Romualdez vs Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 152259, July 29, 2004

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ROMUALDEZ VS SANDIGANBAYAN GR. NO. 152259, July 29, 2004 FACTS Sandiganbayan filed a criminal case against Alfredo T. Romuladez. Romualdez files a Motion to Dismiss. On or about and during the period of July 16, 1975 to July 29, 1975, Alfredo T. Romualdez, brother-in-law of Ferdinand Marcos (related by affinity within the third civil degree), with bad faith intervene in a contract between the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation (NASSCO), a government-owned and controlled corporation and the Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Company (BASECO), a private corporation, the majority stocks of which is owned by former President Marcos, whereby NASSCO sold, transferred and conveyed to the BASECO its ownership and all its titles and interests over all equipment and facilities, located at the Engineer Island Shops including some of its equipment and machineries from Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte needed by BASECO in its shipbuilding and ship repair program for the amount of P5,000,000. The act is said to be a violation of RA 3019, Sec 5 (Anti Graft and Corruption Practices Act, Prohibition on Certain Relatives). Section 5. Prohibition on certain relatives. It shall be unlawful for the spouse or for any relative, by consanguinity or affinity, within the third civil degree, of the President of the Philippines, xxx, to intervene, directly or indirectly, in any business, transaction, contract or application with the Government: xxx. ISSUE (Statutory Construction, Presumption of Constitutionality) Whether or not Sec 5 of RA 3019 is unconstitutional because its vagueness (on the term intervene) violates the due process right of an individual to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation against him. DECISION The Court has not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity. Romualdez claim that the term “intervene” is vague,, but the Court says it can be easily understood through simple statutory construction. The absence of a statutory definition of a term used in a statute will not render the law void for vagueness, if the meaning can be determined through the judicial function of construction. Elementary is the principle that words should be construed in their ordinary and usual

meaning. The term “intervene” should therefore be understood in its ordinary acceptation, which is “to come between.” Criminally liable is anyone covered in the enumeration of Sec 5 of RA 3019. In sum, the Court holds that the challenged provision is not vague, and that in any event, the void for vagueness doctrine is not applicable to the case. The Petition is dismissed and the questioned Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan are affirmed.

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