That on December 10, 1998, or thereabout, in the City of Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused being the beneficial owner of 84,030,000 Best World Resources Corporation shares, a registered security sold pursuant to Sections 4 and 8 of the Revised Securities Act, which beneficial ownership constitutes 18.6% of the outstanding shares of the company, way above the 10% required by law to be reported, and covered by Certificate Nos. DT-UK 55485704 and DT-UR 55485776, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally fail to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission and with the Philippine Stock Exchange a sworn statement of the amount of all BWRC shares of which he is the beneficial owner, within ten (10) days after he became such beneficial owner, in violation of the Revised Securities Act and/or the rules and regulations prescribed and pursuant thereto.
CONTRARY TO LAW.8
That on June 18, 1999, or thereabout, in the City of Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused being the beneficial owner of 75,000,000 Best World Resources Corporation shares, a registered security which has been sold pursuant to Sections 4 and 8 of the Revised Securities Act, which beneficial ownership constitutes 18.6% of the outstanding shares of the company, way above the 10% required by law to be reported, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally fail to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission and with the Philippine Stock Exchange a sworn statement of the amount of all BWRC shares of which he is the beneficial owner, within ten (10) days after he became such beneficial owner, in violation of the Revised Securities Act and/or the rules and regulations prescribed pursuant thereto.
CONTRARY TO LAW.10
WHEREFORE, finding the Demurrer to Evidence filed by accused Dante Tan to be meritorious, the same is GRANTED.
WHEREFORE, in the context of all the foregoing considerations, it would be futile to take further action on the herein petition, which is therefore DISMISSED outright for evident want of merit.
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN PRECLUDING THE PEOPLE FROM PROSECUTING ITS CASES AGAINST DANTE TAN.25
The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is "filed after the prosecution had rested its case," and when the same is granted, it calls "for an appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to warrant conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal of the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not be appealed, for to do so would be to place the accused in double jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there.28
x x x The only instance when double jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the opportunity to present its case or where the trial was a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice.31
More so does the rule against the invoking of double jeopardy hold in the cases at bar where as we have held, the sham trial was but a mock trial where the authoritarian president ordered respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan to rig the trial and closely monitored the entire proceedings to assure the predetermined final outcome of acquittal and total absolution as innocent of all the respondents-accused.34
It is evident from the brief transcript of the proceedings held on July 7, 1967 that the parties were not placed under oath before they answered the queries of the respondent Judge (pp. 11-17, rec.). Verily, no evidence in law had as yet been entered into the records of the case before respondent Court. Respondent Court's issuance of the questioned dismissal order was arbitrary, whimsical and capricious, a veritable abuse of discretion which this Court cannot permit.
Moreover, it is clear from the same transcript that the prosecution never had a chance to introduce and offer its evidence formally in accordance with the Rules of Court (pp. 11-17, rec.). Verily, the prosecution was denied due process.
Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, its right to due process is thereby violated. x x x36
The trial court exceeded its jurisdiction when it practically held that the prosecution failed to establish the culpability of the accused in a proceeding which does not even require the prosecution to do so. It acted with grave abuse of discretion, tantamount to lack of jurisdiction, when it preemptively dismissed the cases and, as a consequence thereof, deprived the prosecution of its right to prosecute and prove its case, thereby violating its fundamental right to due process." With this violation, its Orders, dated 28 October 1976 and 20 December 1976, are therefore null and void. Likewise, for being null and void, said orders cannot constitute a proper basis for a claim of double jeopardy.38
The order of the Court of Appeals reinstating the criminal case for further hearing by the trial court does not violate the rule on double jeopardy. One of the elements of double jeopardy is a competent court. The trial court in this case was ousted from its jurisdiction when it violated the right of the prosecution to due process by aborting its right to complete the presentation of its evidence. Hence, the first jeopardy had not been terminated. The remand of the case for further hearing or trial is merely a continuation of the first jeopardy. It does not expose the accused to a second jeopardy. x x x40
To secure conviction for the violations of RSA Secs. 32 (a-1) and 36 (a), it is necessary to prove the following: (1) the BW Resources Corporation ("BW") has equity securities registered under the Revised Securities Act; 2 that the equity securities of BW Resources Corporation are divided into classes, and that these classes are registered pursuant to the Revised Securities Act; (3) the number of shares of BW Resources Corporation (authorized the number of shares of BW Resources (authorized capital stock) and the total number of shares per class of stock; (4) the number of shares of a particular class of BW stock acquired by the accused; (5) the fact of the exact date, the accused [becomes]the beneficial owner of ten (10%) percent of a particular class of BW shares; and (6) the fact, the accused failed to disclose his ten (10%) percent ownership within ten days from becoming such owner.
It is very clear from the evidence formally offered, that the foregoing facts were not proven or established. These cases were for Violations of RSA Rule 32 (a)-1 and Section 56 of Revised Securities Act, however, it is very surprising that the prosecution never presented in evidence the Article of Incorporation of BW Resources Corporation. This document is very vital and is the key to everything, including the conviction of the accused. Without the Article of Incorporation, the Court has no way of knowing the capitalization authorized capital stock of the BW Resources Corporation, the classes of shares into which its stock is divided and the exact holdings of Dante Tan in the said corporation. Its not being a prosecution's evidence renders impossible the determination of the ten (10%) percent beneficial ownership of accused Dante Tan, as there is no focal point to base the computation of his holdings, and the exact date of his becoming an owner of ten (10%) percent.48
* Designated as an additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura per Raffle dated July 19, 2010.
1 Rollo, pp. 8-47.
2 Penned by Associate Justice Godardo A. Jacinto, with Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Jr. and Noel G. Tijam concurring; id. at 48-58.
3 Id. at 59-62.
4 Sec. 36. Directors, officers and principal stockholders. -- (a) Every person who is directly or indirectly the beneficial owner of more than ten (10%) per centum of any class of any equity security which is registered pursuant to this Act, or who is a director or an officer of the issuer of such security, shall file, at the time of the registration of such security on a securities exchange or by the effective date of a registration statement or within ten (10) days after he becomes such a beneficial owner, director, or officer, a statement with the Commission and, if such security is registered on a securities exchange, also with the exchange, of the amount of all equity securities of such issuer of which he is the beneficial owner, and within ten (10) days after the close of each calendar month thereafter, if there has been a change in such ownership during such month, shall file with the Commission, and if such security is registered on a securities exchange, shall also file with the exchange, a statement indicating his ownership at the close of the calendar month and such changes in his ownership as have occurred during such calendar month.
5 Sec. 32. Reports. - (a) (1) Any person who, after acquiring directly or indirectly the beneficial ownership of any equity security of a class which is registered pursuant to this Act, is directly or indirectly the beneficial owner of more than ten (10%) per centum of such class shall, within ten days after such acquisition or such reasonable time as fixed by the Commission, submit to the issuer of the security, to the stock exchanges where the security is traded, and to the Commission a sworn statement x x x.
6 Sec. 56. Penalties. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission under authority thereof, or any person who, in a registration statement filed under this Act, makes any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state any material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, shall, upon conviction, suffer a fine of not less than five thousand (P5,000.00) pesos nor more than five hundred thousand (P500,000.00) pesos or imprisonment of not less than seven (7) years nor more than twenty-one (21) years, or both in the discretion of the court. If the offender is a corporation, partnership or association or other juridical entity, the penalty shall be imposed upon the officer or officers of the corporation, partnership, association or entity responsible for the violation, and if such officer is an alien, he shall, in addition to the penalties prescribed, be deported without further proceedings after service of sentence.
7 Rollo, pp. 74-76.
8 Id. at 74-75.
9 Id. at 77-79.
10 Id. at 77-78.
11 Id. at 14.
12 Id. at 94-98.
13 Id. at 101-104.
14 Id. at 105-115.
15 Id. at 116-119.
16 Id. at 120-124.
17 Id. at 125-142.
18 Id. at 148-152.
19 Id. at 153-181.
20 Id. at 181.
21 Note that the attached copy of petitioner's petition before the CA was stamped as received by the CA on April 15, 2004 and not April 12, 2004.
22 Rollo, pp. 182-231.
23 Id. at 58.
24 Id. at 52.
25 Id. at 23.
27 488 Phil. 293 (2004).
28 Id. at 309-310. (Italics in the original).
29 Paragraph 1, Section 7, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. -- When an accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.
30 G.R. No. 128587, March 16, 2007, 518 SCRA 393.
31 Id. at 408, citing Sanvicente v. People, 441 Phil. 139 (2002). (Emphasis supplied.)
32 People v. Court of Appeals, 368 Phil. 169, 180 (1999).
33 No. L-72670, September 12, 1986, 144 SCRA 43.
34 Id. at 87.
35 No. L- 27935, August 16, 1985, 138 SCRA 166.
36 Id. at 170.
37 246 Phil. 530 (1988).
38 Id. at 543.
39 G.R. No. 88889, October 11, 1990, 190 SCRA 396.
40 Id. at 402.
41 Rollo, pp. 80-84.
42 Id. at 85-87 (with attachments).
43 Id. at 94-98.
44 Id. at 125-142.
45 Id. at 143-146.
46 People v. Hernando, No. L- 55213, October 9, 1981, 108 SCRA 121, 131.
47 Commission on Elections v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108120, January 26, 1994, 229 SCRA 501, 507, citing People v. Francisco, 128 SCRA 110 (1984); People v. City Court of Silay, 74 SCRA 247 (1976); City Fiscal of Cebu v. Kintanar, 32 SCRA 601 (1970); People v. Nieto, 103 Phil. 1133 (1958).
48 Rollo, pp. 49-50. (Emphasis supplied.)
49 People of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 468 Phil. 1, 13 (2004).
50 G.R. No. 173637.
51 Criminal Case No. 119830 pertains to allegations that Dante Tan employed manipulative devises in the purchase of Best World Resources Corporation (BW) shares.