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Antonio v. Desierto GR No.

144492
Dec. 18, 2008 Nachura, J. A certain parcel of land in Gen San was subdivided into 3 sub-lots namely, Lot X,
TOPIC IN SYLLABUS: Review of the Decisions Digest By: Monique Lee Lot Y-1, and Lot Y-2. These lots were reserved for public purposes and thus
of the Ombudsman inalienable. Years later, Lots Y-1 and Y-2 were declared alienable. Sps. Tupas applied
SUMMARY: for free patent and OCTs were issued in their names. This was opposed by the
Petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari before the SC under Rule 65 assailing the Municipality of Gen San. The spouses and the municipality were able to execute a
resolution of the Ombudsman dismissing the complaint filed by petitioner against Compromise Agreement with regard to the alienable lots.
the private respondents. Court held that the Ombudsman did not commit However, Lot X, upon which the complaint against respondents is based upon
GADALEJ in the dismissal of the complaint since there was no sufficient evidence remained of public domain – reserved for recreational and health resort purposes,
in finding so,e of the accused thereon probably guilty of the offenses imputed on was still subdivivided and sold to 16 private individuals.
them by petitioner.
The Ombudsman found that it was within the authority of the mayor to enter into
DOCTRINE: such a compromise agreement, and that the compromise order was found by the OSG
Generally, the Court will not interfere in the Ombudsman’s exercise of his to be in order. Therefore, the Ombudsman issued a resolution finding some of the
investigatory and prosecutory powers without good and compelling reasons that named respondents probably guilty of the crimes imputed to the and ordered the
indicate otherwise. As an exception, the aggrieved party may file a petition for filing of informations against them. Charges against respondents ROSALITA
certiorari under Rule 65 when the finding of the Ombudsman is tainted with NUEZ, AUGUSTUS MOMONGAN, ABEDNEGO ADRE, ASTERIA
GADALEJ. Collantes v Marcelo enumerates the following exceptions to the CRUZABRA, PEDRO NALANGAN III, JULIO DIAZ and AGAPITO
general rule that the Court will not interfere with the findings of the Ombudsman: BORINAGA are hereby DISMISSED, without prejudice to the filing of criminal
1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the cases against private respondents, for offenses committed not in conspiracy with the
accused; 2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid herein public respondents, by the proper parties-in-interest.
oppression or multiplicity of actions; 3. When there is a prejudicial question that
After the lapse of the period to appeal, petitioner filed an MR – this was denied.
is sub judice; 4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority;
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; 6. When
PETITIONER’S ARGUMENT(S):
double jeopardy is clearly apparent; 7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over
Ascribes to the Ombudsman grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of his
the offense; 8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution; 9. Where
investigatory and prosecutory functions, by completely ignoring and disregarding
the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance; 10. When
the pieces of substantial evidence which clearly establish the existence of a common
there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash on
design among the respondents and those indicted in the fraudulent sale and
that ground has been denied.
disposition of Lot X of the Magsaysay Park.
FACTS ISSUE(S):
Petitioner, former congresswoman of the congressional district of South Cotabato WON the Ombudsman committee GADALEJ in dismissing the petitioner’s
filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 alleging that the Ombudsman committed complaint against some of the named accused / NO
GADALEJ in dismissing the case against private respondents, former city Mayor
Rosalita T. Nuez (Mayor Nuez), Department of Environment and Natural Resources
HELD:
(DENR) Regional Executive Director for Region XI Augustus L. Momongan
Resolution of the Ombudsman already final and executory – MR of petitioner
(Momongan), Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Abednego O. Adre (Judge Adre),
filed out of time
former City Legal Officer Pedro G. Nalangan III (Nalangan), Register of Deeds
Asteria E. Cruzabra (Cruzabra), Land Management Officer III of the Provincial
Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) of South Cotabato Julio C. Other than the statement of material dates wherein petitioner claimed that she
Diaz (Diaz) and Regional Technical Director of the DENR for Region XI Agapito received through counsel the assailed Resolution of the Ombudsman on January 21,
Borinaga (Borinaga) (respondents). Petitioner charged them for violation of 2000, she failed to establish that her Motion for Reconsideration was indeed filed on
Paragraphs (e), (g) and (j), Section 3 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended, time, and thus, failed to refute the assertion of the respondents based on the
and for malversation of public funds or property through falsification of public aforementioned Certification that petitioner was personally served a copy of the
documents. assailed Resolution on February 24, 1999. After the respondents made such
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allegation, petitioner did not bother to respond and meet the issue head-on. We find The alleged grave abuse of discretion imputed to the Ombudsman is found wanting
no justification why the Ombudsman entertained the motion for reconsideration, in this case. Thus, this Court finds no reason to deviate from the general rule.
when, at the time of the filing of the motion for reconsideration the assailed
Resolution was already final. The alleged grave abuse of discretion imputed to the Ombudsman is found wanting
in this case. Thus, this Court finds no reason to deviate from the general rule. We
Petitioner did not sufficiently prove GAD on the part of the Ombudsman concur with the disquisition of GIO I Rubillar-Arao in dismissing the charges against
respondents, as approved by Ombudsman Desierto, which found no gross negligence
Under Sections 12 and 13, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, and pursuant to nor bad faith in the respective acts of the accused.
R.A. No. 6770, the Ombudsman has the power to investigate and prosecute any act
or omission of a public officer or employee when such act or omission appears to be WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. No costs.
illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. Well-settled is the rule that this Court will not
ordinarily interfere with the Ombudsman's exercise of his investigatory and
prosecutory powers without good and compelling reasons that indicate otherwise.
The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers
granted by the Constitution to the Office of the Ombudsman, but upon practicality
as well. A contrary rule would encourage innumerable petitions seeking dismissal of
investigatory proceedings conducted by the Ombudsman, which would grievously
hamper the functions of the office and the courts, in much the same way that courts
would be swamped by a deluge of cases if they have to review the exercise of
discretion on the part of public prosecutors each time they decide to file an
information or dismiss a complaint by a private complainant.

Of course, this rule is not absolute. The aggrieved party may file a petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when the finding of the
Ombudsman is tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, consistent with our ruling in Collantes v. Marcelo, where we laid down
the following exceptions to the rule:

1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the


accused; 2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid
oppression or multiplicity of actions; 3. When there is a prejudicial question that is
sub judice; 4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; 5.
Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation; 6. When
double jeopardy is clearly apparent; 7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the
offense; 8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution; 9. Where the
charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance; 10. When there
is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash on that
ground has been denied.

Grave abuse of discretion exists where a power is exercised in an arbitrary,


capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility
so patent and gross as to amount to evasion of positive duty or virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by, or in contemplation of law.

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