Binay v. Sandiganbayan Digest

September 23, 2017 | Author: Irving Abary | Category: Prosecutor, Probable Cause, Courts, Criminal Law, Public Sphere
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Binay v. Sandiganbayan G.R. Nos. 120681-83 October 1, 1999 Article III Section 16 – Right to speedy disposition of cases FACTS Cases were filed by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan (SB for brevity) against Mayor Binay of Makati for ‘Illegal Use of Public Funds’(RPC A220) and ‘Violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act’(RA 3019) on September 1994. The informations filed constituted crimes which were committed by the petitioner in his incumbency in the year 1987.The petitioner filed a motion to quash alleging that the delay of more than 6 years constituted a violation of his constitutional right of due process. His arraignment therefore was held in abeyance pending the resolution of the motions. Subsequently, the SB issued a resolution denying petitioner’s motion to quash and further the latter’s motion for reconsideration. In the meantime, the prosecution filed a motion to suspend the accused ‘pendente lite’ (benefits) which was later granted and ordered for a 90-day suspension. Petition for certiorari was filed by Mayor Binay in the SC praying that the resolution denying his motion for reconsideration be set aside and claimed that he was denied of his rights when the suspension was ordered even before he could file his reply to the petitioner’s opposition. SC then, directed the SB to permit petitioner to file said reply. The SB nonetheless reiterated its previous resolutions and order after the submission of the reply. Meanwhile, RA 7975 redefining the jurisdiction of SB took effect on May 1995 so much so that the petitioner filed before SB a motion to refer his cases to the RTC of Makati alleging that the SB has no jurisdiction over said cases when it issued its resolutions and suspension order on June 1995. The SB in a follow-up resolution denied the petitioner’s motion. Hence this present petition, prohibition and mandamus questioning the jurisdiction of SB over the criminal cases. ISSUE (issue relevant to our discussion on Sec. 16) Whether or not the petitioner’s right to speedy disposition has been violated – NO. HELD The Court finds that there was no undue delay in the disposition of the subject cases. The prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA); it must rely on its own independent judgment in the determination of probable cause. Accordingly, the prosecution had to conduct its own review of the COA findings. Judging from said findings, we find that the cases were sufficiently complex, thus justifying the length of time for their resolution. Whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases is a question best left to the discretion of the Ombudsman. Absent any grave abuse of such discretion, the Court will not interfere in the exercise thereof. Petitioner in this case has failed to establish any such abuse on the part of the Ombudsman. The right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceedings 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 is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. The concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. In the application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy disposition of cases, particular regard must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case.

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