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ROGELIO JUAN ET AL (PETITIONERS) VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (RESPONDENT)

G.R. NO. 132378 JANUARY 18, 2000 J. PANGANIBAN PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI OF A DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS Informations were filed against Juan (brgy chairman), de Jesus, Carreon and Galguerra *brgy kagawads) of Brgy Talipapa Nova QC for violation of Sec 261 (o) of the Omnibus Election Code before the RTC. Chairman and de Jesus used the VHF radio transceiver owned by the brgy for election campaign while the other 2 used a tricycle owned by the brgy also for their political campaigns. Petitioners questioned the standing of movants and assailed the information in that it did not conform to the notice requirements under the ROC on April 3, 1997 RTC issued an order directing the immediate suspension from office of allt he accused for a period of 60 days from service of the order. CA upheld the ruling of the RTC. And said that sec 13 of RA 3019 is mandatory in character upon the filing of a valid information in court against the. It can be issued in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation is pending in court and that it is justifiable for as long as its continuance is for a reasonable length of time.

ISSUES: 1. Does the RTC have jurisdiction over violations of the Election Code? 2. Do the cases fall under the suspension under RA 3019? 3. Did the prosecution comply with the requirements of procedural due process? Held:
1. Yes, petitioners violated sec 261(o) of the Omnibus Election code. Same code provides that the RTC shall have jurisdiction over any criminal proceeding for violation of the code. a. Petitioners were arguing that since the penalty for the offenses did not exceed 6 years then under RA 7961 the authority to hear the cases is vested in the First level courts. b. The argument does not persuade. Sec 32 of BP 129 as amended by Sec 2 of RA 7961 gives an exception to the jurisdiction of MTC MuTC and MuCTC in criminal cases. The exception are those cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the RTC and of the Sandiganbayan. c. But petitioners were charged with a violation of the omnibus election code which also provides that criminal cases arising from violations of said code will be under the jurisdiction of the RTC and though the penalty of the present cases do not exceed 6 years, they are excluded from the jurisdiction of the first level courts. d. COMELEC v Noynay: Sec 5(2) of the Omnibus Election Code states that the congress has the plenary power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. Congress may thus provide by law that a certain class of cases should be exclusively heard and determined by one court. such law would be a special law and must be construed as an exception to the general law on jurisdiction of courts, namely the judiciary act of 1948 and the judiciary reorganization act of 1980. e. RA 7691 does not fall under this category since it is merely an amendatory law intended to amend specific sections of the judiciary reorganization act of 1980 hence, it does not have the effect of repealing laws.

2.

Yes, the acts done constitute fraud which under Sec 13 RA3019 as amended by BP 195 warrants suspension upon confirmation of the validity of the information filed against the officer. a. The amendatory law expanded the scope od the provision, before, only those charged with violations of RA 3019 or with offenses covered by RPC provision on bribery may be suspended, but because of the amendment, it now includes those acts which constitute fraud involving government property or those who are charged with an offense falling under title 7 book II of the RPC b. Purpose of the preventive suspension: to prevent the accused from hampering his prosecution by intimidating or influencing witnesses, tampering with documentary evidence of committing further acts of malfeasance while in office. 3. Yes, the requirements of procedural due process were substantially complied with since the purpose of the notice of hearing was served as evidenced by the pleadings between the parties. a. Petitioners were assailing the Trial courts prder of suspension on the ground that it was issued pursuant to the initial Motion for Removal from office and that records show that this motion neither complied with the notice requirements provided under the rules of Court nor was it filed by one who was a party to their cases. b. Court held that the requisites under Sections 4 and t5 of Rule 15 of ROC are categorical and mandatory and failure of the movants to comply with them renders their motions fatally defective. c. The rules mandate the service of a copy of a motion containing a notice of time and place of hearing, so that the adverse party can study and answer the arguments in the motion before resolution d. But the trial court heard the petitioners and considered their arguments. Petitioners were able to ventilate their arguments against the Motion for removal from office. e. The purpose of a notice of hearing was served. The pleadings that were filed for ang against them negated their allegations of procedural prejudice. The goal of presuspension hearing was achieved and the right to due-process is satisfied. DECISION: Petition DENIED. CA decision AFFIRMED.