Sec. 18. Discharge of accused operates as acquittal. – The order indicated in the preceding section shall amount to an acquittal of the discharged accused and shall be a bar to future prosecution for the same offense, unless the accused fails or refuses to testify against his co-accused in accordance with his sworn statement constituting the basis for his discharge.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE DISCHARGE?
1. Evidence in support of the discharge forms part of the trial. But if the court denies the motion to discharge, his sworn statement shall be inadmissible as evidence
2. Discharge of the accused operates as an ACQUITTAL and bar to further prosecution for the same offense, except if he fails or refuses to testify against his co-accused in accordance with his
sworn statement constituting the basis of the discharge. In this case, he can be prosecuted again and his admission can be used against him.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN HE FAILS OR REFUSES TO TESTIFY IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS SWORN STATEMENT?
It means that the accused makes substantial changes in his testimony that would naturally affect the proceedings and would be prejudicial to the prosecution of the offense charged
WHAT IF IN THE SWORN STATEMENT OF X, HE MENTIONED ONLY THAT 3 OF HIS COMPANIONS WERE IN CONSPIRACY WITH EACH OTHER. DURING HIS TESTIMONY, HE TESTIFIED THAT ALL 10 OF HIS COMPANIONS WERE IN CONSPIRACY. IS THIS PROPER?
This doesn’t fall within the ambits of “refusing to testify in accordance with his sworn statement”
It will be proper as long as it will help further the prosecution in prosecuting the offense charged against the accused
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE COURT IMPROPERLY OR ERRONEOUSLY DISCHARGES AN ACCUSED AS STATE WITNESS, AS WHEN FOR EXAMPLE, THE ACCUSED HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE?
The improper discharge will not render inadmissible his testimony nor detract from his competency as a witness
Neither will it invalidate his acquittal because the acquittal becomes ineffective only if he fails or refuses to testify
WHAT IF AFTER AN ACCUSED HAS BEEN DISCHARGED TO BECOME A STATE WITNESS, IT WAS FOUND OUT DURING THE TRIAL THAT THE FACTS HE ATTESTED TO IN HIS SWORN STATEMENT WERE ALL LIES? DOES THE COURT HAVE ANY RECOURSE IF THERE WAS A WRONGFUL DISCHARGE?
The discharge of the accused wouldn’t be affected. His discharge would still amount to an acquittal and is a bar for further prosecution for the same offense. First, the grounds mentioned in
the rule as exceptions to the general rule are exclusive in character. The discharge will not be a bar to further prosecution and not amount to acquittal is when the accused refuses or fails to testify in accordance with his sworn statement. Second, what the rules require is ABSOLUTE NECESSITY and not ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY. Third, what transpired was an error of judgment on the part of the court.
If the court has a recourse, it would be to detain the discharged accused, following Section 19 of this Rule, and file a case against him but not for the same offense but for perjury
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION UNDER WHICH AN ACCUSED WAS DISCHARGED IS LATER AMENDED?
A discharge under the original information is just as binding upon the subsequent amended information, since the amended information is just a continuation of the original
MUST THE ACCUSED TO BE DISCHARGED FIRST BE CHARGED IN THE COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION?
Note: the filing of the motion in court gives the court jurisdiction over the persons
CAN THE OTHER CONSPIRATORS BE SOLELY CONVICTED ON THE BASIS OF THE DISCHARGED STATE WITNESS?
No, there must be other evidence to support his testimony
The testimony of a state witness comes from a polluted source and must be received with caution
It should be substantially corroborated in its material points
As an exception however, the testimony of a co-conspirator, even if uncorroborated, will be considered sufficient if given in a straightforward manner and it contains details which couldn’t have
been a result of deliberate afterthought.