Saturday, December 7, 2013

Good faith as defense in graft cases

G.R. No. 168951 & G.R. No. 169000
Dr. Roger R. Posadas and Dr. Rolando P. Dayco Vs. Sandiganbayan and People of the  Phils.

Good faith as defense in graft cases -  

"The bad faith that Section 3(e) of Republic 3019 requires, said this Court, does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence. It imputes a dishonest purpose, some moral obliquity, and a conscious doing of a wrong. Indeed, it partakes of the nature of fraud.2

Here, admittedly, Dr. Dayco appears to have taken advantage of his brief designation as OIC Chancellor to appoint the absent Chancellor, Dr. Posadas, as Director and consultant of the TMC Project. But it cannot be said that Dr. Dayco made those appointments and Dr. Posadas accepted them, fraudulently, knowing fully well that Dr. Dayco did not have that authority as OIC Chancellor.

All indications are that they acted in good faith. They were scientists, not lawyers, hence unfamiliar with Civil Service rules and regulations. The world of the academe is usually preoccupied with studies, researches, and lectures. Thus, those appointments appear to have been taken for granted at UP. It did not invite any immediate protest from those who could have had an interest in the positions. It was only after about a year that the COA Resident Auditor issued a notice of suspension covering payments out of the Project to all UP personnel involved, including Dr. Posadas.

Still, in response to this notice, the UP Diliman Legal Office itself rendered a legal opinion that “confirmed the authority of Dr. Dayco, while he was OIC Chancellor, to appoint Dr. Posadas as project director and consultant of the TMC Project.” Not only this, the COA Resident Auditor, who at first thought that the OIC Chancellor had no power to make the designations, later accepted the Legal Office’s opinion and withdrew the Notices of Suspension of payment that he issued. All these indicate a need for the Court to reexamine its position that Dr. Dayco and Dr. Posadas acted in bad faith in the matter of those appointments."