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ABBARIAO v BELTRAN 468 SCRA 421 PANGANIBAN; August 31, 2005
NATURE Administrative matter in the Supreme Court FACTS - This stemmed from an administrative case filed by Abbariao against Judge Beltran. Beltran was charged with gross ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering unjust judgment. - Abarriao was the former branch manager of Country Banker’s Assurance Corporation. In October 1992, Joseph Abraham procured 2 insurance policies from him and issued a post-dated check to serve as pasyment. But the cheque was subsequently dishonored. - Informations were filed before before Judge Beltran for estafa and violation of BP 22. Petitioners’ Claim - Petitioner claims that Beltran’s ruling that there was no valid insurance contract with Abraham was erroneous and that he had no jurisdiction over the case in the first place. Respondents’ Comments - Beltran claims that there was no valid insurance contract between Abbariao and Abraham because the insurance policy form of Abraham was disapproved. - He also claims he has jurisdiction over the case because the accused was arraigned in his court and the prosecutor failed to withdraw the case. ISSUE 1. WON the judge is guilty of rendering unjust judgment 2. WON Beltran’s ruling showed gross ignorance of the law in terms of assuming jurisdiction over the case HELD 1. NO, the judge must be absolved from this charge. Ratio The acts of judges pertaining to their judicial functions are not subject to disciplinary power, unless such acts are commited with fraud, dishonesty, corruption or bad faith. In the absence of proof to the contrary, an erroneous decision or order is presumed to have been issued in good faith. 2. YES. Beltran had no authority to rule over the case.
warrant of arrest. The spouses then filed a motion to quash and sought the nullification of “subsequent orders”. They alleged that the MTCC had no jurisdiction and authority to conduct a preliminary investigation of a complaint filed by an offended party directly with the court. The authority to conduct a preliminary investigation was vested solely on the Office of the City Prosecutor. - While waiting for the resolution of their motion to quash, the spouses did not post bail. On April 10, 2002 Corazon Ribaya was apprehended by arresting officers in the public market by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by respondent judge. - The complainant filed this administrative case against Judge Parcia. The motions basically questioned respondent’s authority to conduct a preliminary investigation. - In her answer, respondent judge claimed that complainant was not a party in Criminal Case No. 8617. Respondent explained that she conducted the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint against the spouses because the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Office of the City Prosecutor was too busy to do so. - To support her claim, respondent attached the affidavit of OIC City Prosecutor Vasquez of the then newly-created Ligao City. Vasquez stated that the City Prosecutor’s Office was still undergoing reorganization when the subject criminal complaint was filed. It had neither enough manpower nor office space in the Hall of Justice. Positions had not yet been filled. His workload as Asst Provincial Prosecutor and OIC City Prosecutor was so heavy that time constraints did not permit him to conduct preliminary investigations. Thus, it was the respondent judge who conducted the preliminary investigation. - the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found that respondent erred when she conducted the preliminary investigation of the subject criminal complaint even after the Municipality of Ligao, Albay had been converted into a city. The OCA recommended that: (1) the complaint be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (2) the respondent be reprimanded, directed to concentrate her time and effort on performing her judicial tasks and warned that a repetition of the same or similar offense would be dealt with more severely. - A motion for reconsideration was filed by respondent on October 1, 2003. This time, respondent claimed that what she conducted
Ratio A court can only take cognizance of a case that falls within its jurisdiction. Reasoning - April 15, 1994 is the date of effectivity of RA 7691. RA 7691 expanded the jurisdiction of the first-level courts by providing that first-level courts shall have jurisdiction over criminal cases in which the offense is punishable with imprisonment not exceeding 6 years, regardless of the amount of the fine. - January 30, 1995 was the date the information was filed. The case had to do with the violation of BP 22 which is penalized by an imprisonment of not less than 30 days but not more than one year. Thus when the information was filed, RA 7691 was already in effect. - During the tenure of the former presiding judge, the issue of jurisdiction over the case was already pending resolution. He also displayed indecisiveness by relying on the public prosecutor’s assurance that his court had acquired jurisdiction. - Aside from this instance, there were two other occasions when Beltran was charged and found guilty of gross ignorance of the law (in De Austria v. Beltran and Andres v. Beltran). DISPOSITION Judge Beltran was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law for which he is fined P20,000 as recommended by the OCA and is warned that a repetition of the same act would merit a graver penalty.
RIBAYA v JUDGE BINAMIRA-PARCIA AM No. MTJ-04-1547 CORNEJO; April 15, 2005
NATURE Administrative case against Judge Aurora BinamiraParcia of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Ligao City, Albay relative to Criminal Case No. 8617 (People v. Sps. Ribaya) FACTS - Asst Provincial Prosecutor Pedro Vega, in his personal capacity, filed before the MTCC, Ligao City a criminal complaint for estafa against the Spes Ribaya on November 29, 2001. The spouses, after receiving P12,000 from Vega, allegedly misappropriated the amount to the latter’s prejudice. The preliminary investigation was then conducted by respondent judge. - Complainant, the daughter of the accused spouses, observed several irregularities in the conduct of the preliminary investigation and the issuance of the
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
on November 29, 2001 was a preliminary examination to determine probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the spouses. Respondent also claimed that the criminal complaint was governed by Sec. 9, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the rule governing cases that did not require preliminary investigation. Since the amount involved in the estafa case was P12,000, no preliminary investigation was required. ISSUES 1. WON respondent judge had the authority to conduct preliminary investigation 2. WON respondent judge is guilty of misconduct in office 3. WON preliminary investigation was not required for the estafa case 4. WON warrant of arrest was valid HELD 1. NO - Although judges of inferior courts are authorized to conduct preliminary investigation of all crimes within their jurisdiction, the task is essentially an executive function. As far back as Collector of Customs v. Villaluz, we already held that: [w]hile we sustain the power of the x x x courts to conduct preliminary examination, pursuant to Our Constitutional power of administrative supervision over all courts, as a matter of policy, we enjoin x x x judge[s] x x x to concentrate on hearing and deciding before their courts. x x x [Judges] should not encumber themselves with the preliminary examination and investigation of criminal complaints, which they should refer to the municipal judge or provincial or city fiscal, who in turn can utilize the assistance of the state prosecutor to conduct such preliminary examination and investigation. - City judges then were clearly authorized to conduct preliminary investigation and examination. But even then, we also held that the provisions of Rule 112 granting city judges the authority to conduct preliminary investigation did not apply to judges of cities the charters of which authorized the city fiscal only to conduct preliminary investigation of criminal complaints. - This ruling was, in fact, integrated into the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Under Sec. 1, Rule 110, criminal actions in chartered cities are
judge rendering it must at all times maintain the appearance of fairness and impartiality. - Considering all this, respondent judge committed simple misconduct in office. Misconduct in office has a well-defined meaning. It refers to misconduct that affects the judge’s performance of her duties and not just her character as a private individual. To constitute an administrative offense, misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public officer. 3. YES - Respondent correctly observed that it was not needed in the estafa case. The maximum penalty for the crime allegedly committed there (6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months) did not meet the minimum penalty (at least 4 years, 2 months and 1 day) required to make a preliminary investigation part of the spouses’ right to due process. 4. YES - As long as the constitutional mandate was complied with, that is, the warrant of arrest was issued upon a finding of probable cause personally by the judge after an examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, the warrant of arrest was valid. - Respondent judge examined the complainant Pedro Vega on the day the complaint was filed and she was satisfied that probable cause existed. The warrant of arrest she issued against the spouses Ribaya was, therefore, justified and no violation of their constitutional rights occurred. DISPOSITION Respondent Judge Aurora Binamira-Parcia is hereby found guilty of simple misconduct and a fine of P11,000 is imposed on her. She is hereby directed to devote her time and effort exclusively to discharging her judicial functions. She is furthermore warned that a repetition of the same or similar act will merit a more severe penalty.
instituted by filing the complaint only with the City Prosecutor. The rule implies that the task of conducting preliminary investigation in these cities is now lodged with the Office of the City Prosecutor. Consequently, inferior court judges of cities whose charters authorize only the fiscal to conduct preliminary investigation are no longer allowed to perform this function. - The Municipality of Ligao was converted into a city by RA 9008 which took effect on Feb 21, 2001. This law, also known as the charter of the City of Ligao, provides in Sec. 50 that: (a) There shall be established in the city a prosecution service to be headed by a city prosecutor and such number of assistant prosecutors as may be necessary, who shall be organizationally part of the DOJ… (b) The City Prosecutor shall handle the criminal prosecution in the MTC in the city as well as in the RTC for criminal cases originating in the territory of the city, and shall render to or for the city such services as are required by law, ordinance or regulation of the DOJ… - Clearly, respondent judge had no more authority to conduct a preliminary investigation of the subject criminal complaint. The officer authorized to conduct preliminary investigations in the then newly-created City of Ligao was its City Prosecutor. At that time, the duty devolved upon OIC City Prosecutor Vasquez, despite the administrative difficulties he was encountering. 2. YES - We noticed the contradiction between her answer and her motion for reconsideration as to what she actually conducted on November 29, 2001. In her answer, she justified her authority to conduct a preliminary investigation. In her motion for reconsideration of the OCA’s resolution, however, she declared that she conducted a preliminary examination to justify the issuance of a warrant of arrest -There appear just too many intriguing uncertainties surrounding the filing of the estafa case. We therefore direct our attention to respondent judge’s failure to erase our doubts over how she administers justice in her jurisdiction. - Respondent judge must be reminded that she should do honor to her position not only by rendering just, correct and impartial decisions but doing so in a manner free from any suspicion as to their fairness and impartiality, and as to her integrity. A spotless dispensation of justice requires not only that the decision rendered be intrinsically fair but that the
TUMANG v BAUTISTA 136 SCRA 682 ABAD-SANTOS; May 31 1985
NATURE Petition to review and annul orders of RTC Laguna FACTS - Emilio Javier filed a sakdal against Enrique Tumang and his daughter Georgia Tumang. - The sakdal was written in Tagalog and was unaccompanied by an English translation.
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
- The Tumangs prayed that Javier be ordered to file a copy of the complaint as translated in English, and a copy of the criminal complaint and Decision of acquittal in the unjust vexation case mentioned in Javier’s complaint. - TC ruled on Oct. 21 1982 that the complaint written in Pilipino, which is an official language, is proper and is admitted. TC also ruled that it is not absolutely necessary that copies of the complaint and criminal case be attached as annexes. Javier should have, however, at least stated the docket number as well as name of the court and branch number. - The Tumangs failed to answer the sakdal and were declared in default. They sought to reconsider, not only the order of default but also the order admitting the complaint in Pilipino. - TC set aside its order of default that refused to reconsider its order of October 21, 1982. - The Tumangs filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the complaint did not state a cause of action and that the venue was improperly laid. TC denied the motion on both grounds. ISSUE WON the sakdal should have been in English and not Tagalog HELD YES - In the ponente’s lecture, “Writing Decisions”, he said in part: “What language should the judge use? The constitution says that until otherwise provided by law, English and Pilipino shall be the official languages! (Art. XV, Sec. 3, Par 3.) If we are to be guided by this provision then either English of Pilipino can be used. But in fact English is almost exclusively used and with good reason. For Pilipino is still a gestating language. The constitution says so. It directs that “the Batasang Pambansa shall take steps towards the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Pilipino.” - However, petitioner cannot now raise this question before the Supreme Court, As they have tacitly submitted to the TC’s ruling that the sakdal did not have to be translated in English; they analyzed the sakdal in arguing that it stated no cause of action. Such analysis demonstrated that they understood its contents. DISPOSITION Denied for lack of merit.
orders should be set aside and that the Feb. 1 Decision should be reinstated. ISSUES 1. WON the trial court, upon motion by a private complainant, can set aside a previous judgment of conviction and remand the records of a case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for re-evaluation of the evidence and the filing of the corresponding charge 2. WON the manifestation by the accused that he is not appealing from the trial court’s Decision render the judgment final 3. WON the trial court err in granting private complainant’s motion for reconsideration/retrial 4. WON the assailed orders violate petitioner’s constitutional right against double jeopardy HELD 1. NO Ratio Only the accused may ask for a modification or setting aside of a judgment of conviction which he must do before the said judgment becomes final or before he perfects his appeal. Reasoning - Sec. 7 Rule 120 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, provides: Sec. 7. Modification of judgment - 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 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. - It is thus clear that only the accused may ask for a modification or setting aside of a judgment of conviction. And this he must do before the said judgment becomes final or before he perfects his appeal. Such judgment becomes final in any of the following ways: (a) when no appeal is seasonably filed by the accused, except in case of automatic review of the decision imposing the capital penalty; (b) when he has partially or totally served his sentence; (c) when he expressly waives his right to appeal the judgment, except when the death penalty is imposed; or (d) when he applies for probation. When a judgment becomes final, the trial court which rendered the judgment of conviction loses jurisdiction to alter, modify, or revoke it. 2. YES
383 SCRA 449 SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ; June 26, 2002
NATURE Review on certiorari on a decision of RTC of Catarman, Northern Samar FACTS - Dec.12,1999: Potot was charged with homicide before the RTC for assaulting and stabbing a certain Rodolfo Dapulag with a knife, thereby causing his death. - Feb.1, 2000: Upon arraignment, Potot pleaded guilty and invoked the mitigating circumstances of plea of guilty and voluntary surrender. He was later convicted of homicide w/ the above stated mitigating circumstances. - Feb.3, 2000: Potot filed a manifestation with motion informing the TC that he is not appealing from the Decision and praying that a commitment order be issued so he could immediately serve his sentence. - Feb.11, 2000: Private complainant Rosalie Dapulag (wife of the victim), with the conformity of the public prosecutor, filed a motion for reconsideration/retrial praying that the decision be set aside and that the case be heard again because of certain irregularities committed before and during the trial. She alleged that there were 2 other men involved in the commission of the crime and that the eyewitness deliberately withheld the information upon solicitation by a certain Mayor Dapulag and upon the eyewitnesses’ own belief that such inclusion would complicate the case and make it more difficult. - Petitioner opposed this motion, asserting that the decision can no longer be modified or set aside because it became final when he formally waived his right to appeal. - May 3, 2000: The trial court granted Rosalie Dapulag’s motion, set aside its previous Decision as well as ordered that the records of the case be remanded to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor for re-evaluation of the evidence and filing of the corresponding charge. - Petitioner filed a MFR, contending that the trial court has no jurisdiction to issue the Feb.1 order as the Decision had become final, and that the said order would place him in double jeopardy. - May 26, 2000: The trial court denied the MFR for the reason that the State is not bound by the error or negligence of its prosecuting officers, hence, jeopardy does not attach. - Petitioner now assails the May 3rd and May 26 orders with the Sol.Gen. agreeing that the challenged
POTOT v PEOPLE
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
Ratio The waiver by the accused of his right to appeal from a judgment of conviction has the effect of causing the judgment to become final and unalterable. Reasoning - It is an undisputed fact that after the promulgation of the judgment of conviction, petitioner filed a manifestation expressly waiving his right to appeal therefrom. His intention not to appeal is further indicated by his prayer in the same manifestation for the immediate issuance of a commitment order so he could serve his sentence. Such waiver has the effect of causing the judgment to become final and unalterable. Thus, it was beyond the authority of the trial court to issue the order of May 3, 2000 setting aside its Feb.3, 2000 Decision which had attained finality. 3. YES Ratio When the MFR of the judgment of conviction is not initiated by the accused or at the instance of the trial court with the consent of the accused, the same should be denied outright. Reasoning - Sec. 1 Rule 121 of the same Rules provides: Sec.1. New trial or reconsideration – At any time before a judgment of conviction becomes final, the court may, on motion of the accused or at its own instance but with the consent of the accused, grant a new trial or reconsideration. - Since the MFR of the judgment of conviction was not initiated by the accused or at the instance of the trial court with his consent, the same should have been denied outright as being violative of the above provision. At any rate, the records do not show any irregularity in the preliminary investigation of the case before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. 4. YES Ratio The right against double jeopardy prohibits any subsequent prosecution of any person for a crime of which he has previously been acquitted or convicted. Reasoning - 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. - These requisites have been established. Records show that petitioner was charged with homicide under a valid information before the trial court which has jurisdiction over it. He was arraigned and
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Considering that the offended party had paid the corresponding filing fee for the estafa cases prior to the filing of the BP 22 cases with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), the RTC allowed the private prosecutor to appear and intervene in the proceedings. ISSUE WON a private prosecutor can be allowed to intervene and participate in the proceedings of the above-entitled estafa cases for the purpose of prosecuting the attached civil liability arising from the issuance of the checks involved which is also subject mater of the pending B.P. 22 cases HELD YES. Settled is the rule that the single act of issuing a bouncing check may give rise to two distinct criminal offenses: estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22). The Rules of Court allow the offended party to intervene via a private prosecutor in each of these two penal proceedings. However, the recovery of the single civil liability arising from the single act of issuing a bouncing check in either criminal case bars the recovery of the same civil liability in the other criminal action. While the law allows two simultaneous civil remedies for the offended party, it authorizes recovery in only one. In short, while two crimes arise from a single set of facts, only one civil liability attaches to it. Reasoning - Petitioner theorizes that the civil action necessarily arising from the criminal case pending before the MTC for violation of BP 22 precludes the institution of the corresponding civil action in the criminal case for estafa now pending before the RTC. She hinges her theory on the following provisions of Rules 110 and 111 of Rules of Court. - Based on the foregoing rules, an offended party may intervene in the prosecution of a crime, except in the following instances: (1) when, from the nature of the crime and the law defining and punishing it, no civil liability arises in favor of a private offended party; and (2) when, from the nature of the offense, the offended parties are entitled to civil indemnity, but (a) they waive the right to institute a civil action, (b) expressly reserve the right to do so or (c) the suit has already been instituted. In any of these instances, the private complainant’s interest in the case disappears and criminal prosecution becomes the sole function of the public prosecutor. None of these exceptions apply to the instant case. Hence,
pleaded guilty to the charge. On the basis of his plea, petitioner was convicted and meted the corresponding penalty. As petitioner has been placed in jeopardy for the crime of homicide, he cannot be prosecuted anew for the same offense, or any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the first offense charged. DISPOSITION The petition is granted. The assailed orders dated May 3, 2000 and May 26, 2000 issued by the trial court are set aside. Its decision dated Feb. 1, 2000 is reinstated.
RODRIGUEZ v PONFERRADA 465 SCRA 338 PANGANIBAN; July 29, 2005
NATURE Petition for Certiorari seeking to reverse the July 27, 2002 Order of the RTC of Quezon City: “WHEREFORE, the appearance of a private prosecutor shall be allowed upon payment of the legal fees for these estafa cases pending before this Court.” FACTS - Honorable Assistant City Prosecutor Rossana S. Morales-Montojo of Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office issued her Resolution: “there being PROBABLE CAUSE to charge respondent for ESTAFA under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) as amended by PD 818 and for Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, it is respectfully recommended that the attached Information be approved and filed in Court.’ - As a consequence thereof, separate informations were separately filed against herein [p]etitioner before proper [c]ourts, for Estafa and [v]iolation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 - petitioner through counsel filed in open court before the [p]ublic [r]espondent an ‘Opposition to the Formal Entry of Appearance of the Private Prosecutor’ - “The [p]ublic [r]espondent court during the said hearing noted the Formal Entry of Appearance of Atty. Felix R. Solomon as [p]rivate [p]rosecutor as well as the Opposition filed thereto by herein [p]etitioner. - Ruling of the Trial Court Noting petitioner’s opposition to the private prosecutor’s entry of appearance, the RTC held that the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged is deemed instituted, unless the offended party (1) waives the civil action, (2) reserves the right to institute it separately, or (3)
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
the private prosecutor cannot be barred from intervening in the estafa suit. True, each of the overt acts in these instances may give rise to two criminal liabilities -- one for estafa and another for violation of BP 22. But every such act of issuing a bouncing check involves only one civil liability for the offended party, who has sustained only a single injury. - criminal liability will give rise to civil liability only if the same felonious act or omission results in damage or injury to another and is the direct and proximate cause thereof. Damage or injury to another is evidently the foundation of the civil action. - Thus, the possible single civil liability arising from the act issuing a bouncing check can be the subject of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case and the BP 22 violation prosecution. On Election of Remedies - “In its broad sense, election of remedies refers to the choice by a party to an action of one of two or more coexisting remedial rights, where several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the term has been generally limited to a choice by a party between inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion of one being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of, the other.” In its more restricted and technical sense, the election of remedies is the adoption of one of two or more coexisting ones, with the effect of precluding a resort to the others. - no binding election occurs before a decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party supervenes - it was not the intent of the special rule to preclude the prosecution of the civil action that corresponds to the estafa case, should the latter also be filed. The crimes of estafa and violation of BP 22 are different and distinct from each other. There is no identity of offenses involved, for which legal jeopardy in one case may be invoked in the other. The offenses charged in the informations are perfectly distinct from each other in point of law, however nearly they may be connected in point of fact - In promulgating the Rules, this Court did not intend to leave the offended parties without any remedy to protect their interests in estafa cases. Its power to promulgate the Rules of Court is limited in the sense that rules “shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.” Private complainant’s intervention in the prosecution of estafa is justified not only for the prosecution of her interests, but also for the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice as mandated by the Constitution.
1979, a restraining order was issued by the CA against the threatened act of arraignment of the accused. However, in a decision of October 25 1979, the CA dismissed the petition and lifted the restraining order of Jan 23,1979. The motion for reconsideration of the accused was denied in a resolution. ISSUE WON the trial court acting on a motion to dismiss a criminal case filed by the Provincial Fiscal upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice to whom the case was elevated for review, may refuse to grant the motion and insist on the arraignment and trial on the merits HELD YES Ratio Once an information is filed in court, the court’s prior permission must be secured if fiscal wants to reinvestigate the case. While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court or not, once the case had already been brought to Court, whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be proper in the case thereafter should be addressed for the consideration of the Court. DISPOSITION Petition dismissed
DISPOSITION Petition is DISMISSED and the assailed order AFFIRMED
CRESPO v MOGUL 151 SCRA 462 GANCAYCO; June 30, 1987
NATURE Petition to review the decision of the Circuit Criminal Court of Lucena City (petitioner prays that respondent judge be perpetually enjoined from enforcing his threat to proceed with the arraignment and trail of petitioner, ordering respondent Judge to dismiss the said case, and declaring the obligation of petitioner as purely civil.) FACTS - Assistant Fiscal Proceso de Gala filed an information for estafa against Mario Crespo in Circuit Criminal Court of Lucena City. When the case was set for arraignment, the accused filed a motion to defer arraignment on the ground that there was a pending petition for review filed with the Secretary of Justice of the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal for the filing of the information. The presiding judge (leodegario Mogul) denied the motion through his order. - The accused filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a preliminary writ of injunction. In an order (Aug 17 1977), the CA restrained Judge Mogul from proceeding with the arraignment of the accused until further orders from the Court - On May 15 1978, a decision was made by the CA granting the writ and perpetually restraining the judge from enforcing his threat to compel the arraignment of the accused in the case until the Dept of Justice shall have finally resolved the petition for review. - On March 22, 1978, The Undersecretary of Justice Hon Catalino Macaraig Jr, resolving the petition for review, reversed the resolution of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and directed the fiscal to move for immediate dismissal of the information filed against the accused. The Provincial Fiscal filed a motion to dismiss for insufficiency of evidence on April 10, 1978. On November 24 1978, The Judge denied the motion and set the arraignment - The accused filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with petition for the issuance of preliminary writ of prohibition and/or temporary restraining order in the CA. On January 23
STA. ROSA MINING v ZABALA 153 SCRA 367 BIDIN; August 31, 1987
NATURE Mandamus to compel respondent Fiscal to prosecute Criminal Case No. 821 of the then Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte until the same is terminated. FACTS - On March 21, 1974, petitioner filed a complaint for attempted theft of materials (scrap iron) forming part of the installations on its mining property at Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte against private respondents Romeo Garrido and Gil Alapan with the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Camarines Norte, then headed by Provincial Fiscal Joaquin Ilustre. - The case was assigned to third Assistant Fiscal Esteban P. Panotes for preliminary investigation who, after conducting said investigation, issued a resolution dated August 26, 1974 recommending that an information for Attempted Theft be filed
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
against private respondents on a finding of prima facie case which resolution was approved by Provincial Fiscal Joaquin Ilustre. Private respondents sought reconsideration of the resolution but the same was denied by Fiscal Ilustre in a resolution dated October 14, 1974. - On October 29, 1974, Fiscal Ilustre filed with the Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte an Information dated October 17, 1987 docketed as Criminal Case No. 821, charging private respondents with the crime of Attempted Theft. - In a letter dated October 22, 1974, the private respondents requested the Secretary of Justice for a review of the Resolutions of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal dated August 26, 1974 and October 14, 1974. - On November 6, 1974, the Chief State Prosecutor ordered the Provincial Fiscal to elevate entire records PFO Case 577 against Garrido et al.The letter-request for review was opposed by petitioner in a letter to the Secretary of Justice dated November 23, 1974 alleging, among other things, that an information for Attempted Theft had already been filed against private respondents for which reason the request for review has become a moot question as the Provincial Fiscal has lost jurisdiction to dismiss the charge for attempted theft. - On March 6, 1975, the Secretary of Justice, after reviewing the records, reversed the findings of prima facie case of the Provincial Fiscal and directed said prosecuting officer to immediately move for the dismissal of the criminal case. Petitioner sought reconsideration of the directive of the Secretary of Justice but the latter denied the same in a letter dated June 11, 1975. - A motion to dismiss dated September 16, 1975 was then filed by the Provincial Fiscal but the court denied the motion on the ground that there was a prima facie evidence against private respondents and set the case for trial on February 25, 1976. - Private respondents sought reconsideration of the court's ruling but in an Order dated February 13, 1976, the motion filed for said purpose was likewise denied. Trial of the case was reset to April 23, 1976. - Thereafter, Fiscal Ilustre was appointed a judge in the Court of First Instance of Albay and respondent Fiscal Zabala became officer-in-charge of the Provincial Fiscal's Office of Camarines Norte. - On April 19, 1976, respondent Fiscal filed a Second Motion to Dismiss the case. This second motion to dismiss was denied by the trial court in an order dated April 23, 1976. Whereupon, respondent fiscal manifested that he would not prosecute the case and
compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer" (Suarez vs. Platon, 69 Phil. 556). - Accordingly, if the fiscal is not at all convinced that a prima facie case exists, he simply cannot move for the dismissal of the case and, when denied, refuse to prosecute the same. He is obliged by law to proceed and prosecute the criminal action. He cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. At least what he can do is to continue appearing for the prosecution and then turn over the presentation of evidence to another fiscal or a private prosecutor subject to his direction and control (U.S. vs. Despabiladeras, 32 Phil. 442; U.S. vs. Gallegos, 37 Phil. 289). Where there is no other prosecutor available, he should proceed to discharge his duty and present the evidence to the best of his ability and let the court decide the merits of the case on the basis of the evidence adduced by both parties. - The mere fact that the Secretary of Justice had, after reviewing the records of the case, directed the prosecuting fiscal to move for the dismissal of the case and the motion to dismiss filed pursuant to said directive is denied by the trial court, is no justification for the refusal of the fiscal to prosecute the case. It is the court where the case is filed and not the fiscal that has full control of it. - In order therefore to avoid such a situation whereby the opinion of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the action of the fiscal may be disregarded by the trial court, the Secretary of Justice should, as far as practicable, refrain from entertaining a petition for review or appeal from the action of the fiscal, when the complaint or information has already been filed in Court. The matter should be left entirely for the determination of the Court." DISPOSITION petition is hereby Granted Public respondent or any other person who may be assigned or appointed to act in his place or stead, is hereby ordered to continue prosecuting Criminal Case No. 821 until the same is terminated.
disauthorized any private prosecutor to appear therein. Hence, this petition for mandamus. - In this action, petitioner prays for the issuance of the writ of mandamus "commanding respondent fiscal or any other person who may be assigned or appointed to act in his place or stead to prosecute Criminal Case No. 821 of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte" There is no question that the institution of a criminal action is addressed to the sound discretion of the investigating fiscal. He may or he may not file the information according to whether the evidence is in his opinion sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. (Gonzales vs. Court of First Instance, 63 Phil. 846) and when he decides not to file the information, in the exercise of his discretion, he may not be compelled to do so (People vs. Pineda, 20 SCRA 748). However, after the case had already been filed in court, "fiscals are not clothed with power, without the consent of the court, to dismiss or nolle prosequi criminal actions actually instituted and pending further proceedings. The power to dismiss criminal actions is vested solely in the court" (U.S. vs. Barredo, 32 Phil. 444, 450; Gonzales vs. Court of First Instance, supra). ISSUE WON the fiscal can be compelled to prosecute the case after his motion to dismiss has been denied HELD YES - This court is of the view that the writ prayed for should issue. Notwithstanding his personal convictions or opinions, the fiscal must proceed with his duty of presenting evidence to the court to enable the court to arrive at its own independent judgment as to the culpability of the accused. The fiscal should not shirk from his responsibility much less leave the prosecution of the case at the hands of a private prosecutor. At all times, the criminal action shall be prosecuted under his direction and control (Sec. 4, Rule 110, Rules of Court). Otherwise, the entire proceedings will be null and void (People vs. Beriales, 70 SCRA 361). - "In the trial of criminal cases, it is the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the government since an offense is an outrage to the sovereignty of the State." (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. IV, 1980 Ed., p. 10). This is so because "the prosecuting officer is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy but of a sovereignty where obligation to govern impartially is as
PEREZ v HAGONOY 327 SCRA 588 DE LEON; March 9, 2000
NATURE: Review on Certiorari
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
FACTS - Private respondent Hagonoy Rural Bank, Inc. owns the Hagonoy Money Shop which employed petitioner Cristina O. Perez as Officer-In-Charge, Cashier and Teller, Alberto S. Fabian as Bookkeeper, and Cristina Medina and Milagros Martin as Solicitors/Field Managers. - For the period starting August 3, 1992 up to December 5, 1993, the Laya, Manabat, Salgado and Company, an independent management, consultancy and accounting firm, conducted an audit of the financial affairs of the Hagonoy Money Shop and found anomalies in more or less twenty-eight (28) savings accounts consisting of withdrawals which were recorded in the subsidiary ledgers of the money shop but not in the passbooks which were in the possession of the depositors. The audit also revealed that to cover-up the anomalous withdrawals, fake deposits were recorded in the money shop's subsidiary ledgers whenever the remaining balance in a particular savings account went below the amount of legitimate withdrawals made by a depositor.This prompted the private respondent to file an affidavit-complaint for estafa against the aforementioned employees of the money shop and two outsiders, Susan Jordan and Brigida Mangahas. Acting Provincial Prosecutor, Jesus Y. Manarang (hereinafter "prosecutor"), issued a resolution finding prima facie evidence that the petitioner and her coemployees had committed the crime of estafa thru falsification of commercial documents, and recommending the filing of the corresponding information against them with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan. The charges against Susan Jordan and Brigida Mangahas were, however, dismissed. - Perez filed a petition for review with the Secretary of Justice praying for the dismissal of the charges against her. On the other hand, private respondent moved for a reconsideration of the portion of the same resolution dismissing the complaint against Susan Jordan. - The prosecutor granted private respondent's motion for reconsideration.8 Hence, on April 27, 1994, an information for estafa thru falsification of commercial documents was filed against herein petitioner, Alberto Fabian, Milagros Martin, Cristina Medina and Susan Jordan, - On September 23, 1994, then Secretary of Justice, Franklin M. Drilon, issued Resolution No. 696, series of 1994 ordering the prosecutor to cause the dismissal of the information against herein petitioner
retains the right to bring a special civil action for certiorari in his own name in criminal proceedings before the courts of law. Reasoning - In the case of Dela Rosa v. Court of Appeals,we held that: "In a special civil action for certiorari filed under Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court wherein it is alleged that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction or on other jurisdictional grounds, the rules state that the petition may be filed by the person aggrieved. In such case, the aggrieved parties are the State and the private offended party or complainant. The complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of the case so he may file such special civil action questioning the decision or action of the respondent court on jurisdictional grounds. In so doing, the complainant should not bring the action in the name of the People of the Philippines. The action may be prosecuted in (the) name of the said complainant." - Furthermore, our ruling in the case of Dee v. Court of Appeals allowing the private offended party to file a special civil action for certiorari to assail the order of the trial judge granting the motion to dismiss upon the directive of the Secretary of Justice is apropos. It follows, therefore, that if the private respondent in this case may file a special civil action for certiorari, then with more reason does it have legal personality to move for a reconsideration of the order of the trial court dismissing the criminal charges against the petitioner. In fact, as a general rule, a special civil action will not lie unless a motion for reconsideration is first filed before the respondent tribunal, to allow it an opportunity to correct its assigned errors.
on the ground of insufficient evidence. The private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of the Secretary of Justice, which motion, however, was denied with finality by the latter.Pursuant to the said resolution, the prosecutor filed a motion in the RTC praying for the dismissal of the case against herein petitioner and the admission of an amended information excluding petitioner as one of the accused which motion was granted by the RTC. Private respondent assailed the dismissal of the case against the petitioner in a motion for reconsideration filed in the RTC which motion was denied by the RTC after finding that the private respondent, as private complainant, had no legal personality to question the dismissal of the criminal charges against the petitioner. ISSUES 1. WON Judge Masadao, presiding judge of RTC Branch 9, Malolos, Bulacan, committed grave abuse of discretion in granting the prosecutor's motion to dismiss the criminal case against petitioner without an independent assessment of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence against the latter 2. WON the private respondent, as private complainant, in a criminal case has the legal personality to question the dismissal by the trial judge of the criminal charges against herein petitioner upon the motion filed by the prosecutor HELD 1. YES, Judge Masadao acted with grave abuse of discretion in granting the prosecutor's motion to dismiss the criminal charges against the petitioner on the basis solely of the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice. Reasoning - As aptly observed by the Office of the Solicitor General, in failing to make an independent finding of the merits of the case and merely anchoring the dismissal on the revised position of the prosecution, the trial judge relinquished the discretion he was duty bound to exercise. In effect, it was the prosecution, through the Department of Justice which decided what to do and not the court which was reduced to a mere rubber stamp in violation of the ruling in Crespo v. Mogul.. 2. YES Ratio While it is only the Solicitor General that may bring or defend actions on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, or represent the People or State in criminal proceedings pending in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, the private offended party
PEOPLE v BUBAN GR No. 166895 VELASCO, JR; January 24, 2007
NATURE Petition for review decision of CA FACTS - Romeo Buban is accused of raping his then 12 year old daughter 5 times, on separate occasions. The medical examination of the girl reveals that she was indeed raped. - Although the girl’s sworn statement mentioned five occasions of rape, the Complaint mentioned only the 5th incident. The charges of rape committed on other occasions were not supported with the required
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
complaints in accordance with Section 5, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. - RTC found the accused guilty (sentence: death penalty plus moral damages, civil indemnity, exemplary damages) but only with regard the 5th incident only. The other 4 charges were dismissed for lack of legal basis to convict. The dispositive portion of the RTC’s decision was not specific as to which charge it found the accused guilty, but the body of the decision implies the dismissal of the other 4 charges, thus it can be deduced that the conviction pertains to the 5th incident only. CA affirmed. ISSUES 1. WON CA erred in finding the accused guilty despite the alleged insufficiency of evidence 2. WON the accused may be convicted for the other counts of rape, where the complaint mentions only one instance of rape HELD 1. NO Ratio there is no error in the appreciation of evidence by the court. Reasoning - the argument of the accused that the testimony of the girl is not reliable for inconsistencies is untenable. People v. Antonio: Discrepancies and inconsistencies in the testimony of a witness referring to minor details, and not in actuality touching upon the central fact of the crime, do not impair her credibility. If at all, they serve as proof that the witness is not coached or rehearsed. 2. As can be gleamed from the case, the complaint should contain all instances of the crime charged. The other 4 counts of rape were dismissed because the complaint did not specify the same, and only mentioned the last instance of rape, despite the inclusion of the other 4 in the sworn statement of the girl. The prosecution did not question anymore the dismissal of the other 4 counts, so the court did not discuss it further. DISPOSITION judgment affirmed with modification. Sentence changed to reclusion perpatua (pursuant to RA 9346, abolishing the death penalty) and higher damages.
2. WON respondent Judge should be disqualified from further proceeding with the criminal cases HELD 1. NO Ratio Private prosecutors cannot intervene independently of and take a position inconsistent with that of the Solicitor General. Reasoning - Participation of the private prosecution in the instant case was delimited by this Court in its Resolution of October 1, 1975, thus: "to collaborate with the Solicitor General in the preparation of the Answer and pleadings that may be required by this Court." To collaborate means to cooperate with and to assist the Solicitor General. It was never intended that the private prosecutors could adopt a stand independent of or in contravention of the position taken by the Solicitor General. - Since a criminal offense is an outrage to the sovereignty of the State, it is but natural that the representatives of the State should direct and control the prosecution. > Suarez v Platon: the prosecuting officer "'is the representative not of, an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall he done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor-indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one." > People v Esquivel: that there is an absolute necessity for prosecuting attorneys to lay "before the court the pertinent facts at their disposal with methodical and meticulous attention, clarifying contradictions and filling up gaps and loopholes in their evidence, to the end that the court's mind may not be tortured by doubts, that the innocent may not suffer and the guilty not escape unpunished. Obvious to all, this is the prosecution's prime duty to the court, to the accused, and to the state." - It is for the purpose of realizing the aforementioned objectives that the prosecution of offenses is placed
NATURE Original action for certiorari and prohibition FACTS - Solicitor General Estilito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Alicia Simpio-Diy and Solicitor Eduardo L. Kilayko for respondents. Estanisloo A. Fernandez and Dakila F. Castro & Associate as private prosecutors. - petitioners seek the annulment of respondent Judge's Orders in the Criminal Case People of the Philippines v Jorge Tan, Jr, Cesar Tan, Teofanis Bondoc, Osmundo Tolentino, Mariano Bartido and Librado Sode for frustrated murder and Double Murder of the son and uncle of Mayor Inigo Larazzabal. - Judge Pedro Gallardo made the two life sentences to death penalty allegedly after meeting with Mayor Larazzabal and receipt of other paraphernalia such as whisky and wine according to the court stenographer. - Jan 14, 1976 - SolGen, on behalf of the People of the Philippines, submitted his Comment to the petition. They are "persuaded that there are bases for stating that the rendition of respondent Judge's decision and his resolution on the motion for new trial were not free from suspicion of bias and prejudice… therefore, they interpose no objection to the remand of the aforementioned criminal cases "for the rendition of a new decision by another trial judge." - Jan 30, 1976 - private prosecutors submitted their Comment in justification of the challenged Orders of the respondent Judge and objected to the remand of this case. - Feb 12, 1976, the petitioners moved to strike out the "Motion to Admit Attacked Comment" and the "Comment" of the private prosecutor on the ground that the latter has "absolutely no standing in the instant proceedings before this Honorable Court and, hence, without any personality to have any paper of his entertained by this Tribunal” - private prosecutors now contend that they are entitled to appear before this Court, to take part in the proceedings, and to adapt a position in contravention to that of the Solicitor General. ISSUES 1. WON private prosecutors have the right to intervene independently of the Solicitor General and to adopt a stand inconsistent with that of the latter
TAN, JR v GALLARDO 73 SCRA 308 ANTONIO; October 5, 1976
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
under the direction, control, and responsibility of the prosecuting officer. - Role of the private prosecutors is to represent the offended party with respect to the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from the offense. This civil action is deemed instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party either expressly waives the civil action or reserves to institute it separately. Thus, "an offended party may intervene in the proceedings, personally or by attorney, specially in case of offenses which can not be prosecuted except at the instance of the offended party The only exception to this is when the offended party waives his right to civil action or expressly reserves his right to institute it after the termination of the case, in which case he lost his right to intervene upon the theory that he is deemed to have lost his interest in its prosecution. in any event, whether an offended party intervenes in the prosecution of a criminal action, his intervention must always be subject to the direction and control of the prosecuting official." > Herrero v Diaz: "intervention of the offended party or his attorney is authorized by section 15 of Rule 106 of the Rules of Court, subject to the provisions of section 4 of the same Rule that all criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal." - the position occupied by the offended party is subordinate to that of the promotor fiscal because, as the promotor fiscal alone is authorized to represent the public prosecution, or the People of the Philippine Islands, in the prosecution of offenders, and to control the proceeding, and as it is discretionary with him to institute and prosecute a criminal proceeding, being at liberty to commence it or not or to refrain from prosecuting it or not, depending upon whether or not there is, in his opinion, sufficient evidence to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, except when the case is pending in the Court of First Instance, the continuation of the offended party's intervention depends upon the continuation of the proceeding. Consequently, if the promotor fiscal desists from pressing the charge or asks the competent Court of First Instance in which the case is pending for the dismissal thereof, and said court grants the petition, the intervention of the person injured by the commission of the offense ceases by virtue of the principle that the accessory follows the principal. Consequently, as the offended party is not entitled to represent the People of the Philippine
It is evident, therefore, that since the Solicitor General alone is authorized to represent the State or the People of the Philippines the interest of the private prosecutors is subordinate to that of the State and they cannot be allowed to take a stand inconsistent with that of the Solicitor General, for that would be tantamount to giving the latter the direction and control of the criminal proceedings, contrary to the provisions of law and the settled rules on the matter. 2. It is already moot because the judge is no longer in the judicial service DISPOSITION SC grants the petition and hereby remands the case to the trial court in order that another Judge may hear anew petitioners' motion for new trial and to resolve the issue accordingly on the basis of the evidence
Islands in the prosecution of a public offense, or to control the proceeding once it is commenced, and as his right to intervene therein is subject to the promotor fiscal's right of control, it cannot be stated that an order of dismissal decreed upon petition of the promoter fiscal himself deprives the offended party of his right to appeal from an order overrruling a complaint or information, which right belongs exclusively to the promotor fiscal by virtue of the provisions of section 44 of General Orders, No. 58. To permit a person injured by the commission of an offense to appeal from an order dismissing a criminal case issued by a Court of First Instance upon petition of the promoter fiscal, would be tantamount to giving said offended party of the direction and control of a criminal proceeding in violation of the provisions of the above-cited section 107 of General Orders, No. 58. - from the nature of the offense, or where the law defining and punishing the offense charged does not provide for an indemnity, the offended party may not intervene in the prosecution of the offense. - Solicitor General represents the People of the Philippines or the State in criminal proceedings pending either in the Court of Appeals or in this Court. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 478, "Defining the Powers and Functions of the Office of the Solicitor General", provides: SECTION 1. Function and Organization, (1) The Office of the Solicitor General shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer. * * * The office of the Solicitor General shall constitute the law office of the Government, and as such, shall discharge duties requiring the services of a lawyer. It shall have the following specific powers and functions: (a) Represent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is the party. (k) Act and represent the Republic and/or the people before any court, tribunal, body or commission in any matter, action or proceeding which, in his opinion, affects the welfare of the people as the ends of justice may require.
PEOPLE v DELA CERNA 390 SCRA 538 CORONA ; October 9, 2002
NATURE Automatic review of decision of Cebu City RTC FACTS - Ernesto dela Cuesta was charged on May 16, 1997 with raping his minor daughter, Irene, seven times over a period of eight years beginning 1989 when the victim was seven years old. - The victim testified in open court about the incidents of rape. However, prior to the rendering of judgment, the victim, on July 3, 1998, filed an affidavit of desistance stating among others that she was no longer interested in pursuing the case and that she had already forgiven her father. - The SC noted that the rape incidents in this case occurred prior to the effectivity of RA 8353, The Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which took effect on October 22, 1997. Under this statute, the crime of rape was classified as a crime against person. It should be further noted that the law at the time the crimes were committed treated rape as a private crime covered by Article 344 of the RPC. As provided for in the said article, 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, the offender has been expressly pardoned by the above named persons. - The trial court found the defendant guilty and sentenced him to the supreme penalty of death.
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
- In his appeal, the offender claimed that he should no have been found guilty considering that the affidavit of desistance created a reasonable doubt as to his guilt. ISSUE WON the trial court erred in convicting the defendant HELD NO - The affidavit did not in fact contain any retraction on the claim of rape. Hence the guilty verdict was proper considering that the testimony of the victim was considered by the trial court as credible and believable. There was as such no reasonable doubt to speak of. - Even using the old statute which considered rape as a private crime and the forgiveness of the victim or the parents, grandparents, or guardian as extinguishing the crime, the Supreme court held that the pardon or forgiveness must be prior to the institution of the criminal action. After the case has been filed the control of the prosecution is removed from the offended party’s hand and any change of heart by the victim will not affect the state’s right to vindicate the atrocities committed against itself. - The Court also ruled that the death penalty is not applicable in this case as the prosecution was not able to establish beyond reasonable doubt the alleged minority of the victim. It cited its previous rulings to this effect.
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. - Section 5 of Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure states: 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. In case the offended party dies or becomes incapacitated before she could file the complaint and has no known parents, grandparents, or guardian, the State shall initiate the criminal action in her behalf. The offended party, even if she were a minor, has the right to initiate the prosecution for the above offenses, independently of her parents, grandparents or guardian, unless she is incompetent or incapable of doing so upon grounds other than her minority. Where the offended party who is a minor fails to file the complaint, her parents, grandparents or guardian may file the same. - A complaint of the offended party or her relatives is required in crimes against chastity out of consideration for the offended woman and her family, who might prefer to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go through with the scandal of a public trial. The law deems it the wiser policy to let the aggrieved woman and her family decide whether to expose to public view or to heated controversies in court the vices, fault, and disgraceful acts occurring in the family. - The complaint in the instant case has complied with the requirement under the Revised Penal Code and the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which vest upon JONALYN, as the offended party, the right to institute the criminal action. As signed by JONALYN, the complaint started the prosecutory proceeding. The assistance of JONALYN’s aunt, or even of her mother, was a superfluity. JONALYN’s signature alone suffices to validate the complaint. - If a minor under the Rules of Court can file a complaint for rape independently of her parents, JONALYN, then 20 years of age who was found to have the mentality of an 8-year-old girl, could likewise file the complaint independently of her relatives. Her complaint can be rightfully considered filed by a minor. 2. YES - The determination of the competence of witnesses to testify rests primarily with the trial judge who sees them in the witness stand and observes their behavior or their possession or lack of intelligence,
PEOPLE v DELA CRUZ 384 SCRA 375 DAVIDE; July 11, 2002
FACTS - Upon a complaint signed by JONALYN with the assistance of her aunt Carmelita Borja, two informations were filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor before the RTC of Malolos charging Bienvenido Dela Cruz with rape. BIENVENIDO entered a plea of not guilty. - When JONALYN was presented as its first witness, the prosecution sought to obtain from the trial court an order for the conduct of a psychiatric examination to determine her mental and psychological capability to testify in court. Trial court allowed the prosecutor to conduct direct examination on JONALYN so that if in its perception she would appear to be suffering from mental deficiency, the prosecutor could be permitted to ask leading questions. Noticing that
JONALYN had difficulty in expressing herself, the trial court decided to suspend the proceedings to give the prosecution sufficient time to confer with her. - Trial court allowed the prosecution to put on the witness stand a Medical Officer of the National Center for Mental Health. Dr. Tuazon testified that she found that JONALYN was suffering from a moderate level of mental retardation and that although chronologically the latter was already 20 years of age, she had the mental age of an 8½-yearold child under the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. - The trial court issued an order allowing leading questions to be propounded to JONALYN. Thus, JONALYN took the witness stand. She declared in open court that BIENVENIDO raped her twice. She stated that BIENVENIDO placed himself on top of her and inserted his private part into her womanhood. - The defense filed a demurrer to evidence, which was granted. It admitted that it could have moved to quash the information but it did not because the complaint on which the information was based was on its face valid, it having been signed by JONALYN as the offended party. However, the undeniable truth is that JONALYN had no capacity to sign the same considering her mental deficiency or abnormality. The defense also insisted on assailing the competency of JONALYN as a witness. It claimed that JONALYN’s testimony, considering her mental state, was coached and rehearsed. - The trial court denied the Demurrer to Evidence and set the dates for the presentation of the evidence for the defense. Trial court convicted BIENVENIDO of the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 1275-M-96, but acquitted him in Criminal Case No. 1274-M-96 for insufficiency of evidence. ISSUES 1. WON the complaint for rape filed was valid 2. WON Jonalyn was competent to testify 3. WON Jonalyn was credible as a witness 4. WON leading questions should have been allowed to be asked to Jonalyn HELD 1. YES - The pertinent laws existing at the time the crimes were committed were Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code (prior to its amendment by R.A. No. 8353 which took effect on 22 October 1997) and Section 5 of Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. - 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
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
as well as their understanding of the obligation of an oath. - The prosecution has proved JONALYN’s competency by the testimony of Dr. Tuazon. The finding of the trial court, as supported by the testimony of Dr. Tuazon that JONALYN had the understanding of an 8year-old child, does not obviate the fact of her competency. Its only effect was to consider her testimony from the point of view of an 8-year-old minor. 3. YES - The foregoing narrative has established not only JONALYN’s competency but also her credibility. Considering her feeble mind, she could not have fabricated or concocted her charge against BIENVENIDO. Also, no improper motive was shown by the defense as to why JONALYN would file a case or falsely testify against BIENVENIDO. - Complainant has made herself clear about the sexual molestation she suffered in the hands of the accused. Plain and simple her testimony may have been, unembellished, as it is, with details, yet, it is in its simplicity that its credence is enhanced. 4. YES - It is usual and proper for the court to permit leading questions in conducting the examination of a witness who is immature; aged and infirm; in bad physical condition; uneducated; ignorant of, or unaccustomed to, court proceedings; inexperienced; feeble-minded; confused and agitated; terrified; timid or embarrassed while on the stand; lacking in comprehension of questions asked; deaf and dumb; or unable to speak or understand the English or imperfectly familiar therewith. - The leading questions were neither conclusions of facts merely put into the mouth of JONALYN nor prepared statements which she merely confirmed as true. DISPOSITION RTC decision finding accusedappellant BIENVENIDO DELA CRUZ guilty of the crime of rape and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED, with the modification that accused-appellant is ordered to pay the victim JONALYN YUMANG civil indemnity in the reduced amount of P50,000 and moral damages in the amount of P50,000.
NATURE Appeal from the decision of the RTC
superiority in strength, enough proof was adduced, however, to show that the attackers had cooperated in such a way as to secure advantage of their superiority in strength certainly out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. - Article III, Section 14, of the 1987 Constitution, in particular, mandates that no person shall be held answerable for a criminal offense without due process of law and that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall first be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. The right to be informed of any such indictment is likewise explicit in procedural rules. - object of informing an accused in writing of the charges against him: First. To furnish the accused with such a description of the charge against him as will enable him to make his defense; and second, to avail himself of his conviction or acquittal for protection against a further prosecution for the same cause; and third, to inform the court of the facts alleged, so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a conviction, if one should be had. (United States vs. Cruikshank, 92 U.S., 542). In order that this requirement may be satisfied, facts must be stated, not conclusions of law. Every crime is made up of certain acts and intent; these must be set forth in the complaint with reasonable particularity of time, place, names (plaintiff and defendant), and circumstances. In short, the complaint must contain a specific allegation of every fact and circumstance necessary to constitute the crime charged DISPOSITION appellant Ronnie Quitlong is found guilty of the crime of murder for the killing of Jonathan Calpito. Appellants Salvador Quitlong and Emilio Senoto, Jr., are found guilty as accomplices in the commission of the crime.
FACTS - Calpito was a student from Baguio city. One time, he wanted some fishballs so he and Gosil bought some fishballs worth P15. When Calpito counted his change, he found out that he only received P35 for his P100. Confronted by Calpito and Gosil, the fishball vendor would not admit that he had shortchanged Calpito. The 3 men kept arguing. Moments later, Soriano saw eight men rushing towards Gosil and Calpito. Calpito got stabbed and fell to the ground. - The RTC found Ronnie Quitlong, Salvador Quitlong and Emilio Senoto guilty of murder for the killing of Jonathan Calpito. Accused-appellants, shortly after the filing of the information, submitted a motion for reinvestigation alleging that “it was a certain Jesus Mendoza who stabbed the victim. The trial court acted favorably on the motion. The City Prosecutor filed a motion to admit an amended information on the basis of affidavits. The information, as amended, included Jesus Mendoza among the named accused. But unlike accused-appellants who were immediately arrested after the commission of the crime, Jesus Mendoza remained at large. At their arraignment, the detained accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. - On 21 April 1995, the trial court, following his evaluation of the respective submissions of the prosecution and the defense, including their rebuttal and sur-rebuttal evidence, rendered its now assailed decision. ISSUES
WON the RTC abused its discretion and/or acted in excess of or without jurisdiction in finding that there was conspiracy between and among the accused-appellants WON the RTC gravely abused its discretion and/or acted in excess of or without jurisdiction in finding the accused-appellants guilty of the crime of Murder instead of Homicide
ROCO v CONTRERAS 461 SCRA 505 GARCIA; June 28, 2005
NATURE Petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court the decision dismissing appeal and resolution denying motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals FACTS
PEOPLE v QUITLONG 292 SCRA 360 VITUG ; July 10, 1998
HELD 1. YES, Quitlong is guilty of murder while the other 2 are only accomplices. 2. NO, the crime was qualified The crime committed was qualified by abuse of superiority. While superiority in number would not per se mean
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
- Domingo Roco, engaged in buying and selling of dressed chicken, purchased his supply from private respondent Cal’s Poultry Supply Corporation (Cal’s) - As payment for his purchase, petitioner drew 5 checks payable to Cal’s against his account with PCIB. PCIB dishonored the checks for having been drawn from a closed account. Cal’s then filed a criminal complaint for violation of BP22 - Before trial could commence, Roco filed with the BIR a denunciation letter against Cal’s in that it failed to issue commercial invoices. BIR found no prima facie evidence of tax evasion. - Trial for Roco’s violation of BP 22 commenced. After the prosecution rested, the MTCC declared the cases submitted for decision on account of petitioner’s failure to adduce evidence in his behalf. Later, MTCC rendered a judgment of conviction against petitioner. - Petitioner went to appeal to the RTC contending that he was deprived of due process. RTC agreed and vacated the MTCC decision. - Pending the remanded cases, petitioner filed with the MTCC a “Request for Issuance of Subpoena Ad Testificandum and Subpoena Duces Tecum”, requiring Vivian Deocampo or Danilo Yap, both of Cal’s Corporation or their duly authorized representatives, to appear and testify in court and to bring with them certain documents, records and books of accounts for the years 1993-19991. Prosecution did not object. - Acting Judge Geomer C. Delfin, issued an order granting petitioner’s request and accordingly directed the issuance of the desired subpoenas. -Cal’s counsel manifested that it was improper for the trial court to have directed the issuance of the requested subpoenas, to which the Roco countered by saying that Judge Delfin’s had become final and hence, immutable. Nonetheless, the trial court issued an order allowing the prosecution to file its comment or opposition to petitioner’s request for the issuance of subpoenas. They argued that Deocampo had earlier attested that the documents, records and
Sales Journal for the year 1993; Accounts Receivable Journal for the year 1993; Sales Ledger for the year 1993; Accounts Receivable Ledger for the year 1993 (in its absence, Accounts Receivable Ledger for the years 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999); Audited Income Statement for the years 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and Income Statements as of February 1999; Audited Balance Sheet for the years 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and pBalance Sheet as of February 1999; and Income Tax Returns for the years 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
case. However, in the matter of relevancy of those books and documents to the pending criminal cases that petitioner miserably failed to discharge his burden. - Based on the records below and as correctly pointed out by the CA, petitioner had been issued by Cal’s with temporary receipts in the form of yellow pad slips of paper evidencing his payments, which pad slips had been validated by the corporation itself. It is clear that the production of the books and documents requested by petitioner are not indispensable to prove his defense of payment. DISPOSITION the instant petition is DENIED and the challenged decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED.
books of accounts were already burned, they did not maintain the requested sales ledger and that other documents could not be produced because of the recent computerization of records was still in the process of completion. They also maintained that the documents requested are immaterial and irrelevant to the crimes for which the petitioner was being prosecuted. - In a resolution, the MTCC, thru its Judge Edward B. Contreras, denied petitioner’s request on the following grounds: (a) the requested documents, book ledgers and other records were immaterial in resolving the issues posed before the court; and (b) the issuance of the subpoenas will only unduly delay the hearing of the criminal cases. - Judge Contreras similarly denied the MFR. RTC denied due course to petition for failure to prove grave abuse of discretion. Similarly, it denied MFR. Petitioner went to CA via certiorari. The petition was still dismissed. MFR was still dismissed. Petitioner’s claim The denial of the request for the issuance of subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum is violative of his constitutional rights ISSUE WON the lower courts erred in denying the subpoena requested by Roco HELD Ratio NO. Before a subpoena duces tecum may issue, the court must first be satisfied that the following requisites are present: (1) the books, documents or other things requested must appear prima facie relevant to the issue subject of the controversy (test of relevancy); and (2) such books must be reasonably described by the parties to be readily identified (test of definiteness). Reasoning - A subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend and to testify at the hearing or trial of an action or at any investigation conducted under the laws of the Philippines, or for the taking of his deposition. The first, subpoena ad testificandum, is used to compel a person to testify, while the second, subpoena duces tecum, is used to compel the production of books, records, things or documents therein specified. - The books and documents that petitioner requested to be subpoenaed are designated and described in his request with definiteness and readily identifiable. The test of definiteness, therefore, is satisfied in this
ASTORGA v PEOPLE 437 SCRA 152 YNARES-SANTIAGO.; Aug 20, 2004
FACTS - Three (3) private offended parties who are members of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) of the DENR Tacloban City, together with two (2) members of Philippine National Police Regional Intelligence Group, were sent to the Island of Daram, Western Samar to conduct intelligence operations on possible illegal logging activities. At around 4:305:00 p.m., the team found two boats measuring 18 meters in length and 5 meters in breadth being constructed at Barangay Locob-Locob. There they met petitioner Benito Astorga, the Mayor of Daram, who turned out to be the owner of the boats. A heated altercation ensued between petitioner and the DENR team. Petitioner called for reinforcements and, moments later, a boat bearing ten armed men, some wearing fatigues, arrived at the scene. The DENR team was then brought to petitioner’s house in Daram, where they had dinner and drinks. The team left at 2:00 a.m. - On the basis of the foregoing facts, petitioner was charged with and convicted of Arbitrary Detention by the Sandiganbayan. - SC affirmed the conconviction of Daram. Defendant filed MFR – denied with finality Filed an Urgent Motion for Leave to File 2nd MFR – granted ISSUES Procedural WON filing of 2nd MFR is proper Substantive
Criminal Procedure Rowena Daroy Morales
WON the guilt of the accused was proven beyond reasonable doubt HELD Procedural YES Ratio While a second motion for reconsideration is, as a general rule, a prohibited pleading, it is within the sound discretion of the Court to admit the same, provided it is filed with prior leave whenever substantive justice may be better served thereby. Reasoning - The rules of procedure are merely tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. They were conceived and promulgated to effectively aid the court in the dispensation of justice. Courts are not slaves to or robots of technical rules, shorn of judicial discretion. In rendering justice, courts have always been, as they ought to be, conscientiously guided by the norm that on the balance, technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights, and not the other way around. Thus, if the application of the Rules would tend to frustrate rather than promote justice, it is always within our power to suspend the rules, or except a particular case from its operation. Substantive NO Ratio When the guilt of the accused has not been proven with moral certainty, the presumption of innocence of the accused must be sustained and his exoneration be granted as a matter of right. For the prosecution’s evidence must stand or fall on its own merit and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Furthermore, where the evidence for the prosecution is concededly weak, even if the evidence for defense is also weak, the accused must be duly accorded the benefit of the doubt in view of the constitutional presumption of innocence that an accused enjoys. When the circumstances are capable of two or more inferences, as in this case, one of which is consistent with the presumption of innocence while the other is compatible with guilt, the presumption of innocence must prevail and the court must acquit. It is better to acquit a guilty man than to convict an innocent man. Reasoning - No sufficient evidence to show that petitioner instilled fear in the minds of the private offended parties. It appears that Darma merely extended his hospitality and entertained the DENR team in his house.
DISPOSITION REVERSED. Petitioner Benito Astorga is ACQUITTED of the crime of Arbitrary Detention on the ground of reasonable doubt.
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