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A.

FACTS CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE On June 10, 1996, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution[3] denying the motion to
quash for obvious lack of merit.
ANTONIO C. MARTINEZ, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and On July 26, 1996, petitioner was arraigned before the Sandiganbayan, and he
THE SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents. entered a plea of not guilty.
DECISION On September 26, 1996, petitioner filed the present recourse.
PARDO, J.: On October 21, 1996, the Court resolved to require respondents to comment on
The petition before the Court for certiorari and prohibition seeks to annul the petition, not to file a motion to dismiss, within ten (10) days from notice, and to deny
respondent Sandiganbayans resolution denying petitioners motion to quash the the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order.
informations filed against him for malversation. Petitioner likewise prayed for temporary On January 30, 1997, respondent People of the Philippines, through the Special
restraining order to restrain the Sandiganbayan from further hearing the cases. Prosecutor, filed its comment. On March 19, 1997, the Court resolved to require petitioner
We deny the petition. to file a reply to the comment of the Special Prosecutor. On June 19, 1997, petitioner filed
The facts are as follows: his reply in which he reiterated that the prosecution had not established a prima facie case
From December, 1986 to January 1988, petitioner was the Officer-in-Charge and and consequently, respondent Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of discretion in not
Acting City Mayor of Caloocan City. As such, he received cash advances from the city quashing the informations.
government which were earmarked for specific projects. Specifically, petitioner received On August 27, 1997, the Court required respondents to file a rejoinder, which the
on or about December 24, 1986, cash advance of P100,000.00, under Disbursement respondent People of the Philippines filed on October 16, 1997.
Voucher No. 32734; on or about January 27, 1987, cash advance of P145,000.00, under As stated at the outset, we deny the petition.
Disbursement Voucher No. 201; on or about January 29, 1987, cash advance of The issue is whether the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in
P300,000.00, under Disbursement Voucher No. 223; and on or about July 23, 1987, cash denying petitioners motion to quash the informations filed against him on the ground that
advance of P200,000.00, under Disbursement Voucher No. 1877. the informations do not charge an offense and that there was no prima facie case.
For failing to liquidate the cash advances despite demands by the City Treasurer,
on June 1, 1995, Special Prosecution Officer Francisco L. Ilustre, Jr., filed with the It is an admitted fact that as acting mayor of Caloocan City in 1986 to 1988,
Sandiganbayan four (4) separate informations[1] for malversation of public funds against petitioner received cash advances from the city government in the amounts of
petitioner. The informations were similarly worded except for the dates, voucher number, P100,000.00, P145,000.00, P300,000.00, and P200,000.00, respectively, for specific
amount involved and specific projects. The information in Criminal Case No. 22791 reads projects, and that the City Treasurer subsequently made demands on him to submit a
as follows: liquidation of the cash advances. Petitioner failed to do so, and hence, there is a prima
That on or about December 24, 1986, and for sometime subsequent thereto, in Caloocan facie presumption under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code that he had malversed the
City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Antonio funds to his personal use and benefit.[4]
Martinez, a public officer being then the OIC-Acting Mayor of Caloocan City, who having Consequently, the Sandiganbayan correctly denied petitioners motion to quash the
received cash advance under Disbursement Voucher No. 3273 in the amount of informations. From such denial, the appropriate remedy is not an appeal[5] or review on
P100,000.00 from the city government of Caloocan to defray expenses in connection with certiorari brought to a higher court. The remedy is for petitioner to go to trial on the merits,
special activities entailing civic and political organizations and as such making him an and if an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by
accountable officer, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, law.[6]
misappropriate and convert for his personal use and benefits the aforesaid amount of Furthermore, the petition may also be dismissed because petitioner had been
P100,000.00, and despite demand made by Norberto E. Azarcon, OIC, Office of the arraigned on July 26, 1996, after the court denied his motion to quash. There is no showing
Treasurer, directing him to settle and/or liquidate the same, thereby causing damage and that he objected to entering a plea because he wanted to question the denial of the motion
prejudice to the Philippine Government in the aforementioned amount. to quash before a superior court. By entering his plea, petitioner waived all objections
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2] which are grounds of a motion to quash.[7] The exceptions thereto have no application.
On March 25, 1996, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petition, for lack of merit.
informations alleging that the facts charged do not constitute an offense under Article 217, SO ORDERED.
Revised Penal Code and that there was no prima facie evidence against him. Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
On April 18, 1996, the Ombudsman filed an opposition to the motion to quash
maintaining that the law presumed that failure on the part of a public officer to liquidate
the cash advance he received after demand therefor by a duly authorized officer constitutes
malversation of public fund and hence, there existed probable cause for the filing of the
informations.
On May 27, 1996, petitioner filed a reply to the opposition trying to refute the
arguments of the Ombudsman.
B. THAT THE COURT TRYING THE CASE HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE these cases constitute one continuous crime. Respondent judge further stated that to
OFFENSE CHARGED: separately prosecute private respondent for a series of transaction would endow it with the
functional ability of a worm multiplication or amoeba reproduction.[12] Thus, accused
THE PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES represented by the PANEL OF would be unduly vexed with multiple jeopardy. In the two orders, respondent judge
PROSECUTORS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, petitioner, vs. HON. DAVID G. likewise said that the dismissal of the three seemingly unmeritorious and duplicitous cases
NITAFAN, Presiding Judge, Branch 52, Regional Trial Court of Manila, and would help unclogged his docket in favor of more serious suits.[13] The prosecution
IMELDA R. MARCOS, respondents. complied with the twin show cause orders accompanied by a motion to inhibit respondent
DECISION judge.
MARTINEZ, J.: On August 6, 1992, respondent judge issued an order denying the motion for
On January 9, 1992, three criminal informations for violation of Section 4 of consolidation (embodied in the prosecutions compliance with the show cause orders) of
Central Bank Circular No. 960, as amended,[1] in relation to Section 34 of Republic Act the three informations with those pending before Branch 26-Manila on the ground that
No. 265[2] were filed against private respondent Imelda R. Marcos before Branch 158 of consolidation of cases under Rule 31 of civil procedure has no counterpart in criminal
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig (herein Branch 158-Pasig). Said Informations procedure, and blamed the panel of prosecutors as apparently not conversant with the
docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 90384-92, 90385-92 and 90386-92 were amended prior procedure in the assignment of cases. As additional justification, respondent judge stated
to arraignment.[3] that since he is more studious and discreet, if not more systematic and methodical, than
After arraignment, where private respondent pleaded not guilty, the People thru the prosecution in the handling of cases, it would be unfair to just pull out the case when
herein petitioner, Panel of Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the he had already studied it.[14]
Solicitor General filed separate motions for consolidation of the three (3) Informations The next day, August 7, 1992, respondent judge issued an 8-page order dismissing
pending before Branch 158-Pasig with the 21 other cases pending before RTC Branch 26- criminal case no. 92-107942 on the ground that the subject CB Circular is an ex post facto
Manila (herein Branch 26-Manila).[4] The Solicitor General alleged in its motion that the law.[15] In a separate 17-page order dated August 10, 1992, respondent judge also
indictable acts under the three informations form part of and is related to the transaction dismissed the two remaining criminal cases (92-107943 & 92-107944) ruling that the
complained of in criminal cases 91-101732, 91-101734 and 91-101735 pending before prosecution of private respondent was part of a sustained political vendetta by some people
Branch 26-Manila[5] and that these two groups of cases (the Pasig and Manila cases) relate in the government aside from what he considered as a violation of private respondents
to a series of transactions devised by then President Ferdinand Marcos and private right against double jeopardy.[16] From his disquisition regarding continuing, continuous
respondent to hide their ill-gotten wealth.[6] The RTC of Pasig granted the motion for and continued offenses and his discussion of mala prohibita, respondent judge further
consolidation provided there is no objection from the presiding judge of Branch 26- ratiocinated his dismissal order in that the pendency of the other cases before Branch 26-
Manila.[7] Before the Manila RTC, the three (3) informations were re-raffled and re- Manila had placed private respondent in double jeopardy because of the three cases before
assigned instead to Branch 52-Manila presided by public respondent Judge Nitafan his sala.
wherein the three informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 90384-92, 90385-92 and 90386-92) The prosecution filed two separate motions for reconsideration which respondent
were re-numbered as Criminal Case Nos. 92-107942; 92-107943 and 92-107944. judge denied in a single order dated September 7, 1992 containing 19 pages wherein he
Then, without private respondent yet taking any action or filing any motion to made a preliminary observation that:
quash the informations, respondent judge issued an order dated July 20, 1992 requiring (T)he very civil manner in which the motions were framed, which is consistent with the
petitioners to show cause why criminal case number 92-107942 should not be dismissed high ideals and standards of pleadings envisioned in the rules, and for which the panel
on the ground that it violates private respondents right against ex post facto law.[8] In that should be commended. This only shows that the Members of the panel had not yielded to
order, respondent judge said that a check with official publications reveals that CB Circular the derisive, panicky and intimidating reaction manifested by their Department Head
960 is dated 21 October 1983 (x x x) and that said regulatory issuance was imperfectly when, after learning the promulgation of the orders dismissing some of Imelda
published* in the January 30, 1984 issue of the Official Gazette.[9] Respondent judge Romualdez-Marcos cases, Secretary Drilon went to the media and repeatedly aired
concluded that since the date of violation alleged in the information was prior to the date diatribes and even veiled threats against the trial judges concerned.
and complete publication of the Circular charged to have been violated, the information in By the constitutional mandate that A member of the judiciary must be a person of proven
this case appears peremptorily dismissible, for to apply the Circular to acts performed prior competence, integrity, probity, and independence (Sec 7[3], Art. VIII, judges are
to its date and publication would make it an ex post facto law, which is a violation of the precluded from being dragged into running debates with parties-litigants or their counsel
Constitution.[10] and representatives in media, yet by reason of the same provision judges are mandated to
On the same day, respondent judge issued another order requiring the prosecution decide cases in accordance with their own independent appreciation of the facts and
to show cause why the two other criminal informations (92-107943 and 92-107944) should interpretation of the law. Any judge who yields to extraneous influences, such as
not be dismissed on the ground that private respondents right to double jeopardy was denigrating criticisms or threats, and allows his independence to be undermined thereby,
violated.[11] It is respondent judges posture that based on the Solicitor-Generals allegations leading to violation of his oath of office, has no right to continue in his office any minute
in its Motion for Consolidation filed in Branch 58-Pasig that the three cases form part of a longer.
series of transactions which are subject of the cases pending before Branch 26-Manila, all
The published reaction of the Hon. Secretary is to be deplored, but it is hoped that he had To allow a judge to initiate such motion even under the guise of a show cause order would
merely lapsed into impudence instead of having intended to set a pattern of mocking and result in a situation where a magistrate who is supposed to be neutral, in effect, acts as
denigrating the courts. He must have forgotten that as Secretary of Justice, his actuations counsel for the accused and judge as well. A combination of these two personalities in one
reflect the rule of law orientation of the administration of the President whom he represents person is violative of due process which is a fundamental right not only of the accused but
as the latters alter ego.[17] (emphasis supplied). also of the prosecution.
The dispositive portion of the order denying the motions for reconsideration That the initial act to quash an information lodged with the accused is further
provides: supported by Sections 2, 3 and 8 of Rule 117 which states that:
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court finds no valid reason to Section 2. The motion to quash shall be in writing signed by the accused or his counsel. It
reconsider the dismissals heretofore decreed, and the motions for reconsideration are shall specify distinctly the factual and legal grounds therefor and the Court shall consider
consequently denied for manifest lack of merit.[18] no grounds other than those stated therein, except lack of jurisdiction over the offense
Obviously dissatisfied, petitioners elevated the case via petition for certiorari, charged.
where the primary issue raised is whether a judge can motu proprio initiate the dismissal Section 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any
and subsequently dismissed a criminal information or complaint without any motion to of the following grounds:
that effect being filed by the accused based on the alleged violation of the latters right a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
against ex post facto law and double jeopardy. b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or the person
Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides: of the accused;
Time to move to quash. At any time before entering his plea, the accused may move to c) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
quash the complaint or information. (emphasis supplied). d) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
It is clear from the above rule that the accused may file a motion to quash an information e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing laws
at any time before entering a plea or before arraignment. Thereafter, no motion to quash prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;
can be entertained by the court except under the circumstances mentioned in Section 8 of f) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
Rule 117 which adopts the omnibus motion rule. In the case at at bench, private respondent g) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification;
pleaded to the charges without filing any motion to quash. As such, she is deemed to have and
waived and abandoned her right to avail of any legal ground which she may have properly h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted, or
and timely invoke to challenge the complaint or information pursuant to Section 8 of Rule acquitted of the offense charged.
117 which provides: Section 8. The failure of the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he
Failure to move to quash or to allege any ground therefore. The failure of the accused to pleads (Emphasis supplied).
assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or information, Section 2 requires that the motion must be signed by accused or his counsel;
either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in his motion, Section 3 states that the accused may file a motion, and; Section 8 refers to the consequence
shall be deemed a waiver of the grounds of a motion to quash, except the grounds of no if the accused do not file such motion. Neither the court nor the judge was mentioned.
offense charged, lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged, extinction of the offense or Section 2 further, ordains that the court is proscribed from considering any ground other
penalty and jeopardy, as provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (f) and (h) of section 3 of this than those stated in the motion which should be specify(ied) distinctly therein. Thus, the
Rule. (emphasis supplied) filing of a motion to quash is a right that belongs to the accused who may waived it by
It is also clear from Section 1 that the right to file a motion to quash belongs only to the inaction and not an authority for the court to assume.
accused. There is nothing in the rules which authorizes the court or judge to motu proprio It is therefore clear that the only grounds which the court may consider in resolving
initiate a motion to quash if no such motion was filed by the accused. A motion a motion to quash an information or complaint are (1) those grounds stated in the motion
contemplates an initial action originating from the accused. It is the latter who is in the and (2) the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged, whether or not
best position to know on what ground/s he will based his objection to the information. mentioned in the motion. Other than that, grounds which have not been sharply pleaded in
Otherwise, if the judge initiates the motion to quash, then he is not only pre-judging the the motion cannot be taken cognizance of by the court, even if at the time of filing thereof,
case of the prosecution but also takes side with the accused. This would violate the right it may be properly invoked by the defendant. Such proscription on considerations of other
to a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal. Such independence and grounds than those specially pleaded in the motion to quash is premised on the rationale
impartiality cannot be expected from a magistrate, such as herein respondent judge, who that the right to these defenses are waivable on the part of the accused, and that by claiming
in his show cause orders, orders dismissing the charges and order denying the motions for to wave said right, he is deemed to have desired these matters to be litigated upon in a full-
reconsideration stated and even expounded in a lengthy disquisition with citation of blown trial. Pursuant to the Rules, the sole exception is lack of jurisdiction over the offense
authorities, the grounds and justifications to support his action. Certainly, in compliance charged which goes into the competence of the court to hear and pass judgment on the
with the orders, the prosecution has no choice but to present arguments contradicting that cause.
of respondent judge. Obviously, however, it cannot be expected from respondent judge to With these, the rule clearly implies the requirement of filing a motion by the
overturn the reasons he relied upon in his different orders without contradicting himself. accused even if the ground asserted is premised on lack of jurisdiction over the offense
charged. Besides, lack of jurisdiction should be evident from the face of the information WHEREFORE, Premises considered, the petition is GRANTED and the two orders dated
or complaint to warrant a dismissal thereof. Happily, no jurisdictional challenge is January 20, 1990, as well as the orders dated August 7, 1992, August 10, 1992 and
involved in this case. September 7, 1992 all issued by respondent judge are hereby REVERSED AND SET
Assuming arguendo that a judge has the power to motu proprio dismiss a criminal ASIDE. Let this case be REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.
charge, yet contrary to the findings of respondent judge, the grounds of ex post facto law SO ORDERED.
and double jeopardy herein invoked by him are not applicable.
On ex post facto law, suffice it to say that every law carries with it the presumption
of constitutionality until otherwise declared by this court.[19] To rule that the CB Circular
is an ex post facto law is to say that it is unconstitutional. However, neither private
respondent nor the Solicitor-General challenges it. This Court, much more the lower
courts, will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute or rule nor declare it void unless
directly assailed in an appropriate action.
With respect to the ground of double jeopardy invoked by respondent judge, the
same is improper and has neither legal nor factual basis in this case. Double jeopardy
connotes the concurrence of three requisites, which are: (a) the first jeopardy must have
attached prior to the second, (b) the first jeopardy must have been validly terminated, and
(c) the second jeopardy must be for the same offense as that in the first[20] or the second
offense includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the first information,
or is an attempt to commit the same or is a frustration thereof.[21] In this case, it is
manifestly clear that no first jeopardy has yet attached nor any such jeopardy terminated.
Section 7, Rule 117 provides:
When an accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or
otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent jurisdiction,
upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and
substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused had pleaded to the charge, the
conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another
prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration
thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessary included in the
offense charged in the former complaint or information.
x x x x x x x x x.[22]
Under said Section, the first jeopardy attaches only (1) upon a valid indictment, (2) before
a competent court, (3) after arraignment, (4) when a valid plea has been entered, and (5)
when the defendant was convicted or acquitted, or the case was dismissed or otherwise
terminated without the express consent of the accused.[23]
Other than the Solicitor-Generals allegation of pending suits in Branch 26-Manila,
respondent judge has no other basis on whether private respondent had already been
arraigned, much less entered a plea in those cases pending before the said Branch. Even
assuming that there was already arraignment and plea with respect to those cases in Branch
26-Manila which respondent judge used as basis to quash the three informations pending
in his sala, still the first jeopardy has not yet attached. Precisely, those Branch 26-Manila
cases are still pending and there was as yet no judgment on the merits at the time
respondent judge quashed the three informations in his sala. Private respondent was not
convicted, acquitted nor the cases against her in Branch 26-Manila dismissed or otherwise
terminated which definitely shows the absence of the fifth requisite for the first jeopardy
to attached. Accordingly, it was wrong to say that the further prosecution of private C. THAT THE COURT TRYING THE CASE HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE
respondent under the three informations pending Branch 56-Manila would violate the PERSON OF THE ACCUSED
formers right against double jeopardy.
SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 143193. June 29, 2005] manufacture and sell various garment products bearing the appearance of NBA
MELBAROSE R. SASOT AND ALLANDALE R. SASOT, petitioners, vs. names, symbols and trademarks, inducing the public to believe that the goods
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE HONORABLE COURT OF OF offered by them are those of NBA to the damage and prejudice of the NBA
APPEALS, and REBECCA G. SALVADOR, Presiding Judge, RTC, Properties, Inc., the trademark owner of the NBA.
Branch 1, Manila, respondents. CONTRARY TO LAW.[7]
DECISION Before arraignment, petitioners filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: following grounds:
The case subject of the present special civil action for certiorari is a criminal I. THAT THE FACTS CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE
prosecution against petitioners for unfair competition under Article 189 of the II. AND THIS HONORABLE COURT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER THE
Revised Penal Code, filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila (Branch OFFENSE CHARGED OR THE PERSON OF THE ACCUSED[8]
1), and docketed as Criminal Case No. 98-166147.[1] In support of the foregoing, petitioners argue that the fiscal should have dismissed
Some time in May 1997, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted an Weltss complaint because under the rules, the complaint must be sworn to before
investigation pursuant to a complaint by the NBA Properties, Inc., against the prosecutor and the copy on record appears to be only a fax transmittal.[9] They
petitioners for possible violation of Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code on unfair also contend that complainant is a foreign corporation not doing business in the
competition. In its Report dated June 4, 1997, the NBI stated that NBA Properties, Philippines, and cannot be protected by Philippine patent laws since it is not a
Inc., is a foreign corporation organized under the laws of the United States of registered patentee. Petitioners aver that they have been using the business name
America, and is the registered owner of NBA trademarks and names of NBA ALLANDALE SPORTSLINE, INC. since 1972, and their designs are original and
basketball teams such as USA BASKETBALL, CHICAGO BULLS, ORLANDO do not appear to be similar to complainants, and they do not use complainants
MAGIC, LOS ANGELES LAKERS, ROCKETS, PHOENIX SUNS, BULLETS, logo or design.[10]
PACERS, CHARLOTTE HORNETS, BLAZERS, DENVER NUGGETS, The trial prosecutor of the RTC-Manila (Branch 1), Jaime M. Guray, filed his
SACRAMENTO KINGS, MIAMI HEAT, UTAH JAZZ, DETROIT PISTONS, Comment/Opposition to the motion to quash, stating that he has the original copy
MILWAUKEE BUCKS, SEATTLE SONICS, TORONTO RAPTORS, ATLANTA of the complaint, and that complainant has an attorney-in-fact to represent it.
HAWKS, CAVS, DALLAS MAVERICKS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES, and Prosecutor Guray also contended that the State is entitled to prosecute the offense
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS. These names are used on hosiery, footwear, t-shirts, even without the participation of the private offended party, as the crime charged
sweatshirts, tank tops, pajamas, sport shirts, and other garment products, which is a public crime.[11]
are allegedly registered with the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology The trial court sustained the prosecutions arguments and denied petitioners
Transfer. The Report further stated that during the investigation, it was discovered motion to quash in its Order dated March 5, 1999.[12]
that petitioners are engaged in the manufacture, printing, sale, and distribution of Petitioners filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals (CA)
counterfeit NBA garment products. Hence, it recommended petitioners docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 52151 which was dismissed per its Decision dated
prosecution for unfair competition under Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code.[2] January 26, 2000.[13] According to the CA, the petition is not the proper remedy in
In a Special Power of Attorney dated October 7, 1997, Rick Welts, as President of assailing a denial of a motion to quash, and that the grounds raised therein should
NBA Properties, Inc., constituted the law firm of Ortega, Del Castillo, Bacorro, be raised during the trial of the case on the merits.[14] The dispositive portion of
Odulio, Calma & Carbonell, as the companys attorney-in-fact, and to act for and the assailed Decision reads:
on behalf of the company, in the filing of criminal, civil and administrative WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for certiorari is hereby
complaints, among others.[3] The Special Power of Attorney was notarized by DISMISSED. Respondent court is hereby ordered to conduct further proceedings
Nicole Brown of New York County and certified by Norman Goodman, County with dispatch in Criminal Case No. 98-166147.
Clerk and Clerk of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Consul Cecilia B. SO ORDERED.[15]
Rebong of the Consulate General of the Philippines, New York, authenticated the Petitioners sought reconsideration of the Decision but this was denied by the
certification.[4] Welts also executed a Complaint-Affidavit on February 12, 1998, CA.[16]
before Notary Public Nicole J. Brown of the State of New York.[5] Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Thereafter, in a Resolution dated July 15, 1998, Prosecution Attorney Aileen Marie Court, with issues raised as follows:
S. Gutierrez recommended the filing of an Information against petitioners for 1. WHETHER A FOREIGN CORPORATION NOT ENGAGED AND LICENSE
violation of Article 189 of the Revised Penal Code.[6] The accusatory portion of the (sic) TO DO BUSINESS IN THE PHILIPPINES MAY MAINTAIN A CAUSE OF
Information reads: ACTION FOR UNFAIR COMPETITION.
That on or about May 9, 1997 and on dates prior thereto, in the City of Manila, 2. WHETHER AN OFFICER OF A FOREIGN CORPORATION MAY ACT IN
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above named BEHALF OF A CORPORATION WITHOUT AUTHORITY FROM ITS BOARD OF
accused ALLANDALE SASOT and MELBAROSE SASOT of Allandale DIRECTORS.
Sportslines, Inc., did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
3. WHETHER A FOREIGN CORPORATION NOT ENGAGED IN BUSINESS AND b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or
WHOSE EMBLEM IT SOUGHT TO PROTECT IS NOT IN ACTUAL USE IS the person of the accused;
ENTITLED TO THE PROTECTION OF THE PHILIPPINE LAW. c) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
4. WHETHER THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT CORRECTLY d) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
ASSUMED JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE AND THE PERSONS OF THE e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing
ACCUSED. laws prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;
5. WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF f) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED g) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or
THE PETITION.[17] justification; and
Petitioners reiterate the argument that the complaint filed by Rick Welts of the NBA h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being
Properties, Inc., is defective and should have been dismissed by the fiscal convicted, or acquitted of the offense charged.
because it should have been personally sworn to by the complainant before the Nowhere in the foregoing provision is there any mention of the defect in the
investigating prosecutor. They also reiterate the claim that Welts failed to show complaint filed before the fiscal and the complainants capacity to sue as grounds
any board resolution showing his authority to institute any action in behalf of the for a motion to quash.
company, and that the NBAs trademarks are not being actually used in the For another, under Section 3, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure,
Philippines, hence, they are of public dominion and cannot be protected by a complaint is substantially sufficient if it states the known address of the
Philippine patent laws. Petitioners further contend that they have not committed respondent, it is accompanied by complainants affidavit and his witnesses and
acts amounting to unfair competition.[18] supporting documents, and the affidavits are sworn to before any fiscal, state
The Office of the Solicitor General appeared in behalf of the People, and filed its prosecutor or government official authorized to administer oath, or in their absence
Amended Comment to the petition, praying for its dismissal, arguing that the CA or unavailability, a notary public who must certify that he personally examined the
did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the petition for reasons affiants and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their
stated in its Decision dated January 26, 2000.[19] affidavits. All these have been duly satisfied in the complaint filed before
The petition must be denied. Prosecution Attorney Aileen Marie S. Gutierrez. It must be noted that even the
The Court has consistently held that a special civil action for certiorari is not the absence of an oath in the complaint does not necessarily render it invalid.[24] Want
proper remedy to assail the denial of a motion to quash an information.[20] The of oath is a mere defect of form, which does not affect the substantial rights of the
proper procedure in such a case is for the accused to enter a plea, go to trial defendant on the merits.[25]
without prejudice on his part to present the special defenses he had invoked in his In this case, Weltss Complaint-Affidavit contains an acknowledgement by Notary
motion to quash and, if after trial on the merits, an adverse decision is rendered, Public Nicole Brown of the State of New York that the same has been subscribed
to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law.[21] Thus, petitioners should and sworn to before her on February 12, 1998,[26] duly authenticated by the
not have forthwith filed a special civil action for certiorari with the CA and instead, Philippine Consulate. While the copy on record of the complaint-affidavit appears
they should have gone to trial and reiterate the special defenses contained in their to be merely a photocopy thereof, Prosecution Attorney Gutierrez stated that
motion to quash. There are no special or exceptional circumstances[22] in the complainants representative will present the authenticated notarized original in
present case such that immediate resort to a filing of a petition for certiorari should court,[27] and Prosecutor Guray manifested that the original copy is already on
be permitted. Clearly, the CA did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in hand.[28] It is apt to state at this point that the prosecutor enjoys the legal
dismissing the petition. presumption of regularity in the performance of his duties and functions, which in
Moreover, the Court does not find any justification for the quashal of the turn gives his report the presumption of accuracy.[29]
Information filed against petitioners. Moreover, records show that there are other supporting documents from which
For one, while petitioners raise in their motion to quash the grounds that the facts the prosecutor based his recommendation, to wit:
charged do not constitute an offense and that the trial court has no jurisdiction (1) The NBI Report dated June 4, 1997, containing an account of the investigation
over the offense charged or the person of the accused,[23] their arguments focused conducted from April 30, 1997 to May 9, 1997, and the subsequent search and
on an alleged defect in the complaint filed before the fiscal, complainants capacity seizure of several items from petitioners establishment;[30]
to sue and petitioners exculpatory defenses against the crime of unfair (2) The letter dated May 8, 1997 from the law firm of Ortega, Del Castillo, Bacorro,
competition. Odulio, Calma & Carbonell to the NBI, seeking assistance in stopping the illegal
Section 3, Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which was then in manufacture, distribution and sale of fake products bearing the NBA trademark,
force at the time the alleged criminal acts were committed, enumerates the and in prosecuting the proprietors of aforesaid factory;[31] and
grounds for quashing an information, to wit: (3) The Joint Affidavit executed by Rechie D. Malicse and Dalisay P. Bal-ot of the
a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense; Pinkerton Consulting Services (Phils.) Inc., which was certified to by Prosecution
Attorney Gutierrez, attesting to their findings that petitioners were found to be
manufacturing, printing, selling, and distributing counterfeit NBA garment Puno, (Chairman), Callejo, Sr., Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
products.[32]
Consequently, if the information is valid on its face, and there is no showing of
manifest error, grave abuse of discretion and prejudice on the part of public
prosecutor, as in the present case, the trial court should respect such
determination.[33]
More importantly, the crime of Unfair Competition punishable under Article 189 of
the Revised Penal Code[34] is a public crime. It is essentially an act against the
State and it is the latter which principally stands as the injured party. The
complainants capacity to sue in such case becomes immaterial.
In La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. vs. Fernandez,[35] a case akin to the present dispute,
as it involved the crime of Unfair Competition under Article 189 of the Revised
Penal Code, and the quashal of search warrants issued against manufacturers of
garments bearing the same trademark as that of the petitioner, the Court
succinctly ruled that:
More important is the nature of the case which led to this petition. What preceded
this petition for certiorari was a letter-complaint filed before the NBI charging
Hemandas with a criminal offense, i.e., violation of Article 189 of the Revised
Penal Code. If prosecution follows after the completion of the preliminary
investigation being conducted by the Special Prosecutor the information
shall be in the name of the People of the Philippines and no longer the
petitioner which is only an aggrieved party since a criminal offense is
essentially an act against the State. It is the latter which is principally the
injured party although there is a private right violated. Petitioner's capacity
to sue would become, therefore, of not much significance in the main case.
We cannot allow a possible violator of our criminal statutes to escape prosecution
upon a far-fetched contention that the aggrieved party or victim of a crime has no D. THAT THE OFFICER WHO FILED THE INFORMATION HAD NO
standing to sue. AUTHORITY TO DO SO:
In upholding the right of the petitioner to maintain the present suit before our courts
for unfair competition or infringement of trademarks of a foreign corporation, we
are moreover recognizing our duties and the rights of foreign states under the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. ZEIDA AURORA B.
Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property to which the Philippines GARFIN, In her capacity as Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 19, of the City
and France are parties. We are simply interpreting and enforcing a solemn of Naga and SERAFIN SABALLEGUE, respondents.
international commitment of the Philippines embodied in a multilateral treaty to DECISION
which we are a party and which we entered into because it is in our national PUNO, J:
interest to do so.[36] (Emphasis supplied) For determination in this petition is a question in procedural law - - - whether an
Lastly, with regard to petitioners arguments that the NBA Properties, Inc., is not information filed by a state prosecutor without the prior written authority or
entitled to protection under Philippine patent laws since it is not a registered approval of the city or provincial prosecutor or chief state prosecutor should be
patentee, that they have not committed acts amounting to unfair competition for dismissed after the accused has entered his plea under the information.
the reason that their designs are original and do not appear to be similar to Petitioner comes before us with a petition for certiorari and mandamus under Rule
complainants, and they do not use complainants logo or design, the Court finds 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, seeking to declare as null and void the Orders
that these are matters of defense that are better ventilated and resolved during issued by the Regional Trial Court of Naga City, Branch 19 dated February 26,
trial on the merits of the case. 2002[1] and April 3, 2002[2] which dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the case of
WHERFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Let the records of People vs. Serafin Saballegue, Criminal Case No. RTC 2001-0597, and denied
this case be REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 24) where petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Criminal Case No. 98-166147 is presently assigned, for further proceedings with The antecedent facts are undisputed.
reasonable dispatch.
SO ORDERED.
On June 22, 2001, private respondent was charged with violation of Section 22(a) After considering the respective arguments raised by the parties, the Court
in relation to Sections 19(b) and 28(e) of Republic Act No. 8282, otherwise known believes and so resolves that the Information has not been filed in accordance
as the Social Security Act, in an information which reads: with Section 4, par. 3 of Rule 112 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, thus:
The undersigned State Prosecutor of the Office of the Regional State Prosecutor, Rule 112, Section 4 x x x x x x
Legazpi City, accuses SERAFIN SABALLEGUE, as proprietor of Saballegue No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating
Printing Press with business address at 16 San Mateo St., Peafrancia Ave., Naga prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or city
City for Violation of Section 22(a) in relation to Sections 19(b) and 28(e) of R.A. prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy.
8282 otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 1997, committed as follows: Expresio unius est exclusio alterius.
That on or about February 1990 and up to the present, in the City of Naga, The Information will readily show that it has not complied with this rule as it has
Philippines, within the functional jurisdiction of SSS Naga Branch and the territorial not been approved by the City Prosecutor.
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above named accused, while being the This Court holds that the defendants plea to the Information is not a waiver to file
proprietor of Saballegue Printing Press, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and a motion to dismiss or to quash on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. By express
criminally refuse and fail and continuously refuse and fail to remit the premiums provision of the rules and by a long line of decisions, questions of want of
due for his employee to the SSS in the amount of SIX THOUSAND FIVE jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings (People vs. Eduarte,
HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE PESOS (P6,533.00), Philippine Currency, 182 SCRA 750).
representing SSS and EC premiums for the period from January 1990 to The Supreme Court in Villa vs. Ibaez (88 Phil 402) dwelt on lack of authority of the
December 1999 (n.i.), and the 3% penalty per month for late remittance in the officer who filed the information and on jurisdiction at the same time, pertinent
amount of ELEVEN THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FORTY-THREE PESOS and portions run as follows:
28/100 (P11,143.28) computed as of 15 March 2000, despite lawful demands by The defendant had pleaded to the information before he filed a motion to quash,
letter in violation of the above-cited provisions of the law, to the damage and and it is contended that by his plea he waived all objections to the information.
prejudice of the SSS and the public in general. The contention is correct as far as formal objections to the pleadings are
CONTRARY TO LAW. concerned. But by clear implication, if not by express provision of section 10 of
Legazpi City for Naga City. 22 June 2001. Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, and by a long line of uniform decisions, questions
(sgd.) ROMULO SJ. TOLENTINO of want of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. Now, the
State Prosecutor objection to the respondents actuations goes to the very foundations of
Special Prosecutor on SSS Cases jurisdiction. It is a valid information signed by a competent officer which, among
in Region V[3] other requisites, confers jurisdiction on the court over the person of the accused
The information contains a certification signed by State Prosecutor Romulo SJ. and the subject matter of the accusation. In consonance with this view, an infirmity
Tolentino which states: of the nature noted in the information cannot be cured by silence, acquiescence,
I hereby certify that the required investigation in this case has been conducted by or even by express consent.
the undersigned Special Prosecutor in accordance with law and under oath as Prosecutor Tolentino also contends that having been duly designated to assist the
officer of the court, that there is reasonable ground to believe that the offense has City Prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of all SSS cases by the
been committed, that the accused is probably guilty thereof and that the filing of Regional State prosecutor as alter ego of the Secretary of Justice in Region V,
the information is with the prior authority and approval of the Regional State then that authority may be given to other than the City Prosecutor. The Court finds
Prosecutor.[4] this contention to be devoid of merit. The Regional State Prosecutor is not the alter
The case was raffled to Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of Naga City ego of the Secretary of Justice but a mere subordinate official and if ever the
presided by respondent judge Hon. Zeida Aurora B. Garfin. On September 24, former files cases, it is by virtue of a delegated authority by the Secretary of
2001, accused Serafin Saballegue pleaded not guilty to the charge and the case Justice. Potestas delegada non potesta delegare (sic) what has been delegated
was set for pre-trial.[5] Three days thereafter, the accused filed a motion to cannot be redelegated.
dismiss[6] on the ground that the information was filed without the prior written In his opposition, the state prosecutor also attached a memorandum dated June
authority or approval of the city prosecutor as required under Section 4, Rule 112 22, 2001 by Regional State Prosecutor Santiago M. Turingan addressed to
of the Revised Rules of Court.[7] Provincial Prosecutor and City Prosecutors of Region V directing them to inhibit
The People, through State Prosecutor Tolentino, filed an opposition,[8] against and to append the following NOTATION after the certification in the Information
which the accused filed a rejoinder.[9] The People filed a reply to the rejoinder[10] for filing.
on December 21, 2001. A rejoinder to the reply[11] was filed by the accused on NOTATION: The herein City/Provincial Prosecutor is inhibiting from this case and
January 21, 2002. the Special Prosecution Team on SSS Cases in Region V is authorized to dispose
After considering the arguments raised, the trial court granted the motion to of the case without my approval in view of the request for inhibition of the SSS
dismiss in its first questioned Order dated February 26, 2002, to wit: Regional Manager as granted by the Regional State Prosecutor.
A perusal of the Information, however, would readily show that nowhere in the of the information is mandated under Section 4, Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal
Information has the City Prosecutor of Naga City appended the above-quoted Procedure.
notation/inhibition. At most, the authority of the special prosecutor is only for the Private respondent contends that:[21] 1) the instant petition was filed out of time;
conduct of preliminary investigations and the prosecution of cases after they are 2) the special State Prosecutor is only authorized to conduct preliminary
filed. The Court, however, believes that the filing of this Information must be in investigation and prosecution of SSS cases and not to sign the information; and
conformity with the Rules on Criminal Procedure, particularly Section 4 of Rule 3) the City Prosecutor did not expressly inhibit himself from handling SSS cases
112. nor signing the information.
WHEREFORE, premises considered and for lack of jurisdiction, the Court hereby We shall first resolve the procedural issues. Respondent contends that the motion
resolves to DISMISS this case without pronouncement as to cost. for reconsideration filed on April 1, 2002 is late because it was filed eighteen days
SO ORDERED.[12] after March 14, 2002, the date when petitioner received the first questioned order.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by the People contending that as a special Respondent has overlooked that the 15th day after March 14 is a Good Friday.
prosecutor designated by the regional state prosecutor to handle SSS cases Hence, petitioners last day to file the motion for reconsideration was on the next
within Region V, State Prosecutor Tolentino is authorized to file the information working day after Good Friday, April 1.[22]
involving violations of the SSS law without need of prior approval from the city Next, respondent argues that having been considered as a mere scrap of paper,
prosecutor. [13] Letters of commendation from Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito the motion for reconsideration of the petitioner did not toll the running of the
Zuo[14] and Secretary Hernando Perez[15] were offered as proof to show that State reglementary period. Respondent, however, erroneously assumes that the
Prosecutor Tolentinos authority to file the information was recognized. In present case is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. As stated at the outset, this
response, the defense pointed out in its opposition that the motion for is an original petition for certiorari and mandamus under Rule 65.
reconsideration lacked a notice of hearing, hence it is pro forma or a mere scrap Sec. 2, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court is clear. It provides that (a) pro forma motion
of paper. [16] for new trial or reconsideration shall not toll the reglementary period of appeal.
On April 3, 2002, respondent judge issued the second questioned Order which (emphases supplied) Hence, the same provision has no application in the case at
reads: bar.
Acting upon the Motion for Reconsideration filed by State Prosecutor Romulo SJ. The reckoning date is the receipt of the second questioned Order and not the
Tolentino, Special Prosecutor on SSS cases in Region V, and it appearing that receipt of the first. Section 4, Rule 65, as amended by En Banc Resolution A.M.
the same has failed to comply with the requirement of notice prescribed in No. 00-2-03-SC, September 1, 2000, provides, viz:
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, the same is hereby DENIED for Sec. 4. When and where petition filed.-- The petition may be filed not later than
being a mere scrap of paper. sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion
SO ORDERED.[17] for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or
Hence, this petition by the People through Regional State Prosecutor Santiago not, the sixty (60)- day period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said
Turingan and State Prosecutor Romulo SJ. Tolentino. Petitioner attributes grave motion.
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of xxxxxxxxx
respondent judge, viz:[18] As shown by the records, petitioner received the first questioned order dated
1. RESPONDENT JUDGE DISMISSED THE INFORMATION WITHOUT THE February 26, 2002 on March 14, 2002.[23] A motion for reconsideration was timely
REQUIRED SUPPORTING FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASES; filed on April 1, 2002[24] which was dismissed for lack of notice of hearing in an
2. RESPONDENT JUDGE DELIBERATELY AND CAPRICIOUSLY IGNORED Order dated April 3, 2002.[25] This second questioned order was received by
THE PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN FAVOR OF THE PROSECUTION petitioner on April 11, 2002.[26] A motion for extension of time to file a petition for
WITHOUT THE REQUIRED SUFFICIENCY OF REBUTTAL EVIDENCE. THE review on certiorari was filed on April 18, 2002.[27] A motion for leave to file and
WORD MAY IN SEC. 4, RULE 112 OF THE RULES OF COURT IS NOT admit the instant petition for certiorari and mandamus was filed on May 29,
MANDATORY; 2002.[28] Having been filed within the reglementary period, petitioners motion for
3. RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ERROR IN DELIBERATELY leave to file the instant petition was granted in this Courts Resolution dated July
IGNORING THE JUDICIALLY KNOWN INHIBITION OF THE CITY 15, 2002.[29]
PROSECUTOR AND THE SETTLED JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER; We now come to the other issue: whether the prior written authority and approval
4. RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ABUSED HER DISCRETION IN of the city or provincial prosecutor or chief state prosecutor is necessary in filing
INTERFERING WITH THE PURELY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION OF FILING AN the information at bar.
INFORMATION BY RULING ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE FILING OFFICER Petitioner takes the unbending view that the approval of the city or provincial
TO FILE THE INFORMATION. prosecutor is no longer required. It is contended that the Regional State
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its comment[19] in compliance with Prosecutor has already directed the city or provincial prosecutor to inhibit from
this Courts Resolution dated September 23, 2002.[20] It opines that the dismissal handling SSS cases.[30] Petitioner cites the letter of Regional State Prosecutor
Santiago M. Turingan to SSS Regional Director in Naga City dated June 6, 1997[31] priorities in the execution of plans and programs; and prescribe standards,
and copies of Regional Orders No. 97-024-A[32] and 2001-033[33] dated July 14, guidelines, plans and programs.[37]
1997 and September 28, 2001, respectively, showing the designation of State The Regional State Prosecutor is clearly vested only with the power of
Prosecutor Tolentino as special prosecutor for SSS cases in Region V. Petitioner administrative supervision. As administrative supervisor, he has no power to direct
relies on Galvez, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al.[34] and Sanchez v. Demetriou, the city and provincial prosecutors to inhibit from handling certain cases. At most,
et al.[35] to prop up its contention that given the designation of State Prosecutor he can request for their inhibition. Hence, the said directive of the regional state
Tolentino, the city prosecutor need not participate in the filing and prosecution of prosecutor to the city and provincial prosecutors is questionable to say the least.
the information in the case at bar. Petitioner cannot lean on the cases of Galvez and Sanchez. In those cases, the
We disagree. Under Presidential Decree No. 1275, the powers of a Regional State special prosecutors were acting under the directive of the Secretary of Justice.
Prosecutor are as follows: They were appointed in accordance with law. Nowhere in P.D. No. 1275 is the
Sec. 8. The Regional State Prosecution Office: Functions of Regional State regional state prosecutor granted the power to appoint a special prosecutor armed
Prosecutor. - The Regional State Prosecutor shall, under the control of the with the authority to file an information without the prior written authority or
Secretary of Justice, have the following functions: approval of the city or provincial prosecutor or chief state prosecutor. P.D. No.
a) Implement policies, plans, programs, memoranda, orders, circulars and rules 1275 provides the manner by which special prosecutors are appointed, to wit:
and regulations of the Department of Justice relative to the investigation and Sec. 15. Special Counsels. - Whenever the exigencies of the service require the
prosecution of criminal cases in his region. creation of positions of additional counsel to assist provincial and city fiscals
b) Exercise immediate administrative supervision over all provincial and city in the discharge of their duties, positions of Special Counsels may be
fiscals and other prosecuting officers of provinces and cities comprised within his created by any province or city, subject to the approval of the Secretary of
region. Justice, and with salaries chargeable against provincial or city funds. The
c) Prosecute any case arising within the region. Secretary of Justice shall appoint said Special Counsels, upon
d) With respect to his regional office and the offices of the provincial and city fiscals recommendation of the provincial or city fiscal and regional state
within his region, he shall: prosecutors concerned, either on permanent or temporary basis.
1) Appoint such member of subordinate officers and employees as may be Special Counsel shall be appointed from members of the bar and shall be allowed
necessary; and approve transfers of subordinate personnel within the jurisdiction not more than the salary rate provided in this Decree for the lowest rank or grade
of the regional office. of assistant fiscal in the province or city where assigned. (emphases supplied)
2) Investigate administrative complaints against fiscals and other prosecuting Under Department Order No. 318,[38] Defining the authority, duties and
officers within his region and submit his recommendation thereon to the Secretary responsibilities of regional state prosecutors, then Acting Secretary of Justice
of Justice who shall, after review thereof, submit the appropriate recommendation Silvestre H. Bello III ordered the appointed regional state prosecutors (which
to the Office of the President: Provided, that where the Secretary of Justice finds included Regional State Prosecutor Turingan for Region V) to, among others,
insufficient grounds for the filing of charges, he may render a decision of dismissal (i)nvestigate and/or prosecute, upon the directive of the Secretary of Justice,
thereof. specific criminal cases filed within the region. (emphasis supplied)
3) Investigate administrative complaints against subordinate personnel of the In the case at bar, there is no pretense that a directive was issued by the Secretary
region and submit his recommendations thereon to the Secretary of Justice who of Justice to Regional State Prosecutor Turingan to investigate and/or prosecute
shall have the authority to render decision thereon. (emphases supplied) SSS cases filed within his territorial jurisdiction. A bare reading of the alleged letter
The power of administrative supervision is limited to the authority of the of commendation by then Secretary Hernando Perez would show that it does not
department or its equivalent to generally oversee the operations of such agencies amount to a directive or even a recognition of this authority. In fact, while the letter
and to insure that they are managed effectively, efficiently and economically but of Secretary Perez commends the efforts of Regional State Prosecutor Turingan
without interference with day-to-day activities; or require the submission of reports in successfully prosecuting SSS cases, it also negates his authority to prosecute
and cause the conduct of management audit, performance evaluation and them. Secretary Perez called the Regional State Prosecutors attention to DOJ
inspection to determine compliance with policies, standards and guidelines of the Circular No. 27, series of 2001, which states that all important cases of the SSS
department; to take such action as may be necessary for the proper performance should be referred to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.[39] Thus,
of official functions, including rectification of violations, abuses and other forms of Regional State Prosecutor Turingan cannot be considered a special prosecutor
maladministration; and to review and pass upon budget proposals of such within the meaning of the law.
agencies but may not increase or add to them.[36] This is distinguished from the Petitioner argues that the word may is permissive. Hence, there are cases when
power of supervision and control which includes the authority to act directly prior written approval is not required, and this is one such instance. This is too
whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to a subordinate; simplistic an interpretation. Whether the word may is mandatory or directory
direct the performance of duty; restrain the commission of acts; review, approve, depends on the context of its use. We agree with the OSG that the use of the
reverse or modify acts and decisions of subordinate officials or units; determine permissive word may should be read together with the other provisions in the
same section of the Rule. The paragraph immediately preceding the quoted infirmity in the information that prevented the court from acquiring jurisdiction over
provision shows that the word may is mandatory. It states: the case. Since lack of jurisdiction is a defect that may be raised as an objection
Sec. 4, Rule 112. x x x anytime even after arraignment, the respondent judge did not err in granting the
Within five (5) days from his resolution, he (investigating prosecutor) shall forward motion to dismiss based on this ground. As basis, they cite the case of Villa v.
the record of the case to the provincial or city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor, Ibaez, et al.[40] where we held, viz:
or to the Ombudsman or his deputy in cases of offenses cognizable by the The defendant had pleaded to an information before he filed a motion to quash,
Sandiganbayan in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. They shall act on the and it is contended that by his plea he waived all objections to the informations.
resolution within ten (10) days from their receipt thereof and shall immediately The contention is correct as far as formal objections to the pleadings are
inform the parties of such action. (emphasis supplied) concerned. But by clear implication, if not by express provision of section 10 of
Having settled that the prior authority and approval of the city, provincial or chief Rule 113 of the Rules of Court (now Section 9 of Rule 117), and by a long line of
state prosecutor should have been obtained, we shall now resolve the more uniform decisions, questions of want of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of
important issue: whether the lack of prior written approval of the city, provincial or the proceeding. Now, the objection to the respondents actuations goes to the
chief state prosecutor in the filing of an information is a defect in the information very foundation of the jurisdiction. It is a valid information signed by a
that is waived if not raised as an objection before arraignment. competent officer which, among other requisites, confers jurisdiction on the
We hold that it is not. court over the person of the accused and the subject matter of the
The provisions in the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure that demand accusation. In consonance with this view, an infirmity in the information
illumination are Sections 3 and 9 of Rule 117 in relation to paragraph 3, Section 4 cannot be cured by silence, acquiescence, or even by express consent.[41]
of Rule 112, to wit: (emphasis supplied)
Rule 117, Section 3. Grounds.The accused may move to quash the complaint or The case of Villa is authority for the principle that lack of authority on the part of
information on any of the following grounds: the filing officer prevents the court from acquiring jurisdiction over the case.
(a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense; Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law while jurisdiction over the
(b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; case is invested by the act of plaintiff and attaches upon the filing of the complaint
(c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the or information.[42] Hence, while a court may have jurisdiction over the subject
accused; matter, like a violation of the SSS Law, it does not acquire jurisdiction over the
(d) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so; case itself until its jurisdiction is invoked with the filing of the information.
(e) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form; In the United States, an information has been held as a jurisdictional requirement
(f) That more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for upon which a defendant stands trial. Thus, it has been ruled that in the absence
various offenses is prescribed by law; of probable cause, the court lacks jurisdiction to try the criminal offense.[43] In our
(g) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished; jurisdiction, we have similarly held that:
(h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or While the choice of the court where to bring an action, where there are two or more
justification; and courts having concurrent jurisdiction thereon, is a matter of procedure and not
(i) That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense jurisdiction, as suggested by appellant, the moment such choice has been
charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without exercised, the matter becomes jurisdictional. Such choice is deemed made
his express consent. when the proper complaint or information is filed with the court having
xxx xxx xxx jurisdiction over the crime, and said court acquires jurisdiction over the
Section 9. Failure to move to quash or to allege any ground therefor.The failure of person of the defendant, from which time the right and power of the court to
the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the try the accused attaches. (citations omitted) It is not for the defendant to
complaint or information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed exercise that choice, which is lodged upon those who may validly file or
to allege the same in said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any objections subscribe to the complaint or information under sections 2 and 3 of Rule
except those based on the grounds provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (g), and (i) 106 of the Rules of Court. [44] (emphasis supplied)
of section 3 of this Rule. (emphasis supplied) A closer look at Villa would be useful in resolving the issue at hand. In that case,
Rule 112, Section 4, paragraph 3 provides, viz: Atty. Abelardo Subido, Chief of the Division of Investigation in the Office of the
No complaint or information may be filed or dismissed by an investigating Mayor of Manila, was appointed by the Secretary of Justice as special counsel to
prosecutor without the prior written authority or approval of the provincial or assist the City Fiscal of Manila in the cases involving city government officials or
city prosecutor or chief state prosecutor or the Ombudsman or his deputy. employees. Pursuant to his appointment, Atty. Subido filed an information against
(emphasis supplied) Pedro Villa for falsification of a payroll. Atty. Subidos authority to file the
Private respondent and the OSG take the position that the lack of prior authority information was challenged on the ground that he was disqualified for appointment
or approval by the city or provincial prosecutor or chief state prosecutor is an
under Section 1686 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Section the crime alleged in the information was not among those which PCGG was
4 of Commonwealth Act No. 144, to wit: authorized to investigate under Executive Orders No. 1 and 14 of then President
SEC. 1686. Additional counsel to assist fiscal. The Secretary of Justice may Corazon Aquino and ruled that the information was null and void. Of similar import
appoint any lawyer, being either a subordinate from his office or a competent is Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan, et al.[47] where we ruled that the information
person not in the public service, temporarily to assist a fiscal or prosecuting having been filed by an unauthorized party (the PCGG), the information was fatally
attorney in the discharge of his duties, and with the same authority therein as might flawed. We noted that this defect is not a mere remediable defect of form, but a
be exercised by the Attorney General or Solicitor General.[45] defect that could not be cured.
We held, viz: In Cudia v. Court of Appeals, et al.,[48] we also reiterated the Villa ruling. The
Appointments by the Secretary of Justice in virtue of the foregoing provisions of accused in that case was apprehended in Mabalacat, Pampanga for illegal
the Revised Administrative Code, as amended, were upheld in Lo Cham vs. possession of firearms and was brought to Angeles City where the headquarters
Ocampo et al., 44 Official Gazette, 458, and Go Cam et al., vs. Gatmaitan et al., of the arresting officers was located. The City Prosecutor of Angeles City filed an
(47 Official Gazette, 5092). But in those cases, the appointees were officials or information in the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City. We invalidated the
employees in one or another of the bureaus or offices under the Department of information filed by the City Prosecutor because he had no territorial jurisdiction,
Justice, and were rightly considered subordinates in the office of the Secretary of as the offense was committed in Mabalacat, Pampanga and his territorial
Justice within the meaning of section 1686, ante. jurisdiction was only in Angeles City. We held that an information, when required
The case at bar does not come within the rationale of the above decisions. by law to be filed by a public prosecuting officer, cannot be filed by another.[49]
Attorney Subido is a regular officer or employee in the Department of Interior, more Otherwise, the court does not acquire jurisdiction.[50] It is a valid information signed
particularly in the City Mayors office. For this reason, he belongs to the class of by a competent officer which, among other requisites, confers jurisdiction on the
persons disqualified for appointment to the post of special counsel. court over the person of the accused and the subject matter thereof. The accuseds
That to be eligible as special counsel to aid a fiscal the appointee must be either plea to an information may be a waiver of all formal objections to the said
an employee or officer in the Department of Justice is so manifest from a bare information but not when there is want of jurisdiction. Questions relating to lack of
reading of section 1686 of the Revised Administrative Code as to preclude jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceeding. An infirmity in the
construction. And the limitation of the range of choice in the appointment or information, such as lack of authority of the officer signing it, cannot be cured by
designation is not without reason. silence, acquiescence, or even by express consent.[51]
The obvious reason is to have appointed only lawyers over whom the Secretary Despite modifications of the provisions on unauthorized filing of information
of Justice can exercise exclusive and absolute power of supervision. An appointee contained in the 1940 Rules of Criminal Procedure under which Villa was decided,
from a branch of the government outside the Department of Justice would owe the 1951 Villa ruling continues to be the prevailing case law on the matter.[52]
obedience to, and be subject to orders by, mutually independent superiors having, The 1940 Rules of Court provided in Rule 113, Section 10 that, if the defendant
possibly, antagonistic interests. Referring particularly to the case at hand for fails to move to quash the complaint or information before he pleads thereto, he
illustration, Attorney Subido could be recalled or his time and attention be required shall be taken to have waived all objections which are grounds for a motion to
elsewhere by the Secretary of Interior or the City Mayor while he was discharging quash except (1) when the complaint or information does not charge an offense
his duties as public prosecutor, and the Secretary of Justice would be helpless to or (2) the court is without jurisdiction of the same. (emphasis ours) Among the
stop such recall or interference. An eventuality or state of affairs so undesirable, enumerated grounds for a motion to quash under Section 2 of the same Rule was
not to say detrimental to the public service and specially the administration of (t)hat the fiscal has no authority to file the information. With only the above two
justice, the Legislature wisely intended to avoid. exceptions provided by the 1940 Rules, the Court nevertheless made the Villa
The application of the 1951 Villa ruling is not confined to instances where the ruling that if the filing officer lacks authority to file the information, jurisdiction is
person who filed the information is disqualified from being a special prosecutor not conferred on the court and this infirmity cannot be cured by silence or waiver,
under Section 1686 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended, but has acquiescence, or even by express consent.
been extended to various cases where the information was filed by an The 1940 Rules of Court was amended in 1964. With only minimal changes
unauthorized officer as in the case at bar. In Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, et introduced, the 1964 Rules of Court contained provisions on unauthorized filing of
al.,[46] the Court held that it is a fundamental principle that when on its face the information similar to the above provisions of the 1940 Rules.[53]
information is null and void for lack of authority to file the same, it cannot be cured Then came the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. Lack of authority of the officer
nor resurrected by amendment. In that case, the Presidential Commission on who filed the information was also a ground for a motion to quash under these
Good Government (PCGG) conducted an investigation and filed an information rules. The 1985 Rules also provided for waiver of the grounds for a motion to
with the Sandiganbayan against petitioner Roman Cruz, Jr. charging him with graft quash under Rule 117, Section 8, but enumerated the following exceptions to the
and corruption. The petitioner sought to quash the information on the ground that waiver: (a) the facts charged do not constitute an offense; (b) the court trying the
the crime charged did not constitute a Marcos crony related crime over which the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or the person of the accused;
PCGG had authority to investigate and file an information. The Court found that (c) the criminal action or liability has been extinguished; and (d) the accused has
been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted, or acquitted of the MARICEL PERU DESUYO was sleeping beside her younger sister Aisalyn
offense charged. Apparently, the want of jurisdiction under the 1985 Rules refers one late night in September 1996 when she was awakened by someone caressing
to jurisdiction over the offense and the person, and not over the case as in Villa her breasts. She opened her eyes and saw her father, accused Antonio Desuyo,
where the court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case for lack of authority of crouching before her. He was naked except for his underpants to cover his private
the officer who filed the information. Still, despite the enumeration, the Court parts. Instinctively, she begged her father not to touch her, reminding him that she
continued to apply the Villa ruling as shown in the afore-cited Cruz and Cudia was his daughter. But he paid no heed; instead, he removed her underwear while
cases. threatening to kill her should she make any noise. He mounted her, forced his
The 1985 Rules was amended in 2000. The 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal penis into her vagina and gyrated his hips against hers. She wept as she continued
Procedure also provide for lack of authority of the filing officer as among the to beg him to desist from his fiendish assault on her virtue. Meanwhile, Maricel did
grounds for a motion to quash and the waiver of these grounds. Similar to the not tell her mother about the incident; instead, she kept the ignominy and pain to
1985 Rules, the Revised Rules enumerate the exceptions from the waiver, herself.
namely: (a) that the facts charged do not constitute an offense; (b) that the court Maricel's mother worked as a housekeeper in a faraway town and she did
trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; (c) that the criminal not want to give her any trouble. Neither did she inform her relatives who lived
action or liability has been extinguished; and (d) that the accused has been nearby. She feared for her life as her father had threatened to kill her should she
previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him speak to anyone about what he had done to her.
was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. Under the The accused would repeat his sexual molestation of Maricel almost
regime of the 2000 Revised Rules, we reiterated the Villa ruling in the above- everyday from September 1996 to August 1997. His assaults on her virtue were
cited Romualdez case. With the enumeration of the four exceptions, which was always followed by threats on her that she would be killed should she report these
almost a replica of the enumeration in the 1985 Rules, the 2000 Rules did not to her mother. The sexual abuses of her father were so often that Maricel lost
intend to abandon Villa. The Villa ruling subsisted alongside the enumerated count.
exceptions under the 1985 Rules, and it remains to do so under the enumerated On 14 August 1997, early dawn, as Maricel had been already accustomed
exceptions under the 2000 Rules. Neither the Rationale of the 2000 Revised Rules to, she would be roused from her sleep by her father fondling her private parts.
of Criminal Procedure nor the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee on the Again, he undressed her and unleashed his lechery on her. It was meant to be the
Revision of the Rules of Court evinces any intent to abandon the doctrine last. In her young and impressionable mind, Maricel vowed that it would not
enunciated in Villa. happen to her again.
In sum, we hold that, in the absence of a directive from the Secretary of Justice On 18 August 1997 Maricel summoned enough courage to relate her
designating State Prosecutor Tolentino as Special Prosecutor for SSS cases or a ordeal to a police officer who lived nearby. She bravely narrated to Police Officer
prior written approval of the information by the provincial or city prosecutor, the Tito Ganggalang and his wife Riza her sordid tale which was actually a
information in Criminal Case No. RTC 2001-0597 was filed by an officer without confirmation of what was already circulating around their neighborhood. She
authority to file the same. As this infirmity in the information constitutes a admitted that her father had been sexually abusing her for close to a year already.
jurisdictional defect that cannot be cured, the respondent judge did not err in Emboldened by the encouragement she received from sympathetic neighbors,
dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. WHEREFORE, premises considered, she next confided to Luisa Galit, Maricels maternal aunt, who could only
the petition is DENIED. The respondent courts orders dated February 26, 2002 commiserate with her.
and April 3, 2002 are AFFIRMED. Criminal Case No. RTC 2001-0597 is Forthwith, Luisa Galit accompanied Maricel to a doctor who upon
DISMISSED without prejudice to the filing of a new information by an authorized examination found Maricel to have several old hymenal lacerations in her vaginal
officer. area. Thereafter, they repaired to the municipal hall where Maricel instituted a
SO ORDERED. Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez. Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., complaint against her father, accused Antonio Desuyo, for having repeatedly
concur. raped her.
In the course of the preliminary examination conducted by the municipal
trial court judge, accused Antonio Desuyo asked forgiveness from his daughter
E. THAT IT DOES NOT CONFORM SUBSTANTIALLY TO THE PRESCRIBED and promised to leave her alone should she withdraw the charge she filed against
FORM him. Maricel vehemently refused as her father grovelled for forgiveness.[1] As a
consequence, an Information was filed against the accused Antonio Desuyo alias
"Tony" for raping his fifteen (15)-year old daughter Maricel.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANTONIO DESUYO Maricel attested in court to the truth of her accusations. According to her,
alias "TONY," accused-appellant. ever since her mother worked in a faraway town, her father was dauntless and
DECISION unrelenting in sexually abusing her night after night within the confines of their
BELLOSILLO, J.:
home. She felt pain and cried everytime her father would forcibly insert his penis charges the accused with a definite crime.[11] It is indeed too late in the day for the
into her vagina; however she kept her ordeal to herself as she was afraid of him. accused to raise this issue because objections to matters of form or substance in
After having her first menstruation she became apprehensive that she the information cannot be made for the first time on appeal. At any rate, it is settled
might get pregnant. Her father however was unperturbed and simply dismissed that the exact date of the commission of rape is not an essential element thereof
her fears by telling her not to worry. A year after the first forced coition, Maricel and need not be stated in the information.[12] The Court has sustained the following
decided to end her tribulation by unburdening her grief to neighbors who readily dates alleged in an information for rape as sufficient for purposes of complying
sympathized with her. She felt relieved after seeing her father locked up behind with the provisions of the Rules of Court, to wit: "from November 1990 up to July
bars.[2] 21, 1994,"[13] "sometime in November 1995, and some occasions prior and/or
The accused denied having raped Maricel. He affirmed however that he subsequent thereto,"[14] "on or about and sometime in the year 1988,"[15]
raised singlehandedly his two (2) daughters Maricel and Aisalyn as his wife was "sometime in the year 1987"[16] and "before and until October 15, 1994."[17] In any
serving another household in a distant town. According to him, despite his event, a review of the evidence presented by the prosecution more than
guidance, Maricel turned out to be a wayward daughter who entertained suitors at establishes the guilt of the accused for the rape of his daughter.
an early age. Once, his daughter Aisalyn confided to him that Maricel was For one, it is highly inconceivable, if not completely preposterous, that
corresponding with a boy from another barrio. He immediately searched through Maricel, a guileless barrio lass, would concoct a story of rape against her very own
her bag and found a letter intended for a certain Jerry. Incensed by his daughter's father, taking into mind the societal humiliation and personal devastation which
behavior he mauled her expecting that she would atone for her mistakes. such a charge entails. More so, no serious motive, apart from the beatings which
However, instead of mending her ways, Maricel ran away from home and instituted she supposedly suffered in the hands of the accused, was offered to satisfactorily
this unfounded charge for rape against him. He presented in evidence Maricel's explain why Maricel would come out and undergo legal scrutiny of the unfortunate
supposed letter to Jerry as well as a letter from his wife pledging her love and encounters with her father. Thus, if her testimony meets the test of credibility, the
support. He averred that Maricel was being inveigled by his sister-in-law Luisa and accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.
the latter's boyfriend Boy into tormenting him for reasons which he could not An analysis of the records reveals that Maricel testified in a straightforward,
fathom.[3] spontaneous and consistent manner. Although Maricel expounded only on the first
The trial court did not give credence to the bare denials of the accused. and last instances of rape, failing thus to give an accurate account of the other
Solely on account of Maricel's testimony, the court a quo found the accused guilty sexual violations, her testimony in its entirety was forthright, clear and free from
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of "multiple incestuous rape" and sentenced any contradictions.
him to suffer the supreme penalty of death, and to indemnify the offended party Maricel's failure to immediately inform her mother as well as her relatives
P75,000.00 as civil indemnity.[4] about her ordeal is consistent with reason. It must be remembered that Maricel
Accused Antonio Desuyo assails in his brief his conviction for "multiple depended on the accused for existence and protection as her mother lived far. As
rape" essentially on two (2) grounds, namely, that the Information is defective and to her total obedience to her father and the stoic silence she kept about her
that the court a quo erred in imposing upon him the penalty of death despite the sufferings, these were all brought about by her genuine fear of a man who on
failure of the prosecution to establish the age of Maricel with certainty.[5] account of his moral ascendancy needed no weapon to instill such terror in her.[18]
Accused avers that the Information for "multiple rape" filed against him is Maricel was convinced of a potential yet real danger posed by a beast
deficient since by merely stating that the sexual assaults were repeated "within masquerading as the family's paladin.
the month of September 1996 up to August 18, 1997,"[6] it failed to state the exact Finally, we take into consideration Antonio's admission before the trial
dates when the alleged rapes were committed. Quoting heavily from the early case court that he wrote his parents-in-law sometime in March 1998 to ask for their
of US v. Diacho,[7] accused asserts that unless he is informed of the precise "day, forgiveness. Antonio likewise acknowledged when cross-examined that he
or about the day, he may be, to an extent deprived of the opportunity to defend begged for Maricel's mercy before the municipal trial judge in the course of the
himself."[8] preliminary examination. No compelling reason was offered by the defense to
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the remedy against an indictment explain Antonio's incriminating declarations. Verily, these are judicial admissions
that fails to allege the time of commission of the offense with sufficient definiteness which no man in his right mind would make unless they were true.
is a motion for bill of particulars. The records show that the accused never asked The court a quo convicted the accused of "multiple rape" without stating
for a bill of particulars in accordance with the Revised Rules of Criminal the counts of rape involved. The records however show that the prosecution
Procedure.[9] established beyond doubt that accused was guilty of two (2) counts of rape.
The failure of the accused to move for the specification of the date when Although Maricel insists that she had been raped almost everyday from
the alleged crime was committed or for the quashal of the Information on the September 1996 to August 1997 she was only able to relate with clarity two (2) of
ground that it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form[10] deprives the rapes, the first forced coition sometime in September 1996, and the last on 14
him of the right to object to evidence which could lawfully be introduced and August 1997. She positively narrated in detail the surrounding circumstances of
admitted under an information of more or less general terms but which sufficiently the sexual assaults committed against her on those two (2) occasions. Indeed, her
recollection of these two (2) rapes was very vivid, leaving no doubt about its
credibility and truthfulness.
Prescinding from the foregoing, the guilt of the accused for two (2) counts
of rape has been conclusively established; however, the death penalty was
erroneously imposed. Under Sec. 11 of RA 7659, death shall be imposed if "the
victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent x x x of the
victim."
In the instant case, the Information charging the accused with rape alleges
that Maricel is the fourteen (14)-year old daughter of the accused. However, it is
significant to note that other than the testimony of Maricel, no independent proof
was presented to show that she was a minor and that she was the daughter of the
accused. Although Maricel's relationship with the accused was not contested, nor
her age refuted, proof of age and relationship is critical considering the gravity of
the penalty to be imposed upon the accused.[19]
It bears emphasis that the minority of the victim and her filiation to the F. THAT MORE THAN ONE OFFENSE IS CHARGED EXCEPT WHEN WHEN A
accused when properly alleged in the information and proved beyond reasonable SINGLE PUNISHMENT FOR VARIOUS OFFENSES IS PRESCCRIBED BY
doubt during trial elevate the crime of simple rape to qualified rape and warrant LAW
the imposition of the extreme penalty of death. As such, nothing but proof beyond
reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which the G.R. No. L-13484 May 20, 1960
accused is charged must be established by the prosecution in order for the penalty THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
of death to be upheld. In fine, the minority of the victim as well as her relationship vs.
with the accused must be proved with equal certainty and clarity as the crime itself; DOMINADOR CAMERINO, MANUEL PAKINGAN, CRISANTO SARATAN,
contrarily, the failure of the prosecution to sufficiently establish the victim's age BIENVENIDO OSTERIA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
and relationship with the accused is fatal and consequently bars conviction for Actg. Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor Eriberto D. Ignacio for
qualified rape.[20] appellant.
Perforce, in the present case, the death penalty imposed by the trial court Avelino A. Velasco for appellees.
should be reduced to reclusion perpetua. Likewise, the award of P75,000.00 as MONTEMAYOR, J.:
civil indemnity should be modified and adjusted to P50,000.00 since the penalty Dominador Camerino and eighty-six others were accused before the Court of First
is likewise lowered to reclusion perpetua. Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, Instance of Cavite of the crime of sedition, said to have been committed on or
accused Antonio Desuyo should also be ordered to pay Maricel Desuyo about and during the period comprised by and between the months of October,
P50,000.00 as moral damages even if there was no proof presented as basis 1953, to November 15, 1953 and for sometime prior thereto; under an information
therefor since the anguish and pain that complaining witness endured are plainly charging conspiracy among the said accused in having allegedly perpetrated for
evident.[21] political and social ends, insistent, repeated and continuous acts of hate, terrorism
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Br. 26, San Jose, and revenge against private persons, leaders, members and sympathizers of the
Southern Leyte, finding accused Antonio Desuyo alias "Tony" guilty of "multiple Nacionalista Party in the town of Bacoor, Cavite, and frustrating by force, threats
rape" in its qualified form and ordering him to pay complaining witness Maricel and violence, and intimidation the free expression of the popular will in the election
Peru Desuyo P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, is MODIFIED. The accused is instead held on November 10, 1953. The information described in detail the manner in
found guilty of two (2) counts of simple rape and, accordingly, sentences him to which the alleged seditious acts were performed, specifying the dates and the
reclusion perpetua for each count. In addition to paying Maricel Peru Desuyo civil places where they were committed and the persons who were victims thereof,
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00, instead of P75,000.00, for each count of under fourteen different overt acts of sedition. Before arraignment, forty-eight of
rape, accused is further ordered to pay moral damages in the amount of the
P50,000.00 also for each count. Costs de oficio. eighty-seven accused, headed by Dominador Camerino, filed a motion to quash
SO ORDERED. the information on the ground of double jeopardy, claiming in support thereof that
they had been previously convicted or been in jeopardy of being convicted and/or
acquitted of the offense charged in other cases of the same nature before the
court.
The Assistant Provincial Fiscal filed written opposition to the motion, saying that
although it was alleged in the information that the accused had been charged with
various crimes under different and separate informations, that would not place persons. Sedition is a crime directed against the existence of the State, the
them in double jeopardy, because those previous charges were being specified in authority of the government, and the general public tranquility; murder is a crime
the information only as a bill of particulars for the purpose of describing in detail directed against the lives of individuals. (U.S. vs. Abad [1902], 1 Phil., 437.)
the offense of sedition, but not to hold the defendants liable for punishment under Sedition in its more general sense is the raising of commotions or disturbances in
said separate and different specifications; in other words, the specifications the state; murder at common law is where a person of sound mind and discretion
describing separate crimes were alleged in the information merely to complete the unlawfully kills any human being, in the peace of the sovereign, with malice
narration of facts which constitute the crime of sedition. aforethought, express or implied.
Later, all the accused filed a supplemental motion to quash, raising as additional The offenses charged in the two informations for sedition and murder are perfectly
grounds that more than one offense was charged, and that the criminal action or distinct in point of law however nearly they may be connected in point of fact. Not
liability of said defendants had been extinguished. alone are the offenses eonomine different, but the allegations in the body of the
On March 14, 1956, the trial court issued an order sustaining the reasons of the informations are different. The gist of the information for sedition is the public and
motion to quash and dismissing the information on the grounds:(1) that the tumultuous uprising of the constabulary in order to attain by force and outside of
information charged more than one offense, (2) that it was vague, ambiguous and legal methods the object of inflicting an act of hate and revenge upon the persons
uncertain, (3) that it described crimes for which some of the accused had either of the police force of the city of Manila by firing at them in several places in the city
been convicted or acquitted, and (4) some violation of the election law described of Manila; the gist of the information in the murder case is that the Constabulary,
in the specification had already prescribed. A motion for reconsideration filed by conspiring together, illegally and criminally killed eight persons and gravely
the Fiscal was denied. The Government is appealing from that order of dismissal, wounded three others. The crimes of the murder and serious physical injuries were
as well as the order denying the motion for reconsideration. not necessarily included in the information for sedition; and the defendants could
In determining the present appeal, we deem it necessary to discuss only the first not have been convicted of these crimes under the first information.
ground of the dismissal of the information by the trial court, namely, multiplicity of In the case of U.S. vs. Cernias, 10 Phil., 682, this Court held that while it is true
offenses, that is to say, that the information allegedly charged more than one that each of those acts charged against the conspirators was itself a crime, the
offense. We agree with the Provincial Fiscal and the Solicitor General representing prosecutor in setting them out in the information did no more than to furnish the
the Government that the accused herein were being charged only with one defendants with a bill of particulars of the facts which it intended to prove at the
offense, namely, that of sedition, defined in Article 139 of the Revised Penal Code, trial, not only as a basis upon which to be found an inference of guilt of the crime
as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 202, and penalized under Article 140 of of conspiracy but also as evidence of the extremely dangerous and wicked nature
the same code. the fourteen different acts or specifications charging some or all of that conspiracy.
of the accused with having committed the offenses charged therein, were included The charge is not defective for duplicity when one single crime is set forth in
in the information merely to describe and to narrate the different and specific acts different modes prescribed by law for its commission, or the felony is set forth
the sum total of which constitutes the crime of sedition. Different and separate acts under different counts specifying the way of its perpetuation, or the acts resulted
constituting different and separate offenses may serve as a basis for prosecuting from a single criminal impulse. Neither is there duplicity when the other offense
the accused to hold them criminally liable for said different offenses. Yet, those described is but an ingredient or an essential element of the real offense charged
different acts of offenses may serve merely as a basis for the prosecution of one nor when several acts are related in describing the offense. (Padilla: Criminal
single offense like that of sedition. For instance, one may be accused of sedition, Procedure Annotated, 1959 ed., p. 101).
and at the same time be prosecuted under another information for murder or In the case of People vs. Bacolod, 89 Phil., 621, the defendant therein was
homicide as the case may be, if the killing was done in pursuance of and to carry convicted on a plea of guilty of physical injuries through reckless imprudence.
out the acts constituting sedition. In case of the People vs. Cabrera, 43 Phil., 64, Based on the same facts, he was also accused of having caused public
this Tribunal said: disturbance. The plea of double jeopardy interposed by the accused was rejected
The nearest analogy to the two crimes of murder and sedition growing out of on the ground that the two offenses were not the same, although they arose from
practically the same facts, which can be found in the American authorities, relate the same act.
to the crimes of assault and riot or unlawful assembly. A majority of the American Following the reasoning of the trial court that more than one offense was charged,
courts have held that the offense of unlawful assembly and riot and the offense of the trial court should have ordered that the information be amended, or if that was
assault and battery are distinct offense; and that conviction or an acquittal for not possible, that a new information be filed.
either does not bar a prosecution for other offense, even though based on the Under section 2 of this Rule, the Court may deny or sustain the motion to quash
same acts. (Freeland vs. People (1855), 16 Ill., 380; U.S. vs. Peaco (1835), 27 but may not defer it till the trial of the case on the merits. In sustaining the motion,
Fed. Cas., 477; People vs. Vasquez (1905), 9 Puerto Rico, 488; contra, State vs. the court may order the filing of a new information or may dismiss the case. In the
Lindsay (18868), 61 N.C., 458.) new information, the defects of the previous information may be cured. For
It is merely stating the obvious to say that sedition is not the same offense as instance, if the motion to quash is sustained on the ground that more than one
murder. Sedition is a crime against public order; murder is a crime against offense is charged in the information, the court may order that another information
be filed charging only one offense. But the court may or may not issue such order EN BANC
in the exercise of its discretion. The order may be made if the defects found in the [G.R. No. 152259. July 29, 2004]
first information may be cured in a new information. If the order is made, the ALFREDO T. ROMUALDEZ, petitioner, vs. The Honorable SANDIGANBAYAN
accused, if he is in custody, should not be discharged, unless otherwise, admitted (Fifth Division) and the PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES, respondents.
to bail. But if no such order is made, or, having been made, the prosecuting DECISION
attorney fails to file another information within the time specified by the court, the PANGANIBAN, J.:
accused, if in custody must be discharged, unless he is also in custody for another Repetitive motions to invalidate or summarily terminate a criminal indictment prior
charge, or if is out on bail, the bail must be exonerated. In such event, however, to plea and trial, however they may be named or identified -- whether as a motion
the fiscal is free to institute another criminal proceeding since such ground of to quash or motion to dismiss or by any other nomenclature -- delay the
objection is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense. (Moran, administration of justice and unduly burden the court system. Grounds not
Comments on the Rules of Court, 1957 ed., Vol. II, pp. 778-779). included in the first of such repetitive motions are generally deemed waived and
In conclusion, we hold that the information filed in this case did not charged more can no longer be used as bases of similar motions subsequently filed.
than one offense but only that of sedition; that in specifying the separate and Section 5 of the Anti-Graft Law is constitutional. It penalizes certain presidential
different criminal acts attributed to the defendants, it was not the purpose or relatives who intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract
intention of the Government to hold them criminally liable in the present or application with the Government. This provision is not vague or impermissibly
proceedings, but merely to complete the narration of facts, though specifying broad, because it can easily be understood with the use of simple statutory
different offenses which as a whole, supposedly constitute the crime of sedition. construction. Neither may the constitutionality of a criminal statute such as this be
Consequently, we believe that the information is valid. challenged on the basis of the overbreadth and the void-for-vagueness doctrines,
We deem it unnecessary to discuss the other points raised in the appeal. which apply only to free-speech cases.
In view of the foregoing, the appealed orders are hereby set aside and the case is The Case
hereby remanded to the trial court of further proceedings, without pronouncement Before us is a Petition for Certiorari[1] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking
as to costs. to set aside the November 20, 2001[2] and the March 1, 2002[3] Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 13736. The first Resolution disposed thus:
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby DENIED. The
arraignment of the accused and the pre-trial of the case shall proceed as
scheduled.[4]
The second Resolution denied reconsideration.
The Facts
The facts of the case are narrated by the Sandiganbayan as follows:
[The People of the Philippines], through the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG), filed on July 12, 1989 an information before [the anti-graft
court] charging the accused [with] violation of Section 5, Republic Act No. 3019,[5]
as amended. The Information reads:
That on or about and during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975, in
Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of [the Sandiganbayan], said
[petitioner], brother-in-law of Ferdinand E. Marcos, former President of the
Philippines, and therefore, related to the latter by affinity within the third civil
degree, did then and there wil[l]fully and unlawfully, and with evident bad faith, for
the purpose of promoting his self-interested [sic] and/or that of others, intervene
directly or indirectly, in a contract between the National Shipyard and Steel
Corporation (NASSCO), a government-owned and controlled corporation and the
Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (BASECO), a private corporation, the
majority stocks of which is owned by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
whereby the NASSCO sold, transferred and conveyed to the BASECO its
ownership and all its titles and interests over all equipment and facilities including
G. THAT THE CRIMINAL LIABIILITY OR ACTION HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED structures, buildings, shops, quarters, houses, plants and expendable and semi-
expendable assets, located at the Engineer Island known as the Engineer Island
Shops including some of its equipment and machineries from Jose Panganiban,
Camarines Norte needed by BASECO in its shipbuilding and ship repair program Resolutions.[7] In resolving the third ground, the anti-graft court pointed out that
for the amount of P5,000,000.00. Section 17 of the 1973 Constitution became effective only in 1981 when the basic
Contrary to law. law was amended. Since his alleged illegal intervention had been committed on
On December 27, 1996, the accused filed his first MOTION TO DISMISS AND TO or about 1975, the amended provision was inapplicable to him.[8]
DEFER ARRAIGNMENT claiming that no valid preliminary investigation was In denying the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner, the Sandiganbayan
conducted in the instant case. He asserts that if a preliminary investigation could passed upon the other grounds he had raised. It ruled that his right to a preliminary
be said to have been conducted, the same was null and void having been investigation was not violated, because he had been granted a reinvestigation.[9]
undertaken by a biased and partial investigative body. It further held that his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
On January 9, 1997, [the Sandiganbayan], through the First Division, issued an was not trampled upon, either, inasmuch as the Information had set forth the
order giving the accused fifteen days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the essential elements of the offense charged.[10]
Office of the Special Prosecutor. Hence, this Petition.[11]
[Petitioner] questioned said order before the Supreme Court via a petition for The Issues
Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order. On January In his Memorandum, petitioner assigns the following errors for our consideration:
21, 1998, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition for failure to show that [the Whether or not the Honorable Sandiganbayan erred and gravely abused its
Sandiganbayan] committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed discretion amounting to lack of, or in excess of jurisdiction
order. I. In not dismissing and/or quashing Criminal Case No. 13736 despite clear and
On November 9, 1998, the [petitioner] filed with the Office of the Special incontrovertible evidence that:
Prosecutor a Motion to Quash. A. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because its vagueness
On September 22, 1999, x x x Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) III Victorio U. violates the due process right of an individual to be informed of the nature and the
Tabanguil, manifested that the prosecution had already concluded the cause of the accusation against him;
reinvestigation of the case. He recommended the dismissal of the instant case. B. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 3019 is unconstitutional because it violates the
Both the Deputy Special Prosecutor and the Special Prosecutor approved the due process right of an individual to be presumed innocent until the contrary is
recommendation. However, Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto disagreed and proved;
directed the prosecutors to let the [petitioner] present his evidence in Court. C. The constitutional right of petitioner x x x to be informed of the nature and the
Subsequently, [petitioner] filed on October 8, 1999 his second MOTION TO cause of the accusation against him was violated;
QUASH AND TO DEFER ARRAIGNMENT. D. The constitutional right to due process of law of petitioner x x x was violated
On February 9, 2000, the [Sandiganbayan] denied the motion for lack of merit. during the preliminary investigation stage in the following ways:
On June 19, 2001, [the] accused filed a MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE MOTION [i] No valid preliminary investigation was con-ducted for Criminal Case No. 13736;
TO DISMISS. On June 29, 2001, the [Sandiganbayan] admitted the motion and and
admitted the attached (third) Motion to Dismiss. [ii] The preliminary investigation was conducted by a biased and partial
The [Motion to Dismiss] raise[d] the following grounds: investigator.
I. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW OF E. The criminal action or liability has been extinguished by prescription; and
[PETITIONER] WAS VIOLATED DURING THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION F. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 17 of the 1973 Constitution, petitioner x x x is
STAGE IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS: immune from criminal prosecution.
A. NO VALID PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED IN THE And
INSTANT CASE; AND II. In light of the foregoing, in denying petitioner[s] x x x right to equal protection of
B. THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCTED BY A BIASED AND the laws.[12]
PARTIAL INVESTIGATOR Simply stated, the issues are as follows: (1) whether Section 5 of Republic Act
II. THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF [PETITIONER] TO BE INFORMED OF 3019 is unconstitutional; (2) whether the Information is vague; (3) whether there
THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM WAS was a valid preliminary investigation; (4) whether the criminal action or liability has
VIOLATED been extinguished by prescription; and (5) whether petitioner is immune from
III. PURSUANT TO ARTICLE VII, SECTION 17 OF THE 1973 CONSTITUTION, criminal prosecution under then Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution.
[PETITIONER] IS IMMUNE FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION The Courts Ruling
IV. THE CRIMINAL ACTION OR LIABILITY HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED BY The Petition has no merit.
PRESCRIPTION[6] First Issue:
Ruling of the Sandiganbayan Constitutionality of Section 5,
The Sandiganbayan explained that all the grounds invoked by petitioner, except Republic Act 3019
the third one, had already been raised by him and passed upon in its previous
Petitioner challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of RA 3019 for the first time A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is
in the Sandiganbayan through a Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. Attached to his overbroad because of possible chilling effect upon protected speech. The theory
December 7, 2001 Motion for Reconsideration of the Order denying his Motion to is that [w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
Dismiss was this Supplemental Motion which was, in effect, his third motion to construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
quash.[13] We note that the Petition for Certiorari before us challenges the denial prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected
of his original, not his Supplemental, Motion to Dismiss. expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
Upon the denial of his original Motion to Quash on February 9, 2000, petitioner requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could have filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial. Had reconsideration could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity. The possible
been turned down, the next proper remedy would have been either (1) a petition harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is
for certiorari[14] -- if there was grave abuse of discretion -- which should be filed outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred
within 60 days from notice of the assailed order;[15] or (2) to proceed to trial without and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
prejudice to his right, if final judgment is rendered against him, to raise the same overly broad statutes.
questions before the proper appellate court.[16] But instead of availing himself of This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in
these remedies, he filed a Motion to Dismiss on June 19, 2001. terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is
Impropriety of allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws
Repetitive Motions against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take
There is no substantial distinction between a motion to quash and a motion to chances as in the area of free speech.
dismiss. Both pray for an identical relief, which is the dismissal of the case. Such xxxxxxxxx
motions are employed to raise preliminary objections, so as to avoid the necessity In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical
of proceeding to trial. A motion to quash is generally used in criminal proceedings tools developed for testing on their faces statutes in free speech cases or, as they
to annul a defective indictment. A motion to dismiss, the nomenclature ordinarily are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do
used in civil proceedings, is aimed at summarily defeating a complaint. Thus, our service when what is involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute,
Rules of Court use the term motion to quash in criminal,[17] and motion to dismiss the established rule is that one to whom application of a statute is constitutional
in civil, proceedings.[18] will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be
In the present case, however, both the Motion to Quash and the Motion to Dismiss taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its application might
are anchored on basically the same grounds and pray for the same relief. The be unconstitutional. As has been pointed out, vagueness challenges in the First
hairsplitting distinction posited by petitioner does not really make a difference. Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial
By filing a Motion to Dismiss, petitioner submitted in effect a prohibited second invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are
motion to quash. A party is not permitted to raise issues, whether similar or invalidated [only] as applied to a particular defendant.[22] (underscoring supplied)
different, by installment. The Rules abhor repetitive motions. Otherwise, there To this date, the Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the
would be no end to preliminary objections, and trial would never commence. A ground of ambiguity.[23] While mentioned in passing in some cases, the void-for-
second motion to quash delays the administration of justice and unduly burdens vagueness concept has yet to find direct application in our jurisdiction. In Yu Cong
the courts. Moreover, Rule 117 provides that grounds not raised in the first motion Eng v. Trinidad,[24] the Bookkeeping Act was found unconstitutional because it
to quash are generally deemed waived.[19] Petitioners Motion to Dismiss violates violated the equal protection clause, not because it was vague. Adiong v.
this rule. Comelec[25] decreed as void a mere Comelec Resolution, not a statute. Finally,
Constitutionality of Santiago v. Comelec[26] held that a portion of RA 6735 was unconstitutional
the Challenged Provision because of undue delegation of legislative powers, not because of vagueness.
If only for the foregoing procedural lapses, the Petition deserves to be dismissed Indeed, an on-its-face invalidation of criminal statutes would result in a mass
outright. However, given the importance of this case in curtailing graft and acquittal of parties whose cases may not have even reached the courts. Such
corruption, the Court will nevertheless address the other issues on their merit. invalidation would constitute a departure from the usual requirement of actual case
Petitioner challenges the validity of Section 5 of Republic Act 3019, a penal and controversy and permit decisions to be made in a sterile abstract context
statute, on the ground that the act constituting the offense is allegedly vague and having no factual concreteness. In Younger v. Harris, this evil was aptly pointed
impermissibly broad. out by the U.S. Supreme Court in these words:[27]
It is best to stress at the outset that the overbreadth[20] and the vagueness[21]
doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases. They are not
appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes. Mr. Justice Vicente V. [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and
Mendoza explained the reason as follows: requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is
rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the relative
remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of the relief In the instant case, petitioner has miserably failed to overcome such presumption.
sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line- This Court has previously laid down the test for determining whether a statute is
by-line analysis of detailed statutes, x x x ordinarily results in a kind of case that is vague, as follows:
wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they x x x [A] statute establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with
might be decided. sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what
For this reason, generally disfavored is an on-its-face invalidation of statutes, conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that species of
described as a manifestly strong medicine to be employed sparingly and only as legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either
a last resort. In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its by a saving clause or by construction.
provisions that have allegedly been violated must be examined in the light of the A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards
conduct with which the defendant has been charged.[28] that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ
As conduct -- not speech -- is its object, the challenged provision must be in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in
examined only as applied to the defendant, herein petitioner, and should not be two (2) respects - it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially
declared unconstitutional for overbreadth or vagueness. the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law
The questioned provision reads as follows: enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.[36] But the doctrine does not apply as
any relative, by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which
President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the Philippines, the President nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are
of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to intervene, apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first
directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or application with the may be saved by proper construction, while no challenge may be mounted as
Government: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any person who, prior against the second whenever directed against such activities.[37] With more
to the assumption of office of any of the above officials to whom he is related, has reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and
been already dealing with the Government along the same line of business, nor to free from ambiguity, as in this case.
any transaction, contract or application already existing or pending at the time of The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether
such assumption of public office, nor to any application filed by him the approval the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct
of which is not discretionary on the part of the official or officials concerned but when measured by common understanding and practice.[38] It must be stressed,
depends upon compliance with requisites provided by law, or rules or regulations however, that the vagueness doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of
issued pursuant to law, nor to any act lawfully performed in an official capacity or certainty for the statute to be upheld - not absolute precision or mathematical
in the exercise of a profession. exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous
Petitioner also claims that the phrase to intervene directly or indirectly, in any specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are
business, transaction, contract or application with the Government is vague and clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have
violates his right to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation against been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where,
him.[29] He further complains that the provision does not specify what acts are because of the nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details
punishable under the term intervene, and thus transgresses his right to be in advance as in all other statutes.[39]
presumed innocent.[30] We disagree. A simpler test was decreed in Dans v. People,[40] in which the Court said that there
Every statute is presumed valid.[31] On the party challenging its validity weighs was nothing vague about a penal law that adequately answered the basic query
heavily the onerous task of rebutting this presumption.[32] Any reasonable doubt What is the violation?[41] Anything beyond -- the hows and the whys -- are
about the validity of the law should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality.[33] evidentiary matters that the law itself cannot possibly disclose, in view of the
To doubt is to sustain, as tersely put by Justice George Malcolm. In Garcia v. uniqueness of every case.[42]
Executive Secretary,[34] the rationale for the presumption of constitutionality was The question What is the violation? is sufficiently answered by Section 5 of RA
explained by this Court thus: 3019, as follows:
The policy of the courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to 1. The offender is a spouse or any relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a third civil degree of the President of the Philippines, the Vice-President of the
clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. To doubt is to sustain. This Philippines, the President of the Senate, or the Speaker of the House of
presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon Representatives; and
each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments. The 2. The offender intervened directly or indirectly in any business, transaction,
theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines, a contract or application with the government.
law has been carefully studied and determined to be in accordance with the Applicability of
fundamental law before it was finally enacted.[35] Statutory Construction
As to petitioners claim that the term intervene is vague, this Court agrees with the persons of ordinary intelligence may immediately know what is meant by the
Office of the Solicitor General that the word can easily be understood through information.[52]
simple statutory construction. The absence of a statutory definition of a term used While it is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the
in a statute will not render the law void for vagueness, if the meaning can be information,[53] matters of evidence -- as distinguished from the facts essential to
determined through the judicial function of construction.[43] Elementary is the the nature of the offense -- need not be averred.[54] Whatever facts and
principle that words should be construed in their ordinary and usual meaning. circumstances must necessarily be alleged are to be determined by reference to
x x x. A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms the definition and the essential elements of the specific crimes.[55]
are used therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them;[44] In the instant case, a cursory reading of the Information shows that the elements
much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive of a violation of Section 5 of RA 3019 have been stated sufficiently. Likewise, the
constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each and allegations describe the offense committed by petitioner with such particularity as
every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression to enable him to prepare an intelligent defense. Details of the acts he committed
of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not are evidentiary matters that need not be alleged in the Information.
necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the Third Issue:
legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the whole act x x x. Preliminary Investigation
x x x [I]t is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will Clearly, petitioner already brought the issue of lack of preliminary investigation
be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification,[45] when he questioned before this Court in GR No. 128317 the Sandiganbayans
unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal Order giving him 15 days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the Office of the
meaning to those words.[46] The intention of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, Special Prosecutor.[56] Citing Cojuangco v. Presidential Commission on Good
untrained philologists and lexicographers - to use statutory phraseology in such a Government,[57] he undauntedly averred that he was deprived of his right to a
manner is always presumed.[47] preliminary investigation, because the PCGG acted both as complainant and as
The term intervene should therefore be understood in its ordinary acceptation, investigator.[58]
which is to to come between.[48] Criminally liable is anyone covered in the In the case cited above, this Court declared that while PCGG had the power to
enumeration of Section 5 of RA 3019 -- any person who intervenes in any manner conduct a preliminary investigation, the latter could not do so with the cold
in any business, transaction, contract or application with the government. As we neutrality of an impartial judge in cases in which it was the agency that had
have explained, it is impossible for the law to provide in advance details of how gathered evidence and subsequently filed the complaint.[59] On that basis, this
such acts of intervention could be performed. But the courts may pass upon those Court nullified the preliminary investigation conducted by PCGG and directed the
details once trial is concluded. Thus, the alleged vagueness of intervene is not a transmittal of the records to the Ombudsman for appropriate action.
ground to quash the information prior to the commencement of the trial. It is readily apparent that Cojuangco does not support the quashal of the
In sum, the Court holds that the challenged provision is not vague, and that in any Information against herein petitioner. True, the PCGG initiated the present
event, the overbreath and void for vagueness doctrines are not applicable to this Complaint against him; hence, it could not properly conduct the preliminary
case. investigation. However, he was accorded his rights -- the Sandiganbayan
Second Issue: suspended the trial and afforded him a reinvestigation by the Ombudsman. The
Allegedly Vague Information procedure outlined in Cojuangco was thus followed.
Other than arguing on the alleged intrinsic vagueness of intervene, petitioner The Sandiganbayans actions are in accord also with Raro v. Sandiganbayan,[60]
further contends that the Information itself is also unconstitutionally vague, which held that the failure to conduct a valid preliminary investigation would not
because it does not specify the acts of intervention that he supposedly warrant the quashal of an information. If the information has already been filed,
performed.[49] Again, we disagree. the proper procedure is for the Sandiganbayan to hold the trial in abeyance while
When allegations in the information are vague or indefinite, the remedy of the the preliminary investigation is being conducted or completed.[61]
accused is not a motion to quash, but a motion for a bill of particulars.[50] The Fourth Issue:
pertinent provision in the Rules of Court is Section 9 of Rule 116, which we quote: Prescription
Section 9. Bill of particulars. -- The accused may, before arraignment, move for a The issue of prescription was the principal basis of the Motion to Quash filed by
bill of particulars to enable him properly to plead and prepare for trial. The motion petitioner with the Sandiganbayan on October 8, 1999.[62] Such issue should be
shall specify the alleged defects of the complaint or information and the details disregarded at this stage, since he failed to challenge its ruling debunking his
desired. Motion within the 60-day period for the filing of a petition for certiorari. A party may
The rule merely requires the information to describe the offense with sufficient not circumvent this rule by filing a subsequent motion that raises the same issue
particularity as to apprise the accused of what they are being charged with and to and the same arguments.
enable the court to pronounce judgment. [51] The particularity must be such that Furthermore, it is easy to see why this argument being raised by petitioner is
utterly unmeritorious. He points out that according to the Information, the offense
was committed during the period from July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975. He argues respondents conspired and connived with one another in order to keep the alleged
that when the Information was filed on July 12, 1989,[63] prescription had already violations hidden from public scrutiny.
set in, because the prescriptive period for a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 is This Courts pronouncement in the case of Domingo v. Sandiganbayan is quite
only ten (10) years from the time the offense was allegedly committed. The relevant and instructive as to the date when the discovery of the offense should
increase of this prescriptive period to fifteen (15) years took effect only on March be reckoned, thus:
16, 1982, upon the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 195.[64] In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the government, the aggrieved
Act No. 3326, as amended,[65] governs the prescription of offenses penalized by party, to have known the violations committed at the time the questioned
special laws. Its pertinent provision reads: transactions were made because both parties to the transactions were allegedly
Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the in conspiracy to perpetuate fraud against the government. The alleged anomalous
violation of the law, and if the same not be known at the time, from the discovery transactions could only have been discovered after the February 1986 Revolution
thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and when one of the original respondents, then President Ferdinand Marcos, was
punishment. ousted from office. Prior to said date, no person would have dared to question the
The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the legality or propriety of those transactions. Hence, the counting of the prescriptive
guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for period would commence from the date of discovery of the offense, which could
reasons not constituting jeopardy. have been between February 1986 after the EDSA Revolution and 26 May 1987
Consistent with the provision quoted above, this Court has previously reckoned when the initiatory complaint was filed.[67]
the prescriptive period of cases involving RA 3019 (committed prior to the The above pronouncement is squarely applicable to the present case. The general
February 1986 EDSA Revolution) from the discovery of the violation.[66] In rule that prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the crime
Republic v. Desierto, the Court explained: cannot apply to the present case. It is not legally prudent to charge the State, the
This issue confronted this Court anew, albeit in a larger scale, in Presidential Ad aggrieved party, with knowledge of the violation of RA 3019 at the time the alleged
Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto. In the said recent case, intervention was made. The accused is the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos
the Board of Directors of the Philippine Seeds, Inc. and Development Bank of the brother-in-law. He was charged with intervening in a sale involving a private
Philippines were charged with violation of paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3 of corporation, the majority stocks of which was allegedly owned by President
RA No. 3019, by the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Marcos.
Loans, created by then President Fidel V. Ramos to investigate and to recover the Prior to February 1986, no person was expected to have seriously dared question
so-called Behest Loans, where the Philippine Government guaranteed several the legality of the sale or would even have thought of investigating petitioners
foreign loans to corporations and entities connected with the former President alleged involvement in the transaction. It was only after the creation[68] of PCGG[69]
Marcos. x x x In holding that the case had not yet prescribed, this Court ruled that: and its exhaustive investigations that the alleged crime was discovered. This led
In the present case, it was well-nigh impossible for the State, the aggrieved party, to the initiation on November 29, 1988 of a Complaint against former President
to have known the violations of RA No. 3019 at the time the questioned Marcos and petitioner for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
transactions were made because, as alleged, the public officials concerned Consequently, the filing of the Information on July 12, 1989 was well within the
connived or conspired with the beneficiaries of the loans. Thus, we agree with the prescriptive period of ten years from the discovery of the offense.
COMMITTEE that the prescriptive period for the offenses with which the Fifth Issue
respondents in OMB-0-96-0968 were charged should be computed from the Immunity from Prosecution
discovery of the commission thereof and not from the day of such commission. Petitioner argues that he enjoys derivative immunity, because he allegedly served
xxxxxxxxx as a high-ranking naval officer -- specifically, as naval aide-de-camp -- of former
People v. Duque is more in point, and what was stated there stands reiteration: In President Marcos.[70] He relies on Section 17 of Article VII of the 1973 Constitution,
the nature of things, acts made criminal by special laws are frequently not immoral as amended, which we quote:
or obviously criminal in themselves; for this reason, the applicable statute requires The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit
that if the violation of the special law is not known at the time, the prescription whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his
begins to run only from the discovery thereof, i.e., discovery of the unlawful nature specific orders during his tenure.
of the constitutive act or acts. (Italics supplied) xxxxxxxxx
There are striking parallelisms between the said Behest Loans Case and the As the Sandiganbayan aptly pointed out, the above provision is not applicable to
present one which lead us to apply the ruling of the former to the latter. First, both petitioner because the immunity amendment became effective only in 1981 while
cases arose out of seemingly innocent business transactions; second, both were the alleged crime happened in 1975. In Estrada v. Desierto,[71] this Court
discovered only after the government created bodies to investigate these exhaustively traced the origin of executive immunity in order to determine the
anomalous transactions; third, both involve prosecutions for violations of RA No. extent of its applicability. We explained therein that executive immunity applied
3019; and, fourth, in both cases, it was sufficiently raised in the pleadings that the only during the incumbency of a President. It could not be used to shield a non-
sitting President from prosecution for alleged criminal acts done while sitting in SANDOVAL, GODOFREDO L. LEGASPI and RAOUL V. VICTORINO, in their
office. The reasoning of petitioner must therefore fail, since he derives his capacity as Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan, Second Division,
immunity from one who is no longer sitting as President. Verily, the felonious acts HEDLIZA C. ANTHONY, ROSALINDA M. ESPIRITU, ANDREA D. VIASON,
of public officials and their close relatives are not acts of the State, and the officer JOSEPHINE N. RANCE, and MARITES C. MIRAFLOR, respondents.
who acts illegally is not acting as such but stands on the same footing as any other DECISION
trespasser. CARPIO MORALES, J.:
In sum, petitioner utterly fails to show that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its Assailed via petition for certiorari are the Sandiganbayan October 10, 2001
discretion in issuing the assailed Resolutions.[72] On the contrary, it acted Resolution[1] denying petitioners Motion to Quash the first amended information
prudently, in accordance with law and jurisprudence WHEREFORE, the Petition filed against them, and November 8, 2001 Resolution[2] granting the prosecutions
is DISMISSED, and the questioned Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan Motion to Admit the second amended information.
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED The antecedents of the case are as follows:
On September 27, 1999, the officers of Samahan ng Lahing Mandaragat ng
Pulborista, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit, non-government organization based in
Barangay Pulborista, Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite, filed a complaint[3] before the
Office of the Ombudsman against the following municipal officials of Kawit for 1995
to 2001: Mayor Federico Poblete, Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Caimol, and Sanggunuang
Bayan (SB) Members Bienvenido C. Pobre, Juanito Galang, Ricardo Flores,
Pedro Paterno, Salvador Olaes, Cherry Rosario Nolasco, Doe Padilla (who was
later identified as Leo Padilla), and Peter Doe (who was later identified as Hernan
Jamir).
The complaint alleged that the officials caused the registration of foreshore land
located in Barangay Binakayan, Kawit in the name of the Municipality of Kawit and
subsequently sold the same to a corporation, FJI Property Developers, Inc.,
notwithstanding that under Commonwealth Act No. 141, specifically, Title III,
Chapter [8], Section 59[4] in relation to Section 61,[5] the land is inalienable and
cannot be disposed by any mode or transfer, except by lease.
The complaint further averred that the sale of the land caused undue prejudice
and injury to poor people, especially the indigent families who claimed it as
communal fishing grounds since time immemorial, and gave private parties
unwarranted benefits, the contract or transaction being manifestly and grossly
disadvantageous to the government and the public.
The respondents to the complaint jointly filed a Counter-affidavit[6] and a
Memorandum[7] contending that the land was legally and validly reclaimed; that
the certificate of title was obtained in accordance with existing laws and
regulations; that the sale and transfer were approved by the Commission on Audit;
that there is no communal fishing ground in Kawit; and that Commonwealth Act
No 141 is inapplicable to the case.
In a related move, the Senate Committees on Accountability of Public Officers and
Investigations and on Environment and Natural Resources conducted on February
7 and 14, 2000 an inquiry in aid of legislation following a September 27, 1999
H. THAT IT CONTAINS AVERMENTS WHCH, IF TRUE, WOULD CONSITUTE privilege speech of Senator Ramon B. Revilla entitled Cavite Land Scam bearing
LEGAL EXCUSE OR JUSTIFICATION on the questioned sale of the land. [8]
The Senate subsequently approved the above-said Committees Report No. 227[9]
THIRD DIVISION disclosing that the questioned lot is foreshore, and that bad faith attended its
[G.R. No. 150610. March 25, 2004] registration and titling with the use of falsified documents, and thus recommending
FEDERICO A. POBLETE, BIENVENIDO C. POBRE, JUANITO GALANG, the prosecution of the municipal officials.
RICARDO FLORES, SALVADOR OLAES, LEO V. PADILLA AND PEDRO By Order[10] of March 30, 2000, the Ombudsman directed the filing of an
PATERNO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE JUSTICES EDILBERTO G. information against the mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Kawit
for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices By a subsequent Resolution[30] issued on November 8, 2001, the Sandiganbayan
Act). granted the Motion to Admit the second Amended Information.
The necessary information[11] was thus filed against said officials including herein Hence, the present petition for certiorari.
petitioners, which was raffled to herein public respondent, 2nd Division, In determining whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion
Sandiganbayan. in issuing the Resolution of October 10, 2001, it is necessary to re-examine the
All the accused filed a Motion for Reinvestigation[12] which the Sandiganbayan grounds invoked by petitioners in their Motion to Quash the first Amended
denied by Order[13] of April 28, 2000 on the ground that it had not yet acquired Information.
jurisdiction over their persons as they had not yet posted bonds nor surrendered. Petitioners Motion to Quash is anchored on Sections 3(a) and 3(h) of Rule 117 of
Except for Hernan Jamir, the rest of the accused filed anew a Motion for the Rules of Court which provides:
Reinvestigation,[14] averring that they voluntarily surrendered on May 2, 2000 Rule 117, Section 3. Grounds. - The accused may move to quash the complaint
before the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite and posted cash bonds of twenty or information on any of the following grounds:
thousand each[15]. (a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
The Ombudsman Prosecutor, by Comment/Opposition[16] to the Motion for xxx
Reinvestigation, contended that the motion was filed out of time and the grounds (h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or
relied thereon are evidentiary in nature which could be resolved during trial. To justification;
this Comment, the accused filed their Reply.[17] The test for the correctness of the ground under Section 3(a) of Rule 117 is the
In an Ex-parte Motion to Admit Amended Information[18] to which the accused filed sufficiency of the averments in the information, that is, whether the facts alleged,
their Comment[19], the Ombudsman Prosecutor sought to amend the information if hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the offense as
by inserting the number of the lot under controversy, Lot 4431, and the amount of defined by law[31] without considering matters aliunde.
P123,123,123.00 representing the price paid by FJI Property Developers Inc. for The information sought to be quashed is hereinbelow quoted verbatim:
it. The undersigned Ombudsman Prosector, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby
By Resolution[20] of October 17, 2000, the Sandiganbayan admitted the Amended accuses Federico Poblete, Rodrigo Caimol, Bienvenido Pobre, Juanito Galang,
Information on the ground that the Motion to Admit it was presented before Ricardo Flores, Pedro Paterno, Salvador Olaes, Rosario Nolasco, Leo Padilla and
arraignment and the amendments were mere matters of form. In the same Hernan Jamir, of Violation of Sec. 3 (e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-
resolution, the Sandiganbayan denied the Motion for Reinvestigation on the Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, committed as follows:
ground that it was filed out of time, and the matters raised therein could hardly be That on or about 28 January 1995 to 28 November 1997 or prior or subsequent
considered as newly discovered evidence and would be better ventilated during thereto, in the Municipality of Kawit, Province of Cavite, Philippines, and within the
the trial of the case as defense evidence. jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, FEDERICO
All the accused, except Hernan Jamir and Rosario Cherry Nolasco, filed an POBLETE, then Municipal Mayor, in conspiracy with then Vice Mayor, RODRIGO
Omnibus Motion[21] (for reconsideration of the Resolution dated October 17, 2000 CAIMOL and SB Members BIENVENIDO POBRE, JUANITO GALANG,
and/or to Quash the Amended Information), to which the prosecution filed its RICARDO FLORES, PEDRO PATERNO, SALVADOR OLAES, ROSARIO
Comment and Opposition.[22] Thereafter, the accused filed their Reply[23] to the CHERRY NOLASCO, LEO PADILLA and HERNAN JAMIR, taking advantage of
Prosecutions Comment and Opposition. their official positions, with evident bad faith, and manifest partiality to FJI Property
By Resolution of July 6, 2001, the Sandiganbayan denied the accuseds Omnibus Developers, Inc., did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give
Motion.[24] unwarranted benefits to FJI Property Developers, Inc. and cause undue injury to
In the meantime or on July 12, 2001, the accused-herein petitioner Bienvenido C. the local fishermen and the government sold a foreshore land, Lot 4431 through
Pobre was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.[25] the passage of SB Resolution No. 3-97, Series of 1997 authorizing the sale of the
On July 23, 2001, the accused filed a Motion to Quash[26] the Amended Information land situated in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite in favor of FJI Property Developers, Inc.
on the grounds that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, and the in the amount of ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED
information contained averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or TWENTY THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE PESOS
justification. (P123,123,123.00) with the Municipality of Kawit, Cavite, represented by then
As the Ombudsman approved on August 31, 2001 a Memorandum[27] mayor FEDERICO POBLETE as vendor, despite full knowledge, and in complete
recommending further amendments to the information, the prosecution filed on disregard, of the legal prohibition under Sections 159 and 61, Commonwealth Act
September 14, 2001 a Motion to Admit Amended Information[28] (second Amended No. 141, against the disposition through sale of foreshore, and notwithstanding
Information). the warning of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on
For lack of merit, the Sandiganbayan, by Resolution[29] of October 10, 2001, the prohibition against the lease of foreshore lands along Manila Bay towards
denied the Motion to Quash the first amended information. Cavite and Bataan.[32] (Underscoring supplied).
The information thus charges petitioners with violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. their co-accused co-petitioner Bienvenido C. Pobre having already been
3019, to wit: arraigned[36] under the first Amended Information and cannot thus be made to re-
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices by public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of plead to the second Amended Information without his constitutional right to double
public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute jeopardy being violated. Petitioners moreover argue that they and their co-
corrupt practice of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: accused having been charged of acting in concert, they cannot be convicted on
xxx the basis of different informations.
(e) causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any The crux of the issue therefore hinges on whether the amendments in the second
private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge Amended Information are mere matters of form which do not prejudice the rights
of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, of the accused.
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to The second Amended Information is hereinbelow quoted verbatim:
officers and employees of offices of government corporations charged with the That on or about 28 January 1995 to 28 November 1997 or sometime prior or
grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Kawit, Province of Cavite, Philippines,
Under settled jurisprudence, the following elements need to be proven in order to and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
constitute a violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, viz: public officials, Federico Poblete, then Municipal Mayor, Rodrigo Caimol, then
1. The accused is a public officer discharging administrative or official functions or Vice Mayor and Bienvenido Pobre, Juanito Galang, Ricardo Flores, Pedro
private persons charged in conspiracy with them; Paterno, Salvador Olaes, Rosario Cherry Nolasco, Leo Padilla and Hernan Jamir,
2. The public officer committed the prohibited act during the performance of his then Sangguniang Bayan Members, all of the Municipality of Kawit, Cavite, while
official duty in relation to his public position; in the performance of their official functions, committing the offense in relation to
3. The public officer acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross their office, conspiring and confederating with each other, did then and there
inexcusable negligence; and willfully, unlawfully and criminally, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality,
4. His action caused undue injury to the government or any private party, or gave cause undue injury to the Government and local fishermen of the Municipality of
any party unwarranted benefit, advantage or reference to such parties.[33] Kawit, Cavite in the following manner: the said accused public officials maliciously
Contrary to petitioners position, the information need not state the manner by sold a foreshore land described as Lot 4431 through the passage of Sangguniang
which the injury to the local fisherfolk or the government came about or the extent Bayan Resolution No. 3-97, Series of 1997 authorizing the sale said land situated
by which they exhibited partiality, bad faith or negligence in the enactment of SB in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite in favor of FJI Property Developers, Inc. in the amount
Resolution 3-97[34] authorizing the sale of foreshore land, it being sufficient that of ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY
the information alleges that petitioners acted with manifest partiality, evident bad THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE PESOS
faith, and took advantage of their public positions by passing SB Resolution No. (P123,123,123.00) Philippine Currency, despite their full knowledge, and in
3-97 despite the legal prohibition provided under the law, thereby causing undue complete disregard, of the legal prohibition under Sections 159 in relation to
injury to the local fishermen and the government. Section 61, Commonwealth Act No. 141, prohibiting the disposition through sale
Anent the second ground of the Motion to Quash, it is erroneous for petitioners to of foreshore land thereby giving unwarranted benefits to FJI Property Developers,
argue that the payment of the amount of P123,123,123.00 by FJI Property Inc. to the damage and injury to the Government in the aforementioned amount.
Developers, Inc. for the lot in question, which enriched the coffers of the (Underscoring in the original)
government,[35] was a legal excuse and justification to free them from criminal While petitioners cite People v. Casey[37] which laid down the test in determining
liability. For if the elements of the offense violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act whether an amendment is a matter of form or substance, to wit:
3019 are proven, the proffered excuse is immaterial. The test as to whether a defendant is prejudiced by an amendment has been said
The grounds bases of petitioners in the Motion to Quash the first Amended to be whether a defense under the information as it originally stood would be
Information being unwarranted, the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse available after the amendment is made, and whether any evidence defendant
of discretion in issuing the Resolution of October 10, 2001 denying the same. might have would be equally applicable to the information in the new form as in
Contending that the Sandiganbayan also committed grave abuse of discretion in the other. A look into Our jurisprudence on the matter shows that an amendment
issuing its Resolution of November 8, 2001, petitioners argue that it failed to to an information introduced after the accused has pleaded not guilty thereto,
consider Section 14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court which provides: which does not change the nature of the crime alleged therein, does not expose
Sec. 14. Amendment or substitution. A complaint or information may be amended, the accused to a charge which could call for a higher penalty, does not affect the
in form or in substance, without leave of court, at any time before the accused essence of the offense or cause surprise or deprive the accused of an opportunity
enters his plea. After the plea and during trial, a formal amendment may only be to meet the new averment had each been held to be one of form and not of
made with leave of court and when it can be done without causing prejudice to the substance not prejudicial to the accused and, therefore, not prohibited by Section
rights of the accused, 13, Rule 110 (now Section 14) of the Revised Rules of Court,
they fail to show how or why the amendments may be considered as matters of and their degree of participation, which should be appreciated, are properly the
substance which will prejudice their rights as accused. subject of trial on the merits rather than on a motion to quash.[42]
An objective appraisal, however, of the second Amended Information shows that As for the propriety or impropriety of the filing of the information by the
the amendments are merely formal for they do not touch upon the recital of facts Ombudsman, this Court may not pass. Neither may it independently make a
constituting the offense charged nor on the determination of the jurisdiction of the factual finding of whether there was indeed irregularity in the conduct of the
court. Instead, the amendments merely involve deletions, transpositions and re- preliminary investigation. For petitioners are not, in the present petition, assailing
phrasings, thereby raising the same issue and the same operative facts already the denial by the Sandiganbayan of their Motion for Reinvestigation.
found in the first Amended Information. Petitioners having failed to substantiate the grounds they invoked in their Motion
As laid down by this Court, an amendment is only in form when it merely adds to Quash the first Amended Information, and it having been established that the
specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information and not to introduce new amendments introduced in the second Amended Information are mere matters of
and material facts[38], and merely states with additional precision something which form, the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing its
is already contained in the original information and which, therefore, adds nothing Resolutions of October 10, 2001 and November 8, 2001.
essential for conviction for the crime charged.[39] WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
The second Amended Information, while adding the word public officers, does not SO ORDERED.
introduce a new and material fact as the accused in the first Amended Information
were referred to as either the Mayor, Vice-Mayor or Members of the Sangguniang
Bayan.
Likewise, in the second Amended Information, the phrase while in the
performance of their official functions, committing the offense in relation to their
office, conspiring and confederating with each other is but a clearer restatement
of the phrase in conspiracy and taking advantage of their official positions found
in the first Amended Information.
Section 14, Rule 110 moreover provides that in allowing formal amendments in
cases where the accused have already pleaded, it is necessary that the
amendments do not prejudice the rights of the accused.
The test on whether the rights of an accused are prejudiced by the amendment of
a compliant or information is whether a defense under the complaint or
information, as it originally stood, would no longer be available after the
amendment is made, and when any evidence the accused might have would be
inapplicable to the complaint or information.[40]
The mere re-arrangement of the words and phrases in the second Amended
Information which are also alleged in the first Amended Information does not
change the basic theory of the prosecution, thus creating no material change or
modification in the defenses of the accused.
Contrary to petitioners position, it having been established that the questioned
amendments are merely formal, there is no longer any need for accused
Bienvenido Pobre to be re-arraigned on the second Amended Information.[41]
Petitioners additionally argue that the Sandiganbayan failed to consider the
irregularity in the preliminary investigation which they have been harping upon,
the particulars of which were stated in their Motion for Reinvestigation that Lot No,
4431 covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 0-3115 was no longer foreshore
as it had already evolved into a landmass and was ripe for titling, and that a portion
of OCT No. 0-3115 was alienated in accordance with law.
Clearly, petitioners allegations are factual and evidentiary in nature which may
best be considered as matters of defense to be ventilated in a full-blown trial. Lack
of probable cause during the preliminary investigation is not one of the grounds
for a motion to quash. A motion to quash should be based on a defect in the
information, which is evident on its face. The guilt or innocence of the accused,
a) Certification dated March 10, 1986 purportedly signed by a certain Fernando
Dizon, Record Management Analyst of the Bureau of Land, Central Office, Manila;
(b) Report dated May 5, 1986 purportedly signed by a certain Jose Mariano, Chief
Record Management Division of Bureau of Land, Central Office, Manila; and
(c) Sales Certificate and Deed of Assignment allegedly issued by the Bureau of
Land in favor of Lourdes Angeles; that despite the fact that said accused knew all
the time that said documents are fake and spurious used the same in the Petition
for Reconstitution of Records of the technical description of Lots Nos. 755, 777,
778 and 783 of the Piedad Estate covered by TCT No. 14, Decree No. 667, GLRO
Record No. 5975 and the issuance of Title thereto filed by Estrella Mapa over and
involving the aforesaid lots in Land Registration Case docketed as LRC Case No.
3369 (86) before Branch 99, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City and that by virtue
of said falsification and the use of the same as evidence in Court Honorable
Presiding Judge Godofredo Asuncion issued an order dated June 30, 1986
granting said petition, and pursuant thereto the Register of Deeds of Quezon City
issued Transfer Certificates of Titles Nos. 348156, 348291 and 348292 in the
I. DOUBLE JEOPARDY name of Estrella Mapa thereby embracing and/or encroaching the portions of the
properties belonging to Romeo D. Gomez, Sixto Agbada, Irene Agbada-Cruz and
[G.R. No. 136264. May 28, 2004] Mercedes Aristorenas whose properties were embraced and included in the said
ATTY. REYNALDO P. DIMAYACYAC, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF Transfer Certificates of Titles and in such amount as may be awarded under the
APPEALS, HON. VICENTE Q. ROXAS, IRENE AGBADA-CRUZ, SIXTO provisions of the Civil Code.
AGBADA CRUZ, MERCEDES ARISTORENAS and ROMEO GOMEZ and CONTRARY TO LAW.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Before his arraignment, petitioner moved to quash the information on two (2)
DECISION grounds. First, that the officer who filed the information had no legal authority to
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: do so, and second, that more than one offense was charged in the information.
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision[1] of the Court Pending resolution of the motion to quash, petitioner was arraigned.
of Appeals (CA for brevity) dated November 13, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP No. 43884, By Order of August 23, 1991, Judge Benigno T. Dayaw of Branch 80 of the
denying Atty. Reynaldo P. Dimayacyacs petition for certiorari and ruling that the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to whose sala Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037
Regional Trial Court (Branch 227) of Quezon City (RTC for brevity) was correct in was raffled, holding that the grant or denial of Motion to Dismiss whether the
denying petitioners motion to quash the information charging petitioner with accused is arraigned or not is discretionary on the part of the Court, it citing People
falsification of public documents, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988. vs. IAC, L-66939-41, January 10, 1987, granted the petitioners motion to quash
The antecedent facts as borne out by the records of the case are accurately upon the second ground. Accordingly, the information was quashed.
narrated in the CA Decision dated November 13, 1998, thus: More than two (2) years after the quashal of the information in Criminal Case No.
An information for falsification of public documents docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 or on October 19, 1993, the Quezon City Prosecutor filed against the
Q-91-18037 at the RTC of Quezon City was filed against petitioner along with same accused including petitioner two (2) informations for falsification of public
some others. That information reads: documents docketed at the Quezon City RTC as Criminal Case Nos. Q-93-49988
The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses LOURDES ANGELES, and 49989. The Informations arose from the questioned acts of falsification
ESTRELLA MAPA, ATTY. PONCIANO R. GUPIT, and ATTY. REYNALDO P. subject of the earlier quashed information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037.
DIMAYACYAC of the crime of FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT (under Petitioner later filed with Branch 103 of the RTC of Quezon City to which the
Article 172, first and last paragraph in relation to Article 171 paragraph 2 of the informations were raffled a motion for the quashal thereof on the ground of double
Revised Penal Code), committed as follows: jeopardy, citing Section 3(h) of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court.
That on or about the 5th day of 1986, in Quezon City, Philippines and within the Petitioner argued at the court a quo that he would be placed in double jeopardy
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, all private as he was indicted before for the same offenses and the case was dismissed or
individuals, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping one otherwise terminated without his express consent.
another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit the act of By the assailed Order of December 18, 1996, public respondent, Judge Vicente
falsification of public documents, by then and there falsifying or causing the Q. Roxas of Branch 227 of the RTC of Quezon City to which the two (2)
falsification of the following documents, to wit: informations against petitioner, et al, were eventually lodged, held that the
information in Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988 involved a different document as
that involved in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 which had already been quashed. Section 6. Order sustaining the motion to quash not a bar to another prosecution;
Resolution of the motion to quash the information in Criminal Case No. Q-93- exception. - An order sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to another
49989 was stayed pending the submission by petitioner of the documents required prosecution for the same offense unless the motion was based on the grounds
by the court a quo. Public respondent thus denied the motion to quash the specified in Section 3, sub-sections (f) and (h) of this Rule.
information in Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988 and ordered petitioners Section 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the complaint or information
arraignment, he holding that said case did not place petitioner in double on any of the following grounds:
jeopardy.[2] (a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
Herein petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari before the CA which denied his (b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or
petition stating in its Decision that since the Information in Criminal Case No. Q- the person of the accused;
91-18037, on petitioners motion, was quashed on the ground that more than one (c) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
offense was charged pursuant to Sec. 3 (e) of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of (d) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
Court,[3] he is not placed in double jeopardy by the filing of another Information for (e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing
an offense included in the charge subject of the Information in Criminal Case No. laws prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;
Q-91-18037.[4] (f) That the criminal action or liability has been
Hence, herein petition for review on certiorari assigning the following errors of the extinguished;
CA, to wit:
I. That the Honorable Court of Appeals ERRED in disregarding the legal doctrine
that THERE IS DOUBLE JEOPARDY, in the case now pending before
Respondent Judge Vicente Q. Roxas;
II. That the Honorable Court of Appeals ERRED in not adhering to the decisions
of this Honorable Supreme Court, as well as to applicable jurisprudence on the
(g) That it contains averments which, if true, would
matter;
constitute a legal
III. That the Honorable Court of Appeals ERRED in not taking into account that
based on the Manifestation and Motion (To Grant Petition) In Lieu of Comment excuse or
filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, the ORDER of dismissal of Honorable justification; and
Judge Benigno T. Dayaw in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 on August 23, 1991
has become final and executory; and
IV. That the Honorable Respondent Court of Appeals ERRED in concluding that
an ORDER sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to another prosecution for
the same offense, as it has no legal basis.[5]
(h) That the accused has been previously convicted or
On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that in jeopardy of being
petitioner, by filing the motion to quash and refusing to withdraw it after he was convicted, or
arraigned, is deemed to have waived his right against double jeopardy, as his acquitted of the
motion to quash constituted his express consent for the dismissal of the offense charged.
information. However, the OSG advances the view that the criminal case against (Emphasis supplied)
herein petitioner may be dismissed for the inordinate delay in the conduct of
preliminary investigation for the purpose of filing the proper information, which is
a violation of the accuseds constitutional right to due process of law and to speedy
disposition of cases.
Private respondent complainant Irene Agbada-Cruz, in turn, submits that the Court
of Appeals committed no error since the dismissal or quashal of an information is
not a bar to another prosecution except when the motion to quash is based on the Thus, private respondent Cruz argues that since the previous information was
ground that (1) the criminal action or liability has been extinguished or that (2) the quashed on the ground of duplicity of offenses charged, the subsequent filing of a
accused has previously been convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted or proper information is, therefore, not barred.
acquitted of the offense charged, pursuant to Section 6 in relation to Section 3, In their Memorandum, private respondents-complainants Romeo Gomez and
Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, to wit: Mercedes Aristorenas contend that (1) jeopardy does not attach where the
dismissal of the information was effected at the instance of the accused; and (2)
there was no violation of petitioners right to a speedy disposition of his case since accused filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the facts charged do not
he never raised this issue in the trial court nor in the appellate court, hence, his constitute an offense and that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the case. In this
silence should be interpreted as a waiver of said right to a speedy trial. case, considering that since the dismissal of the previous criminal case against
petitioner was by reason of his motion for the quashal of the information, petitioner
The issues boil down to (1) whether or not the prosecution of petitioner under the is thus deemed to have expressly given his consent to such dismissal. There could
Information docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988 would constitute double then be no double jeopardy in this case since one of the requisites therefore, i.e.,
jeopardy, considering that when the Information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 that the dismissal be without accuseds express consent, is not present.
was previously quashed, he had already been arraigned, and (2) whether or not
petitioners constitutional right to a speedy disposition of his case has been As to whether the subsequent filing of the two informations docketed as Q-93-
violated. 49988 and Q-93-49989 constitutes a violation of petitioners constitutional right to
a speedy disposition of cases,[10] we rule in the negative. We are not convinced
With regard to the first issue, we are in accord with the ruling of the CA that not all by the OSGs assertion that the cases of Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan[11] or
the elements for double jeopardy exist in the case at bench. In People vs. Tac- Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman,[12] are applicable to the case before us. We see
An,[6] we enumerated the elements that must exist for double jeopardy to be differently. There is no factual similarity between this case before us and the cases
invoked, to wit: of Tatad and Angchangco.
Thus, apparently, to raise the defense of double jeopardy, three requisites must In the Tatad case, there was a hiatus in the proceedings between the termination
be present: (1) a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; (2) the first of the proceedings before the investigating fiscal on October 25, 1982 and its
jeopardy must have been validly terminated; and (3) the second jeopardy must be resolution on April 17, 1985. The Court found that political motivations played a
for the same offense as that in the first. vital role in activating and propelling the prosecutorial process[13] against then
Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a competent Secretary Francisco S. Tatad. In the Angchangco case, the criminal complaints
court, (c) after arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered; and (e) the case remained pending in the Office of the Ombudsman for more than six years despite
was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the the respondents numerous motions for early resolution and the respondent, who
accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). had been retired, was being unreasonably deprived of the fruits of his retirement
Was the duplicitous information a valid indictment? We answer in the affirmative. because of the still unresolved criminal complaints against him. In both cases, we
In People vs. Bugayong,[7] we ruled that when an appellant fails to file a motion to ruled that the period of time that elapsed for the resolution of the cases against
quash within the time prescribed under Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, the petitioners therein was deemed a violation of the accuseds right to a speedy
he is thus deemed to have waived the defect in the Information. In People vs. disposition of cases against them.
Manalili,[8] we held that an accused, who fails to object prior to arraignment to a In the present case, no proof was presented to show any persecution of the
duplicitous information, may be found guilty of any or all of the crimes alleged accused, political or otherwise, unlike in the Tatad case. There is no showing that
therein and duly proven during the trial, for the allegation of the elements of such petitioner was made to endure any vexatious process during the two-year period
component crimes in the said information has satisfied the constitutional before the filing of the proper informations, unlike in the Angchangco case where
guarantee that an accused be informed of the nature of the offense with which he petitioner therein was deprived of his retirement benefits for an unreasonably long
or she is being charged. Verily, a duplicitous information is valid since such defect time. Thus, the circumstances present in the Tatad and Angchangco cases
may be waived and the accused, because of such waiver, could be convicted of justifying the radical relief granted by us in said cases are not existent in the
as many offenses as those charged in the information and proved during trial. present case.
The validity of the information having been established, we go on to examine We emphasize our ruling in Ty-Dazo vs. Sandiganbayan[14] where we held that:
whether the other requisites for double jeopardy to attach are present. In the The right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed
present case, although there was a valid indictment before a competent court and violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and
petitioner, as the accused, had already been arraigned therein, entering a valid oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for
plea of not guilty, the last requisite that the case was dismissed or otherwise and secured, or when without cause or unjustifiable motive, a long period of time
terminated without his express consent, is not present. is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. In the determination
of whether or not that right has been violated, the factors that may be considered
It should be noted that the termination of Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 was upon and balanced are: the length of the delay the reasons for such delay, the assertion
motion of petitioner who, on April 1, 1991, filed with the court an Urgent Motion to or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the
Quash which was granted by Resolution dated August 23, 1991. In Sta. Rita vs. delay.
Court of Appeals,[9] we held that the reinstatement of criminal cases against the A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be
accused did not violate his right against double jeopardy since the dismissal of the sufficient. In the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy
information by the trial court had been effected at his own instance when the
disposition of cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts and
circumstances peculiar to each case. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, we shall examine how such aforementioned factors affected herein
petitioners right.
As to the length of delay, it is established that the prosecution did not take any
action on petitioners case for two years. From the time that Criminal Case No. Q-
91-18037 was dismissed on August 23, 1991, the prosecution failed to effect the
very simple remedy of filing two separate informations against petitioner until
October of 1993. Indeed, there was a delay in the refiling of the proper
informations. However, the prosecution was never given the opportunity to explain
the circumstances that may have caused such delay precisely because petitioner
never raised the issue of the length of time it took the prosecution to revive the
case. There is nothing on record to show what happened during the two-year lull
before the filing of the proper informations. Hence, it could not be ascertained that
peculiar situations existed to prove that the delay was vexatious, capricious and
oppressive, and therefore, a violation of petitioners constitutional right to speedy
disposition of cases.
What the records clearly show is that petitioner never asserted his right to a
speedy disposition of his case. The only ground he raised in assailing the
subsequent filing of the two informations is that he will be subjected to double
jeopardy. It was only the OSG that brought to light the issue on petitioners right to
a speedy disposition of his case, and only when the case was brought to the
appellate court on certiorari. Even in this petition before us, petitioner did not raise
the issue of his right to a speedy disposition of his case. Again, it was only the
OSG that presented such issue to us in the Brief for the State which was only then
adopted by petitioner through a Manifestation dated August 3, 1999. We are not
convinced that the filing of the informations against petitioner after two years was
an unreasonable delay. Petitioner himself did not really believe that there was any
violation of his right to a speedy disposition of the case against him.
The case which is more in point with the present one before us is Dela Pea vs.
Sandiganbayan[15] where we ruled that petitioner therein, for failing to assert their
right to a speedy disposition of their cases, was deemed to have waived such right
and thus, not entitled to the radical relief granted by the Court in the cases of Tatad
and Angchangco. The factual circumstances surrounding herein petitioners case
do not demonstrate that there was any violation of petitioners right to a speedy
disposition of his case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The
temporary restraining order issued pursuant to our Resolution dated January 17,
2000 is hereby LIFTED and the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 227)
is hereby ORDERED to proceed with dispatch with petitioners arraignment in
Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988.
SO ORDERED.