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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Enrile and Enrile v. Judge Manalastas, et al., G.R. No. 166414, 22 October 2014.

[BERSAMIN, J.]

FACTS:

The mauling incident involving neighbors end up with filing of criminal case in the MTC for frustrated homicide and less serious physical injuries. Petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the joint resolution, arguing that the complainants had not presented proof of their having been given medical attention lasting 10 days or longer, thereby rendering their charges of less serious physical injuries dismissible; and that the two cases for less serious physical injuries, being necessarily related to the case of frustrated homicide still pending in the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, should not be governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure. The MTC denied the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration because the grounds of the motion had already been discussed and passed upon in the resolution sought to be reconsidered; and because the cases were governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure, which prohibited the motion for reconsideration. Thereafter, the petitioners presented a manifestation with motion to quash and a motion for the deferment of the arraignment. The MTC denied the motion to quash, and ruled that the cases for less serious physical injuries were covered by the rules on ordinary procedure; and reiterated the arraignment previously scheduled.

Unsatisfied, the petitioners commenced a special civil action for certiorari assailing the order of the MTC in the RTC. RTC Judge Manalastas dismissed the petition for certiorari. The petitioners moved for the reconsideration, but the RTC denied their motion.

The petitioners next went to the CA via a petition for certiorari and prohibition to nullify the orders issued by the RTC, averring grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. They urged the dismissal of the criminal cases on the same grounds they advanced in the RTC. The CA dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition for being the wrong remedy.

ISSUE#1: Whether a petition for certiorari and prohibition is proper in assailing the decision of RTC dismissing an original action for certiorari.

HELD#1: NO.

The proper recourse for the petitioners should be an appeal by notice of appeal, taken within 15 days from notice of the denial of the motion for reconsideration. Yet, the petitioners chose to assail the dismissal by the RTC through petitions for certiorari and prohibition in the CA, instead of appealing by notice of appeal. Such choice was patently erroneous and impermissible, because certiorari and prohibition, being extra ordinary reliefs to address jurisdictional errors of a lower court, were not available to them. Worthy to stress is that the RTC dismissed the petition for certiorari upon its finding that the MTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in denying the petitioners’ motion to quash. In its view, the RTC considered the denial of the motion to quash correct, for it would be premature and unfounded for the MTC to dismiss the criminal cases against the petitioners upon the supposed failure by the complainants to prove the period of their incapacity or of the medical attendance for them. Indeed, the time and the occasion to establish the duration of the incapacity or medical attendance would only be at the trial on the merits.

ISSUE#2: Is it proper to invoke a motion to quash the information filed in the MTC in this case?

HELD#2: NO.

[T]he motion to quash is the mode by which an accused, before entering his plea, challenges the complaint or information for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects apparent on its face. Section 3, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for the quashal of the complaint or information, as follows: (a) the facts charged do not constitute an offense; (b) the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; (c) the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused; (d) the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so; (e) the complaint or information does not conform substantially to the prescribed form; (f) more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law; (g) the criminal action or liability has been extinguished; (h) the complaint or information contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification; and (i) the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.

In the context of Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, the complaints sufficiently charged the petitioners with less serious physical injuries. Indeed, the complaints only needed to aver the ultimate facts constituting the offense, not the details of why and how the illegal acts allegedly amounted to undue injury or damage, for such matters, being evidentiary, were appropriate for the trial. Hence, the complaints were not quashable.

ISSUE#3: Is the presentation of medical certificates that will show the number of days rendered for medication essential during filing of complaint, considering the complaints were filed two (2) months after the alleged incident?

HELD#3: NO.

[T]he presentation of the medical certificates to prove the duration of the victims’ need for medical attendance or of their incapacity should take place only at the trial, not before or during the preliminary investigation. According to Cinco v. Sandiganbayan, the preliminary investigation, which is the occasion for the submission of the parties’ respective affidavits, counter-affidavits and evidence to buttress their separate allegations, is merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering whether a person may be reasonably charged with a crime, to enable the prosecutor to prepare the information. It is not yet a trial on the merits, for its only purpose is to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. The scope of the investigation does not approximate that of a trial before the court; hence, what is required is only that the evidence be sufficient to establish probable cause that the accused committed the crime charged, not that all reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused be removed.

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People v. Adil and Fama Jr., G.R. No. L-41863, 22 April 1977.

[BARREDO, J.]

FACTS:

On April 12, 1975, Fama Jr., attacked Viajar by throwing a piece of stone upon his right cheek, inflicting physical injuries which would require medical attendance for a period from 5 to 9 days barring complication as per medical certificate of the physician. A criminal complaint for slight physical injuries was filed against Fama Jr. on April 15, 1975, docketed as Case No. 3335. Meanwhile, Viajar filed another complaint on July 28, 1975, docketed as Case No. 5241, for the same instance of throwing a stone but this time for serious physical injuries because it left permanent scar and deformation on his right face. The first case proceeded and Fama Jr. pleaded not guilty during arraignment. After several postponements by the prosecution, Fama Jr.successfully sought dismissal of the first criminal case invoking the constitutional right to speedy trial. Fama Jr. now moves for the dismissal of the second case on the ground of double jeopardy.

 

ISSUE: Whether or not the additional allegation of deformity in the information in Case No. 5241 constitutes a supervening element which should take this case out of the rule of identity resulting in double jeopardy.

HELD: YES.

This rule of identity does not apply… when the second offense was not in existence at the time of the first prosecution, for the simple reason that in such case there is no possibility for the accused during the first prosecution, to be convicted for an offense that was then inexistent Thus, where the accused was charged with physical injuries and after conviction the injured dies, the charge of homicide against the same accused does not put him twice in jeopardy.

[Here], when the complaint was filed on April 15, 1975, only three days had passed since the incident in which the injuries were sustained took place, and there were yet no indications of a graver injury or consequence to be suffered by said offended party. Evidently, it was only later, after Case No. 3335 had already been filed and the wound on the face of Viajar had already healed, that the alleged deformity became apparent. In other words, in the peculiar circumstances of this case, the plea of double jeopardy of private respondent Fama Jr., cannot hold.

 
 

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Manulat, Jr. v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No.190892, August 17, 2015.

[PERALTA, J.]

FACTS:

Vicente, herein petitioner, is the husband of the deceased Genebe. They have two children, Vince Earl and Leslie Kate, aged three and two years old, respectively. One evening, Vicente, with his two children left their home and went to the house of his mother-in-law, Carmen. Vicente left after dinner.The following morning, Carmen bathed the two children and asked them what happened to their parents. Leslie Kate answered, “Father threw the cellphone, mother’s mouth bled,” while Vince Earl said, “Father choked mama” and “Mama was left home dead.” Carmen did not mind what the children told her and instead told them that their mother was on duty at Gold City. That same day, Genebe was found dead appearing to have committed suicide by hanging herself using nylon rope. However, medical findings apparently show that the hanging was done post mortem. A case for parricide was filed against Vicente.

One of the prosecution witness was Carmen, testifying on the statements made by her grandchildren Vince Earl and Leslie Kate. In order to discredit the evidence of the prosecution, Vicente claims that the testimony of Carmen was purely hearsay and not reliable since the prosecution never presented the children as witnesses to testify as what was told by them to Carmen, their own grandmother. Hence, inadmissible in evidence being hearsay and not statements as part of the res gestae.

ISSUE: Whether the testimony of Carmen as to the statements of her grandchildren qualify as part of res gestae.

HELD: YES.

The res gestae exception to the hearsay rule provides that the declarations must have been “voluntarily and spontaneously made so nearly contemporaneous as to be in the presence of the transaction which they illustrate and explain, and were made under such circumstances as necessarily to exclude the idea of design or deliberation.“There are three essential requisites to admit evidence as part of the res gestae, namely: (1) that the principal act, the res gestae be a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before the declarant had the time to contrive or devise a falsehood; and (3) that the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediate attending circumstances.In People v. Salafranca, the Court cited two tests in applying the res gestae rule: (a) the act, declaration or exclamation is so intimately interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself; and (b) the said evidence clearly negatives any premeditation or purpose to manufacture testimony.

There is no hard and fast rule by which spontaneity may be determined although a number of factors have been considered, including, but not always confined to, (1) the time that has lapsed between the occurrence of the act or transaction and the making of the statement, (2) the place where the statement is made, (3) the condition of the declarant when the utterance is given, (4) the presence or absence of intervening events between the occurrence and the statement relative thereto, and (5) the nature and the circumstances of the statement itself.

In this case, this Court finds that the statements of the petitioner and victim’s three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were spontaneously made. They had no opportunity or chance to invent a story although they made the statements the morning after the occurrence while being bathed by their grandmother Carmen. Their statements were unreflected and instinctive since a three-year-old and a two-year-old children, given their age, do not have the capability, sophistication or malice to fabricate such an incredible story of a violent altercation between their parents and to impute their own father to the killing of their mother.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Case Digests, Evidence, Remedial Law

 

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