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People v.

Sandiganbayan
G.R. nos. 115439-41
July 16, 1997
Petitioner: People of the Philippines
Respondents: Honorable Sandiganbayan, Mansueto Honrada, Ceferino Paredes, Generoso Sansaet
Ponente: Regalado, J.
PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION
Facts:
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The three respondents:


o Honrada: Clerk of Court and acting stenographer of the First Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, San Francisco-Bunawan-Rosario in Agusan del Sur.
o Paredes: Provincial Attorney of Agusan del Sur. Currently the congressman of the same
region.
o Sansaet: counsel for Paredes in several of the criminal charges instigated against him.
Sometime in 1976: Paredes applied for a free patent over a lot of the Rosario Public Land
Subdivision Survey in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. It was approved.
In 1985, however, the Director of Lands filed an action for cancellation of said patent since the
said land was designated and reserved as a school site.
o TC nullified said patent and found that Paredes acquired the same through fraudulent
misrepresentations in his application. Sansaet served as counsel for Paredes here.
o Consequently, information for perjury was filed against Paredes in the MCTC. It was
later on dropped by the Provincial Fiscal upon directive from the Deputy Minister of
Justice to dismiss the case on the ground of prescription. Again, Sansaet served as
counsel for respondent Paredes here.
Paredes was still not off the hook. The Tanodbayan later on issued a resolution recommending the
criminal prosecution of Paredes for using his position (as provincial attorney) to induce the
Bureau of Lands officials to favor his application for free patent.
o Counsel Sansaet moved for reconsideration, arguing that the previous criminal charges
against Paredes was dismissed by the Court upon recommendation from the DoJ, and that
pursuing the current case would be tantamount to double jeopardy. Counsel then attached
a copy of the dismissal order, cert of arraignment and the recommendation of the DoJ in
said MoR.
o When said criminal case was filed with the SB, the latter granted the motion to quash
filed by Paredes and counsel. The case was dismissed on the ground of prescription.
January 1990: one taxpayer (Teofilo Gelacio) sent a letter to the ombudsman seeking the
investigation of the three respondents for falsification of public documents:
o That the three simulated and certified as true copies certain documents purporting to be
notice of arraignment and transcripts of stenographic notes supposedly taken during the
arraignment of said perjury charge. These were documents annexed to Paredes MoR to
the Tanodbayan resolution in order to support its stance. To support his claim, Gelacio
attached a certification that no notice of arraignment was ever received by the Office of
the Provincial Fiscal of Agusan del Sur, and a certification of Presiding Judge Arino that
said perjury case never reached arraignment because it was suspended by a pending
review of the DoJ (which subsequently moved to dismiss the complaint.)

The Sansaet reveal: while the other respondents filed their respective counter-affidavits,
Sansaet revealed that Paredes wanted to make it appear that he had been arraigned for
perjury in the MCTC in order that the criminal charges of the Tanodbayan be dismissed
for double jeopardy. He alleged that the preparations of said documents were held in
Paredes home. Sansaet, however, said that he was only induced by Paredes.
February 1992: the Ombudsman approved the filing of falsification charges against the three
respondentsrejecting the proposal to make Sansaet instead a state witness.
o Ombudsman reasoned out that Sansaets revelation falls under the privileged
communication between an attorney and a client, hence cannot be used in the case.
July 1993: A motion was then filed by the People to the SB for the discharge of respondent
Sansaet as a state witness. However, this was denied. Thus, the current petition.
o

Issues/Held: (ni-skip ko na yung bulk ng procedural issues. Pag nagtanong si Maam tungkol duon, sorry.)
WoN Sansaets revelation and projected testimony is barred by the Attorney-Client privilegeNO
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For the application of the attorney-client privilege to apply, the period to be considered is the date
when the privileged communication was made by the client to the attorney in relation to either a
crime committed in the past OR with respect to a crime intended to be committed in the future.
o In other words, if the client seeks his lawyers advice with respect to a past crime
already committed said communication is protected by the attorney-client
privilege.
But if the client seeks a lawyers advice for a crime he intends to commit (meaning
gagawin pa lang) not protected by the said privilege.
o In the present case, the testimony sought from Sansaet as a state witness are not the
communications intimated to him by Paredes after the falsification, but are the
acts/words of Paredes and Honrada at the time the three of them processed said falsified
documents. Therefore, such communications are outside the gambit of the privileged
communication.
It is also a well-settled doctrine that in order for an attorney-client communication to be
privileged, it must be for a lawful purpose or for a lawful end. This, of course, is non-existent in
this case.

WoN respondent Sansaet qualifies as a state witness for the prosecutionYES


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Of course, in a conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all and so that the same penalty should be
imposed upon all the conspirators. Sansaet is considered part of the conspiracy, so he should be
punished for the same.
o However, the act of discharging a respondent to become a state witness is an affair of
substantive law, which is not based on any strict procedural rule and is given only on
considerations of each case, such as the necessity of giving immunity to one in order to
prevent the escape of all, and the experience that a candid admission of an accused
usually is a guaranty that he will testify truthfully.
o Respondent Sansaet has been and is the only cooperative eyewitness to the actual
commission of said falsification. There is no other direct evidence available for
prosecutionhence an absolute necessity for Sansaets testimony.

Sansaets testimony can also be corroborated by other reputable witnesses and evidence
(the certifications, etc.)
o Also, the fact that Sansaet has never been convicted of any offense involving moral
turpitude gives credence to his testimony. Thus, with the confluence of all of these
factors, respondent Sansaet can be discharged as state witness for prosecution.
The SC also took note of a recent manifestation and comment by the Sandiganbayan, stating that
after its own reconstitution and the retirement of two members of its second division, the SB was
now amenable in discharging Sansaet as state witness. (lol)
o

Petition Granted.