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[G.R. Nos. 137687-91.December 12, 2001]

MARCOS vs. SANDIGANBAYAN et al.

FIRST DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated DEC 12 2001.

G.R. Nos. 137687-91(Imelda R. Marcos vs. Hon. Sandiganbayan (Third Division) and People of the Philippines.)

This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction assailing the two resolutions of the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) that denied petitioner's motions to quash informations. 1 Rollo, pp. 43-68.

On December 18, 1991, the prosecution charged petitioner with violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Act, 2 Republic Act 3019.in relation to Article IX, Sec. 8 of the 1973 Constitution, under five (5) separate informations. 3 Criminal Cases Nos. 17287-91 (Petition, Rollo, pp. 8-11).On arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty. 4 Cited in the petition (Rollo, p. 11).

On February 11, 1994, petitioner filed five (5) motions to quash the informations on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense. Assuming, arguendo, that they do, they no longer exist and the criminal liability had been extinguished. 5 Rollo, pp. 86-225.

The prosecution filed a consolidated memorandum dated March 13, 1994, opposing the motions to quash. 6 Ibid., 226-245.On May 17, 1994, petitioner filed a consolidated reply. 7 Ibid., pp. 246-268.

On October 18, 1995, petitioner filed a supplemental motion to quash on the ground that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the subject matter 8 In Criminal Cases Nos. 17287-90.under the principle of territoriality since these cases involved petitioner's dealings with foreign corporations. 9 Ibid., pp. 269-272.On October 30, 1995, the prosecution filed its comment/opposition on the supplemental motion to quash. 10 Ibid., pp. 273-275.

On August 9, 1996, the Sandiganbayan issued the assailed resolution denying petitioner's motions to quash as well as the supplemental motion to quash. 11 Supra, Note 1.On August 23, 1996, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. 12 Rollo, pp. 69-85.

On October 8, 1996, the parties jointly moved the Court to hold the proceedings in abeyance pending resolution of the petition in G.R. No. 116027 involving the same issues. The motion was granted. 13 Cited in the Sandiganbayan resolution dated February 25, 1999 (Rollo, pp. 60-68 at p. 60).On February 4, 1998, the Sandiganbayan lifted the order holding in abeyance the proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 17287-91. 14 Ibid.

On February 25, 1999, the Sandiganbayan denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the August 9, 1996 resolution for lack of merit. 15 Rollo, pp. 60-68 at p. 68.

Hence, this petition. 16 Ibid., pp. 3-41. On April 13, 1999, this Court required the respondents to comment on the petition (Rollo, p. 293). The prosecution filed its comment on July 8, 1999 (Rollo, pp. 316-334), which was adopted by the Office of the Solicitor General in the manifestation and motion filed on July 29, 1999 (Rollo, pp. 335-338). Petitioner filed a reply on September 10, 1999 (Rollo, pp. 345-368). On July 17, 2000, we gave due course to the petition (Rollo, pp. 373-374).

The issue is whether or not respondent Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner's motions to quash.

We deny the petition.

The denial of a motion to quash is an interlocutory order and cannot be the subject of review by certiorari unless it is clearly shown that the court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. The proper remedy is to proceed to trial and in case of an adverse judgment, to appeal therefrom. The remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive. 17 Lalican vs. Hon. Vergara, 342 Phil. 485, 497 (1997).

In the case at bar, we do not find grave abuse of discretion of the Sandiganbayan in denying the motions to quash and the motion for reconsideration. 18 Supra, Note 1.The Sandiganbayan amply traversed the grounds relied upon by petitioner in her motions to quash and squarely refuted the same.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court hereby DISMISSES the petition for certiorari and prohibition. The Court directs the Sandiganbayan to proceed with the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 17287-91 with reasonable dispatch, in accordance with the Speedy Trial Act of 1998.

The Sandiganbayan must finish the trial of the cases within six (6) months from notice of this resolution, and decide the cases within three (3) months from submission. It shall inform this Court of the decision within ten (10) days from promulgation thereof.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) VIRGINIA ANCHETA-SORIANO

Clerk of Court


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