Friday, August 10, 2018

Double jeopardy; acquittal is immediately final and executory.

See -

People vs. Sandiganbayan, et. al., GR 228494-96, March 21, 2018:

"Generally, a judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory.25 The prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal lest the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy be violated.26 However, the rule admits of two exceptional grounds that can be challenged in a certiorari proceeding under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court: (1) in a judgment of acquittal rendered with grave abuse of discretion by the court; and (2) where the prosecution had been deprived of due process.27

A cursory reading of the present petition for certiorari demonstrates a prodding to review the judgment of acquittal rendered by the Sandiganbayan on account of grave abuse of discretion. However, though enveloped on a pretext of grave abuse, the petition in actuality aims to overturn the decision of Sandiganbayan due to perceived mistake in the appreciation of facts and evidence. Unfortunately for the petitioner, the correction of this mistake does not fall within the ambit of Rule. 65

In People v. Hon. Tria-Tirona,28 the Court emphasized the limitation of review in certiorari proceeding:

Any error committed in the evaluation of evidence is merely an error of judgment that cannot be remedied by certiorari. An error of judgment is one in which the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction. An error of jurisdiction is one where the act complained of was issued by the court without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction and which error is correctible only by the extraordinary writ of certiorari. Certiorari will not be issued to cure errors by the trial court in its appreciation of the evidence of the parties, and its conclusions anchored on the said findings and its conclusions of law. Since no error of jurisdiction can be attributed to Eublic respondent in her assessment of the evidence, certiorari will not lie. 9 (Citations omitted)

In this case, the prosecution was given adequate opportunity to present several witnesses and all necessary documentary evidence to prove the guilt of Sabio. However, Sandiganbayan warranted the acquittal of Sabio due to insufficiency of evidence engendering reasonable doubt on whether Sabio committed the offenses charged."