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SECTION 16 SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES

ELPIDIO C. CERVANTES, petitioner, vs. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION, THE SPECIAL
PROSECUTOR, and PEDRO ALMENDRAS,respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The case before the Court is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction seeking to annul and set aside the resolution of the Sandiganbayan, First Division, [1] that denied
petitioner's motion to quash the information against him for violation of Section 3 (e), Republic Act 3019,
and to restrain or enjoin the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with his arraignment and trial. The motion
is based on the ground that the filing of the information against petitioner over six (6) years after the initial
complaint with the Tanodbayan (predecessor of the Ombudsman) violated his right to speedy disposition
of the case, and that the acts charged in the information do not constitute an offense.
We grant the petition.
The facts are as follows:
On March 6, 1986, one Pedro Almendras filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan (predecessor of the
Ombudsman) a sworn complaint[2] against Alejandro Tapang for falsification of complainant's "salaysay"
alleging that Alejandro Tapang made complainant sign a piece of paper in blank on which paper a
"salaysay" was later inscribed stating that complainant had been paid his claim in the amount of
P17,594.00, which was not true. In the said complaint, Pedro Almendras mentioned that he sought the
help of petitioner Elpidio C. Cervantes who worked as analyst in the office of labor arbiter Teodorico L.
Ruiz.[3]
On October 2, 1986, Alejandro Tapang submitted to the Office of the Tanodbayan a counter-affidavit
stating that the letter complaint of Almendras was the subject of a labor case decided by Arbiter
Teodorico L. Ruiz; that the letter "is full of lies and improbabilities" and "that it is vague." [4]
On October 16, 1986, petitioner Elpidio C. Cervantes filed with the office of the Tanodbayan an
affidavit stating that he had nothing to do with the blank paper that Almendras signed, as admitted by the
latter in a confrontation in the presence of National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) vice chairman
Diego Atienza.[5]
On May 18, 1992, more than six (6) years after the filing of the initiatory complaint with the
Tanodbayan, Special Prosecution Officer II, Office of the Special Prosecutor Luz L. Quinones-Marcos filed
with the Sandiganbayan, assigned to the First Division, an Information charging petitioner Elpidio C.
Cervantes, together with Teodorico L. Ruiz and Alejandro Tapang with violation of Section 3 (e), Republic
Act 3019, committed as follows:
That on or about June 16, 1984, or for sometime subsequent thereto, in Manila, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused Teodorico L. Ruiz, a public officer,
being then a Labor Arbiter, National Labor Relations Commission, NCR, Department of Labor and Elpidio
Cervantes, also a public officer, being then a Labor Analyst, National Labor Relations Commission, NCR,
Department of Labor, in the exercise of their official and administrative functions, conspiring,
confederating and conniving with private respondent Alejandro Tapang, did then and there, wilfully,

unlawfully and criminally with evident bad faith and manifest partiality cause undue injury to one Pedro
Almendras by then and there inducing Pedro Almendras to sign a blank paper, on which a statement
was later typed and attributed as his (Almendras) statement in which statement Almendras allegedly
acknowledged that the whole amount awarded to him by the NLRC in a decision in NCR Case No. 10731-81 had been paid by Alejandro Tapang and therefore, he is no longer pursuing any claim against
Tapang, thereby giving said Alejandro Tapang unwarranted benefits and advantage to the damage and
prejudice of Pedro Almendras.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[6]
On May 28, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration with the Office of the Special
Prosecutor reiterating that he never met complainant Almendras on June 29, 1984, that complainant filed
a case before the City Fiscal of Quezon City, claiming that his counsel together with Tapang conspired to
deprive him of his monetary award and that the case was dismissed. [7]
On October 2, 1992, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan, Manila, a "motion to defer arraignment
due to pendency of reinvestigation or motion to quash and motion to recall warrant of arrest" on the
ground that (a) petitioner filed with the office of the Special Prosecutor a motion for reinvestigation; (b)
that the case against Cervantes "has prescribed" due to unreasonable delay in the resolution of the
preliminary investigation, and (c) that the acts charged in the information do not constitute an offense. [8]
On October 2, 1992, the Ombudsman denied petitioners motion for reconsideration, [9] and
simultaneously filed with the Sandiganbayan an amended information. The amendment consisted of the
insertion of the total amount involved.[10]
By minute resolution dated December 24, 1992, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's motion,
ruling that there was no "unwarranted postponement nor any denial by the Tanodbayan or of the
Ombudsman of any step taken by the accused to accelerate the disposition on the matter."[11]
Hence, this petition.
On February 22, 1993, the Court required respondents to comment on the petition (not to file a
motion to dismiss) within ten (10) days from notice, and issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining respondent Sandiganbayan from continuing with the arraignment and trial or from further
proceeding with Criminal Case No. 17673. On December 14, 1993, respondents filed their comment. On
March 10, 1994, petitioner filed a reply to comment. On November 22, 1994, respondents filed a
rejoinder.
We resolve to give due course to the petition and decide the case.
The issues raised are (a) whether the acts charged in the information filed against petitioner for
violation of Section 3 (e), R. A. 3019 do not constitute an offense; and (b) whether the Sandiganbayan
acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying his motion to quash for violation of the right to speedy
disposition of the case.
We shall first resolve the second issue. We find petitioner's contention meritorious. He was
deprived of his right to a speedy disposition of the case, a right guaranteed by the Constitution. [12] It took
the Special Prosecutor (succeeding the Tanodbayan) six (6) years from the filing of the initiatory complaint
before he decided to file an information for the offense with the Sandiganbayan. The letter complaint was
filed with the Tanodbayan on March 6, 1986. The affidavit of the petitioner was filed therein on October
16, 1986. The Special Prosecutor resolved the case on May 18, 1992. In their comment to the petition at

bar,[13] the Sandiganbayan and the Special Prosecutor try to justify the inordinate delay in the resolution of
the complaint by stating that no political motivation appears to have tainted the prosecution of the case
in apparent reference to the case of Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan, (footote: 159 SCRA 70, 81-82.) where the
Court ruled that the long delay (three years) in the termination of the preliminary investigation by the
Tanodbayan" was violative of the Constitutional right of speedy disposition of cases because political
motivations played a vital role in activating and propelling the prosecutorial process in this case.
The Special Prosecutor also cited Alvizo vs. Sandiganbayan (footnote 220 SCRA 55, 64) alleging
that, as in Alvizo, the petitioner herein was insensitive to the implications and contingencies thereof by
not taking any step whatsoever to accelerate the disposition of the matter.
We cannot accept the Special Prosecutors ratiocination. It is the duty of the prosecutor to speedily
resolve the complaint, as mandated by the Constitution, regardless of whether the petitioner did not object
to the delay or that the delay was with his acquiescence provided that it was not due to causes directly
attributable to him.
Consequently, we rule that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in not quashing the
information for violation of petitioners Constitutional right to the speedy disposition of the case in the level
of the Special Prosecutor, Office of the Ombudsman. [14]
We deem it unnecessary to resolve the first issue in view of the foregoing ruling.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and ANNULS the minute resolution of the
Sandiganbayan, dated December 24, 1992, in Criminal Case No. 17673. The Court directs the
Sandiganbayan to dismiss the case, with costs de oficio.
The temporary restraining order heretofore issued is made permanent.
No costs in this instance.
SO ORDERED.

JOSE P. LOPEZ, JR., petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO
and HON. MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR. in their official capacities as Ombudsman and
Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao, respectively, and the Sandiganbayan, respondents.
DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Mandamus seeking: 1) the dismissal of Ombudsman Case No. OMB-3-932793 (now Criminal Cases Nos. 25247-25226); and 2) the issuance of a clearance in favor of petitioner
Jose P. Lopez, Jr.
The facts as narrated in the memorandum of petitioner are:
1. The petitioner is presently the Administrative Officer of the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports (DECS), Region XII, Cotabato City.

Because of the exigency of the service, the petitioner temporarily stays in Cotabato City although he is a
resident of Paraaque City.
2. On June 30, 1959, the petitioner started working with the DECS as a classroom teacher. Through hard
work, exemplary performance and continuous studies, he was promoted and assigned to different
positions such as Special Education Teacher; Child and Youth Specialist; 2nd Lt., 36 Battalion Combat
Team, Philippine Army (Reserved Force); Asst. Director and concurrent Director, Child and Youth
Research Center (now a defunct office); and finally, he was appointed as Administrative Officer V, DECSRegion XII, Cotabato City.
3. Among the tasks of the petitioner as Administrative Officer V is to determine whether certain expenses
are necessary in the attainment of the objectives of the DECS-Region XII and to pass upon, review and
evaluate documents and other supporting papers submitted to him in relation to his duties.
4. Between 1992 and 1993, DECS-Region XII ordered several pieces of laboratory equipment and
apparati requested by different school divisions of the region.
5. The concerned officers of DECS-Region XII submitted to the petitioner the documents covering the
transactions.
6. After careful scrutiny of the documents submitted to him, the petitioner affixed his signature on the
disbursements vouchers that were accompanied by Purchase Orders, Sales Invoices,
Delivery/Memorandum Receipts and proof that the transactions were post audited by the COA Resident
Auditor who found them in order.
7. Disregarding the findings of the COA Resident Auditor - DECS Region XII, Cotabato City, who post
audited the transactions and found them in order, for reasons of his own, the COA Regional Director
formed a Special Audit Team to investigate and audit the transactions.
8. Without seeking the presence of the concerned officials and employees of DECS Region XII, the
COA Special Audit Team conducted an audit of the transactions.
9. On December 20, 1993, the members of the COA Special Audit Team submitted to the COA Regional
Director-Region XII, their Joint Affidavit claiming alleged deficiencies in the transactions of DECS
Region XII implicating thereto the petitioner and some concerned officials and employees of DECSRegion XII.
10. Dispensing conducting an exit conference and inviting the petitioner to clarify the allegations of the
COA Special Audit Team in their Joint Affidavit-Complaint, in post-haste the COA Regional Directors
indorsed it to the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao for preliminary investigation.
11. The Office of Ombudsman-Mindanao docketed the complaint as Case No. 3-93-27791, entitled
Commission on Audit vs. Makil Pundaodaya, et al., for Falsification of Documents by Public Officers.
12. In her Order dated March 1, 1994, Graft Investigation Officer (GIO) Marie Dinah Tolentino directed the
petitioner to submit a Counter-Affidavit without informing him of his constitutional right to counsel.
13. On April 14, 1994, without the assistance of counsel, the petitioner wrote the Office of the
Ombudsman-Mindanao requesting for an extension of ten (10) days from April 19, 1994 to submit his
Counter-Affidavit.

14. On April 19, 1994, Atty. Edgardo A. Camello, counsel for Makil Pundaodaya and the other
respondents in Case No. OMB-3-93-8791 filed a Motion for Extension of Time to submit their CounterAffidavits.
15. On April 22, 1994, without the assistance of counsel, the petitioner submitted to the Office of
Ombudsman-Mindanao his Counter-Affidavit he personally prepared denying specifically each and every
criminal act attributed to him by the Commission on Audit.
16. Although the petitioner did not submit any written statement authorizing Atty. Camello to represent him
in Case No. OMB 3-93-8791, the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao erroneously assumed or
deliberately made to appear that he was represented by said attorney. As a consequence thereof, the
Office of Ombudsman-Mindanao did not notify him of the progress of the preliminary investigation. In
fact, it did not issue any order directing COA, Region XII to furnish him with a copy of the latters ReplyAffidavit, which explained why petitioner could not be expected to submit a Rejoinder to rebut the issues
raised in said Reply-Affidavit; to summon and compel witnesses to appear and testify before the Graft
Investigation Officer or to bring books, documents and other records relative to the transactions under
their control and to secure the attendance or presence of any absent or recalcitrant witness.
17. More than four (4) years after he submitted his Counter-Affidavit, the petitioner was surprised that,
without preliminary investigation and clarificatory question asked, on July 17, 1998, the Office of the
Ombudsman-Mindanao terminated the preliminary investigation recommending that he, together with the
other respondents in Case No. OMB 3-93-9791, be prosecuted for violation of Sec. 3(e) and (g) of the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
18. Within the reglementary period, without the assistance of counsel, the petitioner sent a letter to the
Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao dated June 8, 1999 seeking the reconsideration of the Resolution in
Case No. OMB 33-93-2791 wherein he stressed that he was deprived of due process and that there was
inordinate delay in the resolution of the preliminary investigation; and there was no exit conference
wherein he could have explained to the Graft Investigation Officer his exculpatory participation in the
transactions investigated. In addition, he also submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao a
Motion for Reconsideration or Reinvestigation reiterating the allegations mentioned in his letter dated
June 8, 1999. Unfortunately, said Motion for Reconsideration or Reinvestigation was not acted upon by
the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao by giving the excuse that its Resolution was already forwarded to
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto.[1]
On the other hand, the facts as narrated in the Memorandum of the Office of the Ombudsman are as
follows:
Criminal Cases Nos. 25247 to 25276 stemmed from a special audit conducted by the Commission on
Audit (COA), Region XII relative to the purchase by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports
(DECS), Region XII Office, Cotabato City of school equipment and laboratory apparati. The report on the
special audit was received by the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao on December 22, 1993. Finding
the audit report sufficient to conduct a preliminary investigation the same was docketed as Case No.
OMB-3-93-2791.
In an Order dated March 1, 1994, Graft Investigation Officer (GIO) Marie Dinah Tolentino directed the
concerned public officials, among whom was herein petitioner, to submit their Counter-Affidavits and
controverting evidences within ten days from receipt of the Order and to furnish a copy of their counterAffidavits to the complainant. The latter was given the same period of ten (10) days to file their reply to
the Counter-Affidavits.

On April 19, 1994 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao received a pleading denominated as
APPEARANCE With Motion for Extension of Time to Submit Counter-Affidavits from Atty. Edgardo A.
Camello, counsel for the respondents in Case No. OMB-3-93-2791. The Office of the Ombudsman,
Mindanao granted the motion for extension and gave the respondents until May 4, 1994 within which to
submit their Counter-Affidavits.
On May 10, 1994 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao received the Counter-Affidavits of the
respondents.
On August 2, 1994 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao was informed through the letter of COA
Director Eugenio G. Fernandez that the COA was not furnished by the respondents in Case No. OMB-393-2791 of their Counter-Affidavits.
Subsequently, GIO Tolentino issued an Order dropping Alimot Lao Arumpac from the case in view of his
death. The COA on the other hand was directed to submit its Reply-Affidavit within ten days from receipt
of the Order.
On January 11, 1995 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao received a telegram from COA, Region XII
Office requesting that it be allowed until February 29, 1995 within which to submit its Reply-Affidavit on
the ground that the audit team leader and members who conducted the special audit of DECS, Region XII
Office were preparing for their annual audit report.
On February 29, 1995 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao received the Reply-Affidavit of COA.
In a Resolution dated July 17, 1998 GIO Rachelle L. Ladrera recommended the filing of thirty (30)
Informations against petitioner, Makil U. Pundaodaya, Jose T. Navera, Rogelio de los Reyes, Daud M.
Adiong, Napoleon O. Cedeno, Laga S. Mangelen and Mama S. Macoming. The said recommendation
was approved by public respondents Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Margarito P. Gervacio on
February 27, 1999, and by the Honorable Ombudsman on April 30, 1999.
The thirty Informations docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 25247 to 25276 were filed with
the Sandiganbayan and raffled to the respondent court on May 5, 1999.
On July 27, 1999 petitioner filed with the respondent court a motion for the reduction of the bail. The
motion was approved by the respondent court in an Order dated August 4, 1999. [2]
In his Memorandum, petitioner presents before this Court the sole issue of: Whether or not there
was undue and unjustifiable delay on the part of the Ombudsman in resolving the complaint filed against
the petitioner which violated his constitutional right to a speedy disposition of the Complaint against him;
and whether or not such undue and unjustifiable delay in resolving the Complaint against the petitioner
would warrant its dismissal.[3] Petitioners main argument is that the complaint against petitioner, Case
No. OMB 3-93-2793, was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao on December 10, 1993 and
was resolved only on April 30, 1998, [4] resulting in a delay of 4 years, 4 months and 10 days. In addition,
petitioner argues that he was deprived of due process because he did not engage a certain Atty. Edgardo
Camello who filed an Appearance with Motion for Extension of Time to Submit Counter-Affidavits on
behalf of the respondents in Case No. OMB-3-93-2791; that he was not advised by the Graft Investigation
Officer of his right to attorney; and that he filed his counter-affidavit without the assistance of counsel. On
the other hand, respondent Office of the Ombudsman argues that petitioners cannot, by this special civil
action for mandamus, compel the ombudsman to dismiss the criminal charges filed against them, since
such dismissal involves a discretionary, not a ministerial, duty.

First, we shall discuss the propriety of mandamus as a remedy, an issue which is not novel. This
Court has held that, while as a general rule, the performance of an official act or duty, which necessarily
involves the exercise of discretion or judgment, cannot be compelled by mandamus, this rule does not
apply in cases where there is gross abuse of discretion, manifest injustice, or palpable excess of
authority.[5] Thus, in Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman [6] and Roque vs. Office of the Ombudsman [7] the
writ was issued in said instances.
Second, we shall determine if the exceptions cited apply to this case. The Office of the Ombudsman
narrates that the verified audit report of the COA special audit team was received on December 22, 1993,
and finding the same sufficient in form and substance was docketed as OMB Case No. 34-93-2791. On
the basis thereof, a preliminary investigation was conducted. On March 1, 1994, the respondents were
ordered to file their counter-affidavits. On May 10, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman received the
counter-affidavits of respondents. On February 29, 1995, the Office of the Ombudsman received the
reply-affidavit of COA. In a Resolution dated July 17, 1998, graft investigation officer Rachelle L. Ladrera
recommended the filing of thirty (30) informations against petitioner, Makil U. Pundaodaya, Jose T.
Navera, Rogelio de los Reyes, Daud M. Adiong, Napoleon O. Cedeno, Laga S. Mangelen and Mama S.
Macoming. The said recommendation was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Margarito P.
Gervacio on February 27, 1999, and by Ombudsman Aniano Desierto on April 30, 1999. The informations
were filed with the Sandiganbayan on May 5, 1999. In its memorandum, the Office of the Ombudsman
justified the delay in the conduct of the preliminary investigation and subsequently, in the filing of the
informations by stating that:
Records of Case No. OMB 3-93-2791 will show that petitioner, thru his counsel, filed on April 19, 1994
with the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao for an extension of time to file his CounterAffidavit. Petitioner submitted his Counter-Affidavit only on May 11, 1994.
However, in a letter dated August 2, 1994 the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao was informed by
complainant COA that it was not furnished with a copy of the Counter-Affidavits of the respondents in
Case No. OMB-3-93-2791 in complete disregard of the Order of GIO Tolentino.
Hence, the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao furnished the COA with a copy of the Counter-Affidavits
and ordered the same office to submit its reply thereto within ten (10) days. It filed its Reply-Affidavit on
February 28, 1995.
It will be noted that the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao directed the COA to furnish the respondents
in Case No. OMB 3-93-2791 with a copy of their Reply-Affidavit to afford the latter an opportunity to
controvert the allegations contained therein. Petitioner however, and his other co-respondents did not file
any pleading with, or notified the Office of the Ombudsman, Mindanao that they were waiving their right to
refute the contents of the Reply-Affidavit. Thus, it is clear that petitioners averment that this case has
been pending for more than six (6) years has no basis.
It should also be considered that there were several transactions involved in Case No. OMB 3-932791. This fact is proven by the thirty (30) Informations filed before the respondent court. Added to this is
the fact that from the time the July 17, 1998 Resolution was approved by public respondent Deputy
Ombudsman Gervacio in his office in Mindanao the records of the case still has to be sent to Manila for
the review of the Ombudsman. The basic rule therefore that in applying the constitutional guarantee of
the right to speedy disposition of cases particular regard must also be take on the facts and
circumstances peculiar to each case, finds meaning herein. [8]
We find for petitioner.

Article III of the Constitution provides that:


Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative bodies.
The constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases is not limited to the accused in criminal
proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. [9] Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a
case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. [10]
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated
only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when
unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or even without cause or justifiable
motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. Equally
applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a
speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution
and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the
assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. The
concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. [11]
In this case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to four (4) years from the time all the
counter and reply affidavits were submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman. After the last reply-affidavit
was filed on February 28, 1995, it was only on July 17, 1998 that a resolution was issued recommending
the filing of the corresponding criminal informations against the petitioner and the others. It took eight
months or on February 27, 1999 for Deputy Ombudsman Margarito P. Gervacio, Jr. to approve the same
and close to another year or on April 30, 1999 for Ombudsman Aniano Desierto to approve the
recommendation. During this interval, no incidents presented themselves for resolution and the delay
could only be attributed to the inaction on the part of the investigating officials. Indeed, we find that
without cause or justifiable motive, a long period of time was allowed to elapse at the preliminary
investigation stage before the informations were filed.
True, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the COA and it must rely on its own independent
judgment in the determination of probable cause. [12] However, we find that the cases are not sufficiently
complex to justify the length of time for their resolution. Neither can the long delay in resolving the case
under preliminary investigation be justified on the basis of the number of informations filed before the
Sandiganbayan nor of the transactions involved. The thirty informations consist of sixteen (16) counts of
violations of Section 3 (g) of RA 3019 relative to the overpricing and lack of public bidding of laboratory
apparatus and school equipment; while the fourteen (14) counts are for violations of Section 3 (e) of the
same law relative to the certification in the inspection reports that the subject items have already been
delivered and received, when in fact they have not yet been actually delivered and received, in order to
facilitate payment to the suppliers. There is no statement that voluminous documentary and testimonial
evidence were involved. On the contrary, the Office Ombudsman itself claimed in its memorandum filed
before this Court that the Complaint and the Counter-Affidavits submitted by the complainant and the
accused respectively, as well as the documents on hand were sufficient to establish the existence of
probable cause for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) of RA 3019. Hence, a clarificatory hearing was no
longer conducted. Indeed, it appears that the COA special audit team had already come up and provided
the Office of the Ombudsman with the facts and figures on the alleged overpricing, lack of public bidding
and irregular inspection reports, so much so that a delay of almost four years in terminating the
preliminary investigation is not justified.

Verily, the delay in this case disregarded the Ombudsmans duty, as mandated by the Constitution
and Republic Act No. 6770, to enforce the criminal liability of government officers or employees in every
case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service to the people. [13] The failure of said
office to resolve the complaints that have been pending for almost four years is clearly violative of this
mandate and the rights of petitioner as a public official. In such event, petitioner is entitled to the
dismissal of the cases filed against him.
In Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan,[14] this Court dismissed the informations pending before the
Sandiganbayan, after finding the delay of three years in the termination of the preliminary investigation by
the Tanodbayan to be violative of the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy disposition of
cases. It was held therein:
xxx. A delay of close to three (3) years can not be deemed reasonable or justifiable in the light of the
circumstances obtaining in the case at bar. We are not impressed by the attempt of the Sandiganbayan
to sanitize the long delay by indulging in the speculative assumption that the delay may be due to a
painstaking and gruelling scrutiny by the Tanodbayan as to whether the evidence presented during the
preliminary investigation merited prosecution of a former high ranking government official. In the first
place, such a statement suggests a double standard of treatment, which must be emphatically
rejected. Secondly, three out of the five charges against the petitioner were for his alleged failure to file
his sworn statement of assets and liabilities required by Republic Act No. 3019, which certainly did not
involve complicated legal and factual issues necessitating such painstaking and gruelling scrutiny as
would justify a delay of almost three years in terminating the preliminary investigation. The other two
charges relating to the alleged bribery and alleged giving of unwarranted benefits to a relative, while
presenting more substantial legal and factual issues, certainly do not warrant or justify the period of three
years, which it took the Tanodbayan to resolve the case.
Similarly, we hold that the circumstances obtaining in the instant case do not warrant or justify the
length of time, that is four years, it took the Ombudsman to resolve the preliminary investigation. What
glares from the pleadings of both the petitioner and the public respondent Ombudsman is that from the
submission of the last reply-affidavit, there was an unexplained interval or inactivity of close to four years,
prior to the issuance of the resolution finding probable cause and directing the filing of the corresponding
informations.
Lastly, petitioner prays for the dismissal of Ombudsman Case No. OMB-3-93-2791, and this Court,
applying the ruling in the Roque case,[15] citing Tatad,[16] likewise resolves to directly dismiss the
informations already filed before the Sandiganbayan against petitioner in the interest of the speedy
disposition of cases and considering that the long and unexplained delay in the resolution of the criminal
complaints against petitioner was not corrected by the eventual filing of the informations.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Mandamus is GRANTED and Ombudsman Case No. OMB-3-932791 is accordingly DISMISSED. The Office of the Ombudsman is further directed to issue the
corresponding clearance in favor of petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

ABELARDO B. LICAROS, petitioner,


PROSECUTOR, respondents.

vs. THE

SANDIGANBAYAN

DECISION

and

THE

SPECIAL

PANGANIBAN, J.:
The unreasonable delay of more than ten (10) years to resolve a criminal case, without fault on the
part of the accused and despite his earnest effort to have his case decided, violates the constitutional
right to the speedy disposition of a case. Unlike the right to a speedy trial, this constitutional privilege
applies not only during the trial stage, but also when the case has already been submitted for decision.
The Case
Before this Court is a Petition for Mandamus[1] under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to
compel the Sandiganbayan (First Division) to dismiss Criminal Case No. 6672 against herein petitioner,
who is charged as an accessory.
The Facts
Undisputed by the special prosecutor[2] and the Sandiganbayan[3] are the material facts as narrated
by petitioner in this wise:
4.1 On 5 June 1982, the Legaspi City Branch of the Central Bank was robbed and divested of cash in the
amount of P19,731,320.00.
4.2 In the evening of June 6, 1982, Modesto Licaros (no relation to herein petitioner), one of the principal
accused, together with four companions, delivered in sacks a substantial portion of the stolen money to
the Concepcion Building in Intramuros, Manila where Home Savings Bank had its offices, of which herein
petitioner was then Vice Chairman and Treasurer. The delivery was made on representation by Modesto
Licaros to former Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros, Sr., then Chairman of the Bank and father of
herein petitioner, that the money to be deposited came from some Chinese businessmen from Iloilo who
wanted the deposit kept secret; that Governor Licaros left for the United States on May 28, 1982 for his
periodic medical check-up, so left to his son, herein petitioner, to attend to the proposed deposit.
4.3 Even the prosecution admits in their Reply Memorandum that from the evidence presented, that in
the evening of June 8, 1982, herein petitioner attempted to report the incident to General Fabian Ver but
he could not get in touch with him because the latter was then out of the country; that it was only the
following day, June 9, 1982, when herein petitioner was able to arrange a meeting with then Central Bank
Governor Jaime C. Laya, Senior Deputy Governor Gabriel Singson, and Central Bank Chief Security
Officer, Rogelio Navarete, to report his suspicion that the money being deposited by Modesto Licaros may
have been stolen money. With the report or information supplied by herein petitioner, then CB Governor
Laya called up then NBI Director Jolly Bugarin and soon after the meeting, the NBI, Metrocom and [the]
CB security guards joined forces for the recovery of the money and the apprehension of the principal
accused.
4.4 All the aforesaid Central Bank officials executed sworn statements and testified for herein petitioner,
particularly CB Governor Jaime C. Laya, CB Senior Deputy Governor Gabriel Singson and CB Director of
[the] Security and Transport Department Rogelio Navarette, and were one in saying that it was the report
of herein petitioner to the authorities that broke the case on 9 June 1982 and resulted in the recovery of
the substantial portion of the stolen money and the arrest of all the principal accused.
4.5 On July 6, 1982, after preliminary investigation, the Tanodbayan (now Special Prosecutor) filed an
Information for robbery with the Sandiganbayan docketed as Crim. Case No. 6672 against two groups of
accused:

Principals:
(1) Modesto Licaros y Lacson, [P]rivate [I]ndividual
(2) Leo Flores y Manlangit, CB [S]ecurity [G]uard
(3) Ramon Dolor y Ponce, CB Assistant Regional Cashier
(4) Glicerio Balansin y Elaurza, CB Security [G]uard
(5) Rolando Quejada y Redequillo, Private Individual
(6) Pio Edgardo Flores y Torres, Private Individual
(7) Mario Lopez Vito y Dayungan, Private Individual
(8) Rogelio De la Cruz y Bodegon, Private Individual
Accessory After the Fact:
(1) Abelardo B. Licaros, Vice Chairman and Treasurer, Home Savings Bank and Trust Co. (HSBTC),
Private Individual.
The Tanodbayan did not adopt the recommendation of the NBI that Abelardo B. Licaros be charged as
principal apparently because no one of those whose statements were taken including the above principal
accused ever testified that he participated in the planning or execution of the robbery so that he could be
held also in the conspiracy as alleged by the NBI.
4.6 On November 26, 1982, the Tanodbayan filed an Amended Information naming the same persons as
principals, except Rogelio dela Cruz who is now charged as an accessory, together with private
respondent Abelardo B. Licaros. De la Cruz died on November 6, 1987 as per manifestation by his
counsel dated and filed on November 17, 1987.
4.7 On November 29, 1982, the accused were arraigned including herein petitioner, who interposed the
plea of not guilty.
4.8 On January 7, 1983, the Tanodbayan filed with the Sandiganbayan a Motion for Discharge of herein
petitioner to be utilized as a state witness which was granted in a Resolution dated February 11,
1983. The Supreme Court, however, on petition for certiorari filed by accused Flores, Modesto Licaros
and Lopez Vito, annulled the discharge because it ruled that the Sandiganbayan should have deferred its
resolution on the motion to discharge until after the prosecution has presented all its other evidence.
4.9 At the close of its evidence, or on July 23, 1984, the prosecution filed a second motion for discharge
of herein petitioner to be utilized as a state witness but the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution dated
September 13, 1984 denied the Motion stating in part that the motion itself does not furnish any cue or
suggestion on what petitioner will testify in the event he is discharged and placed on the stand as state
witness.
4.10 Meanwhile, as of March 8, 1983, the prosecution has presented ten (10) witnesses. Among those
who testified were NBI Agents Victor Bessat and Apollo Sayo, who took and identified the sworn

statements of accused Leo Flores, Ramon Dolor, Rogelio de la Cruz, Mario Lopez Vito and Modesto
Licaros; M/Sgt Raynero Galarosa, who took and identified the sworn statement of accused Pio Flores and
the sworn supplemental statement of accused Glicerio Balansin; Sgt. Eliseo Rioveros, who took and
identified the sworn statement of accused Glicerus Balansin; and CIS Agent Maria Corazon Pantorial,
who took the sworn statement of accused Rolando Quejada. None of these witnesses, nor any of the
principal accused who executed the sworn statements implicated herein petitioner to the crime of robbery
directly or indirectly.
4.11 On September 17, 1984, the prosecution formally offered its documentary evidence. In a
Resolution dated October 1, 1984, the Sandiganbayan admitted the evidence covered by said formal offer
and the prosecution [was] considered to have rested its case.
4.12 In a Resolution dated June 25, 1985, the Sandiganbayan granted the prosecutions motion to
reopen the case to allow its witness Lamberto Zuniga to testify on the conspiracy and to identify a sworn
statement given before the NBI on June 15, 1982. Having been established that petitioner was not part of
the conspiracy, the testimony had no materiality nor relevance to the case insofar as petitioner is
concerned.
4.13 On January 14, 1986, petitioner filed a Motion for Separate Trial contending that the prosecution
already closed its evidence and that his defense is separate and distinct from the other accused, he
having been charged only as accessory. The [Motion] was granted in an Order dated January 17, 1986.
4.14 Thereafter, herein petitioner commenced the presentation of his evidence. Aside from his testimony
and that of his late father, former Central Bank Governor Gregorio S. Licaros, petitioner presented the top
officials of the Central Bank namely then Central Bank Governor Jaime C. Laya, then Senior Deputy
Governor Gabriel C. Singson, then Central Bank Security and Transport Dept. Chief Rogelio M. Navarette
who identified their sworn statements taken before the investigators and who testified that it was the
petitioners report on June 9, 1982 that broke the case and resulted in the recovery of the substantial
portion of the stolen money and the apprehension of the principal accused.
4.15 On August 8, 1986, petitioner filed his Formal Offer of Exhibits. On August 14, 1986, petitioner filed
his Memorandum praying that judgment be rendered acquitting him of the offense charged.
4.16 In a Resolution dated August 26, 1986, the Sandiganbayan, through Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena (then newly appointed after the EDSA revolution), admitted all the exhibits covered by said
Formal Offer of Exhibits at the same time, ordering the prosecution to file its Reply Memorandum,
thereafter the case was deemed submitted for decision.
4.17 On September 26, 1986, the prosecution filed its Reply Memorandum. Petitioner also filed his
Reply Memorandum on September 29, 1986 praying that judgment be rendered acquitting him of the
offense charged.
4.18 In a Resolution dated October 8, 1986 copy of which was received by petitioner on October 15,
1986, the Sandiganbayan deferred the decision of the case regarding herein petitioner until after the
submission of the case for decision with respect to the other accused.
4.19 Petitioner filed his Motion for Reconsideration on October 16, 1986, but the Sandiganbayan in a
Resolution dated December 16, 1986 and promulgated on January 6, 1987 denied the same, the
dispositive portion of which read(s):

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Motion for Reconsideration filed by accused Abelardo B. Licaros is
denied.
The decision as to the accusation against him will be rendered together with the accusation against the
other accused without relating the evidence separately presented at the separate proceeding held for the
separate sets of accused one way or the other.
4.20 As admitted by the prosecution in its Comment on the Omnibus Motion dated March 31, 2000, the
case was submitted for decision on June 20, 1990.
4.21 As of this writing, and more than ten (10) years after the case submitted for decision, the
Sandiganbayan has not rendered the Decision.
4.22 The Sandiganbayan has not rendered the Decision even while the proceedings involving herein
petitioner as an accessory in a separate trial were terminated as early as October 8, 1986, while those
against all the principal accused were deemed submit[t]ed for decision on June 20, 1990.
4.23 As early as October 16, 1986, herein petitioner already invoked his constitutional right to speedy
justice when he filed a Motion on said date praying for, among other things, that the Sandiganbayan
reconsider its Resolution dated October 8, 1986 deferring the decision of the case against herein
petitioner until after the submission of the case for decision with respect to the other accused and that a
judgment of acquittal be rendered.
4.24 The Honorable Sandiganbayan has not also rendered a resolution on herein petitioners Omnibus
Motion to Dismiss filed on March 23, 2000 which was deemed submitted for resolution on May 5, 2000,
the last pleading having been filed on said date. In the said Omnibus Motion, petitioner prays for the
dismissal of the case insofar as it involves herein petitioner for violation of his constitutional right to
speedy disposition of the case. Sad to say, even this motion to dismiss has not been acted upon.
4.25 On 15 August 2000, herein petitioner filed his Motion to Resolve. This was followed by Reiterative
Motion for Early Resolution filed on September 21, 2000.
4.26 Notwithstanding the lapse of more than ten (10) years after the case was deemed submitted for
decision, the Sandiganbayan has not rendered the Decision. Hence, this petition.[4]
The Issues
Petitioner interposes the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
A
The unexplained failure of the SANDIGANBAYAN to render the decision for more than ten (10) years
after the case was deemed submitted for Decision is tantamount to gross abuse of discretion, manifest
injustice or palpable excess of authority.
B
The unexplained failure of the SANDIGANBAYAN to render the Decision for more than ten (10) years
violated herein petitioners constitutional right to due process and to a speedy disposition of the case.

C
Recent Decisions of this Honorable Supreme Court mandate the immediate dismissal of the case against
herein petitioner.[5]
In brief, the main issue is whether petitioners constitutional right to a speedy disposition of his case
has been violated. We shall also discuss, as a side issue, the propriety of mandamus as a remedy under
the circumstances in this case.
The Courts Ruling
The Petition is meritorious.[6]
Main Issue: The Right to a Speedy Disposition
On June 20, 1990, Criminal Case No. 6672 was deemed submitted for the decision of the
Sandiganbayan. Since then, no action has been taken by the anti-graft court. On March 23, 2000,
petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss, grounded on the violation of his right to a speedy
disposition. Unfortunately, even this Motion has not been ruled upon by public respondent.
Under Section 6 of PD 1606 amending PD 1486, the Sandiganbayan has only 90 days to decide a
case from the time it is deemed submitted for decision. Considering that the subject criminal case was
submitted for decision as early as June 20, 1990, it is obvious that respondent court has failed to decide
the case within the period prescribed by law. Even if we were to consider the period provided under
Section 15(1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution, which is 12 months from the submission of the case for
decision, the Sandiganbayan would still have miserably failed to perform its mandated duty to render a
decision on the case within the period prescribed by law. Clearly then, the decision in this case is long
overdue, and the period to decide the case under the law has long expired. [7]
Even more important than the above periods within which the decision should have been rendered is
the right against an unreasonable delay in the disposition of ones case before any judicial, quasi-judicial
or administrative body.[8] This constitutionally guaranteed right finds greater significance in a criminal case
before a court of justice, where any delay in disposition may result in a denial of justice for the accused
altogether. Indeed, the aphorism justice delayed is justice denied is by no means a trivial or
meaningless concept that can be taken for granted by those who are tasked with the dispensation of
justice.
Indubitably, there has been a transgression of the right of petitioner to a speedy disposition of his
case due to inaction on the part of the Sandiganbayan. Neither that court nor the special prosecutor
contradicted his allegation of a ten-year delay in the disposition of his case. The special prosecutor in its
Comment[9]even openly admitted the date when the case had been deemed submitted for decision, as
well as respondent courts failure to act on it despite petitioners several Motions to resolve the case. The
special prosecutor stated as follows:
With the termination of presentation of evidence for the prosecution and the principal accused in this
case, the same was deemed submitted for decision on June 20, 1990.
Alleging violation by respondent court of his right to speedy disposition of the case, petitioner on March
23, 2000 filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss. His motion was deemed submitted for resolution by the
respondent court on May 5, 2000.

On August 15, 2000, petitioner filed before the respondent court a Motion to Resolve and a month
thereafter a Reiterative Motion for Early Resolution. No decision has yet been rendered by respondent
court.[10]
For its part, the Sandiganbayan candidly admitted that the said criminal case had not been ruled
upon all this time, because it was one of those cases that got buried [11] in the archives during
reorganization in that court. Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorenas explanation (contained in his
Comment) is quoted in full hereunder:
1.

The factual narrative by the petitioner in the instant matter is substantially correct;

2.
Indeed, originally petitioner Licaros had filed a Motion for Resolution of his portion of the case
after he submitted his evidence separately;
3.

Eventually, the instant case was submitted for decision;

4.
Indeed, it would have been ripe to resolve the instant case including that portion which
pertained to petitioner Licaros;
5.

The matter was duly assigned for drafting of the decision (not the undersigned).

6.
Sometime in 1995, a draft of the Decision was submitted for consideration by the other
justices of the Division;
7.
In the meantime, movements took place in the composition of the justices who constituted the
First Division later.
8.
In 1997, the entire Court was re-organized with the addition of two (2) new Divisions and six
(6) new justices;
9.
At this time, the cases in the Sandiganbayan, whether in progress or submitted were redistributed from the original Divisions to which they had been raffled to the new Divisions;
10.

The instant case remained with this Division;

11.
While the burden of each Division has considerably lightened, the new justices had to
undergo an orientation in this Court;
12.
Not all cases were immediately re-assigned to the different members. The instant case was
one of them;
13.
Then, this Court relocated to its present premises which required not only packing and crating
the records but the problem of not being able to unpack them very easily due to the absence of an
adequate number of shelves and cabinets available;
14.
Due to the difficulty in funds, the Philippine Estate Authority which was supposed to have
provided new furniture including shelves and cabinets out of the payments made to it, was unable to do
so;

15.
To this date, the three original Divisions do not have all the needed shelves and many records
remain in cardboard boxes both in chambers and in the offices of the Division Clerk of Court. (In the
library and in the Archives, the boxes for books and old records remained unopened.);
16.

In all this, the instant matter was one of those that got buried;

17.
Significantly, when the records of this case were returned to the undersigned, the records of
this case were not logged in the record book through some oversight of his staff which the undersigned
cannot explain so that it did not appear in the tracking process of the records of this office;
18.
At this time, work is being done on the case for the preparation and finalization of the decision
which the undersigned has taken upon himself.
19.
Insofar as this Division is concerned, the responsibility for this situation belongs exclusively to
the undersigned, both in his capacity as chairman and as Presiding Justice;
The undersigned respectfully reiterates: there is indeed fault and the fault is exclusively that of the
undersigned - for which the undersigned begs for the kindness of this Honorable Court and humbly
submits to its wisdom and judgment.[12]
Citing Tatad v. Sandiganbayan,[13] Angchangco Jr. v. Ombudsman[14]and Roque v. Office of the
Ombudsman,[15] petitioner claims that he is entitled to a dismissal of the criminal case against him. An
unreasonable delay of three years in the disposition of a case violates the accuseds constitutional rights,
as the Court explained in Tatad v. Sandiganbayan:
Not only under the broad umbrella of the due process clause, but under the constitutional guarantee of
speedy disposition of cases as embodied in Section 16 of the Bill of Rights (both in the 1973 and the
1987 Constitutions), the inordinate delay is violative of the petitioners constitutional rights. A delay of
close to three (3) years cannot be deemed reasonable or justifiable in the light of the circumstance
obtaining in the case at bar.[16]
Because of an inordinate delay of more than six years in the disposition of Angchangco Jr. v.
Ombudsman, the High Court ordered its dismissal, as follows:
After a careful review of the facts and circumstances of the present case, the Court finds the inordinate
delay of more than six years by the Ombudsman in resolving the criminal complaints against petitioner to
be violative of his constitutional guaranteed right to due process and to a speedy disposition of the cases
against him, thus warranting the dismissal of said criminal cases pursuant to the pronouncement of the
Court in Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan x x x.[17]
More recently, in Roque et. al. v. Office of the Ombudsman, the Court dismissed the criminal cases
against petitioner therein, on the following explanation:
Clearly, the delay of almost six years disregarded the Ombudsmans duty, as mandated by the
Constitution and Republic Act No. 6770, to act promptly on complaints before him. More important, it
violated the petitioners rights to due process and to a speedy disposition of cases filed against
them. Although respondents attempted to justify the six months needed by Ombudsman Desierto to
review the recommendation of Deputy Ombudsman Gervasio, no explanation was given why it took
almost six years for the latter to resolve the Complaint.[18]

On the other hand, the special prosecutor contends that the above-cited rulings of the Court should
not apply to the present case, because what was involved in those cases was a delay on the part of the
Office of the Ombudsman or the Office of the Special Prosecutor (formerly Tanodbayan) with respect to
the holding of a preliminary investigation. He argues that the case against herein petitioner has already
been proven by the ombudsman with the filing of the corresponding Information before respondent
court. Moreover, the prosecution has already fully discharged its mandated duty to present evidence
against the accused. In other words, the special prosecutor is of the view that the accuseds right to a
speedy disposition of his case is not violated when the prosecution aspect of the case has already been
duly performed.
We cannot accept the special prosecutors limited and constrained interpretation of the
constitutionally enshrined right to a speedy disposition of cases. It must be understood that in the
ordinary course of a criminal proceeding, a court is responsible for the ultimate disposition of the
case. This is true irrespective of the prosecutions punctual performance of its duty. Hence,
notwithstanding the filing of the information, the presentation of evidence and the completion of the trial
proper, the eventual disposition of the case will still depend largely on the timely rendition of judgment by
a court. And where it does not act promptly on the adjudication of a case before it and within the period
prescribed by law, the accuseds right to a speedy disposition of the case is just as much prejudiced as
when the prosecution is prolonged or deferred indefinitely. Accordingly, with all the more reason should
the right to the speedy disposition of a case be looked upon with care and caution when that case has
already been submitted to the court for decision.
In Abadia v. Court of Appeals,[19] the Court had the occasion to rule on the nature and the extent as
well as the broader protection afforded by the constitutional right to the speedy disposition of a case, as
compared with the right to a speedy trial. Thus, it ratiocinated as follows:
The Bill of Rights provisions of the 1987 Constitution were precisely crafted to expand substantive fair
trial rights and to protect citizens from procedural machinations which tend to nullify those
rights. Moreover, Section 16, Article III of the Constitution extends the right to a speedy disposition of
cases to cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies. This protection extends to
all citizens, x x x and covers the periods before, during and after the trial, affording broader
protection than Section 14(2) which guarantees merely the right to a speedy trial. [20] (Emphasis supplied)
It has been held that a breach of the right of the accused to the speedy disposition of a case may
have consequential effects, but it is not enough that there be some procrastination in the proceedings. In
order to justify the dismissal of a criminal case, it must be established that the proceedings have
unquestionably been marred by vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays. [21]
In the case before us, the failure of the Sandiganbayan to decide the case even after the lapse of
more than ten years after it was submitted for decision involves more than just a mere procrastination in
the proceedings. From the explanation given by the Sandiganbayan, it appears that the case was kept in
idle slumber, allegedly due to reorganizations in the divisions and the lack of logistics and facilities for
case records. Had it not been for the filing of this Petition for Mandamus, petitioner would not have seen
any development in his case, much less the eventual disposition thereof. The case remains unresolved
up to now, with only respondent courts assurance that at this time work is being done on the case for the
preparation and finalization of the decision.[22]
In Guerrero v. Court of Appeals,[23] the Court denied a Petition seeking to dismiss a criminal case
grounded on an alleged violation of the accuseds right to a speedy disposition. However, the accused in
the said case was deemed to have slept on his rights by not asserting them at the earliest possible
opportunity. The Court explained its ruling in this wise:

In the case before us, the petitioner merely sat and waited after the case was submitted for resolution in
1979. It was only in 1989 when the case below was reraffled from the RTC of Caloocan City to the RTC
of Navotas-Malabon and only after respondent trial judge of the latter court ordered on March 14, 1990
the parties to follow-up and complete the transcript of stenographic notes that matters started to get
moving towards a resolution of the case. More importantly, it was only after the new trial judge reset the
retaking of the testimonies to November 9, 1990 because of petitioners absence during the original
setting on October 24, 1990 that the accused suddenly became zealous of safeguarding his right to
speedy trial and disposition.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In the present case, there is no question that petitioner raised the violation against his own right to
speedy disposition only when respondent trial judge reset the case for rehearing. It is fair to assume that
he would have just continued to sleep on his right - a situation amounting to laches - had the respondent
judge not taken the initiative of determining the non-completion of the records and of ordering the remedy
precisely so he could dispose of the case, The matter could have taken a different dimension if during all
those ten years between 1979 when accused filed his memorandum and 1989 when the case was
reraffled, the accused showed signs of asserting his right which was granted him in 1987 when the new
constitution took effect, or at least made some overt act (like a motion for early disposition or a motion to
compel the stenographer to transcribe the stenographic notes) that he was not waiving it. As it is, his
silence would have to be interpreted as a waiver of such right. [24]
In the instant Petition, however, the accused had been assertively and assiduously invoking his right
to a speedy disposition even before the case was submitted for decision on June 20, 1990. [25] In fact, he
has already filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss, [26] a Motion to Resolve[27]and a Reiterative Motion for
Early Resolution,[28] all of which have fallen on deaf ears in the Sandiganbayan. Thus, in the light of the
foregoing circumstances, he cannot be said to have slept on his rights, much less waived the assertion
thereof. Quite the contrary, he has been persistent in his demand for the eventual disposition of the
criminal case against him.
Indeed, petitioner has been kept in the dark as to the final outcome of the case, which was deemed
submitted for decision more than ten years ago. And though such failure or inaction may not have been
deliberately intended by respondent court, its unjustified delay has nonetheless caused just as much
vexation and oppression, in violation of the right of petitioner to a speedy disposition of his case. Hence,
his reliance on the aforementioned cases for the dismissal of the criminal case against him may be
sustained, not so much on the basis of the right to a speedy trial, but on the right to a speedy disposition
of his case, which is of broader and more appropriate application under the circumstances.
In Dela Pea v. Sandiganbayan,[29] penned by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., the Court laid down
certain guidelines to determine whether the right to a speedy disposition has been violated, as follows:
The concept of speedy disposition is relative or flexible. A mere mathematical reckoning of the time
involved is not sufficient. Particular regard must be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each
case. Hence, the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether that right has been violated, the
factors that may be considered and balanced are as follows: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reasons
for the delay; (3) the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused; and (4) the prejudice caused
by the delay.[30]
As earlier discussed, more than ten years has lapsed since the subject case has been deemed
submitted for decision. The delay cannot at all be attributed to petitioner, who has neither utilized dilatory
tactics nor undertaken any procedural device to prolong the proceedings. As a matter of fact, he has

been continuously pushing for the resolution of his case even during the early stages of the
prosecution. Moreover, it is undeniable that such delay has caused much prejudice, distress and anxiety
to herein petitioner, whose career as bank executive and businessman has suffered the stigma of being
shackled to an unresolved criminal prosecution, virtually hanging like a Damocles sword over his head for
more than a decade. We need not stress the consequences and problems inherent in this pending
litigation and/or criminal prosecution which include the prospects of unrealized business transactions,
stagnant professional growth, hampered travel opportunities and a besmirched reputation. Furthermore,
it is worth noting that petitioner has been charged merely as an accessory after the fact due to his being a
senior executive of the bank where the principal accused tried to deposit the stolen money. Clearly then,
the dismissal sought by herein petitioner is justified under the circumstances and in accordance with the
guidelines set forth in the above-cited case.
Procedural Issue: Mandamus as an Appropriate Remedy
Mandamus is a proper recourse for citizens who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the
performance of a public duty, most especially when mandated by the Constitution. [31] To reiterate, the right
of the accused to the speedy disposition of a case is a right guaranteed under the fundamental
law. Correlatively, it is the bounden duty of a court, as mandated by the Constitution, to speedily dispose
of the case before it. Thus, a party to a case may demand, as a matter mandated by the Constitution,
expeditious action from all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. [32]
Ideally, a petition for mandamus lies to compel the performance of a ministerial but not of a
discretionary duty.[33] More specifically, persons or public officials may be directed to act with or to
exercise discretion, but not as to how that discretion should be exercised. However, our jurisprudence is
replete with exceptions in this matter. Thus, it has been held that in a case where there is gross abuse of
discretion, manifest injustice or palpable excess of authority, the writ may be issued to control precisely
the exercise of such discretion.[34]
As discussed above, the Sandiganbayans inordinate delay in deciding the subject criminal case
prejudiced the right of petitioner to a speedy disposition of his case. Such undue delay can be
characterized as no less than a grave abuse of discretion, resulting in manifest injustice on the part of
petitioner. In view of these circumstances, the case falls squarely into the established exception and will
justify this Courts action of substituting the discretion of respondent with that of its own.
In the very recent case Lopez Jr. v. Office of the Ombudsman et al.,[35] the Court deemed it
appropriate to dismiss directly the criminal suit before the Sandiganbayan in the interest of the speedy
disposition thereof. Thus, it ruled as follows:
x x x [T]his Court applying the ruling in the Roque case, citing Tatad, likewise resolves to directly dismiss
the informations already filed before the Sandiganbayan against petitioner in the interest of the speedy
disposition of case x x x.
We find that the circumstances obtaining in the action cited above are similar to those in the instant
Petition and thus warrant the same course of action; namely, dismissal of the case against herein
petitioner. However, no administrative sanction against respondent court or its members can be meted out
in the present proceedings. Due process requires that before such penalty can be imposed, the proper
administrative proceedings must be conducted, as in fact one is already being undertaken in AM No. 008-05-SC entitled Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan.
Epilogue

In sum, we hold that the dismissal of the criminal case against petitioner for violation of his right to a
speedy disposition of his case is justified by the following circumstances: (1) the 10-year delay in the
resolution of the case is inordinately long; (2) petitioner has suffered vexation and oppression by reason
of this long delay; (3) he did not sleep on his right and has in fact consistently asserted it, (4) he has not
contributed in any manner to the long delay in the resolution of his case, (5) he did not employ any
procedural dilatory strategies during the trial or raised on appeal or certiorari any issue to delay the case,
(6) the Sandiganbayan did not give any valid reason to justify the inordinate delay and even admitted that
the case was one of those that got buried during its reorganization, and (7) petitioner was merely
charged as an accessory after the fact.
For too long, petitioner has suffered in agonizing anticipation while awaiting the ultimate resolution of
his case. The inordinate and unreasonable delay is completely attributable to the Sandiganbayan. No
fault whatsoever can be ascribed to petitioner or his lawyer. It is now time to enforce his constitutional
right to speedy disposition and to grant him speedy justice.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and, as against petitioner, Criminal Case No. 6672
pending before the Sandiganbayan is DISMISSED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
JEJOMAR C. BINAY, petitioner, vs. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and the DEPARTMENT
OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,respondents.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:
Pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 1486 created an
Anti-Graft Court known as the Sandiganbayan. Since then the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has
under gone various changes,[1] the most recent of which were effected through Republic Act Nos.
7975[2] and 8249.[3] Whether the Sandiganbayan, under these laws, exercises exclusive original
jurisdiction over criminal cases involving municipal mayors accused of violations of Republic Act No.
3019[4] and Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code[5] is the central issue in these consolidated petitions.
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay seeks to annul, among others, the Resolution of
the Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007 to the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati and declaring that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over said
cases despite the enactment of R.A. No. 7975.
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assail the October 22, 1996 Resolution of
the Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the proceedings in Criminal
Case No. 23278 in deference to whatever ruling this Court will lay down in the Binay cases.
The facts, as gathered from t he records, are as follows:

G.R. Nos. 120681-83


On September 7, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three separate
informations against petitioner Jejomar Binay, one for violation of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code,
[6]
and two for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. [7] The informations, which were subsequently
amended on September 15, 1994, all alleged that the acts constituting these crimes were committed in
1987 during petitioners incumbency as Mayor of Makati, then a municipality of Metro Manila.

Thereafter, petitioner moved to quash the informations. He contended that the six-year delay from
the time the charges were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on July 27, 1988 to the time the
informations were filed in the Sandiganbayan on September 7, 1994 constituted a violation of his right to
due process. Arraignment of the accused was held in abeyance pending the resolution of this motion.
On March 29, 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners motion to
quash. Petitioners motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the prosecution, was likewise
denied by the Sandiganbayan. The resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, however, was
issued before the petitioner could file a reply to the prosecutions opposition to the motion for
reconsideration.
In the meantime, on March 31, 1995, the prosecution filed a Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente
Lite. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated April 25, 1995, granted the motion and ordered the
suspension of petitioner for ninety days from receipt of the resolution. The court ruled that the requisites
for suspension pendente lite were present as petitioner was charged with one of the offenses under
Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 [8] and the informations containing these charges had previously been held
valid in the resolution denying the motion to quash and the resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration.
Petitioner thus filed before this Court a petition for certiorari,[9] to set aside the resolution denying his
motion for reconsideration, claiming that he was denied due process when the Sandiganbayan ordered
his suspension pendente lite before he could file a reply to the prosecutions opposition to his motion for
reconsideration of the resolution denying the motion to quash. In a Resolution dated April 28, 1995, the
Court directed the Sandiganbayan to, among other things, permit petitioner to file said reply.
After allowing and considering petitioners reply, the Sandiganbayan, on June 6, 1995, issued a
Resolution reiterating the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the denial of the motion to quash. On
the same day, the Sandiganbayan issued another resolution reiterating the order suspending
petitionerpendente lite.
Meanwhile, R.A. No. 7975, redefining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, took effect on May 16,
1995.[10]
On June 13, 1995, petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a motion to refer his cases to the
proper court for further proceedings, alleging that when the two Resolutions, both dated June 6, 1995,
were issued by the Anti-Graft Court, it had already lost jurisdiction over the subject cases. The
Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated July 4, 1995, denied petitioners motion, holding thus:
There is no question that Municipal Mayors are classified as Grade 27 under the compensation &
Position Classification Act of 1989. Since, at the time of the commission of the offenses charged in he
above-entitled cases, the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal Mayor, although in an acting
or interim capacity, the Sandiganbayan, has, under Section 4 (e) 5, original jurisdiction over the cases
therein filed against him. The allegation that Mayor Binay ought to have been classified with a salary
grade lower than Grade 27, because at the time of the commission of the offenses charged he was paid
a salary which merits a grade lower than Grade 27 does not hold water. In 1986 when the herein
offenses were committed by the accused, the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989 was not
as yet in existence. From the very definition of he very Act itself, it is evident that the Act was passed and
had been effective only in 1989. The Grade classification of a public officer, whether at the time of the
commission of the offense or thereafter, is determined by his classification under the Compensation &
Position Classification Act of 1989. Thus since the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal
Mayor at the time of the commission of the offenses and the Compensation & Position Classification Act
of 1989 classifies Municipal Mayors as Grade 27, it is a conclusion beyond cavil that the Sandiganbayan
has jurisdiction over the accused herein.
As of July 1, 1989, when Republic Act No. 6758 took effect, Municipal Mayor Jejomar C. Binay had begun
receiving a monthly salary of P15,180.00 which is equivalent to Grade 28 under the salary scale
provided for in Section 27 of the said Act. Under the Index of Occupational Services, the position titles
and salary grades of the Compensation & Position classification system prepared by the Department of

Budget and Management pursuant to Section 6 of Republic [A]ct No. 6758, the position of Municipal
Mayor had been classified as Grade 27.[11]
On July 7, 1995, petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007. He
prayed, among others, that the Court annul and set aside: (1) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated
June 6, 1995 reiterating the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the motion to quash; (2) the
Resolution of the same court also dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the order suspending
petitioner pendente lite; and (3) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated July 4, 1995 denying the
motion to refer case to the RTC. Petitioner also asked that the Court issue a temporary restraining order
preventing the suspension and arraignment of petitioner. The Court on July 7, 1995, resolved, among
others, to issue the temporary restraining order prayed for.
On July 14, 1995, petitioner filed an Addendum to Petition (To allow the introduction of alternative
reliefs), praying that, should this Court hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the cases, the
criminal cases filed against him be dismissed just the same on the ground that the long delay of the
preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman prior to the filing of the informations, deprived him of his
right to due process; and that, moreover, there was no probable cause to warrant the filing of the
informations.

G.R. No. 128136


Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual, Batangas. Save for
petitioner Vicente dela Rosa, all of Mayor Magsaysays co-petitioners are officials of the same
municipality.
In a complaint dated April 16, 1994, Victor Cusi, then Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas, charged
petitioners along with Elpidia Amada, Jovey C. Babago, and Brigido H. Buhain, also officials of San
Pascual Batangas, with violation of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. The complaint charged the respondent
municipal officials of overpaying Vicente de la Rosa of TDR Construction for the landscaping project of
the San Pascual Central School. This was docketed in the Office of the Ombudsman as OMB-1-94-1232.
In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Lourdes A. Alarilla recommended the
filing of an information for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, against
petitioners with the Sandiganbayan. Director Elvis John S. Asuncion concurred in the resolution, and
Manuel C. Domingo, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, recommended approval of the same. The resolution
was approved by then Acting Ombudsman Francisco A. Villa with the following marginal note:
Authority is given to the deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to cause the preparation of the information and to
approve the same for filing with the proper court. [12]
On August 11, 1995, an Information for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) was filed against petitioners
and Jovey C. Babago, not with the Sandiganbayan per the June 14, 1995 Resolution, but with the RTC of
Batangas City. The information was signed by a Lourdes A. Alarilla, the same Graft Investigation Officer
who recommended the filing of the information with the Sandiganbayan.
In the meantime, a group denominated as the Concerned Citizens of San Pascual, Batangas filed a
complaint before the Ombudsman against petitioners, and Elpidia Amada and Brigido Buhain, with
violations of R.A. No. 3019. The complaint also alleged, among others, the overpricing of the landscaping
project of San Pascual Central School. The case was docketed as OMB-0-94-0149.
In a Resolution dated July 27, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Ernesto M. Nocos recommended the
filing of an information charging petitioners with violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as
amended with proper court. The resolution, which was recommended for approval by Nicanor J. Cruz,

OIC-Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and approved by Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, adopted the
findings and conclusions in the resolution in OMB-1-94-1232 that the landscaping project was overpriced.
On February 9, 1996, another Information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended,
was filed against petitioners for the overpricing of the landscaping project, this time before the
Sandiganbayan. The information was subsequently amended on May 17, 1996. Except for the date the
alleged crime was committed, the information charged essentially the same inculpatory facts as the
information filed in the RTC. The case was docketed in the Sandiganbayan as Crim. Case No. 22378.
On June 1, 1996, the accused filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the information in
Crim. Case No. 22378 on the following grounds: that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the
case; that the accused were charged with the same offense in two informations; and that the proceedings
in the Sandiganbayan would expose petitioners to double jeopardy. The Sandiganbayan denied the
accuseds motion to quash in a Resolution dated June 21, 1996. The court, however, suspended
proceedings in the case until the Supreme Court resolved the question of the Sandiganbayans
jurisdiction involved in the Binay petition.
Meanwhile, on June 7, 1996, Prosecutor Eric Mallonga filed a motion before the RTC to refer the
R.A. No. 3019 case pending therein to the Sandiganbayan, arguing that under R.A. No. 7975 the
Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, had jurisdiction over the case. On July 3, 1996, the RTC issued an order
holding in abeyance the resolution of the motion to refer the case since the issue of jurisdiction was
pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Back at the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution, on July 24, 1996, filed a motion for reconsideration of
the Sandiganbayans Order dated June 21, 1996. On August 2, 1996, filed their own motion for the
reconsideration of the same order. On October 22, 1996, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion for
reconsideration filed by the prosecution and set the case for arraignment. Petitioners moved for a
reconsideration of the October 22, 1996 Resolution ordering their arraignment, which motion was denied
on February 17, 1997.
On February 27, 1997, the accused filed the present petition.
On October 1, 1997, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent
respondents from further proceeding with Crim. Case No. 23278 of the Sandiganbayan.
The petition raises the following issues:
I
Had the Sandiganbayan been ousted of its jurisdiction over the case of municipal mayor after the
passage of Republic Act No. 7975, coupled with the filing earlier of an information for the same offense
before the Regional Trial Court having territorial jurisdiction and venue of the commission of the offense?
II
Are the respondents Ombudsman and the prosecutors estopped by laches or waiver from filing and
prosecuting the case before respondent Sandiganbayan after the filing earlier of the information in the
proper court, thereafter repudiating it, seeking another court of the same category and finally to
respondent court?
III
Whether or not the filing of two (2) informations for the same offense violated the rule on duplicity of
information?
IV

Whether or not the trial to be conducted by respondent court, if the case shall not be dismissed, will
expose the petitioners who are accused therein to double jeopardy?
V
Under the circumstances, are the respondent Ombudsman and the prosecutors guilty of forum shopping?
[13]

On October 6, 1997, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 128136 (the Magsaysay petition)
with G.R. Nos. 120681-83 (the Binay petition).
In resolving these consolidated petitions, the Court shall first address the common question of the
Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
I
The Court rules that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject cases.
The informations against Mayor Binay were filed in the Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994, pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 1606,[14] as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861, [15] the pertinent provisions
of which state:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
(a)

Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office,
including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed
with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in
this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
xxx.
On May 16, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 took effect. At this time, Mayor Binay had not yet been arraigned in
the Sandiganbayan. On the other hand, R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect when the information against
Mayor Magsaysay et al., was filed on August 11, 1995 in the RTC of Batangas City.
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975 amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to read as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
a.
Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code,
where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the
offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic
Act No. 6758), specifically including:

(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors,
engineers, and other city department heads;
(c)

Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d)

Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

(e)

PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;

(f)
City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of
the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations,
state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3)

Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b.
Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection
(a) of this section in relation to their office.
c.
Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and
14-A.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27
or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of
superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as
the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
xxx.
While the cases against petitioners were pending in this Court, congress enacted R.A. No. 8249,
again redefining the jurisdiction of the Anti-Graft Court. This law took effect, per Section 10 thereof, on
February 23, 1997, fifteen days after its complete publication on February 8, 1997 in
the Journal andMalaya, two newspapers of general circulation.
As further amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 now reads:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal
Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at he time of the commission of the
offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the position of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic
Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors,
engineers, and other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those
holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the office of the
Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state
universities or educational institutions or foundations.
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3)

Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of he
Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public
officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to heir office.
d. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14A, issued in 1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher,
as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive
original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court,
municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.

Petitioners contend that they do not come under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan because:
(1)
At the alleged time of the commission of the crimes charged, petitioner municipal mayors
were not classified as Grade 27.
(2)
Municipal mayors are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606,
as amended by R.A. No. 7975.
(3)
Congressional records reveal that the law did not intend municipal mayors to come under
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

A
In support of his contention that his position was not that of Grade 27, Mayor Binay argues:
xxx. The new laws consistent and repeated reference to salary grade show[s] an intention to
base the separation of jurisdiction between the Sandiganbayan and the regular courts on pay
scale. Grades are determined by compensation. The essence of grades is pay scales. Therefor,
pay scales determine grades.[16]
Mayor Binay, thus, presented a Certification [17] from the City Personnel Officer of Makati stating that
petitioner as mayor received a monthly salary of only P10,793.00 from March 1987 to December 31,
1988. This amount was supposedly equivalent to Grade 22 under R.A. No. 6758.
Mayor Magsaysay, for his part, submitted a similar Certification [18] from the Municipal Treasurer of
San Pascual, Batangas, stating:
x x x that the basic monthly salary received by Mario C. Magsaysay, Municipal Mayor of San Pascual,
Batangas with Salary Grade 27 is ELEVEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PESOS
(P11,828.00) per month as of November 3, 1993 equivalent only to Grade 25, Step 5 of RA 6758, the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
Section 444(1) (Grad[e] 27) of RA 6758 is not as yet implemented due to budgetary constraints. This
certification is issued to Mayor Mario C. Magsaysay this 30th day of May 1996 at San Pascual, Batangas
for whatever legal purpose and/or purposes it may serve.
The Court does not subscribe to the manner by which petitioners classify Grades.
The Constitution[19] states that in providing for the standardization of compensation of government
officials and employees, Congress shall take into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to,
and the qualifications required for their positions, thus:
The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials, including
those in government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, taking into account the
nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.
Corollary thereto, Republic Act No. 6758 [20] provides in Section 2 thereof that differences in pay are to
be based upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of
the positions. In short, the nature of an officials position should be the determining factor in the fixing of
his or her salary. This is not only mandated by law but dictated by logic as well.
Consistent with these policies, the law employs the scheme known as the grade defined in
Presidential Decree No. 985[21] as including

xxx all classes of positions which, although different with respect to kind or subject matter of work, are
sufficiently equivalent as to level of difficulty and responsibilities and level of qualification requirements of
the work to warrant the inclusion of such classes of positions within one range of basic compensation. [22]
The grade, therefore, depends upon the nature of ones position -- the level of difficulty,
responsibilities, and qualification requirements thereof -- relative to that of another position. It is the
officials Grade that determines his or her salary, not the other way around.
It is possible that a local government officials salary may be less than that prescribed for his Grade
since his salary depends also on the class and financial capability of his or her respective local
government unit.[23] Nevertheless, it is the law which fixes the officials grade.
Thus, Section 8 of R.A. 6758 fixes the salary grades of the President, Vice-President, Senate
President, Speaker, Chief Justice, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional
Commissions. Section 8 also authorizes the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to
determine the officials who are of equivalent rank to the foregoing officials, where applicable and to
assign such officials the same Salary Grades subject to a set of guidelines found in said section.
For positions below those mentioned under Section 8, Section 9 instructs the DBM to prepare the
Index of Occupational Services guided by the Benchmark Position prescribed in Section 9 and the
factors enumerated therein.
To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,
therefore, reference should be made to R.A. No. 6758 and the Index of Occupational Services, Position
Titles and Salary Grades. Salary level is not determinative. An officials grade is not a matter of proof,
but a matter of law of which the Court must take judicial notice.[24]
As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades list the municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner mayors come within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are local officials classified as Grade 27
and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, under the catchall provision,
Section 4a(5) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. More accurately, petitioner mayors are
[o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, under
Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. [25]

B
Petitioners, however, argue that they are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1). They
invoke the rule in statutory construction expressio unius est expressio alterius. As what is not included in
those enumerated is deemed excluded, municipal officials are excluded from the Sandiganbayans
exclusive original jurisdiction.
Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear and
unambiguous.[26] The law is clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by R.A. No. 7975, speaks of [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989.
The Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain meaning rule were
disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation.
The premise of petitioners argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is exclusive. It is
not. The phrase specifically including after [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and

Position Classification Act of 1989 necessarily conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the
enumeration. The principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius does not apply where other
circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not intended to be exclusive, [27] or where the
enumeration is by way of example only.[28] In Conrado B. Rodrigo, et al. vs. The Honorable
Sandiganbayan (First Division), supra, the Court held that the catchall in Section 4a(5) was necessary for
it would be impractical, if not impossible, for Congress to list down each position created or will be created
pertaining to grades 27 and above. The same rationale applies to the enumeration in Section
4a(1). Clearly, the law did not intend said enumeration to be an exhaustive list.
Should there be any doubts as to whether petitioner mayors are under the category of Grade 27,
Section 444(d) of the Local Government Code settles the matter:
The municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation corresponding to Salary Grade
twenty-seven (27) as prescribed under R.A. No. 6758 and the implementing guidelines issued pursuant
thereto.
In the Courts Resolution in Rodrigo dated July 2, 1999 denying the motion for reconsideration, we
treated the above provision as confirmatory of the Salary Grade assigned by the DBM to Municipal
Mayors.

C
Petitioner Binay cites previous bills [29] in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. These bills supposedly sought to exclude municipal officials from the Sandiganbayans
exclusive original jurisdiction to relieve these officials ,especially those from the provinces, of the financial
burden brought about by trials in Manila.
The resort to congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in this case is
unwarranted in this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule of inclusio unius est expressio
alterius is inappropriate.
Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is also an
elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and
unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from language employed and the statute must be taken
to mean exactly what it says. (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 758-759 [1988]). The courts may not
speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words (Aparri v. CA, 127 SCRA 233
[1984]). When the law is clear, it is not susceptible to interpretation. It must be applied regardless of who
may be affected, even if the law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110 Phil. 42). And
even granting that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule, should be strictly but
reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be
resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Thus, where a general rule is
established by statute, the court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v.
CA., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]).[30]
Thus, in Rodrigo, petitioners therein argued in their motion for reconsideration:
x x x that the inclusion of Municipal Mayors within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan would be
inconvenient since the witness in their case would come from Baguio City and San Nicolas,
Pangasinan. This, according to petitioners, would defeat one of the purposes of R.A. No. 7975, that is, the
convenience of the accused.
The Court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, held, among others, that:

The legislature has nevertheless chosen the mode and standard by which to implement its intent, and
courts have no choice but to apply it. Congress has willed that positions with Grade 27 and above shall
come within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and this Court is duty-bound to obey the congressional
will.
Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Roco, stating:
Since February 1979, when the Sandiganbayan was established up to the present, the Court has been
confronted with the problem of those accused who are of limited means who stand trial for petty crimes,
the so-called small fry -- the barangay officials, the municipal officials and employees, postal clerks
and letter carriers and the like -- who are involved with nickel-and-dime cases and money-related cases
such as malversation, estafa and theft. xxx
xxx

xxx

xxx

Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that only those
occupying high positions in Government and the military fall under the jurisdiction of the court. [31]
It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are excluded from
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by a legislators opinion in
congressional debates regarding the interpretation of a particular legislation. It is deemed a mere
personal opinion of the legislator.[32] Such opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of the entire
Congress.[33]

D
From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the cases against petitioner Binay cannot be referred to
the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides:
Sec. 7. Upon effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan
shall be referred to the proper courts.
In construing the correct import of Section 7, it may be helpful to refer to the guidelines in
determining jurisdiction laid down in Bengzon vs. Inciong:[34]
The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its
jurisdiction to proceed to the final determination of the cause is not affected by new legislation placing
jurisdiction over such proceedings in another tribunal. The exception to the rule is where the statute
expressly provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before
its enactment. Where a statute changing the jurisdiction of a court has no retroactive effect, it cannot be
applied to a case that was pending prior to the enactment of the statute.
R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the exception rather than the rule. The provision is
transitory in nature and expresses the legislatures intention to apply its provisions on jurisdiction to
criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan. To this extent, R.A. 7975 is
retroactive.
Such a transitory provision is not peculiar to R.A. No. 7975; similar provisions are found in other laws
reallocating the jurisdiction of the courts.[35] There is no reason why Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be
any different.

The term proper courts, as used in Section 7, means courts of competent jurisdiction, and such
jurisdiction is defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. The former should
not be read in isolation but construed in conjunction with the latter.
The term proper courts as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted to regular courts, but
includes as well the Sandiganbayan, a special court. If the intent of Congress were to refer all cases the
trials of which have not begun to the regular courts, it should have employed the term proper regular
courts or regular courts instead of proper courts. Accordingly, the law in the third paragraph of Section
4 P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, uses the term regular courts, not proper
courts:
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments,
resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than salary
grade 27, or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration. [Underscoring supplied.]
Construed thus, the effects of Section 7 may be summarized as follows:
1.
If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has already begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 7975,
R.A. No. 7975 does not apply.
2.
If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 7975, then
R.A. No. 7975 applies.
(a) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case before it, then the case shall be referred to the
Sandiganbayan.
(b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case before it, the case shall be referred to the regular courts.
The trial of the cases involving Mayor Binay had not yet begun as of the date of the approval of R.A.
7975; consequently, the Anti-Graft Court retains jurisdiction over the said cases.
In any case, whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of Section 7 of R.A. No.
7975 should be laid to rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which states:
Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has
not begun as of the approval hereof.
The latter provision more accurately expresses the legislatures intent and in any event should be applied
in this case, R.A. No. 8249 having superseded R.A. No. 7975.
In Panfilo M. Lacson vs. The Executive Secretary, et al., [36] The Court explained the purpose of the
foregoing provision.
x x x it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of [Sandiganbayans] jurisdiction would
necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to provide for a remedy in the form of a transitory
provision. x x x. The transitory provision does not only cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but
also in any court. x x x. Moreover, those cases where trial had already begun are not affected by the
transitory provision under Section 7 of the new law (RA 8249). [Emphasis in the original.]
The possible disruptive effect of the amendments to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction on pending
cases was, therefore, not lost on the legislature. Congress has, furthermore, deemed the
commencement of the trial as the crucial point in determining whether a court retains a case pending
before it or lose the same on the ground of lack of jurisdiction per the provisions of R.A. 8249. The law

obviously does not want to waste the time and effort already devoted to the presentation of evidence if
trial had already begun. On the other hand, not much disruption would be caused if the amendment were
made to apply to cases the trials of which have not yet to start.
The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be stated as follows:
1.
If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the approval of R.A. No.
8249, said law does not apply.
2.
If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 8249,
then said law applies.
(a)

If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then it retains jurisdiction.

(b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending before it, the case shall be referred to
the regular courts.
(c) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before a regular court, the latter loses
jurisdiction and the same shall be referred to the Sandiganbayan.
(d)

If a regular court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then said court retains jurisdiction.
Thus, under both R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8429, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over said cases.
II

Petitioner Binay avers in his Addendum to Petition that his right to speedy disposition has been
violated by the inordinate delay in the resolution of the subject cases by the Ombudsman.
Article III of the Constitution provides that:
Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative bodies.
The constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases is not limited to the accused in criminal
proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. [37] Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a
case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. [38]
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, [39] is deemed
violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when
unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause or justifiable
motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. [40] Equally
applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a
speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution
and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the
assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. [41] The
concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. [42]
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. [43] In the
application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy disposition of cases, particular regard
must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case. [44]
In Tatad vs.Sandiganbayan,[45] the Court held that the length of delay and the simplicity of the issues
did not justify the delay in the disposition of the cases therein. The unexplained inaction[46] of the
prosecutors called for the dismissal of the cases against petitioner Tatad.

In Alvizo vs. Sandiganbayan,[47] the Court also ruled that there was no violation of the right to speedy
disposition. The Court took into account the reasons for the delay, i.e., the frequent amendments of
procedural laws by presidential decrees, the structural reorganizations in existing prosecutorial agencies
and the creation of new ones by executive fiat, resulting in changes of personnel, preliminary jurisdiction,
and the functions and powers of prosecuting agencies. The Court likewise considered the failure of the
accused to assert such right, and the lack of prejudice caused by the delay to the accused.
In Santiago vs. Garchitorena,[48] the complexity of the issues and the failure of the accused to invoke
her right to speedy disposition at the appropriate time spelled defeat to her claim to the constitutional
guarantee.
In Cadalin vs. POEAs Administrator,[49] the Court, considering also the complexity of the cases (not
run-of-the-mill variety) and the conduct of the parties lawyers, held that the right to speedy disposition
was not violated therein.
In petitioner Binays case, the Court finds that there was no undue delay in the disposition of the
subject cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the Tanodbayan, and later with the Office
of the Ombudsman, adequately explains the length of the delay:
1. That on July 27, 1988 Bobby Brillante filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan an affidavitcomplaint charging, Jejomar Binay, Sergio Santos, Roberto Chang, Delfin Almeda, Nelson
Irasga, Nicasio Santiago, Feliciano Basam, Maria Chan, Romeo Barrios, Azucena Diaz,
Virgilio Clarete, Godofredo Marcelo, Armando San Miguel, Salvador Pangilinan and John
Does of the following offenses: (a) Massive Malversation of Public Funds; (b) Multiple
Falsification of Public Documents; (c) Usurpation of Official Functions; (d) Violation of
Election Law; and (e) Violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019.
1.1. Brillantes complaint was based on the initial findings and observations of the COA
on the examination of the cash and accounts covering transactions from April 1, 1987
to January 4, 1988 and Post-Audit of Selected Accounts for the last quarter of 1987 of
the Municipality of Makati contained in its Report dated January 11, 1988. The COA
furnished the Tanodbayan a copy of this report on August 1, 1988 upon request of the
latter.
1.2. In the letter of the COA transmitting a copy of the report, the Tanodbayan was
informed that this COA audit report of January 11, 1988 is not yet released since the
Mayor of Makati was given thirty days within which to explain/clarify the findings in the
report and is subject to change or modification depending upon the
explanation/clarification to be submitted by the Mayor of Makati. Because of this
information from the COA the preliminary investigation was held in abeyance until the
submission of the final report.
1.3. On March 1, 1989, the first part of the Final Report on Audit of Makati was received
by the Office of the Ombudsman and was transmitted for purposes of the ensuring
preliminary investigation to the Tanodbayan which received the same on March 22,
1989.
1.4. This first part of the Final Report contained the fifteen (15) adverse findings, above
elsewhere stated as the basis of Bobby Brillantes complaint.
1.5. Eleven (11) COA auditors participated in the documentation and analysis of its
findings and preparation of the final report.
1.6. The first part of the final report was followed by a Supplemental Report on Findings
No. 1 and 3. This Supplemental Report is dated July 3, 1989.
2. After securing machine copies of the voluminous documents supporting the COA findings,
Pros. Margarito Gervacio, Chairman of the Panel of Prosecutors, issued the corresponding
subpoena directing the respondents to submit their respective counter-affidavits.

2.1. In compliance with the subpoena, Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted his counteraffidavit on May 18, 1990, Marissa Chan, Feliciano Bascon, Nicanor Santiago, Jr. on
June 19, 1990, Renato Manrique on June 4, 1990, Alfredo Ignacio on June 6, 1990,
Roberto Chang on August 27, 1990. Feliciano Bascon submitted his Supplemental
Affidavit on November 22, 1990.
2.2. Thereafter, clarificatory examinations were conducted on September 27, 1990,
October 26, 1990, November 8, 9, 14, 22, 1990.
3. On January 15, 1991 Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted a copy of this Petition for Certiorari in
G.R. No. 92380 which he and the municipality of Makati filed with the Supreme Court against
COA Chairman, Eufemio Domingo and the Commission on Audit, with a manifestation that
said petition is submitted to support Binays stand as regard COA Finding No. 9 aforestated.
4. On April 2, 1992 respondent Marissa Chan filed an affidavit containing allegations
incriminating Jejomar Binay;
5. Upon being ordered to comment on the said April 2, 1992 affidavit of Marissa Chan, Jejomar
Binay submitted his comment thereto on April 30, 1992.
6. On August 4, 1993, the Investigation Panel submitted to the Deputy Special Prosecutor its
Resolution disposing the preliminary investigation of the case.
6.1. On August 10, 1993 the said Resolution was approved by the Special Prosecutor,
who forwarded the same and the entire records to the Office of the Ombudsman for
review and/or final action.
6.2. On August 16, 1994, the Review Panel of the Ombudsman submitted to the latter its
review action for approval.
6.3. On August 19, 1994, the Ombudsman approved some of the recommendations of
the Review Panel and directed the preparation and filing of the informations. [50]
Furthermore, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA); it must
rely on its own independent judgment in the determination of probable cause. Accordingly, the
prosecution had to conduct it s own review of the COA findings. Judging from said findings, we find that
the cases were sufficiently complex, thus justifying the length of time for their resolution. As held by the
Sandiganbayan in its Resolution dated March 29, 1995 denying the Motion to Quash:
2. Ten charges are involved in these cases and the prosecution, unable to rely on the raw
findings of the Commission on Audit in 15 reports caused the investigation and examination
of thousands of vouchers, payrolls, and supporting documents considering that no less than
the Chairman of the Commission on Audit, assisted by a team supervisor and 10 team
members had to take part in the conduct of a final audit consisting of evaluation and analysis
of the initial findings in the 15 raw reports, the cases must have involved complicated legal
and factual issues which do warrant or justify a longer period of time for preliminary
investigation.
xxx
5. In the TATAD case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to three (3) years from
the time all the counter-affidavits were submitted to the Tanodbayan, notwithstanding the fact
that very few documentary and testimonial evidence were involved. In the above-entitled
cases, the preliminary investigation of all ten (10) cases was terminated in merely two (2)
years and four (4) months from the date Mayor Binay filed his last pleading, on April 30,
1992.[51]
Petitioner claims that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering his suspension pendente lite is
unwarranted since the informations charging him were not valid. This contention, however, must fail in
view of our pronouncement that there was no delay in the resolution of the subject cases in violation of his

right to speedy disposition. Accordingly, the informations in question are valid an petitioners
suspensionpendente lite must be upheld.
Finally, whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases is a question
best left to the discretion of the Ombudsman. Absent any grave abuse of such discretion, the Court will
not interfere in the exercise thereof. [52] Petitioner in this case has failed to establish any such abuse on the
part of the Ombudsman.
III
Having ruled that the criminal case against petitioners in G.R. No. 128136 is within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the Court will now dispose of the following issues raised by
them:
(1)
The Sandiganbayan was ousted of its jurisdiction by the filing of an information alleging
the same facts with the Regional Trial Court.
(2)
Respondents are estopped from filing an information before the Sandiganbayan
considering that they had already filed another information alleging the same facts before the Regional
Trial Court.
(3)

The filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double jeopardy.

The Court tackles these arguments successively then deals with the questions of duplicity of
information and forum shopping.
Petitioners invoke the rule that the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be ousted by
subsequent happenings or events, although of such character which would have prevented jurisdiction
from attaching in the first instance. [53] They claim that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan
was a subsequent happening or event which cannot oust the RTC of its jurisdiction.
This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the
case. Jurisdiction never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed before the RTC, R.A. No.
7975 was already in effect and, under said law, jurisdiction over the case pertained to the Sandiganbayan.
Neither can estoppel be successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law, not by the
consent or agreement of the parties or by estoppel. [54] As a consequence of this principle, the Court held
inZamora vs. Court of Appeals[55] that:
It follows that as a rule the filing of a complaint with one court which has no jurisdiction over it does not
prevent the plaintiff from filing the same complaint later with the competent court. The plaintiff is not
estopped from doing so simply because it made a mistake before in the choice of the proper forum. In
such a situation, the only authority the first court can exercise is to dismiss the case for lack of
jurisdiction. This has to be so as a contrary conclusion would allow a party to divest the competent court
of its jurisdiction, whether erroneously or even deliberately, in derogation of the law.
It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases [56] that estoppel prevents a party from questioning
the jurisdiction of the court that the party himself invoked. Estoppel, however, remains the exception
rather than the rule, the rule being that jurisdiction is vested by law.[57] Even in those instances where the
Court applied estoppel, the party estopped consistently invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively
participated in the proceedings, impugning such jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse
decision. This is not the case here. After discovering that a similar information had earlier been filed in
the RTC, respondents promptly asked the trial court to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan, which motion
was followed by a motion to resolve the previous motion. There was no consistent invocation of the
RTCs jurisdiction. There were no further proceedings after the filing of the information save for the
motion to refer the case precisely on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve the
earlier motion. Finally, the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse to petitioners.
Second, petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not themselves party to the
criminal action. In a criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the commission of a crime is an offense

against the State. Thus, the complaint or information filed in court is required to be brought in the name
of the People of the Philippines.[58] Even then, the doctrine of estoppel does not apply as against the
people in criminal prosecutions.[59] Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted
murder,[60] is a public offense. Social and public interest demand the punishment of the offender; hence,
criminal actions for public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much less barred by the rules of
estoppel.[61]
The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not put petitioners in double jeopardy even
though they had already pleaded not guilty to the information earlier filed in the RTC. The first jeopardy
never attached in the first place, the RTC not being a court of competent jurisdiction. There can be no
double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in a court that had no jurisdiction. [62] The remedy of
petitioners, therefore, was not to move for the quashal of the information pending in
the Sandiganbayan on the ground of double jeopardy.[63] Their remedy was to move for the quashal of the
information pending in the RTC on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.[64]
The contention that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan violated the rule against
duplicitous informations is patently unmeritorious. That rule presupposes that there is one complaint or
information charging not one offense, but two or more offenses. Thus, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
states:
Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. - A complaint or information must charge but one offense, except only in
those cases in which existing laws prescribed a single punishment for various offenses.
Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for quashing the duplicitous complaint or information under
Rule 117:
Sec. 3. Grounds. - The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the following
grounds:
xxx
(e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing laws prescribe a
single punishment for various offenses;
xxx
Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one offense but with more
than one information charging one offense.
The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-shopping. Broadly speaking, forum shopping
exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than
by appeal or certiorari) in another, or when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on
the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. [65] We
discern no intent on the part of the State, in filing two informations in two different courts, to gamble that
one or the other court would make a favorable disposition.
Obviously, respondents got their signals crossed. One set of officials, after investigating a complaint
filed by the Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas charging petitioners of overpricing, filed the information
for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the RTC. Another set of officials investigated another
complaint from the Concerned Citizens Group accusing petitioners of, among others, overpricing the
same project subject of the previous complaint. Finding probable cause, the second set of officials
instituted the criminal action, charging the same offense and alleging essentially the same facts as the
first, this time in the Sandiganbayan. Later learning of the procedural faux pas, respondents without
undue delay asked the RTC to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED.

JUDY CAROL L. DANSAL, RAFAEL T. FLORES, HERMINIO C. ELIZON, ARNULFO S.


SOLORIA, petitioners, vs. THE HON. GIL. P. FERNANDEZ, SR., in his capacity as the Presiding
Judge of the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 217 and Benigno S. Montera, respondents.
DECISION
PURISIMA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to enjoin further proceedings in Criminal
Case Nos. Q-96-66607-08, and to annul the Order, dated August 27, 1996, of Branch 217 of the Regional
Trial Court in Quezon City, which denied petitioners Motion to Quash the Informations.
Petitioner Judy Carol L. Dansal was the Department Manager of the Enforcement, Investigation, and
Prosecution Department of the National Food Authority ("NFA"), with office address at E. Rodriguez Sr.
Avenue, Quezon City. Petitioner Rafael T. Flores was the Assistant Manager of the said department of
NFA. Petitioner Herminio C. Elizon was the chief of the Security Division of the same department of NFA,
while Petitioner Arnulfo S. Soloria was a security officer of the said department of NFA. Respondent
Benigno S. Montera, on the other hand, was employed with the Enforcement, Investigation, and
Prosecution Department of NFA.[1]
On December 16, 1991, respondent Montera filed an "Affidavit of Complaint" with the Office of the
Ombudsman, charging the herein petitioners and one Ronaldo Vallada, a casual security guard of NFA,
with the offense of estafa through falsification of public document.
On January 14, 1992, petitioners were required by the Office of the Ombudsman to submit their
respective counter-affidavits and other controverting evidence. Petitioners complied. On April 1, 1992,
respondent Montera sent in a reply-affidavit.
On July 10, 1992, petitioner Dansal was directed to submit her verified answer to respondent Monteras
additional charge of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019.
On September 9, 1992, petitioner Dansal submitted her answer with a counter-charge.
On January 15, 1993, petitioner Dansal filed her rejoinder to respondent Monteras reply-affidavit, after
which the cases were ripe for resolution.[2]
On May 30, 1994, or after one (1) year and four (4) months, the office of the Ombudsman came out with
its Resolution, copy of which petitioners allegedly received on February 5, 1996. [3] Said Resolution ruled:
"Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully recommended that respondents
Judy Carol Dansal, Rafael Flores, Herminio Elizon, Arnulfo Soloria, Ronaldo Vallada be
prosecuted for one count of estafa through falsification of public document.
In addition thereto, a separate information for violation of Section 3(e) of R. A. No 3019
be filed against respondent Judy Carol Dansal alone while the additional charge for
violation of Section 3(e) of R. A. No 3019 against the other respondents be dismissed for
lack of merit."[4]

On May 13, 1996, after the denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration, the aforesaid cases were
referred to the deputized prosecutor of Quezon City, together with two Informations, dated October 20,
1995 and January 15, 1996, respectively, accusing Judy Carol L. Dansal of estafa through falsification of
public document, and violation of Section 3(e) of R. A. No. 3019; [5] and the other petitioners of estafa
through falsification of public document.
On July 18, 1996, petitioners interposed a Motion to Quash, contending that the delay in terminating the
preliminary investigation violated their constitutional rights to due process and to a speedy disposition of
their cases.[6]
On August 27, 1996, the respondent court denied the said motion, ruling thus:
"After careful evaluation of the grounds raised by the accused in their Motion to Quash
viz--viz the Opposition filed by the prosecution, finding no basis in fact and in law to
warrant the quashal of the two informations against the accused, as there appears no
unreasonable delay in the conduct of the preliminary investigation amounting to violation
of the accuseds constitutional right to due process and to a speedy disposition of the
cases, the instant Motion is hereby DENIED. Reset the arraignment and pre-trial anew on
November 25, 1996 at 8:30 oclock in the morning." [7]
Undaunted, petitioners found their way to this Court via the present petition under Rule 65 with a prayer
for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order, theorizing that:
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DENYING
PETITIONERS MOTION TO QUASH, FINDING NO BASIS IN FACT AND IN LAW TO
WARRANT THE QUASHAL OF THE TWO (2) INFORMATIONS AGAINST THE
PETITIONERS.
RESPONDENT JUDGE COMMITTED GRAVE ERRORS OF FACTS AND
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW WHEN HE ERRONEOUSLY HELD THAT THERE APPEARS
NO UNREASONABLE DELAY IN THE CONDUCT OF THE PRELIMINARY
INVESTIGATION AMOUNTING TO VIOLATION OF THE PETITIONERS
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND TO A SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF
THE CASES."[8]
On December 18, 1996, without giving due course to the Petition, the Court required the respondents to
comment and denied the prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order.[9]
In his Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Comment, the Solicitor General recommended the granting of
the petition.[10]
The accusation against the petitioners is based on the "Affidavit of Complaint" alleging that petitioners
falsified the Daily Time Record (DTR) of one Ronaldo Vallada, by making it appear that the latter reported
for work during the month of July 1991 when, in truth and in fact, he did not so report, and that the
petitioners collected the amount of P2,244.04 paid on the basis of the falsified DTR.
In their answer, petitioners countered that the imputation against them is a mere harassment by
complainant Benigno S. Montera, so as to silence, embarrass and destroy their (petitioners) credibility,
and that the complainant lodged the complaint because prior to the filing thereof, petitioner Dansal
initiated an investigation of the complainant for alleged irregularities involving the latters daily time record,
which investigation was set by petitioner Dansal after Ronaldo Vallada admitted having illegally punched

in the Bundy Clock the DTRs of several employees and the complainant, who requested him to do so,
and as a result, an administrative case was instituted against the complainant before the Director for
Legal Affairs, docketed as Administrative Case No. 1-05-92 for Dishonesty, Falsification of Public
Documents, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. [11]
Placing reliance on the ruling in the case of Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan,[12] petitioners seek redress for what
they theorized upon as a violation of their right to due process and speedy disposition of their cases by
reason of the alleged unreasonable delay of the preliminary investigation against them.
The petition is barren of merit.
To begin with, the petition is flawed by the failure of petitioners to move for reconsideration of the assailed
Order. Settled is the rule that, except in some recognized exceptions, the filing of a motion for
reconsideration is a condition sine qua non to the filing of a petition for certiorari.[13]The rationale behind
the rule is to give the respondent court an opportunity to correct its supposed mistake and to rectify its
questioned Order.
Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, reads:
"Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all
judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies"
Initially embodied in Section 16, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, the aforesaid constitutional provision
is one of three provisions mandating speedier dispensation of justice. [14] It guarantees the right of all
persons to "a speedy disposition of their case"; includes within its contemplation the periods before,
during and after trial, and affords broader protection than Section 14(2), [15]which guarantees just the right
to a speedy trial. It is more embracing than the protection under Article VII, Section 15, which covers only
the period after the submission of the case.[16] The present constitutional provision applies to civil, criminal
and administrative cases.[17]
Section 16 was first given flesh and blood in the Tatad case, which also involved a petition seeking to
reverse an order of the trial court denying a motion to quash the Information. Applying Section 16, Article
IV of the 1973 Constitution, the Court opined in that case:
"x x x We find the long delay in the termination of the preliminary investigation by the
Tanodbayan in the instant case to be violative of the constitutional right of the accused to
due process. Substantial adherence to the requirements of the law governing the
conduct of preliminary investigation, including substantial compliance with the time
limitation prescribed by the law for the resolution of the case by the prosecutor, is part of
the procedural due process constitutionally guaranteed by the fundamental law. Not only
under the broad umbrella of the due process clause, but under the constitutional
guarantee of "speedy disposition" of cases as embodied in Section 16 of the Bill of Rights
(both in the 1973 and the 1987 Constitutions), the inordinate delay is violative of the
petitioners constitutional rights."[18]
But the concept of "speedy disposition of cases," like "speedy trial," is a relative term and a flexible
concept. It is consistent with reasonable delay.[19]
In the determination of whether or not the constitutional right invoked by petitioners has been violated, the
factors to consider and balance are the duration of the delay, reason thereof, assertion of the right or
failure to assert it and the prejudice caused by such delay.[20] The desideratum of a speedy disposition of

cases should not, if at all possible, result in the precipitate loss of a partys right to present evidence and
either in a plaintiffs being non-suited or the defendants being pronounced liable under an ex parte
judgment.[21]
The Court believes, and so holds, that the aforecited doctrine laid down in Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan is
inapplicable in light of the attendant facts and circumstances in this case. Records disclose that the
original complaint against petitioners was brought before the Office of the Ombudsman on December 16,
1991. The same was deemed submitted for resolution on January 15, 1993. On May 30, 1994, the
investigator issued a Resolution finding a probable cause, which finding was later approved by the
Ombudsman. Petitioners were furnished a copy of the said Resolution on February 5 and 6, 1996. On
June 30, 1996 were filed the Information dated October 20, 1995, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-9666607, and the other Information dated January 15, 1996, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-96-66608. [22]
The preliminary investigation in subject cases against the petitioners took more than one year and four
months to finish. But such a happenstance alone, or any like delay, for that matter, should not be cause
for an unfettered abdication by the court of its duty to try cases and to finally make a determination of the
controversy after the presentation of evidence. In Francisco Guerrero vs. Court of Appeals,[23] et al., the
Court had this to say:
"While this Court recognizes the right to speedy disposition quite distinctly from the right
to a speedy trial, and although this Court has always zealously espoused protection from
oppressive and vexatious delays not attributable to the party involved, at the same time,
we hold that a party's individual rights should not work against and preclude the people's
equally important right to public justice. In the instant case, three people died as a result
of the crash of the airplane that the accused was flying. It appears to us that the delay in
the disposition of the case prejudiced not just the accused but the people as well. Since
the accused has completely failed to assert his right seasonably and inasmuch as the
respondent judge was not in a position to dispose of the case on the merits due to the
absence of factual basis, we hold it proper and equitable to give the parties fair
opportunity to obtain (and the court to dispense) substantial justice in the premises."
The protection under the right to a speedy disposition of cases should not operate as to deprive the
government of its inherent prerogative in prosecuting criminal cases or generally in seeing to it that all
who approach the bar of justice be afforded a fair opportunity to present their side.
Contrary to the stance of the Solicitor General, the delay adverted to in the cases under consideration
does not measure up to the unreasonableness of the delay of disposition in Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan,
and other allied cases. It cannot be said that the petitioners found themselves in a situation oppressive to
their rights simply by reason of the delay and without more.
In Magsaysay et al. vs. Sandiganbayan et al.,[24] this Court ruled that:
"x x x the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed
violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive
delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or
when, without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse
without the party having his case tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test used to
determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a speedy trial, or a speedy
disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution and the
defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such
delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice

caused by the delay. The concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must
necessarily be a flexible concept.
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In
the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to a speedy disposition of
cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to
each case"
From the facts and circumstances at bar, the Court cannot glean any grave abuse of discretion tainting
the denial by the respondent court of petitioners motion to quash.
The Court is not unmindful of the duty of the Ombudsman under the Constitution and Republic Act No.
6770 to act promptly on Complaints brought before him. [25] But such duty should not be mistaken with a
hasty resolution of cases at the expense of thoroughness and correctness. Judicial notice should be
taken of the fact that the nature of the Office of the Ombudsman encourages individuals who clamor for
efficient government service to freely lodge their Complaints against wrongdoings of government
personnel, thus resulting in a steady stream of cases reaching the Office of the Ombudsman.
As stressed upon by the Solicitor General, the Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman [26] do not
specifically prescribe a period within which a criminal complaint may be investigated and decided. But the
same Rules adopt the Rules of Court on Preliminary Investigation, as modified by the Rules of Procedure
of the Ombudsman. Under the Rules of Court,[27] the Investigating Officer has ten (10) days from
submission of the case to come out with the resolution.
But it bears stressing that the period fixed by law is merely "directory", although it can not be disregarded
or ignored completely, with absolute impunity.[28] The records of the case do not show any such complete
disregard. In like manner, the circumstances averred in the petition do not suffice to overcome the
presumption of regularity in the performance by the Ombudsman of his functions, especially those
involving the review of numerous resolutions and recommendations of his investigating officers.
In a number of cases, this Court has not hesitated to grant the so-called "radical relief" and to spare the
accused from undergoing the rigors and expense of a full blown trial where it is clear that he has been
deprived of due process of law and/or other constitutionally guaranteed rights. [29] But here, the Court finds
none.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the respondent Regional Trial Court is hereby ordered to
attend with dispatch to the trial of Criminal Case No. Q-96-66607, entitled "People of the Philippines vs.
Judy Carol L. Dansal, Rafael T. Flores, Herminio T. Elizon and Arnulfo S. Soloria", and Criminal Case No.
Q-96-66608, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Judy Carol L. Dansal". No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
ATTY. REYNALDO P. DIMAYACYAC, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. VICENTE Q.
ROXAS, IRENE AGBADA-CRUZ, SIXTOAGBADA CRUZ, MERCEDES ARISTORENAS and
ROMEO GOMEZ and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA for
brevity) dated November 13, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP No. 43884, denying Atty. Reynaldo
P.Dimayacyacs petition for certiorari and ruling that the Regional Trial Court (Branch 227) of Quezon City
(RTC for brevity) was correct in denying petitioners motion to quash the information charging petitioner
with falsification of public documents, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988.
The antecedent facts as borne out by the records of the case are accurately narrated in the CA
Decision dated November 13, 1998, thus:
An information for falsification of public documents docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 at the
RTC of Quezon City was filed against petitioner along with some others. That information reads:
The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor accuses LOURDES ANGELES, ESTRELLA MAPA,
ATTY.PONCIANO R. GUPIT, and ATTY. REYNALDO P. DIMAYACYAC of the crime of FALSIFICATION
OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT (under Article 172, first and last paragraph in relation to Article 171 paragraph 2
of the Revised Penal Code), committed as follows:
That on or about the 5th day of 1986, in Quezon City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, all private individuals, conspiring together, confederating
with and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit the
act of falsification of public documents, by then and there falsifying or causing the falsification of the
following documents, to wit:
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 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 Mercedes Aristorenaswhose properties were embraced and included in the said
Transfer Certificates of Titles and in such amount as may be awarded under the provisions of the Civil
Code.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Before his arraignment, petitioner moved to quash the information on two (2) grounds. First, that the
officer who filed the information had no legal authority to do so, and second, that more than one offense
was charged in the information.
Pending resolution of the motion to quash, petitioner was arraigned.

By Order of August 23, 1991, Judge Benigno T. Dayaw of Branch 80 of the Regional Trial Court ofQuezon
City to whose sala Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 was raffled, holding that the grant or denial of Motion
to Dismiss whether the accused is arraigned or not is discretionary on the part of the Court, it citing
People vs. IAC, L-66939-41, January 10, 1987, granted the petitioners motion to quash upon the second
ground. Accordingly, the information was quashed.
More than two (2) years after the quashal of the information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 or on
October 19, 1993, the Quezon City Prosecutor filed against the same accused including petitioner two (2)
informations for falsification of public documents docketed at the Quezon City RTC as Criminal Case Nos.
Q-93-49988 and 49989. The Informations arose from the questioned acts of falsification subject of the
earlier quashed information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037.
Petitioner later filed with Branch 103 of the RTC of Quezon City to which the informations were raffled a
motion for the quashal thereof on the ground of double jeopardy, citing Section 3(h) of Rule 117 of the
Revised Rules of Court.
Petitioner argued at the court a quo that he would be placed in double jeopardy as he was indicted before
for the same offenses and the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
By the assailed Order of December 18, 1996, public respondent, Judge Vicente Q. Roxas of Branch 227
of the RTC of Quezon City to which the two (2) 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. Resolution of the motion to
quash the information in Criminal Case No. Q-93-49989 was stayed pending the submission by petitioner
of the documents required by the court a quo. Public respondent thus denied the motion to quash the
information in Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988 and ordered petitioners arraignment, he holding that said
case did not place petitioner in double jeopardy.[2]
Herein petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari before the CA which denied his petition stating in
its Decision that since the Information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037, on petitioners motion, was
quashed on the ground that more than one offense was charged pursuant to Sec. 3 (e) of Rule 117 of the
Revised Rules of Court,[3] he is not placed in double jeopardy by the filing of another Information for an
offense included in the charge subject of the Information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037. [4]
Hence, herein petition for review on certiorari assigning the following errors of the 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 matter;
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 filed by the Office of the
Solicitor General, the ORDER of dismissal of Honorable 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]

On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that petitioner, by filing the
motion to quash and refusing to withdraw it after he was arraigned, is deemed to have waived his right
against double jeopardy, as his motion to quash constituted his express consent for the dismissal of the
information. However, the OSG advances the view that the criminal case against 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 ground that (1) the criminal action or liability has been
extinguished or that (2) the accused has previously been convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted or
acquitted of the offense charged, pursuant to Section 6 in relation to Section 3, Rule 117 of the Rules of
Court, to wit:
Section 6. Order sustaining the motion to quash not a bar to another prosecution; exception. - An order
sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense unless the motion
was based on the grounds specified in Section 3, sub-sections (f) and (h) of this Rule.
Section 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the
following grounds:
(a)

That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;

(b)

That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense
charged or the person of the accused;

(c)

That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;

(d)

That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;

(e)

That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which
existing laws prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;

(f)

That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;

(g)

That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal


excuse or justification; and

(h)

That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of


being convicted, or acquitted of the offense charged. (Emphasis
supplied)

Thus, private respondent Cruz argues that since the previous information was quashed on the ground of
duplicity of offenses charged, the subsequent filing of a proper information is, therefore, not barred.
In
their
Memorandum,
private
respondents-complainants
Romeo
Gomez
and
MercedesAristorenas 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 he never raised this issue in the trial court nor in the appellate court, hence,
his silence should be interpreted as a waiver of said right to a speedy trial.
The issues boil down to (1) whether or not the prosecution of petitioner under the Information
docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-93-49988 would constitute double jeopardy, considering that when the
Information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 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
violated.
With regard to the first issue, we are in accord with the ruling of the CA that not all the elements for
double jeopardy exist in the case at bench. In People vs. Tac-An,[6] we enumerated the elements that
must exist for double jeopardy to be invoked, to wit:
Thus, apparently, to raise the defense of double jeopardy, three requisites must be present: (1) a first
jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy must have been validly terminated;
and (3) the second jeopardy must be for the same offense as that in the first.
Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a competent court, (c) after
arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered; and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise
terminated without the express consent of the accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851).
Was the duplicitous information a valid indictment? We answer in the affirmative. In People
vs. Bugayong,[7] we ruled that when an appellant fails to file a motion to quash within the time prescribed
under Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, he is thus deemed to have waived the defect in the
Information. In People vs. Manalili,[8] we held that an accused, who fails to object prior to arraignment to a
duplicitous information, may be found guilty of any or all of the crimes alleged therein and duly proven
during the trial, for the allegation of the elements of such component crimes in the said information has
satisfied the constitutional guarantee that an accused be informed of the nature of the offense with which
he or she is being charged. Verily, a duplicitous information is valid since such defect may be waived and
the accused, because of such waiver, could be convicted of as many offenses as those charged in the
information and proved during trial.
The validity of the information having been established, we go on to examine whether the other
requisites for double jeopardy to attach are present. In the present case, although there was a valid
indictment before a competent court and petitioner, as the accused, had already been arraigned therein,
entering a valid plea of not guilty, the last requisite that the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated
without his express consent, is not present.
It should be noted that the termination of Criminal Case No. Q-91-18037 was upon motion of
petitioner who, on April 1, 1991, filed with the court an Urgent Motion to Quash which was granted by
Resolution dated August 23, 1991. In Sta. Rita vs. Court of Appeals, [9] we held that the reinstatement of
criminal cases against the accused did not violate his right against double jeopardy since the dismissal of
the information by the trial court had been effected at his own instance when the accused filed a motion to
dismiss on the grounds that the facts charged do not constitute an offense and that the RTC had no
jurisdiction over the case. In this 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 is thus
deemed to have expressly given his consent to such dismissal. There could then be no double jeopardy
in this case since one of the requisites therefore, i.e., that the dismissal be without accuseds express
consent, is not present.

As to whether the subsequent filing of the two informations docketed as Q-93-49988 and Q-9349989 constitutes a violation of petitioners constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases, [10] we rule
in the negative. We are not convinced by the OSGs assertion that the cases ofTatad vs.
Sandiganbayan[11] or Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman,[12] are applicable to the case before us. We see
differently. There is no factual similarity between this case before us and the cases
of Tatad and Angchangco.
In the Tatad case, there was a hiatus in the proceedings between the termination of the proceedings
before the investigating fiscal on October 25, 1982 and its resolution on April 17, 1985. The Court found
that political motivations played a vital role in activating and propelling the prosecutorial
process[13] against then Secretary Francisco S. Tatad. In the Angchangcocase, the criminal complaints
remained pending in the Office of the Ombudsman for more than six years despite the respondents
numerous motions for early resolution and the respondent, who had been retired, was being
unreasonably deprived of the fruits of his retirement because of the still unresolved criminal complaints
against him. In both cases, we ruled that the period of time that elapsed for the resolution of the cases
against the petitioners therein was deemed a violation of the accuseds right to a speedy disposition of
cases against them.
In the present case, no proof was presented to show any persecution of the accused, political or
otherwise, unlike in the Tatad case. There is no showing that petitioner was made to endure any
vexatious process during the two-year period before the filing of the proper informations, unlike in
the Angchangco case where petitioner therein was deprived of his retirement benefits for an
unreasonably long time. Thus, the circumstances present in the Tatad and Angchangcocases justifying
the radical relief granted by us in said cases are not existent in the present case.
We emphasize our ruling in Ty-Dazo vs. Sandiganbayan[14] where we held that:
The right to a speedy disposition of cases, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed violated only when
the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified
postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause or unjustifiable motive, a
long period of time 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 and balanced are: the
length of the delay the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused,
and the prejudice caused by the delay.
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In the application
of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy 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.
JAIME T. BERNAT, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGAN-BAYAN (5THDivision) and PEOPLE
OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the Special Prosecutors of the Office of the
Ombudsman, respondents.
DECISION
AZCUNA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari with application for temporary restraining order, under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court.
Petitioner Jaime T. Bernat raises only one issue for the Courts consideration: Is there a violation of
the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable delay in the disposition of a criminal case which stands
undecided until now although submitted for decision on August 25, 1994?
The assailed twin resolutions[1] dated February 7, 2003 and April 25, 2003, respectively, of the
Sandiganbayan Fifth Division[2] ruled in the negative, finding that there was no inordinate delay in the
disposition of said case.[3]
The facts of the case, relevant to the issue on hand, are as follows: [4]
On August 14, 1991, petitioner, along with several co-accused, were charged before the
Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act.[5] After arraignment and the presentation of the parties testimonial and
documentary evidence, the case was eventually submitted for decision on August 23, 1994 before the

Second Division. Thereafter, the case remained pending and unacted upon until the reorganization of the
Sandiganbayan pursuant to Administrative Order 266-97, and the case was unloaded to the newly
created Fifth Division.
The case was originally assigned to Justice Godofredo Legaspi. Later, it was re-assigned to Justice
Ma. Cristina G. Cortez-Estrada upon her assumption of office on November 3, 1998.
In the early part of 2002, when Justice Cortez-Estrada was writing the decision of the case, she
found out that the Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSN) for November 26, 1993 was missing from the
records turned over to her. Thus, the Clerk of Court of the Fifth Division informed the parties of this
development and ordered them to attend a conference on April 19, 2002 to discuss the matter.
Instead of attending the conference, petitioner filed a comment manifesting that he is strongly averse
to any further proceeding occasioned by the lack of stenographic notes, which contained his crossexamination, as he should not be prejudiced by the fault or negligence of another. In the same comment,
he reserved his right to file a motion to dismiss.
On September 4, 2002, petitioner filed his Motion to Dismiss. [6] There, petitioner argued that more
than 8 years had elapsed since the case was submitted for decision but the case remained undecided,
resulting in a patent denial of petitioners constitutional right to a speedy disposition of his case and
warranting its dismissal. The Sandiganbayan denied the motion to dismiss, as well as the subsequent
motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner now maintains that the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction in not dismissing the case against him.
Section 16 of Article III of the Constitution guarantees the right of all persons to a speedy disposition
of their cases. Nevertheless, this right is deemed violated only when the proceedings are attended by
vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays. [7] Moreover, the determination of whether the delays are of
said nature is relative and cannot be based on a mere mathematical reckoning of time. Particular regard
must be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case. [8] As a guideline, the Court in Dela
Pea v. Sandiganbayan mentioned certain factors that should be considered and balanced, namely: 1)
length of delay; 2) reasons for the delay; 3) assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused; and 4)
prejudice caused by the delay. [9]
Following these principles, the Court finds there was no violation of petitioners right to a speedy
disposition of his case. As jurisprudential support, the Court recalls a decided case in point, Guerrero v.
Court of Appeals.[10]
In that case, the petitioner was charged with triple homicide through reckless imprudence on
November 16, 1971. The case was eventually submitted for decision upon the filing of the last pleading
on December 21, 1979. The case was later re-assigned to two other judges before, on March 14, 1990,
the last judge found out that the transcript of stenographic notes was incomplete and ordered the parties
to have the same completed. When the parties could not comply, the judge ordered the retaking of the
testimonies of the witnesses. On November 7, 1990, petitioner therein filed a motion to dismiss on the
ground that his right to a speedy trial had been violated by the failure to render a prompt judgment.
The Court ruled that there was no such violation because petitioner failed seasonably to assert his
rights. Petitioner merely sat and waited after the case was submitted for resolution in 1979. It was only in
1990, after the new judge ordered the retaking of the testimonies, that the petitioner became zealous in
invoking his right to speedy trial and disposition. The Court reasoned, as follows:

In the present case, there is no question that petitioner raised the violation against his own right to speedy
disposition only when the respondent trial judge reset the case for rehearing. It is fair to assume that he
would have just continued to sleep on his right a situation amounting to laches had the respondent
judge not taken the initiative of determining the non-completion of the records and of ordering the remedy
precisely so he could dispose of the case. The matter could have taken a different dimension if during all
those ten years between 1979 when accused filed his memorandum and 1989 when the case was reraffled, the accused showed signs of asserting his right which was granted him in 1987 when the new
Constitution took effect, or at least made some overt act (like a motion for early disposition or a motion to
compel the stenographer to transcribe stenographic notes) that he was not waiving it. As it is, his silence
would have to be interpreted as a waiver of such right.
While this Court recognizes the right to speedy disposition quite distinctly from the right to a speedy trial,
and although this Court has always zealously espoused protection from oppressive and vexatious delays
not attributable to the party involved, at the same time, we hold that a party's individual rights should not
work against and preclude the people's equally important right to public justice. In the instant case, three
people died as a result of the crash of the airplane that the accused was flying. It appears to us that the
delay in the disposition of the case prejudiced not just the accused but the people as well. Since the
accused has completely failed to assert his right seasonably and inasmuch as the respondent judge was
not in a position to dispose of the case on the merits due to the absence of factual basis, we hold it proper
and equitable to give the parties fair opportunity to obtain (and the court to dispense) substantial justice in
the premises.
In the same vein, petitioner herein failed seasonably to assert his constitutional right to a speedy
disposition of his case. During the 8-year period, prior to the April 19, 2002 conference between the
parties, petitioner did not complain about the long delay in deciding his case. It was only after the missing
TSNs were brought to his attention that petitioner showed an interest in the termination of his case.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. Respondent Sandiganbayan is nonetheless
urged to decide the case within six months from the promulgation of this decision. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
RICARDO CASTILLO, DEMETRIO CABISON JR., and RODOLFO AGDEPPA,petitioners, vs.
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND DIVISION), and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
represented by HONORABLE CONRADO VASQUEZ, OMBUDSMAN, respondents. Jur-is
DECISION
YNARES_SANTIAGO, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari assailing two Orders dated February 18, 1993 [1] and March 8,
1993[2] of the Sandiganbayan's Second Division denying petitioners' Motion to Dismiss and Motion for
Reconsideration.
On August 25, 1986, concerned employees of the Commission on Audit (COA) filed a Complaint before
the Tanodbayan,[3] against petitioners Ricardo Castillo, Rodolfo Agdeppa and Demetrio Cabison Jr., COA
Auditor VIII, COA Auditor II, and COA Auditor III, respectively, all assigned at the National Housing
Authority (NHA), for alleged "submittal of initial very derogatory reports which became the basis for the
filing of cases with the Tanodbayan and the reversals of their initial recommendations for selected
contractors." Petitioners were notified of the Complaint on September 22, 1986 when they were directed
by the Tanodbayan to file their counter-affidavits, which they did on September 30, 1986.

In a resolution dated October 30, 1987, the Tanodbayan found a prima facie case against petitioners and
accordingly recommended the filing of an Information against them for violation of Section 3(e) of the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).[4]Sc-juris
On November 27, 1987, petitioners promptly filed a Motion for Reinvestigation. [5] On March 21, 1988, they
filed a Motion to Resolve their Motion for Reinvestigation. [6]
Without acting upon the Motion for Reinvestigation and Motion to Resolve Motion for Reinvestigation, an
Information was filed on November 5, 1990, before the Sandiganbayan, which reads:
"That on or about August 5, 1986 or prior and subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Metro
Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused namely,
Ricardo R. Castillo, Rodolfo M. Agdeppa and Demetrio M. Cabison Jr., all public officers
being then COA Auditor VIII, COA Auditor II and COA Auditor III, respectively, taking
advantage of their official positions, while in the performance or discharge of their
administrative official functions, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, conspiring,
confederating and confabulating with each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and fraudulently cause undue injury, damage and prejudice to the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines, to wit: that two contracts were entered into by the NHA
management with two private contractors relative to the complete development of Phase
V-A Packages 3 & 4 which is being constructed by Sarmiento Construction Co., and
likewise Phase IX Packages 7 & 7-A which is being constructed by the Supra
Construction Co., both constructions are located at the Tala Estate Sites & Services, by
causing to prepare, submit, issue and sign in the different inventory
reports/recommendation on various occasions that Sarmiento Construction had an
overpayment in the amount of P362,591.98 for Phase V-A Packages 3 & 4 but later on
said accused changed their inventory reports/recommendation and subsequently
readjusted this as overpayment on physical work thereby prejudicing the government on
account of accuseds constant changes/reversals in the inventory reports prepared,
signed and submitted by them; whereas in the second contract with Supra Construction,
accused issued an inventory report by stating thereon that said contractor had a work
deficiency in the amount of P788,806.94 but refraining from taking appropriate action on
account of P1,873,091.40 withheld on Tala to pay a refund order on a Tondo contract
issued by the COA main office. The said accused raised the deficiency in the amount of
P855,281.50. Later on, another inventory report was issued and prepared by a Tri-Partite
Team Committee composed of COA, NHA and the contractors stating a work deficiency
in the amount of P352,121.40 only. Despite previous inventory reports/recommendation
by the accused citing different amounts and another amount by the Tri-Partite Team
Committee said accused later stated that the final deficiencies of Supra Construction is
no longer P855,281.58 but was reduced only to P70,596.37, which reductions in the
contractors' final deficiencies were not justified thereby giving unwarranted benefits,
preference and advantage to the above-mentioned contractor to the damage and
prejudice of the government in the amount of P231,523.00 and to the Sarmiento
Construction for inventoried accomplishment were not duly credited by the said
accused."[7]Juri-ssc
Trial on the merits thereafter ensued. After the prosecution rested its case, petitioners filed a Demurrer to
Evidence but the same was denied by the Sandiganbayan in a Resolution dated December 11, 1992.
[8]
Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied in a Resolution dated January 20, 1993. [9]

Thereafter, petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss[10] dated February 15, 1993 citing lack of jurisdiction and
violation of due process, but the same was denied by the Sandiganbayan. Petitioners' Motion for
Reconsideration[11] was also denied.
Hence, this petition for certiorari and prohibition, raising the following grounds:
The Honorable Respondent Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in not
dismissing the Information notwithstanding that there was a violation of petitioners
constitutional rights of "due process" and "speed disposition of cases" and there was use
of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner against the
petitioners.
1. Unexplained and unjustified delay of three (3) years before an Information is filed
before the Honorable Respondent Sandiganbayan counting from the date of the
resolution of the Ombudsman recommending the prosecution of the petitioners for
violation of Rep. Act No. 3019 (or a total of four (4) years from initial investigation up to
filing of information); M-isjuris
2. Motion for Reinvestigation and Motion to Resolve the Motion for Reinvestigation filed
by the petitioners before the Office of the Honorable Respondent Ombudsman were not
acted upon;
3. No reason or explanation was made by the prosecution on the delay in the filing of
Information;
4. With no plausible explanation on hand, the petitioners are thus inclined to reason out,
or even suspect, that there is connection between such delay and their past and
contemporaneous official acts;
5. The lapse of three (3) years or a total of four ( 4) years from start of investigation up to
filing of Information may result in the destruction of affirmative evidence tending to
establish the innocence of the petitioners and that the passage of time may have
produced an unfavorable effect on their defense;
6. Violation of constitutional rights divests the court of jurisdiction;
7. Lack of jurisdiction of the court may be raised at any time;
8. Criminal prosecution may be enjoined in order to afford adequate protection to
constitutional rights and to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive
and vindictive manner;
9. Subject of instant petition are the Orders of the Honorable Respondent Sandiganbayan
denying the Motion to Dismiss of petitioners for violation of their constitutional rights and
the use against them of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive
manner. J-jlex
Petitioners submit that the Ombudsman oppressed and discriminated against them by not issuing any
notice, reply or order denying their Motion for Reinvestigation as well as their Motion to Resolve their

Motion for Reconsideration. They argue that the Ombudsman should have granted outright their Motion
for Reinvestigation in view of the ruling in Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan [12]wherein this Court held, thus:
Under the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman (as distinguished from incumbent
Tanodbayan) is charged with the duty to:
"Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public
official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal,
unjust, improper, or inefficient." ( citation omitted) Newmiso
xxx

xxx

xxx

Now then, inasmuch as the aforementioned duty is given to the Ombudsman, the
incumbent Tanodbayan (called Special Prosecutor under the 1987 Constitution and who
is supposed to retain the powers and duties NOT GIVEN to the Ombudsman) is
clearly without authority to conduct preliminary investigations and to direct the filing of
criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan, except upon orders of the Ombudsman. This
right to do so was lost effective February 2, 1987. From that time, he has been divested
of such authority.
Petitioners' contention is misleading. In the aforecited case, this Court clearly held that the authority of the
Tanodbayan to conduct preliminary investigations and to direct the filing of criminal cases
was lost effective February 2, 1987. The inference, therefore, of such holding is that the Tanodbayan had
such authority prior to February 2, 1987. In this case, the Tanodbayan issued petitioners a subpoena on
September 22, 1986 directing them to file their counter-affidavits, which the latter complied with on
September 30, 1986. In short, the preliminary investigation was conducted by the Tanodbayan before he
lost his authority to do so.
Hence, there was no need for the Ombudsman to conduct another preliminary investigation as the one
conducted by the former Tanodbayan was valid and legal. Presumably, the new Ombudsman recognized
the results of the preliminary investigation conducted by the then Tanodbayan and adopted the
conclusions reached therein when he ordered the filing of an Information against petitioners.
Consequently, there was no need for the Ombudsman to act on the petitioners' Motion for
Reinvestigation. As stated, there was no need for the Ombudsman to conduct another preliminary
investigation. Acctmis
Petitioners also submit that they were deprived of their constitutional right to a speedy trial by reason of
the delay in the filing of the Information by the Ombudsman. They contend that the Sandiganbayan
abused its discretion in not dismissing the Information filed against them on the ground that "there was
unexplained and unjustified delay of more than three (3) years before an information was filed against
them from the filing of the complaint on August 25, 1986 up to the filing of the Information on November 5,
1990." In fine, they point out that considering that the preliminary investigation was concluded as early as
October 30, 1987, the first Ombudsman constituted under the 1987 Constitution should have filed the
Information as soon as he was appointed on June 6, 1988. Instead, it took more than two years and 3,386
cases before Criminal Case No.16240 was filed against them on November 5, 1990. In other words,
petitioners argue that since the Resolution of the Ombudsman recommending the filing of the Information
was issued on October 30, 1987, then the Information should have been filed immediately thereafter,
considering that even before the promulgation of the Zaldivar case on April 27, 1988, thousands of
Informations had been filed.[13]

Petitioners' contention is without merit. Sppedsc


In Cojuangco Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,[14] this Court has held that the constitutional guarantee set forth in
Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,[15] of "(t)he right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the
right to speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious,
and oppressive delays." "x x x (T)he concept of speedy disposition of cases is a relative term and must
necessarily be a flexible concept. Hence, the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether that
right has been violated, the factors that may be considered and balanced are the length of delay, the
reason for such delay and the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice
caused by the delay."[16]
As pointed out by petitioners, the complaint was filed before the Tanobayan on August 25, 1986. On
October 30, 1987, a Resolution was issued finding a prima facie case against petitioners and
recommending the filing of an Information with the Sandiganbayan. However, it was only on November 5,
1990 when the Information was filed. Admittedly, it took three (3) years for the Ombudsman to file the
Information against petitioners from the date of the Resolution recommending the filing thereof.
In explaining the delay in the filing of the Information, however, the Office of the Solicitor General averred,
as follows:
It will be noted that the normal operations of the Office of the Special Prosecutor was
affected by the Decision of this Honorable Court in Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan and
Zaldivar v. Gonzalez, 160 SCRA 843 dated April 27, 1988, where it was ruled that the
incumbent Tanodbayan lost his right to conduct preliminary investigation and to direct the
filing of criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan effective February 2, 1987. As a result,
complaints (including that involved in the present petition), resolutions and other legal
papers awaiting action during that period remained pending the appointment of an
Ombudsman. Ca-lrsc
When the Ombudsman was appointed in 1988, it took some time still before his Office
could become fully constituted and operational. Because of the unavoidable delay
caused by the aforementioned circumstances, the corresponding Information in the
criminal case involve was filed and approved only in 1990.
Prescinding from the foregoing, this Court finds no violation of petitioners' right to a speedy disposition of
their case. The delay was not vexatious, capricious, nor oppressive, considering the factual milieu of this
case, namely the structural reorganizations and procedural changes brought about by frequent
amendments of procedural laws in the initial stages of this case. The complaint was filed on August 25,
1986. On October 30, 1987, the Ombudsman issued a Resolution finding a prima facie case and
recommending the filing of an Information. Meanwhile, on April 27, 1988, the Zaldivar case was
promulgated holding that the Tanodbayan lost his authority to conduct preliminary investigations and to
direct the filing of Informations with the Sandiganbayan effective February 2, 1987. Then on November 5,
1990, the Information against petitioners was filed. Misjuris
In the case Binay v. Sandiganbayan and Magsaysay v. Sandiganbayan,[17] this Court has held that:
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In
the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy disposition of cases,
particular regard must also be taken o the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case.

In Alvizo v. Sandiganbayan,[18] this Court has reiterated that it has taken judicial cognizance of the
frequent amendments of procedural laws by presidential decrees, the structural reorganizations in
existing prosecutorial agencies and the creation of new ones by executive fiat, resulting in changes of
personnel, preliminary jurisdiction, functions and powers of prosecuting agencies.
In addition, it is clearly apparent from the figures cited by petitioners that the Sandiganbayan was
burdened with a heavy caseload. Parenthetically, this Court has taken judicial cognizance of the fact that
the ever increasing caseload of courts has affected the speedy disposition of cases pending before the
Sandiganbayan.[19]Jjlex
While petitioners certainly have the right to a speedy disposition of their case, the structural
reorganization of the prosecutorial agencies, the procedural changes brought about by theZaldivar case
as well as the Sandiganbayan's heavy caseload certainly are valid reasons for the delay in the disposition
of petitioners' case. For those reasons, the delay certainly cannot be considered as vexatious, capricious
and oppressive. Neither is it unreasonable nor inordinate.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is DENIED and the two Orders dated
February 18, 1993 and March 8, 1993 of the Sandiganbayan's Second Division in Criminal Case No.
16240 are AFFIRMED. The Sandiganbayan is DIRECTED to proceed with dispatch in the disposition of
this case.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.