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Santiago vs SB

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  G.R. No. 128055, April 18, 2001 ã Power of Sandiganbayan to suspend members of Congress vis-a-visCongress' prerogative to discipline its own members: the former is not punitive, thelatter is FACTS: A group of employees of the Commission of Immigration and eportation !CI #led a complaint for violation of Anti-$raft and Corrupt Practices Act against then CI Commissioner %iriam efensor-Santiago& It was alleged that petitioner, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the eercise of her o(cial functions, approved the application forlegali)ation of the stay of several dis*uali#ed aliens& +he Sandiganbayan then issued an order for her suspensioneective for . days& ISSUE: ã Whether or not the Sani!an a#an ha$ a%thorit# to e&ree a '0(a#pre)enti)e $%$pen$ion a!ain$t a Senator o* the Rep% li& o* the+hilippine$RUING:  +he authority of the Sandiganbayan to order the preventive suspension of an incumbentpublic o(cial charged with violation of the provisions of /epublic Act 0o& 1.2 has bothlegal and 3urisprudential support& It would appear, indeed, to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue an orderof suspension upon determination of the validity of the information #led before it& 4ncethe information is found to be su(cient in form and substance, the court is bound to issuean order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be 5no ifs and butsabout it&6 7plaining the nature of the preventive suspension, the Court in the case of 8ayot vs& Sandiganbayan observed:5   It is not a penalty because it is not imposed as a result of 3udicial proceedings& Infact, if ac*uitted, the o(cial concerned shall be entitled to reinstatement and to thesalaries and bene#ts which he failed to receive duringsuspension&6In issuing the preventive suspension of petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely adhered tothe clear an une*uivocal mandate of the law, as well as the 3urisprudence in which theCourt has, more than once, upheld Sandiganbayan9s authority to decreethe suspension of public o(cials and employees indicted before it&Power of Sandiganbayan to ecree Preventive   Suspension   vis--visCongress9    Prerogative   to iscipline   its %embers +he pronouncement, upholding the validity of the information #led against petitioner,behooved Sandiganbayan to discharge its mandated duty to forthwith issue the order of preventive suspension& +he order of suspension prescribed by /epublic Act 0o& 1.2 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ran;s under the Constitution which provides that each-5   house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its %embers fordisorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its %embers, suspendor epel a %ember& A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not eceed sity days&6 +he suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is apunitive measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate or the house of 2  /epresentatives, as the case may be, upon an erring member&/epublic Act 0o& 1.2 does not eclude from its coverage the members of Congress andthat, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailedpreventive suspension order& 356 SCRA 636 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Suspension of a em!er of Congress – iolations of RA 3#$% In 4ctober 2<<, %iriam efensor Santiago, who was the then Commissioner of theCommission of Immigration and eportation !CI , approved the application forlegali)ation of the stay of about 1= aliens& >er act was said to be illegal and was taintedwith bad faith and it ran counter against /epublic Act 0o& 1.2 !Anti-$raft and CorruptPractices Act & +he legali)ation of such is also a violation of 7ecutive 4rder 0o& 1=? whichprohibits the legali)ation of dis*uali#ed aliens& +he aliens legali)ed by Santiago wereallegedly ;nown by her to be dis*uali#ed& +wo other criminal cases were #led againstSantiago& Pursuant to this information, @rancis $architorena, a presiding ustice of theSandiganbayan, issued a warrant of arrest against Santiago& Santiago petitioned forprovisional liberty since she was 3ust recovering from a car accident which was approved&In 2B, a motion was #led with the Sandiganbayan for the suspension of Santiago, whowas already a senator by then& +he Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate President!%aceda to suspend Santiago from o(ce for . days& ISSUE: hether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the Senatewithout violating the Constitution& -E:  Des& it is true that the Constitution provides that each 5E house ma& 'eterminethe rules of its procee'ings( punish its em!ers for 'isor'erl& !ehavior( an'( with theconcurrence of two)thir's of all its em!ers( suspen' or e*pel a em!er+ A penalt& of suspension( when impose'( shall not e*cee' si*t& 'a&s+ 68ut on the other hand, Section 21 of /A 1.2 provides: Suspension an' loss of !ene,ts+ – an& incum!ent pu!lic o-cer against whom an& criminal prosecution un'er a vali' information un'er this Act or un'er Title .( /oo0 11 of the Revise' Penal Co'e or for an& o2ense involving frau' upon government or pu!licfun's or propert& whether as a simple or as a comple* o2ense an' in whatever stage of e*ecution an' mo'e of participation( is pen'ing in court( shall !e suspen'e' from o-ce+ Shoul' he !e convicte' !& ,nal u'gment( he shall lose all retirement or gratuit& !ene,tsun'er an& law( !ut if he is ac4uitte'( he shall !e entitle' to reinstatement an' to thesalaries an' !ene,ts which he faile' to receive 'uring suspension( unless in themeantime a'ministrative procee'ings have !een ,le' against him+ In here, the order of suspension prescribed by /A& 1.2 is distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ran;s under the Constitution& +he suspension contemplatedin the above constitutional provision is a punitive measure that is imposed upondetermination by the Senate or the Fower >ouse, as the case may be, upon an erringmember& +his is *uite distinct from thesuspension spo;en of in Section 21 of /A 1.2,which is not a penalty but a preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding from the factthat the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a %ember of theSenate&/epublic Act 0o& 1.2 does not eclude from its coverage the members of Congress andthat, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailedpreventive suspension order&8ut Santiago committed the said act when she was still the CI commissioner, can shestill be suspended as a senatorGSection 21 of /epublic Act 0o& 1.2 does not state that the public o(cer concerned mustbe suspended only in the o(ce where he is alleged to have committed the acts withwhich he has been charged& +hus, it has been held that the use of the word 5o(ce6=  would indicate that it applies to any o(ce which the o(cer charged may be holding, andnot only the particular o(ce under which he stands accused&Santiago has not yet been convicted of the alleged crime, can she still be suspendedG +he law does not re*uire that the guilt of the accused must be established in a pre-suspensionproceeding before trial on the merits proceeds& 0either does it contemplate aproceeding to determine !2 the strength of the evidence of culpability against him, != the gravity of the oense charged, or !1 whether or not his continuance in o(ce couldinHuence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records anotherevidence before the court could have a valid basis in decreeingpreventive suspension pending the trial of the case& All it secures to the accused isade*uate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the proceedings againsthim, such as, that he has not been aorded the right to due preliminary investigation,that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a speci#c crime warranting hismandatory suspension from o(ce under Section 21 of /epublic Act 0o& 1.2, or that theinformation is sub3ect to *uashal on any of the grounds set out in Section 1, /ule 22, of the /evised /ules on Criminal procedure&70 8A0C /G.R. No. 128055. April 18, 2001IRIA EFENSR SANTIAG,  petitioner, vs. SANIGAN3A4AN, FRANCIS E.GARC-ITRENA, SE S. 3AAAIA AN INITA 6. C-IC(NA7ARI, AS+RESIING USTICE AN E3ERS F T-E FIRST I6ISIN, respondents.  E C I S I  N6ITUG,  J .:  +he Court is called upon to review the act of the Sandiganbayan, and how far it cango, in ordering the preventive suspension of petitioner, %me& Senator %iriam efensor-Santiago, in connection with pending criminal cases #led against her for alleged violationof /epublic Act 0o& 1.2, as amended, otherwise ;nown as the Anti-$raft and CorruptPractices Act& +he instant case arose from complaints #led by a group of employees of theCommission of Immigration and eportation !CI against petitioner, then CICommissioner, for alleged violation of the Anti-$raft and Corrupt Practices Act& +heinvestigating panel, that too; over the case from Investigator $ualberto dela Flana afterhaving been constituted by the eputy 4mbudsman for Fu)on upon petitioner9s re*uest,came up with a resolution which it referred, for approval, to the 4(ce of the SpecialProsecutor !4SP and the 4mbudsman& In his %emorandum, dated =J April 22, the4mbudsman directed the 4SP to #le the appropriate informations against petitioner& 4n21 %ay 22, 4SP submitted to the 4mbudsman the informations for clearanceKapproved, forthwith, three informations were #led on even date&In Criminal Case 0o& 2JJ< #led before the Sandiganbayan, petitioner was indictedthusly:5+hat on or about 4ctober 2, 2<<, or sometime prior or subse*uent thereto, in %anila, Philippines and within the 3urisdiction of this >onorable Court, accused %I/IA% 7@70S4/-SA0+IA$4, a public o(cer, being then the Commissioner of the Commission on Immigration and eportation, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the eercise of her o(cial functions, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application for legali)ation of the stay of the following aliens: hamtani Shalini0arendra, +ing Sio; >un, Ching Suat Fiong +ing, Cu Lui Pein My, Cu Lui Pwe My, >ong Shao $uan, >ong Niao Duan, Nu Fi Nuan, Oui %ing Nia 4ng, u Sui Nin Ouiu, u >ong $uan Oui  8etty $o, u >ong /u Oui  %ary $o Nu Din Din Lua, >ong Shao >ua Nu, 1  >ong Shao ei Nu, Fu Shing Oing, Fu Shi +ian, Fu Se Chong, Shi Oing Du, Nu Angun  Nu An Cin, Nu Pinting, ang Niu in, Cai Pian Pian, Cai en Nu, Cai %in %in, Cai Ping Ping, Choi Lin Lwo;  8ernardo Suare), Den Fiang u  eslyn $an, Cai Dan 0an, Den Fing Chien Chrismayne $an, So Chen Dueh-4, Cai Da /ong, who arrived in the Philippines after  anuary 2, 2<? in violation of 7ecutive 4rder no& 1=? dated April 21, 2<< which prohibits the legali)ation of said dis*uali#ed aliens ;nowing fully well that said aliens are dis*uali#ed, thereby giving unwarranted bene#ts to said aliens whose stay in the Philippines was unlawfully legali)ed by said accused&6 Q2R  +wo other criminal cases, one for violation of the provisions of Presidential ecree 0o&?J and the other for libel, were #led with the /egional +rial Court of %anila, doc;eted,respectively, 0o& 2-?BBB and no& 2-?<&Pursuant to the information #led with the Sandiganbayan, Presiding ustice @rancis 7&$architorena issued an order for the arrest of petitioner, #ing the bail at @ifteen +housand !P2B,...&.. Pesos& Petitioner posted a cash bail without need for physicalappearance as she was then recuperating from in3uries sustained in a vehicularaccident& +he Sandiganbayan granted her provisional liberty until .B une 22 or untilher physical condition would warrant her physical appearance in court& Mponmanifestation by the 4mbudsman, however, that petitioner was able to come unaided tohis o(ce on =. %ay 22, Sandiganbayan issued an order setting the arraignment on =%ay 22&%eanwhile, petitioner moved for the cancellation of her cash bond and prayed thatshe be allowed provisional liberty upon a recogni)ance&4n =? %ay 22, petitioner #led, concurrently, a Petition for Certiorari  with Prohibitionand Preliminary In3unction before the Court, doc;eted $&/& 0o& =<-., see;ing toen3oin the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with Criminal Case 0o& 2JJ< and a motionbefore the Sandiganbayan to meanwhile defer her arraignment& +he Court ta;ingcogni)ance of the petition issued a temporary restraining order& +he Sandiganbayan, thus, informed, issued an order deferring petitioner9sarraignment and the consideration of her motion to cancel the cash bond until furtheradvice from the court&4n 21 anuary 2=, the Court rendered its decision dismissing the petition and liftingthe temporary restraining order& +he subse*uent motion for reconsideration #led bypetitioner proved unavailing&4n .J uly 2=, in the wa;e of me'ia  reports announcing petitioner9s intention toaccept a fellowship from the ohn @& Lennedy School of $overnment at >arvard Mniversity,the Sandiganbayan issued an order to en3oin petitioner from leaving the country&4n 2B 4ctober 2=, petitioner moved to inhibit Sandiganbayan Presiding ustice$architorena from the case and to defer her arraignment pending action on her motion toinhibit& 4n . 0ovember 2=, her motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan& +hefollowing day, she #led anew a Petition for Certiorari  and Prohibition with urgent Prayer forPreliminary In3unction with the Court, doc;eted $&/& 0o& =<-.& At the same time,petitioner #led a motion for bill of particulars with the Sandiganbayan asseverating thatthe names of the aliens whose applications she purportedly approved and therebysupposedly etended undue advantage were conspicuously omitted in the complaint& +he Court, in its resolution of 2= 0ovember 2=, directed the Sandiganbayan toreset petitioner9s arraignment not later than #ve days from receipt of notice thereof&4n . ecember 2=, the 4SP and the 4mbudsman #led with the Sandiganbayan amotion to admit thirty-two amended informations& Petitioner moved for the dismissal of the 1= informations& +he court, in its 22 th  %arch 21 resolution, denied her motion todismiss the said informations and directed her to post bail on the criminal cases,doc;eted Criminal Case 0o& 2<12-2<?.=, #led against her&Mnrelenting, petitioner, once again came to this Court via a Petitionfor Certiorari(  doc;eted $&/& 0o& 2.=JJ, assailing the .1 rd  %arch 21 resolution of theSandiganbayan which resolved not to dis*ualify its Presiding ustice, as well as its2? th  %arch 21 resolution admitting the 1= Amended Informations, and see;ing thenulli#cation thereof&?
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