Friday, November 18, 2011

Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan

Excerpts from the book "Certiorari Conundrum" by Thads Bentulan

Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
The Sandiganbayan is a special court. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) are now of the same level as the Court of Appeals (CA). It decides cases in divisions similar to the Court of Appeals. Similar to the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan en banc cannot decide cases unlike the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).

Sandiganbayan: Original exclusive jurisdiction
The Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction over the following cases:
1.              Violation of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices), RA 1379 (unlawfully acquired property), and the Revised Penal Code (Book II, Title VII, Chapter II, Section 2), and,
2.              Other offenses  committed by public employees (and government-owned or controlled corporations) in relation to their office and private individuals charged with them, where one of the accused is an official occupying the following positions (permanent or interim) at the time of the commission of the offense:
2a.            Officials of the executive branch classified as Grade 27 or higher;
2b.            Members of the Judiciary
2c.            Members of the Constitutional Commissions
2d.            Members of Congress
2e.            All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 or higher.
3.              Civil and criminal cases filed under EO 1,2,14, and 14-A (RA 7975 Sec. 2, RA 8249)

Sandiganbayan: Concurrent original jurisdiction with the SC
Under EO 1,2,14, and 14-A (RA 7975 Sec. 2, RA 8249), the Marcos ill-gotten wealth cases, the Sandiganbayan has concurrent original jurisdiction with the Supreme Court in the
1.      special civil actions of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, and quo warranto,
2.      the special proceeding of habeas corpus, and
3.      provisional remedies of injunction and ancillary writs in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.

Sandiganbayan: Appellate jurisdiction
1.                 The Sandiganbayan has appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the RTC in the exercise of the latter’s original or appellate jurisdiction under PD 1606 as amended (RA 8249 Sec. 5). The notice of appeal must be filed with 15 days of the promulgation of judgment. Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provide the manner for this appeal.
2.                 Note: In my opinion, under the doctrine of judicial hierarchy enunciated in both St Martin Funeral Homes vs. NLRC, and People vs. Mateo, whenever the RTC imposes the death penalty, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment under BP129 and RA8249 instead of the case being elevated directly to the Supreme Court, by implication of People vs. Mateo, the RTC judgment must be reviewed first by the Sandiganbayan. I will discuss the People vs. Mateo case, decided July 7, 2004, in the next part of this series.