation of this Act
with respect to Assistant Secretaries and Undersecretaries shall be deferred for one (1) year from the effectivity of
this Act and for Secretaries, until July 1, 1992: Provided, finally, That in the case of Assistant Secretaries,
Undersecretaries and Secretaries, the salary rates authorized herein shall be used in the computation of the retirement
benefits for those who retire under the existing retirement laws within the aforesaid period.
Section 9. Salary Grade Assignments for Other Positions. - For positions below the Officials mentioned under
Section 8 hereof and their equivalent, whether in the National Government, local government units, governmentowned or controlled corporations or financial institutions, the Department of Budget and Management is hereby
directed to prepare the Index of Occupational Services to be guided by the Benchmark Position Schedule prescribed
hereunder and the following factors: (1) the education and experience required to perform the duties and
responsibilities of the positions; (2) the nature and complexity of the work to be performed; (3) the kind of
supervision received; (4) mental and/or physical strain required in the completion of the work; (5) nature and extent
of internal and external relationships; (6) kind of supervision exercised; (7) decision-making responsibility; (8)
responsibility for accuracy of records and reports; (9) accountability for funds, properties and equipment; and (10)
hardship, hazard and personal risk involved in the job.

Benchmark Position Schedule

Position Title

Laborer I

Messenger

Stenographer I

Salary Grade

Mechanic I

Carpenter II

Electrician II

Secretary I

Bookkeeper

Administrative Assistant

Education Research Assistant I

Cashier I

Teacher I

Agrarian Reform Program Technologist

Budget Officer I

Chemist I

Agriculturist I

Social Welfare Officer I

Engineer I

Veterinarian I

Legal Officer I

Administrative Officer II

Dentist II

Postmaster IV

Forester III

Associate Professor I

Rural Health Physician

In no case shall the salary of the chairman, president, general manager or administrator, and the board of directors of
government-owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions exceed Salary Grade 30: Provided, That the
President may, in truly exceptional cases, approve higher compensation for the aforesaid officials.
Section 10. Local Government Units (LGUs). - The rates of pay in LGUs shall be determined on the basis of the
class and financial capability of each LGU: Provided, That such rates of pay shall not exceed the following
percentages of the rates in the salary schedule prescribed under Section 7 hereof:

For Provinces/Cities
For Municipalities

Special Cities

1st Class

2nd Class

3rd Class

4th Class

5th Class

6th Class

Section 11. Military and Police Personnel. - The base pay of uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Integrated National Police shall be as prescribed in the salary schedule for these personnel in
R.A. No. 6638 and R.A. No. 6648. The longevity pay of these personnel shall be as prescribed under R.A. No. 6638,
and R.A. No. 1134 as amended by R.A. No. 3725 and R.A. No. 6648: Provided, however, That the longevity pay of
uniformed personnel of the Integrated National Police shall include those services rendered as uniformed members
of the police, jail and fire departments of the local government units prior to the police integration.
All existing types of allowances authorized for uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and
Integrated National Police such as cost of living allowance, longevity pay, quarters allowance, subsistence
allowance, clothing allowance, hazard pay and other allowances shall continue to be authorized.
Section 12. Consolidation of Allowances and Compensation. - All allowances, except for representation and
transportation allowances; clothing and laundry allowances; subsistence allowance of marine officers and crew on
board government vessels and hospital personnel; hazard pay; allowances of foreign service personnel stationed
abroad; and such other additional compensation not otherwise specified herein as may be determined by the DBM,
shall be deemed included in the standardized salary rates herein prescribed. Such other additional compensation,
whether in cash or in kind, being received by incumbents only as of July 1, 1989 not integrated into the standardized
salary rates shall continue to be authorized.
Existing additional compensation of any national government official or employee paid from local funds of a local
government unit shall be absorbed into the basic salary of said official or employee and shall be paid by the National
Government.
Section 13. Pay Adjustments. - Paragraphs (b) and (c), Section 15 of Presidential Decree No. 985 are hereby
amended to read as follows:
"(b) Pay Reduction - If an employee is moved from a higher to a lower class, he shall not suffer a reduction in
salary: Provided, That such movement is not the result of a disciplinary action or voluntary demotion.

"(c) Step Increments - Effective January 1, 1990 step increments shall be granted based on merit and/or length of
service in accordance with rules and regulations that will be promulgated jointly by the DBM and the Civil Service
Commission."
Section 14. Administration of Compensation and Position Classification System. - Subparagraph (a), Section 17 of
Presidential Decree No. 985 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"(a) Administer the compensation and position classification system established herein and revise it as necessary."
Section 15. Reference to Offices and Positions. - All references to the "Commissioner of the Budget," "Budget
Commission" or "Commission" and "Office of Compensation and Position Classification" or "OCPC" in Presidential
Decree No. 985 and Presidential Decree No. 1597 shall read to mean the Secretary of Budget and Management, the
Department of Budget and Management or DBM, and the Compensation and Position Classification Bureau or
CPCB, respectively.
Section 16. Repeal of Special Salary Laws and Regulations. - All laws, decrees, executive orders, corporate
charters, and other issuances or parts thereof, that exempt agencies from the coverage of the System, or that
authorize and fix position classification, salaries, pay rates or allowances of specified positions, or groups of officials
and employees or of agencies, which are inconsistent with the System, including the proviso under Section 2, and
Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 985 are hereby repealed.
Section 17. Salaries of Incumbents. - Incumbents of positions presently receiving salaries and additional
compensation/fringe benefits including those absorbed from local government units and other emoluments, the
aggregate of which exceeds the standardized salary rate as herein prescribed, shall continue to receive such excess
compensation, which shall be referred to as transition allowance. The transition allowance shall be reduced by the
amount of salary adjustment that the incumbent shall receive in the future.
The transition allowance referred to herein shall be treated as part of the basic salary for purposes of computing
retirement pay, year-end bonus and other similar benefits.
As basis for computation of the first across-the-board salary adjustment of incumbents with transition allowance, no
incumbent who is receiving compensation exceeding the standardized salary rate at the time of the effectivity of this
Act, shall be assigned a salary lower than ninety percent (90%) of his present compensation or the standardized
salary rate, whichever is higher. Subsequent increases shall be based on the resultant adjusted salary.
Section 18. Additional Compensation of Commission on Audit Personnel and of Other Agencies. - In order to
preserve the independence and integrity of the Commission on Audit (COA), its officials and employees are
prohibited from receiving salaries, honoraria, bonuses, allowances or other emoluments from any government entity,
local government unit, and government-owned and controlled corporations, and government financial institution,
except those compensation paid directly be the COA out of its appropriations and contributions.
Government entities, including government-owned or controlled corporations including financial institutions and
local government units are hereby prohibited from assessing or billing other government entities, government-owned
or controlled corporations including financial institutions or local government units for services rendered by its
officials and employees as part of their regular functions for purposes of paying additional compensation to said
officials and employees.
Section 19. Funding Source. - The funding sources for the amounts necessary to implement this Act shall be as
follows:

(a) For national government entities, the amount shall be charged against the appropriations set aside for the purpose
in the 1989 General Appropriations Act and from savings generated from the different departments, bureaus, offices
and agencies. Thereafter, such amounts as are needed shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
(b) For local government units, the amount shall be charged against their respective funds. Local government units
which do not have adequate or sufficient funds shall only partially implement the established rates as may be
approved by the Joint Commission under Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1136: Provided, That any partial
implementation shall be uniform and proportionate for all positions in each local government unit: Provided, further,
That savings from National Assistance to Local Government Units (NALGU) funds may be used for this purpose.
(c) For government corporations, the amount shall come from their respective corporate funds.
Section 20. Separability Clause. - If for any reason any section or provision of this Act is declared to be
unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions thereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to
be in full force and effect.
Section 21. Applicability of Presidential Decree No. 985 as Amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597. - All
provisions of Presidential Decree No. 985, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1597, which are not inconsistent
with this Act and are not expressly modified, revoked or repealed in this Act shall continue to be in full force and
effect.
Section 22. Repealing Clause. - all laws, decrees, orders, rules or regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the
provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.
Section 23. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect July 1, 1989. The DBM shall, within sixty (60) days after its
approval, allocate all positions in their appropriate position titles and salary grades and prepare and issue the
necessary guidelines to implement the same.
Approved: August 21, 1989

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 124644. February 5, 2004]
ARNEL ESCOBAL, petitioner, vs. HON. FRANCIS GARCHITORENA, Presiding Justice of the
Sandiganbayan, Atty. Luisabel Alfonso-Cortez, Executive Clerk of Court IV of the Sandiganbayan, Hon.
David C. Naval, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Naga City, Branch 21, Luz N.
Nueca,respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for certiorari with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction filed by Arnel Escobal seeking the nullification of the remand by the Presiding Justice of the

Sandiganbayan of the records of Criminal Case No. 90-3184 to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga City, Branch
21.
The petition at bench arose from the following milieu:
The petitioner is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, a member of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and the Philippine Constabulary, as well as the Intelligence Group of the Philippine National Police. On
March 16, 1990, the petitioner was conducting surveillance operations on drug trafficking at the Sa Harong Caf Bar
and Restaurant located along Barlin St., Naga City. He somehow got involved in a shooting incident, resulting in the
death of one Rodney Rafael N. Nueca. On February 6, 1991, an amended Information was filed with the RTC of
Naga City, Branch 21, docketed as Criminal Case No. 90-3184 charging the petitioner and a certain Natividad
Bombita, Jr. alias Jun Bombita with murder. The accusatory portion of the amended Information reads:
That on or about March 16, 1990, in the City of Naga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court by virtue of the Presidential Waiver, dated June 1, 1990, with intent to kill, conspiring and confederating
together and mutually helping each other, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault
and maul one Rodney Nueca and accused 2Lt Arnel Escobal armed with a caliber .45 service pistol shoot said
Rodney Nueca thereby inflicting upon him serious, mortal and fatal wounds which caused his death, and as a
consequence thereof, complainant LUZ N. NUECA, mother of the deceased victim, suffered actual and
compensatory damages in the amount of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED
SEVEN & 95/100 (P367,107.95) PESOS, Philippine Currency, and moral and exemplary damages in the amount of
ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND (P135,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency.[1]
On March 19, 1991, the RTC issued an Order preventively suspending the petitioner from the service under
Presidential Decree No. 971, as amended by P.D. No. 1847. When apprised of the said order, the General
Headquarters of the PNP issued on October 6, 1992 Special Order No. 91, preventively suspending the petitioner
from the service until the case was terminated.[2]
The petitioner was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by the RTC, while accused Bombita remained at
large. The petitioner posted bail and was granted temporary liberty.
When arraigned on April 9, 1991,[3] the petitioner, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the offense
charged. Thereafter, on December 23, 1991, the petitioner filed a Motion to Quash [4] the Information alleging that as
mandated by Commonwealth Act No. 408,[5] in relation to Section 1, Presidential Decree No. 1822 and Section 95 of
R.A. No. 6975, the court martial, not the RTC, had jurisdiction over criminal cases involving PNP members and
officers.
Pending the resolution of the motion, the petitioner on June 25, 1993 requested the Chief of the PNP for his
reinstatement. He alleged that under R.A. No. 6975, his suspension should last for only 90 days, and, having served
the same, he should now be reinstated. On September 23, 1993,[6] the PNP Region V Headquarters wrote Judge
David C. Naval requesting information on whether he issued an order lifting the petitioners suspension. The RTC did
not reply. Thus, on February 22, 1994, the petitioner filed a motion in the RTC for the lifting of the order of
suspension. He alleged that he had served the 90-day preventive suspension and pleaded for compassionate
justice. The RTC denied the motion on March 9, 1994.[7] Trial thereafter proceeded, and the prosecution rested its

case. The petitioner commenced the presentation of his evidence. On July 20, 1994, he filed a Motion to
Dismiss[8] the case. CitingRepublic of the Philippines v. Asuncion, et al., [9] he argued that since he committed the
crime in the performance of his duties, the Sandiganbayan had exclusive jurisdiction over the case.
On October 28, 1994, the RTC issued an Order[10] denying the motion to dismiss. It, however, ordered the
conduct of a preliminary hearing to determine whether or not the crime charged was committed by the petitioner in
relation to his office as a member of the PNP.
In the preliminary hearing, the prosecution manifested that it was no longer presenting any evidence in
connection with the petitioners motion. It reasoned that it had already rested its case, and that its evidence showed
that the petitioner did not commit the offense charged in connection with the performance of his duties as a member
of the Philippine Constabulary. According to the prosecution, they were able to show the following facts: (a) the
petitioner was not wearing his uniform during the incident; (b) the offense was committed just after midnight; (c) the
petitioner was drunk when the crime was committed; (d) the petitioner was in the company of civilians; and, (e) the
offense was committed in a beerhouse called Sa Harong Caf Bar and Restaurant.[11]
For his part, the petitioner testified that at about 10:00 p.m. on March 15, 1990, he was at the Sa Harong Caf
Bar and Restaurant at Barlin St., Naga City, to conduct surveillance on alleged drug trafficking, pursuant to Mission
Order No. 03-04 issued by Police Superintendent Rufo R. Pulido. The petitioner adduced in evidence the sworn
statements of Benjamin Cario and Roberto Fajardo who corroborated his testimony that he was on a surveillance
mission on the aforestated date.[12]
On July 31, 1995, the trial court issued an Order declaring that the petitioner committed the crime charged while
not in the performance of his official function. The trial court added that upon the enactment of R.A. No. 7975,[13] the
issue had become moot and academic. The amendatory law transferred the jurisdiction over the offense charged
from the Sandiganbayan to the RTC since the petitioner did not have a salary grade of 27 as provided for in or by
Section 4(a)(1), (3) thereof. The trial court nevertheless ordered the prosecution to amend the Information pursuant
to the ruling in Republic v. Asuncion[14] and R.A. No. 7975. The amendment consisted in the inclusion therein of an
allegation that the offense charged was not committed by the petitioner in the performance of his duties/functions,
nor in relation to his office.
The petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration [15] of the said order, reiterating that based on his testimony
and those of Benjamin Cario and Roberto Fajardo, the offense charged was committed by him in relation to his
official functions. He asserted that the trial court failed to consider the exceptions to the prohibition. He asserted that
R.A. No. 7975, which was enacted on March 30, 1995, could not be applied retroactively.[16]
The petitioner further alleged that Luz Nacario Nueca, the mother of the victim, through counsel, categorically
and unequivocably admitted in her complaint filed with the Peoples Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) that he was on
an official mission when the crime was committed.
On November 24, 1995, the RTC made a volte face and issued an Order reversing and setting aside its July 31,
1995 Order. It declared that based on the petitioners evidence, he was on official mission when the shooting
occurred. It concluded that the prosecution failed to adduce controverting evidence thereto. It likewise considered

Luz Nacario Nuecas admission in her complaint before the PLEB that the petitioner was on official mission when
the shooting happened.
The RTC ordered the public prosecutor to file a Re-Amended Information and to allege that the offense charged
was committed by the petitioner in the performance of his duties/functions or in relation to his office; and,
conformably to R.A. No. 7975, to thereafter transmit the same, as well as the complete records with the stenographic
notes, to the Sandiganbayan, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the Order dated July 31, 1995 is hereby SET ASIDE and RECONSIDERED, and it is hereby
declared that after preliminary hearing, this Court has found that the offense charged in the Information herein was
committed by the accused in his relation to his function and duty as member of the then Philippine Constabulary.
Conformably with R.A. No. 7975 and the ruling of the Supreme Court in Republic v. Asuncion, et al., G.R. No.
180208, March 11, 1994:

The City Prosecutor is hereby ordered to file a Re-Amended Information alleging that the offense charged was committed
by the Accused in the performance of his duties/functions or in relation to his office, within fifteen (15) days from
receipt hereof;

After the filing of the Re-Amended Information, the complete records of this case, together with the transcripts of the
stenographic notes taken during the entire proceedings herein, are hereby ordered transmitted immediately to the
Honorable Sandiganbayan, through its Clerk of Court, Manila, for appropriate proceedings.[17]
On January 8, 1996, the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan ordered the Executive Clerk of Court IV, Atty.
Luisabel Alfonso-Cortez, to return the records of Criminal Case No. 90-3184 to the court of origin, RTC of Naga
City, Branch 21. It reasoned that under P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, [18] the RTC retained
jurisdiction over the case, considering that the petitioner had a salary grade of 23. Furthermore, the prosecution had
already rested its case and the petitioner had commenced presenting his evidence in the RTC; following the rule on
continuity of jurisdiction, the latter court should continue with the case and render judgment therein after trial.
Upon the remand of the records, the RTC set the case for trial on May 3, 1996, for the petitioner to continue
presenting his evidence. Instead of adducing his evidence, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari, assailing the
Order of the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan remanding the records of the case to the RTC.
The threshold issue for resolution is whether or not the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan committed a
grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in ordering the remand of the case to the
RTC.
The petitioner contends that when the amended information was filed with the RTC on February 6, 1991, P.D.
No. 1606 was still in effect. Under Section 4(a) of the decree, the Sandiganbayan had exclusive jurisdiction over the
case against him as he was charged with homicide with the imposable penalty of reclusion temporal, and the crime
was committed while in the performance of his duties. He further asserts that although P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
P.D. No. 1861 and by R.A. No. 7975 provides that crimes committed by members and officers of the PNP with a
salary grade below 27 committed in relation to office are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the proper RTC, the

amendment thus introduced by R.A. No. 7975 should not be applied retroactively. This is so, the petitioner asserts,
because under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, only those cases where trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan upon the
effectivity of the law should be referred to the proper trial court.
The private complainant agrees with the contention of the petitioner. In contrast, the Office of the Special
Prosecutor contends that the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan acted in accordance with law when he ordered
the remand of the case to the RTC. It asserts that R.A. No. 7975 should be applied retroactively. Although the
Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the crime committed by the petitioner when the amended information was filed
with the RTC, by the time it resolved petitioners motion to dismiss on July 31, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 had already
taken effect. Thus, the law should be given retroactive effect.
The Ruling of the Court
The respondent Presiding Justice acted in accordance with law and the rulings of this Court when he ordered the
remand of the case to the RTC, the court of origin.
The jurisdiction of the court over criminal cases is determined by the allegations in the Information or the
Complaint and the statute in effect at the time of the commencement of the action, unless such statute provides for a
retroactive application thereof. The jurisdictional requirements must be alleged in the Information. [19] Such
jurisdiction of the court acquired at the inception of the case continues until the case is terminated.[20]
Under Section 4(a) of P.D. No. 1606 as amended by P.D. No. 1861, the Sandiganbayan had exclusive
jurisdiction in all cases involving the following:
(1) 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;
(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 .[21]
However, for the Sandiganbayan to have exclusive jurisdiction under the said law over crimes committed by
public officers in relation to their office, it is essential that the facts showing the intimate relation between the office
of the offender and the discharge of official duties must be alleged in the Information. It is not enough to merely
allege in the Information that the crime charged was committed by the offender in relation to his office because that
would be a conclusion of law.[22] The amended Information filed with the RTC against the petitioner does not contain
any allegation showing the intimate relation between his office and the discharge of his duties. Hence, the RTC had
jurisdiction over the offense charged when on November 24, 1995, it ordered the re-amendment of the Information
to include therein an allegation that the petitioner committed the crime in relation to office. The trial court erred
when it ordered the elevation of the records to the Sandiganbayan. It bears stressing that R.A. No. 7975 amending
P.D. No. 1606 was already in effect and under Section 2 of the law:

In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying 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 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.
Under the law, even if the offender committed the crime charged in relation to his office but occupies a position
corresponding to a salary grade below 27, the proper Regional Trial Court or Municipal Trial Court, as the case may
be, shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the case. In this case, the petitioner was a Police Senior Inspector, with
salary grade 23. He was charged with homicide punishable by reclusion temporal. Hence, the RTC had exclusive
jurisdiction over the crime charged conformably to Sections 20 and 32 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691.
The petitioners contention that R.A. No. 7975 should not be applied retroactively has no legal basis. It bears
stressing that R.A. No. 7975 is a substantive procedural law which may be applied retroactively.[23]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 168539

March 25, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
HENRY T. GO, Respondent.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolution 1 of the Third Division2 of the
Sandiganbayan (SB) dated June 2, 2005 which quashed the Information filed against herein respondent for alleged
violation of Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 3019 (R.A. 3019), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act.

The Information filed against respondent is an offshoot of this Court's Decision 3 in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine
International Air Terminals Co., Inc. which nullified the various contracts awarded by the Government, through the
Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), to Philippine Air Terminals, Co., Inc. (PIATCO) for
the construction, operation and maintenance of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport International Passenger
Terminal III (NAIA IPT III). Subsequent to the above Decision, a certain Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco filed a complaint
with the Office of the Ombudsman against several individuals for alleged violation of R.A. 3019. Among those
charged was herein respondent, who was then the Chairman and President of PIATCO, for having supposedly
conspired with then DOTC Secretary Arturo Enrile (Secretary Enrile) in entering into a contract which is grossly and
manifestly disadvantageous to the government.
On September 16, 2004, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon found probable cause to indict, among
others, herein respondent for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019. While there was likewise a finding of probable
cause against Secretary Enrile, he was no longer indicted because he died prior to the issuance of the resolution
finding probable cause.
Thus, in an Information dated January 13, 2005, respondent was charged before the SB as follows:
On or about July 12, 1997, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the late ARTURO ENRILE, then Secretary of the Department of
Transportation and Communications (DOTC), committing the offense in relation to his office and taking advantage
of the same, in conspiracy with accused, HENRY T. GO, Chairman and President of the Philippine International Air
Terminals, Co., Inc. (PIATCO), did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally enter into a Concession
Agreement, after the project for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport International Passenger
Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) was awarded to Paircargo Consortium/PIATCO, which Concession Agreement
substantially amended the draft Concession Agreement covering the construction of the NAIA IPT III under
Republic Act 6957, as amended by Republic Act 7718 (BOT law), specifically the provision on Public Utility
Revenues, as well as the assumption by the government of the liabilities of PIATCO in the event of the latter's
default under Article IV, Section 4.04 (b) and (c) in relation to Article 1.06 of the Concession Agreement, which
terms are more beneficial to PIATCO while manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government of the
Republic of the Philippines.4
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28090.
On March 10, 2005, the SB issued an Order, to wit:
The prosecution is given a period of ten (10) days from today within which to show cause why this case should not
be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused considering that the accused is a private person
and the public official Arturo Enrile, his alleged co-conspirator, is already deceased, and not an accused in this case.5
The prosecution complied with the above Order contending that the SB has already acquired jurisdiction over the
person of respondent by reason of his voluntary appearance, when he filed a motion for consolidation and when he
posted bail. The prosecution also argued that the SB has exclusive jurisdiction over respondent's case, even if he is a
private person, because he was alleged to have conspired with a public officer.6
On April 28, 2005, respondent filed a Motion to Quash 7 the Information filed against him on the ground that the
operative facts adduced therein do not constitute an offense under Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019. Respondent, citing the
show cause order of the SB, also contended that, independently of the deceased Secretary Enrile, the public officer
with whom he was alleged to have conspired, respondent, who is not a public officer nor was capacitated by any
official authority as a government agent, may not be prosecuted for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019.

The prosecution filed its Opposition.8


On June 2, 2005, the SB issued its assailed Resolution, pertinent portions of which read thus:
Acting on the Motion to Quash filed by accused Henry T. Go dated April 22, 2005, and it appearing that Henry T.
Go, the lone accused in this case is a private person and his alleged co-conspirator-public official was already
deceased long before this case was filed in court, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, the Court
grants the Motion to Quash and the Information filed in this case is hereby ordered quashed and dismissed.9
Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues, to wit:
I
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE
IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE IN GRANTING THE
DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE AND IN DISMISSING CRIMINAL CASE NO. 28090 ON THE GROUND THAT
IT HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF RESPONDENT GO.
II
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE
IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW OR APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE, IN RULING THAT IT
HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF RESPONDENT GO DESPITE THE IRREFUTABLE FACT
THAT HE HAS ALREADY POSTED BAIL FOR HIS PROVISIONAL LIBERTY
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED WHEN, IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF THE
EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IT QUASHED THE INFORMATION AND
DISMISSED CRIMINAL CASE NO. 2809010
The Court finds the petition meritorious.
Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 provides:
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by
existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be
unlawful:
xxxx
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous
to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
The elements of the above provision are:
(1) that the accused is a public officer;
(2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and

(3) that such contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government.11
At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public officers,
may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under Section 3 of R.A. 3019, in
consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons
alike constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto. 12 This is the controlling doctrine as
enunciated by this Court in previous cases, among which is a case involving herein private respondent.13
The only question that needs to be settled in the present petition is whether herein respondent, a private person, may
be indicted for conspiracy in violating Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019 even if the public officer, with whom he was
alleged to have conspired, has died prior to the filing of the Information.
Respondent contends that by reason of the death of Secretary Enrile, there is no public officer who was charged in
the Information and, as such, prosecution against respondent may not prosper.
The Court is not persuaded.
It is true that by reason of Secretary Enrile's death, there is no longer any public officer with whom respondent can
be charged for violation of R.A. 3019. It does not mean, however, that the allegation of conspiracy between them can
no longer be proved or that their alleged conspiracy is already expunged. The only thing extinguished by the death of
Secretary Enrile is his criminal liability. His death did not extinguish the crime nor did it remove the basis of the
charge of conspiracy between him and private respondent. Stated differently, the death of Secretary Enrile does not
mean that there was no public officer who allegedly violated Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019. In fact, the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon found probable cause to indict Secretary Enrile for infringement of Sections 3 (e)
and (g) of R.A. 3019.14 Were it not for his death, he should have been charged.
The requirement before a private person may be indicted for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019, among others, is
that such private person must be alleged to have acted in conspiracy with a public officer. The law, however, does
not require that such person must, in all instances, be indicted together with the public officer. If circumstances exist
where the public officer may no longer be charged in court, as in the present case where the public officer has
already died, the private person may be indicted alone.
Indeed, it is not necessary to join all alleged co-conspirators in an indictment for conspiracy.15 If two or more persons
enter into a conspiracy, any act done by any of them pursuant to the agreement is, in contemplation of law, the act of
each of them and they are jointly responsible therefor.16 This means that everything said, written or done by any of
the conspirators in execution or furtherance of the common purpose is deemed to have been said, done, or written by
each of them and it makes no difference whether the actual actor is alive or dead, sane or insane at the time of
trial.17 The death of one of two or more conspirators does not prevent the conviction of the survivor or
survivors.18 Thus, this Court held that:
x x x [a] conspiracy is in its nature a joint offense. One person cannot conspire alone. The crime depends upon the
joint act or intent of two or more persons. Yet, it does not follow that one person cannot be convicted of conspiracy.
So long as the acquittal or death of a co-conspirator does not remove the bases of a charge for conspiracy, one
defendant may be found guilty of the offense.19
The Court agrees with petitioner's contention that, as alleged in the Information filed against respondent, which is
deemed hypothetically admitted in the latter's Motion to Quash, he (respondent) conspired with Secretary Enrile in
violating Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 and that in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. Hence, the criminal
liability incurred by a co-conspirator is also incurred by the other co-conspirators.

Moreover, the Court agrees with petitioner that the avowed policy of the State and the legislative intent to repress
"acts of public officers and private persons alike, which constitute graft or corrupt practices," 20 would be frustrated if
the death of a public officer would bar the prosecution of a private person who conspired with such public officer in
violating the Anti-Graft Law.
In this regard, this Court's disquisition in the early case of People v. Peralta 21 as to the nature of and the principles
governing conspiracy, as construed under Philippine jurisdiction, is instructive, to wit:
x x x A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony
and decide to commit it. Generally, conspiracy is not a crime except when the law specifically provides a penalty
therefor as in treason, rebellion and sedition. The crime of conspiracy known to the common law is not an indictable
offense in the Philippines. An agreement to commit a crime is a reprehensible act from the view-point of morality,
but as long as the conspirators do not perform overt acts in furtherance of their malevolent design, the sovereignty of
the State is not outraged and the tranquility of the public remains undisturbed.
However, when in resolute execution of a common scheme, a felony is committed by two or more malefactors, the
existence of a conspiracy assumes pivotal importance in the determination of the liability of the perpetrators. In
stressing the significance of conspiracy in criminal law, this Court in U.S. vs. Infante and Barreto opined that
While it is true that the penalties cannot be imposed for the mere act of conspiring to commit a crime unless the
statute specifically prescribes a penalty therefor, nevertheless the existence of a conspiracy to commit a crime is in
many cases a fact of vital importance, when considered together with the other evidence of record, in establishing
the existence, of the consummated crime and its commission by the conspirators.
Once an express or implied conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of the
extent and character of their respective active participation in the commission of the crime or crimes perpetrated in
furtherance of the conspiracy because in contemplation of law the act of one is the act of all. The foregoing rule is
anchored on the sound principle that "when two or more persons unite to accomplish a criminal object, whether
through the physical volition of one, or all, proceeding severally or collectively, each individual whose evil will
actively contributes to the wrong-doing is in law responsible for the whole, the same as though performed by himself
alone." Although it is axiomatic that no one is liable for acts other than his own, "when two or more persons agree or
conspire to commit a crime, each is responsible for all the acts of the others, done in furtherance of the agreement or
conspiracy." The imposition of collective liability upon the conspirators is clearly explained in one case where this
Court held that x x x it is impossible to graduate the separate liability of each (conspirator) without taking into
consideration the close and inseparable relation of each of them with the criminal act, for the commission of which
they all acted by common agreement x x x. The crime must therefore in view of the solidarity of the act and intent
which existed between the x x x accused, be regarded as the act of the band or party created by them, and they are all
equally responsible x x x
Verily, the moment it is established that the malefactors conspired and confederated in the commission of the felony
proved, collective liability of the accused conspirators attaches by reason of the conspiracy, and the court shall not
speculate nor even investigate as to the actual degree of participation of each of the perpetrators present at the scene
of the crime. Of course, as to any conspirator who was remote from the situs of aggression, he could be drawn
within the enveloping ambit of the conspiracy if it be proved that through his moral ascendancy over the rest of the
conspirators the latter were moved or impelled to carry out the conspiracy.
In fine, the convergence of the wills of the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the crime amply justifies
the imputation to all of them the act of any one of them. It is in this light that conspiracy is generally viewed not as a
separate indictable offense, but a rule for collectivizing criminal liability.

xxxx
x x x A time-honored rule in the corpus of our jurisprudence is that once conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators
who acted in furtherance of the common design are liable as co-principals. This rule of collective criminal liability
emanates from the ensnaring nature of conspiracy. The concerted action of the conspirators in consummating their
common purpose is a patent display of their evil partnership, and for the consequences of such criminal enterprise
they must be held solidarily liable.22
This is not to say, however, that private respondent should be found guilty of conspiring with Secretary Enrile. It is
settled that the absence or presence of conspiracy is factual in nature and involves evidentiary matters. 23 Hence, the
allegation of conspiracy against respondent is better left ventilated before the trial court during trial, where
respondent can adduce evidence to prove or disprove its presence.
Respondent claims in his Manifestation and Motion24 as well as in his Urgent Motion to Resolve25 that in a different
case, he was likewise indicted before the SB for conspiracy with the late Secretary Enrile in violating the same
Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 by allegedly entering into another agreement (Side Agreement) which is separate from
the Concession Agreement subject of the present case. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28091. Here, the
SB, through a Resolution, granted respondent's motion to quash the Information on the ground that the SB has no
jurisdiction over the person of respondent. The prosecution questioned the said SB Resolution before this Court via a
petition for review on certiorari. The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 168919. In a minute resolution dated August
31, 2005, this Court denied the petition finding no reversible error on the part of the SB. This Resolution became
final and executory on January 11, 2006. Respondent now argues that this Court's resolution in G.R. No. 168919
should be applied in the instant case.
The Court does not agree. Respondent should be reminded that prior to this Court's ruling in G.R. No. 168919, he
already posted bail for his provisional liberty. In fact, he even filed a Motion for Consolidation 26 in Criminal Case
No. 28091. The Court agrees with petitioner's contention that private respondent's act of posting bail and filing his
Motion for Consolidation vests the SB with jurisdiction over his person. The rule is well settled that the act of an
accused in posting bail or in filing motions seeking affirmative relief is tantamount to submission of his person to the
jurisdiction of the court.27
Thus, it has been held that:
When a defendant in a criminal case is brought before a competent court by virtue of a warrant of arrest or
otherwise, in order to avoid the submission of his body to the jurisdiction of the court he must raise the question of
the courts jurisdiction over his person at the very earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to the complaint or
files any dilatory plea or pleads to the merits, he thereby gives the court jurisdiction over his person. (State ex rel.
John Brown vs. Fitzgerald, 51 Minn., 534)
xxxx
As ruled in La Naval Drug vs. CA [236 SCRA 78, 86]:
"[L]ack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be waived either expressly or impliedly. When a
defendant voluntarily appears, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. If he so wishes
not to waive this defense, he must do so seasonably by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the
court; otherwise, he shall be deemed to have submitted himself to that jurisdiction."
Moreover, "[w]here the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the
person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of objecting to said jurisdiction. If the appearance is for any

other purpose, the defendant is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Such an appearance
gives the court jurisdiction over the person."
Verily, petitioners participation in the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan was not confined to his opposition to
the issuance of a warrant of arrest but also covered other matters which called for respondent courts exercise of its
jurisdiction. Petitioner may not be heard now to deny said courts jurisdiction over him. x x x.28
In the instant case, respondent did not make any special appearance to question the jurisdiction of the SB over his
person prior to his posting of bail and filing his Motion for Consolidation. In fact, his Motion to Quash the
Information in Criminal Case No. 28090 only came after the SB issued an Order requiring the prosecution to show
cause why the case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over his person.
As a recapitulation, it would not be amiss to point out that the instant case involves a contract entered into by public
officers representing the government. More importantly, the SB is a special criminal court which has exclusive
original jurisdiction in all cases involving violations of R.A. 3019 committed by certain public officers, as
enumerated in P.D. 1606 as amended by R.A. 8249. This includes private individuals who are charged as coprincipals, accomplices or accessories with the said public officers. In the instant case, respondent is being charged
for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019, in conspiracy with then Secretary Enrile. Ideally, under the law, both
respondent and Secretary Enrile should have been charged before and tried jointly by the Sandiganbayan. However,
by reason of the death of the latter, this can no longer be done. Nonetheless, for reasons already discussed, it does
not follow that the SB is already divested of its jurisdiction over the person of and the case involving herein
respondent. To rule otherwise would mean that the power of a court to decide a case would no longer be based on the
law defining its jurisdiction but on other factors, such as the death of one of the alleged offenders.
Lastly, the issues raised in the present petition involve matters which are mere incidents in the main case and the
main case has already been pending for over nine (9) years. Thus, a referral of the case to the Regional Trial Court
would further delay the resolution of the main case and it would, by no means, promote respondent's right to a
speedy trial and a speedy disposition of his case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated June 2, 2005, granting
respondent's Motion to Quash, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Sandiganbayan is forthwith DIRECTED
to proceed with deliberate dispatch in the disposition of Criminal Case No. 28090.
SO ORDERED.
DIOSDADO
Associate Justice

M.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 169727-28 August 18, 2006
BRIG. GEN. (Ret.) JOSE S. RAMISCAL, JR., Petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (4th Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

PERALTA

Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of the
Resolution 1 of the Sandiganbayan (4th Division) in Criminal Case Nos. 28022 and 28023, as well as its Resolution
denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.
In 1998, the Senate Committees on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon) and on
National Defense and Security (collectively, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee) carried out an extensive joint inquiry
into the "coup rumors and the alleged anomalies" in the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine Retirement
Benefits Systems (AFP-RSBS). In its Report dated December 23, 1998, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee
outlined, among others, the anomalies in the acquisition of lots in Tanauan, Batangas, Calamba, Laguna and Iloilo
City by the AFP-RSBS, and described the modus operandi of the perpetrators as follows:
The modus operandi in the buying of the lots was to cover the same transactions with two deeds of sale. One deed of
sale would be signed only by the seller or sellers (unilateral deed). Another deed of sale would be signed by the
seller or seller and the buyer, AFP-RSBS (bilateral deed).
The devious gimmicking was uncovered by your Committee which also found out that the buying prices stated in
the unilateral deeds did not match those stated in the bilateral deeds. To borrow a word from lawyers, the
"consideration" (i.e., prices) in the unilateral deeds of sale and the bilateral deeds of sale did not tally even if they
covered the same transaction.
Without exception, the deed(s) signed by the seller(s) only (unilateral deeds) were the one registered with the
registrar (sic) of deeds. These Unilateral Deeds of Sale recorded lower consideration paid by the System to the
buyer(s) than those stated in the Bilateral Deeds. The motivation was obviously to evade payment of the correct
taxes to the government and save money for the seller(s), broker(s) and who knows, probably even for the kickbacks
going to certain officials of RSBS, the buyer.
xxxx
The bilateral deeds were kept in the dark files [of] the System over the years. They were uncovered only recently as
a result of your Committees investigation. Your Committee submits that the reason why the bilateral deeds were
kept in the vaults of the System was to justify the huge lot payments made by the System just in case any soldiermember of RSBS would be bold or curious enough to inquire about the matter directly with the System. The curious
soldier would then be shown the bilateral deed to impress upon him/her that indeed the System has spent huge
amounts for the purchase of the lots in question.
Until the investigation uncovered the anomaly, the matter of the two sets of documents covering the purchases of the
same parcels of land made by the System were, like the Clinton-Lewinsky trysts, kept from the prying eyes officials
of the System but so unfair because the public continues to shoulder, in behalf of the RSBS, the payments for the
pension and retirement benefits of the soldiers." (Emphasis supplied)
The Initial Report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which was cited by the Feliciano Commission in its Report
to the President of the Philippines, included the following discussion:
Essentially, the Blue Ribbon Committee found that the real estate purchases by RSBS were uniformly documented,
by two (2) sets of instruments: Firstly, a unilateral covering the same piece of land, executed both by the seller and
by RSBS as buyer. The price stated in the second bilateral instrument was invariably much higher than the price
reflected in the unilateral deed of sale. The discrepancies between the purchase price booked by RSBS and the
purchase price reflected in the unilateral deed of sale actually registered in the relevant Registry of Deeds, totaled
about seven hundred three million pesos (P703 Million). The two sets of purchase price figures obviously could not
both be correct at the same time. Either the purchase price booked and paid out by RSBS was the true purchase price

of the land involved, in which case RSBS had obviously assisted or abetted the seller in grossly understating the
capital gains realized by him and in defrauding the National treasury; or the purchase price in the unilateral deed of
sale was the consideration actually received by the seller from RSBS, in which case, the buyer-RSBS had grossly
overpaid, with the differential, in the belief of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, going into the pockets of RSBS
officials. A third possibility was that the differential between the purchase price booked and paid by the buyer-RSBS
and the selling price admitted by the seller of the land, had been shared by the buyer and seller in some undisclosed
ratio. 2
Pursuant to the recommendation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to "prosecute and/or cause the prosecution of
Gen. Jose Ramiscal Jr. (Ret), past AFP-RSBS President, who had signed the unregistered deeds of sale covering the
acquisition of certain parcels of land," Ombudsman Investigators Ricardo Sullano, Rodil Buenaventura and Anatolio
Alejandrino of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military conducted a fact-finding investigation. They
executed a Joint Affidavit-Complaint, 3 stating that based on their findings, the following may be charged with
falsification of public documents and violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019: petitioner
B/Gen. Jose Ramiscal, Jr., former AFP-RSBS president; Atty. Meinrado Enrique Bello, Head of the AFP-RSBS
Legal Department in charge of Land Acquisition; Capt. Perfecto Enrique Quilicot, AFP-RSBS Project Officer,
Tanauan, Batangas, Land Acquisition; and Notaries Public Alfredo Nasser and Manuel Satuito.
The matter was further looked into by a panel of Ombudsman Investigators, which issued on March 30, 2001 a Joint
Resolution 4 finding probable cause to file the corresponding Informations for 148 counts of violation of Article 315,
in relation to Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, and Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 against
Meinrado Bello and Atty. Manuel Satuito. However, it was likewise recommended that the complaint against
petitioner be dismissed, without prejudice to a thorough fact-finding investigation on his liability in light of this
Courts ruling in Arias v. Sandiganbayan. 5
The Ombudsman did not act on this recommendation. Instead, another panel of prosecutors was directed to review
the Joint Resolution and conduct a thorough investigation of the case. After conducting clarificatory hearings, the
investigating panel issued a Memorandum 6 dated June 15, 2004, recommending to the Ombudsman that petitioner
be charged with 148 counts of estafa through falsification of public documents, and one count violation of Section
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. Petitioners allegation that he merely relied on the legal staff of the AFP-RSBS when he
signed the unregistered bilateral deeds of sale was considered untenable. The panel declared that the deeds were used
purposely to facilitate the payment of amounts in excess of that paid to the landowners. Moreover, petitioner, as
AFP-RSBS president, could not claim that he was merely involved in top- level policy implementation.
The Memorandum also stated that the AFP-RSBS had an Investment Committee tasked to screen project proposals,
which was headed by petitioner, Oscar Martinez and other AFP-RSBS officers; these potential investments were
then elevated for further screening and approval to the Executive Committee, of which petitioner and Martinez were
also members. The panel found that petitioner knew of the unilateral deeds of sale, considering that they were duly
registered with the Register of Deeds and titles were issued on the basis thereof. The investigating panel clarified
that
the
ruling
of
this
Court
in
Arias
does
not
apply
because
petitioners
participation consisted of signing and approving documents prepared by his subordinates relative to the transactions,
from the time of conceptualization until payment by AFP-RSBS.
The panel further found that the culpability of petitioner, Quilicot, Bello and Satuito is evidenced by the fact that
they signed documents in manifest bad faith, with full knowledge of the anomalous transactions. The bilateral deeds
of absolute sale were prepared by the Legal Department of AFP-RSBS where Bello and Satuito were assigned, later
enabling them to amass enormous profits. The investigating panel "confirmed" the observations of the Senate Blue
Ribbon Committee as follows:

We have also noted that in all the 148 transactions of lot acquisition, the Bilateral Deeds of Sale never bore the
marks/annotations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Register of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas, as would
always appear, if they were used as basis for transfer of title. These Bilateral Deeds of Sale were attached to the
payment vouchers to justify the payment of the much higher price considerations of the acquired lots, yet, no one of
the respondents and the concerned AFP-RSBS officials and employees questioned the fact that the Bilateral Deeds of
Sale never bore the marks and annotations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue indicative that the proper taxes have
been paid nor that of the Register of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas particularly the assigned Entry Number and the
date of said entry as reflected in its Primary Entry Book.
From the concerted silence and inaction of the respondents on the glaring irregularities attendant to the transaction,
we can draw the conclusion that these officers of the AFP-RSBS who passed upon the Disbursement Voucher and
the Status Transaction Forms were aware of the forgeries and the result thereof. All the respondents were acting
under a common design and purpose to give a semblance of regularity to the acquisition of the subject one hundred
forty eight (148) lots at a price very much higher than what was actually paid to the individual lot owners. The
element of conspiracy was therefore present. 7
The panel opined that the AFP-RSBS funds used to purchase the parcels of land were trust funds and for
administration purposes. 8 Moreover, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 361, the charter of the AFP-RSBS, intended to
create a trust fund for the specific purpose of benefiting the members of the armed forces, hence contributions
thereto were compulsory. Since soldiers and military personnel rely on the administration of the AFP-RSBS for their
retirement, pension and separation benefits, petitioner and his co-officers occupy positions of trust, with obligations
and responsibilities akin to those imposed on directors and officers of a corporation; and considering that the
responsible officers are not mere directors but trustees, there is all the more reason to apply the fiduciary relationship
principle in this case.
The Ombudsman approved the recommendation of the Panel of Prosecutors without prejudice to the liability of the
landowners involved in the transactions.
Petitioner and his co-accused filed their respective Motions for Reconsideration of the investigating panels June 15,
2004 Memorandum. Petitioner alleged the following:
1. RESPONDENT RAMISCALS PARTICIPATION IN THE SUBJECT SALE TRANSACTIONS, WHICH WERE
DULY APPROVED BY THE RSBS BOARD, WAS PURELY MINISTERIAL AS PART OF HIS LIMITED
FUNCTIONS AS PRESIDENT OF RSBS.
2. THE CONSPIRACY THEORY LINKING RESPONDENT RAMISCAL TO THE CHARGES IS DEVOID OF
FACTUAL AND/OR LEGAL BASIS. IN FACT, THE MEMORANDUM FAILED TO SHOW, AS THERE IS
NONE (SIC) ANY OVERT ACT OF CONSPIRACY COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT RAMISCAL.
3. IN ANY EVENT, THE CHARGES OF FALSIFICATION BASED ON THE BILATERAL DEEDS HAVE NO
LEGAL LEG TO STAND ON AS AGAINST RESPONDENT RAMISCAL.
4. MORE THAN THAT, THE CHARGES OF ESTAFA AND VIOLATION OF SECTION 3(E) R.A. 3019 HAVE
NO FACTUAL AND/OR LEGAL BASES INASMUCH AS THE AMOUNTS PAID BY AFP-RSBS TO THE
VENDORS ARE THOSE THAT WERE INDICATED IN THE BILATERAL DEEDS OF SALE, HENCE, NO
UNWARRANTED BENEFITS WERE AFFORDED THE SELLERS NOR DID THE [AFP-RSBS] AND THE
GOVERNMENT SUFFER UNDUE INJURY INCIDENT THERETO. 9
On September 27, 2004, the Panel of Prosecutors issued a Memorandum 10 to the Ombudsman recommending that
the motion be denied, which the latter duly approved.

Thereafter, the panel of Prosecutors and the Special Prosecutors had a series of meetings with the Ombudsman,
where it was agreed upon that only five Informations for estafa through falsification of public documents and five
Informations for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 would be initially filed with the Sandiganbayan instead
of the 148 counts previously recommended by the Ombudsman. This was due to the lack of prosecutors who would
handle the voluminous cases. 11
Of the Informations filed, two were raffled to the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan, one of which was docketed
as Criminal Case No. 28022 for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. The accusatory portion reads:
That on April 23, 1997 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Province of Batangas and Quezon City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused public officers, namely:
Brigadier General Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., a high-ranking public official, being then the President of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines-Retirement, Separation and Benefit System (AFP-RSBS); Atty. Meinrado Enrique A.
Bello, Head of Legal Division; Atty. Manuel Se Satuito, Chief of Documentation, Legal Division; Captain Perfecto
O. Quilicot, Jr., Project Officer, and certain John and John Does, also of the AFP-RSBS, a government entity, being a
government owned or controlled corporation, while in the performance of their official functions and committing the
offense in relation to their office, acting with evident bad faith, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one
another, with private individuals John Does and Jane Does, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally
cause undue injury to AFP-RSBS and its members by purchasing a parcel of land covering an area of seven thousand
five hundred eighty-two square meters (7,582 sq. m.), more or less, situated at Tanauan, Batangas, registered in the
name of Marianito V. Plaza, Glicerio V. Plaza and Petra Maunahan and covered by OCT-11835 and TCT 65973 of
the Registry of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas, under a bilateral Deed of Absoute Sale dated April 23, 1997, making it
appear therein that the afore-described real property was sold by the said owners and purchased by the AFP-RSBS,
represented by accused BGen. Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., for the amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED
THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR PESOS (P1,531,564.00), Philippine Currency, paid
under AFP-RSBS General Voucher No. 61789 dated May 28, 1997 with corresponding Philippine National Bank
Check No. 72789 dated June 3, 1997, when in truth and in fact, accused knew fully well that the true and real
consideration thereof is only TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY
PESOS (P227,460.00), Philippine Currency, as correctly indicated in a unilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated April
14, 1997 executed by the said owners, thereby resulting to an overprice of ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED
FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FOUR PESOS (P1,304,104.00) to the damage and prejudice of AFP-RSBS
and its members.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 12
The other, for estafa thru falsification of public documents, was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28023. The
accusatory portion reads:
That on April 23, 1997 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Province of Batangas and Quezon City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused public officers, namely:
Brigadier General Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., a high ranking public official, being then the President of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines-Retirement Separation and Benefit System (AFP-RSBS); Atty. Meinrado Enrique A. Bello,
Head of Legal Division; Atty. Manuel Se Satuito, Chief of Documentation, Legal Division; Captain Perfecto O.
Quilicot, Jr., Project Officer, and certain John and Jane Does, also of the AFP-RSBS, a government entity, being a
government owned or controlled corporation, while in the performance of their official functions and committing the
offense in relation to their office, acting with unfaithfulness and abuse of confidence, conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another, with private individuals John Does and Jane Does, and with intent to defraud the AFPRSBS and its members, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously falsify or cause to be falsified a
bilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 23, 1997 covering seven thousand five hundred eighty-two square meters
(7,582 sq. m.), more or less, of real property situated at Tanauan, Batangas, registered in the name of Marianito V.

Plaza, Glicerio V. Plaza and Petra Maunahan and covered by OCT-11835 and TCT 65973 of the Registry of Deeds of
Tanauan, Batangas, by making it appear therein that the aforedescribed real property was sold by the said owners
and purchased by the AFP-RSBS, represented by accused BGen. Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., for the overpriced
amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR
PESOS (P1,531,564.00), Philippine Currency, from its funds held by the accused AFP-RSBS officials in trust and
for administration, when in truth and in fact, accused knew fully well that the true and real consideration thereof is
only TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY PESOS (P227,460.00),
Philippine Currency, as correctly indicated in a unilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 14, 1997 executed by
the said owners, and thereafter, to facilitate the payment of the said overpriced amount by the AFP-RSBS, the
accused used the said falsified bilateral Deed of Absolute Sale as supporting document, among others, to the AFPRSBS General Voucher No. 61789 dated May 28, 1997, and relying on said fraudulent acts, AFP-RSBS released the
amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR
PESOS (P1,531,564.00) by way of Philippine National Bank Check No. 72789 dated June 3, 1997, which amount
included the overprice of ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FOUR
PESOS (P1,304,104.00) and which the accused subsequently misappropriated and converted to their personal use
and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the AFP-RSBS and its members.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 13
Raffled to the First Division of the anti-graft court were two other cases docketed as Criminal Case No. 28026 14for
violation
of
Section
3(e)
of
15
R.A. 3019, and Criminal Case No. 28027 for estafa through falsification of public documents. Criminal Case No.
28028 16 for violation of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 and Criminal Case No. 28029 17 for estafa through falsification
of public documents were raffled to the Second Division, while Criminal Case No. 28021 18 for estafa through
falsification of public documents was raffled to the Third Division. Criminal Case No. 28024 19 for violation of
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and Criminal Case No. 28025 20 for estafa through falsification of public documents
were raffled to the Fifth Division.
Petitioner filed in the Fourth Division of the anti-graft court (in Criminal Case Nos. 28022 and 28023) an "Urgent
Motion for Hearing to Determine Probable Cause and Consolidate All Cases in One Information with Prayer to
Defer Issuance of An Arrest Warrant Pending Resolution Hereof." 21 The Sandiganbayan denied the motion on
January 17, 2005, holding that the judicial determination of probable cause is not an adversarial proceeding but
summary in nature. While it ordered the issuance of warrants of arrest against the accused, it resolved to hold in
abeyance the resolution on the matter of consolidation of all the cases until after it had acquired jurisdiction over
their persons. 22 After petitioner posted bail for his provisional release, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion for the
consolidation of the cases, considering that the other cases filed were pending in its other divisions.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution and sought to have the cases dismissed for lack of
probable cause. 23 He alleged that, in finding probable cause, the Sandiganbayan merely relied on the findings of the
Ombudsman and did not take into account the other affidavits on record. The Sandiganbayan again denied the
motion on February 22, 2005. 24
Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash 25 in Criminal Cases Nos. 28022 and 28023 on the following grounds:
I. This Court has no jurisdiction over the offenses charged in both Informations;
II. In Criminal Case No. 28023 (estafa through falsification), the facts charged being an essential part of the
continuing crime of Estafa separately charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 28021, 28025, 28027 and 28029, pending in
the 3rd, 1st, 5th and 2nd divisions, respectively, only one Information must be filed for all these cases including
those covered by the OSP memorandum dated June 15, 2004; and,

III. In Criminal Case No. 20822 (violation of RA No. 3019), the said case is abated by Criminal Case No. 20823
(Estafa through falsification) because the very facts alleged in the former are also the very facts alleged in the
latter. 26
On June 2, 2005, the Sandiganbayan resolved to deny the motion, holding that contrary to petitioners claim, it had
jurisdiction over the crimes charged. 27 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was also denied on
August 17, 2005. 28 Petitioner then posted bail for his provisional liberty.
When arraigned on September 1, 2005, petitioner refused to enter a plea, prompting the anti-graft court to enter a
plea of not guilty in both cases. 29
On October 7, 2005, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65, praying that the said Resolution
be nullified on the following grounds:
I. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK
AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN SUSTAINING THE OMBUDSMANS FINDING OF PROBABLE
CAUSE FOR THE COMMISSION OF ONE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT (148) COUNTS OF ESTAFA THRU
FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT AND ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT (148) COUNTS
OF VIOLATION OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019 AND IN NOT DISMISSING THE INFORMATIONS.
II. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK
AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATIONS AND IN NOT
DISMISSING THE CASES NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE
CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.
III. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK
AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION IN CRIMINAL CASE NO.
28023 (ESTAFA THROUGH FALSIFICATION), NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE FACTS CHARGED
THEREIN WERE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ONE CONTINUING CRIME OF ESTAFA SEPARATELY
CHARGED IN CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 28021, 28025, 28027 AND 28029, PENDING IN THE THIRD, FIRST,
FIFTH AND SECOND DIVISIONS OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, RESPECTIVELY, CONSIDERING THAT
BASED ON THE DOCUMENTS ADDUCED BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR OBVIOUS WANT OF RELIABLE
EVIDENCE, ONLY ONE INFORMATION FOR ESTAFA SHOULD HAVE BEEN FILED FOR ALL THESE
CASES INCLUDING THE REMAINING ONE HUNDRED FORTY THREE (143) COUNTS COVERED BY THE
OSP MEMORANDUM DATED JUNE 15, 2004, ANNEX T;
IV. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK
AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION IN CRIMINAL CASE NO.
20822 (VIOLATION OF RA NO. 3019) NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE SAID CASE WAS ABATED BY
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 20823 (ESTAFA THROUGH FALSIFICATION) BECAUSE THE VERY FACTS
ALLEGED IN THE FORMER WERE ALSO THE VERY FACTS ALLEGED IN THE LATTER, THUS
VIOLATING THE RULE ON DOUBLE JEOPARDY. 30
Petitioner insists that, in finding probable cause against him for estafa through falsification of public document and
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction, as it relied solely on the Memorandum of the investigation panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors. He posits
that it behooved the anti-graft court to review the Ombudsmans findings and scrutinize the evidence, the affidavits
on record, including the transcript of stenographic notes. As gleaned from the Joint Resolution dated March 30,
2001, the initial finding of the Ombudsman Prosecutors was that there was no probable cause to charge him for the
acts complained of, in the light of the Courts ruling in the Arias case. He asserts that there was no evidence of bad

faith on his part relative to the deeds of sale subject of the Informations filed against him. He insists that based on
the Joint Resolution, and even the report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, he had no part whatsoever in the
commission of the crimes charged. The disparity of the prices of the properties in the bilateral deeds of sale, vis--vis
the unilateral deeds of sale, do not support the finding of probable cause against him made by the investigating panel
of Ombudsman Prosecutors. Petitioner asserts that there is no evidence on record that he conspired with the other
accused in the commission of the crimes charged.
Petitioner further posits that the Sandiganbayan likewise committed grave abuse of its discretion when it found
probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him instead of setting the case for hearing. He insists
that the anti-graft court failed to consider the other evidence on record and erred in relying solely on the evaluation
and resolution of the investigating panel of Prosecutors; the fact that he posted bail bonds for his provisional liberty
does not estop him from raising the issue in his Motion to Quash.
Petitioner avers that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the crimes charged as provided in Section 4 of R.A.
8249. He insists that the AFP-RSBS is not a government-owned or controlled corporation and that he does not fall
under Salary Grade 27 as required in Section 4 of the law, inasmuch as his position as AFP-RSBS President is not
even included under the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989. Petitioner cites the ruling of this Court in
Inding v. Sandiganbayan 31 to support his claim.
Petitioner asserts that the charges filed against him constitute only one crime of estafa through falsification of public
document, in the nature of delito continuado, or a series of repetition of the same acts arising from one and the same
criminal intent. He maintains that while there are 148 bilateral deeds of sale signed by him and 145 unilateral deeds
of sale signed by the sellers, it cannot thereby be concluded that he is criminally liable for each deed executed. The
number of transactions purportedly entered into is not a gauge in ascertaining criminal intent for the several
transactions. The best test should be the presence of clear, convincing and positive evidence showing distinct
criminal intent for each sales transaction, which in any event, is wanting in this case. Petitioner further alleges that
for multiple transactions to be considered as separate and distinct crimes, there must be a series of acts with
individual sellers such as (a) negotiations; (b) discussion of the terms of the sale; (c) finalizing the terms thereof; and
(d) instruction to prepare payment and (e) actual payment. He points out that there is no
evidence that he and the other accused involved ever met with any of the sellers. While he admits the possibility that
he could have signed the bilateral deeds of sale in one sitting, he insists that these documents were
notarized separately; there is even no evidence on record that the sellers of the property transacted separately with
him. He points out that the corporate officers of AFP-RSBS, especially its President, do not personally deal with any
of the sellers. The bare fact that he executed the bilateral deeds of sale and that the project was approved by the
higher level of the management, cannot lead to the conclusion that he took part in the implementation of the
transactions.
Petitioner maintains that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of or excess of
jurisdiction in filing the charges against him. He insists that the delictual acts contained in the two Informations,
Criminal Case No. 28022 (for violation of R.A. 3019) and Criminal Case No. 28023 (for estafa through falsification
of public document), are one and the same; to charge him under Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 despite his indictment for
estafa is to duplicate the very same charge under another name, which under the principle of double jeopardy, is
proscribed. He further argues that while it is true that, in Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the charge against him for said
crime is "in addition" to his criminal liability under the Revised Penal Code, the phrase connotes cumulativeness and
simultaneity of liability.
Petitioner points out that the panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors recommended the filing of only one count of
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, but the Ombudsman filed five (5) counts thereof.

The issues are the following: (1) whether the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess
or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause against petitioner for estafa through falsification of public document
and for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019; (2) whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction in finding probable cause against petitioner for the issuance of
warrants for petitioners arrest without first conducting a hearing; (3) whether petitioner may be charged and
prosecuted for five (5) counts of estafa thru falsification of public documents; and (4) whether petitioner may be
prosecuted for both estafa through falsification of a public document and violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019
without violating his right against double jeopardy.
The petition has no merit.
On the first issue, the rule is that as far as crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan are concerned, the determination
of probable cause during the preliminary investigation, or reinvestigation for that matter, is a function that belongs to
the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is empowered to determine, in the exercise of his discretion,
whether probable cause exists, and to charge the person believed to have committed the crime as defined by law.
Whether or not the Ombudsman has correctly discharged his function, i.e., whether or not he has made a correct
assessment of the evidence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court may not be compelled to pass
upon.
As a rule, courts should not interfere with the Ombudsmans investigatory power, exercised through the Ombudsman
Prosecutors, and the authority to determine the presence or absence of probable cause, 32 except when the finding is
tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. In such case, the aggrieved party
may file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. 33 Indeed, if the Ombudsman does not take
essential facts into consideration in the determination of probable cause, there is abuse of discretion. 34 As we ruled
in Mendoza-Arce v. Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), 35 a writ of certiorari may issue in any of the following
instances:
1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused;
2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of actions;
3. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;
4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority;
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation;
6. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;
7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense;
8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;
9. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance;
10. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash on that ground has been
denied. 36

In this case, however, petitioner failed to establish that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause to charge him with violation of Section 3(e) of
R.A. No. 3019 and for estafa through falsification of a public document.
We are not convinced by petitioners claim that there is no probable cause on record for the filing of the Information
against him. It bears stressing that probable cause need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt,
neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt and definitely not on evidence establishing absolute
certainty of guilt. It implies probability of guilt and requires more than bare suspicion but less than evidence which
would justify conviction. 37 The Ombudsmans finding of probable cause against petitioner is buttressed by his
encompassing and comprehensive resolution, independent of the findings of the Senate Committees, as well as the
documents appended to the Informations. Petitioners bare claim to the contrary cannot prevail over such positive
findings
of
the
Ombudsman.
In
fine,
the
Ombudsmans
finding
of
probable cause prevails over petitioners bare allegations of grave abuse of discretion; that he was not involved in
the step-by-step consummation of the anomalous transaction; and that as President he was involved only in the top
level policy formulation and implementation.
It is true that in the Joint Resolution dated March 30, 2001, the Panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors found no sufficient
evidence that petitioner acted in bad faith and that he merely relied on the recommendations of his subordinates.
However, after a thorough investigation, another panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors found that, indeed, petitioner not
merely relied on the recommendations of his subordinates but likewise perpetrated overt acts, which, along with
those of the other accused, resulted in the consummation of the crimes charged. Thus, as maintained by the
respondents in their Comment on the petition, petitioner signed documents, indicating his evident bad faith on the
highly anomalous transactions; petitioner was aware of the forgeries and anomalies in the buying of the parcels of
land, yet gave his conformity thereto, causing grave injury to its members and to the public in general. Thus, it was
also found that petitioner, together with his cohorts, conspired to perpetuate clear fraud on the government and the
AFP-RSBS members by giving a semblance of regularity to real estate acquisitions at bloated prices.
The fact alone that petitioner was aware, in each transaction, that the two (2) deeds of sale contain contradictory
costs for every acquisition, and that he failed to rectify the same eloquently speak of his participation in the criminal
malevolence. He was a member of the Investment Committee of the AFP-RSBS, which screened potential
investments, that were thereafter subjected to further screening and approval by the Executive Committee of which
he was also a member; hence, petitioner had full knowledge of the transactions, from the time they were
conceptualized until the properties were paid for. The records show that the Tanauan, Batangas properties alone were
overpriced by about 600%. Thus, petitioner consented to the crimes charged by the following overt acts:
(1) Petitioner and his co-accused prepared or caused to be prepared two (2) deeds of sale covering the same
transactions: a deed of sale with the seller or sellers as the sole signatory or signatories therein (unilateral deeds); and
a deed of sale with the seller or sellers and the buyer, AFP-RSBS, represented by petitioner (bilateral deeds);
(2) The considerations in the unilateral deeds of sale and the bilateral deeds of sale did not tally, notwithstanding the
fact that they covered the same subject matter and transaction, with the bilateral deeds of sale bearing a bloated
price; and,
(3) Of these two deeds, the unilateral deeds of sale bore the correct value given to the seller(s) as evinced, among
others, by the fact that the same were the ones registered with the Registry of Deeds.
The bilateral deeds of sale could not possibly be the basis of the transfer of the properties because the supporting
bilateral deeds carried dates much later than the date of issue of the titles, which were likewise not filed with the
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Registry of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas. The Court cannot supplant the

findings of the Ombudsman that the unilateral deeds of sale were prepared by the Legal Department of AFP-RSBS,
in as much as both the unilateral and bilateral deeds of sale have exactly the same print and form. The residence
certificate number of petitioner which is indicated in the bilateral deeds of sale is likewise printed in the unilateral
deeds. Petitioners fraudulent intent is further proven by the fact that the Status of Transaction Form (STF), where
the subject lots were endorsed for payment, bore his signature. The unilateral deeds of sale resulted in the issuance
of the titles, which were also the supporting documents enumerated in the STF. In many instances, the bilateral
deeds of sale carry dates much later than the dates their corresponding titles were issued.
Petitioner was likewise unable to establish his claim that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in
finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for his arrest. His bare claim that the Sandiganbayan merely
relied on the Memoranda of the Panel of Prosecutors to the Ombudsman and did not scrutinize the evidence
appended thereto is not supported by the records. In the first place, the Sandiganbayan is presumed to have
performed its duty as provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which can likewise be gleaned from its
February 22, 2005 Resolution:
[1] While accused Ramiscal is correct in stating that this Court, in determining the existence of probable cause for
the issuance of the warrant of arrest against the accused, had evaluated the resolution of the Office of the
Ombudsman and its supporting documents, he is, however, wrong in presuming that such process failed to consider
the evidence the accused adduced during preliminary investigation. It should be noted that the supporting documents
submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman to this Court included, among others, the counter-affidavits submitted by
the accused at the preliminary investigation. Parenthetically, there is no need, and the rules do not require this Court,
to enumerate in detail what were the supporting documents it considered in determining the existence of probable
cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest because the same are matters of record that the parties can easily
verify. 38
We agree with the Sandiganbayans ruling that the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure do not require cases to be
set for hearing to determine probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the accused before any
warrant may be issued. Section 6, Rule 112 mandates the judge to personally evaluate the resolution of the
Prosecutor (in this case, the Ombudsman) and its supporting evidence, and if he/she finds probable cause, a warrant
of arrest or commitment order may be issued within 10 days from the filing of the complaint or Information; in case
the Judge doubts the existence of probable cause, the prosecutor may be ordered to present additional evidence
within five (5) days from notice. The provision reads in full:
SEC. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. (a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10) days from the filing
of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its
supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish
probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused
has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation
or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence
of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice
and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint of information. 39
The periods provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are mandatory, and as such, the judge must
determine the presence or absence of probable cause within such periods. The Sandiganbayans determination of
probable cause is made ex parte and is summary in nature, not adversarial. The Judge should not be stymied and
distracted from his determination of probable cause by needless motions for determination of probable cause filed by
the accused.

We hold that petitioner likewise failed to establish his claim that the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of
authority in denying his motion to quash the Information.
First. The anti-graft court correctly ruled that it has jurisdiction over the crimes charged.
In People v. Sandiganbayan 40 and Ramiscal, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, 41 this Court ruled that the AFP-RSBS is a
government-owned and controlled corporation, and that its funds are in the nature of public funds. Under Section
4(a)(1)(g) of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction over offenses committed by presidents,
directors,
trustees
or
managers of government owned or controlled corporations. 42 Under Section 4(b) of R.A. No. 8249, the
Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction over offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to
their office, whether simple or complexed with other crimes. 43
As gleaned from the material averments of the Information in Criminal Case No. 28023, the charge against
petitioner is estafa through falsification of public document in the performance of his duties and in relation to his
position as president of the AFP-RSBS.
Second. On petitioners claim that he should be charged with only one count of estafa through falsification of public
document instead of five (5) charges, respondents counter that the criminal acts petitioner and his co-accused are not
continuous crimes. Respondents argue that a continuous crime may exist only if there is only a single criminal intent
and the commission of diverse acts is merely a partial execution of said single criminal resolution. In the instant
cases, the requirement of singularity of criminal intent does not exist because there are as many criminal intents as
there are anomalous transactions, causing grave damage to the government at each instance. There was no need for
the accused to perform another or other delictual acts to consummate the felony. Respondents maintain that
petitioner was motivated by separate intents as he signed each document, all of which are criminal in character;
hence, it is but proper that corresponding Informations be filed against him for each and every act of falsification
committed.
The Sandiganbayan, for its part, sustained the contention of respondents and ruled that the determination of (a) the
charge/s and the person/s against whom the charge is filed are addressed to the sound discretion of the Prosecutors
based on the facts before them; and (b) the crimes committed by petitioner are separate, and not a single crime
consisting of series of acts arising from a single criminal resolution. Thus:
In the first place, the question of the number of criminal charges that must be instituted against a criminal respondent
(whether one count or multiple counts of the same offense) is one addressed to the sound discretion of the
prosecution service. It is enough, as this Court has already ruled, that the informations filed in these cases are based
on facts establishing probable cause for the offenses charged. This Court will not compel the Office of the
Ombudsman to file only one information for Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents when its preliminary
investigation established the commission of several counts thereof as such action on the part of this Court would
constitute undue interference with the Office of the Ombudsmans control over the prosecution of these cases.
In the second place, this Court is not persuaded that what is involved in these cases is a continuous crime, that is to
say, a single crime consisting of a series of acts arising from a single criminal resolution or intent not susceptible of
division, with each act in that series being merely the partial execution of a single delict. On the contrary, the Court
is of the view that what is involved herein are several completed and distinct purported criminal acts which should
be prosecuted as multiple counts of the same type of offense. Thus, as correctly perceived by the prosecution, there
are as many alleged offenses as there are alleged anomalous transactions involved in these cases. 44

When required to comment on the motion of petitioner and his co- accused for a consolidation of the charges filed
against them before the Sandiganbayan, the Special Prosecutor objected thereto, insisting that there were as many
crimes committed by the accused as there were sales contracts forged by them.
Indeed, the determination of what charges to file and who are to be charged are matters addressed to the discretion of
the Ombudsman, including the matter of whether the crime perpetrated by petitioner and his co-accused under the
Informations pending in the Divisions of the Sandiganbayan constitute delito continuado or classified as concurso
de
delitos; or involve separate crimes under the category of concurso real delito involve factual issues. 45 Such factual
issues should be resolved after trial on the merits, and not in this case. The Court is being tasked to determine
whether the several sales contracts executed by petitioner and his co-accused were set afoot or triggered by a single
impulse and operated by an uninterrupted force however long a time it may occupy, which, however, is a matter best
left to the determination of the trial court, in this case, the Sandiganbayan. 46
Thus, the present petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court is hardly the appropriate remedy
and forum for petitioner to ventilate the issues he has raised, as only jurisdictional issues can be resolved therein. As
eloquently expressed by Justice Florenz D. Regalado, speaking for this Court in Iligan v. Court of Appeals: 47
If, as petitioners seem to apprehend, the adverse actions of two lower courts could create a scenario of multiple
prosecutions for the same offense or, more candidly expressed, of double jeopardy, then this is neither the procedural
stage nor the proper occasion to pass upon that possibility. For, squarely imputable to petitioners is the evident lack
of factual basis for and a grossly defective presentation of that issue for this Court to rule thereon in this proceeding
and at this time. 48
It must be stressed that our disposition of the matters in the present recourse will not foreclose petitioners right to
ventilate the same in the Sandiganbayan, for as declared in Iligan:
However, this observation would not foreclose relief to petitioners if at the trial of this case the evidence presented
and the developments therein suffice to establish the supervening fact that indeed there could possibly be a breach of
the rule of double jeopardy. Under Section 8 of Rule 117, they can still hereafter raise that defense of non bis in
idem, provided that they can lay the evidentiary bases therefor and refute from the standpoint of substantive penal
law what was earlier said on the nature and the non-identity of the several crimes of Estafa involved which, to
repeat, we pronounced purely on the bases of existing records sans the benefit of any evidentiary fact since none has
been adduced. 49
On the last issue, we agree with the contention of respondents that the crimes committed by public officers and
employees in relation to their offices defined and penalized under the Anti-Graft Law do not exclude prosecution for
felonies defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code and vice versa. Section 3 of R.A. No. 3019 reads:
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized
by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be
unlawful: x x x (Emphasis supplied)
It is clear then that one may be charged of violation of R.A. No. 3019 in addition to a felony under the Revised Penal
Code for the same delictual act, that is, either concurrently or subsequent to being charged with a felony under the
Code.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

ROMEO
Associate Justice

J.

CALLEJO,

SR.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 154473

April 24, 2009

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and PHOTOKINA MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioners,


vs.
ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 155573

April 24, 2009

PHOTOKINA MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioner,


vs.
ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, Respondent.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
Before the Court are two consolidated petitions for review on certiorari filed under Rules 45 and 122 of the Rules of
Court: (1) G.R. No. 154473 assailing the June 18, 2002 1 and the June 23, 20022 Orders of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 102 in Criminal Case No. Q-02-109407; and (2) G.R. No. 155573 challenging the
June 25, 20023 and the September 18, 20024 Orders of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101 in Criminal Case No. Q02-109406.
The petitions, while involving the same issues, rest on different factual settings, thus:
G.R. No. 154473

On January 31, 2002, respondent Alfredo L. Benipayo, then Chairman of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC), delivered a speech in the "Forum on Electoral Problems: Roots and Responses in the Philippines"
held at the Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines-Diliman Campus, Quezon City. 5 The speech was
subsequently published in the February 4 and 5, 2002 issues of the Manila Bulletin.6
Petitioner corporation, believing that it was the one alluded to by the respondent when he stated in his speech that
Even worse, the Commission came right up to the brink of signing a 6.5 billion contract for a registration solution
that could have been bought for 350 million pesos, and an ID solution that isnt even a requirement for voting. But
reason intervened and no contract was signed. Now, they are at it again, trying to hoodwink us into contract that is so
grossly disadvantageous to the government that it offends common sense to say that it would be worth the 6.5
billion-peso price tag.7
filed, through its authorized representative, an Affidavit-Complaint8 for libel.
Arguing that he was an impeachable officer, respondent questioned the jurisdiction of the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Quezon City (OCP-QC).9 Despite the challenge, the City Prosecutor filed an Information 10 for libel
against the respondent, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-02-109407, with the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 102.
Petitioner later filed a Motion for Inhibition and Consolidation, 11 contending that Judge Jaime N. Salazar of Branch
102 could not impartially preside over the case because his appointment to the judiciary was made possible through
the recommendation of respondents father-in-law. Petitioner further moved that the case be ordered consolidated
with the other libel case [Criminal Case No. Q-02-103406, which is the subject of G.R. No. 155573] pending with
Branch 101 of the RTC.
While the said motion remained unresolved, respondent, for his part, moved for the dismissal of the case on the
assertion that the trial court had no jurisdiction over his person for he was an impeachable officer and thus, could not
be criminally prosecuted before any court during his incumbency; and that, assuming he can be criminally
prosecuted, it was the Office of the Ombudsman that should investigate him and the case should be filed with the
Sandiganbayan.12
On June 18, 2002, the trial court issued the challenged Order 13 dismissing Criminal Case No. Q-02-109407 and
considering as moot and academic petitioners motion to inhibit. While the RTC found that respondent was no
longer an impeachable officer because his appointment was not confirmed by Congress, it ruled that the case had to
be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction considering that the alleged libel was committed by respondent in relation to his
officehe delivered the speech in his official capacity as COMELEC Chair. Accordingly, it was the Sandiganbayan
that had jurisdiction over the case to the exclusion of all other courts.
On motion for reconsideration, the trial court adhered to its ruling that it was not vested with jurisdiction to hear the
libel case.14
Aggrieved, petitioners timely filed before the Court, on pure questions of law, the instant Petition for Review on
Certiorari15 under Rule 122 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following grounds:
I. THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE FIRST RESOLVED THE MOTION TO INHIBIT BEFORE RESOLVING
THE MOTION TO DISMISS;
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL IN THIS CASE WAS COMMITTED
BY ACCUSED "IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE;" AND

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION IN THIS CASE.16
G.R. No. 155573
On March 13, 2002, respondent, as COMELEC Chair, and COMELEC Commissioner Luzviminda Tangcangco
were guests of the talk show "Point Blank," hosted by Ces Drilon and televised nationwide on the ANC-23 channel.
The television shows episode that day was entitled "COMELEC Wars."17 In that episode, the following conversation
transpired:
Drilon: Are you saying, Chairman, that COMELEC funds are being used for a "PR" campaign against you? Is that
what you are saying?
Benipayo: No, I think [its] not COMELEC funds, [its] Photokina funds. You know, admittedly, according to
[c]harg d[a]ffaires of the U.S. Embassy[,] in a letter sent to me in July of 2001, it is whats been [so] happening to
the Photokina deal, they have already spent in excess of 2.4 [m]illion U.S. [d]ollars. At that time[,] thats about 120
[m]illion pesos and I said, what for[?] [T]hey wouldnt tell me, you see. Now you asked me, [who is] funding this? I
think its pretty obvious.18
Petitioner considered respondents statement as defamatory, and, through its authorized representative, filed a
Complaint-Affidavit19 for libel. Respondent similarly questioned the jurisdiction of the OCP-QC. 20 The City
Prosecutor, however, consequently instituted Criminal Case No. Q-02-109406 by filing the corresponding
Information21 with the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101.
Respondent also moved for the dismissal of the information raising similar arguments that the court had no
jurisdiction over his person, he being an impeachable officer; and that, even if criminal prosecution were possible,
jurisdiction rested with the Sandiganbayan.22
On June 25, 2002, the trial court issued the assailed Order 23 dismissing Criminal Case No. Q-02-109406 for lack of
jurisdiction over the person of the respondent. The RTC, in the further assailed September 18, 2002 Order, 24denied
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.25
Displeased with the rulings of the trial court, petitioners seasonably filed before this Court, on pure questions of law,
another Petition for Review on Certiorari26 under Rule 122 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the
following grounds:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL IN THIS CASE WAS COMMITTED
BY RESPONDENT "IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE"; AND
II. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY ALLEGATION IN THE INFORMATION THAT THE CRIME OF LIBEL WAS
COMMITTED BY RESPONDENT IN RELATION TO HIS OFFICE, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING
THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE BELOW.
III. EVEN ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE,
THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD HAVE ENDORSED THE CASE TO THE SANDIGANBAYAN INSTEAD OF
DISMISSING IT OUTRIGHT.27
Considering that the two petitions, as aforesaid, involve the same issues and the same parties, the Court, upon the
recommendation of the Clerk of Court,28 consolidated the cases.29

The core issue for the resolution of the Court in these twin cases is whether the RTC has jurisdiction over libel cases
to the exclusion of all other courts.
The Ruling of the Court
The Court observes that the parties have argued at length in their pleadings on the issue of whether the alleged
criminal acts of respondent are committed in relation to his office. They are of the conviction that the resolution of
the said question will ultimately determine which courtthe RTC or the Sandiganbayanhas jurisdiction over the
criminal cases filed. The Court, however, notes that both parties are working on a wrong premise. The foremost
concern, which the parties, and even the trial court, failed to identify, is whether, under our current laws, jurisdiction
over libel cases, or written defamations to be more specific, is shared by the RTC with the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, if
the said courts do not have concurrent jurisdiction to try the offense, it would be pointless to still determine whether
the crime is committed in relation to office.
Uniformly applied is the familiar rule that the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is conferred by the
law in force at the time of the institution of the action, unless a latter statute provides for a retroactive application
thereof.30 Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), 31 as amended by Republic Act No. 4363,32 is explicit on
which court has jurisdiction to try cases of written defamations, thus:
The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in this chapter, shall be
filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance [now, the Regional Trial Court] of the province or
city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at
the time of the commission of the offense xxx.33 [Underscoring and italics ours.]1avvphi1.zw+
More than three decades ago, the Court, in Jalandoni v. Endaya, 34 acknowledged the unmistakable import of the said
provision:
There is no need to make mention again that it is a court of first instance [now, the Regional Trial Court] that is
specifically designated to try a libel case. Its language is categorical; its meaning is free from doubt. This is one of
those statutory provisions that leave no room for interpretation. All that is required is application. What the law
ordains must then be followed.35
This exclusive and original jurisdiction of the RTC over written defamations is echoed in Bocobo v.
Estanislao,36where the Court further declared that jurisdiction remains with the trial court even if the libelous act is
committed "by similar means,"37 and despite the fact that the phrase "by similar means" is not repeated in the latter
portion of Article 360.38 In these cases, and in those that followed, the Court had been unwavering in its
pronouncement that the expanded jurisdiction of the municipal trial courts cannot be exercised over libel cases.
Thus, in Manzano v. Hon. Valera,39 we explained at length that:
The applicable law is still Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, which categorically provides that jurisdiction over
libel cases [is] lodged with the Courts of First Instance (now Regional Trial Courts).
This Court already had the opportunity to rule on the matter in G.R. No. 123263, People vs. MTC of Quezon City,
Branch 32 and Isah v. Red wherein a similar question of jurisdiction over libel was raised. In that case, the MTC
judge opined that it was the first level courts which had jurisdiction due to the enactment of RA 7691. Upon
elevation of the matter to us, respondent judges orders were nullified for lack of jurisdiction, as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the petition is granted: the respondent Courts Orders dated August 14, 1995, September 7, 1995,
and October 18, 1995 are declared null and void for having been issued without jurisdiction; and said Court is

enjoined from further taking cognizance of and proceeding with Criminal Case No. 43-00548, which it is
commanded to remand to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for proper disposition."
Another case involving the same question was cited as resolving the matter:
"Anent the question of jurisdiction, we ** find no reversible error committed by public respondent Court of Appeals
in denying petitioners motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The contention ** that R.A. 7691 divested the
Regional Trial Courts of jurisdiction to try libel cases cannot be sustained. While libel is punishable by
imprisonment of six months and one day to four years and two months (Art. 360, Revised Penal Code) which
imposable penalty is lodged within the Municipal Trial Courts jurisdiction under R.A. No. 7691 (Sec. 32 [2]), said
law however, excludes therefrom ** cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Courts **. The Court in Bocobo vs. Estanislao, 72 SCRA 520 and Jalandoni vs. Endaya, 55 SCRA 261, correctly
cited by the Court of Appeals, has laid down the rule that Regional Trial courts have the exclusive jurisdiction over
libel cases, hence, the expanded jurisdiction conferred by R.A. 7691 to inferior courts cannot be applied to libel
cases."
Conformably with [these] rulings, we now hold that public respondent committed an error in ordering that the
criminal case for libel be tried by the MTC of Bangued.
For, although RA 7691 was enacted to decongest the clogged dockets of the Regional Trail Courts by expanding the
jurisdiction of first level courts, said law is of a general character. Even if it is a later enactment, it does not alter the
provision of Article 360 of the RPC, a law of a special nature. "Laws vesting jurisdiction exclusively with a
particular court, are special in character, and should prevail over the Judiciary Act defining the jurisdiction of other
courts (such as the Court of First Instance) which is a general law." A later enactment like RA 7691 does not
automatically override an existing law, because it is a well-settled principle of construction that, in case of conflict
between a general law and a special law, the latter must prevail regardless of the dates of their enactment.
Jurisdiction conferred by a special law on the RTC must therefore prevail over that granted by a general law on the
MTC.
Moreover, from the provisions of R.A. 7691, there seems to be no manifest intent to repeal or alter the jurisdiction in
libel cases. If there was such intent, then the amending law should have clearly so indicated because implied repeals
are not favored. As much as possible, effect must be given to all enactments of the legislature. A special law cannot
be repealed, amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere implication. Furthermore, for an implied
repeal, a pre-condition must be found, that is, a substantial conflict should exist between the new and prior laws.
Absent an express repeal, a subsequent law cannot be construed as repealing a prior one unless an irreconcilable
inconsistency or repugnancy exists in the terms of the new and old laws. The two laws, in brief, must be absolutely
incompatible. In the law which broadened the jurisdiction of the first level courts, there is no absolute prohibition
barring Regional Trial Courts from taking cognizance of certain cases over which they have been priorly granted
special and exclusive jurisdiction. Such grant of the RTC (previously CFI) was categorically contained in the first
sentence of the amended Sec. 32 of B.P. 129. The inconsistency referred to in Section 6 of RA 7691, therefore, does
not apply to cases of criminal libel.
Lastly, in Administrative Order No. 104-96 issued 21 October 1996, this Court delineated the proper jurisdiction
over libel cases, hence settled the matter with finality:
"RE: DESIGNATION OF SPECIAL COURTS FOR KIDNAPPING, ROBBERY, CARNAPPING, DANGEROUS
DRUGS CASES AND OTHER HEINOUS CRIMES; INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
ANDJURISDICTION IN LIBEL CASES.
xxxx

C
"LIBEL CASES SHALL BE TRIED BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVING JURISDICTION OVER
THEM TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN
CITIES,MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS." (Underscoring
supplied)40
As we have constantly held in Jalandoni, Bocobo, People v. Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Br.
32,41Manzano, and analogous cases, we must, in the same way, declare herein that the law, as it still stands at
present, dictates that criminal and civil actions for damages in cases of written defamations shall be filed
simultaneously or separately with the RTC to the exclusion of all other courts. A subsequent enactment of a law
defining the jurisdiction of other courts cannot simply override, in the absence of an express repeal or modification,
the specific provision in the RPC vesting in the RTC, as aforesaid, jurisdiction over defamations in writing or by
similar means.42 The grant to the Sandiganbayan43 of jurisdiction over offenses committed in relation to (public)
office, similar to the expansion of the jurisdiction of the MTCs, did not divest the RTC of its exclusive and original
jurisdiction to try written defamation cases regardless of whether the offense is committed in relation to office. The
broad and general phraseology of Section 4, Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Republic Act No.
8249,44 cannot be construed to have impliedly repealed, or even simply modified, such exclusive and original
jurisdiction of the RTC.45
Since jurisdiction over written defamations exclusively rests in the RTC without qualification, it is unnecessary and
futile for the parties to argue on whether the crime is committed in relation to office. Thus, the conclusion reached by
the trial court that the respondent committed the alleged libelous acts in relation to his office as former COMELEC
chair, and deprives it of jurisdiction to try the case, is, following the above disquisition, gross error. This Court,
therefore, orders the reinstatement of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-02-109406 and Q-02-109407 and their remand to the
respective Regional Trial Courts for further proceedings. Having said that, the Court finds unnecessary any further
discussion of the other issues raised in the petitions.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the consolidated petitions for review on certiorari are GRANTED. Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-02-109406 and Q-02-109407 are REINSTATED and REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO
Associate Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 128096 January 20, 1999

EDUARDO

B.

NACHURA

PANFILO M. LACSON, petitioner,


vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SANDIGANBAYAN, OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR,
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MYRNA ABALORA, NENITA ALAP-AP, IMELDA PANCHO
MONTERO, and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
ROMEO M. ACOP AND FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR., petitioner-intervenors.

MARTINEZ, J.:
The constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of Republic Act No. 8249 an act which further defines the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan is being challenged in this petition for prohibition and mandamus. Petitioner Panfilo Lacson,
joined by petitioners-intervenors Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr., also seeks to prevent the Sandiganbayan
from proceedings with the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 (for multiple murder) against them on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction.
The antecedents of this case, as gathered from the parties' pleadings and documentary proofs, are as follows:
In the early morning of May 18, 1995, eleven (11) persons believed to be members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang,
reportedly an organized crime syndicate which had been involved in a spate of bank robberies in Metro Manila,
where slain along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City by elements of the Anti-Bank Robbery and Intelligence
Task Group (ABRITG) headed by Chieff Superintendent Jewel Canson of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The
ABRITG was composed of police officers from the Traffic Management Command (TMC) led by petitionerintervenor Senior Superintendent Francisco Zubia, Jr.; Presidential Anti-Crime Commission Task Force Habagat
(PACC-TFH) headed by petitioner Chief Superintendent Panfilo M. Lacson; Central Police District Command
(CPDC) led by Chief Superintendent Ricardo de Leon; and the Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) headed by
petitioner-intervenor Chief Superintendent Romeo Acop.
Acting on a media expose of SPO2 Eduardo delos Reyes, a member of the CIC, that what actually transpired at
dawn of May 18, 1995 was a summary execution (or a rub out) and not a shoot-out between the Kuratong Baleleng
gang members and the ABRITG, Ombudsman Aniano Desierto formed a panel of investigators headed by the
Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs, Bienvenido Blancaflor, to investigate the incident. This panel later
absolved from any criminal liability all the PNP officers and personal allegedly involved in May 18, 1995 incident,
with a finding that the said incident was a legitimate police operation. 1
However, a review board led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Francisco Villa modified modified the Blancaflor
panel's finding and recommended the indictment for multiple murder against twenty-six (26) respondents, including
herein petitioner and intervenors. The recommendation was approved by the Ombudsman except for the withdrawal
of the charges against Chief Supt. Ricardo de Leon.
Thus, on November 2, 1995, petitioner Panfilo Lacson was among those charged as principal in eleven (11)
information for murder 2 before the Sandiganbayan's Second Division, while intervenors Romeo Acop and Francisco
Zubia, Jr. were among those charged in the same informations as accessories after-in-the-fact.
Upon motion by all the accused in the 11 information, 3 the Sandiganbayan allowed them to file a motion for
reconsideration of the Ombudsman's action. 4

After conducting a reinvestigation, the Ombudsman filed on March 1, 1996 eleven (11) amended
informations 5before the Sandiganbayan, wherein petitioner was charged only as an accessory, together with Romeo
Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr. and other. One of the accused 6 was dropped from the case.
On March 5-6, 1996, all the accused filed separate motions questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,
asserting that under the amended informations, the cases fall within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court
pursuant to Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of Republic Act No. 7975. 7 They contend that the said law limited the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to cases where one or more of the "principal accused" are government officials
with Salary Grade (SG) 27 or higher, or PNP officials with the rank of Chief Superintendent (Brigadier General) or
higher. The highest ranking principal accused in the amended informations has the rank of only a Chief Inspector,
and none has the equivalent of at least SG 27.
Thereafter, in a Resolution 8 dated May 8, 1996 (promulgated on May 9, 1996), penned by Justice Demetriou, with
Justices Lagman and de Leon concurring, and Justices Balajadia and Garchitorena dissenting, 9 the Sandiganbayan
admitted the amended information and ordered the cases transferred to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court which
has original and exclusive jurisdiction under R.A. 7975, as none of the principal accused has the rank of Chief
Superintendent or higher.
On May 17, 1996, the Office of the Special Prosecutor moved for a reconsideration, insisting that the cases should
remain with the Sandiganbayan. This was opposed by petitioner and some of the accused.
While these motions for reconsideration were pending resolution, and even before the issue of jurisdiction cropped
up with the filing of the amended informations on March 1, 1996, House Bill No. 2299 10 and No. 1094 11(sponsored
by Representatives Edcel C. Lagman and Lagman and Neptali M. Gonzales II, respectively), as well as Senate Bill
No. 844 12 (sponsored by Senator Neptali Gonzales), were introduced in Congress, defining expanding the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Specifically, the said bills sought, among others, to amend the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan by deleting the word "principal" from the phrase "principal accused" in Section 2 (paragraphs a and
c) of R.A. No. 7975.
These bills were consolidated and later approved into law as R.A. No. 8249 13 by the President of the Philippines on
February 5, 1997.
Subsequently, on March 5, 1997, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a Resolution 14 denying the motion for
reconsideration of the Special Prosecutor, ruling that it "stands pat in its resolution dated May 8, 1996."
On the same day 15 the Sandiganbayan issued and ADDENDUM to its March 5, 1997 Resolution, the pertinent
portion of which reads:
After Justice Lagman wrote the Resolution and Justice Demetriou concurred in it, but before Justice de Leon. Jr.
rendered his concurring and dissenting opinion, the legislature enacted Republic Act 8249 and the President of the
Philippines approved it on February 5, 1997. Considering the pertinent provisions of the new law, Justices Lagman
and Demetriou are now in favor of granting, as they are now granting, the Special Prosecutor's motion for
reconsideration. Justice de Leon has already done so in his concurring and dissenting opinion.
xxx xxx xxx
Considering that three of the accused in each of these cases are PNP Chief Superintendents: namely, Jewel T.
Canson, Romeo M. Acop and Panfilo M. Lacson, and that trial has not yet begun in all these cases in fact, no
order of arrest has been issued this court has competence to take cognizance of these cases.

To recapitulate, the net result of all the foregoing is that by the vote of 3 of 2, the court admitted the Amended
Informations in these cases by the unanimous vote of 4 with 1 neither concurring not dissenting, retained jurisdiction
to try and decide the cases 16 (Empahasis supplied)
Petitioner now questions the constitutionality of Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, including Section 7 thereof which
provides that the said law "shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has not begun as to the
approval hereof." Petitioner argues that:
a) The questioned provisions of the statute were introduced by the authors thereof in bad faith as it was made to
precisely suit the situation in which petitioner's cases were in at the Sandiganbayan by restoring jurisdiction thereof
to it, thereby violating his right to procedural due process and the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Further, from the way the Sandiganbayan has foot-dragged for nine (9) months the resolution of a pending incident
involving the transfer of the cases to the Regional Trial Court, the passage of the law may have been timed to
overtake such resolution to render the issue therein moot, and frustrate the exercise of petitioner's vested rights under
the old Sandiganbayan law (RA 7975)
b) Retroactive application of the law is plan from the fact that it was again made to suit the peculiar circumstances in
which petitioner's cases were under, namely, that the trial had not yet commenced, as provided in Section 7, to make
certain that those cases will no longer be remanded to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, as the Sandiganbayan
alone should try them, thus making it an ex post facto legislation and a denial of the right of petitioner as an accused
in Criminal Case Nos. 23047-23057 to procedural due process.
c) The title of the law is misleading in that it contains the aforesaid "innocuous" provisions in Sections 4 and 7 which
actually expands rather than defines the old Sandiganbayan law (RA 7975), thereby violating the one-title onesubject requirement for the passage of statutes under Section 26 (1), Article VI of the Constitution. 17
For their part, the intervenors, in their petition-in-intervention, add that "while Republic Act No. 8249 innocuously
appears to have merely expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the introduction of Section 4 and 7 in said
statute impressed upon it the character of a class legislation and an ex-post facto statute intended to apply
specifically to the accused in the Kuratong Baleleng case pending before the Sandiganbayan. 18 They further argued
that if their case is tried before the Sandiganbayan their right to procedural due process would be violated as they
could no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal to the Sandiganbayan, which they acquired under R.A. 7975, before
recourse to the Supreme Court.
Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General filed separate pleadings in support of the
constitutionality of the challenged provisions of the law in question and praying that both the petition and the
petition-in-intervention be dismissed.
This Court then issued a Resolution 19 requiring the parties to file simultaneously within a nonextendible period of
ten (10) days from notice thereof additional memoranda on the question of whether the subject amended
informations filed a Criminal Case Nos. 23047-23057 sufficiently allege the commission by the accused therein of
the crime charged within the meaning Section 4 b of Republic Act No. 8249, so as to bring the said cases within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The parties, except for the Solicitor General who is representing the People of the Philippines, filed the required
supplemental memorandum within the nonextendible reglementary period.
The established rule is that every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and to justify its
nullification there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative

one. 20 The burden of proving the invalidity of the law lies with those who challenge it. That burden, we regret to say,
was not convincingly discharged in the present case.
The creation of the Sandiganbayn was mandated in Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, which provides:
Sec. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have
jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by
public officers and employees including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their
office as may be determined by law.
The said special court is retained in the new (1987) Constitution under the following provisions in Article XI,
Section 4:
Sec. 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its
jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law.
Pursuant to the constitutional mandate, Presidential Decree No. 1486 21 created the Sandiganbayan. Thereafter, the
following laws on the Sandiganbayan, in chronological order, were enacted: P.D. No. 1606, 22 Section 20 of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 123, 23 P.D. No. 1860, 24 P.D. No. 1861, 25 R.A. No. 7975, 26 and R.A. No. 8249. 27 Under the latest
amendments introduced by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the following cases:
Sec 4. Section 4 of the same decree [P.D. No. 1606, as amended] is hereby further amended to read as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive 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, Titile VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more
of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at 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 sangguniang 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;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) Officers of the Philippines National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding
the rank of senior superintendent or higher.
(f) City of 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 universities
or educational institutions or foundations;
(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as-Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution;
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and
employees mentioned in Subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and connection with Executive Orders Nos. 1,2, 14 and 14-A, issued in
1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade "27" or higher, as
prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original
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 jurisdictions as privided in Batas Pambansa
Blg. 129, as amended.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of
regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as
herein provided.
The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions of the issuance of the writs of
mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its
appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature, including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases
filed or which may be filed under Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the
jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.
The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has
promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals, shall
apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan
and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor,
shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 4A, issued in 1986.
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or
employee, 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 exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 8249 states:

Sec. 7. Transitory provision This act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has not begun
as of the approval hereof. (Emphasis supplied)
The Sandiganbayan law prior to R.A. 8249 was R.A. 7975. Section 2 of R.A. 7975 provides:
Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended) is hereby further amended to read
as follows:
Sec 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive 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, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more
of the pricipal accused are afficials 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 sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineer, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and
other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) 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 universities
or educational institutions or foundations;
(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution;
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989.

b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in Subsection a of this
section in relation to their office.
c. Civil and criminal cases files pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 4-A.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade "27" or higher,
as presribed in the said Republic Act 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.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appelas from the final judgment, resolutions or
orders of regular court where all the accused are occupying positions lower than grade "27," or not otherwise
covered by the preceding enumeration.
xxx xxx xxx
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 in the proper courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction over them.
xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 7975 reads:
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.
Under paragraphs a and c, Section 4 of R.A. 8249, the word "principal" before the word "accused" appearing in the
above-quoted Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of R.A. 7975, was deleted. It is due to this deletion of the word
"principal" that the parties herein are at loggerheads over the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner and
intervenors, relying on R.A. 7975, argue that the Regional Trial Court, not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over
the subject criminal cases since none of the principal accused under the amended information has the rank of
Superintendent 28 or higher. On the other hand, the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Special Prosecutor who is
tasked to represent the People before the Supreme Court except in certain cases, 29 contends that the Sandiganbayan
has jurisdiction pursuant to R.A. 8249.
A perusal of the aforequoted Section 4 of R.A. 8249 reveals that to fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites must concur: (1) the offense committed is a violation of (a) R.A. 3019,
as amended (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), (b) R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth), (c) Chapter II,
Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery), 30 (d) Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14,
and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration cases), 31 or (e) other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with
other crimes; (2) the offender comitting the offenses in items (a), (b), (c) and (e) is a public official or
employee 32 holding any of the positions enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4; and (3) the offense committed is in
relation to the office.
Considering that herein petitioner and intervenors are being charged with murder which is a felony punishable under
Title VIII of the Revised Penal Code, the governing on the jurisdictional offense is not paragraph a but paragraph b,
Section 4 of R.A. 8249. This paragraph b pertains to "other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with
other crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of (Section 4, R.A. 8249) in

relation to their office. "The phrase" other offenses or felonies" is too broad as to include the crime of murder,
provided it was committed in relation to the accused's officials functions. Thus, under said paragraph b, what
determines the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is the official position or rank of the offender that is, whether he is
one of those public officers or employees enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4. The offenses mentioned in
pargraphs a, b and c of the same Section 4 do not make any reference to the criminal participation of the accused
public officer as to whether he is charged as a principal, accomplice or accessory. In enacting R.A. 8249, the
Congress simply restored the original provisions of P.D. 1606 which does not mention the criminal participation of
the public officer as a requisite to determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner and entervenors' posture that Section 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate their right to equal protection of the
law 33 because its enactment was particularly directed only to the Kuratong Baleleng cases in the Sandiganbayan, is a
contention too shallow to deserve merit. No concrete evidence and convincing argument were presented to warrant a
declaration of an act of the entire Congress and signed into law by the highest officer of the co-equal executive
department as unconstitutional. Every classification made by law is presumed reasonable. Thus, the party who
challenges the law must present proof of arbitrariness. 34
It is an established precept in constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not violated
by a legislation based on reasonable classification. The classification is reasonable and not arbitrary when there is
concurrence of four elements, namely:
(1) it must rest on substantial distinction;
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law;
(3) must not be limited to existing conditions only, and
(4) must apply equaly to all members of the same class, 35
all of which are present in this case.
The challengers of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 failed to rebut the presumption of constitutionality and reasonables
of the questioned provisions. The classification between those pending cases involving the concerned public officials
whose trial has not yet commence and whose cases could have been affected by the amendments of the
Sandiganbayan jurisdiction under R.A. 8249, as against those cases where trial had already started as of the approval
of the law, rests on substantial distinction that makes real differences. 36 In the first instance, evidence against them
were not yet presented, whereas in the latter the parties had already submitted their respective proofs, examined
witnesses and presented documents. Since it is within the power of Congress to define the jurisdiction of courts
subject to the constitutional limitations, 37 it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of that jurisdiction would
necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to privide for a remedy in the form of a transitory provision.
Thus, petitioner and intervenors cannot now claim that Sections 4 and 7 placed them under a different category from
those similarly situated as them. Precisely, paragraph a of Section 4 provides that it shall apply to "all case
involving" certain public officials and, under the transitory provision in Section 7, to "all cases pending in any
court." Contrary to petitioner and intervenors' argument, the law is not particularly directed only to the Kuratong
Baleleng cases. The transitory provision does not only cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in "any
court." It just happened that Kuratong Baleleng cases are one of those affected by the law. Moreover, those cases
where trial had already begun are not affected by the transitory provision under Section 7 of the new law (R.A.
8249).
In their futile attempt to have said sections nullified, heavy reliance is premised on what is perceived as bad faith on
the part of a Senator and two Justices of the Sandiganbaya 38 for their participation in the passage of the said

provisions. In particular, it is stressed that the Senator had expressed strong sentiments against those officials
involved in the Kuratong Baleleng cases during the hearings conducted on the matter by the committee headed by
the Senator. Petitioner further contends that the legislature is biased against him as he claims to have been selected
from among the 67 million other Filipinos as the object of the deletion of the word "principal" in paragraph a,
Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended, and of the transitory provision of R.A. 8249. 39 R.A 8249, while still a bill, was
acted, deliberated, considered by 23 other Senators and by about 250 Representatives, and was separately approved
by the Senate and House of Representatives and, finally, by the President of the Philippines.
On the perceived bias that the Sandiganbayan Justices allegedly had against petitioner during the committe hearings,
the same would not constitute sufficient justification to nullify an otherwise valid law. Their presence and
participation in the legislative hearings was deemed necessary by Congress since the matter before the committee
involves the graft court of which one is the head of the Sandiganbayan and the other a member thereof. The
Congress, in its plenary legislative powers, is particularly empowered by the Constitution to invite persons to appear
before it whenever it decides to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. 40
Petitioner and entervenors further further argued that the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 to the Kuratong
Baleleng cases constitutes an ex post facto law 41 for they are deprived of their right to procedural due process as they
can no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal which they had allegedly acquired under R.A. 7975.
Again, this contention is erroneous. There is nothing ex post facto in R.A. 8249. In Calder v. Bull, 42 an ex post
facto law is one
(a) which makes an act done criminal before the passing of the law and which was innocent when committed, and
punishes such action; or
(b) which aggravates a crime or makes it greater than when it was committed; or
(c) which changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when it was
committed.
(d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and recieves less or different testimony that the law required at the time
of the commission of the offense on order to convict the defendant. 43
(e) Every law which, in relation to the offense or its consequences, alters the situation of a person to his
disadvantage. 44
This Court added two more to the list, namely:
(f) that which assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only but in effect imposes a penalty or deprivation of a
right which when done was lawful;
(g) deprives a person accussed of crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as the
protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of a amnesty. 45
Ex post facto law, generally, prohibits retrospectivity of penal laws. 46 R.A. 8249 is not penal law. It is a substantive
law on jurisdiction which is not penal in character. Penal laws are those acts of the Legislature which prohibit certain
acts and establish penalties for their violations; 47 or those that define crimes, treat of their nature, and provide dor
their punishment. 48 R.A 7975, which amended P.D. 1606 as regards the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction, its mode of
appeal and other procedural matters, has been declared by the Court as not a penal law, but clearly a procedural
statute, i.e. one which prescribes rules of procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly

administer justice. 49 Not being a penal law, the retroactive application of R.A. 8249 cannot be challenged as
unconstitutional.
Petitioner's and entervenors' contention that their right to a two-tiered appeal which they acquired under R.A. 7975
has been diluted by the enactment of R.A. 8249, is incorrect. The same contention has already been rejected by the
court several times 50 considering that the right to appeal is not a natural right but statutory in nature that can be
regulated by law. The mode of procedure provided for in the statutory right of appeal is not included in the
prohibition against ex post facto laws. 51 R.A. 8249 pertains only to matters of procedure, and being merely an
amendatory statute it does not partake the nature of an ex post facto law. It does not mete out a penalty and,
therefore, does not come within the prohibition. 52 Moreover, the law did not alter the rules of evidence or the mode
of trial. 53 It has been ruled that adjective statutes may be made applicable to actions pending and unresolved at the
time of their passage. 54
In any case; R.A. 8249 has preserved the accused's right to appeal to the Supreme Court to review questions of
law. 55 On the removal of the intermediate review of facts, the Supreme Court still has the power of review to
determine if he presumption of innocence has been convincing overcome. 56
Another point. The challenged law does not violate the one-title-one-subject provision of the Constitution. Much
emphasis is placed on the wording in the title of the law that it "defines" the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction when what
it allegedly does is to "expand" its jurisdiction. The expantion in the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, if it can be
considered as such, does not have to be expressly stated in the title of the law because such is the necessary
consequence of the amendments. The requirement that every bill must only have one subject expressed in the
title 57 is satisfied if the title is comprehensive enough, as in this case, to include subjects related to the general
purpose which the statute seeks to achieve. 58 Such rule is liberally interpreted and should be given a practical rather
than a technical construction. There is here sufficient compliance with such requirement, since the title of R.A. 8249
expresses the general subject (involving the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the amendment of P.D. 1606, as
amended) and all the provisions of the law are germane to that general subject. 59 The Congress, in employing the
word "define" in the title of the law, acted within its power since Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution itself
empowers the legislative body to "define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. 60
There being no unconstitutional infirmity in both the subject amendatory provision of Section 4 and the retroactive
procedural application of the law as provided in Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, we shall now determine whether under
the allegations in the Informations, it is the Sandiganbayan or Regional Trial Court which has jurisdictions over the
multiple murder case against herein petitioner and entervenors.
The jurisdiction of a court is defined by the Constitution or statute. The elements of that definition must appear in
the complaint or information so as to ascertain which court has jurisdiction over a case. Hence the elementary rule
that the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the allegations in the complaint or informations, 61 and not by the
evidence presented by the parties at the trial. 62
As stated earlier, the multiple murder charge against petitioner and intervenors falls under Section 4 [paragraph b] of
R.A. 8249. Section 4 requires that the offense charged must be committed by the offender in relation to his office in
order for the Sandiganbayan to have jurisdiction over it. 63 This jurisdictional requirement is in accordance with
Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution which mandated that the Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction over
criminal cases committed by the public officers and employees, including those in goverment-owned or controlled
corporations, "in relation to their office as may be determined by law." This constitutional mandate was reiterated in
the new (1987) Constitution when it declared in Section 4 thereof that the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function
and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law.

The remaining question to be resolved then is whether the offense of multiple murder was committed in relation to
the office of the accussed PNP officers.
In People vs. Montejo, 64 we held that an offense is said to have been committed in relation to the office if it (the
offense) is "intimately connected" with the office of the offender and perpetrated while he was in the performance of
his official functions. 65 This intimate relation between the offense charged and the discharge of official duties "must
be alleged in the informations." 66
As to how the offense charged be stated in the informations, Section 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court
mandates:
Sec. 9 Couse of accusation The acts or omissions complied of as constituting the offense must be stated in
ordinary and concise language without repetition not necessarily in the terms of the statute defining the offense, but
in such from as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be
charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. (Emphasis supplied)
As early as 1954 we pronounced that "the factor that characterizes the charge is the actual recital of the facts." 67The
real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the informations nor from the
specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the actual
recital of facts in the complaint or information. 68
The noble object or written accusations cannot be overemphasized. This was explained in U.S. v. Karelsen: 69
The object of this written accusations was First; To furnish the accused with such a descretion of the charge
against him as will enable him to make his defense and second to avail himself of his conviction or acquittal for
protection against a further prosecution for the same cause and third, to inform the court of the facts alleged so that it
may decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a conviction if one should be had. In order that the
requirement may be satisfied, facts must be stated, not conclusions of law. Every crime is made up of certain acts
and intent these must be set forth in the complaint with reasonable particularly of time, place, names (plaintiff and
defendant) and circumstances. In short, the complaint must contain a specific allegation of every
fact andcircumstance necessary to constitute the crime charged. (Emphasis supplied)
It is essential, therefore, that the accused be informed of the facts that are imputed to him as "he is presumed to have
no indefendent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense." 70
Applying these legal principles and doctrines to the present case, we find the amended informations for murder
against herein petitioner and intervenors wanting of specific factual averments to show the intimate
relation/connection between the offense charged and the discharge of official function of the offenders.
In the present case, one of the eleven (11) amended informations 71 for murder reads:
AMENDED INFORMATIONS
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III. Office of the Ombudsman hereby accuses CHIEF INSP.
MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP. ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL,
INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4 VICENTE P. ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2
VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1 WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO
O. AGBALOG, SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO, CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMEO M.
ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO M. LACSON, SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A.
HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR O. MANCAO III, CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN

DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP. ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3
CICERO S. BACOLOD, SPO2 NORBERTO LASAGA, PO2 LEONARDO GLORIA, and PO2 ALEJANDRO G.
LIWANAG of the crime of Murder as defined and penalize under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code committed
as follows
That on or about May 18, 1995 in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
his Honorable Court, the accused CHIEF INSP. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP. ERWIN T.
VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL, INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4 VICENTE
ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2 VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ,
SPO1 WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, and SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO, all
taking advantage of their public and official positions as officers and members of the Philippine National Police and
committing the acts herein alleged in relation to their public office, conspiring with intent to kill and using firearms
with treachery evident premeditation and taking advantage of their superior strenghts did then and there willfully
unlawfully and feloniously shoot JOEL AMORA, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds which caused his
instantaneous death to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said victim.
That accused CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMOE M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO M.
LACSON, SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIAM JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR
O. MANCAO II, CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP.
ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S. BACOLOD,
PO2 ALEJANDRO G. LIWANAG committing the acts in relation to office as officers and members of the
Philippine National Police are charged herein as accessories after-the-fact for concealing the crime herein above
alleged by among others falsely representing that there where no arrest made during the read conducted by the
accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila on or about the early dawn of May 18, 1995.
CONTRARY LAW.
While the above-quoted information states that the above-named principal accused committed the crime of murder
"in relation to thier public office, there is, however, no specific allegation of facts that the shooting of the victim by
the said principal accused was intimately related to the discharge of their official duties as police officers. Likewise,
the amended information does not indicate that the said accused arrested and investigated the victim and then killed
the latter while in their custody.
Even the allegations concerning the criminal participation of herein petitioner and intevenors as among the
accessories after-the-facts, the amended information is vague on this. It is alleged therein that the said accessories
concelead "the crime herein-above alleged by, among others, falsely representing that there were no arrests made
during the raid conducted by the accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque Metro Manila, on or about the
early dawn of May 18, 1995." The sudden mention of the "arrests made during the raid conducted by the accused"
surprises the reader. There is no indication in the amended information that the victim was one of those arrested by
the accused during the "raid." Worse, the raid and arrests were allegedly conducted "at Superville Subdivision,
Paranaque, Metro Manila" but, as alleged in the immediately preceding paragraph of the amended information, the
shooting of the victim by the principal accused occurred in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City." How the raid,
arrests and shooting happened in the two places far away from each other is puzzling. Again, while there is the
allegation in the amended information that the said accessories committed the offense "in relation to office as
officers and members of the (PNP)," we, however, do not see the intimate connection between the offense charged
and the accused's official functions, which, as earlier discussed, is an essential element in determining the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
The stringent requirement that the charge be set forth with such particularly as will reasonably indicate the exact
offense which the accused is alleged to have committed in relation to his office was, sad to say, not satisfied. We

believe that the mere allegation in the amended information that the offense was committed by the accused public
officer in relation to his office is not sufficient. That phrase is merely a conclusion between of law, not a factual
avernment that would show the close intimacy between the offense charged and the discharge of the accused's
official duties.
In People vs. Magallanes, 72 where the jurisdiction between the Regional Trial Court and the Sandiganbayan was at
issue, we ruled:
It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information and not by
the result of evidence after trial.
In (People vs) Montejo (108 Phil 613 (1960), where the amended information alleged
Leroy S. Brown City Mayor of Basilan City, as such, has organized groups of police patrol and civilian commandoes
consisting of regular policeman and . . . special policemen appointed and provided by him with pistols and higher
power guns and then established a camp . . . at Tipo-tipo which is under his command . . . supervision and control
where his co-defendants were stationed entertained criminal complaints and conducted the corresponding
investigations as well as assumed the authority to arrest and detain person 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 co-defendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag who denied in consequence
thereof.
we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to the office of the accused because it was perpetreated
while they were in the performance, though improper or irregular of their official functions and would not have been
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.
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 extortin 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.
In the aforecited case of People vs. Montejo, it is noteworthy that the phrase committed in relation to public office
"does not appear in the information, which only signifies that the said phrase is not what determines the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan. What is controlling is the specific factual allegations in the information that would indicate
the close intimacy between the discharge of the accused's official duties and the commission of the offense charged,
in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office.
Consequently, for failure to show in the amended informations that the charge of murder was intimately connected
with the discharge of official functions of the accused PNP officers, the offense charged in the subject criminal cases
is plain murder and, therefore, within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, 73 not the
Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 is hereby sustained. The Addendum to the
March 5, 1997 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is REVERSED. The Sandiganbayan is hereby directed to transfer
Criminal Cases Nos. 23047 to 23057 (for multiple murder) to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which has
exclusive original jurisdiction over the said cases.1wphi1.nt

SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., CJ., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima,
Pardo, Buena and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. Nos. 111771-77 November 9, 1993


ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ, petitioner,
vs.
The Honorable HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU (in her capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court,
NCR, Branch 70, Pasig), The Honorable FRANKLIN DRILON (in his capacity as Secretary of Justice),
JOVENCITO R. ZUO, LEONARDO C. GUIYAB, CARLOS L. DE LEON, RAMONCITO C. MISON,
REYNALDO J. LUGTU, and RODRIGO P. LORENZO, the last six respondents in their official capacities as
members of the State Prosecutor's Office), respondents.
Mario E. Ongkiko and Marciano P. Brion, Jr. for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor Antonio L. Sanchez of Calauan,
Laguna, who stands accused of an unspeakable crime. On him, the verdict has already been rendered by many
outraged persons who would immediately impose on him an angry sentence. Yet, for all the prejudgments against
him, he is under our Constitution presumed innocent as long as the contrary has not been proved. Like any other
person accused of an offense, he is entitled to the full and vigilant protection of the Bill of Rights.
Sanchez has brought this petition to challenge the order of the respondent judge denying his motion to quash the
informations for rape with homicide filed against him and six other persons. We shall treat it as we would any other
suit filed by any litigant hoping to obtain a just and impartial judgment from this Court.
The pertinent facts are as follows:
On July 28, 1993, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission requested the filing of appropriate charges against
several persons, including the petitioner, in connection with the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of
Allan Gomez.

Acting on this request, the Panel of State Prosecutors of the Department of Justice conducted a preliminary
investigation on August 9, 1993. Petitioner Sanchez was not present but was represented by his counsel, Atty.
Marciano Brion, Jr.
On August 12, 1993, PNP Commander Rex Piad issued an "invitation" to the petitioner requesting him to appear for
investigation at Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna. It was served on Sanchez in the morning of August
13,1993, and he was immediately taken to the said camp.
At a confrontation that same day, Sanchez was positively identified by Aurelio Centeno, and SPO III Vivencio
Malabanan, who both executed confessions implicating him as a principal in the rape-slay of Sarmenta and the
killing of Gomez. The petitioner was then placed on "arrest status" and taken to the Department of Justice in Manila.
The respondent prosecutors immediately conducted an inquest upon his arrival, with Atty. Salvador Panelo as his
counsel.
After the hearing, a warrant of arrest was served on Sanchez. This warrant was issued on August 13, 1993, by Judge
Enrico A. Lanzanas of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, in connection with Criminal Cases Nos. 93124634 to 93-124637 for violation of Section 8, in relation to Section 1, of R.A. No. 6713. Sanchez was forthwith
taken to the CIS Detention Center, Camp Crame, where he remains confined.
On August 16, 1993, the respondent prosecutors filed with the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, seven
informations charging Antonio L. Sanchez, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Pepito Kawit, Baldwin Brion, Jr.,
George Medialdea and Zoilo Ama with the rape and killing of Mary Eileen Sarmenta.
On August 26, 1993, Judge Eustaquio P. Sto. Domingo of that court issued a warrant for the arrest of all the accused,
including the petitioner, in connection with the said crime.
The respondent Secretary of Justice subsequently expressed his apprehension that the trial of the said cases might
result in a miscarriage of justice because of the tense and partisan atmosphere in Laguna in favor of the petitioner
and the relationship of an employee, in the trial court with one of the accused. This Court thereupon ordered the
transfer of the venue of the seven cases to Pasig, Metro Manila, where they were raffled to respondent Judge Harriet
Demetriou.
On September 10, 1993, the seven informations were amended to include the killing of Allan Gomez as an
aggravating circumstance.
On that same date, the petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations substantially on the grounds now raised in
this petition. On September 13, 1993, after oral arguments, the respondent judge denied the motion. Sanchez then
filed with this Court the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining
order/writ of injunction.
The petitioner argues that the seven informations filed against him should be quashed because: 1) he was denied the
right to present evidence at the preliminary investigation; 2) only the Ombudsman had the competence to conduct
the investigation; 3) his warrantless arrest is illegal and the court has therefore not acquired jurisdiction over him, 4)
he is being charged with seven homicides arising from the death of only two persons; 5) the informations are
discriminatory because they do not include Teofilo Alqueza and Edgardo Lavadia; and 6) as a public officer, he can
be tried for the offense only by the Sandiganbayan.
The respondents submitted a Comment on the petition, to which we required a Reply from the petitioner within a
non-extendible period of five days. 1 The Reply was filed five days late. 2 The Court may consider his non-

compliance an implied admission of the respondents' arguments or a loss of interest in prosecuting his petition,
which is a ground for its dismissal. Nevertheless, we shall disregard this procedural lapse and proceed to discuss his
petition on the basis of the arguments before us.
The Preliminary Investigation.
The records of the hearings held on August 9 and 13, 1993, belie the petitioner's contention that he was not accorded
the right to present counter-affidavits.
During the preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993, the petitioner's counsel, Atty. Marciano Brion, manifested
that his client was waiving the presentation of a counter-affidavit, thus:
Atty. Brion, Jr.:
[W]e manifest that after reviewing them there is nothing to rebut or countermand all these statements as far as
Mayor Sanchez is concerned, We are not going to submit any counter-affidavit.
ACSP Zuo to Atty. Brion:
xxx xxx xxx
Q. So far, there are no other statements.
A. If there is none then, we will not submit any counter-affidavit because we believe there is nothing to rebut or
countermand with all these statements.
Q. So, you are waiving your submission of counter-affidavit?
A. Yes, your honor, unless there are other witnesses who will come up soon. 3
Nonetheless, the head of the Panel of Prosecutors, respondent Jovencito Zuo, told Atty. Brion that he could still file
a counter-affidavit up to August 27, 1993. No such counter-affidavit was filed.
During the hearing on August 1'3, 1993, respondent Zuo furnished the petitioner's counsel, this time Atty. Salvador
Panelo, with copies of the sworn statements of Centeno and Malabanan, and told him he could submit counteraffidavits on or before August 27, 1993. The following exchange ensued:
ACSP Zuo:
For the record, we are furnishing to you the sworn statement of witness Aurelio Centeno y Roxas and the sworn
statement of SPO3 Vivencio Malabanan y Angeles.
Do I understand from you that you are again waiving the submission of counter-affidavit?
Atty. Panelo:
Yes.
ACSP Zuo:

So, insofar as the respondent, Mayor Antonio Sanchez is concerned, this case is submitted for resolution. 4
On the other hand, there is no support for the petitioner's subsequent manifestation that his counsel, Atty. Brion, was
not notified of the inquest held on August 13, 1993, and that he was not furnished with the affidavits sworn to on that
date by Vivencio Malabanan and Aurelio Centeno, or with their supplemental affidavits dated August 15, 1993.
Moreover, the above-quoted excerpt shows that the petitioner's counsel at the hearing held on August 13, 1993, was
not Atty. Brion but Atty. Panelo.
The petitioner was present at that hearing and he never disowned Atty. Panelo as his counsel. During the entire
proceedings, he remained quiet and let this counsel speak and argue on his behalf. It was only in his tardy Reply that
he has suddenly bestirred himself and would now question his representation by this lawyer as unauthorized and
inofficious.
Section 3, Paragraph (d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, provides that if the respondent cannot be subpoenaed or, if
subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits, the investigating officer shall base his resolution on the evidence
presented by the complainant.
Just as the accused may renounce the right to be present at the preliminary investigation 5, so may he waive the right
to present counter-affidavits or any other evidence in his defense.
At any rate, it is settled that the absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of the information
or otherwise render the same defective and neither does it affect the jurisdiction of the court over the case or
constitute a ground for quashing the information. 6
If no preliminary investigation has been held, or if it is flawed, the trial court may, on motion of the accused, order
an investigation or reinvestigation and hold the proceedings in the criminal case in abeyance. 7 In the case at bar,
however, the respondent judge saw no reason or need for such a step. Finding no arbitrariness in her factual
conclusions, we shall defer to her judgment.
Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman
Invoking the case of Deloso v. Domingo, 8 the petitioner submits that the proceedings conducted by the Department
of Justice are null and void because it had no jurisdiction over the case. His claim is that it is the Office of the
Ombudsman that is vested with the power to conduct the investigation of all cases involving public officers like him,
as the municipal mayor of Calauan, Laguna.
The Ombudsman is indeed empowered under Section 15, paragraph (1) of R.A. 6770 to investigate and prosecute,
any illegal act or omission of any public official. However, as we held only two years ago in the case of Aguinaldo v.
Domagas, 9 this authority "is not an exclusive authority but rather a shared or concurrent authority in. respect of the
offense charged."
Petitioners finally assert that the information and amended information filed in this case needed the approval of the
Ombudsman. It is not disputed that the information and amended information here did not have the approval of the
Ombudsman. However, we do not believe that such approval was necessary at all. In Deloso v. Domingo, 191
SCRA. 545 (1990), the Court held that the Ombudsman has authority to investigate charges of illegal or omissions
on the part of any public official, i.e., any crime imputed to a public official. It must, however, be pointed out that
the authority of the Ombudsman to investigate "any [illegal] act or omission of any public official" (191 SCRA at
550) isnot an exclusive authority but rather a shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense here charged,
i.e., the crime of sedition. Thus, the non-involvement of the office of the Ombudsman in the present case does not

have any adverse legal consequence upon the authority the panel of prosecutors to file and prosecute the information
or amended information.
In fact, other investigatory agencies, of the government such as the Department of Justice, in connection with the
charge of sedition, 10 and the Presidential Commission on Good Government, in ill-gotten wealth cases, 11 may
conduct the investigation,
The Arrest
Was petitioner Sanchez arrested on August 13, 1993?
"Arrest" is defined under Section 1, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court as the taking of a person into custody in order
that he may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. Under Section 2 of the same Rule, an arrest is
effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by his voluntary submission to the custody of the person
making the arrest.
Application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical restraint or a formal declaration of arrest is not,
required. It is enough that there be an intent on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other and an intent onthe
part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is necessary. 12
The petitioner was taken to Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang, Laguna, by virtue of a letter-invitation issued by PNP
Commander Rex Piad requesting him to appear at the said camp for investigation.
In Babst v. National Intelligence Board 13 this Court declared:
Be that as it may, it is not idle to note that ordinarily, an invitation to attend a hearing and answer some questions,
which the person invited may heed or refuse at his pleasure, is not illegal or constitutionally objectionable. Under
certain circumstances, however, such an invitation can easily assume a different appearance. Thus, where the
invitation comes from a powerful group composed predominantly of ranking military officers issued at a time when
the country has just emerged from martial rule and when the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus has not entirely been lifted, and the designated interrogation site is a military camp, the same can be easily
taken,not as a strictly voluntary invitation which it purports to be, but as an authoritative command which one can
only defy at his peril. . . . (Emphasis supplied)
In the case at bar, the invitation came from a high-ranking military official and the investigation of Sanchez was to
be made at a military camp. Although in the guise of a request, it was obviously a command or an order of arrest that
the petitioner could hardly he expected to defy. In fact, apparently cowed by the "invitation," he went without protest
(and in informal clothes and slippers only) with the officers who had come to fetch him.
It may not be amiss to observe that under R.A. No. 7438, the requisites of a "custodial investigation" are applicable
even to a person not formally arrested but merely "invited" for questioning.
It should likewise be noted that at Camp Vicente Lim, the petitioner was placed on "arrest status" after he was
pointed to by Centeno and Malabanan as the person who first raped Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Respondent Zuo
himself acknowledged during the August 13, 1993 hearing that, on the basis of the sworn statements of the two state
witnesses, petitioner had been "arrested."
We agree with the petitioner that his arrest did not come under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, providing
as follows:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escapes from a penal establishment or place where he is
serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred
from one confinement to another.
It is not denied that the arresting officers were not present when the petitioner allegedly participated in the killing of
Allan Gomez and the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Neither did they have any personal knowledge that the
petitioner was responsible therefor because the basis of the arrest was the sworn statements of Centeno and
Malabanan. Moreover, as the rape and killing of Sarmenta allegedly took place on June 28-June 29, 1993, or fortysix days before the date of the arrest, it cannot be said that the offense had "in fact just been committed" when the
petitioner was arrested.
The original warrantless arrest of the petitioner was doubtless illegal. Nevertheless, the Regional Trial Court
lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner by virtue of the warrant of arrest it issued on August
26, 1993 against him and the other accused in connection with the rape-slay cases. It was belated, to be sure, but it
was nonetheless legal.
Even on the assumption that no warrant was issued at all, we find that the trial court still lawfully acquired
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. The rule is that if the accused objects to the jurisdiction of the court
over his person, he may move to quash the information, but only on that ground. If, as in this case, the accused raises
other grounds in the motion to quash, he is deemed to have waived that objection and to have submitted his person
to the jurisdiction of that court. 14
The Court notes that on August 13, 1993, after the petitioner was unlawfully arrested, Judge Lanzanas issued a
warrant of arrest against Antonio L. Sanchez in connection with Criminal Cases Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for
violation of R.A No. 6713. 15 Pending the issuance of the warrant of arrest for the rape-slay cases, this first warrant
served as the initial justification for his detention.
The Court also adverts to its uniform ruling that the filing of charges, and the issuance of the corresponding warrant
of arrest, against a person invalidly detained will cure the defect of that detention or at least deny him the right to be
released because of such defect. * Applicable by analogy to the case at bar is Rule 102 Section 4 of the Rules of
Court that:
Sec, 4. When writ is not allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of
his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order
of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make
the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall, anything in this rule
be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines or of a
person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.

In one case, 16 the petitioner, sued on habeas corpus on the ground that she had been arrested by virtue of a John Doe
warrant. In their return, the respondents declared that a new warrant specifically naming her had been issued, thus
validating her detention. While frowning at the tactics of the respondents, the Court said:
The, case has, indeed, become moot and academic inasmuch as the new warrant of arrest complies with the
requirements of the Constitution and the Rules of Court regarding the particular description of the person to be
arrested. While the first warrant was unquestionably void, being a general warrant, release of the petitioner for that
reason will be a futile act as it will be followed by her immediate re-arrest pursuant to the new and valid warrant,
returning her to the same prison she will just have left. This Court will not participate in such a meaningless charade.
The same doctrine has been consistently followed by the Court, 17 more recently in the Umil case. 18
The Informations
The petitioner submits that the seven informations charging seven separate homicides are absurd because the two
victims in these cases could not have died seven times.
This argument was correctly refuted by the Solicitor General in this wise:
Thus, where there are two or more offenders who commit rape, the homicide committed on the occasion or by
reason of each rape, must be deemed as a constituent of the special complex crime of rape with homicide. Therefore,
there will be as many crimes of rape with homicide as there are rapes committed.
In effect, the presence of homicide qualifies the crime of rape, thereby raising its penalty to the highest degree. Thus,
homicide committed on the occasion or by reason of rape, loses its character as an independent offense, but assumes
a new character, and functions like a qualifying circumstance. However,by fiction of law, it merged with rape to
constitute an constituent element of a special complex crime of rape with homicide with a specific penalty which is
in the highest degree, i.e. death (reduced to reclusion perpetua with the suspension of the application of the death
penalty by the Constitution).
It is clearly provided in Rule 110 of the Rules of Court that:
Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. A complaint or information must charge but one offense, except only in those cases in
which existing laws prescribe a simple punishment for various offenses.
Rape with homicide comes within the exception under R.A. 2632 and R.A. 4111, amending the Revised Penal Code.
The petitioner and his six co-accused are not charged with only one rape committed by him in conspiracy with the
other six. Each one of the seven accused is charged with having himself raped Sarmenta instead of simply helping
Sanchez in committing only one rape. In other words, the allegation of the prosecution is that the girl was raped
seven times, with each of the seven accused taking turns in abusing her with the assistance of the other six.
Afterwards, their lust satisfied, all seven of them decided to kill and thus silence Sarmenta.
Every one of the seven accused is being charged separately for actually raping Sarmenta and later killing her instead
of merely assisting the petitioner in raping and then slaying her. The separate informations filed against each of them
allege that each of the seven successive rapes is complexed by the subsequent slaying of Sarmenta and aggravated
by the killing of Allan Gomez by her seven attackers. The separate rapes were committed in succession by the seven
accused, culminating in the slaying of Sarmenta.

It is of course absurd to suggest that Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez were killed seven times, but the
informations do not make such a suggestion. It is the petitioner who does so and is thus hoist by his own petard.
The Alleged Discrimination
The charge of discrimination against the petitioner because of the non-inclusion of Teofilo Alqueza and Edgardo
Lavadia in the informations must also be dismissed.
While the prosecuting officer is required by law to charge all those who in his opinion, appear to be guilty, he
nevertheless cannot be compelled to include in the information a person against whom he believes no sufficient
evidence of guilt exists. 19 The appreciation of the evidence involves the use of discretion on the part of the
prosecutor, and we do not find in the case at bar a clear showing by the petitioner of a grave abuse of such
discretion. 20
The decision of the prosecutor may be reversed or modified by the Secretary of Justice or in special cases by the
President of the Philippines. 21 But even this Court cannot order the prosecution of a person against whom the
prosecutor does not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima facie case. The courts try and absolve or
convict the accused but as a rule have no part in the initial decision to prosecute him.
The possible exception is where there is an unmistakable showing of a grave abuse of discretion that will justify
judicial intrusion into the precincts of the executive. But in such a case the proper remedy to call for such exception
is a petition for mandamus, not certiorari or prohibition. 22 Moreover, before resorting to this relief, the party seeking
the inclusion of another person as a co-accused in the same case must first avail itself of other adequate remedies
such as the filing of a motion for such inclusion. 23
At any rate, it is a preposterous contention that because no charges have been filed against Alqueza and Lavadia, the
charges against the petitioner and his co-accused should also be dropped.
Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
The petitioner argued earlier that since most of the accused were incumbent public officials or employees at the time
of the alleged commission of the crimes, the cases against them should come under the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan and not of the regular courts. This contention was withdrawn in his Reply but we shall discuss it just
the same for the guidance of all those concerned.
Section 4, paragraph (a) of P.D. No, 1606, as amended by P.D. No.1861, provides:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
(1) 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:
(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. . . . (Emphasis supplied)

The crime of rape with homicide with which the petitioner stands charged obviously does not fall under paragraph
(1), which deals with graft and corruption cases. Neither is it covered by paragraph (2) because it is not an offense
committed in relation to the office of the petitioner.
In Montilla v, Hilario, 24 this Court described the "offense committed in relation to the office" as follows:
[T]he relation between the crime and the office contemplated by the Constitution is, in our opinion, direct and not
accidental. To fall into the intent of the Constitution, the relation has to be such that, in the legal sense, the offense
cannot exist without the office. In other words, the office must be 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 the Revised
Penal Code.
Public office is not of the essence of murder. The taking of human life is either murder or homicide whether done by
a private citizen or public servant, and the penalty is the same except when the perpetrator. being a public
functionary took advantage of his office, as alleged in this case, in which event the penalty is increased.
But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime as an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance,
its materiality arises not from the allegations but on the proof, not from the fact that the criminals are public officials
but from the manner of the commission of the crime
There is no direct relation between the commission of the crime of rape with homicide and the petitioner's office as
municipal mayor because public office is not an essential element of the crime charged. The offense can stand
independently of the office. Moreover, it is not even alleged in the information that the commission of the crime
charged was intimately connected with the performance of the petitioner's official functions to make it fall under the
exception laid down in People v. Montejo. 25
In that case, a city mayor and several detectives were charged with murder for the death of a suspect as a result of a
"third degree" investigation held at a police substation. The appearance of a senator as their counsel was questioned
by the prosecution on the ground that he was inhibited by the Constitution from representing them because they were
accused of an offense committed in relation to their office. The Court agreed. It held that even if their position was
not an essential ingredient of the offense, there was nevertheless an intimate connection between the office and the
offense, as alleged in the information, that brought it within the definition of an offense "committed in relation to the
public office."
As Chief Justice Concepcion said:
It is apparent from these allegations that, although public office is not an element of the crime of murder in abstract,
as committed by the main respondents herein, according to the amended information, the offense therein charged
is intimately connected with their respective offices and was perpetrated while they were in the performance, though
improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed they had no personal motive to commit the crime and they
would not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid offices. The co-defendants of respondent Leroy S.
Brown, obeyed his instructions because he was their superior officer, as Mayor of Basilan City. (Emphasis supplied).
We have read the informations in the case at bar and find no allegation therein that the crime of rape with homicide
imputed to the petitioner was connected with the discharge of his functions as municipal mayor or that there is an
"intimate connection" between the offense and his office. It follows that the said crime, being an ordinary offense, is
triable by the regular courts and not the Sandiganbayan.
Conclusion

As above demonstrated, all of the grounds invoked by the petitioner are not supported by the facts and the applicable
law and jurisprudence. They must, therefore, all be rejected. In consequence, the respondent judge, who has started
the trial of the criminal cases against the petitioner and his co-accused, may proceed therewith without further
hindrance.
It remains to stress that the decision we make today is not a decision on the merits of the criminal cases being tried
below. These will have to be decided by the respondent judge in accordance with the evidence that is still being
received. At this time, there is yet no basis for judgment, only uninformed conjecture. The Court will caution against
such irrelevant public speculations as they can be based only on imperfect knowledge if not officious ignorance.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The respondent judge is DIRECTED to continue with the trial of
Criminal Cases Nos. 101141, 101142, 101143, 101144, 101145, 101146 and 101147 and to decide them with
deliberate dispatch.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Melo, Quiason, Puno and Vitug, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J., took no part.
Bellosillo, J., is on leave.

Republic Act No. 8369

October 28, 1997

AN ACT ESTABLISHING FAMILY COURTS, GRANTING THEM EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL


JURISDICTION OVER CHILD AND FAMILY CASES, AMENDING BATAS PAMBANSA BILANG 129,AS
AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS ACT OF 1980, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::
Section 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997".
Section 2. Statement of National Policies. - The State shall protect the rights and promote the welfare of children in
keeping with the mandate of the Constitution and the precepts of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the
Child. The State shall provide a system of adjudication for youthful offenders which takes into account their peculiar
circumstances.
The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous
social institution. The courts shall preserve the solidarity of the family, provide procedures for the reconciliation of
spouses and the amicable settlement of family controversy.
Section 3. Establishment of Family Courts. - There shall be established a Family Court in every province and city
in the country. In case where the city is the capital of the province, the Family Court shall be established in the
municipality which has the highest population.

Section 4. Qualification and Training of Family Court Judges. - Sec. 15 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended,
is hereby further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 15. (a) Qualification. - No person shall be appointed Regional Trial Judge or Presiding Judge of the Family
Court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least thirty-five (35) years of age, and, for at least ten
(10) years, has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held a public office in the Philippines
requiring admission to the practice of law as indispensable requisite.
"(b) Training of Family Court Judges. - The Presiding Judge, as well as the court personnel of the Family Courts,
shall undergo training and must have the experience and demonstrated ability in dealing with child and family cases.
"The Supreme Court shall provide a continuing education program on child and family laws, procedure and other
related disciplines to judges and personnel of such courts."
Section 5. Jurisdiction offamily Courts. - The Family Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and
decide the following cases:
a) Criminal cases where one or more of the accused is below eighteen (18) years of age but not less than nine (9)
years of age but not less than nine (9) years of age or where one or more of the victims is a minor at the time of the
commission of the offense: Provided, That if the minor is found guilty, the court shall promulgate sentence and
ascertain any civil liability which the accused may have incurred.
The sentence, however, shall be suspended without need of application pursuant to Ptesidential Decree No. 603,
otherwise known as the "Child and Youth Welfare Code";
b) Petitions for guardianship, custody of children, habeas corpus in relation to the latter;
c) Petitions for adoption of children and the revocation thereof;
d) Complaints for annulment of marriage, declaration of nullity of marriage and those relating to marital status and
property relations of husband and wife or those living together under different status and agreements, and petitions
for dissolution of conjugal partnership of gains;
e) Petitions for support and/or acknowledgment;
f) Summary judicial proceedings brought under the provisions of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as
the "Family Code of the Philippines";
g) Petitions for declaration of status of children as abandoned, dependent o neglected children, petitions for
voluntary or involuntary commitment of children; the suspension, termination, or restoration of parental authority
and other cases cognizable under Presidential Decree No. 603, Executive Order No. 56, (Series of 1986), and other
related laws;
h) Petitions for the constitution of the family home;
i) Cases against minors cognizable under the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended;
j) Violations of Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act," as amended by Republic Act No. 7658; and

k) Cases of domestic violence against:


1) Women - which are acts of gender based violence that results, or are likely to result in physical, sexual or
psychological harm or suffering to women; and other forms of physical abuse such as battering or threats and
coercion which violate a woman's personhood, integrity and freedom movement; and
2) Children - which include the commission of all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, violence, and
discrimination and all other conditions prejudicial to their development.
If an act constitutes a criminal offense, the accused or batterer shall be subject to criminal proceedings and the
corresponding penalties.
If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any case pending in the regular
courts, said incident shall be determined in that court.
Section 6. Use of Income. - All Family Courts shall be allowed the use of ten per cent (10%) of their income derived
from filing and other court fees under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court for research and other operating expenses
including capital outlay: Provided, That this benefit shall likewise be enjoyed by all courts of justice.
The Supreme Court shall promulgate the necessary guidelines to effectively implement the provisions of this Sec.
Section 7. Special Provisional Remedies. - In cases of violence among immediate family members living in the
same domicile or household, the Family Court may issue a restraining order against the accused of defendant upon
verified application by the complainant or the victim for relief from abuse.
The court may order the temporary custody of children in all civil actions for their custody. The court may also order
support pendente lite, including deduction from the salary and use of conjugal home and other properties in all civil
actions for support.
Section 8. Supervision of Youth Detention Homes. - The judge of the Family Court shall have direct control and
supervision of the youth detention home which the local government unit shall establish to separate the youth
offenders from adult criminals: Provided, however, That alternatives to detention and institutional care shall be made
available to the accused including counseling, recognizance, bail, community continuum, or diversions from the
justice system: Provided, further, That the human rights of the accused are fully respected in a manner appropriate to
their well-being.
Section 9. Social Services and Counseling Division. - Under the guidance ofthe Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), a Social Services and Counseling Division (SSCD) shall be established in each judicial
region as the Supreme Court shall deem necessary based on the number of juvenile and family cases existing in such
jurisdiction. It shall provide appropriate social services to all juvenile and family cases filed with the court and
recommend the proper social action. It shall also develop programs, formulate uniform policies and procedures, and
provide technical supervision and monitoring of all SSCD in coordination with the judge.
Section 10. Social Services and Counseling Division Staff. - The SSCD shall have a staff composed of qualified
social workers and other personnel with academic preparation in behavioral sciences to carry out the duties'of
conducting intake assessment, social case studies, casework and counseling, and othersocial services that may be
needed in connection with cases filed with the court: Provided, however, That in adoption cases and in petitions for
declaration of abandonment, the case studies may be prepared by social workers of duly licensed child caring or
child placement agencies, or the DSWD. When warranted, the division shall recommend that the court avail itself of

consultative services of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other qualified specialists presently employed in other
departments of the government in connection with its cases.
The position of Social Work Adviser shall be created under the Office of the Court Administrator, who shall monitor
and supervise the SSCD ofthe Regional Trial Court.
Section 11. Alternative Social Services. - In accordance with Sec. 17 of this Act, in areas where no Family Court has
been established or no Regional Trial Court was designated by the Supreme Court due to the limited number of
cases, the DSWD shall designate and assign qualified, trained, and DSWD accredited social workers of the local
government units to handle juvenile and family cases filed in the designated Regional Trial Court of the place.
Section 12. Privacy and Confidentiality of Proceedings. - All hearings and conciliation of the child and family
cases shall be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's and the family's dignity and worth, and
shall respect their privacy at all stages of the proceedings. Records of the cases shall be dealt with utmost
confidentiality and the identity of parties shall not be divulged unless necessary and with authority of the judge.
Section 13. Special Rules of Procedure. - The Supreme Court shall promulgate special rules of procedure for the
transfer of cases to the new courts during the transition period and for the disposition of family cases with the best
interests of the child and the protection of the family as primary consideration taking into account the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Section 14. Appeals. - Decisions and orders of the court shall be appealed in the same manner and subject to the
same conditions as appeals from the ordinary Regional Trial Courts.
Section 15. Appropriations. - The amount necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act shall be included in the
General Appropriations Act of the year following in its enactment into law and thereafter.
Section 16. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - The Supreme Court, in coordination with the DSWD, shall
formulate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the social aspects of this Act.
Section 17. Transitory Provisions. - Pending the establishment of such Family Courts, the Supreme Court shall
designate from among the branches ofthe Regional Trial Court at least one Family Court in each of the cities of
Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan, Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Laoag, Baguio, Santiago, Dagupan,
Olongapo, Cabanatuan, San Jose, Angeles, Cavite, Batangas, Lucena, Naga, Iriga, Legazpi, Roxas, Iloilo, Bacolod,
Dumaguete, Tacloban, Cebu, Mandaue, Tagbilaran, Surigao, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos,
Oroquieta, Ozamis, Dipolog, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Iligan, and in such other places as the Supreme Court may
deem necessary.
Additional cases other than those provided in Sec. 5 may be assigned to the Family Courts when their dockets
permit: Provided, That such additional cases shall not be heard on the same day family cases are heard.
In areas where there are no Family Courts, the cases referred to in Sec. 5 of this Act shall be adjudicated by the
Regional Trial Court.
Section 18. Separability Clause. - In case any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional, the other provisions
shall remain in effect.
Section 19. Repealing Clause. - All other laws, decrees, executive orders, rules or regulations inconsistent herewith
are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

Section 20. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) national
newspapers of general circulation.
Approved October 28, 1997.
Republic of the Philippines
CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Metro Manila
Fifteenth Congress
Second Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-fifth day of July, two thousand eleven.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10175
AN ACT DEFINING CYBERCRIME, PROVIDING FOR THE PREVENTION,
INVESTIGATION, SUPPRESSION AND THE IMPOSITION OF PENALTIES THEREFOR AND
FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
CHAPTER I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the "Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. The State recognizes the vital role of information and
communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic
commerce, and data processing, in the nations overall social and economic development. The State also
recognizes the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and
rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free,
easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information; and the need to protect and
safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and
the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of
misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts. In this
light, the State shall adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat such offenses by facilitating
their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by
providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. For purposes of this Act, the following terms are hereby defined as
follows:
(a) Access refers to the instruction, communication with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or
otherwise making use of any resources of a computer system or communication network.
(b) Alteration refers to the modification or change, in form or substance, of an existing computer
data or program.

(c) Communication refers to the transmission of information through ICT media, including voice,
video and other forms of data.
(d) Computer refers to an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other data processing or
communications device, or grouping of such devices, capable of performing logical, arithmetic,
routing, or storage functions and which includes any storage facility or equipment or
communications facility or equipment directly related to or operating in conjunction with such
device. It covers any type of computer device including devices with data processing capabilities
like mobile phones, smart phones, computer networks and other devices connected to the internet.
(e) Computer data refers to any representation of facts, information, or concepts in a form suitable
for processing in a computer system including a program suitable to cause a computer system to
perform a function and includes electronic documents and/or electronic data messages whether
stored in local computer systems or online.
(f) Computer program refers to a set of instructions executed by the computer to achieve intended
results.
(g) Computer system refers to any device or group of interconnected or related devices, one or
more of which, pursuant to a program, performs automated processing of data. It covers any type
of device with data processing capabilities including, but not limited to, computers and mobile
phones. The device consisting of hardware and software may include input, output and storage
components which may stand alone or be connected in a network or other similar devices. It also
includes computer data storage devices or media.
(h) Without right refers to either: (i) conduct undertaken without or in excess of authority; or (ii)
conduct not covered by established legal defenses, excuses, court orders, justifications, or relevant
principles under the law.
(i) Cyber refers to a computer or a computer network, the electronic medium in which online
communication takes place.
(j) Critical infrastructure refers to the computer systems, and/or networks, whether physical or
virtual, and/or the computer programs, computer data and/or traffic data so vital to this country that
the incapacity or destruction of or interference with such system and assets would have a
debilitating impact on security, national or economic security, national public health and safety, or
any combination of those matters.
(k) Cybersecurity refers to the collection of tools, policies, risk management approaches, actions,
training, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect the cyber
environment and organization and users assets.
(l) Database refers to a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, or instructions
which are being prepared, processed or stored or have been prepared, processed or stored in a
formalized manner and which are intended for use in a computer system.
(m) Interception refers to listening to, recording, monitoring or surveillance of the content of
communications, including procuring of the content of data, either directly, through access and use
of a computer system or indirectly, through the use of electronic eavesdropping or tapping devices,
at the same time that the communication is occurring.

(n) Service provider refers to:


(1) Any public or private entity that provides to users of its service the ability to
communicate by means of a computer system; and
(2) Any other entity that processes or stores computer data on behalf of such
communication service or users of such service.
(o) Subscribers information refers to any information contained in the form of computer data or
any other form that is held by a service provider, relating to subscribers of its services other than
traffic or content data and by which identity can be established:
(1) The type of communication service used, the technical provisions taken thereto and the
period of service;
(2) The subscribers identity, postal or geographic address, telephone and other access
numbers, any assigned network address, billing and payment information, available on the
basis of the service agreement or arrangement; and
(3) Any other available information on the site of the installation of communication
equipment, available on the basis of the service agreement or arrangement.
(p) Traffic data or non-content data refers to any computer data other than the content of the
communication including, but not limited to, the communications origin, destination, route, time,
date, size, duration, or type of underlying service.
CHAPTER II
PUNISHABLE ACTS
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable
under this Act:
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
(1) Illegal Access. The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without
right.
(2) Illegal Interception. The interception made by technical means without right of any
non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including
electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data.
(3) Data Interference. The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or
deterioration of computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without
right, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.
(4) System Interference. The intentional alteration or reckless hindering or interference
with the functioning of a computer or computer network by inputting, transmitting,
damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data or program,
electronic document, or electronic data message, without right or authority, including the
introduction or transmission of viruses.

(5) Misuse of Devices.


(i) The use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution, or otherwise
making available, without right, of:
(aa) A device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily
for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act; or
(bb) A computer password, access code, or similar data by which the whole
or any part of a computer system is capable of being accessed with intent
that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this
Act.
(ii) The possession of an item referred to in paragraphs 5(i)(aa) or (bb) above with
intent to use said devices for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under
this section.
(6) Cyber-squatting. The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to
profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a
domain name is:
(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with
the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration:
(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the
registrant, in case of a personal name; and
(iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.
(b) Computer-related Offenses:
(1) Computer-related Forgery.
(i) The input, alteration, or deletion of any computer data without right resulting in
inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal
purposes as if it were authentic, regardless whether or not the data is directly
readable and intelligible; or
(ii) The act of knowingly using computer data which is the product of computerrelated forgery as defined herein, for the purpose of perpetuating a fraudulent or
dishonest design.
(2) Computer-related Fraud. The unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer
data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage
thereby with fraudulent intent: Provided, That if no
damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer,
possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether

natural or juridical, without right: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the
penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
(c) Content-related Offenses:
(1) Cybersex. The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or
indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a
computer system, for favor or consideration.
(2) Child Pornography. The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable
by Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through
a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher
than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.1wphi1
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. The transmission of commercial
electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or
offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless:
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative
announcements from the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or
(iii) The following conditions are present:
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and
reliable way for the recipient to reject. receipt of further commercial
electronic messages (opt-out) from the same source;
(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise
the source of the electronic message; and
(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include
misleading information in any part of the message in order to induce the
recipients to read the message.
(4) Libel. The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other
similar means which may be devised in the future.
Section 5. Other Offenses. The following acts shall also constitute an offense:
(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. Any person who willfully abets or aids
in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
(b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. Any person who willfully attempts to commit
any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
Section 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if
committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered

by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree
higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may
be.
Section 7. Liability under Other Laws. A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any
liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.
CHAPTER III
PENALTIES
Section 8. Penalties. Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Sections 4(a)
and 4(b) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two
hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000.00) up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred
or both.
Any person found guilty of the punishable act under Section 4(a)(5) shall be punished with imprisonment
of prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) or both.
If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion
temporal or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) up to maximum amount
commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be imposed.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be
punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos
(PhP200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos (PhPl,000,000.00) or both.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(2) of this Act shall be
punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic Act No. 9775 or the "Anti-Child Pornography Act
of 2009: Provided,That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for in
Republic Act No. 9775, if committed through a computer system.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(3) shall be punished
with imprisonment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000.00) but not
exceeding Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (PhP250,000.00) or both.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 5 shall be punished with
imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least
One hundred thousand pesos (PhPl00,000.00) but not exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos
(PhP500,000.00) or both.
Section 9. Corporate Liability. When any of the punishable acts herein defined are knowingly
committed on behalf of or for the benefit of a juridical person, by a natural person acting either
individually or as part of an organ of the juridical person, who has a leading position within, based on: (a)
a power of representation of the juridical person provided the act committed falls within the scope of such
authority; (b) an authority to take decisions on behalf of the juridical person: Provided, That the act
committed falls within the scope of such authority; or (c) an authority to exercise control within the
juridical person, the juridical person shall be held liable for a fine equivalent to at least double the fines
imposable in Section 7 up to a maximum of Ten million pesos (PhP10,000,000.00).

If the commission of any of the punishable acts herein defined was made possible due to the lack of
supervision or control by a natural person referred to and described in the preceding paragraph, for the
benefit of that juridical person by a natural person acting under its authority, the juridical person shall be
held liable for a fine equivalent to at least double the fines imposable in Section 7 up to a maximum of
Five million pesos (PhP5,000,000.00).
The liability imposed on the juridical person shall be without prejudice to the criminal liability of the
natural person who has committed the offense.
CHAPTER IV
ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
Section 10. Law Enforcement Authorities. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the
Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be responsible for the efficient and effective law enforcement of
the provisions of this Act. The NBI and the PNP shall organize a cybercrime unit or center manned by
special investigators to exclusively handle cases involving violations of this Act.
Section 11. Duties of Law Enforcement Authorities. To ensure that the technical nature of cybercrime
and its prevention is given focus and considering the procedures involved for international cooperation,
law enforcement authorities specifically the computer or technology crime divisions or units responsible
for the investigation of cybercrimes are required to submit timely and regular reports including preoperation, post-operation and investigation results and such other documents as may be required to the
Department of Justice (DOJ) for review and monitoring.
Section 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall
be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with
specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.
Traffic data refer only to the communications origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type
of underlying service, but not content, nor identities.
All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.
Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or
recording of the above-stated information.
The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon written application and
the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and the
showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove
has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed: (2) that there are reasonable
grounds to believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to
the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily
available for obtaining such evidence.
Section 13. Preservation of Computer Data. The integrity of traffic data and subscriber information
relating to communication services provided by a service provider shall be preserved for a minimum
period of six (6) months from the date of the transaction. Content data shall be similarly preserved for six
(6) months from the date of receipt of the order from law enforcement authorities requiring its
preservation.

Law enforcement authorities may order a one-time extension for another six (6) months: Provided, That
once computer data preserved, transmitted or stored by a service provider is used as evidence in a case, the
mere furnishing to such service provider of the transmittal document to the Office of the Prosecutor shall
be deemed a notification to preserve the computer data until the termination of the case.
The service provider ordered to preserve computer data shall keep confidential the order and its
compliance.
Section 14. Disclosure of Computer Data. Law enforcement authorities, upon securing a court warrant,
shall issue an order requiring any person or service provider to disclose or submit subscribers
information, traffic data or relevant data in his/its possession or control within seventy-two (72) hours
from receipt of the order in relation to a valid complaint officially docketed and assigned for investigation
and the disclosure is necessary and relevant for the purpose of investigation.
Section 15. Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data. Where a search and seizure warrant is
properly issued, the law enforcement authorities shall likewise have the following powers and duties.
Within the time period specified in the warrant, to conduct interception, as defined in this Act, and:
(a) To secure a computer system or a computer data storage medium;
(b) To make and retain a copy of those computer data secured;
(c) To maintain the integrity of the relevant stored computer data;
(d) To conduct forensic analysis or examination of the computer data storage medium; and
(e) To render inaccessible or remove those computer data in the accessed computer or computer
and communications network.
Pursuant thereof, the law enforcement authorities may order any person who has knowledge about the
functioning of the computer system and the measures to protect and preserve the computer data therein to
provide, as is reasonable, the necessary information, to enable the undertaking of the search, seizure and
examination.
Law enforcement authorities may request for an extension of time to complete the examination of the
computer data storage medium and to make a return thereon but in no case for a period longer than thirty
(30) days from date of approval by the court.
Section 16. Custody of Computer Data. All computer data, including content and traffic data, examined
under a proper warrant shall, within forty-eight (48) hours after the expiration of the period fixed therein,
be deposited with the court in a sealed package, and shall be accompanied by an affidavit of the law
enforcement authority executing it stating the dates and times covered by the examination, and the law
enforcement authority who may access the deposit, among other relevant data. The law enforcement
authority shall also certify that no duplicates or copies of the whole or any part thereof have been made, or
if made, that all such duplicates or copies are included in the package deposited with the court. The
package so deposited shall not be opened, or the recordings replayed, or used in evidence, or then contents
revealed, except upon order of the court, which shall not be granted except upon motion, with due notice
and opportunity to be heard to the person or persons whose conversation or communications have been
recorded.

Section 17. Destruction of Computer Data. Upon expiration of the periods as provided in Sections 13
and 15, service providers and law enforcement authorities, as the case may be, shall immediately and
completely destroy the computer data subject of a preservation and examination.
Section 18. Exclusionary Rule. Any evidence procured without a valid warrant or beyond the authority
of the same shall be inadmissible for any proceeding before any court or tribunal.
Section 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data. When a computer data is prima facie
found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block
access to such computer data.
Section 20. Noncompliance. Failure to comply with the provisions of Chapter IV hereof specifically
the orders from law enforcement authorities shall be punished as a violation of Presidential Decree No.
1829 with imprisonment of prision correctional in its maximum period or a fine of One hundred thousand
pesos (Php100,000.00) or both, for each and every noncompliance with an order issued by law
enforcement authorities.
CHAPTER V
JURISDICTION
Section 21. Jurisdiction. The Regional Trial Court shall have jurisdiction over any violation of the
provisions of this Act. including any violation committed by a Filipino national regardless of the place of
commission. Jurisdiction shall lie if any of the elements was committed within the Philippines or
committed with the use of any computer system wholly or partly situated in the country, or when by such
commission any damage is caused to a natural or juridical person who, at the time the offense was
committed, was in the Philippines.
There shall be designated special cybercrime courts manned by specially trained judges to handle
cybercrime cases.
CHAPTER VI
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Section 22. General Principles Relating to International Cooperation. All relevant international
instruments on international cooperation in criminal matters, arrangements agreed on the basis of uniform
or reciprocal legislation, and domestic laws, to the widest extent possible for the purposes of
investigations or proceedings concerning criminal offenses related to computer systems and data, or for
the collection of evidence in electronic form of a criminal, offense shall be given full force and effect.
CHAPTER VII
COMPETENT AUTHORITIES
Section 23. Department of Justice (DOJ). There is hereby created an Office of Cybercrime within the
DOJ designated as the central authority in all matters related to international mutual assistance and
extradition.
Section 24. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center. There is hereby created, within thirty
(30) days from the effectivity of this Act, an inter-agency body to be known as the Cybercrime
Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), under the administrative supervision of the Office of the

President, for policy coordination among concerned agencies and for the formulation and enforcement of
the national cybersecurity plan.
Section 25. Composition. The CICC shall be headed by the Executive Director of the Information and
Communications Technology Office under the Department of Science and Technology (ICTO-DOST) as
Chairperson with the Director of the NBI as Vice Chairperson; the Chief of the PNP; Head of the DOJ
Office of Cybercrime; and one (1) representative from the private sector and academe, as members. The
CICC shall be manned by a secretariat of selected existing personnel and representatives from the
different participating agencies.1wphi1
Section 26. Powers and Functions. The CICC shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) To formulate a national cybersecurity plan and extend immediate assistance for the suppression
of real-time commission of cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency response team
(CERT);
(b) To coordinate the preparation of appropriate and effective measures to prevent and suppress
cybercrime activities as provided for in this Act;
(c) To monitor cybercrime cases being bandied by participating law enforcement and prosecution
agencies;
(d) To facilitate international cooperation on intelligence, investigations, training and capacity
building related to cybercrime prevention, suppression and prosecution;
(e) To coordinate the support and participation of the business sector, local government units and
nongovernment organizations in cybercrime prevention programs and other related projects;
(f) To recommend the enactment of appropriate laws, issuances, measures and policies;
(g) To call upon any government agency to render assistance in the accomplishment of the CICCs
mandated tasks and functions; and
(h) To perform all other matters related to cybercrime prevention and suppression, including
capacity building and such other functions and duties as may be necessary for the proper
implementation of this Act.
CHAPTER VIII
FINAL PROVISIONS
Section 27. Appropriations. The amount of Fifty million pesos (PhP50,000,000_00) shall be
appropriated annually for the implementation of this Act.
Section 28. Implementing Rules and Regulations. The ICTO-DOST, the DOJ and the Department of
the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall jointly formulate the necessary rules and regulations
within ninety (90) days from approval of this Act, for its effective implementation.
Section 29. Separability Clause If any provision of this Act is held invalid, the other provisions not
affected shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 30. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees or rules inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed
or modified accordingly. Section 33(a) of Republic Act No. 8792 or the "Electronic Commerce Act" is
hereby modified accordingly.
Section 31. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after the completion of its
publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
Approved,
(Sgd.) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.
Speaker of the House of Representatives

(Sgd.) JUAN PONCE ENRILE


President of the Senate

This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2796 and House Bill No. 5808 was finally passed by
the Senate and the House of Representatives on June 5, 2012 and June 4, 2012, respectively.

(Sgd.) MARILYN B. BARUA-YAP


Secretary General
House of Representatives

(Sgd.) EMMA LIRIO-REYES


Secretary of Senate

Approved: SEP 12 2012


(Sgd.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 203335

February 11, 2014

JOSE JESUS M. DISINI, JR., ROWENA S. DISINI, LIANNE IVY P. MEDINA, JANETTE TORAL and
ERNESTO SONIDO, JR., Petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE and THE DIRECTOR OF
THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203299

LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203306
ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), HUKUMAN NG MAMAMAYAN MOVEMENT, INC., JERRY S. YAP,
BERTENI "TOTO" CAUSING, HERNANI Q. CUARE, PERCY LAPID, TRACY CABRERA, RONALDO E.
RENTA, CIRILO P. SABARRE, JR., DERVIN CASTRO, ET AL., Petitioners,
vs.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, represented by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203359
SENATOR TEOFISTO DL GUINGONA III, Petitioner,
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, and
DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203378
ALEXANDER ADONIS, ELLEN TORDESILLAS, MA. GISELA ORDENES-CASCOLAN, H. HARRY L.
ROQUE, JR., ROMEL R. BAGARES, and GILBERT T. ANDRES, Petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE
NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, AND THE
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY OFFICE-DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203391
HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. ANTONIO TINIO, VENCER MARI CRISOSTOMO OF ANAKBAYAN,
MA. KATHERINE ELONA OF THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGIAN, ISABELLE THERESE BAGUISI OF THE
NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL., Petitioners,
vs.
PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President Benigno
Simeon Aquino III, LEILA DE LIMA in her capacity as Secretary of Justice, Respondents.

x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203407
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN SECRETARY GENERAL RENATO M. REYES, JR., National Artist
BIENVENIDO L. LUMBERA, Chairperson of Concerned Artists of the Philippines, ELMER C. LABOG,
Chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, CRISTINA E. PALABAY, Secretary General of Karapatan,
FERDINAND R. GAITE, Chairperson of COURAGE, JOEL B. MAGLUNSOD, Vice President of
Anakpawis Party-List, LANA R. LINABAN, Secretary General Gabriela Women's Party, ADOLFO ARES
P. GUTIERREZ, and JULIUS GARCIA MATIBAG, Petitioners,
vs.
BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, PAQUITO N. OCHOA,
JR., Executive Secretary, SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN
PONCE ENRILE, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, represented by SPEAKER FELICIANO BELMONTE,
JR., LEILA DE LIMA, Secretary of the Department of Justice, LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE,
Executive Director of the Information and Communications Technology Office, NONNATUS CAESAR
R. ROJAS, Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, D/GEN. NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, Chief
of the Philippine National Police, MANUEL A. ROXAS II, Secretary of the Department of the Interior and
Local Government,Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203440
MELENCIO S. STA. MARIA, SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, AMPARITA STA. MARIA, RAY PAOLO J.
SANTIAGO, GILBERT V. SEMBRANO, and RYAN JEREMIAH D. QUAN (all of the Ateneo Human Rights
Center), Petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE PAQUITO OCHOA in his capacity as Executive Secretary, HONORABLE LEILA DE LIMA
in her capacity as Secretary of Justice, HONORABLE MANUEL ROXAS in his capacity as Secretary of
the Department of Interior and Local Government, The CHIEF of the Philippine National Police, The
DIRECTOR of the National Bureau of Investigation (all of the Executive Department of
Government),Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203453
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE
(PPI), CENTER FOR MEDIA FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY, ROWENA CARRANZA PARAAN,
MELINDA QUINTOS-DE JESUS, JOSEPH ALWYN ALBURO, ARIEL SEBELLINO AND THE PETITIONERS
IN THE e-PETITION http://www.nujp.org/no-to-ra10175/, Petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, THE DIRECTOR
GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATION, THE CYBERCRIME INVESTIGATION AND COORDINATING CENTER, AND ALL
AGENCIES AND INSTRUMENTALITIES OF GOVERNMENT AND ALL PERSONS ACTING UNDER THEIR

INSTRUCTIONS, ORDERS, DIRECTION IN RELATION TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF REPUBLIC ACT


NO. 10175,Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203454
PAUL CORNELIUS T. CASTILLO & RYAN D. ANDRES, Petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE THE HON. SECRETARY OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT,Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203469
ANTHONY IAN M. CRUZ; MARCELO R. LANDICHO; BENJAMIN NOEL A. ESPINA; MARCK RONALD C.
RIMORIN; JULIUS D. ROCAS; OLIVER RICHARD V. ROBILLO; AARON ERICK A. LOZADA; GERARD
ADRIAN P. MAGNAYE; JOSE REGINALD A. RAMOS; MA. ROSARIO T. JUAN; BRENDALYN P. RAMIREZ;
MAUREEN A. HERMITANIO; KRISTINE JOY S. REMENTILLA; MARICEL O. GRAY; JULIUS IVAN F.
CABIGON; BENRALPH S. YU; CEBU BLOGGERS SOCIETY, INC. PRESIDENT RUBEN B. LICERA, JR;
and PINOY EXPAT/OFW BLOG AWARDS, INC. COORDINATOR PEDRO E. RAHON; Petitioners,
vs.
HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, in his capacity as President of the Republic of the
Philippines; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his
capacity as Senate President; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, represented by FELICIANO R.
BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives; HON. PAQUITO N.
OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary; HON. LEILA M. DE LIMA, in her capacity as
Secretary of Justice; HON. LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, in his capacity as Executive Director,
Information and Communications Technology Office; HON. NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, in his
capacity as Director, National Bureau of Investigation; and P/DGEN. NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, in his
capacity as Chief, Philippine National Police, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203501
PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, in his official capacity as President of the Republic of the
Philippines; HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his official capacity as Executive Secretary; HON.
LEILA M. DE LIMA, in her official capacity as Secretary of Justice; LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE,
in his official capacity as Executive Director, Information and Communications Technology Office;
NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, in his official capacity as Director of the National Bureau of
Investigation; and DIRECTOR GENERAL NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, in his official capacity as Chief of
the Philippine National Police, Respondents.
x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 203509


BAYAN MUNA REPRESENTATIVE NERI J. COLMENARES, Petitioner,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA, JR., Respondent.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203515
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. represented by BENNY D. ANTIPORDA in his
capacity as President and in his personal capacity, Petitioner,
vs.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, PRES. BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, NATIONAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT AND ALL OTHER
GOVERNMENT INSTRUMENTALITIES WHO HAVE HANDS IN THE PASSAGE AND/OR
IMPLEMENTATION OF REPUBLIC ACT 10175, Respondents.
x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203518
PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM ALLIANCE, composed of DAKILA-PHILIPPINE COLLECTIVE FOR
MODERN HEROISM, represented by Leni Velasco, PARTIDO LAKAS NG MASA, represented by Cesar
S. Melencio, FRANCIS EUSTON R. ACERO, MARLON ANTHONY ROMASANTA TONSON, TEODORO A.
CASIO, NOEMI LARDIZABAL-DADO, IMELDA ORALES, JAMES MATTHEW B. MIRAFLOR, JUAN G.M.
RAGRAGIO, MARIA FATIMA A. VILLENA, MEDARDO M. MANRIQUE, JR., LAUREN DADO, MARCO
VITTORIA TOBIAS SUMAYAO, IRENE CHIA, ERASTUS NOEL T. DELIZO, CRISTINA SARAH E. OSORIO,
ROMEO FACTOLERIN, NAOMI L. TUPAS, KENNETH KENG, ANA ALEXANDRA C. CASTRO, Petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, THE HEAD OF THE DOJ
OFFICE OF CYBERCRIME, and THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CYBERCRIME INVESTIGATION AND
COORDINATING CENTER, Respondents.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
These consolidated petitions seek to declare several provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) 10175, the Cybercrime
Prevention Act of 2012, unconstitutional and void.
The Facts and the Case

The cybercrime law aims to regulate access to and use of the cyberspace. Using his laptop or computer, a
person can connect to the internet, a system that links him to other computers and enable him, among other
things, to:
1. Access virtual libraries and encyclopedias for all kinds of information that he needs for research,
study, amusement, upliftment, or pure curiosity;
2. Post billboard-like notices or messages, including pictures and videos, for the general public or for
special audiences like associates, classmates, or friends and read postings from them;
3. Advertise and promote goods or services and make purchases and payments;
4. Inquire and do business with institutional entities like government agencies, banks, stock
exchanges, trade houses, credit card companies, public utilities, hospitals, and schools; and
5. Communicate in writing or by voice with any person through his e-mail address or telephone.
This is cyberspace, a system that accommodates millions and billions of simultaneous and ongoing individual
accesses to and uses of the internet. The cyberspace is a boon to the need of the current generation for
greater information and facility of communication. But all is not well with the system since it could not filter out
a number of persons of ill will who would want to use cyberspace technology for mischiefs and crimes. One of
them can, for instance, avail himself of the system to unjustly ruin the reputation of another or bully the latter
by posting defamatory statements against him that people can read.
And because linking with the internet opens up a user to communications from others, the ill-motivated can
use the cyberspace for committing theft by hacking into or surreptitiously accessing his bank account or credit
card or defrauding him through false representations. The wicked can use the cyberspace, too, for illicit
trafficking in sex or for exposing to pornography guileless children who have access to the internet. For this
reason, the government has a legitimate right to regulate the use of cyberspace and contain and punish
wrongdoings.
Notably, there are also those who would want, like vandals, to wreak or cause havoc to the computer systems
and networks of indispensable or highly useful institutions as well as to the laptop or computer programs and
memories of innocent individuals. They accomplish this by sending electronic viruses or virtual dynamites that
destroy those computer systems, networks, programs, and memories. The government certainly has the duty
and the right to prevent these tomfooleries from happening and punish their perpetrators, hence the
Cybercrime Prevention Act.
But petitioners claim that the means adopted by the cybercrime law for regulating undesirable cyberspace
activities violate certain of their constitutional rights. The government of course asserts that the law merely
seeks to reasonably put order into cyberspace activities, punish wrongdoings, and prevent hurtful attacks on
the system.
Pending hearing and adjudication of the issues presented in these cases, on February 5, 2013 the Court
extended the original 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) that it earlier issued on October 9, 2012,
enjoining respondent government agencies from implementing the cybercrime law until further orders.
The Issues Presented

Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the following provisions of the cybercrime law that regard certain
acts as crimes and impose penalties for their commission as well as provisions that would enable the
government to track down and penalize violators. These provisions are:
a. Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access;
b. Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference;
c. Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting;
d. Section 4(b)(3) on Identity Theft;
e. Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex;
f. Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography;
g. Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications;
h. Section 4(c)(4) on Libel;
i. Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrimes;
j. Section 6 on the Penalty of One Degree Higher;
k. Section 7 on the Prosecution under both the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and R.A. 10175;
l. Section 8 on Penalties;
m. Section 12 on Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data;
n. Section 13 on Preservation of Computer Data;
o. Section 14 on Disclosure of Computer Data;
p. Section 15 on Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data;
q. Section 17 on Destruction of Computer Data;
r. Section 19 on Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data;
s. Section 20 on Obstruction of Justice;
t. Section 24 on Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC); and
u. Section 26(a) on CICCs Powers and Functions.
Some petitioners also raise the constitutionality of related Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the RPC on the
crime of libel.

The Rulings of the Court


Section 4(a)(1)
Section 4(a)(1) provides:
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
this Act:
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
(1) Illegal Access. The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right.
Petitioners contend that Section 4(a)(1) fails to meet the strict scrutiny standard required of laws that interfere
with the fundamental rights of the people and should thus be struck down.
The Court has in a way found the strict scrutiny standard, an American constitutional construct, useful in
determining the constitutionality of laws that tend to target a class of things or persons. According to this
standard, a legislative classification that impermissibly interferes with the exercise of fundamental right or
operates to the peculiar class disadvantage of a suspect class is presumed unconstitutional. The burden is on
the government to prove that the classification is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that it is
the least restrictive means to protect such interest. Later, the strict scrutiny standard was used to assess the
validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race as well as other fundamental rights, as
expansion from its earlier applications to equal protection.
1

In the cases before it, the Court finds nothing in Section 4(a)(1) that calls for the application of the strict
scrutiny standard since no fundamental freedom, like speech, is involved in punishing what is essentially a
condemnable act accessing the computer system of another without right. It is a universally condemned
conduct.
4

Petitioners of course fear that this section will jeopardize the work of ethical hackers, professionals who
employ tools and techniques used by criminal hackers but would neither damage the target systems nor steal
information. Ethical hackers evaluate the target systems security and report back to the owners the
vulnerabilities they found in it and give instructions for how these can be remedied. Ethical hackers are the
equivalent of independent auditors who come into an organization to verify its bookkeeping records.
5

Besides, a clients engagement of an ethical hacker requires an agreement between them as to the extent of
the search, the methods to be used, and the systems to be tested. This is referred to as the "get out of jail free
card." Since the ethical hacker does his job with prior permission from the client, such permission would
insulate him from the coverage of Section 4(a)(1).
6

Section 4(a)(3) of the Cybercrime Law


Section 4(a)(3) provides:
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
this Act:
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:

xxxx
(3) Data Interference. The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of computer
data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction or transmission
of viruses.
Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(3) suffers from overbreadth in that, while it seeks to discourage data
interference, it intrudes into the area of protected speech and expression, creating a chilling and deterrent
effect on these guaranteed freedoms.
Under the overbreadth doctrine, a proper governmental purpose, constitutionally subject to state regulation,
may not be achieved by means that unnecessarily sweep its subject broadly, thereby invading the area of
protected freedoms. But Section 4(a)(3) does not encroach on these freedoms at all. It simply punishes what
essentially is a form of vandalism, the act of willfully destroying without right the things that belong to others,
in this case their computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message. Such act has no connection
to guaranteed freedoms. There is no freedom to destroy other peoples computer systems and private
documents.
7

All penal laws, like the cybercrime law, have of course an inherent chilling effect, an in terrorem effect or the
fear of possible prosecution that hangs on the heads of citizens who are minded to step beyond the
boundaries of what is proper. But to prevent the State from legislating criminal laws because they instill such
kind of fear is to render the state powerless in addressing and penalizing socially harmful conduct. Here, the
chilling effect that results in paralysis is an illusion since Section 4(a)(3) clearly describes the evil that it seeks
to punish and creates no tendency to intimidate the free exercise of ones constitutional rights.
9

10

Besides, the overbreadth challenge places on petitioners the heavy burden of proving that under no set of
circumstances will Section 4(a)(3) be valid. Petitioner has failed to discharge this burden.
11

Section 4(a)(6) of the Cybercrime Law


Section 4(a)(6) provides:
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
this Act:
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
xxxx
(6) Cyber-squatting. The acquisition of domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy
the reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:
(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate
government agency at the time of the domain name registration;
(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a
personal name; and
(iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.

Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(6) or cyber-squatting violates the equal protection clause in that, not being
narrowly tailored, it will cause a user using his real name to suffer the same fate as those who use aliases or
take the name of another in satire, parody, or any other literary device. For example, supposing there exists a
well known billionaire-philanthropist named "Julio Gandolfo," the law would punish for cyber-squatting both the
person who registers such name because he claims it to be his pseudo-name and another who registers the
name because it happens to be his real name. Petitioners claim that, considering the substantial distinction
between the two, the law should recognize the difference.
12

But there is no real difference whether he uses "Julio Gandolfo" which happens to be his real name or use it
as a pseudo-name for it is the evil purpose for which he uses the name that the law condemns. The law is
reasonable in penalizing him for acquiring the domain name in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation,
or deprive others who are not ill-motivated of the rightful opportunity of registering the same. The challenge to
the constitutionality of Section 4(a)(6) on ground of denial of equal protection is baseless.
Section 4(b)(3) of the Cybercrime Law
Section 4(b)(3) provides:
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
this Act:
xxxx
b) Computer-related Offenses:
xxxx
(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration,
or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right: Provided:
that if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
Petitioners claim that Section 4(b)(3) violates the constitutional rights to due process and to privacy and
correspondence, and transgresses the freedom of the press.
The right to privacy, or the right to be let alone, was institutionalized in the 1987 Constitution as a facet of the
right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. But the Court acknowledged
its existence as early as 1968 in Morfe v. Mutuc, it ruled that the right to privacy exists independently of its
identification with liberty; it is in itself fully deserving of constitutional protection.
13

14

Relevant to any discussion of the right to privacy is the concept known as the "Zones of Privacy." The Court
explained in "In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus of Sabio v. Senator
Gordon" the relevance of these zones to the right to privacy:
15

Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. Within these zones, any form of intrusion is
impermissible unless excused by law and in accordance with customary legal process. The meticulous regard
we accord to these zones arises not only from our conviction that the right to privacy is a "constitutional right"
and "the right most valued by civilized men," but also from our adherence to the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights which mandates that, "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy" and
"everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Two constitutional guarantees create these zones of privacy: (a) the right against unreasonable searches and
seizures, which is the basis of the right to be let alone, and (b) the right to privacy of communication and
correspondence. In assessing the challenge that the State has impermissibly intruded into these zones of
privacy, a court must determine whether a person has exhibited a reasonable expectation of privacy and, if so,
whether that expectation has been violated by unreasonable government intrusion.
16

17

18

The usual identifying information regarding a person includes his name, his citizenship, his residence address,
his contact number, his place and date of birth, the name of his spouse if any, his occupation, and similar
data. The law punishes those who acquire or use such identifying information without right, implicitly to cause
damage. Petitioners simply fail to show how government effort to curb computer-related identity theft violates
the right to privacy and correspondence as well as the right to due process of law.
19

Also, the charge of invalidity of this section based on the overbreadth doctrine will not hold water since the
specific conducts proscribed do not intrude into guaranteed freedoms like speech. Clearly, what this section
regulates are specific actions: the acquisition, use, misuse or deletion of personal identifying data of another.
There is no fundamental right to acquire anothers personal data.
Further, petitioners fear that Section 4(b)(3) violates the freedom of the press in that journalists would be
hindered from accessing the unrestricted user account of a person in the news to secure information about
him that could be published. But this is not the essence of identity theft that the law seeks to prohibit and
punish. Evidently, the theft of identity information must be intended for an illegitimate purpose. Moreover,
acquiring and disseminating information made public by the user himself cannot be regarded as a form of
theft.
The Court has defined intent to gain as an internal act which can be established through the overt acts of the
offender, and it may be presumed from the furtive taking of useful property pertaining to another, unless
special circumstances reveal a different intent on the part of the perpetrator. As such, the press, whether in
quest of news reporting or social investigation, has nothing to fear since a special circumstance is present to
negate intent to gain which is required by this Section.
20

Section 4(c)(1) of the Cybercrime Law


Section 4(c)(1) provides:
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this
Act:
xxxx
(c) Content-related Offenses:
(1) Cybersex. The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any
lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or
consideration.
Petitioners claim that the above violates the freedom of expression clause of the Constitution. They express
fear that private communications of sexual character between husband and wife or consenting adults, which
are not regarded as crimes under the penal code, would now be regarded as crimes when done "for favor" in
cyberspace. In common usage, the term "favor" includes "gracious kindness," "a special privilege or right
21

granted or conceded," or "a token of love (as a ribbon) usually worn conspicuously." This meaning given to
the term "favor" embraces socially tolerated trysts. The law as written would invite law enforcement agencies
into the bedrooms of married couples or consenting individuals.
22

But the deliberations of the Bicameral Committee of Congress on this section of the Cybercrime Prevention
Act give a proper perspective on the issue. These deliberations show a lack of intent to penalize a "private
showing x x x between and among two private persons x x x although that may be a form of obscenity to
some." The understanding of those who drew up the cybercrime law is that the element of "engaging in a
business" is necessary to constitute the illegal cybersex. The Act actually seeks to punish cyber prostitution,
white slave trade, and pornography for favor and consideration. This includes interactive prostitution and
pornography, i.e., by webcam.
23

24

25

The subject of Section 4(c)(1)lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activityis not novel. Article
201 of the RPC punishes "obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows." The Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Act of 2003 penalizes those who "maintain or hire a person to engage in prostitution or
pornography." The law defines prostitution as any act, transaction, scheme, or design involving the use of a
person by another, for sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct in exchange for money, profit, or any other
consideration.
26

27

The case of Nogales v. People28 shows the extent to which the State can regulate materials that serve no
other purpose than satisfy the market for violence, lust, or pornography. The Court weighed the property
rights of individuals against the public welfare. Private property, if containing pornographic materials, may be
forfeited and destroyed. Likewise, engaging in sexual acts privately through internet connection, perceived by
some as a right, has to be balanced with the mandate of the State to eradicate white slavery and the
exploitation of women.
29

In any event, consenting adults are protected by the wealth of jurisprudence delineating the bounds of
obscenity. The Court will not declare Section 4(c)(1) unconstitutional where it stands a construction that
makes it apply only to persons engaged in the business of maintaining, controlling, or operating, directly or
indirectly, the lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity with the aid of a computer system as
Congress has intended.
30

Section 4(c)(2) of the Cybercrime Law


Section 4(c)(2) provides:
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this
Act:
xxxx
(c) Content-related Offenses:
xxxx
(2) Child Pornography. The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775 or
the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to
be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.

It seems that the above merely expands the scope of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (ACPA) to cover
identical activities in cyberspace. In theory, nothing prevents the government from invoking the ACPA when
prosecuting persons who commit child pornography using a computer system. Actually, ACPAs definition of
child pornography already embraces the use of "electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other
means." Notably, no one has questioned this ACPA provision.
31

Of course, the law makes the penalty higher by one degree when the crime is committed in cyberspace. But
no one can complain since the intensity or duration of penalty is a legislative prerogative and there is rational
basis for such higher penalty. The potential for uncontrolled proliferation of a particular piece of child
pornography when uploaded in the cyberspace is incalculable.
32

Petitioners point out that the provision of ACPA that makes it unlawful for any person to "produce, direct,
manufacture or create any form of child pornography" clearly relates to the prosecution of persons who aid
and abet the core offenses that ACPA seeks to punish. Petitioners are wary that a person who merely
doodles on paper and imagines a sexual abuse of a 16-year-old is not criminally liable for producing child
pornography but one who formulates the idea on his laptop would be. Further, if the author bounces off his
ideas on Twitter, anyone who replies to the tweet could be considered aiding and abetting a cybercrime.
33

34

The question of aiding and abetting the offense by simply commenting on it will be discussed elsewhere
below. For now the Court must hold that the constitutionality of Section 4(c)(2) is not successfully challenged.
Section 4(c)(3) of the Cybercrime Law
Section 4(c)(3) provides:
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this
Act:
xxxx
(c) Content-related Offenses:
xxxx
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. The transmission of commercial electronic communication with
the use of computer system which seeks to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are
prohibited unless:
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative announcements from
the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or
(iii) The following conditions are present:
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and reliable way for
the recipient to reject receipt of further commercial electronic messages (opt-out) from the
same source;

(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise the source of the
electronic message; and
(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include misleading
information in any part of the message in order to induce the recipients to read the message.
The above penalizes the transmission of unsolicited commercial communications, also known as "spam." The
term "spam" surfaced in early internet chat rooms and interactive fantasy games. One who repeats the same
sentence or comment was said to be making a "spam." The term referred to a Monty Pythons Flying Circus
scene in which actors would keep saying "Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam" when reading options from a
menu.
35

The Government, represented by the Solicitor General, points out that unsolicited commercial communications
or spams are a nuisance that wastes the storage and network capacities of internet service providers, reduces
the efficiency of commerce and technology, and interferes with the owners peaceful enjoyment of his property.
Transmitting spams amounts to trespass to ones privacy since the person sending out spams enters the
recipients domain without prior permission. The OSG contends that commercial speech enjoys less protection
in law.
But, firstly, the government presents no basis for holding that unsolicited electronic ads reduce the "efficiency
of computers." Secondly, people, before the arrival of the age of computers, have already been receiving such
unsolicited ads by mail. These have never been outlawed as nuisance since people might have interest in
such ads. What matters is that the recipient has the option of not opening or reading these mail ads. That is
true with spams. Their recipients always have the option to delete or not to read them.
To prohibit the transmission of unsolicited ads would deny a person the right to read his emails, even
unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial speech is a separate category of speech which is
not accorded the same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of
expression but is nonetheless entitled to protection. The State cannot rob him of this right without violating
the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Unsolicited advertisements are legitimate forms of
expression.
36

Articles 353, 354, and 355 of the Penal Code


Section 4(c)(4) of the Cyber Crime Law
Petitioners dispute the constitutionality of both the penal code provisions on libel as well as Section 4(c)(4) of
the Cybercrime Prevention Act on cyberlibel.
The RPC provisions on libel read:
Art. 353. Definition of libel. A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or
imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or
contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be
true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:

1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or
social duty; and
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial,
legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report
or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the
exercise of their functions.
Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. A libel committed by means of writing, printing,
lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any
similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging
from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party.
The libel provision of the cybercrime law, on the other hand, merely incorporates to form part of it the
provisions of the RPC on libel. Thus Section 4(c)(4) reads:
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this
Act:
xxxx
(c) Content-related Offenses:
xxxx
(4) Libel. The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the
future.
Petitioners lament that libel provisions of the penal code and, in effect, the libel provisions of the cybercrime
law carry with them the requirement of "presumed malice" even when the latest jurisprudence already
replaces it with the higher standard of "actual malice" as a basis for conviction. Petitioners argue that inferring
"presumed malice" from the accuseds defamatory statement by virtue of Article 354 of the penal code
infringes on his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
37

38

Petitioners would go further. They contend that the laws on libel should be stricken down as unconstitutional
for otherwise good jurisprudence requiring "actual malice" could easily be overturned as the Court has done in
Fermin v. People even where the offended parties happened to be public figures.
39

The elements of libel are: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b)
publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence of malice.
40

There is "actual malice" or malice in fact when the offender makes the defamatory statement with the
knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. The reckless disregard
standard used here requires a high degree of awareness of probable falsity. There must be sufficient evidence
to permit the conclusion that the accused in fact entertained serious doubts as to the truth of the statement he
published. Gross or even extreme negligence is not sufficient to establish actual malice.
41

42

43

The prosecution bears the burden of proving the presence of actual malice in instances where such element is
required to establish guilt. The defense of absence of actual malice, even when the statement turns out to be
false, is available where the offended party is a public official or a public figure, as in the cases of Vasquez (a
barangay official) and Borjal (the Executive Director, First National Conference on Land Transportation). Since
the penal code and implicitly, the cybercrime law, mainly target libel against private persons, the Court
recognizes that these laws imply a stricter standard of "malice" to convict the author of a defamatory
statement where the offended party is a public figure. Societys interest and the maintenance of good
government demand a full discussion of public affairs.
44

Parenthetically, the Court cannot accept the proposition that its ruling in Fermin disregarded the higher
standard of actual malice or malice in fact when it found Cristinelli Fermin guilty of committing libel against
complainants who were public figures. Actually, the Court found the presence of malice in fact in that case.
Thus:
It can be gleaned from her testimony that petitioner had the motive to make defamatory imputations against
complainants. Thus, petitioner cannot, by simply making a general denial, convince us that there was no
malice on her part. Verily, not only was there malice in law, the article being malicious in itself, but there was
also malice in fact, as there was motive to talk ill against complainants during the electoral campaign.
(Emphasis ours)
Indeed, the Court took into account the relatively wide leeway given to utterances against public figures in the
above case, cinema and television personalities, when it modified the penalty of imprisonment to just a fine
ofP6,000.00.
But, where the offended party is a private individual, the prosecution need not prove the presence of malice.
The law explicitly presumes its existence (malice in law) from the defamatory character of the assailed
statement. For his defense, the accused must show that he has a justifiable reason for the defamatory
statement even if it was in fact true.
45

46

Petitioners peddle the view that both the penal code and the Cybercrime Prevention Act violate the countrys
obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). They point out that in
Adonis v. Republic of the Philippines, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) cited its
General Comment 34 to the effect that penal defamation laws should include the defense of truth.
47

But General Comment 34 does not say that the truth of the defamatory statement should constitute an allencompassing defense. As it happens, Article 361 recognizes truth as a defense but under the condition that
the accused has been prompted in making the statement by good motives and for justifiable ends. Thus:
Art. 361. Proof of the truth. In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the
court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published with
good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendants shall be acquitted.
Proof of the truth of an imputation of an act or omission not constituting a crime shall not be admitted, unless
the imputation shall have been made against Government employees with respect to facts related to the
discharge of their official duties.
In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted.

Besides, the UNHRC did not actually enjoin the Philippines, as petitioners urge, to decriminalize libel. It simply
suggested that defamation laws be crafted with care to ensure that they do not stifle freedom of
expression. Indeed, the ICCPR states that although everyone should enjoy freedom of expression, its
exercise carries with it special duties and responsibilities. Free speech is not absolute. It is subject to certain
restrictions, as may be necessary and as may be provided by law.
48

49

The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that libel is not a constitutionally protected speech and that the
government has an obligation to protect private individuals from defamation. Indeed, cyberlibel is actually not
a new crime since Article 353, in relation to Article 355 of the penal code, already punishes it. In effect, Section
4(c)(4) above merely affirms that online defamation constitutes "similar means" for committing libel.
But the Courts acquiescence goes only insofar as the cybercrime law penalizes the author of the libelous
statement or article. Cyberlibel brings with it certain intricacies, unheard of when the penal code provisions on
libel were enacted. The culture associated with internet media is distinct from that of print.
The internet is characterized as encouraging a freewheeling, anything-goes writing style. In a sense, they are
a world apart in terms of quickness of the readers reaction to defamatory statements posted in cyberspace,
facilitated by one-click reply options offered by the networking site as well as by the speed with which such
reactions are disseminated down the line to other internet users. Whether these reactions to defamatory
statement posted on the internet constitute aiding and abetting libel, acts that Section 5 of the cybercrime law
punishes, is another matter that the Court will deal with next in relation to Section 5 of the law.
50

Section 5 of the Cybercrime Law


Section 5 provides:
Sec. 5. Other Offenses. The following acts shall also constitute an offense:
(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. Any person who willfully abets or aids in the
commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
(b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. Any person who willfully attempts to commit any of
the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of Section 5 that renders criminally liable any person who willfully abets
or aids in the commission or attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated as cybercrimes. It suffers
from overbreadth, creating a chilling and deterrent effect on protected expression.
The Solicitor General contends, however, that the current body of jurisprudence and laws on aiding and
abetting sufficiently protects the freedom of expression of "netizens," the multitude that avail themselves of the
services of the internet. He points out that existing laws and jurisprudence sufficiently delineate the meaning of
"aiding or abetting" a crime as to protect the innocent. The Solicitor General argues that plain, ordinary, and
common usage is at times sufficient to guide law enforcement agencies in enforcing the law. The legislature
is not required to define every single word contained in the laws they craft.
51

Aiding or abetting has of course well-defined meaning and application in existing laws. When a person aids or
abets another in destroying a forest, smuggling merchandise into the country, or interfering in the peaceful
picketing of laborers, his action is essentially physical and so is susceptible to easy assessment as criminal in
52

54

53

character. These forms of aiding or abetting lend themselves to the tests of common sense and human
experience.
But, when it comes to certain cybercrimes, the waters are muddier and the line of sight is somewhat blurred.
The idea of "aiding or abetting" wrongdoings online threatens the heretofore popular and unchallenged
dogmas of cyberspace use.
According to the 2011 Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, 33% of Filipinos have accessed the internet
within a year, translating to about 31 million users. Based on a recent survey, the Philippines ranks 6th in the
top 10 most engaged countries for social networking. Social networking sites build social relations among
people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections.
55

56

57

Two of the most popular of these sites are Facebook and Twitter. As of late 2012, 1.2 billion people with
shared interests use Facebook to get in touch. Users register at this site, create a personal profile or an open
book of who they are, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications
when they update their profile. A user can post a statement, a photo, or a video on Facebook, which can be
made visible to anyone, depending on the users privacy settings.
58

59

If the post is made available to the public, meaning to everyone and not only to his friends, anyone on
Facebook can react to the posting, clicking any of several buttons of preferences on the programs screen
such as "Like," "Comment," or "Share." "Like" signifies that the reader likes the posting while "Comment"
enables him to post online his feelings or views about the same, such as "This is great!" When a Facebook
user "Shares" a posting, the original "posting" will appear on his own Facebook profile, consequently making it
visible to his down-line Facebook Friends.
Twitter, on the other hand, is an internet social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to
send and read short text-based messages of up to 140 characters. These are known as "Tweets."
Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital contentwhich could be in the form of text,
pictures, links, short videos, or other mediaon the internet. Instead of friends, a Twitter user has "Followers,"
those who subscribe to this particular users posts, enabling them to read the same, and "Following," those
whom this particular user is subscribed to, enabling him to read their posts. Like Facebook, a Twitter user can
make his tweets available only to his Followers, or to the general public. If a post is available to the public, any
Twitter user can "Retweet" a given posting. Retweeting is just reposting or republishing another persons tweet
without the need of copying and pasting it.
In the cyberworld, there are many actors: a) the blogger who originates the assailed statement; b) the blog
service provider like Yahoo; c) the internet service provider like PLDT, Smart, Globe, or Sun; d) the internet
caf that may have provided the computer used for posting the blog; e) the person who makes a favorable
comment on the blog; and f) the person who posts a link to the blog site. Now, suppose Maria (a blogger)
maintains a blog on WordPress.com (blog service provider). She needs the internet to access her blog so she
subscribes to Sun Broadband (Internet Service Provider).
60

One day, Maria posts on her internet account the statement that a certain married public official has an illicit
affair with a movie star. Linda, one of Marias friends who sees this post, comments online, "Yes, this is so
true! They are so immoral." Marias original post is then multiplied by her friends and the latters friends, and
down the line to friends of friends almost ad infinitum. Nena, who is a stranger to both Maria and Linda, comes
across this blog, finds it interesting and so shares the link to this apparently defamatory blog on her Twitter
account. Nenas "Followers" then "Retweet" the link to that blog site.

Pamela, a Twitter user, stumbles upon a random persons "Retweet" of Nenas original tweet and posts this on
her Facebook account. Immediately, Pamelas Facebook Friends start Liking and making Comments on the
assailed posting. A lot of them even press the Share button, resulting in the further spread of the original
posting into tens, hundreds, thousands, and greater postings.
The question is: are online postings such as "Liking" an openly defamatory statement, "Commenting" on it, or
"Sharing" it with others, to be regarded as "aiding or abetting?" In libel in the physical world, if Nestor places
on the office bulletin board a small poster that says, "Armand is a thief!," he could certainly be charged with
libel. If Roger, seeing the poster, writes on it, "I like this!," that could not be libel since he did not author the
poster. If Arthur, passing by and noticing the poster, writes on it, "Correct!," would that be libel? No, for he
merely expresses agreement with the statement on the poster. He still is not its author. Besides, it is not clear
if aiding or abetting libel in the physical world is a crime.
But suppose Nestor posts the blog, "Armand is a thief!" on a social networking site. Would a reader and his
Friends or Followers, availing themselves of any of the "Like," "Comment," and "Share" reactions, be guilty of
aiding or abetting libel? And, in the complex world of cyberspace expressions of thoughts, when will one be
liable for aiding or abetting cybercrimes? Where is the venue of the crime?
Except for the original author of the assailed statement, the rest (those who pressed Like, Comment and
Share) are essentially knee-jerk sentiments of readers who may think little or haphazardly of their response to
the original posting. Will they be liable for aiding or abetting? And, considering the inherent impossibility of
joining hundreds or thousands of responding "Friends" or "Followers" in the criminal charge to be filed in court,
who will make a choice as to who should go to jail for the outbreak of the challenged posting?
The old parameters for enforcing the traditional form of libel would be a square peg in a round hole when
applied to cyberspace libel. Unless the legislature crafts a cyber libel law that takes into account its unique
circumstances and culture, such law will tend to create a chilling effect on the millions that use this new
medium of communication in violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.
The United States Supreme Court faced the same issue in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, a case
involving the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The law prohibited (1) the knowing
transmission, by means of a telecommunications device, of
61

"obscene or indecent" communications to any recipient under 18 years of age; and (2) the knowing use of an
interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age or to display in a
manner available to a person under 18 years of age communications that, in context, depict or describe, in
terms "patently offensive" as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities
or organs.
Those who challenged the Act claim that the law violated the First Amendments guarantee of freedom of
speech for being overbroad. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and ruled:
The vagueness of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C.S. 223, is a matter of special
concern for two reasons. First, the CDA is a content-based regulation of speech. The vagueness of such a
regulation raises special U.S. Const. amend. I concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech.
Second, the CDA is a criminal statute. In addition to the opprobrium and stigma of a criminal conviction, the
CDA threatens violators with penalties including up to two years in prison for each act of violation. The severity
of criminal sanctions may well cause speakers to remain silent rather than communicate even arguably
unlawful words, ideas, and images. As a practical matter, this increased deterrent effect, coupled with the risk

of discriminatory enforcement of vague regulations, poses greater U.S. Const. amend. I concerns than those
implicated by certain civil regulations.
xxxx
The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C.S. 223, presents a great threat of censoring
speech that, in fact, falls outside the statute's scope. Given the vague contours of the coverage of the statute,
it unquestionably silences some speakers whose messages would be entitled to constitutional protection. That
danger provides further reason for insisting that the statute not be overly broad. The CDAs burden on
protected speech cannot be justified if it could be avoided by a more carefully drafted statute. (Emphasis ours)
Libel in the cyberspace can of course stain a persons image with just one click of the mouse. Scurrilous
statements can spread and travel fast across the globe like bad news. Moreover, cyberlibel often goes hand in
hand with cyberbullying that oppresses the victim, his relatives, and friends, evoking from mild to disastrous
reactions. Still, a governmental purpose, which seeks to regulate the use of this cyberspace communication
technology to protect a persons reputation and peace of mind, cannot adopt means that will unnecessarily
and broadly sweep, invading the area of protected freedoms.
62

If such means are adopted, self-inhibition borne of fear of what sinister predicaments await internet users will
suppress otherwise robust discussion of public issues. Democracy will be threatened and with it, all liberties.
Penal laws should provide reasonably clear guidelines for law enforcement officials and triers of facts to
prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. The terms "aiding or abetting" constitute broad sweep that
generates chilling effect on those who express themselves through cyberspace posts, comments, and other
messages. Hence, Section 5 of the cybercrime law that punishes "aiding or abetting" libel on the cyberspace
is a nullity.
63

64

When a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on the void-forvagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the doctrine must be carefully delineated. As Justice
Antonio T. Carpio explained in his dissent in Romualdez v. Commission on Elections, "we must view these
statements of the Court on the inapplicability of the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines to penal statutes as
appropriate only insofar as these doctrines are used to mount facial challenges to penal statutes not involving
free speech."
65

In an "as applied" challenge, the petitioner who claims a violation of his constitutional right can raise any
constitutional ground absence of due process, lack of fair notice, lack of ascertainable standards,
overbreadth, or vagueness. Here, one can challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a
violation of his own rights. It prohibits one from assailing the constitutionality of the statute based solely on the
violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. This rule is also known as the prohibition against
third-party standing.
66

But this rule admits of exceptions. A petitioner may for instance mount a "facial" challenge to the
constitutionality of a statute even if he claims no violation of his own rights under the assailed statute where it
involves free speech on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness of the statute.
The rationale for this exception is to counter the "chilling effect" on protected speech that comes from statutes
violating free speech. A person who does not know whether his speech constitutes a crime under an
overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself from speaking in order to avoid being charged of a crime.
The overbroad or vague law thus chills him into silence.
67

As already stated, the cyberspace is an incomparable, pervasive medium of communication. It is inevitable


that any government threat of punishment regarding certain uses of the medium creates a chilling effect on the
constitutionally-protected freedom of expression of the great masses that use it. In this case, the particularly
complex web of interaction on social media websites would give law enforcers such latitude that they could
arbitrarily or selectively enforce the law.
Who is to decide when to prosecute persons who boost the visibility of a posting on the internet by liking it?
Netizens are not given "fair notice" or warning as to what is criminal conduct and what is lawful conduct. When
a case is filed, how will the court ascertain whether or not one netizens comment aided and abetted a
cybercrime while another comment did not?
Of course, if the "Comment" does not merely react to the original posting but creates an altogether new
defamatory story against Armand like "He beats his wife and children," then that should be considered an
original posting published on the internet. Both the penal code and the cybercrime law clearly punish authors
of defamatory publications. Make no mistake, libel destroys reputations that society values. Allowed to
cascade in the internet, it will destroy relationships and, under certain circumstances, will generate enmity and
tension between social or economic groups, races, or religions, exacerbating existing tension in their
relationships.
In regard to the crime that targets child pornography, when "Google procures, stores, and indexes child
pornography and facilitates the completion of transactions involving the dissemination of child pornography,"
does this make Google and its users aiders and abettors in the commission of child pornography crimes?
Byars highlights a feature in the American law on child pornography that the Cybercrimes law lacksthe
exemption of a provider or notably a plain user of interactive computer service from civil liability for child
pornography as follows:
68

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any
information provided by another information content provider and cannot be held civilly liable for any action
voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers
to be obscene...whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
69

When a person replies to a Tweet containing child pornography, he effectively republishes it whether wittingly
or unwittingly. Does this make him a willing accomplice to the distribution of child pornography? When a user
downloads the Facebook mobile application, the user may give consent to Facebook to access his contact
details. In this way, certain information is forwarded to third parties and unsolicited commercial communication
could be disseminated on the basis of this information. As the source of this information, is the user aiding the
distribution of this communication? The legislature needs to address this clearly to relieve users of annoying
fear of possible criminal prosecution.
70

Section 5 with respect to Section 4(c)(4) is unconstitutional. Its vagueness raises apprehension on the part of
internet users because of its obvious chilling effect on the freedom of expression, especially since the crime of
aiding or abetting ensnares all the actors in the cyberspace front in a fuzzy way. What is more, as the
petitioners point out, formal crimes such as libel are not punishable unless consummated. In the absence of
legislation tracing the interaction of netizens and their level of responsibility such as in other countries, Section
5, in relation to Section 4(c)(4) on Libel, Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications, and
Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, cannot stand scrutiny.
71

But the crime of aiding or abetting the commission of cybercrimes under Section 5 should be permitted to
apply to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data

Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) on
Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-related Fraud,
Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex. None of these offenses
borders on the exercise of the freedom of expression.
The crime of willfully attempting to commit any of these offenses is for the same reason not objectionable. A
hacker may for instance have done all that is necessary to illegally access another partys computer system
but the security employed by the systems lawful owner could frustrate his effort. Another hacker may have
gained access to usernames and passwords of others but fail to use these because the system supervisor is
alerted. If Section 5 that punishes any person who willfully attempts to commit this specific offense is not
upheld, the owner of the username and password could not file a complaint against him for attempted hacking.
But this is not right. The hacker should not be freed from liability simply because of the vigilance of a lawful
owner or his supervisor.
72

Petitioners of course claim that Section 5 lacks positive limits and could cover the innocent. While this may be
true with respect to cybercrimes that tend to sneak past the area of free expression, any attempt to commit the
other acts specified in Section 4(a)(1), Section 4(a)(2), Section 4(a)(3), Section 4(a)(4), Section 4(a)(5),
Section 4(a)(6), Section 4(b)(1), Section 4(b)(2), Section 4(b)(3), and Section 4(c)(1) as well as the actors
aiding and abetting the commission of such acts can be identified with some reasonable certainty through
adroit tracking of their works. Absent concrete proof of the same, the innocent will of course be spared.
73

Section 6 of the Cybercrime Law


Section 6 provides:
Sec. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if
committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by
the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher
than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
Section 6 merely makes commission of existing crimes through the internet a qualifying circumstance. As the
Solicitor General points out, there exists a substantial distinction between crimes committed through the use of
information and communications technology and similar crimes committed using other means. In using the
technology in question, the offender often evades identification and is able to reach far more victims or cause
greater harm. The distinction, therefore, creates a basis for higher penalties for cybercrimes.
Section 7 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 7 provides:
Sec. 7. Liability under Other Laws. A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for
violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.
The Solicitor General points out that Section 7 merely expresses the settled doctrine that a single set of acts
may be prosecuted and penalized simultaneously under two laws, a special law and the Revised Penal Code.
When two different laws define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one does not bar prosecution of the other
although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some important act which is not an
essential element of the other. With the exception of the crimes of online libel and online child pornography,
the Court would rather leave the determination of the correct application of Section 7 to actual cases.
74

Online libel is different. There should be no question that if the published material on print, said to be libelous,
is again posted online or vice versa, that identical material cannot be the subject of two separate libels. The
two offenses, one a violation of Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code and the other a violation of Section 4(c)
(4) of R.A. 10175 involve essentially the same elements and are in fact one and the same offense. Indeed, the
OSG itself claims that online libel under Section 4(c)(4) is not a new crime but is one already punished under
Article 353. Section 4(c)(4) merely establishes the computer system as another means of
publication. Charging the offender under both laws would be a blatant violation of the proscription against
double jeopardy.
75

76

The same is true with child pornography committed online. Section 4(c)(2) merely expands the ACPAs scope
so as to include identical activities in cyberspace. As previously discussed, ACPAs definition of child
pornography in fact already covers the use of "electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other
means." Thus, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(2) and ACPA would likewise be tantamount to a
violation of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.
Section 8 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 8 provides:
Sec. 8. Penalties. Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Sections 4(a) and
4(b) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred
thousand pesos (PhP200,000.00) up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both.
Any person found guilty of the punishable act under Section 4(a)(5) shall be punished with imprisonment of
prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) or both.
If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion
temporal or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) up to maximum amount
commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be imposed.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be
punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos
(PhP200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos (PhP1,000,000.00) or both.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(2) of this Act shall be
punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic Act No. 9775 or the "Anti-Child Pornography Act of
2009:" Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for in
Republic Act No. 9775, if committed through a computer system.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(3) shall be punished with
imprisonment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000.00) but not exceeding
Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (PhP250,000.00) or both.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 5 shall be punished with
imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least One
hundred thousand pesos (PhP100,000.00) but not exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00)
or both.

Section 8 provides for the penalties for the following crimes: Sections 4(a) on Offenses Against the
Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Computer Data and Systems; 4(b) on Computer-related Offenses;
4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices; when the crime punishable under 4(a) is committed against critical
infrastructure; 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography; 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial
Communications; and Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting, and Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime.
The matter of fixing penalties for the commission of crimes is as a rule a legislative prerogative. Here the
legislature prescribed a measure of severe penalties for what it regards as deleterious cybercrimes. They
appear proportionate to the evil sought to be punished. The power to determine penalties for offenses is not
diluted or improperly wielded simply because at some prior time the act or omission was but an element of
another offense or might just have been connected with another crime. Judges and magistrates can only
interpret and apply them and have no authority to modify or revise their range as determined by the legislative
department.
77

The courts should not encroach on this prerogative of the lawmaking body.

78

Section 12 of the Cybercrime Law


Section 12 provides:
Sec. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be
authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with
specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.
Traffic data refer only to the communications origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of
underlying service, but not content, nor identities.
All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.
Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or
recording of the above-stated information.
The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the
examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and the showing: (1)
that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been
committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed; (2) that there are reasonable grounds to
believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of,
or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining
such evidence.
Petitioners assail the grant to law enforcement agencies of the power to collect or record traffic data in real
time as tending to curtail civil liberties or provide opportunities for official abuse. They claim that data showing
where digital messages come from, what kind they are, and where they are destined need not be incriminating
to their senders or recipients before they are to be protected. Petitioners invoke the right of every individual to
privacy and to be protected from government snooping into the messages or information that they send to one
another.
The first question is whether or not Section 12 has a proper governmental purpose since a law may require
the disclosure of matters normally considered private but then only upon showing that such requirement has a

rational relation to the purpose of the law, that there is a compelling State interest behind the law, and that the
provision itself is narrowly drawn. In assessing regulations affecting privacy rights, courts should balance the
legitimate concerns of the State against constitutional guarantees.
79

80

81

Undoubtedly, the State has a compelling interest in enacting the cybercrime law for there is a need to put
order to the tremendous activities in cyberspace for public good. To do this, it is within the realm of reason
that the government should be able to monitor traffic data to enhance its ability to combat all sorts of
cybercrimes.
82

Chapter IV of the cybercrime law, of which the collection or recording of traffic data is a part, aims to provide
law enforcement authorities with the power they need for spotting, preventing, and investigating crimes
committed in cyberspace. Crime-fighting is a state business. Indeed, as Chief Justice Sereno points out, the
Budapest Convention on Cybercrimes requires signatory countries to adopt legislative measures to empower
state authorities to collect or record "traffic data, in real time, associated with specified communications." And
this is precisely what Section 12 does. It empowers law enforcement agencies in this country to collect or
record such data.
83

But is not evidence of yesterdays traffic data, like the scene of the crime after it has been committed,
adequate for fighting cybercrimes and, therefore, real-time data is superfluous for that purpose? Evidently, it is
not. Those who commit the crimes of accessing a computer system without right, transmitting
viruses, lasciviously exhibiting sexual organs or sexual activity for favor or consideration; and producing
child pornography could easily evade detection and prosecution by simply moving the physical location of
their computers or laptops from day to day. In this digital age, the wicked can commit cybercrimes from
virtually anywhere: from internet cafs, from kindred places that provide free internet services, and from
unregistered mobile internet connectors. Criminals using cellphones under pre-paid arrangements and with
unregistered SIM cards do not have listed addresses and can neither be located nor identified. There are
many ways the cyber criminals can quickly erase their tracks. Those who peddle child pornography could use
relays of computers to mislead law enforcement authorities regarding their places of operations. Evidently, it is
only real-time traffic data collection or recording and a subsequent recourse to court-issued search and
seizure warrant that can succeed in ferreting them out.
84

85

86

87

Petitioners of course point out that the provisions of Section 12 are too broad and do not provide ample
safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and invading the peoples right to privacy. The concern is
understandable. Indeed, the Court recognizes in Morfe v. Mutuc that certain constitutional guarantees work
together to create zones of privacy wherein governmental powers may not intrude, and that there exists an
independent constitutional right of privacy. Such right to be left alone has been regarded as the beginning of
all freedoms.
88

89

But that right is not unqualified. In Whalen v. Roe, the United States Supreme Court classified privacy into
two categories: decisional privacy and informational privacy. Decisional privacy involves the right to
independence in making certain important decisions, while informational privacy refers to the interest in
avoiding disclosure of personal matters. It is the latter rightthe right to informational privacythat those who
oppose government collection or recording of traffic data in real-time seek to protect.
90

Informational privacy has two aspects: the right not to have private information disclosed, and the right to live
freely without surveillance and intrusion. In determining whether or not a matter is entitled to the right to
privacy, this Court has laid down a two-fold test. The first is a subjective test, where one claiming the right
must have an actual or legitimate expectation of privacy over a certain matter. The second is an objective test,
where his or her expectation of privacy must be one society is prepared to accept as objectively reasonable.
91

92

Since the validity of the cybercrime law is being challenged, not in relation to its application to a particular
person or group, petitioners challenge to Section 12 applies to all information and communications technology
(ICT) users, meaning the large segment of the population who use all sorts of electronic devices to
communicate with one another. Consequently, the expectation of privacy is to be measured from the general
publics point of view. Without reasonable expectation of privacy, the right to it would have no basis in fact.
As the Solicitor General points out, an ordinary ICT user who courses his communication through a service
provider, must of necessity disclose to the latter, a third person, the traffic data needed for connecting him to
the recipient ICT user. For example, an ICT user who writes a text message intended for another ICT user
must furnish his service provider with his cellphone number and the cellphone number of his recipient,
accompanying the message sent. It is this information that creates the traffic data. Transmitting
communications is akin to putting a letter in an envelope properly addressed, sealing it closed, and sending it
through the postal service. Those who post letters have no expectations that no one will read the information
appearing outside the envelope.
Computer datamessages of all kindstravel across the internet in packets and in a way that may be likened
to parcels of letters or things that are sent through the posts. When data is sent from any one source, the
content is broken up into packets and around each of these packets is a wrapper or header. This header
contains the traffic data: information that tells computers where the packet originated, what kind of data is in
the packet (SMS, voice call, video, internet chat messages, email, online browsing data, etc.), where the
packet is going, and how the packet fits together with other packets. The difference is that traffic data sent
through the internet at times across the ocean do not disclose the actual names and addresses (residential or
office) of the sender and the recipient, only their coded internet protocol (IP) addresses. The packets travel
from one computer system to another where their contents are pieced back together.
93

Section 12 does not permit law enforcement authorities to look into the contents of the messages and uncover
the identities of the sender and the recipient.
For example, when one calls to speak to another through his cellphone, the service providers
communications system will put his voice message into packets and send them to the other persons
cellphone where they are refitted together and heard. The latters spoken reply is sent to the caller in the same
way. To be connected by the service provider, the sender reveals his cellphone number to the service provider
when he puts his call through. He also reveals the cellphone number to the person he calls. The other ways of
communicating electronically follow the same basic pattern.
In Smith v. Maryland, cited by the Solicitor General, the United States Supreme Court reasoned that
telephone users in the 70s must realize that they necessarily convey phone numbers to the telephone
company in order to complete a call. That Court ruled that even if there is an expectation that phone numbers
one dials should remain private, such expectation is not one that society is prepared to recognize as
reasonable.
94

In much the same way, ICT users must know that they cannot communicate or exchange data with one
another over cyberspace except through some service providers to whom they must submit certain traffic data
that are needed for a successful cyberspace communication. The conveyance of this data takes them out of
the private sphere, making the expectation to privacy in regard to them an expectation that society is not
prepared to recognize as reasonable.
The Court, however, agrees with Justices Carpio and Brion that when seemingly random bits of traffic data are
gathered in bulk, pooled together, and analyzed, they reveal patterns of activities which can then be used to

create profiles of the persons under surveillance. With enough traffic data, analysts may be able to determine
a persons close associations, religious views, political affiliations, even sexual preferences. Such information
is likely beyond what the public may expect to be disclosed, and clearly falls within matters protected by the
right to privacy. But has the procedure that Section 12 of the law provides been drawn narrowly enough to
protect individual rights?
Section 12 empowers law enforcement authorities, "with due cause," to collect or record by technical or
electronic means traffic data in real-time. Petitioners point out that the phrase "due cause" has no precedent in
law or jurisprudence and that whether there is due cause or not is left to the discretion of the police. Replying
to this, the Solicitor General asserts that Congress is not required to define the meaning of every word it uses
in drafting the law.
Indeed, courts are able to save vague provisions of law through statutory construction. But the cybercrime law,
dealing with a novel situation, fails to hint at the meaning it intends for the phrase "due cause." The Solicitor
General suggests that "due cause" should mean "just reason or motive" and "adherence to a lawful
procedure." But the Court cannot draw this meaning since Section 12 does not even bother to relate the
collection of data to the probable commission of a particular crime. It just says, "with due cause," thus
justifying a general gathering of data. It is akin to the use of a general search warrant that the Constitution
prohibits.
Due cause is also not descriptive of the purpose for which data collection will be used. Will the law
enforcement agencies use the traffic data to identify the perpetrator of a cyber attack? Or will it be used to
build up a case against an identified suspect? Can the data be used to prevent cybercrimes from happening?
The authority that Section 12 gives law enforcement agencies is too sweeping and lacks restraint. While it
says that traffic data collection should not disclose identities or content data, such restraint is but an illusion.
Admittedly, nothing can prevent law enforcement agencies holding these data in their hands from looking into
the identity of their sender or receiver and what the data contains. This will unnecessarily expose the citizenry
to leaked information or, worse, to extortion from certain bad elements in these agencies.
Section 12, of course, limits the collection of traffic data to those "associated with specified communications."
But this supposed limitation is no limitation at all since, evidently, it is the law enforcement agencies that would
specify the target communications. The power is virtually limitless, enabling law enforcement authorities to
engage in "fishing expedition," choosing whatever specified communication they want. This evidently
threatens the right of individuals to privacy.
The Solicitor General points out that Section 12 needs to authorize collection of traffic data "in real time"
because it is not possible to get a court warrant that would authorize the search of what is akin to a "moving
vehicle." But warrantless search is associated with a police officers determination of probable cause that a
crime has been committed, that there is no opportunity for getting a warrant, and that unless the search is
immediately carried out, the thing to be searched stands to be removed. These preconditions are not provided
in Section 12.
The Solicitor General is honest enough to admit that Section 12 provides minimal protection to internet users
and that the procedure envisioned by the law could be better served by providing for more robust safeguards.
His bare assurance that law enforcement authorities will not abuse the provisions of Section 12 is of course
not enough. The grant of the power to track cyberspace communications in real time and determine their
sources and destinations must be narrowly drawn to preclude abuses.
95

Petitioners also ask that the Court strike down Section 12 for being violative of the void-for-vagueness doctrine
and the overbreadth doctrine. These doctrines however, have been consistently held by this Court to apply
only to free speech cases. But Section 12 on its own neither regulates nor punishes any type of speech.
Therefore, such analysis is unnecessary.
This Court is mindful that advances in technology allow the government and kindred institutions to monitor
individuals and place them under surveillance in ways that have previously been impractical or even
impossible. "All the forces of a technological age x x x operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate
intrusions into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the
difference between a democratic and a totalitarian society." The Court must ensure that laws seeking to take
advantage of these technologies be written with specificity and definiteness as to ensure respect for the rights
that the Constitution guarantees.
96

Section 13 of the Cybercrime Law


Section 13 provides:
Sec. 13. Preservation of Computer Data. The integrity of traffic data and subscriber information relating to
communication services provided by a service provider shall be preserved for a minimum period of six (6)
months from the date of the transaction. Content data shall be similarly preserved for six (6) months from the
date of receipt of the order from law enforcement authorities requiring its preservation.
Law enforcement authorities may order a one-time extension for another six (6) months: Provided, That once
computer data preserved, transmitted or stored by a service provider is used as evidence in a case, the mere
furnishing to such service provider of the transmittal document to the Office of the Prosecutor shall be deemed
a notification to preserve the computer data until the termination of the case.
The service provider ordered to preserve computer data shall keep confidential the order and its compliance.
Petitioners in G.R. 203391 claim that Section 13 constitutes an undue deprivation of the right to property.
They liken the data preservation order that law enforcement authorities are to issue as a form of garnishment
of personal property in civil forfeiture proceedings. Such order prevents internet users from accessing and
disposing of traffic data that essentially belong to them.
97

No doubt, the contents of materials sent or received through the internet belong to their authors or recipients
and are to be considered private communications. But it is not clear that a service provider has an obligation
to indefinitely keep a copy of the same as they pass its system for the benefit of users. By virtue of Section 13,
however, the law now requires service providers to keep traffic data and subscriber information relating to
communication services for at least six months from the date of the transaction and those relating to content
data for at least six months from receipt of the order for their preservation.
Actually, the user ought to have kept a copy of that data when it crossed his computer if he was so minded.
The service provider has never assumed responsibility for their loss or deletion while in its keep.
At any rate, as the Solicitor General correctly points out, the data that service providers preserve on orders of
law enforcement authorities are not made inaccessible to users by reason of the issuance of such orders. The
process of preserving data will not unduly hamper the normal transmission or use of the same.
Section 14 of the Cybercrime Law

Section 14 provides:
Sec. 14. Disclosure of Computer Data. Law enforcement authorities, upon securing a court warrant, shall
issue an order requiring any person or service provider to disclose or submit subscribers information, traffic
data or relevant data in his/its possession or control within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt of the order in
relation to a valid complaint officially docketed and assigned for investigation and the disclosure is necessary
and relevant for the purpose of investigation.
The process envisioned in Section 14 is being likened to the issuance of a subpoena. Petitioners objection is
that the issuance of subpoenas is a judicial function. But it is well-settled that the power to issue subpoenas is
not exclusively a judicial function. Executive agencies have the power to issue subpoena as an adjunct of their
investigatory powers.
98

Besides, what Section 14 envisions is merely the enforcement of a duly issued court warrant, a function
usually lodged in the hands of law enforcers to enable them to carry out their executive functions. The
prescribed procedure for disclosure would not constitute an unlawful search or seizure nor would it violate the
privacy of communications and correspondence. Disclosure can be made only after judicial intervention.
Section 15 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 15 provides:
Sec. 15. Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data. Where a search and seizure warrant is
properly issued, the law enforcement authorities shall likewise have the following powers and duties.
Within the time period specified in the warrant, to conduct interception, as defined in this Act, and:
(a) To secure a computer system or a computer data storage medium;
(b) To make and retain a copy of those computer data secured;
(c) To maintain the integrity of the relevant stored computer data;
(d) To conduct forensic analysis or examination of the computer data storage medium; and
(e) To render inaccessible or remove those computer data in the accessed computer or computer and
communications network.
Pursuant thereof, the law enforcement authorities may order any person who has knowledge about the
functioning of the computer system and the measures to protect and preserve the computer data therein to
provide, as is reasonable, the necessary information, to enable the undertaking of the search, seizure and
examination.
Law enforcement authorities may request for an extension of time to complete the examination of the
computer data storage medium and to make a return thereon but in no case for a period longer than thirty (30)
days from date of approval by the court.
Petitioners challenge Section 15 on the assumption that it will supplant established search and seizure
procedures. On its face, however, Section 15 merely enumerates the duties of law enforcement authorities

that would ensure the proper collection, preservation, and use of computer system or data that have been
seized by virtue of a court warrant. The exercise of these duties do not pose any threat on the rights of the
person from whom they were taken. Section 15 does not appear to supersede existing search and seizure
rules but merely supplements them.
Section 17 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 17 provides:
Sec. 17. Destruction of Computer Data. Upon expiration of the periods as provided in Sections 13 and 15,
service providers and law enforcement authorities, as the case may be, shall immediately and completely
destroy the computer data subject of a preservation and examination.
Section 17 would have the computer data, previous subject of preservation or examination, destroyed or
deleted upon the lapse of the prescribed period. The Solicitor General justifies this as necessary to clear up
the service providers storage systems and prevent overload. It would also ensure that investigations are
quickly concluded.
Petitioners claim that such destruction of computer data subject of previous preservation or examination
violates the users right against deprivation of property without due process of law. But, as already stated, it is
unclear that the user has a demandable right to require the service provider to have that copy of the data
saved indefinitely for him in its storage system. If he wanted them preserved, he should have saved them in
his computer when he generated the data or received it. He could also request the service provider for a copy
before it is deleted.
Section 19 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 19 empowers the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to computer data:
Sec. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data. When a computer data is prima facie found to be
in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such
computer data.
Petitioners contest Section 19 in that it stifles freedom of expression and violates the right against
unreasonable searches and seizures. The Solicitor General concedes that this provision may be
unconstitutional. But since laws enjoy a presumption of constitutionality, the Court must satisfy itself that
Section 19 indeed violates the freedom and right mentioned.
Computer data may refer to entire programs or lines of code, including malware, as well as files that contain
texts, images, audio, or video recordings. Without having to go into a lengthy discussion of property rights in
the digital space, it is indisputable that computer data, produced or created by their writers or authors may
constitute personal property. Consequently, they are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures,
whether while stored in their personal computers or in the service providers systems.
99

Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that the right to be secure in ones papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable.
Further, it states that no search warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally
by the judge. Here, the Government, in effect, seizes and places the computer data under its control and
disposition without a warrant. The Department of Justice order cannot substitute for judicial search warrant.

The content of the computer data can also constitute speech. In such a case, Section 19 operates as a
restriction on the freedom of expression over cyberspace. Certainly not all forms of speech are protected.
Legislature may, within constitutional bounds, declare certain kinds of expression as illegal. But for an
executive officer to seize content alleged to be unprotected without any judicial warrant, it is not enough for
him to be of the opinion that such content violates some law, for to do so would make him judge, jury, and
executioner all rolled into one.
100

Not only does Section 19 preclude any judicial intervention, but it also disregards jurisprudential guidelines
established to determine the validity of restrictions on speech. Restraints on free speech are generally
evaluated on one of or a combination of three tests: the dangerous tendency doctrine, the balancing of interest
test, and the clear and present danger rule. Section 19, however, merely requires that the data to be blocked
be found prima facie in violation of any provision of the cybercrime law. Taking Section 6 into consideration,
this can actually be made to apply in relation to any penal provision. It does not take into consideration any of
the three tests mentioned above.
101

The Court is therefore compelled to strike down Section 19 for being violative of the constitutional guarantees
to freedom of expression and against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Section 20 of the Cybercrime Law
Section 20 provides:
Sec. 20. Noncompliance. Failure to comply with the provisions of Chapter IV hereof specifically the orders
from law enforcement authorities shall be punished as a violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 with
imprisonment of prision correctional in its maximum period or a fine of One hundred thousand pesos
(Php100,000.00) or both, for each and every noncompliance with an order issued by law enforcement
authorities.
Petitioners challenge Section 20, alleging that it is a bill of attainder. The argument is that the mere failure to
comply constitutes a legislative finding of guilt, without regard to situations where non-compliance would be
reasonable or valid.
But since the non-compliance would be punished as a violation of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 1829, Section
20 necessarily incorporates elements of the offense which are defined therein. If Congress had intended for
Section 20 to constitute an offense in and of itself, it would not have had to make reference to any other statue
or provision.
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P.D. 1829 states:


Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000
pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or
delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing
any of the following acts:
x x x.
Thus, the act of non-compliance, for it to be punishable, must still be done "knowingly or willfully." There must
still be a judicial determination of guilt, during which, as the Solicitor General assumes, defense and

justifications for non-compliance may be raised. Thus, Section 20 is valid insofar as it applies to the provisions
of Chapter IV which are not struck down by the Court.
Sections 24 and 26(a) of the Cybercrime Law
Sections 24 and 26(a) provide:
Sec. 24. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center. There is hereby created, within thirty (30) days
from the effectivity of this Act, an inter-agency body to be known as the Cybercrime Investigation and
Coordinating Center (CICC), under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President, for policy
coordination among concerned agencies and for the formulation and enforcement of the national cybersecurity
plan.
Sec. 26. Powers and Functions. The CICC shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) To formulate a national cybersecurity plan and extend immediate assistance of real time commission of
cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency response team (CERT); x x x.
Petitioners mainly contend that Congress invalidly delegated its power when it gave the Cybercrime
Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) the power to formulate a national cybersecurity plan without any
sufficient standards or parameters for it to follow.
In order to determine whether there is undue delegation of legislative power, the Court has adopted two tests:
the completeness test and the sufficient standard test. Under the first test, the law must be complete in all its
terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the delegate, the only thing he
will have to do is to enforce it. The second test mandates adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to
determine the boundaries of the delegates authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.
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103

Here, the cybercrime law is complete in itself when it directed the CICC to formulate and implement a national
cybersecurity plan. Also, contrary to the position of the petitioners, the law gave sufficient standards for the
CICC to follow when it provided a definition of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity refers to the collection of tools, policies, risk management approaches, actions, training, best
practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect cyber environment and organization and
users assets. This definition serves as the parameters within which CICC should work in formulating the
cybersecurity plan.
104

Further, the formulation of the cybersecurity plan is consistent with the policy of the law to "prevent and
combat such [cyber] offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic
and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation." This
policy is clearly adopted in the interest of law and order, which has been considered as sufficient
standard. Hence, Sections 24 and 26(a) are likewise valid.
105

106

WHEREFORE, the Court DECLARES:


1. VOID for being UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
a. Section 4(c)(3) of Republic Act 10175 that penalizes posting of unsolicited commercial
communications;

b. Section 12 that authorizes the collection or recording of traffic data in real-time; and
c. Section 19 of the same Act that authorizes the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to
suspected Computer Data.
2. VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL:
a. Section 4(a)(1) that penalizes accessing a computer system without right;
b. Section 4(a)(3) that penalizes data interference, including transmission of viruses;
c. Section 4(a)(6) that penalizes cyber-squatting or acquiring domain name over the internet in bad
faith to the prejudice of others;
d. Section 4(b)(3) that penalizes identity theft or the use or misuse of identifying information belonging
to another;
e. Section 4(c)(1) that penalizes cybersex or the lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual
activity for favor or consideration;
f. Section 4(c)(2) that penalizes the production of child pornography;
g. Section 6 that imposes penalties one degree higher when crimes defined under the Revised Penal
Code are committed with the use of information and communications technologies;
h. Section 8 that prescribes the penalties for cybercrimes;
i. Section 13 that permits law enforcement authorities to require service providers to preserve traffic
data and subscriber information as well as specified content data for six months;
j. Section 14 that authorizes the disclosure of computer data under a court-issued warrant;
k. Section 15 that authorizes the search, seizure, and examination of computer data under a courtissued warrant;
l. Section 17 that authorizes the destruction of previously preserved computer data after the expiration
of the prescribed holding periods;
m. Section 20 that penalizes obstruction of justice in relation to cybercrime investigations;
n. Section 24 that establishes a Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC);
o. Section 26(a) that defines the CICCs Powers and Functions; and
p. Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the Revised Penal Code that penalizes libel.
Further, the Court DECLARES:

1. Section 4(c)(4) that penalizes online libel as VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL with respect to the
original author of the post; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to others who simply
receive the post and react to it; and
2. Section 5 that penalizes aiding or abetting and attempt in the commission of cybercrimes as VA L I
D and CONSTITUTIONAL only in relation to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on
Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System
Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on
Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-related Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related
Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to Sections
4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications, and 4(c)(4) on online
Libel.
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Lastly, the Court RESOLVES to LEAVE THE DETERMINATION of the correct application of Section 7 that
authorizes prosecution of the offender under both the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 10175 to actual
cases, WITH THE EXCEPTION of the crimes of:
1. Online libel as to which, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(4) of Republic Act 10175 and
Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code constitutes a violation of the proscription against double
jeopardy; as well as
2. Child pornography committed online as to which, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(2) of
Republic Act 10175 and Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 also constitutes
a violation of the same proscription, and, in respect to these, is VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
SO ORDERED.
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice