Saturday, January 7, 2017

Violations of PD 957 - administrative cases are independent from criminal actions

See - Buyers

"x x x.

Civil Action And Criminal Action Independent of Each Other, the Former Is Not Prejudicial to the Latter

In one case, the buyers filed a criminal complaint against the officers of a realty company. The city prosecutor, in a resolution, dismissed the complaint for being premature. It was contended that a reasonable interpretation of PD 957 requires a prior determination by the HLURB that “a corporation violated PD 957 before criminal charges may be filed against the corporate officers.”

On certiorari, the Court reversed and set aside the resolution and ordered the prosecutor to determine probable cause and the filing of the necessary information, if warranted.

In Chua vs. Ang, G.R. No. 156164, September 04, 2009, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that:

“In the present case, the petitioners have expressly chosen to pursue the criminal prosecution as their remedy but the prosecutor dismissed their complaint. The prosecutor’s dismissal for prematurity was apparently on the view that an administrative finding of violation must first be obtained before recourse can be made to criminal prosecution. This view is not without its model in other laws; one such law is in the prosecution of unfair labor practice under the Labor Code where no criminal prosecution for unfair labor practice can be instituted without a final judgment in a previous administrative proceeding. The need for a final administrative determination in unfair labor practice cases, however, is a matter expressly required by law. Where the law is silent on this matter, as in this case, the fundamental principle – that administrative cases are independent from criminal actions – fully applies, subject only to the rules on forum shopping under Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. In the present case, forum shopping is not even a matter for consideration since the petitioners have chosen to pursue only one remedy – criminal prosecution. Thus, we see no bar to their immediate recourse to criminal prosecution by filing the appropriate complaint before the prosecutor’s office.”

x x x."