Thursday, March 22, 2012

People vs. Ocaya [No. L-47448 May 17, 1978]

Facts: The Office of the Provincial Fiscal filed an information in the court of Hon. Ocaya charging Esterlina Marapao, Letitia Marapao, and Diosdado Marapao of the crime of serious physical injuries. 

Records show that neither the arraignment nor the trial was made on merit and no warrants of arrest were issued. Instead, the respondent judge held that the respondents should be charged of either slight or less serious physical injuries only. This is so, even if the affidavits show that Lolita Ares, the victim, was incapacitated for more than 30 days and a scar was left on her face, deforming it. 

Hon. Ocaya, motu proprio, ordered the dismissal of the case since the crime or slight or less physical injuries is not within the jurisdiction of the court. 

The fiscal’s motion for reconsideration was denied by Hon. Ocaya. Accordingly, the respondent judge evaluated the case without hearing the parties nor the witnesses, nor having received their evidence, as well as ruling against the deformity on the basis of the medical certificate. 

The Provincial Fiscal then filed the petition at bar for the nullification of Hon. Ocaya’s orders. 

Issue: Whether Hon. Ocaya acted with grave abuse of discretion for dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction. 

HeldThe orders of the respondent judge was held NULL & VOID. 

The jurisdiction of the court in a criminal case is determined by the allegations in the information or criminal complaint, and not by the result of the evidence presented at the trial, nor the trial judge’s personal appraisal of the affidavits and exhibits without hearing the parties and their witnesses. Moreover, once jurisdiction has attached to the person and subject-matter, the subsequent happening of events, though it may have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance, will not divest the court of jurisdiction already attached. 

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