Friday, October 28, 2011


As proposed by the Committee, the Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction over cases assigned to it only in instances where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the positions of regional director and higher or are otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher by the Compensation and Classification Act of 1989, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity at the time of the commission of the offense. The jurisdiction, therefore, refers to a certain grade upwards, which shall remain with the Sandiganbayan.
The President of the Philippines and other impeachable officers such as the justices of the Supreme Court and constitutional commissions are not subject to the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan during their incumbency.
The bill provides for an extensive listing of other public officers who will be subject to the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. It includes, among others, Members of Congress, judges and justices of all courts.
x x x
Indeed, it is a basic precept in statutory construction that the intent of the legislature is the controlling factor in the interpretation of a statute. From the congressional records and the text of Rep. Acts No. 7975 and 8294, the legislature undoubtedly intended the officials enumerated in (a) to (g) of Section 4 a.(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by the aforesaid subsequent laws, to be included within the original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
Following this disquisition, the paragraph of Section 4 which provides that if the accused is occupying a position lower than SG 27, the proper trial court has jurisdiction, can only be properly interpreted as applying to those cases where the principal accused is occupying a position lower than SG 27 and not among those specifically included in the enumeration in Section 4 a. (1)(a) to (g). Stated otherwise, except for those officials specifically included in Section 4 a. (1) (a) to (g), regardless of their salary grades, over whom the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction, all other public officials below SG 27 shall be under the jurisdiction of the proper trial courts “where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to SG 27 or higher.” By this construction, the entire Section 4 is given effect. The cardinal rule, after all, in statutory construction is that the particular words, clauses and phrases should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part of the statute must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce a harmonious whole. And courts should adopt a construction that will give effect to every part of a statute, if at all possible. Ut magis valeat quam pereat or that construction is to be sought which gives effect to the whole of the statute – its every word.

[G.R. No. 143047. July 14, 2004]

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