Castro vs. Deloria DIGEST

October 2, 2017 | Author: Hortense Varela | Category: Criminal Procedure In South Africa, Prosecutor, Jurisdiction, Politics, Government
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CRIMINAL PROCEDURE DIGESTS (2013 – 2014) G.R. No. 163586 CASTRO vs. DALORIA January 27, 2009 Austria-Martinez, J. Petitioner: Sharon Castro Respondents: RTC Judge Hon. Merlin Deloria, CA CASE SUMMARY: Sharon Castro was a BIR Officer in Guimaras who was charged with Malversation of Public Funds, misappropriating worth P556,000. The Ombudsman was tasked to prosecute her, but she questioned the authority of the Ombudsman, citing the original decision of Uy vs. Sandiganbayan decided in 1999 which held that the Ombudsman had no prosecutorial powers over cases cognizable by RTC. The Supreme Court ruled that the Ombudsman’s powers were plenary and unqualified, covering all offending “public officers”, and that the later Resolution of the Uy case prevailed, curing the restrictive defect in the Ombudsman’s powers.

ATTY. TRANQUIL SALVADOR RTC denied the Motion to Quash, recognizing the authority of the Ombudsman in the case. RTC cited the Resolution of Uy vs. Sandiganbayan in 2001 which reversed the original decision in Uy vs. Sanidganbayan 1999, and expressly recognizing the prosecutorial and investigatory authority of the Ombudsman in cases cognizable by the RTC.

ISSUES: 1. W/N the Ombudsman had the authority to file a case against petitioner, as of May 31, 2001, in the light of the FIRST DECISION in the Uy vs. Sandiganbayan case (1999), which limited the powers of the Ombudsman. 2. W/N the Resolution of the Uy vs. Sandiganbayan case (2001) violates the constitutional provisions against ex-post facto laws and the denial of due process.

HELD: FACTS:

Ombudsman’s powers UPHELD.

Sharon Castro, a Revenue Officer of BIR Buenavista, Guimaras, was charged before the Ombudsman with Malversation of Public Funds. She was accused of misappropriating public funds worth P556,681.53 despite notice and demand upon her account for the funds.

RATIO:

Castro filed a Motion to Quash, stating that the Ombudsman lacked jurisdiction. She said that the Information failed to allege her salary grade—a material fact in the crime charged. Citing Uy vs. Sandiganbayan, since she had a salary grade of 27, her case should be within the jurisdiction of the RTC. She also added that the prosecutorial powers of the Ombudsman are limited to the cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.

The decision on Uy vs. Sandiganbayan in 1991 was that the Ombudsman’s prosecutorial powers were limited to Sandiganbayan cases, while the Resolution on the same case in 2001 expressly held that the Ombudsman shall have power on all criminal cases involving public officials. Petitioner contends that the decision in 1991 should apply to her case, instead of the 2001 Resolution, because the Ombudsman instituted the action against her in April 26, 2000. Hence, the Information filed against

Castelo Chan-Gonzaga Evardone Gacutan Gana Gutierrez Lopez Miclat Mercado Tan Torres Valdez Varela

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE DIGESTS (2013 – 2014) her was void because at that time, the Ombudsman had no authority over her case. The Court finds no merit in her petition. 1. The Ombudsman’s prosecutorial powers are PLENARY and UNQUALIFIED. Time and time again, the Court has held that the Ombudsman has power to prosecute not only graft cases within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but also cases within the jurisdiction of the regional trial courts. The powers of the Ombudsman are plenary and unqualified. (Office of the Ombudsman vs. Enoc)

ATTY. TRANQUIL SALVADOR it to reveal the true intent of the lawmakers. Therefore, the Resolution of the Court in Uy interpreting the Ombudsman Act is part of the law dated December 7, 1989. “Where no law is invalidated nor doctrine abandoned, a judicial interpretation of the law should be deemed incorporated at the moment of its legislation”. The Resolution in Uy set aside an erroneous pubescent interpretation of the Ombudsman Act manifested in Uy vs. Sandiganbayan (1999).

FINAL VERDICT: Case DISMISSED for lack of merit.

The clause “any illegal act or omission of any public official” is broad enough to embrace the any crime committed by a public officer or employee is within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to prosecute. Section 15 of RA 6770 gives the Ombudsman primary jurisdiction to “take over, at any stage from any investigatory agency of the government, the investigation of such cases” cognizable by the Sandiganbayan. Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman should not be equated with the limited authority of the Special Prosecutor under Section 11 of RA 6770. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is merely a component of the Office of the Ombudsman and may only act under the supervision and control and upon authority of the Ombudsman. 2. The Resolution of Uy vs. Sandiganbayan in 2001 is NOT ex-post facto; it is meant to cure the defect in limiting the Ombudsman’s powers. Resolution 2001 is a judicial interpretation of the statute. As such, it constitutes part of the original law which is the Ombudsman Act of 1989. Such interpretation does not create new law, but rather construes

Castelo Chan-Gonzaga Evardone Gacutan Gana Gutierrez Lopez Miclat Mercado Tan Torres Valdez Varela

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