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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
G.R. No. 152662
CARPIO, - versus Chairperson, BRION, PEREZ, SERENO, and REYES, JJ.
MA. THERESA PANGILINAN, Respondent.
Promulgated: June 13, 2012
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The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed this petition for certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, praying for the nullification and setting aside of the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 66936, entitled ―Ma. Theresa Pangilinan vs. People of the Philippines and Private Complainant Virginia C. Malolos.‖ The fallo of the assailed Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 218, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and Criminal Cases Nos. 89152 and 89153 against petitioner Ma. Theresa Pangilinan are hereby ordered DISMISSED.3
1 Rollo, pp. 33-66.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Perlita J. Tria Tirona with Associate Justices Eubulo G. Verzola and Bernardo P. Abesamis, concurring. CA rollo, pp. 162-170. 3 Id. at 169.
Culled from the record are the following undisputed facts:
On 16 September 1997, Virginia C. Malolos (private complainant) filed an affidavit-complaint for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 22 against Ma. Theresa Pangilinan (respondent) with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. The complaint alleges that respondent issued nine (9) checks with an aggregate amount of Nine Million Six Hundred Fifty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred Ninety-Two Pesos
(P9,658,592.00) in favor of private complainant which were dishonored upon presentment for payment.
On 5 December 1997, respondent filed a civil case for accounting, recovery of commercial documents, enforceability and effectivity of contract and specific performance against private complainant before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela City. This was docketed as Civil Case No. 1429-V-97.
Five days thereafter or on 10 December 1997, respondent filed a ―Petition to Suspend Proceedings on the Ground of Prejudicial Question‖
before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, citing as basis the pendency of the civil action she filed with the RTC of Valenzuela City.
On 2 March 1998, Assistant City Prosecutor Ruben Catubay recommended the suspension of the criminal proceedings pending the outcome of the civil action respondent filed against private complainant with the RTC of Valenzuela City. The recommendation was approved by the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.
Aggrieved, private complainant raised the matter before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
On 5 January 1999, then Secretary of Justice Serafin P. Cuevas reversed the resolution of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and ordered the filing of informations for violation of BP Blg. 22 against respondent in connection with her issuance of City Trust Check No. 127219 in the amount of P4,129,400.00 and RCBC Check No. 423773 in the amount of P4,475,000.00, both checks totaling the amount of P8,604,000.00. The estafa and violation of BP Blg. 22 charges involving the seven other checks included in the affidavit-complaint filed on 16 September 1997 were, however, dismissed.
Consequently, two counts for violation of BP Blg. 22, both dated 18 November 1999, were filed against respondent Ma.Theresa Pangilinan on 3 February 2000 before the Office of the Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Quezon City. These cases were raffled to MeTC, Branch 31on 7 June 2000.
On 17 June 2000, respondent filed an ―Omnibus Motion to Quash the Information and to Defer the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest‖ before MeTC, Branch 31, Quezon City. She alleged that her criminal liability has been extinguished by reason of prescription.
The presiding judge of MeTC, Branch 31, Quezon City granted the motion in an Order dated 5 October 2000.
On 26 October 2000, private complainant filed a notice of appeal. The criminal cases were raffled to RTC, Branch 218, Quezon City.
had. at 134-167. 89152 and 89153. The Court a quo is hereby directed to proceed with the hearing of Criminal Cases Nos. Nos. respondent filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review5 on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.4 Dissatisfied with the RTC Decision. the presiding judge of RTC. . not yet prescribed when the same was filed with the court a quo considering the appropriate complaint that started the proceedings having been filed with the Office of the Prosecutor on 16 September 1997 yet. The criminal action on two counts for violation of BP Blg. The pertinent portion of the decision reads: xxx Inasmuch as the informations in this case were filed on 03 February 2000 with the Clerk of Court although received by the Court itself only on 07 June 2000. Quezon City reversed the 5 October 2000 Order of the MeTC. 4 5 Rollo. therefore. 22. 133.In a Decision dated 27 July 2001. the assailed Order dated 05 October 2000 is hereby REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. 149486-87. WHEREFORE. Id. Branch 218. This was docketed as G. p.R. they are covered by the Rule as it was worded before the latest amendment.
the five (5) days grace period granted by law had elapsed. 22 imputed to [respondent] sometime in the latter part of 1995. Quezon City. 89152 and 89153 for the reason that the cases for violation of BP Blg. . In reversing the RTC Decision.In a resolution6 dated 24 September 2000. In a Decision dated 12 March 2002. four years therefrom or until the latter part of 1999 to 6 Id. the appellate court ratiocinated that: xxx this Court reckons the commencement of the period of prescription for violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. as it was within this period that the [respondent] was notified by the private [complainant] of the fact of dishonor of the subject checks and. this Court referred the petition to the CA for appropriate action. as amended. thereby dismissing Criminal Case Nos. the CA reversed the 27 July 2001 Decision of RTC. On 26 October 2001. Branch 218. the CA gave due course to the petition by requiring respondent and private complainant to comment on the petition. 22 had already prescribed. The private respondent then had. at 169. pursuant to Section 1 of Act 3326.
pp. such as Batas Pambansa Blg.9 7 8 9 G. governs the computation of the prescriptive period of both ordinances and special laws. 167-168.file her complaint or information against the petitioner before the proper court. 211 SCRA 277. which means the filing of the complaint or information with the proper court. as amended.R. Reyes7 the Supreme Court held that the proceedings referred to in Section 2 of Act No. prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person. Reyes8 likewise applies to special laws. xxx Pursuant to Section 2 of Act 3326. 3 July 1992. The informations docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Otherwise stated. this Court. finds that the ruling of the Supreme Court in Zaldivia v. 22. the running of the prescriptive period shall be stayed on the date the case is actually filed in court and not on any date before that. as amended. No. as amended. While the aforesaid case involved a violation of a municipal ordinance. as amended. 3326. In the case of Zaldivia vs. are ‗judicial proceedings‘. 89152 and 89152(sic) against the petitioner having been filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City only on 03 February 2000. the said cases had therefore. clearly prescribed. which is in consonance with Section 2 of Act 3326. CA rollo. 102342. Id. . considering that Section 2 of Act 3326.
while it admits that Act No. Rule 110 of the 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure 11 Supra note 7 at 284-285. 3326. In relying on Zaldivia. whether filed with the court or with the Office of the City Prosecutor.10 It submits that the filing of the complaint- affidavit by private complainant Virginia C. Petitioner further submits that the CA erred in its decision when it relied on the doctrine laid down by this Court in the case of Zaldivia v. 22 cases. that interrupts the period of prescription of the offense charged. it is the institution of criminal actions. Jr. as amended by Act No. 3763 dated 23 November 1930.12 the CA allegedly failed to consider the subsequent jurisprudence superseding the aforesaid ruling. . 12 Supra. 10 Section 1. According to the OSG. 3585 and further amended by Act No. Malolos on 16 September 1997 with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City effectively interrupted the running of the prescriptive period of the subject BP Blg. governs the period of prescription for violations of special laws.The OSG sought relief to this Court in the instant petition for review.11 that the filing of the complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor is not the ―judicial proceeding‖ that could have interrupted the period of prescription. Reyes.
R. 272 SCRA 563. 13 Calderon-Bargas v. Francisco v. .13 the Supreme Court ruled that the filing of a complaint with the Fiscal‘s Office for preliminary investigation suspends the running of the prescriptive period. No. Br. 23 May 1997. 112584. 103259-61.Petitioner contends that in a catena of cases. In her comment-opposition dated 26 July 2002. Ingco v. 162. It therefore concluded that the filing of the informations with the MeTC of Quezon City on 3 February 2000 was still within the allowable period of four years within which to file the criminal cases for violation of BP Blg. 227 SCRA 56. G. No. 3326. G. Respondent reiterates the ruling of the CA that the filing of the complaint before the City Prosecutor‘s Office did not interrupt the running of the prescriptive period considering that the offense charged is a violation of a special law. as amended. Metro Manila. Nos. G. 122 SCRA 538. 1 October 1993. RTC of Pasig. 22 in accordance with Act No. L-45674. Such procedural lapses are allegedly fatal to the cause of the petitioner.R. respondent avers that the petition of the OSG should be dismissed outright for its failure to comply with the mandatory requirements on the submission of a certified true copy of the decision of the CA and the required proof of service. Sandiganbayan. CA.R. 30 May 1983.
The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine Archipelago. 22 against 14 Article 91. and offenses covered by the RPC. Computation of prescription of offenses. 15 Section 1. Institution of criminal actions. 3326. She claims that the cases relied upon by petitioner involved felonies punishable under the Revised Penal Code and are therefore covered by Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC)14 and Section 1. as in this case. Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.15 Respondent pointed out that the crime imputed against her is for violation of BP Blg. She submits that a distinction should thus be made between offenses covered by municipal ordinances or special laws.Respondent contends that the arguments advanced by petitioner are anchored on erroneous premises. is governed by Act No. or their agents. or are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not imputable to him. and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted. The key issue raised in this petition is whether the filing of the affidavit-complaint for estafa and violation of BP Blg. the authorities. as amended.—Criminal actions shall be instituted as follows: xxx xxx The institution of the criminal action shall interrupt the running of the period of prescription of the offense charged unless otherwise provided in special laws. . 22. — The period of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party. and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information. which is indisputably a special law and as such.
We find merit in this petition. the law reads: . we see that the respondent‘s claim that the OSG failed to attach to the petition a duplicate original or certified true copy of the 12 March 2002 decision of the CA and the required proof of service is refuted by the record. 22 cases.‖ as amended. Appositely. Initially. With regard to the main issue of the petition. 3326 entitled ―An Act to Establish Prescription for Violations of Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin.respondent with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City on 16 September 1997 interrupted the period of prescription of such offense. is the law applicable to BP Blg. we find that the CA reversively erred in ruling that the offense committed by respondent had already prescribed. Indeed. A perusal of the record reveals that attached to the original copy of the petition is a certified true copy of the CA decision. Act No. It was also observed that annexed to the petition was the proof of service undertaken by the Docket Division of the OSG.
22 is a special law that imposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than one year or by a fine for its violation.SECTION 1. from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment. should. unless otherwise provided in such acts. however. . and thus.R. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law. and if the same be not known at the time. In the old but oft-cited case of People v. but less than two years. L-22465. should be tolled upon the institution of proceedings against the guilty person. (c) xxx. prescribe in accordance with the following rules: (a) xxx. 28 February 1967. (b) after four years for those punished by imprisonment for more than one month. 500. interrupt the period of prescription of the criminal responsibility. Olarte. 19 SCRA 494. The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person. Since BP Blg. SECTION 2. even if 16 G. Violations penalized by special acts shall. No. and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy.16 this Court ruled that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court even if it be merely for purposes of preliminary examination or investigation. The running of the prescriptive period. it therefor prescribes in four (4) years in accordance with the aforecited law.
R. In Securities and Exchange Commission v. et. CA. 546 SCRA 303. al.18 is not controlling in special laws. 1272 (1996).17 when it held that the filing of the complaint with the Fiscal‘s Office also suspends the running of the prescriptive period of a criminal offense. 19 328 Phil. Interport Resources Corporation. et. 18 Supra note 7.23 the 17 207 Phil 471.al. Reyes. 20 Supra note 13. 22 cases involving special laws. 6 October 2008. The ruling in Zaldivia v.20 Brillante v. 415-416. . 21 483 Phil. this Court held that the institution of proceedings for preliminary investigation against the accused interrupts the period of prescription. Lim. 567 SCRA 354. et. et al. Court of Appeals. There is no more distinction between cases under the RPC and those covered by special laws with respect to the interruption of the period of prescription. v. . 19 February 2008. Sandiganbayan. al. 568 (2004) 22 G. This ruling was broadened by the Court in the case of Francisco. In Llenes v. Respondent‘s contention that a different rule should be applied to cases involving special laws is bereft of merit.the court where the complaint or information is filed cannot try the case on the merits. Jr. No. Dicdican. No.R. v.21 and Sanrio Company Limited v. 23 G. 477 (1983). 135808. 168662.19 Ingco.
such being the period within which herein 24 G. No. .24 which is in all fours with the instant case. In fact. 562. Jr. 167571. Aggrieved parties. this Court categorically ruled that commencement of the proceedings for the prosecution of the accused before the Office of the City Prosecutor effectively interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they had been charged under BP Blg. especially those who do not sleep on their rights and actively pursue their causes. 22. We follow the factual finding of the CA that ―sometime in the latter part of 1995‖ is the reckoning date of the commencement of presumption for violations of BP Blg. should not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily further simply because of circumstances beyond their control. in the case of Panaguiton. 25 November 2008. Department of Justice. v. like the accused‘s delaying tactics or the delay and inefficiency of the investigating agencies.Court even ruled that investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violations of the Revised Securities Act and the Securities Regulations Code effectively interrupts the prescription period because it is equivalent to the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases. 571 SCRA 549.R. 22.
The matter was raised before the Secretary of Justice after the City Prosecutor approved the petition to suspend proceedings.respondent was notified by private complainant of the fact of dishonor of the checks and the five-day grace period granted by law elapsed. The cases reached the MeTC of Quezon City only on 13 February 2000 because in the meanwhile. it was respondent‘s own motion for the suspensi on of the criminal proceedings. Clearly. The affidavit-complaints for the violations were filed against respondent on 16 September 1997. As laid down in Olarte. It was only after the Secretary of Justice so ordered that the informations for the violation of BP Blg. 22 were filed with the MeTC of Quezon City. which motion she predicated on her civil case for accounting. that caused the filing in court of the 1997 initiated proceedings only in 2000. .25 it is unjust to deprive the injured party of the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his 25 Supra note 16. respondent filed a civil case for accounting followed by a petition before the City Prosecutor for suspension of proceedings on the ground of ―prejudicial question‖.
ORDERED to re-file the informations for violation of BP Blg. SO ORDERED. JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ Associate Justice WE CONCUR: . the instant petition is GRANTED. 22 against the respondent. The only thing the offended must do to initiate the prosecution of the offender is to file the requisite complaint. The 12 March 2002 Decision of the Court of Appeals is The Department of Justice is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING.control.
ANTONIO T. REYES Associate Justice . BRION Associate Justice MARIA LOURDES P. CARPIO Senior Associate Justice Chairperson ARTURO D. SERENO Associate Justice BIENVENIDO L. A.
CERTIFICATION I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court‘s Division. R. ANTONIO T. CARPIO Senior Associate Justice (Per Section 12. as .A. 296. The amended) Judiciary Act of 1948.
and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. petitioner. Fourth Judicial Region. Branch 76. CRUZ. ANDRES B. 2. 1990. 1992 LUZ M.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. in his capacity as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court. ZALDIVIA. The offense was allegedly committed on May 11. of the Municipality of Rodriguez. No. Rizal. HON. JR. The petitioner is charged with quarrying for commercial purposes without a mayor's permit in violation of Ordinance No. respondents. vs.R. J. REYES. 1 The referralcomplaint of the police was received by the Office of the Provincial .: The Court is asked to determine the applicable law specifying the prescriptive period for violations of municipal ordinances. 102342 July 3. in the Province of Rizal. San Mateo.. Series of 1988.
or a fine of one thousand pesos (P1. 4. On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Rizal. Scope — This rule shall govern the procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts. — The prosecution of criminal cases falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by complaint or by information filed directly in court without need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation: Provided. Violations of rental law. . or of the civil liability arising therefrom. and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following cases: xxx xxx xxx B. 2. but the motion was denied. Criminal Cases: 1. or both. irrespective of other imposable penalties.Prosecutor of Rizal on May 30. 9. (Emphasis supplied. the denial was sustained by the respondent judge.) xxx xxx xxx Sec. 1990. 1990.000. the Municipal Trial Courts. 3.00). rules and regulations. 3 The petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that the crime had prescribed. All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offenses charged does not exceed six months imprisonment. . however. How commenced. . 1. That in Metropolitan Manila and chartered . the petitioner first argues that the charge against her is governed by the following provisions of the Rule on Summary Procedure: Sec. 2 The corresponding information was filed with the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez on October 2. accessory or otherwise. 4 In the present petition for review on certiorari. Violations of municipal or city ordinances. Violations of traffic laws.
Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law. the prosecution contends that the prescriptive period was suspended upon the filing of the complaint against her with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Provided. 2. and if the same be not known at the time. . entitled "An Act to Establish Periods of Prescription for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run. For its part. Sec. from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.cities. prescribe in accordance with the following rules: . the . the charge against her should have been dismissed on the ground of prescription. . (Emphasis supplied) Her conclusion is that as the information was filed way beyond the two-month statutory period from the date of the alleged commission of the offense. Violations penalized by special acts shall. Sec. and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy . For the purposes of this Act. 1. further. That when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio. 3. the corresponding complaint shall be signed and sworn to before the fiscal by the offended party. Agreeing with the respondent judge. such cases shall be commenced only by information. special acts shall be acts defining and penalizing violations of law not included in the Penal Code. as amended. She then invokes Act." reading as follows: Sec. Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months. No. The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person. 3326. unless provided in such acts.
according to the respondent. (Emphasis supplied. b) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.Solicitor General also invokes Section 1. by filing the complaint with the appropriate officer for the purpose of conducting the requisite preliminary investigation therein. the complaint may be filed only with the office of the fiscal. 1. and in order to provide guidance for Bench and Bar. without distinction. However. the one established by the decisions holding that the filing of the . How Instituted — For offenses not subject to the rule on summary procedure in special cases. this Court has re-examined the question and. In all cases such institution interrupts the period of prescription of the offense charged. Court of Appeals: 5 In view of this diversity of precedents. The said paragraph. Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. after mature consideration. and should be. or a complaint with the fiscal's office. the institution of criminal action shall be as follows: a) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. has arrived at the conclusion that the true doctrine is. The respondent maintains that the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor comes under the phrase "such institution" and that the phrase "in all cases" applies to all cases.) Emphasis is laid on the last paragraph. by filing the complaint directly with the said courts. including those falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure. in Metropolitan Manila and other chartered cities. providing as follows: Sec. was an adoption of the following dictum in Francisco v.
"for offenses not subject to the rule on summary procedure in special cases. 1983. should. It is important to note that this decision was promulgated on May 30.complaint in the Municipal Court. All that the victim of the offense may do on his part to initiate the prosecution is to file the requisite complaint. even if it be merely for purposes of preliminary examination or investigation." which plainly signifies that the section does not apply to offenses which are subject to summary procedure. This interpretation conforms to the canon that words in a statute should be read in relation to and not isolation from the rest of the measure. the text of Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code. 1985. in declaring that the period of prescription "shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information" without distinguishing whether the complaint is filed in the court for preliminary examination or investigation merely. having been incorporated therein with the revision of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on January 1. Second. which was added on October 1. Several reasons buttress this conclusion: first. On the other hand. even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may only proceed to investigate the case. even if the court where the complaint or information is filed can not try the case on its merits. to discover the true legislative intent. two months before the promulgation of the Rule on Summary Procedure on August 1. 1983. it is unjust to deprive the injured party of the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control. . and does. 1988. Third. its actuations already represent the initial step of the proceedings against the offender. That section meaningfully begins with the phrase. Section 1 of Rule 110 is new. or for action on the merits. that is. those offenses not governed by the Rule on Summary Procedure. except for the last paragraph. The phrase "in all cases" appearing in the last paragraph obviously refers to the cases covered by the Section. interrupt the period of prescription of the criminal responsibility.
129. value. whether or not the prosecution decides to conduct a preliminary investigation." the obvious reference is to Section 32(2) of B. This means that the running of the prescriptive period shall be halted on the date the case is actually filed in court and not on any date before that." 6 Both parties agree that this provision does not prevent the prosecutor from conducting a preliminary investigation if he wants to. including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon. No. nature. That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed twenty thousand pesos. is governed by that rule and not Section 1 of Rule 110. regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties. These offenses are not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. however. Where paragraph (b) of the section does speak of "offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. However. vesting in such courts: (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four years and two months.P. which is for violation of a municipal ordinance of Rodriguez." The proceedings referred to in Section 2 thereof are "judicial proceedings. or both such fine and imprisonment. irrespective of kind. or amount thereof. This interpretation is in consonance with the afore-quoted Act No. Provided." contrary to the . 3326 which says that the period of prescription shall be suspended "when proceedings are instituted against the guilty party. it should follow that the charge against the petitioner. the case shall be deemed commenced only when it is filed in court. "the complaint or information shall be filed directly in court without need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation. or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos. Under Section 9 of the Rule on Summary Procedure.As it is clearly provided in the Rule on Summary Procedure that among the offenses it covers are violations of municipal or city ordinances.
His contention is that we must not distinguish as the law does not distinguish. 3326 and Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. And if there be a conflict between Act. the latter must again yield because this Court. a crime may prescribe even if the complaint is filed seasonably with the prosecutor's office if. 1990. in the exercise of its rule-making power. The Court realizes that under the above interpretation. the former should prevail as the special law. he delays the institution of the necessary judicial proceedings until it is too late. and ended two months thereafter. The judicial proceeding that could have interrupted the period was the filing of the information with the Municipal Trial Court . the prosecution in the instant case is for violation of a municipal ordinance. Rule 110. for which the penalty cannot exceed six months. However. as the offense involved was grave oral defamation punishable under the Revised Penal Code with arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period. As a matter of fact. we find it not irrelevant to observe that the decision would have been conformable to Section 1. 7 Going back to the Francisco case. Our conclusion is that the prescriptive period for the crime imputed to the petitioner commenced from its alleged commission on May 11. it does. 1990.submission of the Solicitor General that they include administrative proceedings. Prescription in criminal cases is a substantive right. that possibility should not justify a misreading of the applicable rules beyond their obvious intent as reasonably deduced from their plain language. as this was not a judicial proceeding. By contrast. the Court feels that if there be a conflict between the Rule on Summary Procedure and Section 1 of Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure. 1990. Section 5(5) of the Constitution. At any rate. in accordance with Section 1 of Act No. intentionally or not. increase or modify substantive rights" under Article VIII. 8 and is thus covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. No. 3326. is not allowed to "diminish. It was not interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on May 30. The remedy is not a distortion of the meaning of the rules but a rewording thereof to prevent the problem here sought to be corrected. on July 11.
Romero. 8 Section 447. Jr. 7 People vs. Nocon and Bellosillo. p... 19. 3 Id. but this was done only on October 2. 4 Id. C. Bidin.J. 1991. Rizal. JJ.. 463. Feliciano. WHEREFORE. 95 Phil. Gutierrez. Castro. Jr. 18. after the crime had already prescribed.. Regalado. Criminal Case No. It is so ordered. Through Judge Andres B. 1991 is SET ASIDE. Medialdea. . and the challenged Order dated October 2. Griño-Aquino. the petition is GRANTED. Narvasa. 1990.. 2 Ibid. Jr. Reyes. Footnotes 1 Rollo. p.of Rodriguez.. is hereby DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. p. 21 5 122 SCRA 538 6 The phrase "filed directly in court without need of prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation" was deleted under the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure effective on November 15. Padilla. concur. Davide. Paras. Local Government Code. 90-089 in the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez.
118757 & 121571 .SECOND DIVISION ROBERTO BRILLANTE. Nos.R. G.
Respondents. TINGA. SR. Present: PUNO. and CHICO-NAZARIO. JJ. 2005 Promulgated: x-------------------------------------------------------------------x RESOLUTION . Chairman. November 11. CALLEJO. . J..Petitioner. COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES..versus AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.
TINGA. maintaining that the equal protection clause does not apply because there are substantial distinctions between Brillante and his coaccused warranting dissimilar treatment. 2005. Finally. Brillante avers that his conviction. Private respondent Jejomar Binay (Binay) filed a Comment dated March 3.: This treats of the Motion for Reconsideration dated November 25. J. contrar y to Brillante‘s . 2004 filed by Roberto Brillante (Brillante) assailing the Decision of this Court dated October 19. violates his right to equal protection. without the corresponding conviction of the writers. He also claims that he should have been convicted only of one count of libel because private respondents were not defamed separately as each publication was impelled by a single criminal intent. 2004 which affirmed his conviction for the crime of libel but reduced the amount of moral damages he is liable to pay. editors and owners of the newspapers on which the libelous materials were published. Moreover. he claims that there is a ―semblance of truth‖ to the accusations he hurled at private respondents citing several instances of alleged violent acts committed by the latter against his person.
2005. Although this matter was neither raised in Brillante‘s petition nor in the instant motion. Besides. As correctly noted by the OSG. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment dated April 4. we shall no longer dwell on them.claim that he should have been convicted only of one count of libel. the motion should be denied. For its part. 2005 in reiteration of his arguments. however. Binay asserts that there can be as many convictions for libel as there are persons defamed. this matter should have been raised at the time the separate complaints were filed against him and not in this motion. . Brillante filed a Consolidated Reply dated May 26. For this reason. stating that the issues raised in Brillante‘s motion have already been discussed and passed upon by the Court. We believe. the basic issues raised in the instant motion have already been thoroughly discussed and passed upon by the Court in its Decision. Hence. that the penalty of imprisonment imposed against Brillante should be re-examined and reconsidered.
Brillante claims that on January 6. 1988. 355 of the Penal Code. In view of the fact that the offense was done in the heat of anger and in reaction to a perceived provocation. including those not raised by the parties. out of moral and social duty. In Mari v.we advert to the well-established rule that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review of all its aspects. 359 of the Revised Penal Code (Penal Code) by either imprisonment or fine. in accordance with Art. 1988 with the intention of exposing what he believed were terrorist acts committed by private respondents against the electorate of Makati City. This incident allegedly impelled him. the Court opted to impose the penalty of fine instead of imprisonment. Court of Appeals. The intensely . We find that the circumstances surrounding the writing of the open letter on which the libelous publications were based similarly warrant the imposition of the penalty of fine only. his friend‘s house was bombed resulting in the death of three people. to call a press conference on January 7. instead of both imprisonment and fine. petitioner therein was found guilty of slander by deed penalized under Art. In this case.
especially considering the wide latitude traditionally given to defamatory utterances against public officials in connection with or relevant to their performance of official duties or against public figures in relation to matters of public interest involving them. SO ORDERED. while petitioner failed to prove all the elements of qualified privileged communication under par. The foregoing circumstances.feverish passions evoked during the election period in 1988 must have agitated petitioner into writing his open letter. . Art. in our view. 1. WHEREFORE. Moreover. justify the deletion of the penalty of imprisonment and the retention of the meted fine only. the Decision dated October 19. 354 of the Penal Code. incomplete privilege should be appreciated in his favor. 2004 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION consisting of the deletion of the penalty of imprisonment imposed upon petitioner.
DANTE O. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ ROMEO J. Associate Justice Associate Justice (On Leave) MINITA V. SR. Article VIII of the Constitution. PUNO Associate Justice Chairman MA. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in . TINGA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: REYNATO S. CHICO-NAZARIO Associate Justice CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. CALLEJO.
Metro Manila. DECISION DAVIDE. J. Allegedly because of her recklessness. Parañaque.: On the evening of 17 October 1987. petitioner. July 8. COURT OF APPEALS. petitioner Isabelita Reodica was driving a van along Doña Soledad Avenue. respondents.. JR. 125066. her van hit the car of .R. Better Living Subdivision. vs. REYNATO C.consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court‘s Division. PUNO Acting Chief Justice FIRST DIVISION [G. No. and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 1998] ISABELITA REODICA.
On 13 January 1988. being then the driver and/or person in charge of a Tamaraw bearing plate no. in the aforementioned amount of P8.00. said Norberto Bonsol suffered bodily injuries which required medical attendance for a period of less that nine (9) days and incapacitated him from performing his customary labor for the same period of time. Three days after the incident. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Trial then ensued. the complainant filed an Affidavit of Complainti against petitioner with the Fiscal‘s Office. petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge.542.00. careless. 1987 in the Municipality of Parañaque.complainant Norberto Bonsol. without regard to traffic laws. manage and operate the same in a reckless.00. Metro Manila. NJU-306. As a result. did then and there willfully. Isabelita Velasco Reodica. or on 20 October 1987. Fiscal accuses Isabelita Reodica of the crime of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Slight Physical Injury as follows: That on or about the 17th day of October. Upon arraignment. causing by such negligence. an informationii was filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati (docketed as Criminal Case No. the abovementioned accused. complainant sustained physical injuries. thereby causing damage amounting to P8. negligent and imprudent manner. while the damage to his car amounted to P8. NIM-919 driven and owned by Norberto Bonsol. That as further consequence due to the strong impact.‖ The information read: The undersigned 2nd Asst. to the damage and prejudice of its owner. . unlawfully and feloniously drive.542. 33919) charging petitioner with ―Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Slight Physical Injury.542. rules and regulations and without taking the necessary care and precaution to avoid damage to property and injuries to person. carelessness and imprudence the said vehicle to bump/collide with a Toyota Corolla bearing plate no.
and to pay the complainant. H and I). Aguiles. thus: .542). In view of the resulting physical injuries. the sum of Thirteen Thousand Five Hundred Forty-Two (P13. 711). the RTC of Makati. the penalty to be imposed is not fine. Petitioner appealed from the decision to the Court of Appeals.v As to the sum of P13.542.00.00). complainant suffered slight physical injuries (Exhs. p. and to pay the costs. Branch 145. without subsidiary impairment in case of insolvency. which docketed the case as CA-G.On 31 January 1991. L-11302.000. Philippine Currency. rendered a decisioniii convicting petitioner of the ―quasi offense of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with slight physical injuries.iv The trial court justified imposing a 6-month prison term in this wise: As a result of the reckless imprudence of the accused.542. 1960. Slight physical injuries thru reckless imprudence is now punished with penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period (People v. Norberto Bonsol y Atienza. cited in Gregorio‘s book. and to Suspend. After her motions for extension of time to file her brief were granted. but imprisonment (Gregorio. p. Eight Edition 1988. respondent Court of Appeals denied this motion and directed petitioner to file her brief. CR No. 718). D. However. she filed a Motion to Withdraw Appeal for Probation Purposes. this represented the cost of the car repairs (P8. October 28. Period for Filing Appellant‘s Brief.vi After passing upon the errors imputed by petitioner to the trial court. Petitioner subsequently filed a motion for reconsiderationviii raising new issues.‖ and sentencing her: [t]o suffer imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto mayor. Fundamental of Criminal Law Review. Ex Abundanti Cautela.00) and medical expenses (P5.R. 14660. respondent Court of Appeals rendered a decisionvii on 31 January 1996 affirming the appealed decision.
Hence. 1996. ON THE BASIS OF A CLERICAL ERROR IN A SECONDARY SOURCE. MAY WE REVISIT THE PENALTY AND MOVE THAT IT BE REVIEWED AND SET ASIDE SINCE IT IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED TO BE ERROR TO COMPLEX DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES. WHAT WAS STATED IN THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF SAID CASE IS THAT THE PENALTY FOR SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES THROUGH RECKLESS .. IT CANNOT IMPOSE A PENALTY IN EXCESS OF WHAT IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. OVER WHICH THE RESPONDENT COURT HAD NO JURISDICTION AND EVEN ASSUMING SUCH JURISDICTION. as well as her supplemental motion for reconsideration.. .. REVERSAL OF THE DECISION REMAINS POSSIBLE ON GROUNDS OF PRESCRIPTION OR LACK OF JURISDICTION. the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court premised on the following grounds: RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS‘ DECISION DATED JANUARY 31.. ARE CONTRARY TO LAW AND GROSSLY ERRONEOUS IN THAT THEY IMPOSED A PENALTY IN EXCESS OF WHAT IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR THE CRIME OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING IN SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES.xi THE SAME CASE WHERE THE COURT A QUO BASED ITS FINDING OF A PENALTY WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. 1996 AND MORE SO ITS RESOLUTION DATED MAY 24. A IN THE CASE OF PEOPLE V..NOW THAT AN ACQUITTAL SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. AGUILAR.x In its Resolution of 24 May 1996.ix . AS BOTH ARE LIGHT OFFENSES. . the Court of Appeals denied petitioner‘s motion for reconsideration for lack of merit..
IMPRUDENCE IS ARRESTO MENOR AND NOT ARRESTO MAYOR.00 and slight physical injuries. she insis ts. B. Aguiles. petitioner claims that the courts below misquoted not only the title. Gorgonio. ―do not … rate a single penalty of arresto mayor or imprisonment of six months. namely: (1) reckless imprudence with slight physical injuries. C. while the ruling was that the penalty for such quasi offense was arresto menor – not arresto mayor.xii thus: Where the single act of imprudence resulted in double less serious physical injuries. Two light felonies. IT IS GRAVE ERROR FOR THE RESPONDENT COURT TO PUNISH PETITIONER MORE THAN SHE SHOULD OR COULD BE PUNISHED BECAUSE OF A CLERICAL ERROR COPIED FROM A SECONDARY SOURCE. a chief of police did not err in filing a separate complaint for the slight physical injuries and another . Anent the first ground. 1996.‖ citing Lontok v. Concretely. As regards the second assigned error. damage to property amounting to P10. but likewise the ruling of the case cited as authority regarding the penalty for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence.000. instead of considering them a complex crime. the title of the case was not People v. petitioner avers that the courts below should have pronounced that there were two separate light felonies involved. THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE TRIAL COURT‘S DECISION NOTWITHSTANDING THE DEFENSE OF PRESCRIPTION AND LACK OF JURISDICTION. and (2) reckless imprudence with damage to property. Aguilar. but People v. THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT COMPLEXED THE CRIME OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING IN DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES IMPOSING A SINGLE EXCESSIVE PENALTY IN ITS ELLIPTICAL RESOLUTION OF MAY 24.
57 SCRA 363.. Lontok‘s criminal liability therefor was already extinguished (Arts. The trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion in not sustaining Lontok‘s motion to quash that part of the information charging him with that light offense.. 89. the offense of lesiones leves through reckless imprudence should have been charged in a separate information. . it prescribes in two months. petitioner insists that the offense of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Teleron. L-37446.complaint for the lesiones menos graves and damage to property (Arcaya vs. the offense had already prescribed. cited by investigating fiscal. 1974. thus: In the instant case.. as a light offense. following the ruling in the Turla case. She then suggests that ―at worst. constituted a complex crime. 96 Phil. only sum up to 60 days imprisonment and not six months as imposed by the lower courts. . the penalties of two light offenses. both imposable in their maximum period and computed or added together. In the instant case. 365). 90 and 91. And since. the offense of lesiones leves through reckless imprudence should have been charged in a separate information. 2[e] and [f]. it prescribes in two months.‖ On the third assigned error. May 31. again citing Lontok. 151. or almost three months from the date the vehicular collision occurred. therefore. The case of Angeles vs. Jose. Rules of Court). since the information was filed only on 13 January 1988. being punishable only by arresto menor. following the ruling in the Turla case. Revised Penal Code in relation to sec. . Here... is different from the instant case because in that case the negligent act resulted in the offenses of lesiones menos graves and damage to property which were both less grave felonies and which.. . is a light offense. Rule 117. as such.
this time invoking Zaldivia v. Isidro. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) agrees with petitioner that the penalty should have been arresto menor in its maximum period. pursuant to Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.Petitioner further claims that the information was filed with the wrong court. hence. Cuaresmaxvi and Chico v. Garcia. Reyes. petitioner expressed gratitude and appreciation to the OSG in joining cause with her as to the first assigned error. As to the second assigned error. since Regional Trial Courts do not deal with arresto menor cases. the OSG cites Cuyos v.one for slight and serious physical injuries through reckless . which was a fine equal to thrice the value of P8. Court of Appealsxviii as misplaced. However.00.xv The OSG then debunks petitioner‘s defense of prescription of the crime. She submits that damage to property and slight physical injuries are light felonies and thus covered by the rules on summary procedure. there was no need for two separate informations. the OSG contends that conformably with Buerano v. the OSG submits that although the Municipal Trial Court had jurisdiction to impose arresto menor for slight physical injuries. On this score. arguing that the prescriptive period here was tolled by the filing of the complaint with the fiscal‘s office three days after the incident. it was proper for the trial court to ―complex‖ reckless imprudence with slight physical injuries and damage to property because what the law seeks to penalize is the single act of reckless imprudence.xiii In its Comment filed on behalf of public respondents.xvii In her Reply to the Comment of the OSG.xiv which frowns upon splitting of crimes and prosecution. not the results thereof. instead of arresto mayor. the Regional Trial Court properly took cognizance of this case because it had the jurisdiction to impose the higher penalty for the damage to property.542. besides. for nothing there validates the ―complexing‖ of the crime of reckless imprudence with physical injuries and damage to property. Court of Appeals. she considers the OSG‘s reliance on Buerano v. only the filing with the proper Metropolitan Trial Court could have tolled the statute of limitations. therefore. two separate informations were filed -. To refute the third assigned error. pursuant to People v. in that case.
Whether the quasi offenses of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of P8. Whether the duplicity of the information may be questioned for the first time on appeal. Chico v. it would either unfairly prejudice her or render nugatory the en banc ruling in Zaldiviaxxiv favorable to her. I. Garciaxxi would only apply here on the assumption that it was proper to ―complex‖ damage to property through reckless imprudence with slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence. She then insists that in this case. The Proper Penalty. otherwise. Isidroxxii is likewise ―inapposite. which is not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure.542.00 and reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries are light felonies. Whether the quasi offenses in question have already prescribed. Whether the penalty imposed on petitioner is correct. Gorgonio. V.‖ for it deals with attempted ho micide. we cannot subscribe to their . We agree with both petitioner and the OSG that the penalty of six months of arresto mayor imposed by the trial court and affirmed by respondent Court of Appeals is incorrect. following Arcaya v. VI. She likewise submits that Cuyos v. Teleronxix and Lontok v. III. IV. The pleadings thus raise the following issues: I. Cuaresmaxxiii should not be given retroactive effect. However. II. Whether the Regional Trial Court had jurisdiction over the offenses in question.imprudence and the other for damage to property through reckless imprudence. Petitioner finally avers that People v.xx two informations should have been filed. Whether the rule on complex crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code applies to the quasi offenses in question.
by simple imprudence or negligence. if it would have constituted a light felony. In the imposition of these penalties. would have constituted a light felony. The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: 1. – Any person who. shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods.submission that the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period is the proper penalty. A fine not exceeding 200 pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who. would constitute a grave felony. shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period. by reckless imprudence. shall commit any act which. the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three times such value. the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article. shall cause some wrong which. the courts shall exercise their sound discretion. in which case the . the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed. if it would have constituted a less grave felony. shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony. Any person who. the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed. When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another. but which shall in no case be less than 25 pesos. Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Art. Imprudence and negligence. 365. had it been intentional. by simple imprudence or negligence. without regard to the rules prescribed in Article 64. if it would have constituted a less serious felony. if done maliciously.
which provides for the penalty of fine. does not apply since the reckless imprudence in this case did not result in damage to property only. the penalty next lower in degree. is arresto menor in its maximum period. the proper penalty for reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is public censure.courts shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than that which should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply. According to the first paragraph of the aforequoted Article. i. with a duration of 1 day to 30 days. Note that if the damage to the extent of P8. Plainly.542. If the offense of slight physical injuries is. which is arresto menor in its maximum period to arresto mayor in its minimum period or imprisonment from 21 days to 2 months. the third paragraph of Article 365.542. If the penalty under Article 329 were equal to or lower than that provided for in the first paragraph. the penalty then under Article 266 may be either lower than or equal to the penalty prescribed under the first paragraph of Article 365. which provides for arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods (1 month and 1 day to 4 months) for an act committed through reckless imprudence which. however. the exception in the sixth paragraph of Article 365 applies. this being the penalty next lower in degree to arresto menor.xxv As to reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of P8.e. then the sixth paragraph of Article 365 would apply. with a duration of 21 to 30 days. would have constituted a less grave felony. a light felony. had it been intentional. at the discretion of the court. it is penalized with arresto menor under Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code. the penalty for reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries.00 were caused deliberately. Accordingly. This being the case.00 would be arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods. Hence. What applies is the first paragraph of Article 365. the imposable penalty for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property to the extent of P8.00. . and the penalty would then be arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods (2 months and 1 day to 6 months which is higher than that prescribed in the first paragraph of Article 365). committed deliberately or with malice.. the crime would have been malicious mischief under Article 329 of the Revised Penal Code. which could be anywhere from a minimum of 1 month and 1 day to a maximum of 4 months.542.
Since criminal negligence may. of the Revised Penal Code defines light felonies as infractions of law carrying the penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding P200. result in more than one felony. paragraph 3. or when an offense is necessary a means for committing the other. III.00. . Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit ( dolo). negligence. reckless imprudence also resulting in damage to property is. lack of foresight or lack of skill. but likewise by means of fault (culpa). as earlier discussed. and there is fault when the wrongful act results from imprudence. Article 9. or both. -. There is deceit when the wrongful act is performed with deliberate intent. the quasi offense in question is a less grave felony – not a light felony as claimed by petitioner. On the other hand.When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies.since the fifth paragraph of Article 365 provides that in the imposition of the penalties therein provided ―the courts shall exercise their sound discretion without regard to the rules prescribed in article 64. Since public censure is classified under Article 25 of the Code as a light penalty. should Article 48 of the Revised Code on complex crimes be applied? Article 48 provides as follows: ART. Penalty for complex crimes. reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is punishable by public censure only. Applicability of the Rule on Complex Crimes. Classification of the Quasi Offense in Question. the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed.‖ II. as here.xxvi As earlier stated. the same to be applied in its maximum period. it follows that the offense of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is a light felony. penalized with arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods. 48. and is considered under the graduated scale provided in Article 71 of the same Code as a penalty lower than arresto menor. Since arresto mayor is a correctional penalty under Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code.
Hence. to wit: (1) reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property.000 and slight physical injuries. 70 Phil. the trial court erred in considering the following felonies as a complex crime: the less grave felony of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of P8.e. May 31. IV. 365]. 1001..542. imprudent or negligent act results in two or more grave or less grave felonies. 50 Phil. a complex crime is committed. charging two separate offenses in one information. in Lontok v.xxvii this Court declared that where one of the resulting offenses in criminal negligence constitutes a light felony. thus: Applying article 48. do not constitute a complex crime. it follows that if one offense is light. Teleron. They cannot be charged in one information.Clearly. Gorgonio. at this stage. See People vs. Estipona. The Right to Assail the Duplicity of the Information. However. 57 SCRA 363. Thus. 1974. both resulting from a single act of imprudence. i.00 and the light felony of reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries. Following Lontok. the light felonies of damage to property and slight physical injuries. damage to property amounting to P10. They are separate offenses subject to distinct penalties (People vs. Turla. The resulting offenses may be treated as separate or the light felony may be absorbed by the grave felony. L-37446. and (2) reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. This defect was deemed waived by her failure to raise it in a motion to quash before she pleaded to the . Where the single act of imprudence resulted in double less serious physical injuries. 513). there is no complex crime. that the quasi offense of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries should have been charged in a separate information because it is not covered by Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. the conclusion is inescapable here. the duplicitous character of the information. However. if a reckless. there is no complex crime. petitioner may no longer question. a chief of police did not err in filing a separate complaint for the slight physical injuries and another complaint for the lesiones menos graves and damage to property [Arcaya vs.
We then interpreted the law in this wise: . or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before its enactment. Rule 120 of the Rules of Court. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTCs) had exclusive original jurisdiction over ―all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four years and two months. when two or more offenses are charged in a single complaint or information and the accused fails to object to it before trial.information. In Uy Chin Hua v. Which Court Has Jurisdiction Over the Quasi Offenses in Question.xxx At the time of the filing of the information in this case.‖ Section 32(2) xxxi thereof provided that except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan. The jurisdiction to try a criminal action is to be determined by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action. the court may convict the accused of as many offenses as are charged and proved and impose on him the penalty for each of them. the law in force was Batas Pambansa Blg. Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs). otherwise known as ―The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.xxviii Under Section 3. including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon. the Metropolitan Trial Courts (MeTCs). unless the statute expressly provides. The question thus arises as to which court has jurisdiction over offenses punishable by censure. such as reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. or both fine and imprisonment. or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos. value or amount thereof. irrespective of kind. regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties.‖ The criminal jurisdiction of the lower courts was then determined by the duration of the imprisonment and the amount of fine prescribed by law for the offense charged. the duration of which was from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years.xxix V. which was co-extensive with prision correccional. Dinglasan. nature. 129.xxxii this Court found that a lacuna existed in the law as to which court had jurisdiction over offenses penalized with destierro.
On the other hand. Similarly. reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. being a light felony. reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries was cognizable by said courts. since offenses punishable by imprisonment of not exceeding 4 years and 2 months were within the jurisdictional ambit of the MeTCs. MTCs or MCTCs because the imposable penalty therefor was arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods -.00. reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of P8. prescribes in two months. MTCs and MCTCs. Pursuant to Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code.Since the legislature has placed offenses penalized with arresto mayor under the jurisdiction of justice of the peace and municipal courts. . 217.the duration of which was from 1 month and 1 day to 4 months.00. as amended by Section 3 of Commonwealth Act No. which is a penalty lower than arresto menor under the graduated scale in Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code and with a duration of 1 to 30 days. it has placed destierro below arresto mayor as a lower penalty than the latter. prescribes in five years. therefore. should also fall within the jurisdiction of said courts.542. 33919 should. it follows that those penalized with censure. VI. Criminal Case No.542. be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC of Makati. As to the reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of P8. Thus. Prescription of the Quasi Offenses in Question. being a less grave felony whose penalty is arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods. in the absence of any express provision of law to the contrary it is logical and reasonable to infer from said provisions that its intention was to place offenses penalized with destierro also under the jurisdiction of justice of the peace and municipal courts and not under that of courts of first instance. and since by Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code. the same was also under the jurisdiction of MeTCs.
xxxiii Thus. which provides that in cases covered thereby.The period of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party. the authorities. this Section cannot be taken to mean that the prescriptive period is interrupted only by the filing of a complaint or information directly with said courts. Computation of prescription of offenses. this Court. and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted. (emphasis supplied) Notably. in the exercise of its rule-making power. Pursuant to Section 5(5). We cannot apply Section 9xxxvi of the Rule on Summary Procedure. the aforequoted article. in declaring that the prescriptive period ―shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information. said cases may be commenced only by information. as in the instant case. provided that in Metropolitan Manila and Chartered Cities. is not allowed to .To resolve the issue of whether these quasi offenses have already prescribed. Court of Appealsxxxiv and People v. Article VIII of the Constitution. such as offenses punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 6 months. -. Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code provides: ART. ―the prosecution commences by the filing of a complaint or information directly with the MeTC. in Francisco v. It must be stressed that prescription in criminal cases is a matter of substantive law. Cuaresma. or their agents.xxxv this Court held that the filing of the complaint even with the fiscal‘s office suspends the running of the statute of limitations.‖ does not distinguish whether the complaint is filed for preliminary examination or investigation only or for an action on the merits. or are unjustifiably stopped by any reason not imputable to him.‖ However. RTC or MCTC without need of a prior preliminary examination or investigation. and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information. it is necessary to determine whether the filing of the complaint with the fiscal‘s office three days after the incident in question tolled the running of the prescriptive period. 91.
Panganiban. the latter prevails. The challenged decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. 3326. as the offenses involved are covered by the Revised Penal Code. the instant petition is GRANTED. No pronouncement as to costs. as such did not constitute a judicial proceeding. Criminal Case No. 33919. increase or modify substantive rights.diminish. 33919 is ordered DISMISSED. We cannot.xxxvii Hence. but Act. CR No. SO ORDERED. Neither does Zaldivia control in this instance.. Accordingly.‖ Under Section 2 thereof. the applicable law was not Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus. what could have tolled the prescriptive period there was only the filing of the information in the proper court. the period of prescription is suspended only when judicial proceedings are instituted against the guilty party. Vitug. 14660 is SET ASIDE as the Regional Trial Court. concur. entitled ―An Act to Establish Periods of Prescriptio n for Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run.R. in case of conflict between the Rule on Summary Procedure promulgated by this Court and the Revised Penal Code. had no jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. WHEREFORE. uphold petitioner‘s defense of pres cription of the offenses charged in the information in this case. JJ. as amended. the prescriptive period for the quasi offenses in question was interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the fiscal‘s office three days after the vehicular mishap and remained tolled pending the termination of this case. . No. In the instant case. whose decision was affirmed therein. thus. therefore. It must be recalled that what was involved therein was a violation of a municipal ordinance. Article 91 thereof and the rulings in Francisco and Cuaresma apply. this Court held that the prescriptive period was not interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Bellosillo. and Quisumbing.
58. vi Rollo.. iv Rollo. x Id. Rollo. Rollo.. ii Id.i Original Record (OR). 636 . J. xii 89 SCRA 632.. S.. . Jr. vii Annex ―A‖ of Petition. 52-56.. xv 160 SCRA 302 1988]. v Id. 57-69.. concurring. Per Judge Job B. 35. 27-49. viii Annex ―D‖ of Petition. ix Id. 1. iii Annex ―C‖ of Petition.. 131. J.. xiii 211 SCRA 277 .. Aguiles. and Valdez. Madayag. 60. . xvi 172 SCRA 415. Per Mabutas. xiv 115 SCRA 82 . R. Jr. with Elbinias. Rollo. xi Erroneously cited by the trial court as People v. JJ. 56.
Revised Penal Code. xxvii Supra note 12 at 635-636. xxi Supra note 15. Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases . MTJ-91-559.M. 247 SCRA 583 . 13 October 1993. 608. which was approved by President Fidel V. 7691. xxxi This Section has been amended by Section 2 of R. xxviii Section 8. xx Supra note 12. xxiv Supra note 14.A. People v. As amended.Except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial . Rules of Court. 65 Phil. 610-611 . Rule 117. Conte. the provision now reads in part as follows: ―Section 32. xxiii Supra note 16.xvii A. xxii Supra note 17. No. xviii Supra note 14. 252 SCRA 135 . Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts. xxv Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code. xxvi Article 3. Leynez. xxix See also People v. Velasco. Ramos on 25 March 1994. -. xix 57 SCRA 363 . xxx People v.
That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence. the Metropolitan Trial Courts. xxxiii People v. 19 SCRA 494 . How commenced. -. except when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio. 617 . xxxvii Zalvidia v.Courts and Sandiganbayan. which reads in part as follows: SEC. they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. such cases shall be commenced only by information. nature. supra note 13 at 284. 11. . irrespective of kind. however. Olarte. xxxiv 122 SCRA 538 . xxxvi Now Section 11 of the Revised Rules of Summary Procedure. and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties.The filing of criminal cases falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by complaint or information: Provided.‖ xxxii 86 Phil. Reyes. and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: ―(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine. including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon. Municipal Trial Courts. that in Metropolitan Manila and in Chartered Cities. value or amount thereof: Provided. however. xxxv Supra note 16.
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