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BALABA vs. PEOPLE 593 SCRA 210
In October 1993, State Auditors of the Provincial Auditor's Office of Bohol conducted an examination of the cash and accounts of the accountable officers of the Municipality of Guindulman. The State Auditors discovered a cash shortage, unaccounted cash tickets and an unrecorded check payable to Balaba. Three demand letters were sent to Balaba asking him to explain the discrepancy in the accounts. Unsatisfied with Balaba's explanation, Graft Investigation Officer recommended that an information for Malversation of Public Funds be filed against Balaba with the Sandiganbayan. During his arraignment, Balaba entered a plea of not guilty. Trial soon followed. The trial court found Balaba guilty. Balaba filed his Notice of Appeal, where he indicated that he would file his appeal before the Court of Appeals, the latter dismissed Balaba's appeal. The Court of Appeals declared that it had no jurisdiction to act on the appeal because the Sandiganbayan has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over the case.
Whether or not, the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the appeal instead of certifying the case to the proper court.
No, upon Balaba's conviction by the trial court, his remedy should have been an appeal to the Sandiganbayan. Under Paragraph 3, Section 4(c) of RA 8249, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, which reads: The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. There is nothing in said paragraph which can conceivably justify the filing of Balaba's appeal before the Court of Appeals instead of the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, the Court of Appeals is bereft of any jurisdiction to review the judgment Balaba seeks to appeal. "An appeal erroneously taken to the Court of Appeals shall not be transferred to the appropriate court but shall be dismissed outright." In this case, Balaba sought the correction of the error in filing the appeal only after the expiration of the period to appeal. The trial court promulgated its Decision on 9 December 2002. Balaba filed his notice of appeal on 14 January 2003. The Court of Appeals issued the Decision declaring its lack of jurisdiction on 15 December 2004. Balaba tried to correct the error only on 27 January 2005, clearly beyond the 15-day period to appeal from the decision of the trial court. Therefore, the Court of Appeals did not commit any error when it dismissed Balaba's appeal because of lack of jurisdiction.