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G.R. No. 166880-82, G.R. NOS. 166880-82 and G.R. NOS. 167088-90 - FELIX T. RIPALDA, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES / NARCIA A. GREFIEL v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL. / CESAR P. GUY v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. No. 166880-82, G.R. NOS. 166880-82 and G.R. NOS. 167088-90 - FELIX T. RIPALDA, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES / NARCIA A. GREFIEL v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL. / CESAR P. GUY v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. NOS. 166794-96 : March 20, 2009]

CESAR P. GUY, Petitioner, v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

[G.R. NOS. 166880-82 : March 20, 2009]

FELIX T. RIPALDA, CONCEPCION C. ESPERAS, EDUARDO VILLAMOR, and ERVIN C. MARTINEZ, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

[G.R. NOS. 167088-90 : March 20, 2009]

NARCISA A. GREFIEL, Petitioner, v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

TINGA, J.:

These are consolidated petitions for review assailing the decision of the Sandiganbayan dated 2 September 2004 in Criminal Cases No. 26508-101 which found petitioners guilty of violating Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (R.A. No. 3019).

The facts, as culled from the records, follow.

Petitioners Felix T. Ripalda, Concepcion C. Esperas, Eduardo R. Villamor, and Ervin C. Martinez (Ripalda, et al.) are officers and employees of the City Engineer's Office of the City of Tacloban.2 Meanwhile, petitioners Cesar P. Guy (Guy)3 and Narcisa A. Grefiel (Grefiel)4 are the Barangay Chairman and Barangay Treasurer, respectively, of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City (Barangay 36). Said petitioners, together with Edgar Amago, a private individual, owner and proprietor of Amago Construction were charged in three (3) separate Informations with violation of Section 3 (e) of R. A. No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in connection with the construction of three (3) infrastructure projects in Barangay 36, namely: an elevated path walk, a basketball court and a day care center.

It appears that an audit investigation was conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) in response to a letter-complaint of one Alfredo Alberca regarding the three projects.5 The audit team found that the Sangguniang Barangay of Barangay 36, acting as the Pre-Qualification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC) accepted bid proposals from Amago Construction and General Services (Amago Construction) without issuing the proper plans and specifications for the basketball court and day care projects and that the work programs for the day care center and the elevated path walk were prepared long after the construction had been completed. Likewise, Guy and Grefiel reported the construction of the projects to the City Engineer's Office only after they had already been completed; thus, petitioner employees inspected the projects only after they had already been accomplished. Petitioner employees approved the accomplishment of the projects despite the absence of material documents, according to the audit team's report. Finally, the audit team found material defects in the projects and discovered that the contract cost for the basketball court and elevated path walk was overpriced.6

The Ombudsman Prosecutor (Ombudsman-Visayas) filed the corresponding information for the offenses, essentially charging petitioners with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.

Petitioner employees claimed that the participation of the City Engineer's Office of Tacloban City in the barangay infrastructure projects was only to provide technical assistance to implementing barangays and that it was the barangay officials who supervised the construction of the projects. They aver that the City Engineer's Office was not a member of the PBAC which conducted the bidding process for the subject projects, and that they did not personally know their co-accused Guy and Grefiel, much more did they have any association with them prior to the approval of the three projects. It was Guy and Grefiel who requested the City Engineer's Office to inspect the projects, and that when the City Engineer's Office conducted the inspection, it found the projects already completed. Lastly, they found the three projects to be in accordance with the plans and specifications set for them and there were no anomalies or irregularities in their construction. They add that the residents of Barangay 36 have benefited from the three projects.7

On the other hand, Guy maintained that the three projects were authorized by resolutions duly-enacted by the Sangguniang Barangay. He claimed that a public bidding was conducted before the construction of the projects and that Amago Construction was the winning bidder. He added that Amago Construction constructed the projects and was accordingly paid for the work done and the materials supplied by it.8

Meanwhile, Grefiel argued that her only participation in the projects was her signing of the blank disbursement vouchers and blank checks covering the projects, and that it was Guy who instructed her to affix her signature on the said documents. She added that she did not participate in the supervision of the construction of the projects nor in the disbursement of the payment of any amount for the projects to Amago Construction.9

On 2 September 2004, the Sandiganbayan decided the case against petitioners.

The Sandiganbayan found that Guy and Grefiel awarded the contracts to Amago Construction even if there were no plans and specifications for the day care center and basketball court projects prior to their construction; and that while there was a plan and specification for the elevated path walk, they tolerated Amago Construction's failure to abide by the said plan.10 Furthermore, Guy and Grefiel are also responsible for giving Amago Construction the check payments even before requests for obligation of appropriations and disbursement vouchers were made.11 The graft court also found that the construction of the projects were reported to petitioner employees after the projects had already been completed, and that these anomalies notwithstanding, petitioner employees certified that the projects were made in accordance with the plans and that the same were 100% completed. Further, the Sandiganbayan found that the quality of the day care center project was substandard, the program of work was not followed, and worse, the contract amounts for the basketball court and the elevated path walk exceeded the allowable project costs.12 Finally, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the acts of the petitioners, taken collectively, satisfactorily prove the existence of conspiracy.13

Disposing of the graft cases, the Sandiganbayan ruled as follows:

Considering that all the elements of R.A. No. 3019, Sec. 3(e) were without doubt established in these cases and the allegation of conspiracy shown, a moral certainty is achieved to find the accused liable for the acts they committed.

WHEREFORE, accused FELIX RIPALDA, EDUARDO VILLAMOR, CONCEPCION ESPERAS, ERVIN MARTINEZ, CESAR GUY and NARCISA GREFIEL are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having violated R.A. No. 3019, Sec. 3(e) and are sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) month as minimum and nine (9) years as maximum for each of the three offenses, perpetual disqualification from public office and to indemnify jointly and severally the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in the amount of eleven thousand eight hundred ninety (P11, 895.00).

Since the Court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of accused EDGAR AMAGO, let the cases against him be, in the meantime, archived, the same to be revived upon his arrest. Let an alias warrant of arrest be then issued against accused EDGAR AMAGO.

SO ORDERED.14

Petitioners filed their separate motions for reconsideration of the decision. However, on 25 January 2005, the Sandiganbayan denied all their motions.15

Before this Court, petitioners separately raise the following issues, thus:

In 166794-96 (Cesar P. Guy v. People of the Philippines):

1. The SANDIGANBAYAN (Fourth Division) has decided the above numbered three (3) criminal cases in gross disregard and contrary to the applicable decision of this Honorable Court in the case of LACSON v. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, et al., and thus, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when it rendered the questioned DECISION and RESOLUTION despite the fact that it had no jurisdiction over the instant three (3) cases due to the failure to aver "the specific factual allegations in the INFORMATIONS that would indicate the close intimacy between the discharge of the accused's official duties and the commission of the offense charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office."

2. GRANTING ARGUENDO that the SANDIGANBAYAN (Fourth Division) had jurisdiction over these three (3) criminal cases'it further committed serious errors of law and disregarded applicable jurisprudence of this Honorable Court and thus, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of, or in excess of jurisdiction when it rendered the assailed DECISION convicting herein petitioner and his co-accused and issued the questioned RESOLUTION denying their MOTIONs FOR RECONSIDERATION despite the fact that the prosecution evidently failed to prove the guilt of petitioner and his co-accused beyond reasonable doubt and further miserably failed to prove the allegation of conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt.16

In G.R. No. 167088-90 ( Narcisa M. Grefiel v. The Hon. Sandiganbayan and the People of the Philippines):

THE RESPONDENT SANDIGANBAYAN PALPABLY DISREGARDED THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF THE PETITIONER TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT AND, INSTEAD, REVERSED THE PRESUMPTION AND CONVICTED THE PETITIONER OF VIOLATION OF THE ANTI-GRAFT LAW INSPITE OF THE CONCEDED FACT THAT PETITIONER HAS NOT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY PARTICIPATED IN THE PRE-BIDDING, BIDDING, AWARD, PROSECUTION AND SUPERVISION OF THE PROJECTS OF THE BARANGAY, THE CONVICTION RESTING NOT ON THE BASIS OF CONCRETE INCULPATORY EVIDENCE BUT ON THE SWEEPING DECLARATION THAT SHE WAS ONE OF THE SIGNATORIES OF THE DISBURSEMENT VOUCHERS AND THE CHECKS RESULTED IN A DUBIOUS FINDING THAT THE PETITIONER CONSPIRED AND CONFEDERATED WITH HER CO-ACCUED FOR THE SUBSTANDARD CONSTRUCTION OF THE BARANGAY PROJECTS.17

In G.R. No. 166880-82 (Felix T. Ripalda, Concepcion C. Esperas, Eduardo Villamor, and Ervin C. Martinez v. People of the Philippines):

GROUNDS FOR THE PETITION

I

THE COURT A QUO DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE

II

THE ASSAILED DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT;

III

THE CONCLUSION OF THE COURT A QUO FRINDING THE PETITIONERS GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED IS GROUNDED ENTIRELY ON ESTIMATES, SPECULATIONS, SURMISES AND/OR CONJECTURES18

In essence, petitioners maintain that the Sandiganbayan had not acquired jurisdiction over them because the three informations failed to state the specific actual allegations that would indicate the connection between the discharge of their official duties and the commission of the offenses charged; or alternatively, assuming that the Sandiganbayan had actually acquired jurisdiction, the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, as well as the existence of conspiracy.

The People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), argues that the averments in the Informations are "complete and wanting of the slightest vagueness as to denote another interpretation or mislead anyone."19 Section 6, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court merely require the information to describe the offense with sufficient particularity as to apprise the accused of what they are being charged with and to enable the court to pronounce judgment, such that evidentiary matters need not be alleged in the information. The OMB adds that if it were true that the allegations are vague or indefinite, petitioners should have filed a motion for a bill of particulars as provided under Section 9, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court to question the alleged insufficiency of the informations, or a motion to quash on the ground that the facts averred do not constitute an offense.

The OMB asserts that the prosecution had satisfactorily proven the existence of the elements of the offense under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as well as the existence of conspiracy among the accused.20

In addition, the OMB alleges that Grefiel's claim that she was merely constrained to sign the disbursement vouchers and checks relative to the subject projects is pure sophistry, since as barangay treasurer she is mandated to disburse funds in accordance with the Local Government Code. Even Grefiel's claim of miniscule educational attainment should not excuse her from liability.21 The OMB posits that petitioners' allegation of error is "actually designed to lure the Court into re-opening the case on the basis of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses which, however, on close scrutiny appear to be credible and substantiated."22

The petitions have to be denied.

Petitioners were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, which states:

"SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

x x x

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions."

To hold a person liable under this section, the concurrence of the following elements must be established, viz:

(1) that the accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy with the former;

(2) that said public officer commits the prohibited acts during the performance of his or her official duties or in relation to his or her public positions;

(3) that he or she causes undue injury to any party, whether the government or a private party; andcralawlibrary

(4) that the public officer has acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence."23

Petitioners, citing the case of Lacson v. The Executive Secretary,24 assert that the informations do not contain the specific factual allegations showing the close intimacy between the discharge of petitioners' official duties and the commission of the offense charged to qualify the offense as one committed in relation to public office. In Lacson, the Court ruled that before the Sandiganbayan may acquire jurisdiction over the offense charged, the intimate relation between the offense charged and the discharge of official duties "must be alleged in the information."25

Indeed, jurisprudence is replete with cases describing when an offense is deemed committed "in relation to office." In Montilla and Tobia v. Hilario and Crisologo,26 this Court held that for an offense to be committed in relation to the office, the relation between the crime and the office must be direct and not accidental, such that the offense cannot exist without the office. In Adaza v. Sandiganbayan,27 we held that:

It does not thus suffice to merely allege in the information that the crime charged was committed by the offender in relation to his office or that he took advantage of his position as these are conclusions of law. The specific factual allegations in the information that would indicate the close intimacy between the discharge of the offender's official duties and the commission of the offense charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been committed in relation to public office, are controlling.28

The Court finds that the Informations sufficiently show the close intimacy between petitioners' discharge of official duties and the commission of the offense charged. We reproduce the accusatory portions of the Informations in the subject cases, thus:

Criminal Case No. 26508

That in or about the year 1996, and for sometime subsequent thereto, at the City of Tacloban, Province of Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused: FELIX T. RIPALDA, EDUARDO R. VILLAMOR, CONCEPCION C. ESPERAS and ERVIN C. MARTINEZ, public officers, being the City Engineer, Project Engineer, Project Inspector and ICD Representative, City Administrator's Office, respectively, of the City Government of Tacloban, CESAR P. GUY and NARCISA A. GREFIEL, also public officers, being Barangay Captain and Barangay Treasurer, respectively, of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to office, conniving, confederating together and mutually helping with each other and with EDGAR AMAGO, a private individual, Contractor and Proprietor of Amago Construction and General Services, Inc., Tacloban City, with deliberate intent, with manifest partiality and evident bad faith, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously construct and/or cause the construction of an elevated path walk of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, with the contract cost of SIXTY-TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P62,000.00), Philippine Currency without following the approved program of work and drawing plan, in violation of the DILG Memorandum Circular No. 94-185, dated October 20, 1994, thereby resulting to (sic) an increase in the project cost by 17.5% or NINE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY-FOUR PESOS AND EIGHTY-FOUR CENTAVOS (P9,274.84), Philippine Currency, thus accused in the course of the performance of their official functions had given unwarranted benefits to themselves and to accused Edgar Amago, to the damage and prejudice of the government.

CONTRARY TO LAW.29

Criminal Case No. 26509

That in or about the year 1996, and for sometime subsequent thereto, the City of Tacloban, Province of Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused: FELIX T. RIPALDA, EDUARDO R. VILLAMOR, CONCEPCION C. ESPERAS and ERVIN C. MARTINEZ, public officers, being the City Engineer, Project Engineer, Project Inspector and ICD Representative, City Administrator's Office, respectively, of the City Government of Tacloban, CESAR P. GUY and NARCISA A. GREFIEL, also public officers, being the Barangay Captain and Barangay Treasurer, respectively, of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to office, conniving, confederating together and mutually helping with each other and with EDGAR AMAGO, a private individual,

Contractor and Proprietor of Amago Construction and General Services, Inc., Tacloban City, with deliberate intent, with manifest partiality and evident bad faith, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously construct and/or cause the construction of the Basketball Court of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, without adhering to the approved program of work and non-preparation of the plans and specifications in violation of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 94-185, dated October 20, 1994, thus resulting to (sic) the increase in the contract amount to SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND PESOS (P68,000.00), Philippine Currency, thus accused in the course of the performance of their official functions had given unwarranted benefits to themselves and to accused Edgar Amago, to the damage and prejudice of the government.

CONTRARY TO LAW.30

Criminal Case No. 26510

That in or about the year 1996, and for sometime subsequent thereto, the City of Tacloban, Province of Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused: FELIX T. RIPALDA, EDUARDO R. VILLAMOR, CONCEPCION C. ESPERAS and ERVIN C. MARTINEZ, public officers, being the City Engineer, Project Engineer, Project Inspector and ICD Representative, City Administrator's Office, respectively, of the City Government of Tacloban, CESAR P. GUY and NARCISA A. GREFIEL, also public officers, being the Barangay Captain and Barangay Treasurer, respectively, of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, in such capacity and committing the offense in relation to office, conniving, confederating together and mutually helping with each other and with EDGAR AMAGO, a private individual, Contractor and Proprietor of Amago Construction and General Services, Inc., Tacloban City, with deliberate intent, with manifest partiality and evident bad faith, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously construct and/or cause the construction of the Day Care Center of Barangay 36, Sabang District, Tacloban City, without plans and specifications, and not in accordance with the approved program of work, as the said center was constructed and completed before the completion of the program of work, thereby resulting to (sic) the increase and overpricing of construction cost, which was originally fixed at FORTY-TWO

THOUSAND PESOS (P42,000.00), Philippine Currency, to NINETY-THREE THOUSAND PESOS (P93,000.00), Philippine Currency, in violation of the DILG Memorandum Circular No. 94-185, dated October 20, 1994, thus accused in the course of the performance of their official functions had given unwarranted benefits to themselves and to accused Edgar Amago, to the damage and prejudice of the government.

CONTRARY TO LAW.31

The Lacson case is not applicable because in that case there was a failure to show that the charge of murder was intimately connected with the discharge of the official functions of the accused. Specifically, the Court observed:

While the above-quoted information states that the above-named principal accused committed the crime of murder "in relation to their public office,["] there is, however, no specific allegation of facts that the shooting of the victim by the said principal accused was intimately related to the discharge of their official duties as police officers. Likewise, the amended information does not indicate that the said accused arrested and investigated the victim and then killed the latter while in their custody.32

In the case at bar, all the elements of violation of Sec. 3(e) R.A. No. 3019 are indicated in the Informations. The Informations allege that while in the performance of their respective functions either as city or barangay officials, petitioners caused the construction of the subject structures, either without following the approved program of work and drawing plan, or worse, even without any plans and specifications; and furthermore, had given unwarranted benefits to themselves and to Edgar Amago, to the damage and prejudice of the government.ςηαñrοblεš  Î½Î¹r†υαl  lαω  lιbrαrÿ

Contrary also to petitioners' assertions, the specific acts of the accused do not have to be described in detail in the information, as it is enough that the offense be described with sufficient particularity to make sure the accused fully understand what he is being charged with. The particularity must be such that a person of ordinary intelligence immediately knows what the charge is.33 Moreover, reasonable certainty in the statement of the crime suffices.34 It is often difficult to say what is a matter of evidence, as distinguished from facts necessary to be stated in order to render the information sufficiently certain to identify the offense. As a general rule, matters of evidence, as distinguished from facts essential to the description of the offense, need not be averred.35 The particular acts of the accused which pertain to "matters of evidence," such as how accused city officials prepared the inspection reports despite the absence of a project plan or how the contractor was able to use substandard materials, do not have to be indicated in the information.

Petitioners also question the propriety of the guilty verdict handed down by the Sandiganbayan, alleging that the prosecution failed to prove petitioners' guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In criminal cases, an appeal throws the whole case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors or even reverse the trial court's decision on grounds other than those that the parties raise as errors.36 We have examined the records of the case and find no cogent reason to disturb the factual findings of the Sandiganbayan. We find that the evidence on record amply supports the findings and conclusions of the respondent court. The elements of the offense charged have been successfully proven by the prosecution.

First, petitioners could not have committed the offense charged were it not for their official duties or functions as public officials. Their malfeasance or misfeasance in relation to their duties and functions underlies their violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. Second, the undue injury caused to the government is evident from the clear deviation from the material specifications indicated in the project plans such as in the case of the basketball court and elevated path walk, and in the use of substandard materials in the case of the day care center. Otherwise stated, "the People did not get the full worth of their money in terms of the benefits they will derive from the (above) sub-standard infrastructure projects."37 Third, unwarranted benefits were accorded to Amago Construction when the three projects were not inspected and supervised during construction, allowing it to cut costs and save money by using substandard materials and deviating from the specific materials and measurements prescribed in the work programs. Moreover, Amago Construction was able to receive payments for the projects even before the processing of the disbursement vouchers, thereby preventing the government from refusing or deferring payment on account of discovered defects of the said projects. Fourth, it is clear that from the very inception of the construction of the subject projects up to their completion, petitioners had exhibited manifest partiality for Amago Construction, and acted with evident bad faith against the government and the public which they had sworn to serve.

Neither are we inclined to vacate the Sandiganbayan's finding of conspiracy among petitioners.

Jurisprudence teaches us that "proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidence, as the agreement itself may be inferred from the conduct of the parties disclosing a common understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to show that two or more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried out."38 Therefore, if it is proved that two or more persons aimed their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each doing a part so that their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of sentiment, then a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual meeting among them to concert means is proved.39 Conspiracy was thus properly appreciated by the Sandiganbayan because even though there was no direct proof that petitioners agreed to cause injury to the government and give unwarranted benefits to Amago Construction, their individual acts when taken together as a whole showed that they were acting in concert and cooperating to achieve the same unlawful objective. The barangay officials' award of the contract to Amago Construction without the benefit of specific plans and specifications, the preparation of work programs only after the constructions had been completed, the issuance and encashment of checks in favor of Amago Construction even before any request to obligate the appropriation or to issue a disbursement voucher was made, and the subsequent inspection and issuance of certificates of completion by petitioner employees despite the absence of material documents were all geared towards one purpose to cause undue injury to the government and unduly favor Amago Construction.ςηαñrοblεš  Î½Î¹r†υαl  lαω  lιbrαrÿ

WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan dated 2 September 2004 in Criminal Case Nos. 26508-10 is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


* Additional member per Special Order No. 587.

1 Penned by Associate Justice Jose R. Hernandez, with Associate Justices Gregory S. Ong and Efren N. De La Cruz, concurring.

2 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 166880-82), p. 4; Petitioners in G.R. NOS. 166880-82. At the time of the petition, Ripalda was the City Engineer; Esperas was Engineer IV, Villamor was Engineer III; and Martinez was Construction and Maintenance General Foreman.

3 Petitioner in G.R. NOS. 166794-96.

4 Petitioner in G.R. NOS. 167088-90.

5 Letter of Cynthia B. Santos, Team Leader of the Audit Team, Formal Offer of Exhibits, p. 28.

6 Audit Report, Folder of Exhibits, pp. 29-67.

7 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 166794-96), pp. 42-43; Sandiganbayan Decision.

8 Id. at 43.

9 Id.

10 Id. at 60; DILG Memorandum Circular No. 94-185 dated October 20, 1994, requires the PBAC to issue plans and specification for the project to be bid.

11 Id. at 61; COA Circular No. 94-004 dated January 28, 1994 prescribes that the Municipal or City Accountant's Advice as a prerequisite to barangay check disbursements.

12 Id. at 44-52; Sandiganbayan Decision.

13 Id. at 67.

14 Id.

15 Id. at 87-92.

16 Id. at 14.

17 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 167088-90), p. 16.

18 Rollo. (G.R. NOS. 166880-92), p. 9.

19 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 166794-96), p. 148.

20 Id. at 124-161; Comment on the Appeal by Certiorari by the Office of the Ombudsman.

21 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 167088-90), p. 142).

22 Id. at 148.

23 Llorente v. Sandiganbayan, 350 Phil. 820, 837 (1998).

24 361 Phil. 251 (1999).

25 Id. at 281-282. In this case, several PNP officials were charged with murder in relation to their office before the Sandiganbayan. The Supreme Court, after finding that the amended informations failed to show that the charge of murder was intimately connected with the discharge of the accused's official functions, ruled that the offense charged is just plain murder, and therefore within the exclusive jurisdiction of the regional trial court, and not of the Sandiganbayan.

26 90 Phil. 49 (1951).

27 G.R. No. 154886, 28 July 2005, 464 SCRA 460.

28 Id. at 474.

29 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 166794-96), p. 39.

30 Id. at 39-40.

31 Id. at 40-41.

32 Supra note 24 at 281-282.

33 Rules of Court, Rule 110, Sec. 9. Cause of accusation. The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense must be stated in ordinary and concise language without repetition, not necessarily in the terms of the statute defining the offense, but in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment.

34 Balitaan v. Court of First Instance of Batangas, 201 Phil. 311 (1982).

35 Id. at 323. See also People v. Arbois, 222 Phil. 343, 350 (1985).

36 People v. Boromeo, G.R. No. 150501, 3 June 2004, 430 SCRA 533, 541.

37 Rollo (G.R. NOS. 16694-96), p. 90.

38 People v. Quinao et al., 336 Phil. 475, 488-489 (1997).

39 People v. Layno, 332 Phil. 612, 629 (1996).

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