Suspension By Reason Of Prejudicial Question
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 or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time before the prosecution rests.
MAY THE COURT MOTU PROPIO ORDER THE DISMISSAL OF A CRIMINAL ACTION WHERE THERE IS A PREJUDICIAL QUESTION TO BE RESOLVED?
> No, the court can only suspend the criminal action upon a petition but it has no authority to order its dismissal
WHAT IS A PREJUDICIAL QUESTION?
> A prejudicial question is one based on a fact separate and distinct from the crime but is so intimately related to it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused
WHAT IS THE RULE REGARDING PREJUDICIAL QUESTIONS?
> In case the civil action was instituted ahead of the criminal action, the same shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found and before judgment is the merits upon commencement of the
WHAT IS THE RATIONALE BEHIND THE PREJUDICIAL QUESTION RULE?
> To avoid two conflicting decisions
Sec. 7. Elements of prejudicial question. – The elements of a prejudicial questions 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.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A PREJUDICIAL QUESTION?
1. The previously filed civil action involves an issue which is similar or is intimately related with an issue raised in the subsequent criminal action
2. The resolution of the issue will determine whether or not the criminal action may proceed
WHEN IS AN ACTION FOR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE PREJUDICIAL TO A BIGAMY CASE?
> An action for annulment of marriage is prejudicial to a bigamy case only if the accused in the bigamy charge is also the one asking for annulment of the second (bigamous marriage based on
vitiation of consent)
> This is because in such a case, if the court declares that the party’s consent is indeed vitiated and annuls the marriage, then it would mean that the party didn’t willingly commit the crime of bigamy
> It would thus be determinative of the guilt and innocence of the accused
IS AN ACTION FOR NULLITY BECAUSE OF ARTICLE 36 A PRELIMINARY QUESTION OF ADULTERY?
> No, what is important is the fact that the marriage still subsisted during the commission of the crime of adultery
IS AN ACTION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION A PRELIMINARY QUESTION ON CONCUBINAGE?
> No, in legal separation, the marriage bond is not severed and thus, it doesn't matter if the legal separation was granted or not