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G.R. Nos.

120681-83 October 1, 1999


JEJOMAR C. BINAY, petitioner,
vs.
HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and the DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,respondents.
G.R. No. 128136 October 1, 1999
MARIO C. MAGSAYSAY, FRANCISCO B. CASTILLO, CRISTINA D. MABIOG,
REGINO E. MALAPIT, ERLINDA I. MASANGCAY and VICENTE DE LA
ROSA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, HON. OMBUDSMAN and its PROSECUTOR WENDELL
BARERRAS-SULIT and STATE PROSECUTORS ERIC HENRY JOSEPH F.
MALLONGA and GIDEON C. MENDOZA, respondents.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 1486
created an Anti-Graft Court known as the Sandiganbayan. Since then the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan
has
undergone
various
changes, 1 the most recent of which were effected through Republic Act Nos. 7975 2 and
8249. 3 Whether the Sandiganbayan, under these laws, exercises exclusive original jurisdiction
over criminal cases involving municipal mayors accused of violations of Republic Act No.
3019 4 and Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code 5 is the central issue in these consolidated
petitions.
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay seeks to annul, among others, the Resolution
of the Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007
to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati and declaring that the Sandiganbayan has
jurisdiction over said cases despite the enactment of R.A. No. 7975.
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assail the October 22, 1996
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the
proceedings in Criminal Case No 23278 in deference to whatever ruling this Court will lay down
in the Binay cases.1wphi1.nt
The, facts, as gathered from the records, are as follows:
G.R. Nos. 120681-83
On September 7, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three
separate informations against petitioner Jejomar Binay, one for violation of Article 220 of the
Revised Penal Code, 6 and two for violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019. 7 The
informations, which were subsequently amended on September 15, 1994, all alleged that the acts

constituting these crimes were committed in 1987 during petitioner's incumbency as Mayor of
Makati, then a municipality of Metro Manila.
Thereafter, petitioner moved to quash the informations. He contented that the six-year delay
from the time the charges were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on July 27, 1988 to the
time the informations were filed in the Sandiganbayan on September 7, 1994 constituted a
violation of his right to due process. Arraignment of the accused was held in abeyance pending
the resolution of this motion.
On March 29, 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioner's motion to
quash. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the prosecution, was
likewise denied by the Sandiganbayan. The resolution denying the motion for reconsideration,
however, was issued before petitioner could file a reply to the prosecution's opposition to the
motion for reconsideration.
In the meantime, on March 31, 1995, the prosecution filed a "Motion to Suspend
Accused Pendente Lite." The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated April 25, 1995, granted the
motion and ordered the suspension of petitioner for ninety days from receipt of the resolution.
The court ruled that the requisites for suspension pendente lite were present as petitioner was
charged with one of the offenses under Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 8 and the informations
containing these charges had previously been held valid in the resolution denying the motion to
quash and the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner thus filed before this Court a petition for certiorari, 9 to set aside the resolution
denying his motion for reconsideration, claiming that he was denied due process when the
Sandiganbayan ordered his suspension pendente litebefore he could file a reply to the
prosecution's opposition to his motion for reconsideration of the resolution denying the motion to
quash. In a Resolution dated April 28, 1995, the Court directed the Sandiganbayan to, among
other things, permit petitioner to file said reply.
After allowing and considering petitioner's reply, the Sandiganbayan, on June 6, 1995, issued a
Resolution reiterating the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the denial of the motion to
quash. On the same day, the Sandiganbayan issued another resolution reiterating the order
suspending petitioner pendente lite.
Meanwhile, R.A. No. 7975, redefining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, took effect on May
16, 1995. 10
On June 13, 1995, petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a motion to refer his cases to the
"proper court" for further proceedings, alleging that when the two Resolutions, both dated June
6, 1995, were issued by the Anti-Graft Court, it had already lost jurisdiction over the subject
cases. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated July 4, 1995, denied petitioner's motion,
holding thus:
There is no question that Municipal Mayors are classified as Grade "27" under the
Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989. Since, at the time of the

commission of the offenses charged in the above-entitled cases, the accused


Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal Mayor, although in an acting or interim
capacity, the Sandiganbayan, has, under Section 4 (e) 5, original jurisdiction over
the cases therein filed against him. The allegation that Mayor Binay ought to have
been classified with a salary grade lower than Grade "27", because at the time of
the commission of the offenses charged he was paid a salary which merits a grade
lower than Grade "27" does not hold water. In 1986 when the herein offenses
were committed by the accused, the Compensation & Position Classification Act
of 1989 was not as yet in existence. From the very definition of the very Act
itself, it is evident that the Act was passed and had been effective only in 1989.
The Grade classification of a public officer, whether at the time of the
commission of the offense or thereafter, is determined by his classification under
the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989. Thus since the accused
Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal Mayor at the time of the commission of
the offenses and the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989
classifies Municipal Mayors as Grade "27", it is a conclusion beyond cavil that
the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the accused herein.
As of July 1, 1989, when Republic Act No. 6758 took effect, Municipal Mayor
Jejomar C. Binay had begun receiving a monthly salary of P15,180.00 which is
equivalent to Grade "28" under the salary scale provided for in Section 27 of the
said Act. Under the Index of Occupational Services, the position titles and salary
grades of the Compensation & Position Classification system prepared by the
Department of Budget and Management pursuant to Section 6 of Republic [A]ct
No. 6758, the position of Municipal Mayor had been classified as Grade "27." 11
On July 7, 1995, petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over Criminal Case Nos.
21001, 21005 and 21007. He prayed, among others, that the Court annul and set aside: (1) the
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the denial of the motion for
reconsideration of the motion to quash; (2) the Resolution of the same court also dated June 6,
1995 reiterating the order suspending petitioner pendente lite; and (3) the Resolution of the
Sandiganbayan dated July 4, 1995 denying the motion to refer case to the RTC. Petitioner also
asked that the Court issue a temporary restraining order preventing the suspension and
arraignment of petitioner. The Court on July 7, 1995, resolved, among others, to issue the
temporary restraining order prayed for.
On July 14, 1995, petitioner filed an "Addendum to Petition (To allow the introduction of
alternative reliefs)," praying that, should this Court hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction
over the cases, the criminal cases filed against him be dismissed just the same on the ground that
the long delay of the preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman prior to the filing of the
informations, deprived him of his right to due process; and that, moreover, there was no probable
cause to warrant the filing of the informations.
G.R. No. 128136

Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual, Batangas. Save for
petitioner Vicente dela Rosa, all of Mayor Magsaysay's co-petitioners are officials of the same
municipality.
In a complaint dated April 16, 1994, Victor Cusi, then Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas,
charged petitioners along with Elpidia Amada, Jovey C. Babago, and Brigido H. Buhain, also
officials of San Pascual Batangas, with violation of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. The complaint
charged the respondent municipal officials of overpaying Vicente de la Rosa of TDR
Construction for the landscaping project of the San Pascual Central School. This case was
docketed in the Office of the Ombudsman as OMB-1-94-1232.
In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Lourdes A. Alarilla
recommended the filing of an information for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019,
as amended, against petitioners with the Sandiganbayan. Director Elvis John S. Asuncion
concurred in the resolution, and Manuel C. Domingo, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon,
recommended approval of the same. The resolution was approved by then Acting Ombudsman
Francisco A. Villa with the following marginal note:
Authority is given to the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to cause the preparation
of the information and to approve the same for filing with the proper court. 12
On August 11, 1995, an Information for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) was filed against
petitioners and Jovey C. Babago, not with the Sandiganbayan per the June 14, 1995 Resolution,
but with the RTC of Batangas City. The information was signed by Lourdes A. Alarilla, the same
Graft Investigation Officer who recommended the filing of the information with the
Sandiganbayan.
In the meantime, a group denominated as the Concerned Citizens of San Pascual, Batangas filed
a complaint before the Ombudsman against petitioners, and Elpidia Amada and Brigido Buhain,
with violations of R.A. No. 3019. The complaint also alleged, among others, the overpricing of
the landscaping project of San Pascual Central School. The case was docketed as OMB-0-940149.
In a Resolution dated July 27, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Ernesto M. Nocos recommended
the filing of an information charging petitioners with violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A.
No. 3019, as amended "with the proper court." The resolution, which was recommended for
approval by Nicanor J. Cruz, OIC-Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and approved by Ombudsman
Aniano A. Desierto, adopted the findings and conclusions in the resolution in OMB-1-94-1232
that the landscaping project was overpriced.
On February 9, 1996, another Information for violation of Section 3(e)of R.A. No. 3019, as
amended, was filed against petitioners for the overpricing of the landscaping project, this time
before the Sandiganbayan. The information was subsequently amended on May 17, 1996. Except
for the date the alleged crime was committed, the information charged essentially the same
inculpatory facts as the information filed in the RTC. The case was docketed in the
Sandiganbayan as Crim. Case No. 22378.

On June 1, 1996, the accused filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the information in
Crim. Case No. 22378 on the following grounds: that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over
the case; that the accused were charged with the same offense in two informations; and that the
proceedings in the Sandiganbayan would expose petitioners to double jeopardy. The
Sandiganbayan denied the accused's motion to quash in a Resolution dated June 21, 1996. The
court, however, suspended proceedings in the case until the Supreme Court resolved the question
of the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction involved in the Binay petition.
Meanwhile, on June 7, 1996, Prosecutor Eric Mallonga filed a motion before the RTC to refer
the R.A. No. 3019 case pending therein to the Sandiganbayan, arguing that under R.A. No. 7975
the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, had jurisdiction over the case. On July 3, 1996, the RTC issued
an order holding in abeyance the resolution of the motion to refer the case since the issue of
jurisdiction was pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Back at the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution, on July 24, 1996, filed a motion for reconsideration
of the Sandiganbayan's Order dated June 21, 1996. On August 2, 1996, filed their own motion
for the reconsideration of the same order. On October 22, 1996, the Sandiganbayan granted the
motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution and set the case for arraignment. Petitioners
moved for a reconsideration of the October 22, 1996 Resolution ordering their arraignment,
which motion was denied on February 17, 1997.
On February 27, 1997, the accused filed the present petition.
On October 1, 1997, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent
respondents from further proceeding with Crim. Case No. 23278 of the Sandiganbayan.
The petition raises the following issues:
I
Had the Sandiganbayan been ousted of its jurisdiction over the case of municipal
mayor after the passage of Republic Act No. 7975, coupled with the filing earlier
of an information for the same offense before the Regional Trial Court having
territorial jurisdiction and venue of the commission of the offense?
II
Are the respondents Ombudsman and the prosecutors estopped by laches or
waiver from filing and prosecuting the case before respondent Sandiganbayan
after the filing earlier of the information in the proper court, thereafter repudiating
it, seeking another court of the same category and finally to respondent court?
III
Whether or not the filing of two (2) informations for the same offense violated the
rule on duplicity of information?

IV
Whether or not the trial to be conducted by respondent court, if the case shall not
be dismissed, will expose the petitioners who are accused therein to double
jeopardy?
V
Under the circumstances, are the respondent Ombudsman and the prosecutors
guilty of forum shopping? 13
On October 6, 1997, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 128136 (the Magsaysay petition)
with G.R. Nos. 120681-83 (the Binay petition).
In resolving these consolidated petitions, the Court shall first address the common question of
the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction.
I
The Court rules that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject cases.
The informations against Mayor Binay were filed in the Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994 pursuant
to Presidential Decree No. 1606, 14 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861, 15 the pertinent
provisions of which state:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II,
Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in
relation to their office, including those employed in government-owned or
controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where
the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or
felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not
exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years or a fine of
P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
xxx xxx xxx

On May 16, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 took effect. At this time, Mayor Binay had not yet been
arraigned in the Sandiganbayan. On the other hand, R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect when
the information against Mayor Magsaysay et al., was filed on August 11, 1995 in the RTC of
Batangas City.
Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 7975 amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to read as follows:
Sec. 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 II,
Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the
principal 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:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of
the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang
panlunsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city
department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of
consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all
officers of higher rank;
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and
officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and
special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of governmentowned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational
institutions or foundations;

(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27"


and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution;
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without
prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and
higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies 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.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions
corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic
Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or
their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
xxx xxx xxx
While the cases against petitioners were pending in this Court, Congress enacted R.A. No. 8249,
again redefining the jurisdiction of the Anti-Graft Court. This law took effect, per Section 10
thereof, on February 23, 1997, fifteen days after its complete publication on February 8, 1997 in
the Journal and Malaya, two newspapers of general circulation.
As further amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 now reads:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive 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 II,
Section 2, Title VII, Book II 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 position 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:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of
the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers,
assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang
panlunsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city
department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of
consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all
officers of higher rank;
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the
position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior
superintendent or higher;
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and
officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and
special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of governmentowned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational
institutions or foundations.
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27"
and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution;
(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without
prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and
higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
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.

d. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive
Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to
salary grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or
military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof
shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court,
municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be,
pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
as amended.
Petitioners contend that they do not come under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan because:
(1) At the alleged time of the commission of the crimes charged, petitioner municipal mayors
were not classified as Grade 27.
(2) Municipal mayors are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by R.A. No. 7975.
(3) Congressional records reveal that the law did not intend municipal mayors to come under the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
A
In support of his contention that his position was not that of Grade 27, Mayor Binay argues:
. . . The new law's consistent and repeated reference to salary grades show[s] an
intention to base the separation of jurisdiction between the Sandiganbayan and the
regular courts on pay scale. Grades are determined by compensation. The essence
of grades is pay scales. Therefor, pay scales determine grades. 16
Mayor Binay, thus, presented a Certification 17 from the City Personnel Officer of Makati stating
that petitioner as mayor received a monthly salary of only P10,793.00 from March 1987 to
December 31, 1988. This amount was supposedly equivalent to Grade 22 under R.A. No. 6758.
Mayor Magsaysay, for his part, submitted a similar Certification 18 from the Municipal Treasurer
of San Pascual, Batangas, stating:
. . . that the basic monthly salary received by Mario C. Magsaysay Municipal
Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas with Salary Grade 27 is ELEVEN THOUSAND
EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PESOS (P11,828.00) per month as of
November 3, 1993 equivalent only to Grade 25, Step 5 of RA 6758, the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.

Sec. 444(1) (Grad[e] 27) of RA 6758 is not as yet implemented due to budgetary
constraints. This certification is issued to Mayor Mario C. Magsaysay this 30th
day of May 1996 at San Pascual, Batangas for whatever legal purpose and/or
purposes it may serve.
The Court does not subscribe to the manner by which petitioners classify Grades.
The Constitution 19 states that in providing for the standardization of compensation of
government officials and employees, Congress shall take "into account the nature of the
responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions," thus:
The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of
government officials, including those in government-owned or controlled
corporations with original charters, taking into account the nature of the
responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.
Corollary thereto, Republic Act No. 6758 20 provides in Section 2 thereof that differences in pay
are to be based "upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification
requirements of the positions." In short, the nature of an official's position should be the
determining factor in the fixing of his or her salary. This is not only mandated by law but
dictated by logic as well.
Consistent with these policies, the law employs the scheme known as the "grade" defined in
Presidential Decree No. 985 21 as including
. . . all classes of positions which, although different with respect to kind or
subject matter of work, are sufficiently equivalent as to level of difficulty and
responsibilities and level of qualification requirements of the work to warrant the
inclusion of such classes of positions within one range of basic compensation. 22
The grade, therefore, depends upon the nature of one's position the level of difficulty,
responsibilities, and qualification requirements thereof relative to that of another position. It is
the official's Grade that determines his or her salary, not the other way around.
It is possible that a local government official's salary may be less than that prescribed for his
Grade since his salary depends also on the class and financial capability of his or her respective
local government unit. 23 Nevertheless, it is the law which fixes the official's grade.
Thus, Section 8 of R.A. No. 6758 fixes the salary grades of the President, Vice-President, Senate
President, Speaker, Chief Justice, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional
Commissions. Section 8 also authorizes the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to
"determine the officials who are of equivalent rank to the foregoing officials, where applicable"
and to assign such officials the same Salary Grades subject to a set of guidelines found in said
section.

For positions below those mentioned under Section 8, Section 9 instructs the DBM to prepare the
"Index of Occupational Services" guided by the Benchmark Position prescribed in Section 9 and
the factors enumerated therein.
To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, therefore, reference should be made to R.A. No. 6758 and the Index of
Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary Grades. Salary level is not determinative. An
official's grade is not a matter of proof, but a matter of law, of which the Court must take judicial
notice. 24
As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and
Salary Grades list the Municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner mayors come within
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are "local officials
classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of
1989," under the catchall provision, Section 4a(5) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No.
7975. More accurately, petitioner mayors are "[o]fficials 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," under Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by R.A. No. 7975. 25
B
Petitioners, however, argue that they are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1). They
invoke the rule in statutory construction expressio unius est expressio alterius. As what is not
included in those enumerated is deemed excluded, municipal officials are excluded from the
Sandiganbayan's exclusive original jurisdiction.
Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear and
unambiguous. 26 The law is clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606,
as amended by R.A. No. 7975, speaks of "[o]fficials 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."
The Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain meaning rule
were disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation.
The premise of petitioners' argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is exclusive. It is
not. The phrase "specifically including" after "[o]fficials 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" necessarily conveys the very idea of nonexclusivity of the enumeration. The principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius does not
apply where other circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not intended to be
exclusive, 27 or where the enumeration is by way of example only. 28 In Conrado B. Rodrigo, et
al. vs. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (First Division), supra, the Court held that the catchall in
Section 4a(5) was "necessary for it would be impractical, if not impossible, for Congress to list
down each position created or will be created pertaining to Grades 27 and above." The same

rationale applies to the enumeration in Section 4a(1). Clearly, the law did not intend said
enumeration to be an exhaustive list.
Should there be any doubt as to whether petitioner mayors are under the category of Grade 27,
Section 444(d) of the Local Government Code settles the matter:
The municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation
corresponding to Salary Grade twenty-seven (27) as prescribed under R.A. No.
6758 and the implementing guidelines issued pursuant thereto.
In the Court's Resolution in Rodrigo dated July 2, 1999 denying the motion for reconsideration,
we treated the above provision as "confirmatory of the Salary Grade assigned by the DBM to
Municipal Mayors."
C
Petitioner Binay cites previous bills 29 in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. These bills supposedly sought to exclude municipal officials from the
Sandiganbayan's exclusive original jurisdiction to relieve these officials, especially those from
the provinces, of the financial burden brought about by trials in Manila.
The resort to congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in this case is
unwarranted in this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule of inclusio unius est
expressio alterius is inappropriate.
Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane
but it is also an elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and
phrases of the statute are clear and unequivocal, their meaning must be
determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to mean
exactly what it says. (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 758-759 [1988]). The courts
may not speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words
(Aparri v. CA, 127 SCRA 233 [1984]). When the law is clear, it is not susceptible
to interpretation. It must be applied regardless of who may be affected, even if the
law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110 Phil. 42). And even
granting that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule, should be
strictly but reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly
warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions
rather than the exception. Thus, where a general rule is established by statute, the
court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v.
C.A., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]). 30
Thus, in Rodrigo, petitioners therein argued in their motion for reconsideration:
. . . that the inclusion of Municipal Mayors within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan would be inconvenient since the witnesses in their case would
come from Baguio City and San Nicolas, Pangasinan. This, according to

petitioners, would defeat one of the purposes of R.A. No. 7975, that is, the
convenience of the accused.
The Court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, held, among others, that:
The legislature has nevertheless chosen the mode and standard by which to
implement its intent, and courts have no choice but to apply it. Congress has
willed that positions with Grade 27 and above shall come within the jurisdiction
of the Sandiganbayan and this Court is duty-bound to obey the congressional will.
Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Roco, stating:
Since February 1979, when the Sandiganbayan was established up to the present,
the Court has been confronted with the problem of those accused who are of
limited means who stand trial for "petty crimes," the so-called "small fry" the
barangay officials, the municipal officials and employees, postal clerks and letter
carriers and the like who are involved with "nickel-and-dime" cases and
money-related cases such as malversation, estafa and theft. . . .1wphi1.nt
xxx xxx xxx
Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such
that only those occupying high positions in the Government and the military fall
under the jurisdiction of the court. 31
It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are excluded
from the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by a legislator's
opinion in congressional debates regarding the interpretation of a particular legislation. It is
deemed a mere personal opinion of the legislator. 32 Such opinions do not necessarily reflect the
view of the entire Congress. 33
D
From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the cases against petitioner Binay cannot be
referred to the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides:
Sec. 7. Upon effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun
in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
In construing the correct import of Section 7, it may be helpful to refer to the guidelines in
determining jurisdiction laid down in Bengzon vs. Inciong: 34
The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction
over a controversy, its jurisdiction to proceed to the final determination of the
cause is not affected by new legislation placing jurisdiction over such proceedings
in another tribunal. The exception to the rule is where the statute expressly

provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to actions


pending before its enactment. Where a statute changing the jurisdiction of a court
has no retroactive effect, it cannot be applied to a case that was pending prior to
the enactment of the statute.
R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the exception rather than the rule. The
provision is transitory in nature and expresses the legislature's intention to apply its provisions on
jurisdiction to "criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan." To this extent,
R.A. 7975 is retroactive.
Such a transitory provision is not peculiar to R.A. No. 7975; similar provisions are found in other
laws reallocating the jurisdiction of the courts. 35 There is no reason why Section 7 of R.A. No.
7975 should be any different.
The term "proper courts," as used in Section 7, means "courts of competent jurisdiction," and
such jurisdiction is defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. The
former should not be read in isolation but construed in conjunction with the latter.
The term "proper courts" as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted to "regular courts," but
includes as well the Sandiganbayan, a special court. If the intent of Congress were to refer all
cases the trials of which have not begun to the regular courts, it should have employed the term
"proper regular courts" or "regular courts" instead of "proper courts." Accordingly, the law in the
third paragraph of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, uses
the term "regular courts," not "proper courts":
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from
the final judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused
are occupying positions lower than salary grade "27," or not otherwise covered by
the preceding enumeration. [emphasis supplied.]
Construed thus, the effects of Section 7 may be summarized as follows:
1. If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has already begun as of the approval
of R.A. No. 7975, R.A. No. 7975 does not apply.
2. If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has not begun as of the approval of
R.A. No. 7975, then R.A. No. 7975 applies.
(a) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction
over a case before it, then the cases shall be referred to the
Sandiganbayan.
(b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction

over a case before it, the case shall be referred to the regular
courts.
The trial of the cases involving Mayor Binay had not yet begun as of the date of the approval of
R.A. No. 7975; consequently, the Anti-Graft Court retains jurisdiction over said cases.
In any case, whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of Section 7 of R.A.
No. 7975 should be laid to rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which states:
Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any
court over which trial has not begun as of the approval hereof.
The latter provision more accurately expresses the legislature's intent and in any event should be
applied in this case, R.A. No. 8249 having superseded R.A. No. 7975.
In Panfilo M. Lacson vs. The Executive Secretary, et al., 36 the Court explained the purpose of
the foregoing provision.
. . . it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of [the Sandiganbayan's]
jurisdiction would necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to provide
for a remedy in the form of a transitory provision. . . . . The transitory provision
does not only cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but also in "any court."
. . . . Moreover, those cases where trial had already begun are not affected by the
transitory provision under Section 7 of the new law (RA 8249). [Emphasis in the
original.]
The possible disruptive effect of the amendments to the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction on pending
cases was, therefore, not lost on the legislature. Congress has, furthermore, deemed the
commencement of the trial as the crucial point in determining whether a court retains a case
pending before it or lose the same on the ground of lack of jurisdiction per the provisions of R.A.
No. 8249. The law obviously does not want to waste the time and effort already devoted to the
presentation of evidence if trial had already begun. On the other hand, not much disruption
would be caused if the amendment were made to apply to cases the trials of which have yet to
start.
The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be stated as follows:
1. If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the
approval of R.A. No. 8249, said law does not apply.
2. If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the approval
of R.A. No. 8249, then said law applies.
(a) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending
before it, then it retains jurisdiction.

(b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending


before it, the case shall be referred to the regular courts.
(c) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending
before a regular court, the latter loses jurisdiction and the same
shall be referred to the Sandiganbayan.
(d) If a regular court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it,
then said court retains jurisdiction.
Thus, under both R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8429, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over said
cases.
II
Petitioner Binay avers in his Addendum to Petition that his right to speedy disposition has been
violated by the inordinate delay in the resolution of the subject cases by the Ombudsman.
Art. III of the Constitution provides that:
Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases
before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.
The constitutional right to "a speedy disposition of cases" is not limited to the accused in
criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative
cases, and in all proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. 37 Hence, under the
Constitution, any party to a case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked
with the administration of justice. 38
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, 39 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. 40 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. 41 The concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and
must necessarily be a flexible concept. 42
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. 43 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. 44

In Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan, 45 the Court held that the length of delay and the simplicity of the
issues did not justify the delay in the disposition of the cases therein. The "unexplained
inaction" 46 of the prosecutors called for the dismissal of the cases against petitioner Tatad.
In Alvizo vs. Sandiganbayan, 47 the Court also ruled that there was no violation of the right to
speedy disposition. The Court took into account the reasons for the delay, i.e., the frequent
amendments of procedural laws by presidential decrees, the structural reorganizations in existing
prosecutorial agencies and the creation of new ones by executive fiat, resulting in changes of
personnel, preliminary jurisdiction, and the functions and powers of prosecuting agencies. The
Court likewise considered the failure of the accused to assert such right, and the lack of prejudice
caused by the delay to the accused.
In Santiago vs. Garchitorena, 48 the complexity of the issues and the failure of the accused to
invoke her right to speedy disposition at the appropriate time spelled defeat to her claim to the
constitutional guarantee.
In Cadalin vs. POEA's Administrator, 49 the Court, considering also the complexity of the cases
("not run-of-the-mill variety") and the conduct of the parties' lawyers, held that the right to
speedy disposition was not violated therein.
In petitioner Binay's case, the Court finds that there was no undue delay in the disposition of the
subject cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the Tanodbayan, and later with the
Office of the Ombudsman, adequately explains the length of the delay:
1. That on July 27, 1988 Bobby Brillante filed with the Office of
the Tanodbayan an affidavit-complaint charging, Jejomar Binay,
Sergio Santos, Roberto Chang, Delfin Almeda, Nelson Irasga,
Nicasio Santiago, Feliciano Basam, Maria Chan, Romeo Barrios,
Azucena Diaz, Virgilio Clarete, Godofredo Marcelo, Armando San
Miguel, Salvador Pangilinan and John Does of the following
offenses: (a) Massive Malversation of Public Funds; (b) Multiple
Falsification of Public Documents; (c) Usurpation of Official
Functions; (d) Violation of Election Law; and (e) Violation of Sec.
3(e) of R.A. 3019.
1.1. Brillante's complaint was based on the initial
findings and observations of the COA on the
examination of the cash and accounts covering
transactions from April 1, 1987 to January 4, 1988
and Post-Audit of Selected Accounts for the last
quarter of 1987 of the Municipality of Makati
contained in its Report dated January 11, 1988. The
COA furnished the Tanodbayan a copy of this
report on August 1, 1988 upon request of the latter.

1.2. In the letter of the COA transmitting a copy of


the report, the Tanodbayan was informed that this
COA audit report of January 11, 1988 is not yet
released since the Mayor of Makati was given thirty
days within which to explain/clarify the findings in
the report and is subject to change or modification
depending upon the explanation/clarification to be
submitted by the Mayor of Makati. Because of this
the information from the COA the preliminary
investigation was held in abeyance until the
submission of the final report.
1.3. On March 1, 1989, the first part of the Final
Report on Audit of Makati was received by the
Office of the Ombudsman and was transmitted for
purposes of the ensuring preliminary investigation
to the Tanodbayan which received the same on
March 22, 1989.
1.4. This first part of the Final Report contained the
fifteen (15) adverse findings, above elsewhere
stated as the basis of Bobby Brillante's complaint.
1.5. Eleven (11) COA auditors participated in the
documentation and analysis of its findings and
preparation of the final report.
1.6. The first part of the final report was followed
by a Supplemental Report on Findings No. 1 and 3.
This Supplemental Report is dated July 3, 1989.
2. After securing machine copies of the voluminous documents
supporting the COA findings, Pros. Margarito Gervacio, Chairman
of the Panel of Prosecutors, issued the corresponding subpoena
directing the respondents to submit their respective counteraffidavits.
2.1. In compliance with the subpoena, Mayor
Jejomar Binay submitted his counter-affidavit on
May 18, 1990, Marissa Chan, Feliciano Bascon,
Nicanor Santiago, Jr. on June 19, 1990, Renato
Manrique on June 4, 1990, Alfredo Ignacio on June
6, 1990, Roberto Chang on August 27, 1990.
Feliciano Bascon submitted his Supplemental
Affidavit on November 22, 1990.

2.2. Thereafter, clarificatory examinations were


conducted on September 27, 1990, October 26,
1990, November 8, 9, 14, 22, 1990.
3. On January 15, 1991 Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted a copy of
this Petition forCertiorari in G.R. No. 92380 which he and the
municipality of Makati filed with the Supreme Court against COA
Chairman, Eufemio Domingo and the Commission on Audit, with
a manifestation that said petition is submitted to support Binay's
stand as regard COA Finding No. 9 aforestated.
4. On April 2, 1992 respondent Marissa Chan filed an affidavit
containing allegations incriminating Jejomar Binay;
5. Upon being ordered to comment on the said April 2, 1992
affidavit of Marissa Chan, Jejomar Binay submitted his comment
thereto on April 30, 1992.
6. On August 4, 1993, the Investigation Panel submitted to the
Deputy Special Prosecutor its Resolution disposing the preliminary
investigation of the case.
6.1. On August 10, 1993 the said Resolution was
approved by the Special Prosecutor, who forwarded
the same and the entire records to the Office of the
Ombudsman for review and/or final action.
6.2. On August 16, 1994, the Review Panel of the
Ombudsman submitted to the latter its review action
for approval.
6.3. On August 19, 1994; the Ombudsman approved
some of the recommendations of the Review Panel
and directed the preparation and filing of the
informations. 50
Furthermore, 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. As held by the Sandiganbayan in its Resolution dated March 29, 1995 denying the
Motion to Quash:
2. Ten charges are involved in these cases and the prosecution,
unable to rely on the raw findings of the Commission on Audit in
15 reports caused the investigation and examination of thousands

of vouchers, payrolls, and supporting documents considering that


no less than the Chairman of the Commission on Audit, assisted by
a team supervisor and 10 team members had to take part in the
conduct of a final audit consisting of evaluation and analysis of the
initial findings in the 15 raw reports, the cases must have involved
complicated legal and factual issues which do warrant or justify a
longer period of time for preliminary investigation.
xxx xxx xxx
5. In the TATAD case, the preliminary investigation was resolved
close to three (3) years from the time all the counter-affidavits
were submitted to the Tanodbayan, notwithstanding the fact that
very few documentary and testimonial evidence were involved. In
the above-entitled cases, the preliminary investigation of all ten
(10) cases was terminated in merely two (2) years and four (4)
months from the date Mayor Binay filed his last pleading, on April
30, 1992. 51
Petitioner claims that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering his suspension pendente
lite is unwarranted since the informations charging him were not valid. This contention,
however, must fail in view of our pronouncement that there was no delay in the resolution of the
subject cases in violation of his right to speedy disposition. Accordingly, the informations in
question are valid and petitioner's suspension pendente lite must be upheld.
Finally, 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. 52 Petitioner in this case has failed
to establish any such abuse on the part of the Ombudsman.
III
Having ruled that the criminal case against petitioners in G.R. No. 128136 is within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the Court will now dispose of the following issues
raised by them:
(1) The Sandiganbayan was ousted of its jurisdiction by the filing of an information alleging the
same facts with the Regional Trial Court.
(2) Respondents are estopped from filing an information before the Sandiganbayan considering
that they had already filed another information alleging the same facts before the Regional Trial
Court.
(3) The filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double jeopardy.

The Court tackles these arguments successively then deals with the questions of duplicity of
information and forum shopping.
Petitioners invoke the rule that "the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be ousted by
subsequent happenings or events, although of such character which would have prevented
jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance." 53 They claim that the filing of the information
in the Sandiganbayan was a "subsequent happening or event" which cannot oust the RTC of its
jurisdiction.
This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the
case. Jurisdiction never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed before the RTC,
R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect and, under said law, jurisdiction over the case pertained to
the Sandiganbayan.
Neither can estoppel be successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law, not by the
consent or agreement of the parties or by estoppel. 54 As a consequence of this principle, the
Court held in Zamora vs. Court of Appeals 55 that:
It follows that as a rule the filing of a complaint with one court which has no
jurisdiction over it does not prevent the plaintiff from filing the same complaint
later with the competent court. The plaintiff is not estopped from doing so simply
because it made a mistake before in the choice of the proper forum. In such a
situation, the only authority the first court can exercise is to dismiss the case for
lack of jurisdiction. This has to be so as a contrary conclusion would allow a party
to divest the competent court of its jurisdiction, whether erroneously or even
deliberately, in derogation of the law.
It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases 56 that estoppel prevents a party from
questioning the jurisdiction of the court that the party himself invoked. Estoppel, however,
remains the exception rather than the rule, the rule being that jurisdiction is vested by
law. 57 Even in those instances where the Court applied estoppel, the party estopped consistently
invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively participated in the proceedings, impugning such
jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse decision. This is not the case here. After
discovering that a similar information had earlier been filed in the RTC, respondents promptly
asked the trial court to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan, which motion was followed by a
motion to resolve the previous motion. There was no consistent invocation of the RTC's
jurisdiction. There were no further proceedings after the filing of the information save for the
motion to refer the case precisely on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve
the earlier motion. Finally, the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse
to petitioners.
Second, petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not themselves party to
the criminal action. In a criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the commission of a crime
is an offense against the State. Thus, the complaint or information filed in court is required to be
brought in the name of the "People of the Philippines." 58 Even then, the doctrine of estoppel
does not apply as against the people in criminal prosecutions. 59Violations of the Anti-Graft and

Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted murder, 60 is a public offense. Social and public interest
demand the punishment of the offender; hence, criminal actions for public offenses can not be
waived or condoned, much less barred by the rules of estoppel. 61
The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not put petitioners in double jeopardy
even though they had already pleaded "not guilty" to the information earlier filed in the RTC.
The first jeopardy never attached in the first place, the RTC not being not being a court of
competent jurisdiction. There can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in a
court that had no jurisdiction. 62 The remedy of petitioners, therefore, was not to move for the
quashal of the information pending in the Sandiganbayan on the ground of double
jeopardy. 63 Their remedy was to move for the quashal of the information pending in the RTC on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction. 64
The contention that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan violated the rule against
duplicitous informations is patently unmeritorious. That rule presupposes that there is one
complaint or information charging not one offense, but two or more offenses. Thus, Rule 110 of
the Rules of Court states:
Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. A complaint or information must charge but one
offense, except only in those cases in which existing laws prescribe a single
punishment for various offenses.
Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for quashing the duplicitous complaint or information
under Rule 117:
Sec. 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the complaint or information
on any of the following grounds:
xxx xxx xxx
(e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing
laws prescribe a single punishment for various offenses;
xxx xxx xxx
Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one offense but
with more than one information charging one offense.
The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-shopping. Broadly speaking, forum
shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable
opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another, or when he institutes two or more actions
or proceedings grounded on the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other court would
make a favorable disposition. 65 We discern no intent on the part of the State, in filing two
informations in two different courts, to "gamble that one or the other court would make a
favorable disposition."

Obviously, respondents got their signals crossed. One set of officials, after investigating a
complaint filed by the Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas charging petitioners of overpricing,
filed the information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the RTC. Another set of
officials investigated another complaint from the Concerned Citizens Group accusing petitioners
of, among others, overpricing the same project subject of the previous complaint. Finding
probable cause, the second set of officials instituted the criminal action, charging the same
offense and alleging essentially the same facts as the first, this time in the Sandiganbayan. Later
learning of the procedural faux pas, respondents without undue delay asked the RTC to refer the
case to the Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED.
Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes and YnaresSantiago, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., I join Mr. Justice Panganiban in his separate opinion.
Panganiban, J., please see separate opinion.
Quizumbing, J., concur in the separate opinion of Justice Panganiban.

Separate Opinions

PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion;


I concur with the majority that, as a rule, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over criminal
cases involving municipal mayors.
Due to their peculiar factual circumstances, however, Petitioner Binay's cases, I believe, should
be deemedexceptions and referred to the "proper courts," that is, the regional trial courts. These
factual circumstances are simple: (1) the Informations charging Binay were filed in the
Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994, prior the enactment of RA 7975; and (2) when RA 7975 took
effect on May 16, 1995, trial in the anti-graft court had not yet commenced. In fact, Binay had
not been arraigned yet. These undisputed facts are plainly governed by the unambiguous
provision of Section 7, RA 7975, which reads:
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not
begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.

The majority, however, complicates the above syllogistic application of the law by ruling that
before Section 7 could be used, a prior determination as to which court has jurisdiction over the
cases should first be undertaken. Since the aforesaid general rule states that the Sandiganbayan
retains jurisdiction over municipal mayors, then Binay's cases should be referred by the anti-graft
court to itself, not to the regional trial courts.
With due respect, I believe this rather circumlocutory interpretation renders Section 7 useless. In
fact, I daresay that said interpretation or explanation is much more difficult to understand than
the provision itself. Indeed, why should the words "proper courts" be deemed to include the
Sandiganbayan? The majority's ruling leads to the absurdity of the Sandiganbayan's being
required to refer to itself a criminal case already pending before it, one in which trial has not yet
begun. I would rather rest on the most fundamental rule in statutory construction: Interpretation
is needed only when the law is vague, not when it is clear and unambiguous, 1 as in the case of
Section 7, RA 7975.
Consequently, I vote (1) to GRANT the Petition in G.R. Nos. 120681-83, because Binay's cases
fall under the exception stated in Section 7, RA 7975; and (2) to DISMISS the Petition in G.R.
No. 128136, because Petitioner Magsaysay's cases were filed after RA 7975 had taken effect;
they are thus covered by the general rule that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over municipal
mayors.
Separate Opinions
PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion;
I concur with the majority that, as a rule, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over criminal
cases involving municipal mayors.
Due to their peculiar factual circumstances, however, Petitioner Binay's cases, I believe, should
be deemedexceptions and referred to the "proper courts," that is, the regional trial courts. These
factual circumstances are simple: (1) the Informations charging Binay were filed in the
Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994, prior the enactment of RA 7975; and (2) when RA 7975 took
effect on May 16, 1995, trial in the anti-graft court had not yet commenced. In fact, Binay had
not been arraigned yet. These undisputed facts are plainly governed by the unambiguous
provision of Section 7, RA 7975, which reads:
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not
begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
The majority, however, complicates the above syllogistic application of the law by ruling that
before Section 7 could be used, a prior determination as to which court has jurisdiction over the
cases should first be undertaken. Since the aforesaid general rule states that the Sandiganbayan
retains jurisdiction over municipal mayors, then Binay's cases should be referred by the anti-graft
court to itself, not to the regional trial courts.

With due respect, I believe this rather circumlocutory interpretation renders Section 7 useless. In
fact, I daresay that said interpretation or explanation is much more difficult to understand than
the provision itself. Indeed, why should the words "proper courts" be deemed to include the
Sandiganbayan? The majority's ruling leads to the absurdity of the Sandiganbayan's being
required to refer to itself a criminal case already pending before it, one in which trial has not yet
begun. I would rather rest on the most fundamental rule in statutory construction: Interpretation
is needed only when the law is vague, not when it is clear and unambiguous, 1 as in the case of
Section 7, RA 7975.
Consequently, I vote (1) to GRANT the Petition in G.R. Nos. 120681-83, because Binay's cases
fall under the exception stated in Section 7, RA 7975; and (2) to DISMISS the Petition in G.R.
No. 128136, because Petitioner Magsaysay's cases were filed after RA 7975 had taken effect;
they are thus covered by the general rule that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over municipal
mayors.1wphi1.nt

G.R. No. 161693

June 28, 2005

MANOLO P. SAMSON, petitioner,


vs.
HON. VICTORIANO B. CABANOS, In his capacity as Acting Presiding Judge, Regional
Trial Court of Antipolo City, Branch 71,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and CATERPILLAR, INC., respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
Petitioner Manolo P. Samson seeks the reversal of the orders dated January 22, 2003 and
November 17, 2003 issued by Presiding Judge Felix S. Caballes and Acting Presiding Judge
Victoriano B. Cabanos, respectively, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo City, Branch
71, in relation to Criminal Case No. 02-23183. The assailed orders denied petitioners motion to
quash the information for unfair competition filed against him before said court.1Petitioner also
prayed that a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin
respondent judge from further proceeding with Criminal Case No. 02-23183 until the resolution
of the instant petition. The Court issued a temporary restraining order on February 18, 2004.2

The background facts: Petitioner was charged with the crime of unfair competition before the
RTC of Antipolo City in an Information that states:
The undersigned Senior State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice hereby accuses MANOLO
P. SAMSON for violation of Sec. 168.3 (a) in relation to Secs. 123.1 (e), 131.3 and 170 of RA
8293 otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, committed as
follows:
That on or about the first week of November 1999 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in
Cainta, Rizal, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named
accused, owner/proprietor of ITTI Shoes Corporation located at F.P. Felix Avenue, Cainta, Rizal,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously distribute, sell and/or offer for sale
CATERPILLAR products such as footwear, garments, clothing, bags, accessories and
paraphernalia which are closely identical to and/or colorable imitations of the authentic
Caterpillar products and likewise using trademarks, symbols and/or designs as would cause
confusion, mistake or deception on the part of the buying public to the damage and prejudice of
CATERPILLAR, INC., the prior adopter, user and owner of the following internationally famous
marks: "CATERPILLAR", "CAT", "CATERPILLAR", "CAT", "CATERPILLAR & DESIGN",
"CAT AND DESIGN", "WALKING MACHINES" and "TRACK-TYPE TRACTOR &
DESIGN".
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
Petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction over
the offense charged in the Information. He argued that Section 170 of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
82934 provides that the penalty for violation of Section 168 thereof is imprisonment from two (2)
to five (5) years and a fine ranging from fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) to two hundred
thousand pesos (P200,000.00), and R.A. No. 76915 amending Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg.
1296 vested the Metropolitan Trial Courts (MTC) exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses
punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of the
fine.7 Presiding Judge Felix S. Caballes denied the motion for lack of merit in his order dated
January 22, 2003.8 Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was likewise denied by
Acting Presiding Judge Victoriano B. Cabanos.9
Petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari before this Court on pure question of law:
Whether or not the respondent Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the offenses charged in
the subject information where the penalty therein range from two (2) years to five (5) years,
pursuant to Section 170 of R.A. 8293, in the light of the enactment of Republic Act No. 7691,
amending B.P. Blg. 129, which vests exclusive original jurisdiction on the Metropolitan Trial
Courts over all offenses punishable with "imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective
of the amount of fine", in relation to Section 163 of R.A. No. 8293.10
Petitioner reiterates his argument before the trial court in support of his motion to quash. He
contends that Section 170 of R.A. No. 8293 provides that the penalty to be imposed upon any
person guilty of violation of Section 168 of the law is "imprisonment from two (2) to five (5)

years and a fine ranging from fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) to two hundred thousand pesos
(P200,000.00)." Under Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691, amending Section 32 of B.P. 129, the MTC
shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not
exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the fine. As petitioner is charged with an offense
penalized by imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years, the jurisdiction to try the case lies with
the MTC and not the RTC. In addition, petitioner submits that the old Trademark Law, R.A. No.
166, conferring jurisdiction on the Courts of First Instance (now RTC) over complaints for unfair
competition, has been repealed by Section 239 of R.A. No. 8293. He cites the Courts decision
in Mirpuri vs. Court of Appeals.11
The petition must be dismissed.
It appears that petitioner had already raised the same issue and argument before this Court in the
case of Samson vs. Daway,12 decided on July 21, 2004. That case involved exactly the same
facts and issue as in this case, except that the information for unfair competition against
petitioner was filed before the RTC of Quezon City. We held in that case:
The issues posed for resolution are - (1) Which court has jurisdiction over criminal and civil
cases for violation of intellectual property rights? xxx
Under Section 170 of R.A. No. 8293, which took effect on January 1, 1998, the criminal penalty
for infringement of registered marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false
description or representation, is imprisonment from 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging from Fifty
Thousand Pesos to Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, to wit:
SEC. 170. Penalties. - Independent of the civil and administrative sanctions imposed by law, a
criminal penalty of imprisonment from two (2) years to five (5) years and a fine ranging from
Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) shall be
imposed on any person who is found guilty of committing any of the acts mentioned in Section
155 [Infringement], Section 168 [Unfair Competition] and Section 169.1 [False Designation of
Origin and False Description or Representation].
Corollarily, Section 163 of the same Code states that actions (including criminal and civil) under
Sections 150, 155, 164, 166, 167, 168 and 169 shall be brought before the proper courts with
appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws, thus SEC. 163. Jurisdiction of Court. - All actions under Sections 150, 155, 164 and 166 to 169 shall
be brought before the proper courts with appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws. (Emphasis
supplied)
The existing law referred to in the foregoing provision is Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 (The
Trademark Law) which provides that jurisdiction over cases for infringement of registered
marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false description or representation, is
lodged with the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) -

SEC. 27. Jurisdiction of Court of First Instance. - All actions under this Chapter [V Infringement] and Chapters VI [Unfair Competition] and VII [False Designatiion of Origin and
False Description or Representation], hereof shall be brought before the Court of First
Instance.1avvphi1.net
We find no merit in the claim of petitioner that R.A. No. 166 was expressly repealed by R.A. No.
8293. The repealing clause of R.A. No. 8293, reads SEC. 239. Repeals. - 239.1. All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent herewith, more particularly
Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as amended; and Articles 188 and 189
of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, including Presidential Decree No. 285,
as amended, are hereby repealed. (Emphasis added)
Notably, the aforequoted clause did not expressly repeal R.A. No. 166 in its entirety, otherwise,
it would not have used the phrases "parts of Acts" and "inconsistent herewith;" and it would have
simply stated "Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as amended; and
Articles 188 and 189 of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, including
Presidential Decree No. 285, as amended are hereby repealed." It would have removed all doubts
that said specific laws had been rendered without force and effect. The use of the phrases "parts
of Acts" and "inconsistent herewith" only means that the repeal pertains only to provisions which
are repugnant or not susceptible of harmonization with R.A. No. 8293. Section 27 of R.A. No.
166, however, is consistent and in harmony with Section 163 of R.A. No. 8293. Had R.A. No.
8293 intended to vest jurisdiction over violations of intellectual property rights with the
Metropolitan Trial Courts, it would have expressly stated so under Section 163 thereof.
Moreover, the settled rule in statutory construction is that in case of conflict between a general
law and a special law, the latter must prevail. Jurisdiction conferred by a special law to Regional
Trial Courts must prevail over that granted by a general law to Municipal Trial Courts.
In the case at bar, R.A. No. 8293 and R.A. No. 166 are special laws conferring jurisdiction over
violations of intellectual property rights to the Regional Trial Court. They should therefore
prevail over R.A. No. 7691, which is a general law. Hence, jurisdiction over the instant criminal
case for unfair competition is properly lodged with the Regional Trial Court even if the penalty
therefor is imprisonment of less than 6 years, or from 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging
from P50,000.00 to P200,000.00.
In fact, to implement and ensure the speedy disposition of cases involving violations of
intellectual property rights under R.A. No. 8293, the Court issued A.M. No. 02-1-11-SC dated
February 19, 2002 designating certain Regional Trial Courts as Intellectual Property Courts. On
June 17, 2003, the Court further issued a Resolution consolidating jurisdiction to hear and decide
Intellectual Property Code and Securities and Exchange Commission cases in specific Regional
Trial Courts designated as Special Commercial Courts.
The case of Mirpuri v. Court of Appeals, invoked by petitioner finds no application in the present
case. Nowhere inMirpuri did we state that Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 was repealed by R.A. No.
8293. Neither did we make a categorical ruling therein that jurisdiction over cases for violation

of intellectual property rights is lodged with the Municipal Trial Courts. The passing remark
in Mirpuri on the repeal of R.A. No. 166 by R.A. No. 8293 was merely a backgrounder to the
enactment of the present Intellectual Property Code and cannot thus be construed as a
jurisdictional pronouncement in cases for violation of intellectual property rights.
The foregoing ruling is the law of the case and thus lays to rest the issue posed by petitioner. We
see no reason in this case to deviate therefrom. It is a basic legal principle that whatever is once
irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule or decision between the same parties in the
case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as
the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the
court.13
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED. The temporary restraining order issued by
this Court on February 18, 2004 is hereby LIFTED.
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. NOS. 160054-55. July 21, 2004]
MANOLO P. SAMSON, Petitioner, v. HON. REYNALDO B. DAWAY, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 90, PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES and CATERPILLAR, INC., Respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Assailed in this Petition for Certiorari is the March 26, 2003 Order1 of the Regional Trial Court
of Quezon City, Branch 90, which denied petitioners (1) motion to quash the information; and
(2) motion for reconsideration of the August 9, 2002 Order denying his motion to suspend the
arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal Case Nos. Q-02-108043-44. Petitioner also
questioned its August 5, 2003 Order2 which denied his motion for reconsideration.
The undisputed facts show that on March 7, 2002, two informations for unfair competition under
Section 168.3 (a), in relation to Section 170, of the Intellectual Property Code (Republic Act No.
8293), similarly worded save for the dates and places of commission, were filed against
petitioner Manolo P. Samson, the registered owner of ITTI Shoes. The accusatory portion of said
informations read:rbl rl l lbrr
That on or about the first week of November 1999 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in
Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named
accused, owner/proprietor of ITTI Shoes/Mano Shoes Manufactuirng Corporation located at
Robinsons Galleria, EDSA corner Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously distribute, sell and/or offer for sale CATERPILLAR products such as
footwear, garments, clothing, bags, accessories and paraphernalia which are closely identical to
and/or colorable imitations of the authentic Caterpillar products and likewise using trademarks,
symbols and/or designs as would cause confusion, mistake or deception on the part of the buying
public to the damage and prejudice of CATERPILLAR, INC., the prior adopter, user and owner
of the following internationally: CATERPILLAR, CAT, CATERPILLAR & DESIGN, CAT
AND DESIGN, WALKING MACHINES and TRACK-TYPE TRACTOR & DESIGN.
CONTRARY TO LAW.3 rll
On April 19, 2002, petitioner filed a motion to suspend arraignment and other proceedings in
view of the existence of an alleged prejudicial question involved in Civil Case No. Q-00-41446
for unfair competition pending with the same branch; and also in view of the pendency of a
Petition for Review filed with the Secretary of Justice assailing the Chief State Prosecutors
resolution finding probable cause to charge petitioner with unfair competition. In an Order dated
August 9, 2002, the trial court denied the motion to suspend arraignment and other proceedings.

On August 20, 2002, petitioner filed a twin motion to quash the informations and motion for
reconsideration of the order denying motion to suspend, this time challenging the jurisdiction of
the trial court over the offense charged. He contended that since under Section 170 of R.A. No.
8293, the penalty5 of imprisonment for unfair competition does not exceed six years, the offense
is cognizable by the Municipal Trial Courts and not by the Regional Trial Court, per R.A. No.
7691.
In its assailed March 26, 2003 Order, the trial court denied petitioners twin motions.6 A motion
for reconsideration thereof was likewise denied on August 5, 2003.
Hence, the instant petition alleging that respondent Judge gravely abused its discretion in issuing
the assailed orders.
The issues posed for resolution are (1) Which court has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases
for violation of intellectual property rights? (2) Did the respondent Judge gravely abuse his
discretion in refusing to suspend the arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal Case Nos.
Q-02-108043-44 on the ground of (a) the existence of a prejudicial question; and (b) the
pendency of a Petition for Review with the Secretary of Justice on the finding of probable cause
for unfair competition?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Under Section 170 of R.A. No. 8293, which took effect on January 1, 1998, the criminal penalty
for infringement of registered marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false
description or representation, is imprisonment from 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging from Fifty
Thousand Pesos to Two Hundred Thousand Pesos, to wit:rbl rl l lbrr
SEC. 170. Penalties. Independent of the civil and administrative sanctions imposed by law, a
criminal penalty of imprisonment from two (2) years to five (5) years and a fine ranging from
Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) to Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00), shall be
imposed on any person who is found guilty of committing any of the acts mentioned in Section
155 [Infringement], Section 168 [Unfair Competition] and Section 169.1 [False Designation of
Origin and False Description or Representation].
Corollarily, Section 163 of the same Code states that actions (including criminal and civil) under
Sections 150, 155, 164, 166, 167, 168 and 169 shall be brought before the proper courts with
appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws, thus
SEC. 163. Jurisdiction of Court. All actions under Sections 150, 155, 164 and 166 to 169 shall
be brought before the proper courts with appropriate jurisdiction under existing laws.
(Emphasis supplied)rllbrr
The existing law referred to in the foregoing provision is Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 (The
Trademark Law) which provides that jurisdiction over cases for infringement of registered
marks, unfair competition, false designation of origin and false description or representation, is
lodged with the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court)

SEC. 27. Jurisdiction of Court of First Instance. All actions under this Chapter [V Infringement]
and Chapters VI [Unfair Competition] and VII [False Designation of Origin and False
Description or Representation], hereof shall be brought before the Court of First Instance.
We find no merit in the claim of petitioner that R.A. No. 166 was expressly repealed by R.A. No.
8293. The repealing clause of R.A. No. 8293, reads
SEC. 239. Repeals. 239.1. All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent herewith, more particularly
Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as amended; and Articles 188 and
189 of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, including Presidential Decree No.
285, as amended, are hereby repealed. (Emphasis added)
Notably, the aforequoted clause did not expressly repeal R.A. No. 166 in its entirety, otherwise,
it would not have used the phrases parts of Actsand inconsistent herewith; and it would have
simply stated Republic Act No. 165, as amended; Republic Act No. 166, as amended; and
Articles 188 and 189 of the Revised Penal Code; Presidential Decree No. 49, including
Presidential Decree No. 285, as amended are hereby repealed. It would have removed all doubts
that said specific laws had been rendered without force and effect. The use of the phrases parts of
Actsand inconsistent herewith only means that the repeal pertains only to provisions which are
repugnant or not susceptible of harmonization with R.A. No. 8293.7 Section 27 of R.A. No. 166,
however, is consistent and in harmony with Section 163 of R.A. No. 8293. Had R.A. No. 8293
intended to vest jurisdiction over violations of intellectual property rights with the Metropolitan
Trial Courts, it would have expressly stated so under Section 163 thereof.
Moreover, the settled rule in statutory construction is that in case of conflict between a general
law and a special law, the latter must prevail. Jurisdiction conferred by a special law to Regional
Trial Courts must prevail over that granted by a general law to Municipal Trial Courts.8 rll
In the case at bar, R.A. No. 8293 and R.A. No. 166 are special laws9 conferring jurisdiction over
violations of intellectual property rights to the Regional Trial Court. They should therefore
prevail over R.A. No. 7691, which is a general law.10 Hence, jurisdiction over the instant
criminal case for unfair competition is properly lodged with the Regional Trial Court even if the
penalty therefor is imprisonment of less than 6 years, or from 2 to 5 years and a fine ranging
from P50,000.00 to P200,000.00.
In fact, to implement and ensure the speedy disposition of cases involving violations of
intellectual property rights under R.A. No. 8293, the Court issued A.M. No. 02-1-11-SC dated
February 19, 2002 designating certain Regional Trial Courts as Intellectual Property Courts. On
June 17, 2003, the Court further issued a Resolution consolidating jurisdiction to hear and decide
Intellectual Property Code and Securities and Exchange Commission cases in specific Regional
Trial Courts designated as Special Commercial Courts.
The case of Mirpuri v. Court of Appeals,11 invoked by petitioner finds no application in the
present case. Nowhere in Mirpuri did we state that Section 27 of R.A. No. 166 was repealed by
R.A. No. 8293. Neither did we make a categorical ruling therein that jurisdiction over cases for
violation of intellectual property rights is lodged with the Municipal Trial Courts. The passing

remark in Mirpuri on the repeal of R.A. No. 166 by R.A. No. 8293 was merely a backgrounder
to the enactment of the present Intellectual Property Code and cannot thus be construed as a
jurisdictional pronouncement in cases for violation of intellectual property rights.
Anent the second issue, petitioner failed to substantiate his claim that there was a prejudicial
question. In his petition, he prayed for the reversal of the March 26, 2003 order which sustained
the denial of his motion to suspend arraignment and other proceedings in Criminal Case Nos. Q02-108043-44. For unknown reasons, however, he made no discussion in support of said prayer
in his petition and reply to comment. Neither did he attach a copy of the complaint in Civil Case
No. Q-00-41446 nor quote the pertinent portion thereof to prove the existence of a prejudicial
question.
At any rate, there is no prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according to
law, proceed independently of each other.12 Under Rule 111, Section 3 of the Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure, in the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the
independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall proceed independently of
the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.crvll
In the case at bar, the common element in the acts constituting unfair competition under Section
168 of R.A. No. 8293 is fraud.13 Pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, in cases of
defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct
from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Hence, Civil Case No. Q-0041446, which as admitted14 by private respondent also relate to unfair competition, is an
independent civil action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as a
prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of the criminal cases at bar.cra
Section 11 (c), Rule 116 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides
SEC. 11. Suspension of arraignment. Upon motion by the proper party, the arraignment shall be
suspended in the following cases
xxx
(c) A Petition for Review of the resolution of the prosecutor is pending at either the Department
of Justice, or the Office of the President; Provided, that the period of suspension shall not exceed
sixty (60) days counted from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office.
While the pendency of a Petition for Review is a ground for suspension of the arraignment, the
aforecited provision limits the deferment of the arraignment to a period of 60 days reckoned
from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. It follows, therefore, that after the
expiration of said period, the trial court is bound to arraign the accused or to deny the motion to
defer arraignment.
In the instant case, petitioner failed to establish that respondent Judge abused his discretion in
denying his motion to suspend. His pleadings and annexes submitted before the Court do not
show the date of filing of the Petition for Review with the Secretary of Justice. 15 Moreover, the

Order dated August 9, 2002 denying his motion to suspend was not appended to the petition. He
thus failed to discharge the burden of proving that he was entitled to a suspension of his
arraignment and that the questioned orders are contrary to Section 11 (c), Rule 116 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Indeed, the age-old but familiar rule is that he who alleges
must prove his allegations.
In sum, the dismissal of the petition is proper considering that petitioner has not established that
the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion. So also, his failure to attach documents
relevant to his allegations warrants the dismissal of the petition, pursuant to Section 3, Rule 46 of
the Rules of Civil Procedure, which states:rbl rl l lbrr
SEC. 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirements. The
petition shall contain the full names and actual addresses of all the petitioners and respondents, a
concise statement of the matters involved, the factual background of the case, and the grounds
relied upon for the relief prayed for.cralawlibrary
It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible copies together with proof of service thereof on the
respondent with the original copy intended for the court indicated as such by the petitioner, and
shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the
judgment, order, resolution, or ruling subject thereof, such material portions of the record
as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto.cralawlibrary
xxx
The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be
sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. (Emphasis added)
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is dismissed.
SO ORDERED.

EN BANC
[G.R. NO. 171208 : September 7, 2007]
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Petitioner, v. HON. THELMA CANLAS
TRINIDAD-PE AGUIRRE, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Br. 129, Caloocan City,
and MA. LEONISA GENOVIA, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
The present petition for Certiorari under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court involves jurisdiction over
an election offense punishable under the Omnibus Election Code by "imprisonment of not less
than one year but not more than six years."
On the directive of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc,1 its Law Department
filed an Information against respondent Ma. Leonisa Genovia, for violation of Section 261 (z) (3)
of the Omnibus Election Code which penalizes
"Any person who votes in substitution for another whether with or without the latter's knowledge
and/or consent." (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary
The accusatory portion of the Information, dated July 26, 2005, which was filed before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City where it was docketed as Criminal Case No. C73774, reads:
That on or about July 15, 2002 Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
Elections, in the City of Caloocan, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did, then and there, willfully and unlawfully, cast
her vote in substitution of another person by misrepresenting herself to be Emely Genovia and
voted in substitution of said Emely Genovia, a registered voter in Precinct No. 779-A, Barangay
60, Caloocan City.2
Under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, violation of any election offense is punishable
as follows:
SECTION 264. Penalties. - Any person found guilty of any election offenseunder this
Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six
years and shall not be subject to PROBATION . In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced
to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a
foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has
been served. Any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten
thousand pesos, which shall be imposed upon such party after criminal action has been instituted
in which their corresponding officials have been found guilty. x x x (Italics in the original;
emphasis and underscoring supplied)

By Order of September 21, 2005,3 Branch 129 of the Caloocan RTC dismissed the case for lack
of jurisdiction, it citing Section 32(2) of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 (The Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980) reading:
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. - Except in cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction
of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
x x x
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not
exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine regardless of other imposable
accessory penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon,
irrespective of kind, nature, or value amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses
involving damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original
jurisdiction thereof. (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
The COMELEC moved to reconsider the trial court's dismissal order,4 inviting attention to
Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code which reads:
SECTION 268. Jurisdiction of courts. - The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceedings for violation of this Code,
except those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote which shall be under
the jurisdiction of the metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From the decision of the courts,
appeal will lie as in other criminal cases. (Underscoring supplied)cralawlibrary
By a one sentence Order of November 15, 2005,5 the trial court denied the COMELEC's motion
for "lack of merit."
Hence, the present petition for certiorari under Rule 64,6 the COMELEC contending that the
dismissal order is contrary to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code.
The COMELEC argues that under the above-quoted provision of Section 268 of the Omnibus
Election Code, all criminal cases for violation of the Code, except those relating to failure to
register or failure to vote which shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts, fall
under the exclusive jurisdiction of regional trial courts.7
The petition is meritorious.
From the above-quoted provision of Section 32 of BP Blg. 129, jurisdiction of first-level courts the metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts - does not
cover criminal cases which, by specific provision of law, fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of
regional trial courts (and of the Sandiganbayan).8

As correctly argued by the COMELEC, Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code specifically
provides, regional trial courts have exclusive jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or
proceedings for violation of the Code "except those relating to the offense of failure to register or
failure to vote."
It bears emphasis that Congress has the plenary power to define, prescribe and apportion the
jurisdictions of various courts. Hence, it may, by law, provide that a certain class of cases should
be exclusively heard and determined by a specific court. Section 268 of Omnibus Election Code
is one such and must thus be construed as an exception to BP Blg. 129, the general law on
jurisdiction of courts.9
In fine, while BP Blg. 129 lodges in municipal trial courts, metropolitan trial courts and
municipal circuit trial courts jurisdiction over criminal cases carrying a penalty of imprisonment
of less than one year but not exceeding six years, following Section 268 of the Omnibus Election
Code, any criminal action or proceeding which bears the same penalty, with the exception of the
therein mentioned two cases, falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of regional trial
courts.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged orders of respondent Judge Thelma
Canlas Trinided-Pe Aguirre, in Criminal Case No. C-73774 are SET ASIDE. Respondent judge
is DIRECTED to reinstate the case to the court docket and to conduct appropriate proceedings
thereon with reasonable dispatch.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 132365 July 9, 1998


COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Petitioner, v. HON. TOMAS B. NOYNAY, Acting
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Allen, Northern Samar, and
DIOSDADA F. AMOR, ESBEL CHUA, and RUBEN MAGLUYOAN,Respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


The pivotal issue raised in this special civil action for certiorari with mandamus is whether R.A.
No. 7691 1 has divested Regional Trial Courts of jurisdiction over election offenses, which are
punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding six (6) years.
The antecedents are not disputed.
In its Minute Resolution No. 96-3076 of 29 October 1996, the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) resolved to file an information for violation of Section 261(i) of the Omnibus
Election Code against private respondents Diosdada Amor, a public school principal, and Esbel
Chua and Ruben Magluyoan, both public school teachers, for having engaged in partisan
political activities. The COMELEC authorized its Regional Director in Region VIII to handle the
prosecution of the cases.
Forthwith, nine informations for violation of Section 261(i) of the Omnibus Election were filed
with Branch 23 of the Regional Trial Court of Alien, Northern Samar, and docketed therein as
follows:
a) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1439 and A-1442, against private respondents Diosdada Amor, Esbel
Chua, and Ruben Magluyoan.
b) Criminal Case No. A-1443, against private respondents Esbel Chua and Ruben Magluyoan.
c) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1444 and A-1445, against private respondent Esbel Chua only;
d) Criminal Cases Nos. A-1446 to A-1449, against private respondent Diosdada Amor only.
In an Order 2 issued on 25 August 1997, respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay, as presiding judge
of Branch 23, motu proprio ordered the records of the cases to be withdrawn and directed the
COMELEC Law Department to file the cases with the appropriate Municipal Trial Court on the
ground that pursuant to Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 as amended by R.A. No. 7691, 3 the
Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction over the cases since the maximum imposable penalty in
each of the cases does not exceed six years of imprisonment. Pertinent portions of the Order read
as follows:
[I]t is worth pointing out that all the accused are uniformly charged for [sic] Violation of Sec.
261(i) of the Omnibus Election Code, which under Sec. 264 of the same Code carries a penalty

of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years of imprisonment and not subject to
Probation plus disqualification to hold public office or deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Sec. 31 [sic] of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P.) Blg. 129 as Amended by Rep.
Act. 6691 [sic] (Expanded Jurisdiction) states: Sec. 32. Jurisdiction - Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Criminal Cases - Except [in] cases
falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts and the
Sandiganbayan, the Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts and the Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal ordinance committed
within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with an imprisonment of not
exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount or fine and regardless of other imposable
accessory and other penalties including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated
thereon, irrespective of time [sic], nature, value and amount thereof, Provided, However, that in
offenses including damages to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive
original jurisdiction thereof.
In light of the foregoing, this Court has therefore, no jurisdiction over the cases filed considering
that the maximum penalty imposable did not exceed six (6) years.
The two motions 4 for reconsideration separately filed by the COMELEC Regional Director of
Region VIII and by the COMELEC itself through its Legal Department having been denied by
the public respondent in the Order of 17 October 1997, 5 the petitioner filed this special civil
action. It contends that public respondent "has erroneously misconstrued the provisions of Rep.
Act No. 7691 in arguing that the Municipal Trial Court has exclusive original jurisdiction to try
and decide election offenses" because pursuant to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code and
this Court's ruling in "Alberto [sic] vs. Judge Juan Lavilles, Jr.," Regional Trial Courts have the
exclusive original jurisdiction over election offenses.
On 17 February 1998, we required the respondents and the Office of the Solicitor General to
comment on the petition.
In its Manifestation of 5 March 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General informs us that it is
"adopting" the instant petition on the ground that the challenged orders of public respondent "are
clearly not in accordance with existing laws and jurisprudence."
In his Manifestation of 12 March 1998, public respondent avers that it is the duty of counsel for
private respondents interested in sustaining the challenged orders to appear for and defend him.
In their Comment, private respondents maintain that R.A. No. 7691 has divested the Regional
Trial Courts of jurisdiction over offenses where the imposable penalty is not more than 6 years of
imprisonment; moreover, R.A. 7691 expressly provides that all laws, decrees, and orders
inconsistent with its provisions are deemed repealed or modified accordingly. They then

conclude that since the election offense in question is punishable with imprisonment of not more
than 6 years, it is cognizable by Municipal Trial Courts.
We resolved to give due course to the petition.
Under Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code, Regional Trial Courts have exclusive original
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceedings for violation of the Code except
those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote. 6 It reads as follows:
Sec. 268. Jurisdiction of courts. - The regional trial court shall have the exclusive original
jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceedings for violation of this Code,
except those relating to the offense of failure to register or failure to vote which shall be under
the jurisdiction of the metropolitan or municipal trial courts. From the decision of the courts,
appeal will lie as in other criminal cases.
Among the offenses punished under the Election Code are those enumerated in Section 261
thereof. The offense allegedly committed by private respondents is covered by paragraph (i) of
said Section, thus:
Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be guilty of an election offense:
(i) Intervention of public officers and employees. - Any officer or employee in the civil service,
except those holding political offices; any officer, employee, or member of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines, or any police forces, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense
units and all other para-military units that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who,
directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political
activity, except to vote or to preserve public order, if he is a peace officer.
Under Section 264 of the Code the penalty for an election offense under the Code, except that of
failure to register or failure to vote, is "imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than
six years" and the offender shall not be subject to probation and shall suffer disqualification to
hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691, provides as follows:
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. - Except in cases falling within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Court and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
(1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all violations of city or municipal ordinances committed
within their respective territorial jurisdiction; and
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding
six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory or
other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon,

irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses
involving damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original
jurisdiction thereof.
We have explicitly ruled in Morales v. Court of Appeals 7 that by virtue of the exception
provided for in the opening sentence of Section 32, the exclusive original jurisdiction of
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts does not
cover those criminal cases which by specific provisions of law fall within the exclusive original
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, regardless of the penalty
prescribed therefor. Otherwise stated, even if those excepted cases are punishable by
imprisonment of not exceeding six (6) years (i.e., prision correccional, arresto mayor, or arresto
menor), jurisdiction thereon is retained by the Regional Trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan, as the
case may be.
Among the examples cited in Morales as falling within the exception provided for in the opening
sentence of Section 32 are cases under (1) Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129; (2) Article 360 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended; (3) the Decree on Intellectual Property; 8 and (4) the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, 9 as amended.
Undoubtedly, pursuant to Section 268 of the Omnibus Election Code, election offenses also fall
within the exception.
As we stated in Morales, jurisdiction is conferred by the Constitution or by Congress. Outside
the cases enumerated in Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the Constitution, Congress has the
plenary power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. Congress
may thus provide by law that a certain class of cases should be exclusively heard and determined
by one court. Such law would be a special law and must be construed as an exception to the
general law on jurisdiction of courts, namely, the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, and the
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. R.A. No. 7691 can by no means be considered as a special
law on jurisdiction; it is merely an amendatory law intended to amend specific sections of the
Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Hence, R.A. No. 7691 does nut have the effect of
repealing laws vesting upon Regional Trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan exclusive original
jurisdiction to hear and decide the cases therein specified. That Congress never intended that
R.A. No. 7691 should repeal such special provisions is indubitably evident from the fact that it
did not touch at all the opening sentence of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the
exception.
It is obvious that respondent judge did not read at all the opening sentence of Section 32 of B.P.
Blg. 129, as amended. It is thus an opportune time, as any, to remind him, as well as other
judges, of his duty to be studious of the principles of law, 10 to administer his office with due
regard to the integrity of the system of the law itself, 11 to be faithful to the law, and to maintain
professional competence. 12
Counsel for petitioner, Atty. Jose P. Balbuena, Director IV of petitioner's Law Department, must
also be admonished for his utter carelessness in his reference to the case against Judge Juan

Lavilles, Jr. In the motion for Reconsideration 13 he filed, with the court below, Atty. Balbuena
stated:
As a matter of fact, the issue on whether the Regional Trial Court has exclusive jurisdiction over
election offenses is already a settled issue in the case of Alberto Naldeza -vs- Judge Juan
Lavilles, Jr., A.M. No. MTJ-94-1009, March 5, 1996, where the Supreme Court succinctly held:
A review of the pertinent provision of law would show that pursuant to Sec. 265 and 267 of the
Omnibus Election Code, the COMELEC, has the exclusive power to conduct preliminary
investigation of all election offenses punishable under the Code and the RTC shall have the
exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal action or proceedings for violation
of the same. The Metropolitan, or MTC, by way of exception exercises jurisdiction only on
offenses relating to failure to register or to vote. Noting that these provisions stand together with
the provisions that any election offense under the code shall be punishable with imprisonment of
one (1) year to six (6) years and shall not be subject to probation (Sec. 263, Omnibus Election
Code), we submit that it is the special intention of the Code to vest upon the RTC jurisdiction
over election cases as a matter of exception to the general provisions on jurisdiction over
criminal cases found under B.P. 129 by RA 7691 does not vest upon the MTC jurisdiction over
criminal election offenses despite its expanded jurisdiction. (Emphasis ours)
Also, in this petition, Atty. Balbuena states:
16. This Honorable Supreme Court, in the case of "Alberto -vs- Judge Juan Lavilles, Jr.," 245
SCRA 286 involving the same issue of jurisdiction between the lower courts and Regional Trial
Court on election offenses, has ruled, thus:
With respect to the other charges, a review of the Pertinent Provision of Law would show that
pursuant to Section 265 and 267 of the Omnibus Election Code the Comelec has the power to
conduct preliminary investigations all election offenses punishable under the code and the
Regional Trial Court shall have the exclusive original jurisdiction to try and decide any criminal
action or proceedings for violation of the same. The Metropolitan Trial Court, by way of
exception exercise jurisdiction only on offenses relating to failure to register or to vote. Noting
that these provisions stands together with the provision that any election offense under the code
shall be punishable with imprisonment for one (1) year to six (6) years and shall not be subject to
probation (Section 264, Omnibus Election Code). We submit that it is the special intention of the
code to vest upon the Regional Trial Court jurisdiction over election cases as matter of
exemption to the provisions on jurisdiction over criminal cases found under B.P. Reg. 129, as
amended. Consequently, the amendment of B.P. Reg. 129 by Republic Act. No. 7691 does not
vest upon the MTC jurisdiction over criminal election offenses despite its expanded jurisdiction.
If Atty. Balbuena was diligent enough, he would have known that the correct name of the
complainant in the case referred to is neither Alberto Naldeza as indicated in the motion for
reconsideration nor Alberto alone as stated in the petition, but ALBERTO NALDOZA.
Moreover, the case was not reported in volume 245 of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated
(SCRA) as falsely represented in the paragraph 16 of the petition, but in volume 254 of the
SCRA.

Worse, in both the motion for reconsideration and the petition, Atty. Balbuena deliberately made
it appear that the quoted portions were findings or rulings, or, put a little differently, our own
words. The truth is, the quoted portion is just a part of the memorandum of the Court
Administrator quoted in the decision.
Rule 10.02 of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility 14 mandates that a lawyer
shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the text of a decision or authority.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is GRANTED. The challenged
orders of public respondent Judge Tomas B. Noynay of 25 August 1997 and 17 October 1997 in
Criminal Cases Nos. A-1439 and A-1442 to A-1449 are SET ASIDE. Respondent Judge is
DIRECTED to try and decide said cases with purposeful dispatch and, further, ADMONISHED
to faithfully comply with Canons 4 and 18 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics and Rule 3.01, Canon
3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Atty. Jose P. Balbuena is ADMONISHED to be more careful in the discharge of his duty to the
court as a lawyer under the Code of Professional Responsibility.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. NO. 149995 : September 28, 2007]


ISIDRO
PABLITO
PHILIPPINES Respondent.

M.

PALANA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE

OF

THE

DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
For review is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 21879 dated September
17, 2001,1affirming the September 23, 1997 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City,
Branch 63, in Criminal Case No. 91-5617 convicting petitioner Isidro Pablito Palana with
violation of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22 otherwise known as the "Bouncing Checks Law".
On August 19, 1991, petitioner was charged with violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in an Information
which reads as follows:
That on or about September 1987, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, a
place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused did, then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and knowingly make or draw and issue to Alex B. Carlos to apply on
account or for the value the check described below:
Check No.

: 326317PR

Drawn Against

: Asian Savings Bank


Paseo de Roxas Branch

In the amount of : P590,000.00


Postdated

: February 15, 1988

Payable to

: Dr. Alex B. Carlos

said accused well knowing that at the time of issue, he did not have sufficient funds in or credit
with the drawee bank for the payment in full of the face amount of such check when presented
for payment within (90) days from the date thereof, was subsequently dishonored by the drawee
bank for the reason Drawn Against Insufficient Funds and despite receipt of notice of such
dishonor, the accused failed to pay said payee the face amount of said check or make
arrangement for full payment within five (5) banking days after receiving notice.2
On January 30, 1992, the case was archived due to petitioner's non-apprehension despite the
issuance of a warrant for his arrest.3 On June 27, 1995, the warrant of arrest was recalled and set
aside4 after petitioner posted the required bail. He was arraigned on July 25, 1995 when he
pleaded not guilty to the offense charged.5
Private complainant Alex B. Carlos testified that sometime in September 1987, petitioner and his
wife BORROWED MONEY FROM him in the amount of P590,000.00. To secure the payment

of THE LOAN , petitioner issued a postdated check for the same amount in favor of the
complainant.6However, when the check was presented for payment, it was dishonored by the
bank for insufficiency of funds. Subsequent demand notwithstanding, petitioner failed to make
good the said dishonored check.7
Petitioner alleged that the amounts given to him by private complainant was an investment by
the latter who was his business partner. He argued that the subject check was not issued in
September 1987 to guarantee the payment of a loan since his CHECKING ACCOUNT was
opened only on December 1, 1987.8 He claimed that private complainant cajoled him to issue a
check in his favor allegedly to be shown to a textile supplier who would provide the partnership
with the necessary raw materials. Petitioner alleged that when the check was issued sometime in
February 1988,9 complainant knew that the same was not funded.10
After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court rendered on September 23, 1997 a
Decision11 finding petitioner guilty as charged, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Wherefore, this court finds the accused Isidro Pablito M. Palana guilty as charged and sentences
him to a prison term of Six (6) months and to indemnify the private complainant the sum
of P590,000.00 plus legal interest from filing of this case until full payment.
SO ORDERED.
Petitioner appealed but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court's
decision in toto.12
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that the check was issued as a guaranty for
the loan, thereby rejecting petitioner's "investment theory". In ruling against the existence of a
partnership between them, the trial court noted that the so-called partnership venture, Palana's
General Merchandising, was registered on December 1, 1987 only in the name of
petitioner.13 The Court of Appeals also held that the act of lending money does not necessarily
amount to an investment of capital.
Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues:
I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDING OF THE LOWER
COURT DISREGARDING THE DEFENSE OF THE ACCUSED THAT THE ISSUANCE OF
THE SUBJECT ASIAN BANK CHECK, WAS NOT FOR A CONSIDERATION OR FOR
VALUE, AS THE ACCUSED WAS ONLY TRICKED BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT
TO ISSUE THE SAID CHECK AS A MEANS OF BINDING THE ACCUSED TO RETURN
HIS INVESTMENT IN THE PARTNERSHIP WHICH WAS THEN SUFFERING FROM
BUSINESS REVERSALS.
II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE LOWER


COURT THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE,
DESPITE THE FACT THAT AT THE TIME THE ACCUSED WAS ARRAIGNED ON JULY
25, 1995 R.A. 7691 EXPANDING THE JURISDICTION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL
COURT WAS ALREADY IN EFFECT.14
The issues to be resolved are: 1) whether petitioner was guilty of violation of B.P. Blg. 22; and
2) whether the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case.
Petitioner's argument that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court and not the Regional Trial Court
which has jurisdiction over the case pursuant to R.A. 7691 is without merit.
It is hornbook doctrine that jurisdiction to try a criminal action is determined by the law in force
at the time of the institution of the action15 and not during the arraignment of the accused. The
Information charging petitioner with violation of B.P. Blg. 22 was filed on August 19, 1991. At
that time, the governing law determinative of jurisdiction is B.P. Blg. 12916 which provides:
Sec. 20. Jurisdiction in criminal cases. - Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original
jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or
body, except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance by the latter.
xxx
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. - Except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction
of Regional Trial Courts and the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
xxx
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not
exceeding four years and two months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or
both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties,
including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind,
nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to
property through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the
imposable fine does not exceed twenty thousand pesos.
Violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is punishable with imprisonment of not less than 30 days but not more
than one year or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the check
which fine shall in no case exceed P200,000.00, or both fine and imprisonment17 at the discretion
of the court. In the present case, the fine imposable is P200,000.00 hence, the Regional Trial
Court properly acquired jurisdiction over the case.18 The Metropolitan Trial Court could not
acquire jurisdiction over the criminal action because its jurisdiction is only for offenses
punishable with a fine of not more than P4,000.00.

The subsequent amendment of B.P. 129 by R.A. No. 7691, "An Act Expanding the Jurisdiction
of the Municipal Trial Courts, Municipal Circuit Trial Courts and the Metropolitan Trial
Court"19 on June 15, 1994 cannot divest the Regional Trial Court of jurisdiction over petitioner's
case. Where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its
jurisdiction to proceed to the final determination of the cause is not affected by new legislation
placing jurisdiction over such proceedings in another tribunal unless the statute expressly
provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate on actions pending before its
enactment. Indeed, R.A. No. 7691 contains retroactive provisions. However, these only apply to
civil cases that have not yet reached the pre-trial stage. Neither from an express proviso nor by
implication can it be construed that R.A. No. 7691 has retroactive application to criminal cases
pending or decided by the Regional Trial Courts prior to its effectivity.20 The jurisdiction of the
RTC over the case attached upon the commencement of the action by the filing of the
Information and could not be ousted by the passage of R.A. No. 7691 reapportioning the
jurisdiction of inferior courts, the application of which to criminal cases is prospective in
nature.21
After a careful review of the records, this Court sustains petitioner's conviction for violation of
B.P. Blg. 22. The elements of the offense penalized under B.P. Blg. 22 are as follows: (1) the
accused makes, draws, or issues any check to apply on account or for value; (2) the accused
knows at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the check is
subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have
been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the
bank to stop payment.
Each element of the offense was duly proven by the prosecution. Petitioner admitted that at the
time he issued the subject check, he knew that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with
the drawee bank for payment of such check. Consequently, when the check was presented for
payment, it was dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds. Thereafter, he
received demand letters to pay the amount of the check from private complainant but he did not
comply with it.22
In ruling that the amount of the check was for consideration or value, both the trial court and the
Court of Appeals upheld private complainant's claim that the check was issued as a guaranty for
the loan and rejected petitioner's "investment theory". The issue as to whether the amount of the
subject check represents the amount of the money loaned by private complainant to petitioner or
as an investment in the alleged partnership is a factual question involving the credibility of
witnesses. Where the issue is one of credibility, the appellate court will not generally disturb the
findings of the lower court considering that it is in a better position to settle that issue since it had
the advantage of hearing the witnesses and observing their conduct during the trial, which
circumstances carry great weight in assessing their credibility. In the present case, we see no
reason to reverse the finding of the trial court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals that the
amount of the subject check was a loan and not an investment.23
Upon issuance of a check, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is presumed that the same
was issued for valuable consideration, which may consist either in some right, interest, profit or

benefit accruing to the party who makes the contract, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or
some responsibility, to act, or labor, or service given, suffered or undertaken by the other side.
Since it was established that petitioner received money from private complainant in various
amounts,24 petitioner cannot now claim that the checks were not issued for value.25
The allegation that the check was intended to be shown to potential suppliers is not a valid
defense. In Cueme v. People,26 the Court held thus:
The allegation of petitioner that the checks were merely intended to be shown to prospective
investors of her corporation is, to say the least, not a defense. The gravamen of the offense
punished under B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making or issuing a worthless check or a check that is
dishonored upon its presentment for payment. The law has made the mere act of issuing a bad
check malum prohibitum, an act proscribed by the legislature for being deemed pernicious and
inimical to public welfare. Considering the rule in mala prohibita cases, the only inquiry is
whether the law has been breached. Criminal intent becomes unnecessary where the acts are
prohibited for reasons of public policy, and the defenses of good faith and absence of criminal
intent are unavailing.
The checks issued, even assuming they were not intended to be encashed or deposited in a bank,
produce the same effect as ordinary checks. What the law punishes is the issuance of a rubber
check itself and not the purpose for which the check was issued nor the terms and conditions
relating to its issuance. This is not without good reasons. To determine the purpose as well as the
terms and conditions for which checks are issued will greatly erode the faith the public reposes in
the stability and commercial value of checks as currency substitutes, and bring about havoc in
the trading and banking communities. Besides, the law does not make any distinction as to the
kind of checks which are the subject of its provisions, hence, no such distinction can be made by
means of interpretation or application. What is important is the fact that petitioner deliberately
issued the checks in question and those checks were dishonored upon presentment for payment.
Hence, the agreement surrounding the issuance of a check is irrelevant to the prosecution and
conviction of the petitioner.27
The alleged inconsistency in the date of issuance of the subject check is likewise
immaterial.rbl r l l lbrr
Issuance, as defined under the Negotiable Instruments Law, is the first delivery of the check. 28 In
the case at bar, the Information alleged that the check was postdated February 15, 1988 although
issued in or about September 1987. During trial, petitioner testified that the CHECKING
ACCOUNT was opened only on December 1, 1987 and that the check was issued sometime in
February 1988.
The rule is that a variance between the allegation in the information and proof adduced during
trial shall be fatal to the criminal case if it is material and prejudicial to the accused so much so
that it affects his substantial rights.29 In a prosecution for violation of B.P. 22, the time of the
issuance of the subject check is material since it forms part of the second element of the offense
that at the time of its issuance, petitioner knew of the insufficiency of funds. However, it cannot

be said that petitioner was prejudiced by such variance nor was surprised by it. Records show
that petitioner knew at the time he issued the check that he does not have sufficient funds in the
bank to cover the amount of the check. Yet, he proceeded to issue the same claiming that the
same would only be shown to prospective suppliers, a defense which is not valid.
Moreover, there is no merit in petitioner's allegation that private complainant knew that the
check is not funded. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that the subject check
was issued as guaranty for payment of THE LOAN hence, was intended to apply for account or
for value. As such, it was incumbent upon petitioner to see to it that the check is duly covered
when presented for payment.
Pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 12-2000, as clarified by Administrative
Circular No. 13-2001, the alternative penalty of fine may be imposed in lieu of imprisonment
considering that the prosecution failed to prove or allege that petitioner is not a first-time
offender.30 Hence, in lieu of imprisonment, a fine of P200,000.00 shall be imposed upon
petitioner.31
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 21879 dated
September 17, 2001, finding petitioner ISIDRO PABLITO M. PALANA guilty of violating
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner is ordered to pay
private complainant the amount ofP590,000.00, representing the value of the check, with six
(6%) percent interest from date of filing of the Information until the finality of the decision, the
amount of which, inclusive of the interest, is subject to twelve percent (12%) interest, from
finality of the decision until fully paid. In lieu of imprisonment, petitioner is ordered to pay a fine
of P200,000.00.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-4845 December 24, 1952


L. G. MARQUEZ and Z. GUTIERREZ LORA, plaintiffs.
L. G. Marquez, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
FRANCISCO VARELA and CARMEN VARELA, defendants-appellees.
Amelito R. Mutuc for appellant
Jorge V. Jazmines for appellees.

LABRADOR, J.:
This is an appeal against an order of the Court of First Instance of manila dismissing the
complaint as to plaintiff L.G. Marquez. The pertinent allegations of the complaint are as follows
: that plaintiff Gutierrez Lora was authorized by defendants to negotiate the sale of their share or
interest in a parcel of land on Plaza Goiti, Manila, and having meet his co-plaintiff L. G.
Marquez, a real estate broker, both of them agreed to work together for the sale of defendant's
property; that they found a ready, willing, and able buyer, which accepted defendants' price and
terms, but that thereafter defendants, without any justifiable reason, refused to carry out the sale
and execute the necessary deed therefor; and that as a consequence plaintiffs failed to receive the
commission which they were entitled to receive. The defendants presented a motion to dismiss
the complaint as to L. G . Marquez on the ground that he has no cause of action against
defendants , and this motion having been granted, plaintiff L. G. Marquez has prosecuted this
appeal.
The complaint was dismissed on the alleged ground that it states no cause of action against the
defendants. Is this objection to the complaint justified? The term "cause of action" has been held
to be synonymous with "right of action" (37 Words and Phrases, 642), but in the law of pleading
(Code Pleading) one is distinguished from the other in that a right of action is a remedial right
belonging to some person, while a cause of action is a formal statement of the operative facts that
give rise to such remedial right. The one is a matter of right and depends on the substantive law,
while the other is a matter of statement and is governed by the law of procedure. (Phillips, Code
Pleading, section 189, page 170.)
It is not denied that Lora, if he rendered the service alleged in the complaint, would have a right
to be paid compensation for the service he rendered jointly with Marquez. He acted as a broker,
and a broker is entitled to a commission for his services. (Article 277, Code of Commerce:
Henry vs. Velasco, 34 Phil. 587; Perez de Tagle vs. Luzon SURETY Co, 38 Off. Gaz. 1213).
There is no prohibition in law against the employment of a companion to look for a buyer;
neither is it against public policy. Neither was there even any implied understanding between
Lora and the defendants that no part of the compensation to which Lora would be entitled to

receive could be paid to any companion or helper of Lora. Marquez's right to compensation can
not, therefore, be disputed under the operative facts set forth in the complaint.
The next issue is, is there a cause of action in favor of Marquez against the defendants? From the
facts alleged in the complaint, it is clear that there is a primary right in favor of Marquez (to be
paid for his services even through Lora only) and a corresponding duty devolving upon the
defendants (to pay for said services). Since (as alleged) defendants refuse to comply with their
duty, Marquez now is entitled to enforce his legal right by an action in court. The complaint in
the case at bar, therefore, contains both the primary right and duty and the delict or wrong
combined which constitute the cause of action in the legal sense as used in Code Pleading
(Pomeroy, Code Remedies, section 347), and the cause of action is full and complete.
Objection to the complaint, however, is not that Marquez has no right to share in the
compensation to be paid Lora, whom defendants had directly engaged, but that Marquez can not
join in this action and enforce therein his rights directly against the defendants, evidently because
defendants never dealt with Marquez, directly or indirectly, or, in other words, that both Marquez
and his services were not known to dismiss show that such in fact was the objection:
This paragraph clearly shows that the authority to sell was only given to plaintiff Z.
Gutierrez Lora and not to the other plaintiff L. G. Marquez. Attention is respectfully
called to the word "plaintiff" used in said paragraph III and expressed in singular form to
the exclusion of the other plaintiff L. G. Marquez. If the plaintiff L. G. Marquez had
worked at all for the sale of the property at the instance of an invitation of his co- plaintiff
Z. Gutierrez Lora, we maintain that his action if there is any is against his co-plaintiff and
not against the defendants herein.
As far as the defendant are concerned in this case, plaintiff L. G. Marquez is not only a
stranger in this case but also unknown to the defendants; and if he had worked at all for
the sale of the defendants' share and participation in the parcels of lands referred to in the
complaint, the same was made not only at his own look-out, risk and responsibility but
also with no authority whatsoever. (Record on Appeal, pages 16, 17)
The principle underlying defendants' objection is one of substantive law, recognized under
common law, where no one could sue for a breach of a contract who was not a party thereto, and
the action allowed to be brought only in the name of the one holding the legal title. The
requirement was based upon the doctrine of privity of contract.
Sec. 234. Plaintiffs in Action ex Contractu. When an action of contract concerns only
the original parties to the instrument, it is not difficult to determine who should be the
plaintiff. Obviously the one seeking to enforce it is the real party in interest. At common
law no one could sue for the breach of contract who was not a party thereto. Hence an
action on contract, whether express or implied, was required to be brought in the name of
the one who held the legal interest. This requirement was based upon the doctrine of
privity of contract. . . . (Phillips, Code Pleading, page 226.)

Sec. 235. Privity of Contract. When necessary. It was a rule of the common law
that before one may complain of another for breach of contract, there must be some direct
contractual relation, or privity, between them; and this, with only a few exceptions, is a
requirement of the law today. . . . (Phillips, code Pleading, page 227.)
At common law, in order that two or more persons may join in an action upon a contract,
there must be community of interest between them; that is, they must be parties to the
contract and jointly interested in therein. (47 . C. J. 54)lawphil.net
Persons subsequently admitted to the benefit of a contract, without the privity or assent of
the promisor, can not join in a suit on the contract. (47 C.J., 55)
But we did not import into this jurisdiction the common law procedure. Our original code of civil
Procedure (Act 190) was taken mainly from the code of Civil Procedure of California, and this in
turn was based upon the Code of Civil procedure of New York adopted in that stated in 1948.
Our system of pleading is Code Pleading that system used in the states of the Union that had
adopted codes of procedure. The code system of pleading adopted in substance the rules of
equity practice as to parties, under which "all persons having an interest in the subject of the
action, and in obtaining the relief demanded, may be joined as plaintiffs". (Phillips, Code
Pleading, section 251, page 247.) In New York and California interest in the subject matter, or in
any relief growing out of the same transaction or series of transactions is sufficient to allow
joinder. (Ibid, footnote 10a. page 247.)
Under the former Code of civil procedure "every action must be prosecuted in the name of the
real party in interest," and "all persons having an interest in the subject of the action and in
obtaining the relief demanded shall be joined as plaintiffs, " and " if any person having an
interest and in obtaining the relief demanded refuses to join as plaintiff, he may be made a
defendant and the fact of his interest and refusal to join to be stated in the complaint." ( Section
114, Act 190) The principle underlying the rule is that all persons having a material interest
under the substantive law should be made parties, as distinguished from that of the common law
which allowed only a two-sided controversy, each party to be opposed to the other. Phillips,
Code Pleading, 2d ed. section 228, page 216.)
The above principles have not been changed by the reforms in the rules in 1940 and 1941. The
action is still to be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. Under section 6 of Rule 3,
"All persons in whom . . . any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction . .
. is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, . . . join as plaintiffs . . .
where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs . . . may arise in the action;
Plaintiff Marquez, in the case at bar, clearly falls under the above rule. He is entitled to be paid
his commission out of the very contract of agency between Lora and the defendants; Lora and he
acted jointly in rendering services to defendants under Lora's contract, and the same questions of
law and fact govern their claims. The rules do not require the existence of privity of contract
between Marquez and the defendants as required under the common law; all that they demand is
that Marquez has a material interest in the subject of the action, the right to share in the broker's
commission to be paid Lora under the latter's contract, which right Lora does not deny. This is

sufficient to justify the joinder of Marquez as a party plaintiff, even in the absence of privity of
contract between him and the defendants.
We find, therefore, that the complaint of Marquez was improperly dismissed. The order of
dismissal is hereby reversed, with costs against defendants.
Pablo, Bengzon, Jugo and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

PARAS, C.J., concurring:


I concur. For all practical purposes Marquez may be considered an intervenor.
MONTEMAYOR, J., dissenting:
With all due respect to the learned majority opinion with its plausible arguments and citations of
authorities, I believe that the complaint of Marquez against the defendants-appellees was
properly dismissed. There was absolutely no contractual relation or privity of contract between
Marquez and the defendants, and as far as the latter are concerned, Marquez never rendered
service, and he did not exist in their realm of contracts and obligations. I reproduce with favor
the two paragraphs contained in defendant's motion to dismiss and also reproduced in the
majority opinion and which for the purposes of reference I quote below:
This paragraph clearly shows that the authority to sell was only given to plaintiff Z.
Gutierrez Lora and not to the other plaintiff L.G. Marquez. Attention is respectfully
called to the word plaintifff' used in paragraph III and expressed in singular form to the
exclusion of the other plaintiff L. G. Marquez. If the plaintiff L. G. Marquez had worked
at all for the sale of the property at the instance of an invitation of his co-plaintiff Z.
Gutierrez Lora, we maintain that his action if there is any is against his co-plaintiff and
not against the defendants herein.
As far as the defendants are concerned in this case, plaintiff L. G. Marquez is not only a
stranger in this case but also unknown to the defendant; and if he had worked at all for
the sale of the defendant's share and participation in the parcels of lands referred to in the
complaint, the same was made not only at his own lookout, risk and responsibility but
also with no authority whatsoever. (Record on Appeal, pages 16, 17.)

Marquez may have rendered some services in connection with the offer for sale and the supposed
acceptance of said offer by the alleged prospective buyer of the property ; but such service was
clearly rendered at the instance of and for the benefit of his co-plaintiff Z. Gutierrez Lora. His
possible interest in this case would be a share in any money that may be obtained or received by
Gutierrez from the defendants as compensation for his services as broker by virtue of the
contract of employment between him and the defendants. Marquez may possibly intervene in this
case for he is obviously interested in the success of Gutierrez in obtaining a favorable judgment,
but to proceed directly and file the claim against the defendants, with whom he never contracted,
who never saw him, much less employed him, he may not, in my opinion, do legally.
To sustain a litigation or defend one's self against a suit in court involves embarrassment,
expenditure of time and money and vexation. A party has a right to be protected from being
harassed, troubled and otherwise vexed by an action in court brought by total stranger with
whom the party made defendant has never dealt with, much less had any contractual relation. In
the field of torts, offenses, or violations or property rights such as forcible entry or detainer, etc.
it is proper that all the persons having an interest in obtaining damages for the tort or offense
committed or for any other relief should all be included as parties plaintiff against the tortfeasor,
offender or the illegal occupant despite the absence of any previous contract. But in the present
case the relief sought is the performance of a contract. Consequently, only those who were
parties or privies to the contract can bring the action against the alleged violator of the
agreement. Marquez in this case is attempting to enforce a contract entered into not between him
and the defendants but between him and his co-plaintiff and defendants. To me, he has no right
to do so. His right or cause of action lies against his co-plaintiff and not against the defendants.
Consequently, I hold that the dismissal of the complaint as to Marquez was warranted.