People vs. Yorac G.R. No. L-29270, November 23, 1971 42 SCRA 230 (1971) (overruled)

Facts: The accused was charged with slight physical injuries, the offended party according to the medical certificate issued in April 10, 1968 by a physician and was confined “since April 8, 1968 up to the present time for head injury.” Then came a plea of guilty by the accused on April 16, 1968 resulting in his being penalized to suffer ten days of arresto menor. He started serving his sentence forthwith. On April 18, 1968, the provincial fiscal filed an information, this time in the CFI charging the same defendant with frustrated murder arising from the same act against the aforesaid victim upon another medical certificate issued by the same physician. In the medical certificate of April 17, 1968, it was made to appear that the confinement of the offended party in the hospital was the result of: “1. Contusion with lacerated wound 4 inches parieto-occipital region scalp mid portion. 2. Cerebral concussion, moderately severe, secondary.”4 Moreover, it further contained a statement that the X-ray finding did not yield any “radiographic evidence of fracture.” The healing period barring complications, was declared to be from eighteen to twenty-one days. Afterwards, a motion to quash was filed by the accused on June 10, 1968 on the ground that, having been previously convicted of slight physical injuries by the City Court of Bacolod and having already served the penalty imposed on him for the very same offense, the prosecution for frustrated murder arising out of the same act committed against the same offended party, the crime of slight physical injuries necessarily being included in that of frustrated murder, he would be placed in second jeopardy if indicted for the new offense. In its well-reasoned resolution of June 21, 1968 granting the motion to quash and ordering the dismissal of a criminal case for frustrated murder against the accused, Judge Alampay relied on People v. Buling which, in his opinion, was squarely applicable as “nothing in the later medical certificate [indicated] that a new or supervening fact had developed or arisen since the time of the filing of the original action” against the accused. A motion for reconsideration being unavailing, an appeal was elevated to the SC.

Issue: Whether the filing of anew charge against the accused after he was found guilty by the court and serving his sentence inviolate his right against Double Jeopardy.

Held: Yes, There is then the indispensable requirement of the existence of “a new fact [which] supervenes for which the defendant is responsible” changing the character of the crime imputed to him and together with the facts existing previously constituting a new and distinct offense. If the X-ray examination discloses the existence of a fracture on January 17, 1957, that fracture must have existed when the first examination was made on December 10, 1956. There is therefore, no view or supervening fact that could be said to have developed or arisen since the filing of the original action, which would justify the application of the ruling enunciated by us in the cases if Melo vs. People and People vs. Manolong. the court attribute the new finding of fracture, which evidently lengthened the period of healing of the wound, to the very superficial and inconclusive examination made on December 10, 1956. Had an X-ray examination been taken at the time, the fracture would have certainly been disclosed. The wound causing the delay in healing was already in existence at the time of the first examination, but said delay was, caused by the very superficial examination then made. As we have stated, The court find therefore that no supervening fact had occurred which justifies the application of the rule in the case of Melo vs. People and People vs. Manolong for which reason we are constrained to apply the general rule of double jeopardy.” It is quite apparent, in the light of the foregoing, why the lower court, submitting to the compulsion of the Buling decision, had to sustain the motion to quash and to dismiss the information against appellee Yorac. No error could therefore be rightfully imputed to it.

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