FELICITO S. MACALINO, PETITIONER, VS. SANDIGANBAYAN AND OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, RESPONDENTS, G.R. Nos. 140199-200, February 06, 2002. - The Lawyer's Post.
“x x x.
Petitioner contends that an employee of the PNCC is not a public officer as defined under Republic Act No. 3019, as follows:
“Sec. 2. (a) xxx xxx xxx.
“(b) Public officer includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the unclassified or classified or exempted service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government as defined in the preceding paragraph.”
To resolve the issue, we resort to the 1987 Constitution. Article XI, on the Accountability of Public Officers, provides:
“Section 12. The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against public officials or employees of the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations x x x.”
“Section 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties:
“1. Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper and inefficient. x x x
“2. Direct, upon complaint or at its instance, any public official or employee of the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.” (underscoring supplied)
Further, Article IX-B, Section 2 (1) of the 1987 Constitution provides:
“The civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters.” (underscoring supplied)
Republic Act No. 6770 provides:
“Section 15. Powers, Functions and Duties -The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions and duties:
“1. Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. x x x.
“2. Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any officer or employee of the Government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as any government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.”
Inasmuch as the PNCC has no original charter as it was incorporated under the general law on corporations, it follows inevitably that petitioner is not a public officer within the coverage of R. A. No. 3019, as amended. Thus, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over him. The only instance when the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a private individual is when the complaint charges him either as a co-principal, accomplice or accessory of a public officer who has been charged with a crime within the jurisdiction of Sandiganbayan.
The cases cited by respondent People of the Philippines are inapplicable because they were decided under the provisions of the 1973 Constitution which included as public officers, officials and employees of corporations owned and controlled by the government though organized and existing under the general corporation law. The 1987 Constitution excluded such corporations.
The crimes charged against petitioner were committed in 1989 and 1990. The criminal actions were instituted in 1992. It is well-settled that “the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined by the law in force at the institution of the action.”
X x x.”