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G.R. No.

L-40527 June 30, 1976


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.
HERMOGENES MARIANO and HON. AMBROSIO M. GERALDEZ, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V, respondents.

Decision penned by MUÑOZ PALMA, J

Facts:
Private respondent Mariano, a Liaison Officer of Municipal Mayor Nolasco received in behalf of the
Municipality of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, several feet of electric cables and cable power from
USAID/NEC. Instead of delivering said items to the Municipality, respondent appropriated and converted
the same for his personal use. Thereafter, the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed an information charging
the private respondent with the offense of estafa. Accused moved to quash the information on the
grounds that the Court lacked jurisdiction to try the case; that the criminal liability had been extinguished;
that the information contained averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse; and that the
items which were subject matter of the information were the same items for which the Mayor of San Jose
del Monte had been indicted and convicted of malversation of public property by the Military Tribunal.
Private respondent claimed that since the case against Mayor Nolasco had already been decided by the
Military Tribunal, the Court of First Instance had lost jurisdiction over the case against him.

Ruling of CFI of Bulacan (Respondent Court):


Respondent court granted the motion to quash on the ground that since the Military Commission first took
cognizance of the case, it had already lost jurisdiction to pass a new upon the same subject matter.

The People of the Philippines sought a review of the order granting the motion to quash the information.

Issue: WON civil courts and military courts exercise concurrent jurisdiction over the offense of estafa

Held: NO, the situation does not involve two tribunals vested with concurrent jurisdiction over a particular
crime so as to apply the rule that the court or tribunal which first takes cognizance of the case acquires
jurisdiction thereof exclusive of the other. Estafa and malversation are two separate and distinct offenses,
and in the case at bar the accused in the estafa case (respondent Mariano) is different from the accused
in the alleged malversation case (the municipal mayor).
Order of the CFI was set aside and the Court ordered respondent Judge to try the criminal charge against
private respondent Mariano without delay.

Other Stuff:
 Jurisdiction of a court is conferred by the Constitution or statutes in force at the time of the
commencement of the action
 The criminal case was filed on December 18, 1974, and the law in force vesting jurisdiction upon
the court was the Judiciary Act of 1948, which provides that the CFI shall have original jurisdiction
in all criminal cases in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for more than 6months
or fine of more than Php 200. Estafa falls thereunder.
 General Order No. 49, dated October 6 1974, redefines the jurisdiction of military tribunals, but
estafa and malversation are not enumerated therein; the Military Commission is therefore not
vested with jurisdiction over estafa cases.
 Jurisdiction, defined
 Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a cause — the right to act in a case. (Herrera
vs. Barretto)
 Jurisdiction is the right of a Judge to pronounce a sentence of the law in a case or issue before
him, acquired through due process of law; it is the authority by which judicial officers take
cognizance of and decide cases. (Bouvier)
 Jurisdiction is the right to put the wheels of justice in motion and to proceed to the final
determination of a cause upon the pleadings and evidence. (Wabash R. Co. vs. Duncan)
 Criminal Jurisdiction is necessarily the authority to hear and try a particular offense and impose
the punishment for it. (Moran)