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KUIZON v.

DESIERTO
March 9, 2001 | Puno, J. | Limitations on the rule-making power of
the Supreme Court
Digester: Venturanza, Maria
SUMMARY: Three complaints were filed in the Office of the
Ombudsman against Mayor Benedicto Kuizon. In a memorandum,
the Office of Chief Legal Counsel recommended the continued
prosecution of the accused, which the Ombudsman subsequently
approved. Kuizon filed a petition in the CA assailing the approval
of the Ombudsman. CA dismissed the petition for lack of
jurisdiction, which the SC upheld, citing the doctrine enunciated in
Fabian.
DOCTRINE: The appellate courts jurisdiction extends only to
decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases.
Petitions for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, when
resorted to as a remedy for judicial review, must be filed in the
Supreme Court.
FACTS:
Melanio Saporas filed a complaint with the Office of the
Ombudsman-Visayas (OMB-Visayas) against petitioner
Benedicto Kuizon, the incumbent Municipal Mayor of Bato
(Leyte) for Nepotism, which was later dropped, and
Malversation Thru Falsification of Public Documents. Attached
to the complaint is an affidavit of Zacarias Kuizon, who claimed
that after the petitioner dispensed with his service as a laborer,
somebody forged his signature in the payroll and took his
salary amounting to P890.00. Later, Rosalina Tolibas, the
Paymaster, and Joselito Daan, the Timekeeper, were included in
the complaint.
Saporas submitted a second complaint using the affidavits of
Ceferino Cedejana and Concordio Cedejana, who both made
similar allegations to that of Zacarias Kuizons claim.
Saporas filed a third Affidavit-Complaint for Malversation of
Public Funds Thru Falsification of Public Documents and
violation of R.A. No. 3019 against petitioners and three others
for alleged connivance in including in the payrolls names of
workers whose services were already terminated.
The OMB-Visayas issued a Resolution finding sufficient grounds
to hold petitioners for trial for Malversation of Public Funds
and Falsification of Public Documents. All cases were
consolidated.

17 May 1999: The Office of the Chief Legal Counsel


recommended that the continued prosecution of all the
accused, there being no cogent grounds to warrant a reversal
of the finding of probable cause by OMB-Visayas. Respondent
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto approved the memorandum.
Thereafter, Sandiganbayan set the criminal cases for hearing.
Petitioner Daan filed with the Sandiganbayan an Urgent
Motion for Reinvestigation and to Defer Arraignment.
However, the motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan and
petitioners were arraigned on the same date, where they all
pleaded not guilty.
Thereafter, petitioners filed a petition before the CA assailing
the approval by the respondent Desierto of the Memorandum
dated 17 May 1999. The CA promulgated a Resolution,
dismissing the petition for lack of jurisdiction, and using Fabian
v. Desierto as basis.
Thus, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court at the SC.

RULING: Petition dismissed and the Sandiganbayan is ordered to


continue with the trial of the cases at bat with dispatch.
WoN the CAs dismissal of the petition was valid YES.
In the Fabian case, the Court ruled that appeals from the
decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative
disciplinary cases should be taken to the CA under Rule 43 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Where an original action for
certiorari under Rule 65 is resorted to as a remedy for judicial
review, such as from an incident in a criminal action, the
petition should be filed with the SC.
Thus, the instant petition should have been filed with the SC.
Following this, the instant petition was filed late. A petition for
certiorari should be filed not later than 60 days from notice of
judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed. The
present petition was filed beyond this period. The erroneous
filing of the petition with the CA did not toll the running of the
period.
WoN respondent Desierto gravely abused his discretion
when he simply approved the recommendation of the Legal
Counsel recommending the filing of informations in court
NO.

What is involved is merely a review and affirmation by the


respondent Ombudsman of the findings made by the
investigating prosecutor. He is not conducting anew another
investigation, but is merely determining the propriety and
correctness of the recommendations given by the investigating
prosecutor, that is, whether probable cause actually exists or
not, on the basis of the finding of the latter.

It is thus discretionary upon the Ombudsman if he will rely


mainly on the findings of fact of the investigating prosecutor, or
make his own findings of fact.
In case of conflict between the conclusions of the Ombudsman
and the special prosecutor, the formers decision shall prevail
since the latter is under the supervision and control of the
Ombudsman.