Petitioner, Escobal is a member of the Intellegence Group of the PNP. On March 1990, while he was conducting a surveillance operation on drug trafficking, he somehow got involved in a shooting incident resulting to the death of Rodney Nueca. Thereafter, petitioner was arrested and tried in the RTC of Naga City Branch 21.
Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the case reiterating that since he committed the crime in the performance of his duty, the Sandiganbayan has the exclusive jurisdiction over his case. Thus, the case was transferred to the Sandiganbayan. However, respondent which is the presiding justice of the case ordered the return of the records and that the case be remanded back to its court of origin, RTC 21.
Petitioner then filed a certiorari.
Whether or not the presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in remanding the case back to the RTC.
No. According to the Supreme Court under P.D. 1606 as amended by R.A. 7975, even if the offender committed the crime charged in relation to his office but occupies a position corresponding to the salary grade below 27, the RTC or MTC as the case may be, shall have the exclusive jurisdiction over the case.
Here, the petitioner is occupying a position equivalent to a Police Senior Inspector which has a salary grade of 23 falling short to the requirement of the law, giving the RTC the exclusive jurisdiction over the case.