“Motion For Reconsideration”,
Dated 21 December 2015)
The RESPONDENTS, pro se, respectfully state:
1. MATERIAL DATES.
X x x.
2. ADOPTION CLAUSE.
For the record, the respondents hereby adopt into this Comment, by incorporation and reference, all their allegations, arguments, and supporting documents stated, described and attached to their (a) JOINT COUNTER AFFIDAVIT, dated June 2, 2015, and their (b) JOINT REJOINDER-AFFIDAVIT, dated Jun2, 22, 2015.
COMPLAINANT’S SOLE GROUND
IN ITS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
3. The sole ground for the complainant’s motion for reconsideration is that no Prejudicial Question exists and that the instant case should be resolved on the merits.
In effect, the complainant prays that the herein respondents be indicted for alleged violation of R.A. No. 8041, otherwise known as the Water Crisis Act of 1995, as charged by the complainant.
4. X x x.
5. X x x .
X x xx.
ON THE ISSUE OF
6. The questioned Resolution, dated 4 August 2015, of this Honorable Office, suspending and archiving the instant case on the ground of PREJUDICIAL QUESTION, should be affirmed, upheld and respected by this Honorable Office:
(a) For being fair, reasonable, and just;
(b) For promoting jurisprudential stability (stare decisis) and procedural orderliness in the administration of the criminal justice system; and
(a) For being in consonance with the Rules of Court and existing jurisprudence on the matter.
To repeat, the complainant had previously filed a civil case (Exh. “14”, Joint Counter Affidavit) against the herein respondents before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch xxx, of xxx, docketed as Civil Case No. xxx, for Injunction and Damages.
The said pending civil case raises and involves legal and factual issues similar or intimately related to the issues raised in the instant case.
The core issue in the said pending related/”prejudicial” civil case is:
Whether or not the xxx BOARD of xxx (i.e., herein respondents) has the legal authority to manage, control, supervise and operate the xxx Water System, pursuant to Board Resolution No. xxx which revoked Board Resolution No. xxx.
Board Resolution No. xxx expressly revoked the authority of complainant ASMPC to operate and manage the ASHAI Water System under Board Resolution No. xxx.
Board Resolution No. xxx was ratified by 496 homeowners, an overwhelming majority, in a Mass Petition, dated February 25, 2015.
The validity of the said board resolutions is legal and factual issue that must be resolved and determined by the RTC, Branch xxx, of xxx, xxx after trial on the merits of the said pending related/”prejudicial” civil case.
If the Trial Court determines, with finality, that the xxx Board has the legal authority to manage, control, supervise and operate the xxx Water System,
(a) pursuant to Board Resolution No. 010-2014 which revoked Board Resolution No. xxx,
(b) pursuant to the February 25, 2015 ratification by the overwhelming majority of 496 members of xxx, and
(c) pursuant to the terms and conditions of the valid xxx-MWCI Bulk Water Service Agreement that was duly mediated by the HLURB,
then, the legal effect of such a Judicial Determination in the said related “prejudicial” civil case would be to wholly ACQUIT the herein respondents of any and all criminal charges of alleged violation/s of the Water Crisis Act of 1995.
We reiterate Sect. 6 and 7, Rule III of the Rules of Criminal Procedure:
Sec. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. - A petition for suspension of the criminal action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the prosecutor – x – x - conducting the preliminary investigation. – x – x –
Sec. 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.
7. JURISPRUDENCE. –
A. PHILIPPINE AGILA SATELLITE, INC. represented by MICHAEL C. U. DE GUZMAN vs. SEC. JOSEFINA TRINIDADLICHAUCO and the HON. OMBUDSMAN, G.R. No. 134887, July 27, 2006.
The aforecited case involved a civil case and an Ombudsman case for criminal violation of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) undergoing preliminary investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman.
In the said case, the Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau (EPIB) of the Office of the Ombudsman found the existence of a prejudicial question after considering that “the case filed with the RTC involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based and that the guilt or the innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined in the resolution of the issues raised in the civil case.”
It thus concluded that the filing of the complaint before the Ombudsman “is premature since the issues involved herein are now subject of litigation in the case filed with the RTC.”
The main issue in the said case was “whether there exists a prejudicial question”.
The Supreme Court cited Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides:
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.
The Supreme Court held that “the rationale for the principle of
prejudicial question is that although it does not conclusively resolve
the guilt or innocence of the accused, it tests the sufficiency of the
allegations in the complaint or information in order to sustain the
further prosecution of the criminal case”. Hence, the need for its prior
resolution before further proceedings in the criminal action may be
The Supreme Court stated that “to determine the existence of a
prejudicial question in the case before the Ombudsman, it is necessary
to examine the elements of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 for which
Lichauco (respondent) was charged and the causes of action in the civil
The Supreme Court stated that the civil case against Lichauco on the other hand involved three causes of action. The first, for injunction; the second, for declaration of nullity of award; and the third, for damages arising from Lichauco’s questioned acts.
The Supreme Court added: “If the award to the undisclosed bidder of orbital slot 153ºE is, in the civil case, declared valid for being within Lichauco’s scope of authority to thus free her from liability for
damages, there would be no prohibited act to speak of nor
would there be basis for undue injury claimed to have been
suffered by petitioner. The finding by the Ombudsman of the
existence of a prejudicial question is thus well-taken.”
B. VINCENT E. OMICTIN vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et. al., G.R. No.148004, January 22, 2007.
In this case the main issue was whether or not a prejudicial question existed to warrant the suspension of the criminal proceedings for Estafa pending the resolution of the intra-corporate controversy that was originally filed with the SEC.
The Supreme Court held that “a prejudicial question is defined as that which 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.” Here the case which was lodged originally before the SEC and which was now pending before the RTC of Mandaluyong City by virtue of Republic Act No. 8799 involved facts that were “intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution is based”, the Supreme Court added.
It stated that “ultimately, the resolution of the issues raised in the intra-corporate dispute will determine the guilt or innocence of private respondent in the crime of estafa filed against him by petitioner before the RTC of Makati”.
C. RICARDO QUIAMBAO vs. HON. ADRIANO OSORIO, ZENAIDA GAZA BUENSUCERO, JUSTINA GAZA BERNARDO, and FELIPE GAZA, respondents-appellees, LAND AUTHORITY, G.R. No. L-48157 March 16, 1988
In this case the controversy boiled down to “the sole question of whether or not the administrative case between the private parties involving the lot subject matter of the ejectment case constitutes a prejudicial question which would operate as a bar to said ejectment case.” Here, the two cases involved were a civil case and an administrative case. Even in such a scenario, the Supreme Court appreciated the presence of prejudicial question.
The Supreme Court held that “a prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal.”
It stated that “the doctrine of prejudicial question comes into play generally in a situation where civil and criminal actions are pending and the issues involved in both cases are similar or so closely related that an issue must be pre-emptively resolved in the civil case before the criminal action can proceed.”
“Thus, the existence of a prejudicial question in a civil case is alleged in the criminal case to cause the suspension of the latter pending final determination of the former”, the Supreme Court added
It stated that “the essential elements of a prejudicial question as provided under Section 5, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Court are: [a] the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal action; and [b] the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed”.
In this case the actions involved were a civil and an administrative case. Technically, there was no prejudicial question to speak of, the Supreme Court stated. But it held that “equally apparent, however, is the intimate correlation between said two  proceedings, stemming from the fact that the right of private respondents to eject petitioner from the disputed portion depends primarily on the resolution of the pending administrative case.”
It added that “for while it may be true that private respondents had prior possession of the lot in question, at the time of the institution of the ejectment case, such right of possession had been terminated, or at the very least, suspended by the cancellation by the Land Authority of the Agreement to Sell executed in their favor.” Further, it stated that “whether or not private respondents can continue to exercise their right of possession is but a necessary, logical consequence of the issue involved in the pending administrative case assailing the validity of the cancellation of the Agreement to Sell and the subsequent award of the disputed portion to petitioner.” It added that “if the cancellation of the Agreement to Sell and the subsequent award to petitioner are voided, then private respondents would have every right to eject petitioner from the disputed area.” It added, “otherwise, private respondent's light of possession is lost and so would their right to eject petitioner from said portion.”
Hence, the Supreme Court held:
“Faced with these distinct possibilities, the more prudent course for the trial court to have taken is to hold the ejectment proceedings in abeyance until after a determination of the administrative case. Indeed, logic and pragmatism, if not jurisprudence, dictate such move. To allow the parties to undergo trial notwithstanding the possibility of petitioner's right of possession being upheld in the pending administrative case is to needlessly require not only the parties but the court as well to expend time, effort and money in what may turn out to be a sheer exercise in futility. Thus, 1 Am Jur 2d tells us:
The court in which an action is pending may, in the exercise of a sound discretion, upon proper application for a stay of that action, hold the action in abeyance to abide the outcome of another pending in another court, especially where the parties and the issues are the same, for there is power inherent in every court to control the disposition of causes on its dockets with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants. Where the rights parties to the second action cannot be properly determined until the questions raised in the first action are settled the second action should be stayed. “
Citing the case of Fortich-Celdran, et al. vs. Celdran, et al., 19 SCRA 502, which was an analogous situation, the Supreme Court sustained the assailed order of the then Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental ordering the suspension of the criminal case for falsification of public document against several persons, among them the subscribing officer Santiago Catane until the civil case involving the issue of the genuineness of the alleged forged document shall have been decided.
The Supreme Court further stated that “if a pending civil case may be considered to be in the nature of a prejudicial question to an administrative case, it saw no reason why the reverse may not be so considered in the proper case, such as in the petition at bar.”
8. GOOD FAITH OF RESPONDENTS. - The respondents stress the good faith inherent in their official acts as legitimate xxx leaders.
Good faith is presumed on the part of herein respondents as duly elected incumbent village leaders of ASHAI.
In the case of Heirs of Severa Gregorio vs. Court of Appeals, et al, G. R. No. 117609, December 19, 1998, the Supreme Court held that “it is axiomatic that good faith is always presumed unless convincing evidence to the contrary is adduced”; that “it is incumbent upon the party alleging bad faith to sufficiently prove such allegation”; that “absent enough proof thereof, the presumption of good faith prevails”; that “the burden of proving bad faith lies with petitioners but they failed to discharge such onus probandi”; and that “without a clear and persuasive substantiation of bad faith, the presumption of good faith in favor of respondents stands”.
Further, the respondents reiterate the doctrine held in the case of FRANCISCO M. LECAROZ, et. al. vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, et. al., G.R. No. 130872, March 25, 1999, where the Supreme Court held that “any mistake on a doubtful or difficult question of law may be the basis of good faith”; that “an erroneous interpretation of the meaning of the provisions of an ordinance by a city mayor does not amount to bad faith that would entitle an aggrieved party to damages against that official” that “officials may not be liable for damages in the discharge of their official functions absent any bad faith”; that “under the law on public officers, acts done in the performance of official duty are protected by the presumption of good faith.”
The official actions of herein respondents, as leaders of the Association, were legal, made in good faith, were not intended to harm, injure, or violate the rights of anybody or to violate any law.
X x x.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the respondents respectfully pray that the motion for consideration of the complainant be DENIED for lack of merit.
FURTHER, the respondents respectfully pray for such and other reliefs as may be deemed just and equitable in the premises.
xxx, xxx, January 12, 2015.