You are on page 1of 2

(case no.

210)

SERAPIO v. SANDIGANBAYAN
GR Numbers 148468, 148769, and 149116
January 28, 2003
Art. III
FACTS:
The case is a consolidation of 3 petitions filed by Edward Serapio which assailed
resolutions of the 3rd Division of the Sandiganbayan in denying his petition for bail, motion for
reinvestigation and motion to quash, and a petition for habeas corpus in relation to a plunder case
against him.
Petitioner was a member of the Board of Trustees and legal counsel of the Erap Muslim
Youth Foundation. He received a Php200 million donation from Chavit Singson. He received the
donation and turned it over to the treasurer of the Foundation and it was deposited to the account
with the Equitable PCI Bank.
In 2000, Singson publicly accused Estrada and his cohorts of engaging in several illegal
activities triggering the filing with the Ombudsman several criminal complaints against Estrada.
Petitioner was among the persons included in the criminal charges.
Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan several informations against Estrada and other
persons and no bail was recommended for the provisional released of the accused. Ombudsman
found probable cause for plunder and petitioner filed an MR. It was denied because the
information was already filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution finding probable cause to justify the issuance of
warrants of arrests for the accused, including petitioner. Petitioner was detained at Camp Crame
for the said charge. Arraignment was set and petitioner filed a petition for Bail. Several other bail
meetings did not push through.
Even before the Sandiganbayan can resolve the issues, petitioner filed with the Supreme
Court a petition for habeas corpus and certiorari praying that the issued Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan be declared void because he was denied due process.
ISSUE:
Whether the Sandiganbayan denied the petitioner of his right to due process of the law.
HELD:
No. The right to a preliminary investigation is not a constitutional right, but it is a
right conferred by a statute. Petitioner was afforded the opportunity to answer the charges
against him during the preliminary investigation. Jurisprudence dictates that the Court do not
interfere with the discretion of the Ombudsman in its conduct of preliminary investigations. It
was enunciated in Raro v. Sandiganbayan that in the performance of the task to determine
probable cause, the Ombudsmans discretion is paramount. The lack of a preliminary
investigation does not impair the validity of the information filed before the court.
The denial of his prayer for a writ of habeas corpus does not deny him of his right to due
process because there is no basis for the issuance of the writ in favor of the petitioner. Petitioner
has voluntarily surrendered himself to the authorities. Habeas corpus does not lie because there
was no deprivation of liberty. Also, the delay in the hearing of the bail cannot be solely pinned
upon the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner is also to be blamed. Habeas corpus is not the appropriate
remedy for asserting ones right to bail.

Prepared by: Cecille Diane DJ. Mangaser

(case no. 210)

Prepared by: Cecille Diane DJ. Mangaser