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THIRD DIVISION HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, Petitioner, G.R. No. 162059 Present: YNARESSANTIAGO, J.

, - versus Chairperson, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, CORONA,* NACHURA, and REYES, JJ.

SANDIGANBAYAN and Promulgated: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. January 22, 2008 x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION

REYES, R.T., J.: CAN the Sandiganbayan try a government scholar** accused, along with her brother, of swindling government funds? MAAARI bang litisin ng Sandiganbayan ang isang iskolar ng bayan, at ang kanyang kapatid, na kapwa pinararatangan ng estafa ng pera ng bayan? The jurisdictional question is posed in this petition for certiorari assailing the Resolutions[1] of the Sandiganbayan, Fifth Division, denying petitioners motion to quash the information and her motion for reconsideration. The Antecedents

Petitioner Hannah Eunice D. Serana was a senior student of the University of the Philippines-Cebu. A student of a state university is known as a government scholar. She was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada on December 21, 1999 as a student regent of UP, to serve a one-year term starting January 1, 2000 and ending on December 31, 2000. In the early part of 2000, petitioner discussed with President Estrada the renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex in UP Diliman.[2] On September 4, 2000, petitioner, with her siblings and relatives, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission the Office of the Student Regent Foundation, Inc. (OSRFI).[3] One of the projects of the OSRFI was the renovation of the Vinzons Hall Annex.[4] President Estrada gave Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00) to the OSRFI as financial assistance for the proposed renovation. The source of the funds, according to the information, was the Office of the President. The renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize.[5] The succeeding student regent, Kristine Clare Bugayong, and Christine Jill De Guzman, Secretary General of the KASAMA sa U.P., a system-wide alliance of student councils within the state university, consequently filed a complaint for Malversation of Public Funds and Property with the Office of the Ombudsman.[6] On July 3, 2003, the Ombudsman, after due investigation, found probable cause to indict petitioner and her brother Jade Ian D. Serana for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 27819 of the Sandiganbayan.[7] The Information reads:
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III, Office of the Special Prosecutor, hereby accuses HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA and JADE IAN D. SERANA of the crime of Estafa, defined and penalized under Paragraph

2(a), Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended committed as follows: That on October, 24, 2000, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, a high-ranking public officer, being then the Student Regent of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, while in the performance of her official functions, committing the offense in relation to her office and taking advantage of her position, with intent to gain, conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government by falsely and fraudulently representing to former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada that the renovation of the Vinzons Hall of the University of the Philippines will be renovated and renamed as President Joseph Ejercito Estrada Student Hall, and for which purpose accused HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA requested the amount of FIFTEEN MILLION PESOS (P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the latter relying and believing on said false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said accused Land Bank Check No. 91353 dated October 24, 2000 in the amount of FIFTEEN MILLION PESOS (P15,000,000.00), which check was subsequently encashed by accused Jade Ian D. Serana on October 25, 2000 and misappropriated for their personal use and benefit, and despite repeated demands made upon the accused for them to return aforesaid amount, the said accused failed and refused to do so to the damage and prejudice of the government in the aforesaid amount. CONTRARY TO LAW. (Underscoring supplied)

Petitioner moved to quash the information. She claimed that the Sandiganbayan does not have any jurisdiction over the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP student regent.

Petitioner claimed that Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended by R.A. No. 8249, enumerates the crimes or offenses over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction.[8] It has no jurisdiction over the crime of estafa.[9] It only has jurisdiction over crimes covered by Title VII, Chapter II, Section 2 (Crimes Committed by Public Officers), Book II of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Estafa falling under Title X, Chapter VI (Crimes Against Property), Book II of the RPC is not within the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction. She also argued that it was President Estrada, not the government, that was duped. Even assuming that she received the P15,000,000.00, that amount came from Estrada, not from the coffers of the government.[10] Petitioner likewise posited that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over her person. As a student regent, she was not a public officer since she merely represented her peers, in contrast to the other regents who held their positions in an ex officio capacity. She added that she was a simple student and did not receive any salary as a student regent. She further contended that she had no power or authority to receive monies or funds. Such power was vested with the Board of Regents (BOR) as a whole. Since it was not alleged in the information that it was among her functions or duties to receive funds, or that the crime was committed in connection with her official functions, the same is beyond the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan citing the case of Soller v. Sandiganbayan.[11] The Ombudsman opposed the motion.[12] It disputed petitioners interpretation of the law. Section 4(b) of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606 clearly contains the catch-all phrasein relation to office, thus, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the charges against petitioner. In the same breath, the prosecution

countered that the source of the money is a matter of defense. It should be threshed out during a full-blown trial.[13] According to the Ombudsman, petitioner, despite her protestations, was a public officer. As a member of the BOR, she had the general powers of administration and exercised the corporate powers of UP. Based on Mechems definition of a public office, petitioners stance that she was not compensated, hence, not a public officer, is erroneous. Compensation is not an essential part of public office. Parenthetically, compensation has been interpreted to include allowances. By this definition, petitioner was compensated.[14] Sandiganbayan Disposition In a Resolution dated November 14, 2003, the [15] Sandiganbayan denied petitioners motion for lack of merit. It ratiocinated:
The focal point in controversy is the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over this case. It is extremely erroneous to hold that only criminal offenses covered by Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code are within the jurisdiction of this Court. As correctly pointed out by the prosecution, Section 4(b) of R.A. 8249 provides that the Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction over other offenses committed by public officials and employees in relation to their office. From this provision, there is no single doubt that this Court has jurisdiction over the offense of estafa committed by a public official in relation to his office. Accused-movants claim that being merely a member in representation of the student body, she was never a public officer since she never received any compensation nor does she fall under Salary Grade 27, is

of no moment, in view of the express provision of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8249 which provides: Sec. 4. Jurisdiction The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: (A) x x x (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: xxxx (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. (Italics supplied) It is very clear from the aforequoted provision that the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses involving the officials enumerated in subsection (g), irrespective of their salary grades,because the primordial consideration in the inclusion of these officials is the nature of their responsibilities and functions. Is accused-movant included in the contemplated provision of law? A meticulous review of the existing Charter of the University of the Philippines reveals that the Board of Regents, to which accused-movant belongs, exclusively exercises the general powers of administration and corporate powers in the university, such as: 1) To receive and appropriate to the ends specified by law such sums as may be provided by law for the support of the university; 2) To prescribe rules for its own government and to enact for

the government of the university such general ordinances and regulations, not contrary to law, as are consistent with the purposes of the university; and 3) To appoint, on recommendation of the President of the University, professors, instructors, lecturers and other employees of the University; to fix their compensation, hours of service, and such other duties and conditions as it may deem proper; to grant to them in its discretion leave of absence under such regulations as it may promulgate, any other provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, and to remove them for cause after an investigation and hearing shall have been had. It is well-established in corporation law that the corporation can act only through its board of directors, or board of trustees in the case of non-stock corporations. The board of directors or trustees, therefore, is the governing body of the corporation. It is unmistakably evident that the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines is performing functions similar to those of the Board of Trustees of a nonstock corporation. This draws to fore the conclusion that being a member of such board, accused-movant undoubtedly falls within the category of public officials upon whom this Court is vested with original exclusive jurisdiction, regardless of the fact that she does not occupy a position classified as Salary Grade 27 or higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. Finally, this court finds that accused-movants contention that the same of P15 Million was received from former President Estrada and not from the coffers of the government, is a matter a defense that should be properly ventilated during the trial on the merits of this case.[16]

On November 19, 2003, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration.[17] The motion was denied with finality in a Resolution dated February 4, 2004.[18]

Issue Petitioner is now before this Court, contending that THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION AND DISMISING THE CASE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IS HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.[19] In her discussion, she reiterates her four-fold argument below, namely: (a) the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over estafa; (b) petitioner is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27 and she paid her tuition fees; (c) the offense charged was not committed in relation to her office; (d) the funds in question personally came from President Estrada, not from the government. Our Ruling The petition cannot be granted. Preliminarily, the denial of a motion to quash is not correctible by certiorari. We would ordinarily dismiss this petition for certiorari outright on procedural grounds. Well-established is the rule that when a motion to quash in a criminal case is denied, the remedy is not a petition for certiorari, but for petitioners to go to trial, without prejudice to reiterating the special defenses invoked in their motion to quash.[20] Remedial measures as regards interlocutory orders, such as a motion to quash, are frowned upon and often dismissed.[21] The evident reason for this rule is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action.[22] In Newsweek, Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,[23] the Court clearly explained and illustrated the rule and the exceptions, thus:

As a general rule, an order denying a motion to dismiss is merely interlocutory and cannot be subject of appeal until final judgment or order is rendered. (Sec. 2 of Rule 41). The ordinary procedure to be followed in such a case is to file an answer, go to trial and if the decision is adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final judgment. The same rule applies to an order denying a motion to quash, except that instead of filing an answer a plea is entered and no appeal lies from a judgment of acquittal. This general rule is subject to certain exceptions. If the court, in denying the motion to dismiss or motion to quash, acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, then certiorari or prohibition lies. The reason is that it would be unfair to require the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense, or is not the court of proper venue, or if the denial of the motion to dismiss or motion to quash is made with grave abuse of discretion or a whimsical and capricious exercise of judgment. In such cases, the ordinary remedy of appeal cannot be plain and adequate. The following are a few examples of the exceptions to the general rule. In De Jesus v. Garcia (19 SCRA 554), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and prohibition against the City Court of Manila and directed the respondent court to dismiss the case. In Lopez v. City Judge (18 SCRA 616), upon the denial of a motion to quash based on lack of jurisdiction over the offense, this Court granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent court from further proceeding in the case.

In Enriquez v. Macadaeg (84 Phil. 674), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on improper venue, this Court granted the petition for prohibition and enjoined the respondent judge from taking cognizance of the case except to dismiss the same. In Manalo v. Mariano (69 SCRA 80), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on bar by prior judgment, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and directed the respondent judge to dismiss the case. In Yuviengco v. Dacuycuy (105 SCRA 668), upon the denial of a motion to dismiss based on the Statute of Frauds, this Court granted the petition for certiorari and dismissed the amended complaint. In Tacas v. Cariaso (72 SCRA 527), this Court granted the petition for certiorari after the motion to quash based on double jeopardy was denied by respondent judge and ordered him to desist from further action in the criminal case except to dismiss the same. In People v. Ramos (83 SCRA 11), the order denying the motion to quash based on prescription was set aside on certiorari and the criminal case was dismissed by this Court.[24] We do not find the Sandiganbayan to have committed a grave abuse of discretion.

The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is set by P.D. No. 1606, as amended, not by R.A. No. 3019, as amended. We first address petitioners contention that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is determined by Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended). We note that petitioner refers to Section 4 of the said law yet quotes Section

4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, in her motion to quash before the Sandiganbayan.[25] She repeats the reference in the instant petition for certiorari[26] and in her memorandum of authorities.[27]

We cannot bring ourselves to write this off as a mere clerical or typographical error. It bears stressing that petitioner repeated this claim twice despite corrections made by the Sandiganbayan.[28] Her claim has no basis in law. It is P.D. No. 1606, as amended, rather than R.A. No. 3019, as amended, that determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. A brief legislative history of the statute creating the Sandiganbayan is in order. The Sandiganbayan was created by P.D. No. 1486, promulgated by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 11, 1978. It was promulgated to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of public officers and employees, based on the concept that public officers and employees shall serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times accountable to the people.[29] P.D. No. 1486 was, in turn, amended by P.D. No. 1606 which was promulgated on December 10, 1978. P.D. No. 1606 expanded the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.[30] P.D. No. 1606 was later amended by P.D. No. 1861 on March 23, 1983, further altering the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction. R.A. No. 7975 approved on March 30, 1995 made succeeding amendments to P.D. No. 1606, which was again amended on February 5, 1997 by R.A. No. 8249. Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249 further modified the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. As it now stands, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the following:

Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: A. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, other 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 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 989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including: (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads; (b) City mayor, 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 superintended 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 Commission, 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 of 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 their office. C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, 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 officer mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional 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. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or order of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and over petitions of similar nature, including quo warranto, arising or that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court. The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated and may thereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986. In case private individuals are charged as coprincipals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.

Any provisions of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall, at all times, be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing such civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned.

Upon the other hand, R.A. No. 3019 is a penal statute approved on August 17, 1960. The said law represses certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.[31] Pursuant to Section 10 of R.A. No. 3019, all prosecutions for violation of the said law should be filed with the Sandiganbayan.[32] R.A. No. 3019 does not contain an enumeration of the cases over which the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. In fact, Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019 erroneously cited by petitioner, deals not with the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but with prohibition on private individuals. We quote:
Section 4. Prohibition on private individuals. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person having family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift or material or pecuniary advantage from any

other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government, in which such public official has to intervene. Family relation shall include the spouse or relatives by consanguinity or affinity in the third civil degree. The word close personal relation shall include close personal friendship, social and fraternal connections, and professional employment all giving rise to intimacy which assures free access to such public officer. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to induce or cause any public official to commit any of the offenses defined in Section 3 hereof.

In fine, the two statutes differ in that P.D. No. 1606, as amended, defines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan while R.A. No. 3019, as amended, defines graft and corrupt practices and provides for their penalties. Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the offense of estafa. Relying on Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, petitioner contends that estafa is not among those crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. We note that in hoisting this argument, petitioner isolated the first paragraph of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, without regard to the succeeding paragraphs of the said provision. The rule is well-established in this jurisdiction that statutes should receive a sensible construction so as to avoid an unjust or an absurd conclusion.[33] Interpretatio talis in ambiguis semper fienda est, ut evitetur inconveniens et absurdum. Where there is ambiguity, such interpretation as will avoid inconvenience and absurdity is to be adopted. Kung saan mayroong kalabuan, ang pagpapaliwanag ay hindi dapat maging mahirap at katawa-tawa.

Every section, provision or clause of the statute must be expounded by reference to each other in order to arrive at the effect contemplated by the legislature.[34] The intention of the legislator must be ascertained from the whole text of the law and every part of the act is to be taken into view.[35] In other words, petitioners interpretation lies in direct opposition to the rule that a statute must be interpreted as a whole under the principle that the best interpreter of a statute is the statute itself.[36] Optima statuti interpretatrix est ipsum statutum. Ang isang batas ay marapat na bigyan ng kahulugan sa kanyang kabuuan sa ilalim ng prinsipyo na ang pinakamainam na interpretasyon ay ang mismong batas. Section 4(B) of P.D. No. 1606 reads:
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 their office.

Evidently, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over other felonies committed by public officials in relation to their office. We see no plausible or sensible reason to exclude estafa as one of the offenses included in Section 4(B) of P.D. No. 1606. Plainly, estafa is one of those other felonies. The jurisdiction is simply subject to the twin requirements that (a) the offense is committed by public officials and employees mentioned in Section 4(A) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, and that (b) the offense is committed in relation to their office. In Perlas, Jr. v. People,[37] the Court had occasion to explain that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over an indictment for estafa versus a director of the National Parks Development Committee, a government instrumentality. The Court held then:

The National Parks Development Committee was created originally as an Executive Committee on January 14, 1963, for the development of the Quezon Memorial, Luneta and other national parks (Executive Order No. 30). It was later designated as the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) on February 7, 1974 (E.O. No. 69). On January 9, 1966, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos and Teodoro F. Valencia were designated Chairman and ViceChairman respectively (E.O. No. 3). Despite an attempt to transfer it to the Bureau of Forest Development, Department of Natural Resources, on December 1, 1975 (Letter of Implementation No. 39, issued pursuant to PD No. 830, dated November 27, 1975), the NPDC has remained under the Office of the President (E.O. No. 709, dated July 27, 1981). Since 1977 to 1981, the annual appropriations decrees listed NPDC as a regular government agency under the Office of the President and allotments for its maintenance and operating expenses were issued direct to NPDC (Exh. 10-A, Perlas, Item Nos. 2, 3).

The Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over estafa was reiterated with greater firmness in Bondoc v. Sandiganbayan.[38] Pertinent parts of the Courts ruling in Bondoc read:
Furthermore, it is not legally possible to transfer Bondocs cases to the Regional Trial Court, for the simple reason that the latter would not have jurisdiction over the offenses. As already above intimated, the inability of the Sandiganbayan to hold a joint trial of Bondocs cases and those of the government employees separately charged for the same crimes, has not altered the nature of the offenses charged, as estafa thru falsification punishable by penalties higher than prision correccional or imprisonment of six years, or a fine of P6,000.00, committed by government employees in conspiracy with private persons, including Bondoc. These crimes are within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. They simply cannot be taken cognizance of by the regular courts, apart

from the fact that even if the cases could be so transferred, a joint trial would nonetheless not be possible.

Petitioner UP student regent is a public officer. Petitioner also contends that she is not a public officer. She does not receive any salary or remuneration as a UP student regent. This is not the first or likely the last time that We will be called upon to define a public officer. In Khan, Jr. v. Office of the Ombudsman, We ruled that it is difficult to pin down the definition of a public officer.[39] The 1987 Constitution does not define who are public officers. Rather, the varied definitions and concepts are found in different statutes and jurisprudence. In Aparri v. Court of Appeals,[40] the Court held that:
A public office is the right, authority, and duty created and conferred by law, by which for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercise by him for the benefit of the public ([Mechem Public Offices and Officers,] Sec. 1). The right to hold a public office under our political system is therefore not a natural right. It exists, when it exists at all only because and by virtue of some law expressly or impliedly creating and conferring it (Mechem Ibid., Sec. 64). There is no such thing as a vested interest or an estate in an office, or even an absolute right to hold office. Excepting constitutional offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary (42 Am. Jur. 881).

In Laurel v. Desierto,[41] the Court adopted the definition of Mechem of a public office:

A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested is a public officer.[42]

Petitioner claims that she is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27; she is, in fact, a regular tuition fee-paying student. This is likewise bereft of merit. It is not only the salary grade that determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan also has jurisdiction over other officers enumerated in P.D. No. 1606. In Geduspan v. People,[43] We held that while the first part of Section 4(A) covers only officials with Salary Grade 27 and higher, its second part specifically includ es other executive officials whose positions may not be of Salary Grade 27 and higher but who are by express provision of law placed under the jurisdiction of the said court. Petitioner falls under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as she is placed there by express provision of law.[44] Section 4(A)(1)(g) of P.D. No. 1606 explictly vested the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations. Petitioner falls under this category. As the Sandiganbayan pointed out, the BOR performs functions similar to those of a board of trustees of a non-stock corporation.[45] By express mandate of law, petitioner is, indeed, a public officer as contemplated by P.D. No. 1606.

Moreover, it is well established that compensation is not an essential element of public office.[46] At most, it is merely incidental to the public office.[47] Delegation of sovereign functions is essential in the public office. An investment in an individual of some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public makes one a public officer.[48] The administration of the UP is a sovereign function in line with Article XIV of the Constitution. UP performs a legitimate governmental function by providing advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences, and arts, and giving professional and technical training.[49] Moreover, UP is maintained by the Government and it declares no dividends and is not a corporation created for profit.[50] The offense charged was committed in relation to public office, according to the Information. Petitioner likewise argues that even assuming that she is a public officer, the Sandiganbayan would still not have jurisdiction over the offense because it was not committed in relation to her office. According to petitioner, she had no power or authority to act without the approval of the BOR. She adds there was no Board Resolution issued by the BOR authorizing her to contract with then President Estrada; and that her acts were not ratified by the governing body of the state university. Resultantly, her act was done in a private capacity and not in relation to public office. It is axiomatic that jurisdiction is determined by the averments in the information.[51] More than that, jurisdiction is not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by defendant or

respondent in an answer, a motion to dismiss, or a motion to quash.[52] Otherwise, jurisdiction would become dependent almost entirely upon the whims of defendant or respondent.[53] In the case at bench, the information alleged, in no uncertain terms that petitioner, being then a student regent of U.P., while in the performance of her official functions, committing the offense in relation to her office and taking advantage of her position, with intent to gain, conspiring with her brother, JADE IAN D. SERANA, a private individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the government x x x. (Underscoring supplied) Clearly, there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it did not quash the information based on this ground. Source of funds is a defense that should be raised during trial on the merits. It is contended anew that the amount came from President Estradas private funds and not from the government coffers. Petitioner insists the charge has no leg to stand on. We cannot agree. The information alleges that the funds came from the Office of the President and not its then occupant, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Under the information, it is averred that petitioner requested the amount of Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, from the Office of the President, and the latter relying and believing on said false pretenses and misrepresentation gave and delivered to said accused Land Bank Check No. 91353 dated October 24, 2000 in the amount of Fifteen Million Pesos (P15,000,000.00). Again, the Court sustains the Sandiganbayan observation that the source of the P15,000,000 is a matter of defense that

should be ventilated during the trial on the merits of the instant case.[54] A lawyer owes candor, fairness and honesty to the Court. As a parting note, petitioners counsel, Renato G. dela Cruz, misrepresented his reference to Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 as a quotation from Section 4 of R.A. No. 3019. A review of his motion to quash, the instant petition for certiorari and his memorandum, unveils the misquotation. We urge petitioners counsel to observe Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 10.02 of the Rules stating that a lawyer shall not misquote or misrepresent. The Court stressed the importance of this rule in Pangan v. Ramos,[55] where Atty Dionisio D. Ramos used the name Pedro D.D. Ramos in connection with a criminal case. The Court ruled that Atty. Ramos resorted to deception by using a name different from that with which he was authorized. We severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned that a repetition may warrant suspension or disbarment.[56] We admonish petitioners counsel to be more careful and accurate in his citation. A lawyers conduct before the court should be characterized by candor and fairness.[57] The administration of justice would gravely suffer if lawyers do not act with complete candor and honesty before the courts.[58] WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 172602 April 13, 2007

HENRY T. GO, Petitioner, vs. THE FIFTH DIVISION, SANDIGANBAYAN and THE OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.

DECISION CALLEJO, SR., J.: Before the Court is the petition for certiorari under Rules 65 of the Rules of Court filed by Henry T. Go seeking to nullify the Resolution dated December 6, 2005 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 28092, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Vicente C. Rivera, Jr. and Henry T. Go, which denied his motion to quash. Likewise sought to be nullified is the Sandiganbayan Resolution of March 24, 2006 denying petitioner Gos motion for reconsideration. The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as follows: On May 5, 2003, this Court rendered the Decision in Agan, Jr. v. Philippine International Air Terminals Co., Inc. (PIATCO),1 declaring as null and void the 1997 Concession Agreement, the Amended and Restated Concession Agreement (ARCA), and the Supplemental Contracts entered into between the Government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), and PIATCO. By the aforementioned contracts (collectively known as the PIATCO contracts), the Government awarded in favor of PIATCO the project for the development of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Passenger Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) under a build-operate-andtransfer (BOT) scheme pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 6957 as amended by RA 7718 (BOT Law).2

The Court ruled that Paircargo Consortium, PIATCOs predecessorin-interest, was not a qualified bidder as it failed to meet the financial capability requirement under the BOT Law. Moreover, the PIATCO contracts were declared null and void for being contrary to public policy. The penultimate paragraph of the Courts Decision states thus: CONCLUSION In sum, this Court rules that in view of the absence of the requisite financial capacity of the Paircargo Consortium, predecessor of respondent PIATCO, the award by the PBAC of the contract for the construction, operation and maintenance of the NAIA IPT III is null and void. Further, considering that the 1997 Concession Agreement contains material and substantial amendments, which amendments had the effect of converting the 1997 Concession Agreement into an entirely different agreement from the contract bidded upon, the 1997 Concession Agreement is similarly null and void for being contrary to public policy. The provisions under Section 4.04(b) and (c) in relation to Section 1.06 of the 1997 Concession Agreement and Section 4.04(c) in relation to Section 1.06 of the ARCA, which constitute a direct government guarantee expressly prohibited by, among others, the BOT Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations are also null and void. The Supplements, being accessory contracts to the ARCA, are likewise null and void.3 Subsequently, an affidavit-complaint, later amended, was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco, Corporate Secretary of Asias Emerging Dragon Corporation (AEDC), charging several persons in connection with the NAIA IPT III project. The AEDC was the original proponent thereof which, however, lost to PIATCO when it failed to match the latters bid price. After conducting a preliminary investigation thereon, the Office of the Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan the Information dated January 13, 2005 charging Vicente C. Rivera, as then DOTC Secretary, and petitioner Go, as Chairman and President of PIATCO, with violation of Section 3(g)4 of RA 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. The case was docketed as

Criminal Case No. 28092, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Vicente C. Rivera, Jr. and Henry T. Go. The Information reads: INFORMATION The undersigned Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, accuses VICENTE C. RIVERA, JR. and HENRY T. GO with Violation of Sec. 3 (g), R.A. No. 3019 committed as follows: On or about November 26, 1998, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused VICENTE C. RIVERA, JR., Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), committing the offense in relation to his office and taking advantage of the same, in conspiracy with accused HENRY T. GO, Chairman and President of the Philippine International Air Terminals, Co., Inc. (PIATCO), did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously enter into an Amended and Restated Concession Agreement (ARCA), after the project for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Passenger Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) was awarded to Paircargo Consortium/PIATCO, which ARCA substantially amended the draft Concession Agreement covering the construction of the NAIA IPT III under Republic Act 6957 as amended by Republic Act 7718 (BOT Law) providing that the government shall assume the liabilities of PIATCO in the event of the latters default specifically Article IV, Section 4.04 (c) in relation to Article I, Section 1.06 of the ARCA which term is more beneficial to PIATCO and in violation of the BOT law, and manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government of the Republic of the Philippines. CONTRARY TO LAW.5 On February 11, 2005, petitioner Go posted a cash bond for his provisional liberty. On February 15, 2005, the Sandiganbayan issued a Hold Departure Order against Rivera and petitioner Go.

On March 28, 2005, petitioner Go was arraigned and entered a plea of "not guilty." On May 26, 2005, Rivera filed a Motion for Judicial Determination (or Re-Determination) of Probable Cause and Motion to Dismiss. The Sandiganbayan gave petitioner Go a period of ten (10) days within which to file a comment thereon. On June 20, 2005, petitioner Go filed his Comment with Motion to Quash. Adopting the view advanced by Rivera, petitioner Go harped on the alleged "missing documents," including Pesaycos amended affidavit-complaint and those others that were mentioned in the resolution of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman finding probable cause against Rivera and petitioner Go, but which were not allegedly in the records. Petitioner Go maintained that apart from the bare allegations contained in Pesaycos affidavit-complaint, there was no supporting evidence for the finding of the existence of probable cause against him and Rivera. Petitioner Go further alleged that he could not be charged under Section 3(g) of RA 3019 because he is not a public officer and neither is he capacitated to enter into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government. At least one of the important elements of the crime under Section 3(g) of RA 3019 is not allegedly present in his case. On June 21, 2005, petitioner Go filed a Manifestation with Motion to Substitute the Comment with Motion to Quash, which the prosecution, through the Office of the Ombudsman, opposed. On December 6, 2005, the Sandiganbayan issued the assailed Resolution denying Riveras Motion for Judicial Determination (ReDetermination) of Probable Cause and Motion to Dismiss and petitioner Gos Motion to Quash. The Sandiganbayan ruled that, contrary to the prosecutions submission, it could still entertain petitioner Gos Motion to Quash even after his arraignment considering that it was based on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense. Nonetheless, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner Gos Motion to Quash holding that, contrary to his claim, the allegations in the Information actually make out the offense charged. More

particularly, the allegations that accused Rivera, as DOTC Secretary, in conspiracy with petitioner Go, entered into the ARCA with petitioner Go/PIATCO, which agreement was manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government, are constitutive of the elements of the offense charged as defined under Section 3(g) of RA 3019. The Sandiganbayan explained that petitioner Gos contentions that he is not a public officer, he did not conspire with Rivera in the execution of the ARCA and, in any case, the said agreement cannot be said to be manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government, could not be properly considered for the purpose of quashing the Information on the ground relied upon by him. According to the Sandiganbayan, these matters raised by petitioner Go have to be proved during trial. The decretal portion of the assailed Sandiganbayan Resolution reads: WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the "Motion for Determination (Re-Determination) of Probable Cause and Motion to Dismiss" and the "Motion to Quash," filed by accused Vicente C. Rivera, Jr. and Henry T. Go, respectively, are hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED.6 Petitioner Go filed a motion for reconsideration thereof but it was denied by the Sandiganbayan in the Resolution dated March 24, 2006. Petitioner Go now seeks recourse to the Court and, in support of his petitioner, alleges that: A. The Honorable Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in not ruling that Section 3(g) does not embrace a private person within its proviso. B.

The Honorable Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in not ruling that there is no probable cause to hold petitioner for trial.7 Petitioner Go contends that Section 3(g) of RA 3019, by its text, cannot be extended or even enlarged by implication or intendment to bring within its limited scope private persons. The said provision of law allegedly punishes only public officers as it penalizes the act of "entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby." As a private person, he could not allegedly enter into a contract "on behalf of the government," there being no showing of any agency relations or special authority for him to act for and on behalf of the government. Citing several cases,8 petitioner Go enumerates the following elements of Section 3(g) of RA 3019: (1) that the accused is a public officer; (2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and (3) that such contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government. He also cites Marcos v. Sandiganbayan9 where the Court acquitted then First Lady Imelda R. Marcos of the charge of violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 as it found that she did not sign the subject Lease Agreement, entered into between the Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA) and Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Inc. (PGHFI), as a public officer, but in her capacity as Chairman of the PGHFI, a private entity. As such, the Court held that the first element of the offense charged, i.e., that the accused is a public officer, was wanting. Petitioner Go claims that, in the same manner, the first element of the offense charged against him is absent because he is not a public officer who is authorized by law to bind the government

through the act of "entering into a contract." He also points out that, similar to his case, in Marcos, the Information also alleged that the former First Lady conspired with a public officer, then Minister Jose P. Dans of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, in entering into a contract. Nonetheless, the Court therein dismissed the allegation of conspiracy. Petitioner Go maintains that by any of its definition,10 he cannot be considered a "public officer." Further, only a public officer can enter into a contract in representation of the government. He stresses that the first element of the offense, i.e., that the accused is a public officer, is an essential ingredient of the crime under Section 3(g) of RA 3019. He likens it to the crime of parricide where the essential element is the relationship of the offender to the victim and, citing a criminal law book author, a stranger who cooperates in the execution of the offense is not allegedly guilty of this crime. The stranger is allegedly either liable for homicide or murder but never by "conspiracy to commit parricide."11 By parity of reasoning, according to petitioner Go, the first essential element of the crime penalized under Section 3(g) of RA 3019 is that the offender must be a public officer. Since he is not a public officer, one of the essential elements of the offense is lacking; hence, there is no other recourse but to quash the Information. Section 9 of RA 3019 was also cited which reads: SEC. 9. Penalties for violation. (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than six years and one month or fifteen years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income. xxx

Petitioner Go posits that had it been the intention of the lawmakers to penalize private persons who supposedly "conspired" with public officers in violation of Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of RA 3019, it could have easily used the conjunctive "and," not "or," between the terms "public officer" and "private person" in Section 9 thereof. Petitioner Go takes exception to the Sandiganbayans pronouncement that even as a private individual he is not excluded from the coverage of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 because he is not being accused singly but as someone who conspired with a public officer in violating the said law. According to petitioner Go, this proposition applies only to Section 3(e)12 of RA 3019, the elements of which include that "the accused are public officers or private persons charged in conspiracy with them."13 He stresses that, unlike Section 3(e) of RA 3019, Section 3(g) thereof penalizes only public officers as the operative phrase in the latter provision is "on behalf of the government." Petitioner Go vigorously asserts that there is no basis for the finding of probable cause against him for violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019. In particular, he insists that the allegation of conspiracy between Rivera and himself is not supported by any evidence. He makes an issue out of those documents that were mentioned in the resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman finding probable cause against him but were not in the records of the Sandiganbayan. His mere signing of the ARCA does not allegedly establish culpability for violation of RA 3019. Further, he faults the Sandiganbayan for invoking the doctrine of non-interference by the courts in the determination by the Ombudsman of the existence of probable cause. It is petitioner Gos view that the Sandiganbayan should have ordered the quashal of the Information for palpable want of probable cause coupled with the absence of material documents. The petition is bereft of merit. For clarity, Section 3(g) of RA 3019 is quoted below anew: SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the

following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx (g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby. As earlier mentioned, the elements of this offense are as follows: (1) that the accused is a public officer; (2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and (3) that such contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government.14 Contrary to the contention of petitioner Go, however, the fact that he is not a public officer does not necessarily take him out of the ambit of Section 3(g) of RA 3019. Petitioner Gos simplistic syllogism, i.e., he is not a public officer ergo he cannot be charged with violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019, goes against the letter and spirit of the avowed policy of RA 3019 as embodied in Section 1 thereof: SEC. 1. Statement of policy. - It is the policy of the Philippine Government, in line with the principle that a public office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto. As early as in 1970, through the erudite Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Luciano v. Estrella,15 the Court had ascertained the scope of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 as applying to both public officers and private persons: x x x [T]he act treated thereunder [referring to Section 3(g) of RA 3019] partakes the nature of malum prohibitum; it is the

commission of that act as defined by law, not the character or effect thereof, that determines whether or not the provision has been violated. And this construction would be in consonance with the announced purpose for which Republic Act 3019 was enacted, which is the repression of certain acts of public officers and private persons constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto.16 Like in the present case, the Information in the said case charged both public officers and private persons with violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019. Section 9 of RA 3019 buttresses the conclusion that the anti-graft laws application extends to both public officers and private persons. The said provision, quoted earlier, provides in part that: SEC. 9. (a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omissions enumerated in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than six years and one month nor more than fifteen years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and other lawful income. xxx The fact that one of the elements of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 is "that the accused is a public officer" does not necessarily preclude its application to private persons who, like petitioner Go, are being charged with conspiring with public officers in the commission of the offense thereunder. The case of Singian, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan17 is instructive. In the said case, Gregorio Singian, Jr., a private person who was then Executive Vice-President of Integrated Shoe, Inc. (ISI), together with some officers of the Philippine National Bank (PNB), was charged with violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of RA 3019 in connection with the loan accommodations that the said bank extended to ISI which were characterized as behest loans.

A total of eighteen Informations were filed against Singian and his co-accused by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan corresponding to the nine loan accommodations granted to ISI. Each loan was subject of two Informations alleging violations of both Section 3(e) and (g), respectively. In other words, nine Informations charged Singian and his co-accused with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 and the other nine charged them with violation of paragraph (g) of the same provision. Singian filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion for re-determination of existence of probable cause but the same was dismissed. He then filed with the Court a petition for certiorari but it was likewise dismissed as the Court held that the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan had not committed grave abuse of discretion when they respectively found probable cause against Singian for violations of both paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3 of RA 3019. Singian thus illustrates that private persons, like petitioner Go, when conspiring with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019. Another case, Domingo v. Sandiganbayan,18 may likewise be applied to this case by analogy. In the said case, Diosdado Garcia, proprietor of D.T. Garcia Construction Supply, together with Jaime Domingo, then municipal mayor of San Manuel, Isabela, was charged with Section 3(h) of RA 3019 as it appeared that he was used by Domingo as a dummy to cover up his business transaction with the municipality. Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law reads: SEC.3. Corrupt practices of public officers. x x x (h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having an interest. The elements of this offense are: (1) that the accused is a public officer; (2) he has a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest

in any business, contract, or transaction; (3) he either: (a) intervenes or takes part in his official capacity in connection with such interest, or (b) is prohibited from having such interest by the Constitution or by law.19 Despite the first element mentioned above, the Court affirmed the conviction of Garcia, a private individual, as well as that of Domingo, who was then a municipal mayor, for violation of Section 3(h) of RA 3019. In so holding, the Court established that Domingo and Garcia acted in conspiracy with one another in the commission of the offense. Domingo thus also serves to debunk petitioner Gos theory that where an offense has as one of its elements that the accused is a public officer, it necessarily excludes private persons from the scope of such offense. The precept that could be drawn from Luciano, Singian and Domingo, and which is applicable to the present case, is that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under Section 3 of RA 3019, including (g) and (h) thereof. This is in consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto. Reliance by petitioner Go on Marcos v. Sandiganbayan20 is not quite appropriate. To recall, upon her motion for reconsideration, the Court therein acquitted former First Lady Imelda Marcos of the charge of violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 in its Resolution dated October 6, 1998. Her acquittal was based on the finding that she signed the subject lease agreement as a private person, not as a public officer. As such, the first element, i.e., that the accused is a public officer was wanting. Petitioner Go, however, failed to put the Courts ruling in Marcos in its proper factual backdrop. The acquittal of the former First Lady should be taken in the context of the Courts Decision dated January 29, 1998, in Dans, Jr. v. People,21 which the former First Lady sought to reconsider and, finding merit in her motion, gave rise to the Courts Resolution in Marcos. In Dans, the Information filed against the former First Lady and Jose P. Dans, Jr., then

Minister of Transportation and Communications, for violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019, alleged that they were both public officers and, conspiring with each other, entered into the subject lease agreement covering the LRTA property with the PGHFI, a private entity, under terms and conditions manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. The Court in its original decision affirmed the former First Ladys conviction for violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 but acquitted her co-accused, Dans, Jr., of the said offense. As stated earlier, upon the former First Ladys motion for reconsideration, the Court reversed her conviction in its Resolution in Marcos. It can be gleaned from the entire context of Marcos and Dans that the reversal of the former First Ladys conviction was based on the fact that it was later held that she signed the subject lease agreement as a private person, not a public officer. However, this acquittal should also be taken in conjunction with the fact that the public officer with whom she had supposedly conspired, her coaccused Dans, had earlier been acquitted. In other words, the element that the accused is a public officer, was totally wanting in the former First Ladys case because Dans, the public officer with whom she had allegedly conspired in committing Section 3(g) of RA 3019, had already been acquitted. Obviously, the former First Lady could not be convicted, on her own as a private person, of the said offense. In contrast, petitioner Go cannot rightfully assert the total absence of the first element in his case because he is not being charged alone but in conspiracy with Rivera, undoubtedly a public officer by virtue of his then being the DOTC Secretary. The case against both of them is still pending before the Sandiganbayan. The facts attendant in petitioner Gos case are, therefore, not exactly on all fours as those of the former First Ladys case as to warrant the application of the Marcos ruling in his case. Anent the allegation of conspiracy, it is posited by the dissenting opinion that the Information is infirm as far as petitioner Go is concerned because it failed to mention with specificity his participation in the planning and preparation of the alleged

conspiracy. It opines that "aside from the sweeping allegation of conspiracy, the Information failed to mention any act as to how petitioner had taken part in the planning and preparation of the alleged conspiracy. Mere allegation of conspiracy in the Information does not necessarily mean that the criminal acts recited therein also pertain to petitioner." While it concedes that the Sandiganbayan may exercise jurisdiction over private individuals, it submits that it may do so only "upon Information alleging with specificity the precise violations of the private individual." By way of conclusion, the dissenting opinion cites Sistoza v. Desierto22 where the Court stated that a signature appearing on a document is not enough to sustain a finding of conspiracy among officials and employees charged with defrauding the government. These asseverations, however, are unpersuasive. It is well established that the presence or absence of the elements of the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense that may be passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.23 In the same manner, the absence (or presence) of any conspiracy among the accused is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense, the truth of which can be best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.24 Following these truisms, the specific acts of petitioner Go in the alleged conspiracy with Rivera in violating Section 3(g) of RA 3019 as well as the details on how petitioner Go had taken part in the planning and preparation of the alleged conspiracy need not be set forth in the Information as these are evidentiary matters and, as such, are to be shown and proved during the trial on the merits. Indeed, it bears stressing that "[t]o establish conspiracy, direct proof of an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and the decision to commit it is not necessary. It may be inferred from the acts of the accused before, during or after the commission of the crime which, when taken together, would be enough to reveal a community of criminal design, as the proof of conspiracy is frequently made by evidence of a chain of circumstances. Once established, all the conspirators are criminally liable as coprincipals regardless of the degree of participation of each of them, for in contemplation of the law the act of one is the act of all."25

In this connection, for purposes of the Information, it is sufficient that the requirements of Section 8, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court are complied with: SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it. An accused, like petitioner Go, may file a motion to quash the Information under Section 3(a) of Rule 117 on the grounds that the facts charged do not constitute an offense. In such a case, the fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the material averments of an Information is whether or not the facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined by law. Evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic of the Information are not to be considered.26 As correctly outlined by the Office of the Ombudsman, the facts alleged in the Information, if admitted hypothetically, establish all the elements of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 vis--vis petitioner Go: ELEMENTS ALLEGATIONS 1a\^/phi1.net 1. The offender is a public officer [T]he accused VICENTE C. RIVERA, JR., Secretary of Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), committing the offense in relation to his office and taking advantage of the same, in conspiracy with accused HENRY T. GO, Chairman and President of Philippine International Air Terminals, Co., xxx"

2. He entered into a contract or transaction in behalf of the government

"[T]he accused VICENTE C. RIVERA, JR., xxx in conspiracy with accused HENRY T. GO xxx did then and there, willfully & unlawfully and feloniously entered into an Amended and Restated Concession Agreement (ARCA), after the project for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport International Passenger Terminal III (NAIA IPT III) was awarded to Paircargo Consortium/PIATCO x xx "xxx which ARCA substantially amended the draft Concession Agreement covering the construction of the NAIA IPT III under Republic Act 6957, as amended by Republic Act 7718 (BOT Law) providing that the government shall assume the liabilities of PIATCO in the event of the latters default specifically Article IV, Section 4.04 (c) in relation to Article I, Section 1.06 of the ARCA which terms are more beneficial to PIATCO and in violation of the BOT Law and manifestly grossly disadvantageous to the government of the Republic of the Philippines."27

3. The contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government

Finally, in the assailed Resolution dated March 24, 2006, the Sandiganbayan ratiocinated thus:

The rule is that the determination of probable cause during the preliminary investigation is a function that belongs to the public prosecutor, the Office of the Ombudsman in this case. Such official is vested with authority to determine whether or not a criminal case must be filed in court and the concomitant function of determining as well the persons to be prosecuted. Also, it must not be lost sight of that the correctness of the exercise of such function is a matter that the trial court itself does not and may not be compelled to pass upon, consistent with the policy of non-interference by the courts in the determination by the Ombudsman of the existence of probable cause. Accordingly, upon the foregoing premises, we believe and so hold that any and all questions relating to the finding of probable cause by the Office of the Ombudsman should be addressed to the said office itself, then to the Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court. On the matter of the judicial determination of probable cause, we stand by our finding that the same exists in this case, the said finding we arrived at upon a personal determination thereof which we did for the purpose of and before the issuance of the warrant of arrest.1awphi1.nt While it may indeed be true that the documents mentioned by accused-movant as being absent in the records are missing, we nevertheless had for our perusal other documents assiduously listed down by accused Rivera in his motion, including the information, which we found to constitute sufficient basis for our determination of the existence of probable cause. It must be emphasized that such determination is separate and distinct from that made by the Office of the Ombudsman and which we did independently therefrom.28 The determination of probable cause during a preliminary investigation is a function of the government prosecutor, which in this case is the Ombudsman. As a rule, courts do not interfere in the Ombudsmans exercise of discretion in determining probable cause, unless there are compelling reasons.29 Mindful of this salutary rule, the Sandiganbayan nonetheless made its own determination on the basis of the records that were before it. It

concluded that there was sufficient evidence in the records for the finding of the existence of probable cause against petitioner Go. Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The exercise of power must have been done in an arbitrary or a despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. It must have been so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.30 Clearly, in the light of the foregoing disquisition, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed on the Sandiganbayan when it held that there exists probable cause against petitioner Go. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed Resolutions dated December 6, 2005 and March 24, 2006 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 28092 are AFFIRMED in toto. SO ORDERED.

EN BANC [G.R. No. 16887. November 17, 1920. ] MIGUEL R. CORNEJO, Petitioner, v. ANDRES GABRIEL, provincial governor of Rizal, and the PROVINCIAL BOARD OF RIZAL, composed of ANDRES GABRIEL, PEDRO MAGSALIN and CATALINO S. CRUZ, Respondents. Gregorio Perfecto for Petitioner. The respondents in their own behalf. SYLLABUS 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DUE PROCESS OF LAW; PUBLIC CORPORATIONS; SUSPENSION OF MUNICIPAL OFFICERS; SECTIONS 2188-2191, ADMINISTRATIVE CODE; CONSTRUED. Numerous complaints having been received by the provincial governor of Rizal against the conduct of the municipal president of Pasay, these complaints were investigated by the provincial governor who, without a hearing, temporarily suspended the municipal president and laid the charges before the provincial board for investigation. Held: (1) That the provincial governor has only followed the provisions of the law and (2) that the provisions of the law, sections 2188-2191 of the Administrative Code, do not offend the due process of law clause of the Philippine Bill of Rights. 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. In ordinary cases, to condemn without a hearing violates the due process of law clause of the American Constitution and of the Philippine Bill of Rights. 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Ordinarily, a public official should not be removed from office without notice, charges, a trial, and an opportunity for explanation. 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Due process of law is not necessarily judicial process; much of the process by means of which the Government is carried on, and the order of society maintained, is purely executive or administrative, which is as much due process of law, as is judicial process. While a day in court is a matter of right in judicial proceedings, in administrative proceedings it is otherwise since they rest upon different principles. 6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. In certain proceedings of an administrative character the right to a notice and hearing are not essential to due process of law. 6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. It is well settled in the United States, that a public

office is not property within the sense of the constitutional guaranties of due process of law but is a public trust or agency. 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Power to suspend temporarily may be exercised without notice to the person suspended. 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID. Notice and hearing are not prerequisites to the suspension of a public officer under a statute which does not provide for such notice and hearing. 9. GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; NATURE. The basic idea of government in the Philippine Islands, as in the United States, is that of a popular representative government, the officers being mere agents and not rulers of the people, one where no man or set of men has a proprietary or contractual right to an office, but where every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of the law and holds the office as a trust for the people whom he represents.

DECISION MALCOLM, J. : The petitioner in this case, the suspended municipal president of Pasay, Rizal, seeks by these proceedings in mandamus to have the provincial governor and the provincial board of the Province of Rizal temporarily restrained from going ahead with investigation of the charges filed against him pending resolution of the case, and to have an order issue directed to the provincial governor commanding him to return the petitioner to his position as municipal president of Pasay. The members of the provincial board have interposed a demurrer based on the ground that this court has no right to keep them from complying with the provisions of the law. The provincial governor has filed an answer to the petition, in which he alleges as a special defense that numerous complaints have been received by him against the conduct of Miguel R. Cornejo, municipal president of Pasay; that these complaints were investigated by him; that he came to the conclusion that agreeable to the powers conferred upon provincial governors, the municipal president should be temporarily suspended, and that an investigation is now being conducted by the

provincial board. Counsel for petitioner has argued, with much eloquence that his client has been deprived of an office, to which he was elected by popular vote, without having an opportunity to be heard in his own defense. The respondents reply that all that the provincial governor and the provincial board have done in this case is to comply with the requirement of the law which they are sworn to enforce. Obviously, therefore, we should first have before us the applicable provisions of the Philippine law bearing on the subject of suspension of public officers. Under the title of "Provincial supervision over municipal officers," Article IV of Chapter 57 of the Administrative Code, provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "The provincial governor shall receive and investigate complaints against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption, or other form of maladministration in office. For minor delinquency he may reprimand the offender; and if a more severe punishment seems to be desirable, he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, and he may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question. Where suspension is thus effected, the written charges against the officer shall be filed with the board within ten days."cralaw virtua1aw library "Trial of municipal officer by provincial board. When written charges are preferred by a provincial governor against a municipal officer, the provincial board shall, at its next meeting, regular or special, furnish a copy of said charges to the accused official, with a notification of the time and place of hearing thereon; and at the time and place appointed, the board shall proceed to hear and investigate the truth or falsity of said charges, giving the accused official full opportunity to be heard. The hearing shall occur as soon as may be practicable, and in case suspension has been effected, not later than fifteen days from the date the accused is furnished a

copy of the charges, unless the suspended official shall, on sufficient grounds, request an extension of time to prepare his defense. "Action by provincial board. If, upon due consideration, the provincial board shall adjudge that the charges are not sustained, the proceedings shall be dismissed; if it shall adjudge that the accused has been guilty of misconduct which would be sufficiently punished by reprimand, or further reprimand, it shall direct the provincial governor to deliver such reprimand in pursuance of its judgment; and in either case the official, if previously suspended, shall be reinstated. "If in the opinion of the board the case is one requiring more severe discipline, it shall without unnecessary delay forward to the Chief. of the Executive Bureau certified copies of the record in the case, including the charges, the evidence and the findings of the board, to which shall be added the recommendation of the board as to whether the official ought to be suspended, further suspended, or finally dismissed from office; and in such case the board may exercise its discretion to reinstate the official, if already suspended, or to suspend him or continue his suspension pending final action. "The trial of a suspended municipal official and the proceedings incident thereto shall be given preference over the current and routine business of the board. "Action by Chief of Executive Bureau. Upon receiving the papers in any such proceeding the Chief of the Executive delay and shall make such order for the reinstatement dismissal, suspension, or further suspension of the Official as the facts shall warrant. Disciplinary suspension made upon order of the Chief of the Executive Bureau shall be without pay and in duration shall not exceed two months. No final dismissal hereinunder shall take effect until recommended by the Department Head and approved by the Governor-General."cralaw virtua1aw library With the foregoing legal provisions in mind, certain aspects of the case can be disposed of without difficulty. Thus it cannot be

seriously contended that the courts should interfere with an orderly investigation which is about to be conducted by the provincial board. Nor can there be any doubt as to the meaning of the law. A very minute and extensive procedure is provided by the Legislature for central and provincial supervision of municipal officers. The provincial governor, in receiving and investigating complaints against such officers, may take three courses. For a minor delinquency he may reprimand the offender; but if the maladministration in office is more serious he may temporarily suspend the officer, and thereafter may file written charges against the officer with the provincial board. The procedure followed before the provincial board and later on appeal to the Chief of the Executive Bureau, while interesting, does not concern us. The important fact is that the law, in permitting a provincial governor temporarily to suspend a municipal officer, makes no mention of a formal hearing of the charges. In the exercise of this disciplinary power by the provincial governor, all that he can do before the presentation of formal charges is either to reprimand the officer or to suspend him temporarily from office. In the latter case the provincial governors action is not a finality. The law is especially careful to guard the rights of officers charged with maladministration in office. But the point is made that, notwithstanding the provisions of the law and notwithstanding long official practice, the temporary suspension of a municipal officer, without an opportunity to be heard in his own defense, is in contravention of the provisions of the Philippine Bill of Rights concerning due process of law. So much has been written on the subject of due process of law that it would be futile to enter into its intricate mazes. It is self-evident, however, that, in ordinary cases, to condemn without a hearing violates the due process of law clause of the American Constitution and of the Philippine Bill of Rights. It is for this reason that we can well understand the logic of those who cling to this thought and to whom a contemplated violation of the Constitution is most repugnant. It is but fair, in ordinary cases, that a public official should not be removed or suspended without notice, charges, a trial, and an opportunity for explanation. But not permitting our

judgment to be unduly swayed by sympathy for the petitioners brave fight, and recalling again that the courts have ordinarily to give effect to legislative purposes, it is further only fair to mention certain exceptions to the due process of law rule, which would seem to include the instant case. The fact should not be lost sight of that we are dealing with an administrative proceeding and not with a judicial proceeding. As Judge Cooley, the leading American writer on Constitutional Law, has well said, due process of law is not necessarily judicial process; much of the process by means of which the Government is carried on, and the order of society maintained, is purely executive or administrative, which is as much due process of law, as is judicial process. While a day in court is a matter of right in judicial proceedings, in administrative proceedings it is otherwise since they rest upon different principles. (Weimer v. Bunbury [1874], 30 Mich., 201; Den. v. Hoboken Land and Improvement Co. [1856], 18 How., 272, followed in Forbes v. Chuoco Tiaco [1910], 16 Phil., 534; Tan Te v. Bell [1914], 27 Phil., 354; U. S. v. Gomez Jesus [1915], 31 Phil., 218 and other Philippine cases.) In certain proceedings, therefore, of an administrative character, it may be stated, without fear of contradictions that the right to a notice and hearing are not essential to due process of law. Examples of Specifically or summary proceedings affecting the life, liberty or property of the individual without any hearing can easily be recalled. Among these are the arrest of an offender pending the filing of charges; the restraint of property in tax cases; the granting of preliminary injunctions ex parte; and the suspension of officers or employees by the Governor General or a Chief of a Bureau pending an investigation. (See Weimer v. Bunbury, supra; 12 C. J., 1224; Administrative Code, sec. 694.) Again, for this petition to come under the due process of law prohibition, it would be necessary to consider an office as "property." It is, however, well settled in the United States, that a public office is not property within the sense of the constitutional guaranties of due process of law, but is a public trust or agency. In the case of Taylor v. Beckham ([1899], 178 U. S., 548), Mr. Chief Justice Fuller said that: "Decisions are numerous to the effect that

public offices are mere agencies or trusts, and not property as such." The basic idea of government in the Philippine Islands, as in the United States, is that of a popular representative government, the officers being mere agents and not rulers of the people, one where no one man or set of men has a proprietary or contractual right to an office, but where every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of the law and holds the office as a trust for the people whom he represents. Coming now to the more specific consideration of the issue in this case, we turn to the article by Prof. Frank J. Goodnow, generally considered the leading authority in the United States on the subject of Administration Law, in Vol. 29, Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure, and find the rule as to suspension of public officers laid down very concisely as follows: "Power to suspend may be exercised without notice to the person suspended." (P. 1405.) The citation by Professor Goodnow to support his conclusion is State of Florida, ex rel. Attorney-General v. Johnson ([1892], 30 Fla., 433; 18 L. R. A., 410). It was here held by the Supreme Court of Florida that the governor could, under section 15 of the executive article of the Constitutions suspend an officer for neglect of duty in office without giving previous notice to the officer of the charge made against him. A later compilation of the pertinent authorities is to be found in 22 Ruling Case Law, pp. 564, 565. On the subject of suspension of public officers it is here said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "The suspension of an officer pending his trial for mis conduct, so as to tie his hands for the time being, seems to be universally accepted as fair, and often necessary. . . . Notice and hearing are not prerequisites to suspension unless required by statute and therefore suspension without such notice does not deprive the officer of property without due process of law. Nor is a suspension wanting in due process of law or a denial of the equal protection of the laws because the evidence against the officer is not produced and he is not given an opportunity to confront his accusers and cross-examine the witnesses."cralaw virtua1aw library The case to support the first sentence in the above enunciation of

the rule is State v. Megaarden (85 Minn., 41), which in turn is predicated on State v. Peterson ([1892], 50 Minn., 239). In a discussion of the subject more general than specific, it was said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "The safety of the state, which is the highest law, imperatively requires the suspension, pending his trial, of a public officer, especially a custodian of public funds, charged with malfeasance or nonfeasance in office. Suspension does not remove the officer, but merely prevents him, for the time being, from performing the functions of his office; and from the very necessities of the case must precede a trial or hearing. Such temporary suspension without previous hearing is fully in accordance with the analogies of the law. It is a constitutional principle that no person shall be deprived of his liberty or property except by due process of law, which includes notice and a hearing, yet it was never claimed that in criminal procedure a person could not be arrested and deprived of his liberty until a trial could reasonably be had, or that in civil actions ex parte and temporary injunctions might not be issued and retained in proper cases, until a trial could be had, and the rights of the parties determined. We have no doubt, therefore, of the authority of the legislature to vest the governor with power to temporarily suspend a county treasurer pending the investigation of the charges against him, of official misconduct."cralaw virtua1aw library The case cited by the editors of Ruling Case Law as authority for their second sentence is that of Griner v. Thomas ([1907], 101 Texas, 36; 16 Ann. Cas., 944). The holding of the court here was that it is within the power of the legislature to authorize the temporary suspension of a public officer during the pendency of valid proceedings to remove such officer and as an incident to such proceedings, notwithstanding the fact that the constitution has given power to remove such officer only for cause and after a hearing. Notice and hearing are not prerequisites to the suspension of a public officer under a statute which does not provide for such notice and hearing. The third case cited by Ruling Case Law comes from the United

States Supreme Court. (Wilson v. North Carolina [1897], 169 U. S., 586.) An examination of the decision, however, shows that while it tends to substantiate the rule, the facts are not exactly on all fours with those before us. Without, therefore, stopping to set forth the facts, only the following from the body of the decision need be noted, viz. :jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "In speaking of the statute and the purpose of this particular provision the Supreme Court of the State said: The duty of suspension was imposed upon the Governor from the highest motives of public policy to prevent the danger to the public interests which might arise from leaving such great powers and responsibilities in the hands of men legally disqualified. To leave them in full charge of their office until the next biennial session of the legislature, or pending litigation which might be continued for years, would destroy the very object of the law. As the Governor was, therefore, by the very letter and spirit of the law, required to act and act promptly, necessarily upon his own findings of fact, we are compelled to hold that such official action was, under the circumstances, due process of law. Even if it were proper, the Governor would have no power to direct an issue like a chancellor. "The highest court of the State has held that this statute was not a violation of the constitution of the State; that the hearing before the Governor was sufficient; that the office was substantially an administrative one, although the commission was designated by a statute subsequent to that which created it, a court of record; that the officer taking once under the statute was bound to take it on the terms provided for therein; that he was lawfully suspended from office; and that he was not entitled to a trial by jury upon the hearing of this case in the trial court. As a result the court held that the defendant had not been deprived of his property without due process of law, nor had he been denied the equal protection of the law. x x x

"We are of opinion the plaintiff in error was not deprived of any right

guaranteed to him by the Federal Constitution, by reason of the proceedings before the Governor under the statute above mentioned, and resulting in his suspension from office. "The procedure was in accordance with the constitution and laws of the State. It was taken under a valid statute creating a state office in a constitutional manner, as the state court has held. What kind and how much of a hearing the officer should have before suspension by the Governor was a matter for the state legislature to determine, having regard to the constitution of the State." (There can also be cited as supporting authority State ex rel Wendling v. Board of Police and Fire Commissioners [1915], 159 Wis., 295; Sumpter v. State [1906], 81 Ark., 60; Gray v. McLendon [1910], 134 Ga., 224; State v. Police Commissioners, 16 Mo. App., 947; Preston v. City of Chicago [1910], 246 III., 26; and People vs: Draper [1910], 124 N. Y. S., 758, where it was held that the legislature has the right to authorize an officer to remove a appointive or elective officer without notice or hearing.) Certain intimations have been made that under the procedure prescribed by the law an injustice might be done municipal officers. Such suppositions are not unusual even as to cases before the courts, but in this as in all other instances, the presumption always is that the law will be followed and that the investigation and the hearing will be impartial. In the language of Justice Trent in Severino v. Governor-General ([1910], 16 Phil., 366, 402), "the presumption is just as conclusive in favor of executive action, as to its correctness and justness, as it is in favor of judicial action." We entertain no doubt that the provincial governor, fully conscious of the trust reposed in him by the law, will act only in cases where strong reasons exist for exercising the power of suspension and upon a high consideration of his duty. The suggestion that an unfriendly governor might unduly delay the hearing is also without much force. The same might be said of any administrative officer, or in fact of any judicial officer. The presumption, again, is that every officer will do his duty promptly, and if he does not, certainly a remedy can be found to make him do so. Not only this, but the law before us expedites the proceedings by

fixing a short period of ten days within which the provincial governor must lay the charges before the provincial board, which must be heard by- the latter body within fifteen days. Of more compelling force is the suggestion from the other side that the public interest might suffer detriment by postponing the temporary suspension until after the hearing. Our holding, after most thoughtful consideration, is that the provisions of section 2188 of the Administrative Code are clear and that they do not offend the due process of law clause of the Philippine Bill of Rights. Accordingly, it is our duty to apply the law without fear or favor. Petition denied with costs. So ordered.