Case Brief: Serana vs. Sandiganbayan

G.R. No. 162059, January 22, 2008
HANNAH EUNICE D. SERANA, Petitioner,
vs
SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

Facts:
Hannah Serana was appointed by former President Estrada as a student regent of UP Cebu, to serve a one-year term. President Estrada gave P15,000,000.00 to the Office of the Student Regent Foundation, Inc as financial assistance for the proposed renovation. The renovation of Vinzons Hall Annex failed to materialize. The Ombudsman filed estafa case against her before the Sandiganbayan. She moved to quash the information. She claimed that the Sandiganbayan does not have any jurisdiction over the offense charged or over her person, in her capacity as UP student regent because the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over estafa; the petitioner is not a public officer with Salary Grade 27; the offense charged was not committed in relation to her office; and the funds in question personally came from President Estrada, not from the government. As to jurisdiction over her person, she contends that as a UP student regent, she is not a public officer who held the position in an ex officio capacity.
The Sandiganbayan denied her motion for lack of merit.

Issue:
Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over Serana’s case.

Held:
No, Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over this case. In Geduspan v. People, the SC held that while the first part of Sec. 4(A) covers only officials with Salary grade 27 and higher but who are by express provisions of law placed under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as she is placed there by express provisions of law. Sec. 4(A)(1)(g) of PD No. 1606 explicitly vested the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over Presidents, directors and trustees, or manager of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities, or educational foundations. Petitioner falls under this category. As the Sandiganbayan pointed out, the Board of Regents performs functions similar to those of a board of trustee of a non-stock corporation. By express mandate of law, petitioner is, indeed, a public officer as contemplated by PD No. 1606. Thus, her position as a board of regent (UP student regent) is among those enumerated and the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over her.

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Case Brief: Solidum vs. People

G.R. No. 192123 March 10, 2014

DR. FERNANDO P. SOLIDUM, Petitioner,

vs.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

Facts:

Gerald Albert Gercayo (Gerald) was born on June 2, 1992 with an imperforate anus. Two days after his birth, Gerald underwent colostomy, a surgical procedure to bring one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall, enabling him to excrete through a colostomy bag attached to the side of his body.

On May 17, 1995, Gerald, then three years old, was admitted at the Ospital ng Maynila for a pull-through operation. Dr. Leandro Resurreccion headed the surgical team, and was assisted by Dr. Joselito Luceño, Dr. Donatella Valeña and Dr. Joseph Tibio. The anesthesiologists included Dr. Marichu Abella, Dr. Arnel Razon and petitioner Dr. Fernando Solidum (Dr. Solidum). During the operation, Gerald experienced bradycardia, and went into a coma. His coma lasted for two weeks, but he regained consciousness only after a month. He could no longer see, hear or move.

Agitated by her son’s helpless and unexpected condition, Ma. Luz Gercayo (Luz) lodged a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries with the City Prosecutor’s Office of Manila against the attending physicians.

On July 19, 2004, the RTC and CA rendered its judgment finding Dr. Solidum guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries and ordering her to indemnify, jointly and severally with the Ospital ng Maynila, private complainant Luz Gercayo, for damages.

Issue:

Whether Ospital ng Maynila shall be held jointly and severally liable with Dr. Solidum with regard to indemnification for damages

Ruling:

No. The judgment was flawed in logic and in law.

In criminal prosecutions, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability that is deemed instituted with the criminal action refers only to that arising from the offense charged. It is puzzling, therefore, how the RTC and the CA could have adjudged Ospital ng Maynila jointly and severally liable with Dr. Solidum for the damages despite the obvious fact that Ospital ng Maynila, being an artificial entity, had not been charged along with Dr. Solidum. The judgment rendered against Ospital ng Maynila void was the product of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

The Ospital ng Maynila was not at all a party in the proceedings. Hence, its fundamental right to be heard was not respected from the outset. The R TC and the CA should have been alert to this fundamental defect. Verily, no person can be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in an action or proceeding in which he was not made a party. Such a rule would enforce the constitutional guarantee of due process of law.

Moreover, Ospital ng Maynila could be held civilly liable only when subsidiary liability would be properly enforceable pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. But the subsidiary liability seems far-fetched here. The conditions for subsidiary liability to attach to Ospital ng Maynila should first be complied with. Firstly, pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, Ospital ng Maynila must be shown to be a corporation “engaged in any kind of industry.” The term industry means any department or branch of art, occupation or business, especially one that employs labor and capital, and is engaged in industry. However, Ospital ng Maynila, being a public hospital, was not engaged in industry conducted for profit but purely in charitable and humanitarian work. Secondly, assuming that Ospital ng Maynila was engaged in industry for profit, Dr. Solidum must be shown to be an employee of Ospital ng Maynila acting in the discharge of his duties during the operation on Gerald. Yet, he definitely was not such employee but a consultant of the hospital. And, thirdly, assuming that civil liability was adjudged against Dr. Solidum as an employee (which did not happen here), the execution against him was unsatisfied due to him being insolvent.

Case Brief: Camacho vs. Municipality of Baliuag

G.R. No. 9363    November 24, 1914

Albino Camacho

vs.

Municipality of Baliuag, Province of Bulacan

 

Facts:

A land originally owned by municipal government was claimed by central government and was sold at a public auction, to which Camacho was the highest bidder. Title was issued in his name. Notwithstanding the sale, the municipality continued to occupy the land and collected rents therefrom.

Both plaintiff and defendant had their own set of facts. However, SC decided that by virtue of the parol evidence rule, Camacho actually acquired the land in his name while acting in a fiduciary capacity for the Municipality.

 

Issue:

Whether or not the court can compel Camacho to reconvey the land to Municipality, even in the presence of the title in Camacho’s name.

 

Held:

Yes. Camacho must reconvey the land to the municipality.

There have been a number of cases in which a title to real property was acquired by a person in his own name while acting in a fiduciary capacity, and who afterwards sought to take advantage of the confidence reposed in him by claiming the ownership of the property for himself. This court has invariably held such evidence competent as between the fiduciary and the cestui que trust.

What judgment ought to be entered in this case? Municipality must be absolved from the complaint. Munipality does not ask for a cancellation of the deed. On the contrary, the deed is relied upon to supplement the oral evidence showing that the title to the land is in the Municipality. The proper procedure in such a case, so long as the rights of innocent third persons have not intervened, is to compel a conveyance to the rightful owner.

Case Brief: Macapagal v People

717 SCRA 425

MACAPAGAL

VS.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

Facts:

On November 25, 2008, the RTC rendered a decision finding petitioner guilty of the crime of Estafa for misappropriating, for her own benefit, the total amount of P800,000.00, which is the value of the unreturned and unsold pieces of jewelry. Petitioner received the decision on

January 13, 2009 then she timely moved for reconsideration, but was likewise denied in an Order dated May 20, 2009 which the petitioner allegedly received on July 31, 2009. She supposedly filed a Notice of Appeal. On August 3, 2009, but the same was denied on June 29, 2010 for having been filed out of time.

Issue:

Whether or not the regional trial court of manila, Branch 9 gravely erred in denying the notice of appeal filed by the herein petitioner.

Held:

The Court notes that the instant case suffers from various procedural infirmities which this Court cannot ignore and are fatal to petitioner’s cause. It appears that petitioner assails not only the denial by the RTC of her notice of appeal but likewise seeks the reversal of her conviction for estafa. For reasons that will be discussed below, the petition is bound to fail, because of petitioner’s complete disregard of the procedural rules and the orders of the Court.

First, petitioner availed of the wrong mode of assailing the trial court’s denial of her notice of appeal. Sections 2 and 3, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure lay down the rules on where, how and when appeal is taken.

Second, even if we treat this petition as one for certiorari under Rule 65, it is still dismissible for violation of the hierarchy of courts. Although the Supreme Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the RTC and the CA to issue writs of certiorari, this should not be taken as granting parties the absolute and unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which an application will be directed. Direct resort to this Court is allowed only if there are special, important and compelling reasons clearly and specifically spelled out in the petition, which are not present in this case.

Third, even if we ignore the above non-compliance and consider the petition as an appeal of the trial court’s decision convicting her of estafa, again, we cannot do so for yet another fatal procedural shortcoming committed by petitioner. As stated earlier, petitioner elevated to this Court not only the Order denying her notice of appeal but also the Decision convicting her of estafa and the Order denying her motion for reconsideration. In utter disregard of the rules of procedure, petitioner attached to the petition only the June 29, 2010 RTC Order denying her notice of appeal but she failed to attach a clearly legible duplicate original or a certified true copy of the assailed decision convicting her of estafa and the order denying her motion for reconsideration. A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court must contain a certified true copy or duplicate original of the assailed decision, final order or judgment. Failure to comply with such requirement shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.