Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolution of the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan (SB) dated June 2, 2005 which quashed the Information filed against herein respondent for alleged violation of Section 3 (g) of Republic Act No. 3019 (R.A. 3019), otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Herein respondent was indicted 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.
Thus, in an Information, respondent was charged before the Sandiganbayan.
Respondent filed a Motion to Quash the Information filed against him on the ground that the operative facts adduced therein do not constitute an offense under Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019.
It appearing that Henry T. Go, the lone accused in this case is a private person and his alleged co-conspirator-public official was already deceased long before this case was filed in court, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, the SB granted the Motion to Quash and the Information filed was ordered quashed and dismissed.
WHETHER OR NOT respondent, a private person, may be indicted for conspiracy in violating Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019 even if the public officer, with whom he was alleged to have conspired, has died prior to the filing of the Information.
The Court finds the petition meritorious.
Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 provides:
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. – In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
x x x x
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.
The elements of the above provision are:
(1) that the accused is a public officer;
(2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and
(3) that such contract or transaction is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government.
At the outset, it bears to reiterate the settled rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under Section 3 of R.A. 3019, in consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto.
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.
Indeed, it is not necessary to join all alleged co-conspirators in an indictment for conspiracy. If two or more persons enter into a conspiracy, any act done by any of them pursuant to the agreement is, in contemplation of law, the act of each of them and they are jointly responsible therefor.
This means that everything said, written or done by any of the conspirators in execution or furtherance of the common purpose is deemed to have been said, done, or written by each of them and it makes no difference whether the actual actor is alive or dead, sane or insane at the time of trial.
The death of one of two or more conspirators does not prevent the conviction of the survivor or survivors.