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The facts, as gathered from t he records, are as follows:

[G.R. Nos. 120681-83. October 1, 1999] G.R. Nos. 120681-83

On September 7, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan
JEJOMAR C. BINAY, petitioner, vs. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and the three separate informations against petitioner Jejomar Binay, one for violation of Article
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, respondents. 220 of the Revised Penal Code,[6] and two for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019.[7] The informations, which were subsequently amended on September 15, 1994, all
alleged that the acts constituting these crimes were committed in 1987 during petitioners
incumbency as Mayor of Makati, then a municipality of Metro Manila.
[G.R. No. 128136. October 1, 1999]Type equation here.
Thereafter, petitioner moved to quash the informations. He contended that the six-
year delay from the time the charges were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on July
27, 1988 to the time the informations were filed in the Sandiganbayan on September 7,
MARIO C. MAGSAYSAY, FRANCISCO B. CASTILLO, CRISTINA D. MABIOG, REGINO 1994 constituted a violation of his right to due process. Arraignment of the accused was
E. MALAPIT, ERLINDA I. MASANGCAY and VICENTE DE LA held in abeyance pending the resolution of this motion.
ROSA, petitioners, vs. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, HON. OMBUDSMAN and its On March 29, 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners
PROSECUTOR WENDELL BARERRAS-SULIT and STATE PROSECUTORS motion to quash. Petitioners motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the
ERIC HENRY JOSEPH F. MALLONGA and GIDEON C. prosecution, was likewise denied by the Sandiganbayan. The resolution denying the
MENDOZA, respondents. motion for reconsideration, however, was issued before the petitioner could file a reply to
the prosecutions opposition to the motion for reconsideration.
DECISION
In the meantime, on March 31, 1995, the prosecution filed a Motion to Suspend
KAPUNAN, J.: Accused Pendente Lite. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated April 25, 1995, granted
the motion and ordered the suspension of petitioner for ninety days from receipt of the
Pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, Presidential Decree No. resolution. The court ruled that the requisites for suspension pendente lite were present
1486 created an Anti-Graft Court known as the Sandiganbayan.Since then the jurisdiction as petitioner was charged with one of the offenses under Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019[8] and
of the Sandiganbayan has under gone various changes,[1] the most recent of which were the informations containing these charges had previously been held valid in the resolution
effected through Republic Act Nos. 7975[2] and 8249.[3] Whether the Sandiganbayan, denying the motion to quash and the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.
under these laws, exercises exclusive original jurisdiction over criminal cases involving
municipal mayors accused of violations of Republic Act No. 3019 [4] and Article 220 of the Petitioner thus filed before this Court a petition for certiorari,[9] to set aside the
Revised Penal Code[5] is the central issue in these consolidated petitions. resolution denying his motion for reconsideration, claiming that he was denied due process
when the Sandiganbayan ordered his suspension pendente lite before he could file a reply
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay seeks to annul, among others, the to the prosecutions opposition to his motion for reconsideration of the resolution denying
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Case Nos. 21001, the motion to quash. In a Resolution dated April 28, 1995, the Court directed the
21005 and 21007 to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati and declaring that the Sandiganbayan to, among other things, permit petitioner to file said reply.
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over said cases despite the enactment of R.A. No. 7975.
After allowing and considering petitioners reply, the Sandiganbayan, on June 6, 1995,
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assail the October 22, 1996 issued a Resolution reiterating the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the denial of
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the motion to quash. On the same day, the Sandiganbayan issued another resolution
the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 23278 in deference to whatever ruling this Court will reiterating the order suspending petitioner pendente lite.
lay down in the Binay cases.

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Meanwhile, R.A. No. 7975, redefining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, took preventing the suspension and arraignment of petitioner. The Court on July 7, 1995,
effect on May 16, 1995.[10] resolved, among others, to issue the temporary restraining order prayed for.
On June 13, 1995, petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a motion to refer his On July 14, 1995, petitioner filed an Addendum to Petition (To allow the introduction
cases to the proper court for further proceedings, alleging that when the two Resolutions, of alternative reliefs), praying that, should this Court hold that the Sandiganbayan has
both dated June 6, 1995, were issued by the Anti-Graft Court, it had already lost jurisdiction jurisdiction over the cases, the criminal cases filed against him be dismissed just the same
over the subject cases. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated July 4, 1995, denied on the ground that the long delay of the preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman
petitioners motion, holding thus: prior to the filing of the informations, deprived him of his right to due process; and that,
moreover, there was no probable cause to warrant the filing of the informations.
There is no question that Municipal Mayors are classified as Grade 27 under the
compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989. Since, at the time of the commission
of the offenses charged in he above-entitled cases, the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay G.R. No. 128136
was a Municipal Mayor, although in an acting or interim capacity, the Sandiganbayan, has,
under Section 4 (e) 5, original jurisdiction over the cases therein filed against him. The
allegation that Mayor Binay ought to have been classified with a salary grade lower than Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual,
Grade 27, because at the time of the commission of the offenses charged he was paid a Batangas. Save for petitioner Vicente dela Rosa, all of Mayor Magsaysays co-petitioners
salary which merits a grade lower than Grade 27 does not hold water. In 1986 when the are officials of the same municipality.
herein offenses were committed by the accused, the Compensation & Position
Classification Act of 1989 was not as yet in existence. From the very definition of he very In a complaint dated April 16, 1994, Victor Cusi, then Vice-Mayor of San Pascual,
Act itself, it is evident that the Act was passed and had been effective only in 1989. The Batangas, charged petitioners along with Elpidia Amada, Jovey C. Babago, and Brigido H.
Grade classification of a public officer, whether at the time of the commission of the offense Buhain, also officials of San Pascual Batangas, with violation of R.A. No. 3019, as
or thereafter, is determined by his classification under the Compensation & Position amended. The complaint charged the respondent municipal officials of overpaying Vicente
Classification Act of 1989. Thus since the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a de la Rosa of TDR Construction for the landscaping project of the San Pascual Central
Municipal Mayor at the time of the commission of the offenses and the Compensation & School. This was docketed in the Office of the Ombudsman as OMB-1-94-1232.
Position Classification Act of 1989 classifies Municipal Mayors as Grade 27, it is a In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Lourdes A. Alarilla
conclusion beyond cavil that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the accused herein. recommended the filing of an information for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No.
3019, as amended, against petitioners with the Sandiganbayan. Director Elvis John S.
As of July 1, 1989, when Republic Act No. 6758 took effect, Municipal Mayor Jejomar C. Asuncion concurred in the resolution, and Manuel C. Domingo, Deputy Ombudsman for
Binay had begun receiving a monthly salary of P15,180.00 which is equivalent to Grade Luzon, recommended approval of the same. The resolution was approved by then Acting
28 under the salary scale provided for in Section 27 of the said Act. Under the Index of Ombudsman Francisco A. Villa with the following marginal note:
Occupational Services, the position titles and salary grades of the Compensation &
Position classification system prepared by the Department of Budget and Management Authority is given to the deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to cause the preparation of the
pursuant to Section 6 of Republic [A]ct No. 6758, the position of Municipal Mayor had been information and to approve the same for filing with the proper court.[12]
classified as Grade 27.[11]
On August 11, 1995, an Information for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) was filed
On July 7, 1995, petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition and against petitioners and Jovey C. Babago, not with the Sandiganbayan per the June 14,
mandamus questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over Criminal Case Nos. 1995 Resolution, but with the RTC of Batangas City. The information was signed by a
21001, 21005 and 21007. He prayed, among others, that the Court annul and set aside: (1) Lourdes A. Alarilla, the same Graft Investigation Officer who recommended the filing of the
the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the denial of the information with the Sandiganbayan.
motion for reconsideration of the motion to quash; (2) the Resolution of the same court
also dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the order suspending petitioner pendente lite; and (3) In the meantime, a group denominated as the Concerned Citizens of San Pascual,
the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated July 4, 1995 denying the motion to refer case Batangas filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against petitioners, and Elpidia Amada
to the RTC. Petitioner also asked that the Court issue a temporary restraining order and Brigido Buhain, with violations of R.A. No. 3019. The complaint also alleged, among

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others, the overpricing of the landscaping project of San Pascual Central School. The case I
was docketed as OMB-0-94-0149.
Had the Sandiganbayan been ousted of its jurisdiction over the case of municipal mayor
In a Resolution dated July 27, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Ernesto M. Nocos
recommended the filing of an information charging petitioners with violation of Section 3(e) after the passage of Republic Act No. 7975, coupled with the filing earlier of an information
and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended with proper court. The resolution, which was for the same offense before the Regional Trial Court having territorial jurisdiction and
venue of the commission of the offense?
recommended for approval by Nicanor J. Cruz, OIC-Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and
approved by Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, adopted the findings and conclusions in the
resolution in OMB-1-94-1232 that the landscaping project was overpriced. II

On February 9, 1996, another Information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. Are the respondents Ombudsman and the prosecutors estopped by laches or waiver from
3019, as amended, was filed against petitioners for the overpricing of the landscaping filing and prosecuting the case before respondent Sandiganbayan after the filing earlier of
project, this time before the Sandiganbayan. The information was subsequently amended the information in the proper court, thereafter repudiating it, seeking another court of the
on May 17, 1996. Except for the date the alleged crime was committed, the information same category and finally to respondent court?
charged essentially the same inculpatory facts as the information filed in the RTC. The
case was docketed in the Sandiganbayan as Crim. Case No. 22378.
III
On June 1, 1996, the accused filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the
information in Crim. Case No. 22378 on the following grounds: that the Sandiganbayan Whether or not the filing of two (2) informations for the same offense violated the rule on
had no jurisdiction over the case; that the accused were charged with the same offense in duplicity of information?
two informations; and that the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan would expose petitioners
to double jeopardy. The Sandiganbayan denied the accuseds motion to quash in a IV
Resolution dated June 21, 1996. The court, however, suspended proceedings in the case
until the Supreme Court resolved the question of the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction involved Whether or not the trial to be conducted by respondent court, if the case shall not be
in the Binay petition. dismissed, will expose the petitioners who are accused therein to double jeopardy?
Meanwhile, on June 7, 1996, Prosecutor Eric Mallonga filed a motion before the RTC
to refer the R.A. No. 3019 case pending therein to the Sandiganbayan, arguing that under V
R.A. No. 7975 the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, had jurisdiction over the case. On July 3,
1996, the RTC issued an order holding in abeyance the resolution of the motion to refer Under the circumstances, are the respondent Ombudsman and the prosecutors guilty of
the case since the issue of jurisdiction was pending before the Sandiganbayan. forum shopping?[13]
Back at the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution, on July 24, 1996, filed a motion for
reconsideration of the Sandiganbayans Order dated June 21, 1996.On August 2, 1996, On October 6, 1997, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 128136 (the
filed their own motion for the reconsideration of the same order. On October 22, 1996, the Magsaysay petition) with G.R. Nos. 120681-83 (the Binay petition).
Sandiganbayan granted the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution and set the In resolving these consolidated petitions, the Court shall first address the common
case for arraignment. Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the October 22, 1996 question of the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
Resolution ordering their arraignment, which motion was denied on February 17, 1997.
I
On February 27, 1997, the accused filed the present petition.
The Court rules that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject
On October 1, 1997, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order to cases.
prevent respondents from further proceeding with Crim. Case No. 23278 of the
Sandiganbayan. The informations against Mayor Binay were filed in the Sandiganbayan on July 7,
1994, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1606,[14] as amended by Presidential Decree
The petition raises the following issues: No. 1861,[15] the pertinent provisions of which state:

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SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise: (b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(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 (d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
the Revised Penal Code;
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
(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, (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00;
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
xxx.
On May 16, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 took effect. At this time, Mayor Binay had not yet (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
been arraigned in the Sandiganbayan. On the other hand, R.A. No. 7975 was already in
effect when the information against Mayor Magsaysay et al., was filed on August 11, 1995 (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the
in the RTC of Batangas City. provisions of the Constitution; and
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975 amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to read as follows:
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned
in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos.
occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: 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.
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
xxx.

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While the cases against petitioners were pending in this Court, congress enacted R.A. (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
No. 8249, again redefining the jurisdiction of the Anti-Graft Court. This law took effect, per
Section 10 thereof, on February 23, 1997, fifteen days after its complete publication on (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the
February 8, 1997 in the Journaland Malaya, two newspapers of general circulation. provisions of he Constitution; and
As further amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 now
reads: (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in
all cases involving: 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 heir office.
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 d. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos.
the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
capacity, at he time of the commission of the offense:
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the position of regional director and higher, 27 or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: 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
PambansaBlg. 129, as amended.
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
Petitioners contend that they do not come under the exclusive original jurisdiction of
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, the Sandiganbayan because:
assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; (1) At the alleged time of the commission of the crimes charged, petitioner municipal
mayors were not classified as Grade 27.
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(2) Municipal mayors are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1) of P.D. No.
1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975.
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(3) Congressional records reveal that the law did not intend municipal mayors to come
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;

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

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled In support of his contention that his position was not that of Grade 27, Mayor Binay
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. argues:

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the xxx. The new laws consistent and repeated reference to salary grade show[s] an
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989; intention to base the separation of jurisdiction between the Sandiganbayan and the

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regular courts on pay scale. Grades are determined by compensation. The essence The grade, therefore, depends upon the nature of ones position -- the level of difficulty,
of grades is pay scales. Therefor, pay scales determine grades.[16] responsibilities, and qualification requirements thereof -- relative to that of another
position. It is the officials Grade that determines his or her salary, not the other way around.
Mayor Binay, thus, presented a Certification[17] from the City Personnel Officer of It is possible that a local government officials salary may be less than that prescribed
Makati stating that petitioner as mayor received a monthly salary of only P10,793.00 from for his Grade since his salary depends also on the class and financial capability of his or
March 1987 to December 31, 1988. This amount was supposedly equivalent to Grade 22
her respective local government unit.[23] Nevertheless, it is the law which fixes the officials
under R.A. No. 6758.
grade.
Mayor Magsaysay, for his part, submitted a similar Certification[18] from the Municipal
Thus, Section 8 of R.A. 6758 fixes the salary grades of the President, Vice-President,
Treasurer of San Pascual, Batangas, stating: Senate President, Speaker, Chief Justice, Senators, Members of the House of
Representatives, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the Chairmen and
x x x that the basic monthly salary received by Mario C. Magsaysay, Municipal Mayor of Members of the Constitutional Commissions. Section 8 also authorizes the Department of
San Pascual, Batangas with Salary Grade 27 is ELEVEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED Budget and Management (DBM) to determine the officials who are of equivalent rank to
TWENTY EIGHT PESOS (P11,828.00) per month as of November 3, 1993 equivalent only the foregoing officials, where applicable and to assign such officials the same Salary
to Grade 25, Step 5 of RA 6758, the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. Grades subject to a set of guidelines found in said section.

Section 444(1) (Grad[e] 27) of RA 6758 is not as yet implemented due to budgetary For positions below those mentioned under Section 8, Section 9 instructs the DBM to
constraints. This certification is issued to Mayor Mario C. Magsaysay this 30th day of May prepare the Index of Occupational Services guided by the Benchmark Position prescribed
1996 at San Pascual, Batangas for whatever legal purpose and/or purposes it may serve. in Section 9 and the factors enumerated therein.
To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
The Court does not subscribe to the manner by which petitioners classify Grades. Sandiganbayan, therefore, reference should be made to R.A. No. 6758 and the Index of
Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades. Salary level is not
The Constitution[19] states that in providing for the standardization of compensation of
determinative. An officials grade is not a matter of proof, but a matter of law of which the
government officials and employees, Congress shall take into account the nature of the
responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions, thus: Court must take judicial notice.[24]
As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position
The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government Titles and Salary Grades list the municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner
officials, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations with original mayors come within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner
charters, taking into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the mayors are local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and
qualifications required for their positions. Position Classification Act of 1989, under the catchall provision, Section 4a(5) of P.D. No.
1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. More accurately, petitioner mayors are [o]fficials of
Corollary thereto, Republic Act No. 6758[20] provides in Section 2 thereof the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
that differences in pay are to be based upon substantive differences in duties and classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions. In short, the nature of an 1989, under Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975.[25]
officials position should be the determining factor in the fixing of his or her salary. This is
not only mandated by law but dictated by logic as well.
Consistent with these policies, the law employs the scheme known as the grade B
defined in Presidential Decree No. 985[21] as including
Petitioners, however, argue that they are not included in the enumeration in Section
xxx all classes of positions which, although different with respect to kind or subject matter 4a(1). They invoke the rule in statutory construction expressio unius est expressio
of work, are sufficiently equivalent as to level of difficulty and responsibilities and level of alterius. As what is not included in those enumerated is deemed excluded, municipal
qualification requirements of the work to warrant the inclusion of such classes of positions officials are excluded from the Sandiganbayans exclusive original jurisdiction.
within one range of basic compensation.[22]
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Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is
and unambiguous.[26] The law is clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of P.D. also an elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the
No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, speaks of [o]fficials of the executive branch statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from language
occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. (Baranda v. Gustilo,
and higher, of the compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. 165 SCRA 758-759 [1988]). The courts may not speculate as to the probable intent of the
legislature apart from the words (Aparri v. CA, 127 SCRA 233 [1984]). When the law is
The Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain clear, it is not susceptible to interpretation. It must be applied regardless of who may be
meaning rule were disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation. affected, even if the law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110 Phil.
The premise of petitioners argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is 42). And even granting that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule,
exclusive. It is not. The phrase specifically including after [o]fficials of the executive branch should be strictly but reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly
occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than
and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 necessarily the exception. Thus, where a general rule is established by statute, the court will not curtail
conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the enumeration. The principle of expressio the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v. CA., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]).[30]
unius est exclusio alterius does not apply where other circumstances indicate that the
enumeration was not intended to be exclusive,[27] or where the enumeration is by way of Thus, in Rodrigo, petitioners therein argued in their motion for reconsideration:
example only.[28] In Conrado B. Rodrigo, et al. vs. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (First
Division), supra, the Court held that the catchall in Section 4a(5) was necessary for it would x x x that the inclusion of Municipal Mayors within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
be impractical, if not impossible, for Congress to list down each position created or will be would be inconvenient since the witness in their case would come from Baguio City and
created pertaining to grades 27 and above. The same rationale applies to the enumeration San Nicolas, Pangasinan. This, according to petitioners, would defeat one of the purposes
in Section 4a(1). Clearly, the law did not intend said enumeration to be an exhaustive list. of R.A. No. 7975, that is, the convenience of the accused.
Should there be any doubts as to whether petitioner mayors are under the category
of Grade 27, Section 444(d) of the Local Government Code settles the matter: The Court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, held, among others, that:

The municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation corresponding to The legislature has nevertheless chosen the mode and standard by which to implement
Salary Grade twenty-seven (27) as prescribed under R.A. No. 6758 and the implementing its intent, and courts have no choice but to apply it. Congress has willed that positions with
guidelines issued pursuant thereto. Grade 27 and above shall come within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and this Court
is duty-bound to obey the congressional will.
In the Courts Resolution in Rodrigo dated July 2, 1999 denying the motion for
reconsideration, we treated the above provision as confirmatory of the Salary Grade Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Roco, stating:
assigned by the DBM to Municipal Mayors.
Since February 1979, when the Sandiganbayan was established up to the present, the
Court has been confronted with the problem of those accused who are of limited means
who stand trial for petty crimes, the so-called small fry -- the barangay officials, the
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municipal officials and employees, postal clerks and letter carriers and the like -- who
are involved with nickel-and-dime cases and money-related cases such as malversation,
Petitioner Binay cites previous bills[29] in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the estafa and theft. xxx
Sandiganbayan. These bills supposedly sought to exclude municipal officials from the
Sandiganbayans exclusive original jurisdiction to relieve these officials ,especially those xxx xxx xxx
from the provinces, of the financial burden brought about by trials in Manila.
Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that
The resort to congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in only those occupying high positions in Government and the military fall under the
this case is unwarranted in this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule jurisdiction of the court.[31]
of inclusio unius est expressio alterius is inappropriate.
7
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It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are it should have employed the term proper regular courts or regular courts instead of proper
excluded from the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by courts. Accordingly, the law in the third paragraph of Section 4 P.D. No. 1606, as amended
a legislators opinion in congressional debates regarding the interpretation of a particular by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, uses the term regular courts, not proper courts:
legislation. It is deemed a mere personal opinion of the legislator.[32] Such opinions do not
necessarily reflect the view of the entire Congress.[33] The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the
final judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are
occupying positions lower than salary grade 27, or not otherwise covered by the preceding
D enumeration. [Underscoring supplied.]

Construed thus, the effects of Section 7 may be summarized as follows:


From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the cases against petitioner Binay
cannot be referred to the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides: 1. If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has already begun as of the approval of R.A.
No. 7975, R.A. No. 7975 does not apply.
Sec. 7. Upon effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the
Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts. 2. If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No.
7975, then R.A. No. 7975 applies.
In construing the correct import of Section 7, it may be helpful to refer to the guidelines
in determining jurisdiction laid down in Bengzon vs. Inciong:[34] (a) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975,
the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case before it, then the case shall be referred
The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a to the Sandiganbayan.
controversy, its jurisdiction to proceed to the final determination of the cause is not affected
by new legislation placing jurisdiction over such proceedings in another tribunal. The (b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975,
exception to the rule is where the statute expressly provides, or is construed to the effect the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case before it, the case shall be referred to
that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before its enactment. Where a statute the regular courts.
changing the jurisdiction of a court has no retroactive effect, it cannot be applied to a case
that was pending prior to the enactment of the statute.
The trial of the cases involving Mayor Binay had not yet begun as of the date of the
approval of R.A. 7975; consequently, the Anti-Graft Court retains jurisdiction over the said
R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the exception rather than the cases.
rule. The provision is transitory in nature and expresses the legislatures intention to apply
its provisions on jurisdiction to criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the In any case, whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of
Sandiganbayan. To this extent, R.A. 7975 is retroactive. Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be laid to rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which
states:
Such a transitory provision is not peculiar to R.A. No. 7975; similar provisions are
found in other laws reallocating the jurisdiction of the courts.[35]There is no reason why
Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over
Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be any different.
which trial has not begun as of the approval hereof.
The term proper courts, as used in Section 7, means courts of competent jurisdiction,
and such jurisdiction is defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. The latter provision more accurately expresses the legislatures intent and in any event
7975. The former should not be read in isolation but construed in conjunction with the should be applied in this case, R.A. No. 8249 having superseded R.A. No. 7975.
latter.
In Panfilo M. Lacson vs. The Executive Secretary, et al.,[36] The Court explained the
The term proper courts as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted purpose of the foregoing provision.
to regular courts, but includes as well the Sandiganbayan, a special court. If the intent of
Congress were to refer all cases the trials of which have not begun to the regular courts,

8
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x x x it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of [Sandiganbayans] jurisdiction Article III of the Constitution provides that:
would necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to provide for a remedy in the
form of a transitory provision. x x x. The transitory provision does not only cover cases Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all
which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in any court. x x x. Moreover, those cases where judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.
trial had already begun are not affected by the transitory provision under Section 7 of the
new law (RA 8249). [Emphasis in the original.] The constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases is not limited to the accused
in criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and
The possible disruptive effect of the amendments to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction administrative cases, and in all proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial
on pending cases was, therefore, not lost on the legislature.Congress has, furthermore, hearings.[37] Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a case may demand expeditious
deemed the commencement of the trial as the crucial point in determining whether a court action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice.[38]
retains a case pending before it or lose the same on the ground of lack of jurisdiction per
the provisions of R.A. 8249. The law obviously does not want to waste the time and effort However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial,[39] is
already devoted to the presentation of evidence if trial had already begun. On the other deemed violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and
hand, not much disruption would be caused if the amendment were made to apply to cases oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and
the trials of which have not yet to start. secured, or when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to
elapse without the party having his case tried.[40] Equally applicable is the balancing test
The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be stated as follows: used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a speedy trial, or a
speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution
1. If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the approval and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for
of R.A. No. 8249, said law does not apply. such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice
caused by the delay.[41] The concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must
2. If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the approval of R.A. necessarily be a flexible concept.[42]
No. 8249, then said law applies.
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be
sufficient.[43] In the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy
(a) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then it retains disposition of cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts and circumstances
jurisdiction. peculiar to each case.[44]

(b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending before it, the case shall In Tatad vs.Sandiganbayan,[45] the Court held that the length of delay and the
be referred to the regular courts. simplicity of the issues did not justify the delay in the disposition of the cases therein. The
unexplained inaction[46] of the prosecutors called for the dismissal of the cases against
petitioner Tatad.
(c) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before a regular court, the
latter loses jurisdiction and the same shall be referred to the Sandiganbayan. In Alvizo vs. Sandiganbayan,[47] the Court also ruled that there was no violation of the
right to speedy disposition. The Court took into account the reasons for the delay, i.e., the
(d) If a regular court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then said court retains frequent amendments of procedural laws by presidential decrees, the structural
jurisdiction. reorganizations in existing prosecutorial agencies and the creation of new ones by
executive fiat, resulting in changes of personnel, preliminary jurisdiction, and the functions
Thus, under both R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8429, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction and powers of prosecuting agencies. The Court likewise considered the failure of the
over said cases. accused to assert such right, and the lack of prejudice caused by the delay to the accused.

II In Santiago vs. Garchitorena,[48] the complexity of the issues and the failure of the
accused to invoke her right to speedy disposition at the appropriate time spelled defeat to
Petitioner Binay avers in his Addendum to Petition that his right to speedy disposition her claim to the constitutional guarantee.
has been violated by the inordinate delay in the resolution of the subject cases by the
Ombudsman.
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In Cadalin vs. POEAs Administrator,[49] the Court, considering also the complexity of 1.6. The first part of the final report was followed by a Supplemental
the cases (not run-of-the-mill variety) and the conduct of the parties lawyers, held that the Report on Findings No. 1 and 3. This Supplemental Report is dated July
right to speedy disposition was not violated therein. 3, 1989.
In petitioner Binays case, the Court finds that there was no undue delay in the 2. After securing machine copies of the voluminous documents supporting the
disposition of the subject cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the COA findings, Pros. Margarito Gervacio, Chairman of the Panel of
Tanodbayan, and later with the Office of the Ombudsman, adequately explains the length Prosecutors, issued the corresponding subpoena directing the respondents
of the delay: to submit their respective counter-affidavits.
1. That on July 27, 1988 Bobby Brillante filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan 2.1. In compliance with the subpoena, Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted his
an affidavit-complaint charging, Jejomar Binay, Sergio Santos, Roberto counter-affidavit on May 18, 1990, Marissa Chan, Feliciano Bascon,
Chang, Delfin Almeda, Nelson Irasga, Nicasio Santiago, Feliciano Basam, Nicanor Santiago, Jr. on June 19, 1990, Renato Manrique on June 4,
Maria Chan, Romeo Barrios, Azucena Diaz, Virgilio Clarete, Godofredo 1990, Alfredo Ignacio on June 6, 1990, Roberto Chang on August 27,
Marcelo, Armando San Miguel, Salvador Pangilinan and John Does of the 1990.Feliciano Bascon submitted his Supplemental Affidavit on
following offenses: (a) Massive Malversation of Public Funds; (b) Multiple November 22, 1990.
Falsification of Public Documents; (c) Usurpation of Official Functions; (d)
Violation of Election Law; and (e) Violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019. 2.2. Thereafter, clarificatory examinations were conducted on September
27, 1990, October 26, 1990, November 8, 9, 14, 22, 1990.
1.1. Brillantes complaint was based on the initial findings and
observations of the COA on the examination of the cash and accounts 3. On January 15, 1991 Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted a copy of this Petition
covering transactions from April 1, 1987 to January 4, 1988 and Post- for Certiorari in G.R. No. 92380 which he and the municipality of Makati filed
Audit of Selected Accounts for the last quarter of 1987 of the with the Supreme Court against COA Chairman, Eufemio Domingo and the
Municipality of Makati contained in its Report dated January 11, Commission on Audit, with a manifestation that said petition is submitted to
1988. The COA furnished the Tanodbayan a copy of this report on support Binays stand as regard COA Finding No. 9 aforestated.
August 1, 1988 upon request of the latter. 4. On April 2, 1992 respondent Marissa Chan filed an affidavit containing
1.2. In the letter of the COA transmitting a copy of the report, the allegations incriminating Jejomar Binay;
Tanodbayan was informed that this COA audit report of January 11, 5. Upon being ordered to comment on the said April 2, 1992 affidavit of Marissa
1988 is not yet released since the Mayor of Makati was given thirty days Chan, Jejomar Binay submitted his comment thereto on April 30, 1992.
within which to explain/clarify the findings in the report and is subject to
change or modification depending upon the explanation/clarification to 6. On August 4, 1993, the Investigation Panel submitted to the Deputy Special
be submitted by the Mayor of Makati. Because of this information from Prosecutor its Resolution disposing the preliminary investigation of the case.
the COA the preliminary investigation was held in abeyance until the 6.1. On August 10, 1993 the said Resolution was approved by the Special
submission of the final report. Prosecutor, who forwarded the same and the entire records to the Office
1.3. On March 1, 1989, the first part of the Final Report on Audit of Makati of the Ombudsman for review and/or final action.
was received by the Office of the Ombudsman and was transmitted for 6.2. On August 16, 1994, the Review Panel of the Ombudsman submitted
purposes of the ensuring preliminary investigation to the Tanodbayan to the latter its review action for approval.
which received the same on March 22, 1989.
6.3. On August 19, 1994, the Ombudsman approved some of the
1.4. This first part of the Final Report contained the fifteen (15) adverse recommendations of the Review Panel and directed the preparation and
findings, above elsewhere stated as the basis of Bobby Brillantes filing of the informations.[50]
complaint.
Furthermore, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit
1.5. Eleven (11) COA auditors participated in the documentation and (COA); it must rely on its own independent judgment in the determination of probable
analysis of its findings and preparation of the final report. cause. Accordingly, the prosecution had to conduct it s own review of the COA

10
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findings. Judging from said findings, we find that the cases were sufficiently complex, thus (2) Respondents are estopped from filing an information before the Sandiganbayan
justifying the length of time for their resolution. As held by the Sandiganbayan in its considering that they had already filed another information alleging the same facts before
Resolution dated March 29, 1995 denying the Motion to Quash: the Regional Trial Court.
2. Ten charges are involved in these cases and the prosecution, unable to rely (3) The filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double
on the raw findings of the Commission on Audit in 15 reports caused the jeopardy.
investigation and examination of thousands of vouchers, payrolls, and
supporting documents considering that no less than the Chairman of the The Court tackles these arguments successively then deals with the questions of
Commission on Audit, assisted by a team supervisor and 10 team members duplicity of information and forum shopping.
had to take part in the conduct of a final audit consisting of evaluation and Petitioners invoke the rule that the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be
analysis of the initial findings in the 15 raw reports, the cases must have ousted by subsequent happenings or events, although of such character which would have
involved complicated legal and factual issues which do warrant or justify a prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance.[53] They claim that the filing of the
longer period of time for preliminary investigation. information in the Sandiganbayan was a subsequent happening or event which cannot
xxx oust the RTC of its jurisdiction.

5. In the TATAD case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to three This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction
(3) years from the time all the counter-affidavits were submitted to the over the case. Jurisdiction never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed
Tanodbayan, notwithstanding the fact that very few documentary and before the RTC, R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect and, under said law, jurisdiction over
testimonial evidence were involved. In the above-entitled cases, the the case pertained to the Sandiganbayan.
preliminary investigation of all ten (10) cases was terminated in merely two (2) Neither can estoppel be successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law,
years and four (4) months from the date Mayor Binay filed his last pleading, not by the consent or agreement of the parties or by estoppel.[54] As a consequence of this
on April 30, 1992.[51] principle, the Court held in Zamora vs. Court of Appeals[55] that:
Petitioner claims that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering his
suspension pendente lite is unwarranted since the informations charging him were not It follows that as a rule the filing of a complaint with one court which has no jurisdiction
valid. This contention, however, must fail in view of our pronouncement that there was no over it does not prevent the plaintiff from filing the same complaint later with the competent
delay in the resolution of the subject cases in violation of his right to speedy court. The plaintiff is not estopped from doing so simply because it made a mistake before
disposition. Accordingly, the informations in question are valid an petitioners in the choice of the proper forum. In such a situation, the only authority the first court can
suspension pendente lite must be upheld. exercise is to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. This has to be so as a contrary
conclusion would allow a party to divest the competent court of its jurisdiction, whether
Finally, whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases erroneously or even deliberately, in derogation of the law.
is a question best left to the discretion of the Ombudsman.Absent any grave abuse of such
discretion, the Court will not interfere in the exercise thereof.[52] Petitioner in this case has It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases[56] that estoppel prevents a party
failed to establish any such abuse on the part of the Ombudsman. from questioning the jurisdiction of the court that the party himself invoked. Estoppel,
III however, remains the exception rather than the rule, the rule being that jurisdiction is
vested by law.[57] Even in those instances where the Court applied estoppel, the party
Having ruled that the criminal case against petitioners in G.R. No. 128136 is within estopped consistently invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively participated in the
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the Court will now dispose of the proceedings, impugning such jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse decision. This
following issues raised by them: is not the case here. After discovering that a similar information had earlier been filed in
the RTC, respondents promptly asked the trial court to refer the case to the
(1) The Sandiganbayan was ousted of its jurisdiction by the filing of an information
Sandiganbayan, which motion was followed by a motion to resolve the previous
alleging the same facts with the Regional Trial Court.
motion. There was no consistent invocation of the RTCs jurisdiction. There were no further
proceedings after the filing of the information save for the motion to refer the case precisely

11
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on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve the earlier motion. Finally, Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one
the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse to petitioners. offense but with more than one information charging one offense.
Second, petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-shopping. Broadly speaking,
themselves party to the criminal action. In a criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the forum shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks
commission of a crime is an offense against the State. Thus, the complaint or information a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another, or when he institutes
filed in court is required to be brought in the name of the People of the Philippines.[58] Even two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one
then, the doctrine of estoppel does not apply as against the people in criminal or the other court would make a favorable disposition.[65] We discern no intent on the part
prosecutions.[59] Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted of the State, in filing two informations in two different courts, to gamble that one or the
murder,[60] is a public offense. Social and public interest demand the punishment of the other court would make a favorable disposition.
offender; hence, criminal actions for public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much
less barred by the rules of estoppel.[61] Obviously, respondents got their signals crossed. One set of officials, after
investigating a complaint filed by the Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas charging
The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not put petitioners in double petitioners of overpricing, filed the information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019
jeopardy even though they had already pleaded not guilty to the information earlier filed in in the RTC. Another set of officials investigated another complaint from the Concerned
the RTC. The first jeopardy never attached in the first place, the RTC not being a court of Citizens Group accusing petitioners of, among others, overpricing the same project subject
competent jurisdiction. There can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a of the previous complaint. Finding probable cause, the second set of officials instituted the
plea in a court that had no jurisdiction.[62] The remedy of petitioners, therefore, was not to criminal action, charging the same offense and alleging essentially the same facts as the
move for the quashal of the information pending in the Sandiganbayan on the ground first, this time in the Sandiganbayan. Later learning of the procedural faux pas,
of double jeopardy.[63] Their remedy was to move for the quashal of the information respondents without undue delay asked the RTC to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan.
pending in the RTC on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.[64]
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED.
The contention that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan violated the rule
against duplicitous informations is patently unmeritorious.That rule presupposes that there
is one complaint or information charging not one offense, but two or more offenses. Thus,
Rule 110 of the Rules of Court states:

Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. - A complaint or information must charge but one offense,
except only in those cases in which existing laws prescribed a single punishment for
various offenses.

Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for quashing the duplicitous complaint or
information under Rule 117:

Sec. 3. Grounds. - The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any
of the following grounds:

xxx

(e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing laws
prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;

xxx

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Auditing Code of the Philippines for his failure to liquidate the cash advances he received
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 169004 on December 19, 1995 in the amount of Thirty-Three Thousand Pesos (P33,000.00) . The
Petitioner,
Information reads:
Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson, That on or about December 19, 1995, and for sometime prior or
-versus- VELASCO, JR.,* subsequent thereto at Toledo City, Province of Cebu, Philippines, and
PERALTA, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
BERSAMIN,* and ROLANDO PLAZA, a high-ranking public officer, being a member of the
ABAD, JJ. Sangguniang Panlungsod of Toledo City, and committing the offense, in
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD relation to office, having obtained cash advances from the City
DIVISION) and ROLANDO PLAZA, Promulgated: Government of Toledo in the total amount of THIRTY THREE THOUSAND
Respondents. PESOS (P33,000.00), Philippine Currency, which he received by reason
September 15, 2010 of his office, for which he is duty bound to liquidate the same within the
period required by law, with deliberate intent and intent to gain, did then
and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally fail to liquidate said cash
advances of P33,000.00, Philippine Currency, despite demands to the
damage and prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount.
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
CONTRARY TO LAW.

DECISION
Thereafter, respondent Plaza filed a Motion to Dismiss[3] dated April 7, 2005 with
PERALTA, J.: the Sandiganbayan, to which the latter issued an Order[4] dated April 12, 2005 directing
petitioner to submit its comment. Petitioner filed its Opposition[5] to the Motion to Dismiss
on April 19, 2005. Eventually, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its Resolution[6] on July 20,
For this Court's resolution is a petition[1] dated September 2, 2005 under Rule 45
2005 dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice to its filing before the
of the Rules of Court that seeks to reverse and set aside the Resolution[2] of the
proper court. The dispositive portion of the said Resolution provides:
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), dated July 20, 2005, dismissing Criminal Case No. 27988,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant case is hereby
entitled People of the Philippines v. Rolando Plaza for lack of jurisdiction. ordered dismissed for lack of jurisdiction without prejudice to its filing in the
proper court.

The facts follow. SO ORDERED.

Respondent Rolando Plaza, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Toledo


City, Cebu, at the time relevant to this case, with salary grade 25, had been charged in the Thus, the present petition.
Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 89 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1445, or The

13
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Petitioner contends that the Sandiganbayan has criminal jurisdiction over cases
involving public officials and employees enumerated under Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, In a nutshell, the core issue raised in the petition is whether or not the
(as amended by Republic Act [R.A.] Nos. 7975 and 8249), whether or not occupying a Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod whose
position classified under salary grade 27 and above, who are charged not only for violation salary grade is below 27 and charged with violation of The Auditing Code of
of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or any of the felonies included in Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, the Philippines.
Book II of the Revised Penal Code, but also for crimes committed in relation to
office. Furthermore, petitioner questioned the Sandiganbayans appreciation of this Court's This Court has already resolved the above issue in the affirmative. People v.
decision in Inding v. Sandiganbayan,[7] claiming that the Inding case did not categorically Sandiganbayan and Amante[9] is a case with uncanny similarities to the present one. In
nor implicitly constrict or confine the application of the enumeration provided for under fact, the respondent in the earlier case, Victoria Amante and herein respondent Plaza were
Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as amended, exclusively to cases where the offense both members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Toledo City, Cebu at the time pertinent
charged is either a violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of to this case. The only difference is that, respondent Amante failed to liquidate the amount
the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner adds that the enumeration in Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. of Seventy-One Thousand Ninety-Five Pesos (P71,095.00) while respondent Plaza failed
1606, as amended by R.A. 7975 and R.A. 8249, which was made applicable to cases to liquidate the amount of Thirty-Three Thousand Pesos (P33,000.00).
concerning violations of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the
Revised Penal Code, equally applies to offenses committed in relation to public office.
In ruling that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a member of the Sangguniang
In his Comment[8] dated November 30, 2005, respondent Plaza argued that, as Panlungsod whose salary grade is below 27 and charged with violation of The Auditing
phrased in Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended, it is apparent that the jurisdiction of the Code of the Philippines, this Court cited the case of Serana v. Sandiganbayan, et al.[10]as
Sandiganbayan was defined first, while the exceptions to the general rule are provided in a background on the conferment of jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, thus:
the rest of the paragraph and sub-paragraphs of Section 4; hence, the Sandiganbayan
x x x The Sandiganbayan was created by P.D. No. 1486, promulgated by
was right in ruling that it has original jurisdiction only over the following cases: (a) where
then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 11, 1978. It was
the accused is a public official with salary grade 27 and higher; (b) in cases where the promulgated to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of
public officers and employees, based on the concept that public officers
accused is a public official below grade 27 but his position is one of those mentioned in
and employees shall serve with the highest degree of responsibility,
the enumeration in Section 4 (a) (1) (a) to (g) of P. D. 1606, as amended and his offense integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times accountable to
the people.[11]
involves a violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the
Revised Penal Code; and (c) if the indictment involves offenses or felonies other than the 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
three aforementioned statutes, the general rule that a public official must occupy a position
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.[12]
with salary grade 27 and higher in order that the Sandiganbayan could exercise jurisdiction P.D. No. 1606 was later amended by P.D. No. 1861 on March 23, 1983,
over him must apply. further altering the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. R.A. No. 7975approved on
March 30, 1995 made succeeding amendments to P.D. No. 1606, which
14
CP-1 NDC

was again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. No. 8249. Section 4 of


be determined at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of the commission
R.A. No. 8249 further modified the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. x x x
. of the offense. The present case having been instituted on March 25, 2004, the provisions
Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. 7975 which took effect of R.A. 8249 shall govern. P.D. 1606, as amended by R.A. 8249 states that:
on May 16, 1995, which was again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. 8249, is the law
that should be applied in the present case, the offense having been allegedly committed Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original
jurisdiction in all cases involving:
on or about December 19, 1995 and the Information having been filed on March 25, 2004.
As extensively explained in the earlier mentioned case, A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise
known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379,
and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one
The jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is to be determined
or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following
at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of the
positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim
commission of the offense.[13] The exception contained in R. A.
capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
7975, as well as R. A. 8249, where it expressly provides that to
determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in cases involving
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the
violations of R. A. No. 3019, as amended, R. A. No. 1379, and Chapter
positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code is not applicable in
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and
the present case as the offense involved herein is a violation of The
Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758),
Auditing Code of the Philippines. The last clause of the opening
specifically including:
sentence of paragraph (a) of the said two provisions states:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall
governors, members of the sangguniang
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
panlalawigan and provincial treasurers,
involving:
assessors, engineers, and other city
department heads;
A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended,
other known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
(b) City mayors, vice mayors,
Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2,
members of the sangguniang panlungsod,
Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where
city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and
one or more of the accused are officials occupying the
other city department heads.
following positions in the government, whether in a
permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service
the commission of the offense: x x x.[14]
occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d) Philippine army and air force


colonels, naval captains, and all officers of
Like in the earlier case, the present case definitely falls under Section 4 (b) where other
higher rank;
offenses and felonies committed by public officials or employees in relation to their office
are involved where the said provision, contains no exception. Therefore, what applies in (e) PNP chief superintendent and
PNP officers of higher rank;
the present case is the general rule that jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is to

15
CP-1 NDC

(f) City and provincial prosecutors exceptions. Those that are classified as Grade 26 and below may still
and their assistants, and officials and fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan provided that they
prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman hold the positions thus enumerated by the same law. Particularly and
and Special Prosecutor; exclusively enumerated are provincial governors, vice-govenors, members
of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors,
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, engineers, and other provincial department heads; city mayors, vice-
or managers of government-owned or mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
controlled corporations, state universities or assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; officials of the
educational institutions or foundations; diplomatic service occupying the position as consul and higher; Philippine
army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; City and
classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in
Position Classification Act of 1989; the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; and presidents,
directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. In
provisions of the Constitution; connection therewith, Section 4 (b) of the same law provides that
other offenses or felonies committed by public officials and
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional employees mentioned in subsection (a) in relation to their office also
Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the fall under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.[15]
Constitution; and

(5) All other national and local officials classified as


Clearly, as decided in the earlier case and by simple application of the pertinent
Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989. provisions of the law, respondent Plaza, a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod during
the alleged commission of an offense in relation to his office, necessarily falls within the
B. Other offenses or felonies, whether simple or complexed with
other crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.

C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Finally, as to the inapplicability of the Inding[16] case wherein it was ruled that the
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
officials enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as amended, are included
within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan regardless of salary grade and which
Again, the earlier case interpreted the above provisions, thus: the Sandiganbayan relied upon in its assailed Resolution, this Court enunciated, still in the
The above law is clear as to the composition of the original jurisdiction of earlier case of People v. Sandiganbayan and Amante,[17] that the Inding case did not
the Sandiganbayan. Under Section 4 (a), the following offenses are categorically nor implicitly constrict or confine the application of the enumeration
specifically enumerated: violations of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, R.A. No.
1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code. In provided for under Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as amended, exclusively to cases
order for the Sandiganbayan to acquire jurisdiction over the said offenses, where the offense charged is either a violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or Chapter II,
the latter must be committed by, among others, officials of the executive
branch occupying positions of regional director and higher, otherwise Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code. As thoroughly discussed:
classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989. However, the law is not devoid of
16
CP-1 NDC

x x x In the Inding case, the public official involved was a member of the x x x In the case at bar, the amended information
Sangguniang Panlungsod with Salary Grade 25 and was charged with contained allegations that the accused, petitioner herein,
violation of R.A. No. 3019. In ruling that the Sandiganbayan had took advantage of his official functions as municipal mayor
jurisdiction over the said public official, this Court concentrated its of Meycauayan, Bulacan when he committed the crime of
disquisition on the provisions contained in Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. No. grave threats as defined in Article 282 of the Revised
1606, as amended, where the offenses involved are specifically Penal Code against complainant Simeon G. Legaspi, a
enumerated and not on Section 4 (b) where offenses or felonies involved municipal councilor. The Office of the Special Prosecutor
are those that are in relation to the public officials' office. Section 4 (b) of charged petitioner with aiming a gun at and threatening to
P.D. No. 1606, as amended, provides that: kill Legaspi during a public hearing, after the latter had
rendered a privilege speech critical of petitioners
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by public administration. Clearly, based on such allegations, the
officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of crime charged is intimately connected with the discharge
this section in relation to their office. of petitioners official functions. This was elaborated upon
by public respondent in its April 25, 1997 resolution
wherein it held that the accused was performing his official
A simple analysis after a plain reading of the above provision duty as municipal mayor when he attended said public
shows that those public officials enumerated in Sec. 4 (a) of P.D. No. hearing and that accuseds violent act was precipitated by
1606, as amended, may not only be charged in the Sandiganbayan complainants criticism of his administration as the mayor
with violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379 or Chapter II, Section or chief executive of the municipality, during the latters
2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, but also with other offenses privilege speech. It was his response to private
or felonies in relation to their office. The said other offenses and complainants attack to his office. If he was not the mayor,
felonies are broad in scope but are limited only to those that are he would not have been irritated or angered by whatever
committed in relation to the public official or employee's office. This Court private complainant might have said during said privilege
had ruled that as long as the offense charged in the information is speech. Thus, based on the allegations in the information,
intimately connected with the office and is alleged to have been the Sandiganbayan correctly assumed jurisdiction over
perpetrated while the accused was in the performance, though the case.
improper or irregular, of his official functions, there being no
personal motive to commit the crime and had the accused not have Proceeding from the above rulings of this Court, a close reading
committed it had he not held the aforesaid office, the accused is of the Information filed against respondent Amante for violation of The
held to have been indicted for an offense committed in relation to Auditing Code of the Philippines reveals that the said offense was
his office.[18] Thus, in the case of Lacson v. Executive Secretary, et committed in relation to her office, making her fall underSection 4 (b) of
al..,[19] where the crime involved was murder, this Court held that: P.D. No. 1606, as amended.

The phrase other offenses or felonies is too broad According to the assailed Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, if the
as to include the crime of murder, provided it was intention of the law had been to extend the application of the exceptions
committed in relation to the accuseds official functions. to the other cases over which the Sandiganbayan could assert
Thus, under said paragraph b, what determines jurisdiction, then there would have been no need to distinguish between
the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction is the official position or violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title
rank of the offender that is, whether he is one of those VII of the Revised Penal Code on the one hand, and other offenses or
public officers or employees enumerated in paragraph a felonies committed by public officials and employees in relation to their
of Section 4. x x x office on the other. The said reasoning is misleading because a
Also, in the case Alarilla v. Sandiganbayan,[20] where the public distinction apparently exists. In the offenses involved in Section 4 (a),
official was charged with grave threats, this Court ruled: it is not disputed that public office is essential as an element of the
said offenses themselves, while in those offenses and felonies
17
CP-1 NDC

involved in Section 4 (b), it is enough that the said offenses and


With the resolution of the present case and the earlier case of People v.
felonies were committed in relation to the public officials or
employees' office. In expounding the meaning of offenses deemed to Sandiganbayan and Amante,[25] the issue as to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has
have been committed in relation to office, this Court held:
now attained clarity.
In Sanchez v. Demetriou [227 SCRA 627 (1993)],
the Court elaborated on the scope and reach of the term
WHEREFORE, the Petition dated September 2, 2005 is hereby GRANTED and
offense committed in relation to [an accuseds] office by
referring to the principle laid down in Montilla v. Hilario [90 the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) dated July 20, 2005 is
Phil 49 (1951)], and to an exception to that principle which
hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Let the case be REMANDED to the Sandiganbayan
was recognized in People v. Montejo [108 Phil 613
(1960)]. The principle set out in Montilla v. Hilario is that for further proceedings.
an offense may be considered as committed in relation to
the accuseds office if the offense cannot exist without the SO ORDERED.
office such that the office [is] a constituent element of the
crime x x x. In People v. Montejo, the Court, through Chief
Justice Concepcion, said that although public office is not
an element of the crime of murder in [the] abstract, the
facts in a particular case may show that

x x x the offense therein charged is intimately


connected with [the accuseds] respective offices and was
perpetrated while they were in the performance, though
improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed,
[the accused] had no personal motive to commit the crime
and they would not have committed it had they not held
their aforesaid offices. x x x[21]

Moreover, it is beyond clarity that the same provisions of Section


4 (b) does not mention any qualification as to the public officials
involved. It simply stated, public officials and employees mentioned in
subsection (a) of the same section. Therefore, it refers to those public
officials with Salary Grade 27 and above, except those specifically
enumerated. It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words
of a statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary
acceptation and signification,[22] unless it is evident that the legislature
intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words.[23] The
intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists
and lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is
always presumed. (Italics supplied.)[24]

18
CP-1 NDC

G.R. No. 120640 August 8, 1996 in Garcia vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 114135, October 7, 1994) which
explicitly stated that for lack of explicit statutory grant, the Sandiganbayan
EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR., ENRIQUE M. COJUANGCO, MANUEL M. had no authority to issue a writ of quo warranto, among other extraordinary
COJUANGCO, ESTELITO P. MENDOZA and GABRIEL L. VILLAREAL, petitioners, writs, thus rendering this Court without jurisdiction over the subject matter
vs. hereof, the instant petition is dismissed. 3
THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD
GOVERNMENT (PCGG), JULIETA C. BERTUBEN, IDE C. TILLAH, EMMANUEL E. This resolution is sought to be set aside in the instant petition for review on certiorari.
CRUZ, SERGIO OSMEA III AND TIRSO D. ANTIPORDA, JR., respondents.
We cull presently the facts that have led to the filing of the petition for quo warranto.

During the annual meeting of the stockholders of SMC, held on 18 April 1995, the election
VITUG, J.:p of fifteen directors for the ensuing year was taken up. Petitioners, along with private
respondents, were among the nominees to the board. Private respondents were
When this Court was tasked to determine, via Garcia, Jr., vs. Sandiganbayan, 1 whether nominated by Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo of the Presidential Commission on Good
the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction to take up the special civil actions of Government ("PCGG") following the registration in their respective names (at the instance
prohibition, mandamus, and quo warranto, it ruled: of PCGG) of SMC sequestered shares of stock (the "corporate shares"), belonging to
some 43 corporate stockholders led by Archipelago Finance and Leasing Corporation, in
It is settled that the authority to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, order to allow the nominees to qualify for the contested board seats.
and mandamus involves the exercise of original jurisdiction which must be
expressly conferred by the. Constitution or by law. . . . . During the election, the bulk of the votes cast by petitioner Mendoza in favor of his group
had come from substantially the same sequestered corporate shares of SMC which were
With respect to petitions for quo warranto and habeas corpus, original used by the PCGG in voting, in turn, for private respondents.
jurisdiction over them is expressly conferred to this Court by Section 5(1),
Article VIII of the Constitution and to the Court of Appeals and the Regional Following the canvass of the votes cast, private respondents landed on the top 15 slots
Trial Courts by Section 9(1) and Section 21(1), respectively, of B.P. Blg. and were accordingly declared to have been the elected members of the SMC Board of
129. Directors for the year 1995-1996. None of the petitioners (Messrs. Estelito Mendoza,
Manuel Cojuangco, Enrique Cojuangco, Gabriel Villareal and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.,
In the absence then of a specific statutory grant of jurisdiction to issue the who, respectively, landed on the 16th to the 20th places) made it.
said extraordinary writs, the. Sandiganbayan, as a court with only special
and limited jurisdiction, cannot exercise jurisdiction over the petition for Petitioner Mendoza protested the results of the election contending that the votes he had
prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto filed by petitioner.2 cast, particularly those in representation of the corporate shares, had not been duly
appreciated and reflected in the results, and that had said votes been properly counted
By force of that decision, respondent Sandiganbayan (First Division), on 09 May 1995, he, Manuel Cojuangco and Enrique Cojuangco would have themselves been duly elected.
acting motu proprio on the petition for quo warranto instituted by herein petitioners In reply, SMC Corporate Secretary Jose Feria stood by his verbal ruling during the
assailing the qualifications of private respondents for election to, and membership in, the canvassing of votes that only the PCGG, through Chairman Gunigundo, could validly vote
Board of Directors of San Miguel Corporation ("SMC"), issued a resolution dismissing the sequestered shares.
the quo warranto petition. The Sandiganbayan held:
Petitioners filed a petition for quo warranto before the Sandiganbayan questioning the
Considering the subject matter of the instant petition, i.e., the qualification election of PCGG's nominees to the SMC Board and prayed
of the respondents to the seats in the Board of Directors of the San Miguel that
Corporation in favor of the petitioners herein for which reason this petition
for quo warranto is filed, and considering the ruling of the Supreme Court

19
CP-1 NDC

1. Respondents Julieta C. Bertuben, Ide C. Tillah, Emmanuel E. Cruz, C. THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) LIKEWISE IGNORED THE
Sergio Osmea III and Tirso D. Antiporda, Jr. should be ousted from the PROVISION OF SEC. 2 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7975, WHICH
SMC Board for not owning the requisite number of qualifying shares of AMENDED SEC. 4 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 ON THE
stock and in their stead, petitioners Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Enrique M. JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, GRANTING THE
Cojuangco, Manuel M. Cojuangco, Estelito P. Mendoza and Gabriel L. SANDIGANBAYAN "ORIGINAL JURISDICTION" OVER "CIVIL AND
Villareal be declared members of the Board of Directors of SMC; and CRIMINAL CASES" FILED PURSUANT TO AND IN CONNECTION WITH
EXECUTIVE ORDER NOS. 1, 2, 14 AND 14-A.5
2. Respondents Julieta C. Bertuben, Ide C. Tillah and Emmanuel E. Cruz
be ousted for not having more votes than petitioners Enrique M. Respondents, calling attention to the Court's ruling in Garcia, infra, insists that the
Cojuangco, Manuel M. Cojuangco, Estelito P. Mendoza who should in their Sandiganbayan is precluded from exercising jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto.
place be declared duly elected members of the Board of Directors of SMC.4
We find merit in the appeal.
The dismissal by the Sandiganbayan (First Division) of the petition, as well as its
subsequent rejection of the motion for reconsideration, has led to the present recourse. The rule that the Sandiganbayan cannot exercise jurisdiction over petitions for quo
Petitioners impute on the Sandiganbayan the alleged commission by it of the following warranto is not without exception, a situation which by now should be fairly evident from
errors: the Court's pronouncements in a number of cases. In PCGG vs. Pea, et al.,6 the Court
has observed:
A. THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) ERRED IN APPLYING TO
S.B. CIVIL CASE NO. 0166 THE NEW DOCTRINE ENUNCIATED BY . . . Under Section 2 of the President's Executive Order No. 14 issued on
THE FIRST DIVISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN THE CASE OF May 7, 1986, all cases of the Commission regarding "the Funds, Moneys,
"GARCIA, JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.", G.R. NO. 11435, Assets and Properties Illegally Acquired or Misappropriated by Former
PROMULGATED ON OCTOBER 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 552, HOLDING President Ferdinand Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their Close
THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN CANNOT EXERCISE JURISDICTION Relatives, Subordinates, Business Associates, Dummies, Agents, or
OVER A PETITION FOR PROHIBITION, MANDAMUS AND QUO Nominees" whether civil or criminal, are lodged within the "exclusive and
WARRANTO, DESPITE THE CLEAR NON-APPLICABILITY OF SAID original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan" and all incidents arising from,
DOCTRINE TO THE FACTS OF CIVIL CASE NO. 0166. incidental to, or related to, such cases necessarily fall likewise under the
Sandiganbayan's exclusive and original jurisdiction, subject to review
xxx xxx xxx on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied.)

B. IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR QUO WARRANTO, THE In the two subsequent consolidated cases of PCGG vs. Aquino, Jr., and Marcelo
SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) IGNORED APPLICABLE Fiberglass Corporation vs. PCGG, 7 a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for
DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT RENDERED IN SEVERAL the issuance of a restraining order and injunction was lodged with the Regional Trial Court
CASES HOLDING THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS EXCLUSIVE AND of Malabon, instead of the Sandiganbayan, against a writ of sequestration issued by the
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS, PCGG. Marcelo Fiberglass Corporation argued that Section 2 of Executive Order No. 14
INCLUDING PETITIONS FOR QUO WARRANTO, INVOLVING gave to the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases filed by the PCGG but
"INCIDENTS ARISING FROM, INCIDENTAL TO, OR RELATED TO" not over special civil actions filed by private parties. In brushing aside the contention, the
CASES MENTIONED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14, DATED MAY 7, Court, reiterated the aforequoted portion of the Court's ruling in Pea, and concluded that
1986, AND OVER SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS INVOLVING THE POWERS any attempt to remove special civil actions, 8 similarly involving the powers and functions
AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD of the PCGG, from the Sandiganbayan's exclusive jurisdiction would be of no avail.
GOVERNMENT (PCGG) OR ALLEGED ILL-GOTTEN OR
SEQUESTERED WEALTH. Just barely two months thereafter, six cases9 emanating from the Regional Trial Courts,
as well as from the Securities and Exchange Commission, were subsequently filed with
xxx xxx xxx the Court. In one 10 of these cases, a supplemental petition was filed with the SEC by one
20
CP-1 NDC

of the stockholders of the SMC assailing the 1986 annual election of directors on the Respondent members of the Board of Directors Tirso D. Antiporda, et al.,
ground that PCGG voted the sequestered shares 11 without authority. The SMC Board of have well pointed out that while PCGG Chairman Gunigundo had also
Directors moved to dismiss the petition contending that SEC had no jurisdiction over the terminated the representation of Director Manuel Concordia, as
action. The motion was denied by the SEC declaring, inter alia, "that what was being Gunigundo indeed had in his letter of July 6, 1993, . . . the UCPB Board
questioned were merely 'the acts of the Board of Directors of San Miguel Corporation and declined to follow that lead resulting thus in the termination only of
not the acts of the PCGG through its nominees,' a matter clearly within its statutorily petitioner Garcia and Wencelito T. Andanar. 17
prescribed competence."12 When this order of the SEC and those of the Regional Trial
Courts in the other related cases were eventually elevated to this Court, we stressed that In fine, while ordinarily the Sandiganbayan cannot exercise jurisdiction over petitions
the "exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Sandiganbayan would evidently extend not only for quo warranto, it may, however, do so as an exception when it involves an incident
to the principal causes of action, i.e., the recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, but also to arising from, or related to PCGG cases over alleged "ill-gotten wealth" within the context
'all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases,' such as the dispute over of Section 2 of Executive Order No. 14.
the sale of shares, the propriety of the issuance of ancillary writs or provisional remedies
relative thereto, the sequestration thereof, which may not be made the subject of separate Mention has been made on the passage of R.A. No. 7975,18 on 06 May 1995, which grants
actions or proceedings in another forum." Thus, the Court ordered the dismissal of the to the Sandiganbayan the power to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus in
cases "without prejudice to the assertion and ventilation before the Sandiganbayan by the aid of its appellate jurisdiction. While a petition for quo warranto is not among the special
parties of their respective claims by such appropriate modes as prescribed by law."13 civil actions enumerated in the fourth sub-paragraph of Section 4(c) of R.A. No. 7975, the
first sub-paragraph of the same Section 4(c) of the law, however, is no less specific; it
The instant petition, contrary to the observation in the dissenting opinion, is not just provides:
confined to the grievance of petitioners relative to the election of directors and the counting
of the votes therein cast but directly challenges the power of the PCGG to vote, or to make Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original
use of, the sequestered shares of stock. The very kernel then of the controversy, relating, jurisdiction in all cases involving:
such as it does, to PCGG's authority over alleged ill-gotten wealth (the sequestered
corporate shares), is within the precinct of Section 214 of Executive Order No. 14. The
xxx xxx xxx
Pea edict that "those who wish to question or challenge the Commission's acts or
orders in such cases must seek recourse in the same court, the Sandiganbayan, which is
vested with exclusive and original jurisdiction"15 perforce governs. c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 14-A.
Garcia, it might be recalled, did not involve any question about the alleged "ill-gotten
wealth" or its sequestered status; there, indeed, any reference to "ill-gotten wealth" was The reiteration of the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction over the above cases
but a peripheral matter. The controversy was instead, and as so aptly described by the emphasizes a continuing legislative regard for the special graft court's original
Sandiganbayan itself, a mere "case of a Board of Directors ousting two of its members for jurisdiction over cases that are inextricably linked to the various aforenumbered
reasons which it had deemed proper."16 The graft court observed: Executive Orders.

While it is not denied that the PCGG through its Chairman had asked WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed 09 May 1995 Resolution of the
petitioner Garcia to resign, Garcia had refused to do so; while PCGG respondent Sandiganbayan is SET ASIDE, and the Sandiganbayan is directed to give due
Chairman Gunigundo had written petitioner Garcia on July 6, 1993 to tell course to the petition for quo warranto. No costs.
him that his representation of the Government in the UCPB Board had
been terminated, petitioner did not there and then cease to be a member SO ORDERED.
of the UCPB Board of Directors. Instead, it was the Resolution (No. 66-93)
of the Board of Directors at its meeting on July 22, 1993 which replaced
petitioner Garcia with respondent Cesar A. Sevilla in the Board, albeit
undoubtedly upon the request or, if petitioner pleases, upon instigation of
the PCGG Chairman.

21
CP-1 NDC

Section 6. Rank and Salary. The Ombudsman and his Deputies shall have the same
ranks, salaries and privileges as the Chairman and members, respectively, of a
Republic Act No. 6770 November 17, 1989 Constitutional Commission. Their salaries shall not be decreased during their term of
office.
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE FUNCTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION
OF THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES The members of the prosecution, investigation and legal staff of the Office of the
Ombudsman shall receive salaries which shall not be less than those given to comparable
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress positions in any office in the Government.
assembled::
Section 7. Term of Office. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, including the Special
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as "The Ombudsman Act of 1989". Prosecutor, shall serve for a term of seven (7) years without reappointment.

Section 2. Declaration of Policy. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the Section 8. Removal; Filling of Vacancy.
public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.
(1) In accordance with the provisions of Article XI of the Constitution, the
Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of,
accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives. high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.

Section 3. Office of the Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman shall include the (2) A Deputy or the Special Prosecutor, may be removed from office by the
Office of the Overall Deputy, the Office of the Deputy for Luzon, the Office of the Deputy President for any of the grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman, and
for the Visayas, the Office of the Deputy for Mindanao, the Office of the Deputy for the after due process.
Armed Forces, and the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The President may appoint other
Deputies as the necessity for it may arise, as recommended by the Ombudsman. (3) In case of vacancy in the Office of the Ombudsman due to death, resignation,
removal or permanent disability of the incumbent Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy
Section 4. Appointment. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, including the Special shall serve as Acting Ombudsman in a concurrent capacity until a new
Prosecutor, shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least twenty-one (21) Ombudsman shall have been appointed for a full term.n case the Overall Deputy
nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council, and from a list of three (3) nominees cannot assume the role of Acting Ombudsman, the President may designate any
for each vacancy thereafter, which shall be filled within three (3) months after it occurs, of the Deputies, or the Special Prosecutor, as Acting Ombudsman.
each of which list shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation.
(4) In case of temporary absence or disability of the Ombudsman, the Overall
In the organization of the Office of the Ombudsman for filling up of positions therein, Deputy shall perform the duties of the Ombudsman until the Ombudsman returns
regional, cultural or ethnic considerations shall be taken into account to the end that the or is able to perform his duties.
Office shall be as much as possible representative of the regional, ethnic and cultural
make-up of the Filipino nation. Section 9. Prohibitions and Disqualifications. The Ombudsman, his Deputies and
the Special Prosecutor shall not, during their tenure, hold any other office or employment.
Section 5. Qualifications. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, including the Special They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession,
Prosecutor, shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least forty (40) years old, of participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any
recognized probity and independence, members of the Philippine Bar, and must not have franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency or
been candidates for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their
election whether regular or special. The Ombudsman must have, for ten (10) years or subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. They
more, been a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines. shall not be qualified to run for any office in the election immediately following their

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cessation from office. They shall not be allowed to appear or practice before the (4) The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall, under the supervision and control
Ombudsman for two (2) years following their cessation from office. and upon the authority of the Ombudsman, have the following powers:

No spouse or relative by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree and no law, (a) To conduct preliminary investigation and prosecute criminal cases
business or professional partner or associate of the Ombudsman, his Deputies or Special within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan;
Prosecutor within one (1) year preceding the appointment may appear as counsel or agent
on any matter pending before the Office of the Ombudsman or transact business directly (b) To enter into plea bargaining agreements; and
or indirectly therewith.
(c) To perform such other duties assigned to it by the Ombudsman.
This disqualification shall apply during the tenure of the official concerned. This
disqualification likewise extends to the law, business or professional firm for the same The Special Prosecutor shall have the rank and salary of a Deputy
period. Ombudsman.

Section 10. Disclosure of Relationship. It shall be the duty of the Ombudsman, his (5) The position structure and staffing pattern of the Office of the Ombudsman,
Deputies, including the Special Prosecutor to make under oath, to the best of their including the Office of the Special Prosecutor, shall be approved and prescribed
knowledge and/or information, a public disclosure of the identities of, and their relationship by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman shall appoint all officers and employees of
with the persons referred to in the preceding section. the Office of the Ombudsman, including those of the Office of the Special
Prosecutor, in accordance with the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations.
The disclosure shall be filed with the Office of the President and the Office of the
Ombudsman before the appointee assumes office and every year thereafter. The Section 12. Official Stations. The Ombudsman, the Overall Deputy, the Deputy for
disclosures made pursuant to this section shall form part of the public records and shall be Luzon, and the Deputy for the Armed Forces shall hold office in Metropolitan Manila; the
available to any person or entity upon request. Deputy for the Visayas, in Cebu City; and the Deputy for Mindanao, in Davao City. The
Ombudsman may transfer their stations within their respective geographical regions, as
Section 11. Structural Organization. The authority and responsibility for the exercise public interest may require.
of the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman and for the discharge of its powers and
functions shall be vested in the Ombudsman, who shall have supervision and control of Section 13. Mandate. The Ombudsman and his Deputies, as protectors of the people,
the said office. shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against officers or employees
of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including
(1) The Office of the Ombudsman may organize such directorates for government-owned or controlled corporations, and enforce their administrative, civil and
administration and allied services as may be necessary for the effective discharge criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient
of its functions. Those appointed as directors or heads shall have the rank and service by the Government to the people.
salary of line bureau directors.
Section 14. Restrictions. No writ of injunction shall be issued by any court to delay an
(2) The Office of the Overall Deputy shall oversee and administer the operations investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman under this Act, unless there is a prima
of the different offices under the Office of Ombudsman.t shall likewise perform facie evidence that the subject matter of the investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the
such other functions and duties assigned to it by the Ombudsman. Office of the Ombudsman.

(3) The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall be composed of the Special No court shall hear any appeal or application for remedy against the decision or findings
Prosecutor and his prosecution staff. The Office of the Special Prosecutor shall be of the Ombudsman, except the Supreme Court, on pure question of law.
an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman and shall be under the
supervision and control of the Ombudsman. Section 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have
the following powers, functions and duties:

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(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or (8) Administer oaths, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and take
omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or testimony in any investigation or inquiry, including the power to examine and have
omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient.t has primary access to bank accounts and records;
jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of
this primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory (9) Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same
agency of Government, the investigation of such cases; procedure and with the same penalties provided therein;

(2) Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or employee of the (10) Delegate to the Deputies, or its investigators or representatives such authority
Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as or duty as shall ensure the effective exercise or performance of the powers,
any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charter, to perform functions, and duties herein or hereinafter provided;
and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any
abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties; (11) Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or
unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of the
(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public officer parties involved therein.
or employee at fault or who neglect to perform an act or discharge a duty required
by law, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure, or The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government
prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses
as provided in Section 21 of this Act: provided, that the refusal by any officer as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties.
without just cause to comply with an order of the Ombudsman to remove, suspend,
demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or employee who is at fault or who
Section 16. Applicability. The provisions of this Act shall apply to all kinds of
neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required by law shall be a ground
malfeasance, misfeasance, and non-feasance that have been committed by any officer or
for disciplinary action against said officer;
employee as mentioned in Section 13 hereof, during his tenure of office.
(4) Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case, and subject to such
Section 17. Immunities. In all hearings, inquiries, and proceedings of the
limitations as it may provide in its rules of procedure, to furnish it with copies of
Ombudsman, including preliminary investigations of offenses, nor person subpoenaed to
documents relating to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving
testify as a witness shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books,
the disbursement or use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity
papers, correspondence, memoranda and/or other records on the ground that the
to the Commission on Audit for appropriate action;
testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, required of him, may tend to incriminate
him or subject him to prosecution: provided, that no person shall be prosecuted criminally
(5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in for or on account of any matter concerning which he is compelled, after having claimed
the discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records the privilege against self-incrimination, to testify and produce evidence, documentary or
and documents; otherwise.

(6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation of the matters mentioned in Under such terms and conditions as it may determine, taking into account the pertinent
paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) hereof, when circumstances so warrant and with provisions of the Rules of Court, the Ombudsman may grant immunity from criminal
due prudence: provided, that the Ombudsman under its rules and regulations may prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession and production of
determine what cases may not be made public: provided, further, that any publicity documents or other evidence may be necessary to determine the truth in any hearing,
issued by the Ombudsman shall be balanced, fair and true; inquiry or proceeding being conducted by the Ombudsman or under its authority, in the
performance or in the furtherance of its constitutional functions and statutory objectives.
(7) Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and The immunity granted under this and the immediately preceding paragraph shall not
corruption in the Government, and make recommendations for their elimination exempt the witness from criminal prosecution for perjury or false testimony nor shall he be
and the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency; exempt from demotion or removal from office.

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Any refusal to appear or testify pursuant to the foregoing provisions shall be subject to (3) The complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;
punishment for contempt and removal of the immunity from criminal prosecution.
(4) The complainant has no sufficient personal interest in the subject matter of the
Section 18. Rules of Procedure. grievance; or

(1) The Office of the Ombudsman shall promulgate its rules of procedure for the (5) The complaint was filed after one (1) year from the occurrence of the act or
effective exercise or performance of its powers, functions, and duties. omission complained of.

(2) The rules of procedure shall include a provision whereby the Rules of Court are Section 21. Official Subject to Disciplinary Authority; Exceptions. The Office of the
made suppletory. Ombudsman shall have disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials of
the Government and its subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies, including Members
(3) The rules shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following the completion of of the Cabinet, local government, government-owned or controlled corporations and their
their publication in the Official Gazette or in three (3) newspapers of general subsidiaries, except over officials who may be removed only by impeachment or over
circulation in the Philippines, one of which is printed in the national language. Members of Congress, and the Judiciary.

Section 19. Administrative Complaints. The Ombudsman shall act on all complaints Section 22. Investigatory Power. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the power
relating, but not limited to acts or omissions which: to investigate any serious misconduct in office allegedly committed by officials removable
by impeachment, for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for impeachment, if
(1) Are contrary to law or regulation; warranted.

(2) Are unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminatory; In all cases of conspiracy between an officer or employee of the government and a private
person, the Ombudsman and his Deputies shall have jurisdiction to include such private
person in the investigation and proceed against such private person as the evidence may
(3) Are inconsistent with the general course of an agency's functions, though in
warrant. The officer or employee and the private person shall be tried jointly and shall be
accordance with law;
subject to the same penalties and liabilities.
(4) Proceed from a mistake of law or an arbitrary ascertainment of facts;
Section 23. Formal Investigation.
(5) Are in the exercise of discretionary powers but for an improper purpose; or
(1) Administrative investigations conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman shall
be in accordance with its rules of procedure and consistent with due process.
(6) Are otherwise irregular, immoral or devoid of justification.
(2) At its option, the Office of the Ombudsman may refer certain complaints to the
Section 20. Exceptions. The Office of the Ombudsman may not conduct the proper disciplinary authority for the institution of appropriate administrative
necessary investigation of any administrative act or omission complained of if it believes proceedings against erring public officers or employees, which shall be determined
that: within the period prescribed in the civil service law. Any delay without just cause in
acting on any referral made by the Office of the Ombudsman shall be a ground for
(1) The complainant has an adequate remedy in another judicial or quasi-judicial administrative action against the officers or employees to whom such referrals are
body; addressed and shall constitute a graft offense punishable by a fine of not
exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00).
(2) The complaint pertains to a matter outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the
Ombudsman; (3) In any investigation under this Act the Ombudsman may: (a) enter and inspect
the premises of any office, agency, commission or tribunal; (b) examine and have

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access to any book, record, file, document or paper; and (c) hold private hearings (d) based on improper motives or corrupt considerations;
with both the complaining individual and the official concerned.
(e) unclear or inadequately explained when reasons should have been
Section 24. Preventives Suspension. The Ombudsman or his Deputy may revealed; or
preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation,
if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or (f) inefficient performed or otherwise objectionable.
employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the
performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the (2) The Officer of the Ombudsman shall receive complaints from any source in
respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him. whatever form concerning an official act or omission.t shall act on the complaint
immediately and if it finds the same entirely baseless, it shall dismiss the same
The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is terminated by the Office of the and inform the complainant of such dismissal citing the reasons therefor.f it finds
Ombudsman but not more than six (6) months, without pay, except when the delay in the a reasonable ground to investigate further, it shall first furnish the respondent
disposition of the case by the Office of the Ombudsman is due to the fault, negligence or public officer or employee with a summary of the complaint and require him to
petition of the respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in submit a written answer within seventy-two (72) hours from receipt thereof.f the
computing the period of suspension herein provided. answer is found satisfactory, it shall dismiss the case.

Section 25. Penalties. (3) When the complaint consists in delay or refusal to perform a duty required by
law, or when urgent action is necessary to protect or preserve the rights of the
(1) In administrative proceedings under Presidential Decree No. 807, the penalties complainant, the Office of the Ombudsman shall take steps or measures and issue
and rules provided therein shall be applied. such orders directing the officer, employee, office or agency concerned to:

(2) In other administrative proceedings, the penalty ranging from suspension (a) expedite the performance of duty;
without pay for one (1) year to dismissal with forfeiture of benefits or a fine ranging
from Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to twice the amount malversed, illegally (b) cease or desist from the performance of a prejudicial act;
taken or lost, or both at the discretion of the Ombudsman, taking into consideration
circumstances that mitigate or aggravate the liability of the officer or employee (c) correct the omission;
found guilty of the complaint or charges.
(d) explain fully the administrative act in question; or
Section 26. Inquiries.
(e) take any other steps as may be necessary under the circumstances to
(1) The Office of the Ombudsman shall inquire into acts or omissions of a public protect and preserve the rights of the complainant.
officer, employee, office or agency which, from the reports or complaints it has
received, the Ombudsman or his Deputies consider to be:
(4) Any delay or refusal to comply with the referral or directive of the Ombudsman
or any of his Deputies, shall constitute a ground for administrative disciplinary
(a) contrary to law or regulation; action against the officer or employee to whom it was addressed.

(b) unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, irregular or inconsistent with the Section 27. Effectivity and Finality of Decisions. (1) All provisionary orders of the
general course of the operations and functions of a public officer, Office of the Ombudsman are immediately effective and executory.
employee, office or agency;
A motion for reconsideration of any order, directive or decision of the Office of the
(c) an error in the application or interpretation of law, rules or regulations, Ombudsman must be filed within five (5) days after receipt of written notice and shall be
or a gross or palpable error in the appreciation of facts; entertained only on any of the following grounds:
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CP-1 NDC

(1) New evidence has been discovered which materially affects the order, directive excused by the agency or official affected, include the substance of any statement the
or decision; public agency or official may have made to him by way of explaining past difficulties with
or present rejection of the Ombudsman's proposals.
(2) Errors of law or irregularities have been committed prejudicial to the interest of
the movant. The motion for reconsideration shall be resolved within three (3) days Section 31. Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors. The Ombudsman may
from filing: provided, that only one motion for reconsideration shall be entertained. utilize the personnel of his office and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor
or lawyer in the government service to act as special investigator or prosecutor to assist in
Findings of fact by the Officer of the Ombudsman when supported by substantial evidence the investigation and prosecution of certain cases. Those designated or deputized to assist
are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public censure or him herein provided shall be under his supervision and control.
reprimand, suspension of not more than one (1) month's salary shall be final and
unappealable. The Ombudsman and his investigators and prosecutors, whether regular members of his
staff or designated by him as herein provided, shall have authority to administer oaths, to
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives, or decisions of the Office of the issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, to summon and compel witnesses to appear
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within and testify under oath before them and/or bring books, documents and other things under
ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial their control, and to secure the attendance or presence of any absent or recalcitrant
of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. witness through application before the Sandiganbayan or before any inferior or superior
court having jurisdiction of the place where the witness or evidence is found.
The above rules may be amended or modified by the Office of the Ombudsman as the
interest of justice may require. Section 32. Rights and Duties of Witness.

Section 28. Investigation in Municipalities, Cities and Provinces. The Office of the (1) A person required by the Ombudsman to provide the information shall be paid
Ombudsman may establish offices in municipalities, cities and provinces outside the same fees and travel allowances as are extended to witnesses whose
Metropolitan Manila, under the immediate supervision of the Deputies for Luzon, Visayas attendance has been required in the trial courts. Upon request of the witness, the
and Mindanao, where necessary as determined by the Ombudsman. The investigation of Ombudsman shall also furnish him such security for his person and his family as
complaints may be assigned to the regional or sectoral deputy concerned or to a special may be warranted by the circumstances. For this purpose, the Ombudsman may,
investigator who shall proceed in accordance with the rules or special instructions or at its expense, call upon any police or constabulary unit to provide the said security.
directives of the Office of the Ombudsman. Pending investigation the deputy or investigator
may issue orders and provisional remedies which are immediately executory subject to (2) A person who, with or without service or compulsory process, provides oral or
review by the Ombudsman. Within three (3) days after concluding the investigation, the documentary information requested by the Ombudsman shall be accorded the
deputy or investigator shall transmit, together with the entire records of the case, his report same privileges and immunities as are extended to witnesses in the courts, and
and conclusions to the Office of the Ombudsman. Within five (5) days after receipt of said shall likewise be entitled to the assistance of counsel while being questioned.
report, the Ombudsman shall render the appropriate order, directive or decision.
(3) If a person refuses to respond to the Ombudsman's or his Deputy's subpoena,
Section 29. Change of Unjust Laws. If the Ombudsman believes that a law or or refuses to be examined, or engages in obstructive conduct, the Ombudsman or
regulation is unfair or unjust, he shall recommend to the President and to Congress the his Deputy shall issue an order directing the person to appear before him to show
necessary changes therein or the repeal thereof. cause why he should not be punished for contempt. The contempt proceedings
shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Court.
Section 30. Transmittal/Publication of Decision. In every case where the
Ombudsman has reached a decision, conclusion or recommendation adverse to a public Section 33. Duty to Render Assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman. Any
official or agency, he shall transmit his decision, conclusion, recommendation or officer or employee of any department, bureau or office, subdivision, agency or
suggestion to the head of the department, agency or instrumentality, or of the province, instrumentality of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations
city or municipality concerned for such immediate action as may be necessary. When and local governments, when required by the Ombudsman, his Deputy or the Special
transmitting his adverse decision, conclusion or recommendation, he shall, unless Prosecutor shall render assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman.
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Section 34. Annual Report. The Office of the Ombudsman shall render an annual Section 42. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its
report of its activities and performance to the President and to Congress to be submitted publication in the Official Gazette or in three (3) newspapers of general circulation in the
within thirty (30) days from the start of the regular session of Congress. Philippines.

Section 35. Malicious Prosecution. Any person who, actuated by malice or gross bad Approved: November 17, 1989.
faith, files a completely unwarranted or false complaint against any government official or
employee shall be subject to a penalty of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months
imprisonment and a fine not exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00).

Section 36. Penalties for Obstruction. Any person who willfully obstructs or hinders
the proper exercise of the functions of the Office of the Ombudsman or who willfully
misleads or attempts to mislead the Ombudsman, his Deputies and the Special Prosecutor
in replying to their inquiries shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding Five thousand
pesos (P5,000.00).

Section 37. Franking Privilege. All official mail matters and telegrams of the
Ombudsman addressed for delivery within the Philippines shall be received, transmitted,
and delivered free of charge: provided, that such mail matters when addressed to private
persons or nongovernment offices shall not exceed one hundred and twenty (120) grams.
All mail matters and telegrams sent through government telegraph facilities containing
complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman shall be transmitted free of charge, provided
that the telegram shall contain not more than one hundred fifty (150) words.

Section 38. Fiscal Autonomy. The Office of the Ombudsman shall enjoy fiscal
autonomy. Appropriations for the Office of the Ombudsman may not be reduced below the
amount appropriated for the previous years and, after approval, shall be automatically and
regularly released.

Section 39. Appropriations. The appropriation for the Office of the Special Prosecutor
in the current General Appropriations Act is hereby transferred to the Office of the
Ombudsman. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary shall be included in the annual
General Appropriations Act.

Section 40. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Act is held unconstitutional,
other provisions not affected thereby shall remain valid and binding.

Section 41. Repealing Clause. All laws, presidential decrees, letters of instructions,
executive orders, rules and regulations insofar as they are inconsistent with this Act, are
hereby repealed or amended as the case may be.

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[G.R. No. 131445. May 27, 2004] It is the nature of the case that determines the proper remedy to be filed and the
appellate court where such remedy should be filed by a party aggrieved by the decisions
or orders of the Office of the Ombudsman. If it is an administrative case, appeal should be
taken to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.[7] If it is a criminal case,
AMADO G. PEREZ (DECEASED) REPRESENTED BY HIS WIDOW GUILLERMA T. the proper remedy is to file with the Supreme Court an original petition for certiorari under
PEREZ, MARIO S. FRANCISCO, RAFAEL P. ARGAME, MIRASOL V. Rule 65.[8]
MENDOZA, GLORIA S. GONZALVO AND MARIA FE V.
BOMBASE, petitioners, vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, MAYOR We find that, although the CA was correct in dismissing the petition for certiorari, it
IGNACIO R. BUNYE, CARLOS G. DOMINGUEZ, ROGELIO P. MADRIAGA, erroneously invoked as ratio decidendi Section 27 of RA 6770[9] which applies in
RECTO CORONADO, TEODORA A. DIANG, TOMAS M. OSIAS, REYNALDO administrative cases only, not criminal cases,[10] such as the graft and corruption charge
CAMILON AND BENJAMIN BULOS, respondents. at bar. In our en banc decision in Fabian vs. Desierto,[11] which is still controlling, we held
that Section 27 applies only whenever an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 is taken from
a decision in an administrative disciplinary action. Nevertheless, we declared Section 27
DECISION unconstitutional for expanding the Supreme Courts appellate jurisdiction without its advice
CORONA, J.: and consent. We thus held that all appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman
in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from the November 13, 1997 of the 1997 Rules of Court.
resolution[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G.R. SP No. 45127, dismissing petitioners As the present controversy pertained to a criminal case, the petitioners were correct
motion for reconsideration of its September 9, 1997 resolution[2] which in turn dismissed, in availing of the remedy of petition for certiorariunder Rule 65 but they erred in filing it in
for lack of jurisdiction, petitioners petition for certiorari and mandamus. The petition the Court of Appeals. The procedure set out in Kuizon vs. Ombudsman[12] and Mendoza-
questioned the Office of the Ombudsmans April 11, 1997 dismissal of their criminal Arce vs. Ombudsman,[13] requiring that petitions for certiorari questioning the
complaint against Mayor Ignacio R. Bunye. Ombudsmans orders or decisions in criminal cases should be filed in the Supreme Court
Petitioners, members of the Kilusang Bayan ng mga Magtitinda ng Bagong and not the Court of Appeals, is still the prevailing rule.[14]
Pamilihang Bayan ng Muntinlupa, Inc. (KBMBPM), instituted two complaints at the Office But even if the petition for certiorari had been filed in this Court, we would have
of the Ombudsman (docketed as OMB-0-89-0983 and OMB-0-89-1007) against several dismissed it just the same. First, petitioners should have filed a motion for reconsideration
respondents, one of whom was then Mayor Ignacio R. Bunye, for violation of RA of the Ombudsman resolution as it was the plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
3019 (also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). Respondents allegedly ordinary course of law, not filing a petition for certiorari directly in the Supreme
destroyed the doors of the KBMBPM office while serving on petitioners the Take-Over Court. Second, the Office of the Ombudsman did not act without or in excess of its
Order of the KBMBPM management dated October 28, 1998 issued by then Agriculture jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez. issuing the Ombudsman resolution.
In disposing of said complaints on April 11, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman issued Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
a resolution (hereinafter, Ombudsman resolution)[3] excluding respondent Bunye from the tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. In other words, the exercise of power is in an arbitrary or
criminal indictment. The petitioners assailed the exclusion in the CA on September 1, 1997 despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. It must be so patent and gross
through an original petition for certiorari and mandamus. The CA, however, dismissed it as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined
for lack of jurisdiction supposedly in accordance with Section 27 of RA 6770 (also known or to act at all in contemplation of law.[15]
as the Ombudsman Act of 1989). Citing Yabut vs. Ombudsman,[4] Alba vs.
Nitorreda[5]and Angchangco vs. Ombudsman,[6] the CA likewise denied petitioners motion In this case, there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Office of the
for reconsideration. Ombudsman in dismissing the complaint against respondent Bunye upon the factual
finding that:
Hence, this petition for review.
The CA was correct in dismissing the petition for certiorari and mandamus. xxx xxx xxx

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Indeed no evidence is shown in the record that respondent Mayor Bunye specifically We have consistently refrained from interfering with the investigatory and
participated in the violent implementation of Secretary Dominguez Order of October 28, prosecutorial powers of the Ombudsman absent any compelling reason.[17] This policy is
1988. It was not shown with certainty by complainant that the alleged presence of based on constitutional, statutory and practical considerations. We are mindful that the
respondent Mayor Bunye at the scene of the incident was an active participation thereof Constitution and RA 6770 endowed the Office of the Ombudsman with a wide latitude of
by the latter. investigatory and prosecutorial powers, virtually free from legislative, executive or judicial
intervention, in order to insulate it from outside pressure and improper
On the other hand, if the alleged presence of the respondent Mayor Bunye at the scene influence.[18] Moreover, a preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic judicial appraisal
were really true, such would not be improper because of the provision of Article 87, par. 2 of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must be adduced so
(VI) of the Local [G]overnment Code which states: that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound, as a matter of law, to order
an acquittal.[19] Hence, if the Ombudsman, using professional judgment, finds the case
x x x call upon the appropriate law enforcement agencies to dismissible, the Court shall respect such findings, unless clothed with grave abuse of
restore disorder, riot, lawless violence, rebellion or sedition or to apprehend violators of discretion.[20]Otherwise, the functions of the courts will be grievously hampered by
the law when public interest so requires, and the municipal police force are inadequate to innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by
cope with the situation or the violators. (underlining supplied) the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed before it. In much the same
way, the courts will be swamped with cases if they will have to review the exercise of
discretion on the part of fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each time the latter decide to file
Anent the alleged letter dated August 8, 1988 of respondent Mayor Bunye, the same
an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.[21]
seems only a request for the suspension of complainant. He did not take it upon himself
to issue any suspension of complainant. At that point in time, the respondent Mayor Bunye WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
reasonably believed that the Order of Secretary Dominguez was valid. Besides, the facts
and the evidence on record do not show any interest personal or otherwise on the part of SO ORDERED.
respondent Mayor Bunye in the implementation of Secretary Dominguez Order.
Accordingly, the exclusion of respondent Mayor Bunye from the criminal charge and the
dismissal of the complaint against him are in order.

Furthermore, if at the instance of complaint, respondents (sic) Secretary Dominguez


whose Order dated October 28, 1988 was questioned by the complainant and Atty. Rogelio
Madriaga, who allegedly orchestrated the implementation of the said Order were dropped
from the complaint, how can respondent Bunye be liable for the same act, if as alleged, he
was merely standing in front of the KBS Building, New Muntinlupa Market?

It will be noted that at the time of the alleged implementation of the Order on October 29,
1988 and the take-over of the Management and operation of the KBMBPM cooperative,
respondent Bunye apparently believed that the said Order of Secretary Dominguez was
valid.

Considering the earlier approval of the Honorable Ombudsman on the memorandum of


then SPO III, now Director Wendell E. Barreras-Sulit as reiterated in the memorandum of
the Honorable Assistant to the Ombudsman re: the exclusion of respondent Bunye from
criminal indictment, undersigned respectfully concurs with the same.

xxx xxx xxx.[16]

30
CP-1 NDC

G.R. Nos. 187896-97, June 10, 2013 (1) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred when it dismissed the complaint-
affidavit of herein petitioner on the ground that two cases involving the same issues
AMANDO P. CORTES, Petitioner, v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN as in the complaint-affidavit were previously filed by petitioner, as complainant therein.
(VISAYAS), VICTORY M. FERNANDEZ, JULIO E. SUCGANG AND NILO (2) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred in finding that a mere Inventory of
IGTANLOC, Respondents. Barangay Roads and Bridges as of 1999 could prevail over an Original Certificate of
Title registered on 28 May 1985.
RESOLUTION (3) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred in allowing respondents Fernandez,
Igtanloc and Sucgang, to grossly violate the constitutional mandate provided for in the
PEREZ, J.: Bill of Rights, 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.
(4) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred in not expressing clearly and distinctly
in its Order dated February 7, 2008 and Consolidated Evaluation Report dated
The subject of this petition for review is the dismissal of the criminal and administrative
December 14, 2006, the law on which it is based in careless disregard of a
complaints filed by petitioner Amando P. Cortes with the Office of the Ombudsman
constitutional mandate.2
(Visayas) against respondents Victory M. Fernandez (Fernandez), Julio E. Sucgang
(Sucgang) and Nilo Igtanloc (Igtanloc), who were sued in their capacity as Provincial
Petitioner refutes the finding of the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) that he had filed a
Engineer, Barangay Captain of Barangay Soncolan and Grader Operator, respectively, of
similar administrative and criminal complaint against respondents. Petitioner claims that
the Province of Aklan.
the complaints adverted to were filed by one Hernando Cortes and they pertained to
another parcel of land that was also graded and levelled
In his Complaint-Affidavit filed on 28 November 2006, petitioner charged respondents with
by respondents. Petitioner maintains that the affected portion of his land is covered by an
violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
original certificate of title and that a document such as the inventory of barangay roads
Act, and Misconduct. Petitioner alleged that during the period of 29 March 2006 to 1 April
upon which the authority to scrape and level barangay roads is based should have been
2006, respondents utilized a heavy equipment grader owned by the Province of Aklan in
first annotated as lien to petitioners certificate of title. Petitioner stresses that
levelling a portion of his land. Petitioner claimed that the portion of the land destroyed has
respondents actions violated his constitutional right to due process and that his property
an area of 1,125 square meters and that several fruit trees were
was taken without just compensation. Finally, petitioner assails the Consolidated
destroyed. Petitioner impleaded Fernandez for the latters failure to ascertain from
Evaluation Report and Order of the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) for having been
the BarangayCaptain whether the roads sought to be levelled were barangay roads, and
issued in violation of the constitutional requirement that decisions must state the factual
for issuing a drivers trip ticket to the Grader Operator.1
and legal basis thereof.
In a Consolidated Evaluation Report dated 14 December 2006, the Office of the
In their Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General seeks the dismissal of
Ombudsman (Visayas) recommended the dismissal of the cases due to the fact that two
the petition because petitioner availed of the wrong remedy. Moreover, the Office of the
(2) other cases involving the same parties and issues had already been filed by petitioner.
Solicitor General supports the dismissal of petitioners complaint due to identity of issues
and respondents in the previous and the present complaint.
Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the Consolidated Evaluation Report. On 7
February 2008, the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) denied the motion for
Respondents also filed their respective Comments. Igtanloc denied levelling and grading
reconsideration.
a portion of petitioners land. According to Igtanloc, he only followed the contours of the
existing barangay road and did not widen or create a new one. Fernandez asserts that he
Petitioner takes the appeal directly to this Court, via a petition for review on certiorari,
was merely acting in his official capacity and exercising his duty in issuing a drivers trip
pursuant to Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act, assailing the denial of his motion for
ticket to Igtanloc. Sucgang characterizes the complaint as a case of the "second brother
reconsideration by the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas).
(Amando P. Cortes)" filing cases against the same respondents, raising the same issue
that was previously disposed of by the same office, in the cases filed by his brother
Petitioner cites the following errors as grounds for the allowance of
(Hernando P. Cortes).3
the petition:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
Petitioner, in filing this petition for review, committed a procedural misstep which warrants
an outright dismissal.
31
CP-1 NDC

Ombudsman. Petitioner additionally impleaded Fernandez as respondent. The Office of


Petitioner misconstrued Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of the Ombudsman (Visayas) dismissed the case on the ground that a similar complaint
1989 and disregarded prevailing jurisprudence. Section 27 provides, in part, involving the same facts and issues had already been filed against the
that:cralavvonlinelawlibrary same respondents. The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) was referring to the
Hernando complaint.
In all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives, or decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorariwithin Records disclosed that Hernando and petitioner are not only brothers but are also
ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decisionor denial registered as owners of the property allegedly levelled and graded by Igtanloc. In his
of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. complaints, Hernando alleged that he, together with Amando P. Cortes, is the registered
owner of a land denominated as Lot 427, Psc 35, of Batan Cadastre, which is covered by
This provision, insofar as it provided for appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-34885.7 However, TCT No. T-348858 could be
the decisions or orders of the Ombudsman in administrative cases, had been declared traced back to the mother title, Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-15197,9registered
unconstitutional by this Court as early as in the case of Fabian v. Desierto.4 We ruled under the name of petitioner. The same OCT was attached to the complaints filed
in Fabian that appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative by petitioner, wherein he also asserted ownership over the subject property.
disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule
43, in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasi-judicial agencies The facts point to the result that the previous and the present complaints, bearing
in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.5 complainants who are owners of the same affected property, same respondents, same
issues and same arguments, in reality are one and the same. The Office of the
Jurisprudence accords a different treatment with respect to an appeal in a criminal case Ombudsman (Visayas) explained:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
filed with the Office of the Ombudsman. We made the pronouncement in Acua v. Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon6that the remedy of an aggrieved party in criminal complaints before To reiterate, the issues are identical and were in fact already resolved and decided upon
the Ombudsman is to file with this Court a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. by the assigned investigator handling the complaints which were filed earlier. To allow a
similar complaint to proceed before the same forum using the same arguments and
Considering that the case at bar was a consolidation of an administrative and a criminal counter-arguments already raised and discussed in a previous complaint would cause
complaint, petitioner had the option to either file a petition for review under Rule 43 with endless litigations which is frowned upon by the courts. It is observed that there is identity
the Court of Appeals or directly file a certiorari petition under Rule 65 before this of the rights asserted and reliefs prayed for which are being founded on the same facts. It
Court. Neither of these two remedies was resorted to by petitioner. also bears stressing that there is also identity with respect to the two preceding particulars
in the two cases, such that any findings that may be rendered in the pending case,
By availing of a wrong remedy, this petition merits an outright dismissal. regardless of which party is successful, would amount to be a rehash of the other.

A review of the substantial merit of this petition would likewise yield to the same This Office cannot allow the simple changing of complainants just to side step its earlier
conclusion. findings. Neither should it deviate or come out with a different view with what was already
ruled upon by allowing the filing of another complaint.10
It appears that prior to the filing of the instant complaint, Atty. Hernando P. Cortes
(Hernando) had filed both criminal and administrative complaints against respondents For failing to overcome the procedural hurdle and for lack of merit, the petition must be
Igtanloc and Sucgang, who were the Provincial Engineer and Barangay Captain, denied.
respectively. These complaints involved the alleged grading and levelling of a portion of
Hernandos property. On 15 August 2006, the Office of the Ombudsman issued FOR THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the petition is DENIED. The Order of the
a Decision on the administrative case docketed as OMB-V-A-06-0344-F and Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) dated 7 February 2008 in OMB-V-C-06-0577-K and
a Resolution on the criminal case docketed as OMB-V-C-06-0315-F, dismissing both OMB-V-A-06-0639-K is AFFIRMED.
complaints for lack of merit. Three months later, petitioner filed an administrative and
criminal complaint bearing the same facts and issues. The cases, docketed as OMB-V- SO ORDERED.
C-06-0577-K and OMB-V-A-06-0639-K, were consolidated by the Office of the

32
CP-1 NDC

This Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks the
reversal of the Decision[2] dated December 23, 2005 and the Resolution[3] dated May 3,
FIRST DIVISION
2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 90567. The decision of the appellate court
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN G.R. No. 172553
FOR LUZON, HONORABLE VICTOR C. reversed the Order[4] dated May 30, 2005 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
FERNANDEZ, in his capacity as Deputy
Present: for Luzon in Administrative Case No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A, while its resolution denied the
Ombudsman for Luzon, and THE GENERAL
INVESTIGATION BUREAU-A, Represented motion for reconsideration of herein petitioners.
by MARIA OLIVIA ELENA A. ROXAS, CORONA, C.J.,
Petitioners,
Chairperson, We quote hereunder the preliminary facts of the case, as succinctly stated in the Decision
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, of the Court of Appeals dated December 23, 2005:
BERSAMIN,
- versus -
VILLARAMA, JR., and Sometime in November 1998, Ligorio Naval filed a complaint before the
Office of the Ombudsman, accusing Jessie Castillo, the mayor of the
MENDOZA,* JJ. Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, among others, of violating Section[s] 3(e),
(g) and (j) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in relation to the
JESUS D. FRANCISCO, SR., award of the construction of the municipal building of Bacoor, Cavite, worth
more than 9 Million Pesos, to St. Marthas Trading and General
Respondent. Contractors. Naval alleged that the latter was not qualified for the award;
Promulgated: its license had expired at the time the contract was signed, and was
classified as belonging to Category C, hence, may only undertake projects
worth 3 Million Pesos or lower.The complaint was docketed as OMB-1-98-
2365.
December 14, 2011
Castillo submitted certifications to the effect that the contractor was not a
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x holder of an expired license, and was classified as a Category A contractor.

On 29 April 1999, the Ombudsman ruled that Navals allegation of lack of


qualification of the contractor has been satisfactorily controverted by
Castillo, and dismissed the complaint. Naval moved for reconsideration,
RESOLUTION which was denied on 27 August 1999.

In a series of communications with Deputy Ombudsman Margarito P.


Gervacio, Jr., Naval insinuated that his evidence [was] not considered and
LEONARDO DE CASTRO, J.: the complaint was dismissed in exchange for millions of

33
CP-1 NDC

pesos. Ombudsman Gervacio relayed the said allegations to Ombudsman


Aniano Desierto, who ordered a reevaluation of the 29 April 1999 decision. On May 30, 2005, Director Joaquin F. Salazar of the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon issued an Order[8]preventively suspending the above PBAC
In a Memorandum dated 30 May 2000, Graft Investigation and Prosecution
Officer II, Julieta Calderon, recommended that OMB-1-98-2365 be revived, members. The same was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor C. Fernandez
re-docketed, and be subjected to a further preliminary investigation, with
on May 31, 2005.[9] The Order decreed thus:
the inclusion of additional respondents. On 30 September 2000,
Ombudsman Gervacio approved the said memorandum. Thereafter, the
Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau of the Ombudsman executed a WHEREFORE, in accordance with Section 24, R.A. No. 6770 and
complaint-affidavit for gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the Section 9, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07, respondents Saturnino
interest of the service, against 5 municipal officers, including [Jesus F. Enriquez, Salome Esagunde, Jesus D. Francisco, Sr., Federico
Francisco], which was docketed as OMB-C-A-05-0032-A.[5] (Emphases Aquino, and Eleuterio Ulatan, all municipal employees of Bacoor, Cavite
ours.) are hereby PREVENTIVELY SUSPENDED during the pendency of this
case until its termination, but not to exceed the total period of six (6) months
without pay. In case of delay in the disposition of the case due to the fault,
negligence or any cause attributable to the respondents, the period of such
The respondents specifically named in Administrative Case No. OMB-C-A-05- delay shall not be counted in computing the period of the preventive
0032-A were Saturnino F. Enriquez, Salome O. Esagunde, Federico Aquino, Eleuterio suspension.

Ulatan and herein respondent Jesus D. Francisco, Sr.,[6] all of whom were members of the In accordance with Section 27, par. (1), R.A. No. 6770, this Order
is immediately executory. Notwithstanding any motion, appeal or petition
Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) of the Municipality of Bacoor,
that may be filed by the respondents seeking relief from this Order, unless
Cavite. Francisco was then the Municipal Planning and Development Officer of otherwise ordered by this Office or by any court of competent jurisdiction,
the implementation of this Order shall not be interrupted within the period
the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite. prescribed.[10] (Emphasis ours.)

Francisco received the above Order on July 1, 2005.[11] Consequently, on July 22, 2005,
The complaint stated, among others, that when
he filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari with Application for Temporary
the Municipality of Bacoor conducted its prequalification of documents and bidding, St. Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. He argued that the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
Marthas Trading and General Contractors license was not renewed. Furthermore, the said
excess of jurisdiction when it ordered his preventive suspension since the transactions
contractor was allegedly not qualified to undertake the construction of the P9.5 million questioned in the case had already been passed upon in OMB-1-98-2365 entitled, Naval
project as it can only enter into a contract for a project that is worth P3 million or less. The v. Castillo, which was dismissed for lack of merit. Furthermore, Francisco averred that the
imposition of preventive suspension was not justified given that: (1) he was charged with
complaint likewise sought to place the aforementioned individuals under preventive
gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service, not dishonesty,
suspension pending the investigation of the case.[7] oppression, grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty, as required by law;
(2) it was not shown that he caused prejudice to the government that would warrant his

34
CP-1 NDC

removal from office; and (3) his stay in office would not prejudice the case filed against him xxxx
as the documentary evidence therein were not in his possession.[12]

Contrary to the allegation of the complainant that the


awardee, St. Marthas Trading and General Contractor was
On December 2, 2005, Francisco moved for the early resolution of his petition, reiterating not qualified to undertake the project being classified under
his prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary Category C, respondent submitted a xerox copy of a letter
injunction. dated 05 January 1999 of Jaime Martinez, OIC-Engineer
DPWH, Trece Martirez City stating that St. Marthas
Trading & General Contractor is classified under Category
A. He likewise submitted a certification dated 06 April 1999
On December 23, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision,
issued by Carolina C. Saunar, Supervising TIDS of the
finding in favor of Francisco. Thus, said the Court of Appeals: Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board to the effect
that St. Marthas Trading & General Contractor is a holder
of Contractors License No. 24109 originally issued on 18
The petition has merit. December 1997 with Category A and classification of
General Building and General Engineering. x x x.

Francisco argues that while he may not have been charged in OMB-1-98-
2365, which was dismissed, still the transaction involved therein is the After a thorough study and evaluation of the records of the
same transaction for which he was charged in OMB-C-A-05-0032-A, thus case as well as after the conduct of an actual ocular
barred under the principle of res judicata. investigation, this Office finds the defenses interposed by
the respondent to be meritorious.

We agree. The respondents in OMB-C-A-05-0032-A were administratively


charged for gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the A judgment bars a subsequent action, with the concurrence of the following
service when they awarded the contract to construct their municipal hall to requirements: (a) the first judgment must be a final one; (b) the court
St. Marthas Contractor, allegedly an unqualified contractor, because both rendering the judgment must have jurisdiction over the subject matter and
at the time of the bidding and at the time of contract signing, the contractor over the parties; (c) it must be a judgment or order on the merits; and (d)
had an expired license. Moreover, St. Marthas Contractor belongs to small there must be between the two cases, identity of parties, identity of subject
B category, which means it cannot enter into a contract for a project worth matter and identity of action.
3 Million Pesos or less.Therefore, the respondents should have
disqualified the said contractor.
The order of dismissal in OMB-1-98-2365 should operate as a bar to OMB-
C-A-05-0032-A. There is no question that the order dismissing the charges
The said allegation was the exact matter decided by the Ombudsman in in OMB-1-98-2365, is a judgment on the merits, by a court having
OMB-1-98-2365, to wit: jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties, and had attained
finality. There is, between OMB-1-98-2365 and OMB-C-A-05-0032-A, an
identity of parties, an identity of subject matter and an identity of
action. While it may be argued that there was no absolute identity of
35
CP-1 NDC

parties, a shared identity of interest by the parties in both cases is sufficient Luzon, has been rendered moot. In view of the above-stated supervening event that
to invoke the coverage of the principle. The substitution of parties will not occurred after the filing of the instant petition, the same has ceased to present a justiciable
remove the case from the doctrine of res judicata; otherwise, the parties
controversy.
could renew the litigation by the simple expedient of substitution of parties.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The 30 May 2005 order In Ombudsman v. Pelio,[22] the Court clarified that [p]reventive suspension is merely a
of the Office of the Ombudsman in OMB-C-A-05-0032-A is hereby SET preventive measure, a preliminary step in an administrative investigation; the purpose
ASIDE.[13] thereof is to prevent the accused from using his position and the powers and prerogatives
of his office to influence potential witnesses or tamper with records which may be vital in
the prosecution of the case against him.
On January 18, 2006, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon filed a Motion for
Reconsideration[14] on the above decision, but the same was denied in the assailed
Resolution dated May 3, 2006. Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6770 expressly provides for the power of the Ombudsman
or his Deputy to place a public officer or employee under preventive suspension, to wit:

On June 26, 2006, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and the General
Investigation Bureau-A of the said office, through the OSG (petitioners), filed the instant SECTION 24. Preventive Suspension. The Ombudsman or his
petition, praying for the reversal of the adverse rulings of the Court of Appeals. Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee under his
authority pending an investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt
is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves
dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance
Respondent filed his Comment[15] on January 8, 2007 while petitioners filed a Reply[16] on of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the
March 19, 2007. In a Resolution[17]dated April 23, 2007, the Court directed the parties to respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against
submit their respective memoranda. The OSG, in a Manifestation and Motion,[18] adopted him.
its Petition and Reply as its Memorandum in the instant case. In turn, respondent filed his
The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is
Memorandum[19] on September 7, 2007. terminated by the Office of the Ombudsman but not more than
sixmonths, without pay, except when the delay in the disposition of the
case by the Office of the Ombudsman is due to the fault, negligence or
Upon elevation of the records to this Court, it became apparent that the Office of the petition of the respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not
Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon issued a Joint Resolution,[20] dismissing Administrative be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided.
(Emphasis ours.)
Case No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A for lack of probable cause. The said resolution was
approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro on February 28, 2008.[21]

The Court finds that the petition at bar, which seeks the reinstatement of the Order of Similarly, Section 9, Rule III of the Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman [23] in
preventive suspension dated May 30, 2005 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for administrative cases recites:

36
CP-1 NDC

Ombudsman on February 28, 2008. Consequently, the Order of the Office of the Deputy
SECTION 9. Preventive Suspension. Pending investigation, the Ombudsman for Luzon placing Francisco and his co-respondents under preventive
respondent may be preventively suspended without pay if, in the judgment suspension in Administrative Case No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A has already lost its
of the Ombudsman or his proper deputy, the evidence of guilt is strong and significance.
(a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty,
oppression or gross misconduct, or gross neglect in the performance of
duty; or (b) the charge would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the
Barbieto v. Court of Appeals[26] reiterates that [t]ime and again, courts have refrained from
respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the just, fair and
independent disposition of the case filed against him. even expressing an opinion in a case where the issues have become moot and academic,
there being no more justiciable controversy to speak of, so that a determination thereof
would be of no practical use or value.
The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is
terminated; however, the total period of preventive suspension
should not exceed six months. Nevertheless, when the delay in the While the Court is mindful of the principle that [t]he moot and academic principle is not a
disposition of the case is due to the fault, negligence or any cause magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts will
attributable to the respondent, the period of such delay shall not be
decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave violation of the
counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided. (Emphasis
ours.) Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public
interest is involved; third, when the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of
controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar and the public; and fourth, the case is
capable of repetition yet evading review,[27] the above exceptions do not find application in
the instant case.
To recall in the instant case, the Order of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for
Luzon dated May 30, 2005, which placed the respondents in Administrative Case
No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A under preventive suspension, was received by respondent
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby DENIES the instant petition for mootness. No
Francisco on July 1, 2005. Instead of filing a motion for reconsideration[24] thereon,
costs.
Francisco filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari with Application for
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. The appellate court,
however, did not issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary SO ORDERED.
injunction. Accordingly, the six-month period of the preventive suspension was not
interrupted. Having received notice of the Order on July 1, 2005, the period of suspension
lapsed on December 28, 2005.[25]

Of greater importance, however, is the fact that Administrative Case No. OMB-C-
A-05-0032-A was already terminated by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon when it dismissed the case in a Joint Resolution, approved by the Acting

37
CP-1 NDC

G.R. No. 170046 December 10, 2014 On March 1, 2004, the Special Prosecution Officer, Humphrey T. Monteroso, of the Office
of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman, filed an Information 6 with
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, respondent Sandiganbayan accusing Maximo A. Borje, Jr., Burt B. Favorito, Florendo B.
vs. Arias, Erdito Q. Quarto, Agerico C. Palaypay, Napoleon S. Anas, Danilo C. Planta, Luisito
MAXIMO A. BORJE, JR., BURT B. FAVORITO, FLORENDO B. ARIAS, ERDITO Q. S. Dela Rosa, Rogelio L. Beray, Norma A. Villarmino, Ricardo M. Juan, Jr., Nelson Umali,
QUARTO, AGERICO C. PALAYPAY, NAPOLEON S. ANAS, DANILO C. PLANTA, Maria Luisa T. Cruz, Melissa T.Espina, Violeta R. Tadeo, Jessica J. Catibayan, Violeta C.
LUISITO S. DELA ROSA, ROGELIO L. BERAY, NORMA A. VILLARMINO, RICARDO Amar, Ronaldo G. Simbahan, Felipe A. San Jose, Rolando C. Castillo, Conchita N. Dela
M. JUAN, JR., NELSON UMALI, MARIA LUISA T. CRUZ, MELISSA T. ESPINA, Cruz, Janette A. Bugayong, Jesus D. Capuz, Rodellia D. Uy, Romeo C. Fullido,Nonette H.
VIOLETA R. TADEO, JESSICA J. CATIBAYAN, VIOLETA C. AMAR, RON ALDO G. Fullido, Victoria M. Go, Carmelito V. Edem, Augusto C. Capuz, Vicente Santos, Jr., of the
SIMBAHAN, FELIPE A. SAN JOSE, ROLANDO C. CASTILLO, CONCHITA N. DELA crime of Plunder defined and penalized under RA No. 7080, as amended, committed as
CRUZ, JANETTE A. BUGAYONG, JESUS D. CAPUZ, RODELIA R. UY, ROMEO C. follows:
FULLIDO, NO NETTE H. FULLIDO, VICTORIA M. GO, CARMELITO V. EDEM,
.AUGUSTO C. CAPUZ,+ VICENTE SANTOS, JR., JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, AND That during the period from March to December, 2001, or sometime prior or subsequent
THE SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND DIVISION), Respondents. thereto, in the City of Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused MAXIMO BORJE, JR. y AQUINO, a public officer, being
DECISION then the Chief of the Motorpool Section of the Department of Public Works and Highways,
Port Area, Manila, by himself and in connivance/conspiracy with his co-accused BURT
PERALTA, J.: FAVORITO y BARBA, FLORENDO ARIAS y BUAG, ERDITO QUARTO y QUIAOT,
AGERICO PALAYPAY y CORTES, NAPOLEON ANAS y SEBASTIAN, DANILO PLANTA
y CALUYA, LUISITO S. DELA ROSA, ROGELIO BERAY y LAGANGA, NORMA
Before the Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to
VILLARMINO y AGCAOILI, RICARDO M. JUAN, JR., NELSON UMALI, MARIA LUISA
reverse and set aside the Resolutions dated January 20, 20051 and October 12, 20052 of
CRUZ y TALAO, MELISSA ESPINA y TANGPUZ, VIOLETA TADEO y RAGASA,JESSICA
the Sandiganbayan inCriminal Case No. 27969 dismissing the same for lack of probable
CATIBAYAN y JARDIEL, VIOLETA AMAR y CASTILLO, RONALDO G. SIMBAHAN,
cause for the crime of plunder without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges against
FELIPE A. SAN JOSE, ROLANDO C. CASTILLO, and JOHN DOESand JANE DOES, who
respondents. The factual antecedents follow.
are his officemates being likewise officials and employees of the Department of Public
Works and Highways (DPWH), two of whom are high ranking public officers, namely:
On January 9, 2002, the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways BURT FAVORITO y BARBA, Director III, Administrative and Manpower Management
(DPWH), Simeon Datumanong, issuedDepartment Order No. 15, Series of 2002, creating Services [Salary Grade 27] and FLORENDO ARIAS y BUAG, Assistant Director, Bureau
a committee for the purpose of investigating alleged anomalies and illegal disbursements of Equipment [Salary Grade 27], and in further connivance/conspiracy with his other
in connection with the repair of DPWH-owned motor vehicles and equipment.3 As a result coaccused private individuals engaged inthe business of motor vehicle and spare parts
of the investigation, it was discovered thatduring the period of March 2001 to December supply, namely: CONCHITA N. DELA CRUZ, JANETTE A. BUGAYONG, JESUS D.
2001, the emergency repairs conducted on hundreds of DPWH vehicles, approved and CAPUZ, RODELLIA UY y DEL ROSARIO, ROMEO C. FULLIDO, NONETTE H. FULLIDO,
paid for by the government, did not actually take place, resulting in the loss of about One VICTORIA GO y MANIEGO, CARMELITO EDEM y VARGAS, AUGUSTO CAPUZ y CO,
Hundred Thirty-Nine Million Pesos (139,000,000.00).4 VICENTE SANTOS, JR., as well as other JOHN DOESand JANE DOES, with evident bad
faith and intent to defraud and cause damage to the government, and taking undue
On August 7, 2002, Atty. Irene D. Ofilada, of the Internal Audit Service of the DPWH and advantage of his official position, authority, connection or influence as such public officer,
member of the committee, filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint for did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, and criminally, amass, accumulate and acquire, by
violation of Section 3(e)(g) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019, as amended, in relation to himself, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount of EIGHTY-TWO MILLION THREE
Sections 20 and 9 of the General and Special Provisions, respectively, of the General HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE AND 38/100
Appropriations Act, Memorandum of the Secretary on the Guidelines on Purchases of PESOS (82,321,855.38), more or less, thereby unjustly enriching himself at the expense
Spare Parts and Repair of Vehicles dated July 19, 1997, Department Order No. 33, Series and to the damage of the Filipino People and the Republic of the Philippines inthe
of1988 of RA 6770, as amended by RA No. 3018, COA Circular 85-55 A, Seriesof 1985, aforestated amount, through a series and/or combination of overt orcriminal acts or similar
COA Circular 76-412, Series of 1976 on splitting of RSE, PO, vouchers and payrolls, schemes or means, consisting of misappropriations, conversions, misuses, diversions
against the several officials/employees of the DPWH, including respondents herein.5 and/or malversation of public funds and/or raids on the public treasury, by means of false
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CP-1 NDC

pretenses and fraudulent acts executed prior to, or simultaneously with, the fraud, by THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IS NOT BOUND BY THE FINDINGS OF
falsifying public, officials and/or commercial documents, such as Job Orders, Pre-Repair ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES IN ITS DETERMINATION OF THE EXISTENCE OF
Inspection Reports, Post-Repair Inspection Reports, Requisition for Supplies and/or PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE FILING OF A CRIMINAL CASE.
Equipment (RSE), Certificates of Emergency Purchases/Repair, Waste Material Reports,
Certificate of Acceptance, Certificates of Fair Wear and Tear, Price Verifications, Requests Petitioner maintains that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the
for Obligation Allotment and Disbursement Vouchers, and such other falsified documents, Ombudsman is an executive, not a judicial function. As such, it asserts that respondent
untruthfully narrating therein material facts on fictitious emergency repairs of various Sandiganbayan should have given deference to the finding and determination of probable
DPWH vehicles and/or ghost purchases of spare parts, which are, in truth, imaginary or cause in their preliminary investigation. Moreover, petitioner faulted the respondent court
spurious transactions, and by using such falsified documents of said imaginary or spurious for taking into consideration the findings of Atty. Irene Ofilada of the Investigating
transactions for said accused to unlawfully cause the undue releases of public funds and Committee that it was not respondent Borje who encashed the checks but the respondent-
obtain undue payments on 4,406 transactions, more or less, for said fictitious emergency suppliers, by virtue of a blanket authority given by the former to the latter. It posits that said
repairs of DPWH vehicles and/or ghost purchases of spare parts, thereby findings cannot bind the Office of the Ombudsman in its determination of the existence of
misappropriating, converting, misusing, diverting and/or malversing the proceeds thereof probable cause.
for MAXIMO BORJE, JR. y AQUINOs personal use and benefit.
Respondents counter that the respondent court correctly dismissed the case for the
Thereafter, respondents filed their responsive pleadings essentially assailing the evidence clearly shows the absence of certain elements of the crime. They maintain that
Ombudsmans finding of probable cause. On March 19, 2004, the Sandiganbayan issued while investigating officers have a wide latitude of discretion in the determination of
an Order7 giving respondents a period within which to submit their memoranda of authority. probable cause, which deserves respect from the courts, the acts of the Ombudsman in
In its Omnibus Comment/Opposition8 of even date, petitioner questioned the authority of disregarding essential pieces of evidence are tantamount to an abuse of discretion
the Sandiganbayan to act on respondentsmotions, arguing that the same had not yet authorizing the dismissal by the court of the case.
acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents and, hence, it had no authority
to hear and decide their motions. Petitioner also alleged that it successfully established We rule in favor of petitioner.
probable cause justifying the issuance by the respondent court of a warrant of arrest.
It is well to recall that there are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive
On January 20, 2005, respondent Sandiganbayan issued the assailed and judicial. On the one hand, executive determination of probable cause ascertains
Resolution9 upholding its authority to act on respondents motions for their filing of the whether a criminal case must be filed in court.11 It is a function that properly pertains to the
same may be considered as voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court and public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause
dismissing the case for lack of probable cause for the crime of plunder without prejudice exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by
to the filing of appropriate charges against the accused-respondents. Itruled that as the law and should be held for trial.12 On the other hand, judicial determination of probable
records reveal, not all elements of the crime are present for the accused Borje had not cause ascertains whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. It is
amassed ill-gotten wealth of at least 50 million. It further denied petitioners Motion for one made by a judge who must satisfy himself that based on the evidence presented, there
Reconsideration in its Resolution10 dated October 12, 2005 for lack of merit. is necessity in placing the accused under custody so that the ends of justice will not be
frustrated.13
Hence, the instant petition invoking the following grounds:
Verily, as far as crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan are concerned, the
I. determination of probable cause during the preliminary investigation, or reinvestigation for
thatmatter, is a function that belongs to the Office of the Ombudsman, which is empowered
THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION OF DETERMINING THE EXISTENCE OF PROBABLE to determine, in the exercise of its discretion, whether probable cause exists, and to charge
CAUSE FOR THE FILING OF AN INFORMATION IS VESTED SOLELY IN THE the person believed to have committed the crime as defined by law.14
PROSECUTION.
It is well settled that courts do not interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman to
II. determine the presence or absence of probable cause believing that a crime has been
committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof necessitating the filing of the
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CP-1 NDC

corresponding information with the appropriate courts.15 This rule is based not only on on the part of the complainant. In Go v. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan, we held that "it is
respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the well established that the presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary
Office of the Ombudsman but upon practicality as well. If it were otherwise, the functions in nature and is a matter of defense that may be best passed upon after a full-blown trial
of the Court will be seriously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of on the merits." Also, it would be unfair to expect the prosecution to present all the evidence
investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to needed to secure the conviction of the accused upon the filing of the information against
complaints filed before it, in much the same way that the courts would be extremely the latter. The reason is found in the nature and objective of a preliminary investigation.
swamped with cases if they could be compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the Here, the public prosecutors do not decide whether there is evidence beyond reasonable
part of the fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each time they decide to file an information in doubt of the guilt of the person charged; they merely determine whether there is sufficient
court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.16 ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that
respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.
The Office of the Ombudsman, in this case, found probable cause which would warrant
the filing of an information against respondents.1avvphi1 For purposes of filing a criminal Moreover, the fact that the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman differs from the
information, probable cause has been defined as such facts as are sufficient to engender findings of Atty. Irene D. Ofilada, of the Internal Audit Service of the DPWH, who conducted
a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that respondents are probably the initial investigation, falls short of being capricious or arbitrary. It has consistently been
guilty thereof. It is such set of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably held that there is grave abuse of discretion where power is exercised in an arbitrary or
discreet and prudent man to believe that the offense charged in the Information, or any despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. The abuse must be so patent and gross
offense included therein, has been committed by the person sought to be arrested.17 A as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty or to
finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not act at all in contemplation of law.22 The Ombudsman in this case, however, was merely
a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspect. It need not be based on performing his duty as mandated by the Constitution23and by law.24 Filing an Information
clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond against respondents in this case based on sufficient ground to engender a well-founded
reasonable doubt, and definitely not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of belief that a crime has been committed and that respondents are probably guilty thereof
guilt.18 Thus, unless it is shown that the Ombudsmans finding of probable cause was done cannot be said to be whimsical or despotic. As effectively shown by evidence, the
in a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment evidencing a clear case of grave abuse Ombudsmans charge was not at all baseless for the link between the respondents and
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, this Court will not interfere with the anomalous transactions herein has been satisfactorily established. In the absence,
the same.19 therefore, of any showing that the questioned acts of the Ombudsman were done in a
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment evidencing a clear case of grave abuse of
In the instant case, the act of filing an Information against respondents by the Ombudsman discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, this Court will not interfere with the
cannot be characterized as arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, or despotic amounting to a Ombudsmans exercise of his constitutionally mandated powers.
grave abuse of discretion. A review of the records clearly reveals that accused Borje, Jr.
was the payee of 4,406 checks amounting to 82,321,855.38 covering the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed
reimbursements of the supposed payments for the anomalousand questionable repairs of Resolutions dated January 20, 2005 and October 12, 2005 of the Sandiganbayan
the DPWH vehicles. While there may havebeen evidence presented which may lead to an inCriminal Case No. 27969 are SET ASIDE. The Resolution dated January 7, 2004 of the
inference that the end-receiver of the amounts covered by the checks is not actually Ombudsman in OMB-C-C-02-0507-H, finding probable cause to indict respondents for the
accused Borje, Jr., but the accused private individuals suppliers, the fact that the name of crime of plunder is AFFIRMED.
accused Borje, Jr. appears on the subject checks cannot be denied. Indeed, merebelief
that respondents probably committed the crime suffices to establish probable cause. SO ORDERED.
Whether they are, in fact, guilty of plunder is a different matter, which can properly be
determined at a full-blown trial on the merits of this case.20 As this Court has ruled in
People v. Castillo:21

Moreover, it was clearly premature on the part of the Sandiganbayan to make a


determinative finding prior tothe parties presentation of their respective evidence that
there was no bad faith and manifest partiality on the respondents part and undue injury

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