- Abardo v. Sandiganbayan
- G.R. Nos. 139571-72
- GONZAGA-REYES, J :
- Decision Date
G.R. Nos. 139571-72. March 28, 2001.
ROGER N. ABARDO, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FOURTH DIVISION), respondent.
D E C I S I O N
GONZAGA-REYES, J p:
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari which seeks to set aside the following Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case Nos. 16744 and 16745: (1) the Resolution dated December 1, 1998, which denied petitioner Roger N. Abardo's Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Reinvestigation and the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss; and (2) the Resolution dated July 16, 1999, which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
The facts, as gathered from the records, are as follows:
On May 21, 1991, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan two separate informations for falsification of public documents docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 16744 and 16745, against herein petitioner who was then the provincial assessor of Camarines Sur.
The information in Criminal Case No. 16744 charged petitioner and six others with falsifying Tax Declarations Nos. 008-13, 008-14, 008-15, 008-17, 008-18, 008-19, 008-20 and 008-21 on or about December 8, 1988 by making it appear that property consisting of 1,887 hectares had been declared in the name of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) since 1985 and that, having been reclassified to first-class unirrigated land, the market value thereof has increased to P16,008.00 per hectare when in fact said property, which was formerly classified as pasture land under Tax Declarations Nos. 3915 and 3916 issued in the name of Rosita Alberto, had a market value of only P1,524.00 per hectare and was declared in the name of UCPB only in 1988. The same property was subsequently transferred by UCPB to Sharp International Marketing (Phil.) Inc. (Sharp) and the tax declarations issued in the name of Sharp are the subject of Criminal Case No. 16745. In the latter case, petitioner and five others were charged with falsifying Tax Declarations Nos. 008-22 to 008-29 on or about December 8, 1988, by making it appear that the property covered therein was transferred from UCPB to Sharp, and by also increasing its appraisal to first-class unirrigated riceland when in truth and in fact the same is cogonal and mountainous.
At the scheduled arraignment on July 8, 1991, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash on the grounds that the facts charged in the informations do not constitute the crime of falsification of public documents; that the informations contain averments which constitute a legal excuse or justification; and that the criminal offense of falsification of public documents cannot be validly filed against petitioner. In view of the pendency of the said motions, petitioner's arraignment was postponed until further notice. On July 24, 1991, the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed an Opposition to petitioner's Motion to Quash.
On September 3, 1991, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying the Motion to Quash for lack of merit on the ground that with the filing thereof, petitioner hypothetically admitted the material allegations in the information; that petitioner may not raise facts in his motion to quash which would negate the allegations in the informations; and that the informations sufficiently allege all the elements of the crime of falsification of public documents as charged. A motion to reconsider the said resolution was denied.
Eventually, petitioner filed with the Supreme Court a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition seeking to set aside the Resolution issued by the Sandiganbayan on September 3, 1991 denying his motion to quash. As a consequence, the arraignment scheduled for October 7, 1991 was reset to November 28, 1991, upon motion of petitioner's counsel.
Thereafter, petitioner's arraignment was reset several times upon motion of his counsel and for the same reason, as follows: the arraignment scheduled on November 28, 1991 was reset to January 16, 1992; on January 16, 1992, the arraignment was again reset to March 3, 1992; while on March 3, 1992, the arraignment was reset to May 28, 1992. Thereafter, in an Order dated May 28, 1992, the arraignment of petitioner was cancelled and reset to July 28, 1992, in view of the reorganization of the Sandiganbayan.
In a Resolution dated March 5, 1992, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, no grave abuse of discretion being imputable to the Sandiganbayan. Similarly, the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner was denied. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, principally, on the ground that the issues raised by petitioner in his motion to quash are matters of defense which should be raised and proved during the trial.
On July 28, 1992, petitioner was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to both cases. On even date, the Sandiganbayan issued an Order setting the trial of petitioner "on the date of trial of his co-accused whose cases are being reinvestigated."
In a letter dated March 20, 1997 to the Office of the Ombudsman, petitioner requested for the payment of his retirement benefits which had been withheld since his compulsory retirement in 1994 due to the pendency of the subject criminal cases. This letter was brought to the attention of the Sandiganbayan in a letter dated September 22, 1997.
In a Resolution adopted on November 4, 1997, the Sandiganbayan "set for a conference all the lawyers of the defense and the prosecution on November 19, 1997 at 8:30 a.m. to see how these cases can move faster." In an Order dated November 19, 1997, the two cases (Criminal Cases Nos. 16744 and 16745) together with eight other cases were set for preliminary conference and pre-trial on January 27 & 30, 1998 and trial on February 2, 3, 5 & 6, 1998, all at 8:30 a.m.
On January 7, 1998, co-accused Salvador P. Pejo filed a Motion for Leave to Participate in the Reinvestigation of the Cases which was granted in an Order dated January 9, 1998.
In an Order dated January 27, 1998, the Sandiganbayan gave the prosecution a period of sixty days to conduct a thorough reinvestigation of Criminal Cases Nos. 16739 to 16749 involving all the accused therein and ordering it to submit its report within the same period containing its findings and recommendation together with the action taken by the Ombudsman, and consequently, the settings on January 30, 1998 and February 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 1998, were cancelled. aIcDCT
On August 12, 1998, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Reinvestigation on the ground that "the ultimate purchase by the Philippine government of the Garchitorena estate at the price of P33,000.00 has veritably rendered all the pending criminal cases moot and academic." On August 17, 1998, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution giving the prosecution fifteen (15) days to file its Comment to petitioner's Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Reinvestigation. On October 12, 1998, petitioner filed a Supplemental Motion to Dismiss on the ground that "the criminal cases should now be dismissed to implement the provisions of Republic Act No. 8493, otherwise known as the Speedy Trial Act of 1998" considering that "the two pending criminal cases against petitioner have already exceeded the extended time limit under Section 7 of Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98"; and that "petitioner is duty-bound to move for the dismissal of the two cases before trial, otherwise, he will be deemed to have waived his rights to dismiss under Section 14, Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98."
On December 1, 1998, petitioner filed a Motion for Early Resolution to speed up the early judgment and resolution of the above-entitled cases.
In a Resolution dated December 1, 1998, the Sandiganbayan denied for lack of merit petitioner's two motions (Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Reinvestigation and the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss). His motion for reconsideration was likewise denied in a Resolution dated July 16, 1999.
Hence, the instant petition on the following grounds:
I. THE ULTIMATE PURCHASE BY THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT OF THE GARCHITORENA ESTATE AT THE PRICE OF P33,000,000.00 HAS VERITABLY RENDERED ALL THE CRIMINAL CASES MOOT AND ACADEMIC.
II. THAT CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 16744 AND 16745 AGAINST THE HEREIN PETITIONER SHOULD NOW BE DISMISSED TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8493, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE "SPEEDY TRIAL ACT OF 1998" AS DIRECTED IN SEC. 15 THEREOF, AND BY REASON OF THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE SUPREME COURT IN ITS CIRCULAR NO. 38-98."
Anent the first ground, petitioner argues that the supervening event of purchase by the government of the Garchitorena estate and its distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries have rendered the issues in the criminal cases moot and academic.
This contention is palpably without merit.
Petitioner was charged with two counts of falsification of public documents under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code which punishes "any public officer who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a unirrigated riceland when document by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts." In gist, the first information filed with the Sandiganbayan alleged that petitioner falsified Tax Declarations Nos. 008-13 to 008-21 by making it appear that property consisting of 1,887 hectares had been declared in the name of UCPB since 1985 and that, having been reclassified to first-class unirrigated land, the market value thereof has increased to P16,008.00 per hectare. The truth is, the property was classified as pasture land under Tax Declarations Nos. 3915 and 3916, issued in the name of Rosita Alberto, with a market value of only P1,524.00 per hectare. The second information alleged that petitioner falsified Tax Declarations Nos. 008-22 to 008-29 by making it appear that the property covered therein was transferred from UCPB to Sharp, and by also increasing its appraisal to first-class unirrigated riceland when in truth, the same is cogonal and mountainous. The statements adequately express, in essence, the elements of the crime of falsification of public documents under Article 177, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code.
The eventual purchase by the Philippine government of the subject land and its distribution to farmer-beneficiaries does not render the criminal cases moot and academic or to put it more accurately, relieve petitioner of criminal liability. Criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony; and a felony is an act or omission punishable by the Revised Penal Code. Petitioner was charged with falsification of public documents as defined and punished in Article 177, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code. The causes of extinction of criminal liability are provided in Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code which may be enumerated as follows: by the death of the convict, by service of the sentence, amnesty, absolute pardon, prescription of the crime, prescription of the penalty and by marriage of the offended woman, as provided in Article 344 of the Code. Verily, the supervening event adverted to by petitioner does not fall under any of the circumstances by which criminal liability may be extinguished. As aptly pointed out by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in its Comment on behalf of the People, "in the crime of falsification of a public document, the principal thing punished is the violation of public faith and the destruction of truth as therein solemnly proclaimed." In this regard, petitioner cannot seek refuge behind the argument that the criminal case has been rendered moot and academic as the purchase by the government of the Garchitorena estate does not foreclose the court's determination of whether a crime has been committed for which a public official may be answerable.
Next, petitioner argues that the two pending criminal cases against him have already exceeded the extended time limit under Section 7 of Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98 for the trial of cases. According to petitioner, after his arraignment on July 28, 1992, the trial of the cases have not commenced for unknown reasons. In this regard, petitioner invokes the remedy provided in Section 14 of the said circular in seeking a dismissal of the cases.
Unreasonable delay in the disposition of cases in judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies is a serious problem besetting the administration of justice in the country. As one solution on the problem of delay in the disposition of criminal cases, Republic Act No. 8493, otherwise known as the "Speedy Trial Act of 1998", intended to ensure a speedy trial of all criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 4, 1998 and February 3, 1998, respectively. Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98 which was promulgated for the purpose of implementing the provisions thereof took effect on September 15, 1998.
Consistent with Republic Act No. 8493, SC Circular 38-98 sets a time limit for arraignment and pre-trial. Section 2 thereof provides that "arraignment, and the pre-trial if the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged shall be held within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused." However, Section 7 thereof, provides for an extended time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial for the three years following the statute's effectivity, as follows: for the first twelve-calendar-month period following its effectivity, the time limit shall be one hundred eighty (180) days; for the second twelve-month period, the time limit shall be one hundred twenty (120) days; for the third twelve-month period, the time limit shall be eighty (80) days. Petitioner then invokes Section 14 of the circular in seeking the dismissal of the two criminal cases filed against him.
On the other hand, the Office of the Special Prosecutor submits that Republic Act No. 8493 does not apply to petitioner on the ground that the following circumstances may be considered as exceptions to the time within which arraignment, pre-trial and trial should commence: petitioner filed a petition for certiorari questioning the denial of his motion to quash; his counsel asked for postponement of his arraignment on October 7, 1991, November 28, 1991, January 16, 1992 and March 3, 1992; adding to the delay was the reorganization of the Sandiganbayan with the passage of RA 8249; Criminal Case Nos. 16744 and 16745 were consolidated with eight (8) other criminal cases and there are more than twenty (20) accused involved in these cases; separate motions for reinvestigation were filed.
In support of the submission that certain delays should be excluded in computing the time limits imposed by the statute and its implementing rules and regulations, the Special Prosecutor cites Section 9 of Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98 which excludes the "period of the pendency of a motion to quash, bill of particulars, or other causes justifying suspension of arraignment" and Section 9 (a) (3) and (e) thereof which excludes "delay resulting from extraordinary remedies against interlocutory orders and when the accused is joined with a co-accused over whom the court has not acquired jurisdiction."
The time limits provided by Republic Act No. 8493 could not be applied to the case at bar as petitioner was arraigned way back in July 28, 1992. At that time, there was yet no statute which establishes deadlines for arraignment and trial; and the time limits for trial imposed by Republic Act No. 8493 are reckoned from the arraignment of the accused. Nevertheless, Republic Act No. 8493 does not preclude application of the provision on speedy trial in the Constitution. Indeed, in determining whether petitioner's right to a speedy trial has been violated, resort to Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution is imperative. It provides that:
"All persons shall have the right to speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies."
The Constitution mandates dispatch not only in the trial stage, but also in the disposition thereof, warranting dismissals in cases of violations thereof without the fault of the party concerned, not only the accused. However, the right of an accused to a speedy trial should not be utilized to deprive the state of a reasonable opportunity of fairly indicting criminals. Hence, certain factors are considered and balanced against each other in answering the judicial inquiry as to whether such right was violated. In Gonzales vs. Sandiganbayan , the Court ruled thus:
"It must be here emphasized that the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause or justifiable motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution and the defendant are weighed, and such factors as length of the delay, reason for the delay, the defendant's assertion or non-assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant resulting from the delay, are considered." aHSCcE
The rule was reiterated succinctly in Alviso vs. Sandiganbayan , viz:
". . . . Withal, it must not be lost sight of that the concept of speedy disposition of cases is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. Hence, the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether or not that right has been violated, the factors that may be considered and balanced are the length of delay, the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay."
Briefly stated, the determination of whether or not the constitutional right invoked by petitioner has been violated, the factors to consider and balance are the duration of the delay, reason therefor, assertion of the right or failure to assert it and the prejudice caused by such delay.
In junking petitioner's Motion to Dismiss on the ground of violation of his constitutional right to a speedy trial, the Sandiganbayan attributed the delay to petitioner as he resorted "to all remedies, fair and foul" to prolong the case. According to the Sandiganbayan:
"As borne out by the records, after the filing of the Information against him, Abardo filed a Motion for Reinvestigation and thereafter, A Motion to Quash. When both motions were denied by this Court, he went to the Honorable Supreme Court on a petition for Certiorari. These circumstances contributed to the delay in the early termination of the present cases. The cause of the delay is attributable to the desire of the accused to quash the present cases against him without the need of presenting evidence. Accused therefore cannot be heard to complain when he himself is the cause of the delay."
After an assiduous examination of the records, we hold the contrary.
The records disclose that the two informations against petitioner were filed almost a decade ago or way back on May 21, 1991. The Sandiganbayan faults the petitioner as the cause of the delay. The antecedents disclose otherwise. The time it took for petitioner to file his motion to quash; the denial thereof by the Sandiganbayan; and the time it took him to question the denial of his motion to quash before the Supreme Court was less than a year from start to finish. The motion to quash was filed on July 8, 1991; the Sandiganbayan denied it on September 3, 1991; and the Supreme Court upheld the denial on March 5, 1992 and dismissed his petition. While his arraignment originally scheduled on July 8, 1991 was reset several times on motion of petitioner's counsel due to the foregoing proceedings, petitioner was arraigned as early as July 28, 1992 or just over a year after he filed a motion to quash.
What glares from the records is that from his arraignment on said date, there was an unexplained interval or inactivity of close to five years in the Sandiganbayan. Consequently, on March 27, 1997, petitioner brought to the attention of the Ombudsman the withholding of his retirement benefits and that no hearing of the case has yet been conducted. The letter was also brought to the attention of the Sandiganbayan. On November 4, 1997, the Sandiganbayan set a conference on November 19, 1997 "to see how the cases can move faster." In an Order dated November 19, 1997, Criminal Cases Nos. 16744 and 16754 were set for preliminary conference and pre-trial on January 27 & 30, 1998, and trial on February 2, 3, 5 & 6. Verily, a long period of time was allowed to elapse without the petitioner having his case tried.
Granting that the delay or interval was caused by the separate motions for reinvestigation filed by the different accused, again, there is no explanation why the reinvestigation was unduly stretched beyond a reasonably permissible time frame. Apparently, the Office of the Ombudsman did not complete the reinvestigation during the five-year interval, thus, in an Order dated January 27, 1998, the Sandiganbayan gave the prosecution a period of sixty days to conduct a thorough reinvestigation of Criminal Cases 16739 to 16749 involving all the accused therein and ordering it to submit its report within the same period with its findings, recommendations and action taken by the Ombudsman. As a consequence, the settings on January 30, 1998, February 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, 1998 were all cancelled. Despite the deadline given to the Ombudsman for the reinvestigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor disclosed in its Comment that the reinvestigation of the cases has not yet been completed. According to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, an order was issued by the Sandiganbayan on January 19, 2000, that "it appearing that as manifested by the prosecution the reinvestigation is still being completed. . . . the trial part of these cases are deferred", thus, the hearings set for February 14, 15, 16 & 17, 2000 were again cancelled and the pre-trial on all the cases were tentatively set on February 28 and 29, 2000. It is, therefore, apparent that the delay is not solely or even equally chargeable to petitioner, but to the Office of the Ombudsman where the conduct of the reinvestigation has languished for an unreasonable length of time.
It cannot be said the petitioner failed to assert his right to a speedy disposition of his case. During the five-year period between 1992 and 1997, petitioner wrote the Office of the Ombudsman about the prejudice caused him by the cases, a copy of which was furnished the Sandiganbayan. On December 1, 1998, he filed a Motion for Early Resolution of the cases.
The delay in this case measures up to the unreasonableness of the delay in the disposition of cases in Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman , where the Court found the delay of six years by the Ombudsman in resolving the criminal complaints to be violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy disposition of cases; similarly, in Roque vs. Office of the Ombudsman , where the Court held that the delay of almost six years disregarded the Ombudsman's duty to act promptly on complaints before him; and in Cervantes vs. Sandiganbayan , where the Court held that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in not quashing the information which was filed six years after the initiatory complaint was filed and thereby depriving petitioner of his right to a speedy disposition of the case. So it must be in the instant case, where the reinvestigation by the Ombudsman has dragged on for a decade already.
Clearly, the delay in this case disregarded the Ombudsman's duty, as mandated by the Constitution and Republic Act No. 6770, to enforce the criminal liability of government officers or employees in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service to the people. The fact that up to this time no trial has been set, apparently due to the inability of the Ombudsman to complete the reinvestigation is a distressing indictment of the criminal justice system, particularly its investigative and prosecutory pillars.
For all these past eleven years, petitioner has remained under a cloud and stigmatized by the charges against him, and since his retirement in 1994, he has been deprived of the fruits of his retirement after serving the government for over 40 years all because of the inaction of the Ombudsman. If we wait any longer, it may be too late for petitioner to receive his retirement benefits, and more importantly, to clear his name.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and sets aside the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan, dated December 1, 1998 and July 16, 1999 in Criminal Case Nos. 16744 and 16745. The Court directs the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the aforesaid cases.
Melo, Vitug, Panganiban and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
1. with a prayer for a writ of preliminary prohibitory and mandatory injunction.
2. Fourth Division, composed of the ponente, J. Rodolfo G. Palattao, with J. Sabino R. De Leon, Jr. (chairman) and J. Narciso S. Nario (member) concurring.
3. as defined and penalized under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code.
4. Original Records, pp. 1-3.
5. OR (2nd vol.), pp. 1-2.
6. OR, pp. 33-48.
7. OR, pp. 92-94.
8. OR, pp. 98-101.
9. OR, p. 109.
10. OR, p. 115.
11. OR, p. 120.
12. OR, p. 126.
13. OR, p. 130.
14. OR, pp. 160-165.
15. OR, p. 136.
16. OR, p. 138.
17. OR, p. 152.
18. OR, p. 151.
19. OR; Minutes, p. 160.
20. OR, p. 169.
21. OR, pp. 206-208.
22. OR, p. 238.
23. OR, pp. 244-245.
24. OR, pp. 293-308.
25. OR, pp. 356-368.
26. OR, pp. 373-380.
27. OR, pp. 381-386.
28. OR, pp. 414-419.
29. Article 4, Revised Penal Code.
30. Citing Domagas vs. Malana, 223 SCRA 359 (1993).
31. SEC. 15.Rules and Regulations. The Supreme Court shall promulgate rules, regulations, administrative orders and circulars which shall seek to accelerate the disposition of criminal cases. The rules, regulations, administrative orders and circulars formulated shall provide sanctions against justices and judges who willfully fail to proceed to trial without justification consistent with the provisions of this Act.
32. See Section 16 of the circular.
33. Sec. 7.Extended Time Limit. Notwithstanding the provision of the preceding Sections 2 and 6 for the first twelve-calendar-month period following its effectivity, the time limit with respect to the period from arraignment to trial imposed by said provision shall be one hundred eighty (180) days. For the second twelve-month period, the time limit shall be one hundred twenty (120) days, and for the third twelve-month period the time limit shall be eighty (80) days.
34. Sec. 14.Remedy Where Accused is Not Brought to Trial Within the Time Limit. If the accused is not brought to trial within the time limit required by Sections 2 and 6 hereof, as extended by Section 7, the information may be dismissed on motion of the accused on the ground of denial of his right to speedy trial. The accused shall have the burden of proving such motion but the prosecution shall have the burden of going forward with the evidence in connection with the exclusion of time under Section 9 hereof. The dismissal shall be subject to the rules on double jeopardy.
35. Sec. 2.Time Limit for Arraignment and Pre-Trial. The arraignment and pre-trial, if the accused pleads not guilty to the crime charged, shall be held within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused. The period of the pendency of a motion to quash, or for a bill of particulars, or other causes justifying suspension of arraignment shall be excluded.
36. Sec. 9.Exclusions. The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence:
(a)Any period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the accused, including but not limited to the following:
(1). . .
(2). . .
(3)delay resulting from extraordinary remedies against interlocutory orders
xxx xxx xxx
(e)A reasonable period of delay when the accused is joined for trial with a co-accused over whom the court has not acquired jurisdiction or as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for separate trial has been granted.
37. SEC. 15.Republic Act No. 8493 Not a Bar to Provision on Speedy Trial in the Constitution. No provision of Republic Act No. 8493 shall be interpreted as a bar to any charge of denial of speedy trial as provided by Article III, Section 14(2), of the 1987 Constitution.
38. Guerrero vs. Court of Appeals, 257 SCRA 703 (1996).
39. People v. Gines, 197 SCRA 481 (1991).
40. 199 SCRA 298 (1991).
41. 220 SCRA 55 (1993).
42. Dansal, et al., vs. Fernandez, G.R. No. 126814, March 2, 2000.
43. 268 SCRA 301 (1997).
44. 307 SCRA 104 (1999).
45. G.R. No. 108595, May 18, 1999.
46. "The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and shall, in appropriate cases, notify the complainants of the action taken and the results thereof." (Section 12, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution)
47. "The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service by the government to the people." (Section 13, Republic Act No. 6770)