Daan v Sandiganbayan 560 SCRA 233
Joselito Raniero J. Daan (petitioner), one of the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 24167-24170, 24195-24196, questions the denial by the Sandiganbayan of his plea bargaining proposal. Said accused, together with accused Benedicto E. Kuizon, were charged before this Court for three counts of malversation of public funds involving the sums of P3,293.00, P1,869.00, and P13,528.00, respectively, which they purportedly tried to conceal by falsifying the time book and payrolls for given period making it appear that some laborers worked on the construction of the new municipal hall building of Bato, Leyte and collected their respective salaries thereon when, in truth and in fact, they did not. Thus, in addition to the charge for malversation, the accused were also indicted before this Court for three counts of falsification of public document by a public officer or employee.
The Sandiganbayan, in the herein assailed Resolution, dated March 25, 2004, denied petitioner's Motion to Plea Bargain, despite favorable recommendation by the prosecution, on the main ground that no cogent reason was presented to justify its approval.
Petitioner argues that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying his plea bargaining.
Whether the lesser offense of falsification of a public document by a private individual is necessary included in the crime of falsification of public document by a public officer, hence the petitioner plead guilty to the former.
Yes. In this case, the allegations in the Informations filed against petitioner are sufficient to hold petitioner liable for the lesser offenses. Thus, in the charge for Falsification of Public Documents, petitioner may plead guilty to the lesser offense of Falsification by Private Individuals inasmuch as it does not appear that petitioner took advantage of his official position in allegedly falsifying the timebook and payroll of the Municipality of Bato, Leyte. Given, therefore, that some of the essential elements of offenses charged in this case likewise constitute the lesser offenses, then petitioner may plead guilty to such lesser offenses.