Republic Act No. 7975 - An Act to Strengthen The Sandiganbayan


Section 1. Sec. 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended by Executive Order No. 184, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 3. Division of the Court; Quorum. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in five (5) divisions of three justices each. The five (5) may sit at the same time.
      "The first three divisions shall be stationed in the Metro Manila area, the fourth division shall be in Cebu City for cases coming from the Visayas region, and the fifth division shall be in Cagayan de Oro City for cases coming from the Mindanao region.

      "Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in divisions: Provided, That when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, 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 a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case, the President shall, upon the recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein."

Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same Decree is hereby further amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 4. Jurisdiction.  The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

      "a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

            "(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
                  "(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
                  "(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other city department heads;

                  "(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
                  "(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
                  "(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
                  "(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
                  "(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations;

      "(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
      "(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
      "(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
      "(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989;
      "b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.
      "c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
      "In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

      "The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than salary grade "27", or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration.
      "The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, and other ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction: Provided, That the jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the Supreme Court.

      "The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for review to the Court of Appeals shall apply to appeals and petitions for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court, the office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the people of the Philippines except in cases filed pursuant to Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.

      "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 in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
      "Any provision of law or 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 or the appropriate courts, 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 civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall be deemed abandoned."

Sec. 3. Section 7 of the same decree is hereby amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 7. Form, Finality and Enforcement of Decisions. -  All decisions and final orders determining the merits of a case or finally disposing of the action or proceedings of the Sandiganbayan shall contain complete findings of the facts and the law on which they are based, on all issues properly raised before it and necessary in deciding the case.
      "A petition for reconsideration of any final order or decision may be filed within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice of the final order or judgment, and such motion for reconsideration shall be decided within thirty (30) days from submission thereon.

      "Decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Whenever, in any case decided by the Sandiganbayan, the penalty of reclusion perpetua or higher is imposed, the decision shall be appealable to the Supreme Court in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court. In case the penalty imposed is death, review by the Supreme Court shall be automatic, whether or not the accused filed an appeal.

      "Judgments and orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be executed and enforced in the manner provided by law.
      "Decisions and final orders of other courts, in cases cognizable by said courts under this Act shall be appealable to the Sandiganbayan within fifteen (15) days from promulgation or notice to the parties."

Sec. 4. Section 9 of the same Decree is hereby amended to read as follows:

      "Sec. 9. Rules of Procedure. - The Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan shall have no power to promulgate its own rules of procedure, except to adopt internal rules governing the allotment of cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them, and other matters relating to the internal operations of the court which shall be inforced until repealed or modified by the Supreme Court."

Sec. 5. Section 10 of the same Decree is hereby repealed.
Sec. 6. Presidential Decrees Nos. 1486, 1606 and 1861, Executive Orders Nos. 101 and 184 and all other laws, decrees, orders and rules of which are inconsistent therewith are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts.
Sec. 8. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: 30 March 1995