Case Brief: Garcia vs. CA

G.R. No. 119063 January 27, 1997

JOSE G. GARCIA, petitioner,



Petitioner Jose G. Garcia filed an Affidavit of Complaint with the Q.C. Prosecutor’s Office, charging his wife, private respondent Adela Teodora P. Santos with Bigamy.

In the RTC trial, it was mentioned that the accused was previously married with Reynaldo Quiroca, and without the said marriage having been dissolved, subsequently contracted the second marriage with the petitioner.

Private respondent filed a Motion to Quash alleging prescription of the offense as ground. She contended that by the petitioner’s admissions in his testimony in a Civil Case and in his complaint filed with the Civil Service Commission, the petitioner discovered the offense as early as 1974. Pursuant then to Art 91 of the RPC, the period of prescription of the offense started to run therefrom. Thus, the offense charged prescribed in 1989, or 15 years after its discovery by the petitioner.

The CA, although gave credence to the respondent’s evidence and recognized that the 15 year prescriptive period had certainly lapsed. However, the quashal of an information based on prescription could only be invoked before or after arraignment and even on appeal.

Hence, this appeal to remand the case in the RTC for further proceedings.



Whether or not the CA committed a reversible error in affirming the Trial Court’s order granting the motion to quash the information for bigamy based on prescription.



The petitioner’s contention that a motion to quash cannot go beyond the information in Criminal Case No. Q-92-27272 which states that the crime was discovered in 1989, is palpably unmeritorious. Even People v. Alaga,  which he cites, mentions the exceptions to the rule as provided in paragraphs (f) and (h) of Section 2, and Sections 4 and 5 of the old Rule 117, viz., (a) extinction of criminal liability, and (b) double jeopardy. His additional claim that the exception of extinction can no longer be raised due to the implied repeal of the former Section 4, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court occasioned by its non-reproduction after its revision, is equally without merit. No repeal, express or implied, of the said Section 4 ever took place. While there is no provision in the new Rule 117 that prescribes the contents of a motion to quash based on extinction of criminal liability, Section 2 thereof encapsulizes the former Sections 3, 4, and 5 of the old Rule 117. The said Section 2 reads as follows:

Sec. 2. Foms and contents. — The motion to quash shall be in writing signed by the accused or his counsel. It shall specify distinctly the factual and legal grounds therefor and the court shall consider no grounds other than those stated therein, except lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged. (3a, 4a, 5a).

It is clear from this Section that a motion to quash may be based on factual and legal grounds, and since extinction of criminal liability and double jeopardy are retained as among the grounds for a motion to quash in Section 3 of the new Rule 117, it necessarily follows that facts outside the information itself may be introduced to grove such grounds. As a matter of fact, inquiry into such facts may be allowed where the ground invoked is that the allegations in the information do not constitute the offense charged. Thus, in People v. De la Rosa, SC stated:

As a general proposition, a motion to quash on the ground that the allegations of the information do not constitute the offense charged, or any offense for that matter, should be resolved on the basis alone of said allegations whose truth and veracity are hypothetically admitted. However, as held in the case of People vs. Navarro, 75 Phil. 516, additional facts not alleged in the information, but admitted or not denied by the prosecution may be invoked in support of the motion to quash.

In Criminal Case No. 92-27272, the trial court, without objection on the part of the prosecution, allowed the private respondent to offer evidence in support of her claim that the crime had prescribed. Consequently, the trial court, upon indubitable proof of prescription, correctly granted the motion to quash. It would have been, to quote De la Rosa, “pure technicality for the court to close its eyes to [the fact of prescription) and still give due course to the prosecution of the case” — a technicality which would have meant loss of valuable time of the court and the parties.



Notes: Torts in relation to Remedial Law


Jurisprudence is rich with cases tackling Quasi-Delicts (Art. 2176, Civil Code) in relation to the Rules of Court.  The salient topics that the author was able to jot down on his notes are as follows:

In Casupanan vs. Laroya, the defendant filed a criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property, while the plaintiffs filed a civil action for damages based on Art. 2176 of the Civil Code.  The Supreme Court held that although the two actions arose from the same act or omission, they stem from different causes of action, which are culpa criminal and culpa aquiliana respectively.  Hence, there is no forum shopping because the law and the rules expressly allow the filing of a separate civil action which can proceed independently of the criminal action.   Sec. 1, par. 6, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure is on point:

SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) x x x.

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. (Emphasis supplied)

The same case tackled the differences between the 1985 Rules and the 2000 Rules.  This is very important.  Even the author was a bit confused when he read the older cases, as the mechanics were very different back then.

In the 1985 Rules, Art. 19-32 (intentional torts), Art. 2176, and civil liability ex delicto were deemed instituted with the filing of criminal action.  The provisions of the law as to the waiver, reservation, and prior institution of civil action apply to those three.

In the 2000 Rules, only the civil liability ex delicto is deemed instituted and is affected by the provisions on waiver, reservation, and prior institution of civil action.  For all the other actions based on Art. 2176 and Art. 19-32, they are now independent civil actions which are not affected by the provisions on reservation and waiver.  Otherwise stated, there is no need to make a reservation for such civil action.

Do note that as per the current rules, a separate civil action must be filed before the prosecution presents its evidence.  Waiver of civil action may be filed anytime.  And in case of prior institution of civil action, the subsequent filing of criminal action will suspend the civil action.

Take note of Sec. 2, Rule 111, of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure as well:

Section 2. When separate civil action is suspended. — After the criminal action has been commenced, the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.

If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.

During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of the civil action which cannot be instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended shall be tolled. (n)

The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist.

Such consolidation of civil and criminal action applies only if the civil case is instituted prior to the criminal case.  Its main effect is that the evidence is automatically duplicated, although such filing must be done before the case is finished. This provision will not apply if you reserve the right to institute a separate civil action.

Finally, the conclusion of the Supreme Court in the same case is as follows:

Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed separately by the offended party even without reservation. The commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the prosecution of the independent civil action under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil action arising from the crime, if such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal action.

Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or omission. The first a criminal case where the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case for quasi-delict – without violating the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution of the criminal action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil action since he cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused. In some instances, the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing of another case against his employer or guardians.

Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This is only fair for two reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The accused is therefore forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the period continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.

Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To disallow the accused from filing a separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due process of law, access to the courts, and equal protection of the law.

Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The order of dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the ground of forum-shopping is erroneous.

This, in effect, made the earlier SC decisions inapplicable anymore (e.g. People vs. Amistad, People vs. Navoa, People vs. Badeo, and People vs. Bayotas).  Bear that in mind, as these can confuse or mislead the reader.

Lastly, the author would like to include the following cases related to the subject matter at hand:

In Virata vs. Ochoa:

The aggrieved party may file criminal action or civil damages.  Although it is important to note that you can only recover once, whichever is higher.

Acquittal in a criminal case is not a bar for recovery of civil damages arising out of other sources.

There is no identity of causes of action between a crime and a quasi-delict.

In Occena vs. Icamina, the Supreme Court held that:

The judgment of conviction in a criminal case does not bar appealing the civil aspect of the case.

Two kinds of appeal may be had in conviction:  a) accused may appeal the criminal and civil aspect of the case; or, b) complainant may appeal only the civil aspect of the case if award of damages is refused or unsatisfactory.

Active participation in criminal action does not equate to waiver of right to appeal.

In Jarantilla vs. CA:

Failure of the trial court to make any pronouncement as to civil liability amounts to reservation.  Hence, party may still appeal for the civil aspect of the case.

In Park vs. Choi:

In criminal cases, you can file a demurrer to evidence after the prosecution rested its case.  If the court grants the same, the court may enter a partial judgement, dismissing the criminal case on one hand, and remanding the civil aspect to the lower courts on the other.

In Salazar vs. People, the court held the following:

The acquittal of the accused does not prevent a judgment against him on the civil aspect of the case where (a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; (b) where the court declared that the liability of the accused is only civil; (c) where the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted. Moreover, the civil action based on the delict is extinguished if there is a finding in the final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist or where the accused did not commit the acts or omission imputed to him.

If the accused is acquitted on reasonable doubt but the court renders judgment on the civil aspect of the criminal case, the prosecution cannot appeal from the judgment of acquittal as it would place the accused in double jeopardy. However, the aggrieved party, the offended party or the accused or both may appeal from the judgment on the civil aspect of the case within the period therefor.

After the prosecution has rested its case, the accused has the option either to (a) file a demurrer to evidence with or without leave of court under Section 23, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, or to (b) adduce his evidence unless he waives the same.


Disclaimer:  The author merely published his notes from the classroom discussions and recitations.  He does not guarantee the full accuracy of the data.  If you see any wrong information, please tell and the author will be more than happy to correct it.  After all, “false knowledge is more dangerous that outright ignorance”.

Case Brief: Tetangco vs. Ombudsman

G.R. No. 156427             January 20, 2006




Sometime on March 8, 2002, Amadeo Tetangco filed his Complaint before the Ombudsman alleging that on January 26, 2001, private respondent Mayor Atienza gave P3,000 cash financial assistance to the chairman and P1,000 to each tanod of Barangay 105, Zone 8, District I. Allegedly, on March 5, 2001, Mayor Atienza refunded P20,000 or the total amount of the financial assistance from the City of Manila when such disbursement was not justified as a lawful expense. In his Counter-Affidavit, Mayor Atienza denied the allegations and sought the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of jurisdiction and for forum-shopping. He asserted that it was the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), not the Ombudsman that has jurisdiction over the case and the same case had previously been filed before the COMELEC. Furthermore, the Complaint had no verification and certificate of non-forum shopping. The mayor maintained that the expenses were legal and justified, the same being supported by disbursement vouchers, and these had passed prior audit and accounting. The Investigating Officer recommended the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of evidence and merit. The Ombudsman adopted his recommendation. The Office of the Ombudsman, through its Over-all Deputy Ombudsman, likewise denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Hence, a petition before the Supreme Court.



Whether or not the Ombudsman commits grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the Complaint?



The Ombudsman found no evidence to prove probable cause. Probable cause signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man’s belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.

The Complaint charges Mayor Atienza with illegal use of public funds. On this matter, Art. 220 of the Revised Penal Code provides: “Art. 220. Illegal use of public funds or property. – Any public officer who shall apply any public fund or property under his administration to any public use other than that for which such fund or property were appropriated by law or ordinance shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from one-half to the total of the sum misapplied, if by reason of such misapplication, any damages or embarrassment shall have resulted to the public service. In either case, the offender shall also suffer the penalty of temporary special disqualification.

“The elements of the offense, also known as technical malversation, are: (1) the offender is an accountable public officer; (2) he applies public funds or property under his administration to some public use; and (3) the public use for which the public funds or property were applied is different from the purpose for which they were originally appropriated by law or ordinance.” It is clear that for technical malversation to exist, it is necessary that public funds or properties had been diverted to any public use other than that provided for by law or ordinance. To constitute the crime, there must be a diversion of the funds from the purpose for which they had been originally appropriated by law or ordinance. Patently, the third element is not present in this case.

In this case, the action taken by the Ombudsman cannot be characterized as arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic.  Here, the Complaint merely alleged that the disbursement for financial assistance was neither authorized by law nor justified as a lawful expense. Complainant did not cite any law or ordinance that provided for an original appropriation of the amount used for the financial assistance cited and that it was diverted from the appropriation it was intended for.

Case Brief: Tabuena vs. Sandiganbayan

G.R. Nos. 103501-03 February 17, 1997

LUIS A. TABUENA, petitioner,

G.R. No. 103507 February 17, 1997

ADOLFO M. PERALTA, petitioner,



Then President Marcos instructed Luis Tabuena over the phone to pay directly to the president’s office and in cash what the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) owes the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), pursuant to the 7 January 1985 memorandum of then Minister Trade and Industry Roberto Ongpin. Tabuena agreed. About a week later, Tabuena received from Mrs. Fe Roa-Gimenez, then private secretary of Marcos, a Presidential Memorandum dated 8 January 1986 reiterating in black and white such verbal instruction. In obedience to President Marcos’ verbal instruction and memorandum, Tabuena, with the help of Gerardo G. Dabao and Adolfo Peralta, caused the release of P55 Million of MIAA funds by means of three (3) withdrawals. On 10 January 1986, the first withdrawal was made for P25 Million, following a letter of even date signed by Tabuena and Dabao requesting the PNB extension office at the MIAA the depository branch of MIAA funds, to issue a manager’s check for said amount payable to Tabuena. The check was encashed, however, at the PNB Villamor Branch. Dabao and the cashier of the PNB Villamor branch counted the money after which, Tabuena took delivery thereof. The P25 Million in cash was delivered on the same day to the office of Mrs. Gimenez. Mrs. Gimenez did not issue any receipt for the money received. Similar circumstances surrounded the second withdrawal/encashment and delivery of another P25 Million, made on 16 January 1986. The third and last withdrawal was made on 31 January 1986 for P5 Million. Peralta was Tabuena’s co-signatory to the letter- request for a manager’s check for this amount. Peralta accompanied Tabuena to the PNB Villamor branch as Tabuena requested him to do the counting of the P5 Million. After the counting, the money was loaded in the trunk of Tabuena’s car. Peralta did not go with Tabuena to deliver the money to Mrs. Gimenez’ office. It was only upon delivery of the P5 Million that Mrs. Gimenez issued a receipt for all the amounts she received from Tabuena. The receipt was dated January 30,1986. Tabuena and Peralta were charged for malversation of funds, while Dabao remained at large. One of the justices of the Sandiganbayan actively took part in the questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves; the volume of the questions asked were more the combined questions of the counsels. On 12 October 1990, they were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Tabuena and Peralta filed separate petitions for review, appealing the Sandiganbayan decision dated 12 October 19990 and the Resolution of 20 December 1991.



Whether or not petitioners are guilty of the crime of malversation.



Luis Tabuena and Adolfo Peralta are acquitted of the crime of malversation. Tabuena acted in strict compliance with the MARCOS Memorandum. The order emanated from the Office of the President and bears the signature of the President himself, the highest official of the land. It carries with it the presumption that it was regularly issued. And on its face, the memorandum is patently lawful for no law makes the payment of an obligation illegal. This fact, coupled with the urgent tenor for its execution constrains one to act swiftly without question. Records show that the Sandiganbayan actively took part in the questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves. The questions of the court were in the nature of cross examinations characteristic of confrontation, probing and insinuation. Tabuena and Peralta may not have raised the issue as an error, there is nevertheless no impediment for the court to consider such matter as additional basis for a reversal since the settled doctrine is that an appeal throws the whole case open to review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such errors as may be found in the judgment appealed from whether they are made the subject of assignments of error or not.

Case Brief: Agullo vs. Sandiganbayan

G.R. No. 132926       July 20, 2001

ELVIRA AGULLO, petitioner,



On September 30,1988 Elvira was Charge of malversation germinated from an audit conducted on 14 July 1986 by Ignacio Gerez, Auditing Examiner III, as a result of which a P26,404.26 cash shortage was discovered on petitioner’s accountability. In the course of the pre-trial, petitioner Agullo conceded the fact of audit and admitted the findings in the Report of Cash Examination and the facts set forth in the Letter of Demand. In effect, she admitted the fact of shortage in the amount stated in the Information. Notwithstanding, petitioner  Agullo, at all stages of the criminal indictment, persistently professed her innocence of the charge and categorically denied having malversed or converted the public funds in question for her own personal use or benefit. With petitioner’s admission of the fact of cash shortage, the prosecution then rested its case For its part, the defense, in its bid to overturn the presumption of malversation and shatter the prima facie evidenceof conversion, offered the testimony of the following witnesses: petitioner Elvira Agullo; Rene Briones Austero, Cashier III of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Region VIII; and Engracia Camposano-Camaoy, Barangay Captain of Hinabuyan, Dagame, Leyte. Striking down the defense as “incredible and without basis,” the Sandiganbayan rendered its assailed decision, convicting petitioner  Agullo of the crime of malversation of public funds, ratiocinating principally that “no evidence has been presented linking the loss of the government funds with the alleged sudden heart attack of the accused (herein petitioner).”



Whether or not the Sandiganbayan disregarded or overlooked certain evidence of substance for the crime of malversation.



The Supreme Court ruled that the Sandiganbayan undoubtedly disregarded or overlooked certain evidence of substance which, to a large extent, bear considerable weight in the adjudication of petitioner’s guilt or the affirmation of her constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Upon thorough scrutiny of the evidence adduced by both prosecution and defense, we hold that petitioner Agullo has satisfactorily overcome and rebutted by competent proof, the prima facie evidence of conversion so as to exonerate her from the charge of malversation. To this end, petitioner presented evidence that satisfactorily prove that not a single centavo of the missing funds was used for her own personal benefit or gain. Notably, the Sandiganbayan, in convicting petitioner, obviously relied more on the flaws and deficiencies in the evidence presented by the defense, not on the strength and merit of the prosecution’s evidence This course of action is impermissible for the evidence of the prosecution clearly cannot sustain a conviction “in an unprejudiced mind. “The constitutional presumption of innocence is not an empty platitude meant only to embellish the Bill of Rights. Its purpose is to balance the scales in what would otherwise be an uneven contest between the lone individual pitted against the People of the Philippines and all the resources at their command. Its inexorable mandate is that, for all the authority and influence of the prosecution, the accused must be acquitted and set free if his guilt cannot be proved beyond the whisper of doubt.”

Case Brief: Cañal vs. People

G.R. No. 163181     October 19, 2005

BONIFACIO L. CAÑAL, SR., Petitioner,


Emelinda, Daylinda’s witness, declared that while she was outside the courthouse she saw Bonifacio and clearly overheard him say in Filipino: “Why should you be afraid of Daylinda’s witnesses, they are all  nincompoops. Daylinda is a thief!  She has been long eking out a living as a thief.” A number of persons outside the courthouse also heard the utterances of Bonifacio.

The MCTC found the accused guilty of the crime grave oral defamation.

On appeal, the RTC rendered judgment affirming the decision of the MCTC.

The case was elevated to the CA via petition for review, and the appellate court affirmed in toto the RTC’s decision. Hence, this petition to the SC.



Whether or not the CA gravely erred in sustaining his conviction of the crime of grave oral defamation.



The petition is denied for lack of merit. However, the Court finds that the penalty imposed on the petitioner is erroneous.  The penalty imposed by Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, for grave oral defamation is arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period which has a duration of from four (4) months and one (1) day to two (2) years and four (4) months.

It must be remembered that every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown.  And malice may be inferred from the style and tone of publication subject to certain exceptions which are not present. Indeed, calling Daylinda a thief is defamation against her character and reputation sufficient to cause her embarrassment and social humiliation. Daylinda testified to the feelings of shame and humiliation she suffered as a result of the incident complained of.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the CA is AFFIRMED WITH the MODIFICATION on his SENTENCE terms.

Case Brief: Antiquera vs People

G.R. No. 180661 December 11, 2013

Police officers were conducting a police visibility patrol in Pasay City when they saw two unidentified men rush out of a house and boarded a jeep. Believing that there was a crime, the police officers approached the house. When they peeked through the partially opened door, they saw Antiquera and Cruz engaged in a pot session. The police officers entered the house, introduced themselves and arrested Antiquera and Cruz. While inspecting the vicinity, PO1 Cabutihan saw a jewellery box which contained shabu and unused paraphernalia. The RTC found them guilty of illegal possession of paraphernalia for dangerous drugs. The court affirmed the decision of RTC.

Whether or not the arrest was invalid.

Yes, there was unlawful arrest because the circumstances here do not make out a case of arrest made in flagrante delicto. Admittedly, the police officers did not notice anything amiss going on in the house from the street where they stood. Indeed, even as they peeked through its partially opened door, they saw no activity that warranted their entering it. Clearly, no crime was plainly exposed to the view of the arresting officers that authorized the arrest of accused Antiquera without warrant under the above-mentioned rule. Considering that his arrest was illegal, the search and seizure that resulted from it was likewise illegal.