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RULE 117 MOTION TO QUASH accused to a provisional dismissal of the case.

The mere
inaction or silence of the accused to a motion for a
People vs. Lacson provisional dismissal of the case or his failure to object to a
G.R. No. 149453. April 1, 2003.* provisional dismissal does not amount to express consent. A
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE SECRETARY OF motion of the accused for a provisional dismissal of a case is
JUSTICE, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE an express consent to such provisional dismissal. If a
NATIONAL POLICE, CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR criminal case is provisionally dismissed with the express
JOVENCITO ZUÑO, STATE PROSECUTORS PETER L. consent of the accused, the case may be revived only within
ONG and RUBEN A. ZACARIAS; 2ND ASSISTANT CITY the periods provided in the new rule. On the other hand, if a
PROSECUTOR CONRADO M. JAMOLIN and CITY criminal case is provisionally dismissed without the express
PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY CLARO ARELLANO, consent of the accused or over his objection, the new rule
petitioners, vs. PANFILO M. LACSON, respondent. would not apply. The case may be revived or refiled even
Criminal Procedure; Provisional Dismissals; Requisites beyond the prescribed periods subject to the right of the
of First Paragraph, Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised accused to oppose the same on the ground of double
Rules of Criminal Procedure.—Section 8, Rule 117 of the jeopardy or that such revival or refiling is barred by the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure reads: Sec. 8. statute of limitations.
Provisional dismissal.—A case shall not be provisionally Same; Same; Same; The case may be revived by the
dismissed except with the express consent of the accused State within the time-bar either by the refiling of the
and with notice to the offended party. The provisional Information or by the filing of a new Information for the
dismissal of offenses punishable by imprisonment not same offense or an offense necessarily included therein,
exceeding six (6) years or a fine of any amount, or both, without need of a new preliminary investigation unless
shall become permanent one (1) year after issuance of the the original witnesses of the prosecution or some of
order without the case having been revived. With respect to them may have recanted their testimonies or may have
offenses punishable by imprisonment of more than six (6) died or may no longer be available and new witnesses
years, their provisional dismissal shall become permanent for the State have emerged.—The case may be revived by
two (2) years after issuance of the order without the case the State within the time-bar either by the refiling of the
having been revived. Having invoked said rule before the Information or by the filing of a new Information for the same
petitioners-panel of prosecutors and before the Court of offense or an offense necessarily included therein. There
Appeals, the respondent is burdened to establish the would be no need of a new preliminary investigation.
essential requisites of the first paragraph thereof, namely: 1) However, in a case wherein after the provisional dismissal of
the prosecution with the express conformity of the accused a criminal case, the original witnesses of the prosecution or
or the accused moves for a provisional (sin perjuicio) some of them may have recanted their testimonies or may
dismissal of the case; or both the prosecution and the have died or may no longer be available and new witnesses
accused move for a provisional dismissal of the case; 2) the for the State have emerged, a new preliminary investigation
offended party is notified of the motion for a provisional must be conducted before an Information is refiled or a new
dismissal of the case; 3) the court issues an order granting Information is filed. A new preliminary investigation is also
the motion and dismissing the case provisionally; and 4) the required if aside from the original accused, other persons are
public prosecutor is served with a copy of the order of charged under a new criminal complaint for the same
provisional dismissal of the case. offense or necessarily included therein; or if under a new
Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; The raison d’etre for the criminal complaint, the original charge has been upgraded;
requirement of the express consent of the accused to a or if under a new criminal complaint, the criminal liability of
provisional dismissal of a criminal case is to bar him the accused is upgraded from that as an accessory to that
from subsequently asserting that the revival of the as a principal. The accused must be accorded the right to
criminal case will place him in double jeopardy for the submit counter-affidavits and evidence. After all, “the fiscal is
same offense or for an offense necessarily included not called by the Rules of Court to wait in ambush; the role
therein.—The foregoing requirements are conditions sine of a fiscal is not mainly to prosecute but essentially to do
qua non to the application of the time-bar in the second justice to every man and to assist the court in dispensing
paragraph of the new rule. The raison d’ etre for the that justice.”
requirement of the express consent of the accused to a Same; Same; Same; It must be borne in mind that in
provisional dismissal of a criminal case is to bar him from crimes involving private interests, the new rule requires
subsequently asserting that the revival of the criminal case that the offended party or parties or the heirs of the
will place him in double jeopardy for the same offense or for victims must be given adequate a priori notice of any
an offense necessarily included therein. motion for the provisional dismissal of the criminal
Same; Same; Time-Bar; Statutory Construction; Second case, and the proof of such service must be shown
paragraph of Section 8, Rule 117 should be construed to during the hearing on the motion, otherwise, the
mean that the order of dismissal shall become requirement of the new rule will become illusory.—The
permanent one year or two years, as the case may be, Court also agrees with the petitioners’ contention that no
after the service of the order of dismissal on the public notice of any motion for the provisional dismissal of Criminal
prosecutor who has control of the prosecution without Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 or of the hearing
the criminal case having been revived.—Although the thereon was served on the heirs of the victims at least three
second paragraph of the new rule states that the order of days before said hearing as mandated by Rule 15, Section 4
dismissal shall become permanent one year after the of the Rules of Court. It must be borne in mind that in crimes
issuance thereof without the case having been revived, the involving private interests, the new rule requires that the
provision should be construed to mean that the order of offended party or parties or the heirs of the victims must be
dismissal shall become permanent one year after service of given adequate a priori notice of any motion for the
the order of dismissal on the public prosecutor who has provisional dismissal of the criminal case. Such notice may
control of the prosecution without the criminal case having be served on the offended party or the heirs of the victim
been revived. The public prosecutor cannot be expected to through the private prosecutor, if there is one, or through the
comply with the timeline unless he is served with a copy of public prosecutor who in turn must relay the notice to the
the order of dismissal. offended party or the heirs of the victim to enable them to
Same; Same; Same; The mere inaction or silence of the confer with him before the hearing or appear in court during
accused to a motion for provisional dismissal of the the hearing. The proof of such service must be shown during
case or his failure to object to a provisional dismissal the hearing on the motion, otherwise, the requirement of the
does not amount to express consent; A motion of the new rule will become illusory. Such notice will enable the
accused for a provisional dismissal of a case is an offended party or the heirs of the victim the opportunity to
express consent to such provisional dismissal; If a seasonably and effectively comment on or object to the
criminal case is provisionally dismissed without the motion on valid grounds, including: (a) the collusion between
express consent of the accused or over his objection, the prosecution and the accused for the provisional
the new rule would not apply.—Express consent to a dismissal of a criminal case thereby depriving the State of its
provisional dismissal is given either viva voce or in writing. It right to due process; (b) attempts to make witnesses
is a positive, direct, unequivocal consent requiring no unavailable; or (c) the provisional dismissal of the case with
inference or implication to supply its meaning. Where the the consequent release of the accused from detention would
accused writes on the motion of a prosecutor for a enable him to threaten and kill the offended party or the
provisional dismissal of the case No objection or With my other prosecution witnesses or flee from Philippine
conformity, the writing amounts to express consent of the jurisdiction, provide opportunity for the destruction or loss of
the prosecution’s physical and other evidence and prejudice
the rights of the offended party to recover on the civil liability person who may feel that he is adversely affected. Nor is the
of the accused by his concealment or furtive disposition of retroactive application of procedural statutes constitutionally
his property or the consequent lifting of the writ of objectionable. The reason is that as a general rule no vested
preliminary attachment against his property. right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws. It has
Same; Same; Same; Statute of Limitations; Prescription; been held that “a person has no vested right in any particular
Statutes of limitations are construed as acts of grace, remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the
and a surrender by the sovereign of its right to trial of his case, whether civil or criminal, of any other than
prosecute or of its right to prosecute at its discretion— the existing rules of procedure.
such statutes are considered as equivalent to acts of Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Constitutional
amnesty; The time-bar under Section 8 of Rule 117 is akin to Law; Remedial legislation, or procedural rule, or
a special procedural limitation qualifying the right of the State doctrine of the Court designed to enhance and
to prosecute making the time-bar an essence of the given implement the constitutional rights of parties in criminal
right or as an inherent part thereof, so that the lapse of the proceedings may be applied retroactively or
time-bar operates to extinguish the right of the State to prospectively depending upon several factors, such as
prosecute the accused.—The Court agrees with the the history of the new rule, its purpose and effect, and
respondent that the new rule is not a statute of limitations. whether the retrospective application will further in
Statutes of limitations are construed as acts of grace, and a operation, the particular conduct sought to be remedied
surrender by the sovereign of its right to prosecute or of its and the effect thereon in the administration of justice
right to prosecute at its discretion. Such statutes are and of criminal laws in particular.—Remedial legislation,
considered as equivalent to acts of amnesty founded on the or procedural rule, or doctrine of the Court designed to
liberal theory that prosecutions should not be allowed to enhance and implement the constitutional rights of parties in
ferment endlessly in the files of the government to explode criminal proceedings may be applied retroactively or
only after witnesses and proofs necessary for the protection prospectively depending upon several factors, such as the
of the accused have by sheer lapse of time passed beyond history of the new rule, its purpose and effect, and whether
availability. The periods fixed under such statutes are the retrospective application will further its operation, the
jurisdictional and are essential elements of the offenses particular conduct sought to be remedied and the effect
covered. On the other hand, the time-bar under Section 8 of thereon in the administration of justice and of criminal laws in
Rule 117 is akin to a special procedural limitation qualifying particular. In a per curiam decision in Stefano v. Woods, the
the right of the State to prosecute making the time-bar an United States Supreme Court catalogued the factors in
essence of the given right or as an inherent part thereof, so determining whether a new rule or doctrine enunciated by
that the lapse of the time-bar operates to extinguish the right the High Court should be given retrospective or prospective
of the State to prosecute the accused. effect: “(a) the purpose to be served by the new standards,
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The time-bar under (b) the extent of the reliance by law enforcement authorities
the new rule does not reduce the periods under Article on the old standards, and (c) the effect on the administration
90 of the Revised Penal Code, a substantive law—it is but of justice of a retroactive application of the new standards.”
a limitation of the right of the State to revive a criminal case Same; Same; Same; Same; In fixing the time-bar, the
against the accused after the Information had been filed but Court balanced the societal interests and those of the
subsequently provisionally dismissed with the express accused for the orderly and speedy disposition of
consent of the accused—but whether or not the prosecution criminal cases with minimum prejudice to the State and
of the accused is barred by the statute of limitations or by the the accused, taking into account the substantial rights
lapse of the time-line under the new rule, the effect is the of both the State and the accused to due process; The
same; The State may revive a criminal case beyond the one- time-bar fixed by the Court must be respected unless it
year or two-year periods provided that there is a justifiable is shown that the period is manifestly short or
necessity for the delay.—The time-bar under the new rule insufficient that the rule becomes a denial of justice.—In
does not reduce the periods under Article 90 of the Revised the new rule in question, as now construed by the Court, it
Penal Code, a substantive law. It is but a limitation of the has fixed a time-bar of one year or two years for the revival
right of the State to revive a criminal case against the of criminal cases provisionally dismissed with the express
accused after the Information had been filed but consent of the accused and with a priori notice to the
subsequently provisionally dismissed with the express offended party. The time-bar may appear, on first
consent of the accused. Upon the lapse of the timeline under impression, unreasonable compared to the periods under
the new rule, the State is presumed, albeit disputably, to Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code. However, in fixing the
have abandoned or waived its right to revive the case and time-bar, the Court balanced the societal interests and those
prosecute the accused. The dismissal becomes ipso facto of the accused for the orderly and speedy disposition of
permanent. He can no longer be charged anew for the same criminal cases with minimum prejudice to the State and the
crime or another crime necessarily included therein. He is accused. It took into account the substantial rights of both
spared from the anguish and anxiety as well as the the State and of the accused to due process. The Court
expenses in any new indictments. The State may revive a believed that the time limit is a reasonable period for the
criminal case beyond the one-year or two-year periods State to revive provisionally dismissed cases with the
provided that there is a justifiable necessity for the delay.By consent of the accused and notice to the offended parties.
the same token, if a criminal case is dismissed on motion of The time-bar fixed by the Court must be respected unless it
the accused because the trial is not concluded within the is shown that the period is manifestly short or insufficient that
period therefor, the prescriptive periods under the Revised the rule becomes a denial of justice. The petitioners failed to
Penal Code are not thereby diminished. But whether or not show a manifest shortness or insufficiency of the time-bar.
the prosecution of the accused is barred by the statute of Same; Same; Same; Same; The new rule was
limitations or by the lapse of the time-line under the new rule, conceptualized primarily to enhance the administration
the effect is basically the same. of the criminal justice system and the rights to due
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Retrospective process of the State and the accused by eliminating the
Application of Procedural Laws; Statutory Construction; deleterious practice of trial courts of provisionally
Words and Phrases; Statutes regulating the procedure dismissing criminal cases on motion of either the
of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions prosecution or the accused or jointly, either with no
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage; time-bar for the revival thereof or with a specific or
As applied to criminal law, procedural law provides or definite period for such revival by the public
regulates the steps by which one who has committed a prosecutor.—The new rule was conceptualized by the
crime is to be punished.—The Court agrees with the Committee on the Revision of the Rules and approved by
respondent that procedural laws may be applied the Court en banc primarily to enhance the administration of
retroactively. As applied to criminal law, procedural law the criminal justice system and the rights to due process of
provides or regulates the steps by which one who has the State and the accused by eliminating the deleterious
committed a crime is to be punished. In Tan, Jr. v. Court of practice of trial courts of provisionally dismissing criminal
Appeals, this Court held that: Statutes regulating the cases on motion of either the prosecution or the accused or
procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to jointly, either with no time-bar for the revival thereof or with a
actions pending and undetermined at the time of their specific or definite period for such revival by the public
passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and prosecutor. There were times when such criminal cases
to that extent. The fact that procedural statutes may were no longer revived or refiled due to causes beyond the
somehow affect the litigants’ rights may not preclude their control of the public prosecutor or because of the indolence,
retroactive application to pending actions. The retroactive apathy or the lackadaisical attitude of public prosecutors to
application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a the prejudice of the State and the accused despite the
mandate to public prosecutors and trial judges to expedite reviving them within the two-year period under the new rule.
criminal proceedings. As the United States Supreme Court said, per Justice Felix
Same; Same; Same; Same; Speedy Disposition of Frankfurter, in Griffin v. People: We should not indulge in the
Cases; It is almost a universal experience that the fiction that the law now announced has always been the law
accused welcomes delay as it usually operates in his and, therefore, that those who did not avail themselves of it
favor, especially if he greatly fears the consequences of waived their rights . . . .
his trial and conviction; The longer the lapse of time Same; Criminal Law; Due Process; For justice to prevail,
from the dismissal of the case to the revival thereof, the the scales must balance—justice is not to be dispensed
more difficult it is to prove the crime.—It is almost a for the accused alone, as the interests of society and the
universal experience that the accused welcomes delay as it offended parties which have been wronged must be
usually operates in his favor, especially if he greatly fears the equally considered.—To require the State to give a valid
consequences of his trial and conviction. He is hesitant to justification as a condition sine qua non to the revival of a
disturb the hushed inaction by which dominant cases have case provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the
been known to expire. The inordinate delay in the revival or accused before the effective date of the new rule is to
refiling of criminal cases may impair or reduce the capacity assume that the State is obliged to comply with the time-bar
of the State to prove its case with the disappearance or under the new rule before it took effect. This would be a rank
nonavailability of its witnesses. Physical evidence may have denial of justice. The State must be given a period of one
been lost. Memories of witnesses may have grown dim or year or two years as the case may be from December 1,
have faded. Passage of time makes proof of any fact more 2000 to revive the criminal case without requiring the State
difficult. The accused may become a fugitive from justice or to make a valid justification for not reviving the case before
commit another crime. The longer the lapse of time from the the effective date of the new rule. Although in criminal cases,
dismissal of the case to the revival thereof, the more difficult the accused is entitled to justice, and fairness, so is the
it is to prove the crime. State. As the United States Supreme Court said, per Mr.
Same; Same; Same; Same; In the long run, a mere Justice Benjamin Cardozo, in Snyder v. State of
provisional dismissal of a criminal case may diminish Massachussetts, “the concept of fairness must not be
the capacity of the accused to defend himself and thus strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the
skew the fairness of the entire criminal justice system; balance true.” In Dimatulac v. Villon, this Court emphasized
The time-bar under the new rule was fixed by the Court that “the judge’s action must not impair the substantial rights
to excise the malaise that plagued the administration of of the accused nor the right of the State and offended party
the criminal justice system for the benefit of the State to due process of law. This Court further said: Indeed, for
and the accused—not for the accused only.—On the justice to prevail, the scales must balance; justice is not to
other side of the fulcrum, a mere provisional dismissal of a be dispensed for the accused alone. The interests of society
criminal case does not terminate a criminal case. The and the offended parties which have been wronged must be
possibility that the case may be revived at any time may equally considered. Verily, a verdict of conviction is not
disrupt or reduce, if not derail, the chances of the accused necessarily a denial of justice; and an acquittal is not
for employment, curtail his association, subject him to public necessarily a triumph of justice, for, to the society offended
obloquy and create anxiety in him and his family. He is and the party wronged, it could also mean injustice. Justice
unable to lead a normal life because of community suspicion then must be rendered even-handedly to both the accused,
and his own anxiety. He continues to suffer those penalties on one hand, and the State and offended party, on the other.
and disabilities incompatible with the presumption of People vs. Lacson, 400 SCRA 267, G.R. No. 149453 April 1,
innocence. He may also lose his witnesses or their 2003
memories may fade with the passage of time. In the long
run, it may diminish his capacity to defend himself and thus
skew the fairness of the entire criminal justice system. The G.R. No. 167571. November 25, 2008.*
time-bar under the new rule was fixed by the Court to excise LUIS PANAGUITON, JR., petitioner, vs. DEPARTMENT
the malaise that plagued the administration of the criminal OF JUSTICE, RAMON C. TONGSON and RODRIGO G.
justice system for the benefit of the State and the accused, CAWILI, respondents.
not for the accused only. Criminal Procedure; Pleadings and Practice;
Same; Same; Same; Same; To apply the time-bar Verification; The verification is merely a formal
retroactively so that the two-year period commenced to requirement intended to secure an assurance that
run on 31 March 1999 when the public prosecutor matters which are alleged are true and correct—the court
received his copy of the resolution of the trial court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or
dismissing the criminal cases is inconsistent with the act on them and waive strict compliance with the rules in
intendment of the new rule which only took effect on 1 order that the ends of justice may be served.—Petitioner
December 2000—the period from 1 April 1999 to 30 submits that the verification attached to his petition before
November 2000 should be excluded in the computation of the Court of Appeals substantially complies with the rules,
the two-year period because the rule prescribing it was not the verification being intended simply to secure an
yet in effect at the time and the State could not be expected assurance that the allegations in the pleading are true and
to comply with the time-bar.—The Court agrees with the correct and not a product of the imagination or a matter of
petitioners that to apply the time-bar retroactively so that the speculation. He points out that this Court has held in a
two-year period commenced to run on March 31, 1999 when number of cases that a deficiency in the verification can be
the public prosecutor received his copy of the resolution of excused or dispensed with, the defect being neither
Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the criminal cases is inconsistent jurisdictional nor always fatal. Indeed, the verification is
with the intendment of the new rule. Instead of giving the merely a formal requirement intended to secure an
State two years to revive provisionally dismissed cases, the assurance that matters which are alleged are true and
State had considerably less than two years to do so. Thus, correct—the court may simply order the correction of
Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 unverified pleadings or act on them and waive strict
to Q-99-81689 on March 29, 1999. The new rule took effect compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice
on December 1, 2000. If the Court applied the new time-bar may be served, as in the instant case. In the case at bar, we
retroactively, the State would have only one year and three find that by attaching the pertinent verification to his motion
months or until March 31, 2001 within which to revive these for reconsideration, petitioner sufficiently complied with the
criminal cases. The period is short of the two-year period verification requirement.
fixed under the new rule. On the other hand, if the time limit Same; Prescription; Act No. 3326, appropriately entitled
is applied prospectively, the State would have two years an Act to Establish Prescription for Violations of Special
from December 1, 2000 or until December 1, 2002 within Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When
which to revive the cases. This is in consonance with the Prescription Shall Begin, is the law applicable to
intendment of the new rule in fixing the time-bar and thus offenses under special laws which do not provide their
prevent injustice to the State and avoid absurd, own prescriptive periods.—There is no question that Act
unreasonable, oppressive, injurious, and wrongful results in No. 3326, appropriately entitled An Act to Establish
the administration of justice. The period from April 1, 1999 to Prescription for Violations of Special Acts and Municipal
November 30, 1999 should be excluded in the computation Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin, is
of the two-year period because the rule prescribing it was the law applicable to offenses under special laws which do
not yet in effect at the time and the State could not be not provide their own prescriptive periods.
expected to comply with the time-bar. It cannot even be Same; Same; Act No. 3326 applies to offenses under
argued that the State waived its right to revive the criminal B.P. Blg. 22.—We agree that Act. No. 3326 applies to
cases against respondent or that it was negligent for not offenses under B.P. Blg. 22. An offense under B.P. Blg. 22
merits the penalty of imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, are as follows: (a)
days but not more than one year or by a fine, hence, under That the facts charged do not constitute an offense; (b) That
Act No. 3326, a violation of B.P. Blg. 22 prescribes in four (4) the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense
years from the commission of the offense or, if the same be charged; (c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction
not known at the time, from the discovery thereof. over the person of the accused; (d) That the officer who filed
Nevertheless, we cannot uphold the position that only the the information had no authority to do so; (e) That it does not
filing of a case in court can toll the running of the prescriptive conform substantially to the prescribed form; (f) That more
period. than one offense is charged except when a single
Same; Same; The prescriptive period is interrupted by punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law; (g)
the institution of proceedings for preliminary That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished; (h)
investigation against the accused.—In Ingco v. That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a
Sandiganbayan, 272 SCRA 563 (1997) and Sanrio legal excuse or justification; and (i) That the accused has
Company Limited v. Lim, 546 SCRA 303 (2008), which been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense
involved violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices charged, or the case against him was dismissed or
Act (R.A. No. 3019) and the Intellectual Property Code (R.A. otherwise terminated without his express consent.
No. 8293), which are both special laws, the Court ruled that Insufficiency of evidence is a ground for dismissal of an
the prescriptive period is interrupted by the institution of action only after the prosecution rests its case.
proceedings for preliminary investigation against the Same; Same; Same; Where the Sandiganbayan
accused. In the more recent case of Securities and dismissed the case against the accused for
Exchange Commission v. Interport Resources Corporation, insufficiency of evidence, even without giving the
et al., 567 SCRA 354 (2008), the Court ruled that the nature prosecution the opportunity to present its evidence, it
and purpose of the investigation conducted by the Securities violated the prosecution’s right to due process.—In the
and Exchange Commission on violations of the Revised case under consideration, the Sandiganbayan dismissed the
Securities Act, another special law, is equivalent to the case against respondent for insufficiency of evidence, even
preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal without giving the prosecution the opportunity to present its
cases, and thus effectively interrupts the prescriptive period. evidence. In so doing, it violated the prosecution’s right to
Same; Same; Petitioner’s filing of his complaint-affidavit due process. It deprived the prosecution of its opportunity to
before the Office of the City Prosecutor on 24 August prosecute its case and to prove the accused’s culpability. It
1995 signified the commencement of the proceedings was therefore erroneous for the Sandiganbayan to dismiss
for the prosecution of the accused and thus effectively the case under the premises. Not only did it not consider the
interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they ground invoked by respondent Dumlao; it even dismissed
had been charged under B.P. Blg. 22.—We rule and so the case on a ground not raised by him, and not at the
hold that the offense has not yet prescribed. Petitioner’s appropriate time. The dismissal was thus without basis and
filing of his complaint–affidavit before the Office of the City untimely.
Prosecutor on 24 August 1995 signified the commencement Criminal Law; Death of the Accused; The death of an
of the proceedings for the prosecution of the accused and accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal
thus effectively interrupted the prescriptive period for the as well as civil liability based solely thereon.—Petitioner
offenses they had been charged under B.P. Blg. 22. likewise faults the Sandiganbayan for archiving the case
Moreover, since there is a definite finding of probable cause, against respondent La’o, arguing that since he had already
with the debunking of the claim of prescription there is no been arraigned, it should have ordered the prosecution to
longer any impediment to the filing of the information against adduce evidence against him. We agree. However, said
petitioner. Panaguiton, Jr. vs. Department of Justice, 571 issue has already been mooted by the death of respondent
SCRA 549, G.R. No. 167571 November 25, 2008 La’o. The death of an accused prior to final judgment
terminates his criminal as well as civil liability based solely
G.R. No. 168918. March 2, 2009.* thereon. Accordingly, the case against respondent La’o was
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. dismissed.
HERMENEGILDO DUMLAO y CASTILIANO and EMILIO Same; Double Jeopardy; Requisites.—To raise the
LA’O y GONZALES, respondents. defense of double jeopardy, three requisites must be
Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act present: (1) a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the
(Republic Act No. 3019); Motions to Quash; Violation of second; (2) the first jeopardy must have been validly
Sec. 3(g), Republic Act No. 3019; Elements; The terminated; and (3) the second jeopardy must be for the
fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the same offense as that in the first. The first jeopardy attaches
material averments of an information is whether the attaches only (1) upon a valid indictment; (2) before a
facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, competent court; (3) after arraignment; (4) when a valid plea
would establish the essentials elements of the crime has been entered; and (5) when the defendant was
defined by law—evidence aliunde, or matters extrinsic of convicted or acquitted, or the case was dismissed or
the Information, are not be considered.—The ground raised otherwise terminated without the express consent of the
by respondent Dumlao in his Motion to Quash/Dismiss is accused.
that the facts charged do not constitute an offense. The Same; Same; Due Process; A purely capricious
fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the dismissal of an information deprives the State of a fair
material averments of an information is whether the facts opportunity to prosecute and convict since it denies the
alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would prosecution a day in court—it is void and cannot be the
establish the essentials elements of the crime defined by basis of double jeopardy.—We do not agree. In the instant
law. Evidence aliunde, or matters extrinsic of the case, double jeopardy has not yet set in. The first jeopardy
Information, are not be considered. The elements of the has not yet attached. There is no question that four of the
crime under Section 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019 are as five elements of legal jeopardy are present. However, we
follows: (1) that the accused is a public officer; (2) that he find the last element — valid conviction, acquittal, dismissal
entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the or termination of the case — wanting. As previously
government; and (3) that such contract or transaction is discussed, the Sandignabayan violated the prosecution’s
grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government. right to due process. The prosecution was deprived of its
After examining the information, we find that the facts opportunity to prosecute its case and to prove the accused’s
alleged therein, if hypothetically admitted, will prove all the culpability. The dismissal was made in a capricious and
elements of Section 3(g) as against respondent Dumlao. whimsical manner. The trial court dismissed the case on a
Same; Same; Same; Insufficiency of evidence is not one ground not invoked by the respondent. The Sandiganbayan
of the grounds of a Motion to Quash—insufficiency of dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence, while the
evidence is a ground for dismissal of an action only ground invoked by the respondent was that the facts
after the prosecution rests its case.—It can be gathered charged did not constitute an offense. The dismissal was
from the resolution of the Sandiganbayan that it did consider clearly premature, because any dismissal based on
the ground invoked by Dumlao (that the facts charged do not insufficiency of evidence may only be made after the
constitute an offense); otherwise, it could have denied prosecution rests its case and not at any time before then. A
respondent Dumlao’s motion. From the reasoning given by purely capricious dismissal of an information deprives the
the Sandiganbayan, it is clear that it dismissed the case State of a fair opportunity to prosecute and convict. It denies
because of insufficiency of evidence. Insufficiency of the prosecution a day in court. It is void and cannot be the
evidence is not one of the grounds of a Motion to Quash. basis of double jeopardy.
The grounds, as enumerated in Section 3, Rule 117 of the Same; Same; Same; The cardinal precept is that where
there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts
are ousted of their jurisdiction; Where the denial of the the laws. Where the official action purports to be in
fundamental right to due process is apparent, a decision conformity to the statutory classification, an erroneous or
in disregard of the right is void for lack of jurisdiction—a mistaken performance of the statutory duty, although a
judgment which is void for lack of due process is equivalent violation of the statute, is not without more a denial of the
to excess or lack of jurisdiction.—The cardinal precept is that equal protection of the laws. The unlawful administration by
where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts officers of a statute fair on its face, resulting in its unequal
are ousted of their jurisdiction. Where the denial of the application to those who are entitled to be treated alike, is
fundamental right to due process is apparent, a decision in not a denial of equal protection unless there is shown to be
disregard of the right is void for lack of jurisdiction. In the present in it an element of intentional or purposeful
instant case, there was no error of judgment but a denial of discrimination. This may appear on the face of the action
due process resulting in loss of jurisdiction. Respondent taken with respect to a particular class or person, or it may
Dumlao would not be placed in double jeopardy because, only be shown by extrinsic evidence showing a
from the very beginning, the Sandiganbayan had acted discriminatory design over another not to be inferred from
without jurisdiction. Precisely, any ruling issued without the action itself. But a discriminatory purpose is not
jurisdiction is, in legal contemplation, necessarily null and presumed, there must be a showing of “clear and intentional
void and does not exist. Otherwise put, the dismissal of the discrimination.” Appellant has failed to show that, in charging
case below was invalid for lack of a fundamental appellant in court, that there was a “clear and intentional
prerequisite, that is, due process. In rendering the judgment discrimination” on the part of the prosecuting officials.
of dismissal, the trial court acted without or in excess of People vs. Dumlao, 580 SCRA 409, G.R. No. 168918 March
jurisdiction, for a judgment which is void for lack of due 2, 2009
process is equivalent to excess or lack of jurisdiction. This
being the case, the prosecution is allowed to appeal G.R. Nos. 159517-18. June 30, 2009.*
because it was not given its day in court. HILARIO P. SORIANO and ROSALINDA ILAGAN,
Same; Conspiracy; Words and Phrases; While petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, BANGKO
conspiracy is in its nature a joint offense, it does not SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS (BSP), and PHILIPPINE
follow that one person cannot be convicted of DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (PDIC),
conspiracy—as long as the acquittal or death of a co- respondents.
conspirator does not remove the basis of a charge of Remedial Law; Certiorari; In its juridical sense, the term
conspiracy, one defendant may be found guilty of the grave abuse of discretion connotes capricious,
offense.—His assumption that he can no longer be charged despotic, oppressive or whimsical exercise of judgment
because he was left alone — since the co-conspirators have as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.—The term grave
either died, have been acquitted or were not charged — is abuse of discretion, in its juridical sense, connotes
wrong. A conspiracy is in its nature a joint offense. One capricious, despotic, oppressive or whimsical exercise of
person cannot conspire alone. The crime depends upon the judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse
joint act or intent of two or more person. Yet, it does not must be of such degree as to amount to an evasion of
follow that one person cannot be convicted of conspiracy. As positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined
long as the acquittal or death of a co-conspirator does not by law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
remove the basis of a charge of conspiracy, one defendant capricious manner by reason of passion and hostility. The
may be found guilty of the offense. In the case at bar, the word capricious, usually used in tandem with the term
absence or presence of conspiracy is again factual in nature arbitrary, conveys the notion of willful and unreasoning
and involves evidentiary matters. The same is better left action. Thus, when seeking the corrective hand of certiorari,
ventilated before the trial court during trial, where the parties a clear showing of caprice and arbitrariness in the exercise
can adduce evidence to prove or disprove its presence. of discretion is imperative.
Same; Equal Protection Clause; The manner in which Same; Same; A special civil action for certiorari is not
the prosecution of the case is handled is within the the proper remedy to assail the denial of a motion to
sound discretion of the prosecutor, and the non- quash an information.—The Court has consistently held
inclusion of other guilty persons is irrelevant to the case that a special civil action for certiorari is not the proper
against the accused; Mere speculation, unsupported by remedy to assail the denial of a motion to quash an
convincing evidence, cannot establish discrimination on information. The proper procedure in such a case is for the
the part of the prosecution and the denial to the accused accused to enter a plea, go to trial without prejudice on his
of the equal protection of the laws.—We are not part to present the special defenses he had invoked in his
convinced that respondent Dumlao was unfairly motion to quash and if after trial on the merits, an adverse
discriminated against and his constitutional right to equal decision is rendered, to appeal therefrom in the manner
protection violated. It must be remembered that the manner authorized by law.
in which the prosecution of the case is handled is within the Criminal Procedure; Information; Duplicity of Offenses;
sound discretion of the prosecutor, and the non-inclusion of Duplicity of offenses in a single information is a ground
other guilty persons is irrelevant to the case against the to quash the Information under Section 3(e), Rule 117 of
accused. We find that there was no clear and intentional the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure; Duplicity of
discrimination in charging respondent Dumlao. A charges is meant a single complaint or information that
discriminatory purpose is never presumed. It must be charges more than one offense.—Duplicity of offenses in a
remembered that it was not solely respondent who was single information is a ground to quash the Information under
charged, but also five of the seven board members. If, Section 3(e), Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
indeed, there were discrimination, respondent Dumlao alone Procedure. The Rules prohibit the filing of a duplicitous
could have been charged. But this was not the case. Further, information to avoid confusing the accused in preparing his
the fact that the dismissal of the case against his co-accused defense. By duplicity of charges is meant a single complaint
Canlas and Clave was not appealed is not sufficient to cry or information that charges more than one offense. x x x
discrimination. This is likewise true for the non-inclusion of Otherwise stated, there is duplicity (or multiplicity) of charges
the two government officials who signed the Lease-Purchase when a single Information charges more than one offense.
Agreement and the other two board members. Mere Same; Same; Same; A single act or incident might
speculation, unsupported by convincing evidence, cannot offend against two or more entirely distinct and
establish discrimination on the part of the prosecution and unrelated provisions of law thus justifying the
the denial to respondent of the equal protection of the laws. prosecution of the accused for more than one offense.—
Same; Same; Where the official action purports to be in Jurisprudence teems with pronouncements that a single act
conformity to the statutory classification, an erroneous or incident might offend two or more entirely distinct and
or mistaken performance of the statutory duty, although unrelated provisions of law, thus justifying the filing of
a violation of the statute, is not without more a denial of several charges against the accused. In Loney v. People
the equal protection of the laws—the unlawful (482 SCRA 194 [2006]), this Court, in upholding the filing of
administration by officers of a statute fair on its face, multiple charges against the accused, held: As early as the
resulting in its unequal application to those who are entitled start of the last century, this Court had ruled that a single act
to be treated alike, is not a denial of equal protection unless or incident might offend against two or more entirely distinct
there is shown to be present in it an element of intentional or and unrelated provisions of law thus justifying the
purposeful discrimination.—In Santos v. People (563 SCRA prosecution of the accused for more than one offense. The
341 [2008]), citing People v. Dela Piedra (350 SCRA 163 only limit to this rule is the Constitutional prohibition that no
[2001]), the Court explained: The prosecution of one guilty person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for “the
person while others equally guilty are not prosecuted, same offense.” In People v. Doriquez, we held that two (or
however, is not, by itself, a denial of the equal protection of more) offenses arising from the same act are not “the
same”—x x x if one provision [of law] requires proof of an offense as in the first. A first jeopardy attaches only (a) after
additional fact or element which the other does not, x x x. a valid indictment; (b) before a competent court; (c) after
Phrased elsewise, where two different laws (or articles of the arraignment; (d) when a valid plea has been entered; and (e)
same code) define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of when the accused has been acquitted or convicted, or the
them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other, although case dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express
both offenses arise from the same facts, if each crime consent. Cerezo vs. People, 650 SCRA 222, G.R. No.
involves some important act which is not an essential 185230 June 1, 2011
element of the other. x x x x x x x x x Consequently, the
filing of the multiple charges against petitioners, although
based on the same incident, is consistent with settled
doctrine.
Same; Same; Same; Motion to Quash; The fundamental
test in considering a motion to quash anchored on
Section 3(a), Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, is the sufficiency of the averments in the
information; that is, whether the facts alleged, if
hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential
elements of the offense charged as defined by law.—The
fundamental test in considering a motion to quash anchored
on Section 3(a), Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, is the sufficiency of the averments in the
information; that is, whether the facts alleged, if
hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential
elements of the offense charged as defined by law. The trial
court may not consider a situation contrary to that set forth in
the criminal complaint or information. Facts that constitute
the defense of the petitioners against the charge under the
information must be proved by them during trial. Such facts
or circumstances do not constitute proper grounds for a
motion to quash the information on the ground that the
material averments do not constitute the offense.

G.R. No. 185230. June 1, 2011.*


JOSEPH C. CEREZO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, JULIET YANEZA, PABLO ABUNDA, JR.,
and VICENTE AFULUGENCIA, respondents.
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Once a case is filed
with the court, any disposition of it rests on the sound
discretion of the court; In resolving a motion to dismiss
a case or to withdraw an Information, the trial court
should not rely solely and merely on the findings of the
public prosecutor or the Secretary of Justice.—Well-
entrenched is the rule that once a case is filed with the court,
any disposition of it rests on the sound discretion of the
court. In thus resolving a motion to dismiss a case or to
withdraw an Information, the trial court should not rely solely
and merely on the findings of the public prosecutor or the
Secretary of Justice. It is the court’s bounden duty to assess
independently the merits of the motion, and this assessment
must be embodied in a written order disposing of the motion.
While the recommendation of the prosecutor or the ruling of
the Secretary of Justice is persuasive, it is not binding on
courts.
Same; Same; In this case, it is obvious that in
dismissing the criminal case, the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) judge failed to make his own determination of
whether or not there was a prima facie case to hold
respondents for trial.—In this case, it is obvious from the
March 17, 2004 Order of the RTC, dismissing the criminal
case, that the RTC judge failed to make his own
determination of whether or not there was a prima facie case
to hold respondents for trial. He failed to make an
independent evaluation or assessment of the merits of the
case. The RTC judge blindly relied on the manifestation and
recommendation of the prosecutor when he should have
been more circumspect and judicious in resolving the Motion
to Dismiss and Withdraw Information especially so when the
prosecution appeared to be uncertain, undecided, and
irresolute on whether to indict respondents.
Same; Same; By relying solely on the manifestation of
the public prosecutor and the resolution of the
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary, the trial court
abdicated its judicial power and refused to perform a
positive duty enjoined by law.—By relying solely on the
manifestation of the public prosecutor and the resolution of
the DOJ Secretary, the trial court abdicated its judicial power
and refused to perform a positive duty enjoined by law. The
said Orders were thus stained with grave abuse of discretion
and violated the complainant’s right to due process. They
were void, had no legal standing, and produced no effect
whatsoever.
Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; Requisites for Double
Jeopardy to Exist.—Double jeopardy exists when the
following requisites are present: (1) a first jeopardy attached
prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy has been validly
terminated; and (3) a second jeopardy is for the same
RULE 119 TRIAL the Philippines as a party thereto. Because of this, the
petition was obviously defective. As provided in Section 5,
Salvanera vs. People Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, all
G.R. No. 143093. May 21, 2007.* criminal actions are prosecuted under the direction and
RIMBERTO T. SALVANERA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF control of the public prosecutor. Therefore, it behooved the
THE PHILIPPINES and LUCITA PARANE, respondents. petitioners (respondents herein) to implead the People of the
Criminal Procedure; State Witness; Discharge of an Philippines as respondent in the CA case to enable the
Accused to Become a State Witness; Conditions in the Solicitor General to comment on the petition. However, this
Discharge of an Accused in Order that He May Become Court has repeatedly declared that the failure to implead an
a State Witness.—In the discharge of an accused in order indispensable party is not a ground for the dismissal of an
that he may be a state witness, the following conditions must action. In such a case, the remedy is to implead the non-
be present, namely: (1) Two or more accused are jointly party claimed to be indispensable. Parties may be added by
charged with the commission of an offense; (2) The motion order of the court, on motion of the party or on its own
for discharge is filed by the prosecution before it rests its initiative at any stage of the action and/or such times as are
case; (3) The prosecution is required to present evidence just. If the petitioner/plaintiff refuses to implead an
and the sworn statement of each proposed state witness at a indispensable party despite the order of the court, the latter
hearing in support of the discharge; (4) The accused gives may dismiss the complaint/petition for the
his consent to be a state witness; and (5) The trial court is petitioner’s/plaintiff’s failure to comply.
satisfied that: a) There is absolute necessity for the Same; Right to Confront Witnesses; It is basic that all
testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested; b) witnesses shall give their testimonies at the trial of the
There is no other direct evidence available for the proper case in the presence of the judge; Rule, however, is not
prosecution of the offense committed, except the testimony absolute; As exceptions, Rules 23 to 28 of the Rules of
of said accused; c) The testimony of said accused can be Court provide for the different modes of discovery that
substantially corroborated in its material points; d) Said may be resorted to by a party to an action.—It is basic
accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and, e) Said that all witnesses shall give their testimonies at the trial of
accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense the case in the presence of the judge. This is especially true
involving moral turpitude. in criminal cases in order that the accused may be afforded
Same; Same; Same; Evidence; The corroborative the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses pursuant to
evidence required by the Rules does not have to consist his constitutional right to confront the witnesses face to face.
of the very same evidence as will be testified on by the It also gives the parties and their counsel the chance to
proposed state witnesses; A conspiracy is more readily propound such questions as they deem material and
proved by the acts of a fellow criminal than by any other necessary to support their position or to test the credibility of
method.—We agree with the Court of Appeals in dismissing said witnesses. Lastly, this rule enables the judge to observe
this reasoning as specious. To require the two witnesses the witnesses’ demeanor. This rule, however, is not
Parane and Salazar to corroborate the testimony of Abutin absolute. As exceptions, Rules 23 to 28 of the Rules of
and Tampelix on the exact same points is to render nugatory Court provide for the different modes of discovery that may
the other requisite that “there must be no other direct be resorted to by a party to an action. These rules are
evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense adopted either to perpetuate the testimonies of witnesses or
committed, except the testimony of the state witness.” The as modes of discovery. In criminal proceedings, Sections 12,
corroborative evidence required by the Rules does not have 13 and 15, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
to consist of the very same evidence as will be testified on Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000, allow
by the proposed state witnesses. We have ruled that “a the conditional examination of both the defense and
conspiracy is more readily proved by the acts of a fellow prosecution witnesses.
criminal than by any other method. If it is shown that the Same; Witnesses; It is required that the conditional
statements of the conspirator are corroborated by other examination be made before the court where the case is
evidence, then we have convincing proof of veracity. Even if pending.—Undoubtedly, the procedure set forth in Rule 119
the confirmatory testimony only applies to some particulars, applies to the case at bar. It is thus required that the
we can properly infer that the witness has told the truth in conditional examination be made before the court where the
other respects.” case is pending. It is also necessary that the accused be
Same; Same; Same; Where a crime is contrived in notified, so that he can attend the examination, subject to his
secret, the discharge of one of the conspirators is right to waive the same after reasonable notice. As to the
essential because only they have knowledge of the manner of examination, the Rules mandate that it be
crime.—As part of the conspiracy, Abutin and Tampelix can conducted in the same manner as an examination during
testify on the criminal plan of the conspirators. Where a trial, that is, through question and answer.
crime is contrived in secret, the discharge of one of the Same; Criminal proceedings are primarily governed by
conspirators is essential because only they have knowledge the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.—It is true that
of the crime. The other prosecution witnesses are not Section 3, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides that the
eyewitnesses to the crime, as, in fact, there is none. No one rules of civil procedure apply to all actions, civil or criminal,
except the conspirators knew and witnessed the murder. and special proceedings. In effect, it says that the rules of
The testimonies of the accused and proposed state civil procedure have suppletory application to criminal cases.
witnesses Abutin and Tampelix can directly link petitioner to However, it is likewise true that the criminal proceedings are
the commission of the crime. primarily governed by the Revised Rules of Criminal
Same; Same; Same; The trial court has to rely on the Procedure. Considering that Rule 119 adequately and
information offered by the public prosecutor as to who squarely covers the situation in the instant case, we find no
would best qualify as a state witness.—In Chua v. Court cogent reason to apply Rule 23 suppletorily or otherwise.
of Appeals, 261 SCRA 112 (1996), we ruled that the trial Vda. de Manguerra vs. Risos, 563 SCRA 499, G.R. No.
court has to rely on the information offered by the public 152643 August 28, 2008
prosecutor as to who would best qualify as a state witness.
The prosecutor knows the evidence in his possession and G.R. No. 209195. September 17, 2014.*
the witnesses he needs to establish his case. Salvanera vs. MANUEL J. JIMENEZ, JR., petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF
People, 523 SCRA 147, G.R. No. 143093 May 21, 2007 THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
G.R. No. 209215. September 17, 2014.*
G.R. No. 152643. August 28, 2008.* PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. MANUEL
CONCEPCION CUENCO VDA. DE MANGUERRA and THE J. JIMENEZ, JR., respondent.
HON. RAMON C. CODILLA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Remedial Law; Special Civil Actions; Certiorari; The
Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 19, well-settled rule is that a petition for certiorari against a
petitioners, vs. RAUL RISOS, SUSANA YONGCO, LEAH court which has jurisdiction over a case will prosper
ABARQUEZ and ATTY. GAMALIEL D.B. BONJE, only if grave abuse of discretion is clear and patent.—
respondents. The well-settled rule is that a petition for certiorari against a
Criminal Procedure; Indispensable Parties; The failure court which has jurisdiction over a case will prosper only if
to implead an indispensable party is not a ground for grave abuse of discretion is clear and patent. The burden is
the dismissal of an action; Parties may be added by on the part of the petitioner to prove not merely reversible
order of the court, on motion of the party or on its own error, but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
initiative at any stage of the action and/or such times as excess of jurisdiction on the part of the public respondent
are just.—It is undisputed that in their petition for certiorari issuing the impugned order. Notably, mere abuse of
before the CA, respondents failed to implead the People of discretion is not enough; the abuse must be grave.
Jurisprudence has defined “grave abuse of discretion” as the motion to discharge Montero, it appears that while Montero
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment so patent and was part of the planning, preparation, and execution stage
gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a as most of his co-accused had been, he had no direct
virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, as where participation in the actual killing of Ruby Rose. While Lope
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner allegedly assigned to him the execution of the killing, the
because of passion or hostility. records do not indicate that he had active participation in
Same; Evidence; State Witnesses; Absolute necessity hatching the plan to kill Ruby Rose, which allegedly came
exists for the testimony of an accused sought to be from accused Lope and Jimenez, and in the actual killing of
discharged when he or she alone has knowledge of the Ruby Rose which was executed by accused Lennard.
crime.—We see no merit in Jimenez’s allegation that no Montero’s participation was limited to providing the steel box
absolute necessity exists for Montero’s testimony. Absolute where the drum containing the victim’s body was placed,
necessity exists for the testimony of an accused sought to be welding the steel box to seal the cadaver inside, operating
discharged when he or she alone has knowledge of the the skip or tug boat, and, together with his co-accused,
crime. In more concrete terms, necessity is not there when dropping the steel box containing the cadaver into the sea.
the testimony would simply corroborate or otherwise Same; Same; Same; The discharge of an accused to be
strengthen the prosecution’s evidence. We do not agree with utilized as a state witness because he does not appear
Jimenez that the Court’s pronouncement in Chua v. Court of to be the most guilty is highly factual in nature as it
Appeals, et al., 261 SCRA 112 (1996), is inapplicable in the largely depends on the appreciation of who had the
present case simply because more than two accused are most participation in the commission of the crime.—At
involved in the present case. The requirement of absolute any rate, the discharge of an accused to be utilized as a
necessity for the testimony of a state witness depends on state witness because he does not appear to be the most
the circumstances of each case regardless of the number of guilty is highly factual in nature as it largely depends on the
the participating conspirators. appreciation of who had the most participation in the
Same; Same; Same; To the prosecution belongs the commission of the crime. The appellate courts do not
control of its case and the Supreme Court (SC) cannot interfere in the discretionary judgment of the trial court on
dictate on its choice in the discharge of a state witness, this factual issue except when grave abuse of discretion
save only when the legal requirements have not been intervenes.
complied with.—In the present case, not one of the Same; Same; Same; The appreciation of the notice of
accused-conspirators, except Montero, was willing to testify withdrawal properly belongs to the trial court.—Under
on the alleged murder of Ruby Rose and their participation in the present recourse now before this Court, we cannot rule
her killing. Hence, the CA was correct in ruling that Judge on the notice of withdrawal and consider it in ruling on the
Docena acted properly and in accordance with jurisprudence absence or presence of grave abuse of discretion in the
in ruling that there was absolute necessity for the testimony issuance of the assailed orders. The present case is not the
of Montero. He alone is available to provide direct evidence proper venue for the determination of the value of the notice.
of the crime. That the prosecution could use the voluntary This conclusion is all the more strengthened by the fact that
statements of Montero without his discharge as a state Montero already testified on direct examination on June 28,
witness is not an important and relevant consideration. To 2011 and October 25, 2011. He attested and affirmed his
the prosecution belongs the control of its case and this Court statements in his affidavits dated May 18 and June 11, 2009;
cannot dictate on its choice in the discharge of a state he not only narrated the grisly murder of Ruby Rose, but
witness, save only when the legal requirements have not also revealed Jimenez’ participation in the murder. With this
been complied with. The prosecution’s right to prosecute development, the notice may partake of the nature of a
gives it “a wide range of discretion — the discretion of recantation, which is usually taken ex parte and is
whether, what and whom to charge, the exercise of which considered inferior to the testimony given in open court. It
depends on a smorgasbord of factors which are best would be a dangerous rule to reject the testimony taken
appreciated by prosecutors.” Under Section 17, Rule 119 of before a court of justice simply because the witness who
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court is given gave it later changed his/her mind. In sum on this point, the
the power to discharge a state witness only after it has appreciation of the notice of withdrawal properly belongs to
already acquired jurisdiction over the crime and the accused. the trial court.
Same; Same; Same; To resolve a motion to discharge Same; Same; Same; It is still the trial court that
under Section 17, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of determines whether the prosecution’s preliminary
Criminal Procedure, the Rules only require that the assessment of the accused-witness’ qualifications to be
testimony of the accused sought to be discharged be a state witness satisfies the procedural norms.—In the
substantially corroborated in its material points, not on present case, the CA cited Quarto v. Marcelo, 658 SCRA
all points.—We emphasize at this point that to resolve a 580 (2011), in ruling that the trial court must rely in large part
motion to discharge under Section 17, Rule 119 of the upon the suggestions and the information furnished by the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Rules only require prosecuting officer, thus: A trial judge cannot be expected or
that that the testimony of the accused sought to be required to inform himself with absolute certainty at the very
discharged be substantially corroborated in its material outset of the trial as to everything which may be developed
points, not on all points. This rule is based on jurisprudential in the course of the trial in regard to the guilty participation of
line that in resolving a motion to discharge under Section 17, the accused in the commission of the crime charged in the
Rule 119, a trial judge cannot be expected or required, at the complaint. If that were practicable or possible there would be
start of the trial, to inform himself with absolute certainty of little need for the formality of a trial. He must rely in large
everything that may develop in the course of the trial with part upon the suggestions and the information furnished by
respect to the guilty participation of the accused. If that were the prosecuting officer in coming to his conclusions as to the
practicable or possible, there would be little need for the “necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge
formality of a trial. is requested”; as to the availability or nonavailability of other
Same; Same; Same; While all the accused may be given direct or corroborative evidence; as to which of the accused
the same penalty by reason of conspiracy, yet one may is “most guilty,” and the like. We deem it important to place
be considered to have lesser or the least guilt taking this ruling in its proper context lest we create the wrong
into account his degree of participation in the impression that the trial court is a mere “rubber stamp” of the
commission of the offense.—By jurisprudence, “most prosecution, in the manner that Jimenez now argues. In
guilty” refers to the highest degree of culpability in terms of Quarto, we emphasized that it is still the trial court that
participation in the commission of the offense and does not determines whether the prosecution’s preliminary
necessarily mean the severity of the penalty imposed. While assessment of the accused-witness’ qualifications to be a
all the accused may be given the same penalty by reason of state witness satisfies the procedural norms. This
conspiracy, yet one may be considered to have lesser or the relationship is in reality a symbiotic one as the trial court, by
least guilt taking into account his degree of participation in the very nature of its role in the administration of justice,
the commission of the offense. What the rule avoids is the largely exercises its prerogative based on the prosecutor’s
possibility that the most guilty would be set free while his co- findings and evaluation.
accused who are less guilty in terms of participation would Judges; Disqualification or Inhibition of Judges; It is
be penalized. well-established that inhibition is not allowed at every
Same; Same; Same; It appears that while Montero was instance that a schoolmate or classmate appears before
part of the planning, preparation, and execution stage as the judge as counsel for one of the parties. A judge, too,
most of his co-accused had been, he had no direct is not expected to automatically inhibit himself from
participation in the actual killing of Ruby Rose.—From acting in a case involving a member of his fraternity,
the evidence submitted by the prosecution in support of its such as Jimenez in the present case.—It is well-
established that inhibition is not allowed at every instance 257 (2000), that the signature of the Solicitor General on the
that a schoolmate or classmate appears before the judge as verification and certification of non-forum shopping in a
counsel for one of the parties. A judge, too, is not expected petition before the CA or with this Court is substantial
to automatically inhibit himself from acting in a case involving compliance with the requirement under the Rules,
a member of his fraternity, such as Jimenez in the present considering that the OSG is the legal representative of the
case. In the absence of clear and convincing evidence to Government of the Republic of the Philippines and its
prove the charge of bias and prejudice, a judge’s ruling not agencies and instrumentalities; more so, in a criminal case
to inhibit oneself should be allowed to stand. In attributing where the People or the State is the real party-in-interest
bias and prejudice to Judge Docena, Jimenez must prove and is the aggrieved party.
that the judge acted or conducted himself in a manner Same; Certiorari; Instances When a Writ of Certiorari is
clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice so as to defeat Warranted.—A writ of certiorari is warranted when (1) any
the attributes of the cold neutrality that an impartial judge tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of its
must possess. Unjustified assumptions and mere misgivings or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
that the judge acted with prejudice, passion, pride and amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (2) there is
pettiness in the performance of his functions cannot no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in
overcome the presumption that a judge shall decide on the the ordinary course of law. An act of a court or tribunal may
merits of a case with an unclouded vision of its facts. be considered as grave abuse of discretion when the same
Same; Same; Unless there is concrete proof that a judge was performed in a capricious or whimsical exercise of
has a personal interest in the proceedings, and that his judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
bias stems from an extrajudicial source, the Supreme discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
Court (SC) would uphold the presumption that a evasion of a positive duty, or to a virtual refusal to perform a
magistrate shall impartially decide the merits of a duty enjoined by law, as where the power is exercised in an
case.—On the allegation that Judge Docena’s uncontrollable arbitrary and despotic manner because of passion or
temper and unexplainable attitude should be considered as hostility.
a factor, we note that the allegations and perceptions of bias Same; Same; By way of exception, a judgment of
from the mere tenor and language of a judge is insufficient to acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition
show prejudgment. Allowing inhibition for these reasons for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, but
would open the floodgates to abuse. Unless there is only upon a clear showing by the petitioner that the
concrete proof that a judge has a personal interest in the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not
proceedings, and that his bias stems from an extrajudicial merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave
source, the Court would uphold the presumption that a abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
magistrate shall impartially decide the merits of a case. jurisdiction, or to a denial of due process, thus
Jimenez, Jr. vs. People, 735 SCRA 596, G.R. No. 209215 rendering the assailed judgment void.—By way of
September 17, 2014 exception, a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be
assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules
G.R. No. 167710. June 5, 2009.* of Court, but only upon a clear showing by the petitioner that
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JOVEN DE the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not
GRANO, ARMANDO DE GRANO, DOMINGO LANDICHO merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of
and ESTANISLAO LACABA, respondents. discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, or to a
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Pleadings and Practice; denial of due process, thus rendering the assailed judgment
Verification; The purpose of requiring a verification is to void. In which event, the accused cannot be considered at
secure an assurance that the allegations in the petition risk of double jeopardy—the revered constitutional safeguard
have been made in good faith, or are true and correct, against exposing the accused to the risk of answering twice
not merely speculative; Verification is only a formal, not for the same offense.
a jurisdictional, requirement.—The purpose of requiring a Same; Same; The sole office of a writ of certiorari is the
verification is to secure an assurance that the allegations in correction of errors of jurisdiction, including the
the petition have been made in good faith; or are true and commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to
correct, not merely speculative. This requirement is simply a lack of jurisdiction, and does not include a review of the
condition affecting the form of pleadings, and noncompliance Regional Trial Court’s (RTC’s) evaluation of the
therewith does not necessarily render it fatally defective. evidence and the factual findings based thereon.—
Truly, verification is only a formal, not a jurisdictional, Factual matters cannot be inquired into by this Court in a
requirement. Hence, it was sufficient that the private certiorari proceeding. We can no longer be tasked to go over
prosecutor signed the verification. the proofs presented by the parties and analyze, assess and
Same; Same; Same; Certification of Non-Forum weigh them again to ascertain if the trial court was correct in
Shopping; Court has relaxed, under justifiable according superior credit to this or that piece of evidence of
circumstances, the rule requiring the submission of one party or the other. The sole office of a writ of certiorari is
such certification considering that although it is the correction of errors of jurisdiction, including the
obligatory, it is not jurisdictional.—With respect to the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
certification of non-forum shopping, it has been held that the of jurisdiction, and does not include a review of the RTC’s
certification requirement is rooted in the principle that a evaluation of the evidence and the factual findings based
party-litigant shall not be allowed to pursue simultaneous thereon.
remedies in different fora, as this practice is detrimental to Criminal Procedure; Trial in Absentia; Stages of the Trial
an orderly judicial procedure. However, this Court has Where the Presence of the Accused is Required.—
relaxed, under justifiable circumstances, the rule requiring Section 14(2), Article III of the Constitution, authorizing trials
the submission of such certification considering that although in absentia, allows the accused to be absent at the trial but
it is obligatory, it is not jurisdictional. Not being jurisdictional, not at certain stages of the proceedings, to wit: (a) at
it can be relaxed under the rule of substantial compliance. arraignment and plea, whether of innocence or of guilt; (b)
Same; Same; Same; Same; When a strict and literal during trial, whenever necessary for identification purposes;
application of the rules on non-forum shopping and and (c) at the promulgation of sentence, unless it is for a
verification would result in a patent denial of substantial light offense, in which case, the accused may appear by
justice, they may be liberally construed.—As summarized counsel or representative. At such stages of the
in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Court of Appeals, 402 proceedings, his presence is required and cannot be waived.
SCRA 449 (2003), when a strict and literal application of the People vs. De Grano, 588 SCRA 550, G.R. No. 167710
rules on non-forum shopping and verification would result in June 5, 2009
a patent denial of substantial justice, they may be liberally
construed. An unforgiving application of the pertinent
provisions of the Rules will not be given premium if it would G.R. No. 200465. April 20, 2015.*
impede rather than serve the best interests of justice in the JOCELYN ASISTIO y CONSINO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE
light of the prevailing circumstances in the case under OF THE PHILIPPINES and MONICA NEALIGA,
consideration. respondents.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Signature of the Solicitor Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals; Petition for
General on the verification and certification of non- Review on Certiorari; As a rule, the remedy from a
forum shopping in a petition before the Court of Appeals judgment or final order of the Court of Appeals (CA) is
or with this Court is substantial compliance with the appeal via petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules
requirement under the Rules.—We reiterate our holding in of Court.—As a rule, the remedy from a judgment or final
City Warden of the Manila City Jail v. Estrella, 364 SCRA order of the CA is appeal via petition for review under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court. In Mercado v. Court of Appeals, cooperative dispute, and within the jurisdiction of the regular
441 SCRA 463 (2004), the Court had again stressed the court.
distinction between the remedies provided for under Rule 45 Same; Same; Prosecution of Offenses; Civil Liability; It
and Rule 65, to wit: x x x [T]he proper remedy of a party is well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended
aggrieved by a decision of the Court of Appeals is a petition party is the State, the interest of the private complainant
for review under Rule 45, which is not identical to a petition or the private offended party is limited to the civil
for certiorari under Rule 65. Under Rule 45, decisions, final liability, and her role in the prosecution of the offense is
orders or resolutions of the Court of Appeals in any case, limited to that of a witness for the prosecution.—It is
i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings well-settled that in criminal cases where the offended party is
involved, may be appealed to us by filing a petition for the State, the interest of the private complainant or the
review, which would be but a continuation of the appellate private offended party is limited to the civil liability, and her
process over the original case. On the other hand, a special role in the prosecution of the offense is limited to that of a
civil action under Rule 65 is an independent action based on witness for the prosecution. In petitioner’s criminal case for
the specific ground therein provided and, as a general rule, violation of Section 46 of RA 6938, the State is the real
cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an offended party, while the Cooperative and its members are
ordinary appeal, including that to be taken under Rule 45. mere private complainants and witnesses whose interests
Same; Criminal Procedure; Jurisdiction; In criminal are limited to the civil aspect thereof. Clearly, such criminal
cases, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the case can hardly be considered an intra-cooperative dispute,
averments of the complaint or Information, in relation to as it is not one arising between or among members of the
the law prevailing at the time of the filing of the same cooperative.
complaint or Information, and the penalty provided by Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; On whether the remand
law for the crime charged at the time of its of the criminal case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
commission.—In criminal cases, the jurisdiction of the court violated her right against double jeopardy due to its
is determined by the averments of the complaint or earlier dismissal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction,
Information, in relation to the law prevailing at the time of the the Court rules in the negative and upholds the Court of
filing of the complaint or Information, and the penalty Appeals (CA) in ruling that the dismissal having been
provided by law for the crime charged at the time of its granted upon petitioner’s instance, double jeopardy did
commission. Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, not attach.—On whether the remand of the criminal case to
provides that the MeTC has exclusive jurisdiction over the RTC violated her right against double jeopardy due to its
offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six earlier dismissal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the
years, irrespective of the amount of fine: Sec. 32. Court rules in the negative and upholds the CA in ruling that
Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial the dismissal having been granted upon petitioner’s
Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal instance, double jeopardy did not attach.
Cases.—Except in cases falling within the exclusive original Same; Civil Procedure; Judgments; Prosecution of
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Offenses; Res judicata is a doctrine of civil law and thus
Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal has no bearing on criminal proceedings.—At the outset,
Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall res judicata is a doctrine of civil law and thus has no bearing
exercise: x x x x (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all on criminal proceedings. At any rate, petitioner’s argument is
offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) incidentally related to double jeopardy which embraces a
years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of prohibition against being tried for any offense which
other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense
civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, charged in the former complaint or information.
irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; Requisites of.—Section
Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to 7 of Rule 117 lays down the requisites in order that the
property through criminal negligence, they shall have defense of double jeopardy may prosper. There is double
exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. jeopardy when the following requisites are present: (1) a first
Same; Same; Same; Regional Trial Courts; Offenses jeopardy attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy
punishable with imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, has been validly terminated; and (3) a second jeopardy is for
irrespective of the amount of fine, fall under the the same offense as in the first. As to the first requisite, the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court first jeopardy attaches only (a) after a valid indictment; (b)
(RTC), in accordance with Section 20 of Batas before a competent court; (c) after arraignment; (d) when a
Pambansa Bilang (B.P. Blg.) 129, as amended.—Offenses valid plea has been entered; and (e) when the accused was
punishable with imprisonment exceeding six years, acquitted or convicted, or the case was dismissed or
irrespective of the amount of fine, fall under the exclusive otherwise terminated without his express consent.
original jurisdiction of the RTC, in accordance with Section Same; Same; Same; Verily, there is nothing common or
20 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended: Section 20. Jurisdiction in similar between the essential elements of the crimes of
criminal cases.—Regional Trial Courts shall exercise falsification of private document under Article 172(2) of
exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and that of violation of
the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body, Section 46 of Republic Act (RA) No. 6938, as alleged in
except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent the Informations filed against petitioner.—Verily, there is
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be nothing common or similar between the essential elements
exclusively taken cognizance of by the latter. of the crimes of falsification of private document under
Same; Same; Conciliation; Mediation; Conciliation or Article 172(2) of the RPC and that of violation of Section 46
mediation is not a prerequisite to the filing of a criminal of RA 6938, as alleged in the Informations filed against
case for violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 6938 against petitioner. As neither of the said crimes can be said to
petitioner, because such case is not an intra- necessarily include or is necessarily included in the other,
cooperative dispute.—On whether the rule on exhaustion the third requisite for double jeopardy to attach — a second
of administrative remedies was violated when the jeopardy is for the same offense as in the first — is,
Cooperative filed a criminal case against petitioner without therefore, absent. Not only are their elements different, they
undergoing conciliation/mediation proceedings pursuant to also have a distinct nature, i.e., the former is malum in se, as
the Cooperative Code and the Bylaws of the Cooperative, what makes it a felony is criminal intent on the part of the
the Court rules in the negative. Conciliation or mediation is offender, while the latter is malum prohibitum, as what
not a prerequisite to the filing of a criminal case for violation makes it a crime is the special law enacting it.
of RA 6938 against petitioner, because such case is not an Same; Same; It is basic in criminal procedure that an
intra-cooperative dispute. As aptly pointed out by the CA: accused may be charged with as many crimes as
Neither can the accused-appellee insist that this is an intra- defined in our penal laws even if these arose from one
cooperative dispute and should have been resolved at the incident.—Since the Informations filed against petitioner
cooperative level. As aptly argued by the People, this is not were for separate and distinct offenses as discussed
an intra-cooperative dispute. Intra-cooperative dispute is a above — the first against Article 172(2) of the Revised Penal
dispute arising between or among members of the same Code and the second against Section 46 of the Cooperative
cooperative. The instant case is a dispute between the Code (RA6938) — one cannot be pleaded as a bar to the
Cooperative and its former chairperson, the accused- other under the rule on double jeopardy. Besides, it is basic
appellee. The Board Resolution authorizing the filing of the in criminal procedure that an accused may be charged with
criminal complaint by the Board of Directors, for and in as many crimes as defined in our penal laws even if these
behalf of the Cooperative, is proof that this is not an intra- arose from one incident. Thus, where a single act is directed
against one person but said act constitutes a violation of two
or more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law, or 2006, the same day Cabador filed his motion to dismiss, the
by a special law and the Revised Penal Code, as in this trial court still needed to give him an opportunity to object to
case, the prosecution against one is not an obstacle to the the admission of those exhibits. It also needed to rule on the
prosecution of the other. Asistio vs. People, 756 SCRA 256, formal offer. And only after such a ruling could the
G.R. No. 200465 April 20, 2015 prosecution be deemed to have rested its case. Since
Cabador filed his motion to dismiss before he could object to
G.R. No. 186001. October 2, 2009.* the prosecution’s formal offer, before the trial court could act
ANTONIO CABADOR, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE on the offer, and before the prosecution could rest its case, it
PHILIPPINES, respondent. could not be said that he had intended his motion to dismiss
Criminal Procedure; Demurrer to Evidence; Because to serve as a demurrer to evidence. Cabador vs. People,
some accused have in the past used the demurrer in 602 SCRA 760, G.R. No. 186001 October 2, 2009
order to delay the proceedings in the case, the remedy
now carries a caveat — when the accused files a demurrer GR. No. 167526. July 26, 2010.*
without leave of court, he shall be deemed to have waived PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. DANTE
the right to present evidence and the case shall be TAN, respondent.
considered submitted for judgment.—The trial proper in a Criminal Procedure; Demurrer to Evidence; Grant of a
criminal case usually has two stages: first, the prosecution’s demurrer to evidence operates as an acquittal and is
presentation of evidence against the accused and, second, thus final and unappealable.—In People v.
the accused’s presentation of evidence in his defense. If, Sandiganbayan, 447 SCRA 291 (2004), this Court explained
after the prosecution has presented its evidence, the same the general rule that the grant of a demurrer to evidence
appears insufficient to support a conviction, the trial court operates as an acquittal and is, thus, final and unappealable,
may at its own initiative or on motion of the accused to wit: The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as
dispense with the second stage and dismiss the criminal the one at bar, is “filed after the prosecution had rested its
action. There is no point for the trial court to hear the case,” and when the same is granted, it calls “for an
evidence of the accused in such a case since the appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution
prosecution bears the burden of proving his guilt beyond and its sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond reasonable
reasonable doubt. The order of dismissal amounts to an doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits,
acquittal. But because some have in the past used the tantamount to an acquittal of the accused.” Such dismissal of
demurrer in order to delay the proceedings in the case, the a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not
remedy now carries a caveat. When the accused files a be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in
demurrer without leave of court, he shall be deemed to have double jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case
waived the right to present evidence and the case shall be ends there.
considered submitted for judgment. On occasions, this Same; Same; Same; The rule on double jeopardy is not
presents a problem such as when, like the situation in this without exceptions; The only instance when double
case, the accused files a motion to dismiss that, to the RTC, jeopardy will not attach is when the Regional Trial Court
had the appearance of a demurrer to evidence. Cabador (RTC) acted with grave abuse of discretion.—The rule on
insists that it is not one but the CA, like the lower court, ruled double jeopardy, however, is not without exceptions. In
that it is. People v. Laguio, Jr., 518 SCRA 393 (2007), this Court
Same; Same; Motion to Dismiss; “Demurrer to stated that the only instance when double jeopardy will not
Evidence” and “Motion to Dismiss,” Distinguished; attach is when the RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion,
Pleadings and Practice; To determine whether the Same; Same; Same; Grave Abuse of Discretion
pleading filed is a demurrer to evidence or a motion to Defined.—Grave abuse of discretion defies exact definition,
dismiss, the Court must consider (1) the allegations in it but it generally refers to “capricious or whimsical exercise of
made in good faith; (2) the stage of the proceeding at judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.” The abuse
which it is filed; and (3) the primary objective of the of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an
party filing it.—This Court held in Enojas, Jr. v. Commission evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a
on Elections, 283 SCRA 229 (1997), that, to determine duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law,
whether the pleading filed is a demurer to evidence or a as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic
motion to dismiss, the Court must consider (1) the manner by reason of passion and hostility.
allegations in it made in good faith; (2) the stage of the Same; Same; Same; Prosecution denied due process of
proceeding at which it is filed; and (3) the primary objective law when the trial was but a mock trial.—In Galman v.
of the party filing it. Sandiganbayan, 144 SCRA 43 (1986), this Court ruled that
Same; Same; Same; Same; Speedy Trial; In criminal the prosecution was denied due process of law when the
cases, a motion to dismiss may be filed on the ground trial was but a mock trial, to wit: More so does the rule
of denial of the accused’s right to speedy trial.—In against the invoking of double jeopardy hold in the cases at
criminal cases, a motion to dismiss may be filed on the bar where as we have held, the sham trial was but a mock
ground of denial of the accused’s right to speedy trial. This trial where the authoritarian president ordered respondents
denial is characterized by unreasonable, vexatious, and Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan to rig the trial and closely
oppressive delays without fault of the accused, or by monitored the entire proceedings to assure the
unjustified postponements that unreasonably prolonged the predetermined final outcome of acquittal and total absolution
trial. This was the main thrust of Cabador’s motion to dismiss as innocent of all the respondents-accused. In addition, in
and he had the right to bring this up for a ruling by the trial People v. Bocar, 138 SCRA 166 (1985), this Court ruled that
court. Cabador of course dropped a few lines in his motion to there is no double jeopardy when the prosecution was not
dismiss in paragraphs “11 (sic)” and 12, saying that the trial allowed to complete its presentation of evidence by the trial
court “has no evidence to consider,” “the charge has no leg court.
to stand on,” and that “the witnesses x x x had no knowledge Same; Same; Same; The only instance when double
of any connection with or any participation by the accused in jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with
the incident.” But these were mere conclusions, highlighting grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
what five years of trial had accomplished. of jurisdiction which cannot be attributed to the
Same; Same; Same; Same; A demurrer to evidence Regional Trial Court (RTC) simply because it chose not
assumes that the prosecution has already rested its to hold in abeyance the resolution of the demurrer to
case; Where the accused filed his motion to dismiss evidence.—While it would have been ideal for the RTC to
before he could object to the prosecution’s formal offer, hold in abeyance the resolution of the demurrer to evidence,
before the trial court could act on the offer, and before nowhere in the rules, however, is it mandated to do so.
the prosecution could rest its case, it could not be said Furthermore, even if this Court were to consider the same as
that he had intended his motion to dismiss to serve as a an error on the part of the RTC, the same would merely
demurrer to evidence.—A demurrer to evidence assumes constitute an error of procedure or of judgment and not an
that the prosecution has already rested its case. Section 23, error of jurisdiction as persistently argued by petitioner.
Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, reads: Errors or irregularities, which do not render the proceedings
“Demurrer to evidence.—After the prosecution rests its case, a nullity, will not defeat a plea of antrefois acquit. We are
the court may dismiss the action on the ground of bound by the dictum that whatever error may have been
insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own initiative after giving committed effecting the dismissal of the case cannot now be
the prosecution the opportunity to be heard or (2) upon corrected because of the timely plea of double jeopardy. To
demurrer to the evidence filed by the accused with or without reiterate, the only instance when double jeopardy will not
leave of court.” (Emphasis supplied) Here, after the attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of
prosecution filed its formal offer of exhibits on August 1, discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction which
cannot be attributed to the RTC simply because it chose not complaints for damages against each other which are
to hold in abeyance the resolution of the demurrer to indisputably personal in nature.
evidence. Constitutional Law; Criminal Procedure; Right to
Same; Same; Same; The fundamental philosophy Speedy Trial; Right is considered violated only when the
behind the constitutional proscription against double proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious and
jeopardy is to afford the defendant who has been oppressive delays; Factors to be considered in
acquitted, final repose and safeguard him from determining whether the accused has been deprived of
government oppression through the abuse of criminal his right to a speedy disposition of the case and to a
pro-cesses.—It bears to stress that the fundamental speedy trial.—Designed to prevent the oppression of the
philosophy behind the constitutional proscription against citizen by holding criminal prosecution suspended over him
double jeopardy is to afford the defendant, who has been for an indefinite time and to prevent delays in the
acquitted, final repose and safeguard him from government administration of justice, said right is considered violated
oppression through the abuse of criminal processes. While only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious,
petitioner insists that the RTC acted with grave abuse of capricious and oppressive delays. In the case of Corpuz vs.
discretion, this Court finds that none can be attributed to the Sandiganbayan, 442 SCRA 294 (2004), this Court
RTC. Consequently, the CA did not err when it affirmed the significantly ruled as follows: x x x In determining whether
assailed Orders of the RTC. People vs Tan, 625 SCRA 388, the accused has been deprived of his right to a speedy
G.R. No. 167526 July 26, 2010 disposition of the case and to a speedy trial, four factors
must be considered: (a) length of delay; (b) the reason for
G.R. No. 160067. November 17, 2010.* the delay; (c) the defendant’s assertion of his right; and (d)
NELSON IMPERIAL, ET AL., petitioners, vs. MARICEL M. prejudice to the defendant.” xxxx
JOSON, ET AL., respondents. Same; Same; Same; In determining the right of an
G.R. No. 170410. November 17, 2010.* accused to speedy trial, courts are required to do more
SANTOS FRANCISCO, petitioners, vs. SPS. GERARD than a mathematical computation of the number of
AND MARICEL JOSON, respondents. postponements of the scheduled hearings of the case
G.R. No. 171622. November 17, 2010.* and to give particular regard to the facts and
NELSON IMPERIAL, ET AL., petitioners, vs. HILARION circumstances peculiar to each case.—Although the
FELIX, ET AL., respondents. Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure concededly mandates
Remedial Law; Certiorari; Like prohibition, the rule is commencement of the trial within 30 days from receipt of the
settled that certiorari may be issued only for the pre-trial order and the continuous conduct thereof for a
corrections of errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of period not exceeding 180 days, Section 3 a (1), Rule 119
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.— provides that delays resulting from extraordinary remedies
It bears emphasizing at the outset that the petitions for against interlocutory orders shall be excluded in computing
certiorari and prohibition petitioners filed before the CA were the time within which trial must commence. In determining
all anchored on the grave abuse of discretion supposedly the right of an accused to speedy trial, moreover, courts are
imputable against the RTCs of Naga, Lucena and “required to do more than a mathematical computation of the
Parañaque for issuing the rulings therein assailed. Like number of postponements of the scheduled hearings of the
prohibition, however, the rule is settled that certiorari may be case” and to give particular regard to the facts and
issued only for the correction of errors of jurisdiction or grave circumstances peculiar to each case.
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of Remedial Law; Default; Time and again, the Court has
jurisdiction. Because their function is limited to keeping espoused a policy of liberality in setting aside orders of
inferior courts within the bounds of their jurisdiction, the writs default which are frowned upon.—Inasmuch as
therefor may be issued only in cases of lack of jurisdiction or procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of adjudication of cases, courts have likewise been exhorted to
jurisdiction. In the context of said special civil actions, it has afford party-litigants the amplest opportunity to have their
been consistently held that grave abuse of discretion implies cases justly determined, free from the constraints of
such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as to technicalities. Time and again, this Court has espoused a
amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to policy of liberality in setting aside orders of default which are
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in frowned upon, as a case is best decided when all contending
contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an parties are able to ventilate their respective claims, present
arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or their arguments and adduce evidence in support thereof.
personal hostility. Thus, the issuance of the orders of default should be the
Same; Same; A writ of certiorari cannot be exercised in exception rather than the rule, to be allowed only in clear
order to review the judgment of the lower court as to its cases of obstinate refusal by the defendant to comply with
intrinsic correctness, either upon the law or the facts of the orders of the trial court. Imperial vs. Joson, 635 SCRA
the case; The rule is settled that errors of judgment 71, G.R. No. 160067 November 17, 2010
involving the wisdom or legal soundness of a decision
are beyond the province of a petition for certiorari.— G.R. No. 174504. March 21, 2011.*
Consistent with its function as a remedy for the correction of PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON.
errors of jurisdiction, however, the rule is settled that errors SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION) and MANUEL G.
of judgment involving the wisdom or legal soundness of a BARCENAS, respondents.
decision are beyond the province of a petition for certiorari. Criminal Procedure; Demurrer to Evidence; In criminal
Not being intended to correct every controversial cases, the grant of a demurrer is tantamount to an
interlocutory ruling, a writ of certiorari cannot be exercised in acquittal and the dismissal order may not be appealed
order to review the judgment of the lower court as to its because this would place the accused in double
intrinsic correctness, either upon the law or the facts of the jeopardy; Although the dismissal order is not subject to
case. As long as the trial court acts within its jurisdiction, any appeal, it is still reviewable but only through certiorari
alleged error committed in the exercise of its discretion will, under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.—In criminal cases,
therefore, amount to nothing more than mere errors of the grant of a demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal and the
judgments, correctible by an appeal and not by a petition for dismissal order may not be appealed because this would
certiorari. place the accused in double jeopardy. Although the
Same; Actions; Litis Pendentia; Factors to be dismissal order is not subject to appeal, it is still reviewable
considered in the determination of which court would be but only through certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
in a better position to serve the interests of justice.— Court. For the writ to issue, the trial court must be shown to
Under the “interest of justice rule,” moreover, the have acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
determination of which court would be “in a better position to or excess of jurisdiction such as where the prosecution was
serve the interests of justice” also entails the consideration denied the opportunity to present its case or where the trial
of the following factors: (a) the nature of the controversy; (b) was a sham thus rendering the assailed judgment void. The
the comparative accessibility of the court to the parties; and, burden is on the petitioner to clearly demonstrate that the
(c) other similar factors. Considering that majority of the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as
parties live closer to the Parañaque RTC, we cannot to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice.
hospitably entertain petitioners’ insistence that the Criminal Law; Failure to Render an Account; Actual
abatement of the case before said court in favor of the one damage to the government arising from the non-
they filed before the Naga RTC would promote the liquidation of the cash advance is not an essential
expeditious and inexpensive disposition of the parties’ element of the offense punished under the second
sentence of Section 89 of Presidential Decree No. 1445
as implemented by Commission on Audit (COA) Circular (2) where the case was dismissed at a time when the case
No. 90-331; The mere failure to timely liquidate the cash was not ready for trial and adjudication.
advance is the gravamen of the offense.—As can be Same; Same; Same; An acquittal by virtue of a demurer
seen, contrary to the findings of the Sandiganbayan, actual to evidence is not appealable because it will place the
damage to the government arising from the non-liquidation accused in double jeopardy.—As previously discussed, an
of the cash advance is not an essential element of the acquittal by virtue of a demurrer to evidence is not
offense punished under the second sentence of Section 89 appealable because it will place the accused in double
of P.D. No. 1445 as implemented by COA Circular No. 90- jeopardy. However, it may be subject to review only by a
331. Instead, the mere failure to timely liquidate the cash petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
advance is the gravamen of the offense. Verily, the law showing that the trial court committed grave abuse of
seeks to compel the accountable officer, by penal provision, discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a
to promptly render an account of the funds which he has denial of due process.
received by reason of his office. People vs. Sandiganbayan Same; Same; Same; The party questioning the acquittal
(Third Division), 645 SCRA 726, G.R. No. 174504 March 21, of an accused should be able to clearly establish that
2011 the trial court blatantly abused its discretion such that it
was deprived of its authority to dispense justice.—Grave
G.R. No. 172777. October 19, 2011.* abuse of discretion has been defined as that capricious or
BENJAMIN B. BANGAYAN, JR., petitioner, vs. SALLY whimsical exercise of judgment which is tantamount to lack
GO BANGAYAN, respondent. of jurisdiction. “The abuse of discretion must be patent and
G.R. No. 172792. October 19, 2011.* gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a
RESALLY DE ASIS DELFIN, petitioner, vs. SALLY GO virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at
BANGAYAN, respondent. all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised
Criminal Procedure; Appeals; In criminal cases, the in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion
acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case and hostility.” The party questioning the acquittal of an
against him can only be appealed by the Solicitor accused should be able to clearly establish that the trial
General, acting on behalf of the State.—This Court leans court blatantly abused its discretion such that it was deprived
toward Resally’s contention that Sally Go had no personality of its authority to dispense justice.
to file the petition for certiorari before the CA. It has been
consistently held that in criminal cases, the acquittal of the
accused or the dismissal of the case against him can only be
appealed by the Solicitor General, acting on behalf of the
State. The private complainant or the offended party may
question such acquittal or dismissal only insofar as the civil
liability of the accused is concerned.
Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; Well-established is the
rule that the Court cannot review an order granting the
demurrer to evidence and acquitting the accused on the
ground by insufficiency of evidence because to do so
will place the accused in double jeopardy.—A demurrer
to evidence is filed after the prosecution has rested its case
and the trial court is required to evaluate whether the
evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient enough
to warrant the conviction of the accused beyond reasonable
doubt. If the court finds that the evidence is not sufficient and
grants the demurrer to evidence, such dismissal of the case
is one on the merits, which is equivalent to the acquittal of
the accused. Well-established is the rule that the Court
cannot review an order granting the demurrer to evidence
and acquitting the accused on the ground of insufficiency of
evidence because to do so will place the accused in double
jeopardy.
Same; Same; Same; Elements of Double Jeopardy to
Attach; Jurisprudence allows for certain exceptions
when the dismissal is considered final even if it was
made on motion of the accused.—Double jeopardy
attaches if the following elements are present: (1) a valid
complaint or information; (2) a court of competent
jurisdiction; (3) the defendant had pleaded to the charge;
and (4) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted or the
case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated
without his express consent. However, jurisprudence allows
for certain exceptions when the dismissal is considered final
even if it was made on motion of the accused, to wit: (1)
Where the dismissal is based on a demurrer to evidence
filed by the accused after the prosecution has rested, which
has the effect of a judgment on the merits and operates as
an acquittal. (2) Where the dismissal is made, also on
motion of the accused, because of the denial of his right to a
speedy trial which is in effect a failure to prosecute.
Same; Same; Same; The only instance when the
accused can be barred from invoking his right against
double jeopardy is when it can be demonstrated that the
trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as
where the prosecution was not allowed the opportunity
to make its case against the accused or where the trial
was a sham.—The only instance when the accused can be
barred from invoking his right against double jeopardy is
when it can be demonstrated that the trial court acted with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was not allowed
the opportunity to make its case against the accused or
where the trial was a sham. For instance, there is no double
jeopardy (1) where the trial court prematurely terminated the
presentation of the prosecution’s evidence and forthwith
dismissed the information for insufficiency of evidence; and
RULE 120 JUDGMENT such Order denying the Motion to Withdraw
Informations, the proper remedy of petitioners should
G.R. No. 149588. September 29, 2009.* have been to file a Petition for Certiorari against the
FRANCISCO R. LLAMAS and CARMELITA C. LLAMAS, assailed Order.—There is indeed an exception to the rule
petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, that matters involving judgment and discretion are beyond
BRANCH 66 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN the reach of a writ of mandamus, for such writ may be issued
MAKATI CITY and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, to compel action in those matters, when refused. However,
respondents. mandamus is never available to direct the exercise of
Actions; Criminal Law; Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; judgment or discretion in a particular way or the retraction or
Annulment of Judgment; Appeals; Procedural Rules and reversal of an action already taken in the exercise of either.
Technicalities; The remedy of annulment of judgment In other words, while a judge refusing to act on a Motion to
cannot be availed of in criminal cases.—In People v. Withdraw Informations can be compelled by mandamus to
Bitanga (525 SCRA 623 [2007]), the Court explained that the act on the same, he cannot be compelled to act in a certain
remedy of annulment of judgment cannot be availed of in way, i.e., to grant or deny such Motion. In the case at bar,
criminal cases, thus—Section 1, Rule 47 of the Rules of Judge Bay did not refuse to act on the Motion to Withdraw
Court, limits the scope of the remedy of annulment of Informations; he had already acted on it by denying the
judgment to the following: Section 1. Coverage.—This Rule same. Accordingly, mandamus is not available anymore. If
shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of petitioners believed that Judge Bay committed grave abuse
judgments or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of of discretion in the issuance of such Order denying the
Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new Motion to Withdraw Informations, the proper remedy of
trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies petitioners should have been to file a Petition for Certiorari
are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. The against the assailed Order of Judge Bay.
remedy cannot be resorted to when the RTC judgment being Criminal Procedure; Once a criminal complaint or an
questioned was rendered in a criminal case. The 2000 information is filed in court, any disposition or dismissal
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure itself does not permit of the case or acquittal or conviction of the accused
such recourse, for it excluded Rule 47 from the enumeration rests within the jurisdiction, competence, and discretion
of the provisions of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil of the trial court.—The Petition for Mandamus is directed
Procedure which have suppletory application to criminal not against the prosecution, but against the trial court,
cases. Section 18, Rule 124 thereof, provides: Sec. 18. seeking to compel the trial court to grant the Motion to
Application of certain rules in civil procedure to criminal Withdraw Informations by the City Prosecutor’s Office. The
cases.—The provisions of Rules 42, 44 to 46 and 48 to 56 prosecution has already filed a case against petitioners.
relating to procedure in the Court of Appeals and in the Recently, in Santos v. Orda, Jr., 437 SCRA 504 (2004), we
Supreme Court in original and appealed civil cases shall be reiterated the doctrine we established in the leading case of
applied to criminal cases insofar as they are applicable and Crespo v. Mogul, 151 SCRA 462 (1987), that once a criminal
not inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule. complaint or an information is filed in court, any disposition
Remedial Law; Jurisdiction; Jurisdiction being a matter or dismissal of the case or acquittal or conviction of the
of substantive law, the established rule is that the accused rests within the jurisdiction, competence, and
statute in force at the time of the commencement of the discretion of the trial court.
action determines the jurisdiction of the court.— Same; Same; Same; What the Supreme Court held in
Jurisdiction being a matter of substantive law, the Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, 278 SCRA 656 (1997), is
established rule is that the statute in force at the time of the that a trial judge commits grave abuse of discretion if he
commencement of the action determines the jurisdiction of denies a Motion to Withdraw Information without an
the court. In this case, at the time of the filing of the independent and complete assessment of the issues
information, the applicable law was Batas Pambansa Bilang presented in such Motion.—We never stated in Ledesma
129, approved on August 14, 1981. Llamas vs. Court of that a judge is allowed to deny a Motion to Withdraw
Appeals, 601 SCRA 228, G.R. No. 149588 September 29, Information from the prosecution only when there is grave
2009 abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutors moving for
such withdrawal. Neither did we rule therein that where there
G.R. Nos. 174813-15. March 17, 2009.* is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
NILO HIPOS, SR. REPRESENTING DARRYL HIPOS, prosecutors, the denial of the Motion to Withdraw
BENJAMIN CORSIÑO REPRESENTING JAYCEE Information is void. What we held therein is that a trial judge
CORSIÑO, and ERLINDA VILLARUEL REPRESENTING commits grave abuse of discretion if he denies a Motion to
ARTHUR VILLARUEL, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE RTC Withdraw Information without an independent and complete
JUDGE TEODORO A. BAY, Presiding Judge, RTC, Hall assessment of the issues presented in such Motion. Thus,
of Justice, Quezon City, Branch 86, respondent. the opening paragraph of Ledesma states: When confronted
Actions; Mandamus; As an extraordinary writ, the with a motion to withdraw an information on the ground of
remedy of mandamus lies only to compel an officer to lack of probable cause based on a resolution of the
perform a ministerial duty, not a discretionary one— secretary of justice, the bounden duty of the trial court is to
mandamus will not issue to control the exercise of make an independent assessment of the merits of such
discretion by a public officer where the law imposes motion. Having acquired jurisdiction over the case, the trial
upon him the duty to exercise his judgment in reference court is not bound by such resolution but is required to
to any manner in which he is required to act, because it evaluate it before proceeding further with the trial. While the
is his judgment that is to be exercised and not that of secretary’s ruling is persuasive, it is not binding on courts. A
the court.—Mandamus is an extraordinary writ commanding trial court, however, commits reversible error or even grave
a tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person, immediately abuse of discretion if it refuses/neglects to evaluate such
or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be recommendation and simply insists on proceeding with the
done, when the respondent unlawfully neglects the trial on the mere pretext of having already acquired
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a jurisdiction over the criminal action.
duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; or when the Judgments; Dispositive Portions; The general rule is
respondent excludes another from the use and enjoyment of that where there is a conflict between the dispositive
a right or office to which the latter is entitled, and there is no portion or the fallo and the body of the decision, the
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary fallo controls.—The body of the assailed Order not only
course of law. As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of plainly stated that the court found probable cause against
mandamus lies only to compel an officer to perform a the petitioners, but likewise provided an adequate discussion
ministerial duty, not a discretionary one; mandamus will not of the reasons for such finding. Indeed, the general rule is
issue to control the exercise of discretion by a public officer that where there is a conflict between the dispositive portion
where the law imposes upon him the duty to exercise his or the fallo and the body of the decision, the fallo controls.
judgment in reference to any manner in which he is required However, where the inevitable conclusion from the body of
to act, because it is his judgment that is to be exercised and the decision is so clear as to show that there was a mistake
not that of the court. in the dispositive portion, the body of the decision will
Same; Same; Criminal Procedure; Mandamus is never prevail. Hipos, Sr. vs. Bay, 581 SCRA 674, G.R. Nos.
available to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion 174813-15 March 17, 2009
in a particular way or the retraction or reversal of an
action already taken in the exercise of either; If
petitioners believed that the respondent Judge
committed grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of
G.R. No. 185209. June 28, 2010.* punishable with reclusion perpetua to death under paragraph
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RENE 1, Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. We find that the
BARON y TANGAROCAN, appellant. trial court correctly appreciated the aggravating
REY VILLATIMA and alias “DEDONG” BARGO, accused. circumstance of treachery, which exists when the offender
Criminal Law; Robbery with Homicide; Elements; In commits any of the crimes against persons, employing
robbery with homicide, a conviction needs certainty that means, methods or forms in the execution thereof that tend
the robbery is the central purpose and objective of the directly and specifically to insure its execution without risk to
malefactor and the killing is merely incidental to the himself arising from the defense that the offended party
robbery.—Robbery with homicide exists when a homicide is might make. The evidence points that one of the co-
committed either by reason, or on occasion, of the robbery. conspirators tied the hands of the victim before dragging him
To sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, the to the sugarcane field. Thus, he was unable to defend and
prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the taking protect himself against his malefactors who were superior in
of personal property belonging to another; (2) with intent to number and armed with knives and guns. As thoroughly
gain; (3) with the use of violence or intimidation against a discussed in People v. Escote, Jr., 400 SCRA 603 (2003),
person; and (4) on the occasion or by reason of the robbery, treachery is not a qualifying circumstance but “a generic
the crime of homicide, as used in the generic sense, was aggravating circumstance to robbery with homicide although
committed. A conviction needs certainty that the robbery is said crime is classified as a crime against property and a
the central purpose and objective of the malefactor and the single and indivisible crime.” Corollarily, “Article 62,
killing is merely incidental to the robbery. The intent to rob paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code provides that in
must precede the taking of human life but the killing may diminishing or increasing the penalty for a crime, aggravating
occur before, during or after the robbery. circumstances shall be taken into account. However,
Same; Same; Criminal Procedure; Evidence; aggravating circumstances which in themselves constitute a
Circumstantial Evidence; Judgments; Requisites; A crime especially punishable by law or which are included by
judgment of conviction based on circumstantial the law in defining a crime and prescribing a penalty therefor
evidence can be sustained when the circumstances shall not be taken into account for the purpose of increasing
proved form an unbroken chain that results to a fair and the penalty.” In the case at bar, “treachery is not an element
reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the of robbery with homicide.” Neither is it “inherent in the crime
exclusion of all others, as the perpetrator.—There is no of robbery with homicide.” As such, treachery may be
direct evidence proving that the appellant conspired and properly considered in increasing the penalty for crime.
participated in committing the crime. However, his complicity People vs. Baron, 621 SCRA 646, G.R. No. 185209 June
may be proved by circumstantial evidence, which consists of 28, 2010
proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the
existence of the main fact may be inferred according to G.R. No. 174654. August 17, 2011.*
reason and common experience. Circumstantial evidence is FELIXBERTO A. ABELLANA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF
sufficient to sustain conviction if: (a) there is more than one THE PHILIPPINES and Spouses SAAPIA B. ALONTO and
circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are DIAGA ALONTO, respondents.
derived have been established; (c) the combination of all Criminal Procedure; Judgments; It is an established rule
circumstances is such as to warrant a finding of guilt beyond in criminal procedure that a judgment of acquittal shall
reasonable doubt. A judgment of conviction based on state whether the evidence of the prosecution
circumstantial evidence can be sustained when the absolutely failed to prove the guilt of the accused or
circumstances proved form an unbroken chain that results to merely failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to doubt. In either case, the judgment shall determine if the
the exclusion of all others, as the perpetrator. act or omission from which the civil liability might arise
Same; Same; Conspiracy; When a homicide takes place did not exist.—It is an established rule in criminal procedure
by reason of or on the occasion of the robbery, all those that a judgment of acquittal shall state whether the evidence
who took part shall be guilty of the special complex of the prosecution absolutely failed to prove the guilt of the
crime of robbery with homicide whether they actually accused or merely failed to prove his guilt beyond
participated in the killing, unless there is proof that reasonable doubt. In either case, the judgment shall
there was an endeavor to prevent the killing.—The determine if the act or omission from which the civil liability
concerted manner in which the appellant and his might arise did not exist. When the exoneration is merely
companions perpetrated the crime showed beyond due to the failure to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt the presence of conspiracy. When a reasonable doubt, the court should award the civil liability in
homicide takes place by reason of or on the occasion of the favor of the offended party in the same criminal action. In
robbery, all those who took part shall be guilty of the special other words, the “extinction of the penal action does not
complex crime of robbery with homicide whether they carry with it the extinction of civil liability unless the extinction
actually participated in the killing, unless there is proof that proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact
there was an endeavor to prevent the killing. There was no from which the civil [liability] might arise did not exist.”
evidence adduced in this case that the appellant attempted Abellana vs. People, 655 SCRA 683, G.R. No. 174654
to prevent the killing. Thus, regardless of the acts individually August 17, 2011
performed by the appellant and his co-accused, and
applying the basic principle in conspiracy that the “act of one G.R. No. 173089. August 25, 2010.*
is the act of all,” the appellant is guilty as a co-conspirator. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. Hon.
As a result, the criminal liabilities of the appellant and his co- ENRIQUE C. ASIS, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of
accused are one and the same. the Regional Trial Court of Biliran Province, Branch 16,
Same; Same; Exempting Circumstances; Fear of an and JAIME ABORDO, respondents.
Equal or Greater Injury; Elements.—The appellant’s Criminal Procedure; Certiorari; Finality-of-Acquittal
attempt to evade criminal liability by insisting that he acted Doctrine; A petition for certiorari under Rule 65, not
under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an equal or appeal, is the remedy to question a verdict of acquittal
greater injury fails to impress. To avail of this exempting whether at the trial court or at the appellate level; In our
circumstance, the evidence must establish: (1) the existence jurisdiction, we adhere to the finality-of-acquittal
of an uncontrollable fear; (2) that the fear must be real and doctrine, that is, a judgment of acquittal is final and
imminent; and (3) the fear of an injury is greater than or at unappealable; Exception.—A petition for certiorari under
least equal to that committed. A threat of future injury is Rule 65, not appeal, is the remedy to question a verdict of
insufficient. The compulsion must be of such a character as acquittal whether at the trial court or at the appellate level. In
to leave no opportunity for the accused to escape. our jurisdiction, we adhere to the finality-of-acquittal doctrine,
Same; Same; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; that is, a judgment of acquittal is final and unappealable. The
Penalties; Treachery is not a qualifying circumstance rule, however, is not without exception. In several cases, the
but a generic aggravating circumstance to robbery with Court has entertained petitions for certiorari questioning the
homicide although said crime is classified as a crime acquittal of the accused in, or the dismissals of, criminal
against property and a single and indivisible crime; cases. Thus, in People v. Louel Uy, the Court has held: “Like
Aggravating circumstances which in themselves any other rule, however, the above said rule is not absolute.
constitute a crime especially punishable by law or which By way of exception, a judgment of acquittal in a criminal
are included by the law in defining a crime and case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule
prescribing a penalty therefor shall not be taken into 65 of the Rules of Court upon clear showing by the petitioner
account for the purpose of increasing the penalty.— that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not
Robbery with Homicide is a single indivisible crime merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a
denial of due process, thus rendering the assailed judgment
void.”
Same; Same; Same; The rule is that “while certiorari
may be availed of to correct an erroneous acquittal, the
petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must
clearly demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused
its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its
very power to dispense justice.”—A review of the records,
however, shows that the case need not be remanded to the
CA for appropriate proceedings. The OSG’s petition for
certiorari, which forms part of the records, would not merit a
favorable review even if it would be given due course simply
because it is bereft of merit. For said reason, we deem that a
remand of the case would only prolong the disposition of the
case. It is not without precedent. “On many occasions, the
Court, in the interest of public service and for the expeditious
administration of justice, has resolved actions on the merits,
instead of remanding them for further proceedings, as where
the ends of justice would not be sub-served by the remand
of the case.” The rule is that “while certiorari may be availed
of to correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such an
extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the
trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as
to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice.” The case
of Galman v. Sandiganbayan, 144 SCRA 43 (1986),
presents an instructive exception to the rule on double
jeopardy, that is, when the prosecution has been denied due
process of law. “The rationale behind this exception is that a
judgment rendered by the trial court with grave abuse of
discretion was issued without jurisdiction. It is, for this
reason, void. Consequently, there is no double jeopardy.”
Same; Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; Errors of
judgment cannot be raised in a Rule 65 petition as a writ
of certiorari can only correct errors of jurisdiction or
those involving the commission of grave abuse of
discretion.—What the OSG is questioning, therefore, are
errors of judgment. This, however, cannot be resolved
without violating Abordo’s constitutionally guaranteed right
against double jeopardy. An appellate court in a petition for
certiorari cannot review a trial court’s evaluation of the
evidence and factual findings. Errors of judgment cannot be
raised in a Rule 65 petition as a writ of certiorari can only
correct errors of jurisdiction or those involving the
commission of grave abuse of discretion. People vs. Asis,
629 SCRA 250, G.R. No. 173089 August 25, 2010
RULE 121 NEW TRIAL OR RECONSIDERATION Without a formal demand, the prima facie presumption of
conversion under Art. 217 cannot be applied.
GR. Nos. 163957-58. April 7, 2009.*
MUNIB S. ESTINO and ERNESTO G. PESCADERA, G.R. No. 156009. June 5, 2009.*
petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ROMMEL C. BRIONES, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
respondent. PHILIPPINES, respondent.
G.R. Nos. 164009-11. April 7, 2009.* Remedial Law; Appeals; As a rule, under Rule 45, only
ERNESTO G. PESCADERA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF questions of law are covered in a petition for review on
THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. certiorari; One of the exceptions is when there is a
Criminal Procedure; New Trial; Newly-Discovered conflict in the factual findings of the lower courts.—We
Evidence; Remand of Cases; Rule 121 of the Rules of initially observe that the petition raises factual issues that call
Court allows the conduct of a new trial before a for a re-weighing of the evidence on record. As a rule, this is
judgment of conviction becomes final when new and not allowed under Rule 45, as only questions of law are
material evidence has been discovered which the covered in a petition for review on certiorari. In this case, the
accused could not with reasonable diligence have Court is not a trier of facts, and thus, it is not tasked to make
discovered and produced at the trial and which if its own assessment and give its independent evaluation of
introduced and admitted would probably change the the probative value of the evidence adduced by the parties in
judgment, and although the documents offered by the proceedings below. However, the above rule admits of
petitioners are strictly not newly discovered, it appears exceptions; one of them is when there is a conflict in the
to us that the accused were mistaken in their belief that factual findings of the lower courts. When this happens, no
its production during trial was unnecessary.—We resolve reason exists for the lower courts’ factual findings to be
to grant petitioners a chance to prove their innocence by conclusive and the Court carries the burden of reviewing the
remanding the case to the Sandiganbayan for a new trial of evidence on hand.
Criminal Case No. 26192. Rule 121 of the Rules of Court Same; Same; Judges; Unless the trial judge plainly
allows the conduct of a new trial before a judgment of overlooked certain facts whose substance and value
conviction becomes final when new and material evidence may affect the result of the case, Court respects his
has been discovered which the accused could not with assessment of the credibility of the witnesses.—We give
reasonable diligence have discovered and produced at the special significance to the RTC’s unique position in
trial and which if introduced and admitted would probably assessing the credibility of witnesses, as the RTC has the
change the judgment. Although the documents offered by unrestricted opportunity to observe firsthand the conduct and
petitioners are strictly not newly discovered, it appears to us demeanor of witnesses at the trial. Unless the trial judge
that petitioners were mistaken in their belief that its plainly overlooked certain facts whose substance and value
production during trial was unnecessary. In their may affect the result of the case, we respect his assessment
Supplemental Motion and/or Motion for New Trial, they of the credibility of the witnesses. From our own reading of
stressed that they no longer presented the evidence of the records, we find that S/G Gual gave clear and precise
payment of RATA because Balabaran testified that the answers; no inconsistencies existed materially affecting their
subject of the charge was the nonpayment of benefits under veracity. Neither was it shown that S/G Gual was driven by
the 1999 budget, without mention of the RATA nor the 1998 any improper motive to falsely testify against Briones.
reenacted budget. It seems that they were misled during Same; Same; Law and fairness to the adverse party
trial. They were precluded from presenting pieces of demand that when a party adopts a particular theory and
evidence that may prove actual payment of the RATA under the case is tried and decided on the basis of that theory
the 1998 reenacted budget because the prosecution’s in the court below, neither party can change his or her
evidence was confined to alleged nonpayment of RATA theory on appeal.—A change of Briones’ defense from
under the 1999 budget. denial and alibi to self-defense or defense of a relative is
Same; Same; Same; Same; Procedural Rules and effectively a change of theory of the case brought only
Technicalities; Procedural rules can be suspended if during appeal. We cannot allow this move. Law and fairness
matters of life, liberty, honor, and property are at to the adverse party demand that when a party adopts a
stake.—We have settled that procedural rules can be particular theory and the case is tried and decided on the
suspended if matters of life, liberty, honor, and property are basis of that theory in the court below, neither party can
at stake, thus: In Ginete vs. Court of Appeals, we specifically change his or her theory on appeal. While this rule is not
laid down the range of reasons which may provide absolute, no exceptional reasons in this case exist to justify
justifications for a court to resist a strict adherence to a deviation.
procedure and suspend the enforcement of procedural rules. Same; New Trial; An error or mistake committed by a
Among such reasons x x x are: (1) matters of life, liberty, counsel in the course of judicial proceedings is not a
honor or property; (2) counsel’s negligence without any ground for new trial.—An error or mistake committed by a
participatory negligence on the part of the client; (3) the counsel in the course of judicial proceedings is not a ground
existence of special or compelling circumstances; (4) the for new trial. In People v. Mercado (397 SCRA 746 [2003]),
merits of the case; (5) a cause not entirely attributable to the we declared: It has been repeatedly enunciated that “a client
fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of is bound by the action of his counsel in the conduct of a case
the rules; and (6) a lack of any showing that the review and cannot be heard to complain that the result might have
sought is merely frivolous and dilatory. been different if he proceeded differently. A client is bound
Criminal Law; Malversation of Public Funds; The by the mistakes of his lawyer. If such grounds were to be
demand to account for public funds must be addressed admitted as reasons for reopening cases, there would never
to the accountable officer, not a letter made by the be an end to a suit so long as new counsel could be
Provincial Auditor recommending to the Chairperson of employed who would allege and show that prior counsel had
the Commission on Audit (COA) to “require the not been sufficiently diligent or experienced or learned.
Provincial Treasurer of Sulu to remit all trust liabilities Same; Same; Criminal Procedure; Conditions for new
such as Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) trial to be granted on the ground of newly discovered
premium/loans, repayments/state insurance, Medicare evidence.—For new trial to be granted on the ground of
and Pag-ibig”; Without a formal demand, the prima facie newly discovered evidence, the concurrence of the following
presumption of conversion under Art. 217 cannot be conditions must obtain: (a) the evidence must have been
applied.—We agree with Pescadera that this is not the discovered after trial; (b) the evidence could not have been
demand contemplated by law. The demand to account for discovered at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable
public funds must be addressed to the accountable officer. diligence; (c) the evidence is material, not merely
The above-cited letter was made by the Provincial Auditor cumulative, corroborative, or impeaching; and (d) the
recommending to the Chairperson of the COA to “require the evidence must affect the merits of the case and produce a
Provincial Treasurer of Sulu to remit all trust liabilities such different result if admitted. In this case, although the firearm
as GSIS premium/loans, repayments/state insurance, surfaced after the trial, the other conditions were not
Medicare and Pag-ibig.” Nowhere in the pleadings did the established.
Special Prosecutor refute the lack of a formal demand upon Criminal Procedure; Information; The character of the
Pescadera to account for the GSIS premiums. Pescadera crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of
even denies being informed of the conduct of the audit, an the information, or by the specification of the provision
assertion which was not refuted by the prosecution. It can be of law alleged to have been violated; The crime
concluded then that Pescadera was not given an opportunity committed is determined by the recital of the ultimate
to explain why the GSIS premiums were not remitted. facts and circumstances in the complaint or
information.—We are keenly aware that the accused was
indicted under a charge for robbery, not theft. The failure to petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, Rules of
specify the correct crime committed, however, will not bar Court, which eliminates issues of fact, instead of via an
Briones’ conviction for the crime of theft. The character of ordinary appeal whereby the judgment of conviction still
the crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of the undergoes intermediate reviews in the appellate court before
information, or by the specification of the provision of law ultimately reaching the Court, if at all.
alleged to have been violated. The crime committed is Same; Promulgation of Judgment; Promulgation of the
determined by the recital of the ultimate facts and decision is an important part of the decision-making
circumstances in the complaint or information. In this case, process. Promulgation signifies that on the date it was
the allegations in the Information are sufficient to make out a made, the judge or justices who signed the decision
charge of theft. Briones vs. People, 588 SCRA 362, G.R. No. continued to support it which could be inferred from his
156009 June 5, 2009 silence or failure to withdraw his vote despite being able
to do so. A decision or resolution of the court becomes
G.R. No. 182555. February 08, 2011. * such, only from the moment of its promulgation.—A
LENIDO LUMANOG AND AUGUSTO SANTOS, judgment of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall be
petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, promulgated by reading the judgment or sentence in the
respondent. presence of the accused and any Justice of the division
G.R. No. 185123. February 08, 2011.* which rendered the same. Promulgation of the decision is an
CESAR FORTUNA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE important part of the decision-making process. Promulgation
PHILIPPINES, respondent. signifies that on the date it was made, the judge or justices
G.R. No. 187745. February 08, 2011.* who signed the decision continued to support it which could
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. be inferred from his silence or failure to withdraw his vote
SPO2 CESAR FORTUNA y ABUDO, RAMESES DE despite being able to do so. A decision or resolution of the
JESUS y CALMA, LENIDO LUMANOG y LUISTRO, JOEL court becomes such, only from the moment of its
DE JESUS y VALDEZ AND AUGUSTO SANTOS y promulgation.
GALANG, accused, Promulgation of Judgment; A final decision or
RAMESES DE JESUS y CALMA and JOEL DE JESUS y resolution becomes binding only after it is promulgated
VALDEZ, accused-appellants. and not before. It is an elementary doctrine that for a
Criminal Procedure; New Trial; To justify a new trial or judgment to be binding, it must be duly signed and
setting aside of the judgment of conviction on the basis promulgated during the incumbency of the judge who
of such evidence, it must be shown that the evidence penned it.—A final decision or resolution becomes binding
was “newly discovered” pursuant to Section 2, Rule 121 only after it is promulgated and not before. It is an
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as elementary doctrine that for a judgment to be binding, it must
amended.—To justify a new trial or setting aside of the be duly signed and promulgated during the incumbency of
judgment of conviction on the basis of such evidence, it must the judge who penned it. In this connection, the Court En
be shown that the evidence was “newly discovered” Banc issued the Resolution dated February 10, 1983
pursuant to Section 2, Rule 121 of the Revised Rules of implementing B.P. 129 which merely requires that the judge
Criminal Procedure, as amended. Evidence, to be who pens the decision is still an incumbent judge, that is, a
considered newly discovered, must be one that could not, by judge of the same court, albeit now assigned to a different
the exercise of due diligence, have been discovered before branch, at the time the decision is promulgated. In People v.
the trial in the court below. Movant failed to show that the CFI of Quezon, Branch X, 227 SCRA 457 (1993), it was
defense exerted efforts during the trial to secure testimonies clarified that a judge who died, resigned, retired, had been
from police officers like Jurado, or other persons involved in dismissed, promoted to a higher court or appointed to
the investigation, who questioned or objected to the another office with inconsistent functions, would no longer be
apprehension of the accused in this case. Hence, the considered an incumbent member of the court and his
belatedly executed affidavit of Jurado does not qualify as decision written thereafter would be invalid. Indeed, one who
newly discovered evidence that will justify re-opening of the is no longer a member of the court at the time the final
trial and/or vacating the judgment. In any case, we have decision or resolution is signed and promulgated cannot
ruled that whatever flaw that may have initially attended the validly take part in that decision or resolution. Much less
out-of-court identification of the accused, the same was could he be the ponente of the decision or resolution. Also,
cured when all the accused-appellants were positively when a judge or a member of the collegiate court, who had
identified by the prosecution eyewitness during the trial. earlier signed or registered his vote, has vacated his office at
the time of the promulgation of the decision or resolution, his
G.R. No. 151911. July 25, 2011.* vote is automatically withdrawn or cancelled.
EDGAR PAYUMO, REYNALDO RUANTO, CRISANTO Same; What is important is that the ponente in a
RUANTO, APOLINARIO RUANTO, and EXEQUIEL collegiate court remains a member of said court at the
BONDE, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE time his ponencia is promulgated because, at any time
SANDIGANBAYAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, before that, he has the privilege of changing his opinion
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, AND OFFICE OF THE or making some last minute changes therein for the
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, DOMICIANO CABIGAO, consideration and approval of his colleagues.—What is
NESTOR DOMACENA, ROLANDO DOBLADO, ERNESTO important is that the ponente in a collegiate court remains a
PAMPUAN, EDGARDO PRADO, ROMEO DOMINICO, member of said court at the time his ponencia is
RAMON GARCIA, and CARLOS PACHECO, respondents. promulgated because, at any time before that, he has the
G.R. No. 154535. July 25, 2011.* privilege of changing his opinion or making some last minute
NESTOR DOMACENA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE changes therein for the consideration and approval of his
SAN--DI-GANBAYAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, colleagues. After all, each division is not separate and
AND EDGAR PAYUMO, REYNALDO RUANTO, distinct from the other divisions as they all constitute one
CRISANTO RUANTO, APOLINARIO RUANTO, and Sandiganbayan. Jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in the
EXEQUIEL BONDE, respondents. judges or justices. Thus, when a case is filed in the
Sandiganbayan; The Sandiganbayan is a special court Sandiganbayan, jurisdiction over the case does not attach to
of the same level as the Court of Appeals (CA), and the division or justice alone, to the exclusion of the other
possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice, divisions.
with functions of a trial court. It is a collegial court.—The Criminal Procedure; New Trial; It must emphasized that
Sandiganbayan is a special court of the same level as the an erroneous admission or rejection of evidence by the
Court of Appeals (CA), and possessing all the inherent trial court is not a ground for a new trial or reversal of
powers of a court of justice, with functions of a trial court. It is the decision if there are other independent evidence to
a collegial court. Collegial is defined as relating to a sustain the decision, or if the rejected evidence, if it had
collegium or group of colleagues. In turn, a collegium is “an been admitted, would not have changed the decision.—
executive body with each member having approximately Granting arguendo that the First Division erred in admitting
equal power and authority.” The members of the graft court the testimonies of the Payumos given during the first trial,
act on the basis of consensus or majority rule. The three which proceedings were nullified by this Court in the
Justices of a Division, rather than a single judge, are Cabigao case, the same would still not justify a new trial. It
naturally expected to exert keener judiciousness and to must be emphasized that an erroneous admission or
apply broader circumspection in trying and deciding cases. rejection of evidence by the trial court is not a ground for a
The seemingly higher standard is due in part to the fact that new trial or reversal of the decision if there are other
the reviews of judgment of conviction are elevated directly to independent evidence to sustain the decision, or if the
this Court generally through the discretionary mode of
rejected evidence, if it had been admitted, would not have illegal confinement or detention by which a person has been
changed the decision. deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any
Same; Same; A motion for new trial based on newly- person has been withheld from the person entitled thereto.”
discovered evidence may be granted only if the Issuance of the writ necessitates that a person be illegally
following requisites are met: (a) that the evidence was deprived of his liberty. In the celebrated case of Villavicencio
discovered after trial; (b) that said evidence could not v. Lukban, we stated that “[a]ny restraint which will preclude
have been discovered and produced at the trial even freedom of action is sufficient.”
with the exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) that it is Same; The writ of habeas corpus cannot be used to
material, not merely directly assail a judgment rendered by a competent
cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) that court or tribunal which, having duly acquired
the evidence is of such weight that, if admitted, would jurisdiction, was not deprived or ousted of this
probably change the judgment.—A motion for new trial jurisdiction through some anomaly in the conduct of the
based on newly-discovered evidence may be granted only if proceedings—thus, notwithstanding its historic function as
the following requisites are met: (a) that the evidence was the great writ of liberty, the writ of habeas corpus has very
discovered after trial; (b) that said evidence could not have limited availability as a post-conviction remedy.—The most
been discovered and produced at the trial even with the basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that
exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) that it is material, not the individual seeking such relief be illegally deprived of his
merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) that freedom of movement or placed under some form of illegal
the evidence is of such weight that, if admitted, would restraint. If an individual’s liberty is restrained via some legal
probably change the judgment. It is essential that the process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing.
offering party exercised reasonable diligence in seeking to Concomitant to this principle, the writ of habeas corpus
locate the evidence before or during trial but nonetheless cannot be used to directly assail a judgment rendered by a
failed to secure it. competent court or tribunal which, having duly acquired
Criminal Procedure; New Trial; It has been held that the jurisdiction, was not deprived or ousted of this jurisdiction
mistakes of the attorney as to the competency of a through some anomaly in the conduct of the proceedings.
witness, the sufficiency, relevancy, materiality or Thus, notwithstanding its historic function as the great writ of
immateriality of a certain evidence, the proper defense, liberty, the writ of habeas corpus has very limited availability
or the burden of proof are not proper grounds for a new as a post-conviction remedy. In the recent case of Feria v.
trial.—The matter of presentation of evidence for the Court of Appeals, we ruled that review of a judgment of
defense is not for the trial court to decide. Considering that conviction is allowed in a petition for the issuance of the writ
the defense counsels have control over the conduct of the of habeas corpus only in very specific instances, such as
defense, the determination of which evidence to present when, as a consequence of a judicial proceeding, (a) there
rests upon them. The Court notes that the defense has been a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in
presented a substantial number of witnesses and exhibits the restraint of a person; (b) the court had no jurisdiction to
during trial de novo to belie the accusation against the impose the sentence; or (c) an excessive penalty has been
accused and to prove the defenses they interposed. It has imposed, as such sentence is void as to such excess.
been held that the mistakes of the attorney as to the Same; The review of findings of fact long passed upon
competency of a witness, the sufficiency, relevancy, with finality is far outside the scope of habeas corpus
materiality or immateriality of a certain evidence, the proper proceedings—a record must remain extant, and cannot be
defense, or the burden of proof are not proper grounds for a revised, modified, altered or amended by the simple
new trial. expedient of resort to habeas corpus proceedings.—In fine,
Special Civil Actions; Mandamus; Mandamus will not petitioner invokes the remedy of habeas corpus in order to
issue to control the exercise of discretion of a public seek the review of findings of fact long passed upon with
officer where the law imposes upon him the duty to finality. This relief is far outside the scope of habeas corpus
exercise his judgment in reference to any manner in proceedings. In the early case of Abriol v. Homeres, for
which he is required to act, because it is his judgment example, this Court stated the general rule that the writ of
that is to be exercised and not that of the court.—In any habeas corpus is not a writ of error, and should not be thus
event, the determination of what pleadings should be filed for used. The writ of habeas corpus, whereas permitting a
the People, as well as the necessity of filing them to protect collateral challenge of the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal
and advance the prosecution’s cause, clearly involves the issuing the process or judgment by which an individual is
exercise of discretion or judgment. Either the Ombudsman or deprived of his liberty, cannot be distorted by extending the
the OSP cannot be compelled by mandamus to file a inquiry to mere errors of trial courts acting squarely within
particular pleading when it determines, in the exercise of its their jurisdiction. The reason for this is explained very simply
sound judgment, that it is not necessary. As an extraordinary in the case of Velasco v. Court of Appeals: a habeas corpus
writ, the remedy of mandamus lies only to compel an officer petition reaches the body, but not the record of the case. A
to perform a ministerial duty, not a discretionary one. record must be allowed to remain extant, and cannot be
Mandamus will not issue to control the exercise of discretion revised, modified, altered or amended by the simple
of a public officer where the law imposes upon him the duty expedient of resort to habeas corpus proceedings.
to exercise his judgment in reference to any manner in which Same; Mere errors of fact or law, which did not have the
he is required to act, because it is his judgment that is to be effect of depriving the trial court of its jurisdiction over
exercised and not that of the court. Payumo vs. the case and the person of the defendant, are not
Sandiganbayan, 654 SCRA 277, G.R. No. 151911 July 25, correctible in a petition for the issuance of the writ of
2011 habeas corpus.—Mere errors of fact or law, which did not
have the effect of depriving the trial court of its jurisdiction
G.R. No. 158802. November 17, 2004.* over the case and the person of the defendant, are not
IN RE: THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR correctible in a petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas
REYNALDO DE VILLA (detained at the New Bilibid corpus; if at all, these errors must be corrected on certiorari
Prisons, Muntinlupa City) REYNALDO DE VILLA, or on appeal, in the form and manner prescribed by law. In
petitioner, JUNE DE VILLA, petitioner-relator, vs. THE the past, this Court has disallowed the review of a court’s
DIRECTOR, NEW BILIBID PRISONS, respondent. appreciation of the evidence in a petition for the issuance of
Habeas Corpus; The extraordinary writ of habeas a writ of habeas corpus, as this is not the function of said
corpus has long been a haven of relief from those writ. A survey of our decisions in habeas corpus cases
seeking liberty from any unwarranted denial of freedom demonstrates that, in general, the writ of habeas corpus is a
of movement.—In essence, petitioner invokes the remedy high prerogative writ which furnishes an extraordinary
of the writ of habeas corpus to collaterally attack the 2001 remedy; it may thus be invoked only under extraordinary
Decision. The ancillary remedy of a motion for new trial is circumstances. We have been categorical in our
resorted to solely to allow the presentation of what is alleged pronouncements that the writ of habeas corpus is not to be
to be newly-discovered evidence. This Court is thus tasked used as a substitute for another, more proper remedy.
to determine, first, the propriety of the issuance of a writ of Resort to the writ of habeas corpus is available only in the
habeas corpus to release an individual already convicted limited instances when a judgment is rendered by a court or
and serving sentence by virtue of a final and executory tribunal devoid of jurisdiction. If, for instance, it can be
judgment; and second, the propriety of granting a new trial demonstrated that there was a deprivation of a constitutional
under the same factual scenario. The extraordinary writ of right, the writ can be granted even after an individual has
habeas corpus has long been a haven of relief for those been meted a sentence by final judgment.
seeking liberty from any unwarranted denial of freedom of Same; Attorneys; Right to Counsel; The Court is aware
movement. Very broadly, the writ applies “to all cases of that other jurisdictions have seen fit to grant the writ of
habeas corpus in order to test claims that a defendant been discovered and produced at the trial even with the
was denied effective aid of counsel.—Upon a perusal of exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) that it is material, not
the records not merely of this case but of People v. de Villa, merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) that
we find that the remedy of the writ of habeas corpus is the evidence is of such weight that, if admitted, it would
unavailing. First, the denial of a constitutional right has not probably change the judgment. It is essential that the
been alleged by petitioner. As such, this Court is hard- offering party exercised reasonable diligence in seeking to
pressed to find legal basis on which to anchor the grant of a locate the evidence before or during trial but nonetheless
writ of habeas corpus. Much as this Court sympathizes with failed to secure it. In this instance, although the DNA
petitioner’s plea, a careful scrutiny of the records does not evidence was undoubtedly discovered after the trial, we
reveal any constitutional right of which the petitioner was nonetheless find that it does not meet the criteria for “newly-
unduly deprived. We are aware that other jurisdictions have discovered evidence” that would merit a new trial. Such
seen fit to grant the writ of habeas corpus in order to test evidence disproving paternity could have been discovered
claims that a defendant was denied effective aid of counsel. and produced at trial with the exercise of reasonable
In this instance, we note that the record is replete with errors diligence.
committed by counsel, and it can be alleged that the Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Attorneys; Lack of
petitioner was, at trial, denied the effective aid of counsel. knowledge of the existence of DNA testing speaks of
The United States Supreme Court requires a defendant negligence, either on the part of the client, or on the part
alleging incompetent counsel to show that the attorney’s of his counsel; A client is bound by the acts of his
performance was deficient under a reasonable standard, and counsel, including the latter’s mistakes and
additionally to show that the outcome of the trial would have negligence.—Petitioner-relator’s claim that he was
been different with competent counsel. The purpose of the “unaware” of the existence of DNA testing until the trial was
right to effective assistance of counsel is to ensure that the concluded carries no weight with this Court. Lack of
defendant receives a fair trial. The U.S. Supreme Court knowledge of the existence of DNA testing speaks of
asserts that in judging any claim of ineffective assistance of negligence, either on the part of petitioner, or on the part of
counsel, one must examine whether counsel’s conduct petitioner’s counsel. In either instance, however, this
undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process negligence is binding upon petitioner. It is a settled rule that
to such an extent that the trial did not produce a fair and just a party cannot blame his counsel for negligence when he
result. The proper measure of attorney performance is himself was guilty of neglect. A client is bound by the acts of
“reasonable” under the prevailing professional norms, and his counsel, including the latter’s mistakes and negligence. It
the defendant must show that the representation received is likewise settled that relief will not be granted to a party
fell below the objective standard of reasonableness. For the who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment
petition to succeed, the strong presumption that the when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own
counsel’s conduct falls within the wide range or reasonable negligence, or to a mistaken mode of procedure.
professional assistance must be overcome.
Criminal Law; Rape; Pregnancy is not an essential
element of the crime of rape—whether the child which the
victim bore was fathered by the purported rapist, or by some
unknown individual, is of no moment in determining an
individual’s guilt.—It must be stressed that the issue of
Leahlyn Mendoza’s paternity is not central to the issue of
petitioner’s guilt or innocence. The rape of the victim Aileen
Mendoza is an entirely different question, separate and
distinct from the question of the father of her child. Recently,
in the case of People v. Alberio, we ruled that the fact or not
of the victim’s pregnancy and resultant childbirth are
irrelevant in determining whether or not she was raped.
Pregnancy is not an essential element of the crime of rape.
Whether the child which the victim bore was fathered by the
purported rapist, or by some unknown individual, is of no
moment in determining an individual’s guilt.
Same; Criminal Procedure; New Trial; A motion for new
trial, under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, is
available only for a limited period of time, and for very
limited grounds.—The fact of the child’s paternity is now in
issue, centrally relevant to the civil award of child support. It
is only tangentially related to the issue of petitioner’s guilt.
However, if it can be conclusively determined that the
petitioner did not sire Leahlyn Mendoza, this may cast the
shadow of reasonable doubt, and allow the acquittal of the
petitioner on this basis. Be that as it may, it appears that the
petitioner once more relies upon erroneous legal grounds in
resorting to the remedy of a motion for new trial. A motion for
new trial, under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, is
available only for a limited period of time, and for very limited
grounds. Under Section 1, Rule 121, of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, a motion for new trial may be filed at
any time before a judgment of conviction becomes final, that
is, within fifteen (15) days from its promulgation or notice.
Upon finality of the judgment, therefore, a motion for new
trial is no longer an available remedy.
Same; Same; Same; Requisites; DNA Testing; Although
the DNA evidence was undoubtedly discovered after
trial, it does not meet the criteria for “newly-discovered
evidence” that would merit a new trial—such evidence
disproving paternity could have been discovered and
produced at trial with the exercise of reasonable diligence.—
The decision sought to be reviewed in this petition for the
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus has long attained finality,
and entry of judgment was made as far back as January 16,
2002. Moreover, upon an examination of the evidence
presented by the petitioner, we do not find that the DNA
evidence falls within the statutory or jurisprudential definition
of “newly- discovered evidence.” A motion for new trial
based on newly-discovered evidence may be granted only if
the following requisites are met: (a) that the evidence was
discovered after trial; (b) that said evidence could not have
RULES 122- 125 APPEALS appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. There is nothing in
said paragraph which can conceivably justify the filing of
G.R. No. 170289. April 8, 2010.* Balaba’s appeal before the Court of Appeals instead of the
ROSIE QUIDET, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE Sandiganbayan. Clearly, the Court of Appeals is bereft of
PHILIPPINES, respondent. any jurisdiction to review the judgment Balaba seeks to
Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Conspiracy exists when two appeal.
or more persons come to an agreement concerning the Same; Same; Same; Courts; Pleadings and Practice;
commission of a felony and decide to commit it; the While an error in designating the appellate court is not
essence of conspiracy is the unity of action and fatal to the appeal, the correction in designating the
purpose.—Conspiracy exists when two or more persons proper appellate court should be made within the 15-day
come to an agreement concerning the commission of a period to appeal.—In Melencion v. Sandiganbayan (554
felony and decide to commit it. The essence of conspiracy is SCRA 345 [2008]), we ruled: An error in designating the
the unity of action and purpose. Its elements, like the appellate court is not fatal to the appeal. However, the
physical acts constituting the crime itself, must be proved correction in designating the proper appellate court should
beyond reasonable doubt. When there is conspiracy, the act be made within the 15-day period to appeal. Once made
of one is the act of all. within the said period, the designation of the correct
Criminal Procedure; Appeals; Factual findings of the appellate court may be allowed even if the records of the
trial court, which is in a better position to evaluate the case are forwarded to the Court of Appeals. Otherwise, the
testimonial evidence, are accorded respect by the second paragraph of Section 2, Rule 50 of the Rules of court
Supreme Court.—As a general rule, factual findings of the would apply. The second paragraph of Section 2, Rule 50 of
trial court, which is in a better position to evaluate the the Rules of Court reads: “An appeal erroneously taken to
testimonial evidence, are accorded respect by this Court. But the Court of Appeals shall not be transferred to the
where the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or appropriate court but shall be dismissed outright.” In this
misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and case, Balaba sought the correction of the error in filing the
substance which can affect the result of the case, this Court appeal only after the expiration of the period to appeal. The
is duty-bound to correct this palpable error for the right to trial court promulgated its Decision on 9 December 2002.
liberty, which stands second only to life in the hierarchy of Balaba filed his notice of appeal on 14 January 2003. The
constitutional rights, cannot be lightly taken away. Court of Appeals issued the Decision declaring its lack of
Criminal Law; Conspiracy; For failure of the prosecution jurisdiction on 15 December 2004. Balaba tried to correct the
to prove conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt, error only on 27 January 2005, clearly beyond the 15-day
petitioner’s liability is separate and individual.—For period to appeal from the decision of the trial court.
failure of the prosecution to prove conspiracy beyond Therefore, the Court of Appeals did not commit any error
reasonable doubt, petitioner’s liability is separate and when it dismissed Balaba’s appeal because of lack of
individual. Considering that it was duly established that jurisdiction. Balaba vs. People, 593 SCRA 210, G.R. No.
petitioner boxed Jimmy and Andrew and absent proof of the 169519 July 17, 2009
extent of the injuries sustained by the latter from these acts,
petitioner should only be made liable for two counts of slight G.R. No. 177768. July 27, 2009.*
physical injuries. In addition, he should pay P5,000.00 as PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. CHARMEN
moral damages to the heirs of Jimmy and another P5,000.00 OLIVO y ALONG, NELSON DANDA y SAMBUTO, and
as moral damages to Andrew. Actual damages arising from JOEY ZAFRA y REYES, appellants.
said acts cannot, however, be awarded for failure to prove Appeals; Evidence; The well-entrenched rule is that
the same. findings of the trial court affirmed by the appellate court
Criminal Procedure; Conspiracy; Appeals; An appeal are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect, by
taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect the Supreme Court, absent clear and convincing
those who did not appeal except insofar as the evidence that the tribunals ignored, misconstrued or
judgment of the appellate court is favorable and misapplied facts and circumstances of substances such
applicable to the latter.—The crime committed was that, if considered, the same will warrant the
attempted homicide and not frustrated homicide because the modification or reversal of the outcome of the case.—It
stab wounds that Andrew sustained were not life- is settled that when the issue is the evaluation of the
threatening. Although Taban and Tubo did not appeal their testimony of a witness or his credibility, this Court accords
conviction, this part of the appellate court’s judgment is the highest respect and even finality to the findings of the
favorable to them, thus, they are entitled to a reduction of trial court, absent any showing that it committed palpable
their prison terms. The rule is that an appeal taken by one or mistake, misappreciation of facts or grave abuse of
more of several accused shall not affect those who did not discretion. It is the trial court which has the unique
appeal except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court advantage of observing first-hand the facial expressions,
is favorable and applicable to the latter. gestures and the tone of voice of a witness while testifying.
Criminal Law; Civil Indemnity; Civil indemnity is The well-entrenched rule is that findings of the trial court
automatically granted to the heirs of the deceased affirmed by the appellate court are accorded high respect, if
victim without need of further evidence other than the not conclusive effect, by this Court, absent clear and
fact of the commission of the crime.—Civil indemnity is convincing evidence that the tribunals ignored, misconstrued
automatically granted to the heirs of the deceased victim or misapplied facts and circumstances of substances such
without need of further evidence other than the fact of the that, if considered, the same will warrant the modification or
commission of the crime. In addition, the trial court should reversal of the outcome of the case. Factual findings of trial
have awarded moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00 in courts, when substantiated by the evidence on record,
consonance with current jurisprudence. As to actual command great weight and respect on appeal, save only
damages, the prosecution was able to prove burial-related when certain material facts and circumstances were
expenses with supporting receipt only to the extent of overlooked and which, if duly considered, may vary the
P5,000.00. Quidet vs. People, 618 SCRA 1, G.R. No. outcome of the case.
170289<br/> April 8, 2010 Evidence; Witnesses; The fact that a witness was not
able to identify the accused as the perpetrators of the
G.R. No. 169519. July 17, 2009.* crime impinges heavily on the credibility of
IRENORIO B. BALABA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE prosecution’s evidence.—The fact that Permejo was not
PHILIPPINES, respondent. able to identify accused-appellants as the perpetrators of the
Criminal Procedure; Appeals; Jurisdiction; crime impinges heavily on the credibility of prosecution’s
Sandiganbayan; Malversation of Public Funds; Upon the evidence. For if, indeed, the accused-appellants were the
conviction by the trial court of a public officer for malefactors of the crime who did not hide their faces during
malversation of public funds, his remedy should be an the robbery, the eyewitness, who had such close, traumatic
appeal to the Sandiganbayan, not to the Court of encounter with them, should automatically have recalled
Appeals.—Upon Balaba’s conviction by the trial court, his their faces upon seeing them. It behooves this Court to
remedy should have been an appeal to the Sandiganbayan. declare that she was not able to do so positively. Having
Paragraph 3, Section 4(c) of Republic Act No. 8249 (RA ignored the abovementioned important circumstance, the
8249), which further defined the jurisdiction of the trial court misconstrued and misapplied facts and
Sandiganbayan, reads: The Sandiganbayan shall exercise circumstances of the case, warranting the modification or
exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, reversal of the outcome of the case. The trial court
resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts whether in grievously erred when it ruled that the lone prosecution
the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their
eyewitness categorically and positively identified accused- G.R. No. 185202. February 18, 2009.*
appellants as the perpetrators of the crime. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.
Same; Same; Trial courts are mandated not only to look FRANCISCO TARUC @ TARUC, accused-appellant.
at the direct examination of witnesses but to the totality Criminal Procedure; Appeals; Once an accused escapes
of evidence before them—they should not confine itself to from prison or confinement or jumps bail or flees to a
oral testimony during the trial.—The accused-appellants foreign country, he loses his standing in court and
were arrested without a warrant during a buy-bust operation unless he surrenders or submits to the jurisdiction of
on November 24, 2000, transferred to Camp Karingal under the court he is deemed to have waived any right to seek
dubious circumstances, and made to stand in a police line- relief from the court.—In allowing the dismissal of the
up and identified by an eyewitness who failed to identify appeal of the accused-appellant under the circumstances
them three times. These circumstances were ignored by the identified by the foregoing rule, the Court, in People v.
trial court who gave too much credence on the positive Mapalao, 260 SCRA 539 (1996), explained that: [O]nce an
identification of the accused-appellants by the same accused escapes from prison or confinement or jumps bail
eyewitness during direct examination. Trial courts are or flees to a foreign country, he loses his standing in court
mandated not only to look at the direct examination of and unless he surrenders or submits to the jurisdiction of the
witnesses but to the totality of evidence before them. In court he is deemed to have waived any right to seek relief
every case, the court should review, assess and weigh the from the court.
totality of the evidence presented by the parties. It should not Same; Same; Although Rule 124, Section 8 particularly
confine itself to oral testimony during the trial. applies to the Court of Appeals, it has been extended to
Criminal Procedure; Appeals; The present rule is that an the Supreme Court by Rule 125, Section 1 of the Revised
appeal taken by one or more several accused shall not Rules of Criminal Procedure.—Although Rule 124, Section
affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the 8 particularly applies to the Court of Appeals, it has been
judgment of the appellate court is favorable and extended to the Supreme Court by Rule 125, Section 1 of
applicable to the latter.—One final note. The other the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads:
accused, Joey Zafra, who is identically circumstanced as the SECTION 1. Uniform procedure.—Unless otherwise
other appellants and who was likewise convicted on the provided by the Constitution or by law, the procedure in the
same evidence, does not appear to have perfected an Supreme Court in original and in appealed cases shall be
appeal from the trial court’s judgment. The record does not the same as in the Court of Appeals.
show the reason therefor. Be that as it may, the present rule Same; Same; Death Penalty; The escape of the accused-
is that an appeal taken by one or more several accused shall appellant did not preclude the Court of Appeals from
not affect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the exercising its review jurisdiction, considering that what
judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to was involved was capital punishment—automatic review
the latter. Our pronouncements here with respect to the being mandatory, it is not only a power of the court but a
insufficiency of the prosecution evidence to convict duty to review all death penalty cases.—It is indisputable
appellants beyond reasonable doubt are definitely favorable that accused-appellant herein, by escaping from jail, was not
and applicable to accused Joey Zafra. He should not present at the promulgation by the RTC of its Decision dated
therefore be treated as the odd man out and should benefit 29 June 2005 in Criminal Case No. 8010, finding him guilty
from the acquittal of his co-accused. In fact, under similar of the crime of murder. Accused-appellant failed to surrender
conditions and on the same ratiocination, Section 11(a), and file the required motion within 15 days from the
Rule 122 of the Rules of Court has justified the extension of promulgation of the RTC Decision. This alone already
our judgment of acquittal to the co-accused who failed to deprived him of any remedy against said judgment of
appeal from the judgment of the trial court which we conviction available under the Revised Rules of Criminal
subsequently reversed. People vs. Olivo, 594 SCRA 77, Procedure, including the right to appeal the same. The
G.R. No. 177768 July 27, 2009 foregoing notwithstanding, the escape of the accused-
appellant did not preclude the Court of Appeals from
G.R. No. 176015. June 16, 2009.* exercising its review jurisdiction, considering that what was
MERCEDITA T. GUASCH, petitioner, vs. ARNALDO involved was capital punishment. Automatic review being
DELA CRUZ, respondent. mandatory, it is not only a power of the court but a duty to
Criminal Procedure; Judgments; Motion for review all death penalty cases. In this case, considering that
Reconsideration; As a general rule, the statutory the penalty imposed by the trial court was death, the Court of
requirement that when no motion for reconsideration is Appeals rightly took cognizance of the case. Upon review by
filed within the reglementary period, the decision attains the appellate court, however, it modified the penalty from
finality and becomes executory in due course must be death to reclusion perpetua.
strictly enforced; Purposes for such Statutory Same; Same; By escaping prison, an accused impliedly
Requirement.—As a general rule, the statutory requirement waives his right to appeal.—By escaping prison, accused-
that when no motion for reconsideration is filed within the appellant impliedly waived his right to appeal. In People v.
reglementary period, the decision attains finality and Ang Gioc, 73 Phil. 366 (1941), the Court enunciated that:
becomes executory in due course must be strictly enforced There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be
as they are considered indispensable interdictions against waived even by the accused himself, but the right of appeal
needless delays and for orderly discharge of judicial is not one of them. This right is granted solely for the benefit
business. The purposes for such statutory requirement are of the accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He
twofold: first, to avoid delay in the administration of justice may waive it either expressly or by implication. When the
and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of accused flees after the case has been submitted to the court
judicial business, and, second, to put an end to judicial for decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right to
controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which are appeal from the judgment rendered against him x x x. The
precisely why courts exist. Controversies cannot drag on accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless he
indefinitely. The rights and obligations of every litigant must voluntarily submits to the jurisdiction of the court or is
not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of time. otherwise arrested within 15 days from notice of the
Same; Same; Appeals; Elements to Consider for the judgment against him. While at large, he cannot seek relief
Appeal to be Given Due Course.—In exceptional cases, from the court, as he is deemed to have waived the appeal.
substantial justice and equity considerations warrant the Thus, having escaped from prison or confinement, he loses
giving of due course to an appeal by suspending the his standing in court; and unless he surrenders or submits to
enforcement of statutory and mandatory rules of procedure. its jurisdiction, he is deemed to have waived any right to
Certain elements are considered for the appeal to be given seek relief from the court. People vs. Taruc , 579 SCRA 682,
due course, such as: (1) the existence of special or G.R. No. 185202 February 18, 2009
compelling circumstances, (2) the merits of the case, (3) a
cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of G.R. No. 182748. December 13, 2011.*
the party favored by the suspension of the rules, (4) lack of ARNEL COLINARES, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and PHILIPPINES, respondent.
dilatory, and (5) the other party will not be unduly prejudiced Criminal Law; Self-defense; Evidence; Where the
thereby. Guasch vs. Dela Cruz, 589 SCRA 297, G.R. No. accused invokes self-defense, he bears the burden of
176015 June 16, 2009 showing that he was legally justified in killing the victim
or inflicting injury to him.—When the accused invokes
self-defense, he bears the burden of showing that he was
legally justified in killing the victim or inflicting injury to him.
The accused must establish the elements of self-defense by
clear and convincing evidence. When successful, the Appeals’ (CA’s) Decision dismissing the case was
otherwise felonious deed would be excused, mainly attended by a whimsical or capricious exercise of
predicated on the lack of criminal intent of the accused. judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.—Though we
Same; Same; Requisites of Self-defense; Unlawful have recognized that the acquittal of the accused may be
aggression contemplates an actual, sudden and challenged where there has been a grave abuse of
unexpected attack or an imminent danger of such discretion, certiorari would lie if it is convincingly established
attack; A mere threatening or intimidating attitude is not that the CA’s Decision dismissing the case was attended by
enough; the victim must attack the accused with actual a whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment equivalent to
physical force or with a weapon.—In homicide, whether lack of jurisdiction. It must be shown that the assailed
consummated, frustrated, or attempted, self-defense judgment constitutes “a patent and gross abuse of discretion
requires (1) that the person whom the offender killed or amounting to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual
injured committed unlawful aggression; (2) that the offender refusal to perform a duty imposed by law or to act in
employed means that is reasonably necessary to prevent or contemplation of law; an exercise of power in an arbitrary
repel the unlawful aggression; and (3) that the person and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility; or a
defending himself did not act with sufficient provocation. If blatant abuse of authority to a point so grave and so severe
the victim did not commit unlawful aggression against the as to deprive the court of its very power to dispense justice.”
accused, the latter has nothing to prevent or repel and the Thus, grave abuse of discretion cannot be attributed to a
other two requisites of self-defense would have no basis for court simply because it allegedly misappreciated the facts
being appreciated. Unlawful aggression contemplates an and the evidence.
actual, sudden, and unexpected attack or an imminent Criminal Law; Penalties; The Revised Penal Code (RPC)
danger of such attack. A mere threatening or intimidating has carefully delineated the imposable penalties as
attitude is not enough. The victim must attack the accused regards felonies committed by means of culpa on the
with actual physical force or with a weapon. one hand and felonies committed by means of dolo on
Same; Attempted or Frustrated Homicide; The main the other in the context of the distinctions it has drawn
element of attempted or frustrated homicide is the between them.—Since the accused were found to have
accused’s intent to take his victim’s life; The intent to committed a felony by means of culpa, we cannot agree with
kill is often inferred from, among other things, the the argument of the OSG. It contends that the imposable
means the offender used and the nature, location and penalty for intentional felony can also be applied to the
number of wounds he inflicted on his victims.—The main present case on the ground that the nature of the
element of attempted or frustrated homicide is the accused’s imprudence or negligence of the accused was so gross that
intent to take his victim’s life. The prosecution has to prove the felony already amounted to malice. The Revised Penal
this clearly and convincingly to exclude every possible doubt Code has carefully delineated the imposable penalties as
regarding homicidal intent. And the intent to kill is often regards felonies committed by means of culpa on the one
inferred from, among other things, the means the offender hand and felonies committed by means of dolo on the other
used and the nature, location, and number of wounds he in the context of the distinctions it has drawn between them.
inflicted on his victim. The penalties provided in Article 365 (Imprudence and
Same; Same; When the accused intended to kill his Negligence) are mandatorily applied if the death of a person
victims as a shown by his use of a deadly weapon and occurs as a result of the imprudence or negligence of
the wounds he inflicted but the victim did not die another. Alternatively, the penalties outlined in Articles 246
because of timely medical assistance, the crime is to 261 (Destruction of Life) are automatically invoked if the
frustrated murder or frustrated homicide, if the victim’s death was a result of the commission of a forbidden act
wounds are not fatal, the crime is only attempted murder accompanied by a malicious intent. These imposable
or attempted homicide.—The Court is inclined, however, to penalties are statutory, mandatory, and not subject to the
hold Arnel guilty only of attempted, not frustrated, homicide. discretion of the court. We have already resolved — and the
In Palaganas v. People, 501 SCRA 533 (2006), we ruled that OSG agrees — that the accused Dizon and Tecson, et al.
when the accused intended to kill his victim, as shown by his had neither animus interficendi nor animus iniuriandi in
use of a deadly weapon and the wounds he inflicted, but the inflicting physical pain on Lenny Villa. Hence, we rule that
victim did not die because of timely medical assistance, the the imposable penalty is what is applicable to the crime of
crime is frustrated murder or frustrated homicide. If the reckless imprudence resulting in homicide as defined and
victim’s wounds are not fatal, the crime is only attempted penalized under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.
murder or attempted homicide. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Judgments; Finality
Same; The Probation Law; The Probation Law, said the of Judgments; Probation; Rule 120 of the Rules of Court
Court in Francisco, requires that an accused must not speaks of the finality of a criminal judgment once the
have appealed his conviction before he can avail himself accused applies for probation.—Indeed, Rule 120 of the
of probation.—The Probation Law, said the Court in Rules of Court speaks of the finality of a criminal judgment
Francisco, requires that an accused must not have appealed once the accused applies for probation, viz.: SECTION 7.
his conviction before he can avail himself of probation. This Modification of judgment.—A judgment of conviction may,
requirement “outlaws the element of speculation on the part upon motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before
of the accused—to wager on the result of his appeal—that it becomes final or before appeal is perfected. Except where
when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal, the moment the death penalty is imposed, a judgment becomes final after
of truth well-nigh at hand, and the service of his sentence the lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or when the
inevitable, he now applies for probation as an ‘escape hatch’ sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served, or
thus rendering nugatory the appellate court’s affirmance of when the accused has waived in writing his right to appeal,
his conviction.” or has applied for probation. (7a) (Emphases supplied)
Same; Same; The Court’s finding that Arnel was guilty Coupled with Section 7 of Rule 117 and Section 1 of Rule
not of frustrated homicide but only of attempted 122, it can be culled from the foregoing provisions that only
homicide is an original conviction that for the first time the accused may appeal the criminal aspect of a criminal
imposes on him a probationable penalty.—In a real case, especially if the relief being sought is the correction or
sense, the Court’s finding that Arnel was guilty, not of review of the judgment therein. This rule was instituted in
frustrated homicide, but only of attempted homicide, is an order to give life to the constitutional edict against putting a
original conviction that for the first time imposes on him a person twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same
probationable penalty. Had the RTC done him right from the offense. It is beyond contention that the accused would be
start, it would have found him guilty of the correct offense exposed to double jeopardy if the state appeals the criminal
and imposed on him the right penalty of two years and four judgment in order to reverse an acquittal or even to increase
months maximum. This would have afforded Arnel the right criminal liability. Thus, the accused’s waiver of the right to
to apply for probation. Colinares vs. People, 662 SCRA 266, appeal — as when applying for probation — makes the
G.R. No. 182748 December 13, 2011 criminal judgment immediately final and executory.
Same; Same; Double Jeopardy; The rule on double
G.R. No. 151258. December 1, 2014.* jeopardy is not absolute, and that this rule is
ARTEMIO VILLAREAL, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE inapplicable to cases in which the state assails the very
PHILIPPINES, respondent. jurisdiction of the court that issued the criminal
Remedial Law; Special Civil Actions; Certiorari; Though judgment.—It must be clarified, however, that the finality of
the Supreme Court (SC) has recognized that the judgment evinced in Section 7 of Rule 120 does not confer
acquittal of the accused may be challenged where there blanket invincibility on criminal judgments. We have already
has been a grave abuse of discretion, certiorari would explained in our Decision that the rule on double jeopardy is
lie if it is convincingly established that the Court of not absolute, and that this rule is inapplicable to cases in
which the state assails the very jurisdiction of the court that under any of the following conditions among others: after the
issued the criminal judgment. The reasoning behind the lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal; when the
exception is articulated in People v. Nazareno, 595 SCRA accused waives the right to appeal; upon the grant of a
438 (2009), from which we quote: In such instance, how- withdrawal of an appeal; when the sentence has already
ever, no review of facts and law on the merits, in the manner been partially or totally satisfied or served; or when the
done in an appeal, actually takes place; the focus of the accused applies for probation. When the decision attains
review is on whether the judgment is per se void on finality, the judgment or final order is entered in the book of
jurisdictional grounds, i.e., whether the verdict was rendered entries of judgments. If the case was previously appealed to
by a court that had no jurisdiction; or where the court has the CA, a certified true copy of the judgment or final order
appropriate jurisdiction, whether it acted with grave abuse of must be attached to the original record, which shall then be
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. In remanded to the clerk of the court from which the appeal
other words, the review is on the question of whether there was taken. The court of origin then reacquires jurisdiction
has been a validly rendered decision, not on the question of over the case for appropriate action. It is during this time that
the decision’s error or correctness. Under the exceptional the court of origin may settle the matter of the execution of
nature of a Rule 65 petition, the burden — a very heavy one penalty or the suspension of the execution thereof, including
— is on the shoulders of the party asking for the review to the convicts’ applications for probation.
show the presence of a whimsical or capricious exercise of Criminal Law; Probation; Words and Phrases; Probation
judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction; or of a patent and is a special privilege granted by the state to penitent
gross abuse of discretion amounting to an evasion of a qualified offenders who immediately admit their liability
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty imposed and thus renounce their right to appeal.—We find that
by law or to act in contemplation of law; or to an exercise of RTC Branch 130 had no jurisdiction to act on the probation
power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of applications of Tecson, et al. It had neither the power nor the
passion and hostility. authority to suspend their sentence, place them on
Criminal Law; Probation; Applicants are not at liberty to probation, order their final discharge, and eventually declare
choose the forum in which they may seek probation, as the case against them terminated. This glaring jurisdictional
the requirement under Section 4 of the Probation Law is faux pas is a clear evidence of either gross ignorance of the
substantive and not merely procedural.—It is obvious law or an underhanded one-upmanship on the part of RTC
from the foregoing provision that the law requires that an Branch 130 or Tecson, et al., or both — to which this Court
application for probation be filed with the trial court that cannot give a judicial imprimatur. In any event, Tecson, et al.
convicted and sentenced the defendant, meaning the court were ineligible to seek probation at the time they applied for
of origin. Here, the trial court that originally convicted and it. Probation is a special privilege granted by the state to
sentenced Tecson, et al. of the crime of homicide was penitent qualified offenders who immediately admit their
Branch 121 — not Branch 130 — of the Caloocan City RTC. liability and thus renounce their right to appeal. In view of
Neither the judge of Branch 130 in his Orders nor Tecson, et their acceptance of their fate and willingness to be reformed,
al. in their pleadings have presented any explanation or the state affords them a chance to avoid the stigma of an
shown any special authority that would clarify why the incarceration record by making them undergo rehabilitation
Applications for Probation had not been filed with or taken outside of prison. Some of the major purposes of the law are
cognizance of by Caloocan City RTC Branch 121. While we to help offenders to eventually develop themselves into law-
take note that in a previous case, the CA issued a Decision abiding and self-respecting individuals, as well as to assist
ordering the inhibition of Branch 121 Judge Adoracion G. them in their reintegration with the community. It must be
Angeles from hearing and deciding Criminal Case No. C- reiterated that probation is not a right enjoyed by the
38340(91), the ruling was made specifically applicable to the accused. Rather, it is an act of grace or clemency conferred
trial of petitioners therein, i.e., accused Concepcion, Ampil, by the state.
Adriano, and S. Fernandez. Tecson, et al. thus committed a Same; Same; All offenders who previously appealed
fatal error when they filed their probation applications with their cases, regardless of their reason for appealing, are
Caloocan City RTC Branch 130, and not with Branch 121. disqualified by the law from seeking probation.—Indeed,
We stress that applicants are not at liberty to choose the one of the legal prerequisites of probation is that the offender
forum in which they may seek probation, as the requirement must not have appealed the conviction. In the 2003 case
under Section 4 of the Probation Law is substantive and not Lagrosa v. Court of Appeals, 312 SCRA 298, this Court was
merely procedural. Considering, therefore, that the probation faced with the issue of whether a convict may still apply for
proceedings were premised on an unwarranted exercise of probation even after the trial court has imposed a
authority, we find that Caloocan City RTC Branch 130 never non-probationable verdict, provided that the CA later on
acquired jurisdiction over the case. lowers the original penalty to a sentence within the
Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Jurisdiction; Any probationable limit. In that case, the trial court sentenced the
residual jurisdiction of the court of origin shall cease — accused to a maximum term of eight years of prisión mayor,
including the authority to order execution pending which was beyond the coverage of the Probation Law. They
appeal — the moment the complete records of the case only became eligible for probation after the CA reduced the
are transmitted to the appellate court.—Jurisdiction over a maximum term of the penalty imposed to 1 year, 8 months
case is lodged with the court in which the criminal action has and 21 days of prisión correccional. In deciding the case,
been properly instituted. If a party appeals the trial court’s this Court invoked the reasoning in Francisco v. Court of
judgment or final order, jurisdiction is transferred to the Appeals, 243 SCRA 384 (1995), and ruled that the accused
appellate court. The execution of the decision is thus stayed was ineligible for probation, since they had filed an appeal
insofar as the appealing party is concerned. The court of with the CA. In Francisco, we emphasized that Section 4 of
origin then loses jurisdiction over the entire case the moment the Probation Law offers no ambiguity and does not provide
the other party’s time to appeal has expired. Any residual for any distinction, qualification, or exception. What is clear is
jurisdiction of the court of origin shall cease — including the that all offenders who previously appealed their cases,
authority to order execution pending appeal — the moment regardless of their reason for appealing, are disqualified by
the complete records of the case are transmitted to the the law from seeking probation. Accordingly, this Court
appellate court. Consequently, it is the appellate court that enunciated in Lagrosa that the accused are disallowed from
shall have the authority to wield the power to hear, try, and availing themselves of the benefits of probation if they obtain
decide the case before it, as well as to enforce its decisions a genuine opportunity to apply for probation only on appeal
and resolutions appurtenant thereto. That power and as a result of the downgrading of their sentence from non-
authority shall remain with the appellate court until it finally probationable to probationable.
disposes of the case. Jurisdiction cannot be ousted by any Same; Same; One of the hallmarks of the Probation Law
subsequent event, even if the nature of the incident would is precisely to “suspend the execution of the sentence,”
have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first place. and not to replace the original sentence with another.—
Same; Same; Same; If the case was previously appealed A void judgment cannot be the source of legal rights; legally
to the Court of Appeals (CA), a certified true copy of the speaking, it is as if no judgment had been rendered at all.
judgment or final order must be attached to the original Considering our annulment of the Orders of Caloocan City
record, which shall then be remanded to the clerk of the RTC Branch 130 in relation to the probation proceedings,
court from which the appeal was taken. The court of respondents cannot claim benefits that technically do not
origin then reacquires jurisdiction over the case for exist. In any event, Tecson, et al. cannot invoke Article 89 of
appropriate action.—According to Article 78 of the Revised the Revised Penal Code, as we find it inapplicable to this
Penal Code, “[n]o penalty shall be executed except by virtue case. One of the hallmarks of the Probation Law is precisely
of a final judgment.” A judgment of a court convicting or to “suspend the execution of the sentence,” and not to
acquitting the accused of the offense charged becomes final replace the original sentence with another, as we pointed out
in our discussion in Baclayon v. Mutia, 129 SCRA 148 interpretation of law could be as absurd as the position that
(1984): An order placing defendant on “probation” is not a the right to counsel exists only in the trial courts and that
“sentence” but is rather in effect a suspension of the thereafter, the right ceases in the pursuit of the appeal.
imposition of sentence. It is not a final judgment but is rather (Emphasis supplied)
an “interlocutory judgment” in the nature of a conditional Same; Same; To repeat the ruling in Telan, no
order placing the convicted defendant under the supervision arrangement or interpretation of law could be as absurd
of the court for his reformation, to be followed by a final as the position that the right to counsel exists only in
judgment of discharge, if the conditions of the probation are the trial courts and that thereafter, the right ceases in
complied with, or by a final judgment of sentence if the the pursuit of the appeal.—The filing of the petition for
conditions are violated. (Emphases supplied) certiorari by petitioner without counsel should have alerted
Correspondingly, the criminal liability of Tecson, et al. the CA and should have required petitioner to cause the
remains. entry of appearance of his counsel. Although the petition
Same; Penalties; Accessory Penalties; The applicable filed before the CA was a petition for certiorari assailing the
accessory penalty is determined by using as reference RTC Order dismissing the petition for relief, the ultimate
the principal penalty imposed by the court before the relief being sought by petitioner was to be given the chance
prison sentence is computed in accordance with the to file an appeal from his conviction, thus the need for a
Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISL).—By operation of counsel is more pronounced. To repeat the ruling in Telan,
Articles 40 to 45 and 73 of the Revised Penal Code, a no arrangement or interpretation of law could be as absurd
corresponding accessory penalty automatically attaches as the position that the right to counsel exists only in the trial
every time a court lays down a principal penalty outlined in courts and that thereafter, the right ceases in the pursuit of
Articles 25 and 27 thereof. The applicable accessory penalty the appeal. It is even more important to note that petitioner
is determined by using as reference the principal penalty was not assisted by counsel when he filed his petition for
imposed by the court before the prison sentence is relief from judgment with the RTC.
computed in accordance with the ISL. This determination is Same; Same; Cases should be determined on the merits
made in spite of the two classes of penalties mentioned in an after full opportunity to all parties for ventilation of their
indeterminate sentence. It must be emphasized that the causes and defenses, rather than on technicality or
provisions on the inclusion of accessory penalties some procedural imperfections—in that way, the ends of
specifically allude to the actual “penalty” imposed, not to the justice would be served better.—Cases should be
“prison sentence” set by a court. We believe that the ISL did determined on the merits after full opportunity to all parties
not intend to have the effect of imposing on the convict two for ventilation of their causes and defenses, rather than on
distinct sets of accessory penalties for the same offense. technicality or some procedural imperfections. In that way,
The two penalties are only relevant insofar as setting the the ends of justice would be served better.
minimum imprisonment period is concerned, after which the Same; Same; Motion for Reconsideration; We find the
convict may apply for parole and eventually seek the two days delay in filing his motion for reconsideration
shortening of the prison term. Villareal vs. People, 743 pardonable as it did not cause any prejudice to the other
SCRA 351, G.R. Nos. 178057 & 178080 December 1, 2014 party.—Petitioner claims that he actually received the CA
Resolution dismissing his petition for certiorari only on
September 4, 2003 even as the same Resolution was earlier
received on September 1, 2003 at the address written in his
127 PROVISIONAL REMEDIES petition, i.e., c/o Robert S. Bacuraya, No. 9 Iris St., West
Fairview, 1118, Quezon City, by a certain Leonora Coronel.
G.R. No. 161070. April 14, 2008.* Apparently, Bacuraya is not a lawyer. Ordinarily, petitioner
JOHN HILARIO y SIBAL, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE being detained at the National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa, the
PHILIPPINES, respondent. CA should have also sent a copy of such Resolution to his
Remedial Law; Procedural Rules; A litigant who is not a place of detention. Considering that petitioner only received
lawyer is not expected to know the rules of procedure— the Resolution on September 4, 2003, we find the two days
in fact, even the most experienced lawyers get tangled delay in filing his motion for reconsideration pardonable as it
in the web of procedure.—The RTC Decision dated did not cause any prejudice to the other party. There is no
December 5, 2001, finding petitioner guilty of two counts of showing that petitioner was motivated by a desire to delay
homicide, the Comment of the City Prosecutor as well as the the proceedings or obstruct the administration of justice. The
counsel’s withdrawal of appearance were considered by the suspension of the Rules is warranted in this case since the
CA as relevant and pertinent to the petition for certiorari, procedural infirmity was not entirely attributable to the fault
thus it dismissed the petition for failure to attach the same. or negligence of petitioner.
However, the CA failed to consider the fact that the petition Same; Same; Judgments; Even if the judgment had
before it was filed by petitioner, a detained prisoner, without become final and executory, it may still be recalled, and
the benefit of counsel. A litigant who is not a lawyer is not the accused afforded the opportunity to be heard by
expected to know the rules of procedure. In fact, even the himself and counsel.—Even if the judgment had become
most experienced lawyers get tangled in the web of final and executory, it may still be recalled, and the accused
procedure. We have held in a civil case that to demand as afforded the opportunity to be heard by himself and counsel.
much from ordinary citizens whose only compelle intrare is However, instead of remanding the case to the CA for a
their sense of right would turn the legal system into an decision on the merits, we opt to resolve the same so as not
intimidating monstrosity where an individual may be stripped to further delay the final disposition of this case.
of his property rights not because he has no right to the Same; Same; Attorneys; While as a general rule,
property but because he does not know how to establish negligence of counsel may not be condoned and should
such right. This finds application specially if the liberty of a bind the client, the exception is when the negligence of
person is at stake. As we held in Telan v. Court of Appeals, counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the
202 SCRA 534 (1991): The right to counsel in civil cases client is deprived of his day in court.—While as a general
exists just as forcefully as in criminal cases, specially so rule, negligence of counsel may not be condoned and should
when as a consequence, life, liberty, or property is subjected bind the client, the exception is when the negligence of
to restraint or in danger of loss. In criminal cases, the right of counsel is so gross, reckless and inexcusable that the client
an accused person to be assisted by a member of the bar is is deprived of his day in court. In Aguilar v. Court of Appeals,
immutable. Otherwise, there would be a grave denial of due 250 SCRA 371 (1991), we held: x x x Losing liberty by
process. Thus, even if the judgment had become final and default of an insensitive lawyer should be frowned upon
executory, it may still be recalled, and the accused afforded despite the fiction that a client is bound by the mistakes of
the opportunity to be heard by himself and counsel. x x x x his lawyer.
Even the most experienced lawyers get tangled in the web of Criminal Procedure; Appeals; Rights of the Accused; In
procedure. The demand as much from ordinary citizens all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the
whose only compelle intrare is their sense of right would turn right to appeal in the manner prescribed by law.—In all
the legal system into an intimidating monstrosity where an criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to
individual may be stripped of his property rights not because appeal in the manner prescribed by law. The importance and
he has no right to the property but because he does not real purpose of the remedy of appeal has been emphasized
know how to establish such right. The right to counsel is in Castro v. Court of Appeals, 123 SCRA 782 (1983), where
absolute and may be invoked at all times. More so, in the we ruled that an appeal is an essential part of our judicial
case of an on-going litigation, it is a right that must be system and trial courts are advised to proceed with caution
exercised at every step of the way, with the lawyer faithfully so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal and
keeping his client company. No arrangement or instructed that every party-litigant should be afforded the
amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his
cause, freed from the constraints of technicalities. While this
right is statutory, once it is granted by law, however, its
suppression would be a violation of due process, a right
guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus, the importance of
finding out whether petitioner’s loss of the right to appeal
was due to the PAO lawyer’s negligence and not at all
attributed to petitioner. Hilario vs. People, 551 SCRA 191,
G.R. No. 161070 April 14, 2008