Bunye vs Sandiganbayan

Bunye vs Sandiganbayan

G.R. No. 122058

May 5, 1999

 

Facts:

Petitioners were charged for the taking possession of the New Public Market in Alabang, Muntinlupa through the enactment of Kapasiyahan Bilang 45 to the prejudice of the Kilusang Bayan sa Paglilingkod ng mga Magtitinda na Bagong Pamilihang Bayan ng Muntinlupa (KBPMBMPM) since a lease contract between the Municipality and the Kilusan was subsisting.

Petitioners posted a Motion to Dismiss on July 24, 1992, relying on the Court of Appeals Decision on September 23, 1991 “that unless and until declared to be unconstitutional and expressly annulled”, Resolution No. 45 “deserves the presumption of constitutionality and therefore is entitled to obedience and respect”. However, the motion was denied by the respondent court on September 23, 1992. The Sandiganbayan then found petitioners’ guilty of a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on its July 26, 1995 Decision.

Issues:

WON the unilateral revocation of subject lease contract was effected with evident bad faith.

 

Held:

Sec.149, paragraph (3) of BP 337 explicitly requires a public bidding before a government contract may be awarded, and the term of the contract is not to exceed 5 years. Thus, the 25-year term of the lease contract violates the BP 337 provision.

As stated in Spouses Terrado vs Court of Appeals, “since Ordinance No. 8 granted fishery privileges without the benefit of public bidding and for a period exceeding 5 years, the said ordinance and the contract of management…were null and void ab initio xxx”.

There is tenability in petitioner’s submission that subject lease contract was grossly disadvantageous to the Government. The Court, mindful of economic realities, perceives that the projected monthly rental of P51, 243 in 1990 would have greatly reduced by 2015 when the lease contract would have ended if not earlier rescinded. Also, KBMBPM’s failure to comply with the contractual stipulations under the Health and Sanitation clause of the contract cannot be overlooked.

In finding and concluding that petitioners acted in bad faith in the “implementation of said directives”, the respondent court equated “legal steps” to ”legal actions”, so much so that petitioners’ failure to sue the Cooperative for rescission of the contract was adjudged by the Sandiganbayan as non-compliance with the MMC and CoA’s directives.

Prior to the takeover of the new public market, posters announced the municipality’s intended takeover in the vicinity of the market place where the KBMMPM’s offices were located. The cooperative also participated in the public hearing of Resolution No. 45. Thus, respondents were duly notified of the intent to takeover by the municipality.

Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 provides that “causing any undue injury to any party…the discharge of his official administrative pr judicial function…” constitute a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

There is no clear evidence as to the exact nature of the amount since the witness failed to produce any document as evidence.

Records also reveal that the stallholders’ business interest has never been adversely affected, and no market vendor was displaced or prevented from operating in the new Muntinlupa public market, as a result of the implementation of Resolution o. 45. Thus, no undue injury was caused by petitioners to subject market vendors or to the KBMBPM. There is no sustainable basis for requiring the Municipality to reimburse.

Absent any damage/injury, the fourth element of the charge is wanting. The evidence cannot hurdle the test of moral certainty required for conviction.

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