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8/8/2017 G.R. No.

196508

TodayisTuesday,August08,2017

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.196508September24,2014

LEONARDOA.VILLALONandERLINDATALDEVILLALON,Petitioners,
vs.

AMELIACHAN,Respondent.

DECISION

BRION,J.:

We review in this petition for review on certiorari1theJuly30,2010decision2andApril8,2011resolution3 of the


CourtofAppeals(CA)inCAG.R.SPNo.93807.TheCAannulledandsetasidetheMarch3,2006resolution4and
September5,2006order5oftheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC),Branch74,AntipoloCity,whichdisallowedtheprivate
offendedparty'scounselfromparticipatingintheprosecutionofthepetitionersforbigamyanddismissedthebigamy
casefiledagainstthepetitioners,respectively.

FactualAntecedents

OnMay6,1954,therespondentAmeliaChanmarriedLeonBasilioChuainacivilceremonysolemnizedbythen
JudgeCancioC.GarciaoftheCityCourtofCaloocan.TherespondentclaimedthatherhusbandLeonBasilioChua
andthepresentpetitioner,LeonardoA.Villalon,areoneandthesameperson.

During the subsistence of his marriage to Amelia, Leon Basilio Chua, this time under the name of Leonardo A.
Villalon,allegedlycontractedasecondmarriagewithErlindaTaldethattookplaceonJune2,1993.Thismarriage
wassolemnizedbyJudgeRuthC.SantosoftheMunicipalTrialCourtofAntipolo,Rizal.

Amelia,whowasthenlivingintheUnitedStatesandcouldnotpersonallyfileacaseforbigamyinthePhilippines,
requested Benito Yao Chua and Wilson Go to commence the criminal proceedings against the petitioners. On
September13,2003,averifiedcomplaintaffidavit6allegingthecommissionofthecrimeofbigamywasfiledwiththe
Office of the City Prosecutor in Antipolo. Consequently, an Information7 was filed with the RTC, docketed as
CriminalCaseNo.0530485.Onarraignment,thepetitionerspleadednotguilty.

During the pretrial (or on February 6, 2006), Atty. Apollo V. Atencia appeared in behalf of Amelia, the private
offended party. On February 20, 2006, Atty. Atencia formally filed his entry of appearance8 as private prosecutor,
withtheconformityandunderthecontrolandsupervisionofAssistantCityProsecutorGerardoP.Barot.

Leonardofiledanomnibusmotion9withtheRTCseekingtodisqualifyAtty.Atencia.HearguedthatAmeliacouldnot
be represented in the bigamy case because she was not a party to the case, as she did not file the complaint
affidavit.HealsoarguedthatAmeliahadalreadywaivedherrighttofileacivilandcriminalcaseagainsthimandhis
codefendant Erlinda. Amelia opposed the omnibus motion,10 while the public prosecutor joined the petitioners in
disqualifyingAtty.Atenciafromappearinginthecase.11

In a resolution12 dated March 3, 2006, the RTC granted Leonardos omnibus motion. Trial of the case ensued
thereafter.

On March 27, 2006, Amelia filed a petition13 for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for the issuance of a
TemporaryRestrainingOrder(TRO)and/orWritofPreliminaryInjunction,withtheCA.Inaresolution14datedApril
19,2006,theCAissuedaTROenjoiningfurtherproceedingsonthecase.

Despite the TRO issued by the CA, trial of the bigamy case proceeded with the presentation of the prosecutions
evidence, to which Leonardo filed a demurrer to evidence. In an order15 dated September 5, 2006, the RTC
dismissedthebigamycaseforfailureoftheprosecutiontoprovethepetitionersguilt.

PetitionforcertiorariandprohibitionwiththeCA
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InherpetitionforcertiorariandprohibitionbeforetheCA,Ameliaallegedgraveabuseofdiscretiononthepartofthe
RTC when it issued its March 3, 2006 resolution and proceeded with the bigamy case without permitting the
participationofAtty.Atenciaasprivateprosecutor.

In a decision16 dated July 30, 2010, the CA granted Amelias petition and annulled the RTCs March 3, 2006
resolutiondisqualifyingAtty.Atenciafromparticipationinthecase,anditsSeptember5,2006orderthatdismissed
the bigamy case against the petitioners. The CA ruled that the crime of bigamy, being public in nature, can be
denouncedbyanyone,notonlybytheoffendedparty,beforetheprosecutingauthoritieswithouttheoffendedparty
losingherrighttorecoverdamages.Thus,theCAconcludedthatthetrialcourtcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion
when it did not allow Atty. Atencia to intervene and represent Amelia in the bigamy case and that the trial court
deniedAmeliaherrighttodueprocess.

Also,theCAruledthattheoffendedpartycouldbedeprivedoftherighttointerveneinthecriminalcaseonlywhen
heorsheexpresslywaivesthecivilactionorreservestherighttoinstituteone.TheCAfoundnosuchwaiverfrom
AmeliaandheldthatAtty.AtenciasappearanceasprivateprosecutorwasproofenoughofAmeliasdetermination
toenforceherclaimfordamagesinthebigamycase.

TheCAdisposedofthecertioraripetitionundertheseterms:

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisGRANTED.TheResolutiondated3March2006disqualifyingPetitionerscounselto
interveneandtheOrderdated5September2006dismissingCriminalCaseNo.0530485isANNULLEDandSET
ASIDE.Publicrespondentisherebyinhibitedfrom

further hearing the case. This case is therefore REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City for RE
RAFFLEtoanotherbranchandforfurtherproceedings.ThetrialcourtandpublicprosecutorareORDEREDtoallow
the private prosecutor subject to the latters control and supervision to intervene in the proceedings in order to
protecttheinterestsofPetitionerasacomplainingwitness.

SOORDERED.17

PetitionforreviewoncertiorariwiththisCourt

Withthedenialoftheirmotionforreconsideration18beforetheCA,thepetitionersfiledthepresentpetitionforreview
oncertioraribeforethisCourtandraisedthefollowingarguments:

A. The Decision of the Court of Appeals gravely transgresses the petitioners constitutional right to due
processoflaw,apartfrombeingviolativeofthelegalproscriptionagainstdoublejeopardy.

B.TheCourtofAppealsgrosslyerredingrantingthepetitionforcertiorariinsofarastheResolution,dated3
March2006,ofthereinrespondentJudgewasconcerned.

C.ThepetitioninCAG.R.SPNo.93907isfatallydefectiveinthat,amongotherthings,itfailedtoimpleadthe
PeopleofthePhilippinesasapartyrespondentinthatcase,hence,thesameshouldhavebeendismissed
outright.19

OurRuling

Wefindnomeritinthepetitionersarguments.

First,thepetitionersarguethattheRTCsSeptember5,2006orderdismissingthebigamycaseagainstthemhad
alreadybecomefinalbecauseitwasnotassailedbytherespondentinherpetitionforcertioraribeforetheCA.The
petitionerspointoutthattherespondentonlyparticularlyassailedtheRTCsMarch3,2006resolutionandfailedto
file a separate or amended petition for certiorari to include the September 5, 2006 order as one of the assailed
ordersoftheRTC.Basedonthisassertion,thepetitionerscontendthattheCA,inorderingtheremandandreraffle
ofthebigamycasetoanotherRTCbranch,violatestheirrightagainstdoublejeopardy.

The petitioners are mistaken. The review by the CA on whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion
encompassed, not only the issuance of the March 3, 2006 resolution,but all proceedings in the bigamy case
thereafter.ThisisapparentfromthewordsusedbytherespondentinhercertioraripetitionbeforetheCAwhereshe
raisedthefollowingsupportinggrounds:

1. THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK
OREXCESSOFJURISDICTIONINISSUINGTHEQUESTIONEDRESOLUTIONDATED03MARCH2006
INCRIMINALCASENO.0530485WHICHHELDTHATNOCLAIMFORCIVILLIABILITYWASDEEMED
INSTITUTED IN THE CRIMINAL CASE, AND CONSEQUENTLY DISQUALIFYING THE OFFENDED
PARTYSCOUNSELFROMPARTICIPATINGINTHETRIALOFTHECASE

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2. THE HEARINGS OF THE BIGAMY CASE WHEREIN THE PARTICIPATION OF THE PRIVATE
PROSECUTORISEXPRESSLYPROHIBITEDAREWITHGRAVEABUSEOFDISCRETIONAMOUNTING
TOLACKOREXCESSOFJURISDICTION.20(Emphasisours)Evidently,theCAsreviewisnotlimitedtothe
RTCsMarch3,2006resolutionbutalsoincludedtheSeptember5,2006orderthatwasissuedbytheRTCin
thecourseoftheproceedingsonthebigamycase.Thus,theRTCsSeptember5,2006order,whichisstillthe
subject of review by this Court, has not attained finality and the CAs assailed order of remanding and re
rafflingthebigamycasetoanothertrialcourtwouldnotviolatethepetitionersrightagainstdoublejeopardy.

Also,weemphasizethattheRTCissueditsSeptember5,2006orderindefianceoftheTROissuedbytheCA.The
recordsshowthattheCAhadissuedaTROonApril19,2006,whichshouldhaveprohibitedtheRTCfromfurther
proceeding on the case. But the RTC, instead, continued with the presentation of the prosecutions evidence and
issuedtheassailedSeptember5,2006order.

Underthiscircumstance,theRTCsSeptember5,2006orderwasactuallywithoutforceandeffectandwouldnot
serve as basis for the petitioners to claim that their right against double jeopardy had been violated. The RTC,
clearly,actedwithgraveabuseofdiscretioninissuingitsSeptember5,2006orderinviewoftheearlierTROissued
bytheCA.

Second, the petitioners argue that the CA gravely erred when it ruled that: the RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion in issuing its March 3, 2006 resolution disqualifying Atty. Atencia as private prosecutor, and that Atty.
Atencias disqualification violatedthe respondents rights to intervene and be heard in the bigamy case. They
contendthat,evenwithAtty.Atenciasdisqualification,therespondentwasneverdeniedherrighttoparticipatein
the proceedings and was even called to stand as a witness but the respondent never appeared before the court
becauseshewasoutofthecountryduringthewholeproceedingsonthebigamycase.

Section 1621 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure22 expressly allows an offended party to
intervenebycounselintheprosecutionoftheoffensefortherecoveryofcivilliabilitywherethecivilactionforthe
recoveryofcivilliabilityarisingfromtheoffensechargedisinstitutedwiththecriminalaction.Thecivilactionshallbe
deemedinstitutedwiththecriminalaction,exceptwhentheoffendedpartywaivesthecivilaction,reservestheright
toinstituteitseparatelyorinstitutesthecivilactionpriortothecriminalaction.23

In this case, the CA found no suchwaiver from or reservation made by the respondent. The fact that the
1wphi1

respondent,whowasalreadybasedabroad,hadsecuredtheservicesofanattorneyinthePhilippinesrevealsher
willingness and interest to participate in the prosecution of the bigamy case and to recover civil liability from the
petitioners.Thus,theRTCshouldhaveallowed,andshouldnothavedisqualified,Atty.Atenciafrominterveningin
the bigamy case as the respondent, being the offended party, is afforded by law the right to participate through
counselintheprosecutionoftheoffensewithrespecttothecivilaspectofthecase.

Lastly, the petitioners argue that the respondents certiorari petition before the CA should have been dismissed
outrightbecauseitfailedtoimpleadthe"PeopleofthePhilippines"asapartyrespondent.

The respondents failure to implead the "People of the Philippines" as a partyrespondent is not a fatal defect
warrantingtheoutrightdismissalofherpetitionforcertiorariandprohibitionbeforetheCAbecause:(1)apetitionfor
certiorariandprohibitionunderRule65isdirectedagainstanytribunal,boardorofficerexercisingjudicialorquasi
judicialfunctionsallegedtohaveactedwithoutorinexcessofitsorhisjurisdiction,orwithgraveabuseofdiscretion
amountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction24and(2)thepetitionforcertiorariandprohibitionfiledbytherespondent
is a special civil action separate and independent from the bigamy case filed against the petitioners. For these
reasons,the"PeopleofthePhilippines"neednotbeimpleadedasapartyinapetitionforcertiorariandprohibition.

WHEREFOR,inviewoftheforegoing,weDENYthepresentpetitionforreviewoncertiorariduetolackofmerit,
andherebyAFFIRMthedecisiondatedJuly30,2010andresolutiondatedApril8,2011oftheCourtofAppealsin
CAG.R.SPNo.93807.

SOORDERED.

ARTUROD.BRION
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson

MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO JOSECATRALMENDOZA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

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MARVICM.V.F.LEONEN
AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

IattestthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassigned
tothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice

Chairperson,SecondDivision

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,andtheDivisionChairperson'sAttestation,Icertifythatthe
conclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriterof
theopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1
UnderRule45oftheRulesofCourtrollo,pp.728.
2
Penned by CA Associate Justice Francisco P. Acosta, with Associate Justices Vicente S.E. Veloso and
SamuelH.Gaerlan,concurringrollo,pp.3247.
3
Rollo,p.4850.
4
Id.at100104.
5
Id.at138143.
6
Id.at105107.
7
Id.at108109.
8
Id.at112113.
9
Id.at114120.
10
InanOppositiondatedFebruary27,2006id.at121125.
11
InaCommenttotheOmnibusMotiondatedFebruary22,2006id.at126127.
12
Seenote4.
13
Rollo,pp.6895.
14
Id.at134137.
15
Seenote5.
16
Seenote2.
17
Rollo,p.46.
18
Id.at144158.
19
Id.at1427.
20
Id.at77.
21
SEC.16.InterventionoftheoffendedpartyincriminalactionWherethecivilactionforrecoveryofcivil
liabilityisinstitutedinthecriminalactionpursuanttoRule111,theoffendedpartymayintervenebycounselin
theprosecutionoftheoffense

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22
EffectiveDecember1,2000,A.M.No.00503SC.
23
Section1,Rule111oftheRevisedRulesofCriminalProcedure.
24
SeeSections1and2ofRule65,RulesofCourt.

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