SYNOPSIS

The case under consideration is a petition for certiorari assailing the resolution of the Ombudsman dismissing the charges of violation of Sections 3(e and j) and 4(b) of Republic Act 3019, as amended, and Articles 17 1(2), 204,206,207 of the Revised Penal Code filed by petitioner against respondents building official, the assistant building official, the Quezon City Legal Officer, the Chief, Enforcement Division, and the respondent-spouses Venancio and Paulina Tay, as well as the resolution denying reconsideration of the dismissal, on the ground that there was no showing that the questioned acts of respondents were motivated by bad faith and thus, there was no probable cause to file a criminal case against them.

The Court ruled that the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the charges filed by petitioner against respondents was proper considering that there was no probable cause as the act complained of, that respondent building officials’ approval of a building permit in favor of private respondents, despite alleged patent errors in the plan and specifications, constitute error of judgment, not necessarily a violation of anti-graft law, or the Revised Penal Code. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed for lack of merit.

SYLLABUS

CIVIL LAW; CIVIL CODE; SPECIAL CONTRACTS; COMPROMISE AGREEMENT; DEFINED; COMPROMISE AGREEMENT CANNOT AFFECT THE CHARGES OF VIOLATION OF SECTION (3) AND SECTION 4(B) OF REPUBLIC ACT 3019 AND ARTICLES 171 AND 172, OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE FILED AGAINST RESPONDENTS; CASE AT BAR.- In private respondents’ Comment to the petition filed on April 5, 1999, they bring to the Court’s attention a Compromise Agreement dated June 22, 1998, executed by petitioner and private respondents whereby they mutually agreed to settle amicably their dispute and to cause the dismissal of all pending cases filed by one party against the other by filing a joint motion to dismiss.  They filed the Compromise Agreement with the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, on June 23, 1998.  “A compromise is a bilateral act or transaction that is expressly acknowledged as a juridical agreement by the Civil Code.”  Thus, Article 2028 of the Civil Code provides that: “A compromise is a contract whereby the parties by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced.”  “The Civil Code not only defines and authorizes compromises, it in fact encourages them in civil actions.”  “Compromises are generally to be favored and cannot be set aside if the parties acted in good faith and made reciprocal concessions to each other in order to terminate a case.”  However, the compromise agreement cannot affect the charges of violation of R.A. 3019, Section 3 (e) and (j), and Section 4 (b); Revised Penal Code, Articles 171 and 172, par. 2, Articles 206 and 207, filed against respondents.  The law abhors settlement of criminal liability.  Nonetheless, we agree with the Ombudsman that there was no “probable cause” as the act complained of, that respondent building officials’ approval of a building permit in favor of private respondents, despite alleged patent errors in the plan and specifications, constitutes error of judgment, not necessarily a violation of the anti-graft law, or the Revised Penal Code.

APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL

William S. Merginio for petitioner.

The Solicitor General for public respondent.

Hermogenes Datum, Jr. for private respondent.