PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and CASAN MAQUILING, respondents.
Ramil Maquiling who first boxed the deceased Frederick Pacasum who was compelled to box back. That the appellant, elder brother of Ramil, appeared from nowhere and boxed the deceased. Thereafter the accused and his brother (Ramil) ran out of the disco but when the deceased and his companions followed outside, Ramil Maquiling and his companions were waiting and another fist fight ensued.
While the commotion was going on, appellant went to his parked Isuzu Trooper and got his .45 caliber pistol. Appellant then approached the deceased. Before he could reach him, Audie Pacasum who was with the group of the deceased, tried to prevent appellant from using his gun. Appellant then fired a warning shot causing the people around to scamper for safety. The deceased turned his back to see what was going on. At that moment, appellant shot the deceased twice on the left thigh. The deceased fell on the ground lying on his back with his hands clutching his left thigh. Appellant then approached the deceased and fired another shot hitting the deceased on the chest. Jojo Villarimo was himself shot in the leg. As a consequence of the gunshot wounds, Frederick Pacasum died while Jojo Villarimo suffered gunshot wounds on his upper right leg which required medical attendance for six (6) months.
The accused and his witnesses on the other hand, maintained that while the accused was entertaining his guests at the Spectrum Disco located in the basement of Iligan Village Hotel, he saw Frederic[k] Pacasum and Ramil Maquiling, his younger brother, pointing at each other, then Frederick boxed Ramil who was hit on the face and fell on the floor. As he approached Ramil and Frederick, he saw Frederick hit Ramil on his head with a bottle as the latter was attempting to stand up causing him to fall anew on the floor. He also saw Frederick kick Ramil in several parts of his body. Hence, he attempted to intervene to stop Frederick from mauling Ramil. Instead, Frederick boxed appellant on the side of the cheek below his right eye. Appellant wanted to retaliate by boxing Frederick but could not do so because of Raden Pacasum and Jojo Villarimo who were standing beside Frederick and who were much larger and bigger than appellant.The accused then opted to back out and left the disco. He then noticed the deceased Frederick and Raden Pacasum and Jojo Villarimo following him outside He proceeded to his Isuzu Trooper which was parked about 12 meters from the entrance of the disco. As he was about to open the door of his vehicle, he looked back and saw Frederick coming from his vehicle and holding a shotgun. He then opened his trooper vehicle and got his .45 caliber pistol. Frederic[k] approached appellant holding the shotgun at hip level with the barrel pointed at the appellant. Appellant then fired two (2) warning shots to the air to deter the deceased from coming any closer. He then heard Raden Pacasum shout: 'Barilin mo na.' Frederick fired the shotgun hitting the accused in the hip. The accused fell to the ground with his elbow and knees, his right hand still holding the pistol. He tried to stand up but could not. In a kneeling position with his right foot extended backward, he aimed at Frederick and shot him twice in the hip. His intention was not to kill but to disarm. But Frederick would not release the shotgun and instead prepared to aim the same at the accused. Left with no choice, the accused shot Frederick on the chest. Then Jojo Villarimo ran towards Frederick and picked up the shotgun. The accused then aimed at his leg to disarm him.
After shooting Jojo Villarimo, appellant examined his pistol and finding the same to be empty, released the pistol's slide. He attempted to stand up but could not and just crawled to his trooper. Raden Pacasum then went near him and grabbed the pistol from his hand[,] pointed same at him and squeezed the trigger but the gun did not fire as it had no more bullets. Raden Pacasum then went away taking with him the pistol. The accused was thereafter loaded into a [T]amaraw vehicle which brought him to the Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital where he was treated.
Whether or not the respondent court is void ab initio, for having been rendered in denial of due process and with grave abuse of discretion.
To show grave abuse of discretion, herein petitioner contends that Respondent Court of Appeals committed manifest bias and partiality in rendering the assailed Decision. It claims that Respondent Court ignored and discarded "uncontroverted physical evidence" which the trial judge had relied upon. Furthermore, it allegedly erred in finding that he had "base[d] his decision on the testimony of witnesses whose demeanor he did not personally witness." In addition, it supposedly harped on insignificant inconsistencies in the testimonies of some prosecution witnesses, while unquestioningly accepting the private respondent's claim of self-defense.
This Court is convinced that the accused acted in self-defense. There was unlawful aggression. The witnesses have uniformly testified that a fight ensued between the deceased Frederick Pacasum and Ramil Maquiling in the course of which Frederick boxed Ramil causing him to fall on the floor. When the accused-appellant tried to pacify and stop Frederick from inflicting further harm on his brother, he was boxed on the right cheek by Frederick. And while he wanted to retaliate he could not do so because of the superiority in number and in strength of Frederick and his companions who were not only more in number but likewise taller and bigger. Hence accused had opted to leave the disco but was followed to his car by Frederick with a shotgun [i]n hand. The deceased Frederick not only aimed the shotgun [at] him but actually fired at the accused. And the accused shot at the deceased only after he was himself injured by the deceased who fired a shotgun at him. He likewise shot at Olegario 'Jojo' Villaremo to disarm him as he likewise took possession of the shotgun.
There was reasonable necessity of the means used to prevent and[/]or repel the unlawful aggression. The accused fired a warning shot to deter the deceased from attacking and even after he was himself hit by the shotgun. He had fired first at the left thigh of the deceased as his intention was merely to disarm Frederick[,] not to kill him. But when the appellant perceived that Frederick was still aiming the shotgun [at] him, . . . he decided to fire the fatal shot.
There was likewise lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. It was the deceased Frederick with a shotgun [i]n hand [who] approached the accused who was then about to open his Isuzu trooper. When [the] accused looked back, he saw Frederick coming with a shotgun. Accused then opened his trooper and got his .45 caliber pistol. The deceased also disregarded the warning shots fired by the accused and was the first to shoot at the accused
Denial of Due Process
Petitioner also argues that the prosecution was denied due process when Respondent Court reviewed the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses, despite its not having been raised as an issue in the appeal brief.
Such argument is untenable. Basic is the rule that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case wide open for review; and that the appellate court can correct errors, though unassigned, that may be found in the appealed judgment. The appeals court may even reverse the trial court's decision on the basis of grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. We, therefore, find no denial of due process in Respondent Court's decision to review the entire case. Significantly, it did not entertain new evidence. Moreover, petitioner was not deprived of any opportunity to rebut any evidence on record.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs. WILLY OBSANIA, defendant-appellee.
Facts: On November 22, 1964, barely a day after the occurrence of the alleged crime, Erlinda Dollente, the 14-year old victim, and her parents, Ciriaco Dollente and Carmelita Lureta, filed in the municipal court of Balungao, Pangasinan a complaint for rape with robbery, 1 alleging.
"That on or about 21st day of November 1964, at around 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon, particularly in sitio Cawakalan, barrio of Capulaan municipality of Balungao, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said accused Willy Obsania, armed with a dagger, by means of violence and intimidation, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously did then and there have carnal knowledge of the complainant Erlinda Dollente, against her will and on the roadside in the ricefields at the abovementioned place while she was alone on her way to barrio San Raymundo."
After the case was remanded to the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan for further proceedings, the assistant provincial fiscal filed an information for rape against the accused, embodying the allegations of the above complaint, with an additional averment that the offense was committed "with lewd designs".
The accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment, and forthwith with his counsel moved for the dismissal of the case contending that the complaint was fatally defective for failure to allege "lewd designs" and that the subsequent information filed by the fiscal which averred "lewd designs" did not cure the jurisdictional infirmity. The court a quo granted the motion and ordered dismissal of the action, ruling that "the failure of the complaint filed by the offended party to allege that the acts committed by the accused were with 'lewd designs' does not give this Court jurisdiction to try the case." From this order, the fiscal brought the instant appeal.
Whether or not the present appeal place the accused in double jeopardy.
No, In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure in favor of an accused, the following requisites must have obtained in the original 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.
In ruling that the appeal by the Government did not put the accused in peril of a second jeopardy, this Court stressed that with "the dismissal of the case by the court below upon motion of the defendant, the latter has not been in jeopardy," and "assuming arguendo that the defendant had been already in jeopardy in the court below and would be placed in double jeopardy by the appeal, the defendant has waived his constitutional right not to be put in danger of being convicted twice for the same offense." Mr. Justice Felicisimo Feria, speaking for the majority, reasoned that
".when the case is dismissed with the express consent of the defendant, the dismissal will not be a bar to another prosecution for the same offense; because, his action in having the case dismissed constitutes a waiver of his constitutional right or privilege, for the reason that he thereby prevents the court from proceeding to the trial on the merits and rendering a judgment of conviction against him."
Gandicela, this Court had occasion to reiterate the Salico ruling:
"But where a defendant expressly consents to, by moving for, the dismissal of the case against him, as in the present case, even if the court or judge states in the order that the dismissal is definite or does not say that the dismissal is without prejudice on the part of the fiscal to file another information, the dismissal will not be a bar to a subsequent prosecution of the defendant for the same offense.”
According to Section 9 of Rule 13, if a criminal case is dismissed otherwise than upon the merits at any stage before judgment, without the express consent of the defendant, by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information, and after the defendant has pleaded to the charge, the dismissal of the case shall be definite or a bar to another prosecution for the same offense; but if it is dismissed upon the petition or with the express consent of the defendant, the dismissal will be without prejudice or not a bar to another prosecution for the same offense, because, in the last case, the defendant's action in having the case dismissed constitutes a waiver of his constitutional right not to be prosecuted again for the same offense.
[G.R. No. 51759. October 30, 1980.]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE MARIANO P. FUENTEBELLA, JOSE DAYRIT, JESUS CARMONA, VIRGILIO CLASIO AND REYNATA DAYRIT, respondents.
Respondent spouses Jose Dayrit and Reynata Dayrit, Jesus Carmona and Virgilio Clasio were charged with theft.
Although they were finally arraigned on October 12, 1976, two postponements of the arraignment and trial had already been secured by them. In fact, the trial simultaneously set for October 12, 1976 was postponed upon their motion. Subsequently, on November 16, 1976, January 28. 1977 and May 12, 1977, the trial had to be set for other days because of the non-appearance of one or the other of them. In August 1977, a resetting had to be done due to their absence. While at the trial on November 4, 1977, counsel for accused Clasio again failed to appear. This absence was repeated on December 6, 1977 and trial had again to be postponed.
On January 25, 1978, accused Carmona; thru counsel, Atty. Elpidio Borja, filed a motion for postponement alleging that he would be needed in Manila on January 25, 1978, the afternoon of which was set for the continuation of the trial, and simultaneously respondents Jose and Reynata Dayrit also asked for postponement representing that they were being sent to Manila on a mission by the Governor of Camarines Sur. Atty. Prila, the counsel of the Dayrits, personally served copy of said motion on the private prosecutor, Atty. Juanito B. Ilao in the morning of January 25, 1978 requesting the latter to give his conformity and to refrain from attending the hearing that afternoon. Inasmuch as Atty. Fandiño had also asked for postponement and assured Atty. Ilao he would not also be present, Atty. Ilao acceded to the request for conformity and even gave the same in writing.
A new common counsel, Atty. Ernesto Atienza appeared and moved for withdrawal of the two motions for postponement, insisted on the trial and, because of the absence of the prosecutor, asked for dismissal on the ground of denial of speedy trial. The regular judge, who was then acting, the Honorable Rolando Carandang, unaware of the actual circumstances, found himself with no alternative than to grant the dismissal prayed for, albeit provisionally. Fortunately, however, and to his credit. upon being apprised of what had actually happened thru a motion of Atty. Ilao, filed on February 6, 1978, Judge Carandang set aside said dismissal on April 20, 1978, and reinstated the case.
Private prosecutor seasonably filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated June 18, 1979, alleging that the reinstatement of said criminal case did not place the accused in double jeopardy considering the peculiar circumstances attending said case.
Whether, by virtue of the provisional dismissal, double jeopardy attached and, consequently, bar another prosecution for the same offense.
"In the most recent Decision of the Supreme Court in LEOPOLDO SALCEDO, Petitioner, vs. Hon. Judge Felimon Mendoza, and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents, G.R. No. L-49375, promulgated February 28, 1979, it was held:
'. . . . Time and again, we have said that the dismissal of a criminal case predicated on the right of the accused to speedy trial amounts to an acquittal on the merits which bars the subsequent prosecution of the accused for the same offense. . . . . This is an exception to the rule that a dismissal, upon the motion or with the express consent of the accused, will not be a bar to the subsequent prosecution of the accused for the same offense provided for in Sec. 9, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. . . .
Astounded by such turn of events, on July 5, 1979, Atty. Ilao filed a 13-page motion for reconsideration, setting it for hearing on July 11, 1978. After said hearing, on September 18, 1979, respondent judge issued his second order in question as follows:
"O R D E R
"From the policy laid down by this Court dated June 18, 1979 dismissing this case anew on the ground that Courts could not revive and reinstate a criminal case it has previously dismissed, without the consent of the accused, predicated upon their rights to a speedy trial as it infringes the Constitutional guarantee against being put in jeopardy twice for the same offense, the prosecution filed this motion for reconsideration because he claims that the Court could revive the case. As his authority, he cited the case of Solis vs. Agloro and the People of the Philippines 64 SCRA 370, July 31, 1978 which he claims to have a similar factual setting with the case at bar.
"A perusal of the facts in the aforecited case reveals that:
"In the order provisionally dismissing the case, it was explicitly made clear that defense counsel announced the readiness of the accused to give their express conformity to the provisional dismissal of their case...
x x x
There being such a provisional dismissal, there is no merit to the contention that a revival of the case would amount to a disregard of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.' . . .
"Incidentally, the provisional dismissal granted by the Court in the Agloro case was with the express consent of the accused, in the case at bar such express consent is wanting.
The prosecution in citing the Solis-Agloro case has centered on the aspect that, since the dismissal was provisional, double jeopardy does not lie.
In fine, it is the considered opinion of this Court that the ruling in the Agloro case will not apply to the case at bar.
We are concerned with a peculiar case of a dismissal secured by private respondents under questionable and reprehensible circumstances that affect the very legal essence of the action of the court in ordering the same. Indeed, the court, upon realizing it had been taken for a ride, so to speak, reversed itself as soon as possible, evidently having in mind that after all his order was expressly qualified as provisional only and the delay of the case even as of that time had been due to the fault of or upon request of one or the other of private respondents. Our sense of justice does not permit Us to treat cases of this nature with any degree of inclination to be technical much less to be in any sense liberal. More, respondent judge would have been better advised if he had taken those antecedent circumstances carefully into account rather than being seemingly beguiled by what Atty. Prila referred to as "eruditely and excellently prepared" motion of Atty. Falcon of respondent Clasio, for We are far from being impressed that there was any real erudition or excellence therein. On the contrary, We see in it nothing but a crude attempt to use resort to technicality, erroneously at that, with a flavoring of what might pass for apparent scholarship, albeit misdirected and improperly oriented.
In other words, while, as contended by respondents, there may be instances where provisional dismissals of criminal cases asked by the accused themselves may in law place the said accused under risk of another jeopardy prohibited by the Constitution, on the other hand, We hold that the peculiar circumstances of this case at bar and the attitude of private respondents herein and their counsel of deliberately delaying the trial, not only by securing repeated postponements but by even deceiving adverse counsel and not being candid with the court, what with their securing the conformity of Atty. Ilao to the postponement of their trial and inducing him and his witnesses not to appear, only for a new counsel representing said respondents to appear later on to withdraw the motion agreed to by Atty. Ilao, without performing the court of what must have been the reason for the absence of the prosecution, cannot under any view and concept of justice carry the day for herein private respondents. Such practice calls for nothing less than condemnation. It deprives their legal pose completely of legal basis.