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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

~anoiganha~an
Quezon City

FIRST DIVISION

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, CRIM. CASE NO. S8-16-CRM-0801


Plaintiff, For: Violation of Sec. 121 of the RRACCS
in relation to Sec. 67, Book V, E0292

- versus-
Present:

DE LA CRUZ, J., Chairperson


VICENTE Y. EMANO, MUSNGI*, J.
Accused. CRUZ**, J.

Promulgated on:

JAN 052011 ~

RESOLUTION

DE LA CRUZ, J.

This resolves accused's Motion to Quash (Lack of


Jurisdiction), dated November 4, 2016; the prosecution's
Comment/Opposition (To the Motion to Quash filed by accused
Vicente Y. Emano), dated November 28, 2016; and the accused's
Rejoinder to Comment, dated December 12, 2016.

The accused seeks the quashal of the Information on the


qround that this Court does not have jurisdiction over the case. He
argues that the jurisdiction of this Court under Section 4(a) of PO
1606, as amended by RA 10660, covers violations of RA 3019, RA
1379 and the Revised Penal Code such that when the offense
does not pertain to a violation of any of them, then jurisdiction is
vested with the Regional Trial Court, following Section 21 of RA
10660.

1 Section 2. Section 4 of the same decree, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
xxx
Provided, That the Regional Trial Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the information:
(a) does not allege any damage to the government or any bribery; or (b) alleges damage to the
government or bribery arising from the same or closely related transactions or acts in an amount not
exceeding One million pesos (P1 ,000,000.00).
xxx

'Sitting as Special Member of the First Division as per Administrative Order No. 204-2016, dated June 29. 2016.
"Sitting as Special Member ofthe First Division as per Administrative Order No. 327·20115,dated NovemlJer 25, 20115.
RESOLUTION
pp vs. Vicente Y. Emano
Crim. Case No. SB-16-CRM-OB01

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The accused maintains that since the Information against him.


neither alleges damage to the government in any monetary amount
nor any bribery, it is the Regional Trial Court which has exclusive
original jurisdiction over his case.

He also asserts that while he was a former city mayor, such


fact is irrelevant considering that the Sandiganbayan can only have
jurisdiction over city mayors if the crimes are those mentioned in
Section 4(a).

By way of comment/opposition, the prosecution claims that


the provision of RA 10660 is not applicable to the present case as
the offense was committed by the accused before the effectivity of
said law, pursuant to Section 52 thereof. Citing Section 23 of the
said law, the prosecution also argues that RA 10660 is not a self-
executing law, and thus would need the promulgation of
implementing rules before it can be applied.

In his rejoinder, the accused insists that RA 10660 applies.


The Information against him states that the crime was committed
"in March 2013, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto." He
argues that the words "subsequent thereto" could encompass a
period extending beyond March 2013, and even up to the effectivity
of RA 10660 in 2015. Moreover, jurisdiction is determined upon
the filing of the Information, which in this case, was done during the
effectivity of RA 10660. The accused also claims that said law
applies because the trial has not begun, citing Section 5 thereof.

The accused likewise belies the argument that RA 10660 is


not self-executing. According to him, the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan cannot be made dependent upon rules of
procedure. Finally, the accused asserts that in case of doubt,
interpretation of penal statutes should be construed in favor of the
accused.

The motion is bereft of merit.

2 Section 5. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in the Sandiganbayan over
which trial has not begun: Provided, That: (a) Section 2, amending Section 4 of Presidential Decree No.
1606, as amended, on "Jurisdiction"; and (b) Section 3, amending Section 5 of Presidential Decree No.
1606, as amended, on "Proceedings, How Conducted; Decision by Majority Vote" shall apply to cases
arising from offenses committed after the effectivity of this Act.
3 Section 2. Section 4 of the same decree, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
xxx
"Subject to the rules promulgated by the Supreme Court, the cases falling under the jurisdiction of the
Regional Trial Court under this section shall be tried in a judicial region other than where the official
holds office.
RESOLUTION
pp vs. Vicente Y. Emano
Crim. Case No. SB-16-CRM-OB01

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Section 4 of PO 1606, as amended, enumerates the cases


over which this Court shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction,
to wit:

Section 4. Jurisdiction - The Sandiganbayan shall


exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended,


otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter 11, Section 2, Title VII, Book
11 of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused
are officials occupying the following positions in the government,
whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of
the commission of the offense:

(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying


the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade '27' and higher, of
the Compensation and Position Classification Act
of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically
including:

xxx

(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members


of the sangguniang panlungsod, city
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other
city department heads;

xxx

b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or


complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials
and employees mentioned in subsection a. of this section in
relation to their office.

c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in


connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued
in 1986.

xxx

Contrary to the position of the accused, this Court's


jurisdiction is not limited to violations of RA 3019, RA 1379, and
Chapter 11, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code.
As expressly provided under PO 1606 and the amendatory laws,
this Court also exercises exclusive original jurisdiction over other
offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes
RESOLUTION
pp vs. Vicente Y. Emano
Crim. Case No. SB-16-CRM-OB01

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committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in


Section 4(a) in relation to their office. As clarified in People v.
Sandiganbayan and Pieze:"

A simple analysis after a plain reading of the above


provision shows that those public officials enumerated in Sec. 4
(a) of PD. No. 1606, as amended, may not only be charged in
the Sandiganbayan with violations of R.A. No. 3019, R.A. No.
1379 or Chapter 11, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal
Code, but also with other offenses or felonies in relation to their
office. The said other offenses and felonies are broad in scope
but are limited only to those that are committed in relation to the
public official or employee's office. This Court had ruled that as
long as the offense charged in the information is intimately
connected with the office and is alleged to have been
perpetrated while the accused was in the performance, though
improper or irregular, of his official functions, there being no
personal motive to commit the crime and had the accused not
have committed it had he not held the aforesaid office, the
accused is held to have been indicted for "an offense committed
in relation" to his office. Thus, in the case of Lacson v. Executive
Secretary, et al., where the crime involved was murder, this
Court held that:

The phrase "other offenses or felonies" is


too broad as to include the crime of murder,
provided it was committed in relation to the
accused's official functions. Thus, under said
paragraph b, what determines the
Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is the official position
or rank of the offender - that is, whether he is one
of those public officers or employees enumerated
in paragraph a of Section 4. xxx

The determination as to whether or not an offense may be


considered as committed in relation to the accused's office was
also explained in People v. Sandiganbayan and Amante,5 thus:

In Sanchez v. Demetriou [227 SCRA 627 (1993)], the


Court elaborated on the scope and reach of the term "offense
committed in relation to [an accused's] office" by referring to the
principle laid down in Montilla v. Hi/ario [90 Phil 49 (1951 )], and
to an exception to that principle which was recognized in People
v. Montejo [108 Phil 613 (1960)]. The principle set out in Montilla
v. Hi/ario is that an offense may be considered as committed in
relation to the accused's office if "the offense cannot exist

4630 SCRA 489,501 (September 15, 2010)


5 August 25, 2009, 596 SCRA 49, 64-65
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pp vs. Vicente Y. Emano
Crim. Case No. SB-16-CRM-OB01

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without the office" such that "the office [is] a constituent element
of the crime x x x." In People v. Montejo, the Court, through
Chief Justice Concepcion, said that "although public office is not
an element of the crime of murder in [the] abstract," the facts in a
particular case may show that x x x the offense therein charged
is intimately connected with [the accused's] respective offices
and was perpetrated while they were in the performance, though
improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed, [the
accused] had no personal motive to commit the crime and they
would not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid
offices. x x x

In the present case, there is no question that the offense


charged against the accused, which is willful refusal or failure to
implement the Decision of the CSC to reinstate Leonor Esparcia,
was in relation to his office as then Mayor of Cagayan de Oro City.

While jurisdiction of a court is determined at the time of the


institution of the action, specifically, the filing of the Information,
Section 2 of RA 10660 would still not apply in the present case.
Section 5 thereof specifically states that Section 2 which amended
Section 4 of PO 1606, as amended, shall apply to cases arising
from offenses committed after the effectivity of RA 10660 in 2015.
Considering that the offense charged against the accused was
allegedly committed sometime in March 2013, this Court is not
divested of jurisdiction simply because the Information does not
allege any damage to the government or any bribery, or alleges
damage to the government or bribery not exceeding 1 Million
pesos.

The accused also argues that the words "subsequent thereto"


in the information would mean that the offense could extend from
March 2013 up to the effectivity of RA 10660 in 2015. Such
argument must indubitably fail. As culled from the records, the
Information stated that the offense was committed sometime in
March 2013, the period when the CSC Decision became final due
to the accused's failure to file an appeal before the Court of
Appeals. It was also in March 2013 that Esparcia, through her
lawyer, wrote to the accused to request the implementation of the
CSC Decision, which the accused refused to do. Clearly, it is
beyond cavil to construe the words "subsequent thereto" as to
mean until 2015.
RESOLUTION
pp vs. Vicente Y. Emano
Crim. Case No. SB-16-CRM-OB01

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)(- ------------------------------------------------------ )(

With respect to the accused's contention that there is no


more need for the implementing rules of RA 10660 before it could
be applied, the Court is not convinced, considering that Section 2
of the said law, which amended Section 4 of PO 1606, explicitly
provides that "[§}ubject to the rules promulgated by the Supreme
Court, the cases falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
Court under this section shall be tried in a judicial region other than
where the official holds office." In other words, assuming that the
jurisdiction to try the case falls on the Regional Trial Court, the
Supreme Court still has to promulgate rules to determine in which
judicial region should the case be filed.

Finally, the accused's assertion that "in case of doubt,


interpretation of penal statutes should be construed in favor of the
accused" is misplaced. Such principle cannot be applied
considering that PO 1606, as amended, is not a "penal statute."
Besides, assuming that it is, the provision of the law is so clear that
there is no need to resort to statutory construction. Indeed, the
Court is puzzled how a case to be tried by the Sandiganbayan or
the Regional Trial Court can be favorable or prejudicial to the
accused.

WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, the accused's


Motion to Quash (Lack of Jurisdiction), dated November 4, 2016, is
hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

50 ORDERED.

EFREN :Jlot: LA CRUZ


chairpers~~ ;-;tociate Justice

WE CONCUR:

MICHAEL F "'''' .••• w'"' L. MU5NGI


Associate Justic