Rule 110-Prosecution of Offenses

Ricarze vs. CA (GR: 160451)

Justice Callejo:

Under Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Rules, all criminal actions covered by a complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direct supervision and control of the public prosecutor.  Thus, even if the felonies or delictual acts of the accused result in damage or injury to another, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability based on the said criminal acts is impliedly instituted, and the offended party has not waived the civil action, reserved the right to institute it separately or instituted the civil action prior to the criminal action, the prosecution of the action (including the civil) remains under the control and supervision of the public

prosecutor. The prosecution of offenses is a public function. Under Section 16, Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the offended party may intervene in the criminal action personally or by counsel, who will act as private prosecutor for the protection of his interests and in the interest of the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice.  A separate action for the purpose would only prove to be costly, burdensome and time-consuming for both parties and further delay the final disposition of the case.  The multiplicity of suits must be avoided. With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action, the two actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with the criminal action predominating the civil.  The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order.

On the other hand, the sole purpose of the civil action is for the resolution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused.

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Amendment or Substitution (Rule 110, sec.14)

Thus, before the accused enters his plea, a formal or substantial amendment of the complaint or information may be made without leave of court.  After the entry of a plea, only a formal amendment may be made but with leave of court and if it does not prejudice the rights of the accused.  After arraignment, a substantial amendment is proscribed except if the same is beneficial to the accused.

A substantial amendment consists of the recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the court.  All other matters are merely of form.  The following have been held to be mere formal amendments: (1) new allegations which relate only to the range of the penalty that the court might impose in the event of conviction; (2) an amendment which does not charge another offense different or distinct from that charged in the original one; (3) additional allegations which do not alter the prosecutions theory of the case so as to cause surprise to the accused and affect the form of defense he has or will assume; (4) an amendment which does not adversely affect any substantial right of the accused; and (5) an amendment that merely adds specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information and not to introduce new and material facts, and merely states with additional precision something which is already contained in the original information and which adds nothing essential for conviction for the crime charged.

The test as to whether a defendant is prejudiced by the amendment is whether a defense under the information as it originally stood would be available after the amendment is made, and whether any evidence defendant might have would be equally applicable to the information in the one form as in the other.  An amendment to an information which does not change the nature of the crime alleged therein does not affect the essence of the offense or cause surprise or deprive the accused of an opportunity to meet the new averment had each been held to be one of form and not of substance.

Pacoy vs. Hon. Cajigal (GR: 157472)

Justice Austria-Martinez:

While the amended Information was for Murder, a reading of the Information shows that the only change made was in the caption of the case; and in the opening paragraph or preamble of the Information, with the crossing out of word Homicide and its replacement by the word Murder. There was no change in the recital of facts constituting the offense charged or in the determination of the jurisdiction of the court. The averments in the amended Information for Murder are exactly the same as those already alleged in the original Information for Homicide, as there was not at all any change in the act imputed to petitioner, i.e., the killing of 2Lt. Escueta without any qualifying circumstance. Thus, we find that the amendment made in the caption and preamble from Homicide to Murder as purely formal.

Section 14, Rule 110 also provides that in allowing formal amendments in cases in which the accused has already pleaded, it is necessary that the amendments do not prejudice the rights of the accused. The test of whether the rights of an accused are prejudiced by the amendment of a complaint or information is whether a defense under the complaint or information, as it originally stood, would no longer be available after the amendment is made; and when any evidence the accused might have would be inapplicable to the complaint or information. Since the facts alleged in the accusatory portion of the amended Information are identical with those of the original Information for Homicide, there could not be any effect on the prosecution’s theory of the case; neither would there be any possible prejudice to the rights or defense of petitioner.


Calme vs. CA (GR: 116688)

Justice Kapunan:

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Petitioner thus claims that the proper venue is Siquijor because, according to the Marine Protest filed by the vessels captain, Elmer Magallanes, the ship was 8.0 miles off Minalonan Point, Siquijor Island, when he (Capt. Magallanes) received the report that a passenger jumped overboard.

Petitioners contention is unmeritorious. The exact location where the alleged offense was committed was not duly established. The Marine protest simply adverted that the vessel was within the waters of Siquijor Island when the captain was informed of the incident, which does not necessarily prove that the alleged murder took place in the same area. In any case, where the crime was actually committed is immaterial since it is undisputed that it occurred while the vessel was in transit. In transit simply means on the way or passage; while passing from one person or place to another. In the course of transportation. Hence, undoubtedly, the applicable provision is par. (c) of Sec. 15 (now Section 14), Rule 110 which provides that (w)here an offense is committed on board a vessel in the course of its voyage, the criminal action may be instituted and tried in the proper court of the first port of entry or of any municipality or territory through which the vessel passed during such voyage subject to the generally accepted principles of international law.

Petitioner further contends that even if Sec. 15(c), Rule 110 governs, Oroquieta City would still be excluded as a proper venue because the reckoning point for determining the venue under the aforementioned paragraph is the first port of entry or the municipalities/territories through which the ship passed after the discovery of the crime, relying on Act No. 400.

We disagree. Obviously, Act No. 400 was amended by Sec. 15(c), Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court in that under the former law, jurisdiction was conferred to the CFI of any province into which the ship or water craft upon which the crime or offense was committed shall come after the commission thereof, while the present rule provides that jurisdiction is vested in the proper court of the first port of entry or of any municipality or territory through which the vessel passed during such voyage x x x. This is the applicable provision and since it does not contain any qualification, we do not qualify the same.

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