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Laurel v. Desierto

430 Phil 658 | No. 145368 12 April 2002 | Kapunan, J.

Who Are Public Officers?

Princess Trisha Joy Z. Uy | Law 110-Criminal Law II | Grp3

Facts:
Facts:

! President Cory issued Admin Order No. 223 – Committee for the preparation of the National Centennial Celebration. The committee was mandated to take charge of the nationwide preparations for the National Celebration of the Philippine Centennial. ! President Fidel Ramos issued an EO to reconstitute the committee and appointed VP Laurel as chair. ! A corporation named Philippine Centennial Expo ’98 Corporation (Expocorp) was created. Laurel was elected as CEO of Expocorp. ! Senator Coseteng delivered a privileged speech denouncing alleged anomalies in the projects of the National Centennial Committee (NCC). ! President Estrada issued an AO creating a committee to investigate the projects of NCC. Rene Saguisag was appointed as chair of the AdHoc committee. ! The SBRC (Senate Blue Ribbon) recommended that Laurel be prosecuted by the Ombudsman for violating the anti-graft law. ! The AdHoc committee also recommended further investigation by the Ombudsman of Laurel. ! The Ecaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau issued a resolution finding probable cause to indict Laurel before the Sandiganbayan. ! Petitioner assails the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman claiming that he is not a public officer.

Issue/Ratio:

WON Laurel is a public officer. YES

Neither the Consti nor the Ombudsman Act defines who a public officer is, but a definition Is cited in jurisprudence:

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.

Characteristics of a Public Office:

(1) Delegation of sovereign functions - NCC was delegated with executive functions. (2) Created by law The NCC was created by an EO. (3) Continuance of the position – the element of continuance cannot be considered indispensable, for , if the other elements are present, it can make no difference whether there be but on act or a series of acts to be done, - whether their office expires as soon as the one act is done, or is to be held for years or during good behavior.

(4) The designation of the position as an office. – NCC performs executive functions and is, therefore, a public office.