G.R. No. 234421. February 12, 2018

SECOND DIVISION: [G.R. No. 234421, February 12, 2018] PERLITA GABRIEL-ISLA AND EMELIA* GABRIEL-ARELLANO V. WILBUR N. ACUÑA.

After a judicious study of the case, the Court resolves to DENY the instant petition and AFFIRM the August 29, 2017 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 146645 for failure of petitioners Perlita Gabriel-Isla and Emelia Gabriel-Arellano (petitioners) to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in ruling that the criminal action is not barred by res judicata.

As correctly ruled by the CA, res judicata does not obtain in this case considering that the prior administrative proceedings for the recovery of the subject land and the subsequent criminal case arising from the alleged use of a falsified leasehold contract (disputed contract) by petitioners in the said administrative proceedings involved different issues, and the question regarding the authenticity of the disputed contract has not been squarely put in issue and passed upon in the prior administrative proceedings. The principle of res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment presupposes that particular facts and issues were actually and directly resolved in the previous case.[2]

Moreover, the CA was correct in ruling that the certiorari petition ceased to be a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy considering that the Municipal Trial Court of Talavera, Nueva Ecija had already acquired jurisdiction over the case and had determined the existence of probable cause when it issued the warrants of arrest against the accused. Once the information is filed in court, the court acquires jurisdiction over the case and any motion to dismiss the case or to determine the accused's guilt or innocence rests within the court's sound discretion.[3]

SO ORDERED. (CAGUIOA, J. , on official business)

Signed over "Emelia G. Arellano" on page 76 of the rollo. "Amelia" and "Imelia" in some portions of the rollo.

[1] Id. at 28-32. Penned by Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez with Associate Justices Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando and Ramon Paul L. Hernando concurring.
[2] Chiok v. People, 774 Phil. 230, 258 (2015).
[3] De Lima v. Reyes, 776 Phil. 623, 649 (2016).

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