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Zaldivia v. Reyes, Jr., 211 SCRA 277 (1992)" penalty next lower in degree to arresto menor – see the exception inthe
sixth paragraph of Article 365 applies). The proper penalty for reckless
Facts: Defendant was charged with quarrying without a license in violation of a municipal imprudence resulting to damage to property amounting to 8,542.00 would
ordinance. The offense prescribes in 2 months. The complaint was filed with the prosecutor within be arresto mayor in minimum and medium periods.2. Classification of each
2 months, but the information was filed in court beyond the 2 months. Prosecution argues that felony involved Reckless imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries is a
filing of the complaint with the prosecutor interrupted the period light felony. Public censureis c lassif ied under art ic le 25 of RPC as
of prescription. Defendant argues that it is the only upon filing of the information in a light penalt y and it belongs on t he graduat ed scale in Article 71
court that prescription is interrupted based on the rules on Summary Procedure, and Act No. of the RPC as a penalty next lower to arresto menor. Reck les s
3326. im prudenc e res ult ing t o dam age t o propert y is punis hable by
Issue: WON the prescription for violation of municipal ordinances are interrupted by filing a a c orrect ional penalty of arresto mayor and thus belongs to less grave
complaint with the prosecutor. felony and not as a light felonyas claimed by petitioner.3. Rule on complex
Held: Since the Sec. 1, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure excluded offenses crimeArt. 48 on penalty for complex crime provides that when a single act
subject to summary procedure, the prescription of such offenses are not interrupted constitutes two
by filing a complaint with the prosecutor. Furthermore, Act 3326 provides orm o r e g r a v e o r l e s s g r a v e f e l o n i e s , o r w h e n
that violations of ordinances prescribe in 2 months, and provides that filing of complaint before a n o f f e n s e i s n e c e s s a r y a m e a n s f o r committing the
the prosecutor does not suspend the prescriptive period. Therefore, prescription for violations of other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same t o
municipal ordinances is interrupted only when the information is actually filed in court.de be applied in it s m axim um period. Bot h of f ens es c annot
Leon: Note that the new rules no longer exclude offenses governed c ons t it ut e a c om plex c rim e because reckless imprudence resulting to
by Summary Procedure. Hence prescription of offenses governed by slight physical injuries is not either a grave orless grave felony. Therefore
summary procedure is now interrupted by filing a complaint with the prosecutor. To this extent, each felony should be filed as a separate complaint subject to distinct
Zaldivia v. Reyes has been modified. However, Act 3326 is still operative. Since penalties.
the new rules still provide for the exception “otherwise provided in
special laws,” prescription for violation of municipal ordinances are NOT interrupted by filing a 4. Right to assail duplicity of information Rule 120, s ec t ion 3 of the
complaint with the prosecutor. Rules of Court prov ides t hat wh en t wo or m ore of f ens es are
c harged in a s ingle c om plaint and t he acc us ed f ails t o obj ec t
Zaldivia v. Reyes, Jr., 211 SCRA 277 (1992)" agains t it bef ore t he t rial, the court may convict the accuse to as
many offenses as charged and impose a penalty for each of them.
Facts: A complaint was filed before the fiscal’s office constituting an Complainant failed to make the objection before the trial therefore the right
offense in violation of a city ordinance. The fiscal did not file the complaint to object has been waived.5. Jurisdiction J u r i s d i c t i o n o f t h e
before the court immediately but instead filed it 3 months later. The court is determined by the duration of the
defendant’s counsel filed a motion to quash on ground that the action to file p e n a l t y a n d t h e f i n e imposed as prescribed by law to the offense
the complaint has prescribed. The fiscal contends that the filing of the charged. Reckless imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries and
complaint before his office already interrupts the prescription period. reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property is within the
Issue: Whether or not the filing of information/complaint before the fiscal jurisdiction of the MTC. The case was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction
office constituting a violation against a special law/ordinance interrupts of the RTC of Makati and the decision of the CA was set aside.
prescription.
Held: The mere filing of complaint to the fiscal’s office does not interrupt the Court Ruling on Zaldivia v Reyes and Reodica v CA on Prescription:
running of prescription on offenses punishable by a special law. The 1. Zaldivia v Reyes involves a violation
complaint should have been filed within a reasonable time before the court. o f a n o r d i n a n c e w h i l e i n R e o d i c a v C A t h e violation was
It is only then that the running of the prescriptive period is interrupted.**Act against the RPC.2. Filing of a complaint in the fiscal’s office involving a
3326 is the governing law on prescription of crimes punishable by a special felony under the RPC is sufficientt o int errupt t he running of
law which states that prescription is only interrupted upon judicial pres c ript ion. But f iling a c om plaint under t he f isc al’s
proceeding. of f ic ei n v o l v i n g o f f e n s e s p u n i s h e d b y a s p e c i a l l a w ( i .
e . o r d i n a n c e ) d o e s n o t i n t e r r u p t t h e running of pres c ript
Reodica v CA 292 SCRA 87 ion.
Facts: Act 3326
Isabelita Reodica was allegedly recklessly driving a is the governing law on prescriptions of crim
v a n a n d h i t B o n s o l c a u s i n g h i m physical injuries and damage e s punishable by a special law which states that pre
to property amounting to P 8,542.00. Three days after the acc ident a s c r i p t i o n i s o n l y i n t e r r u p t e d u p o n judicial proceeding.
c om plaint was f iled bef ore t he f isc al’s of f ic e against the
pet it ioner. She was c harged of "Rec k les s I m prudenc e G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010
Res ult ing in Dam age to Propert y wit h Slight
Phys ic al I n j u r y . " A f t e r p l e a d i n g n o t g u i l t y t r i a l e n s u e d JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,
. R T C o f M a k a t i r e n d e r e d t h e d e c i s i o n c onv ic t ing vs.
pet it ioner of "quas i off ens e of rec k les s im prudenc e, res ult ing HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the
in dam age t o property with slight physical injuries" with arresto mayor of Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and EVANGELINE
6 months imprisonment and a f ine of P 13, 542. 00. Pet it ioner m ade PONCE, Respondents.
an appeal bef ore t he CA whic h re -af f irm ed t he lower court’s
decision. In its motion for reconsideration, petitioner now assails that1 . t h e The petition seeks the review of the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of
court erred in giving its penalty on complex damage Pasig City affirming sub-silencio a lower court’s ruling finding inapplicable
t o p r o p e r t y a n d s l i g h t physical injuries both being light offenses the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a second prosecution for Reckless
over which the RTC has no jurisdiction and it can’t impose penalty Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite
in excess to what the law authorizes.2. rev ers al of dec is ion is st ill the accused’s previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
pos s ible on ground of pres c ript ion or lack of j uris dict ion. Slight Physical Injuries arising from the same incident grounding the second
Issues: prosecution.
1. W het her or not t he penalt y im pos ed is c orrec t . 2.W het her or
not rec k les s im prudenc e res ult ing t o dam age t o propert y and Facts:
rec k less imprudence resulting to slight physical injuries are light
felonies.3.W het her or not t here is a c om plex c rim e applying Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler
Art ic le 48 of t he RPC. 4 . W h e t h e r o r n o t t h e d u p l i c i t y o f (petitioner) was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City
t h e i n f o r m a t i o n m a y b e q u e s t i o n e d f o r t h e f i r s t time on (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
appeal.5.W het her or not t he RTC of M ak at i has j uris dic t ion Slight Physical Injuries for injuries sustained by respondent Evangeline L.
ov er t he c as e. 6.W het her t he quas i off ens es already Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
pres c ribed. Homicide and Damage to Property for the death of respondent Ponce’s
Hel d: husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the spouses Ponce’s vehicle.
1. On penalty imposed t he proper penalt y f or rec k less im prudenc e
res ult ing t o s light phys ic al inj ury is public censure (being the Petitioner posted bail for his temporary release in both cases.
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On 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge on the first delict and was Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the two cases
meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking this conviction, petitioner concern the same offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled
moved to quash the Information for the second delict for placing him in otherwise, finding that Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical
jeopardy of second punishment for the same offense of reckless Injuries is an entirely separate offense from Reckless Imprudence Resulting
imprudence. in Homicide and Damage to Property "as the [latter] requires proof of an
additional fact which the other does not."
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two
cases. The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were
The petitioner elevated the matter to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City prosecuted under the same provision of the Revised Penal Code, as
(RTC), in a petition for certiorari while Ivler sought from the MeTC the amended, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses.
suspension of proceedings in criminal case, including the arraignment his
arraignment as a prejudicial question. The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable. Indeed, the
notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct species
Without acting on petitioner’s motion, the MeTC proceeded with the of crime, separately defined and penalized under the framework of our
arraignment and, because of petitioner’s absence, cancelled his bail and penal laws, is nothing new.
ordered his arrest.
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-
Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioner’s motion offense by itself and not merely a means to commit other crimes such that
to suspend proceedings and postponing his arraignment until after his conviction or acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent prosecution
arrest.Petitioner sought reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, for the same quasi-offense, regardless of its various resulting acts,
the motion remained unresolved. undergirded this Court’s unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double
jeopardy as applied to Article 365.
Issues:
These cases uniformly barred the second prosecutions as constitutionally
(1) Whether petitioner forfeited his standing to seek relief from his petition impermissible under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
for certiorari when the MeTC ordered his arrest following his non-
appearance at the arraignment in Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a
Physical Injuries for injuries sustained by respondent; and stronger and simpler protection of their constitutional right under the Double
Jeopardy Clause. True, they are thereby denied the beneficent effect of the
(2) Whether petitioner’s constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy favorable sentencing formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus
Clause bars further proceedings in Reckless Imprudence Resulting in caused is more than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution for
Homicide and Damage to Property for the death of respondent Ponce’s quasi-crime effects qualifying as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more
husband. serious consequence prosecuted belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress
can re-craft Article 365 by extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula
Ruling: of Article 48 so that only the most severe penalty shall be imposed under a
single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether penalized as grave, less
On Petition for Certiorari grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct concept of
quasi-offenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of penalties under Article
The RTC dismissed Ivler’s petition for certiorari, narrowly grounding its 365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of culpability, should cushion
ruling on petitioner’s forfeiture of standing to maintain said petition arising the effect of this ruling.
from the MeTC’s order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance at the
arraignment in the second offense. Thus, without reaching the merits of the WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2
said petition, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner sought February 2006 and 2 May 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City,
reconsideration but this proved unavailing. Branch 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366
against petitioner Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTC’s Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.
decision forfeiting petitioner’s standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. Republic of the Philippines
2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce calls the Court’s attention to SUPREME COURT
jurisprudence holding that light offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot Manila
be complexed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or SECOND DIVISION
less grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010
separate the charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,
injuries from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage to vs.
property. HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the
Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and EVANGELINE
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, the Court granted the Office of the PONCE, Respondents.
Solicitor General’s motion not to file a comment to the petition as the public DECISION
respondent judge is merely a nominal party and private respondent is CARPIO, J.:
represented by counsel. The Case
The petition seeks the review1 of the Orders2 of the Regional Trial Court of
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellant’s escape from custody or Pasig City affirming sub-silencio a lower court’s ruling finding inapplicable
violation of the terms of his bail bond are governed by the second the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a second prosecution for Reckless
paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124, in relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure authorizing this Court or the Court of the accused’s previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Appeals to "also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the Slight Physical Injuries arising from the same incident grounding the second
appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or prosecution.
flees to a foreign country during the pendency of the appeal." The "appeal" The Facts
contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review judgments of Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler
convictions. (petitioner) was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
Branch 71 (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence
On Double Jeopardy Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries (Criminal Case No. 82367) for injuries
sustained by respondent Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2)
The accused’s negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property
of punishment for the same offense" protects him from, among others, post- (Criminal Case No. 82366) for the death of respondent Ponce’s husband
conviction prosecution for the same offense, with the prior verdict rendered Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the spouses Ponce’s vehicle. Petitioner
by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid information. posted bail for his temporary release in both cases.
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On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in Criminal appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or
Case No. 82367 and was meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking flees to a foreign country during the pendency of the appeal." The "appeal"
this conviction, petitioner moved to quash the Information in Criminal Case contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review judgments of
No. 82366 for placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same convictions.
offense of reckless imprudence. The RTC’s dismissal of petitioner’s special civil action for certiorari to review
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two a pre-arraignment ancillary question on the applicability of the Due Process
cases.3 Clause to bar proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 finds no basis under
After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter procedural rules and jurisprudence. The RTC’s reliance on People v.
to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157 (RTC), in a petition for Esparas9 undercuts the cogency of its ruling because Esparas stands for a
certiorari (S.C.A. No. 2803). Meanwhile, petitioner sought from the MeTC proposition contrary to the RTC’s ruling. There, the Court granted review to
the suspension of proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366, including the an appeal by an accused who was sentenced to death for importing
arraignment on 17 May 2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a prejudicial prohibited drugs even though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus
question. Without acting on petitioner’s motion, the MeTC proceeded with tried and convicted in absentia. The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory
the arraignment and, because of petitioner’s absence, cancelled his bail review of death sentences under Republic Act No. 7659 as an exception to
and ordered his arrest.4 Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution Section 8 of Rule 124.10
denying petitioner’s motion to suspend proceedings and postponing his The mischief in the RTC’s treatment of petitioner’s non-appearance at his
arraignment until after his arrest.5 Petitioner sought reconsideration but as arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366 as proof of his loss of standing
of the filing of this petition, the motion remained unresolved. becomes more evident when one considers the Rules of Court’s treatment
Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce sought in of a defendant who absents himself from post-arraignment hearings. Under
the RTC the dismissal of S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioner’s loss of standing to Section 21, Rule 11411 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
maintain the suit. Petitioner contested the motion. defendant’s absence merely renders his bondsman potentially liable on its
The Ruling of the Trial Court bond (subject to cancellation should the bondsman fail to produce the
In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No. 2803, accused within 30 days); the defendant retains his standing and, should he
narrowly grounding its ruling on petitioner’s forfeiture of standing to maintain fail to surrender, will be tried in absentia and could be convicted or
S.C.A. No. 2803 arising from the MeTC’s order to arrest petitioner for his acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period granted to the bondsman to produce
non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366. Thus, the accused underscores the fact that mere non-appearance does not ipso
without reaching the merits of S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed facto convert the accused’s status to that of a fugitive without standing.
the MeTC. Petitioner sought reconsideration but this proved unavailing.6 Further, the RTC’s observation that petitioner provided "no explanation why
Hence, this petition. he failed to attend the scheduled proceeding"12 at the MeTC is belied by the
Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in S.C.A. No. records. Days before the arraignment, petitioner sought the suspension of
2803 constrained him to forego participation in the proceedings in Criminal the MeTC’s proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 in light of his petition
Case No. 82366. Petitioner distinguishes his case from the line of with the RTC in S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTC’s refusal to defer
jurisprudence sanctioning dismissal of appeals for absconding appellants arraignment (the order for which was released days after the MeTC ordered
because his appeal before the RTC was a special civil action seeking a pre- petitioner’s arrest), petitioner sought reconsideration. His motion remained
trial relief, not a post-trial appeal of a judgment of conviction.7 unresolved as of the filing of this petition.
Petitioner laments the RTC’s failure to reach the merits of his petition in Petitioner’s Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
S.C.A. 2803. Invoking jurisprudence, petitioner argues that his constitutional Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
right not to be placed twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense The accused’s negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy
bars his prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366, having been previously of punishment for the same offense"13protects him from, among others,
convicted in Criminal Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless post-conviction prosecution for the same offense, with the prior verdict
imprudence charged in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner submits that rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid information.14 It is
the multiple consequences of such crime are material only to determine his not disputed that petitioner’s conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was
penalty. rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid charge. Thus, the
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTC’s case turns on the question whether Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal
decision forfeiting petitioner’s standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. Case No. 82367 involve the "same offense." Petitioner adopts the
2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce calls the Court’s attention to affirmative view, submitting that the two cases concern the same offense of
jurisprudence holding that light offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled otherwise, finding that Reckless
be complexed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries is an entirely separate
less grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to offense from Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to
separate the charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical Property "as the [latter] requires proof of an additional fact which the other
injuries from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage to does not."15
property. We find for petitioner.
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the Solicitor Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime,
General’s motion not to file a comment to the petition as the public its Consequences on Persons and
respondent judge is merely a nominal party and private respondent is Property are Material Only to Determine
represented by counsel. the Penalty
The Issues The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were
Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner forfeited prosecuted under the same provision of the Revised Penal Code, as
his standing to seek relief in S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC ordered his arrest amended, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses. The
following his non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. text of the provision reads:
82366; and (2) if in the negative, whether petitioner’s constitutional right Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless imprudence,
under the Double Jeopardy Clause bars further proceedings in Criminal shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave
Case No. 82366. felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to
The Ruling of the Court prision correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less
We hold that (1) petitioner’s non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium
Case No. 82366 did not divest him of personality to maintain the petition in periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the
S.C.A. 2803; and (2) the protection afforded by the Constitution shielding penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.
petitioner from prosecutions placing him in jeopardy of second punishment Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act
for the same offense bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of
Petitioner’s Non-appearance at the Arraignment in arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803 minimum period shall be imposed.
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellant’s escape from custody or When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only
violation of the terms of his bail bond are governed by the second resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender shall be
paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124,8 in relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure authorizing this Court or the Court of damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than
Appeals to "also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the twenty-five pesos.
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A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of
upon any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause crimes.18 (Emphasis supplied)
some wrong which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a light This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-crimes is to
felony. state that their commission results in damage, either to person or
In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound property.19
discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four. Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: jurisdiction to hear a case for "Damage to Property through Reckless
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower Imprudence," its jurisdiction being limited to trying charges for Malicious
than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in Mischief, an intentional crime conceptually incompatible with the element of
which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower in imprudence obtaining in quasi-crimes.
degree than that which should be imposed in the period which Quizon, rooted in Spanish law20 (the normative ancestry of our present day
they may deem proper to apply. penal code) and since repeatedly reiterated,21 stands on solid conceptual
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the foundation. The contrary doctrinal pronouncement in People v. Faller22that
Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which "[r]eckless impudence is not a crime in itself x x x [but] simply a way of
case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in committing it x x x,"23 has long been abandoned when the Court en banc
its medium and maximum periods. promulgated Quizon in 1955 nearly two decades after the Court decided
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or Faller in 1939. Quizon rejected Faller’s conceptualization of quasi-crimes by
failing to do an act from which material damage results by reason of holding that quasi-crimes under Article 365 are distinct species of crimes
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or and not merely methods of committing crimes. Faller found expression in
failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or post-Quizon jurisprudence24 only by dint of lingering doctrinal confusion
occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other arising from an indiscriminate fusion of criminal law rules defining Article
circumstances regarding persons, time and place. 365 crimes and the complexing of intentional crimes under Article 48 of the
Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those Revised Penal Code which, as will be shown shortly, rests on erroneous
cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor conception of quasi-crimes. Indeed, the Quizonian conception of quasi-
the danger clearly manifest. crimes undergirded a related branch of jurisprudence applying the Double
The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses, barring second prosecutions for a
be imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured quasi-offense alleging one resulting act after a prior conviction or acquittal
parties such help as may be in this hand to give. of a quasi-offense alleging another resulting act but arising from the same
Structurally, these nine paragraphs are collapsible into four sub-groupings reckless act or omission upon which the second prosecution was based.
relating to (1) the penalties attached to the quasi-offenses of "imprudence" Prior Conviction or Acquittal of
and "negligence" (paragraphs 1-2); (2) a modified penalty scheme for either Reckless Imprudence Bars
or both quasi-offenses (paragraphs 3-4, 6 and 9); (3) a generic rule for trial Subsequent Prosecution for the Same
courts in imposing penalties (paragraph 5); and (4) the definition of Quasi-Offense
"reckless imprudence" and "simple imprudence" (paragraphs 7-8). The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-
Conceptually, quasi-offenses penalize "the mental attitude or condition offense by itself and not merely a means to commit other crimes such that
behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the conviction or acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent prosecution
imprudencia punible,"16 unlike willful offenses which punish the intentional for the same quasi-offense, regardless of its various resulting acts,
criminal act. These structural and conceptual features of quasi-offenses set undergirded this Court’s unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double
them apart from the mass of intentional crimes under the first 13 Titles of jeopardy as applied to Article 365 starting with People v. Diaz,25 decided in
Book II of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. 1954. There, a full Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Montemayor,
Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are ordered the dismissal of a case for "damage to property thru reckless
distinct species of crime, separately defined and penalized under the imprudence" because a prior case against the same accused for "reckless
framework of our penal laws, is nothing new. As early as the middle of the driving," arising from the same act upon which the first prosecution was
last century, we already sought to bring clarity to this field by rejecting in based, had been dismissed earlier. Since then, whenever the same legal
Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Pampanga the proposition that "reckless question was brought before the Court, that is, whether prior conviction or
imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it x x acquittal of reckless imprudence bars subsequent prosecution for the same
x"17 on three points of analysis: (1) the object of punishment in quasi-crimes quasi-offense, regardless of the consequences alleged for both charges,
(as opposed to intentional crimes); (2) the legislative intent to treat quasi- the Court unfailingly and consistently answered in the affirmative in People
crimes as distinct offenses (as opposed to subsuming them under the v. Belga26 (promulgated in 1957 by the Court en banc, per Reyes, J.), Yap
mitigating circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) the different penalty v. Lutero27 (promulgated in 1959, unreported, per Concepcion, J.), People
structures for quasi-crimes and intentional crimes: v. Narvas28 (promulgated in 1960 by the Court en banc, per Bengzon J.),
The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that People v. Silva29(promulgated in 1962 by the Court en banc, per Paredes,
"reckless imprudence" is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing J.), People v. Macabuhay30 (promulgated in 1966 by the Court en banc, per
it and merely determines a lower degree of criminal liability is too broad to Makalintal, J.), People v. Buan31 (promulgated in 1968 by the Court en
deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot banc, per Reyes, J.B.L., acting C. J.), Buerano v. Court of
be committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious Appeals32 (promulgated in 1982 by the Court en banc, per Relova, J.), and
mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal Code is People v. City Court of Manila33 (promulgated in 1983 by the First Division,
treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt with separately from willful per Relova, J.). These cases uniformly barred the second prosecutions as
offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or terminology. In constitutionally impermissible under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or imprudence, The reason for this consistent stance of extending the constitutional
what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind the protection under the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses was best
act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia articulated by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Buan, where, in barring a
punible. x x x x subsequent prosecution for "serious physical injuries and damage to
Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, property thru reckless imprudence" because of the accused’s prior acquittal
operating only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in of "slight physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," with both charges
the mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of intent to commit grounded on the same act, the Court explained:34
so grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of
would require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion a specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted
to the penalty prescribed for each crime when committed willfully. For each again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal
penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding penalty negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the
for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would
fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless
prision correccional [medium], if the willful act would constitute a grave act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into
felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the way account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the
from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result
actual penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual should affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal

CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases


5

negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into different [T]he Court believes that the case falls squarely within the doctrine of
crimes and prosecutions.35 x x x (Emphasis supplied) double jeopardy enunciated in People v. Belga, x x x In the case cited,
Evidently, the Diaz line of jurisprudence on double jeopardy merely Ciriaco Belga and Jose Belga were charged in the Justice of the Peace
extended to its logical conclusion the reasoning of Quizon. Court of Malilipot, Albay, with the crime of physical injuries through reckless
There is in our jurisprudence only one ruling going against this unbroken imprudence arising from a collision between the two automobiles driven by
line of authority. Preceding Diaz by more than a decade, El Pueblo de them (Crim. Case No. 88). Without the aforesaid complaint having been
Filipinas v. Estipona,36 decided by the pre-war colonial Court in November dismissed or otherwise disposed of, two other criminal complaints were filed
1940, allowed the subsequent prosecution of an accused for reckless in the same justice of the peace court, in connection with the same collision
imprudence resulting in damage to property despite his previous conviction one for damage to property through reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No.
for multiple physical injuries arising from the same reckless operation of a 95) signed by the owner of one of the vehicles involved in the collision, and
motor vehicle upon which the second prosecution was based. Estipona’s another for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence (Crim.
inconsistency with the post-war Diaz chain of jurisprudence suffices to Case No. 96) signed by the passengers injured in the accident. Both of
impliedly overrule it. At any rate, all doubts on this matter were laid to rest in these two complaints were filed against Jose Belga only. After trial, both
1982 in Buerano.37 There, we reviewed the Court of Appeals’ conviction of defendants were acquitted of the charge against them in Crim. Case No.
an accused for "damage to property for reckless imprudence" despite his 88. Following his acquittal, Jose Belga moved to quash the complaint for
prior conviction for "slight and less serious physical injuries thru reckless multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence filed against him by
imprudence," arising from the same act upon which the second charge was the injured passengers, contending that the case was just a duplication of
based. The Court of Appeals had relied on Estipona. We reversed on the the one filed by the Chief of Police wherein he had just been acquitted. The
strength of Buan:38 motion to quash was denied and after trial Jose Belga was convicted,
Th[e] view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this Court in whereupon he appealed to the Court of First Instance of Albay. In the
the pre-war case of People vs. Estipona decided on November 14, 1940. meantime, the case for damage to property through reckless imprudence
However, in the case of People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA 1383 (March 29, 1968), filed by one of the owners of the vehicles involved in the collision had been
this Court, speaking thru Justice J. B. L. Reyes, held that – remanded to the Court of First Instance of Albay after Jose Belga had
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. After such
a specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted remand, the Provincial Fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance two
again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal informations against Jose Belga, one for physical injuries through reckless
negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the imprudence, and another for damage to property through reckless
execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would imprudence. Both cases were dismissed by the Court of First Instance,
be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless upon motion of the defendant Jose Belga who alleged double jeopardy in a
act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into motion to quash. On appeal by the Prov. Fiscal, the order of dismissal was
account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the affirmed by the Supreme Court in the following language: .
offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result The question for determination is whether the acquittal of Jose Belga in the
should affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal case filed by the chief of police constitutes a bar to his subsequent
negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into different prosecution for multiple physical injuries and damage to property through
crimes and prosecutions. reckless imprudence.
xxxx In the case of Peo[ple] v. F. Diaz, G. R. No. L-6518, prom. March 30, 1954,
. . . the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the the accused was charged in the municipal court of Pasay City with reckless
Peace (now Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight driving under sec. 52 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law, for having driven
physical injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his being an automobile in a ῾fast and reckless manner ... thereby causing an
prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the accident.’ After the accused had pleaded not guilty the case was dismissed
Court of First Instance of the province, where both charges are derived from in that court ῾for failure of the Government to prosecute’. But some time
the consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, because the thereafter the city attorney filed an information in the Court of First Instance
second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for the same of Rizal, charging the same accused with damage to property thru reckless
offense.39 (Emphasis supplied) imprudence. The amount of the damage was alleged to be P249.50.
Thus, for all intents and purposes, Buerano had effectively overruled Pleading double jeopardy, the accused filed a motion, and on appeal by the
Estipona. Government we affirmed the ruling. Among other things we there said
It is noteworthy that the Solicitor General in Buerano, in a reversal of his through Mr. Justice Montemayor —
earlier stance in Silva, joined causes with the accused, a fact which did not The next question to determine is the relation between the first offense of
escape the Court’s attention: violation of the Motor Vehicle Law prosecuted before the Pasay City
Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his Municipal Court and the offense of damage to property thru reckless
MANIFESTATION dated December 12, 1969 (page 82 of the Rollo) admits imprudence charged in the Rizal Court of First Instance. One of the tests of
that the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining petitioner’s plea of double double jeopardy is whether or not the second offense charged necessarily
jeopardy and submits that "its affirmatory decision dated January 28, 1969, includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former
in Criminal Case No. 05123-CR finding petitioner guilty of damage to complaint or information (Rule 113, Sec. 9). Another test is whether the
property through reckless imprudence should be set aside, without evidence which proves one would prove the other that is to say whether the
costs." He stressed that "if double jeopardy exists where the reckless act facts alleged in the first charge if proven, would have been sufficient to
resulted into homicide and physical injuries. then the same consequence support the second charge and vice versa; or whether one crime is an
must perforce follow where the same reckless act caused merely damage ingredient of the other. x x x
to property-not death-and physical injuries. Verily, the value of a human life xxxx
lost as a result of a vehicular collision cannot be equated with any amount The foregoing language of the Supreme Court also disposes of the
of damages caused to a motors vehicle arising from the same contention of the prosecuting attorney that the charge for slight physical
mishap."40 (Emphasis supplied) injuries through reckless imprudence could not have been joined with the
Hence, we find merit in petitioner’s submission that the lower courts erred in charge for homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless
refusing to extend in his favor the mantle of protection afforded by the imprudence in this case, in view of the provisions of Art. 48 of the Revised
Double Jeopardy Clause. A more fitting jurisprudence could not be tailored Penal Code, as amended. The prosecution’s contention might be true. But
to petitioner’s case than People v. Silva, 41 a Diaz progeny. There, the neither was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight
accused, who was also involved in a vehicular collision, was charged in two physical injuries through reckless imprudence before pressing the more
separate Informations with "Slight Physical Injuries thru Reckless serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless
Imprudence" and "Homicide with Serious Physical Injuries thru Reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in
Imprudence." Following his acquittal of the former, the accused sought the the Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted
quashal of the latter, invoking the Double Jeopardy Clause. The trial court the defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in
initially denied relief, but, on reconsideration, found merit in the accused’s this case the more serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries
claim and dismissed the second case. In affirming the trial court, we quoted through reckless imprudence which arose out of the same alleged reckless
with approval its analysis of the issue following Diaz and its progeny People imprudence of which the defendant have been previously cleared by the
v. Belga:42 inferior court.43
On June 26, 1959, the lower court reconsidered its Order of May 2, 1959
and dismissed the case, holding: —
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases
6

Significantly, the Solicitor General had urged us in Silva to reexamine Belga consequence separately. Thus, in Angeles v. Jose,52 we interpreted
(and hence, Diaz) "for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its paragraph three of Article 365, in relation to a charge alleging "reckless
application."44 We declined the invitation, thus: imprudence resulting in damage to property and less serious physical
The State in its appeal claims that the lower court erred in dismissing the injuries," as follows:
case, on the ground of double jeopardy, upon the basis of the acquittal of [T]he third paragraph of said article, x x x reads as follows:
the accused in the JP court for Slight Physical Injuries, thru Reckless When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only
Imprudence. In the same breath said State, thru the Solicitor General, resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender shall be
admits that the facts of the case at bar, fall squarely on the ruling of the punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said
Belga case x x x, upon which the order of dismissal of the lower court was damage to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than
anchored. The Solicitor General, however, urges a re-examination of said 25 pesos.
ruling, upon certain considerations for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying The above-quoted provision simply means that if there is only damage to
its application. We find, nevertheless, that further elucidation or disquisition property the amount fixed therein shall be imposed, but if there are also
on the ruling in the Belga case, the facts of which are analogous or similar physical injuries there should be an additional penalty for the latter. The
to those in the present case, will yield no practical advantage to the information cannot be split into two; one for the physical injuries, and
government. On one hand, there is nothing which would warrant a another for the damage to property, x x x.53(Emphasis supplied)
delimitation or clarification of the applicability of the Belga case. It was By "additional penalty," the Court meant, logically, the penalty scheme
clear. On the other, this Court has reiterated the views expressed in the under Article 365.
Belga case, in the identical case of Yap v. Hon. Lutero, etc., L-12669, April Evidently, these approaches, while parallel, are irreconcilable. Coherence in
30, 1959.45 (Emphasis supplied) this field demands choosing one framework over the other. Either (1) we
Article 48 Does not Apply to Acts Penalized allow the "complexing" of a single quasi-crime by breaking its resulting acts
Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code into separate offenses (except for light felonies), thus re-conceptualize a
The confusion bedeviling the question posed in this petition, to which the quasi-crime, abandon its present framing under Article 365, discard its
MeTC succumbed, stems from persistent but awkward attempts to conception under the Quizon and Diaz lines of cases, and treat the multiple
harmonize conceptually incompatible substantive and procedural rules in consequences of a quasi-crime as separate intentional felonies defined
criminal law, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses and under Titles 1-13, Book II under the penal code; or (2) we forbid the
Article 48 on complexing of crimes, both under the Revised Penal Code. application of Article 48 in the prosecution and sentencing of quasi-crimes,
Article 48 is a procedural device allowing single prosecution of multiple require single prosecution of all the resulting acts regardless of their
felonies falling under either of two categories: (1) when a single act number and severity, separately penalize each as provided in Article 365,
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (thus excluding from its and thus maintain the distinct concept of quasi-crimes as crafted under
operation light felonies46); and (2) when an offense is a necessary means Article 365, articulated in Quizon and applied to double jeopardy
for committing the other. The legislature crafted this procedural tool to adjudication in the Diaz line of cases.1avvphi1
benefit the accused who, in lieu of serving multiple penalties, will only serve A becoming regard of this Court’s place in our scheme of government
the maximum of the penalty for the most serious crime. denying it the power to make laws constrains us to keep inviolate the
In contrast, Article 365 is a substantive rule penalizing not an act defined as conceptual distinction between quasi-crimes and intentional felonies under
a felony but "the mental attitude x x x behind the act, the dangerous our penal code. Article 48 is incongruent to the notion of quasi-crimes under
recklessness, lack of care or foresight x x x,"47 a single mental attitude Article 365. It is conceptually impossible for a quasi-offense to stand for (1)
regardless of the resulting consequences. Thus, Article 365 was crafted as a single act constituting two or more grave or less grave felonies; or (2)
one quasi-crime resulting in one or more consequences. anoffense which is a necessary means for committing another. This is why,
Ordinarily, these two provisions will operate smoothly. Article 48 works to way back in 1968 in Buan, we rejected the Solicitor General’s argument that
combine in a single prosecution multiple intentional crimes falling under double jeopardy does not bar a second prosecution for slight physical
Titles 1-13, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, when proper; Article 365 injuries through reckless imprudence allegedly because the charge for that
governs the prosecution of imprudent acts and their consequences. offense could not be joined with the other charge for serious physical
However, the complexities of human interaction can produce a hybrid injuries through reckless imprudence following Article 48 of the Revised
quasi-offense not falling under either models – that of a single criminal Penal Code:
negligence resulting in multiple non-crime damages to persons and The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight physical
property with varying penalties corresponding to light, less grave or grave injuries through reckless imprudence could not be joined with the
offenses. The ensuing prosecutorial dilemma is obvious: how should such a accusation for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
quasi-crime be prosecuted? Should Article 48’s framework apply to because Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code allows only the complexing
"complex" the single quasi-offense with its multiple (non-criminal) of grave or less grave felonies. This same argument was considered
consequences (excluding those amounting to light offenses which will be and rejected by this Court in the case of People vs. [Silva] x x x:
tried separately)? Or should the prosecution proceed under a single charge, [T]he prosecution’s contention might be true. But neither was the
collectively alleging all the consequences of the single quasi-crime, to be prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries
penalized separately following the scheme of penalties under Article 365? through reckless imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of
Jurisprudence adopts both approaches. Thus, one line of rulings (none of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence.
which involved the issue of double jeopardy) applied Article 48 by Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of
"complexing" one quasi-crime with its multiple consequences48 unless one the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant,
consequence amounts to a light felony, in which case charges were split by the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the
grouping, on the one hand, resulting acts amounting to grave or less grave more serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through
felonies and filing the charge with the second level courts and, on the other reckless imprudence which arose out of the same alleged reckless
hand, resulting acts amounting to light felonies and filing the charge with the imprudence of which the defendant has been previously cleared by the
first level courts.49 Expectedly, this is the approach the MeTC impliedly inferior court.
sanctioned (and respondent Ponce invokes), even though under Republic [W]e must perforce rule that the exoneration of this appellant x x x by the
Act No. 7691,50 the MeTC has now exclusive original jurisdiction to impose Justice of the Peace x x x of the charge of slight physical injuries through
the most serious penalty under Article 365 which is prision correccional in reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical
its medium period. injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the
Under this approach, the issue of double jeopardy will not arise if the province, where both charges are derived from the consequences of one
"complexing" of acts penalized under Article 365 involves only resulting acts and the same vehicular accident, because the second accusation places
penalized as grave or less grave felonies because there will be a single the appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense.54 (Emphasis
prosecution of all the resulting acts. The issue of double jeopardy arises if supplied)
one of the resulting acts is penalized as a light offense and the other acts Indeed, this is a constitutionally compelled choice. By prohibiting the
are penalized as grave or less grave offenses, in which case Article 48 is splitting of charges under Article 365, irrespective of the number and
not deemed to apply and the act penalized as a light offense is tried severity of the resulting acts, rampant occasions of constitutionally
separately from the resulting acts penalized as grave or less grave impermissible second prosecutions are avoided, not to mention that scarce
offenses. state resources are conserved and diverted to proper use.
The second jurisprudential path nixes Article 48 and sanctions a single Hence, we hold that prosecutions under Article 365 should proceed from a
prosecution of all the effects of the quasi-crime collectively alleged in one single charge regardless of the number or severity of the consequences. In
charge, regardless of their number or severity,51 penalizing each imposing penalties, the judge will do no more than apply the penalties
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases
7

under Article 365 for each consequence alleged and proven. In short, there prejudice of its owner, in the
shall be no splitting of charges under Article 365, and only one information aforementioned amount of
shall be filed in the same first level court.55 P8,542.00.
Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a That as further consequence
stronger and simpler protection of their constitutional right under the Double due to the strong impact, said
Jeopardy Clause. True, they are thereby denied the beneficent effect of the Norberto Bonsol suffered bodily
favorable sentencing formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus injuries which required medical
caused is more than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution for attendance for a period of less
quasi-crime effects qualifying as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more that nine (9) days and
serious consequence prosecuted belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress incapacitated him from
can re-craft Article 365 by extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula performing his customary labor
of Article 48 so that only the most severe penalty shall be imposed under a for the same period of time.
single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether penalized as grave, less Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial then
grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct concept of ensued.
quasi-offenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of penalties under Article On 31 January 1991, the RTC of Makati, Branch 145, rendered a
365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of culpability, should cushion decision 3 convicting petitioner of the "quasi offense of reckless imprudence
the effect of this ruling. resulting in damage to property with slight physical injuries," and sentencing
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2 her:
February 2006 and 2 May 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, [t]o suffer imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto
Branch 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 mayor, and to pay the complainant, Norberto Bonsol y
against petitioner Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial Atienza, the sum of Thirteen Thousand Five Hundred
Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy. Forty-Two (P13,542), Philippine Currency, without
Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the subsidiary impairment in case of insolvency; and to
Speaker of the House of Representatives. pay the costs. 4
SO ORDERED. The trial court justified imposing a 6-month prison term in this wise:
G.R. No. 125066 July 8, 1998 As a result of the reckless imprudence of the
ISABELITA REODICA, petitioner, accused, complainant suffered slight physical injuries
vs. (Exhs. D, H and I). In view of the resulting physical
COURT OF APPEALS, and PEOPLE OF THE injuries, the penalty to be imposed is not fine, but
PHILIPPINES, respondents. imprisonment (Gregorio, Fundamental of Criminal
Law Review, Eight Edition 1988, p. 711). Slight
DAVIDE, JR., J.: physical injuries thru reckless imprudence is now
On the evening of 17 October 1987, petitioner Isabelita Reodica was driving punished with penalty of arresto mayor in its
a van along Doña Soledad Avenue, Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque, maximum period (People v. Aguiles, L-11302,
Metro Manila. Allegedly because of her recklessness, her van hit the car of October 28, 1960, cited in Gregorio's book, p. 718). 5
complainant Norberto Bonsol. As a result, complainant sustained physical As to the sum of P13,542.00, this represented the cost of the car
injuries, while the damage to his car amounted to P8,542.00. repairs (P8,542.00) and medical expenses (P5,000.00).
Three days after the incident, or on 20 October 1987, the complainant filed Petitioner appealed from the decision to the Court of Appeals, which
an Affidavit of Complaint 1 against petitioner with the Fiscal's Office. docketed the case as CA-G.R. CR No. 14660. After her motions for
On 13 January 1988, an information 2 was filed before the Regional Trial extension of time to file her brief were granted, she filed a Motion to
Court (RTC) of Makati (docketed as Criminal Case No. 33919) charging Withdraw Appeal for Probation Purposes, and to Suspend, Ex Abundanti
petitioner with "Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Cautela, Period for Filing Appellant's Brief. However, respondent Court of
Slight Physical Injury." The information read: Appeals denied this motion and directed petitioner to file her brief. 6
The undersigned 2nd Asst. Fiscal accuses Isabelita After passing upon the errors imputed by petitioner to the trial court,
Reodica of the crime of Reckless Imprudence respondent Court of Appeals rendered a decision 7 on 31 January 1996
Resulting in Damage to Property with Slight Physical affirming the appealed decision.
Injury as follows: Petitioner subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration 8 raising new
That on or about the 17th day of issues, thus:
October, 1987 in the NOW THAT AN ACQUITTAL SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE,
Municipality of Parañaque, MAY WE REVISIT THE PENALTY AND MOVE THAT
Metro Manila, Philippines and IT BE REVIEWED AND SET ASIDE SINCE IT IS
within the jurisdiction of this RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED TO BE ERROR TO
Honorable Court, the COMPLEX DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND SLIGHT
abovementioned accused, PHYSICAL INJURIES, AS BOTH ARE LIGHT
Isabelita Velasco Reodica, OFFENSES, OVER WHICH THE RESPONDENT
being then the driver and/or COURT HAD NO JURISDICTION AND EVEN
person in charge of a Tamaraw ASSUMING SUCH JURISDICTION, IT CANNOT
bearing plate no. NJU-306, did IMPOSE A PENALTY IN EXCESS OF WHAT IS
then and there willfully, AUTHORIZED BY LAW. 9
unlawfully and feloniously drive, xxx xxx xxx
manage and operate the same REVERSAL OF THE DECISION REMAINS
in a reckless, careless, POSSIBLE ON GROUNDS OF PRESCRIPTION OR
negligent and imprudent LACK OF JURISDICTION. 10
manner, without regard to traffic In its Resolution of 24 May 1996, the Court of Appeals denied petitioner's
laws, rules and regulations and motion for reconsideration for lack of merit, as well as her supplemental
without taking the necessary motion for reconsideration. Hence, the present petition for review
care and precaution to avoid on certiorariunder Rule 45 of the Rules of Court premised on the following
damage to property and injuries grounds:
to person, causing by such RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION
negligence, carelessness and DATED JANUARY 31, 1996 AND MORE SO ITS
imprudence the said vehicle to RESOLUTION DATED MAY 24, 1996, ARE
bump/collide with a Toyota CONTRARY TO LAW AND GROSSLY ERRONEOUS
Corolla bearing plate no. NIM- IN THAT THEY IMPOSED A PENALTY IN EXCESS
919 driven and owned by OF WHAT IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR THE
Norberto Bonsol, thereby CRIME OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING
causing damage amounting to IN SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES, ON THE BASIS
P8,542.00, to the damage and
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases
8

OF A CLERICAL ERROR IN A SECONDARY Metropolitan Trial Court could have tolled the statute of
SOURCE. limitations, this time invoking Zaldivia v. Reyes. 13
A. IN THE CASE OF PEOPLE V. AGUILAR, 11 THE SAME CASE WHERE In its Comment filed on behalf of public respondents, the Office of the
THE COURT A QUO BASED ITS FINDING OF A PENALTY WHEN IT Solicitor General (OSG) agrees with petitioner that the penalty should have
AFFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, WHAT been arresto menor in its maximum period, instead of arresto mayor,
WAS STATED IN THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF SAID CASE IS THAT THE pursuant to Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.
PENALTY FOR SLIGHT PHYSICAL INJURIES THROUGH RECKLESS As to the second assigned error, the OSG contends that conformably
IMPRUDENCE IS ARRESTO MENOR AND NOT ARRESTO MAYOR. IT IS with Buerano v. Court of Appeals, 14 which frowns upon splitting of crimes
GRAVE ERROR FOR THE RESPONDENT COURT TO PUNISH and prosecution, it was proper for the trial court to "complex" reckless
PETITIONER MORE THAN SHE SHOULD OR COULD BE PUNISHED imprudence with slight physical injuries and damage to property because
BECAUSE OF A CLERICAL ERROR COPIED FROM A SECONDARY what the law seeks to penalize is the single act of reckless imprudence, not
SOURCE. the results thereof; hence, there was no need for two separate informations.
B. THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS To refute the third assigned error, the OSG submits that although the
DISCRETION WHEN IT COMPLEXED THE CRIME OF RECKLESS Municipal Trial Court had jurisdiction to impose arresto menor for slight
IMPRUDENCE RESULTING IN DAMAGE TO PROPERTY AND SLIGHT physical injuries, the Regional Trial Court properly took cognizance of this
PHYSICAL INJURIES IMPOSING A SINGLE EXCESSIVE PENALTY IN ITS case because it had the jurisdiction to impose the higher penalty for the
ELLIPTICAL RESOLUTION OF MAY 24, 1996. damage to property, which was a fine equal to thrice the value of
C. THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN P8,542.00. On this score, the OSG cites Cuyos v. Garcia. 15
IT AFFIRMED THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION NOTWITHSTANDING The OSG then debunks petitioner's defense of prescription of the crime,
THE DEFENSE OF PRESCRIPTION AND LACK OF JURISDICTION. arguing that the prescriptive period here was tolled by the filing of the
Anent the first ground, petitioner claims that the courts below misquoted not complaint with the fiscal's office three days after the incident, pursuant
only the title, but likewise the ruling of the case cited as authority regarding to People v. Cuaresma 16 and Chico v. Isidro. 17
the penalty for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence. In her Reply to the Comment of the OSG, petitioner expressed gratitude
Concretely, the title of the case was not People v. Aguiles, but People v. and appreciation to the OSG in joining cause with her as to the first
Aguilar; while the ruling was that the penalty for such quasi offense assigned error. However, she considers the OSG's reliance on Buerano v.
was arresto menor — not arresto mayor. Court of Appeals 18 as misplaced, for nothing there validates the
As regards the second assigned error, petitioner avers that the courts below "complexing" of the crime of reckless imprudence with physical injuries and
should have pronounced that there were two separate light felonies damage to property; besides, in that case, two separate informations were
involved, namely: (1) reckless imprudence with slight physical injuries; and filed — one for slight and serious physical injuries through reckless
(2) reckless imprudence with damage to property, instead of considering imprudence and the other for damage to property through reckless
them a complex crime. Two light felonies, she insists, "do not . . . rate a imprudence. She then insists that in this case, following Arcaya v.
single penalty of arresto mayor or imprisonment of six months," Teleron 19 and Lontok v. Gorgonio, 20two informations should have been
citing Lontok v. Gorgonio, 12 thus: filed. She likewise submits that Cuyos v. Garcia 21 would only apply here on
Where the single act of imprudence resulted in double the assumption that it was proper to "complex" damage to property through
less serious physical injuries, damage to property reckless imprudence with slight physical injuries through reckless
amounting to P10,000.00 and slight physical injuries, imprudence. Chico v. Isidro 22 is likewise "inapposite," for it deals with
a chief of police did not err in filing a separate attempted homicide, which is not covered by the Rule on Summary
complaint for the slight physical injuries and another Procedure.
complaint for the lesiones menos graves and damage Petitioner finally avers that People v. Cuaresma 23 should not be given
to property (Arcaya vs. Teleron, L-37446, May 31, retroactive effect; otherwise, it would either unfairly prejudice her or render
1974, 57 SCRA 363, 365). nugatory the en banc ruling in Zaldivia 24 favorable to her.
The case of Angeles vs. Jose, 96 Phil. 151, cited by The pleadings thus raise the following issues:
investigating fiscal, is different from the instant case I. Whether the penalty imposed
because in that case the negligent act resulted in the on petitioner is correct.
offenses of lesiones menos graves and damage to II. Whether the quasi offenses of
property which were both less grave felonies and reckless imprudence resulting in
which, therefore, constituted a complex crime. damage to property in the
In the instant case, following the ruling in amount of P8,542.00 and
the Turla case, the offense of lesiones leves through reckless imprudence resulting in
reckless imprudence should have been charged in a slight physical injuries are light
separate information. felonies.
She then suggests that "at worst, the penalties of two light III. Whether the rule on complex
offenses, both imposable in their maximum period and computed crimes under Article 48 of the
or added together, only sum up to 60 days imprisonment and not Revised Penal Code applies to
six months as imposed by the lower courts." the quasi offenses in question.
On the third assigned error, petitioner insists that the offense of slight IV. Whether the duplicity of the
physical injuries through reckless imprudence, being punishable only information may be questioned
by arresto menor, is a light offense; as such, it prescribes in two months. for the first time on appeal.
Here, since the information was filed only on 13 January 1988, or almost V. Whether the Regional Trial
three months from the date the vehicular collision occurred, the offense had Court had jurisdiction over the
already prescribed, again citing Lontok, thus: offenses in question.
In the instant case, following the ruling in VI. Whether the quasi offenses
the Turla case, the offense of lesiones leves through in question have already
reckless imprudence should have been charged in a prescribed.
separate information. And since, as a light offense, it I. The Proper Penalty
prescribes in two months, Lontok's criminal liability We agree with both petitioner and the OSG that the penalty of six months
therefor was already extinguished (Arts. 89[5], 90 and of arresto mayor imposed by the trial court and affirmed by respondent
91, Revised Penal Code in relation to sec. 2[e] and [f], Court of Appeals is incorrect. However, we cannot subscribe to their
Rule 117, Rules of Court). The trial court committed a submission that the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period is the
grave abuse of discretion in not sustaining Lontok's proper penalty.
motion to quash that part of the information charging Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
him with that light offense. Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person
Petitioner further claims that the information was filed with the who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act
wrong court, since Regional Trial Courts do not deal with arresto which, had it been intentional, would constitute a
menor cases. She submits that damage to property and slight grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto
physical injuries are light felonies and thus covered by the rules mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in
on summary procedure; therefore, only the filing with the proper its medium period; if it would have constituted a less
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases
9

grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its ofarresto menor or a fine not exceeding P200.00, or both. Since public
minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it censure is classified under Article 25 of the Code as a light penalty, and is
would have constituted a light felony, the penalty considered under the graduated scale provided in Article 71 of the same
of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be Code as a penalty lower than arresto menor, it follows that the offense of
imposed. reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is a light felony.
Any person who, by simple imprudence or On the other hand, reckless imprudence also resulting in damage to
negligence, shall commit an act which would property is, as earlier discussed, penalized with arresto mayor in its
otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the minimum and medium periods. Since arresto mayor is a correctional
penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum penalty under Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code, the quasi offense in
periods; if it would have constituted a less serious question is a less grave felony — not a light felony as claimed by petitioner.
felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum III. Applicability of the Rule on Complex Crimes.
period shall be imposed. Since criminal negligence may, as here, result in more than one felony,
When the execution of the act covered by this article should Article 48 of the Revised Code on complex crimes be applied?
shall have only resulted in damage to the property of Article 48 provides as follows:
another, the offender shall be punished by a fine Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. — When a single
ranging from an amount equal to the value of said act constitutes two or more grave or less grave
damages to three times such value, but which shall in felonies, or when an offense is necessary a means for
no case be less than 25 pesos. committing the other, the penalty for the most serious
A fine not exceeding 200 pesos and censure shall be crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its
imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence maximum period.
or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done Clearly, if a reckless, imprudent or negligent act results in two or more
maliciously, would have constituted a light felony. grave or less grave felonies, a complex crime is committed. However,
In the imposition of these penalties, the courts shall in Lontok v. Gorgonio, 27 this Court declared that where one of the resulting
exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the offenses in criminal negligence constitutes a light felony, there is no
rules prescribed in Article 64. complex crime, thus:
The provisions contained in this article shall not be Applying article 48, it follows that if one offense is
applicable: light, there is no complex crime. The resulting
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal offenses may be treated as separate or the light
to or lower than those provided in the first two felony may be absorbed by the grave felony. Thus,
paragraphs of this article, in which case the courts the light felonies of damage to property and slight
shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than physical injuries, both resulting from a single act of
that which should be imposed in the period which they imprudence, do not constitute a complex crime. They
may deem proper to apply. cannot be charged in one information. They are
According to the first paragraph of the aforequoted Article, the penalty for separate offenses subject to distinct penalties (People
reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries, a light felony, vs. Turla, 50 Phil. 1001; See People vs. Estipona, 70
is arresto menor in its maximum period, with a duration of 21 to 30 days. If Phil. 513).
the offense of slight physical injuries is, however, committed deliberately or Where the single act of imprudence resulted in double
with malice, it is penalized with arresto menor under Article 266 of the less serious physical injuries, damage to property
Revised Penal Code, with a duration of 1 day to 30 days. Plainly, the amounting to P10,000 and slight physical injuries, a
penalty then under Article 266 may be either lower than or equal to the chief of police did not err in filing a separate complaint
penalty prescribed under the first paragraph of Article 365. This being the for the slight physical injuries and another complaint
case, the exception in the sixth paragraph of Article 365 applies. Hence, the for the lesiones menor graves and damage to
proper penalty for reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is property [Arcaya vs. Teleron, L-37446, May 31, 1974,
public censure, this being the penalty next lower in degree to arresto 57 SCRA 363, 365].
menor. 25 Hence, the trial court erred in considering the following felonies as a
As to reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the amount of complex crime: the less grave felony of reckless imprudence resulting in
P8,542.00, the third paragraph of Article 365, which provides for the penalty damage to property in the amount of P8,542.00 and the light felony of
of fine, does not apply since the reckless imprudence in this case did not reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries.
result in damage to property only. What applies is the first paragraph of IV. The Right to Assail the Duplicity of the Information.
Article 365, which provides for arresto mayor in its minimum and medium Following Lontok, the conclusion is inescapable here, that the quasi offense
periods (1 month and 1 day to 4 months) for an act committed through of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries should have been
reckless imprudence which, had it been intentional, would have constituted charged in a separate information because it is not covered by Article 48 of
a less grave felony. Note that if the damage to the extent of P8,542.00 were the Revised Penal Code. However, petitioner may no longer question, at
caused deliberately, the crime would have been malicious mischief under this stage, the duplicitous character of the information, i.e., charging two
Article 329 of the Revised Penal Code, and the penalty would then separate offenses in one information, to wit: (1) reckless imprudence
be arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods (2 months and 1 day resulting in damage to property; and (2) reckless imprudence resulting in
to 6 months which is higher than that prescribed in the first paragraph of slight physical injuries. This defect was deemed waived by her failure to
Article 365). If the penalty under Article 329 were equal to or lower than that raise it in a motion to quash before she pleaded to the information. 28 Under
provided for in the first paragraph, then the sixth paragraph of Article 365 Section 3, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court, when two or more offenses are
would apply, i.e., the penalty next lower in degree, which is arresto menor in charged in a single complaint or information and the accused fails to object
its maximum period to arresto mayor in its minimum period or imprisonment to it before trial, the court may convict the accused of as many offenses as
from 21 days to 2 months. Accordingly, the imposable penalty for reckless are charged and proved and impose on him the penalty for each of them. 29
imprudence resulting in damage to property to the extent of P8,542.00 V. Which Court Has Jurisdiction Over the
would bearresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, which could be Quasi Offenses in Question.
anywhere from a minimum of 1 month and 1 day to a maximum of 4 The jurisdiction to try a criminal action is to be determined by the law in
months, at the discretion of the court, since the fifth paragraph of Article 365 force at the time of the institution of the action, unless the statute expressly
provides that in the imposition of the penalties therein provided "the courts provides, or is construed to the effect that it is intended to operate as to
shall exercise their sound discretion without regard to the rules prescribed actions pending before its enactment. 30
in article 64." At the time of the filing of the information in this case, the law in force was
II. Classification of the Quasi Offense in Question. Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as "The Judiciary
Felonies committed not only by means of deceit (dolo), but likewise by Reorganization Act of 1980." Section 32(2) 31 thereof provided that except
means of fault (culpa). There is deceit when the wrongful act is performed in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial
with deliberate intent; and there is fault when the wrongful act results from Courts and of the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts (MTCs),
imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight or lack of skill. 26 Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs), and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts (MCTCs)
As earlier stated, reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries is had exclusive original jurisdiction over "all offenses punishable with
punishable by public censure only. Article 9, paragraph 3, of the Revised imprisonment of got exceeding four years and two months, or a fine of not
Penal Code defines light felonies as infractions of law carrying the penalty more than four thousand pesos, or both fine and imprisonment, regardless
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases
10

of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability However, this Section cannot be taken to mean that the prescriptive period
arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, is interrupted only by the filing of a complaint or information directly with
nature, value or amount thereof." said courts.
The criminal jurisdiction of the lower courts was then determined by the It must be stressed that prescription in criminal cases is a matter of
duration of the imprisonment and the amount of fine prescribed by law for substantive law. Pursuant to Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution,
the offense charged. The question thus arises as to which court has this Court, in the exercise of its rule-making power, is not allowed to
jurisdiction over offenses punishable by censure, such as reckless diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. 37 Hence, in case of conflict
imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. between the Rule on Summary Procedure promulgated by this Court and
In Uy Chin Hua v. Dinglasan, 32 this Court found that a lacuna existed in the the Revised Penal Code, the latter prevails.
law as to which court had jurisdiction over offenses penalized with destierro, Neither does Zaldivia control in this instance. It must be recalled that what
the duration of which was from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years, which was was involved therein was a violation of a municipal ordinance; thus, the
co-extensive with prision correccional. We then interpreted the law in this applicable law was not Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, but Act. No.
wise: 3326, as amended, entitled "An Act to Establish Periods of Prescription for
Since the legislature has placed offenses penalized Violations Penalized by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to
with arresto mayor under the jurisdiction of justice of Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run." Under Section 2 thereof,
the peace and municipal courts, and since by Article the period of prescription is suspended only when judicial proceedings are
71 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by instituted against the guilty party. Accordingly, this Court held that the
Section 3 of Commonwealth Act No. 217, it has prescriptive period was not interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the
placed destierro below arresto mayor as a lower Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, as such did not constitute a judicial
penalty than the latter, in the absence of any express proceeding; what could have tolled the prescriptive period there was only
provision of law to the contrary it is logical and the filing of the information in the proper court.
reasonable to infer from said provisions that its In the instant case, as the offenses involved are covered by the Revised
intention was to place offenses penalized Penal Code, Article 91 thereof and the rulings
withdestierro also under the jurisdiction of justice of in Francisco and Cuaresma apply. Thus, the prescriptive period for
the peace and municipal courts and not under that of the quasi offenses in question was interrupted by the filing of the complaint
courts of first instance. with the fiscal's office three days after the vehicular mishap and remained
Similarly, since offenses punishable by imprisonment of not exceeding 4 tolled pending the termination of this case. We cannot, therefore, uphold
years and 2 months were within the jurisdictional ambit of the MeTCs, petitioner's defense of prescription of the offenses charged in the
MTCs and MCTCs, it follows that those penalized with censure, which is a information in this case.
penalty lower than arresto menor under the graduated scale in Article 71 of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The challenge decision of
the Revised Penal Code and with a duration of 1 to 30 days, should also fall respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 14660 is SET ASIDE as
within the jurisdiction of said courts. Thus, reckless imprudence resulting in the Regional Trial Court, whose decision was affirmed therein, had no
slight physical injuries was cognizable by said courts. jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 33919.
As to the reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property in the Criminal Case No. 33919 is ordered DISMISSED.
amount of P8,542.00, the same was also under the jurisdiction of MeTCs, No pronouncement as to costs.
MTCs or MCTCs because the imposable penalty therefor was arresto SO ORDERED.
mayor in its minimum and medium periods — the duration of which was
from 1 month and 1 day to 4 months. .
Criminal Case No. 33919 should, therefore, be dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction on the part of the RTC of Makati.
VI. Prescription of the Quasi Offenses in Question.
Pursuant to Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, reckless imprudence
resulting in slight physical injuries, being a light felony, prescribes in two
months. On the other hand, reckless imprudence resulting in damage to
property in the amount of P8,542.00, being a less grave felony whose
penalty is arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, prescribes in
five years.
To resolve the issue of whether these quasi offenses have already
prescribed, it is necessary to determine whether the filing of the complaint
with the fiscal's office three days after the incident in question tolled the
running of the prescriptive period.
Art. 91 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
Art. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses. —
The period of prescription shall commence to run from
the day on which the crime is discovered by the
offended party, the authorities, or their agents,
and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint
of information, and shall commence to run again
when such proceedings terminate without the
accused being convicted or acquitted, or are
unjustifiably stopped by any reason not imputable to
him. (emphasis supplied)
Notably, the aforequoted article, in declaring that the prescriptive
period "shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or
information," does not distinguish whether the complaint is filed
for preliminary examination or investigation only or for an action
on the merits. 33 Thus, in Francisco v. Court of
Appeals 34 and People v. Cuaresma, 35 this Court held that the
filing of the complaint even with the fiscal's office suspends the
running of the statute of limitations.
We cannot apply Section 9 36 of the Rule on Summary Procedure, which
provides that in cases covered thereby, such as offenses punishable by
imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, as in the instant case, "the
prosecution commences by the filing of a complaint or information directly
with the MeTC, RTC or MCTC without need of a prior preliminary
examination or investigation; provided that in Metropolitan Manila and
Chartered Cities, said cases may be commenced only by information."
CJC07_12 | Criminal Procedure Cases