G.R. No. 191219, July 31, 2013 - SPO1 RAMON LIHAYLIHAY1 AND C/INSP. VIRGILIO V. VINLUAN, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
G.R. No. 191219, July 31, 2013
SPO1 RAMON LIHAYLIHAY1 AND C/INSP. VIRGILIO V. VINLUAN, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
That on January 3, 6, 8, 9 and 10, 1992, and for sometime subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused public officers namely: Gen. Cesar P. Nazareno, being then the Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Guillermo T. Domondon, Director for Comptrollership, PNP; Sr. Supt. Bernardo Alejandro, Administrator, PNP Service Store System; Sr. Supt. Arnulfo Obillos, Director, PNP, General Services Command (GSC); C/Insp. Virgilio Vinluan, Chairman, Inspection and Acceptance Committee, PNP, GSC; C/Insp. Pablito Magnaye, Member, Inspection and Acceptance Committee, PNP, GSC; Sr. Insp. Amado Guiriba, Jr., Member, Inspection and Acceptance Committee, PNP, GSC; SPO1 Ramon Lihay-Lihay, Inspector, Office of the Directorate for Comptrollership, PNP; Chief Supt. Jose M. Aquino, Director, Finance Service, PNP; and Sr. Supt. Marcelo Castillo III, Chief, Gen. Materials Office/Technical Inspector, PNP, while in the performance of their respective official and administrative functions as such, taking advantage of their positions, committing the offense in relation to their office and conspiring, confederating with one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally, through evident bad faith, cause undue injury to the government in the following manner:cralawlibraryAccused Gen. Nazareno in his capacity as Chief, PNP and concurrently Board Chairman of the PNP Service Store System, surreptitiously channeled PNP funds to the PNP SSS through “Funded RIVs” valued at P8 [M]illion and Director Domondon released ASA No. 000-200-004-92 (SN-1353) without proper authority from the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and caused it to appear that there were purchases and deliveries of combat clothing and individual equipment (CCIE) to the General Service Command (GSC), PNP, by deliberately and maliciously using funds for personal services and divided the invoices of not more than P500,000.00 each, pursuant to which the following invoices were made and payments were effected therefor through the corresponding checks, to wit:cralawlibraryCONTRARY TO LAW.8cralaw virtualaw library
Invoice No. Check No. Amount 30368 880932 P 500,000.00 30359 880934 500,000.00 30324 880935 500,000.00 30325 8080936 500,000.00 30322 8080937 500,000.00 30356 8080938 500,000.00 30364 8080939 500,000.00 30360 8080940 500,000.00 30365 8080941 500,000.00 30323 880943 500,000.00 30358 880942 500,000.00 30362 880943 500,000.00 30366 880943 500,000.00 30357 880946 500,000.00 30361 880947 500,000.00 30363 880948 500,000.00 P 8,000,000.00 =============
thereafter, accused members of the Inspection and Acceptance Committee together with respondents Marcelo Castillo III and Ramon Lihay-Lihay certified or caused to be certified that the CCIE items covered by the aforementioned invoices were delivered, properly inspected and accepted, and subsequently distributed to the end-users, when in truth and in fact, as accused well knew, no such purchases of CCIE items were made and no items were delivered, inspected, accepted and distributed to the respective end-users; that despite the fact that no deliveries were made, respondent Alejandro claimed payment therefor, and respondent Obillos approved the disbursement vouchers therefor as well as the checks authorizing payment which was countersigned by respondent Aquino; and as a result, the government, having been caused to pay for the inexistent purchases and deliveries, suffered undue injury in the amount of EIGHT MILLION PESOS (P8,000,000.00), more or less.
Unlike in Arias, however, there exists in the present case an exceptional circumstance which should have prodded petitioner, if he were out to protect the interest of the municipality he swore to serve, to be curious and go beyond what his subordinates prepared or recommended. In fine, the added reason contemplated in Arias which would have put petitioner on his guard and examine the check/s and vouchers with some degree of circumspection before signing the same was obtaining in this case.
We refer to the unusual fact that the checks issued as payment for construction materials purchased by the municipality were not made payable to the supplier, Kelly Lumber, but to petitioner himself even as the disbursement vouchers attached thereto were in the name of Kelly Lumber. The discrepancy between the names indicated in the checks, on one hand, and those in the disbursement vouchers, on the other, should have alerted petitioner - if he were conscientious of his duties as he purports to be - that something was definitely amiss. The fact that the checks for the municipality’s purchases were made payable upon his order should, without more, have prompted petitioner to examine the same further together with the supporting documents attached to them, and not rely heavily on the recommendations of his subordinates.31 (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioners cannot hide behind our declaration in Arias v. Sandiganbayan charge just because they did not personally examine every single detail before they, as the final approving authorities, affixed their signatures to certain documents. The Court explained in that case that conspiracy was not adequately proven, contrary to the case at bar in which petitioners’ unity of purpose and unity in the execution of an unlawful objective were sufficiently established. Also, unlike in Arias, where there were no reasons for the heads of offices to further examine each voucher in detail, petitioners herein, by virtue of the duty given to them by law as well as by rules and regulations, had the responsibility to examine each voucher to ascertain whether it was proper to sign it in order to approve and disburse the cash advance.33 (Emphasis supplied)
1 “Lihay-Lihay” in some parts of the records.
2Rollo, pp. 3-34.
3 Id. at 38-74. Penned by Associate Justice Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos, with Associate Justices Ma. Cristina G. Cortez-Estrada and Roland B. Jurado, concurring.
4 Id. at 76-83. Penned by Associate Justice Roland B. Jurado, with Associate Justices Alexander G. Gesmundo and Napoleon E. Inoturan, concurring.
5 Sandiganbayan rollo, Vol. 3, pp. 110-199. Referring to Special Audit Office Report No. 92-156 on the audit of the Philippine National Police.
6 Id. at 175.
7 Sandiganbayan rollo, Vol. 1, pp. 1-4.
8 Id. at 1-3.nadcralawlibrary
9Rollo, p. 40. The following accused died during the pendency of the case: Marcelo Castillo III, Pablito Magnaye, Bernardo Alejandro, and Cesar P. Nazareno.redcralaw
10 Id. at 41.
11 Id. at 74.
12 Id. at 38-74.
13 Id. at 69-72. While the Sandiganbayan absolved Domondon from any liability on the ground that his release of the Advises of Sub-Allotment “does not appear to be a conscious participation of whatever defects or irregularities there may have been in the CCIE purchases,” it found that Vinluan, Obillos, and Lihaylihay admittedly signed various receipts and forms and certified them correct even if some of them were tampered with and/or incomplete.
14 Id. at 62-63.
15 Id. at 63.
16 Id. at 63-65.
17 Id. at 66-67. In fact, the evidence the accused presented to prove delivery pertained to another set of end-users who were not members of the GSC.
18 Id. at 73.
19 Id. at 76-83.
20Jaca v. People, G.R. Nos. 166967, 166974, and 167167, January 28, 2013.
21 “Settled is the rule that findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan in cases before this Court are binding and conclusive in the absence of a showing that they come under the established exceptions, among them: (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is a grave abuse of discretion; 4) the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) said findings of facts are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; and (6) the findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are premised on the absence of evidence on record.” (Balderama v. People, G.R. Nos. 147578-85 and G.R. Nos. 147598-605, January 28, 2008, 542 SCRA 423, 432.)
22 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:cralawlibrary
x x x x
(e) Causing 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.
x x x x
23People v. Atienza, G.R. No. 171671, June 18, 2012, 673 SCRA 470, 479-480.
24Rollo, pp. 58-59.red cralawlibrary
25 Id. at 24-25.
26 Id. at 25-27.
27 Id. at 65.
28 “x x x x
A conspiracy indictment need not, of course, aver all the components of conspiracy or allege all the details thereof, like the part that each of the parties therein have performed, the evidence proving the common design or the facts connecting all the accused with one another in the web of the conspiracy. Neither is it necessary to describe conspiracy with the same degree of particularity required in describing a substantive offense. It is enough that the indictment contains a statement of the facts relied upon to be constitutive of the offense in ordinary and concise language, with as much certainty as the nature of the case will admit, in a manner that can enable a person of common understanding to know what is intended, and with such precision that the accused may plead his acquittal or conviction to a subsequent indictment based on the same facts. x x x.
x x x x” (Lazarte, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 180122, March 13, 2009, 581 SCRA 431, 449, citing People v. Quitlong, 354 Phil. 372 1998.)
29 The Arias doctrine espouses the general rule that all heads of office cannot be convicted of a conspiracy charge just because they did not personally examine every single detail before they, as the final approving authority, affixed their signatures on the subject documents. (259 Phil. 794, 8011989.)
30 G.R. No. 134493, August 16, 2005, 467 SCRA 52.
31 Id. at 65.
32 G.R. Nos. 189343, 189369, and 189553, July 10, 2013.
34 Sandiganbayan rollo, Vol. 3, pp. 218, 226, 234, 243, 251, 259, 267, 275, 283, 291, 299, 307, 315, 323, 332, and 341.
35 TSN, October 1, 2002, pp. 13-15; and TSN, February 3, 2005, pp. 16-17.