MANDATE OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
SEC. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be determined by law. (Art. XIII), 1973 Constitution.
SEC. 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may be provided by law. (Art. XI), 1987 Constitution.
SEAL OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
The seal of the Sandiganbayan shall be of standard size, circular in form, consisting of two concentric circles as its margins, with the inscription, running from left to right, on the upper margin of the word "Sandiganbayan" and on the lower margin of the words Republika ng Pilipinas with 13 stars representing the existing 13 judicial regions immediately along the outer edge of the inner circle; and with a design at the center of a triangle, with a trisected area composed of the national colors of white on its upper part, blue on the left and red on the right, with the words "KATAPATAN" on the left side, "KAPANAGUTAN" on the right side, and "KARANGALAN" on the base; a star in each corner of the triangle representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; and a bolo inside the triangle on which is superimposed a balance.
We envision a judicial institution that the Filipino people can rely on for the attainment of the highest norms of official conduct required of public officers and employees.
The Sandiganbayan's mission is to give life and meaning to the constitutional precept that a public office is a public trust and to impress upon public officers and employees that they are at all times accountable to the people with their duty to serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. It carries out this objective by conducting expeditious trials of criminal and civil cases involving offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations.
JURISDICTION OF SANDIGANBAYAN
The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is perhaps one of the most often amended provision from the 1973 Constitution to RA 8249 of 1997. Before RA 8249, jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was determined on the basis of the penalty imposable on the offense charged. Then, it was amended such that regardless of the penalty, so long as the offense charged was committed by a public officer, the Sandiganbayan was vested with jurisdiction. Under RA 8249, to determine whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction, lawyers must look into two (2) criteria, namely:
The nature of the offense and The salary grade of the public official.
Thus, Sec.4 of RA 8249 provides that the Sandiganbayan shall have original exclusive jurisdiction over:
I.) Violations of RA 3019 (Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Law);
II.) RA 1379 (Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Wealth);
III.) Crimes by public officers or employees embraced in Ch. II, Sec.2 Title VII, Bk. II of the RPC (Crimes committed by Public Officers) namely:
a) Direct Bribery under Art. 210 as amended by BP 871, May 29, 1985;
b) Indirect Bribery under Art. 211 as amended by BP 871, May 29, 1985;
c) Qualified Bribery under Art. 211-A as amended by RA 7659, Dec. 13, 1993;
d) Corruption of public officials under Art. 212
where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 Republic Act No. 6758) specifically including:
a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other provincial department heads;
b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panglungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers and other department heads;
c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
d) Philippine Army and Air force colonels, naval captains and all officers of higher rank;
e) Officers of the PNP while occupying the position of Provincial Director and those holding the rank of Senior Superintendent or higher;
f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants; officials and the prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor ;
g) President, directors or trustees or managers of government owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
2) Members of Congress and Officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989;
3) Members of the Judiciary without prejudice to the provision of the Constitution;
4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provision of the Constitution;
5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
IV.) Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed in relation to their office by the public officials and employees mentioned above;
V.) Civil and Criminal Cases filed pursuant to and in connection with EO 1, 2, 14 & 14-A issued in 1986
VI.) Petitions for issuance of Writ of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction; Provided, jurisdiction is not exclusive of the Supreme Court
VII.) Petitions for Quo Warranto arising or that may arise in cases filed or that may be filed under EO 1, 2, 14 & 14- A
VIII.) OTHERS provided the accused belongs to SG 27 or higher:
a.) Violation of RA 6713 - Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
b.) Violation of RA 7080 - THE PLUNDER LAW
c.) Violation of RA 7659 - The Heinous Crime Law
d.) RA 9160 - Violation of The Anti-Money Laundering Law when committed by a public officer
e.) PD 46 referred to as the gift-giving decree which makes it punishable for any official or employee to receive directly or indirectly and for the private person to give or offer to give any gift, present or other valuable thing on any occasion including Christmas, when such gift, present or valuable thing is given by reason of his official position, regardless of whether or not the same is for past favors or the giver hopes or expects to receive a favor or better treatment in the future from the public official or employee concerned in the discharge of his official functions. Included within the prohibition is the throwing of parties or entertainment in honor of the official or employee or his immediate relatives.
f.) PD 749 which grants immunity from prosecution to any person who voluntarily gives information about any violation of Art.210, 211 or 212 of the RPC, RA 3019, Sec.345 of the NIRC, Sec. 3604 of the Customs and Tariff Code and other provisions of the said Codes penalizing abuse or dishonesty on the part of the public officials concerned and other laws, rules and regulations penalizing graft, corruption and other forms of official abuse and who willingly testifies against the public official or employee subject to certain conditions.
It should be noted that private individuals can be sued in cases before the Sandiganbayan if they are alleged to be in conspiracy with the public officer.
The Sandiganbayan is vested with Appellate Jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of the RTC whether in the exercise of their original or appellate jurisdiction over crimes and civil cases falling within the original exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan but which were committed by public officers below Salary Grade 27.
HISTORY OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
The creation of the Sandiganbayan was originally provided for by Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution:
"SEC. 5. The National Assembly shall create a special court, to be known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees, including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office as may be determined by law.
In obedience to this mandate, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, exercising the emergency legislative power granted him under Amendment No. 6 of the 1976 Amendments to the 1973 Constitution, issued on June 11, 1978, Presidential Decree No. 1486 creating the Sandiganbayan and putting it on the same level as what were then known as the Courts of First Instance, now the Regional Trial Courts. Shortly thereafter, however, the Sandiganbayan was elevated to the level of the Court of Appeals by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1606 issued on December 10, 1978.
At the start of its operation on February 12, 1979, the Sandiganbayan had only one Division, composed of the Presiding Justice, Hon. Manuel R. Pamaran, and two Associate Justices, Hon. Bernardo P. Fernandez and Hon. Romeo M. Escareal, and a skeleton force of fifteen (15). The start of the third year of the Court's operation in 1981 was marked by the activation of the Second Division. The appointment of three more Justices of the Third Division in August 4, 1982 completed the full membership of the Court.
The historic EDSA Revolution of February 1986 that signaled the beginning of a new dispensation, caused substantial changes in the entire government machinery, including the judiciary. However, both the 'Freedom Constitution' and the new Constitution have seen fit to maintain the Sandiganbayan as one of the principal instruments of public accountability. In furtherance of this, its jurisdiction has been broadened to include the so-called 'ill-gotten wealth' cases investigated by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) through Executive Orders No. 14 and No. 14-A. In the reorganization program of the new government, the resignation of some of the members of the Court was accepted leading to the appointment of a new Presiding Justice in the person of Hon. Francis E. Garchitorena.
To further strengthen the functional and structural organization of the Sandiganbayan, several amendments have been introduced to the original law creating it, the latest of which are Republic Acts No. 7975 and No. 8249. Under these new laws, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is now confined to cases involving public officials occupying positions classified as salary grade 27 and higher. As restructured, the Sandiganbayan is presently composed of a Presiding Justice and fourteen (14) Associate Justices who sit in five (5) Divisions of three Justices each in the trial and determination of cases.
STATUTORY HISTORY OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
1. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1486 - CREATING A SPECIAL COURT TO BE KNOWN AS 'SANDIGANBAYAN' AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES - promulgated June 11, 1978;
2. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 - REVISING PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1486 CREATING A SPECIAL COURT TO BE KNOWN AS 'SANDIGANBAYAN' AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES - promulgated December 10, 1978;
3. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1629 - AMENDING PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1486 CREATING A SPECIAL COURT TO BE KNOWN AS 'SANDIGANBAYAN', AS REVISED BY PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 - promulgated July 18, 1979;
4. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1822 - PROVIDING FOR THE TRIAL BY COURTS-MARTIAL OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES CHARGED WITH OFFENSES RELATED TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES - promulgated January 16, 1981;
5. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 22-A - AMENDING SECTION 1, P.D. NO. 1822, PROVIDING FOR TRIAL BY COURTS-MARTIAL OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES CHARGED WITH OFFENSES RELATED TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES - promulgated January 16, 1981;
6. BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129 - THE JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980 - promulgated August 14, 1981;
7. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1850 - PROVIDING FOR THE TRIAL BY COURTS-MARTIAL OF MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE AND FURTHER DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OF COURTS-MARTIAL OVER MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES - promulgated October 4, 1982;
8. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1860 - AMENDING THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 AND BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129 RELATIVE TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES - promulgated January 14, 1983;
9. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1861 - AMENDING THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 AND BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129 RELATIVE TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES - promulgated March 23, 1983;
10. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1952 - AMENDING SECTION ONE OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1850, ENTITLED 'PROVIDING FOR THE TRIAL BY COURTS-MARTIAL OF MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED NATIONAL POLICE AND FURTHER DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OF COURTS-MARTIAL OVER MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES' - promulgated September 9, 1984;
11. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14 - DEFINING THE JURISDICTION OVER CASES INVOLVING THE ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH OF FORMER PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS, MRS. IMELDA R. MARCOS, MEMBERS OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY, CLOSE RELATIVES, SUBORDINATES, CLOSE AND/OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, DUMMIES, AGENTS AND NOMINEES - promulgated May 7, 1986;
12. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14-A - AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 14 - promulgated August 18, 1986;
13. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 101 - FURTHER AMENDING PRESIDETIAL DECREE NO. 1486, AS AMENDED BY PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 CREATING A SPECIAL COURT TO BE KNOWN AS 'SANDIGANBAYAN' - promulgated December 24, 1986;
14. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 184 - AMENDING SECTION 3 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1606 - promulgated June 5, 1987.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDING JUSTICE
Implements the policies, executes the resolutions and enforces the orders of the Court En Banc; performs the functions specifically vested upon him by law, rules and regulations or those implied therefrom; performs all other functions and duties inherent in his position.
OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Court in providing the necessary technical and administrative support; exercises supervision over the staff and employees; takes charge of pre and post adjudicative matters.
LEGAL RESEARCH & TECHNICAL STAFF
Provides legal and technical assistance to the Court by conducting legal research and studies; takes charge of all legal and related matters.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Clerk of Court in providing technical and administrative support and assistance to the First Division of the Court; takes charge of the pre and post adjudicative matters relative to cases assigned to the First Division.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Clerk of Court in providing technical and administrative support and assistance to the Second Division of the Court; takes charge of the pre and post adjudicative matters relative to cases assigned to the Second Division.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Clerk of Court in providing technical and administrative support and assistance to the Third Division of the Court; takes charge of the pre and post adjudicative matters relative to cases assigned to the Third Division.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Clerk of Court in providing technical and administrative support and assistance to the Fourth Division of the Court; takes charge of the pre and post adjudicative matters relative to cases assigned to the Fourth Division
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT
Assists the Clerk of Court in providing technical and administrative support and assistance to the Fifth Division of the Court; takes charge of the pre and post adjudicative matters relative to cases assigned to the Fifth Division.
JUDICIAL RECORDS DIVISION
Takes charge of docketing of cases; plans, implements and evaluates programs for the systematic management of judicial records; and performs other related functions. Prepares entries of judgment; issues copies of decisions, resolutions and orders; maintains a systematic filing and records keeping; and handles the Courtâ€™s information system, monitoring requests for statistical data.
Attends to the manpower development and service needs of the Court; and performs all functions relative to administrative and personnel matters. Attends to the procurement and maintenance of the properties, supplies and equipment of the Court, including the Court's physical plant Takes charge of the collection and disbursement of the Court.
BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION
Prepares and executes the budget of the Court; initiates plans and formula for more effective utilization of funds allotted to the Court; fiscalizes the agency's financial interest including disclosure of deficiencies in control needing corrections. Keeps accounting records for the Court; prepares reports required by the Department of Budget and Management, Commission on Audit and other government agencies.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM DIVISION
Provides technical services related to the planning, development, implementation and maintenance of information systems; takes care of all information and communications technology requirements of the Court.
SECURITY AND SHERIFF SERVICES DIVISION
In charge of the formulation of plans, implements and evaluates program for the systematic management of security of the Sandiganbayan premises, property and personnel and performs other related functions; takes charge of the formulation of systems for the effective services of Court processes and enforcement of Writs issued by the various Divisions of the Court; serves as liaison office with the various law enforcement agencies and the media regarding all court orders and processes issued by the various divisions of the Court, and other court related matters; takes custody of all accused processing their bail for their temporary liberty and/or to turn-over accused who voluntarily surrenders to the authorized detention centers; oversee that all judicial and extra-judicial proceedings are accomplished; takes charge of the formulation of effective management and implementation of all kinds of court orders /processes and writs coming from the various divisions of the Court.