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Cudia vs. CA Case Digest


If the fiscal had no authority to file the information, the dismissal of the first information would not be a bar to subsequent prosecution. Jeopardy does not attach where a defendant pleads guilty to a defective indictment that is voluntarily dismissed by the prosecution.

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Facts: 

Cudia was arrested in Mabalacat, Pampanga allegedly for possessing an unlicensed revolver. He was brought to Angeles City, where he was detained. The City Prosecutor of Angeles City filed an information against him for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The Information states that he committed the crime in Angeles City. The case was raffled to RTC Branch 60, Angeles City. Cudia pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the ensuing pre-trial, the court called the attention of the parties to the fact that, contrary to the information, petitioner had committed the offense in Mabalacat, and not in Angeles City. Inasmuch as there was an existing arrangement among the judges of the Angeles City RTCs as to who would handle cases involving crimes committed outside of Angeles City, the judge ordered the re-raffling of the case to a branch assigned to criminal cases involving crimes committed outside of the city. Thereafter, the case was assigned to Branch 56 of the Angeles City RTC.

However, the provincial prosecutor of Pampanga also filed an information charging petitioner with the same crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. The case was likewise raffled to Branch 56 of the Angeles City RTC. This prompted the prosecutor in the first criminal case to file a Motion to Dismiss/Withdraw the Information, it appearing that the apprehension of the accused was made in Mabalacat, Pampanga, within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga. The trial court granted the motion.

Cudia then filed a Motion to Quash the second criminal case on the ground that his continued prosecution for the offense of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition for which he had been arraigned in the first criminal case, and which had been dismissed despite his opposition would violate his right not to be put twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. The trial court denied the motion to quash. CA affirmed that there was no double jeopardy on the ground that the petitioner could not have been convicted under the first information as the same was defective.


Issue:

Whether or not Sapiera could be held civilly liable when she was acquitted in the criminal charges against her


Held:

It is plainly apparent that the City Prosecutor of Angeles City had no authority to file the first information, the offense having been committed in the Municipality of Mabalacat, which is beyond his jurisdiction.

It is thus the Provincial Prosecutor of Pampanga, not the City Prosecutor, who should prepare informations for offenses committed within Pampanga but outside of Angeles City. An information, when required to be filed by a public prosecuting officer, cannot be filed by another. It must be exhibited or presented by the prosecuting attorney or someone authorized by law. If not, the court does not acquire jurisdiction.

Petitioner, however, insists that his failure to assert the lack of authority of the City Prosecutor in filing the information in question is deemed a waiver thereof. As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, petitioners plea to an information before he filed a motion to quash may be a waiver of all objections to it insofar as formal objections to the pleadings are concerned. But by clear implication, if not by express provision of the Rules of Court, and by a long line of uniform decisions, questions relating to want of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceeding. It is a valid information signed by a competent officer which, among other requisites, confers jurisdiction on the court over the person of the accused (herein petitioner) and the subject matter of the accusation. In consonance with this view, an infirmity in the information, such as lack of authority of the officer signing it, cannot be cured by silence, acquiescence, or even by express consent.

In fine, there must have been a valid and sufficient complaint or information in the former prosecution. If, therefore, the complaint or information was insufficient because it was so defective in form or substance that the conviction upon it could not have been sustained, its dismissal without the consent of the accused cannot be pleaded. As the fiscal had no authority to file the information, the dismissal of the first information would not be a bar to petitioners subsequent prosecution. Jeopardy does not attach where a defendant pleads guilty to a defective indictment that is voluntarily dismissed by the prosecution. (Cudia vs. CA, G.R. No. 110315. January 16, 1998)

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