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GARIN, Diana M.

201680075
Criminal Procedure
Atty. Salvador S. Panelo

REYES v. SANDIGANBAYAN
680 SCRA 62
September 5, 2012

FACTS:

President of the Philippines issued E.O. 806, which established Instructional Materials Corporation
(IMC), a government-owned and controlled corporation under the DECS. IMCs task was to develop,
produce, and distribute public school textbooks for elementary and high schools. The present controversy
arose when Senator Wigberto Taada denounced alleged illegal investments that IMC. Then DECS
Secretary directed a special audit of IMC from covering the alleged illegal deposits. The Special Audit
Team reported a questionable investment of P231.56 million in a private bank of advances that IMC
received from the government.

The government filed criminal charges of violation of Section 3(e)5 of Republic Act (R.A.) 30196
otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, before the Sandiganbayan against
petitioners. They were accused of investing IMC funds by buying government securities from Associated
Bank, brokered by Eurotrust Capital Corporation (Eurotrust). It was alleged that the investment was with
evident bad faith because they did not secure prior authority from the IMC Board.

During the trial, the prosecution presented the findings of the Special Audit Team and the Committee on
Investment, a member of the audit team testified that P118,666,655.48 in government securities were
unaccounted for as of December 1990. She also testified that IMC incurred additional investment cost by
way of conduit fee paid to Associated Bank in the amount of P571,028.19.

After the prosecution ended the presentation of its evidence and filed a formal offer of its documentary
exhibits, Reyes objected on the ground that witness Adelinos testimony covering the audit report was
hearsay since she joined the audit team as a replacement member only in January 1991. She also objected
to the offer of documentary evidence that were not marked or made known to the parties during pre-trial.

In a Resolution dated February 21, 2001, Sandiganbayan set aside Reyes objection and admitted the
prosecutions evidence. It denied her motion for reconsideration on April 6, 2001, prompting her to file a
motion for leave to file a demurrer. But the court denied this, too, for having been filed out of time since
the 5-day period within which to file such leave was to be counted from Reyes receipt of the February
21, 2001 Resolution.

In her motion for reconsideration, Reyes claimed that the 5-day period should rather be counted from her
receipt of the denial of her motion for reconsideration of the Order admitting the prosecutions evidence.
But the Sandiganbayan rejected this view, prompting Reyes to file a petition for certiorari.

Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, voting 3-2, rendered a Decision finding petitioners guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the charge against them and imposing on them the penalty of imprisonment of 6 years
and 1 month as minimum up to 10 years as maximum and perpetual disqualification from public office.
They were also ordered, by way of restitution, to return the missing government securities amounting to
P118,666,655.48 or pay their cash equivalent.

Petitioners filed their respective motions for reconsideration which were denied by Resolution.

ISSUE: Whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in not counting the 5-day
period to file a motion for leave to file demurrer, not from its denial of her opposition to the order
admitting the prosecutions documentary evidence, but from its rejection of her motion for
reconsideration of that denial order.

HELD:

Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that a motion for leave of court to file
demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be filed within a non-extendible period
of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. This period runs, according to Cabador v.
People, only after the court shall have ruled on the prosecutions formal offer for that is when it can be
deemed to have rested its case.

Here, Reyes filed a timely motion for reconsideration of the Sandiganbayans ruling on the prosecutions
formal offer, which is allowed, thus preventing the prosecution from resting its case. When the
Sandiganbayan denied Reyes motion for reconsideration, she filed with it, within the required five days
of her receipt of the order of denial, her motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence.

Still, the Sandiganbayans error in not allowing Reyes to ask for leave to file a demurrer to the evidence
cannot be regarded as capricious and whimsical as to constitute grave abuse of discretion. Courts have
wide latitude for denying the filing of demurrers to evidence. Indeed, an order denying a motion for leave
of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself is not subject to appeal or certiorari action
before judgment. The remedy is to assign the order of denial as an error on appeal after judgment.

WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petition.


Bautista v. Cuneta-Pangilinan
684 SCRA 521
October 24, 2012
Facts:

The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City filed two (2) information of libel against
petitioners. Upon arraignment, each entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, a joint pre-trial and trial of
the case ensued. After presenting respondent on the witness stand, the prosecution filed its Formal Offer
of Documentary Exhibits dated October 11, 2006, which included her undated Complaint-Affidavit.

On November 14, 2006, petitioners filed a Motion for Leave of Court to File the Attached Demurrer to
Evidence. In their Demurrer to Evidence, which was appended to the said Motion, petitioners alleged that
the prosecutions evidence failed to establish their participation as Editor and Associate Editor,
respectively, of the publication Bandera; that they were not properly identified by respondent herself
during her testimony; and that the subject articles written by Ampoloquio were not libelous due to
absence of malice.

RTC issued an Order granting petitioners Demurrer to Evidence.

As a consequence, the prosecution filed a Motion to Admit, with the attached Comment to Demurrer to
Evidence, stating that during the pendency of the trial courts resolution on the petitioners Motion for
Leave of Court to File the Attached Demurrer to Evidence, with the attached Demurrer to Evidence, the
prosecution intended to file its Comment, by serving copies thereof, through registered mail, upon
counsels for the petitioners, including the other accused, and the respondent; however, said Comment was
not actually filed with the trial court due to oversight on the part of the staff of the State Prosecutor
handling the case. Claiming that it was deprived of due process, the prosecution prayed that its Comment
be admitted and that the same be treated as a reconsideration of the trial courts Order dated April 25,
2008.

RTC granted the prosecutions Motion to Admit, with the attached Comment, and ruled that its Comment
be admitted to form part of the court records.

Respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA, seeking to set aside the RTC Orders grantings
petitioners Demurrer to Evidence.

In a Decision dated May 19, 2009, the CA granted respondents petition, thereby reversing and setting
aside the RTC Order.

Petitioners allege that the Order of the RTC, dated April 25, 2008, granting the Demurrer to Evidence was
tantamount to an acquittal. As such, the prosecution can no longer interpose an appeal to the CA, as it
would place them in double jeopardy. Petitioners contend that respondents petition for certiorari with the
CA should not have prospered, because the allegations therein, in effect, assailed the trial courts
judgment, not its jurisdiction. In other words, petitioners posit that the said Order was in the nature of an
error of judgment rendered, which was not correctible by a petition for certiorari with the CA.

Petitioners aver that although the CA correctly ruled that the prosecution had not been denied due
process, however, it erred in ruling that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in granting
petitioners Demurrer to Evidence, on the basis that the prosecution failed to prove that they acted in
conspiracy with Ampoloquio, the author of the questioned articles. They added that what the prosecution
proved was merely their designations as Editor and Associate Editor of the publication Bandera, but not
the fact that they had either control over the articles to be published or actually edited the subject articles.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the court of appeals erred in finding that the trial court committed grave abuse of
discretion in granting petitoners demurrer [to] evidence.

Held:

The petition is impressed with merit.

CA materially err in entertaining the petition, it should be stressed that the granting of petitioners
Demurrer to Evidence already amounted to a dismissal of the case on the merits and a review of the order
granting the demurrer to evidence will place the accused in double jeopardy. Consequently, the Court
disagrees with the CAs ruling reversing the trial courts order dismissing the criminal cases against
petitioners.

Under Section 23,29 Rule 119 of the Rules of Court on Demurrer to Evidence, after the prosecution
terminates the presentation of evidence and rests its case, the trial court may dismiss the case on the
ground of insufficiency of evidence upon the filing of a Demurrer to Evidence by the accused with or
without leave of court. If the accused files a Demurrer to Evidence with prior leave of court and the same
is denied, he may adduce evidence in his defense. However, if the Demurrer to Evidence is filed by the
accused without prior leave of court and the same is denied, he waives his right to present evidence and
submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.

Corollarily, after the prosecution rests its case, and the accused files a Demurrer to Evidence, the trial
court is required to evaluate whether the evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient enough to
warrant the conviction of the accused,

If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may adduce evidence in
his defense. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the accused waives the right to
present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.

The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be
filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. The prosecution
may oppose the motion within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt.

If leave of court is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period
of ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar
period from its receipt.

The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall
not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.