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[G. R. No. 116027.October 24, 2001]

MARCOS vs. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (1ST DIV.) & PEOPLE

FIRST DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 24 2001.

G.R. No. 116027 (Imelda R. Marcos vs. Hon. Sandiganbayan (First Division) and People of the Philippines.)

The case before the court is a special civil action of certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order assailing the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan, First Division, 1 In Crim. Case No. 18742, promulgated on March 21, 1994, Rollo, pp. 52-62, Garchitorena, J., ponente, Balajadia and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concurring.that denied petitioner's motion to quash the information charging her and Jose Conrado Benitez with violation of Section 3 (h) of Republic Act No. 3019.

On April 26, 1993, upon arraignment, petitioner assisted by counsel de oficio, entered a plea of not guilty. 2 Petition, Rollo, p. 9.

On October 8, 1993, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the information on the grounds that:

I. THE FACTS CHARGED OR ALLEGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE.

II. ASSUMING GRATIS ARGUMENTI THAT THE FACTS CHARGED OR ALLEGED CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE, THE OFFENSE NO LONGER EXISTS NOR IS PUNISHED.

III. THE CRIMINAL ACTION OR LIABILITY IF ANY, HAS BEEN EXTINGUISHED.

IV. THE OFFENSE CHARGED, IF ANY, HAD LONG PRESCRIBED. 3 Petition, Annex "F", Rollo, pp. 82-115.

On November 5, 1993, the prosecution filed an opposition to the motion to quash. 4 Petition, Annex "G", Rollo, pp. 116-130.

On March 21, 1994, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion to quash.

On April 7, 1994, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion for reconsideration reiterating the grounds raised in the motion to quash. 5 Petition, Annex "I", Rollo, pp. 144-156.

On June 27, 1994, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion for lack of merit. 6 Petition, Annex "B", Rollo, pp. 63-68.

Hence, this petition. 7 Filed on July 15, 1994, Rollo, pp. 2-50. On April 5, 1995, we gave due course to the petition, Rollo, p. 281-C.

At issue is whether the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the information against petitioner on the ground that the facts alleged do not constitute an offense under Section 3 (h). of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended.

The elements of R A No 3019, Section (h) are as follows:

"a) The public officer has financial or pecuniary interest in a business, contract or transaction;

"b) In connection with which he intervenes in his official capacity." 8 Tieste v. Sandiganbayan, 229 Phil. 501, 510 [1986], (quoting the Solicitor General's Comment dated November 4, 1986).

The concurrence of both elements is necessary to convict the public officer as the absence of one will not warrant conviction.

What is contemplated in Section 3 (h) of the Anti-Graft law is the actual intervention in the transaction in which the accused has financial or pecuniary interest in order that liability may attach. 9 Opinion No. 306, Series 1961 and Opinion No. 94, Series 1972 of the Secretary of Justice. Cf. Trieste v. Sandiganbayan, supra, at p. 516.

Nevertheless, the consistent doctrine of this Court is that from a denial of a motion to quash, the appropriate remedy is for petitioner to go to trial on the merits, and if an adverse decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law. 10 Bulaong v. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 618 [1990]; Gamboa v. Cruz, 162 SCRA 642 [1988]; Buaya v. Polo, 169 SCRA 471 [1989]; Reyes v. Camilon, 192 SCRA 445 [1990]; Martinez v. Sandiganbayan, 312 SCRA 806 [1999].

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court hereby DISMISSES the petition for certiorari and prohibition. The Court directs the Sandiganbayan to proceed with the final disposition of Criminal Case No. 18742, in accordance with the mandates of Republic Act No. 8493, with all deliberate dispatch.

The Sandiganbayan must decide the case within three (3) months from notice of this resolution, and inform this Court of the decision within ten (10) days from promulgation thereof.

No costs.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) VIRGINIA ANCHETA-SORIANO

Clerk of Court


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