G. R. No. 111244
December 15, 1997
COURT OF APPEALS,
E C I S I O N
Presiding Judge, Regional
Judicial Region, Manila,
and ROBERTO CARLOS,
Arturo Alano has filed this petition
for review of the decision
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 28150 which affirmed in toto
the order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 37
denying petitioner's motion for the suspension of proceeding of
Case No. 90-84933, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Arturo
as well as his motion for reconsideration. Criminal Case No.
is a prosecution for the crime of estafa. The information
That on or about June 10, 1986, in the
Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there willfully,
and feloniously defraud Roberto S. Carlos in the following manner, to
the said accused, pretending to be still the owner of a parcel of land
with an area of 1,172 square meters, more or less, located at Bicutan,
Taguig, Metro Manila, covered by Tax Declaration No. 120-004-00398,
knowing that he had previously sold the same to the said Roberto S.
for P30,000.00, sold the aforesaid property for the second time to one
Erlinda B. Dandoy for P87,900.00, thereby depriving the said Roberto S.
Carlos of his rightful ownership/possession of the said parcel of land,
to the damage and prejudice of the said Roberto S. Carlos in the
amount of P30,000.00, Philippine currency.
moved for the suspension of the criminal
case on the ground that there was a prejudicial question pending
in another case being tried in the Regional Trial Court, National
Region, Pasig, Branch 68. The case, docketed as Civil Case No. 55103
entitled "Roberto Carlos and Trinidad M. Carlos v. Arturo Alano, et.
concerns the nullity of the sale and recovery of possession and
In the aforementioned Civil Case, private respondent filed a complaint
against the petitioner seeking the annulment of the second sale of said
parcel of land made by the petitioner to a certain Erlinda Dandoy on
premise that the said land was previously sold to them. In his answer,
petitioner contends that he never sold the property to the private
and that his signature appearing in the deed of absolute sale in favor
of the latter was a forgery, hence, the alleged sale was fictitious and
inexistent. At this juncture, it is worth mentioning that the civil
was filed on March 1, 1985, five years before June 19, 1990 when the
case for estafa was instituted.
On October 3,
1991, the trial court denied the
petitioner's motion as well as a subsequent motion for reconsideration.
Aggrieved, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition
the Court of Appeals seeking the nullification of the assailed order.cralaw
On July 26, 1993,
the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit, the
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding no merit to the
the same is hereby DISMISSED, with cost against petitioner.
The only issue in
this petition is whether the
pendency of Civil Case No. 55103, is a prejudicial question justifying
the suspension of the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 90-84933 filed
Petitioner alleges that his signature
in the first deed of absolute sale in favor of private respondent was a
forgery, such that there was no second sale covering the said parcel of
land. Otherwise stated, if the Court in the said Civil Case rules that
the first sale to herein private respondent was null and void, due to
forgery of petitioner's signature in the first deed of sale, it follows
that the criminal case for estafa would not prosper.cralaw
While at first
blush, there seems to be merit
in petitioner's claim, we are compelled to affirm the Court of Appeal's
findings. The doctrine of prejudicial question comes into play in a
where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending and there
in the former an issue which must be preemptively resolved before the
action may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil
is resolved would be determinative of the guilt or innocence of the
in the criminal action
In other words, if both civil and criminal cases have similar issues or
the issue in one is intimately related to the issues raised in the
then a prejudicial question would likely exists, provided the other
or characteristic is satisfied.
On the basis of
the foregoing and a perusal of
the facts obtaining in the case at bar, the disposition of the issue
need not unduly detain us. We have already ruled that a criminal action
for estafa [for alleged double sale of property] is a prejudicial
to a civil action for nullity of the alleged deed of sale and the
of the alleged vendor is the forgery of his signature in the deed.
the apparent prejudicial question
involved, the Court of Appeals still affirmed the Order of the trial
denying petitioner's motion for the suspension of the proceeding on the
ground that petitioner, in the stipulation of facts, had already
during the pre-trial order dated October 5, 1990 of the criminal case
validity of his signature in the first deed of sale between him and the
private respondent, as well as his subsequent acknowledgment of his
in twenty-three  cash vouchers evidencing the payments made by the
Moreover, it was also noted by the Court of Appeals that petitioner
wrote to the private respondent offering to refund whatever sum the
In this regard,
the pre-trial provision on criminal
procedure found in Rule 118 of the Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 2. Pre-trial conference; subject xxx
pre-trial conference shall consider the following:
[a] Plea bargaining
[b] Stipulation of facts
foregoing, there is no question that a stipulation
of facts by the parties in a criminal case is recognized as
constituting judicial admissions, hence, binding upon the parties
and by virtue of which the prosecution dispensed with the introduction
of additional evidence and the defense waived the right to contest or
the veracity of the statement contained in the exhibit.
stipulation of facts stated in
the pre-trial order amounts to an admission by the petitioner resulting
in the waiver of his right to present evidence on his behalf. While it
is true that the right to present evidence is guaranteed under the
this right may be waived expressly or impliedly.
suspension of the criminal case due
to a prejudicial question is only a procedural matter, the same is
to a waiver by virtue of the prior acts of the accused. After all, the
doctrine of waiver is made solely for the benefit and protection of the
individual in his private capacity, if it can be dispensed with and
without infringing on any public right and without detriment to the
admission in the stipulation of facts during the pre-trial of the
amounts to a waiver of his defense of forgery in the civil case. Hence,
we have no reason to nullify such waiver, it being not contrary to law,
public order, public policy, morals or good customs, or prejudicial to
a third person with a right recognized by law.
Furthermore, it must be emphasized that the pre-trial order was signed
by the petitioner himself. As such, the rule that no proof need be
as to any facts admitted at a pre-trial hearing applies.
view of the foregoing, the appealed
decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 26, 1993 is AFFIRMED. Costs
Melo, Francisco and Panganiban, JJ., concur.cralaw
Penned by Justice Regina G. Ordoñez-Benitez and concurred in by
Justice Manuel C. Herrera and Bernardo P. Pardo.
Per Judge Angelina Gutierrez.
Rollo, p. 30.
Id., pp. 96-101.
Flordelis v. Castillo, 58 SCRA 301 ; Donato v. Luna, 160 SCRA 441
Benitez v. Concepcion, Jr., 2 SCRA 178 .
Ras v. Rasul, 100 SCRA 125 .
Pre-trial Order, Rollo, pp. 134-140.
Decision, Rollo, p. 101.
People v. Hernandez, 260 SCRA 25 .
People v. Bocar, 27 SCRA 512 .
Sec. 14, Art. 3, 1987 Constitution.
People v. Dichose, 96 SCRA 957 .
People v. Donato, 198 SCRA 130 .
Article 6, Civil Code.
Afable, et al., v. Ruiz, et al., 56 O.G. 3767; Permanent Concrete
Inc. v. Teodoro, 26 SCRA 339 ; Munasque v. Court of Appeals, 139
SCRA 533 .