G.R. No. 95642. May 28, 1992
MAIN TOPIC – Double Jeopardy
On February 17, 1987, Romana Magbago filed an administrative complaint with the Supreme court against then acting Municipal Trial Court Judge of Naic, Cavite, petitioner Aurelio G, Icasiano, Jr. for grave abuse of authority, manifest partiality and incompetence. The administrative complaint arose from two (2) orders of detention issued by Icasiano against Magbago for contempt of court. In 1988, the Supreme Court dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.
On March 17, 1987, complainant Magbago also filed with the Office of the Ombudsman the same letter-complaint earlier filed with the Supreme Court; this time, she claimed violation by Judge Icasiano, Jr. of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019, sec. 3 par. [e]), The complaint with the Ombudsman was docketed as TBP-87-00924. In 1988, the case was dismissed by Special Prosecutor/Tanodbayan Gonzales.
The office of the Tanodbayan received another complaint from Magbago which was docketed as TBP-87-01546, The exact date of filing of the second complaint is not stated but the records of the case were allegedly among those transmitted to the then newly created office of the Ombudsman; unfortunately, the transmitted records did not contain the earlier resolution of dismissal in TBP-87-00924. The corresponding information against Icasiano was thereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan (Criminal Case 14563).
On March 21, 1990, Icasiano filed a motion for reinvestigation which resulted in the issuance of two (2) separate resolutions from the respondent Sandiganbayan, the motion for reinvestigation was denied. Icasiano then moved to quash the information on the grounds, among others, that the accused shall be placed in double jeopardy. The Sandiganbayan denied the motion to quash. A motion for reconsideration was likewise denied. Sandiganbayan answered that the Supreme Court case (against the herein petitioner) was administrative in character while the Sandiganbayan case also against said petitioner is criminal in nature. A motion for reconsideration was likewise denied; hence the present petition.
(1) Whether or not double jeopardy does not apply in the present controversy
(1) YES. When the Supreme Court acts on complaints against judges or any of the personnel under its supervision and control, it acts as personnel administrator, imposing discipline and not as a court judging justiciable controversies. Administrative procedure need not strictly adhere to technical rules. Substantial evidence is sufficient to sustain conviction. Criminal proceedings before the Sandiganbayan, on the other hand, while they may involve the same acts subject of the administrative case, require proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
To avail of the protection against double jeopardy, it is fundamental that the following requisites must have obtained in the original prosecution: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; c) a valid arraignment; (d) the defendant had pleaded to the charge; and (e) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. All these elements do not apply visa-vis the administrative case, which should take care of Judge Icasiano’s contention that said administrative case against him before the Supreme Court, which was dismissed, entitled him to raise the defense of double jeopardy in the criminal case in the Sandiganbayan. The charge against Judge Icasiano before the Sandiganbayan is for grave abuse of authority, manifest partiality and incompetence in having issued 2 orders of detention against complaining witness Magbago.
The administrative case against Judge Icasiano was dismissed by the Supreme Court for lack of merit; and
yet, it cannot be assumed at this point that Judge Icasiano is not criminally liable under RA 3019, par. 3(e) for issuing the questioned orders of detention. In fact, the Ombudsman has found a prima facie case which led to the filing of the information. In any case, the dismissal by the Tanodbayan of the first complaint cannot bar the present prosecution, since double jeopardy does not apply. As held in Cirilo Cinco, et al. vs.
Sandiganbayan and the People of the Philippines, a preliminary investigation (assuming one had been
conducted in TBP-87-00924) is not a trial to which double jeopardy attaches.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The temporary restraining order issued earlier is LIFTED; the Sandiganbayan is ordered to proceed with Criminal Case No. 14563.
To avail of the protection against double jeopardy, it is fundamental that the following requisites must have obtained in the original prosecution: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) a valid arraignment; (d) the defendant had pleaded to the charge; and (e) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.