Melo vs. People G.R. No. L-3580, March 22, 1950 85 Phil. 766 (1959)

Facts: Petitioner was charged in the CFI with frustrated homicide, for having allegedly inflicted upon victim with a kitchen knife and with intent to kill, several serious wounds on different parts of the body, requiring medical attendance for a period of more than 30 days, and incapacitating him from performing his habitual labor for the same period of time. On December 29, 1949, at eight o’clock in the morning, the accused pleaded not guilty to the offense charged, and at 10:15 in the evening of the same day Benjamin Obillo died from his wounds. Evidence of death was available to the prosecution only on January 3, 1950, and on the following day, January 4, 1950, an amended information was filed charging the accused with consummated homicide. The accused filed a motion to quash the amended information alleging double jeopardy, motion that was denied by the respondent court; hence, the instant petition for prohibition to enjoin the respondent court from further entertaining the amended information.

Issue: Whether the amendment of the information charged against the accused constitute Double Jeopardy.

Held: No, It must be noticed that the protection of the Constitution inhibition is against a second jeopardy for the same offense, the only exception being, as stated in the same Constitution, that “if an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.” The phrase same offense, under the general rule, has always been construed to mean not only the second offense charged is exactly the same as the one alleged in the first information, but also that the two offenses are identical. There is identity between the two offenses when the evidence to support a conviction for one offense would be sufficient to warrant a conviction for the other. This so called “same-evidence test” which was found to be vague and deficient, was restated by the Rules of Court in a clearer and more accurate form. Under said Rules there is identity between two offenses not only when the second offense is exactly the same as the first, but also when the second offense is an attempt to commit the first or a frustration thereof, or when it necessary includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the first information. In this connection, an offense may be said to necessarily include another when some of the essential ingredients of the former as alleged in the information constitute the latter. And vice-versa, an offense may be said to be necessarily included in another when all the ingredients of the former constitute a part of the elements constituting the latter. In other words, on who has been charged with an offense cannot be again charged with the same or identical offense though the latter be lesser or greater than the former. “As the Government cannot be with the highest, and then go down step to step, bringing the man into jeopardy for every dereliction included therein, neither can it begin with the lowest and ascend to the highest with precisely the same result.”

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