Respondent filed a criminal case against his husband Petitioner of parricide. During the pendency of the case, respondent instituted a civil action of nullity of her marriage with the petitioner on the ground of Psychological Incapacity. Petitioner filed an urgent motion to suspend the proceedings before the RTC on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question. Petitioner asserted that since the relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in parricide, the outcome of Civil Case would have a bearing in the criminal case filed against him before the RTC. RTC and CA denied the motion of the petitioner finding that there was no Prejudicial Question. Hence this case.
Whether the resolution of the action for annulment of marriage is a prejudicial question that warrants the suspension of the criminal case for frustrated parricide against petitioner
No, The rule is clear that the civil action must be instituted first before the filing of the criminal action. In this case, the Information for Frustrated Parricide was filed before the Civil Case was instituted. Clearly, the civil case for annulment was filed after the filing of the criminal case for frustrated parricide. As such, the requirement of Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure was not met since the civil action was filed subsequent to the filing of the criminal action.
Further, the resolution of the civil action is not a prejudicial question that would warrant the suspension of the criminal action.
The relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in the crime of parricide, which punishes any person “who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants or descendants, or his spouse.” The relationship between the offender and the victim distinguishes the crime of parricide from murder or homicide. However, the issue in the annulment of marriage is not similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal case for parricide. Further, the relationship between the offender and the victim is not determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused.
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