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KUIZON VS DESIERTO

Facts:
Appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the ROC assailing the Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan denying petitioners Motion to Quash.
A letter complaint was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao in behalf of the
Public Health Workers (PHWs) of Bansalan, Davao del Sure, charging the petitioners
with violation of Sec. 3e of RA 3019 for their alleged refusal to appropriate in the
municipal budget the amount representing payment of the mandatory statutory
obligations of the Municipality of Bansalan accruing to the complainant PHWs in the
nature of unpaid salary differential and magna carta benefits.
Respondent Ombudsman Aniano approved the Resolution of Graft Investigation Officer
II Coresis Jr. finding probable cause to indict petitioners of the crime alleged.
The information was subsequently filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reinvestigation, which was granted by the Sandiganbayan.
Special Prosecutor Montero recommended the dismissal of the case, which was
approved by Prosecution Bureau Director Tabanguil, Deputy Special Prosecutor Kallos
and Special Prosecutor Tamayo. However, Ombudsman Desierto disapproved the
recommendation.
Petitioners filed a motion to quash the information on the ff. grounds:
o The facts charged do not constitute an offense
o The accused are denied due process
o The accused are not accorded the equal protection of laws
The motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan. Hence, this petition.
Issues:
WoN the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners
motion to quash- NO.
o First, it must be emphasized that petitioners choice of remedy is erroneous. Rule
45 governs appeals from judgment or final orders. The resolution sought to be
set aside is not any sense judgment or a final order, but an interlocutory order,
since it leaves something more to be done by the Sandiganbayan, by way of
resolving the case on the merits.
o Even considering it as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, there is no grave
abuse of discretion in denying the motion to quash.
Pet: They were denied due process because Desierto disapproved the
recommendation of Special Prosecutor Montero by simply writing a oneline note. This deprived them of their right to be informed of the facts and
law on which said disapproval was based.
SC: The state of affairs, however, is that the Ombudsmans note stems
from his review of the findings of fact reached by the investigating
prosecutor. The Ombudsman, contrary to the investigating prosecutors
conclusion, was of the conviction that petitioners are probably guilty of
the offense charged, and for this, he is not required to conduct an
investigation anew. He is merely determining the propriety and
correctness of the recommendation by the investigating prosecutor.
Whatever course of action that the Ombudsman may take, whether to
approve or to disapprove the recommendation of the investigating
prosecutor, is but an exercise of his discretionary powers based upon
constitutional mandate. Generally, courts should not interfere in such
exercise. It is beyond the ambit of this Court to review the exercise of
discretion of the Ombudsman in prosecuting or dismissing a complaint
filed before it, save in cases where there is clear showing of grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the

Ombudsman which is absent in the case at hand. Such initiative and


independence are inherent in the Ombudsman who, beholden to no one,
acts as the champion of the people and preserver of the integrity of the
public service.
The fact that he merely wrote his recommendation in a one-line note is
not sufficient basis for the Court to attribute arbitrariness or caprice on
the part of respondent absent a showing of grave abuse of discretion
(Olivarez vs Sandiganbayan).
Pet: Their right to equal protection of the law was transgressed since the
respondent Ombudsman dismissed some cases similar to the case at
bar.
SC: The equal protection clause allows reasonable classification. The
circumstances obtaining in the case at bar were merely different from
those in the numerous cases previously dismissed by the Ombudsman.
Also, in case of conflict in the conclusions of the Ombudsman and the
special prosecutor, it is the formers decision that shall prevail since the
Office of the Special Prosecutor is under the supervision and control of
the Ombudsman.
Moreover, once a case has been filed in court, the court becomes the
best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. Since the
respondent court is convinced that there is adequate evidence against
petitioners, such conclusion shall not be disturbed absent a showing of
grave abuse of discretion.
The petitioners argument that they could not be indicted for the offense
as they acted in good faith is evidentiary in nature and a matter of
defense which could be raised in full-blown trial on the merits.

Ruling:
Petition dismissed for lack of merit.