M a n i l a
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1606 December 10, 1978
REVISING PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1486 CREATING A SPECIAL COURT TO BE KNOWN AS "SANDIGANBAYAN" AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
WHEREAS, the new Constitution declares that a public office is a public trust and ordains that public officers and employees shall serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and shall remain at all times accountable to the people;
WHEREAS, to attain the highest norms of official conduct required of public officers and employees, Section 5, Article XIII of the New Constitution provides for the creation of a special court to be known as Sandiganbayan;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers in me vested by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree as follows:
Section 1. Sandiganbayan; composition; qualifications; tenure; removal and composition. A special court, of the same level as the Court of Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice, to be known as the Sandiganbayan is hereby created composed of a Presiding Justice and eight Associate Justices who shall be appointed by the President.
No person shall be appointed Presiding Justice or Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan; unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 40 years of age and for at least ten years has been a judge of a court of record or been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines or has held office requiring admission to the bar as a pre-requisite for a like period.
The Presiding Justice shall be so designated in his commission and the other Justices shall have precedence according to the dates of their respective commissions, or, when the commissions of two or more of them shall bear the same date, according to the order in which their commissions have been issued by the President.
The Presiding Justice and the Associate Justices shall not be removed from office except on impeachment upon the grounds and in the manner provided for in Sections 2, 3 and 4 of Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution.
The Presiding Justice shall receive an annual compensation of P60,000.00 and each Associate Justice P55,000.00 which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. They shall have the same rank, privileges and other emoluments, be subject to the same inhibitions and disqualifications, and enjoy the same retirement and other benefits as those provided for under existing laws of the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals.
Whenever the salaries of the Presiding Justice and the Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals are increased, such increases in salaries shall be correspondingly extended to and enjoyed by the Presiding Justice and the Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan.
They shall hold office until they reach the age of 65 years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.
Section 2. Official Station; Place of Holding Sessions. The Sandiganbayan shall have its principal office in the Metro Manila area and shall hold sessions thereat for the trial and determination of all cases filed with it irrespective of the place where they may have arisen; Provided, however, that the Presiding Justice may authorize any division or divisions of court to hold sessions at any time and place outside Metro Manila to hear and decide cases emanating from any of the existing judicial districts. Whenever necessary, the Sandiganbayan may require the services of the personnel and the use of the facilities of any agency of the Government, national or local, including the courts of first instance of the province where any of the divisions is holding session, and those personnel of such agencies or courts shall be subject to the orders of the Sandiganbayan.
Section 3. Divisions of the Courts; Quorum. The Sandiganbayan shall sit in three divisions of three Justices each. The three divisions may sit at the same time.
Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for session in division; Provided, that when the required quorum cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the President shall, upon recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice of the Court of Appeals or Judge of the Court of First Instance or of the Circuit Criminal Court of the judicial district concerned to sit temporarily therein.
Section 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction over:
(a) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise, known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 1379;
(b) Crimes committed by public officers and employees including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, embraced in Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, whether simple or complexed with other crimes; and
(c) Other crimes or offenses committed by public officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, in relation to their office.
The jurisdiction herein conferred shall be original and exclusive if the offense charged is punishable by a penalty higher than prision correccional, or its equivalent, except as herein provided; in other offenses, it shall be concurrent with the regular courts.
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees.
Where an accused is tried for any of the above offenses and the evidence is insufficient to establish the offense charged, he may nevertheless be convicted and sentenced for the offense proved, included in that which is charged.
Any provision of law or the Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in the same proceeding by, the Sandiganbayan, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such action shall be recognized; Provided, however, that, in cases within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, where the civil action had therefore been filed separately with a regular court but judgment therein has not yet been rendered and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise, the criminal action may no longer be filed with the Sandiganbayan, its exclusive jurisdiction over the same notwithstanding, but may be filed and prosecuted only in the regular courts of competent jurisdiction; Provided, further, that, in cases within the concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the regular courts, where either the criminal or civil action is first filed with the regular courts, the corresponding civil or criminal action, as the case may be, shall only be filed with the regular courts of competent jurisdiction.
Excepted from the foregoing provisions, during martial law, are criminal cases against officers and members of the armed forces in the active service.
Section 5. Proceedings, how conducted; votes required. The unanimous vote of the three justices in a division shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a judgment. In the event that the three justices do not reach a unanimous vote, the Presiding Judge shall designate two other justices from among the members of the Court to sit temporarily with them, forming a division of five justices, and the concurrence of a majority of such division shall be necessary for rendering judgment.
Section 6. Maximum period for termination of cases. As far as practicable, the trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan once commenced shall be continuos until terminated and the judgment shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the case was submitted for decision.
Section 7. Form, finality and enforcement of decisions. Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall contain complete findings of facts on all issues properly raised before it.
A petition for reconsideration of any final order or decision maybe filed within (15) days from promulgation or notice of the final order or judgment, and such petition for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30) days from submission thereon.
Decisions and final orders shall be subject to review on certiorari by the Supreme Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The Supreme Court shall decide any case on appeal promptly and without the necessity of placing it upon the regular calendar. Whenever, in any case decided, the death penalty shall have been imposed, the records shall be forwarded to the Supreme Court, whether the accused shall have appealed or not, for review and judgment, as law and justice shall dictate.
Final judgments and orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be executed and enforced in the manner provided by law.
Section 8. Transfer of cases. As of the date of the effectivity of this decree, any case cognizable by the Sandiganbayan within its exclusive jurisdiction where none of the accused has been arraigned shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan.
Section 9. Rule-making Power. The Sandiganbayan shall have the power to promulgate its own rules of procedure and, pending such promulgation, the Rules of Court shall govern its proceedings.
Section 10. Authority over internal affairs. The Sandiganbayan shall administer its own internal affairs and may adopt such rules governing the constitution of its divisions, the allocation of cases among them, the rotation of justices and other matters relating to its business.
Section 11. Proceeding free of charge. All proceedings in the Sandiganbayan shall be conducted at no cost to the complainant and/or his witnesses.
No criminal information or complaint shall be entertained by the Sandiganbayan except upon a certification by the Investigating Prosecutor of the existence of a prima facie case to be determined after a preliminary investigation conducted in accordance with applicable laws and approved by the Chief Special Prosecutor.
Section 12. Administrative personnel. The Sandiganbayan shall reelect and appoint such personnel as it may deem necessary to discharge its functions under this Decree including a Clerk of Court and three (3) Deputy Clerks of Court who shall be members of the Bar.
The Clerk of Court shall have an annual compensation of P36,000.00 and the Deputy Clerks of Court, P30,000.00.
All other subordinate employees of the Sandiganbayan shall be governed by the provisions of the Civil Service Law; Provided, that the Sandiganbayan may, by resolution en banc, remove any of them for cause.
Section 13. Report to the President. The Sandiganbayan shall submit an annual report to the President, including all disbursements of funds entrusted to it, within two months from the end of the Fiscal Year.
Section 14. Funding. There is hereby immediately appropriated the sum of Five Million Pesos (P5,000.00) out of any funds in the National Treasury to carry out the provisions of this Decree and thereafter to be included in the general appropriations act. The appropriations for the Sandiganbayan shall be automatically released in accordance with a schedule submitted by the Sandiganbayan.
Section 15. Separability of Provisions. If for any reason, any section or provision of this Decree is declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, other sections or provisions thereof which are not affected thereby, shall continue in full force and effect.
Section 16. Repealing Clause. This Decree hereby repeals Presidential Decree No. 1486 and all other provisions of law, General Orders, Presidential Decrees, Letters of Instructions, rules or regulations inconsistent herewith.
Section 17. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 10th day of December, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-eight.
RULES OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 5 of Article XIII of the Constitution of the Philippines, as implemented by Presidential Decree No. 1606, the Sandiganbayan hereby adopts and promulgates the following rules to govern the conduct of its business.
TITLE AND CONSTRUCTION
Section 1. Title of the Rules. These Rules shall be known and cited as the Rules of the Sandiganbayan.
Section 2. Construction. These Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objectives and to achieve a just, expeditious and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding before the Sandiganbayan.
CONTROL OF FUNCTIONS AND SUCCESSION
Section 1. Exclusive Control. Except as otherwise provided by the Constitution and Presidential Decree No. 1606, the Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive control, direction and supervision of all matters pertaining to its internal affairs and the operation of its business.
Section 2. Succession in the Office of the Presiding Justice. In case of vacancy in the position of Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan or his temporary incapacity to exercise the powers and perform the duties of his office, the same shall devolve upon the qualified most senior Associate Justices until such incapacity is removed or another Presiding Justice is appointed and has duly qualified.
COMPOSITION OF DIVISIONS
Section 1. How Divisions Constituted. The Sandiganbayan shall consist of three divisions which shall be known as the First Division, Second Division, and Third Division, and shall each be composed of Presiding Justice and the first two Associate Justices in the order of precedence as the respective Chairmen; the next three Associate Justices in the order of precedence as the respective senior members; and the last three Associate Justices in the order of precedence as the respective junior members. However, until the entire complement of the Sandiganbayan shall have been appointed and qualified, the Presiding justice and the two Associate Justices first appointed and qualified shall constitute the First Division.
Section 2. Vacancy; How Filled. In case of any vacancy in the composition of a division, whether permanent or temporary, the Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and determination of cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the other divisions of the Court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case, the procedure provided in Section 3, Rule VIII of these Rules shall apply.
FILING OF CASES
Section 1. Proceedings Free of Charge. All proceedings in the Sandiganbayan be conducted at no cost to the complainant and/or his witnesses.
Section 2. Preliminary Investigation Necessary. No criminal information or complaint shall be entertained by the Sandiganbayan except upon a certification by the investigating Prosecutor of the existence of a prima facie case to be determined after a preliminary investigation conducted in accordance with applicable laws and approved by the Chief Special Prosecutor.
Section 3. Where Cases Filed. All cases to be filed with the Sandiganbayan shall be filed with the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Sandiganbayan which shall be open for the purpose of receiving complaints, information, motions and the like from eight to twelve o'clock in the morning and twelve thirty to four-thirty o'clock in the afternoon, on Mondays to Fridays, except on public or special holidays.
DISTRIBUTION AND CONSOLIDATION OF CASES
Section 1. Distribution of Cases. All cases filed with the Sandiganbayan shall be allotted among the three divisions for hearing and decision by raffle to be conducted by a Raffle Committee composed of the Presiding Justice and the two most senior Associate Justices available, on such days as may hereafter be fixed by the Presiding Justice depending upon the need for such raffle to be made in view of the number of cases filed, with notice to the interested parties who may, if they so desire, be present therein by themselves or through counsel.
Section 2. Consolidation of Cases. Cases arising from the same incident on series of incidents, or involving common questions of fact and law, may, in the discretion of Sandiganbayan, be consolidated in only one division. Should the propriety of such consolidation appear upon the filing of the cases concerned and before they are raffled, all such cases shall be considered as one case for purposes of the raffle; but, should the propriety of such consolidation may be affected upon motion of an interested party filed with the division taking cognizance of the case to be consolidated and, if granted, consolidation shall be made in the division before which the case with the lowest number is pending. In either case, the division in which consolidation is effected shall be entitled to be credited in the distribution of cases with the same number of cases transferred to it to the end that all divisions shall, as much as possible, receive more or less the same number of cases filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Section 3. Assignment of Cases Permanent. Cases assigned to a division of the Sandiganbayan in accordance with these Rules shall remain with said division notwithstanding changes in the composition thereof and all matters raised therein shall be deemed to be submitted for consideration and adjudication by any and all of the Justices who are members of the division aforesaid at the time said matters are taken up, irrespective of whether they were or were not members of the division at the time the case was first assigned thereto: Provided, however, That only Justices who are members of the division at the time a case is submitted for decision shall take part in the consideration and adjudication of said case, unless any such member thereafter ceases to be a member of the Sandiganbayan for any reason whatsoever in which case any Justice chosen to fill the vacancy in accordance with the manner provided in Section 2, Rule III, of these Rules shall participate in the consideration and adjudication of said case; Provided, lastly, that the Sandiganbayan en banc may, for special or compelling reasons, transfer cases from one division thereof to another.
Processes and writs of the Sandiganbayan which by their nature or by provision of existing laws or the Rules of Court are to be issued under the signature of a Judge or a Justice shall be signed by the Chairman of the division concerned: Provided, That if there is an urgent necessity for the issuance thereof before the case is raffled to a division, the same shall be signed by the Presiding Justice. In the absence of the Presiding Justice or the Chairman aforesaid, the process or writ shall be signed by the senior Associate Justice in the Sandiganbayan or in the divisions concerned, respectively. All other processes or writs issued upon authority of the Sandiganbayan or a division thereof shall be signed by the Clerk of Court or, in his absence, by the Deputy Clerk of Court of the division concerned.
Section 1. How Amount Fixed; Approval. The amount of bail to be posted in cases in the Sandiganbayan shall be fixed by the Chairman of the division thereof to which they are assigned; and such bail may be approved by any Justice of the Sandiganbayan, but preferably by a Justice of the division concerned: Provided, however, That where the accused is arrested, detained or otherwise placed in custody outside the Metropolitan Manila area, any judge of the Court of First Instance or Circuit Criminal Court may accept and approve the bail for his appearance before the division to which his case is assigned and release him, and shall inform the division issuing the order of arrest of his action, forwarding thereto the papers in this case.
Section 2. Condition of the Bail. The condition of the bail is that the accused shall appear and answer the complaint or information in the division of the Sandiganbayan to which it is assigned or transferred for trial and submit himself to the orders and processes thereof and, after conviction, if the case is appealed to the Supreme Court, that he will surrender himself for the execution of such judgment as the Supreme Court may render; or, that, in case the cause is to be tried anew or remanded for a new trial, he will appear in the division to which it may be remanded and submit himself to the orders and processes thereof.
SESSIONS AND TRIAL
Section 1. How Sessions Held. The Sandiganbayan shall for administrative purposes, sit en banc; and, for the trial and determination of cases, sit in three divisions of three Justices each. The three divisions may sit at the same time.
Section 2. Presiding Officer. Sessions of the Sandiganbayan en banc shall be presided by the Presiding Justice; whereas sessions in division shall be presided by the respective Chairman of each division. In the absence of the Presiding Justice or the Chairman of a division, as the case may be, the Associate Justice attending the session en banc or in division who is first in the order of precedence and able to preside, shall do so.
Section 3. Quorum. Five Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions en banc, and three Justices for sessions in division: Provided, That when a quorum and/or the votes required for a resolution or decision of the Sandiganbayan, either en banc or in division, or the trial or hearing of cases cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the President shall, upon recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice of the Court of Appeals, Judge of the Court of First Instance or of the Circuit Criminal Court to sit temporarily therein.
Section 4. Place of Holding Sessions. Sessions of the Sandiganbayan, whether en banc or in division, shall be held in the place of its principal office in the Metropolitan Manila area where it shall try and determine all cases filed with it irrespective of the place where they may have arisen: Provided, however, That the Presiding Justice may authorize any division or divisions of the Court to hold sessions at any time and place outside Metropolitan Manila to hear and decide cases emanating therefrom. For this purpose and whenever necessary, the Sandiganbayan may require the services of the personnel and the use of the facilities of any agency of the Government, national or local, including the Courts of First Instance or Circuit Criminal Court of the province or city where any of the divisions is holding session, and those personnel of such agencies or courts shall be subject to the orders of the Sandiganbayan.
Section 5. Time of Holding Sessions. Sessions of the Sandiganbayan en banc may be called at any time by the Presiding Justice or at the instance at least five Associate Justices. Sessions for the trial of cases cognizable by it shall be held on such days and at such times as the divisions thereof may, by order and upon notice to the parties concerned, fix.
Section 6. Pre-trial Inquest. After the arraignment of an accused who pleads not guilty, the division concerned shall, without prejudice to the invocation by the accused of his constitutional rights, direct the prosecutor and the accused and his counsel to appear before any of the Justices thereof for a conference to consider;
(a) Admissions of facts about which there can be no dispute;
(b) Marking for identification of documentary or real evidence of the parties;
(c) Waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence;
(d) Procedure on objections where there are multiple counsel;
(e) Order of presentation of evidence and arguments where there are multiple accused;
(f) Order of cross-examination where there are multiple accused; and
(g) Such other matter as will promote a fair and expeditious termination of the trial.
After the pre-trial inquest, a pre-trial order shall be issued by the Associate Justice presiding the conference reciting the actions and/or proceedings taken thereat, the admissions of facts made, the documents and real evidence marked, and the agreement entered into by the parties as to any of the matters taken up therein. Such order shall limit the issues for trial to those not disposed of by the admissions or agreements of the parties and when entered shall blind the parties and control the course of the action during the trial, on appeal, and in post-conviction proceedings, unless modified by the division concerned before trial to prevent manifest injustice.
Section 1. Motion Day. The first hours of the morning session of the divisions every Friday shall be devoted to the hearing of motions, unless, upon motion of an interested party and for special reasons, the division concerned shall fix another day for the hearing of any particular motion.
Section 2. Resolution on Interlocutory or Incidental Motions. Rulings on all written motions submitted to the Sandiganbayan or any division thereof for resolution shall be reached in consultation among the Justices participating in the consideration thereof: Provided, however, That rulings on oral motions or on objections made in the course of the trial or hearing shall be handed down by the Chairman of the division concerned.
Section 1. Votes Necessary to Decide. The unanimous vote of three Justices in a division shall be necessary for the rendition of a judgment or order. In the event that the three Justices do not reach a unanimous vote, the Presiding Justice shall designated by raffle two Justices from among the other members of the Sandiganbayan to sit temporarily with them forming a special division of five Justices, and the vote of a majority of such special division shall be necessary for the rendition of a judgment or order.
Section 2. Procedure in Deciding Cases. The conclusions of a division of the Sandiganbayan in any case submitted to it for decision shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Justice for the writing of the opinion of the division. Any Justice dissenting from a judgment shall state the reasons for his dissent.
Section 3. Maximum Period to Decide Cases. The judgment or final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the case was submitted for decision.
Section 4. Form of judgment and final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall contain complete findings of fact and a statement of the law on all issues properly raised before it.
PROMULGATION OF JUDGMENT
A judgment of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall be promulgated by reading the judgment or sentence in the presence of the accused and any Justice of the division which rendered the same: Provided, That, if the accused is confined or detained in a place outside Metropolitan Manila or of the city or province in which any division of the Sandiganbayan is sitting at the time of such promulgation, the judgment may, upon delegation by the division concerned be promulgated by any judge of the Court of First Instance or Circuit Criminal Court having jurisdiction over the place of confinement or detention, in which event the Court so promulgating the judgment shall have authority to accept and approve the appeal bond.
PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Within fifteen (15) days from the promulgation or notice of a judgment or final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan, unless said judgment or order had in the meantime otherwise attained finality, a petition for the reconsideration thereof may be filed upon the grounds, in the form and subject to the requirements, for motions for new trial in criminal cases under Rule 121 of the Rules of Court, and such petition for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30 days from submission thereof.
REVIEW OF JUDGMENTS AND FINAL ORDERS
Section 1. Method of Review. A party may appeal from a judgment or final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan by filing with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of Rules of Court and by serving a copy thereof to the Sandiganbayan.
Whenever, in any case decided, the death penalty shall have been imposed, the records shall be forwarded to the Supreme Court, whether the accused shall have appealed or not, for review and judgment, as law and justice shall dictate.
Section 2. Bail Pending Appeal. An accused who has been released on bail shall not committed to jail upon conviction pending the expiration of the period for appeal or pending an appeal seasonably taken, except when the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or death, in which case, the accused may forthwith be committed to jail after promulgation of the sentence. The division of the Sandiganbayan concerned, however, may, for good cause, cancel the bond or increase the amount of bail and commit the accused into custody pending appeal, unless he gives bail in the increased amount. The surely shall also be responsible for the surrender or the accused after judgment shall have become final.
PUBLICATION OF DECISIONS
With the consent of the respective writers thereof, the decisions of the Sandiganbayan may be published in the Official Gazette in the language in which they have been originally written. The syllabi for the decisions shall be prepared by the Clerk of Court in consultation with writers thereof.
APPLICABILITY OF THE RULES OF COURT
Except as otherwise herein provided or as may hereafter be modified from time to time by the Sandiganbayan and insofar as practicable, the Rules of Court shall govern proceedings in the Sandiganbayan.
SEAL OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN
The seal of the Sandiganbayan shall be of standard size, circular in form, consisting of two concentric circles as its margin, 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 16 stars, representing the existing 16 judicial districts, 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 right side, "KAPANAGUTAN" on the left 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.
If, for any reason, any section or provision of these Rules shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, no other section or provision thereof shall be effected thereby.
The Rules shall take effect upon approval.
Done in the City of Manila, this 10th day of January, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine.
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