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CASE DIGEST ON SCHNECKENBURGER v. MORAN [63 Phil. 249 (1943)]

November 10, 2010


Nature: Original action in the Supreme Court. Prohibition.

Facts: Schneckenburger, who is an honorary consul of Uruguay at Manila was subsequently charged in CFI-Manila with the crime of falsification of a private document. He objected to this saying that under the US and Philippine Constitution, the CFI has no jurisdiction to try him. After his objection was overruled, he filed a petition for a writ of prohibition to prevent the CFI from taking cognizance of the criminal action filed against him. Aside from this, he contended that original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors and consuls is conferred exclusively upon the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

Issues:

1.         WON the US SC has Original Jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, consuls, et. al & such jurisdiction excludes courts of the Phils.

No. First of all, a consul is not entitled to the privilege of diplomatic immunity. A consul is not exempt from criminal prosecution for violations of the laws of the country where he resides. The inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth on Nov. 15, 1935 caused the Philippine Constitution to go into full force and effect. This Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It also provides that the original jurisdiction of this court “shall include all cases affecting ambassadors, consuls et.al.”

2.         WON original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, consuls, et. al. is conferred exclusively upon the Supreme Court of the Philippines

“The Supreme Court shall have original and appellate jurisdiction as may be possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.” According to Sec. 17. of Act No. 136 and by virtue of it, jurisdiction to issue writs of quo warranto, certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and habeas corpus was also conferred on the CFI’s. As a result, the original jurisdiction possessed and exercised by the Supreme Court of the Philippines at the time the Constitution was adopted was not exclusive of, but concurrent with, that of the CFI’s. The original jurisdiction conferred to SC by the Constitution was not an exclusive jurisdiction.

Judgment: CFI has jurisdiction to try the petitioner, and the petition for a writ of prohibition must be denied.

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