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Gonzales III v.

Office of the President

FACTS: Gonzales, Deputy Ombudsman, was found guilty by the Office of the President of gross neglect of
duty and flagrant disregard of the Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman. This is due to the fact that it
took almost 9 months for the case of Mercado to prosper which according to the investigating
committee formed by then Pres. Aquino led to his hostage taking on August 23, 2010. Thus, the
President ordered for his dismissal based on Sec. 8 (2) of R. A. 6770 which was betrayal of public trust.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Office of the President has jurisdiction to exercise administrative disciplinary
power over a Deputy Ombudsman, who belong to the constitutionally-created Office of the
Ombudsman.

RULING: Yes. The law gives the president the power to appoint members of the Ombudsman which
consequently gives rise to his inherent power to remove. However, there is a constitutional imperative of
shielding the Office of the Ombudsman from political influences and the discretionary acts of the
executive through Congress' two restrictions on the President's exercise of such power of removal over a
Deputy Ombudsman, namely: (1) that the removal of the Deputy Ombudsman must be for any of the
grounds provided for the removal of the Ombudsman and (2) that there must be observance of due
process. Reiterating the grounds for impeachment laid down in Section 2, Article XI of the 1987
Constitution, paragraph 1 of Section 8 of R.A. No. 6770 states that the Deputy Ombudsman may be
removed from office for the same grounds that the Ombudsman may be removed through
impeachment, namely, "culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption,
other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust." Thus, it cannot be rightly said that giving the President the
power to remove a Deputy Ombudsman, or a Special Prosecutor for that matter, would diminish or
compromise the constitutional independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. It is, precisely, a measure
of protection of the independence of the Ombudsman's Deputies and Special Prosecutor in the
discharge of their duties that their removal can only be had on grounds provided by law.

The tragic hostage-taking incident was the result of a confluence of several unfortunate events including
system failure of government response. It cannot be solely attributed then to what petitioner Gonzales
may have negligently failed to do for the quick, fair and complete resolution of the case, or to his error of
judgment in the disposition thereof. Neither should petitioner's official acts in the resolution of P/S Insp.
Mendoza's case be judged based upon the resulting deaths at the Quirino Grandstand. The failure to
immediately act upon a party's requests for an early resolution of his case is not, by itself, gross neglect
of duty amounting to betrayal of public trust.

ccordingly, the OP's pronouncement of administrative accountability against petitioner and the
imposition upon him of the corresponding penalty of dismissal must be reversed and set aside, as the
findings of neglect of duty or misconduct in office do not amount to a betrayal of public trust. Hence, the
President, while he may be vested with authority, cannot order the removal of petitioner as Deputy
Ombudsman, there being no intentional wrongdoing of the grave and serious kind amounting to a
betrayal of public trust.
Aguinaldo v. Ventos

FACTS: Respondents filed their Complaint-Affidavit for Estafa against Aguinaldo and Perez before the
Office of the City Prosecutor who later filed an Information. Due to the alleged premarurity of the case,
the petitioners filed a petition for review before the Secretary of Justice on Feb. 27, 2004. On April 16,
2004, the arraignment of the petitioners was deferred. Then, on May 16, 2005, the trial court ordered
the issuance of the warrant for arrest and proceed with the trial. The petitioners moved against the
decision of the court which led to their filing for petition before the Supreme Court alleging that Sec. 11
(c) Rule 116 of Rules of Court limiting the suspension for arraignment to only 60 days is merely directory
and thus, the estafa case against them cannot proceed until DOJ resolves the petition for review with
finality.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of the petitioners is correct.

RULING: No. Court explained that while the pendency of a petition for review is a ground for suspension
of the arraignment, the aforecited provision limits the deferment of the arraignment to a period of 60
days reckoned from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. It follows, therefore, that after the
expiration of said period, the trial court is bound to arraign the accused or to deny the motion to defer
arraignment. After all, the Court has repeatedly held that while rules of procedure are liberally
construed, the provisions on reglementary periods are strictly applied, indispensable as they are to the
prevention of needless delays, and are necessary to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial
business.

In the said case, the Court believe that the period of one year and one month from April 16, 2004 to May
16, 2005 when the public respondent ordered the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of petitioner
Aguinaldo, was more than ample time to give the petitioners the opportunity to obtain a resolution of
their petition for review from the DOJ. Such delay in the resolution does not extend the period of 60
days prescribed under the afore-quoted Section 11(c), Rule 116 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure. Thus, it was appropriate for the trial court to proceed with the trial.

Gonzales III v. Office of the President

FACTS: Sulit, a special prosecutor, with the approval of the Ombudsman charged Major General Garcia
before the Sandiganbayan with plunder and money laundering. After denial of his application for bail,
Garcia entered with Sulit to a plea bargaining agreement wherein Garcia is to a lesser offense in
exchange of Garcia conveying his properties to the government. The Sandiganbayan approved. This led
to the outrage of the public and in turn led the President to find Sulit guilty of betrayal of public trust
and moved for her dismissal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the plea bargaining was proper.

RULING: No. While the court's determination of the propriety of a plea bargain is on the basis of the
existing prosecution evidence on record, the disciplinary authority's determination of the prosecutor's
administrative liability is based on whether the plea bargain is consistent with the conscientious
consideration of the government's best interest and the diligent and efficient performance by the
prosecution of its public duty to prosecute crimes against the State. Consequently, the disciplining
authority's finding of ineptitude, neglect or willfulness on the part of the prosecution, more particularly
petitioner Special Prosecutor Barreras-Sulit, in failing to pursue or build a strong case for the government
or, in this case, entering into an agreement which the government finds "grossly disadvantageous," could
result in administrative liability, notwithstanding court approval of the plea bargaining agreement
entered into.

Plea bargaining is a process in criminal cases whereby the accused and the prosecution work out a
mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval. The essence of a plea bargaining
agreement is the allowance of an accused to plead guilty to a lesser offense than that charged against
him.

In the present case, it is important to note that the application for bail was denied due to the strong
evidence of guilt of Garcia. Thus, the OSP unexplainably choosing to plea bargain with the accused Major
General Garcia as if its evidence were suddenly insufficient to secure a conviction was inappropriate. At
this juncture, it is not amiss to emphasize that the "standard of strong evidence of guilt which is
sufficient to deny bail to an accused is markedly higher than the standard of judicial probable cause
which is sufficient to initiate a criminal case."

Los Baos v. Pedro G. R. No. 173588

FACTS: Pedro was charged for violating the COMELEC gun ban. A criminal complaint was instituted by the
checkpoint officers which included Los Baos and led to the filing of an Information against Pedro. Pedro
moved for the quashal stating that he was exempted from the gun ban as shown in the certificate issued
by COMELEC to him. RTC quashed the information. Los Baos moved to reopen the case because the
quashal was without hearing. Pedro moved against it based on Sec. 8 Rule 117 and reiterated that the
dismissal became permanent. The RTC went on to set the arraignment date of Pedro. This propelled
Pedro to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court alleging that the quashal was due to the facts charged
not constituting an offense, and that it contains averments which if true would constitute a legal
justification. Thus, the quashal now amounts to dismissal.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of Pedro is correct.

RULING: No. A quashal and provisional dismissal are different concepts whose respective rules refer to
different situations that should not be confused with one another. If the problem relates to an intrinsic
or extrinsic deficiency of the complaint or information, as shown on its face, the remedy is a motion to
quash under the terms of Section 3, Rule 117. All other reasons for seeking the dismissal of the
complaint or information, before arraignment and under the circumstances outlined in Section 8, fall
under provisional dismissal.

In the case, the grounds Pedro cited in his motion to quash are that the Information contains averments
which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification [Section 3(h), Rule 117], and that the facts
charged do not constitute an offense [Section 3(a), Rule 117]. The Court finds that the Information duly
charged a specific offense and provides the details on how the offense was committed. The cited basis
for Pedro's motion to quash was a Comelec Certification that Pedro attached to his motion to quash. This
COMELEC Certification is a matter aliunde that is not an appropriate motion to raise in, and cannot
support, a motion to quash grounded on legal excuse or justification found on the face of the
Information. Significantly, no hearing was ever called to allow the prosecution to contest the
genuineness of the COMELEC certification.

Thus, the RTC grossly erred in its initial ruling that a quashal of the Information was in order. Pedro, on
the other hand, also misappreciated the true nature, function, and utility of a motion to quash. As a
consequence, a valid Information still stands, on the basis of which Pedro should now be arraigned and
stand trial.

Alawiya v. CA G. R. No. 164170

FACTS : Petitioners executed sworn statements accusing several policemen with kidnapping for ransom.
A preliminary investigation was conducted by the State Prosecutor Velasco and an Information is later on
filed. Alawiya moved for the quashal of Information on the ground that the officer who filed the
Information was without any authority. The trial court denied. However, the Secretary of Justice reversed
the State Prosecutor and ordered that the Information be withdrawn for there was no prior approval by
the Office of the Ombudsman before its filing. This propelled the petitioners even more to justify their
quashal which the trial court firmly denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the motion to quash was proper.

RULING: No. Settled is the rule that the Secretary of Justice retains the power to review resolutions of his
subordinates even after the information has already been filed in court. Contrary to petitioners
contention, the Secretary of Justices reversal of the Resolution of State Prosecutor Velasco did not
amount to executive acquittal because the Secretary of Justice was simply exercising his power to review,
which included the power to reverse the ruling of the State Prosecutor. However, once a complaint or
information is filed in court, any disposition of the case such as its dismissal or its continuation rests on
the sound discretion of the court. Trial judges are not bound by the Secretary of Justices reversal of the
prosecutors resolution finding probable cause. Trial judges are required to make their own assessment of
the existence of probable cause, separately and independently of the evaluation by the Secretary of
Justice.