Elements to consider civil case a prejudicial question

A prejudicial question is one that arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused, and for it to suspend the criminal action, it must appear not only that said case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based but also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.[1]

Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure prescribes the elements that must concur in order for a civil case to be considered a prejudicial question, to wit:

Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question. – The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
Aptly put, the following requisites must be present for a civil action to be considered prejudicial to a criminal case as to cause the suspension of the criminal proceedings until the final resolution of the civil case: (1) the civil case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based; (2) in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil action, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined; and (3) jurisdiction to try said question must be lodged in another tribunal.[2]

[1] Pimentel v. Pimentel, et al., 645 Phil. 1, 6 (2010) citing Go v. Sandiganbayan (First Division), 559 Phil. 338, 341 (2007).
[2] Sabandal v. Tongco, 419 Phil. 13, 17 (2001) citing Prado v. People, 218 Phil. 573, 577 (1984).

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