People vs. Judge Vergara G.R. Nos. 101557-58. April 28, 1993. 221 SCRA 560 (1993)

Facts: Accused were arraigned for frustrated murder. They all pleaded “not guilty.”, when the cases were initially called for trial, the Prosecuting Fiscal together with counsel for accused jointly moved for the suspension of the hearing pending the outcome of the motion filed by the accused for reinvestigation of the cases against them, counsel for the offended parties gave, notice to the Provincial Fiscal of their intention to appeal the latter’s resolution to the Department of Justice. pending appeal to the Department of Justice, Provincial Fiscal Gacott, Jr., moved for the dismissal of the cases on the ground that the reinvestigation disclosed that petitioner-spouses Amado and Teresa Rubite were the real aggressors and that the accused only acted in self-defense. acting on the motion of the Provincial Fiscal, the RTC, ordered the dismissal of Crim. Cases. Meanwhile, on 1 March 1990, the Secretary of Justice ordered the Provincial Prosecutor to refile the Informations. Hence, on 6 April 1990, two (2) new Informations for frustrated murder against the same accused were filed by Acting Provincial Prosecutor Clarito A. Demaala, docketed as Crim. Cases Nos. 8572 and 8573. On 13 May 1991, after pleading “not guilty” to the new Informations, the accused moved to quash on the ground of double jeopardy, which was opposed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. On 10 July 1991, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed Crim. Cases Nos. 8572 and 8573. The motion to reconsider the order of 10 July 1991 filed by Acting Provincial Prosecutor Demaala was denied on 16 August 1991. Hence, this petition for certiorari filed by private petitioners Amado and Teresa Rubite, complainants in the court below.

Issues: Whether the dismissal of the complaint against the Respondents constitute a first jeopardy and anew case filed against them for the same accusation will constitute double jeopardy.

Held: Yes, The right against double jeopardy prohibits any subsequent prosecution of any person for a crime of which he has previously been acquitted or convicted. The objective is to set the effects of the first prosecution forever at rest, assuring the accused that he shall not thereafter be subjected to the peril and anxiety of a second charge against him for the same offense. Without the safeguard this article establishes in favor of the accused, his fortune, safety, and peace of mind would be entirely at the mercy of the complaining witness, who might repeat his accusation as often as dismissed by the court and whenever he might see fit, subject to no other limitation or restriction than his own will and pleasure. The accused would never be free from the cruel and constant menace of a never-ending charge, which the malice of the complaining witness might hold indefinitely suspended over his head. The requisites which must concur for double jeopardy to attach: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a court of competent jurisdiction; (c) the accused has pleaded to the charge; and, (d) the accused has been convicted or acquitted or the case dismissed or terminated without the express consent of the accused. The concurrence of all these circumstances constitutes a bar to a second prosecution for the same offense, an attempt to commit the said offense, a frustration of the said offense, or any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the first offense charged.

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