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G.R.No.172035.July4,2012.

FERNANDO Q. MIGUEL, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE


SANDIGANBAYAN,respondent.

Criminal Procedure Information Section 6, Rule 110 of the Revised


Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rules) requires, inter alia, that the
informationshallstatethedesignationoftheoffensegivenbythestatuteand
the acts or omissions imputed which constitute the offense charged.In
deference to the constitutional right of an accused to be informed of the
nature and the cause of the accusation against him, Section 6, Rule 110 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rules) requires, inter alia, that
theinformationshallstatethedesignationoftheoffensegivenbythestatute
and the acts or omissions imputed which constitute the offense charged.
Additionally,theRulesrequiresthattheseactsoromissionsanditsattendant
circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and in
termssufficienttoenableapersonofcommonunderstandingtoknowwhat
offenseisbeingchargedxxxandforthecourttopronouncejudgment.
SameSameSameThetestoftheinformationssufficiencyiswhether
thecrimeisdescribedinintelligibletermsandwithsuchparticularitywith
reasonable certainty so that the accused is duly informed of the offense
charged.The test of the informations sufficiency is whether the crime is
described in intelligible terms and with such particularity with reasonable
certainty so that the accused is duly informed of the offense charged. In
particular, whether an information validly charges an offense depends on
whether the material facts alleged in the complaint or information shall
establishtheessentialelementsoftheoffensechargedasdefinedinthelaw.
TheraisondetreoftherequirementintheRulesistoenabletheaccusedto
suitablypreparehisdefense.
Same Suspension The suspension requires a prior hearing to
determine the validity of the information filed against him, taking into
accounttheseriousandfarreachingconsequencesofasuspen

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*SECONDDIVISION.

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sion of an elective public official even before his conviction.While the


suspension of a public officer under this provision is mandatory, the
suspension requires a prior hearing to determine the validity of the
information filed against him, taking into account the serious and far
reaching consequences of a suspension of an elective public official even
before his conviction. The accused public officials right to challenge the
validityoftheinformationbeforeasuspensionordermaybeissuedincludes
therighttochallengethe(i)validityofthecriminalproceedingleadingtothe
filingofaninformationagainsthim,and(ii)proprietyofhisprosecutionon
the ground that the acts charged do not constitute a violation of R.A. No.
3019oroftheprovisionsonbriberyoftheRevisedPenalCode.
Same PreSuspension Hearing While a presuspension hearing is
aimedatsecuringfortheaccusedfairandadequateopportunitytochallenge
the validity of the information or the regularity of the proceedings against
him, no hard and fast rule exists in regulating its conduct.While a pre
suspension hearing is aimed at securing for the accused fair and adequate
opportunitytochallengethevalidityoftheinformationortheregularityof
the proceedings against him, Luciano likewise emphasizes that no hard and
fast rule exists in regulating its conduct. With the purpose of a pre
suspensionhearinginmind,theabsenceofanactualhearingalonecannotbe
determinativeofthevalidityofasuspensionorder.
SameRighttobeHeardItiswellsettledthattobehearddoesnot
only mean oral arguments in court one may be heard also through
pleadings.Since a presuspension hearing is basically a due process
requirement, when an accused public official is given an adequate
opportunity to be heard on his possible defenses against the mandatory
suspension under R.A. No. 3019, then an accused would have no reason to
complain that no actual hearing was conducted. It is well settled that to be
heard does not only mean oral arguments in court one may be heard also
through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral
arguments or pleadings, has been accorded, no denial of procedural due
processexists.
CriminalLawAntiGraftandCorruptPracticesAct(R.A.No.3019)
Suspension Suspension under R.A. No. 3019 being a mere preventive
measurewhosedurationshallinnocaseexceedninety(90)

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562 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED

Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

days, the adequacy of the opportunity to contest the validity of the


information and of the proceedings that preceded its filing visvis the
merits of the defenses of the accused cannot be measured alone by the
absence or presence of an actual hearing.Suspension under R.A. No.
3019 being a mere preventive measure whose duration shall in no case
exceed ninety (90) days, the adequacy of the opportunity to contest the
validityoftheinformationandoftheproceedingsthatprecededitsfilingvis
visthemeritsofthedefensesoftheaccusedcannotbemeasuredaloneby
theabsenceorpresenceofanactualhearing.Anopportunitytobeheardon
ones defenses, however unmeritorious it may be, against the suspension
mandatedbylawequallyandsufficientlyservesboththedueprocessrightof
theaccusedandthemandatorynatureofthesuspensionrequiredbylaw.

SPECIALCIVILACTIONintheSupremeCourt.Certiorari.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
FerrerandAssociatesLawOfficeforpetitioner.
OfficeoftheSolicitorGeneralforrespondent.

BRION,J.:
BeforetheCourtisapetitionforcertiorariunderRule651 filed
byFernandoQ.Miguel(petitioner),assailingtheJanuary25,2006
and March 27, 2006 resolutions2 of the Sandiganbayan. These
resolutions(i)orderedthepetitionerssuspensionfrompublicoffice
and (ii) denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the
suspensionorder.

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1RC.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Godofredo L. Legaspi, and concurred in by
AssociateJusticesEfrenN.delaCruzandNorbertoY.Geraldez,Sr.

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TheAntecedentFacts
On May 29, 1996, then Vice Mayor Mercelita M. Lucido and
other local officials3 of Koronadal City, South Cotabato filed a
lettercomplaint with the Office of the OmbudsmanMindanao
(Ombudsman)4 charging the petitioner, among others,5 with
violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, in connection with the
consultancy services for the architectural aspect, the engineering
design, and the construction supervision and management of the
proposedKoronadalCitypublicmarket(project).6
InaJune27,1996order,theOmbudsmandirectedthepetitioner,
amongothers,tosubmithiscounteraffidavit.OnOctober23,1996,
after moving for an extension, the petitioner filed his counter
affidavit.7 In its July 29, 1999 resolution, the Ombudsman found
probable cause against the petitioner and some private individuals
for violation of R.A. No. 3019 and against the petitioner alone for
Falsification of Public Document under Article 171, par. 4 of the
RevisedPenalCode.8
On March 1, 2000, the Ombudsman filed the corresponding
informationswiththeSandiganbayan.9Theinformationforviolation
ofSection3(e)ofR.A.No.3019reads:

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3 The Sangguniang Bayan memberscomplainants are as follows: Rose Dideles,
ReneJumilla,PablitoSubereandEdwinAbrisRollo,p.5.
4Id.,atp.83.
5GasparE.Nepomuceno,JesusG.Casus,ErnestoR.Lagdameo,Jr.,BonifacioM.
Madarcos,andVinciNicholasR.Villaseorid.,atp.103.
6Id.,atpp.110113.
7Id.,atpp.124125.
8Id.,atpp.5and83.
9 The case for violation of R.A. No. 3019 was docketed as Criminal Case No.
25819 (id., at p. 103). The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a Motion to drop
ErnestoR.Lagdameo,Jr.,BonifacioM.

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564 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

Thaton10January1995orsometimepriororsubsequentthereto,inthe
Municipality of Koronadal, South Cotabato, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the [petitioner], a high ranking public
officer in his capacity as former Municipal Mayor of Koronadal, South
Cotabato, and as such while in the performance of his official functions,
committing the offense in relation to his office, taking advantage of his
officialposition,conspiringandconfederatingwiththeprivate[individuals]
xxxactingwithevident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give unwarranted benefits and
advantages to said [accused], by inviting them to participate in the
prequalification of consultants to provide the Detailed Architectural &
Engineering Design and Construction Supervision and Management of the
proposed Koronadal Public Market, without causing the publication of said
invitation in a newspaper of general circulation, thereby excluding other
consultants from participating in said prequalification.10 (Emphases and
underscoringadded)

On motions separately filed by two of the petitioners co


accused,11 the Sandiganbayan ordered the Office of the Special
Prosecutor(OSP)toconductareinvestigation.OnAugust21,2000,
thepetitioner,throughcounsel,followedsuitandorallymovedfora
reinvestigation, which the Sandiganbayan likewise granted. The
Sandiganbayangavethepetitionerten(10)dayswithinwhichtofile
hiscounteraffidavitwiththeOSP.12
Insteadofsubmittinghiscounteraffidavit,thepetitionerasked13
theSandiganbayanforathirtydayextensiontosubmithiscounter
affidavit.Shortlybeforetheexpiryofthe

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Madarcos,JesusG.CasusandVinciNicholasR.VillaseorfromtheInformation
(id.,atpp.106and108).ThefalsificationcasewasdocketedasCriminalCaseNo.
25820(id.,atp.103).
10Id.,atp.117.
11 On March 3, 2000 and June 5, 2000, Bonifacio M. Madarcos and Ernesto R.
Lagdameo,Jr.,respectively,filedaMotionforReinvestigationid.,atpp.103104.
12Id.,atp.104.
13DatedAugust30,2000ibid.

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Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

extension requested, the petitioner asked14 the OSP for an


additionalthirtydayperiodtofilehiscounteraffidavit.Despitethe
two extensions asked and granted, the petitioner asked the OSP
anewforatwentydayextensionperiod.15
Despite the extension period asked and given, the petitioner
failedtofilehiscounteraffidavit,promptingProsecutorNorbertoB.
Ruiz to declare that the petitioner had waived his right to submit
countervailing evidence (April 25, 2001 resolution). On July 31,
2001,thenOmbudsmanAnianoDesiertoapprovedtheresolution.16
OnAugust7,2001,ProsecutorRuizaskedtheSandiganbayanfor
the arraignment and trial of the petitioner and of the other accused
privateindividuals.17
OnAugust6,2002,afterseveralextensionssoughtandgranted,
thepetitionerfiledaMotiontoQuashand/orReinvestigationforthe
criminal cases against him. On February 18, 2003, the
Sandiganbayan denied the petitioners motion because of the
pending OSP reinvestigationthis, despite the OSPs earlier
termination of the reinvestigation for the petitioners continuous
failure to submit his counteraffidavit.18 The petitioner did not
questionthedenialofhismotion.
OnNovember3,2004,thepetitionerwasarraignedhepleaded
notguiltyinbothcriminalcases.19
On April 28, 2005, the OSP filed a Motion to Suspend [the
petitioner]PendenteLite.OnJune27,2005,thepetitionerfiledhis
VigorousOppositionbasedontheobviousandfataldefectofthe
[i]nformation in failing to allege that the giving of unwarranted
benefitsandadvantageswasdone

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14DatedSeptember28,2000id.,atp.105.
15DatedOctober29,2000ibid.
16Id.,atp.106.
17Ibid.
18Id.,atp.27.
19Id.,atp.6.

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566 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable


negligence.20
On January 25, 2006, the Sandiganbayan promulgated the
assailedresolution21suspendingthepetitionerpendentelite

WHEREFORE,PREMISESCONSIDERED,theProsecutionsMotion
is GRANTED. As prayed for, the Court hereby orders the suspension of
[the petitioner] from his position as City Mayor, Koronadal City, South
Cotabato,andfromanyotherpublicpositionhenowholds.Hissuspension
shallbeforaperiodofninety(90)daysonly.22

OnFebruary2,2006,thepetitionermovedforreconsiderationof
hissuspensionorderanddemandedforapresuspensionhearing.23
TheSandiganbayandeniedhismotion,24promptinghimtofilethis
certioraripetitiontochallengethevalidityofhissuspensionorder.

ThePetition

ThepetitionerclaimsthattheSandiganbayangravelyabusedits
discretion in ordering his suspension despite the failure of the
information to allege that the giving of unwarranted benefits and
advantagesbythepetitionerwasmadethroughmanifestpartiality,
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. He alleges that
the phrases evident bad faith and manifest partiality actually
refersnottohim,buttohiscoaccused,25renderingtheinformation
fatallydefective.
Thepetitionerbewailsthelackofhearingbeforetheissuanceof
hissuspensionorder.CitingLuciano,etal.v.Hon.

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20Id.,atpp.67.
21Id.,atpp.2124.
22Id.,atp.24.
23Id.,atp.13.
24Id.,atpp.2628.
25Id.,atp.67.

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Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

Mariano, etc., et al.,26 he claims that [n]owhere in the records of


the [case] can [one] see any order or resolution requiring the
[p]etitioner to show cause at a specific date of hearing why he
should not be ordered suspended.27 For the petitioner, the
requirementofapresuspensionhearingcanonlybesatisfiedifthe
Sandiganbayanorderedanactualhearingtosettlethedefectinthe
information.

TheOSPsComment

The OSP argues for the sufficiency of the information since all
theelementsoftheoffenseunderSection3(b)ofR.A.No.3019are
specificallypleadedbywayofultimatefacts.Theseelementsare:
1.ThepetitionerwastheMunicipalMayorofKoronadal,South
Cotabatoatthetimematerialtotheactscomplainedof
2.Thepetitioneractedwithmanifestpartialityandevidentbad
faithwhenheinvitedonlyhiscoaccusedprivateindividuals
to participate in the prequalification of consultants for the
project instead of publishing it in a newspaper of general
circulationand
3.The petitioners actions, performed in relation to his office,
gaveunwarrantedbenefitsandadvantagestohiscoaccused.28
TheOSPfaultsthepetitionerforhisattempttomisleadtheCourt
on the sufficiency of the allegations in the information, by
convenientlyfailingtocitethephraseactingwithevidentbadfaith
and manifest partiality when the petitioner quoted the relevant
portionsoftheinformationinhispetition.

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26148BPhil.17840SCRA187(1971).
27Rollo,pp.1314.
28Rollo,p.45.

568

568 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

CitingJuanv.People,29theOSParguesthatwhilenoactualpre
CitingJuanv.People,29theOSParguesthatwhilenoactualpre
suspension hearing was conducted, the events preceding the
issuance of the suspension order already satisfied the purpose of
conducting a presuspension hearingi.e., basically, to determine
thevalidityoftheinformation.Here,thepetitionerwasaffordedhis
right to preliminary investigation both by the Ombudsman and by
the OSP (when the petitioner moved for a reinvestigation with the
Sandiganbayan) the acts for which the petitioner was charged
constituteaviolationofR.A.No.3019andTitleVII,BookIIofthe
RevisedPenalCodeandthepetitioneralreadymovedtoquashthe
information,althoughunsuccessfully,afterhehadbeendeclaredto
have waived his right to submit countervailing evidence in the
reinvestigationbytheOSP.30

Issues

Thereareonlytwoissuespresentedforourresolution:
1.Whether the information, charging the petitioner with
violationofSection3(e)ofR.A.No.3019,isvalidand
2.Ifitisvalid,whethertheabsenceofanactualpresuspension
hearing renders invalid the suspension order against the
petitioner.

TheCourtsRuling

Wedismissthepetitionforfailuretoestablishanygraveabuseof
discretionintheissuanceoftheassailedresolutions.

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29379Phil.125322SCRA125(2000).
30CitingSocratesv.Sandiganbayan,324Phil.151253SCRA773(1996).

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VOL.675,JULY4,2012 569
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Theinformationforviolation
ofR.A.No.3019isvalid
In deference to the constitutional right of an accused to be
informedofthenatureandthecauseoftheaccusationagainsthim,31
Section 6, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
(Rules)32 requires, inter alia, that the information shall state the
designation of the offense given by the statute and the acts or
omissions imputed which constitute the offense charged.
Additionally,theRulesrequiresthattheseactsoromissionsandits
attendant circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise
language and in terms sufficient to enable a person of common
understandingtoknowwhatoffenseisbeingchargedxxxandfor
thecourttopronouncejudgment.33

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31Constitution,ArticleIII,Section14(2).
32Section6,Rule110oftheRevisedRulesofCriminalProcedurereads:
SEC.6.Sufficiency of complaint or information.A complaint or
informationissufficientifitstatesthenameoftheaccusedthedesignation
of the offense given by the statute the acts or omissions complained of as
constitutingtheoffensethenameoftheoffendedpartytheapproximatedate
of the commission of the offense and the place where the offense was
committed.
Whenanoffenseiscommittedbymorethanoneperson,allofthemshall
beincludedinthecomplaintorinformation.
33Section9,Rule110oftheRevisedRulesofCriminalProcedurereads:
SEC.9.Causeoftheaccusation.Theactsoromissionscomplainedof
asconstitutingtheoffenseandthequalifyingandaggravatingcircumstances
must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the
language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of
commonunderstandingtoknowwhatoffenseisbeingchargedaswellasits
qualifying and aggravating circumstance and for the court to pronounce
judgment.

570

570 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

Thetestoftheinformationssufficiencyiswhetherthecrimeis
described in intelligible terms and with such particularity with
reasonable certainty so that the accused is duly informed of the
offense charged. In particular, whether an information validly
chargesanoffensedependsonwhetherthematerialfactsallegedin
thecomplaintorinformationshallestablishtheessentialelementsof
the offense charged as defined in the law. The raisondetre of the
requirementintheRulesistoenabletheaccusedtosuitablyprepare
hisdefense.34
In arguing against the validity of the information, the petitioner
appears to go beyond the standard of a person of common
understandinginappreciatingtheimportofthephraseactingwith
evident bad faith and manifest partiality. A reading of the
informationclearlyrevealsthatthephraseactingwithevidentbad
faithandmanifestpartialitywasmerelyacontinuationoftheprior
allegationoftheactsofthepetitioner, and that he ultimately acted
withevidentbadfaithandmanifestpartialityingivingunwarranted
benefitsandadvantagestohiscoaccusedprivateindividuals.Thisis
what a plain and nonlegalistic reading of the information would
yield.
Notably,inhispetition,thepetitionerwouldhaveusbelievethat
this elemental phrase was actually omitted in the information35
when, in his reaction to the OSPs comment, what the petitioner
actually disputes is simply the clarity of the phrases position, in
relation with the other averments in the information. Given the
supposed ambiguity of the subject being qualified by the phrase
actingwithevidentbadfaithandmanifestpartiality,theremedyof
thepetitioner,ifatall,ismerelytomoveforabillofparticularsand
notforthe

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34Lazarte,Jr.v.Sandiganbayan,G.R.No.180122,March13,2009,581SCRA431.
35 See Dela Chica v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 144823, December 8, 2003, 417
SCRA242.

571

VOL.675,JULY4,2012 571
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

quashalofaninformationwhichsufficientlyallegestheelementsof
theoffensecharged.36
Thepresuspensionorderisvalid
Section13ofR.A.No.3019reads:

Section13.Suspension and loss of benefits.Any public officer


againstwhomanycriminalprosecutionunderavalidinformationunderthis
ActorundertheprovisionsoftheRevisedPenalCodeonbriberyispending
in court, shall be suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final
judgment,heshallloseallretirementorgratuitybenefitsunderanylaw,but
ifheisacquitted,heshallbeentitledtoreinstatementandtothesalariesand
benefitswhichhefailedtoreceiveduringsuspension,unlessinthemeantime
administrativeproceedingshavebeenfiledagainsthim.

While the suspension of a public officer under this provision is


mandatory,37 the suspension requires a prior hearing to determine
the validity of the information38 filed against him, taking into
account the serious and far reaching consequences of a suspension
of an elective public official even before his conviction.39 The
accused public officials right to challenge the validity of the
information before a suspension order may be issued includes the
righttochallengethe(i)validityofthecriminalproceedingleading
tothefilingofaninformationagainsthim,and(ii)proprietyofhis
prosecutiononthegroundthattheactschargeddonotconstitutea
viola
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36RevisedRulesofCriminalProcedure,Rule116,Section9andRomualdezv.
Sandiganbayan,G.R.No.152259,July29,2004,435SCRA371,388389.
37Floresv.Layosa,G.R.No.154714,August12,2004,436SCRA337,345.
38Luciano,etal.v.Hon.Mariano,etc.,etal.,supranote26,atpp.183184and
Peoplev.Albano,Nos.L4537677,July26,1988,163SCRA511,517.
39Ibid.

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572 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

tionofR.A.No.3019oroftheprovisionsonbriberyoftheRevised
PenalCode.40
InLucianov.Mariano41thatthepetitionerreliedupon,theCourt
required, by way of broad guidelines for the lower courts in the
exerciseofthepowerofsuspension,that

(c)uponthefilingofsuchinformation,thetrialcourtshouldissue
anorderwithpropernoticerequiringtheaccusedofficertoshowcause
at a specific date of hearing why he should not be ordered suspended from
office pursuant to the cited mandatory provisions of the Act. Whereeither
theprosecutionseasonablyfilesamotionforanorderofsuspensionor
the accused in turn files a motion to quash the information or
challengesthevaliditythereof,suchshowcauseorderofthetrialcourt
wouldnolongerbenecessary.Whatisindispensableisthatthetrialcourt
duly hear the parties at a hearing held for determining the validity of the
information, and thereafter hand down its ruling, issuing the corresponding
order of suspension should it uphold the validity of the information or
withholdingsuchsuspensioninthecontrarycase.
(d)No specific rules need be laid down for such presuspension
hearing. Suffice it to state that the accused should be given a fair and
adequateopportunitytochallengethevalidityofthecriminalproceedings
againsthim,e.g. that he has not been afforded the right of due preliminary
investigation that the acts for which he stands charged do not constitute a
violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 or of the bribery
provisions of the Revised Penal Code which would warrant his mandatory
suspension from office under section 13 of the Act or he may present a
motiontoquashtheinformationonanyofthegroundsprovidedinRule117
oftheRulesofCourt.(Emphasissupplied)

The petitioner questions the absence of any show cause order


issued by the Sandiganbayan before his suspension in office was
ordered.Asclearastheday,however,Luciano

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40Peoplev.Albano,supranote38,atpp.518519andSocratesv.Sandiganbayan,
supranote30,atpp.179p.779.
41Supranote26,atpp.192193p.202.

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VOL.675,JULY4,2012 573
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considered it unnecessary for the trial court to issue a show cause


order when the motion, seeking the suspension of the accused
pendente lite, has been submitted by the prosecution, as in the
presentcase.
Thepurposeofthelawinrequiringapresuspensionhearingisto
determine the validity of the information so that the trial court can
haveabasistoeithersuspendtheaccusedandproceedwiththetrial
on the merits of the case, withhold the suspension and dismiss the
case,orcorrectanypartoftheproceedingsthatimpairsitsvalidity.
That hearing is similar to a challenge to the validity of the
informationbywayofamotiontoquash.42
While a presuspension hearing is aimed at securing for the
accusedfairandadequateopportunitytochallengethevalidityof
the information or the regularity of the proceedings against him,43
Luciano likewise emphasizes that no hard and fast rule exists in
regulating its conduct.44 With the purpose of a presuspension
hearing in mind, the absence of an actual hearing alone cannot be
determinativeofthevalidityofasuspensionorder.
In Bedruz v. Sandiganbayan,45 the Court considered the
opposition of the accused (to the prosecutions motion to suspend
pendentelite)assufficienttodispensewiththeneedtoactuallyset
the prosecutions motion for hearing. The same conclusion was
reachedinJuanv.People,46wheretheCourtruled:

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42Talaga,Jr.v.Sandiganbayan,G.R.No.169888,November11,2008,570SCRA
622,632.
43Segovia v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 124067, March 27, 1998, 288 SCRA 328,
339.
44Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 128055, April 18, 2001, 356 SCRA 636,
645andFloresv.Layosa,G.R.No.154714,August12,2004,supranote37,atpp.345
346.
45G.R.No.161640,December9,2005,513Phil.400477SCRA286(2005).
46Supranote29,atp.140p.138.

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574 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

In the case at bar, while there was no presuspension hearing held to


determine the validity of the Informations that had been filed against
petitioners, we believe that the numerous pleadings filed for and against
them have achieved the goal of this procedure. The right to due process is
satisfiednorjustbyanoralhearingbutbythefilingandtheconsiderationby
thecourtofthepartiespleadings,memorandaandotherpositionpapers.

Since a presuspension hearing is basically a due process


requirement, when an accused public official is given an adequate
opportunity to be heard on his possible defenses against the
mandatorysuspensionunderR.A.No.3019,thenanaccusedwould
havenoreasontocomplainthatnoactualhearingwasconducted.47
It is well settled that to be heard does not only mean oral
argumentsincourtonemaybeheardalsothroughpleadings.Where
opportunitytobeheard,eitherthroughoralargumentsorpleadings,
hasbeenaccorded,nodenialofproceduraldueprocessexists.48
In the present case, the petitioner (i) filed his Vigorous
Opposition (to the OSPs Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente
Lite),andafterreceivinganadverserulingfromtheSandiganbayan,
(ii)movedforreconsiderationofthesuspensionorderissuedagainst
him,and(iii)filedaReplytotheOSPsOppositiontohispleafor
reconsideration.49 Given this opportunity, we find that the
petitioners continued demand for the conduct of an actual pre
suspension hearingbased on the same alleged defect in the
information,50whichwehavefoundwantinghaslegallynothing
toanchoritselfon.
Another reason that militates against the petitioners position
relatestothenatureofSection13ofR.A.No.3019itisnotapenal
provisionthatwouldcallforaliberalinterpreta

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47Floresv.Layosa,supranote37,atpp.345346.
48Tanv.Atty.Balon,Jr.,A.C.No.6483,August31,2007,531SCRA645,655656.
49Rollo,p.109.
50Id.,atp.95.

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VOL.675,JULY4,2012 575
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tioninfavoroftheaccusedpublicofficialandastrictconstruction
againsttheState.51Thesuspensionrequiredunderthisprovisionis
not a penalty, as it is not imposed as a result of judicial
proceedings in fact, if acquitted, the accused official shall be
entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he
failedtoreceiveduringhissuspension.52
Rather, the suspension under Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 is a
merepreventivemeasure53 that arises from the legal presumption
that unless the accused is suspended, he may frustrate his
prosecutionorcommitfurtheractsofmalfeasanceordoboth,inthe
samewaythatuponafindingthatthereisprobablecausetobelieve
that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably
guiltythereof,thelawrequiresthejudgetoissueawarrantforthe
arrestoftheaccused.54
Suspension under R.A. No. 3019 being a mere preventive
measurewhosedurationshallinnocaseexceedninety(90)days,55
the adequacy of the opportunity to contest the validity of the
informationandoftheproceedingsthatprecededitsfilingvisvis
themeritsofthedefensesoftheaccusedcannotbemeasuredalone
bytheabsenceorpresenceofanactualhearing.Anopportunityto
be heard on ones defenses, however unmeritorious it may be,
against the suspension mandated by law equally and sufficiently
servesboththedueprocessrightoftheaccusedandthemandatory
natureofthesuspensionrequiredbylaw.

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51Villaseorv.Sandiganbayan,G.R.No.180700,March4,2008,547SCRA658,
666668.
52 Bayot v. Sandiganbayan, No. L61776 to No. L61861, March 23, 1984, 128
SCRA383.
53 Villaseor v. Sandiganbayan, supra note 50, at pp. 666667 and Segovia v.
Sandiganbayan,supranote43,atp.336.
54Bolastig v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 110503, August 4, 1994, 235 SCRA 103,
108.
55Delosov.Sandiganbayan,G.R.Nos.86899903,May15,1989,173SCRA409,
419.

576

576 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Miguelvs.Sandiganbayan

Lestitbeforgotten,Section13ofR.A.No.3019reinforcesthe
principleenshrinedintheConstitutionthatapublicofficeisapublic
trust.56 In light of the constitutional principle underlying the
imposition of preventive suspension of a public officer charged
under a valid information and the nature of this suspension, the
petitionersdemandforatrialtypehearinginthepresentcasewould
onlyoverwhelminglyfrustrate,ratherthanpromote,theorderlyand
speedydispensationofjustice.
WHEREFORE, we hereby DISMISS the petition for lack of
merit.
SOORDERED.

Carpio(Chairperson),Perez,SerenoandReyes,JJ.,concur.

Petitiondismissed.

Notes.The suspension from office of an elective official,


whetherasapreventivemeasureorasapenalty,willundeservedly
deprive the electorate of the services of the person they have
conscientiouslychosenandvotedintooffice.(Garcia, Jr. vs. Court
ofAppeals[12thDivision],586SCRA799[2009]).
Aninformation,underSection6,Rule110ofthe2000Revised
Rules on Criminal Procedure, is deemed sufficient if it states the
name of the accused the designation of the offense given by the
statute the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the
offensethenameoftheoffendedpartytheapproximatedateofthe
commission of the offense and the place where the offense was
committed.(Peoplevs.Teodoro,607SCRA307[2009])

o0o

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56Constitution,ArticleXI,Section1Beronav.Sandiganbayan,G.R.No.142456,
July27,2004,435SCRA303.

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