Sunday, October 21, 2012

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This case commenced on December 27, 1971 in the Municipal Court of Lopez, Quezon where a criminal complaint was filed against herein private respondent Edgardo Caballas for Serious Physical Injuries .Upon arraignment on February 5, 1972, the accused Caballas pleaded not guilty. Before the presentation of evidence, the private prosecutor on February 23, 1972 filed an "Urgent Motion to Amend the Complaint" to charge the offense of Frustrated Murder, contending that a perusal of the affidavits of the witnesses for the prosecution patently shows that in the commission of the act complained of, the accused had the manifest intention to kill the offended party. The defense, on the other hand, in its Memorandum argued that since the accused had already entered his plea, the Court could no longer entertain the Motion for amendment of the complaint, the intended amendment being a substantial one for a grave offense with a higher penalty. However, the Motion was denied by the Municipal Court and the case, thereafter, proceeded to trial. Both parties rested their evidence and the case was submitted for decision. No decision on the merits was rendered, however, for in an Order dated November 29, 1972, the Municipal Court ruled the dismissal of the case to give way to the filing of a complaint for frustrated murder.


Whether or not the dismissal by the Municipal Court of the complaint for serious physical injuries against the accused Edgardo Caballas is a dismissal which bars the filing of the information for frustrated murder in the Court of First Instance against the same accused on the ground of double jeopardy.


No. We hold and rule that respondent Judge erred in dismissing the case for serious physical injuries "to give way to the filing of a complaint for frustrated murder." For it is the duty of the respondent Judge to render the decision as the evidence presented warrant under the information as filed for serious physical injuries, and not dismiss the case on his idea or belief that there was evidence of intent to kill the intended victim. The Judge committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of juris­diction thereby rendering his Order of November 29, 1972 null and void. Since the order of dismissal was without authority and, therefore, null and void, the proceedings before the Municipal Court have not been lawfully terminated. Accordingly, there is no second proceeding to speak of and no double jeopardy.

The constitutional mandate against putting a person twice in jeopardy of pu­nishment for the same offense is to protect the accused from going through a trial a second time. But, since the first proceedings has not yet been terminated, other is no second proceeding to speak of, and, therefore, no double jeopardy.


The assistant provincial fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance of Surigao del Sur, on September 14, 1981, three separate informations for grave oral defamation against Quizada for having disparaged Tranquilan. Upon arraignment on February 18, 1982, the accused pleaded not guilty to all the three informations. Thereafter, she moved to quash the same on the ground that the charges should have been initiated not by the fiscal but upon complaint of the offended party herself. The trial judge agreed and granted the motion. The charges were dismissed and the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution was denied.

1.      Whether or not the appeal places the accused in double jeopardy.

The allegation of double jeopardy is plainly without merit. As the court have repeatedly stressed, double jeopardy will attach if (a) a valid complaint or information (b) is filed before a competent court or tribunal, and (c) after the accused shall have been arraigned and entered a plea, (d) he is acquitted or convicted or the case is dismissed without his express consent.
The first three requisites are present in the case at bar but the fourth is not. It was the petitioner herself who moved to quash the charges against her on the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction. The dismissal was made not only with her express consent but, indeed, upon her own motion.



The criminal prosecutions originated from a letter-complaint of the Provincial Auditor of Quezon requesting the Provincial Fiscal to file the necessary criminal action under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code against Demetrio Jardin for malversation of public funds thru falsification of public documents on six counts. On the first Preliminary Investigation, accused moved to postpone 4 times, and failed to appear everytime the investigation were scheduled. Preliminary Investigation was nevertheless conducted. And the six criminal informations were filed in CFI. On the scheduled arraignment the accused moved to postpone the arraignment 4 times. Failing to appear on the said scheduled arraignment the counsel of the accused however asked for reinvestigation on the ground that the accused was not given the opportunity to present his defense during the preliminary investigation. Court granted said motion. For the second time, when the Preliminary Investigation was again conducted accused moved to postpone many times and failed to appear. But, when he finally appeared with his counsel, they asked for 15 days to file his memorandum. The memorandum was never filed, so the investigating fiscal filed a manifestation before the court that the records of these cases be returned and the trial on the merits of the same be set. The court transferred the case to new branch of CFI Quezon without acting on manifestation. Arraignment date was again set. On the said date, the accused again move for more postponements and thereafter filed again a motion for reinvestigation. Counsel then asked for 5 days to file written sworn statement of accused as defense but no sworn statement was submitted so the records of the case were returned to court. A date was set for arraignment but the accused still failed to appear and again asked for another postponement. The Arraignment finally happened on Sept 8, 1970 where the accused pleaded not guilty and asked for trial to be postponed. On the postponed date, accused asked for another postponement. Finally on Oct 1970, accused and counsel were at trial but no one appeared for prosecution, except for a state witness. Counsel moved (orally) for dismissal, invoking accused right to a speedy trial. Court granted motion and dismissed the cases.


1. Whether or not accused can invoke right to speedy trial.
2. Whether or not this appeal places the accused in double jeopardy.


First Issue

NO. The respondent court committed a grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the cases and in basing the dismissal on the constitutional right of the accused to speedy trial.- The right to a speedy trial means that the accused is free from vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays, its salutary objective being to assure that an innocent person may be free from anxiety and expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt determined within the shortest possible time compatible with the presentation and consideration of whatever legitimate defense he may interpose. The delays in the prosecution of the offenses were all caused by the accused so he cannot invoke constitutional right to speedy trial. By his own deliberate acts, he is deemed to have waived or abandoned his right to a speedy trial.

Second Issue

NO. The dismissal of the criminal cases against the accused by the respondent court on the ground that this right to speedy trial had been violated was devoid of factual and legal basis. In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure to the benefit of an accused, the following requisites must be present in the first prosecution:(a) a valid complaint or information;(b) a competent court;(c) the defendant had pleaded to the charge; and (d) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. The last requisite is not present because the order of the CFI judge was null and void.


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