That on or about and during the period from December 6, 1975 to January 6, 1976, in Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, Arturo Pacificador, then Chairman of the Board of the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation, a government-owned corporation, and therefore, a public officer, and Jose T. Marcelo, Jr., then President of the Philippine Smelters Corporation, a private corporation, conspiring and confederating with one another and with other individuals, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and knowingly, and with evident bad faith promote, facilitate, effect and cause the sale, transfer and conveyance by the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation of its ownership and all its titles, rights and interests over parcels of land in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte where the Jose Panganiban Smelting Plant is located including all the reclaimed and foreshore areas of about 50 hectares to the Philippine Smelters Corporation by virtue of a contract, the terms and conditions of which are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the Government as the consideration thereof is only P85,144.50 while the fair market value thereof at that time was P862,150.00 thereby giving the Philippine Smelters Corporation unwarranted benefits, advantages and profits and causing undue injury, damage and prejudice to the government in the amount of P777,005.50.
Respondent, and his erstwhile co-accused, Marcelo were charged before the Sandiganbayan with the crime of violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Petitioner contends that, contrary to the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, the provision of Act No. 3326 on prescription of offenses punishable under special laws is not applicable to the instant criminal case for the reason that R.A. No. 3019 provides for its own prescriptive period. Section 11 thereof provides that offenses committed and punishable under the said law shall prescribe in fifteen (15) years.
Whether or not the fifteen-year prescriptive period shall be applied in this case
No. Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019, as amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang (B.P. Blg.) 195, provides that the offenses committed under the said statute shall prescribe in fifteen (15) years. It appears however, that prior to the amendment of Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019 by B.P. Blg. 195 which was approved on March 16, 1982, the prescriptive period for offenses punishable under the said statute was only ten (10) years. The longer prescriptive period of fifteen (15) years, as provided in Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019 as amended by B.P. Blg. 195, does not apply in this case for the reason that the amendment, not being favorable to the accused (herein private respondent), cannot be given retroactive effect. Hence the crime prescribed on January 6, 1986 or ten (10) years from January 6, 1976.