What violates the right to speedy disposition of cases?

FIRST DIVISION  [ G.R. No. 235964, January 22, 2018 ]  PSUPT. ALEXANTASUDA DELA CERNA, SG-25 VS. OMBUDSMAN MOLEO GRAFT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OFFICERS ATTY. JAMILA R. CRUZ-SARGA, ET AL.

After carefully reviewing the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the present Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction, filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, the Court resolved to DISMISS the same for failure to comply with several procedural requirements.

The copies of the assailed resolutions and orders are mere machine copies, contrary to the requirement of Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court that the petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the assailed judgment, order, or resolution. The verification is defective as it is based on the petitioner's "personal knowledge and honest belief,"[1] contrary to the requirement under Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court that the allegations in a pleading to be true and correct based on the affiant's personal knowledge or based on authentic records. The petitioner failed to explain why copies of the petition were served to the MCTC and the adverse parties through registered mail instead of the preferred mode of personal service. The affidavit of service is defective because it was notarized on December 27, 2017, prior to the actual date of service by registered mail on December 28, 2017.

More importantly, the petition was filed out of time. The latest assailed ruling is the MCTC Order dated November 10, 2015, which the petitioner received on December 15, 2015. The present petition was filed only on December 29, 2017, beyond the 60-day period from notice of the assailed ruling as provided under Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

As borne out by the records, the petitioner had already assailed the same rulings of the MCTC and the Ombudsman before the Court of Appeals (CA) through a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as CA-G.R. CEB SP No. 09814. In its Resolution dated January 27, 2016,[2] the CA dismissed outright the petition due to numerous procedural errors.[3] The petitioner, however, alleged that upon motion for reconsideration, the CA reinstated his petition,[4] but he failed to attach a copy of this resolution. Assuming the allegation to be true, the petitioner's immediate recourse should have been with the CA, and not with this Court. By filing a petition with this Court notwithstanding the pendency of a similar case before another tribunal, the petitioner commits forum shopping.

At any rate, this Court has carefully perused the allegations in the Petition and found no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of the respondent tribunals in issuing the following:

(1) Order dated November 10, 2015 in Criminal Case No. 10879[5] by the 4th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Talibon-Getafe, Bohol; and
(2) Resolution dated January 30, 2008,[6] Order dated March 30, 2011,[7] Order dated October 31, 2014,[8] in OMB-P-C-07-0319-D by the Ombudsman.

While the right of an accused to a speedy disposition of his case is guaranteed by Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, this right is deemed violated only when the proceedings are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are sought and secured; or when, without justifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried.[9] The six-year delay in filing the Information against the petitioner was due to the failure to transmit copies of the Ombudsman's rulings in OMB-P-C-07-0319-D to the Bohol Provincial Prosecutor. This failure notwithstanding, the Ombudsman found that the prescriptive period for the offense had not yet expired.[10]It is rather ironic for the petitioner to invoke his constitutional right to the speedy disposition of his case, but nonetheless allowed almost two years to lapse before assailing the rulings of the MCTC and the Ombudsman before this Court.

In view of the foregoing, the Court finds that the MCTC and the Ombudsman did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the aforementioned rulings.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

[1] Rollo, p. 15.

[2] Penned by CA Associate Justice Pablito A. Perez, with CA Associate Justices Pamela Ann Abella Maxino and Gabriel T. Robeniol concurring, rollo, pp. 118-121.

[3] There was failure to pay the docket and other lawful fees, erroneous service of pleadings, and defective notarial certificate attached to the verification and certification of non-forum shopping, rollo, p. 119.

[4] Rollo, p. 6.

[5] Rollo, pp. 113-117.

[6] Rollo, pp. 78-81.

[7] Rollo, pp. 93-95.

[8] Rollo, p. 98-102.

[9]Lumanlaw v. Judge Peralta Jr., 517 Phil. 588, 598 (2006), citing Gonzales v. Sandiganbayan, 276 Phil. 323,333-334(1991).

[10] Rollo, pp. 101-102.

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