REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES THRU: THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), AFP ANTI-GRAFT BOARD, COL. ERNESTO A. PUNSALANG and PETER T. TABANG, petitioners, vs. HON. EUTROPIO MIGRINO, as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, NCJR, Branch 151, Pasig, Metro Manila and TROADIO TECSON, respondents. G.R. No. 89483 | 1990-08-30
D E C I S I O N
This case puts in issue the authority of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), through the New Armed Forces of the Philippines Anti-Graft Board (hereinafter referred to as the "Board"), to investigate and cause the prosecution of petitioner, a retired military officer, for violation of Republic Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379.
Assailed by the Republic in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and/or mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order are the orders of respondent judge in Civil Case No. 57092 Branch 151 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila: (1) dated June 23, 1989, denying petitioners' Motion to Dismiss and Opposition, and (2) dated June 26, 1989, granting private respondent's application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Thus, the petition seeks the annulment of the two orders, the issuance of an injunction to enjoin respondent judge from proceeding with Civil Case No. 57092 and, finally, the dismissal of the case before the trial court.
The controversy traces its roots to the order of then PCGG Chairman Jovito R. Salonga, dated May 13, 1986, which created the New Armed Forces of the Philippines Anti-Graft Board. The Board was created to "investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of AFP personnel, both retired and in active service." The order further stated that "[t]he Board shall be primarily charged with the task of investigating cases of alleged violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019, as amended) and shall make the necessary recommendations to appropriate government agencies and instrumentalities with respect to the action to be taken thereon based on its findings."
Acting on information received by the Board, which indicated the acquisition of wealth beyond his lawful income, private respondent Lt. Col. Troadio Tecson (ret.) was required by the Board to submit his explanation/comment together with his supporting evidence by October 31, 1987 [Annex "B", Petition]. Private respondent requested, and was granted, several postponements, but was unable to produce his supporting evidence because they were allegedly in the custody of his bookkeeper who had gone abroad.
Just the same, the Board proceeded with its investigation and submitted its resolution, dated June 30, 1988, recommending that private respondent be prosecuted and tried for violation of Rep. Act No. 3019, as amended, and Rep. Act No. 1379, as amended.
The case was set for preliminary investigation by the PCGG. Private respondent moved to dismiss the case on the following grounds: (1) that the PCGG has no jurisdiction over his person; (2) that the action against him under Rep. Act No. 1379 has already prescribed; (3) that E.O. No. 14, insofar as it suspended the provisions of Rep. Act No. 1379 on prescription of actions, was inapplicable to his case; and (4) that having retired from the AFP on May 9, 1984, he was now beyond the reach of Rep. Act No. 3019. The Board opposed the motion to dismiss.
In a resolution dated February 8, 1989, the PCGG denied the motion to dismiss for lack of merit. Private respondent moved for reconsideration but this was denied by the PCGG in a resolution dated March 8, 1989. Private respondent was directed to submit his counter-affidavit and other controverting evidence on March 20, 1989 at 2:00 p.m.
On March 13, 1989, private respondent filed a petition for prohibition with preliminary injunction with the Regional Trial Court in Pasig, Metro Manila. The case...
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