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PEOPLE VS. VDA.

DE GOLEZ
[No. L-14160. June 30, 1960]
FACTS:
Sometime in 1957, De Golez was charged with the crime of homicide through reckless
imprudence in an Information filed by the provincial fiscal of Negros Occidental in the Court of First
Instance of said province. The allegations charge the accused of acting with reckless negligence in
diagnosing, prescribing for, and treating the deceased Susana Tam without being duly licensed to practice
medicine and knowing that she did not possess the necessary technical and scientific knowledge and skill
to do so, thus resulting to the patients death. The accused pleaded not guilty to the Information.
However, when the case was called for trial the assistant fiscal made a manifestation that the
accused had also been charged with the crime of illegal practice of medicine before another sala of the
same court. The court then motu proprio dismissed the information for being fatally defective, without
prejudice to the filing of the proper Information against said accused. It reasoned out that the facts
contained in the Information do not constitute the offense charged, since first, illegal practice of medicine
is malicious per se and second, that the crime of homicide through reckless imprudence cannot be
imputed to a person who has no authority to practice medical profession. Furthermore, it results from the
performance of a lawful act which was done without exercising the care and diligence that is required by
the circumstances, and not as a result of an unlawful act as charged in the Information because a quack
doctor who practices medicine does so against the law and so, his act is necessarily malicious and
criminal. From this dismissal, the provincial fiscal through the Solicitor General appealed.
ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not the dismissal was proper
(2) Whether or not the appeal would prosper

HELD:
(1) NO. The dismissal was erroneous. The Information was valid and sufficient in form and in substance to
sustain conviction for the crime of homicide through reckless imprudence since ordinary diligence would
prevent a person from tampering with human life by trying to treat and cure a sick individual, knowing
that he does not have the required skill, knowledge, and competence to do so.
Moreover, illegal practice of medicine is a statutory offense wherein criminal intent is immaterial.
According to Section 2678 of the Revised Administrative Code which was the law then in force, the
offense consists of the act of mere practicing medicine in violation of the Medical Law even if it causes
no injury, much less death to another. However, if the patient dies, the accused will be equally responsible
for such death, in an independent and distinct offense from the illegal practice of medicine.
(2) NO. The appeal would not prosper. Since the Information was found to be valid and sufficient to sustain a
conviction for the offense charged, the dismissal of said court after the accused pleaded not guilty and
without her consent is already a jeopardy which would bar further proceedings over the case. If the appeal
would be sustained, it would necessarily constitute double jeopardy on the part of the accused. Therefore,
the appeal was dismissed notwithstanding that the accused failed to submit a brief and raise such double
jeopardy in the appeal.