You are on page 1of 1

G.R. No.

125359 September 4, 2001


Lopez, AMC
ROBERTO S. BENEDICTO and HECTOR T. RIVERA, petitioners vs. COURT
OF APPEALS, HON. LOJA and PEOPLE OF THE PHILLIPPINES, respondents
Topic: Article 3, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution
Facts:
1. In 1991, Mrs. Imelda Marcos and Mr. Bendicto and Rivera were indicted
for violation of Circular NO. 960 in relation to the Central Bank Act (R.A.
265).
a. It was alleged that they failed to submit reports of their foreign
exchange earnings from abroad and failed to register with Central
Bank.
2. In 1993, the government allowed petitioners to return to the Philippines, on
the condition that they face their criminal charges, including dollar-salting
cases, in which they later posted bail.
3. In 1994, they pleaded not guilty in their arraignment. They mpved tp quash
all charges. (The grounds are the issues presented in the Court.)
4. Trial court denied their motion and the subsequent MR. The CA also denied
such. Hence, this petition.
Issues presented by petitioners:
1. W/N trial court lacks jurisdiction, there was forum shopping and a
valid preliminary investigation is absent (only impt issue)
2. W/N the repeal of Circular 960 and RA 265 by Circular 1353 and RA 7653
extinguished their criminal liability
3. W/N criminal cases has already prescribed
4. W/N petitioners were exempted from application of Circular 960
5. W/N absolute immunity was granted by the 1990 Compromise Agreement
Held: The petition is denied.
Lack of Jurisdiction, Forum Shopping, Preliminary Investigation
1. Petitioners assail that Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the case.
However, the law in force at that time, P.D. 1606, gives the trial court
jurisdiction of offense punishable with not more than six years
imprisonment.
2. Petitioners argue that prosecution filed separate cases with the same
offenses in more than one tribunal to obtain a favorable verdict. However,
their act constitutes an offense against two or more distinct and unrelated
law. With the RTC cases, whats punished is the failure to report earnings.
With the graft cases, its the prohibited receipt of the interest earnings.
There is no identity of offenses charged.
3. Petitioners argue that the preliminary investigation was invalid and was in
violation of due process. They argue that governments ban on their travel

prevented them from returning home and appearing in the investigation.


The Court held that:
a. Preliminary investigation is not part of the due process guarantee
of the Constitution. It is personal and may be waived expressly or
impliedly.
b. Posting of bail, entering their pleas and filing various motions by
the petitioners lead the Court to conclude that they have waived
any and all irregularities of a preliminary investigation.
Repeal Extinguished Criminal Liability
4. It was repealed, but it was re-enacted in RA 7653. Hence, the Court is not
precluded from hearing and trying the case.
5. Petitioners argue that RA 7653 was an ex post facto law. However, nowhere
in the law can it be seen that it has retroactive effect.
Prescription of Criminal Case
6. Petitioner argue that the interest earnings were remitted in 1983, hence, it
has already prescribed the 8 year prescription period. However, its
indicated in RA 265 that the date will run from date of discovery, if such
acts were unknown.
7. Considering that they were Marcos associates, it would have been hidden
and not known at those dates. Hence, prescription should start at 1986.
Exemption from Application
8. Its correct that there is an exemption, similar to their case. However, in
order to claim exemption, they must prove eligibility. Petitioners failed to
do such.
9. Petitioners argue that their Swiss banks were subject to abdolute
confidentiality as provided by RA 6426. However, said law is inapplicable
to foreign banks, as the law only protects Philippine banks in good standing.
Absolute Immunity by the Compromise Agreement
10. The 1990 Compromise Agreement clearly listed and limited the
applicability of immunity only in the cases identified in the contents.
Nowhere can it be found that there is immunity from charges in violation of
Circular 960.
11. Also, they may only invoke immunity of such wealth was mentioned in the
Agreement. There foreign earnings were not mentioned.
12. In final, it is to note that petitioner Benedicto died before final judgment.
Hence, his criminal and civil liability is extinguished.
WHEREFORE, petition is dismissed and CA is affirmed.