G.R. No. L-17616 May 30, 1962
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. FELIPE ABUY, Defendant-Appellee.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellant.
BARRERA, J.:chanrobles virtual law library
On April 1, 1959, Felipe Abuy was charged in the Municipal Court of Zamboanga City with the crime of "trespass to dwelling" (Crim. Case No. 6751), in an information which reads:
On arraignment, the accused Abuy pleaded not guilty, and the case was thereafter tried. When the case was called for continuation of trial on November 5, 1959, the prosecution moved for the dismissal of the case, on the ground that the evidence so far presented by it would not sustain the accused's conviction of said crime charged. The motion was granted by the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Subsequently, on November 13, 1959, the accused Abuy was charged before the same Municipal Court of Zamboanga City with the crime of "unjust vexation" (Crim. Case No. 7201) under the following information:
On November 19, 1959, the accused Abuy filed a motion to quash the above information for "unjust vexation", on the ground that said offense "has already prescribed". To this motion, the prosecution filed its answer (opposition) on December 23, 1959. On May 14, 1960, the court granted said motion to quash, in an order which partly states:
From this order, the prosecution appealed to the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City. On July 30, 1960, said court denied the appeal, in an order of this tenor:
Hence, this appeal.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There is no merit in the People's appeal. There can be no question that the crime of "unjust vexation" (Art. 287 , Revised Penal Code) is a light offense (Art. 9, id.) and, therefore, prescribes in 2 months (Art. 90, id.). Now, the information dated November 13, 1959 charging appellee Abuy with said offense, expressly alleges that he committed it "on February 21, 1959" on the person of Nicolasa (Michaela) B. de Magadia." According to Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, the period of prescription of an offense "shall commence to run upon the day on which the crime was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or their agents". From February 21, 1959 to November 13, 1959 (date of filing of the information) is 6 months and 20 days, far beyond the 2-month prescriptive period of said offense. In the circumstances, appellee Abuy correctly moved to quash said information, and the Municipal Court properly granted the same. The Court of First Instance, on its part, committed no reversible error in dismissing the prosecution's appeal from said quashal by the Municipal Court, for being "unmeritorious and unfounded".chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The prosecution argues, however, that the offense of "unjust vexation" had not yet prescribed when it filed the information (Crim. Case No. 7201) against appellee Abuy, on November 13, 1959, reasoning thus:
This contention of the prosecution is not in accordance with Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that, "The period of prescription . . . shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information, and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not imputable to him (accused)". The "complaint or information" or "such proceedings" mentioned in the law must be the proper information or complaint corresponding to the offense committed in order that "such proceedings" thereunder may interrupt the prescriptive period. Here, the first information was trespass to dwelling committed against Ruperto Carpio, the elements of which as described in the information are, the prosecution expressly admits (see appellant's brief, page 8), entirely different from the elements of the other offense of unjust vexation against Nicolasa B. de Magadia charged in the second information. There is nothing in the two informations to show that the two offenses are related to each other except that they were committed by the same accused on the same date and within the jurisdiction of the same court. The one, in fact, is not a bar to the other. Consequently, the filing of the one does not interrupt the prescriptive period as to the other.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Neither is the other contention of the prosecution tenable - that the municipal court should not have discharged the accused but should have committed him to answer to the proper offense, as there appears to have been a mistake in charging the correct offense. (Sec. 12, Rule 115, Rules of Court). In the first place, the fiscal moved for the dismissal of the case, not because of an alleged mistake, but because the evidence so far presented by him would not sustain the accused's conviction of the crime charged in the information. Secondly, even if the intention was to subsequently charge the accused with unjust vexation, since the offense has clearly prescribed, it would not be proper to further commit the accused to answer to the proper charge where this is no longer available.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the order appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur.
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