You are on page 1of 65

1.

1st JEOPARDY ATTECHES


a. UPON A VALID INFORMATION OR COMPLAINT
GEORGE VINCOY,[1] petitioner, vs.
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

HON.

COURT

OF

APPEALS

and

PEOPLE

OF

THE

DECISION
PUNO, J.:
This is a petition for review of the Decision dated December 20, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR No. 24316[2] affirming that of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 268, in Criminal Case No.
112432 finding petitioner George Vincoy guilty beyond reasonable doubt ofestafa under Art. 315, par. 2(a)
of the Revised Penal Code.
The Information reads:
On or about March 14, 1996, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
accused, by means of deceit and false pretenses executed to or simultaneously with the commission of
the fraud, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud Lizah C. Cimafranca and
Rolando Flores, in the following manner, to wit: the said accused represented that he could mobilize thirty
(30) dump trucks and two (2) payloaders for use of the complainant[s] subject to the payment
of P600,000.00 mobilization fund and, believing this representation to be true, the said complainants paid
and delivered the said amount to the accused at Banco de Oro Bank, Pasig City Branch, which
representation accused knew well to be false and fraudulent and were (sic) only made to induce the
complainants to give and deliver as in fact they gave and delivered the said amount of P600,000.00 to the
respondent (sic), and accused once in possession of said amount, misappropriated, misapplied and
converted the same to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the
complainants, Lizah C. Cimafranca and Rolando Flores, in the amount of P600,000.00.
Pasig City, May 28, 1997.[3]
Petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Hence, trial ensued.
The prosecution evidence established that private complainants Rolando Flores and Lizah
Cimafranca are business partners and contractors. They approached petitioner George Vincoy,
proprietor of Delco Industries Phils., Inc., in March 1996 for dump trucks and payloaders which they
needed to haul silica in Bulacan. Petitioner represented that he could mobilize thirty (30) dump trucks
and two (2) payloaders upon payment of a P600,000.00 mobilization fund by complainants at P20,000.00
per dump truck. Pursuant to their verbal agreement, private complainants paid an initial P200,000.00 cash
to the petitioner on March 9 or 10, 1996 for which they were issued a receipt by the petitioner. To pay the
balance of P400,000.00, complainant Rolando Flores, with the help of his wife Carolina, borrowed from a
client of Banco de Oro, Pasig City Branch, of which his wife was the Manager. Carolina personally
guaranteed the loan. For the purpose, Rolando bought a managers check from Banco de Oro which
issued to him Managers Check No. 011543 for P400,000.00. On March 14, 1996, Rolando, Lizah, and
petitioner went to the bank to encash the check. After Rolando encashed the check, Carolina Flores
personally handed over the proceeds to petitioner. Petitioner issued Official Receipt No. 085 but wrote
therein the amount of P600,000.00, not P400,000.00, to include the P200,000.00 which he previously
received from the complainants. The previous receipt for the P200,000.00 was thus cancelled. Despite
the payment, only one (1) dump truck was delivered in the evening of March 14, 1996. Private

complainants demanded the return of their money but they were either ignored or refused entry at
petitioners office premises. After some time, petitioner offered to complainants PCIBank Check No.
022170A as reimbursement. The check was for P715,000.00 issued by one Luzviminda Hernandez
payable to cash and/or to Delco Industries. It was understood that the difference would be turned over to
petitioner. Eager to have their money back and pay their obligation to their creditor, private complainants
accepted the check and returned Official Receipt No. 085 which petitioner requested. The check,
however, was dishonored upon presentment for payment. Private complainants again demanded the
return of their money but petitioner could no longer be contacted. As a result, Carolina Flores was
terminated from her job as Manager of Banco de Oro, Pasig City Branch, for guaranteeing her husbands
loan.
In May 1996, Lizah Cimafranca filed a complaint for estafa against petitioner with the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Pasay City docketed as I.S. No. 96-1946. It was, however, dismissed in a Resolution
dated August 21, 1996 on the ground that petitioners obligation was purely civil in nature and for
complainants failure to attend the hearings. [4] On October 8, 1996, Lizah Cimafranca, joined by Rolando
Flores, re-filed the complaint charging the same offense against petitioner with the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Pasig City which filed the corresponding information in court, root of the present petition.
Petitioner denied that he received P600,000.00 from the private complainants. He alleged that he
was only given a Banco de Oro Managers Check for P400,000.00 which was not even issued in his
name. Failing to notice that the check was not in his name, he issued Official Receipt No.
085[5] for P600,000.00, not P400,000.00, to include the overprice for complainants commission in the
amount of P200,000.00. When he noticed that the check was issued in the name of complainant Rolando
Flores, he arranged for his driver to return the check to complainants for encashment and to take back
O.R. No. 085. As a result, his transaction with the private complainants was cancelled because they did
not turn over the proceeds of the check to him.
The trial court sustained the version of the prosecution. The trial judge found incredible petitioners
averment that he failed to notice that the check in question was not issued in his name. Petitioner was a
seasoned businessman. A judgment of conviction was rendered onFebruary 23, 2000, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused GEORGE VINGCOY guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of ESTAFA defined and penalized under Art. 315 of the Revised Penal
Code and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment from fourteen (14) years, eight (8)
months and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of Reclusion Temporal in its medium and maximum period
(sic) and to indemnify the offended party in the amount of P600,000.00. With costs.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Accused appealed to the Court of Appeals to no avail. [7] Hence, this petition for review.
Petitioner insists that his guilt has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He contends that the
trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that he received payment from the private
complainants considering that Official Receipt No. 085 was admittedly returned to him and marked
cancelled while PCIBank Check No. 022170A for P715,000.00 was not presented and marked as an
exhibit and was only surreptitiously included as Exh. B during the prosecutions formal offer of
evidence. He also argues that his identity was not even established since his pictures, [8] although
presented and marked as Exhs. B, B-1 and B-2, were not included in the prosecutions formal offer of
evidence. Further, he points out that the dismissal of the previous complaint for estafa filed by Lizah
Cimafranca by the City Prosecutors Office of Pasay City supports his acquittal.

Petitioners contentions are not well-taken. The fact that his pictures were not formally offered as
evidence although they were presented and marked as exhibits, is not fatal to the prosecutions
cause. There is no question as to petitioners identity as the accused. He himself admitted that he
transacted with the private complainants although the transaction was cancelled for failure of
complainants to pay the mobilization fund. This admission that he personally dealt with the complainants
in regard to the transaction in question renders his identification a non-issue.
The dismissal of a similar complaint for estafa filed by Lizah Cimafranca before the City Prosecutors
Office of Pasay City will not exculpate the petitioner. The case cannot bar petitioners prosecution. It is
settled that the dismissal of a case during its preliminary investigation does not constitute double
jeopardy[9] since a preliminary investigation is not part of the trial and is not the occasion for the full and
exhaustive display of the parties evidence but only such as may engender a well-grounded belief that an
offense has been committed and accused is probably guilty thereof. [10] For this reason, it cannot be
considered equivalent to a judicial pronouncement of acquittal. Hence, petitioner was properly charged
before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Pasig City which is not bound by the determination made by
the Pasay City Prosecutor who may have had before him a different or incomplete set of evidence than
that subsequently presented before the Pasig City Prosecutor.
Lastly, whether or not petitioner indeed received payment from private complainants is a question of
fact best left to the determination of the trial court. We quote with approval the following observations of
the trial court, viz:
x x x

x x x

x x x

That payment was indeed received by accused can not (sic) be denied as he himself issued a receipt to
evidence such receipt of payment. The receipt, a xerox copy of which, was marked as evidence by
accused (Exhibit 4) indicated that the payment, as explained by the witness Ms. Carolina Flores (TSN,
May 7, 1998, pp. 18-20) was actually received in cash as the amount written in the receipt is P600,000.00
and notP400,000.00. That the number of the Managers (sic) check which was for P400,000.00 was
written on the receipt by way of reference only. This Court gives full credence to the testimony of Ms.
Flores who was eventually terminated from the bank where she worked by reason of her guaranteeing Mr.
Flores loan from a customer of the bank. It is clear that cash was actually paid out and the contention of
the accused that he was only given a managers (sic) check which, according to him, he eventually
returned can not (sic) be sustained. For why would he issue a receipt in his own handwriting if he did not
receive the cash. The receipt is a unilateral admission of a party that he got paid. The receipt, as
admitted by accused Mr. Vincoy was issued by him (TSN, May 7, 1999, pp. 7-8) when he received the
cashiers (sic) check. That he had the cashiers (sic) check returned for encashment as it was not made
payable to his company. Being a businessman, he would have immediately noticed the fact that the
managers (sic) check was made out in the name of Rolando Flores and immediately returned the check
without issuing a receipt or he could have issued a provisional receipt if indeed what was used as
payment was a check. It is highly inconceivable that he would receive the check, issue a receipt then
realize that the check is not made payable to his company. Furthermore, two different copies of the same
receipts were presented. Prosecution presented a copy of Official Receipt 085 without the marking
cancelled while accused presented a copy of the same Official Receipt with cancelled written on its
face.
As testified to by complainant, he returned the original of the Official Receipt upon receipt of a check
endorsed by accused. Thus it is not improbable that the word cancelled was written on said official
receipt by the accused only upon its return to him. The testimonies of prosecution witnesses as to the
cronology (sic) of events are more credible and is thus given more weight by this Court because mere
denial of the accused can not prevail over the positive testimonies of the prosecutions

witnesses. Moreover, private complainant clearly explained that accused came into possession of the
original official receipt when accused Vingcoy endorsed and turned over to him a check made payable to
cash and or Delco Industries by one Luzviminda Hernandez for P715,000.00. However, when said check
was presented for payment it was dishonored for the reason ACCOUNT CLOSED.
x x x

x x x

x x x

This factual finding of the trial court, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that petitioner indeed received
payment from the private complainants in the form of the mobilization fund, deserves great weight and
respect.
Moreover, the fact that PCIBank Check No. 022170A for P715,000.00 was not presented and
marked as an exhibit during the trial, hence, could not have been formally offered as evidence, [11]is not
fatal to the prosecutions cause. As well pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), petitioner
was prosecuted not for issuing a worthless check, but for deceiving complainants into parting with
their P600,000.00 on the promise that he would provide them dump trucks and payloaders.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED. The questioned Decision dated December 20, 2002 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 24316 affirming that of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch
268, in Criminal Case No. 112432, is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-38725

October 31, 1933

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
PEDRO MANABA, defendant-appellant.
Jose Ma. Cavanna for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee.

VICKERS, J.:
This is an appeal from a decision of Judge Eulalio Garcia in this Court of First Instance of Oriental Negros
in criminal case No. 1827 dated November 15, 1932, finding the defendant guilty of rape and sentencing
him to suffer seventeen years and four months of reclusion temporal, and the accessory penalties of the
law, to indemnify the offended party, Celestina Adapon, in the amount of P500, to maintain the offspring, if
any, at P5 a month until said offspring should become of age, and to pay the costs.
The defendant appealed to this court, and his attorney de oficio now makes the following assignments of
error:
1. El juzgado a quo erro al no estimar en favor del acusado apelante la defensa de double
jeopardy o legal jeopardy que ha interpuesto.

2. El Juzgado a quo erro al no declarar insuficientes las pruebas de identificacion del acusado
apelante.
3. El Juzgado a quo tambien erro al pasar por alto las incoherencias de los testigos de la
acusacion y al no declarar que no se ha establecido fuera de toda duda la responsabilidad del
apelante.
4. El Juzgado a quo erro al condenar al acusado apelante por el delito de violacion y al no
acceder a su mocion de nueva vista.
It appears that on May 10, 1932, the chief of police of Dumaguete subscribed and swore to a criminal
complaint wherein he charged Pedro Manaba with the crime of rape, committed on the person of
Celestina Adapon. This complaint was filed with the justice of the peace of Dumaguete on June 1, 1932
and in due course the case reached the Court of First Instance. The accused was tried and convicted, but
on motion of the attorney for the defendant the judgment was set aside and the case dismissed on the
ground that the court had no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant or the subject matter of the
action, because the complaint had not been filed by the offended party, but by the chief of police (criminal
case No. 1801).
On August 17, 1932, the offended girl subscribed and swore to a complaint charging the defendant with
the crime of rape. This complaint was filed in the Court of First Instance (criminal case No. 1872), but was
referred to the justice of the peace of Dumaguete for preliminary investigation. The defendant waived his
right to the preliminary investigation, but asked for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that he
had previously been placed in jeopardy for the same offense. This motion was denied by the justice of the
peace, and the case was remanded to the Court of First Instance, where the provincial fiscal in an
information charged the defendant with having committed the crime of rape as follows:1awphil.net
Que en o hacia la noche del dia 9 de mayo de 1932, en el Municipio de Dumaguete, Provincia de
Negros Oriental, Islas Filipinas, y dentro de la jurisdiccion de este Juzgado. el referido acusado
Pedro Manaba, aprovechandose de la oscuridad de la noche y mediante fuerza, violencia e
intimidacion, voluntaria, ilegal y criminalmente yacio y tuvo acceso carnal con una nia llamada
Celestina Adapon, contra la voluntad de esta. El acusado Pedro Manaba ya ha sido convicto por
Juzgado competente y en sentencia firme por este mismo delito de violacion.
Hecho cometido con infraccion de la ley.
The defendant renewed his motion for dismissal in the case on the ground of double jeopardy, but his
motion was denied; and upon the termination of the trial the defendant was found guilty and sentenced as
hereinabove stated.
Whether the defendant was placed in jeopardy for the second time or not when he was tried in the
present case depends on whether or not he was tried on a valid complaint in the first case. The offense in
question was committed on May 9, 1932, or subsequent to the date when the Revised Penal Code
became effective.
The third paragraph of the article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, which relates to the prosecution of the
crimes of adultery, concubinage, seduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness reads as follows:
The offenses of seduction, abduction, rape or acts of lasciviousness, shall not be prosecuted
except upon a complaint filed by the offended party or her parents, grandparents, or guardian,

nor, in any case, if the offender has been expressly pardoned by the above-named persons, as
the case may be.
The Spanish text of this paragraph is as follows:
Tampoco puede procederse por causa de estupro, rapto, violacion o abusos deshonestos, sino
en virtud de denuncia de la parte agraviada, o de sus padres, o abuelos o tutor, ni despues de
haberse otorgado al ofensor, perdon expreso por dicha partes, segun los casos.
It will be observed that the Spanish equivalent of the word "filed" is not found in the Spanish text, which is
controlling, as it was the Spanish text of the Revised Penal Code that was approved by the Legislature.
The first complaint filed against the defendant was signed and sworn to by the chief of police of
Dumaguete. As it was not the complaint of the offended party, it was not a valid complaint in accordance
with the law. The judgment of the court was therefore void for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter,
and the defendant was never in jeopardy.
It might be observed in this connection that the judgment was set aside and the case dismissed on the
motion of defendant's attorney, who subsequently set up the plea of double jeopardy in the present case.
The other assignments of error relate to the sufficiency of the evidence, which in our opinion fully sustains
the findings of the trial judge.
The recommendation of the Solicitor-General is erroneous in several respects, chiefly due to the fact that
it is based on the decision of July 30, 1932 that was set aside, and not on the decision now under
consideration. The accused should not be ordered to acknowledge the offspring, if should there be any,
because the record shows that the accused is a married man.
It appears that the lower court should have taken into consideration the aggravating circumstances of
nocturnity. The defendant is therefore sentenced to suffer seventeen years, four months, and one day
of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the offended party, Celestina Adapon, in the sum of P500, and to
support the offspring, if any. As thus modified, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with the costs of
both instances against the appellant.
Street, Abad Santos, Imperial, and Butte, JJ., concur.
RENATO CUDIA, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, The HON.CARLOS D. RUSTIA, in his
capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch LVI, Angeles
City, respondents.
DECISION
ROMERO, J.:
Petitioner assails the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated May 14, 1993 dismissing his petition
and finding that he had not been placed in double jeopardy by the filing of a second information against
him, although a first information charging the same offense had been previously dismissed, over
petitioners vigorous opposition.
The factual antecedents of the case are as follows:

On June 28, 1989, petitioner was arrested in Purok 6, Barangay Santa Inez, Mabalacat, [2]Pampanga,
by members of the then 174th PC Company, allegedly for possessing an unlicensed revolver. He was
brought to Camp Pepito, Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, where he was detained. A preliminary investigation
was thereafter conducted by an investigating panel of prosecutors. As a result thereof, the City Prosecutor
of Angeles City filed an information against him for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition,
docketed as Criminal Case No. 11542, which reads as follows:
That on or about the 28th day of June, 1989, in the City of Angeles, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have in his possession and under his control one (1) .38 Cal. Revolver (paltik) without any
Serial Number with six (6) live ammunitions, which he carried outside of his residence without having the
necessary authority and permit to carry the same.
ALL CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] (Emphasis petitioners.)
The case was raffled to Branch 60 of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City (hereafter the Angeles
City RTC). Upon his arraignment on August 14, 1989, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the
charges. During the ensuing pre-trial, the court called the attention of the parties to the fact that, contrary
to the information, petitioner had committed the offense in Mabalacat, and not in Angeles City. Inasmuch
as there was an existing arrangement among the judges of the Angeles City RTCs as to who would
handle cases involving crimes committed outside of Angeles City, the judge ordered the re-raffling of the
case to a branch assigned to criminal cases involving crimes committed outside of the city. Thereafter,
the case was assigned to Branch 56 of the Angeles City RTC.
On October 31, 1989 however, the provincial prosecutor of Pampanga also filed an information
charging petitioner with the same crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 11987. The case was likewise raffled to Branch 56 of the Angeles City RTC. This
prompted the prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 11542 to file a Motion to Dismiss/Withdraw the Information,
stating that thru inadvertence and oversight, the Investigating Panel was misled into hastily filing the
Information in this case, it appearing that the apprehension of the accused in connection with the illegal
possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition was made in Bgy. Sta. Inez, Mabalacat, Pampanga,
within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga [4] and that the Provincial Prosecutor had
filed its own information against the accused, as a result of which two separate informations for the same
offense had been filed against petitioner. The latter filed his opposition to the motion, but the trial court
nonetheless, granted said motion to dismiss in its order dated April 3, 1990.
On May 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash Criminal Case No. 11987 on the ground that his
continued prosecution for the offense of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition for which he
had been arraigned in Criminal Case No. 11542, and which had been dismissed despite his opposition
would violate his right not to be put twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. The trial court
denied the motion to quash; hence, petitioner raised the issue to the Court of Appeals. The appellate
court, stating that there was no double jeopardy, dismissed the same on the ground that the petitioner
could not have been convicted under the first information as the same was defective. Petitioners motion
for reconsideration was denied; hence, this appeal.
Petitioner points out the following as errors of the Court of Appeals:
1. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT FOUND THAT THE CITY PROSECUTOR OF
ANGELES CITY DID NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO FILE THE FIRST INFORMATION.

2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FIRST JEOPARDY DID NOT
ATTACH BECAUSE THE FIRST INFORMATION FILED AGAINST THE ACCUSED WAS
NOT VALID.
We shall discuss the assigned errors jointly as they are closely related.
Section 21, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that (n)o person shall be twice put in
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense x x x. Pursuant to this provision, Section 7 of Rule 117 of
the Rules of Court provides in part that (w)hen an accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case
against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent
jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and substance
to sustain a conviction and after the accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the
accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, x x x.
In order to successfully invoke the defense of double jeopardy, the following requisites must be
present: (1) a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy must have been
validly terminated; and (3) the second jeopardy must be for the same offense or the second offense
includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the first information, or is an attempt to
commit the same or a frustration thereof.[5]
In determining when the first jeopardy may be said to have attached, it is necessary to prove the
existence of the following:
(a)

Court of competent jurisdiction

(b)

Valid complaint or information

(c)

Arraignment

(c)

Valid plea

(e) The defendant was acquitted or convicted or the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated
without the express consent of the accused.[6]
It is undisputed that petitioner was arraigned in Criminal Case No. 11542, that he pleaded not guilty
therein, and that the same was dismissed without his express consent, nay, over his opposition even. We
may thus limit the discussion to determining whether the first two requisites have been met.
As to the first requisite, it is necessary that there be a court of competent jurisdiction, for jurisdiction
to try the case is essential to place an accused in jeopardy. The Court of Appeals and the Solicitor
General agreed that Branch 60, which originally had cognizance of Criminal Case No. 11542, had no
jurisdiction over the case. In the words of the Solicitor General:
The first jeopardy did not also attach because Branch 60 of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City was
not the proper venue for hearing the case. Venue in criminal cases is jurisdictional, being an essential
element of jurisdiction (Agbayani vs. Sayo, 89 SCRA 699). In all criminal prosecutions, the action shall be
instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or territory wherein the offense was committed or any
one of the essential ingredients thereof took place (People vs. Tomio, 202 SCRA 77). Although both
Branches 60 and 56 are sitting in Angeles City, it is Branch 56 which has jurisdiction to try offenses
committed in Mabalacat, Pampanga. Petitioner was arraigned before Branch 60, not Branch 56. [7]

It must be borne in mind that the question of jurisdiction of a court over cases filed before it must be
resolved on the basis of the law or statute providing for or defining its jurisdiction. Administrative Order
No. 7, Series of 1983 provides that:
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 18 of B.P. Blg. 129, the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, and
Section 4 of Executive Order No. 864 of the President of the Philippines, dated January 17, 1983, the
territorial areas of the Regional Trial Courts in Region One to Twelve are hereby defined as follows:
xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

PAMPANGA

1.
Branches LVI to LXII, inclusive, with seats at Angeles City comprising ANGELES CITY and the
municipalities of Mabalacat, Magalang, and Porac as well as part of Clark Field U.S. Airbase.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Clearly, Branches 56 to 62 had jurisdiction over the respective territories as


apportioned. Consequently, notwithstanding the internal arrangement of the judges of the Angeles City
RTCs, Branch 60 indubitably had jurisdiction over instant case. Writ large in lawbooks is the doctrine that
jurisdiction is conferred by law and not by mere administrative policy of any trial court.
With respect to the second requisite, however, it is plainly apparent that the City Prosecutor of
Angeles City had no authority to file the first information, the offense having been committed in the
Municipality of Mabalacat, which is beyond his jurisdiction. Presidential Decree No. 1275, in relation to
Section 9 of the Administrative Code of 1987, pertinently provides that:
Section 11. The provincial or the city fiscal shall:
xxx

xxx

xxx

b)
Investigate and/or cause to be investigated all charges of crimes, misdemeanors and violations of
all penal laws and ordinances within their respective jurisdictions and have the necessary information or
complaint prepared or made against the persons accused. In the conduct of such investigations he or his
assistants shall receive the sworn statements or take oral evidence of witnesses summoned by subpoena
for the purpose.
xxx

xxx

x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

It is thus the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga, not the City Prosecutor, who should prepare
informations for offenses committed within Pampanga but outside of Angeles City. An information, when
required to be filed by a public prosecuting officer, cannot be filed by another. [8]It must be exhibited or
presented by the prosecuting attorney or someone authorized by law. If not, the court does not acquire
jurisdiction.[9]
Petitioner, however, insists that his failure to assert the lack of authority of the City Prosecutor in filing
the information in question is deemed a waiver thereof. [10] As correctly pointed out by the Court of
Appeals, petitioners plea to an information before he filed a motion to quash may be a waiver of all

objections to it insofar as formal objections to the pleadings are concerned. But by clear implication, if not
by express provision of the Rules of Court, and by a long line of uniform decisions, [11] questions relating to
want of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceeding. It is a valid information signed by a
competent officer which, among other requisites, confers jurisdiction on the court over the person of the
accused (herein petitioner) and the subject matter of the accusation. In consonance with this view, an
infirmity in the information, such as lack of authority of the officer signing it, cannot be cured by silence,
acquiescence, or even by express consent.[12]
In fine, there must have been a valid and sufficient complaint or information in the former
prosecution. If, therefore, the complaint or information was insufficient because it was so defective in
form or substance that the conviction upon it could not have been sustained, its dismissal without the
consent of the accused cannot be pleaded. As the fiscal had no authority to file the information, the
dismissal of the first information would not be a bar to petitioners subsequent prosecution. Jeopardy
does not attach where a defendant pleads guilty to a defective indictment that is voluntarily dismissed by
the prosecution.[13]
Petitioner next claims that the lack of authority of the City Prosecutor was the error of the
investigating panel and the same should not be used to prejudice and penalize him. It is an all too
familiar maxim that the State is not bound or estopped by the mistakes or inadvertence of its officials and
employees.[14] To rule otherwise could very well result in setting felons free, deny proper protection to the
community, and give rise to the possibility of connivance between the prosecutor and the accused.
Finally, petitioner avers that an amendment of the first information, and not its dismissal, should have
been the remedy sought by the prosecution. Suffice it to say that this Court, inGalvez vs. Court of
Appeals[15] has ruled that even if amendment is proper, pursuant to Section 14 of Rule 110, it is also quite
plausible under the same provision that, instead of an amendment, an information may be dismissed to
give way to the filing of a new information.
In light of the foregoing principles, there is thus no breach of the constitutional prohibition against
twice putting an accused in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense for the simple reason that the
absence of authority of the City Prosecutor to file the first information meant that petitioner could never
have been convicted on the strength thereof.
As the first information was fatally defective for lack of authority of the officer filing it, the instant
petition must fail for failure to comply with all the requisites necessary to invoke double jeopardy.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 24958 is AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-26256

June 26, 1968

PUA YI KUN, petitioner,


vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, HON. PLACIDO C. RAMOS, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Manila, respondents.
Reyes and Liwanag for petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General and Padilla Law Office for respondents.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


Raised as the only issue in this original petition for certiorari and prohibition 1 is the materiality, in an
information for Theft, of the identity of the owner of the stolen property; in other words, whether or not an
accurate identification of the owner of the stolen property is essential to the validity of an information for
theft.
The facts of this case are not in dispute:
On February 13, 1964, Pua Yi Kun was charged with the crime of theft before the City Court of Manila
(Crim. Case No. E-18590; I.S. 64-5062), in an information reading as follows:
The undersigned (Assistant Fiscal) accuses Pua Yi Kun of the crime of theft, committed as
follows:
That on or about the period from January 10, 1964 to January 13, 1964, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together with one whose true name
and identity are still unknown and helping each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with intent of gain and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, take,
steal and carry away the following:
Nine (9) stock certificates of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. and the Consolidated Mining,
Inc., to wit:
Lepanto Shares: Certificates Nos. 44431 30,000 shares; 50372 19,000 shares; 48758
1,351 shares; Consolidated Shares: 45453-B 90,000 shares;
44728-B 100,000 shares; 44562-B 100,000 shares; 43691-B 100,000 share; 43688-B
50,000 shares; 43529-B 90,000 shares,
all valued at P10,335.00, belonging to the aforesaid mining companies to the damage and
prejudice of said owners in the aforesaid sum of P10,335.00, Philippine currency.1vvphi1.nt
Contrary to law.
Arraigned on July 15, 1964, the accused entered a plea of not guilty.
On January 26, 1965, Assistant Fiscal Agapito C. Magpantay moved for the dismissal of the case against
the accused Pua Yi Kun, on the ground that reinvestigation and re-examination of the evidence on hand
disclosed that the same would be insufficient to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable
doubt. In view of this motion, the City Judge on January 29, 1965, ordered the dismissal of the case with
costs de officio.
On April 20, 1966, another information for theft of the same stock certificates was filed in the Court of First
Instance of Manila (Crim. Case No. 82120; I.S. 64-5062 &
64-5063), this time charging Pua Yi Kun and Frank Chou, thus:
That on or about the 10th day of January, 1964, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping each other, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent of gain and without the knowledge and
consent of the owner thereof, take, steal and carry away three (3) stock certificates of the

Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., consisting of 50,351 shares, valued at P0.72 a share, or a total
value of P36,252.72, and six (6) stock certificates of the Consolidated Mines, Inc. consisting of
530,000 shares valued at P0.085 a share or a total value of P45,050.00, belonging to the Chiong
& Co., Inc., to the damage and prejudice of said owner in the aforesaid sum of P81,302.72,
Philippine currency.
Contrary to law.
Thereupon, the accused Pua Yi Kun moved to quash the information on the ground of double jeopardy,
pointing to the previous dismissal of the theft-case against him in the City Court of Manila. The court
below, however, taking into account the fact that the information filed in the City Court named the Lepanto
Consolidated Mining Company and the Consolidated Mines, Inc. as the owners of the stolen certificates
of stock, when it appeared that the said property actually belonged to Chiong & Co., ruled that such
erroneous allegation of ownership of the property affected the validity of the information. Consequently,
according to the lower court, since the accused Pua Yi Kun could not have been validly convicted under
the aforementioned first information (in the City Court), the filing of the second case in the Court of First
Instance did not expose him to the danger of a second conviction for the same offense. The motion to
quash the information in Criminal Case No. 82120 was, therefore, denied. The accused filed the present
petition.
It cannot be denied that the theft-charge against herein petitioner, now pending in the Court of First
Instance of Manila, is practically the same as that filed against him in the City Court of Manila; 2 that said
case was dismissed upon motion of the prosecuting fiscal himself, after the accused had been duly
arraigned and had entered his plea to the charge. The court below, nevertheless, rejected petitioner's
claim of being placed in second jeopardy reasoning that, as it is necessary to aver in an information for
theft that the owner of the stolen property did not give his consent to its taking by the accused, then the
correct identity of that owner is essential to the validity of the information. And, since admittedly, there was
an erroneous naming of the supposed offended party in the first information, that information was
defective and the cases did not constitute a first jeopardy to the accused.
We see no grave abuse of discretion in the appealed denial of the motion to quash the second
information.
It is not contested that one of the requisites for a successful plea of former jeopardy is the existence of a
valid complaint or information, sufficient in form and substance to support a conviction, in the first
prosecution to which the accused has been subjected (Sec. 9, Revised Rule 117). This means that the
complaint or information must aver all the elements of the offense charged, because if it is radically
defective, "as when it does not recite the essential requisites of the offense, so that unless cured by the
evidence at the trial, it cannot support a judgment of conviction" (IV Moran, Rules of Court, 1963 Ed., 208;
U.S. vs. Estrana, 16 Phil. 520; Serra vs. Mortiga, 11 Phil. 762, 204 U.S. 470). As ruled in People vs.
McNealy, 17 Calif. 332, 335, "[I]t would be a contradiction in terms to say that a person was put in
jeopardy by an indictment under which he could not be convicted, and it is obviously immaterial whether
the inability to convict arose from the variance between the proof and the indictment, or from some defect
in the indictment itself.
Because in the case at bar the offense charged is theft, it became essential that the previous indictment
that was dismissed without consent of the accused, should have expressed all the requisites of that
particular offense. As theft is defined in paragraph 1 of Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code to be a
felony committed

by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor
force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent.
the decisions of this Court have ruled that five elements are essential to constitute the crime: (1) the
taking of personal property; (2) that the property belongs to another; (3) that the taking was done with
intent of gain; (4) that it was done without the consent of the owner, and (5) that it was accomplished
without violence or intimidation of persons nor force upon things (U.S. vs. De Vera, 43 Phil. 1000; People
vs. Mercado, 65 Phil. 665; People vs. Yusay, 50 Phil. 598; People vs. Rodrigo, L-18507, March 31, 1966,
16 S. C. Rep. Anno. 475).
Now, with particular regard to the taking without the consent of the owner, it is conceded that the first
information (City Court Case No. E-18590 of Manila) averred that the stolen certificates belonged to the
mining companies (Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. and the Consolidated Mines, Inc.). The allegation
that the accused took, stole and carried away the certificate of stock without the consent of their owner
could only mean that it was done without the consent of the two companies aforementioned. But as the
motion to quash the second necessarily assumes the truth of the averment therein that the true owner
was Chiong & Co., then we must conclude that the first information in the City Court was insufficient to
support a conviction, because the same did not allege that the taking of the certificates was done without
the consent of the true owner or possessor (Chiong & Co.). True, that the first charge did state that the
taking was done without the consent of the mining companies Lepanto and Consolidated; but as they
were not the owners, the allegation was not only irrelevant, but it did not import that the act was also done
against or without the consent of the real owner. Such deficiency is fatal to the sufficiency of the first
charge, because the non-consent of the owner to the taking is essential to the existence of the crime of
theft under the first paragraph of Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code.
We are aware that some decisions state that the crime of theft does not require that the culprit should
know the owner of the thing stolen. Other authorities declare that it is not necessary for the existence of
the crime of theft that it should appear in a specific manner who is the owner of the thing stolen, and that
the crime is consummated provided the thing belongs to another and the same is taken with intent of gain
(Decision, Supreme Court of Spain, Nov. 22, 1898 and October 4, 1905).
By and large, these pronouncements are merely generalizations designed to cover all varieties of theft,
from the one where the thing stolen is taken directly from the owner's control to that committed by "any
person who having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the local authorities or to its owner"
which is also theft under Article 308, paragraph 2(1), Revised Penal Code. The rulings, therefore, are not
fully applicable to the present case, which does not involve property lost (extraviada) nor do they warrant
the inference that the non-consent of the owner or possessor can be excused.
In the ordinary course of events, the owner of the thing (whoever he should be) would not consent to the
taking of his property without any consideration or quid pro quo therefor; nevertheless, the possibility of
such consent remains and the law demands that it be negated in the information. That the owner's lack of
consent can not be dispensed with in charging an ordinary theft under the first paragraph of Article 308 of
the Penal Code, is shown by the express requirement therein that the taking should be without the
consent of the owner.3 In view of the clear text of the law, an information or charge that does not aver this
lack of consent is manifestly bad and insufficient, and may be quashed for failure to allege an essential
element of the delict.
Since the first charge against petitioner in the City Court was thus deficient in not alleging each and every
element of the offense, and as no evidence was produced to cure the defect, the Court of First Instance
did not gravely abuse its discretion in holding that thereunder jeopardy did not attach.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed and the writ applied for is denied, with costs against
petitioner Pua Yi Kun.
MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA, petitioners, vs. HON. MONINA A. ZENAROSA, PRESIDING
JUDGE,
RTC,
BR.
76,
QUEZON
CITY,
and
THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
After an information has been filed and the accused had been arraigned, pleaded guilty and were
convicted and after they had applied for probation, may the information be amended and the accused
arraigned anew on the ground that the information was allegedly altered/tampered with?
In an Information filed by Assistant City Prosecutor Evelyn Dimaculangan-Querijero dated 03 July
1996,[1] accused Marcelo Lasoy and Felix Banisa were charged as follows:
That on or about the 2nd day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above-named accused,
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping each other, not having been authorized by
law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any prohibited drug, did, then and there, willfully,
unlawfully sell or offer for sale a total of 42.410 grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops, a prohibited drug, in
violation of said law.
The case docketed as Criminal Case No. 96-66788 was assigned and raffled to Branch 103 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, presided by Judge Jaime N. Salazar, Jr.
Upon arraignment, both accused pleaded guilty and were sentenced on 16 July 1996 in this wise: [2]
On arraignment accused MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA with the assistance of [their] counsel
Atty. Diosdado Savellano entered a plea of GUILTY to the crime charged against them in the information.
ACCORDINGLY, the court hereby find[s] accused MARCELO LASOY and FELIX BANISA, GUILTY of
Violation of Section 4, Republic Act 6425 and they are hereby sentenced to suffer a jail term of SIX (6)
MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY and the period during which said accused are under detention is hereby
deducted pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 5127.
The evidence in this case which is the 42.410 grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops is hereby ordered
confiscated in favor of the government. The Property Custodian is ordered to turn over said evidences to
the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper disposition.
On the same date, both accused applied for probation under Presidential Decree No. 968, as
amended.[3]
On 28 August 1996, plaintiff People of the Philippines, thru Assistant City Prosecutor Ma. Aurora
Escasa-Ramos, filed two separate motions, first, to admit amended Information, [4] and second, to set
aside the arraignment of the accused, as well as the decision of the trial court dated 16 July 1996. [5] In
plaintiffs motion to admit amended information, it alleged:

1.
That for some unknown reason both accused herein were charged of (sic) Violation of Sec. 4, Art.
II, R.P. 6425.
That on or about the 2nd day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above-named accused,
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping each other, not having been authorized by
law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any prohibited drug, did, then and there, willfully,
unlawfully sell, or offer for sale a total of 42.410 grams of dried marijuana fruiting tops, a prohibited drug,
in violation of said law.
When in truth and in fact the said accused should be charged for transportation and delivery, with intent to
sell and to gain, of Forty-Five (45) pieces of dried marijuana fruiting tops weighing 42.410 kilos from La
Trinidad to Metro Manila.
2.
That it is imperative to file an amended information in order to make it conformable to the evidence
on hand.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing it is most respectfully prayed that the herewith attached Amended
Information against both accused be admitted and subsequently set for arraignment and trial. [6]
(Emphasis supplied)
Resolving the motions, the trial court, in its Order dated 03 September 1996, [7] held:
The Motion to Admit Amended Information is hereby DENIED, as this court has already decided this case
on the basis that the accused was arrested in possession of 42.410 grams of marijuana and it is too late
at this stage to amend the information.
Another Order[8] of the same date issued by the trial court resolved the second motion in the
following manner:
The Motion to Set Aside the Arraignment of the Accused as well as the Decision dated July 16, 1996, filed
by the Public Prosecutor is hereby GRANTED, it appearing from the published resolution of the Supreme
Court dated October 18, 1995, in G.R. No. 119131 Inaki Gulhoran and Galo Stephen Bobares vs. Hon.
FRANCISCO H. ESCANO, JR. in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Leyte Branch
12, Ormoc City which was dismissed by this court on August 20, 1996, the jurisdiction over drug of small
quantity as in the case at bar should be tried by the Metropolitan Trial Court, although under the statute of
R.A. 7659 which took effect on December 31, 1993 the penalty for possession or use of prohibited or
regulated drugs is from prision [correccional] to reclusion temporal which indeterminate penalty and under
the rule on jurisdiction the court which has jurisdiction over a criminal case is dependent on the maximum
penalty attached by the statute to the crime.
The amended Information reads:
That on or about the 2nd day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above-named accused,
conspiring together, confederating with and mutually helping each other, not having been authorized by
law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any prohibited drug, did, then and there, willfully
unlawfully sell or offer for sale a total of 42.410 kilos of dried marijuana fruiting tops, a prohibited drug, in
violation of said law.[9]
This second information was assigned to Branch 76 of the RTC of Quezon City presided by Judge
Monina A. Zenarosa,[10] docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-96-67572.

Both accused filed a Motion to Quash[11] which was opposed[12] by the People in its
Comment/Opposition filed before the trial court. Subsequently, while the motion to quash before the RTC
was as yet unresolved, both accused filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition forCertiorari[13] which
they later moved to withdraw to pave the way for Branch 76 of the RTC of Quezon City to act judiciously
on their motion to quash.[14] The Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 15 November 1996 [15] noted the
motion and considered the petition withdrawn.
In its now assailed resolution dated 14 February 1997, [16] the trial court denied accuseds motion to
quash, and scheduled the arraignment of the accused under the amended information. Accuseds Motion
for Reconsideration,[17] duly opposed by the prosecution, [18] was denied by the trial court in its Order dated
16 April 1997.[19] Hence, the instant Petition for Certiorari with prayer for injunction and temporary
restraining order[20] based on the following grounds:[21]
A)
WITH DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
THERE IS NO VALID INFORMATION AND, THEREFORE, THE ACCUSED CANNOT CLAIM THE
RIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY; and
B)
WITH DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT
THE RTC, BRANCH 103, HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE, DOCKETED AS CRIMINAL CASE
NO. Q-96-66799.[22]
In this Courts resolution dated 23 July 1997, [23] respondents were required to comment on the
Petition. They submitted their Comment on 18 November 1998. [24] Accused filed their Reply[25] on 02
March 2000. In compliance with the Courts resolution dated 29 March 2000, [26]accused and respondents
submitted their memoranda, respectively, on 26 May 2000 [27] and 26 July 2000.[28]
To invoke the defense of double jeopardy, the following requisites must be present: (1) a valid
complaint or information; (2) the court has jurisdiction to try the case; (3) the accused has pleaded to the
charge; and (4) he has been convicted or acquitted or the case against him dismissed or otherwise
terminated without his express consent. [29]
The issues boil down to whether or not the first information is valid and whether or not the RTC,
Branch 103, where the first information was filed and under which Criminal Case No. Q-96-66788 was
tried, had jurisdiction to try the case.
On the issue of validity of the information, accused and respondents submitted opposing views -accused insisting on its validity, whereas respondents asserted that the accused were arraigned under an
invalid information. Alleging that there being an alteration on the first information, hence it failed to reflect
the true quantity of drugs caught in possession of the accused, the prosecution insisted that the first
information under which accused were arraigned is invalid.
In accord with the view of the prosecution, the trial court denied the accuseds motion to quash,
stating:[30]
. . . [I]n the instant case, it must be recalled that the earlier information filed against the accused appeared
to be sufficient in form. It was discovered, however, that an alteration was made as to the weight of the
marijuana fruiting tops which was placed at only 42.410 grams when the correct amount should have
been in kilos. This fraudulent alteration necessarily vitiated the integrity of the proceedings such that
despite the plea of guilt made by the accused it would not bar a subsequent prosecution for the correct
offense.

Generally speaking to entitle accused to the plea of former jeopardy, the prior proceedings must have
been valid, and the lack of any fundamental requisite which would render void the judgment would also
make ineffective a plea of jeopardy based on such proceedings.
Fraudulent or collusive prosecution. A verdict of acquittal procured by accused by fraud and collusion is a
nullity and does not put him in jeopardy; and consequently it is no bar to a second trial for the same
offense.
Similarly, a conviction of a criminal offense procured fraudulently or by collusion of the offender, for the
purpose of protecting himself from further prosecution and adequate punishment, is no bar to a
subsequent prosecution for the same offense, either on the ground that the conviction is void because of
the fraud practiced, or that the state is not in any sense a party to it and therefore not bound by it. (22
Corpus Juris Secundum, pp. 244-245)
It is impossible to believe that the accused were not aware of the deceitful maneuvering which led to the
erasure of the true weight of the marijuana fruiting tops as alleged in the information.
They cannot pretend not to know the exact amount of prohibited stuff for which they were charged before
the information was tampered with.
They could not feign innocence when they participated in that charade when they pleaded guilty upon
arraignment.
Consequently, their plea to the lesser offense considering the decreased weight in the now altered
information which merited a much lighter penalty was irregularly obtained. Hence, they cannot be
considered as put in jeopardy by the proceedings in court which was tainted with fraud.
The accused should not be allowed to make a mockery of justice or to trifle with the courts by participating
in a grand deception of pleading guilty to a lesser offense knowing that they participated/acquiesced to
such tampering and then tell the court that they would be placed in jeopardy for the second time.
We do not agree with the trial court.
FIRST, it cannot be denied that the request for appropriate inquest proceedings dated 03 July 1996
addressed to the City Prosecutor of Quezon City and received by Prosecutor Querijero, stated that the
accused were apprehended for conspiring, confederating and mutually helping with each other in
facilitating and effecting the transportation and delivery . . . of fortyfive pieces of dried marijuana leaves
(already in bricks) and weighing approximately forty-five kilos.[31]
In the joint affidavit of the poseur-buyer, PO3 Ernesto Jimenez Viray, Jr., and arresting officer SPOI
Inadio U. Ibay, Jr., it is stated that the accused were caught with approximately 45 kilos of dried marijuana
fruiting tops.[32] For some unknown reasons, however, the Information filed against the accused reflected a
much lesser quantity, i.e., 42.410 grams.
The question is whether this is sufficient to consider the first Information under which the accused
were arraigned invalid.
Pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court under Rule 110 are hereunder quoted:

Section 4. Information defined. An information is an accusation in writing charging a person with an


offense subscribed by the fiscal and filed with the court.
In Alvizo v. Sandiganbayan,[33] this Court citing People v. Marquez affirmed:[34]
It should be observed that section 3 of Rule 110 defines an information as nothing more than an
accusation in writing charging a person with an offense subscribed by the fiscal and filed with the court.
An information is valid as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense and the
acts or omissions constitutive thereof.[35]
In other words, if the offense is stated in such a way that a person of ordinary intelligence may
immediately know what is meant, and the court can decide the matter according to law, the inevitable
conclusion is that the information is valid. It is not necessary to follow the language of the statute in the
information. The information will be sufficient if it describes the crime defined by law.[36]
Applying the foregoing, the inescapable conclusion is that the first information is valid inasmuch as it
sufficiently alleges the manner by which the crime was committed. Verily the purpose of the law, that is,
to apprise the accused of the nature of the charge against them, is reasonably complied with.
Furthermore, the first information, applying Rule 110, [37] Section 6, shows on its face that it is valid.
Section 6. Sufficiency of complaint or information. A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the
name of the accused; the designation of the offense by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of
as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the
offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed.
SECOND, and with respect specifically to the trial courts point of view that the accused cannot claim
their right against double jeopardy because they participated/acquiesced to the tampering, we hold that
while this may not be far-fetched, there is actually no hard evidence thereof. [38] Worse, we cannot overlook
the fact that accused were arraigned, entered a plea of guilty and convicted under the first information.
Granting that alteration/tampering took place and the accused had a hand in it, this does not justify the
setting aside of the decision dated 16 July 1996. The alleged tampering/alteration allegedly participated
in by the accused may well be the subject of another inquiry.
In Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines v. People,[39] the Court affirming the finality of a decision in a criminal
case, citing Section 7, Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, stated:
A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes
final or before appeal is perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed a judgment [of conviction]
becomes final after the lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or when the sentence has been
partially or totally satisfied or served, or when the accused has waived in writing his right to appeal, or has
applied for probation.
Indeed, the belated move on the part of the prosecution to have the information amended defies
procedural rules, the decision having attained finality after the accused applied for probation and the fact
that amendment is no longer allowed at that stage.
Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure is emphatic:

Sec. 14. Amendment. The information or complaint may be amended, in substance or form, without
leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads; and thereafter and during the trial as to all matters
of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when the same can be done without prejudice to the
rights of the accused.
If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense,
the court shall dismiss the original complaint or information upon the filing of a new one charging the
proper offense in accordance with Rule 119, Section 11, provided the accused would not be placed
thereby in double jeopardy, and may also require the witnesses to give bail for their appearance at the
trial.
In Sanvicente v. People,[40] this Court held that given the far-reaching scope of an accuseds right
against double jeopardy, even an appeal based on an alleged misappreciation of evidence will not lie.
The only instance when double jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the
opportunity to present its case or where the trial was a sham. Respondent People of the Philippines
argues, citing the case of Galman v. Sandiganbayan[41]that the trial was a sham. We do not agree with
the respondent as the trial in the Galman case was considered a mock trial owing to the act of a then
authoritarian president who ordered the therein respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan to rig the
trial and who closely monitored the entire proceedings to assure a predetermined final outcome of
acquittal and total absolution of the respondents-accused therein of all the charges. [42]
The Constitution is very explicit. Article III, Section 21, mandates that no person shall be twice put in
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. In this case, it bears repeating that the accused had been
arraigned and convicted. In fact, they were already in the stage where they were applying for probation.
It is too late in the day for the prosecution to ask for the amendment of the information and seek to try
again accused for the same offense without violating their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
There is, therefore, no question that the amendment of an information by motion of the prosecution
and at the time when the accused had already been convicted is contrary to procedural rules and violative
of the rights of the accused.
FINALLY, on the issue of jurisdiction, the case of Gulhoran and Bobares v. Escano, Jr.,[43]upon which
both trial courts justified their claim of jurisdiction, was actually based on this Courts resolution dated 18
October 1995 where this Court held:
The criminal jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts under Section 32 (2) of B. P. 129, as amended by Rep. Act 7691 has been increased to cover
offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of the fine
(Administrative Cir. No. 09-94, June 14, 1994). It appears that the imposable penalties applicable to the
subject cases are within the range of prision correccional, a penalty not exceeding six years, thus falling
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the MTC. It follows that the RTC has no jurisdiction to take
cognizance of the charges against petitioners.
If we apply the resolution of this Court quoted above, it would seem that the Metropolitan Trial Court
has jurisdiction over the case under the first Information. Following that argument, the decision dated 16
July 1996 of the RTC Branch 103 was rendered without jurisdiction, thus, accused may not invoke the
right against double jeopardy.

Nonetheless, we cannot uphold this view owing to the fact that a later resolution superseding the
resolution cited by the trial courts, specifically Administrative Order No. 51-96 dated 03 May 1996, vests
the RTC with jurisdiction to try Criminal Case No. Q-96-67572. The resolution provides:
RE: SPECIAL COURTS FOR KIDNAPPING, ROBBERY, DANGEROUS DRUGS,
CARNAPPING AND OTHER HEINOUS CRIMES UNDER R.A. NO. 7659
Pursuant to Sec. 23 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, in the interest of speedy and efficient administration of
justice and subject to the guidelines hereinafter set forth, the following Regional Trial Court branches are
hereby designated to exclusively try and decide cases of KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM, ROBBERY IN
BAND, ROBBERY COMMITTED AGAINST A BANKING OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, VIOLATION OF
THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 1972, AS AMENDED, AND VIOLATION OF THE ANTICARNAPPING ACT OF 1972, AS AMENDED, AND OTHER HEINOUS CRIMES defined and penalized
under Rep. Act No. 7659, committed within their respective territorial jurisdictions:
...
11. Branch 103, Quezon City, presided over by RTC JUDGE JAIME N. SALAZAR, JR.
Subsequently, A.M. No. 96-8-282-RTC dated 27 August 1996, Re: Clarification on the applicability of
Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 51-96 in relation to Section 20 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended,
declared:
. . . [T]he Court Resolved to AMEND the prefatory paragraph in Administrative Order No. 5-96, to read:
Pursuant to Section 23 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 in the interest of speedy administration of justice and
subject to the guidelines hereinafter set forth, the following Regional Trial Court branches are hereby
designated to exclusively try and decide cases of KIDNAPPING AND/OR KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM,
ROBBERY IN BAND, ROBBERY COMMITTED AGAINST A BANKING OR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION,
VIOLATION OF THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 1972, AS AMENDED, regardless of the quantity of
the drugs involved.
This issue is further settled by the concurring opinion of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., inPeople
v. Velasco:[44]
. . . [A]ll drug-related cases, regardless of the quantity involved and the penalty imposable pursuant to
R.A. No. 7659, as applied/interpreted in People vs. Simon (G.R. No. 93028, 29 July 1994; 234 SCRA
555), and of the provisions of R.A. No. 7691 expanding the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Trial Courts
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, still fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts,
in view of Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425 (the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972). R.A. No. 7659 and R.A. No.
7691 have neither amended nor modified this Section.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Orders dated 14
February 1997 and 16 April 1997 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 76, are set
aside. Criminal Case No. Q-96-67572 is ordered Dismissed. Accused Marcelo Lasoy and Felix Banisa
are forthwith ordered released from detention [45] unless there may be valid reasons for their further
detention.
SO ORDERED.

B. COMPETENT COURT
RAUL ZAPATOS Y LEGASPI, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,respondent.
DECISION
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Since the olden times, no impulse has been proven so powerful than that of self-preservation. Thus,
the law, out of tenderness for humanity, permits the taking of life of another in defense of ones person in
times of necessity. In the words of the Romans of ancient history: Quod quisque ob tutelam corporis sui
fecerit, jure suo fecisse existimetur.[1]
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision[2] dated March 27, 2001 of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Cases Nos. 17015 and 17016 finding Raul Zapatos, petitioner herein, guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of murder and frustrated murder and sentencing him as follows:
WHEREFORE, under Criminal Case No. 17015, the accused RAUL ZAPATOS, is hereby
foundGUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER, defined and penalized under Article
248, Revised Penal Code and, considering the presence of one (1) mitigating circumstance with no
generic aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to indemnify the heirs of the late Mayor Leonardo Cortez in the amount
of P50,000.00;
Under Criminal Case No. 17016, the same accused, RAUL ZAPATOS, is hereby found GUILTYbeyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of FRUSTRATED MURDER, defined and penalized under Article 248 in
relation to Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, and, considering the presence of one (1) ordinary
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender which is not offset by any generic aggravating
circumstance, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of
from Six (6) Years and One (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum to Twelve (12) Years and One (1) day
to Fourteen (14) years and Eight (8) Months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and to
indemnifySOCRATES PLATERO in the amount of P25,000.00 by way of civil indemnity.
The accused shall pay the costs.
SO ORDERED. (Emphases supplied)
In two separate Informations, Special Prosecution Officer Gualberto J. Dela Llana charged both
petitioner and Victoriano Vidal[3] with murder and frustrated murder, committed as follows:
Criminal Case No. 17015 (Murder)
That on or about January 14, 1990, at Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, both public officers, being then an employee and
Community Environment Natural Resources Officer, respectively of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, assigned at Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, and committing the crime herein charged in
relation to their office, with treachery and evident premeditation and with intent to kill and with the
use of firearm, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack and shoot Leonardo Cortez,
Municipal Mayor of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, hitting him at the vital parts of his body and inflicting upon

said Leonardo Cortez mortal wounds which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice
of the victims heirs.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]
Criminal Case No. 17016 (Frustrated Murder)
That on or about January 14, 1990, at Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, both public officers, being then an employee and
Community Environment Natural Resources Officer, respectively of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, assigned at Bayugan, Agusan del Sur and committing the crime herein charged in
relation to their office, with intent to kill and with the use of firearm, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack and shoot one Socrates Platero, hitting him at his left leg and inflicting
upon said Socrates Platero mortal wound which could have caused his death had it not been for the
timely medical assistance given him to the damage and prejudice of said victim.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty. [5] Forthwith, trial ensued.[6]
The case for the prosecution is woven basically on the testimony of Socrates Platero as follows: On
January 14, 1990, at 8:00 oclock in the evening, witness Platero and Mayor Leonardo Cortez of
Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur were on their way home from Butuan City. [7] En route, the patrol car they were
riding ran out of gasoline, prompting them to stop at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Monitoring
Station, Barangay Maygatasan, Bayugan. With no gasoline to spare, Station Guard Pfc. Michael Gatillo
accompanied them to the nearby Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) checkpoint.
[8]
There, they found Pacheco Tan. Pfc.Gatillo approached Tan and requested for extra
gasoline. Suddenly, Tan ran towards the guardhouse. [9] After a few seconds, Platero heard a gunshot
originating therefrom. The bullet hit Mayor Cortez, causing him to collapse to the ground. [10] Thereupon,
Platero saw petitioner Raul Zapatos, holding an armalite in a firing position. Platero immediately
retaliated and an exchange of gunfire ensued. During this time, Platero tried to pull Mayor Cortez away
from the crossfire. Plateros foot was hit.[11] He did not see who shot him.[12] He then took cover on the
other side of the highway.
Pfc. Gatillo testified that he was the policeman assigned at the BIR Monitoring Station on January
14,1990.[13] At about 8:00 oclock in the evening, he accompanied Platero and Mayor Cortez to the DENR
checkpoint to ask for some gasoline. [14] Upon seeing Tan, he asked him about petitioners
whereabouts. Tan replied that petitioner was sleeping inside the guardhouse.[15] Mayor Cortez also
inquired from Tan where petitioner was. Tan merely reiterated his answer.[16] Then Tan walked
towards the guardhouse and in a matter of seconds, he (witness Gatillo) saw petitioner firing his gun at
Mayor Cortez.[17] Mayor Cortez fell to the ground with blood oozing from his mouth. [18] Platero attempted to
pull Mayor Cortez but another shot was fired and this time, the Mayor was hit on the leg. While running
across the highway to take cover, Platero was also hit on the leg. [19] When the shooting stopped, he
(Gatillo) brought Platero and Mayor Cortez to Bayugan Community Hospital. [20]
Dr. Romeo Cedeo, Chief of the Bayugan Community Hospital, declared that when he attended to
Mayor Cortez on January 14, 1990, [21] the latter was already dead. He did not conduct an autopsy or
examine the wounds. He merely conducted a superficial examination which showed that four (4) wounds
had been inflicted upon Mayor Cortez one in the vicinity of the left nipple, one on the right axillary
region, one on the right knee, and another on the left iliac region. [22]

Building his case on the justifying circumstance of self-defense, petitioner presented a different
version. He testified that he was the Team Leader of the DENR Sentro Striking Force whose primary duty
is to seize illegally-cut forest products.[23] He held office at the DENR checkpoint, Barangay Maygatasan,
Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. On January 14, 1990, at about 7:00 oclock in the evening, he instructed
Pacheco Tan, his co-worker, to man the checkpoint as he was sleepy. He also directed Tan to wake
him up should there be any problem.[24] While sleeping, a burst of gunshots awakened him. He saw
that the guardhouse was being riddled with bullets, [25] piercing the walls and hitting some objects
inside. Immediately he dropped to the floor and took the armalite rifle from the locker located under his
bed.[26] Hiding behind a barricade, he fired at his attackers. Thereafter, fearing for his life, he broke the
flooring of the guardhouse and crawled through the hollow portion underneath to reach its back door.
[27]
He walked away until he reached Nilo Libres' house where he stayed overnight. [28] The next day, he
heard the news that Mayor Cortez was killed. [29] He immediately surrendered himself and his armalite rifle
to Sgt. Benjamin Amorio of the Philippine Army Brigade, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.[30]
Pacheco Tan corroborated petitioners testimony. On the same date and time, petitioner, who was
about to sleep, instructed Tan to take the first shift. While petitioner was sleeping, Pfc. Gatillo, Mayor
Cortez and Platero arrived.[31] Pfc. Gatillo approached Tan and inquired where petitioner was. He
replied that petitioner was sleeping inside the guardhouse.[32] Pfc. Gatillo returned to the parked
patrol car where Mayor Cortez and Platero were waiting. Tan noticed that there were other policemen
within the vicinity.[33] Then, Mayor Cortez and Platero, each carrying an M-16 rifle, alighted from the
vehicle and approached the guardhouse. Again, Mayor Cortez asked Tan where petitioner
was. Again Tan gave him the same answer.[34] Mayor Cortez reacted in disbelief, saying ah.
Suddenly, Tan heard a burst of gunshots directed at the guardhouse. He immediately ducked on the
ground and then ran towards the pasillo leading to the back of the guardhouse. [35] Seized by fear, he was
not able to wake petitioner.[36] He ran away and, upon reaching a banana plantation, stayed there until
morning.[37] The next day, he went to the Chief of Police of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur. [38] He was brought to
the Bayugan Police Station so that he could give a statement regarding the incident. But he refused to
sign the typewritten statement prepared by the Bayugan Police because it pinpoints to petitioner as the
killer of Mayor Cortez. He was against such statement because he did not see petitioner shot Mayor
Cortez.[39]
NBI Agent Virgilio Decasa testified that upon inspecting the DENR checkpoint at Maygatasan,
Bayugan, he observed that it was riddled with bullets. [40] The locations of the bullet holes showed that
those responsible surrounded the building.[41] From his investigation, it was Mayor Cortez, together with
Platero and Pfc. Gatillo, who approached the DENR checkpoint. They were followed by several
policemen who were instructed by Mayor Cortez to prepare for any eventuality.[42] He was not able to
collect the guns and have them tested by the NBIs ballistic technician because the policemen refused to
submit themselves to an investigation. [43]He recommended that the cases filed against petitioner be
reviewed and/or investigated to prevent injustice.[44]
Lazarito Estorque recounted that on January 14, 1990, at about 5:30 oclock in the afternoon, he and
Mayor Cortez were having a drinking session at the house of his compadre Bong Kadao. Mayor Cortez,
together with his three (3) policemen, left Kadaos house at 7:00 o clock in the evening. [45]
Consequently, two Informations for frustrated murder and murder, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
414 and 415, were filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch VII, Bayugan Agusan del
Sur. Pursuant to this Courts Resolution dated August 2, 1990, the venue was transferred to the RTC,
Branch V, Butuan City where the cases were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 4194 and 4195. Before
petitioner could be arraigned, the private prosecutor filed with the RTC a motion to refer the cases to the
Sandiganbayan but it was denied in an Order dated March 11, 1991. [46] Petitioner was then arraigned
and pleaded not guilty to both charges.[47]

The private prosecutor filed with this Court a petition for certiorari questioning the order of the RTC,
but the same was dismissed.[48] This time, the public prosecutor filed with the RTC an Omnibus Motion to
Dismiss[49] on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. On August 9, 1991, the RTC issued an Omnibus
Order[50] granting the motion and dismissing Criminal Cases Nos. 4194 and 4195. This prompted Special
Prosecution Officer Dela Llana to file with the Sandiganbayan the two Informations quoted above.
In this petition, petitioner ascribes to the Sandiganbayan the following errors:
A. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT
DOUBLE JEOPARDY HAS ALREADY ATTACHED AND THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION
OVER THE CASES;
B. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER IS
GUILTY OF THE CRIMES CHARGED DESPITE OVERWHELMING ABSENCE OF
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT;
C. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING DUE
CREDENCE TO THE FINDINGS OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AS
WELL AS THE TESTIMONY OF NBI INVESTIGATING AGENT VIRGILIO M. DECASA;
D. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDENCE
TO THE CONTRADICTING TESTIMONIES OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES SOCRATES
PLATERO AND MICHAEL GATILLO;
E. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE
EXISTS PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT PETITIONER IS GUILTY OF THE
CRIMES CHARGED;
F. GRANTING WITHOUT ADMITTING LIABILITY FOR THE CRIMES CHARGED, THE
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT PETITIONER
ACTED IN SELF-DEFENSE; AND
G. GRANTING WITHOUT ADMITTING GUILT FOR THE CRIMES CHARGED, THE
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE EXISTENCE OF
TREACHERY.
The People counters that since petitioner was on a 24-hour duty as Team Leader of the DENR
Sentro Striking Force when the crimes took place, it follows that his acts were committed in relation to his
office. Necessarily, the previous dismissal of his cases by the RTC could not result in double jeopardy.
[51]
The presentation of petitioners weapon or the autopsy report is immaterial considering that both Pfc.
Gatillo and Platero positively identified petitioner as the culprit. [52] Moreover, the inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses do not in any manner affect their credibility for they merely
involve immaterial matters.[53] Lastly, petitioners plea of self-defense cannot be sustained because of the
absence of all its requisites.[54]
The petition is impressed with merit.
First, we shall resolve the issues of jurisdiction and double jeopardy. Petitioner assails the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over his cases on the ground that the crimes imputed to him were not
committed in relation to his office.

Well-settled is the principle that the jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined by the
law in force at the time of the institution of the action. [55] Here, the applicable law is Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 1606,[56] as amended by P.D. No. 1861.[57] Section 4, paragraph (a) thereof provides:
SECTION 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
a)

Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their
office,including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or
complexed with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or
imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00 x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
In a catena of cases decided under the aegis of P.D. No. 1606, such as Aguinaldo vs. Domagas,
Sanchez vs. Demetriou,[59] Natividad vs. Felix,[60] and Republic vs. Asuncion,[61] we ruled that two
requirements must concur under Sec. 4 (a) (2) for an offense to fall under the Sandiganbayan's
jurisdiction, namely: (1) the offense committed by the public officer must be in relation to his office;
and (2) the penalty prescribed must be higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years,
or a fine of P6,000.00. Obviously, the first requirement is the present cause of discord between petitioner
and the People.
[58]

An offense is deemed to be committed in relation to the accuseds office when such office is an
element of the crime charged or when the offense charged is intimately connected with the
discharge of the official function of the accused.[62] In Cunanan vs. Arceo,[63] we held:
In Sanchez vs. Demetriou [227 SCRA 627 (1993)], the Court elaborated on the scope and reach of the
term offense committed in relation to [an accused's] office by referring to the principle laid down
inMontilla vs. Hilario [90 Phil 49 (1951)], and to an exception to that principle which was recognized
inPeople vs. Montejo [108 Phil 613 (1960)]. The principle set out in Montilla vs. Hilario is that an
offense may be considered as committed in relation to the accused's office if the offense cannot
exist without the office such that the office [is] a constituent element of the crime
x x x. In People vs. Montejo, the Court, through Chief Justice Concepcion, said that although
public office is not an element of the crime of murder in [the] abstract, the facts in a particular
case may show that x x x the offense therein charged is intimately connected with [the
accused's] respective offices and wasperpetrated while they were in the performance, though
improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed, [the accused] had no personal motive to
commit the crime and they would not have committed it had they not held their aforesaid
offices. . . .
The Informations filed with the Sandiganbayan allege that petitioner, then a public officer,
committed the crimes of murder and frustrated murder in relation to his office, i.e., as Community
Environment and Natural Resources Officer of the DENR. [64] It is apparent from this allegation that the
offenses charged are intimately connected with petitioners office and were perpetrated while he was in
the performance of his official functions. In its Resolution[65] dated August 25, 1992, the Sandiganbayan
held that petitioner was on duty during the incident; that the DENR Checkpoint was put up in order to
prevent incursions into the forest and wooded area; and that petitioner, as a guard, was precisely
furnished with a firearm in order to resist entry by force or intimidation. Indeed, if petitioner was not on
duty at the DENR checkpoint on January 14, 1990, he would not have had the bloody encounter with

Mayor Cortez and his men.[66] Thus, based on the allegations in the Informations, the Sandiganbayan
correctly assumed jurisdiction over the cases.
Significantly, while petitioner had already pleaded not guilty before the RTC, jeopardy did not attach
as it did not acquire jurisdiction. There can be no double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in
court that had no jurisdiction.[67]
We now go to the substantial merits of the case.
After considering the records very closely, we are constrained to reject the evidence for the
prosecution. Jurisprudence is settled that whatever is repugnant to the standards of human knowledge,
observation and experience becomes incredible and lies outside judicial cognizance. Consistently, we
ruled that evidence, to be believed, must proceed not only from the mouth of a credible witness but must
be credible in itself as to hurdle the test of conformity with the knowledge and common experience of
mankind.[68] Here, the prosecution witnesses, Platero and Pfc. Gatillo, are not credible. Indeed, their
testimonies bear the earmarks of falsehood.
First, Plateros tale that Pacheco Tan, who was then on first shift at the DENR checkpoint that day,
suddenly ran towards the DENR Checkpoint when Pfc. Gatillo asked him for some gasoline simply does
not make sense. Why would a person run away with fear for such a simple request? Even former
Sandiganbayan Justice Regino Hermosisima, Jr.[69] was mystified by such a reaction, constraining him to
delve deeper into the matter, thus:
Q And you want the Court to understand that immediately after Gatillo asked for
gasoline, Pacheco Tan ran towards inside the BFD monitoring center?
A

Yes, he ran away, ran inside.

JUSTICE HERMOSISIMA:
Look, a person would not run away in fear without any reason why he did. Tell me now
why did Pacheco Tan run away?
A

I do not know.
x
x

xxx

Will you tell me whether Cael or you pointed your guns at Pacheco Tan?

No.

You did not. You cannot tell me why Pacheco Tan ran inside, why was he scared?

I do not know.[70]

Surely, we cannot accept a story that defies reason and leaves much to the imagination. Plateros
failure to lend a touch of realism to his tale leads us to the conclusion that he was either withholding an
incriminating information or was not telling the truth. As it turned out, Tan rushed towards the back of the
guardhouse because of the sudden burst of gunfire directed at that place. In short, he fled for his life.

Second, it is highly doubtful that obtaining some gasoline was the real object of Mayor Cortez,
Platero and Pfc. Gatillo in going to the DENR checkpoint. Strangely, their conduct, upon arriving at
that place, showed their concern more on the whereabouts of petitioner than whether there was
gasoline to spare. Pfc. Gatillo, testifying for the prosecution, admitted during cross-examination that he
did not hear Mayor Cortez and Platero ask for gasoline. All that he heard was Mayor Cortez inquiry
regarding petitioners whereabouts, thus:
Q You said that Pacheco Tan went inside to get Raul Zapatos, is it not a fact that when
Mayor Cortez arrived at the DENR monitoring station, he asked Pacheco Tan where
Raul Zapatos was?
A

Yes, sir.

And precisely Pacheco Tan told Mayor Cortez that Raul Zapatos is inside the room
sleeping?

Yes sir.
x
x

But you did not hear at any time the conversation between Pacheco Tan and the late
Mayor Cortez, with Mayor Cortez asking Pacheco Tan for gasoline, is that right?

No, more Sir.

And at any time before the shooting incident you did not hear Socrates Platero
asking Pacheco Tan for gasoline, is that right?

No, sir.
x
x

xxx

xxx

As a matter of fact, the only thing you heard in reference to the accused Raul
Zapatos was that Mayor Cortez was looking for Zapatos because he wanted to talk
with Zapatos, is that right?

Yes, sir.[71]

The above testimony strongly confirms Tans narration that Pfc. Gatillo and Mayor Cortez only asked
him where petitioner was.[72] Nothing was ever mentioned about the gasoline. Notably, Platero, in his
Affidavit executed the day after the incident, stated that he and the Mayor went to the DENR checkpoint
because Mayor Cortez wanted to see Raul Zapatos because he is the team leader of the DENR
Monitoring Station. Again, the gasoline was not alluded to.
Corollarily, this brings us into a quandary what could have been the reason why Mayor Cortez,
Platero and Pfc. Gatillo were looking for petitioner on the night of January 14, 1990? The records bear
out that the relationship between Mayor Cortez and petitioner was not friendly. There were several
occasions when their interests clashed Mayor Cortez, as the owner of a sawmill, and petitioner, as a

forest law enforcer. In his Sworn Statement[73] dated March 17, 1990, petitioner declared, among others,
that previously, he apprehended the Mayors men several times for illegally cutting and transporting
flitches belonging to the Mayor and his family, thus:
Q

20: After realizing that Mayor CORTEZ was the one who led the attack of the DENR
CENTRO Strike Force Headquarters, what could be the reason why the Mayor and
his men attacked your headquarters?

20: I believe that Mayor CORTEZ became angry with me because of the previous
apprehensions of illegally cut and transported flitches which belonged to them, I
mean, to that of Mayor CORTEZ family.

21:

21: In one instance, we apprehended a truckload of illegally transported flitches


and the document presented showed that they were consigned to the CORTEZ
sawmill in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur.

22: Are there instances also that the mayor intervened in any way in the
apprehensions of these illegally cut and transported logs?

22: Sometime in September, 1989, when we apprehended a truck load of illegally


cut and transported flitches, Mayor CORTEZ requested that the truck carrying the
flitches be turned over to his custody which truck was the regular carrier of flitches
consigned to their sawmill. The request was granted by CENRO VIDAL and the
proper documents for the turn over of custody were properly made. After that,
during the month of October, 1989, we again apprehended the same truck previously
turned over to the custody of Mayor again carrying illegally cut and transported
flitches which I believe angered the Mayor.

Why, did the then Mayor also engaged (sic) in logging?

Also, three (3) days before the incident at the CENRO Strike Force Headquarters in
Maygatasan, I also had a confrontation with an Army soldier acting as Security of Mayor
CORTEZ, one named DANNY GESTA.
Q

23:

Will you narrate what that confrontation was all about?

23: On January 11, 1990, while I was outside of the DENR CENRO Strike Force
Headquarters repairing my motorcycle, a truck loaded with illegally cut flitches just passed
our Headquarters without stopping at our headquarters for inspection so when the truck
came back, I stopped the same truck and called the driver and asked him who is the owner
of the flitches. The driver told me that the flitches belonged to DANNY GESTA and
when I asked him where he took the flitches, he told me that he took the flitches to
the sawmill of the CORTEZ. When I asked him who escorted it, the driver told me that it
was one named NONO so I told the driver to tell NONO to come to our Headquarters so
we could talk. On the following day, when I went to a shop owned by MAWE RABUYA for
consultation of my motorcycle, DANNY GESTA was there. I requested MAWE RABUYA to
take a look of my motorcycle for any defect and it was at this instance that DANNY GESTA
approached me and told me and to quote: UNSA MANG KA NGA IMO MANG KONG
IPAREPORT-REPORT SA IMO. WALA MANG GANI MAKAPA-REPORT ANG CORONEL
SA AKO. I then told and explained to DANNY GESTA that it was not him whom I wanted to
talk and report to me but NONO. DANNY GESTA suddenly stood up and told me and to

quote: PUTANG INA KA! BUK-ON NAKO NANG ULO NIMO. To avoid further argument, I
told MAWE that I better go and I left.
Q

24:

What did you do after that confrontation with DANNY GESTA?

24: Because of what DANNY GESTA told me, I stayed at the Headquarters at
Maygatasan, Bayugan until the incident on January 14, 1990 when our Headquarters was
attacked.

Even NBI Agents Atty. Decasa and Ali C. Vargas found that Mayor Cortez had an ulterior motive of
revenge against petitioner, thus:
x x x The investigating agents are inclined to believe that the late Mayor Cortez must have some
ulterior motive of revenge in going to the headquarters at that late hour of the night, armed with
high-powered guns, together with policemen and bodyguards, and under the influence of liquor,
especially so that it is of public knowledge that he had been harboring hatred towards ZAPATOS
who had exhibited antagonism to his illegal activities. [74]
Third, the account of Pfc. Gatillo and Platero that petitioner suddenly came out of the guardhouse
and shot Mayor Cortez a matter of seconds after Tan ran towards the place is incredible. [75] For one,
both the prosecution and the defense witnesses testified that petitioner was sleeping inside the
guardhouse. For another, Tan did not have the chance to wake petitioner prior to the shootout. The prosecution witnesses admitted this fact.
Even before Tan could enter the guardhouse, he already heard the burst of gunfire coming from
outside of the checkpoint, prompting him to immediately run towards the backside of the
guardhouse. Now, to say that petitioner suddenly sprang from his slumber and shot Mayor Cortez
without any reason is certainly at odds with common experience.
Contrary to the findings of the Sandiganbayan, the totality of the contradictions, inconsistencies and
flaws in the declarations of Platero and Pfc. Gatillo does not simply refer to minor or inconsequential
details which may be justifiably overlooked, nor are they honest lapses which do not affect or impair the
intrinsic value of their testimony. They relate instead to points material and essential to establish
petitioners culpability. The obliquity that pervades the prosecutions account of the incident creates the
impression that it was rehearsed and concocted.
In contrast, the consistent testimonies of the defense witnesses, as well as the existing physical
evidence, lend strong support to petitioners plea of self-defense.
It is basic that for self-defense to prosper, the following requisites must concur: (1) there must be
unlawful aggression by the victim; (2) that the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression were
reasonable; and (3) that there was lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending
himself.[76]
All the aforestated requisites are present in this case. That there was unlawful aggression is clearly
shown by the bullet-riddled guardhouse. It speaks eloquently than a hundred witnesses. [77] We are
convinced that Mayor Cortez, Platero and Pfc. Gatillo insisted to know petitioners whereabouts and that
upon learning that he was sleeping, executed the tyrannical attack. That they went to the DENR
checkpoint with ready police back-up for any eventuality was proven not only by Pacheco Tan, but also
by Lazarito Estorque and NBI Agent Decasa. Clearly, they proceeded to the checkpoint not on a mission
of peace.

Taking into consideration the number of the aggressors, the nature and quality of their weapons, and
the manner of the assault and the fact that petitioner was alone, we believe that petitioners use of an
armalite rifle to defend himself is reasonable.
Finally, that there was lack of sufficient provocation on petitioners part is evidenced by the
testimonies of the defense witnesses that he was sleeping inside the guardhouse prior to the initial
shooting. Significantly, no evidence whatsoever was presented showing that he assaulted or provoked
his aggressors into attacking him.
Petitioners act of surrendering himself and his weapon to the authorities immediately the day after
the incident dissipates any conjecture that he had a criminal mind when he fired his gun upon the
victims. His courage to face his accuser, in spite of the opportunity to flee, indicates his innocence.
Thus, while it is true that the "factual findings of the trial court are entitled to great weight and are
even conclusive and binding to this Court, this principle does not apply here. The findings of facts of the
Sandiganbayan are not sufficiently established by evidence, leaving serious doubts in our minds
regarding the culpability of petitioner.
In sum, we find that the prosecution failed to prove by evidence beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of
herein petitioner for murder and frustrated murder. What is apparent is that Mayor Cortez and his men
were the aggressors. Petitioner, who was just awakened by the gunfire, was justified in firing back at
them. His act is in accordance with mans natural instinct to save his life from impending danger. We
cannot expect him to simply retreat or wait for the bullet to hit and kill him.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 27, 2001 of the Sandiganbayan is REVERSED and
petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crimes of murder and frustrated murder.
The Director of Prisons is hereby directed to cause the release of petitioner unless the latter is being
lawfully held for another crime and to inform this Court accordingly within ten (10) days from notice.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. Nos. 120681-83. October 1, 1999]

JEJOMAR C. BINAY, petitioner, vs. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and the DEPARTMENT
OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,respondents.

[G.R. No. 128136. October 1, 1999]

MARIO C. MAGSAYSAY, FRANCISCO B. CASTILLO, CRISTINA D. MABIOG, REGINO E. MALAPIT,


ERLINDA I. MASANGCAY and VICENTE DE LA ROSA, petitioners, vs. HON.
SANDIGANBAYAN, HON. OMBUDSMAN and its PROSECUTOR WENDELL BARERRASSULIT and STATE PROSECUTORS ERIC HENRY JOSEPH F. MALLONGA and GIDEON C.
MENDOZA, respondents.

DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:
Pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 1486 created an
Anti-Graft Court known as the Sandiganbayan. Since then the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has
under gone various changes,[1] the most recent of which were effected through Republic Act Nos.
7975[2] and 8249.[3] Whether the Sandiganbayan, under these laws, exercises exclusive original
jurisdiction over criminal cases involving municipal mayors accused of violations of Republic Act No.
3019[4] and Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code[5] is the central issue in these consolidated petitions.
In G.R. Nos. 120681-83, petitioner Jejomar Binay seeks to annul, among others, the Resolution of
the Sandiganbayan denying his motion to refer Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007 to the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati and declaring that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over said
cases despite the enactment of R.A. No. 7975.
In G.R. No. 128136, petitioner Mario C. Magsaysay, et al. assail the October 22, 1996 Resolution of
the Sandiganbayan, reversing its Order of June 21, 1996 which suspended the proceedings in Criminal
Case No. 23278 in deference to whatever ruling this Court will lay down in the Binay cases.
The facts, as gathered from t he records, are as follows:

G.R. Nos. 120681-83


On September 7, 1994, the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan three separate
informations against petitioner Jejomar Binay, one for violation of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code,
[6]
and two for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. [7] The informations, which were subsequently
amended on September 15, 1994, all alleged that the acts constituting these crimes were committed in
1987 during petitioners incumbency as Mayor of Makati, then a municipality of Metro Manila.
Thereafter, petitioner moved to quash the informations. He contended that the six-year delay from
the time the charges were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on July 27, 1988 to the time the
informations were filed in the Sandiganbayan on September 7, 1994 constituted a violation of his right to
due process. Arraignment of the accused was held in abeyance pending the resolution of this motion.
On March 29, 1995, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners motion to
quash. Petitioners motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the prosecution, was likewise
denied by the Sandiganbayan. The resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, however, was
issued before the petitioner could file a reply to the prosecutions opposition to the motion for
reconsideration.
In the meantime, on March 31, 1995, the prosecution filed a Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente
Lite. The Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated April 25, 1995, granted the motion and ordered the
suspension of petitioner for ninety days from receipt of the resolution. The court ruled that the requisites
for suspension pendente lite were present as petitioner was charged with one of the offenses under
Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 [8] and the informations containing these charges had previously been held
valid in the resolution denying the motion to quash and the resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration.
Petitioner thus filed before this Court a petition for certiorari,[9] to set aside the resolution denying his
motion for reconsideration, claiming that he was denied due process when the Sandiganbayan ordered
his suspension pendente lite before he could file a reply to the prosecutions opposition to his motion for
reconsideration of the resolution denying the motion to quash. In a Resolution dated April 28, 1995, the
Court directed the Sandiganbayan to, among other things, permit petitioner to file said reply.
After allowing and considering petitioners reply, the Sandiganbayan, on June 6, 1995, issued a
Resolution reiterating the denial of his motion for reconsideration of the denial of the motion to quash. On

the same day, the Sandiganbayan issued another resolution reiterating the order suspending
petitionerpendente lite.
Meanwhile, R.A. No. 7975, redefining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, took effect on May 16,
1995.[10]
On June 13, 1995, petitioner filed before the Sandiganbayan a motion to refer his cases to the
proper court for further proceedings, alleging that when the two Resolutions, both dated June 6, 1995,
were issued by the Anti-Graft Court, it had already lost jurisdiction over the subject cases. The
Sandiganbayan, in a Resolution dated July 4, 1995, denied petitioners motion, holding thus:
There is no question that Municipal Mayors are classified as Grade 27 under the compensation &
Position Classification Act of 1989. Since, at the time of the commission of the offenses charged in he
above-entitled cases, the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal Mayor, although in an acting
or interim capacity, the Sandiganbayan, has, under Section 4 (e) 5, original jurisdiction over the cases
therein filed against him. The allegation that Mayor Binay ought to have been classified with a salary
grade lower than Grade 27, because at the time of the commission of the offenses charged he was paid
a salary which merits a grade lower than Grade 27 does not hold water. In 1986 when the herein
offenses were committed by the accused, the Compensation & Position Classification Act of 1989 was not
as yet in existence. From the very definition of he very Act itself, it is evident that the Act was passed and
had been effective only in 1989. The Grade classification of a public officer, whether at the time of the
commission of the offense or thereafter, is determined by his classification under the Compensation &
Position Classification Act of 1989. Thus since the accused Mayor Jejomar C. Binay was a Municipal
Mayor at the time of the commission of the offenses and the Compensation & Position Classification Act
of 1989 classifies Municipal Mayors as Grade 27, it is a conclusion beyond cavil that the Sandiganbayan
has jurisdiction over the accused herein.
As of July 1, 1989, when Republic Act No. 6758 took effect, Municipal Mayor Jejomar C. Binay had begun
receiving a monthly salary of P15,180.00 which is equivalent to Grade 28 under the salary scale
provided for in Section 27 of the said Act. Under the Index of Occupational Services, the position titles
and salary grades of the Compensation & Position classification system prepared by the Department of
Budget and Management pursuant to Section 6 of Republic [A]ct No. 6758, the position of Municipal
Mayor had been classified as Grade 27.[11]
On July 7, 1995, petitioner filed the present petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus
questioning the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over Criminal Case Nos. 21001, 21005 and 21007. He
prayed, among others, that the Court annul and set aside: (1) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated
June 6, 1995 reiterating the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the motion to quash; (2) the
Resolution of the same court also dated June 6, 1995 reiterating the order suspending
petitioner pendente lite; and (3) the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated July 4, 1995 denying the
motion to refer case to the RTC. Petitioner also asked that the Court issue a temporary restraining order
preventing the suspension and arraignment of petitioner. The Court on July 7, 1995, resolved, among
others, to issue the temporary restraining order prayed for.
On July 14, 1995, petitioner filed an Addendum to Petition (To allow the introduction of alternative
reliefs), praying that, should this Court hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the cases, the
criminal cases filed against him be dismissed just the same on the ground that the long delay of the
preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman prior to the filing of the informations, deprived him of his
right to due process; and that, moreover, there was no probable cause to warrant the filing of the
informations.

G.R. No. 128136

Petitioner Mario Magsaysay is the Mayor of the Municipality of San Pascual, Batangas. Save for
petitioner Vicente dela Rosa, all of Mayor Magsaysays co-petitioners are officials of the same
municipality.
In a complaint dated April 16, 1994, Victor Cusi, then Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas, charged
petitioners along with Elpidia Amada, Jovey C. Babago, and Brigido H. Buhain, also officials of San
Pascual Batangas, with violation of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. The complaint charged the respondent
municipal officials of overpaying Vicente de la Rosa of TDR Construction for the landscaping project of
the San Pascual Central School. This was docketed in the Office of the Ombudsman as OMB-1-94-1232.
In a Resolution dated June 14, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Lourdes A. Alarilla recommended the
filing of an information for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, against
petitioners with the Sandiganbayan. Director Elvis John S. Asuncion concurred in the resolution, and
Manuel C. Domingo, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, recommended approval of the same. The resolution
was approved by then Acting Ombudsman Francisco A. Villa with the following marginal note:
Authority is given to the deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to cause the preparation of the information and to
approve the same for filing with the proper court. [12]
On August 11, 1995, an Information for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) was filed against petitioners
and Jovey C. Babago, not with the Sandiganbayan per the June 14, 1995 Resolution, but with the RTC of
Batangas City. The information was signed by a Lourdes A. Alarilla, the same Graft Investigation Officer
who recommended the filing of the information with the Sandiganbayan.
In the meantime, a group denominated as the Concerned Citizens of San Pascual, Batangas filed a
complaint before the Ombudsman against petitioners, and Elpidia Amada and Brigido Buhain, with
violations of R.A. No. 3019. The complaint also alleged, among others, the overpricing of the landscaping
project of San Pascual Central School. The case was docketed as OMB-0-94-0149.
In a Resolution dated July 27, 1995, Graft Investigation Officer Ernesto M. Nocos recommended the
filing of an information charging petitioners with violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of R.A. No. 3019, as
amended with proper court. The resolution, which was recommended for approval by Nicanor J. Cruz,
OIC-Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and approved by Ombudsman Aniano A. Desierto, adopted the
findings and conclusions in the resolution in OMB-1-94-1232 that the landscaping project was overpriced.
On February 9, 1996, another Information for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended,
was filed against petitioners for the overpricing of the landscaping project, this time before the
Sandiganbayan. The information was subsequently amended on May 17, 1996. Except for the date the
alleged crime was committed, the information charged essentially the same inculpatory facts as the
information filed in the RTC. The case was docketed in the Sandiganbayan as Crim. Case No. 22378.
On June 1, 1996, the accused filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the information in
Crim. Case No. 22378 on the following grounds: that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the
case; that the accused were charged with the same offense in two informations; and that the proceedings
in the Sandiganbayan would expose petitioners to double jeopardy. The Sandiganbayan denied the
accuseds motion to quash in a Resolution dated June 21, 1996. The court, however, suspended
proceedings in the case until the Supreme Court resolved the question of the Sandiganbayans
jurisdiction involved in the Binay petition.
Meanwhile, on June 7, 1996, Prosecutor Eric Mallonga filed a motion before the RTC to refer the
R.A. No. 3019 case pending therein to the Sandiganbayan, arguing that under R.A. No. 7975 the
Sandiganbayan, not the RTC, had jurisdiction over the case. On July 3, 1996, the RTC issued an order
holding in abeyance the resolution of the motion to refer the case since the issue of jurisdiction was
pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Back at the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution, on July 24, 1996, filed a motion for reconsideration of
the Sandiganbayans Order dated June 21, 1996. On August 2, 1996, filed their own motion for the
reconsideration of the same order. On October 22, 1996, the Sandiganbayan granted the motion for

reconsideration filed by the prosecution and set the case for arraignment. Petitioners moved for a
reconsideration of the October 22, 1996 Resolution ordering their arraignment, which motion was denied
on February 17, 1997.
On February 27, 1997, the accused filed the present petition.
On October 1, 1997, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent
respondents from further proceeding with Crim. Case No. 23278 of the Sandiganbayan.
The petition raises the following issues:
I
Had the Sandiganbayan been ousted of its jurisdiction over the case of municipal mayor after the
passage of Republic Act No. 7975, coupled with the filing earlier of an information for the same offense
before the Regional Trial Court having territorial jurisdiction and venue of the commission of the offense?
II
Are the respondents Ombudsman and the prosecutors estopped by laches or waiver from filing and
prosecuting the case before respondent Sandiganbayan after the filing earlier of the information in the
proper court, thereafter repudiating it, seeking another court of the same category and finally to
respondent court?
III
Whether or not the filing of two (2) informations for the same offense violated the rule on duplicity of
information?
IV
Whether or not the trial to be conducted by respondent court, if the case shall not be dismissed, will
expose the petitioners who are accused therein to double jeopardy?
V
Under the circumstances, are the respondent Ombudsman and the prosecutors guilty of forum shopping?
[13]

On October 6, 1997, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 128136 (the Magsaysay petition)
with G.R. Nos. 120681-83 (the Binay petition).
In resolving these consolidated petitions, the Court shall first address the common question of the
Sandiganbayans jurisdiction.
I
The Court rules that it is the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction over the subject cases.
The informations against Mayor Binay were filed in the Sandiganbayan on July 7, 1994, pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 1606,[14] as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861, [15] the pertinent provisions
of which state:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
(a)

Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

(1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
(2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office,
including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed
with other crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in
this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
xxx.
On May 16, 1995, R.A. No. 7975 took effect. At this time, Mayor Binay had not yet been arraigned in
the Sandiganbayan. On the other hand, R.A. No. 7975 was already in effect when the information against
Mayor Magsaysay et al., was filed on August 11, 1995 in the RTC of Batangas City.
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975 amended Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 to read as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. -- The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
a.
Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code,
where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the
offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic
Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors,
engineers, and other city department heads;
(c)

Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;

(d)

Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

(e)

PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;

(f)
City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the Office of
the Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations,
state universities or educational institutions or foundations;
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3)

Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the
Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b.
Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection
(a) of this section in relation to their office.
c.
Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and
14-A.
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27
or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of
superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as
the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
xxx.
While the cases against petitioners were pending in this Court, congress enacted R.A. No. 8249,
again redefining the jurisdiction of the Anti-Graft Court. This law took effect, per Section 10 thereof, on
February 23, 1997, fifteen days after its complete publication on February 8, 1997 in
the Journal andMalaya, two newspapers of general circulation.
As further amended by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606 now reads:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal
Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the
government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at he time of the commission of the
offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the position of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic
Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, and provincial
treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other provincial department heads;
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors,
engineers, and other city department heads;
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
(e) Officers of the Philippine National Police while occupying the position of provincial director and those
holding the rank of senior superintendent or higher;

(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the office of the
Ombudsman and special prosecutor;
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations, state
universities or educational institutions or foundations.
(2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade 27 and up under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989;
(3)

Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;

(4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of he
Constitution; and
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the Compensation
and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public
officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to heir office.
d. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14A, issued in 1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher,
as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive
original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court,
municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.
Petitioners contend that they do not come under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan because:
(1)
At the alleged time of the commission of the crimes charged, petitioner municipal mayors
were not classified as Grade 27.
(2)
Municipal mayors are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606,
as amended by R.A. No. 7975.
(3)
Congressional records reveal that the law did not intend municipal mayors to come under
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.

A
In support of his contention that his position was not that of Grade 27, Mayor Binay argues:
xxx. The new laws consistent and repeated reference to salary grade show[s] an intention to
base the separation of jurisdiction between the Sandiganbayan and the regular courts on pay
scale. Grades are determined by compensation. The essence of grades is pay scales. Therefor,
pay scales determine grades.[16]

Mayor Binay, thus, presented a Certification [17] from the City Personnel Officer of Makati stating that
petitioner as mayor received a monthly salary of only P10,793.00 from March 1987 to December 31,
1988. This amount was supposedly equivalent to Grade 22 under R.A. No. 6758.
Mayor Magsaysay, for his part, submitted a similar Certification [18] from the Municipal Treasurer of
San Pascual, Batangas, stating:
x x x that the basic monthly salary received by Mario C. Magsaysay, Municipal Mayor of San Pascual,
Batangas with Salary Grade 27 is ELEVEN THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PESOS
(P11,828.00) per month as of November 3, 1993 equivalent only to Grade 25, Step 5 of RA 6758, the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
Section 444(1) (Grad[e] 27) of RA 6758 is not as yet implemented due to budgetary constraints. This
certification is issued to Mayor Mario C. Magsaysay this 30th day of May 1996 at San Pascual, Batangas
for whatever legal purpose and/or purposes it may serve.
The Court does not subscribe to the manner by which petitioners classify Grades.
The Constitution[19] states that in providing for the standardization of compensation of government
officials and employees, Congress shall take into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to,
and the qualifications required for their positions, thus:
The Congress shall provide for the standardization of compensation of government officials, including
those in government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters, taking into account the
nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.
Corollary thereto, Republic Act No. 6758 [20] provides in Section 2 thereof that differences in pay are to
be based upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of
the positions. In short, the nature of an officials position should be the determining factor in the fixing of
his or her salary. This is not only mandated by law but dictated by logic as well.
Consistent with these policies, the law employs the scheme known as the grade defined in
Presidential Decree No. 985[21] as including
xxx all classes of positions which, although different with respect to kind or subject matter of work, are
sufficiently equivalent as to level of difficulty and responsibilities and level of qualification requirements of
the work to warrant the inclusion of such classes of positions within one range of basic compensation. [22]
The grade, therefore, depends upon the nature of ones position -- the level of difficulty,
responsibilities, and qualification requirements thereof -- relative to that of another position. It is the
officials Grade that determines his or her salary, not the other way around.
It is possible that a local government officials salary may be less than that prescribed for his Grade
since his salary depends also on the class and financial capability of his or her respective local
government unit.[23] Nevertheless, it is the law which fixes the officials grade.
Thus, Section 8 of R.A. 6758 fixes the salary grades of the President, Vice-President, Senate
President, Speaker, Chief Justice, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional
Commissions. Section 8 also authorizes the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to
determine the officials who are of equivalent rank to the foregoing officials, where applicable and to
assign such officials the same Salary Grades subject to a set of guidelines found in said section.
For positions below those mentioned under Section 8, Section 9 instructs the DBM to prepare the
Index of Occupational Services guided by the Benchmark Position prescribed in Section 9 and the
factors enumerated therein.

To determine whether an official is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan,
therefore, reference should be made to R.A. No. 6758 and the Index of Occupational Services, Position
Titles and Salary Grades. Salary level is not determinative. An officials grade is not a matter of proof,
but a matter of law of which the Court must take judicial notice.[24]
As both the 1989 and 1997 versions of the Index of Occupational Services, Position Titles and Salary
Grades list the municipal Mayor under Salary Grade 27, petitioner mayors come within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner mayors are local officials classified as Grade 27
and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, under the catchall provision,
Section 4a(5) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. More accurately, petitioner mayors are
[o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise
classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989, under
Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. [25]

B
Petitioners, however, argue that they are not included in the enumeration in Section 4a(1). They
invoke the rule in statutory construction expressio unius est expressio alterius. As what is not included in
those enumerated is deemed excluded, municipal officials are excluded from the Sandiganbayans
exclusive original jurisdiction.
Resort to statutory construction, however, is not appropriate where the law is clear and
unambiguous.[26] The law is clear in this case. As stated earlier, Section 4a(1) of P.D. No. 1606, as
amended by R.A. No. 7975, speaks of [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989.
The Court fails to see how a different interpretation could arise even if the plain meaning rule were
disregarded and the law subjected to interpretation.
The premise of petitioners argument is that the enumeration in Section 4a(1) is exclusive. It is
not. The phrase specifically including after [o]fficials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and
Position Classification Act of 1989 necessarily conveys the very idea of non-exclusivity of the
enumeration. The principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius does not apply where other
circumstances indicate that the enumeration was not intended to be exclusive, [27] or where the
enumeration is by way of example only.[28] In Conrado B. Rodrigo, et al. vs. The Honorable
Sandiganbayan (First Division), supra, the Court held that the catchall in Section 4a(5) was necessary for
it would be impractical, if not impossible, for Congress to list down each position created or will be created
pertaining to grades 27 and above. The same rationale applies to the enumeration in Section
4a(1). Clearly, the law did not intend said enumeration to be an exhaustive list.
Should there be any doubts as to whether petitioner mayors are under the category of Grade 27,
Section 444(d) of the Local Government Code settles the matter:
The municipal mayor shall receive a minimum monthly compensation corresponding to Salary Grade
twenty-seven (27) as prescribed under R.A. No. 6758 and the implementing guidelines issued pursuant
thereto.
In the Courts Resolution in Rodrigo dated July 2, 1999 denying the motion for reconsideration, we
treated the above provision as confirmatory of the Salary Grade assigned by the DBM to Municipal
Mayors.

C
Petitioner Binay cites previous bills [29] in Congress dealing with the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. These bills supposedly sought to exclude municipal officials from the Sandiganbayans
exclusive original jurisdiction to relieve these officials ,especially those from the provinces, of the financial
burden brought about by trials in Manila.
The resort to congressional records to determine the proper application of the law in this case is
unwarranted in this case for the same reason that the resort to the rule of inclusio unius est expressio
alterius is inappropriate.
Verily, the interpretation of the law desired by the petitioner may be more humane but it is also an
elementary rule in statutory construction that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and
unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from language employed and the statute must be taken
to mean exactly what it says. (Baranda v. Gustilo, 165 SCRA 758-759 [1988]). The courts may not
speculate as to the probable intent of the legislature apart from the words (Aparri v. CA, 127 SCRA 233
[1984]). When the law is clear, it is not susceptible to interpretation. It must be applied regardless of who
may be affected, even if the law may be harsh or onerous. (Nepomuceno, et al. v. FC, 110 Phil. 42). And
even granting that exceptions may be conceded, the same as a general rule, should be strictly but
reasonably construed; they extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be
resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Thus, where a general rule is
established by statute, the court will not curtail the former nor add to the latter by implication (Samson v.
CA., 145 SCRA 654 [1986]).[30]
Thus, in Rodrigo, petitioners therein argued in their motion for reconsideration:
x x x that the inclusion of Municipal Mayors within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan would be
inconvenient since the witness in their case would come from Baguio City and San Nicolas,
Pangasinan. This, according to petitioners, would defeat one of the purposes of R.A. No. 7975, that is, the
convenience of the accused.
The Court, in denying the motion for reconsideration, held, among others, that:
The legislature has nevertheless chosen the mode and standard by which to implement its intent, and
courts have no choice but to apply it. Congress has willed that positions with Grade 27 and above shall
come within the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and this Court is duty-bound to obey the congressional
will.
Petitioner Binay also quotes the Sponsorship Speech of Senator Roco, stating:
Since February 1979, when the Sandiganbayan was established up to the present, the Court has been
confronted with the problem of those accused who are of limited means who stand trial for petty crimes,
the so-called small fry -- the barangay officials, the municipal officials and employees, postal clerks
and letter carriers and the like -- who are involved with nickel-and-dime cases and money-related cases
such as malversation, estafa and theft. xxx
xxx

xxx

xxx

Senate Bill No. 1353 modifies the present jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan such that only those
occupying high positions in Government and the military fall under the jurisdiction of the court. [31]
It is not clear, however, whether Senator Roco meant that all municipal officials are excluded from
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. In any case, courts are not bound by a legislators opinion in

congressional debates regarding the interpretation of a particular legislation. It is deemed a mere


personal opinion of the legislator.[32] Such opinions do not necessarily reflect the view of the entire
Congress.[33]

D
From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the cases against petitioner Binay cannot be referred to
the regular courts under Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975, which provides:
Sec. 7. Upon effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan
shall be referred to the proper courts.
In construing the correct import of Section 7, it may be helpful to refer to the guidelines in
determining jurisdiction laid down in Bengzon vs. Inciong:[34]
The rule is that where a court has already obtained and is exercising jurisdiction over a controversy, its
jurisdiction to proceed to the final determination of the cause is not affected by new legislation placing
jurisdiction over such proceedings in another tribunal. The exception to the rule is where the statute
expressly provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to actions pending before
its enactment. Where a statute changing the jurisdiction of a court has no retroactive effect, it cannot be
applied to a case that was pending prior to the enactment of the statute.
R.A. No. 7975, by virtue of Section 7, belongs to the exception rather than the rule. The provision is
transitory in nature and expresses the legislatures intention to apply its provisions on jurisdiction to
criminal cases in which trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan. To this extent, R.A. 7975 is
retroactive.
Such a transitory provision is not peculiar to R.A. No. 7975; similar provisions are found in other laws
reallocating the jurisdiction of the courts.[35] There is no reason why Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975 should be
any different.
The term proper courts, as used in Section 7, means courts of competent jurisdiction, and such
jurisdiction is defined in Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by R.A. No. 7975. The former should
not be read in isolation but construed in conjunction with the latter.
The term proper courts as used in Section 7, therefore, is not restricted to regular courts, but
includes as well the Sandiganbayan, a special court. If the intent of Congress were to refer all cases the
trials of which have not begun to the regular courts, it should have employed the term proper regular
courts or regular courts instead of proper courts. Accordingly, the law in the third paragraph of Section
4 P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, uses the term regular courts, not proper
courts:
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments,
resolutions or orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than salary
grade 27, or not otherwise covered by the preceding enumeration. [Underscoring supplied.]
Construed thus, the effects of Section 7 may be summarized as follows:
1.
If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has already begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 7975,
R.A. No. 7975 does not apply.
2.
If trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 7975, then
R.A. No. 7975 applies.

(a) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case before it, then the case shall be referred to the
Sandiganbayan.
(b) If by virtue of Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7975, the
Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case before it, the case shall be referred to the regular courts.
The trial of the cases involving Mayor Binay had not yet begun as of the date of the approval of R.A.
7975; consequently, the Anti-Graft Court retains jurisdiction over the said cases.
In any case, whatever seeming ambiguity or doubt regarding the application of Section 7 of R.A. No.
7975 should be laid to rest by Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249, which states:
Sec. 7. Transitory Provision. - This Act shall apply to all cases pending in any court over which trial has
not begun as of the approval hereof.
The latter provision more accurately expresses the legislatures intent and in any event should be applied
in this case, R.A. No. 8249 having superseded R.A. No. 7975.
In Panfilo M. Lacson vs. The Executive Secretary, et al., [36] The Court explained the purpose of the
foregoing provision.
x x x it can be reasonably anticipated that an alteration of [Sandiganbayans] jurisdiction would
necessarily affect pending cases, which is why it has to provide for a remedy in the form of a transitory
provision. x x x. The transitory provision does not only cover cases which are in the Sandiganbayan but
also in any court. x x x. Moreover, those cases where trial had already begun are not affected by the
transitory provision under Section 7 of the new law (RA 8249). [Emphasis in the original.]
The possible disruptive effect of the amendments to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction on pending
cases was, therefore, not lost on the legislature. Congress has, furthermore, deemed the
commencement of the trial as the crucial point in determining whether a court retains a case pending
before it or lose the same on the ground of lack of jurisdiction per the provisions of R.A. 8249. The law
obviously does not want to waste the time and effort already devoted to the presentation of evidence if
trial had already begun. On the other hand, not much disruption would be caused if the amendment were
made to apply to cases the trials of which have not yet to start.
The ramifications of Section 7 of R.A. No. 8249 may be stated as follows:
1.
If trial of the cases pending before whatever court has already begun as of the approval of R.A. No.
8249, said law does not apply.
2.
If trial of cases pending before whatever court has not begun as of the approval of R.A. No. 8249,
then said law applies.
(a)

If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then it retains jurisdiction.

(b) If the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over a case pending before it, the case shall be referred to
the regular courts.
(c) If the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over a case pending before a regular court, the latter loses
jurisdiction and the same shall be referred to the Sandiganbayan.
(d)

If a regular court has jurisdiction over a case pending before it, then said court retains jurisdiction.

Thus, under both R.A. Nos. 7975 and 8429, the Sandiganbayan retains jurisdiction over said cases.
II
Petitioner Binay avers in his Addendum to Petition that his right to speedy disposition has been
violated by the inordinate delay in the resolution of the subject cases by the Ombudsman.
Article III of the Constitution provides that:
Sec. 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasijudicial, or administrative bodies.
The constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases is not limited to the accused in criminal
proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative cases, and in all
proceedings, including judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. [37] Hence, under the Constitution, any party to a
case may demand expeditious action on all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. [38]
However, the right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, [39] is deemed
violated only when the proceedings is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when
unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause or justifiable
motive a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. [40] Equally
applicable is the balancing test used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his right to a
speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution
and the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of the delay, the reasons for such delay, the
assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay. [41] The
concept of speedy disposition is a relative term and must necessarily be a flexible concept. [42]
A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved, therefore, would not be sufficient. [43] In the
application of the constitutional guarantee of the right to speedy disposition of cases, particular regard
must also be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case. [44]
In Tatad vs.Sandiganbayan,[45] the Court held that the length of delay and the simplicity of the issues
did not justify the delay in the disposition of the cases therein. The unexplained inaction[46] of the
prosecutors called for the dismissal of the cases against petitioner Tatad.
In Alvizo vs. Sandiganbayan,[47] the Court also ruled that there was no violation of the right to speedy
disposition. The Court took into account the reasons for the delay, i.e., the frequent amendments of
procedural laws by presidential decrees, the structural reorganizations in existing prosecutorial agencies
and the creation of new ones by executive fiat, resulting in changes of personnel, preliminary jurisdiction,
and the functions and powers of prosecuting agencies. The Court likewise considered the failure of the
accused to assert such right, and the lack of prejudice caused by the delay to the accused.
In Santiago vs. Garchitorena,[48] the complexity of the issues and the failure of the accused to invoke
her right to speedy disposition at the appropriate time spelled defeat to her claim to the constitutional
guarantee.
In Cadalin vs. POEAs Administrator,[49] the Court, considering also the complexity of the cases (not
run-of-the-mill variety) and the conduct of the parties lawyers, held that the right to speedy disposition
was not violated therein.
In petitioner Binays case, the Court finds that there was no undue delay in the disposition of the
subject cases. The proceedings conducted before the Office of the Tanodbayan, and later with the Office
of the Ombudsman, adequately explains the length of the delay:
1. That on July 27, 1988 Bobby Brillante filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan an affidavitcomplaint charging, Jejomar Binay, Sergio Santos, Roberto Chang, Delfin Almeda, Nelson
Irasga, Nicasio Santiago, Feliciano Basam, Maria Chan, Romeo Barrios, Azucena Diaz,
Virgilio Clarete, Godofredo Marcelo, Armando San Miguel, Salvador Pangilinan and John
Does of the following offenses: (a) Massive Malversation of Public Funds; (b) Multiple

Falsification of Public Documents; (c) Usurpation of Official Functions; (d) Violation of


Election Law; and (e) Violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019.
1.1. Brillantes complaint was based on the initial findings and observations of the COA
on the examination of the cash and accounts covering transactions from April 1, 1987
to January 4, 1988 and Post-Audit of Selected Accounts for the last quarter of 1987 of
the Municipality of Makati contained in its Report dated January 11, 1988. The COA
furnished the Tanodbayan a copy of this report on August 1, 1988 upon request of the
latter.
1.2. In the letter of the COA transmitting a copy of the report, the Tanodbayan was
informed that this COA audit report of January 11, 1988 is not yet released since the
Mayor of Makati was given thirty days within which to explain/clarify the findings in the
report and is subject to change or modification depending upon the
explanation/clarification to be submitted by the Mayor of Makati. Because of this
information from the COA the preliminary investigation was held in abeyance until the
submission of the final report.
1.3. On March 1, 1989, the first part of the Final Report on Audit of Makati was received
by the Office of the Ombudsman and was transmitted for purposes of the ensuring
preliminary investigation to the Tanodbayan which received the same on March 22,
1989.
1.4. This first part of the Final Report contained the fifteen (15) adverse findings, above
elsewhere stated as the basis of Bobby Brillantes complaint.
1.5. Eleven (11) COA auditors participated in the documentation and analysis of its
findings and preparation of the final report.
1.6. The first part of the final report was followed by a Supplemental Report on Findings
No. 1 and 3. This Supplemental Report is dated July 3, 1989.
2. After securing machine copies of the voluminous documents supporting the COA findings,
Pros. Margarito Gervacio, Chairman of the Panel of Prosecutors, issued the corresponding
subpoena directing the respondents to submit their respective counter-affidavits.
2.1. In compliance with the subpoena, Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted his counteraffidavit on May 18, 1990, Marissa Chan, Feliciano Bascon, Nicanor Santiago, Jr. on
June 19, 1990, Renato Manrique on June 4, 1990, Alfredo Ignacio on June 6, 1990,
Roberto Chang on August 27, 1990. Feliciano Bascon submitted his Supplemental
Affidavit on November 22, 1990.
2.2. Thereafter, clarificatory examinations were conducted on September 27, 1990,
October 26, 1990, November 8, 9, 14, 22, 1990.
3. On January 15, 1991 Mayor Jejomar Binay submitted a copy of this Petition for Certiorari in
G.R. No. 92380 which he and the municipality of Makati filed with the Supreme Court against
COA Chairman, Eufemio Domingo and the Commission on Audit, with a manifestation that
said petition is submitted to support Binays stand as regard COA Finding No. 9 aforestated.
4. On April 2, 1992 respondent Marissa Chan filed an affidavit containing allegations
incriminating Jejomar Binay;
5. Upon being ordered to comment on the said April 2, 1992 affidavit of Marissa Chan, Jejomar
Binay submitted his comment thereto on April 30, 1992.
6. On August 4, 1993, the Investigation Panel submitted to the Deputy Special Prosecutor its
Resolution disposing the preliminary investigation of the case.

6.1. On August 10, 1993 the said Resolution was approved by the Special Prosecutor,
who forwarded the same and the entire records to the Office of the Ombudsman for
review and/or final action.
6.2. On August 16, 1994, the Review Panel of the Ombudsman submitted to the latter its
review action for approval.
6.3. On August 19, 1994, the Ombudsman approved some of the recommendations of
the Review Panel and directed the preparation and filing of the informations. [50]
Furthermore, the prosecution is not bound by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA); it must
rely on its own independent judgment in the determination of probable cause. Accordingly, the
prosecution had to conduct it s own review of the COA findings. Judging from said findings, we find that
the cases were sufficiently complex, thus justifying the length of time for their resolution. As held by the
Sandiganbayan in its Resolution dated March 29, 1995 denying the Motion to Quash:
2. Ten charges are involved in these cases and the prosecution, unable to rely on the raw
findings of the Commission on Audit in 15 reports caused the investigation and examination
of thousands of vouchers, payrolls, and supporting documents considering that no less than
the Chairman of the Commission on Audit, assisted by a team supervisor and 10 team
members had to take part in the conduct of a final audit consisting of evaluation and analysis
of the initial findings in the 15 raw reports, the cases must have involved complicated legal
and factual issues which do warrant or justify a longer period of time for preliminary
investigation.
xxx
5. In the TATAD case, the preliminary investigation was resolved close to three (3) years from
the time all the counter-affidavits were submitted to the Tanodbayan, notwithstanding the fact
that very few documentary and testimonial evidence were involved. In the above-entitled
cases, the preliminary investigation of all ten (10) cases was terminated in merely two (2)
years and four (4) months from the date Mayor Binay filed his last pleading, on April 30,
1992.[51]
Petitioner claims that the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan ordering his suspension pendente lite is
unwarranted since the informations charging him were not valid. This contention, however, must fail in
view of our pronouncement that there was no delay in the resolution of the subject cases in violation of his
right to speedy disposition. Accordingly, the informations in question are valid an petitioners
suspensionpendente lite must be upheld.
Finally, whether or not there is probable cause to warrant the filing of the subject cases is a question
best left to the discretion of the Ombudsman. Absent any grave abuse of such discretion, the Court will
not interfere in the exercise thereof. [52] Petitioner in this case has failed to establish any such abuse on the
part of the Ombudsman.
III
Having ruled that the criminal case against petitioners in G.R. No. 128136 is within the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the Court will now dispose of the following issues raised by
them:
(1)
The Sandiganbayan was ousted of its jurisdiction by the filing of an information alleging
the same facts with the Regional Trial Court.
(2)
Respondents are estopped from filing an information before the Sandiganbayan
considering that they had already filed another information alleging the same facts before the Regional
Trial Court.
(3)

The filing of the information before the Sandiganbayan constitutes double jeopardy.

The Court tackles these arguments successively then deals with the questions of duplicity of
information and forum shopping.
Petitioners invoke the rule that the jurisdiction of a court once it attaches cannot be ousted by
subsequent happenings or events, although of such character which would have prevented jurisdiction
from attaching in the first instance. [53] They claim that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan
was a subsequent happening or event which cannot oust the RTC of its jurisdiction.
This rule has no application here for the simple reason that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the
case. Jurisdiction never attached to the RTC. When the information was filed before the RTC, R.A. No.
7975 was already in effect and, under said law, jurisdiction over the case pertained to the Sandiganbayan.
Neither can estoppel be successfully invoked. First, jurisdiction is determined by law, not by the
consent or agreement of the parties or by estoppel. [54] As a consequence of this principle, the Court held
inZamora vs. Court of Appeals[55] that:
It follows that as a rule the filing of a complaint with one court which has no jurisdiction over it does not
prevent the plaintiff from filing the same complaint later with the competent court. The plaintiff is not
estopped from doing so simply because it made a mistake before in the choice of the proper forum. In
such a situation, the only authority the first court can exercise is to dismiss the case for lack of
jurisdiction. This has to be so as a contrary conclusion would allow a party to divest the competent court
of its jurisdiction, whether erroneously or even deliberately, in derogation of the law.
It is true that the Court has ruled in certain cases [56] that estoppel prevents a party from questioning
the jurisdiction of the court that the party himself invoked. Estoppel, however, remains the exception
rather than the rule, the rule being that jurisdiction is vested by law.[57] Even in those instances where the
Court applied estoppel, the party estopped consistently invoked the jurisdiction of the court and actively
participated in the proceedings, impugning such jurisdiction only when faced with an adverse
decision. This is not the case here. After discovering that a similar information had earlier been filed in
the RTC, respondents promptly asked the trial court to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan, which motion
was followed by a motion to resolve the previous motion. There was no consistent invocation of the
RTCs jurisdiction. There were no further proceedings after the filing of the information save for the
motion to refer the case precisely on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, and the motion to resolve the
earlier motion. Finally, the trial court had not rendered any decision, much less one adverse to petitioners.
Second, petitioners cannot hold respondents in estoppel for the latter are not themselves party to the
criminal action. In a criminal action, the State is the plaintiff, for the commission of a crime is an offense
against the State. Thus, the complaint or information filed in court is required to be brought in the name
of the People of the Philippines.[58] Even then, the doctrine of estoppel does not apply as against the
people in criminal prosecutions.[59] Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, like attempted
murder,[60] is a public offense. Social and public interest demand the punishment of the offender; hence,
criminal actions for public offenses can not be waived or condoned, much less barred by the rules of
estoppel.[61]
The filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan did not put petitioners in double jeopardy even
though they had already pleaded not guilty to the information earlier filed in the RTC. The first jeopardy
never attached in the first place, the RTC not being a court of competent jurisdiction. There can be no
double jeopardy where the accused entered a plea in a court that had no jurisdiction. [62] The remedy of
petitioners, therefore, was not to move for the quashal of the information pending in
the Sandiganbayan on the ground of double jeopardy.[63] Their remedy was to move for the quashal of the
information pending in the RTC on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.[64]
The contention that the filing of the information in the Sandiganbayan violated the rule against
duplicitous informations is patently unmeritorious. That rule presupposes that there is one complaint or
information charging not one offense, but two or more offenses. Thus, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
states:

Sec. 13. Duplicity of offense. - A complaint or information must charge but one offense, except only in
those cases in which existing laws prescribed a single punishment for various offenses.
Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for quashing the duplicitous complaint or information under
Rule 117:
Sec. 3. Grounds. - The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the following
grounds:
xxx
(e) That more than one offense is charged except in those cases in which existing laws prescribe a
single punishment for various offenses;
xxx
Here, petitioners are faced not with one information charging more than one offense but with more
than one information charging one offense.
The Court does not find the prosecution guilty of forum-shopping. Broadly speaking, forum shopping
exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than
by appeal or certiorari) in another, or when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on
the same cause, on the gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. [65] We
discern no intent on the part of the State, in filing two informations in two different courts, to gamble that
one or the other court would make a favorable disposition.
Obviously, respondents got their signals crossed. One set of officials, after investigating a complaint
filed by the Vice-Mayor of San Pascual, Batangas charging petitioners of overpricing, filed the information
for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the RTC. Another set of officials investigated another
complaint from the Concerned Citizens Group accusing petitioners of, among others, overpricing the
same project subject of the previous complaint. Finding probable cause, the second set of officials
instituted the criminal action, charging the same offense and alleging essentially the same facts as the
first, this time in the Sandiganbayan. Later learning of the procedural faux pas, respondents without
undue delay asked the RTC to refer the case to the Sandiganbayan.
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby DISMISSED.

C. ARRAIGNMENT & PLEA


G.R. No. 114046 October 24, 1994
HONORATO GALVEZ and GODOFREDO DIEGO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (17TH DIVISION), First Asst. Provincial Prosecutor. DENNIS M. VILLAIGNACIO of Pasig, Rizal; THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and PNP P/SR. SUPT. RICARDO F.
DE LEON, Camp Commander and Head of the PNP Custodial Group, Camp Crame, Cubao, Quezon
City, respondents.
Emerito M. Salva & Associates; Juanito L. Andrade; and Lazaro Law Firm for petitioners.

REGALADO, J.:
Submitted for resolution in the present special civil action are: (1) the basic petition
for certiorari and mandamuswith a petition for habeas corpus, to review the resolution issued by
respondent Court of Appeals, dated
February 18, 1994, in CA-G.R. SP No. 33261; 1 (2) the Urgent Motion 2 and Supplemental Urgent
Motion 3 for Immediate Action on Petition for Habeas corpus; and (3) the Urgent Petition to Declare Judge
Jaime N. Salazar, Jr. and First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Dennis M. Villa-Ignacio for Contempt and
to Annul Proceedings (with Immediate Prayer for another Cease and Desist Order). 4
On November 12, 1993, petitioners Honorato Galvez, the incumbent Mayor of San Ildefonso, Bulacan,
and one Godofredo Diego were charged in three separate informations with homicide and two counts of
frustrated homicide fot has been the rule that under the first paragraph of Section 14, Rule 110, the
amendment of the information may also be made even if it may result in altering the nature of the charge
so long as it Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 14, and docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
3642-M-93 to 3644-M-93. 5 Both accused posted their respective cash bail bonds and were subsequently
released from detention.
On November 15, 1993, Bulacan Provincial Prosecutor Liberato L. Reyes filed a Motion to Defer
Arraignment and Subsequent Proceedings to enable him "to review the evidence on record and
determine once more the proper crimes chargeable against the accused," 6 which was granted by Judge
Villajuan in an order dated November 16, 1993. 7Thereafter, pursuant to Department Order No. 369 of the
Department of Justice, respondent Prosecutor Dennis M. Villa-Ignacio was designated Acting Provincial
Prosecutor of Bulacan and was instructed to conduct a re-investigation of the aforesaid criminal cases
filed against herein petitioners. 8
By virtue of a Manifestation with Ex-parte Motion dated November 23, 1993 9 filed by respondent
prosecutor, the proceedings were again ordered suspended by Judge Villajuan until after the
prosecution's request for change of venue shall have been resolved by the Supreme Court, and the
preliminary investigation being conducted by the former shall have been terminated. 10 It appears that on
December 2, 1993, private complainants, through their counsel, Atty. Silvestre R. Bello III, had filed with
the Supreme Court a Petition for Change of Venue of Criminal Cases Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644-M-93,
purportedly to safeguard the lives of the victims and their witnesses, and to prevent a miscarriage of
justice. 11
On December 15, 1993, before petitioners could be arraigned in Criminal Cases Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644M-93, respondent prosecutor filed an Ex
parte Motion to Withdraw Informations in said cases. 12 This motion was granted by Judge Villajuan also
on December 15, 1993 and the cases were considered withdrawn from the docket of the court. 13 On the
same day, Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio filed four new informations against herein petitioners for murder, two
counts of frustrated murder, and violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 for illegal possession of
firearms 14 which were subsequently raffled to the sala of Judge Victoria Pornillos of Branch 10, Regional
Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan and were docketed therein as Criminal Cases Nos. 4004-M-93 to 4007-M93. No bail having been recommended for the crime of murder, Judge Pornillos ordered the arrest of
herein petitioners. 15 On December 23, 1993, said presiding judge issued an order setting the arraignment
of the accused for December 27, 1993. 16
On December 27, 1993, the scheduled arraignment before Judge Pornillos were reset due to the absence
of respondent prosecutor. On even date, petitioners filed before Judge Villajuan a Motion for
Reconsideration of his order of December 15, 1993 which granted the motion to withdraw the original
informations. 17

Thereafter, a Motion to Quash the new informations for lack


of jurisdiction was filed by petitioners before Judge Pornillos on January 3, 1994. 18 At the court session
set for the arraignment of petitioners on January 24, 1994, Judge Pornillos issued an order denying the
motion to quash and, at the same time, directed that a plea of not guilty be entered for petitioners when
the latter refused to enter their plea. 19
In the meantime, and prior to the arraignment of herein petitioners before Judge Pornillos, an order was
issued on January 20, 1994 by Judge Villajuan granting the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners,
ordering the reinstatement of Criminal Cases Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644-M-93, and setting the arraignment
of the accused therein for February 8, 1994. 20 On said date, however, the arraignment was suspended
and, in the meanwhile, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with respondent
Court of Appeals, assailing the order dated January 24, 1994 issued by Judge Pornillos which denied
petitioners' motion to quash filed in Criminal Cases Nos. 4004-M-93 and 4007-M-93. As earlier stated,
respondent court dismissed the petition in its questioned resolution of February 18, 1994, hence this
petition.
I. On the Main Petition
The main issue in this case involves a determination of the set
of informations under which herein petitioners should be tried, that is, (a) the first set of informations for
homicide and frustrated homicide in Criminal
Cases Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644-M-93, or (b) the subsequent informations for murder, frustrated murder,
and illegal possession of firearms in Criminal Cases Nos. 4004-M-93 to 4007-M-93. Several corollary but
equally important issues have likewise been addressed to us for resolution, to wit:
1. Whether the ex parte motion to withdraw the original informations is null and void on
the ground that (a) there was no notice and hearing as required by Sections 4, 5 and 6,
Rule 15 of the Rules of Court; and (b) the appropriate remedy which should have been
adopted by the prosecution was to amend the informations by charging the proper
offenses pursuant to Section 14 of Rule 110;
2. Whether the order granting the withdrawal of the original informations was immediately
final and executory;
3. Whether Judge Pornillos was correct in denying the motion to quash and thereby
acquired jurisdiction over the new informations considering that (a) the designated public
prosecutor allegedly had no authority to file the second set of informations; and (b) the
filing thereof constituted forum shopping; and
4. Whether the arraignment proceeding held on January 24, 1994 in Criminal Cases Nos.
4004-M-93 to 4007-M-93 was valid.
We shall discuss these issues seriatim.
1. It is petitioners' submission that the prosecution's failure to serve them a copy of the motion to withdraw
the original informations and to set said motion for hearing constitutes a violation of their right to be
informed of the proceedings against them, as well as a violation of Sections 4, 5 and 6, Rule 15 of the
Rules of Court. Hence, so they contend, the ex parte motion should be considered as a worthless scrap
of paper and Judge Villajuan had no authority to act on it. Ergo, the order granting the same is null and
void.

Petitioners advance the theory that respondent prosecutor should have amended the original informations
instead of withdrawing the same and filing new ones. They postulate that the principle of nolle
prosequi does not apply in this case since the withdrawal or dismissal of an information is addressed
solely to the sound and judicious discretion of the court which has the option to grant or deny it and the
prosecution cannot impose its opinion on the court. It is further stressed that in case there is a need to
change the nature of the offense charged, that is, from homicide to murder, by adding the qualifying
circumstance of treachery, the only legal and proper remedy is through the filing of the corresponding
amended information; and that the withdrawal of an information is allowed only where the new information
involves a different offense which does not include or is not included in the offense originally charged.
Normally, an accused would not object to the dismissal of an information against him because it is to his
best interest not to oppose the same. Contrarily, if the accused should deem such conditional or
provisional dismissal to be unjust and prejudicial to him, he could object to such dismissal and insist that
the case be heard and decided on the merits. 21 However, considering that in the original cases before
Branch 14 of the trial court petitioners had not yet been placed in jeopardy, and the ex parte motion to
withdraw was filed and granted before they could be arraigned, there would be no imperative need for
notice and hearing thereof. In actuality, the real grievance of herein accused is not the dismissal of the
original three informations but the filing of four new informations, three of which charge graver offenses
and the fourth, an additional offense. Had these new informations not been filed, there would obviously
have been no cause for the instant petition. Accordingly, their complaint about the supposed procedural
lapses involved in the motion to dismiss filed and granted in Criminal Cases Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644-M93 does not impress us as a candid presentation of their real position.
Petitioners' contention that the dismissal of the original informations and the consequent filing of the new
ones substantially affected their right to bail is too strained and tenuous an argument. They would want to
ignore the fact that had the original informations been amended so as to charge the capital offense of
murder, they still stood to likewise be deprived of their right to bail once it was shown that the evidence of
guilt is strong. Petitioners could not be better off with amended informations than with the subsequent
ones. It really made no difference considering that where a capital offense is charged and the evidence of
guilt is strong, bail becomes a matter of discretion under either an amended or a new information.
Contrary to petitioners' submission, the absence of notice and hearing does not divest a trial court of
authority to pass on the merits of the motion. It has been held that
The order of the court granting the motion to dismiss despite absence of a notice of
hearing, or proof of service thereof, is merely an irregularity in the proceedings. It cannot
deprive a competent court of jurisdiction over the case. The court still retains its authority
to pass on the merits of the motion. The remedy of the aggrieved party in such cases is
either to have the order set aside or the irregularity otherwise cured by the court which
dismissed the complaint, or to appeal from the dismissal and notcertiorari. 22
Besides, when petitioners were given by Judge Villajuan the opportunity to file a motion for
reconsideration, even assuming the alleged procedural infirmity in his issuance of the order of dismissal,
the same was thereby deemed cured. This is especially so in this case since, on his order, the original
informations were reinstated in Branch 14 of the trial court.
The rule is now well settled that once a complaint or information is filed in court any disposition of the
case, whether as to its dismissal or the conviction or the acquittal of the accused, rests in the sound
discretion of the court. Although the prosecutor retains the direction and control of the prosecution of
criminal cases even when the case is already in court, he cannot impose
his opinion upon the tribunal. For while it is true that the prosecutor has the quasi-judicial discretion to

determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court, once the case had already been brought
therein any disposition the prosecutor may deem proper thereafter should be addressed to the court for
its consideration and approval. 23 The only qualification is that the action of the court must not impair the
substantial rights of the accused or the right of the People to due process of law.
We reiterate once again the doctrine we enunciated and explained in Crespo vs. Mogul, etc., et al.: 24
Whether the accused had been arraigned or not and whether it was due to a
reinvestigation by the fiscal or a review by the Secretary of Justice whereby a motion to
dismiss was submitted to the Court, the Court in the exercise of its discretion may grant
the motion or deny it and require that the trial on the merits proceed for the proper
determination of the case.
xxx xxx xxx
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in
Court any disposition of the case as to its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the
accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the
direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already
in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The court is the best and sole
judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the case is within its
exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal
should be addressed to the Court who has the option to grant or deny the same. It does
not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the motion
was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who
reviewed the records of the investigation.
In such an instance, before a re-investigation of the case may be conducted by the public prosecutor, the
permission or consent of the court must be secured. And, if after such re-investigation the prosecution
finds a cogent basis to withdraw the information or otherwise cause the dismissal of the case, such
proposed course of action may be taken but shall likewise be addressed to the sound discretion of the
court. 25
It is not denied that in the present case, the court granted the motion of respondent prosecutor for the
suspension of the proceedings until the
re-investigation thereof shall have been terminated. Thereafter, the prosecutor arrived at a finding that
petitioners should have been charged with murder, frustrated murder, and illegal possession of firearms.
This prompted him to file an ex parte motion to withdraw the original informations for homicide and
frustrated homicide. Although the motion did not state the reasons for the withdrawal of the informations,
nevertheless, the court in the exercise of its discretion granted the same, as a consequence of which a
new set of informations was thereafter filed and raffled to another branch of the court. Petitioners now
question the propriety of the procedure adopted by the prosecution, insisting that an amendment, not a
new information, was required under the circumstances.
It must here be emphasized that respondent prosecutor sought, and was subsequently granted,
permission by the court to dismiss the original informations. It cannot therefore be validly claimed that the
prosecutor exceeded his authority in withdrawing those informations because the same bore the
imprimatur of the court. The issue is thus focused on whether or not under the given situation the court
acted correctly in dismissing the original informations rather than ordering the amendment thereof.

It has been observed that while the Rules of Court gives the accused the right to move for the quashal of
the information, it is silent with respect to the right of the prosecutor to ask for a dismissal or withdrawal
thereof. 26 A perusal of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure will show that there are only two provisions
concerning the dismissal of an information other than on motion of the accused, namely, Section 14 of
Rule 110 and Section 11 of Rule 119. But then, it may be contended that these rules speak of a dismissal
by the court when there is a mistake in charging the proper offense, but make no mention of a dismissal
made upon application of the prosecution. That is not necessarily so.
It is true that Section 11, Rule 119 is virtually a restatement of Section 14, Rule 110, providing as it does
that:
Sec. 11. When mistake has been made in charging the proper offense. When it
becomes manifest at any time before judgment, that a mistake has been made in
charging the proper offense, and the accused cannot be convicted of the offense
charged, or of any other offense necessarily included therein, the accused shall not be
discharged, if there appears to be good cause to detain him. In such case, the court shall
commit the accused to answer for the proper offense and dismiss the original case upon
the filing of the proper information. (Emphasis supplied.)
Rule 119 is the rule specifically governing the trial stage where evidence is necessarily being presented,
hence the trial court is now in a better position to conclude that manifestly the accused cannot be
convicted of the offense charged or of one that it necessarily includes. It would primarily be the function of
the court to motu proprio order the dismissal of the case and direct the filing of the appropriate
information. We do not discount the possibility of either the prosecution or the defense initiating such
dismissal and substitution at that stage, although, from a realistic point of view, that would be a rare
situation. This provision, therefore, is more directly and principally directed to the trial court to invest it with
the requisite authority to direct by itself the dismissal and refiling of the informations therein contemplated.
Rule 110, on the other hand, provides the procedural governance for the prosecution of offenses. Section
14 thereof, quoted infra, provides in its second paragraph the procedure and requisites for the substitution
of a defective information by the correct one. Although, just like Section 11 of Rule 119 the permissible
stage for effecting that substitution is "at any time before judgment," unlike the latter situation it is
sufficient that "it appears . . . that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense, . . . ." The
situation under said Section 14 contemplates a longer time span, inclusive of the period from the filing of
the information up to and before trial. Since no evidence has been presented at that stage, the error
would appear or be discoverable from a review of the records of the preliminary investigation. Of course,
that fact may be perceived by the trial judge himself but, again, realistically it will be the prosecutor who
can initially determine the same. That is why such error need not be manifest or evident, nor is it required
that such nuances as offenses includible in the offense charged be taken into account. It necessarily
follows, therefore, that the prosecutor can and should institute remedial measures for the dismissal of the
original information and the refiling of the correct one, otherwise he would be recreant to his duties.
It is interesting to note that in the American jurisdiction, such right is specifically recognized under Rule 48
(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that the entry of a nolle prosequi by the
Government is a permissible right, although requiring in all cases the approval of the court in the exercise
of its judicial discretion.27 As a matter of fact, the prosecuting attorney is given the broad power, sole
authority and discretion to enter a nolle prosequi provided he does not act arbitrarily 28 and subject to the
discretion of the court.
In several cases, we have also impliedly recognized the propriety of such a procedure particularly in those
instances where the prosecution is allowed to dismiss or withdraw an information on the ground of

insufficiency of evidence. We have even gone further by imposing upon the fiscal, as he was then called,
the duty to move for the dismissal of the information if he is convinced that the evidence is insufficient to
establish, at least prima facie, the guilt of the accused. 29
In this case now before us, what is involved is a dismissal effected at the instance of the prosecutor by
reason of a mistake in charging the proper offense, in order that new informations can be filed. The
problem that may be posited, and should now be resolved, is when the fiscal may be allowed to move to
dismiss an information and when he should merely move to amend it.
Section 14 of Rule 110, which is invoked by petitioners, reads as follows:
Sec. 14. Amendment. The information or complaint may be amended, in substance or
form, without leave of court, at any time before the accused pleads; and thereafter and
during the trial as to all matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the court, when
the same can be done without prejudice to the rights of the accused.
If it appears at any time before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the
proper offense, the court shall dismiss the original complaint or information upon the filing
of a new one charging the proper offense in accordance with Rule 119, Section 11,
provided the accused would not be placed thereby in double jeopardy, and may also
require the witnesses to give bail for their appearance at the trial.
The first paragraph provides the rule for amendment of the information or complaint, while the second
paragraph refers to the substitution of the information or complaint. Under the second paragraph, the
court can order the filing of another information to charge the proper offense, provided the accused would
not be placed thereby in double jeopardy and that could only be true if the offense proved does not
necessarily include or is not necessarily included in the offense charged in the original information.
It has been the rule that under the first paragraph of Section 14, Rule 110, the amendment of the
information may also be made even if it may result in altering the nature of the charge so long as it can be
done without prejudice to the rights of the accused. Hence, in the case of Dimalibot vs. Salcedo, 30 the
accused therein were originally charged with homicide and were released on bail. However, the then
provincial fiscal, after a review of the affidavits of the witnesses for the prosecution, discovered that the
killing complained of was perpetrated with the qualifying circumstances of treachery, taking advantage of
superior strength, and employing means to weaken the defense of the victim. Consequently, an amended
information for murder was filed against the accused who were ordered re-arrested without the amount of
bail being fixed, the new charge being a capital offense.
The Court ruled therein that the amendment was proper, pursuant to Section 13, Rule 106 of the 1940
Rules of Court (now Section 14, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure), thus:
Here these rules properly apply, since it is undisputed that the herein accused were not
yet arraigned before the competent court when the complaint for homicide was amended
so as to charge the crime of murder. Upon the authority of said rules, the amendment
could therefore be made even as to substance in order that the proper charge may be
made. The claim that such amendment can only refer to matters of specification affecting
the elements constituting the crime is not correct, for there is nothing in the rule to show
that the nature of the amendment should only be limited to matters of specification. The
change may also be made even if it may result in altering the nature of the charge so
long as it can be done without prejudice to the rights of the defendant.

Be that as it may, it is quite plausible under Section 14 of Rule 110 that, instead of an amendment, an
information for homicide may also be dismissed before the accused pleads, to give way to the filing of a
new information for murder. This may be deduced from the pronouncement of the Court in the aforecited
case of Dimalibot, to wit:
This clearly appears from the second part of Section 13 of Rule 106 which says that, if it
appears before judgment that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense,
the court may dismiss the original information and order the filing of a new one provided
the defendant may not be placed in double jeopardy. If a new information may be ordered
at any time before judgment no reason is seen why the court may not order the
amendment of the information if its purpose is to make it conformable to the true nature
of the crime committed. . . .
In the subsequent case of Teehankee, Jr. vs. Madayag, et al., 31 however, Section 14 of Rule 110 was
clarified to mean as follows:
It may accordingly be posited that both amendment and substitution of the information
may be made before or after the defendant pleads, but they differ in the following
respects:
1. Amendment may involve either formal or substantial changes, while substitution
necessarily involves a substantial change from the original charge;
2. Amendment before plea has been entered can be effected without leave of court, but
substitution of information must be with leave of court as the original information has to
be dismissed;
3. Where the amendment is only as to form, there is no need for another preliminary
investigation and the retaking of the plea of the accused; in substitution of information,
another preliminary investigation is entailed and the accused has to plead anew to the
new information; and
4. An amended information refers to the same offense charged in the original information
or to an offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the original
charge, hence substantial amendments to the information after the plea has been taken
cannot be made over the objection of the accused, for if the original information would be
withdrawn, the accused could invoke double jeopardy. On the other hand, substitution
requires or presupposes that the new information involves a different offense which does
not include or is not necessarily included in the original charge, hence the accused
cannot claim double jeopardy.
In determining, therefore, whether there should be an amendment under the first
paragraph of Section 14, Rule 110, or a substitution of information under the second
paragraph thereof, the rule is that where the second information involves the same
offense, or an offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the first
information, an amendment of the information is sufficient; otherwise, where the new
information charges an offense which is distinct and different from that initially charged, a
substitution is in order.
In any event, we are inclined to uphold the propriety of the withdrawal of the original informations, there
having been no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court in granting the motion and, more

importantly, in consideration of the fact that the motion to withdraw was filed and granted before herein
petitioners were arraigned, hence before they were placed in jeopardy. Thus, even if a substitution was
made at such stage, petitioners cannot validly claim double jeopardy, which is precisely the evil sought to
be prevented under the rule on substitution, for the simple reason that no first jeopardy had as yet
attached. Consequently, we hold that although the offenses charged under the three new informations
necessarily include those charged under the original informations, the substitution of informations was not
a fatal error. A contrary ruling, to paraphrase from our former pronouncements, would sacrifice substantial
justice for formal nuances on the altar of procedural technicalities. Furthermore, petitioner's right to
speedy trial was never violated since the new informations were filed immediately after the motion to
withdraw the original informations was granted.
2. The controversy over the jurisdiction of Judge Pornillos to entertain and act upon the new informations
for murder, frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms, is grounded on three points of
disagreement.
Firstly, it is argued that the new informations were prematurely filed considering that the order granting the
withdrawal of the original informations had not yet become final and executory and that, as a matter of
fact, the same was subsequently reconsidered and the case reinstated by Judge Villajuan. Therefore, so
petitioners postulate, Judge Pornillos could not acquire jurisdiction over the same offense involving the
same incident and the same accused.
Secondly, petitioners contend that the dismissal of the original informations and the filing of new ones
which were raffled to another branch of the court constituted forum shopping, and was tainted with malice
considering the indecent haste with which the motion to withdraw the informations was filed, the order
granting the same was issued, and the new informations were filed, all of which took place on the same
day. Pursuant to the doctrinal ruling that the court first acquiring jurisdiction excludes the other courts, it is
theorized that the cognizance of the case taken by Judge Villajuan barred Judge Pornillos from assuming
jurisdiction thereover.
Finally, the designation of respondent Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio (who was then First Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor of Pasig, Rizal) as Acting Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan was arbitrary and
without any justifiable reason. It follows, therefore, so petitioners vigorously argue, that in the absence of
such authority, the informations should be considered null and void by reason of which Judge Pornillos
did not acquire jurisdiction over the same.
On the other hand, respondents question the propriety of petitioners' filing of a petition
for certiorari prohibition and mandamus in the Court of Appeals against the order of the lower court
denying petitioners' motion to quash, claiming that the proper remedy was to proceed to trial on the merits
and thereafter raise on appeal, as special defenses, the grounds invoked in the motion to quash.
It is a general rule that a nolle prosequi or dismissal entered before the accused is placed on trial and
before he is called on to plead is not equivalent
to an acquittal, 32 and does not bar a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. 33 It is not a final
disposition of the case. 34 Rather, it partakes of the nature of a nonsuit or discontinuance in a civil suit and
leaves the matter in the same condition in which it was before the commencement of the prosecution. 35
A dismissal is different from an acquittal. An order of dismissal which is actually an acquittal is
immediately final and cannot be reconsidered. 36 Furthermore, an acquittal is always based on the merits,
that is, the defendant is acquitted because the evidence does not show that defendant's guilt is beyond
reasonable doubt; but a dismissal does not decide the case on the merits or that the defendant is not
guilty. Dismissals terminate the proceedings, either because the court is not a court of competent

jurisdiction, or the evidence does not show that the offense was committed within the territorial jurisdiction
of the court, or the complaint or information is not valid or sufficient in form and substance. 37 For
dismissal to be a bar under double jeopardy, it must have the effect of acquittal.
All these go to show, therefore, that the dismissal of Criminal Cases
Nos. 3642-M-93 to 3644-M-93 did not amount to an acquittal of herein petitioners. Consequently, the
same did not immediately become final, hence petitioners could still file a motion for the reconsideration
thereof. Moreover, such dismissal does not constitute a proper basis for a claim of double
jeopardy. 38 Since jeopardy had not yet attached, herein petitioners were not prejudiced by the filing of the
new informations even though the order of dismissal in the prior case had not yet become final. Neither
did it affect the jurisdiction of the court in the subsequent case.
In American legal practice, where a motion for an order of nolle prosequi is made, the only power to deny
the motion would be based on failure of the district attorney to judiciously exercise his discretion. 39 In
most cases, the motion will be readily granted and should not be refused unless the court has some
knowledge that it is based on an improper reason or a corrupt motive. But such a motion to dismiss will
not also be approved unless the court is satisfied that the administration of justice requires that the
prosecution be ended, or if there appears to be a clear violation of the law.40 Whatever may be the reason
therefor, a denial of the motion to withdraw should not be construed as a denigration of the authority of
the special prosecutor to control and direct the prosecution of the case, 41 since the disposition of the case
already rests in the sound discretion of the court.
This brings us to the question as to whether or not an order of dismissal may be subsequently set aside
and the information reinstated. Again, in American jurisprudence, the authorities differ somewhat as to
whether a nolle prosequi may be set aside and the cause reinstated. 42 Some cases hold that the nolle
prosequi may be recalled and that the accused may be tried on the same information, 43 but before it can
be retraced, set aside, cancelled, or struck off, the permission or assent of the court must be had and
obtained, and such cancellation or retraction must be duly entered. According to other authorities,
however, the entry of an unconditional nolle prosequi, not on the ground that the information is insufficient
on its face, is an end to the prosecution of that information, and such nolle prosequi cannot afterward be
vacated and further proceedings had in that case. 44
Still in some cases, it has been held that a nolle prosequi may be set aside by leave of court, so as to
reinstate proceedings on the information, or unless it was entered by mistake. 45 In our jurisdiction, we
follow the rule which allows an order of dismissal to be set aside by leave of court. In one case, it was
held that in the absence of any statutory provision to the contrary, the court may, in the interest of justice,
dismiss a criminal case provisionally, that is, without prejudice to reinstating it before the order becomes
final or to the subsequent filing of a new information for the offense. 46
The rule that in cases of concurrent jurisdiction the court first acquiring jurisdiction will retain it to the end
to the exclusion of other tribunals, is not to be given unyielding effect in all cases and it does not apply
where the jurisdiction of the first court has come to an end in any legal way, such as by nolle
prosequi. 47 The rule on exclusions is intended to prevent confusion and conflicts in jurisdiction and to
prevent a person from being twice tried for the same offense, but no accused has a vested right to be
tried in any particular court of concurrent jurisdiction; and when one court of concurrent jurisdiction
voluntarily relinquishes it by a nolle prosequi or dismissal of the case, there can be no legal or logical
reason for preventing the other court from proceeding. 48 With much more reason will this rule apply
where only branches of the same court, and not different courts, are involved in the jurisdictional conflict.
There was no forum shopping in the lower court with respect to the case involved. While the procedure
adopted by the prosecution was somewhat cumbersome, it was not in bad faith and, accordingly, it did not

affect the legality of the proceedings. There is no showing, and petitioners failed to prove otherwise, that
the assignment by raffle of the new informations to another branch of the same court was intended to
prejudice herein petitioners, or to place them under less favorable circumstances, or to find a court which
would act favorably on the prosecution's case.
The authority of the special prosecutor appointed by the Secretary of Justice to sign and file informations
has long been recognized in this jurisdiction and it has been held that such information cannot be
quashed on that account. There is nothing so sacrosanct in the signing of complaints, holding of
investigations, and conducting prosecutions that only an officer appointed by the President or one
expressly empowered by law be permitted to assume these functions. 49 And any irregularity in the
appointment does not necessarily invalidate the same if he may be considered a de facto officer. 50
Of course, where the person who signed the information was disqualified from appointment to such
position, the information is invalid and the court does not acquire jurisdiction to try the accused
thereon. 51 Such is not, however, the situation obtaining in the case at bar. It will be noted that respondent
prosecutor was designated by the Secretary of Justice to handle the re-investigation
and prosecution of the case against petitioners pursuant to Department Order No. 369. Petitioners failed
to show any irregularity in the issuance of said directive.
At any rate, the power of supervision and control vested in the Secretary of Justice under Presidential
Decree No. 1275 had been broadened beyond the confines of the old law, that is, Section 1679 of the
Revised Administrative Code, wherein the power of the Secretary was then limited only to certain
instances. Pertinently, in Aguinaldo, et al. vs. Domagas, et al., 52 we said:
The Court notes, however; that Department of Justice Order No. 85 was issued pursuant
to, among others, P.D. No. 1275 issued on 11 April 1978 which provides:
Sec. 1. Creation of the National Prosecution Service; Supervision and
Control of the Secretary of Justice. There is hereby created and
established a National Prosecution Service under the supervision and
control of the Secretary of Justice, to be composed of the Prosecution
Staff in the Office of the Secretary of Justice and such number of
Regional State Prosecution Offices, and Provincial and City Fiscal's
Offices as are hereinafter provided, which shall be primarily responsible
for the investigation and prosecution of all cases involving violations of
penal laws.
The power of supervision and control vested in the Secretary of Justice
includes the authority to act directly on any matter within the jurisdiction
of the Prosecution Staff, the Regional State Prosecution Office or the
Office of the Provincial or City Fiscal and to review, modify or revoke any
decision or action of the Chief of said staff or office.
The power of supervision and control vested in the Secretary of Justice under P.D. No.
1275 had thus been broadened beyond the confines of the old law, i.e., Section 1679 of
the Revised Administrative Code of 1917, where the power of the Secretary of Justice to
designate acting fiscals or prosecutors to handle a particular case was limited to
instances "when a provincial fiscal shall be disqualified by personal interest to act in a
particular case or when for any reason he shall be unable, or shall fail to discharge any of
the duties of his position." Indeed, the limitation upon which petitioners rely no longer
subsisted under P.D. No. 1275.

Having been duly designated in accordance with law, the panel of prosecutors had
complete control of the investigation and prosecution of the case. . . .
3. Petitioners similarly dispute the legality of their arraignment on January 24, 1994, when Judge Pornillos
entered a plea of not guilty for them after they refused to plead, without furnishing them copies of the
information with the list of witnesses, after merely reading the informations against them and asking
whether they understood the same, which were allegedly in palpable violation of Section 1, Rule 116.
Petitioners aver that they were requesting for the suspension of the arraignment as they wanted to have a
final copy of the order of January 24, 1994 which was merely read in open court, and to take the
necessary steps to question the same by way of a motion for reconsideration or an appeal.
In criminal cases, it is the duty of the accused, in addition to the other pleas authorized by law, to plead
whether he is guilty or not of the crime charged. In that way and in that way only can an issue be created
upon which the trial shall proceed. 53 Section 1 (c) of Rule 116 is quite explicit that where the accused
refuses to plead, a plea of not guilty shall be entered for him. Hence, under such mandatory language, if
the accused refuses to plead, the court must enter a plea of not guilty. The words are so plain and
unambiguous that no construction is necessary. It actually calls for a literal application thereof. Any
explanation or defense which petitioners would want to invoke can be properly raised during the trial, but
they cannot refuse to enter their plea. Nonetheless, the alleged defect in their arraignment on January 24,
1994 is deemed to have been cured when they were again arraigned on February 18, 1994 with the
assistance of counsel de oficio, and the information was read to them in the vernacular.
In conclusion, considering that Branch 10 of the same trial court handling Criminal Cases Nos. 4004-M-93
to 4007-M-93 legally acquired jurisdiction over the new informations which we have likewise declared
valid, petitioners may be prosecuted thereunder.
II. On the Petition for Habeas corpus
This petition is predicated mainly on petitioners' asseveration that the court which issued the warrant for
their arrest had no jurisdiction over the case, hence their detention should be deemed illegal.
We have earlier declared that Branch 10 of the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the new set of
informations. Consequently, the warrant of arrest issued on the bases of said informations filed therein
and the subsequent detention of herein petitioners pursuant thereto are valid. What instead has to be
resolved is the corollary issue of whether the petition for habeas corpus was properly filed together with
their present petition for certiorari andmandamus.
The writs of habeas corpus and certiorari may be ancillary to each other where necessary to give effect to
the supervisory powers of the higher courts. A writ of habeas corpus reaches the body and the
jurisdictional matters, but not the record. A writ of certiorari reaches the record but not the body. Hence, a
writ of habeas corpus may be used with the writ of certiorari for the purpose of
review. 54 However, habeas corpus does not lie where the petitioner has the remedy of appeal
or certiorari because it will not be permitted to perform the functions of a writ of error or appeal for the
purpose of reviewing mere errors or irregularities in the proceedings of a court having jurisdiction over the
person and the subject matter. 55
Neither can we grant the writ at this stage since a writ of habeas corpus is not intended as a substitute for
the functions of the trial court. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, the orderly course of trial
should be pursued and the usual remedies exhausted before the writ may be invoked. Habeas corpus is
not ordinarily available in advance of trial to determine jurisdictional questions that may arise. 56 It has to
be an exceptional case for the writ of habeas corpus to be available to an accused before trial. 57 In the

absence of special circumstances requiring immediate action, a court will not grant the writ and discharge
the prisoner in advance of a determination of his case in court. 58 In the case under consideration,
petitioners have dismally failed to adduce any justification or exceptional circumstance which would
warrant the grant of the writ, hence their petition therefor has to be denied.
In addition, a petition for habeas corpus is not the appropriate vehicle for asserting a right to bail or
vindicating its denial. In the case of Enrile vs. Salazar, etc., et al., 59 we held that:
The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the
petitioner's right to have provisional liberty pending trial and judgment. The original
jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said respondent. The correct course was for
petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a
right to bail per se by reason of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that
remedy was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have
been invoked, and even then, not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if
appropriate relief was also available there.
III. On the Motion to Cite for Contempt
The records show that on February 24, 1994, this Court issued a temporary restraining order, pursuant to
its resolution in Administrative Matter No. 94-1-13-RTC which is a petition for change of venue filed by the
Vinculados, requiring Judges Felipe N. Villajuan and Victoria Villalon-Pornillos to cease and desist from
hearing the criminal cases involving herein petitioners which were pending before them. 60
Subsequently, another resolution was issued in said cases, dated
March 1, 1994, with the following directive:
ACCORDINGLY, without prejudice to the final determination as to which of the two (2)
sets of information will be upheld or prevail, the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Malolos, Bulacan is hereby directed to transfer all the aforementioned criminal
cases filed against Mayor Honorato Galvez, et al. now in the Regional Trial Court of
Malolos, Bulacan, to the Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for raffle
as one (1) single case among its branches and for the branch concerned, after raffle, to
proceed with all deliberate dispatch after the issues raised in CA-G.R. SP No. 33261
have been resolved with finality. 61
As a consequence, the seven informations which were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q-94-55481 to
Q-94-55487 were assigned to and are now pending trial on the merits before Branch 103 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, presided over by Judge Jaime N. Salazar, Jr. Petitioners now assert that
Judge Salazar and Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio proceeded with the trial of the cases despite the aforestated
directives in the above cited resolutions. We find no merit in the motion to cite them for contempt.
The records reveal that there was a manifestation dated May 31, 1994 62 filed by the Solicitor General
wherein the latter manifested his conformity to the agreement made between the prosecution and the
defense before Judge Salazar, the pertinent part of which agreement is as follows:
1. During the hearing on May 26, 1994, the prosecution, through Senior State Prosecutor
Dennis Villa-Ignacio, the defense through Justice Alfredo Lazaro, and this Honorable
Court agreed that the trial in these cases shall proceed on condition that: (a) the defense
shall not be deemed to have waived any issue or objection it has raised before the

Supreme Court in G.R. No. 114046; and (b) that the trial shall also be without prejudice to
whatever decision and resolution the Supreme Court may render in the case before it.
Counsel for petitioners, retired Justice Alfredo Lazaro, takes issue with said agreement on the pretension
that the same is not the true agreement of the parties, but he failed to state what they actually agreed
upon. Withal, the resolutions of this Court in the petition for change of venue, as well as the cease and
desist order issued therein, are clearly directed against the two aforenamed regional trial judges in
Malolos, Bulacan. By no stretch of the imagination can we interpret the same to include Judge Jaime N.
Salazar, Jr. of Quezon City.
For that matter, the issues involved in this petition for certiorari do not necessarily require a suspension of
the proceedings before the present trial court considering that the main petition hinges only on a
determination of which set of informations shall constitute the indictments against petitioners and for
which charges they shall stand trial. Whichever set of informations prevails, the evidence of the
prosecution and defense will more or less be the same and can be utilized for the charges therein. Hence,
no cogent reason exists for the suspension of the proceedings before the court below.
As a final word, while it may well be that both sets of information validly exist for the nonce, to allow both
of them to subsist will only serve to confuse and complicate the proceedings in the cases therein.
Brushing aside procedural technicalities, therefore, it becomes exigent to now consider and declare the
four informations for murder, frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms as having amended and
superseded the original three informations for homicide and frustrated homicide, there being no
substantial rights of herein petitioners which may be affected thereby. Correspondingly, the three
informations for homicide and frustrated homicide should be ordered withdrawn from the Quezon City trial
court's docket.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition
for certiorari and mandamus together with the petition for habeas corpus; DENYING, for lack of merit, the
motion to cite respondent judge and prosecutor for contempt and to annul proceedings; and ORDERING
the withdrawal and invalidation of the three informations for homicide and frustrated homicide against
petitioners from the docket of Branch 103 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 129874

December 27, 2002

JOAN M. FLORES, petitioner,


vs.
HON. FRANCISCO C. JOVEN, Presiding Judge of Branch 29, Regional Trial Court, Bislig, Surigao
del Sur,
and EMMANUEL NAVARRO, respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before us is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by complainant
Joan M. Flores assailing the Order dated March 4, 1997 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Bislig,
Surigao del Sur (Branch 29) in Criminal Case No. 1736-B, granting respondent-accused Emmanuel
Navarros Motion to Quash the Amended Information, and the Order dated May 6, 1997, denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration.1

The factual background of the case is as follows:


On January 23, 1996, petitioner caused the filing of a criminal complaint for Rape against respondent
Navarro and nine other persons, namely, Alex Taag, Ramil Toledo, Benjie Pasukin, Marcial Plaza, Jr.,
Rodulfo Codira alias "Babie", Robert Piodo, Daniel Equibal, Judy Duron and Jorge Azaria, as principals
by direct participation.2After preliminary investigation, an Information dated June 14, 1996 was filed with
the trial court, accusing Navarro and his other co-accused of the crime of Rape, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 1736-B.
On October 18, 1996, before all the accused can be arraigned, Navarro filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint in Criminal Case No. 1736-B on the ground that it does not sufficiently describe the crime of
rape in any of its forms under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. 3 On October 23, 1996, the trial court
issued an order re-setting the arraignment as the prosecution intends to file several other cases of rape
against the accused.4
On November 27, 1996, an Amended Information for Rape was filed in Criminal Case No. 1736-B against
Navarro, as the principal accused, committed as follows:
"That on or about the hours from 8:30 oclock to 11 oclock in the evening of January 18, 1996 at Purok 7,
Gordonas Village, John Bosco District, Barangay Mangagoy, Municipality of Bislig, Province of Surigao
del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, "the above-named accused,
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping each other for a common purpose, with lewd and
unchaste designs, and by means of force, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloneously (sic) to
wit: accused EMMANUEL NAVARRO has(sic) sexual intercourse with one Joan Flores, against the latters
will, while accused Alex Tanag, Ramil Toledo, Benjie Pasokin y Madis, Marcial Plaza, Jr. y Cubil, Rodulfo
Codira alias Babie, Roberto Plodo y Ampalayo, Daniel Equibal y Degorio, Judy Doron y Quita and Jorge
Azaria y Tino held the victim and stood as guard, to the damage and prejudice of the afore-said Flores.
"CONTRARY TO LAW: In violation of Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11
of Republic Act No. 7659)"5
Similar Informations for Rape were likewise filed against the other accused, except Judy Duron, docketed
as Criminal Cases Nos. 1795-B, 1796-B, 1797-B, 1798-B, 1799-B, 1800-B, 1801-B and 1802-B, the only
difference being that the accusatory portion of each Information individually named each of them as
principal in committing the crime of rape while the other co-accused held the victim and stood as guard.
Respondent Navarro then filed a motion to quash the Amended Information in Criminal Case No. 1736-B
on the grounds that: (1) the Amended Information does not comply with the Order dated October 23,
1996; (2) the allegations in the Amended Information is in conflict with petitioners affidavit in that the
Amended Information named respondent Navarro as the only one who had intercourse with petitioner
while her affidavit mentioned only Rodulfo Codira alias "Babie" as the culprit; and (3) the Amended
Information does not sufficiently describe the event on the night of January 18, 1996. 6
On March 4, 1997, the trial court issued the assailed Order granting the motion to quash, finding that
Navarro was not one of those identified by petitioner to have abused her, and that the Information failed to
show his particular participation in the crime.7 Navarro, however, was not released from detention as
Criminal Cases Nos. 1795-B to 1802-B were still pending.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but the trial court per Order dated May 6, 1997 denied the
same.8

Hence, petitioner, through her private prosecutors, filed the instant special civil action for certiorari.
Meanwhile, Navarros other co-accused were arraigned and pleaded "not guilty" to the charges against
them. Trial commenced as regards their respective cases. 9
On October 3, 1998, Navarro escaped from detention 10 and has remained at large per manifestation of his
counsel in his "Memorandum for the Respondents" filed with this Court on November 5, 1999. 11
On November 25, 1998, before the prosecution could present its evidence, it filed a motion to withdraw
the respective Informations against the six principal accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 1795-B, 1796-B,
1797-B, 1798-B, 1800-B and 1801-B for insufficiency of evidence. 12 The motion was granted by the trial
court in its Order dated November 26, 1998, but the other accused whose cases were withdrawn
remained as co-accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 1736-B (against Navarro), 1799-B (against Rodulfo
Codira) and 1802-B (against Jorge Azaria).13
On September 1, 1999, the Court gave due course to herein petition and required the parties to submit
their respective memoranda.14
Petitioner argues:
"9.a that during the clarificatory hearing conducted in the course of the preliminary investigation of the
case by the Provincial Prosecutors Office, respondent/accused Navarro was identified as one of those
nine (9) persons who sexually abused petitioner, the latter upon seeing respondent, spontaneously cried
and declared, right then and there, that he was even the one who burned her hand;
"9.b that on the alleged ground of insufficiency of the information (i.e., the facts charged do not constitute
an offense because it failed to state with particularity respondent/accused Navarros participation in the
act complained of), public respondent should have realized that to resolve the issue, he need only
determine whether the facts alleged, if hypothetically admitted, will establish the essential elements of the
offense as defined by law;"15
Respondent, on the other hand, contends that the private prosecutors who initiated the instant petition
have no personality to file the same as it is vested with the public prosecutors, 16 and that the assailed
order of the trial court finds support in the records of the case as petitioner herself testified during
preliminary investigation that she became unconscious after she was sexually abused by Rodulfo Codira
alias "Babie" and she did not know who took turns in abusing her.17
Anent the issue whether or not the petitioner has the personality or the right to file herein petition for
certiorari We rule in the affirmative. A perusal of the petition filed in this case shows that petitioner
herself caused the preparation and filing of the present petition and filed the same through the private
prosecutor18. It is beyond question that petitioner has the right or personality to file the petition, through
her private prosecutors, questioning the dismissal of the criminal case against respondent Navarro. For
obvious reasons, the public prosecutors who filed the motion to dismiss which was granted by the trial
court would not initiate the action.
As early as 1969 in the case of Paredes vs. Gopengco, 19 it was already held that the offended party in a
criminal case has sufficient interest and personality as a "person aggrieved" to file a special civil action of
prohibition and certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in line with the underlying spirit of the liberal
construction of the rules in order to promote its object.

Later, in Mosquera vs. Panganiban,20 we recognized the right of offended parties to appeal an order of the
trial court which deprives them of due process, subject to the limitation that they cannot appeal any
adverse ruling if to do so would place the accused in double jeopardy. Citing Martinez vs. Court of
Appeals,21 we held:
"Under Section 2, Rule 122 of the 1988 Rules of Criminal Procedure, the right to appeal from a final
judgment or order in a criminal case is granted to any party, except when the accused is placed thereby
in double jeopardy.
"In People v. Guido, [57 Phil. 52 (1932)] this Court ruled that the word party must be understood to mean
not only the government and the accused, but also other persons who may be affected by the judgment
rendered in the criminal proceeding. Thus, the party injured by the crime has been held to have the right
to appeal from a resolution of the court which is derogatory to his right to demand civil liability arising from
the offense. The right of the offended party to file a special civil action of prohibition and certiorari from an
[interlocutory] order rendered in a criminal case was likewise recognized in the cases of Paredes v.
Gopengco [29 SCRA 688 (1969)] and People v. Calo, Jr., [186 SCRA 620 (1990)] which held that
offended parties in criminal cases have sufficient interest and personality as person(s) aggrieved to file
the special civil action of prohibition and certiorari under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65 in line with the
underlying spirit of the liberal construction of the Rules of Court in order to promote their object. . . ."
More recently, in Perez vs. Hagonoy Rural Bank, Inc.,22 we held that the private respondent therein, as
private complainant, has legal personality to assail the dismissal of the criminal case against the petitioner
on the ground that the order of dismissal was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction.23This is so because a special civil action for certiorari may be filed by the persons
aggrieved, which, in a criminal case, are the State and the private offended party or complainant. Having
an interest in the civil aspect of the case, the complainant may file such action, in his name, questioning
the decision or action of the respondent court on jurisdictional grounds. 24
We further ruled in the Perez case that while it is only the Office of the Solicitor General that may bring or
defend actions on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, or represent the People or the State in
criminal proceedings pending in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, the private offended party
retains the right to bring a special civil action for certiorari in his own name in criminal proceedings before
the courts of law.25
Finally, double jeopardy does not apply. The requisites that must be present for double jeopardy to attach
are: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a court of competent jurisdiction; (c) the accused has pleaded
to the charge; and (d) the accused has been convicted or acquitted or the case dismissed or terminated
without the express consent of the accused.26 The third requisite is not present in the instant case. Private
respondent Navarro has not been arraigned.27
The next issue to be resolved is whether or not the writ of certiorari should issue in this case. Again, we
rule in the affirmative. The trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in quashing the Information filed against Navarro in Criminal Case No. 1736-B.
First, contrary to the finding of the trial court, the records of this case adequately show that respondent
Navarro was identified as one of those who sexually abused petitioner. In her Sworn Statement executed
on January 23, 1996 before MCTC Judge Antonio K. Caon, petitioner, while admitting that it was only
Rodulfo Codira alias "Babie" whom she personally knew, nevertheless stated that she knew by face her
other perpetrators as they "once in a while" pass by her residence or frequent their neighborhood. She
further declared under oath that she was able to identify them later at the police station during line-up,
viz.:

"7. Q - How do you come to know that it was they Emmanuel Navarro alias Tawing, Marcial
Plaza, Jr. alias Dodong, Bengie Pasokin, Rodolfo Codera alias Babie, Jorge Azaria alias
Cocoy, Robert Piodo, Judy Duron and Daniel Equibal sexually abused you.
"A - Beforehand, I only know personally one of them Rodolfo Codera alias Babie all others were
only familiar through their faces because once in a while they will passed(sic) by our residence as
they were residence(sic) or frequenting our neighborhood. There at the police station, the police
lined them up for my identification with whom I have identified one by one according to their
individual participation."28(Emphasis Ours)
Petitioner later confirmed respondent Navarros identity when, during clarificatory
questions propounded by Fiscal Caedo at the Bislig Municipal Jail on March 25, 1996,
she pointed to Navarro as one of those who came into the room after "Babie" left. She
also tagged Navarro as the one who burned her hand. Thus:
"Q : After he left you, what happened?
"A : After Babie left me, there were others who entered the room.
"Q : Those who entered the room, can you recognize their faces?
"A : Yes.
"Q : If you see these persons who entered the room, can you recognize them:
"A : Yes.
"FISCAL CAEDO: We will request the private complainant to see the inmates inside Cell No. 1
and Cell No. 2, for her to identify the accused.
"INMATES INSIDE CELL NO. 1 AND CELL NO. 2 were presented one by one.
"x x x

xxx

xxx

"Q : Is he the one? (inmate no. 8)


"A : He is the one, he burned my hand (witness spontaneously pointed to inmate no. 8 while
crying.)
"Q : What is your name?
"Inmate No. 8 - Emmanuel Navarro."29
The Court cannot fathom how the trial court concluded that respondent Navarro was not one of those
identified by petitioner as one of her perpetrators when the Sworn Statement executed by petitioner, as
well as her response to the clarificatory questions of the Fiscal, not only narrated the facts and
circumstances surrounding her ordeal, but also explicitly and categorically identified respondent Navarro
and his other co-accused as her alleged rapists.

Secondly, we find the Amended Information against respondent Navarro to be sufficient. Under Section 6,
Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, a complaint or information, to be sufficient, must
state the name of the accused, designate the offense given by statute, state the acts or omissions
constituting the offense, the name of the offended party, the approximate time of the commission of the
offense and the place where the offense was committed. 30 In addition, it must set forth the facts and
circumstances that have a bearing on the culpability and liability of the accused so that the accused can
properly prepare for and undertake his defense.31
Particularly in rape cases, the gravamen of the offense is the fact of carnal knowledge under any of the
circumstances enumerated therein, i.e., (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived
of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age or is
demented.32
In this case, the Information sufficiently alleged that respondent Emmanuel Navarro, by means of force,
had sexual intercourse with petitioner against her will. It contained all the essential elements of rape as
defined by law. The allegations describe the offense with sufficient particularity such that respondent
Navarro will fully understand what he is being charged with. The Information also sufficiently alleged
respondent Navarros criminal culpability/liability for the crime, to wit: "accused EMMANUEL NAVARRO
has (sic) sexual intercourse with one Joan Flores, against the latters (sic) will." This is based on
petitioners own account of the incident wherein she stated that her perpetrators, including respondent
Navarro, took turns in sexually abusing her33.
One final point. We observed that the original records of Criminal Cases Nos. 1736-B 34, 1799-B35 and
1802-B36pending with the trial court were elevated to this Court. However, the records of the said cases
do not show any resolution of this Court requiring the elevation of the records thereof. The Order dated
July 26, 2002 purportedly requiring the elevation of the original records of the above criminal cases to the
Supreme Court, referred to in the transmittal letter dated August 14, 2002, signed by Clerk of Court
Domingo P. De Castro, is not found in the records of herein case. In effect, the trial judge was
unnecessarily precluded from proceeding further with the other pending cases, to wit: Criminal Cases
Nos. 1799-B and 1802-B. Although Navarro was a co-accused in said cases, he is not the principal
accused therein. He is only one out of the nine other co-accused. In addition, Navarro had not been
arraigned for the reason that he jumped bail and remains at large up to the present.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for certiorari. The assailed Orders of the trial court dated March 4,
1997 and May 6, 1997 are hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 1736-B is
REINSTATED and the trial judge is directed to proceed therewith and immediately issue a warrant of
arrest against accused Emmanuel Navarro.
Considering that Criminal Cases Nos. 1799-B and 1802-B are still pending trial with the Regional Trial
Court (Branch 29), Bislig City, the Clerk of Court of this Court is directed to cause the return of the original
records thereof with immediate dispatch to the said trial court for further proceedings.
Atty. Domingo P. de Castro, Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 29), Bislig City is required
to show cause, within ten (10) days from receipt of copy of herein decision why he should not be cited for
contempt of court and administratively charged in elevating the original records of Criminal Cases Nos.
1799-B and 1802-B without proper authority, thereby unduly delaying the trial of said cases which are not
involved in the present petition which concerns accused Navarro only.
SO ORDERED.