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05. HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, petitioner v.

SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondents
(G.R. No. 162059, [January 22, 2008], 566 PHIL 224-252)

FACTS:
 The issue concerns the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over an appointed UP student regent as well
as estafa cases in relation to PD 1606 and RA 3019 as amended by RA 8249.
 Hannah Serana was appointed by former President Estrada as a student regent of UP Cebu, to serve a
one-year term from January to December 31, 2000.
 Serana, together with her siblings and relatives registered with the SEC, the Office of the Student
Regent Foundation Inc.
 Serana discussed with President Estrada her intent to renovate the Vinzons Hall Annex and
subsequently President Estrada gave P15,000,000.00 from the Office of the President to the Office of
the Student Regent Foundation, Inc as financial assistance for the proposed renovation.
 However, the renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize.
 Her successor and the secretary-general of KASAMA filed before the Ombudsman a complaint for
Malversation of Public Funds and Property.

PROCEDURE:
 Serana moved to quash the information on the ground that Sandiganbayan does not have any
jurisdiction over the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP student regent because:
o Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over an estafa case;
 She contends that Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction only for crimes committed by public
officers and not crimes against property.
o Serana is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27;
o The offense charged was not committed in relation to her office; and
o The funds in question personally came from President Estrada, not from the government.
 As to jurisdiction over her person:
o She contends that as a UP student regent, she is not a high-ranking public officer who held
position in an ex-officio capacity.
 The Ombudsman opposed the motion citing PD 1606 contains the catch-all phrase “in relation to
office” hence Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the charges against the petitioner.
 The Sandiganbayan denied her motion for lack of merit.
 Serana filed for a motion for reconsideration but it was denied with finality
 Serana filed a petition for certiorari before the SC (grave abuse of discretion)

ISSUE/S:
Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has Jurisdiction over Serana’s case.

RULING:

Yes , Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over this case. Sec. 4(A)(1)(g) of PD No. 1606 explicitly vested the
Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over Presidents, directors and trustees, or manager of government-owned or
controlled corporations, state universities, or educational foundations. It is very clear from PD 1606 that the
Sandiganbayan has original exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses involving the officials enumerated in
subsection (g), irrespective of their salary grades, because the primordial consideration in the inclusion of
these officials is the nature of their responsibilities and functions.|||

As the Sandiganbayan pointed out, the Board of Regents performs functions similar to those of a board of
trustee of a non-stock corporation. By express mandate of law, petitioner is, indeed, a public officer as
contemplated by PD No. 1606. Thus, her position as part of the board of regents (UP student regent) is
among those enumerated and the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over her.

FALLO: WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.