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  Prepared by Elizabeth P. Quiban CASE DIGEST 1 The Case.  –    Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdones, Ismael Gonzalgo and Jose Farley Bedeña, petitioners, vs. Court of Appeals, respondent, 129 SCRA 558, No. L-39999 May 31, 1984. Facts.  –    The petitioners including 8 other people namely: Federico Realingo alias ‘Kamlon’, David Bermudo, Christopher Villaoac, Godofredo Villania, Romeo Garrido, Roberto Rosales, Ricardo Celestino and Jose Ortega, were charged with the crime of grave coercion. The complainants, Antonio Vergara and his family, alleged that the petitioners forcibly opened, demolished and destroyed his stall located at the Public Market, including the pieces of furniture therein by axes and other massive instruments, and that accused carried away the goods, wares and merchandise. It was further alleged that the accused took advantage of their public positions: Roy Padilla, being the incumbent municipal mayor, and the rest of the accused being policemen, except Ricardo Celestino who is a civilian. On the other hand, petitioners claim that the town mayor had the power to order the clearance of market premises and the removal of the complainants’ stall because the municipality had enacted municipal ordinances pursuant to which the market stall was a nuisance per se.   The Court of First Instance acquitted the 8 other people but convicted the petitioners. The petitioners appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals which reversed the trial court’s judgment of conviction and acquitted the petitioners of the crime of grave coercion on the ground of reasonable doubt  but inspite of the acquittal ordered them to pay jointly and severally the amount of P9,000.00 to the complainants as actual damages.   The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration contending that the acquittal of the defendants-appellants as to criminal liability results in the extinction of their civil liability. Issue.  –    Did the respondent court commit a reversible error in requiring the petitioners to pay civil indemnity to the complainants after acquitting them from the criminal charge?  Held.  –   No. The Supreme Court discussed that the judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused for damages only when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil might arise did not exist. Thus, the civil liability is not extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases; where the court expressly declares that the liability of the accused is not criminal but only civil in nature; and, where the civil liability does not arise from or is not based upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted. The Court also explained that there was no reason to require a separate civil action to still be filed considering that the facts to be proved in the civil case have already been established in the criminal  proceedings where the accused was acquitted. A separate civil action may be warranted where additional facts have to be established or more evidence must be adduced or where the criminal case has been fully terminated and a separate complaint would be just as efficacious or even more expedient than a timely remand to the trial court where the criminal action was decided for further hearings on the civil aspects of the case. Doctrines learned.  –   Civil liability is not extinguished where acquittal is based on reasonable doubt that accused is guilty of the crime charged. Court may acquit an accused on reasonable doubt and still order  payment of civil damages in the same case. Although no separate civil action is necessary,   this rule does not preclude the filing of a separate civil action under certain circumstances.  CASE DIGEST 2 The Case.  –    Land Bank of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Ramon P. Jacinto, respondent. 626 SCRA 315, G.R. No. 154622 August 3, 2010. Facts.  –    R  espondent Ramon P. Jacinto, President of First Women’s Credit Corporation (FWCC), issued in favor of Land Bank nine (9) postdated checks as security for the loan obtained by FWCC from the petitioner Land Bank. Later, before the checks matured, petitioner and respondent executed a Restructuring Agreement. When FWCC defaulted in the payment of the loan obligation under the terms of their restructured agreement, petitioner presented for payment to the drawee bank the postdated checks as they matured. However, all the checks were dishonored or refused payment for the reason Payment Stopped or Drawn Against Insufficient Funds. Respondent also failed to make good the checks despite demands. Hence, Land Bank filed before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office a Co mplaint-Affidavit against respondent for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P.) 22 or The Bouncing Checks Law. Prosecutor George V. De Joya dismissed the complaint against respondent, finding that the letter-agreements between Land Bank and FWCC restructured and novated the srcinal loan agreement. It was held that there being novation, the checks issued pursuant to the srcinal loan obligation had lost their efficacy and validity and cannot be a valid basis to sustain the charge of violation of B.P. 22. Petitioner elevated the matter to the DOJ for review which dismissed the appeal. However, upon motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner, the DOJ reversed its ruling and issued a Resolution holding that novation is not a mode of extinguishing criminal liability. Respondent filed a petition for certiorari before the CA, which reversed the Resolution of the DOJ and reinstated the Resolution of Prosecutor De Joya dismissing the complaint. The CA found merit in respondent’s assertion that a prejudicial  question exists because the issue of whether the srcinal obligation of FWCC subject of the dishonored checks has been novated by the subsequent agreements entered into by FWCC with Land Bank, is already the subject of the appeal in a pending Civil Case. Petitioner seeks the reversal of the CA’s Decision. Issue.  –    Is there prejudicial question on the ground that the existence of novation in the Civil Case determinative of respondent ’s  prosecution for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law? Held.  –   No. The Supreme Court held that a prejudicial question generally exists in a situation where a civil action and criminal action are both pending and there exists in the former an issue that must be preemptively resolved before the latter may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative  juris et de jure  of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. It is well settled that the mere act of issuing a worthless check, even if merely as an accommodation, is covered  by B.P. 22. Thus, this Court has held that the agreement surrounding the issuance of dishonored checks is irrelevant to the prosecution for violation of B.P. 22. The gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentment for  payment. Thus, even if it be subsequently declared that novation took place between the FWCC and  petitioner, respondent is not exempt from prosecution for violation of B.P. 22 for the dishonored checks. Doctrines learned.  –   Not every defense raised in a civil action will raise a prejudicial question to justify suspension of the criminal action; Neither is there a prejudicial question of the civil and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed independently of each other.  CASE DIGEST 3 The Case.  –    Villaflor vs. Vivar, 349 SCRA 194, G.R. No. 134744 January 16, 2001. Facts.  –    Vivar mauled Villaflor outside a bar in Muntinlupa City. On his way out, Vivar told Villaflor, next time, I will use my gun on you . A preliminary investigation for slight physical injuries was made by the assistant city prosecutor. Vivar was later charged with the crime of slight physical injuries. When the injuries sustained by Villaflor turned out to be more serious than they had appeared at first, the charge of slight physical injuries was withdrawn and an Information for serious physical injuries was filed. Another Information for grave threats was also filed against Vivar. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, Vivar filed a Motion to Quash the Information for grave threats. He contended that the threat, having been made in connection with the charge of serious physical injuries, should have been absorbed by the latter; hence, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over it. MTC denied the motion to quash. Vivar was arraigned for grave threats and pleaded not guilty. RTC reversed the Order, granted the motion to quash and dismissed the charges for failure of the public  prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation. Issues. 1. Can the court motu propio order the dismissal of the two (2) criminal cases for serious physical injuries and grave threats on the ground that the public prosecutor failed to conduct a preliminary investigation? 2. Is there a need for a new preliminary investigation? 3. Should the failure of the public prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation be considered a ground to quash the criminal informations for serious physical injuries and grave threats filed against the accused-respondent? Held. 1. No. The absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of the information or otherwise render it defective. Neither does it affect the jurisdiction of the court or constitute a ground for quashing the information. The trial court, instead of dismissing the information, should hold in abeyance the proceedings and order the public prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation. 2. No. A new preliminary investigation cannot be demanded by Vivar. This is because the change made by the public prosecutor was only a formal amendment. The filing of the Amended Information, without a new preliminary investigation, did not violate the right of respondent to be protected from a hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution; an open and public accusation of a crime; or from the trouble, the expenses and the anxiety of a public trial. The Amended Information could not have come as a surprise to him for the simple and obvious reason that it charged essentially the same offense as that under the srcinal Information. Moreover, if the srcinal charge was related to the amended one, such that an inquiry would elicit substantially the same facts, then a new  preliminary investigation was not necessary.   3. Section 3, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, provides the grounds on which an accused can move to quash the complaint or information. Nowhere in the above-mentioned section is there any mention of a lack of a preliminary investigation as a ground for a motion to quash. Furthermore, we stress that the failure of the accused to assert any ground for a motion to quash before arraignment, either  because he had not filed the motion or had failed to allege the grounds therefor, shall be deemed a waiver of such grounds. In this case, he waived his right to file such motion when he pleaded not guilty to the charge of grave threats. Doctrines learned.  –   The absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the validity of an information or render it defective. Neither does it affect the jurisdiction of the court or constitute a ground for quashing the information. Instead of dismissing the information, the court should hold the proceeding in abeyance and order the public prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation.1âwphi1.nêt
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