JM DOMINGUEZ AGRONOMIC COMPANY, INC. vs. LICLICAN G.R. No. 208587, July 29, 2015

Facts:
During the annual stockholders meeting of petitioners the election for its new set of directors was conducted. This event was presided by then company’s officers. Conflict ensued when petitioners were allegedly not allowed to vote on the ground that they are not registered stockholders of JMD. Petitioners walked out the meeting, while the election pushed through and elected the Respondents. Petitioners filed a civil case against the Respondent to nullify the said election. While the case was pending, respondents withdrew money out of the JMD account that led the Petitioner filing a qualified theft against the respondents alleging that they are not authorized to withdrew money of of JMD’s account. RTC issued a warrant of arrest against the Respondents. Respondents appealed to the CA to nullify the arrest alleged existence of a prejudicial question. CA ruled in favor of the respondents. Petitioner filed a motion stating that the Prejudicial Question was already resolved in their favor which cure the defect of the order of the RTC. CA ruled in negative, hence this case.

Issue:
Whether the subsequent resolution of the prejudicial question did cure the defect of not recognizing the said question

Held:
No, The resolution of the prejudicial question did not, in context, cure the grave abuse of discretion already committed. The fact remains that when the RTC, issued its challenged Orders, the Judgment in favor of petitioners was not yet rendered. Consequently, there was still, at that time, a real dispute as to who the rightful set of officers were. Plainly, the RTC Judge should not have issued the challenged Orders and should have, instead, suspended the proceedings until Civil Case was resolved with finality. To grant the instant petition and rule that the procedural infirmity has subsequently been cured either by the Judgment or by Judge’s inhibition would mean condoning the continuation of the criminal proceedings despite, at that time, the existence of a prejudicial question. Such condonation would create a precedent that renders inutile the doctrine on prejudicial question, such that the court trying the criminal case will be permitted to proceed with the trial in the aberrant assumption that the resolution of the prior instituted civil case would benefit the private complainant in the criminal proceedings.

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