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[G.R. No. 122166.

March 11, 1998]
CRESENTE Y. LLORENTE, JR., petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and
LETICIA G. FUERTES, respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
In a prosecution for violation of Section 3[e] of the Anti-Graft Law, that is,
“causing undue injury to any party,” the government prosecutors must prove
“actual” injury to the offended party; speculative or incidental injury is not
sufficient.
The Case
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision promulgated on June 23,
1995 and the Resolution promulgated on October 12, 1995 of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 18343, finding Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr.
guilty as charged.
Llorente, then municipal mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, was
charged with violation of Sec. 3[e] of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known
as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, under an Information dated
October 22, 1992, textually reproduced as follows:[1]
“That in or about and during the period of July, 1990 to October, 1991,
or for sometime subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Sindangan,
Province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr., a public officer, being then the Mayor of
Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, in the exercise of his official and
administrative functions, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
criminally with evident bad faith refuse to sign and approve the
payrolls and vouchers representing the payments of the salaries and
other emoluments of Leticia G. Fuertes, without just valid cause and
without due process of law, thereby causing undue injury to the said
Leticia G. Fuertes.
CONTRARY TO LAW.”
Duly arraigned on March 29, 1993, petitioner, with the assistance of
counsel, entered a plea of “NOT GUILTY.” [2] After trial in due course, the
Sandiganbayan[3] rendered the assailed Decision, disposing as follows:[4]
“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Mayor
Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal
of the crime of Violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, as
amended, and he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of SIX
(6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH, as minimum to SEVEN (7) YEARS, as
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maximum; to further suffer perpetual disqualification from public
office; and to pay the costs.”
Respondent Court denied the subsequent motion for reconsideration in
the assailed Resolution, thus:[5]
“WHEREFORE, accused’s ‘Motion for Reconsideration and/or New Trial’
is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. His ‘Motion for Marking of
Additional Exhibits Cum Offer of Documentary Exhibits in Support of
Motion for Reconsideration and/or New Trial’ is now rendered moot and
academic.”
Hence, this petition.[6]
The Facts
Version of the Prosecution
As found by Respondent Court, the prosecution’s version of the facts of
this case is as follows:[7]
“After appreciating all the evidence on both sides, the following
uncontroverted facts may be gleaned:
1.
Accused Mayor Cresente Y. Llorente, Jr., at the time the alleged act was
committed, was the Municipal Mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.
2.
Private [C]omplainant, Leticia C. Fuertes, is the duly appointed
Assistant Municipal Treasurer in the same municipality since October 18,
1985.
3.
Starting 1986, private complainant was detailed to different offices, as
follows:
(a)
Municipality of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte – from April, 1986
to August, 1987 as OIC Municipal Treasurer.
(b)
Municipality of Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte – from September, 1987
to March, 1988 as OIC Municipal Treasurer.
(c)
Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Zamboanga del Norte – from
April, 1988 to May, 1988.
(d)
Municipality of Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte – from June, 1988 to
June, 1990 as OIC Municipal Treasurer.
4.
In July, 1990, she was returned to her post as Assistant Municipal
Treasurer in the town of Sindangan.
She was not provided with office table and chair nor given any
assignment; neither her daily time record and application for leave
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acted upon by the municipal treasurer per instruction of accused
Mayor (Exh. ‘G-2’; ‘G-3’).
5.
On July 23, 1990, the Sangguniang Bayan of Sindangan,
Zamboanga del Norte, presided by accused Mayor, passed Resolution
No. SB – 214 (Exh. ‘3’), vehemently objecting to the assignment of
complainant as Assistant Municipal Treasurer of Sindangan.
6.
On March 12, 1991, accused Municipal Mayor received a letter
(SB Resolution No. 36) from the Sangguniang Bayan of the
Municipality of Piñan, demanding from the private complainant return
of the amount overpaid to her as salaries (par. 9, p. 2 of Exh. ‘4’ –
counter-affidavit of accused Mayor).
7.
On May 22, 1991, private complainant filed a Petition for
Mandamus with Damages (Exh. ‘E’) against the accused Mayor and
the Municipality of Sindangan before Branch II, Regional Trial Court of
Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte docketed as Special Proceedings No.
45, for the alleged unjustified refusal of Mayor Llorente to sign and/or
approve her payrolls and/or vouchers representing her salaries and
other emoluments as follows: (a) salary for the month of June, 1990 in
the amount of P5,452.00 under disbursement voucher dated
September 5, 1990 (Exh. ‘H’). Although complainant rendered
services at the municipality of Piñan during this period, she could not
collect her salary there considering that as of that month, Piñan had
already appointed an Assistant Municipal Treasurer. When she
referred the matter to the Provincial Auditor, she was advised to claim
her salary for that month with her mother agency, the Municipality of
Sindangan, [(]p. 12, TSN of August 9, 1994; 10th paragraph of
complainant’s Supplemental Affidavit marked Exh. ‘G’); (b) salary
differential for the period from July 1, 1989 to April 30, 1990 in the
total amount of P19,480.00 under disbursement voucher dated
August, 1990 (Exh. ‘I’); (c) 13th month pay, cash gift and clothing
allowance under Supplemental Budget No. 5, CY 1990 in the total
amount of P7,275 per disbursement voucher dated December 4, 1990
(Exh. ‘J’); (d) vacation leave commutation for the period from
October to December 31, 1990 in the total amount of P16,356.00 per
disbursement voucher dated December 3, 1990 (Exh. ‘K’); (e) RATA for
the months of July, August and September, 1990, January and
February, 1991 in the total amount of P5,900.00 (par. 12 & 16 of Exh.
‘E’); and (f) salaries for January and February, 1991 in the total
amount of P10,904.00 (par. 17 of Exh. ‘E’).
8.
Accused Mayor did not file an answer; instead, he negotiated for
an amicable settlement of the case (p. 24, TSN of August 10,
1994). Indeed, a Compromise Agreement (Exh. ‘A’) dated August 27,
1991, between the accused and private complainant was submitted to
and approved by the court, hereto quoted as follows:
‘COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
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binds himself to sign and/or approve all subsequent vouchers and payrolls of the herein petitioner. TSN of June 27. ‘I’. 11. 13th month pay. Llorente. ‘7’. Jr. A Writ of Execution (Exh. 17. private complainant. ‘K’ of the prosecution. Complainant was not also paid her salaries from July to December 1990. The bill was settled by the Municipality of Sindangan in December. 1994). As shown in the Sheriff’s Return dated November 19. 1991. p. RATA for the period from July 1990 to June 1994 (admission of accused. 1994. 1991. 6 sent on July 23. 1991. 1992 (as appearing on Exhs. TSN of June 27. Cash-gifts. ‘D’). RATA. and served [on] the accused on September 23. September and October.. Sometime in 1993. 1993 per Disbursement Voucher No. 1991. Llorente Jr. ‘E’. 1991. to settle this case amicably on the basis of the following terms and conditions.m. ‘8’. while the rest of her salaries including the RATA and other emoluments were not paid considering the alleged need of a supplemental budget to be enacted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Sindangan per verbal allegation of the municipal treasurer. ‘(b) That the parties herein hereby waive. 1993 in the form of checks all dated December 29. 1991 to August. ‘C’) was issued by the Court on September 17. binds himself to sign and/or approve all vouchers and/or payrolls for unpaid salaries. Exh. 8-9. 1991 (Exh. filed a Motion for Execution on September 12. ‘J’. Zamboanga del Norte. 14. 93-08 (Exh. pp. a Decision (Exh. accused municipal mayor received from the Municipality of Piñan. 1990. thru counsel. 10. Bill No. On August 27. of the defense) except her RATA which was given to her only on July 25.93 per SB Resolution No. a. ‘B’) was rendered by Judge Wilfredo Ochotorena on the basis of the aforesaid compromise agreement. covering the period from July 4 .’ 9. renounce and relinquish their other claims and counter-claims against each other. 13. Private complainant was able to receive complete payment of her claims only on January 4.643. private complainant was paid her salaries for the period from January. Exhs. clothing allowance. to wit: ‘(a) That the respondent Mayor Cresente Y. 1991. ‘H’. ‘2’). demanding from the Municipality of Sindangan settlement of overpayment to complainant Fuertes in the amount of P50. 101-9312487 dated December 2. ‘1’). 1994. as they hereby agree. ‘(c) That the respondent Mayor Cresente Y. For his failure to comply with the terms of the compromise agreement. salary differentials and other emoluments which the petitioner is entitled is Assistant Municipal Treasurer of Sindangan. ‘6’. 1993 (Exh.‘That the parties have agreed. 12.

pp. 36 from the Municipality of Pinan. 11. p. in the meanwhile. Mrs.” Version of the Defense While admitting some delays in the payment of the complainant’s claims. ‘5’). In his memorandum. (Decision. petitioner sought to prove the defense of good faith -.915. Instead of submitting the required documents. Fuertes’ claims (Exh. June 27. 13.104. 1985. as evidenced by Disbursement Voucher dated July 25. as well as a certificate of last payment as required by COA regulations (Tsn. 1993 amounting to P55. Counsel now is asking you. She testified: ‘Q. As complainant had been working in municipallities and offices other than in Sindangan for more than four (4) years. Complainant xxx was appointed assistant municipal treasurer of Sindangan. however. 4). [sic] in their minds. 1994 (Exh. Petitioner. overpaid you? 5 . 1994). she was detailed in other municipalities and in the Office of the Provincial Treasurer of Zamboanga del Norte. and to the Sangguniang Bayan’s delayed enactment of a supplemental budget to cover the claims. and because of this demand. I endorsed my voucher to the mayor through the municipal treasurer’ (Tsn. D and 6-c Motion). Zamboanga del Norte on October 18. 5-6). 1994). When complainant xxx presented her vouchers to petitioner. The municipal treasurer could not. 1991 SB Resolution No. or for a period of about four (4) and one half (1/2) years.that the withholding of payment was due to her failure to submit the required money and property clearance. Mrs. 10. 3. demanding from Mrs. He adds that such delays did not result in “undue injury” to complainant. received on March 12. and payment of past salaries and other emoluments had to be done by vouchers.1990 to December. However. Fuertes said that ‘what I did. starting 1986 until July 1990.00. petitioner restates the facts as follows:[8] “1. Fuertes admitted that she had at the time problems of accountability with the Municipality of Pinan. he needed time to verify the matter before acting on Mrs.00. 2. which came only in December 1992. when you went back to Sindangan there was [sic] still problems of the claims either against you or against the Municipality of Sindangan by the municipalities had. the latter required her to submit clearances from the different offices to which she was detailed. p. Aug. She returned as assistant treasurer of Sindangan in July 1990. her name was removed from the regular payroll of Sindangan. process the vouchers and certify as to the availability of funds until after the Sangguniang Bayan had passed a supplemental budget for the purpose (Exhs. xxx Fuertes the reimbursement ofP105.

Zamboanga del Norte. Fuertes filed a complaint xxx. Mrs. x x x. B). Aug. pp. 32-33. Thus. pp. p. 1994). x x x. a position I have held since 1981. payment of Mrs. which fact complainant did not dispute. Mrs.’ (Sec. 1994). 3. 6. 7. 10. that plaintiff did not exhaust administrative remedies. RA 7160). Exh. RA 7160) and that ‘no money shall be disbursed unless xxx the local treasurer certifies to the availability of funds for the purpose. Petition. The budget officer. 42-43. Fuertes had been receiving her regular salary from January. Aug. 18. Fuertes. 344. However. 1991. 4-b. On August 27. Mrs. 1991 because petitioner had included her name in the regular budget beginning 1991. the writ of execution was addressed only to petitioner. as a result of which she had been since then receiving her regular monthly salary. 18. Narciso Siasico stated as follows: ‘1. your Honor. petitioner included Mrs. Upon motion of counsel for Mrs. that was evidence[d] by the bill of the Municipality of Pinan to the Municipality of Sindangan. On May 21. p. Fuertes’ other claims could not be made because the law requires that ‘disbursements shall be made in accordance with the ordinance authorizing the annual or supplemental appropriations’ (Sec. the trial court issued a writ of execution of the compromise judgment.A. which the trial court approved (Exh. Yes. I am the budget officer for the Municipality of Sindangan. 4-d. informed that a supplemental budget for such purpose to be passed by the Sangguniang Bayan was necessary before she could be paid thereof. Mrs. Petitioner also stated that he could not act on complainant’s claims because she had not submitted the required money and property accountability clearance from Pinan (Tsn. 11. 30. Aug. Being the municipal treasurer. 194). With respect to her other claims for past services in other offices. Narcisa Caber. xxx xxx xxx 6 . Caber knew that without such supplemental budget. alleging as a defense. 4.’ (Tsn. Mr. Petitioner filed his answer to the complaint. the parties entered into a compromise agreement. 346. 1994) and that at the time the Sangguniang Bayan had not appropriated funds for the purpose. 10. Petitioner had instructed the municipal budget officer to prepare the supplemental budget for payment of complainant’s unpaid claims for submission to the Sangguniang [Bayan] for enactment. (Annex B. 1-Motion). Municipal Treasurer. 1991. 4-f). (Tsn. 3. Fuertes’ name in the regular annual budget beginning 1991 (Exhs. Aug. 10. it was not served on the municipal Sangguniang Bayan. 5. Nonetheless. (Tsn.

10. as evidenced by the prosecution’s Exhs. to whom Mrs. 1994. 10. Aug. She had thus made the Office of the Ombudsman a collecting agency to compel payment of the judgment obligation.’ 8. It was only on December 27. (Tsn. Petitioner approved the vouchers immediately. 43. 42-43. and in a period of one week. 1991 a demand from the Municipality of Pinan. Fuertes admitted that she had some problem of accountability with the Municipality of Pinan. I. (Exh. p. xxx xxx xxx. admitting receipt of her salaries from January 1991 and saying she had not been paid her other claims in violation of the compromise judgment. J and K. Fuertes last worked. b) Municipal Treasurer Caber. 30. Instead of waiting for the Sangguniang Bayan to enact the budget or of securing an alias writ of execution to compel the Sangguniang Bayan to pass the same. 1994). Aug. p. and the Municipal Accountant issued the certificate of availability of funds only on December 27. it took time for the Sangguniang Bayan to pass the supplemental budget and for the Provincial Board to approve the same. 18. Fuertes for the following reasons: ‘a) The Sangguniang Bayan had not appropriated the amounts to pay Mrs. Zamboanga del Norte. xxx xxx xxx 11. 9. 4). Petitioner testified that he could not immediately sign or approve the vouchers of Mrs.00. [c]) He received on March 12. Fuertes. for the reimbursement of P105. H. It took time before this 7 . which were the four vouchers of Mrs. where Mrs. p. Mrs. Exhs. Immediately after said mandamus case was settled through a compromise agreement. 10.3. Fuertes was paid all claims. xxxx. 42. 18. 1991. Fuertes. (Tsn. (Exh. 1994). Mrs. and the delay in the issuance of the certificate of availability of funds was due to the delay by the Provincial Board to approve the supplemental budget. pp. J and K). 1994). 1992 that the municipal treasurer and the municipal accountant issued a certification of availability of funds for the purpose. Fuertes filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman under date of October 28. H. 1992 (Tsn. Mrs. I. Mayor Llorente instructed me to prepare the necessary budget proposals for the deliberation and approval of the Sangguniang Bayan. F). Aug.915. and the matter had to be clarified first. While the budget proposal had been prepared and submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan for action. Fuertes endorsed her vouchers for processing. (Tsn.

1994). H. 2. xxx xxx xxx. p. p.00 from Mrs. nor raised by petitioner as defense in his answer. Fuertes’ accountability. 1991 to October 1991. Aug. Fuertes got paid of [sic] all her other claims. and Mrs.’ (Exh. and K). the withholding of her salaries caused her difficulties in meeting her family’s financial obligations like paying for the tuition fees of her four children. 1992 filed against petitioner alleged that petitioner as mayor did not sign and approve the vouchers of Mrs. including those not claimed in the Information. [d]) Mrs. Petitioner’s defense that complainant failed to attach the required money and property clearance to her vouchers was held to be an afterthought that was brought about. Clearance for money & property accountability from former office. which meant that even before the information was filed. Aug. by his own failure to issue any memorandum requiring its submission. the prosecution’s Exh. 1991 ‘up to the present’. 1994). she had been paid her regular salaries from January 1. 3. (Tsn. within one week therefrom. The Information dated October 12. 1992.” Ruling of the Sandiganbayan Respondent Court held that the delay or withholding of complainant’s salaries and emoluments was unreasonable and caused complainant undue injury. 11. J.452. in the first place. Certification of last salary received & issued by the disbursing officer in former office.093 and the Municipality of Sindangan paying said claim. the payment of complainant’s salary from January to November 1991. In any event. Fuertes had not submitted the required clearance from the Municipality of Pinan. Fuertes for payment of her salaries and other emoluments from July 1. 2. Fuertes for her failure to submit: ‘1. 2-Motion). in the post audit of Mrs. The supplemental budget to cover payment of her other claims for past services was passed only in December 1992 and the municipal treasurer and accountant issued the certificate of availability of funds only on December 27. I. the sheriff’s return dated November 19. 8 . Nonetheless. However. 10. (Exhs. Fuertes had received her salary from January 1. Being then the sole breadwinner in their family.matter could be clarified by the Municipality of Pinan reducing its claim to P50. (Exh. That the voucher form listed the clearance as one of the requirements for its approval had neither been brought to complainant’s attention. which caused her undue injury.647. 23. stated that Mrs. 10. (Tsn. ‘D’. He did not insist on this requirement after the trial court issued the writ of execution to implement the compromise judgment. 12. certified by chief accountant and verified by resident auditor. the Commission on Audit issued a notice of suspension of the amount of P5. Certification as [sic] last day of service in former office. 1990 to October 1991. p. 1991. Decision. 9).

A. The alleged lack of a supplemental budget was also rejected. and 444 (3)(ii) of the Local Government Code. arguendo. was the non-passage of the appropriation ordinance a justifiable reason for not signing the vouchers? 9 . Fuertes on time or by ‘inaction on his obligation under the compromise agreement’ (ibid. Could accused be held liable under Sec. because petitioner wanted to replace her with his political protege whom he eventually designated as municipal treasurer. showed that the clearance was not an indispensable requirement. Such delay was intended to harass complainant. Assuming. (Exh. 320. Fuertes comes [sic] under Sec. instructions which were confirmed in the municipal treasurer’s certification. the questions are: (a) Did not the duty to sign and approve the same arise only after the Sangguniang Bayan had passed an appropriations ordinance. and not before? In other words.confirmed by the sheriff’s return. 3(e). that his failure and refusal to immediately sign and approve the vouchers of Mrs. 3(e) of R. not to provide her with office table and chair. a permanent position included in the plantilla for calendar year 1990 and 1991. 3019 ‘in the discharge of his official administrative duties’. of [sic] which accused was not charged with? 2. 320 of the Local Government Code. a passive act? Did not the act come under Sec. Petitioner’s contention that funds covering complainant’s claims were made available only in December 1992 was unbelievable. bypassing Fuertes who was next in seniority. 3019. The Issues In his memorandum. not to act on her daily time record and application for leave of absence. petitioner submits the following issues:[10] “1. Complainant’s salaries and allowances were withheld for no valid or justifiable reasons. G-2). considering that an ordinance enacting a supplemental budget takes effect upon its approval or on the date fixed therein under Sec. p.A. because it was petitioner’s duty as municipal mayor to prepare and submit the “executive and supplemental budgets” under Sections 318. 5 for calendar year 1990.[9] and the complainant’s claims as assistant municipal treasurer.. 3(f) of R. Fuertes’ claims for thirteenth month pay. Except for the representation and transportation allowance. which were chargeable against the general funds of the town of Sindangan. because petitioner could have acted upon or approved the disbursement even without it. were classified as “current operating expenditures” for the same calendar years. 19). a positive act. cash gift and clothing allowance were already covered by Supplemental Budget No. The Sandiganbayan also ruled that the petitioner’s evident bad faith was the direct and proximate cause of Fuertes’ undue injury. Bad faith was further evidenced by petitioner’s instructions to the outgoing municipal treasurer not to give the complaining witness any work assignment. when what was imputed to him was failing and refusing to sign and/or approve the vouchers of Mr[s].

The Court’s Ruling The petition is meritorious. which states: “SEC. including the Government. First Issue: Undue Injury Petitioner was charged with violation of Section 3[e] of R.” To hold a person liable under this section. Additionally. After careful review of the evidence on record and thorough deliberation on the applicable provision of the Anti-Graft Law. 3(e).—In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official.(b) Did Mrs. Fuertes suffer undue injury. (2) that said public officer commits the prohibited acts during the performance of his or her official duties or in relation to his or her public positions. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. 3. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. the Court agrees with the solicitor general’s assessment that the prosecution failed to establish the elements of the crime charged. petitioner submits that a violation of Section 3[e] of RA 3019 cannot be committed through nonfeasance. the concurrence of the following elements must be established beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution: “(1) that the accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy with the former. Fuertes submitted the clearance from the Municipality of Pinan. Corrupt practices of public officers. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx xxx xxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party. 3019. she having been paid all her claims? (c) Did petitioner not act in good faith in refusing to immediately sign the vouchers and implement the compromise agreement until the Sangguniang Bayan had enacted the appropriation ordinance and until Mrs. 10 . as the term is understood in Sec. Zamboanga del Norte?” Restated.A. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. petitioner claims that the prosecution failed to establish the elements of undue injury and bad faith. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality.

” Actual damage. In fact. or the giving of any unwarranted benefits. actual or compensatory damages is defined by Article 2199 of the Civil Code as follows: “Art. Actual pecuniary compensation is awarded as a general rule.” Fundamental in the law on damages is that one injured by a breach of a contract. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence constitutes the very act punished under this section. one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved.[12] points out that “undue injury” requires proof of actual injury or damage. Sandiganbayan. [or] illegal.] [that is.[18] They cannot include speculative damages which are too remote to be included in an accurate estimate of the loss or injury. Thus. the causing of undue injury. 11 . Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory damages. and (4) that the public officer has acted with manifest partiality.”[11] The solicitor general. there was thus no “undue injury” established. or by a wrongful or negligent act or omission shall have a fair and just compensation commensurate to the loss sustained as a consequence of the defendant’s act. in his manifestation. reputation or property[. In jurisprudence. Its existence must be proven as one of the elements of the crime.” and injury as “any wrong or damage done to another. citing our ruling in Alejandro vs. conjecture or guesswork.[17] Furthermore. is akin to that in civil law.[15] In turn. whether the government or a private party. damages must not only be capable of proof. it is required that the undue injury be specified. Except as provided by law or by stipulation. either in his person.[16] Actual damages are primarily intended to simply make good or replace the loss caused by the wrong. advantage or preference through manifest partiality.(3) that he or she causes undue injury to any party. the] invasion of any legally protected interest of another. 2199. except where the circumstances warrant the allowance of other kinds of damages. quantified and proven to the point of moral certainty. rights.[14] Inasmuch as complainant was actually paid all her claims. People[13] and Jacinto vs. undue injury in Sec. This point is well-taken. in the context of these definitions. 3[e] cannot be presumed even after a wrong or a violation of a right has been established. not proper.” Undue has been defined as “more than necessary. Unlike in actions for torts. but must be actually proven with a reasonable degree of certainty. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. “undue injury” is consistently interpreted as “actual damage. They cannot be based on flimsy and non-substantial evidence or upon speculation.

whose salary was eventually released and whose position was restored in the plantilla. 1991 (Exh. did not say that she was unable to pay their tuition fees and the specific damage brought by such nonpayment. [23] It then brushed aside the petitioner’s defenses that complainant failed to submit money and property clearances for her vouchers. 1990. 1991 was evidenced by the Sheriff’s Return dated November 19. As in civil cases.[20] Other than the amount of the withheld salaries and allowances which were eventually received. there being nothing more to compensate. as akin to actual damages. improper or illegal. Without giving specific details. and her clothing allowances. her salary differential from July 1. however. if not supported by evidence on record. It said:[24] 12 . holding that. actual damages. In Jacinto. 1994 to cover her salary from June 1 to June 30.In this case. The fact that the “injury” to her family was unspecified or unquantified does not satisfy the element of undue injury. her thirteenth-month pay. She. she made only vague references to the fact that her four children were all going to school and that she was the breadwinner in the family. her cash gift. This inconvenience. this Court held that the injury suffered by the complaining witness. is not constitutive of undue injury. 1990. 1989 to April 30. accused withheld the payment of complainant’s salaries and other benefits for almost two (2) years. Respondent Court insists that complainant suffered by reason of the “long period of time” that her emoluments were withheld. Complainant’s testimony regarding her family’s financial stress was inadequate and largely speculative. and that her family underwent financial difficulty which resulted from the delay in the satisfaction of her claims.[22] Second Issue: No Evident Bad Faith In the challenged Decision. without any valid or justifiable reason. the Court held that the hospital employees were not caused undue injury. as they were in fact paid their salaries. demonstrating a clear manifestation of bad faith. She also admitted having been issued a check on January 4. D). however. the prosecution failed to specify and to prove any other loss or damage sustained by the complainant. and that an appropriation by the Sangguniang Bayan was required before complainant’s vouchers could be approved. the complainant testified that her salary and allowance for the period beginning July 1990 were withheld.[19] As regards her money claim. After she fully received her monetary claims. was negligible. payment of her salaries from January 1991 until November 19. undue injury entails damages that are more than necessary or are excessive. cannot be considered. [21] In Alejandro. Respondent Court found evident bad faith on the part of the petitioner. Respondent Court found that all her monetary claims were satisfied. there is no longer any basis for compensatory damages or undue injury.

‘4-c’ & ‘4-c’. No. As the approving officer. particularly x x x SB Res.“Secondly. As revealed in the alleged newly discovered evidence themselves. it was his duty to direct complainant to submit the same. accused could not just set aside the obligation he voluntarily imposed upon himself when he entered into a compromise agreement binding himself to sign complainant’s vouchers without any qualification as to the clearance requirement. ‘4-a’ & '4-b'. xxx. as confirmed in the Sheriff’s Return dated November 19.Motion). Complainant’s claims consisted of her salaries and other benefits for 1990 and 1991 which were classified as Current Operating Expenditures chargeable against the General Fund. ‘D’). The evidence on record shows that complainant’s salaries for the period from January to November 1991 (included as subject matter in the mandamus case) were duly paid. ‘5-a’. his reliance on the failure of complainant to submit the clearances which were allegedly necessary for the approval of vouchers is futile in the light of the foregoing circumstances: xxx xxx xxx b. complainant’s claims were covered by appropriations duly approved by the officials concerned. he could have seen to it that complainant secured the same in order that he could comply with the said obligation. Motion). 035. 1990 (Exh. Perforce. even without the necessary clearance. could have acted upon or approved complainant’s disbursement vouchers if he wanted to. c. signifying that 13 . In Program Appropriation and Obligation by Object (Exhs. xxx xxx xxx Fourthly. is unavailing. It is undisputed that she was holding her position as Assistant Municipal Treasurer in a permanent capacity (her position was also designated Assistant Department Head). accused’s contention that the delay in the release of complainant’s claim could not be attributed to him because the vouchers were only submitted to him for his signature on December 24-27. Local Government Code of 1991)]. but accused could not just hide behind the cloak of the clearance requirement in order to exculpate himself from liability. 475. Budget Officer and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. It may be true that a clearance is an indispensable requirement before complainant will be paid of her claims. Verily. Motion). both dated May 21. the Sangguniang Bayan appropriated a budget of P5M in the General Fund for calendar year 1991 [the Budget Officer does not approve the budget but assists the Municipal Mayor and the Sangguniang Bayan in the preparation of the budget (Sec. 1992. that the approval of the budget appropriations/resolutions depends on the Sangguniang Bayan. Moreover. which was included in the plantilla for calender years 1990 and 1991 (Exhs. This means that accused. appropriations were made for current operating expenditures to which complainant’s claims properly appertained. 1991 (Exh. 202 and Appropriation Ordinance No.

Appropriation Ordinance No. 1989.” The Court disagrees. SB Resolution No. [25] Also. In fact. Respondent Court cannot shift the blame on the petitioner. he shall be required to secure supplies or property clearance from the supply officer concerned.[28] and not entirely without reason. 1007). she could not have been included therein. 895. there was no obstacle for the release of all the complainant’s claims. 1990. This clearance is required by Article 443 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991: “Art. evident bad faith cannot be completely imputed to him. Property Clearances – When an employee transfers to another government office. The local chief executive shall prescribe the property clearance form for this purpose. resigns. 344. the provincial or city general services officer concerned. It is clear. petitioner had the duty not to sign the vouchers.” For her own failure to submit the required clearance. then. “Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence. is dismissed. even complainant’s claims for her 13th month pay. subject matter of Disbursement Voucher marked Exhibit ‘J’ which would need a supplemental budget was covered by ‘Supplemental Budget No. Local Government Code of 1991. was even printed at the back of the very vouchers sought to be approved. 202 and Appropriation Ordinance No.adequate funds were available for the purpose. or is separated from the service. The petitioner’s failure to approve the complainant’s vouchers was therefore due to some legal obstacles. 5 for CY 1990 duly approved by the authorities concerned’ as shown in the voucher itself. when it was the complainant who failed to submit the required clearance. as the case may be. complainant is not entirely blameless for the delay in the approval of her claims. This means that the said claim was already obligated (funds were already reserved for it) as of calendar year 1990. or the punong barangay and the barangay treasurer. the municipal mayor and the municipal treasurer. retires. 8 NE 2 nd Series. Thus. was passed only on May 21. 443.[27] which fixed the municipal budget for calendar year 1991. cash gift and clothing allowance. it partakes of the nature of fraud. This requirement. (Spiegel v. she ought to know that this is a condition for the payment of her claims. It contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive 14 . a breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will. that as regards availability of funds. it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong. Beacon Participations. which the complainant disregarded. xxxx. Also. Hence. or almost another year after the transfer took effect. 035. As chief executive of the municipality Llorente could not have approved the voucher for the payment of complainant’s salaries under Sec. 020[26] adding a supplemental budget for calendar year 1990 was approved on April 10. As assistant municipal treasurer. or almost a year before complainant was transferred back to Sindangan. given the lack of corresponding appropriation ordinance and certification of availability of funds for such purpose.

according to him. requires a positive act -. Carrascoso. legally result in “undue injury” or in “giving any unwarranted benefits. and he removed her name from the plantilla because she was moonlighting during office hours. evident bad faith was not appreciated because the actions taken by the accused were not entirely without rhyme or reason. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official. therefore. or the delay in his acting on them more properly falls under Sec. after due demand or request. to make or to induce. to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining. not limited to positive acts only. directly or indirectly. to compel.[31] Third Issue: Interpretation of Causing The Court does not completely agree with petitioner’s assertion that the imputed act does not fall under Sec. Such actions were measures taken by a superior against an erring employee who studiously ignored. his authority. 3[e] which. results from the questioned official act or inaction.”[32] Causing is.” 15 . Causing means “to be the cause or occasion of. he refused to approve her sick-leave application because he found out that she did not suffer any illness. 166-167). Evident bad faith connotes a manifest deliberate intent on the part of the accused to do wrong or cause damage. while Respondent Court convicted him of unduly delaying the payment of complainant’s claims. however. which is quantifiable and demonstrable.” Thus. without sufficient justification. 3[f]: “(f) Neglecting or refusing. these acts are not punishable under Sec.[30] In Alejandro. or for purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.” [29] In Jacinto. As already explained. to bring into existence. [or] administrative x x x functions. evident bad faith was ruled out. both acts did not. from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage. he refused to release the complainant’s salary because the latter failed to submit her daily time record. It would appear that petitioner’s failure or refusal to act on the complainant’s vouchers. In this case. 18 SCRA 155. Even passive acts or inaction may cause undue injury.a malfeasance or misfeasance. because the accused gave his approval to the questioned disbursement after relying on the certification of the bookkeeper on the availability of funds for such disbursement. to effect as an agent. What is essential is that undue injury.design or some motive of self interest or ill will for ulterior purposes (Air France v. the prosecution accused petitioner of failing or refusing to pay complainant’s salaries on time. 3[e]. if not defied.

WHEREFORE. 3[f]. Bellosillo. SO ORDERED. from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage in favor of an interested party. Vitug and Quisumbing. 3019.”[33] However. the petition is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner is ACQUITTED of violating Section 3[e] of R. its elements are: “1) The offender is a public officer. the neglect or refusal to act within a reasonable time is the criminal act. 16 . Hence. as amended. Thus. directly or indirectly. 3[f] without violating his constitutional right to due process..A. or discriminating against another. not the causing of undue injury. 3) Reasonable time has elapsed from such demand or request without the public officer having acted on the matter pending before him. Neither may this Court convict petitioner under Sec. Jr. JJ. 2) Said officer has neglected or has refused to act without sufficient justification after due demand or request has been made on him. Davide. concur. No costs. further disquisition is not proper. petitioner is not charged with a violation of Sec.Here. and 4) Such failure to so act is ‘for the purpose of obtaining. (Chairman).

SAYSON. J.R. The 3 May 2004 Resolution denied the Motion For Reconsideration of petitioner Ramon A.A. accused RAMON A. as amended. committed as follows: That in (sic) or about May 1990 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto. Asumbrado. THE SANDIGANBAYAN. No. Petitioner. Sayson and Arturo S.: The Case This is a petition for certiorari 1 of the Resolutions dated 10 February 20042 and 3 May 20043 of the Sandiganbayan.G. 3019 (RA 3019) or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in Criminal Case No. ALBERT. Albert (petitioner). 3019. The Facts On 24 March 1999. before the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. The 10 February 2004 Resolution granted the prosecution’s Motion to Admit the Amended Information. ALBERT. DECISION CARPIO. in the City of Davao. and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 25231. FAVIO D. Favio D. 164015 February 26. ASUMBRADO for (sic) violation of Section 3(e) R. a public officer. 2009 RAMON A. ALBERT. the Special Prosecution Officer (SPO) II of the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao charged petitioner and his co-accused. The Information alleged: The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer II of the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao hereby accuses RAMON A. and ARTURO S. being then the President of the National Home Mortgage and Finance Corporation. Respondents. occupying the said 17 . vs. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.

Inc. the NHMFC released the amount ofP4. and accused ARTURO S. pending the resolution of the Motion to Dismiss. The prosecution did not object to the latter motion on the condition that petitioner would be "provisionally" arraigned. then the President of the Buhangin Residents and Employees Association for Development.00 which is higher than the loanable amount the land could command being agricultural. In a Memorandum dated 6 January 2003.. a Hold Departure Order was Sandiganbayan against petitioner and his co-accused. then the Project Director of CODE Foundation Inc. the two pieces of real property covered by Certificate of Titles Nos. 25231 on the following grounds: (1) the accused (petitioner) was denied due process of law. in an Order dated 10 March 2003. On 26 November 2001. the Sandiganbayan arraigned petitioner who entered a plea of "not guilty.position with a salary grade above 27. conspiring and confederating with accused FAVIO D. the Ombudsman. the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss and ordered the prosecution to conduct a reinvestigation of the case with respect to petitioner. enter and make it appear in Tax Declaration Nos. petitioner filed a Motion to Lift Hold Departure Order and to be Allowed to Travel. while in the performance of his official function." In the Resolution dated 16 April 2001. petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss Criminal Case No. and (4) the resolution dated 26 February 1999 finding the accused guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 is not supported by evidence. or on 13 March 2001. CONTRARY TO LAW. petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Amend Motion to Lift Hold Departure Order and to be Allowed to Travel. T-151920 and T-151921 are residential lands which Tax Declarations accused submitted to the NHMFC when in truth and in fact. taking advantage of his official position.535. as accused well knew. thus causing undue injury to the government. T-151920 and T-151921 are agricultural land. and by reason of accused’s misrepresentation.4 On 26 March 1999. SAYSON. However. acting with evident bad faith and manifest partiality and or gross neglect of duty. the Sandiganbayan granted petitioner’s Urgent Motion to Amend Motion to Lift Hold Departure Order and to be Allowed to Travel. the SPO who conducted the reinvestigation recommended to the Ombudsman that the indictment against petitioner be reversed for lack of probable cause. (2) the Office of the Ombudsman did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused. D-3-1-7691 and D-3-1-7692 that two parcels of real property particularly described in the Certificate of Titles Nos.5 On 18 December 2000. did then and there willfully. The following day. committing the offense in relation to his office. unlawfully and criminally cause undue injury to the government and public interest. (3) the constitutional rights of the accused to a speedy disposition of cases and to a speedy trial were violated. ASUMBRADO.400. issued by the On 25 May 1999. 6 On 12 March 2001. disapproved the Memorandum and directed the Office of the Special Prosecutor to 18 .

occupying the said position with a salary grade above 27.00 which is higher than the loanable amount the land could command being agricultural. and by reason of accused’s misrepresentation. conspiring and confederating with accused FAVIO D. then the President of the Buhangin Residents and Employees Association for Development. and ARTURO S. SAYSON. ALBERT. CONTRARY TO LAW.proceed with the prosecution of the criminal case. On even date. the prosecution filed a Motion for Leave to Admit Amended Information. D-3-1-7691 and D-3-1-7692 that two parcels of real property particularly described in the Certificate of Titles Nos. the arraignment was reset to 2 October 2003. the Sandiganbayan scheduled the arraignment of petitioner on 24 July 2003. However. In a Manifestation dated 24 September 2003. T-151920 and T-151921 are agricultural land. then the Project Director of CODE Foundation Inc. In a Resolution promulgated on 16 May 2003.7 On 7 October 2003. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of the Ombudsman. Inc. ASUMBRADO for (sic) violation of Section 3(e) R. committed as follows: That in (sic) or about May 1990 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. unlawfully and criminally cause undue injury to the government and public interest. The Amended Information reads: The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer I of the Office of Special Prosecutor. in the City of Davao. while in the performance of his official function. accused RAMON A. taking advantage of his official position. FAVIO D. the prosecution filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Admit Amended Information.400. T-151920 and T-151921 are residential lands which Tax Declarations accused submitted to the NHMFC when in truth and in fact. 3019. as accused well knew. acting with evident bad faith and manifest partiality and/or gross inexcusable negligence. a public officer. this exparte motion was withdrawn by the prosecution with the intention of filing a Motion for Leave to Admit Amended Information. as amended. committing the offense in relation to his office. hereby accuses RAMON A. thus causing undue injury to the government. enter and make it appear in Tax Declaration Nos. in view of the pending motion for reconsideration of the order of the Ombudsman. and accused ARTURO S. being then the President of the National Home Mortgage and Finance Corporation. the two pieces of real property covered by Certificate of Titles Nos. the SPO informed the Sandiganbayan of the Ombudsman’s denial of petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. SAYSON.. During the 2 October 2003 hearing. did then and there willfully.535.A. the NHMFC released the amount ofP4. ALBERT.8 19 . The scheduled arraignment of petitioner was reset to 1 December 2003. ASUMBRADO.

alleging that the amendment made on the information is substantial and. The Ruling of the Sandiganbayan In its Resolution of 10 February 2004. And since the arraignment of petitioner on 13 March 2001 was merely "provisional. Hence this petition. therefore. the prosecution could still effect the same in the event that the accused had not yet undergone a permanent arraignment. which was denied by the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution of 3 May 2004. It may be considered however. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration.10 However. Through manifest partiality. that there are three modes by which the offense for Violation of Section 3(e) may be committed in any of the following: 1. it is not a requirement that such neglect or refusal causes undue injury compared to an information alleging gross inexcusable negligence where undue injury is a constitutive element." then the prosecution may still amend the information either in form or in substance.Petitioner opposed the motion. and held thus: In an information alleging gross neglect of duty. A change to this effect constitutes substantial amendment considering that the possible defense of the accused may divert from the one originally intended. the Sandiganbayan also held that even granting that the amendment of the information be formal or substantial. 2. At the outset. 3. not allowed after arraignment. Proof of the existence of any of these modes in connection with the prohibited acts under said section of the law should suffice to warrant conviction. WHETHER THE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN ADMITTING THE AMENDED INFORMATION. Through gross inexcusable negligence.9 the Sandiganbayan granted the prosecution’s Motion to Admit Amended Information. the Sandiganbayan explained that "gross neglect of duty" which falls under Section 3(f) of RA 3019 is different from "gross inexcusable negligence" under Section 3(e). AND 20 . The Issues The issues raised in this petition are: 1. Through evident bad faith.

Espinosa. 13 However. The Motion to Travel is granted subject to the usual terms and conditions imposed on accused persons travelling (sic) abroad. is granted the opportunity to know the precise charge that confronts him. informed and enlightened. 14.2.12 The practice of the Sandiganbayan of conducting "provisional" or "conditional" arraignments is not sanctioned by the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan or by the regular Rules of Court.15 In the present case. without leave of court. An arraignment is that stage where in the mode and manner required by the rules. provided that the alleged conditions attached thereto should be "unmistakable." 16 In the Resolution of 16 April 2001. otherwise.14 this Court tangentially recognized such practice. xxx Petitioner contends that under the above section. to which he enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. only a formal amendment of the information may be made after a plea. 11 The accused is formally informed of the charges against him. for the first time. in form or in substance.-. the arraignment of petitioner is reflected in the Minutes of the Sandiganbayan Proceedings dated 13 March 2001 which merely states that the "[a]ccused when arraigned entered a plea of not guilty. After the plea and during the trial.A complaint or information may be amended. As an indispensable requirement of due process. the arraignment should be deemed simple and unconditional. an arraignment cannot be regarded lightly or brushed aside peremptorily. then the information may be amended only in form. in People v. Amendment or Substitution. On Whether the Sandiganbayan Should Admit the Amended Information Section 14 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: Sec. The Ruling of the Court The petition has no merit. an accused." Moreover. WHETHER THE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN FURTHER PROCEEDING WITH THE CASE DESPITE THE VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED TO A SPEEDY TRIAL. The rule does not distinguish between a plea made during a "provisional" or a "permanent" arraignment. Since petitioner already entered a plea of "not guilty" during the 13 March 2001 arraignment.17 the Sandiganbayan mentioned the arraignment of petitioner and granted his Urgent Motion to Amend Motion to Lift Hold Departure Order and 21 . at any time before the accused enters his plea. a formal amendment may only be made with leave of court and when it can be done without causing prejudice to the rights of the accused. the conditions must be expressly stated in the Order disposing of the arraignment. express.

Nothing on record is indicative of the provisional or conditional nature of the arraignment.— In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. The rules mandate that after a plea is entered. setting forth the conditions attendant thereto which. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. including the Government. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. the arraignment of petitioner should be deemed simple and unconditional. following the doctrine laid down in Espinosa. only a formal amendment of the Information may be made but with leave of court and only if it does not prejudice the rights of the accused. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. This crime has the following essential elements:19 1. 2."18lawphil. he has to present evidence that he did not act with "gross inexcusable negligence. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits.to be Allowed to Travel. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party. He must have acted with manifest partiality. and 22 . He asserts that under the amended information. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. however. and written advice to the court upon return to the Philippines. Petitioner contends that replacing "gross neglect of duty" with "gross inexcusable negligence" is a substantial amendment of the Information which is prejudicial to his rights. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official. Hence. the setting up of additional bailbond.net We are not convinced. petitioner refers to the 10 February 2004 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan which ruled that the change "constitutes substantial amendment considering that the possible defense of the accused may divert from the one originally intended. judicial or official functions. the required appearance before the clerk of court. Petitioner is charged with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 which provides as follows: SEC." evidence he was not required to present under the original information. To bolster his argument. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative. were limited only to petitioner’s itinerary abroad.

23 "Evident bad faith" contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive or self-interest or ill will or for ulterior purposes. the amendment seeks to replace "gross neglect of duty" with "gross inexcusable negligence." "evident bad faith. would be inapplicable to the complaint or information as amended." or "gross inexcusable negligence." The amended information.3. "gross inexcusable negligence" would be included in the Information as a modality in the commission of the offense. alleges that petitioner acted with "evident bad faith and manifest partiality and/or gross inexcusable negligence. through "manifest partiality. 22 "Evident bad faith" connotes not only bad judgment but also palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. His action caused any undue injury to any party. including the government. or by culpa. advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.21 this Court explained that Section 3(e) of RA 3019 may be committed either by dolo." Simply." Given that these two phrases fall under different paragraphs of RA 3019—specifically. as it originally stood. The second element provides the different modes by which the crime may be committed. therefore. acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act.25 The original information filed against petitioner alleged that he acted with "evident bad faith and manifest partiality and or (sic) gross neglect of duty. on the other hand. not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally. There is "manifest partiality" when there is a clear. and when any evidence the accused might have. as when the accused committed gross inexcusable negligence. adds nothing essential for conviction for the crime charged is an amendment to form that can be made at anytime. as when the accused acted with evident bad faith or manifest partiality. would no longer be available after the amendment is made."20 In Uriarte v. the amendment entails the deletion of the phrase "gross neglect of duty" from the Information. People. or plain inclination or predilection to favor one side or person rather than another.28 As a replacement. that is. with conscious indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. 24 "Gross inexcusable negligence" refers to negligence characterized by the want of even the slightest care. or gave any private party unwarranted benefits. an amendment which merely states with additional precision something which is already contained in the original information and which.27lavvphil In this case. This Court believes that the same constitutes an amendment only in 23 . Although this may be considered a substantial amendment.26 On the other hand. "gross neglect of duty" is under Section 3(f) while "gross inexcusable negligence" is under Section 3(e) of the statute—the question remains whether or not the amendment is substantial and prejudicial to the rights of petitioner. the same is allowable even after arraignment and plea being beneficial to the accused. notorious. The test as to when the rights of an accused are prejudiced by the amendment of a complaint or information is when a defense under the complaint or information.

petitioner maintains that it took the Office of the Ombudsman twelve (12) years since the initial filing of the complaintaffidavit in 1992 to charge accused with the offense under the Amended Information. but specified only "manifest partiality" and "evident bad faith" as the modalities in the commission of the offense charged. the SPO. Thus. this Court applied by analogy the pronouncement in Cabello v. Article III of the Philippine Constitution which provides: "All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial.33 24 . but this recommendation was denied by the Ombudsman. "Gross inexcusable negligence" was not mentioned in the Information. recommended that the case against petitioner be dismissed for lack of probable cause. this Court held that the said section is committed by dolo or culpa. which merely alleges "manifest partiality" and "evident bad faith" as modalities in the commission of the crime under Section 3(e) of RA 3019. but it was resolved by the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao only on 26 February 1999. On Whether Petitioner’s Right to a Speedy Trial was Violated Petitioner contends that the complaint-affidavit against him was filed on 15 June 1992. We concede that judicial proceedings do not exist in a vacuum and must contend with the realities of everyday life. or after a period of almost seven (7) years. quasijudicial.32 A simple mathematical computation of the period involved is not sufficient. The Court held that a conviction for a criminal negligent act can be had under an information exclusively charging the commission of a willful offense upon the theory that the greater includes the lesser offense. is an amendment in form. In Sistoza v." This right. or administrative bodies. or when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried.form. however. Nonetheless. upon reinvestigation of the case. the other mode is deemed included in the accusation to allow proof thereof. Sandiganbayan31 where an accused charged with willful malversation was validly convicted of the same felony of malversation through negligence when the evidence merely sustained the latter mode of perpetrating the offense. Thus. we hold that the inclusion of "gross inexcusable negligence" in the Information. and although the Information may have alleged only one of the modalities of committing the offense. Desierto. capricious. The right of an accused to a speedy trial is guaranteed under Section 16. 30 In so ruling.29 the Information charged the accused with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019. Petitioner’s contentions are futile. or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured. and oppressive delays. is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious. A Motion for Leave to Admit Amended Information was later filed by the prosecution and granted by the Sandiganbayan in the questioned Resolution of 10 February 2004. in violation of petitioner’s right to a speedy trial. Four (4) years thereafter.

25 . It appears that the said delays were caused by the numerous motions for extension of time to file various pleadings and to reproduce documents filed by petitioner’s coaccused. and was duly addressed by the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution denying the said motion. we believe that the right of petitioner to a speedy trial was not infringed upon.After reviewing the records of the case. capricious. WHEREFORE. Hence. or unjustified. SO ORDERED. it is necessary so that the accused's right will not be compromised or sacrificed at the altar of expediency. 25231.34 The succeeding events appear to be parts of a valid and regular course of judicial proceedings not attended by delays which can be considered vexatious. and that no actual preliminary investigation was conducted on petitioner. Although the reinvestigation inadvertently resulted to further delay in the proceedings. this process could not have been dispensed with as it was done for the protection of the rights of petitioner himself. The issue on the inordinate delay in the resolution of the complaint-affidavit filed against petitioner and his coaccused and the filing of the original Information against petitioner was raised in petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss. we DISMISS the petition. It is well-settled that although the conduct of an investigation may hold back the progress of a case. petitioner’s contention of violation of his right to a speedy trial must fail. We AFFIRM the Resolutions dated 10 February 2004 and 3 May 2004 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. The Sandiganbayan properly held that a reinvestigation of the case as to petitioner was in order. oppressive.

December 20. C. Decision [3] The of of Cantilan. the assailed decision Regional Branch Trial 41. Chairperson. Joventino Correos declared for taxation purposes a . J. JJ. Republic Act (R. No.* YNARES-SANTIAGO.J. Uriarte for violation of Section 3(e). 058 and its Resolution [2] denying the motion for partial reconsideration modification the thereof.) No. No. URIARTE.** AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.9434-hectare 26 . SR. Petitioner was the Municipal the Municipality of Carrascal.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Sandiganbayan in A. and CHICO-NAZARIO. Surigao del Sur.R. 3019. Surigao del Sur.A... 169251 Petitioner. CALLEJO. Assessor of In 1948. 2006 x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION CALLEJO. affirmed Court with (RTC) convicting petitioner DemieL. .R. G.DEMIE L..versus - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Present: PANGANIBAN. SR. Promulgated: Respondent.

West: Carrascal River In 1974. Surigao Area: . no longer contained alterations: TD No. TD No. 4642. East: Botong Creek. 3352. however. Surigao del Sur. Poblacion. declared a twohectare lot for taxation purposes under TD No. TD No. 243. However. Antioco Uriarte. the entries in the original tax declaration–TD No.” The subsequent tax declarations. [15] where “Embarcadero” was inserted on the entry pertaining to the location of the property. 3352 was cancelled by TD No. 5249. [14] In 1980. 243 27 . East: Botong Rill. No. Carrascal. Surigao del Sur” the property was to changed from “(S) Botong.[7] where the boundaries of the property were also changed. South: Maximo Leva and Botong Rill.9434 hectares Boundaries: North: Carrascal River. [13] and the entries regarding the boundaries of the property were also altered. and ARP No. (B) Doyos. as follows: Boundaries: North: Carrascal River South: Botong Rill East: Botong Creek West: Antioco Uriarte TD No. 1534 was cancelled by TD No. TD No. In 1985 TD No. ARP No. in 1954.D. Carrascal. [4] The pertinent entries read: Location: Batong. the previous tax declaration was “revised” by TD No. 1534. Surigao Boundaries: North: Carrascal River. 3352–were restored.” In 1985. Carrascal. [5] In 1980. in ARP No. Meantime. 116. [12] The pertinent entries are the following: Area: 2 hectares Location: Doot. 116 was cancelled by TD No. TD No. 93-08-00344 [9] in 1994. 121 thus contained significant “revisions. 96-0800349[10] in 1997. 121. Carrascal. petitioner’s father. 121. West: Maximo Leva and Carrascal River In 1974. South: Maximo Leva. 96-08-00328 [11] filed in 2000. [6] where the entry pertaining to the location of “Batong. 4642 was canceled by TD No. 132 [8] which canceled T.parcel of land under Tax Declaration (TD) No.

1999. East: Joventino Correos. through counsel. [16]This time. 96-09-00290 [18] effective 1997.[23] to which Arpilleda filed her Reply-Affidavit[24] on October 28. Evelyn Arpilleda. 247 and ARP No. Surigao del Sur against petitioner for violation of Section 3(e). JoventinoCorreos. 1999. The Information Office [25] of the dated November Ombudsman-Mindanao 24. It was alleged that the alterations prejudiced her since they became the basis of petitioner’s “forceful and unlawful possession” of the subject property. the “boundaries” of the lot became North: Carrascal River. the Administrative Officer of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Tandag. TD No. 270[17] which canceled TD No. the original entries were restored. Branch 41.A. Arpilleda. 3019. Petitioner filed his Counter-Affidavit. South: Pantaleon Cervantes. later 1999 before filed an the RTC[26] of Tandag. 96-08-00328. Surigao del Sur forwarded[27] the entire case record to the RTC of Cantilan. On July 5. R. Surigao del Sur. The Office of the Ombudsman requested Arpilleda to formalize the charges. 28 . Surigao del Sur. sent a letter[20] to the Office of the Ombudsman (Mindanao) stating the alleged unlawful acts of petitioner in altering the tax declarations of Joventino Correos and Antioco Uriarte. Thus. the area of the property was changed from two (2) to three (3) hectares. did not contain any further alterations. 1999. through counsel.” The subsequent tax declarations. 1999. 247. She requested that the “erroneous and prejudicial entries” be rectified. On May 21. and the boundary in the east became “Joventino Correos. 1999. in ARP No. West: Maximo Leva The above alterations were allegedly committed by petitioner when she was the Municipal Assessor and Deputy Provincial Assessor of Carrascal. On December 15.was canceled by TD No.[21] She later complied by filing a Sworn Complaint [22] dated August 19. sent a letter[19] informing petitioner of the alterations that had been made on the tax declarations of her predecessor. Petitioner complied with the request. Thus.

[40] which was however denied in an Order[41] dated July 3. 2000. 2000. [36] claiming that the Supreme Court likewise declared in a Resolution in Uy v. not the Ombudsman.A. petitioner cited Uy v. 2002.[32] On October 2. the trial court ordered[30] his preventive suspension.[28] alleging that the immediate suspension of petitioner is proper in view of the provisions of R. 29 . the private prosecutor moved to reinstate the case. On even date.Sandiganbayan. the special prosecution officer of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao had no authority to file the information. [33] He claimed that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case because in the first place. On November 6. 2001. private complainant. The case was then set for pre-trial and the parties submitted their respective pre-trial briefs.[34] where it was held that the authority to file the corresponding information before the RTC rests in the prosecutor. and pleaded not guilty. 2002. and that the latter exercises prosecutorial powers only in cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. filed a Motion to Suspend Pendente Lite. 2000. Petitioner posted bail. the trial court ordered the case reinstated. On June 15. 3019 and existing jurisprudence. the trial court further ordered the issuance of a warrant of arrest.On March 13. through counsel. petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information.[31] pointing out that he had already served three months’ suspension. 2000. petitioner filed a Motion to Lift Order of Preventive Suspension. On July 12. Sandiganbayan[37]that the Ombudsman is clothed with authority to conduct preliminary investigation. 2000. and to prosecute all criminal cases involving public employees–not only those involving public officers within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but also those within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. Since the bail bond of petitioner had been cancelled. The trial court granted the motion on June 16. 2001. She likewise filed a Manifestation and/or Motion for Inhibition. The trial court provisionally dismissed[35] the case and ordered the cancellation of petitioner’s bail bond. Private complainant filed a Reservation to File Civil Action [38] which the trial court granted in an Order [39] dated March 15.[29] Petitioner was arraigned on March 14. To support his claim.

Trial on the merits ensued. for his part.[47] On the other hand. and Gaudiosa Tolentino who testified on the creation of barangays Embarcadero and Doyos as well as the existing sitios. Pelong belongs while Botongbelongs to Barangay Embarcadero.[51] 30 . or (c) the boundaries of the property. took advantage of his position and caused changes in the location and boundaries of various tax declarations of Joventino Correos and Antioco Uriarte. (b) the names of the adjoining owner. He also claimed that as municipal assessor. stating that they were the result of the general revision made in 1978.[50] Petitioner. He however justified the changes. the defense presented four (4) witnesses. specifically on the damage they sustained when petitioner [43] evicted them from the land they had been occupying.[42] Tremy Correos who corroborated private complainant’s testimony. Yañez. he has absolute authority to determine the barangay to which a particular property belongs. [49] to Barangay Doyos. He further asserted that the prosecution failed to cite any law that prohibits a municipal assessor from making revisions on (a) the location of the property according to barangay. as barangay captain of Embarcadero. [48]Florida Coma who was once the barangay captain of Barangay Embarcadero and testified that Sitio or Purok Doot. thus causing damage and prejudice to her and her co-heirs. Richard Paniamogan who. admitted that he had made changes on the tax declarations. an employee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who testified that the land covered by the subject tax declarations had not been surveyed and no title had been issued by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office. part of barangayEmbarcadero. and that these changes were designed to promote petitioner’s own interest. namely: Leovino Constantino. dispensed with in view of the parties’ admission of the copy of the police blotter on the alleged eviction [46] of private complainant and Carlito A. and the prosecution presented the following witnesses: private complainant Arpilleda. Petitioner likewise insisted that the case is civil and not criminal in nature. as Municipal Assessor. issued a certification that Botong is located in that barangay and testified thereon. SPO2 Saturnino Cubero. [44] Charmelinda A. Ladroma who and likewise her co-heirs testified from the that Botong is lot. who testified that petitioner. however. then the provincial assessor who testified on the limitations [45] of the powers of the municipal assessor. whose testimony was.

2004. perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of all retirement benefits or gratuity benefits under any law and in the event that such convicted officer. otherwise known as the AntiGraft and Corrupt Practices Act and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. URIARTE FOR VIOLATION OF SEC. III. on April 29. paragraph (e) of Republic Act 3019.A. 63-97 of the Supreme Court dated October 6. 3019 UNDER THE INFORMATION THAT DOES NOT CHARGED (SIC) SUCH AN OFFENSE. premises considered. 1997. EVEN ASSUMING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT (THAT) THE INFORMATION CHARGES THE OFFENSE OF VIOLATION OF SEC. 2004. has already received such benefits shall be liable to restitute the same to the government. petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal[58] before the Sandiganbayan on the following grounds: I.A. the trial court denied the motion in its Order[53] dated August 1. 3019. Municipal Assessor of Carrascal. After the parties rested their respective cases. THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED GRAVE AND REVERSIBLE ERROR IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED BASED ON FACTS NOT ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION AND NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. [57] On May 6. 2004. rendered a decision[54] convicting petitioner of violating Section 3(e) of R. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING DEMIE L. this Court imposes upon the accused the penalty of imprisonment ranging from SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH to TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY. STILL.[55] On April 29. which was later withdrawn.A. 3019. 2003. GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT as principal for violation of Section 3. 31 . who may have already been separated from the service. the RTC. SO ORDERED. II.Petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to file Demurrer to Evidence[52] dated June 25. The falloreads: WHEREFORE. The bail bond put up by the accused for his temporary liberty is ordered cancelled. Surigao del Sur. petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal [56] to the Court of Appeals (CA). Panabo City. 3(E) OF R. this Court finds DEMIE URIARTE Y LIMGUANGCO. Davao del Norte pursuant to Circular No. 3 (E) OF R. To pay the cost. However. Accused shall serve his sentence at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm. as amended. 2003.

any undue injury because the original entries in the tax declarations had already been restored. the findings and conclusion of the trial court. 3019. MARCH 11. this violated his constitutional right to be informed of the accusation against him.[59] Petitioner averred that the prosecution failed to allege in the information any prohibited act which he had committed in the performance of his official duties or in relation to his public position. SANDIGANAYAN (SIC) [G. He also invoked the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official function as an additional ground. since this was not alleged in the information.A. and therefore AFFIRMS. this Court hereby finds no cogent reason to disturb or reverse. THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED AND ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION TANTAMOUNT TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED NOTWITHSTANDING THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO SPECIFY. 122166. which is essential in a charge under Section 3(e). has already received such benefits shall be liable to restitute the same to the government” is hereby ordered deleted.ASSUMING FURTHER THAT THE INFORMATION CHARGED VIOLATION OF SEC.[61] He pointed out that private complainant could not prove. 3 (E) OF R. much less impute.R. [60] Petitioner also claimed that the RTC erred in concluding that he had intended to dispossess private complainant of their property. 2005.[62] The fallo reads: WHEREFORE. 1998]. NO. He further averred that no mention was made of the injury caused to any party. IV. R. who may have already been separated from the service. such that the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) MONTH to TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. SO ORDERED. AGAIN. the Sandiganbayan affirmed with modification the decision of the RTC.A. 3019. On April 15. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED FOR FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PRESENT CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME THE LEGAL PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS AS MUNICIPAL ASSESSOR.[63] 32 . QUANTIFY AND PROVE THE ELEMENT OF “UNDUE INJURY” PURSUANT TO THE RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT IN LLORENTE V. in the light of all the foregoing. with modification of the imposable penalty. The clause “and forfeiture of all retirement benefits or gratuity benefits under any law and in the event that such convicted officer.

As to the prosecution’s alleged failure to specify the element of undue injury. on the part of private complainant. Lastly. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. in relation to the facts alleged in the information and those proven during trial. The provision reads: Section 3.A. xxxx 33 . CAN AN ACCUSED BE CONVICTED UNDER AN INFORMATION THAT CHARGES AN OFFENSE WHICH THE COURT ADMITTED THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE AS A VIOLATION OF ANY LAW? II. the court held that under the General Instructions Governing the Conduct and Procedures in the General Revision of Real Property Assessment. Moreover. while the element of undue injury was alleged in the phrase “to the damage and prejudice of the said heirs. Corrupt practices of public officers. CAN AN ACCUSED BE CONVICTED OF VIOLATION OF SEC. the anti-graft court held that the injury caused by petitioner was not in terms of money but. the deprivation of three-fourths of her property. 3 (E) OF R. 3019 BASED ON CONCLUSION OF FACTS MADE BY THE TRIAL COURT THAT HE COMMITTED LANDGRABBING AND/OR DISPOSSESSING THE COMPLAINANT OF HER PROPERTY.The anti-graft court held that all the elements of violation of the offense had been alleged in the information.A. the failure of petitioner to notify Joventino Correos of the changes in the entries defies the provision therein that owners should participate in the revision. Petitioner comes before this Court on the following issues: I. Lastly. R.[64] the municipal assessor had no discretion to change the entries in tax declarations. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful. the allegation that the appellant willfully changed the location and boundaries of the subject properties was the prohibited act. WHICH OFFENSES WERE NOT CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION?[65] The resolution of the issues raised by petitioner hinges on the interpretation of the elements of the crime of violation of Section 3(e). 3019. the presumption of regularity has been overcome by petitioner’s unilateral act of restoring the original boundaries and location of the property owned by Joventino Correos.” The facts that had not been alleged in the information were evidentiary matters.

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the
Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted
benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality,
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision
shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government
corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or
other concessions.

The essential elements of this crime have been enumerated in several
cases[66] decided by this Court, as follows:
1. The accused must be a public officer discharging
administrative, judicial or official functions;
2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident
bad faith or inexcusable negligence; and
3. That his action caused any undue injury to any party,
including the government, or giving any private party
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge
of his functions.
A perusal of the Information filed against petitioner shows that all
these elements were sufficiently alleged, as correctly ruled upon by both the
RTC and Sandiganbayan. The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That in 1993, and sometime prior or subsequent thereto,
at the Municipality of Carrascal, Surigao del Sur, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused DEMIE L. URIARTE, a public officer being the Municipal
Assessor of Carrascal, Surigao del Sur, while in the performance
of his official functions, committing the offense in relation to
office, taking advantage of his position, acting with evident bad
faith and manifest partiality, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully, and feloniously cause the change of the location and
boundaries of the property of one Joventino Correos as indicated
in Tax Declaration (TD) Nos. 121 and 132 despite knowing fully
well that in the previously issued TD Nos. 3352 and 5249, of the
same property state different location and boundaries and also,
cause the change of the location and boundaries of the property
of his own father, Antioco Uriarte, particularly, to make it appear
that the property is adjacent to the property of Joventino Correos,
in order to favor his own interest being an heir
of Antioco Uriarte and occupant of the land subject of the
application of the heirs of Joventino Correos, to the damage and
prejudice of the said heirs.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[67]

Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 may be committed either by dolo, as when
the accused acted with evident bad faith or manifest partiality, or
34

by culpa as when the accused committed gross inexcusable negligence.
There is “manifest partiality” when there is a clear, notorious or plain
inclination or predilection to favor one side or person rather than another.
[68]

“Evident bad faith” connotes not only bad judgment but also palpably

and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or
conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. [69] It contemplates
a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some
motive or self-interest or ill will or for ulterior purposes. [70] “Gross
inexcusable negligence” refers to negligence characterized by the want of
even the slightest care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is
a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with conscious
indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected.[71]
From the evidence adduced by the parties, petitioner indeed acted
with evident bad faith in making the alteration on the entries in the tax
declarations

of

both JoventinoCorreos and Antioco Uriarte.

The

fact

of

alteration is shown not only in the tax declarations presented in evidence;
petitioner also admitted that he made the alterations himself. Petitioner even
attempted to justify his act by stating that such changes were made
pursuant to the General Instructions issued in 1978 for the general revision
of tax declarations, and that he was authorized to make the alterations
because municipal assessors were mandated to identify the properties
according to the barangay where the property is located. Petitioner likewise
justified his act of changing the boundaries of the property covered by the
tax declarations of Joventino and Antioco because of the alleged instruction
that the boundaries should be designated using the name of the landowner.
Paragraph 28 of the General Instructions Governing the Conduct and
Procedures in the General Revision of Real Property Assessments[72] provides:
28) The boundaries which will appear in the field sheets shall be
the name of persons, streets, rivers or natural boundaries
adjoining the property subject of revision. The technical
descriptions of the land to be revised should not be written down
on the field sheets, not only to follow the prescribed form but
also to avoid additional or unnecessary typing costs. Tax
declarations are issued for taxation purposes and they are not
titles to lands. In case boundary conflict arises, the parties can
refer to the titles.[73]

Thus, contrary to petitioner’s contention that the boundaries should be
designated only according to the names of persons, the provision clearly
allows the streets, rivers, and natural boundaries of the property to be
placed on the tax declarations. Petitioner was aware of the consequences of
35

altering the entries in the tax declarations, particularly in the untitled
properties. Petitioner’s bad faith is further strengthened by the fact that he
did

not

inform Joventino Correos or

the

private

complainant

of

the

alterations, including his act of restoring the original entries in the tax
declarations. Assuming for the sake of argument that he was not motivated
by ill will but merely committed a mistake in the interpretation of the wording
of the Instructions, petitioner’s act is nevertheless unjustified. We cannot
fathom why a municipal assessor would think that the boundaries of a
particular property should only be designated by persons’ names. Even one
of ordinary intelligence would know that a property may be bounded by a
street, a river, or a mountain. In any event, therefore, petitioner may still be
considered guilty of inexcusable negligence.
Petitioner contends that due to the prosecution’s failure to cite any law
that prohibits the municipal assessor from altering tax declarations, the
presumption is that he regularly performed his official duties. However, the
very Instructions petitioner relies upon to justify his acts outlines the
limitations

on

the

authority

of

municipal

assessors

to

revise

tax

declarations. Paragrah 27 provides:
27) Utmost care should be taken that the full christian and
surname appearing in the existing 1978 tax declaration must
exactly be the same christian and surname which has to be
carried forward to the field sheets. For obvious reasons, no
transfer or change of ownership of real property be made by
assessors or appraisers in the process of general revision. The
primary purpose of general revision is not to transfer or change
ownership of property from one person to another during the
period of revision but to update or upgrade property values for
real property taxation purposes. However, real property declared
for the first time shall be appraised and assessed for taxation
purposes. Lands declared for the first time shall be accepted
provided the declaration is supported by corresponding
certification of the Bureau of Forest Development and the Bureau
of Lands that the land so declared is in the alienable or
disposable area (emphasis supplied).
The third element provides for the modalities in which the crime

may

be committed, namely: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including
the Government; or (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted
benefit, advantage or preference.[74] The use of the disjunctive term “or”
connotes that either act qualifies as a violation of Sec. 3, par. (e), or as aptly
held in Santiago v. Garchitorena,[75] as two (2) different modes of committing
the offense. This does not, however, indicate that each mode constitutes a
distinct offense, rather, that an accused may be charged under either mode
or under both.
36

either in his person. which would have been evident had the lot been surveyed. Sandiganbayan.A.[76] “undue injury” is consistently interpreted as “actual damage. Moreover. in willfully changing the boundaries of the tax declarations of Joventino Correos and Antioco Uriarte. In the original tax declaration. In jurisprudence. or illegal. unauthorized. the invasion of any legally protected interest of another. The alteration substantially changed the identity of the property. in Gallego v. between petitioner and private complainant. petitioner’s act of altering the boundaries of the property in question as stated in the tax declaration clearly falls under the very act punishable by Section 3(e). The new entries in effect “lessened” the area of private complainant’s property. This Court has no jurisdiction over the issue. the deletion of the entry “Maximo Leva” in the south boundary of Joventino Correos’ property was also 37 .[77] the Court ruled that unwarranted means lacking adequate or official support. caused undue injury to private complainant as an heir of Joventino Correos.” Undue has been defined as more than necessary. choice or estimation above another. the alterations made by petitioner are too substantial to ignore. not proper. no such property existed. benefit from course of action. 3019. It was made to appear that petitioner’s property is between the Carrascal River and that of the private complainant. Indeed.We affirm the Sandiganbayan’s finding that there was substantial compliance with the requirement. On the other hand. both caused undue injury to private complainant and gave himself and his father unwarranted benefit. Preference signifies priority or higher evaluation or desirability. or without justification or adequate reasons. benefit or gain of any kind. rights. and injury as any wrong or damage done to another. especially on the boundaries of the property. R. that is.[78] From the foregoing definitions. Advantage means a more favorable or improved position or condition. though not conclusive. the tax declarations constitute important evidence of the declarant’s possession and ownership. Suffice it to state that the alteration of the entries in the subject tax declarations. The wording of the information shows that petitioner. reputation or property. and the evidence presented is not sufficient to make a definite determination of ownership. unjustified. has the better right to own and possess the subject property. It bears stressing that it is beyond the power of this Court to settle the issue of who. Considering that the property in question was not titled and no survey had yet been conducted to settle the actual areas and boundaries of the properties.

Proof of ownership together with identity of the land is the basic rule. R. While tax declarations are indicia of a valid claim of ownership. petitioner avers that he cannot be convicted on the basis of the court’s conclusion of land-grabbing and dispossession as no such facts have been alleged in the information. We do not agree. The anti-graft court correctly held that the finding of the RTC–“that there was hidden intention on the part of the petitioner to grab and dispossess private complainant from their property”–was merely descriptive of how petitioner acted with evident bad faith. Petitioner in fact admitted that while he declared that the subject property was in the name of Joventino Correos. he later stated that the property in his possession was declared for taxation in the name of his father. the lot in his father’s name and that declared under Joventino Correos’ name.[84] Lastly. they do not constitute conclusive evidence thereof. since this alteration had the effect of deleting the property entirely. he was not civilly held liable for dispossession of property or eviction.[81] It must be stressed that the alterations made by petitioner compromised the identity of the private complainant’s property.prejudicial. There was thus no need for this matter to be alleged in the information. It is evident from the decisions of both the RTC and the Sandiganbayan that petitioner was charged and convicted of violating Section 3(e).[79] From this testimony. Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code applies in a suppletory character as provided for under Article 10[83] of the same Code. are not certain.A. they may become the basis of a claim for ownership. he was in possession thereof. it can be inferred that the identities of the properties in his possession. a person who claims ownership of real property is duty bound to clearly identify the land being claimed in accordance with the document on which he anchors his right of ownership. They are prima facie proofs of ownership or possession of the property for which such taxes have been paid. The fact that petitioner restored the original entries in the tax declarations is of no moment. 38 . restoration of the entries in the tax declaration is not one of those enumerated under Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code [82] as one of the ways by which to extinguish criminal liability. 3019. Coupled with proof of actual possession of the property. however. [80] Moreover.

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. since the reason therefor could be proved during the trial. 39 . 2005 is AFFIRMED. which need not be further alleged in the information. as in the present case. perpetual disqualification from public office. 4. the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.A. to ten (10) years and one (1) day. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. 3019 is provided for in Section 9 of the law: SECTION 9. as maximum. [86] Thus. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan dated March 21.It bears stressing that an information needs only to allege the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. Penalties for violations –(a) Any public officer or private person committing any of the unlawful acts or omission enumerated in Sections 3. an allegation of evident bad faith on the part of petitioner is sufficient. as minimum. 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. an indeterminate penalty shall be imposed on the accused. Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law. In view of the circumstances obtaining in the instant case. [85] It must state only the relevant facts. and the minimum not less than the minimum prescribed therein. the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by the law. The penalty for violation of Section 3(e) of R. The trial court correctly found that petitioner’s hidden intention to grab the land of private complainant is a manifestation of evident bad faith. if the offense is punished by special law. SO ORDERED. the Sandiganbayan correctly imposed the indeterminate prison term of six (6) years and one (1) month. with perpetual disqualification from public office.

and investigate the motives of every person involved in a transaction before affixing his signature as the final approving authority. petitioner. this response is excessive and would simply engender catastrophic consequences since prosecution will likely not end with just one civil servant but must. without more. painstakingly trace every step from inception. bureau chief. in the same manner that the other officials who were not charged but who nonetheless authorized the transaction in their respective capacities. logically. include like an unsteady streak of dominoes the department secretary. 144784. Sistoza as then Director of the Bureau of Corrections who merely acted pursuant to representations made by three (3) office divisions thereof. ANIANO DESIERTO in his capacity as Ombudsman. September 3. and to eliminate systems of government acquisition procedures which covertly ease corrupt practices. SISTOZA. where supporting documents along with transactions reflected therein passed the unanimous approval of 40 . although coupled with repeated endorsements of its approval to the proper authority. commission chairman. nor does the solution fester in the indiscriminate use of the conspiracy theory which may sweep into jail even the most innocent ones. (e). To say the least. all the blame unfortunately fell upon petitioner Pedro G.R. 3. if a public officer were to personally examine every single detail. of RA 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. our bureaucracy would end up with public managers doing nothing else but superintending minute details in the acts of their subordinates. as amended.: There is no question on the need to ferret out and expel public officers whose acts make bureaucracy synonymous with graft in the public eye. relied upon the assurance of regularity made by their individual subordinates. But the remedy is not to indict and jail every person who happens to have signed a piece of document or had a hand in implementing routine government procurement. par. and all chief auditors who. respondents.[G. (e). and ELISEO CO. were filed against the responsible officials of the Department of Justice and officers of other government agencies who similarly approved the procurement subject of the instant petition and authorized the disbursement of funds to pay for it. agency head. solely from a mere signature on a purchase order. par. if the flawed reasoning were followed. of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. J. 2002] PEDRO G. 3. In truth. it is sheer speculation to perceive and ascribe corrupt intent and conspiracy of wrongdoing for violation of Sec. No. Stretching the argument further. if only to avoid prosecution. vs. DECISION BELLOSILLO. as amended. are equally culpable for every crime arising from disbursements they sanction. It is worth noting that while no charges of violation of Sec.

Thus.[2] On the other hand.. Stated otherwise. personal and deliberate participation of each individual who is charged with others as part of a conspiracy.[1] The offers of the respective bidders were embodied in their individual bid tender forms securely placed inside sealed envelopes. Anything less is insufferably deficient to establish probable cause. no definite nor certain defects or when the public officer's trust and confidence in his subordinates upon whom the duty primarily lies are within parameters of tolerable judgment and permissible margins of error. [3] In the same breadth. when at the outset the evidence offered at preliminary investigation proves nothing more than the signature of a public officer and his statements verifying the regularity of prior procedure on the basis of documents apparently reliable. in situations of fallible discretion.00 for 100/170 tins-grams to one (1) case while RBJJ and PMS Trading Enterprises tendered their respective bids for the same quantity at the higher prices of P1. for offering a non-registered brand of 41 . Inc. and Elias General Merchandising.380.equally accountable public officers and appeared regular and customary on their face. evidence of guilt must be premised upon a more knowing. This petition for certiorari and prohibition stemmed from a routine purchase of tomato paste to be used as ingredient in the austere diet of the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison. It appears that the bid tender form executed by Elias General Merchandising and submitted to PBAC already indicated a change in the quantity specification from 48/170 tinsgrams to 100/170 tins-grams which PBAC approved as shown by the initials of the chairman and members thereof. The specification for tomato paste appearing in the bid announcement and the bid tender form where it appeared as item 55 was 48/170 tins-grams to one (1) case. Furthermore.380. Inc. good faith is nonetheless appreciated when the document relied upon and signed shows no palpable nor patent. Bid and Awards Committee (PBAC) of the Bureau of Corrections offered for public bidding the supply of tomato paste in addition to other food items for consumption in the month of September.00 for the quantity of 48/198 tins-grams to one (1) case. it is nonetheless essential to prove that the breach of duty borders on malice and is characterized by flagrant. palpable and willful indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. As we have consistently held. even if the conspiracy were one of silence and inaction arising from gross inexcusable negligence.10 andP1.. Inc. PBAC rejected the bid of Filcrafts Industries. the prosecution is duty-bound to dismiss the affidavit-complaint as a matter of law and spare the system meant to restore and propagate integrity in public service from the embarrassment of a careless accusation of crime as well as the unnecessary expense of a useless and expensive criminal trial. Elias General Merchandising offered a bid ofP1.05 per case. proffered P539. Filcrafts Industries. PMS Trading Enterprises. On 10 August 1999 the Pre-Qualification.350.. Filcrafts Industries. Among the bidders were RBJJ.

55 (tomato paste) was awarded to Elias 42 . tomato paste which is more or less P1. [8] Petitioner Sistoza received the purchase order and its supporting documents. He said The Pre-Qualification.12/box of 100 cans/170 grams supposedly matching the lowest bid of Filcrafts Industries Inc. Petitioner Sistoza endorsed the winning bid of Elias General Merchandising to the Department of Justice which initially disapproved the same. the Justice Department disapproved the endorsement notwithstanding the reduced price since Elias General Merchandising allegedly remained to be only the second lowest bidder.00/box for 100 cans/170 grams. The purchase order was thus returned to the Supply Division which then informed Elias General Merchandising of the development.00 for 100/170 tins-grams to one (1) case and no longer the initial specification of 48/170 tins-grams. For the second time. Bid and Awards Committee in its resolution dated 2 September 1999 states that Item No. cursorily read them and thereafter affixed his signature on the purchase order.[11] Elias General Merchandising rejected the counter-offer and pegged its price offer at P1. [5] On 13 August 1999 the Supply Division of the Bureau of Corrections thus prepared the purchase order (PO No.00 for 100/170 tins-grams to one (1) case.tomato paste in the Philippines and its failure to specify in the bid tender form the country of origin of the tomato paste it would supply. [7] The Management Division of the Bureau of Corrections passed upon the purchase order and confirmed the regularity of the procedures previously undertaken.350.[9] On 2 September 1999 PBAC issued a resolution noting that Elias General Merchandising "in all angles x x x greatly complied with the specifications provided" thereby confirming its winning bid for the monthlong supply of tomato paste.120." The Supply Division proposed in return the price of P964. On 29 October 1999 petitioner endorsed to the Department of Justice the purchase order in favor of Elias General Merchandising and conveyed the supplier's discounted offer ofP1.350.00 for 100 cans/170 grams.[4] Based on the abstract of bidding. while the Accounting Division authorized the funding of the purchase order.[10] The Justice Department observed that the award to the supplier with only the second lowest bid was not adequately justified in the 2 September 1999 resolution of the PBAC. 55.00 for 100 cans/170 grams. C-99-0140) for the one (1)-month supply of tomato paste in favor of Elias General Merchandising. He also alluded to the fact that the tomato paste had been delivered to the New Bilibid Prison and already consumed by its inmates. Elias General Merchandising won the bidding with its offer of P1.[12] On 29 November 1999 Sistoza endorsed for the third time the purchase order of tomato paste in favor Elias General Merchandising to the Department of Justice.120.120. The winning bidder replied to the Supply Division and expressed its willingness to "meet the price of the lowest bidder for item No. [6] It reflected the supplier's winning offer of P1.

00.120. issued a resolution recommending the prosecution of petitioner Sistoza and his co-respondents therein with the exception of the Chief of the Supply Division for violation of Sec.00 and Land Bank Check No.00 per case for two hundred fifteen (215) cases or a total of P240. since it is questioned for being awarded to the second lowest bidder. Disbursement Voucher No. docketed as OMB-ADM-0-99-1130. On 7 July 2000 the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the administrative proceedings. Office of the Ombudsman.800. 082195-QQ dated 17 December 1999 was paid to Elias General Merchandising. On 29 November 1999. The lowest bidder makes a counter-offer while Elias General Merchandise complied with all the requirements and specifications set forth [in the] said item. par.00/box (100 tins per box of 170 grams per tin to P1. were merely recommendatory and that they were effectively scrutinized and validated when the award was eventually approved by the Department of Justice. although its bid was not the lowest. (e). filed an affidavitcomplaint with the Office of the Ombudsman alleging criminal and administrative charges for violation of Sec. respondent Eliseo Co. par. RA 3019. Liwag finally approved the purchase order for the tomato paste in favor of Elias General Merchandising at the reduced price of P1. On 8 December 1999 Undersecretary of Justice Ramon J. does not conform [to] the specification provided for in the purchase orders.350. the Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau (EPIB). 3.00/box) x x x x He again appealed for the approval of the purchase order emphasizing that the tomato paste had been used for the subsistence of the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison for the month of September. Inc. Inc. Consequently. Sistoza as Director of the Bureau of Corrections and officers and members of its Supply Division and PBAC.[13] He claimed that Sistoza and his staff conspired with each other to cause undue injury to the government and the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison by giving undue advantage to Elias General Merchandise although its bid was higher in price and lower in quantity than that offered by Filcrafts Industries. docketed as OMBCase No. 0-99-1985. after counter-affidavits and supporting documents had been filed in the criminal proceedings. The dealer on its part. a perennial bidder for supply of food items of the New Bilibid Prison.120. Copy of the said resolution is attached for your reference. On 22 September 1999 while efforts to secure the approval of the purchase order were being undertaken. against petitioner Pedro G.General Merchandise in spite of being the 2nd lowest bidder due to the fact that the offer of Filcrafts Industries. (e). RA 3019.800. 3. 99100393 was prepared by the Bureau of Corrections for the obligation of P240. otherwise known as theAnti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. offered to reduce [its] price from P1. The EPIB asserted that a failure of bidding should have been 43 . against petitioner Sistoza and some of his co-respondents therein on the ground that their actions in awarding the supply of tomato paste to Elias General Merchandising.

Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.12/box of 100 cans/170 grams purportedly to match the lowest bid of Filcrafts Industries. Inc. Office of the Ombudsman. docketed as Crim. rendered a memorandum concurring with the findings of the EPIB in its Resolution of 29 November 1999. while in the performance of their official duties. did not abide by several provisions of the bid announcement and that the offer of Elias General Merchandising should have been rejected since it tendered a price higher than the bid of Filcrafts Industries. with manifest partiality and evident bad faith made it possible for Elias General Merchandising to qualify and be the winning bidder in the supply of tomato paste for the subsistence of prisoners for the month of September 1999 x x x accused PEDRO SISTOZA. Inc. Inc. accused x x x together with accused Director PEDRO SISTOZA and Supply Division Chief x x x conspiring and confederating with one another. Metro Manila. It stressed the deviation of the offer of the supposed winning bidder from the specification of 48/170 tinsgrams and the seemingly irregular preparation of the purchase order ahead of the 2 September 1999 PBAC Resolution formally awarding the supply of tomato paste to Elias General Merchandising. 0-99-140 to the 44 . 26072. recommended approval of the 29 March 2000 OSP Memorandum.. unlawfully and criminally. Inc. On 14 June 2000 the Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan.120. On 7 June 2000 the Ombudsman authorized the filing of the appropriate Information against Sistoza and his alleged coconspirators. Office of the Ombudsman. On 8 May 2000 the Office of the Chief Legal Counsel. The EPIB concluded that these anomalies were fairly obvious from supporting documents showing why and how the supply of tomato paste was awarded to Elias General Merchandising and that Sistoza with no greater effort than to look casually at these documents would have discovered the irregularity of the award..decreed since Elias General Merchandising did not comply with the original specification of 48/170 tins-grams when it submitted a bid of 100/170 tinsgrams in the same manner that Filcrafts Industries. did then and there willfully.120.00 for 100 cans/170 grams was still higher than the price quoted by Filcrafts Industries. Inc. a fact which petitioner could have easily found out and conveyed from the counter-proposal made by the Supply Division to Elias General Merchandising at P964. in Muntinlupa City. 1999 or immediately prior or subsequent thereto.00 for 100/170 grams per case was still higher than the offer of Filcrafts Industries. at P964. On 29 March 2000 the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP). The OSP also claimed that petitioner Sistoza failed to disclose in any of his endorsements of the bidding to the Department of Justice that the discounted offer of Elias General Merchandising at P1. accusing Sistoza of the following acts That on or about August 10. knowing fully well that Elias General Merchandise was only the second lowest bidder and that the subsequent offer by the said supplier of the reduced price of P1.12 for 100/170 grams per case as computed by accused [Supply Division Chief]. still recommended the approval of Purchase Order No. Case No.

Hence. namely. 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. par.[14] For criminal cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. however. thereby giving said supplier unwarranted benefit. Hence. without more. is the function of the prosecution.800. Case No. The strict application of this rule. (e). he cursorily perused the document and readily affixed his signature on it since the purchase order had already passed the scrutiny of three (3) office divisions of the Bureau of Corrections. insofar as the Ombudsman is concerned. On 18 October 2000 this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Sandiganbayan from conducting further proceedings in Crim. the Supply Division. the determination of whether there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and should be subjected to the expense. The court a quo granted reinvestigation and referred the matter to the Ombudsman but denied the prayer for suspension of the proceedings. There 45 . as an organic component of the Office of the Ombudsman.. 26072 against petitioner Sistoza in order not to render the instant petition academic and futile. RA 3019. In the instant case. as a general rule. which exercises investigatory and prosecutory powers.Department of Justice and subsequently resulted in the approval thereof. Management Division and Accounting Division. He claims that upon receipt of the purchase order. 9910093 in the amount of P240. we see this principle at work when the Sandiganbayan deferred to the authority of the prosecution to exercise investigatory powers when it granted petitioner Sistoza's motion for reinvestigation. rigors and embarrassment of trial. on 11 July 2000 Sistoza filed an amplified motion for reconsideration with the Office of the Special Prosecutor but this was also denied on 8 August 2000.e.00 was approved by accused PEDRO SISTOZA. i. there are settled exceptions. and Land Bank Check No. is not a trivial matter. it is the Office of the Special Prosecutor. does not prove any violation of Sec. 082195-QQ was issued to Elias General Merchandising. It is settled that the preliminary investigation proper. He concludes that as a matter of law his signature on the purchase order. advantage and preference of the Government in the amount of P46. 3. Accordingly. As in every rule. hence Disbursement Voucher No.381. On 25 August 2000 the Ombudsman affirmed the denial.95 x x x x On 22 June 2000 Sistoza filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion for reinvestigation and suspension of proceedings therein. this Court does not interfere with the Ombudsman's determination of the existence or absence of probable cause. Concomitantly. the principle of non-interference does not apply when there is grave abuse of discretion[15] which would authorize the aggrieved person to file a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65. this petition. Petitioner Sistoza argues that he had no active participation in the award of the supply of tomato paste to Elias General Merchandising and that his involvement was limited to signing the purchase order for this food item.

it was evidently the intention of the Ombudsman to take petitioner to task for gross inexcusable negligence in addition to the two (2) other modalities mentioned therein. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. RA No. respectively. Evidently. it bears stressing that Sec. At any rate. (e). (b) The public officer commits the prohibited acts during the performance of his or her official duties or in relation to his or her public functions. [16] When the Ombudsman does not take essential facts into consideration in the determination of probable cause. whether the government or a private party." It providesIn addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. (d) Such undue injury is caused by giving unwarranted benefits.[17] Section 3. RA 3019. 3. and. The elements of the offense are: (a) The accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy with the former. (e) That the public officer has acted with manifest partiality. par. It is further required that any or all of these modalities ought to result in undue injury to a specified party. mere bad faith or partiality and negligence per se are not enough for one to be held liable under the law since the act of bad faith or partiality must in the first place be evident or manifest. while not alleged in the Information. An examination of the resolutions of the Ombudsman would however confirm that the accusation against petitioner is based on his alleged omission of effort to discover the supposed irregularity of the award to Elias General Merchandising which it was claimed was fairly obvious from looking casually at the supporting documents submitted to him for endorsement to the Department of Justice. is committed either by dolo or culpa and although the Information may have alleged only one (1) of the modalities of committing the offense. (c) That he or she causes undue injury to any party. does not allege gross inexcusable negligence as a modality in the commission of the offense charged.is grave abuse of discretion where power is exercised in an arbitrary. whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. And. (e). while the negligent deed should both be gross and inexcusable. while specifying manifest partiality and evident bad faith. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable neglect.[19] 46 . the other mode is deemed included in the accusation to allow proof thereof. patent and gross as to amount to evasion of positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. advantage or preference to such parties. it has been ruled that he gravely abuses his discretion. 3019 defines "corrupt practices of public officers. par. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful x x x x (e) Causing any undue injury to any party.[18] We note that the Information against petitioner Sistoza. including the Government. capricious. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

Rather. this pronouncement alone does not automatically result in finding the act of petitioner similarly culpable. the accusation against him rests upon his signature on the purchase order and his repeated endorsements thereof notwithstanding his knowledge that the winning bidder did not offer the least price. not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally. the Office of the Ombudsman should determine with certainty the facts indicative of the modalities of committing a transgression of the statute. for it is well settled that allegation does not amount to proof. Plainly.[20] On the other hand. which all formed the basis for the issuance of the questioned resolutions. RA 3019. acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act. The facts themselves must demonstrate evident bad faith which connotes not only bad judgment but also palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. To begin with. It is presumed that he acted in good faith in relying upon the documents he signed and thereafter endorsed. the issue of petitioner Sistoza's criminal liability does not depend solely upon the allegedly scandalous irregularity of the bidding procedure for which prosecution may perhaps be proper. with conscious indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence may even be considered. or even gross inexcusable negligence resulting in undue injury to the government. Simply alleging each or all of these methods is not enough to establish probable cause. [21] It entails the omission of care that even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to take on their own property. Nor can we deduce any or all of the modes from mere speculation or hypothesis since good faith on the part of petitioner as with any other person is presumed. together with their documentary evidence. before manifest partiality. The Ombudsman concluded that these acts constituted manifest partiality. there is no direct evidence that petitioner Sistoza acted in conspiracy with the officers and members of the PBAC and the other implicated public officials.[22] Clearly. He did not himself participate in the bidding procedures nor was he involved in the award of the supply of tomato paste to Elias General Merchandising. an issue that we do not confront and decide in the instant case. and in cases involving public officials it takes place only when breach of duty is flagrant and devious. and we are convinced that no probable cause exists to warrant the filing of charges against petitioner Sistoza for violation of Sec. par. To establish a prima 47 . evident bad faith. gross inexcusable negligence does not signify mere omission of duties nor plainly the exercise of less than the standard degree of prudence. (e). 3. We have meticulously analyzed the arguments raised by the parties in the various pleadings and motions. it refers to negligence characterized by the want of even the slightest care.In the instant case. For even if it were true and proved beyond reasonable doubt that the bidding had been rigged. We disagree with the conclusions of the Office of the Ombudsman.

It is not disputed that petitioner relied upon supporting documents apparently dependable as well as certifications of regularity made by responsible public officers of three (3) office divisions of the Bureau of Corrections before affixing his signature on the purchase order. it is worth noting that the PBAC Chairman and members would allege that Filcrafts Industries. Absent a wellgrounded and reasonable belief that petitioner perpetrated these acts in the criminal manner he is accused of.. the acts charged against petitioner do not amount to manifest partiality. there is no basis for declaring the existence of probable cause. evident bad faith nor gross inexcusable negligence which should otherwise merit a prosecution for violation of Sec.facie case against petitioner for violation of Sec. RA 3019. Inc. reliance in good faith by a head of office on a subordinate upon whom the primary responsibility rests negates an imputation of conspiracy by gross inexcusable negligence to commit graft and corruption. the prosecution must show not only the defects in the bidding procedure. par. (e). falls within 48 . In Alejandro v. (e). [24] Sandiganbayan this Court similarly rejected the theory of criminal liability where the head of office in discharging his official duties relied upon an act of his subordinate. [26] As things stand. 3. Verily. People. RA 3019. offered an unacceptable and unusable product as its bid. [25] Albeit misplaced. par. who were primarily in charge of the task. but also the alleged evident bad faith.[27] In fact. The fact that petitioner had knowledge of the status of Elias General Merchandising as being only the second lowest bidder does not ipso facto characterize petitioner's act of reliance as recklessly imprudent without which the crime could not have been accomplished. his act is all the same imbued with good faith because the otherwise faulty reliance upon his subordinates. even if petitioner erred in his assessment of the extrinsic and intrinsic validity of the documents presented to him for endorsement. petitioner is presumed to have acted honestly and sincerely when he depended upon responsible assurances that everything was aboveboard since it is not always the case that second best bidders in terms of price are automatically disqualified from the award considering that the PBAC reserves the authority to select the best bid not only in terms of the price offered but other factors as well.[28] a representation upon which petitioner could have relied upon in assessing the propriety of the process handled by his co-workers in the Bureau of Corrections. a circumstance which we need not presently determine. In Magsuci v. 3. As defined above.[23] evident bad faith was ruled out because the accused gave his approval to the questioned disbursement after relying on the certification of the bookkeeper on the availability of funds for the expenditure and since the act of relying upon a subordinate's certification of regularity cannot be considered gross inexcusable negligence. gross inexcusable negligence or manifest partiality of petitioner in affixing his signature on the purchase order and repeatedly endorsing the award earlier made by his subordinates despite his knowledge that the winning bidder did not offer the lowest price. while we do not decide the truth of this assertion.

3. i. Furthermore. no matter how great the apparent settlement. It is also too sweeping to conclude the existence of conspiracy from the endorsements made by petitioner Sistoza to the Department of Justice of the result of the bidding. par. on the basis of his endorsements would be the same as pegging his criminal liability on a mere signature appearing on the 49 .e. though." Given that the acts herein charged failed to demonstrate a well-grounded belief that petitioner had prima facie foreknowledge of irregularity in the selection of the winning bid other than the alleged fact that such bid was not the lowest. (e).parameters of tolerable judgment and permissible margins of error. RA 3019. under circumstances that would have pricked curiosity and prompted inquiries into the transaction because of obvious and definite defects in its execution and substance. To stress. 3. there was no cause for petitioner Sistoza to complain nor dispute the choice nor even investigate further since neither the defects in the process nor the unfairness or injustice in the actions of his subalterns are definite.[29] While we do not excuse petitioner's manner of reviewing the award of the supply of tomato paste in favor of Elias General Merchandising. granting that there were flaws in the bidding procedures. certain.[30] petitioner might have indeed been lax and administratively remiss in placing too much reliance on the official documents and assessments of his subordinates. an issue which we leave to the Sandiganbayan to decide as against the other accused therein. The instant case brings to the fore the importance of clearly differentiating between acts simply negligent and deeds grossly and inexcusably negligent punishable under Sec. Benjamin N. it is our considered opinion that his actions were not of such nature and degree as to be considered brazen. it is clear that his references to the price offered by Elias General Merchandising and the rejection of the bid of Filcrafts Industries. the Department of Justice. to prosecute him for violation of Sec. there was no way by which the approving authority. the possibility of error in the prediction is always present. but for conspiracy of silence and inaction to exist it is essential that there must be patent and conscious criminal design. 3. there were no such patent and established flaws in the award made to Elias General Merchandising that would have made his silence tantamount to tacit approval of the irregularity. whereby he cursorily perused the purchase order and readily affixed his signature upon it. (e). To paraphrase Magsuci v. we cannot conclude that he was involved in any conspiracy to rig the bidding in favor of Elias General Merchandising.. since he could have checked the supporting documents more lengthily. Fairly evident is the fact that this action involved the very functions he had to discharge in the performance of his official duties. patent and palpable from a perusal of the supporting documents. Inc. contrary to the allegation that petitioner misrepresented key facts to the Department of Justice. Cardozo would have explained that "[w]hen x x x we speak of the law as settled.. par. were supported by documents noted in and attached to his endorsements. of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Hence. not merely inadvertence. Clearly. of RA 3019. flagrant and palpable to merit a criminal prosecution for violation of Sec. could have been misled by him. Stated differently. par. (e). Sandiganbayan.

review personally the bidding procedure for each of these items in all cases and instances as the Ombudsman seems to suggest. We further ruled x x x x Proof. even if required by law to be affixed thereon. Considering that his duties as Director of the Bureau of Corrections entailed a lot of responsibility not only on the management side but also in the rehabilitation and execution of convicted prisoners. preparation and perpetration of the alleged conspiracy to defraud the government" for. public relations and other court-imposed duties. and there is no reason not to prescribe the same justified outcome in the 50 . the "planning. Indeed the Ombudsman gravely abused its discretion when he found probable cause against petitioner Sistoza despite the presence of essential facts negating evident bad faith. i. petitioner has no duty to go beyond the verification of the PBAC and to personally authenticate the procedures previously undertaken. any "careless use of the conspiracy theory (can) sweep into jail even innocent persons who may have (only) been made unwitting tools by the criminal minds" really responsible for that irregularity x x x x [32] Since petitioner had no reason to doubt the validity of the bidding process and given the urgency of the situation since the tomato paste had by then been delivered and consumed by the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison. To illustrate the detailed work that this proposition would have entailed. Case No. Having thus concluded. the only remaining issue is whether this Court can direct the Sandiganbayan to dismiss Crim. otherwise. should be proffered to indicate that the accused had taken part in. 26072 as against petitioner Sistoza. is not enough to sustain a finding of conspiracy among public officials and employees charged with defraudation. Necessarily. manifest partiality and gross inexcusable negligence. To compel him to perform such task. since workload is expectedly heavy. we certainly cannot infer malice. to use this Court's words in Arias v. it is unreasonable to require him to accomplish direct and personal examination of every single detail in the purchase of a month-long supply of tomato paste and to carry out an in-depth investigation of the motives of every public officer involved in the transaction before affixing his signature on the pro-forma documents as endorsing authority. In the instant case. This will not be the first time that we order the dismissal of a criminal case being heard by a trial court for want of probable cause. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence from his signing of the purchase order and endorsing the same to the Department of Justice. an organizational scheme upon which petitioner was entitled to trust and rely upon for the discharge of his own duties. In Sabiniano v. which were all disregarded.document. Sandiganbayan. the tomato paste was only item 55 in a partial list of sixty-four (64) other food items for the month of September alone. duties have to be delegated among the different offices for utmost efficiency in the prison system.e. would have meant consuming all his time attending only to the meals of prisoners. not mere conjectures or assumptions.. check or warrant. Court of Appeals [31] we held that a signature on a voucher.

spiteful and burdensome prosecution x x x [and] spare the innocent the trouble. expense and torment of a public trial [as well as] unnecessary expense on the part of the State for useless and expensive trials. par. of RA 3019 as amended. SISTOZA is made PERMANENT. (e). 26072. of RA 3019 as amended. par. he cannot do so arbitrarily. as he was thereafter indicted. entitled "People of the Philippines v. rigors and embarrassment of trial. SO ORDERED. 26072 against petitioner PEDRO G. Case No. otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. This seemingly exclusive and unilateral authority of the Ombudsman must be tempered by the Court when powers of prosecution are in danger of being used for persecution. This Decision is without prejudice to the continuation of the proceedings in Crim. The 29 November 1999 Resolution and 29 March 2000 Memorandum and allied issuances of the Office of the Ombudsman resolving to charge petitioner PEDRO G. 3. the prosecution must desist from inflicting on any person the trauma of going through a trial. WHEREFORE. SISTOZA violated Sec. In the interest of a fair and just prosecution we cannot degree otherwise. 26072. promptly and without delay. Case No. et al. SISTOZA with violation of Sec. or for absence of probable cause therefor. we declared While it is the function of the Ombudsman to determine whether or not the petitioner should be subjected to the expense. the instant Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is GRANTED. Case No. (e). Pedro Sistoza y Guimmayen." only as against accused PEDRO G. when at the outset the evidence cannot sustain a prima facie case or that the existence of probable cause to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused cannot be ascertained. are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the Sandiganbayan is ORDERED to DISMISS forthwith Crim. but also prevents needless waste of the courts’ time and saves the precious resources of the government x x x x [T]he very purpose of a preliminary investigation is to shield the innocent from precipitate. 51 . herein petitioner. People[33] where this Court ordered the dismissal of a criminal case pending before the Sandiganbayan for absence of probable cause. Dismissing the case against the accused for palpable want of probable cause not only spares her the expense. insofar as the other accused therein are concerned.. rigors and embarrassment of trial. 3. In Cabahug v. The 18 October 2000 temporary restraining order of this Court enjoining the Sandiganbayan from conducting further proceedings in Crim.instant petition. Thus. No pronouncement as to costs. For want of well-founded and reasonable ground to believe that petitioner PEDRO G. SISTOZA.

JJ. petitioners who were charged with violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) No. (Congressman Paredes) used a portion of his Countryside Development Fund (CDF) to purchase one unit of Toyota 52 . [2] 2003 Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. finding herein petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019. BRION.. BUSTILLO. deserve an acquittal. G. This Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] assails the July 31. 160718 Present: . Factual Antecedents Congressman Ceferino Paredes. May 12.. hence. It was not proven that they gave undue preference or acted in evident bad faith in effecting the transfer of the properties owned by the local government unit. 2010 x------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION DEL CASTILLO.versus - CARPIO. JR..: It is disputably presumed that official duty has been regularly performed. J. J. and PEREZ. 2003 Resolution[3] denying the Motion for Reconsideration. and AGUSTIN BILLEDO. EMILIO SUMILHIG. DEL CASTILLO.ANUNCIO C.R. this presumption remains unrebutted. In this case. Promulgated: Respondent. 24741. JR. Chairperson. Also assailed is the November 6. Petitioners. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 3019. Jr. ABAD. No.

SO RESOLVED. let the instant case against him be dismissed. (Billedo). and Ernesto Amador. FINDING insufficient evidence to hold respondent Antonio Taotao. a complaint[9] was filed charging Bustillo. Amador. for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019.. All vehicles were registered in the name of the Municipality of Bunawan and were turned over to the municipality through its mayor. Tortor. On August 17. of SFWD. the Sangguniang Bayan of Bunawan passed Resolution No. Bustillo. Ruth C. Also included in the complaint were Antonio Taotao and Luzon. the Board Secretary and General Manager. On May 17. an Information was filed with the Sandiganbayan docketed as Criminal Case No. a public officer being then the Mayor of Bunawan. Luzon (Luzon). and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 24741 charging Bustillo. Ernesto Amador. On July 27. Pursuant thereto. (Sumilhig). the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur passed Resolution No. Agustin Billedo. or shortly prior or subsequent thereto. Agusan del Sur. It is hereby recommended that the enclosed Information be filed with the Sandiganbayan against the abovenamed respondents. this Office finds probable cause to prosecute respondents Antonio C. respectively. committed as follows: That on or about 19 June 1995. and Sangguniang Bayan members Teogenes Tortor (Tortor). herein petitioner Anuncio C. Luzon for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019.Tamaraw FX and six units ofKawasaki motorcycles. the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao issued a Resolution which provides: WHEREFORE. Jr. 1996. Bustillo executed on June 19. On May 23. 246[8] canceling and declaring the Deed of Transfer as null and void for being highly irregular and grossly violative of Section 381 of RA 7160. Elmer T. Emilio Sumilhig. on June 24. in San Francisco. Bustillo (Bustillo). Teogenes Tortor. it passed Resolution No. Jr. Jr. Billedo.. 1995. a Deed of Transfer[5] relative to the aforementioned vehicles in favor of the SFWD represented by its General Manager. 95-27 for being violative of Section 381[7] of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code. 1995. Jr. On August 13. Vice-Mayor Agustin Billedo. Jr. PREMISES CONSIDERED.. the accused Anuncio C. Board Secretary of SFWD. Bustillo.[10] Consequently. 95-27[4] which authorized the transfer without cost of the aforesaid vehicles to the San Francisco Water District (SFWD). liable for the charge. Agusan del Sur. Sumilhig. Orot. Orot. with violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019.. and Elmer T. Emilio Sumilhig. Ruth C. 1998. 1995. and Luzon. 1996. Jr. Orot (Orot). 183[6] disapproving the Sangguniang Bayan’s Resolution No. 1995. with salary 53 .

unlawfully and criminally.. Agustin Billedo. with the exception of Orot who died on June 28. Jr.[13] During pre-trial conference[14] held on June 7. Accused Agustin Billedo. Orot. and municipal counterpart fund and which were newly purchased and in perfect running condition.A.grade 27. CONTRARY TO LAW. cause undue injury to the government. the Sangguniang Bayan of Bunawan. as members of the Sangguniang Bayan all of the Municipality of Bunawan. conspiring and confederating with each other [sic]. Bustillo as Municipal Mayor and Agustin Billedo. Anuncio C.[11] All the accused posted their respective bail for their provisional liberty. and despite the subsequent nullification of SB Resolution No. Jr. all public officers with salary grades below 27. thereby depriving it of the possession. to the damage and prejudice of said local government unit. Jr. Luzon. ownership and use thereof. accused Anuncio C. 1998. willfully. 1995. 95-27 transferring without any consideration and cost to the San Francisco Water District the following properties: one (1) unit of Tamaraw Toyota FX and six (6) units of Kawasaki Motorcycles. 7160. Vice Mayor of Bunawan. Luzon and the San Francisco Water District refused to surrender the afore-enumerated motor vehicle and motorcycles to the Municipality of Bunawan. 54 .. thru evident bad faith. Billedo.. Teogenes Tortor and Emilio Sumilhig. were among the members of the said council who voted to approve said Resolution. committing the offense in relation to their official duties and taking advantage of their official positions. Jr. Jr. 1999. being then members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Bunawan. 3) That on May 17. Tortor and Sumilhig entered pleas of “Not Guilty”. 95-27 which transferred without cost one (1) unit of Tamaraw FX vehicle and six (6) units of KE Kawasaki motorcycles purchased for the Municipality of Bunawan out of the Countryside Development Fund of Congressman Ceferino Paredes. Ernesto Amador. and Elmer T. to the San Francisco Water District in violation of Section 381 of R. 95-27 by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur and the repeated demands by the municipal government of Bunawan. Ruth C. Jr. Agusan del Sur.[12] On April 16... as Vice Mayor. did there and then. by passing Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 2) That during the local election held on May 8. Agusan del Sur. Teogenes Tortor and Emilio Sumilhig. during its 17th regular session passed Resolution No. 1999. Jr. accused Elmer T. the following facts were admitted by both the prosecution and the defense: “1) At the time material to this case all the accused are public officers namely. Teogenes Tortor. Bustillo was not re-elected as Mayor of the Municipality of Bunawan. Bustillo. General Manager of San Francisco Water District (SFWD). Agusan del Sur.. Emilio Sumilhig. Agusan del Sur. 1995.

4) That on June 19. 246. Agusan del Sur executed a Deed of Transfer relative to the above mentioned vehicles in favor of San Francisco Water District represented by Elmer T. Agusan del Sur and was not judicially declared null and void. Luzon and Amador also entered pleas of “Not Guilty”. 8) That in response to said letter dated July 11.100. it was requested that the subject Tamaraw FX and Kawasaki Motorcycles owned by the Municipality of Bunawan.00. 5) That on July 27. Agusan del Sur addressed to the Director of San Francisco Water District. 1995.100.” The other set of facts agreed upon were: a) That the purchase price or value of the Toyota Tamaraw FX was P400. Municipal Mayor of Bunawan. canceling and declaring the aforementioned Deed of Transfer executed by and between the Municipality of Bunawan and San Francisco Water District as null and void. Thereafter. Agusan del Sur be returned to the Municipality of Bunawan. refused to return the subject vehicles. On June 15.000. 55 . Antonio Tao-Tao. series of 1995. 7) That. 1995. 1995. or a total purchase price or value of P705. the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur in its 3rd regular session passed Resolution No. 1995. 9) That the subject vehicles are all newly purchased and serviceable and in good running condition at the time of the transfer in question. the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur passed Resolution No.00 Pesos. General Manager. 1995. 95-27 was unanimously approved by the members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bunawan. accused Anuncio C. of Leonardo Barrios. 6) That on August 17. Bustillo in behalf of the Municipality of Bunawan. Acting Board Secretary of San Francisco Water District on his letter dated July 16. in a letter dated July 11. the water projects funded by the CDF of Congressman Paredes were already completed.00 and the six (6) units Kawasaki Motorcycles P305. series of 1995 disapproving Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. of Municipal Mayor Leonardo Barrios. Luzon. b) That Resolution No. 1995. 183. 95-27 of the Municipality of Bunawan. the SFWD executed a Deed of Donation[15] effecting the transfer of the aforesaid vehicles in favor of the Municipality of Bunawan because according to SFWD. 1999.

and 4) Ceferino S. Asis. 3) Sumilhig. 2003. namely: 1) Florencia Ilorde. Ruling of the Sandiganbayan On July 31.[21] Thus. After the testimonies of the witnesses and the admission of its exhibits. herein petitioners filed a Demurrer to Evidence[18] but it was denied[19] for lack of merit. 2003.[24] Issue Hence this Petition for Review on Certiorari faulting the Sandiganbayan for finding petitioners guilty of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019. 2000. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. were presented along with other exhibits. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party. Corrupt practices of public officers. including the Government. 2) Benigno G. (Vice-Mayor) Billedo and (Councilor) Sumilhig on the finding that they conspired to effect the transfer of the vehicles to the prejudice of the Municipality of Bunawan in violation of the provision of Section 3(e) of RA 3019. namely: 1) Luzon.[16] During trial. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official. the prosecution rested its case. 1999. Luzon and Amador were acquitted for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Our Ruling The Sandiganbayan based its conviction of (Mayor) Bustillo. the Sandiganbayan was informed of the death of Tortor. Luzon’s Demurrer to Evidence[20] was likewise denied on February 4.On December 9. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. 2) Lilia J.[17] On December 6. and 3) Leonardo Barrios. the prosecution presented three witnesses. Section 3(e) of RA 3019 provides: Section 3. 1999. This provision shall apply to officers 56 . the Sandiganbayan rendered its Decision[22] finding petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. Nacorda. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration[23] which was denied in a Resolution dated November 6. the defense presented its evidence. Paredes. Four witnesses. The case against Tortor and Orot was dismissed on account of their demise.

Every reasonable intendment will be made in support of the presumption and in case of doubt as to an officer’s act being lawful or unlawful. unless the presumption in rebutted. In the Memorandum of Agreement dated February 10.and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. 1993. construction should be in favor of its lawfulness. Billedo as Vice Mayor. Thus. and (5) that the public officers have acted with manifest partiality. control or supervise all the CDF-funded waterworks projects. as Vice Mayor. We find no evidence on record which would show that petitioners were motivated by bad faith when they transferred the vehicles to SFWD. Bustillo as Municipal Mayor. Said Resolution was unanimously passed by the Sangguniang Bayan and Sumilhig was only one of those who voted for its passage. In sum. the petitioners have in their favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties which the records failed to rebut. the transfer was made to ensure the success of the implementation of the CDF-funded waterworks projects of the province of Agusan del Sur. The presumption.” The Deed of Donation expressly provided that the subject vehicles shall be used for the same purpose for which they were purchased. SFWD was designated to implement. is authorized by law to enter into contracts for and in behalf of the local government unit. acted as the Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Bayan and did not even vote for the passage of Resolution No. The elements of the offense are as follows: (1) that the accused are public officers or private persons charged in conspiracy with them. as Mayor. however. (3) that they caused undue injury to any party.[25] In this case. (2) that said public officers commit the prohibited acts during the performance of their official duties or in relation to their public positions. namely. 95-27. all the petitioners are public officers. but in recognition of its technical expertise. All the other elements were not present. Billedo. monitoring and coordination of the implementation of the waterworks projects located throughout the Province of Agusan del Sur. only the first element was proven. At the time material to this case. The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty. Clearly. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. and Sumilhig as member of the Sangguniang Bayan. the vehicles were donated to SFWD not because it was given any preference. it becomes conclusive. unwarranted benefits or undue advantage. Moreover. advantage or preference to such parties. (4) that such injury is caused by giving unwarranted benefits.[26] 57 . Bustillo. whether the Government or a private party. prevails until it is overcome by no less than clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. It cannot be denied that the transfer of the vehicles to SFWD was made in furtherance of the purpose for which the funds were released which is “to help in the planning.

Jr. 24741 and its November 6. 2003 Decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 58 . Agustin Billedo. 2003 Resolution are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Jr. Bustillo. the July 31. are hereby ACQUITTED for failure to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt..WHEREFORE. Petitioners Anuncio C. SO ORDERED. and Emilio Sumilhig.

. then Municipal Mayor of Baleno. SANDIGANBAYAN DIVISION) AND MANLAPAS. No. reversing its 11 November 2005 Resolution[5] which affirmed (a) the 7 February 2005 Resolution[6] and 12 May 2005 Order. petitioner Belen A. JJ. (FIFTH LEO H. otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. as amended. NACHURA. Manlapas (Manlapas).BELEN A. J. Fifth Division. and REYES. SALVACION.versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Masbate. finding reasonable ground to charge respondent Leo H. CHICO-NAZARIO. x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. G. 175006 Petitioner. 3019. J. and (b) the Information thereafter filed before respondent Sandiganbayan.: In this Petition for Certiorari[1] under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. with violation of Section 3. paragraphs (e) and (f) of Republic Act No. R. 2008 Respondents. [7] both of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. 59 . Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO. Salvacion (Salvacion) urges us to annul and set aside the 23 February 2006[2] and 4 August 2006[3] Resolutions[4] of the Sandiganbayan. docketed as Criminal Case No. Promulgated: November 27. Chairperson. 28111. .

”[10] No response was made by respondent Manlapas. Masbate. so that I’m in dire need of money. On 17 February 2004. Masbate. and accompanied by supporting documents. which state that: 60 . 28111 before the Sandiganbayan. petitioner Salvacion. as amended. In the intervening time. a Disbursement Voucher [9] duly signed and approved for payment by respondent Manlapas. 3019. a letter requesting “the release of fund for payment of my terminal leave pay x x x I will be going to Manila for medical check-up. via registered mail.291. petitioner Salvacion filed a sworn Complaint [11] before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.Consequently. paragraphs (e) and (f). Fifth Division. according to petitioner Salvacion. prepared all the pertinent documents and clearance for her permanent separation from government service. of Republic Act No. charging respondent Manlapas with violation of Section 3. for payment. petitioner Salvacion also seeks in the present Petition the reinstatement of Criminal Case No. One such document was an application [8] for the payment of her retirement benefits and terminal leave pay filed on 10 December 2002. The antecedents are not complicated. petitioner Salvacion submitted to the Office of the Municipal Mayor.46 representing her Terminal Leave Pay for 815. in the amount of P162.226 unused leave credits. she made numerous follow-ups for the disbursement of her Terminal Leave Pay. Said application was duly acted upon and approved by respondent Manlapas as the Municipal Mayor of Baleno. a few days short of six months from the day she submitted the documents to afore-mentioned Disbursement the the Office of Municipal Voucher Mayor. In preparation for her impending retirement on 31 December 2002. On 18 March 2003. Masbate. to no avail. and the authorized official to act upon it. On 10 September 2003. Bookkeeper of the Municipality of Baleno. and its petitioner supporting Salvacion sent.

(f) Neglecting or refusing.’ the truth of the matter being that I really refused immediately (not negligently) to order payment of her Terminal Leave Pay with legal. Adoptante in cohort with the complainant. The Complaint was docketed as I. from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage. evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.[12] respondent Manlapas denied the charges against him. including the Government.’ x x x.SEC. or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits. after due demand or request. He averred that “complainant had been following up the payment of her terminal leave pay as alleged x x x. the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared unlawful: xxxx (e) Causing any undue injury to any party. Mr. without sufficient justification to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining directly or indirectly. Ismael C.” 61 . however. 04-17546 (DF). This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality. 3. Belen A. Mrs. advantage or preference in the discharge of his official. Corrupt practices of public officers. In his Counter-Affidavit. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law. Salvacion she ‘is not free from money and/or property responsibilities.S. factual and sufficient justification because upon inquiry from the OIC Municipal Treasurer and contrary to the Certification issued by the previous OIC Municipal Treasurer. No. or for purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party. I did not make any promise ‘to release the payment after a weeks (sic) time.

In a Review Resolution[14] dated 7 February 2005. the 4th Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Masbate. with the corresponding certification from the OIC Municipal Treasurer. a year and two months after complainant’s severance from service. As the Local Chief Executive. it was only on February 23.38 as contained in a new certification issued by the new acting Municipal Treasurer. 2004 is a flimsy excuse to cover up for his baseless and malicious act. CORTES.On 19 April 2004. the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon recommended the reversal of the finding of the Provincial Prosecutor. OMB-L-C-041034-K. paragraphs (e) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2004. MR. 2004 that an alleged shortage was found out. CEFERINO D. The averment by the respondent that he immediately ordered the non-payment of the terminal leave pay of the complainant despite her repeated demands based on an alleged cash shortage as certified to by the new OIC Municipal Treasurer only on February 23.564. Richard R. Hence. The fiscal chose to believe the account of respondent Manlapas that his failure to release petitioner Salvacion’s retirement benefits was due to the latter’s supposed failure to remit the amount of P7.38 to the Municipal Government of Baleno. that complainant had failed to remit some of her collections amounting to P7. Riveral. 3019.564. resolved[13] to dismiss the Complaint. issued after due proceedings. Ironically and without valid reason. and thereby declared that there was probable cause to hold respondent Manlapas liable for the violation of Section 3. ESMAEL C. ADOPTANTE that sufficient funds exist to cover for the payment of the same. 2002 and was subsequently issued all the pertinent documents and clearances appurtenant to her claim for payment of her terminal leave amounting to P162.46. herein respondent should have pursued the legal means to collect the alleged cash shortage allegedly owed by the complainant from the municipality. After all. petitioner Salvacion filed a Petition for Review before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. He could have substantiated his claim by filing a case 62 . The pertinent portion of said Resolution reads: Records of this case show that complainant had retired from government service on December 31. where it was docketed as Case No. respondent denied payment of the same alleging among others.291. JR. Aggrieved. on February 23. it was only on even date that he would have had a valid ground to refuse payment of the same.

Masbate. as in this case. He narrated that on the 7thand 8th of January 2003. The dispositive portion of said order reads: WHEREFORE. in view of the foregoing. Masbate. considering that the same was issued at the time when Adoptante had already been relieved of his duties as OIC Municipal Treasurer by virtue of Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) Regional Special Personnel Order No. The more than a year’s delay in the payment of what one had lawfully earned and is rightfully due seem to be a punishment and not a reward for more than two (2) decades of government service. was invalid. Further. In support of his defense. He argued that his refusal to release petitioner Salvacion’s Terminal Leave Pay was essentially prompted by good faith. respondent Manlapas submitted. the Review Resolution dated 07 February 2005 which recommended that an Information for violation of Sec. but failing to remit the same to the Office of the Municipal Treasurer. Masbate. Respondent himself admitted that follow-ups on her claim were made by the complainant. to her damage and prejudice.38. as newly discovered evidence. photocopies of several Official Receipts dated 7 and 8 January 2003. amounting to P7. and issuing the corresponding Official Receipts. Accordingly.564. it is hereby recommended that the instant Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent be denied for lack of merit. the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon resolved respondent Manlapas’ prayer for reconsideration in the negative.against the complainant and not place the complainant in a stalemate position as regards the payment of the terminal leave pay of which she is entitled to receive. in an Order [15] dated 12 May 2005. 3(f) of RA 3019 be filed against the latter stands. respondent Manlapas pointed out that the certification issued by the officer-in-charge (OIC) Municipal Treasurer Ismael C. to protect the interest of the people of Baleno. 1-2002 dated 2 December 2002. petitioner Salvacion usurped the functions of revenue collectors by collecting tax payments from tax payers at Baleno. from being defrauded by petitioner Salvacion.e. i. Respondent Manlapas moved for the reconsideration of the aforequoted Review Resolution. 63 .. Adoptante (Adoptante) that petitioner Salvacion had no more accountabilities with the Municipality of Baleno. Despite the aforementioned arguments.

charging respondent Manlapas with having violated Section 3. in the Municipality of Baleno. bearing the approval of Dennis M. Masbate. with the accusatory portion of the same reading as follows: That on December 31. Having presented said document for his signature. But now. he should have called complainant’s attention of such fact right away and not raised it at this point in time had he be (sic) sincere in acting on the claim of complainant. the above-named 64 . we find that the photocopied receipts issued by the municipality only confirms the fact that certain amounts were collected but not to the fact that it was complainant who collected the same and not remit it to the coffers of the municipality. If the same is factual. And it appears that indeed there was none. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.291. To this.38 transpired immediately on the month after complainant has retired. Finally. and for sometime prior or subsequent thereto. it was as early as December 2002 that respondent was apprised of the latter’s relief as OIC Municipal Treasurer. Villa-Ignacio. As such. we are not convinced because. with respect to the alleged invalidity of the certification made by Adoptante.46 x x x. With respect to the supposed newly discovered evidence submitted by respondent. the purported acts of complainant of usurping the functions of the revenue collectors and misappropriating the amount of P7. Special Prosecutor. 2002. immediate action thereon could have been taken and that it should have been relayed at once to complainant and not after a year. On 29 April 2005. aside from the fact that the same is uncorroborated. and raffled to its Fifth Division. it should have prompted him to verify first if there is no impediment in the payment of such claim of complainant. as amended. otherwise he could not have signed the same. an Information [16] was filed with the Sandiganbayan.38 of her collection is missing. he is now justifying his refusal of not giving complainant her terminal leave pay because the amount of P7. 3019. paragraph (f) of Republic Act No. Philippines.In affirming the Review Resolution.564.564. Office of the Ombudsman. the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon reasoned that: It could not have possibly escaped respondent’s attention that complainant has sought the payment of her terminal leave pay considering that he signed the corresponding disbursement voucher certifying that the same is necessary and lawful and even approved its payment amounting to P162.

respondent Manlapas filed an Omnibus Motion [(1) For Determination and/or Review of Finding of Probable Cause and/or Reinvestigation. In view of said development. would have certainly established the lack of probable cause and. to order and cause within a reasonable period of time. The Information was docketed as Criminal Case No. City of Masbate. a retired municipal employee.291. MANLAPAS. to the prejudice of the latter.[17] Likewise. Masbate. petitioner Salvacion had already withdrawn her terminal leave application and its supporting documents. an Order of Arrest was issued by the same division commanding the arrest of respondent Manlapas. 28111 before the Sandiganbayan. however.[20] The arraignment of the accused.”[21] He claimed that he was recently informed that as early as 1 September 2003.[18] Respondent Manlapas subsequently filed the sufficient bail bond [19] for his provisional liberty which was duly approved by the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). He explained that “[h]aving withdrawn her application for 65 . after several follow-ups and due demand. the payment of the terminal leave pay benefits in the amount of ONE HUNDRED SIXTY TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED NINETY ONE PESOS AND FORTY SIX CENTAVOS (P162. being then the Mayor of Baleno. with reasonable diligence. would have changed the conclusions and findings of the investigating prosecutors. respondent Manlapas. Fifth Division. while in the performance of his official administrative functions and acting in relation thereto.accused. did then and there willfully. if produced and submitted during the preliminary investigation. Before said date. LEO H. with grave abuse of authority. on 1 June 2005. A Hold Departure Order was issued by the Sandiganbayan. Fifth Division. have discovered and produced during the preliminary investigation and which. a high ranking public officer. was set on 29 July 2005. directing the Bureau of Immigration to hold the departure of respondent Manlapas and include him in the Bureau’s Hold Departure List. and (2) To Defer/Suspend Arraignment] on the ground that “new and material evidence has been discovered which the accused could not. SALVACION. unlawfully and criminally fails and refuses without sufficient justification.46) of BELEN A. therefore. petitioner Salvacion’s terminal leave pay was not included in the budget appropriation for Calendar Year 2003-2004. SALVACION. the last of which was in September 2003 and requests and thereby discriminating against said BELEN A.

or MORE THAN five (5) months BEFORE the filing of the complaint-affidavit. However. and herein accused could not have committed a crime for not approving the payment of said benefits in the absence of any application therefor.”[24] Further.terminal leave benefits as early as 01 September 2003. Salvacion could not have suffered damage or injury by reason of the non-payment of her terminal leave benefits. complainant Belen A. petitioner Salvacion claimed that the “accused Leo H. premises considered. The graft court found correct the position of the prosecution that respondent Manlapas was basically asking the Sandiganbayan “to assess the evidence presented by the parties. make a conclusion as to whether or not there is probable cause to indict the accused for the offense charged x x x. denying the imputation that she withdrew her Terminal Leave Application. She declared that it was only on 27 January 2004 that she took home her disbursement voucher. Moreover.”[27] The fallo of said Resolution provides: WHEREFORE. 2004 election.”[25] Hence.” [22] He then concluded that “[t]hus. after she went to see respondent Manlapas at his office to again plead for the release of her Terminal Leave Pay. [petitioner Salvacion’s] request (for payment) could not be granted. Manlapas further told private complainant that she should just keep her documents and wait for a new mayor to be elected because her Terminal Leave will definitely not be (sic) paid by him. complainant had no cause of action against herein accused at the time of the filing of her complaint for the simple reason that it would have been PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for herein accused to approve or even act upon a NONEXISTENT application for terminal leave benefits.”[23] Petitioner Salvacion opposed the omnibus motion.” [26] The Sandiganbayan subsequently promulgated a Resolution on 11 November 2005 denying for lack of merit respondent Manlapas’ Omnibus Motion. complainant had no right to demand for the approval of her terminal leave application from herein accused. she had no choice but to bring home her voucher “for fear that it might get lost in the Office of the Mayor. and after being told by the Municipal Mayor then that “since [petitioner Salvacion’s] family could not support [respondent Manlapas] in the forthcoming May. In other words. and on the basis thereof. as pointed out by the Supreme Court x x x this is not a function which the Court must be called upon to perform as this function pertains exclusively to the public prosecutor. the prosecutor’s finding of probable cause is entitled to highest respect. the instant ‘Omnibus Motion 1) For Determination and/or Review of Finding of Probable Cause and/or 66 .

thereby dismissing the case against respondent Manlapas. 3019 was based on the ratiocination that: In the present case.Reinvestigation. The Resolution of this Court promulgated on November 11.[30] The finding that there was no probable cause to hold respondent Manlapas liable to stand trial for the violation of Section 3. Arraignment of the accused will proceed as previously scheduled on November 11. The Hold Departure Order issued by this Court against the person of the accused on May 10. the Sandiganbayan reversed itself. and 2) to Defer/Suspend Arraignment’ is hereby denied for lack of merit.”[29] On 23 February 2006. the prosecution committed grave abuse of discretion in finding that there is probable cause against the accused. 2005 is hereby cancelled. 67 . paragraph (f) of Republic Act No. MANLAPAS is hereby granted. The cash bond posted by the accused to obtain his provisional liberty is hereby ordered returned to him subject to the usual auditing and accounting procedures. 2005 is hereby set aside and the instant case against him is hereby ordered dismissed. finding no probable cause to sustain the present indictment. There is no sufficient evidence adduced before the Office of the Ombudsman that a violation of Section 3(f) of Republic Act No.[28] Respondent Manlapas moved for the reconsideration of the foregoing Resolution maintaining that “[s]ince the [petitioner Salvacion] had no right to apply for terminal leave benefits. 3019 was committed by the accused x x x. The graft court ruled that: WHEREFORE. 2005. the present Motion for Reconsideration filed by the accused LEO H. the accused was under no obligation to process or approve her application.

c) Reasonable time has elapsed from such demand or request without the public officer having acted on the matter pending before him. There is sufficient justification for the accused in refusing to release the monetary benefits in favor of the private complainant after due demand by the latter. immediately designated Ceferino D. 1-2002 dated December 2. 2002. Cortes as OIC Municipal Treasurer of Baleno. It has been established and even the reviewing prosecutors has (sic) recognized that when Ismael C. from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage in favor of an interested party. Regional Director of the Bureau of Local Government Finance. Salvacion is free from money and/or property responsibility. or discriminating against another’ x x x.xxxx Admittedly. before Mr. 68 . In BLGF Regional Special Personnel Order No. Masbate. 2002. Adoptante issued the Certification on December 31. that the private complainant had then no money accountability. Atty. certifying that Ms. The accused knew this fact at the time of the alleged commission of the crime x x x. 2002. xxxx The second element is absent. and d) Such failure to so act is ‘for the purpose of obtaining. Therefore. knowing the lack of authority of Mr. Veronica Bombase King. the elements of the offense are that: a) The offender is a public officer. b) The said officer has neglected or has refused to act without sufficient justification after due demand or request has been made on him. Adoptante issued his certification on December 31. he was no longer authorized to do so. directly or indirectly.

On 14 March 2006. Salvacion. this Petition for Certiorari of petitioner Salvacion filed under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court and anchored on the following arguments: I. Salvacion.[32] Petitioner Salvacion and the People of the Philippines. PUBLIC RESPONDENT SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION) COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS IN (SIC) JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT ISMAEL ADOPTANTE IS NOT AUTHORIZED AS MUNICIPAL TREASURER AT THE TIME THE MONEY/PROPERTY CLEARANCE OF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT WAS SIGNED 69 .Adoptante to issue the said clearance in favor of private complainant Belen A. but both motions were denied by the said court in a Resolution dated 4 August 2006 which was received by petitioner Salvacion on 22 August 2006. Hence. separately moved for the reconsideration of the latest ruling of the Sandiganbayan. or within the reglementary period of 15 days within which to file a motion for reconsideration. accused mayor was justified in refusing to pay the terminal leave pay benefits of Ms. this Court has no option but to desist from inflicting upon the accused mayor the trauma of going through a trial and to dismiss the instant case. the Sandiganbayan concluded that: The absence of an essential element of the crime being imputed against the accused cannot sustain a finding of guilt of the accused. through the Public Prosecutor. Petitioner Salvacion filed the same but it was denied in another Resolution dated 3 August 2006 and received by her on 22 August 2006. Hence.[31] Thus.

without justifiable reason. “had escaped the attention of the Honorable Sandiganbayan. in effect. SAME PUBLIC RESPONDENT GROSSLY LOST SIGHT OF THE CONTINUING REFUSAL OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT TO PAY THE COMPLAINANT OF (SIC) HER TERMINAL LEAVE BENEFITS WHICH AMOUNTED TO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. AND III.”[34] Moreover. to release the money claims of petitioner x x x” [36]. according to petitioner Salvacion. 1-2002 dated December 2. 1-2002 DATED DECEMBER 2. [33] Petitioner Salvacion maintains that “[t]he reliance of Honorable Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) on BLGF Regional Special Personnel Order [N]o. SAME PUBLIC RESPONDENT HAD UNJUSTIFIABLY AND UNDULY INTERFERED WITH THE FINDINGS OF PROBABLE CAUSE MADE BY THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN FOR LUZON. II.” [35] such that “from the time the approved disbursement voucher was submitted (to the) respondent Mayor to the time the written demand was given to respondent Mayor and until thereafter. and this fact. she insists that “the demand to pay the said terminal benefits is a continuing one. continuously refusing. respondent Mayor is.”[38] Without cause to go into the merits of the case at bar. petition Salvacion declares that “the Honorable Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) had unjustifiably and unduly interfered with the findings of probable cause made by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. 2002.”[37] In conclusion. 2002 to justify the act of the accused constitute therefore as grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess in jurisdiction. 70 .BY MERELY BASING ON BLGF REGIONAL SPECIAL PERSONNEL ORDER NO. we hereby dismiss this petition.

– When any tribunal. the present Petition is one for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. nor any plain. there is nothing more for the graft court to do therein. paragraph (f) of Republic Act No. 28111. and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court. and there is no appeal. These Resolutions. Rule 45 of the Rules of Court dictates that: SECTION 1. may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. petitioner Salvacion went against the fundamental precepts of procedural law.As a consequence of filing this special civil action for certiorari in place of an ordinary appeal under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. for after ordering the dismissal of said case. Section 1. 28111. The Revised Rules of Court specifically provides that an appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Sandiganbayan is by verified petition for review on certiorari and shall raise only questions of law. alleging the facts 71 . Petition for Certiorari. speedy. are fit to be subjects of an appeal to this Court via a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45. However. therefore. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. – A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals. Under Rule 65. Note that what is being assailed in this original action are the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated 23 February 2006 and 4 August 2006 reversing the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause to hold respondent Manlapas liable to stand trial for violation of Section 3. Specifically. board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction. the Sandiganbayan. as amended. There is no question that these Resolutions already constitute a final disposition of Criminal Case No. a party may only avail himself of the special remedy ofcertiorari under the following circumstances: SECTION 1. the Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law. and ordering the dismissal of Criminal Case No. The petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. 3019.

or officer has jurisdiction over the person and the subject matter of the dispute. means that an act. errors of judgment are not proper subjects of a special civil action for certiorari. a board or any officer exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions. It cannot be legally used for any other purpose. and antithetical. (2) such tribunal. board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction. or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions acted without or in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and there is no appeal or any plain. It is basic remedial law that the two remedies are distinct. Its function is only to keep the inferior court within the bounds of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. mutually exclusive. For if every error committed by the trial court or quasijudicial agency were to be the proper subject of review bycertiorari. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. It means lack of power to exercise authority. Excess of jurisdiction as distinguished from absence of jurisdiction. tribunal. A petition for review. considered either in general or with reference to a particular matter.with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal. all errors committed in the exercise of said jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment. “Without jurisdiction” means lack or want of legal power. The extraordinary remedy of certiorari is proper if the tribunal. seeks to correct errors of judgment committed by the court. board or officer.[39] Contrasting the two remedies. right or authority to hear and determine a cause or causes. tribunal. though within the general power of a tribunal. When a court. and adequate remedy in law. a board or an officer is not authorized. It may issue only when the following requirements are alleged in the petition and established: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal.[40] 72 . or officer. while a special civil action for certiorari is an extraordinary process for the correction of errors of jurisdiction. The writ of certiorari issues for the correction of errors of jurisdiction only or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. on the other hand. Under prevailing procedural rules and jurisprudence. board. Consequently. speedy. and (3) there is no appeal or any plain. then trial would never end and the dockets of appellate courts would be clogged beyond measure. and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. a petition for review is a mode of appeal. the decision on all other questions arising from the case is an exercise of that jurisdiction. or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. because the conditions which alone authorize the exercise of the general power in respect of it are wanting. and is invalid with respect to the particular proceeding.

By its nature. [42] In this case. appeal was not only available but also a speedy and adequate remedy. And while it is true that in accordance with the liberal spirit pervading the Rules of Court and in the interest of substantial justice. A writ of certiorari will not issue where the remedy of appeal is available to an aggrieved party. this exception is not applicable to the present factual milieu. a closer scrutiny of her arguments would reveal that she is actually challenging the Resolutions dated 23 February 2006 and 4 August 2006 based on purported errors of judgment. – The petition shall be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from. x x x A party litigant wishing to file a petition for review on certiorari must do so within 15 days from receipt of the judgment. Regrettably. Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court: SEC. 2. had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties in Criminal Case No. final order or resolution 73 . Fifth Division. Fifth Division.” and “no plain.”[41] A remedy is considered "plain. but only when the former was filed within the reglementary period for filing the latter. The present Petition for Certiorari was filed well beyond the reglementary period for filing a petition for review. speedy and adequate" if it will promptly relieve the petitioners from the injurious effects of the judgment and the acts of the lower court or agency. Pursuant to Sec. and without any reason being offered therefor. It is irrefragable that the Sandiganbayan. or of the denial of the petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment.[45] treated a petition for certiorari as a petition for review on certiorari. Time for filing. 2. It is equally elementary in remedial law that the use of an erroneous mode of appeal is cause for dismissal of the petition for certiorari. before. [43] The availability to petitioner Salvacion of the remedy of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 from the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan effectively foreclosed her right to resort to a petition forcertiorari. a petition for certiorari lies only where there is “no appeal. Petitioner Salvacion utterly failed to convince this Court that the graft court abused its discretion in issuing the assailed Resolutions – grave enough to have ousted it of jurisdiction over Criminal Case No.Although petitioner Salvacion made general allegations in her Petition for Certiorari that the Sandiganbayan. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 28111. extension. and not jurisdiction. 28111 for which she may avail herself of the special remedy of certiorari. [44] we have.

qualified by the requirement that there must be exceptional circumstances to justify the relaxation of the rules. to entertain the appeal. the resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated 23 February 2006. the foregoing. another fundamental rule of procedure applies. petitioner Salvacion’s recourse to this Court is bereft of any explanation. so that failure to do so renders the questioned decision final and executory and deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment. in light of for Certiorari is DISMISSED. petitioner Salvacion has already lost the right to appeal viaRule 45. No cost. was received by petitioner Salvacion on 22 August 2006. more so.[48] We cannot find any such exceptional circumstances in this case and neither has petitioner Salvacion endeavored to allude to the existence of any. 56 days had already elapsed. thus. meritorious or otherwise. again. and even beyond an extended period of 30 days. although filed late in some rare cases. 74 . way beyond the 15-day period within which to file a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Procedure. This being so. the Petition SO ORDERED. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to at least explain its failure to comply with the rules.[49] WHEREFORE. may not be applied to petitioner Salvacion for this rule is. In this case.[47] Herein. Allowing appeals.sought to be appealed. the maximum period to be granted by this Court had one been actually sought by petitioner Salvacion. at the time of the filing of this Petition. denying the motions for reconsideration of both petitioner Salvacion and the People. and that is the doctrine that perfection of an appeal within the reglementary period is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional. As the facts stand. as to why she failed to properly observe the rules of procedure.[46] The instant Petition was filed only on 17 October 2006.