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XIV.

Accountability of public officer case 6-10


Melos post sa FB: additional doctrine
Attention: modification in 1)) AMIT vs COA.

money orders, paid vouchers, payrolls and other cash items that
she was officially accountable for. Petitioner, who was bonded for
P100,000.00, was found to have made cash payments in the total
amount of six thousand one hundred seventy-one pesos and
twenty three centavos (P6,171.23), hereunder itemized:
Nature of Claims

Date

Amount

(Erratum) Held: No. xxx.......

Telephone Rental

Nov. 1980

P 250.00

(Addendum)

Office Rental, S. Haguisan

Mar. 1981

570.00

TEV, Milagros L. Diaz

Public office is a public trust and public officers and employees


must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with
patriotism and justice and lead modest lives. This high
constitutional standard of conduct is not intended to be mere
rhetoric; those in the public service are enjoined to fully comply
with this standard or run the risk of facing administrative sanctions
ranging from reprimand to the extreme penalty of dismissal from
the service.
6)) [G.R. No. 125213. January 26, 1999]
MILAGROS L.
respondents.

DIAZ,

petitioner,

vs.

DECISION
VITUG, J.:
Milagros L. Diaz, erstwhile postmistress of Tandag, Surigao del
Sur, was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
malversation of public funds defined by Article 217, paragraph 4,
of the Revised Penal Code, in a decision rendered by the
Sandiganbayan on 15 March 1996 in Criminal Case No. 11295.
The Sandiganbayan adjudged:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court hereby finds
the accused Milagros L. Diaz GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of malversation of public funds as described and
penalized in Art. 217 of the Revised Penal Code for the amount of
P9,813.99, and after considering the mitigating circumstances of
full restitution in her favor and applying the provisions of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, hereby sentences her to suffer the
following penalties:

385.20

Spare Parts, Phil. Mail

Jun. 1979

Gasoline, Phil. Mail

Aug. 1979

1,020.20

Spare Parts, Phil. Mail

Dec. 1979

684.80

Spare Parts, Phil. Mail

Jan. 1980

353.55

Repair, Phil. Mail

Oct. 1980

64.00

Repair, Phil. Mail

Dec. 1980

46.00

Registration Fee, Phil. Mail

Dec. 1980

Office Rental, S. Haguisan

SANDIGANBAYAN,

Dec. 1980

TEV, Milagros L. Diaz

Aug. 1981
Nov. 1981

50.50

25.50
640.00
468.50

Repair, Phil. Mail

Jan. 1982

32.00

Mail Carriage, Postmaster

Jan. 1982

6.00

Gasoline, Phil. Mail

Sept. 1982

Mail Carriage, Postmaster

Feb. 1982

12.50

Gasoline, Phil. Mail

Feb. 1982

238.95

Fare, Pedro D. Sindo

Oct. 1982

5.00

TEV, Milagros L. Diaz

Nov. 1982

250.50

Salary, Carlos M. Acevedo


TOTAL

228.44

839.59
P6, 171.23[2]

The audit team also found petitioner to have sold postage stamps
in the sum of P8,020.40 which she had failed to record in her cash
book, and since Quijada neither considered the cash items in the
aforesaid amount of P6,171.23 as having been validly disbursed,
he reported that petitioner had incurred a total cash shortage of
P14,191.63. He then referred the matter to the Regional Director
of the Bureau of Posts.

(a) imprisonment for an indeterminate period


ranging from a minimum of six (6) years and
one day of prision mayor to a maximum of ten In a letter, dated 15 April 1983, Quijada asked petitioner to explain
(10) years and one (1) day of reclusion why criminal and administrative charges should not instituted
against her. Petitioner did not respond. On 24 May 1985, Quijada
temporal;
executed an affidavit attesting to the incurrence by petitioner of a
(b) fine in the amount of P9,813.99, the amount equal to the cash shortage of P14,191.63 and her failure to make a restitution
amount malversed; and
thereof. On 05 March 1986, an information for malversation of
public funds was filed against petitioner with the Sandiganbayan; it
(c) perpetual special disqualification for public office.
read;
She is likewise ordered to pay the Bureau of Posts the amount of
That on March 4, 1983 or for sometime prior thereto, in the
P6.70 only to complete the restitution made by the accused.
Municipality of Tandag, Province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines,
SO ORDERED.[1]
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused
Milagros L. Diaz, a public officer being then the Postmaster III of
In her petition for review before this Court, Milagros Diaz assails
the Bureau of Posts of Tandag, Surigao del Sur and as such is
her conviction by the Sandiganbayan and continues to profess her
responsible and accountable for the public funds entrusted to her
innocence.
by reason of her position, with grave abuse of confidence and
The case against petitioner sprung from the implementation of taking advantage of her public position as such, did then and there
Office Order No. 83-15, dated 03 March 1983, issued by Provincial wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, embezzle and
Auditor Diosdado Lagunday, Surigao del Sur, that directed Auditor take from said public funds the amount of P14,191.63, Philippine
II Dominico L. Quijada and Auditing Examiners I Victor B. Tecson Currency, which he (sic) appropriated and converted to her own
and Zenaida C. Cueto to examine the cash and other accounts of personal use, to the damage and prejudice of the government in
petitioner Milagros L. Diaz, then postmistress of Tandag, Surigao the aforementioned amount.
del Sur. The following day of 04 March 1983, Quijada required
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]
petitioner Diaz to produce all cash, treasury warrants, checks,

Petitioner was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by


the Sandiganbayan. On 24 March 1986, she posted bail in the
amount of P20,000.00; she was forthwith ordered release from
custody by the Regional Trial Court of Tandag, Surigao del Sur,
Branch XXVII.
The arraignment of petitioner scheduled for 15 May 1986 was
reset to 16 June 1986 due to petitioners illness and later to the
following month at her request. Meanwhile, petitioner filed a
motion for reinvestigation with the Sandiganbayan contending that
the Acting Provincial Fiscal of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, who had
conducted the preliminary investigation ultimately recommended
the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that petitioner was
able to fully account for the alleged shortage of P14,191.63. The
motion was granted. The Tanodbayan reinvestigated the case.
On 24 April 1987, Mariflor Punzalan-Castillo, the investigating
prosecutor, issued an order dismissing the complaint on the basis
of her finding that there was no showing of bad faith on the part of
the accused when she defrayed the expenses subject of the
audit;[4] that the shortage was incurred to defray operational
expenses for the Tandag post office; and that the shortage in cash
should instead be blamed on the failure, or delay, of the Regional
Office of the Bureau of Posts in replenishing the amount spent for
office operation. The investigating prosecutor said:

This certification is issued upon request and representation by


said Milagros Diaz for whatever legal purpose it may serve on her
behalf.
Issued this 18th day of December, 1987 at Davao City,
Philippines.
Sgd)
DUARDO F. CAUILAN
hief, Finance Section
NOTED:
(Sgd)
DIOSCORO A. GELITO
Asst. Regional Director
Officer-In-Charge[8]

The statement referred to in the certificate indicated that the


expenses incurred had, in fact, been liquidated. On 08 February
Only the amount of P1,786.89 has so far been replenished by the 1988, Special Prosecutor Fidel D. Galindez informed the
Regional Office. The accountant of the Regional Office, Bureau of Sandiganbayan of the advice he had received from the Bureau of
Post, Davao City, issued a certification that the amount of Posts that the questioned items were appropriate expenses by
P4,384.34 representing claims of Mrs. Diaz were listed in the the Bureau.[9] On 22 March 1988, the prosecutor manifested that
statement of payables but unbooked in their book of accounts due with the aforequoted certification of the Chief of the Finance
to lack of funds. The remaining shortage in the amount of Section of Region XI of the Bureau of Post, holding to be
P9,807.29 was paid by the accused also pending replenishment legitimate expenses the amount covered by the supposed
from the Regional Office.
shortage incurred by petitioner, there was no prima facie case of
malversation. The motion drew observation from COA, through
Lastly, the new Postmaster of Tandag, Surigao del Sur issued a
Assistant Director Jose G. Molina, that the statement of
certification that Mrs. Milagros Diaz has already been cleared of
petitioners total accountability of P14,503.31 was inaccurate.
her money accountability.[5]
On 17 June 1988, the Sandiganbayan again denied the motion to
The prosecutor thereupon filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion
withdraw the information and ruled that the withdrawal of the
to withdraw the information against petitioner from which the
information was not justified because petitioner had already been
Commission on Audit (COA), through its General Counsel,
arraigned and that the resolution of the conflict on the propriety of
excepted when directed by the Sandiganbayan to comment. On
the disbursements made by petitioner was a matter of evidence
19 August 1987, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion to
that should instead be threshed out during trial.
withdraw the information and held that the restitution made by
petitioner would not exculpate her from liability.
Trial ensued with the prosecution and the defense presenting their
respective version of the case.
On 01 December 1987,[6] petitioner was arraigned. She pleaded
no guilty to the indictment.
On 15 March 1996, following the submission of evidence, the
Sandiganbayan promulgated its decision convicting petitioner of
A pre-trial was conducted on 03 December 1987 during which
the crime of malversation. Touching base on the evidence of
petitioners counsel informed the Sandiganbayan that the
petitioner that the expenses she had incurred were office related,
Regional Office of the Bureau of Posts had reimbursed the entire the Sandiganbayan said that the ruling in Villacorta vs. People[10]
amount for which petitioner was held accountable thereby
where such expenses were held to be payments made in good
confirming that the assailed disbursements were truly legitimate.
faith, thus destroying in these instances the presumption of
On 18 December 1987,petitioner wrote Presiding Justice Francis
peculation in Art. 217 of the Revised Penal Code, would only give
E. Garchitorena a letter[7] submitting to the Sandiganbayan a
the accused the benefit of the doubt by allowing her to show that
carbon copy of the certification of Eduardo F. Cauilan, Chief of the
the expenses were indeed office related expenses, and thus valid
Finance Section of Region XI of the Bureau of Posts to the
cash items requiring thereby for presentation at audit of the
following effect:
required receipts accompanied by the duly accomplished and
approved vouchers, as well as a demonstration that these claims
CERTIFICATION
had not been reimbursed and were still outstanding at the time of
To Whom It May Concern:
audit. Conceding that the amounts of P1,081.00 and P3,296.64,
This is to certify that according to the records of this office, the or a total of P4,377.64, were allowable, the Sandiganbayan said
following expenses forming part of the accountability of former that petitioner was still short of funds by P9,813.99 which
Postmaster Milagros L. Diaz of Tandag, Post Office, Tandag, petitioner would be presumed to have malversed x x x there
Surigao del Sur, were legitimate expenses having to do with postal being no satisfactory proof presented to substantiate the legitimate
operations of said post office all incurred in the exigencies and disbursement thereof.
interest of public service, which were all considered and taken In tackling the claim of petitioner that she had liquidated rather
cognizance by this office, details of which are listed in separate than restituted the cash items, the Sandiganbayan explained:
statement forming a part of this certification covering the total
The distinction between liquidation and restitution, of course, is
amount of P14,503.31.

important. A liquidation of cash item means the validation of the


transaction, while restitution means that the accountable officer
had to dig from his or her private resources to cover the amount
involved. The amount paid by the accused as evidenced by the
official receipts she presented in court represented the amounts
which she had already received but she never turned over until
long after the audit. This only meant that she has paid these
amounts to cover her cash shortage. Thus, these items do not
represent liquidation but restitution.[11]
It likewise noted that restitution is merely recognized in
jurisprudence (to be) a mitigating circumstance in malversation
cases.[12]
In her petition for review before this Court, petitioner insists that
she did not appropriate or convert to her personal use the final
sum of P9,813.99 held by the Sandiganbayan to have been
malversed by her; that the amount has been used to defray the
expenses for office rentals, telephone rentals, spare parts,
gasoline and registration fees, and that she did have the
corresponding authority to pay those items of expenses.
The crime of malversation for which petitioner has been indicted is
defined and penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal
Code; its pertinent provisions read:
ART. 217. Malversation of public funds or property Presumption
of malversation Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of
his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall
appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate or shall
consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any
other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or
partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation of
malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer:
x x x

xxx

xxx

4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum


periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand
pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount
exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to reclusion perpetua.
In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the
penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the
amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the
property embezzled.
The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public
funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by
any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he
has put such missing fund or property to personal uses.
The felony involves breach of public trust, and whether it is
committed through dolo or culpa the law makes it punishable and
prescribes a uniform penalty therefor. Even when the information
charges willful malversation, conviction for malversation through
negligence may still be adjudged if the evidence ultimately proves
that mode of commission of the offense.[13] The elements of
malversation of public funds are that (a) the offender is a public
officer, (b) he has custody or control of the funds or property by
reason of the duties of his office, (c) the funds or property are
public funds or propertyfor which he is accountable, and, most
importantly, (d) he has appropriated, taken, misappropriated or
consented, or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted
another person to take them.[14]

funds with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly


forthcoming any public funds with which he is chargeable, upon
demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie
evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to
personal uses. The presumption is, of course, rebuttable.
Accordingly, if the accused is able to present adequate evidence
that can nullify any likelihood that he had put the funds or property
to personal use, than that presumption would be at an end and the
prima facie case is effectively negated. This Court has repeatedly
said that when the absence funds is not due to the personal use
thereof by the accused, the presumption is completely destroyed;
in fact, the presumption is deemed never to have existed at all.[15]
The prosecution, upon whose burden was laden the task of
establishing by proof beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner had
committed the offense charged, mainly relied on the statutory
presumption aforesaid and failed to present any substantial piece
of evidence to indicate that petitioner had used the funds for
personal gain. The evidence submitted, just to the contrary, would
point out that not a centavo of the so-called missing funds was
spent for personal use, a matter that was later acknowledged by
the Special Prosecutor who thereupon recommended the
withdrawal of the information earlier filed against petitioner. The
alleged shortages in the total amount of P14,191.63 claimed by
Auditor Quijada had been explained by petitioner. On the day of
the audit, she presented a list of cash items showing that she had
spent the amount of P6,171.23 for telephone and office rentals,
spare parts of the vehicle being utilized for the delivery of mails,
registration and repair of that vehicle, gasoline, fare of an
employee, the salary of another employee and petitioners travel
expense voucher.[16] The auditor disallowed these cash items
only because at the time of the audit, these payments were not
yet approved by the Regional Office.[17] The records,
nevertheless, would show that petitioners use of the cash in her
possession for operational expenses was founded on valid
authority. COA Circular No. 76-37 allowed postmasters to make
payments for gasoline, spare parts and minor repairs of vehicles
subject to reimbursement by the Regional Office. She advanced
payments of salaries of employees on the basis of the Circular
No. 82-21 issued by the Postmaster General. The Regional
Office, through the chief of the finance section, certified that all the
payments made by petitioner were legitimate operational
expenses. Exhibit 7-a, attached to the certificate of 18
December 1987, disclosed that thirty-two items of the operational
expenses were later approved and liquidated with checks bearing
dates between 07 November 1982 and 28 February 1983. It
would appear that somehow the Sandiganbayan failed to consider
the fact that, on 20 November 1982, petitioner had to vacate her
post upon her promotion. Notably, while the thirty-two checks
were issued prior to the audit, there was nothing to suggest that
she already had the checks in her possession at the time.

Liquidation of obligations incurred by accountable public officials


involves a long process; pertinent government accounting
principles, require the (a) preparation of the disbursement
voucher, (b) processing of the request for allotment supported by
such documents as payrolls, disbursement vouchers,
purchase/job orders, requisitions for supplies/materials, etc., and
(c) issuance of the corresponding check.[18] Each time, when
accomplished, the corresponding amount is debited or deducted
from the available funds of the agency which would then consider
the claim settled and paid although there may have yet been no
actual transfer of cash involved from the government to the payee
of the check. The term to liquidate means to settle, to adjust, to
Concededly, the first three elements are present in this case. It is ascertain or to reduce to precision in amount.[19] Liquidation
the last element, i.e., whether or not petitioner really has does not necessarily signify payment,[20] and to liquidate an
misappropriated public funds, where the instant petition focuses account, can mean to ascertain the balance due, to whom it is
itself. In convicting petitioner, the Sandiganbayan cites the due, and to whom it is payable;[21] hence, an account that has
presumption in Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code that the been liquidated can also mean that the item has been made
failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public certain as to what, and how much, is deemed to be owing.[22]

It would indeed be a folly and too restrictive a usage to construe


the word liquidated as being solely the receipt of checks by
petitioner or encashment of the check by petitioner, and to
thereby conclude that she should be held to have malversed the
amount of P5,600.84 merely for her failure to transfer the sum
either to her successor the day she was promoted or to the auditor
on the day the audit was made.[23] The defense evidence, the
authenticity and genuineness of which were not controverted by
the prosecution, would show that the Regional Office issued thirty
checks bearing dates between 07 November 1982 and 21 March
1984. The checks were not issued forthrightly. The probability
that ineptitude on the part of the personnel taking charge of the
issuance of the checks, not to mention the commonly-experienced
long trail of red tape in government transactions, had engendered
delay in such issuance should not be discounted. According to
petitioner, again not contested by the prosecution, after
substantiating her claim that the shortage represented legitimate
operational expenses, she followed up the approval of the case
items with the Regional Office. Upon finally receiving the thirtythree checks, with her as payee, she encashed them and
immediately turned the cash over the Bureau of Posts of
Tandag.[24] Forthwith, on 01 July 1983, petitioner paid the amount
of P5,652.15 to the Bureau of Posts under O.R. No. 6645668[25]
which amount, incidentally, is even slightly over the total amount of
P5,600.84 found by the Sandiganbayan.

recommendations of COA in convicting appellant. The Court could


not help but observe that upon being informed that the Bureau of
Posts had reimbursed the entire amount alleged to be her
shortage, Auditor Quijada opined that his audit report had to be
altered to reflect that fact. Auditor Quijadas acquiescence to the
alteration of his report to conform to the advice would somehow
manifest that the audit was not conducted with sufficient
thoroughness. In Tinga vs. People,[31] the Court said:

At this juncture, it may not be amiss to state that considering the


gravity of the offense of Malversation of Public Funds, just as
government treasures are held to strict accountability as regards
funds entrusted to them in a fiduciary capacity, so also should
examining COA auditors act with greater care and caution in the
audit of the accounts of such accountable officers to avoid the
perpetration of any injustice. Accounts should be examined
carefully and thoroughly to the last detail, with absolute certainty
in strict compliance with the Manual of Instructions. Special note
should be taken of the fact that disallowances for lack of pre-audit
are not necessarily tantamount to malversation in law. Imperative
it is likewise that sufficient time be given examined officers to
reconstruct their accounts and refute the charge that they had put
government funds to their personal uses. Access to records must
be afforded them within a reasonable time after audit when
disbursements are still fresh in their minds and not years after
when relevant official records may no longer be available and the
The payment by postal employees who made vales from passage of time has blurred human memory.[32]
petitioner were deposited by her to the account of the Bureau of
In Dumagat vs. Sandiganbayan[33] where the ruling in Tinga was
Posts of Tandag under O.R. No. 6645670, dated 06 July 1983, in
the amount of P4,155.14. Petitioner explained that this sum was reiterated, the Court added:
P294.69 less that the total amount of salaries due the employees Since the audit examination left much to be desired in terms of
because the employees did not always make vales for the full thoroughness and completeness as there were accounts which
amount of their salaries.[26] While this Court would consider the were not considered, the same cannot be made the basis for
practice of disbursing public funds under the "vale" system to be holding petitioner liable for malversation.[34]
unmeritorious were the disbursing officer had not been authorized
to grant vales or to make advances of salaries,[27] in this case, Hopefully, the Court is not being pertinent if it were to urge COA, in
however, the conditions appended to the authority granted by the the exercise of its awesome powers, to act with extreme care and
Postmaster General to advance salaries of employees under judicious consideration of all attendant circumstances in order to
ensure that innocent public officials may not have to undergo the
Circular No. 82-21 sanctioned the practice.
trial and the pains that always go with an indictment for an offense.
The conclusion made by the Sandiganbayan that the amounts
paid by petitioner to the Bureau of Posts under O.R. No. 6645668 Generally, the factual findings of the Sandiganbayan are
and No. 6645670 were restitutions would seem to be less than conclusive upon this Court but there are established exceptions to
accurate. The amounts were replenishment[28] coming from the that rule, such as, sans preclusion, when (1) the conclusion is a
Regional Office in checks issued out in petitioners name which finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjecture;
she paid, after encashment, to the Bureau of Posts. The sum of (2) the inference made is manifestly an error or founded on a
P9,807.29 that was replenished, when added to the ten items mistake; (3) there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment
certified to accounts payable and to two items replenished by the is based on misapprehension of facts; and (5) the findings of fact
checks issued after 04 March 1983, approved as operational are premised on a want of evidence are contradicted by evidence
expenses in the amount of P4,377.64, totalled P14,284.43, or on record.[35] In these instances, this Court is bound to review the
facts in order to avoid a miscarriage of justice. The case at bar, as
even P92.80 more than the supposed shortage of P14,161.63.
may be gleaned from the foregoing disquisition, is one such
While it was not made clear which of the office expenses had been instance.
taken from the proceeds of the postage stamp sales, the fact still
remained, nevertheless, that the Regional Office cleared petitioner WHEREFORE, the decision of the Sandiganbayan appealed from
of such accountabilities, indicating at the very least that she did is SET ASIDE, and petitioner Milagros Diaz ACQUITTED of the
not spend the amount for personal use. The Court had heretofore crime of malversation of public funds for insufficiency of proof
recognized situations that could necessitate the use by beyond reasonable doubt. Costs de oficio.
accountable public officials of cash on hand for pertinent SO ORDERED.
expenditures in the conduct official business. In Bugayong vs.
People,[29] the Court acquitted an accused government physician
G.R. No. 161629
for malversation for a shortage in cash account upon audit 7)) ATTY. RONALDO P. LEDESMA,
examination because the collections in the hospital were found to Vs HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO,
have been used as its revolving fund for such official in his capacity as Ombudsman, HON. ABELARDO L.
expenditures. In Palma Gil vs. People,[30] where donated logs APORTADERA, in his capacity as Assistant Ombudsman, and
were disposed of to construct municipal projects, the Court held Ombudsmans Fact Finding and Intelligence Bureau,
that if funds or property entrusted to a public officer were validly represented by Director AGAPITO ROSALES, Respondents.
used for public purposes he should not be held liable for July 29, 2005
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
malversation.
The

Sandiganbayan

noticeably

depended

on

the

Facts:
Petitioner Atty. Ronaldo P. Ledesma is the Chairman
of the First Division of the Board of Special Inquiry (BSI) of the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID). In a letter-complaint
filed by Augusto Somalio with the Fact Finding and Intelligence
Bureau (FIIB) of the Office of the Ombudsman, an investigation
was requested on alleged anomalies surrounding the extension of
the Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) of two (2) foreign
nationals. The FIIB investigation revealed seven (7) other cases
of TRV extensions tainted with similar irregularities.
Also charged was Caronongan and Ang Board Member and
Executive Assistant, respectively. But complaint against them was
dismiss.
The FIIB filed in the ombudsman criminal and an administrative
charge , for nine (9) counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act and for falsification of public documents(crim
aspect), and, for nine (9) counts of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct,
Falsification of Public Documents and Gross Neglect of
Duty(admin aspect) against Ladesma.
The illegal acts alleged were signing the Memorandum of
Transmittal to the Board of Commission (BOC) of the BID,
forwarding the applications for TRV extension of several aliens
whose papers were questionable.
Ombudsman dismissed the criminal case for insufficiency of
evidence. It resolved the administrative case recommending
Suspension from the service for one (1) year for Conduct
Prejudicial to the Interest of the Service.
A reconsideration was file be Ladesma to ombudsman which
reduce suspension to 9 months. Petition for review was filed by
petitioner on the decision of ombydsman which again reduce the
suspension to 6 mo. And 1 day. (gusto kasi ni Ladesma walang
suspension kaya appeal ng appeal). Then finaly to SC petition for
review on certiorari.
Issue: 1) WON CA overlooked facts, that if considered will free
petitioner from liability or from being suspended. (not relevant)
2) won CA erred in ruling that decision of ombudsman is not mere
advisory .
3) won the findings of the ombudsman encroaches the BID power.

1) LADESMA denies that he misled or deceived the BOC into


approving these applications and argues that the BOC effectively
ratified his actions and sanctioned his conduct when it approved
the subject applications. Petitioner adds that he acted in good
faith and the government did not suffer any damage as a result of
his alleged administrative lapse.
SC said:
We are not persuaded. In his attempt to escape
liability, petitioner undermines his position in the BID and his role
in the processing of the subject applications. The petitioner
interviews the applicants before making recommendation. In Arias
v. Sandiganbayan, we stated that all heads of offices have to rely
to a reasonable extent on their subordinates. Practicality and
efficiency in the conduct of government business dictate that the
gritty details be sifted and reviewed by the time it reaches the final
approving authority. In the case at bar, it is not unreasonable for
the BOC to rely on the evaluation and recommendation of the BSI
as it cannot be expected to review every detail of each application
transmitted for its approval. (hindi importante, basta hindi valid sa
SC ung reason nya)
2) petitioner essentially puts in issue the import of the
Ombudsmans findings. Petitioner questions the Court of Appeals

pronouncement that the findings of the Ombudsman may not be


said to be merely recommendatory upon the Immigration
Commissioner. He argues that to uphold the appellate courts
ruling expands the authority granted by the Constitution to the
Office of the Ombudsman and runs counter to prevailing
jurisprudence on the matter, particularly Tapiador v. Office of the
Ombudsman. Petitioner submits that the Ombudsmans findings
that the TRV applications were illegal constitutes an indirect
interference by the Ombudsman into the powers of the BOC over
immigration matters(sabi ng court not same facts sa case ng
tapiador ito, wala kasing basis for suspension dun at nung sinabi
ng court ito walang explaination, kaya hindi daw ito doctrine, hindi
ko na sinama ung part na ito, mahaba na masyado).
While respondent argues that power is not mere recommendatory,
Since it sued be read in conjuction with and ensure compliance
therewith.
The point of contention is the binding power of any decision or
order that emanates from the Office of the Ombudsman after it
has conducted its investigation. Under Section 13(3) of Article XI
of the 1987 Constitution, it is provided:

Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the


following powers, functions, and duties:

(3)

Direct the officer concerned to take


appropriate action against a public
official or employee at fault, and
recommend his removal, suspension,
demotion,
fine,
censure,
or
prosecution, and ensure compliance
therewith. (Emphasis supplied)

we agree with the ratiocination of public respondents.


The provisions of RA 6770 support public respondents theory.
Section 15 is substantially the same as Section 13, Article XI of
the Constitution which provides for the powers, functions and
duties of the Ombudsman. We draw attention to subparagraph 3,
to wit:
SEC. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. The Office of the
Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and
duties:

(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate


action against a public officer or employee at fault or who
neglects to perform an act or discharge a duty required
by law, and recommend his removal, suspension,
demotion, fine, censure, or prosecution, and ensure
compliance therewith; or enforce its disciplinary authority
as provided in Section 21 of this Act: Provided, That the
refusal by any officer 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 neglects to perform an act or discharge a
duty required by law shall be a ground for disciplinary
action against said officer;
We note that the proviso above qualifies the order to remove,
suspend, demote, fine, censure, or prosecute an officer or
employee akin to the questioned issuances in the case at bar.

That the refusal, without just cause, of any officer to comply with
such an order of the Ombudsman to penalize an erring officer or
employee is a ground for disciplinary action, is a strong indication
that the Ombudsmans recommendation is not merely advisory in
nature but is actually mandatory within the bounds of law.
Also a deliberation of the constitutional commission between
MONSOD and Rodrigo, It is thus clear that the framers of our
Constitution intended to create a stronger and more effective
Ombudsman, independent and beyond the reach of political
influences and vested with powers that are not merely persuasive
in character. The Constitutional Commission left to Congress to
empower the Ombudsman with prosecutorial functions which it did
when RA 6770 was enacted.
3) This should not be interpreted as usurpation by the
Ombudsman of the authority of the head of office or any officer
concerned. It has long been settled that the power of the
Ombudsman to investigate and prosecute any illegal act or
omission of any public official is not an exclusive authority but a
shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged.
By stating therefore that the Ombudsman recommends the
action to be taken against an erring officer or employee, the
provisions in the Constitution and in RA 6770 intended that the
implementation of the order be coursed through the proper officer,
which in this case would be the head of the BID. (ito lang talaga
sinabi ng SC about enchroachment walang ibang explaination).
8)) BAGONG KAPISANAN SA PUNTA TENEMENT, INC.,
represented by ENRICO V. ESPANO vs. AZER E. DOLOT,
LUDIVINA F. MANLANGIT, RODRIGO T. JACLA, PEDRO B.
ESCOBER, ;VENCESLAO C. ASIS, EDUARDO E. ENRADO,
SILVERIO S. TANADA, PAZ ANA M. ARIOLA, ANTONIO
BENZON, JULIE GARCERA, IMELDA GIGANAN, CELESTE
TORRES, AND CARLOS DIUCO
G.R. No. 179054
September 5, 2012
MENDOZA, J;

tenants by not remitting to MWSS the agreed barangay share of


P0.125 or 50% of P0.25 per 20 liter-container from the cost of
water collection paid by the tenement residents which were
intended to pay the back account with MWSS as instructed by the
MOA. The MWSS back account was said to be around
P2,214,792.87 covering the years 2000-2003. On May 5, 2005,
the Ombudsman rendered a decision finding all the respondents
guilty of dishonesty and imposing upon them the penalty of
dismissal from the service. On October 20, 2006, the CA reversed
the assailed ruling of the Ombudsman. On August 1, 2007, the
CA, in its Amended Decision, partly granted Punta Tenements
motion for reconsideration.16 The CA ruled that the respondents
were indeed remiss in their duties but the penalty of dismissal
from service would be too harsh.
ISSUE:
Is dismissal the appropriate penalty despite the finding
that the respondents are guilty of dishonesty?
HELD:
YES. When an individual is found guilty of dishonesty,
the corresponding penalty is dismissal from employment or
service. The underlying reason for this is because when a public
official or government employee is disciplined, the object sought is
not the punishment of such officer or employee but the
improvement of the public service and the preservation of the
publics faith and confidence in the government. A finding of
dishonesty necessarily carries with it the penalty of dismissal from
the office he is holding or serving. Section 52, Rule IV of the
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service
classifies dishonesty as a grave offense punishable with dismissal
from the service even for the first offense. Moreover, dismissal
from service carries administrative disabilities specified under
Section 54 of the Uniform Rules such as cancellation of eligibility,
forfeiture of retirement benefits, and the perpetual disqualification
for reemployment in the government service, unless otherwise
provided in the decision.

Dishonesty is defined as the disposition to lie, cheat,


deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of
honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and
straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray. In
FACTS:
Remolona v. Civil Service Commission,28 the Court explained the
The controversy stemmed from the February 6, 1999 rationale for the imposition of the penalty of dismissal from
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by Barangay 901 and service: It cannot be denied that dishonesty is considered a grave
Barangay 902, represented by their respective chairmen, Azer E. offense punishable by dismissal for the first offense under Section
Dolot (Dolot) and Silverio S. Taada (Taada); and Inpart 23, Rule XIV of the Rules Implementing Book V of Executive
Engineering (Inpart), represented by respondent Antonio Benzon Order No. 292. And the rule is that dishonesty, in order to warrant
(Benzon). Both barangays adopted and approved the said dismissal, need not be committed in the course of the
undertaking as reflected in Resolution No. 99-006.4. The MOA performance of duty by the person charged. The rationale for the
was formulated to address the repair and rehabilitation of the rule is that if a government officer or employee is dishonest or is
water system of Punta Tenement and to manage the water guilty of oppression or grave misconduct, even if said defects of
distribution in the tenement as well as to handle the payment of character are not connected with his office, they affect his right to
the back accounts of its tenants to Metropolitan Waterworks and continue in office. The Government cannot tolerate in its service a
Sewerage System (MWSS). Punta Tenement filed a complaint for dishonest official, even if he performs his duties correctly and well,
dishonesty and corruption before the Office of the Ombudsman because by reason of his government position, he is given more
(Ombudsman) against their barangay chairmen, Dolot and and ample opportunity to commit acts of dishonesty against his
Taada; and Benzon and other barangay kagawads. Punta fellow men, even against offices and entities of the government
Tenement alleged that the respondents conspired to defraud the other than the office where he is employed; and by reason of his

office, he enjoys and possesses a certain influence and power


which renders the victims of his grave misconduct, oppression and
dishonesty less disposed and prepared to resist and to counteract
his evil acts and actuations. The private life of an employee cannot
be segregated from his public life. Dishonesty inevitably reflects
on the fitness of the officer or employee to continue in office and
the discipline and morale of the service.

10)) MONTALLANA vs. OMBUDSMAN


G.R. No. 179677 August 15, 2012.
Facts:
Fire struck and engulfed the Manor Hotel in Kamias Road,
Quezon City, claiming the lives of 74 people and seriously
injuring several others. An investigation was conducted by
the Fact-Finding & Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) of the Office
of the Ombudsman (OMB). The FFIB found that the fire
that consumed the Manor Hotel was attributable to the
hotel's faulty electrical wiring systems. It concluded that,
had it not been for the gross negligence of the public
officials of the local government of Quezon City, who were
in charge in the licensing operations of the Manor Hotel,
the incident would not have happened.
Consequently, a formal complaint was filed against
petitioner, with several other public officials, before the
Administrative Adjudication Bureau of the OMB, for Grave
Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
Service and Gross Negligence and for Violation of Section
4, R.A. No. 6713.
The Investigating Panel of the OMB rendered a Decision
finding petitioner liable for Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interest of the Service and Gross Neglect of Duty and
meted upon him the penalty of dismissal from the service
with all its accessory penalties. The Office of the Special
Prosecutor of the OMB issued a Memorandum which
modified the Joint Decision insofar as petitioner and the
other respondents are concerned. In the said
Memorandum, petitioner was also found guilty of gross
negligence and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
the service.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was
denied. Petitioner sought recourse before the CA which
was also denied. Hence, this petition.

HELD:
The petition is bereft of merit. Gross neglect of duty or
gross negligence refers to negligence characterized by the
want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a
situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but
willfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to

consequences, insofar as other persons may be affected. It


is the omission of that care which even inattentive and
thoughtless men never fail to give to their own property. In
cases involving public officials, there is gross negligence
when a breach of duty is flagrant and palpable.
True, this Court has held in several cases that in the
absence of substantial evidence of gross negligence of the
petitioner, administrative liability could not be based on
the principle of command responsibility. However, in the
case at bar, the findings of the Office of the Ombudsman,
as affirmed by the CA, clearly establish the negligence of
petitioner in the performance of his duties as head of the
Electrical Division.
Among the duties and responsibilities attached to the
Electrical Division of Quezon City is to conduct annual
inspection of existing electrical installations within the
jurisdiction of Quezon City.
Thus, it was incumbent on petitioner as head of the
Electrical Division to see to it that proper annual
inspections are conducted on the existing electrical
installations in Quezon City. Records would disclose that
the charges against petitioner were supported by the
evidence on record. It has been sufficiently established by
the FFIB and concurred to by the Ombudsman as well as
the CA that Manor Hotel was able to secure its business
permits for years 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2001, without the
necessary requirements for obtaining the same such as a
Certificate of Electrical Inspection. Thus, for these years,
there was no electrical inspection conducted. C
ITSAcaET
The purpose of administrative proceedings is mainly to
protect the public service, based on the time-honored
principle that a public office is a public trust. From the
foregoing, petitioner's negligence in the performance of his
duties as a public servant was well established. In
administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof
necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence, i.e.,
that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. A public
office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must,
at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act
with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. As a
public servant, petitioner is tasked to provide efficient,
competent, and proper service to the public. Public
officials and employees are under obligation to perform
the duties of their offices honestly, faithfully, and to the
best of their ability. In the case at bar, petitioner miserably
failed to perform his duties as a public servant.

EN BANC
G.R. No. 200242

July 17, 2012

CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO C. CORONA,


Petitioner,
vs.
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES sitting as an
IMPEACHMENT COURT, BANK OF THE
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PHILIPPINE SAVINGS
BANK, ARLENE "KAKA" BAG-AO, GIORGIDI
AGGABAO, MARILYN PRIMICIAS-AGABAS,
NIEL TUPAS, RODOLFO FARINAS, SHERWIN
TUGNA, RAUL DAZA, ELPIDIO BARZAGA,
REYNALDO UMALI, NERI COLMENARES
(ALSO KNOWN AS THE PROSECUTORS
FROM THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES),
Respondents.
RESOLUTION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before this Court is a petition for certiorari and
prohibition with prayer for immediate issuance of
temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of
preliminary injunction filed by the former Chief
Justice of this Court, Renato C. Corona, assailing the
impeachment case initiated by the respondent
Members of the House of Representatives (HOR) and
trial being conducted by respondent Senate of the
Philippines.
On December 12, 2011, a caucus was held by the
majority bloc of the HOR during which a verified
complaint for impeachment against petitioner was
submitted by the leadership of the Committee on
Justice. After a brief presentation, on the same day, the
complaint was voted in session and 188 Members
signed and endorsed it, way above the one-third vote
required by the Constitution.
On December 13, 2011, the complaint was transmitted
to the Senate which convened as an impeachment
court the following day, December 14, 2011.
On December 15, 2011, petitioner received a copy of
the complaint charging him with culpable violation of
the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and graft and
corruption, allegedly committed as follows:
ARTICLE I

RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST


THROUGH HIS TRACK RECORD MARKED BY
PARTIALITY AND SUBSERVIENCE IN CASES
INVOLVING THE ARROYO ADMINISTRATION
FROM THE TIME OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE AND UNTIL HIS
DUBIOUS APPOINTMENT AS A MIDNIGHT
CHIEF JUSTICE TO THE PRESENT.
ARTICLE II
RESPONDENT COMMITTED CULPABLE
VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR
BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE
FAILED TO DISCLOSE TO THE PUBLIC HIS
STATEMENT OFASSETS, LIABILITIES AND NET
WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDER SEC. 17, ART. XI
OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.
2.1. It is provided for in Art. XI, Section 17 of
the 1987 Constitution that "a public officer or
employee shall, upon assumption of office and
as often thereafter as may be required by law,
submit a declaration under oath of his assets,
liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the
President, the Vice-President, the Members of
the Cabinet, and other constitutional offices,
and officers of the armed forces with general or
flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to
the public in the manner provided by law."
2.2. Respondent failed to disclose to the public
his statement of assets, liabilities, and net
worth as required by the Constitution.
2.3. It is also reported that some of the
properties of Respondent are not included in
his declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net
worth, in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt
practices act.
2.4. Respondent is likewise suspected and
accused of having accumulated ill-gotten
wealth, acquiring assets of high values and
keeping bank accounts with huge deposits. It
has been reported that Respondent has, among
others, a 300-sq. meter apartment in a posh
Mega World Property development at the Fort in
Taguig. Has he reported this, as he is constitutionallyrequired under Art. XI, Sec. 17 of the Constitution in
his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth

(SALN)? Is this acquisition sustained and duly


supported by his income as a public official? Since his
assumption as Associate and subsequently, Chief
Justice, has he complied with this duty of public
disclosure?
ARTICLE III
RESPONDENT COMMITTED CULPABLE
VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR
BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST BY FAILING
TO MEET AND OBSERVE THE STRINGENT
STANDARDS UNDER ART. VIII, SECTION 7 (3)
OF THE CONSTITUTION THAT PROVIDES THAT
"[A] MEMBER OF THE JUDICIARY MUST BE A
PERSON OF PROVEN COMPETENCE,
INTEGRITY, PROBITY, AND INDEPENDENCE"
IN ALLOWING THE SUPREME COURT TO ACT
ON MERE LETTERS FILED BY A COUNSEL
WHICH CAUSED THE ISSUANCE OF FLIPFLOPPING DECISIONS IN FINAL AND
EXECUTORY CASES; IN CREATING AN
EXCESSIVE ENTANGLEMENT WITH MRS.
ARROYO THROUGH HER APPOINTMENT OF
HIS WIFE TO OFFICE; AND IN DISCUSSING
WITH LITIGANTS REGARDING CASES
PENDING BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT.
ARTICLE IV
RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST
AND/OR COMMITTED CULPABLE VIOLATION
OF THE CONSTITUTION WHEN HE
BLATANTLY DISREGARDED THE PRINCIPLE
OF SEPARATION OF POWERS BY ISSUING A
"STATUS QUO ANTE" ORDER AGAINST THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE CASE
CONCERNING THE IMPEACHMENT OF THEN
OMBUDSMAN MERCEDITAS NAVARROGUTIERREZ.
ARTICLE V
RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST
THROUGH WANTON ARBITRARINESS AND
PARTIALITY IN CONSISTENTLY
DISREGARDING THE PRINCIPLE OF RES
JUDICATA IN THE CASES INVOLVING THE 16
NEWLY-CREATED CITIES, AND THE
PROMOTION OF DINAGAT ISLAND INTO A
PROVINCE.

ARTICLE VI
RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST
BY ARROGATING UNTO HIMSELF, AND TO A
COMMITTEE HE CREATED, THE AUTHORITY
AND JURISDICTION TO IMPROPERLY
INVESTIGATE A JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME
COURT FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCULPATING
HIM. SUCH AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION IS
PROPERLY REPOSED BY THE CONSTITUTION
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VIA
IMPEACHMENT.
ARTICLE VII
RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST
THROUGH HIS PARTIALITY IN GRANTING A
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) IN
FAVOR OF FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA
MACAPAGAL-ARROYO AND HER HUSBAND
JOSE MIGUEL ARROYO IN ORDER TO GIVE
THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO ESCAPE
PROSECUTION AND TO FRUSTRATE THE ENDS
OF JUSTICE, AND IN DISTORTING THE
SUPREME COURT DECISION ON THE
EFFECTIVITY OF THE TRO IN VIEW OF A
CLEAR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE
CONDITIONS OF THE SUPREME COURTS OWN
TRO. ARTICLE VIII RESPONDENT BETRAYED
THE PUBLIC TRUST AND/OR COMMITTED
GRAFT AND CORRUPTION WHEN HE FAILED
AND REFUSEDTO ACCOUNT FOR THE
JUDICIARY DEVELOPMENT FUND (JDF) AND
SPECIAL ALLOWANCE FOR THE JUDICIARY
(SAJ) COLLECTIONS.1
On December 26, 2011, petitioner filed his Answer2
assailing the "blitzkrieg" fashion by which the
impeachment complaint was signed by the Members
of the HOR and immediately transmitted to the Senate.
Citing previous instances when President Aquino
openly expressed his rejection of petitioners
appointment as Chief Justice and publicly attacked this
Court under the leadership of petitioner for "derailing
his administrations mandate," petitioner concluded
that the move to impeach him was the handiwork of
President Aquinos party mates and supporters,
including"hidden forces" who will be benefited by his
ouster. As to the charges against him, petitioner denied
the same but admitted having once served the Offices
of the President and Vice-President during the term of
former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and

granted the request for courtesy call only to Mr. Dante


Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and
Corruption (VACC) while Mr. Lauro Vizconde
appeared with Mr. Jimenez without prior permission or
invitation. Petitioner argued at length that the acts,
misdeeds or offenses imputed to him were either false
or baseless, and otherwise not illegal nor improper. He
prayed for the outright dismissal of the complaint for
failing to meet the requirements of the Constitution or
that the Impeachment Court enter a judgment of
acquittal for all the articles of impeachment.

In compliance with the directive of the Impeachment


Court, the prosecution and defense submitted their
respective memoranda on the question of whether the
prosecution may present evidence to prove the
allegations in paragraphs 2.3 (failure to report some
properties in SALN) and 2.4 (acquisition of ill-gotten
wealth and failure to disclose in SALN such bank
accounts with huge deposits and 300-sq.m. Megaworld
property at the Fort in Taguig) under Article II (par.
2.2. refers to petitioners alleged failure to disclose to
the public his SALN as required by the Constitution).

Meanwhile, the prosecution panel composed of


respondent Representatives held a press conference
revealing evidence which supposedly support their
accusations against petitioner. The following day,
newspapers carried front page reports of high-priced
condominium units and other real properties in Fort
Bonifacio, Taguig and Quezon City allegedly owned
by petitioner, as disclosed by prosecutors led by
respondent Rep. Niel C. Tupas, Jr. The prosecution
told the media that it is possible that these properties
were not included by petitioner in his Statement of
Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which had
not been made available to the public. Reacting to this
media campaign, Senators scolded the prosecutors
reminding them that under the Senate Rules of
Procedure on Impeachment Trials3 they are not
allowed to make any public disclosure or comment
regarding the merits of a pending impeachment case.4
By this time, five petitions have already been filed
with this Court by different individuals seeking to
enjoin the impeachment trial on grounds of improperly
verified complaint and lack of due process.

On January 27, 2012, the Impeachment Court issued a


Resolution5 which states:

On January 16, 2012, respondent Senate of the


Philippines acting as an Impeachment Court,
commenced trial proceedings against the
petitioner.Petitioners motion for a preliminary hearing
was denied. On January 18, 2012, Atty. Enriqueta E.
Vidal, Clerk of Court of this Court, in compliance with
a subpoena issued by the Impeachment Court, took the
witness stand and submitted the SALNs of petitioner
for the years 2002 to 2010. Other prosecution
witnesses also testified regarding petitioners SALNs
for the previous years (Marianito Dimaandal, Records
Custodian of Malacaang Palace, Atty. Randy A.
Rutaquio, Register of Deeds of Taguig and Atty. Carlo
V. Alcantara, Acting Register of Deeds of Quezon
City).

IN SUM, THEREFORE, this Court resolves and


accordingly rules:
1. To allow the Prosecution to introduce evidence in
support of Paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 of Article II of the
Articles of Impeachment;
2. To disallow the introduction of evidence in support
of Par. 2.4 of the Articles of Impeachment, with
respect to which, this Court shall be guided by and
shall rely upon the legal presumptions on the nature of
any property or asset which may be proven to belong
to the Respondent Chief Justice as provided under
Section 8 of Republic Act No. 3019 and Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 1379.
SO ORDERED.6
In a subsequent Resolution7 dated February 6, 2012,
the Impeachment Court granted the prosecutions
request for subpoena directed to the officersof two
private banks where petitioner allegedly deposited
millions in peso and dollar currencies, as follows:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the
majority votes to grant the Prosecutions Requests for
Subpoenae to the responsible officers of Philippine
Savings Bank (PSBank) and Bank of the Philippine
Island (BPI), for them to testify and bring and/or
produce before the Court documents on the alleged
bank accounts of Chief Justice Corona, only for the
purpose of the instant impeachment proceedings, as
follows:
a) The Branch Manager of the Bank of
Philippine Islands, Ayala Avenue Branch, 6th
Floor, SGV Building, 6758 Ayala Avenue,

Makati City, is commanded to bring before the


Senate at 2:00 p.m. on February 8, 2012, the
original and certified true copies of the account
opening forms/documents for Bank Account
no. 1445-8030-61 in the name of Renato C.
Corona and the bank statements showing the
balances of the said account as of December
31, 2005, December 31, 2006, December 31,
2007, December 31, 2008, December 31, 2009
and December 31, 2010.
b) The Branch Manager (and/or authorized
representative) of Philippine Savings Bank,
Katipunan Branch, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola
Heights, Quezon City, is commanded to bring
before the Senate at 2:00 p.m. on February 8,
2012, the original and certified true copies of
the account opening forms/documents for the
following bank accounts allegedly in the name
of Renato C. Corona, and the documents
showing the balances of the said accounts as of
December 31, 2007, December 31, 2008,
December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2010:
089-19100037-3
089-13100282-6
089-121017358
089-121019593
089-121020122
089-121021681
089-141-00712-9
089-141-00746-9
089-14100814-5
089-121-01195-7
SO ORDERED.8
On February 8, 2012, PSBank filed a petition for
certiorari and prohibition (G.R. No. 200238) seeking
to enjoin the Impeachment Court and the HOR
prosecutors from implementing the aforesaid subpoena
requiring PSBank thru its authorized representative to

testify and to bring the original and certified true


copies of the opening documents for
petitionersalleged foreign currency accounts, and
thereafter to render judgment nullifying the subpoenas
including the bank statements showing the year-end
balances for the said accounts.
On the same day, the present petition was filed arguing
that the Impeachment Court committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when it: (1) proceeded to trial on the basis of the
complaint filed by respondent Representatives which
complaint is constitutionally infirm and defective for
lack of probable cause; (2) did not strike out the
charges discussed in Art. II of the complaint which,
aside from being a "hodge-podge" of multiple charges,
do not constitute allegations in law, much less ultimate
facts, being all premised on suspicion and/or hearsay;
assuming arguendo that the retention of Par. 2.3 is
correct, the ruling of the Impeachment Court to retain
Par. 2.3 effectively allows the introduction of evidence
under Par. 2.3, as vehicle to prove Par. 2.4 and
therefore its earlier resolution was nothing more than a
hollow relief, bringing no real protection to petitioner;
(3) allowed the presentation of evidence on charges of
alleged corruption and unexplained wealth which
violates petitioners right to due process because first,
Art. II does not mention "graft and corruption" or
unlawfully acquired wealth as grounds for
impeachment, and second, it is clear under Sec. 2, Art.
XI of the Constitution that "graft and corruption" is a
separate and distinct ground from "culpable violation
of the Constitution" and "betrayal of public trust"; and
(4) issued the subpoena for the production of
petitioners alleged bank accounts as requested by the
prosecution despite the same being the result of an
illegal act ("fruit of the poisonous tree") considering
that those documents submitted by the prosecution
violates the absolute confidentiality of such accounts
under Sec. 8 of R.A. No. 6426 (Foreign Currency
Deposits Act) which is also penalized under Sec. 10
thereof. Petitioner thus prayed for the following
reliefs:
(a) Immediately upon filing of this Petition,
issue a temporary restraining order or a writ of
preliminary injunction enjoining: (i) the
proceedings before the Impeachment Court; (ii)
implementation ofResolution dated 6 February
2012; (iii) the officers or representatives of BPI
and PSBank from testifying and submitting
documents on petitioners or his familys bank

accounts; and (iv) the presentation, reception


and admission of evidence on paragraphs 2.3
and 2.4 of the Impeachment Complaint;
(b) After giving due course to the Petition,
render judgment:
(i) Declaring the Impeachment
Complaint null and void ab initio;
(ii) Prohibiting the presentation,
reception and admission of evidence on
paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the
Impeachment Complaint;
(iii) Annulling the Impeachment
Courts Resolution dated 27 January
2012 and 6 February 2011 [sic], as well
as any Subpoenae issued pursuant
thereto; and
(iv) Making the TRO and/or writ of
preliminary injunction permanent.
Other reliefs, just or equitable, are likewise prayed
for.9
Petitioner also sought the inhibition of Justices
Antonio T. Carpio and Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno on
the ground of partiality, citing their publicly known
"animosity" towards petitioner aside from the fact that
they have been openly touted as the likely
replacements in the event that petitioner is removed
from office.10

sought from the Impeachment Court, to no avail. He


further called attention to the fact that despite the
Impeachment Courts January 27, 2012 Resolution
which disallowed the introduction of evidence in
support of paragraph 2.4 of Article II, from which no
motion for reconsideration would be entertained, "the
allies of President Aquino in the Senate abused their
authority and continued their presentation of evidence
for the prosecution, without fear of objection". In view
of the persistent efforts of President Aquinos Senatorallies to overturn the ruling of Presiding Officer Juan
Ponce Enrile that the prosecution could not present
evidence on paragraph 2.4 of Article II -- for which
President Aquino even thanked "his senator allies in
delivering what the prosecution could not"-- petitioner
reiterates the reliefs prayed for in his petition before
this Court.
In the Comment Ad Cautelam Ex Superabundanti12
filed on behalf of the respondents, the Solicitor
General argues that the instant petition raises matters
purely political in character which may be decided or
resolved only by the Senate and HOR, with the
manifestation that the comment is being filed by the
respondents "without submitting themselves to the
jurisdiction of the Honorable Supreme Court and
without conceding the constitutional and exclusive
power of the House to initiate all cases of
impeachment and of
the Senate to try and decide all cases of impeachment."
Citing the case of

Nixon v. United States,13 respondents contend that to


allow a public official being impeached to raise before
On February 9, 2012, this Court issued a TRO in G.R. this Court any and all issues relative to the substance
of the impeachment complaint would result in an
No. 200238 enjoining the Senate from implementing
the Resolution and subpoena ad testificandum et duces unnecessarily long and tedious process that may even
tecum issued by the Senate sitting as an Impeachment go beyond the terms of the Senator-Judges hearing the
Court, both dated February 6, 2012. The Court further impeachment case. Such scenario is clearly not what
resolved to deny petitioners motion for the inhibition the Constitution intended.
of Justices Carpio and Sereno "in the absence of any
Traversing the allegations of the petition, respondents
applicable compulsory ground and of any voluntary
assert that the Impeachment Court did not commit any
inhibition from the Justices concerned."
grave abuse of discretion; it has, in fact, been
On February 13, 2012, petitioner filed a Supplemental conducting the proceedings judiciously. Respondents
maintain that subjecting the ongoing impeachment trial
Petition11 claiming that his right to due process is
to judicial review defeats the very essence of
being violated in the ongoing impeachment
proceedings because certain Senator-Judges have lost impeachment. They contend that the constitutional
command of public accountability to petitioner and his
the coldneutrality of impartial judges by acting as
prosecutors. Petitioner particularly mentioned Senator- obligation to fully disclose his assets, liabilities and net
worth prevail over his claim of confidentiality of
Judge Franklin S. Drilon, whose inhibition he had

deposits; hence, the subpoena subject of this case were


correctly and judiciously issued. Considering that the
ongoing impeachment proceedings, which was
initiated and is being conducted in accordance with the
Constitution, simply aims to enforce the principle of
public accountability and ensure that the transgressions
of impeachable public officials are corrected, the
injury being claimed by petitioner allegedly resulting
from the impeachment trial has no factual and legal
basis. It is thus prayed that the present petition, as well
as petitioners prayer for issuance of a
TRO/preliminary injunction, be dismissed.

par. 4, Sec. 3, in a manner that he claims was


accomplished with undue haste and under a complaint
which is defective for lack of probable cause.
Petitioner likewise assails the Senate in proceeding
with the trial under the said complaint, and in the
alleged partiality exhibited by some Senator-Judges
who were apparently aiding the prosecution during the
hearings.

On the other hand, respondents contend that the issues


raised in the Supplemental Petition regarding the
behavior of certain Senator-Judges in the course of the
impeachment trial are issues that do not concern, or
The core issue presented is whether the certiorari
allege any violation of, the three express and exclusive
jurisdiction of this Court may be invoked to assail
constitutional limitations on the Senates sole power to
matters or incidents arising from impeachment
try and decide impeachment cases. They argue that
proceedings, and to obtain injunctive relief for alleged unless there is a clear transgression of these
violations of right to due process of the person being
constitutional limitations, this Court may not exercise
tried by the Senate sitting as Impeachment Court.
its power of expanded judicial review over the actions
of Senator-Judges during the proceedings. By the
nature of the functions they discharge when sitting as
Impeachment and Judicial Review
an Impeachment Court, Senator-Judges are clearly
entitled to propound questions on the witnesses,
Impeachment, described as "the most formidable
14
prosecutors and counsel during the trial. Petitioner thus
weapon in the arsenal of democracy," was foreseen
failed to prove any semblance of partiality on the part
as creating divisions, partialities and enmities, or
of any Senator-Judges. But whether the Senate
highlighting pre-existing factions with the greatest
danger that "the decision will be regulated more by the Impeachment Rules were followed or not, is a political
question that is not within this Courts power of
comparative strength of parties, than by the real
15
expanded judicial review.
demonstrations of innocence or guilt." Given their
concededly political character, the precise role of the
In the first impeachment case decided by this Court,
judiciary in impeachment cases is a matter of utmost
Francisco, Jr. v.
importance to ensure the effective functioning of the
separate branches while preserving the structure of
checks and balance in our government. Moreover, in
Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga
this jurisdiction, the acts of any branch or
Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.16 we ruled that the
instrumentality of the government, including those
power of judicial review in this jurisdiction includes
traditionally entrusted to the political departments, are the power of review over justiciable issues in
proper subjects of judicial review if tainted with grave impeachment proceedings. Subsequently, in Gutierrez
abuse or arbitrariness.
v. House of Representatives Committee on Justice,17
the Court resolved the question of the validity of the
simultaneous referral of two impeachment complaints
Impeachment refers to the power of Congress to
against petitioner Ombudsman which was allegedly a
remove a public official for serious crimes or
violation of the due process clause and of the one-year
misconduct as provided in the Constitution. A
bar provision.
mechanism designed to check abuse of power,
impeachment has its roots in Athens and was adopted
in the United States (US) through the influence of
On the basis of these precedents, petitioner asks this
English common law on the Framers of the US
Court to determine whether respondents committed a
Constitution.
violation of the Constitution or gravely abused its
discretion in the exercise of their functions and
prerogatives that could translate as lack or excess of
Our own Constitutions provisions on impeachment
were adopted from the US Constitution. Petitioner was jurisdiction, which would require corrective measures
from the Court.
impeached through the mode provided under Art. XI,

Mootness
In the meantime, the impeachment trial had been
concluded with the conviction of petitioner by more
than the required majority vote of the Senator-Judges.
Petitioner immediately accepted the verdict and
without any protest vacated his office. In fact, the
Judicial and Bar Council is already in the process of
screening applicants and nominees, and the President
of the Philippines is expected to appoint a new Chief
Justice within the prescribed 90-day period from
among those candidates shortlisted by the JBC.
Unarguably, the constitutional issue raised by
petitioner had been mooted by supervening events and
his own acts.1wphi1
An issue or a case becomes moot and academic when
it ceases to present a justiciable controversy so that a
determination thereof would be without practical use
and value.18 In such cases, there is no actual
substantial relief to which the petitioner would be
entitled to and which would be negated by the
dismissal of the petition.19
WHEREFORE, the present petition for certiorari and
prohibition with prayer for injunctive relief/s is
DISMISSED on the ground of MOOTNESS.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.