Roxas v. Vasquez G.R. 114944, June 19, 2001

Fact: Manuel C. Roxas was the Chairman, while Ahmed S. Nacpil was a Member, of the Bids and Awards Committee of the PC-INP who invited bids for the supply of sixty-five units of fire trucks. The COA subsequently discovered that while the disbursement voucher indicated the bid price has discrepancy. DILG Secretary filed a complaint with the Ombudsman for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 against the accused. On review, the Office of the Special Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the complaints against the petitioner. However, the Special Prosecutor made a sudden turnabout as regards to the petitioner and ordered their inclusion as accused in a Criminal Case. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration. The Review Committee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor recommended that the Motion for Reconsideration be granted and that the charge against the movants be dismissed. However, Deputy Special Prosecutor disapproved the recommendation. Thus, Petitioner filed with this Court the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition, seeking to annul the orders of the Ombudsman directing their inclusion as accused in Criminal Case. adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Issue: Whether the petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge? adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Held: Yes,  the court find that the case at falls under one of the recognized exceptions to this rule, more specifically, the constitutional rights of the accused are impaired and the charges are manifestly false. In cases where the Ombudsman and the Special Prosecutor were unable to agree on whether or not probable cause exists, we may interfere with the findings and conclusions. The petitioners were deprived of due process when the Special Prosecutor reinstated the complaint against them without their knowledge. Due process of law requires that every litigant must be given an opportunity to be heard. He has the right to be present and defend himself in person at every stage of the proceedings. For all intents and purposes, therefore, petitioners were no longer parties in the criminal action. Evidently, the Office of the Special Prosecutor thought so too. It did not give petitioners notice of the reinvestigation, which would have enabled them to participate in the proceedings. But when it later found probable cause against petitioners, it should have first given them notice and afforded them an opportunity to be heard before ordering their inclusion in Criminal Case. adrianantazo.wordpress.com

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