JIMENEZ vs. SORONGON G.R. No. 178607, December 5, 2012

Fact:
The petitioner is the president of a local manning agency, while the Private respondents are some of the listed incorporators of another local manning agency. The petitioner filed a complaint-affidavit with the Office of the City Prosecutor against the respondents for syndicated and large scale illegal recruitment. The petitioner alleged that the respondents falsely represented their stockholdings in TMSI’s articles of incorporation to secure a license to operate as a recruitment agency from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA).The 3rd Assistant City Prosecutor recommended the filing of an information for syndicated and large scale illegal recruitment against the respondents. The City Prosecutor approved his recommendation and filed the corresponding criminal information with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Respondent Alamil moved for reconsideration and for the inhibition of Judge Capco-Umali, for being biased or partial. Judge Capco-Umali voluntarily inhibited herself from the case and did not resolve respondent Alamil’s motion for reconsideration and the petitioner’s motion to expunge. The case was later re-raffled presided by Judge Edwin D. Sorongon who granted respondent Alamil’s motion for reconsideration. The petitioner moved for reconsideration, stressing the existence of probable cause to prosecute the respondents and that respondent Alamil had no standing to seek any relief from the RTC. The RTC denied the petitioner’s notice of appeal since the petitioner filed it without the conformity of the Solicitor General, who is mandated to represent the People of the Philippines in criminal actions appealed to the CA. Thus, the RTC ordered the notice of appeal expunged from the records. The CA affirmed the resolution of the RTC.

Issue:
Whether the Petitioner has the legal personality to file the petition on behalf of the People of the Philippines.

Held:
No, It is well-settled that “every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest[,]” “who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or by the party entitled to the avails of the suit.” Interest means material interest or an interest in issue to be affected by the decree or judgment of the case, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved.34 By real interest is meant a present substantial interest, as distinguished from a mere expectancy, or a future, contingent, subordinate or consequential interest. When the plaintiff or the defendant is not a real party in interest, the suit is dismissible. Procedural law basically mandates that “[a]ll criminal actions commenced by complaint or by information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of a public prosecutor.”37 In appeals of criminal cases before the CA and before this Court, the OSG is the appellate counsel of the People, pursuant to Administrative Code with provides The Office of the Solicitor General shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers.

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