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Asistio vs. People
Petitioner Jocelyn Asistio y Consino was charged with violation of Section 46 of the Cooperative Code. Upon her arraignment, petitioner entered a plea of "not guilty." Trial on the merits ensued. After the presentation and offer of evidence by the prosecution, petitioner moved to dismiss the case by way of Demurrer to Evidence with prior leave of court. She argued, among other matters, that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila does not have jurisdiction over the case, as the crime charged does not carry with it a sanction for which she can be held criminally liable. The RTC dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Dissatisfied, the People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), appealed the order of dismissal to the CA. The CA rendered a Decision reversing and setting aside the RTC Orders and remanded the case records to the RTC for further proceedings. Petitioner then argues that the order to remand the case back to the RTC constitutes double jeopardy.
Whether nor not dismissal in this case would result to double jeopardy if remanded.
No. The general rule is that the grant of a demurrer to evidence operates as an acquittal and is, thus, final and unappealable. In this case, however, the RTC granted the demurrer to evidence and dismissed the case not for insufficiency of evidence, but for lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged. Notably, the RTC did not decide the case on the merits, let alone resolve the issue of petitioner's guilt or innocence based on the evidence proffered by the prosecution. This being the case, the RTC Order of dismissal does not operate as an acquittal. Hence, the remand of the criminal case to the RTC, double jeopardy did not attach.