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19.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, Act 7718 (BOT law), specifically the provision on
vs. Public Utility Revenues, as well as the assumption
HENRY T. GO,. by the government of the liabilities of PIATCO in
the event of the latter's default under Article IV,
Facts: Section 4.04 (b) and (c) in relation to Article 1.06
of the Concession Agreement, which terms are
Before the Court is a petition for review more beneficial to PIATCO while manifestly and
on certiorari assailing the Resolution1 of the Third grossly disadvantageous to the government of the
Division2 of the Sandiganbayan which quashed Republic of the Philippines.4
the Information filed against herein respondent The SB ordered a resolution which provided the
for alleged violation Republic Act No. 3019 (R.A. prosecution a period of ten (10) days within
3019), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and which to show cause why this case should not be
Corrupt Practices Act. dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the person
A certain Ma. Cecilia L. Pesayco filed a of the accused considering that the accused is a
complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman private person and the public official Arturo
against several individuals for alleged violation of Enrile, his alleged co-conspirator, is already
R.A. 3019. Among those charged was herein deceased, and not an accused in this case.5
respondent, who was then the Chairman and The prosecution complied with the above
President of PIATCO, for having supposedly Order contending that the SB has already
conspired with then DOTC Secretary Arturo Enrile acquired jurisdiction over the person of
(Secretary Enrile) in entering into a contract respondent by reason of his voluntary
which is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous appearance, when he filed a motion for
to the government. consolidation and when he posted bail. The
The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for prosecution also argued that the SB has exclusive
Luzon found probable cause to indict, among jurisdiction over respondent's case, even if he is a
others, herein respondent for violation of R.A. private person, because he was alleged to have
3019. While there was likewise a finding of conspired with a public officer.
probable cause against Secretary Enrile, he was Henry T. Go went to quash the
no longer indicted because he died prior to the information.
issuance of the resolution finding probable cause. SB issued its assailed Resolution that the
Thus, in an Information dated January 13, 2005, lone accused in this case is a private person and
respondent was charged before the SB as follows: his alleged co-conspirator-public official was
On or about July 12, 1997, or sometime prior or already deceased long before this case was filed
subsequent thereto, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, in court, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this the accused, the Court grants the Motion to
Honorable Court, the late ARTURO ENRILE, then Quash.
Secretary of the Department of Transportation Issue:
and Communications (DOTC), committing the WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO
offense in relation to his office and taking GRAVELY ERRED ON THE GROUND THAT IT HAS
advantage of the same, in conspiracy with NO JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF
accused, HENRY T. GO, Chairman and President of RESPONDENT GO.
the Philippine International Air Terminals, Co.,
Inc. (PIATCO), did then and there, willfully,
unlawfully and criminally enter into a Concession Ruling:
Agreement, after the project for the construction The Court finds the petition meritorious.
of the NAIA IPT III which awarded to PIATCO,
which Concession Agreement substantially Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 provides:
amended the draft Concession Agreement Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In
covering the construction of the NAIA IPT III addition to acts or omissions of public officers
under Republic Act 6957, as amended by Republic already penalized by existing law, the following
shall constitute corrupt practices of any public of their respective active participation in the
officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: commission of the crime or crimes perpetrated in
xxxx furtherance of the conspiracy because in
contemplation of law the act of one is the act of
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into all.
any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly
disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the It is in this light that conspiracy is
public officer profited or will profit thereby. generally viewed not as a separate indictable
offense, but a rule for collectivizing criminal
The elements of the above provision are: liability.
(1) that the accused is a public officer; Private respondent's act of posting bail
(2) that he entered into a contract or and filing his Motion for Consolidation vests the
transaction on behalf of the government; SB with jurisdiction over his person. The rule is
and well settled that the act of an accused in posting
(3) that such contract or transaction is bail or in filing motions seeking affirmative relief
grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to is tantamount to submission of his person to the
the government.11 jurisdiction of the court.27

At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule Thus, it has been held that:
that private persons, when acting in conspiracy When a defendant in a criminal case is brought
with public officers, may be indicted and, if found before a competent court by virtue of a warrant
guilty. of arrest or otherwise, in order to avoid the
It is true that by reason of Secretary submission of his body to the jurisdiction of the
Enrile's death, there is no longer any public officer court he must raise the question of the courts
with whom respondent can be charged for jurisdiction over his person at the very earliest
violation of R.A. 3019. It does not mean, however, opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to the
that the allegation of conspiracy between them complaint or files any dilatory plea or pleads to
can no longer be proved or that their alleged the merits, he thereby gives the court jurisdiction
conspiracy is already expunged. The only thing over his person.
extinguished by the death of Secretary Enrile is Verily, petitioners participation in the
his criminal liability. His death did not extinguish proceedings before the Sandiganbayan was not
the crime nor did it remove the basis of the confined to his opposition to the issuance of a
charge of conspiracy between him and private warrant of arrest but also covered other matters
respondent. which called for respondent courts exercise of its
The requirement before a private person jurisdiction. Petitioner may not be heard now to
may be indicted for violation of Section 3(g) of deny said courts jurisdiction over him. x x x.28
R.A. 3019, among others, is that such private As a recapitulation, it would not be
person must be alleged to have acted in amiss to point out that the instant case involves a
conspiracy with a public officer. contract entered into by public officers
x x x [a] conspiracy is in its nature a joint offense. representing the government. More importantly,
One person cannot conspire alone. The crime the SB is a special criminal court which has
depends upon the joint act or intent of two or exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving
more persons. Yet, it does not follow that one violations of R.A. 3019 committed by certain
person cannot be convicted of conspiracy. So long public officers, as enumerated in P.D. 1606 as
as the acquittal or death of a co-conspirator does amended by R.A. 8249. This includes private
not remove the bases of a charge for conspiracy, individuals who are charged as co-principals,
one defendant may be found guilty of the accomplices or accessories with the said public
offense.19 officers. In the instant case, respondent is being
charged for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019,
Once an express or implied conspiracy is in conspiracy with then Secretary Enrile. Ideally,
proved, all of the conspirators are liable as co- under the law, both respondent and Secretary
principals regardless of the extent and character Enrile should have been charged before and tried
jointly by the Sandiganbayan. However, by reason
of the death of the latter, this can no longer be
done. Nonetheless, for reasons already discussed,
it does not follow that the SB is already divested
of its jurisdiction over the person of and the case
involving herein respondent.