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CALIXTO BERBARI v.

THE HONORABLE PEDRO CONCEPCION, JUDGE of the


COURT of FIRST INSTANCE of MANILA, and the PROSECUTING ATTORNEY OF
MANILA
G.R. No. L-16189, February 26, 1920 (Torres, J.)
Facts:
The sum of P37,500 has been delivered by Alfred Chicote to petitioner Calixto Berbari in
order to pay the 25% of P150,000, half of the capital of the Tayabas Oil Co, in accordance to their
agreement. However, petitioner affirmed that he did not fulfill this trust and that he appointed to
himself the money because Chicote was owing him an amount much greater than the said sum,
amounting to approximately P48,480.
Chicote then allegedly by twisting the facts, succeeded in having the prosecuting attorney
of the city file an information against petitioner for estafa for the sum of P37,500. This prompted
petitioner to file a complaint against the Honorable Pedro Concepcion and the Prosecuting
Attorney of the city of Manila. He prays for the proceedings conducted before the respondent judge
on and after January 23, 1920 in the criminal case for estafa be declared null and void, and that the
respondents be commanded to refrain from proceeding with said criminal cause and to suspend
the hearing thereof until the question raised in the civil action is definitely decided by the civil
court. Furthermore, he alleges that in effect, petitioner brings an ordinary civil action in the Court
of First Instance against Alfred Chicote for the recovery, with legal interest of the sum of P48,480
given to the latter as deposit by petitioner.
Issue:
Whether or not the civil action brought by petitioner institutes prejudicial question.
Ruling:
No. Prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which must precede the criminal
action, which requires a decision before a final judgment is rendered in the principal action with
which said question is close connected. In the case at bar, the lump sum petitioner had received
from Chicote for a fixed object is entirely distince, independent and absolutely separated from the
acts or contracts from which the debits claimed in the civil action might have been delivered. If
any action must be suspended, it would be the civil and in no way the criminal action. The criminal
act performed by petitioner is a distinct act characterized by fraud and deceit. Hence, the question
whether Chicote was or was not indebted to petitioner is not a prejudicial question for determining
whether or not the latter committed the crime of estafa. However, the hearing on the counterclaim
interposed by Chicote against petitioner for the recovery of the amount embezzled must be
suspended in accordance with the Almeida Chan Tanco doctrine which states that, When a
criminal proceeding is instituted for the judicial investigation of a crime or misdemeanor, no civil
action arising from the same act can be prosecuted; but the same shall be suspended, if there is
one, in whatever stage or state it may be found, until final sentence in the criminal proceeding is
pronounced.
WHEREFORE, the petition of counsel for Calixto Berbari dated February 3, 1920 is hereby
denied with costs against petitioner.
GAVINO MANIKAD, ROBERTO BANEZ and BENITO ARELLANO v. TANODBAYAN,
HON. BENJAMIN T. VIANZON, as Deputized Tanobayan Prosecutor, GUILLERMO M.
SANTOS, JR., and BERNARDO S. YAMBAO
G.R. No. L-65091, February 20, 1984 (Escolin J.)
Facts:
Sometime in November 1982, respondents Guillermo M. Santos, Jr. and Bernardo S.
Yambao, both members of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) Police Force in Bataan,
filed a complaint with the deputized Tanodbayan prosecutor, respondent Benjamin T. Vianzon,
charging petitioners Gavino Manikad, Roberto Banez and Benito Arellano, director and members,
respectively, of the EPZA Police Force, with the crimes of smuggling, qualified theft, violations
of the Anti-Graft Law, as well as the Anti-Fencing Law.
On the day of the preliminary investigation, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss on the
grounds that the Tanodbayan Prosecutor had no authority to conduct the said preliminary
investigation, complaints of the respondents were improperly and prematurely filed and that there
was no prima facie evidence against them. Respondent Fiscal Vianzon denied the petitioners
motion to dismiss as well as the motion for reconsideration. Thus, petitioners came to the Supreme
Court praying for certiorari and prohibition.
Petitioners assail that respondent Fscal Vianzon acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in having assumed jurisdiction over the complaint filed by
respondents Santos and Yambao, arguing that complaints of such natured is exclusively lodge
upon EPZA under Section 7 of P.D. 1716-A.
Issue:
1. Whether or not respondent Fiscal Vianzon acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in conducting preliminary investigation
2. Whether or not the pendency of an administrative proceeding constitutes a bar to
criminal prosecution for the same offense
Ruling:
1. No. Although it is correct that the EPZA can exercise police authority, conduct ordinary
police operations and incident to its police authority, perform functions usually assigned to the
prosecution service, it does not have exclusive jurisdiction on the subject matter. There was
nothing in the context of Section 7 to even intimate that the latter functions are to be exercised in
an exclusive manner. It is a basic rule of statutory construction that a meaning that does not appear
nor is intended or reflected in the very language of the statute cannot be placed therein. Thus, the
objection of petitioners with regard to the authority of respondent Tanodbayans prosecutor to
conduct preliminary investigation of the complaint filed against petitioners, being premised on the
alleged exclusive authority of the EPZA to file and be deputized to prosecute the corresponding
criminal cases before the appropriate court or body is untenable.
2. No. the allegation of prematureness ascribed by petitioners to the complaint filed against
them. According to the court, the pendency of an administrative proceeding does not constitute a
bar to a criminal prosecution for the same offense. An administrative case is an entirely separate
and distinct proceeding from a criminal action. Each may proceed independently of the other.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby denied. Costs against petitioners.
APOLINARIO DE LA CRUZ, ET AL., v THE CITY FISCAL, ET AL.,
G.T. No. L-13354, December 29, 1959 (Montemayor, J)
Facts:
On August 22, 1957 Carmelita de la Cruz filed in the Court of Frist Instance of Linagayen,
Pangasinan a complaint against petitioner Apolinario de la Cruz, for the purpose of declaring null
and void the affidavit of adjudication executed by him, wherein he allegedly declared himself the
only heir of Francisca Bandong and adjudicated unto himself a parcel of land left by her. Carmelita
claims otherwise, that the said parcel of land belongs to her, having inherited the same from her
father Ludovico de la Cruz, to whom it had been donated by Francisca.
Petitioners were then summoned by the Dagupan Fiscal for the investigation of the charge
of falsification of public document regarding the affidavit of adjudication made by Apolinario.
According to the counsel of Apolinario, there were two civil cases pending in the Court of First
Instance of Lingayen, Pangasinan, one for the annulment of adjudication, and the other for
annulment of the deed of donation, and that this constituted a prejudicial question which warranted
the criminal action being held in abeyance. The Fiscal wanted to continue with his investigation,
however petitioner filed a motion for prohibition, which was denied by the trial court. Thus the
petitioners appealed before the Supreme Court.
Issue:
Whether or not the civil action for the annulment of the deed of adjudication filed against
petitioner constitutes a prejudicial question
Held:
No. The Supreme Court in its decision affirmed the trial courts decision to deny the appeal
of the petitioners. Prejudicial question was defined by the Court as one which must precede the
criminal action, which requires a decision before a final judgment is rendered in the principal
action with which said question is closely connected. A civil action is prejudicial when it refers to
a fact separate and distinct from the offense charged but yet so intimately related thereto as to be
determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused. In the case at bar, the annulment of the deed
of donation sought by petitioner in his cross-complaint, it has no intimate relation to the criminal
investigation being conducted by responded Fiscal. Petitioner was not even a party to the said deed
of donation. The resolution of the petition for annulment of the affidavit of adjudication does not
determine criminal responsibility in the falsification case. Regardless of the outcome,
determination of the charge of falsification would be based on the truth or falsity of the narration
of facts in the affidavit of adjudication, especially with reference to the existence of heirs of
Francisca besides Apolinario. Therefore, the civil case aforecited does not involve a prejudicial
question.
WHEREFORE, the appealed order is hereby affirmed with costs.
The PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES v. ABELO ARAGON
G.R. No. L-5930, February 17, 1954 (Labrador, J)
Facts:
An information was filed on May 22, 1951 against defendant Abelo Aragon is being
charged in the Court of First Instance of Cebu with the crime of bigamy, for having contracted a
second marriage with Efigenia C. Palomer on September 21, 1947 while his previous marriage
with Martina Godinez was still valid and had not been dissolved. On October 11, 1951, while the
case was pending trial, Efigenia C. Palomer filed a civil action in the same Court of First Instance
against defendant that the latter by means of force, threats and intimidation of bodily harm, forced
plaintiff to marry him, and praying that their marriage on September 21, 1947 be annulled.
Thereafter, on April 30, 1952, defendant filed a motion in the aforementioned criminal case,
praying that it be provisionally dismissed on the ground that the civil action for annulment of the
second marriage is a prejudicial question. The court denied this motion and thus the defendant
filed for an appeal.
Issue:
Whether or not the validity of the second marriage will establish a prejudicial question on
the bigamy case of the petitioner
Ruling:
No. Prejudicial question has been defined to be that which arises in a case, the resolution
of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case, and the cognizance of which
pertains to another tribunal. The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the
court. in the case at bar, there is no question that the marriage contracted by defendant to Efigena
C. Palomer was illegal and void. However, its nullity cannot be used as a defense by defendant for
the criminal action filed against him. Defendant cannot use his own malfeasance to defeat the
action based on his criminal act. Thus, the pendency of the civil action for the annulment of the
marriage filed by Elfigenia C. Palomer, is absolutely immaterial to the criminal action filed against
defendant. The said civil action does not decide that defendant did not enter the marriage against
his will and consent, because the complaint does not allege that he was the victim of force and
intimidation in the second marriage. The decision in the said case is not essential to the
determination of the criminal charge. Therefore it is not a prejudicial question.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed is hereby affirmed with costs against defendant.