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ENRIQUEZ v.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN


When Injunction may be issued to restrain criminal prosecution | February 15, 2008 |
Sandoval-Gutierrez

ISSUE/S & RATIO:


1. WON the petition for mandamus is an appropriate remedy YES
a. Ordinarily, a petition for a writ of mandamus is proper to compel the
public official concerned to perform a ministerial act which the law
Nature of Case: Mandamus
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station.
Digest maker: Niq Polido
However, it is inaccurate to say that the writ will never issue to control
the public officials discretion.
SUMMARY: (see bold in facts; very short list of undisputed facts in the case)
b. If the questioned act was done with grave abuse of discretion, manifest
DOCTRINE: If the questioned act was done with grave abuse of discretion, manifest
injustice or palpable excess of authority, the writ will be issued to control
injustice or palpable excess of authority, the writ will be issued to control the exercise of
the exercise of such discretion. Likewise, mandamus is a proper recourse
such discretion. Likewise, mandamus is a proper recourse for citizens who seek to enforce a
for citizens who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the
public right and to compel the performance of a public duty, most especially when
performance of a public duty, most especially when mandated by the
mandated by the Constitution.
Constitution.
c. The Court held that respondent acted with grave abuse of discretion
FACTS:
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction by failing to resolve the

On May 9, 2000, the Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB), Office of the
administrative and criminal cases against petitioners for a period of almost
Ombudsman filed with the Administrative Adjudication Bureau complaints
eight (8) years from the filing of their complaints-affidavits.
charging petitioners with administrative and criminal offenses, i.e. for violation of
Sec. 4(a) of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
2. WON respondent violated petitioners constitutional right to a speedy disposition
and Employees, Sec. 22(a)(c)(i)(k)(t) of EO 292, for dishonesty and grave misconduct,
of their cases YES
for gross neglect of duty, inefficiency, incompetence in the performance of official
a. The doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether that right has
duties and non-compliance with RA 7718, and for violation of Sec. 3(b), (c) and (e) of
been violated, the factors that may be considered and balanced are:
RA 3019, in connection with the bidding of the Land Titling Computerization
i. length of the delay
Project of the LRA.
ii. reasons for the delay

Finding sufficient basis to proceed with the investigation, respondent required


iii. aggrieved partys assertion or failure to assert such right,
petitioners to submit their counter-affidavits and controverting evidence.
iv. prejudice caused by the delay

Petitioner vehemently denied the charges and formally offered their evidence on
b. Respondent was Constitutionally created to protect the people which
January 29, 2002.
includes promptly acting on complaints to promote efficient service by the

On April 17. 2002, complainant FFIB filed its Comment thereon


Government

Petitioners waited for respondents resolution on the parties respective formal


c. Adjudication of cases must not only be done in an orderly manner, but
offers of evidence, but there was none.
also be promptly decided to better serve the ends of justice.

They then filed a Motion to Set Date for the Simultaneous Filing of Memorandum
by Each Party.

Respondent did not act on petitioners motion


RULING: Administrative and criminal cases filed againt petitioners are DISMISSED. Respondent

On December 12, 2002, Edilberto Feliciano, one of the petitioners, filed a Motion for acted with grave abuse of discretion and also violated the Constitutional right to a speedy disposition of
Early Resolution expressing alarm over the inaction of the Office of the cases.
Ombudsman and praying that the cases be resolved immediately considering that
all evidences have been formally offered.
NOTES:

Respondent still failed to resolve the case.

The Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman requires that the hearing

Six (6) years from the filing, and more than four (4) years after the formal
officer is given a definite period of not later than thirty (30) days to resolve the
submission of evidence, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss all the cases against
case after the formal investigation shall have been concluded.
them, citing violation of right to due process and speedy disposition of cases.

Complainant FFIB, despite notice, did not object. Yet, cases remain unsolved.

Petitioners filed a petition for mandamus praying that the Office of the Ombudsman
(respondent) be ordered to dismiss the administrative and criminal cases against
them.

Respondent argued that (1) it did not violate the Constitutional right to a speedy
disposition of cases; (2) petitioners cannot resort to mandamus because dismissing
the admin and crim cases involves respondents exercise of discretion; (3) it did not
act with grave abuse of discretion for failing to resolve the cases because the
prosecutors assigned are merely exercising extreme care in verifying, evaluating,
and assessing the charges; (4) the delay in the ongoing review is not vexatious,
capricious or oppressive.