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RULE 110 #6

SPO4 EDUARDO ALONZO VS. JUDGE CRISANTO C. CONCEPCION, Presiding


Judge, Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Branch 12, Province of Bulacan
A.M. No. RTJ-04-1879. January 17, 2005

Facts:

In a wedding party, SPO4 Eduardo Alonzo, Jun Rances, Zoilo Salamat and Rey Santos
were drinking together at the same table. While waiting to be seated, Pedrito Alonzo
was introduced by SPO4 Alonzo to Rances as his nephew and as the son of ex-Captain
Alonzo. SPO4 Alonzo then introduced him to Salamat. Pedrito and his companions
took their seats and started drinking at the table across SPO4 Alonzos table. After
some time, Pedrito stood up to urinate at the back of the house. Santos passed a bag
to Salamat, and they followed Pedrito. Rances likewise followed them. A shot rang out.
Salamat was seen placing a gun inside the bag as he hurriedly left. The wedding
guests ran after Salamat. They saw him and Rances board a vehicle being driven by
Santos. Pedritos uncle, Jose Alonzo, sought the help of SPO4 Alonzo to chase the
culprits. He refused and even disavowed any knowledge as to their identity.
Jose Alonzo filed a complaint for murder against Salamat, Rances, Santos, SPO4
Alonzo and a certain Isidro Atienza. A preliminary investigation1 was conducted by the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor where Jose Alonzo and his four witnesses testified.
Upon review of the records of the case by the 3rd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, it
was recommended that Salamat be charged with murder as principal, and Santos and
Rances as accessories. With regard to SPO4 Alonzo and Isidro Atienza, the prosecutor
found that no sufficient evidence was adduced to establish their conspiracy with
Salamat. Judge Concepcion of the RTC issued an Order directing the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor to amend the information, so as to include all the aforenamed
persons as accused in this case, all as principals.

Issue:

Whether or not the court has authority to review and reverse the resolution of the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor or to find probable cause against a respondent for
the purpose of amending the Information.

Held:

The function of a preliminary investigation is to determine whether there is sufficient


ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the
respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. It is through the
conduct of a preliminary investigation that the prosecutor determines the existence of
a prima facie case that would warrant the prosecution of a case. As a rule, courts
cannot interfere with the prosecutor's discretion and control of the criminal
prosecution. The reason for placing the criminal prosecution under the direction and
control of the fiscal is to prevent malicious or unfounded prosecution by private
persons. However, while prosecuting officers have the authority to prosecute persons
shown to be guilty of a crime they have equally the legal duty not to prosecute when
after an investigation, the evidence adduced is not sufficient to establish a prima facie
case.
In a clash of views between the judge who did not investigate and the prosecutor who
did, or between the fiscal and the offended party or the accused, that of the
prosecutor's should normally prevail.

RULE 110 #28


PEOPLE VS GUTIERREZ
FACTS:

This is an appeal taken by defendants Gutierrez, Quirino and Cabral from a decision
of the CFI of Samar convicting them of murder, for the death of Liberato Tabuena and
sentencing them to life imprisonment.

The prosecutions version is as follows: one early evening, Tabuena was having dinner
in his house together with his children and Natividad Dequito, Tito Julaton and
Prudencio Manoso. Tito Julaton was the first to finish his dinner, who thereafter left
the house, On his way he met Ely Colili, who he had a fight with, In the course of the
fight, both sustained injuries, although Elys was serious that he left prostrate on an
embankment. News of the fight reached Elys friends Cabral, Gutierrez and Quirino.
So they went to his aid with torches and bolos. There they met Tabuena who they
asked to get a hammock so that Ely could be carried to Buenavista. After getting a
hammock, Tabuena helped the defendants pick up Ely and then they brought him to
Tabuenas yard. As Tabuena was tying the ends of the hammock to a bamboo pole,
Gutierrez and Quirino hacked him on the back. Liberato ran but was pursued by the
defendants, who inflicted fatal wounds on said victim.
The defense had a different version, they alleged that Tabuena and Ely were wounded
in the course of a free-for-all fight between Liberato, Ely and Julaton.

The lower court rejected the version of the defense and accepted that of the
prosecution.
The defendants filed a motion to reopen the case for the purpose of introducing the
testimony of Ely Colili, which the lower court denied.
ISSUE:
WON the motion to reopen the case should be granted.
HELD:

NO. Ely's testimony is concededly corroborative and not newly discovered. In fact,
counsel for the defense in the lower court expressly waived the introduction of said
testimony upon the ground that it is merely cumulative in nature. The granting of a
new trial is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, which discretion will
not be disturbed in the absence of abuse in the exercise thereof
RULE 110 #50

GR No: 156747Date: 02/23/2005


BANAL III V. PANGANIBAN
Petitioner: CONRADO BANAL III

Respondent: HON. DELIA H. PANGANIBAN of RTC-MAKATI, MA. TERESA G.


WINTERNITZ, et al.
Facts:
A complaint was filed by the respondents against petitioner for his articles entitled
House of the Rising Sun and Heist Cold Beer!, which appeared in petitioners
Breaktime column in the Aug. 1, 2000 and August12, 2000 issues of the Philippine
Daily Inquirer.

6 informations for libel were filed in the RTC of Makati City. Upon arraignment,
petitioner entered a plea of not guilty and filed a Motion to Quash the 6 informations
on the ground that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the offense charged. He
argued that the informations failed to allege the actual residence of the complainant at
the time of the commission of the offense or the place where the allegedly libelous
article was printed and first published
. RTC granted motion to quash. Respondents filed an Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration of the dismissal of the informations and moved that an amendment of
the informations be allowed, averring that the failure to specifically allege that the
libelous articles were printed and first published in Makati was merely a formal defect
and can be cured by amendment. The RTC granted the amendment. Petitioner filed a
petition for certiorari and prohibition but CA dismissed it.
Issues:
(1) Whether the RTC of Makati City has jurisdiction over the offense. YES

(2) Whether the amendment was formal or substantial. IT WAS MERELY A MATTER
OF FORM
Rationale:
1.Jurisdiction of RTC.
The portion of the original information reads: the newspaper column Breaktime of
the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which is published in English in the City of Makati,
Metro Manila, Philippines and of general circulation in the Philippines and abroad
.Thus, it was clearly stated in the information that the newspaper is published in
Makati City but circulated throughout the country, which allegation accordingly vests
jurisdiction over the offense charged in the RTC of Makati City.
2.Validity of Amendment.
The amendment in the informations was one of form. The amendment which states -
That the libelous article above-quoted was printed and first published in the City of
Makati, more particularly at 3817 Mascardo street, Makati City and/or at 1098 Chino
Roces Avenue (formerly Pasong Tamo) corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati
City is merely formal.

As laid down by this Court, an amendment is only in form when it merely adds
specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information and not to introduce new and
material facts, and merely states with additional precision something which is already
contained in the original information and which, therefore, adds nothing essential for
conviction for the crime charged.

RULE 111 #6

OSCAR MACCAY and ADELAIDA POTENCIANO VS SPOUSES PRUDENCIO NOBELA


and SERLINA NOBELA
FACTS:

In 1990, Adelaida Potenciano was looking for a prospective buyer or mortagagee of a


parcel of land belonging to Oscar Maccay, who was a police colonel. She was referred
to Spouses Nobela , who were engaged in lending money to market vendors.

Potenciano introduced herself as Angelita Barba , wife of Oscar Maccay. Potenciano


misrepresented herself as wealthy and influential. She even said that she was related
to the late President Marcos and that PCGG was after her properties.

Potenciano introduced Maccay to the couple. The couple was impressed and treated
Potenciano like a queen whenever she would visit them. She was fanned, massaged
and served her meals in the sala.
Potenciano was able to convince the couple to buy her property in Antipolo for
P300.000.00, and after pooling their money, a deed of sale was executed.

After a month, Mr. Nobela suffered a stroke. He was brought to Polymedic Hospital.
Potenciano bragged that owners of the hospital were her parents, and told Serlina not
to worry about the bill. After a week, Potenciano tried to pay the bill with foreign
currency but was refused by the cashier. They went to a money changer , who said
that her money was counterfeit.

Serlina had to resort to borrowing of money. From then on, the trust and confidence
on the Maccay couple started to dwindle. There were other instances of
misrepresentations by the Maccays that made the friendship turn sour.
Serlina started to doubt Potenciano so she went to the NBI and found out that
Potenciano has a string of cases against her,
In 1993, Potenciano filed a complaint against the spouses, alleging that she was fooled
by the Nobelas, and that her TCT was stolen from her.
In the meantime, the Nobelas tried to register the sale and asked for the help of a
broker referred to them, Anita dela Vega.
Then, the Nobelas received an invitation from the Police to answer to the Theft and
Estafa complaint by Potenciano against them.

Serlina went to the Register of Deed to find out why they were accused and she was
astonished to discover that property registered by de la Vega was under the name of
Linda Cruz. She also found the payments of the capital gains tax as only P1,000.00
plus. Then she realized the reason for the alleged falsification charge of Potenciano
alias Angelita Barba and Oscar Maccay. The deed of sale given to them (Exh. "1") for
P300,000.00 which they paid the Maccays was not the one registered but one which
obviously was forged by de la Vega and her mother Juanita Magcaling in order to
make more money from the registration transaction. They filed a complaint against de
la Vega and Juanita Magcaling which is still pending in court at Judge Alfredo Flores
sala.

Petitioner Maccay filed the criminal complaint against respondent spouses for Estafa
through Falsification of Public Document before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor
of Rizal.
The trial court acquitted respondent spouses and found that petitioners swindled
respondent spouses. The trial court declared that petitioner Maccay filed the Estafa
charge against respondent spouses to turn the tables on respondent spouses, the
victims of the swindling. The court ordered the petitioners to reimburse Prudencio
Nobela and Serlina Nobela the amount of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P300,000.00) paid to them by the accused spouses in the sale of the litigated
property. Further the complainants Oscar Maccay and Adelaida Potenciano are hereby
ordered to pay P50,000.00 to Prudencio Nobela and Serlina Nobela as moral damages
and P40,000.00 as attorneys fees.
ISSUES:
1. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT MAY RULE ON THE CIVIL LIABILITY OF
COMPLAINANT IN A CRIMINAL CASE WHERE THE CIVIL ACTION WAS NOT
RESERVED OR FILED SEPARATELY; NO

2. WHETHER A WITNESS, WHO IS NOT A PARTY TO THE CASE, MAY BE HELD


LIABLE FOR DAMAGES. NO

HELD:

A court trying a criminal case cannot award damages in favor of the accused. The task
of the trial court is limited to determining the guilt of the accused and if proper, to
determine his civil liability. A criminal case is not the proper proceedings to determine
the private complainants civil liability, if any.
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in
the criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof
may be litigated in a separate civil action.

The trial court also erred in holding prosecution witness petitioner Potenciano,
together with complainant petitioner Maccay, liable for damages to respondent
spouses. A judgment cannot bind persons who are not parties to the action.10 A
decision of a court cannot operate to divest the rights of a person who is not a party to
the case.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the instant petition. The Decision of the Regional Trial
Court, Pasig, Branch 70 dated 26 January 1995 in Criminal Case No. 85961 is
AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:

1. The order to reimburse the P300,000 to respondent spouses Prudencio and Serlina
Nobela is deleted;
2. The award of P50,000 as moral damages and the award of P40,000 as attorneys
fees are likewise deleted.