Sie sind auf Seite 1von 56

[G.R. Nos. 120681-83. October 1, 1999] JEJOMAR C. BINAY, petitioner, vs. HON.

SANDIGANBAYAN (Third
Division) and the DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, respondents.

[G.R. No. 128136. October 1, 1999] MARIO C. MAGSAYSAY, FRANCISCO B. CASTILLO, CRISTINA D. MABIOG,
REGINO E. MALAPIT, ERLINDA I. MASANGCAY and VICENTE DE LA ROSA, petitioners, vs. HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN, HON. OMBUDSMAN and its PROSECUTOR WENDELL BARERRAS-SULIT and STATE
PROSECUTORS ERIC HENRY JOSEPH F. MALLONGA and GIDEON C. MENDOZA, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:

Pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 1486 created an Anti-Graft
Court known as the Sandiganbayan. Since then the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has under gone various
changes,[1] the most recent of which were effected through Republic Act Nos. 7975 [2] and 8249.[3]Whether the
Sandiganbayan, 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 Revised Penal Code [5] is the central
issue in these consolidated petitions.
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay seeks to annul, among others, the Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007 to the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Makati and declaring that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over said cases despite the enactment of R.A.
No. 7975.
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assail the October 22, 1996 Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 23278 in
deference to whatever ruling this Court will lay down in the Binay cases.
The facts, as gathered from t he records, are as follows:
G.R. Nos. 120681-83
On September 7, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three separate informations
against petitioner Jejomar Binay, one for violation of Article 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.
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, 1994 constituted a violation of his right to due process.Arraignment of the accused
was held in abeyance pending the resolution of this motion.
On March 29, 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners motion to quash. Petitioners
motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the prosecution, was likewise denied by the Sandiganbayan. The
resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, however, was issued before the petitioner could file a reply to the
prosecutions opposition to the motion for reconsideration.
In the meantime, on March 31, 1995, the prosecution filed a Motion to Suspend 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 resolution. The court ruled that the requisites for suspension pendente lite were present
as petitioner was charged with one of the offenses under Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 [8] and the informations containing
these charges had previously been held valid in the resolution denying the motion to quash and the resolution denying
the motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner thus filed before this Court a petition for certiorari,[9] to set aside the 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 to the prosecutions opposition to his motion for reconsideration of the resolution denying
the motion to quash. In a Resolution dated April 28, 1995, the Court directed the Sandiganbayan to, among other
things, permit petitioner to file said reply.
After allowing and considering petitioners reply, the Sandiganbayan, on June 6, 1995, issued a Resolution
reiterating the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the denial of the motion to quash. On the same day, the
Sandiganbayan issued another resolution reiterating the order suspending petitioner pendente lite.
Meanwhile, R.A. No. 7975, redefining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, took effect on May 16, 1995. [10]

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 1
On June 13, 1995, petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a motion to refer his cases to the proper court for
further proceedings, alleging that when the two Resolutions, both dated June 6, 1995, were issued by the Anti-Graft
Court, it had already lost jurisdiction over the subject cases. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated July 4, 1995,
denied petitioners motion, holding thus:

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 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 Grade 27, because at the time of the commission of the
offenses charged he was paid a salary which merits a grade lower than Grade 27 does not hold water. In 1986 when
the 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 Act itself, it is evident that the Act was passed and had been
effective only in 1989. The Grade classification of a public officer, whether at the time of the commission of the offense
or thereafter, is determined by his classification under the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989. Thus
since the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal Mayor at the time of the commission of the offenses and
the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989 classifies Municipal Mayors as Grade 27, it is a conclusion
beyond cavil that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the accused herein.

As of July 1, 1989, when Republic Act No. 6758 took effect, Municipal Mayor Jejomar C. Binay had begun receiving a
monthly salary of P15,180.00 which is equivalent to Grade 28 under the salary scale provided for in Section 27 of the
said Act. Under the Index of Occupational Services, the position titles and salary grades of the Compensation &
Position classification system prepared by the Department of Budget and Management pursuant to Section 6 of
Republic [A]ct No. 6758, the position of Municipal Mayor had been classified as Grade 27. [11]

On July 7, 1995, petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus questioning the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007. He prayed, among others, that
the Court annul and set aside: (1) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the denial of the
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) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated July 4,
1995 denying the motion to refer case to the RTC. Petitioner also asked that the Court issue a temporary restraining
order preventing the suspension and arraignment of petitioner. The Court on July 7, 1995, resolved, among others, to
issue the temporary restraining order prayed for.
On July 14, 1995, petitioner filed an Addendum to Petition (To allow the introduction of alternative reliefs), praying
that, should this Court hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the cases, the criminal cases filed against him
be dismissed just the same on the ground that the long delay of the preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman
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.
G.R. No. 128136
Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual, Batangas. Save for petitioner Vicente
dela Rosa, all of Mayor Magsaysays co-petitioners are officials of the same municipality.
In a complaint dated April 16, 1994, Victor Cusi, then Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas, charged petitioners
along with Elpidia Amada, Jovey C. Babago, and Brigido H. Buhain, also officials of San Pascual Batangas, with
violation of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. The complaint charged the respondent municipal officials of overpaying
Vicente de la Rosa of TDR Construction for the landscaping project of the San Pascual Central School. This was
docketed in the Office of the Ombudsman as OMB-1-94-1232.
In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Lourdes A. Alarilla 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. Asuncion concurred in the resolution, and Manuel C. Domingo, Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon, recommended approval of the same. The resolution was approved by then Acting Ombudsman
Francisco A. Villa with the following marginal note:

Authority is given to the deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to cause the preparation of the information and to approve the
same for filing with the proper court.[12]

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 2
On August 11, 1995, an Information for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) was filed against petitioners and Jovey C.
Babago, not with the Sandiganbayan per the June 14, 1995 Resolution, but with the RTC of Batangas City. The
information was signed by a Lourdes A. Alarilla, the same Graft Investigation Officer who recommended the filing of the
information with the Sandiganbayan.
In the meantime, a group denominated as the Concerned Citizens of San Pascual, Batangas filed a complaint
before the Ombudsman against petitioners, and Elpidia Amada and Brigido Buhain, with violations of R.A. No.
3019. The complaint also alleged, among others, the overpricing of the landscaping project of San Pascual Central
School. The case was docketed as OMB-0-94-0149.
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) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended with proper court.
The resolution, which was 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.
On February 9, 1996, another Information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, was filed
against petitioners for the overpricing of the landscaping project, this time before the Sandiganbayan. The information
was subsequently amended on May 17, 1996. Except for the date the alleged crime was committed, the information
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.
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 had no jurisdiction over the case; that the accused were
charged with the same offense in 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 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 in the Binay petition.
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 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 the case since the issue of jurisdiction was pending before the Sandiganbayan.
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, filed their own motion for the reconsideration of the
same order. On October 22, 1996, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution
and set the case for arraignment. Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the October 22, 1996 Resolution ordering
their arraignment, which motion was denied on February 17, 1997.
On February 27, 1997, the accused filed the present petition.
On October 1, 1997, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent respondents from further
proceeding with Crim. Case No. 23278 of the Sandiganbayan.
The petition raises the following issues:
I

Had the Sandiganbayan been ousted of its jurisdiction over the case of municipal mayor after the passage of Republic
Act No. 7975, coupled with the filing earlier of an information for the same offense before the Regional Trial Court
having territorial jurisdiction and venue of the commission of the offense?

II

Are the respondents Ombudsman and the prosecutors estopped by laches or waiver from filing and prosecuting the
case before respondent Sandiganbayan after the filing earlier of the information in the proper court, thereafter
repudiating it, seeking another court of the same category and finally to respondent court?

III

Whether or not the filing of two (2) informations for the same offense violated the rule on duplicity of information?

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 3
IV

Whether or not the trial to be conducted by respondent court, if the case shall not be dismissed, will expose the
petitioners who are accused therein to double jeopardy?

Under the circumstances, are the respondent Ombudsman and the prosecutors guilty of forum shopping? [13]

On October 6, 1997, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 128136 (the Magsaysay petition) with G.R. Nos.
120681-83 (the Binay petition).
In resolving these consolidated petitions, the Court shall first address the common question of the
Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
I
The Court rules that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject cases.
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 No. 1861,[15] the pertinent provisions of which state:

SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:

(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;

(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, including those
employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where the
penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00;
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law
does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) 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.

xxx.
On May 16, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 took effect. At this time, Mayor Binay had not yet 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 in the RTC of Batangas City.
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975 amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to read as follows:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the
principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as
grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically
including:

(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;

(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and
other city department heads;
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 4
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;

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

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or
educational institutions or foundations;

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989;

(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and

(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989.

b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this
section in relation to their office.

c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.

In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as
prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their
equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

xxx.
While the cases against petitioners were pending in this Court, congress enacted R.A. 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 February 8, 1997 in the Journal and Malaya, two newspapers of general circulation.
As further amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 now reads:

SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of
the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim
capacity, at he time of the commission of the offense:

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the position of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade
27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically
including:

(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;

(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and
other city department heads;

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 5
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding the
rank of senior superintendent or higher;

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

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or
educational institutions or foundations.

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989;

(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of he Constitution; and

(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989.

b. Other offenses 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.

d. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in
1986.

In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher, as prescribed
in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof
shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial
court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as
amended.

Petitioners contend that they do not come under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan because:
(1) At the alleged time of the commission of the crimes charged, petitioner municipal mayors were not classified
as Grade 27.
(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.
(3) Congressional records reveal that the law did not intend municipal mayors to come under the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

In support of his contention that his position was not that of Grade 27, Mayor Binay argues:

xxx. The new laws consistent and repeated reference to salary grade show[s] an intention to base the
separation of jurisdiction between the Sandiganbayan and the regular courts on pay scale. Grades are
determined by compensation. The essence of grades is pay scales. Therefor, pay scales determine grades.[16]

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 6
Mayor Binay, thus, presented a Certification[17] from the City Personnel Officer of Makati stating that petitioner as
mayor received a monthly salary of only P10,793.00 from March 1987 to December 31, 1988. This amount was
supposedly equivalent to Grade 22 under R.A. No. 6758.
Mayor Magsaysay, for his part, submitted a similar Certification [18] from the Municipal Treasurer of San Pascual,
Batangas, stating:

x x x that the basic monthly salary received by Mario C. Magsaysay, Municipal Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas with
Salary Grade 27 is ELEVEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PESOS (P11,828.00) per month as of
November 3, 1993 equivalent only to Grade 25, Step 5 of RA 6758, the Compensation and Position Classification Act
of 1989.

Section 444(1) (Grad[e] 27) of RA 6758 is not as yet implemented due to budgetary constraints. This certification is
issued to Mayor Mario C. Magsaysay this 30th day of May 1996 at San Pascual, Batangas for whatever legal purpose
and/or purposes it may serve.

The Court does not subscribe to the manner by which petitioners classify Grades.
The Constitution[19] states that in providing for the standardization of compensation of government officials and
employees, Congress shall take into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications
required for their positions, thus:

The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials, including those in
government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, taking into account the nature of the
responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.

Corollary thereto, Republic Act No. 6758[20] provides in Section 2 thereof that differences in pay are to be based
upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the positions. In short, the
nature of an 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 defined in Presidential Decree
No. 985[21] as including

xxx all classes of positions which, although different with respect to kind or subject matter of work, are sufficiently
equivalent as to level of difficulty and responsibilities and level of qualification requirements of the work to warrant the
inclusion of such classes of positions within one range of basic compensation. [22]

The grade, therefore, depends upon the nature of ones position -- the level of difficulty, 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.
It is possible that a local government officials salary may be less than that prescribed for his Grade since his
salary depends also on the class and financial capability of his or her respective local government unit. [23] Nevertheless,
it is the law which fixes the officials grade.
Thus, Section 8 of R.A. 6758 fixes the salary grades of the President, Vice-President, Senate President, Speaker,
Chief Justice, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, as well
as the Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions. Section 8 also authorizes the Department of Budget
and Management (DBM) to determine the officials who are of equivalent rank to the foregoing officials, where
applicable and to assign such officials the same Salary Grades subject to a set of guidelines found in said section.
For positions below those mentioned under Section 8, Section 9 instructs the DBM to prepare the Index of
Occupational Services guided by the Benchmark Position prescribed in Section 9 and the factors enumerated therein.
To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the 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 determinative. An officials grade is not a matter of proof, but a matter of law of which the
Court must take judicial notice.[24]
As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades list
the municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner mayors come within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 7
Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and
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 the executive branch occupying the positions of regional
director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
1989, under Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. [25]

Petitioners, however, argue that they are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1). They invoke the rule in
statutory construction expressio unius est expressio alterius. As what is not included in those enumerated is deemed
excluded, municipal officials are excluded from the Sandiganbayans exclusive original jurisdiction.
Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear and unambiguous. [26] The law is
clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975, speaks of [o]fficials
of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and
higher, of the compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
The Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain meaning rule were disregarded
and the law subjected to interpretation.
The premise of petitioners argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is exclusive. It is not. The phrase
specifically including after [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 necessarily
conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the enumeration. The principle of expressio 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 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 be impractical, if not
impossible, for Congress to list down each position created or will be created pertaining to grades 27 and above. The
same rationale applies to the enumeration in Section 4a(1). Clearly, the law did not intend said enumeration to be an
exhaustive list.
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 municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation corresponding to Salary Grade twenty-seven (27)
as prescribed under R.A. No. 6758 and the implementing guidelines issued pursuant thereto.

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 assigned by the DBM to Municipal Mayors.

Petitioner Binay cites previous bills [29] in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. These bills
supposedly sought to exclude municipal officials from the Sandiganbayans exclusive original jurisdiction to relieve
these officials ,especially those from the provinces, of the financial burden brought about by trials in Manila.
The resort to congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in this case is unwarranted in
this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule of inclusio unius est expressio alterius is inappropriate.

Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is also an elementary rule in
statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must
be determined from language employed and the statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. (Baranda v.
Gustilo, 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 clear, it is not susceptible to interpretation. It must be
applied regardless of who may be affected, even if the law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110
Phil. 42). And even granting that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule, should be strictly but
reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 8
favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Thus, where a general rule is established by statute, the court
will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v. CA., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]). [30]

Thus, in Rodrigo, petitioners therein argued in their motion for reconsideration:

x x x that the inclusion of Municipal Mayors within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan would be inconvenient since
the witness in their case would come from Baguio City and San Nicolas, Pangasinan. This, according to petitioners,
would defeat one of the purposes of R.A. No. 7975, that is, the convenience of the accused.

The Court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, held, among others, that:

The legislature has nevertheless chosen the mode and standard by which to implement its intent, and courts have no
choice but to apply it. Congress has willed that positions with Grade 27 and above shall come within the jurisdiction of
the Sandiganbayan and this Court is duty-bound to obey the congressional will.

Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Roco, stating:

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 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, estafa and theft. xxx

xxx xxx xxx

Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that only those occupying high
positions in Government and the military fall under the jurisdiction of the court. [31]

It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are excluded from the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by a legislators opinion in congressional debates regarding
the interpretation of a particular 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]

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:

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.

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]

The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a 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 exception to the rule is where the statute expressly provides, or is construed to the
effect that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before its enactment. Where a statute 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.

R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the exception rather than the 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 Sandiganbayan. To this extent, R.A. 7975 is retroactive.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 9
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 Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be any different.
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. 7975. The former should not be read in isolation but
construed in conjunction with the latter.
The term proper courts as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted 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, it should have employed the term proper regular courts or regular courts instead of proper courts.
Accordingly, the law in the third paragraph of Section 4 P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975,
uses the term regular courts, not proper courts:

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 enumeration. [Underscoring supplied.]

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

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.

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.

(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 to the Sandiganbayan.

(b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the Sandiganbayan
has no jurisdiction over a case before it, the case shall be referred to the regular courts.

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 cases.
In any case, whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should
be laid to rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which states:

Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has not begun as of
the approval hereof.

The latter provision more accurately expresses the legislatures intent and in any event should be applied in this case,
R.A. No. 8249 having superseded R.A. No. 7975.
In Panfilo M. Lacson vs. The Executive Secretary, et al., [36] The Court explained the purpose of the foregoing
provision.

x x x it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of [Sandiganbayans] jurisdiction 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 which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in any court. x x x. Moreover, those
cases where 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 possible disruptive effect of the amendments to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction on pending cases was,
therefore, not lost on the legislature. Congress has, furthermore, deemed the commencement of the trial as the crucial
point in determining whether a court 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 already
devoted to the presentation of evidence if trial had already begun. On the other hand, not much disruption would be
caused if the amendment were made to apply to cases the trials of which have not yet to start.
The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be stated as follows:
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 10
1. If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 8249, said law
does not apply.

2. If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 8249, then said law
applies.

(a) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then it retains jurisdiction.

(b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending before it, the case shall be referred to the regular
courts.

(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.

(d) If a regular court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then said court retains jurisdiction.

Thus, under both R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8429, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over said cases.
II
Petitioner Binay avers in his Addendum to Petition that his right to speedy disposition has been violated by the
inordinate delay in the resolution of the subject cases by the Ombudsman.
Article III of the Constitution provides that:

Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or
administrative bodies.

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 administrative cases, and in all proceedings, including judicial and
quasi-judicial hearings.[37] Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a case may demand expeditious action on all
officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. [38]
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, [39] is deemed violated only when
the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the
trial are asked for and 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 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 and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons
for 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 necessarily be a flexible concept. [42]
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 disposition of cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts
and circumstances peculiar to each case.[44]
In Tatad vs.Sandiganbayan,[45] the Court held that the length of delay and the 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.
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 frequent amendments of procedural laws by
presidential decrees, the structural reorganizations in existing prosecutorial agencies and the creation of new ones by
executive fiat, resulting in changes of personnel, preliminary jurisdiction, and the functions and powers of prosecuting
agencies. The Court likewise considered the failure of the accused to assert such right, and the lack of prejudice
caused by the delay to the accused.
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 her claim to the constitutional guarantee.
In Cadalin vs. POEAs Administrator,[49] the Court, considering also the complexity of the cases (not run-of-the-mill
variety) and the conduct of the parties lawyers, held that the right to speedy disposition was not violated therein.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 11
In petitioner Binays case, the Court finds that there was no undue delay in the disposition of the subject
cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the Tanodbayan, and later with the Office of the Ombudsman,
adequately explains the length of the delay:
1. That on July 27, 1988 Bobby Brillante filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan an affidavit-complaint
charging, Jejomar Binay, Sergio Santos, Roberto Chang, Delfin Almeda, Nelson Irasga, Nicasio Santiago,
Feliciano Basam, Maria Chan, Romeo Barrios, Azucena Diaz, Virgilio Clarete, Godofredo Marcelo,
Armando San Miguel, Salvador Pangilinan and John Does of the following offenses: (a) Massive
Malversation of Public Funds; (b) Multiple 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.
1.1. Brillantes complaint was based on the initial findings and observations of the COA on the
examination of the cash and accounts covering transactions from April 1, 1987 to January 4, 1988
and Post-Audit of Selected Accounts for the last quarter of 1987 of the Municipality of Makati
contained in its Report dated January 11, 1988. The COA furnished the Tanodbayan a copy of this
report on August 1, 1988 upon request of the latter.
1.2. In the letter of the COA transmitting a copy of the report, the Tanodbayan was informed that this
COA audit report of January 11, 1988 is not yet released since the Mayor of Makati was given thirty
days within which to explain/clarify the findings in the report and is subject to change or modification
depending upon the explanation/clarification to be submitted by the Mayor of Makati. Because of
this information from the COA the preliminary investigation was held in abeyance until the
submission of the final report.
1.3. On March 1, 1989, the first part of the Final Report on Audit of Makati was received by the Office
of the Ombudsman and was transmitted for purposes of the ensuring preliminary investigation to the
Tanodbayan which received the same on March 22, 1989.
1.4. This first part of the Final Report contained the fifteen (15) adverse findings, above elsewhere
stated as the basis of Bobby Brillantes complaint.
1.5. Eleven (11) COA auditors participated in the documentation and analysis of its findings and
preparation of the final report.
1.6. The first part of the final report was followed by a Supplemental Report on Findings No. 1 and
3. This Supplemental Report is dated July 3, 1989.
2. After securing machine copies of the voluminous documents supporting the COA findings, Pros. Margarito
Gervacio, Chairman of the Panel of Prosecutors, issued the corresponding subpoena directing the
respondents to submit their respective counter-affidavits.
2.1. In compliance with the subpoena, Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted his counter-affidavit on May
18, 1990, Marissa Chan, Feliciano Bascon, Nicanor Santiago, Jr. on June 19, 1990, Renato
Manrique on June 4, 1990, Alfredo Ignacio on June 6, 1990, Roberto Chang on August 27,
1990. Feliciano Bascon submitted his Supplemental Affidavit on November 22, 1990.
2.2. Thereafter, clarificatory examinations were conducted on September 27, 1990, October 26, 1990,
November 8, 9, 14, 22, 1990.
3. On January 15, 1991 Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted a copy of this Petition for Certiorari in G.R. No.
92380 which he and the municipality of Makati filed with the Supreme Court against COA Chairman,
Eufemio Domingo and the Commission on Audit, with a manifestation that said petition is submitted to
support Binays stand as regard COA Finding No. 9 aforestated.
4. On April 2, 1992 respondent Marissa Chan filed an affidavit containing allegations incriminating Jejomar
Binay;
5. Upon being ordered to comment on the said April 2, 1992 affidavit of Marissa Chan, Jejomar Binay
submitted his comment thereto on April 30, 1992.
6. On August 4, 1993, the Investigation Panel submitted to the Deputy Special Prosecutor its Resolution
disposing the preliminary investigation of the case.
6.1. On August 10, 1993 the said Resolution was approved by the Special Prosecutor, who forwarded
the same and the entire records to the Office of the Ombudsman for review and/or final action.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 12
6.2. On August 16, 1994, the Review Panel of the Ombudsman submitted to the latter its review
action for approval.
6.3. On August 19, 1994, the Ombudsman approved some of the recommendations of the Review
Panel and directed the preparation and filing of the informations. [50]
Furthermore, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA); it must rely on its
own independent judgment in the determination of probable cause. Accordingly, the prosecution had to conduct it s
own review of the COA findings. Judging from said findings, we find that the cases were sufficiently complex, thus
justifying the length of time for their resolution. As held by the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution dated March 29, 1995
denying the Motion to Quash:
2. Ten charges are involved in these cases and the prosecution, unable to rely on the raw findings of the
Commission on Audit in 15 reports caused the investigation and examination of thousands of vouchers,
payrolls, and supporting documents considering that no less than the Chairman of the Commission on
Audit, assisted by a team supervisor and 10 team members had to take part in the conduct of a final audit
consisting of evaluation and analysis of the initial findings in the 15 raw reports, the cases must have
involved complicated legal and factual issues which do warrant or justify a longer period of time for
preliminary investigation.
xxx
5. In the TATAD case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to three (3) years from the time all the
counter-affidavits were submitted to the Tanodbayan, notwithstanding the fact that very few documentary
and testimonial evidence were involved. In the above-entitled cases, the preliminary investigation of all ten
(10) cases was terminated in merely two (2) years and four (4) months from the date Mayor Binay filed his
last pleading, on April 30, 1992.[51]
Petitioner claims that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering his suspension pendente lite is unwarranted
since the informations charging him were not valid. This contention, however, must fail in view of our pronouncement
that there was no delay in the resolution of the subject cases in violation of his right to speedy disposition. Accordingly,
the informations in question are valid an petitioners suspension pendente lite must be upheld.
Finally, whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases 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 failed to establish any such abuse on the part of the Ombudsman.
III
Having ruled that the criminal case against petitioners in G.R. No. 128136 is within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the Court will now dispose of the following issues raised by them:
(1) The Sandiganbayan was ousted of its jurisdiction by the filing of an information alleging the same facts with the
Regional Trial Court.
(2) Respondents are estopped from filing an information before the Sandiganbayan considering that they had
already filed another information alleging the same facts before the Regional Trial Court.
(3) The filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double jeopardy.
The Court tackles these arguments successively then deals with the questions of duplicity of information and
forum shopping.
Petitioners invoke the rule that the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be ousted by subsequent
happenings or events, although of such character which would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first
instance.[53] They claim that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan was a subsequent happening or event
which cannot oust the RTC of its jurisdiction.
This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the case. Jurisdiction
never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed before the RTC, R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect and,
under said law, jurisdiction over the case pertained to the Sandiganbayan.
Neither can estoppel be successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law, not by the consent or
agreement of the parties or by estoppel.[54] As a consequence of this principle, the Court held in Zamora vs. Court of
Appeals[55] that:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 13
It follows that as a rule the filing of a complaint with one court which has no jurisdiction over it does not prevent the
plaintiff from filing the same complaint later with the competent court. The plaintiff is not estopped from doing so simply
because it made a mistake before in the choice of the proper forum. In such a situation, the only authority the first court
can 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 erroneously or even deliberately, in derogation of the law.

It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases [56] that estoppel prevents a party from questioning the jurisdiction
of the court that the party himself invoked.Estoppel, 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 estopped
consistently invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively participated in the proceedings, impugning such
jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse decision. This 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
Sandiganbayan, which motion was followed by a motion to resolve the previous 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 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve the earlier
motion. Finally, the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse to petitioners.
Second, petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not themselves party to the criminal
action. In a criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the commission of a crime is an offense against the State. Thus,
the complaint or information filed in court is required to be brought in the name of the People of the Philippines. [58] Even
then, the doctrine of estoppel does not apply as against the people in criminal prosecutions. [59] Violations of the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted murder, [60] is a public offense. Social and public interest demand the
punishment of the offender; hence, criminal actions for public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much less
barred by the rules of estoppel.[61]
The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not put petitioners in double jeopardy even though they had
already pleaded not guilty to the information earlier filed in the RTC. The first jeopardy never attached in the first place,
the RTC not being a court of competent jurisdiction. There can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a
plea in a court that had no jurisdiction. [62] The remedy of petitioners, therefore, was not to move for the quashal of the
information pending in the Sandiganbayan on the ground of double jeopardy.[63] Their remedy was to move for the
quashal of the information pending in the RTC on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.[64]
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
Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one offense but with more than one
information charging one offense.
The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-shopping. Broadly speaking, forum shopping exists when,
as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in
another, or when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that
one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. [65] We discern no intent on the part of the State, in filing two
informations in two different courts, to gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition.
Obviously, respondents got their signals crossed. One set of officials, after investigating a complaint filed by the
Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas charging petitioners of overpricing, filed the information for violation of Section
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 14
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the RTC. Another set of officials investigated another complaint from the Concerned Citizens
Group accusing petitioners of, among others, overpricing the same project subject of the previous complaint. Finding
probable cause, the second set of officials instituted the criminal action, charging the same offense and alleging
essentially the same facts as the first, this time in the Sandiganbayan.Later learning of the procedural faux pas,
respondents without undue delay asked the RTC to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 15
SYNOPSIS
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay sought the annulment, among others, of the Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Cases filed against him, one for illegal use of public funds and two
for violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, to the Regional Trial Court of Makati and
declaring that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over said cases despite the enactment of R.A. No. 7975.
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assailed the October 22, 1996 Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the proceedings in the criminal case filed
against them for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019 in deference to whatever ruling the Supreme Court
will lay down in the Binay cases. The Court resolved the consolidated G.R. No. 128136 with G.R. Nos. 120681-83.
To determine whether an official is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, reference should be
made to R.A. No. 6758 and the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades. Salary level is not
determinative. As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades list the Municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner mayors come within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
Compensation and 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 officials of the executive branch occupying the
positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989, under Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975.
The phrase specifically including after officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director
and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989
necessarily conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the enumeration. The principle of expressio unius est exclusio
alterius does not apply where other circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not intended to be exclusive, or
where the enumeration is by way of example only. Should there be any doubt as to whether petitioner mayors are
under the category of Grade 27, Section 444 (d) of the Local Government Code settles the matter.
Petitioner Binay cited previous bills in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The resort to
congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in this case was unwarranted for the same reason
that the resort to the rule of inclusio unius est expressio alterius was inappropriate. From the foregoing, it is clear that
the cases against petitioner Binay cannot be referred to the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975. 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 Sandiganbayan. The term proper court, as used in Section 7, is not restricted
to regular courts but includes as well the Sandiganbayan, a special court.
The Supreme Court dismissed the consolidated petitions.

SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION; SECTION 4a(1) OF P.D. NO. 1606, AS AMENDED BY
R.A. NO. 7975; MUNICIPAL MAYORS COME WITHIN THE EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OF
SANDIGANBAYAN. - To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
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 determinative. An officials grade is not a matter of proof, but
a matter of law of which the Court must take judicial notice. As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of
Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades list the Municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27,
petitioner mayors come within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are local
officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and 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 the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, under Section
4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975.
2. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; RESORT THERETO NOT APPROPRIATE WHERE THE LAW IS CLEAR AND
UNAMBIGUOUS. - Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear and
unambiguous. The law is clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of PD. No. 1606, as amended by R.A.
No. 7975, speaks of [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 16
3. REMEDIAL LAW; SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION; SECTION 4a(1) OF P.D. NO. 1606; ENUMERATION
THEREIN NOT INTENDED TO BE AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST.- The Court fails to see how a different interpretation
could arise even if the plain meaning rule were disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation. The premise of
petitioners argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is exclusive. It is not. The phrase specifically
including after [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 necessarily
conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the enumeration. The principle of expressio unius est exclusio
alterius does not apply where other circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not intended to be exclusive,
or where the enumeration is by way of example only. 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
be impractical, if not impossible, for Congress to list down each position created or will be created pertaining to
Grades 27 and above. The same rationale applies to the enumeration in Section 4a(1). Clearly, the law did not
intend said enumeration to be an exhaustive list.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; RESORT TO CONGRESSIONAL RECORDS TO DETERMINE PROPER APPLICATION OF
THE LAW UNWARRANTED IN CASE AT BAR.- The resort to congressional records to determine the proper
application of the law in this case is unwarranted in this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule
of inclusio unius est expressio alterius is inappropriate. Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner
may be more humane but it is also an elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases
of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the
statute must be taken to mean exactly what it says. (Baranda v. Gustilo, 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 clear, it is not susceptible to interpretation. It must be applied regardless of who may be
affected, even if the law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110 Phil. 42). And even granting
that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule, should be strictly but reasonably construed; they
extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general
provisions rather than the exception. Thus, where a general rule is established by statute, the court will not curtail
the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v. C.A., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]).
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; COURTS NOT BOUND BY LEGISLATORS OPINION.- Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship
Speech of Senator Roco xxx. It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are
excluded from the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by a legislators opinion in
congressional debates regarding the interpretation of a particular legislation. It is deemed a mere personal opinion
of the legislator. Such opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of the entire Congress.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7975; HAS RETROACTIVE EFFECT.- The cases against petitioner Binay cannot
be referred to the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides: 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. 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: The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction
over a 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 exception to the rule is where the
statute expressly provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before
its enactment. Where a statute 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. R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the
exception rather than the 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 Sandiganbayan. To this
extent, R.A. No. 7975 is retroactive.
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SECTION 7 THEREOF; TERM PROPER COURTS, CONSTRUED.- 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. 7975. The former should not be read in isolation but construed in conjunction with
the latter. The term proper courts as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted 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, it should have employed the term proper regular courts or regular courts instead
of proper courts. Accordingly, the law in the third paragraph of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section
2 of R.A. No. 7975, uses the term regular courts, not proper courts.
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EFFECTS THEREOF; CASE AT BAR.- Construed thus, the effects of Section 7 may be
summarized as follows: 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. 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. (a) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 17
by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case before it, then the case shall be
referred to the Sandiganbayan. (b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No.
7975, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case before it, the case shall be referred to the regular courts.
The trial of the cases involving Mayor Binay had not yet begun as of the date of the approval of R.A. No. 7975;
consequently, the Anti-Graft Court retains jurisdiction over said cases.
9. ID.; ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8249; SECTION 7 THEREOF APPLIED TO CASE AT BAR.- In any case,
whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be laid to
rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which states: Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. This Act shall apply to all cases
pending in any court over which trial has not begun as of the approval hereof. The latter provision more accurately
expresses the legislatures intent and in any event should be applied in this case, R.A. No. 8249 having
superseded R.A. No. 7975.
10. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SECTION 7; EFFECTS THEREOF.- The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be
stated as follows: 1. If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the approval of
R.A. No. 8249, said law does not apply. 2. If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the
approval of R.A. No. 8249, then said law applies. (a) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending
before it, then it retains jurisdiction. (b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending before it, the
case shall be referred to the regular courts. (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. (d) If a regular
court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then said court retains jurisdiction.
11. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES; WHEN DEEMED
VIOLATED. - 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 administrative cases, and in all proceedings,
including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a case may demand
expeditious action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. However, the right to a speedy
disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceedings is attended by
vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and
secured, or when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party
having his case tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test 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 and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay,
the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. The concept of
speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. A mere mathematical reckoning of
the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to
speedy disposition of cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each
case.
12. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT VIOLATED IN CASE AT BAR.- In petitioner Binays case, the Court finds that there was no
undue delay in the disposition of the subject cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the
Tanodbayan, and later with the Office of the Ombudsman, adequately explains the length of the delay.
Furthermore, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA); it must rely on its
own independent judgment in the determination of probable cause. Accordingly, the prosecution had to conduct its
own review of the COA findings. Judging from said findings, we find that the cases were sufficiently complex, thus
justifying the length of time for their resolution.
13. ID.; OMBUDSMAN; DETERMINATION THEREOF OF PROBABLE CAUSE WILL NOT BE INTERFERED
BY SUPREME COURT. - Whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases 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. Petitioner in this case has failed to establish any such abuse on the part of the
Ombudsman.
14. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; RULE THAT ONCE JURISDICTION ATTACHES, IT CANNOT BE OUSTED
BY SUBSEQUENT EVENTS NOT APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR; REASONS. - Petitioners invoke the rule
that the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or events, although of
such character which would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance. They claim that the
filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan was a subsequent happening or event which cannot oust the RTC of
its jurisdiction. This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the
case. Jurisdiction never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed before the RTC, R.A. No. 7975 was
already in effect and, under said law, jurisdiction over the case pertained to the Sandiganbayan.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 18
15. ID.; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; DOUBLE JEOPARDY; CANNOT BE INVOKED WHERE ACCUSED ENTERED A
PLEA IN A COURT THAT HAD NO JURISDICTION.- The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not
put petitioners in double jeopardy even though they had already pleaded not guilty to the information earlier filed in
the RTC. The first jeopardy never attached in the first place, the RTC not being a court of competent jurisdiction.
There can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in a court that had no jurisdiction. The
remedy of petitioners, therefore, was not to move for the quashal of the information pending in
the Sandiganbayan on the ground of double jeopardy. Their remedy was to move for the quashal of the
information pending in the RTC on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
16. ID.; ID.; INFORMATION; DUPLICITY OF OFFENSE; RULE NOT VIOLATED IN CASE AT BAR. - 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 prescribe a single
punishment for various offenses. Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for quashing the duplicitous complaint
or information under Rule 117. Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one
offense but with more than one information charging one offense.
17. ID.; ID.; DOCTRINE OF ESTOPPEL NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR, REASONS. - Neither can estoppel be
successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law, not by the consent or agreement of the parties or by
estoppel. It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases that estoppel prevents a party from questioning the
jurisdiction of the court that the party himself invoked. Estoppel, however, remains the exception rather than the
rule, the rule being that jurisdiction is vested by law. Even in those instances where the Court applied estoppel, the
party estopped consistently invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively participated in the proceedings,
impugning such jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse decision. This 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 Sandiganbayan, which motion was followed by a motion to resolve the previous 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 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve the
earlier motion. Finally, the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse to petitioners. Second,
petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not themselves party to the criminal action. In a
criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the commission of a crime is an offense against the State. Thus, the
complaint or information filed in court is required to be brought in the name of the People of the Philippines. Even
then, the doctrine of estoppel does not apply as against the people in criminal prosecutions. Violations of the Anti-
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted murder, is a public offense. Social and public interest demand the
punishment of the offender; hence, criminal actions for public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much less
barred by the rules of estoppel.
18. ID.; PLEADINGS; FORUM-SHOPPING; WHEN EXISTS.- The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-
shopping. Broadly speaking, forum-shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party
seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another, or when he institutes two or more actions
or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable
disposition. We discern no intent on the part of the State, in filing two informations in two different courts, to
gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition.

PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion:

REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; R.A. NO. 7975; SANDIGANBAYAN; RETAINS JURISDICTION OVER CRIMINAL
CASE INVOLVING MUNICIPAL MAYORS; EXCEPTION; CASE AT BAR. - I concur with the majority that, as a
rule, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over criminal cases involving municipal mayors. Due to their peculiar
factual circumstances, however, Petitioner Binays cases, I believe, should be deemed exceptions and referred to
the proper courts, that is, the regional trial courts. These factual circumstances are simple: (1) the Informations
charging Binay were filed in the Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994, prior the enactment of RA 7975; and (2) when
RA 7975 took effect on May 16, 1995, trial in the anti-graft court had not yet commenced. In fact, Binay had not
been arraigned yet. These undisputed facts are plainly governed by the unambiguous provision of Section 7, RA
7975, which reads: Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the
Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 19
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 169004 September 15, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION) and ROLANDO PLAZA, Respondents.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

For this Court's resolution is a petition 1 dated September 2, 2005 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court that
seeks to reverse and set aside the Resolution2 of the Sandiganbayan (Third Division), dated July 20, 2005,
dismissing Criminal Case No. 27988, entitled People of the Philippines v. Rolando Plaza for lack of
jurisdiction.

The facts follow.

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 Sandiganbayan with violation of Section
89 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1445, or The Auditing Code of the Philippines for his failure to liquidate
the cash advances he received on December 19, 1995 in the amount of Thirty-Three Thousand Pesos
(33,000.00) . The Information reads:

That on or about December 19, 1995, and for sometime prior or subsequent thereto at Toledo City, Province
of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
ROLANDO PLAZA, a high-ranking public officer, being a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Toledo City, and committing the offense, in relation to office, having obtained cash advances from the City
Government of Toledo in the total amount of THIRTY THREE THOUSAND PESOS (33,000.00),
Philippine Currency, which he received by reason 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 33,000.00, Philippine Currency, despite
demands to the damage and prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Thereafter, respondent Plaza filed a Motion to Dismiss3 dated April 7, 2005 with the Sandiganbayan, to
which the latter issued an Order 4 dated April 12, 2005 directing petitioner to submit its comment. Petitioner
filed its Opposition5 to the Motion to Dismiss on April 19, 2005. Eventually, the Sandiganbayan promulgated
its Resolution6on July 20, 2005 dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction, without prejudice to its filing
before the proper court. The dispositive portion of the said Resolution provides:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 20
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant case is hereby ordered dismissed for lack of jurisdiction
without prejudice to its filing in the proper court.

SO ORDERED.

Thus, the present petition.

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, (as amended by Republic Act [R.A.] Nos. 7975
and 8249), whether or not occupying a position classified under salary grade 27 and above, who are charged
not only for violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or any of the felonies included in Chapter II, Section 2, Title
VII, 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 decision in Inding v.
Sandiganbayan,7 claiming that the Inding case did not categorically nor implicitly constrict or confine the
application of the enumeration provided for under Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as amended, exclusively to
cases where the offense charged is either a violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title
VII of the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner adds that the enumeration in Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as
amended by R.A. 7975 and R.A. 8249, which was made applicable to cases 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 his Comment8 dated November 30, 2005, respondent Plaza argued that, as phrased in Section 4 of P.D.
1606, as amended, it is apparent that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was defined first, while the
exceptions to the general rule are provided in the rest of the paragraph and sub-paragraphs of Section 4;
hence, the Sandiganbayan was right in ruling that it has original jurisdiction only over the following cases:
(a) where the accused is a public official with salary grade 27 and higher; (b) in cases where the accused is a
public official below grade 27 but his position is one of those mentioned in the enumeration in Section 4 (a)
(1) (a) to (g) of P. D. 1606, as amended and his offense 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 three aforementioned statutes, the general rule that a public official must occupy a
position with salary grade 27 and higher in order that the Sandiganbayan could exercise jurisdiction over him
must apply.

In a nutshell, the core issue raised in the petition is whether or not the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a
member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod whose salary grade is below 27 and charged with violation of The
Auditing Code of the Philippines.

This Court has already resolved the above issue in the affirmative. People v. Sandiganbayan and Amante9 is a
case with uncanny similarities to the present one. In fact, the respondent in the earlier case, Victoria Amante
and herein respondent Plaza were both members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Toledo City, Cebu at the
time pertinent to this case. The only difference is that, respondent Amante failed to liquidate the amount of
Seventy-One Thousand Ninety-Five Pesos (71,095.00) while respondent Plaza failed to liquidate the
amount of Thirty-Three Thousand Pesos (33,000.00).

In ruling that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod whose
salary grade is below 27 and charged with violation of The Auditing Code of the Philippines, this Court cited
the case of Serana v. Sandiganbayan, et al.10 as a background on the conferment of jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, thus:
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 21
x x x The Sandiganbayan was created by P.D. No. 1486, promulgated by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos
on June 11, 1978. It was promulgated to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of public
officers and employees, based on the concept that public officers and employees shall serve with the highest
degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times accountable to the
people.11

P.D. No. 1486 was, in turn, amended by P.D. No. 1606 which was promulgated on December 10, 1978. P.D.
No. 1606 expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.12

P.D. No. 1606 was later amended by P.D. No. 1861 on March 23, 1983, further altering the Sandiganbayan
jurisdiction. R.A. No. 7975 approved on March 30, 1995 made succeeding amendments to P.D. No. 1606,
which was again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. No. 8249. Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249 further
modified the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. x x x .

Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. 7975 which took effect 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 on or about December 19, 1995 and the Information having
been filed on March 25, 2004. As extensively explained in the earlier mentioned case,

The jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is to be determined at the time of the institution of the
action, not at the time of the commission of the offense.13 The exception contained in R. A. 7975, as well
as R. A. 8249, where it expressly provides that to determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in
cases involving violations of R. A. No. 3019, as amended, R. A. No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2,
Title VII of the Revised Penal Code is not applicable in the present case as the offense involved herein
is a violation of The Auditing Code of the Philippines. The last clause of the opening sentence of
paragraph (a) of the said two provisions states:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, other known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where
one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a
permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense: x x x.14

Like in the earlier case, the present case definitely falls under Section 4 (b) where other 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 the present case is the general rule that jurisdiction of a
court to try a criminal case is to be determined at the time of the institution of the action, not at the time of
the commission of the offense. The present case having been instituted on March 25, 2004, the provisions of
R.A. 8249 shall govern. P.D. 1606, as amended by R.A. 8249 states that:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where
one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government,
whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 22
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade "27" and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic
Act No. 6758), specifically including:

(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan and provincial
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

(b) City mayors, vice mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers,
and other city department heads.

(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;

(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the
Ombudsman and Special Prosecutor;

(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state


universities or educational institutions or foundations;

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989;

(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution; and

(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989.

B. Other offenses or felonies, whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public
officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.

C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.

Again, the earlier case interpreted the above provisions, thus:

The above law is clear as to the composition of the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Under Section
4 (a), the following offenses are 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 order for the Sandiganbayan to
acquire jurisdiction over the said offenses, the latter must be committed by, among others, officials of the
executive branch occupying positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and
higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. However, the law is not devoid of
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 23
exceptions. Those that are classified as Grade 26 and below may still fall within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan provided that they hold the positions thus enumerated by the same law. Particularly and
exclusively enumerated are provincial governors, vice-govenors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan,
and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads; city mayors, vice-
mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city
department heads; officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position as consul and higher; Philippine
army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; PNP chief superintendent and
PNP officers of higher rank; City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors
in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor; and presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of
government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. In
connection therewith, Section 4 (b) of the same law provides that other offenses or felonies committed
by public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) in relation to their office also fall under
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.15

Clearly, as decided in the earlier case and by simple application of the pertinent 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 original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

Finally, as to the inapplicability of the Inding16 case wherein it was ruled that the 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 the Sandiganbayan relied upon in its assailed
Resolution, this Court enunciated, still in the earlier case of People v. Sandiganbayan and
Amante,17 that the Inding case did not categorically nor implicitly constrict or confine the application of
the enumeration provided for under Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, as amended, exclusively to cases
where the offense charged is either a violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title
VII of the Revised Penal Code. As thoroughly discussed:

x x x In the Inding case, the public official involved was a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod with
Salary Grade 25 and was charged with violation of R.A. No. 3019. In ruling that the Sandiganbayan had
jurisdiction over the said public official, this Court concentrated its disquisition on the provisions contained
in Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, where the offenses involved are specifically enumerated
and not on Section 4 (b) where offenses or felonies involved are those that are in relation to the public
officials' office. Section 4 (b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, provides that:

b. Other offenses or felonies committed by public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this
section in relation to their office.

A simple analysis after a plain reading of the above provision shows that those public officials enumerated
in Sec. 4 (a) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, may not only be charged in the Sandiganbayan with
violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code,
but also with other offenses or felonies in relation to their office. The said other offenses and felonies are
broad in scope but are limited only to those that are committed in relation to the public official or employee's
office. This Court had ruled that as long as the offense charged in the information is intimately connected
with the office and is alleged to have been perpetrated while the accused was in the performance,
though improper or irregular, of his official functions, there being no personal motive to commit the
crime and had the accused not have committed it had he not held the aforesaid office, the accused is
held to have been indicted for "an offense committed in relation" to his office.18 Thus, in the case
of Lacson v. Executive Secretary, et al..,19 where the crime involved was murder, this Court held that:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 24
The phrase "other offenses or felonies" is too broad as to include the crime of murder, provided it was
committed in relation to the accuseds official functions. Thus, under said paragraph b, what determines the
Sandiganbayans jurisdiction is the official position or rank of the offender that is, whether he is one of
those public officers or employees enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4. x x x

Also, in the case Alarilla v. Sandiganbayan,20 where the public official was charged with grave threats, this
Court ruled:

x x x In the case at bar, the amended information contained allegations that the accused, petitioner herein,
took advantage of his official functions as municipal mayor of Meycauayan, Bulacan when he committed the
crime of grave threats as defined in Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code against complainant Simeon G.
Legaspi, a municipal councilor. The Office of the Special Prosecutor charged petitioner with aiming a gun at
and threatening to kill Legaspi during a public hearing, after the latter had rendered a privilege speech critical
of petitioners administration. Clearly, based on such allegations, the crime charged is intimately connected
with the discharge 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 duty as municipal
mayor when he attended said public hearing" and that "accuseds violent act was precipitated by
complainants criticism of his administration as the mayor or chief executive of the municipality, during the
latters privilege speech. It was his response to private complainants attack to his office. If he was not the
mayor, he would not have been irritated or angered by whatever private complainant might have said during
said privilege speech." Thus, based on the allegations in the information, the Sandiganbayan correctly
assumed jurisdiction over the case.1avvphi1

Proceeding from the above rulings of this Court, a close reading of the Information filed against respondent
Amante for violation of The Auditing Code of the Philippines reveals that the said offense was committed in
relation to her office, making her fall under Section 4 (b) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended.

According to the assailed Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, if the intention of the law had been to extend the
application of the exceptions to the other cases over which the Sandiganbayan could assert jurisdiction, then
there would have been no need to distinguish between violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379 or Chapter
II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code on the one hand, and other offenses or felonies committed
by public officials and employees in relation to their office on the other. The said reasoning is misleading
because a distinction apparently exists. In the offenses involved in Section 4 (a), it is not disputed that
public office is essential as an element of the said offenses themselves, while in those offenses and
felonies involved in Section 4 (b), it is enough that the said offenses and felonies were committed in
relation to the public officials or employees' office. In expounding the meaning of offenses deemed to have
been committed in relation to office, this Court held:

In Sanchez v. Demetriou [227 SCRA 627 (1993)], the Court elaborated on the scope and reach of the term
"offense committed in relation to [an accuseds] office" by referring to the principle laid down in Montilla v.
Hilario [90 Phil 49 (1951)], and to an exception to that principle which was recognized in People v.
Montejo [108 Phil 613 (1960)]. The principle set out in Montilla v. Hilario is that an offense may be
considered as committed in relation to the accuseds office if "the offense cannot exist without the 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

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 25
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

With the resolution of the present case and the earlier case of People v. Sandiganbayan and Amante,25 the
issue as to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has now attained clarity.

WHEREFORE, the Petition dated September 2, 2005 is hereby GRANTED and the Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan (Third Division) dated July 20, 2005 is hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Let the case
be REMANDED to the Sandiganbayan for further proceedings.

SO ORDERED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 26
People v. Sandiganbayan and Rolando Plaza, G.R. No. 169004, Sept. 15, 2010
Crim Pro - Jurisdiction

Facts:

The accused, Rolando Plaza was a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Toledo City, Cebu, with a salary grade
25. He was charged in the Sandiganbayan for violating Section 89 of P.D. No. 1445 or The Auditing Code of the
Philippines. Allegedly, he failed to liquidate the cash advances he received by reason of his office on December 19,
1995 in the amount of P30,000. On April 7, 2005, Plaza filed a motion to dismiss with the Sandiganbayan which was
found to be with merit.

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction over the case. So, the petitioner filed this case to the
Supreme Court contending that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over criminal cases involving public officials and
employees enumerated under Section 4 (a) (1) of P.D. 1606, whether or not occupying a position classified under
salary grade 27 and above, who are charged not only for violation of R.A. 3019, R.A. 1379 or any of the felonies
included in Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, but also for crimes committed in relation
to their office.

Issue:
Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod whose salary
grade is below 27 and charged with violation of The Auditing Code of the Philippines.

Held:
Yes, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod whose salary grade is below
27 and charged with violation of The Auditing Code of the Philippines.

Those that are classified as Grade 26 and below may still fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan provided that
they hold the positions enumerated by the same law. Particularly and exclusively enumerated are provincial governors,
vice-govenors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other
provincial department heads ( Sec. 4 (1) (a) of P.D. 1606); city mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang
panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads (Sec. 4 (1) (b) of P.D. 1606);
officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position as consul and higher; Philippine army and air force colonels,
naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank; City and
provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special
prosecutor; and presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state
universities or educational institutions or foundations.

In connection therewith, Section 4 (b) of P.D. 1606 provides that other offenses or felonies committed by public
officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) in relation to their office also fall under the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan.

So, those public officials enumerated in Sec. 4 (a) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, may not only be charged in
the Sandiganbayan with violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No. 1379 or Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised
Penal Code, but also with other offenses or felonies in relation to their office. The Supreme Court ruled in earlier cases
that: as long as the offense charged in the information is intimately connected with the office and is alleged to have
been perpetrated while the accused was in the performance, though improper or irregular, of his official functions, there
being no personal motive to commit the crime and had the accused not have committed it had he not held the
aforesaid office, the accused is held to have been indicted for an offense committed in relation to his office. In the
offenses involved in Section 4 (a), it is not disputed that public office is essential as an element of the said offenses
themselves, while in those offenses and felonies involved in Section 4 (b), it is enough that the said offenses and
felonies were committed in relation to the public officials or employees' office.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 27
G.R. No. 120640 August 8, 1996

EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR., ENRIQUE M. COJUANGCO, MANUEL M. COJUANGCO, ESTELITO P.


MENDOZA and GABRIEL L. VILLAREAL, petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), JULIETA C.
BERTUBEN, IDE C. TILLAH, EMMANUEL E. CRUZ, SERGIO OSMEA III AND TIRSO D. ANTIPORDA,
JR., respondents.

VITUG, J.:p

When this Court was tasked to determine, via Garcia, Jr., vs. Sandiganbayan, 1 whether the Sandiganbayan had
jurisdiction to take up the special civil actions of prohibition, mandamus, and quo warranto, it ruled:

It is settled that the authority to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus involves the
exercise of original jurisdiction which must be expressly conferred by the. Constitution or by law. . . . .

With respect to petitions for quo warranto and habeas corpus, original 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 Trial Courts by Section 9(1) and Section 21(1), respectively, of B.P. Blg. 129.

In the absence then of a specific statutory grant of jurisdiction to issue the said extraordinary writs, the.
Sandiganbayan, as a court with only special and limited jurisdiction, cannot exercise jurisdiction over
the petition for prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto filed by petitioner.2

By force of that decision, respondent Sandiganbayan (First Division), on 09 May 1995, acting motu proprio on the
petition for quo warranto instituted by herein petitioners assailing the qualifications of private respondents for election
to, and membership in, the Board of Directors of San Miguel Corporation ("SMC"), issued a resolution dismissing
the quo warranto petition. The Sandiganbayan held:

Considering the subject matter of the instant petition, i.e., the qualification of the respondents to the
seats in the Board of Directors of the San Miguel 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
in Garcia vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 114135, October 7, 1994) which explicitly stated that for lack of
explicit statutory grant, the Sandiganbayan had no authority to issue a writ of quo warranto, among
other extraordinary writs, thus rendering this Court without jurisdiction over the subject matter hereof,
the instant petition is dismissed. 3

This resolution is sought to be set aside in the instant petition for review on certiorari.

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 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 nominated by Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo of the Presidential Commission on Good
Government ("PCGG") following the registration in their respective names (at the instance 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 order to allow the nominees to qualify for the contested board seats.

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 used by the PCGG in voting, in turn, for private
respondents.

Following the canvass of the votes cast, private respondents landed on the top 15 slots and were accordingly declared
to have been the elected members of the SMC Board of Directors for the year 1995-1996. None of the petitioners
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 28
(Messrs. Estelito Mendoza, Manuel Cojuangco, Enrique Cojuangco, Gabriel Villareal and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., who,
respectively, landed on the 16th to the 20th places) made it.

Petitioner Mendoza protested the results of the election contending that the votes he had 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 he, Manuel Cojuangco and Enrique Cojuangco would have themselves been duly elected.
In reply, SMC Corporate Secretary Jose Feria stood by his verbal ruling during the canvassing of votes that only the
PCGG, through Chairman Gunigundo, could validly vote the sequestered shares.

Petitioners filed a petition for quo warranto before the Sandiganbayan questioning the election of PCGG's nominees to
the SMC Board and prayed
that

1. Respondents Julieta C. Bertuben, Ide C. Tillah, Emmanuel E. Cruz, Sergio Osmea III and Tirso D.
Antiporda, Jr. should be ousted from the SMC Board for not owning the requisite number of qualifying
shares of stock and in their stead, petitioners Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Enrique M. Cojuangco,
Manuel M. Cojuangco, Estelito P. Mendoza and Gabriel L. Villareal be declared members of the Board
of Directors of SMC; and

2. Respondents Julieta C. Bertuben, Ide C. Tillah and Emmanuel E. Cruz be ousted for not having
more votes than petitioners Enrique M. Cojuangco, Manuel M. Cojuangco, Estelito P. Mendoza who
should in their place be declared duly elected members of the Board of Directors of SMC. 4

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. Petitioners impute on the Sandiganbayan the alleged commission by
it of the following errors:

A. THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) ERRED IN APPLYING TO S.B. CIVIL CASE NO. 0166
THE NEW DOCTRINE ENUNCIATED BY THE FIRST DIVISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN
THE CASE OF "GARCIA, JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.", G.R. NO. 11435, PROMULGATED ON
OCTOBER 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 552, HOLDING THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN CANNOT EXERCISE
JURISDICTION OVER A PETITION FOR PROHIBITION, MANDAMUS AND QUO WARRANTO,
DESPITE THE CLEAR NON-APPLICABILITY OF SAID DOCTRINE TO THE FACTS OF CIVIL CASE
NO. 0166.

xxx xxx xxx

B. IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR QUO WARRANTO, THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST


DIVISION) IGNORED APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT RENDERED IN
SEVERAL CASES HOLDING THAT THE SANDIGANBAYAN HAS EXCLUSIVE AND ORIGINAL
JURISDICTION OVER SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS, INCLUDING PETITIONS FOR QUO WARRANTO,
INVOLVING "INCIDENTS ARISING FROM, INCIDENTAL TO, OR RELATED TO" CASES
MENTIONED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14, DATED MAY 7, 1986, AND OVER SPECIAL CIVIL
ACTIONS INVOLVING THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON
GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG) OR ALLEGED ILL-GOTTEN OR SEQUESTERED WEALTH.

xxx xxx xxx

C. THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) LIKEWISE IGNORED THE PROVISION OF SEC. 2 OF


REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7975, WHICH AMENDED SEC. 4 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 ON
THE JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN, GRANTING THE SANDIGANBAYAN "ORIGINAL
JURISDICTION" OVER "CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES" FILED PURSUANT TO AND IN
CONNECTION WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER NOS. 1, 2, 14 AND 14-A. 5

Respondents, calling attention to the Court's ruling in Garcia, infra, insists that the Sandiganbayan is precluded from
exercising jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 29
We find merit in the appeal.

The rule that the Sandiganbayan cannot exercise jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto is not without exception, a
situation which by now should be fairly evident from the Court's pronouncements in a number of cases. In PCGG
vs. Pea, et al.,6 the Court has observed:

. . . Under Section 2 of the President's Executive Order No. 14 issued on May 7, 1986, all cases of the
Commission regarding "the Funds, Moneys, Assets and Properties Illegally Acquired or
Misappropriated by Former President Ferdinand Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their Close
Relatives, Subordinates, Business Associates, Dummies, Agents, or Nominees" whether civil or
criminal, are lodged within the "exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan" and all
incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases necessarily fall likewise under the
Sandiganbayan's exclusive and original jurisdiction, subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the
Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied.)

In the two subsequent consolidated cases of PCGG vs. Aquino, Jr., and Marcelo Fiberglass Corporation vs. PCGG, 7 a
petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a restraining order and injunction was lodged with
the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, instead of the Sandiganbayan, against a writ of sequestration issued by the
PCGG. Marcelo Fiberglass Corporation argued that Section 2 of Executive Order No. 14 gave to the Sandiganbayan
jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases filed by the PCGG but not over special civil actions filed by private parties. In
brushing aside the contention, the Court, reiterated the aforequoted portion of the Court's ruling in Pea, and
concluded that any attempt to remove special civil actions, 8 similarly involving the powers and functions of the PCGG,
from the Sandiganbayan's exclusive jurisdiction would be of no avail.

Just barely two months thereafter, six cases 9 emanating from the Regional Trial Courts, as well as from the Securities
and Exchange Commission, were subsequently filed with the Court. In one 10 of these cases, a supplemental petition
was filed with the SEC by one of the stockholders of the SMC assailing the 1986 annual election of directors on the
ground that PCGG voted the sequestered shares 11 without authority. The SMC Board of Directors moved to dismiss
the petition contending that SEC had no jurisdiction over the action. The motion was denied by the SEC declaring, inter
alia, "that what was being questioned were merely 'the acts of the Board of Directors of San Miguel Corporation and
not the acts of the PCGG through its nominees,' a matter clearly within its statutorily 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 the "exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Sandiganbayan would evidently extend not only to
the principal causes of action, i.e., the recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, but also to 'all incidents arising from,
incidental to, or related to, such cases,' such as the dispute over 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 actions or proceedings in another forum." Thus, the Court ordered the dismissal of the cases "without
prejudice to the assertion and ventilation before the Sandiganbayan by the parties of their respective claims by such
appropriate modes as prescribed by law."13

The instant petition, contrary to the observation in the dissenting opinion, is not just 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 use of, the sequestered shares of stock. The very kernel then of the
controversy, relating, such as it does, to PCGG's authority over alleged ill-gotten wealth (the sequestered corporate
shares), is within the precinct of Section 2 14 of Executive Order No. 14. The 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.

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 but a peripheral matter. The controversy was instead, and as so
aptly described by the Sandiganbayan itself, a mere "case of a Board of Directors ousting two of its members for
reasons which it had deemed proper."16 The graft court observed:

While it is not denied that the PCGG through its Chairman had asked petitioner Garcia to resign,
Garcia had refused to do so; while PCGG Chairman Gunigundo had written petitioner Garcia on July 6,
1993 to tell 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 of the UCPB Board of Directors. Instead, it was
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 30
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.

Respondent members of the Board of Directors Tirso D. Antiporda, et al., have well pointed out that
while PCGG Chairman Gunigundo had also terminated the representation of Director Manuel
Concordia, as Gunigundo indeed had in his letter of July 6, 1993, . . . the UCPB Board declined to
follow that lead resulting thus in the termination only of petitioner Garcia and Wencelito T. Andanar. 17

In fine, while ordinarily the Sandiganbayan cannot exercise jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto, it may, however,
do so as an exception when it involves an incident arising from, or related to PCGG cases over alleged "ill-gotten
wealth" within the context of Section 2 of Executive Order No. 14.

Mention has been made on the passage of R.A. No. 7975, 18 on 06 May 1995, which grants to the Sandiganbayan the
power to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. While a petition for quo
warranto is not among the special 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 provides:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

xxx xxx xxx

c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and
14-A.

The reiteration of the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction over the above cases emphasizes a continuing legislative
regard for the special graft court's original jurisdiction over cases that are inextricably linked to the various
aforenumbered Executive Orders.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed 09 May 1995 Resolution of the respondent Sandiganbayan is
SET ASIDE, and the Sandiganbayan is directed to give due course to the petition for quo warranto. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco, Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

Padilla, Romero and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., took no part.

Separate Opinions

REGALADO, J., dissenting:

I join Mr. Justice Davide in his well-reasoned and compelling dissent which fortifies his ponencia in Garcia,
Jr. vs.Sandiganbayan, et al.1 I would just want to add some further views and observations of my own.

It appears to be the postulation of the majority that the aforesaid case of Garcia, Jr. does not apply because it does not
involve ill-gotten wealth cases nor the exercise of the PCGG's power of sequestration; whereas the case at bar
involves a challenge to the power of the PCGG to vote or make use of the sequestered shares of stock, which is
directly related to the PCGG's authority over alleged ill-gotten wealth. Hence, it is theorized that this case falls within
the purview of Section 2, Executive Order No. 14 which vests in the Sandiganbayan original and exclusive jurisdiction
thereover.

The majority concedes that, as a general rule, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over original actions for certiorari,
prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto. However, it is insisted that an exception lies where such action involves an
incident arising from, or is related to, PCGG cases over alleged ill-gotten wealth within the context of said Section 2 of
Executive Order No. 14. This theory is anchored on the holding in PCGG vs. Pea, etc., et al.2 that all cases falling
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 31
under the aforestated Section 2 are "lodged within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and all
incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases necessarily fall likewise under the Sandiganbayan's
exclusive and original jurisdiction."

This ruling, it is pointed out, was echoed with illustrative examples in Soriano III, et al. vs. Yuzon, etc., et al.3 which held
that the Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive jurisdiction over "'all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to,
such cases,' such as the dispute over 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 action or
proceedings in another forum." Finally, the majority cites PCGG vs. Aquino, etc., et al. 4 where there was a passing
statement that "any attempt to remove special civil actions, similarly involving the powers and functions of the PCGG,
from the Sandiganbayan's exclusive jurisdiction would be of no avail."

It will be noted, however, that Garcia, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, et al. is exactly on all fours with the case at bar. In that
case, a petition for prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and damages, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction
and temporary restraining order, was filed with the Sandiganbayan, questioning the propriety of therein petitioner's
removal or separation as a director of the UCPB. A motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction was filed with and granted
by the Sandiganbayan.

When the controversy was elevated to this Court, petitioner Garcia, Jr. argued that the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction
over the petition for quo warranto on the ground that the act of the PCGG in removing him as director of UCPB is a
direct exercise of the PCGG's power of sequestration over the UCPB shares of stock. On the other hand, the Solicitor
General countered that the removal of petitioner has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether or not the
sequestered shares of UCPB are ill-gotten, hence the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the case.

This Court declared that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the original and special civil actions of
prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto, because the authority to issue these extraordinary writs involves the
exercise of original jurisdiction which must be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by law. The Court discussed
therein the pertinent laws, such as Executive Order No. 14 and Presidential Decrees Nos. 1606, 1860 and 1861, and
concluded that, in the absence of a specific statutory grant of jurisdiction to issue the said extraordinary writs, the
Sandiganbayan, as a court with only special and limited jurisdiction, cannot exercise jurisdiction over the petition for
prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto filed by petitioner. In fact, if I may add, the conferment of such original
jurisdiction is required even for regular courts of general jurisdiction within the integrated judicial system.

It will be noted that in the foregoing case, the Court did not qualify or distinguish whether or not the special civil actions
were filed in connection with the sequestration powers of the PCGG. It did not rule on the issue of whether or not the
question of removal of petitioner therein as a director can be considered as an exercise of the power of sequestration
of the PCGG and is, therefore, covered by Section 2 of Executive Order No. 14. Since the factual milieu of the present
case is substantially and almost exactly the same as the factual setting in Garcia, Jr., no compelling reason exists why
the ruling therein should not apply to the case at bar.

The exception allegedly enunciated in Pea and Aquino that the Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction over ill-gotten
cases and also of "all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases, such as the dispute over 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 actions or proceedings in another forum," will not necessarily
apply to or be determinative of the present controversy.

The writ of quo warranto is neither an ancillary writ nor a provisional remedy which can be issued by a court, having
jurisdiction over a main case, in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction to resolve an incident in that case. The writ
of quo warranto is an extraordinary and prerogative writ specifically sought as the principal relief in an action addressed
against acts of authority unlawfully asserted, and necessarily requires the exercise of the original jurisdiction of a court.

Since the grant of the prerogative writ of quo warranto presupposes the exercise of original jurisdiction as a sine qua
non, an original petition therefor cannot be considered as an ancillary remedy against "incidents arising from, incidental
to, or related to, such cases." As definitively held in Garcia, et al. vs. De Jesus, et. al.,5 unlike the ancillary writs issued
as provisional remedies, the power to issue a writ of quo warranto, just like the other extraordinary writs under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court, is never derived by implication. Such power must be expressly conferred.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 32
It is true that the grant of jurisdiction to try actions carries with it all necessary and incidental powers to employ writs,
processes and other means essential to make its jurisdiction effective. But, this is on the premise that there is such
original jurisdiction expressly and priorly granted from which the necessary and incidental powers may be implied. With
respect to the Sandiganbayan, it was never expressly granted original jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and quo warranto.

The cases of Pea, (an action for damages, with writ of preliminary injunction, questioning the revocation of the
authorization as signatory previously granted to a respondent therein), Aquino, (a petition for certiorari and prohibition
filed by private respondent before the RTC assailing the sequestration order issued by PCGG), and Soriano III,
(involving the question of whether the RTC and SEC can decide the issue of the validity of the sequestration of shares
of stock), which are relied upon by the majority in the present case, were all decided in 1988, while the other cited case
of Africa vs. PCGG, et al.6 was decided in 1992, all before the decision in Garcia, Jr. was handed down. The doctrine
enunciated in Garcia, Jr. should, therefore, be considered as the controlling rule, as those in the aforementioned cases
are not in point.

Obviously, because of their disquisition based on the aforesaid previous cases on which they rested their conclusion,
the majority found it unnecessary to discuss Republic Act No. 7975. This recent amendment to the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, especially on the specific issue involved in the case at bar, does not offer them any solace either.
Republic Act 7975, which took effect on May 6, 1995 and vested the Sandiganbayan with exclusive original jurisdiction
over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction and other
ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, 7 is inapplicable to the present case. Jurisdiction is
conferred by substantive law8 and, as such, that law vesting additional jurisdiction in the court may not be given
retroactive effect.9

It is noteworthy that such additional jurisdiction to issue the writs enumerated therein can be exercised by the
Sandiganbayan only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, the same limitation imposed on the Court of Appeals before it
was given full certiorari jurisdiction by Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129. Also, while said amendatory legislation conferred
jurisdiction on the Sandiganbayan to issue the aforementioned extraordinary writs, it refrained from including therein
the prerogative writ of quo warranto.

This reluctance to vest full authority in the Sandiganbayan in the matter of the issuance of extraordinary writs may be
traceable to the fact that as a court of limited or special jurisdiction, its authority is confined to particular causes, or its
jurisdiction can be exercised only under the limitations and circumstances prescribed by its governing statute. 10 In the
face of all the foregoing considerations, I cannot accordingly see how and why the majority would wish to sustain its
competence to issue a prerogative writ withheld from it both by law and jurisprudence.

Narvasa, C.J., concurs.

DAVIDE, JR. J., dissenting:

I am compelled to take a view contrary to that of my esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug.

From the following antecedent facts summarized in the ponencia, to wit:

During the annual meeting of the stockholders of SMC, held on 18 April 1995, the election 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 nominated by Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo
of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. ("PCGG") following the registration in their
respective names (at the instance 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 order to allow the nominees to qualify for the contested board seats.

During the election, the bulk of the votes cast by petitioner Mendoza in favor of his group had come
substantially the same sequestered corporate shares of SMC which were used by the PCGG in voting,
in turn, for private respondents.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 33
Following the canvass of the votes cast, private respondents landed on the top 15 slots and were
accordingly declared to have been the elected members of the SMC Board of Directors for the year
1995-1996. None of the petitioners (Messrs. Estelito Mendoza, Manuel Cojuangco, Enrique
Cojuangco, Gabriel Villareal and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., who, respectively, landed 16th to the 20th
places) made it.

Petitioner Mendoza protested the results of the election contending that the votes he had 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 he, Manuel Cojuangco and
Enrique Cojuangco would have themselves been duly elected. In reply, SMC Corporate Secretary Jose
Feria stood by his verbal ruling during the canvassing of votes that only PCGG, through Chairman
Gunigundo, could validly vote the sequestered shares.

it is clear, at least to me, that the grievance of the petitioners has nothing to do with the propriety of the
sequestration nor with the ill-gotten or crony-related character of Gunigundo's act. It strictly involves a
controversy regarding the election of directors and the counting of their votes, which, pursuant to paragraph
(c), Section 51 of P.D. No. 902-A, falls within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC). Whatever its connection with or relation to the sequestered shares is purely
peripheral. Pursuant to Garcia vs. Sandiganbayan, 2 the controversy does not fall within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan.

In yielding to the contention of the petitioners that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the controversy in the
petition for quo warranto, the ponencia gives much stress to the observation in PCGG vs. Pea 3 that:

. . . Under Section 2 of the President's Executive Order No. 14 issued on May 7, 1986, all cases of the
Commission regarding "the Funds, Moneys, Assets, and Properties Illegally Acquired or
Misappropriated by Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, their
Close Relatives, Subordinates, Business Associates, Dummies, Agents or Nominees" whether civil or
criminal, are lodged within the "exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan" and all
incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases necessarily fall likewise under the
Sandiganbayan's exclusive and original jurisdiction, subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the
Supreme Court. (emphasis supplied)

and the following statement in PCGG vs. Aquino and Marcelo Fiberglass Corp. vs. PCGG:4

It will be noted that the Sandiganbayan was held 5 to have exclusive and original jurisdiction. in civil and
criminal cases lodged before it, as well as incidents arising from, incidental, or related to such cases,
subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court. The attempt to remove special civil
actions from the Sandiganbayan's exclusive jurisdiction is of no avail if they similarly involve the
powers and functions of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

as well as this Court's pronouncement in Soriano III vs. Yuson6 and five other cases, to wit:

Now, that exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Sandiganbayan would evidently extend not only to the
principal causes of action, i.e., the recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, but also to "all incidents arising
from, incidental to or related to, such cases," such as the dispute over the sale of shares, the propriety
of the issuance of the ancillary writs or provisional remedies relative thereto, the sequestration thereof,
which may not be made the subject of separate actions or proceedings in another forum. . . .

I very respectfully submit that it was never the intention of Pea, Aquino, and Soriano to lodge with the Sandiganbayan,
as falling within its exclusive and original jurisdiction, every matter incidental or related to or arising from the
sequestration of ill-gotten wealth. Section 2 of E.O. No. 14 which provides as follows:

Sec. 2. The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases, whether civil or
criminal, with the Sandiganbayan, which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 34
must be read together with Section 1 thereof to fully grasp what is meant by the term "cases." As so read, the
term simply refers to "cases investigated by [the PCGG] under Executive Order No. 1, dated February 28,
1986, and Executive Order No. 2, dated March 12, 1986, as may be warranted by its findings," as expressly
stated in said Section 1. Under Section 2 of E.O. No. 1, the PCGG is charged with the task of assisting the
President with regard to the following matters:

(a) The recovery of ill-gotten wealth accumulated by Former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, his
immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or
abroad, including the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or
controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage
of their public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or relationship.

(b) The investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the
Commission from time to time.

(c) The adoption of safeguards to ensure that the above practices shall not be repeated in any manner
under the new government, and the institution of adequate measures to prevent the occurrence of
corruption.

and under Section 3 it is granted with the following powers:

(a) To conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry out the purposes of
this order.

(b) To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its control or possession any building or office
wherein any ill-gotten wealth or properties may be found, and any records pertaining thereto, in order
to prevent their destruction, concealment or disappearance which would frustrate or hamper the
investigation or otherwise prevent the Commission from accomplishing its task.

(c) The provisional take over in the public interest or to prevent its disposal or dissipation, business
enterprises and properties taken over by the government of the Marcos Administration or by entities or
persons close to former President Marcos, until the transactions leading to such acquisition by the
latter can be disposed of by the appropriate authorities.

(d) To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission of acts by any person or entity that may
render moot and academic, or frustrate, or otherwise make ineffectual the efforts of the Commission to
carry out its tasks under this order.

Under E.O. No. 2 (Regarding the Funds, Moneys, Assets, and Properties Illegally Acquired or Misappropriated by
Former President Ferdinand Marcos, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, Their Close Relatives, Subordinates, Business
Associates, Dummies, Agents, or Nominees), the PCGG is further charged with the duty of investigating any claims
with respect to such assets and properties. The President, in the same Executive Order, ordered, inter alia, the freezing
of all assets and properties in the Philippines in which former President Marcos, his wife, their close relatives,
subordinates, business associates, dummies, agents, or nominees have any interest or participation.

It therefore follows that what are referred to in Pea as "all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such
cases" which shall "necessarily fall likewise under the Sandiganbayan's exclusive and original jurisdiction," must be
those matters which have a substantive nexus to the cases investigated by the PCGG pursuant to its powers under
E.O. Nos. 1 and 2. This is precisely what Pea suggests when, in another portion of the ponencia therein, this Court
said:

. . . Executive Order No. 14, which defines the jurisdiction over cases involving the ill-gotten wealth of
former President Marcos, his wife, Imelda, members of their immediate family, close relatives,
subordinates, close and/or business associates, dummies, agents and nominees, specifically provides
in section 2 that "The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases, whether
civil or criminal with the Sandiganbayan which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof."
Necessarily, 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
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 35
jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan's decisions and final orders are in turn subject to review
on certiorariexclusively by this Court.7

This is also the thrust of Soriano III when it enumerated examples of what matters may be considered
as arising from, incidental to, or related to such cases viz., "disputes over the sale of the shares, the propriety
of the issuance on ancillary writs or provisional remedies relative thereto, the sequestration thereof."

Now, as to the larger issue of whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the petition for quo warranto,
theponencia answers it in the affirmative in light of the statement in Aquino that:

. . . The attempt to remove special civil actions from the Sandiganbayan's exclusive jurisdiction is of no
avail if they similarly involve the powers and functions of the Presidential Commission on Good
Government. (Emphasis supplied).

This should not be construed as establishing a doctrine that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over all special civil
actions covered by Rules 62 to 71, inclusive, of the Rules of Court. For one thing, it was a reply to the defense of
private respondent Edward Marcelo in justification of his filing with the trial court of an action for certiorari and
prohibition to restrain and enjoin the PCGG from sequestering his assets, properties, records, and documents. In the
second place, the ratio decidendi in Aquino is actually the following statement of the Court:

Suffice it to say that the matters involved in these cases [G.R. Nos. 77816 and 78753] are orders of the
PCGG issued in the exercise of its powers and functions for they involve the sequestration of the
assets of private respondent Marcelo Fiberglass Corporation and Edward T. Marcelo, its president. The
propriety of said sequestration and any incident arising from, incidental to or related to such
sequestration is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

I am not, of course, unmindful of our decision in Africa vs. PCGG,8 where reference is made to the above
pronouncement on special civil actions in Aquino. It must, nevertheless, be pointed out that what may have been
referred to in Africa as special civil actions filed with the Sandiganbayan were actually complaints for injunction with
damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order which, according to this
Court, "are in the nature of special and original civil actions for injunction," with a footnote making express reference to
Section 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court and Article 26 of the Civil Code which contemplate and authorize original
actions for injunction brought specifically to restrain or command the performance of an act. In short, the said actions
are not the special civil actions under Rule 65. Generally speaking, injunction is a provisional remedy.

Does the Sandiganbayan have the jurisdiction to issue the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition,
and mandamus as well as over petitions for quo warranto?

It is settled that the authority to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus involves the exercise of original
jurisdiction which must be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by law. In Garcia vs. De Jesus,9 this Court held:

In the Philippine setting, the authority to issue Writs of Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus involves
the exercise of original jurisdiction. Thus, such authority has always been expressly conferred, either
by the Constitution or by law. As a matter of fact, the well-settled rule is that jurisdiction is conferred
only by the Constitution or by law (OROSA v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 76828-32, 28 January 1991;
Facalso v. Ramolete, G.R. No. L-22488, 26 October 1967, 21 SCRA 519). It is never derived by
implication. Indeed, "(w)hile the power to issue the writ of certiorari is in some instance conferred on all
courts by constitutional or statutory provisions, ordinarily, the particular courts which have such power
are expressly designated" (J. Aquino's Concurring Opinion in Pimentel, supra, citing 14 C.J.S. 202;
emphasis ours).

Thus, our Courts exercise the power to issue Writs of Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus by virtue of
express constitutional grant or legislative enactments. To enumerate:

(1) Section 5[1], Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution conferred upon this Court such
jurisdiction;

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 36
(2) Section 9[1] of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of
1980, to the Court of Appeals (then Intermediate appellate Court);

(3) Section 21[1] of the said Act, to Regional Trial Courts;

(4) Section 5[1] of Republic Act No. 6734, on the Organic Act for the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao, to the newly created Shari'ah Appellate Court; and

(5) Article 143[e], Chapter I, Title I, Book IV of Presidential Decree No. 1083, or the
Code of Muslim Personal Law, to Shari'ah District Court.

With respect to petitions for quo warranto and habeas corpus, original jurisdiction over them is expressly conferred to
this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Regional Trial Courts by Section 9(1) and Section 21(1), respectively, of B.P.
Blg. 129.10

Before the effectivity of R.A. No. 7975 11 on 6 May 1995, no law vested upon the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction to issue
writs of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus. The said law granted it such power but only "in aid of its appellate
jurisdiction."12 It must be pointed out that this law was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on 16
February 1995 and 20 February 1995, respectively, or four months after this Court promulgated the decision in Garcia.
It is to be presumed that Congress was aware of Garcia and its grant to the Sandiganbayan of jurisdiction over the
aforementioned extraordinary writs in aid of its appellate jurisdiction merely confirms the Sandiganbayan's prior lack of
such jurisdiction and reveals a legislative intent to grant it for the first time, but on a limited scale. Until now, there is no
law granting the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction in quo warranto petitions.

I vote then to DISMISS the instant petition.

Narvasa, C.J., concurs.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 37
COJUANGCO V. PCGG

G.R.No. 120640 August 8, 1996

FACTS:

The election of fifteen directors for the ensuing year was taken up during the annual meeting of the stockholders of San
Miguel Corporation. Petitioners and respondents were among the nominees to the board but after the canvassed of the
vote cast, only those nominated by PCGGunder the sequestered assets (recovered ill gotten wealth) were declared to
have been elected. Petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a petition for quo warranto.

ISSUE:

WON Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto.

HELD:

YES. The rule that Sandiganbayan cannot exercise jurisdiction over petitions for quo warranto is not without
exception. It is a well settled jurisprudence that the exclusive jurisdiction conferred on the Sandiganbayan would
evidently extend not only to the principal causes of action like recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, but also to all
incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to, such cases, such as the dispute over the sale of shares, the propriety
of the issuance of ancillary writs thereto, the sequestration thereof. The court ruled that any attempt to remove special
actions, similarly involving the powers and functions of the PCGG from the Sandiganbayans exclusive jurisdiction
would be of no avail. The petition was GRANTED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 38
G.R. No. 131445 May 27, 2004

AMADO G. PEREZ (DECEASED) REPRESENTED BY HIS WIDOW GUILLERMA T. PEREZ,


MARIO S. FRANCISCO, RAFAEL P. ARGAME, MIRASOL V. MENDOZA,GLORIA S.
GONZALVO AND MARIA FE V. BOMBASE, petitioners,
vs.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, MAYOR IGNACIO R. BUNYE, CARLOS G. DOMINGUEZ,
ROGELIO P. MADRIAGA, RECTO CORONADO, TEODORA A. DIANG, TOMAS M. OSIAS,
REYNALDO CAMILON AND BENJAMIN BULOS, respondents.

DECISION

CORONA, J.:

This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from the November 13, 1997 resolution 1 of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA G.R. SP No. 45127, dismissing petitioners motion for reconsideration of its September 9, 1997
resolution2which in turn dismissed, for lack of jurisdiction, petitioners petition
for certiorari and mandamus. The petition questioned the Office of the Ombudsmans April 11, 1997
dismissal of their criminal complaint against Mayor Ignacio R. Bunye.

Petitioners, members of the Kilusang Bayan ng mga Magtitinda ng Bagong Pamilihang Bayan ng
Muntinlupa, Inc. (KBMBPM), instituted two complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman (docketed as OMB-
0-89-0983 and OMB-0-89-1007) against several respondents, one of whom was then Mayor Ignacio R.
Bunye, for violation of RA 3019 (also known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act"). Respondents
allegedly destroyed the doors of the KBMBPM office while serving on petitioners the Take-Over Order of
the KBMBPM management dated October 28, 1998 issued by then Agriculture Secretary Carlos G.
Dominguez.

In disposing of said complaints on April 11, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a resolution
(hereinafter, "Ombudsman resolution")3 excluding respondent Bunye from the criminal indictment. The
petitioners assailed the exclusion in the CA on September 1, 1997 through an original petition
for certiorari and mandamus. The CA, however, dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction supposedly in
accordance with Section 27 of RA 6770 (also known 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 for reconsideration.

Hence, this petition for review.

The CA was correct in dismissing the petition for certiorari and mandamus.

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, the proper remedy is to file with the Supreme Court an original petition for
certiorari under Rule 65.8

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 39
We find that, although the CA was correct in dismissing the petition for certiorari, it erroneously invoked
as ratio decidendi Section 27 of RA 67709 which applies in administrative cases only, not criminal
cases,10 such as the graft and corruption charge 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
unconstitutional for expanding the Supreme Courts appellate jurisdiction without its advice 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 of the 1997 Rules of Court.

As the present controversy pertained to a criminal case, the petitioners were correct in availing of the remedy
of petition for certiorari under Rule 65 but they erred in filing it in the Court of Appeals. The procedure set
out in Kuizon vs. Ombudsman12 and Mendoza-Arce vs. Ombudsman,13 requiring that petitions
for certiorari questioning the Ombudsmans orders or decisions in criminal cases should be filed in the
Supreme Court and not the Court of Appeals, is still the prevailing rule.14

But even if the petition for certiorari had been filed in this Court, we would have dismissed it just the same.
First, petitioners should have filed a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman resolution as it was the
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, not filing a petition for certiorari directly in
the Supreme Court. Second, the Office of the Ombudsman did not act without or in excess of its jurisdiction
or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the Ombudsman
resolution.

Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment tantamount to lack of
jurisdiction. In other words, the exercise of power is in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion
or personal hostility. It must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual
refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.15

In this case, there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing
the complaint against respondent Bunye upon the factual finding that:

xxx xxx xxx

Indeed no evidence is shown in the record that respondent Mayor Bunye specifically participated in the
violent implementation of Secretary Dominguez Order of October 28, 1988. It was not shown with certainty
by complainant that the alleged presence of respondent Mayor Bunye at the scene of the incident was an
active participation thereof by the latter.

On the other hand, if the alleged presence of the respondent Mayor Bunye at the scene were really true, such
would not be improper because of the provision of Article 87, par. 2 (VI) of the Local [G]overnment Code
which states:

"x x x call upon the appropriate law enforcement agencies to restore disorder, riot, lawless violence, rebellion
or sedition or to apprehend violators of the law when public interest so requires, and the municipal police
force are inadequate to cope with the situation or the violators." (underlining supplied)

Anent the alleged letter dated August 8, 1988 of respondent Mayor Bunye, the same seems only a request for
the suspension of complainant. He did not take it upon himself to issue any suspension of complainant. At

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 40
that point in time, the respondent Mayor Bunye 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 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 x x x.16

We have consistently refrained from interfering with the investigatory and prosecutorial powers of the
Ombudsman absent any compelling reason.17 This policy is based on constitutional, statutory and practical
considerations. We are mindful that the Constitution and RA 6770 endowed the Office of the Ombudsman
with a wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutorial powers, virtually free from legislative, executive or
judicial intervention, in order to insulate it from outside pressure and improper influence. 18 Moreover, a
preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of
the guilt of the accused must be adduced so 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
dismissible, the Court shall respect such findings, unless clothed with grave abuse of discretion. 20 Otherwise,
the functions of the courts will be grievously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of
investigatory proceedings conducted by 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 an information in
court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.21

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 131445, May 27, 2004 AMADO G. PEREZ et al., vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN et al. CORONA, J.:

FACTS:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 41
Petitioners, members of the Kilusang Bayan ng mga Magtitinda ng Bagong Pamilihang Bayan ng Muntinlupa, Inc.
(KBMBPM), instituted two complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman against several respondents, one of whom was
then Mayor Ignacio R. Bunye, for violation of RA 3019 (also known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act").
Private respondents allegedly destroyed the doors of the KBMBPM office while serving on petitioners the Take-Over
Order of the KBMBPM management dated October 28, 1998 issued by then Agriculture Secretary Carlos G.
Dominguez.

In disposing of said complaints on April 11, 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a resolution (hereinafter,
"Ombudsman resolution") excluding respondent Bunye from the criminal indictment.

Aggrieved, petitioners elevated the case to the CA, which in turn was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. Hence the
present appeal.

ISSUE:

Whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by petitioners herein
due to lack of jurisdiction.

HELD:

The Supreme Court held that although the CA was correct in dismissing the petition for certiorari, it erroneously
invoked as ratio decidendi Section 27 of RA 6770 which applies in administrative cases only, not criminal cases, such
as the graft and corruption charge at bar.

Further, the Office of the Ombudsman did not act in excess of its jurisdiction since it is an elementary rule that a
preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of
the accused must be adduced so that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound, as a matter of law, to
order an acquittal.Hence, if the Ombudsman, using professional judgment, finds the case dismissible, the Court shall
respect such findings, unless clothed with grave abuse of discretion. Otherwise, the functions of the courts will be
grievously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by 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 an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 42
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. Nos. 187896-97 June 10, 2013

AMANDO P. CONTES, Petitioner,


vs.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), VICTORY M. FERNANDEZ, JULIO E. SUCGANG
and NILO IGTANLOC, Respondents.

RESOLUTION

PEREZ, J.:

The subject of this petition for review, is the dismissal of the criminal and administrative complaints filed by
petitioner Amando P. Cortes with the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) against respondents Victory M.
Ferrnandez (Fernandez). Julio E. Sucgang (Sucgang) and Nilo Igtanloc (Igtanloc), who were sued in their
capacity as Provincial Engineer, Barangay Captain of Barangay Soncolan and Grader Operator, respectively,
of the Province of Aklan.

In his Complaint-Affidavit filed on 28 November 2006. petitioner charged respondents with violation of
Section 3( c) of Republic Act No. 3019. or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. and Misconduct.
Petitioner alleged that during the period of 29 March 2006 to 1 April 2006, respondents utilized a heavy
equipment grader owned by the Province of Aklan in levelling a portion of his land. Petitioner claimed that
the portion of the land destroyed has an area of 1.125 square meters and that several fruit trees were
destroyed. Petitioner impleaded Fernandez for the latter's failure to ascertain from the Barangay Captain
whether the roads sought to be levelled were barangay roads. and for issuing a driver's trip ticket to the
Grader Operator.1

In a Consolidated Evaluation Report dated 14 December 2006, the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas)
recommended the dismissal of the cases due to the fact that two (2) other cases involving the same parties
and issues had already been filed by petitioner.

Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the Consolidated Evaluation Report. On 7 February 2008, the
Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) denied the motion for reconsideration.

Petitioner takes the appeal directly to this Court, via a petition for review on certiorari, pursuant to Section 27
of the Ombudsman Act, assailing the denial of his motion for reconsideration by the Office of the
Ombudsman (Visayas).

Petitioner cites the following errors as grounds for the allowance of the petition:

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 43
(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 as in the complaint-affidavit were
previously filed by petitioner, as complainant therein.

(2) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred in finding that a mere Inventory of Barangay Roads and
Bridges as of 1999 could prevail over an Original Certificate of Title registered on 28 May 1985.

(3) Respondent Ombudsman Office gravely erred in allowing respondents Fernandez, Igtanloc and Sucgang,
to grossly violate the constitutional mandate provided for in the 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 December 14, 2006, the law on which it is based
in careless disregard of a constitutional mandate.2

Petitioner refutes the finding of the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) that he had filed a similar
administrative and criminal complaint against respondents. Petitioner claims that the complaints adverted to
were filed by one Hernando Cortes and they pertained to another parcel of land that was also graded and
levelled by respondents. Petitioner maintains that the affected portion of his land is covered by an original
certificate of title and that a document such as the inventory of barangay roads upon which the authority to
scrape and level barangay roads is based should have been first annotated as lien to petitioners certificate of
title.1wphi1 Petitioner stresses that respondents actions violated his constitutional right to due process and
that his property was taken without just compensation. Finally, petitioner assails the Consolidated Evaluation
Report and Order of the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) for having been issued in violation of the
constitutional requirement that decisions must state the factual and legal basis thereof.

In their Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General seeks the dismissal of the petition because petitioner
availed of the wrong remedy. Moreover, the Office of the Solicitor General supports the dismissal of
petitioners complaint due to identity of issues and respondents in the previous and the present complaint.

Respondents also filed their respective Comments. Igtanloc denied levelling and grading 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 was merely acting in his official capacity and
exercising his duty in issuing a drivers trip ticket to Igtanloc. Sucgang characterizes the complaint as a case
of the "second brother (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 (Hernando P. Cortes).3

Petitioner, in filing this petition for review, committed a procedural misstep which warrants an outright
dismissal.

Petitioner misconstrued Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989 and
disregarded prevailing jurisprudence. Section 27 provides, in part, that:

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 certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the
written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance
with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 44
This provision, insofar as it provided for appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 from the decisions or orders of
the Ombudsman in administrative cases, had been declared unconstitutional by this Court as early as in the
case of Fabian v. Desierto.4 We ruled in Fabian that appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman
in administrative 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 in the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure.5

Jurisprudence accords a different treatment with respect to an appeal in a criminal case filed with the Office
of the Ombudsman. We made the pronouncement in Acua v. Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon 6 that the
remedy of an aggrieved party in criminal complaints before the Ombudsman is to file with this Court a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

Considering that the case at bar was a consolidation of an administrative and a criminal complaint, petitioner
had the option to either file a petition for review under Rule 43 with the Court of Appeals or directly file a
certiorari petition under Rule 65 before this Court. Neither of these two remedies was resorted to by
petitioner.

By availing of a wrong remedy, this petition merits an outright dismissal.

A review of the substantial merit of this petition would likewise yield to the same conclusion.

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 Igtanloc and Sucgang, who were the Provincial
Engineer and Barangay Captain, 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 a Decision on the
administrative case docketed as OMB-V-A-06-0344-F and a Resolution on the criminal case docketed as
OMB-V-C-06-0315-F, dismissing both 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-C-
06-0577-K and OMB-V-A-06-0639-K, were consolidated by the Office of the Ombudsman. Petitioner
additionally impleaded Fernandez as respondent. The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) dismissed the case
on the ground that a similar complaint involving the same facts and issues had already been filed against the
same respondents. The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) was referring to the Hernando complaint.

Records disclosed that Hernando and petitioner are not only brothers but are also registered as owners of the
property allegedly levelled and graded by Igtanloc. In his 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 Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-34885. 7 However, TCT No. T-348858 could be
traced back to the mother title, Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-15197, 9 registered under the name
of petitioner. The same OCT was attached to the complaints filed by petitioner, wherein he also asserted
ownership over the subject property.

The facts point to the result that the previous and the present complaints, bearing 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 Ombudsman (Visayas) explained:

To reiterate, the issues are identical and were in fact already resolved and decided upon 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 counter-arguments already raised and discussed in a previous
complaint would cause endless litigations which is frowned upon by the courts. It is observed that there is identity of
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 45
the rights asserted and reliefs prayed for which are being founded on the same facts. It 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, regardless of which party is successful, would amount to be a rehash of the other.

This Office cannot allow the simple changing of complainants just to side step its earlier 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]

For failing to overcome the procedural hurdle and for lack of merit, the petition must be denied.

FOR THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the petition is DENIED. The Order of the Office of the Ombudsman
(Visayas) dated 7 February 2008 in OMB-V-C-06-0577-K and OMB-V-A-06-0639-K is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 46
AMANDO P. CONTES v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), ET AL., GR. NO. 187896-97, June 10, 2013

Remedial Law; Appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman. We ruled in Fabian that appeals from
decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative 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
in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.
Jurisprudence accords a different treatment with respect to an appeal in a criminal case filed with the Office of the
Ombudsman. We made the pronouncement in Acua v. Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon that the remedy of an
aggrieved party in criminal complaints before the Ombudsman is to file with this Court a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65.

Considering that the case at bar was a consolidation of an administrative and a criminal complaint, petitioner had the
option to either file a petition for review under Rule 43 with the Court of Appeals or directly file a certiorari petition under
Rule 65 before this Court. Neither of these two remedies was resorted to by petitioner.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 47
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR G.R. No. 172553
LUZON, HONORABLE VICTOR C.
FERNANDEZ, in his capacity as Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon, and THE GENERAL Promulgated:
INVESTIGATION BUREAU-A, Represented by
MARIA OLIVIA ELENA A. ROXAS, December 14, 2011
Petitioners,

- versus -

JESUS D. FRANCISCO, SR.,Respondent.

LEONARDO DE CASTRO, J.:

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, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 90567. The
decision of the appellate court reversed the Order [4] dated May 30, 2005 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon in Administrative Case No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A, while its resolution denied the motion for reconsideration of
herein petitioners.

We quote hereunder the preliminary facts of the case, as succinctly stated in the Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated December 23, 2005:

Sometime in November 1998, Ligorio Naval filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman,
accusing Jessie Castillo, the mayor of the 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 award of the
construction of the municipal building of Bacoor, Cavite, worth more than 9 Million Pesos, to St.
Marthas Trading and General Contractors. Naval alleged that the latter was not qualified for the award;
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.

Castillo submitted certifications to the effect that the contractor was not a 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, 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 the complaint was dismissed in exchange for millions of
pesos. Ombudsman Gervacio relayed the said allegations to Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, who
ordered a reevaluation of the 29 April 1999 decision.

In a Memorandum dated 30 May 2000, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II, Julieta Calderon,
recommended that OMB-1-98-2365 be revived, re-docketed, and be subjected to a further preliminary
investigation, with 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 complaint-affidavit for gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the interest
of the service, against 5 municipal officers, including [Jesus Francisco], which was docketed as OMB-
C-A-05-0032-A.[5] (Emphases ours.)

The respondents specifically named in Administrative Case No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A were Saturnino F.
Enriquez, Salome O. Esagunde, Federico Aquino, Eleuterio Ulatan and herein respondent Jesus D. Francisco, Sr., [6] all
of whom were members of the Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) of the Municipality of Bacoor,
Cavite. Francisco was then the Municipal Planning and Development Officer of the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 48
The complaint stated, among others, that when the Municipality of Bacoor conducted its prequalification of
documents and bidding, St. Marthas Trading and General Contractors license was not renewed. Furthermore, the said
contractor was allegedly not qualified to undertake the construction of the P9.5 million project as it can only enter into a
contract for a project that is worth P3 million or less. The complaint likewise sought to place the aforementioned
individuals under preventive suspension pending the investigation of the case. [7]

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 members. The same was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for
Luzon Victor C. Fernandez on May 31, 2005.[9]The Order decreed thus:

WHEREFORE, in accordance with Section 24, R.A. No. 6770 and Section 9, Rule III of
Administrative Order No. 07, respondents Saturnino F. Enriquez, Salome Esagunde, Jesus D.
Francisco, Sr., Federico Aquino, and Eleuterio Ulatan, all municipal employees of Bacoor, Cavite 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 delay shall not
be counted in computing the period of the preventive suspension.

In accordance with Section 27, par. (1), R.A. No. 6770, this Order is immediately
executory. Notwithstanding any motion, appeal or petition that may be filed by the respondents seeking
relief from this Order, unless otherwise ordered by this Office or by any court of competent jurisdiction,
the implementation of this Order shall not be interrupted within the period prescribed. [10] (Emphasis
ours.)

Francisco received the above Order on July 1, 2005. [11] Consequently, on July 22, 2005, he filed before the Court of
Appeals a Petition for Certiorari with Application for Temporary 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 excess of jurisdiction when it ordered his preventive suspension since the transactions questioned
in the case had already been passed upon in OMB-1-98-2365 entitled, Naval 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 gross negligence and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service, not dishonesty, 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 removal from office; and (3) his stay in office would not prejudice
the case filed against him as the documentary evidence therein were not in his possession. [12]

On December 2, 2005, Francisco moved for the early resolution of his petition, reiterating his prayer for the issuance
of a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction.

On December 23, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision, finding in favor of Francisco. Thus, said
the Court of Appeals:

The petition has merit.

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 same transaction for which he was charged in OMB-C-A-05-
0032-A, thus barred under the principle of res judicata.

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 service when they awarded the contract to
construct their municipal hall to St. Marthas Contractor, allegedly an unqualified contractor, because
both at the time of the bidding and at the time of contract signing, the contractor had an expired
license. Moreover, St. Marthas Contractor belongs to small B category, which means it cannot enter
into a contract for a project worth 3 Million Pesos or less. Therefore, the respondents should have
disqualified the said contractor.

The said allegation was the exact matter decided by the Ombudsman in OMB-1-98-2365, to wit:

xxxx

Contrary to the allegation of the complainant that the awardee, St. Marthas Trading
and General Contractor was not qualified to undertake the project being classified

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 49
under Category C, respondent submitted a xerox copy of a letter 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 issued by Carolina C. Saunar,
Supervising TIDS of the 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 December 1997 with Category A and classification of
General Building and General Engineering. x x x.

After a thorough study and evaluation of the records of the case as well as after the
conduct of an actual ocular investigation, this Office finds the defenses interposed by
the respondent to be meritorious.

A judgment bars a subsequent action, with the concurrence of the following requirements: (a) the first
judgment must be a final one; (b) the court rendering the judgment must have jurisdiction over the
subject matter and over the parties; (c) it must be a judgment or order on the merits; and (d) there must
be between the two cases, identity of parties, identity of subject matter and identity of action.

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 in OMB-1-98-2365, is a judgment on the merits, by a
court having 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 parties, a
shared identity of interest by the parties in both cases is sufficient to invoke the coverage of the
principle. The substitution of parties will not remove the case from the doctrine of res judicata;
otherwise, the parties could renew the litigation by the simple expedient of substitution of parties.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The 30 May 2005 order of the Office of the
Ombudsman in OMB-C-A-05-0032-A is hereby SET ASIDE.[13]

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.

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 petition, praying for the reversal of the adverse rulings of the
Court of Appeals.

Respondent filed his Comment[15] on January 8, 2007 while petitioners filed a Reply [16] on March 19, 2007. In a
Resolution[17] dated April 23, 2007, the Court directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. The OSG, in a
Manifestation and Motion,[18] adopted its Petition and Reply as its Memorandum in the instant case. In turn, respondent
filed his Memorandum[19] on September 7, 2007.

Upon elevation of the records to this Court, it became apparent that the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman
for Luzon issued a Joint Resolution,[20] dismissing Administrative 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 preventive suspension dated May
30, 2005 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, has been rendered moot. In view of the above-stated
supervening event that occurred after the filing of the instant petition, the same has ceased to present a justiciable
controversy.

In Ombudsman v. Pelio,[22] the Court clarified that [p]reventive suspension is merely a preventive measure, a
preliminary step in an administrative investigation; the purpose 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.

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:

SECTION 24. Preventive Suspension. The Ombudsman or his 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,
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 50
oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant
removal from the service; or (c) the respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed
against him.

The preventive suspension shall continue until the case is terminated by the Office of
the Ombudsman but not more than six months, 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 petition of the
respondent, in which case the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of
suspension herein provided. (Emphasis ours.)

Similarly, Section 9, Rule III of the Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman [23] in administrative cases recites:

SECTION 9. Preventive Suspension. Pending investigation, the respondent may be


preventively suspended without pay if, in the judgment of the Ombudsman or his proper deputy, the
evidence of guilt is strong and (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 respondent's continued stay in office may prejudice the
just, fair and independent disposition of the case filed against him.

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 disposition of the case is due to the fault, negligence or any cause attributable to the respondent,
the period of such delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided.
(Emphasis ours.)

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 Francisco on July 1, 2005. Instead of filing a motion for reconsideration [24] thereon, 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
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 Ombudsman on February 28, 2008. Consequently, the Order of the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon placing Francisco and his co-respondents under preventive suspension in Administrative Case
No. OMB-C-A-05-0032-A has already lost its significance.

Barbieto v. Court of Appeals[26] reiterates that [t]ime and again, courts have refrained from 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.

While the Court is mindful of the principle that [t]he moot and academic principle is not a magical formula that can
automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first,
there is a grave violation of the 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.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby DENIES the instant petition for mootness. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 51
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR LUZON, HONORABLE VICTOR C. FERNANDEZ, IN HIS CAPACITY
AS DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR LUZON, AND THE GENERAL INVESTIGATION BUREAU-A, REPRESENTED BY
MARIA OLIVIA ELENA A. ROXAS, PETITIONERS, VS. JESUS D. FRANCISCO, SR., RESPONDENT.

FACTS

In November 1998, Ligorio Naval filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman accusing the Mayor of Bacoor
Cavite, Jessie Castillo in violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in relation to the award of construction of the
municipal building of Bacoor, Cavite to St. Martha's Trading and Gen. Contractors whose license was allegedly expired
at the time the contract was signed and the construction company was allegedly disqualified for participating a 9M
project since they are only classified belonging to Category "C", hence may only undertake projects worth 3M or lower.

When Castillo was able to submit certifications to the effect that the contractor was not a holder of an expired license,
and was classified as a Category A contractor, the Ombudsman dismissed Naval's complaint.

A reevaluation of the case was ordered by Ombudsman Aniano Desierto and a Memorandum with recommendation
from the Graft Investogation and Prosecution that the previous case be revived and redocketed and be subjected to
further preliminary investigation with the inclusion of the members of Prequalifications, Bids and Awards Committee
(PBAC) of the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite as respondents including Jesus Framcisco who was then the Municipal
Planning and Development Officer. The respondents were subsequently preventively suspended for the duration of the
case in accordance with RA 6770. Francisco filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiotari with Application
for Temporary Restraining Order and or Writ of Preliminary Injunction arguing that the Office of Ombudsman committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it ordered his preventive suspension. The
Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision in favor of Francisco. The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon
filed for a Motion for reconsideration but the same was denied.

ISSUE

Whether the Office of Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
upon ordering preventive suspension to the respondents

RULING

The court clarified that preventive suspension is merely a "preventive measure, a preliminary step in an administrative
investigation; the purpose 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."

Section 24 of RA 6770 expressly provides the power of the Ombudsman or his Deputy to place a public officer or
employee under preventive suspension.

However the Court finds that the petition at bar, which seeks the reinstatement of the Order of preventive suspension
dated May 30, 2005 of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, has been rendered moot. In view of the above-
stated supervening event that occurred after the filing of the instant petition, the same has ceased to present a
justiciable controversy.

The Court hereby denies the instant petition for mootness.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 52
G.R. No. 170046 December 10, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,


vs.
MAXIMO A. BORJE, JR., BURT B. FAVORITO, FLORENDO B. ARIAS, ERDITO Q. QUARTO, AGERICO C.
PALAYPAY, NAPOLEON S. ANAS, DANILO C. PLANTA, LUISITO S. DELA ROSA, ROGELIO L. BERAY, NORMA A.
VILLARMINO, RICARDO M. JUAN, JR., NELSON UMALI, MARIA LUISA T. CRUZ, MELISSA T. ESPINA, VIOLETA
R. TADEO, JESSICA J. CATIBAYAN, VIOLETA C. AMAR, RON ALDO G. SIMBAHAN, FELIPE A. SAN JOSE,
ROLANDO C. CASTILLO, CONCHITA N. DELA CRUZ, JANETTE A. BUGAYONG, JESUS D. CAPUZ, RODELIA R.
UY, ROMEO C. FULLIDO, NO NETTE H. FULLIDO, VICTORIA M. GO, CARMELITO V. EDEM, .AUGUSTO C.
CAPUZ,+ VICENTE SANTOS, JR., JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND
DIVISION), Respondents.

PERALTA, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to reverse and set aside the
Resolutions dated January 20, 20051 and October 12, 20052 of the Sandiganbayan inCriminal Case No. 27969
dismissing the same for lack of probable cause for the crime of plunder without prejudice to the filing of appropriate
charges against respondents. The factual antecedents follow.

On January 9, 2002, the Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Simeon Datumanong,
issuedDepartment Order No. 15, Series of 2002, creating a committee for the purpose of investigating alleged
anomalies and illegal disbursements in connection with the repair of DPWH-owned motor vehicles and equipment. 3 As
a result of the investigation, it was discovered thatduring the period of March 2001 to December 2001, the emergency
repairs conducted on hundreds of DPWH vehicles, approved and paid for by the government, did not actually take
place, resulting in the loss of about One Hundred Thirty-Nine Million Pesos (139,000,000.00). 4

On August 7, 2002, Atty. Irene D. Ofilada, of the Internal Audit Service of the DPWH and member of the committee,
filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint for violation of Section 3(e)(g) of Republic Act (RA) No.
3019, as amended, in relation to Sections 20 and 9 of the General and Special Provisions, respectively, of the General
Appropriations Act, Memorandum of the Secretary on the Guidelines on Purchases of Spare Parts and Repair of
Vehicles dated July 19, 1997, Department Order No. 33, Series of1988 of RA 6770, as amended by RA No. 3018, COA
Circular 85-55 A, Seriesof 1985, COA Circular 76-412, Series of 1976 on splitting of RSE, PO, vouchers and payrolls,
against the several officials/employees of the DPWH, including respondents herein. 5

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 respondent Sandiganbayan accusing Maximo A. Borje, Jr.,
Burt B. Favorito, Florendo B. Arias, Erdito Q. Quarto, Agerico C. Palaypay, Napoleon S. Anas, Danilo C. Planta, Luisito
S. Dela Rosa, Rogelio L. Beray, Norma A. Villarmino, Ricardo M. Juan, Jr., Nelson Umali, Maria Luisa T. Cruz, Melissa
T.Espina, Violeta R. Tadeo, Jessica J. Catibayan, Violeta C. Amar, Ronaldo G. Simbahan, Felipe A. San Jose, Rolando
C. Castillo, Conchita N. Dela Cruz, Janette A. Bugayong, Jesus D. Capuz, Rodellia D. Uy, Romeo C. Fullido,Nonette H.
Fullido, Victoria M. Go, Carmelito V. Edem, Augusto C. Capuz, Vicente Santos, Jr., of the crime of Plunder defined and
penalized under RA No. 7080, as amended, committed as follows:

That during the period from March to December, 2001, or sometime prior or subsequent 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 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 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 VILLARMINO y AGCAOILI, RICARDO M. JUAN, JR., NELSON UMALI, MARIA LUISA CRUZ y TALAO,
MELISSA ESPINA y TANGPUZ, VIOLETA TADEO y RAGASA,JESSICA CATIBAYAN y JARDIEL, VIOLETA AMAR y
CASTILLO, RONALDO G. SIMBAHAN, FELIPE A. SAN JOSE, ROLANDO C. CASTILLO, and JOHN DOESand JANE
DOES, who 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: BURT FAVORITO y BARBA, Director III,
Administrative and Manpower Management Services [Salary Grade 27] and FLORENDO ARIAS y BUAG, Assistant
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 53
Director, Bureau of Equipment [Salary Grade 27], and in further connivance/conspiracy with his other coaccused
private individuals engaged inthe business of motor vehicle and spare parts supply, namely: CONCHITA N. DELA
CRUZ, JANETTE A. BUGAYONG, JESUS D. CAPUZ, RODELLIA UY y DEL ROSARIO, ROMEO C. FULLIDO,
NONETTE H. FULLIDO, VICTORIA GO y MANIEGO, CARMELITO EDEM y VARGAS, AUGUSTO CAPUZ y CO,
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 advantage of his official position, authority, connection or
influence as such public officer, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, and criminally, amass, accumulate and acquire,
by himself, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount of EIGHTY-TWO MILLION THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE
THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE AND 38/100 PESOS (82,321,855.38), more or less, thereby unjustly
enriching himself at the expense and to the damage of the Filipino People and the Republic of the Philippines inthe
aforestated amount, through a series and/or combination of overt orcriminal acts or similar schemes or means,
consisting of misappropriations, conversions, misuses, diversions and/or malversation of public funds and/or raids on
the public treasury, by means of false pretenses and fraudulent acts executed prior to, or simultaneously with, the
fraud, by falsifying public, officials and/or commercial documents, such as Job Orders, Pre-Repair Inspection Reports,
Post-Repair Inspection Reports, Requisition for Supplies and/or Equipment (RSE), Certificates of Emergency
Purchases/Repair, Waste Material Reports, Certificate of Acceptance, Certificates of Fair Wear and Tear, Price
Verifications, Requests for Obligation Allotment and Disbursement Vouchers, and such other falsified documents,
untruthfully narrating therein material facts on fictitious emergency repairs of various DPWH vehicles and/or ghost
purchases of spare parts, which are, in truth, imaginary or spurious transactions, and by using such falsified documents
of said imaginary or spurious transactions for said accused to unlawfully cause the undue releases of public funds and
obtain undue payments on 4,406 transactions, more or less, for said fictitious emergency repairs of DPWH vehicles
and/or ghost purchases of spare parts, thereby misappropriating, converting, misusing, diverting and/or malversing the
proceeds thereof for MAXIMO BORJE, JR. y AQUINOs personal use and benefit.

Thereafter, respondents filed their responsive pleadings essentially assailing the Ombudsmans finding of probable
cause. On March 19, 2004, the Sandiganbayan issued an Order 7 giving respondents a period within which to submit
their memoranda of authority. In its Omnibus Comment/Opposition 8 of even date, petitioner questioned the authority of
the Sandiganbayan to act on respondentsmotions, arguing that the same had not yet 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 probable cause justifying the issuance by the respondent court of a warrant of arrest.

On January 20, 2005, respondent Sandiganbayan issued the assailed Resolution 9 upholding its authority to act on
respondents motions for their filing of the same may be considered as voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the
court and dismissing the case for lack of probable cause for the crime of plunder without prejudice to the filing of
appropriate charges against the accused-respondents. Itruled that as the records reveal, not all elements of the crime
are present for the accused Borje had not amassed ill-gotten wealth of at least 50 million. It further denied petitioners
Motion for Reconsideration in its Resolution10 dated October 12, 2005 for lack of merit.

Hence, the instant petition invoking the following grounds:

I.

THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION OF DETERMINING THE EXISTENCE OF PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE FILING OF
AN INFORMATION IS VESTED SOLELY IN THE PROSECUTION.

II.

THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IS NOT BOUND BY THE FINDINGS OF ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES IN ITS
DETERMINATION OF THE EXISTENCE OF PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE FILING OF A CRIMINAL CASE.

Petitioner maintains that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman is an executive, not a
judicial function. As such, it asserts that respondent Sandiganbayan should have given deference to the finding and
determination of probable cause in their preliminary investigation. Moreover, petitioner faulted the respondent court for
taking into consideration the findings of Atty. Irene Ofilada of the Investigating Committee that it was not respondent
Borje who encashed the checks but the respondent-suppliers, by virtue of a blanket authority given by the former to the
latter. It posits that said findings cannot bind the Office of the Ombudsman in its determination of the existence of
probable cause.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 54
Respondents counter that the respondent court correctly dismissed the case for the evidence clearly shows the
absence of certain elements of the crime. They maintain that while investigating officers have a wide latitude of
discretion in the determination of probable cause, which deserves respect from the courts, the acts of the Ombudsman
in disregarding essential pieces of evidence are tantamount to an abuse of discretion authorizing the dismissal by the
court of the case.

We rule in favor of petitioner.

It is well to recall that there are two kinds of determination of probable cause: executive and judicial. On the one hand,
executive determination of probable cause ascertains whether a criminal case must be filed in court. 11 It is a function
that properly pertains to the public prosecutor who is given a broad discretion to determine whether probable cause
exists and to charge those whom he believes to have committed the crime as defined by law and should be held for
trial.12 On the other hand, judicial determination of probable cause ascertains whether a warrant of arrest should be
issued against the accused. It is one made by a judge who must satisfy himself that based on the evidence presented,
there is necessity in placing the accused under custody so that the ends of justice will not be frustrated. 13

Verily, as far as crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan are concerned, the 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 to determine, in the exercise of its discretion, whether probable cause exists, and to
charge the person believed to have committed the crime as defined by law. 14

It is well settled that courts do not interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman to 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 corresponding information with the appropriate courts. 15 This rule is based not only on
respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman but
upon practicality as well. If it were otherwise, the functions of the Court will be seriously hampered by innumerable
petitions assailing the dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to
complaints filed before it, in much the same way that the courts would be extremely swamped with cases if they could
be compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the part of the fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each time they
decide to file an information in court or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant. 16

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 information, probable cause has been defined as such
facts as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that respondents are
probably guilty thereof. It is such set of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent
man to believe that the offense charged in the Information, or any offense included therein, has been committed by the
person sought to be arrested.17 A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely
than not a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspect. It need not be based on clear and convincing
evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and definitely not on evidence
establishing absolute certainty of guilt.18 Thus, unless it is shown that the Ombudsmans finding of probable cause was
done in a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment evidencing a clear case of grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, this Court will not interfere with the same. 19

In the instant case, the act of filing an Information against respondents by the Ombudsman cannot be characterized as
arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, or despotic amounting to a 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
reimbursements of the supposed payments for the anomalousand questionable repairs of the DPWH vehicles. While
there may havebeen evidence presented which may lead to an inference that the end-receiver of the amounts covered
by the checks is not actually accused Borje, Jr., but the accused private individuals suppliers, the fact that the name of
accused Borje, Jr. appears on the subject checks cannot be denied. Indeed, merebelief that respondents probably
committed the crime suffices to establish probable cause. 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 on the part of the complainant. In Go v. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan, we held that "it is well
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 55
established that the presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of
defense that may be best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits." Also, it would be unfair to expect the
prosecution to present all the evidence needed to secure the conviction of the accused upon the filing of the
information against the latter. The reason is found in the nature and objective of a preliminary investigation. Here, the
public prosecutors do not decide whether there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the person
charged; they merely determine whether there is sufficient 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.

Moreover, the fact that the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman differs from the findings of Atty. Irene D. Ofilada, of
the Internal Audit Service of the DPWH, who conducted the initial investigation, falls short of being capricious or
arbitrary. It has consistently been held that there is grave abuse of discretion where power is exercised in an arbitrary
or despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. The abuse must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty or to act at all in contemplation of law. 22 The
Ombudsman in this case, however, was merely performing his duty as mandated by the Constitution 23and by
law.24 Filing an Information against respondents in this case based on sufficient ground to engender a well-founded
belief that a crime has been committed and that respondents are probably guilty thereof cannot be said to be whimsical
or despotic. As effectively shown by evidence, the Ombudsmans charge was not at all baseless for the link between
the respondents and the anomalous transactions herein has been satisfactorily established. In the absence, 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 discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, this Court will
not interfere with the Ombudsmans exercise of his constitutionally mandated powers.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions dated January 20,
2005 and October 12, 2005 of the Sandiganbayan inCriminal Case No. 27969 are SET ASIDE. The Resolution dated
January 7, 2004 of the Ombudsman in OMB-C-C-02-0507-H, finding probable cause to indict respondents for the crime
of plunder is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 56