“Equal Protection” – Creation of the Sandiganbayan

Nuñez assails the validity of the PD 1486 creating the Sandiganbayan as amended by PD 1606. He was
accused before the Sandiganbayan of estafa through falsification of public and commercial documents
committed in connivance with his other co-accused, all public officials, in several cases. It is the claim of
Nuñez that PD1486, as amended, is violative of the due process, equal protection, and ex post facto
clauses of the Constitution. He claims that the Sandiganbayan proceedings violates Nuñez’s right to
equal protection, because – appeal as a matter of right became minimized into a mere matter of
discretion; – appeal likewise was shrunk and limited only to questions of law, excluding a review of the
facts and trial evidence; and there is only one chance to appeal conviction, by certiorari to the SC,
instead of the traditional two chances; while all other estafa indictees are entitled to appeal as a matter
of right covering both law and facts and to two appellate courts, i.e., first to the CA and thereafter to the

ISSUE: Whether or not the creation of Sandiganbayan violates equal protection insofar as appeals would
be concerned.

HELD: The SC ruled against Nuñez. The 1973 Constitution had provided for the creation of a special court
that shall have original jurisdiction over cases involving public officials charged with graft and
corruption. The constitution specifically makes mention of the creation of a special court, the
Sandiganbayan, precisely in response to a problem, the urgency of which cannot be denied, namely,
dishonesty in the public service. It follows that those who may thereafter be tried by such court ought to
have been aware as far back as January 17, 1973, when the present Constitution came into force, that a
different procedure for the accused therein, whether a private citizen as petitioner is or a public official,
is not necessarily offensive to the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Further, the classification
therein set forth met the standard requiring that it “must be based on substantial distinctions which
make real differences; it must be germane to the purposes of the law; it must not be limited to existing
conditions only, and must apply equally to each member of the class.” Further still, decisions in the
Sandiganbayan are reached by a unanimous decision from 3 justices – a showing that decisions therein
are more conceivably carefully reached than other trial courts.

Garcia v. Mojica

Posted on October 3, 2012

G.R. No. 139043

September 10, 1999

and so the electorate could not be said to have voted for petitioner with knowledge of this particular aspect of his life and character. petitioner. 2.” The rationale is that when the electorate put him back into office. It was not made an issue during the election. then such is considered a condonation of his past misdeeds. against petitioner. approved this recommendation Issues: 1. After investigation. if any. It hardly matters that the deliveries under the contract are supposed to have been made months later. this should not prejudice the filing of any case. Zuellig’s first delivery.E. “…a reelected local official may not be held administratively accountable for misconduct committed during his prior term of office. docketed as INQ-VIS-99-0132. Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas. Whether Garcia may be held administratively liable. signed a contract with F. he recommended that the said inquiry be upgraded to criminal and administrative cases against petitioner and the other city officials involved. in his capacity as Cebu City mayor. Zuellig was signed just 4 days before the date of the elections. The contract covers the period 1998-2001. 1998. special prosecution officer of the Office of the Ombudsman. Respondent Arturo C. news reports came out regarding the alleged anomalous purchase of asphalt by Cebu City. Petitioner can no longer be held administratively liable for an act done during his previous term. was assigned to conduct the inquiry. Sometime in March 1999. E. As previously held. Respondent Jesus Rodrigo T. armed with such knowledge. any culpability petitioner may have in signing the contract already became extant on the day the contract was signed. No. Zuellig for the supply of asphalt to the city. which was to commence on September 1998 upon F. If. Tagaan. that might have been . This prompted the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) to conduct an inquiry into the matter.E. Held: 1. it still reelects him. including stipulations now alleged to be prejudicial to the city government. At that moment.E. The agreement between petitioner and F. in the present case. Thus. petitioner already acceded to the terms of the contract. Whether the Ombudsman was stripped of its powers by virtue of the Local Government Code. The ruling does not mean the total exoneration of petitioner’s wrongdoing. including his past misconduct. through the contract signed by petitioner. While petitioner can no longer be held administratively liable for signing the contract with F. Zuellig.Facts: On May 7. during petitioner’s prior term.E. other than administrative. Zuellig was perfected on the date the contract was signed. it is presumed that it did so with full knowledge of his life and character. Mojica. respondents point out that the contract entered into by petitioner with F. However.

The two statutes on the specific matter in question are not so inconsistent. when imposed. There is nothing in the LGC to indicate that it has repealed. who was already a senator by then. Santiago petitioned for provisional liberty since she was just recovering from a car accident which was approved. HELD: Yes. 2. A penalty of suspension. a presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan. The ruling is now limited to the question of his administrative liability therefore. who was the then Commissioner of the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID). as to compel us to only uphold one and strike down the other. approved the application for legalization of the stay of about 32 aliens. let alone irreconcilable. The power to preventively suspend is available not only to the Ombudsman but also to the Deputy Ombudsman. Pursuant to this information.committed in signing the subject contract. Francis Garchitorena. No. suspend or expel a Member. Miriam Defensor Santiago. Section 13 of RA 3019 provides: . a motion was filed with the Sandiganbayan for the suspension of Santiago. shall not exceed sixty days. issued a warrant of arrest against Santiago. 324 which prohibits the legalization of disqualified aliens. In 1995. The decision of the Ombudsman (6 month suspension) will prevail over the LGC (60day suspension) if the evidence of guilt is strong. The aliens legalized by Santiago were allegedly known by her to be disqualified. with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members. and it is our considered view that he may not. the pertinent provisions of the Ombudsman Act.” But on the other hand. Two other criminal cases were filed against Santiago. Her act was said to be illegal and was tainted with bad faith and it ran counter against Republic Act No. punish its Members for disorderly behavior. ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the Senate without violating the Constitution. SANTIAGO VS SANDIGANBAYAN 356 SCRA 636 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Suspension of a Member of Congress – Violations of RA 3019 In October 1988. whether expressly or impliedly. it is true that the Constitution provides that each “… house may determine the rules of its proceedings. The Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate President (Maceda) to suspend Santiago from office for 90 days. The legalization of such is also a violation of Executive Order No. and. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

– any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or under Title 7. the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailed preventive suspension order. therefore. unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him. as the case may be. or (3) whether or not his continuance in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records another evidence before the court could have a valid basis in decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial of the case. In here. Neither does it contemplate a proceeding to determine (1) the strength of the evidence of culpability against him. Thus. upon an erring member. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the members of Congress and that. shall be suspended from office. 3019 does not state that the public officer concerned must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts with which he has been charged. 3019 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution. that he has not been afforded the right to due preliminary investigation. it has been held that the use of the word “office” would indicate that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding. (2) the gravity of the offense charged. and not only the particular office under which he stands accused. preventive measure. prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the Senate. All it secures to the accused is adequate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the proceedings against him. But Santiago committed the said act when she was still the CID commissioner. The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate or the Lower House. which is not a penalty but a preliminary. can she still be suspended as a senator? Section 13 of Republic Act No. is pending in court. but if he is acquitted.Suspension and loss of benefits. This is quite distinct from the suspension spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019. Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation. such as. that the acts imputed to him do not . Republic Act No. Santiago has not yet been convicted of the alleged crime. Should he be convicted by final judgment. he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during suspension. can she still be suspended? The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be established in a pre-suspension proceeding before trial on the merits proceeds. he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law. the order of suspension prescribed by RA.

. on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF). 2. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen. Jr. JR. Teodoro. 2003. founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. and was referred to the House Committee. Davide Jr. 2003 of the first complaint or on October 23. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide." On June 2. FACTS: On July 22." The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it. of the Revised Rules on Criminal procedure. which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation. ISSUES: 1. in aid of legislation. Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution. and Felix William B. Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2. 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form. . November 10.constitute a specific crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section 13 of Republic Act No. No. CASE DIGEST ERNESTO B. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES G. Suplico. betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes. 2003. Whether or not the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. 2003 for being insufficient in substance. To date. the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution. Ronaldo B. Fuentebella. FRANCISCO. Fuentebella against Chief Justice Hilario G. Rule 117. or that the information is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set out in Section 3. and seven Associate Justices of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution. Davide. sponsored by Representative Felix William D. 2002. 3019. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House of Representatives. 2003. the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution. former President Joseph E. 160261. the second impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the House by Representatives Gilberto C. The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13. Jr. Whether the resolution thereof is a political question – has resulted in a political crisis.R. vs." but voted to dismiss the same on October 22.

and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23. Article VIII of the Constitution. the initial action taken thereon. 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5. 2003. Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political questions. a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. it is also a duty. another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI. considering that the first impeachment complaint." Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review. on June 2. On the other hand.HELD: 1. 2. Davide." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions. it is clear that judicial power is not only a power. was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. by virtue of Section 1. the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Section 3(5) of the Constitution. along with seven associate justices of this Court. Jr. however. the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. In fine. the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be maintained. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner. Jr. courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature. that Section 1. 2012) GR 177857-58 Cocofed vs Republic Cocofed vs Republic Case Digest GR 177857-58 Jan 24 2012 → Full Text ← Facts: ..From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice. 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period. Teodoro. es But to the Government (Cocofed vs Rep.

several presidential decrees were issued to improve the coconut industry through the collection and use of the coconut levy fund: PD 276 established the Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund (CCSF) and declared the proceeds of the CCSF levy as trust fund. as consideration for PCA’s buy-out of what Danding Conjuanco claim as his exclusive and personal option to buy the FUB shares.D. it was also stipulated that Danding Cojuanco shall receive equity in FUB amounting to 10%.2%. or 7. the deposit withdrawable only when the bank has attained a certain level of sufficiency in its equity capital. Both P. The fund was placed at the disposition of COCOFED. PD 582 created the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF) to finance the operation of a hybrid coconut seed farm. the national association of coconut producers having the largest membership. providing under its Section 1 the policy to provide readily available credit facilities to the coconut farmers at preferential rates. interest free. Towards achieving this. Nos. In that contract. a fund to be sourced from levy on the sale of copra. 755 in July 1975. PCA had already bought from Peping Cojuangco 72. .D. RA 6260 created the Coconut Investment Company (CIC) to administer the Coconut Investment Fund. Then came P. issued COCOFUND receipts. 961 and 1468 also provide that the CCSF shall not be construed by any law as a special and/or trust fund. Section 2 of PD 755 authorized PCA to utilize the CCSF and the CIDF collections to acquire a commercial bank and deposit the CCSF levy collections in said bank.2% of the outstanding capital stock of FUB / UCPB. thus stabilizing the price of edible oil. When martial law started in 1972. In 1973.22 % of the 72. The copra seller was. or ought to be.In 1971. the stated intention being that actual ownership of the said fund shall pertain to coconut farmers in their private capacities. No. It also decreed that all levies PCA is authorized to collect shall not be considered as special and/or fiduciary funds or form part of the general funds of the government. Shortly before the issuance of PD 755 however. PD 232 created the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to accelerate the growth and development of the coconut and palm oil industry. to be utilized to subsidize the sale of coconut-based products.

8% of the FUB capital stock were not covered by any of the agreements. The remaining 27. and if the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned. Of particular relevance to this was their use to acquire the FUB / UCPB. Through the years. the corresponding stock certificates supposedly representing the farmers equity were in the name of and delivered to PCA. Section 29 (3) of the Constitution provides that all money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. Therefore.98% (72.2% equity. if any.98% portion. the balance. 755. a part of the coconut levy funds went directly or indirectly to various projects and/or was converted into different assets or investments. which ended up in the hands of non-farmers. 961 and 1468 that the CCSF shall not be construed by any law as a special and/or trust fund is valid No. and the acquisition by UCPB. 961 and 1468 is unconstitutional. the CCSF were sourced from forced exactions with the end-goal of developing the entire coconut industry. Not only is it unconstitutional. through the CIIF and holding companies.D.22%) portion of the option shares ostensibly pertained to the farmers. Issue 2: W/N the coco levy fund may be owned by the coconut farmers in their private capacities . out of its own fund. While the 64. Here. The coconut levy funds can only be used for the special purpose and the balance thereof should revert back to the general fund.2 % – 7. Article VI. It later reimbursed itself from the coconut levy fund. of a large block of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) shares. the subsequent reclassification of the CCSF as a private fund to be owned by private individuals in their private capacities under P. Issue 1: W/N the mandate provided under PD 755. Nos.The PCA appropriated. shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government. however. but the mandate is contrary to the purpose or policy for which the coco levy fund was created. shares forming part of the 64. an amount for the purchase of the said 72. There were.

for free. it have unduly delegated legislative power to the PCA. Hence. but to the Government.D. The coconut levy funds are special public funds and any property purchased by means of the coconut levy funds should likewise be treated as public funds or public property. it allowed the use of the CCSF to benefit directly private interest by the outright and unconditional grant of absolute ownership of the FUB/UCPB shares paid for by PCA entirely with the CCSF to the undefined “coconut farmers”. the so-called Farmers’ shares do not belong to the coconut farmers in their private capacities. No. They cannot be used to purchase shares of stocks to be given for free to private individuals. Accordingly. the presidential issuances which authorized the PCA to distribute.No. ## . 755. It is unconstitutional because first. the shares of stock of the bank it acquired to the coconut farmers under such rules and regulations the PCA may promulgate is unconstitutional. and second. it is still public in character. subject to burdens and restrictions attached by law to such property. Even if the money is allocated for a special purpose and raised by special means. The coconut levy funds are in the nature of taxes and can only be used for public purpose. which negated or circumvented the national policy or public purpose declared by P.