Under the law creating the Sandiganbayan, its decisions and final orders shall be appealable to the Supreme Court. May a special civil action for certiorari be filed to question an order of the SB denying a motion to disqualify a lawyer from appearing before it?
Answer: Yes, because such law, PD 1606, Sec. 7 as amended by RA 7975 does not preclude resort to the Supreme Court by way of petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court of orders or resolutions of the Sandiganbayan. The special civil action of certiorari may be availed of where there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
In a motion to disqualify a lawyer from appearing in a case, the remedy of appeal is not available because the denial of its motion to disqualify a counsel is an interlocutory order; hence, not appealable. The word “interlocutory” refers to “something intervening between the commencement and the end of a suit which decides some point or matter, but is not a final decision of the whole controversy”. (Tambaoan vs. CA, 365 SCRA 359). An interlocutory order does not terminate nor does it finally dispose of the case; it does not end the task of the court in adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining their rights and liabilities as against each other but leaves something yet to be done by the court before the case is finally decided on the merits. (PCGG vs. SB, et al., citing Serapio vs. SB, 396 SCRA 443; San Miguel Corp. vs. SB, 340 SCRA 289 ).