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P10,000.00- Miscellaneous Expenses.

Hector Trenas vs. People of the Philippines Thereafter, Elizabeth gave P150,000.00 to Hector who issued a corresponding receipt
dated December 22, 1999 and prepared [a] Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage.
G. R. No. 195002 Subsequently, Hector gave Elizabeth Revenue Official Receipt Nos. 00084370 for
P96,000.00 and 00084369 for P24,000.00. However, when she consulted with the BIR,
HECTOR TREÑAS, Petitioner, she was informed that the receipts were fake. When confronted, Hector admitted to her
that the receipts were fake and that he used the P120,000.00 for his other transactions.
- versus - Elizabeth demanded the return of the money.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. To settle his accounts, appellant Hector issued in favor of Elizabeth a Bank of
Commerce check No. 0042856 dated November 10, 2000 in the amount of
P120,000.00, deducting from P150,000.00 the P30,000.00 as attorney’s fees. When the
check was deposited with the PCIBank, Makati Branch, the same was dishonored for
the reason that the account was closed. Notwithstanding repeated formal and verbal
demands, appellant failed to pay. Thus, the instant case of Estafa was filed against him.
DECISION

On 29 October 2001, an Information was filed by the Office of the City Prosecutor before
SERENO, J.: the Regional Trial Court (RTC), both of Makati City. The Information reads as follows:

Where life or liberty is affected by its proceedings, courts must keep strictly within the That on or about the 23rd day of December, 1999, in the City of Makati, Metro Manila,
limits of the law authorizing them to take jurisdiction and to try the case and render Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
judgment thereon. accused, received in trust from ELIZABETH LUCIAJA the amount of P150,000.00 which
money was given to her by her aunt Margarita Alocilja, with the express obligation on
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of the part of the accused to use the said amount for expenses and fees in connection with
Civil Procedure, seeking to annul and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision the purchase of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. T-109266, but the said accused,
dated 9 July 2010 once in possession of the said amount, with the intent to gain and abuse of confidence,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply and
and Resolution dated 4 January 2011. convert to his own personal use and benefit the amount of P130,000.00 less attorney’s
fees and the said accused failed and refused and still fails and refuses to do so, to the
Statement of the Facts and of the Case
damage and prejudice of complainant Elizabeth Luciaja and Margarita Alocilja in the
aforementioned amount of P130,000.00.
The pertinent facts, as found by the CA, are as follows:
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Sometime in December 1999, Margarita Alocilja (Margarita) wanted to buy a house-
and-lot in Iloilo City covered by TCT No. 109266. It was then mortgaged with Maybank. During arraignment on 26 April 2002, petitioner, acting as his own counsel, entered a
The bank manager Joselito Palma recommended the appellant Hector Treñas (Hector) plea of "Not Guilty." Allegedly due to old age and poor health, and the fact that he lives
to private complainant Elizabeth, who was an employee and niece of Margarita, for in Iloilo City, petitioner was unable to attend the pre-trial and trial of the case.
advice regarding the transfer of the title in the latter’s name. Hector informed Elizabeth
that for the titling of the property in the name of her aunt Margarita, the following
expenses would be incurred: On 8 January 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision

P20,000.00- Attorney’s fees, finding petitioner guilty of the crime of Estafa under section 1, paragraph (b), of Article
315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), with the dispositive portion as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered finding accused Hector
P90,000.00- Capital Gains Tax, Trenas guilty of the crime of Estafa with abuse of confidence as penalized under Article
315 of the Revised Penal Code, and which offense was committed in the manner
P24,000.00- Documentary Stamp, described in the aforementioned information. As a consequence of this judgment,
accused Hector Trenas is sentenced to suffer a penalty of Ten (10) Years and One (1)
Day of Prision Mayor to Seventeen (17) Years and Four (4) Months of Reclusion time when the check provided by petitioner was dishonored by Equitable-PCI Bank in
Temporal. Moreover, he is ordered to indemnify private complainant Elizabeth Luciaja its De la Rosa-Rada Branch in Makati. Petitioner asserts that the prosecution witness
the amount of P130,000.00 with interest at the legal rate of 12% per annum, reckoned failed to allege that any of the acts material to the crime of estafa had occurred in Makati
from the date this case was filed until the amount is fully paid. City. Thus, the trial court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the case.

SO ORDERED. Petitioner thus argues that an accused is not required to present evidence to prove lack
of jurisdiction, when such lack is already indicated in the prosecution evidence.
We note at this point that petitioner has been variably called Treñas and Trenas in the
pleadings and court issuances, but for consistency, we use the name "Treñas", under As to the second issue, petitioner claims that the amount of P150,000 actually belongs
which he was accused in the Information. to Margarita. Assuming there was misappropriation, it was actually she - not Elizabeth
- who was the offended party. Thus, the latter’s demand does not satisfy the requirement
On 24 August 2007, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, of prior demand by the offended party in the offense of estafa. Even assuming that the
demand could have been properly made by Elizabeth, the demand referred to the
amount of P120,000, instead of P150,000. Finally, there is no showing that the demand
which was denied by the RTC in a Resolution dated 2 July 2008. was actually received by petitioner. The signature on the Registry Return Receipt was
On 25 September 2008, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal before the RTC. not proven to be that of petitioner’s.

The appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 32177. On 9 July 2010, the CA On 30 May 2011, this Court issued a Resolution directing the Office of the Solicitor
rendered a Decision General (OSG) to file the latter’s Comment on the Petition. On 27 July 2011, the OSG
affirming that of the RTC. On 4 August 2010, petitioner filed a Motion for filed a Motion for Extension, praying for an additional period of 60 days within which to
Reconsideration, which was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated 4 January 2011. submit its Comment. This motion was granted in a Resolution dated 12 September
On 25 January 2011, petitioner filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for 2011. On 23 September 2011, the OSG filed a Motion for Special Extension, requesting
Review on Certiorari an additional period of five days. On 29 September 2011, it filed its Comment on the
Petition.
before this Court. He asked for a period of 15 days within which to file a petition for
review, and the Court granted his motion in a Resolution dated 9 February 2011. In its Comment, the OSG asserts that the RTC did not err in convicting petitioner as
On 3 February 2011, petitioner filed his Petition for Review on Certiorari before this charged. The OSG notes that petitioner does not dispute the factual findings of the trial
Court, with the following assignment of errors: court with respect to the delivery of ₱150,000 to him, and that there was a relationship
of trust and confidence between him and Elizabeth. With respect to his claim that the
1. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT AN ACCUSED HAS TO Complaint should have been filed in Iloilo City, his claim was not supported by any piece
PRESENT EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF of evidence, as he did not present any. Further, petitioner is, in effect, asking the Court
JURISDICTION EVEN IF SUCH LACK OF JURISDICTION APPEARS IN THE to weigh the credibility of the prosecution witness, Elizabeth. However, the trial court’s
EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION; assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, unless tainted with
arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance, which is not the case here.
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT DEMAND MADE BY A
PERSON OTHER THAN THE AGGRIEVED PARTY SATISFIES THE REQUIREMENT With respect to the second issue, the OSG stresses that the defense of "no valid
OF DEMAND TO CONSTITUTE THE OFFENSE OF ESTAFA; demand" was not raised in the lower court. Nevertheless, the demand letter sent to
Elizabeth suffices, as she is also one of the complainants alleged in the Information, as
On the first issue, petitioner asserts that nowhere in the evidence presented by the an agent of Margarita. Moreover, no proof was adduced as to the genuineness of
prosecution does it show that ₱ 150,000 was given to and received by petitioner in petitioner’s signature in the Registry Return Receipt of the demand letter.
Makati City. Instead, the evidence shows that the Receipt issued by petitioner for the
money was dated 22 December 1999, without any indication of the place where it was
The OSG, however, submits that the Court may recommend petitioner for executive
issued. Meanwhile, the Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage prepared by
clemency, in view of his advanced age and failing health.
petitioner was signed and notarized in Iloilo City, also on 22 December 1999. Petitioner
claims that the only logical conclusion is that the money was actually delivered to him
in Iloilo City, especially since his residence and office were situated there as well. The Court’s Ruling
Absent any direct proof as to the place of delivery, one must rely on the disputable
presumption that things happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the The Petition is impressed with merit.
ordinary habits of life. The only time Makati City was mentioned was with respect to the
Review of Factual Findings his own personal benefit the amount entrusted to him for payment of the capital gains
tax and documentary stamp tax.
While the Petition raises questions of law, the resolution of the Petition requires a review
of the factual findings of the lower courts and the evidence upon which they are based. As clearly narrated by private complainant Luciaja, after accused Trenas had obtained
the amount of P150,000.00 from her, he gave her two receipts purportedly issued by
the Bureau of Internal Revenue, for the fraudulent purpose of fooling her and making
As a rule, only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review under Rule 45 of
her believe that he had complied with his duty to pay the aforementioned taxes.
the Rules of Court. In many instances, however, this Court has laid down exceptions to
Eventually, private complainant Luciaja discovered that said receipts were fabricated
this general rule, as follows:
documents.

(1) When the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contradictory;
In his Motion for Reconsideration before the RTC, petitioner raised the argument that it
had no jurisdiction over the offense charged. The trial court denied the motion, without
(2) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or citing any specific evidence upon which its findings were based, and by relying on
conjectures; conjecture, thus:

(3) When the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is That the said amount was given to [Treñas] in Makati City was incontrovertibly
manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; established by the prosecution. Accused Treñas, on the other hand, never appeared in
Court to present countervailing evidence. It is only now that he is suggesting another
(4) When there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; possible scenario, not based on the evidence, but on mere "what ifs". x x x

(5) When the appellate court, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case, Besides, if this Court were to seriously assay his assertions, the same would still not
and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; warrant a reversal of the assailed judgment. Even if the Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage was executed on 22 December 999 in Iloilo City, it cannot preclude the fact
(6) When the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on misapprehension of facts; that the P150,000.00 was delivered to him by private complainant Luciaja in Makati City
the following day. His reasoning the money must have been delivered to him in Iloilo
City because it was to be used for paying the taxes with the BIR office in that city does
(7) When the Court of Appeals failed to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly not inspire concurrence. The records show that he did not even pay the taxes because
considered, would justify a different conclusion; the BIR receipts he gave to private complainant were fake documents. Thus, his
argumentation in this regard is too specious to consider favorably.
(8) When the findings of fact are themselves conflicting;
For its part, the CA ruled on the issue of the trial court’s jurisdiction in this wise:
(9) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of the specific evidence on
which they are based; and It is a settled jurisprudence that the court will not entertain evidence unless it is offered
in evidence. It bears emphasis that Hector did not comment on the formal offer of
(10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of prosecution’s evidence nor present any evidence on his behalf. He failed to substantiate
evidence but such findings are contradicted by the evidence on record. his allegations that he had received the amount of P150,000.00 in Iloilo City. Hence,
Hector’s allegations cannot be given evidentiary weight.
In this case, the findings of fact of the trial court and the CA on the issue of the place of
commission of the offense are conclusions without any citation of the specific evidence
Absent any showing of a fact or circumstance of weight and influence which would
on which they are based; they are grounded on conclusions and conjectures.
appear to have been overlooked and, if considered, could affect the outcome of the
case, the factual findings and assessment on the credibility of a witness made by the
The trial court, in its Decision, ruled on the commission of the offense without any finding trial court remain binding on appellate tribunal. They are entitled to great weight and
as to where it was committed: respect and will not be disturbed on review.

Based on the evidence presented by the prosecution through private complainant The instant case is thus an exception allowing a review of the factual findings of the
Elizabeth Luciaja, the Court is convinced that accused Trenas had committed the lower courts.
offense of Estafa by taking advantage of her trust so that he could misappropriate for
Jurisdiction of the Trial Court
The overarching consideration in this case is the principle that, in criminal cases, venue established that all the elements of the offense charged had been committed in
is jurisdictional. A court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a person charged with an Parañaque, to wit: that on July 12, 1991, Yu went to the house of Fukuzume in
offense committed outside its limited territory. In Isip v. People, Parañaque; that with the intention of selling the subject aluminum scrap wires, the latter
pretended that he is a representative of Furukawa who is authorized to sell the said
this Court explained: scrap wires; that based on the false pretense of Fukuzume, Yu agreed to buy the subject
The place where the crime was committed determines not only the venue of the action aluminum scrap wires; that Yu paid Fukuzume the initial amount of P50,000.00; that as
but is an essential element of jurisdiction. It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to a result, Yu suffered damage. Stated differently, the crime of estafa, as defined and
be acquired by courts in criminal cases, the offense should have been committed or any penalized under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, was
one of its essential ingredients should have taken place within the territorial jurisdiction consummated when Yu and Fukuzume met at the latter's house in Parañaque and, by
of the court. Territorial jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court has falsely pretending to sell aluminum scrap wires, Fukuzume was able to induce Yu to
jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense allegedly committed therein by the part with his money.
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 xxx
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. From the foregoing, it is evident that the prosecution failed to prove that Fukuzume
However, if the evidence adduced during the trial shows that the offense was committed committed the crime of estafa in Makati or that any of the essential ingredients of the
somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction. (Emphasis offense took place in the said city. Hence, the judgment of the trial court convicting
supplied.) Fukuzume of the crime of estafa should be set aside for want of jurisdiction, without
prejudice, however, to the filing of appropriate charges with the court of competent
In a criminal case, the prosecution must not only prove that the offense was committed, jurisdiction. (Emphasis supplied)
it must also prove the identity of the accused and the fact that the offense was committed
within the jurisdiction of the court. In this case, the prosecution failed to show that the offense of estafa under Section 1,
paragraph (b) of Article 315 of the RPC was committed within the jurisdiction of the RTC
of Makati City.
In Fukuzume v. People,
That the offense was committed in Makati City was alleged in the information as follows:
this Court dismissed a Complaint for estafa, wherein the prosecution failed to prove
that the essential elements of the offense took place within the trial court’s jurisdiction.
The Court ruled: That on or about the 23rd day of December, 1999, in the City of Makati, Metro Manila,
More importantly, we find nothing in the direct or cross-examination of Yu to establish Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
that he gave any money to Fukuzume or transacted business with him with respect to accused, received in trust from ELIZABETH LUCIAJA the amount of P150,000.00 x x
the subject aluminum scrap wires inside or within the premises of the Intercontinental x. (Emphasis supplied.)
Hotel in Makati, or anywhere in Makati for that matter. Venue in criminal cases is an
essential element of jurisdiction. x x x Ordinarily, this statement would have been sufficient to vest jurisdiction in the RTC of
Makati. However, the Affidavit of Complaint executed by Elizabeth does not contain any
In the present case, the criminal information against Fukuzume was filed with and tried allegation as to where the offense was committed. It provides in part:
by the RTC of Makati. He was charged with estafa as defined under Article 315,
paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of which are as follows: x x x 4. THAT on 23 December 1999, [Elizabeth] personally entrusted to ATTY. HECTOR
TREÑAS the sum of P150,000.00 to be expended as agreed and ATTY. HECTOR
The crime was alleged in the Information as having been committed in Makati. However, TREÑAS issued to me a receipt, a photo copy of which is hereto attached as Annex
aside from the sworn statement executed by Yu on April 19, 1994, the prosecution "B",
presented no other evidence, testimonial or documentary, to corroborate Yu's sworn
statement or to prove that any of the above-enumerated elements of the offense 5. THAT despite my several follow-ups with ATTY. HECTOR TREÑAS, the latter failed
charged was committed in Makati. Indeed, the prosecution failed to establish that any to transfer the title of aforesaid property to MRS. MARGARITA ALOCILJA. He also
of the subsequent payments made by Yu in the amounts of P50,000.00 on July 12, failed to pay the capital gains tax, documentary stamps and BIR-related expenses. What
1991, P20,000.00 on July 22, 1991, P50,000.00 on October 14, 1991 and P170,000.00 ATTY. HECTOR TREÑAS accomplished was only the preparation of the Deed of Sale
on October 18, 1991 was given in Makati. Neither was there proof to show that the covering aforesaid property. A copy of said Deed of Sale is hereto attached as Annex
certifications purporting to prove that NAPOCOR has in its custody the subject "C",
aluminum scrap wires and that Fukuzume is authorized by Furukawa to sell the same
were given by Fukuzume to Yu in Makati. On the contrary, the testimony of Yu
6. THAT in view of my persistent follow-ups, ATTY. HECTOR TREÑAS issued to me a Q And did you give him this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND?
check for refund of the sum given to him less the attorney’s fee of P20,000.00 and the
sum of P10,000.00 allegedly paid to BIR or in the net sum of P120,000.00. x x x A Yes, sir.

7. THAT when said check was deposited at EQUITABLE PCI BANK dela Rosa-Rada Q Did he issue a receipt?
Branch at Makati City, the same was dishonored by the drawee bank for the reason:
ACCOUNT CLOSED. x x x
A Yes, sir.
Aside from the lone allegation in the Information, no other evidence was presented by
the prosecution to prove that the offense or any of its elements was committed in Makati Q If shown to you a receipt issued by Atty. Treñas for this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY
City. THOUSAND, will you be able to identify it?

Under Article 315, par. 1 (b) of the RPC, the elements of estafa are as follows: (1) that A Yes, sir.
money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust or on
commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to Q I am showing to you a document, madam witness, already identified during the pre-
make delivery of or to return the same; (2) that there be misappropriation or conversion trial as exhibit "B". This appears to be a receipt dated December 22, 1999. Will you
of such money or property by the offender, or denial on his part of such receipt; (3) that please go over this document and inform this court what relation has this to the receipt
such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and (4) which you said Atty. Treñas issued to you?
there is demand by the offended party to the offender.
A This is the receipt issued by Atty. Hector Treñas.
There is nothing in the documentary evidence offered by the prosecution
Q Now, after the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND was given to Atty.
that points to where the offense, or any of its elements, was committed. A review of Treñas by you, what happened next?
the testimony of Elizabeth also shows that there was no mention of the place where
the offense was allegedly committed:
Q After the manager of Maybank referred Atty. Treñas to you, what happened next? A We made several follow-ups but he failed to do his job.

Although the prosecution alleged that the check issued by petitioner was dishonored in
A We have met and he explained to the expenses and what we will have to… and she a bank in Makati, such dishonor is not an element of the offense of estafa under Article
will work for the Deed of Sale. 315, par. 1 (b) of the RPC.

Q And did he quote any amount when you got to the expenses? Indeed, other than the lone allegation in the information, there is nothing in the
prosecution evidence which even mentions that any of the elements of the offense were
A Yes. I gave him ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND. committed in Makati. The rule is settled that an objection may be raised based on the
ground that the court lacks jurisdiction over the offense charged, or it may be considered
Q What was the amount quoted to you? motu proprio by the court at any stage of the proceedings or on appeal.

A ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND. Moreover, jurisdiction over the subject matter in a criminal case cannot be conferred
upon the court by the accused, by express waiver or otherwise. That jurisdiction is
conferred
Q Did he give a breakdown of this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND? by the sovereign authority that organized the court and is given only by law in the
manner and form prescribed by law.
A Yes, sir.
It has been consistently held by this Court that it is unfair to require a defendant or
Q And what is the breakdown of this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND? accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over
the subject matter or offense or it is not the court of proper venue.
A TWENTY THOUSAND is for his Attorney’s fee, NINETY THOUSAND is for the capital
gain tax TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND is intended for documentary sum (sic) and TEN Section 15 (a) of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure of 2000
THOUSAND PESOS is for other expenses for BIR. provides that "[s]ubject to existing laws, the criminal action shall be instituted and tried
in the court of the municipality or territory where the offense was committed or where petitioner has failed to account for the funds received by him in trust, the
any of its essential ingredients occurred." This fundamental principle is to ensure that recommendation should include an order to immediately return the amount of ₱ 130,000
the defendant is not compelled to move to, and appear in, a different court from that of to his client, with the appropriate rate of interest from the time of demand until full
the province where the crime was committed as it would cause him great payment.
inconvenience in looking for his witnesses and other evidence in another place.
This principle echoes more strongly in this case, where, due to distance constraints, WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated 9 July 2010 and the
coupled with his advanced age and failing health, petitioner was unable to present his Resolution dated 4 January 2011 issued by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.
defense in the charges against him. 32177 are SET ASIDE on the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Regional
There being no showing that the offense was committed within Makati, the RTC of that Trial Court, Branch 137, Makati City. Criminal Case No. 01-2409 is DISMISSED without
city has no jurisdiction over the case. prejudice. This case is REFERRED to the IBP Board of Governors for investigation and
recommendation pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court.
As such, there is no more need to discuss the other issue raised by petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
At this juncture, this Court sees it fit to note that the Code of Professional Responsibility
strongly militates against the petitioner’s conduct in handling the funds of his client.
Rules 16.01 and 16.02 of the Code provides:

Rule 16.01 — A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for
or from the client.

Rule 16.02 — A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his
own and those others kept by him.

When a lawyer collects or receives money from his client for a particular purpose (such
as for filing fees, registration fees, transportation and office expenses), he should
promptly account to the client how the money was spent.

If he does not use the money for its intended purpose, he must immediately return it
to the client. His failure either to render an accounting or to return the money (if the
intended purpose of the money does not materialize) constitutes a blatant disregard of
Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Moreover, a lawyer has the duty to deliver his client's funds or properties as they fall
due or upon demand.

His failure to return the client's money upon demand gives rise to the presumption
that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the
trust reposed in him by the client.
It is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics; it impairs
public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.
In Cuizon v. Macalino,

this Court ruled that the issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having
been drawn against a closed account indicates a lawyer's unfitness for the trust and
confidence reposed on him, shows lack of personal honesty and good moral character
as to render him unworthy of public confidence, and constitutes a ground for
disciplinary action.
This case is thus referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the initiation
of disciplinary proceedings against petitioner. In any case, should there be a finding that
Police District Command (CPDC) led by Chief Superintendent Ricardo de Leon; and
Panfilo M. Lacson vs. the Executive Secretary, et al. the Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) headed by petitioner-intervenor Chief
Superintendent Romeo Acop.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila Acting on a media expose of SPO2 Eduardo delos Reyes, a member of the CIC, that
what actually transpired at dawn of May 18, 1995 was a summary execution (or a rub
out) and not a shoot-out between the Kuratong Baleleng gang members and the
EN BANC ABRITG, Ombudsman Aniano Desierto formed a panel of investigators headed by the
Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs, Bienvenido Blancaflor, to investigate the
incident. This panel later absolved from any criminal liability all the PNP officers and
personal allegedly involved in May 18, 1995 incident, with a finding that the said incident
G.R. No. 128096 January 20, 1999 was a legitimate police operation. 1

PANFILO M. LACSON, petitioner, However, a review board led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Francisco Villa modified
modified the Blancaflor panel's finding and recommended the indictment for multiple
murder against twenty-six (26) respondents, including herein petitioner and intervenors.
vs.
The recommendation was approved by the Ombudsman except for the withdrawal of
the charges against Chief Supt. Ricardo de Leon.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SANDIGANBAYAN, OFFICE OF THE
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MYRNA ABALORA,
Thus, on November 2, 1995, petitioner Panfilo Lacson was among those charged as
NENITA ALAP-AP, IMELDA PANCHO MONTERO, and THE PEOPLE OF THE
principal in eleven (11) information for murder 2 before the Sandiganbayan's Second
PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Division, while intervenors Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr. were among those
charged in the same informations as accessories after-in-the-fact.
ROMEO M. ACOP AND FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA, JR., petitioner-intervenors.
Upon motion by all the accused in the 11 information, 3 the Sandiganbayan allowed
them to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman's action. 4

MARTINEZ, J.: After conducting a reinvestigation, the Ombudsman filed on March 1, 1996 eleven (11)
amended informations 5 before the Sandiganbayan, wherein petitioner was charged
The constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of Republic Act No. 8249 — an act which further only as an accessory, together with Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr. and other.
defines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan — is being challenged in this petition for One of the accused 6 was dropped from the case.
prohibition and mandamus. Petitioner Panfilo Lacson, joined by petitioners-intervenors
Romeo Acop and Francisco Zubia, Jr., also seeks to prevent the Sandiganbayan from On March 5-6, 1996, all the accused filed separate motions questioning the jurisdiction
proceedings with the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 (for multiple murder) of the Sandiganbayan, asserting that under the amended informations, the cases fall
against them on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 2 (paragraphs a
and c) of Republic Act No. 7975. 7 They contend that the said law limited the jurisdiction
The antecedents of this case, as gathered from the parties' pleadings and documentary of the Sandiganbayan to cases where one or more of the "principal accused" are
proofs, are as follows: government officials with Salary Grade (SG) 27 or higher, or PNP officials with the rank
of Chief Superintendent (Brigadier General) or higher. The highest ranking principal
accused in the amended informations has the rank of only a Chief Inspector, and none
In the early morning of May 18, 1995, eleven (11) persons believed to be members of
has the equivalent of at least SG 27.
the Kuratong Baleleng gang, reportedly an organized crime syndicate which had been
involved in a spate of bank robberies in Metro Manila, where slain along Commonwealth
Avenue in Quezon City by elements of the Anti-Bank Robbery and Intelligence Task Thereafter, in a Resolution 8 dated May 8, 1996 (promulgated on May 9, 1996), penned
Group (ABRITG) headed by Chieff Superintendent Jewel Canson of the Philippine by Justice Demetriou, with Justices Lagman and de Leon concurring, and Justices
National Police (PNP). The ABRITG was composed of police officers from the Traffic Balajadia and Garchitorena dissenting, 9 the Sandiganbayan admitted the amended
Management Command (TMC) led by petitioner-intervenor Senior Superintendent information and ordered the cases transferred to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court
Francisco Zubia, Jr.; Presidential Anti-Crime Commission — Task Force Habagat which has original and exclusive jurisdiction under R.A. 7975, as none of the principal
(PACC-TFH) headed by petitioner Chief Superintendent Panfilo M. Lacson; Central accused has the rank of Chief Superintendent or higher.
On May 17, 1996, the Office of the Special Prosecutor moved for a reconsideration, Petitioner now questions the constitutionality of Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, including
insisting that the cases should remain with the Sandiganbayan. This was opposed by Section 7 thereof which provides that the said law "shall apply to all cases pending in
petitioner and some of the accused. any court over which trial has not begun as to the approval hereof." Petitioner argues
that:
While these motions for reconsideration were pending resolution, and even before the
issue of jurisdiction cropped up with the filing of the amended informations on March 1, a) The questioned provisions of the statute were introduced by the
1996, House Bill No. 2299 10 and No. 1094 11 (sponsored by Representatives Edcel C. authors thereof in bad faith as it was made to precisely suit the
Lagman and Lagman and Neptali M. Gonzales II, respectively), as well as Senate Bill situation in which petitioner's cases were in at the Sandiganbayan
No. 844 12(sponsored by Senator Neptali Gonzales), were introduced in Congress, by restoring jurisdiction thereof to it, thereby violating his right to
defining expanding the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Specifically, the said bills procedural due process and the equal protection clause of the
sought, among others, to amend the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan by deleting the Constitution. Further, from the way the Sandiganbayan has foot-
word "principal" from the phrase "principal accused" in Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) dragged for nine (9) months the resolution of a pending incident
of R.A. No. 7975. involving the transfer of the cases to the Regional Trial Court, the
passage of the law may have been timed to overtake such
These bills were consolidated and later approved into law as R.A. No. 8249 13 by the resolution to render the issue therein moot, and frustrate the
President of the Philippines on February 5, 1997. exercise of petitioner's vested rights under the old Sandiganbayan
law (RA 7975)
Subsequently, on March 5, 1997, the Sandiganbayan promulgated a
Resolution 14 denying the motion for reconsideration of the Special Prosecutor, ruling b) Retroactive application of the law is plan from the fact that it was
that it "stands pat in its resolution dated May 8, 1996." again made to suit the peculiar circumstances in which petitioner's
cases were under, namely, that the trial had not yet commenced,
as provided in Section 7, to make certain that those cases will no
On the same day 15 the Sandiganbayan issued and ADDENDUM to its March 5, 1997 longer be remanded to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, as
Resolution, the pertinent portion of which reads: the Sandiganbayan alone should try them, thus making it an ex
post facto legislation and a denial of the right of petitioner as an
After Justice Lagman wrote the Resolution and Justice Demetriou accused in Criminal Case Nos. 23047-23057 to procedural due
concurred in it, but before Justice de Leon. Jr. rendered his process.
concurring and dissenting opinion, the legislature enacted Republic
Act 8249 and the President of the Philippines approved it on c) The title of the law is misleading in that it contains the aforesaid
February 5, 1997. Considering the pertinent provisions of the new "innocuous" provisions in Sections 4 and 7 which actually expands
law, Justices Lagman and Demetriou are now in favor of granting, rather than defines the old Sandiganbayan law (RA 7975), thereby
as they are now granting, the Special Prosecutor's motion for violating the one-title one-subject requirement for the passage of
reconsideration. Justice de Leon has already done so in his statutes under Section 26 (1), Article VI of the Constitution. 17
concurring and dissenting opinion.
For their part, the intervenors, in their petition-in-intervention, add that "while Republic
xxx xxx xxx Act No. 8249 innocuously appears to have merely expanded the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, the introduction of Section 4 and 7 in said statute impressed upon it
Considering that three of the accused in each of these cases are the character of a class legislation and an ex-post facto statute intended to apply
PNP Chief Superintendents: namely, Jewel T. Canson, Romeo M. specifically to the accused in the Kuratong Baleleng case pending before the
Acop and Panfilo M. Lacson, and that trial has not yet begun in all Sandiganbayan. 18 They further argued that if their case is tried before the
these cases — in fact, no order of arrest has been issued — this Sandiganbayan their right to procedural due process would be violated as they could
court has competence to take cognizance of these cases. no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal to the Sandiganbayan, which they acquired
under R.A. 7975, before recourse to the Supreme Court.
To recapitulate, the net result of all the foregoing is that by the vote
of 3 of 2, the court admitted the Amended Informations in these Both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General filed separate pleadings
cases by the unanimous vote of 4 with 1 neither concurring not in support of the constitutionality of the challenged provisions of the law in question and
dissenting, retained jurisdiction to try and decide the praying that both the petition and the petition-in-intervention be dismissed.
cases 16 (Empahasis supplied)
This Court then issued a Resolution 19 requiring the parties to file simultaneously within a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise
a nonextendible period of ten (10) days from notice thereof additional memoranda on known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act
the question of whether the subject amended informations filed a Criminal Case Nos. No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Titile VII, Book II of the
23047-23057 sufficiently allege the commission by the accused therein of the crime Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are
charged within the meaning Section 4 b of Republic Act No. 8249, so as to bring the officials occupying the following positions in the government,
said cases within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of
the commission of the offense:
The parties, except for the Solicitor General who is representing the People of the
Philippines, filed the required supplemental memorandum within the nonextendible (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
reglementary period. regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade "27" and
higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989
The established rule is that every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality, (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
and to justify its nullification there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the
Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative one. 20 The burden of proving the (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors,
invalidity of the law lies with those who challenge it. That burden, we regret to say, was members of the sangguniang panlalawigan,
not convincingly discharged in the present case. and provincial treasurers, assessors,
engineers, and other provincial department
The creation of the Sandiganbayn was mandated in Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 heads;
Constitution, which provides:
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the
Sec. 5. The Batasang Pambansa shall create a special court, to be sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers,
known as Sandiganbayan, which shall have jurisdiction over assessors, engineers, and other city
criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and department heads;
such other offenses committed by public officers and employees
including those in government-owned or controlled corporations, in (c) Officials of the diplomatic service
relation to their office as may be determined by law. occupying the position of consul and higher;

The said special court is retained in the new (1987) Constitution under the following (d) Philippine Army and air force colonels,
provisions in Article XI, Section 4: naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

Sec. 4. The present anti-graft court known as the Sandiganbayan (e) Officers of the Philippines National Police
shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or while occupying the position of provincial
hereafter may be provided by law. director and those holding the rank of senior
superintendent or higher.
Pursuant to the constitutional mandate, Presidential Decree No. 1486 21created the
Sandiganbayan. Thereafter, the following laws on the Sandiganbayan, in chronological (f) City of provincial prosecutors and their
order, were enacted: P.D. No. 1606,22Section 20 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 123, 23 P.D. assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the
No. 1860, 24 P.D. No. 1861, 25 R.A. No. 7975, 26 and R.A. No. 8249. 27 Under the latest Office of the Ombudsman and special
amendments introduced by Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has prosecutor;
jurisdiction over the following cases:
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees or
Sec 4. Section 4 of the same decree [P.D. No. 1606, as amended] managers of government-owned or controlled
is hereby further amended to read as follows: corporations, state universities or educational
institutions or foundations;
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction — The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive
original jurisdiction in all cases involving: (2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as-Grade
"27" and up under the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989;
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of prosecutor, shall represent the People of the Philippines, except in
the Constitution; cases filed pursuant to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 4-A,
issued in 1986.
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions,
without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; In case private individuals are charged as co-principals,
accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employee,
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or including those employed in government-owned or controlled
higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and
1989. employees in the proper courts which shall exercise exclusive
jurisdiction over them.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with
other crimes committed by the public officials and employees xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)
mentioned in Subsection a of this section in relation to their office.
Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 8249 states:
c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and connection with
Executive Orders Nos. 1,2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986. Sec. 7. Transitory provision — This act shall apply to all cases
pending in any court over which trial has not begun as of the
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions approval hereof. (Emphasis supplied)
corresponding to salary Grade "27" or higher, as prescribed in the
said Republic Act 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned The Sandiganbayan law prior to R.A. 8249 was R.A. 7975. Section 2 of R.A. 7975
above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the provides:
proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial
court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No.
to their jurisdictions as privided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as 1606, as amended) is hereby further amended to read as follows:
amended.
Sec 4. Jurisdiction — The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
over final judgments, resolutions or orders of regional trial courts
whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their
appellate jurisdiction as herein provided. a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise
known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act
No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised
The Sandiganbayan shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over Penal Code, where one or more of the pricipal accused are afficials
petitions of the issuance of the writs of mandamus, occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a
prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, injunctions, and other permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the
ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction and commission of the offense:
over petitions of similar nature, including quo warranto, arising or
that may arise in cases filed or which may be filed under Executive
Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986: Provided, That the (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of
jurisdiction over these petitions shall not be exclusive of the regional director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade "27" and
Supreme Court. higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989
(Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as
the implementing rules that the Supreme Court has promulgated (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors,
and may hereafter promulgate, relative to appeals/petitions for members of the sangguniang panlalawigan,
review to the Court of Appeals, shall apply to appeals and petitions and provincial treasurers, assessors,
for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to the engineer, and other provincial department
Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme heads;
Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special
(b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the presribed in the said Republic Act 6758, or PNP officers occupying
sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, the rank of superintendent or higher, or their equivalent, exclusive
assessors, engineers, and other city jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
department heads; metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit
trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective
(c) Officials of the diplomatic service jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
occupying the position of consul and higher;
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction
(d) Philippine Army and air force colonels, on appelas from the final judgment, resolutions or orders of regular
naval captains, and all officers of higher rank; court where all the accused are occupying positions lower than
grade "27," or not otherwise covered by the preceding
enumeration.
(e) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers
of higher rank;
xxx xxx xxx
(f) City and provincial prosecutors and their
assistants, and officials and prosecutors in the In case private individuals are charged as co-principals,
Office of the Ombudsman and special accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees,
prosecutor; including those employed in government-owned or controlled
corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and
employees in the proper courts which shall have exclusive
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or jurisdiction over them.
managers of government-owned or controlled
corporations, state universities or educational
institutions or foundations; xxx xxx xxx (Emphasis supplied)

(2) Members of Congress or officials thereof classified as Grade Sec. 7 of R.A. No. 7975 reads:
"27" and up under the Compensation and Position Classification
Act of 1989; Sec. 7. Upon the effectivity of this Act, all criminal cases in which
trial has not begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the
(3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of proper courts.
the Constitution;
Under paragraphs a and c, Section 4 of R.A. 8249, the word "principal" before the word
(4) Chairman and members of the Constitutional Commissions, "accused" appearing in the above-quoted Section 2 (paragraphs a and c) of R.A. 7975,
without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; was deleted. It is due to this deletion of the word "principal" that the parties herein are
at loggerheads over the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner and intervenors,
relying on R.A. 7975, argue that the Regional Trial Court, not the Sandiganbayan, has
(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" or jurisdiction over the subject criminal cases since none of the principal accused under
higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of the amended information has the rank of Superintendent 28 or higher. On the other hand,
1989. the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Special Prosecutor who is tasked to
represent the People before the Supreme Court except in certain cases, 29 contends
b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction pursuant to R.A. 8249.
employees mentioned in Subsection a of this section in relation to
their office. A perusal of the aforequoted Section 4 of R.A. 8249 reveals that to fall under the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites must
c. Civil and criminal cases files pursuant to and in connection with concur: (1) the offense committed is a violation of (a) R.A. 3019, as amended (the Anti-
Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 4-A. Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), (b) R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth), (c) Chapter
II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery), 30 (d)
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration cases), 31 or (e)
positions corresponding to salary Grade "27" or higher, as other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes; (2) the
offender comitting the offenses in items (a), (b), (c) and (e) is a public official or not yet commence and whose cases could have been affected by the amendments of
employee 32 holding any of the positions enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4; and the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction under R.A. 8249, as against those cases where trial had
(3) the offense committed is in relation to the office. already started as of the approval of the law, rests on substantial distinction that makes
real differences. 36 In the first instance, evidence against them were not yet presented,
Considering that herein petitioner and intervenors are being charged with murder which whereas in the latter the parties had already submitted their respective proofs, examined
is a felony punishable under Title VIII of the Revised Penal Code, the governing on the witnesses and presented documents. Since it is within the power of Congress to define
jurisdictional offense is not paragraph a but paragraph b, Section 4 of R.A. 8249. This the jurisdiction of courts subject to the constitutional limitations, 37 it can be reasonably
paragraph b pertains to "other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with anticipated that an alteration of that jurisdiction would necessarily affect pending cases,
other crimes committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection which is why it has to privide for a remedy in the form of a transitory provision. Thus,
a of (Section 4, R.A. 8249) in relation to their office. "The phrase" other offenses or petitioner and intervenors cannot now claim that Sections 4 and 7 placed them under a
felonies" is too broad as to include the crime of murder, provided it was committed in different category from those similarly situated as them. Precisely, paragraph a of
relation to the accused's officials functions. Thus, under said paragraph b, what Section 4 provides that it shall apply to "all case involving" certain public officials and,
determines the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is the official position or rank of the under the transitory provision in Section 7, to "all cases pending in any court." Contrary
offender — that is, whether he is one of those public officers or employees enumerated to petitioner and intervenors' argument, the law is not particularly directed only to the
in paragraph a of Section 4. The offenses mentioned in pargraphs a, b and c of the Kuratong Baleleng cases. The transitory provision does not only cover cases which are
same Section 4 do not make any reference to the criminal participation of the accused in the Sandiganbayan but also in "any court." It just happened that Kuratong Baleleng
public officer as to whether he is charged as a principal, accomplice or accessory. In cases are one of those affected by the law. Moreover, those cases where trial had
enacting R.A. 8249, the Congress simply restored the original provisions of P.D. 1606 already begun are not affected by the transitory provision under Section 7 of the new
which does not mention the criminal participation of the public officer as a requisite to law (R.A. 8249).
determine the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.
In their futile attempt to have said sections nullified, heavy reliance is premised on what
Petitioner and entervenors' posture that Section 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 violate their right is perceived as bad faith on the part of a Senator and two Justices of the
to equal protection of the law 33 because its enactment was particularly directed only to Sandiganbaya 38 for their participation in the passage of the said provisions. In
the Kuratong Baleleng cases in the Sandiganbayan, is a contention too shallow to particular, it is stressed that the Senator had expressed strong sentiments against those
deserve merit. No concrete evidence and convincing argument were presented to officials involved in the Kuratong Baleleng cases during the hearings conducted on the
warrant a declaration of an act of the entire Congress and signed into law by the highest matter by the committee headed by the Senator. Petitioner further contends that the
officer of the co-equal executive department as unconstitutional. Every classification legislature is biased against him as he claims to have been selected from among the
made by law is presumed reasonable. Thus, the party who challenges the law must 67 million other Filipinos as the object of the deletion of the word "principal" in paragraph
present proof of arbitrariness. 34 a, Section 4 of P.D. 1606, as amended, and of the transitory provision of R.A.
8249. 39 R.A 8249, while still a bill, was acted, deliberated, considered by 23 other
Senators and by about 250 Representatives, and was separately approved by the
It is an established precept in constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection Senate and House of Representatives and, finally, by the President of the Philippines.
of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. The
classification is reasonable and not arbitrary when there is concurrence of four
elements, namely: On the perceived bias that the Sandiganbayan Justices allegedly had against petitioner
during the committe hearings, the same would not constitute sufficient justification to
nullify an otherwise valid law. Their presence and participation in the legislative hearings
(1) it must rest on substantial distinction; was deemed necessary by Congress since the matter before the committee involves
the graft court of which one is the head of the Sandiganbayan and the other a member
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law; thereof. The Congress, in its plenary legislative powers, is particularly empowered by
the Constitution to invite persons to appear before it whenever it decides to conduct
(3) must not be limited to existing conditions only, and inquiries in aid of legislation. 40

(4) must apply equaly to all members of the same class, 35 Petitioner and entervenors further further argued that the retroactive application of R.A.
8249 to the Kuratong Baleleng cases constitutes an ex post facto law 41 for they are
deprived of their right to procedural due process as they can no longer avail of the two-
all of which are present in this case.
tiered appeal which they had allegedly acquired under R.A. 7975.

The challengers of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 failed to rebut the presumption of
Again, this contention is erroneous. There is nothing ex post facto in R.A. 8249.
constitutionality and reasonables of the questioned provisions. The classification
In Calder v. Bull, 42 an ex post facto law is one —
between those pending cases involving the concerned public officials whose trial has
(a) which makes an act done criminal before times 50 considering that the right to appeal is not a natural right but statutory in nature
the passing of the law and which was innocent that can be regulated by law. The mode of procedure provided for in the statutory right
when committed, and punishes such action; or of appeal is not included in the prohibition against ex post facto laws. 51 R.A. 8249
pertains only to matters of procedure, and being merely an amendatory statute it does
(b) which aggravates a crime or makes it not partake the nature of an ex post facto law. It does not mete out a penalty and,
greater than when it was committed; or therefore, does not come within the prohibition. 52 Moreover, the law did not alter the
rules of evidence or the mode of trial. 53 It has been ruled that adjective statutes may be
made applicable to actions pending and unresolved at the time of their passage. 54
(c) which changes the punishment and inflicts
a greater punishment than the law annexed to
the crime when it was committed. In any case; R.A. 8249 has preserved the accused's right to appeal to the Supreme
Court to review questions of law. 55 On the removal of the intermediate review of facts,
the Supreme Court still has the power of review to determine if he presumption of
(d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and innocence has been convincing overcome. 56
recieves less or different testimony that the
law required at the time of the commission of
the offense on order to convict the Another point. The challenged law does not violate the one-title-one-subject provision
defendant. 43 of the Constitution. Much emphasis is placed on the wording in the title of the law that
it "defines" the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction when what it allegedly does is to "expand"
its jurisdiction. The expantion in the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, if it can be
(e) Every law which, in relation to the offense considered as such, does not have to be expressly stated in the title of the law because
or its consequences, alters the situation of a such is the necessary consequence of the amendments. The requirement that every bill
person to his disadvantage. 44 must only have one subject expressed in the title 57 is satisfied if the title is
comprehensive enough, as in this case, to include subjects related to the general
This Court added two more to the list, namely: purpose which the statute seeks to achieve. 58 Such rule is liberally interpreted and
should be given a practical rather than a technical construction. There is here sufficient
(f) that which assumes to regulate civil rights compliance with such requirement, since the title of R.A. 8249 expresses the general
and remedies only but in effect imposes a subject (involving the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan and the amendment of P.D.
penalty or deprivation of a right which when 1606, as amended) and all the provisions of the law are germane to that general
done was lawful; subject. 59 The Congress, in employing the word "define" in the title of the law, acted
within its power since Section 2, Article VIII of the Constitution itself empowers the
legislative body to "define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. 60
(g) deprives a person accussed of crime of
some lawful protection to which he has
become entitled, such as the protection of a There being no unconstitutional infirmity in both the subject amendatory provision of
former conviction or acquittal, or a Section 4 and the retroactive procedural application of the law as provided in Section 7
proclamation of a amnesty. 45 of R.A. No. 8249, we shall now determine whether under the allegations in the
Informations, it is the Sandiganbayan or Regional Trial Court which has jurisdictions
over the multiple murder case against herein petitioner and entervenors.
Ex post facto law, generally, prohibits retrospectivity of penal laws. 46R.A. 8249 is not
penal law. It is a substantive law on jurisdiction which is not penal in character. Penal
laws are those acts of the Legislature which prohibit certain acts and establish penalties The jurisdiction of a court is defined by the Constitution or statute. The elements of that
for their violations; 47 or those that define crimes, treat of their nature, and provide dor definition must appear in the complaint or information so as to ascertain which court has
their punishment. 48 R.A 7975, which amended P.D. 1606 as regards the jurisdiction over a case. Hence the elementary rule that the jurisdiction of a court is
Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction, its mode of appeal and other procedural matters, has determined by the allegations in the complaint or informations, 61 and not by the
been declared by the Court as not a penal law, but clearly a procedural statute, i.e. one evidence presented by the parties at the trial. 62
which prescribes rules of procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can
properly administer justice. 49 Not being a penal law, the retroactive application of R.A. As stated earlier, the multiple murder charge against petitioner and intervenors falls
8249 cannot be challenged as unconstitutional. under Section 4 [paragraph b] of R.A. 8249. Section 4 requires that the offense charged
must be committed by the offender in relation to his office in order for the
Petitioner's and entervenors' contention that their right to a two-tiered appeal which they Sandiganbayan to have jurisdiction over it. 63 This jurisdictional requirement is in
acquired under R.A. 7975 has been diluted by the enactment of R.A. 8249, is incorrect. accordance with Section 5, Article XIII of the 1973 Constitution which mandated that the
The same contention has already been rejected by the court several Sandiganbayan shall have jurisdiction over criminal cases committed by the public
officers and employees, including those in goverment-owned or controlled corporations, allegation of every fact and circumstance necessary to constitute
"in relation to their office as may be determined by law." This constitutional mandate the crime charged. (Emphasis supplied)
was reiterated in the new (1987) Constitution when it declared in Section 4 thereof that
the Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and exercise its jurisdiction as now or It is essential, therefore, that the accused be informed of the facts that are imputed to
hereafter may be provided by law. him as "he is presumed to have no indefendent knowledge of the facts that constitute
the offense." 70
The remaining question to be resolved then is whether the offense of multiple murder
was committed in relation to the office of the accussed PNP officers. Applying these legal principles and doctrines to the present case, we find the amended
informations for murder against herein petitioner and intervenors wanting of specific
In People vs. Montejo, 64 we held that an offense is said to have been committed in factual averments to show the intimate relation/connection between the offense charged
relation to the office if it (the offense) is "intimately connected" with the office of the and the discharge of official function of the offenders.
offender and perpetrated while he was in the performance of his official functions. 65 This
intimate relation between the offense charged and the discharge of official duties "must In the present case, one of the eleven (11) amended informations 71 for murder reads:
be alleged in the informations." 66
AMENDED INFORMATIONS
As to how the offense charged be stated in the informations, Section 9, Rule 110 of the
Revised Rules of Court mandates:
The undersigned Special Prosecution Officer III. Office of the
Ombudsman hereby accuses CHIEF INSP. MICHAEL RAY
Sec. 9 Couse of accusation — The acts or omissions complied of AQUINO, CHIEF INSP. ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP.
as constituting the offense must be stated in ordinary and concise JOSELITO T. ESQUIVEL, INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4
language without repetition not necessarily in the terms of the VICENTE P. ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2
statute defining the offense, but in such from as is sufficient to VIRGILIO V. PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1
enable a person of common understanding to know what offense WILFREDO C. CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG,
is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce SPO1 OSMUNDO B. CARINO, CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F.
proper judgment. (Emphasis supplied) CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. ROMEO M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT.
PANFILO M. LACSON, SENIOR SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIA
As early as 1954 we pronounced that "the factor that characterizes the charge is the JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR O.
actual recital of the facts." 67 The real nature of the criminal charge is determined not MANCAO III, CHIEF INSP. GIL L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP.
from the caption or preamble of the informations nor from the specification of the GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP. ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP.
provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law, but by the CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S.
actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. 68 BACOLOD, SPO2 NORBERTO LASAGA, PO2 LEONARDO
GLORIA, and PO2 ALEJANDRO G. LIWANAG of the crime of
The noble object or written accusations cannot be overemphasized. This was explained Murder as defined and penalize under Article 248 of the Revised
in U.S. v. Karelsen: 69 Penal Code committed as follows

The object of this written accusations was — First; To furnish the That on or about May 18, 1995 in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon
accused with such a descretion of the charge against him as will City Philippines and within the jurisdiction of his Honorable Court,
enable him to make his defense and second to avail himself of his the accused CHIEF INSP. MICHAEL RAY AQUINO, CHIEF INSP.
conviction or acquittal for protection against a further prosecution ERWIN T. VILLACORTE, SENIOR INSP. JOSELITO T.
for the same cause and third, to inform the court of the facts alleged ESQUIVEL, INSP. RICARDO G. DANDAN, SPO4 VICENTE
so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law to support a ARNADO, SPO4 ROBERTO F. LANGCAUON, SPO2 VIRGILIO V.
conviction if one should be had. In order that the requirement may PARAGAS, SPO2 ROLANDO R. JIMENEZ, SPO1 WILFREDO C.
be satisfied, facts must be stated, not conclusions of law. Every CUARTERO, SPO1 ROBERTO O. AGBALOG, and SPO1
crime is made up of certain acts and intent these must be set forth OSMUNDO B. CARINO, all taking advantage of their public and
in the complaint with reasonable official positions as officers and members of the Philippine National
particularly of time, place, names (plaintiff and defendant) and Police and committing the acts herein alleged in relation to their
circumstances. In short, the complaint must contain a specific public office, conspiring with intent to kill and using firearms with
treachery evident premeditation and taking advantage of their
superior strenghts did then and there willfully unlawfully and
feloniously shoot JOEL AMORA, thereby inflicting upon the latter in relation to his office was, sad to say, not satisfied. We believe that the mere allegation
mortal wounds which caused his instantaneous death to the in the amended information that the offense was committed by the accused public officer
damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said victim. in relation to his office is not sufficient. That phrase is merely a conclusion between of
law, not a factual avernment that would show the close intimacy between the offense
That accused CHIEF SUPT. JEWEL F. CANSON, CHIEF SUPT. charged and the discharge of the accused's official duties.
ROMOE M. ACOP, CHIEF SUPT. PANFILO M. LACSON, SENIOR
SUPT. FRANCISCO G. ZUBIAM JR., SUPT. ALMARIO A. In People vs. Magallanes, 72 where the jurisdiction between the Regional Trial Court and
HILARIO, CHIEF INSP. CESAR O. MANCAO II, CHIEF INSP. GIL the Sandiganbayan was at issue, we ruled:
L. MENESES, SENIOR INSP. GLENN DUMLAO, SENIOR INSP.
ROLANDO ANDUYAN, INSP. CEASAR TANNAGAN, SPO3 It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the
WILLY NUAS, SPO3 CICERO S. BACOLOD, PO2 ALEJANDRO allegations in the complaint or information and not by the result of
G. LIWANAG committing the acts in relation to office as officers evidence after trial.
and members of the Philippine National Police are charged herein
as accessories after-the-fact for concealing the crime herein above
alleged by among others falsely representing that there where no In (People vs) Montejo (108 Phil 613 (1960), where the amended
arrest made during the read conducted by the accused herein at information alleged
Superville Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila on or about the
early dawn of May 18, 1995. Leroy S. Brown City Mayor of Basilan City, as
such, has organized groups of police patrol
CONTRARY LAW. and civilian commandoes consisting of regular
policeman and . . . special policemen
appointed and provided by him with pistols
While the above-quoted information states that the above-named principal accused and higher power guns and then established a
committed the crime of murder "in relation to thier public office, there is, however, no camp . . . at Tipo-tipo which is under his
specific allegation of facts that the shooting of the victim by the said principal accused command . . . supervision and control where
was intimately related to the discharge of their official duties as police officers. Likewise, his co-defendants were stationed entertained
the amended information does not indicate that the said accused arrested and criminal complaints and conducted the
investigated the victim and then killed the latter while in their custody. corresponding investigations as well as
assumed the authority to arrest and detain
Even the allegations concerning the criminal participation of herein petitioner and person without due process of law and without
intevenors as among the accessories after-the-facts, the amended information is vague bringing them to the proper court, and that in
on this. It is alleged therein that the said accessories concelead "the crime herein-above line with this set-up established by said Mayor
alleged by, among others, falsely representing that there were no arrests made during of Basilan City as such, and acting upon his
the raid conducted by the accused herein at Superville Subdivision, Paranaque Metro orders his co-defendants arrested and
Manila, on or about the early dawn of May 18, 1995." The sudden mention of the "arrests maltreated Awalin Tebag who denied in
made during the raid conducted by the accused" surprises the reader. There is no consequence thereof.
indication in the amended information that the victim was one of those arrested by the
accused during the "raid." Worse, the raid and arrests were allegedly conducted "at we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to the
Superville Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila" but, as alleged in the immediately office of the accused because it was perpetreated while they were
preceding paragraph of the amended information, the shooting of the victim by the in the performance, though improper or irregular of their official
principal accused occurred in Mariano Marcos Avenue, Quezon City." How the raid, functions and would not have been committed had they not held
arrests and shooting happened in the two places far away from each other is puzzling. their office, besides, the accused had no personal motive in
Again, while there is the allegation in the amended information that the said accessories committing the crime thus, there was an intimate connection
committed the offense "in relation to office as officers and members of the (PNP)," we, between the offense and the office of the accused.
however, do not see the intimate connection between the offense charged and the
accused's official functions, which, as earlier discussed, is an essential element in
determining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Unlike in Montejo the informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562
and 15563 in the court below do not indicate that the accused
arrested and investigated the victims and then killed the latter in
The stringent requirement that the charge be set forth with such particularly as will the course of the investigation. The informations merely allege that
reasonably indicate the exact offense which the accused is alleged to have committed the accused for the purpose of extracting or extortin the sum of
P353,000.00 abducted, kidnapped and detained the two victims,
and failing in their common purpose they shot; and killed the said
victims. For the purpose of determining jurisdiction, it is these
allegations that shall control, and not the evidence presented by
the prosecution at the trial.

In the aforecited case of People vs. Montejo, it is noteworthy that the phrase committed
in relation to public office "does not appear in the information, which only signifies that
the said phrase is not what determines the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. What is
controlling is the specific factual allegations in the information that would indicate the
close intimacy between the discharge of the accused's official duties and the
commission of the offense charged, in order to qualify the crime as having been
committed in relation to public office.

Consequently, for failure to show in the amended informations that the charge of murder
was intimately connected with the discharge of official functions of the accused PNP
officers, the offense charged in the subject criminal cases is plain murder and, therefore,
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, 73 not the
Sandiganbayan.

WHEREFORE, the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 7 of R.A. 8249 is hereby


sustained. The Addendum to the March 5, 1997 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan is
REVERSED. The Sandiganbayan is hereby directed to transfer Criminal Cases Nos.
23047 to 23057 (for multiple murder) to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which
has exclusive original jurisdiction over the said cases.

SO ORDERED.
People of the Philippines vs. Libertad Lagon, et al. Office of the Solicitor General, having been previously consulted by the Assistant City
Fiscal of Roxas City, agreed with the position taken by the latter that the City Court had
Republic of the Philippines jurisdiction over the criminal case involved, and asked that the petition be given due
SUPREME COURT course.
Manila
After deliberation on the instant Petition for Review, the Court considers that petitioner
THIRD DIVISION has failed to show that the City Court had committed reversible error in dismissing the
criminal information in Criminal Case No. 7362 without prejudice to its refiling in the
proper court.

G.R. No. 45815 May 18, 1990 Under the penultimate paragraph of Section 87 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as
amended, the law governing the subject matter jurisdiction of municipal and city courts
in criminal cases in 1975 and 1976, "[municipal judges in the capitals of provinces and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
sub-provinces and judges of city courts shall have like jurisdiction as the Court of First
vs.
Instance to try parties charged with an offense within their respective jurisdictions, in
LIBERTAD LAGON and HON. JUDGE ISIDRO O. BARRIOS, AS PRESIDING JUDGE
which the penalty provided by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment
OF THE CITY COURT OF ROXAS CITY, respondents.
for not more than six (6) years or fine not exceeding P6,000.00 or both . . .." It appears
that at the time of the commission of the offense charged on 5 April 1975, the penalty
imposable for the offense charged under paragraph 2(d) in relation to the third sub-
paragraph of the first paragraph, Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, was arresto
FELICIANO, J.: mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period; at that time
therefore, the offense clearly fell within the jurisdiction of the City Court of Roxas City.
On 7 July 1976, a criminal information was filed with the City Court of Roxas City and
docketed as Criminal Case No. 7362, charging private respondent Libertad Lagon with At the time of the institution of the criminal prosecution on 7 July 1976, the penalty
the crime of estafa under paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. The imposable for the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 7362 had been increased by
information charged that the accused had allegedly issued a check in the amount of P.D. No. 818 (effective 22 October 1975) to prision mayor in its medium period.
P4,232.80 as payment for goods or merchandise purchased, knowing that she did not
have sufficient funds to cover the check, which check therefore subsequently bounced. 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
The case proceeded to trial and the prosecution commenced the presentation of its a criminal action, rather than by the law in effect at the time of the commission of the
evidence. However, in an Order dated 2 December 1976, the City Court dismissed the offense charged. 1 Thus, in accordance with the above rule, jurisdiction over the instant
information upon the ground that the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged case pertained to the then Court of First Instance of Roxas City considering that P.D.
was beyond the court's authority to impose. The judge held that the jurisdiction of a No. 818 had increased the imposable penalty for the offense charged in Criminal Case
court to try a criminal action is determined by the law in force at the time of the institution No. 7362 to a level-in excess of the minimum penalty which a city court could impose.
of the action, and not by the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime. At
the time of the alleged commission of the crime in April 1975, jurisdiction over the The real question raised by the petitioner is: would application of the above-settled
offense was vested by law in the City Court. However, by the time the criminal doctrine to the instant case not result in also applying Presidential Decree No. 818 to
information was filed, paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code had the present case, in disregard of the rule against retroactivity of penal laws? Article 22
already been amended and the penalty imposable upon a person accused thereunder of the Revised Penal Code permits penal laws to have retroactive effect only "insofar
increased, which penalty was beyond the City Court's authority to impose. Accordingly, as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, . . . " We do
the court dismissed the information without prejudice to its being refiled in the proper not believe so.
court.
In the first place, subject-matter jurisdiction in criminal cases is determined by the
Hence this Petition for Review brought by the People, arguing that the City Court of authority of the court to impose the penalty imposable under the applicable statute given
Roxas City had jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 7362 and that it had erred in issuing the allegations of a criminal information. In People v. Purisima, 2 the Court stressed that:
its Order dismissing the case. Because the Petition for Review was signed by the City
Fiscal and Assistant City Fiscal of Roxas City as counsel for the People, the Court
xxx xxx xxx
referred the petition to the Office of the Solicitor General for comment. Responding to
the Court's resolution, the then acting Solicitor General Vicente Mendoza stated that the
. . . The issue here is one of jurisdiction, of a court's legal held to fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, not
competence to try a case ab origine. In criminal prosecutions, it is a city or municipal court. 7(Emphasis supplied.)
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 In the case at bar, the increased penalty provided for the offense charged in Criminal
the evidence that would be presented at the trial, but by the extent Case No. 7362 by P.D. No. 818 (prison mayor in its medium period) is obviously heavier
of the penalty which the law imposes for the misdemeanor, crime than the penalty provided for the same offense originally imposed by paragraph 2(d) of
or violation charged in the complaint. If the facts recited in the Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (up to prision correccional in its minimum period).
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. 3 (Citations Should the criminal information be refiled in the proper court, that is, the proper Regional
omitted; Emphasis supplied.) Trial Court, that court may not impose that more onerous penalty upon private
respondent Libertad Lagon (assuming the evidence shows that the offense was
committed before 22 October 1975). But the Regional Trial Court would remain vested
The same rule was set forth and amplified in People v. Buissan, 4 in the following terms: with subject-matter jurisdiction to try and decide the (refiled) case even though the
penalty properly imposable, given the date of the commission of the offense charged,
xxx xxx xxx should be the lower penalty originally provided for in paragraph 2(d) of Article 315 of the
Revised Penal Code which is otherwise within the exclusive jurisdiction of the City Court
. . . in criminal prosecutions, jurisdiction of the court is not of Roxas City. In other words, the circumstance that P.D. No. 818 would be inapplicable
determined by what may be meted out to the offender after to the refiled case would not result in the Regional Trial Court losing subject-matter
trial (People v. Cuello, 1 SCRA 814) or even by the result of the jurisdiction, nor in the case falling back into the City Court's exclusive jurisdiction.
evidence that would be presented during the trial (People v. Co
Hick 62 Phil. 503) but by the extent of the penalty which the law WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved to DENY the Petition for Review for lack of merit.
imposes, together with other legal obligations, on the basis of the The Order dated 2 December 1976 of the public respondent Presiding Judge of the City
facts as recited in the complaint or information (People v. Purisima, Court of Roxas City is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
69 SCRA 347) constitutive of the offense charged, for once
jurisdiction is acquired by the court in which the information is filed, Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.
it is retained regardless whether the evidence proves a lesser
offense than that charged in the information (People v. Mision, 48
O.G. 1330) 5 (Emphasis supplied.)

Thus, it may be that after trial, a penalty lesser than the maximum imposable under the
statute is proper under the specific facts and circumstances proven at the trial. In such
a case, that lesser penalty may be imposed by the trial court (provided it had subject-
matter jurisdiction under the rule above referred to) even if the reduced penalty
otherwise falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of an inferior court.

In People v. Buissan, 6 the Court also said:

xxx xxx xxx

. . . It is unquestionable that the 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
DIVISION

[ GR No. 200465, Apr 20, 2015 ]

JOCELYN ASISTIO Y CONSINO v. PEOPLE +

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Assailed in this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court are the Court
of Appeals (CA) Decision[1] dated August 31, 2011 and its Resolution[2] dated January
31, 2012 in CA-G.R. CR No. 32363. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Orders dated 14 October 2008 and
12 February 2009 of Branch 40, Regional Trial Court of Manila, in Criminal Case No.
01-197750, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, let the records of
this case be REMANDED to Branch 40 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, for
further appropriate proceedings.

SO ORDERED.[3]

The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:

Petitioner Jocelyn Asistio y Consino was charged with violation of Section 46 of the
Cooperative Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. [RA] 6938).[4] The accusatory
portion of the Information filed against her reads:

That on or about July 27, 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
being then the Chairperson and Managing Director of A. Mabini Elementary School
Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and as such, have a complete control and
exclusively manage the entire business of A. Mabini Elementary School Teachers
Multi-Purpose Cooperative, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
acquires, in violation of her duty as such and the confidence reposed on her, personal
interest or equity adverse to A. Mabini Elementary School Teachers Multi-Purpose
Cooperative by then and there entering into a contract with Coca Cola Products at A.
Mabini Elementary School Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in her own personal
capacity when in truth and in fact as the said accused fully well knew, the sale of
Coca-Cola products at A. Mabini Elementary School Teachers Multi-Purpose
Cooperative should have accrued to A. Mabini Elementary School Teachers Multi- WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds and holds that it has no
Purpose Cooperative to the damage and prejudice of A. Mabini Elementary School jurisdiction over the offense charged. Accordingly, the instant case is
Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative. hereby DISMISSED. This Court having no jurisdiction, further discussions over the
defense' allegation that there was a violation of the principle of primary jurisdiction and
CONTRARY TO LAW.[5] that the private complainants used a falsified resolution to purposely empower them to
file the instant case become moot and academic.
Upon her arraignment, petitioner entered a plea of "not guilty." Trial on the merits
ensued. IT IS SO ORDERED.[6]

The prosecution sought to prove that petitioner, then Chairperson of the A. Mabini On February 12, 2009, the RTC denied for lack of merit the private prosecutor's
Elementary School Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, had entered into an motion for a reconsideration of the order of dismissal.[7]The RTC held:
exclusive dealership agreement with Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., (Coca Cola)
for the sale of softdrink products at the same school. By virtue of a Memorandum of Nowhere in said [Sec] 46 of R.A. 6938 does it provide for penal sanctions/liability for
Agreement between the school and the Cooperative, Dr. Nora T. Salamanca, the violation of acts or omission prescribed therein. If ever, the liability is only for damages
school principal, directed petitioner to submit her financial reports during her tenure as and for double the profits which otherwise would have accrued to the cooperative. It is
Chairperson. Instead, petitioner claimed that the principal had no business and a fundamental rule in law that an act or omission is not a crime unless there is a law
authority to require her to produce financial statements, and that the said reports had making it so and providing a penalty therefor. Otherwise put, the facts charged in the
been posted on the school bulletin board. information do not charge an offense. And even assuming arguendo that they do
constitute an offense, the penalty therefor is that provided under paragraph 4 of
The school principal then created an audit committee to look into the financial reports [Section] 124 of R.A. [6938] which is "imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor
of the Cooperative. The committee was composed of Aurora Catabona (Chairperson), more than one (1) year and a fine of not less than one thousand pesos (P1,000.00), or
Monica Nealiga (member), with Noemi Olazo (Chairperson-auditor) and Sylvia Apostol both at the discretion of the court," which falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the
(auditor), who later executed their respective affidavits in support of the charge against first, not the second level court.
petitioner. Based on the documents obtained from Coca-Cola, including the records of
actual deliveries and sales, and the financial statements prepared by petitioner, the Another factor which strongly militates against the cause of the prosecution is the
audit committee found that petitioner defrauded the Cooperative and its members for undisputed fact that before this case was filed in Court, conciliation/mediation process
three (3) years in the following amounts: School Year (S.Y.) 1998-1999 - P54,008.00; for the amicable settlement of the dispute was not availed of by the private
S.Y. 1999-2000 - P40,503.00; and S.Y. 2000-2001 - P8,945.00. Despite requests for complainants who are all members (directors) of the A. Mabini Elementary School
her to return to the Cooperative the amounts she had allegedly misappropriated, Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in accordance with the by-laws of the
petitioner failed and refused to do so. Thus, the Cooperative issued a Board Cooperative and the Cooperative Code itself and the Guidelines for the
Resolution authorizing the filing of criminal charges against petitioner. Implementation of Conciliation/Mediation of Cooperative dispute (Memo Circular No.
2007-05, Series of 2007). The dispute involving the parties is certainly a dispute and
After the presentation and offer of evidence by the prosecution, petitioner moved to issue between and among directors, officers or members of the A. Mabini Elementary
dismiss the case by way of Demurrer to Evidence with prior leave of court. She School Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative which is governed by the Guidelines.
argued, among other matters, that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch
40, does not have jurisdiction over the case, as the crime charged (Violation of Prior availment and exhaustion of administrative remedies until the Office of the
Section 46 of RA 6938) does not carry with it a sanction for which she can be held President as outlined in the Cooperative Code and in its implementing rules not having
criminally liable. been resorted to by the complainants, the rule on primary jurisdiction was violated and
this Court acquired no jurisdiction to hear and determine the present case. [8]
On October 14, 2008, the RTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction, thus:
Dissatisfied, the People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor
Considering that the MeTCs, MTC, MCTCs have exclusive original jurisdiction over all General (OSG), appealed the order of dismissal to the CA.
offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the
amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, On August 31, 2011, the CA rendered a Decision reversing and setting aside the RTC
including the civil liability arising from such offense or predicated thereon, and Orders dated October 14, 2008 and February 12, 2009 and remanded the case
considering that violation of [Sec] 46 of R.A. 6938 would be punishable by records to the RTC for further proceedings. On January 31, 2012, the CA denied
imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one (1) year and a fine of petitioner's motion for reconsideration of its decision.[9]
not less than one thousand pesos (P1,000.00), or both at the discretion of the Court,
this Court (RTC) has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the instant case which Aggrieved, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
properly pertains to the first level courts.
Court, raising the following issues:
As a rule, the remedy from a judgment or final order of the CA is appeal via petition for
1. WHETHER IN REVERSING THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT'S DECISION OF review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.[11] In Mercado v. Court of Appeals,[12] the
DISMISSAL, HAS THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN Court had again stressed the distinction between the remedies provided for under
DISREGARDING THE CLEAN, UNAMBIGUOUS AND CATEGORICAL PROVISION Rule 45 and Rule 65, to wit:
OF PARAGRAPH 4 OF [SECTION] 124 OF RA-6938 IN REFERENCE TO THE
PENAL SANCTION FOR VIOLATION OF [SEC] 46 OF THE COOPERATIVE [CODE], xxx [T]he proper remedy of a party aggrieved by a decision of the Court of Appeals is
RA-6938 AND ADOPTING FOR ITS DECISION ONE DERIVED FROM ITS a petition for review under Rule 45, which is not identical to a petition
INTERPRETATION OF A SUPPOSED STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION WHICH for certiorari under Rule 65. Under Rule 45, decisions, final orders or resolutions of the
INTERPRETATION, EVEN SUBJECT PETITIONER TO A HIGHER PENALTY OF 5 Court of Appeals in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or
YEARS TO 10 YRS. WHICH WAS TO JUSTIFY THAT TFIE RTC SHOULD NOT proceedings involved, may be appealed to us by filing a petition for review, which
HAVE DISMISSED THE CASE AND USED IT AS A GROUND TO REVERSE THE would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case. On the
DECISION OF THE HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. other hand, a special civil action under Rule 65 is an independent action based on the
specific ground therein provided and, as a general rule, cannot be availed of as a
2. WHETHER THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS IGNORED THE OTHER GROUNDS substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal, including that to be taken under
ASSIGNED FOR THE DISMISSAL OF THE CRIMINAL CHARGE OTHER THAN THE Rule 45. xxx.[13]
VIOLATION OF [SECTION] 46 OF RA-6938, (COOPERATIVE CODE). THAT THERE
WAS A VIOLATION OF THE RULE ON PRIMARY JURISDICTION - EXHAUSTION In Artistica Ceramica, Inc., v. Ciudad Del Carmen Homeowner's Association,
OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES IN THE COOPERATIVE LEVEL BEFORE GOING Inc.,[14] the Court explained that one of the requisites of certiorari is that there be no
TO COURT. available appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy. Where an appeal is
available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of
3. WHETHER THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS' ORDER REMANDING THE CASE discretion. It is also well settled that a party cannot file a petition both under Rules 45
BACK TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS and 65 of the Rules of Court because said procedural rules pertain to different
IGNORED THE RULE THAT DISMISSAL OF THE CHARGE ON DEMURRER TO remedies and have distinct applications. The remedy of appeal under Rule 45 and the
EVIDENCE AMOUNTS TO AN ACQUITTAL, AND THE DISMISSAL IS NOT original action for certiorari under Rule 65 are mutually exclusive and not alternative or
APPEALABLE. cumulative. Thus, when petitioner adopts an improper remedy, petition may be
dismissed outright.
4. WHETHER REMANDING THE CASE BACK TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS SUBJECT THE PETITIONER-ACCUSED TO However, the Court may set aside technicality for justifiable reasons as when the
DOUBLE JEOPARDY AND TO HIGHER PENALTY HAS NOT BEEN CONSIDERED. petition before it is clearly meritorious and filed on time both under Rules 45 and
65.[15] In accordance with the liberal spirit which pervades the Rules of Court and in
5. [WHETHER THE RESPONDENT'S CONTENTION THAT A NEW AND AMENDED the interest of justice, the Court may treat the petition as having been filed under Rule
COOPERATIVE CODE RA-9520 COULD POSSIBLE APPLY TO THIS CASE 45. Here, no justifiable reasons were proffered by petitioner for a more liberal
AGAINST THE PETITIONER, VIOLATIVE OF EXPOSE (SIC) FACTO LAW.][10] interpretation of procedural rules. Although it was filed on time both under Rules 45
and 65, the petition at bench lacks substantive merit and raises only questions of law
The petition has no merit. which should have been duly made in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule
45.[16]
Prefatorily, the Court notes that petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended, instead of an appeal by certiorari under On the substantive issue of which court has jurisdiction over petitioner's criminal case
Rule 45, which the OSG points out as the proper remedy to assail the CA decision. for violation of Section 46 (Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee Members) of
RA 6938, the Court affirms the CA ruling that it is the RTC, not the Metropolitan Trial
Petitioner asserts that she filed the petition pursuant to Rule 65, because the assailed Court (MeTC), which has jurisdiction over her case.
CA decision is tainted with grave abuse of discretion. She posits that the Court
ordered the exclusion of the CA as one of the party respondents, and considered the In criminal cases, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the averments of the
petition as one filed under Rule 45, since the focal issue raised in the petition is a complaint or Information, in relation to the law prevailing at the time of the filing of the
question of law calling for an interpretation of Sections 46 and 124 of RA 6938, in complaint or Information, and the penalty provided by law for the crime charged at the
relation to Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129, or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of time of its commission.[17] Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, provides that the
1980, as amended by RA 7691. She adds that had she chosen to file an appeal MeTC has exclusive jurisdiction over offenses punishable with imprisonment not
by certiorari, the Court would be faced with the same question of law. exceeding six years, irrespective of the amount of fine:

Petitioner's contentions are untenable.


Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal upon conviction suffer a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00),
Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. - Except in cases falling within the exclusive or imprisonment of not less than five (5) years but not more than ten (10) years
original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the or both at the court's discretion; (Emphasis supplied)
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts
shall exercise: The OSG points out that Section "47" in the above-quoted provision is a clerical error
because the "liability of directors, officers and committee members" is undisputedly
xxxx governed by Section 46 of RA 6938, while Section 47 thereof deals with the
compensation of directors, officers and employees, to wit:
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment
not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of Section 46. Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee Members. - Directors,
other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from officers and committee members, who willfully and knowingly vote for or assent to
such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value or amount patently unlawful acts or who are guilty of gross negligence or bad faith in directing the
thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through affairs of the cooperative or acquire any personal or pecuniary interest in conflict with
criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. (Emphasis their duty as such directors, officers or committee member shall be liable jointly and
added) severally for all damages or profits resulting therefrom to the cooperative, members
and other persons.
Offenses punishable with imprisonment exceeding six years, irrespective of the
amount of fine, fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC, in accordance When a director, officer or committee member attempts to acquire or acquires, in
with Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended: violation of his duty, any interest or equity adverse to the cooperative in respect to any
matter which has been reposed in him in confidence, he shall, as a trustee for the
Section 20. Jurisdiction in criminal cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise cooperative, be liable for damages and for double the profits which otherwise would
exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of have accrued to the cooperative.
any court, tribunal or body, except those now falling under the exclusive and
concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively Section 47. Compensation. - (1) In the absence of any provision in the by-laws fixing
taken cognizance of by the latter. their compensation, the directors shall not receive any compensation except for
reasonable per diem: Provided, That any compensation other than per diems may be
Petitioner insists that Section 46 (Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee granted to directors by a majority vote of the members with voting rights at a regular or
Members) of RA 6938 provides only for a civil liability but not a criminal sanction, special general assembly meeting specifically called for the purpose: Provided further,
hence, the MeTC has jurisdiction over her criminal case which is punishable under that no additional compensation other than per diems shall be paid during the first
paragraph 4 of Section 124: year of existence of any cooperative.

Section 124. Penal Provisions. - The following acts or omissions affecting The Court sustains the OSG's contention. Petitioner failed to present any compelling
cooperatives are hereby prohibited: reason to warrant a departure from the exhaustive CA ruling on why the RTC, not the
MeTC, has jurisdiction over her criminal case for violation of Section 46 of RA 6938,
(4) Any violation of any provision of this Code for which no penalty is thus:
imposed shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor
more than one (1) year and a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00), The Court, in order to carry out the obvious intent of the legislature, may correct
or both at the discretion of the court. (Emphasis added) clerical errors, mistakes or misprints which, if uncorrected, would render the statute
meaningless, empty or nonsensical or would defeat or impair its intended operation,
Petitioner argues that the provisions of Section 46 (Liability of Directors, Officers and so long as the meaning intended is apparent on the face of the whole enactment and
Committee Members), Section 47 (Compensation) and Section 124 (Penal Provisions) no specific provision is abrogated. To correct the error or mistake is to prevent the
of RA 6938, are plain, unambiguous, and categorical. She submits that statutory nullification of the statute and give it a meaning and purpose. For it is the duty of the
construction of such clear provisions, especially if prejudicial to her rights as an court to give a statute a sensible construction, one that will effectuate legislative intent
accused and would subject her to higher penalty, should not be allowed. and avoid injustice or absurdity. It is its duty to arrive at the legislative intent and in
doing so, it should not adopt an arbitrary rule under which it must be held without
On the other hand, the OSG maintains that the RTC has jurisdiction over petitioner's variance or shadow of turning the legislature intended to make a typographical error,
case pursuant to paragraph 3 of Section 124 of RA 6938: the result of which would be to make nonsense of the act, and not to carry out the
legislative scheme, but to destroy it.
(3) A director, officer or committee member who violated the provisions of
Section 47 (liability of directors, officers and committee members), Section 50 xxxx
(disloyalty of a director) and Section 51 (illegal use of confidential information) shall
On whether the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies was violated when the
Clearly, the accused-appellee cannot insist that reference to [Sec] 124, paragraph 4, Cooperative filed a criminal case against petitioner without undergoing
as the trial court did, is necessary and therefore, warranted the dismissal of the conciliation/mediation proceedings pursuant to the Cooperative Code and the By-laws
criminal case for lack of jurisdiction. To reiterate, [Sec] 46 of the Code, entitled of the Cooperative, the Court rules in the negative. Conciliation or mediation is not a
"Liability of Directors, Officers, and Committee Members," provides for violations pre-requisite to the filing of a criminal case for violation of RA 6938 against petitioner,
under which the said officers could be held liable for, and the corresponding liability for because such case is not an intra-cooperative dispute. As aptly pointed out by the CA:
damages and profits from the said violations. Since the said [section] does not provide
for penal sanction, an application of [Sec] 124, paragraph 3 should follow as the said Neither can the accused-appellee insist that this is an intra-cooperative dispute and
provision evidently refers to the penal sanction on erring directors, officers and should have been resolved at the cooperative level. As aptly argued by the People,
committee members. It would make no sense if we were to follow what clearly this is not an intra-cooperative dispute. Intra-cooperative dispute is a dispute arising
appears to be a clerical error, that is, applying [Sec] 124, paragraph 4 instead, just between or among members of the same cooperative. The instant case is a dispute
because paragraph 3 of the same [section] refers to [Sec] 47, which upon examination between the Cooperative and its former chairperson, the accused-appellee. The
of the Code provides for the "Compensation" of the directors, officers and other Board Resolution authorizing the filing of the criminal complaint by the Board of
employees of the cooperative. Directors, for and in behalf of the Cooperative, is proof that this is not an intra-
cooperative dispute, and within the jurisdiction of the regular court. [19]
We, thus, agree with the contention of the People that [Section] 124 (3) should refer to
"[Section] 46 (Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee Members, [Section] 49 Moreover, it is well settled that in criminal cases where the offended party is the State,
(Disloyalty of a Director) and [Section] 51 (Illegal use of confidential information)." the interest of the private complainant or the private offended party is limited to the
Following this interpretation, violation of [Sec] 46, therefore, is punishable by a fine of civil liability, and her role in the prosecution of the offense is limited to that of a witness
not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than five for the prosecution.[20] In petitioner's criminal case for violation of Section 46 of RA
(5) years but not more than ten (10) years or both at the court's discretion, which 6938, the State is the real offended party, while the Cooperative and its members are
under B.P. Blg. 129, shall be within the jurisdiction of the RTC. [18] mere private complainants and witnesses whose interests are limited to the civil
aspect thereof. Clearly, such criminal case can hardly be considered an intra-
It may not be amiss to point out that the clerical error noted by the OSG in Section 124 cooperative dispute, as it is not one arising between or among members of the same
(3) of RA 6938 on the liability of directors, officers and committee members, has been cooperative.
recognized and duly corrected when the legislature enacted RA 9520, entitled "An Act
Amending the Cooperative Code of the Philippines to be known as the Philippine On whether the dismissal of the charge against petitioner on demurrer to evidence
Cooperative Code of 2008." Pertinent portions of the corrected provision read: amounts to an acquittal, hence, final and unappealable, the Court rules in the
negative.
ART. 45. Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee Members. - Directors, officers
and committee members, who are willfully and knowingly vote for or assent to patently In Gutib v. Court of Appeals,[21] the Court stressed that demurrer to the evidence is an
unlawful acts or who are guilty of gross negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs objection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his
of the cooperative or acquire any personal or pecuniary interest in conflict with their adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to make out a
duty as such directors, officers or committee members shall be liable jointly and case or sustain the issue. The party demurring challenges the sufficiency of the whole
severally for all damages or profits resulting therefrom to the cooperative, members, evidence to sustain a verdict. The Court, in passing upon the sufficiency of the
and other persons. evidence raised in a demurrer, is merely required to ascertain whether there is
competent or sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of
xxxx guilt.

ART. 140. Penal Provisions. - The following acts or omissions affecting cooperatives In People v. Sandiganbayan,[22] the Court explained the general rule that the grant of a
are hereby prohibited: demurrer to evidence operates as an acquittal and is, thus, final and unappealable, to
wit:
xxxx
The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is "filed after the
(5) A director, officer or committee member who violated the provisions of Article 45 prosecution had rested its case" and when the same is granted, it calls "for an
on the Liability of Directors, Officers and Committee Members, Article 48 on the appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant
Disloyalty of a Director, and Article 49 on the Illegal Use of Confidential Information conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits,
shall upon conviction suffer a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos tantamount to an acquittal of the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the
(P500,000.00) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) or grant of demurrer to evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would be to place the
imprisonment of not less than five (5) years but not more than ten (10) years or both at accused in double jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there.[23]
the court's discretion; [Emphasis added]
In this case, however, the RTC granted the demurrer to evidence and dismissed the At the outset, res judicata is a doctrine of civil law and thus has no bearing on criminal
case not for insufficiency of evidence, but for lack of jurisdiction over the offense proceedings.[29] At any rate, petitioner's argument is incidentally related to double
charged. Notably, the RTC did not decide the case on the merits, let alone resolve the jeopardy which embrace's a prohibition against being tried for any offense which
issue of petitioner's guilt or innocence based on the evidence proffered by the necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former
prosecution. This being the case, the October 14, 2008 RTC Order of dismissal does complaint or information.
not operate as an acquittal, hence, may still be subject to ordinary appeal under Rule
41 of the Rules of Court.[24] As aptly noted by the CA: Section 7[30] of Rule 117 lays down the requisites in order that the defense of double
jeopardy may prosper. There is double jeopardy when the following requisites are
The accused-appellee is also of a mistaken view that the dismissal of the case against present: (1) a first jeopardy attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy has
her is an acquittal. It should be emphasized' that "acquittal is always based on the been validly terminated; and (3) a second jeopardy is for the same offense as in the
merits, that is, the defendant is acquitted because the evidence does not show that first.[31] As to the first requisite, the first jeopardy attaches only (a) after a valid
the defendant's guilt is beyond reasonable doubt; but dismissal does not decide the indictment; (b) before a competent court; (c) after arraignment; (d) when a valid plea
case on the merits or that the defendant is not guilty. Dismissal terminates the has been entered; and (e) when the accused was acquitted or convicted, or the case
proceeding, either because the court is not a court of competent jurisdiction, or the was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.[32]
evidence does not show that the offense was committed within the territorial
jurisdiction of the court, or the complaint or information is not valid or sufficient in form In this case, there is no dispute that the first and second requisites of double jeopardy
and substance, etc."[25] are present in view of the MeTC Resolution[33]dated August 13, 2012 which granted
petitioner's demurrer to evidence and acquitted her in a criminal case for falsification
On whether the remand of the criminal case to the RTC violated her right against of private document in Criminal Case No. 370119-20-CR. Petitioner's argument dwells
double jeopardy due to its earlier dismissal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the on whether the third requisite of double jeopardy — a second jeopardy is for the same
Court rules in the negative and upholds the CA in ruling that the dismissal having been offense as in the first — is present. Such question of identity or lack of identity of
granted upon petitioner's instance, double jeopardy did not attach, thus: offenses is addressed by examining the essential elements of each of the two
offenses charged, as such elements are set out in the respective legislative definitions
The accused-appellee cannot also contend that she will be placed in double jeopardy of the offense involved.[34]
upon this appeal. It must be stressed that the dismissal of the case against her was
premised upon her filing of a demurrer to evidence, and the finding, albeit erroneous, Thus, the remaining question to be resolved is whether the offense charged in the
of the trial court that it is bereft of jurisdiction. information for Section 46 of RA 6938 necessarily includes or is necessarily included
in a crime for falsification of private document under Article 172 of the Revised Penal
The requisites that must be present for double jeopardy to attach are: (a) a valid Code, as amended (RPC). The test to determine whether an offense necessarily
complaint or information; (b) a court of competent jurisdiction; (c) the accused has includes or is necessarily included in the other is provided under Section 5, Rule .120
pleaded to the charge; and (d) the accused has been convicted or acquitted or the of the Rules of Court:
case dismissed or terminated without the express consent of the accused.
An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the
Definitely, there is no double jeopardy in this case as the dismissal was with the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or
accused-appellee's consent, that is, by moving for the dismissal of the case through a information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the
demurrer to evidence. As correctly argued by the People, where the dismissal was offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of
ordered upon or with express assent of the accused, he is deemed to have waived his those constituting the latter.
protection against doubly jeopardy. In this case at bar, the dismissal was granted upon
motion of petitioners. Double jeopardy, thus, did not attach.[26] After a careful examination of the Informations filed against petitioner for falsification of
private document in Criminal Case No. 370119-20-CR and for violation of Section 46,
The Court also finds no merit in petitioner's new argument that the prosecution of her RA 6938 in Criminal Case No. 01-197750, the Court holds that the first offense for
case before the RTC for violation of Section 46 of RA 6938 in Criminal Case No. 07- which petitioner was acquitted does not necessarily include and is not necessarily
197750 is barred by res judicata because the MeTC of Manila, Branch 22, in a included in the second offense.
Resolution[27] dated August 13, 2012, granted her demurrer to evidence and acquitted
her in a criminal case for falsification of private document in Criminal Case No. The Information for falsification of private document, on the one hand, alleged that
370119-20-CR.[28] In support of her flawed argument, petitioner points out that the petitioner, being then the Chairperson and Managing Director of A. Mabini Elementary
private complainants [officers and directors of the Cooperative] and the subject matter School Teachers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, as part of her duty to prepare financial
[unreported sales profits of Coca-Cola products] of both cases are the same, and that reports, falsified such report for the School Year 1999-2000, in relation to the sales
the case for violation of Section 46 of RA 6938 is actually and necessarily included in profits of Coca-Cola products in violation of Article 172 (2)[35] of the RPC. The
the case for falsification of private documents. elements of falsification of private document under Article 172, paragraph 2 of the
RPC are: (1) that the offender committed any of the acts of falsification, except those
in paragraph 7, Article 171;[36] (2) that the falsification was committed in any private Appeals Decision dated August 31, 2011 and its Resolution dated Jan. 31, 2012 in
document; and (3) that the falsification caused damage to a third party or at least the CA-G.R. CR No. 32363, are AFFIRMED.
falsification was committed with intent to cause such damage.

The Information for violation of Section 46 of RA 6938 alleged, on the other hand, that
being then such officer and director of the Cooperative, petitioner willfully acquired
personal interest or equity adverse to it, in violation of her duty and of the confidence
reposed upon her, by entering into a contract with Coca-Cola in her own personal
capacity, knowing fully well that the sales profits of such products should have
accrued to the Cooperative. The essential elements of violation of Section 46 of RA
6938 are (1) that the offender is a director, officer or committee member; and (2) that
the offender willfully and lcnowingly (a) votes for or assents to patently unlawful acts;
(b) is guilty of gross negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs of the cooperative;
or (c) acquires any personal or pecuniary interest in conflict with their duty as such
directors, officers or committee member.

Verily, there is nothing common or similar between the essential elements of the
crimes of falsification of private document under Article 172 (2) of the RPC and that of
violation of Section 46 of RA 6938, as alleged in the Informations filed against
petitioner. As neither of the said crimes can be said to necessarily include or is
necessarily included in the other, the third requisite for double jeopardy to attach—a
second jeopardy is for the same offense as in the first—is, therefore, absent. Not only
are their elements different, they also have a distinct nature, i.e., the former is malum
in se, as what makes it a felony is criminal intent on the part of the offender, while the
latter is malum prohibitum, as what makes it a crime is the special, law enacting it.

Moreover, in People v. Doriguez,[37] the Court held:

It is a cardinal rule that the protection against double jeopardy may be invoked only for
the same offense or identical offenses. A simple act may offend against two (or more)
entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law, and if one provision requires proof of
an additional fact or element which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction or a
dismissal of the information under one does not bar prosecution under the other.
Phrased elsewise, where two different laws (or articles of the same code) defines two
crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other,
although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some
important act which is not an essential element of the other. [38]

Since the Informations filed against petitioner were for separate, and distinct offenses
as discussed above—the first against' Article 172 (2) of the Revised Penal Code and
the second against Section 46 of the Cooperative Code (RA 6938)—one cannot be
pleaded as a bar to the other under the rule on double jeopardy. Besides, it is basic in
criminal procedure that an accused may be charged with as many crimes as defined
in our penal laws even if these 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 by a special law and the Revised Penal
Code, as in this case, the prosecution against one is not an obstacle to the
prosecution of the other.[39]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED, and the Court of