Add TAGS to your cases to easily locate them or to build your SYLLABUS.
Please SIGN IN to use this feature.
https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c1ce8?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09
[FELIPE GONZALEZ v. COURT OP FIRST INSTANCE OP BULACAN ET AL.](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c1ce8?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
{case:c1ce8}
Highlight text as FACTS, ISSUES, RULING, PRINCIPLES to generate case DIGESTS and REVIEWERS.
Please LOGIN use this feature.
Show printable version with highlights
63 Phil. 846

[ G. R. No. 45233, December 29, 1936 ]

FELIPE GONZALEZ, PETITIONER, VS. THE COURT OP FIRST INSTANCE OP BULACAN ET AL., RESPONDENTS.

D E C I S I O N

VILLA-REAL, J.:

This is an original petition for mandamus  filed  by Felipe Gonzalez praying, upon the facts alleged in the corresponding  pleading,  for the issuance  of  a  writ directed to the herein respondents Court of First Instance of Bulacan and the provincial fiscal thereof,  ordering the former to take action on the appeal interposed  by said petitioner from the order  dismissing  his  complaint for  arbitrary  detention against the other respondents Florentino  C.  Viola and Valentin Maniquis, which was docketed in said  Court of First Instance of Bulacan  as criminal case No.  6752; and the latter, or the provincial fiscal of Bulacan, to proceed with said criminal case No. 6752 and direct the prosecution thereof until it is finally decided on its merits; or to direct the respondent court, in case of disability of the provincial fiscal, to appoint a special fiscal or permit the  offended party to proceed with  the  case through  a private prosecutor, with costs to the respondents.

The pertinent facts necessary for the resolution of  the legal question raised  in this petition are as follows:
The petitioner Felipe Gonzalez was chief of police of the municipality of San  Miguel, Bulacan,  suspended  by  the municipal president thereof, the herein respondent Florentino C. Viola,  who appointed the other respondent Valentin Maniquis  as acting chief of police  in the former's place. On January .18, 1935, the Department of the Interior reinstated said petitioner in the post of chief of police of San Miguel.  In attempting to resume his post, he had an alter- cation with the acting chief of police Valentin Maniquis and the municipal president Florentino C. Viola as a result of which the petitioner was arrested by Valentin Maniquis by order  of the  municipal  president and detained  for eight hours and forty minutes, after which he was released on bail.   At  about 5.00  o'clock in the afternoon of said day, January 18, 1935, acting chief of police  Valentin Maniquis filed a complaint for  coercion against the petitioner Felipe Gonzalez.   The complaint was admitted by  the  justice of the peace  of San Miguel who, after the corresponding preliminary examination, issued the proper  warrant of arrest. As the justice  of the peace, after conducting the preliminary investigation,  found merit in  the complaint, he forwarded the case  to the Court of First Instance of Bulacan.   On March 4,  1935, the  provincial  fiscal of Bulacan filed an information against  Felipe  Gonzalez charging  him with the crime  of  coercion.  The case was called for trial on October 24, 1935,  and Judge  Buenaventura Ocampo, then presiding  over the Court of First  Instance  of Bulacan, advanced  the  opinion that the facts  contained in the supporting affidavit were not sufficient to constitute  the crime of  coercion.  Consequently,  the private prosecutor, with the consent of the deputy provincial fiscal,  asked for  the dismissal  of the case  on the ground  that the evidence  for the prosecution was not sufficient to support a case  for coercion, which motion was granted by the judge in question. While Felipe Gonzalez was detained for the crime of coercion,  he  instituted habeas corpus proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, which was docketed as civil case No. 4988.  However, in view of the fact that he had filed a bond for his provisional release, the Honorable Judge Ceferino Hilario, who tried the case, rendered a decision dismissing it, stating as follows: "Because of the scramble by Valentin Maniquis and Felipe Gonzalez for the possession of the police blotter, the  Iatter's conduct provoked  a fight which" threatened to disturb the peace.  Consequently, his subsequent arrest ordered by Valentin Maniquis, as acting chief of police, whether on his own account or in obedience to an express order of Florentino Viola, as municipal president,  at the moment he provoked a scandal and disturbed the public peace by his unbecoming conduct in the presence of both, was  absolutely justified  by the circumstances  of time  and  place.  Furthermore, a  complaint against him for grave coercion was admitted by the  justice of the peace a few hours later and he was released on bail."
On February  14; 1935, the herein petitioner Felipe Gonzalez  subscribed and filed a complaint for arbitrary detention  against  the respondents  Florentino  C.  Viola  and Valentin Maniquis with the justice of the peace of San Miguel,  Bulacan.  After conducting the preliminary investigation, the justice of the peace of said  municipality issued an order dated November 12, 1935, holding that there were reasonable  grounds to believe that the crime of arbitrary detention complained of had been committed on the person of the complainant and that  the accused Florentino C. Viola and Valentin Maniquis were criminally  liable therefor, and ordered that the case be forwarded to  the  Court of First Instance of Bulacan for legal action.  After the case had been forwarded to the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, the clerk of  court docketed it  as criminal  case No. 6752.  When the case was transferred to the office of the provincial fiscal  of Bulacan, the deputy provincial fiscal,  Teofilo D. Reyes, conducted a preliminary investigation in the presence of the alleged offended party, the accused and their respective  attorneys,  who submitted their respective arguments in support of their claims.  After considering the arguments of both parties, the  acting provincial fiscal, Roman  de Jesus, as  well as  the  deputy  provincial fiscal, Teofilo D.  Reyes, arrived at the conclusion  that the case was without merit.  On November 26th of said year, the complainant and offended party, Felipe Gonzalez, petitioner herein, filed a motion with  said court praying that he be permitted to^prosecute the case by himself through a private prosecutor or that a special fiscal  be appointed to take charge of the prosecution on the ground that the deputy provincial  fiscal of Bulacan, who had charge of the case, had advanced the opinion that the  prosecution could not be sustained, believing that the proven facts did not constitute the crime of arbitrary detention.   Said motion was denied by the respondent court then presided over by the Judge-at-large Honorable Sotero Rodas, on the ground that the motion was  premature.   On  December  12, 1935, the acting provincial fiscal  filed a motion  for dismissal which reads:
"Now comes the undersigned and to this Honorable Court respectfully shows:

"That this is  a  case of arbitrary detention  described and penalized under article 125 of the  Revised Penal Code.

"That the supposed arbitrary  detention arose from the fact that the complainant Felipe Gonzalez was arrested on January 18,  1935, on a charge of grave coercion.

"That the said charge for grave coercion was dismissed by this Honorable court on petition of the private prosecutor, concurred in by Deputy Provincial Fiscal, Mr. Teofilo.

1). Reyes, for lack of  sufficient evidence.

"That this case was instituted by the offended party as a result of the dismissal of the case for grave coercion.

'That in order that a case for arbitrary detention may prosper, it is necessary that the detention must be shown to be without any legal ground.

"That in the case  at bar, the  detention of complainant Felipe Gonzalez, was shown to be justified not only by the justice of the peace of San Miguel who remanded the case for grave coercion to this Honorable Court, not only by the Provincial Fiscal who subscribed to the information for grave coercion but also, by  the Honorable Judge Ceferino Hilario, who took cognizance of the case of habeas corpus instituted by the  herein complainant in connection with his detention, when he declared in his decision that the detention of the herein complainant  was justified by the circumstance and place.

"That the undersigned  believes that this case cannot be sustained.

"Wherefore,  it is respectfully  prayed that this case be dismissed with costs de oficio."
Pursuant to  said  motion,  the  Honorable Sotero Rodas, on  December 31, 1935,  issued an order which reads as follows:
"Upon motion of the fiscal of the 12th instant, based on the ground that he has no sufficient evidence to support the prosecution, the court orders the dismissal of the above-entitled case with the costs de oficio and the cancellation of the bond filed by  the accused for their provisional release."
On February 11,  1936, the alleged offended party Felipe Gonzalez filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the vacation Judge, Honorable Modesto Castillo, in an order of April 27, 1936.   On April 30, 1936, said offended party interposed  an appeal  which was denied by the said vacation judge in an order of May  27,  1936.  As the alleged offended party  filed a motion for reconsideration of the order denying the appeal, the Honorable Marcelo T. Boncan, then presiding over the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, denied it in an order of  July 15, 1936.

The first question to be decided in this petition is whether or not the offended party in a case of arbitrary  detention can appeal from an order of dismissal entered by a Court of First Instance upon a petition filed by the fiscal before the trial, finding that the probatory facts upon which the complainant claims to base his complaint are insufficient to establish the existence of the crime charged.

Section 107 of General Orders, No. 58 provides as follows:
"SEC. 107. The privileges now secured by law to the person claiming to be injured by the commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover damages for  the injury  sustained by reason  of  the  same shall not be held to be abridged by the provisions of this order; but such person may appear and shall be heard either individually or by attorney at all stages of the case, and the court upon conviction of the accused may enter judgment against him for the damages occasioned by his  wrongful act.  It shall, however, be the  duty of the promotor  fiscal to direct the prosecution, subject to the right of the person injured to  appeal from  any decision  of the court denying him a legal right."
It will be noted that the privileges conserved by the above-quoted section to the  person claiming to have been injured by the commission of an  offense were those secured to him by the former law to take part in  the prosecution  of said offense and recover damages for the injury sustained  by reason of  the  same,  imposing  upon the promotor fiscal, however, the duty of directing the prosecution, subject to the right of the person injured  to appeal from any decision of the court denying him a legal right.  Now then, what are the rights  of a person  injured by the commission of  an offense, the denial  of which by a  court may be appealed by him?

The late illustrious  Chief Justice of this court, Honorable Cayetano Arellano, who had  taken part in the preparation of General Orders, No.  58,  interpreting the above-quoted section 107 thereof in the case of United States vs. Municipal Council of Santa Cruz de Malabon (1 Phil., 731, 732), stated as  follows:
"Under the American system the  prosecution of public offenses is reserved to the representative of the Government to such an extent that the individual citizen can not bring an action for that purpose.  He is protected by his right to bring a personal  action for  the  damage which the commission  of  a  crime may  occasion him.  As  to  him  the crime is but the source of a civil obligation. General  Orders, No. 58, series of 1900,  which has established  the principles and rules  of criminal procedure peculiar to that system of legislation, as a concession  to the period of transition from one system of legislation to another, has compromised only with the private penal action of the injured party, but with that  of the latter alone not with the action which under the former law on the  subject of criminal procedure might be brought by any citizen who might  desire to aid the action of  the Government.  It was necessary to maintain the private penal action of the injured party himself, in consequence of the continued operation of the Penal Code, for two reasons: First, because, on principle, the declaration of the criminal liability carries with it the  declaration of the resulting civil obligation; second, because there are crimes which can not be prosecuted other  than at the formal instance of the person  injured.

"For this reason,  under the heading 'rights of the person injured by the offense section  107 was drawn, according to which,  'the  privilege now  secured  by  law  to  the person claiming to  be  injured by the commission  of an offense to take  part in the prosecution of the  offense and recover damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same shall not  be abridged  by the provisions of this order  *   *   *.   It is  evident that the special and accentuated inclusion of the  right of the person injured, not recognized in the general principles which form the basis of this procedural system,  is the most  express exclusion of  any other right, such as that arising from the popular penal action, not recognized in  the American system.  *  *   *"
Section 2 of General Orders, No. 58, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 2886, provides  that all prosecutions for public offenses shall be in  the name of the People of the Philippine Islands against the person charged with the offense.  Section 1681 of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended by section 2 of said Act No. 2886, provides that the provincial fiscal shall be the law officer of the province, and as such shall therein discharge the duties incident to the institution of criminal  prosecutions and represent the People of the Philippine Islands in all criminal cases in the courts held in such province.  Section 1687 likewise provides that the provincial fiscal shall have authority, if he deems it wise, to conduct an investigation into the matter of any crime or misdemeanor.   Section 1661 of said Code, likewise amended, states that it shall,  among other things, be the duty of the  Attorney-General to represent the People of the Philippine Islands in the Supreme Court in all criminal cases.

Section 12 of said General Orders, No. 58, provides that every person making complaint must inform the magistrate of all persons whom he believes to have any knowledge of its commission.  It is inferred from the foregoing that the person injured by the  commission of an offense may file a complaint in the manner prescribed by section 4 of General Orders,  No. 58.  However, if, as was seen, section 2 of said General Orders, No. 58, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 2886, provides  that all prosecutions for public offenses shall be in the name of the People  of Philippine Islands against the person  charged  with the offense, and section 1681  of Act No. 2711 imposes  upon the provincial fiscal the duty of instituting criminal  prosecutions and of representing  the  People of the Philippine Islands in all criminal cases in courts held in each province, the right of the offended party to  institute criminal prosecution for the commission of a public offense ceases, under the present legislation, with  the filing of the complaint, the promotor fiscal taking charge of the prosecution of the suit in the name of the People of the Philippine Islands until the termination thereof.

Inasmuch as every person charged with a crime has in his favor the constitutional presumption of innocence (Article III, section 1, paragraph 17, of the Constitution of the Philippines), and inasmuch as under this presumption no person may be declared criminally responsible except upon evidence establishing it beyond a reasonable doubt, the promotor fiscal before filing a complaint or information, or if the complaint has been filed  by the offended party, before proceeding with  the case, must determine whether the evidence submitted to or found by him is legally sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence is a matter of appreciation.  Consequently, the institution of a criminal action depends upon the sound discretion of the fiscal.   He may or may not file the complaint or information, follow or not follow that presented by the offended party,  according to whether the evidence, in his opinion, is sufficient or not to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, except when a preliminary investigation has been conducted by a competent justice of the peace and the case forwarded to a likewise competent Court of First Instance, in which event the provincial fiscal  can not dismiss it motu proprio, but has to apply to the court where it is pending to decree the  dismissal thereof (U. S. vs. Barredo, 32 Phil., 444; U.  S. vs. Abanzado, 37 Phil., 658).

The person injured by the commission of an offense may choose between bringing the civil action independently of the criminal action (article 111, in  connection with article 117, Spanish Code of Criminal Procedure of September 14, 1882), to recover through the courts damages arising from the criminal liability of the author of the crime of which he was the victim, in view of the provision of article 100 of the Revised Penal Code to the effect that every person criminally liable is also civilly  liable, or appear as a party in the criminal action instituted by the promotor fiscal at the initiative of either the injured person or  said  promotor fiscal (article 112, Spanish Code of Criminal Procedure of September 14, 1882).  In this latter case the position occupied by the offended party is subordinate to that of the promotor fiscal because, as the promotor fiscal alone is authorized to  represent the public prosecution, or the People of the Philippine Islands,  in the prosecution of offenders, and to control the  proceeding, and  as it is discretionary with  him to institute  and prosecute a criminal proceeding,'being at liberty to commence it or not or to refrain from prosecuting it or not, depending upon whether or not there is, in his opinion, sufficient evidence to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, except when the case is pending in the Court of First Instance, the continuation of the offended party's  intervention depends upon the continuation  of the proceeding.   Consequently,  if the promotor fiscal desists from pressing the charge or asks the competent Court of First  Instance  in which the  case is pending for the dismissal thereof, and said court grants the petition,  the intervention  of the  person injured  by  the commission of the offense ceases by virtue of the principle that  the  accessory follows the principal.  Consequently, as the offended party is not entitled to represent the People of the Philippine Islands  in the prosecution of a  public offense, or to control the proceeding  once it is commenced, and  as his right to intervene  therein is subject  to  the promotor fiscal's  right of control, it can not be stated that an order of dismissal decreed upon petition of the promotor fiscal himself deprives  the offended  party of his right to appeal from an order overruling a complaint or information, which right belongs exclusively  to the promotor fiscal by virtue of the provisions of section 44 of General Orders, No. 58.   To permit a  person injured by the commission of an offense to appeal  from an order dismissing a criminal case issued by a Court of First Instance upon petition of the promotor fiscal, would be tantamount to giving said offended party the direction and control of a criminal proceeding  in violation  of  the provisions of the above-cited section 107 of General Orders, No. 58.

Article 854 of the aforesaid Code  of Criminal Procedure of 1882,  some of the provisions of which are supplementary to General Orders,  No. 58, reads:
"Art. 854. The following persons  shall be entitled to appeal: the promotor fiscal, those who have been parties  to the criminal proceedings, those who, not having been parties thereto, are affected by the judgment, and their heirs.

"The plaintiffs in civil cases shall not be  entitled to appeal except in cases affecting restitutions, reparations and indemnities claimed by  them."
Some  of the  rights secured by the Spanish law to the person claiming to be injured  by  the commission of an offense and conserved by section 107 of  General Orders, No. 58, are to take part in the prosecution of the offense, to recover damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same and to appeal only in matters affecting restitutions, reparations and indemnities claimed by them, but  not with regard to  the criminal  action.   Inasmuch as the herein petitioner Felipe Gonzalez, as complainant in the  criminal case the  People  of the Philippine Islands vs. Florentino C. Viola and Valentin Maniquis, did not claim  indemnity for damages  and was not deprived of his right to do so in the order of  dismissal which is the subject matter of this opinion, under the above-quoted provision he is not entitled to appeal from  said order.

Of  course,  it  being discretionary  in the promotor  fiscal to prosecute an action or not, as well as in the judge to dismiss or not to dismiss it in view of the facts alleged by the promotor fiscal in his motion, any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any of them may be corrected by mandamus ordering the reinstatement of the case and the prosecution thereof (22 R. C. L.f page 96, paragraph 8; 38 Corpus Juris, page 623, paragraph 115).

Furthermore it could not have been the intention of the authors of General Orders,  No. 58, to grant to the person injured by the commission of an offense the right to appeal from an order of dismissal issued upon petition of the promotor fiscal himself, because the appeal would not serve its purpose which is the review of the evidence upon which the motion for dismissal was based, taking into consideration the fact that the proceeding followed in the preliminary investigation conducted by justices of the peace for the arrest of the accused, in the preliminary  investigation  had to determine whether  the crime complained of has been committed and that there is reasonable ground to believe that the party charged has committed it, and in that conducted by the promotor fiscal,  after the case is forwarded to the Court of First Instance, is summary and the testimony of the witnesses does  not-appear in writing.  The  only data relied upon by the judge in determining whether or not the case should be dismissed are those  furnished by the promotor fiscal in his  motion or those  acquired  by  the court itself motu proprio, which,  if forwarded to  this court by virtue of an appeal, are insufficient to determine whether or not the promotor fiscal  and the lower court have erred in dismissing the case.

Therefore, with respect to the first remedy sought in the petition, that is, that  the  respondent Court  of  First Instance  of Bulacan  be ordered to take action on the appeal taken by the petitioner  from the order of dismissal of the complaint for arbitrary detention, entered by the respondent Court of First Instance of Bulacan, upon petition of the respondent provincial fiscal  of Bulacan before the trial,  in as much as the appeal in such case does not constitute a right granted  to the person  injured  by  the commission of  an offense by section 107 of General Orders, No. 58,  said remedy does not lie and the petition in  this respect  is denied.

With  respect  to  the prayer contained in said petition for  mandamus to the  effect that the provincial fiscal  of Bulacan be ordered to  proceed with the criminal case and direct the prosecution  thereof until it is finally decided  on its merits, inasmuch as  it is discretionary, as already stated, on the part of the promotor fiscal to  do so or not,  and it not having been  alleged in the petition that said fiscal has committed  a grave abuse of discretion  in asking for the dismissal thereof, neither can the petition in this particular be granted.

Lastly, it is prayed  that the respondent judge appoint a special fiscal or permit the offended party to prosecute the case through a private prosecutor. Section 1679 of the Revised Administrative Code provides  that "when  a provincial  fiscal shall be disqualified by personal interest  to act in a particular case or  when for any reason he  shall  be unable, or  shall  fail, to  discharge  any of the duties  of his position, the judge  of  the Court of  First Instance  of the province shall appoint an acting provincial fiscal, who shall discharge all the duties of the regular provincial  fiscal which the latter shall fail or be unable to perform."  In this case the  respondent  provincial fiscal of  Bulacan  is not disqualified by personal interest to act in  the criminal case under consideration.  Neither is he unable nor did he fail to discharge any of the duties of his position,  but, on the contrary, complying with his duty, he has intervened in the case, has investigated  the merits thereof  and has  found that  the  proven facts are insufficient to constitute, and do not constitute the crime of arbitrary detention charged, and, using his sound  discretion, he asked for the dismissal of the case.  Therefore, the  third prayer  of  the petitioner is  without merit and cannot be granted.

Wherefore, finding no merit-in the petition for mandamus  interposed by the petitioner, it is denied and dismissed, with costs to the  petitioner.  So .ordered.

Avanceña, C. J., Diaz, and Laurel, JJ., concur.



DISSENTING

IMPERIAL, J.:

The facts of the case are stated at length in the majority opinion.   For this reason, I consider it unnecessary to reproduce them.

The proceeding has been instituted to compel:  (a)  The Court of First  Instance of Bulacan to admit and take action  on the appeal taken  by the  petitioner from the order dismissing  the  complaint for  arbitrary detention  filed against the other two  respondents in criminal case  No. 6752; (b)  the fiscal of  said province to prosecute the case until judgment is rendered therein, and (c) the respondent court to appoint a special fiscal to take the place of the provincial fiscal in  case the latter refuses to proceed  with the case.

By inverting  the order of considering the remedies applied for and referring  to the petition to the effect that the provincial fiscal of Bulacan proceed with the case and that the  respondent  court appoint a  special fiscal in  case the former refuses  to proceed with  the case,  I  concur in the majority  opinion that  such  remedies are premature  and the  consideration and granting  thereof will depend upon the  result of the appeal  from the order of dismissal.  If the  appeal were not  meritorious and the respondent court correctly dismissed  the case,  this court, on appeal, must affirm the order of dismissal  in question.

The principal point raised by the petition  for mandamus is whether the  petitioner, as complainant or offended party in criminal case No.  6752 of the  Court of First Instance of Bulacan,  is entitled to  appeal from the  respondent court's order dismissing the  complaint in the case, upon petition of the  provincial fiscal.  The majority opinion maintains the negative.  I am of the opinion  that the laws in force in this jurisdiction recognize the right of appeal.

The  pertinent parts of sections 43 and 44 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, General Orders, No. 58, as amended by Acts Nos. 3785 and 2886, respectively, read as follows:
"SEC. 43. From all  final judgments  of the Court  of First Instance or courts of similar jurisdiction, and in all cases in which  the law now provides for appeals from said courts, an appeal may be taken to the Supreme Court as hereinafter prescribed.   *  *   *

"SEC. 44. Either party  may  appeal  from final judgment or from an order made after judgment affecting the substantial rights of the  appellant.   The People  of the Philippine Islands may also appeal from a judgment for the defendant rendered on a demurrer to an information  or complaint and from an  order dismissing a complaint  or information."
The  two sections  above-quoted recognize the right  of appeal from  final judgments  of  the  Courts  of First Instance  in any criminal case.  They likewise grant the promotor fiscal the right to appeal from  resolutions sustaining demurrers, to an information.  Jurisprudence, however, has restricted such right in cases where judgments of acquittal have been rendered on the ground that appeal by the promotor fiscal implies violation of the doctrine of double jeopardy, whereby an accused cannot  be put twice in jeopardy of conviction for the same offense  (Kepner vs.  United States, 195 U. S., 100; U. S. vs. Yam Tung Way, 21 Phil., 67).  There is no doubt that the order of dismissal appealed from by the petitioner is a final judgment in the legal sense because it put an end to the facts and rights in controversy in the  complaint and the motion to dismiss  presented  in the case  (33  C. J., 1047-1051).

Section 107 provides:
"SEC. 107. The privileges  now secured by law  to the person claiming  to be injured  by the commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover damages for the injury sustained by reason  of the same shall not be held to be abridged by the provisions of this order; but such person may appear and shall be heard either individually or by attorney at all stages of the case, and the court upon conviction of the accused may enter judgment against him for the damages occasioned  by his wrongful act.  It shall,  however, be the duty of the promotor fiscal to direct the prosecution, subject to the right of the person injured to appeal  from any decision  of the court denying him a legal right."
Interpreting the above provision, the  majority opinion maintains that the offended  party in a  criminal case can take part in the  prosecution of  the offense only when a civil liability arises therefrom and he claims and is entitled to an indemnity, restitution or reparation which is civil in nature,  inferring therefrom that  when, as in this case, the offended party neither claims nor is  entitled to an indemnity, neither is he entitled to appeal from the order  of dismissal which put an end to the case.  I do not agree  to this interpretation.   Section  107  contains two different  provisions.   The first one recognizes the right of the  offended party to take part in the prosecution of  the offense  and to recover damages for the injury sustained by reason  of the same.   The second proclaims the right  of the person injured to appeal from any decision of the court denying him a legal right.  While it is true that the last part of the section in question provides that the promotor fiscal must direct the prosecution, this does  not in any way alter the right of the offended party to take part in the prosecution, to recover damages  and to  appeal  from any resolution prejudicial to his interest.

The right to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to  appeal from any decision  denying a  legal right is made subordinate to the indispensable condition that the offended or injured party is likewise entitled to recover damages arising therefrom.  This conclusion, in my humble opinion, is in conflict with section 107.   Granting that the interpretation were correct, the facts before this court do not warrant the averment that the offended party in this particular case is not entitled to recover  damages from the accused,  the other  respondents.  Although the complaint contains no allegation relative to damages, by following the practice sanctioned  in this jurisdiction, the offended party could prove during the trial any damage or injury he might have suffered  as a direct or necessary consequence of the offense charged.

The legal question under consideration has already been decided by this court in the case of United States and Sebastiana  vs. Perez (1 Phil.,  203).  In said case the action was commenced upon a complaint formulated by the of- fended party who charged the accused with the crime of estafa, having misappropriated the  sum of  P2,247.  The accused filed a demurrer alleging that he did not appropriate the money for himself or apply it to his personal use but that it was a Chinese who embezzled it, having  negotiated a  check which proved to be spurious.  He had informed the offended party thereof and the latter exonerated him by approving  the accounts of administration of the Hotel de España presented to her.  The court sustained the demurrer and the complaining witness appealed from the order to that effect.   In the appeal the promotor fiscal contended that the order was erroneous.   The court sustained his contention.  The  accused assigned as error  committed by  the court the fact that the latter accepted the appeal, it not having been interposed  by the promotor fiscal but by  the complainant.   The same question  now under consideration,  that  is,  whether or not the therein complainant was entitled to appeal from the order sustaining the demurrer,  which order was prejudicial to her rights  as  offended  party, was  directly  raised.  This  court, deciding the point of controversy, said:
"Counsel for the defendant has expressly prayed in this instance that  we declare that the appeal of the complaining witness  was  improperly allowed, upon  the ground that section 23 of General Orders, No. 58, provides that an order sustaining a demurrer by the accused ends the case, and is a bar to another prosecution for the same offense, and that section 44 grants the United States only  the right to appeal against such an order.   We consider this contention to be wholly unfounded.   Section 23 does not deal with appeals, which are specially dealt with in other sections of the general order which determine in what cases an appeal may be allowed.   It is unquestionable that the order in question is not unappealable, as the accused appears to  contend, because section 44 cited, says expressly that it may be appealed against by the United States.   With  respect to the private individual injured by the offense, as  is the complainant in this case, the right to appeal  from such an order is recognized in section 107, which, after providing that the privileges now  secured  by  law to the person  claiming  to be injured by the commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution  *  *   *  shall  not  be  held to be abridged by the provisions of this order expressly declares that such person,  that is, the party injured, may appeal  against any decision denying him a  legal right.  It is  unnecessary to add that an order sustaining a demurrer by the accused is such an order, because it tends to make unavailing the rights which the injured party attempts to  exercise by means of the complaint. It is evident that it has this effect, because such an order, when final, constitutes a bar to a continuation of  the  case or a subsequent prosecution for the same offense  charged in the  complaint. This  order, therefore, being appealable,  not only by the United States but also by the party  injured, it is evident that the effects  of the order must be subordinated to the result of the appeal taken by the latter, and the allowance of the appeal by the court below was perfectly legal and strictly in accordance with the statute."
The doctrine laid down in the case of the United States vs.  Municipal  Council  of Santa Cruz  de  Malabon   (1 Phil., 731 et seq.),  is cited as authority in support of the conclusions arrived at in the majority opinion.  What this court stated in said case is not applicable to the legal question under consideration. In said case the question was raised whether or not the Philippine Sugar Estates Development Co., Ltd., a stock company, could subscribe a complaint for a public  offense and institute the corresponding proceeding, not being the offended or injured party.  . This court then held the opposite view basing its opinion upon the innovations introduced into  the  law of criminal procedure by General Orders, No. 58, and upon the provisions of section 107.  The question whether or not the offended or injured party in a criminal case can appeal from any resolution denying a legal right  was not raised, discussed  or decided.

Another reason alleged is  that if action  were taken on the appeal from the order of dismissal, this court would have no data sufficient to determine and decide the merits thereof.  I do not  deem this consideration an argument against the appeal. The appeal, if  acted upon,  must be decided on its  merits.  If the appeal is without  merit  it must de dismissed  and the appealed  order affirmed.  But if the  petitioner is entitled to appeal in accordance with section 107, as I believe to have so demonstrated, the petition must be granted and the Court of First Instance  of Bulacan required to take action on the appeal.

Wherefore, I dissent from the majority opinion.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

I concur in the dissenting opinion of Justice Imperial.

tags