You are on page 1of 2


SANDIGANBAYAN (1986) while the chairman's minority report would exclude 19

of them and limit as plotters "the 6 persons who were
[J. Teehankee] on the service stairs while Senator Aquino was
descending" and "General Luther Custodio because
SUMMARY the criminal plot could not have been planned and
implemented without his intervention."
An investigating committee was created to
determine the facts on the case involving the On November 11, 1985 Saturnina Galman and
assassination of Ninoy Aquino. It appears that Reynaldo Galman, mother and son, respectively, of
majority and minority reports showed that they are the late Rolando Galman, and 29 other petitioners
unconvinced on the participation of Galman as the filed the present action alleging that Tanodbayan and
assassin of late Sen. Aquino and branded him Sandiganbayan committed serious irregularities
instead as the fall guy as opposed to the military constituting mistrial and resulting in miscarriage of
reports. Majority reports recommended the 26 justice and gross violation of the constitutional rights
military respondents as indictable for the of the petitioners and the sovereign people of the
premeditated killing of Aquino and Galman which Philippines to due process of law.
the Sandiganbayan did not give due consideration.
They prayed for the immediate issuance of a
The office of the Tanod Bayan was originally temporary restraining order (TRO) restraining the
preparing a resolution charging the 26 military Sandiganbayan from rendering a decision on the
accused as principal to the crime against Aquino but merits in the pending criminal cases and that
was recalled upon the intervention of President judgment be rendered declaring a mistrial and
Marcos who insist on the innocence of the accused. nullifying the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan
Marcos however recommended the filing of murder and ordering a re-trial before an impartial tribunal by
charge and to implement the acquittal as planned so an unbiased prosecutor.
that double jeopardy may be invoked later on.
SC granted the TRO enjoining the Sandiganbayan
The petitioners filed an action for miscarriage of
from rendering a decision on the 2 criminal cases only
justice against the Sandiganbayan and gross
to lift it 10 days later. The same Court majority denied
violation of constitutional rights of the petitioners for
petitioners' motion for a new 5-day period counted
failure to exert genuine efforts in allowing the
from receipt of respondent Tanodbayan's
prosecution to present vital documentary evidence memorandum for the prosecution (which apparently
and prayed for nullifying the bias proceedings before was not served on them).
the Sandiganbayan and ordering a re-trial before an
impartial tribunal. Thus, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration,
alleging that the dismissal did not indicate the legal
ground for such action and urging that the case be set
Three hours after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino for a full hearing on the merits that the people are
at the tarmac of Manila International Airport, military entitled to due process.
investigators reported that the man who shot Aquino,
Rolando Galman, was a communist hired gunman However, respondent Sandiganbayan issued its
and that the military escorts gunned him down in decision acquitting all the accused of the crime
return. charged, declaring them innocent and totally
absolving them of any civil liability. Respondents
Pres. Marcos instantly accepted this report, repeating submitted that with the Sandiganbayan's verdict of
it several times on national television on the same acquittal, the instant case had become moot and
evening Aquino was killed. academic. Thereafter, same Court majority denied
petitioners' motion for reconsideration for lack of
Due to the rising sentiments of the people, Marcos merit.
was constrained to form a fact finding board
investigating Ninoy’s death. Majority and minority Hence, petitioners filed their motion to admit their
reports submitted to the president after the second motion for reconsideration alleging that
investigation were one in rejecting the military respondents committed serious irregularities
narrative. Instead opining that the killing was not a constituting mistrial and resulting in miscarriage of
communist plot but instead a military conspiracy. justice and gross violation of the constitutional rights
of the petitioners and the sovereign people of the
The only difference between the two reports is that Philippines to due process of law.
the report found all the 26 respondents headed by .
then AFP Chief General Fabian C. Ver involved in the II. ISSUES:
military conspiracy and therefore "indictable for the
(1) Whether or not petitioner was deprived of his
premeditated killing of Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.
rights as an accused. YES
and Rolando Galman at the MIA on August 21, 1983;"
(2) Whether or not there was a violation of the entire proceedings to assure the predetermined final
double jeopardy clause. NO outcome of acquittal and total absolution as innocent
of all the accused. Manifestly, the prosecution and the
III. RATIO: sovereign people were denied due process of law with
a partial court and biased Tanodbayan under the
President Marcos misused the overwhelming
constant and pervasive monitoring and pressure
resources of the government and his authoritarian
exerted by the authoritarian President to assure the
powers to corrupt and make a mockery of the judicial
carrying out of his instructions. A dictated, coerced
process in the Aquino-Galman murder cases. As
and scripted verdict of acquittal such as that in the
graphically depicted in the Report, and borne out by
present case is a void judgment. Therefore, no double
the happenings (res ipsa loquitur), since the resolution
jeopardy attaches.
prepared by his "Coordinator," Manuel Lazaro, his
Presidential Assistant on Legal Affairs, for the
A void judgment is, in legal effect, no judgment at all.
Tanodbayan's dismissal of the cases against all
By it no rights are divested. Through it, no rights can
accused was unpalatable (it would summon the
be attained. Being worthless, all proceedings founded
demonstrators back to the streets) and at any rate
upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor bars
was not acceptable to the Herrera prosecution panel,
anyone. All acts performed under it and all claims
the unholy scenario for acquittal of all 26 accused
flowing out of it are void.
after the rigged trial as ordered at the Malacañang
conference, would accomplish the two principal IV. DISPOSITIVE:
objectives of satisfaction of the public clamor for the
suspected killers to be charged in court and of giving Petitioners' second motion for reconsideration is
them through their acquittal the legal shield of double GRANTED. The resolutions of November 28, 1985
jeopardy. dismissing the petition and of February 4, 1986
denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration are
The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial
hereby SET ASIDE and in lieu thereof, judgment is
and verdict and travesty of justice to stand unrectified;
and declared the sham trial a mock trial and that the hereby rendered nullifying the proceedings in
predetermined judgment of acquittal was unlawful and respondent Sandiganbayan and its judgment of
void ab initio. acquittal in Criminal Cases Nos. 10010 and 10011
entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Gen. Luther
It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be Custodia et al." and ordering a re-trial of the said
invoked against this Court's setting aside of the trial cases which should be conducted with deliberate
courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the dispatch and with careful regard for the requirements
prosecution which represents the sovereign people in of due process, so that the truth may be finally known
criminal cases is denied due process. The cardinal and justice done.
precept is that where there is a violation of basic
constitutional rights, courts are ousted of their
jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's right to
due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue which
cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where
the denial of the fundamental right of due process is
apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of that
right is void for lack of jurisdiction.

Any judgment or decision rendered notwithstanding

such violation may be regarded as a lawless thing,
which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight,
or ignored wherever it exhibits its head. Legal
jeopardy attaches only

(a) upon a valid indictment,

(b) before a competent court,
(c) after arraignment,
(d) a valid plea having been entered; and
(e) the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated
without the express consent of the accused.

More so does the rule against the invoking of double

jeopardy hold in the present cases where the sham
trial was but a mock trial where the authoritarian
president ordered the Sandiganbayan and
Tanodbayan to rig the trial and closely monitored the