SC sets reckoning period for right to speedy disposition of cases

MANILAThe Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ruled that the proper reckoning period for speedy disposition of cases begins at the preliminary investigation stage.

This was announced by SC Spokesman Theodore Te in a press briefing after the High Court's en banc session.

The Court, (voting) 8-2, while four taking no part, interpreted the reckoning period for the right to speedy disposition of cases under Article III, Section 16 to start from the preliminary investigation of cases, and not before the preliminary investigation and not from the fact-finding stage, Te told reporters during the press briefing.

The High Court was acting on petitions filed by then Sarangani provincial treasurer Cesar Cagang, who had been found guilty of estafa through falsification of public documents by the Sandiganbayan in 2012.

According to Te, the details of Tuesday's en banc session voting was not yet available.

The Office of the Ombudsman, under the leadership of Conchita Carpio Morales, asked the High Court for a clarification of the guidelines for inordinate delay, but the SC announcement did not specifically touch on the anti-graft office's petition.

The ruling will have an impact for newly-appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires' disposition of cases as it gives a clear picture as to what shall be considered inordinate delay in the resolution of cases - a ground sometimes cited in the acquittal of individuals facing criminal and/or administrative charges.

Martires, a former SC associate justice, earlier said that he would meet with the officials of the anti-graft body to find ways in preventing the dismissal of cases in the Sandiganbayan because of undue delay. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency