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People vs. Mariano

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  PEOPLE v. MARIANO 71 SCRA 600 MUNOZ PALMA, J.:  TOPIC: JURISDICTION FACTS: Hermogenes Mariano is an appointed Liaison officer by Mayor Constantino Nolasco of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. Mariano is authorized to receive and be receipted for US excess property of USAID/NEC. Mariano, instead of delivering it to the Office of the Mayor, misappropriated, misapply and converteed the said items for his personal benefit. Hence, the Office of Provinsial Fiscal of Bulacan filed an Information accusing private reponsdent Mariano of Estafa. Mariano filed a motion to quash thee information. He claimed that the items which were the subject matter of the Information against him were the same items for which Mayor Nolasco was indicted before a Military Commission under a charge of malversation of public property. The judge of RTC granted the motion to quash on the ground of lack of jurisction. It held that it had already taken cognizance of the malversation case against Mayor Nolasco involving the same subject matter, as such the court has without the jurisdiction to pass upon anew the same subject matter. ISSUE:  Whether or not civil courts and military commissions exercise concurrent jurisdiction over the offense of estafa of goods allegedly committed by a civilian. RULING: Sec. 44 of Judicary Act of 1948 provides that: xxx CFI shall have srcinal jurisdiction in all criminal cases in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for more than six months xxx  The offense charged against Mariano is penalized with arresto mayor in its minimum and prision correccional in its maximum period. Thus, Mariano falls under the srcinal jurisdiction of the CFI. In a previous case decided by SC, it ruled that the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action. In the case at bar, the law in force vesting jurisdiction upon CFI was the Judiciary Act of 1948. SC also made it clear that Estafa and Malversation are two and separate distinct offenses. Lastly, Military Commission is without power or authority to hear and determine the particular offense charged against respondent Mariano. Estafa falls within the sole exclusive jurisdiction of civil courts. PREMISES CONSIDERED, the appealed Order dated March 14, 1975, is set aside and respondent  Judge is directed to proceed with the trial of Criminal Case No. SM-649 without further delay. SO ORDERED.   
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