Tatad v Sandiganbayan; 159 SCRA 70

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In October 1974, a formal report was filed charging petitioner with alleged violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. No action was taken on said report until it was revived on December 12, 1979, two months after it became public that petitioner had a falling out with the president. Criminal charges were thereafter lodged against petitioner.

Whether or not the delay in the termination of the preliminary investigation violates petitioner’s right to due process.

YES. Substantial adherence to the requirements of the law governing the conduct of preliminary investigation, including substantial compliance with the time limitation prescribed by the law for the resolution of the case by the prosecutor, is part of the procedural due process constitutionally guaranteed by the fundamental law. Not only under the broad umbrella of the due process clause, but under the constitutional guarantee of “speedy disposition” of cases as embodied in Section 16 of the Bill of Rights, the inordinate delay is violative of the petiitioner’s constitutional rights.

Petition is GRANTED. Criminal charges against petitioner are DISMISSED.

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