Constitutional Law, Criminal Law

SCHNECKENBURGER v. MORAN G.R. No. L-44896 July 31, 1936 Jurisdiction

FACTS:

The petitioner, an honorary consul of Uruguay in the Philippines, was charged with the crime of falsification of a private document before the CFI of Manila. He objected to the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that both under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Philippines the court below had no jurisdiction to try him. He filed this petition for a writ of prohibition with a view to preventing the CFI from taking cognizance of the criminal action filed against him.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the CFI of Manila has jurisdiction to try the petitioner.

RULING:

This case involves NO question of diplomatic immunity. It is well settled that a consul is not entitled to the privileges and immunities of an ambassador or minister, but is subject to the laws and regulations of the country to which he is accredited. A consul is not exempt from criminal prosecution for violations of the laws of the country where he resides.

In the exercise of its powers and jurisdiction, this court is bound by the provisions of the Constitution. The Constitution provides that the original jurisdiction of this court “shall include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls.” In deciding the instant case this court cannot go beyond this constitutional provision.

It remains to consider whether the original jurisdiction thus conferred upon this court by the Constitution over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, is exclusive.

The Constitution provides that the original jurisdiction of this court “shall include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls.”

It results that the original jurisdiction possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court at the time of the adoption of the Constitution was not exclusive of, but concurrent with, that of the CFI. Inasmuch as this is the same original jurisdiction vested in this court by the Constitution and made to include all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, it follows that the jurisdiction of this court over such cases is not exclusive.

Indeed, the CFI of Manila has jurisdiction to try the petitioner. Hence,  the petition for a writ of prohibition must be denied.

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