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MIGUEL V.

SANDIGANBAYAN

Facts:

Koronadal City, South Cotabato Vice Mayor (and others) filed a complaint before the
Ombudsman against herein Petitioner for violation of RA 3019 in connection with
architectural and engineering works in the proposed Koronadal public market.
Ombudsman required Petitioner to submit a counter-affidavit, which was submitted after
a request for extension. Ombudsman found probable cause to file the Information
before Sandiganbayan charging Petitioner with violation of RA 3019 and falsification of
public document. The information essentially said that Petitioner committed the offense
charged, taking advantage of his position, and acting with evident bad faith and
manifest partiality

The next turn of events would show that prior to arraignment, Petitioner asked several
extensions to file a counter-affidavit, which he repeatedly failed. Petitioner orally moved
for reinvestigation, and extension of 10 days to file counter-affidavit, which was granted
Again asked for 30-day extension, and before the expiry of that request, he again asked
for another 30 days. Both were granted, but asked for another 20 days, which was also
granted. Despite the extensions given, he failed to submit his counter-affidavit. This
prompted the Prosecutor to declare that petitioner has waived his right to submit
counter-availing evidence, and asked the Sandiganbayan for the arraignment of
Petitioner. Petitioner then asked an extension to file a motion to quash and/or
reinvestigation, Sandiganbayan denied due to the already pending reinvestigation and
his apparent failure to submit a counter affidavit. Petitioner did not question this denial

Petitioner was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution moved to suspend Petitioner pendente lite, which Petitioner opposed. This
was eventually granted by Sandiganbayan. Motion for reconsideration of Petitioner
likewise denied , hence, this Petition.

Issue:

Whether the Petitioner waived his right to present evidence and be heard

Held:
Yes. Petitioner claims that Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion ordering his
suspension despite the information failing to prove the evident bad faith and manifest
impartiality. OSP argues that the information sufficiently established all the elements of
the crime. Petitioner failed to cite how the evident bad faith and manifest impartiality
was not proven.

The test of w/n an information sufficiently describes the crime charged is if the
information describes the crime in intelligible terms and in such particularity with
reasonable certainty so that the accused is duly informed of the crime charged. In this
case, what Petitioner is essentially assailing is that of evident bad faith and manifest
impartiality. At best, what Petitioner can ask is a bill of particulars.

The main topic on right to present evidence and be heard is attached to the validity of
the suspension of Petitioner RA 3019 mandates that a public officer charged under that
Act or under RPC shall be suspended from office. The suspension requires a prior
hearing to determine the validity of the information. The accused public official may
challenge the information even before the suspension order on the grounds of: (1)
Validity of the proceeding that led to the filing of information, (2) propriety of the
prosecution on the grounds that the act imputed did not have all the elements of the
crime Petitioner says that, according to a previous jurisprudence, the trial court should
issue a show cause order against the prosecution before ordering the suspension.
However, in that same jurisprudence he cited, the show cause order is unnecessary
when a motion to suspend pendent lite was already filed. Moreover, the show cause
order (essentially a pre-suspension hearing) is aimed at securing for the accused a fair
and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the information or the validity of the
proceedings against him. Such proceedings offer the accused to be heard, and being
heard and does not necessarily mean oral pleadings before the court. It can also be
written pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard either through oral arguments or
written pleadings has been granted no denial of due process exists. Accused has
repeatedly failed to present his counter-affidavit despite being granted several
extensions. Moreover, the said suspension is not a penalty. It is merely a preventive
measure that reflects the constitutional mandate that a public office is a public trust.