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People of the Philippines v The Hon. Emilio L. Leachon, Jr.

GR 108725
September 25, 1998
Facts:
On August 7, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor of Occidental Mindoro
filed 2 separate violation of PD 772 (Anti-Squatting law) against Noli
Hablo, Edmundo Mapindan and Diego before the Regional Trila Court of
Occidental Mindoro presided by the respondent judge. The case
proceeded to trial and after the presentation of evidence; the
prosecution rested the cases and sent a written offer of evidences.
After almost a year the judge dismissed the cases motu proprio on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners then appealed to the Supreme
Court via a petition of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, which was
referred to the Court of Appeals for disposition. Court of Appeals
reversed the Order of dismissal and ordered the continuation of the
trial. The respondent judge once again dismissed the case motu
proprio once more saying that PD 772 is repealed by Art. XIII Section 9
and 10 of the 1987 Constitution. (Urban and rural dwellers shall not be
evicted nor their dwellings demolished except in accordance with law
and in a just and humane manner) Petitioners filed a Motion for
Reconsideration but were denied by the judge. Petitioners found their
way to the Supreme Court via instant petition.
Issue:
WON the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to the lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing the subject
criminal cases for the violation of the Anti-Squatting law and in
declaring the said law as repugnant to the provision of the 1987
Constitution?
Held:
Yes. The respondent judge dismissed the subject cases motu proprio,
after the prosecution had rested the same and without giving the three
accused an opportunity to present their evidence. There is also no
showing that the issue of constitutionality of PD 772 was ever posed by
the accused, such an issue cannot be given due course because it was
not raised by the proper party at the earliest opportunity.
Petition cannot prosper because on October 27, 1997 Republic Act No.
8368 (Penalizing Squatting and Other Similar Acts) was enacted and
repealed PD 772. All cases under the provision of PD 772 shall be
dismissed.