Sunday, February 19, 2017

Administrative cases may proceed independently of criminal proceedings - G.R. No. 180700

"x x x.

Criminal and administrative cases separate and distinct

Significantly, there are three kinds of remedies that are available against a public officer for impropriety in the performance of his powers and the discharge of his duties: (1) civil, (2) criminal, and (3) administrative. These remedies may be invoked separately, alternately, simultaneously or successively. Sometimes, the same offense may be the subject of all three kinds of remedies.21

Defeat of any of the three remedies will not necessarily preclude resort to other remedies or affect decisions reached thereunder, as different degrees of evidence are required in these several actions. In criminal cases, proof beyond reasonable doubt is needed whereas a mere preponderance of evidence will suffice in civil cases.22 In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence is required.

It is clear, then, that criminal and administrative cases are distinct from each other.23 The settled rule is that criminal and civil cases are altogether different from administrative matters, such that the first two will not inevitably govern or affect the third and vice versa.24 Verily, administrative cases may proceed independently of criminal proceedings.25

Socrates v. Sandiganbayan,26 citing the Court’s pronouncements in Luciano v. Provincial Governor,27 recounted:

The Court then hastened to clarify that such a view may not be taken as an encroachment upon the power of suspension given other officials, reiterating in the process that a line should be drawn between administrative proceedings and criminal actions in court, that one is apart from the other. x x x28 (Underscoring supplied)

Based on the foregoing, criminal actions will not preclude administrative proceedings, and vice-versa, insofar as the application of the law on preventive suspension is concerned.

x x x."