(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of the Office of the Ombudsman of Sandra Cam’s complaint against the late Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, and Restituto Mosqueda whom she accused of coddling jueteng operations in violation of Sec. 2(k) of RA 9287, An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games Amending Certain Provisions of P.D. 1602 and for Other Purposes.

The Court’s First Division on June 29, 2015 promulgated a decision in the case of Sandra M. Cam v. Orlando C. Casimiro, et al. (G.R. No. 184130) dismissing the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 and affirming the Resolution dated October 9, 2006 and Order dated February 13, 2008, issued by the Office of the Ombudsman in OMB-C-C-05-0380-H, which in turn dismissed Cam’s complaint for insufficiency of evidence to establish probable cause and denying her motion for reconsideration.

In the 12-page decision penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, the Court ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the Ombudsman’s part in ruling that the evidence presented by Cam was insufficient to establish probable cause.

The High Court pointed out that while petitioner accused the respondents of receiving benefits in the form of cash and vehicles in jueteng operations, Cam only presented her testimony and four official receipts covering the purchase of a Toyota Revo in the name of Marlyn Mosqueda, wife of respondent Mosqueda, which cannot be appreciated to prove that the funds used to pay for the vehicle came from jueteng operations.

The Court further ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the Ombudsman’s part in not filing an Information on the basis of Cam’s uncorroborated testimony. It stressed that Cam was “[given] many opportunities to substantiate her bare allegations. Public respondents Mothalib Onos, Lourdes Padre-Juan and Rosano Oliva of the Ombudsman, even alerted her of the need for more evidence.”

The Court emphasized that Cam could have easily reproduced or obtained relevant documents, like bank statements or affidavits, and attached these to her Motion for Reconsideration or subsequent pleadings, which she did not do.

Further, the Court stressed that Cam misquoted the Resolution twice.

First, it clarified that nowhere in the Resolution does it state that the complaint was dismissed because Cam failed to prove the guilt of respondents. Instead, the complaint was not given due course because of the “failure to present sufficient proofs to support the accusation.”

Second, the Court clarified that “the Resolution impressed that public respondents had been unable to determine the existence of probable cause because Cam presented only uncorroborated allegations, which were met with contrary declarations of the alleged involved personalities in the contested transactions”.

Nowhere in the Resolution was it mentioned that Cam’s uncorroborated allegations cannot be given credence, as Cam claimed.

Finally, the High Court pointed out that the “Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause, or lack of it, is entitled to great respect absent a showing of grave abuse of discretion.”

Citing Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto, the Court explained the rule of non-interference, “courts would be swamped if they have to review the exercise of discretion of public prosecutors each time they decide to file an information or dismiss a complaint.” (MNS)