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RAMISCAL

v. Sandiganbayan
G.R. No. 172476-99
September 15, 2010
Key Take-Away: The filing of a motion for reconsideration/reinvestigation in the OMB shall NOT BAR the OMB to file the
corresponding information in the respective Court (i.e. Sandiganbayan).

Facts:
Jose Ramiscal, Jr. (RAMISCAL) was a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
During his term as the president of the AFP-Retirement and Separation Benefits System, he approved the
acquisition of 15,020 sqm of land in General Santos City for housing devt projects.
RAMISCAL, along with Atty. Flaviano (attorney-in-fact of the 12 vendors), executed and signed 12 deeds of sale
over the lands at the agreed price of P10,500 per sqm.
However, the deeds of sale reflected a purchase price of only P3,000 per sqm instead of the P10,500.
On Dec. 1997, Congresswoman Antonino filed in the Ombudsman (OMB) a complaint-affidavit against the
petitioner for:
o Violation of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act)
o Malversation of public funds or property through falsification of public documents.
After preliminary investigation, OMB found RAMSICAL guilty of violation of Sec. 3 of R.A. No. 3019.
On Feb. 1999, RAMSICAL filed his first motion for reconsideration, which was set aside because it was proven
that RAMSICAL indeed participated and affixed his signature on the deeds of sale with the false purchase price.
Afterwards, OMB filed in the Sandiganbayan 12 informations for the falsification of documents of RAMSICAL and
other co-accused.
On Feb. 2006, pending his SECOND MR in the OMB, the petitioner was arraigned in the Sandiganbayan.
However, RAMSICAL refused to enter a plea. Because of his refusal, the Sandiganbayan entered in his favor a
plea of not guilty.
RAMSICAL filed a motion to SET ASIDE his arraignment for the reason that he still has an MR concerning the
OMBs findings of probable cause against him.
Sandiganbayan denied his motion stating that whatever defense or evidence he may have should be presented
in the trial of the case before it.

Issue:
W/N the Sandiganbayan commit grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioners motion to set aside his
arraignment pending resolution of his second MR in the Ombudsmans finding of probable cause against him.
-> NO

Held:
No, the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it denied RAMSICALs motion to set aside
his arraignment because there was a pending MR in the OMB.
It is expressly mentioned in Sec. 7(b), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure of the OMB,
o The filing of a motion for reconsideration/reinvestigation SHALL NOT BAR the filing of the
corresponding information in Court on the basis of the finding of probable cause in the resolution
subject of the motion. (Emphasis supplied)
If the filing of information cannot be barred, so should the arraignmentwhich in the normal course of criminal
procedure logically follows the filing of the information.
The SC also cited several provisions from the Speedy Trial Act of 1998 and Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, which
meant that not after 30 days from the filing of the information, the arraignment must automatically follow.
Though the SC admitted there are instances (Sec. 11 of the Rules of Court) wherein arraignment could be
suspended, however, RAMSICAL failed to prove a valid ground.
Additionally, RAMSICAL already filed his first MR to the OMB. Under Sec. 7, Rule II of the Rules of Court,
RAMSICAL can no longer file for another. Otherwise, there will be no end to litigation.

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