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[G.R. Nos. 147720-21.October 22, 2001]

FE DIGNA NARVAEZ-MIJARES vs. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN

SECOND DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 22 2001.

G.R. Nos. 147720-21(Fe Digna Narvaez-Mijares vs. The Honorable Sandiganbayan.)

The Special Prosecutor's motion for extension of thirty (30) days from 4 October 2001 within which to file comment on the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED, and the aforesaid comment dated 02 October 2001 and the Solicitor General's manifestation and motion dated 28 September 2001 are NOTED.

In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioner assails the Resolutions of the respondent Court dated July 20, 2000 and March 14, 2001, denying her Motion to Dismiss as well as her Motion for Reconsideration, respectively, in Criminal Cases Nos. 16744 and 16745. These two (2) criminal cases for Falsification of Public Documents were filed by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan on May 23, 1991 and petitioner was arraigned on July 8, 1991. Despite the recommendation of the Special Prosecutor for the dismissal of the cases for lack of sufficient evidence, the respondent court still issued the assailed resolutions. According to petitioner, respondent court's refusal to dismiss the case amounted to a denial of her constitutional right to speedy trial.

We find the petition meritorious.

In its comment on the petition, the Office of the, Special Prosecutor called the attention of this court to G.R. Nos. 139571-72 entitled "Roger N. Abardo vs. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division) raising the very issue raised by the petitioner herein. In a decision dated March 28, 2001, the Third Division of this Court directed the Sandiganbayan to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 16744-45 due to a violation of accused Abardo's right to speedy trial.

Similarly, considering that Criminal Cases Nos. 16744-45 have been pending before the Sandiganbayan for more than ten years, it is then clear that petitioner's right to speedy trial has been violated.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan is hereby ordered to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 16744-45 as to petitioner Fe Digna Narvaez-Mijares.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) TOMASITA M. DRIS
Clerk of Court


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