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Magistrado v.

People
G.R. No. 148072
Topic: Rule 111; Prejudicial question
FACTS:
Private respondent Elena Librojo filed a criminal complaint of against accused Francisco Magistrado
before the the Office of the Prosecutor of Quezon City. Thereafter the prosecutor recommended the filing
of the complaint against accused. An Information was filed against the accused for perjury before the
MeTC of Quezon City.
The Information alleged that the accused subscribed and swore to an Affidavit of Loss before a notary
public stating that he lost his Owners Duplicate Certificate of TCT. The same affidavit was used to by
accused to support his Petition for Issuance of New Owners Duplicate Copy of Certificate of TCT filed
with the RTC of Quezon City. A verification was again signed and sworn into by the accused before the
notary public. However, the contents of the same affidavit, already known to the accused, are false. It was
later found out that the property subject of the TCT was mortgaged to respondent Librojo as collateral for
a loan. As a result, respondent suffered damages and prejudice due to the deliberate assertion of
falsehoods by the accused.
Subsequently, petitioner-accused Magistrado filed a motion to suspend the proceedings on the ground of a
prejudicial question. Petitioner alleged that two civil cases (for recovery of sum of money and for
cancellation of mortgage) were pending before the RTC of Quezon City, and that they must be resolved
first before the present criminal case. The RTC of Quezon City denied the motion. Hence this petition.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the two civil cases (for Recovery of Sum of Money and for Cancellation of Mortgage)
constitutes a prejudicial question that would warrant a suspension of the criminal case of perjury
RULING + RATIO:
A prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical
antecedent of the issue involved therein, and he cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. Further,
a prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court, but the jurisdiction must be
lodged in another court. It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so
intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. The Court
enumerated the requisites of a prejudicial question that would suspend the criminal proceedings until final
resolution of the civil case:
1. The civil case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be
based;
2. The guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined in resolving the issued raised
in the civil case;
3. Jurisdiction to try the question is lodged in another tribunal.
In concluding the Court stated, it is evident that the civil cases and the criminal cases can proceed
independently of each other. Regardless of the outcome of the two civil cases, it will not establish the
innocence or guilt of the petitioner inf the criminal case of perjury. The purchase by petitioner of the land
or his execution of a real estate mortgage will have no bearing whatsoever on whether petitioner
knowingly and fraudulently executed a false affidavit of loss of the TCT.