Deloso vs Sandiganbayan

This petition seeks to annul and set aside the resolution of the Sandiganbayan which
preventively suspended petitioner Amor D. Deloso(accused in the criminal cases) from
his position as provincial governor of Zambales and from any office that he may be
holding. Deloso was the duly elected mayor of Botolan, Zambales in the local elections
of November 1971. While he occupied the position of mayor, a certain Juan Villanueva
filed a complaint with the Tanodbayan accusing him of having committed acts
in violation of the Anti-Graft Law (Republic Act3019) for issuing to certain Daniel Ferrer
a tractor purchased by the Municipality of Botolan thru a loan financed by the Land
Bank of the Philippines for lease to local farmers at reasonable cost, without any
agreement as to the payment of rentals for the use of tractor by the latter,
thereby, causing undue injury to the Municipality of Botolan.
Deloso was, then, elected governor of the Province of Zambales in the January 18,
1988 local elections
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner be suspended indefinitely
HELD: It would be most unfair to the people of Zambales who elected the petitioner to
the highest provincial office in their command if they are deprived of his services for an
indefinite period with the termination of his case possibly extending beyond his entire
term. The Court rules that a preventive suspension of an elective public officer under
Section 13 of Republic Act 3019 should be limited to the ninety (90) days under Section
42 of Presidential Decree No. 807, the Civil Service Decree, which period also appears
reasonable and appropriate under thec ircumstances of this case. The petitioner may
still be suspended but for specifically expressed reasons and not from an automatic
application of Section 13 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Two complaints were raised against petitioners for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R. . one for violation of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (Illegal Use of Public Funds). Petitioner moved to quash the Criminal Case filed before the Sandiganbayan on the grounds that the same complaints has already been filed with the RTC. The proceedings of both cases were suspended by the Sandiganbayan and the RTC pending resolution of the Binay case as to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. --------------------------------------------ISSUES: I. 3019 (giving undue favor to private parties). Mayor Jejomar Binay. 120681-83) FACTS: The Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three separate informations against petitioner.BINAY V SANDIGANBAYAN (G. then a municipality of Metro Manila. No. whether the filing of information with the RTC effectively ousted the Sandiganbayan of its jurisdiction over the case and estopped the respondents from filing an information before the latter. In GR No. all of Mayor Magsaysay’s co-petitioners are officials of the same municipality. Nos.A. 128136. 128136 FACTS: Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual. Petitioner argued that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the cases filed against him. MAGSAYSAY v SANDIGANBAYAN (G.R. Save for petitioner Vicente dela Rosa. No.A.R. The informations alleged that the acts constituting these crimes were committed in 1987 during petitioner’s incumbency as Mayor of Makati. 3019 for overpaying Vicente de la Rosa of TDR Construction for the landscaping project of the San Pascual Central School which informations were filed before the RTC of Batangas City. and whether the filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double jeopardy. While another complaint on the same matter was eventually filed before the Sandiganbayan. Batangas. No. Whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the subject case II. and two for violation of Section 3(e) of R.

the level of difficulty. R. Estoppel could not also be invoked because jurisdiction is determined by law and not by the consent or agreement of the parties. The court ruled that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject cases. Position Titles and Salary Grades prepared by the DBM lists the municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27. 8249 (took effect on February 8. It is the official’s Grade that determines his or her salary. otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. This does not amount to forum shopping since the only authority of the first court was to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.A. The court ruled that the Sandiganbayan was not ousted of its jurisdiction even if the information was first filed in the RTC since the latter did not have jurisdiction in the first place as provided in R. 1997) specified that the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over cases involving violations of Republic Act No. No. 7975. Title VII of the Revised Penal Code when the principal accused includes officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher.RULING: I. Even if the municipal mayor is not specifically included in the list and despite the fact that the actual salary received is not equivalent to grade 27.A. fall within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Section 2. 1995) as amended by RA. Republic Act No. 6758. the court ruled that the classification of salary grades should not be based on the actual amount of salary received but on the nature of the functions performed by the official concerned . of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. otherwise classified as grade “27” and higher. it means that the party estopped consistently . 7975 (took effect on May 16.A. not the other way around. and qualification requirements thereof -relative to that of another position. therefore. 1379. In the Index of Occupational Services. The court has previously ruled that a filing of a complaint with one court does not prevent the plaintiff from filing the same with the competent court. Petitioners. 3019. responsibilities. as amended. By estoppel. No. 6758) with enumeration as to officials specifically included. Section 444(d) of the Local Government Code also settles the matter as it provides that municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation corresponding to Salary Grade twenty-seven (27) as prescribed under R. and Chapter II. II.

that the evidence failed to show that petitioner was committing further acts of malfeasance in office. No. 2006. and that suspension while mandatory is not necessarily automatic. and is the accused in criminal cases and for violations of Section 3(h) ofRA 3019. Also. On February 9. the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed before the Sandiganbayan a Motion to Suspend the Accused Pursuant to Section 13.invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively participated in the proceedings. Petitioner scheduled the hearing of her Motion for Reconsideration on April 26. Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution granting the motion to suspend. that the prosecution evidence indicates that petitioners acts are not covered by Section 3(h) of RA 3019. 2006. On January 9. . petitioner is suspended from her present position for 90 days. On March 23. However. RA 3019arguing that under such sectionpetitioners suspension from office was mandatory. the filing of another complaint with the Sandiganbayan does not also amount to double jeopardy because there can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in a court that had no jurisdiction.R. The consolidated petitions were DISMISSED. She argued that the motion to suspend should have been filed earlier and not when the prosecution is about to conclude the presentation of its evidence. 2006. Petitioner opposed the motion claiming that there is no proof that the evidence against her was strong. which cases are pending before the Sandiganbayan. Sandiganbayan G. 173523 FACTS: Petitioner is the Municipal Mayor of Narra. thus. Demaala vs. and that her re-election to office justifies the denial of suspension. The remedy should have been for the petitioner to move the quashal of information for lack of jurisdiction. that her continuance in office does not prejudice the cases against her nor pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the evidence and records in her office. the Ombudsman (prosecution) opposed petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. and thus not punishable under said law. petitioner filed her Motion for Reconsideration. Palawan. impugning such jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse decision. 2006.

Thus. it was incumbent upon her to have attended the hearing of her own motion on April 26. 2006 Order of the Honorable Court. both at 1:30 in the afternoon. 2006 hearing for the continuation of the presentation of the prosecutions evidence to a later date. Aggrieved. 2006 Order of the Sandiganbayan indicates that what it referred to were the two hearing dates of April 26 and 27. and the . On April 21. 2006 hearings. the prosecution filed a Manifestation with Motion to Reset the Trial Scheduled on April 26 and 27. 2006 hearing. 2006. Petitioners failure to attend the scheduled April 26. 2006 covering the continuation of the trial proper the ongoing presentation of the prosecutions evidence and not the single hearing date of April 26. Her excuse that she no longer bothered to go to court on April 26. 2006. the Sandiganbayan issued an Order granting the prosecutions motion to reset trial and scheduled the continuation thereof on August 2 and 3. Her absence at said hearing was inexcusable. 2006. HELD: Petitioner was not denied due process. 2006. The prosecutions manifestation and motion to reset trial itself unmistakably specified that what was being reset was the trial proper which was scheduled on April 26 and 27. 2006 hearing of her own Motion for Reconsideration is fatal to her cause. the Sandiganbayan issued the assailed Resolution denying petitioners March 23. 2006 Order.It sought to reset the scheduled April 26 and 27. 2006 Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration even before the same could be heard on the scheduled August 2 and 3. trial of these cases will continue on April 26 and 27. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW due process The April 21. 2006 for the determination of petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. petitioner did not consider the prosecutions manifestation and motion to reset trial as related to her pending Motion for Reconsideration. 2006 Motion for Reconsideration. ISSUE: Whether Petitioner was denied due process when the Sandiganbayan issued its May 23. 2006 since "she had no business to be there" is unavailing. Per the January 19. it had nothing at all to do with petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. 2006. 2006 pursuant to the courts previous January 19. On May 23. By being absent at the April 21. petitioner filed the instant Petition.On April 19. 2006. 2006.

565 Phil. With the Courts ruling in Batul v. there was nothing procedurally irregular in the issuance of the assailed May 23. with falsification of public documents.R. Sandiganbayan G. there is no denial of due process. Notice and hearing is the bulwark of administrative due process. he cannot complain of deprivation of due process.Sandiganbayan was therefore justified in considering the matter submitted for resolution based on the pleadings submitted. later reiterated in De La Salle University. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard. DISMISSED. 2006 Resolution by the Sandiganbayan. "To be heard" does not only mean presentation of testimonial evidence in court . OSP rendered suspension as mandatory. Hadjim Hashim Abdul Vs. petitioner and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to offense charged. No. Lanao del Sur ion May 1998 election and re-elected for a second term in May 2001 election. 330 (2007)thus Where a party was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so. along with Abdul and Domado. It was while serving his second term as mayor that Office of the OmbudsmanMindanao filed an Information charging petitioner. Inc. So long as the party is given the opportunity to advocate her cause or defend her interest in due course. 184496 FACTS Petitioner was first elected as municipal mayor of Mulondo. it cannot be said that there was denial of due process. During arraignment. petitioner asserted that he cannot be suspended pendent lite because the crime for which he was charged is not among those enumerated under Section 13 of RA 3019. Court of Appeals. Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) moved for suspension pendente lite of petitioner and co-accused as mandated by law. the right to which is among the primary rights that must be respected even in administrative proceedings. Before the commencement of thge trial. an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. or as applied to administrative proceedings. Consequently. v.one may also be heard through pleadings and where the opportunity to be heard through pleadings is accorded. Bayron. Neither does fraud upon government or public funds or property .

. 2004. petitioner called attention to respondent's pronouncement in its Resolution that his defeat in 2004 election has effectively rendered his suspension moot and academic. Petitioner moved for reconsideration.cover falsification of public document nor fraud per se.Court dismissed the petition. in Mattel. we have ruled that “[w]here the issue has become moot and academic. there must be an actual case or controversy.” In the present case. but the same was denied in a Resolution. an ingredient of the offense of falsification of public document. petitioner filed with this Court a petition for certiorari with TRO alleging that suspension order was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction . For a court to exercise its power of adjudication. v. Inc. Respondent still ordered suspension o0f petitioner. however. Petitioner filed this present petition ISSUE: Whether the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction in suspending him pendente lite from his position as mayor of Lanao del Sur HELD: "We dismiss the Petition for being moot and academic. Francisco. Finding the charge as squarely falling within the ambit of the law. the acquittal of herein petitioner operates as a supervening event that mooted the present Petition. there is no justiciable controversy. Thus. respondent granted in its Resolution and ordered suspension pendente lite of petitioner and accused from their positions and from any other office which they may now or hereafter be holding for a period of 90 days from notice On March 10. During 2007 election. the suspension order was no longer implemented because it was superseded by the expiration of petitioner's second term as a municipal mayor and his unsuccessful bid for reelection. In his Comment and Opposition. and an adjudication thereof would be of no practical use or value as courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest however intellectually challenging. petitioner emerged as winner. OSP once again moved for his and his co-accused's suspension order.

Second Division the Court citing Bustillo underscored the fact that “the term fraud as used in Section 13 of [RA] 3019 is understood in its generic sense. Close but not exactly similar with the factual backdrop of this case is Bustillo v. Petitioner therein was charged with falsifying municipal vouchers which. Notwithstanding the mootness of the present Petition. or (2) under Title Seven. the Court held in said case that the same is understood in its general sense. that is. as used in government. for legally speaking he did not commit the offense charged.] constitutes fraud upon public funds. or (3) involving fraud upon government or public funds or property.Book II of the RPC as the crime of falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the RPC is covered by Title Four. his suspension finds no basis in Section 13 of RA 3019. referring to “an instance or an act of trickery or deceit especially when involving misrepresentation. falsification thereof invariably involves fraud upon public funds.Any resolution on the validity or invalidity of the issuance of the order of suspension could no longer affect his rights as a ranking public officer.” And since vouchers are official documents signifying a cash outflow from government coffers. In construing the term “fraud” as used in Section 13 of RA 3019. Book II of the RPC. This issue is not of first impression. SANDIGANBAYAN FACTS: .” In upholding the suspension of therein petitioner. to warrant the suspension of a public officer under the said Section 13. The relevant question now is whether falsification of public documents is considered as fraud upon government or public funds or property.” hence. are official documents. in Bartolo v. he must be charged with an offense (1) under RA 3019. He asserted the said offense does not involve “fraud or property. As earlier quoted. Again. petitioner in this case was not charged under RA 3019. Sandiganbayan. petitioner nevertheless implores us to make a clear and categorical resolution on whether the offense of falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the RPC is included in the term “fraud” as contemplated under Section 13 of RA 3019. the Court held that “the allegation of falsification of the three public documents by making it appear that the flood control project was 100% complete [when in fact it was not. Admittedly. LAYUS V. Book II thereof. Neither was he charged under Title Seven. Sandiganbayan.

LAYUS’ motion to reconsider the denial likewise failed. but the Sandiganbayan had not received any copy of it. recommended the filing of an information against LAYUS for the first charge and the dismissal of the charges against all of the original respondents for the second. LAYUS served and filed an Omnibus Motion dated 25 September 1997. was charged with estafa through falsification of public documents in an Information. which was allegedly sent by registered mail. 881. On 24 March 1997. the Sandiganbayan denied LAYUS’ motion to quash and ruled that the alleged irregularities in the preliminary investigation were not proper grounds for quashing the Information. LAYUS filed a motion to quash the Information. The resolution of said motion was held in abeyance in light of the May 1998 elections and the prohibition under Section 261 of Batas Pambansa Blg. with appropriate leave. 3019. otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code. the prosecution filed with the Sandiganbayan a Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente Lite. Layus. filed on 19 February 1997 before public respondent Sandiganbayan and docketed therein as Criminal Case No. The resolution had the concurrence of Director Ernesto Nocos and was approved by the Ombudsman. Layus and Arnold V. On 19 November 1997. In the meantime. This was. Layus (hereafter LAYUS). In its resolution of 9 October 1997. Carlos of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon.Petitioner Celia T. denied by the Sandiganbayan in its resolution of 1 December 1997. filed against LAYUS and Pedro V. and Section 4 of Republic Act No. the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman denied LAYUS’ motion for reconsideration of the Joint Resolution of 21 November 1996. as amended. After preliminary investigation. the first day set by the Sandiganbayan for the trial of the case. Layus. Graft Investigation Officer II Jose D. in a Joint Resolution dated 21 November 1996. Province of Cagayan. Henjie C. The Information stemmed from a complaint for estafa through falsification of public documents and for violation of Section 3(e) and (h). On 6 August 1997. otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. reiterating her right to reinvestigation. which LAYUS opposed on 26 November 1997. the elected Mayor of the Municipality of Claveria. 23583. however. On 7 August 1997. LAYUS informed the court of the prior filing of her motion for reinvestigation dated 2 August 1997. which provides thus: .

On 26 June 1998. HELD: Having ruled that the information filed against LAYUS is valid. city. as amended. determined at a presuspension hearing. which states: Sec. city. without prior approval of the Commission. or refuse suspension of the latter and dismiss the case.A. unless said suspension will be for purposes of applying the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” in relation to the suspension and removal of elective officials. shall be suspended from office.Any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7. municipal or barangay officer . There must first be a valid information. whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation. is pending in court. is not automatic or selfoperative. there can be no impediment to the application of Section 13 of R. the Sandiganbayan eventually granted the motion to suspend LAYUS. Since the required pre-suspension hearing was complied with and the information was deemed valid.(x) Suspension of elective provincial. where the court is furnished with the basis to suspend the accused and proceed with the trial on the merits of the case. Suspension and loss of benefits -. municipal or barangay officer. Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property. 13. or correct any part of the proceedings which impairs its validity. or any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property. the records show that LAYUS was given adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the criminal proceedings against her. No.the provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding during the election period. ISSUE: WON the 90-day suspension pendente lite is valid. 3019. it then becomes the ministerial duty of the Sandiganbayan to forthwith issue the order of . 3019. in which case the provisions of this section shall be inapplicable. No. In the instant case. however. This provision makes it mandatory for the Sandiganbayan to suspend any public officer who has been validly charged with a violation of R.A. The imposition of the suspension. he may frustrate his prosecution or commit further acts of malfeasance or both. any elective provincial. any public official who suspends. or Book II. Title 7 of the Revised Penal Code. This is based on the presumption that unless the public officer is suspended.

807 (the Civil Service Decree). Petitioner’s own affidavit states. Vice Mayor Navarro contended that Mayor Miranda committed the felony of usurpation of authority or official functions.preventive suspension which. Miranda then the mayor of Santiago City. in Segovia v. on the day he reassumed office. Sandiganbayan. however. now Section 52 of the Administrative Code of 1987. Mayor Miranda asserted that he reassumed office on the advice of his lawyer and in good faith. Subsequently. the Sandiganbayan did not abuse its discretion in granting the prosecution’s motion to suspend petitioner. JOSE MIRANDA V SANDIGANBAYAN FACTS: The Ombudsman placed petitioner Jose C. they should have assailed the validity of the order of suspension in court instead of taking the law into their own hands. He alleged that he merely followed the advice of his lawyer. Navarro filed a Complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman. under preventive suspension for six months from 25 July 1997 to 25 January 1998 for alleged violations of Republic Act No.Petitioner’s excuse for violating the order of preventive suspension is too flimsy to merit even a side-glance. Considering that the imposed 90-day suspension pendente lite of LAYUS does not exceed the maximum period thus fixed. Mayor Miranda’s counteraffidavit also stated that he left the mayoralty post after “coercion” by the Philippine National Police. Notably. 6713. may not be for an indefinite duration or an unreasonable length of time. If petitioner and his counsel had an iota of respect for the rule of law. Isabela. BERONA V SANDIGANBAYAN FACTS . the petition in this case is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. then Vice Mayor Amelita S. Thus. HELD: The court is not a bit persuaded by the posture of the petitioner that he reassumed office under an honest belief that he was no longer under preventive suspension. He also averred that. ISSUE: Whether or not good faith may be invoked by the petitioner. Petitioner’s pretense cannot stand scrutiny. we ruled that preventive suspension may not exceed 90 days in consonance with Presidential Decree No. otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. WHEREFORE. he received a memorandum from DILG Undersecretary Manuel Sanchez instructing him to vacate his office and he immediately complied with the same.

The Information charged petitioners under Section 3(e) of RA 3019 for causing undue injury to any party. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. which the Sandiganbayan found sufficient in form and substance. When arraigned. which the Sandiganbayan found sufficient in form and substance. Book II of the Revised Penal Code or any offense involving public funds or property or fraud on government. The first Resolution ordered thus: ISSUE: Whether Sec 13. The Sandiganbayan held that preventive suspension is mandatory under Section 13 upon the courts finding that a valid information charges the accused for violation of RA 3019 or Title 7. Sandiganbayan suspended the petitioners from office for 90 days. The Sandiganbayan held that preventive suspension is mandatory under Section 13 upon the courts finding that a valid information charges the accused for violation of RA 3019 or Title 7. The prosecution filed an Amended Motion to suspend the accused pendente lite. all accused pleaded not guilty. applies to petitioners since they are no longer occupying the positions they held when they were charged under RA 3019. including the Government. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence pursuant to Section 13. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. The motion sought the suspension of petitioners from any public office which they may be occupying pending trial. HELD: The petition has no merit. After pre-suspension hearing. Section 13 unequivocally mandates the . Petitioners were charged for violations of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan. which qualifies the public officer as incumbent. Book II of the Revised Penal Code or any offense involving public funds or property or fraud on government. Section 13 is so clear and explicit that there is hardly room for any extended court rationalization of the law. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official. The Sandiganbayan observed that a preliminary investigation was duly conducted before the filing of the Information.Petitioners were public officers and employees of the Provincial Health Office in Abra. The Sandiganbayan observed that a preliminary investigation was duly conducted before the filing of the Information.

Sandiganbayan. and there are no ifs and buts about it. The court can then have a basis to either suspend the accused and proceed with the trial on the merits of the case.[8] the petitioner similarly claimed that the order of suspension. at the time of issuance of the suspension order. in Bayot v. was already occupying the office of governor and not the position of municipal mayor that he held previously when charged with having violated the AntiGraft Law. Equally futile is their claim that Dr. Sandiganbayan. This Court has repeatedly held that such preventive suspension is mandatory. Prior to Deloso.suspension of a public official from office pending a criminal prosecution under RA 3019 or Title 7. Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving public funds or property or fraud on government. Suspension pendente lite prevents the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance while in office Petitioners other contention that there is no longer any danger that petitioners would intimidate prosecution witnesses since two of the latters witnesses had already completed their testimonies in court is also untenable. based on his indictment as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan. the Court explained: In Deloso v. this Court rejected a similar argument advanced by Governor Deloso who. the Sandiganbayan had determined the validity of the information in a pre-suspension hearing conducted for that purpose. Sandiganbayan. Beroas suspension would deprive his constituents in the Municipality of Pilar the services and leadership of their . That hearing is similar to a challenge to the validity of the information by way of a motion to quash. Rejecting his thesis. or withhold the suspension and dismiss the case. In this case. petitioners suspension is unquestionably mandatory. the suspension of then Cavite Mayor Bayot was also sustained even as he was charged for acts committed as government auditor of the Commission on Audit. Suspension pendente lite applies to any office the officer might be currently holding Petitioners contend that Sandiganbayan jhas no legal basis to suspend them because they are presently occupting positions different from those under which the Information charged them In Libanan v. Hence. as he was already the duly elected and incumbent Vice-Governor of Eastern Samar. or correct any part of the proceedings that impairs its validity.[6] The purpose of a pre-suspension hearing is to determine the validity of the information. could no longer attach to him.

highest elected municipal official to the greater detriment of public service.These reasons cannot override the mandatory character of Section 13. or committing further acts of malfeasance while in office. . The possibility that the accused would intimidate witnesses or hamper their prosecution is just one of the grounds for preventive suspension. tampering with documentary evidence. Another is to prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance while in office. Petitioners last feeble argument that the prosecution evidence is weak misses the point. Section 13 reinforces the principle that a public office is a public trust. They lose sight of the fact that preventive suspension is not a penalty. Its purpose is to prevent the accused public officer from hampering his prosecution by intimidating or influencing witnesses. The accused public officers whose culpability remains to be proven are still entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence.