PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs HENRY T. GO G.R. No. 168539, March 25, 2014

An Information filed against respondent is an offshoot of this Court’s which nullified the various contracts awarded by the Government. Subsequent to the Decision, a certain Pesayco filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against several individuals for alleged violation of R.A. 3019. Among those charged was herein respondent, who was then the Chairman and President of PIATCO, for having supposedly conspired with then DOTC Secretary Arturo Enrile (Secretary Enrile) in entering into a contract which is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government. The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon found probable cause to indict, among others, herein respondent for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019. While there was likewise a finding of probable cause against Secretary Enrile, he was no longer indicted because he died prior to the issuance of the resolution finding probable cause. The Sandiganbayan issued an Order to show cause why this case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused considering that the accused is a private person and the public official Arturo Enrile, his alleged co-conspirator, is already deceased, and not an accused in this case. The Sandiganbayan grants the Motion to Quash and the Information filed in this case is hereby ordered quashed and dismissed. Hence this case.

Whether the death of a Public Officer in a crime extinguishes the Liability of his co-conspirators

No, It is true that by reason of death, there is no longer any public officer with whom respondent can be charged for violation of R.A. 3019. It does not mean, however, that the allegation of conspiracy between them can no longer be proved or that their alleged conspiracy is already expunged. The only thing extinguished by the death of public officer is his criminal liability. His death did not extinguish the crime nor did it remove the basis of the charge of conspiracy between him and private respondent. Stated differently, the death of a public officer does not mean that there was no public officer who allegedly violated Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019, that there was probable cause to the public officer for infringement of Sections 3 (e) and (g) of R.A. 3019. Were it not for his death, he should have been charged. The requirement before a private person may be indicted for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019, among others, is that such private person must be alleged to have acted in conspiracy with a public officer. The law, however, does not require that such person must, in all instances, be indicted together with the public officer. If circumstances exist where the public officer may no longer be charged in court, as in the present case where the public officer has already died, the private person may be indicted alone.

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