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In the case at bar, the records do not reveal that the Information against the

Cases on Arraignment, PI and Prejudicial Question

1. People of the Philippines vs. Alicando y Briones
GR No. 117487
Accused appellant was charged with the crime of rape with homicide for the
death and rape of a 4 year old girl. On June 1994, appellant was arraigned and
assisted by PAO Lawyer, and he pleaded guilty. After the arraignment, the
RTC ordered prosecution to present evidence, the appellant was likewise
asked to present evidence if he wills. The prosecution was able to present a
witness who saw the crime took place. The said witness then informed the
parents of the victim. The accused was then arrested and interrogated by
police. He verbally confessed his guilt without the assistance of counsel. On
the basis of his uncounselled verbal confession and follow up interrogations,
the police came to know and recovered from appellant's house, Khazie Mae's
green slippers, a pair of gold earrings, a buri mat, a stained pillow and a
stained T-shirt all of which were presented as evidence for the prosecution.
On July 1994, RTC convicted the accused of death. As the penalty was death,
it was automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court.

appellant was read in the language or dialect known to him. The Information
against the appellant is written in the English language. It is unbeknown
whether the appellant knows the English language. Neither is it known what
dialect is understood by the appellant. Nor is there any showing that the
Information couched in English was translated to the appellant in his own
dialect before his plea of guilt.
One need not draw a picture to show that the arraignment of the appellant is
a nullity. It violated section 1(a) of Rule 116, the rule implementing the
constitutional right of the appellant to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation against him. It also denied appellant his constitutional right to
due process of law. 7 It is urged that we must presume that the arraignment of
the appellant was regularly conducted. When life is at stake, we cannot lean
on this rebuttable presumption. We cannot assume. We must be sure.

2. The plea of guilt made by the appellant is likewise null and void. The trial
court violated section 3 of Rule 116 when it accepted the plea of guilt of the
decision of this Court in People vs. Apduhan, Jr., 10 and reiterated in an unbroken

Issue: WON the death penalty was proper in this case.

line of cases. 11 The bottom line of the rule is that the plea of guilt must be
based on a free and informed judgment. Thus, the searching inquiry of the

Held: No. There were both procedural and substantive errors.

trial court must be focused on: (1) the voluntariness of the plea, and (2) the full
comprehension of the consequences of the plea. The questions of the trial court
failed to show the voluntariness of the plea of guilt of the appellant nor did
the questions demonstrate appellant's full comprehension of the consequences

1. There was no evidence or record that the information was read to the
accused in a language he knows, or was in his dialect.
The reading of the complaint or information to the appellant in the language or
dialect known to him is a new requirement imposed by the 1985 Rules on
Criminal Procedure. It implements the constitutional right of an appellant ". .
. to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

of his plea. The records do not reveal any information about the personality
profile of the appellant which can serve as a trustworthy index of his capacity
to give a free and informed plea of guilt. The age, socio-economic status, and
educational background of the appellant were not plumbed by the trial court.
The questions were framed in English yet there is no inkling that appellant has

a nodding acquaintance of English. It will be noted too that the trial court did
not bother to explain to the appellant the essential elements of the crime of
rape with homicide.

fundamental value determination of our system that it is far worse to convict

an innocent person than let a guilty man go free.

A cursory examination of the questions of the trial court to establish the

voluntariness of appellant's plea of guilt will show their utter insufficiency.
The trial court simply inquired if appellant had physical marks of

3. The uncounseled extrajudicial confession of the accused is inadmissible

in evidence for being the fruits of the poisonous tree as this confession
was in violation of his constitutional rights.

maltreatment. It did not ask the appellant when he was arrested, who arrested
him, how and where he was interrogated, whether he was medically
examined before and after his interrogation, etc. It limited its efforts trying to
discover late body marks of maltreatment as if involuntariness is caused by
physical abuse alone. Regretfully, it even turned a blind eye on the following
damning entry on the June 13, 1994 Record of Events of the Iloilo PNP (Exh.
"M") showing that after his arrest, the appellant was mobbed by inmates while in
jail and had suffered hematoma.
Likewise, the trial court's effort to determine whether appellant had full
comprehension of the consequences of his plea is fatally flawed. It warned the
appellant he would get the mandatory death penalty without explaining the
meaning of "mandatory" It did not inform the appellant of the indemnity he has
to pay for the death of the victim. It cautioned appellant there ". . . will be some
effects on your civil rights" without telling the appellant what those "effects" are
and what "civil rights" of his are involved.
Appellant's plea of guilt is void and the trial court erred in using it to sentence
him to death. We stress that under the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, a
conviction in capital offenses cannot rest alone on a plea of guilt. Section 3 of
Rule 116 requires that after a free and intelligent plea of guilt, the trial court
must require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the appellant and the precise
degree of his culpability beyond reasonable doubt. This rule modifies prior
jurisprudence that a plea of guilt even in capital offenses is sufficient to sustain
a conviction charged in the information without need of further proof. The
change is salutary for it enhances one of the goals of the criminal process
which is to minimize erroneous conviction. We share the stance that "it is a

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

In the case at bar, PO3 Tan did not even have the simple sense to reduce the
all important confession of the appellant in writing. Neither did he present
any writing showing that appellant waived his right to silence and to have
competent and independent counsel despite the blatant violation of
appellant's constitutional right, the trial court allowed his uncounselled
confession to flow into the records and illicitly used it in sentencing him to
We have not only constitutionalized the Miranda warnings in our jurisdiction.
We have also adopted the libertarian exclusionary rule known as the "fruit of
the poisonous tree," a phrase minted by Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter in the
celebrated case of Nardone v. United States. 18 According to this rule, once the
primary source (the "tree") is shown to have been unlawfully obtained,
any secondary or derivative evidence (the " fruit " ) derived from it is also
inadmissible. 19 Stated otherwise, illegally seized evidence is obtained as a
direct result of the illegal act, whereas the "fruit of the poisonous tree" is
the indirect result of the same illegal act. The "fruit of the poisonous tree" is at
least once removed from the illegally seized evidence, but it is equally
inadmissible. The rule is based on the principle that evidence illegally
obtained by the State should not be used to gain other evidence because the
originally illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence subsequently
Court held that no valid judgment can be rendered upon an invalid
arraignment. Since in the case at bar, the arraignment of the appellant is void,
his judgment of conviction is also void. In fairness to the appellant, and in
justice to the victim, the case has to be remanded to the trial court. for further

proceedings. There is no philosophy of punishment that allows the State to

kill without any semblance of fairness and justice.

2. People of the Philippines vs. Cabale,

GR Nos. 73249-50, May 8, 1990

Since the judgment against the accused Demetrio Cabale has also become final
due to his escape from detention, only the appeal of the accused Benito Terante
alias "Bodoy" is left for consideration. Earlier, said accused manifested his
desire to continue and pursue his appeal. The accused-appellant, Benito
Terante alias "Bodoy", denied having participated in the commission of the
offenses charged in the informations, and interposed the defense of alibi.
He also claims that there was an irregularity in his arraignment since it was
done after the cases had been submitted for decision, so that he was not
afforded the chance to prepare properly for his defense; and that the
prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt since the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses Vicente Mangaring Rosita Makiling
and Ricarido Fernando are not credible in view of the inconsistencies and
improbabilities in such testimonies.

The 4 accused in this case are Cabale, Daniel, Bodoy, and Cualteros. The crime
is robbery with homicide. The 4 accused on June7, 1968 allegedly entered the
store of Rosello, an old woman, fired shots in the air, grabbed her outside, and
failing to produce money was killed by strangulation. While outside, the
accused also stopped Fernando who was riding on his motorcycle, took his
wallet, and causing him physical injuries. Initial investigations revealed that
one of the robbers was Florencio Daniel who used to be a "cargador" of the
Palancas. When questioned, Florencio Daniel admitted that he participated in
the commission of the robberies and pointed to the other three accused as his
companions in committing the said crime. The 4 accused were then charged
with 2 information, one was for Robbery in Band with Less serious physical
injuries, and Robbery in band with homicide. The 3 accused except for
Cualteros were duly convicted, and sentenced to death penalty. Cualteros
upon the other hand, was acquitted of both charges on reasonable doubt, but
was, nevertheless, ordered to indemnify, jointly with his co-accused, the
offended parties Ricando Fernando and heir of Rufina Rosello in the amounts
stated. The conviction was set for automatic review with SC. As death penalty
was already reprieved, the accused, Florencio Daniel, when asked whether or
not he would like to continue with the review of the decision as an ordinary
appeal, informed the Court that he was no longer interested in pursuing an
appeal and that he was willing to serve the reduced penalty ofreclusion
perpetua. 8 Accordingly, the judgment against him was considered final.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

Issue: Whether or not the arraignment done was irregular.

The Court found that while the arraignment was done after the cases had been
submitted for decision, the error is non- prejudicial and has been fully cured.

. In the case of People vs. Atienza, 12 where a similar issue was raised, the Court
Counsel for the appellant attacks the procedure followed in
the trial already referred where the two accused were
arraigned after the prosecution had rested its case, and he
claims that the trial court erred in considering such evidence,
especially since the trial court itself had declared all the
proceedings had before arraignment as null and void. The
error, if any, is non-prejudicial. The interests of the appellant
have not suffered thereby. His counsel entered into trial
without any objection on the ground that his client had not
yet been arraigned. Said counsel cross-examined the
witnesses for the prosecution. When the fiscal offered to
reproduce all his evidence by presenting again his witnesses,

instead of accepting said offer, he agreed or rather did not

object to having that same evidence for the government
declared by the court as reproduced. We hold that this error
or irregularity has not prejudiced the right or interests of the
appellant, and considering that appellant's counsel had full
opportunity of cross-examining all the witnesses who took
the witness stand for the government and that furthermore he
agreed to the reproduction, of the evidence from the
prosecution, the error or defect had been substantially or fully
In the instant cases, counsel for the appellant entered into trial without
objecting that his client, the appellant herein, had not yet been arraigned. Said
counsel had also the full opportunity of cross-examining the witnesses for the
prosecution. Then, when the cases were being retried after the appellant had
been arraigned, appellant's counsel filed a joint manifestation with the
prosecution, adopting all proceedings had previous to the arraignment of the
appellant. 13 There was, therefore, no violation of the appellant's
constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him.

"not guilty" to that of "guilty" to the lesser offense of violation of Section 17,
R.A. No. 6425, as amended. The said section provides a penalty
of imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to four years and a fine ranging
from six hundred to four thousand pesos shall be imposed upon any pharmacist,
physician, dentist, veterinarian, manufacturer, wholesaler who violates or
fails to keep the records required under Section 25 of the Act; if the violation
or failure involves a regulated drug.
That same day, the respondent Judge issued an order (Annex "B," p. 17, Rollo)
directing private respondent to secure the consent of the prosecutor to the
change of plea, and set the promulgation of decision on January 30, 1991. On
January 30, 1991, respondent Judge postponed the promulgation of the
decision to February 18, 1991 to give private respondent another opportunity
to secure the consent of the prosecutor. Also, on the said date, the private
respondent filed his Request to Plead Guilty to a Lesser Offense. It failed again
to get the consent of the prosecutor.
The prosecutor opposed the said request on the following grounds: (1) the

3. People of the Philippines vs. Villarama and Manuel

GR No. 99287, June 23, 1992
Manuel Ohide was charged with violation of Section 16, Republic Act No.
6425, as amended. He was caught in possession of .08 grams of
Methamphetamin Hydrocloride (Shabu) wrapped with an aluminum foil,
which is a regulated drug.
During the arraignment, the accused entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter,
trial ensued. On November 21, 1990, the prosecution rested its case.
On January 9, 1991, counsel for private respondent verbally manifested in
open court that private respondent was willing to change his former plea of

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

prosecution already rested its case on November 21, 1990; (2) the possibility of
conviction of private respondent of the crime originally charged was high
because of the strong evidence of the prosecution; and (3) the valuable time
which the court and the prosecutor had expended would be put to waste. The
accused reply that the Rules on Criminal Procedure does not fix a specific
period within which an accused is allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense.
The RTC granted the accused request on grounds of Rule 116, Sec. 2.
Issue: Whether or not there was a valid change of plea.
Held: NO.
Plea bargaining in criminal cases, is a process whereby the accused and the
prosecution work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to
court approval.

It usually involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a lesser offense or to only

one or some of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter

As evident from the foregoing, the trial court need not wait for a guideline
from the Office of the Prosecutor before it could act on the accused's motion

sentence than that for the graver charge (ibid). Ordinarily, plea-bargaining is
made during the pre-trial stage of the criminal proceedings. However, the law
still permits the accused sufficient opportunity to change his plea thereafter.

to change plea. As soon as the fiscal has submitted his comment whether for
or against the said motion, it behooves the trial court to assiduously study the
prosecution's evidence as well as all the circumstances upon which the

However, the acceptance of an offer to plead guilty to a lesser offense under

the aforequoted rule is not demandable by the accused as a matter of right but
is a matter that is addressed entirely to the sound discretion of the trial court.

accused made his change of plea to the end that the interests of justice and of
the public will be served. A reading of the disputed rulings in this case failed
to disclose the strength or weakness of the prosecution's evidence.
Apparently, the judgment under review dwelt solely on only one of the three
objections (i.e.waste of valuable time already spent by the court and
prosecution) interposed by the Fiscal which was the least persuasive.

In the case at bar, the private respondent (accused) moved to plead guilty to a
lesser offense after the prosecution had already rested its case. In such
situation, jurisprudence has provided the trial court and the Office of the
Prosecutor with yardstick within which their discretion may be properly

. It must be recalled that the other two grounds of objection were that the

exercised. Thus, in People v. Kayanan (L-39355, May 31, 1978, 83 SCRA 437, 450),
We held that the rules allow such a plea only when the prosecution does not have
sufficient evidence to establish guilt of the crime charged. In his concurring opinion
in People v. Parohinog(G.R. No. L-47462, February 28, 1980, 96 SCRA 373, 377),

of the private respondent of the crime originally charged was high because of
the strong evidence of the prosecution. Absent any finding on the weight of
the evidence in hand, the respondent judge's acceptance of the private
respondent's change of plea is improper and irregular.

then Justice Antonio Barredo explained clearly and tersely the rationale of the

The counsel for the private respondent argues that only the consent of the

. . . (A)fter the prosecution had already rested, the only basis on

which the fiscal and the court could rightfully act in allowing the
appellant to charge his former plea of not guilty to murder to guilty
to the lesser crime of homicide could be nothing more nothing less
than the evidence already in the record. The reason for this being
that Section 4 of Rule 118 (now Section 2, Rule 116) under
which a plea for a lesser offense is allowed was not and could
not have been intended as a procedure for compromise, much
less bargaining.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

prosecution had already rested its case and that the possibility of conviction

fiscal is needed in crimes involving, violation of RA 6425 as amended because

there is no offended party to speak Of and that even the latter's consent is not
an absolute requirement before the trial court could allow the accused to
change his plea.
We do not agree. The provision of Section 2, Rule 116 is clear. The consent
of both the Fiscal and the offended party is a condition precedent to a valid
plea of guilty to a lesser offense. The reason for this is obvious. The Fiscal has
full control of the prosecution of criminal actions. Consequently, it is his duty
to always prosecute the proper offense, not any lesser or graver one, when the
evidence in his hands can only sustain the former.

It would not also be correct to state that there is no offended party in crimes
4. Amatan vs. Aujerio
A.M. No. RTJ-93-956 September 27, 1995

under RA 6425 as amended. While the acts constituting the crimes are not
wrong in themselves, they are made so by law because they infringe upon the
rights of others. The threat posed by drugs against human dignity and the
integrity of society is malevolent and incessant. Such pernicious effect is felt
not only by the addicts themselves but also by their families. As a result,


society's survival is endangered because its basic unit, the family, is the
ultimate victim of the drug menace. The state is, therefore, the offended party
in this case. As guardian of the rights of the people, the government files the
criminal action in the name of the People of the Philippines. The Fiscal who

A criminal complaint was filed against Rodrigo Umpad for the murder of
Tagsip. However, the accused with the consent of the Public prosecutor and
the offended party, entered into plea bargaining where it was agreed that the
accused would plead guilty to the lesser offense of Attempted Homicide instead

represents the government is duty bound to defend the public interests,

threatened by crime, to the point that it is as though he were the person
directly injured by the offense. Viewed in this light, the consent of the
offended party, i.e. the state, will have to be secured from the Fiscal who acts
in behalf of the government.

of homicide as originally charged in the information. Consequently, in his

decision promulgated on the 27th of June 1990, respondent judge found the
accused, Rodrigo Umpad, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lesser crime

Lastly, the counsel for the private respondent maintains that the private
respondent's change of plea and his conviction to the lesser offense of violation
of Section 17, RA No. 6425 as amended is no longer open to review otherwise
his constitutional right against double jeopardy will be violated.

of Attempted Homicide and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of four

years, two months and one day of prision correccional maximum, as minimum
to six years of prision correccional maximum, as the maximum period, exactly
in accordance with the plea bargaining agreement.
Thereafter, the brother in law of the victim filed a complaint letter to the Chief
Justice accusing the respondent judge of gross incompetence, gross ignorance
of the law and gross misconduct for convicting the accused only to attempted

Such supposition has no basis. The right against double jeopardy given to the
accused in Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court applies in cases where both


the fiscal and the offended party consent to the private respondent's change of
plea. Since this is not the situation here, the private respondent cannot claim
this privilege. Instead, the more pertinent and applicable provision is that

Responding to the complaint, respondent Judge asserts that he relied on Sec.

2, Rule 116 of the 1985 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended,

found in Section 7, Rule 117.

Under this rule, the private respondent could still be prosecuted under the
original charge of violation of Section 16 of RA 6425 as amended because of
the lack of consent of the Fiscal who also represents the offended party, i.e.,
the state. More importantly, the trial court's approval of his change of plea was
irregular and improper.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

which allows an accused individual with the consent of the offended party
to plead guilty to a lesser offense, regardless of whether or not such offense
is necessarily included in the crime charged, or is cognizable by a court of
lesser jurisdiction. OCA recommended that the complaint be dismissed on the
grounds of liberality. HE recommended a revision of the said provision.
Issue: Whether or not the plea bargaining agreement was valid.

Held: NO.
Section 2, Rule, 116 of the 1985 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as
amended, allows the accused in criminal case to plead guilty "to lesser offense

be ignored in favor of a more expedient plea of either attempted or frustrated

homicide. We have held before that if the law is so elementary, not to know it
or to act as if one does not know it, constitutes gross ignorance of the law.

regardless of whether or not it is necessarily included in the crime charged."

The fact of death of the victim for which the accused Rodrigo Umpad was
criminally liable, cannot by simple logic and plain common sense be
reconciled with the plea of guilty to the lower offense of attempted homicide.


The crime of homicide as defined in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code
necessarily produces death; attempted homicide does not. Concededly, hiatus
in the law exists in the case before us, which could either lead to a
misapprehension of Section 2 of Rule 116 or to outright confusion. Such a

De Luna was charged with the crime of murder of Tricia. Then, De Luna
assisted by his counsel when arraigned entered a plea of guilty with the
qualification that hindi ko sinadya. The stenographic note reveals that

result was itself recognized by the Deputy Court Administrator when he

recommended an amendment to the provision in his Memorandum.
However, the law is not entirely bereft of solutions in such cases. In
instances where a literal application of a provision of law would lead to
injustice or to a result so directly in opposition with the dictates of logic and
everyday common sense as to be unconscionable, the Civil
Code 5 admonishes judges to take principles of right and justice at heart. In
case of doubt the intent is to promote right and justice. Fiat justice ruat
coelum. Stated differently, when a provision of law is silent or ambiguous,
judges ought to invoke a solution responsive to the vehement urge of
These are fundamental tenets of law. In the case at bench, the fact of the
victim's death, a clear negation of frustrated or attempted homicide, ought to
have alerted the judge not only to a possibly inconsistent result but to an
injustice. The failure to recognize such principles so cardinal to our body of
laws amounts to ignorance of the law and reflects respondent judge's lack of
prudence, if not competence, in the performance of his duties. While it is true,
as respondent judge contends, that he merely applied the rule to the letter, the
palpably incongruous result ought to have been a "red flag" alerting him of
the possibility of injustice. The death of an identified individual, the gravamen
of the charge against the defendant in the criminal case, cannot and should not

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

5. People of the Philippines vs. Patrick de Luna

G.R. No. L-77969, June 22, 1989

indeed the accused plead guilty, but always said that he had no intention to
do so as he was drunk. When asked if there is a need for the prosecution to
present evidence, he said no for he accepts his fault, but he wants the court
to know that he has no motive to kill her. The accused was convicted of
murder. The accused now assails the conviction for the crime of murder, since
he said that he did not intend to kill the victim.
(1) Whether or not the defendant-appellant entered a valid plea of guilty to
the offense as charged in the information; and
(2) Assuming that there was a valid plea of guilty, whether the accused may
waive the presentation of evidence for the prosecution.
In his first assigned error, it is the contention of appellant that the trial court
misappreciated the plea of guilty made by him. Appellant contends that what
he admitted was the commission of the crime of Homicide and not Murder
because of the repeated qualification to his plea that he did not commit the
crime intentionally. He denied the allegations of treachery and evident
premeditation in the information which are necessary to sustain a charge and

subsequent conviction for Murder. He questions the appreciation by the trial

court that what was proved by the qualification 'hindi ko sinasadya' was only
the mitigating circumstance of "no intention to commit so grave a wrong"

While this Court has had the occasion to rule that it is permissible for an
accused to enter a plea of guilty to the crime charged with the reservation to
prove mitigating circumstances, 9 considering, however, the gravity of the

recited in paragraph 3, Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code, and claims that
in truth and in fact his plea was that of guilt of the lesser offense of Homicide,
not Murder.

offense charged in the case at bar, the more prudent course for the trial court
to follow is to reject the plea made by the appellant and direct the parties to
submit their respective evidence.

The essence of a plea of guilty is that the accused admits his guilt, freely,
voluntarily, and with a full knowledge of the consequences and meaning of
his act and with a clear understanding of the precise nature of the crime
charged in the complaint or information.
While it is true that a plea of guilty admits all the allegations in the information
including the aggravating and qualifying circumstances, 6 the repeated and
emphatic qualification stated by the defendant- appellant as regards his plea
of guilty should have drawn the attention of the trial court that the plea was
made without a full knowledge of its consequences. Apparently, counsel
failed to advise him as to the meaning and effect of the technical language
used in the information qualifying the acts constituting the offense.
In order to be valid, the plea must be an unconditional admission of guilt. It
must be of such nature as to foreclose the defendant's right to defend himself
from said charge, thus leaving the court no alternative but to impose the
penalty fixed by law.
Under the circumstances of this case, the appellant's qualified plea of guilty is
not a valid plea of guilty.
Thus, this Court has ruled that:
An accused may not enter a conditional plea of guilty in the sense that he
admits his guilt, provided that a certain penalty be imposed upon him. In such
cases, the information should first be amended or modified with the consent
of the fiscal if the facts so warrant, or the accused must be considered as having
entered a plea of not guilty.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

Even assuming that the plea was in fact to the lesser offense of Homicide and
not Murder, as stated by appellant in his appeal, 10 this Court cannot sustain
appellant's earnest request for an immediate reduction of the penalty imposed
by the trial court. This procedure would run contrary to the explicit provisions
of Section 2, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.
The consent of the fiscal and the offended party is necessary. If the plea of
guilty to a lesser offense is made without the consent of the fiscal and the
offended party, the conviction of the accused shall not be a bar to another
prosecution for an offense which necessarily includes the offense charged in
the former information.
The procedure to be followed in a situation like this where the accused, with
assistance of counsel, voluntarily pleads guilty to a capital offense is explicitly
laid down in Sec. 3, Rule 116 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure promulgated
by the Court, and which went into effect on January 1, 1985. This new rule
states: When an accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall
conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of
the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt and
the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his
The amended rule is a capsulization of the provisions of the old rule and
pertinent jurisprudence. We had several occasions to issue the caveat that even
if the trial court is satisfied that the plea of guilty was entered with full
knowledge of its meaning and consequences, the court must still require the

introduction of evidence for the purpose of establishing the guilt and the
degree of culpability of the defendant.
Under the new formulation, three (3) things are enjoined of the trial court
after a plea of guilty to a capital offense has been entered by the accused:
1. The court must conduct a searching inquiry into the
voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of
his plea;
2. The court must require the prosecution to present evidence
to prove the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his
culpability; and
3 The court must ask the accused if he desires to present
evidence in his behalf and allow him to do so if he desires.
This rule is, therefore, mandatory.
After a plea of guilty in capital offenses, it is imperative that the trial court
requires the presentation of evidence for the prosecution to enable itself to
determine the precise participation and the degree of culpability of the
accused in the perpetration of the capital offense charged.

6. People of the Philippines vs. Dayot

G.R. No. 88281, July 20, 1990
The accused herein were charged for the complex crime of Robbery with
homicide, and frustrated homicide against Legaspi. On March 21, 1989, the
accused-appellant was arraigned and pleaded "not guilty". 2 Trial was set to
April 26, 1989. On that date, however, the accused's counsel, Atty. Fernando
Fernandez, manifested that the accused was willing "to change his plea of not
guilty to that of guilty to the offense charged. On this account, he was
convicted and sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

Issue: Whether or not the plea of guilty was valid.

Held: Should be reversed.
Accused enters a plea of guilty to the capital offense, the trial court is called
upon to observe the following procedure:
SEC. 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. When the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court
shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and
full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and
require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise
degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence
in his behalf. 8
As we held, the judge is required to accomplish three things: (1) to conduct
a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the
consequences of the accused's plea; (2) to require the prosecution to prove the
guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his culpability; and (3) to inquire
whether or not the accused wishes to present evidence on his behalf and allow
him to do so if he so desires.
This procedure is mandatory, 9 and a judge who fails to observe it commits a
grave abuse of discretion
The exchange between the judge and the accused-appellant does not persuade
us that the accused-appellant, in subsequently pleading guilty, fully
understood the legal consequences of his plea. We find this from his own
impressions, obviously mistaken, that by admitting authorship of the offense,
he would stay in prison for "[p]erhaps less than ten years," 10 although "it could
also be more," 11 or in other words, he would "get off lightly", relatively, than
had he insisted on his innocence. As it would turn out, tragically, Judge
Villarama sentenced him in fact to life imprisonment. We do not think that the

accused-appellant anticipated, or knew, the exact punishment - and the

serious results - that awaited him as a consequence of his change of heart.

tragedy or say, by making him re-enact it, or by causing him to furnish missing

We also do not think that Judge Villarama had been up to the task in apprising
the accused-appellant of what lay ahead should he, the accused-appellant,
admit guilt. While he did intimate to the accused that he, the accused, might

While there can be no hard and fast rule as to how a judge may conduct a
"searching inquiry," as to the number and character of questions he may put
to the accused, or as to the earnestness with which he may conduct it, since

be put away for more than ten years, His Honor was less than candid in failing
to inform him that he, by admitting guilt, in fact, faced a life in prison, and that
"more than ten years" meant a whole lot more indeed.

each case must be measured according to its individual merit, taking into
consideration the age, educational attainment, and social status of the accused
confessing guilt, among other things, the singular barometer is that the judge
must in all cases, fully convince himself that: (1) the accused, in pleading
guilty, is doing so voluntarily, and (2) he, in so doing, is truly guilty, and
that there exists a rational basis for a finding of guilt, based on his
testimony. This Court leaves to judges, considering their training, ample
discretion, but expects them at the same time, that they will be true to their
calling and be worthy ministers of the law.

A "searching inquiry," under the Rules, means more than informing

cursorily the accused that he faces a jail term (because the accused is aware
of that) but so also, the exact length of imprisonment under the law and the
certainty that he will serve time at the national penitentiary or a penal
colony. Not infrequently indeed, an accused pleads guilty in the hope, as we
said, of a lenient treatment, or upon a bad advice or promises of the authorities
or parties of a lighter penalty should he admit guilt or express "remorse". It is
the duty of the judge to see that he does not labor under these mistaken
impressions, because a plea of guilty carries with it not only the admission of
authorship of the crime proper but also of the aggravating circumstances
attending it, that increase punishment.
A "searching inquiry" likewise compels the judge to content himself
reasonably that the accused has not been coerced or placed under a state of
duress and that his guilty plea has not therefore been given improvidently either by actual threats of physical harm from malevolent quarters or simply
because of his, the judge's, intimidating robes. The trial judge should have so
satisfied himself in the case at bar, considering especially the tender years of
the accused (who was about twenty at the time of the trial) and his
vulnerability to ill-advised suggestions from outside influences.
Above all, the trial judge must satisfy himself that the accused, in pleading
guilty, is truly, guilty. This is possible say, by requiring him to narrate the

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

Judges therefore must be cautioned, toward this end, against the demands of
sheer speed in disposing of cases, for their mission after all, and as has been
time and again put, is to see that justice is done.
The five questions posed by Judge Villarama to the accused-appellant,
needless to say, hardly amount to a "searching inquiry". He should have
known better, because he actually condemned a twenty-year old to spend a
great deal of his mortal life in prison.
As we have said, the procedure laid down by the Rules is mandatory. The
judge having satisfied himself that the accused fully understood the
significance, effects, and consequences of his guilty plea, the next step would
be to make the prosecution adduce evidence to determine the guilt and exact
culpability of the accused taking into account the presence of other possible
aggravating or mitigating circumstances and thereafter, to make the accused
present his own evidence, if he is so minded, for the same purpose.

A trial is meant to be a safeguard against putting an innocent man to prison,

and at the same time a guaranty that the guilty obtains his just dues, thus:
... the presentation of evidence should be required in order to
preclude any room for reasonable doubt in the mind of the
trial court, or the Supreme Court on review, as to the
misunderstanding on the part of the accused as to the nature
of the charge to which he pleaded guilty, and to ascertain the
circumstances attendant to the commission of the crime
which justify or require the exercise of a greater or lesser
degree of severity in the imposition of the prescribed
penalties. 14

In his order of February 16, 1990, Prosecutor Eleuterio F. Guerrero, to whom

the charges of Balana were re-assigned for preliminary investigation, denied
the request of the accused and noting that the parties had already adduced
their respective evidence in the preliminary investigation conducted by the
previous prosecutor, gave her 10 days from receipt to manifest if she elected
to adopt the same charges and evidence already submitted. In the same order,
he also granted the accused an equal period to adduce their controverting
Balana opted on March 8, 1989, to adopt her said charges and evidence, and
the accused having failed to submit countervailing evidence or any pleading,
Prosecutor Guerrero construed their omission as waiver.

As it turned out, the accused-appellant had a mitigating circumstance

overlooked by the judge below-minority 15 a privileged mitigating
circumstance that would have lowered the penalty by one degree.

7. Cinco vs. Sandiganbayan

GR Nos. 92362-67, October 15, 1991
This case came from various letter complaints filed by Balana against Cinco
and others for alleged violation of the Anti- Corrupt and Practices Act. After
conducting the preliminary investigation, the prosecutors of the Tanodbayan
found probable cause to file the criminal complaint with the Sandiganbayan.
This was approved by Tanodbayan Gonzales. The accused filed a motion to
quash on May 17, 1988, praying that the said informations be dismissed for
lack of authority on the part of Tanodbayan Gonzales or his prosecutor to file
them and invoking Zaldivar vs. Sandiganbayan which declared that the Tanodbayan
has no right to prosecute cases with the Sandiganbayan as mandated by the
Constitution. SC granted the motion to quash.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

On June 27, 1989, he issued a resolution finding prima facie cases for alleged
violations of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 and recommending the
filing of the corresponding informations. The Hon. Ombudsman approved the
resolution. Accordingly, (Criminal Cases Nos. 13827 to 13832 against the
petitioners) were instituted on August 28, 1989. Each information carries with
it the certification of Prosecutor Guerrero.
Accused again filed a motion to quash on the grounds that the Prelim
Investigation did not comply with the proper procedure, and that the
prosecutor had no authority. Quash denied.
Issue: Whether or not the rules of PI were complied with, and WON
prosecutor of Ombudsman had authority.
Held: YES.
The peculiar circumstances of this case do not support petitioners' plea for a
new preliminary investigation. It is true that the first informations filed against
the petitioners were nullified because the then Special Prosecutor had no

authority to do so in line with Our ruling in the Zaldivar case. Yet, a careful
analysis of the facts shows that the nullity did not extend to the entire
preliminary investigation proceedings undertaken by that office. We note that
the preliminary investigation on Balana's charges started wayback in 1981.
Between the years 1981 and 1983, the contending parties already submitted
the counter and supplementale affidavits as well as a reply affidavit. All the
requisite papers having been submitted, the preliminary investigation was up
for resolution in 1986 when the Prosecutor who handled the case was
promoted to the Judiciary in that same year. It was just unfortunate that the
said resolution was issued in July 1987 and the informations filed in September
of that year.
Under such facts, it cannot be said that the proceedings before February 2, 1987
were null and void inasmuch as the then Tanodbayan was clothed with
authority to conduct the same. Consequently, the portion of the investigation
proceedings which consists in the oath of Balana to her letters-complaint, the
certifications of the Prosecutors Llacer and Buenviaje, Balana's evidence, and
petitioner's counter and supplemental affidavits with their evidence are still
effective and valid. To countenance the plea of petitioners who have already
been afforded the right to a preliminary investigation conformably with PD
911 would be fait accompli.
A new pleriminary investigation will be useless and repetitious because the
same facts and evidence will be elicited. The investigation proceedings in 1981
and 1983 being valid and proper, the Ombudsman through the Special
Prosecutor III Eleuterio Guerrero could simply take over and continue from
that point. This move will be more conducive to an orderly and speedy
administration of justice.
Even granting arguendo that a new preliminary investigation is proper in this
case, the same in effect had already been given to the petitioners. It is
noteworthy that before his evaluation of the records of the first preliminary
investigation, Special Prosecutor Officer III, Eleuterio F. Guerrero, required (1)
Balana to manifest if she elected to adopt the same charges and evidence
already submitted; and (2) petitioners to submit their controvering evidence if
Balana decided to adopt the same charges. This directive partakes of the
nature of a preliminary investigation which is noting more than the

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

submission of the parties' respective affidavits, counter-affidavits and

evidence to buttress their separate allegations. Balana opted to adopt her
charges and evidence. Petitioners did not submit any countervailing evidence
and consequently, lost the opportunity to submit additional arguments and
supporting evidence in their favor. Their failure, therefore, should not work
against the right of the complainant to an expenditious determination of her
Petitioners argue that the letters-complaint cannot serve as affidavits or
evidence in support of the charge against petitioners allegedly constituting
violations of Section 3, sub-par. (e) of RA No. 3019 as amended; that
complainant never positively Identified the other respondents and the
offenses for which they are charged; and that she never presented affidavits of
witnesses in support of the charge or charges against them.
We are not convinced. The Special Prosecutor has full discretion and control
of the prosecution of criminal actions. He alone has the power to decide
which as between conflicting testimonies or evidence should be believed
(see People v. Liggayu, 97 Phil. 865). While indeed he has this full power, it
does not follow, however, that the designation of the offense by the Fiscal is
binding upon the court. Settled is the rule that it is crime after the trial and
following its own ascertainment of the facts needed to constitute the elements
of the crime attributed to the accused (People v. Eleuterio, G.R. No. 63971, May
9, 1989, 173 SCRA 243, 251). In his study of the entire records of the
preliminary investigation of Balana's charges, Special Prosecutor Guerrero
believed that he has at least a prima facie evidence to establish the guilt of the
petitioners and hence, refiled the cases. This is enough. It must be emphasized
that the Fiscal is not required to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. Our statement in Trocio v. Manta (L-34834, November 15,
1982, 118 SCRA 241, 246), bears repeating, to wit:
... When a fiscal investigates a complaint in order to determine whether he
should file charges with the court against the person complained of, the scope
of the investigation is far short of a trial of an accused before the court. It is not required
that all reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused must be removed; it is only required
that the evidence be sufficient to established probable cause that the accused committed
the crime charged.

Petitioners' apprehension that they might be put in jeopardy of being charged

with informations or crimes other than the crime imputed in the dismissed
cases is baseless. There could be no double jeopardy for the simple reason that
they have not year pleaded to the offense (see Gaspar v. Sandiganbayan, G. R.
No. 68086, September 24, 1986, 144 SCRA 415, 420). Beside, a preliminary
investigation is not a trial for which double jeopardy attaches. We ruled
in Tandoc v. Resultan (G. R. Nos. 59241-44, July 5, 1989, 175 SCRA 37, 43) that:
Preliminary investigation is merely inquisitorial, and it is often that only
means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably charged with a
crime, to enable the fiscal to prepare his complain or information. It is not a
trial of the case on the merits and has no purpose except that of determining
whether a crime has been committed and whether there is probable cause to
believe that the accused is guilty therefor, and it does not place the person
against whom it is taken in jeopardy.

8. People of the Philippines vs. Aragon

GR No. L-5930, February 17, 1954
The defendant in the above-entitled case is charged in the Court of First
Instance of Cebu on May 22, 1951 with the crime of bigamy, for having
contracted a second marriage with one Efigenia C. Palomer on September 21,
1947, while his previous valid marriage with Martina Godinez was still
subsisting and had not been dissolved.
While the case was pending, Palomer filed an action to annul their marriage
on the ground that she was forced to marry the accused. Thus, the accused
filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case on the ground that the civil action
for annulment of the second marriage is a prejudicial question. The court
denied this motion on the ground that the validity of the second marriage may
be determined in the very criminal action for bigamy. Against this order this
appeal has been presented to this court.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

Issue: Whether or not there is a prejudicial question.

Prejudicial question has been defined to be that which arises in a case, the
resolution of which (question) is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in
said case, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. The
prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court; this
is first element. Jurisdiction to try said question must be lodged in another
tribunal; this is the second element. In an action for bigamy, for example, if
the accused claims that the first marriage is null and void and the right to
decide such validity is vested in another tribunal, the civil action for nullity
must first be decided before the action for bigamy can proceed; hence, the
validity of the first marriage is a prejudicial question.
There is no question that if the allegations of the complaint on time the
marriage contracted by defendant-appellant with Efigenia C. Palomer is
illegal and void. Its nullity, however, is no defense to the criminal action for
bigamy filed against him. The supposed use of force and intimidation against
the woman, Palomer, even if it were true, is not a bar or defense to said action.
Palomer, were she the one charged with bigamy, could perhaps raise said
force or intimidation as a defense, because she may not be considered as
having freely and voluntarily committed the act if she was forced to the
marriage by intimidation. But not the other party, who used the force or
intimidation. The latter may not use his own malfeasance to defeat the
action based on his criminal act.
It follows that the pendency of the civil action for the annulment of the
marriage filed by Efigenia C. Palomer, is absolutely immaterial to the criminal
action filed against defendant-appellant. This civil action does not decide that
defendant-appellant did not enter the marriage against his will and consent,
because the complaint does not allege that he was the victim of force and
intimidation in the second marriage; it does not determine the existence of any
of the elements of the charge of bigamy. A decision thereon is not essential to
the determination of the criminal charge. It is, therefore, not a prejudicial

There is another reason for dismissing the appeal. The order appealed from
is one denying a motion to dismiss and is not a final judgment. It is,
therefore, not appealable.

Thereafter, on October 7, 1963, petitioner moved to suspend the hearing of the

criminal case pending the decision on the question of the validity of the two
marriages involved in the pending civil suit. Respondent Judge on November

9. Landicho vs. Relova

GR No. L-22579, February 23, 1968

19, 1963 denied the motion for lack of merit. Then came a motion for
reconsideration to set aside the above order, which was likewise denied on
March 2, 1964. Hence this petition, filed on March 13, 1964.

In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, the
question before the Court is whether or not the existence of a civil suit for the
annulment of marriage at the instance of the second wife against petitioner,
with the latter in turn filing a third party complaint against the first spouse for
the annulment of the first marriage, constitutes a prejudicial question in a
pending suit for bigamy against him. Respondent, Judge Relova answered in
the negative. We sustain him.
On February 27, 1963, petitioner was charged before the Court of First Instance
of Batangas, Branch I, presided over by respondent Judge, with the offense, of
bigamy. It was alleged in the information that petitioner "being then lawfully
married to Elvira Makatangay, which marriage has not been legally dissolved,
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a second
marriage with Fe Lourdes Pasia." On March 15, 1963, an action was filed before
the Court of First Instance ofBatangas, likewise presided plaintiff respondent
Judge Fe Lourdes Pasia, seeking to declare her marriage to petitioner as null
and voidab initio because of the alleged use of force, threats and intimidation
allegedly employed by petitioner and because of its allegedly bigamous
character. On June 15, 1963, petitioner as defendant in said case, filed a thirdparty complaint, against the third-party defendant Elvira Makatangay, the
first spouse, praying that his marriage with the said third-party defendant be
declared null and void, on the ground that by means of threats, force and
intimidation, she compelled him to appear and contract marriage with her
before the Justice of the Peace of Makati, Rizal.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

In a resolution of this Court of March 17, 1964, respondent Judge was required
to answer within ten (10) days, with a preliminary injunction being issued to
restrain him from further proceeding with the prosecution of the bigamy case.
In the meanwhile, before the answer was filed there was an amended petition
for certiorari, the amendment consisting solely in the inclusion of the People of
the Philippines as another respondent. This Court admitted such amended
petition in a resolution of April 3, 1964.
Then came the answer to the amended petition on May 14 of that year where
the statement of facts as above detailed was admitted, with the qualifications
that the bigamy charge was filed upon the complaint of the first spouse Elvira
It alleged as one of its special and affirmative defenses that the mere fact that
"there are actions to annul the marriages entered into by the accused in a
bigamy case does not mean that 'prejudicial questions are automatically raised
in said civil actions as to warrant the suspension of the criminal case for
The answer stressed that even on the assumption that the first marriage was
null and void on the ground alleged by petitioner, the fact would not be
material to the outcome of the criminal case. It continued, referring to Viada,
that "parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves
its nullity, for this must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and
only when the nullity of a marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and
so long as there is no such declaration the presumption is that the marriage
exists. Therefore, according to Viada, he who contracts a second marriage

before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage incurs the penalty
provided for in this Article. . . ."

was charged in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. Thus the issue involved
in the action for the annulment of the second marriage is determinative of
petitioner's guilt or innocence of the crime of bigamy. . . ."

Issue: Whether or not there was a prejudicial question.

This defense is in accordance with the principle implicit in authoritative
decisions of this Court. In Merced v. Diez, 3 what was in issue was the validity
of the second marriage, "which must be determined before hand in the civil
action before the criminal action can proceed." According to the opinion of
Justice Labrador: "We have a situation where the issue of the validity of the
second marriage can be determined or must first be determined in the civil
action before the criminal action for bigamy can be prosecuted. The question
of the validity of the second marriage is, therefore, a prejudicial question
because determination of the validity of the second marriage is determinable
in the civil action and must precede the criminal action for bigamy." It was the
conclusion of this Court then that for petitioner Merced to be found guilty of
bigamy, the second marriage which he contracted "must first be declared
valid." Its validity having been questioned in the civil action, there must be a
decision in such a case "before the prosecution for bigamy can proceed."
To the same effect is the doctrine announced in Zapanta v. Mendoza. 4 As
explained in the opinion of Justice Dizon: "We have heretofore defined a
prejudicial question as that which arises in a case, the resolution of which is a
logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which
pertains to another tribunal. . . . The prejudicial question we further said
must be determinative of the case before the court, and jurisdiction to try the
same must be lodged in another court. . . . These requisites are present in the
case at bar. Should the question for annulment of the second marriage pending
in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga prosper on the ground that,
according to the evidence, petitioner's consent thereto was obtained by means
of duress, force and intimidation, it is obvious that his act was involuntary and
can not be the basis of his conviction for the crime of bigamy with which he

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

The situation in this case is markedly different. At the time the petitioner was
indicted for bigamy on February 27, 1963, the fact that two marriage
ceremonies had been contracted appeared to be indisputable. Then on March
15, 1963, it was the second spouse, not petitioner who filed an action for nullity
on the ground of force, threats and intimidation. It was sometime later, on June
15, 1963, to be precise, when petitioner, as defendant in the civil action, filed a
third-party complaint against the first spouse alleging that his marriage with
her should be declared null and void on the ground of force, threats and
intimidation. As was correctly stressed in the answer of respondent Judge
relying on Viada, parties to a marriage should not be permitted to judge for
themselves its nullity, only competent courts having such authority. Prior to
such declaration of nullity, the validity of the first marriage is beyond
question. A party who contracts a second marriage then assumes the risk of
being prosecuted for bigamy.
Such was the situation of petitioner. There is no occasion to indulge in the
probability that the third-party complaint against the first wife brought almost
five months after the prosecution for bigamy was started could have been
inspired by the thought that he could thus give color to a defense based on an
alleged prejudicial question. The above judicial decisions as well as the
opinion of Viada preclude a finding that respondent Judge abused, much less
gravely abused, his discretion in failing to suspend the hearing as sought by

10. Prado vs. People of the Philippines

GR No. L-37652, December 26, 1984

which must first be resolved as the same would be determinative of her guilt
or innocence. Reconsideration was denied.

On August 5, 1971, an Information was filed with the then Court of First

Issue: Whether or not a pending civil suit for annulment of marriage

constitutes a prejudicial question in a Bigamy Case is the issue involved in this
Petition for certiorari & Prohibition.

Instance of Manila, charging petitioner Virginia B. Prado with the crime of


Held: YES.


Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that Philippine Courts
have no jurisdiction over the marriage solemnized in Saigon, as it is outside
Philippine territory and the case does not fall under any of the exceptions
enumerated in Article 2 of the Revised Penal Code, which allow enforcement
of criminal laws outside the Philippine Archipelago.
Dismissal was denied by the Trial Court, which Order was assailed by
petitioner in a Petition for certiorari and Prohibition filed with this Court in
G.R. No. L-36344. 3 We resolved to dismiss the same "for being premature, an
appeal by way of review on certiorari in due course being the proper remedy.
On July 21, 1973, petitioner filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal, an
action for annulment of her Saigon marriage (Civil Case No. C-2894)
contending that her consent thereto was obtained by means of force and
intimidation, and that she never freely cohabited with her second husband,
Julio Manalansang. The case was subsequently transferred to the Juvenile and
Domestic Relations Court, Caloocan City, docketed as Family Case No. 029.
On July 23, 1973, a "Motion to Suspend Trial by Reason of the Existence of
Prejudicial Question" was filed by petitioner in the Bigamy Case. The
prosecution opposed the same maintaining that it was merely a device
resorted to by petitioner to delay the disposition of said criminal case.
Respondent Court denied suspension of trial. Petitioner moved for
reconsideration reiterating her argument that a prejudicial question exists,

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure

For a civil action to be considered prejudicial to a criminal case as to cause the

suspension of the criminal proceedings until the final resolution of the civil,
the following requisites must be present: (1) the civil case involves facts
intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be
based; (2) in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil action, the
guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined; and (3)
jurisdiction to try said question must be lodged in another tribunal.
The foregoing requisites being present in the case at bar, the suspensive effect
of a prejudicial question comes into play. The Solicitor General's opposition to
the suspension of trial in the Bigamy Case on the allegations that the civil
action for annulment was belatedly filed after petitioner had faced trial in the
Bigamy Case and only to stave off prosecution; that the grounds for
annulment of her second marriage are bereft of factual basis and truth in that
petitioner would not have waited for two (2) years from the filing of the
bigamy charge, or for almost four (4) years from the celebration of the second
marriage, before filing the annulment case, if she had valid grounds to annul
the same; that she had freely cohabited with Julio Manalansang for about six
(6) months after their marriage; and that even her mother was present during
the marriage ceremony, are all defenses which may be raised in the
Annulment Case, and which must still be proved. Should petitioner be able to
establish that her consent to the second marriage was, indeed, obtained by
means of force and intimidation, her act of entering into marriage with Julio

Manalansang would be involuntary, and there can be no conviction for the

crime of Bigamy.
And while it may be, as contended by the Solicitor General, that the mere filing
of an Annulment Case does not automatically give rise to a prejudicial
question as to bar trial of a Bigamy Case, considering the gravity of the charge,
petitioner cannot be deprived of her right to prove her grounds for annulment,
which could wen be determinative of her guilt or innocence. The State is not
thereby deprived from proceeding with the criminal case in the event that the
Court decrees against petitioner in the Annulment Case.

Ong, J.I. Case Digests Criminal Procedure