Tupaz v. Ulep G.R. No. 127777, October 1, 1999

Facts: On June 8, 1990, State Prosecutor filed with the MeTC, an information against accused for nonpayment of deficiency corporate income tax for the year 1979 in violation of the Tax Code of 1977. The MeTC dismissed the information for lack of jurisdiction. On January 10, 1991, SP Molon filed with the RTC two (2) informations, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. Q-91-17321 2 and Q-9l-17322, against accused for the same alleged nonpayment of deficiency corporate income tax for the year 1979. On November 6, 1991, accused filed with the RTC a motion to dismiss/quash information Q-91-17322 for the reason that it was exactly the same as the information against the accused pending before RTC, However, on November 11, 1991, Judge Solano denied the motion. On September 20, 1994, the trial court (Branch No. 105) arraigned accused Petronila C. Tupaz in Criminal Case No. Q-91-17321, and she pleaded not guilty to the information therein. On October 18, 1995, Judge Ulep issued an order directing the prosecution to withdraw the information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-17322, pending before RTC after discovering that said information was identical to the one filed with Branch 105. On April 16, 1996, State Prosecutor Alfredo P. Agcaoili filed with the trial court a motion to withdraw information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-17321. On May 28, 1996, Prosecutor Agcaoili filed with the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 105, a motion to reinstate information in Criminal Case Q-91-17321, stating that the motion to withdraw information was made through palpable mistake, and was the result of excusable neglect. He thought that Criminal Case No. Q-91-17321 was identical to Criminal Case No. Q-90-12896, wherein accused was charged with nonpayment of deficiency contractor’s tax, amounting to P346,879.29. Over the objections of accused, on August 6, 1996, the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 105, granted the motion and ordered information in Criminal Case No. Q-91-17321 reinstated. On September 24, 1996, accused filed with the trial court a motion for reconsideration. On December 4, 1996, the trial court denied the motion.

Issue: Whether the reinstatement of the information filed against the Petitioner violates her right against Double Jeopardy.

Held: Yes, the reinstatement of the information would expose her to double jeopardy. An accused is placed in double jeopardy if he is again tried for an offense for which he has been convicted, acquitted or in another manner in which the indictment against him was dismissed without his consent. In the instant case, there was a valid complaint filed against petitioner to which she pleaded not guilty. The court dismissed the case at the instance of the prosecution, without asking for accused-petitioner’s consent. This consent cannot be implied or presumed. Such consent must be expressed as to have no doubt as to the accused’s conformity. As petitioner’s consent was not expressly given, the dismissal of the case must be regarded as final and with prejudice to the re-filing of the case. Consequently, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in reinstating the information against petitioner in violation of her constitutionally protected right against double jeopardy.

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