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JESUS T. TANCHANCO and ROMEO R.

LACSON versus THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN


G.R. Nos. 141675-96
November 25, 2005

FACTS:

• Tanchanco served as NFA Administrator from 1972 to 1986, during the presidency of
Ferdinand Marcos. His co-petitioner Romeo Lacson (Lacson) was the Deputy Administrator of
the NFA when he was the Administrator.

• On 6 May 1988, Tanchanco and the PCGG entered into a Cooperation Agreement, occasioned
by the desire of Tanchanco to cooperate with the Philippine government in connection with
the latters efforts in the location and pursuit of government properties purloined by
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, their agents and others who hold property on their behalf. In
the Cooperation Agreement, the parties stipulated as follows:
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants contained herein and
intending to be legally bound hereby, the parties agree as follows:
1. Tanchanco shall cooperate with any and all Philippine Government investigations or
prosecutions pursuant to Executive Order No. 1;
2. Cooperation means that Tanchanco shall provide complete, candid and absolutely truthful
disclosures, in response to any and all questions and inquiries that may be put to him/her in
connection with the Philippines investigations, civil actions, criminal prosecutions, or any
other proceedings whether in the Philippines, the United States or elsewhere. Further, upon
the request of the Philippines, Tanchanco will offer such cooperation in investigations and
proceedings brought by other governments, including but not limited to the United States
and Switzerland;
Cooperation also means a disgorgement of assets, if any, acquired in violation of Philippine
laws, rules and regulations. Cooperation further means a full disclosure of assets and
liabilities, beneficially owned by Tanchanco. Any assets not therein listed as Tanchancos
personal property, and thereafter discovered to be in Tanchancos name or under his/her legal
or beneficial control, directly or indirectly, as of the date of this Agreement, shall become the
property of the PCGG.
3. Should any of Tanchancos statements or testimonies be false, misleading or materially
incomplete, or should Tanchanco knowingly fail to act with total honesty and candor in any
such matters, the Philippines shall no longer be bound by any of its representations contained
herein. Immunities and other considerations granted in reliance thereof, shall be null and
void.
• In return for the above, the Philippines hereby represents and agrees as follows:

1. At a time to be mutually agreed upon between Tanchanco and the Philippines, the
Philippines shall move to dismiss all actions that are presently pending against Tanchanco
before the Sandiganbayan and any such other courts;
2. The Philippines shall lift any sequestration orders against Tanchanco’s properties, if any,
and rescind hold orders it may have issued against his/her actions;
3. The Philippines shall not bring any additional civil or criminal charges against Tanchanco,
arising from:
(A) Service in or for the Marcos government;
(B) Any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to his/her cooperation as
defined in this Agreement.

• Tanchanco was called as one of the witnesses for the prosecution in the case filed against
Imelda Marcos in New York for violation of the so-called RICO Act. His testimony disclosed
the transfer of P10,000,000.00 rebate obtained by the NFA from the Philippine National Lines
to the Security Bank, as well as the matter of the use of discretionary and/or intelligence
funds by the Marcos administration involving the funds of the NFA during Tanchanco’s
administration.

• A criminal case was filed in 1991 against Tanchanco with the Sandiganbayan for malversation
of public funds in the amount of P10,000,000.00 from the Philippine National Bank.
Tanchanco filed a Motion for Reinvestigation, wherein he argued that the case should be
dismissed as he had been granted immunity from the said suit by the PCGG. Eventually, the
Sandiganbayan First Division agreed with Tanchanco and in a Resolution dated 27 October
2000, the case was ordered dismissed. However, Criminal Case No. 16950 proved to be only
just one of several attempts of the government to prosecute Tanchanco. In 1997, a total of
22 Informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan against Tanchanco. He was charged with
21 counts of Malversation of Public Funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, and
one count of Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts under Article 218 of the same
Code. Lacson was charged as a co-defendant in four of the informations for Malversation of
Public Funds. These cases were consolidated and raffled to the Sandiganbayan Second
Division. On 2 September 1997, Tanchanco and Lacson pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

• On 26 November 1997, Tanchanco and Lacson filed a Motion to Quash and/or Dismiss all 22
cases, citing as basis the Cooperation Agreement which was said to have granted immunity
to Tanchanco from criminal prosecution.
• Still, the motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan examined Section 5
of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 14, which empowered the PCGG to grant immunity from
criminal prosecution and ruled that the grant of immunity by the PCGG pertained only to
offenses which may arise from the act of a person testifying or giving information in
connection with the recovery of supposed ill-gotten wealth. The Sandiganbayan likewise
concluded that even assuming the immunity granted by the Cooperation Agreement covered
the offenses charged against Tanchanco, the same could not benefit Lacson, as he was not a
party to the immunity agreement.

• A Motion for Reconsideration was filed by Tanchanco and Lacson, however, the same was
denied. Hence, this Petition by the Petitioners arguing that the grant of immunity under the
Cooperation Agreement encompassed the subject charges.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Jesus T. Tanchanco and Romeo R. Lacson can be granted immunity under the
Cooperation Agreement?
RULING:
Tanchanco is entitled to immunity.
The court hold that Cooperation Agreement, validly undertaken between the PCGG and
Tanchanco as it was, precludes the prosecution of Tanchanco under the subject changes. The
Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to dismiss the charges despite its
lack of jurisdiction to continue hearing the case against Tanchanco. The present petition, in so far
as it relates to Tanchanco, must be granted. It goes without saying though that this ruling does
not shield all grantees under section 5 of E.O No.14-A from all kinds of criminal prosecution. The
extent of immunity available to each particular grantee depends on their respective immunity
agreements with the PCGG and the surrounding facts.
Lacson Not Entitled to Immunity.
It may seem unsettling to some that Lacson will have to endure criminal prosecution while
Tanchanco would be discharged, or that Tanchanco will need not answer for whatever culpable
acts of his during his service in the Marcos government. Yet the Court is not the guarantor of
karmic warrants, but only of legal ones. The Cooperation Agreement, entered into in the
judgment of the State that it would serve a higher end of justice, is a valid document, enforceable
as to Tanchanco before this Court and other courts of the land.
and maker
s ofl
egi
slat
ion and cons
tit
uti
ons whi
ch pr
eser
vet
he wr
itnev
eri
ntended t
hati
t
shoul
dbeusedi
nthatmannerandf
ort
hatpur
pose.

I
tisur
gedt
hat
,invi
ew oft
hedeci
sionsoft
hiscour
tint heCi
hecaseoft tyofMani
lavs.
Ri
zal(
p.50,ant
e),t
heact
ion shoul
d hav
ebeen i
nthenameoft
heUni
ted St
atesand nott
he
ci
ty ofMani
la;and t
hat
,the act
ion havi
ng been wr
ongl
y ent
itl
ed,t
he cour
tacqui
red no
j
uri
sdi
cti
onoft
heper
sonort
hesubj
ectmat
teroft
heact
ionandt
hati
tsj
udgmentofconvi
cti
on
was absol
utel
y voi
d. Thi
s bei
ng t
he case, i
ti gued,habeas c
s ar orpuswi
lll
ie as t
he
i
mpr
isonmenti
sil
legal
.

Wecannotagr
eewi
tht
hiscont
ent
ion.Thebr
ingi
ngoft
heact
ion i
nthenameoft
heci
ty
ofMani
lai
nst
eadoft
heUni
tedSt
atesi
saner
rormer
elyandnotaj
uri
sdi
cti
onaldef
ect
.Iti
snot
si
mil
art
othecasewher
e,ascl
aimedbype
tit
ioner
s,an i
nfor
mat
ion i
s4l
edbyaper
son whoi
s
notaut
hor
ized i
nlaw t
o4l
eit
.Thef
actt
hatt
heci
tyofMani
lawast
hepl
aint
i3i
ntheact
ion
does notsi
gni
fyt
hatsai
d ci
ty was t
he per
son who si
gned and 4l
ed t
he i
nfor
mat
ion.The
accused wher
e pr
osecut
ed by t
he same o5ci
als,bef
oret
he same cour
t,and i
nthe same
mannerast
heywoul
d hav
ebeen i
ftheact
ion had been br
oughti
nthenameoft
heUni
ted
St
ates,and t
heyr
ecei
ved t
hebene4t
soft
hesamer
ight
sand t
hesamepr
ivi
legeswhi
ch t
hey
woul
dhav
erecei
vedi
ftheact
ionhadbeenpr
oper
lyent
itl
ed.Theyhav
ebeeni
nnosensei
njur
ed
orpr
ejudi
ced.

Thedef
ecti
sonewhi
chcoul
dhav
ebeencur
edatanys
tageoft
het
rialbyanamendment
ont
hemot
ionoft
hecour
tit
sel
forupont
hemot
ionofanyper
soni
nter
est
edi
nthepr
osecut
ion.
Def
ect
soft
hatchar
act
erwhi
ch ar
enott
aken advant
ageofi
nthecour
tbel
ow i
nthemanner
pr
escr
ibedbyl
aw cannotber
aisedf
ort
he4r
stt
imeher
e,andespeci
all
yinape
tit
ionf
orawr
it
ofhabeasc
orpus.

Thewr
itofhabeasc
orpuswasnoti
ntendedandcannotbeusedt
ocor
rectmer
eer
ror
sor
def
ect
sinpr
oceedi
ngs,andaccor
dingl
ydoesnotl
iei
nthepr
esentappl
icat
ion.

Thewr
iti
sdeni
ed.

JESUS T. TANCHANCO and ROMEO R. LACSON ver


sus THE HONORABLE
SANDIGANBAYAN
G.R.Nos.141675-
96
November25,2005

FACTSOFTHE CASE:
4
Vernon Basnic’s Case Digest
Tanchanco ser
ved asNFA Admi ni
str
atorf
rom 1972 t
o 1986,dur
ing t
hepr
esi
dency of
Ferdi
nand Marcos.Hisco-pe
tit
ionerRomeoLacson (
Lacson)wastheDeputyAdmi
nis
trat
orof
theNFAwhenhewast heAdminist
rat
or.

On 6 May 1988, Tanchanco and t he PCGG ent er


ed into aCooper ati
on
Agreement
,occasi
onedbyt hedesi reofTanchancot ocooperatewi t
ht hePhi
lippi
negover
nment
i
n connecti
on withthe lat
ters e3ortsi nthe locati
on and pursuitofgovernmentproperti
es
purloi
nedbyFerdinandandI mel daMar cos,t
heiragentsandot herswhohol dproper
tyont heir
behalf
.IntheCooperat
ionAgreement ,t
hepar ti
ess ti
pulat
edasf ol
lows:

NOW,THEREFORE,i
nconsi
der
ati
on oft
hemut
ualcov
enant
scont
ainedher
ein
andi
ntendi
ngt
obel
egal
lyboundher
eby
,thepar
tiesagr
eeasf
oll
ows:

1. Tanchanco shal
l cooper
ate wi
th any and al
l Phi
li
ppi
ne
Gov
ernmenti
nves
tigat
ionsorpr
osecut
ionspur
suantt
oExecut
iveOr
derNo.1;

2. Cooper
ati
onmeanst
hatTanchancoshal
lpr
ovi
decompl
ete,candi
d
and absol
utel
ytr
uthf
ul di
scl
osur
es, i
nresponse t
o any and al
l ques
tions and
i
nqui
ries t
hat may be put t
o hi
m/her i
n connect
ion wi
th t
he Phi
li
ppi
nes
i
nves
tigat
ions,ci
vilact
ions,cr
imi
nalpr
osecut
ions,oranyot
herpr
oceedi
ngswhe
ther
i
nthePhi
li
ppi
nes,t
heUni
ted St
atesorel
sewher
e.Fur
ther
,upon t
her
eques
toft
he
Phi
li
ppi
nes,Tanchancowi
llo3ersuch cooper
ati
on i
ninv
est
igat
ionsand pr
oceedi
ngs
br
oughtby ot
hergov
ernment
s,i
ncl
udi
ng butnotl
imi
ted t
othe Uni
ted St
ates and
Swi
tzer
land;

Cooper
ati
onal
someansadi
sgor
gementofasse
ts,i
fany
,acqui
redi
nvi
olat
ionof
Phi
li
ppi
nel
aws,r
ulesandr
egul
ati
ons.Cooper
ati
on f
urt
hermeansaf
ulldi
scl
osur
eof
asse
tsand l
iabi
li
ti
es,bene4ci
all
yowned byTanchanco.Anyasse
tsnott
her
einl
ist
ed
asTanchancosper
sonalpr
oper
ty,andt
her
eaf
terdi
scov
eredt
obei
nTanchancosname
orunderhi
s/herl
egalorbene4ci
alcont
rol
,di
rect
lyori
ndi
rect
ly,asoft
hedat
eoft
his
Agr
eement
,shal
lbecomet
hepr
oper
tyoft
hePCGG.

3. Shoul
d any ofTanchancos s
tat
ement
s or t
est
imoni
es be f
alse,
mi
sleadi
ngormat
eri
all
yincompl
ete,orshoul
d Tanchancoknowi
ngl
yfai
ltoactwi
th
t
otalhones
ty and candori
n any such mat
ter
s,t
he Phi
li
ppi
nes shal
lno l
ongerbe
bound by any of i
tsr
epr
esent
ati
ons cont
ained her
ein. I
mmuni
ti
es and ot
her
consi
der
ati
onsgr
ant
edi
nrel
iancet
her
eof
,shal
lbenul
landv
oid.

I
nre
tur
nfort
heabov
e,t
hePhi
li
ppi
nesher
ebyr
epr
esent
sandagr
eesasf
oll
ows:

5
Vernon Basnic’s Case Digest
(
1) At a t
ime t
o be mut
ual
ly agr
eed upon bet
ween
Tanchanco and t
he Phi
lippi
nes, t
he Phi
lippi
nes shal
l move t
o
di
smi
ss al
lact
ions t
hat ar
e pr
esent
ly pendi
ng agai
nst Tanchanco
bef
oret
heSandi
ganbayanandanysuchot
hercour
ts;

(
2) The Phi
lippi
nesshal
lli
ftany sequest
rat
ion or
der
s
agai
nstTanchancospr
oper
ties,i
fany,andr
esci
ndhol
dor
der
sitmay
havei
ssuedagai
nsthi
s/heract
ions;

(
3) ThePhi
lippi
nesshal
lnotbr
inganyaddi
tionalci
vil
orcr
imi
nalchar
gesagai
nstTanchanco,ar
isi
ngf
rom:

(
A) Ser
vice i
n or f
or t
he Mar
cos
gover
nment
;

(
B) Any ot
her act
ions r
eveal
ed by
Tanchancopur
suantt
ohi
s/hercooper
ati
on asdeBnedi
n
t
hisAgr
eement
.

Si
gni 4cantl
y,Tanchancowascal led upon asoneoft hewitnessesforthepr osecuti
on i
n
the case 4led agai
nstI mel
da Marcos in New Yorkf orviolat
ion ofthe so-
call
ed RI CO Act.It
appearst hat hi stest
imony was elici
ted concerning the transf
er ofP10,000,000.00 rebate
obtained byt heNFA from thePhili
ppineNat ionalLinest otheSecur it
yBank,aswel lasthe
mat t
eroft he use ofdiscr
eti
onar
y and/or i ntell
igence f
unds by the Mar cos admi ni
str
ati
on
inv
olvingt hefundsoft heNFAduringTanchancosadmi ni
strat
ion.

None thel
ess,a cr iminalcase,docket ed asCr imi nalCaseNo.16950,was4l ed in 1991
againstTanchanco wi tht he Sandiganbayan f ormal ver sation ofpubl icfunds int he amount
ofP10, 000,000.00 f rom t he Phi li
ppi ne Nat ional Bank. Tanchanco 4l ed a Mot ion f or
Reinvestigat
ion,wher ein hear guedt hatt hecaseshoul dbedi smi ssedashehadbeen gr ant ed
immuni t
yf r
om t hesai dsuitbyt hePCGG.Ev ent ually
,t heSandi ganbayanFi rstDi visi
onagr eed
with Tanchancoand i n aResol uti
on dat ed 27 Oct ober2000,t hecasewasor dered dismi ssed.
Howev er,Cr iminalCase No.16950 pr oved t
o be onl yj ustone ofsev er
alat t
empt s oft he
governmentt o prosecuteTanchanco.I n 1997,a t otalof22 I nf ormationswer e4l ed wi t
ht he
Sandiganbayan agai ns tTanchanco.Hewaschar ged wi th 21 count sofMal versation ofPubl i
c
FundsunderAr ti
cle217 oft heRevi sed PenalCode,and onecountofFai l
ur eofAccount able
O5cert oRenderAccount sunderAr ticle218 oft hesameCode.Lacson waschar ged asaco-
defendant inf our oft heinformations f or Malversation ofPubl ic Funds.These cases wer e
consolidated and r aNed t ot he Sandi ganbayan Second Di vision. On 2 Sept ember 1997,
TanchancoandLacsonpl eadednotgui lt
yt oallofthechar ges.

6
Vernon Basnic’s Case Digest
On26Nov ember1997,TanchancoandLacson4ledaMot i
ontoQuashand/orDi
smi
ssal
l
22 cases,ci
ti
ngasbasistheCooperati
onAgreementwhich wassai
dtohavegrant
ed i
mmuni
ty
toTanchancofrom cr
imi
nalprosecut
ion.

St
ill
,t he mot ion was deni ed by the Sandiganbayan.The Sandi ganbayan exami ned
Secti
on5ofExecut i
veOr der(E.O.)No.14,whi chempower edt hePCGG t ogr
anti mmuni tyfr
om
criminalpr osecution,and r uled thatthe gr
antofi mmuni t
y by the PCGG per tained onlyto
o3enseswhi chmayar i
sefrom theactofaper sontest
if
yingorgi vi
nginformati
oni nconnection
witht he recovery ofsupposed i ll
-got
ten wealth.The Sandiganbayan li
kewise concluded that
even assumi ng the i mmuni ty granted by theCooperation Agreementcover
ed t he o3enses
charged agains tTanchanco,t hesamecoul d notbene4tLacson,ashewasnotapar tyt othe
immuni tyagr eement .

AMot
ionf
orRec
onsi
der
ati
onwas4l
edbyTanchancoandLacson,howev
er,t
hesamewas
deni
ed.

Hence,thi
s Peti
ti
on by the Peti
ti
oners arguing that t
he gr
ant of i
mmuni
ty under
heCooper
t ati
onAgreementencompassedthesubjectcharges.

I
SSUE:

WhetherornotJesus T.Tanchanco and Romeo R.Lacson can be gr


ant
ed i
mmuni
ty
undert
heCooper
ati
onAgreement?

RULLI
NG:

Tanchancoi
sent
itl
edt
oimmuni
ty.

We hol dt hat Cooper ation Agr eement , validly under t


aken be t
ween the PCGG and
Tanchancoasi twas,pr ecludest hepr osecution ofTanchancoundert hesubj ectchanges.
TheSandi ganbayan actedwi th graveabuseofdi scret
ion i
nr efusi
ngt odismisst hecharges
despiteit
slackofj ur
isdict i
on tocont i
nuehear ingt hecaseagai nstTanchanco.Thepr esent
peti
ti
on,i nsof arasitr elatest oTanchanco,mus tbegr anted.Itgoeswithoutsayingthough
thatthisruli
ngdoesnotshi eldal lgranteesundersect ion5ofE. O No.14-Afrom allki
ndsof
cri
mi nalprosecut i
on.Theext entofi mmuni t
yavai l
ablet oeach parti
culargranteedepends
onthei rr
espect i
veimmuni t
yagr eement switht hePCGG andt hesurroundingfacts.

LacsonNotEnt
itl
edt
oImmuni
ty.

Itmay seem unse ttl


ing to some t
hatLacson wi llhavet o endure criminalprosecution
whil
eTanchanco woul d bedi scharged,orthatTanchanco wi llneed notanswerf orwhat ev er
cul
pable act
s ofhis during his servi
ce i
nt he Marcos gover
nment .Yetthe Cour tis nott he
guarantorofkarmicwar rants,butonl yoflegalones.TheCooper at i
onAgr eement,entered i
nt o
inthejudgmentoft heSt atet hatitwould serveahi gherend ofj usti
ce,isaval i
d document ,
enf
orceableastoTanchancobef or
et hi
sCour tandothercour t
soft hel and.

7
Vernon Basnic’s Case Digest
WHEREFORE, t
he petit
ion i
s GRANTED IN PART. The Cour
t her
eby or
der
sthe
DISMI
SSALoft
heSUBJECTCRI MINALCASESINSOFAR ASPETITI
ONER JESUSTANCHANCO
I
SCONCERNED.Nopronouncementastocos
ts.

8
Vernon Basnic’s Case Digest