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Narratives

Constitutional Law II
Michael Vernon Guerrero Mendiola 2005 Shared under Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAli e !"0 #hili$$ines license"

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)uterte vs" Sandi&anba*an +G% ,!0,-,. 2/ A$ril ,--01 2 , 'atad vs" Sandi&anba*an +G% L-/2!!5-!-. 2, March ,-001 2 2 Abardo vs" Sandi&anba*an +G% ,!-5/,-/2. 20 March 200,1 2 3 Lo$e4 vs" 5((ice o( the 5mbudsman +G% ,3052-. 6 Se$tember 200,1 2 6 Licaros vs" Sandi&anba*an +G% ,3505,. 22 November 200,1 2 0

This collection contains five (5) cases summarized in this format by Michael Vernon M. Guerrero (as a senior law student) during the First emester! school year "##5$"##% in the &olitical 'aw (eview class under )ean Mariano Magsalin *r. at the +rellano ,niversity chool of 'aw (+, '). -om.iled as &)F! e.tember "#/". 0erne Guerrero entered +, ' in *une "##" and eventually graduated from +, ' in "##%. 1e .assed the &hili..ine bar e2aminations immediately after (+.ril "##3).

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Narratives (Berne Guerrero)

349 Duterte vs. Sandiganbayan [GR 130191, 27 April 199 ! Third Division, Kapunan (J): 3 concur "a#ts$ In 1990, the Davao City Local Automation Project was launched by the city government o Davao! "he goal o said #roject was to ma$e Davao City a leading center or com#uter systems and technology develo#ment! It also aimed to #rovide consultancy and training services and to assist all local government units in %indanao set u# their res#ective com#uter systems! "o im#lement the #roject, a Com#uteri&ation Program Committee, com#osed o the ollowing was ormed' Atty! (enjamin C! de )u&man *City Administrator+ as Chairman, and %r! -orge .ilvosa *Acting City "reasurer+, Atty! /ictorino Advincula *City Councilor+, %r! Ale0is Almendras *City Councilor+, Atty! 1no re 2rancisco *City Legal 1 icer+, %r! 3u ino Ambrocio, -r! *Chie o Internal Control 1 ice+, and Atty! %ariano 4intanar *C1A 3esident Auditor+ as members! "he Committee recommended the ac5uisition o )oldstar com#uters manu actured by )oldstar In ormation and Communication, Ltd!, .outh 4orea and e0clusively distributed in the Phili##ines by .ystems Plus, Inc! *.PI+, the total contract cost amounting to P11,676,810!00! 1n 7 9ovember 1990, the City Council *.angguniang Panlungsod+ o Davao unanimously #assed 3esolution 1:0; and 1rdinance 1<= a##roving the #ro#osed contract or com#uteri&ation between Davao City and .PI! "he .anggunian, li$ewise, authori&ed the City %ayor *3odrigo 3! Duterte+ to sign the said contract or and in behal o Davao City! 1n the same day, the .anggunian issued 3esolution 1:0= and 1rdinance 1<:, the )eneral 2und .u##lemental (udget 0< or C> 1990 a##ro#riating P=,000,000!00 or the city?s com#uteri&ation #roject! .ometime in 2ebruary 1991, a com#laint *Civil Case ;0,770@91+, was instituted be ore the 3egional "rial Court o Davao City, (ranch 1; by Dean Pilar (raga, Aos#icio C! Conanan, -r! and 4orsung Dabaw 2oundation, Inc! against the Duterte, de )u&man, the City Council, various city o icials and .PI or the judicial declaration o nullity o the resolutions and ordinances and the com#uter contract e0ecuted #ursuant thereto with .PI! 1n ;; 2ebruary 1991, )oldstar, through its agent, %r! .!>! Lee sent a #ro#osal to Duterte or the cancellation o the com#uteri&ation contract! Conse5uently, on 8 A#ril 1991, the .anggunian issued 3esolution ::9 and 1rdinance 7= acce#ting )oldstar?s o er to cancel the com#uteri&ation contract #rovided the latter return the advance #ayment o P1,<:8,7;1!78 to the City "reasurer?s 1 ice within a #eriod o 1 month! 1n 6 %ay 1991, Duterte, in behal o Davao City, and .PI mutually rescinded the contract and the down#ayment was duly re unded! "he city government, intent on #ursuing its com#uteri&ation #lan, ollowing the recommendation o .#ecial Audit "eam o the Commission on Audit, sought the assistance o the 9ational Com#uter Center *9CC+! "he 9CC recommended the ac5uisition o Phili#s com#uters in the amount o P17,<9;,170!00! Davao City com#lied with the 9CC?s advice and hence, was inally able to obtain the needed com#uters! 1n 1 August 1991, the Anti@)ra t League@Davao City Cha#ter, through one %iguel C! Bnri5ue&, iled an unveri ied com#laint with the 1mbudsman@%indanao against Duterte and de )u&man, the City "reasurer, City Auditor, the whole city government o Davao and .PI, alleging that the latter, in entering into the com#uteri&ation contract, violated 3A =019 *Anti@)ra t and Corru#t Practices Act+, PD 1::7 *)overnment Auditing Code o the Phili##ines+, C1A circulars and regulations, the 3evised Penal Code and other #ertinent #enal laws *1%(@=@ 91@1<68+! 1n 1: 1ctober 1991, -udge Paul "! Arcangel, issued an 1rder dismissing Civil Case ;0,770@91! 1n 1; 9ovember 1991, )ra t Investigator %anri5ue& issued an order in 1%(@=@91@1<68 directing -orge .ilvosa *City "reasurer+, %ariano 4intanar *City Auditor+ and %anuel "! Asis o .PI to ile in 10 days their res#ective veri ied #oint@by@#oint comment under oath u#on every allegation o the com#laint in Civil Case ;0,770@91! 1n : December 1991, the 1mbudsman received the a idavits o the .#ecial Audit "eam but ailed to urnish Duterte, et! al! co#ies thereo ! 1n 18 2ebruary 199;, Duterte, et! al! submitted a mani estation ado#ting the comments iled by -orge .ilvosa and %ariano 4intanar dated ;7 9ovember 1991 and 1< -anuary 199;, res#ectively! 2our years a ter, or on ;; 2ebruary 1996, Duterte, et!al! received a co#y o a %emorandum #re#ared by .#ecial Prosecution 1 icer I, Lemuel %! De )u&man dated 8 2ebruary 1996 addressed to 1mbudsman Aniano A! Desierto regarding 1%(@%I9@90@0:;7 and 1%(@=@91@1<68! Instead o the charges o malversation, violation o .ec! =*e+, 3!A! 9o! =019 and Art! 1<<, 3evised Penal Code, Prosecutor De )u&man recommended that Duterte, et! al! be charged under .ec! =*g+ o 3A =019 C or having entered into a contract mani estly and grossly disadvantageous to the government, the elements o #ro it, unwarranted bene its or loss to government being immaterial!C Accordingly, Duterte, et! al! were charged be ore the
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.andiganbayan in an in ormation dated 8 2ebruary 1996 *Criminal Case ;=19=+! 1n ;< 2ebruary 1996, Duterte, et! al! iled a motion or reconsideration and on ;9 %arch 1996, a .u##lemental %otion or 3econsideration on the ground that, among others, C#etitioners were de#rived o their right to a #reliminary investigation, due #rocess and the s#eedy dis#osition o their case!C 1n 19 %arch 1996, the 1mbudsman issued a 3esolution denying Duterte, et! al!?s motion or reconsideration! 1n 18 -une 199<, Duterte, et! al! iled a %otion to Duash which was denied by the .andiganbayan in its 1rder dated ;< -une 199<! 1n 17 -uly 199<, Duterte, et! al! moved or reconsideration o the above order but the same was denied by the .andiganbayan or lac$ o merit in its 3esolution dated 7 August 199<! Duterte and de )u&man iled a s#ecial civil action or certiorari with #reliminary injunction with the .u#reme Court! %ssue$ Ehether there was unreasonable delay in the termination o the irregularly conducted #reliminary investigation! &eld$ Com#ounding the de#rivation o Duterte?s and de )u&man?s right to a #reliminary investigation was the undue and unreasonable delay in the termination o the irregularly conducted #reliminary investigation! "heir mani estation ado#ting the comments o their co@res#ondents was iled on 18 2ebruary 199;! Aowever, it was only on ;; 2ebruary 1996 or : years later, that they received a memorandum dated 8 2ebruary 1996 submitted by .#ecial Prosecutor 1 icer I Lemuel %! De )u&man recommending the iling o in ormation against them or violation o .ec! =*g+ o 3A =019 *Anti@)ra t and Corru#t Practices Act+! "he inordinate delay in the conduct o the C#reliminary investigationC in ringed u#on their constitutionally guaranteed right to a s#eedy dis#osition o their case! 2urther, the constitutional right to s#eedy dis#osition o cases does not come into #lay only when #olitical considerations are involved! "he Constitution ma$es no such distinction! Ehile #olitical motivation in "atad may have been a actor in the undue delay in the termination o the #reliminary investigation therein to justi y the invocation o their right to s#eedy dis#osition o cases, the #articular acts o each case must be ta$en into consideration in the grant o the relie sought! Duterte, et! al! herein could not have urged the s#eedy resolution o their case because they were com#letely unaware that the investigation against them was still on@going! Peculiar to this case is the act that Duterte, et! al! were merely as$ed to comment, and not ile counter@a idavits which is the #ro#er #rocedure to ollow in a #reliminary investigation! A ter giving their e0#lanation and a ter our long years o being in the dar$, they, naturally, had reason to assume that the charges against them had already been dismissed! 1n the other hand, the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman ailed to #resent any #lausible, s#ecial or even novel reason which could justi y the our@year delay in terminating its investigation! Its e0cuse or the delay F the many layers o review that the case had to undergo and the meticulous scrutiny it had to entail F has lost its novelty and is no longer a##ealing! "he incident herein does not involve com#licated actual and legal issues, s#ecially in view o the act that the subject com#uteri&ation contract had been mutually cancelled by the #arties thereto even be ore the Anti@ )ra t League iled its com#laint! "he 1 ice o the 1mbudsman ca#itali&es on Duterte, et! al!?s three motions or e0tension o time to ile comment which it im#uted or the delay! Aowever, the delay was not caused by the motions or e0tension! "he delay occurred a ter #etitioners iled their comment! (etween 199; to 1996, Duterte, et! al! were under no obligation to ma$e any move because there was no #reliminary investigation within the contem#lation o .ection :, 3ule II o A!1! 9o! 0< to s#ea$ o in the irst #lace! Aence, the #etition was granted! 3'0 (atad vs. Sandiganbayan [GR )*7233'*39, 21 +ar#, 19 ! En Banc, Yap (J): 14 concur "a#ts$ .ometime in 1ctober 19<:, Antonio de los 3eyes, ormer Aead B0ecutive Assistant o the then De#artment o Public In ormation *DPI+ and Assistant 1 icer@in@Charge o the (ureau o (roadcasts, iled a ormal re#ort with the Legal Panel, Presidential .ecurity Command *P.C+, charging 2rancisco .! "atad, who was then .ecretary and Aead o the De#artment o Public In ormation, with alleged violations o 3e#ublic Act =019, otherwise $nown as the Anti@)ra t and Corru#t Practices Act! A##arently, no action was ta$en on said re#ort! "hen, in 1ctober 19<9, or 7 years later, it became #ublicly $nown that "atad had submitted his
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resignation as %inister o Public In ormation, and ; months a ter, or on 1; December 19<9, Antonio de los 3eyes iled a com#laint with the "anodbayan *"(P Case 8007@16@0<+ against "atad, accusing him o gra t and corru#t #ractices in the conduct o his o ice as then .ecretary o Public In ormation! "he com#laint re#eated the charges embodied in the #revious re#ort iled by com#laint be ore the Legal Panel, Presidential .ecurity Command *P.C+! 1n ;6 -anuary 1980, the resignation o "atad was acce#ted by President 2erdinand B! %arcos! 1n 1 A#ril 1980, the "anodbayan re erred the com#laint o Antonio de los 3eyes to the Criminal Investigation .ervice *CI.+ or act@ inding investigation! 1n 16 -une 1980, 3oberto P! Di&on, CI. Investigator o the Investigation and Legal Panel, P.C, submitted his Investigation 3e#ort, with the ollowing conclusion, Cevidence gathered indicates that ormer %inister "atad had violated .ec! = *e+ and .ec! < o 3A =019, res#ectively! 1n the other hand, %r! Antonio L! Cantero is also liable under .ec! 7 o 3A =019,C and recommended a##ro#riate legal action on the matter! "atad moved to dismiss the com#laint against him, claiming immunity rom #rosecution by virtue o PD 1<91, but the motion was denied on ;6 -uly 198; and his motion or reconsideration was also denied on 7 1ctober 198;! 1n ;7 1ctober 198;, all a idavits and counter@a idavits were with the "anodbayan or inal dis#osition! 1n 7 -uly 1987, the "anodbayan a##roved a resolution, dated 1 A#ril 1987, #re#ared by .#ecial Prosecutor %arina (u&on, recommending that the in ormations be iled against "atad be ore the .andiganbayan, or *1+ violation o .ection =, #aragra#h *e+ o 3A =019 or giving D?)rou#, a #rivate cor#oration controlled by his brother@in@law, unwarranted bene its, advantage or #re erence in the discharge o his o icial unctions through mani est #artiality and evident bad aith, *;+ violation o .ection =, #aragra#h *b+ o 3!A! =019 or receiving a chec$ o P1;7,000!00 rom 3oberto /allar, PresidentG)eneral %anager o Amity "rading Cor#oration as consideration or the release o a chec$ o P788,000!00 to said cor#oration or #rinting services rendered or the Constitutional Convention 3e erendum in 19<=, and *=+ violation o .ection < o 3!A! =019 on three *=+ counts or his ailure to ile his .tatement o Assets and Liabilities or the calendar years 19<=, 19<6 and 19<8!C Accordingly, on 1; -une 1987, in ormations were iled with the .andiganbayan against "atad *Criminal cases 10:99 to 1070=+! 1n ;; -uly 1987, "atad iled with the .andiganbayan a consolidated motion to 5uash the in ormation on the ground that, among others, Cthe #rosecution de#rived accused@movant o due #rocess o law and o the right to a s#eedy dis#osition o the cases iled against him, amounting to loss o jurisdiction o ile the in ormations!C 1n ;6 -uly 1987, the "anodbayan iled its o##osition to #etitioner?s consolidated motion to 5uash! 1n August 9, 1987, the .andiganbayan rendered its resolution denying "atad?s motion to 5uash! 1n 10 August 1987, the "anodbayan iled an amended in ormation in Criminal Case 10700, changing the date o the commission o the o ense to =0 .e#tember 19<:! 1n =0 August 1987, "atad iled a consolidated motion or reconsideration which was denied by the .andiganbayan on 1< .e#tember 1987! 1n 16 1ctober 1987, "atad iled a #etition or certiorari and #rohibition, with #reliminary injunction, be ore the .u#reme Court! %ssue$ Ehether the long delay in teh termination o the #reliminary investigation by the "anodbayan violated tatadHs rights to due #rocess and s#eedy dis#osition o cases! &eld$ A #ainsta$ing review o the acts can not but leave the im#ression that #olitical motivations #layed a vital role in activating and #ro#elling the #rosecutorial #rocess in this case! 2irstly, the com#laint came to li e, as it were, only a ter #etitioner "atad had a alling out with President %arcos! .econdly, de#arting rom established #rocedures #rescribed by law or #reliminary investigation, which re5uire the submission o a idavits and counter@a idavits by the "anodbayan re erred the com#laint to the Presidential .ecurity Command or act@ inding investigation and re#ort! "he Court cannot em#hasi&e too strongly that #rosecutors should not allow, and should avoid, giving the im#ression that their noble o ice is being used or #rostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, or #olitical ends or other #ur#oses alien to, or subversive o , the basic and undamental objective o serving the interest o justice evenhandedly, without ear or avor to any and all litigants ali$e, whether rich or #oor, wea$ or strong, #owerless or mighty! 1nly by strict adherence to the established #rocedure may the #ublic?s #erce#tion o the im#artiality o the #rosecutor be enhanced! Coming into the main #oint, the long delay in the termination o the #reliminary investigation by the "anodbayan is violative o the constitutional right o the accused to due #rocess! .ubstantial adherence to the re5uirements o the law governing the conduct o #reliminary investigation, including substantial com#liance with the time
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limitation #rescribed by the law or the resolution o the case by the #rosecutor, is #art o the #rocedural due #rocess constitutionally guaranteed by the undamental law! 9ot only under the broad umbrella o the due #rocess clause, but under the constitutional guarantee o Cs#eedy dis#ositionC o cases as embodied in .ection 16 o the (ill o 3ights *both in the 19<= and 198< Constitution+, the inordinate delay is violative o "atad?s constitutional rights! A delay o close to = years can not be deemed reasonable or justi iable in the light o the circumstances obtaining in the #resent case! "he Court is not im#ressed by the attem#t o the .andiganbayan to saniti&e the long delay by indulging in the s#eculative assum#tion that Cthe delay may be due to a #ainsta$ing and grueling scrutiny by the "anodbayan as to whether the evidence #resented during the #reliminary investigation merited #rosecution o a ormer high@ran$ing government o icial!C In the irst #lace, such a statement suggests a double standard o treatment, which must be em#hatically rejected! .econdly, three out o the ive charges against "atad were or his alleged ailure to ile his sworn statement o assets and liabilities re5uired by 3A =019, which certainly did not involve com#licated legal and actual issues necessitating such C#ainsta$ing and grueling scrutinyC as would justi y a delay o almost three years in terminating the #reliminary investigation! "he other two charges relating to alleged bribery and alleged giving o unwarranted bene its to a relative, while #resenting more substantial legal and actual issues, certainly do not warrant or justi y the #eriod o three years, which it too$ the "anodbayan to resolve the case! A ter a care ul review o the acts and circumstances o the case, the Court was constrained to hold that the inordinate delay in terminating the #reliminary investigation and iling the in ormation in the instant case is violative o the constitutionally guaranteed right o "atad to due #rocess and to a s#eedy dis#osition o the cases against him! Accordingly, the in ormations in Criminal Cases 10:99, 10700, 10701, 1070; and 1070= should be dismissed! 3'1 Abard- vs. Sandiganbayan [GR 139'71*72, 2 +ar#, 2001! Third Division, Gonzaga- !"!s (J): 4 concur "a#ts$ 1n ;1 %ay 1991, the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman iled be ore the .andiganbayan two se#arate in ormations or alsi ication o #ublic documents *Criminal Cases 16<:: and 16<:7+ against 3oger 9! Abardo who was then the #rovincial assessor o Camarines .ur! "he in ormation in Criminal Case 16<::: charged Abardo and si0 others with alsi ying "a0 Declarations 008@1=, 008@1:, 008@17, 008@1<, 008@18, 008@ 19, 008@;0 and 008@;1 on or about 8 December 1988 by ma$ing it a##ear that #ro#erty consisting o 1,88< hectares had been declared in the name o the Inited Coconut Planters (an$ *ICP(+ since 1987 and that, having been reclassi ied to irst@class unirrigated land, the mar$et value thereo has increased to P16,008!00 #er hectare when in act said #ro#erty, which was ormerly classi ied as #asture land under "a0 Declarations =917 and =916 issued in the name o 3osita Alberto, had a mar$et value o only P1,7;:!00 #er hectare and was declared in the name o ICP( only in 1988! "he same #ro#erty was subse5uently trans erred by ICP( to .har# International %ar$eting *Phil!+ Inc! *.har#+ and the ta0 declarations issued in the name o .har# are the subject o Criminal Case 16<:77! In the latter case, Abardo and ive others were charged with alsi ying "a0 Declarations 008@;; to 008@;9 on or about 8 December 1988, by ma$ing it a##ear that the #ro#erty covered therein was trans erred rom ICP( to .har#, and by also increasing its a##raisal to irst@class unirrigated riceland when in truth and in act the same is cogonal and mountainous! At the scheduled arraignment on 8 -uly 1991, Abardo iled a %otion to Duash on the grounds that the acts charged in the in ormations do not constitute the crime o alsi ication o #ublic documents, that the in ormations contain averments which constitute a legal e0cuse or justi ication, and that the criminal o ense o alsi ication o #ublic documents cannot be validly iled against Abardo! In view o the #endency o the said motions, AbardoHs arraignment was #ost#oned until urther notice! 1n ;: -uly 1991, the 1 ice o the .#ecial Prosecutor iled an 1##osition to AbardoHs %otion to Duash! 1n = .e#tember 1991, the .andiganbayan issued a 3esolution denying the %otion to Duash or lac$ o merit! A motion to reconsider the said resolution was denied! Bventually, Abardo iled with the .u#reme Court a Petition or Certiorari and Prohibition see$ing to set aside the 3esolution issued by the .andiganbayan on = .e#tember 1991 denying his motion to 5uash! As a conse5uence, the arraignment scheduled or < 1ctober 1991 was reset to ;8 9ovember 1991, u#on motion o AbardoHs counsel! "herea ter, AbardoHs arraignment was reset several times u#on motion o his
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counsel and or the same reason! "herea ter, in an 1rder dated ;8 %ay 199;, Abardo?s arraignment was cancelled and reset to ;8 -uly 199;, in view o the reorgani&ation o the .andiganbayan! In a 3esolution dated 7 %arch 199;, the .u#reme Court dismissed the #etition, no grave abuse o discretion being im#utable to the .andiganbayan! .imilarly, the motion or reconsideration iled by Abardo was denied! 1n ;8 -uly 199;, Abardo was arraigned and #leaded not guilty to both cases! 1n even date, the .andiganbayan issued an 1rder setting the trial o Abardo Con the date o trial o his co@accused whose cases are being reinvestigated!C In a letter dated ;0 %arch 199< to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman, Abardo re5uested or the #ayment o his retirement bene its which had been withheld since his com#ulsory retirement in 199: due to the #endency o the subject criminal cases! "his letter was brought to the attention o the .andiganbayan in a letter dated ;; .e#tember 199<! In a 3esolution ado#ted on : 9ovember 199<, the .andiganbayan set or a con erence all the lawyers o the de ense and the #rosecution to see how these cases can move aster! 1n < -anuary 1998, co@accused .alvador P! Pejo iled a %otion or Leave to Partici#ate in the 3einvestigation o the Cases which was granted in an 1rder dated 9 -anuary 1998! In an 1rder dated ;< -anuary 1998, the .andiganbayan gave the #rosecution a #eriod o 60 days to conduct a thorough reinvestigation o Criminal Cases 16<=9 to 16<:9 involving all the accused therein and ordering it to submit its re#ort within the same #eriod containing its indings and recommendation together with the action ta$en by the 1mbudsman! 1n 1; August 1998, Abardo iled a %otion to Dismiss andGor %otion or 3einvestigation on the ground that Cthe ultimate #urchase by the Phili##ine government o the )architorena estate at the #rice o P==,000!00 has veritably rendered all the #ending criminal cases moot and academic!C 1n 1; 1ctober 1998, Abardo iled a .u##lemental %otion to Dismiss on the ground that the criminal cases should be dismissed to im#lement the #rovisions o 3A 8:9=, otherwise $nown as the .#eedy "rial Act o 1998, considering that the two #ending criminal cases against him have already e0ceeded the e0tended time limit under .ection < o .u#reme Court Circular =8@98!C 1n 1 December 1998, Abardo iled a %otion or Barly 3esolution to s#eed u# the early judgment and resolution o the cases! In a 3esolution dated 1 December 1998, the .andiganbayan denied or lac$ o merit AbardoHs two motions *%otion to Dismiss andGor %otion or 3einvestigation and the .u##lemental %otion to Dismiss+! Ais motion or reconsideration was li$ewise denied in a 3esolution dated 16 -uly 1999! Abardo iled a Petition or 3eview on Certiorari be ore the .u#reme Court! %ssue$ Ehether the .#eedy "rial Act should a##ly to dis#ose the cases, which remain #ending a ter a considerably #rolonged delay! &eld$ Inreasonable delay in the dis#osition o cases in judicial, 5uasi@judicial and administrative bodies is a serious #roblem besetting the administration o justice in the country! As one solution on the #roblem o delay in the dis#osition o criminal cases, 3e#ublic Act 8:9=, otherwise $nown as the C.#eedy "rial Act o 1998C, intended to ensure a s#eedy trial o all criminal cases be ore the .andiganbayan! 3egional "rial Court, %etro#olitan "rial Court and %unici#al Circuit "rial Court was #assed by the .enate and the Aouse o 3e#resentatives on : 2ebruary 1998 and = 2ebruary 1998, res#ectively! .u#reme Court Circular =8@98 which was #romulgated or the #ur#ose o im#lementing the #rovisions thereo too$ e ect on 17 .e#tember 1998! "he time limits #rovided by 3A 8:9= could not be a##lied to the #resent case as Abardo was arraigned way bac$ in ;8 -uly 199;! At that time, there was yet no statute which establishes deadlines or arraignment and trial, and the time limits or trial im#osed by 3A 8:9= are rec$oned rom the arraignment o the accused! 9evertheless, 3A 8:9= does not #reclude a##lication o the #rovision on s#eedy trial in the Constitution! Indeed, in determining whether AbardoHs right to a s#eedy trial has been violated, resort to .ection 16, Article III o the 198< Constitution is im#erative! It #rovides that CAll #ersons shall have the right to s#eedy dis#osition o their cases be ore all judicial, 5uasi@judicial, or administrative bodies!C "he Constitution mandates dis#atch not only in the trial stage, but also in the dis#osition thereo , warranting dismissals in cases o violations thereo without the ault o the #arty concerned, not only the accused! Aowever, the right o an accused to a s#eedy trial should not be utili&ed to de#rive the state o a reasonable o##ortunity o airly indicting criminals! Aerein, the records disclose that the two in ormations against #etitioner were iled almost
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a decade ago or way bac$ on ;1 %ay 1991! Ehat glares rom the records is that rom his arraignment on said date, there was an une0#lained interval or inactivity o close to ive years in the .andiganbayan! Conse5uently, on ;< %arch 199<, Abardo brought to the attention o the 1mbudsman the withholding o his retirement bene its and that no hearing o the case has yet been conducted! )ranting that the delay or interval was caused by the se#arate motions or reinvestigation iled by the di erent accused, again, there is no e0#lanation why the reinvestigation was unduly stretched beyond a reasonably #ermissible time rame! A##arently, the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman did not com#lete the reinvestigation during the ive@year interval! It is a##arent that the delay is not solely or even e5ually chargeable to #etitioner, but to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman where the conduct o the reinvestigation has languished or an unreasonable length o time! Clearly, the delay disregarded the 1mbudsmanHs duty, as mandated by the Constitution and 3A 6<<0, to en orce the criminal liability o government o icers or em#loyees in every case where the evidence warrants in order to #romote e icient service to the #eo#le! "he act that u# to this time no trial has been set, a##arently due to the inability o the 1mbudsman to com#lete the reinvestigation is a distressing indictment o the criminal justice system, #articularly its investigative and #rosecutory #illars! Aence, the Court grants the #etition and directed the .andiganbayan to dismiss Criminal Cases 16<:: and 16<:7! 3'2 )-pe. vs. /00i#e -0 t,e /1buds1an [GR 140'29, 2 Septe1ber 2001! Third Division, Gonzaga- !"!s (J): 4 concur "a#ts$ 1n =0 -une 1979, -ose P! Lo#e& -r! started wor$ing with the DBC. as a classroom teacher! "hrough hard wor$, e0em#lary #er ormance and continuous studies, he was #romoted and assigned to di erent #ositions such as .#ecial Bducation "eacher, Child and >outh .#ecialist, ;nd Lt!, =6 (attalion Combat "eam, Phili##ine Army *3eserved 2orce+, Asst! Director and concurrent Director, Child and >outh 3esearch Center *now a de unct o ice+, and inally, he was a##ointed as Administrative 1 icer /, DBC.@3egion JII, Cotabato City! Among Lo#e&? tas$s as Administrative 1 icer / is to determine whether certain e0#enses are necessary in the attainment o the objectives o the DBC.@3egion JII and to #ass u#on, review and evaluate documents and other su##orting #a#ers submitted to him in relation to his duties! (etween 199; and 199=, DBC.@3egion JII ordered several #ieces o laboratory e5ui#ment and a##arati re5uested by di erent school divisions o the region! "he concerned o icers o DBC.@3egion JII submitted to Lo#e& the documents covering the transactions! A ter care ul scrutiny o the documents submitted to him, Lo#e& a i0ed his signature on the disbursements vouchers that were accom#anied by Purchase 1rders, .ales Invoices, DeliveryG%emorandum 3ecei#ts and #roo that the transactions were #ost audited by the C1A 3esident Auditor who ound them in order! Disregarding the indings o the C1A 3esident Auditor @ DBC. 3egion JII, Cotabato City, who #ost audited the transactions and ound them in order, or reasons o his own, the C1A 3egional Director ormed a .#ecial Audit "eam to investigate and audit the transactions! Eithout see$ing the #resence o the concerned o icials and em#loyees o DBC. K 3egion JII, the C1A .#ecial Audit "eam conducted an audit o the transactions! 1n ;0 December 199=, the members o the C1A .#ecial Audit "eam submitted to the C1A 3egional Director@3egion JII, their -oint A idavit claiming alleged de iciencies in the transactions o DBC. K 3egion JII im#licating thereto Lo#e& and some concerned o icials and em#loyees o DBC.@3egion JII! Dis#ensing conducting an e0it con erence and inviting Lo#e& to clari y the allegations o the C1A .#ecial Audit "eam in their -oint A idavit@Com#laint, in #ost@haste the C1A 3egional Directors indorsed it to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao or #reliminary investigation *Case =@9=@;<<91, or 2alsi ication o Documents by Public 1 icers+! In her 1rder dated 1 %arch 199:, )ra t Investigation 1 icer *)I1+ %arie Dinah "olentino directed the #etitioner to submit a Counter@A idavit without in orming him o his constitutional right to counsel! 1n 1: A#ril 199:, without the assistance o counsel, Lo#e& wrote the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao re5uesting or an e0tension o 10 days rom 19 A#ril 199: to submit his Counter@A idavit! 1n 19 A#ril 199:, Atty! Bdgardo A! Camello, counsel or %a$il Pundaodaya and the other res#ondents in Case 1%(@=@9=@8<91 iled a %otion or B0tension o "ime to submit their Counter@A idavits! 1n ;; A#ril 199:, without the assistance o counsel, Lo#e& submitted to the 1 ice o 1mbudsman@%indanao his Counter@A idavit he #ersonally #re#ared denying s#eci ically each and every criminal act attributed to him by the Commission on Audit! Although Lo#e& did not submit any written
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statement authori&ing Atty! Camello to re#resent him in Case 1%( =@9=@8<91, the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@ %indanao erroneously assumed or deliberately made to a##ear that he was re#resented by said attorney! As a conse5uence thereo , the 1 ice o 1mbudsman@%indanao did not noti y him o the #rogress o the #reliminary investigation! %ore than : years a ter he submitted his Counter@A idavit, Lo#e& was sur#rised that, without #reliminary investigation and clari icatory 5uestion as$ed, on 1< -uly 1998, the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao terminated the #reliminary investigation recommending that he, together with the other res#ondents in Case 1%( =@9=@9<91, be #rosecuted or violation o .ec! =*e+ and *g+ o the Anti@)ra t and Corru#t Practices Act! Eithin the reglementary #eriod, without the assistance o counsel, Lo#e& sent a letter to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao dated 8 -une 1999 see$ing the reconsideration o the 3esolution in Case 1%( ==@9=@;<91 wherein he stressed that he was de#rived o due #rocess and that there was inordinate delay in the resolution o the #reliminary investigation, and there was no e0it con erence wherein he could have e0#lained to the )ra t Investigation 1 icer his e0cul#atory #artici#ation in the transactions investigated! In addition, he also submitted to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao a %otion or 3econsideration or 3einvestigation reiterating the allegations mentioned in his letter dated 8 -une 1999! In ortunately, said %otion or 3econsideration or 3einvestigation was not acted u#on by the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman@%indanao by giving the e0cuse that its 3esolution was already orwarded to 1mbudsman Aniano Desierto! Lo#e& iled a #etition or mandamus see$ing *1+ the dismissal o 1mbudsman Case 1%(@=@ 9=@;<9= *now Criminal Cases ;7;:<@;7;;6+, and *;+ the issuance o a clearance in his avor! %ssue$ Ehether the cases against Lo#e& should be dismissed in light o his constitutional right to s#eedy trial! &eld$ "he constitutional right to a Cs#eedy dis#osition o casesC is not limited to the accused in criminal #roceedings but e0tends to all #arties in all cases, including civil and administrative cases, and in all #roceedings, including judicial and 5uasi@judicial hearings! Aence, under the Constitution, any #arty to a case may demand e0#editious action on all o icials who are tas$ed with the administration o justice! Aowever, the right to a s#eedy dis#osition o a case, li$e the right to s#eedy trial, is deemed violated only when the #roceedings is attended by ve0atious, ca#ricious, and o##ressive delays, or when unjusti ied #ost#onements o the trial are as$ed or and secured, or even without cause or justi iable motive a long #eriod o time is allowed to ela#se without the #arty having his case tried! B5ually a##licable is the balancing test used to determine whether a de endant has been denied his right to a s#eedy trial, or a s#eedy dis#osition o a case or that matter, in which the conduct o both the #rosecution and the de endant is weighed, and such actors as the length o the delay, the reasons or such delay, the assertion or ailure to assert such right by the accused, and the #rejudice caused by the delay! "he conce#t o s#eedy dis#osition is a relative term and must necessarily be a le0ible conce#t! Aerein, the #reliminary investigation was resolved close to : years rom the time all the counter and re#ly a idavits were submitted to the 1 ice o the 1mbudsman! A ter the last re#ly@a idavit was iled on ;8 2ebruary 1997, it was only on 1< -uly 1998 that a resolution was issued recommending the iling o the corres#onding criminal in ormations against Lo#e& and the others! It too$ 8 months or on ;< 2ebruary 1999 or De#uty 1mbudsman %argarito P! )ervacio, -r! to a##rove the same and close to another year or on =0 A#ril 1999 or 1mbudsman Aniano Desierto to a##rove the recommendation! During this interval, no incidents #resented themselves or resolution and the delay could only be attributed to the inaction on the #art o the investigating o icials! Indeed, without cause or justi iable motive, a long #eriod o time was allowed to ela#se at the #reliminary investigation stage be ore the in ormations were iled! "he cases are not su iciently com#le0 to justi y the length o time or their resolution! 9either can the long delay in resolving the case under #reliminary investigation be justi ied on the basis o the number o in ormations iled be ore the .andiganbayan nor o the transactions involved! "he thirty in ormations consist o 16 counts o violations o .ection = *g+ o 3A =019 relative to the over#ricing and lac$ o #ublic bidding o laboratory a##aratus and school e5ui#ment, while the 1: counts are or violations o .ection = *e+ o the same law relative to the certi ication in the ins#ection re#orts that the subject items have already been delivered and received, when in act they have not yet been actually delivered and received, in order to acilitate #ayment to the su##liers! "here is no statement that voluminous documentary and testimonial evidence were involved! /erily, the delay disregarded the 1mbudsmanHs duty, as mandated by the Constitution and 3e#ublic Act 6<<0, to en orce the
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criminal liability o government o icers or em#loyees in every case where the evidence warrants in order to #romote e icient service to the #eo#le! "he ailure o said o ice to resolve the com#laints that have been #ending or almost our years is clearly violative o this mandate and the rights o #etitioner as a #ublic o icial! In such event, Lo#e& is entitled to the dismissal o the cases iled against him! 3'3 )i#ar-s vs. Sandiganbayan [GR 14' '1, 22 3-ve1ber 2001! En Banc, #angani$an (J): 14 concur "a#ts$ 1n 7 -une 198;, the Legas#i City (ranch o the Central (an$ was robbed and divested o cash in the amount o P19,<=1,=;0!00! In the evening o 6 -une 198;, %odesto Licaros *no relation to Abelardo (! Licaros+, one o the #rinci#al accused, together with our com#anions, delivered in sac$s a substantial #ortion o the stolen money to the Conce#cion (uilding in Intramuros, %anila where Aome .avings (an$ had its o ices, o which Abelardo Licaros was then /ice Chairman and "reasurer! "he delivery was made on re#resentation by %odesto Licaros to ormer Central (an$ )overnor )regorio Licaros, .r!, then Chairman o the (an$ and ather o Abelardo, that the money to be de#osited came rom some Chinese businessmen rom Iloilo who wanted the de#osit $e#t secret, that )overnor Licaros le t or the Inited .tates on ;8 %ay 198; or his #eriodic medical chec$@u#, so le t to his son, Abelardo, to attend to the #ro#osed de#osit! Abelardo attem#ted to re#ort the incident to )eneral 2abian /er but he could not get in touch with him because the latter was then out o the country! It was only the ollowing day, 9 -une 198;, when Abelardo was able to arrange a meeting with then Central (an$ )overnor -aime C! Laya, .enior De#uty )overnor )abriel .ingson, and Central (an$ Chie .ecurity 1 icer, 3ogelio 9avarete, to re#ort his sus#icion that the money being de#osited by %odesto Licaros may have been stolen money! Eith the re#ort or in ormation su##lied by Abelardo, then C( )overnor Laya called u# then 9(I Director -olly (ugarin and soon a ter the meeting, the 9(I, %etrocom and the C( security guards joined orces or the recovery o the money and the a##rehension o the #rinci#al accused! All the a oresaid Central (an$ o icials e0ecuted sworn statements and testi ied or Abelardo, #articularly C( )overnor -aime C! Laya, C( .enior De#uty )overnor )abriel .ingson and C( Director o the .ecurity and "rans#ort De#artment 3ogelio 9avarette, and were one in saying that it was the re#ort o Abelardo to the authorities that bro$e the case on 9 -une 198; and resulted in the recovery o the substantial #ortion o the stolen money and the arrest o all the #rinci#al accused! 1n 6 -uly 198;, a ter #reliminary investigation, the "anodbayan *now .#ecial Prosecutor+ iled an In ormation or robbery with the .andiganbayan *Criminal Case 66<;+ against two grou#s o accused' *a+ Princi#als' %odesto Licaros y Lacson *Private Individual+, Leo 2lores y %anlangit *C( .ecurity )uard+, 3amon Dolor y Ponce *C( Assistant 3egional Cashier+, )licerio (alansin y Blaur&a *C( .ecurity )uard+, 3olando Duejada y 3ede5uillo *Private Individual+, Pio Bdgardo 2lores y "orres *Private Individual+, %ario Lo#e& /ito y Dayungan *Private Individual+, and 3ogelio De la Cru& y (odegon *Private Individual+, and *b+ Accessory A ter the 2act' Abelardo (! Licaros */ice Chairman and "reasurer, Aome .avings (an$ and "rust Co! *A.("C+, Private Individual+! 1n ;6 9ovember 198;, the "anodbayan iled an Amended In ormation naming the same #ersons as #rinci#als, e0ce#t 3ogelio dela Cru& who is now charged as an accessory, together with Abelardo! De la Cru& died on 6 9ovember 198< as #er mani estation by his counsel dated and iled on 1< 9ovember 198<! 1n ;9 9ovember 198;, the accused were arraigned, including Abelardo, who inter#osed the #lea o not guilty! 1n < -anuary 198=, the "anodbayan iled with the .andiganbayan a C%otion or DischargeC o Abelardo to be utili&ed as a state witness which was granted in a 3esolution dated 11 2ebruary 198=! "he .u#reme Court, however, on #etition or certiorari iled by accused 2lores, %odesto Licaros and Lo#e& /ito, annulled the discharge because it ruled that the .andiganbayan should have de erred its resolution on the motion to discharge until a ter the #rosecution has #resented all its other evidence! At the close o its evidence, or on ;= -uly 198:, the #rosecution iled a second motion or discharge o Abelardo to be utili&ed as a state witness but the .andiganbayan in a 3esolution dated 1= .e#tember 198: denied the %otion stating in #art that the motion itsel does not urnish any cue or suggestion on what #etitioner will testi y in the event he is discharged and #laced on the stand as state witness! %eanwhile, as o
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8 %arch 198=, the #rosecution has #resented 10 witnesses! 9one o the witnesses, nor any o the #rinci#al accused who e0ecuted the sworn statements im#licated Abelardo to the crime o robbery directly or indirectly! 1n 1< .e#tember 198:, the #rosecution ormally o ered its documentary evidence! In a 3esolution dated 1 1ctober 198:, the .andiganbayan admitted the evidence covered by said ormal o er and the #rosecution was considered to have rested its case! 1n 1: -anuary 1986, Abelardo iled a %otion or .e#arate "rial contending that the #rosecution already closed its evidence and that his de ense is se#arate and distinct rom the other accused, he having been charged only as accessory! "he motion was granted in an 1rder dated 1< -anuary 1986! "herea ter, Abelardo commenced the #resentation o his evidence! 1n 8 August 1986, Abelardo iled his 2ormal 1 er o B0hibits! 1n 1: August 1986, Abelardo iled his %emorandum #raying that judgment be rendered ac5uitting him o the o ense charged! In a 3esolution dated ;6 August 1986, the .andiganbayan, through Presiding -ustice 2rancis B! )architorena *then newly a##ointed a ter the BD.A revolution+, admitted all the e0hibits covered by said 2ormal 1 er o B0hibits at the same time, ordering the #rosecution to ile its 3e#ly %emorandum, therea ter the case was deemed submitted or decision! 1n ;6 .e#tember 1986, the #rosecution iled its 3e#ly %emorandum! Abelardo also iled his 3e#ly %emorandum on ;9 .e#tember 1986 #raying that judgment be rendered ac5uitting him o the o ense charged! In a 3esolution dated 8 1ctober 1986 co#y o which was received by Abelardo on 17 1ctober 1986, the .andiganbayan de erred the decision o the case regarding Abelardo until a ter the submission o the case or decision with res#ect to the other accused! Abelardo iled his %otion or 3econsideration on 16 1ctober 1986, but the .andiganbayan in a 3esolution dated 16 December 1986 and #romulgated on 6 -anuary 198< denied the same! "he case was submitted or decision on ;0 -une 1990! %ore than 10 years a ter the case was submitted or decision, the .andiganbayan has not rendered the Decision! 1n 17 August ;000, Abelardo iled his %otion to 3esolve! "his was ollowed by 3eiterative %otion or Barly 3esolution iled on ;1 .e#tember ;000! Abelardo iled a #etition or mandamus with the .u#reme Court %ssue$ Ehether the dismissal o AbelardoHs case is warranted by the guarantee on s#eedy trial or s#eedy dis#osition o the case! &eld$ Inder .ection 6 o PD 1606 amending PD 1:86, the .andiganbayan has only 90 days to decide a case rom the time it is deemed submitted or decision! Considering that the subject criminal case was submitted or decision as early as ;0 -une 1990, it is obvious that the .andiganbayan has ailed to decide the case within the #eriod #rescribed by law! Bven i the Court was to consider the #eriod #rovided under .ection 17*1+, Article III o the 198< Constitution, which is 1; months rom the submission o the case or decision, the .andiganbayan would still have miserably ailed to #er orm its mandated duty to render a decision on the case within the #eriod #rescribed by law! Clearly then, the decision in this case is long overdue, and the #eriod to decide the case under the law has long e0#ired! Bven more im#ortant than the above #eriods within which the decision should have been rendered is the right against an unreasonable delay in the dis#osition o one?s case be ore any judicial, 5uasi@judicial or administrative body! "his constitutionally guaranteed right inds greater signi icance in a criminal case be ore a court o justice, where any delay in dis#osition may result in a denial o justice or the accused altogether! Indeed, the a#horism Cjustice delayed is justice deniedC is by no means a trivial or meaningless conce#t that can be ta$en or granted by those who are tas$ed with the dis#ensation o justice! Indubitably, there has been a transgression o Abelardo?s right to a s#eedy dis#osition o his case due to inaction on the #art o the .andiganbayan! 9either that court nor the s#ecial #rosecutor contradicted his allegation o a ten@year delay in the dis#osition o his case! "he s#ecial #rosecutor in its Comment9 even o#enly admitted the date when the case had been deemed submitted or decision *i!e! ;0 -une 1990+, as well as .andiganbayan?s ailure to act on it des#ite Abelardo?s several %otions to resolve the case! It has been held that a breach o the right o the accused to the s#eedy dis#osition o a case may have conse5uential e ects, but it is not enough that there be some #rocrastination in the #roceedings! In order to justi y the dismissal o a criminal case, it must be established that the #roceedings have un5uestionably been marred by ve0atious, ca#ricious and o##ressive delays! Aerein, the ailure o the .andiganbayan to decide the case even a ter the la#se o more than 10 years a ter it was submitted or decision involves more than just a mere #rocrastination in the #roceedings! 2rom the e0#lanation given by the .andiganbayan, it a##ears that the case was $e#t in idle
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slumber, allegedly due to reorgani&ations in the divisions and the lac$ o logistics and acilities or case records! Aad it not been or the iling o the Petition or %andamus, Abelardo would not have seen any develo#ment in his case, much less the eventual dis#osition thereo ! "he case remains unresolved u# to now, with only the .andiganbayan?s assurance that at this time Cwor$ is being done on the case or the #re#aration and inali&ation o the decision!C Aence, the dismissal o the criminal case against Abelardo or violation o his right to a s#eedy dis#osition o his case is justi ied by the ollowing circumstances' *1+ the 10@year delay in the resolution o the case is inordinately long, *;+ Abelardo has su ered ve0ation and o##ression by reason o this long delay, *=+ he did not slee# on his right and has in act consistently asserted it, *:+ he has not contributed in any manner to the long delay in the resolution o his case, *7+ he did not em#loy any #rocedural dilatory strategies during the trial or raised on a##eal or certiorari any issue to delay the case, *6+ the .andiganbayan did not give any valid reason to justi y the inordinate delay and even admitted that the case was one o those that got CburiedC during its reorgani&ation, and *<+ Abelardo was merely charged as an accessory a ter the act! 2or too long, Abelardo has su ered in agoni&ing antici#ation while awaiting the ultimate resolution o his case! "he inordinate and unreasonable delay is com#letely attributable to the .andiganbayan! 9o ault whatsoever can be ascribed to Abelardo or his lawyer! It is now time to en orce his constitutional right to s#eedy dis#osition and to grant him s#eedy justice!

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