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Motion for Reconsideration in Criminal Cases

What are the grounds for reconsideration in criminal cases?

Errors of law or fact in the judgment, which requires no further proceeding.

When should a motion for reconsideration in a criminal case be filed?

At any time before a judgment of conviction becomes final.

Who may move for a reconsideration?

1. The accused or 
2. The court at its own instance but with the consent of the accused.

What is the form required for a motion for reconsideration?

The motion for reconsideration should:

1.  be in writing;
2.  state the grounds on which it is based;

Who should be notified?

Notice of the motion for reconsideration should be given to the prosecutor.

What is the effect of the grant of the motion for reconsideration?

The original judgment shall be set aside or vacated and a new judgment rendered.

Is there an instance when a motion for reconsideration is prohibited?


1. When the case is tried in the MTC under the Summary Rules. Under Section 19(c) of the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, a motion for reconsideration of a judgment is prohibited.

2. In small claims cases. Under Sec. 14 of the Rule of Procedure for Small Claims Cases, a motion for reconsideration of a judgment is prohibited. 

Why is the accused not subjected to double jeopardy when a reconsideration is granted?

1. Because it is only granted upon motion of the accused.
2. The first jeopardy is never terminated, since the original judgment is set aside and replaced with a new one.

MR in Criminal Case vs. MR in Civil Cases

MR in Criminal Cases
MR in Civil Cases
Either on motion of accused, or the court motu proprio with consent of the accused
Must be upon motion of a party, can’t be motu proprio
Grounds for MR:
 – Errors of law
 – Errors of fact
Grounds for MR:
– Excessive damages
– Insufficient evidence
– Decision is contrary to law
Filed any time before judgment of conviction becomes final
Filed within the period for taking an appeal
When granted, the original judgment is always set aside or vacated and a new judgment rendered
There may be partial grant

Distinguish between new trial and reconsideration (criminal cases).

Motion for Reconsideration
Motion for New Trial
The case is not reopened for further proceeding.  The court is merely asked to reconsider its findings of fact in order to make them conformable to the law applicable to the case.

The case is opened again after judgment for the reception of new evidence and further proceedings.
Grounds for MR:
 – Errors of law
 – Errors of fact
Grounds for MNT:
– Errors of law
– Irregularities prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused
– Newly discovered evidence

Can you extend the period to file a motion for reconsideration?

No. The rule shall be strictly enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court (RTCs). Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. (Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. vs Japson, G.R. No. 70895,  May 30, 1986)

Who must be notified of the motion for reconsideration of the civil aspect of the case?

A judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory and the prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.  However, either the offended party or the accused may appeal the civil aspect of the judgment despite the acquittal of the accused.   The public prosecutor has generally no interest in appealing the civil aspect of a decision acquitting the accused.The acquittal ends the work of the public prosecutor and the case is terminated as far as he is concerned.

The real parties in interest in the civil aspect of a decision are the offended party and the accused. Thus, any appeal or motion for reconsideration of the civil aspect of a decision in a criminal case must be served on the other real party in interest.  If the offended party appeals or moves for reconsideration, the accused is necessarily served a copy of the pleading through his counsel. If the accused appeals or moves for reconsideration, he should serve a copy of his pleading on the offended party himself if the latter is not represented by a private counsel. This is in addition to service on the public prosecutor who is the counsel of record of the State. (Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123340.  August 29, 2002)

Pro forma motion for reconsideration

A motion without a notice of hearing is pro forma, a mere scrap of paper that does not toll the period to appeal, and upon expiration of the 15-day period, the questioned order or decision becomes final and executory. The rationale behind this rule is plain: unless the movant sets the time and place of hearing, the court will be unable to determine whether the adverse party agrees or objects to the motion, and if he objects, to hear him on his objection, since the rules themselves do not fix any period within which he may file his reply or opposition. A supplemental pleading subsequently filed to remedy the previous absence of notice will not cure the defect nor interrupt the tolling of the prescribed period within which to appeal.

Nonetheless, procedural rules were conceived to aid the attainment of justice. If a stringent application of the rules would hinder rather than serve the demands of substantial justice, the former must yield to the latter. Recognizing this, Section 2, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that: Sec. 2. Construction. — These rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.

Admittedly, the filing of respondent-spouses’ motion for reconsideration did not stop the running of the period of appeal because of the absence of a notice of hearing required in Secs. 3, 4 and 5, Rule 15, of the Rules of Court. As we have repeatedly held, a motion that does not contain a notice of hearing is a mere scrap of paper; it presents no question which merits the attention of the court. Being a mere scrap of paper, the trial court had no alternative but to disregard it. Such being the case, it was as if no motion for reconsideration was filed and, therefore, the reglementary period within which respondent-spouses should have filed an appeal expired on 23 November 1989.

But, where a rigid application of that rule will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice, then the rule may be relaxed, especially if a party successfully shows that the alleged defect in the questioned final and executory judgment is not apparent on its face or from the recitals contained therein. Technicalities may thus be disregarded in order to resolve the case. After all, no party can even claim a vested right in technicalities. Litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on the merits and not on technicalities. (Basco vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125290, August 9, 2000)

When does a motion for new trial may be properly called a motion for reconsideration?

A motion of new trial on the ground of errors of law in the judgment may be properly called a motion for reconsideration, because the court is not asked to reopen the case for further proceeding, but only to reconsider its findings or conditions of law and make them conformable to the law applicable to the case in the judgment the court has to render anew. Such a motion for reconsideration has the same effect as a motion for new trial, of interrupting the period for perfecting an appeal after which the judgment becomes final.

As errors of law in the judgment do not affect or invalidate the whole proceeding prior to the judgment, but only the judgment itself, to correct such errors no new trial is required but only a reconsideration of the original and rendition of a new judgment, without necessity of granting new trial. (People vs. Enriquez and Salud, G.R. No. L-4934, November 28, 1951)

If you file a motion for reconsideration and it is denied, how many days do you have to file an appeal? Does the fresh period rule apply in criminal cases?

15-day counted from receipt of denial of the motion for reconsideration.

It is now settled that the fresh period rule is applicable in criminal cases. Where the accused files from a judgment of conviction a motion for new trial or reconsideration which is denied by the trial court, the accused will have a fresh 15-day period counted from receipt of such denial within which to file his or her notice of appeal. (Olayres vs. People, G.R. No. 192799, October 24, 2012)

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