CARLITO BONDOC VS. SANDIGANBAYAN 191 SCRA 252
Two employees of the Central Bank – Bank – Manuel Manuel Valentino and Jesus Estacio and 9 private individuals were charged with several felonies of estafa thru falsification of public documents in 3 separate informations filed by the Tanodbayan with the Sandiganbayan on April 15, 1982. Before the prosecution rested its case, the Tanodbayan filed with with the Sandiganbayan another set of 3 indictments, this time against Carlito P. Bondoc, assistant Manager of CITIBANK & Rogelio Vicente, also a private individual.
Bondoc moved to quash the informations on the basic theory that as a private individual charged as co-principal with government employees, he should be tried jointly with the latter pursuant to Sec. 4 of PD 1606, as amended. Hence, the separate proceedings commenced against him were invalid, for lack of jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over the offenses and his person.
The Third Division denied Bondoc’s motion to quash. It ruled that a) the joint tr ial tr ial of private individuals and public employees charged as co principals, dealt with in the cited provision of law, is not a jurisdictional requirement; b) Bondoc’s theory would practically make the Court’s “jurisdiction over a private individual charged a s co-principal, accomplice or accessory with a public officer or employee dependent upon such private individual” (as by evading service of o f legal processes until “joint trial is no longer feasible” ); and c) it is the intention of the law, manifested in the same Section 4, “to avert split jurisdiction (and) thus avoid multiplicity of suits”.
ISSUE: Who has the jurisdiction to try a private individuals who are co-accused co -accused with public official or employees in a case – case – RTC RTC or Sandiganbayan?
RULING: It is not legally l egally possible to transfer Bondoc’s cases to the Regional Trial Court for the simple reason that the latter would would not have jurisdiction over the offenses. offenses. As already above intimated, the inability of the Sandiganbayan to hold a joint trial of Bondo c’s ca ses and those of the government employees separately charged for the same crimes, has not altered the nature of the offenses charged, as estafa thru falsification punishable by penalties higher than prision correccional or imprisonment of six years, or a fine of P6, 000.00, committed by government employees in conspiracy with private persons, including Bondoc. These crimes are within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. They simply cannot be taken cognizance of by the regular courts, apart from the fact that even if the cases could be so transferred, tran sferred, a joint trial would nonetheless not be possible.