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R. Right against double jeopardy

1. Requisites; scope

No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. (Section 21, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act. (Section 21, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

a. CONCEPT

The constitutional right against double jeopardy protects one against a second or later prosecution for the same offense, and that when the subsequent information charges another and different offense, although arising from the same act or set of acts, there is no prohibited double jeopardy. (People v. Tac-An, G.R. Nos. 76338-39, 26 February 1990)

b. REQUISITES

1) Defense of jepoardy

To raise the defense of jeopardy, the following requisites must be present:

1) A first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second;

2) The first jeopardy must have been validly terminated; and,

3) The second jeopardy must be for the same offense as that in the first. (Saldana v. CA, G.R. No. 88889, 11 October 1990)

2) Legal jeopardy

For legal jeopardy to attach, the following elements must concur:

1) A valid information sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction of the crime charged;

2) A court of competent jurisdiction;

3) The accused has been arraigned and had pleaded; and,

4) The accused was convicted or acquitted or the case was dismissed without his express consent. (Chiok v. People, G.R. Nos. 179814 and 180021, 07 December 2015)

Case Law

1) In People v. Pimentel, all the elements were present. There was a valid information for two counts of rape over which the RTC had jurisdiction and to which the accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty. After the trial, a judgment of acquittal was thereafter rendered and promulgated on July 25, 2011. What is peculiar in this case is that a judgment of acquittal was rendered based on the mistaken notion that the private complainant failed to testify; allegedly because of the mix-up of orders with a different case involving the same accused-appellant. This, however, does not change the fact that a judgment of acquittal had already been promulgated. Indeed, a judgment of acquittal, whether ordered by the trial or the appellate court, is final, unappealable, and immediately executory upon its promulgation. (People v. Alejandro, G.R. No. 223099, 11 January 2018)

c. FINALITY-OF-ACQUITTAL RULE

In order to give life to the rule on double jeopardy, our rules on criminal proceedings require that a judgment of acquittal, whether ordered by the trial or the appellate court, is final, unappealable, and immediately executory upon its promulgation. This is referred to as the “finality-of-acquittal” rule. (Ibid.)

d. DUPLICITOUS INFORMATION

A duplicitous information is a valid indictment. (Dimayacyac v. CA, G.R. No. 136264, 28 May 2004)

Case Law

1) In People vs. Bugayong, when an appellant fails to file a motion to quash within the time prescribed under Section 1, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court, he is thus deemed to have waived the defect in the Information.

2) In People vs. Manalili, an accused, who fails to object prior to arraignment to a duplicitous information, may be found guilty of any or all of the crimes alleged therein and duly proven during the trial, for the allegation of the elements of such component crimes in the said information has satisfied the constitutional guarantee that an accused be informed of the nature of the offense with which he or she is being charged. (Ibid.)

Verily, a duplicitous information is valid since such defect may be waived and the accused, because of such waiver, could be convicted of as many offenses as those charged in the information and proved during trial. (Ibid.)

2. Limitations

The rule on double jeopardy, however, is not without exceptions, which are:

1) Where there has been deprivation of due process and where there is a finding of a mistrial; or

2) Where there has been a grave abuse of discretion under exceptional circumstances. We find that these exceptions do not exist in this case. (People v. Alejandro, supra.)

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