MAGESTRADO vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 148072, July 10, 2007

Facts:
Private Respondent filed a criminal case of perjury against the Petitioner for executing an affidavit of loss of Title. The said title was in fact with the Private Respondent and was a subject of a mortgage. The prosecutor found probable cause against the Petitioner and filed information in the MeTC of Quezon city. Petitioner filed a motion for suspension of proceedings based on a prejudicial question of the civil case pending which was filed by the Private Respondent. MeTC denied Motion for Lack of Merit. Respondent appealed to the RTC and CA whom denied the motion respectively. Hence this case.

Issue:
Whether there was a Prejudicial Question to suspend the hearing of the Criminal case of the Petitioner

Held:
No, A prejudial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court but the jurisdiction to try and resolve the question must be lodged in another court or tribunal. It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused.

For a prejudicial question in a civil case to suspend criminal action, it must appear not only that said case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based but also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.

I f the resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal responsibility of the accused in the criminal action based on the same facts, or there is no necessity “that the civil case be determined first before taking up the criminal case,” therefore, the civil case does not involve a prejudicial question.30 Neither is there a prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed independently of each other.

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