378 Phil. 1166
“That on or about September 1, 1995, in the Municipality of Sanchez Mira, Province of Cagayan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Eliterio Rubiaco, Caesar Talla, Vicente Gascon and Licerio Antiporda, Jr., armed with guns, conspiring together and helping one another, by means of force, violence and intimidation and without legal grounds or any authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap and carry away one Elmer Ramos from his residence in Marzan, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan against his will with the use of a Maroon Tamaraw FX motor vehicle.On November 10, 1997, the Court issued an order giving the prosecution represented by Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero Agcaoili thirty (30) days within which to submit the amendment to the Information. The said order is quoted in full as follows:
CONTRARY TO LAW”
“O R D E RThe prosecution on even date complied with the said order and filed an Amended Information, which was admitted by the Sandiganbayan in a resolution dated November 24, 1997. The Amended Information thus reads:
“This morning, the prosecution represented by Prosecutor Evelyn T. Lucero Agcaoili appeared in response to this Court’s Order of clarification on the propriety of proceeding with the Information as it stands.
“On her own, Prosecutor Agcaoili informed the Court that there were inadequacies in the allegations in the Information for which reason she would beg leave to amend the same. The Court for its part expressed anxiety as to the Court’s jurisdiction over the case considering that it was not clear whether or not the subject matter of the accusation was office related.
“For this purpose, Prosecutor Agcaoili is given thirty (30) days within which to submit the amendment embodying whatever changes she believes are appropriate or necessary in order for the Information to effectively describe the offense herein charged. Within the same period, Prosecutor Agcaoili shall submit an expansion of the recommendation to file the instant Information against the accused before this Court indicating thereon the office related character of the accusation herein so that the Court might effectively exercise its jurisdiction over the same.
Accused then filed an Urgent Omnibus Motion dated November 16, 1997 praying that a reinvestigation of the case be conducted and the issuance of warrants of arrest be deferred.
“That on or about September 10, 1997, at Sanchez Mira, Cagayan and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused Licerio Antiporda, Jr., being the Municipal Mayor of Buguey, Cagayan in the exercise of his official duties as such and taking advantage of his position, ordered, confederated and conspired with Juan Gallardo, Barangay Captain of San Lorenzo, Buguey, Cagayan (now deceased) and accused Eliterio Rubiaco, barangay councilman of San Lorenzo, Buguey, Cagayan, Vicente Gascon and Caesar Talla with the use of firearms, force, violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap and abduct the victim Elmer Ramos without any authority of law from his residence at Marzan, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan against his will, with the use of a Maroon Tamaraw FX motor vehicle and subsequently bring and detain him illegally at the residence of accused Mayor Licerio Antiporda, Jr. for more than five (5) days.
“CONTRARY TO LAW.”
"The Motion to Quash filed in behalf of the accused by Atty. Orlando B. Consigna is ignored, it appearing that the accused have continually refused or otherwise failed to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of this Court. At all events there is an Amended Information here which makes an adequate description of the position of the accused thus vesting this Court with the office related character of the offense of the accused.A motion for reconsideration was filed on April 3, 1998 by the accused wherein it was alleged that the filing of the Motion to Quash and the appearance of their counsel during the scheduled hearing thereof amounted to their voluntary appearance and invested the court with jurisdiction over their persons.
“Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:The Sandiganbayan exercises not only civil but also criminal jurisdiction. Criminal jurisdiction, as defined in the case of People vs. Mariano, is necessarily the authority to hear and try a particular offense and impose the punishment for it.
“(a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
x x x
“(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00. Provided, however, That offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.”
“To paraphrase: beyond the pale of disagreement is the legal tenet that a court acquires jurisdiction to try a criminal case only when the following requisites concur: (1) the offense is one which the court is by law authorized to take cognizance of, (2) the offense must have been committed within its territorial jurisdiction, and (3) the person charged with the offense must have been brought in to its forum for trial, forcibly by warrant of arrest or upon his voluntary submission to the court.”The petitioners argue that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case because the original information did not allege that one of the petitioners, Licerio A. Antiporda, Jr., took advantage of his position as mayor of Buguey, Cagayan to order the kidnapping of Elmer Ramos. They likewise assert that lacking jurisdiction a court can not order the amendment of the information. In the same breath, they contend however that the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the persons of the accused.
“xxx the accused xxx have no right to invoke the processes of the court since they have not been placed in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of their liberty by reason or as a consequence of the filling of the information. For the same reason, the court had no authority to act on the petition.”We find that the case of Layosa and de los Santos-Reyes are not inconsistent with each other since both these cases discussed the rules on when a court acquires jurisdiction over the persons of the accused, i.e., either through the enforcement of warrants of arrest or their voluntary submission to the court.
“Respondents (petitioners herein) have thoroughly scanned the entire records of the instant case and no where is there any evidence to show that the Honorable Prosecution Office of the Province of Cagayan have been authorized by the Office of the Honorable Ombudsman to conduct the Preliminary Investigation much less had the former office been authorized to file the corresponding Information as the said case, if evidence warrants, fall exclusively with the jurisdiction of the Honorable Sandiganbayan notwithstanding the presence of other public officers whose salary range is below 27 and notwithstanding the presence of persons who are not public officers.”It is a well-settled rule that a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent, and after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction.
“Section 14. Amendment. – The information or complaint may be amended, in substance or form, without leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads; and thereafter and during the trial as to all matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the same can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.xxx xxx xxx”
Petitioner prayed that a reinvestigation be made in view of the Amended Information.
“... the absence in the information filed on 5 April 1991 before Branch 46 of the RTC of San Fernando, Pampanga, of an allegation that petitioner had committed the offense charged in relation to his office is immaterial and easily remedied. Respondent RTC judges had forwarded petitioner’s case to the Sandiganbayan, and the complete records transmitted thereto in accordance with the directions of this Court set out in the Asuncion case: “x x x As if it was originally filed with [the Sandiganbayan].” That Information may be amended at any time before arraignment before the Sandiganbayan, and indeed, by leave of court at any time before judgment is rendered by the Sandiganbayan, considering that such an amendment would not affect the juridical nature of the offense charged (i.e., murder), the qualifying circumstances alleged in the information, or the defenses that petitioner may assert before the Sandiganbayan. In other words, the amendment may be made before the Sandiganbayan without surprising the petitioner or prejudicing his substantive rights.” (Underscoring Supplied)WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.