SC: If accused gets acquitted, private complainant CANNOT appeal

In the case of Mobilia Products, Inc. v. Umezawa,[1] the Supreme Court said that:
In a criminal case in which the offended party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or the offended party is limited to the civil liability arising therefrom. Hence, if a criminal case is dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal, a reconsideration of the order of dismissal or acquittal may be undertaken, whenever legally feasible, insofar as the criminal aspect thereof is concerned and may be made only by the public prosecutor; or in the case of an appeal, by the State only, through the OSG. The private complainant or offended party may not undertake such motion for reconsideration or appeal on the criminal aspect of the case. 
However, the offended party or private complainant may file a motion for reconsideration of such dismissal or acquittal or appeal therefrom but only insofar as the civil aspect thereof is concerned. In so doing, the private complainant or offended party need not secure the conformity of the public prosecutor. If the court denies his motion for reconsideration, the private complainant or offended party may appeal or file a petition for certiorari or mandamus, if grave abuse amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction is shown and the aggrieved party has no right of appeal or xxx adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[2]
Following settled jurisprudence, in the case of Cu v. Small Business (G.R. No. 211222, August 07, 2017), the High Court held that, being a mere private complainant, SB Corp. lacked the authority to represent the State in the appeal of the criminal cases before the Court of Appeals (CA) as this authority is solely vested in the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).[3]

The OSG is the law office of the Government whose specific powers and functions[4] include that of representing the Republic and/or the People before any court in any action which affects the welfare of the People as the ends of justice may require.[5] Accordingly, if there is a dismissal of a criminal case by the trial court, it is only the OSG that may bring an appeal of the criminal aspect representing the People.[6]

Clearly, in the case of Cu v. Small Business, SB Corp. did not file its petition for review with the CA merely to preserve its interest in the civil aspect of the criminal cases but sought the reinstatement of the criminal prosecution of Cu for violation of B.P. 22. Being an obvious attempt to participate in, or otherwise prosecute, the criminal aspect of the cases without the conformity of the OSG, its recourse must fail.[7]

[1] 493 Phil. 85 (2005).

[2] Id. at 108, citing Neplum, Inc. v. Orbeso, 433 Phil. 844 (2002).

[3] G.R. No. 211222, August 07, 2017.

[4] Executive Order No. 292, Series of 1987 or the 1987 Revised Administrative Code, Book IV, Title III, Chapter 12, Section 35 (1) provides:

SECTION 35. Powers and Functions.- The Office of the Solicitor General shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer. x x x It shall have the following specific powers and functions:

(1) Represent the Government in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings; represent the Government and its officers in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and all other courts or tribunals in all civil actions and special proceedings in which the Government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a party.

[5] People v. Piccio, 740 Phil. 616, 621-622 (2014), citing Villareal v. Aliga, 724 Phil. 47, 57-59 (2014) and Gonzales v. Chavez, 282 Phil. 858, 889 (1992).

[6] Id. at 622; citations omitted.

[7] See id. at 623.

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