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Macasaet vs People (453 SCRA 255)

In criminal actions, it is a fundamental rule that venue is jurisdictional. Thus, the place where the crime was committed determines not only the venue of the action but is an essential element of jurisdiction.

The possible venues for the institution of the criminal and the civil aspects of said case are concisely outlined in Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 4363.

In Agbayani v. Sayo, we summarized the foregoing rule in the following manner:


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1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published.

2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense.

3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila.

4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense.

It is jurisprudentially settled that jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information. In resolving a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction, the general rule is that the facts contained in the complaint or information should be taken as they are. The exception to this rule is where the Rules of Court allow the investigation of facts alleged in a motion to quash such as when the ground invoked is the extinction of criminal liability, prescriptions, double jeopardy, or insanity of the accused. In these instances, it is incumbent upon the trial court to conduct a preliminary trial to determine the merit of the motion to dismiss. As the present case obviously does not fall within any of the recognized exceptions, the trial court correctly dismissed this action.

The OSG is the appellate counsel of the People of the Philippines in all criminal cases. In such capacity, it only takes over a criminal case after the same has reached the appellate courts. When a party files a notice of appeal, the trial courts jurisdiction over the case does not cease as a matter of course; its only effect is that the appeal is deemed perfected as to him. As explained by our former colleague, Justice Florenz Regalado . . [I]n the meantime, the trial court still retains jurisdiction over the case. However, where all the parties have either thus perfected their appeals, by filing their notices of appeal in due time and the period to file such notice of appeal has lapsed for those who did not do so, then the trial court loses jurisdiction over the case as of the filing of the last notice of appeal or the expiration of the period to do so for all the parties.

Agustin vs Pamintuan (467 SCRA 601)

Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or Information, and the offense must
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have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

The rules on venue in Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code are as follows:
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1. Whether the offended party is a public official or a private person, the criminal action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published.

2. If the offended party is a private individual, the criminal action may also be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province where he actually resided at the time of the commission of the offense.

3. If the offended party is a public officer whose office is in Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila.

4. If the offended party is a public officer holding office outside of Manila, the action may be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense.

The residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation or his actual residence or place of abode provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency; no particular length of time of residence is required. However, the residence must be more than temporary. The term residence involves the idea of something beyond a transient stay in the place; and to be a resident, one must abide in a place where he had a house therein. To create a residence in a particular place, two fundamental elements are essential: The actual bodily presence in the place, combined with a freely exercised intention of remaining there permanently or for an indefinite time. While it is possible that as the Acting General Manager of the Baguio Country Club, the petitioner may have been actually residing in Baguio City, the Informations did not state that he was actually residing therein when the alleged crimes were committed. It is entirely possible that the private complainant may have been actually residing in another place. One who transacts business in a place and spends considerable time thereat does not render such person a resident therein. Where one may have or own a business does not of itself constitute residence within the meaning of the statute. Pursuit of business in a place is not conclusive of residence there for purposes of venue.

Mobilia Products Inc vs Umezawa (452 SCRA 736)

All criminal actions commenced by complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the public prosecutor. When the civil action for civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the offended party may intervene, by counsel, in the prosecution of the offense. In Ramiscal, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, we held that under Section 16, Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the offended party may intervene in the criminal action personally or by counsel, who will then act as private prosecutor for the protection of his interests and in the interest of the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice. A separate action for the purpose would only prove to be costly, burdensome and time-consuming for both parties and further delay the final disposition of the case. The multiplicity of suits must be avoided. With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action, the two actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with
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the criminal action predominating the civil. The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order.

The intervention of the private offended party, through counsel, and his prosecution of the case shall be under the control and supervision of the public prosecutor until the final termination of the case. A public prosecutor who has been entrusted by law with the prosecution of criminal cases is duty-bound to take charge thereof until its final termination, for under the law, he assumes full responsibility for his failure or success since he is the one more adequately prepared to pursue it to its termination. The prosecution of offenses is a public function. Indeed, the sole purpose of the civil action is the resolution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused.

The public prosecutor may turn over the actual prosecution of the criminal case, in the exercise of his discretion, but he may, at any time, take over the actual conduct of the trial. However, it is necessary that the public prosecutor be present at the trial until the final termination of the case; otherwise, if he is absent, it cannot be gainsaid that the trial is under his supervision and control.

In a criminal case in which the offended party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or the offended party is limited to the civil liability arising therefrom. Hence, if a criminal case is dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal, a reconsideration of the order of dismissal or acquittal may be undertaken, whenever legally feasible, insofar as the criminal aspect thereof is concerned and may be made only by the public prosecutor; or in the case of an appeal, by the State only, through the OSG. The private complainant or offended party may not undertake such motion for reconsideration or appeal on the criminal aspect of the case. However, the offended party or private complainant may file a motion for reconsideration of such dismissal or acquittal or appeal therefrom but only insofar as the civil aspect thereof is concerned. In so doing, the private complainant or offended party need not secure the conformity of the public prosecutor. If the court denies his motion for reconsideration, the private complainant or offended party may appeal or file a petition for certiorari or mandamus, if grave abuse amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction is shown and the aggrieved party has no right of appeal or given an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

It is settled that the jurisdiction of the court is not determined by what may be meted out to the offender after trial or even by the result of the evidence that would be presented at the trial, but by the extent of the penalty which the law imposes for the misdemeanor, crime or violation charged in the complaint. If the facts recited in the complaint and the punishment provided for by law are sufficient to show that the court in which the complaint is presented has jurisdiction, that court must assume jurisdiction.

Crespo vs Mogul (151 SCRA 462)

The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it. The determination of the case
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is within its exclusive jurisdiction and competence. A motion to dismiss the case filed by the fiscal should be addressed to the Court who has the option to grant or deny the same. It does not matter if this is done before or after the arraignment of the accused or that the motion was filed after a reinvestigation or upon instructions of the Secretary of Justice who reviewed the records of the investigation.

The role of the fiscal or prosecutor as We all know is to see that justice is done and not necessarily to secure the conviction of the person accused before the Courts. Thus, in spite of his opinion to the contrary, it is the duty of the fiscal to proceed with the presentation of evidence of the prosecution to the Court to enable the Court to arrive at its own independent judgment as to whether the accused should be convicted or acquitted. The fiscal should not shirk from the responsibility of appearing for the People of the Philippines even under such circumstances much less should he abandon the prosecution of the case leaving it to the hands of a private prosecutor for then the entire proceedings will be null and void. 37 The least that the fiscal should do is to continue to appear for the prosecution although he may turn over the presentation of the evidence to the private prosecutor but still under his direction and control.

Pecho vs People (262 SCRA 518)

For double jeopardy to exist, there must be such new information and the accused must be able to show that (1) he has been previously brought to trial, (2) in a court of competent jurisdiction, (3) upon a valid complaint or information sufficient in form and substance, (4) for the same offense or an attempt to or frustration thereof as that charged in the new information, and that (5) the case has been dismissed or terminated without his consent or after he had pleaded to the information but therefore judgment was rendered.

The evidence for the prosecution likewise failed to prove that the petitioner (1) personally represented himself as an agent of Eversun Commercial Trading; (2) knew of the falsity of any of the public and commercial documents in question; and (3) had, at any time, possession of all or some of the said documents.

Otherwise stated, there is no sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove conspiracy between the petitioner and Catre to commit the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public and commercial documents. Neither is there evidence of petitioners active participation in the commission of the crime. The con-cordant combination and cumulative effect of the acts of the petitioner as proven by the prosecutions evidence fails to satisfy the requirements of Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of court. There is reasonable doubt as to his guilt. And since his constitutional right to be presumed innocent unit proven guilty can be over-thrown only by proof beyond reasonable doubt, the petitioner must then be acquitted even though his innocence may be doubted.

People vs Ave GR 137274-75 Oct 18, 2008

The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,[51] is reclusion perpetua to death while the penalty prescribed for aggravated illegal possession of firearm, i.e., the killing of a person with the use of an unlicensed firearm, under P.D. No. 1866, is death.

On June 6, 1997, however, Congress approved Republic Act No. 8294. It provides that if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be
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considered as an aggravating circumstance.[54] In People v. Molina,[55] we held that where murder or homicide is committed, the separate penalty for illegal possession shall no longer be meted out inasmuch as it becomes merely a special aggravating circumstance.

The trial court applied R.A. No. 8294 in the murder case at bar and in line with our ruling in Molina held that the use of the unlicensed firearm in the killing of Pedro aggravated the commission of the crime. He then meted the maximum penalty of death to the appellant.

After Molina, however, the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure was promulgated by this Court and became effective on December 1, 2000. Section 8 of Rule 110 requires that the complaint or information must specify the qualifying and aggravating circumstances of the offense if they are to be appreciated. In the case at bar, the special aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm was not alleged in the informations. The two (2) informations at bar, for murder and frustrated murder, merely alleged that the appellant used a long firearm. They did not allege that the firearm used was unlicensed. The failure of the prosecution to allege in the Information the aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm in committing the crime of murder prevents us from imposing the death penalty on the appellant even if the same was proved at the trial. The appellant should, therefore, suffer the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua.

People vs Costales, et al, GR 141154-56, Jan 15, 2002

On the third issue, accused-appellant decries the Decision of the court a quo in qualifying the crimes of murder and attempted murder with illegal possession of firearm and at the same time convicting him for violation of PD 1866, as amended.

We agree. Although the prosecution duly established that the crime of illegal possession of firearm under PD 1866 was committed, RA 8294, which took effect 7 July 1997, amended the decree and now considers the use of unlicensed firearm as a special aggravating circumstance in murder and homicide, and not as a separate offense.

As it should be, possession and use of firearm without license should aggravate the crimes of murder and frustrated murder as herein charged but, fortunately for accused-appellant, Secs. 8 and 9 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect 1 December 2000, now require the qualifying as well as aggravating circumstances to be expressly and specifically alleged in the complaint or information, otherwise the same will not be considered by the court even if proved during the trial. Withal, in the absence of any allegation in the Information in Crim. Case No. T-2057 that accusedappellant committed murder with the use of unlicensed firearm, the same cannot be appreciated in imposing the proper penalty.

Concededly, the prosecution witnesses gave almost uniform observations on how the malefactors carried out their detestable crimes, i.e., the identity of the assailants, that Miguel was strangled by both intruders and almost simultaneously shot on the head, that one of them sprayed a chemical on the other occupants of the house and after a split second fired at Crispina. Such consistency and uniformity may be irregular at first blush, but accused-appellant failed to take into account the following factors which account for the near flawless statements of the prosecution witnesses: (a) the one -room shanty was very small with no substantial obstruction to impede the vision of the occupants; (b) the room was lighted by a
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kerosene lamp sufficient enough for the occupants to recognize accused-appellant and his cohort, especially so since the assailants were prominent and venerated leaders of their church; and, (c) at the time of the incident the Marcelo spouses and their children were lying very near each other because of the very limited space of their shanty such that every perceived action could be seen, felt, or at least sensed, by all of them.

In Crim. Case No. T-2056, accused-appellant was charged by the trial court with frustrated murder but was convicted only for attempted murder. In its Decision, the trial court explained that the failure of the prosecution to present a medical certificate or competent testimonial evidence showing that Crispina would have died from her wound without medical intervention, justified the accuseds conviction for attempted murder only.

We call to mind People v. De La Cruz11 where this Court ruled that the crime committed for the shooting of the victim was attempted murder and not frustrated murder for the reason that his injuries, though no doubt serious, were not proved fatal such that without timely medical intervention, they would have caused his death. In fact, as early as People v. Zaragosa,[12] we enu nciated the doctrine that where there is nothing in the evidence to show that the wound would be fatal if not medically attended to, the character of the wound is doubtful; hence, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused and the crime committed by him may be declared as attempted, not frustrated murder.

People vs Villar GR 132378 Jan 18, 2000

We find no competent evidence showing that the victim exhibited no unusual behavior during the oneyear period that she was being sexually abused by accused-appellant. The lack of concrete evidence of any unusual behavior on record does not prove that there was in fact no such unusual behavior. If accused-appellant wanted the court to consider such an allegation, it was incumbent upon him to prove the same with competent evidence. The fundamental rule is that upon him who alleges rests the burden of proof. He cannot simply rely on the lack of evidence showing the contrary.

The commission of rape was concededly improbable but not impossible. In People vs. Ignacio, we took judicial notice of the interesting fact that among poor couples with big families living in small quarters, copulation does not seem a problem despite the presence of other persons around them. Considering the cramped space and meager room for privacy, couples perhaps have gotten used to quick and less disturbing modes of sexual congresses which elude the attention of family members; otherwise, under the circumstances, it would be almost impossible to copulate with them around even when asleep. It is also not impossible nor incredible for the family members to be in deep slumber and not be awakened while the sexual assault is being committed. One may also suppose that growing children sleep more soundly than grown-ups and are not easily awakened by adult exertions and suspirations in the night. There is no merit in appellants contention that there can be no rape in a room where other people are present. There is no rule that rape can be committed only in seclusion. We have repeatedly declared that lust is no respecter of time and place, and rape can be committed in even the unlikeliest of places.

In People vs. Dela Cuesta (G.R. No. 126134, March 2, 1999), we held: The seven modes of committing rape introduced under R.A. 7659 and R.A. 4111 which warrant the automatic imposition of death penalty partake of the nature of a qualifying circumstance under the Revised Penal Code since it
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increases the penalty or rape to one degree. As such, this qualifying circumstance, that the child is under eighteen (18) and the offender is a guardian, should be alleged in the information to be appreciated as such.

Although the circumstances to qualify simple rape to the heinous crime of rape, namely: (a) victim under 18 years old (the certificate of live birth exhibit A was admitted by the defense), and (b) the offender being a guardian, were duly proven in the present case, these circumstance cannot considered for purposes of imposing the extreme penalty of death unless these were alleged in the information. An examination of the two informations in the present case reveals that only the qualifying circumstance that the child is under 12 was alleged. There was no allegation that the offender was a guardian of the victim. To consider said circumstance as qualifying, would constitute denial of the right of accusedappellant to due process and to be informed of the charges against him. At best, such circumstance may only be treated as a generic aggravating circumstance, which, in the case of simple statutory rape, however, is inconsequential because the imposable penalty is the singular indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua.

People vs Camerino 108 Phil 79

Under section 2 of this Rule, the Court may deny or sustain the motion to quash but may not defer it till the trial of the case on the merits. In sustaining the motion, the court may order the filing of a new information or may dismiss the case. In the new information, the defects of the previous information may be cured. For instance, if the motion to quash is sustained on the ground that more than one offense is charged in the information, the court may order that another information be filed charging only one offense. But the court may or may not issue such order in the exercise of its discretion. The order may be made if the defects found in the first information may be cured in a new information. If the order is made, the accused, if he is in custody, should not be discharged, unless otherwise, admitted to bail. But if no such order is made, or, having been made, the prosecuting attorney fails to file another information within the time specified by the court, the accused, if in custody must be discharged, unless he is also in custody for another charge, or if is out on bail, the bail must be exonerated. In such event, however, the fiscal is free to institute another criminal proceeding since such ground of objection is not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 1957 ed., Vol. II, pp. 778-779).

In conclusion, we hold that the information filed in this case did not charged more than one offense but only that of sedition; that in specifying the separate and different criminal acts attributed to the defendants, it was not the purpose or intention of the Government to hold them criminally liable in the present proceedings, but merely to complete the narration of facts, though specifying different offenses which as a whole, supposedly constitute the crime of sedition. Consequently, we believe that the information is valid.

FIRST DIVISION [A.M. No. MTJ-04-1556. March 31, 2005] PURITA LIM, complainant, vs. JUDGE CESAR M. DUMLAO, Municipal Trial Court, San Mateo, Isabela, respondent.
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DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO, J: In a verified letter-complaint[1] dated June 5, 2003, complainant Purita Lim charged respondent Judge Cesar M. Dumlao of the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Isabela, with Gross Ignorance of the Law and Grave Abuse of Authority.

Complainant averred that she filed two criminal cases for carnapping and theft with the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City, Isabela, Branch 35, against a certain Herman A. Medina. On May 8, 2003, Medina was apprehended and detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Santiago City Jail, by virtue of a Warrant of Arrest issued by then Presiding Judge Fe Albano Madrid of Branch 35.

On May 9, 2003, respondent judge issued three separate orders for the release of Medina on the ground that he had posted bail with his court. Complainant alleged that respondent judge frequently approves bail bonds for cases filed in other courts and outside the territorial jurisdiction of his court. He also issues search warrants for implementation outside of his courts jurisdiction which, resultantly, are often quashed and the corresponding cases dismissed because the articles seized were inadmissible as evidence.

As proof, complainant attached copies of Search Warrant Nos. 2002-120,[2] 2002-173,[3] and 2002180[4] issued by respondent judge. Search Warrant No. 2002-120 was ordered quashed on September 2, 2002[5] by Judge Anastacio Anghad for being infirmed and fatally defective. The crime was committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the MTC of San Mateo, Isabela and no compelling reasons were stated in the application to justify its filing before the MTC of San Mateo, Isabela. What is more, it was found that respondent judge did not conduct a thorough and extensive inquiry to the deponent and his witnesses as required by the Rules on Criminal Procedure[6] in order to establish probable cause and the justification for the application.

Search Warrant No. 2002-173 was also ordered[7] quashed by Judge Anghad on December 18, 2002 as probable cause was not actually ascertained and searching questions and answers were not conducted. In another case, Search Warrant No. 2002-180[8] was likewise quashed and the articles seized by virtue of the warrant were declared inadmissible in evidence[9] because the applicant failed to prove extreme and compelling circumstances and the warrant issued did not particularly describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

In view of these instances, complainant requested for an investigation into the activities of respondent judge. On June 30, 2003, the Court Administrator referred the complaint to respondent judge requiring his comment thereon within ten days from receipt,[10] but he failed to file the required comment notwithstanding his receipt of the order on July 28, 2003 as evidenced by the Registry Return Receipt. The Court Administrator sent a 1st Tracer[11] dated October 28, 2003 which respondent judge received on November 19, 2003. On June 28, 2004, this Court resolved to require respondent judge to show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for his obdurate refusal to file his comment.[12] On December 8, 2004, with still no response from respondent judge, the Court resolved to dispense with the comment.[13]

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), through Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. and Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez, submitted to this Court a Memorandum dated February
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15, 2005. In said memorandum, the Court was informed that respondent judge has been charged in six (6) administrative cases, including the instant case, to wit:

1. MTJ-01-1339 (Efren Morales vs. Judge Cesar Dumlao) for Abuse of Authority. Respondent was fined P5,000.00 in a decision dated February 13, 2002. 2. MTJ-01-1350 (Lorenzo Pascual, et al. vs. Judge Cesar Dumlao) for Gross Negligence and Gross Ignorance. Respondent fined P10,000.00 in a decision dated July 20, 2001. 3. MTJ-03-1519 (Reynaldo Sinaon, Sr. vs. Judge Cesar Dumlao) for Grave Abuse of Authority, Misconduct, Dereliction of Duty and Ignorance of the Law. The case is pending. 4. 03-1442-MTJ (Ester Barbero vs. Judge Cesar Dumlao) for Abuse of Authority. The case is pending. 5. 97-394-MTJ (Artemio Alivia vs. Judge Cesar Dumlao) for Anomalous Reduction of Bailbond. Case pending. The OCAs evaluation stated: The respondents failure to submit his comment as required is further evidence of his defiance of directives issued by his superiors. It is, furthermore, indicative of his admission of the charges pending against him. Indeed, the practice of respondent accepting and approving bail bonds of detained persons who are charged of crimes in courts other than his own constitutes gross ignorance of the law.

We believe, however, that in the determination of the penalty, we should consider the fact that he presides over four (4) courts to wit: MTC, San Mateo, Isabela as presiding judge; MCTC, Alfonso-ListaAguinaldo as acting presiding judge; MTC, Ilagan, Isabela as acting presiding judge, and MCTC of Tumauini-Delfin Albano also as acting presiding judge.

Thus, the OCA recommended: Respectfully submitted for the consideration of the Honorable Court with the recommendations that the respondent Judge be required to pay a fine of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) for his obdurate refusal to file his comment on the complaint. Further, respondent judge be required to pay a fine of TWENTY ONE THOUSAND PESOS (P21,000.00) and warned that a repetition of the same offense will be dealt with more drastically for approving bail bonds for accused persons who were detained in places outside his territorial jurisdiction.

We agree with the recommendations of the OCA, except as to the penalty. Section 17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: Section 17. Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending, or, in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with any regional trial court judge, metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city or municipality. If the accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may also be filed with any Regional Trial Court of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge therein.

It is not disputed that the criminal cases filed by complainant against Herman Medina were pending before the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City, Isabela, Branch 35. In fact, the warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Fe Albano Madrid, presiding judge of the said court. The order of release therefore, on
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account of the posting of the bail, should have been issued by that court, or in the absence or unavailability of Judge Madrid, by another branch of an RTC in Santiago City. In this case, however, there is no proof that Judge Madrid was absent or unavailable at the time of the posting of the bail bond. In fact, complainant Lim avers that on the day respondent judge ordered the release of Medina, Judge Madrid and all the judges of the RTC of Santiago City, Isabela were at their respective posts.

It is elementary that a municipal trial court judge has no authority to grant bail to an accused arrested outside of his territorial jurisdiction. The requirements of Section 17(a), Rule 114 as quoted above must be complied with before a judge may grant bail.[14] The Court recognizes that not every judicial error bespeaks ignorance of the law and that, if committed in good faith, does not warrant administrative sanction, but only in cases within the parameters of tolerable misjudgment.[15] Where, however, the law is straightforward and the facts so evident, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.[16]

Respondent judge undeniably erred in approving the bail and issuing the order of release. He is expected to know that certain requirements ought to be complied with before he can approve Medinas bail and issue an order for his release. The law involved is rudimentary that it leaves little room for error. In the case of Espaol and Suluen v. Mupas,[17] we have stated:

Thus, a judge who approves applications for bail of accused whose cases were not only pending in other courts but who were, likewise, arrested and detained outside his territorial jurisdiction is guilty of gross ignorance of the law and violates Rule 3.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. It must be emphasized that the rules of procedure have been formulated and promulgated by this Court to ensure the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Failure to abide by these rules undermines the wisdom behind them and diminishes respect for the law. Judges should ensure strict compliance therewith at all times in their respective jurisdictions.[18]

It is settled that one who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the public and the court the ability to be proficient in the law and the duty to maintain professional competence at all times.[19] When a judge displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he erodes the confidence of the public in the courts. A judge owes the public and the court the duty to be proficient in the law and is expected to keep abreast of laws and prevailing jurisprudence. Ignorance of the law by a judge can easily be the mainspring of injustice.[20]

Respondent judges predicament is further aggravated by his unauthorized or irregular issuance of search warrants not once but a number of times. To our mind, his violations cannot be excused as mere lapses in judgment but blatant and conscious disregard of basic rules of procedure.

Moreover, records show that he has been previously charged and found guilty of similar charges. Respondent judge has been previously fined Five Thousand Pesos for notarizing the revocation of a Special Power of Attorney in violation of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 1-90.[21] In another case, he was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and negligence in the performance of duties for issuing a temporary restraining order and granting a partys motion without the benefit of a proper hearing. He was fined Ten Thousand Pesos.[22]
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Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court characterizes gross ignorance of the law and procedure as a grave offense. The penalties prescribed for such offense are: (1) Dismissal from service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government owned or controlled corporations, provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits; (2) Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) months but not exceeding six (6) months; or (3) a fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.

In Gomos, et al. v. Adiong,[23] the respondent judge therein was suspended from office without salary and benefits for six months after he was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law. We took judicial notice that previously, he was fined in the sum of P20,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law and another P5,000.00 for gross ignorance of the law and grave abuse of discretion.

In this case, respondent judge appears undeterred in disregarding the law. He has continued to exhibit such behavior that betray an unconcerned stance about the previous penalties he has received and the warnings previously given that any repetition of similar infractions shall be dealt with more severely. Thus, we are imposing a penalty more severe than a fine. Given the circumstances, suspension from office for six (6) months without salary and benefits is reasonable.

We agree with the OCA that the respondent judge must be held administratively liable for his unjustified failure to comment on an administrative complaint. This constitutes gross misconduct and insubordination. We held in Imbang v. Del Rosario, that:

The office of the judge requires him to obey all the lawful orders of his superiors. It is gross misconduct, even outright disrespect for the Court, for respondent judge to exhibit indifference to the resolution requiring him to comment on the accusations in the complaint thoroughly and substantially. After all, a resolution of the Supreme Court should not be construed as a mere request, and should be complied with promptly and completely. Such failure to comply accordingly betrays not only a recalcitrant streak in character, but also disrespect for the Courts lawful order and directive. (Emphasis supplied)[24]

In that case, we fined the judge in the amount of P10,000.00 for his failure to comply with our directives. In the present case, a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) as recommended by the OCA is reasonable penalty for respondent judges repeated failure to file his comment on the complaint.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Judge Cesar M. Dumlao of the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Isabela, is found GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and Grave Abuse of Authority and is hereby SUSPENDED from office for a period of six (6) months without salary and other benefits with a WARNING that a repetition of the same shall merit a more serious penalty. He is likewise FINED the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for his obstinate failure to file comment on the complaint filed against him despite proper notice.

SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., Quisumbing, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

People vs Lagon (185 SCRA 442)

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Doctrine that the subject matter jurisdiction of a court in criminal law matters is properly measure by the law in effect at the time of the commencement of a criminal action rather than by the law in effect at the time of the commission of the offense charged firmly settled.

It is firmly settled doctrine that the subject matter jurisdiction of a court in criminal law matters is properly measured by the law in effect at the time of the commencement of a criminal action, rather than by the law in effect at the time of the commission of the offense charged. Thus, in accordance with the above rule, jurisdiction over the instant case pertained to the then Court of First Instance of Roxas City considering that P.D. No. 818 had increased the imposable penalty for the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 7362 to a level-in excess of the minimum penalty which a city court could impose.

Subject-matter jurisdiction in criminal cases is determined by the authority of the court to impose the penalty imposable under the applicable statute given the allegations of a criminal information.

In criminal prosecutions, it is settled that the jurisdiction of the court is not determined by what may be meted out to the offender after trial, or even by the result of the evidence that would be presented at the trial, but by the extent of the penalty which the law imposes for the misdemeanor, crime or violation charged in the complaint. If the facts recited in the complaint and the punishment provided for by law are sufficient to show that the court in which the complaint is presented has jurisdiction, that court must assume jurisdiction.

Court of First Instance, taking cognizance of a criminal case coming under its jurisdiction, may, after trial, impose a penalty that is proper for a crime within the exclusive competence of a municipal or city court as the evidence would warrant. It may not be said, therefore, that the Court of First Instance would be acting without jurisdiction if in a simple seduction case, it would impose penalty of not more than six months of imprisonment, if said case, for the reason already adverted to, be held to fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, not a city or municipal court.

People vs Magallanes (149 SCRA 212)

Jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information and not by the result of evidence after trial. It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information, and not by the result of evidence after trial.

Allegation of taking advantage of his position or taking advantage of their respective positions incorporated in the informations is not sufficient to bring the offenses within the definition of offenses committed in relation to public office. In Montilla vs. Hilario, such an allegation was considered merely as an allegation of an aggravating circumstance, and not as one that qualifies the crime as having been committed in relation to public office, It says:
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But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime as an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance, its materiality arises, not from the allegations but on the proof, not from the fact that the criminals are public officials but from the manner of the commission of the crime.

The jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law in force at the time of the commencement of the action. Under the above assumption then, the cases should have been filed with the Sandiganbayan since at the time the informations were filed, the governing law was Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as
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amended by P.D. No. 1861. But, would that jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan be affected by R.A. No. 7975?

Jurisdiction once acquired is not affected by subsequent legislative enactment placing jurisdiction in another tribunal. It remains with the court until the case is finally terminated. Hence, the Sandiganbayan or the courts, as the case may be, cannot be divested of jurisdiction over cases filed before them by reason of R.A. No. 7975. They retain their jurisdiction until the end of the litigation.

Buaya vs Polo (169 SCRA 471)

General rule that the denial of a motio to dismiss or to quash being being nterlocutory in character, cannot be questioned by certiorari and it cannot be the subject of appeal until final judgment or order rendered (See. 2, Rule 41, Rules of Court). the ordinary procedure to be followed in such a case is to enter a Plea, go to trial and if the decision is adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final judgment (Newsweek Inc. v. IAC, 142 SCRA 171).

The averments in the complaint or information characterize the crime to be prosecuted and the court before which it must be tried.

Jurisdiction of the court in criminal cases, the complaint must be examined for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the facts set out therein and the punishment provided for by law fall within the jurisdiction of the court where the complaint is filed. The jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information, and not by the findings the court may make after the trial.

Fukuzume vs CA (474 SCRA 570)

Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction. It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to be acquired by courts in criminal cases the offense should have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Territorial jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense allegedly committed therein by the accused. Thus, it cannot take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense allegedly committed outside of that limited territory. Furthermore, the

jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information. And once it is so shown, the court may validly take cognizance of the case. However, if the evidence adduced during the trial show that the offense was committed somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction. Jimenez vs Nazareno (160 SCRA 1)

Jurisdiction once acquired is not lost upon the instance of parties but continues until the case is terminated. But the question is this was that jurisdiction lost when the accused escaped from the custody of the law and failed to appear during the trial? We answer this question in the negative. As We have consistently ruled in several earlier cases,6 jurisdiction once acquired is not lost upon the instance of parties but continues until the case is terminated.
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Paderanga vs CA (247 SCRA 471) - Digested Case

The rationale behind the rule is that it discourages and prevents resort to the former pernicious practice whereby an accused could just send another in his stead to post his bail, without recognizing the jurisdiction of the court by his personal appearance therein and compliance with the requirements therefor.

A person is considered to be in the custody of the law (a) when he is arrested either by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued pursuant to Section 6, Rule 112, or by warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113 in relation to Section 7, Rule 112 of the revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, or (b) when he has voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by surrendering to the proper authorities.

The motion for admission to bail was filed not for the purpose or in the manner of the former practice which the law proscribes for the being derogatory of the authority and jurisdiction of the courts, as what had happened in Feliciano. There was here no intent or strategy employed to obtain bail in absentia and thereby be able to avoid arrest should the application therefore be denied.

Santiago vs Vasquez (Not part of Syllabus but a good reference in Paderanga case)

In said case, the petitioner who was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, filed through counsel what purported to be an Urgent Ex -parte Motion for Acceptance of Cash Bail Bond. Said petitioner was at the time confined in a hospital recuperating from serious physical injuries which she sustained in a major vehicular mishap. Consequently, she expressly sought leave that she be considered as having placed herself under the jurisdiction of (the Sandiganbayan) for purposes of the required trial and other proceedings. On the basis of said ex -parte motion and the peculiar circumstances obtaining in that incident, the Sandiganbayan authorized petitioner to post a cash bail bond for her provisional liberty without need of her personal appearance in view of her physical incapacity and as a matter of humane consideration.

When the Sandiganbayan later issued a hold departure order against her, she question the jurisdiction of that court over her person in a recourse before this Court, on the ground that she neither been arrested nor has she voluntarily surrendered, aside from the fact that she has not validly posted bail since she never personally appeared before said court In rejecting her arguments, the Court held that she was clearly estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan for by her own representations in the urgent ex parte motion for bail she had earlier recognized such jurisdiction. Furthermore, by actually posting a cash bail was accepted by the court, she had effectively submitted to its jurisdiction over her person. Nonetheless, on the matter of bail, the Court took pains to reiterate that the same cannot be posted before custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his arrest or voluntary surrender.

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