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G.R. No. 152259

July 29, 2004
Substantive Due Process: Preliminary Investigation

On July 12, 1989, the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) filed an
information before the anti-graft court, charging Petitioner Alfredo Romualdez with violation
of Section 5, RA 3019. Romualdez, brother-in-law of former President Ferdinand Marcos,
was alleged to have promoted self-interest in intervening in a contract between the National
Shipyard and Steel Corporation (NASSCO), a government-owned and controlled corporation,
and the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (BASECO), a private corporation, he
majority stocks of which is owned by Marcos. NASSCO sold, transferred and conveyed to
the BASECO its ownership and all its titles and interests over all equipment and facilities
including structures, buildings, shops, quarters, houses, plants and expendable and semiexpendable assets.
On December 27, 1996, Romualdez filed his first Motion to Dismiss and Defer
Arraignment, claiming that no valid preliminary investigation was conducted. He asserted
that if a preliminary investigation could be said to have been conducted, it was null and void
having been undertaken by a biased and partial investigative body.
On January 9, 1997, the Sandiganbayan (First Division), issued an order giving
Romualdez fifteen days to file a Motion for Reinvestigation with the Office of the Special
Prosecutor.Petitioner questioned said order before the Supreme Court. It was dismissed for
failure to show that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion.
On September 22, 1999, Special Prosecutor Officer III Victorio U. Tabanguil
manifested that the prosecution had already concluded the reinvestigation of the case. He
recommended the dismissal of the case, which both the Deputy Special Prosecutor the
Special Prosecutor approved. However, then Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto disagreed and
directed the prosecutors to let Romualdez present his evidence in Court.
1. Whether or not Section 5 of the Anti-Graft Law is unconstitutional for being vague
2. Whether or not there was a valid preliminary investigation
1. No, it is not.
Section 5 of the Anti-Graft Law is constitutional. It penalizes certain presidential
relatives who intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or
application with the Government. This provision is not vague or impermissibly broad
because it can easily be understood, with the use of simple statutory construction. Neither
may the constitutionality of a criminal statute such as this be challenged on the basis of
overbreadth and the void-for-vagueness doctrines, which apply only to free-speech
Prepared by: Mica Janine B. Regalado

2. Yes, there was.

While PCGG had the power to conduct a preliminary investigation, it could not do so
with the cold and neutrality of an impartial judge in cases in which it was the agency
that had gathered evidence and subsequently filed the complaint. True, the PCGG
initiated the Complaint against him; hence, it could not properly conduct the preliminary
investigation. However, Romualdez was accorded his rightsthe Sandiganbayan
suspended the trial and afforded him a reinvestigation by the Ombudsman.

Prepared by: Mica Janine B. Regalado