The accused were charged for a crime of multiple murder in the Sandiganbayan for the incident happened in the Kuratong-Baleleng Shoot-out. The accused contended that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over them as they were not occupying positions corresponding to salary Grade “27” or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or Officers of the Philippines National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher.
During the pendency of the investigation, the Sandiganbayan Law was amended which as per the interpretation of the ombudsman, will subject the accused to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The ombudsman also alleged that because the crime was committed in relation to their public office, Sandiganbayan was the proper jurisdiction and not the RTC.
Whether the crime alleged to the accused is in relation to their public office which will subject them to the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
No. SC held that an offense is said to have been committed in relation to the office if the offense is “intimately connected” with the office of the offender and perpetrated while he was in the performance of his official functions. This intimate relation between the offense charged and the discharge of official duties “must be alleged in the information.”. That “the factor that characterizes the charge is the actual recital of the facts.” The real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. Applying these legal principles and doctrines to the present case, we find the amended informations for murder against herein petitioner and intervenors wanting of specific factual averments to show the intimate relation/connection between the offense charged and the discharge of official function of the offenders.